Friday, December 1, 2017

Napoleonic Spanish Infantry (1808) in Bicorne

Well, I finally made progress on something! The last time these made an appearance in the blog they were in the development stage. But I needed another Allied unit for an upcoming battle and these fit in well with the British that I already have. They are Napoleonic Spanish infantry in bicorne (1808).

Spanish troops look pretty nice, even if they are usually rated rather poorly on the tabletop by most Napoleonic rules. They have almost Seven Years War style uniforms, reflecting a Revolutionary France influence of replacing the tricorne with the bicorne.

This build is fairly similar to all my 42mm soldiers. It uses a standard 1 11/16" pawn for the head and body, with craft foam used for the arms, cartridge box, bicorne, and rosette. A small piece of square balsa dowel is used for the bayonet sheathe and the musket with fixed bayonet is a flat toothpick. As always, the feet are a wooden heart shape. It really does not get much simpler.

One thing that is different about the arms and bicornes from previous experiments: I used a computer controlled cutting machine to make the parts, resulting in a quicker and more consistent product.

I used some white dimensional paint to make the strap over the rosette on the bicorne and on top of the shoes, to make the feet more three-dimensional. Other than that, the rest is pen and paint.

I decided to use a permanent marker with a brush tip for things like the eyebrows, mustache, and dark lines separating colors. I then used thick paint to edge right up to the pen lines in order to control the thickness.

Unlike previously, I did not add painted muskets to the painted figure at the end; I glued them to the figure before I started painting. Big mistake. That made it harder to get paint on the back side of the musket without slopping over onto the white uniform or black bicorne. It is not so much that it looks bad – I doubt you can even see it unless you actively looked at a awkward angle – but that it plays on your mind when you are holding the figure close to your face at awkward angles. You notice it all the time, so the error looks much larger than it really is.

In the end, though, I am pretty pleased with how they turned out. Sad it took me so long to finish them, but happy they are done.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Human Sci-Fi Marines & a Skinny!

It's been a while.  I've been distracted by work and 100 other gaming projects, primarily rules development.  However, I think I never posted anything about the sci-fi guys I've been working on and off on for a while now. Perhaps this is a redundant post, I apologize in advance if it is.

For almost two years I've been wanting to create a 28/32mm version of the old Ral Partha Final Frontier game.  I found a reasonably priced copy on ebay, purchased it, opened it up and had a touch of nostalgia as I rifled through the contents.  Years ago, when I was I think 14 years old, this game came out and I purchased it.  I had never seen a 15mm figure before, nor had I ever played what could loosely be considered a "wargame" before.  I was an old pro at D&D by this point, but Final Frontier was my first exposure to a wargame, albeit a skirmish wargame at best.  I also had the wonderful experience with this game of sending a rules question to the authors through snail mail.  It took about 2 months to get a reply, but they really did write me back and answered my question!

If you are not familiar with the game, the premise is very simple.  The humans of earth have developed space travel and are colonizing the rest of the galaxy.  They come across an intelligent race of aliens who oppose them.  There are three scenarios in the rulebook that add complexity and types of troops to the game as you play through them, sort of like a much simpler version of Squad Leader if you have ever played that classic game.  The point is, though, that you play the game with 15mm miniatures and cardboard counters to represent terrain, cities, stun and wound condition markers, missiles, etc.  What I wanted to do was make a homemade Craftee version of the game.  Progress has been slow, and I got distracted (more on that later), but I am pretty pleased with the core "human space marine" figure construction.  But you be the judge.

In the center is the standard "private" or trooper armed with a hand weapon.  On the left is a missile launching infantryman, and on the right is a heavy blaster infantryman.
Even though it is not necessary, to break up the smooth, uninteresting part of the back of the figure (the larger spool in other words) I put a tile spacer "jump" or "flight" piece of hardware.  In the actual Final Frontier game, it would have no effect on play at all.  If you were using these figures for some other game, well ... that's up to you.
I made the heavy weapons guys higher in rank (hence their different insignia on their shoulder armor).  All of them are constructed the same way.  I believe it is a 1.5" spool for the main body, small tapered plug for the legs (actually one size larger for the heavy weapons guys, I felt like they would need more leg support/strength so that they didn't get moved around when firing their heavier weapons), tile spacer feet just like my fantasy figures.  The arms are a combination of a axle cap for the shoulder and a split 1/2" spool for the forearms  On top of the spool I also put a axle cap and an axle cap serves as the helmet as well.  The face plate of the helmet is just a thin precut plywood circle.  In addition to the back "jump" piece, the weapons are just tile spacers cut into a shape I liked.  The end of the missile launcher is obviously a 1/2" spool as well.  Painting was very simple as you can see.  I used bright paint for the buttons and lights on the equipment as well as the face plate.  Then I took a gloss clear paint and painted the face plates again to give them a shine.

As is usual, I got a little distracted midway through and decided to make a Skinny from the world of Starship Troopers (who I think these humans would be fine for as well!).  I always liked the Skinnies in the book more than the bugs, and I decided to go to the Star Frontiers miniatures game for inspiration.  I used the sketches in those rule books to make my own version.

He is pretty much the same, I just used a 1 1/8" shaker peg for his body and a split egg for his head.  His arms are also all tile spacer, except for the should pads which are axle caps.
I think he turned out pretty good too!  The toughest part of these figures without question is making the guns.  But it was really fun to just let myself go and create whatever crazy looking firearm I wanted to.

Hope you like them!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Female Magic-user and yet another Goblin

Got the female magic-user I was talking about in the last post finished this week along with a test goblin.  I wanted to see if I could make a less "stocky" looking goblin out of the long beads, and a split long bead as it's body armor instead of the plug and split spool construction I used for my Moria goblins for my LotR miniatures game I put on at my gaming club a couple months ago.

I am pretty happy with both of them.  I think she looks great, and I wanted to paint her to be a more "seasoned" magic-user.  It seems like in miniatures we have young and old male magic-users, but only young female magic users.  So I decided to make her a more senior magic-user with her gray locks blowing back from the magical energy she is giving off.

Nothing new construction wise with her.  Tile spacer feet and arms.  Shaker peg body with the "nub" cut off the bottom of the peg.  Head is a long tapered bead that I painted to look like she is wearing a large rigid head covering of some type (a la Erol Otus).  I gave her a cloak with a big cowl, both made of paper, as is her hair.  The hole at the end of the bead made it easy to attach her hair.  Her wand is a toothpick cut to size, and she has a tile spacer piece on her chest as a large metal pin holding her cloak closed.  I actually even gave her a paper belt, so that is more than just paint, there is a bit of texture there with the belt even though you can't really tell that in the picture.

The goblin is a long tapered bead for a body, a split tapered bead for shoulders and chest, tile spacer cut to be shoulder armor pieces, tile spacer sword, arms, and feet, and a small round precut wooden craft piece for a shield.  His ears are also tile spacers and his head is a split bead.  I didn't do anything different on him as far as his head and ears go compared to the Moria goblins I did before, it's just that his body and shoulder pieces are different.  He isn't quite as "blocky" looking in person than the Moria goblins.  I decided to paint him in a scheme that would be familiar to current D&D players since of late they have been making the goblins have yellowish skin.

Here are some more pics, from the rear:

And from the side:

I've got a pretty good collection of female adventurers now.  Two magic-users, two fighter types, a cleric, a thief, a dwarf, an elf, and a halfling.  Here they are in a row.
Here are the magic-users and fighter types up close.
And here are the cleric, thief, and demi-humans up close.
I obviously fell in love with creating hair for them out of paper because only two of them are wearing anything close to a helmet. 

Now, onto their male counterparts!  I've already got a good head start, really I just need to do a second male wizard and the demi-humans.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Female Fighter/Paladin

Sorry, it's been a while since I've added anything to the blog.  I've been working on painting some of the miniatures from the Conan board game.

I did, however, finally finish this female fighter/paladin this morning before my work out.  She, and also a female wizard that hopefully will be finished in a week, have been on my painting table for a while.  Here are some pics of her.

I wanted to make her "two-fisted" instead of having a shield, so I gave her a sword and a mace.  I also was more detailed than normal with the armor.  Not just tile spacer shoulder pieces, but also tile spacer thigh guards.  The only paper on this miniature is the surcoat (yellow) and her cloak (light brown, visible in the next pictures).  The mace in her left hand is just a toothpick handle with a small round bead glued on top.  Everything else is done with paint.

Rear shot, nothing new with the cloak, I wanted to keep it simple though so that a person's eyes would be drawn to her armor, the coolest part of the miniature.

I like how she turned out and she adds a lot to the other female figures I've done as I don't really have a heavily armored female character yet.  She could certainly serve as a fighter in her plate mail, but could equally stand in as a paladin.

I hope to post the pic of the female magic-user within the next week.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Rounding out the Female Adventurers

I have been wanting to put together groupings of figures to fit a B/X or other old-school D&D game for a while now, sort of like the old Grenadier figure boxes you could buy in the early 80's.  One of their boxes was "Female Adventurers" so I decided to round out my collection of female adventures that I have done so far with a female dwarf and female halfling, giving me one each of all the possible B/X classes.  Unlike more modern games, where the halfling is almost always an achetypal thief, in B/X D&D the halfling wears the same heavy armor (or could wear) as a fighter or cleric.  I put mine in chainmail with leather shoulder pieces just for fun, and decided to go with a spear as this seems to make the most logical sense of melee weapon choice for one who is going to be shorter and have poorer reach than almost all the enemies she would face.  Of course for the dwarf, I had to go with an axe, but she is no dummy and wanted the benefit of a shield for defense, so I went with a one-handed axe.

Nothing too new construction wise.  The dwarf is made with a flat tapered plug and a split long bead as shoulders.  The head is a small bead, arms, feet, armor plates, and axe are tile spacers, shield is the small precut round wooden craft piece.  Halfling has a body made from a long bead, everything else is the same as the dwarf except no shoulder piece, the arms are tile spacers and so are the shoulder armor plates.  Both have paper skirts that flare out a bit representing the bottom of the chainmail shirts they are wearing.

I'm really happy with both figure's hair, though, especially the dwarf.  I wanted it to be more "flowing" like she was in mid swing, and I'm pretty happy with the results.  The paper can be hard to "tame," but like anything else, the more I work with it the better the results get.  There is a slight variation on the halfling figure for the feet.  If I left the tile spacer full thickness, it made the halfling too tall; she would have been as tall as the dwarf.  So I split the feet in half (which wasn't easy, but it wasn't too bad) to make her a little shorter.  This is actually easier to see in the last picture below.

The back of the figures is usually boring and this is no exception, but I wanted to show the figures from both sides.

And here are the three possible B/X female adventurers, a dwarf, elf, and halfling, ready for adventure!  When I get another female fighter done, I'll post a picture of the "boxed set" 8-figure version of these female adventurers, with one of each B/X class except for the fighter which will have two figures ... because you can't have too many fighter figures!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Kobolds Take 2

I liked the first kobold that I did, but I wanted to have another go.  He was a bit too tall and stocky and I thought the problem was that I used a shoulder piece for him and that it was not needed.  I also wasn't a fan of the ears.  So I did two more test kobolds.  Here they are.

And from the other side.

The one with the swords left arm is a bit too short, but other than that I like how these guys came out. 

Now here they are compared to the original kobold test figure.

The only differences in construction are that I used tile spacers for the ears so that they were shorter, and I did not use the split bead for a shoulder piece.  As you can see with these guys, it just isn't needed, and the figure looks much more slight and it isn't nearly as tall as the first kobold figure I did.  I also came up with a better way to do the tails, which look a lot better I think.  I used a thin strip of paper, glued it into place, and then covered it with hot glue.  Gives a nice tail appearance, and now I think I'm going to do another otyugh at some point using this technique for the tentacles.

This is a good lesson though, meaning that it is not very often that I hit upon the ideal way to construct these guys first try.  Takes some practice and re-engineering often with all of these wooden figures.  But, that's a lot of the fun of it too.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Premade Trees

I think Dale may have already posted about this a while back, but today while I was randomly walking around Jo Ann Fabrics (waiting for another store to open) I found these premade wooden trees that are of a really good size for the figures I do (roughly 30mm or so tall).  Here is a picture of them in the package.
They appear to be made in China (shocker!) distributed by a company in Florida called Sparrow Innovations, Inc.  I haven't tried to find them online to see if they have other cool things or not.

They were a little pricey, about $2.25 per tree, but that's not so bad considering all you have to do is paint them and they are done.  They already have a serviceable base on them.



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