Category Archives: Miniatures

Articles which talk about miniatures, painting them, etc.

A day of updates #3 – Painting Pain

I’ve not touched a quality miniature with anything other than a basecoat in ages.  Sure, I painted some of the HeroQuest mini’s for our (currently off) D&D game, but they’re quick gaming quality jobs.  For some reason I’m just finding it hard to pick up a quality mini and trust myself to do a good job.  Essentially, I’m suffering a huge crisis of faith in my painting.  I know I’m not an award winning painter, but I used to be happy with the results (in a general sense) and not afraid to put paint onto the figure.  Now for some reason I just feel as though I’ll be ruining a really good sculpt and maybe I shouldn’t do that.

It’s a combination of seeing some of the awesome paint work other folk can do, and talking to the people who’ve actually sculpted these miniatures.  It feels too personal, like I’ll be ruining their effort.

Anyway, I’m trying to give myself a stern talking to and to get over myself, and just get on with it because it’s enjoyable and relaxing.  Maybe I’ll get some done if I can sit up after the surgery.

HeroQuest (again)

I’m quite excited by the prospect of using the mini’s from the HeroQuest boardgame for use during D&D sessions.  They’re plastic, robust and ideal.  However, they don’t cover all the monster options you need.  Despite that, I’ve been painting them, as you know, and there’s a huge pile of them to do.  In the last couple of days I’ve been checking ebay to see what else there might be, and I was reminded of Advanced HeroQuest (which is not the same as HeroQuest Advanced edition).  Then I remembered I had an edition of Advanced HeroQuest, and then I remembered I had three editions of HeroQuest (one of which is HeroQuest advanced).  Thinking about it, I realised I only had two sets of hero miniatures.  Which meant it was likely I was missing two sets.

Today I opened the boxes, and the net result is another pile of miniatures to paint.  Basically, I now have (including HeroQuest x 2, HeroQuest Advanced Edition x 1, Advanced HeroQuest x 1, 2 x HeroQuest expansions)

  • Skaven – 20 – unpainted
  • Heroes – 16 – 5 painted
  • Chaos Warriors – 12 – 8 painted
  • Chaos Priests – 3 – 2 painted
  • Gargoyles – 3 – 1 painted
  • Ogres – 7 – unpainted
  • Zombies – 10 – 8 painted
  • Skeletons – 20 – 4 painted
  • Mummies – 10 – 2 painted
  • Fimir – 12 – 2 painted
  • Pikemen – 12 – unpainted
  • Men at Arms – 10 – 1 painted
  • Orcs – 31 – 3 painted
  • Goblins – 24 – 18 painted

So we’ve got our work cut out.  The Advanced HeroQuest figures and the Ogres are more traditional miniature resin than the plastic of the old HeroQuest figures, so they’re not quite so robust but they’ll still do the job.  And I needed a lot of skaven, as it happens.


I loved HeroQuest, even though I never really got to play it enough.  I have several versions, and some expansions, in various states of repair, and that means I have a lot of plastic mini’s that came with the game.  I’d mostly forgotten about them until last week, when I was wondering about getting some figures for our D&D sessions.  It suddenly occurred to me I probably had enough stashed away (I wanted something durable, and lightweight that we could chuck about on the battle map and not worry too much about) so I collected them all up and yep, there’s loads.

Mostly unpainted though – but I set about fixing that.  Finished up all the zombies (8 of them), and decided to start on the goblins (since both myself and Chris need a lot of zombies and goblins in the games at the moment).  I asked Grete if she wanted to lend a hand, and she did, helping paint her first miniatures.

Here’s the resulting goblin hoard (I base coated them yesterday so they’ve gone from nothing to game-ready in 2 days).

There’s 18 of them all-together including one I painted years ago.  It’s a superfast paint job, base coat, wash, dry brush, clothing, wash, drybrush, detail.  But it does the job for miniatures you’re going to be gaming with.

Now, if only I knew where to get the 4 red dragons in hard waring plastic resin I’ll need for the next game … 😉

The Zombies are Coming

I started writing a blog post a month or so ago entitled “The Zombies are Coming” (hey! like this one!) in a faux-serious style, explaining that all the signs indicated an imminent zombie invasion and we should prepare.  I was going to link to a load of internet sites discussing zombies and zombie attacks and suggest they were likewise serious and could offer information on how to survive the inevitable invasion.

However, I wasn’t up to the task of making it funny so it got canned.  But I was thinking about it again today, and musing to myself that if emerging and enduring themes in roleplaying games, movies, gaming miniatures, board games, card games, computer games and entertainment in general are any indication of future events (which clearly they’re not) – then a zombie infestation really can’t be that far away.

Survival Horror really has gripped us tightly in the last few years, with a slew of games, movies and other entertainment media.  Clearly we’re not looking at a new phenomenon, zombie movies have been around nearly as long as movies themselves, but the reason it struck me lately is mainly the number of 28mm miniatures dedicated to zombie games (both zombies and zombie hunters / survivors).  Here’s a selection (sometimes it’s not clear if the online store is selling their own models, or someone elses, but I’ll try and be clear).

and on, and on and on.

Face it folks, the zombies are coming, you better be (next link not safe for work and very gory) prepared.

Painting Diary – Hasslefree – Eve – part one


Eve leg strapsI really enjoyed writing the Sasha Dubois painting diary posts (start here), they actually made the process of painting the figure more interesting.  I thought I’d try stepping things up a notch, have a go at one of Hasslefree’s awesome sculpts (Eve), and write a few posts on doing that.  In terms of anatomy, relative sizes and detail it’s probably the best miniature I’ve ever tried to paint.  Usually things like belts or leg straps are 0.5mm or more in depth on miniatures, if you consider the scale (28mm being around 168cm) then a 0.5mm strap is about 3cm deep (I think), which is clearly unrealistic.  However, we’re talking about ‘representative’ miniatures, so it’s never been an issue for me.  Hasslefree sculpts are on the more realistic side of the barrier, so leg straps have a tiny depth (see image), barely any higher than the surrounding leg.  Painting this figure is going to be a challenge.

To add to that challenge, there are some amazing paint jobs of Eve on the Hasslefree site, the people who paint those mini’s are real artists and their attention to detail, brush control and fine touch is beyond me.  So I just hope I do the figure some kind of justice in my own way.
Continue reading Painting Diary – Hasslefree – Eve – part one

Size matters

So, here’s a collage (I love Picasa) of 10 miniatures.  In theory, these are all 28mm or 32mm scale mini’s.  It’s 1024 wide so if you’re looking at this on your smart phone you may want to wait!  Click for the full size image.  From left to right, top to bottom they are, Big Boris (Heresy), Echo (Black Scorpion), Black Jack Davey (Black Scorpion), Sheriff (Black Scorpion), Sadie (Hasslefree), Tony (Hasslefree), Shimmer (Hasslefree), Ceril (Hasslefree), Kat (Hasslefree) and a dwarf from Rackham for a completely wacky counterpoint.

Miniature Size comparison


So I’ve been ordering a bunch of miniatures recently, a couple or three from a range of different places to find out which ones I like best.  You can get an impression of the miniatures from the on-line shops but you’ll never really know what they’re like until you get some.  From Hasslefree I bought Ceril, Eve, Kat, Tony, Sadie and Shimmer.  I can’t believe how clean the molds are, virtually no mold lines and absolutely zero flash.  The mini’s are really delicate and very fine.  They’re beautiful, but I fear I won’t be able to do them justice when painting them, and personally I think I tend to prefer slightly over-scaled miniatures (heroic scale, 32mm, whatever you want to call them) with slightly exagerated features.  We’ll see how they work out.

From Heresy I bought Big Boris mk2 and some green stuff (modelling putty, to fill gaps when I’m putting multi-part mini’s together).  There was quite a lot of flash on the axe, but hardly any mold lines or flash anywhere else.  The figure is pretty big as 28mm scaled figures go, I’ll get a photograph of them all together sorted out with a ruler or something.  I got Big Boris because I wanted a go at painting flesh with a lot of area to work with, and he fits that bill.  I’m eyeing up the sci-fi range at Heresy, so you may see some more stuff from them soon.

I bought three mini’s from Black Scorpion miniatures, really to see what scale they were and get a feel for them.  I got Echo, Sheriff, and Black Jack Davey to see what the various ranges were like.  There’s a lot more flash on these figures than Hasslefree or Heresy, and some quite large pieces of metal left over from the molding process.  They’re also much more like the figures I’m used to when compared to Hasslefree (they’re slightly less realistic and more overscaled), but that’s good, because I think that’s what I prefer.  They’re nice figures.

Then last night I found a link to another UK miniature place (Copplestone Castings) on a forum, and ended up buying a few miniatures from them (clearly, not arrived yet), to see what they’re like.

Most of the Hasslefree miniatures are multi-part, because the angle of the arms or various weapons prevents them from being cast a single pieces, the Boris mini from Heresy is also clearly multi-part for the same reason and also so that several options can be provided.  The Black Scorpion Miniatures likewise, have several bits.  So over the last couple of weeks and for a few hours yesterday I’ve been glueing them together using super-glue.  I don’t think any of them are large enough to need pinning (strengthening the join with metal pins), but I guess we’ll find out when I try painting them if they fall apart.

First real go at non-drybrush skin

I’ve gotten into the habit of just dry brushing skin tones on miniatures, in fact, dry brushing everything.  These three mini’s represent my first serious goes at non-dry brush skin.  I picked mini’s with a lot of spare flesh since the aim was to practice flesh tones.  The top three are from a female warrior and is the one I’m trying to get most right, the bottom three shots are two Ral Partha mini’s I’m using to test things out on for now.

inprogressI’m pretty pleased in general, there’s a lot of scope for much smoother blending, but I’m pleased with the general highlights.  I just need to look at more real flesh to work out how it actually looks (I’m going to call it research).

Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part seven

Is that a Light I see before me?

touch-up-comparisonI often find that with miniatures the end sneaks up on you, and it’s no different with Sasha.  One moment I was looking and thinking there was a lot of work ahead, and the next minute, she’s done.  Done in the sense that the main figure is done, the base is clearly not done, but I haven’t properly based a miniature for about 10 years since all I do when they’re finished is stick them in a foam box.  So, this is part seven in a seven or maybe eight part diary about painting Sasha DuBois (other parts are one, two, three, four, five, six).

Yesterday (Saturday as I write this) we popped out after breakfast to Hobbycraft and Maplins and picked up a few things.  Some acrylic extender which I’ve been after for a while, a magnifying visor, a brush stand and a few other items.  Acrylic extender prevents the paint drying so quickly which is useful when it’s very thin, which in turn is very useful when using small brushes and detail work.  I tested the visor on a couple of other miniatures and then set about Sasha’s yellow bits.  The extender is really excellent, keeping the paint on the brush useful even when moving slowly with small amounts of paint, and the visor is good enough to let me see some real detail.  The picture just above shows the panels on the back of the figure before and after the second layer.  That layer was put on using the extender and the visor.  That was all that got done on the figure on Saturday.  There’s a few of photo’s of that stage after the cut …

Continue reading Painting Diary – Chronoscope – Sasha DuBois – part seven