Ogres for hire!

Here’s another mercenary unit: the Golgfag Maneater‘s warband.

These are the only ogres released during the 5th editions, and the last ones before the advent of the Ogre Kingdom army (and their mongol-ish restyling). Lately Golgfag has become a special character for the Ogre Kingdom army, so his days as a mercenary sadly ended.

Ogres were also core troops for the Empire army, so sometimes I used to field them as normal imperial ogres. I liked the idea of a cosmopolitan Empire nation were you can find together humans, halflings, ogres and even dwarf citizens; too bad that this “melting pot” aspect of the Empire has disappeared in later army lists, so all non-human troops were removed (and the kislevites too!).

By the way I’m really proud of the result of my paint job; working on bigger size allowed me to try some more elaborated basing, and colors blending. Also I really like how I added a skeleton to the standard.

Halflings for hire

At the end of 5th edition a new unusual army have been released by GW: the Dogs of War.

Sadly in later editions it has been a bit discontinued and didn’t received the attention it deserved, it was a really cool army.

I started to collecting it, but then I had to stop because it was too expensive: no plastic core troops for them. Nowadays these models are considered rare and are really expensive.

However I bought some cool unit that were playable with my Empire army.

Here we have the Lumpin Croop’s Fighting Cocks, the deadly halfling rangers. It’s a shame that these are the last halflings ever released by GW for WHFB (and AoS, for now).

The models are quite nice but a bit repetitive (many of them derive from a couple of basic sculpts), the 4th edition imperial models were better.

Also painting them wasn’t particularly satisfying: being rangers you have a limited woodish palette to choose from. The unit was already 80% painted, but I decided to strip all and repaint from scratch

Handgunners

Stripping and re-painting old metal minis is fun, but it’s time also to finish some never painted unit.

These handgunners are from 6th edition starter pack, I don’t remember where they come from but I suppose that my brother traded them in exchange for the orcs part of the pack.

Anyway these are plastic classic monoblock miniatures, nothing particularly exciting to paint, but 4 different poses are enough to give a bit of variation to the unit. I also mixed the 2 color pattern (yellow-purple) so there aren’t 2 figures identical.

Diorama 2.0

The idea of crafting dioramas actually started from another BIG project I had in mind, but I’ll tell more about it at the end of the year.

Before starting the BIG project I had to test how to use transparent resin to craft a river, so I decided to craft this small diorama first; it was also the occasion to build realistic trees and bushes.

I have already talked about the amazing Frostgrave kits, and I have used some of their minis in this diorama. What I didn’t tell is that North Star Military Figures has also another line of plastic fantasy miniatures: the Oathmark kits.

While Frostgrave is a skirmish game settled in a ruined city, Oathmark is a mass battle game conceived for ranked units, more similar to Warhammer or Kings of War. Both games seem really interesting and provide innovative mechanics, so one day or another I would really like to play them; for now I’m only interested in the miniatures themselves, that are really cool too: they have the same proportions and design of the Frostgrave kits (opening to WILD kitbashing), and share the same classic fantasy aestetics approach (no convoluted designs here, thanks); plus they are less human-centered than Frostgrave, so they provide many more different races.

The downside is that since they are designed for a rank and file game, the sprues contain way less options than the Frostgrave ones, and with less accessories. Anyway I managed to buy some different sprues of:

  • Dwarf infantry
  • Elf infantry
  • Goblin infantry
  • Goblin cavalry

For this diorama I assembled a dwarf, an elf plus a barbarian from the Frostgrave range; these three adventurers run into a band of Snakemen (Frostgrave Arcipelago) led by a sort of “Lords of the snakes” villain; this character is an actual Warhammer Dark Elf model. I really enjoied crafting this diorama and I’m plenty of ideas for building many more… buy they will have to wait.

Guns are never enough

This is one of the many 6th edition kits that I left unpainted in my collection. I don’t remember exactly, but I think that my brother traded the orcs part of the core box for another Empire part, because I’ve found at my parents home 2 full Empire starter sets. Anyway also these guys deserve to be painted, so I did it.

Crewmen are quite average quality, but I decided to use them to test a new color scheme I never painted for: red&white. Especially white may be quite tricky, so it requires more attenction.

The kit in general is quite nice since it provides a lot ok accessories and can be used to assemble both a cannon or a mortar; due to its versatility I think that it survived over several WHFB editions.

I decided to assemble a mortar because I have already 2 Great Cannons, even if I never fielded it in battle (cannons are better!)

Diorama 101

Being into the hobby again, in 2019 I started to look around about what was the state of the miniature industry and what new cool models the market could offer. I definetly dislike the modern GW AoS aesthetics AND their business approach, so I promised to myself to NOT buy their products anymore and I preferred to look at different companies.

As I told in a previous post, I discovered Reaper Black Bones miniatures and their huge range of cheap models; but the miniature lines that have most caught my attention are the plastic kits made by North Star Military Figures for their Frostgrave games: PURE (plastic) GOLD.

These kits are AWESOME: plastic multi-part multi-pose kits conceived to assemble small warbands of 10 elements, like the good old Mordheim kits but with better technlogy; every kit contains melee weapons, shooting weapons and accessories to obtain hundreds of combinations. The details and the general quality is really high, also all the kits follow the same design approach so they are perfectly compatible one with another, allowing highest level of kitbashing and to obtain even more possible combinations!

Also the aestetic is really classic Tolkien-like fantasy (no cartoonish weapons and armors here, thanks), the complete opposite of GW nowaday, and I really like it.

These highly customizable plastic kits gave me the ideas for a lot of new projects, especially for crafting dioramas: the idea of creating a small landscape instead of a unit of soldiers tickled me a lot, and these kits are perfect for that. The only down side of these miniatures is that they are 28mm historic scale instead of heroic scale like Warhammer, so these figures don’t match well with miniatures and bits from GW.

So I started to collect these miniatures, full boxes or at least single frame of many kits (taking advantages of special offers by North Star), and I started with 2 small dioramas; the second is the one you see in the pictures below, and I’m really proud of it.

So far I have collected these kits:

  • Soldiers I (male)
  • Soldiers II (female)
  • Wizards I (male)
  • Wizards II (female)
  • Gnolls
  • Barbarians
  • Knights
  • Snakemen (Arcipelago)
  • Crewmen (Arcipelago)
  • Tribesmen (Arcipelago)

So I think I am plenty of miniatures for dioramas for the next 3-4 years. The only ones I didn’t buy are the Cultists (but I regret it) and Daemons (the only kit that I consider quite lame).

For this specific diorama I used a Wizard model + a Soldier; the wizard is supposed to be a sort of necromancer that is performing an evil ritual, and summons some skeletons to protect him from the good guys coming to stop him.

The wizard crystal sphere is an actual plastic sphere for chemistry labs; the skeletons are from the plastic skeletons kit by Warlord Games (another kit I bought just for dioramas). The dying man instead is a metal figure by Gripping Beast, from their SAGA line.

The base is make of cork, the tree is made with twisted electric wire.

Tank on march!

It’s time to field one of the most iconic Empire model ever: the Steam Tank!

This is the original 4/5th edition and let’s be honest: it aged badly. The plastic material of the newest version allows to obtain much bigger size than pewter (at reasonable prices), making the concept of a steam-propelled tank more plausible. Also the new aesthetics is nice.

Back to this chunk of metal, it maintains its own charm; especially the commander is really cool.

Another downside of the metal is that is terrible to assemble, I had to work a lot to make all the pieces fit together. Especially the hatch is really tricky, I had to drill a metal pin in it but I preferred to not glue it, so I can mount it open or closed.

Deep gnomes

It’s time for some non-Warhammer miniatures!
In 2019 I discovered the existence of Reaper Miniatures, and I quickly became a fan of their products, especially the Bones Black range:

  • They have a HUGE variety of models and themes, so even if I don’t like many of them it’s still plenty of miniatures that I would like to collect.
  • Bones lines requires minimum assembling, even for complex figures.
  • Bones are cheap.

The only downside is the soft material, different from the hard plastic o white metal I was used to: I avoided the Bones Classic range, because reading reviews online I have understood they are too smoothly detailed for my taste; I’ve bought these Bones Black figures to try, and I can say that even if they don’t reach the same level of details of other materials I really enjoied painting them.

I also built a small display base to host these little “deep gnomes”, with crafted gems and mushrooms.

After painting these I contribute to the latest Reaper Kickstarter “Bones V”, so I’m planning to paint a lot more of these minis in the future!

Tileans for hire!

According to old fluff crossbows aren’t very popular in the Empire, so they often hire tilean crossbowmen mercenaries in their ranks to fill the role.

Since I’m italian I wanted to field a unit of mercenaries from my hometown Modena (Mutina in latin, sounds more oldhammerish); town traditional colours are blue and yellow… so here we have the perfect colour scheme for them!

This is another small unit that I stripped and re-painted after over 20 years.