Friday, December 28, 2012

Anwyn - A Female Bard

Well, it looks like I will once again fall short of my painting goal for the year.  December 31st is rapidly approaching and the deadline draws near.  I tried to finish off the Thorin & Company project (which would have put me over my goal by one miniature) but it looks like those pesky dwarves will not be finished until after the New Year.  So, it looks like this mini will be my final completion for 2012.

This absolutely beautiful sculpt by Werner Klocke is not a bad way to end the year though.  Anwyn, Female Bard (03080) is available from Reaper Miniatures.  The miniature is a perfect example of why I'm such a big fan of the company.  The sculpt is simple yet elegant and devoid of all the unnecessary additions and trappings (I'm looking at you GW) that make many fantasy miniatures look absolutely ridiculous.  Skulls hanging on chains, forty-seven different weapons arrayed on the body, and 80's-style shoulder pads complete with spikey bits just doesn't work for me.  Anwyn shows that a company can produce a striking miniature while still adhering to the laws of fantastical reality.

Admission:  I've never been a big fan of red-heads, both in real life and in miniature painting (no offense to those of you out there that have been "kissed by fire").  I really don't know why either.  But lately, for some odd reason, I have painted several - both male and female.  Perhaps it's because one can only paint so many blondes and brunettes before growing bored of the same formula.  Or perhaps it has more to do with the striking contrast that red hair provides.  Whatever the reason, I have grown to love red-heads these days and decided to paint Anwyn as one as well.  I think the hair color gives her a bit of charm and more than a hint of innocence, which is perfect for the project I want to include her in.  Of course, once I determined she was going to sport red hair, I knew I wanted to go with a strong green to set off the hair even more.  And while I was at it, why not a white top to really make the model pop.  Don't you love it when colors choose themselves for you?  I wish all my color decisions were that easy.

Several months back...or maybe it was even last year, I started a project of collecting and painting Level One Adventurers.  I wanted a party of simply-clad dungeon delvers to represent that oh so scary first adventure.  To qualify for the project, on the miniatures, equipment must be kept to a bare minimum along with armor and weapons.  Believe it or not, finding miniatures to match that description is not all that easy.  As I mentioned above, it seems most minis are the exact opposite of what I was looking for.  When I found Anwyn however, I knew I had a winner.  First level bard?  I would say so!  A short sword, a pouch, and a flute....I could not have asked for a better example of what I was looking for.

As far as other characters for this First Level group, I think I only have a female fighter selected and painted at this point.  If any of you have any ideas and suggestions for other party members, I would be interested in hearing your comments.  I think it would be quite fun to see what others think of when they envision new adventurers heading out into the wilds for the first time to start their new careers.

As always, thanks for reading!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Non Traditional Goblin Skin

The tree is up, the presents are wrapped, and the wine is open.  Looks like I have a bit of time on my hands for one more update before Christmas.  I just finished up this goblin the other night....proof that I actually complete a miniature from time to time.  He represents the start of yet another project where I will be playing around with goblin skin tones in order to avoid the bright green cliche that seems to dominate goblin painting.

This particular goblin is from the Hasslefree Miniatures Orcs and Goblins line.  The line itself is fairly limited with only a few pieces, but it's a good choice for painters and gamers that want a bit more of an "old school" look (Otherworld Miniatures also produces goblins with that old school feel and I hope to showcase some of those completed models in the coming year).  Though there are not many models in the group, they are varied enough to create a chaotic looking little warband.  And since some of the weapons and equipment seems to be interchangeable, adding additional goblins to the warband should not be very difficult for those with some minor miniature conversion skills. (Scroll below to see some of the other miniatures in the line).

Except for in the Warhammer world, I'm not a huge fan of painting goblins green...or bright green I should say.  I prefer more subdued colors that suggest some past relationship/common ancestry with humans.  I'm fairly certain I developed this taste from Tolkien's works where it is hinted at that his orcs and goblins are descended from captured elves during the First Age.  Though it seems that before his death he was beginning to regret that version of events, he never changed his legendarium and the story remains the same today.

 I've always liked the Professor's descriptions of his goblin-kind in the books that illustrate their skin coloration ranging from grey to brown to a sallow-skin.  It is in this tradition that I have tried to paint this little goblin.  I used an olive base color (Reaper Olive Skin 09221) then played around with the highlights and washes to get the chosen color.  For this particular model I wanted to play up the sallow skin part so I applied faint yellowish highlights in a few prominent locations.  Several washes of Delvan Mud (GW) helped to blend the different tones together and provide additional shadows.

For the most part, I'm fairly happy with the coloration.  However, I have been playing around with a few other skin types for some of the other goblins in the Hasslefree line.  As you can see on some of the models below, I'm trying out a brown based version on two of the goblins to provide a bit of variance amongst the group.  I still need to tweak the colors a bit though.  They look a little too reddish at this point.  I would like to tone down the warm colors and bring them closer in style to version one.  I'll try a few washes and see what that does to them.

I'd be curious to hear what color schemes others use for their non-Warhammer orcs and goblins.  Do you like the your goblin-kind to be "green-skins" or do you prefer some other approach?  Comments and suggestions are welcome.

Anyhow, as mentioned above, this the last update from the hobby desk before Christmas.  So once again I'd like to thank all those that take the time to read my ramblings and visit this blog.  But I'd also like to wish everyone a very happy Holiday Season.  No matter what you celebrate, I hope it's a safe and happy one.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Pirate Profiles - Pascal

Though I have been focused quite heavily on fantasy miniatures and gaming, not to mention most recently LotR and The Hobbit, I have not given up on any of my (many) other pursuits.  Though the going has been slow since my hobby time has been divided by so many different projects, I have been able to complete (or nearly complete) several pirate miniatures for my Legends of the High Seas campaign.

Pictured above, is one such miniatures from Black Scorpion.  He is one of the four miniatures included in their Rogues 2 blister.  Fortunately I purchased him a good while back so he is metal and not their resin rubbish (sorry Black should have stayed with metal.  Your quality has gone done hill since the change over).  In metal, he is a wonderful sculpt.  I really liked the slightly hunched over look which makes the miniature look quite brutish.

With the simple color pallet I chose for him, he was pretty easy to paint.  The dark skin gave me a few issues though, but only because I have not practiced with dark skin tones much.  To help me with the new tones I used the Reaper Dark Skin triad and that seemed to work pretty well.  I still need more practice though and plan to paint another pirate figure in the near future using the same colors.

As I mentioned many times before, every miniature I paint gets some type of background treatment.  For armies, it may be something as simple as a name only but for others, they may get extensive back stories and full profiles.  I know it may sound strange, but thinking about such details actually helps me paint.  As I develop their story in my head, it drives the color selection and the overall theme I choose.  It even guides my brush  strokes in some instances.  Once the process begins it pretty much drives itself, which can be quite fun.  Though I may have ideas in mind when I purchase a miniature, I really never know in what direction the mini will take and in the end, the finished product may end up looking quite different from what I had envisioned in the beginning.

For instance, this miniature's unexpected journey began the moment I cleaned off the flash.  I had one profile in mind but once I started, the background took a very unexpected path and in turn, so did the miniature itself.  Below is his backstory I developed for him while painting:

Pascal hails from the Dahomey region of the Slave Coast in the Bight of Benin.  He was initially sold to an English slaver in 1710 and promptly loaded upon the Endeavor, a slave ship out of Bristol.  The Atlantic crossing was difficult for the human cargo as always but fortune would intervene for some of the slaves.  As the ship neared its destination of Barbados, the vessel was captured by the Courbet, a French pirate sloop out of Guadeloupe.  The French pirates looted the vessel of useable goods then chose twenty of the slaves on board to resell.  Pascal however, was chosen for other reasons.  His immense size and obvious strength impressed the French pirates so he was forced into service.

Pascal, as he was dubbed by the pirates since they could not pronounce his native name, quickly proved to be very useful and, unexpectedly, quite intelligent.  As one would expect, Pascal was devastating in action and just the sight of him brought fear to the unfortunate crews that happened upon the path of the Courbet.  However, despite his fearsome countenance, Pascal was rarely overly violent and provided just enough force to subdue his opponents with minimal bloodshed.  Indeed, the French crew began to see that just placing Pascal in a prominent position when approaching possible prizes would often times result in a successful capture without ever firing a shot.

Pascal easily learned the French language and picked up English as well from the few prisoners the pirates would hold from time to time.  One such long term prisoner, a forced surgeon from a British vessel, even taught Pascal to read and write and allowed the big man to assist him in his surgical duties.  Before long, Pascal was called upon to serve as quartermaster aboard the Courbet and often assisted the captain in matters dealing with the written word.

Pascal is an usual man in many aspects.  Perhaps his most unusual trait however is his love of animals.  Though he may appear to others as a big brute, he is anything but to the animals he encounters in his travels.  During his stay aboard the Courbet, Pascal befriended the ship's many cats and spent much of his free time caring for them.  He would forgo the looting of many captured prizes, instead spending his time searching belowdecks for books and pets.

The Courbet was eventually captured by rival pirates and the prize brought to Port Largo.  Most of the crew was given a short trial then hanged by Governor Haldane but Pascal and the ship's surgeon were spared.  The Governor, a notorious sponsor of illicit activities, had better plans for Pascal's talents.


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Thorin & Company Update #2

Christmas parties and social engagements have kept me from spending as much time as I would like at the painting desk, but I have been able to work on my Thorin and Co. project a bit between events.

As you can see from the photo (my apologies again....I didn't feel like messing with the Nikon so I snapped this with my phone), about half of the dwarves (and Bilbo) have seen some progress.  The work has been mostly about experimenting with colors to match the movie stills and applying basecoats.  Only Bilbo and Thorin have seen any shading or highlighting, and that has been minimal at best.

Since I'm "batch painting" the company, the figures with the most attention all have reds or dark browns as a base color in common.  As I mentioned in the last update, I'm trying to minimize paint mixing to speed the process along so on a whim, I started with reds and browns.  I decided to concentrate on just those colors to begin with then branch out as the color selection grows.  As I add lighter browns for highlighting, I'll then bring in miniatures like Bofur and Kili which can benefit from the new color additions.  As other colors are needed for belts, pouches, etc, then the rest of the miniatures will finally enter the queue.  Hopefully, when all is said and done, the entire process will have saved me some time.

Obviously Thorin does not fit the pattern.  He's in a league of his own...quite literally.  He is the only model that will utilize any amount of blue so I've been working on him separately.  His color palette is fairly simple so he may actually end up being the first miniature finished.

So that's it for now.  I'll not be working on Thorin & Co. tonight since I will be leaving soon to attend the midnight opening of The Hobbit.  Hopefully I'll get more ideas for the color schemes as I watch Mr. Baggins begin his unexpected journey.

And speaking of the movie, I just want to say this before the general premier.  To the naysayers on the internet that bemoan the fact that Peter Jackson is taking a rather short book and turning it into three movies only to "milk the cash cow" and is not remaining true to the book, I have to ask....have you ever read the book?  The Hobbit is a children's book....written for....wait for it comes....children.  If Peter Jackson were to stay "true" to the actual book, we'd have a movie that lasts a little over an hour long and have the most silly absurd dialog possible (tra-la-la-lilly anyone?).  We'd also have a Thorin Oakenshield that looks and acts like this:

instead of this:

I'm a huge Tolkien fan (and have been for over thirty years) and dare I say, amateur Tolkien scholar, yet I'm more than OK with what Peter Jackson is doing to the book.  I own the Rankin/Bass cartoon that follows the book nearly perfectly.  I certainly do not want to see a rehashed version of that.  Now I'm ready to go see what The Hobbit may have looked like if Tolkien had written The Lord of the Rings first and fully developed his legendarium before scribbling those now famous words..... "In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit".

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Thorin & Company Update #1

Since I received my Hobbit starter set last week, I've been working here and there on Mr. Baggins and his dwarven companions.  So that I have them all ready at the same time to run a few scenarios from the game, I'm treating them as a batch painting project.  Though the process will not go as quickly as if painting an army with the same color schemes, I think I'll still be able to progress a bit quicker by painting similar parts and colors at the same time rather than treating each figure as an individual project.  We'll see how the plan works.

So this is where I am right now.  I've cleaned, filed, and assembled all of the "good" models from the set.  I added basing material then primed the group black with a spray since the humidity has finally fallen enough here on the island to give me a break from having to use brush on primer (Guesso).  After everything was dry, I added a deep basecoat of Reaper Intense Brown (09138) to reduce the number of flesh coats I needed to apply over black primer.  I also used what was left over of the brown to do a bit of drybrusing on a few of the bases.

 All of the eyes were then painted.  I generally start by painting the entire eye socket black to help bolster the impression of depth around the eyes.  I then fill in the majority of the eye with an off white for the sclera (the white of the eye), leaving a thin outline of black applied in the previous step.  The eyes are completed by painting the iris black using the "stripe" technique.  A friend has provided an excellent tutorial on his blog on how to paint this stripe if you're not familiar with the process.

Finally, most of the models received a coat of Reaper Tanned Shadow (09043) as the initial flesh tone.  Despite the coat of Intense Brown, I'll need to apply another coat of flesh before I begin the real process of painting faces and other flesh parts.  Then it's on to apply base colors to the garb.  This is where I hope to save lots of time since for the most part, the color palette of the dwarves seems to be fairly uniform.  I should be able to slap on paint with minimal mixing between figures and hopefully bring them to the gaming table within a week or so.

More updates to come......

Friday, December 07, 2012

Alejandra from CMON

In the weeks before the expected arrival of the new Hobbit miniatures, I spent some late nights trying to complete a few minis to make room in the queue for Mr. Baggins and the dwarves.  I felt like I was painting like a speed demon when in fact, as usual for me, I was painting the speed of a dying tortoise.  Nevertheless, I was able to finish up not one, but three figures before the box set came in last Saturday.  A pirate, a goblin, and this lovely lady have now been moved to completed status.

I purchased Alejandra from the Cool Mini or Not shop around a year ago and have been wanting to paint her since then.  I'm not sure of the sculptor, but whoever worked on her did a fantastic job.  Although her simple and clean lines suggest lack of detail, she is anything but.  Each item, no matter how small, is detailed and crisp. 

I must admit.  I'm a metal guy.  Always have been and probably will be.  However, I was impressed with this resin model.  Perhaps I'm just a bit jaded by the GW Finecast crap or the drop in quality once Black Scorpion went to resin, but I'm usually disappointed with resin miniatures.  I was pleasantly surprised with this model however.  There were no issues...ZERO....with Alejandra.  I did not have to fill any bubbles, fix missing parts, or repair brittle pieces.  Now that I think about it, I don't think I did much prep work at all on her.  Why can't GW produce such quality resin miniatures?

The only problem I had with Alejandra was with her weapon of choice.  For some reason, the sculptor chose to attach a HUGE axehead/scythe on the end of her staff.  It was quite monstrous and really detracted from the theme of the model.  You can see the original sculpt here.  So I removed the ridiculous axe thingamajiggy and replaced it with a 6mm BB.  I was shooting for (see what I did there?? ha!) a swirling orb-like structure on top of the staff.  Though my lack of painting skill probably failed to achieve the desired effect, I still think it looks better than the huge hunk of junk that was there before.

All in all, she was a great model and a fun one to paint.  Alejandra would make an excellent  wizard/sorceress model for RPG play or could be substituted for a hero model in brand XYZ skirmish wargaming.  Whatever the use, pick up one from Cool Mini or Not if you want a resin miniatures that doesn't suck!

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 03, 2012

Liebster Award Nomination and Five Awesome Blogs

How do you make a grown man blush?  Easy...have a published game author and favored blogger nominate your own little corner of the blogsphere for an award.  Yep, that would be how to do it.  Like myself, I'm sure many readers have seen this photo and accompanying award nomination pass from blog to blog around the gaming/miniature painting sections of the internet.  I had no idea however, that my blog might end up as one of those spots.  Though I certainly don't believe my blog deserves a nomination, I still can't help but be just a tad bit proud that not only does someone actually read this blog, but someone actually likes it enough to be so kind.  Huzzah!

First thing's first:  I want to thank Tim over at Cursed Treasures for the nomination.  As I alluded to above, I am so incredibly honored to even be mentioned by such a talented blogger and author.  The fact that someone like Tim visits my blog from time to time makes all the work I put into it worthwhile.  Maybe there is a reason he likes the blog...actually, he should like it since he may recognize some of himself there.  His was one of the first blogs I found when searching for LotR and LotHS content and have modeled my own blog on his excellent work.  He is a source of inspiration and a hobbyist that I try to emulate.  I visit his blog often to find out hobby news and drool over miniatures but mostly I visit in hopes of one day seeing a headline read something like this: "Legends of the High Seas Supplements Ahead".  Thank you so much Tim for your kindness.

So, after getting over the shock, I decided to read a bit more about this little Liebster thingy going around the internet.  It seems that I should pass along the torch and honor others that haven chosen to sink large chunks of their free time into this strange little pastime.  Here are the rules as I understand them:

1. Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it you.

2. Pass the award to your top 5 favourite blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.

3. Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you have made someones day!

4. There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but its nice if you take the time to do so. 

Easy enough right?  Well, I did have a few questions about the rules.  First of all, is it appropriate to list the person that nominated you?  I do not see any reason not to, especially in my case when the blog in question truly is one of the five favorites.  Which leads me to the second question, is it appropriate to nominate a blog which already has a nomination?  Once again, I do not see a reason to avoid listing your favorite blogs just because a particular blog is already listed on another site.  So after a bit of pondering, I decided to list the five blogs I visit the most and hope that my choice honors the true intent of the nomination process.  Here are my five:

Cursed Treasures: See above for my comments on Tim's blog.

Scott's Wargaming: During the same period I found Cursed Treasures, I also came across this beauty of a blog.  Scott is an avid wargamer from the other side of the world to me...quite literally.  However, despite the distance and the fact that he chooses to live in the wrong hemisphere, I've found that we have quite a bit in common.  Just like Tim's blog, it was his love of LotR and LotHS that drew me in.  His painting talents are top notch and I love going back through his archive and getting inspiration on projects I am about to begin.  Beyond piracy and Middle-earth, he is also a fan of the Miami Dolphins, which I consider quite odd and rare for a displaced Brit living in NZ, yet it serves as another connection.  Most of all, Scott seems to be a pretty nice guy.  No matter the subject, he is one of the first to comment on many of the numerous blogs that he and I visit.  That trait goes a long way into making this part of the blogosphere a friendly and community oriented place.

Plastic Legions:  This was another blog that drew me in for the pirate/LotHS content.  Though I may have come for that particular game, the varied content, included LotR, is what kept me coming back for more. His outstanding painting style and terrain making ability never ceases to amaze me. 

Cianty's Tabletop Wargames Blog: A quick spin around this site should indicate why I've included it here.  There's top notch painting and great models, but mostly....there's pure piratey goodness!  For a Legends of the High Seas player, there are few sites better than this one.  I hope I'm not breaking the rules by nominating this blog.  Something as informative and well-polished as this site surely has over 200 followers, but since I could find no information stating that was the case, I felt I was justified included it.

Elhion's Tabletop Adventures:  Be prepared to make frequent use of the Google translate button on this site.  Although the blog is mainly in Greek, the old saying that a photo is worth a thousand words is true here (even if those words are in a foreign language).  This blog dabbles mostly in LotR and Warhammer 40K, but touches on Legends of the High Seas and Warhammer fantasy as well.  I visit this blog frequently mainly for the LotR content but also to see great miniature painting and interesting conversions.  

So there you have it.  These are my five favorite blogs with less than 200 followers.  I hope I was able to pass on the same great feeling upon learning of my own nomination. 

Saturday, December 01, 2012

The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game - Unboxing and Review

I had a very expected journey this afternoon as I made the 84 mile round trip from my little island up to the closest FLGS.  Waiting for me at the store was my precious....hmmm, I mean my copy of the The Hobbit Strategy Battle Game.  Yes, I know I could have ordered it but here in the Florida Keys, getting your mail is not necessarily a guaranteed thing.  Plus Joel, the owner of my "local" gaming store offered a good discount that made the drive worthwhile.

Though I feel like I'm coming down with the plague again, I couldn't resist tearing into the box and sharing a few photos of my Hobbity goodness.  Fair warning:  I did not feel like getting the good camera out so I snapped all of the shots with my iPhone.  I apologize in advance for the terrible photography for this post.

As you can see from the view of the inside of the box, this set contains lots and lots of goodies.  There is a rule book, a starter/scenario booklet, several pamphlets with assembly instructions, a game reference card, another card with the stats for Radagast the Brown, dice, rulers, terrain, and most importantly, quite a few plastic miniatures.  Although the box is jammed full of stuff, I will not know if it was worth the money until I examine the miniatures more closely.  Everything else in the box is just bonus material for me.  The minis are what I really want and if they are not high quality (for plastic), I will be more than disappointed.

The photo below shows the starter booklet.  It covers the basic rules via a fully illustrated introductory game.  The booklet then goes on to a scenario section.  The scenarios included are:

Scenario 1: The Breakthrough
Scenario 2: Rescue the Baggage
Scenario 3: Brothers in Arms
Scenario 4: Guard the Crossing
Scenario 5: The Wizard and the Burglar

The booklet ends with profiles for all the models included in the game.  Though I'm sure posting the stats would not make the GW folks happy, I did include a photo to dispel online rumors that suggest that the stat lines were not available in the box set.  As you can see, that is completely incorrect.  I suspect that what happened is someone confused the fact that point values for the miniatures are not included (TRUE) and either misread or assumed the same to be true for the stats.

The rule book, photographed below, goes into more detail about how the game is played.  It's only 112 pages, but quite a bit of information is covered including the new monster rules, new heroic moves, and special rules such as sieges etc...  I very much enjoyed the fact that though the book is a smaller size, GW still included plenty of illustrations, both for rules clarification and general aesthetics. 

Now on to the miniatures.  Below is the Radagast sprue.  Apparently he will only be included in the special edition box set.  I would imagine that what GW really means is that this pose is only included in this set.  I have no doubt that he will appear in some other form later during the release cycle.  As for this version, he looks great.  Though the face is pointed in the wrong direction in this pic, I can assure you he is detailed very well and looks almost exactly like the movie photography suggests.

As you can see below, Thorin and company are all included on the same sprue.  It's tough to discern the quality without assembling the miniatures, but from what I can see, I'm generally impressed with the sculpts and the amount of detail for plastic.  I can't wait to get them cut out tomorrow and assembled.  December is shaping up to be all about painting The Hobbit miniatures.

Now on to the goblins.  Without having seen the movie yet, I really can't comment on the accuracy of the goblin warriors.  I do know one thing....I'm not at all moved by the lumps, sores, and misshapen limbs of this breed of goblins.  I would have been perfectly OK with Peter Jackson basing the goblins of the Misty Mountains on those of Moria.  No problem though.  If I don't like them once I paint a few, I'll just use my hordes of Moria goblins instead.

Finally, here is the Goblin King.  He is quite the brute.  I measured him at around 2-1/2 inches tall (6cm) without a base.  I could be off by just a bit since I measured the parts while still on the sprue but my numbers should be pretty close.  Either way, he is a big boy.  I can't wait to see what kind of damage he can produce on the field of battle.

Although I didn't photograph them, there are several sprues of scenery included in the game.  From what I can tell, the planks obviously will make for a great addition to Goblin Town gaming but I think they would also come in useful for something like Mordor or the pits of Isengard.

Well, there you have it.  That's what comes in the box set.  My pockets are a bit lighter after coming home with my treasure but you do get quite a lot for the money.  I feel zero buyers remorse at this point.  I just hope the feeling remains the same after assembling and painting the included miniatures.

Thanks for reading...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Speed Painting - Kurff the Swift

I've always maintained that I'm an epically slow painter.  Miniatures tend to take me forever to complete even thought my talents only produce a figure that could be considered tabletop quality.  However, I'm quite OK with my tortoise-like speed.  For me, painting is a hobby itself and a way to relax inside out of the tropical heat rather than a means to an end...such as fielding a new army in a short amount of time.  But I can't help being somewhat awed and jealous when watching videos of painters whipping out a miniature in a short amount of time.  Plus, I've always wanted to enter a speed painting contest at a convention even though I know I wouldn't win.  So for something different, I decided to speed paint a miniature to see what the outcome would be like.

For my test subject, I chose a miniature that has been sitting around for quite some time.  Kruff the Swift (02034) from Reaper is a great little sculpt by Sandra Garrity.  He's an interesting character, able to pass for either a thief or a ranger type.  I'm still unsure of the race though.  When scaled next to other Reaper miniatures he seems rather short but he is much too tall for a halfling and a bit too stocky for an elf.  Perhaps the size difference is due to his slightly crouched posture or maybe he was sculpted to represent a younger person.  Whatever the case, Kurff become my victim for my speed painting test.

Since I have never taken part in an official contest, I was unsure of the amount of time given to participants.  So instead of randomly choosing a time limit, I decided to simply paint as fast as I possibly could and time the duration.  As I started the clock, I had no idea how the miniature would turn out or the amount of time it would take.

Painting was fairly straight forward.  I chose colors that I could easily blend together to reduce the number of options on the palette.  Greens and brows where the predominate hues and most every item on the miniature was painted using some combinations of those basic colors.  And unlike my normal painting style, I made heavy use of washes.  Though I'm not a fan of washes for most applications, I must admit that using them made the painting much easier and faster.  The only part of the mini where washes were not used was the face.  I spent some extra time there using my normal technique since Kurff's face was really the center point of the model.  Most every other aspect is somewhat receded within the cloak and only his facial features and his cloak clasp protrude forward from the shadows.

I will not bore readers with the rest of the details and get right to the point.  The total time from beginning to end was around 35 minutes.  That time does not include prepping the miniature nor priming.  Though certainly not my best effort, I was rather pleased and surprised at the outcome in such a short period of time.  I don't think I'll switch to this style on a permanent basis, but to mix things up a bit, I may try to speed paint other miniatures from time to time.

So I was wondering...have any of you participated in a speed painting contest?  And if so, what is the usual time limit given?  Also, what rules are associated with such a contest?  Must the miniature be in a pristine state (no prepping and priming) or is that usually allowed?  Thanks in advance for any information you may have.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Pics of The Hobbit SBG Miniatures from White Dwarf

Although I said I would not be able to post until after the Thanksgiving holiday, I had to make a quick exception.  While messing about waiting for my Turkey dinner, I came across several photo references of the new White Dwarf magazine featuring many of the new Hobbit miniatures scheduled for release.  With my love of GW's LotR SBG, I consider this to be classified as breaking news and worth of a rule change of my self imposed Holiday exile.

The links are below:

Photo courtesy of Tholanan's Photobuket

 This link is to a Spanish bloggers site:  La Taberna De Laurana pics

This link will take you to a Photobucket account with good photos

Finally, although not miniature related, here is a wonderful 7 minute Hobbit mega trailer.  Apparently some creative YouTuber with lots of time on his hands pieced together all the footage from every trailer into one long clip.  Watching the video is definitely worth the time.

Now back to my regularly scheduled Turkey time......

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Shae the Silvan Elf

After several false starts and sputters, I'm finally getting back into the painting groove.  I've been working feverishly to clear out the current painting queue to make room for the imminent release of the new Hobbit miniatures from GW.  I've completed several this week but I only have time to post one before the holiday madness starts here in the Keys.

This miniature is called Shae.  She is a Steve Buddle sculpt, of former Spyglass/Eolith miniatures fame (now with GW from what I understand), and like many of the minis from his past, she is both simple and elegant at the same time.  Heresy miniatures acquired the rights to some of Steve's minis in 2011 and I believe Shae can still be purchased there.

Shae was an absolute pleasure to paint.  With the simple clean lines, applying color to the miniature was almost like starting out on a large blank piece of canvass.  There were no ridiculous extra details to mar the figure and make it look comical or overburdened.  Even though the mini is rather plain on details, a better painter than myself could have really made Shae a standout work by adding freehand details on the cloak, pants, or tunic.  Unfortunately I don't have the skill to attempt such a project.  However, I'm completely fine with the way she turned out.  I was aiming to create a wood/silvan elf with a definite autumn theme and I think she fits that particular role rather well.

This is my last post before we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the States so I think I will close by wishing everyone a happy Turkey day!  And for those of you that do not observe our cleverly designed excuse to eat lots of food and drink tons of wine, then I will simply wish you a happy four day period!

Thanks for reading...

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Bilbo Baggins

After several non-hobby related posts and a lot of down time, it's time to get the ball rolling again....or perhaps the paint flowing would have been a better phrase.  This update deals with a certain gentlehobbit that will be getting an awful lot of attention over the next two and a half years - Mr. Bilbo Baggins.

I painted Bilbo, or most of him, back in September before I caught the flu.  My plan was to make a diorama in honor of Hobbit Day (September 22nd).  I was working on the scene out of the books (Chapter V  A Conspiracy Unmasked) when the Hobbits, temporarily safe in Crickhollow, tell Frodo they know all about his plans to escape The Shire with the ring.  Frodo wonders how they could have known many of his inner secrets so Merry explains a portion of his "detective" work:

"It was the Sackville-Bagginses that were his downfall, as you might expect.  One day, a year before the Party, I happened to be walking along the road, when I saw Bilbo ahead.  Suddenly in the distance the S.-B.s appeared, coming toward us.  Bilbo slowed down, and then hey presto! he vanished.  I was so startled that I hardly had the wits to hide myself in a more ordinary fashion; but I got through the hedge and walked along the field inside.  I was peeping through into the road, after the S.-B.s had passed, and was looking straight at Bilbo when he suddenly reappeared.  I caught a glint of gold as he put something back in his trouser-pocket."

My plan included the Lobelia miniature, umbrella and all, striding down a hill with Bilbo standing by the edge of the road looking at the ring that had just saved him from dealing with his unpleasant relative.  Merry, in the form of the Merry and Pippin vs. Grishnakh version, would be just across the road near a hedgerow, watching what had just transpired. 

Although all three miniatures were mostly painted, I was quickly running out of time so I adjusted my plans and concentrated on Bilbo.  I finished him late on the evening of the twenty-first but I felt he needed some additional highlighting so I refrained from posting him on his birthday.  Then came the flu and other delays causing me to hold on to Mr. Baggins for over a month.  Better late than never however. 

I have not given up on the project though.  For next year during the Hobbit Day celebration, I think I'll finish up the diorama so that my previous work will not be wasted.

As far as the painting goes, I deviated a bit from the movie version.  His dinner jacked, while certainly eccentric and expensive looking, gave me fits during the painting process.  I felt that the burgandy/purple of the color of the jacket was too close in hue to the waistcoat.  The entire top half of the mini, at least from my eyes, seemed awash in nearly the same color.  My solution was to go with a complimentary color and create a stark contrast between the two garments.  While maybe not 100% true to the movie, and thus the GW version, I like Bilbo much better in this form.  Plus, the color choice was more appropriate for the diorama anyhow.  I have two extra unpainted Bilbo miniatures.  Perhaps I'll paint another at some point in the future to represent the version from the movie.

As a final note, this is my first attempt at a Hobbit....ever.  Well, maybe not truly ever.  I may have painted one way back in the 1980s when I first started in the hobby, though I do not remember doing so.  But since picking the miniature hobby back up about ten years ago, this is my first time.  To those that know me, and my love of all things Tolkien, that admission may come as quite a surprise.  But to be honest, Hobbits have never been my favorite part of Middle-earth.  Yes, as an avid reader I can appreciate the achievement of simple ordinary men/Hobbits rising above the commons and performing heroic deeds.  It's the stuff fantasy is made of.  However, my eyes have always turned to the Professor's other creations -- the majestic elves, the grim Dunedain, the mysterious Istari, and especially the tragic figures of Feanor, Turin, and even Boromir.  Oh well, now that I've painted my first Hobbit, it wasn't so bad.  I guess I'll have to finish up the others now.  That will be no small task though.  Counting all the different versions of Hobbits, I have twenty-seven more to complete.  I better get to work...

Sunday, November 04, 2012

The Witching Season or Lack of Posts

As far as posts are concerned, October basically did not exist.  The only post I was able to make the entire month was an update stating that I was away with the flu.  Though I was sick for almost another week and a half after that post, I cannot blame my hobby inactivity entirely on being sick (though I can say, I have never been that sick before!).  See, October just happens to be the month when adults are allowed to dress up and get crazy without society looking down upon them.  And let me tell you, we take full advantage of that around here and take our Halloween very seriously.

Once I was feeling a bit better, I started on working on costumes for three different Halloween parties.  The first took place a week before that spookiest of nights and the theme was definitely pirates.  *Switching on pirate speak*  Below be a photo of your captain and me scurvy crew ere we boarded our prize and drank all the rum.

Me and me crew.  That be me beside the pretty lass on the left.

Though me crew came away from the nights festivities with nary a win for best scurvy group, we did manage to pillage away a best couple award.  It was a good night and party, made even better by the fact that we were allowed to discharge black powder pistols all evening without being harassed by the local militia.

Captain Warden and his lass.

Just a few short days after the pirate invasion came party number two.  I scrambled to come up with something scary this time, but I wanted a costume with a bit of a fantasy feel as well.  I thought about something Lord of the Rings related like a Wraith or a goblin, but time was ticking and I was running out of options.  Finally I settled on something completely make-believe and became a.....wait for it...a Dark Lord.  While not completely original, it did look pretty good, especially at night with the lights down low.  The only problem was that several people asked me if I was "that Star Wars guy".

The Dark Lord and his Stunning Simplicity.

Since the Dark Lord was actually host of the party, that same Dark Lord was not eligible for a costume win.  However, my thirst for human souls and winning trophies would not go unquenched for the evening.  Though I could not win my own costume contest, there were no rules preventing me from winning every game of Beer Pong that the Dark Lord played.  And what Dark Lord does not enjoy a game of Beer Pong with a comely partner/prisoner?  By the way, Beer Pong was another reason for my absence.  I spent a good portion of the preceding weeks working on a fantasy themed table.  Sadly, I was unable to complete it by this night so I spent the hours before building a quick replacement table.  The main table is now complete and I'll post photos in the near future.

The Dark Lord uses his special power to ensure the win for he and his teammate.

October 31st came just three short days later and with it, party number three.  Instead of painting miniatures, I found myself cutting plywood and building and painting a viking shield.  It was a fun project though.  I found several references online about authentic viking shields and tried to replicate most of what I read.  The size is correct along with the grip I built on the back.  The boss however is a replica and the edging around the shield itself is painted to look like leather or iron.  It was an eye opening exercise, by the way.  Just the weight of my replica shield was substantial.  I cannot imagine what a fully functional shield must feel like to carry and fight with.

The work paid off.  I was able to take home the best male costume award for the evening.  A bottle of wine was waiting for the winner but perhaps a horn of mead would have been more appropriate.

Well, The Witching Season is now over and it's time to get back normal.  As I sat and painted miniatures for a while today, I couldn't help but smile as I realized that although we may grow up to become responsible adults, the desire to dress up and play make believe never truly goes away.

I hope everyone had a great Halloween.  Now back to the normal hobby stuff......

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A Flu-Contaminated Update and a Cranky Cave Troll

The flu has gotten the best of me for the last two weeks so my hobby time has been pretty much zero.  Gaming and miniatures have been very low on the priority list, being replaced instead by rest and sleep.  But the end is in sight and the meds have started to kick in.  There is definitely light at the end of this particular tunnel.

While being confined to the bed and couch I've stumbled upon all sorts of little gaming/hobby treasures online.  Some items might be useful down the road and I hope to show them here over the next few weeks.  Other finds were purely for entertainment purposes and have very little gaming value.  Nevertheless, whether one is sick or not, laughing is just down right fun so enjoy!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

James St. Johnson from Reaper

Whether you are a fan of Reaper Miniatures or not, one fact that cannot be denied is that they have a very large selection of miniatures.  Looking for an elven cleric?  Check.  A pirate monkey?  Check.  How about a bugbear star trooper?  OK...maybe not.  But you get the point.  No matter what is on the painting agenda, chances are Reaper has a mini that will match.

Such was the case with James St. Johnson (02663) below.  I was looking for a knightly looking fella but without all the heavy armor that tends to define that type of mini.  I also wanted an older knight to play the part of a grizzled war veteran.  That wasn't so easy to find.  Due to popular media, most sculpts illustrate that particular genera as a fair-haired young buck with flowing locks, gleaming armor, and the exuberance of youth.  But that's not what I sought.  I wanted a guy who has proven his worth in many campaigns, that has had his fair share of both victories and defeats, and who has learned life's lessons the hard way.

After browsing through the online catalog, I came across this wonderful sculpt from Sandra Garrity.  He was almost exactly what I had envisioned.  I say almost only because I would have preferred that his surcoat and flag be devoid of any device or sigil but hey, I can deal with that.  But he did have the look I wanted....a knightly commander that simply oozes confidence and demands respect.  And I loved his lack of hair.  The balding aspect certainly contributed to the demeanor I was looking for.

Once I found the mini, painting would be easy.  I already knew what kind of character he was to portray so the colors suggested themselves from that vision.  I chose red for the surcoat because I wanted a good strong color to dominate the mini and suggest a bit of aggression.  The leather parts where painted in dark browns to contrast with the centerpoint of the miniature while the armor was painted in dull silvers and bronze.  I wanted to avoid anything too shiny since that would suggest newer armor.  Remember, this isn't the first rodeo for this guy.  I had to use several different washes in multiple layers to get the muted metallics I wanted but the outcome was acceptable.

A reader recently emailed me about trouble with painting reds...especially over a black undercoat.  Instead of a separate email, I'll reply here since it relates to this miniature and illustrates the method I most often use.  When I paint with reds, I generally use Reaper paints....not because they are the best (maybe they are, maybe they are not) but because it's what has worked for me.  I also have an extensive collection of GW and Vallejo paints but I get the best results for some reason with the Reaper reds.  Anyhow, I always start out with a good reddish brown (almost burgandy but with no hint of a purple hue) for the initial coat.  For me this gives a better layer for the shadows than black.  I use Bloodstain Red (09133) for this coat but I can think of several ways to attain this color without purchasing this particular bottle (maybe Scorched Brown with Red Gore?).  My next coat is Carnage Red (09135).  This covers the vast majority of the subject with only the very deepest folds left showing the initial color.  From there it's a matter of highlighting up in thin layers using the following paints in order:  Blood Red (09003), Fire Red (09004) and Phoenix Red (09005). Each color is applied as a thin layer by itself then mixed in a 1:1 ration with the next in progression to obtain a smooth gradient.  This particular mini was meant to be more drab and battle worn in appearance so the Phoenix Red was the last highlight.  Generally I do one more step and mix a bit of yellow with the Phoenix Red to obtain a color for extreme highlighting.  I'm certainly no professional but this method produces acceptable results for me so feel free to give it a try.  Your mileage may vary however.....

Well, back to the miniature itself.  I was mostly happy with the outcome.  He'll look quite smashing on the game table.  Now that he is completed I wish I would have changed one thing though.  As I mentioned above, I would have liked to find a similar mini without the sigils on the surcoat and flag.  What I should have done before priming and starting the mini was file them off.  That way I could have placed my own sigils from my campaign instead of inconveniently ignoring the ones present.  Live and learn....

Monday, September 17, 2012

Elmore Female Wild Elf - NSFW

Larry Elmore has long been one of my favorite fantasy artists.  His images march along hand in hand with my memories of playing D&D back in the 1980's.  In a way, his vision, along with some of my other favorites like Caldwell, Parkinson, and Easley, probably define my very outlook and view on what fantasy worlds, characters, monsters, and scenes should look like. So it should come as no surprise that those very same images still captivate me today.

The sculptors at Dark Sword Miniatures have done a wonderful job bringing the iconic fantasy art from the above mentioned artists to life.  They produce several lines of figures drawn from, and inspired by, the works of Larry Elmore and the others.  I have been a fan of them for some time now and own quite a collection of those miniatures.  Now I have yet another to add to the metal horde.

Pictured above is a Female Wild Elf (DSM1164) from the Elmore Masterworks line.  The sculpt is from Jeff Grace who is quickly becoming one of my favorite miniature sculptors out there.  The mini came to me with excellent detail and required very little prep work before painting.  That's important to me since I absolutely hate spending large amounts of my limited free time prepping a model before I can even start with the fun stuff.  Most of the models I purchase from DSM have been the same with only a few exceptions.

Painting was fairly straightforward as long as you don't mind working with fleshtones.  I used mostly Reaper paints for this model with Tanned Flesh (09044) being the basecoat that I worked from.  I toned the skin down a bit however, from what I normally paint my female miniatures to reflect her time in the sun with little covering.  I had originally envisioned her more as a sea elf variant so I definitely wanted some blues to suggest her association with the water and to create a bit of contrast with the mostly warm colors of the rest of the model.  As for the leather and hair, it was pretty standard stuff.

I actually finished her late last month but have just gotten around to posting the completed project.  The delay had to do with basing issues.  As mentioned above, I wanted to create a sea elf character.  I had a great basing idea set up but unfortunately tropical storm Isaac changed my plans.  There is a little island that sits about a 45min boat ride from me.  On this little deserted island I have found wonderful miniature whelk shells littering the beach.  The size would have been perfect for decorating the sandy base I had created on the mini.  Well, the storm winds did a number on the sand and the heavy rains actually raised the water quite a bit around the island so I couldn't reach my prize.  Finally I gave up, removed the sand, added flock and leaves, and called it a day.  So now I'm back to a wild elf until I get a chance to find some shells....

I've included the original artwork to show how faithful to the details the sculptor was in creating the miniature.  Showcasing this piece does bring up an interesting question that I would like to pose to the few of you that stop by this blog from time to time.  While the sketch above can, without a doubt, be considered art, does the same hold true for miniatures?  Do you consider your finished miniatures art or would you call it something else?  If so, what?  Just wondering.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

On The Horizon - September 2012

Even though it's more than a week into the new month, I suppose it's still not too late for another edition of On The Horizon.  I didn't post an update last month due to time constraints and the fact that quite frankly, very little of the painting queue had changed since the previous one in July.  The last half of August was rather productive for me however and this month's edition should have quite a few changes for those that follow along.

Warning:  This post is long and probably quite boring so feel free to breeze right through it or ignore it completely.  The On The Horizon posts are meant mainly for myself to help me organize my project queue and visualize my progress.  Actually, the entire blog is mostly meant for the same purpose and to serve as a online project journal of sorts.  And to be honest, I'm still surprised that others even stop by the blog to read the updates.  So much the better!

On to the update.... As you can see, my hobby station is bustling with activity this month with ongoing projects in many different stages of completion.  To control the chaos and help with photography for this post, I've broken down the miniatures on the desk and grouped them together either by theme or by nearness to completion.  Feel free to flip through the photos to see what's brewing for the new month and maybe find a mini or two that you can't live without.

The first and second photos below were taken from a section on the desk that I have humorously dubbed the "imminent completion" rack.  These are miniatures that are close to completion and should recieve most of my attention, but rarely do.  Sometimes these minis sit there for longer than ones that I have not even started yet.  And, as you can see, sometimes brand new shiny minis find their way to that rack and displace ones that are almost done.  It's definitely my hobby A.D.D. acting up!

All of the miniatures in the "imminent completion" rack are fantasy figures, except one.  I have not given up on any of my other projects; it's just that these are the ones I happen to be working on at the moment.  From left to right:  Autumn Bronzeleaf (03492) is the first mini.  Though the name Reaper Miniatures has given her would suggest otherwise, she is in the process of being painted with bright spring-like colors.  I just wanted to do something different with her than the other painted versions I have seen around the internet.  Next to her is Kurff the Swift (02034), also from Reaper.  He will make a nice thief addition to the collection. If you fancy this sculpt from Sandra Garrity, you may want to pick up a copy soon.  The Reaper website states that he is out of general distribution but is still available for now on the website.  Next to Kurff is another Reaper mini called Anwyn (03080).  I very much like the pose and can't wait to finish her up and add her to my Level One Adventurers collection/project.  Next in line is a miniature only available through the CoolMiniOrNot webstore.  Alejandra (CMN0020) is a resin version of a previous metal mini that apparently is no longer available.  Although I really dislike working with resin, I loved the sculpt so much that I simply could not resist the purchase.  The last mini from this group is Shae.  She is a Steve Buddle sculpt, of former Spyglass/Eolith miniatures fame (now with GW from what I understand), and like many of the minis from his past, she is both simple and elegant at the same time.  Heresy miniatures acquired the rights to some of Steve's minis in 2011 and I believe Shae can be purchased there.

The second group on the priority rack are mostly fantasy as well.  The first is an unprimed miniature from Reaper.  The Handmaiden of Keskura (14579) is from the Warlord line of minis, their in-house skirmish wargame.  While I have no experience with the game itself, I do have several figures from the line and have been happy with them all.  Next to the topless barbarian is yet another pirate from Black Scorpion miniatures.  He can be found in the Rogues #2 blister.  Black Scorpion recently switched over to resin but if you look hard enough, you can still find this intimidating fellow in metal.  Next to the pirate is a female fighter from Dark Sword Miniatures (DSM4115).  She is part of the Visions in Fantasy line that I have come to love over the last few years.  The concept art was taken from fantasy artist Jeff Easley but oddly enough, she is not part of the Easley Masterworks line.  Fourth from the left is Aethelglyth, Warrior-Maiden of Mercia (BNL-023), the first mini I've purchased from the Bane Legions system.  It's a rather strange line of minis but I was taken by this particular sculpt and had to try it.  It may be my last however due to the fact that everything is resin and I HATE resin and all the extra work that goes along with it (green stuff fills all the little air holes in the mini).  The last mini is Nienna (02909) from Reaper.  She's a ranger-ish elf with an action pose....both of which I love, so it's no surprise that she's here in the queue.

Now on to the great Aragorn project of 2012.  In the ultimate definition of efficiency, I'm painting every Aragorn pose at the same time (with the exception of a certain version that came in the Mines of Moria set that shall never be named due to the horrible sculpt).  I've painted several of these poses before, but I thought it would be fun to do them all at the same time.  So after buying duplicates of my already painted versions, here they are all lined up and ready for attention.

From top to bottom, left to right:  The first sculpt is from the Heroes of the West set.  This is one of the versions I had previously painted so it will be interesting to see how the two compare upon completion. In the middle on the upper row is Aragorn from The Three Hunters blister.  This is one of my favorite Strider sculpts.  Rounding out the top row is the sculpt from the Attack at Weathertop boxed set. A version from Breaking of the Fellowship starts out the middle row followed by one from the Ambush at Amon Hen box. One of the better Aragorn sculpts is from the Heroes of Helm's Deep collection, seen here on the end of the second row.  Finally, on the bottom row is version 1 from the original Fellowship of the Ring set (another previously painted version), next to the elusive Defenders of Rohan model, and a mounted version from the Warg Attack boxed set.  Happy Aragorn painting indeed!

This section of the queue all hail from the pirates line of Black Scorpion Miniatures. The bulk of the minis are from the Royal Marines #2 and #3 blisters.  They are flanked by a Royal Navy Officer on the left and a Navy Captain on the right.  They are all destined to take part in my Legends of the High Seas campaign.

Now for the ladies that will be joining the same LotHS campaign.  The two primed figures on either end both come from the villagers line of Fenryll Miniatures.  They are plastic but still exhibit good detail so I did not mind adding them to the collection.  Second from the left is a strumpet from Hasslefree Miniatures (HFV003).  She has been in the queue for quite some time but is finally seeing some progress.  Next to her is a serving wench from Reaper.  She can be found in the Townsfolk I blister (02583) along with another serving lass and a barkeep which I have completed earlier.  Next in line is a "madam" from the Townsfolk III blister (02655).  You can imagine what she will be representing in my game.  The Governor's daughter from Black Scorpion finishes out this section.

I've got a few more pirates in this section of the queue.  The first two are from the Pirate Captains pack from Old Glory Miniatures.  Next to them is yet another miniature from Black Scorpion.  He can be found in the Pirates #2 blister.

Now for a few more fantasy miniatures that are in the initial stages of completion.  The first from the left is another bard from Reaper.  Druss Darkblighter (03136) is the winning entry from the Design Your Own Miniature contest.  It's an interesting sculpt in the fact that no weapons are visible and he seems to be depicted in the middle of some mundane action....such as speaking to a passerby or perhaps reciting verse to a crowd in a tavern.  He's different and I like it.  Next to Druss is a warhorse from a Bretonnian force.  The project where I've been converting Bretonian knights to the different noble houses of Westeros is finally moving forward again.  Another GW mini is next to the horse.  I've been doing several test models of GW High Elves to complete a diorama of a scene from The Silmarillion.  I'm a bit happier with this color combo so far and may actually complete this model.  Last in line is Artemis (HFH036) from Hasslefree.  The skin and metallics have been basecoated and both are ready for shading and highlighting.

Most of this section of the queue is just getting started. I'll breeze right through them since more than likely we will see them again next month.  Top row, from left to right:  Visions in Fantasy Female Cleric (DSM4107), GRRM Masterworks Bronn (DSM5050), a halfling from Tercia Creativo, GRRM Masterworks Benjen Stark (DSM5051), Elmore Masterworks Female Elven Princess (DSM1167), and Elmore Masterworks Amazon (DSM1169).  Bottom row from left to right: three GW Cadian test models, a pirate with a blunderbuss from Black Scorpion's Rogues #1 blister, Gil-galad from Games Workshop, and Cyndria Stormcaller (02956) from Reaper.

Same story as above for this section.  Top row from left to right:  Easley Masterworks Male Mage (DSM4105), three AWESOME armored skeletons form Otherworld Miniatures, and Adrielle, High Elf Queen (65048) from Reaper.  The bottom row is all comprised of goblins from Hasslefree Miniatures.  I love these little guys.  They have an old school feel but definitely exhibit details and characteristics of modern miniatures.  Perfect combo!

Well, it's obvious that I have my work cut out for me this month so I better get started painting.  I wonder how different the painting queue will look in October?