So many projects…


As you can see I got a few things done this week. A mix of things.

The trees are destined for eBay and I tidied up some Isengard Uruk-Hai that we won in an auction already painted to a decent standard. Not as quick as I expected but much faster than starting from scratch.

Perhaps more interesting though are the Mordor Orcs that were a bit of a mad scheme project. I had some Republican Roman figures I painted up as possible Pelargir troops but then changed my mind å tried to auction on eBay. No interest on there so I decided to try to find a way to put the to use.

Turning this…

… into this…

… and ending with a result I am quite pleased with.


Weapon and shield swaps were easy enough but the real trick was replacing the heads. I used a mix of heads in my bits box.


You can see some works in progress that resulted in this…

… a real mix of heads, historical, fantasy and horror. Even a spare head from a GW LOTR Orc. My wife was not fully convinced but I like them.

I thought cutting the nose down on a human head worked well on the Orc to the left. I may have gotten carried away with the greenstuff hair sculpting though.

I also experimented with a translucent figure. A Reaper Sylph.

I am not fully sure how we will use the figure but since we are thinking of using “fairy tale” elements in our Napoleonic blah blah project.

But I also have a lot of things on the go, started but not yet finished…. such as these Napoleonic French troops (who may not stay French, but more on that later).

A single Victrix 1807-1812 Fusilier on the left. The four Warlord Games “late” Fusilers in greatcoats. Then three Warlord Games “early” Fusilers. Then two Warlord Games “late” Grenadiers in greatcoats but with Victrix Grenadier heads (for the bearskin headgear). And finally on the right one Warlord Games “early” Grenadier.

Confusing? I think so. This kind of confusing complexity and somewhat static looking marching poses are some of the things that put me off Napoleonic era wargaming. But digging into it and learning more about the subtle differences in uniforms, the variable positioning available in some of the plastic multi-part kits and the small battle more than simple skirmish narrative style gameplay of Sharp Practice has changed my thoughts on it all.

Another thing I did not like at first were the French greatcoats. Instead of issuing blue, like I would have expected, they tended to have greys and browns… since blue dye was expensive and hard to come by, hence only more elite units got blue greatcoats. Mix this with several colors of shako (their iconic hats) cover and field expedient trousers, a French unit on campaign could look like a rather motley bunch.

It seemed at odds with my image of Napoleonic military pageantry.

But the more research I do, the more this quirky campaign image appeals to me. It makes painting troops in almost identical poses a bit more fun as you can express some individuality through slight uniform color variations. This and so many companies make so many different types of French troops, you can do some great kitbashing.

Hopefully this will be more obvious when get these French fellows painted. But will they be French?

I am still undecided on whether to do fictional French or to create a French inspired Imagi-Nation. We also need to decide if we are doing a fictional Earth or a completely new “flintlock fantasy” world. By using a fantasy setting the button and stitch counters may be less offended by my mixing uniforms issued in different years.

Input from you brave folks reading this is most welcome!

Another thing on the go is my Dwarven Forge terrain improvement experiment.

On the left my improvements based on the “old” paint scheme. On the right the “new” scheme. The only adjustments I made to the pieces on the right were a matt clear coat on the bigger piece and painting the ferns in the center of that piece a different green, like the piece on the left.

We also noticed the Dwarven Forge terrain looks better on a Deep Cut neoprene mat compared to the Citadel grass mat. I used one of our Deep Cut dice trays for the photo.

Ideally we would do a full mat comparison at a convention before making a purchase but the current international health crisis makes that impossible.

One thing I noticed, the more I use the Dwarven Forge terrain the more I prefer it to our traditional terrain. I am a little disappointed in the quality of the factory paintwork but the sculpting is amazing and it is a joy to paint. Doing little things like painting the tail on the rat takes the piece to the next level.

What are your thoughts on it though? How do you think it looks? What can I do to improve it?

Our Hagglethorn Hollow Kickstarter should be here soon and it reminds me that we have to be conscious of storage space limitations. That said, it did not stop us from taking some Dwarven Forge castle pieces off the hands of our mate Tom! It is currently on the way from the UK and we hope it does not get stuck in the new border issues.

In other news, we watched the first Hornblower TV movie “An Even Chance”. I love the Hornblower series and was hoping my wife would like it. According to her, other than the slow start, several nasty characters and lack of character background exposition she liked it. I told her that I thought it gets better as you go, with decent character development and a very admirable Horatio Hornblower.

The Expanse continues to entertain. We have only two more Sharpe TV movies to see. There is just so much more we want to watch than we have free time!

9 comments

  1. The trees look nice and I hope they land a rich buyer for you 🙂 I really think the orcs look great and the conversions are extremely impressive. If you were trying to match the movies, you might make the orc skin a bit more drab and dirty but I really like them as they are and your wife should give you a bit more credit 😀

    As I’ve said before, I know absolutely nothing about Napoleonics and they could wear pink jackets for all I know, but what I do know is that you’re going to be painting up a decent number of these troops so I’d say you should pick a scheme or a variety of schemes that will appeal to you. Mixing blue, gray, and brown could work or you could make them all look the same if you really want to. Since you’re playing a game that is not based in reality, that frees you up to paint them however you’d like and I think I would try to add some variety to them if I can because that will make them a bit less tedious to paint up. That’s just me though 🙂

    In regards to the terrain, I think the Dwarven Forge stuff looks better on the mat as it is more blended and less stark. I’ve been known to obsess over these kind of details myself but I find that you can blend a variety of terrain pieces into a generic mat like that as you build up your collection and place more and more terrain on the board. I’d say go with the mat, build your terrain out, and you should have an excellent looking “board” to play on!

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    • Thanks for the kind words mate. I experimented with using washes to try to make the Orcs look drab and dirty but the results were mixed and not nearly as subtle as I was going for. I am trying to avoid green (blasted GW) and do more “sallow” as per Tolkien but as you can see that can be a bit too vivid in my attempts so far.

      Seems we both dislike painting armies of identical clones!

      We laid a bunch of mixed terrain on the table and did see the more different pieces the more things came together so to speak. Very different in the “big picture” compared to how each individual piece looked alone.

      The Dwarven Forge is a bit more surreal compared to our traditional terrain but just as theater stage work uses slight exaggeration to better convey a message so too does the Dwarven Forge terrain. The slightly whimsical nature lends a Jim Henson fairy tale vibe which particularly appeals to me and my wife.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Your best bet with orc skin tones is to take brown and/or black washes and thin them down with some medium (or water) at least 2:1 should get you pretty good results and you can always go thinner if you’re taking your time and want to be careful. That is how I paint faces regardless of skin tone. You just change the wash color as needed.

        Your description of DF terrain is spot on. I looked it up and was turned off by that but I think depending on what game you’re playing and what terrain you have. I think it fits well with your extensive and impressive terrain collection but would stand out too much in mine if you know what I mean.

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  2. I like the idea of a “flintlock fantasy”, as you said, don’t have to worry as much about mixing variations in uniforms. The orcs came out great, I really need to try greenstuff more. Do you use a very sharp x-acto or a jeweler’s saw when you modify figures? My daughter bought me for Christmas some very fine blades that I am quite enjoying using. I use to do an x-acto blade and saw to fit the handle but it cut off too much.
    I like how you are making the terrain “yours”, have you tried a wash on parts of it yet?
    Currently watching the first half of the last season of Vikings, not as enjoyable as some of the other seasons but I’ve invested too much time in it not to see it through to the end.
    When do we get another Battle Companies battle report? Interested in seeing how your Companies are progressing and your modifications to the figures involved.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the kind words!

    The Romans are metal. I perhaps should have used a saw but instead used clippers and a file. Not the most tidy work but as they started with focale (neck scarves) anyway it made it relatively easy to hide the messy neck seam.

    On the Dwarven Forge terrain, Yes I sed a wash on certain parts. It seems to have already had a wash but more like an all over dip than a selective wash on different parts. Using different colored washes on different parts has lended a subtle change that does not appear to show well in the photos.

    My wife is not keen on watching any more of the Vikings series but I feel, as you have said, to have invested too much not to see it through to the end. Whilst very cheesy at times my wife and I prefer The Last Kingdom to Vikings.

    No battle reports until our son cooperates with taking afternoon naps again unfortunately.

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  4. Tried The Last Kingdom but as I had read and have all the Cornwell books all the series did is want me to read the books again (not a bad solution). Thinking about that I find it strange that I can watch Sharpe without the same reaction, maybe I like Sean Bean’s portrayal and the adaption better.
    Your new layout is easier on my old eyes on my phone, need to see how it is on other devices. One recommendation from me would be to have your current post on the front page vs going into the archives.
    Good luck on the afternoon naps, just when you get use to them the little buggers decide they don’t need them, until you get use to that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It took more than one attempt to get into Last Kingdom. I had to grit my teeth through the first few episodes bit by the end of the first season it started to grow on me. I have to not think about the books while watching it. And constantly forgive many of the appalling costume choices. But both my wife and I have grown to like the actor of Uhtred and the quirky accent he uses.

    Sean Bean is a favorite of mine, especially in shows where he is not killed… rare as those are.

    Good to hear the new layout helps. I will see about changing the opening page. To be honest I really stumbled my way through changing the layout without knowing what I was doing. All I was after was having archive list show to make it easier for people to browse but ended up changing the color by accident.

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  6. The french models look fine together. From what I have read the average trooper and Commander didn’t care that much for regulations in any case

    Liked by 1 person

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