Saturday 30 July 2016

Zombicide Black Plague - Klom

Ahead of next Saturday's gaming day, or play date as the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' likes to refer to them, I thought that I would paint up a couple of Zombicide, Black Plague survivors to take to the table.  'Bullcher Feb' has approached this is a very scientific matter, analysing the different attributes and putting together a balanced team capable of taking on the zombie hoard, I've just picked the biggest chunk of plastic I could lay my hands on - I give you Klom.
Lifted shamelessly from the official 'Black Plague' site, I can tell you that  Klom isn’t afraid of Zombies. He’s not afraid of anything – except spiders, but he’ll never own up to that one. An Ogre, Klom was a tough fighter and bandit long before the zombies started overrunning his camp. Once those pests showed up, well, then he just had something else to fight. With his flail in hand, Klom can stop just about anything and if that doesn’t work, he’ll just stomp them!  He’s taken a few trophies in his day, but others are finding the rotting zombie heads almost too much to bear, perhaps fingers would be better?
Initially I was worried about the sheer level of detail on this model, and with a base just shy of 35mm there is a lot of detail to contend with, but Klom has been a wonderful foil to the terrain building of late.  I would just spend forty miniatures or so every time I was waiting for something to dry and slowly, but surely, the massive frame of the Ogre has come to fruition.
I'm not sure how he will fair in the game, but given that he starts with Barbarian, which allows him, when resolving a Melee Action to substitute the dice number of the melee weapon(s) he uses with the number of Zombies standing in the targeted zone, I see him very much as 'go-to' survivor when the hordes start to mass.  With the addition of Super Strength at orange level, Klom becomes an Abomination killer!  
Whilst subtlety will never be his thing, I am hoping that Klom will raise the group's spirits and bring some levity to those tense moments, after all we all know that Ogres have layers.    

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Slaughtered in the fields.

To filed somewhere between deranged and down right disgusting, I have little to add in my own defence.  Like a good many other hobbyists when not painting or playing with toy soldiers, I'm thinking of buying them or at least looking at their shiny loveliness on the info-web*.  At some point I must have come across 'Warlord Games' dead livestock, which is already an interesting idea for a piece of scatter terrain, but something about them must have sparked an idea that quietly smouldered until the flames of creativity really got hold!
*Not a phrase, I feel, that reads well to the casual observer !
'Witchfinder General - Days of Revelation' takes its inspiration from English Folklore, historical events and of course Hammer Horror of the 1960s and 1970s.  All too often these cinematic gems** start with a grisly discovery, or the unexplained disappearance of livestock before the greater evil is finally discovered.   It occurred to me that 'Warlord Games' with their pot bellied and rigour morticed cows had given me the perfect starting point to create my own plot point or objective marker.
**Who am I trying to kid, most of them are ghastly, but they still formed part of young Master Awdry's formative years.
After much crazed machinations out came the trusty Dremel and on went the safety glasses as chunks of metal were hacked and sliced away.  To give the impression of the exposed ribs I just ran the Dremel down the belly of the poor beast before tapering the now proud top edge slightly.  
Some small marks and nicks were then added with a Stanley knife before the ubiquitous green stuff was employed to fashion some intestines and torn hide.  In a bid to add balance to the piece a couple of 'Fenris Games' resin mushrooms were added to the less gruesome of the two unfortunate creatures, which I have to say that I'm rather proud of.
Now I know that this will not be to everyone's tastes and for that I apologise, the last thing that I would want to do is offend someone's sensibilities, but I hope that they convey a sense of gruesome horror and fear, setting the scene for any 'Witchfinder General' scenario.I can also categorically state that animals were harmed in the making of this scatter terrain.

“It came with the wind through the silence of the night, a long, deep mutter, then a rising howl, and then the sad moan in which it died away. Again and again it sounded, the whole air throbbing with it, strident, wild and menacing.” 
 Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, The Hound of the Baskervilles

Sunday 24 July 2016

Operation Hedgerow

Stile from Warbases
There have been a good number of terrain projects on my 'to do' list for a while now, but one that kept getting pushed back was the ubiquitous hedgerow.  I can't explain why, probably because I could envisage what I wanted, but just couldn't justify purchasing them when scouring pads seemed to work just as effectively for everyone else.
The problem, a little like the coir mat for the 'Fields of Gold', is that whilst effective as a hedge substitute, I was't keen on the look of the humble scourer and wanted something a little different.  Who knows how exactly one's Google Fu is channelled, but some days it just turns up, smiles sweetly and says, "these are the hedges you have been looking for".  This, then, is my search for suitable shrubbery! 
'Jim's Wargames Workbench' had been running a series of terrain building posts, one of which showcased some splendid MDF templates, a quick exchange of ideas led me to 'East Riding Miniatures' where a pack of couple of packs of their medium field boundaries templates are ordered and with outstanding customer service arrive in good order.*
Meanwhile, I had also seen a series of exceptional posts by Pat of 'Wargaming with Silver Whistle' fame where he had used all manner of foliage, tufts and armatures to create some of the most stunning wargaming terrain you could wish for - certainly something to aspire to.   Pat also listed the various products used and so a I followed his lead and made an order to the '4D Model Shop'.**

*Two variants and reversible, giving four variants possible. Dimensions between 220mm and 50mm (approximate).

**Not a company that I had used before, but once again great service and consequently somewhere I will be returning to.

There has also been a great deal of interest of late in cheap model trees from China, coincidentally I had also made an order, purely out of interest really, and had been surprised at how quickly they had arrived, in my case approximately ten days, and how how versatile they were.  Versatile enough to be promptly banished to the 'projects when I have more time' pile and instantly forgotten about.  It wasn't until I stumbled across another inspirational post, this time by Simon Quentin of 'Brummie's Wargaming Blog' that I decided to dig them out and dust them off.
Simon had used some of his cheap plastic trees and incorporated them into Post-Apocalyptic scatter terrain, with one particularly effective idea being a tree growing through an abandoned car.  This was the final piece of inspiration that I needed to begin 'Operation Hedgerow' and the requisite parts were duly assembled.  
Just before commencement, I had one final trawl around the info-web for visual stimulus and it was here that I discovered that there is rarely an original idea left to us hobbyists.  As luck would have it I arrived at the 'Random Platypus Forum' and lo and behold there was the best 'Hedgerow making tutorial' you could ever wish for.  A gentlemen of considerable skill, Levied Troop, had documented his technique for creating just the sort of vegetative border that I was after and interestingly enough it turned out that it was actually him that had designed the original MDF templates that I had picked up at the beginning of this journey!  
So I present my humble efforts made by following the tutorial with very little deviation from the original script.  It really was very straightforward, but needed the benefit of a couple of days of undisturbed hobby time and some good weather to dry out the plaster/PVA mix in good time.  Imitation, certainly in this case, is the sincerest form of flattery and all that remains is for me to thank the aforementioned and esteemed gentlemen whose creativity has all contributed in bring this project to fruition. 

Wednesday 20 July 2016

If I only had a brain.

I could while away the hours
Conferrin' with the flowers,
Consulting with the rain;
And my head I'd be a scratchin'
While my thoughts are busy hatchin'
If I only had a brain.
Sorry about that, it must be the sun!  That said, the old brain has been hatchin' a few thoughts lately including this addition to my wheat field.  In all honesty I'm not entirely convinced that this little bit of resin loveliness didn't, in fact, start the whole wheat field build in the first place.  Bought as a pack of three from 'Ristul's Extraordinary Market', which I now see is imported to the United Kingdom by 'Bad Squiddo Games', this was one of those 'must have' purchases.
Having cleaned away the wispy excess, which literally came off with a hot, soapy wash, I set about basing my straw man.  The obvious solution was to use some of the coir mat off cuts from the 'Fields of Gold' build and with the aid of my rotary compass cutter fashioned a section to fit a 30mm 'Warbases' MDF disc.

 However when I offered this up it looked a little forced so I started to hack away with my scalpel, varying the hight of the wheat and creating some space at the front.  Continuing the theme of adding livestock to the field a couple of 'Warbases' rats* took centre stage adding a bit of levity to the piece.  Once assembled it was a simply matter of painting the scarecrow with suitably muted colours, with the added bonus that the wheat field needed only a light dry brush.

*I have no idea what made me buy this pack either and my word they are small!
It was at this point that some more thoughts finished hatchin' as it struck me that what my scarecrow really needed were some crows to scare!  A quick root around the Zombicide plastic mountain that has formed, quite alarmingly, in the spare room unearthed a murder of crows that required the simplest of paint jobs.  
Based and dry brushed they were ready to take their place in the field and torment my scarecrow or possibly act as a fearful omen of some great evil about to befall the land.

Sunday 17 July 2016

Fields of Gold...

I was gifted some hobby time this weekend and decided that the priority should be to finish off the wheat field fashioned from a coir door mat.  Having undercoated the base work in black, I simply applied colour using cheap acrylics sourced from 'The Works' discount shop before successive dry brushing brought the desired effect.  Some of the encouraging comments from the previous post made mention to hay or grainstacks and as luck would have it I stumbled across some rather splendid resin versions when picking up some bits of MDF from 'Warbases'.  With their typically excellent service, I had them delivered, primed and painted in no time at all and all that remained was to flock and add a 'Tajima1' tuft or two.
The resin haystacks add a little variation to the piece insomuch that I can have them on the field making the terrain slow going or removed to give easy access along the cleared paths.  I couldn't resist adding a little something extra in the shape of a 'Warbases' fox, proudly returning from the hunt with its quarry firmly clamped in his jaws.  As I was taking the photographs, I suddenly realised that I had, in fact, created two fields.  The initial section of mat that I had originally discarded as being too 'mat-like' actually worked rather well well when positioned alongside the harvested version.  A quick dry brush to match the two together and the illusion was complete - two for the price of one.  Now onto 'Operation Hedgerow'

Tuesday 12 July 2016

Fields of gold...

...the build.
Now this was supposed to be a quick build to add a little depth to the gaming table, the wheat field adding cover, but at the same time slowing the advance of any miniatures travelling through it.  Having purchased a coir mat a month or so a go I finally got around to cutting an A4 sized section and et voilĂ , a wheat field.  The mat had a flexible rubber backing and so was, in effect done, but it looked like, well, a door mat!
A quick image search of the inter web threw up some rather lovely examples of crafted fields and one I particular liked*, showed a field that was partially cleared. In a fit of enthusiasm I decided that I would replicate this and set about the task in hand. First job was to locate a sheet of plasticard that I knew that I had kicking around, then made the edges look a little less regular, bevelling them with my trusty Dremel. I then simply hacked off smaller sections of the mat and placed these on the base. 
*Sorry I don't have a credit, but thank you for the inspiration!
The example I had seen had, what looked like, a path running through the middle of the field, so I tried something similar, but when placing my chunks of field onto the plastic base, I noticed that the height was far too regular for my liking and so starting to try and cut various sections down.  What followed saw an incredible lack of common sense as I reached initially for the dremel - idiot, then a tiny pair of scissors - again idiot, before finally stumbling on the most obvious of tools - the scalpel!  A fresh blade and I was scything through the wheat, perhaps a little too quickly as I managed to knick my finger at one point.**  Undeterred, I manfully continued with the job in hand discovering, again by accident that by rolling the pieces of mat up I could get the blade of the scalpel further into the field without the risk of further injury! 
**The 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry' made some comment about Poldark not needing a plaster when using his scythe, this was studiously ignored!
The field sections were then simply P.V.A. glued to the plasticard and then the area was give a liberal coating of texture gel and a couple of stones for added detail.
A useful byproduct of all this harvesting were handfuls of shorn matting, which I bagged for later use. I'm thinking loose stalks of wheat scattered on the cleared areas? The base is going to take a while to dry, but hopefully there will be a painting update before too long.

Saturday 9 July 2016

Paintable Saturday#140

Now I promise not to keep banging on about the long summer holidays and just how much hobby time I will have through July, mostly because I have just seen the 'Saintly Mrs. Awdry's' to-do list and it already looks exhausting, if not yet exhaustive!  That said the summer holiday is often a time when I try to catch up with all those larger projects that are left gathering dust during the winter months.  To that end this post is a statement of intent, rather than a prescriptive list and revolves around hosting a game of Witchfinder General, hopefully at the start of August.
I have earmarked a couple of miniatures that have been lurking around the periphery of the paint table for far too long now, particularly these two from the 'Warlord Games' Fire & Brimstone set.  They were supposed to have been an entry for last winter's 'VI Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge' and I even got as far as painting their faces, before the deadline came and went.
What I really want to get done are some terrain pieces to make progress across the the tabletop a little more challenging for the forces of evil.  I have made a start on my wheat field and hope to commence 'Operation Hedgerow' before too long!  Some additional livestock and another Witchfinder, this time in the guise of Salome Kohn from 'Hasslefree Miniatures' should be more than enough to keep me out of mischief.  If I can throw in a couple of games of Zombicide-Black Plague I shall be a happy chap indeed!

Monday 4 July 2016

This little piggy.

The briefest of posts today to showcase a new villager for my ‘Witchfinder General’ project, the pig herd!  This rather charming sculpt is my first experience of ‘Midlam Miniatures’ and I have to say that they are rather lovely to work with.
Requiring next to nothing in the way of preparation and not overly fussy in detail she was painted very quickly, ready to take her turn toiling on the land.  Perhaps a little smaller than I am used to, especially next to the ‘Redoubt Enterprises’ miniatures, she still holds enough character to make a welcomed addition to the collection.
Her drift of sows are from the aforementioned ‘Redoubt Enterprises’ and those of you who kept a keen eye on proceedings in the ‘VI Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge’ will recognise them from my ‘Risk-taker’ entry, where they were part of a loosely formed idea to pay homage to the celluloid gems that are the ‘Mad Max’ franchise.  They have simply had the bases repainted from a dusty desert to a more fertile field.
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