mercoledì 23 settembre 2020

Ser Pippin the Short of House Boldbuck - Grenadier Halfling Paladin (1992)

Ah, finally! This is a special one. You must know back in 1992, when I was a young boy who just discovered Fantasy books and role-playing games, I took a bus to the city centre to the famous shop Pergioco, a marvellous tresure cave hidden in a secret corner of a back alley - that is to say, a tiny shop with a stair leading to an underground room full of games-related wonders. I was looking for a miniature to represent my MERP PCs, a Sinda Elf warrior, and eventually that day I bought my first miniature. But while rummaging through blisters I was thunderstruck by a single figure, and it was love at first sight. It was a Grenadier blister showing a hobbit in full armour, prancing on a pony and pointing his sword ready to charge. I can't describe the sense of wonder at the time. I wanted it, but I didn't have enough money for two miniatures, and eventually I didn't buy it, and when I came back some time later it was gone. Good-bye, Hobbit paladin (that was the name I have him). Will I ever see you again? 

The miniature was a lovely sculpt from that same year 1992, made by Mark Copplestone, initially as part of the Grenadier 1440 Halfling Heroes, and later issued in a single blister. The tab reads "Fluffy Bunny, A875" but the number doesn't match with the Grenadier catalogue.

What happened to Grenadier is history. Apparently the moulds were bought by their Italian distributor Stratelibri but then sold again, after the untimely passing of its owner and manager Giovanni Ingellis, to Mirliton S.G. And it is on their website that I found again my long-lost teenage crush, now renamed as "Halfman Paladin".

There are many things that appear great to our eyes when we are still innocent, but later reveal themselves as something else, just a disappointment. After all, expectations are high but the ability to marvel at beauty is not the same as it once was to our old, jaded taste of old-school grognards. This is not one of them. It's just amazing, and I love it. It is a great model, and I am so happy to have it that I'm not even mad that the sword came bent and when I tried to fix it its tip broke off. Never mind, I fixed it with greenstuff, and I'm okay with it. The Hobbit Paladin is mine!

I painted it as I always imagined it, fresh from the reading of the Lord of the Rings - in the black and white colours of Gondor. Because the hyperuranion Hobbit Paladin or Knight can only be Pippin Took, towering over other hobbits in his Citadel Guard winged helm and uniform. The shield should have born the device of a white tree of course, but with the crest being a bunny, I decided to keep the same on the shield - why yes, it's a rabbit or a hare, not a steinbock! I have to keep practicing with my freehand...

And so I give you Paladin Boldbuck, Halfling knight, friend and companion of the Elector of Averland, also known as Ser Pippin the Short, Defender of the Moot! If you are an enemy, turn away, and if you are a friend, join us for dinner at our manor!

sabato 15 agosto 2020

Mithril M511 Rohir warrior with quilted armour and sword (2009)

Too long I have been painting static Mithril miniatures representing book characters or travellers, and I needed a diversion: a proper armed hero that could be used in any tabletop game. I rummaged through my two cartons of unpainted, still blistered Mithril miniatures (my source of shame) to find this: the 2009 Rohir warrior with quilted armour, sword and shield.

Boy, I needed this. The detail isn't extreme - it doesn't reach the glory of 1980s-90s issues - but it's still ok. The pose is also likeable: it certainly has character. It represents well a warrior inciting his companions to fight.

The sculpt is part of the Helm's Deep Part 1 series, called Gamling's Rally. I enjoyed painting it, although if I could go back I would change the red of the tunic (Vallejo Model Color Burnst Cad. Red), which is too glossy for my taste. On the other hand, I'm very happy with the glaze transition of the shield: that's the green I was looking for.

domenica 2 agosto 2020

Mutant Fimir - Citadel C25 Fimir

Through eBay I got this mismatched body and head of a Fimir, the tail missing. It sat for some time in my "to paint" tray until a post from Richard Irvine's blog inspired me to work on it. A mutant Fimir? Well, why not?

There wasn't much to do on mine, actually, just adding a tail. So I had my fun with drill, copper wire and greenstuff, and topped the thing with a spare head from the Citadel Plastic Zombie kit.

And then, of course, I went creative with colours. A purple Fimir? Well if you go to the marshes at dusk or dawn, that's the colour of the sky and water. Here goes the fluff:

Gelsch-dahd was born with an unusual colour and a missing tail, and he was marked as mutant by the Meargh of his clan. Being mutant was an auspicious sign, but being tail-less was also a handicap: so he was taken under the protective wing of Dirach Shuhul, to be his personal guard. When reaching adult age, Shuhul had visions Gelsch-dahd should go on a quest to the lands of the East, beyond the river Lynsk, known as Troll Country. There Gelsch-dahd fought against men and beasts learning might and cunning. Wounded and hanging to his last spark of life, he had a vision of the Daemon-god Fimùl praising him. After a sleep that seemed eternal, Gelsch-dahd awoke, healed from his wounds and changed. A human-like head now lay at the end of a long tail, and this head could see and speak according to Gelsch-dahd's desires. His return to his clan saw him celebrated as champion of the Fimir and he became a leader among the warriors. The Dead Face of the Marsh, he was named, and became the terror of the neighbouring Human settlements.

giovedì 7 maggio 2020

Clan Crayfish Horn-blower and Sentinel - Foundry Sea Elf Command

Following an earlier test mini, I am now starting to paint a unit of Sea Elves from my homebrew Crayfish Clan from Lustria.

The first one is a musician, blowing a horn that could be a conch-shell or the horn from a sea-beast. The original miniature didn't have the sword, that comes from the GW High Elf Hero and Noble set.

The second one is a sentinel, apparently scanning the horizon and protecting his eyes from the bright Lustrian sun, looking for the enemy. Again, the sabre comes from a GW set, IIRC the Empire Militia set. 

This should turn into some nice unit, I reckon, if the Foundry scale doesn't make it awkward when mixing with Oldhammer minis.

lunedì 27 aprile 2020

Homemade Lustria Swamp Terrain

I've bought some aquarium plastic plants some time ago and wanted to use them as Lustrian terrain but wasn't so happy with the base, so I attempted to do my own. Here's the result.

I used a super-heavy cardboard base - it was the tray for a cake :P it was covered in a thin layer of Das clay to create an uneven surface, primed and dry-brushed with earth colours for the upper parts and darker, water colours for the hollow in the centre. 

After glueing the plant with a mix of superglue and vinylic glue, the hollow was filled with realistic water from Woodland Scenics and left to dry. When everything was done, the naked terrain was treated with sand (drybrushed again), static grass and grass tufts.

The final result is ok. I really need to find a solution for the edges, which are white and difficult to paint, and create an ugly contrast instead of blending with the table - any ideas are welcome. But the colours are nice. Can you spot the two Slann hiding in the picture above? They are about to face two Pygmies looking for water, in the picture below.

venerdì 24 aprile 2020

Citadel ME34 Merry Brandibuck (1986)

Between 1985 and 1987 Citadel developed a Lord of the Rings range, and this little fellow is Merry Brandybuck from the ME-34 Hobbits of The Shire blister. I am not sure about the sculptor - could be Perrys by the looks.

It's really a nice figure and I enjoyed very much painting it, until the last steps. After doing the eyes and the metal highlights, for some reason I started to hate it. It kind of lost its charm. Can't tell why - perhaps the bolts on the jerkin are too bright, perhaps the sword, which I tried to faithfully represent (metal sword with red and golden snakes damasqued on the blade), is not so great, perhaps the eyes look a bit dull. I just don't like it anymore - any suggestion to fix it is welcome. Maybe with just a little bit of detail I can improve him dramatically.

mercoledì 22 aprile 2020

HeroQuest with a 6 years old - Part 3

Follows from Part 2, where we left the Evil Knight escaping from the Magician and his Zombies.

So far my son had been all about exploring the Dungeon, but now something clicked in him and suddenly he felt an urge that we all experienced in the first days of our roleplaying game - the  desire to loot. So, leaving the Magician and his minions behind, he went to the Magician's apartments and started checking every piece of furniture, collecting everything he liked - namely gold and a couple of Healing potions that fixed his critical condition - and discarding things he deemed useless or dangerous - a short sword and a phial of holy water. He also found a black stone, shining of strange colours, and upon touching it he regained all his spells!
Now healed and recharged, the Evil Knights prepared for the final battle.

Eventually, the Magician came back to his quarters and, upon realizing his archenemy was there, unleashed his Undead minions on him. 

The Evil Knight was still missing one room to explore, a room strangely locked with a bolt from his side and a peephole. Watching through the latter, the Wight saw an Elf, who immediately shouted at him: "Let me go! Free me! Whoever you are, I'll help you fight the Magician!".

My son gave some consideration to the proposal - the Elf was good, while the Knight was evil, after all. Could he trust him? As the Skeletons neared, he opened the cell door and jumped inside. With the Elf on the right and the Evil Knight on the left, everything that came through that door was quickly cut down.

This turned out to be a good decision, because somehow the Knight managed to score zero skulls (damage) when attacking in three different turns. The Skeletons were all killed by the Elf, who now proceeded to charge the Magician, left alone (blue arrow). But the Magician was cunning, and cast a Pass through Rock on himself and escaped in the side corridor (purple arrow).

It looked like the Magician was escaping! But the Evil Knight had his own spell restored by the Black Stone and so he could also cast Pass through Rock and block the Magician's flight (green arrow). The evil spellcaster turned his back and ran the opposite way (purple arrow).

The Magician moved 6 squares, and the Evil Knight rolled more than that, reaching him on the second round of chase. The Elf, running to help, was intercepted by the last Zombie standing.

"I got you!" With a blow of his longsword to the back, the Evil Knight cut down the Magician! His reign of terror is over!

The Knight walked back to the Elf, who managed to get rid of the Zombie, and confronted him.
"So... can I go now?" asked the Elf.
"Yes, a deal is a deal" said the Evil Knight "and thank you for the help!"
"Thank you for freeing me!"
Off the Elf went, out of the dungeon. The Evil Knight look around in the silence that followed: he was now, once again, Master of the Dungeon and Boss of all Evil Things!

That was massively fun! My son loved it and I also enjoyed playing it, as if I was a kid myself. Sometimes, I must say, jaded player can bring your hype down, but green ones, to whom everything is new, makes a GM's job really fun.

We'll play again soon. I hope you enjoyed reading this and found some good ideas for your next Dungeon crawl with the little ones!