Category Archives: Fantasy

Posts on fantasy gaming using the Fantasy Rules 2nd Ed. and Hordes of the Things rules.

Tell the Bartender Your Troubles

Way back in December 2018 on Twitter, Bears Head Miniatures showed off pictures of their new Beholder-alike floating eye beastie, Narthoks the Excellent. I made an offhand comment of, “With that expression, somehow I see him as the wholly unexpected barkeep behind a very strange bar somewhere, towel draped over one tentacle, goblets and beer mugs in the other tentacles…”

A few weeks later, Bears Head posted this:

…and naturally I had to join their Kickstarter, even though I had no particular use then or now for a Beholder, in bartender guise or otherwise! (is a bartending Beholder actually a Beerholder? A Barholder?)

My understanding is that the bartender version was a Kickstarter-exclusive, but the regular and sci-fi versions of Narthoks are available over on the Bears Head website, along with all sorts of other interesting figures!

So what did I get for my offhand comment? Narthoks is a big chap, roughly 2 and a half inches across at the tentacles and about 2 inches tall from bottom of tentacles to top of head/topmost eyeball. Taller than that once he’s on his flying base, of course. He’s got a towel and glass in his frontmost tentacles, a cocktail shaker in his right-hand tentacles, and a bottle and glass in the left. All the bar-ware is scaled to Narthoks, which means the glasses and shaker are the size of barrels from a human viewpoint!

barholder, bare resin
Bare resin Narthoks straight out of the box from Bear’s Head back in May 2019. Click for larger.

The figure is resin and nicely cast, with only a bit of cleanup along seams and some casting flash. He’s in two parts, tentacles and base/neck (?) and then head, and while the seam between them has more gaps than I’d normally like to see, the textured nature of his skin makes disguising this seam easy once you break out the greenstuff.

Anyway, after Narthoks the Barholder showed up in May 2019 he sat in his box until just a few weeks ago (end of January 2020), when I felt the need to radically change up my painting after painting a couple of dozen lovely but fussy and tiny 1:1200 WW2 naval boats!

For painting, I was inspired by Dana Howl’s awesome video on using glaze medium, which I’ve linked to at least once already on this blog, and by the splendid and underused (by me, at least, in usual day-to-day painting) Royal Purples triad from Reaper’s paint line.

barholder, wet paint
Blending basecoat in progress. Almost all the paint you can see here is still wet, as the glaze medium slows drying time. Makes for fun and dynamic painting on a big figure like this! Click for larger.

Narthoks’ underside is various shades of bright blue, his topside is mostly Imperial Purple, shaded down with Nightshade Purple and highlighted with Amethyst Purple. The eyeballs were painted Pure White then glazed with a variety of yellows, reds, and oranges.

barholder basecoated
Basecoating done, eyeballs and other detail parts included. Click for larger.

Final highlights on Narthoks’ body were a mix of Amethyst Purple, Pure White, and glaze medium, 1:1:1; this is most visible on the eyelids and on the bits just above the “horns” along each side of the body. The eyeballs have all had a coat of gloss medium, although as I haven’t given the whole miniature the usual coat or three of protective matte varnish, this gloss will have to be redone in due course. Ah well.

narthoks finished, front
Narthoks all finished except for basing. Go on, tell the bartender your troubles! Click for larger.
narthoks finished, left side
Left side of Narthoks. I really like how the shading of the horns and above them has come out. Click for larger.
narthoks finished, right side
Narthoks’ right side. The eyeballs have turned out nicely too. Click for larger.

Narthoks comes with a standard clear plastic flying base; I ran a length of paper clip wire up into him for a painting handle and to help pin the two halves of his body together. I’ll trim that short and slot it into the post of the flying base, but I might replace the clear plastic base with something more bar-like, either flagstones or a wood floor. I’m actually tempted to get a small display dome for Narthoks and put him on one corner of my home bar cabinet as a mascot of sorts, as I currently have absolutely no actual gaming-related use for this awesome figure!

Extremely Bad Dogs, Almost Finished

Most of the painting is finished on the various Reaper dogs last seen a few weeks ago, and they’ve painted up so nicely I’m going to show them off before they’re entirely finished, which I do not usually do.

three demon dogs
Centre is Reaper’s Moorhound; flanking him are Reaper Hellhounds. Click for larger.

The Moorhound got a black basecoat; the other four got a dark brown basecoat. No particular reason, honestly. Most of the texture was brought out by simple drybrushing in a variety of off-white shades, then some highlights all the way up to pure white, and some selective shading with washes. I pushed the contrast more than I usually do and I think it works really well for these otherwordly demon-dogs.

different demon dogs
Back view of the Moorhound, flanked by two Reaper Goblin Wolves. Click for larger.

The bases all five dogs are on are 40mm rounds built up from sheet styrene and putty; I’ll get flock and tufts on them in the next couple of days. Then I need to figure out stats for these in Pulp Alley 2nd Edition and unleash them upon our tables!

demon dog vs priest
A Warlord 28mm priest faces down a Reaper Moor Hound. Click for larger.

Fenris Games Runestones

I picked up a few things from Fenris Games back in June or July, and the first pieces are finally getting completed and onto the gaming table!

runestones, front.
Two Viking Runestones from Fenris Games. Click for larger.

These are “Viking Runestones 2” from Fenris, cast in pale grey resin. Each is about 2″ tall. The carved runes on the front are very finely detailed; I wouldn’t be surprised if they had been laser engraved on something (thin acrylic?) and that was then embedded in putty or something to make up the rest of the stone.

runestones, back
Runestones, rear view. 28mm Warlord ECW figure for scale. Click for larger.

I’ve got a few other bits and pieces from Fenris in progress. All of their stuff is really high quality, their range is huge, and shipping was fast. Highly recommended!

Extremely Bad Dogs

Every culture has dog/wolf demon things in their folklore. The UK is thick with them, it seems like every county has three or four varieties, and they show up everywhere else in Europe too. Usually huge, black, red-eyed, and inclined to eat people by dark of night or just bay (they never merely bark) threateningly on dark and misty nights.

With that in mind, adding some demonic dog-creatures to my “Weird ECW” skirmish seemed like a natural thing to do. Fortunately, Reaper Miniatures has a whole selection of suitable figures, so I sent some money to those nice folks in Texas and got a good selection of things back, of which this pack of extremely bad dogs is just the first part to be seen here!

A pack of extremely bad dogs!
Five extremely bad dogs. See text for details, and click for larger.

The two left-hand figures are Hellhounds, the two slightly smaller beasts in the middle are Goblin Wolves, and the really, really big doggie on the far right there is Moor Hound.

They’re all on 40mm wide bases, just for scale, and the grey figure in the background is 28mm Warlord plastic.

Looking forward to getting these guys painted up and figuring out stats for them in Pulp Alley and the other rules sets we use! Somewhere in my mountain of unpainted figures I have at least one other big dog figure (a Reaper Warg, I think) that I can add to this pack when I find it.

The Trumpeter Salute 2019 Haul

Trumpeter Salute 2019 has come and gone. This was the first Trumpeter in many years where I didn’t run a game which felt kind of strange, but that did leave more time for other people’s games!

It was also the kick in the butt I apparently needed to devote a bit more time to gaming, after most of a year (two?) of basically doing squat except watch my gaming stuff gather dust.

Among the things I bought at Trumpeter was a pack of Frostgrave Wizards in plastic. I’ve been musing for a while now about mixing up 17th Century English Civil War/Thirty Year’s War figures with magic and fantasy stuff of some sort, and while a lot of things like wands or wizard’s staffs would be easy enough to add to figures with wire and putty, a couple of sprues of ready-made bits seemed like a good plan.

The Trumpeter Salute 2019 haul. First three Warlord/Frostgrave magic users on the left, new frogs on the right, chevaux in the foreground. Click, as usual, for larger.

It turns out the Warlord plastic ECW figures and the North Star plastic Frostgrave figures are pretty much perfectly compatible. Very similar heights and proportions, and heads and hands similarly scaled. The arms are jointed identically at the shoulders on both, too, although the heads & necks are separate on the Frostgrave figures but integral to the bodies on the Warlord stuff, so if/when I want to start doing headswaps I’ll need to do some surgery.

I also got a pack of four “Frogs with French rifles” from Pulp Figures, to give my Cthulhoid fishmen/frogmen forces some actual firepower. I’m not sure if these will be sold via Pulp Figures or Crucible Crush, but they’re awesome!

Finally, I picked up a pack of Renedra’s Chevaux de Frise for more barricades to scatter around – perfect for some of the Pikeman’s Lament scenarios that call for a line of barricades or a barricaded village. The pack contains a pair of sprue frames that will give me about 18″ or so of chevaux de frise all told.

First three magic users! See text for details, click for larger.

I whipped up the first three “weird ECW” magic users already. On the left is one of the regular Warlord cavalry figures with an arm and hip pouch from the Frostgrave wizards; centre is a Warlord firelock body with both arms from Frostgrave (usable as a religiously-inspired figure in straight historical games too), and on the right is a body from the Warlord infantry command sprue with arms from the same sprue and a wizard’s staff from the Frostgrave set.

I’ve got a whole bunch of photos still on my camera from the actual Trumpeter Salute show; I’ll try and get them edited and uploaded this coming weekend.

A Small Stone Circle

Not every stone circle is a gigantic trilithon monument like Stonehenge. Some of them might be barely recognizable as stone circles, in fact, until you realize that plants grown in strange patterns around the stones, or you wander past on certain very specific nights of the year…

This little project started out as a way to use up leftover putty; whenever I had excess greenstuff or Milliput I’d squish it into a rough stone shape and let it dry on one corner of my bench. This weekend I wanted a quick project as a distraction, so I grabbed four of these stones, hot-glued them to a scrap CD, and added sand. That got left to dry overnight, then I basecoated it dark brown, let that dry a few hours, and drybrushed the sand to bring up the texture with various shades of pale brown, tan, and very pale grey.

The stones got a black basecoat, the drybrushed with various shades of grey, tan, and finally white.

The flocked areas are my usual mix of ground foam and static grass, and then I added various tufts from Army Painter and the flowers from Rain City Hobbies. The flowers form a ring around the outside of the stones, and I kept the foliage inside the stones to a minimum.

Stone circle, overhead view, with a 28mm Warlord pike & shot officer for scale on a 25mm base. Click for larger.
The circle from something close to model eye level or just above, with the same Warlord officer. Click for larger.

My ongoing English Civil War project might well shade over into some sort of gunpowder fantasy version of the ECW or TYW, in which case the circle will be right at home, and in the meantime it can add a little touch of strangeness to some lonely corner of my tabletops… who meets in the centre of this flower’d circle, with it’s well-trodden paths? Be ye for King, Parliament… or some far older Power?!

LANtasy 2017 Photos!

Our local “big” convention, LANtasy, was a couple weeks ago now. I participated in the Blood Bowl & Infinity tournaments all weekend, and my Infinity terrain made up two of the four tables in the Infinity tourney. We’d hoped for more players and had originally reserved space for up to eight Infinity tables, but six players was it. I managed to come dead last, by a fairly good margin, including conceding one game at the bottom of the second turn (of three) but they were good games on good tables!

I brought my Lizardman team, the Handbag Factory (they’re crocodile figures, hence the joke name) to the Blood Bowl tourney and did nearly as badly, including one game where I got six lizards including my Kroxigor killed and didn’t injure a single orc…

Some photos – see captions for details.

Trumpeter Salute 2017 was last weekend in Vancouver and was a lot of fun. Lots of different games, a chance to see folks I only ever see at Trumpeter, and I ran a Pulp Alley game that was a blast and greatly enjoyed by all six players. I haven’t processed the photos from that yet, so I’ll do another post this weekend about that show.

BS2017: The Bloodyear Blomp, Part 8

Blomping along…

Primer! Got the gondola spray-primed grey and the balloon envelope brush-primed black.

All primed up, except the base. Click for larger.

The LAF Build Something 2017 contest rules ask that you not post painting progress photos of your project past the priming stage, so this will be the last photo anyone sees of the Blomp itself for a while. I’ll try and remember to take some in-progress shots and save them for a post-contest photo gallery, though.

Up next is finishing the base with a bit more putty and then paint and flocking, and then working on the half dozen or so goblins who are going to be crewing this thing!

Deadline is Feb 18th, which is coming up awfully fast!

BS2017: The Bloodyear Blomp, Part 7

Greenstuff all over the place this time!

Base greenstuff work – on the troll, the barrel, and the base itself. More to come! Click for larger.

I’ve started on the heavy leather harness that the troll uses to tow the Blomp along, as well as structural greenstuff to secure and cover the magnets in his base, hold the barrel in the right position, and secure the steel plate the barrel magnetizes to.

There’s at least one more round of greenstuff here, the front and belt parts of the troll’s harness don’t exist yet, and the base needs some more patching up.

Greenstuff on the piping around the Engine. Click for larger.

Up on the gondola the various joints in the pipes have greenstuff seals added. I’ll be painting them up as leather, which has historically been used as a seal and still is to this day in some applications. I also smoothed out a few parts of the hull, and on the first photo above you can see the putty filling in the underside of the bridge wings to secure the three eye-bolts on each end.

The eye-bolts are jewelry making supplies, intended to be posts on earrings or something. I have a little baggie of dozens of them, and I think they’ll come in handy for all sorts of things – parts of railings, for example. It pays to cruise slowly down the random aisles of your local craft store, the jewelry and bead aisles are full of all sorts of interesting things!

The greenstuff work on the gondola means it’s finally ready for priming and painting. I didn’t get a photo but the fabric patchwork is also finished on the balloon, so painting will start on that this weekend. I also need to get stuck into the (mostly minor) conversions to the half dozen Reaper Bones goblins who will serve as crew!

The Feb 18th deadline looms like an irritated troll with a big club!

BS2017: The Bloodyear Blomp, Part 6

Progress, the purpose of the troll revealed, and IT FLIES.

Well, sort of!

I got most of the structural parts of the base done today, barring more greenstuff putty to solidify everything. The big troll – an old prepainted WotC figure that I’ll be repainting – has a hole drilled between his shoulder blades and one end of a length of heavy steel wire inserted. The wire goes up to a detachable section of keel on the underside of the Blomp gondola, then comes back down and ends in the small barrel behind the troll.

There’s four rare earth magnets in the troll’s base, one in the bottom of the barrel, and two more in the keel piece at the top of the wire. Everything seems solid enough to hold the thing up, although I did have to shorten the wires from their original height because everything was flopping around like a lying orange liar’s toupee in the wind.

The Blomp’s base, with ground crew troll. I’ll use greenstuff to add a heavy leather harness around him. Click for larger.

Here’s how the whole thing looks at present! Since this photo I’ve added more to the keel assembly at the top of the wires, which strengthens and stabilizes everything a bit more.

The entire assembly at present. It flies! Click for larger.

I’ve also added wires disguised as piping on the gondola, coming out of the central Improved Non-Explosive Flautulator Engine. The piping into the lower part is largely decorative, but the upper piping will be the structural supports connecting the gondola to the balloon envelope overhead.

The plumbing going in around the Improved Non-Explosive Flautulator Engine. See text for details; click for larger!

I’ve also gotten almost all of the fabric glued on to the Blomp’s envelope, but didn’t get a photo of that.

The next round is going to be more greenstuff putty action on the plumbing, base, and troll. I also need to get started on converting Reaper Bones goblins for camera operators, flight crew, and famous Blood Bowl announcer & personality Gobb Cherry, host of BB Nite in Gobada! I’m looking forward to puttying and painting a suitably loud suit and tie onto Gobb!