Sunday, 27 July 2008

Wood Elf Glade Guard- Jade unit

Time for a different army altogether!

I play quite regularly with a small gaming group and we often rotate armies for the sake of variety (and also to give us a break from the arms race that is the magic phase when undead play). This week my wood elves got a day out and I thought I would do the first post on them to show them I was pleased with their performance (although to be fair I should be thanking the animosity rule and GW dice, see here to see why 29% of the tests should roll a 1 - Craig actually rolled more like 50% but that's just him).

My wood elves are around 13 years old, it was the first army I started collecting when I got back into the hobby seriously again, when I started working for GW at Uni.

Wood Elves were just being released for 4th edition (with 5th edition only weeks away) and I have just learnt the wonders of the black undercoat from the store painters at GW (although with the new foundations and washes I am wondering about challenging this wisdom now).

First thing I picked up was a basic plastic unit of archers. These chaps have had their bonus rules for bows changed every edition since I've used them, but they are consistently worth taking.

Jade was a strange colour for a unit of elves who cab 'blend' into the woods, especially with their red bows, but its not a bad colour scheme overall I guess. I can't remember the other colours but this is the age of the hexagonal white plastic pots so half the colours don't exist now anyway.

Having the base for an archer unit, I looked around for a command unit. At the time the wood elf range wasn't all that big and I decided to get every single model I could. Starting with a classic 3rd Edition command unit from Skarloc's wood elf archers no less! My command unit consists of Skarloc himself, a mage (who was sold as a standard bearer by this time) and a musician.

Skarloc often had the hail of doom arrow as in the good old 4th and 5th edition champions could have magic items!

This didn't give me anough elves so I started adding the new metal archers to the unit for numbers. I quite liked these models at the time, its sad to see how poor they are (both model and painting!) compared to the recent plastics and my own efforts. As I intended to use Skarloc's standard bearer as a mage, I picked up another standard here and added a natty sticky GW banner (it seemed a good idea at the time...)

These chaps seem to have sustained some battle damage over the years. When I come to adding a few more archers to this unit I'll tidy them up.

The last elf in the unit of note is the plastic Talisman elf I acquired (working in GW had its perks). In my attempt to get every wood elf in existence into my collection this rather nice plastic had to be included. His green metallic sword started a rather naff convention in my army whereby the champions could be identified by these glowy swords as other archers occasionally had pointy things too. Of course this meant I had 2 in this unit, but that was fine as Skarloc sometimes moonlighted as a hero.

So here's the unit in all its battlefield glory. Rarely used in such numbers any longer - indeed they rarely go above 10 or get anything other than a musician!

My plans for this unit now is to add a few more to them and add enough command to split it into 2 units. I have the really nice new plastic wood elves I've barely touched and I also have 10 of the absolutely ancient Warhammer Fantasy Regiment archers. I like to try and get a plastic core regiment figure from each release into an army if I can (my skaven and undead have similar family trees) so its fitting my original wood elf unit should follow this theme.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Armoured Vampire Lord (Reaper)

Well I've been meaning to post this figure ever since I completed him a few weeks ago. I picked
up this mini a few years ago when I was just considering buying non-GW stuff for the first time. He's a reaper figure, (you can find him here) and at the time my Vampire Counts were 100% Blood Dragons so he was a perfect fit.

The rules have changed a bit, but I can still field him exactly as shown, or use him as a vamp in a different gear/vapire traits with my gaming group's permission.

With the current warhammer rules rewarding hand weapon and shields with such excellent saves, its worth considering this chap as he looks in most games, provided it doesn't sap your overall magic level too much (its a bind that there's no combat traits available to a hero level vamp if you make him a level 2 mage).

So painting him. Well although I recently finished him, I started over a year ago, significantly before the foundation range was available anyway. This means the red was done with progressive layers of blood red over the black undercoat. I rather like the effect, although I prefer to do this over the red foundation paint now to save a couple of layers.

The cloak is dark angles highlighted up with increasing levels of goblin green mixed in then washed with the old green wash (which is why its shiny, sigh if only I knew!).

The shield is hand painted (lol like you couldn't tell).

There's no metal paint on the figure, I've made a rather poor attempt at the metal effect technique (next time I will use picture references - I was in a mobile home miles away from an internet connection when I completed him).

To get a similar effect on all the 'silvers' I used standard greys from the citadel range so I could repeat the graduation. It was a hot day and blending didn't work very well as my paint kept drying, so its more of a layered effect on the axe, but the belt and skull rim work ok. The axe is actually quite nice from a little distance, but on these photos you can see my noob effort for what it was.

The axe handle has no texture on the model so I painted it on, starting with dark horseflesh (Coat d'Arms, my standard dark brown now) and working up through vermin fur and vomit brown. Quite like the end result.

The few skulls dotted about the model are done with the detail bone technique I use when I'm not drybrushing bones (same as on my Varg). Its dark horseflesh, bubonic brown and then bleached bone in highlighted layers.

The base is sand with PVA. Base coated goblin green and then thrakka green wash, then a couple of gobbo green and then gobbo green/skull white highlights.

Shame about these photos really, it honestly looks better than this, however after several attempts I realised the shiny paint finish seemed to muck up the camera no matter what I tried, so I used the best shots I had!

Monday, 7 July 2008

Fell Bats

So I've been a bit slack updating this the last couple of weeks, must get around to this more often!

My painting night with my gaming group wasn't as productive as we'd hoped, hence no photos from that yet. I will try to get the others to post something on here tho eventually! My skaven gun teams will one day be completed, but for now vampire counts get my time.

So today's post is Fell Bats.

These beauties got painted up last year during a Mighty Empires campaign we were playing. I found the campaign very encouraging for getting my figures done and I'll put some of the others that got a coat of paint thanks to these fun games.
Starting with small forces, our campaign really focused on core units initially and the cheaper special and rares. Characters got a lot of focus too as we used a progression system for them and they all got names over time.

The fell bats were painted because they seemed a solid choice for this sort of environment, being 60 points for 3 and useful against all sorts of small enemy units.

I was playing world of warcraft at the time and decided upon the colour scheme after encountering some unpleasant vampire bats in the game.

This was before the time of foundation paints, so I've actually just layered blood red up to make what I thought was quite a nice effect on the wings and other bits of skin showing. The 'fingers' are bubonic brown and the fur is dry brushed shadow grey which has a nice blue tinge to it. The eyes are sun burst yellow over white for extra piercing stares.

Bit of a busy week this week so maybe another post at the weekend, I have a number of new models to show off as well a my back catalogue to work on so must get on with it!

Skeletons part 2

Bit of a break since my last post, been away for a short holiday and hadn't worked out how to schedule future blogs. Have now!

Anyway, as promised there's more skeletons. Not to say that all 4 articles will follow in succession, but I did get another bunch of minions completed recently so they get their own posting now.

Unit 2 : The wash method.
Well this unit isn't a true unit in its own right, its really a bunch of old metal skeletons I've used as summon fodder for years and decided they'd be a good choice for testing out the new washes.

There's 3 very basic stages (after white undercoat that is).
1) Dheneb stone (foundation) base coat
2) Badab black (wash)
3) Bleached bone, dry brushed

Here's one of them from several angles, fortunately I have several of each type to save me editing the photos. Using a small selection of the same metal figure is something you'll see in other units in my army from my time working at Games Workshop when I could select my own figures in detail. As much as I like the many plastic figures now available, I still find the weight of a metal reassuring. These boys are lead they are so old.

Lastly then a group shot of all 14. These really didn't take long, the spears were the final touches with horseflesh brown (a Coat d'arms paint, more or less the old spearstaff brown) with a wash of ogryn flesh. Spearheads were tin bitz and then boltgun metal dry brushed. Bases are simple in my undead army, just flock on the tops. Each of my armies is based differently which hopefully you'll see over time.

These chaps will continue to be my summoning fodder as they are unarmoured will fit nicely at the back of any of my other units as they have no shields or livery that associates them with any of my main blocks.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Skeletons part 1

The core of an undead army for a long time has been skeletons. I've collected a reasonable selection of different models from GW over the years to represent the units I field in a game and wanted to look at what I still have in my army and the stories behind each.

I will dwell a little on the rules that brought the units about and also the painting.

Unit 1 - the flesh method!?

Oddly my only plastic unit of skeletons so far. This unit was put together when the first modern scale skeleton plastics were released, about the time of the first Vampire Count army I think.

At the time in the rules a unit champion was a wight (hence the somewhat over the top model) and spears were definitely all the rage. The unit consists of 19 skeletons plus the wight and includes a standard and musician - I have no idea where no. 20 from the box set went :)

These chaps originally were bought as seen, spears and shields, however under current rules they get light armour for free (a few torsos have it on, its not too bad). They've also come down in price under the new rules which makes me debate the usefulness of spears. I like the idea of a 4+ armour save in combat for 7 points, however I seem to fail these saves without exception and with undead a second rank that can attack can often be the only rank that does!

Painting wise these skeletons are somewhat different in colour to all the other bone I've done. I tried undercoating in white, the applying a thick coat of the old flesh wash and finally dry brushed bleached bones (quite poorly on reflection). For rank and file they will do, but hopefully when I get onto my other units in future you'll see why this unit isn't my favorite.

The wight is in colours to match the over arching theme of my army, more on this too in the future. Although no longer a wight, he gets to stay in this unit as its a handy reminder about the champion when in combat for various reasons.

On a completely separate note I've invited a couple of my wargaming friends as co-contributors to this blog. We currently have no overlapping armies and a lot of variety between us so once they get some time to add posts on here expect to see an interesting selection of stuff.

Monday, 16 June 2008


Well, here's my first proper miniature based post, but first a little context for this model.

I've been collecting and playing Warhammer for something like 18 years, since 3rd Edition. the first army I ever collected was undead, the wonderful skeleton army box set setting me up wonderfully.

My current undead are vampire counts, the catapults, chariots and mummys long consigned to live at my parents (and sometimes used by my brother). My army has seen several evolutions since the first 'warhammer armies' book and with the latest incarnation inventing entirely new troop types I have been looking for new models.

I've been faithful to Games Workshop for a very long time, but just recently some of the miniatures haven't been what I was hoping for. With the internet as a search tool its often possible to find alternative figures - not always better but worth looking.

For the Varghulf I really don't like GW's bat thing. I let my mind wander a bit and considered what I would want from a scary feral vampire and decided to go the were wolf route. There's a lot of bad werewolf figures out there as well as some unexpected ones. You'll find the excellent miniature I chose here, you may have to look around to find one of your own, but worth it I think.

This is my Varghulf painted (fresh!). My pictures are getting better, but my lighting and backgrounds need work :)

I did base the paint scheme largely on the model on the site where I found this beauty. Given it was sculpted and painted by Tim Prow, ex-GW heavy metal, it was a tall order to match his work, especially (with hindsight) starting on a black undercoat.

I worked outside in, starting with the fur and flesh, then the muscle and finally the bone.

The fur and flesh started out in Adeptus Battlegrey - I am really fond of the new foundation paints. The fur I wetbrushed to leave lots of black in the recesses. The skin was almost a complete base coat. Both were highlighted with progressive mixes of Fortress Grey. The fur has in places a final 'highlight' of brown, I used Horseflesh from the Coat'd Arms range, but Scorched Brown or Dark Flesh from GW would do as well I suspect. This final browning made a huge difference to how effective the model looked, it was closely looking at Tim's paint job and some real wolf images that convinced me to try it.

The muscle, innards and tongue were base coated with Mechrite red, highlighted with blood red, washed with a lovely new Baal red wash and then highlighted once more with blood red.

The bone is an old method first taught to me when I worked in GW by a customer called Tom (in case you see this, thanks!). Starting with Vermin Brown and leaving black in the deepest recesses. In retrospect I might have gone over the black at this stage without losing much impact, something to try on my next boney character. Next a fairly complete coat of Bubonic Brown. After that good old Bleached Bone finishing with Skull White here and there.

The eyes are Snot Green blended to white.

The base was a bit of an after thought, bit naughty but better than most of mine. I added a small stone from the garden as the Varg is standing on one too.

First post!

Greetings and Welcome!

Well, assuming this all works out, will I regret the name of the blog? Who knows, I think its funny for several reasons anyway.

So what's all this about? Reading my brother's wargaming club site and several army themed sites that had 'blog' type threads made me think of trying a blog out for real. I can post miniatures old and new from my collection to share with anyone who cares to look. I found looking at other progressive blogs really interesting and gave me lots of ideas for my own armies, perhaps some of the pictures and words here can do the same for others.

So then, first post. It's my namesake, Neil of Orange! An old conversion and paint job to make a representation of me for a jousting game briefly run across Games Workshop when Brettonian knights were new.

Its a 5th edition plastic Brettonian knight with his shield replaced with a generic Warhammer shield. I also cut the detail off the helm and replaced it with a polystyrene ball which I then covered in PVA to hold in place! This is actually the second head I've done as the first got vacuumed away when moving out from my Uni digs many years ago! The colours are fairly basic base coat and one or two highlights, over a black spray undercoat. I've never really used Blazing Orange before or since.