Category Archives: Fantasy

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.

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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”

Pimp my Hirst Arts – The Cavern Accessories mold Part I

Bruce Hirst is known in the wargaming community for his high quality silicon rubber molds that, employing a system not unlike Lego, allow the construction of dungeons, egyptian tombs, roman temples and much more. So far I only own the Cavern Accessories mold 85.

I already made some attempts to cast this mold in plaster and achieved some nice results. Last week I did experiment with some resin casting and was quite pleased with the outcome: Almost no trapped bubbles, all details are crisp and mixing and pouring of the resin was easy.

The finished pieces on their own are simple, yet provide an excellent basis for further refinement. Making use of a number of techniques I tested creating my Crypt of the Damned I made a point of improving the designs by the addition of moss, roots, candles, scenic bases and the one or other detail such as critters and water effects. I finished with a garnish of weathering powders. Apart from showing you the finished pieces, this is also an introduction to / review of the accessories mold.

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Of mountains cold – Reaper Bones Khael “Gandwarf” Stonekindle review and painted example

Bailey, a young servant of Vergadain, came upon a long forgotton passage leading deep into the mountain. The dust of centuries she found, but also a detachment of Duergar, the sworn enemy of any righteous dwarf. Alone she could not prevail, so she sought out one of the most revered members of her clan.

Carefully he stuffed his modest pipe of red oak, expertly assessing the fill of good Stonecutter tobacco. He looked up, still his slippers on and his beard dishevelled.

“Well, what is so important that it could not wait untill I finished my afternoon nap lass?”, Khael asked a breathless Bailey.

“Master Stonekindle, please forgive me my intrusion”, she responded bashfully, “but the matter at hand is of great importance for the hold.”

Holding a match cord close to his pipe he smiled at her through his white beard. “Bailey, is it not? I remember you having quite a nose for precious stones even when you where just a little lassie.”

She nodded timidly. “Master Stonekindle, it is Deep Duera’s spawn just under our feet.”

Khael inhaled the aromatic smoke and puffed it over the scrolls and trinkets on his desk. “By Moradin’s hammer. Duergar amidst our hold?” His eyes wandered over his desk, resting for some seconds on a book, but then he looked up. “Lass, would you be so kind and reach me that folio over there?”, he mumbled pointing on a stack of books behind her. “It seems I was right all along. We built our hold on the dusty remains of Norund. You know the tale, don’t you? Your mother should have told you sitting around the hearth.”

Passing him the folio she smiled. “I asked her to a hundred times Master Stonekindle.”

He opened the old yellowed pages. “Then let us find out if the legend is true, shall we?”

Continue reading Of mountains cold – Reaper Bones Khael “Gandwarf” Stonekindle review and painted example

Of dungeons deep – Reaper Bones Bailey Silverbell review and painted example

We followed Anirion on his journey through ruins old to find long-lost knowledge, but it is the fate of a young dwarven lady we direct our gaze to.

Bailey chose a path most different from her brethren and sistren. She heeded the call of Vergadain, god of wealth, trickery and luck. As a child she was drawn to sparkling jewels and admired the work of the goldsmiths in the dwarven hold of Bolvast-Kor. Too much, her mother would always say. “It will be your downfall Bailey. Greed leads to Abbathors embrace and it is he who will twist your mind.” Her mother proved wrong, as Bailey followed the way of her lord Vergadain, her heart free of the Lord of Greed’s temptations. She developed a keen sense for veins of gold and deposits of gems, making herself indispensable for the craftsmen of her hold.

“Over here…by Vergadain, that must be the biggest amethyst I ever saw!”, she exclaimed crouching into a small crevice. She took a small chisel and tried to loosen her find. A loud crack and plenty of dust opened a wide gap in the rock exposing a narrow corridor losing itself in the darkness. “I found something! Quick…!”

Continue reading Of dungeons deep – Reaper Bones Bailey Silverbell review and painted example

Of ruins old – Reaper Bones Anirion Wood Elf Wizard review and painted example

We focused on beer and dwarves last time, but today it is all about elves.

Anirion, a relatively young elf from the Silverforest up north, made it his life’s goal to not only become as powerful as his mentor Alduriel, but to surpass him. After he read all the elven texts he could lay his hands on he soon realised that simple study will not make him an equal to the most powerful wizards in the realm. One of the few wood elves to ever leave the Silverforest he ventured out to seek secrets of old and to only come back after he unravelled them all.

It was late on this autumn day when he found his destination: The ruins of Jor-Adin, said to have housed an extensive library with copies of the works of the five arch wizards of the long crumbled empire of man.  Calm lay the overgrown ruins before him, but no bird was signing, no deer passing through. He spoke a short prayer to Corellon and ventured deeper in the ruins, his senses sharpened, his goal clear…

Continue reading Of ruins old – Reaper Bones Anirion Wood Elf Wizard review and painted example

Defender of the beer – Reaper Bones Freja Fangbreaker review and painted example

Since I read about dwarves the first time one thing was clear: Those guys love their beer. A special caste of young male and female dwarves has the duty to not only brew the finest craft beer possible, but also make sure that a steady supply is maintained and that no Orc or Goblin will sully its purity with its dirty hands.

Freja Fangbreaker was trained from an early age in the secrets of crafting beer and the art of war. She defends the beer cellars of her home with her life and guards the  precious beer supplies on the battle field to keep up moral. Who ever comes between her and the barrels will find a quick death by her axe.

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Klaatu, barada, nik….*cough* – The dead will live again

I couldn’t resist and got a truck load of miniatures via the Reaper Bones Kickstarter. I mainly plan to use the miniatures for our DnD games, but also for the skirmish game Song of Blades and Heroes (and the dungeon crawler expansion Song of Gold and Darkness).

What would be a beautiful selection of miniatures (around 200 from dragons, to halflings, to wizards to angler fish men), if there would not be a dungeon they can dwell in? Thus I started to scratch build a dungeon interior and started painting up some Wargames Factory skeletons to populate it. They are a fragile bunch, but I like them much better than the earlier Bones skeletons (well, more poses, less static and less chunky). So while I like all the other Bones minis the skeletons had to be replaced. The skeleton sprue has been retooled in the meantime and an issue with breakage of some legs during transport is now resolved.

It follows a group shot of the undead dungeon dwellers as well as a couple of close-ups and soon there will be more posts focusing on the dungeon interior.

Continue reading Klaatu, barada, nik….*cough* – The dead will live again