Stone, Water, and War: My adventures in terrain and miniatures

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    • kisanis wrote:

      But will it work for my 15mm AWI stuff?


      I’ll probably buy some to do my Roman project whenever that happens
      You read my mind. I'm about to do 6mm AWI and these are going to be a Godsend! I have one of the right red Contrasts which will be perfect for British and then the browns and blues will take care of the Continentals.

      I'm betting that for 6mm and even 15mm one pot of red or brown will easily do most of an AWI army with plenty left over. I used one of the flesh ones on about 100 28mm faces and the pot is still at least 3/4 full.

      Let me know how they work on your AWI stuff!
      There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!
    • Great review, thanks for showing the true potential of the contrast colours.
      I´ll just want to add you can get similiar results with the transparent model colours of Vallejo
      or Aero professional of Schmincke, who all offer high pigmented washes to similiar results.
      Advantage GW: they have the broadest variety of colours. The others are slightly cheaper though.
      I´ll happily use all(or most) of them ^^
      Kruber wrote:
      Imperial Rangers burn the woods ---> Sylvan Elves go cry in the corner.
    • The XVIII Halberdier Battalion of the Empire of Sonnstahl in winter dress

      Hello my friends!

      The winter battalion is complete!

      As you know from previous posts, this was a project that involved taking historical plastics and combining them with fantasy heads and other bits to create an Empire battalion on winter campaign.

      I had initially said that I was only going to make one winter-themed unit. But after seeing how well these turned out, I'm afraid that I may have to do an entire EOS army in this theme! I truly was amazed at how well the fantasy heads blended with the historical bodies.

      When I got to the painting stage of this unit, I was very much thinking of historical comparisons in terms of winter uniforms and clothing. The variety of bland browns and greys were inspired by Civil War confederate soldiers uniforms as well as some of the alternate replacement clothing that Napoleonic War soldiers were issued. Brown woolen trousers to replace the Empire's usual more baggy and fluffy pantaloons. The long, brown greatcoat is a garment that is found in armies across several centuries in one form or another. Even up into the 20th Century in wars like the Russian Revolution, WWI and WWII, long, woolen coats had not changed a great deal in terms of their function and general appearance.

      I very much wanted the unit to look like it had long abandoned its fairer weather parade ground finery in favor of more practical, plain uniforms suitable for a winter campaign. I left some of the hats with the feathers still on to show some soldiers wishing to retain at least a bit of their Empire finery. However for the most part the feathers on the hats are gone and their puffy shirts and gambesons are covered from head to toe in along, woolen coat and woolen trousers.

      Some of the GW Empire heads were positively perfect for this unit! GW has some fantastic Empire head sculpts. The various frowns, scowls, and general looks of unhappiness were perfect for a unit that was dealing with the cold and was not at all happy about having to campaign in the dead of winter.

      I wanted to give the unit colors that would all convey a sense of COLD. Everything is drab and dull, the campaigns is as much about fighting the elements as it is the enemy.

      Here's some historical photos that I had in the back of my mind as I was building and painting the battalion:


      And finally, here is the completed unit:


      I was so anxious to have the battalion finally done that I opted against attempting to do a hand-painted design on the banner. Instead I chose to use water slide decals. Interestingly, these came from Warhammer 40k! The roman numeral XVIII came from a Space Marine decals sheet as did the wreath surrounding the skull. The two Latin phrases I believe are from either a Space Marine decal sheet or perhaps the Cadian Troopers decal sheet, I'm not sure which. But visually they worked perfectly for an EOS banner!

      Another thing I wanted to mention, which I will be posting over on the Citadel Contrast thread is that this unit was painted with a very heavy amount of Contrast paints! The base colors of the coats, the banner and the banner ribbons, the halberds and halberds poles were essentially nothing but using Contrasts in random patterns and then doing a single drybrush over them or in the case of the halberd blades Contrast over a silver base coat. Some elements were done in layer paints so that it broke up the Contrasts and didn't make it look like everything had been done with them. Many of the hats, beards, and other details I purposely used different colors of layer paints to create color variety.

      However - because the Contrast allowed me to get the base coats of the primary colors done so quickly, I was able to paint this entire unit of 26 models in just over two days/afternoons worth of work! It would have taken me three to four times as long to do this unit all traditional layer paints. The Contrasts are quickly becoming a valuable tool in my future army painting! When used in the appropriate amounts and in combination with single drybrushes they can get an army painted quickly and to a really amazing standard.

      One final touch I added besides the actual snow bases was that I did a very graduated drybrush of pure white along the bottoms of the skirts of the long coats. I wanted to give a feel that as they are marching along, snow and ice is starting to cling to the bottoms of the coats as they swish along in the snow. It also helps to give an added feel of the overall cold and winter setting they are in.

      Here's some closeup views of groups of the individual soldiers:



      So that concludes my first attempt at doing a winter-themed fantasy battalion! I hope that I am able to gather the bits and other resources to do more units so that I can field an entire winter-themed EOS army!

      Hope you found this project helpful and inspiring.

      Happy modeling my friends! :thumbup:
      There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Baranovich ().

    • Lich King wrote:

      Absolutely fantastic! Though - I've been thinking a lot about what was bothering me here. And finally - it is the soldiers skin tone! They're looking a bit too brownish for troops marching through snow plains. ^^
      Interesting you mention the skin tone. It's actually my phone's wonky camera! Sometimes it washes out certain parts of a photo and if the lighting is not ideal it has trouble preserving original color.

      In person the faces are much lighter and actually on the pinkish side. I was frustrated that in the photos some of them look almost as brown as their coats!

      I might try taking another series of photos outside in the daylight as opposed to inside.
      There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!
    • Baranovich wrote:

      Lich King wrote:

      Absolutely fantastic! Though - I've been thinking a lot about what was bothering me here. And finally - it is the soldiers skin tone! They're looking a bit too brownish for troops marching through snow plains. ^^
      Interesting you mention the skin tone. It's actually my phone's wonky camera! Sometimes it washes out certain parts of a photo and if the lighting is not ideal it has trouble preserving original color.
      In person the faces are much lighter and actually on the pinkish side. I was frustrated that in the photos some of them look almost as brown as their coats!

      I might try taking another series of photos outside in the daylight as opposed to inside.
      If that is true, they're perfect as they are right now. Looking forward to see them on better photos then! ;)

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    • JimMorr wrote:

      a unit of mercenary Volskaya irregulars in Pandur style...
      If he does them it should be inspired by the most famous ones - the Trenck's Pandurs :D

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    • Making Hold Guardians that have some weight to them!

      Hello my 9th Age friends!

      Been a while since I've posted anything in my hobby blog, but finally I have several new projects that I am able to report on.

      I wanted to preface this blog post by thanking Jirga and his inspiring work he does over on his hobby blog! In particular his work in using larger models in his armies, even historical models and models from mythology that many gamers would not consider when building an army. Because of Jirga I was inspired and had the courage to try to use alternate types of models, even soft plastic models that at another time and place I would never have considered using!

      Here's Jirga's hobby blog and his most recent posts where he shows how he used an actual Colossus model for his army!

      All things wargaming

      So in a very real sense this unit of Hold Guardians is as much Jirga's as it is mine.

      In the process of improving my Dwarven Holds army lists and adding some characters and more unique units, I endeavored to finally have a unit of Hold Guardians. The first thing I noticed about this unit in the army book was that they have to be on 40mm x 40mm bases. This concerned me for a very simple reason. I wanted my Hold Guardians to be BIG!!!

      Now in the army book they are classified as "Large Infantry" and so the 40mm base size makes sense. But for me personally this was disappointing. I was afraid that I would have to settle on models that were too small for what I envisioned Hold Guardians would be.

      Please feel free to correct me if I'm off base, but in reading about the Hold Guardians it seems to me that they are some sort of magical construct. Some sort of magically animated things, infused with "dwarven magic" or like in the spirit of The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, infused with "the spirit of the mountains". The stone giants in "The Hobbit" up in the Misty Mountains, up in that mountain pass that Bilbo, Gandalf and the dwarves encountered came to mind:

      Now of course Hold Guardians are not giants perse but rather are large, magically charged infantry characters.

      But in either case I certainly feel that invariably Hold Guardians would be made out of stone, being that they are from the mountains of the dwarven holds themselves.

      MOM Miniatures and Mantic Games both make units that could very much pass for what Hold Guardians are. In both cases they look like animated stone troll-sized beings or more simply like animated stone statues:

      These are totally fine and look really great. But my problem is that they just didn't feel BIG ENOUGH.

      I really wanted a unit of Hold Guardians that had a truly terrifying presence on the battlefield, something that could rival the size of like The Sylvan Elves Tree Fathers. I didn't want to just have the unit to add more power to my army list. I wanted them to also look frightening to my opponent in a way that would make them take notice and maybe even make them make some ill-advised tactical decision in trying to avoid the unit or otherwise compromise the movements of his army!

      I was determined to make a unit of truly giant Hold Guardians that would somehow fit on 40mm bases.

      Reaper Bones is a line of models that I have turned to in the past for games like Frostgrave and Arcworlde. The soft plastic can present a challenge in terms of mold line removal, painting, and bendy components. But their prices are fantastic and you can get some truly gigantic models for a fraction of the price that they would cost if they were hard plastic or resin. In particular their ranges of giants and dragons offer some amazing value. I already owned their Hill Giant model which when it was finally painted I was amazed at how great they look despite being soft plastic.

      I finally found their Fire Giant models and it was decided!

      First and foremost, these models were $8.00 EACH. Let that sink in for a moment. Models this size in resin or even hard plastic would easily be $40.00 each if not more for the really big one. If they had been GW models they would have been even more. So for the grand total of $24.00 plus shipping I was able to field a unit of three truly GIGANTIC Hold Guardians!


      But when these models came in the mail I was both astonishingly happy but also horrified at the same time. My first glance at these and I was sure there was NO WAY these were going to fit on 40mm bases. Not a chance.

      However, once I had clipped away the soft plastic scenic base that come molded with the feet, and the models were left free-standing on their own, to my absolute delight and surprise I discovered that if they were turned at a diagonal they did indeed
      fit on 40mm bases! It was truly a visual illusion. The models at first just seemed like they had far too large of a stance. I thought I was going to have to fudge them at put them on at least 50mm bases.

      But lo and behold they fit on regulation 9th age specified bases!

      With the base size issue out of the way I could turn to the fun of marveling at how truly huge these models are!


      As you can see in the above photos, these models are huge. They tower over ordinary 28mm human-sized models. As you can see the larger Fire Giant in the center towers over a GW Primaris Redemptor Dreadnought. Even the already huge Reaper Bones Hill Giant is eclipsed by the Fire Giant champion in the center of the unit!

      I base coated the models in plain, ordinary thinned down gray craft paint. Since this unit is to be made of magical, animated stone all they really require is to paint them as though they were stone statues! The only thing left to do to them is give them a couple drybrushes of lighter gray and white and perhaps the paint the eyes in a magical, glowing color of some sort.

      I am so very pleased that I found a way to make my vision for this unit come true and that I didn't abandon the idea of having them be a truly gigantic unit. I'm also very pleased that I discovered the Reaper Bones mini. range. It has allowed me to have all sorts of giant creatures and units that I otherwise probably could not have afforded to do!


      When I have these drybrushed and the bases finished, this will make for a truly fearsome unit of Hold Guardians that hopefully will help to lead my dwarves to victory on the battlefield!

      Happy modeling my friends. :thumbup:

      There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!

      The post was edited 5 times, last by Baranovich ().

    • Dwarf hero characters of the ordinary sort

      Hello my 9th Age friends.

      A bit of a shorter post here to follow up my Hold Guardians project.

      At the same time I was working on the specialized units for my dwarf army, I also tasked myself with adding some hero characters to my army lists. The thing about dwarf hero characters is that that are most often (and quite rightly so) portrayed with the classic Trollslayer-type models of GW fame or something akin to it. You know, the shirtless and nearly naked berserker dwarves with the orange mohawks and giant axes, etc.

      That kind of high fantasy does appeal to me and in many cases works very well in a miniature fantasy army setting.

      However for my own dwarf heroes, I struck upon an alternate idea.

      What if in your army your dwarf hero characters, like Dragon Seekers or Vengeance Seekers didn't actually LOOK heroic at all? What if they looked looked like - well - ordinary dwarves?

      The mindset I have behind this is something like this. Perhaps your most fearsome and most lethal dwarf heroes in your army also happen to be the guys who are the most quiet and most unassuming. Dwarves who, at first glance just appear to be a dwarf not that different from the ordinary rank and file. And then when a battle is imminent, these seemingly ordinary dwarves trudge out completely alone ahead of the army, at first appearance seeming to be nothing but ordinary scouts of some sort.

      But when battle is joined and these very ordinary-looking dwarves are engage in battle it is suddenly made apparent to the horror of their enemy that these dwarves are absolute psychos! That dwarf that was leaning on his axe and calmly smoking his pipe IS their most fearsome hero, but it is learned much too late!

      That is what I was trying to convey with these dwarf characters. I particularly love the idea of a dwarf just sort of casually standing there, relaxing and puffing on his pipe as the enemy hordes draw near. I also loved the idea of a dwarf hero drinking right up to the moment of battle, in this case actually carrying his own personal keg with him that he will empty just before tossing it aside and leaping into battle. My third and final idea was that a dwarf hero might appear to be simply a scout, with his own map and travelling gear. But the map is simply a prop to fool the enemy into thinking they have cornered a hapless path finder when in reality they have encountered the most bloodthirsty and savage dwarf in the entire Dwarven Holds!

      So for better or worse, here are my simple dwarf hero characters. Quite ordinary looking on the outside but quite extraordinary when the battle has begun!

      There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!
    • Speed painting a High Elf: Thirty minutes from start to finish!

      A 9th Age site member and very nice fellow from Luxembourg contacted me and asked me for advice on getting started with a HBE army for 9th Age. He saw some of my work with the Citadel Contrasts and wanted to learn more about how he could use them to get an army done relatively quickly and effectively and still have the army look really good.

      Over the past couple months I have become a bigger and bigger fan of the Contrasts. I am discovering new ways to create different effects with them, mixing colors, or putting Contrast colors one over the other to create new shades and new colors. I have found that with just ten or twelve of the Contrasts colors you can create hundreds of different shades of color, just like you normally can when mixing ordinary layer paints.

      It's not a question of "do they work or not"'s a question of discovering what they are and how you can benefit from them when painting individual models or an entire army!

      So I thought that the best way to help out my friend from Luxembourg was to do a test-run with a single High Elf model! And try to do it as fast as possible and as easily as possible, and see what kind of "tabletop standard" I could achieve. Well I'm here to tell you - this test has only made me love the Contrasts all the more! You CAN use the Contrasts at high speed and with the help of a couple selective drybrushes here and there you can not only surpass tabletop standard, you can make an army that is darn near display standard and most certainly professional-looking!

      It is really disheartening to see how many pro-painter Youtube channels have marginalized or dismissed the Contrasts simply because they are a GW product. More interest in trying to "debunk" them rather than show how they can used to enhance your painting and speed up army painting. It's also a shame that so many attack the price of the Contrasts. I know, I get it they're $8.00 for a single pot. But guys! These pots last FOREVER. You get so much mileage out of them it's insane. I have used my Guilliman Flesh on over 150 models' faces, hand and arms and the pot is still nearly like 3/5 full. You have to use these on very, very large areas of big models to use them up quickly, or use them on hundreds and hundreds of smaller models. They are really no different from a layer paint, a pot might be expensive but it lasts a long, long time.

      So here we go folks!

      Just a note here: This is a vintage GW High Elf from 1992!! He's from the Warhammer 4th Edition starter set. Ancient plastic mold technology yes. But I'll tell you what. For a plastic GW model that's literally 27 years old, the detail holds up pretty darn well I think!

      I spray primed the model with Coraxx White:


      Then I chose a selection of Contrast colors that I thought would work well for a High Elf. Some of the colors were particularly useful! For bright, blond hair Iyanden Yellow is an absolute miracle! It shades and highlight the hair perfectly in one coat. Also very useful is Space Wolves Grey. It can be used to create and excellent non-metallic metal effect on things like helmets and weapon blades. I also chose several different browns to cover the spear shaft, sword scabbard, leather pouch and boots.

      For armor like chain mail, Black Templar is very useful for laying down a black undercoat before doing a drybrush of silver.

      I chose to use Ultramarines Blue on the blue cloth and on the shield. After I had gotten all the Contrasts done as neatly as possible, the model progressed quickly:


      So with all the Contrast colors neatly in place I made the decision to do some very simple and quick highlighting where I thought it was needed. The two obvious areas that needed it was the scale armor, which I had planned to drybrush over the black base coat, and then the blue shield which needed a drybrush to bring out the details of the emblem on the shield. I used just two layer paint colors: Ceramic White and Runefang Steel:


      With the armor and shield highlighted, the model was essentially done! I glued the shield to the arm and that was it! Thirty minutes from primer coat to ready for the table!


      I'll tell you what. This is what you can actually achieve with the Contrasts in a very short time. Just take this same palette and do a mass assembly line technique and you will have an entire army in a relatively short amount of time! And you can have armies that look really GOOD, even GREAT. I mean there's an infinite number of opinions as to what "tabletop standard" means for different gamers. But whether you strive to paint to just a certain standard or if you strive to go above it, I think this model looks pretty darn amazing for a speed-painting job!

      Getting an army ready for the tabletop doesn't have to mean just doing three base coat color and no detailing! You can do a lot more with a just a little more planning and effort!

      It's just another example that shows how effective the Contrasts can be if you use them strategically and you add just a couple additional highlights to selective areas.

      Happy painting my friends. :thumbup:

      There are many magic rings in the world Bilbo Baggins, and none of them should be used lightly!