Monday, March 21, 2011

Witchhunter cross dressers, bugbears and Nuns (oh my)

This is my AD&D 4th ed character, Regan Black... a male paladin witch hunter trapped by a spell in the body of his worst enemy - the witch who killed his wife.  Without muscle memory his sword skills are useless- and fearing for his life in close combat without his brawn to save him, he is desperately trying to get the witches body to learn the longbow and start off as a first level ranger so he/she can hunt down his real body and find a way to switch back and defeat the witch.
Very dramatic, and EXTREMELY hard to roleplay- considering my GM is a woman and very happy to step on a dodgy portrayal of her fair kind.  So much fun it almost makes up for the horrible AD&D 4.0 system.  Going to convince her to switch to something mega retro like Labyrinth Lord.  :)
Our whole gaming group are digital artists, so quickly we got into painting our characters...

Regan Black.  Day one.

Since the adventure takes place in the frozen north, the effect of being mind switched into a witch wearing a skimpy Frazetta style sorceress costume was instant hypothermia as her protective warming spells vanished.  Having staggered back into town and scrounged up some clothing from the villagers, I ended up stuck with a red / blue ensemble.  She still has the witches red corset and gloves on, but with a male puritanical witchunters eye for fashion, I constructed the rest of her costume with practicality in mind...
Regan Black... as depicted by me.  Now I have to find a mini...
 I needed a figure quickly, but the only thing in my collection even close was an AD&D thief.   A little green stuff and she has a corset, fur shoulders and fur lined boots. The great thing is I can peel off this stuff and the figure underneath is unharmed!

Converted Reaper 'Callie' female rogue and Converted Citadel 1980's AD&D Female Thief

After a few sessions, all the guys got bigger, chunkier modern figures.  Mine was getting a bit lost on the gaming table, and besides, I mainly use a bow - so I decided to get a new figure.  Callie from Reaper minis was close, the had a dorky face.  I dremmelled it out and replaced it with a little green stuff.  Again, a corset and fur was added to give a frozen north look.  Its going to be fun keeping my miniature up to date.  Considering the figures only around 8 bucks, I wanted to keep figures for all stages of her growth.  At the end of the campaign I have some reminders!

Grenadier Bugbears

On a more retro adventure, I picked up these three mystery figures from fleabay.  I found out they are Grenadier bugbears.  To be honest, they are very old school, ugly looking chaps... stiff with a weird head... but hey, I just love painting up old awkward figures.

Polishing turds, some call it.

Anyway, there was a touch of character about them that drew me in.  I tried a little something different here with the bases.

And now... demon nuns.

Reaper Battle Nuns
Ye Systrs Infernale, my Hordes of the Things 28mm army made up of demon possessed nuns expands with another blades unit.  These are straight out of the box Reaper battle nuns.  I love these figures... having converted a bunch into 40k style Sisters of Battle elsewhere in this blog- I have a bucket load of the things in my bits box.

The other units are a little too rude to post- having been lovingly converted to show a little more flesh, and one having snapping jaws where a woman shouldn't have them if you catch my drift.  The army features bits of Slannesh figures, Reaper figures and lots of scratch built stuff- insane nuns tearing at their clothes, changing into succubi and generally enjoying the battle.  Its a scream to do, but not sure if it should be brought out at a family orientated gaming convention.
Its a big time commitment considering I have yet to play Hott- but I figure I can always use them in Skulldred- as multi based models are perfectly acceptable!

Unkillable cheap scenery

So, dear reader, I am a gamer cursed with no suppliers of that dense pink foam everyone uses to make scenery.  Being Australia, the land of the robber barons, it would probably cost a fair packet to0.  But I no longer care- I have found a technique to make UNKILLABLE scenery from recycled expanded polystyrene. Free from any household buying a plasma screen in your neighbourhood.

The problem with styrene is that it has no strength.  Apply any weight to it and it will snap.  Drop a metal mini on it, and it will dent.  That, and it looks like crap when you paint it.  It does.  Stop doing it.  Thats an order.

To fix the first problem, I turn my styrene into super sized, super cheap foamcore by sandwiching it between two sheets of paper using PVA glue and pressing it under heavy books overnight.  This distributes the energy across the whole surface and makes it really hard to snap.  To make larger pieces of scenery, I first sculpt them using a foam wirecutter (a must have tool)  and assemble them using cocktail sticks to pin the layers together.  Once I am happy with the cut, I mark the edges with a pen so I can align them again, take them apart and sandwich them individually.  Finally I reassemble with PVA glue and wooden skewers to add strength.

To fix the problem of denting and overall look crapness, I use the holy grail of mini scenery making.

Pollyfilla Woodflex.  Oh yeah.

King's Un-killable combo.

Now woodflex is not as cheap as whacking sand into PVA glue, but the results are so, so much better.
Woodflex does not crack or flake, is slightly rubbery and has a perfect texture for stone, mud and rock straight out of the tub.  Not having sand glued to the surface means its less likely to sandpaper off your paint job too.  It forms a rubbery skin over the surface that will distribute any force across the whole model- so no dents or snapping!

I thin mine down using demineralised water.  I use a palette knife to smear mine on.  Leave it ten minutes, then shape it.  Leave it over night to dry.

If you want to get some brickwork effects I suggest a two step approach.  Do a base coat and use a damp sponge to stipple down the surfae, let that dry overnight to form a tough skin.  Applying a second thick coat, give it fifteen minutes to dry then score in the brickwork or cracks.  Use the sponge again to tamp down the scratchy lines and give a natural effect.  The stairs in the next picture are unpainted, but you can see its a great look.

Citadel 1980's Runequest duck.
Converted Reaper 'Callie' female rogue and Converted Citadel 1980's AD&D Female Thief
The polyflex gives a great rocky look, and forms a skin that protects the polystyrene.  Its a really cost effective way to make unkillable gaming scenery.  More pics of my finished gaming tables later on!  With luck I may have a Skulldred table at CANCON or MOAB with some pretty scenery.

Hope that helps... comments as usual below.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bederken Dungeon floorplans get an airing

As you probably know I recently released some 30mm square dungeon floorplans in .pdf format through my Bederken blog.  Well, I got my first prints all back and mounted up and I thought I would take some quick snaps to show it in action.  As you can see, going up from 1 inch standard to 30mm makes it much easier to play without minis bumping up against each other- plus you have the freedom to use modern lipped bases.

So the first fools to brave The Dungeon of Dave are some classic citadel paladins who probably have not had a decent dungeon bash since Dungeons & Dragons came out.

Preslotta Citadel Paladins and C11 halfling attack Kev Adams Zombies and Reaper Wizard

Classic early 1980's Citadel creepy crawlies and Red Orcs attack!
Grenadier halfman takes aim in background.  Molemen by Reaper.  Ooze by me.

Thirty year old minis get some playing with!
Some classic Red orcs have been converted here- headswaps and
scratch built weaponry.

Another angle.  Note the green ooze sneaking up on a red goblin in the background.
It was made with a hot glue gun and a plastic base.

 As you can see, my red orc tribe has expanded since I last posted.  These guys are about 50% done.  I swapped out a couple of heads and weapons to give more variety, keeping at least one of each variety in archive state.

The creepy crawlies are a personal favourite of mine, I have been collecting these for a while now.  When you get them they just look like a little lug of brown metal, but with a little TLC they transform into some classic vintage gaming niceness.

Well that's me for tonight... enjoy dungeon bashing!