Sunday, 13 October 2019

Japanese rural scenery

My rural scenery set for Ronin is now more-or-less finished, other than completing a couple of rice silos.  Here are some photos of the 2' x 2' skirmish board featuring the rural pieces, with some peasants for scale.  The board itself is covered in brown felt, which cushions the underside on tables, as well as providing a quick & easy playing surface.  Haven't decided whether I will do any more to the board (e.g. dry brush with a lighter brown). 

The tracks & fields are simply cut from felt, with flock mixes glued on & fixed with matt varnish spray.  Seems to be minimising flock shedding so far.  The buildings are laser cut sets from Sarissa Precision Ltd (with removable roofs).  The crop fields are just sections sliced from a doormat - a very effective solution hat I have seen lots of wargamers use.  Lastly there is some of my scatter terrain pieces, made with real stones, a mixture of resin & plastic barrels & boxes, model trees, & a selection of flocks & Gamers Grass tufts.  The pile of firewood by the shed is off-cuts of plastic sprue.  The floor of the shed/stable is even lined with fake straw  :-)

I have a set of wider, straighter roads & a few more buildings (to be constructed) that will allow me to play village/town skirmishes.  I'd also like to get a lot more trees, so that I can run woodland fights.  Beyond that, I'd quite like a river with a traditional arched bridge, & boggy ground / rice paddies with raised walkways.  I'd also quite like to make a graveyard for an atmospheric chanbara showdown setting...

Saturday, 28 September 2019

Japanese village house

Today I finished painting my first building for Ronin (28mm-scale chanbara skirmish).  It's a Japanese Village House / Outhouse from Sarissa Precision.  These laser-cut kits are easy to assemble, & after a good coat of spray primer, they take acrylic paint well.  After base colours I used dark washes followed by simple dry brushing to quickly achieve a slightly weathered appearance, good enough for tabletop gaming.  The window shutters & door are perforated, allowing them to easily be cut from the main structure to position as desired. I chose to leave the door shut, & used a variety of positions for the shutters.

Monday, 5 August 2019

Noble & Minstrel

My finished Noble (& her Minstrel) for my Lustrian-themed Warhammer Quest collection.  When I saw the Maika von Ostwald sculpt from Hasslefree, I knew it would make an excellent Noble.  There is an alternate charging version of Maika, but I also picked a Barbarian figure in a similar pose, & think the relaxed confidence communicates her character better.  I'd been looking for figures to use for the WQ Warriors which befitted the tropical climate of Lustria - so this miniature, radiating privileged arrogance / relaxed heroic confidence, minus the cloak so often sported by fantasy heroes, & with a conquistador-vibe seemed perfect.  I also liked the twist that she was female, & quickly imagined a backstory for her. 

I have painted her as a Marienburger (so not technically an Imperial Noble), & see her as the daughter of a wealthy merchant lord of that archipelago city-state.  Bored of the sheltered dullness of elite trading guilds, & even duller courtiers, she paid for passage to the New World for a life of high adventure, planning to put her sword lessons under the tutleage of some of the finest Tilean duelists to good use.  She prefers to live (or at least dress) as a man, as it makes for more ready acceptance into the male-dominated world of adventuring, & avoids the unwelcome attractions of would-be suitors.

The Minstrel is an older Hasslefree Miniature that I bought quite a few years ago, & he required a repaint to match Maika's colours.  He travels along at Maika's heels, quite literally singing her praises & lyricising her many virtues & heroic escapades.  Much to the annoyance of her fellow adventurers.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

Yakuza gang complete

This weekend I finally completed work on my Yakuza buntai for Osprey's Ronin skirmish game.  This is a rarity for me, with my scattergun approach to the miniatures/wargames hobby - a finished force... it helps that Ronin requires fewer than a dozen figures a side!  I posted photos of this Yakuza buntai back in October last year, when it was a 95pts roster max, but since then I have expanded it slightly so that I can field 149pts for larger games. 

Ya-ku-za (8-9-3) is the worst losing hand in the game Oicho-Kabu, & alludes to the illegal gambling dens that were set up by local 'bosses' in late-Edo period Japan. These crime bosses would run gambling, loan-sharking, prostitution, & extortion rackets, preying like parasites upon the rural peasantry. Some Yakuza gangs grew in influence to encompass several districts, so that lesser bosses owed allegience to more senior ones.

The term Bakuto (gamblers) was also used to describe such gangs, and those who associated with them. Gambling was illegal, and regarded with disdain by society at large. Gambling dens would often be set-up at the edge of towns or villages, sometimes in abandoned temples or shrines.

Below are rosters for 50pts, 100pts, & 150pts games with this force.  In the biggest roster, the Yakuza have hired a pair of Ronin (masterless Samurai mercenaries) to bolster their mediocre abilities.

Saturday, 3 August 2019


Today I put the finishing touches to a pair of Ronin... for Ronin, the Osprey skirmish game!  These are two of the figures from North Star's Koryu Buntai, of which seven of the figures are based on the iconic ronin from Akira Kurosawa's 'Seven Samurai'.  The characters of my ronin suggested themselves to me as I considered the sculpts before deciding on paint schemes.  The one with the nodachi (great sword), with his pouch of coins & smart appearance suggested to me a fairly wealthy ronin.  A brash, showy character who splashes his money about on drink, gambling, & women.  By contrast, the more circumspect-looking ronin with the ragged-edged cloak & bare feet suggested to me a down-on-his-luck ronin, perhaps with an edge of bitterness about him.  I'm thinking that he may have been expelled from one of my other buntai, the Koryu (Sword School) in dishonour, & resents this treatment.

The wakazashi (short sword) on the ronin in the fancy white kimono is one of the 3D-printed katana that I bought for my figures that have them in the rules, but not on their sculpts (e.g. my Yakuza thugs with arquebuses).  I trimmed & filed it to a suitable length, & sculpted a sash loop for it using Green Stuff putty.

Most buntai in Ronin can make use of Hired Swords such as these wandering ronin, but I will mainly be using them as hired muscle for my Yakuza gang.

Saturday, 27 July 2019

Fighting Pit WIP

Here is a photo of my WIP Fighting Pit tile for Lustrian-themed Warhammer Quest I opted for
spectator walkways to the sides of the pit, as the original 2D WQ tile used this space for sunken walls painted in perspective; & I always thought the Fighting Pit was lacking sufficient space for spectators.  Concentrating on this Objective Room as one of my first 28mm-scale tiles has helped me iron-out the design principles that will feature on the whole set of dungeon tiles, & gets one of the more complex tiles finished early in the project.

After experimenting with raised dungeon tiles to allow for depressions such as the Fighting Pit & Fire Chasm etc (as well as magnetically-attached doorways!), I settled on the approach shown here, with slots at the appropriate points to allow for doorways or sections of blanking wall to be slipped in.  I did consider 30mm-high ('human-height') walls so I could get lots of overgrown Lizardmen ruins detail in, but after careful consideration & consultation with gaming comrades I have settled on low cutaway walls, which suggest the overall look while allowing better visibility of figures on the tabletop (as well as being less effort & taking-up less storage space).

Any suggestions or observations welcome  :-)

Saturday, 13 July 2019

Lustrian Warhammer Quest WIP

Building a Lustrian-themed 3D Warhammer Quest set is one of my far too numerous wargaming projects.  I have several 3D dungeon tiles in progress, & am now finalising the design of the integral walls & doors.  Thinking of using magnets in the walls to join the tiles.  I've enjoyed planning & implementing fantasy miniatures with a jungle 'lost world' twist, including a group of Warriors that isn't the standard male-dominated fellowship including a wizened grey old man.  My Warrior party includes a female Noble disguised as a man, a dark-skinned female sorceror from the Southlands, a native Barbarian escaped from slavery in Naggaroth, a female Wood Elf archer, & a female Dwarf Trollslayer.  As some motivation to get a move on with this project, I decided to make a list of what miniatures I have for this so far...

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

Giant leeches

This week I finished these 1D3+1 giant leeches for Warhammer Quest in Lustria, the land of the Lizardmen.  These nice miniatures are Rebel Minis Ripper Worms.  In hindsight I wish I'd bought another pack or two, before the Rebel Minis shipping costs to the UK seemed to rise dramatically. 

They don't present much threat to experienced Warriors, & are only worth 35 gold for slaying (compare that to 20g for a Goblin, 40g for a Skink, 55g for an Orc warrior, & 150g for a Saurus warrior).  However, giant leeches do have the Ambush & Bloodsucker abilities.  Stats for Lustrian creatures & Lizardmen can be found here.

They were very straightforward to paint, & I gave them a double-coat of gloss varnish to make them look suitably slimy - although this doesn't show up as well in these photos as it does on the tabletop.

Here's a photo of them with a Saurus warrior for scale  >

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Brain leaf tree

I recently finished painting this brain leaf tree & its victims, for games of Necromunda / 'Inquisimunda'.  I modeled the brain leaf tree using florist wire to create an armature on the base, with trailing wires positioned for the branch-tendrils.  As the rules state a 6" reach for brain leaf attacks, I based the dimensions on that.  Next I layered papier-mâché for the surface of the trunk.  Then I used Green Stuff putty to bulk-out the tendrils, texturing them to suggest 'bark' (or perhaps something flesh-like) with a craft knife.  Leaves clipped from a plastic aquarium plant were used for the brain leaves at the tip of each tendril - & for those embedded by the tree into its victims (an unfortunate House Orlock ganger & a scavvy mutant).

The brain leaf is a plant with a surprising instinctual intelligence & ability to transform the victims in which it embeds its leaves into slaves of its influence.  It is believed that the brain leaf plant may be native to the jungle death world of Catachan, & was transported to the hive world of Necromunda at some point in the distant past.  The brain leaf plants of Necromunda are described as having vine-like tendrils, with greyish colouring that allows them to blend with the chaotic industrial ruins of the Underhive.