Fimm McCool's

Fimm McCool's

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Almost there by Easter

Well, the final 3 orcs and single goblin are on my desk, another 3 hours would see them done and all the Goblinoids deck painted (bar shields). However, in an hour's time I have to pick up my sister from the airport and then we're off on a family holiday until Monday. Rather than rush these last miniatures (which, after all, includes our two custom warlords!) I will stop here and photos of the final models will probably appear around Tuesday. In the meantime, here are some more miniatures that got painted this week:

These guys got started with a bit of beach painting in the glorious sunshine last weekend, but I didn't get much beyond base coats there are the paint was drying far too fast! Managed to get away without sand on the models but some of the card sleeves I'm using to protect the cards from paint splashes got a healthy dose of grit in them!

And, because I'm sure you're keen to see how Ulg and Grubod were looking yesterday afternoon...



Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Nabrat's Armoured Orcs

Back when I was a kid and had lots of time and no friends I used to organise my Combat Cards into rival factions to battle against one another. This is how I will be displaying my finished miniatures in the cabinet I have just finished making for them. The main protagonists in this saga were the two Orc Warlords, Nabrat Twocutters with his armoured orcs and Grubod Skullcracker with his royal orcs.

Nabrat is the leader model from Ruglud's Armoured Orcs. As the story on the box narrates, his armour is straight off the back of a dead chaos warrior. Look at the plates on these guys, dead Slambos and HQ warriors most likely! Now there were incarnations of Ruglud's after this, but for me this is the definitie look for the Armoured Orc.

Nablong is also from the regiment of renown, but there he is a musician not a shaman. I feel he fits better in a magical setting though, using the looted bones of the fallen chaos warriors to commune with nameless horrors.

Rungit gets to be in this group because of the stylings of his arm armour, although it will mostly be hidden behind the shield. I'm still in two minds whether to sculpt a nose on the shield or to paint in trompe l'oeil. I can't tell from the photo, does anyone have any pics of this model from a different angle? At the moment I'm leaning towards a paint effect.

Ah, Bogi. Another 'rare' snotling double that I paid too much for after years of scouring ebay. Totally worth it though, this little guy is so cool! Where he found chaos armour to fit him we can only guess but I can easily imagine him capering after Nabrat as an annoying yet loyal sidekick/pet/lackey.

Rutlog is probably the oldest model in the deck, being a 'slottarised' Fantasy Tribes orc. He was very difficult to get looking good and I'm not entirely happy with him as his chainmail and face don't seem as detailed as the card model.

Another case of flayed snotling appears on Zakash's drum, not readily apparent from the card but the tiny feet nailed to the back of the drum make it pretty plain this isn't a carved wooden instrument!

And here's the case I've made for them. Excuse the sunlight and wood dust, only just finished it in this pic. It will, of course, be wiped down before I populate it.


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Messing about with the rivers

I've been thinking about making some commercial terrain for a while. I'm a modelmaker and making little terrain is something I love, but I don't have the space to keep everything I want to make. In January I went to Crusade, the Penarth and district wargames show. There was so much hand-made terrain on offer, and so much of it was very basic and very pricey. I decided there and then that I couldn't necessarily make cheaper terrain but I could definitely make nicer terrain for the same price. The challenge was set!

The first thing I decided to do were some rivers. I've been playing around with water effects on my snow terrain and have worked out a good technique for producing good-looking water in a relatively short space of time, important considerations for commercial scenery-making. At first my plan was to resin or plaster cast detailed sculpts and resin work on top of them, but after sculpting the first it became clear that the cost of mouldmaking and casting (not to mention the time) would not make this a viable option. I do still hope to have some of these detailed sections but they will be available as add-ons, not the core river set.

Instead I have opted for a vacuum-formed plastic base for the basic river sections. I can't give away too much of the technique of finishing them at this point, but once the product is out I can show you how it's done and I am looking at the possibility of selling blank sets at a lower price for people to finish themselves.

With the range of surfaces and themes people pick for their boards I could offer endless variation, but I thought it would be fun to stick to four 'seasonal' variations of each terrain piece. I am especially looking forward to doing trees to fit each season. I'm also focusing on fantasy/dark age/natural forms as these fit best with The Woods, but when Factious Waste comes out there may well be buildings and wasteland bits as well. Of course, if you have a particular table which isn't matched by any of the seasonal variations I can do bespoke pieces as well.
The river sets should be available from early May once I've finished 'road-testing' the surfaces and worked out the packaging arrangements. The sets consist of two straight sections (as seen in summer and autumn above) measuring approx. 100mm wide by 200mm long, one ford section (as in the winter photo above) 100mm wide by 200mm long and two 45 degree bends. That's just over 2' of river running straight, with the ability to 'curve' it around a corner of your gaming board more naturally than a 90 degree elbow. Sets will retail for £25 each and will be available from the Oakbound shop. Any suggestions or questions I'd be glad to hear them.


Monday, 3 April 2017

Half a deck of Combat Cards

A productive weekend of painting has seen another 5 greenskins join the ranks. With 19 now done that's just over halfway (since a lot of shields are currently outstanding let's call it halfway). Here's a rundown of the latest recruits:

Gronit Blackarrow's an interesting one. This guy originally came with fangs, which I trimmed off, but painting the face I noticed his jawline is definitely more curved than the model on the card and the hood of my figure seems to creep further across the face than on the card model, obscuring some of the cheekbone. Another variant model lads?

Garbag has probably been my favourite to paint so far. One of the most 'orcy' models going and a joy to discover all the little details not seen on the card. For example, the tiny hands and feet of the flayed snotling he's wearing as a hat. I'd always pondered whether he was wearing a face on his head or just a tatty hood, now I know. Rugdod is missing his shield as I've run out of big shields again, boo. Another call if anyone has spares let me know, otherwise I'll be press-moulding next week to finish off the set. I think I need 5 or 6 more 16mm 'fighter' shields.

Yay wolfriders! Kev Adams' wolves are such a joy to paint. These were a simple base coat, wash, 3 successive drybrushes and a bit of detailing. The goblins are also quite basic paint jobs by the standards of the rest of the deck, so all in all a bit of a light break. Another mystery solved here. Garsh's wolf on the card looks like he has a ring by his muzzle- a bridle of some kind? Was he an unlisted chariot wolf? Well, no. It turns out from looking at the angle that what looks like a ring is just a combination of teeth.

And Snark. A lesser goblin if ever there was one. Quick painting here, but a surprising amount of sculpting to do. The model on the card has a far more prominent chin and jawline and a smaller cowl than the model I had in hand, but surely converting/building onto this model would be going to a silly extreme for a mere goblin? Maybe a clue to the solution lies with something I noticed on my model- big cracks in the cast. You can actually see on still there at the top of his left arm, I decided to leave it since it seems the model on the card has a matching fault. Mine also had a big crack across the nose which needed rebuilding. If the original had facial disfigurement as well then it would have needed similar reconstruction, hence the differences in features. Anyone shed any more light on it or have a variant of this model?

Monday, 27 March 2017

The strange and terrible saga of Uglug Handbiter

I didn't get a lot of Goblinoid painting done this weekend, I have some bits to paint for a show display so the Combat Cards got a bit sidelined. I did, however, manage to finish what may be my favourite model from the set, Uglug Handbiter. This is exactly what an orc should look like- tribal headdress, ring through nose and a ridiculous weapon.

Lookin at the right knee of the model on the card he appears to have some silky trousers on, my model, however, has an armoured plate on that knee. I tried to paint it with the highlights in the same place but was wondering throughout whether this was another case of greenskin variants. On Sunday, though, I made a bit of an error. All the other models I've photographed before varnishing them. My plan was to varnish in my usual way- heavy gloss lacquer then light spray of army painter matt, but once I'd given them a glossy coat I decided it made them look so nice and old-school I would leave them shiny. Hence I had a shiny Uglug to try and photograph, which is trickier than I would like. Will have to do a proper setup when they're all done and get decent shots. Anyhow, if you look closely at the knee you will see that the metal plate is barely visible, it has blended into the fabric. Maybe there isn't a variant after all, just a trick of the photography...

Friday, 24 March 2017

Fanatical about snotlings

...well I am, I have a drawer full of the little buggers. But this is not a post about the long-awaited return to my cavern snots army. No, this is a post featuring a very particular snotling. A very rare and long hunted-for snotling!

Fungus, also known as Big Snot, is one of the elusive 'doubles' from the C14 range. It took me years to find him and I've not seen one since (although I'll admit I've stopped looking). He cost me the princely sum of £30, which is far more than I would spend on almost any miniature under normal circumstances. However, projects and completeness will drive people to crazy ends (cough, Nuln Spearmean, cough). I do find it amusing that the two most expensive figures in this set (both large snotlings) are also the crappest in game terms and most diminutive in size. Fungus is a brilliant model though I can't imagine why he's as rare as he seems to be. Maybe people are just hanging on to theirs.

A rarely-seen rear view of the snot barrel, with a cunning hatch for times when a snot just has to make stool. He's actually pretty big for a snotling (hence Big Snot I guess) and is at least as big as some of the smaller goblin models.

As for the fanatic bit, well, Gruk the Loon... what's not to like? These old fanatic models are some of my favourites in the whole history of Citadel orc and goblin ranges. They look appropriately crazy in a way the later night goblin fanatics just didn't. I painted a similar model several years ago when the Golden Gobbo competition was instigated but in the spirit of replicating the combat cards image I didn't spend quite as long on this guy. Still pleased with the results though, you can often tell a good miniature by how little painting it takes to make them pop I think!

I have one more figure on the bench before I grab the next selection from my rows of primed goblinoids. Since his completion will take me to 12 models ( a third of the way through the deck) I thought I'd treat myself to one of my absolute favourite cards. Which one is he? Stay tuned to find out...

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Three more Goblinoids

Another three of the Goblinoids miniatures painted- barring shields of course. That takes me over a quarter of the way there (barring shields) which is a very exciting prospect.


Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Gobblin' through Goblinoids

In between loading the car for the West Midlands Military Show on Saturday morning and driving up on Sunday morning I managed to have a quiet afternoon's painting (listening to the wonderful Audible audiobook of Terry Pratchett's Guards Guards... which is another project altogether). So, a couple of shields notwithstanding, my completed Goblinoids collection now stands at 6 models. 29 to go!

Nobrun Darkfist was already pretty much there, but he now has a shield of the correct size thanks to the generosity of Gary Lewis. I think you'll agree the extra mm or so makes all the difference! That means Ylag can have his shield back.

Klug was great fun to paint, the epitome of a goblin champion! I tried to bend his club to the slightly lower angle of the one in the picture, but it wouldn't go due to being surrounded by metal. I guess maybe the CC one was distorted coming out of the mould or it was a master adjusted to fit more models into the mould. In any case it's not something I'm going to worry about. Zuglod's skin gave me the most hassle out of them as it's a lot whiter than the others'. I went with a Waaagh green wash, which proved a mistake as it came out the wrong shade of green and I then had to rework with a combination of Vallejo black green ink and Foundry bright green. I think it's worked ok now though. Shield just needs filling and painting in (another donation from Gary, thank you sir!)

The checks on Dungbrat's hood took a lot of courage to work on, but I'm happy with how they turned out. I was trying to use folds and goblin anatomy to get the positioning of the black squares right. Brog was probably my favourite of the bunch to work on (but don't tell the boyz), nice contrasts in the leather and metal on him. Any suggestions for the design for the back of his shield? I want to do one for the sake of completing the model and it ought to be a suitable tribute to the era.

Lastly I was able to make a start on these guys on Monday night. Still early days and the skin tones are not quite right but it's often hard to judge the colours when the surrounding clothing isn't painted in so I'll base coat everything else now and adjust accordingly. Then it will only be 26 to go!

Friday, 3 March 2017

Getting ready for Oakbound on tour

I was rather proud last night as I plugged in my freshly wired display cabinet for the first time, and it all lit up with no hitches at all. Now I've just got to make all the wiring secure... I hate electronics.

This is the latest addition to my event furniture and replaces the rather dodgy modified banner stand some of you may have seen at Dragonmeet last year. Not only is this more sturdy, eye catching and a safe place to put painted models but it also packs down easily for transport in the car and takes literally seconds to assemble on site. I built it from plywood, laser cut the acrylic signage and gave the whole thing a stain with 'Victorian Mahogany' and liberal coat of lacquer to ensure some degree of protection when travelling. The lights are LED strip wired in parallel to a rechargeable golf cart battery, which will hopefully give me 8 hours of life- enough to last most shows.

So where can you see this beauty you ask? Well the Oakbound calendar is filling out for this year, starting in a few weeks time. So far we have confirmed:

WMMS Birmingham, 12th March
HorrorCon Trowbridge, 22nd April
Concord Bristol, 29-30th April
Legionary Exeter, 13th May
Easton Arts Trail Bristol, 3-4th June
IPMS Thornbury, 13th August
Blast-tastic Bristol, 7th October
Crusade Penarth, 27th January 2018

Also hoping to be in attendance at
Reveille Bristol, 26th November
Cavalier Tunbridge Wells, February 2018
Beachhead Bournemouth, February 2018

If you have a favourite local show I would love to hear from you so I can book in more events. Obviously travelling abroad is difficult (but not yet impossible for Europe) so mainly UK dates and venues.

We will, of course, also have one of our pretty tables with us:


Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Gobblinoiding at last!

Long-term followers of Fimm McCool's may remember this post from waaaaaaay back:

Citadel Combat Cards

When I was a kid Citadel Combat Cards were one of my favourite activities, especially on long car journeys. The first pack I got was a present from my great aunt, now sadly deceased. About 7 years ago I decided I wanted to collect every miniature portrayed on the cards and paint them to match. It took me 3 years, during which I learnt a lot about variant greenskins, the conversions of Kev Adams and Fraser Gray's painting style (I would not be using enamels to try and reproduce the work of the master!). Long story short, the collection then sat in a box, another box, a drawer and eventually made it onto a shelf while it waited for a slot in the painting queue. Almost 4 years later that slot has arrived! Now, not all that space is lack of time, I wanted to wait until my painting (and sculpting- there's quite a lot of 'conversion' work to do) skills were good enough for me to feel like I could do justice to the project. Last year was pretty manic with Oakbound stuff and there are still plenty of projects on the go, but I'm going to go a bit easier at it this year and enjoy hobby time. It'll probably take well over a year to finish them, but at least I'm making a start. So, without further waffle, let's see some pics:

Nobrun Darkfist is the model I decided to start with, largely because he was already primed and didn't need any sculpting on... so I thought! I only realised when I started painting there were some oddities about this model. Firstly the miniature I had only had a single arm band- the one with the horn. The model on the card, however, has two. I have since discovered that there are one and two-banded variants of this model, still no idea why. I green stuffed a new band on. However there was a second weirdness because my model has nicely detailed ends to the leather straps hanging from his belt and a defined ridge around the arm band. The CC model is much rougher, with less detail on the earring tassel as well as the aforementioned details missing. Why does it seem like a much cruder casting? Maybe a thick undercoat obscured the details? Maybe photography washed them out? Who knows. If the model is still in existence it may be possible to verify, but otherwise we can only guess.

I used Foundry and Vallejo paints (with some 80s Citadel inks) to paint Nobrun. I've been getting into the Foundry system recently, not the process but the paints, and find them excellent. Some are a bit too watery for my tastes, but the triad colour range makes highlighting, shading and picking spot colours such a breeze. I hummed and hahed about his shield. The one he currently has is a 14mm 'orc' shield and looked right when I was picking shields for them. I now suspect the CC model has a 16mm 'fighter' shield. A friendly Oldhammerer is sending me some so I can fix that. In the meantime I have painted his shield to match the next CC model I am going to work on. Basing has also been a fun issue. The photography will have changed the colours, but I wanted to go as close as possible to the colours of the card. That meant finding a green/yellow flock, which proved very hard. All the railway and wargames suppliers I tried had flocks that were too green or too yellow, nothing just right. Eventually, having ordered a couple to test, I mixed my own from Javis 30 'sand' and Model Tree Shop 'Light Green' and got something that looks about right under daylight conditions (note, the picture above is not the final flock, just sprinkled on for the photo).

Calling Nobrun finished for now I moved on to Ylag Blackskull (the guy whose shield Nobrun is currently looking after). This guy needed some serious green stuff work to approximate the orc on the card. As Lee Morley pointed out on the Oldhammer Facebook page, the body is most likely the one on the right here:

rather than the one I picked. If I'd spotted that beforehand it would have saved a bit of green-stuff work, I was going by the head and legs on the miniature I chose. But it's all good practice. I reckon, going by the similarity of the legs on all these orcs, there was probably a blank orc body which got dressed in various ways to give these different results. Anyway, apart from a bit more modification
to the sword and torso I'm happy with my recreation. Now to get painting!


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Collected Warhammer Volumes part 9: Al ook through volumes 1 and 2.

Having discussed the binding of these books let's turn our attention to their contents. After all, that's what this is all about, chronicling the journey of Warhammer Fantasy Battles from its inception to its discontinuance. As they're both relatively slim and self-contained we'll start rooting through volumes one and two, the first two editions and supporting material.

Volume 1- Forehammer begins with endpages by Josh Kirby from Terry Pratchett's Bromeliad trilogy. For no other reason than I had these posters, love them and associate them with my experience of fantasy from the 80s and 90s.

Volume 1 contains the three books from the Warhammer box, with glorious black and white art by Tony Ackland. At this stage 'Fantasy Battles' isn't quite right because what you've got is rules for fighting combat on the tabletop with miniatures but we're talking very small and character-driven skirmishes. This is essentially a tabletop RPG, which absolutely floats my boat having just written The Woods for exactly that kind of gaming. Interestingly that's now going in a mass-battle direction, perhaps echoing the rise of Warhammer...

Next up we've got the three books from Forces of Fantasy, plus the book of Battalions which pops up later. This supplement expands the magic, bestiary, items and scope of the original rules.

Whilst there are plenty of creatures there's really no definite setting provided anywhere here. The Redwake River Valley scenario in the rulebooks is as close as we get to a world for the game (and features as the cover of this volume).

More lush black and white art from Tony Ackland.

Then we come to the Citadel Compendiums. These are included here as their size makes them compatible with the first edition books whilst they are shorter than the second edition books. There's not too much difference between the two and the content of the Compendiums is suitable for both editions.

A bit more of a glimpse of the developing Warhammer world is given to us in the form of Kremlo the Slann and the Shrine of Rigg scenarios. Vikings in the lush jungles was very much in vogue!

To accompany the Shrine of Rigg we have a look at mixing science fiction into the fantasy world, a precursor to Rogue Trader where ancient cultures rub up against strange technologies.

Everyone's favourite fantasy setting (maybe) gets some love with a Minas Tirith siege which must have been enormous by the standards of the era.

The Book of Battalions contains the first Regiments of Renown to be seen in Warhammer, some of them continuing long into the game's future.

And another Paul Kirby image (Strata) to round off.

Each core volume has a synopsis of the To Hit and To Wound charts, shooting modifiers, combat resolution (when it came in) and saving throws. Because there are subtle changes, and not so subtle changes in the first few volumes!

Volume 2- Plothammer uses the endpages I salvaged from my 3rd Ed hardback (signed by Bryan Ansell and Kev Adams) and amalgamated with bits of the Armies endpages.

The second edition rules were also in a 3-book format.

And Norse and Slann returned once more in the Magnificent Sven scenario.

The reason for calling this edition 'Plothammer' was twofold. Firstly it follows the example of first edition in its focus on roleplay rather than pitched battles. Secondly there was a wealth of narrative scenarios produced for it. At a time when the Warhammer world was beginning to mesh together in coherency it was shaped by the publication of some important pieces of Oldhammer history.

The Riding was published to accompany the famous Townscapes card buildings. It seems incredibly hard to track down and in the end I settled on a print-out PDF which I was lucky enough to source online. It's entirely setting, detailing a region of what we'd now call the Empire along with the inhabitants of the small villages and their customs and traditions.

Orc's Drift has a character you might expect going by the names of its authors.

Terror of the Lichemaster introduced the infamous Heinrich Kemler (one M) who became a key character in the events of the Warhammer world right up until its end.

And, of course, McDeath with its literary references and terrible puns.

Next we have the Citadel Journals, included in this volume because it most closely matches their size, although the Journals required trimming to adequately match the rest of the text block. Fortunately they have wide margins.

The second Journal was a gift from the most-excellent Zhu and it only seemed right to keep his epistle in the canon. Especially as it is scribed on the reverse of a print of Tony Yates' artwork!

These shall not be cut out!

The wonderful and sadly unfinished saga of Kaleb Daark.

Thanks to BOYL the Arcane Armorials competitions sport entries by Tony Ackland...

...and Tony Yates. Sadly I was unable to get Wayne England's entry for the T-Shirt competition.

Excellent dioramas in true 80s style. Bet these aren't at Warhammer World.

And rounded off with another reference sheet. In these two editions there's no combat resolution modifiers, all the bonuses are applied in To Hit modifiers. Many of the Shooting Modifiers and Saving Throws, however, are largely unchanged all the way through the editions.

Next up, Volume 3- Oldhammer. Where it really begins.... ;)