Wednesday, January 28, 2015

My Article on Operation Goodwood

A few months back I submitted an article on "Operation Goodwood" - the largest British tank offensive to date - for publication on Warlord Games' website. I was pleased this morning to see the article featured in their latest newsletter, and even more pleased to see that the editorial staff gussied up my words with some truly excellent pictures, of both the archival photo and minis-based variety.

Have a read if you're so inclined. It's a fascinating little chapter of the Normandy campaign!

Friday, January 23, 2015

A Potpourri for the Challenge

[This was my fourth entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

My painting has slowed a bit over the last couple weeks, but I've got some serious projects looming close on the horizon. In the meantime, please enjoy this modest potpourri that really runs the gamut of small, medium, and large offerings in the 28mm scale...

First up, we have a figure for Hordes, a Titan Gladiator from the Skorne faction. I just got into Warmachine/Hordes last year due to its popularity around my local gaming scene, and I went with the Skorne despite their rather grim and despicable "fluff" because I just couldn't say no to these elephantine Titans.

This is the second such Titan in my collection, and I intend to pick up a couple more this year.

"Here comes trouble."
The banner has been left blank while I decide what sort of sigil to put on it. As my primary caster is Dominar Rasheth, I'm thinking of designing a symbol evocative of Hedonismbot ("I apologize for nothing!"), but that's a project for another day...

For the armor, I wanted to evoke a scarab beetle's shell, and did some layering with purple, gold, and gloss varnish, achieving a result I'm quite pleased with.

Next up is a throwback to my first entry in the Challenge; it's a new-old figure for my Latigo Posse crew for Malifaux. I mentioned in that initial post that I was having trouble sourcing the original Perdita Ortega (and so had used a proxy from Warmachine). Well, I finally tracked down the coveted figure (and for a really good price, no less!), and so I've painted her up.

I know from a couple games played with the proxy figure that Perdita is a pretty formidable foe on the field, and I'm looking forward to seeing this "authentic" figure take her bow soon.

I was tempted to try and add a cigarillo dangling from her lips, but my sculpting skills aren't quite up to snuff to pull off something as tiny as that.

The angle on this shot makes it look like the figure is leaning forward. Weird.
Finally, we have my entry fee for this year's challenge. As the theme is Antiheroes, Rogues, & Ruffians, I knew I'd found my fee figure when I stumbled across "Warfare Wombat" (not to be confused with "Rocket Raccoon," I'm sure) from Bombshell Miniatures.

"I'm an original creation, like Rickey Rouse, or Monald Muck."
I'll cop to being one of those johnny-come-latelys who was unaware of the roguish charms of everyone's favorite talking procyonid until I saw the movie Guardians of the Galaxy, but as this sculpt is clearly based on the comic book version of the character, I painted him accordingly. As this was the entry fee, I made sure to tart him up a bit by popping him onto a custom sci-fi-themed base (courtesy of Secret Weapon), the thickness of which threatens to dwarf the tiny little guy!

The only downside to working on this excellent figure was that I had The Beatles' "Rocky Raccoon" running through my head on a constant loop the whole time I was painting him. (Even now, as I'm writing these words, the tune has burbled back up in my brain!) I used to like that song, but now if I don't hear it again, it'll be too soon...

As I mentioned at the top of the post, I couldn't help but note that the three figures here really run the gamut in terms of size within what is nominally the same scale:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Flogging Some Skorne

I'm in the process of tweaking my Skorne army for Hordes, and that means that I'm unloading a few superfluous units. As is my wont, I painted the figures before deciding I didn't want them after all; my fruitless labor is now your potential bargain!

Intrigued? Head on over to this listing to get a gander at what's on offer.

The cyclops commands it!

Monday, January 12, 2015

28mm Ikko-Ikki for Ronin

[This was my third entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

As promised, here are the foes for my samurai buntai for Ronin, as posted here: the Ikko-Ikki, the sect/movement/uprising that so bedeviled samurai lords of the Sengoku era.

Figures are a mix of Perry and Kingsford. Since this is primarily a band of rabble, there were quite a few more to paint than with the bushi, and even more fabric involved...which meant lots of patterns to hand paint. Nothing for it but to power through, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't relieved to put this project to rest finally.

As with my previous buntai, I mounted the leader figure on a larger base for easy identification. My wife actually designed the list for this buntai, and she made the leader a ronin armed with an arquebus, which gave me the perfect excuse to use this wonderful little Perry tableau of a flunky handing his master a freshly-loaded teppo. I added a pavise screen as well because, hey, it looks cool.

Just as the Matsudaira faction boasted warrior-monk allies, so too do the Ikko-Ikki; in this case, a monk from the Jōgū-ji temple. Japanese monks seemed to have favored two different color palettes with their outfits, so to differentiate this one I painted him in the "not orange" outfit.

I picked up this banner bearer from Kingsford, but ended up doing a scratch-built banner and pole - the original's banner was cast from metal and made the figure too top-heavy, plus the pole bent too easily.

I painted the bearer in the livery of Matsudaira's retainers, thinking he's perhaps a defector. Also, this makes him nicely interchangeable between factions, since, after his victory over the Ikko-Ikki, Matsudaira took this very banner as one of his personal standards! The text is a prayer favored by the Ikko-Ikki: "Renounce this defiled world and attain the Pure Land". (Or such is my understanding, not actually knowing any Japanese...).

Next up is a trio of Ikko-Ikki from Kingsford. I love their looted armor, particularly the fancy (and old-fashioned) samurai helmet one of them is sporting. Clearly these guys know how to pick over a battlefield! They put me in mind of Tahei and Matashichi from Kurosawa's The Hidden Fortress.

Finally, the peasant mob.

Although I gave them screen-printed fabric designs, I kept things relatively low-key: a rustic palette and simple, repeated designs. I expect these fellows to die with grim regularity, but at least they'll look good doing it.

This is my last Ronin project for the foreseeable future. I have half a mind to do a third buntai built using the "koryu" list - that is, unarmored sword masters. The historical Hattori Hanzo was active in Mikawa Province at this time (and was Matsudaira's sometime ally); I could see putting together a band consisting of Hanzo and his students. But that means even more fabric-pattern painting, and that makes my brain hurt too much to contemplate right now...

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

"James Larkins" - My First Proper Foray Into Dioramas

[This figure was submitted to a "Bonus Round" (Riders & Mounts) of the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.]

Around this time last year I finally fulfilled a long-simmering ambition to make use of a certain online genealogy website to do some family history research. Imagine my surprise as I traced my paternal line, the Larkins family, and found out that my direct patrilineal ancestor came over from Ireland as far back as the early 1700s!

Even more of a surprise was that his son, James, served with distinction through nearly the entire course of the American War of Independence, from Brandywine and Valley Forge all the way through to Yorktown, where he received a near-fatal injury that put him out of the war for good.

(On an eerie note, the injury seems to have been of almost the exact same nature as the one that nearly did me in back in 2012 - a severed artery in the upper thigh region.)

James served with the 4th Continental Light Dragoons, one of the few cavalry units in Washington's army. After the war, he returned to civilian life and worked as a tailor until failing eyesight obliged him to apply for a veteran's pension, which he received (and is the reason we know all these details about his life). He named his first-born son (my great-great-great-etc.-uncle - I'm descended from his second-born son) Washington. He was a Patriot through and through.

All of this information came as total news to me and my family; somehow, somewhere along the way, the fact that our ancestor had served with distinction in the American Revolution had become lost to history. So naturally I wanted to do something to memorialize this finding, and just as naturally I turned to the world of miniatures.

I decided to go for 40mm, a scale I've never done before. The figure is from Miniature Service Center's range of 40mm "Trident Design" AWI figures. The figure required a bit of work to get it ready to paint, particularly when it came to the horse. Lots of filling and supplemental green-stuff work.

I've painted the figure of "James" as he might have appeared towards the end of the war, in the early fall of 1781. By this point he was a sergeant in the regiment, though I couldn't find any information regarding insignia of rank in the 4th CLD, so I didn't include any.

I'm quite satisfied with how the figure turned out (I even researched horse coloration of Revolutionary America!), but there's...something more that needs to be done with the base, I think. Since these photos were taken, I've added some fallen autumnal foliage and bracken, but there's a bit of empty space that could use some filling, methinks. Maybe a tree, or a broken Union Jack standard on the ground, or...? I dunno. I'll think it over, and in the meantime this bad boy is up on display in my office.

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