Tuesday, March 27, 2012

More of Reaper Bones

Just a short update today.  I took some pictures of the rest of the models that I purchased from the Reaper Bones line.  I really liked working with these models, and I think they came out nice.  I found that paint beaded up on some of the flat surfaces when painting unprimed. So I primed the ogre model, and everything went great.

Here are the Bones models.

I picked up a normal, metal Drow model to complete my guards for the Drow queen.  This model wins the prize for impractical armor.  I think the Drow would poke out her eye whenever she looked down.

There you have it.  I've got a bunch of fantasy items on the workbench now.  So that's where I'll be focusing.  After that, I think I'll have to switch things up again.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

GW Announces Dry Paint! WOOOOOHOOOOO!

Hey, just checking in with everyone.  I haven't got around to documenting my recent projects, which haven't been much.  I've had a week off, too, but was wasteful with my time.

So Games Workshop has announced their new line of paints.  I just don't know how I've been doing it all these years without 145 different colors.  But from today forward every new GW paint guide will surely explain why I need 86 different colors to paint my skeleton warriors.

But the best thing yet is the announcement for dry paint. At $3.70 plus tax these paints are a steal!  Think of how long it used to take GW paints to dry out.  Why.... it usually took me 2-3 days after opening a paint pot for it to coalesce into gel.  But now you buy dry paint.  Genius!!!  To quote another game, "Time is money, friend."  Thanks GW! You're always thinking of the hobbyist.

I'm particularly glad that GW stayed away from paint names that are pronounceable.  Who wants to hear about light reds or burnt oranges?  I'd much rather have fun laughing at people as they stumble through Jokaero Orange, Coelia Greenshade, or (personal favorite here) Fuegan Orange.  Talk about a fuegan blast!

Well, I could just go on and on like a silly little fanboi. But I've got go create a flowchart on how to use the base, shade, layer 1, layer 2, dry, glaze, texture, and technical paints in the right order.  I wouldn't want to fuck it all up!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Meet Bob Gnoll: Reaper Dark Heaven Bones Review

So Reaper miniatures recently released a new line of models called Dark Heaven Bones.  To be sure these are not new models.  They are old models re-done in some sort of plastic. You can read all about it at the link above.  I won't rehash it here.

I had to give these models a try.  There were several that I've had my eye on for a while.  Now that they are going for $2 or so, I thought it would be a good time to get them.  But I also wanted to see if the claims Reaper made about these new plastics held up.  Let's list out those points here:

  • Inexpensive
  • Same detail as metal models
  • hard plastic
  • no need to prime before painting
  • easy conversions
I'll look at each of those except for the last point.  I didn't bother converting anything, though I might for one of the models in the future.  My test subject is Reaper's Gnoll Warrior, a long-time favorite of mine.  Right off the bat, $2.50 is a lot cheaper than the metal.  So check for point one.  The detail also looks great.  Check for point two.

I decided to get to work on the model.  I started slinging base paint right away.  Meet Bob Gnoll, (lead singer for Cannibal Corpse).

So Bob's base coats held nicely.  The paint did not rub off and the model got absolutely zero prep.  There weren't even noticeable mold lines.  However, the stark whiteness of the model made them hard to detect.  I found some after I painted.  Lesson learned

So the advertisement is for hard plastic.  Generally, that's true.  But that morning star Bob is twirling is quite flexible.  It goes back to shape, but it has me somewhat concerned.  After I put on the paint, might too much movement cause it to flake?  I'm not sure of that and won't know until more time has passed. I'm not concerned.  Lead is also flexible.

This brings me to a second point about plastics.  Unlike lead, you can't easily straighten out a bent part of your model.  Swords and spears are notorious for this problem.  While Bob himself is in tip top shape, some of his buddies (other Bones models I purchased) were not so lucky. Check it out:

Despite being a spokesman for Viagra, Bob Gnoll was not able to help this Orc with his sagging spear.
So that "orc" spear is going to be bent like that forever.  Unlike lead, you can't fix it.  By the way, I use the term Orc lightly.  These guys look like goblins or some sort of humanoid cave dweller to me.  I added these models to be part of Bob Gnoll's posse.  Besides, they were cheap as well.

So here's some more WIP shots of Bob Gnoll preparing for his big day.  First is Bob after getting all his flat colors, then one of him after a few washes.

You can now see the detail, which was excellent.  I have no complaints about this model and really thought it was a great deal.  The unprimed plastic took the paint wonderfully.  However, if you are not used to painting on a white base, there could be some surprises for you.  I learned just how transparent some of my colors were.  I don't know how these models will react to getting a coat of black primer.  But I'll test that on some other models.  I assume things will go fine.  Here's how Bob Gnoll looked when I was done with him.

So I think Reaper's claims are all verifiable according to my experience.  I just didn't do any conversions, but assume there would be no problems.  The model glued to the metal washer base with super glue.  So I wouldn't expect bonding worries.  Overall, I can recommend these models as very inexpensive but highly detailed models to add to your collection.  I will pick up additional models, and look forward to new releases.

In fact, I mentioned Bob Gnoll's posse.  Here's a small group I imagine might make a nicely themed war band.
Nothing like a big brute and a few bullies to round out the group.  I'll be working on these later and will post up the results.  All these models put me back about $15, which I consider a great value.

Finally, here's Bob Gnoll on his completed base.  He's ready to name names and dish out shame!

Monday, March 12, 2012


Here are the ashigaru I mentioned in my last post.  I was able to polish off these guys in no time.  They really were a lot simpler to paint, being that they have uniforms.  I knew the color scheme I wanted; so I just had to sling paint.  They still need some basing, which I'll get around to soon.

The color is accurate, though I used a flash to fill in the shadows thrown by the strong directional light from the open window.  It made the front guy look a little like Salvador Dali.  Hmmm...... I wonder.

That's it for samurai for a bit.  I just got in some of the Reaper Bones models.  I'll post up a review of that experience once I'm done painting a few of them.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Samurai in Kimonos

This week I turned my eye on my samurai miniatures for Legends of the Rising Sun.  I have a bunch of Perry Miniatures that have been sitting in my painting area for a while.  Since I didn't have much time for painting this week, I thought these would paint up quickly.

Legends of the Rising Sun is a game no one in my local group appears to have much interest in.  Maybe if I keep painting this stuff, it might catch on. I'd like to see how the game works on the table.

Here are unarmored samurai that I hope to use as ronin or bosses for a yakuza force.  I'll probably add in some other models that are less "awesome" than these guys, just regular bad guys with hand weapons.  For now, here are the Six Samurai (that's all you get in a box; the Perry Bros obviously didn't see the movie).

These Perry minis are without peer.  The faces on each of these guys is distinct and unique.  I loved the detail and the poses.  They are just excellent models all around.  I had considered going crazy with kimono designs.  But realizing that these models are going into a box to never be removed didn't provide much motivation for going all out. 

I also took three different sets of pictures and none of them really did any justice to the paint job.  The painting was much better than how they appear in these photos.  I guess too close up things don't look very smooth.

Next are my Ashigaru spearmen.  After that, I'll have to think about what's next.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Book Review: A Distant Mirror

A Distant Mirror:  The Calamitous 14th CenturyA Distant Mirror:  The Calamitous 14th Century by Barbara W. Tuchman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was a dense book, filled with engaging detail and information of life in the 14th Century. Tuchman states that people lived under such a different situation from modern times that their world seems alien.  After reading this book, I couldn't agree more.

While I've read some books on this period of history, none were as comprehensive as "A Distant Mirror." There's a lot of ground covered: politics, military, religion, society, and science to name the larger areas covered.  Tuchman weaves all this together in a fascinating narrative that makes the pages turn.  I will definitely read this one again.  One pass is hardly enough to absorb what was presented. 

If you have any interest in the 14th Century, The Hundred Years War, the Black Plague, or just knights in shining armor (which won't be so shinny after you read this book), then read "A Distant Mirror."  You will not find a better and more accessible book on the topic. 

View all my reviews

PS: While I know that this blog focuses on miniature gaming, I like to share my reviews of books that I post on Goodreads.  I'll only post up reviews that relate to gaming in some way.  For this book, I know a lot of gamers have an interest in the Middle Ages due to historical or fantasy games.  So I posted this review.  I won't be doing this for every book I read.  Just what seems to fit here.  If you have an opinion one way or the other, let me know in the comments.

Friday, March 2, 2012

More Fantasy

With no major projects lined up, I've been digging into my bag of unpainted Reaper miniatures.  I went a little crazy after discovering Song of Blades and Heroes last summer.  I picked up a lot of models for various warband ideas.  I'm just now getting to them.   Here's what I completed.

First up are my Centaurs.  Centaurs seem under-represented in most fantasy games, at least in skirmish games.  I saw that SBH had rules for them and thought they'd mix with my Elves.  As I consider things, I don't know if Elves and Centaurs are good allies.  But I imagine Centaurs to be neutral and they can fit in with anything.

These are all Reaper Warlord line models.  It really ticks me off that they do not scale together despite being the same company and line.

The middle guy is gigantic next to the other two.  Fortunately, as a non-human, all sorts of sizes can be justified.  I imagined him as the leader/elder/king of the little group.  So he's the biggest.  I even gave him gray streaked hair for extra nobility.  (I've been telling my wife that my gray streaks make me look distinguished.  Not sure she buys that.) 

I think Reaper makes another Centaur or two, and I'll pick those up someday. A word of warning, Reaper's Zodiac models are tiny.  I picked up Sagittarius as another Centaur and it couldn't even pass as a young one.

Here are a few others I picked up because I liked the models.  I'll start with the excellent Talarand model.

 He will make a good evil warrior or chaos warrior.  He was a ton of fun to paint and I've wanted this model for years.  I just decided to get him this time around.

Next are a few Dark Elves.  I painted them as Drow. I see so many pure white skinned Dark Elves that I miss the true Drow that they are modeled after.  If ever get any other Dark Elf models, they'll be painted this way.  First up is what I'm calling the "Queen's Champion."

I like the wiry but deadly look of this model.  Of course he wouldn't be much of a Queen's Champion without a queen.  So  here she is.

This model is an absolutely gorgeous sculpt.  Surprisingly it came as a three part model, which ticked me off.  I hate fiddling with small bits.  But the model has a nice flow to the design.  I enjoyed painting the queen and love her commanding "come here, slave" pose.

Reaper makes a lot of nice looking Drow models. I'll definitely pick up more and make a complete Drow warband. 

Even if I haven't played SBH in 4-5 months, I really enjoy creating and painting these warbands.  It's a lot of fun, and not a lot of models are required.  If you haven't checked out the game, it is an excellent fantasy skirmish game that is good for quick games with friends.  Go to Ganesha Games to check them out.

You'll also notice I started mounting models on round bases.  While I have almost all fantasy models on square bases, I've decided to mount everything on rounds from now on.  It just makes sense, since I will use them for skirmish games and not "army based" games.  While that means I'll have a mix of rounds and squares on the table, I'm not too worried. One day the rounds will outnumber the squares!