Sunday, 15 January 2017

Diary of an Average Painter #5: Clearing the Backlog

The "heroic" 28-32mms are almost done; I've got a few more Warmachine and Confrontation models to go but most are repaints or touch ups.  Here's the last day's accomplishments:

These guys are Circle of Orboros.  Again, I went for quick-and-easy.  They are a little less bright than my usual (I'm going for brighter, more aggressive colours in my "looks good at 4ft" style). As usual I used few colours and even fewer "layers"; a drybrush of their cloaks and a overall brown wash was as complex as it got. Not for me layering a shoulder strap in 5 shades of blue...

Some Confrontation minis who are going to be wizards/monks alongside my more mundane Perry medieval plastics.  Again, they look rather dodgy if you look up close (click on pics to enlarge images) but the aggressive highlighting on the cloaks looks good at 3-4 feet away.

Some Mantic ghouls flank a cyborg gorilla I found when rummaging through a spare parts box.  I'm not sure of its origin - the unlamented AE:WW2 perhaps? 

Group shot.  I'm alternating between groups of 10 or so rather uniform models (aka ghouls) so I  feel like I am progressing, and more characterful models - for a bit of fun to break up the repetition.

By accepting lower standards and going for a "just get them on the table" approach I am enjoying painting again and whittling away at my lead mountain.

I'm also putting some models aside for my daughter to learn to paint, as well as boxing up models I am unlikely ever to paint.  I have quite a lot of Confrontation Alahan, Daikinee and Dirz stuff that is a little to fine to scale with my random Warmachine models which I might perhaps trade or sell.

These Mantic ghouls have served me well in the past - they make good antagonists in settings from fantasy, to steampunk, to modern pulp/superhero settings.  I recommend them, in contrast to the rather weedy and oddly scaled skeletons from the same supplier.  I'll have to try their zombies sometime and see how they match up.

For some reason I really enjoy painting Warmachine stuff, though I dislike the game itself.  I think there is something that appeals to me about their chunky, exaggerated sculpts - they have sort of captured the sense of fun I remember from the early years of Warhammer/40K.  Steampunk robots, gun mages, high-tech elves, undead pirates lead by undead dragons...

My wife likes the Circle faction. I'm going to supplement these models with some from the Confrontation's celt-like faction (forgot their name, but they have some awesome models - pity I'm so crap at painting skin) as well as using some of my many Wulfen as not-warpwolves.

The mention of two useful boxes (Mantic ghouls, Perry medievals) leads me to my question of the day:

If you were to recommend a box/range of minis to someone, what would it be, and why?

I haven't thought too deeply about it, but off the top of my head, some picks would be:

Perry Medievals (plastic mercenary/WoTR boxes) 
Because they are great sculpts, and extremely useful for kit-bashing any fantasy/medieval stuff. 

Mantic Ghouls
Useful, cheap bad guys for all eras.

Empress Moderns
Well sculpted. At $3 a pop I felt they were better than the Infinity Ariadneans which sell for $10 each...

Because they are quirky and awesome. In fact, anything by Zombiesmith falls into this category.  Viking teddies anyone?

My favourite 15mm infantry (though Khurasan is the best overall manufacturer)

West Wind Werewolves
Again, cheapish, solid sculpts and useful for a wide range of settings.

All of my picks are aimed at the fairly-cheap-but-useful/good category. Whilst I like, say, Infinity they are expensive and a mongrel to paint; at the other end of the spectrum Wargames Factory zombies are a cheap source of body parts for projects but are rather awkward, repetitive sculpts.

I'm going to toss in a booby prize - the most odd sculpts in my collection are the militia/SWAT guys from Urban War whose proportions make me grind my teeth, followed by the Wargames Factory vikings with their breakable tiny weapons and ill-connecting limbs.


  1. I was not aware than Urban War still exist!

    The Mantic Zombies are also quite nice and usefull for all kind of fantasy/post apoc setting.

    If I may ask, what rules are you recommanding for 28mm fantasy skirmish? Got a lot of Confrontation and Mantic models I want to play with

    1. I don't recommend any at the moment!

      I've currently been testing a set of homebrew rules, a sort of simplified d10 SoBH activation meets Infinity but with much less special rules.

      I'm lazy and if I do my own rules it is a pretty sure sign I am disatisified with the current offerings.

      I'd probably rate these at #1 and #2
      LOTR (yes, GW) has a lot of spin offs; it has an online unit builder.
      Savage Worlds (the RPG) is my other pick (see the free combat-only rules)
      Mordheim? nothing has really supplanted it in the genre. A bit too tied to its universe though.

      On the "OK but not great" category I'd put
      Goalsystem Delves was OK and I probably rate it above SoBH. I need to play it again, actually.
      Song of Blades and Heroes is fun but shallow.
      Brink of Battle is a generic set but a bit pricey for what you get.
      If Lords and Servants has a fantasy mod I'd consider that.
      2HW's Swordplay rules are free and different.
      Many like Frostgrave for its quality, cool theme and campaign but tbh I think it's still an inferior Mordheim.
      I've reviewed them all so if you put them into the search you can get more detail.

    2. Can you define what "Fantasy Skirmish" means? Is it 1:1 models or is it small number of unit combat?

    3. A bit of both - it is more 1:1 models, and the fact each model is more or less independent. In most examples, it can range from 5-12 models (a la Mordheim) but could include games like LOTR which can comfortably handle 30-40.

      LOTR is interesting as it seems platoon-y but ultimately each mini moves and shoots independently and there are no mandatory, cohesive "units" at all.

      Basically, are the manoeuvre elements individual soldiers? Then I'd call it skirmish.

      In contrast, while Force on Force/Tomorrow's War also uses 30-40 models at 1:1 ratio, they are moved/activated together in fire teams of 3-5 so I wouldn't class it as 'skirmish' game.

    4. As fantasy skirmish rules I would recommend SAGA and the fan made free add-on "A fantastic Saga".

      For Miniatures I definetly recommend the plastic Gnollbox from Northstar. It's more suited for fantasy gang war like Frostgrave or Mortheim but also for bigger Games like Saga.

      Speaking of Saga I found hte Gripping Beast plastik Box sets. While not the best sets around, they give bang for the buck (at least in germany) They typically cost 18 Euros fpr 40-44 Miniatures which is very usefull if you want a larger army.

      For a less darkagey feel Fireforge and the Perry ranges are amazing.

      For 15mm Sci Fi, besides the amazing Khurassan Minaitures, I would recommend White Dragon Miniatures. The Fiddler is the best Mech PERIOD! Also, for me, the best looking Sci FI Infantry.

      Of course Flytrap Factory and Zombiesmith for all things wierd.

      There are so many amazing manufactures out there. I think I could do this for days :D

    5. Agreed on the GB vikings. They are 100x better than the WGF ones.

      Didn't know about the plastic Gnolls nor the White Dragon stuff... though I have enough 15mm sci fi to field about a dozen armies...

      I'm not sure if I would class SAGA as skirmish, as they tend to be moved in fixed cohesive groups: the battleboard rather than individual soldiers is the focus.