Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Well, a big Merry Christmas to all my readers!  Thanks for following my Blog this year and for all the comments.

I have just not been able to crank out the paint jobs I wanted this month, but its been for a great reason.  My miniature company Bederken is taking up a lot of my time right now- with a Christmas rush and solid days of sculpting for my January product release.

My new years resolution.  Finish that monster starter set, and paint my existing leadpile to within an inch of its life.  Yes sir, the pledge is every damned figure is going DOWN next year, or my names not Gertrude McPoppinflaps.

I wish all of you a great new year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

HotT upgrade

Last night I managed a marathon session and got four stands converted and based up.  Grabbed some before and after pictures, but a dinner party is cutting into my time right now, so have to just type.

Its been great digging through my reaper lead pile for this- even if I dont get to play, having completed a converted custom army is giving me good vibes.  My love of Reaper battlenuns (I posted previously on my 40k conversions of these) had surfaced again, this time their are being all sexied up as Corrupted Sisters of Seduction!   Slannesh has nothing on these gals.

The fun thing about this army, I am discovering is just how many figures are a slight modification to take their absurb fantasy costumes into dark seducers.  :)   Later!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

HotT Succubus army

Adding some Green stuff to I-KORE celts and Classic Citadel Chaos Thugette
HotT demoness blades stand.  One slap of paint later...

So I have been messing around with a succubus infested Hordes of The Things Army as you may well know, and I have just wrapped up my first stand to try out the look.  After spending some time staring at it, I will then know if I want to go ahead and make a whole army to match.

I don't usually use flock on my bases, as I find its a dust trap and looks tired quickly, but for HotT I liked the idea of little dioramas making up an army.

Now the figure to the right is a Chaos Thug (aka chaos Marauder) from the 1980's Realm of Chaos era.  As you can see from the picture of the green stuff sculpt, I gave her a more feminine look by building up her lips, adding a John Blance-esque bow and extended her hair to hide the eye patch.  I also sculpted on a skull onto her shoulder guard to give her another focal point.  For this conversion I did not to trim back the metal, so the model is unharmed by the process.  Later I can peel off the green stuff and restore her.  I do this to quite a few of my citadel classics if I need them for, say, an AD&D game.

Hordes of the Things!  One of Blue Moons zombie boxed sets
Until I get the chance to build up a succubus force properly, I decided to re-base some Blue Moon zombies for my hordes units.  I speed painted these months ago for an AD&D game.  God Bless Tamiya Clear Red!
I had doubts buying the boxed set- the packaging is so garish and cheap and the sample paint jobs do not really do the figures justice.  I was very pleased when I got them out.  The integral bases are soft and clip away easily, they assemble in interesting ways, and I had the whole lot put together in one night.  I only had to do a little filling, and was happy with the results.  Since then I have picked up a lot more blue moon figures- their villagers are very handy!  I hope some day they shift to slotted bases and better packaging art one day though.  Clashing bright Red on Blue- uhg.

Reaper Bone Caller, Blue Moon Zombies
Summoning my zombies into battle is my sorceress (Reaper Bone Caller)- a wonderful figure that slots right in to my theme.  Here she is just undercoated and given a badab black wash.

I am tempted, since I am putting a bit of effort into making a HotT army, to perhaps sculpt a few succubus chaosettes for my Bederken range!  Semi-Naked demon girls... what's not to like?

A couple of stands made up of Hasslefree Kalee's converted would do great things to the eyeballs too.

Monster Starter Set Dark Elf and warrior maiden

C01 warrior maiden and BC2 Evil Dark Elf Captain (monster starter set)
Two citadel minis tonight.  On the left is the C01- yes, C01warrior maiden- from the very first 'C' series.  Looking at the sketches in the catalog (no photos sadly) the warrior maidens where a seriously nice range of the early citadel figures and I now look forward to hunting them all down.  Of course, now I have pointed you lot at them, I probably have driven bidding up haven't I?
  I forget who the trader was on E-Bay, but he used the line 'yes, you didnt know you had to have her until you saw her'.  He was right.
Like all early citadel she is true 25mm scale, making her look like a little naked teenager next to the later Amazon models.  The fine strap holding on the underwear is missing on one side, I do not know if its a casting fault or a previous owner has tried to trim it off, but for archive sake I left it missing and painted on the line.  Its always a juggling act how much you repair or trim away things on vintage stuff... quite often I leave on some flash in order to preserve the figure.  I am guessing its a perry sculpt, as back then they where the only employees.

So as you can see, after last nights discussion about how to do the darned dark elf, I went with an albino look and kept him white and blue.  I love the monster starter set, and will shortly have them all done and ready to display.  Looking at the squeezed face I would guess its an Aly or Trish Morrison sculpt- purely because its reminiscent of the Talisman elf faces.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twas Brillig...

 Hey folks, welcome to another instalment of Julie/Julia.  This week we take a break from cooking french cuisine and instead focus on old miniature painting.
  Since I started this blog I have fallen in love with restoring these really old figures- the uglier the better.  I have an Asgard she-ogre on the go which is probably the ugliest model ever made- and I am having a lovely time trying to make the paint job sell her as art.  Tough job, as you may see soon.  But kicking off this episode is...

FS6-3 Dungeon Torturess variant
Yes, the brilliantly politically incorrect FS Torture set by citadel featured naked women wot are being tortured like.  Lots of proud giggling tweens in the eighties had these.  Pre-internet we had to get our boobie fix elsewhere.  I think it was either Lee Chinnery or Gareth Parrys elder brother (hello!)  who showed me his 'naked girl on a cross' model back in 1989, and I was instantly hooked on the idea.  Sadly, I missed the boat, as by then Citadel where more politically correct and the figures impossible to find.  I had to wait till I had grey hair to start buying them up- they are very expensive and highly sought collectors items now.  Dammit.

   Less collectable and far less rare seems to be this variant of the whip mistress- from the Fantasy Specials line.  You can frequently snap her up for a couple of bucks from evil-bay.
  One word of advice, with all miniatures from this era you will find the surface very uneven.  A couple of brushes full of watered down Milliput grey-green and a quick sand makes all the difference.  I left the weapon and shield pitted for effect, but you can see just how rough the surface was all over.
  She got a lick of Vallejo model colour paints using thinned layers of model color matte medium tinted with the highlight colors of red, purple and flesh.  I gave her a more Mediterranean skin tone, as she seemed to step straight out of a harem in some Conan adventure.  I glazed a little green into the recesses too.
  Its hard to make out in the photo, but I sculpted a snake slithering on her base between her legs-  this gave an element of Orientalism and danger.  Of course, the between the legs thing is also a metaphor.  I too was an adolescent boy once.

Now, burbling as it came, is the C29 Jabberwock with eyes aflame.  This Lewis Carol homage hailed from the Spring 1985 Citadel Journal.  I have wondered about this figure since I saw his head poking out a moat, devouring zombies in John Blanches fantastic undead diorama.  Getting hold of one was an exciting day for me.  I know, I know.  Sad bastards, line on the left.  Owners of the original Warhammer Fantasy Role Play can find this chap in the bestiary section.  He seemed to be discontinued by the time the 1989 catalog appeared.  I hear rumour there is a standing one too, but have not encountered it.  Probably the Ral Partha one.

I had an hour to spare last night, so knocked this guy out really quickly- simple yellow-green matte medium tinted glazes over a catachan green base, followed by really thin red and turquoise glazes for variety.  The photo doesnt catch the contrast in the yellows sadly- he really pops in real life.  I may sculpt some stuff on his base later on... such as a sign pointing to Tulgey woods or a few gilliam-esque severed limbs.

C29 Young Dragon 'Jabberwock'
Now a confession.  I know I have been promising to finish that monster starter set, but I have been dragging my heels over the Dark Elf.  I don't know why, but I just dislike citadel Dark Elves- especially when they are painted purples and blues.  GURPS Illustrator and awesome Artist Simon Lissaman painted me a great dark elf female for my 21st birthday, and he went with a pale flesh skin tone and green clothes- it looked great- sort of an edgy elf.  However I am torn- since its a classic set, should I go with the classic look... hmmm?

Answers on a postcard... or alternatively, in the comments section below.

Next episode...  more stuff.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Multi basing for HotT

A friend of mine recently invited me to join in their 28mm scale Hordes Of The Things games and it drew me to exploring multi-basing, or diorama units.  The idea had always appealed to me, but in all my years I have yet to stick two figures on one base.  Go figure.
If you haven't tried multibasing, I really suggest giving it a bash.  The moment you place two or more figures on a base, you have relationships, and if you do it right, a narrative.  That's not often possible with one figure alone.  Suddenly, it opens up a whole exploration of what figures go together, how they interact and what does it all mean.  Deep stuff.

WIP.  Two I-KORE amazons and a Citadel Chaos Thug

Pictured above is a quickly assembled test piece for my HotT Army, to see if I liked the look and theme.  Because HotT is very loose and unrestricted with no army lists, I decided to take the opportunity to steer away from mainstream fantasy army choices and do something completely different.    Its going to be made up of evil hot chicks.

My army is going to be a coven of witches and succubi led into battle by a legendary Sorceress, her corrupted heathens, demons, fae, familiars and perverted nuns.  Basically a more Dark Ages or perhaps Conan style take on Slannesh.  Raiding my lead pile has uncovered a LOT of evil hot chicks.  My hordes base options are probably going to be zombies crawling out of swamps... because that's just plain cool.


First off, HotT recommends 20mm deep bases for blades units at 28mm and that just does limit what is possible for modern figures.  To give myself maximum freedom, I went with 30mm instead, so that two ranks forms a square block 60mm x 60mm.  Nice and neat multiples.

After exploring cutting MDF boards, which gave ragged looking to the bases, I tried using double ply plasticard- and this is the method I will be using from here on in.  To cut thick plasticard, you just need to run a blade along it and you can snap it like chocolate cubes.  When you have to make twenty or so bases, this is a blessing.  MDF requires a lot more dedication and patience, and I do not think looks as good.  Once cut, I glued two layers together and filed down the sides for a good, clean sturdy base.

The paint job here is just grey spray, badab black wash followed by matte medium heavy tints of purple, ocre flesh and snow shadow.  Everything else is just washed in blue, until I have time to do proper shading and detailing.  About ten minutes each to get it this far.  Now I can sit back, look at the colors and decide if I am going to dedicate some time to this.  I think the black/blue equipment vs pastel unwell skin colors is the way to go.

A blast of insomnia last night also produced two Slannesh figs...

Original Citadel Daemonette and converted modern Kroot
  Again, the Paint jobs are nothing fancy - just a few matte medium heavy glazes over a grey base, built up over about eight quick passes.
The Kroot demon was made with a simple Tyranid arm swap, blended together with some green stuff at the shoulders.  The head also was converted by slicing two kroot heads in half, and blending the join with a 6:1 mixture of greenstuff and supersculpey.  The sculpey in the mix helps you blend the GS into the plastic- but without effecting the setting.  You don't need to bake it in these proportions.  A nose and tongue was also added.

Insomnia can be useful.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Polish my knob(blar)

Actually its a lizardman, but I love a pun.

Blu-tac to the rescue
Here is a wonderful old Lizardman model I picked up from Ebay.  Blackened with age, its ideal to show off just how good blu-tac is for cleaning tarnish.  I set aside a chunk of tac that I only use for cleaning minis- because you dont want this crap on your wallpaper.  Its not effortless, but the results are great.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Monster Starter Set and other work in progress

Finally had some time to hit both the green stuff and the leadpile. All these are works in progress, but I figure you wont care- nostalgia and miniatures is a potent drug.  Enjoy!

Work In Progress - Citadel C23 Ogre by Jes Goodwin

Jes Goodwins amazing Ogres really set the standard for me- there has not been a single Ogre from Citadel to compare to his range.  I am most of the way through the collection- having landed my rare mutant Ogre and most recently a pair of Skragg The Slaughterers.  I love this range because, much like 50mm figures- you have room to shade and play.  No rush on this one, I plan to take my time and enjoy.

Work in Progress BC2 Monster Starter Set Chaos Warrior and Ogre, and CH2 Mighty Zog Arkwright
The monster starter set continues- here you can see on my bottlecaps the warrior of chaos and the ogre- to be honest one of the worst ogres of the era- but one I have grown to love.  He looks so stiff and characterless to the modern miniature eye- I am guessing an early Aly or Trish Morrison (anyone know?)- since it seems more at home with the Talisman range.
On the right is the one and only Mighty Zog Arkwright- one of the definitive 1980s chaos warriors (Bob Naismith perhaps?).

C06 Dwarf Assasin, C09 Elf,  RuneQuest Troll Mistress Race Troll (RQ3)

There is a particular joy in taking an old figure and painting it up shiney and new- these early Eigthies Pre-Slotta C series miniatures appear only as line drawings in the catalog because photos where expensive to print back then!  The Dwarf assasin was this mornings coffee and cerial paintjob- all of these are works in progress.

I'll be Baak  Tom Miers classic Baakesh Va about to trample a classic Jes Goodwin Citadel mini
Everytime I went to my local Game Store in the 80's (Warlords in Southend- hello!)  I always picked up the Baakesh Va boxed set and put it down due to lack of pocket money and the knowledge that at home there was several examples of why I shouldn't be put near multi-part models.  A snotling pump wagon (pump pile), a Dwarf Gyrocopter and a Manticore- limply held together with Araldite.  Fortunately, not only have Darksword rereleased the model, I now am armed with ninja like pinning skillz.

I just wanted to note that I contacted Darksword about a miscast issue I had and they emailed me back almost immediately offering a full refund.  Great stuff.  However I had already reconstructed the damaged areas, so eager was I after all these years to push on and make this bitch sing for its supper.  If thats a laboured mixed metaphor then I am a monkeys barrels chance in a snowstorm.

Baaks a Tom Miers sculpt, and interestingly he has chosen to change the proportions and pose quite a bit from the Larry Elmore original painting- the head is nearly twice the size, for example.  I am curious as to why- since Tom is such a master of proportion.

This is a great model for master hobbyists to show off- pinning, filling, gap resculpting and rebasing- and at the end look at those wonderful surfaces to paint on.

So also on my slab right now is a bunch of Rogue Trader figures - New kill Team Charlie recruits, a complete chainsaw warrior set (including the timescape one) and of course Bederken Dwergs...  Yes "when they are done" draws ever closer...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I got the black lung pop

Well I have been sick, again.  AGAIN.  I notice the new flu vaccine appeared shortly after a double bout of particularly bad flu was going around.  Coincidence or conspiracy- you decide.

Anyway, feeling better today.  Unlike my last flu, I didnt write any new skirmish rules- I just lay around being all deathly with a machine gun cough because I had no choice.

I just have one work project to clear up and I am back at my sculpting desk.  Yay Bederken.  Then, once they are off to the mould makers I am going to take a holiday.

Still, whilst I have been ill I have received some lovely classic figures- Aly Morrison hobgoblins and a few of Ruglugs armoured orcs.  May have to do an binge paint session to catch up with Thantsants wonderful collection.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


So recently I wrote a skirmish rules system based on the things that annoy me about wargames.  Well, I went ahead and published the .pdf for all of you to give it a playtest if you like...

Its free to download- the price of admission is sending me some feedback on how it went so I know if its worth dedicating a huge chunk of my time to developing.  Just because I have some crazy ideas on what sucks about dice mechanics and the bad habits game designers fall back on, does not mean it directly translates to a fun games experience for all.

Skulldred is maths lite, stripping back all the bullshit like comparison tables, effect result tables and so forth, and instead focuses on getting the very core basics of the game right, so if does not matter if you have a handful of vanilla troops or a freaky warband- everything is on the table, easily remembered, dramatic and fun.

Anyway... love you to give it a go! 

The Zen of Lead pile

Winter is the perfect time for spring cleaning, and there is nothing like digging down through your miniatures workspace and finally seeing what color the table is underneath.

Brown.  Apparently.  Who'da thunk it?

I read an thread recently about a poor soul desparing about how big his backlog of miniatures is, and some guy... get this... said the best thing to do is sell a bunch of them and paint one a day.  Sell them?  I am having a hard time getting through my pile, but its my pile.  I sifted through ebay and lovingly grabbed each damn one.
So, if I do the maths how many years will it take to paint them all?

Who cares.  If your collect miniatures, your a collector.  This... shelf full of little baggies is my lead pile... is my collection, and every little chunk of lead is a beautiful thing.  Yeah, even the Asgard stuff.

Each one represents, at best, a little slice of fantasy- a work of imagination and creativity.  A mini is no less an artful thing- painted or not.
Having dipped my toe into sculpting, I know how much work goes into the original- the mould and the whole damned process.  The models in my collection have been drooled over, bought, painted, played games, lived in boxes (whilst its owner got a life), hit boot sales and finally travelled 12000 miles around the world to get to me.

So if your lead pile is getting you down, don't let it.  Think of your collection as something enhanced by painting- don't think of it as a huge to-do list.  Its still going to be there when you do get some time.  Think of it, perhaps as a menu for your next painting project.

Mind you, if you do take the advice and want to sell them, gimme a look first yeah?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Skirmish rules, what to do?

So I have had flu for a few days, and apart from painting a new banner and blogging, haven't been able to acheive much.  Codene and coffee do not good minis sculptures make- and I certainly don't want to be touching my business accounts with this lack of concentration and a thumping headache.

So in my waking hours I have been laying on the couch- which is next to the wargaming table I posted up a few days ago, and my thoughts have been turning to systems.

 I wrote a draft of simple skirmish game system that you can play when you have the flu.  Or drunk, or terminally stupid- all of which is a good thing in my book, vis-a-vis game systems.  Something that you can dungeon bash with, do small skirmishes and probably 50 miniatures a side battles if you want.

So I am pondering now what I should do with it.

My issue is that it would occupy a similar space to what Andrea has done with his wonderful Songs of Blades and Heroes game series- and I would not want to steal any of his fire- SBH becoming the standard of indie gamers skirmish systems is a good thing in my book.  Just take a look at all the wonderful little warbands people are putting together cheaply and joyfully, and compare that to the mainstream games to see what I mean.

That said, my game (beta name Skullbash) it is a neat little system that some players may enjoy, as it has quite different mechanics to SBH.  You never modify a units target numbers, you only ever add dice to your handful for each strategic bonus, its all out in the open and you tot up the dice before the roll- so it gives you that dramatic 'hangs on a dice roll' feel.  Results can be seen at a glance the moment the dice settle.  No tables.

So what are your thoughts?  Should I bother doing a beta playtest release?  I guess if it is a cheap PDF download or a POD print yourself jobbie then both could coexist nicely.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Mabden wants... Mabden gets.

Remember picking up white dwarf magazine and flicking through it until you hit that mottled green bit- 'coz thats the bit with the cool pictures of miniatures?

Mabdens comment inspired me to make the effort and go full eighties metal.

Much better on the eye, methinks.

Rather than rip art off, which I find deplorable, I took a few minutes to paint a homage to John Blanches Chaos Warrior that has a thing against H's, this time without the helmet, and look, turns out it was ME all along!

Bwa ha ha- die H's.  I mean, bwa a a.


Whats in the box? Smells like the sweet air of freedom.

So every time I am in the city, I tend to pop into a game store and blow a little of my hard earned on some new Reaper figures.  Look, I know I don't need them, and I can stop any time I want.  Its under control.  That?  Oh that pile of unopened Reaper boxes is just my backlog- I will get around to painting those soon.
So I was looking for a way to keep myself from the store, you know, perhaps if I can find something else in the city to interest me I won't keep coming back with those little green blisters, and you know, dear reader, I finally have.  Sorta.

Its called Reaper minis on-line delivery service.

I just got my first box delivered this morning and I can say this- my game store is just about to miss out on all that fat cash, 'caus mate- this is MUCH better value!  With the exchange rate, free UPS shipping and a copy of Casket Works thrown in, I managed to pick up a huge box of figure for the same price as a single store visit.  How much?
Look, that doesn't matter...  look, see- leeeeeaaaadddddd!!!!!

What matters is I no longer have to be asked by the clerk every time I go in the store if I am on the system- (even though be both know the system isn't hooked up and that data is just sitting there), smell that authentic living in the trenches odour of Flames of War players or spend hours riffling through unsorted figure shelves whilst my back is screaming for the sweet release of maybe a sit down and a cup of tea.
  Nor do I have to wonder why the guy never remembers me or that conversation we had only yesterday when I was in the store with a desperate need for Bugbear figures.
  Look.... LOOOK!!  Delivered to my door- a whopping great box, full of even more Battlenuns, ropers, demonic lashers, dire wolves, dire bears, dire straits and lots and lots of women clearly inappropriately dressed for the adventure they are having!


You know, it occurs to me that I may just have a problem.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Songs of Blades and Heroes: Barbarians VS Nasty Orcses.

Flu has put aside any hobby aspirations this weekend, but I do have something to post for you.
Tonight my wife Kathryn soundly destroyed my orc warband at Songs of Blades and Heroes.  Again.
  Its the first game we played in a long while, and it was nice to get to use some of the scenery I made a while ago.   I remembered to take a few snaps on my iphone during the match as you guys would probably like the retro citadel lead.
1980s Barbarians, vs. Orcs.  The Partially painted Perry demon is on the barbarians side.

Boxed set orcs attack!  Monster starter box set orc, Nick Lunds Chronicle Mighty Ugezod Shaman

Felled Forrest:  I finally got to use one of my scenic peices in a game
This piece is made from branches mounted on mdf and blended in using woodflex poly filla.  The root systems are made by soaking twine it it pva glue.  One tip I picked up here- shave the edge of your MDF down to a thin edge- the small 3mm lip is enough to tip a mini over- if you match flocks to your battlemat then the sharper edge means it blends in nicely.

Kat's Reaper Chicks do a victory dance before heading off for mead.
Left to right (Viking Girl, Lorna Huntress, Cavegirl, a converted succubus, Female Pit Fighter and another cave girl- all from modern line available now!)

Monster starter set Orc hangs with One of Golgfags second(?) generation Ogres.

Another closeup showing the nice roots you can get with pva and string.

What I wanted to do with my game board is capture the feeling of the environment I grew up in - dank, mossy, peaty, muddy forrests of oak and chestnut trees.  I have to source some fallen leaf scatter to complete the look.  At some stage I hope to make me some riverbed modules (complete with ducks, swans and perhaps a submerged monster), derelict, overgrown cottages and rotten, creeper covered bridges.

And finally we have a new look here at Kingsminis- based on the old retro ads from 1980s white dwarf- complete with blue faded photo images.  Hope you like!


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Dungeon of Dave photos

Hey folks,  the picture drought is over.  After all, thats really why your all here right?  Inspirational nerdiness.

Well this is some pictures my wonderful wife Kathryn took of my latest hobby project- an old school dungeon tile set.  I always was envious of my mates who had the Games Workshop Dungeon Floorplans and Halls of Horror boxed set, a feeling instantly resurrected on seeing a picture of it in the Heroes for Wargames book.

Modern Reaper Kobolds descend on the Retrodel Dungeoneers!

These prototype boards are made from 3mm MDF board, with very thin resin casts of flagstones on them.  I sculpted a 5x5 square original, then cast it using pinkysil silicone in a lego frame.  I would say for my next batch I would reduce the thickness of the MDF, as these are very chunky.  Satisfying, but chunky!

F4 Mercenary 'nob', a mildly converted AD&D female thief (green stuff added- no damage to original) and a C11 Halfling "Renko"

Finally back on subject, the adventuring party is made up of 1980s Citadel figures - for your shopping pleasure they are... left to right, F4 Mercenary 'nob', a mildly converted AD&D female thief (green stuff fur trims and corset added- no damage to original underneath) and a C11 Halfling "Renko" who has appeared elsewhere in this blog.  You can just see the foot of Fluffy the Chaos Hound in the top left too.

Once I have the basic floor tiles, I am planning to sculpt and cast some suitably chunky doors and arches.  I am not sure I will go as far as making walls yet - my wife keeps giggling at photos of 3D dungeons and saying things like "ooh, what a cute doll house".  Do walls get in the way I wonder?

So I dont know about you, but I am totally disliking the direction of AD&D 4th edition- and after a quick skim through think I may try to bend my DMs arm into playing Pathfinder rules instead.  As far as I am concerned, 4th ed is not Dungeons & Dragons.

I am not alltogether happy with the Reaper Kobolds- the Otherworld ones also do not do it for me - though they are great figures they are not what I have in my head when someone says Kobolds!  I did actually do the textures of all the Kobolds in the video game AD&D Online: Stormreach, by the way.  Something I am very proud of because it was a massive job to do all the different tribes.  Anyway, the modern lizard Kobolds are not what I picture either.  Maybe I might tackle sculpting some Dungeon Critters after my Dwergs line is released!

Cheap dry erase Gaming Board

One of the D&D dungeon boards I tried recently was a home cooked dry erase board and my prototype  works really well.
  I made mine out of 3mm thick MDF because its sturdy enough to take a knocking from players, deep enough to get your fingers under and has the benefit of being able to be lifted and moved with the miniatures still on it. Great for when you walk off the end of one board, and need to place another tile.

Basically grab some 3mm thick MDF and cut it into exact square pieces- small enough to fit in your gaming bag or minis case.  You want this to measure a multiple of your game grid- so something like 10"x10" if your doing D&D scale- or if you use modern lipped 'warmachine' bases- go with a 3cm grid (30x30cm).  I prefer 3 cm myself as it gives minis with outstretched swords a little room.  Less scratching.

The next step is really what sets the board apart- besides the price.  Grab some cheap craft acrylic paints and paint it up to look all dungeon-ey, grassy or ye olde parchment-y.  Whatever.  If your crap at painting, you can spray glue a print out of a textured surface instead.  After you draw your grid on with something like a Sharpie (though I suggest painting on soft grey lines instead so you can see the dry erase lines clearly)- simply laminate the surface using a roll of sticky book cover laminate.  This takes a little practice to get right- but a few air bubbles won't be a problem.

Because the grid is under the laminate, the lines will never rub off.  You also don't have to worry about scoring grid lines- which I can tell you now is a real bitch of a job.

Once I am finished my reversible game board will have cost no more than 20 bucks Australian to make.  For that I got 9 10 x 10 grid double sided dry erase boards.  Nice.

Another handy tip- if you accidentally put permanent marker on a dry erase board, scribble over it with a whiteboard marker.  You should be able to wipe it off.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Stripping paint off minis

I strip my minis using Dettol.  Its safe, easy to use and cheap- and it does an awesome job.  The other bonus is the caps are handy for blue-tac'ing  figures to when you need to handle them.  I simply stuff my figures into old glass coffee jars, top them up with dettol and leave them for a day or two.  You can actually leave them in for a few months with no problem, and its probably a good way to protect them whilst your getting around to painting them.

Do use cheap heavy duty rubber gloves when come to brush off the paint, as the sludge is very sticky andno matter how much you wash, that Dettol smell hangs about.  Enamel paint is a bitch to get off, as it has a high density of color and tends to sludge up your scrubbing brush and leave other figures in the jar tinted- if you get the chance, do these figures in a seperate jar to save scrubbing all your figures like a madman.

Picking needles

After rinsing in warm, soapy water (lead does not rust), the figures are ready for picking over and polishing.  I pick over using a thick sewing needle mounted into an old paintbrush handle with milliput.  Mount your needles so most of it is in the handle, and go for thicker needles - thin, long needles run the risk of snapping and pinging up into your eyes.

Since you don't want to scratch the mini- grind down the tips of my needle a bit.  Also, hold the picker loosely using as little pressure as possible hook out any remaining slivers of paint.  Dont worry about the fine stuff, the next tip will save you all that pain.

Blue Tac Ball of Doom

Take a fresh ball of blu-tac (one that that you WONT be using on your rented appartment walls)and scrunge it into the model, twisting it around like a lemon on a juicer.  You should find that all that crap gathered in the chainmail is now on the blutac, and your model is polished up on the upper surfaces.  Nice trick, huh?
If you have a seriously old model, you may need to consider a dremmel with a soft brush.  Read the warnings and be careful- these are not toys yeah?

I managed to save a seriously deteriorated Death Jester and Ninja recently by neautralising the lead rot using a baking soda solution then creaning away the damage with a dremmel.  I used a mask and gloves for this, as I do not want lead poisoning.  The theory is that acids cause leadrot, and baking soda is alkaline.  Works in theory, but I will let you know in a few years if it worked.  Stay tuned.  :)

Chemical Baths

A highly dangerous manouvre is inducing lead rot by bathing the figure in acid (lemon juice or vinegar), then in baking soda.  THIS IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS.  As I understand it, (I get my facts from TMP) what your doing is basically turning the surface of your model into Sugar of Lead- which is absorbed into the body easily and will give you lead poisoning very quickly indeed.  Apparently it is deliciously sweet.  DONT TASTE IT.  The soda will neutralise the corrosion, and the result, I am told is a shiney as new mini.  Risky, risky, risky.  I would probably consider it to save a $300 ultra rare mini, but I would be throwing away all my gloves and containers if I did.

Smoothing the Surface

So once the figure is stripped down, qite often you will find the surface is a little pocked here and there.  You can smooth this out using Milliput grey/green mixed with water.  Often called milijuice.  Brush it onto the smooth areas, taking care not to get it in any details.  Once very close to dry, give the model a polish and later perhaps a bit of a fine sanding and you should have a silky smooth surface to paint on.  I tend to do this on exposed skin, like barbarians and trolls, and very old models which tend to be quite roughly sculpted.

Prime and forget

If your lead pile is getting mountainous, prime your freshly cleaned figures before storing.  Never store your figures in a wooden or cardboard box- they tend to be mildly acidic.  Disposable chinese food containers are also good for storing unpainted minis.

Doh... not another Devourer
One last tip about stripping is to not leave your big jars of minis so long you forget what is in them and buy more.  I got most doubles that way, and yep, this week discovered three more I had doubled up on.  Tsk.  Bad collector.  No ebay this week for you.

Anyway, this is just a quick post whilst I am having a coffee break.  More proper posts with pictures and everything once my new Bederken minis go off to the moulds.  Please comment- it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and more like posting up pictures   :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dungeon Floorplans

My current exploits in the hobby have been centred around making an old school D&D style dungeon game board and its been quite an interesting adventure.  I have tried all manner of ways of making flagstone floors, from printed and etched, hydrostone, polyfilla, cork, stamped and so forth.
  Tonight I cast my first resin flagstone sheet directly onto 3mm MDF backing, and bingo.  Exactly what I was looking for.  Resin casting is usually not cheap, but the amount you need for a flagstone sheet is tiny- and the silicone mould I made will survive long enough to make at least a seven level dungeon- so really its only about half a bottle of pinkysil and a box kit of resin.
The result is lightweight and sturdy, and it would take me an afternoon to cast up everything I need to make a decent nights gaming table.  Nice.

  My floorplan uses a 3cmx3cm square size, rather than the traditional inch you find with dungeon tiles, as some players have warmachine bases on their minis, and the extra room means models don't rub up against each other.

A couple of discoveries during the journey worth sharing- polyfilla woodflex is absolutely brilliant for making wargames scenery- it does not crack or flake, and gives a rocky texture that wont scratch paint of minis.  Two thumbs up.  The second is that you can harden Balsa wood- which is news to me, and totally opens up a whole new modelling route for me.  Simply paint on superglue, or (or slow set resin) and voila.  Clumbsy, impatient modellers like me can make stuff that doesn't crumble!

Now, to write a set of dungeon rules to go with my new toy!

C'ya nerdlings.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Drop that can of Boing, Perp Judge Anderson

Judge Anderson from the 1980s citadel range.  A charming range with lots of quirk.  I think Aly Morrison was responsible for the majority of figures, I have a photo of him at his desk with Judge Dredd reference art pinned to the wall, and most of the figures have similar cartoonish faces to the Talisman range.
  Experimented with painting neon light colors on her.  Not sure if it worked really.  My wife asked why she was half blue.  Will try the next batch in stronger, more cartoon effect with dark edging.

Asgard Owl Bear

Okay, I have NO idea what went through my mind when I purchased this hunk of lead.  But I like him.  I really like him.  He go boo.

Asgard owlbear

Asgard was the training ground for a lot of infamous Citadel sculptors- though I dont actually know who sculpted this one.  They probably wouldnt be keen to put their hand up either.  However I do have the Dwarfs from the series and they are brilliant.  My fave has to be the Black Dwarf, as he appeared in an article by Aly Morrison in White Dwarf.  I am also keen to grab some of the chaos monsters from that range.

Hope you like him.  He go boo.

Fluffy the Chaos Hound

One of the original 1980's Citadel Chaos Hounds.  This bicephalous mutt  got bundled into the McDeath deal, thus sealing his fate as a collectors item.  This one arrived thick with tarnish and had a cracked tail, however as you can see, he came up quite good in the end.  A few more passes of paint to go.

Chaos Hound "Fluffy"

Unlike some of the Mcdeath figures, Fluffy comes up quite a bit and often sells for under a tenner.  Its a really hefty model, much bigger than the later chaos hounds of the Realm of Chaos Era.  As you can see, he is pretty much a horse.  Perhaps if I get another I may do a mounted conversion.

In the painting by John Blanche, Fluffy has a spiked mace tail.  I was tempted to put one on since the tail was already damaged, however I felt restoration would be better in the end.  Enjoy!

Reaper cuties

This pic is a converted Succubus from Reaper minis.  I resculpted her back to hide the wing joint, so that she could be a human sorceress for my wifes sexy amazon SOBH army.  Fantastic cheesecake curves.on this model and a great expression to boot.

Converted Reaper Succubus

Next up is another Reaper mini- part of a two pack of Cave Girls.  The other figure in the pack is absolutely perfect, very 2000 BC.  This one has a strange, almost comical face with bowled forehead- rather than resculpt it, I simply used a dark colored band of color across the face to help minimise it, and drew the attention to the hip using a tatoo.  I went from disliking the model to finding her rather charming.

Reaper Cave Girl

Basing part 2- a how to guide.

I got asked how I do my bases.  It surprises me cause I think mine are pretty much functional and crappy.  However, your wish is my command.

I went for a classic 1980's finish for my figures based between Phil Lewis and Kevin Adams style.  I wanted robust bases that could withstand gaming, and be dustable.  That ruled soft flock out- which always looks shitty several years down the track as it flakes off and greys with dust.  My color inspiration comes from the sales poster for the Citadel Monster Paint Starter Set- which showed very yellow green grass on Skragg the Slaughterer and his goblin pals.  Nice.


First, prime the tab.  Yes the bonds weaker, as your glueing paint not directly to the model, but I am told it will protect the figure from lead rot- especially if the PVA glue or basing material is acidic.  When gluing a figure together you want the contact points raw for maximum bonding, but when your holding the figure on the base, it does not matter so much.  Leaving a relatively weak bond to the base gives you the option to crack off the old base and refresh it in years to come.  This is why I use more expensive, rubbery putties such as green stuff and procreate to build up bases around the feet and tab, rather than millput- which I often use for sculpting stone and rubble.  Flexable putties are much easier to remove and flex when dropped.  Polyfiller wont- unless you use the wood version- which I suspect is acidic.  Now that stuff is GREAT for doing dungeon tiles with!

I use regular superglue to base the figures.  Once glued on, flip the figure over and either fill the slot with epoxy putty or paint a thick layer of paint over any exposed metal.  Again, this protects the figure from exposure.  Just like a Jedi going after a shape shifter in a bar, you must be extra careful.  Superglue in the eye is a hospital trip you dont want.  When popping the cherry of a new superglue, always turn your head away or wear protective glasses.  If your worried about looking like a wanker, well- sorry to break it to you, YOU COLLECT MINIATURES!  May as well be a safe one.


I use a mix of Bondi Beach, grit from the streets, flock and brushings from my workbench- which often contain metal filings and bits of Bederken Dwerg figures.  This is mixed with PVA glue to make a gloopy concrete.  You can use this mix to make scenery, I refer to it as modellers cement.
Anyway, use a cheap brush to paint the cement onto the base, and then sprinkle fine sand to dry off the surface.  Wipe your brush clean, then use it to dust off any spillage on feet.  An old scalpel blade can be handy to push the goop under the feet.

The grade of sand you use makes a massive difference to the drybrushed- so experiment.

If the slotta holes are really wide, like you get on some precut horse bases nowadays, a little stickytape is all you need to block the hole.  The small gaps dont need to be filled if you use PVA.

Finally I run my thumb around the edge of the base to cut a small ledge around the lip of the surface.  I think it looks nice.


Mushrooms are a MUST for a retro citdadel figure- the old world was FULL of mushrooms and venus flytraps.  I suggest making them in bulk, rather than doing them for every figure directly on the base.  Grab a cork, stab it with wire- bend the ends over to stop the shroom falling off, then whack on your putty.  Leave the stalk long enough so you can drill and glue it in your bases later on.  Check out Kevin Adams wonderful bases from the eighties- he used stippled putty for grass and sculpted plants, skulls, shrooms and flytraps galore.

For painting, I use a thinned wash of black acrylic, overbrush with GW Catcachan green, then finish up with a drybrush of Camo Green.  Washes of brown, red, purple and Dark Angels Green add Frank Frazetta-esque touches of color.

For science fiction I use VMC green-grey washed with 50-50 GW badab black and blue washes.  Gives the thing a 1980s scifi video feel I kinda like.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


So I recently got invited into an D&D campaign for like the first time in decades, and casting around for a mini to play with I settled on a slight conversion of a 1980s Citadel AD&D female theif model.  Hard to find, but rather than damaging the figure I settled on adding layers of greenstuff over the existing model, giving me the freedom to clean it all off once I am done.  More augmenting than converting.
Anyway, for her I used a classic milliput stone finished surface on a round base, and I have to say its far more practical for gaming than my beloved Hex bases with sand.  The dilemma is that now I have a huge collection styled in exactly the same way, do I go a different direction for part of the collection to give a consistent look?  A quandry.

Love to hear your opinions.  Vote below.

Yay- keep rocking the HEX.
Nay- mix it up.

Busy busy

Quite a delay in posting I am afraid Retrodelics- my work life has rudely interrupted my hobby life.  Tsk.
Thanks for the emails.  I have had a few requests and questions.  Lets tackle them.

Q: Can I get a close up of the Monster Starter Set Ogre?
A:  Totally.  I will be posting close ups of the completed monster starter set once I, you know, complete it and stuff.

Q:Good pages for collecting retro citadel.  Well, FROTHERS (FU-UK) has a great 'citadel archive' sticky thread, which is well worth going through every page of.  Take a day off and cruise it with a bottle of fine tequila.  For the definitive AD&D mini collection, google Otherworld minis.  Stuff of Legends is a must have bookmark, as well as the collecting citadel miniatures wiki.  Am I the only one who thinks wiki is a stupid name for something.  Put it in the sin bin with google, blog, skype and twitter.

Q: Whats the best way to find old stuff?
A:  Ebay.  Naturally.  Search result combinations to try are '(1980s, vintage, OOP, rogue trader and rare) + (GW, citadel, warhammer, talisman)'.  Tad obvious, but I am hardly a font of deep wisdom.  Joining the collecting citadel miniatures yahoo list also gives you a headsup on auctions.

Q: How do I stop getting ripped off?
A: Tough one.  Go for quality figure photos, ask if the photo is of the actual model sold if duplicates are listed.  Its almost impossible to tell a good recast from a late line model, but the bottom line is you want a figure thats good quality.  Most recasts you will encounter are gravity fed tin copies made from silicon moulds- very warped, softer details, lost details, inferior metals and a ragged double mould line are the main problems with these.  A clean double mould line is a by product of the manufacturing process at citadel - the putty masters are cast in resin, and from these resin masters the production moulds are made.  Lazy workmanship means the original mould line is not smoothed off, and a double line results.  A ragged double line that digs into the figure denotes a poor silcone mould copy and is definately the work of a pirate.  If you imagine where the two parts of the mould run against the figure you get very thin silcone edges, and these need to be trimmed with sharp scissors or they have a tendency to fold in and cause crappy joins.  Hence the ragged edge.
I have no doubt that some professional casters may be tempted to make proper vulcanised plate spin cast copies and these are often impossible to tell from an original even placed side by side.  Quite often you just have to shrug and say 'close enough'.
  I wouldn't question the integrity of a seller, however you do have a right to return the figure if you are not satisfied with it in most deals.  Remember that some genuine dealers may have picked up fakes in job lots and have not spotted them, so its not part of a conspiracy against you.  Accusing someone of fraud and piracy is a major thing.  Try for a refund, then complain.  Most dealers are in it for the love, its not exactly big money.
That said, a policy of checking frequently to see if the trader keeps getting the same stock back in- its amazing just how many rare rogue trader figures some guys get manage to find every month.
Ultimately dont pay too much for a figure- if you pay more than a modern figure your a nit wit.

Q: I heard someone lost his whole collection to theives.  Do you insure?
A: Yes and no.  I have read a couple of cases of insurance companies not paying out on miniatures, even when Citadel where asked to value the collection.
  Instead I keep most of my collection in cases in a secure storage lockup rather than at home.  I rotate these when I get fed up looking at them, or once I finish painting them.  At most I only ever have about fifty or so figures out at a time.  If I ever was robbed I would only loose a couple of hundred bucks worth.  Sad, but something I could live.  I wouldnt take any more than a case load to a convention.  I don't buy super rare stuff either- so no chicken dragons or Mcdeath sets for me.  All this adds up to a pretty secure collection.
It is actually one of the reasons I am doing this blog- so I can eventually see them all in one place and check which ones I have already when buying online.  Gotta love blogs.

Q: Whats next?
A: Once I claw my free time back I have a huge clean and priming session planned to protect my current batch of exposed metal.  I lost some lovely figures to lead rot recently due to a citrus air spray I was using, (doh) and its gonna be the last time!

Back soon with pictures!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lead getting heavy

Okay, lead pile is getting seriously heavy.

New arrivals include 1980s retrodel juice Sauron The Dark Lord, Chaos Dwarf Marauders, the four classic Elementals, as well as life and death elementals, Ally Morrison hobgoblins and some more zombies.  You can never have too many zeds, right?  Damn straight.

Adding to the pile is a few tasty Reaper peices this month.  I couldnt resist the quaint mole men 3 pack, and also grabbed the cavegirls- all of which I dove straight into painting the minute I got home.  My first Darksword batch is also coming along, though I am seriously disliking the integral bases.  Judging by the new release photos they have not learnt their lesson yet.  A half an hour date with a razor saw is not my idea of fun.  Anyway, three down, two to go.  Beautiful figs, but I am leaning more towards Kev Whites style of figures right now.  Which leads me nicely onto a big box of Hasslefree arriving today.  I am pretty stoked with them all- Oakley, powered armoured libby and a whole team of zombie fighters.  Awesome stuff.  I will have to put these on a backburner, however, as I need to post some more Retrodel soon, coz thats what this blogs all aboot.  Fortunately the hasslefree box contained sprues of metal shields, which will be put to good use on some of my old figures shortly.

My war vs. the Leadpile is going to have to be stepped up in the coming months, otherwise I will just have to stop collecting until I dent it enough to gain its respect again.  Expect to see pics of soft touch figures such as dwarves, orcs and Lords of Battle soon!

If your reading this, you will appreciate Somewhere The Teas Getting Cold...
orcses.  Retrodelicious.

Ciao for now.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Kill team Charlie upgrade

KTC just got a some new recruits this morning thanks to the wonderful world of Ebay.  I am now toying with the idea of going beyond the full set and including a few multiples.  The charging troops will look cool together flanked by heavy lasers.  Perhaps even an imperial robot or dreadnought could come along for the ride.
  Should be fun.
You just know its going to spill out into the full series 2 marines.
Resist.  Resist.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pete Taylor inspired Demon

So here is my Scratch built 'Realm of Chaos era' style Spawn inspired by, and dedicated to, Pete Taylor.  Full bore speed modelling and painting without a seatbelt!
Yeah, yeah, this model is unpolished, rude, crude and you know what, I kinda love him for it.
He was made mainly from scrunched tin foil over wire, covered with a thin layer of green stuff.  The yellows are inspired by John Blanches orange washed yellows from the 1980s, and he is sitting on a dreadnought base.
  Look, to be honest its crap - I wouldn't dream of releasing a figure this bug eyed and unfinished, but he brings a nostalgic smile to my chops everytime I see him.  Buzzbluhhhlrkkk!

 Pete Taylor inspired scratch built spawn.  Tin foil, wire and greenstuff.


Skellies, and using stages

I thought it would be a good time to explain a trick I use to get through my lead pile.  Firstly, pick soft targets.  These are things that dont require much effort to do, such as chainmail clad dwarves, ghosts, snotlings, knights etc.  'Soft touches' or soft targets are the thin edge of the wedge, and having these 'wins' under your belt will help inspire you to keep going.

The next trick I use is kinda implied in the tutorial page on undercoating, but I will explain further.  I paint my models in stages.  The first stage is to clean, prime and preshade my models.  They can now sit on the shelf and be admired- with the preshading you can see all the details clearly.  Alternatively, and I find myself doing this a lot, they can now go into a foam case and into storage- relatively safe from leadrot.  Either way, it can be a ages until you get around to stage two.

Stage two for me is to paint my models to tabletop standard using layered glazes to build up color over my preshading.  Once this is done to an okay standard, I can happily stop, and call it painted.  A zap of varnish and the models are done.
The third stage for me is to then take my tabletop standard models and rework them, using glazes to smooth transitions and add richer colors.  Finer details are painted in, patterns are added, expressions worked at.  I can now do this at my leasure, knowing that worse case I can just strip it.
Now this technique wont win me any Golden Demons- but it does mean my unpainted lead pile does not crush me.

To show you what I mean, check out these skellies I attacked friday afternoon.

1980s Skeletons, Armoured skeletons, Nazgul, Skeleton champion

 This is an example of stage two painting - battle ready.  These are mainly done with preshading glazes, working six figures on a strip.  Bones and chainmail get drybushed and weathering is glazed on.  I used a screwed up, flayed out old brush to dot on rust and chips, and used black and brown washes over most of the model.  Finally, thin bestial brown was washed into armour, simulating water damaged steel.  Not perfect, but I am sure you will agree, ready for battle.  I can consider them 'done for now'.  (I havent done shields for these yet- I have some custom shields planned).

Later, when I have time, I mount a few of the figures individually on bottlecaps for handling, and refine the paint job at leisure.  I focus on no more than three or four at this stage, squeezing the refinement stage in the gaps in my life.  Got ten minutes?  Fix the paint job on that pouch.  Got half an hour free?  Finish off that champions face.  Start with the command and front row of your units, then sneakily rework the back rows when you have time.  Your opponent will only see the sexy PJ's up front!

1980s Lord of The Rings Witch King of Angmar, Undead Chariot champion

This image shows the battle ready job on a sexy witch king of angmar and skeletal champion (horn head, from the chariot boxed set).  These are both entirely done with glazes over a greyscale preshade.  Yep.
I decided to do something different on the Witch King than classic black, so I started layering on rich colors circling blue, then glazed them down to darken them.  If I keep going, I will end up with a rich black effect, with subtle color shining through.  I decided to keep it as it is for now, he is much more interesting this way.

Hornhead is also just glazed down, and really could do with having his little magical discs detailed, he could do with some hard edging and so forth- but for now I can check him off.

Deadites... Sally for...  Sally for... sally forward.

Imperial Space Marines: Kill Team Charlie

If your a fan of this site you would know your Warhammer 4000k: Rogue Trader,  from your Warhammer 40k. The original was Weird, wonderful and- as most of us remember it- rich and full of promise.  It was like 2000ad punk, smashed into the good bits of Tolkien (no poems), presented by Max Headroom (look it up gen y- theres an awesome film you need to see)..
Okay, so the modern child of Rogue took a few interesting turns, but slowly has become a smaller, more restrictive and exclusive universe.  Women marines?  No.  Halfling cooks.  No.  Beastmen troopers.  No.  You cannot wear power armour unless you have implants, you cant do this, you cant do that.  Roll 4, 5 or 6 on a D6.  Oh, I have an invulnerable save on that- check the codex.

So for my next mini project I decided to tackle some of the earliest Warhammer figures in a different way- pushing them away from gothic and towards early eighties science fiction.  I wanted them to be able to walk into an episode of Rogue Trooper or ABC warriors and look the part.  So lets take a look at the figures!

First edition space marine with heavy laser

Now with the first ever 40k figures, you notice the evolution start straight away.  Batch one is prototype, with built on backpacks and absolutely chock full of detail and equipment.  They hit white dwarf before 40k did- although a cryptic ad for a Rogue Trader role playing game was seen on a flyer about that time, we had no idea a new battle game was in the making.  You can spot a first edition marine easily.  Those ball jet thingies on the backpacks point up like exhausts, and there are many more science fiction stylings such as wiring, piping, letters, scanners and laserguns.   Bolters do not yet exist, but a lot of the trappings we have come to know and love are seen in embryo- such as powerfists.  Interestingly, the sergent model hints strongly at the future, with his nazi inspired skull eagle and skull emblems.  A cool touch to this model is that he has a helmet hanging from his waist, from which dangles the middle breathing pipe.  It gives the model a very visceral, pragmatic feel- especially when you notice his helmet is modified to make room for his cyborg eye.

First edition marines

I decided the best way to exaggerate the science fiction feel of these characters was to pick a totally new scheme based on the colors common in science fiction at that time.  In the late seventies and early eighties Orange, White, Black and Beige where the future.  Take a look at Star Wars, Buck Rogers, Disneys The Black Hole, BattleStar Gallactica, Robotech- you name it.  White, Black, Beige and Orange.  Thats why commodore 64's where that awful monkey shit beige.  It was proper high tech.
I found VMC medium grey was a perfect offwhite beige with a slight warm note.  Citadel Blazing Orange would counter this nicely, once thinned and glazed over the beige.  I wanted my troops to be dirty, but not rusty- this is futuristic plexisteel or ceramite- not iron.  They have been in toxic environs, been blasted with lasers and space dust.  VMC ocre and green-grey dirtying up the palette nicely.
For the bases, I was considering round, however a glance through Heroes for Wargames, all the 40k models where on hex bases too- fortunately I have bags and bags of them.  Easy choice.  I also decided to give the base a moon dust feel, keeping with the science fiction angle.

So after taking these pictures I got most of the way through six marines, including the limited edition power armoured marine released about the same time.  I am calling them Kill team Charlie now, for some reason.

Hope you likey.

Chaos Knights and Warriors

As promised, here are pictures of my work in progress on the old chaos knights and warriors ranges.

Its interesting to see the lineage in these lines- the first and second miniatures are actually variants- with the first being a slotta based model.  The head of the second reappears elsewhere in the later range too.
The fourth mini shown came to me in a collection marked 'old D&D models', and I had trouble identifying him at first, as he was painted as a traditional templar.  After I cleaned the paint off, I noticed the skull face weakly etched on his mask and started sniffing in the chaos section of Solegends.  Yep.  There he is.  It was nice, he came in a vintage matchbox wrapped in cotton.  The acids in paper cause leadrot, so I expect this guy to start dissolving in years to come because of this.  However I did give him a dettol bath, rinsed in demineralised water and scrubbed him hard with bluetac and a soft dremel to help prevent this.  Time will tell.  When you restore really old figures be sure to seal the slot hole using paint.  If you spray varnish, give the underside a blast too.

Early Chaos Knights and Warriors

A pleasant surprise was the succubus on the shield, which I did not notice until I was half way through painting this batch.  A bit worn off, but a little paint magic to exaggerate the masses and she popped right out again.

So love to hear your comments before I finish these up-  do you think this scheme is working, or should I go back to a more traditional red and black 'evil' painting style?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Very happy this morning, because the comments posted on my last article reflect the calibre of reader I am getting through here.  I hope to keep you all stimulated!

With Mabdens point about the "secretive and mysterious" days- there was a journey of discovery- and a magic to it all.  Especially growing up sandwiched between the drab, bland suburbia of Thatcher's England and the rich, anarchic magic of the worlds found in UK comics (2000ad, Eagle), Terry Pratchet, Fighting Fantasy and White Dwarf (I drew up on a farm surrounded by urban developments, so I had forrests and dark places to fuel my imagination- I was very lucky).
  Funnily enough, the nearest analogy to how the miniature hobby felt was almost like dungeoneering.  There was treasure caves, and magical books and secret tricks and arcane lore.  You where all working in the dark, and occasionally you met a dwarf.  No, wait... hang on, lots my train of thought there.
Lead Mountain also hit the nail on the head (I get a good class of reader)- without Ebay (and I suppose improved international postage systems) I can now have the exact models I couldn't find no matter how hard I dungeoneered through the maze of game shops, magazines, journals and friends collections and bitz boxes.

Another interesting thing is that recently I saw a fascinating speech by an old, well respected Australian media man, who said that modern media like chatrooms means like minded people flock together, reinforcing their mindsets because the worlds they choose to inhabit are all alike- and every point of view they encounter helps crystalise their own.  He said he was trapped in Russia during the height of communism and noticed his friends daughters room was full of contraband rock and roll stuff.  He realised then that people will seek out what inspires them and reinforces their world view.
Well, all that stuff aside- this blogs about finding that magic again and crapping on about it- because, thanks to technology we can!

Okay, so thats enough high brow stuff.  Lets talk Lead!

Last night I attacked the lead pile and took a huge painting chunk out of the original Chaos Knights I posted a few days ago.  Although tempted to do a fresh take on some of the work from Heroes for Wargames, I decided I was sick of painting red schemes and looked for something more interesting.  I wanted the figures to exists before the pre-defined Chaos gods, so by using both Nurgles greens and Tzeenches purple-blue domains together in a very muted palette circling around a green-brown from VMC I just aquired and my current color darling, Hawk Turquoise I should come up with something interesting.

Pics shortly!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Gold to Golden Age

You know whats really weird about vintage figure collecting?...  well, actually there is a lot weird about the whole thing I suppose... but whats really weird is that they are so much cheaper than modern figures.
Take my chaos collection.  Right now, if I remounted them onto the legal square bases, I could field a pretty impressive Warhammer army.  Toting up what I payed for it, even with the harder to collect figures and I would still have paid less than buying modern figures.  Would it be technically tournament legal?  I would guess yes, its entirely Citadel figures.  After all, at Cancon there where some lovely Skaven armies still comprised of Jes Goodwin sculpts- and why wouldn't you?

So on that note, lets talk about how GW is currently stimulating the new golden age of miniatures.  Through White Dwarf, new kids are being drawn into the hobby and loving it.  Soon they start to look outside the GW stores for cheaper alternatives, and in this search they discover that there are not only alternatives, but a whole rich world of miniature outside the GW products.

  This coincides with the internet finally giving small mini companies what they need to get started- connectivity.  Sculptors can connect to casters, publishers with artists and most importantly customers to online stores.  I dont think there has ever been such a range of figures open to you at any given moment, and it only takes a few hours of browsing to not only put together a squad of interesting models and conversion parts, but also get all the instructions, tips and tricks you need to make them look good.  Compare this to the 80's when small ads in Dragon magazine, Warlock and White Dwarf where pretty much it for independants- and sending away 20p with a stamped addressed envelope to get a photocopy of some hand drawn interpretations of what figures where for sale was your browsing method.

Golden age.

Pete Taylor Gallery

 At the height of Realm Of Chaos Madness, converted chaos figures where the in thing, and towering over all of us was one mans work.  Colorful, insane and irreverant, Pete Taylor blew my mind.  Recently I sculpted a creature inspired by a vague memory I had of a yellow, bug eyed demon he sculpted, and it got me hunting around the internet for pictures of his work.  Sadly, that search threw up no results, until his gallery appeared on the Stuff Of Legends gallery.

Retrodel yay!

Pete Taylor Gallery

Now if your new to his stuff, I bet your thinking 'what the f...?' - but back then converting was hard, and scratch building was no where near as easy as it is now.  Pete Taylor was knocking out swarms of freaks and painting them super quick.  Hordes.  And every one fascinating.  In a white dwarf article about his conversions (if you know which one lets hear it from you!), he used stuff called blu-strip. Now in those days Green Stuff was something the regular public couldn't get- all we had was milliput (pastey, crumbly) and tamiya putty (seriously expensive in those days).  Blu-strip has similar properties to greenstuff- sculpting memory.  I lucked into finding some that week and tried it.  After three days of poking the monster I made using Kev Adams white dwarf recommended sculpting tool (a sharpened cocktail stick), I figured it didnt work- you see, I was expecting it to set hard- like milliput.  Still, twenty years later and I would my hand of kneadatite- so it all worked out in the end.

Oh, and if your reading, you legend Pete.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Bederken Blog

If you like the quirkiness of old school figures, or are a fan of my video game design work you may be pleased to hear I have jumped into the minis business.  Currently, you can read all about it at

The first figures in the range are the evil little Dwergs- twisted by evil magics, these freakish little critters gnaw on gnee bones.  They will be available from my site cast in lovely old school lead alloy shortly.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cool Lead: Whats rocking my boat right now

Here are some recent additions to collection outside the realm of the 1980s that I am loving right now.

Bloat Thrall, modern EE, Reaper, Grenadier (now Mirliton), hasslefree and more Reaper

First up is the Bloat Thrall from Warmachine.  I am slowly assembling what could be considered a Cryx force, but this is merely a biproduct of how much the figures rock the eyeballs, rather than an urge to play Warmachine.  I grabbed this figure because it is just a huge open canvas waiting for tasty blending.  Ok, so it looks good and will paint well- what are the drawbacks?  Well, the weight Vs. leg strength is a big issue- I suggest drilling double pins into the joints and using a tough pin such as a sewing needle (be extremely careful cutting sewing needles- use goggles and hold a peice of rag or plastic over the pin as you cut to stop it flying off).  Even then, you are faced with a chunk of metal resting on four thin legs.  The lipped base and weight combine to make this hard to pick up, so my advice would be to slather it in layers and layers of gloss varnish so you can pick it up by the body during a game.  Drop this one at your peril!

Next up, surprise, surprise is some modern Citadel.  Yes, I know, I know, but these are actually rather good.  Bemoaning the fact that on the whole quality has dropped massively since the 80's, doesnt completely cut it, as you still have gems like these being produced.  These two are Jules Le Jongleur (Brettonia collectors series) and Countess Marianna Chevaux (Mordheim range).  Mordheim currently holds some of the more interesting quirky figures in the modern range, including the brilliant Frenzied Mob.  It sits right in with travelling players and villagers from the 80's.  Brilliant stuff.

I also have Trish's hatchling dragons lurking on my shelf.  Dont worry, I wont be rushing out to buy any plastic armies anytime soon.  Do check in the misc collectors section for some modern casts of old dragons and elementals too- mind you, I just grabbed two sets (oops) of vintage Elementals for way under the modern price.

Grenadier may be gone, but Mirliton is still cranking out its casts.  This pictured Death Giant is actually an original grenadier fig I picked up of Ebay, so its nice and crisp.  I have read reports that some of the Mirliton moulds are showing their age, and maybe once my leadpile is down I may order some and see for myself- I have an itching for the collectors giants and Dwarfs I need to scratch.  This Death Giant haunted me during the 1980s, appearing in white dwarf magazine ads I poured over, and yet never being in my pocket money budget.  What a brilliant thing to have striding across your undead battlefield.  It does look a bit like an oscar, or perhaps a posessed statue of liberty, but I love him.

Reaper's The Summoning is some of Julie Guthries best work to date- check that sculpt.  Three writhing spirit women -sensual and yet not crass.  Great stuff.  The necromancer chick lifted by skeletons is also a must- the skeletal detail on the base is brilliant and satisfying to paint.

The last batch of figures all come from my new love, Hasslefree miniatures- who not only shipped me a great batch of figures but also included an English sweetie.   Cheers.
The figures shown are just a few of the figs on my ready line - and there are many more I am aching to grab.   Two thumbs up for quality on all the casts I have received, the mould lines are smartly placed and the modular options are so good you will be tempted to buy a few copies just so you can have all the variants.  Damn you Kev!

I am also eagerly awaiting some classic sculpts based on my old art faves Eastley and Elmore this week - I have a Songs of Blades and Heroes warband to assemble!

Cool Lead: Kev Adams Goblin Court

Not a retro Citadel, but you will be damned to tell the difference- this lovely set was sculpted by the goblinmaster himself- Mr Kev Adams.  (cheers), and is a tongue in cheek reference to the classic Dwarf Kings Court.  Colin Dixon did an updated Kings Court for the company too.  I dont know what company this was made for, but apparently it went belly up.  I nabbed these off ebay with some trepidation, but have been richly rewarded- what a wonderful set!

Kev Adams Goblin Court

EE Nurgle WIP

Something old, something new

My latest comission work in progress - all half done at this stage.  This is from a huge Nurgle battle force I have been painting up - its great because its made up from figures across the ages.  Here modern Forgeworld (re: Brittle and bubbled as f@$k) minis intermingle with early Nurgle death corps.  I magnetized the limbs on the dreaddy so the client can snap weapons at will.  My fave is the guy down the front- the modern chirurgeon backpack just works so damn well with the old body.  A nice break from red, red, red- which most of my collection seems to dictate so far.  Anything thinner than 2mm thick on the forgeworld stuff has had to be rebuilt or replaced- I love the sculpts, some of the best from GW lately - but I really dont like the quality of the casts.

Friday, March 19, 2010

On foot and mounted


 Kaleb Daark, McDeath Earl of Harkness, AD&D Bard

Three figures mounted and standing variants.  I collected most of these individually- the Harkness mounted horse was hidden in a job lot of grenadier knights on ebay.  I will have that thanks!

The first two where thickly painted and gummed up with bluetac and araldite.  Fortunately this loosened in the Dettol bath, revealing healthy, rot and dint free figures.  Phew.

I dont plan to have a complete McDeath set anytime soon- the prices are ridiculous, and to be honest I never played the scenario so dont relate to the characters.  There is a nice feeling about having a complete set of something, especially if you gather them up seperately from bargains.  I have Banquo, Warrior of Harkness, Donalbane, Macelady and Fluffy at the moment, but mainly because they are drawn from other sets.  Time will tell.  Everyone dreams of spotting those rare figures tucked away under bad paint jobs in a job lot.  And it happens all the time!


More retrodel love.  This is most of my minotaur collection so far (the rest are bathing in Dettol).  Luckily a chap in Queensland had a massive chunk of vintage minotaurs mixed in with a beastman army he was selling off, so I got most of mine in one fell swoop.  The AD&D minotaur has an axe somewhere in my bits box- I love this one because its the basis for John Blanches famous three headed minotaur model.  I have another variant winging its way to me now.