Saturday, January 14, 2012

Talisman Boardgame

Recently, "Fantasy Flight" company re-published old classic - "Talisman" boardgame. I was aware of the game but never played it before. Few months ago I played it for the first time and realized that I painted game pieces for one of my friends not long ago. I liked the game, it's basically sophisticated "shuts and ladders" game with adventures in a fantasy world. It has classic attributes of the genre where players control characters who travel places, encounter monsters, seek treasure, magic items and try to reach "top level" before other players.

Below, if I remember correctly, are the miniatures that came in basic set.
"Fantasy Flight" published expansions to the basic game with new characters and their own unique powers.
Some miniatures were better sculpted than others, fun to paint. Some were pretty bad, with shallow and confusing details. I just didn't feel I can do good job on them, nor did I want to. So, I did what I could.

Miniatures were made from soft rubbery plastic that didn't want to take primer/undercoat paint well. Usually, no amount of varnish can save figures like that from paint flaking off. However, after painting, I used PlastiDip clear spray. It's a rubber coating used for metal tools to provide better rubbery grip. It comes in various colors and also in clear. It works miracles on soft plastic figures and paint will not flake off after applying PlastiDip.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Starting Egyptian Army

Colin from Chariot Gamer blog had been a "bad" influence on me for some time. He is heavily in to "chariot" period or, as some call it, "biblicals". On several forums he constantly talks about and share photos of various chariot period armies and promotes companies that make miniatures for the period. So, I decided to finally start on my Egyptians that I had for a very long time and just didn't have time or desire to paint.

My Egyptians are mix of Foundry, Ral Partha (now Iron Wind) and Essex. So far I only painted few units, kind of randomly.

Egyptian Marines was the first unit I painted. Foundry makes excellent models that are perfect for those elite warriors, only musician is Ral Partha. Marines were distinguished from other Egyptian units and wore leather reinforced kilts for rowing benches. They also were armed with variety of weapons for naval actions and generally better armored. My unit has archers, slingers and spearmen/javelinmen.
Bowmen were important part of Egyptian army through their entire history. They were often employed in closed order formations for saturation fire, to destroy the enemy before close combat or weaken him for their spearmen formations to finish the job. Entire unit are excellent Foundry models with the exception of Ral Partha (Iron Wind now) standard bearer.
Egyptian army was often polyglot and army employed variety of people for their unique skills. I decided that one of my bowmen units should be from south of Egypt and composed of famous Nubian archers. The whole unit would counts as bowmen, but it has javelinmen figures for variety. All of them are Foundry models that were marketed as Nubians and Medjey when I purchased them. For some reason I couldn't find original concave oval shields, so I used some extra Old Glory flat oval shields. Close enough, I think.
Essex recently redesigned their Egyptians. I think they still sell older models, but added many new. My other bowmen unit will be composed of very good Essex models. Here is just a taste, several different archer poses that Essex offers now.

Below is a comparison between 3 different companies. Left to right: 1 Ral Partha, 2 Essex models, 1 Foundry. In my opinion, they fit perfectly together.
I'll probably paint chariots next, just follow my blog.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Conquest FIW 28mm figures

Recently, painted Conquest Miniatures French and Indian war (FIW) French regulars. One can also say that FIW was a part of 7 years war fought between England and France in America. Conquest Miniatures has small, some say incomplete range of miniatures, suitable for recreating "Last of the Mohicans" in 28mm scale.

Figures are very nice, well sculpted and cast. Almost no flash, thick belts and details. Fun to paint. Bayonets are well sculpted and durable for gaming, IMO. Some of the command figures come with separate hands for dramatic poses.

By the way, color of the French coats is still a great debate among historians, re-enactors and miniature painters. I used several paintings depicting this regiment, I think La Reine, as sources. In some coats looked more white, in some more grey. In all paintings I noticed that leggings were whiter than coats. Therefore I decided that coats should be light grey. I also thought that white coats would become grey during rigours of campaign.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

WAB Numidian Army

Here is just a showcase of my 2200 or so points Numidian army in battle formation. I can't take decent ARMY photos with my cheap digital camera or it can be my almost non existent photography skills. Therefore I asked my friend Alan to take photos with his much better camera and skills.

My Warhammer Ancients Numidian army composed of lots of cavalry, of course. Because of light cavalry nature of units I had to figure out the way to easily distinguish different units in clouds of skirmishing horsemen. I also didn't want to paint my units in uniform as it would be un-historical. So, I decided to just give my cavalry units uniform shields and one unit even has red dyed hair. All the models from Old Glory. Only few high command figures are from Crusader.

I have 2 distinct types of infantry: native levies and Roman trained regulars. Native levies can form up in large warbands or skirmish units. Infantry with large red shields are suppose to be imitation legionarii, small minority of infantry. Please note that I gave levies tribal looking standard and Roman trained unit has Roman looking standard. All the models are Old Glory.

Elephants are toy store beasts. During the creation of this army no manufacturer made Numidian elephant with trunk up and I had to improvise. Crew came from Rafm and RalPartha, howdahs were hand made from various materials.

Friday, November 11, 2011

BattleStandard Persian Cavalry

Finally, had an opportunity to paint something for myself. I decided to add one more unit to my ancient Persian army after watching clip of battle of Gaugamela from "Alexander" on YouTube. One of the few phrases that Persian king has is "Envelop khim, Bessus". So, Bessus' heavy cavalry it was.

Battlestandard miniatures has a very nice range of 28mm Achaemedian Persians I only have their super heavy elite cavalry. Spear hands had to be drilled, sword and other hands were casted like that. Spears are also from Battlestandard. Riders fit on horses very well. Riders poses are a bit flat and all have the same type of Greek style armor with slightly different Greek/Assyrian style helmets. Figures are chunky with fairly large heads and well raised details. Horses have eastern style front armor and riders have scaled skirts, very popular heavy armor for eastern type shock cavalry of the period.

Battlestandard miniatures are BIG. I already have my Persian army composed of miniatures from other companies. As you can see Battlestandard figures are bigger. This, however, is not a problem. Persian elite cavalry of this type was described as having unusually large horses for the period. I do not mind having one unit like that. Below are comparison between Battlestandard, 1st Corps Persian cavalry, Eureka Amazon Scythian and A&A Parthian horse archers. All recruited in to my polyglot Persian army.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

16th century Western European cavalry

I had an opportunity to paint some Old Glory 16th century religious wars cavalry and Eureka conquistador cavalry, 25 or 28mm. Figures can be mixed together in one army as they belong to the same period. I'd say 1550 to 1625, give or take.

Eureka mounted arquebusiers from their Conquistadors range. I was asked not to base the figures. There are 2 poses. I wouldn't be much off if I said that those are some of the best miniatures I ever painted. Horses and general sculpting is very similar to Perry miniatures style. Details are thick enough and raised enough to make it easy to paint. Body proportions are nice, not too small, not too large. Riders fit very well on horses.

Old Glory figures are very nice, not as nice as Eureka though. Sculpting is more basic, for riders and horses. Nevertheless Old Glory mounted arquebusiers or petronel men came out very well when painted and were easy to paint. Horses and riders fit well. Weapon hands are separate and it's advisable to drill arm hole deeper rather than cutting hand sprue shorter.
Below are comparison between Eureka and Old Glory. In my opinion they can easily be mixed together in the same army if not in the same unit.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Aliens from Blue Moon (part2)

Just finished painting more alien races from the "Aliens and Spacemen" line of figures from Blue Moon manufacturing: All of their figures are kind of "pulp" from the 30's, 40's 50's and probably 60's of the previous century, the way aliens were envisioned back then.

Ionians are probably most advanced alien species of the Solar system. Io is one of the moons of Jupiter. Earth scientists theorize that Ionians, also known as GRAYS are not natives of the moon and probably came from another system, probably another star. Ancient Aliens theorists believe that GRAYS visited Earth long time ago for reasons unknown. Some believe that they kidnap humans and experiment on them. What is known is that Ionians are very mysterious and not very friendly. They try not to interact with Earth colonies or Spacemen. They are probably capable of interstellar travel. They also have personal warp devises that can transport them short distances. No one knows for sure how their space ships look, rumors have it as disk shaped, cigar shaped or triangle shaped. Their heavy weapons are know as AP's.
Saturnians are very fond of humans and steadfast allies. There is a lively trade between two species. In exchange for technology and help with space exploration Humans provide Saturnians with their favorite food -  "Soilent Brown". It's rumored that wealthiest Saturnians even have Human slaves that provide the delicacy. Those slaves live in luxury by Human standards and although it's technically illegal there is no shortage of Human slave volunteers. Saturnians are not very warlike, but those who live in the large hexagon area of the north pole excel in strategy and tactics:
Jovians are mysterious race that live in the Jupiter's Great Red Spot region. Some Earth scientists theorise that Jovians are product of Ancient Aliens (GRAYS?) experiment to produce Human/Saturnian hybrid for unknown reasons. No Jovian DNA was ever recovered to support that theory. What known is that a lot of Jovian military technology is based on heavy water and that "By Jove" is their battle cry.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hindu Maratha Cavalry

I was fascinated with India from the childhood when I watched lots of colorful Indian and Soviet movies and cartoons based on Indian fairy tales. Indian/Soviet film "Ali Baba and 40 thieves" made in late 70's or early 80's as well as Soviet made "Maugli" and 'Golden Antelope" cartoons are probably the best examples. Recently my interest in India was renewed when I read Osprey "Moghul" title with FANTASTIC illustrations by Angus McBride. Another very good book about Moghuls with lots of colorful illustration of original Indian and Persian paintings is "Storm Across Asia" - published in 1980 by HBJ press and part of "Imperial Visions The Rise and Fall of Empires" series.

I had an opportunity to be one of the first to paint minis from very new company - Indus Miniatures:
One of the reasons I was attracted to this company was because it looks like Ashok will have the complete range. The reason for buying this cavalry first was because they wear helmets that were only found in India.

Below is painted Maratha cavalry command pack. Marathas were confederation of Hindu kingdoms in central India during 17th or 18th century. Nevertheless the figures can be used for late middle ages as well and for any kind of native Indian cavalry. All the command cavalry in this pack have "mirror" armor introduced by Persians and Indian style helmets resembling Indian style turbans. All have metal arm protection for the right sword arm. Commander is holding all steel axe and all figures have shields slung on their backs. Standard bearer came with cast on lance that was too delicate and bendy. I cut it off and glued one of the extra standard poles I had from some other company, I think Perry miniatures. I found the flag on the Internet.

Another pack contains 3 different cavalry swordsmen. I bent the arms a bit to create different poses. I painted all the shields as steel, but they can also be any other color.

The pose below had it's arm stretched all the way to the side. I found it impractical for ranking up and transporting. Therefore I bent the arms of both miniatures.
Below is another pose from the 3 figure pack. As you can see all the figures are almost identical, only differ in some costume details, shields and sword arms. There are 2 slightly different horse pose having the same type of armor or decoration.
Overall figures are very good. They remind me of Perry miniatures or GW Lord of the Ring metal figures. Proportions are generally good, horses are a bit flatter then I am use to. Riders fit on horses fairy well, better front to back than side to side. For all I know it was done on purpose to simulate Indian riding style. All the weapons and shields are cast on. One thing I didn't like were cast "flower studs" dots on horse armor. That kind of forced me to paint them. I would prefer flat surface and my own choice of decoration. Also, those "studs" were not raised but depressed and that was difficult for me to paint. I also simplified horse armor paining as there is no limit on how elaborate and colorful it can be.
Medieval and Renaissance Indian armies were mix of Turko-Mongol, Afghan and Indian styles. I am planing to use my Timurid Persian miniatures alongside Indian miniatures. Below are size comparison between other manufacturers and Indus miniatures.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Greek Hoplites and Etruscan Cavalry

Recently I  painted few dozen 25mm or 28mm Greek hoplites from 3 different manufacturers for a customer. It was a lot of fun as I could compare Black Tree, Molon Labe and Foundry Greeks. I was asked to leave the shields plain bronze.

Black Tree Design hoplites were probably most pleasurable to paint. Very well sculpted with no sharp features, easy to paint. There was some flash, but it was easy to remove. Shields were the only disappointment, looks like they had a button or a broach and casted a shield out of that. I threw away crappy wire that BTD provide for spears and used extra Gripping Beast or Molon Labe cast spears I have. BTD has a good variety of poses and I like their helmet choice. Figure with Corinthian helmet in the middle, holding spear upright is Molon Labe with BTD shield.
Next group of hoplite are from Foundry. It's only 1 pose, with shield being a part of the casting. All I had to do is to add a spear. Very nice casting from the company with good reputation for great sculpts, but the shield is too small, IMO.
Molon Labe hoplites have classic poses with hoplites thrusting overarm and underarm. Poses are stiff and chunky, but look just fine when painted. Details were sharp but not raised as I like it, wasn't a big deal. Easy enough to paint, highly recommend this company that has a good range. Note that I cut thrusting spears pretty short so it's easy to rank up the models. Shortened spears look just fine for thrusting poses, IMO.
Below is a comparison between 3 companies. Left to right: Molon Labe, Foundry, Black Tree. Easy to see slight difference in height, but all the figures fit well together. The main difference are the shields. Molon Labe has the best proportioned shield out of three, IMO. All figures will work well together with the same shields.
Gorgon Studios is a relatively new kid on the block. The sculpts are very good, cast with very little flash. Sculpted by an ex Foundry sculptor. The only complaint is that their riders don't really fit the horses  very well with a large gap between a rider and a horse. Below are their Etruscan cavalry.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Blue Moon Aliens, 25mm

I am in a process of painting 25mm Pulp style aliens from Blue Moon for one of my clients. Following are my thoughts on painting them and photos of finished models. Blue Moon models come in separate blister packs for every race, but their heavy equipment crew come in a single pack with 2 poses and various alien heads for different races.

Not native to a planet Mercury, planet is just too close to the Sun for any kind of intelligent life to evolve there. No one knows of their true origins. Mercurians live in underground caves, but travel on a surface. Planet is rich in Mercury. That's why I chose to paint their skin black, their Greek looking uniforms white, their weapons and helmets mostly silver.
Venusians live on a planet that rich in plant and animal life. Climate is warmer that on Earth and jungle covers the majority of the planet's land masses. Venus is rich in precious metals and radioactive elements. Notice more "alien" appearance of the gun. I decided that it will look better than WW2 AA gun it resembles when assembled correctly.
Earth Rocket men and Spacemen were fun to paint. Blue Moon gives variety of helmets for Rocket men and clear plastic bubbles for Spacemen. Rocket men come from various Earth nations and Spacemen costume color is from some films and various books - Russian, American, Italian. Note the blue moon bases...

Mars is a planet that is poor in almost any kind of resources and as a result Martians are most aggressive of all Sol spices. They worship God of War. Figures have futuristic looking Greek style helmets and guns. I thought that golden armor, green weapons and red uniforms will work great for the models. I also found German flag background in my photo shop program that suits martian background.
Figures from Triton wear Roman style equipment. That's why I used red and white as my main colors with silver metallic Roman segmented armor.
I am through about half of them. More to come soon.