A New Beginning…

Tinkering with Artwork and Ideas!

The more complex the mind, the more the need for the simplicity of play.

— James T. Kirk
Let‘s go on an adventure!

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.


Ride! To wrath and ruin….

Back from a week on holiday, so finished a few riders to add to the Rohan army of my wife. Above you can see some of the previously finished miniatures plus the six I just finished.

These fellows were won in auction, part painted. So I finished the work, did the bases and now they fit our color palette.

Pretty standard Rohan painting. Lots of greens and browns.

Miniatures I finished previously include regular Riders of Rohan but also some personalities.

I have no idea who sculpted the horn blower but I think it works well as a converted Rider of Rohan. Same with the shieldmaiden. Theoden should be recognizable as the new GW sculpt. He is a repainted mini also won in auction. I have a new one I am thinking of doing with a helmeted head.

Some more riders…

During the week away from my painting desk I managed to get some reading done. Some more Honor Harrington stuff from David Weber…

I am enjoying the Honorverse much more than I expected. Some of the historical parallels are so blatant as to risk being farcical but other than that I love it. Nice mix of combat action, politics and personal drama.

I also went back to some of my foundational reading of my youth… Hammer‘s Slammers from David Drake.

Drake is a Vietnam War veteran. He talks about it a bit and I can see how his experiences influence his writing. I get a very different experience reading them now with my own experiences compared to when I read them in my naive youth. I would not consider Drake a marvelous wordsmith per se but he does bring a uniquely grim realism to his Combat writing that speaks directly to my inner grunt. For those of you reading this that do not know me personally… yes I was an infantry NCO but not a combat veteran. Fate was kind to me and I am glad to have not taken a life beyond pixels and painted minis.

No one likes an Elf…

I had originally finished a couple of these awhile back but decided to go back and make some changes as I worked on the other three. All were won in auction on eBay, one lot of four and one by itself.

This one was on its own and originally had a purple and white color scheme. I changed the shield, added the plume to the helmet, rebased it and painted it on our blue dominant High Elven theme.

It also originally had a mix of green and red gemstones which gave a Christmas vibe…

The others had less drastic changes.

Originally my wife was not a fan but once I made the changes she was happy to add them to her army. She prefers the GW LOTR Elven look to the usual over the top high fantasy GW Warhammer fantasy miniatures.

I though about changing the swords to more katana type blades but then Glamdring is not a katana.

In other news… I finished season 5 of Fear the Walking Dead. It continues to amaze me how much better it is now compared to the first three seasons. I very much prefer the more hopeful feeling and more likeable characters. But the whole plot with the keyholders feels contrived, artificial, as if something has been edited out or plausibility was thrown out just to jam the plot in. And whilst wanting to avoid spoilers… I hate cliffhanger season finales, especially when a favorite character‘s life hangs in the balance. No one is gone, until they are gone…

Think of the children….

Yesterday I finished this piece. It started as a Gripping Beast Saga civilian Mini but I added the little girl at her feet, which I won already painted in a scrap bits box auction. It is amazing the little gems you can find in those.

I just changed her dress from purple to light blue, which I thought fit our color palette better. You can see her eyes are painted different than my styles using black lining to great effect to skillfully convey her emotions. I may need to change my style…

I am pretty pleased with how it all turned out. Can you picture them waiting for the Isengard Uruk-hai at Helm‘s Deep?

An older piece I finished awhile back.

I bought this one at Crisis last year as a gift for my wife from Bad Squiddo. They are an interesting miniature company that specialize in female characters. I really love their work and hope to get more of their minis in the future.

In other news, TT Combat have launched the Kickstarter for the Stellaris Ether Drake. An awesome piece, we are thinking of getting the 2 up model for an epic space leviathan.

How time marches on…

Almost a year ago now I attended Crisis, a tabletop wargaming convention in Belgium. Whilst there I bought a siege tower from Thomarillion. Rookie that I was, when I told the man I wanted the siege tower on display he instead handed me a kit…


Photo credit: Thomarillion

The fellow from Thomarillion was a thoroughly nice person to chat with and I was happy to give him some business. He had plenty of things I wanted to buy but a limited budget.

My wife, who has a fondness for kit building but rarely the time put it together but left the painting to me. It has been quite a challenging process.

I thought it would be easy enough but I experimented with Army Painter quick shade. My plan was to use it like a wood stain. I had used their washes to great effect in the past and foolishly thought the quick shade was the same thing in a bigger can.

So I was surprised by how glossy and tacky it was. It seems the Army Painter washes are water based but their quick shade is oil based. I really need to read the small print first.

It took weeks to stop being tacky, but still looked terrible. So I tried putting washes over it… and failed. They just beaded up. In the end I re-spray painted the whole thing. So I ended up with it painted rather than stained.

But dry brushing and ink washing it was also more challenging than I expected for such a simplistic model. I struggled to get a look I was satisfied with. In the end, experimenting was various paints and washes I got a look that I was ok with but not in love. The photos do not really show the subtle wash staining and layers of dry brushing.

In other news, Warlord Games have released another Black Seas video. To me the most interesting part was the reconfirmation that other ship classes are in the pipeline.

What a boar…

Finished this fellow. Won in a scrap bits auction, I think it is a GW boar designed for an Orc rider. If you look close you can see where I used greenstuff to sculpt in fur where it was originally smooth. I also sculpted a tail. The gloss clear coat on the eyes really helps them stand out despite being black on a dark model.

In movie news, I caught Shanghai Fortress on Netflix. A darker Independence Day vibe. The plot of self sacrifice to serve humanity is repeatedly hammered home. The characters were likable but not really unforgettable. Good special effects but yet again the director seems to have forgotten that sometimes less is more. I think Michael Bay has had entirely too much influence on contemporary cinema.

As for our sci-fi project, I have been looking at Mantic GCPS Marines to represent my troops but also considering other options.


I stumbled onto Anvil Industry and they have amazing sculpts that you can mix and match. I particularly like they Afterlife Unity Council Figures.


But also their Martian Orbital Fusiliers.


Late last night though I got the idea of using Star Wars Rebel military figures such as from WOTC and Fantasy Flight Games, Legion as well as Imperial Assault.

My only concern is that they are so iconic…. and I would need to move away from my just human culture because the multiracial sculpts are too cool…. but again, such iconic races and I do not want all the baggage that comes along with the Star Wars canon universe.

As always feel free to leave feedback, suggestions or advice!

Ring Wraiths…

Yesterday I finished a couple of Ring Wraiths….Nazgul is the term I prefer… both are from GW, one of better quality material though. The lesser one was broken, which made it an easy decision to convert to a Black Numenorean.

Technically these are supposed to be named Nazgul, the Dark Marshal… But Tolkien did not name them, GW did. So one is THE Dark Marshal and the other is just a Marshal, ie company Captain.

They join the brethren….

I am not a fan of the super sized flail head on the Witch-King, I really should change that.

If you look close you can see the named Nazgul, Khamul….Shadow of the East, the Black Easterling, the Second Chief. I have no idea who made the mini. I converted his weapon from an over sized mace to the sword you see.

The Black Numenorean looks surprisingly tall with just a head swap from a GW Dark Elf. I have begun work on a matched mounted version, same head and shield. You can see where I used greenstuff to fix his scabbard.

Overall I am pleased with how the Nine are coming along…

Swan knights…

Nothing new finished today but I went back and did a bit of a repair of sorts… some of my Knights of Dol Amroth on foot were a bit… glossy. Seems the matt clear coat I used forgot it was Matt as the can ran low. So I finally got around to hand applying some different matt clear coat on. Now they no longer look wet.

I say Knights of Dol Amroth bit some of them may become Sergeants of Dol Amroth.

And then there may be yeomen of Dol Amroth….

Black Seas has some interesting new information. In particular how you can individualize some of the ships to specific named historical ships.

  • A selection of Metal figureheads and backplates to make famous French Navy Ships:

Redoubtable – a 74 gun third-rate ship of the line
Themis – a 40 gun frigate
L’Aigle – a 74 gun third-rate ship of the line
L’Hermione – a 32 gun frigate
Comete – a frigate
Bucentaure – an 80 gun third-rate ship of the line

Ofcourse I have to find a way to justify the time and expense, as well as find space to store the ships…. so Black Seas is still theoretical for me right now.

As for our Dropfleet project my wife and I have been evolving it, throwing ideas around. She wants an aquatic theme for her Scourge ships, and she likes the looks of the Naiads from Mantic. But she also likes the newer version of lizardmen from GW…. with Skitarii weapons.

My latest brainstorm is that my fleet will be from an isolated collection of Terran colonies that were cut off from Terra after the wormhole they travelled through collapsed. Something like the fluff from EVE Online.

One of my survey vessels comes across one of her ships. Her people are territorial, my people believe in free travel through open space… and so conflict is inevitable….

Little monster…

I have several projects on the go but only managed to finish this little guy lately, a simple rock golem. Not exactly a difficult miniature. Not sure what we will do with it though as I am unaware of any rock golems in Middle Earth…

Some new photos of older worker… Knights of Dol Amroth. Six of them are Games Workshop but one of them was a conversion piece so to speak, or proxy anyway. I do not recall the maker. Originally I was going to convert it to a Rider of Rohan but a member of a Middle Earth wargaming Group on Facebook convinced me to try Dol Amroth instead.

The GW minis were part of a great bulk deal I got at Crisis last year. They were already painted to a decent standard but I did some modifications to make them better fit in with the pieces I have already done and tidying up some details.

My wife was originally not a huge fan of the idea but when she saw the finished pieces she was quite happy to include them in her forces.

As for Black Seas….

Some more good information….

“The range will also contain several 1st rate ships made in resin and metal, in fact, 3 for each of the British, French and Spanish navies: 2 Named ships and a third generic 1st rate. There will also be 3 resin and metal US Frigates and Super Frigates. You can expect to see the HMS Victory for the British and the L’Orient for the French followed sometime later by the Santissima Trinidad for the Spanish and the USS Constitution for the US. Then in 2020, we will also release the British HMS Royal Sovereign, the French L’Ocean, the Spanish Principe de Asturias and the USS Essex.
In time we plan to also release the other types of ships of the line (2nd rate, small 3rd rate, 4th rate and 6th rate), one or two models for each, and several smaller vessels.“

And some better pictures showing how the ships can be individualized.

And an excellent look at the rulebook from Wargames Illustrated. Looks like October will have plenty of plastic frigate and brig sprues floating about, if you will forgive the pun.

Full of… character…

Always with an eye for a good deal, I do not limit our project to just Games Workshop. At first my wife was hesitant about these two, she thought they were a little too cartoonish but she was pleased by the paint work I did so they joined her Rohan army.

I do not recall who made the female horse rider, she came painted by the previous owner but I completely repainted her to be more of a shieldmaiden of Rohan, even giving her a spare GW shield.

The standard bearer is a Rohan standard bearer from Harlequin miniatures.

Both have a rather 80‘s miniatures aesthetic to me but I think they work well to add some diversity to the Rohan army in our project.

I have been very busy with non-project work so have not made as much progress as I would have liked but it seems I have some spare time given Hagglethorn Hollow has been delayed by an estimated 6 to 8 weeks. Needless to say, I am not pleased. Apparently there was a quality control issue with the magnet alignment. Given the cost I would rather wait for a quality product than a flawed one but it irks me. Kickstarters. Grr. This is why I am not normally a trusting person and rarely gamble.

I decided not to gamble on Black Seas at this point. I figured I would wait until Crisis in November to see the products in person and hear initial feedback from the wargaming community.

Crisis is an amazing tabletop wargaming convention in Belgium, apparently the largest such event in continental Europe. I went last year for the first time and loved it!


Warlord Games did release a cool interview video with the games designer of Black Seas and you get some glimpses of the ships and other things to come.

Whilst researching Black Seas I did come across a very cool video of folks wargaming Trafalgar in 1/1200 scale. I love the cotton wool for the smoke of broadsides but also in this case flashing lights as well!

One of the reasons I hesitated on Black Seas though was my continuing work on our Dropfleet Commander project…. which may evolve into Full Trust with Dropfleet ships!

One of the things I am not keen on with Dropfleet is the very streamlined, almost symmetrical feel to the battles. Very good for tournaments I suppose but my wife and I are more into narrative driven scenarios than balanced competition.

So I have been looking at different rule sets to use with the Dropfleet ships we love… Full Trust is in the lead… or rather the fan project Full Trust: Full Continuum. A much more crunchy game than Dropfleet from what I read. Slower but also more characterful. Things that particularly appeal are vectored movement, boarding actions, damage control parties and more in depth fighter rules.


The vector movement in particular appeals because it should give more of a space combat experience like The Expanse than the usual sci-fi cinematic style which makes games more like WW2 wet navy wargaming.

There is a lot of good, if a bit older, information on space wargaming at Star Rangers.


As always, I would love to hear your thoughts. Do not be shy about leaving comments!

Keep your friends close…

I have painted a few miniatures to reflect larp characters of some of my friends as gifts. This time this particular mate has ended up in my game world! Wishing to reward his generosity I told him I would paint his choice of mini to be introduced to our Middle Earth… he succumbed to the Shadow of Mordor and has ended up an Easterling war priest.

He chose the Soothsayer from the Frostgrave range. I thought with only a couple of small changes he would be perfect, like making him more the age of my mate for example. I debated with myself about whether to change the eyes to open but decided in the end to retain the closed eyes.

So meet Andreas of the East, and his nameless ear collecting acolyte.

As you can see I stuck close to the original artwork….

I got caught up on Fear the Walking Dead this morning, binge watching three episodes. Yet again pleased with how this season is going. So, so much better than the first few seasons… and to be honest I think it is better than Walking Dead. It is more hopeful…. and I like hope in my entertainment.

Speaking of hope… not too long now until Hagglethorn Hollow!


Both my wife and I are really excited about this! Our whole Middle Earth project is based around our backing this… and why I am on a budget!

We are definitely looking forward to the trees Kickstarter next year as well as the plates for Zombicide, even though we do not intend to play zombicide the foundation plates add to the buildings in a great way.

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