Lately, I’m mostly painting

Sharing some of my gaming activities for people to read and enjoy.

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Discovering Brutal Cities

I had saved up my hobbying money for the Black Friday sales last year. Something I wanted was a cool table for playing Infinity. Somebody here on the forum mentioned a new manufacturer from Australia: Brutal Cities. I liked the look of these buildings very much … and didn’t like the usual Infinity staple MicroArt terrain from Poland. So I ordered about 1-2 tables worth of buildings from Brutal Cities. I assembled the first one today.

From gallery of takai


These kits come in plain 1mm MDF sheets to cut out and glue together. Easy to cut, minimal sanding, everything fits like a glove. This is one of the Eternity Labs buildings and Ryan recommended painting before assembly. So that’s what I did.

From gallery of takai


I painted these using Molotow spray cans setting the color scheme for the rest of the lab buildings. I still need to weather these and I think some nice grafitti will work very well on these large, flat areas. I’ll also add some lights and I’m thinking about getting small LEDs to have an inside light.

Anyway, I have a bunch of kits to go through here. My goal is to finish everything by next Black Friday
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Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:59 pm
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Building Knighthaven

Knighthaven is a terrain product line for fantasy miniature gaming by Blacksite Studios. The kits are suitable for a 28-35mm scale. They come in pre-painted MDF sheets that need to be cut out and assembled.

From gallery of takai


Despite these being pre-painted, assembly is quite a bit of work. The MDF sheets are thick, like unusually thick and heavy. I’ve worked with kits from most manufacturers and the material used here really stands out. The thickness also translates to the final model having a lot of depth. In conjunction with the vibrant colors, these buildings look pretty cool.

However the material also comes with a price. First of all the lasers used for cutting are just barely up to the task. Precision is not something I’d attribute to these. I spent hours sanding down the pieces to make them fit. Offsets of 1 or 2mmm are pretty common. So having some proper sanding tools at hand makes assembly much easier. But as the sanding dust is toxic, wearing a mask at all times is required.

The other price to pay is more literal. This stuff is heavy and your logistics partner of choice will make you pay. I had to ship through an intermediary in New Hampshire as they do not ship to Switzerland. Shipping was more expensive than the actual kit!

Anyway, they do look great and I’m pretty happy.

From gallery of takai
From gallery of takai
From gallery of takai
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Sat Jan 22, 2022 3:46 pm
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The Ruins of Dol Guldur

Dol Guldur, also known as the Hill of Dark Sorcery, was Sauron's stronghold and base of operations while secretly regaining his power as "The Necromancer". It was located in the south of Mirkwood and was occupied for most of two thousand years in the Third Age.

As of late, Games Workshop sold this as a kit for the The Lord of the Rings: Strategy Battle Game. The kit comes as three plastic sprues, two of them identical. You also get a booklet describing the assembly. It's hard to grok and it took me a while until I understood how the kit needed to be assembled. Still, it gave me a tough time and it came out a bit wonky. Looks like I need more practice.

I thought it could do as a backdrop for minis and I took some dramatic phots. Here's one of the bunch with an unpainted kit:

From gallery of takai


Here's how the kit looks like fully assembled and painted:

From gallery of takai


Backside:

From gallery of takai


Another stage photo, here the matte grayish background brings out the full colors of the mini. I noticed once again, I'm a pretty bad photographer!

From gallery of takai


For the airbrush afficionados I'd like to share that I now only use a drop of Vallejoy Airbrush Thinner to 10 parts of paint and destilled water. Used Scale 75 Instant colors and some Liquitex inks. A bit of brushwork to do the metal and plants on the ruins. Then an oil wash in a dark turqoise.

From gallery of takai


I really like the instant colors, they supplement the inks nicely. I think I'll complete my set soon.

Anyway, this is a nice piece of terrain for all kinds of fantasy skirmish games.
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Tue Dec 7, 2021 9:46 pm
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Building a Bell Tower

Out in the thawn wasteland the ruins of a watchtower mark the entry to the upper valley. The tower has a bell to warn of fires or the raving Krill.

From gallery of takai


Here’s a skirmish example that uses this terrain: Item for Geeklist "Solitaire Miniatures Games on Your Table - December 2021"

This kit is from the Official Frostgrave Terrain as licensed by Osprey to Kromlech in Poland. It’s an unpainted MDF kit of 3mm and 1mm sheets. You glue them together and get 4mm walls. The bell is the star in this ensemble and comes as a four part resin kit that needs to be glued and painted too. I used wood / tacky glue for the MDF and super glue for resin.

I applied glue with a toothpick evenly across all surfaces. I spread it so just a little bit of white is visible here and there. Less is more with wood glue.

The kit consists of 4 levels, Finished individual levels are nice and sturdy, the entire structure holds firm and is not easy to topple.

Wearing a mask I cut out each part sorting them into piles for the instruction steps. I sand down each and every piece to remove the small nips and get a better fit. For each step in the instructions the pieces are dry-fitted and then glued. I let the glue dry for an hour.

I prime the levels from below first in a dark green. Let it dry for half an hour, it’s mighty cold outside but very dry. Turn them around to prime green from above. Using low pressure caps here to get a very thin layer of paint. On to a gray only sprayed like a zenithal from above. Used these cans:

From gallery of takai


Once dry I tape off the bits I don’t want to look like wood.

From gallery of takai


I continue to spray heavily diluted inks and acrylics to create dirt, shadows and highlights. Here’s a shot at near the end of that process:

From gallery of takai


I added texture to the wood with a brush.

This Vallejo stencil was useful for adding splotches in random spots.

From gallery of takai


The final touches were done with oil paints. Brown, green, purple and black created a lot of grime.

The kit can be used in many different configurations. Number of levels as well as roof or no roof are all viable options.

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai


I’ll let it dry for a week and then varnish matte to remove the shine.
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Sat Dec 4, 2021 6:14 pm
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Building Blakehurst Village

I took a break from painting minis this weekend to take some time for terrain. Playing skirmish games requires a lot of different kinds of terrain so buffing my terrain library seemed like a good idea. I had ordered this kit from Blacklist Studios when it was opened for pre-order at the same time the Lasting Tales Kickstarter launched. It came as a really heavy and intimidating set of MDF sheets, pre-painted. Here's the photo from the website of Blacklist Games on how it should like when assembled:

From gallery of takai


The assmbley turned out to be very different from comparable products of other manufacturers. First off, the MDF was noticeable thicker and sturdier (heavier too, by a margin) and way more difficult to remove from the sprue. It took a lot of force to cut through the thick sheets in order to remove the parts without damage. On the folowing photo you can tell, that the nips holding the parts in place are about 2mm thick. The cutting laser used might not be the latest model: In quite a few cases the cuts weren't properly aligned, as you can tell by #6 on the following photo. This then required proper sanding, and I mean proper sanding for many parts of the kit. It's a rare occurence for me to wear a filtering mask for eight hours straight just to clean and sand some MDF.

From gallery of takai


The sheets were also pretty much covered in soot from the laser cutting process. It took an hour just to remove all that dirt with a wet cloth. And I didn't manage to take it all off, so whenever handling parts or sprues, I came away with dirty hands afterwards. This gave me a lot of trouble because the stonework is a light beige / off-white color and it took my dirty fingerprints like a charm. I took a note to be more careful with cleaning here next time. It did make me wonder once again why some manufacturers cannot properly clean their products before selling. Shops like Antenocitis Workshop do this without fail and it's a lot less work and dirt for me as a customer.

The village came with a Resin Upgrade Kit for doors, windows and some individual parts. I couldn't make sense of some of them and there were way too many windows and doors for the three buildings here. I thought that was a bit of a waste as I have a bunch of leftovers now. Here's a pic of all the parts after they came out of the ultra-sonic cleaner.

From gallery of takai


That's a lot of parts! I mixed my priming paint in a dropper bottle from these two, 1 part paint to 4 parts of thinner.

From gallery of takai


This requires 2-3 passes with the airbrush to get proper coverage. I didn't have enough clamps for all the parts, so I had to cycle three times to get all pieces primed and base colored. I used Molotow Hazelnut Brown as a base. Here's the finished result before washes and highlights:

From gallery of takai


I drybrushed with a light brown and then applied a dark brown oil wash. I let the resin parts dry overnight and then used super glue to stick them to the houses. Finally, I used some dark brown to fix all the little dents and sanding spots on the models. Here's the final result:

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai


All in all this is a great kit even though the assembly was dirty and more difficult than comparable products. The houses are extremely sturdy and seem made for an eternity of tabletop gaming. No fear of breaking anything here. I really like the colors as well. The resin kits give these houses a really nice touch of detail.

I only had some papercraft fantasy houses before and this is a big upgrade. I'll use these for Frostgrave and Five Leagues from the Borderlands and I suppose they might even work for Warhammer Age of Sigmar.
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Mon Nov 29, 2021 8:47 am
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Kommando Kill Team

I've painted the Ork Kommandos from Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team completing the entire box. I really enjoy closing up a project with a photo session but I didn't have any time to spare these past weeks. Today is an easy day without commitments so a great time to reflect on doing these. But first the group shot (I find group shots hard because my lightbox is so small):

From gallery of takai


Material is GW plastics, the sprues are injection moulded somewhere in England, I think. Primed with Molotow Signal Black, zenithal highlight airbrushed with Liquitex Titanium White ink. I sprayed green and umber ink on skin and all things leather. I then proceeded to paint the base colors with acrylics and to paint all the highlights. The main star here were Kimera acrylics:

From gallery of takai


I used come Contrast Paints for the bases and two base colors from Citadel as well:

From gallery of takai


I painted all the leather vests with a skintone from Vallejo, pointing out that squigs are an excellent source of leather in addition to being trusted companions in battle. The Escorpena Green vom Vallejo turned out so be the exact same hue as the Liquitex ink. Seeing the picture, I also did a ton of brown lining details in preparation for the oil washes.

From gallery of takai


After everything was dry and tidy, I did three thick oil washes in green, brown and black. I bought some Lampshade Black oil color which is semi-transparent. It works better than my old, opaque one. I used it pure on the weapons.

From gallery of takai


The final step is then to remove the oil paint where it's not needed, It requires patience and great concentration to remove in just the right spots and to the right amount. Compared to glazing though, it's a lot faster.


Bomb Squig and Kommando Grot
From gallery of takai


Breacha Boy and Burna Boy
From gallery of takai
From gallery of takai


Kommandoy Boy and Slasha Boy
From gallery of takai
From gallery of takai


Komms Boy and Snipa Boy
From gallery of takai
From gallery of takai


Dakka Boy and Kommando Boy
From gallery of takai
From gallery of takai


Kommando Nob and Rokkit Boy
From gallery of takai
From gallery of takai


That's it! This was a great fun project. I absolutely love the sculpts and how they painted.
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Sat Oct 30, 2021 12:21 pm
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Death Krieg Corps

I’m sharing some pics from my Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team batch paint. I used oil paints on top of an acrylic layer. I tried shading with color opposites like turquoise and violet over green. The oils smoothed everything together. I didn’t want to spent ages detailing so there’s a lot that could be done better here, but I did try something new with the brush for the final highlight, adding texture. For painting these in the evening over five days, I’m happy with my technique. I’m super proud of how the coats turned out.

These are the first Warhammer models I’ve painted in a while. I can’t help but associate the iconography on these with well known hate symbols. I really don’t like that. The Orks I’m currently working on evoke a lot more joy.

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

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From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

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From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai


Thanks for reading.
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Wed Sep 29, 2021 9:32 pm
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Death answers before it is asked

I've spent a few hours painting up the Tartary Army Corps Action Pack from Corvus Belli. These models are designed to be used with Infinity, but with with Covid still limiting social gatherings it'll be a while until that game is going to hit the table. Or any other game for that matter. These will also go well with Horizon Wars: Zero Dark, Zona Alfa: Salvage and Survival in the Exclusion Zone or Five Parsecs From Home: 2nd Edition.

So here's to the joy and beauty of simply painting miniatures for their own sake. Here's a group shot with what they would like when playing:

From gallery of takai


Anyway, these metals minis took a bit. Here's my process:

* Trimmed mold lines and sandpapered all the parts then glued the models
* Trimmed the resin bases and glued them to their plastic rims, I used Tau Ceti bases from Micro Art Studios
* Drilled a hole in the feet of the minis and into the base, pinned them down with a bit of super glue
* Washed the minis in an ultra-sonic cleaner with a bit of soap
* Toweled them off and let them dry for a day or two
* Primed with Vallejo Polyurethane Primer, black
* Base coated with Molotow Future Green through the airbrush
* Applied shadows of umber mixed with a bit of black and future green from below with the airbrush
* Highlighting from above with the airbrush by mixing in Molotow Sahara Beige with the Future Green
* Sprayed the bases with the airbrush, some old Vallejo colors, Andrea Blue and Desert Earth or something
* Painted all the other items using a brush, I just used Kimera Kiwi Brown and a little bit of Red and Blue
* Used oils to make a wash and then carefully apply to the parts where I wanted either shade or grime
* Removed oil excess with a brush and a little bit of white spirit
* Let dry for a day
* Painted on the highlights for all of the models which took quite a bit, but got faster as I moved through the models
* Varnished with AK Matte Varnish

And here's all the minis in gory detail:

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

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From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

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From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai

From gallery of takai
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Mon Jun 7, 2021 1:53 pm
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Crafting warbands for Frostgrave

I've been playing a bit of Frostgrave these last couple of weeks. There's a lot of nuance involved in setting up a warband and I wanted to share some of my thoughts and learnings. I've played both 1st and 2nd edition (and recommend 2nd edition) and this guide pertains to both.

Selecting your wizard

The first step is to choose your wizard, the single most important member of your soon to be illustrious company. The wizard will determine how you'll compose your warband. There's ten different types of wizard to chose from and this initial selection might be one of the hardest in the entire game.

Board Game: Frostgrave
Wizards assembled and painted from the Frostgrave Wizards box (FGVP06)

Each school of wizardry has it's own strengths and weaknesses manifested through their spell selection and spell casting difficulties. The schools are related to other schools as either aligned, neutral or opposed. You won't be able to cast spells from your opposing school, so it might be worthwhile to consider which spells you won't be able to cast if selecting a particular type.

The rulebook is pretty bad for selecting your school as it's just an alphabetical list of all the spells. You'll scroll/browse a lot going from spell to spell. I printed out the spell cards available for free from Osprey publishing for this. They're arranged by school and that makes it much easier to select them. You can find the spell cards here:

https://ospreypublishing.com/gaming-resources-frostgrave

Do keep in mind that Frostgrave is not about hunting and killing enemies but about collecting treasure! Spells like Telekinesis, Fools's Gold, Reveal Secret or Invisibility can be of great help to score more treasure than your opponent.

The thing about treasure is that it is heavy to carry around. You'll need to designate one member of your warband for this simple but very important task. As a warband can have only a maximum of ten members, it is an important decision to make. Some wizards have more options here than others, specifically those that can summon help to carry treasure around. Have a look at spells like Animate Construct, Summon Demon or Raise Zombie. Here you'll get another member to your warband for free, given that you manage to cast the spell beforehand. Do watch out for those pesky enemy wizards with Control spells. They just might yank your precious demon away from you!

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About having an apprentice

Getting an apprentice is a no brainer even though it'll cost you one of your ten precious member slots. The apprentice is a full blown spell caster and can wreak havoc if used correctly. Granted, spells are a little more difficult for him to cast but that shouldn't keep him for trying. This is especially true for those Out of Game spells that you can cast without detriment, ie. not taking damage for a bodged roll, before the game starts. Being able to try raising a Zombie twice is a big bonus in this game.

From gallery of takai
This particular runelord wanted an apprentice badly but they all chickend out

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Choosing the meat

After selecting wizard and apprentice it's time to chose the other eight members of your warband. Half of these can be specialists, the other four must be standard soldiers. Let's have a look at the standard soldiers first.

Thugs and Thiefs: These guys come for free! Felstad has a tendency to make your warband members die like flies, so having some no-cost options here is excellent. If playing a campaign, you just might find yourself with only wizard and apprentice left and not much coin to spent on reinforcements. So do pick some of these as they're what is commonly referred as cannon fodder.

War Hound: I shouldn't write this, but at ten gold a doggie must be considered cannon fodder as well. They're really fast, faster than any other soldier you can hire. War hounds are good for keeping enemies at bay and you shouldn't be too worried if they die quickly.

Infantryman and Man-at-Arms have the highest fight value of the standard soldiers, but they're almost as squishy as the rest of them. I'd chose an Infantryman over a Man-at-Arms any day because of their two-handed weapon. This yields an extra two points of damage which I found to be decisive a couple of times.

The last standard solider is the Apothecary which acts as a healer. Armed with a staff so he's not great on the defensive. But having five points of healing in reserve can save your wizard from extinction lest all those important casting rolls go awry!

From gallery of takai
A mixed bunch of plastic and metal miniatures that are part of the offical Frostgrave product line

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Specialist soliders

Specialist soliders all share one trait: they're pricey. Apart from that they differ only on their stat lines and the equipment they come with. Have a look and consider the equipment carefully. Crossbows and Two-Handed weapons do +2 damage, so that's very useful. As this is a d20 system, each pip on the die represents 5%. A +4 to the fight skill is a 20% increase and that's quite significant. But is it worth 125 gold to spent on a Knight when he can be taken down easily by two common thiefs? You decide but keep some money for after the first fight!


From gallery of takai
A mixed bunch of plastic and metal miniatures that are part of the offical Frostgrave product line

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Example warband

Here's a 400gc warband:

1x Necromancer with Staff (free)
1x Apprentice with Staff (100)
2x Marksman with Crossbow, Quiver, Sword and Heavy Armor (250)
1x War Hound (10)
3x Thug with Sword (free)
2x Thief with Dagger (free)


I hope this will help you get started with composing your warband. QCCC appreciated!
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Sun May 16, 2021 1:09 pm
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Felstad is not a holiday destination

We had a good time playing Frostgrave: Second Edition today. The ruleset seems to be geared at two players but we played four players and me acting as rule lawyer and referee. The scenario was Haunted Houses for which I assembled and painted a bunch of terrain last week.

From gallery of takai


I set a deployment zone of 6“ from the map corner and the first two turns were spent getting into positions. Then chaos ensued.

From gallery of takai


Those haunted houses got crowded by a lot of minis! I had the encounter table modified to generate more monsters. But I nerfed the wraiths as none of the players had much magic attack power available.

From gallery of takai


The endgame was a mad dash to secure treasure and/or trying to steal some goods from other warbands.

From gallery of takai


Great game, we had a good time. Except one player who basically took two damage every time he tried to cast a spell. It almost killed the wizard and drove the player nuts. He did came out scoring 300xp and 4 treasures though, so it all worked out eventually.
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Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:15 pm
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