Orcs, also not green

Orc Warriors

Two more Chainmail figures finished, the Orc Berzerker and the Orc Trooper. These two, while similar in appearance, could not have been more different in rendition. The Orc Berzerker (on the left) is terribly two-dimensional and features a grotesquely long face and a ridiculous Sanjaya pony-hawk. I love the Orc Trooper, on the other hand, with his variety of weapons and don Quixote helmet he looks just like a wandering mercenary.

A little backstory on the skin color (which I could chalk up to matching the Chainmail box, but won’t). In Dungeons & Dragons there are three races that are virtually identical: orcs, hobgoblins, and bugbears. Each are described as essentially “large goblinoids,” with bugbears at perhaps the largest size, with hobgoblins being more “militaristic,” and orcs just your generic mooks. They all serve the same purpose: to be bad PC-esque humanoids. They have PC-range stats, use armor and carry weapons. For low level PC’s, they serve as equal sparring partners, and for high level PC’s become fodder for monstrous villains to employ. This doesn’t even factor gnolls and ogres.

But you have distinguish them from each other without making them green, like The Other Major Company does. In addition, they need to be sort of dark and ruddy to give them a wild, outdoorsy appearance. Ergo, bugbears are brown (like bears), hobgoblins are dark red, and orcs end up gray-green (or in this case, hippo gray). Think I’m crazy? When Games Workshop needed to give a unique flesh tone to their Ogre Kingdoms, they picked almost an identical color scheme to the earlier Chainmail Orcs.

Okay, back to these two. I think I’ll field them in Mordheim as Orc Boyz, with either axes or two-hand weapons. Next up, the Orc Druid, I mean Shaman!

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Goblins, not the green kind

I’m on a painting spree, and here’s the latest result: two goblin warriors from the Chainmail line of D&D miniatures. I painted them pretty much on track with the illustration WotC provided, which is like the illustration from the Monster Manual. That means brown, not green.

Next is probably the basic Drazen’s Horde set, which is a nice mix of orcs, goblins, hobgoblins, and ogres (in short, the main demihuman villains). I’m thinking that, in addition to using them for C&, that I would make a “non-GW” Mordheim warband out of them (the irony that they are intended to be a warband of a different game isn’t lost on me).

Goblins

The Ranger

What do you get when you take an 18 Strength, a +2 broadsword, and the Ranger’s Combat Marauder ability from Castles & Crusades? The ability to kill most 2HD or lower monsters with one blow, assuming he can hit. Hanthel isn’t the most vocal member of the group–in fact he’s often pretty quiet, but when combat begins he starts working his way up to the front where he can start swinging.

The Ranger

I’m pretty pleased with this paint job, although the face took a while to do, mostly because I was layering over black (which makes him look unfortunately like he’s wearing pancake makeup). At least the eyes worked out okay. The miniature is “Cullen” by Reaper Miniatures. The miniature comes with a wolf, which may show up some day.

The 24-hour Rule of planning projects

I’ve got a friend, a person I supervise actually, for whom I have made up a rule that I have strongly suggested she adopt. Every time she gets upset about something at a meeting, she should write it down. Then she should wait 24 hours, and if it still seems like something she needs to mention, then she should. She has some big problems: she is immature and tends to both get caught up in mob momentum, and speaks her mind just a little too freely (especially for someone in her position in the company). Sooner or later, if she doesn’t change, she’s going to have some serious professional problems. The 24-hour delay serves as a cooling-off period until such time as she learns when a particular ditch is worth dying in, and when it isn’t.

Anyways, I have a similar policy for myself, both in terms of mixing it up at work and for terrain-building projects. In the past, I’ve gotten an idea into my head, started casting lots of bricks, and then decided against it, leaving me with lots of bricks. So now I get an idea and just sit on for a few days before starting. That also keeps me from not finishing projects, like the third skematic piece or the Descent dungeon.

There’s a couple of things in the 24-hour cooling period. The first is a project that would be essentially a homage to the Minas Tirith layout that “Law” did on Voidgamers. [note: Voidgamers appears to be down right now] Law’s layout was essentially large tiles with fairly disjointed pieces that could be rearranged into different layouts. I liked the surreal quality to it: it sort of didn’t make sense but could hang together. It also made for great wargaming terrain–lots of places to duck in and out.

The other is a “realistic scale” castle. The problem with most wargaming-scaled castles is that they are terribly small in comparison to the real thing. I’ve been thinking about something more true-to-life. I’m imagining fighting battles where the table is just one part of a greater castle, with the miniatures that sections defenders or attackers, maybe even just a single wall segment and a tower. As with any big project, it’d tie up a lot of time, money, and resources, so I would want something that would be versatile (like Law’s layout) as well. That’s why I wait 24 hours before starting.

The Teleport Pad

I’ve finished the second of three Necron-themed (actually Skematic) pieces I’ll be building.  This is the teleportation pad, good for bringing new troops onto the field.

Teleport Pad

The final piece will be a signal tower, which will hopefully incorporate some electronic components (a first for me).

Some mid-project blog related pondering

As Strange Vistas approaches its 2000th visitor, I’ve been thinking about how it has been going so far. The usual trend of traffic is to pick up about 10-15 visitors a day, mostly off of my sig in the HA website. Whenever I post pics there or at DakkaDakka, the number shoots up to about 80, peaking once at 120+ with the Skematic Portal Tomb.

Oddly enough, the fact that I used the words “free,” “download,” and “rulebook” gets me a hit every once in a while from piracy-minded folks cruising Google.

What got me pondering today though was a comment made by Phil Olley (well-known wargaming fellow) on his website/ezine “Broadside” Recently there have been a flurry of SYW-related blogs like “The Grand Duchy of Stollen” and the like. Being a prominent SYW wargamer, he was asked if he would be doing something similar, but his answer was no. In fact, he was more than slightly suspicious of the notion that anyone would like a daily update on how many minis he had basecoated that day, and was worried about “the tail wagging the dog.” (It is worth noting that he had admiration for people who did maintain such a blog, despite this.)

It has made me wonder about what is truly the most engaging form of this sort of communication: half a dozen or so little entries (like I do) or one big one showing the final work completed for that month (like he does). Now admittedly I can update this blog fairly easily from work, while Phil is busy painting a bazillion more minis, nursing his wife through cancer, and generally being a prominent figure in the hobby, but there you go.

Anyways, dozen or so daily readers, what do you think?

Saying Goodbye to some old friends

I’ve been blessed with a very large hobby area, the legacy of the former owner of my house being a massive model train enthusiast. But the downside to being a terrain builder is that they take up a great deal of room. A great deal. And particularly as I continue to make more (and better) pieces of terrain, I need to move some other stuff off.

Sort of compounding this decision is the fact that, while I have many, many pieces of terrain, I was only taking one or two to games I played, because Warhammer only really needs four-to-six pieces tops on the table. So, with little reservation I managed to arrange for a large number of fairly old pieces to have a new home (along with some newer ones to sweeten the deal). I’m getting a nice return on them, so it is a win/win all the way around.

For those who are interested, here’s a shot of the pieces heading for New Jersey:

Some traded terrain

In addition, this will also give me some ideas for some “mindless” projects to work on, like another octagonal tower or dragon’s inn, where I won’t have to come up with a plan, but just use one of Bruce’s.