Saturday, 19 August 2017

CXXXVII. Wodewose

The frame for my wose sculpt is done, and now I can call the piece finished.



In regard to sculpting, my next goal will be a tad smaller, better proportioned and differently posed wose. When I manage to get that right, I think I'll make a whole group of them, with different weapons, shields and beard styles...

Thursday, 17 August 2017

CXXXVI. Black Phillip

I'll be roleplaying a witch character in a Pathfinder adventure soon, so I thought I'd convert and paint miniature representations of her and her goat familiar. I'm still searching for a suitable witch (if you know of any interesting female witch minis, or something that could be converted into a middle-aged witch, I'm open to suggestions). I had material for the goat at home, so I got to work. 

"Wouldst thou like to live deliciously?"

It used to be a plastic toy. Came in the same bag of farm animals that serve as leg donors for my misshapen deer. It doesn't scale well with 28-30mm figures, being way larger than a goat should be. However, for use in an RPG its actual size is of little importance, and I can get even away with using it as a Minor Demon in Frostgrave. I did try to find a goat miniature that would actually be to scale, but unfortunately none of the sculpts I came across caught my eye.
There was plenty to do. First, I cut out a section of its body, since it looked too long. I replaced its poor wobbly horns with a proper pair from plastic Beastmen. Most time went on sculpting all the shaggy fur. Since this goat is a buck I added the appropriate parts of anatomy.
Black Phillip and Zora the Hag. Here it's visible how huge the beast actually is.
The inspiration for even picking a goat for my character's familiar came from The Witch (2015), a beautifully atmospheric, slow-burn period horror piece directed by Robert Eggers. Of course, the film in turn drew its inspiration from folklore... Anyway, there is a goat in the film, named Black Phillip, who plays a part in the supernatural events plaguing his owners - an unfortunate puritan family. If you like the kind of horror that doesn't rely on abundance of jump-scares or gratuitous gore, I heartily recommend this film.

Monday, 14 August 2017

CXXXV. Woodland Creatures

The second misshapen deer for Monstrous Births scenarios. This one has slightly different deformities than the first - most obviously the long muzzle and tusks that make it somewhat boar-like. I gave it some chaotically growing antlers. The mess with the limbs is quite familiar, though. I think they will all end up with creative number, placement and size of legs... I'm going for five, so that's three more to go.
 
 
 
 
 
The two finished deer, side by side.
The conversion was very like the first - Citadel deer and horse parts plus cheap plastic toy limbs and putty.

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After some dabbling with modelling shield designs, I've made an attempt to sculpt an entire humanoid figure from scratch. This is the result:

The sculpt has an old-school vibe. I reckoned this sort of style would be easier to work in, for a beginner. One step at a time... I'll make a scenic base for him soon so that he gets a proper frame.
I layered green stuff over a wire armature. Since it's a monster I didn't pay too much attention to size - he ended up 38mm tall, which would not do for a human at 28-35mm scale.
I had most fun with the face, of course.
This is the finished sculpt. I learned a few things and got some useful practice. On the next attempt I will try to make the head and hands smaller in proportion to the body. And I need to be more patient when rendering the fur texture, there are parts that look quite untidy. But I am very happy with this first try, which motivates me to take it further with the subsequent ones. I made a mould of the shield so that I can convert a few more variants. On this shield I tried out a hybrid mixture of green stuff and Milliput - it was better for that particular job than either one of the putties pure.
I'd made a Wodewose figure before (can't believe it was an entire year ago...). Now that I look at it, it's not that good. There are some problems with the posture as well as anatomy. I can see it getting scrapped, as soon as I manage to scratch-build a better one.

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I got an idea for a new illustrated poker deck, this time with much more elaborate artwork. I don't have time to get into that project properly for now, so I think it will stay on only this one card for a while. I'll just leave it here as a teaser.

The XIII of Blood.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

CXXXIV. Femme

A tiny parcel arrived to my door a couple weeks ago. It was from none other than John Blanche, and it contained a delicate resin 40mm figure. It's a rare treat, being that it is not a commercially available model, but rather one out of just three copies manufactured for John as a private commission. He was kind enough to gift me one of them, and this weekend I finally found enough time to properly introduce her to the brush.

I have considered a number of different colour schemes, but in the end I gave in to my favourite combination: black, red and white.
The tattoo on her right upper arm is the symbol for the Zodiac sign Scorpio (my own birth sign).
The boots and the sort of glove were glossed up using Vallejo water effect.

The tattoo on her back is a stylized letter F.

The base is also resin; 40mm cobblestone from Micro Art Studio.

The painting process was enjoyable. The only issue I had was with her face - it is very difficult to access without cutting something off first, and that I did not dare do.

The figure was sculpted by Kev White. The resin cast came as a single piece and it held detail well. There were a few mould lines here and there, but they weren't difficult to get rid of. 
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Thursday, 3 August 2017

CXXXIII. Agram Arena Summer 2017, Zagreb

The blog had a month-long hiatus, but now I'm back with reports of what occurred in the meantime.

Black Queen 

Hobby and Miniature Painting Competition


UMS "Agram"'s annual painting comp was held during the second weekend of the Arena, parallel with a Warhammer 40k tournament. I bring some new work to the contest every year. This time I managed to take home five medals and a bag of prizes kindly provided by the event's sponsors.

My entries that placed in the comp - the Tor Megiddo technobarbarians, the stag beetle duel, Space Marine Terminator Librarian (painted as a birthday gift for my brother) and the Moss Monster (not in the picture). And these are most of the prizes that came with my medals. Looks like I'll be painting some busts in the future.





Space Marine Librarian. I haven't shown him here before. A nice figure, even though I don't find Space Marines particularly attractive.

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AAS'17 Malifaux tournament


The third and final weekend if the Agram Arena Summer event we had a Malifaux tournament. I was happy that I managed to finish my entire Swampfiends crew in time for the tourney, complete with its display base and markers and tokens. The updates on that are included further below.

Along with the local players, this year we received participants from Austria and Poland, who came for the first time, and a party from Bulgaria that has been visiting the Arena for three years now. The tourney consists of six games played over two days, and traditionally begins with a pre-tournament get-together in a pub the evening before. The weather that weekend was not too great - I am not fond of summer heat, but we all pulled through successfully. The Austrians dominated the tourney, taking the first five places. I was in the lower middle of the chart, but my Swampfiends took home the Best Painted Crew award. They had tough competition to beat.

A pleasant Arena once more, had a good time.  


Above photos courtesy of UMS "Agram".
If you're interested in a more extensive report of the tourney, written from the perspective of our Polish guest, you can find it on his blog here: What The Faux

I played a few friendly games in the comfort of my own home, too. Pictured here: Zoraida's Swampfiends versus Rasputina's blue popsicles. The amount of forest scenery I put on the table worked too much in my favour. I need to add more variety in terms of terrain types when hosting games of regular Malifaux.

 

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Before the Arena I needed to come up with Scheme markers and Tree markers for my Swampfiends. Originally I intended these to be hand-painted, but my deadline was approaching and I was running out of time. Rather than rushing the painting, I came up with a quicker and easier solution that still looks good.

30mm Scheme Markers.
50mm Tree Markers. These are placed by the Waldgeists' Germinate action. If there is more than one Waldgeist in play it is important to keep track which pair of trees belongs to which Waldgeist. This is why I marked them with their faces and numbers, which match the ones on their respective stat cards.
The markers were made out of the figures' packaging. I cut out the parts of the boxes that had artwork on them and glued the cut-outs on MDF bases. I distressed the edges to cover up the imperfections of my cut. Hoarding those boxes has finally payed off...
The final set of models I was missing were the Gupp swarms. The official Gupps are rather cute, but too cartoony for my version of this crew. Once more I turn to the Hobbit goblin kit for bodies. The fish heads are copies of the fish familliar's head from WHQ Silver Tower. The number of heads poking out of the water indicates whether it is swarm 1, 2 or 3.




The display base I made is rather basic; not impressive in itself. But it does serve its twofold purpose well. It enhances the crew's presentation by framing it, and during a tournament I can use it as a tray to carry my models to the next table. Since it is flat it was not difficult to transport the base itself to and from the tourney. 
The base is actually a picture frame. I used MDF base extensions as slots for the minis' bases. This didn't work perfectly because MDF expanded slightly due to moisture from clay, glue and painting. The tight fitting bases no longer fit, so they needed filing down. I don't think my next display base will have slots at all. I had the display base in mind long before, so in advance I dressed the minis' bases according to their planned position on the display.

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Trakošćan


The weekend after the tournament I went to see Trakošćan - a castle in northern Croatia. I had been there at least twice before, but that was 15+ years ago, so it seemed it was time to revisit the place. It left a lasting impression on me as a child; I was curious how I would perceive it now.

The castle stands atop a small hill, and the estate that surrounds it includes a park, a forest and a lake. It dates back to 13th century, when it was a small fortress. It was later upgraded with towers and improved defences, to sustain the fire of Turkish guns. Once it lost its strategic significance, Trakošćan was converted into a residence. For a long period of its existence the castle was in possession of the Drašković family. The name of the castle is thought to be a warped combination of Latin "draco" and German "Stein", which would translate to Dragonstone. Nowadays it is open to the public as a museum. 



It was not much different than I remembered it. There are plenty of rooms to explore, filled with furniture, paintings, arms and armour, trophies and other useful reference material for Castle Wayvode. However, photography is prohibited...   

Since I was not allowed to photograph the rooms, I was hoping to be able to buy a monograph about the castle or a catalogue of the museum exhibits, but I found no such thing at the site. I'll have to search elsewhere, it seems. The museum's website is nice enough, though. The EXHIBITION section gives a few lines about each of the rooms, and one can even take a 360 virtual tour.

I did take a couple photos in the courtyard.



Stone wall reference.
Rock reference.