A Few Dwarfs

Here are a few Dwarfs that Martine painted.  It’s a fine job for an 8 year old just learning to paint.  They’re comparable quality to some I bought already painted at Legions.  It was a good lesson in dry brushing.  The fact that she got them done in one night is a bonus.

Eventually I’ll base them for Hordes of the Things.  Maybe she’ll want to paint the rest of the army as well.

GW Dwarfs painted by Martine

Endor Bunker

I needed a stronghold for my Battle of Endor matched pair of armies for Hordes of the Things, so I made the obvious choice: the bunker that the rebels assaulted and then defended from an Imperial counterattack.  With a bit of imagination it’s usable by both sides, and it’s pretty much the only thing attached to the surface of Endor that isn’t a tree.

Here’s a Work in Progress shot showing the basic construction.  The main building is cut on the band saw from white foam.  I cut three pieces at the right angles, and glued them back together.  The roof is two pieces of foam core, and it’s on a masonite base.

Next, I cut the door and vent-like shapes out of cardstock and glued them to the foam.  On the roof I added some details made of some washers and bases I had lying around.

I measured a toy playset to get the dimensions of this, which may have been a bit of a mistake.  The actual bunker had side walls that angled back into the hillside instead of a 90 degree angle.  So, this isn’t perfect, but it’s easier to transport.

Also of note: stacking heavy books on foam squishes it.  Who knew.  It’s a bit lopsided because of this, but the more obvious defects problems where the cardstock details buckled.

DBA III/78: Early Russians; German Knights

German knights for III/78: Early Russians; Essex Miniatures, 15mm

When I first painted my Early Russian DBA army, I didn’t finish the knight element.  This is a “3/6Kn” which represents German knights fighting for the Russians.  3Kn would be a bit earlier, and 6Kn a bit later.

I came so very close to basing a 6Kn element, but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it, when 2x3Kn elements are so much more useful.

For heraldry or shield designs, I looked in the Zurich Roll for some authentic German heraldic designs that caught my eye as looking at home in the East.  They are totally anachronistic for knights of this period; I’d hardly expect heraldry on kite shields.  And I have no evidence that these particular people were ever in Russia, let alone in the 12-13th century.

However, they look really good and fit with the rest of the Russian army, which are my main goals.

These are Essex figures from the III/78 army pack.

DBA 2.2+: Playtest Animations

JM and I have been playing some play-by-email games using the DBA 2.2+ rules modifications found on the WADBAG site.  The play by e-mail board is available on the Fanaticus forums and JM’s blog.  It’s intended for use with Inkscape, a free, open-source vector drawing application.

Since each game results in a series of .svg files representing each turn, it’s easy to automatically turn them into an animation.  I know that some people don’t prefer to see the turns go by so quickly without being able to pause the animation to look at the details, but I just think they look cool.  They also give an overall feel of the pace and flow of a battle, without diving down into the individual combats.

Here are the two animations I’ve done so far.  Click on the thumbnails to view the animated full scale versions.

Georgians (bottom) vs Konstantinian Byzantines (top).
Tibetans (bottom) vs. Hindu Indian c, other (top).

DBA Army IV/61: Italian Condotta

Here is my most recently completed DBA army: Italian Condotta, IV/61.

The army arrayed: DBA IV/61: Italian Condotta. Mirliton Figures.

The figures are Mirliton, 15mm. Most are from the DBA army box, but I supplemented this with extra packs for dismounted knights and gunners. The flags are also from Mirliton.

Condotta Knight general and four other knights.

25 stands for only one army, and I still don’t have the 3Bd and 4Ax stands done? Crazy talk.

JM and I decided the halberdiers provided by Mirliton weren’t appropriate for the Bd/Ax, so we bought sword-and-buckler men by Essex.  However, they arrived after most of the rest of my figures were painted, so I haven’t started them yet.

I’ve painted this army for the Two Davids campaign event at Cold Wars 2012: Condotta Chaos. I’ll be playing Verona in a series of battles stretching across Italy and beyond.  The red flag with white cross is Verona’s (among others), and the rest are Condotta banners.

Light Horse: mounted crossbows and light cavalry. 

The DBA army list has many options: 1x3Kn (Gen), 4x3Kn, 1x2LH, 2x8Cb or 2Ps, 2x4Sp or 4Pk, 1x4Cb or 4Ax or 3Bd or 2LH, 1x2Ps or Art.  In addition, the campaign allows all knights to dismount, requiring another 5x4Bd.   But there’s also a DBA-RRR event at Cold Wars, which I didn’t have a good army for, so I picked up 2x4Sh for that as well.

These are very nice figures, but they did require a bit more cleaning than I’m used to doing.  Some of the crossbowmen and hand gunners ended up with unsightly blemishes on their faces, but I’ll just blame the rats.

Pavisiers.

I chose red and white or red and yellow for militia forces, and green and yellow for Condotta troops (if they needed any color at all).  The army has color, but it doesn’t dominate over the neutral colored armor.  I much prefer the look of this period over earlier gaudy tabards and caparisons.

Before the campaign was announced, I knew nothing about the Condotta, and wasn’t very interested in the period. The first thing that triggered my interest was an opportunity to play with the new Pavisier rules the Davids came up with.  In DBA 2.2, these are treated identically to other bows, so it never seemed worth painting 6-8 figures when 3-4 would do.  But with different rules, I’d have to paint the larger element to try the rules, so why not now?

Condotta Artillery, manned by Curly, Larry, and Moe.

In playtesting play by e-mail games, I have enjoyed Pavisiers.  Their combat factors and combat results make them very different than other bows.  They’re more resilient in close combat, and actively want to close the ground when in a shoot out with ordinary bows.  They are also quite large and a bit cumbersome: they advance slowly if they’ve been forced to recoil in a previous combat.

Crossbowmen and gunners.

As usual, as I started to learn more about the Condotta in order to paint them, I became more interested in them. During the 14-16th centuries, Italy was in a very interesting military situation.  They disarmed the civilian population to reduce violence, and instead, every city-state hired its own mercenary army to supplement the local militias.  “Condotta” means “contract,” and refers to the complex binding contracts these mercenary forces engaged in when providing services.

Armies are expensive to hire and require a lot of food to maintain.  They also have a tendency to bother the local population.  All of the economic and social incentives at the time pushed Lords to keep their armies on campaign in enemy territory, so they ate the enemy’s food and fathered the enemy’s children.  This made for a long period of fighting between the Italian city states.

Psiloi: gunners and archers.

The colors aren’t based on any particular historical evidence, but choosing colors ahead of time was crucial to allowing me to finish the project at all.  Paints are all my standard selection: primarily Vallejo, with some GW for metals and Snakebite Leather, along with a few craft paints.

I’m glad I’ve finished with this army.  It was fun to paint, but the sense of  accomplishment that comes from completing a project definitely helps start the next one.  At this point, all the rest of my armies look small and easy, so I’m hoping to tackle Post-Mongol Samurai without butchering them too badly.

Italian Militia Pikes

Italian Militia Spears
Condotta Dismounted Knights (Blades)

DBA v2.2+ Movement Gauges

Here are the movement gauges I had made in support of the DBA 2.2+ rules effort.  They were custom laser cut by Laser Lab Studio in Pittsburgh for a very reasonable rate.

In the upper left is transparent acrylic, 1/16″ thick.  The engraving on the surface is much more visible in real life, but it can be emphasized by applying a very thin wash of acrylic paint and then wiping off the excess.  This is what I did for the tool in the lower left, which is black 1/16″ acrylic.

On the right is a 1/8″ plywood tool.  The engraving is much more visible, and this tool has the improved cutout shape to fit around some figures more easily.

DBA v2.2+ movement gauges

DBA Army III/78: Early Russians

Here is my most recently completed DBA army: Early Russians, III/78.  This is an Essex army pack. I haven’t finished the Knight option yet, and may not paint the Horde at all.

Essex Early Russians: 3Cv(gen), 3Cv

Inspiration for shield patterns and clothing colors came primarily from Osprey titles and some creativity.  My goal was to use a variety of bold colors without looking too bright or gaudy.  I’ve also tried to keep trying new colors instead of getting stuck in a rut.

Essex Early Russians: 2x3Cv

The figures are quite nice. Not all Essex figures are sculpted very well, but these have nice sculpting and a good variety of poses.

Essex Early Russians: 3Cv

Unfortunately, there is a bit of hazing from CA glue on the horses from gluing the grass onto the bases.  This has cleared up a bit after I took the pictures, so I don’t think it’ll be a problem in the long run.

Essex Early Russians: 2x4Sp
Essex Early Russians: 2x2Ps
Essex Early Russians: 2x2LH
Essex Early Russians: 3Ax

Hordes of the Things army: Die in a Fire

David Kuijt and Dave Schlanger threw down the gauntlet before Fall-In: Paint up 48 points of Hordes of the Things in time for Cold Wars, and they’ll have a matched enemy to fight against it. 

Well, I already had a bunch of prepainted D&D fire elemental (and related) figures I planned to build into a HOTT army, so why not do that?  At Cold Wars we played a 72 point Fire vs. Ice battle, and lost, so this project has turned into a grudge match.

Here is the army so far.  I may augment it if I get additional figures for Christmas, which would push it up to 72 points.

The bases are laser cut masonite, with chunks of broken plaster attached using paintable transparent silicone caulk. I built up enough caulk to swirl into a lava texture, and placed the rocks so that on each base, the miniatures would be appropriately either standing on a rock or emerging from the lava.

The lava colors were painted starting with white, then yellow, wet brushed orange and dark orange, and then over the black I applied dark red and grey on top.  Fire is brighter where it’s hotter, in the center, and darker at the edges where it’s cooler, so you end up using the reverse order for shading.  Adding a lighter color over the black can make it lit from below in some places.

The only concern I have about this army is its durability.  The figures mounted on lava are likely to pull the paint off and break off, because I didn’t strengthen the plaster with anything before I painted it.  I’ll just bring lots of superglue and touch them up when I’m finished.

In the center is a Fire Titan (behemoth).  On the right, a magician, and on the left is an Immoleth, which I’ll use either as a God or deep warband (using WADBAG’s excellent variant rules for deep spear and deep warband).

All of the figures shown here are D&D miniatures, except for the Mage Knight figures shown here and the dragon below. There would be a lot more army potential in MK figures if more of them were as good as these.  On the left and right are blades and in the center is an aerial hero.  It’s not very visible from this perspective, but the flame guys on the left are flaming skeletons.

The fire elementals on the left are warbands, and the Azer Fighters and Raiders on the right are blades.  Some of the Azers are repaints of ther crappy model, done to match the not-crappy Azer.

The Magmins on the left and right are lurkers.  The Flame Salamander will be either a beast or a deep warband (they have the same depth).  

 Here are two fliers on the ends, and either a flier or an aerial hero in the center.  As you can see, when I originally purchased my figures I didn’t consider how I was going to base them, so I have a few mismatched bases that I don’t prefer.  Clearly it means I just need more figures…

In the center is the impetus for building this army in the first place: a phoenix I bought at Michael’s crafts.  It’ll be a dragon in HOTT.  On the ends are large flame elementals, deep warbands.

Miniatures: D&D Characters

I’m planning to start playing some D&D 4E with my daughter, her friend, and his dad. I’ve sent them all through the new red box “build a character” section, but we haven’t gotten all four of us in the same place at the same time to actually play a session.

It’s been so long, I don’t remember any of the characters’ names, but I’ve had a chance to paint figures for all of us.

Daniel chose a female Halfling cleric.  Clerics with swords? Blasphemy!  This is Reaper Miniatures Gnome, because it’s virtually impossible to find a halfling cleric figure.  She’s too tall compared to the elf, but she’ll do.

This is a Reaper miniatures human thief I painted years ago.  I just rebased it on a square base and modelled some more stones for use with the D&D square grid.  This is Levi’s character.

Martine chose an Elf wizard, wearing maroon (just like House Gryffindor).  This is the Celeborn figure from Mithril Miniatures.  Not exactly a level 1 wizard, but he’s wearing mundane red, and we’re pretending that scepter is a wand.  I like the way the green gems turned out.

Mung smash!  Raah!  I “rolled” up a fighter to beat stuff up.  This is a Mithril Miniatures Easterling. I’ll play Mung when no one else is around, but I expect we might invite another friend over once and a while.  All theoretically, of course.