Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Blackbarrow Farm

Farm with Inn on the right and Castle in the backdrop/.
Per my last post I was having issues whether to call that new building of mine a Farm or a Hunting Lodge for rich nobles or something. After landscaping its seem to work as a Farm and thats what the table needed, abet a nice rather large raftered farmhouse. Some of the trouble spots seemed to not bother me as much on this whole section of table was redone, the scale seemed to slide into place by sinking the building 1/4 " recessing the floors...the walls, garden , fields seem to soften the look quite a bit.                                                                                                                                                       

The Western road into town, 

The Cow and Cow Pen are new additions as well, the landscaping, and road are redone and painted, flowers and new flock added, Trees based and finished I'm using Woodland Scenics products for all my landscaping needs .    I'll sign off now with some photo captions, the table is really coming together, Some more landscaping on some of the more beat up sections (a ton of games have been played on this table which I finished about 3 years ago  ) there are some smaller older Armorcast buildings I need to figure out what to do with and a Church to redo, pretty close to moving onto finishing the Dungeon which will be some work....I plan on having it all done by the end of the year! I guess, we will see.                                                                                                                

View from the top of the Castle Gatehouse.

Side of Inn, overlooking Farm . you can see where the new landscaping meets the old,, that old section of road is next for touchup.                                                                                                                                                                                            

Rear and Field

This cow pen was fun afternoon build, Cow is by Reaper I have large hog and a goat as well. the straw is from some old scenery kit I have had forever its origin unknown.                                                                                                                       

Here is a good look at the garden and stonewalls, all pieces are from Hirst molds, Figure is Reaper, Wagon by Johnny Lauck.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Hirst Arts- Timber Frame Building

Its been awhile, Its seems more of struggle of to keep the blog updated these days than I remember even thou, I've painted close to a dozen figures , finished the castle and built this since the last update.
this from the "project files" on the Hirst Arts website, a Timber or "Half Timber" building depending on what molds you used, for this I used mainly molds #224 and #225, with #260 for the floors, a few 1/4 planks from the original wood panel mold #220 and the Chimney and Fireplace from the old small brick mold. 250

 I found numerous issues with this plan from the start. Since I used these molds for my upper story of my Inn, I felt like this building was too large and I was right, 3" for 1 story walls is just too high unless you are adding a second floor, I compounded the issue by placing the walls on top of the floor (and I go back and forth on this , something I inset the floor other times not, here and inset would have been better) so in the end I to my eye the building is out of scale for my 28-32mm purposes, I mean it works its just too large and too fancy to be the simple farmstead I envisioned for my fictional town of Blackbarrow .
 As result I decided to either sink the building into the table or build up the surrounding landscaping I am going to do to cover where the floor shows, this will help the scale issue I have slightly, and you can see I left bottom of the chimney off, so I can make it the building is rest properly on what height variation I end up going with..
Roof is plastic card #91533 from plasticstruct, that isnt cheap and I should spend the $29 on the Hirst slate single roof mold, however a bought a whole bunch of it years ago and still have enough for one  building this size of two smaller ones..might as well use it up. and I will adding some edging to that lip
 One I decided that it was no longer a simple farmstead, I envisioned it a grand hunting lodge, for towns leaders, I found this medieval picture of a hunting scene online, scaled it up in photoshop and printed it out on sticker paper, putting on a painted piece of balsa as a huge painting for largest section of empty wall..
 Speaking of walls, the original spec shows a layer of cast sections on both sides off a piece of cereal box, which I though was total overkill, so the interior black walls are just painted and stippled cereal box with mold #225 pieces glued over it directly.
 Pictures here show a good indication of size with both Reaper and Otherworld figures show in the photos, I am not going to add my furniture here just a table and some chairs, the upside being plenty of room to "play thru" this piece in any sort of skirmish game.
 As you can see with this rough set up here things are slowly coming together, I originally planned to replace all my old armorcast resin buildings, MS AUS mdf , and GW buildings with original hirst pieces as scalewise many of them are too small, but I just dont think I have the room on the table, I was thinking about the Mill and Blacksmith shoppe but we will see.

With the Inn and Castle in the background you can see how insetting the building in ground and          building up some surrounding landscaping with help put this building in proper perspective so thats     the next step, building the landscaping and cleaning the some of shoddy areas of table that need a refresher after year of play.

This overall took longer than I thought, since I had everything cast I was thinking I could build this is an afternoon and a couple evenings but with drying times assembly painting, the roof and other details I think is a solid 12 hours project.  next up,  already finished figures and more finished blackbarrow and hopefully some Frostgrave and sooner than another 6 weeks!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blackbarrow Castle

Just recently I finished the main construction and painting of my Hirst Arts Castle, which I call Blackbarrow Castle. It was long time in the making- the taller, thinner tower ( I call the lighthouse) and the Gate House were built and completed in 2014 for Adepticon that Spring and used on my Legends of the High Seas table for that event. The large tower was complete last fall and the remaining wall sections where finished in the last few months. There is still quite a bit of work to do before I call it "finished" and it sits at the head of Fantasy table overlooking the Village of Blackbarrow.  I still have interior details galore and its inhabitants to paint. as well as redoing the entire base.
The base itself and road to gate will be totally redone with proper foliage as well.

I just ordered some carving plaster and other goodies from Woodland Scenics to get the base looking like a real rock formation as opposed to some carved foam board., currently the floor in the tower are temporary until I can finish them properly and You can see the one, wooden interior building, (a soldiers barracks) will probably have a stable across from it.and perhaps a gallows in the courtyard.

Not really sure how much time and or plaster I used on this as I mentioned it was a long road, I know which molds I used thou the entire projects used molds..70,71,72,75,78,701,260,261,224,225 and 58, the last 3 just being the wooden courtyard building, the bulk casting being the tower molds, the wall slab and basic block molds for the Gatehouse.  I hope to get the base finished up and and remaining details complete in the next month, as I like the whole table done for this summer.  I will leave things here with the rest of the photos, there is a gallery on the left, but its currently the same photos you see here.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Frostgrave Cultist and Barbarian Sprues

Just a quick shout out to these fine plastic kits being put out by North Star Military Figures for Ospreys games , Frostgrave.  I know I have previously mentioned my dislike for plastic kits, as I like to say I have gotten too old to be fiddling  around with putting hordes of plastic models together. However I am very impressed by all these kits.  For me they fit a variety of roles not just Frostgrave.

At 20 Figures a box, Hard plastic Renedra sprues (aka. High Quality), coming out to about $1.50ish a figure . I have 3 of the 4 kits they make with today purchases.  (the Gnolls outstanding) looking forward to putting these to good use.

I had a tough time finding proper up close photos of these sprues, perhaps my google fu is weak but anyway for my own reference here they are.

I"m really like these Barbarians, The can easily be Viking Raiders with some bit swapping to some more historical shields. With large army games on the serious decline and skirmish games becoming the main stay, I expect these kits will stay in  demand for some time.

                                          again, good close ups of the sprues, front and back.

Next up....Blackbarrow Castle...its almost finished.

Adepticon 2017 -Drive by

Well we made the annual trip to Adepticon today, about a 90 minute drive from the new digs. I had not planned on going this year, and I was not a badge holder simply a spectator. My kids convinced me to go at the last minute so we made the trip for about 3 hours on-site some shopping, the kids with the take and paint and some catching up with some old friends, then we headed out for some Chicago Pizza before the trip home.

After last year, where I managed to irritate all sorts of people I like very much with my negative criticisms about the event and tournament I played in. I told myself I was taking a year off, after all I had been going to this since 2007, and in the end,  I was glad I decided to make it -even in todays limited capacity so I could keep the streak alive at 11 years running.

I had three 10 year old girls with me, and after after a half hour of wandering around looking at stuff decided to hit Reaper Miniatures, Take and Paint. My older daughter whose painting with me semi regularly now impressed me with blending her own paint with white and doing some one layer highlighting all on her own, with no direction from me (as I off talking to people) while my youngest and their friend did great jobs for minimal experience the had. After painting they all picked up a handful of Bones figures from the shop.

Future Crystal Brush painters at work.

Vendor Hall was pretty great but with the limited time we had I didnt get to do much but it was a great vendor list and I was keeping the budget tight this year. I did pick up a couple boxes at the Osprey Booth ( more on that later) but had bite my lip and walk away from Trenchworx WW2 Vehicles (mainly their 251 half tracks because I wasnt sure how they scaled with my Warlord ones and they looked small. Anyone?) Super impressed by their vehicles thou, great to see them close up.

I was also very impressed with the Firelock Games booth , if you dont know they put out a pretty impressive Pirate Game with Figures , Ships and all last year with a successful Kickstarter.
everything looked great, AND they had box of miscast resin hulls from there ships they were selling off at around half price of the full kit  I was extremely tempted here, as I didnt see anything I couldnt easily fix..but were still just expensive enough that I balked , a little cheaper I probably would bought one, if not two....who knows why as I havent played any Pirates in years...but I still all my Pirates and Terrain and these could be very nice ships, miscast or not.

Blood and Plunder in action.

The Osprey Booth was another stop off for me, considering Both Frostgrave and Rogue Stars are only two games I have played in the last year. I did pick up both the plastic Cultists and Barbarians
these 20 man plastic kits have all kind of uses for me, not just Frostgrave bands but generic troops for any fantasy gaming, plus I really like these kits and they nail the scale where these work with alot of other manufactures I collect. I'm going to do a follow up post on both boxes, as I'd been hesitant to buy these before due to lack of decent pics of the sprues, once I eyeballed them personally I was sold.
Oprey had some nice freebies for customers too, a class act all the I expect to play a Frostgrave game or two coming up.

The Frostgrave table for tonights 10 man game, this I would have liked to play in!

I did catch up with some old friends and Adepticon regulars, but since I was only in the Exhibitor Hall and onsite for about 3 hours. I missed of ton of people I would have like to see.   I was super happy to see Warlord Games and Adepticon corrected about every grievance I had with the Bolt Action Nationals tournament last year, from 8 foot tables, to the excellent lighting in the hall, to I was told all Red vs Blue match ups.  I still have NOT gotten a game of Bolt Action 2nd Ed in yet...I hope to soon,  Overall its Adepticon is big business in the Chicago area, In fact one friend commented to me today, That it is now a totally adequate alternative to Gen Con, I'd add mandatory if you are a miniatures centric hobbyist. I havent even scratched the surface on all the board gaming I saw going on this year  Next year, I am sure I'll be back and playing something, what will have to remain to be seen.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Rogue Stars Official Miniatures. Scale Comps and Review

North Star Rogue Stars Official Figures

Osprey's Rogue Stars has been out since December and following its fan Facebook page and thread over at the Lead Adventure Forum (LAF) the seems to generate a decent initial interest and modest following. Nothing like Frostgrave, but if I remember correctly it took Frostgrave close to the year to build up its momentum.  I'm liking Rogue Stars, the game myself quite a bit and at this point, now that the official errata , quick reference sheets and rosters are all released, its good time to give it try if you have the interest and have not yet.
L-R  North Star, Reaper, North Star, Reaper, North Star, Mantic

I wasn't going to pick up any of official miniatures produced by North Star ( and I believe all sculpted by Mark Copplestone) mainly because the initial reports on the figures people had in hand were not good, even thou painted production figures looked great, pics of miscast figs with tons of bubbles and flash is not somewhere you want to put your time into with metal figures.

Of course there was also the fact the I am swimming in miniatures..while Sci Fi is probably my least crowded genre I've still got lot I wont be using and alot of that has to do with Scale. which prompted the Scale pics.  Reports of bad casts, no scale pics to be found  with other miniatures I use, and that I am have too many miniatures I wasnt going to use already. Didn't exactly bode well for me buying any.

Above line up with  Reaper's popular Nova Corp, 2nd from Left.

After playing the game for a few weeks in my free time, The pics from the rule book started growing on me, and since I basically run a store on ebay selling in its majority all the miniatures I never got around to using or from games I was no longer interested in, my 2017 Miniatures "IN" was only at "2" and my "OUT"  through ebay sales is at around 70 . I figure it was OK to pick up some models.
And I am glad I did!.

Crisp casts, some flash (mainly pour spurs,) no massive mold lines , bubbles of mis shapen or deformed casts, The only downsides for me are cast bases which I hate..(and which as you can see I always cutway) and scale isnt perfect for my uses but damn close.

L-R, North Star, Reaper, North Star, Mantic, North Star, Mantic

Admittedly  I am pretty militant about scale , I  use Reaper's chronoscope line and Mantic's Deadzone figures for my Sci Fi projects as I like what they do, all they all tend to run in the over-sized 28mm category. when you are dealing with Aliens you get a lot more wiggle room with scale variations and while Humans are of course every shape and size imaginable when I put a put a bunch of Hasslefree or Hersey figures up against my Reaper stuff , they dont look to me like cool "Tom Cruise" sized humans they just look weird..

So despite my box of Hasslefree, Hersey and AE bounty Sci Fi figs in the eBay shop pile, I am happy to say North Star's Rogue Stars figures wont be joining them anytime soon. as you can see they fit right in with the figures I use, I dont think some of the bigger aliens could be a bit bigger, but of the 8 figures I bought ,I like them all enough to paint them.

Big Guys, L-R   Mantic's Teraton Shock Trooper, North Star's Turtle Alien, which I wish was bigger, North Star's Lion man Alien , again wish it was a little bigger, but not as big as Super Sized Teraton in Power Armor by Mantic

The figures recently went through a repackaging at North Star. there are selling them in pairs as opposed to single figs , probably to move some of the figs that werent selling, but if what I read is correct they'll all be back for sale tomorrow. In conclusion, I didnt have any problem with these miniatures as far as poor quality and the scale works for me, it was also a quick ship from the UK here to Michigan (about  10 days)  So I have to give them a big thumbs up and call them a great addition to any sci fi collection, especially mine. I am sure I'll pick up a few more  once I make the room.

L-R  Mantic Plague Zombie, North Star,  MPZ, North Star, MPZ

                                 L-R  Mantic's KS super enforcer, North Star, Heresy, North Star, North Star, Hasslefree.                                                              The Hasslefree , and Heresy Figures shown here are much larger compared to most of their own lines. 

All North Star Official Rogue Stars Figures


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