Dec 21, 2012

It ends today!

The whole warband armed and ready.
To give a proper end to the dwarf warband project for SAGA, I wanted to summarize the all thing in a single post with some group pictures of the all bunch. By the same mean, I'll be ending the blogging for 2012. I am taking two weeks break off the brushes, incidentally to be among my relatives for Christmas, before coming back in 2013 with new projects and a challenge to accomplish.

Warlord, banner and hornblower
Now, before I leave, I wanted to share a few thoughts about this project. The choice dwarves to start with SAGA is obviously odd. My pristine intention was to put together an actual Anglo-Danes warband. But when John and I decided to throw ourselves in the SAGA joy, it seemed to me that I could never go through the all process of purchasing, preparing and so on (you all know the drill). Also I did not have quite the time to decide which figures I would want to order, so I moved on with what I had, and rush through the bushy beards.

Twelve double-handed axes make 3 pts of SAGA hearthguards
I had the design to paint a dwarf warband inspired by images from the Russian folklore and tales since a while. I actually started to put together a few figs last winter, then got caught by other idea and lost motivation. I wanted to have group of figures that would be versatile enough to be used with any kind of rule set, and slowly came to the concept of soft fantasy, of which I have read about here and there. Basically the goal was to create something that would be closer in essence to the flavor of fairy tales and myths, than to the hardcore vision of a teenager of worlds and realms torn by wars led by brutal morons armed with none the less moronic weapons or ninetypercentnaked armored chicks.

The shieldwall. Sixteen shields or 2 pts of SAGA warriors.
The fact that I picked GW LotR figures for this project was only because I found the design, that the Perry brothers gave them, to be quite close to the traditional Rus outfits, especially the helmets and scale armors. To tell the truth, even though I am a definite fan of Tolkien's novels, I never really meant to use these dwarves in their original Middle Earth setting, nor did I ever really mean to play the Lord of the Ring Battle Game. It is only now that they are all painted and ready that I have started to consider this option. Also, because John, after years of painting Napos, has suddenly jumped in his son's collection, and is slowly bringing back to life a quite impressive collection. But, I can tell, I will need to think about it twice; because the concept of Durin’s Folks, is not something I am nearly quite enough familiar with.   

Twelve bows and dozens of arrows makes 1 pt of SAGA levies.
Next projects will be all more historical in essence. Well… probably with a twist, since I am not that much an historical accuracy geek. But, I am already planning ahead to give these dwarves some opponents of their size, an unexpected warband of creatures raised in the shadows of the deepest forests from popular beliefs, myths and beyond...

Finaly for the actual Lor of the Ring fans,
Murin and Drar, the fearsome brothers.
Merry Christmas to all who pass by and see you in 2013!

Dec 14, 2012

Ronin takes up challenge or commits seppuku…

Like 46 others, addicted to all things beginning with the letters P, A, I, N, T, I got myself enrolled in Curt’s growing in fame Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge. For those who wouldn't have heard about it so far (really?), this third edition of the contest gathers 47 painters, under the famous name of the forty-seventh ronins, with Curt being some sort of daimyo for us all. Or, does he play the part of the Shogun? Well then, the story could end quite bitter for him…

Anyway, each of the challengers has to conform to some rules, the most important being that the challenge goes from December the 20th to March the 20th, and that, not a single figure that we intend to reveal during this period and earn points from, should be adorned with colors until then. Yet, we were strongly advised to list our objectives, roughly evaluate the amount of points expected, and get the lead trimed and primed, before the sword strikes on the 20th.

Now, the challenge is essentially about manufacturing painted figures, rather than crafting jewels of painting skills. I believe Curt’s pristine idea was to take advantage of the freezing canadian winter to get done projects that had been sitting around for too long. So, this is going to be a definite challenge against my tendency to procrastination, rather than against the other 46 ronins. Will I turn out to be the tortoise of the story, at the arrival?

At least, I have been prompt. Getting the lead pile sorted out for the challenge has been quite an excitement by itself. And, after having cure cuts of knife with stains of basecoat, time has come to give some insights of what is to be expected, here in Nowhere, in 2013.

First, three magnificent horsemen from the russian manufacturer Plastic Miniatures. 3 figs / 30 pts

Second, a group of Ancient - Chariot Era figures from Foundry. 48 figs / 240 pts

Third, a SAGA warband of Franks Capetians Crusaders, from Perry Miniatures. 46 figs / 300 pts

Obviously late... Hurry up Canada Post!
Fourth, specially for you John, since you have been asking so badly ;o)... What's left unpainted of my Perry's 1815 Napos. approx. 38 figs / 200 pts

If time allows, but I suspect it won't, I might also sneak a few Darkest Africa civilians and hunters from Foundry. 18 figs / 90 pts

All in all, this is 860 pts of lead that I have under the elbow. To tell the truth, I'll be more than pleased, if I achieve to paint half of this. Wait! Could this shiny parcel, that Santa has just delivered in advance, seal my destiny?

The answer next year...

Dec 6, 2012

The last of their kind

Finaly, here they are, contemplating the empty horizon of their endless fate, the last of their kind, kings of fading realms and lost dreams... Or, to put it straight, the last two figures I'll be painting for the SAGA dwarves project. 

"Axes drawn, watch your back...

One of those could have make a convincing a warlord, but I did not really need an other one, instead of what I thought it would be fun to have my 6 pts war band led by the Anglo-Danes King Harald and his two brothers, from the rule book. Thus, since I wanted to have these two Dwarf Kings painted since ages, here are the two brothers.

...I have the feeling someone is staring at us from behind."
Now, I know that I will suffer from the comparison, but I thought it would be fare to show the picture that inspired me for those last two. Again, it is a magnificent piece of art from the russian illustrator Ivan I. Bilibine, whose work led almost all my choice with the painting of the dwarf  war band. I discovered the artist six years ago and his rather colorful prints have been haunting me ever since. Eventually it had me dive into the russian folklore and discover wonders that I never could quite imagine before. Lets just say for now that my attempt to render something from these corpus of inspiration is a first try, that is to be followed by many other.

Ivan I. Bilibine, an illustration for the tale Vassilissa the Beauty.
But, for the time being, I'll be soon setting sail towards other interests, other kind of being too. The kind of regular human sized figures of an appearance totally compatible with SAGA. But that will be for 2013, for I recklessly enrolled in a painting contest that I have absolutly no chance to win (well, I did it more out of friendship, than for the vanity of honors), whose rules stipulate that brushes have to be kept dry from paint until december the 20th. So, more on that latter, I'll probably post an entry detailing what my modest participation to this challenge will consist of.

Oh, and I soon as I can take descent pictures of the all war band, I think I'll bundle it together on a single page... That is it for now!

Dec 1, 2012

An humble piece of land

I had started November by opening a parcel and unwrapping a rather exciting medieval homestead, so I thought  it would be nice to exhibit the results of this interesting sub-project to kick-start December.

"If you look for the keys, they lay under the stone"
"A simple place, for simple after pillage parties with the lads"
I think I did wrong when assembling the cottage, since some parts did not adjust very well. I might have interverted the opposites side walls, so I had to trim the bottom of each piece a little, in order to have everything on the same level. I can't really imagine this is due to a defect of the kit, since the quality of Renadra products is not something to question here. Anyway, I didn't really worried about the overall look of the finished piece. One  can disguise many under layers of drybrush, and the house surely looks more medieval thus.

"Follow the guide, if you like to see where the peas are grown"
My initial idea was to arrange all elements of the kit together in order to create a terrain feature that could have a significant impact on the battlefield and give a feel of the period. Well, I don't really aim at historical accuracy in gaming, the dwarves I have painted like russians and played like SAGA Anglo-Danes tells it enough. This kind of timber framed house probably apperead in Feudal Europe during the 12th century and so might very look like a snobish avangardist piece of architecture in games meant to be set during the 11th century. Nevertheless, I tried to have it look plausible, if not accurate.

"back of the place"
"Now from a distance"
So, I ended up with this idea of having it surounded with wattlework fences, to protect both cattle and crops from the greed of foxes and boars. Well I can't claim to have invented something here, and previous works of others definitly paved my way, as much as the well known picture from the Limbourg brothers displayed earlier. Through the readings I have had as to understand how a meaningless peasant cottage would have been seated on a nasty piece of earth, I found out what seems obvious to me now, that the most precious belongings of its inhabitant, i.e. vegetables and goats, would have been kept the closest possible from its walls...

"The peas should be ready for next fertility celebration,
 when the lads will be raping enslaved virgins named Ursula"
That's it, I hope you'll enjoy my modest attempt to simulate, both a muddy yard covered with straws, and a tiny backyard adorned with peas and pods about to blossom. Let say that the same snow that started to fall on Montreal the other day has just leave room for Spring to blossom on this humble piece of land...

"The goats are away for the moment"
"But as soon as they are back,  I and the lads
will prepare the blood sausages"
Now, I only wish to order the beasts and serfs it takes to achieve the country-side feeling of this cottage. But wait, something new has just landed on my doormat straight from Volgograd, Russia...

The long coveted Plastic Miniatures Russian Heroes...