Sunday, 3 March 2019

The 'Fellowship' Theme Round is now UP! ...and Curt's Two Fellowships

Hello Everyone!

The final theme round of Challenge IX, 'Fellowship', is now up on the gallery page. Please click over to see all the excellent entries.

I think you will all enjoy this closing round as there are many fabulous perspectives on the theme, from a downed Luftwaffe crew, and tight-knit LRDG squad, to a heroic band of mice and unlikely literary companions - you'll find an amazing assortment of all things companionable.

After you've enjoyed the gallery please take some time to vote for all your favourite entries.

I know, I know, I'm sounding like a broken record: Please keep in mind when visiting the gallery that Blogger has a glitch indexing large volumes of entries uploaded in a short period of time. So, when you advance to view the next submission in the gallery it may skip one or two ahead. Infuriating, I know. Anyway, the way to ensure that you're seeing all the submissions is to use the list of posts on the right sidebar to advance through the list of entries. Thanks!


Well, anyone who saw my opening entry for this Challenge won't be too shocked with my 'Fellowship' submission today.

Picking up from Frodo and Sam, here are the the seven remaining Companions of the Ring-bearer. All of these figures are first-run GW metals, which were a complete joy to work on. 

The eagle-eyed amongst you will see that I swapped out the 'Fellowship Gandalf' for the one from the Balrog box set. The stock Gandalf is a terrific figure, but I preferred the more dynamic pose of the Balrog one for this scene.

When I was doing the finishing touches on the Fellowship set I thought back on the scene set in Balin's Tomb and realized that I could use the same setting to depict another fellowship, that of Ori and his few remaining kinsmen in their final stand against the orcs and Balrog in the fall of Moria. 

These dwarf models are, again, venerable figures from GWs first LotR supplement, 'Shadow and Flame', released in 2003 (I was amazed I still had a few of these squirrelled away in the Lead Shed). I'm typically not a huge Dwarf aficionado, but these models were pretty darn cool, especially the heavily armoured Khazad Guard.

So, there you have it: TWO fellowships, both making their valiant stand in the Chamber of Mazarbul.

These 16 figures will give me 80 points for my continuing struggle to reach my 1200 target.

Enjoy the theme gallery, vote and come back next week to see the results.



From HerrRobert: An Unexpected Encounter (47 Points)

Long hidden beneath a veil of ice and snow, the ruins of the Frozen City were a feast of riches for some, and a frosty grave for most. A few hundred gold pieces and a few nights in the taverns of the villages where wizards made their bases and sellswords sought their fortunes hired Captain Abdul Khaliq al-Kanan and three of his bowmen for a quick sojourn into the ruins.

The Lilac Bows led Oksana and Mishka down a narrow street of Felstad. What the sorceress and her apprentice were looking for,  al-Kanan neither knew nor cared. They weren't the first wizards to hire his services, or would they be the last.

Experience told him to send a bowman into the ruins to his right, and a scout ahead.

al-Kanan was not surprised to see Maaiz quickly come running back, nor that he heard bowstrings begin to twang. Undead were a dime a dozen in the Frozen City. 

But he was disturbed to see three pale, ghostly figures slowly floating down the alleyway, arrows harmlessly passing through them. One wraith, was bad enough, but two? And a specter?

His magic sword glowing, al-Kanan prepared to parry the ghostly wraith's rusted blade. Behind him, the sorceress and her apprentice readied spells, while the bowmen continued to draw and loose in a futile effort to wound the creatures.

Maybe he wouldn't be hired by another wizard . . . 

My third entry and second Squirrel! point is a small warband and some undead for Frostgrave. First up we have the wizard and her apprentice. Oksana the Spring Magius and Mishka the Mystic are both out of production Reaper sculpts I have had for, easily, two decades. 
Oksana Spring Magius
Mishka the Mystic

Mishka I painted in the late 1990s, while Oksana lingered half painted for just as long. The original paint job on Mishka is below:

Needless to say, my painting skills have drastically improved, while these figures have sat on the shelf for decades. So I decided it was time they journeyed to Felstad. I gave them both a quick strip, but decided to paint them both in the original color scheme I used for Mishka.

I went with a less glossy paint job, the overall gloss varnish no longer being in style. My style also uses a lot more highlights and shading than I did as a kid, and so you can see greater depth to both of them. Their cloaks and skirts have lots of detail and so great scope for shading and highlighting. The Prussian blue for their lower skirts is probably my favorite color mix.

You can see a close up of Mishka's face here. I'd originally thought she had a warm face. But, as I painted it, she turned out kind of frightening. Possibly even evil. Maybe she's just seen things mortal man was not meant to see?

The light of my revised photobox does a good job of picking up the highlights in her hair. I replaced the black (gray really) paper with velvet cloth, and I'm much happier with the results. Though it's still not the stark black Curt gets. Hmmmmm.

Anyway, highlights are a mix of Army Painter Barbarian Flesh and Vallejo black, an old trick from Jim Purky.

My previous wizards are on lipped bases, so these are too. Since they both have such huge and clunky bases anyway, it wasn't practical to mount them on a Renedra cobblestone base. Not without taking a belt sander to them and burning off that honking base.

I've placed an order for the plastic Frostgrave Soldiers boxes, and so should be able to built more soldiers to flesh out Mishka and Oksana's warband. Especially with female soldiers. I'm not really sure what school of magic Oksana and Mishka practice. Divination would be the obvious choice, which probably translates to soothsayers in Frostgrave.

Next is Captain Abdul Khaliq al-Kanan. He's actually in the colors of my Summoner warband. I posted three of the four wizards back in the East Theme Round of Challenge VII. He's actually a Gripping Beast Islamic Priest from their Crusades range. Because he came on a multi-part base, it just took a quick touch of the giant file to put him on a Renedra base. 

Given the Islamic vibe of the Summoner set from North Star, it was logical to carry that theme over to the entire warband. Yes, I know, wizards are the only bit that matters and warbands are expendable, but I like the idea of joining them with a common color scheme. So I purchased some Gripping Beast figures off Ebay.

I love the color palette I chose for him. The green looks very nice, and the other colors go together well. Again, I've learned a lot about highlighting and shading, especially for skin colors, since I painted the Summoners, so they may need a touch up.
The Lilac Bows are also Gripping Beast Crusaders. I cut the metal bases off and put them on Renedra plastic ones. Unlike the Captain, these bases were a lot harder to remove. One of the archers legs actually snapped in half, and had to be pinned back together. If you look closely, you can see where I tried disguising the last of the metal base as rubble. It mostly worked. I have one more of these made, and four more spearmen awaiting conversion. I also bought a few sprues of Gripping Beast Plastic Arabs. Once the Frostgrave Soldiers and Cultists I have ordered arrive, I'm looking forward to some kitbashing to make the thugs, marksmen and the like.

The lilac bows were a last minute choice, but are inspired.
The showstoppers, however, are my Wraiths, Frost Wraiths and/or Specters:

'Wraith' is a catch-all term for the various forms of ethereal undead in the city, although 'ghost' and 'wight' are also used. It is not known how they are created, and no-one is sure if the ones currently haunting the city come from before or after it's fall. What is known, though, is that a wraith is both extremely dangerous and hard to kill - their touch can drain a victim's life force, and they are immune to non-magic weapons.

Frost wraiths are a peculiar form of undead only found in the ruins of Frostgrave. Although they are etherial undead, they have somehow become partially frozen. Because of this semi-material form, they cannot move through terrain like other ethereal undead and are vulnerable to normal weaponry. Their icy grasp is, however, extremely painful for living creatures.  

Spectres are a relatively uncommon form of ethereal undead, and resemble ghosts that glow with a faint greenish light. Unlike ghosts, however, they do not tend to haunt one particular location or area, but roam freely. Compared to other forms of ethereal undead, they are generally considered less dangerous, but are notoriously quick and are difficult to control.
NorthStar Frost Wraith and Vampire.

One of the wraiths is the Frostgrave model, from North Star Miniatures. It's a fun little model, and required no real conversion beyond filing the base and putting it onto a Renedra cobblestone base.

The other a Reaper figure from their Dungeon Dwellers rainge, the Cairn Wraith. Again, no real conversion work needed beyond gluing it to the Renedra base.

Reaper Dungeon Dwellers Cairn Wraith
The Spectre is another Reaper figure, this time the Death Shroud. As you can see in the earlier photos, it towers over the wraiths. I'd rate it more of a 40mm figure. Unlike the others, the Death Shroud came in two parts, without instructions. I spent a fair bit of time trying to figure out how the two parts went together, then filing them down. It also took a lot of superglue and tacky glue to hold it together. Fortunately, superglue and tacky glue mixed together accelerates their drying.

While Iannick and I are in competition for Prettiest Undead (SD12), we had a very long chat about how to do these and some zombies. While black or gray seem to be the standards, I had absolutely no desire to try and highlight that much black. Nor did it really seem to fit the whole frozen and defrosted theme of Frostgrave.

Instead, we decided on a green or a blue tone for these undead. So I went hunting, and decided I wanted something like what Games Workshop advertised for their Army of the Dead in Lords of the Rings:
A few quick Google searches later (which I cannot for the life of me replicate now), I decided on a quick way to paint them. White over primer, then wash with Games Workshop's Nihilakh Oxide. After that, I decided the ethereal bit didn't work on their hands, so I did my usual bone mix (Bamboo, Marshmallow and then Antique White, hit with Strong Tone afterwards), and used a turquoise to darken the recesses.

It wasn't until I saw these photos that I realized how stunning a paint job it was. They're kind of dull in real life, but they absolutely come alive in the photos. Especially that specter. Wow.

And there we have the whole bunch!

Pointswise, I'd rate them as 8 28mm and 1 40mm figures, for a total of 47 points.


Wonderful work Robert! I liked your background piece which sets up the figures nicely. I also enjoyed seeing your reprise of your older models and must say that your efforts have really paid off as their new, revitalised (re-Robertized?) paintjobs look terrific. Nonetheless, as you say, the spectres really take the submission by storm. Your 'ghost' recipe really worked the trick as they look suitably ethereal and horrifying. Gulp, well done!