Sunday, May 17, 2015

Entry #5 to the 9th Lead Painters' League - 'Attack of the Clockwork Monkeys'

For something a little off the beaten path I decided to do up this whacky group of clockwork monkeys for my 5th entry to the Lead Painters' League.

These 28mm figures are from Westfalia Miniatures' new steampunk range. I found the castings to be excellent, requiring almost no prep, essentially ready for paint straight out of the packaging.  A delight to work with.

Their fezzes crack me up. I dunno what it is, but there is nothing like a jaunty fez for adding that  je ne c'est quoi to a villain. 

Unfortunately these little fellas didn't really gain much favour with the LPL voters, but no matter, I still had a ball working on them. 

I have another four or five to get done and then they'll be ready to cause clockwork mayhem on the tabletop.

Thanks for stopping for a visit everyone!

Next Up: Bolshevik Infantry from the Russian Civil War

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Entry #4 to the 9th Lead Painters' League: 'Berne Baby Berne' - Swiss Mercenaries, 1476

My friend Peter and I were both bitten by the Italian Wars bug this past winter and so agreed to work together to get some miniatures done for the tabletop. 

For my first unit I thought I'd cut my teeth with some Swiss mercenaries as I reason that they could be used for any of the bewildering number of factions that fought during the period.

These figures represent halberdiers from the Swiss canton of Berne.

All of these figures are Perry metals from their rather vaguely titled 'European Armies' range. These are fantastic models with loads of animation and character. That being said, they did require a fair bit of prep work to get ready for painting (something I have less patience with especially when you pay a premium for the castings themselves and other manufacturers are now providing products that are virtually pristine out of the packaging). 

I decided to go with Berne for no other reason than I had this great pot of orange paint I wanted to try out and I knew the colour featured prominently in that canton's banners. Yup, rather lame, I know.

I chose to arm these guys with a variety of halberds and pole arms as I knew I'll probably use the boxed set of Perry plastics for the my future pike-armed figures. 

I based the models in groups of three on 40mm rounds as I wanted the ability to create quasi mini vignettes, and it also allows me to use them for a variety of rules systems depending on how I decide to mob them up.

For the unit's banner I scanned one provided in the Perry boxed set, printed it off on decent quality cotton paper, molded it to shape using diluted white glue and then repainted it using the same tones I used for the figures.

I often use this approach with my 'homemade' flags as I find that if the colour medium of the flag is the same as the figures (i.e. paint as opposed to laser-printed ink) then they somehow work better together. This is the same reason why I always paint my groundwork instead of leaving it as raw bits of stone, sand and talus. It's weird but it oddly jives with my whacky sensibilities.

I'll add a few more stands to beef up this unit and then try a group of pike and perhaps some Landschneckts. 

Thanks for dropping by!

Next up: Something both Simian and Steampunk...

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Entry #3 to the 9th Lead Painter's League - 'Goblins of 1979'

For my third entry to the Painters' League I decided to paint up a set of very old castings that I found in a dark corner of my Lead Shed.

These figures are 25mm Ral Partha Goblins and Great Goblins sculpted by the talented Tom Meier, circa 1979. Though perhaps fairly average sculpts by today's standards, one has to keep in mind that these models were produced over 35 years ago. 

I remember getting these as a youngster for our D&D campaign and being completely blown away by how dynamic and very characterful they were - there was really nothing like them on the market at the time and I think they still hold up rather well.

I was in a bit of a flap to get these done for the LPL deadline and frankly it shows. Nonetheless, I'm content with how they turned out.

I originally picked up quite a few of these in order to play Gary Gygax's 'Chainmail', a set of miniature rules which I remember to being impenetrable at the time, but that recollection may speak more to me being an inexperienced and impatient youth rather than to the rules themselves.

Thanks for joining me on my trip down memory lane - back when I had far less pocket money but much more hair!

Next up: Italian Wars!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Entry #2 to the 9th Lead Painters' League - 1812 Retreat: French and Germans

For my past week's entry to the LPL I decided to add a few more figures to my 1812 Retreat collection. Here is a group of French along with a few of their unfortunate German allies.

Westphalian Hussar, elite company.

French Carabiniere.

French voltigeur.

Wurttemberg infantryman.

...and a French line infantryman.

These five castings are all from the fabulous range of 28mm figures depicting the French retreat from Moscow from Perry Miniatures. Highly recommended.

As for this week's entry, I have a group of very old school 1970s era orcs and goblins from Ral Partha that I excavated from the Lead Shed. If you have the time please drop by the Lead Painters' League to see all the submissions from the participants of the League.

Have a great week folks!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Entry #1 to the 9th Lead Painters' League - 'You want it? Come, pick it up.' Bosworth 1485

'You want it? Come, pick it up.'  Bosworth 1485
Now that my administrative duties for the Painting Challenge are more or less wrapped up I can get back to some of my neglected projects.

One event that helps me get back into gear is the Lead Painters' League, an annual event hosted over at The Lead Adventure Forum. As in previous years, this season will be made up of 10 matched submissions, one per week, with extra points being awarded for new work, specific themes, etc. The participants are paired off for duels utilizing a random draw. 

To be perfectly honest I have some issues with the format of the League (the single picture limit, the over-use of backgrounds which distract attention from the figures, the feeling that one's competing amongst a clique, etc.) but it always proves to be a nice distraction and gets me back in that saddle with my own work. 

Anyway, the opening theme of this year's League was 'armour' and so, as a nod to Richard III's recent reinterment, I decided to enter some Wars of the Roses figures as a Bosworth vignette

I chose to go with figures from the Perry's excellent Wars of the Roses plastic infantry set. I wanted to do something which depicted Richard after his all-or-nothing charge against Henry and his retainers, where he is ultimately unhorsed and has become surrounded by a tightening ring of Lancastrians. For inspiration, I drew upon Graham Turner's evocative illustrations which he did for the Osprey title on Bosworth.

The envisioned a scene where Richard has finally run his course, where he is separated from his retinue,  knowing all is lost, but he nonetheless fights on - choosing to go down swinging. As it turns out this 'hopeless stand' theme conformed to the match results as these lads were soundly trounced when exhibited last week. Life indeed does follow 'art'.  ;)

I selected parts from the plastic set that, with a bit of cutting, repositioning and the strategic use of sculpting putty, would depict Richard pointing to his fallen crown (still attached to his sallet helm), challenging his enemies to come forward and take it.

In order to aid players in keeping track of who is who on the tabletop I've simply placed red or white roses on the bases, depending on the allegiance of the figure.  

Richard's heraldry is a bit impressionistic but serves well enough.

While these are my first attempts at some Wars of the Roses figures  I do have a few more waiting in the wings, namely some Welsh retinue archers. I also wanted to do a figure conversion of Richard's ill-fated banner bearer, Sir Percival Thirlwall, but the figure I wanted to use as a basis did not arrive in time so I was forced to submit without him. I'll do a follow-up of these figures in a later post.

This weeks round (the second of the 10-round series) is now up over at The Lead Painters' League. For my part, I've submitted some more figures for my 1812 Winter Retreat collection - it's somehow easier to work on these when it's not 20 below zero, go figure.

Please drop over to the League and check out the work by all the participants. I'll be keeping a weekly update on my progress through the League so come back to chart my march of folly.

Thanks for visiting!