Sunday, 26 January 2020

Hades terrain: the underworld awaits

I must say selling miniatures is a tough gig, with pros and cons. Most recently, it's been a weird one:

Pro- good sales, popular ranges, selling out very regularly
Cons - struggle to keep things in stock, very tiring fulfilling lots of orders, less time to sculpt new stuff

All in all, it probably evens out over time. Anyway, while sculpting for production demands zero tolerance for blemish, terrain making is far far more forgiving...

This is either the gateway or the porch to Hades. Early stages and effectively just an undercoat with some colour blocking, washes and minor drybrushing in places. Maybe about 30% of what I determine the painting requirement to be.

The black is going to be water, one of the many rivers of the underworld. The shorelines of which are teeming with lost souls and makeshift tent towns - poor souls awaiting the arrival of their loved ones from the land of the living.

It's hard to make out at the moment but there's a logic to the stonework leading up from the harbour. I intend to give the borders of the trails a bit of colour, perhaps purple or green corpse glow. The pathway tells a bit of a story on the judgement of the soul with some pivot points where a threshold guardian may stand in audience with the recently departed, deciding their fate and ushering them in  certain direction.

This is the first of many boards I'm making, effectively taking the dungeon crawler tile laying concept and scaling it up!

This will be the largest and perhaps central tile (21"/32"). Once I've finishing this one I'll do several smaller sections like an extended shoreline, corridors/chambers, and maybe some elevated platforms.

I've also got some very cool DIY pillars that will be modular, and can be placed anywhere. Speaking of which - the two facades in the first and last picture will act as either scenario focal points or objectives.

I'm slightly bored with the eternal flat terrain board and scatter terrain... I want to do some vertical terrain on a cliff face, or a catacombs of the dead multi level metropolis. Approaching the terrain as a stage or a film set switches your creative thought process, and you think about dramatic angles, backgrounds and lines of sight that frame your miniatures for a heroic composition.

Sunday, 29 December 2019

Christmas books

I tend to avoid miniatures and such on my little amazon christmas list these days. Books are it for the foreseeable future.

It's always a nice surprise too, I'll add 10 or so to the list knowing family will pick from it at random.

The Art of Magic the Gathering series is priceless in my opinion. This year Ravnica came out, and with this I'm up to date with all 7 books published so far. It's not just art though, the text within the books is also substantial in content and quality, a huge amount of world building and storytelling goes into them. It will likely take me a month or two to read through it and enjoy it all.

Osprey Myths and Legends books will be inspiration fodder for future miniature sculpts, and they're all nice tellings and interpretations of the timeless stories. Great little reads with a cup of tea on weekend afternoons.

Frostgrave perilous dark rounds out the Frostgrave collection, I think I'm fully up to date with all the publications now. I've only casually skimmed through it, but it's a neat addition and provides a ton of new gaming opportunities. Solo play, co-op play and also dungeon crawling are discussed - making the entire series (I include Ghost Archipelago and Rangers of Shadow Deep in there) a pretty sizeable, varied and interesting gaming experience... one that really appeals to me.

After a lot of food, booze, and contemplation over the last few days I'm leaving 2019 with a few thoughts:

  • Warhammer Age of Sigmar pales in horrible irrelevance when you experience the worlds of Magic the Gathering. Artwork and fluff are infinitely superior. I played MTG once about 22 years ago, that was it, and I own both Age of Sigmar starter sets. I've not really followed the 'plot' that everyone keeps talking about 'advancing', nor have I purchased any gaming books for it even after flicking through them. I'm therefore picking and choosing miniatures and world building on my own with them.
  • The Renaissance Troll is producing stuff that seems just right for this era. I'm sure it's not just me but when someone creates stuff you also like playing, you automatically feel a kinship and camaraderie - this person likes the same types of games as me, this person has a similar amount of gaming time, this person is probably the same age as me, etc. I look forward to Oathmark coming out in 2020 because it's more than likely going to deliver for mass battles what Frostgrave and Rangers of Shadow deep delivered for small scale skirmish narrative gaming. Combining it all you have the framework for everything from dungeon crawler to mass battles, each with their own campaign system, which I'm sure won't be heard to interlink.
  • There's a wealth of world mythology that's not making it's way to the gaming tables. Were still in the western medieval period on the whole. There's a few little sets and factions I want to sculpt in this realm, but I'm way more interested in designing brand new stuff that's never been seen in miniature form before, or isn't terribly popular at the moment. 
Going into 2020 then, with all that in mind, I've got a few new project I'll be unleashing on the world. I just need to figure out in what order to do them...

Monday, 23 December 2019

LOKE Dungeon Battlemat books

I backed this kickstarter in the summer and the books recently arrived.

Very nice product I'd highly recommend it.

I'll be putting it to good use, there's plenty in it that will work for Greek Mythology dungeon crawling. And also Frostgrave, especially the library and cavern tiles.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Cyclops WIP

Early stages on the sculpt so things are rough and blocky, this cyclops is approximately 45mm in heigh... twice the size of my regular humans.

I'd like to do at least three in different poses but we'll see, winding down for the festive period has given me lots more sculpting time and I want to get through a lot of difference mythology creatures.

In terms of the general anatomy I'm kind of locked in. I went over a variety of styles and approaches, usually making them fat! I wanted it to have a primal almost Neanderthal or gorilla frame, but not to obviously so.

Its about the size of a GW plastic Ogre Kingdom miniature. I see the cyclops as the ogres of the setting.

I'll do fat versions in the future but for now, this is a wild scavenger type, hence the lean physique.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Atheros bolt launcher and Spartan faun archers

These are all prototypes and quick paint jobs.

The spartan faun archers are actually just the Phorox Head sprue from the store stuck onto faun archer dollies, with a few minor alterations here and there.

 The bolt thrower looks good painted up, the wood grain shows up up with a wash but when I do this again I'll cut the grain slightly deeper.

 This is an undead prototype which I'm really happy with! The paint job not so much, I'm planning on repainting this guy, specifically the armour.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Atheros bolt launcher mock up

Here's a mock up of the Atheros bolt launcher.

This was to get a feel for the construction/configuration and also the size.