Friday, 30 September 2011

Dwarfs, Mantic Games

These little fellas are taken from the (dungeon crawling) board game 'Dwarf King's Hold: Dead Rising' from Mantic Games. They will eventually face the Undead Skeleton Troop when I get a chance to play the game. The miniatures are a mixture of Ironclad Warriors and Shieldbreakers apparently (I must admit I haven't clue as to which are which).

Some of the figures required a small amount of (very simple) assembly but they go together without any of the problems that I experienced with some the skeletons. 

This green and yellow chap comes as one piece

This Arm & Hammer dwarf figure simply
needs the hammerhead gluing into position.

This black and white figure is another that only
needs the hammerhead gluing into position.

Dwarf taking a power nap.
The miniatures were painted with a mixture of both Citadel and Foundry paint. The figures themselves don't appear as shiny as they do in real life, thankfully. There is one final dwarf left to paint (or repaint) and numerous bits and pieces such as the Dwarf dog. The various sprues come with lots of nice extras, something that Games Workshop often do, which I'll detail on the next relevant posting.   

Monday, 5 September 2011

Empire Greatswords, Games Workshop (aka Renaissance Landsknechts)

"And now for something else completely different...."
Empire Greatswords
When I first started this blog many years ago I mentioned that one of the reasons I got back into modeling and painting was a reaction against computer gaming. Wasting hours in front of a computer monitor struck me as being a pretty soul destroying, and ultimately pointless. experience. At least playing games with figures I would have something tangible to show for it. Admittedly not that many people are impressed by a box full of toy soldiers but it keeps me occupied.

As my mates over at WargamingForFun seemed to be having far too much fun playing the Warhammer Fantasy rules I thumbed through the rule book. What caught my eye was the Empire army. It seems obvious that they are based on late medieval/early renaissance period continental armies. This time period has been a long time interest of mine and was recently renewed after I read about Martin Schwartz, the German mercenary who fought at the Battle of Stoke Field in June 1487 (an excellent book on the subject, ‘Stoke Field - The Last battle of the Wars of the Roses’ by David Baldwin is worth tracking down). I have even convinced myself I could combine the figures with my Perry WotR miniatures (another long term project). After all, it’s always more fun to play with someone else than play on your own (insert your own puns here).

The original greatswords, the German Landsknechts, would have used the massive Zweihander swords (literally ‘two hander’, they were also called Bidenhander - 'both hander') to lop of the heads of the enemies pikes rendering them into useless overlong broom handles.

The quality of the figures is naturally first-rate, as you’d expect. The figures offer multi-optional poses allowing you to create unique units and being plastic they are very easy to modify. These Greatswords are £25.50 for a box of ten figures (blimey missus, £2.55 per figure). Of course you can always pick up some bargains on eBay. A friend recently bought a complete dwarf box set at 40% off the list price. We assume the purchaser opened the box, realised you had to assembly and paint the figures yourself and put the entire lot straight up for sale - bargain.

The first job is to clean up the figures and remove all the moulded skulls and comets that crop up all over these miniatures. This is easier said than done; sword guards, pommels, finials, hats etc. you name it GW will stick a skull on it!

Once this was done the hardest part then is deciding what colours you want to paint them. The uniform seen here isn't based on one of Game Workshop's Empire province armies. It is however based on the very real Papal Swiss Guard. The Guard is one of the oldest, and smallest, standing armies in the world. The guards can often be seen in their ceremonial uniform on duty in the Vatican. They certainly look distinctive and leave a lasting impression. The blue, yellow and red uniform of the Guard is based on the family colours of both Pope Julius II and Pope Leo X. 
Standard Bearer
Standard Bearer
In keeping with the righteous theme the banner is based on the evangelist symbol of St Luke, the winged bull. It was going to be St. Matthew (for obvious reasons) but I can't paint angels. Apart from the removal of the skulls and comets the only other noticeable modification I made was to the figure carrying the axe. Here I simply cut off the hand holding the axe and rotated it to give a more natural looking position.

The figures are all based individually as is normally required when using Games Workshop rules.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Undead Skeleton Troop, Mantic Games

“And now for something completely different.”
These are the first four (of twenty two I think) skeleton figures that I've painted taken from the Mantic Games board game, Dwarf King’s Hold: Dead Rising. I pretty sure (my memory is shockingly bad) these are the first fantasy figures that I've ever painted and it makes a refreshing change to paint something other than (hopefully) historically accurate models.
I had meant to copy the colour scheme for the figures directly from the company’s website i.e. blue ‘uniform’ and blue/red shield. I later realised that I had reversed the colours on the shield so that they now match the livery of Edward IV, although I think this is because I've recently been playing another board game, Richard III from Columbia Games.
The figures themselves are nicely detailed. There is no flash and minimum mould lines. I was a little surprised that the figures are supplied with neither bases nor shield transfers, unlike the normal plastic sets apparently. I have deliberately left the integral (male - to use an engineering term.) bases of the figure plain so that if I ever by the appropriate female style bases I can simply plug them in and texture the base. They are available from the Mantic website 10 for £1.

Regarding the shields I utilised a set of transfers from Citadel which have been lying around patiently in my spares box for about twenty five years (literally). Seeing as they are manky skeletons I also applied several various shades of brown washes to dirty their appearance.