Category Archives: Painting

Enthroned in darkness – How to make a ruined shrine and flagstone bases

Last time we fashioned a diorama base featuring weathered gravestones, a gnarly autumn tree and moss-covered flagstones. As promised  in this second installment we will focus on an objective token or a small piece of scatter terrain featuring a ruined shrine and a removable birch tree. Naturally nothing stops you to use it as a scenic base instead or to incorporate this idea into a gaming board.

We will also cover how to make a generic flagstone base if the miniature you are working on does not demand a very elaborate base.

Given I already covered the basic techniques in the graveyard base tutorial, I will only provide instructions for new elements and some work in progress pictures with short annotations for the rest. The list of materials needed is similar to the graveyard base one, with some exceptions noted below.

Continue reading Enthroned in darkness – How to make a ruined shrine and flagstone bases

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Unrested souls – How to make a graveyard themed diorama base part I

Crumbling gravestones covered in moss, faded letters, weathered by rain, wind and ice, a gnarled tree, the cry of an owl in moonlit night; who does not enjoy adding an eerily beautiful atmosphere to a base  that will hold a vampire, ghost or necromancer? But how to go about it, what materials can you use and how should you arrange the scene?

Fear not fellow enthusiast of the dark arts, I shall answer these questions in a detailed step-by-step tutorial. In part one I will build  a base for a Vampire Lord based on Reaper’s Judas Bloodspire sculpted by Werner Glocke, but naturally you can use the techniques presented below in any project, may it be a scenic base or a  gaming board to add a somber, yet unsettling feel to your terrain.

Part II will focus on an objective token using the same techniques, namely a long forgotten shrine with a tumbled over statue and we will also look at generic flagstone bases.

Finally part three will present the painted miniature. We will also add some further details, such as walls and bats.

Continue reading Unrested souls – How to make a graveyard themed diorama base part I

A chill to the bone – Reaper Miniatures’ Iconic Wizard Ezren

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

Happy Halloween – Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

The old gravestones were covered in moss still wet from the rain at nightfall. Glistening in the pale moonlight they caressed weathered carvings, indecipherable by the eye. Two tall oaks loomed over the soft soil and each of their steps made them sink in deeper in the morass. Khael and Anirion had trouble to keep the hems of their overcoats from sticking to brush and creepers.

With sorrow Khael realised that his tobacco pouch had become wet, a good pipe now days away when they again lodged in a dry tavern. Anirion did not speak much during the last days. Khael was not too unhappy with this development, his mind clouded by dark thoughts and his overcoat heavy and wet from the rain.

There was a solemn appearance to the rows of gravestones, haphazardly placed, some tumbled over, some lifted by the roots of the gnarled oaks. This was a place where old spirits dwell, long abandoned by the villagers when there was no space anymore for new burials. Rumours had let them here, yet it was Anirion that insisted that they had to visit this place, bound to find the name of the priest that Anirion  encountered all those years ago in an overgrown ruin.

On a narrow featureless gravestone sat a raven black as the tendrils of darkness around them, its beady eyes reflecting the pale moonlight. Its eyes were filled with a primal intelligence, following them as they approached. Deep cut runes spelt the name “Isidor” on the otherwise unadorned gravestone.

Anirion knelt and followed the runes’ outline with his gloved finger. He glanced at Khael, worry written on the old dwarves face. The runes were cold to the touch, even through his gloves he could feel it.

“We have to find him  friend, we must…” Anirion uttered, his voice thin as the wafts of fog closing in.

Spoke the raven with its thin beak: “Nevermore”.

Like a dagger the word cut in their hearts, a heavy burden on their shoulders. Musty bones made their way through the soft grave soil, spindly fingers seeking warm flesh…

With this short intro I wish all my readers a very happy Halloween and I hope you have a delightful day. But what to do on such a day? I hope the suggestions below bring a bit of dread into your gaming and your evening.

Continue reading Happy Halloween – Quoth the Raven “Nevermore”

Elmes love the Vines, the Vines with Elmes abide – a modular skirmish board set during the Second Punic War part I

Ageinst him where he sat
A goodly Elme with glistring grapes did growe: which after hee
Had praysed, and the vyne likewyse that ran uppon the tree:
But if (quoth hee) this Elme without the vyne did single stand,
It should have nothing (saving leaves) to bee desyred: and
Ageine if that the vyne which ronnes uppon the Elme had nat
The tree to leane unto, it should uppon the ground ly flat (Ov. Met. 14.661-665).

Publius Ovidius Naso (43 BCE to 17/18 CE) is famous for his  love poems (Amores) and his mythological narrative Metamorphoses. In the short piece above taken from the latter work he describes casually a then very common form of viticulture and uses it as a metaphor for marriage. He already uses this simile in his Amores in the well-known phrase “Elmes love the Vines, the Vines with Elmes abide” (Ov. Am. 2.16.41). The relationship of vine and elm tree (or growing wine on trees as a support in general) is a long-standing one and continued in Italy well into the 20th century (cf. Fuentes-Utrilla, López-Rodríguez & Gil, 2004).

Nowadays this form of viticulture is very uncommon, but nevertheless sparked my interest. More importantly it also spawned a new project – the very raison d’être for this post: a modular skirmish board set during the Second Punic War featuring a villa rustica complete with vineyard, olive grove and orchard.

In a multi-part tutorial I will guide you through the creation process from the early planning stages to the final piece. In this first part we will look at the design of the modules, historical considerations when it comes to depicting a Roman vineyard complete with villa rustica and finally we will also have a look at some Agema miniatures to provide some suitable skirmish forces.

Continue reading Elmes love the Vines, the Vines with Elmes abide – a modular skirmish board set during the Second Punic War part I

Celtiberians – “They died with obstinate resolution”

The Battle of Great Plains or Campi Magni in 203 BCE was a disaster for Carthage, ultimately resulting in Hannibal being recalled from Italy to safe the day and finding his master in Scipio Africanus at Zama a year later (cf. Goldsworthy, 2003, 294-298).

At the first charge of the Roman cavalry both Carthaginian cavalry and infantry at the wings were driven from their ground, leaving exposed the centre formed by Celtiberian mercenaries. But it was here, faced with their imminent demise,  that they made a name for themselves and allowed the Carthaginian and Numidian commanders Hasdrubal and Syphax to escape:

The Celtiberian line, though stripped of the support of both the wings, stood their ground; for neither did any hope of safety by flight present itself, as they were ignorant of the country, nor could they expect pardon from Scipio, against whom, though he had deserved well both of them and their nation, they had come into Africa to fight for hire. [9] Surrounded, therefore, on all sides by the enemy, they died with obstinate resolution, falling one upon another; and, while the attention of all was turned upon them, Syphax and Hasdrubal gained a considerable space of time to effect their escape (Liv. 30.8-9).

This was not a singular event, quite the opposite: Diodorus Siculus explains that “the Celtiberians advanced far in fame and were subdued by the Romans with difficulty and only after they had faced them in battle over a long period” (Diod. 5.33.1). And indeed they were one of the last to be overcome by the Romans after 200 years of upheavals and conflict on the Iberian peninsular (for campaigns in the 2nd century BCE see Quesada, 2006b).

But who were the Celtiberians? How did their panoply look like and how did they fight? I shall give  an overview of the historical background of these fierce warriors, tactical considerations when using them in Field of Glory and finally some thoughts about sculpting and painting of my – now sadly OOP – Corvus Belli Celtiberians.

Continue reading Celtiberians – “They died with obstinate resolution”

Männer allein im Wald – How to take scenic photographs of miniatures part II

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

Rough camping – Carthaginian Field Camp for Field Of Glory/DBX in 15mm Part II

Last time we built up the ground work and vegetation, added the tents and some first details such as fireplaces, the lean-to and shields covered by a tarp.

Now it is time to add more details and the miniatures to populate the camp. We will add two scenes: A Numidian and an Iberian playing a game of dice, while the fish their servant caught earlier in a nearby river is sizzling over the wood fire. At the same time a Libyan veteran is eating his porridge / puls seated in front of the fireplace.

We add further food items, such as bread and olives (all made by the talented Syl from ThePaintedRogue), ceramic jars, a basket, a coat for the Numidian to rest on, some leather pouches, where food and dice are contained in, the actual dice, a stack of firewood and finally a cooking tripod complete with a small situla (cooking pot).

This tutorial and the techniques covered are not only useful for a camp scene, but can be easily adapted for any of your projects and might also prove useful for bigger scales such as 28mm.

Continue reading Rough camping – Carthaginian Field Camp for Field Of Glory/DBX in 15mm Part II

Iberian Scutati – “Esteemed to be the most warlike barbarians that now are.”

Ancient Iberia and Carthage had a long-standing relationship. May it be trading relations, cultural exchange or military support.  Even more so when Carthage expanded into Iberian territory in the aftermath of the First Punic war to establish a permanent presence and exploit its riches and man power for the dawning conflict with Rome.

The Carthaginians relied heavily on foreign contingents in their armies, with Iberian troops being no exception. They supplied both lightly armed and medium infantry and formed a major element of a great many Carthaginian armies throughout the ages.

In this post I will focus on my mix of Xyston and Corvus Belli Iberian medium infantry, commonly known as Scutati, named aptly after their oval shield, the scutum or its greek equivalent thureos. A historical introduction will be followed by some tactical considerations with regard to using them in Field of Glory. Finally the sculpting and painting of the miniatures will be expounded on.

Continue reading Iberian Scutati – “Esteemed to be the most warlike barbarians that now are.”

Rough camping – Carthaginian Field Camp for Field Of Glory/DBX in 15mm Part I

Many ancients rule sets require players to depict a field camp as part of their army.  This is no different for Field of Glory or compatible systems (that is base size wise) like the DBX series.

Field camps are a wonderful occasion to be creative and add a vignette style element to one’s army.  While many gamers go for a free  interpretation of a camp element, for instance having a  ruined temple, villa rustica and so on, I decided to go down the more conventional route and actually built part of a field camp with tents and small scenes of camp life.

This tutorial and the techniques covered are not only useful for a camp scene, but can be easily adapted for any of your projects.

Part one of this tutorial will feature historical considerations, cover the basic layout of the camp  element and step-by-step instructions up to the point were only details and miniatures have to be added. Part II will then move on to converting the miniatures and placing all the details and bits and bobs.

Continue reading Rough camping – Carthaginian Field Camp for Field Of Glory/DBX in 15mm Part I