2024: The Year of the Dragon

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2024 (technically, February 10th) begins the Year of the Dragon. That’s a pretty cool name for a year. I, myself, was born in the Year of the Rat. Contain your surprise.

Anyway, this year I thought I would start a new painting challenge: Paint a dragon miniature sometime in 2024. Paint at least one. Paint more than one if you feel the urge. Take as long as you like. You have 366 days to do so. It’s a leap year.

Now, those of you in the know know that I host a painting challenge in May called Monster May(hem), in which the goal is to paint monsters in May. I am a big believer in efficiency. If you paint a dragon in May, it not only counts for the Year of the Dragon, it also counts for Monster May(hem). It’s a win-win. I have several dragon miniatures awaiting paint. Some have been awaiting paint for decades, some for merely a few weeks. I’m not making promises on which dragons or how many dragons I will paint this year. But I promise I will paint at least one, barring unforeseen death.

So, paint a dragon, why don’t ya? I might paint this classic Ral Partha Sandra Garrity sculpt I have had hanging around since 1990.

I may paint the new Epic Encounters Red Dragon I bought as a doorbuster on Miniature Market’s Black Friday sale. I may paint a Reaper dragon (they have a lot of good ones), or an old-school, metal Grenadier miniature. Or maybe I’ll order one of the thousands of 3-D printed dragons available on Etsy. Maybe I’ll paint them all.

Or maybe not. Maybe I’ll paint just one.

Now, lest you think I’m limiting this to “true” dragons, I’m not. Wyverns, hydras, dragon turtles, dragonnes, drakes, pseudodragons; even undead dragons count. Dragons from the Orient are likewise encouraged. I might paint one of those, too.

Just paint a dragon sometime in 2024, an you get to mark the challenge as done.

2024 Resolutions

It’s that time again, when we look back on the past year and look forward towards the next one. Traditionally, it’s the time to review what I’ve accomplished here, and what I plan to do next year.

So, what have I accomplished in 2023? Not much. I’ve painted fewer miniatures this past year than in any year in recent memory. I haven’t played a RPG since March, and have no plans to do so again. My Discord server is a barren, empty wasteland, and don’t get me started on my personal life.

I did write a RPG, run it twice and have two other groups playtest it without my involvement. It seems to be generally well-received, so I should get around to publishing it at some point. That means I need to commission more artwork and learn how to do layout.

So, no big resolutions for 2024, unlike in years past. Rather, I’m going to limit myself a bit. I’m taking inspiration from the many “paint what you’ve got” challenges out there, and I’m planning on doing that all of next year. So, in 2024, I resolve to:

Paint what I’ve got: If I painted one miniature a day for the rest of my life, I would never come close to painting all the unpainted miniatures I have; and as this year’s output can attest, I don’t work anywhere near that fast. So, no new miniature purchases in 2024. Whatever I paint is coming from the pile of shame, and I will not add to it next year.

Read what I’ve got: Although I am an avid (and fast) reader, I have several hundred books I have yet to read, many thousands on my shelves, and I keep buying books as if I’m preparing for a lengthy prison term. In 2024, I’m not buying any new (or used) books. I need to pare down my TBR pile and get rid of the stuff I will never read again. That’s the hardest part. I have a collector’s mentality when it comes to things I love, whether it’s comics, books, miniatures or games (both video and rpgs), and parting is sweet sorrow.(Caveat: I have been on the lookout for certain volumes that regularly sell for stupid prices. If I find one of those at reasonable cost, I’m buying it.)

No new painting challenges: Between Monster May(hem), Forgotten Heroes and the Season of Scenery, I get stretched pretty thin. This past year I also did the “Ogre” challenge in September, where we all painted the same miniature sculpted by friend of the blog Dave Stone; tried (and mostly failed) to paint some Grenadier orcs for Orctober; and hosted Dwarvember last month. I think I’ll limit myself to MM, FH and SoS in 2024, with one exception:

The Year of the Dragon: According to the Chinese zodiac, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, so what better time to paint a dragon miniature? I have several awaiting paint (some for much longer than others). I propose a year-long challenge: paint at least one dragon sometime in 2024, and hey–if you do it in May, you meet the criteria for Year of the Dragon AND Monster May(hem)! Since it’s a 12-month challenge, there’s little in the way of time crunch to consider. I’ll post more about this soon.

Post more often: They say blogging is dead, and I can see why; but I like having a blog, and I like reading the blogs of others. This past year, I posted once in January, twice in March, four times in April, four times in May, four times in June, once in July and August, twice in September, twice in October, three times in November, and (counting this) three times in December. That’s a total of 27 posts, most of them related to painting challenges. That’s really not a lot when you think about it. I enjoyed my deep-dive into Star Frontiers, and my list of my Top-10 RPGs of All Time, and my Crimson Hound parody AARs. I’d like to do more of that kind of thing, considering I’m not painting as often as I used to.

That’s it. A mellow end to 2023. Time to see what I can finish up out of the side pile before the clock strikes midnight on the 1st.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Revenge is a Dish Best Served Two Years Later: A Super Mission Force AAR

The Crimson Hound followed the directions of the Gingerbread Man, arriving at a seemingly-deserted warehouse in the late hours of Christmas Eve. Conveniently for the Crimson Hound, it was located on a bus route, and as luck would have it, the warehouse stored gargoyles for eventual placement atop the corners of Glumengrad buildings. The Crimson Hound perched atop one, silently watching events unfold below.

Someone had cleared most of the warehouse floor and drawn a huge pentagram in red. You didn’t need to be a vampire to recognize the red as blood, but the Crimson Hound was, in fact, a vampire; and he recognized it immediately as blood. The Crimson Hound knew that entagrams drawn on the floor in blood rarely indicated good times ahead. These idiots had no idea what they were doing. The last time Santa summoned Savirax the Unclean, the blasphemous monstrosity almost destroyed the world.

As if on cue, a group of five chanting figures approached the pentagram from the shadows on each side. The group on the left wore purple robes, while the group on the right were dressed in green hoods. The chanting faltered as they saw each other, then stopped altogether.

“What the hell, Bob?” asked one of the purple-clad cultists. “What the fuck are you guys wearing?”

“I thought it was green hoods and grey boiler suits tonight!” one of the green-hooded cultists–probably Bob–exclaimed. “What are YOU wearing?”

“Dude, do you ever check your email? I sent it to you last week! It’s supposed to be purple tonight!” The purple-robed cultist seemed genuinely irate.

“Never got it,” said Bob, reaching for his cell phone.

“Oh, bullshit, Bob!”

“Look!” said Bob, holding up his phone. “Oh, wait…I did get it. It went in my spam folder.”

These guys are fucking idiots, thought the Crimson Hound. Apparently, someone else did, too. “Who gives a shit what you’re wearing?!” came a booming voice from the shadows. “You’re all going to die tonight anyway! Take your places, morons!” With some bitter mumbling and grumbling, the two groups assembled around the pentagram. The group of five green-hooded cultists stood in the center, while a purple-robed cultist took up a position at each point of the star.

What looked like a tall, anthropomorphic rabbit stepped into the light. “Once the Gingerbread Man arrives, we’ll be ready to begin.”

Seemed like as good a time as any. The Crimson Hound dropped from his gargoyle perch. “He’s not going to make it tonight,” said the Crimson Hound, taking a moment to wipe some telltale golden-brown crumbs from around his mouth.

“IT’S…THE CRIMSON HOUND!!!” cried the Easter Bunny, who the Crimson Hound realized was not an actual bunny, just some guy in a dirty rabbit costume.

“Yep,” said the Crimson Hound.

“Aww, man,” said one of the cultists. “I knew we shouldn’t have set up shop in a gargoyle warehouse!. It’s like we were begging for this to happen.”

“That’s right, you ignorant poltroon!” said the Easter Bunny. ” We KNEW he’d show up!” The Easter Bunny turned to the Crimson Hound. “You fell right into our trap! You think you can just get away with killing Santa Claus? Think again, asshole!”

“Let me guess,” said the Crimson Hound. “You were friends?”

“No!” sputtered the Easter Bunny, angrily hopping from foot to foot. “Santa was a fucking prick! But if you think we’re gonna let you set a precedent–“

“We?” asked the Crimson Hound. “Who’s we? You mean these clowns? Do you now how many henchmen I kill in a given week?”

“No, not these imbeciles,” The Easter Bunny laughed.The henchmen were feeling pretty despondent at all these insults, but no one could see their crestfallen looks under their hoods. “I brought other friends, you jerk.” The Easter Bunny gestured to his right, where a massive form lumbered out of the darkness. It was big and orange and carried a rusty scythe in its hands. “Behold the avatar of Halloween, Crimson Hound: The Great Pumpkin!”

“Hello,” said the Great Pumpkin, nodding his massive jack o’ lantern head in greeting.

“‘Hi,” said The Crimson Hound.

“And here,” the Easter Bunny pointed to his left, “representing…um…St. Patrick’s Day is…uh… Finnegan Feeney!” A man stepped out of the shadows. His face was red with burst capillaries and he wore a tam o’ shanter atop his curly grey hair. He held a long, churchwarden pipe in his hand, from which issued a plume of white smoke.

“Jaysis, ’tis himself,” said Finnegan Feeney. “Top o’ the mornin’ to ya, boyo!”

“You gotta be kidding me,” said the Crimson Hound. “Who the actual fuck is this?”

The Easter Bunny looked embarrassed. “Look…Cupid isn’t returning my calls, so no Valentine’s Day avatar. I tried St. Patrick, but he reminded me what you did to St. Nicholas, and said, and I quote, ‘no fucking way’. So, I tried to find a leprechaun, but it turns out they don’t exist. I had to make do with this ridiculously offensive ethnic stereotype. Anyway, I don’t need to explain myself to you, you asshole! Fuck off!”

Finnegan Feeney removed a flask from his breast pocket, because of course he did, and took a swig. “Blimey and begorrah! Let me at him! I’ll fong ya in the arse, laddie-buck!” Finnegan Feeney dropped his flask and his pipe and rolled up his sleeves to his elbows and assumed a fighting stance. “Let’s get this donnybrook started, sunny Jim!”

The Crimson Hound would have rubbed his eyes in exasperated annoyance if he could, but he couldn’t reach them through his goggles. Instead, he broke the fourth wall and addressed me directly. “Really, Piper? This is the best you could come up with, or is Chris Claremont secretly writing this?”

“Don’t break the fourth wall,” I said to the Crimson Hound. “It’s unprofessional.”

“Whatever,” said the Hound. “Next time you talk to Bruno, remind him how much he underutilizes me.”

“Um…ok,” I said

“Now,” said the Crimson Hound, “Let’s get this shit started.”

Scenario: The Easter Bunny has gathered together some other holiday mascots to participate in a ritual to re-summon Savirax the Unclean and bargain for Santa’s life, hoping to exact their revenge upon the Crimson Hound for killing one of their own. He is using a group of 10 willing cultists as sacrifices to fuel the ritual.

Special Rules: One by one, the cultists are pulled into the dimension of Savirax the Unclean to meet their grisly doom. At the beginning of each round, a cultist disappears. When there are no more cultists, Savirax the Unclean appears and…well, we’ll see! That means the Crimson Hound has only 10 rounds to defeat the Easter Bunny before time runs out!

Victory Conditions: The Easter Bunny and his minions must defeat the Crimson Hound and summon Savirax the Unclean. The Crimson Hound must defeat the Easter Bunny and his minions and stop the ritual!

The Red Thirst: Although he’s a “good guy”, the Crimson Hound is, at heart, a bloodsucking vampire. If he defeats a model in melee combat, the Hound may take his next action to feed on the blood of his opponent. This allows him to roll 4D, and for every 2 goals scored, he heals one box of Body box damage as he sucks the poor soul dry. It also has the additional effect of causing fear to any enemy model within 6″, as they look on in horror at the Hound’s monstrous predations. On the following turn, any affected model must win an opposed Psyche roll or be unable to attack the Crimson Hound for one turn. (Note: this is a variation on both the Parasite and Healing minor powers.) This has no effect on the Great Pumpkin, who is a sentient plant and has no blood. If the Crimson Hound feeds on Finnegan Feeney, he gets drunk immediately after his healing roll and is -1D to all rolls for the rest of the game.

Here are my Super Mission Force builds for the characters in this scenario:

The Crimson Hound (Brawler) Major: Scrapper Minor: Melee Specialist, Resistance (Special: Vampire, Cause Fear); Move 7, Body 7, Psyche 6

The Easter Bunny (Brawler) Major: Scrapper, Minor: Melee Specialist, Super-Agility; Move 9, Body 7, Psyche 6

The Great Pumpkin (Wild Card) Minor: Entangle, Massive, Melee Specialist, Reach; Move 8, Body 8, Psyche 6

Finnegan Feeney (Street Level) Minor: Fortune, Tough; Move 6, Body 5, Psyche 5

Turn 1: One of the cultists on the pentagram’s points vanishes (cue Wilhelm scream), drawn into another dimension to be devoured. The Crimson Hound loses initiative. Finnegan Feeney scuffs the ground a few times and charges like a bull with a full head of steam into combat with the Crimson Hound. He inflicts no damage, however, as the Crimson Hound easily swats aside his pathetic punches and smacks him across his big, red nose, dealing 2 Body to the blithering drunkard, stopping him in his tracks and dropping him to 3 Body. The Easter Bunny wastes no time, hopping into combat and winding up. After the dice are tallied, the Easter Bunny wallops the Crimson Hound for 2 Body, dropping him to 5. The Great Pumpkin shuffles forward and ropy vines snake towards the Crimson Hound, trying to hold him fast. The Crimson Hound sees the vines and realizes what The Great Pumpkin is up to. He’s able to avoid the entanglement–for now.

In response, the Crimson Hound attacks Finnegan Feeney, scoring a net 5 Body in damage. Not even Finnegan Feeney’s vaunted Luck o’ the Irish (his Fortune power) is enough to help him. So vicious is the Crimson Hound’s assault, one might think the Crimson Hound (or perhaps the guy writing this) was so offended by the cartoonish stereotype of the Irish that it had to go, immediately. Five Body is 2 more than Finnegan Feeney has, so he is KO’ed!

Turn 2: Another henchman vanishes to the dark ritual (cue Wilhelm scream).

The Crimson Hound gains initiative and turns his attention to the Easter Bunny. His net 3 goals drop the Easter Bunny from 7 Body to 4, and knocks his bunny head askew. The Easter Bunny is a seasoned fighter, though; an even match for the Crimson Hound. He adjusts his bunny head with one hand and uppercuts the Crimson Hound with the other, scoring 2 Body in damage. The Great Pumpkin tries to entangle the Crimson Hound again, and this time he succeeds. The Crimson Hound is now at 3 Body and held firmly in the strong viney grip of the Great Pumpkin! Things aren’t looking good!

Turn 3: Another henchman is dragged to his otherworldly doom (cue Wilhelm scream). The Crimson Hound keeps initiative, and realizes he’s in a tough spot, so he tries to escape the pumpkin vines. Sadly, he fails! He can only helplessly struggle as the Easter Bunny punches him in the breadbasket for 2 more Body, dropping him to 1. But it’s the Great Pumpkin who administers the coup de grace: a vine bearing the rusty scythe shoots out and slashes the Crimson Hound for an additional 4 Body. That’s way more than the Crimson Hound has, and he fails his KO check. The Crimson Hound falls!

The Great Pumpkin shambled over to the Easter Bunny, who stood gloating over the unconscious body of the Crimson Hound. He raised his rusty scythe to finish the job, while the screaming of the cultists continued unabated, as they were taken to their doom one by one.

“No, wait,” said the Easter Bunny. “I have other plans for him.”

The Great Pumpkin lowered the scythe. “But I thought the whole point was to kill him.”

“And we will. By sacrificing him Savirax the Unclean!” The Easter Bunny began to laugh maniacally. Somewhere nearby, another cultist screamed and vanished.

“Right,” said the Great Pumpkin. “Well, you can take it from here, then. If we’re not killing him, I’ve got my wife and three kids to get back to. It’s Christmas.” And with that the Great Pumpkin slithered off, vines trailing behind him like a wedding dress train.

In a few moments, the final cultist was sacrificed. The Crimson Hound began to stir. With a loud, interdimensional pop, Savirax the Unclean appeared in the pentagram’s center. “Who dares summon me?”

“I do, O Great Savirax the Unclean,” said the Easter Bunny.

“Why is some fuckhead in a bunny suit summoning me on Christmas Eve?” asked Savirax the Unclean.

“I wish to bargain with thee, O Great One, for the life of Santa Claus.”

“Santa Claus?” asked Savirax the Unclean. “I ate that guy like…two years ago didn’t I? He’s dead. Not merely dead–he’s really most sincerely dead. You’re too late. Trust me. Hey! Is that the Crimson Hound?”

The Easter Bunny ignored Savirax the Unclean’s question. “But surely you have the power to bring Santa back, Great Savirax the Unclean?!”

“Sure. But why would I do that?” asked Savirax the Unclean. “He was an asshole. Hey, it IS the Crimson Hound! I thought I recognized you, you old rascal! How have you been?”

“Been better,” said the Crimson Hound, holding his guts together. “Yourself?”

The Easter Bunny was getting frustrated. “We conducted the ritual of summoning to offer you the Crimson Hound as a sacrifice. and beseech you to resurrect Santa Claus, O Great Savirax the Unclean!”

Savirax the Unclean appeared to consider the Easter Bunny’s offer. “Offer rejected. I think I’ll just devour you instead. You piss me off..” A pseudopod snaked its way towards the Easter Bunny and plucked him into the air, drawing him towards the gaping, foul maw of Savirax the Unclean.

“But why?” screamed the Easter Bunny. “What have I done to displease you?

“Bob should have read his fucking email,” said Savirax the Unclean. “I prefer the purple robes.” The Easter Bunny let out a final scream as he was swallowed whole.

The Crimson Hound rose unsteadily to his feet. “So, what now? You gonna destroy the world?”

“Nah,” said Savirax the Unclean. “It’s Christmas, you know.? I’d love to catch up; but I’ve got a mug of cocoa and some Johnny Mathis waiting for me back home.”

“Yeah, some other time,” said the Crimson Hound. “Merry Christmas, Savirax the Unclean.”

“Merry Christmas, Crimson Hound. I’m sure we’ll see each other again…maybe next year.” And with a pop, Savirax the Unclean disappeared.

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL! AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!

Run. Run, as Fast as You Can! A Super Mission Force AAR (Kind Of)

The Crimson Hound killed Santa Claus two years ago, and since then, the residents of Glumengrad had continued to celebrate Christmas as if nothing happened. Most of them didn’t believe in Santa Claus anyway, so no one really missed him when he was gone for good. But such a fat, jolly vacuum cannot remain empty long. Someone would try to step into the black, buckled boots of the now deceased St. Nick, and the Crimson Hound made it his business to keep tabs on the main players in town.

Now, it seemed one had made his move: the Gingerbread Man.

The Crimson Hound watched from his perch atop a conveniently-placed gargoyle as the Gingerbread Man directed his henchmen to load up the postal truck with stolen presents. The Crimson Hound wondered what it would be like to receive a present, but no one had ever given the Crimson Hound a gift before. He thought it might be nice to receive new, custom grips for his pistols or a form-fitted Kevlar breastplate, or even a bag of blood he didn’t have to drain from some evildoer. His eyes narrowed behind crimson lenses when he thought about all the disappointed citizens of Glumengrad who would wake up on Christmas morning to nothing under the tree, because of the greed of the Gingerbread Man.

That would not do. The Crimson Hound leaped down from his gargoyle perch, landing atop a stack of extra-large, brightly wrapped gifts. He had no way of knowing what was in the boxes before he jumped, or whether they would support the weight of a muscular man in an armored suit who was dropping from three stories above. They didn’t, but they did break his fall. Loudly.

“Ah, shit,” said the Crimson Hound, emerging from beneath a stack of crushed presents and torn wrapping paper.

“It’s the Crimson Hound!” screamed the Gingerbread Man , in a high, piping voice reminiscent of a cartoon mouse. The Crimson Hound winced. That voice was tough to take. He looked upon the Gingerbread Man’s henchmen with newfound sympathy, until he noticed some of them looked familiar.

“Some of you look familiar,” said the Crimson Hound.

“We used to work for Santa,” one of them said. “We’re the ones left that you didn’t eat, you bloodsucking freak.”

You might think the Crimson Hound would not be hurt by the words of a common thug. But the Crimson Hound has feelings, too. He frowned. “I didn’t actually eat anyone. Just tore open their necks and drank their blood.”

“Never mind that!” said the Gingerbread Man, causing the Crimson Hound to wince anew. “I’m ready for you! Now you will taste the true power of my Candy Cane Lance!”

“Looks like someone’s been tasting it already,” said the Crimson Hound.

“You have to lick it to make it sharp!” said the Gingerbread Man. He gave it a demonstrative lick. “See?”

The Crimson Hound shook his head at how ridiculous his life seemed to become when his creator neglected to produce new Chronicles of the Crimson Hound content on his YouTube channel. “So that’s it’s power? It’s sharp? Ooooooooo. I’m gonna shove that candy cane up your ass, dude.”

“The joke’s on you, Crimson Hound!” giggled the Gingerbread Man. “I’m a sentient cookie! I don’t have an anus!”

“Not yet,” said the Crimson Hound. He smiled.

The Gingerbread Man’s mouth formed a prefect, icing O of surprised horror. “Get him!”

The Crimson Hound leaped upon the henchmen, moving through them like a red wave of death. He struck out left and right. Bones crunched. Teeth shattered. Blood sprayed. In a moment he was the only one left standing.

Game note: This was the single fastest round of Super Mission Force I’ve ever played. The Crimson Hound won initiative and charged the henchmen group, inflicting 4 wounds, dropping 4 henchmen. The remaining henchman responded, but the Crimson Hound’s Reflection power allowed him to do 2 more damage to his attacker, effectively wiping out the entire group in 1 round. Damn.

The Crimson Hound looked around at the crumpled bodies of the Gingerbread Man’s henchmen. “Well, that was surprisingly quick.”

The Gingerbread Man dropped his Candy Cane Lance and turned to flee. “Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Ma–URK!”

The Crimson Hound proved that he could, in fact, catch the Gingerbread Man; and he did, gripping the Gingerbread Man by his throat, or at least where his throat would be if he had a neck. “You were saying?” The Hound bared his fangs. “Time to see what all the fuss is about, Cookie-Puss.”

“WAIT!” choked the Gingerbread Man.

“Nope” said the Hound, opening his mouth.

“WAIT!” begged the Gingerbread Man.

The Hound stopped. “Dude, I already said no.”

“But if you eat me, you’ll never know about the Master Plan!”

The Crimson Hound sighed. He really wanted to eat the Gingerbread Man, because he was hungry and because the Gingerbread Man smelled delicious; but mostly because the Gingerbread Man was really fucking annoying. “OK, I’ll bite,” the Hound said, smiling at his own pun. “What Master Plan?”

“The one to resurrect Santa Claus!”

Dwarvember 2023 Windup

November draws to a close, and with it, my first Dwarvember painting challenge. It was a modest field of participants this year, but some really great submissions, so I certainly can’t complain. For my own efforts, I fell a bit short (Ha! See what I did there?). I planned on painting 3 dwarfs, but only managed 2. Considering they’re the only 2 miniatures I painted all month, I’ll take it as a win.

First, some old-school lead, courtesy of Ral Partha and Bob Olley, circa 1990. This dwarf has some character! Outside of Tolkien, you just don’t see too many dwarfs armed with broadswords; it’s usually hammers or axes or (God forbid) double-bladed axes. Know what I think of ridiculous double-bladed axes?

This look says it all.

Next, a Reaper miniature sculpted by Werner Klocke: Hagar, Dwarven Hero (77482). This one is Bones plastic. He’s also about twice the size of the older Ral Partha sculpt above.

I usually don’t have a hard time with eyes, but painting the eyes on this miniature was pretty challenging. Maybe it’s the shape of the face itself. I just couldn’t get it to look right, so after about six tries, I just said the hell with it. The helmet provides enough overhang that his sockets would be shadowed, anyway.

But what of the others who picked up brush and paint (and in Dave’s case, sculpting medium!) and joined me in this challenge? You remember them, don’t you? What have they done?

  • Snapfit, from Da Green Horde; did Heckarr and Jeckarr, two “dwarfs” from the Orcquest game; something I’ve never personally heard of, but you can’t argue with his results!
  • Mike, a.k.a. Sasquatch, from the @sasquatchminis Instagram account; painted two versions of GW’s iconic White Dwarf himself, one is the original sculpt from the late 70’s, early 80’s; the other is the 30th anniversary edition! (I had that miniature once, but I sold it. Dumb!)
  • Comrade, from Comrade’s Wargames; (submission pending)
  • Dave Stone, from Wargames Terrain Workshop; not only painted a dwarf, he sculpted it first, in true Dave fashion…and it’s none other than ME!!!! Well, not really me, but a great likeness of my avatar, the red-bearded dwarf piper. (In real life, I look nothing like my avatar.) Dave even got the highland bagpipes right, which (believe me) doesn’t always happen among sculptors in our hobby.

Be sure to visit these sites and check out the work of these folks yourself. You won’t be disappointed. I will post the remaining submissions once I get word of them!

Maybe I’ll get to that third dwarf in December…

Dwarvember 2023

Well, for the first inaugural Dwarvember painting challenge, the field appears somewhat sparse. Taking part thus far, we have four painters:

Well, lads, it’s up to us it seems. Although reinforcements are welcome, we can’t rely upon them. Let’s do our best! (Says the guy who had a dismal Orctober…)

Lest anyone wonder if I painted that unit of Black Tree Dwarf Warriors, I did. I just painted them way back in February, 2018, so they don’t count for Dwarvember. Nothing quite so ambitious planned this year, I’m afraid…but I hope to have three Dwarfs done by month’s end.

Let’s get painting beards!

Two Out of Nine Ain’t Bad

Orctober comes to an end and what do I have to show for it? Two orcs.

If you recall, I was intending to paint this entire classic Grenadier Orcs’ Lair set last month. Sadly, I ran out of gas about halfway through and couldn’t get back into gear. The wheels fell off this project of mine, and my motivation engine stalled. I could maybe come up with more vehicular metaphors, but basically I lost interest and gave up.

I did manage to complete two, however: this Orc Captain and the Standard Bearer. If you count the standard (it takes up its own slot in the box), then I painted three.

The problem was the skin tone. I didn’t want to go green; I was looking for a more “Tolkien-esque” orc; so I YouTubed a few videos on how to paint orc skin for the GW LOTR game. I found a few good tutorials that utilize Camoshade, Sepia or Agrax Earthshade washes over an Ivory base, and I used them. The problem is, in the end they all kind of look the same no matter which wash is used. There’s not much variety.

Since orcs aren’t known for being snappy dressers, most of their kit is dull colors as well. This just looks terrible with the pale skin tone I chose, and I couldn’t see past how the models looked in the moment to what they might look like at the end. I got bored and moved on to other things, none of them paint-related.

The remaining seven orcs in the box have all been based and base-coated, and they’re presently sitting on my desk in the side-pile, so maybe I’ll clean them up in December, my traditional side-pile month. Or maybe not.

Anyway, Dwarvember kicks off today, and it’s looking to be a somewhat subdued challenge. I’ll post the official participant list in a few days, just in case more folks want to throw in. If interested, let me know in the comments or email me at angrypiper@angrypiper.com.

Dwarvember is coming!

Next month I am hosting a new painting challenge, featuring my favorite fantasy race of all time, Dwarfs!!!! This intentionally coincides with Movember, the annual men’s health awareness month during which men (and women, I suppose) grow our moustaches to draw attention to men’s health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer, both of which are really shitty things to have; as well as mental health issues, such as depression and suicide, also not fun.

I cannot grow a moustache. I mean, I can; but I won’t. I hate facial hair and I can’t abide growing mine for more than a week before I start to itch abominably. I grew it out for a month once and had dreams of burning it off my face with a blowtorch. These dreams were not nightmares. Dwarves, on the other hand, love facial hair; and I love Dwarves, almost to a disturbing degree. Although I can’t (meaning won’t) grow facial hair, I can definitely paint a dwarf. And so can you!

THE “RULES”: What is Dwarvember? Why, it’s the month you paint Dwarfs (or Dwarves), of course. Any Dwarf will do, he or she doesn’t have to be strictly a fantasy miniature, either. Sci-fi Dwarfs are welcome! So grab your Grymn or Squats or Forge Fathers if you want. Come to think of it, drop by Wargames Terrain Workshop and pick up some Cowboy Dwarfs if you like. They’re cool too! Dwarfs may be any scale and from any manufacturer. I will link to your stuff throughout the month, and (if it’s not there already) add your blog/website/social media to the blogroll on the side! If you don’t have a site of your own and still want to participate, I’ll happily host your pictures here and ensure you get proper attribution!

How many Dwarfs you paint is up to you. The minimum is one, of course; but feel free to do as many as you like. The only caveat is that they get painted sometime in November.

I’m gonna hit the pile of shame and see what I can find…I know I’ve quite a few of the short fellows around here somewhere. Hoping to do at least 3, but may end up doing more than that. Who knows?

As for Orctober, I’ve stalled a bit. Only two of the Grenadier set completed so far, with seven more to go. Will I finish by the end of October? Maybe, maybe not.

If you want to participate in Dwarvember, drop me a line here in the comments!

Orctober 2023 and a NEW challenge on the horizon…

I’ve never really participated in the yearly “Orctober” challenge before, wherein one paints orcs during the month of October. This year I figured I’d give it a shot. I have no idea who is hosting this challenge (I assume there is more than one person), so this isn’t a formal thing for me. I just feel like painting some orcs.

Contrary to what 90% of participants choose to paint, I will not be painting any orcs made by Games Workshop. Although I have a veritable assload of 40K Orks in metal and in plastic (still on the sprue, in most cases), I am choosing to indulge myself in some old-school lead once again.

Behold! One of the first miniature sets I ever purchased, back when I was a wee lad just learning to play Red Box D&D. I painted these guys before, way back in the 80’s, using my tried (and failed) Testor’s enamel paints, which of course looked hideous. I stripped them about 15 years ago, intending to paint them again someday. That someday has arrived.

Pretty sure the date on the bottom is 1981; which fits with the classic gold-box era of Grenadier. No idea who sculpted these, but my money is on Andrew Chernak. Oddly enough, orcs in D&D back then were depicted as the classic, pig-faced variety; but these are more simian in appearance, kind of like the flying monkeys of Oz. Anyway, I like them.

Although, 40+ years later I still have a full set, this fellow lost his axe-head at some point. I gave him a new one from the bitz box.

I figured if I actually posted about my painting goal this month, it might motivate me to, you know, actually DO it. Here’s hoping I break out of this slump!

Also: I’m hoping to host another painting challenge next month in honor of Movember, the month where men everywhere grow their facial hair to support men’s health. Well, men other than me, anyway. I hate facial hair. I cannot grow a beard for longer than two weeks without wanting to claw it off my face. BUT…I do love Dwarfs, and dwarfs love facial hair. Sooooooo…

DWARVEMBER, anyone?

Septemb-ogre

Another month gone, and little to show for it, hobby-wise. My attention has been focused elsewhere lately, which is why you have not seen hide nor hair of me here or on other blogs this month. I’m hoping to get back into rotation soon and maybe even resume some paint -hangs on the Discord server.

This month, a select few elites (including myself) in the hobby community got early access to a bespoke ogre miniature sculpted by Dave Stone over at Wargames Terrain Workshop, created specifically for September’s painting challenge, where we’re all painting the same miniature. Although I’m kidding about the “elites” thing, I am happy to have been part of this challenge, and as the month passed, I realized I’d best get off my ass and start painting. Don’t want to disappoint Dave, after all…

Here is the miniature in question, and man is he lovely (for an ogre). Dave really pulled out the stops on this guy. I like the tusk epaulette and the shields the ogre has used as armor, likely taken from foolish knights who tried to slay him.

I added a few embellishments of my own, using some GW zombie bits, and I took a page out of Roger’s book when I added some bloodstains to the stone axe.

With so much bare skin, some tattoos were in order. I hate free-handing anything because I generally suck at it, so I kept the designs simple. Just a skull on his shoulder, the dags around his navel, and the coloring around the eye.

My iPhone shows all, including the little spot of white that shouldn’t be there. Curses!

If you missed out on this miniature so far, fret not: Dave will be selling him to the rest of the world after this month. Be sure to check out his webstore for this and many other cool miniatures!