Friday, May 29, 2009

June work in progress

Here's what I'm working on for June. I can't seem to finish any one thing before moving on to the next. In the top left corner are Vendel Miniatures elves and a painted Strider. My 1/72 wagon has it's base-coat and is ready for paint. In the center are a bunch of Mega Miniatures animals. I've had these for a year and am finally painting them. The black circles are going to be Song of Blades and Heroes "fallen" markers. In the top right are Hat's 1/72 Late Roman artillerymen. To the right are three Pulp Figures nude cavemen that I will be turning into headless monsters.

These models are all in a shoe box lid. I keep all my paints in the box so I can paint in the kitchen, dining room, or wherever my darling wife is.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Out of uniform

(above photo: three official GW LOTR minis, and a Vendel Miniatures elf)

Part of the fun of wargaming, is choosing your models. I don't always have the free time to paint, so browsing mini manufacturer websites is often all the fun I'm having. I enjoy picking out a mix of the best-looking models for my units. There is an immense selection of ancient miniatures available for waging Warhammer Ancient Battles, and to play Song of Blades and Heroes you can grab any odd fantasy minis from your collection.

What I don't like are rules that demand the purchase of only specified models. Of course, this makes great sense from a business point of view. If rule set X has unique characters and units, then the players are forced to buy their models only from company X. These officially sanctioned models stifle the hobby's capacity for creativity. Stringent guidelines also exclude would-be gamers who simply don't like the official sculpts.

For instance, I've been very interested in GameWorkshop's Lord of the Rings game, but I prefer the hefty 28mm models made by other companies. Although my local hobby shop is not operated by GamesWorkshop, my non-GW models are not welcome at their game nights. If the shop stocked Vendel, Gripping Beast, and Mirliton models, then I would surely by them there. Yet, this will never happen. There's no local demand for these miniatures (apart from me), because GW has everyone convinced they are the only game in town.

I have the same problem with FOW. I'm interested in the game, but I'd rather use 1/72 models (I hate painting 15mm!). In choosing miniatures it's sculpting quality, variety, and cost that come first with me. If the rules don't support that, then I'm left out. Am I the only one who is too picky to play with models I don't like?

Friday, May 15, 2009

Trolls for 28mm Fantasy Miniatures

"This brutish creature is the bane of all travellers. Many tales relate how trolls hide beneath bridges in order to terrorize and prey upon all those who would cross it. The wise traveller would do well to exercise caution when crossing any bridge, especially those one may come across in the wilderness, far from the security of a city." —Ultima VII guidebook

This particular troll model was orignally produced by the now defunct German company, Metal Magic. I bought mine from Mega Miniatures, but they have since stopped production and sold the mold to Splintered Light Miniatures. My model is mounted on a 60mm plastic base. The fungi sculpted on the troll's club is a nice touch, don't you think?

At left is my troll from Reaper Miniatures. The model had a bunch of warts, which bothered me for some reason. I cut most of them off with an X-acto blade. He is mounted on a plastic 40mm base. (click the photo for a larger image)

The idea of trolls seems to have originated in the Scandinavian countries. Old Norse folk tales are full of encounters with the giant beasts. The classic method of defeating a troll was for the protagonist to outsmart it. In these stories trolls frequently had multiple heads: 2, 3 even 7! This variety is represented in the Ultima series by the two-headed "ettin." 

I enjoy reading traditional Scandinavian folk tales to my daughter. Our favorite book was, The Troll With No Heart in His Body, by Lise Lunge-Larsen. I demand that you go to your library and check it out!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Muster the Minis! - Artillery

I thought it would be cool if we hobby bloggers all completed a small project on a single theme.

Please join me this month in creating a piece following the theme, "artillery." Your entry can be a single painted mini, a small terrain piece, or even a photo of an artillery encounter from a recent wargame. It can be any genre and any scale: historic, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. By June 12th post a photo and write-up on your blog, photo sharing site, website, etc. Put a link to my blog in your post. (You may include the above Muster the Minis banner if you like). Email me your link, then shortly after I will create my own post linking to all the submissions.

This is not a competition, so there are no prizes. However, this little event could be a nice way to grow our hobby's online community and bring extra traffic to your website or blog.

Email notice of your submission to: andrew [insert at symbol] redrampant [dot] com. I will post the roundup shortly thereafter!

Thursday, May 7, 2009


"You find a loose stone and tear it from the wall. Behind it you discover a small leather pouch wrapped in an old rag. Peering inside you find 25 gold coins. Do not return this card to the deck." —Treasure card from HeroQuest

The money from my Star Wars eBay auctions came in this week. I'm very excited. I try to fund my hobby purchases primarily by selling old stuff. In the early 1990s I was quite the Star Wars collector. I bought them at the height of popularity just before eBay existed. At that time the only place to find the cards was at a sports cards convention, the odd hobby shop, or a comic book store. Unfortunately, the price of vintage SW cards plummeted with the advent of the internet. I bought the 1st series of Star Wars cards for $90, and sold all 5 complete series for a mere $75! Still, I'm happy with the sale. I now have $130 of hobby money ready to spend!

Incidentally, I do have one hobby item that has increased in value—my HeroQuest board game. Complete sets in good condition sell for $50-$60 on eBay! I have no plans for selling mine, but it's nice to know that it's worth something!

Now I get to have fun picking out miniatures to buy. I already bought the Valkyries from Shadowforge Miniatures. I've had my eye on them since they were first released (almost 8 years ago I think!)

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Standing Stones terrain

The base is a piece of hardboard with sand glued on for texture. The stones were cut from a piece of blue construction foam that I found in a dumpster at a construction site! The model provided for scale reference is 28mm.
The Standing Stones are a "Place of Power" in the Song of Arthur and Merlin supplement of Song of Blades and Heroes