This past week I painted the “Stone Lurker” from the Bones 4 Darkreach Expansion. I prepped the “Stone Lurker” in the usual way, soaking the pieces in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added; then giving the pieces a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying everything. I then glued the two halves of the Lurker together, and then glued in the tentacles, using Gorilla Superglue gel. I then glued the figure to a black-primed 2" fender washer using Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then glued the washer to the top of a large pill bottle with a couple drops of Elmers white glue.
As I then considered how I was going to tackle this figure, I realized I probably wanted to apply a sand coat to the base at this point instead of at the end, so I could better blend the coloring of the ground and the Lurker as I was painting. So I then used some white glue to glue some mixed sand to the base. When the sand was dry, I painted it with a coat of Americana “Charcoal Grey”. I then painted the Lurker with Ceramcoat “Charcoal”, and tried to blend it into the “Charcoal Grey” on the base. After that, I painted the inside of the mouth with Ceramcoat “Black”.
Next, I gave the entire figure a coat of Citadel “Nuln Oil” wash, and then let it dry for a while. When dry, I made a mix of the “Charcoal”, and a little Crafter’s Acrylic “Bright Yellow”, and drybrushed the figure. I added a bit more of the “Bright Yellow”, and then drybrushed again.
I then mixed some Americana “Zinc”, and Crafter’s Acrylic “Daffodil Yellow” together and did a further highlighting drybrush. I added a little more of the “Daffodil Yellow”, and did one more level of drybrushing. After that, I used the “Daffodil Yellow” to paint the eyes, and then drybrushed the inside of mouth with Apple Barrel “Apple Maroon”. I followed that by painting the “teeth” with Reaper MSP “Coal Black”, and use this color to paint the enters of the eyes as well.
I decided I still wanted some slightly lighter highlights on the figure, so mixed some Americana “Grey Sky” with some of the “Daffodil Yellow” and tried painting some more specific highlights along the edges of the mouth and around the eyes. After that, I used some of the “Grey Sky” to paint shiny highlights on the teeth in a tempt to make them look like obsidian. Next I painted all the dots on the tentacles with Americana “Antique Gold” and then went around and highlighted them with the “Daffodil Yellow”. I wrapped things up by painting the thorns on the tentacles with Ceramcoat “Black”, and then highlighting them with Crafter’s Acrylic “Storm Cloud Grey”. Next, I worked on the base, drybrushing the sand with Americana “Mississippi Mud”, and then with some Apple Barrel “Rock Grey”; lastly I drybrushed it with a little Americana “Dove Grey”. I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish. Another overnight dry, and I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcote". When the “Dullcote” was dry, I went back and repainted the “teeth” with a little Americana “DuraClear Gloss” varnish.
I’m really happy with how this guy turned out. For a monster that’s basically a rock, it has a good bit of character.
It has been more than usually busy here the past couple of weeks. My partner and I finally got married yesterday, in a quiet ceremony at home. For pandemic protection, attendance was limited to eight total, but we still had everything all cleaned up and looking good around the house. The folding wargames tables did double duty as actual banquet tables for a change.
I got a few additional Prince August castings finished up for the fresh start fantasy project. There are two figures from the Men of the City mold (652), and a wizard from the Wizards mold (657).
I’ve got a mounted warrior in progress that I’ll probably finish next. That would give me nine humans, which is probably close enough to work up a standard-sized Song of Blades and Heroes warband. (There are also four Men of the City spearmen being done as a group, if it turns out that I’m a bit short.). That means the next thing that I will get started on is an opposition warband, to be drawn from the collection of orc, goblin, hobgoblin, and troll castings. The undead warriors, skeletons, and wraiths all cast reasonably well, and would be an alternative possibility, but Oathmark currently has no undead unit profiles, so my intention is to do this with an eye toward future expansion.
When one looks at the historical images of various Aztec warriors of the 16th Century, some of the most striking ones are those of the Jaguar Warriors. The Jaguar Warriors were true elite warriors, similar to the Eagle Warriors in having high and noble status in Aztec culture. They wore elaborately decorated suits (tlahuitli) that affected a jaguar-like look, replete with head-encompassing hardwood helmets (cuacalalatli) carved to be jaguar-like in appearance. Their spotted gaudy suits were worn over quilted cotton armor vests called ichcahuipilli, which provided a degree of additional protection to the Jaguar Warrior.
The Jaguar Warriors’ actual designation was cuauhocelotl. This was an elite warrior classification level that one earned by capturing at least four enemy warriors for use as sacrificial victims on the altar or as slaves. Aztec warfare valued capturing an enemy warrior over killing one outright in battle. Attaining Jaguar Warrior status had its privileges, such as being able to drink pulque (a fermented drink made from agave), and to have and keep concubines.
In battle, they were armed with atlatl (spear throwers), macuahuitl (obsidian-edged wooden clubs or broadswords), or tepoztopilli (obsidian-edged thrusting spears). As Jaguar Warriors are iconic in Aztec warfare, I knew I needed to have some for my Aztec forces for the upcoming launch of Buck Surdu’s Feudal Patrol game, especially for the supplement that I wrote for the Spanish Conquest I called Civilizations Collide. With all of their colorful suits and shields, so I was excited to paint some up and add to my troops that I have previously described in this blog.
From Badger Games, I had purchased a couple of 28mm scale metal Wargames Foundry blisters: AZ012 “Heroes of Tenochtitlan” and AZ015 “Chimalpopoca’s Jaguar Warriors”. In AZ012 there were 6 figures – 3 Aztec veterans, 2 Jaguar Warriors, and a Warrior Priest. I would need at least 5 for the basic unit in Feudal Patrol (that being a Warband), so I thought that AZ015 would round that out as that blister pack was supposed have six Jaguar Warriors. Surprise – after opening it I found that there were seven! Bad news, however – the AZ015 blister pack had only 3 weapons, those being all atlatls in hands that needed to be mounted to arms – and only two of the 7 included figures were so designed. The other 5 figures were thus without weapons.
I contacted Badger Games and they were fantastically accomodating. They agreed to send me a pack of 8 Outpost Wargames Services Jaguar Warriors (AZ5), as well as another pack that I’ll describe in a future post. These AZ5 Jaguar Warriors come in various poses. Of note Badger also removed the AZ015 SKU from their website and contacted Wargames Foundry to advise them that every pack of AZ015 that they had had been similarly packed incorrectly. That’s exceptional follow through on their part and I appreciated that.
The downside was was that I had to wait another week+ to get going again on the project. When the OWS pack arrived, I was happy to see that there were two weapons (8 macuahuitl and 8 tepoztopilli) available for each of the 8 AZ5 Jaguar Warriors. This meant that I had plenty of extra weapons to arm the AZ015 Jaguar Warriors! All I needed to do was convert two AZ015 figures to hold an atlatl by cutting off their hands and replace with one of the three atlatls that came with the pack.
Now I had not 8, but 21 figures for this project, which was definitely not my goal at the start! Still, with this many figures, and permutations of shield design, weaponry, and colors, I needed a plan. So I made one – as shown below. Also, the WF and OWS sculpts were different of course, and I wanted a variety of Jaguar Warrior tlahuitli and cuacalalatli both for ease of play and to be historically accurate. The best resources were this were the plates in my Osprey books and two Steven’s Balagan blog posts (THANK YOU STEVEN FOR SHARING!). Both are phenomenal and invaluable (especially for shield design examples) – here they are:
Pohl, John M. D. (1991). Aztec, Mixtec, and Zapotec Armies – Men-at-Arms.London: Osprey Publishing.
Pohl, John M. D. (2001). Aztec Warrior, AD 1325-1521. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
Pohl, John M. D. (2005). Aztecs & Conquistadores. Oxford: Osprey Publishing.
As far as my painting plan, I should mention that I have a numbering system for all of my figures for Civilizations Collide. This system will allow me to have a points-based menu (like a “take-out menu”) for the gamers. At the beginning of a game, they will be able to use the menu choose how to spend their available scenario points by choosing specific troops for their side by checking them off on a menu that I will provide. I have an Excel spreadsheet with the figure values and designations that I will use to make the menu. Also, I will print out a disc to glue under each figure’s base with that information as well. This, I hope, will make the gaming experience better and very easy.
The pictures below show my initial organizational plan for arming the figures – I did have another corresponding Excel plan (not shown) where I planned the base colors and the specific shield designs for each of the figures.
After I completed the plan, I mounted the figures in my usual way. I labeled the bottom of the washers under the figures with the figure number and I similarly labeled each of the specimen jars. I also organized the shields as shown below – plus I also had painted shields from previous projects available. I decided to first do their flesh and weapons, and then move on to do each figure in order and separately. This way I would gain experience (and hopefully improve) with painting the patterns on the tlahuitli and cuacalalatli, especially the jaguar-specific aspects. This approach did help me maintain focus on the figures. I ended up with fewer WIP pics, but this was a big varied project. Hell, most of these figures had not one – but two sets of eyes. It took about a month-and-a-half! Of course, the July 4th holiday weekend did keep me out of the painting mode – as did some golf.
I did change my approach to the flesh painting a bit. Trying to get that right on dark flesh was a challenge. The list of paints I used was extensive given the breadth of the figures needs, but for flesh I mainly moved more to using Citadel “Darkoath Flesh” over a Vallejo “Sunny Skin base” with Vallejo Model Color “Medium Skin Tone” as highlights. I also experimented with Vallejo Model Color “Mahogany”.
Below are some examples of mostly completed and unvarnished figures which were awaiting shields, flocking, and of course varnishing.
OWS Jaguar Warrior figures JA12 and JA13. The figures are the same pose, but I armed JA12 with a macuahuitl and JA13 with a tepoztopilli. Note that I also gave them both different painting schemes.
Painting of the figures was followed by my working on the shields. Using my plan I was able to finish them all after a few days and they are shown below with a ruler for scale.
I then mounted the shields, flocked the bases, varnished them, and applied static grass.
Now comes the fun part – sharing the final products. Each of the figures is shown below – and I gave each blister a different photo background.
“Heroes of Tenochtitlan” (AZ012) Blister Pack (Wargames Foundry)
Hopefully you enjoyed the pics and this post – and if you have feedback, a favorite among these, or a least favorite – positive feedback or devastating criticism – I’m up for all of the above.
With many conventions cancelled, and even gaming club get-togethers not happening, it may be a while before these Aztecs get into a fight. I guess that just leaves more time to complete them – and eventually some Conquistadores and Tlaxcalans as foes.
Chris Palmer The Wars of Ozz Kickstarter is completely funded and closes Saturday, July 25 2020 3:00 PM BST
Wars of Ozz is a fantasy miniatures game set in the marvelous world of Ozz first chronicled by L. Frank Baum’s in 1900, and now the inspiration for a totally unique mass battle tabletop experience. Russ has taken Baum’s world as an inspirational starting point for creating our own ‘Ozz’, a post-apocalyptic Earth where after the last ‘Madness Bomb’ fell in the ‘Last Great War’, survivors mutated and chaos reigned until several hundred years later the Wizard arrived.
The Campaign The Kickstarter Campaign closes Saturday, July 25 2020 3:00 PM BST Wars of Ozz is completely funded and some great Free miniatures have been unlocked for Backers including female munchkin pirates from Admiral JinJars famous crew and the Adventurers of Ozz character set that includes Dorothy, Toto, The Tinman, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. Over 60 packs of miniatures are available in the wave one release including all the troop types needed to field a Munchkin, Quadling, Gilikin or Winkie Army.
The rules written by Buck Surdu have been designed from the start to support solo, two player and team play. The rulebook contains everything needed to play a streamlined and intuitive ‘fantasy’ horse and musket mass battle game, together with full background of the world, it’s factions, scenarios and uniform guides. There are just a few days left of the kickstarter campaign, so if it is of interest, check it out now!
This past week I got back to working on the Bones 4 Darkreach expansion and painted the “Dark Elf Elite” figure. I prepped the figure in the usual way, soaking it in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added, then giving it a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying it. I then glued the figure to a brown-primed 1" fender washer with Aleene’s Tacky glue, and then placed the figure in my painting grip.
I began by painting the figure with Ceramcoat “Black”. When dry, I drybrushed the armor with Folk Art Color Shift “Black Flash”. When the “Black Flash” was dry, I went over it again with a light drybrush of Reaper MSP “Aged Pewter”. After that I painted the face, knees, and hands with Reaper MSP “Dark Elf Skin”.
Next, I decided to try painting the cape with a gradated ombre effect. I started with Crafter’s Acrylic “African Violet" at the bottom, and then wet blended that into Anita’s "Violet” in the center, and then mixed and blended that into Apple Barrel “Apple Lavender” at the top and the parts hanging down in the front. After that I painted her boots with Reaper MSP “Coal Black”. I then mixed a little of the “Coal Black” into some of the “African Violet” and painted the shadowed underside along the bottom and the splits in the cape.
I then painted her hair with Americana “Grey Sky”, and afterwards painted the sword blades with Ceramcoat “Charcoal”. After that, I painted the skulls on her armor with Folk Art Brushed Metal “Brushed Bronze”, and then repainted the swords Folk Art Metallics “Gunmetal Grey”.
I let the figure dry for a while, and then gave the whole thing a coat of Citadel “Nuln Oil” wash. Then, when the wash was dry, I painted the eyes, then highlighted the face, and hands, with the base “Dark Elf Skin”, and some Reaper MSP “Dark Elf Highlight”. After that, I highlighted the hair with Americana “Snow White”, and then highlighted the boots with a mix of the base “Coal Black” with some Folk Art “Cloudy Day”.
Next, I highlighted the cape using the base colors “Violet” and the “Apple Lavender”, with a little of the “Snow White” added in for the lightest highlights. I then highlighted the skulls on the armor with Folk Art Metallic “Pure Gold”, and after that, I did all the rivets on the armor using DecoArt Metallic “Rich Espresso”. I finished up by adding some highlights to the swords with Ceramcoat “Metallic Silver”, and lastly, I painted the entire base with Americana “Mississippi Mud”. I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish. I then used some white glue to glue some fine sand to the base. When the sand was dry, I painted it with a coat of Americana “Charcoal Grey”. When this was dry, I drybrushed the sand with the “Mississippi Mud”, and then with some Apple Barrel “Rock Grey”; lastly I drybrushed it with a little Americana “Dove Grey”. Another overnight dry, and I sprayed the figure with Testor’s Dullcote".
I like how this figure turned out, though in the end I think my ombre experiment with the cape was not a success. I needed to start the lightening further down, as I don’t think you really get a sense that the color is supposed to be getting lighter as you go up…it just looks like some highlighting in the end.
My kids got me some Albedo Combat Patrol vehicles for my birthday, and I finished painting them up. I decided to paint them in urban ops gray instead of green or brown like the bulk of my ACP 164 equipment. I spray primed with Tamiya gray primer (absolutely the best primer on the planet for the price — very smooth and great coverage) and then the rest of dry brushing. I am pretty happy with the outcome.
This past week I took a break from painting Dark Elves and Gnomes and did the “Goblin Bodyguard” from the Bones 4 Goblin Heroes set. I had planned to work on all three of the Goblins from the Goblins Heroes set at the same time, as kind of side project as I worked on the Darkreach figures, so I had prepped the figures in the usual way, soaking them in a dish of water with a couple drops of dish-soap added, then giving them a light scrub with a soft toothbrush, and then rinsing and drying them. I then glued them to 1" brown-primed fender washers with Aleene’s Tacky glue. I then glued the washers onto a tongue depressor with a couple drops of Elmer’s white glue.
I then had begun painting all their exposed skin areas with Citadel Contrast “Snakebite Leather”. But when I was studying them after the “Snakebite Leather” application, I realized that they really weren’t similar enough to paint as a group, and so I popped them off the tongue depressor so I could work on them separately. I reattached the bodyguard to a pill bottle with some blue tac. After that, I painted his loin cloth with Reaper MSP “Blood Red”, his boots with Citadel Contrast “Wyldwood”,and his gauntlets with Americana “Fawn”.
Next, I painted his belt and straps with Americana “Charcoal Grey”, and is scimitar, armor, and belt buckle with Ceramcoat “Charcoal”. I also painted his earrings with Folk Art Brushed Metal “Brushed Bronze”. Then after everything had a chance to dry, I gave his loin cloth, belts, straps, and gauntlets all a coat of Citadel “Agrax Earthshade ” wash.
Then, when the ash was dry, I painted his eye. After that, since I felt his skin had come out rather splotchy from using the Contrast Paint on it, I tried blending it a bit with some Accent Golden Oxide. I then used some Apple Barrel “Maple Sugar Tan” mixed with the “Golden Oxide”. to highlight his skin.
As I prepared to highlight the loin cloth, I realized I had painted part of what was supposed to be his legs as loin cloth, so I took some time to repaint his legs with the “Golden Oxide” and “Maple Sugar Tan” and blend the areas back into the body. I then highlighted the loin cloth with a mix of the base “Blood Red” and some Reaper MSP “Golden Glow”. After that, I highlighted his gauntlets with some of the base “Fawn” mixed with a little Americana “Bleached Sand”, and I highlighted his belt and straps with some Americana “Mississippi Mud”.
Next, I painted the scimitar, shoulder armor, and belt buckle with Folk Art Metallics “Gunmetal Grey” and then highlighted all of it with some Ceramcoat “Metallic Silver. I then highlighted the hilt of the scimitar and his jewelry with Ceramcoat "Wedding Gold”. Lastly, I painted his base with the “Mississippi Mud”.
I let the figure dry overnight and the next day I gave it a coat of Americana “DuraClear Matte” varnish. Then, when the varnish was dry, I used some white glue to flock the base. Another overnight dry, and I sprayed it with Testor’s “Dullcote”.
The Contrast paint really didn’t work well on these guys, but I’m generally happy with the outcome. As with so many Reaper figures, the great character of the sculpt really carries the paint job a long way.
We played a long Wars of Ozz game via Zoom yesterday, but I still managed to complete some Viking figures. Greg and I bought a bag of 60 Anglo-Danes and 60 Vikings at Cold Wars 2019 and split the bags. I have completed about half of my Vikings and hope to complete the rest this week.
I am still not a fan of plastic figures, because I think the weapons are too fragile for gaming, particularly the way clods pick them up by the handful at conventions. Ideally, I would like to see plastic figures with metal weapons.
Life continues to be somewhat hectic in the midst of the pandemic. Working from home has been more exciting than usual, as my work computer has been failing, so that everything requires more effort than it is supposed to. Perhaps it’s for that reason that I have turned to hobbying to get away from things for a bit. Since the last post I have had two casting sessions (finishing off venting and test casting all the early Prince August fantasy molds, catalog numbers 651 through 671), painted four buildings and some 3-D printed rock formations, finished four hills which had been in process for a while, and built three tree stands. What I haven’t done is painted any more of the Prince August figures.
Joe Procopio recently posted pictures of work he had been doing on a Hudson and Allen castle, but he also had a freestanding tower from the old Milton Bradley/Games Workshop Battle Masters game. I thought it looked good, and was able to find one on eBay for a reasonable price.
I have been playing around with various ideas for scenery upgrades for a while, and had ordered a package of 3-D printed cottages from an outfit on Amazon called Ender Toys. They aren’t the most detailed buildings, but I decided I’d give them a try since they were light and inexpensive. Also, the reviews noted that the doors were more in scale with 1/72 or old 25mm figures than with modern ranges like Reaper’s, and that’s just what I’m working with at the moment. In the long run, I anticipate adding them to my convention scenery collection due to the light weight and durability.
Ender Toys cottages (3 of 4) with the tower and some Ender rocks
The hills I finished were done using the same techniques I posted about back in May.
Three of these are flat-sided for use at the table edge; the last one used a scrap of plastic otherwise useless, and got the vertical stone treatment all around (signifying rough terrain) to be big enough to bother with. Beveled edges would have left very little flat area on the top.
First tree base
Last year at Gencon I took a workshop on scenery, and resolved that I was going to trade increased storage volume for trees against reduced wear and tear on them by mounting my home scenery collection trees on group bases. I came back with one partially constructed sample base, and finally got around this week to building some Woodland Scenics trees and mounting them to the base. I’ve also acquired some finished commercial trees of varying qualities. Recalling the advice from Dave Frary’s book How to Build Realistic Model Railroad Scenery, I anticipated basing trees in groups of at least three, and mixing colors, sizes, and sources as much as possible.
I also recently obtained two small (30” by 22”) mousepad-type mats from Frontline Gaming, one of which is a basic grassland design.
Frontline Gaming mats (Urban mat for a different project)
I finished up the other two woods bases this morning, and loaded everything recent onto the 30” by 22” mat to see. It’s now looking crowded enough for a skirmish game, although some walls or hedges would be nice. I’ve got some Mantic Terrain Crate walls needing painting, and this will probably be a good excuse to get it done. I have some 2-D roads and river sections (also in neoprene), to finish off the battlefield.
When I get back to painting figures, I want to get a few more humans done to beef up the warband represented by the five figures shown last time, and then get the double handful of orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins done so that I can stage a Song of Blades and Heroes game with all new figures and terrain. I’m hoping that will give me a little more appreciation for what somebody new to the hobby is facing, at least a little. Obviously I have years of practice in getting things painted quickly, and the information necessary to source things from all over the internet. Once I’ve got that game out of my system, I’ll shift to painting something else for a while…