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.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mirliton Medieval Infantry, 13th-14th century

For a long time I was collecting Mirliton medieval figures. The idea was to make late 13th or early 14th century force that can work for Flemish, German or Italian city states. The common feature of all of those armies was reliance on city militias for the troops. Most of those would be infantry. Mirliton makes excellent minis that fit the bill. There is a lot of variety in poses and in armor that other manufacturers don't make. One can buy miniatures in groups or individually. Figures come with variety of shields, halberds and spears. In this case I decided to give figures below long spears or pikes. I made my own spears from florist wire as cast spears provided by Mirliton bent very easy. All of the figures below came from Mirliton's Italian city militia range.

As you can see there is lots of variety and some of the same sculpts were painted slightly different. Models with spears held horizontally were given shorter spears so it's easy to rank them up and position against enemy units.

There are also some very useful figures in Mirliton Catalans range. They all appear to be heavily armored infantry. I do not know why they called Catalans and why all Catalans are heavily armored. They are great for generic first rank infantry that all countries of that period had. It's Mirliton's older range and the figures are closer to 25mm than 28mm.

Below is a comparison between Mirliton Catalans and communal militia miniatures. Even though Catalans are visibly smaller from this angle but they fit reasonably well in the same army with taller city militia when viewed from slightly above. Left to right: Mirliton Catalan, Mirliton communal militia, Old Glory early 100YW.
More comparison below. Mirliton city militia on the edges and Foundry 14th century spearmen in the center.
Mirliton communal militia figures are complex and not easy to paint properly because of detailed armor of the warriors. They are well sculpted though and were fun to paint. They are great for late 13th and the whole 14th century, any kind of infantry of Western Europe.

Finally, just a bit of extra. I also have late 15th century army for War of the Roses etc. Below is a comparison between 2 less well know manufacturers of the period and Foundry. Mirliton 14th century (good for 15th century as well) Italian spearmen is on the left, Parkfield Burgundian and Swiss figures are in the center, Foundry is on the right. All those are closer to 25mm.