Sunday, February 23, 2014

Reaper Bones: Mangu Timur

This week's Monday Miniature is the first figure from the Bones I Dark Heroes set:  77148 Mangu Timur, the Fist of Khardullis.

The name was familiar, so I referred to the old Dark Heaven Apocalypse Rulebook and found that the character is an army commander of the Empire of Malvernis.  The description states that he was bred for the Black Legion and describes his "black armor and helm", which I used for the figure.  In addition, he wields Rhilkith, the Blade of Doom.

I had to use some trial-and-error when attempting to highlight the armor.  I haven't tried painting a glossy black metal surface, and I wound up toning down the highlighting with a black wash.  Unfortunately, the lighting in the pictures above makes it hard to see.

To add to the figure's ominous tone, I went with a crimson red for the shield and loincloth/buttcape/whatever-it's-called.  I used a dark brown for the fur liners at the shoulders and thighs, but the black wash was too much (I should have just used a dark brown wash instead).  The sword hilt and shield relief was painted gold, as were several rivets on the armor to provide some additional detail and interest on the body of the figure.  When deciding between gold or silver for the details, I noticed that the Empire of Malvernis's listed resources included gold, so that swayed my decision.

Overall, I'm fairly pleased with how the figure turned out.  I definitely need to work on my ability to highlight black surfaces, but I think the figure looks pretty good.  He definitely comes across as a bad guy (or a "dark hero", per the set name).

Next week's figure is 77152 Marsh Troll, so expect a lot of greens and browns!

- M:M

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Monday Miniatures: Army Week

For a change of pace, this week on Monday Miniatures is Army Week.  Instead of working to paint a given Bones figure, instead we were tasked with showing the progress made on our current Army from any game system.  So what do I do, since I'm not currently playing any army-based games?  I dug up several old (and new!) figures that needed work and got to it!

The keystone item I worked on is the ISW-69F Scout Ship from Bombshell Miniatures (now Airlock Games); you can see it partially assembled in the picture above.  This was a recent Kickstarter and a prelude to the Counterblast:  Adventure Battle Game (now on Kickstarter; go check it out if you like retro-futuristic pulp settings!).  I haven't worked with resin in a few years, but this model is high quality was was very easy to work with.  (Quick reminder:  make sure you wear a mask when sanding resin to avoid breathing in particulates [and on that note, wear a mask whenever you're sanding anything, for the same reason]).

In addition to the Scout Ship is the ship's Crew:  Skip Westmoreland, Smap, and Macbot.  These are some nice figures that I look forward to painting up!

Next were three Dwarf Halberdiers of Mid-Nor, from the old Rackham metal line for Confrontation.  I really like the Dwarves of Mid-Nor, as they're a bizarre take on "Chaos" or "Dark" Dwarves.  The figures often have bizarre disfigurations and scars, and the small canopic dolls provide an odd element of morbid whimsy.  The Rackham figures were always expensive (perhaps because they were based in Europe), but now the figures are even pricier since they're harder to find.

While looking for figures to clean up, I found an old Skink Champion from Citadel Miniatures, for Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy Battles.  I sold off almost all of my Lizardmen army a few years ago, but I liked the Skink Champion figure and decided to hang on to him.  Maybe one day he'll even get painted!

Also from Citadel Miniatures (but for GW's Necromunda) is a gang of Ratskin Renegades.  I really enjoyed Necromunda at the height of its popularity, for several reasons.  First, it wasn't nearly as expensive to get into as the "army-based" games, since you only needed a single gang (usually around 8-12 models would suffice).  Second, each character was an individual, giving the game a stronger roleplaying element as the characters could accumulate stat increases, new skills, and old battle wounds.  Third, the setting itself was appealing - gang fights in a dystopian urban sprawl, located in the rough and oldest parts of an ancient mega-city that had developed its own ecosystem.  I'd love to see a game similar to Necromunda get released by another company, and I'm hoping that Counterblast might have some similar elements (though I don't think it'll have the dystopian feel).  Incidentally, games like this are an excellent way to introduce someone to wargames using figures, since they aren't immediately faced with controlling an entire army and it's easier for them to work out tactics on the fly as they learn the game.

For the final figures, we have a couple of western models.  I think one is the Texas Ranger figure from Pinnacle's Deadlands line, but I have no idea who the guy in the poncho and sombrero might be (he's the figure farthest right in the picture).  The figure has the marking "MPU" (or "MDU") and what I think is "94" stamped on the bottom.  If anyone has any leads on this figure (manufacturer, line, etc.), please let me know!

That's it for this week.  Next week we return to the Bones Vampire set with 77148 Mangu Timur.

- M:M

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reaper Bones: Leisynn, Mercenary Mage

This week's Monday Miniatures is a return to the dark side!  From the Necromancers set of Bones I comes 77174 Leisynn, Mercenary Mage:

As you probably noticed, the background is different that previous entries.  I'm still experimenting with different lighting setups in an attempt to get better pictures with accurate colors.

When I first saw this figure, it immediately reminded me of the necromancer Kel'Thuzad from Warcraft III.  I'm sure more readers will probably be familiar with the character from World of Warcraft than the older RTS game, but this figure is very similar to how "pre-lich" Kel'Thuzad appeared.  I searched online and found some art which I liked; best of all, it avoided the typical black-heavy schemes for necromancers.

Most of the colors used on this figure were mixed to one degree, which is something I'm just now experimenting with.  The difficulty is knowing which colors to combine to get the effect you want.  For example, the base green used on the figure (Vallejo Game Color Scurvy Green) was too intense from the bottle, so I added some Cold Grey to try to desaturate it a little.  Due to the rough appearance of the robe, I added some brown to make his clothing look more worn and unkempt (he strikes me as the type of single-minded necromancer who doesn't pay attention to such trivialities).  Finally, to help the snake stand out a bit (it's an interesting feature, after all), I decided to go with an albino coloration to help offset it from the dark colors used on the figure.  Overall I'm very pleased with the results of the figure.  Perhaps once I have a higher level of skill, I'll go back and try to add writing or diagrams to the open book.

Next week on Caffeinforge is "Army Week", where participants will showcase their various armies/factions/warbands/what-have-you.  I'm not currently playing any army-based wargames, but I do have some older figures in my collection that I plan to share both on Caffeinforge and my blog.  Hopefully everyone will enjoy my blast from the past!

- M:M

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Reaper Bones: Townsfolk: Wench

Following on the heels of last week's Storm Giant is 77085 Townsfolk: Wench.  It was nice to have a bit easier of a miniature after the giant, as I was apparently not the only one to be in a time crunch on the larger figure!

As you can see it is a fairly straightforward miniature, but one which could be used many times as heroes stop in a tavern for a drink.  I chose a lighter green for the dress, as I thought this wench should have a matronly, nurturing disposition (she totally strikes me as the wife of the 77084 Townsfolk: Innskeeper).  The apron came out a little dirtier than I wanted, but after a long day of serving patrons I suppose it's understandable if it could use a good cleaning!

I made an attempt at glass mugs, though I'm not particularly pleased with how it turned out.  I think I should have used more of a "blue" tint for the glass effect, rather than keeping it in the same "warm" range that I used for the beer.  Still, I don't think it looks bad (and if nothing else, at least it's painted!).

Next week's figure is 77174 Leisynn, Mercenary Mage.

- M:M