Monday, 31 May 2010

Week 20: Mantic Games skeletons

Mantic Games were kind enough to send my wargaming club a selection of sprues for our fun and delight. Included within these sprues were two skeleton sprues. I'm currently working on a Vampire counts list (or two) so it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up. Partly because it will give me some variety, partly because it will let me know what I think of their range but mostly because they are free figures!

I opted to just try the single sprue, I figured that if I grabbed more than that I might get lynched by the other members of my club.

The sprue has enough components for 10 figures. We received another skeleton sprue and half of that sprue was identical to this but the other half appeared to offer command choices. The first thing I noted was that the majority of the figures upper torsos already have the arms, weapons, shields and heads attached, so the ability to vary the poses appeared limited. The poses themselves look good and dynamic and make a nice change from the GW bending over look. The only major gripe that I would have is that the skeleton heads look a little odd. The GW figures have loads of skulls left over so this can easily be solved with simple head swaps.

I found the moulding itself to be generally good with no misalignment of casting and very little flash. The plastic is soft in comparison with GW, which makes the figures a little bendy and the details are not very recessed, so greater care is required when undercoating so as to avoid losing the detail. However, all said; the assembly was very simple with less work required than is normally required of GW.

The figures come with their own 20mm basing system, but I opted to place onto GW bases to help them fit into the look of my GW skeletons. I didn't remove the plastic base, so this makes them stand a couple of mm higher than they otherwise would.

The (mostly) finished models are presented below:

I have not painted anything on the shields because I could not think what to put there. Maybe something will come to me.

I have also taken some comparison shots to see just how they compare with my GW skeletons;

As you can see, they are a tad taller, but as explained above that is my fault. Generally I think they fit in very well. The figures are of a good quality offer enough variety and are quite easy to paint. Their big advantage is that they are cheaper! I think I still prefer GW, but the difference is not as great as I expected.

Last of all I have included a couple of photos of a mixed unit of GW and Mantic figures to see if I could get away with it. I think I can.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Week 19: Zombie mini-horde

Whilst I appreciate that zombies are supposed to travel around in massive packs, everyone has to start somewhere. I have started by own zombie horde with a modest collection of 10 zombies. Even the most generous person would be stretching a point to call 10 a horde, but these are the first ever zombies I have painted so please give me a little latitude.

These guys are a mixture of empire militia and zombie models. I opted to go for grey as a skin colour because I thought that this would give me the most contrast and in my own head I thought it would look the least like they were still alive. I wanted a fairly uniform look to the clothing and so decided to try and limit this to three colours only; cream, green and a muddy brown. I hoped that this might unite the figures even though I am going to try for lots of different figure shapes to make them look less like a ranked unit and more like a rough mass of bodies.

The problem is that looking back at the figures they look a little too happy and cheerful. I think it is the cream colour that does this. In hindsight a dark blue or red would have done better. Oh well, you live and learn (or not if you are zombies).

As is normal I have combined figures onto bases to make setting up easier. I couldn't decide what to do with the eyes. I wanted them to have no life whatsoever, and so have gone forward with a dark circle, but I may go make and give them actual eyes in the future.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

WIP: A Zombie shambles

I cannot put it off any longer. I need to knock together about 50 (ish) zombies for two lists. I have been putting them off for a while because I am not a fan of the figures that GW have and was hoping for some kind of inspiration.

Its fair to say that that spark of Genius never came, so its out with the plastic glue and a short time later 10 zombies are on the shelf ready for painting.

I have used combined bases as much as possible because it will make placement and casualty removal easier. The four chaps above are on a base from the Bretonnian peasant archers set. Whilst the chaps below are just on a pair of bases glued to the same magnetic strip. 

I have used a combination of zombie and empire militia sprues to make the figures, but this is where some of my problems have arisen. I was very much aware of the oversize hand issue with the zombie parts. What I was not aware of was just how much bigger the empire figures are than the zombies. If you try to put a empire torso on a zombie pair of legs, do it with caution, it might look a little daft. Hence the fact that I took the legs back off one guy to make him look a little better.

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Week 18: The grave has a guard

The previous week was a disaster with only shields to show for a weeks effort, so this week I am pleased to report that I have managed to finish a complete unit of figures....

The colour scheme has been chosen to match units of skeletons that I have already completed. This means green, green and more green. I opted to keep the greens on the shields and the clothing quite dark with little in the way of highlights. The reason for this is that I wanted the swords to stand out a little.  

The grave guard wights weapons are magical and have killing blow. I have an awfull memory when playing the game, so I wanted some simple way of reminding myself of these properties. I started with a blue colour, but this did not look "undead" enough for the look I wanted. I therefore tried green, but was concerned that they would just get lost in the look of the unit. 

I may yet gloss varnish the swords to make them shine more...

The standard has been taken from an Ogre unit. I just didn't like the grave guard standard and wanted something which had size and a ragged look. The problem with this standard is that it needed raising quite a lot otherwise it just would not rank. I have used a stiff paper clip for this after the first attempt with using plastic standard posts glued together failed.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Week 17: A failure

I have to report my first week of failure this year in week 17 of my task. This week I was trying to paint up 15 grave guard, but I have failed to finish a single figure. I experienced problems getting the sword colours looking  as I would like.

In fact the only components I have managed to finish painting are the shields. I choose to use dark elf shields because I thought that these would give the unit the look I was after.

Sorry about the lack of anything to report. With luck I will be back to schedule next week.

Friday, 7 May 2010

WIP: Blood knight change of plan.

A couple of weeks ago I started a trial blood knight, but I wasn't quite sure with how he looked so I set him on the shelf with the intention of looking again to see how I felt.
 True to my word I have returned and I still was not quite happy. So I've played around with him...

I cut off half his head and gave him a helmet off a grave guard figure. This was mainly to increase his height to compensate for the size of the horse. I have also changed the torso over for that of a grave-guard. I know that he is all skeleton under that armour, but I don't believe that you can tell. I have also used the shoulder pads off the graveguard to hide problem areas between the dark elf arms and the torso.
I have added a short skirt around the waste to hide problem areas here. Once again I am going to leave him a week or so to see if I am happy with him, but I feel much better already.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Week 16: Bat swarms

This weekend has been our clubs annual show (Legionary 2010) so it has been a bit tricky to fit painting around all the work that a show requires. The show was at a new venue and I think it was a qualified success. Although it was at a smaller venue than normal, it was in the centre of the city and therefore more amenable for those without cars. Parking was difficult, which affected the traders most significantly. Our club is currently reviewing whether hosting a show is worth all the effort. I think it would be a shame to drop it, but I'm not quite sure why!

This week I have moved onto the first pair of bat swarm figures. Both of these have been built with bats pinned off empire figures. Whilst it creates a bit of movement, it makes these quite fragile. I am not sure how these figures will stand up to the bumps and knocks that they would receive during play.

Every joint is pinned, but because of the size of the models, there is not a lot of pin and there are a lot of bits poking out. I may re-think this as an approach.

I hope you enjoy regardless.


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