Category Archives: Fantasy

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

Loot from Forge of Ice

Forge of Ice is one of those one-person companies that makes all sorts of cool stuff, and after knowing about them for several years I finally got around to making a small order from them a few weeks ago. Most of the fascinating little one person companies are British, but Forge of Ice is in fact based in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Alex, who is the entirety of Forge of Ice, still doesn’t have an actual website but he’s got a Forge of Ice Facebook page, is very responsive by FB Messenger, and has an illustrated catalog thread over on the awesome Lead Adventure Forum as well, which is frankly easier to navigate than Facebook’s chaotic unsearchable nonsense.

Forge of Ice mostly does Lost World style stuff, small dinosaurs, oddball caveman-style accessories and stuff. I’m not doing much Lost World style pulp at the moment, but I have in the past and I’m certain I will in the future. Besides, I could always cross-pollinate my current weird 17th Century stuff with Lost World, couldn’t I? Hmmm…

Anyway, what did I get from the frozen depths of central Alaska? A pair of Snake Priestesses, a batch of five peacocks, a sabertooth tiger rug, and the centrepiece of this little collection, a resin Doom Serpent Idol.

Forge of Ice stuff
My little Forge of Ice order – peacocks, priestesses, a rug (it’ll really tie a room together), a Doom Serpent Idol, and a cool sticker! Click for larger.

The serpent priestesses are elegantly slim 28mm figures, both slender women with large snakes wrapped around their arms and shoulders. I have no immediate plans for them, but they’re awesomely pulpy and clearly need some sort of group of underpriestesses, guards, and temple lackeys to order about in their sneaky attempts to do whatever it is snake priestesses from a Lost World plot to do.

The peacocks are some of the first figures Forge of Ice released, several years ago, and I’m thinking that as well as being just general fancy set dressing, with a couple of house rules they could be mobile alarm units in a Pulp Alley scenario where players are trying to sneak up on a fancy house and don’t dare disturb the peafowl least the damn things scream the place down and alert guards or something! (if you’ve never heard a peafowl scream, they have a glorious bloodcurdling horror movie shriek. It’s awful.) The smaller female peahens and the male peacock with his tail down are both single piece castings; the peacock in full display mode is two pieces. There will need to be a bit of filing and puttying to get the body of the peacock and his tail to match up nicely, but nothing outrageous.

The saber tooth rug was just too much fun to pass up, I suspect I’ll use it as weird decoration in someone’s study or something!

Doom Serpent ido
The gloriously Egyptian-esque Doom Serpent idol, just the thing to be guarded by a couple of serpent priestesses and their flunkies! Click for larger.

The Doom Serpent idol is a fairly serious chunk of fine grey resin, about 3″ tall and just over 2″ wide at the shoulders. I’m really looking forward to painting this one up, I’m thinking a sort of blond/tan sandstone look like we see in Egyptian statues, with some coloured painted bits here and there, will look great.

Hopefully one of these days Alex gets around to getting Forge of Ice an actual website, but in the meantime go have a look at his Lead Adventure thread (you don’t need a LAF account to see it) and ping him by email, by the message service at LAF, or via Facebook Messenger to get your cool weird Lost World loot from the distant north!

Loot From Bad Squiddo

Ordered a few things from the excellent and varied ranges of Bad Squiddo Games back in March; things took longer to get from the UK to here than I’m used to, almost like some major world event is disrupting trans-Atlantic flights or something. However, everything was dispatched from the UK in good time and I am certainly not going to blame Anne of Bad Squiddo or the various postal services involved for a lack of air mail capacity…

I got a fairly mixed bag of stuff. A few ladies that will probably show up mostly as players or civilians in my English Civil War/Weird ECW games, a fine herd of pigs and some farm scenery, a bunch of cats, and some small scenery to add detail here and there, including a whole lot of mushrooms and toadstools for suitably creepy weird fantasy/horror forest bits.

Bad Squiddo haul
Most of the Bad Squiddo haul all laid out. Clockwise from lower left: mushrooms/toadstools, candles, several female characters, cats, fish seller w/ cats, skoggskattar, and finally in front centre a batch of food. Click for larger.
Skoggskattar
Skoggskattar – giant Scandinavian cats. Compare to the 28mm Warlord guy jogging past them on the right right there. Click for larger.

Everything is really cleanly cast and beautifully sculpted. The scenics are mostly by the very talented Ristul and in an interesting slightly flexible grey resin; the white metal sculpts are by a variety of sculptors and all really well done.

Not pictured above is the pigs, my favourite single part of this purchase. I indulged in the Pigtopia bundle deal which got me ten pigs and six bits of pigsty/farm scenery. I’ve already painted the pigs up, basing them in small groups on 40mm bases.

pigs!
Bad Squiddo pigs! Ten pigs, six pieces of pig-related scenery. Click for larger.

I painted the pigs up to vaguely resemble one of the oldest heritage breeds of pig in the UK, a black-and-white breed that I now can’t find or remember the name of. Anyway, they painted up nicely and I look forward to watching them chase players around the table or be part of someone’s provisions on the hoof in a scenario.

painted pigs
Pigs all painted up, all on 40mm bases. Just a bit of greenery to add and they’re all done. Click for larger.

That’ll do, pig, that’ll do.

Dogs & Cats Living Together

(Or, The Workbench This Week, 12 April 2020, also known as the 43rd of Marprilay, Blursday the Somethingth of Pandemic)

Strange times, faithful readers. Strange and stressful, and one of my stress responses is to flit from project to project, starting things and then flitting off before they get very far.

This long Easter weekend, though, I’ve been nudging myself to actually move a few things noticeably closer to actual completion. The first small sign of this is the three critters below, two cats (from Eureka, I think) and a Reaper War Dog finally moved along to the flocking-and-base-detailing stages.

28mm dog and two cats
Two housecats and a war dog. Click for larger.

The cats have been on the edges of my painting table for almost exactly five years now, as my email archives tell me I made the Eureka USA order for them (and other stuff) back in March 2015. There’s another two of them somewhere in the “nominally in progress” mountain somewhere, but this white cat and the orange tabby will have to do for now.

No idea how they’ll be used in games yet… maybe I’ll come up with a Pulp Alley games that involves chasing cats around a quaint English village looking for a clue one of them has attached to their collar. No gunfire, you’ll scare the cats into hiding!

the workbench this week, April 2020
The rest of the workbench. L to R: ECW cav, Renedra building, Frostgrave and ECW plastics, the critters, werewolves, and such! Click for larger.

So what else is on the rest of the workbench, hopefully lurching closer to completion? A whole mix of stuff (surprise…)! I’m quite please with the progress I’ve made on the nice little Renedra Wattle & Daub Outbuilding, some long-neglected ECW cuirassier are seeing basing progress, I’ve been building some Frostgrave wizards and soliders as mentioned in my last post, and the whole mess of werewolves (over on the far right of the photo above) are meandering onward.

Stay home, stay safe, attempt to stay sane, and I hope you and yours are well.

Dogs With Guns

OK, technically dog-men or gnolls with guns. Firelocks, if we want to be really technical.

I started with Frostgrave Gnolls from North Star Figures, having picked up a single sprue frame of gnolls (five of them) from Brigade Games, the North American distributor.

The firelocks are leftovers from the Warlord Games Firelock Storming Party; each figure in that set comes with two complete sets of arms + firelock so you wind up with lots of extra guns.

The gnolls are wider across the shoulders than the Warlord humans, and have longer arms, so I cut at the wrists and re-glued.

gnolls with guns
Gnolls with guns. See text for details. Click for larger.

I’ve now assembled all five gnolls. The leftmost gnoll has a Warlord cavalry sword in one hand, and a cavalry carbine in the other; next is a gnoll with a firelock and an infantry sword at his hip; the middle gnoll is build straight from North Star parts, waving his massive ancestral sword overhead (that might get trimmed down a bit, it really is over the top massive…); fourth along is another firelock gnoll, and finally on the far right a gnoll who’s going to get yelled at by his sergeant for carrying his firelock in such a sloppy way while advancing with a large dagger in his other hand.

I might yet buy an entire box of these guys and do up more units, but for now they’re a fun gunpowder fantasy addition to a game. In Pikeman’s Lament terms they’d either be a Forlorn Hope or Clansmen, depending on your opinion of their actual quality, or possibly Commanded Shot given the generally high level of equipment they’re carrying. In the “English Civil War + magic” game universe I’m slowly developing I suspect gnoll troops occupy the same sort of niche as Irish troops seem to have, being treated as semi-disposable shock troops for the most part.

I’ve got a bunch of work with greenstuff on these guys before they’re going to be ready for painting, but given the current lockdown/physical distancing requirements of our global pandemic situation I don’t suppose there’s any hurry to get them onto the table.

Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy, stay sane, and try to get some hobby time in as your stress levels allow!

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?!