Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Gentlemen Adventurers for the Great Siege of Malta

Today I'm revisiting my 1565 Siege of Malta project. I started work on this collection last year and I thought it high time to add another unit to the defenders.

These hard-bitten arquebusiers represent a group of Christian 'Gentlemen Adventurers' who played a significant role in the Great Siege. These were essentially companies of Spanish and Italian mercenaries, drawn to the Siege through the winning combination of base avarice and religious zeal. They made up a good portion of the defenders, outnumbering the well known Knights of Malta several times over. I have an impassioned priest trying to keep their bodies and souls focused on killing Ottomans for the Faith. (The barbaric actions of both the Ottomans and the Christian powers in the Middle Sea is not really a great endorsement for organised religion - but I digress.)

These figures are from Wargames Foundry's El Dorado range, sculpted by the talented Mark Copplestone (his models seems to be an unintentional theme for me these past few weeks). Like the rest of my Malta stuff, these are based up individually as I envision the games will be more skirmish based.

Nonetheless, wanting players to be able to move their groups quickly, at least at the onset of the game, I had Byron cut up some sabot bases that I had I sketched up. I designed this one to indicate skirmishers, or missile troops, spread out in a loose formation. Players can have the command stand at the front or the rear to suit their aesthetic sensibilities.

A brave and righteous man of the cloth leading from the front...

...or one with wee less conviction.

As you can see, I'm amortising the use of my Vatican Enterprises walls with a cameo appearance here.

Out of their sabot bases and manning the walls.

Next: Something from WWII


Monday, December 28, 2020

Lily Hill - Pulp Adventuress

This is Lily Hill. She is a wilful dilettante, an adventuress, a raider of tombs, and a breaker of hearts.

Lily is a daughter of an oil magnate who desperately wanted a son to take over the family business. Wanting to be accepted by her father, Lily became a tomboy as a young girl, learning to shoot, ride, drive, fly and use very, very uncouth language. Nonetheless, she has grown into a beautiful young woman and has discovered she can use her feminine wiles as yet another tool in her ever growing set of of skills.

Lily has developed a deep fascination of ancient cultures, and so has undertaken several expeditions into uncharted jungles and mapless deserts, looking for artefacts and treasures of lost civilizations. 

These adventures often get Lily into tight scrapes, but she is more than up to the task of getting out of them (or making them even worse).

'Nazis... I hate these guys.'

Before I take on the 'Hall of Traps' I'm going to take a detour and make an addition to one of my many standing projects. Hopefully more on that soon.


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Four Cops and P.I. 'Ginger' Brede From Arkham City

A few years ago Sarah and I took in the Partizan show up in Newark. We met up with several Challengers including SidneyR, DaveD, MartinC and Tamsin. During our visit, Tamsin kindly gifted me a pack of Copplestone 'Beat Cops' for my pulp adventure collection. 

I've had these primed and sitting in my paint queue for several years. Yes, I hang my head with the shame of it. Before Covid we had a game where I really wanted some police figures and so I swore I'd get them done-up this Challenge.

Accordingly, here are several boys from Detachment B, Arkham City Police. I love Copplestone's models - just enough detail for character, but nothing overblown - they almost paint themselves.

I thought these cops needed an associate, so I painted up a private dick from Artizan Miniatures. I've named him Atticus Brede. The locals call him 'Ginger' due to his red hair. Ginger Brede was formally a sergeant in the Arkham City Police, but had a nervous breakdown after a midnight call to Miskatonic University saw him the only survivor from his detachment. Due of his insane rantings from that night he was 'offered' early retirement. Nonetheless, Ginger has chosen to honour his fallen comrades and continues to investigate the strange goings happening within his beloved city as a private investigator.

I like how slovenly Ginger is, with his untucked, partially buttoned shirt, and wearing too-large trousers, cinched up by a belt. Lots of character.

Thank you so much Tamsin, they were great fun to work on!


Thursday, December 24, 2020

Deep One Rising

I've decided to be crafty and enter the Chambers of Challenge via the Aquifer.

I could think of no better way to infiltrate this cold, watery portal than by using a creature accustomed to its inky depths, a beast not easily unsettled by unknown horrors, in fact a creature that is probably more frightening than most things it will encounter.

Behold!! Something rises from the deep! The water breaks and we see the Herald of Father Dagon, the Protector of Mother Hydra, the Great Deep One of Y'ha-nthlei !

This is a fun resin piece from the Strange Aeons range over at Uncle Mike's Miniatures. It's the companion to the full sized model which I did a few Challenges ago. These are such great figures with loads of character.

Just for a sense of scale, here's a shot of them with their Innsmouth relations. Yeah, not really a bunch of lookers, but they are very loyal, just not fond of strangers. 

Thanks for dropping in folks!

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Classic Pig-Faced Orc

This is my first entry to this year's Painting Challenge. As a nod to our dungeon theme, here is an 'Orc with Guisarme' (Orc1) from the venerable 1979 Minifig range, I believe sculpted by David Hutchins.

Yes, he's a real old school classic. This figure was originally from a group of twelve that I had ordered with our first set of D&D books and dice, directly from TSR out of Lake Geneva. 

When I finally received the figures I was so impatient to have them painted that I used my dad's nasty automotive paints (no primer!) and 'brushed' it on using some of my mom's sewing needles. Yes, very primitive, but you can't fault the pure enthusiasm of youth.

Here is the last remaining orc of that cohort. As you can see, almost all the paint has flaked off over the years. It took several hours of rummaging through containers of random bits to find the original hexagonal shield. I did snoopy's dance of joy when I found it.

A certain charm. The archivist in me was torn whether to paint this guy or just leave him be.  

As historical background, the original concept of pig-faced orcs is usually attributed to Dave Sutherland, who was one of the main illustrators for TSR in the mid to late 70s. His work on the cover of 'Swords & Spells' (1976) is probably the first imagining of the face de cochon orc.

That same year The Brothers Hildebrandt also produced a painting of the capture of Merry and Pippin by orcs. Who influenced who, I'm not sure, but the idea took hold for those formative years.

TSR continued the porcine depiction of orcs in their 1977  Basic Set and the 1st Edition of the AD&D Monster Manual (I can't look at this book without getting misty, recalling a younger me pondering the weighty questions of which monster had the nastiest stats, the best art, the most treasure, etc.)

Orcs in the AD&D Monster Manual

...and from the D&D Basic Set

While the style of orcs have changed over time, certainly with the dominance of Games Workshop and Peter Jackson's movies, good ole pig-faced Orcs are still 'canon' for nostalgic old school D&D geeks like me. I love 'em. Oink.

I decided to repaint this guy in a fairly natty armoured hauberk, with bronze for his helmet, shield edge and boot banding. 

In a nod to Games Workshop I went with classic orky green for this skin tone, though now I wish I had gone with a dark flesh instead. Maybe I'll try that with the next ones I do. 

Fans of these types of orcs will be happy to find that Otherworld Miniatures has an entire range of re-imagined snouted Orcs available. I hope to have a few of these done later this winter.