Monday, March 25, 2024

'Beware of Greeks Bearing Gifts' - Trojan Horse and Mycenaeans

This past autumn I read a review of Emily Wilson's recent translation of 'The Illiad' and decided to pick it up. While it was a bit of a slog in spots, I still really enjoyed it. Wilson chose to translate Homer's prose using unrhymed iambic pentameter, rather than the traditional dactylic hexameter which is an academics way of saying that she translated Homer's epic not only for ease of reading, but for listening to as well. And it's true, I found her translation very easy to digest, and was struck by her descriptions of the battles and motivations of the characters. I think any reader will find that much of what the story describes still resonates today, which is pretty impressive for a tale that is almost 3,000 years old!

This prompted me to bring out my copy of Rosemary Sutcliff's 'Black Ships Before Troy' (wonderfully illustrated by Alan Lee), and re-watch both the 2004 film and the 2018 mini series. Of course all this Hellenic enthusiasm spilled over into my hobby as well, with me collecting miniatures and mulling over possible  gaming scenarios.

Ever since I was a kid I've been fascinated by the story of the Trojan Horse and Odysseus' ruse which saw the fall of Troy and the end of the 10-year siege. With this in mind, I started to sketch out a semi-cooperative game where the Horse has been brought into the city and the players, who control the Greeks hiding inside, emerge from the Horse to try to secure victory and gain fame under the gods' eyes. I envision that there will be various missions for them to complete and compete for. Things like 'Light the Signal Fire'; 'Open the Main Gate'; 'Secure Helen', 'Raid the Treasury'; etc. I see lots of characterful 'Screw Cards' with Gods intervening amongst the general mayhem. :)

Several of the sources say that 40 Greeks were hiding in the Horse, so I decided that each of the four players would control a hero along with nine companions.  The leading heroes would be Odysseus, Diomedes, Menelaus and Neoptolemus. In the rules I imagine that their companions will serve to assist in side task as well as serve as their bodyguards in critical fights. 

Now, first to find a suitable Horse. I did a good bit of investigating trying to source a suitable model for the Horse but it wasn't easy. In a bout of pique I even entertained making one out of foam core, but I knew that way lay strife and madness. Finally I came across a 3d design based on the 2004 movie set model. Perfect!

I quite like the Horse's rustic design as it actually looks like something that may have been built on a beach from repurposed ships planking, rope and smelted bronze.

The original 3d design was made for 54mm figures which was way too HUGE, especially as I wanted something that could store away in a single banker's box. After a bit of head scratching and calculating, I settled on 20mm as an overarching scale and resized the Horse accordingly for the final print.

The printed model was fairly easy to assemble and paint. I kept the Horse's side panels unglued just in case things go pear-shaped for the Greeks right from the get-go. :)

I quite like that the horse is at a scale that works with the figures. It actually looks like fourty crazy Greeks could be crammed within it. To finish the piece, I made a 'drop hatch' from plasticard and a rope from wire.

The Greek heroes are 3d designs from Wargames Atlantic. I quite like the models, but I have to say that the multipart assembly strained my patience after a while. What you see here is only half of the full Greek contingent of forty. I have most of the other models assembled, but I just couldn't get them across the finish line in time.  Nonetheless, this provides a taste of what the whole group will look like. 

Odysseus' 'Red Group'

Diomedes 'Green Group'

Sometimes I like a scale variation for my 'Big Men' in skirmish games, so I scaled the named Heroes in 28mm so they are noticeably larger than their 20mm companions. I also based them on octagon bases to help them stand out a little more.

I also did a test stand of Trojan opponents, all geared-up in their formidable Dendra plate armour. 

I imagine there will be a whole contingent of these 'Trojan Terminators' at the Palace, protecting Helen and the rest of the Royal family.  They should be a tough nut to crack for the assaulting Greeks.

There is still a lot to do, but this group hopefully breaks the duck and helps me keep up the momentum to complete the project.

- Curt

Sunday, March 24, 2024

10mm Nasty-Baddies for Warhammer Fantasy

Hi There!

I've been plugging away at these bad lads over the winter months and I thought I'd just post what was ready to go.

The vanguard of the my Great Herd.

First up are two herds of Beastmen Gors. As these are supposed to reflect massed formations, I put these fellas on deeper bases. I've popped in a few trees and a burned out cottage to give the bases a bit of variation amongst these horny (horned?) lads.

Supporting the Gor foot are two herds of Centigors. After painting these I thought I had ran out of skirmishing bases, which is why there are the two sizes shown here. Of course, I finished these only to find some proper sized bases tucked away in the Dork Shed. *facepalm* Whatever. I'll rebase the offending unit later... 

Next up are two units of Cairn Wraiths. These were a very simple paintjob (Contrast 'Aethermatic Blue' uppers and 'Plaguebearer Flesh' below the waist). Nonetheless I like the overall effect and am happy to have a few more of these to cause some ghostly mayhem on the tabletop. 

Finally are two units of Khorne Bloodletters to add to my Daemonic host. What to say, just a passel of nasty, pointy-spikey fellas. Again, a pretty straighforward paint recipe, but they suitably look the part when all based-up.

Now, let's switch gears and look to Troy...

Have a great day!


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Oni Shamans for 'Hametsu'


Here is another small addition to my fantasy Japanese collection for 'Hametsu' with two Oni shamans.

These are 3d prints from MyMiniFactory. I scaled them to 40mm to fit in with my other Oni baddies. They will provide some much need spell-casting for the Oni villains.

This rather elegant female shaman is from Lord of the Print. Unfortunately the facial detail was a bit soft, and I tried my best to help it along with the brush, but to no avail. Still, a lovely model to work on.

I will claim her for a trip on Sarah's Book Cart to the Giftshop where I'll be meeting up with Lady Sarah for a co-authored entry!

This hipster male oni shaman is from Kyoushuneko Miniatures.


- Curt

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Metis Fighters from the North-West Resistance

Many friends from away may not know that in 1885 Canada witnessed an armed struggle in Saskatchewan which saw government forces pitted against Indigenous and Metis communities in what was known the North-West Rebellion, or more recently the North-West Resistance (also referred to as the Riel Rebellion or Riel Resistance).

The conflict mainly stemmed from Indigenous and Metis people feeling that Canada was not protecting their rights, their land, and their survival as a distinct people. They felt that the onrush of white settlers threatened their lands and their traditional way of life. Conversely, the Canadian government was under pressure by recent American expansion to aggressively push west from Mantoba to better establish sovereignty across what is now know as Saskatchewan, Alberta and into British Columbia.

The political leader of the Metis people, Louis Riel, led the movement in protest. After receiving what was felt was an unsatisfactory response from the federal government, he decided to escalate to active armed resistance.

Louis Riel

He had a hard core allegiance of about 300 armed Métis, a smaller number of other Indigenous warriors, and at least one white man. Despite some notable early victories at Duck Lake, Fish Creek, and Cut Knife, the conflict was quashed when overwhelming government forces and a critical shortage of supplies brought about the Métis' defeat in the four-day Battle of Batoche (located in northern Saskatchewan where I was raised).

The Battle of Batoche includes several examples of some of the first live combat photography.

The Metis' remaining Indigenous allies were scattered. Several chiefs were captured, and some served prison time. Eight men were hanged in Canada's largest mass hanging, for murders performed outside the military conflict.

Batoche as it is seen today.

The military leader of the Metis was Gabriel Dumont, who was a tremendously charismatic and colourful character.

Dumont led his fellow Metis in a skilful though hopeless campaign against government forces, foiling their attempts in achieving a quick victory. After running out of ammunition he realized that all was lost. His parting words to his wife Madeleine were, “If the enemy captures you and blames you for my actions, you tell them that since the government couldn’t manage me, it wasn’t easy for you to do so.” Dumont eventually escaped to the United States where he travelled with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, being billed as a desperado and a crack shot. Dumont was later granted amnesty by the Government and he returned to Batoche where he died in 1906.

My mom was a Grade 4 teacher and almost every year she took her class to Batoche to tour the site and learn more about the conflict. As a small boy I travelled with her several times on these class excursions and have very fond memories of those school trips.

These four figures are from Empress Miniatures. While not actually designed as Metis (they are in fact Boers from their Anglo-Zulu range) their clothes and irregular demeanour fit close to my vision of Dumont's fighters.

As the Metis were civilians, I kept the colours irregular, and shaved away some military gear to give them a closer proximity to how they would have looked at the time.


- Curt

Monday, March 4, 2024

Harkonnen Ornithopter

Umm. Sire, I think we can confirm Wormsign...

Late Friday night Lady Sarah and I went to the late night premier of Dune II which we very much enjoyed. Wow, what a feast for the eyes and ears! Epic sci-fi at its best.

I've been quite taken by the design of the ornithopers over the past two movies. I love how menacingly instectoid they look. Without giving anything away, I can safely say that the their perceived lethality has nothing but increased in the recent film. Two words: Overwatch Fire - Yikes.

I found this great ornithopter model by Hardware Studios on MyMiniFactory and had it printing while we were at the movie (I know. Such. A. Geek.). Originally designed for 6mm, I nudged the scale up a touch to fit more in-line with my Legions Imperialis stuff (for a non STC pattern - clutches pearls!). 

I typically struggle with vehicles, but this little beast was fairly straightforward. I wanted to keep it pretty dark and basic with just panel highlighting and a touch of metallic here and there. I mounted it on a magnetic ball and gimbal flight stand so it can be tilted and posed (with the suitable ornithoptery noises). It was a fun model to work on.


- Curt

Saturday, March 2, 2024

Figures for 'Forbidden Psalm' and 'Kill. Sample. Process.'

Hey there!

Though I've been a little quiet of late I've not neglected my brushes entirely - like Bilbo with toast and butter, I'm just spread too thinly over too many projects (typical). 

While translating all this distraction into completed work has been a bit of a struggle, I do have a few things to show for my efforts with this small group of fantasy figures that I did up for a recent 'Forbidden Psalm' game, and a rather odd pantalooned chap for the sci-fi rules, 'Kill. Sample. Process.'

Morka Porkas are fairly common beasties in both 'Mork Borg' and 'Forbidden Psalm'. I find them kind of hilarious and thought I'd do up a few for a recent game with the guys.

While they are rather ferocious, they can be tamed, but at a steep price. A 'lost limb condition' typically sets you up with one of these cuddly fellas as a steed. Most find it's just easier to simply climb a tall tree and let them rumble past. 3d prints from Tytan Troll Miniatures.

This big chap is 'The Feasting Wendigo', another wandering horror for 'Forbidden Psalm'. 

The original 50mm print was a little small for my tastes, so I have him here as a much more imposing 85mm. Design from Yasashi Kyojin Studio.

Finally, here is a super characterful mini from Knucklebone Miniatures. He'll be a member of my crew for 'Kill. Sample. Process.' which is the sci-fi version of 'Forbidden Psalm'. His cube head cracks me up and I really like the various textures and surfaces of his clothes, cybernetics and gear. Very fun to paint.

That being said, he's been sitting on my hobby desk for the past few months while I pondered on how to paint him. Inspiration finally came to me at work the other day when I saw a colour test pattern on a video editing machine. Bingo. 

I'm calling him 'NoSignal'.