It’s been a bit quiet on the blog this last few weeks. I’ve been busy assembling/kit bashing/scratch building both miniatures and terrain pieces so have lots on the go but nothing’s finished yet and can’t show anything new.
Given I’ve finished my Frostgrave project recently I thought I’d put a few completed group photos of it on the blog, starting with Warband Combatants. The plan will be to re-paint all the bases for these adding mosses/dried grass etc.
First some Wizards. The snow mix I used when I originally did these has discoloured considerably. I dislike snowy bases. I dislike yellow snow even more. These are top of the list for rebasing.
A selection of Warband Combatants. A mix of both metal and plastic figures from various manufacturers. Seems I’m missing the last 3 Essex Miniatures I painted.
Treasure tokens. Also looks like I’m missing the Citadel demon brazier for this photo.
Next time I’ll cover the random encounter creatures.
Another couple of the miniatures from Essex painted up.
The first is described as a ‘Scaley Orc: Rabble with Axe and Dagger’. There’s definitely a reptilian feel to this, it put me in mind of an angry Barney the Dinosaur. I might buy another and paint it magenta…
Next up is a ‘Gnoll: with Cutlass’. At some point in time it was universally settled that Gnolls would be based on Hyenas rather than just being vaguely canine. This miniature predates that.
Back in the mid 80s my old friend ‘L’ introduced me to Essex Miniatures via a couple of Medieval and Roman figures he’d picked up at a Wargaming Show.
I sent off for a copy of the Essex catalogue and spent far too much time flicking through it wondering just what the ‘Wizard in hood with magical staff’ or ‘Early Medieval Spearman in Scale Corselet and Helmet with Shield’ looked like. Back then, pre-digital, many small companies couldn’t afford to produce decent photographic images of their miniatures. You had to hope the imaginative descriptions applied by the manufacturers didn’t end in uninspiring lead blobs plopping through your parent’s letterbox 3 weeks later.
To be fair Essex did occasionally advertise in White Dwarf with photos. Although their products looked okay they weren’t strong enough to hook me in as I was preoccupied by Citadel Miniatures like a lot of kids in the hobby back then. Other manufacturers rarely got anything more than an annual request for a catalogue from me.
Come the early 90s my tastes had expanded beyond Games Workshop and I starting to get interested in historical wargaming with rulesets like DBA played with 15mm figures. Miniature Wargames Magazine occasionally showed Essex Miniatures in photos accompaning their articles and expansions for DBA. My interest piqued again.
I sent off for an Essex Miniatures catalogue and this time instead of just idly perusing I actually ordered a couple of ancient DBA armies in 15mm. I wasn’t disappointed. They were wonderfully sculpted, painted up beautifully and were inexpensive to boot. And then, for reasons unknown, I once again forgot all about Essex Miniatures.
Fast forward 25 years and a job lot of old miniatures purchased from eBay stirred my interest in Essex again. They’re still going and of course offer online ordering nowadays however somethings never change; not every figure has a photo, the Amazons are still dodgy (although none of them are portrayed as victims so there’s a minor plus) and not every sculpt is great – some could even be described as absolute howlers that were terrible even 35 years ago. After choosing a mix of fantasy and medieval figures I placed an order and it arrived very promptly.
Behold! Not a bad miniature amongst them in my opinion. Some of these figures were originally sculpted in 1981 whilst others are from slightly later – 1986. The keen eyed amongst you will spot the sculpting talents of Bob Olley here, pre-Iron Claw Miniatures. All came without problem mould lines or excessive flash which can often marr older sculpts and moulds. Splendid stuff. Please give Essex Miniatures consideration if their postage rates are sensible for you.
Here’s the Bob Olley Zombie figure from above painted up for use in my D&D game with the Cleric who enjoys the ‘Animate Dead’ spell a little too much.
Another pre-slotta Citadel miniature and the description on the base was ‘High Elf Fighter/Thief’ – back in the days when there was still a slant towards using D&D RPG descriptions for Citadel Miniatures, pre Warhammer.
This one caught my eye as a flamboyant looking elf so I decided on fairly outlandish colours.
For a while I’ve concentrated on painting a mixture of Reaper Bones and old school pre-slotta lead miniatures, primarily for use with Frostgrave and 5th Ed D&D games.
Like most miniature painters I have lots of old lead and far too many new plastic kits awaiting my attention. With this in mind I’ve probably spent enough time on Frostgrave and D&D minis for now and so fancy a change of painting direction.
To draw these projects to a temporary close I’m going to try and finish the Frostgrave collection off (just 5 more miniatures to complete it), clear down some other ‘WIP’ bits and then move on to hopefully putting an Ork Kill Team together for Shadow War Armageddon (SWA).
Anyway, this week’s offering were part of that ‘WIP’ – various Hobgoblins from Nick Lund’s Chronicle Miniatures company. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before Lund’s sculpting style is very much a love/hate thing for a lot of painters. I personally love his style but I can appreciate why others don’t. I don’t think I’m being negative by describing it as ‘primitive’ – I think that’s a genuine part of the appeal to me.
Lund started sculpting in the 80s but had stopped by the early 90s. I would have enjoyed seeing how his style developed beyond that into the following years but sadly it wasn’t to be. The rumours are an allergic reaction to his preferred modelling medium put an end to his sculpting. He moved into game design but now appears to have completely disappeared from the gaming hobby after the collapse of Grenadier UK in 1996.
Below is another Citadel C13 Night Goblin from 1983 that was meant to have been painted with this lot however it was lurking in dettol at the time and escaped my memory/attentions. I’ve rectified that and its now part of the warband.
Various mixed Goblins here. included are some C12/C13 Great/Night Goblins from the early 80s, the original Grom model and trooper from the first version of the RR3 Regiment of Renown set, a couple of later C12 Goblins and finally Grizlock the Hobgoblin from the 2nd Dungeon Monsters Starter Set.
Another couple of medieval figures from the job lot painted up for Frostgrave.
First up is a Peasant spearman. I’m unsure who the manufacturer is but he doesn’t appear to be from Essex Miniatures. His round face and short stature puts me in mind of a youthful D&D hireling fresh to the adventuring life. In other words monster fodder…
The second figure is from Essex Miniatures and is actually a Medieval Sapper/Miner. He has a shifty peasant look about him (Psst! Wanna buy some dung? Only a farthing…) so I think he’ll make a good thief in Frostgrave.
Over the last few years I’ve managed to repurchase two of my favourite Citadel C20 Trolls that I owned back in the 1980s, sculpted by the Perry Twins in 1984. I bought them because a) they were inexpensive as far as these sculpts go and b) because I still love them 32 years after first laying eyes on them.
When I started compiling a list for the random encounter creatures in Frostgrave I initially resisted the idea of using these for it, thinking I’d save them for a (as of yet unspecified) “grander plan”.
After searching for Trolls to paint for Frostgrave nothing appealed to me so I changed my mind and used them.
When painting the Frost Giant for Frostgrave I wrote about flesh tones and how I planned to use grey for the Trolls. This hasn’t happened for two reasons. Firstly I was worried they’d get washed out in the standard basing I’m using for the project – battleship grey. It helps if figures can stand out from this and I didn’t think grey skinned trolls would. Secondly I couldn’t bring myself to paint these old figures in anything other than green!
I did however go for paler skin tones than the standard ‘goblin green’ that predominated GW Goblinoid armies from 1985 onwards. In fact, with all those Orcs, Goblins, Snotlings, Trolls (until blue and grey became their thing) and Hobgoblins PLUS using it for painting bases Games Workshop must have sold A LOT of Goblin Green paint in the 80s and 90s…