Well, I did it. I wasn’t always on time, but I managed to get all 12 Dungeons & Dragons character classes painted, along with backstories (mostly), over the course of 2021. I figured I’d do a quick recap with handy-dandy links to review all my characters before my next post, in which I will discuss my 2022 Resolitions and my plans for Dead Dick’s Tavern in the coming year.
While all the core classes are here, I opted only for “classic” D&D fantasy races. Upon looking at these, I see that Humans, Elves, Half-Elves, Halflings, and Half-Orcs are all here. (I can’t believe I somehow forgot to include Gnomes and my favorite fantasy race of all, Dwarves. How’d that happen?) Newer gamers may notice I ignored most of the current races utterly. Thus there are no Aarakocra, Aasimar, Dragonborn, Genasi, Goliaths, Kenku, Kitsune, Tieflings, Tortles, Tabaxi, or fucking Warforged represented here, among others. That’s tough shit. I chose what I chose. The reason for this is simple: I don’t like them.
If you like the abovementioned races and any I didn’t mention, and feel that my exclusion is an injustice and affront, feel free to make or submit your own Character of the Month (see below). I get it. I’m old. I dislike the new stuff. I don’t understand the youth of today. You may even think I’m a racist because I don’t like Harefolk. But, since none of the races above, including Harefolk, actually fucking exist, I’m not too concerned about it.
Anyway, here’s the recap, month by month:
January: Kurn Velden, Cleric (War Priest; Avatars of War) Shortest backstory. I was finding my voice.
4. April: Doval Lakatos, Bard (Rupert Carvolo, Piper of Ord, Privateer Press) Probably my favorite miniature of the year, for obvious, bagpipe-related reasons.
5. May: Darl Mandos, Sorcerer (Del Briarberry, Halfling Wizard: Reaper Miniatures) One of my favorite stories, featuring the dastardly Tom the Winker.
6. June: Berjotr Skaldisson, Barbarian (Barbarian Axeman of Icingstead; Reaper Miniatures) Based loosely on a friend’s character, also a fun story to write.
7. July: Sarapen Moonsilver, Druid (Juliana, Herbalist; Reaper Miniatures) I get the most compliments on this one, probably because of her base.
8. August: Reverend Mother Mara, Paladin (Mother Superior; Reaper Miniatures) I took the inspiration from her backstory from an article I read (in Dragon, I think) about a character who evicted undead from a family manor by posting the eviction notice on her shield and clearing house. Always thought that was fun.
9. Chloe the Rat, Ranger (Vermina, Rat Queen; Reaper Miniatures) My least favorite miniature and backstory. Just didn’t seem to come together for me. YMMV. She was also late.
10. Bak Mai, Monk (Ogre,Wizards of the Coast D&D Silver Anniversary Collection) The backstory wrote itself. I like the miniature, too.
11. Karsa the Unbound, Warlock(Dark Elf Sorceress, Games Workshop) Another late one. Painted on time, but the backstory was a tough slog.
12. Braska Triskelion, Rogue (Deadly Gamesman, Black Scorpion Miniatures) One of the miniatures I’ve owned the longest; I was glad to get him done. Painting black and white is kind of boring and tedious, though.
The biggest challenge I ran into with this…uh…challenge was writing the backstories in time. Sometimes they came pretty easily (Aramise Del’Arco, Bak Mai); others weren’t so easy (Sarapen Moonsilver, Karsa the Unbound). Lucky for me, this isn’t going to be a problem going forward.
Turns out my buddy Tom (who used to have a blog but doesn’t anymore) is going to host this same challenge on Instagram this year. I told him I will take part, of course; but that I am going to use it as an excuse to paint some old-school lead. I will post my submissions here as well, so expect a lot of Grenadier and Ral Partha miniatures to show up at Dead Dick’s Tavern in 2022. The character backstories are a pain in the ass, though, so I’m not going to bother with them. I know this may make some of you sad (which is actually quite flattering), but the time spent on them is a factor; and I just don’t have it.
Anyway, hope this recap allows you to quickly revisit your favorites or check out any you may have missed. New post soon on plans for 2022!
Dead Dick’s Tavern is a sight. Looks like I left the tap dripping, and the scent of stale beer has mingled with the smell of cobbler’s wax, sarcasm and vomit. Looks like someone threw up in the corner. Wasn’t me (this time). I’d say I must have overlooked that on my way out; but TBH I didn’t really feel like dealing with it back then, and I didn’t expect to be gone for over a month. Guess what? It’s still here.
It is nice to be missed, though; and apparently my uncharacteristic absence from the blogosphere was concerning enough that a couple of you reached out. Thanks for that. I am fine, just buried and beset at all sides by real life stuff.
I’m back now, though; with a new Character of the Month. This time, it’s a Warlock.
Put simply, she would not be owned.
Karsa was six when the armies of the human Duke invaded her forest, destroyed her home and enslaved her people. The Duke put most of the elves to death, as he correctly feared they would never stop resisting the yoke of bondage until they were free. Elves were magical, ancient, and quite dangerous; and they live very long indeed. Why take the chance? The children, though; that was another matter. Most were sold into slavery. A few were given as gifts to other nobles. Others died, either from neglect, starvation or from an overwhelming sense of hopelessness. But not Karsa.
Karsa found herself the possession of Melek, a wizard; one who had done the Duke a service once and asked for her as payment. The Duke acquiesced, assuming Melek wanted Karsa for the usual, depraved reasons old, evil men want young girls. But Karsa was spared that much, at least; for whatever dark magics Melek practiced had left him unmanned, if not physically then practically. He had no base interest in her, even as she grew to be uncommonly beautiful, even among a race as known for beauty as the elves. For several years, Melek used her as a mere house servant. She chafed and rebelled as best she could. Each time she did, he made her suffer for it; but in her mind, at least, she was her own master.
Although he used her as such, Melek did not require a servant. His true intentions were quite specific: it was her blood he wanted. The blood of an elven maiden is a powerful arcane reagent; one used in magics and rituals most foul. Melek bled her regularly to obtain it; and, although he could have done so painlessly, he made certain to make it hurt as much as possible, for such was his cruelty. Karsa endured this and all his other petty torments, vowing one day to be rid of the old man one way or another.
Melek was always keen to acquire more power at any cost; thus his experiments and rituals turned from the hermetic, which he found too slow, to the demonic, which promised quick (if costly) reward. In preparation for a grand summoning, Melek bound a lesser demon–a quasit named Raze– to his will. For a time, Raze joined Melek in tormenting Karsa; for Raze had no other diversion when not assisting his master. Like Karsa, he was Melek’s creature and he could not strike back at the wizard directly; but Raze soon formed a plan to free himself from Melek’s control. For that, though, he would need Karsa.
It was quite simple. Melek was to summon Belphegor, Lord of the Pit, to bargain for more power. The circle was drawn. All that was left was to anoint it with Karsa’s blood; freshly acquired; something he would do the following night, at the time of summoning.
If Karsa was no longer a maiden by then, Melek would not likely notice. But Belphegor certainly would.
Raze put the proposition to Karsa. If the summoning ritual was sabotaged, Melek would meet a grisly fate; freeing both Raze and Karsa from the wizard. Although the thought of Raze touching her horrified and revolted her, she would endure that and more to be free. She agreed. “Then, it is done.” said Raze, practically dancing with joy. Karsa prepared herself for the worst, but Raze looked at her with amusement. “Be assured, elf-girl,” the quasit said, “the mere thought of us coupling is as repugnant to me as it is to you. Mercifully this bargain of ours has no need for physical consummation. It is enough that you consented willingly. You are no longer of any use to Melek.”
It may seem that Karsa had made a bad bargain; that with Melek’s death, Raze would be released from bondage. When that occurred, what was to stop him or Belphegor from doing what they wished with her? The grinning demon thought he had hoodwinked her; that the miserable elf-girl knew no better.
But he was very wrong. Karsa was no fool, and she had a plan of her own.
The next night, all went as planned. So intent on his ritual was Melek that he didn’t take the customary pleasure in bleeding Karsa as was his wont, nor did he notice anything different about her that would give him pause. Anointing the circle with her now-tainted blood, Melek summoned forth Belphegor, Lord of the Pit. And he paid dearly for it.
Melek had no time to realize his mistake before the summoning chamber was showered in his own blood. His body died quickly and brutally, consumed in seconds by the ravenous demon lord. His soul, however, was doomed to eternally suffer all the tortures a Lord of the Pit can devise; and those are many indeed. Still, Belphegor was far from sated. Ignoring the cackling quasit, it saw the elf-girl for the first time. But something was wrong. She was not cowering in fear as expected. Rather, she met it’s gaze defiantly, without flinching. She wanted something of Belphegor.
The demon lord was intrigued long enough to stay its hunger. “Ask,” said Belphegor.
“What was Melek’s bargain?” she asked.
“Melek pledged to serve me body and soul until his death, in return for the powers I will bestow. Then, he was to be mine.”
“I will make the same bargain with you as Melek sought. With one provision.”
Belphegor considered. It was free and uncontrolled. There was nothing stopping it from simply devouring the elf girl here and now. In fact, the thought was somewhat appealing. But she would live much longer than that fool Melek would have; and they could do so much together over so many years. In the end, she would be Belphegor’s, too. There seemed no good reason to refuse.
“Name your condition,” it said.
Karsa turned and stared at Raze coldly. The quasit had been watching this exchange with interest, but now realization dawned. In a split second, he remembered every insult, slight and suffering he had inflicted upon Karsa.
“Wait! Raze started to beg.
“Done,” said Belphegor. Then the quasit was no more, his existence utterly obliterated by Belphegor’s will. “You are mine, now, Karsa. Body and soul.” With that, the demon lord disappeared.
Karsa took a deep breath. It would appear she had traded one form of bondage and servitude for another. Why, then did she smile?
Put simply, she would not be owned.
Karsa was no fool. In exchange for great power, she was bound to Belphegor for the next several hundred years, until her death, when she would be eternally at the demon lord’s mercy. That meant she had several hundred years to use the power to find a way to destroy Belphegor, or perhaps some way not to die.
Karsa is a pretty famous miniature: the original Dark Elf Sorceress from Games Workshop, circa 1998 or so. I never played Dark Elves, and I never bought this miniature. Rather, it was a gift to me from a relative who lives in England. She came across it in an estate sale, of all things. It was still in the blister when she sent it over the water to me.
Astute observers may note that once again, I am late for my Character of the Month. Rest assured, Karsa was painted back in November with days to spare, but I had no time to write her backstory before the end of the month. November stretched into December, and here we are. It’s a good thing I don’t miss deadlines like this in my professional life, or I’d be out of a job.
So, what’s to come? Well, I have one more Character of the Month to do before the end of the year; and it’s one of my favorite D&D classes, to boot. Plus, I’m gonna try to do a very special Christmas AAR, just because I haven’t done one in a while. Traditionally, December is my month to clean up the Side Pile; but to be honest I’ve been so busy with other stuff I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that this year.
Oh, and I’m turning 49 soon. Imminently, in fact.
I asked one of my (younger) employees today: “Remember when Amazon only sold books?” Then I asked her, “Remember when Amazon was a rain forest in Brazil?”
Well, it took me long enough, but I finally finished my vampire miniature painted this month in honor of Bryan Scott, a.k.a. Vampifan; a gamer who sadly passed on earlier this year. I chose The Red Duke from Games Workshop, a classic Vampire Counts miniature that I have had since its release in the late 90’s. Had I known Vampifan better (or at all), I probably would have chose something different, i.e. one that looked a bit more like Ingrid Pitt rather than Christopher Lee.
No one tells me anything. I blame Roger.
Anyway, once I got him positioned how I wanted, I gave him another coat of Vallejo black surface primer and did a quick drybrush of Citadel Celestra Grey to underpaint the model and highlight everything I needed to see in order to paint (my eyes ain’t what they used to be). Then I got to work.
Behold the results of my efforts. I have to say, since I started using Instagram and was forced to begin using my iPhone to take pictures, I have noticed that pictures taken with my actual camera really suck in comparison to anything I take with my phone. For some reason, if I try to load my iPhone pictures into WordPress, it doesn’t work. Normally I would blame Roger for this (and everything else); but it’s far more likely that WordPress is to blame.
Please forgive the shitty quality of these pictures, is what I’m saying.
I followed Duncan Rhodes Jr’s GW recipe for vampire skin: Rakarth Flesh base; followed by an Agrax Earthshade wash; highlight with Flayed One Flesh and finally with Pallid Wych Flesh. Of course, the only skin the Duke is showing is his face; but I think it looks suitably vampiric. The armor is a mix of four or five red washes and paints from different manufacturers (please don’t ask me what I used), as well as the same number of gold metallics. The one thing I’m unsure of is the purple…the more I look at it, the more I think it should be black. But I wanted to add a bit of color to the Duke besides red. What do you think?
Speaking of purple, THIS happened while I was in the midst of painting: I spilled my Druchii Violet wash all over the place, because I accidentally swatted the shitty GW flip-top bottle cap and knocked the whole pot over. Fuck you, GW. Between your paints that dry up far too quickly and your fucking stubborn resistance to dropper bottles, I’ve about fucking had it with your planned obsolescence business model. Know what I’ve never accidentally spilled? ANY PAINT IN A FUCKING DROPPER BOTTLE. Like Vallejo. Or Army Painter. Or Reaper. Or any cheap-ass craft paint I can buy at Wal-Mart. All these paints seem to last a hell of a lot longer, too. Coincidence? DOUBT IT.
Sorry. I’ve been drinking.
One thing I am really happy about is using the cape from the Heroclix Hobgoblin. I did this out of necessity, because I somehow lost the Red Duke’s own cape over the years. (Very unlike me. I’m sure it will turn up somewhere.) I think it looks a lot better than his “official” cape would look; and it adds a bit of realism to the motion of the rearing skeletal steed. (Also, it turns out I didn’t need to sculpt any reins, so…yaay me!)
As a small bonus, I also repainted this Horrorclix Nosferatu. Unlike the Red Duke, it took me about 30 minutes in total to rebase and repaint him, so it’s hardly a huge accomplishment. Still, I thought I’d include him in my Vampifan tribute.
True to form, I waited until the last possible minute to post these miniatures. I hope Vampifan would have liked them. It’s Halloween, and if there wasn’t a pandemic, I’d be expecting trick-or-treaters at my door in a few hours; but it’s looking like it’s going to be a quiet night.
Roger from Rantings From Under the Wargames Table has organized a tribute to fellow blogger and miniatures enthusiast, Vampifan (Bryan Scott), who sadly passed away earlier this year. I knew Vampifan from his blog, Vampifan’s World of the Undead, and from Painting Challenges like Zomtober and Forgotten Heroes. We tread the same internet and blog byways, but I can’t recall ever corresponding with him directly. I wish I had. By all accounts, he was a great guy, a veteran gamer generous with his advice and encouragement; a good friend, a real credit to the hobby, and a man who will be missed.
This month, to honor an absent friend, Roger has proposed painting a vampire miniature in lieu of simply raising a glass in Vampifan’s memory (although feel free to do that, too). I’ve got a vampire miniature, so count me in.
The miniature I have chosen is one I have had for about 25 years: The Red Duke, by Games Workshop. I bought him right around the time GW split their Undead army into Vampire Counts and Tomb Kings. I chose to go with (though never played) Vampire Counts; the Red Duke was to be my general.
As you can see, he was primed black some time ago, and 25 years of being knocked around in a box has worn some of that off. He also had a cape at one point, but I seem to have lost it. No matter. This Heroclix Hobgoblin shall donate his. You may recall this particular Heroclix has already donated his left arm to my Nexus Forgotten Heroes submission earlier this year. I’ve also removed his head and cut him off the glider. Waste not, want not.
You never know when you’ll need an empty goblin glider. Ask Norman Osborn how dangerous they can be…
Anyway, I don’t want him to go on a boring cavalry slotta base. I’m going for a more dynamic pose: I want him on a rearing skeletal steed! The billowing cape should help the overall effect. I chose a 60mm round base, then added a 30mm base for height and applied some Magic Sculpt to level everything out.
A bit of green stuff, drilling and test-pinning, and I think I’m ready for a re-prime. I’m going to paint the Duke and the steed separately before fitting them together. It seems I may have to use more of the dreaded green stuff to sculpt some reins, as his new, more dynamic pose doesn’t “sit the saddle” the way it was intended.
At this stage of the game, I’m happy with what I have. It looks like this could be a good-looking miniature when I’m done, if I don’t fuck up the paint job. Fingers crossed!
I smell the blood of an Englishman. Be he alive or be he dead, I’ll grind his bones to make my bread!
Not surprising, really, since I know of at least three Englishmen who frequent Dead Dick’s Tavern. Only too likely one of them would leave their spoor behind. Of course, I would never grind their bones to make bread. That’s just silly.
This is the classic Marauder/Citadel Giant, and he is my “Big ‘Un” for Monster May(hem) this year. This guy came out circa 1989 or so; and for decades he was “the” Warhammer giant; there wasn’t another until well after this one ceased production. I’m pretty sure he was sculpted by one or both of the Perry brothers, but I could be wrong. (Edit: I was wrong. A simple Google search turned up it was sculpted by Aly Morrison. Thanks to Matt and shame on me.) Whoever sculpted him did a great job. (It was Aly Morrison.) I’ve always loved this model. As an Orc and Goblin player back in the day, I always wanted one, but could never lay hands on it.
Then, a few years ago, I bought a miniatures lot off a guy on Craiglist who was getting out of the hobby (which was a pretty aggravating experience, but eventually turned out ok). This giant was in there, assembled and primed white (which I HATE). Back in 2018, when I first decided May was Monster Month (remember when it was called that?) , I put this guy on my desk to paint him. I decided to do my Orc Warlord on Wyvern instead, and there the giant sat until now. Every once in a while, when I squeezed out too much paint, I would dab some on him somewhere. He looked a mess, and I made no progress, always telling myself I’d get him done eventually.
Well, he’s done. Mostly.
About halfway through painting him this month, I noticed he’s incomplete. He’s missing two pieces: a keg which he has slung around his hip (where the rope meets in thie picture above), and a sword that attaches to his other hip. The guy included a huge bag o’bitz in the Craigslist purchase. Guess which two bitz were not there?
I guess it doesn’t look terrible without the keg. And who needs a sword when you can rip a tree out of the ground and swat someone with it? Anyway, I did what I could with him, and I’m pretty happy with the result. I’m most happy that he’s DONE, and I can remove him from my painting desk forthwith.
I know I just said it a few paragraphs ago, but I’ll say it again. I love this model. No computer sculpting or 3D printing here, and no resin or plastic to be found. This model is all metal, and reminds me of a time when transporting your army doubled as a biceps workout. Bring back those days…
Here’s a scale comparison to a Reaper Hill Giant (also all metal, though they make him in Bones now), and an Empire Greatsword. I know the current GW giant is even bigger, but I think this guy is just right.
And that brings Monster May(hem) to a close…or does it? It is currently 7:30 a.m. at Dead Dick’s Tavern. That means there’s still 16 hours or so left in May…and I have two unpainted monsters still sitting on my desk. Can I get one painted before midnight?
Be sure to check out all the other participants. Since last post, Matt painted yet another monster: the cloak fiend, and Dave sculpted and painted a Bantha for some Star Wars gaming! Plus, I forgot to mention Harry painted some unicorns and treekin over on his site, along with his High Elf dragon!
Next month is Forgotten Heroes over at Carrion Crow’s Buffet, and I can’t wait. But for now, there’s still time to paint some monsters!
To finish off Monster Month, I present a monster miniature that is finally seeing paint after almost THIRTY YEARS in my “to-do pile”!
It’s an old Warhammer Orc Shaman on War Wyvern, circa 1990 or thereabouts. I got him on the secondary market sometime in the mid-nineties. Originally, he was to be for use with my Warhammer Fantasy Orc & Goblin Army, but I wanted to use the wyvern as a mount for an army general, Varg Bonebreaka, rather than a shaman (more on this later). Before I could do more than buy the bitz and start the conversion, though, several things happened.
Mounting characters on monsters fell out of favor, if not with the entire WFB community, then certainly with my WFB gaming group. The focus of WFB became more about troops than super, unit-killing characters. A positive change, I would say.
I stopped playing “special characters” in my army, for the same reason as above.
I got distracted by something else. I don’t know what. It could have been a bright spot of reflected light shining onto the wall, for all I know. More likely it was my 40K Mordian Iron Guard.
Eventually, around 2003 or thereabouts, I ceased playing Warhammer and Warhammer 40K altogether. This miniature, along with all my others, languished in storage until around 2010 or so, when I started painting miniatures again.
The mounted shaman miniature is perfectly acceptable, in a “I’m holding two weapons parallel to my body within my frontal plane” kind of way (typical of GW of the time). He just wasn’t all that exciting. For my general, Varg, I decided to use the original Morglum Necksnapper model as the base of the conversion. You can see in the picture below how the original model looked way back when. I intended to mount the shaman on Morglum’s boar, since he wouldn’t be using it. I still haven’t got around to that yet, either.
I purchased all the bitz I needed for the conversion from a GW rep who came by my FLGS in the “Bitz Wagon”. I bought a dwarf casualty for the base, as my Orcs & Goblins often faced off against my friend’s Dwarfs. (Yes, I wanted to irritate him.) I got rid of Morglum’s axes, as I hated how they looked, and replaced one with a double-edged Chaos axe. I decided I was going to give him a long spear in his other hand, as he would be pretty high up on that wyvern and wouldn’t be able to reach his opponents with anything else. For that, I used a lance from an old Skeleton Horsemen box. Finally, I ditched Morglum’s banner poles and replaced them with the back banner from an old Skaven model, Queek Head-Taker.
Then I let him sit there in the Insanity Pile, untouched, for almost 30 years. When Monster Month rolled around, he wasn’t hard to find.
Here are the results. Because of the large amount of conversion on the orc, I needed to paint them separately prior to assembly. This is actually the first time I mounted a model on something to handle it while painting (I usually just hold it between my fingers). The wooden “plant pot” was intended to provide some stability, but it didn’t do much as the model kept falling over whenever I accidentally hit it (which was often). After the third time fixing the spear, I got wise and glued it to this coffee can lid for added stability.
I don’t go in for the double banners on the wyvern’s back, because I think it looks stupid. Also, I suck at making banners. I opted to add some severed heads from an old GW zombie sprue instead.
I couldn’t find the “back end” of the lance pole. It disappeared some time in the last 25+ years or so. Instead I used a piece of plastic rod. I thought it looked kind of boring, so I added this scythe blade from a GW zombie sprue to the end, turning it into a nasty, unique-looking pole-arm.
I drilled a couple of holes in the wyvern’s flank and added some arrows. Monsters, and the generals on them, tend to attract missile fire.
My friend’s Dwarfs, IIRC, were painted in a green color scheme. I decided to paint this dwarf blue to make him really stand out against the grass and under the wyvern’s claw. The broken barrel is from an Army Painter basing kit.
At last, some final pictures of the complete wyvern with the rider. I give you Varg Bonebreaka, a name inscribed forever in the Book of Grudges many times over! WAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!!!!!!
Makes me wish I still played Warhammer.
This model took me longer than I thought to complete, so I’m glad I started when I did. Unfortunately, I still have a few monsters that aren’t quite finished, and the end of Monster Month is nigh! Oh well. Perhaps I will finish them up soon, and post them as an intermission during next month’s Forgotten Heroes challenge!
Just in time for 3 years after the Age of Sigmar destroyed the Warhammer Fantasy universe, I have finally finished my dwarf army. Well, mostly finished. I firmly believe that you can never have enough dwarfs. But for now, I am content.
This was definitely a labor of love. It has been over a decade since I played a game of Warhammer Fantasy, and I have no interest whatsoever in Age of Sigmar. It is unlikely that these stalwart dwarfs will ever see battle, which is a real pity. Nonetheless I did my best to paint them in a manner most glorious, limited only by my shortcomings of painting skill.
Some of these miniatures and units have appeared before on this blog, back when I was zealous enough to think I could complete a project in a reasonable amount of time. Now that the army as a whole is finished (mostly), I decided to present them once again, this time with the rest of the army. My dwarfs are from several different manufacturers. I have no brand loyalty when it comes to good-looking miniatures, and I don’t play in tournaments where “official” miniatures are required. To that I say most vehemently: “Fuck that shit.”
First up, the Thunder from Down Under(ground), my missile troops!
This is the small unit of Thunderers included with the Battle for Skull Pass (BFSP) boxed set. Ten stalwart gunners, led by a Hero (more on him later). I really like these one-piece plastics; even though they’re not poseable, it’s still possible to achieve enough variation with the paint jobs to make them all appear different.
Up next is a group of ten Quarrelers, produced by Mantic. Mantic definitely has a unique look that you either love or hate (I like these guys), but the price can’t be beat. Not as detailed as some of the other manufacturers, but they certainly do the job for rank-and-file troops. These dwarfs could have been build as Ironwatch, which is Mantic’s equivalent of Thunderers, but I chose to give them crossbows rather than rifles because crossbows are cool.
Finally, my favorite unit of missile troops: my Dwarf Gunners, manufactured by Black Tree Designs. Let me be clear: I LOVE BLACK TREE MINIATURES.These guys are all metal, and hearken back to the glory days of GW and Citadel metal miniatures. They have the same “chunky” look to them and the same weight in the hand. They’re priced fairly well, especially since Black Tree seems to have constant 40%-50% off sales going on at any given moment. These guys were a joy to paint, and although 18 is quite a lot of dwarfs for a unit of Thunderers, I really like them!
Next up, the foot troops. First is the small unit of Dwarf Warriors from the Battle for Skull Pass set. Ten dwarfs does not a unit make, IMO, but they’re what I had. They’re positioned behind one of the King’s Wall obstacles, also from the BFSP set. I acquired a few more of these dwarf walls over the years. These warriors are positioned next to a Flame Cannon (more on that later).
Up next, a group of 16 Dwarf Rangers. These guys are GW plastics, and they lack a command group because I couldn’t find a dwarf command group that looks the same as the unit. I’d still like to get one, though…so if anyone has dwarf plastics from this set that could be made into a command group, contact me and let me know. Although they are ubiquitous in Fantasy, especially with Dwarfs, I’ve never been a fan of double-bladed axes (they look dumb to me), so I took the liberty of modifying some of axe-heads by removing one of the blades. I like the way it looks much better. They’re standing next to an old -style GW Dwarf Organ Gun (see below).
A unit of Black Tree Dwarf Warriors. Now this is more like it! A small unit at 18 models, but a solid enough brick on the table. Red is my least favorite color, and I loathe painting yellow, so why I chose this color scheme I couldn’t really tell you. The standard bearer had a miscast axe, so I just clipped it and replaced it with a Mantic hammer head.
This unit is a unit of Black Tree Miners. Note the shiny headlamps and the hammers. I love the look of these guys, and there’s 20 of them, so it’s a decent sized unit. But I’ve decided to use these guys as warriors rather than miners; I am a big proponent of core troops over special or elite choices, and these guys can serve as warriors just as well…
…especially since I already have a unit of Miners. These guys are mix of the GW BFSP miners and a GW miners regiment, for a total of 18. The one-piece BFSP sculpts blend pretty well with the poseable regiment dwarfs. The command group is from the BFSP set, so I was free to make the entire regiment box rank-and-file miners.
These Mantic Shield-Breakers are proxy Hammerers. Since there’s only 10 of them, I figured I would use them as a bodyguard for my army general. To be blunt, I hate half of these miniatures. The ones that have smooshed-down helmets annoy me, as it can’t possibly be that difficult to cast a miniature headless instead. This would give you the option of adding whichever dwarf head you prefer. Any of them would look better than these lazy, one-piece castings. The other dwarfs actually look pretty cool. And once again, the price can’t be beat (I guess you get what you pay for). This was the most recent unit I painted, completing it just last week, even though I bought it at Gen Con in 2012.
Lastly, my elite unit. These are 20 Black Tree Dwarf Ironclads; in other words, proxy Ironbreakers. I love these guys, and they’re pretty much the best dwarf unit you can field. I once had a unit of Savage Orc Boar Boyz charge a unit of my friend’s Ironbreakers, only to get decimated on the charge and routed. That’s right: my unit of Savage Orcs charged the dwarfs and got their asses kicked so hard they ran away; and somehow I rolled so badly that the dwarfs were able to run faster than my boars and cut the entire unit down like ripe wheat. Oh, the humanity.
Next up: the artillery! Here is a standard cannon. Note the crew is being kept well-hydrated by the Dwarf Brewmeister and his team. The cannon is a metal GW piece, the beer guys are from Reaper and serve no purpose other than to look cool.
Another cannon, this time the plastic one from the Battle for Skull Pass boxed set. I’m a fan of the models, especially the Dwarf Engineer. Note the Dwarf bagpiper in the background. He’s from Bob Olley’s Dwarf World line, and he’s playing the only instrument loud enough to be heard over cannon fire. Hell yeah!
Here is a close-up of the old-style dwarf Organ Gun from Games Workshop. I’m pretty sure I have the wrong crew miniatures for this artillery piece (I think these are technically cannon crew), but they came with the gun and I got the whole kit on the secondary market. I like the newer GW model better. In fact, I like the Mantic version better, too…but the spiky front on this one has some charm. Kind of superfluous, though…I mean, wouldn’t the five loaded guns deter a frontal assault just fine without all the spikes?
This trebuchet is from Black Tree Design. You may ask: who needs a stone-thrower when you have cannons? Well, I do. My cannons almost always misfire. I have better luck with rocks. And dwarfs are pretty traditional…rocks have been around forever, and if there is one thing dwarfs have no shortage of, it’s rocks. They served well enough in the past…why change things? Rocks are obviously made for hurling at greenskins or those annoying elves. AS IT SHOULD BE!
Here is a shot of the Flame Cannon, also by Black Tree. Sadly, since I will probably never play this army in a game, I will not be able to see the flame cannon in action. Burning things seems like a lot of fun. Like all my Black Tree dwarf models, I love this gun. As a bonus, here’s another look at the Dwarf Warriors from BFSP.
Confession time: Although love dwarfs, I hate Dwarf Slayers. I think they’re stupid. That’s why I will never field a unit of them. Although GW has made them iconic, I refuse to buy into their bullshit. Nonetheless, one of them came with the BFSP boxed set, so I painted him up. There he is.
And finally, a closeup of my Lords. The army general on the left came with BFSP. I painted him up a couple of years ago as part of Dwarvember, along with those GW warriors and miners. You can see more pictures of him here. On the right is a GW Dwarf Hero. Since he has a cool pistol, I placed with my small unit of Thunderers.
As I said, the army is mostly done. Astute viewers may have noticed bare banner poles on some of my standards. That’s because I suck at freehanding banners, but hopefully I’ll get around to it. Also, the Mantic units do not come with command groups (it’s not necessary for their game, Kings of War), and neither do I have a command group for my Rangers. I’d like to get command groups painted for all my units. Perhaps it’s because I played so much Warhammer Fantasy, but units without command groups look incomplete to me, and are therefore irksome.
I’m just glad I completed this project (mostly) after talking about it for so long. The army may be complete, but I still have plenty of dwarfs to paint. Watch this space soon!
It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Time to jump back in the pool with a piece of terrain I’ve had for about 12-15 years or so. It’s an Imperial bunker I bought for use in Warhammer 40,000.
I have a few pieces of terrain cast from the same material. It feels like solidified Great Stuff (spray insulation), but a bit stronger. Looking closely, I can see it was made by a company called “Epicast”. The “Breeder Bomb” was also one of these pieces. As you can see, the bunker comes apart into 3 pieces, so it’s possible to put miniatures inside the balcony and on the roof.
Anyway, as you can see, it painted up pretty easily. It took me about an hour to apply the craft paint, shade and highlight it, and add some base turf here and there. Here’s what it looks like finished, front and back:
It seems to be a bit high for a bunker, but a bit too small for a fort.
An Ultramarine standard bearer from my first ever 40K army, circa 1994 or so. My marines were primarily beakies from the Rogue Trader boxed set. Guys like this were considered “new” at the time. I remember he retailed for $6.50.
A couple of Imperial Guard (yes, I said Imperial Guard, not Astra Militarium!), a commissar and a Mordian trooper, from my main 40K army, the Mordian IX. The roof has been removed and they’re in the balcony.
Sadly, since I no longer play 40K, it’s unlikely I’ll ever use this piece in a game. Tough to use it for anything else, either, considering that big skull just screams GW. Still, it’s good to get it painted up after all these years.
This week was my birthday, and between that and the general holiday madness it was a challenge to be able to submit anything this time around. But WizarDecember stops for no one until the 31st! So, without further ado, here are the wizards!
First up is Punkrabbitt’s Week TWO submissions, here a little late but welcome nonetheless. You can read all about his Frostgrave warbands over on his blog, Tumbahelada de Punkrabbitt, accessible through the sidebar if so inclined. Up top is the old Citadel wood elf Queen Alarielle, circa late 90’s. Below that is an old Citadel wood elf mage. Together they’re a wizard and apprentice for Frostgrave, respectively.
Punkrabbitt’s week three submission is a conversion of a Reaper Bones miniature. Using an Iron Wind Metals rabbit head, Punkrabbitt converted this wererat to be a bunny-headed wizard for yet another (bunny or Chaost-themed) Frostgrave warband! Awesome!
TMP’s 144artist submitted this Hasslefree female wizard, again for use in…you guessed it…Frostgrave! (I gotta get into this game.) 144artist combined some terrific brushwork with a Micro Arts Studio base and here is the result! I particularly like the blending on the crystal ball and the designs on the hem and back of her robe. Thanks again, 144artist!
These two are from TMP’s CBPill. Up top is an old Celtos Kev White Sculpt that is a new version of CBPill’s Necromancer from an old WarGods of Aegyptus world campaign. (His words, not mine.) And on the bottom is a “wizard-type from the Dark Fable line of Ancient Egyptian minis.” Both look great. I’m considering an Egyptian-themed pulp game in the future, and that guy on the bottom would fit right in. Thanks again, CBPill!!!
Lastly, here is my submission for the week: this RAFM Wizard with Wagon. I’ve always loved the opening scene in the Fellowship of the Ring, when Gandalf rides into Hobbiton in a wagon loaded with fireworks. So I guess it’s no surprise that I went for a Gandalf look when I painted him.
I now wish I painted the goat more of a whitish color. I painted him first, then decided on the Gandalf look, so by the time I painted the wizard it was too late to change the goat around and make my deadline. Although I used different colors, they look a little too similar for my liking. Also, it seems I need to rub off some of the static grass on the side of the base. Ooops.
This is one of those miniatures with a lot of character. I’m not sure what this fellow poking his head out the back is supposed to be, so I just went with a standard “red demon” look.
WizarDecember concludes next week, the day after Christmas! Happy Painting!
The final weekend of Dwarvember has some great submissions! Thanks to all who participated in the painting challenge this month. It’s been a fun time!
Without further ado, here are the dwarfs!
First up once again is TMPs 144artist with some spectacular Mantic dwarf badger riders! I love these miniatures and didn’t even know about them until I received this submission. Great job. Makes me want to buy some!
I remember Grenadier had some cool bear riders back in the day. I’ll have to hunt those down somewhere.
Up next is another familiar Dwarvember participant, TMPs Black Cavalier, with more classic Citadel dwarfs.
and Kimril Giantslayer. Here’s a unit of EM4 Dwarf Shieldbreakers. These look to me like the old Fantasy Warrior dwarfs:
Black Cavalier also found time to finish out his Chaos Dwarf mortar team:
On a side note, Black Cavalier is looking for some dwarf items in trade. I’d paraphrase, but why do that when here’s a direct quote?
“I’m looking to buy a chaos dwarf swivel gun, just the gun, not the crew. Also, I have 2 of the same figures from the chaos dwarf mortar crew(the one I submitted this week), but I don’t have the other mortar crew holding the linstock (the spear thing with the fuse lighter on the end). I’d like to trade my extra unpainted guy with the mortar round for the guy I’m missing.”
Here’s a link to his TMP Marketplace post where you can see the miniatures in question. Thanks for a truly epic submission week, Black Cavalier!
TMPs Balin Shortstuff returns, combining his apparent love of billiards with his love of dwarfs for a truly unique unit of dwarf spearmen! Balin is trying to ID the manufacturer of these figures, so drop him a line if you can ID them. Well done!
Punkrabbit returns returns with more submissions from his Frostgrave dwarf warband!
Top and middle: some dwarf miners and a dwarf slayer from GW’s Battle for Skull Pass. The bottom is an awesome conversion of the cannon crewman from the same set to be used as a dwarf witch lord! You can read all about how punkrabbit returns made his conversion and see more pics on his blog, over in the sidebar! Thanks again!
TMP’s CBPill offers up more Hasslefree Grymn for the challenge.
I love the Grymn, and they’re one of those “wish I had time” projects that plague me. Nice to see someone doing them justice! Thanks, CBPill!
Finally this week, my submissions. I finished up my own unit of miners, some from Battle for Skull Pass, some not.
I used the command group from BfSP, considering I didn’t have much of a choice. Then I built a unit of miners without a command group to bulk out the unit.
The dwarf on the left is from Skull Pass, the one on the right is from a unit box of GW dwarf miners.
Well, that about wraps it up for Dwarvember. Coming next month: WizarDecember! Details to follow soon, so watch this space and get your magic-using miniatures ready!