Monday, 23 May 2022

Newest Recruits


I painted up a couple of new recruits for my colonial marines this weekend. These both come from the Stargrave Mercenaries box (with possible arms from the Troopers box). I am taking a 'Star Wars Approach' to this force, by which I mean that most of the soldiers are human with a smattering of aliens mixed in. Not only does this give the force some nice variety, but it means I can occasionally use those purple and magenta paints that don't get a lot of use!

Friday, 20 May 2022

Army of Dol Amroth

 (Click on photo for a bigger shot)

The other project I have been working on is my Army of Dol Amroth. This photo shows off most of my progress so far.  I've got 5 swordsmen with their swan/star shields. I've got three archers, and I have just finished the first of my spearmen, with a new version of the swan symbol on his shield. All of those figures are Fireforge plastics. In the middle is a mounted Games Workshop knight and another on foot. I've actually got 5 more foot knights, I just haven't dug them out of the box yet. My main goal here is to get the swordsmen, spearmen, and archers up to 6 man units. (Then 8, then 12!).  I'd like to add some more mounted knights, but I really like the metal ones, and they are rather expensive these days, being out-of-print. I will probably add one every so often.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Colonial Marines

(Click on the photo to embiggen)

I haven't been blogging as much lately, no major reason for this. It's just been nice weather, and I have been doing other things. But I'm still doing a bit of painting on several different projects. Today, I just wanted to show off my slowly advancing 'Dropship Down' project. These are my colonial marine forces, and my junk-made terrain. Basically, from this point, I just want to add a bit more of everything. More terrain, more troops, more vehicles. There is something refreshingly simple about the project. I enjoy the way I haven't tied it to any ruleset or even specifically to any line of miniatures - though I admit I really am enjoying the Stargrave plastics, especially the Mercenaries box! 

Thursday, 24 March 2022

Roll vs. Evil

For awhile now I've been trading emails with Chris Birch, the head of Modiphius (who publish the Rangers of Shadow Deep rulebook) about the idea of translating 'gaming good' into 'real world good'. Well, Chris took that idea and he ran with it! Modiphius have just launched a new charity called Roll vs. Evil devoted to the concept.

They are kicking things off by calling upon all gamers to dedicate their games this weekend to the cause and to donate money to help fight human trafficking along the Ukrainian border

Growing up, I always wanted to be a hero, a paladin, who fought to help people. These days, I've realized I'm more like 'support staff' in the fight against evil, but that's an important role too! 

I'm excited by the chance to help out. I would love for people to dedicate any games of Frostgrave, Stargrave, Rangers of Shadow Deep, Oathmark, The Silver Bayonet, and Operation: Last Train that they play this weekend to the cause.

Monday, 7 March 2022

Mustering Dol Amroth

For awhile now, I have considered making a new Gondorian army. I’ve got one, made with the official Games Workshop figures, but it has several drawbacks. First, they are mostly Minas Tirth forces, and while they are great figures, they don’t completely match my vision. Also, with their silver and black colour scheme, I just don’t find them much fun to paint. Finally, the range is limited, both in terms of types of troops, but also poses. I wanted something where I had more freedom to create figures…

Recently, Fireforge released a new box of multi-part Almughavars (Spanish infantry of the late Reconquista period). These guys were almost a perfect match for my vision of Gondorian infantry, so I ordered a box. When I assembled the first one, I liked everything about it except the shield choices. Instead, I gave it a shield from the Oathmark Dwarf Infantry box. This weekend, I got busy painting.

I tried to paint the first one as a Minas Tirith soldier but became frustrated with my inability to paint a white tree. So, I gave up, and had a think. My favourite part of the Battle of the Pelennor Fields has always been the Knights of Dol Amroth, and I do really like Games Workshop’s miniatures of those. Why not paint these guys up as the ‘seven hundreds of men-at-arms’ that Prince Imrahil brought along with his knights to the siege of Minas Tirith?

This allowed me to paint with their striking blue and white colour scheme, but left me in some doubts about the shield. I was sure I couldn’t paint a ‘swan-ship’, and I had my doubts about even managing a swan. I did a little internet research and stumbled across this drawing of Lohengrin, the Swan Knight.

[I’ve got a good knowledge of Arthurian legend, but I must admit, I didn’t recognize the name. This sent me off on a long tangent, and added a couple things to my reading list, but I digress.]

I loved the design on the shield and thought I might be able to paint a version. In the end, I gave it my own twist, painting it as an 8-pointed star with the top point being the head of a swan. It took a lot of work, but eventually I got it looking pretty good (if I do say so myself). After that, the rest of the paint job was easy. I was so enthused by it, I immediately assembled and painted another one!


I then added an archer as well. This is made from the Fireforge Folk Rabble box with a head from the Almughavars box and a quiver from my bits box.

I was extremely pleased to see that these guys size-up almost perfectly with the Games Workshop Knights of Dol Amroth which I’ve already got.

So, now I’m planning a multi-system force! My first goal is to paint the 8 swordsmen, 8 spearmen, and 8 archers that are required for almost every Gondorian scenario in the Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game. Then, I want to increase each of those units to 12 so that they are ready to go when the new version of Lion Rampant is released later this year. From there, I can hopefully expand the force for games of Oathmark.

What pleases me most about this is knowing that I can easily build other troops or specialist units to add to the army using these guys as the basis. Of course, my enthusiasm for a specific project rarely lasts for a whole army… but we’ll see!

Monday, 21 February 2022

The Imagi-Nation Army is Growing!

I admit, I got a little side-tracked on the Imagi-Nation army that I began with such promise at the start of 2021. Well, it wasn't my best year.

I have made some progress though. Recently I finished up my second, 16-man infantry unit. In celebration of this event, I decided to get the whole 'army' out for a little photo shoot. Okay, the army is just two infantry units and one artillery piece, but that represents a serious amount of painting time!

I've got a lot of choices for what to do next... cavalry? a skirmish unit? a command group? I haven't decided yet, and I'm not going to push it. At some point, I'll get a craving, and when I do, I'll go for it.

For now, I'm just going to revel in my little group of toy soldiers... and maybe get them fighting some zombies or something!

Friday, 4 February 2022

Facing the Dragon

I recently painted up the Oathmark dragon. In truth, it's not my best paint work, and the reason it looks so good has everything to do with the sculpt. As a bit of fun, I took this photo of me (in miniature form, painted by Kev Dallimore) facing the dragon.

The photo, combined with my post yesterday, got me thinking. Kindness, patience, and forgiveness for our fellow travellers in life is so crucial. We really don't know what dragons people are facing. People often look fine 'on the outside', and this is especially true in our modern Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, culture. But every life comes with its own unique challenges, fears, and pain. 

Being a force for good in this world often isn't about huge gestures, or devoting your life to a cause, often its just about offering a little bit of help, support, and understanding to those around us.

Thursday, 3 February 2022

Wisdom from R. L. S.

'It may be argued again that dissatisfaction with our life's endeavour springs in some degree from dulness. We require higher tasks, because we do not recognise the height of those we have. Trying to be kind and honest seems an affair too simple and too inconsequential for gentleman of our heroic mould; we had rather set ourselves to something bold, arduous, and conclusive; we had rather found a schism or suppress a heresy, cut off a hand or mortify an appetite. But the task before us, which is to co-endure with our existence, is rather one of microscopic fineness, and the heroism required is that of patience. There is no cutting of the Gordian knots of life; each must be smilingly unravelled.'

- Robert Louis Stevenson, A Christmas Sermon

Tuesday, 1 February 2022

If You Go Down to the Woods Today…

Many years ago, early in my days at Osprey, Phil Smith handed me a bag of model railroad trees and suggested I do something with them. I took them and mounted them onto old CDs, which I then flocked. As it turned out, CDs were not a great choice as the trees didn’t like to remain glued to them, but otherwise the project was a huge success. Those trees featured in almost every battle we fought over the years. They looked great on the table and could be shifted to make very different layouts.

I left those trees when I left Osprey. The ownership was debatable, and I figured the guys there would get more use out of them than me. But recently, I have bene missing those trees, so I decided to create a new set.

I bought a £20 bag of model railroad trees from my local shop. I mounted the first few on some GW vehicle bases I had lying around, and then I ordered some big MDF ovals from Warbases for the rest of them. Both of these worked much better than CDs. I also filed down the bottoms of the trees to get a better adhesive surface. I added a few little patches of flower or tufts from army painter, but wanted to leave them relatively flat, so figures could be placed on the bases.

Anyway, less than £30 and a day of work and I’ve got a pretty substantial woods I can throw on the table. I also have a good number of individually-based trees of other designs I can use to add variety to the table.

I still think this is probably the best and easiest way to make a wilderness table look great!

Thursday, 20 January 2022

Feed Me!


I can't honestly say that this figure was the most fun to paint. It's mostly a lot of green and orange. But I love the results! It's such a centrepiece model!

It's a Reaper Bones model. It comes from their latest kickstarter, but I managed to pick it up separately at the last Salute. I added a couple of extra pumpkins on the base, because the more the merrier. 

This guy will likely serve a lot of uses in the future...

Monday, 17 January 2022

I have a new professional website! Well, at least semi-professional, which is about as professional as I tend to get.

For a while now, this blog has had the awkward task of being both my personal hobby blog and my  place to announce new professional developments. While this worked well enough when I only had Frostgrave to keep track of, it's become increasing hard as my work has expanded. Really, I needed a place where I could keep track of all of my writings and give updates on all my games without feeling like I was overwhelming my hobby space.

So, please go have a look at the new website and let me know what you think. 

While I will announce, or at least talk about, some of the major parts of my job here - I would like to return this blog to being primarily a hobby journal.

Friday, 14 January 2022

Greatest. Christmas Present. Ever.


I guess I was 6 or 7? The cost must have been painful to my parents. But, it was probably one of the best toy-investments they ever made. I built that castle so many times. And I played with it. So many battles, so many tournaments, so many adventures.

Amazingly, some 35+ years later, the instructions and most of the pieces still exist. I have turned it, along with the rest of my sizable childhood LEGO collection, over to my parents so that it can be used whenever the grandkids come around.  Another generation gets to discover the fun!

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

If you go into the Woods at Night...

Near the end of last year, I scratch-built an evil shrine, but I figured the shrine needed some sort of guardian. I had recently bought this Reaper beastman and thought he fit the job description perfectly. The figure is a 'bones black', sculpted by Jason Weibe, and I've got to admit, it was a joy to paint. The detail is large and sharp, and the figure has a real presence. I bought him as a loose figure, but I'm very tempted to pick up the full set. 

I had so much fun making the shrine and painting the beastman, that I just had to write a scenario for them. I offered the scenario to Wargames: Soldiers & Strategy and it is set to appear in the next issue - so keep an eye out!

Recently, one of the lights I was using to photograph miniatures died... thus I'm having to use the camera flash on a lot of shots. This tends to make miniature scenes appear to be happening a night. It works well for this scene, but I'm looking for a replacement.