mardi 17 avril 2018

Musician of the month: Skeleton Horn Blower

What is fun with fantasy ? There is no limit, and you can create impossible things. This month's musician is not that original, since skeletons (including horn blowers) are classical figures today, thanks to the major manufacturers of Fantasy figures. Hard to believe that dead things can walk,  even slowly, or fight, or do anything but lie... but in Fantasy, everything's explained thanks to Magic, and especially dark Magic.

... So, a dark sorcerer came with forbidden spells, a gifted necromancer, and he began to raise the dead, lots of them... So many of them that they began difficult to control. He was compelled to use a general to rule them all, and he called a mighty vampire, but the skeletons were indisciplined, they didn't follow the orders, as if they were deaf to any signal... wait, of course they're deaf! The necromancer's spells couldn't make skeletons hear the orders, but there was one spell, a very ancient one, that allowed him to create Black music, the dreadful sound of an ancient horn blown by invisible lungs, yes! So he gave that horn to one of his most disciplined skeletons, and ordered him to blow again and again, and, because of this horrible dead sound, every skeleton began to walk West against the human kingdoms...

"Why West ? What if the humans settled in the South ?"
"Then, my apprentice, you will have to learn another spell, because this is the way of Black Magic. Go back to your books and don't ask foolish questions again!"

This month's musician is our skeleton hornblower. His horn is a very old instrument that remained in an ancient tomb for hundreds of years, so it is made of oxidized metal - green oxidation for brass, or verdigris. That's what I tried to represent on this mini, together with rust on the iron parts.

A few pictures:

The fierce skeleton proved good enough to be enrolled by the Vampire general, to summon the skeleton army to go West! Er... to go to the right, as we can see in the following pictures:

"Eh, come back, all of you! West is on the other side !!! Who gave me an army of unlateralized skeletons !!!"

samedi 14 avril 2018

Mousquetaire du Roy

Just a test shot today, my first attempt at painting a French King's musketeer in Louis XIII's service.
You can see him standing in front of an inn, with a bottle of wine in his hand, ready to fight nevertheless.

Some closer pictures:

This guy comes from Ultima Ratio set UR011 Musketeers of the King of France. He proved very interesting to paint, and I tried to represent the different materials as well as possible: leather, metal,  feather, glass bottle...
I will try to paint his friends and opponents in the next days.

Hope you like him :)

samedi 31 mars 2018

Musician of the month: Fife player

At last! We're on the last day of March, it's still time to publish a post about the musician of the month :)

I am in my Napoleonic period (I can hear the Ancients calling), so I painted a musician that belongs to the Napoleonic Chasseurs à pied de la garde: a fife player.

Let's begin with the pictures of the figure:

You may know that there were two sorts of musicians in the Napoleonic regiments. The first belonged to the military bands, who walked in front of the troops during the parades, and the second were the fifes and drums, who were used in battle to communicate the orders. The fifes were used during the Napoleonic era, but were replaced by the trumpets in the middle of the 19th century.

The fife is a small wooden flute, such as these:

I chose to paint a dark brown fife, which means that it is rosewood, a tropical hardwood that makes very good music instruments.

This mini was given to me by Borodino - lucky me, these minis are out of production! Thank you, mate.

And one question for my scholar readers: my first idea was to paint a fife wearing the colors of the Bataillon of Neuchâtel, a famous Swiss troop in french service, but I couldn't find any evidence of such musician, even though fife playing is a Swiss tradition nowadays. What do you think of it ? Do you think I might paint a fife player of that sort ? Any help welcome :)

dimanche 25 mars 2018

Napoleonic French line infantry

Hi! I'm still in the mood to paint some Napoleonics, and I'm trying to be a bit more productive. So less time on the details, and three or more foot soldiers at a time.

I wanted to test that method on french infantry, and I've painted troopers with two different uniforms, first for the 1808-1812 period, then the Bardin uniform.

For the 1808-1812 period, I've painted a grenadier and two fusiliers, here they are:

I wish to represent soldiers in campaign. Not sure that it is a good idea to give them trousers of the same color, it is too uniformed, I will add some variety for the next figures. They are Hät minis, from set 8095 1808-1812 French Line Infantry.

For the 1812-1815 period, I've painted one grenadier, three fusiliers and one voltigeur, as you can see below:

There are different colors for the trousers this time, does it look ok ? They are also Hät minis from sets 8041 French Line Fusiliers, and 8042 French Light Infantry (used to represent grenadiers and voltigeurs).

What do you think of them ?

dimanche 18 mars 2018

Metal giant: an Orc by Rackham

Today, I wish to start a series of posts related to the Confrontation miniatures range by Rackham.
I wrote last month (see here) how I got inspired by one of the factions to convert a 1/72 mini into a Wolfen.

What I didn't explain was that I painted dozens of these minis some years ago, and I think it's time to display some of them on this blog, even if they are not 1/72.

The first mini to show is an orc warrior. In the universe of the Confrontation game, they are called the Orcs of Bran-o-kor, and they live in the borders of the Syharhalna desert where they were former slaves to the Scorpions of Dirz.

Let's have a look at him:

 I used a classical green color for this orc (that's why my 1/72 orcs are painted in another color, I wanted to change :)). His tunic is red simply because red and green are complementary colors. The base is very simple, it is meant to recall that this guy is living in a desert.

In my eyes, the Rackham minis remain the best fantasy figures ever created. They are famous for the incredible level of detail which make them more difficult to paint than others.
A closer view to the back of this warrior to illustrate this opinion:

You can see several flasks and bottles, a book, a scroll and a scary shield (there are often humoristic details in this range :)).

What do you think ? Would you be interested in seeing more of this range, or will you ask to remain in the one true scale :) ?

Hope you like this giant anyway. See you soon.

samedi 17 mars 2018

Back from the past: Ancient Iberian Warriors

The figures displayed today are not newly painted, but since I am off for the week-end without my brushes, I have my photograph archives with me, and last I wish to gather all my pictures on this blog, here they are :)

These minis represent Ancient Spanish, also known as Iberians. They were involved in the Punic Wars, and depending on the circumstances, they could fight for Carthage or for Rome. Of course, they are well known for their fight on the Punic side with Hannibal.

I painted them a long time ago and they still can be seen on the Hät website - fortunately I could download the pictures back, I lost my own copy in a hard drive crash!

Here they are:

Heavy infantry from set #8056 Carthaginian command and cavalry:

Lusitanian warrior from set #8058 Carthaginian Allies:

Caetratus from set #8019 Punic War Spanish Infantry:

And last, the famous balearic slingers, that can be employed as mercenaries in most armies of this time - from set #8019 Punic War Spanish Infantry:

In a technical point of view, they have all been painted before I begin to use washes to speed up the paint time, hence the dark underlining.

I think they are still good for service. Hope you like them :)

samedi 3 mars 2018

Grenadier à cheval de la garde

Hi everyone! Don't know what's happening to me, I'm more in Napoleonics than in Ancients these days :D

I've started to paint several minis for the French Imperial Guard, and this time I can show you my first Grenadier à cheval. It's a Hät mini, one of their first references, and still very good in my opinion.
His uniform is the model worn in the early years of the empire.

It is a test shot - I wish I have patience to paint a dozen more after this one - and I would like you to tell me what you think of it, and if you find any mistake I should correct. I chose to paint his horse black, which is correct according to the regulation, but a dark brown horse would be correct too.
Any comment welcome :)

samedi 24 février 2018

Back from the past: 24th Prussian line infantry

After the disastrous Napoleonic campaign in Russia (1812) , the armies of Prussia reorganized, and many men were called to arms. The Prussian uniforms had become very different from those worn in 1806, as modern as possible. But it was impossible for the industry to produce the regulation equipment (with blue jacket) for every man, so many units had to wear grey reserve uniforms.

This is the situation I wanted to represent here, using the Hät 8052 set Napoleonic Prussian Reserve Infantry. In the picture below, you can see two reserve infantrymen from the 24th line regiment, following an officer. On the left of the picture, we can see a NCO (Revell mini) who could get a blue uniform, probably an experimented soldier from another unit.

I painted these men more than ten years ago, and the pictures were sent to Hät for their website (they are still there, I checked this morning :)). For those interested by painting techniques, you will notice that I didn't use any wash at that time, but underlined every surface with very dark brown paint - it was a very long process :)
Some closer views:

As most Napoleonic painters, I use the excellent site by Alexis as a reference for the waterloo campaign:

The box art was another great painting by Giuseppe Rava.

Hope you like these (not so) old minis :)

mercredi 21 février 2018

Musician of the month: Swiss drummer, 15th century

Remember my challenge, to paint a musician every month ? I explained here what happened in 2017. In 2018, I'm in for another attempt. This is the musician for February: a Swiss drummer from the 15th century, when the Swiss confederation was at war with Burgundy.

You will recognize a drummer from an Ultima Ratio set, UR008 Swiss Infantry (Bern) released en 2017.
For those who appreciate Fantasy, you will notice that this guy might also be used as a drummer in a Empire army from the city of Talabheim (from the Ancient World created by GW).

So this year, two musicians so far:
- January: Ancient Egyptian drummer
- February: Medieval Swiss drummer

For March, I would like to paint a man from another era, and another music instrument. Will you guess ?

dimanche 18 février 2018

Some more info about Wolfens

In the previous post, I showed a conversion of a Wolfen in 1/72, and asked everyone to guess how I did it.
Only a few minutes later, Paul from Paul's Bods gave the right answer:
"The Body is a Caesar Orc, and the head, one of those Zombie dogs you painted a while back".
The knowledge of Paul concerning minis or history is phenomenal ! Game over :)

1. The conversion

Here are the basic elements of this simple conversion:

orc + zombie dog + green stuff

The minis, before priming:

And after:

You will note that dog head still look like the zombie he was, because at that moment, I didn't know whether I would paint a living or a zombie Wolfen, or some sort of demon... one of my future projects would be to paint a demon army inspired by the art of Wayne Barlowe... but that's another story).

I eventually made a decision, and here is the result:

2. The original Wolfens

The Wolfens are a creation by Rackham, a French miniature and games production company that was active between 1997 and 2010. Their main miniature game was Confrontation, a skirmish game in a fantasy world called Aarklash, in which several people fought and allied with one another. One of these factions are the Wolfen, giant half-wolf half-human creatures.

Here are some artworks representing Wolfens:

Artist: Paul Bonner

Artist: Paul Bonner

And some of the minis, painted by the Rackham studio:

The minis I converted are rather different from the original: they are much smaller, compared to humans figures in the same scale, they wear boots, they have no tail (I am definitely not a sculptor), they are not as dynamic... but it was fun to do, and to paint :) The only think I will change on the next one will be the painting of the eyes, because the pupil on my mini is too round and too big.

Some more photos to compare the sizes:
Left:1/72 man from the Redbox Landsknechts, right: converted Wolfen

Left: 32mm man of Alahan, right: Wolfen of Ilyia

If you are curious about the Rackham miniatures range and want to know more, you will find below a link to a blog that has collected many pictures of Confrontation figures, ordered by faction:

 Thanks for reading :)

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