Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reaper Bones: Big, Mean, and Green

A few weeks ago I celebrated the arrival of my Reaper Bones models. I wanted to dive right in and decided that beginning with the Orcs from the Orcapocalypse box would be the way to go. These guys are big and need 40mm bases to fit them.  There's a perfect level of detail on them too, neither too little nor too much. I figured painting them would not take too long. I didn't want to bog down in a big project, seeing how I'm in the middle of working on my 15mm WW2 Pacific forces.

Here they are. Twenty-six Orcs, five of each type and one leader. They make the perfect sized warband. I like how these models turned out.

I'll give some details of each troop type below. Working with these models was a breeze. The weapons on many of them were bent, especially the spears. I just dipped them in hot water, then cooled them in ice water, and they reset. Quite easy to fix. I primed them black, just because of the colors I wanted to use. Bones don't need primer. Orcish color schemes are easy, nothing too bright and make them look dirty. 

Reaper models are some of the best out there. My only complaint is they don't make too many "troop" type of models. They all tend to be heroes or individual models. Their Warlord line sort of addresses this, but the troops are usually just three model poses. In the case of my Orcs, there are five different types, but all of the same pose.  I guess I can't complain, since all you see here was just $10!

Here are the different troop types, starting with the leader.

He did not come as part of "Orcapocalypse" but as part of the regular Vampire level box. He was a natural for a leader model. Below are his troops: soldiers, spearmen, berserkers, bowmen, and great weapons.

Once Reaper puts these up for sale I'll probably buy a few more of each type so I can add variety to the force. What I really should've done was add another box of 25 during the Kickstarter!

The Bones I have remaining will give this group all sorts of cool allies, from ogres and trolls, to gnolls and bugbears and other monsters. Now these guys need some Dwarfs or Elves to beat on!

Friday, July 12, 2013

WW2 in 15mm: Japanese Rifle Platoon

These guys took longer than I expected to complete, but they're done now. I've polished off a full rifle platoon for the Japanese, including a large HQ selection and some supporting units.

Here's everything I've got painted so far.

You'll have to click on the picture to see the detail.  All told I've got  3 x 13 man rifle squads, each with a leader and LMG. I've got 3 x 2 man LMG teams, 2 x 3 man MMG teams, five SMG models, a radio / FO team, and a bunch of leader models.

I just need to add in supporting units and I'm done. My scenario book calls for several tanks and a few different IG / AT guns, along with a few other specialized units. The bulk, however, is complete.

Here's a look at the MG teams.
I'm using the same LMG models with a third crewman to represent MMGs. I have only found LMG and HMG models for Japanese in 15mm, and on the table it makes no difference to me what the models actually are for these units. Some of the LMG models are stacked either in sandbags or rocks, I couldn't tell. I chose to paint them as rocks.

The SMG models, shown in the left of this picture, suck. The guns are so short that they don't look like anything. The models are poorly cast, and flash and shit ruin them completely. Since my scenario book calls for these Type 100 SMG guns, I painted them.  Ugh.  The radio team next to them is part of the Leader pack for the Old Glory Command Decision line.

My favorite pack of all the Old Glory Japanese models was the leader pack. It's filled with a lot of characterful models and good options. It's probably the best of their leader packs that I've seen.  Below is a shot of the leader models I painted for the HQ. Historically platoon HQs were of variable size, but generally just two men. The scenario book calls for larger HQ teams, so I added more models.

The flag bearer only comes with a pole. You have to make your own flag. I used a thin sheet of aluminum I got from Dick Blick. I have this on-hand exactly for the purpose of making flags. The sheets are small and thin enough to cut with scissors. I rolled it around the pole, primed it, then drew my circle on it. After painting the flag, I folded it into a billowing pattern and the aluminum held nicely. It looks more like a flag than if I did something made from paper.

Amazingly, that's not white paint on the flag either. I used a very creamy yellow paint, but next to the models it looks quite white. Overall, I liked the way it came out.

So now I've got packs of US Marines waiting to get painted  so they can kill these guys. I'm tired of military models again, so I'll be jumping into my Reaper Bones collection. I already painted one tonight, and it looks pretty good.  I'm excited to get working on them, but I'll return to the Marines soon.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Reaper Bones Have Arrived. Fire Up the Paint Brushes!

Last year I participated in the Reaper Bones Kickstarter. I think their miniatures line is awesome, and this Kickstarter was a great way for me to boost my collection for the lowest cost. So I took the plunge, pledged for the "Vampire Level" and added on a bunch of extras. The actual cost of these figures is less than a dollar each!  Given they are every bit as good as the metal models, my only regret is not buying more options.

I've been watching the slow progress of my package traveling from Texas to my home, and I knew it was arriving today. As soon as I got it, I busted open the package like a kid on Christmas morning. Here's what I found inside.

You're looking at my addons, which were mostly large multiple part models, a box of 30 Orcs for the "Orcapocalypse" addon, and two boxes of new Reaper paints. Obviously, the Vampire package box is right there. Already, it looks like a lot to work on, but once I popped open the Vampire package, I was suitably impressed.

The box was stuffed with models. There were six large bags, each with individually wrapped models. So I dumped these out and sat stunned for a while. Then I started snipping the bags to get at the models inside.  Here's my progress after opening the first bag.
That's already a fair amount of stuff, and there were five more bags like this to work through. I was beginning to wonder what I got myself into with this! Will I ever paint all these? As I worked through the bags and looked over these models, I knew that sooner or later I'd paint them all. It may be 2020 before that happens, but I'll do it.

I kept snipping and it took me nearly 90 minutes to get through all of these. Of course, I was studying the models as I went. My cat supervised for quality control.

Once I had them out, I was wondering how I'd make sense of this mess. While the models had been grouped by theme into bags, they were still "free floating" in their own wrappers. So once you dumped them out of the bag, organization was gone. Still it was an awesome sight to see these models piled up.

Since I'll probably work on models as needed or as I feel like it, I wanted a way to store them and be able to retrieve them without sorting through everything I had. The Orcs were easiest; they stayed in their special box. The rest of the models I piled into groups like "Monsters", "Evil", "Good", etc. After that I put them in bags and labeled them. So now when I want to find a good guy to paint, I only have to look through the 30 or so models in the "good bag" rather than everything.

Here they are "bagged and tagged." Everything went back into the Vampire box without any trouble.

My overall impression is very good. The models have some mold lines around them, but these can be shaved back. I will have to straighten out a lot of the pieces. I've seen videos of people fixing that issue in seconds with hot water, so I'm not worried. Some models that I hadn't really been expecting much from surprised me at how good they look.  One or two were disappointing to see up close. The translucent models are strange. Some look awesome and others are undecipherable. I think they'll need some level of paint to bring them out. I'll wait for some one else to devise a solution and copy it!

I think the Orcs are on my priority list right now. I'll have thirty of them, plus a leader and some other "big monster" choices like ogres and ettins to reinforce them. I also got a bunch of goblins to boot. It will be nice to have non-GW orcs and goblins to use in games. Of course, with so much to chose from, I reserve the right to change my mind at a moment's notice.