Sunday, August 23, 2020

And Still More Lankhmar Goodness!

 Finally got those two figures painted, the thief/slinger and the other bravo type guy.  Here they are.


I like how they turned out, especially the slinger although the leg position on the other figure turned out well too, I just don't like his head much.  More on that later.


Same lunging legs as before, the bent knee leg being a flat plug and the long straight leg being a tile spacer. I continued to try and get a little more creative with tile spacer pieces to make it look like he is wearing baggy pants.  Hard to see here but his left extended leg has some additional tile spacer pieces on the top and inside bottom of the leg to mimic draped cloth.

Head, body, weapons, and arms are just like the Gray Mouser figure.  The sling was fun.  It's just paper with a small round bead glued into the loop end and painted to look like a rock.

The bravo has a different leg positioning that's actually easier to see in the first picture.  His right leg is bent as normal and is a flat plug, but his bent left leg with the tip of the toe touching the ground only is also a flat plug for the upper part of the leg, and a tile spacer for the leg from the knee down.  Tile spacer feet and arms as normal.  I wasn't sure if this leg position would look good, but it turned out okay.

I don't like his head, though.  I like the close-cropped shaved head look, but I tried to give his leather armor a collar and I don't think it looks very good.  Makes him look like he has a really long neck!

You can see the left bent leg better in this shot.  Also, I used a small barrel bead for his upper torso.  I do like this look and at least with arm positions like these it works fine with the tile spacer arms if you first cover the holes on the end of the barrel bead with paper.


I've got several experimental builds on my table right now, but I'm not sure when or even if they will get painted.  Time will tell ...

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Even More Lankhmar Goodness!

Played in the Lankhmar game a couple of weeks ago.  It was really fun.  The DCC version is probably the best one that I know of on the market.  I like it slightly better than the old AD&D 1st or 2nd edition attempts, and I definitely like it better than the Savage World Lankhmar game books although I will say that they are very beautiful and well-done books.  I just don't like Savage Worlds that much as a game system.

Anyway, all this means I just did more figures.  And actually, I have all the figures done for the first part of my Lankhmar minis convention game that I want to do.  A few more bravo/thief types and I will have them all finished.

Anyway, here are some wizards for you.  The one on the left with the rat familiar is the infamous Hristomilo reading his arcane scroll.  The one on the right is one of the PCs in the game, a Mingol wizard from the Steppes.


Hrisomili is simple, he is just a milk bottle body with a large cap on the top with his head glued down on the cap somewhat to give him the proper "hunch back" posture and tall height that he has in the stories.  His scroll is just parchment paper wrapped around toothpicks on each end, then glued to his hands in a way that makes it look like he is reading it.

Next to Hristomili in the middle is Slivikin, his rat familiar.  He is supposed to have human-like hands.  Can't really see them well in this picture but that's okay, he's just a rat.  Tile spacer head, arms, and feet, with a body that is two beads, smaller on top of larger.  He has a paper tail that you can see better in the next picture.

The PC Mingol wizard was really tough to do, but I'm really happy with how he turned out.  The player wanted me to use actual Mongol Shaman as inspiration and they look really cool but they have these long hair-like things coming out of their hats that fly around impressively as they chant and dance.  It looks extremely cool in real life, but trying to mimic that in one of these figures was tough.  But I did it with twisted paper and I think it looks good.  He's got his interesting drum in his left hand and drum stick in the other.

Now for a rear view.


Better view of Slivikin's paper tail and Hristomilo's spell scroll.  Two very different looking wizards, but both very consistent with those in the Lankhmar setting.

Now onto some bravos ...

These intimidating-looking chaps are from the Slayers Brotherhood, a guild that the Thieves Guild often uses for protection.  In the first minis game I plan on doing these three are the main opposition for Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser (the players) and they guard two thieves who are carrying the valuables that Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser are trying to procure. 


Lots of inspiration for these from the graphic novel.  The only interesting build here is the bald guy on the right.  He is the first shirtless guy I tried doing using in this case the small barrel bead construction (I didn't want him as big as the barbarian figures but I still wanted him to look muscular).  I put a leather armor girdle around his waist to give him some protection.  He originally was going to just be wearing a loin cloth but I did the legs wrong for that look.  I will try that again in the future though.  Also, the middle guy has two legs that are made using the plug construction with no tile spacer leg like I did with the lunging figure like the Mouser.  I wanted a crouching guy and I am happy with him too.  He actually looks better in person.  Plus he has an eye patch!

And from the rear ...


And now for the two thieves these guys are guarding.  Their names are Fissif and Sleyvas and they are from the story "Ill Met in Lankhmar" as is the idea for the minis game, to be honest.  Fissif is a "fat" thief and Sleyvas is supposed to be tall, though I didn't make him that tall.


Again, the inspiration for how these guys look comes from the graphic novel.  Sleyvas is nothing new, milk bottle body construction.  Fissif, however, is new.  He is a large barrel bead for his entire body and lower legs, but the bead is vertical instead of side ways like it is in the barbarian and other "strong guy" figures.  He has tile spacer arms and feet, a bead head, and paper is glued to cover the top and bottom of the barrel bead.  His hat and shoulder pads are paper.

And from the rear ...


I am particularly fond of Fissif but that's not surprising, even in the stories he has far more personality than Sleyvas.  I just love his jaunty little cap!

I've got a slinging thief and another probably bravo character on the painting table.  I also want to try making some of the buildings that will serve as the terrain in the first game.  The three bravos are escorting Fissif and Sleyvase from one board edge to the other and Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser have to get the treasure from the two thieves without killing them (but they can kill the bravos) before the thieves get to the other side of the table.  Ambush and swordplay abounds!

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

More Lankhmar Goodness!

One of my rpg gaming groups is starting a DCC Lankhmar campaign on Sunday.  To say I am excited about this is a huge understatement.  The Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser books are my favorite Swords & Sorcery stories, so being able to play a rpg campaign in the world I love so much with the characters that inspire me is a true gift and pleasure.  So of COURSE I had to make figures for the PCs!  The GM is turning pictures of them into tokens for Roll20 to use on the maps on that virtual tabletop platform, so it's the next best thing to actually using the figures on the real tabletop.

Here are two of the PCs, the one on the left is my character, a Warrior from the jungles of Klesh, and the character on the right is a Thief from one of the Eight Cities.


Not too much new construction wise from what I've been doing of late, especially with the figure on the left.  Standard upside down milk bottle for the body, bead for the head, tile spacer arms and feet, etc.  He has some cool equipment though.  He uses a blowgun (the bamboo rod hanging off his left shoulder), a small hand drum tucked into the front of his belt (he needs this to cast the one spell he can cast), and a huge two-handed scimitar on his back which you will see better in other pictures.  The bamboo rod is a toothpick, the drum is a toothpick handle with a tile spacer cut into a circle for the head of the drum, and the scimitar is made from tile spacers.  He has a loin cloth (can't see it well in this picture but you will in others) that is paper, and he has a togo/baggy tunic that is paper.  I put a lot of folds and creases in it to give it more visual interest.


The figure on the right is another one of my new action/crouching posed figures.  I'm starting to hit my stride with these figures.  This one is the best one I've done to date.  So as before with the Mouser, in this case it is the rear leg that is the small plug that serves as the bent leg and the extended left leg (on the figure) is a tile spacer.  What I did this time though was add a tile spacer on the bottom side of the extended leg to make it look like pants draping down and then gathering again at the top of the boot where they get tucked into the boot.  It came out really well, it's a shame it isn't very visible in these pictures.  Only other new construction thing with this figure is I did my first "sabre" sword.  Just a toothpick for the handle and blade but I cut a tile spacer in the shape of the hand guard and glued it on after the toothpick had been added.  Came out well I think.


I did a cool scabbard for the sabre as well, you can see it sticking out the back.  Just a tile spacer.  The buddy whose PC this is gave me a picture of a Reaper figure he liked and I used it for inspiration.  I really enjoy making figures like that, using a picture or other figure for inspiration.


The cloak came out awesome!  Much better view of my PC's big two-handed scimitar that he is about to draw.


Can see the loincloth here in my figure a little better, as well as the hand guard of the scimitar in the other figure.

I really enjoyed these.  The builds were fairly quick and the painting was even quicker, especially the crouching Thief figure given it was just for the most part two shades of gray for everything.

I've got a few more on my painting table now, mostly NPC thieves and bravos, and a Mingol Wizard on my building table.  At the request of the player I am using actual pictures of Mongol Shaman for inspiration.  I'm halfway through the build and he is looking pretty cool. 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser!

Finished painting the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser miniatures I just constructed.  Of course this has spurred yet another idea for a game based on the story "Ill Met in Lankhmar."  Hey, why not?  Do a Conan game, and a Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser game.  Makes sense, right?

Here are the twain in all their glory!


Fafhrd, the barbarian on the left, hails from the Cold Waste, a rough and rugged land of ice and snow.  Trained as a skald, he has an excellent singing voice but is also a fierce fighter, especially when wielding his sword "Graywand."  He has ventured to the city of Lankhmar in search of civilization, adventure, and riches.

The Gray Mouser, the smaller man on the right, has unknown origins, but likely comes from lands to the south of Lankhmar (for some reason I always think Italy in both culture and people).  Originally a sorcerer's apprentice, the small man has taken up thievery and is an outstanding swordsman, his flashing blade "Scalpel" felling many foes.

These figures were fun to build (I already talked about that) but I have to admit, they were even more fun to paint.  One of the things I really like about doing my own figures is that I don't to paint a bunch of stuff on the figure that I honestly don't care about.  Reaper figures are awesome sculpts, but most of the details on them I have no desire to paint.  If I am not interested in painting it, it doesn't end up on my figures.

Now for Fafhrd up close.


You can really see his leg position here much better than standing on the base on the table top.  I let the paper tell me where the folds in his pants are and I think his legs really turned out well.  The figure is far more dynamic in its pose than most of the figures I have been doing for the last several years.  The inspiration for the color palette and the equipment is from my imagination, but also heavily influenced by the graphic novel that covers many of the original stories.


Table view from the rear.


Laying on his back on the table.  You can see the dagger scabbard a bit better on the left and on the right on his belt is his pouch.  I cut the dagger scabbard so the bottom has an interesting "lightning bolt" shape, just to add some visual interest.  The barrel bead seems to work well for the barrel chest of the barbarian figures, at least it is working IMO for this Fafhrd figure.

And now onto his smaller companion ...





Interestingly, the Fafhrd figure looks a little better in pictures than in real life, but the Mouser figure looks even better in real life.  The colors really came together with this figure and the rapier sword, although oversized, came out well I think.

Now, of course, I need to do some thieves and Hristomilo the wizard for them to fight ... off to the crafting table!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Mounted Serpent Guard

I was able to get these guys painted pretty quickly.  Having done the other cavalry unit before, I learned from my mistakes and had less "repainting" over mistakes this time, even though these guys are much more complicated than the other ones.

Here the are arrayed.


Now for some closer up shots.





And now from the rear.


Turned out pretty good, I'm happy with them.  This completes are the regular troops for the first Conan game.  What is left are the four heroes (Conan, Valeria, Subotai, and Akiro) and the main three bad guys.  For the two henchmen I'm going to do a mounted and foot figure.  For Thulsa Doom I am going to do four mounted figures of him in different positions.  I'll describe what my thinking is about that when I actually get around to doing them.

Now, off to paint Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser ... as well as about 40 metal figures.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Serpent Guard on Foot

Sorry it has taken me so long to post, but I've taken this time at home for the past several months to really work hard on several minis projects that have not been getting any love from me.  Unfortunately, that meant that my wooden project, the Conan game, was put a bit on the back burner.

But, I did today finally get the Serpent Guard on foot miniatures painted ... and am I happy with them!  They turned out better than I hoped they would.  Just as a reminder, here is an image from the Arnold movie that shows the troops I am trying to represent with my little wooden fellows.


So there is Conan with his back to the camera, disguised as a priest, speaking with one of the Serpent Guard troops, actually he is showing him the snake battle standard.  The troops are such a cool combination of several real life Dark Age/Early Medieval period soldiers from in particular the Middle and Far East, giving them a distinctive fantasy, but believable, appearance ... not so much with more contemporary attempts where the armor has shoulder pads larger than those of a defensive lineman in the NFL!  The armor is thick leather but there are leather scales on the skirt and upper arm coverings, with a definite Saracen looking helmet on the top with samurai neck covering.  However, they also wear metal face masks, similar to several elite troops from a number of different armies of this period or earlier in our world.  Just a very cool looking troop type I think.

Here is my interpretation of this soldier for my Conan game.  I left off the snake imagery just so I could use them in other games, but except for that I tried to remain as true as I could to the image above.


The builds on these guys were pretty complicated in terms of the paper.  The belt with the groin cover built in, the samurai-like skirt, the head wrap around the top of the helmet, the shoulder armor all made for a tough build.  The painting, though, was pretty straight forward.  I didn't paint eyes to give them more of a haunting appearance.

Now a view down the line from each side.



I went with burnt umber, a dark and somewhat faded brown, for the armor.  In the movie it looks almost gray in some scenes but in looking at the actual props online when they sold them off at auction it is definitely made out of thick dark brown leather that looks a little gray in the sunlight because the leather is shiny.

Now a shot from the rear.


And a couple of up close shots that are a little fuzzy, but still you can see a little better the details in these pics.



They are now ready to be killed off by the heroes!

Not sure what I will do next, either these guys on horses or the Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser or Conan figures.  But I hope over the next couple of weeks to post pics of something else wooden that has been constructed already painted up.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

My Favorites

I have been in a constructing rather than painting mood of late.  So to take advantage of that I thought I would focus more on trying to get more dynamic leg positions.  My last effort was satisfactory, but I thought I could do better.  I think I have.

To enhance my motivation, I decided to try and make my three favorite characters from fantasy fiction.  One of them, Conan, I can do as part of the game I am working on.  So that would be making the Conan who fought at the Battle on the Ruins at the end of the 1982 movie.  He's cool looking, awesome helmet and lamellar armor, funky pants, how can you go wrong ... plus I need him for the game.  As much as I love Conan, though, my favorite fantasy character of all time is the Gray Mouser, with his companion Fafhrd.  Leiber's stories of the adventuring duo shaped me more than any other in terms of the types of rpg worlds and adventures I like to play in and run.  Obviously, my online name comes from this character as well.  So I thought choosing characters I love to try and make some figures in more dynamic poses would only enhance my motivation.

Let's start with my favorite character, the Gray Mouser.

This is a good view of his head, arms, rapier, and torso, not so much the legs which is what I really want you to see.  Onto the next photo ...

Ah, that's better.  His torso is a medium-small flat plug with a split bead glued on top to make the shoulders.  The left leg (the forward one) is a smaller flat plug glued to the edge of the torso plug bottom to create a lunging forward knee bent look.  The right/rear leg is made out of a tile spacer, just like the arms.  Both feet are tile spacers and they are glued flat onto the base for support.  The tile spacer leg is then glued onto the right foot, which isn't very stable ... again, tile spacer to tile spacer joints are always the weakest part of these figures.  However, since the left leg is a plug glued to the torso plug, this is very strong in terms of keeping the figure glued firmly to the base.  So I think this will work.  I used parts of a tile spacer to give him a "groin" (baggy pants look) and some paper to do the same thing around his forward leg (baggy pants/bent leg at the knee).  Not bad, I'm pretty pleased with him.  Here is another shot just to finish out the figure.  The cloak came out really good I think.

Classic Gray Mouser pose, lunging with his rapier "Scalpel" and getting ready to throw his dagger "Cat's Claw" at an enemy.  The rapier is obviously a toothpick ... I wanted a more slender sword.

Now onto Fafhrd.  The barbarian needs to be larger than the smaller Mouser and I wanted a barrel-chested look.  So I went with a barrel bead for the chest and torso, and a split oblong bead for the pelvis/groin area of the figure.  Here are some pics.



In the second picture you can really see the legs.  His left/forward leg is also a small flat plug and he is leaning (rather than lunging) forward a bit on it.  I also used paper to make the baggy pants look for him as well.  As with the Mouser, Fafhrd's feet are flat on the ground glued to the base.  The trickiest part with him was the right/rear leg.  I wanted to try and use a plug with him so I used the plug for the upper part of the leg, but the lower part is split tile spacer.  There are two pieces as you can see, and although it is invisible in these photos that "gap" you see between the two tile spacers is actually filled in with glue, so it will be solid when it is painted.

Here are the twain together.  You can get a better sense for their size difference in this photo.

And now Conan.  This figure was very detailed.  Because he is supposed to be putting together a mish-mash of armor and weapons from the dead left long ago on this battlefield, he has a very eclectic appearance, but this makes for a complex figure to make.  But I like him too.  I didn't want his pose to be as "lungy" as Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, and perhaps his legs may have turned out the best of them all.  Here is a photo from the movie that captures the look I am going for:



And here is the actual figures.

Can't see well in this photo but he has the same torso and pelvis construction as Fafhrd, he just has small flat plugs for both legs.  The paper strips are the leather strips he has on these funky pants in the movie.


You can see the legs a lot better in this one.  His upper torso is a barrel bead on its side (open ends are where his arms are).  The pelvis you can see very clearly here is a split oblong bead.  The legs are both small flat plugs with tile spacer feet.  You can see I have a 45 degree piece of tile spacer added to his right foot so that he can be leaning forward a bit.  Essentially, the front plug for his left leg is vertical and if this was a real person most of his body weight would be on that leg.  The right leg is stretched out slightly behind him.  Not the lung of the Gray Mouser or Fafhrd but enough leaning to give the figure a more dynamic pose.

Here he is glued to his base.  The helmet came out great I think and wasn't that tough.  His head is a small split bead glued onto a larger split bead to make up the bowl of the helmet.  Paper is glued around this and will be painted like fur.  A small bead was glued on the top and the "horns" are obviously just cut tile spacers.  Since the split beads still have half a hole on each side from being split, this provides a nice hole to glue the horns into.  I just cut that end of the horns down into sort of a "tab" that just fit into the hole in the head/helmet piece on each side.  Easy and also very sturdy once the glue dries.

This is a picture of the "barbarian's" torso and pelvis.  It's hard to see with all the paper I'm using now but I have come to really like paper for these figures.  I literally can if I keep at it and keep trying, make pretty much any shirt, belt, pants, etc. that I need.  But when I glue it all over the figure it becomes hard to see the wooden "skeleton" pieces.
Hopefully they will paint up well!

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