This blog is about the world of gaming miniatures, as seen from my perspective. I've been collecting and painting for over 30 years now, and while my primary focus is miniatures for D&D, I also enjoy many other games that use minis, so we'll be covering those as well. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

My Son Paints Better Than I Do

My older son (9 going on 15) is an aspiring miniature painter, whose work I have previously shown here. Mr. Frodo, as he prefers to be called, loves to paint both metal fantasy minis as well as a growing collection of plastic GW minis ranging from Space Marines, Lizardmen, and Undead. He seems hell-bent on becoming a better painter than his old man, and will often ask me "Am I a better painter than you yet?" after finishing his latest project.

How do I answer that? Very carefully, of course (I can hear you fellow parents laughing). I tell him that he is an excellent painter, and that he is a better painter at his age than I was when I was around 10 or 12, and if he keeps practicing and learning, of course he'll be a better painter than me one day. He needs to take better care of his brushes, but I digress.

When I started painting, I had no teacher, no guides, no information, and not much to compare my work to, except for perhaps ads and pictures from Dragon magazine and the like. Frodo is lucky in the sense that he has me hanging around to show him the painting ropes. So far we've been trying to stick with the basics such as thinning your paints, brush control, basic coverage, washes, and drybrushing. I'll leave concepts such as color theory and blending for when he's a bit older.

Frodo recently finished up painting Reaper's Agramon the Pit Fiend. He went with the traditional red color scheme, augmented by a liberal wash of Baal Red and some orange highlights. I took some pics of Agramon and one of my oldest minis, Ral Partha's 01-003 Balrog, for a good old side-by-side comparison:

The results are obvious. Agramon's simple paint scheme is brought to life by the combination of washing & highlighting. My balrog looks downright one-dimensional and crude in comparison.

The one thing I hope Frodo does not pick up from me is my tendency to leave projects unfinished, along with a nasty case of procrastination.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

eBay Plug: Chaos Dwarf Juggernaut

"Chaos Dwarf Juggernaut - the ultimate driving machine."

I've gone ahead and listed my Chaos Dwarf Juggernaut on eBay. Starting bid is a mere .99 cents and there is NO RESERVE on this bad boy. Free shipping in the US and a flat fee of $40 for international shipping. If you bid on this, thank you and good luck!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

They Might Be (Painted) Giants

Back in mid-December, I was trying to finish up a batch of giants for our D&D session. I nearly finished three minis, close enough to where I felt OK bringing them to the session. Fast-forward three months to mid-March, and I finally made the time to finish those three plus two more for our latest D&D gathering.

Ral Partha Hill Giant 01-121Ral Partha Hill Giant 01-121

This is a Ral Partha Hill Giant, 01-121. Classic Tom Meier style, for sure. I painted mine up in a patchwork of blue, green, and yellow - my homage to the classic Citadel/Marauder giant. He is typically depicted on box art as wearing what looks like clothes made from a raid on the local jousting tournament or town fair. But then again, who makes giant bolts of cloth for giant clothing???

Ral Partha Stone Giant 11-403Ral Partha Stone Giant 11-403

Next up is a Ral Partha Stone Giant, 11-403. I toned down the highlights on his tunic compared to the Grenadier Stone Giant who follows. I'm going to need to hit the blade of his axe with some more gloss I think - it is supposed to look like polished obsidian, but the dullcoat nullified that.

Grenadier Stone Giant 3502Grenadier Stone Giant 3502

And here is his Grenadier brother from the Giant's Club line, 3502. This one is taller and bulkier than 11-403, but every tribe needs a chief, right? I think this is a great sculpt. To me, the Giant's Club giants are probably Grenadier's best giants, right up there with RP as far as I'm concerned. You can see how I went a little too heavy on highlighting his tunic, but it still looks good enough for the tabletop.

Grenadier Forest Giant 3504Grenadier Forest Giant 3504Grenadier Forest Giant 3504

Staying with the Giant's Club theme, this is Forest Giant, 3504. I'm glad his spear was cast separately, otherwise I don't know how I would have finished the right side of his face! Lots of personality on this guy, from his head to the little mushrooms growing next to the log he's standing on. The only thing I didn't like was his feet. I can't tell if it's just not a clean casting, or if it the way his feet were sculpted, but there's not a lot of definition there. Oh well, now I'm just nitpicking.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my latest efforts. My painting is getting better, but there's still a lot of room for improvement. That could happen if I keep making time to paint on a more regular basis, instead of painting here and there in mad flurries, usually right before our D&D sessions.

I just realized I didn't take a picture of the RP Troll (11-408) that I finished. I'll have to snap a shot of him, along with his three clones. Next time!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Look at the Reaper Bones!

Thanks to a post on scottz's blog, I am now in the loop on Reaper's new Bones line of ready-to-paint (and if your heart so desires, modify) miniatures. Check out the video and first wave of minis over on the Reaper site. The prices are dirt cheap for minis, and I'll have to reserve judgement on quality until I've had the chance to hack apart and paint a couple.

Scott also notes that there is a new Lone Ranger movie in the works, with Johnny Depp as Tonto. Looks promising, so we'll have to see how this iteration looks when it hits the theaters. I'm glad Scott is on the ball, because I'm dragging today.

When I get around to actually posting some new stuff, I owe you guys a new LMR, some pics of recently painted giants, and a session recap from our weekend romp in Faerun. Until then, stay frosty, people.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Chaos Dwarf Juggernaut!

OK, so you really have to hand it to the Games Workshop folks. In addition to all the mainstream armies for Warhammer Fantasy Battles, they decide to add Chaos Dwarfs to the mix, but they don't release a Chaos Dwarf codex (army rulebook for those not steeped in GW-speak). Instead, rules for Chaos Dwarf armies get tucked into other rulebooks like Ravening Hordes and Tamurkhan: the Throne of Chaos. You can find this info and a whole lot more over on the Chaos Dwarf Wiki.

To further complicate the lives of Chaos Dwarf players, they release models and decide against providing any rules or fluff (background info). Say what? In this case, I am talking about the Chaos Dwarf Juggernaut. It is a wheeled siege tower or weapons platform that is pushed into battle by a Boar Centaur. The model was sold with two levels that stack on top of the main body, but additional levels were available directly through GW at the time, so you could pretty much stack as many levels as you wished. Remember, there were no rules for it! This is what I speak of:

Orc/goblin archer included for scale reference.

At first I was surprised at how small this model is. I suppose I was expecting something big and bulky - but then again, we ARE talking about Dwarfs here. It is 3 inches long from cannon tip to rear spikes, 1.5 inches wide at the upper platforms, and 4 inches tall. It weighs in at 9 ounces, so still a hefty little chunk of metal. For the rest of the world, that would be about 8cm long, 4cm wide, 10cm high, and 250grams.

Something Juggernaut this way comes!

And this is what the poor Boar Centaur stares at all day.

One thing that struck me upon closer inspection was the fine detail. You get a better idea in the following pictures, but a lot of fine sculpting work went into this machine. There are two pegs for shields on each side of each upper level, and those are ornate little gargoyles/effigies instead of a simple plain peg. On the lower level, where the spikes come through, there are nasty-looking faces. And on the beams that support the upper levels you will find tiny chaos symbols and more Gothic-looking faces and bodies that add to the overall creepiness and chaos look of the Juggernaut.

Say hello to my leetle friend!

The devil is in the details...or something like that.

So there you have it. One of the true rares in both the Warhammer Fantasy and the miniatures world. Part of me wants to keep it, just because it is rare and kinda cool. But the reality is I will end up selling it, and use the proceeds to continue to fund my lead habit. If anyone has any additional Juggernaut information, lore, or stories they wish to share, please do so. Happy gaming!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

New Additions to the Lead Pile

Before I get cracking on the next Lead Market Report, I thought I'd post a few pics of some recent additions to the lead family. Let's get things started by welcoming the newest member of my Giant family:

Time to slice & dice, frost-giant style.

This is Grenadier's Armored Norse Giant, #175 from Fantasy Lords (First Series). I dig his armor and bear-head helm/cloak look. I've never been crazy about his pose, although I like the fact he's about to go dual-wield on some poor adventurer.

These next two brutes came in the same lot as the giant, and they were slathered in thick coats of gooey enamel paint before they hit the Super Clean bath & spa. Now you can see them as they were sculpted! They are from Garrison's Sword&Sorcery line, and are known as SS6 Frost Giant with Mace and SS16 Two-Headed Troll Giant:

On second thought, let's NOT go after Conan.

According to the LMW, the Sword&Sorcery line represents Robert E. Howard's world of Conan. I think it's interesting that the giants are really just larger than average men - these two minis are only slightly taller than your average 25mm adventurer. Very cool old-school pieces, indeed. I'll be selling or trading them, as they are not something I collect.

Switching gears, we go to the far future where this is only war and large, stompy walking tanks. I picked up these next two pieces for the princely sum of $2.22:

Staring down the business end of an old-school combi-weapon.

They went that-a-way!

The first mini is an Inquisitor Terminator, circa 1991. The Citadel catalog calls him a Daemon Hunter with a combi-weapon arm and a force rod arm. I picked him up because I think he's a good fit in my Dark Angels army, even though he should probably be in the ranks of a Grey Knights army. Very ornate and gothic-looking iconography.

The second mini is unknown to me. He sure looks like a member of Ral Partha's Battletech line, but his base is devoid of any hallmarks and I haven't found his picture in any RP catalog or online database. If you know what it is and who makes it, please feel free to enlighten me.

Finally, I picked up a trio of siege equipment. They are from Warhammer Fantasy, and include a wheeled & covered battering ram, a catapult with a hand-shaped boulder holder (I don't know what the technical term for that part of a catapult is).

We're gonna huff and puff and batter your walls down.

And the wee little tower in the middle? The one with a pair of cannons and bristling with spikes? I thought I recognized it from a past LMR...yes, here it is. February 2011. It sure looks like the Chaos Dwarf Juggernaut, doesn't it? I'll take some more pics and give it a post of its own.