Westfalia Miniatures had a Kickstarter for a lovely looking set of 28mm ‘Halfmen’ that closed back in March 2016. I backed it for a bunch of figures which arrived late 2016 after a few production hiccups along the way with the casting process that was used.
The final figures are lovely little resin casts that are great fun to paint. They’re fairly light on detail, but not on character and really look like a bunch of pugnacious little Halfings ready to take on the world. They were also pretty clean casts, with only two slight miscasts in around 12 figures.
I picked up a fairly mixed bag from the Kickstarter: a Wizard and Apprentice, and several swordsmen, pikemen, crossbowmen as well as a command squad. I also got a bonus Goblin and couldn’t resist a female human swords-woman (she’s going to be Snow White in the warband). The figures are all available on the Westfalia website now if you follow those links.
I bought enough figures to run a large Frostgrave warband, although I haven’t played that system in a while! If they don’t get used for Frostgrave, they might be used for Song of Blades and Heroes. Regardless they’re lovely little figures and great fun to paint as a break from WWII or sci-fi stuff.
Recently I set up my Hirst Arts Mordheim table and took some photos, because some of the fine folks at the TCOW gaming club were curious about what I had hidden in the garage. I’ve built this table up over years, from a variety of Hirst Arts molds, balsa wood, and foam board. If you look at older posts in the blog’s Mordheim category you’ll find the details.
To exercise the table, I’ve ordered a copy of Osprey’s Frostgrave from the Book Depository and hopefully it’ll get here before Xmas! I’m also going to invest in a little hobby time to build a handful more walkways, and ladders, and maybe two or three more fence sections to add to the set up. I must also finish the basing and painting on the Hirst Arts ruined Church I largely finished building earlier this year. That would make a great centrepiece for the table as well.
In the last week I spent a fair bit of time working with my Hirst Arts molds and projects. I made some major progress on this ruined Hirst Arts Church + Belltower combination, which has been sitting in my garage cupboards since March, 2004! That makes it one of the oldest terrain projects I haven’t completed, so it’s time I knocked it off. It’s built from Hirst Arts Gothic molds #40, #54, #55, and #235 for the gingerbread decoration and roof tiles.
This building was originally started for Mordheim and I had plans to embed a large chunk of wyrdstone into the floor. However since then I’ve decided to move it back towards a more vanilla build that I can use in Mordheim, Bolt Action WWII games, 40k in 40 minutes or Kill Team, and perhaps for Pulp .45 Adventure gaming in the English countryside. I’ve scattered some WHFB figures in there for scale.
Continue reading Hirst Arts Ruined Church with Belltower
I used up the last of my USGS Ultracal 30 years ago and haven’t done any casting since then because the supplier I used closed up shop. I’ve always cast my Hirst Arts molds with Ultracal 30 because it’s a superbly hard, quick setting, low shrinkage gypsum plaster.
Asking amongst my hobbyist friends a while ago, Kim recommended New Zealand Ceiling and Drywall Supplies who I’ve finally got around to trying. Their price for 22 kg bag of Ultracal 30 is a little more than my previous supplier, but they deliver to your door for free, and they’ll happily deliver even a single bag, which surprised me. Their delivery is super prompt too, I ordered on Monday and a bag of Ultracal 30 was on my doorstep by Wednesday lunchtime.
That’s great service, but beware they’re delivery naked paper sacks of plaster so you probably want to order during summer rather than winter because you don’t want them getting wet. However because of the price and service, I’ll definitely be using NZCDS again when I need more good casting plaster.
So now I have Ultracal 30 back in the garage I’ve gone on something of a casting spree. The photo shows the last four 1′ x 1′ tiles I’ve cast up, assembled and dry brushed this past week for my Mordheim table. These four tiles mean I now have enough to cover a standard 4′ x 4′ play area. Unfortunately it also means I have another 4 square feet of table that needs to be covered with ruined Mordheim buildings. So I’ve dug out a couple of medium to large Hirst Arts projects and am just considering how I’m going to finish them off…
Continuing the theme of “finishing stuff I should have done years ago”, here’s my Mordheim Undead warband finally entirely painted. Rather than using the rather ugly Dracula figure that was part of the original Mordheim Undead metals (and which I seem to have either lost or never owned), I painted up an old Games Workshop Lahmian Fantasy Vampire instead. She’s a nicer figure, although she’s only armed with a dagger and a snake. For Mordheim I’m going to call the snake on her arm a ‘mace’.
To finish off this warband I only needed to paint the Vampire and the two metal Dregs. Once again these figures have been kicking around in my garage since at least 2003. The majority of them were also carefully painted with multiple coats and ink washing too, unlike the Vampire and Dregs who got a base coat, some highlighted flesh and a simple dip in Wattyl stained floor varnish. At tabletop range, it’s hard to tell the difference between those dipped figures and the other ones.
Unfortunately most of my spray on varnish has expired, so these figures are a little more ‘gritty’ feeling than they should be. You can see the shonky varnish in evidence, particularly on the base of that lead Dreg. Compare it to the base of the Zombie to his left and you’ll see the problem. Oh well, I’ve since chucked out all my old varnish and purchased a new batch!
Next on the paint station is a bunch of plastic Cadians. I have two whole troop squads with heavy weapons, plus their command squad and an all metal Cadian HQ section that I’m going to experiment on with Army Painter ‘Desert Yellow’ coloured spray primer.
According to the archives of this blog, I started assembling this Reiklander warband for Mordheim back in July 2003! That’s a little embarrassing really and it makes this warband a year older than my oldest child.
This week I’ve finally finished painting the original warband to a tabletop standard. They were half laboriously hand painted, and half speed painted and dipped. Honestly, once they’re on the table you can’t really tell the difference between those two painting methods either.
Now it’s onto re-assembling my Skaven Mordheim warband and speed painting the lot of them. Alas Games Workshop retired their great multi-part Clanrat sprues in 2009 apparently, and replaced them with rather uninspired single body figures – ugh. Hopefully I have enough pre-2009 Skaven bits to build a decent warband. I’ll also have to pick up an old school metal Rat Ogre from somehwere…
We’ve been playing a little bit of Mordheim recently, one of the better Games Workshop ‘Specialist Games’ that came out decades ago and have since been abandoned by GW. We still play on the 3′ x 4′ Mordheim table I built years ago from Hirst Arts tiles.
This table features a large, central 3′ canal section with a single bridge, which inevitably becomes a choke point. After years of play on the table I’ve decided the canal needs more than a single method of crossing it.
Digging around recently in the garage I uncovered my stash of cast Hirst Arts blocks. I didn’t have enough bridge and arch pieces left to create an entire, intact fieldstone bridge. Fortunately Mordheim is a ruined city and I did have enough remnants left to build two simple free-standing bridge parts. I want them free standing so they can be moved around to cross different parts of the canal. They also extend out far enough that the gap can be bridged with a variety of balsa wood plank sections I also made years ago, or for the more adventurous, the gap could be left empty and the Mordheim ‘heroic leaping’ rules put into play.
I have an Mordheim Orc and Goblin warband that is older than my youngest child (who’s now seven). If you’ve even played Mordheim you know that it’s not uncommon to change weapons between games, as you acquire more loot. To this end I painted all my Orc and Goblin arms separately years ago. The photo shows all my Orc arm options, including a few crudely sculpted wooden clubs. Typically these were blue tacked onto the painted Orc bodies prior to gaming, which worked but was kind of a crappy interim solution.
We haven’t played Mordheim for years, but as I had a bunch of tiny 2mm rare earth magnets kicking around in the garage I decided to try magnetising this Orc warband. Drilling out the shoulders with a pin vice was fairly easy, doing the arms took a little more care but they worked fine. The magnets easily have enough force to hold the limbs on, and can also hold them in any position.
Here’s the Mordheim Orcs with a set of magnetised arms, and the same Orcs with a second set. I should have done this years ago, and if anybody out there is still playing Mordheim grab yourself some rare earth magnets and go for it. I bought the magnets from Aussie Magnets and will probably grab another batch of 100 x 2mm discs as they’re immensely useful for war gaming.
Ah, apparently Aussie Magnets no longer ship to New Zealand. That is unless you want to pay $54 for ‘International Courier’. Instead I guess I’ll be trying out Dangerous Magnets, who are a local crowd.
As dipping Orcs in off the shelf pre-stained wood varnish worked so well I thought I’d try some different coloured dip. Unfortunately Wattyl don’t make a green all-in-one varnish product so following Dustan’s advice again, I mixed my own. I picked up some Tamiya X-25 ‘Clear Green’ enamel paint from a local hobby store, a pot of clear satin floor varnish from the hardware store and combined them with a little ‘ebony’ oil based stain in an old, clean mint-jelly jar (which seemed appropriate). The dip was made by pouring two thirds of the Tamiya X-25 in and then slowly adding the satin floor varnish until I had a tone I was happy with, then I darkened the dip down by slowly adding small amounts of the ebony wood stain. Essentially I was trying to match the depth of colour of the wood stain product I used on the Orcs.
I dusted off some of the fifty assembled but unpainted Zombies I made for my Vampire Counts force, base coated them and dipped them into the new, minty green dip. Here’s the first four, matt varnished and ready to shamble. I’m not entirely satisfied with the results though, they’re passable for a gaming paint job but I think they’re not as successful as the dipped Orcs.
The green dip works well over the Games Workshop Camo Green that was used as the basic flesh tone, but don’t think it works that well over the brown tones on the figures. This is unfortunate because it’s earthy tones I typically paint with, which is obviously if you look at the Orcs I’ve been dipping, or any of my Pulp figures from the past. Ah well, perhaps it’s time to expand my repertoire and the green dip certainly works over whites like Skull White primer, off-whites like Bleached Bone, Rotting Flesh and yellows and yellow-browns like Khommando Khaki and Bubonic Brown. I’m also very happy with the way it’s worked on the Boltgun Metal chest plate and suspect it’ll go quite nicely over Shining Gold as well.
So I think I’ll forge ahead regardless of my reservations. I’ve tidied up half of my 50 Zombies ready for base coating and dipping so I might as well keep painting. It’s been suggested that I try varying the skin tone a little and I do wonder how the green dip would go over light blue or even purple tinged flesh. I suspect you could probably end up with some quite delightfully fetid looking Zombies… (cue rolling thunder, lightning flash).
As it’s been over six months since I last did any work on the Hirst Arts Cathedral, it’s probably time for an update. Particularly since I’m supposed to be finishing this project!
If you’re a regular visitor you may have noticed I haven’t got a lot of hobby work done this year for a variety of reasons and the same is true of this project unfortunately. I’ve done some minor work around the doors of the left bell tower and finished off the front-piece of the central hall as well as building the back-piece too.
I need to do some more casting of those cursed 1″ x 1/2″ flat gothic tiles to have enough pieces to build the next set of long inside and outside walls. I suspect may also be short of a few other pieces too so hopefully I can dredge up enough Ultracal 30 dust to finish casting.
I’ve given up using those gothic flats for the interior doorways and instead am using the joined gothic square pieces as I have an excess of them cast. I believe they’re meant to be used to build up the double floors needed for the left and right bell towers. However I’ll use painted balsa wood for these square floors as I’d like to make them removable so you can get figures into the towers during play.
The Cathedral is really starting to shape up and I’m considering painting some of the large pieces to keep me motivated. All I need is one big push and I’m confident I’ll be able to finish the major construction work before starting on detailing and finishing off bit and pieces like the flying buttresses etc.
Once that’s done we’ll have to play about 50 games over Mordheim to justify the effort in building this thing!