Scratch built Frostgrave ruins

I originally had plans to make my Frostgrave scenery a mix of both complete and ruined buildings. In the end I decided against this and concentrated on ruins.

The main reason I changed my mind is time. Late last year I started making a terrace of Tudor style town houses using the early 90s GW techniques with foam card, balsa and filler – an upgraded full size tiled roof version of the Peasant Hovel I made a while back.

Scratch built Medieval style town houses – minus chimney pots!

This took over a week of sessions to produce and will probably take just as long to paint – it’s stored away until I get the mojo to actually paint it! I know it’ll be splendid when it’s completed but at that sort of rate I’d never finish anything so my plans needed an overhaul.

The second reason for making ruins is my gaming companions. I know full well that if I add complete buildings onto the table for a skirmish game the first thing they will want to do is get their characters inside buildings to hide and snipe from the windows!

With no desire to draw additional floorplans or increase the complexity of model building so they can be accessed by miniatures I’m just sticking to ruins that are accessible without lift off floors and roofs etc. 

I’ve briefly mentioned before about the polystyrene ceiling tile ruins that my old gaming companion ‘L’ and myself built back in the mid 80s. These were based on WW2 scenery he’d seen at a Wargaming Show and we used them for skirmish games of WFB 1st and 2nd Edition. I realised these would be perfect for Frostgrave and decided to look into them again.

Now it appears the world has moved on considerably since the mid 80s with regards to polystyrene tiles. It seems people no longer wish to add the (presumably aesthetic) illusion of paved panels to their ceilings anymore. Also it seems they no longer want to dramatically increase the flammability of their properties. This means the cheap polystyrene ceiling tiles that we used then are no longer available.

I needed to re-think the whole idea but to be fair the ruins we created back then were very fragile and wouldn’t store or travel well anyway. The idea was great but the execution needed an update.

Looking for inspiration there are plenty of youtube ‘how to’ videos and wargaming magazine articles about using hot glue guns and modern household materials for scenery building. I already own a glue gun so I decided to give it a go.


This is my cheap and cheerful way to rattle off some scenery. It was all painted with grey rattle can car paint primer as the base colour and then cheap pound store acrylic paints quickly brushed over the top – the entire lot was done in two days.


The walls for my ruins are just double thickness corrugated cardboard – two sheets glue gunned together.

The cornerstones, window surrounds and doorways are cereal packet card glued on to give the illusion of masoned stone.

I originally started making individual floor tiles but wasn’t happy with the time it was taking to cut them out or the overall look when finished. I changed to 20 & 25mm MDF miniature bases instead. Much quicker and more effective looking.


The rubble was some really cheap fish tank gravel PVA’d in place – it had to be the cheap stuff because it’s all different sizes of stone, the pricier stuff is too uniform in size so not as visually effective.

The texture on the walls is created by dragging the hot glue in streaks up and down the card. The edges have hot glue run along the tops and when cool repeated with PVA and sprinkled with sand/fine gravel to give a crumbling stone look to hide the corrugated edge.

The pillars are of course cake making decorations and constitute the biggest cost to this project – £13 for 8. I based them individually for maximum usability – this way they can be circled or lined up in vistas and crescents rather than having them glued as say one static ‘rectangular temple’ for example.

The bronze statue is this toy knight bought from a cheap store (Wilkos in the UK) for £2.

He’s been based so that he could technically be moved around as an animated adversary should the need ever arise in a game. I also purposely avoided using any of the verdigris paint washes as I dont like any of the effects they create. 

So that’s technically enough Frostgrave scenery to run a few games at least. You may have noted there’s no snow/ice on any of these. I was tempted to cover everything with a layer of Woodland Scenics Snow effect (I’ve even got an industrial size tub of the stuff I’ve not even opened yet) however I wanted to extend the usage of these items so held back. These items (minus the toy knight statue) could easily pass as WW2 Northern Europe or Dystopian near future ruins.

Frostgrave Combatants Pt7 – Knight

This model came in the same job lot purchase from eBay as the AD&D Assassin shown previously. He is of course Harald (Harry) the Hammer.

There’s been three versions of him over the years that I’m aware of. An early 80s pre-slotta version based on the WFB 1st Ed box cover art, a 2008 25th Anniversary limited edition Chaos Warrior and this one from the ‘Heroic Fighters of the Known World’ box set circa 1987.

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I’ll count this as a Knight for now rather than a standard Soldier although I do have boxes of both Fireforge Deus Vult Templar and Teutonic Infantry to make up which probably fit the bill better.

ME41 Goblin Warg Rider

I’ve mentioned before my predilection for the official AD&D miniatures produced under licence by Citadel in 1985. Of course that wasn’t the only line of licenced miniatures they were producing at this time. Another particularly splendid range (assuming you ignore the gargantuan 30mm Boromir mounted on a tiny 25mm scale horse) was the official Lord Of The Rings miniatures range.

This small set of figures was only part of Citadel’s range for a couple of years before the Lord of the Rings licence from Tolkien Enterprises moved on to Mithril Miniatures – presumably because Games Workshop wanted to concentrate their efforts on the more profitable Warhammer game line. Like all the figures designed at this point in time by Citadel they clearly show the transition in technical improvements in comparison to a lot of the ‘lumpy’ and poorly sculpted pre-slotta models in production from only the year before.

This particular goblin miniature (like other mounted figures across Citadel’s ranges then) was blister packed with another figure to represent the same miniature on foot. I never bought this blister but did manage to own the mounted goblin and wolf through a trade with a friend in 1986. I had plans for it to join my large Goblinoid Army in the ranks of the wolf riders however when the time came to paint and assemble these in the late 80s this model had disappeared – presumably a casualty of poor storage as I certainly don’t remember trading it.

Recently wanting to own this figure again had me searching for several months to try and buy a bargain on eBay as a replacement. This met with no success so in the end I bit the bullet and bought this one for about £7.

Back in the late 80s when I originally painted my wolf riders wolves were painted without any thought to how wolf fur actually looked. They were all the victims of a monotone coat of bluey grey like ‘Elf Grey’ or black with lighter grey highlights. This wasn’t just me trying to speed dry brush my way through regiments – it was the accepted norm that even GW studio painters used. There had also been a universal agreement by this point that Goblins had green skins and red eyes.

So with no desire to paint this as a green skin goblin on a plain grey wolf here’s my version with a nod towards more variation found in wolf fur colouration and a different take on goblin skin tone.

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The Dip – Mantic Orcs

My 2016 painting output so far has been pretty poor in comparison to last year however the introduction of dipping has meant I’ve rattled off at least one more complete unit this year.

I’ve waffled on about the pros and cons of the Mantic range in considerable depth before so there’s need to cover old ground again – suffice to say that these aren’t the greatest of Mantic’s output and are what I’d describe as ‘Wargaming Figures’.

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As I wasn’t particularly enamoured with these I went with the bog standard ‘green skin, red eye’. With hindsight I think they’d much better suit a ‘dark grey skin and yellow eye’ look. Ho hum, if they ever get a re-paint I’ll know what to do.

Frostgrave Random Encounters – Ice Toads

Long time again. It’s the standard excuse for this I’m afraid – real life. Work has been the main culprit, I often leave for work in the morning feeling envigorated and looking forward to painting in the evening only to return 11 hours later drained and unenthused about picking up a paint brush.

I’ve tried to negate this by buying a couple of new RPGs hoping that I could at least learn some new games for my gaming group but tiredness has meant I’ve only skimmed these books too. Hopefully things will ease up sooner rather than later and I’ll get back on track.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, I have managed to paint a few items since my last post.

So, Ice Toads for Frostgrave. I wasn’t too keen on the ‘official’ Ice Toad figure so looked around for alternatives. Not suprisingly there’s not a great deal out there. I’m guessing over the years of RPGs and Tabletop Miniature Gaming not many GMs have pitted Giant Toads against their PCs and obviously that’s reflected in model choice. I think we can all agree the Giant Toad is not, and probably never will be, the new Goblin… With this lack of miniature support I considered a couple of options.

The first option was the old Citadel Talisman Toad figure. This was available in various forms including a standard ‘plain toad’ version which I used to own so knew how it looked. I decided against it on the grounds of size and price – they fit on a 25mm base so don’t really look imposing enough and they’re rarely a bargain on eBay.

The other option was to use cheap plastic kids toys from China. Again this wasn’t ideal as the soft material these tend to be made out of doesn’t usually offer crisp enough detail or a decent surface to paint.

Whilst deliberating on all this I spotted these resin models on eBay so snapped a couple up instead. I have no idea who the manufacturer is*. I considered giving them an “icy look” but decided on more traditional toad colours. I think they work okay.

* Thanks to a tweet from Mike Williams (@CthulhuPunk – go follow him on twitter if you can) I now know where the toads are from:-

@HobgoblinOrange Noticed you didn’t know where these are from – sculpted by Iain from Toad King Castings toadkingcastings.co.uk/store/c6/Monst… Top bloke!”

 

Cheers Mike!

Red eye

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Green eye

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Top view to get an idea of the colour

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To get an idea of scale

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Ral Partha Firbolg

Another miniature I used to own back in the day which I’ve recently re-purchased second hand on eBay.

The Fir Bolg are of course a people in Irish/Celtic mythology so I’ve no idea where Ral Partha got the idea that this Giant type miniature resembling a Dwarf Berserker was some sort of Fir Bolg but hey ho – probably some crap 80s AD&D ‘creation’ from the TSR days.

The mythical Fir Bolg left Eire and settled in Greece before returning. This particular miniature came to me from a seller in France.

As far as fantasy back story I’ve always wanted to use him as a Giant that had been raised and adopted by Dwarfs since birth and so thought of himself as Dwarfish, hence his look. A joke/oxymoron ‘Dwarf Giant’ if you wish.

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It’s all been a bit quiet here on my blog recently. Purely down to real life not allowing me much time do anything hobby wise other than minimal painting, my weekly gaming session with friends and listening to some gaming podcasts.

With this in mind I have a twitter account should anyone be interested – @HobgoblinOrange – the garbled reminiscences of miniatures and RPGs from yesteryear and talk about more modern things. In other words a continuation of this blog. Engage if you can!