I recently completed a terrain piece that I’ve had built in my head for a year or two. It’s a mining outpost, possibly abandoned, definitely run-down but still representing a tasty pile of loot for an adventuring party.
I originally conceived of this as a terrain tile for Frostgrave table that my group put together back in 2021. It was built on a 12×12 inch square vinyl floor tile, reinforced with foamcore and hardened with like a zillion layers of glue and sand and grout.
Atop that study foundation, I added some carved foam chunks to represent strip-mined areas that had been carved out of the landscape. In the flat interior basin I added a bunch of nifty bits from Mantic’s Abandoned Mine Terrain Crate, which was full of great details that every mine should have — stuff like tools and barrels and mine carts and crystal formations.
I glued most of the fiddly bits down to make this tile easier to transport and use, but I kept a few as individual pieces for creative terrain placement.
The rest of our Frostgrave table is built atop 2-inch foam sheets, so this terrain piece will actually appear to be “below grade” when it is placed alongside the built-up tiles. The tops of the carved foam chunks should be just about even with the “ground level” of the other terrain tiles. Nice!
The paint scheme is actually the same dusty badlands color palette that we selected for our Nightwatch board. I think it’ll work alongside the dark gray colors of our Frostgrave table. It should also fit in decently with my existing fantasy terrain collection, too. I think this piece will see some action in a game of Nightwatch later this month – stay tuned for more!
I’ve been toiling away on a handful of small projects this summer, just to keep the ol’ brush limber in my hands. My output tends to slow down a bit during the summer, and it’s doubly so this year, because I recently replaced my old laptop with a proper gaming rig, which has led to quite a bit more video games in the evenings after work.
But it’s not all bad! The games I’ve been playing have actually inspired my recent painting efforts. Back in April I jumped into Vermintide 2 – the extraordinarily satisfying game of slaughtering Skaven and Nurgle warriors in the good old End Times. That inspired me to pick a few unpainted Skaven models from my lead mountain and give them the proper treatment.
This guy is a metal Skaven rat ogre from the “Middlehammer” era, when the overall Skaven aesthetic had settled into its current form but most premium models were still being produced in metal. I’ve seen this guy referred to as a Mordheim model as well.
He was great fun to paint up, and it seems I was just getting started with Skaven!
Up next were a pair of two-rat weapon teams, also metal.
Nothing special, just savage rat warriors in dirty flappy robes, hefting oversized firearms that are just as likely to explode in their faces as to fire for effect. What’s not to love?
Next up on the workbench were some dwarf units. These were inspired not just by Vermintide, but also by the excellent Deep Rock Galactic video game. DRG, if you’ve not heard of it, is a delightful sci-fi shooter starring four plucky space dwarves who are sent into the dim subterranean caverns beneath a dying planetoid to mine minerals, slay bugs, and hopefully escape with their lives.
The salient point here is dwarves. Time to paint some, then!
This guy is a nearly nude feral berzerker who seems to have a penchant for wearing and wielding the bones of his fallen foes.
John printed this guy for me from a file he scooped up from one of his many Patreon subscriptions. The model was a ton of fun to paint!
Finally, we have a unit of models that I acquired and painted up solely because of how it performs in a game. This is a bit of a rarity for me – I am much more likely to paint something because it appeals to me, versus painting it because of its utility in a particular ruleset.
In any case, spearmen are highly effective in Age of Fantasy, which has been our go-to game for Warhammer-sized fantasy engagements. Whenever my opponent plonks down a unit of spearmen, it dramatically affects the course of the game. Well, two can play at that game. To wit: DWARF SPEARMEN
These are plastic models from the Oathmark Dwarf Infantry boxed set. The kit is serviceable enough – there are a few details I don’t like, but overall it’s a good value and easy to assemble. The kit itself contains enough for 30 (!) models, and I only built 10 for this squad of spearmen, so I’ve got plenty more waiting in the wings.
I mounted the dwarves on scenic resin bases that appear to be broken flagstones or masonry – perhaps evoking a battle in a crumbling dwarf fortress? The bases fit neatly into a movement tray for rank-and-flank games, too.
Anyway, that’s a sampling of what I’ve been up to this summer. Stay tuned for my next painting post, which features 100% more crocodile men!
I really like picking cheap job lots of miniatures on swap forums like Reddit and Facebook and various second-hand retailers like Mindtaker. I appreciate the challenge of picking up where someone else left off (or else just picking up the pieces) and trying something new. It doesn’t hurt that this stuff is usually priced to sell!
With that in mind, I got ahold of some rather fun and zany Plague Marine conversions a few weeks ago and decided to put some energy into finishing them off proper.
The guy had started by splicing them together with the lower torsos of plastic Plaguebearers, setting the stage for some gruesome half Marine/half daemon conversions.
I jumped right in and started finishing up the paint jobs. I had some fun by using contrast paints to create a pink/yellow gradient on the legs, plus some additional blood and gore details to make them really pop.
These models had already been augmented with all sorts of nifty extras bits from various plastic kits – I spotted some Putrid Blightkings bits in there, as well as some 30k paraphernalia.
I also played around with some simple gore effects using hot glue pulled with a toothpick, then painted with gloss red to make it suitably goopy. Nothing special, but fun to go over the top on some already ridiculous models.
So that was a simple rescue of a job lot that made its way to my workbench recently. Look for these guys on the table in our next game of Grimdark Future!
The sun has risen on a new year, and so I am taking my customary look back on the annum that just concluded.
2021 began with a burst of energy as our local gaming group rallied around our nascent Frostgrave campaign. This nifty skirmish game was a great focal point for our painting and terrain creation efforts.
We played probably 6 or 7 sessions in the spring and summer of 2021, some of which ended up on this ol’ blog. All featured the beautifully painted miniatures and terrain that you’ve come to expect from Comrade’s Wargames. Here’s a rundown if you want to check in on the action:
Frostgrave was great fun and we all became fairly adept at navigating the gameplay and post-game campign advancement. And the campaign is not over! We’ve all still got our wizards and our campaign rosters, so I expect we’ll explore the frozen city again in 2022.
2022 was also the year that I started putting some structure around the haphazard collection of fantasy models that I had been referring to as my “little-C chaos army.”
See, I had always loved the idea of collecting an army comprised of black-hearted humans in dark armor, equipped with a variety of brutal instruments of war, aided (but not defined) by a supplemental force of vile demons. A chaos army, but not one tied to any particular setting or universe, that I could plop down for a game of Dragon Rampant, Kings of War, Age of Fantasy, or countless other Warhammer-type games.
I had been collecting units and figures for a few years now, always thinking I’d paint them up and create a semi-coherent chaos army suitable for the grand battles that played out in my imagination. It seems I did that very thing in 2022! Here’s a rundown of what I painted up:
The whole pile of awesome evilness hit the table last month in a big game of Age of Fantasy. Check out the battle report here, and share in gory glory of a chaos victory!
I’ll do a post in the next few weeks showing off my complete chaos army in more detail.
2022 also saw the launch of our own mini-convention: MAJESTICON! This homegrown weekend o’ gaming came about because we were all sadly unable to attend a previously scheduled convention back in September, due to the arrival of the delta variant.
So instead, our local gaming group planned a weekend of game sessions to hopefully capture some of the excitement and fun that comes with attending a convention. With food, too! It turned out really well and it’s my hope that Majesticon will be back again in 2022. Read all about it in these two recap posts.
2022 was also a year where we steered hard back into the One Page Rules family of games. Honestly, OPR fits our game group extraordinarily well. We are a group of casual gamers who are not super interested in chasing the meta or achieving victory through list building. We are far more interested in creating a cool shared tabletop experience with our nicely painted toy soldiers and terrain.
And that’s what OPR provides with games like Grimdark Future and Age of Fantasy. Both are delightfully simple clones of Warhammer 40k and Age of Sigmar, with strong-yet-concise core rules mechanics and well developed army lists, backed up by an attractive array of original 3D figures.
Here are links to a couple of battle reports that give a good overview of the strength of the OPR system.
And lastly, 2022 was the year that I dipped a toe into teaching others how to paint and create terrain. I became an instructor through a local community center here in town (the inimitable Majestic Theatre, long may she reign) and ended up teaching three courses in 2022: two introductory painting classes and one terrain building class. All were well attended and I am planning more for 2022.
It is really rewarding to give back to the community and help others learn some skills and/or just find a little confidence to try something new. There’s something different about sitting in a room with some new friends (masked up, of course) that you just can’t get from watching a Youtube video.
I’m hardly a professional — in fact, I’m probably a fairly pedestrian painter overall, but I have the benefit of lots of experience (decades, really) and a fairly outgoing den mother type of personality, which makes it easy to mentor new hobbyists. If you’ve ever considered running your own painting classes, I highly recommend it.
Heading into 2022
So there you have it — my 2021 in a nutshell. Goals for 2022 include doing a big writeup on my chaos army, tackling my biggest single piece of terrain yet, and doing another burst of work on my Death Guard army. (It’s already largely complete and very playable, but I’ve got a few extra units I’d like to add before I’ll call it done.)
Earlier this year, I started teaching miniatures painting classes at my local community center — something I’ve been interested in doing for years!
You see, back in April of 2021, it really looked like we were going to lick this COVID thing once and for all. The pending return to normalcy got me excited to dip a toe into in-person instructional classes, as a way to give back to the hobby and encourage the next generation of hobbyists.
Of course, you know where this story goes. COVID didn’t go away at all … in fact, it returned with a vengeance, and with it came more public health restrictions.
Thankfully, in-person events didn’t evaporate entirely, and so I was able to teach three classes in 2021: two introductory painting courses (intended for beginners who had never picked up a brush) and a terrain-making class where we had fun with pink foam and hot wire cutters and Modge Podge.
I received some generous donations of supplies and materials from Mindtaker Miniatures as well as Matt’s Cavalcade of Comics, for which I’m eternally grateful.
Each student received a miniature (I tried to supply a variety of models, not just your typical 40k monotone) as well as access to paints and supplies. We did a short lesson on the actual painting process, but in general I tried to focus on hands-on learning. Some students came in with no experience whatsoever, but most had dabbled a bit in painting or modeling (or both).
The sessions were great fun and I’m pleased to report that I’ve roped in a few new players for our local gaming scene.
It was also fascinating to note that half or more of the students in my classes were women! This is a great trend in our hobby and I’m pleased to see it taking shape. Painting toy soldiers is for everybody and the more we can do to encourage that mindset, the better.