Saturday, 25 February 2012

A Sign of Life!

MY prediction of coming back to this blog in autumn 2011 (see previous post) was obviously and inexcusably inaccurate.  This post is just a short note to say that my interest in Gothic Horror miniature gaming has been recently reinvigorated and that I am planning all sorts of diabolical things for the proceeding months.  

In the meantime here are three miniatures from the Vampyres! pack by Design 28 (now owned by Black Pyramid Gaming).  I painted them in June last year and I have to admit that I'm not too happy with them now.  In the interceding months I have been working very hard to improve the standard of my brushwork and, although I'm still no Golden Demon contender (nor ever will be), my technique has improved enormously.  Suffice to say there's a few things on these chaps that I'd do rather differently now (Drac's red cape-lining, for instance).  Still I hope that they're enough to tide you over until I start on new stuffs in earnest.    

The Design 28 minis are certainly very distinctive: chunky and somewhat stiff, but rather endearing all the same.  I have to admit that due to my dissatisfaction with the above paint-jobs I've already been looking at other 'Dracula' models and will probably pick up this Reaper beauty in the near future.  On the subject of 'classic' Dracula minis some time ago this gorgeous green was posted on LAF, but I never heard any more about it.  A shame, because it's one of the best Vampire sculpts I've ever seen!  

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Back from the Dead (sort of...)

JUST a quick note to explain that I have not abandoned MG and intend to start regularly posting again in October.  The preceding few months of inactivity have primarily been due to the death of my venerable camera and, to a lesser extent, the partial realisation of a long dreamt-of dungeon-bash project*.  As intimated, a new camera is to be acquired shortly and spooky shenanigans will resume their 'normal' service.  Your patience is much appreciated, ladies and gentle-ghouls.


* I may start a separate blog detailing this.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

'Pale spectres, wondrous pale and worn'

A FAIR few days have amounted between this and my last post and this deficiency can be chiefly accounted for by two happenings.  The first is overtime at work and the second is the untimely death of my sole can of spray-on matt varnish.  The latter problem has, at any rate, been readily solved with the order of a couple of cans of Testors Dullcote (up until now I've been using HMG varnish from Figures in Comfort).  Work should be getting back to normal in about three weeks so posting might continue to be intermittent until then, although I do have next week off - Hallelujah! - so expect a glut of nonsense then!  

Painting-wise I don't seem to have got much done since Frankenstein's Monster or, to be more precise, at least what I have painted I haven't been able to give a final seal of varnish excepting the two entities depicted below.  That's right: more ghosts!  I can assure you that this isn't merely to placate my obsession with the spectral and that I do have some scenarios planned that'll make full use of these apparitions.  I'm sure that the eagle-eyes amongst you'll already have deduced that they're both Reaper miniatures.  
Being an unrepentantly lazy painter I opted for the dry-brush option with both these spooks, using Citadel's Goblin Green as the base coat and adding more white with each successive 'brush.  After the final highlight was applied I gave the models a thinned down green wash to negate to some extent the 'chalky effect' that dry-brushing can create. 

My son keeps lambasting me over the second chap.  He feels that all the entrails, boils and maggots would have benefited from a 'technicolor' approach and, although I partly agree, I can't get away from the fact that Reaper list him as a 'Festering Spirit', although I don't doubt he'd do equally splendidly as a zombie champion or somesuch (sorry, Oliver!).
I've chosen green for the simple reason that I envision my scenarios involving three 'types' of ghosts whose genus will be apparent from their hue.  These will be: Wraiths (black/dark grey), Phantoms (green) and Spirits (blue-white).  Anyway, you can expect my ethereal host to swell over the coming months.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

'Feed My Frankenstein...'

YOU know, I've just realised that this is the third consecutive post where I've used a line from a song as the title.  Aside from demonstrating a decided lack of imagination on my part I think it'll also be interesting to see how long I can sustain this for...  

Anyway, I make this entry in order to introduce you to my newly finished Heresy 'Frankenstein's Monster'.  He's (it's?) one of two I duly bought just before Heresy's sale commenced (bah!) and each model comes with three heads and a choice of right arms so I that can get them looking suitably different from one another (although I haven't constructed the other construct yet).  
'Why two?  Frankenstein only made one monster, cretin!' I hear you exclaiming incredulously.  Whilst that is all very true as far as the original novel goes, in my Gothic setting the Herr Dr. is able to create such creatures fairly quickly and use them as his 'heavies' in his various ventures.  For instance the Fear and Faith scenario I've just this week finished - entitled Cemetery Sweep -  involves Frankenstein and some cronies attempting to rob a graveyard for, erm, 'spare parts' and coincidentally features two monsters (more on that next week).  Anyway, on to the model!  Certainly one of the better 28mm Constructs/Flesh Golems out there in my humble opinion and like all of Heresy's fare I've thus far encountered a sheer joy to slap paint on!  

Saturday, 2 July 2011

They're coming to take me away...

FOR some time I've had my eye on this characterful lunatic miniature by Hasslefree for use as either a generic madmen or, more specifically, R. M. Renfield  and finally picked him up the other week. 
I'm using Ganesha's Fear and Faith rules for my horror gaming with an emphasis on home-made scenarios using pre-selected forces. Given that I have decided against giving Renfield the 'Insane' special rule and instead created my own ('Zoophagous Maniac'); one that I feel represents the duality of this iconic character's nature more accurately. Unfortunately because this 'special ability' is a creation of my own an accurate points cost cannot be calculated. I am in the process of writing and play-testing some Dracula scenarios that will naturally include Renfield and will post these up as PDFs in due course.  Anyway, in the meanwhile here are his provisional F&F stats:

Quality: 3+ Combat: 3 
Special Rules: Minion (to Dracula), Savage, Stealth, Zoophagous Maniac (see below)

Zoophagous Maniac

Renfield's mind is seriously disordered: on the one hand he exhibits a childlike fealty to his Vampiric master Count Dracula; on the other he is loathe to see innocents like Mina Harker defiled by this evil creature.  To represent  this contradictory nature at the beginning of each Evil turn roll 1d6:
1: Good player controls Renfield this turn.
2: Renfield moves in a random direction a random distance:  1-2: Short, 3-4: Medium, 5-6: Long.
3-6: Evil player may control Renfield normally this turn.
Renfield cannot be moved so that he harms himself (id est, into or over dangerous terrain) and will stop short  of such an eventuality.  If a random move brings him into base contact with a Good character Renfield is considered to have charged and the normal rules applied (Renfield gets a standard H-t-H attack).  The Good player may attack Evil models with Renfield if they control him and Renfield must roll for any Fear tests as normal.  If the Evil player's attacked character more than doubles Renfield's score he (the Evil player) can decide whether he wishes to kill the madman or merely knock him out.  If Renfield is knocked out he counts as being 'Transfixed by Fear' (see Insanity Table), unless a 2 is rolled on his subsequent turn and he moves randomly as normal.

Obviously, to reiterate what I wrote above, these rules are provisional and may be altered after more play-testing.  Please let me know what you think!  

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Batman, Batman, Batman!

OR, as Heresy call him, 'Vampire in Man-Bat Form'.  The fact that I've had this model for about five years and only got around to assembling, basing and painting the blighter last week is rather depressing and raises all sorts of profound questions regarding my motivation et cetera.  Anyway, he's done now!

I have to say that these pictures show up the inadequacy of my highlighting 'technique' and the sheer heavy-handedness of my washing in startling fashion.  In retrospect I should have started from a darker base skin colour (I used Vallejo Khaki 70988) and that would probably have negated the harsh contrast between base colour, wash and highlights.  Oh well, he's good enough for the table and let's face it, dodgy PJ aside, he is a superb horror miniature.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Magick Circle

BORED witless during a down period at work last week I conceived the notion of creating a ritual magic circle to be used in future Gothic Horror games involving dastardly cultists.  I'm a great fan of using CDs for terrain basing (I've raised a gallows and signpost respectively on them in the past for my fantasy games); their shape and size simply cry out for for the creation of a mini-diorama and I thought this would be the obvious platform on which to daub my envisioned occult circle.  I'm in the process of procuring the pieces to make an abandoned/ruined church so it seemed appropriate that the circle should be depicted as being drawn on an exposed flagstone floor within said church.  

I started by rolling out some Milliput over a single CD until it was more-or-less level.  I then scored the flagstones in with an X-Acto blade, first using the sharp edge to cut through the putty and then the blunt to widen the scoring.  I did this whilst simultaneously talking on the 'phone and sipping beer (Bishop's Finger, as I recall) with the result that, as may be seen from the image below, the horizontal  lines varied wildly in width, although I did seem to pay attention to the vertical cuts. I also forgot to smooth out fingerprint impressions before the Milliput set...

When it went hard I gave the whole thing a light covering of watered-down Filler, making sure not to let it gather too heavily in the cracks.  This basically adds a grainy texture to the 'flagstones' that'll help when it comes to painting. When that dried I sprayed the whole thing black.  To paint I undercoated with a dark grey (Vallejo German Grey), washed with black and then gave two successive dry-brushes with lighter greys (Vallejo German Fieldgrey and Coat D'arms Uniform Grey.  Of course the same grey with white added for the highlights would probably make more sense... )

When that's done you're ready to paint the pentacle on and what design and level of detail you decide upon will obviously depend on your competence with a brush.  I'm not a great freehand painter and it was late et cetera, so my circle is a bit crap to be honest. I'd have loved to do something like this, but it just wasn't on the cards that night (or any night, for that matter!).  I personally believe the detail of the magical symbol is what'll really make a piece like this.  Anyway, I used white for the circle and when it was done lightly dry-brushed the whole piece again with the final grey shade to bring everything together a bit.   At this point I also mixed Vallejo Still Water with a darkish red to create glossy blood splatters.

Now the piece is more-or-less finished save for some final detailing, which isn't really necessary to be honest.  Being an anal so-and-so, though, I got some candles from Black Cat Bases, some 'candleholders' from Thomarillion and a random plastic GW book from ebay to give it some extra 'pizazz'.  Some static grass was added for final effect.  And here we have it: the Satanic Rites of Dracula!