Nativity Scene project #4

Now it’s time to update the Holy Family figures!

2 years later I’ve started this project I’ve finally found another really interesting Nativity set, made by Reaper Miniatures; I’ve already talked about this company, for now I’ve bought just a few minis from them but I already love them and I’ll definitely buy more in the future.

The Nativity figures available are the Holy Family plus the ox, the donkey, the three Wise Men and one pastor. Since I’m already plenty of animals and the Wise Men are quite lame, I decided to buy only the blister with the Holy Family alone.

These figures are way better than the old ones I bought, more detailed and with a higher quality casting. Finally the nice look that Holy Mary deserves, painted with the classical scheme too! The only defect of these figures is the size: they are huge! The scale is around 32mm, even bigger than GW, and compared to the old 26mm figures the scale creep is even more evident! Anyway they are the main protagonist of the scene, so having them popping out a bit more makes sense… I’ll try to place the figures in order to minimize the scale creep effect.

Nativity Scene Project #3

More minis for my Nativity diorama!

I have found some nice figures provided by Warlord Games. WG is a company specialized in historical wargames, their most famous is Bolt Action; even though I’m not into that kind of games their miniatures are nice, so maybe one day I’ll buy some just for painting.

In particular for my Nativity I’ve chosen the plastic farm animals set: if you want to add some animal to your dioramas this is the best you can find! High quality, hard plastic and quite cheap! For now I’ve used the 2 cows and the donkey, in the future I’ll also paint the smaller animals. In the picture you can see them with other 2 Wargames Foundry figures I missed in the previous post.

Another set of figures I bought are some celtic kids + angry mom, sold as peasant figures for the Hail Caesar game; maybe their dressing is not best fitted with the other figures, but the scene of the mom yelling at them was too nice to not been included!

At last from the same Hail Caesar line I’ve bought a set of Roman Sentinels; in italian Nativity scenes is quite common to find also some roman soldier here and there, since Israel was a roman province when Jesus Christ was born.

Nativity Scene project #2

Now that I had the core of my diorama, it was time to find more figures; having decided to stick with a palestinian style, I started searching any kind of miniatures with a vaguely middle-east/ancient look. In Italy there is also a long tradition of Nativity scenes in medieval style; medieval figures are way more common… maybe in the future I’ll craft a new one like that.

So I searched through a lot of different manufacturers and suppliers, and I’ve found some interesting set of figures by Wargames Foundry under the category “Ancient Civilians”. Again the paint job is simple and quick, clear vests without many details; the figures are not properly middle-east, but I think that they match quite well anyway.

As many Oldhammerers know WF is a miniature company founded by Bryan Ansell (the founder of Citadel Miniatures and later owner of Games Workshop). Ansell founded it when he sold GW, bringing with him the old Citadel moulds and copyrights; now this company is appreciated by oldhammerers because it produces some old Citadel miniatures and many other new products with an old school flavour.

Nativity Scene project #1

Christmas is coming, so it’s time to talk about my biggest miniature project so far: the Nativity Scene.

As an italian catholic guy the Nativity scene is part of my cultural heritage and we can say it’s the first approach to dioramas that any italian kid experiences in life; so for me it was natural to craft a cool Nativity Scene using my hobby techniques.

I started 3 years ago, and every year I’m adding something more to the scene; the first step was to find and gather the suitable miniatures for this project (28mm scale, off course), so I started buying a Nativity set from Magister Militum (https://www.magistermilitum.com/); the miniatures are quite simple, the casting quality is lower than the one I’m used to see on GW products and also the scale is a bit smaller (around 26mm), but it’s still fine: nobody would look the single figures too near anyway.

Indeed I really enjoyed painting them: no fancy hard details, just very simple vests and tones, it was very quick and fun. Too bad that the worst figure was Mary: the casting mould line is exactly in the middle of the face. Also a friend of mine pointed out that I painted here in light blue despite classic iconography always showed her in vest red with a blue cape; lately I’ve replaced her with another better mini, this time painted with the more classic palette.

I used as bases some simple hardware washers, because I wanted to keep the base as minimal as possible so they won’t be too annoying inside the scene. At first I was tempted to not use bases at all and glue the figures on the ground, but finally preferred to keep them separated so every year I can change, rearrange and improve the scene.

Frostgrave Warband #1

As I already said, last year I discovered the Frostgrave miniatures and I felt in love with them: plastic multipart kits, classic fantasy style (without exaggerated and impractical features), thousands of opportunities for projects.

I already used them to craft a few dioramas, now I decided to assemble a badass Frostgrave warband! I never played the game and I wont’t have time to play it anyway for the next years for sure, but I really like the aestetics and the Mordheim-like setting; usually in games I prefer to choose the “good guys” faction, but this time I wanted to assemble a sort of anti-heroic party, a band of dangerous mercenaries with edgy morality. I will also try to write down some page of fluff about them, just for fun.

I started with 2 snakemen from the Frostgrave: Archipelago line; they represent the tanks of the band, heavy armoured and loaded with special equipment.

The first one is the shooting\bomber specialist; I armed him with a Dark Eldar multi-crossbow because it’s bigger than the ones in the original kit, adding a blade on top of it to make it look heavier; also I added 2 big bags on his back, that can contain explosives, bombs and other dangerous stuff.

The second one is a hand-to-hand combat specialist equipped with long spear, heavy armour and a large squared shield. He is supposed to defend weaker teammates and hit hard keeping the distances. I’m really proud of the paintjob on him.

Another mini-diorama

My brother gave me for Christmas some metal minis by Mierce Miniatures, so here’s another occasion to craft a small diorama!

I know nothing about Mierce game and setting, but their models are quite cool; in particular these “lizard-folks” have some really nice poses, quite dynamic.. but they are also a real pain to be assembled! Each figure is composed by 6-7 different tiny pieces, putting them together is really hard; I had to pin several parts together, and reinforce some junctions with green stuff.

The final result:

Warwagon at arms!

Oh boy this model is a REAL pain for me!

I’m not kidding, it took MONTHS for me to get painted, it’s the most difficult and complicated model I ever painted for now, and quite stressful; I had to pause it several times, painting something simpler in the middle to rest my nerves.

First of all, the wagon itself like any big metal model is hard to assemble, the parts require considerable efforts to fit properly; the result is a bit crooked, but I managed to hide it as much as possible.

Also painting the structure is not fun at all, all these shingles requires huge amount of time to obtain a decent result; also I imposed myself to use the original yellow-red pattern, because when I was a kid I miserably failed it and I wanted to prove to myself that I am able to do it. And yellow is one of the most difficult color to manage.

Also the crewmen: their exagerated lansquenets look is iconic and very nice to watch… but requires HUGE amount of patient and time to be painted properly: average empire soldiers have uniforms way easier than them!

Anyway I’m really proud of the result, the model alltogether is impressive. I also avoided to glue the crew inside the wagon so it’s still possible to admire all the paintjob of the crewmen too!

I just want to add a few words about this model fluff and crunch-wise: the idea of a “War Wagon” like this is quite naive and impractical, I don’t think that only 2 horses like these would be able to move effectively a beast like this around in a battlefield, and it would be really easy for the enemy to immobilize it killing the horses. Also there is no visible way to drive the horses! And the mix of weird weapons of the crewmen doesn’t make sense.

I think that the source of inspiration were battle wagons like the italian “Carroccio”, but their aim was more to inspire and guide soldiers than an effective war machine.

Crunchwise it was quite terrible: I never managed to use it in an effective way; basically is a really expensive and heavy chariot, the crewmen have some nice weapons but generally they don’t affect much the battle. It disappeared from Empire Army List after 5th edition, but I don’t think that many players regretted it.

The crewmen:

Greenskin warband #2!

Here’s another group of cunning goblin warriors!

These ones are from the Hearthbreaker Miniatures line, sculpted by Kev Adams in the 2000’s after he left GW; I know nothing about this miniatures brand, just that now are manufactured by Ral Partha Europe.

Figures are nice and full of characters, but compared to the GW Kev Adams sculpts I think they are a bit worse: they are a bit bigger (so less “goblin” in my opinion), the faces and poses are less varied and the shields are moulded together with the body.

Nevertheless they are a good addition to my warband!

My warband so far: