January 12, 2018

Warfare Miniatures Zombies

When I started working on my concept for Donnybrook Dark, something I knew I needed immediately were zombies. There are several manufacturers who make pirate zombies, but these didn't quite fit the bill as I wanted uniformed models. So I dug into my bits box and started a project worthy of Dr. Frankenstein.

The concept work began last spring on my home from Scotland. I got my first GNW models from the bins at Hilton HQ (it was like Christmas). I'd been wanting to paint some of these cracking sculpts for a while, but committing to marshalled ranks of troops was not in the cards, at least until I get some more units for my Ireland campaign done. Donnybrook was the perfect vehicle to get into the period.

We spent a lot of time talking about the Donnybrook Dark concept during my visit and I decided to use my new Swedes and Russians as the basis for black powder fantasy armies. As I said, I KNEW I had to have zombies and spent some time sketching out what these should look like.

I did take a few work in progress shots, but sadly most of them weren't very helpful. The photo above shows my first four completed models.

Turning these lovely Warfare Miniatures into staggering zombies is really pretty simple. 

Think of the Pose
Zombies are lurching, lumbering monsters (at least the Romero type which are the only TRUE zombies). The noble bearing of most soldier models doesn't usually give that vibe. The easiest way to accomplish this is to remove one leg where it meets the coat, file away a small amount of metal at an angle, and glue it back in awkward position. It doesn't take much - trimming the leg away remove a mm or so of material already. The goal is to end up with a slight lean - too much and your mini is going to fall on it's face! If you are careful, you don't even need to remove the foot from the base. Several of the models above had their legs replaced entirely (see below), but it's necessary to get the effect.

Another thing you can do is get rid of that proud chin in the air by taking your clippers to the poor fellow's throat. You don't want to cut all the way through (though it's not the end of the world if you do). Again, the clippers remove a small bit of material and you can now bend the head down so in lolls on the chest or toward the shoulder. Just add a tiny dot of glue before doing so. If you behead the poor chap, you can still just glue it back on. Also choose a model with short hair, because this won't work well with long haired people like me - you'll need to break out the putty and sculpt the hair back to make it look right.

There are even a few models that look like they are stumbling around already when taken out of context of their tools - check out the Artillery Crew Running Back Guns...

Zombies are Hard on Clothes...
This part is easy. Grab your trusty clippers and chip up the bottom hem of the coat, edges of cuffs, and tricorn brims. Then use a pin vise to drill small holes in the coat and stockings. I cluster these around the torn hems first and then scatter some around the rest of the model. You can add larger slashes which look good on arms or shins with a scalpel.

...and Even Harder on Limbs
I used a sprue of plastic zombies from Warlord Games to quickly add dessicated limbs and the like. There are several manufacturers you could choose from, but Warlord fits in well with Warfare. Replacing an arm only requires a straight cut at the shoulder and possibly a bit of greenstuff. A hand is even easier and replacing well manicured digits with gnarled claws is great bit of detail. You can even remove an arm entirely for the easiest conversion of all. A few of the Warlord models have bare legs and feet and these were great for adding more variety. You can also use clippers to remove the lower jaw or of a model with an open mouth, a pin vise to remove an eye, or scalpel to add cuts to a cheek!

Zombies Don't Take Baths
The absolute easiest way to make models look like zombies is paint them to look like zombies! Paint the skin a bloodless bone or mottled grey and give them clouded white eyes if you paint such things (I skipped them on mine because I tend to leave eyes as shadow for historical models, but I think I'll go back and paint them for an extra bit of sinister). When you paint the clothes, take extra care to highlight the rips and holes you put all that hard work into making.

Add mud and mire. I just drybrush my base color on the lower third of the mini and add a swipe here and there farther up.

And, yes, add some gore. There are lots of ways to do this, but I used Games Workshop washes. The first is Carroburg Crimson and I stipple this around the mouth and down the front of the coat, on the hands to varying degrees, around obvious wounds I've created, and then splash some add random spots to break up anything that still looks clean. The next color is Agrax Earthshade and I apply this in the same places as the crimson, but concentrate it toward the center to represent darker areas of dried blood. Finally, I use a very small amount of black paint to deepen the gore around the chin and the tips of the fingers.

So, that's it and now all of you can mutilate Clib's wonderful models (or minis from any manufacturer really because this works for any period)! I really want to build a horde now of shambling undead. I have plans to make bareheaded zombies using some of the bits from the Warlord sprue, civilians, cossacks, and maybe some of those ready made pirates I mentioned earlier. Someone was on about zombie horses and I actually HAVE some so I might even mix in a few cavalrymen. 

Hope that helps! Now that my credibility as a historical gamer is destroyed (ok, I didn't have that much to begin with if you wander my other blogs with Space Marines), I'll let Barry show you some of the stuff he's been piling up in the closet...

January 7, 2018

Donnybrook Dark - Rusland

Right! So as I said in my last post, my painting in 2017 was not up to my normal production. That is going to change.

I started this second force for my Donnybrook Dark project (you can see my Scandavians here if you missed 'em) on New Year's Eve - yep, a wild night. I assembled, converted, undercoated, painted, based, photographed, AND freakin' blogged about forty models in seven days. This five-point force is for my fictional soldiers of Rusland...

The shadowed realm of Rusland is ruled by a dread necromancer. Warlocks and sorcerers march in the armies along side mortal soldiers and they may call on dark powers, marshaling spirits, undead, and other wicked creatures to their banners.

The core of the force would be perfectly at home in a historical GNW scenario.

Two units of Drilled (d8) Musketeers...

One unit of Drilled (d8) Cossacks...

Then the 'Dark' bits... one unit of Zombies...

... and a Wraith...

Finally there is the leader, Captain Alexander Narvarosk, and four characters (the wraith does not generate a special character) - a Sergeant, Drummer, mounted Great Warrior (from the tribal list), and a Hag (currently the same as the witch from the Cultist list, though I actually intend to write new rules for this character).

Whew! It's been a while since I set that kind of pace, but it was fun. I need to make my cards and finish my Donnybrook Dark terrain now so I can get in some games. I am also hoping to publish a supplement for this project, at least in PDF, some time this summer if our schedule allows. There are lots of projects in the fire at the moment, but this is on the list.

I'm going to add a unit of the new Russian Dragoons as soon as I get my hands on some and probably a unit of pikemen. I want to expand my other force too with... what? The zombies? No Warfare isn't making zombie models - I mutilated Clib's excellent sculpts for my own evil ends. If there is any interest, I will write a tutorial on making 18th century zombies.

NOW, I've got to get busy painting Slann...

January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

It's time to look back at 2017 and make plans for 2018. One of the best things about running a blog is the ability to sit down and have a scroll through your own collection. While spending time in the realm of other bloggers is often motivating, seeing the progress you made over time can be inspiring on it's own...

...or not.

I think 2017 was the least productive I've been in the hobby in years. I had all of twenty-three posts last year. Two. Three. Some of them had nothing to do with painting. All told, I managed to finish around eighty models, half of which fell into one project. There have been times when I 've painted fifty models in a month. So let's take a look...

My FIRST model painted in 2017 was posted in FEBRUARY, and wasn't even one I kept. I painted this massive Lord of Change model for my brother's Tzeentch army. Games Workshop is releasing Nurgle's counterpart to this monster this year - the Great Unclean One - and I plan to paint up one of these beasts for my own Chaos Age of Sigmar army. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

March was better, and more indicative of my normal output as I managed 18 cavalry for Beneath the Lily Banners. Slightly annoying to me is the fact the second squadron of Clare's Dragoons has been sitting on the corner of my painting table since last March. Maybe this year.

My next post with any painting involved a conversion I built to lead my Warhammer 40k Ork army, inspired by the pending release of the new edition of that game in the summer. Grimteef da Widowmaker was posted in May.

June and July were my most productive months even though I only managed two posts. I painted a force for Donnybrook Dark, an unreleased fantasy version of my skirmish game that I was keeping under wraps. Also again, inspired by the release of the new edition of 40k, I painted up some of the new Primaris Space Marines. I actually managed three more models over the course of the rest of the year that I never got around to basing so I'll get a quick 'n' dirty post out of them sometime soon.

In August I painted one model...  the lad in the center, the Pack Master for my Donnybrook Dark force above.

I don't know what happened in the fall. In November I painted over twenty figures. A handful of Daeleks (really no idea why) and a unit of Oldhammer Slann. In an effort to give my production a kick in the ass I joined the Old World Army Challenge and these models were my first completed entry...

... followed by the Dread Lord Biddliplop, the general of my growing Slann army, in December! This was a fun model to paint and a rare one as even some members of the Oldhammer community commented they were unfamiliar with it. As far as I know it was never featured in any of the old Warhammer books and only appeared in a couple of White Dwarf ads.

That's it. Well, sort of. I also maintain another blog, Stro'Knor Macekiller,  focused on my Oldhammer and Rogue Trader aspect of the hobby and I managed another dozen oldschool 40k adventurer models over there.

So what happened? I'm not exactly sure. There are a couple of small projects I haven't posted. A friend got into Konflikt '47 this fall and I painted a couple of weird war models (that still need weathering) for that to augment my existing US Airborne WW2 army. We actually played a couple of games and I'm planning on expanding my collection in 2018 with some more tanks and few support units like a howitzer team, a sniper, and unit of Firefly infantry (think Airborne with jump packs).

I also became the sole US distributor of Warfare Miniatures. This involved quite a bit of work early in the year setting up the store, organizing inventory, and navigating the joys of being a small business.

I took a trip to Scotland and Ireland in April. First I attended a LoA weekender and met a bunch of guys I'd only interacted with online for two days of gaming in which I proved my ability to murder horses. Then I spent a week exploring the battlefields of my favorite theater for Beneath the Lily Banners with Barry and Bob. I just realized I have at least two more posts waiting in my 'Wandering Around Ireland' series. Guess I need to finish them off soon.

Speaking of Beneath the Lily Banners, Barry and I also managed to finish the third edition of the game, The War of Three Kings. It will be 190-pages, hardback, and available for pre-order in January! Hmm, I haven't mentioned this here at all? I suppose I think anyone interested in this period follows our LoA blog, but maybe I can put together an exclusive preview for the folks who just follow me!

Ok. maybe I wasn't as idle as I thought, but hopefully 2018 will be more productive. In a few days I'll post the obligatory plan for the future which I will probably then proceed to ignore.

Happy New Year!