Thursday, 13 June 2019

Part 3. The Story of the Adventures of Roi; a pleasant yet introverted, middle-aged Dwarf who is not intrepid but who has to overcome his fears to begin an unwanted life as an Adventurer.

Part 3. The Story of the Adventures of Roi; a pleasant yet introverted, middle-aged Dwarf who is not intrepid but who has to overcome his fears to begin an unwanted life as an Adventurer.

Roi needed a piss. All of the adrenalin in him ebbed away with the steam emanating from the longest piss he had ever taken. At least he hadn't shat himself. It also gave him a moment away from Kharmur, so he could compose himself and gather his thoughts on what had just happened with the Goblin ambush; would he have managed to look after himself and take those greenskins down? Will he now be in Kharmur's debt for effectively being saved? He didn't want to be and didn't think that Kharmur would hold it against him or raise the subject. As these thoughts were drifting across Roi's mind he suddenly felt the strong pressure of a leather glove across his mouth, initially thinking it was his friend telling him to remain quiet but very quickly realising their was an aggression to this hold that would not have been applied by Kharmur, regardless of whatever danger there theoretically may have been. This was hostile.

The close, warm breath on his cheek whispered that he'd better not fucking move, or else the knife which he felt against his other cheek, pricking his skin, would be pushed harder. With his back to his assailants, weapon leaning against a tree and now his hands tied behind his back there was no chance for a struggle. Now Roi wished that his friend really could rescue him from this mess; a second ambush in less than 10minutes, what the fuck? A gag was quickly put over his mouth and Roi wanted to vomit.

A coarse linen hood was put over his head and he was marched away through the grassy landscape, blind. Roi vaguely wondered where his buddy was and why he had even been taken prisoner. Then the fear kicked in and his legs went wobbly and down he went in a heap. A half-hearted kick to the rib cage made him roll into a ball and then he was pulled up, heavy-handed onto his feet and marched off again along rolling country paths. Stumble, stumble, trip.


Kharmur wondered if he had been a bit too eager to shoot at those Goblins, perhaps he should have given Roi a chance to fight, but he hadn't fancied his friends chances, not because the Goblins were capable but more because he thought that Roi had frozen and given the initiative to his assailants. He wasn't sure though. Kharmur used to trust his instincts and never self-doubt or over analyse but perhaps these were two more traits to add to the changes of age. Or perhaps he just had too much time on his hands now, unlike when a youth when he just acted impulsively and never really thought too much beyond what he was doing later, who with and where. Battle had been instinctive though back in those days and the attack on the Goblins just then had taken him back to those heady days. He smiled to himself; they were more than decent shots with his blunderbuss; he still had it. 

As he reminisced he cleaned his weapon. He hadn't even noticed his reloading of the weapon or his cleaning of the barrel, so vivid was his nostalgia. So it was only a mild curiosity when he couldn't see Roi initially. But his mace was up against that tree over yonder... He got up, collected his belongings and waddled over, something was wrong. The waddle quickened. A series of footsteps had crushed the grass around the tree and instantly Kharmur's heckles were up. He grabbed his friends mace, took a deep breath (quickly exhaling when the smell of Roi's piss went up his nostrils) and then tracked the footprints through the long grass.

Kharmur arrived at the town of Felsburg about an hour later, confident in his tracking ability, but at the cobbled road the trail stopped. He wondered into the town, senses sharp, looking for any clue to guide him further. But after another hour he wavered in his approach and stopped and collected his thoughts. What did he know of Felsburg? There was a barracks, a tavern (the Spotted Dog?) and some rich merchants houses that he could explore. It was getting dark and he was thirsty, so the tavern seemed like a good bet, even though it was on the far side of the town, so off he set.

Walking through the merchants quarters, he heard a soft metallic clang coming from behind a couple of large buildings. Silently edging around the corner he could see a Dwarf with collecting a grappling hook from the floor, obviously having missed his target the first time. Kharmur watched as a second attempt was made at aiming for the obvious target of a sturdy wooden eave and again was missed, this time by some distance. Clatter. Kharmur laughed and the Dwarf turned towards him, angry. And obviously a bit annoyed. "What you sniggering at?" he was asked. Kharmur retorted "A very shit thief, by the look of things, I'm amazed you haven't been caught yet!" "That's because I've never done this before, you dick, and I'm learning my trade". Kharmur bit "A little late for you to start a new trade old man, I would have thought, but fair play. Want some help?" Kharmur ventured. "Yes please, I'm good with an axe, but this dexterity thing ain't for me. Besides, I'm getting assessed on this by the Thieves Guild, so they can let me in. Not going so well at the moment..." Kharmur chortled, he liked this guy' "Here pass it here, I'll get it up there for you, but that's it, you're on your own after that" and with his first attempt he latched the hook straight onto the beam. "Good luck. Names Kharmur". "Cheers", replied the thief to be, "Barri".

And then arrow shots were fired at them, Kharmur shouldered his blunderbuss and scarpered towards some barrels for cover. "Oi, fuck off interfering with his assessment", came a hidden voice, "do one, or the next one hits you in the gut". Kharmur slowly walked away.

Monday, 10 June 2019

Yaztromo's Wizard Tower (scratch-built)

I've finally finished painting my scratch-built, trash bash wizard's tower! It's loosely based upon the illustrations of Fighting Fantasy's Yaztromo's tower with a bit of the Citadel logo tower thrown in, but most of the design was created by the objects I chose to make this from; a plastic drinks bottle, cardboard tubing and a water filter for the main structure. The base is made from expanding foam, carved, and a polystyrene skull and the details on the tower are a combination of resin windows, polystyrene bricks, mortar of polyfilla and wire, balsa wood etc for the vines and beams. Here's the painted model:

I deliberately wanted to keep it all quite dark, so a grey primer was applied and then lots dark washes followed by lots of drybrushing for the highlights. These were then glazed over, with ochres for the tower and browns for the rocks so that the two elements were slightly distinct. Lots of weathering with green glazes were then applied.

Here's Yaztromo himself stepping out of his tower into the dark forest.

Some detail shots. Here you can see a bit of yellow stippling to create a mossy look to the bricks, as well as the vines, gargoyle and window:

The small observatory (made from a fairy light and a straw)

A side view of the room that sticks out:

Including the magical orb:

From another angle showing the telescope and balcony:

Clsoe up:

The orb is quite simply a ping-pong ball, primed and wet-in -wet greens applied. White paint splattered over the top:

And some WIP shots so you can see the processes of the build:

I filled the bottle with expanding foam to make it sturdier

Unfortunately I forgot to take any more photos of the painting process, once I get going I try and paint scenery in one, uninterrupted, sitting!

Friday, 24 May 2019

A quick scratch-built telescope

After some really useful feedback on my last post regarding the wip Wizard's Tower, I decided to add some extras; a balcony, some sand texture in between some of the more gaping gaps of bricks and a telescope. Kudos if you can work out what I've used for the telescope:

Yep! That's three different pen ends glued into each other, a pin tack for the lens, part of the felt from a felt tip pen, a ferrule from a crappy Citadel brush, a square of balsa wood and some cogs from a dismantled watch. Voila!

And here it is in-situ on the balcony:

To do: a floating orb at the top (ping pong ball), a chimney from the white fairy light (bendy straw), some thick vines creeping up the outside (twisted wire and modroc) and a greenstuffed/bitzboxed emblem on the flat plinth and then I can start painting...

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

A Wizard's Tower (WIP)

With most of my miniatures (painted and unpainted) packed away and my hobby supplies largely out of reach due to ongoing building works in my house (dust, workmen, very limited space for the five of us to inhabit), I've been recently focused on making some scenery. Having finished the laser-cut houses I had a scratch-building itch to scratch and decided upon creating a Wizard's Tower. That's not quite true actually; I'd always wanted to make a Wizard's Tower and had never got around to it until I inadvertently picked up a plastic bottle and some other recyclable objects to put in the blue bin and thought "hold up, these could be put together to make that Wizard's Tower idea that's been shelved in my memory".

Here's where I am now with it:

For the construction, in the back of my mind I had the Fighting Fantasy illustration of Yaztromo's Tower as inspiration, that slightly asymmetrical, jutting tower with several floors leading up to some sort of magical observatory.


And thus this is how the build started with a plastic drinks bottle for the main structure. However I soon realised that the plastic was too flimsy and filled it with some expanding foam which had been left lying around by one of the builders. I then superglued/epoxied a few more interesting plastic packaging shapes to the exterior (including some sort of fairy light) and raised it up higher with a piece of thick cardboard tubing and some sort of water filter container. 

I then decided that I wanted to make a scenic base for it, partly for decorative purposes but also because it was very top-heavy and it needed to be stuck down on a larger stand, in this case an mdf off-cut. Some blue expanded polystyrene scraps were used to build and shape the base, a Hobbycraft skull from Halloween cut and added at an angle and then all the surrounding areas built up further with that same expanding foam (which itself was then cut and shaped to look more like rocks). Finally some cocktail sticks were poked through and a sprinkle of sand for small rubble.

Some details were needed and it just so happened that I already had a stash of resin doors and windows (I can't recall where from) and these were super-glued into place. The last stage was the addition of lots of polystyrene bricks, cut up from some unwanted furniture packaging. These were cut into roughly equal sized brick and stuck on with a glue-gun over several evenings. They were then textured by rolling a ball of silver foil over the surface (this could have been done first for ease in hindsight - or I've even seen people put them all in a bucket with a few stones and smash them around). Finally, once attached, I covered all of the polystyrene in several coats of glue to stop the primer from eating into it.

The next steps I need to address are to add some twisted wire to emulate vines creeping up the side and to add some sort of wizardy gargoyle design from my bitzbox to fill that empty plinth in the middle. Perhaps some sort of dragon or flying creature? I'm also toying with the idea of carefully suspending a ping pong ball above the parapets at the top or to make a telescope? Thoughts on this please would be much appreciated?

Monday, 13 May 2019

Lasercut House #2: to drybrush or not?

The second lasercut house is now complete and finished in double-quick time. Being such clean kits they are very easy to paint with none of the hiding of errors I usually have with scratch-built versions. Again, painting the beams black from every angle was the biggest pain and again I wished that I had sprayed them black before gluing them down. However, I'm really pleased how this one turned out, even though a quick dark grey drybrush over the beams would probably help; do you agree?

It was originally designed with a watermill attached to it's left side, but that made it too specific for me and preferred a more versatile townhouse. 

And together they both look pretty good, almost designed to go next to each other, but will of course look ace when I eventually get back into the attic and re-set my scenery set up once the proper building work in my proper house is completed.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Lasercut house #1 "Dolls House Dilemmas".

I've completed painting my first mdf laser-cut house and I'm really happy with the results. I think doing a little extra work on the design in terms of making individual roof tiles and burrowing out the mortar between stonework created enough texture to make a more realistic impression and definitely made the painting stage a little easier as texture = dry-brushing!

I spray undercoated the build in grey and then used this colour as a base for the grey in between the beams. All of the rest of the painting was completed with tubes of acrylic paint (Daler-Rowney in this case). Subsequent greys (lighter than the undercoat) were dabbed into these areas between the beams which meant  that I then needed to re-paint the timbers matt black which was incredibly tedious as that process included the face of each timber as well as the top, bottom and sides. Touching up the windows with white was of little fun either.

Thankfully painting the stonework was quick and easy, using yellow-greys to create a sandstone appearance, followed by a range of terracotta hues for the roof tiles. Both of these were easily dry-brushed with slightly lighter shades to bring out the texture and light/shadow.

The final stage, my favourite stage, is the weathering which always surprises me in how easy it is and how quickly it unifies a paint job. Successive, very dilute layers of a variety of dark greens (eg. Hunters Green - my go to weathering green) and browns such as Burnt Umber and Yellow Ochre were used to streak the weathering from top to bottom. The appearance of moss was dabbed on slightly less dilute along the bottom of the stone work and in areas of shade - for example where the chimney meets the wall and where the pillar meets the stone floor. And that was it, first one down, although I might one day decorate inside too...

Part of me thinks that is an unnesecary job when there are so many other hobby ideas and tasks to do, but the Interior Designer in me disagrees. And I quite like a photo opportunity where my models can be placed inside with rugs and barrels etc. Dolls House Dilemmas.