If you are a Game Master it is always exciting to start a new campaign and let your players explore new shores, their peoples, customs and the secrets they hold in ruins old, mountains high and dungeons cold. To make it easier for your players to visualize this unfamiliar environment you may have provided them with a map of these lands, may it be as loot or after some negotiation with a Gnome in the local antique shop. A map may also come in handy for a wargaming campaign to show the position of warbands or armies and natural obstacles.
Often the first iteration of such a map is a simple hand-drawn sketch, but after more and more of the new area is discovered you may want to provide something with more visual appeal, add a background texture or even colorize your map.
I will show you some of my current exploits into the realm of map making that will be of help if you start out to make your own regional maps. I am still in the early phase of developing my drawing and coloration skills, but hope that the following ideas will be of use for your own development as a hand-drawn map artist.
I will show you my process of drawing a map by hand, scanning and cleaning it up and finally colorizing it using Photoshop. I will also provide you with some PNGs of elements such as ruins, towers and a city that you can use for your own creations as well as a generic parchment background. Future iterations will feature encounter maps, too. Continue reading Mapping fantastical fancies – Hand drawn campaign maps for your RPG sessions
Dreadful chimes can be heard in the larder, abominations in garish dress haunt the good people of our village and not long until a blood sacrifice to the old gnarly tree is due…yes, …the Quickening and Krampus are coming closer every day. But fear not gentle folk of Greifshold, archwizard Ezren will save your souls from damnation, as he will cleanse the putrid essence belaying our village with his powerful magicks.
*harumph* Oh, I didn’t see you there. Today we will look at a sculpt by Todd Harris, namely the Iconic Wizard Ezren. We are looking at the Bones version, not the metal one. As always after a short assessment of casting and sculpting quality a detailed list of the colours used is provided. Finally some words about the photographic set up may be of use for your own projects.
Continue reading A chill to the bone – Reaper Miniatures’ Iconic Wizard Ezren
Last time we asked Kawe Weissi-Zadeh of Westfalia Miniatures some questions about his company and halfmen Kickstarter. This time we put Agema Miniatures‘ Greg McBride to the question and ask him about his early wargaming career, Agema’s genesis and his plans for the company’s future.
Continue reading Interview with Greg from Agema Miniatures
Hastati spargunt hastas. Fit ferreus imber.
(Enn. Ann. 8.281)
We are truly spoiled for choice these days if it comes to high quality 28mm Republican Romans and their enemies. They not only come in ‘heavy lead’, for instance Relic Miniatures’ offerings, but Victrix recently added to existing ranges with their injection plastic Punic Wars range. All these ranges have one thing in common: They are all more or less heroic scale, some more on the ‘chunky’ side, others with more realistic proportions.
Agema Miniatures, a small company based in the United Kingdom, could be called the Minden Miniatures of ancient ranges. They are to my knowledge the only company that provides Republican Romans and Carthaginians with such realistic proportions and an almost classical beauty to their sculpts. Notably they offer injection plastic, metal and resin miniatures, combining the advantages of all three materials. Reason enough to review their plastic and resin Republican Romans range, conversion kits to create Hannibal’s Veterans and a selection of their metal character models.
This three-part review will first focus on the scope of the range to date, sculpting quality, poses, casting quality, historical accuracy, conversion potential, customer service and value for money. In the second instalment we put Agema Miniatures’ Greg to the question. Finally in part three I will present painted examples with some notes on the colours and techniques used.
Continue reading Romans Advance! – A Review of Agema Miniatures’ Republican Romans and Carthaginians
I hope you are all doing well and survived huge amounts of spiced ham and truckloads of cookies. While you are eating the remaining Christmas cookies I suggest a read of this first installment of a new interview category on my blog. The idea is to introduce a company I like and also include a short, fun interview with the goal to establish a more personal connection between my readership and the ‘face’ behind a company. I aim on featuring an interview once a month. Today we look at Westfalia Miniatures successful Halfling Kickstarter and put Kawe Weissi-Zadeh to the question.
Continue reading The halfman cometh – An interview with Kawe from Westfalia Miniatures
Last time we focused on general advice if it comes down to taking scenic photos of your treasured miniatures. We covered the choice of camera, lighting, backgrounds, scene composition and photo editing. If you did not read part one of this tutorial I suggest to go back and have a look, as this part will be based on this general information.
We look at the initial idea, finding the right props for the job, setting the scene to bring the idea to life, framing the scene and finally photo editing. The last point will also include some falling snow effects.
Continue reading Männer allein im Wald – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part II
In the early morning hours you finish your latest work: it turned out exactly as you envisioned; it looks glorious. But wait, how to share your work with the wider wargaming community? Easy! You take out your smartphone and take a snapshot. You look at the picture and, to your detriment, all the glory disappeared. All you got is a blurry picture that is way underexposed.
However, you don’t need expensive equipment or even a light box to make nice pictures of your miniatures. In this tutorial I will show you how I take my scenic shots. I am not a professional photographer, but I try to improve my photography skills on an ongoing basis and would like to share the experiences I made so far. I will cover the camera I use, materials needed to set up your scene and provide before and after shots to illustrate the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’. A second installment guides you through a complete photo session, moving from the general to the specific.
Continue reading Shutterbug – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part I
On a trip to Europe in 2013 I was not only able to visit the battlefield of Lake Trasimene, but also had a chance to look for some traces of Hannibal in French and Italian Museums (Louvre, Capitoline Museums and Vatican Museums).
This three-part guide points out some interesting objects connected to Hannibal’s history, focusing on his influence on later generations, especially artists in the Renaissance and Baroque. The objects are not obscure, but might not be the focus of a standard visit of these institutions and you might be inclined to integrate them in your itinerary.
We start out with the Vatican Museums and its Gallery of Maps, featuring depictions of some of Hannibal’s most famous battles.
Continue reading What we leave behind – Famous battles of Hannibal Barcas in the Gallery of Maps at the Vatican Museums
This time I do not want to write about a project of mine, but rather make people aware of a beautiful Indigogo campaign:
Jenny Dolfen, latin teacher and artist, made it her goal to publish an illustrated novel about the battle of Cannae.
Darkness over Cannae from Jenny Dolfen on Vimeo.
Continue reading Darkness over Cannae – Indigogo campaign to publish an illustrated novel
While a plethora of enthusiasts, may they be reenactors or gamers, engage with all aspects of the Napoleonic Wars, more and more gamers find also interest in a comparatively unknown conflict that preceded the changes in strategy and tactics brought by Napoleon: The Seven Years War. Often called the first “World War” this conflict did not only envelope Europe in war, but in equal measure made the struggling power’s colonial possessions a theatre of the war.
I got interested in this period realising that the region in Germany I originally come from, the Palatinate, provided contingents to the Reichsarmee, which fought at Rossbach alongside the French, (almost) on their own at Zinna and finally with the Austrians in the battle of Korbitz amongst others. Thus there is not only a regional connection, but also a number of interesting battles and allies a force of the Reichsarmee could be based on.
In this article I will focus on the battle of Zinna and the regiments of the Reichsarmee involved, including contemporary or reconstructed depictions of the uniforms and some ideas of how to model these contingents.
Continue reading Carolus Theodorus Dei Gratia Comes Palatinus Rheni – Gaming the Reichsarmee during the Seven Years War