I recently painted a red dragon from Wizkids miniatures. My aim was to make a red/copper colour dragon. I base coated the scales brown then worked up a red colour by dry brushing. Then continuing with dry brushing I added oranges and light tan colours to the mix. I didn’t really have a formula, I just had an idea that I worked back and forth to get to somewhere I was happy with (I think I even glazed in an ink to get the saturation to my liking).

The scale where painted with some highlights to make them a little “sharper” and differentiate them from the webbing of the wings. I use this highlight colour for the horns and added a brighter bone white to the ends (I believe I wet blended to get a smooth transition). I did some extra neat layer work on the face and painted green eye as the face was a focal point.

I plan to use this dragon in some LOTR narrative battle company games and maybe in Elder Scrolls Call to Arms.

Elder Scrolls Call to Arms: Goblins

I don’t normally play mobile games, due to their aggressive monetisation strategies, but I gave Elder Scrolls Blades a go. It’s okay as a dungeon crawler but the “waiting” mechanic is not fun. What i really liked is that it spiked my imagination with the visual designs of the world. The setting is a nice mix of Oblivion and Skyrim (more so Oblivion) and has some interesting designs for enemies. In particular, I Iiked the goblins and immediately thought of the Reaper goblin skirmishers.

I gave them a quick and sketch like paint job (just like the zombies as the sculpt quality lends it self to such painting). I also based them like all my other Elder Scrolls miniatures. Their size is smaller than the goblins in the actual Oblivion video game but the goblins in Blades are about this size. Here is an imperial legionnaire and a goblin from the game for comparison.

I plan to make some stats for them in the future. I just need to play some more games to get a sense of stats that make sense for them.

Elder Scrolls Call to Arms: Imperial Legion Faction Starter Set

Not long after getting the Delve Plastic Set for Elder Scrolls Call to Arms, I got the Imperial Faction starter set. I got the plastic one as in Australia these are the main ones for sale (not too many stores stock the resin set).

They were fun to paint up as the details are decently defined (I think the resin ones are better in detail though) and they are not over-sculpted (I’m looking at you Games Workshop). I used a mix of Scale 75, Vallejo and Citadel paints. I also used a brown ink to give the leather some saturation as the highlights I was applying started to desaturate the leather. Plus it also differentiated the leather brown from the wood brown. Both have the same base of brown – an attempt at colour harmony. All three paint ranges I used have a different finish (Citadel being satin and the progressing in matteness to the very matte Scale 75), so I tied it all together with AK Interactive’s ultra-matte varnish. I find this matte varnish when applied with a brush is actually matte, unlike vallejo’s matte varnish that is a bit satin when brushed on (apparently when applied through an airbrush it is actually matte but I don’t own an airbrush).

Terrain: Scratch Built Ruined Towers

I built some quick and easy ruined towers recently.

For the main curved structure I used a cardboard cylinder that whisky comes in. It has a decently sized diameter for a few miniatures to fit inside. I built around the cardboard on either side with expanded polystyrene (packaging foam) and coated it with a PVA, flour and salt mixture. I also put rocks cust from plaster in rock moulds to make the tower feel a part of the landscape more. Finally I added weathering with various Vallejo weather products and also panel lined with a black ink between all the bricks to enhance contrast.

Some more angles. They work well in a Skyrim setting for Elder Scrolls Call to Arms since they are cylindrical towers (would also work well for Middle-Earth SBG even with the slightly smaller scale).

Rangers of Shadow Deep: Zombies

So Rangers of Shadow Deep (RoSD) has capture my imagination. Mainly because of it’s setting: a dark evil and impending doom is encroaching on a kingdom and it’s up to the rangers to hold against the tide as long as they can. This is very much a like to what happened to Arnor from Middle-Earth universe. I’d imaging the story of Arnor inspired Joseph A. McCullough, the creator of RoSD, as he’s made it known in the magazine Blaster he is a Middle-Earth fan (the Vol. 1 issue even has a fellowship theme mission for RoSD).

While it will take some time to create the world I want for Arnor in RoSD, I’ve painted up some zombies for the current RoSD setting. They are Reaper zombies and are decent sculpts. I find that the somewhat softly sculpted details really lends to a minimalist or maybe impressionist way of painting (I’m not really knowledgeable about the arts, being a Mathematics teacher and all). I feel I don’t need to be super precise in my brush strokes, like with other crisply detailed models, and can bring out the volumes with rough, sketch-like the highlight. It allows me to think about where the light falls on the different volumes without being bogged down in trying to paint very well – I’m still learning to “master” many techniques after all.

Additionally, the lack of focus allowed me to think about colour harmony. I used the same desaturated green to bend into all the skin tones and cloth. I highlighted up everthing with a pale off white (Nacar from Scale 75). The then gave them a nice decaying atmosphere. It complements really nicely with the vibrant red blood. Though I’d imagine the undead wouldn’t have such oxygenated blood but the rule of cool triumphs over that consideration.

I have found a recipe I like for the bases. Paint the ground with a 3:3:1 of black, browny/grey and dark turquoisy blue respectively and then dry brush with a tan colour. Finally tone it down and dirt it up with a brown wash. This kind of cool but organic (the brown does this) fits welll in a rocky cold tundra type of landscape (e.g Skyrim or the northern parts of Eriador).

Elder Scrolls Call to Arms: Spiders, Troll and Flame Atronach

I recently bought the Into the Dark, an expansion for ES Call to Arms. Its looks interesting as a way to play more delve missions and get more adversaries. I plan to create my own custom ones and having a few official examples will hopefully give me an idea about how to make appropriate stats.

In Into the Dark, there are regular frostbite spiders and giant ones. The official models for the spiders come in one size and so I’ve proxied some Reaper spiders instead.

Scale-wise, the small spiders are a little too small but the larger one is just too big to be a regular frostbite spider, so it had to be the giant frostbite spider. I tried to find spiders with appropriate looking fangs so they somewhat resemble the actual Skyrim spiders. I used an stippling painting technique to build up texture on the miniatures as there was not a lot of sculpted details. I think they fit quite well with the official miniatures.

I also proxied an Atronach with a Reaper fire elemental and a frost troll with a Reaper yeti. The Atronach fits quite well and I only had to remove the wings from the original model. The Yeti doesn’t really look like an Skyrim troll – even with a sculpted third eye. I found it really hard to find a miniature that is close to the ape-like trolls of Skyrim. At least this miniature still looks cool.

If you’re wondering how I’ve done the snow, it is Valhallan Blizzard from Citadel.

Elder Scrolls Call to Arms: Gaming Setup

Last year I spotted Elder Scrolls: Call to Arms in my local hobby shop. It looked pretty interesting and I liked the solo mechanics (since I don’t really have anyone to game with). Some time after buying it I finally got around painting the Delve Set miniatures and to try a game.

What I’m enjoying the most about Call to Arms is painting the miniatures – I’m not much of a war gamer but I try. The sculpts are very nice and not very heroic in scale. There are some thick bits with the swords but overall close to true scale. These miniatures are the plastic ones and not resin. I have one set of resin miniatures, the Adventurers box, and the relief (“crispness”) of the details is better than the plastic. Additionally, since Call to Arms doesn’t have heaps of Skyrim/Elder Scrolls adversaries sculpted up (or available in my country), it has been a lot of fun finding proxies for wolves, spiders, trolls, etc.

The bear and wolves are Wizkids and the level of detail and scale fits will with the Call to Arms miniatures. I found it hard to find spiders with the “right” fangs that were not too over-the-top sculpted but this spider from Reaper is close enough. The ghosts are also Reaper and are cut to look like they are coming out of a rock or ancient burial location. I used Gamergrass highlands set to add tuffs of grass; I like their desaturated colour.

I plan to get more adversaries in the future…

Now about the gaming set up. The terrain is scratch built and the gaming board is two DnD adventure boards (enough for a 100 point game). For the rocks and tower, I just carved expanded polystyrene (packaging foam) and applied a seal of PVA, flour, salt and water to cover the bubbliness of the foam (search up Midwinter Minis on Youtube for his recipe). I will show some of these in future and briefly explain some of the steps.

Middle-Earth SBG: Battle Companies AI For Narrative Play

I have been look to play through the narrative scenarios in the battle companies supplement for Middle-Earth SBG. The only problem is that none of my friends are really into wargaming – prefering board games and DnD. So this has lead me to figure out (more like find) some solo rules for the game.

I found Isuldur’s Bane and read through it. It seems quiet interesting but maybe better suited for matched play or some of the higher miniature count scenarios. Finally, I found Battlin’ Barrows Gaming’s youtube video and he had some simple rules for narrative battle companies. This was exactly what I wanted. Unfortunately, the link in the comments to a PDF of the rules is dead.

Not letting that stop me, I transcribed his rules from the beginning of the video and made them into a presentable PDF. I added some stuff about heroes, cavalry and monsters. I’m yet to play with the rules but the Youtube video game play did prove promising.

Middle-Earth SBG: Rohan Warrior Conversion Chain Mail Hoods

I have quiet a few spare Rohan warriors, as my army for them is mainly the riders. This means I have models that I can attempt to convert with some sculpting.

I used a 50/50 mix of milliput and greenstuff to give a firm but workable putty. Not sure if I’d bother with the mix next time but I was easy to work with. It was my first time trying chain mail and I used Gardens of Hecate guide to give me an idea on what to do.

Overall, I am happy with my first attempt. The warriors with “face masks” on kinda remind me of medieval Russian warriors. In future I’d try to ensure there is a more “waviness” to the chain mail linking so they look more interwoven/linked. I’m also planning to reverse the shields so the wood side faces forward.

The guys will generic “hills men” that can be evil or good depending on the scenario I create.

Middle-Earth SBG: Uruk-Hai Army

This is the army that my shaman will be added to. The main reason I started an Uruk-Hai army was that I had a bunch of models and heroes lying around from when the Battle Games in Middle-Earth magazine was being published (2004ish). This was my first introduction to tabletop war games and miniature painting (I really wished they stressed about “two thin coats” in the painting tutorials). Also, since the army is mainly three colours – silver, brown and a reddish-brown – it was dead easy to paint.

Currently the army is made of two war bands: Lutz with banner bearer (converted pike dude), 5 uruk-hai warriors with sword and shield and another 5 with pikes; Ugluk with the same as Lutz minus the banner bearer.

The army is about 400 points and was put together for a local tournament last year that never happened due the the Covid-19 pandemic. I never ended up attended the subsequent tournament held later in the year.

In addition to the shaman I’m planning to add some crossbows, more warriors, another banner bearer, siege crew, a captain, berserkers, a troll and Saruman. I plan to do this on the cheap and will scour ebay for good ideas (more opportunities for conversions!).