Jun 222010

I’ve been buying various fantasy miniatures related books and publications lately, focusing on what in my opinion was the golden era of miniatures; the 1980s. My main purpose is to find inspiration for my own miniatures and modeling projects – but also to be able to get that miniature fix without having to play, paint or even get out of bed. Mmm… effortless gaming.

First of several books is Fantasy Wargaming – Games With Magic & Monsters by Martin Hackett. I came accross mentions of it on TMP when googling for miniature books. Comments were mixed, ranging from praise to entertaining pannings. I’ll soon get to the panning part myself.

Let’s begin with the physical properties of the book. At 232 hard-bound pages, it’s fairly thick and sturdy but a bit small; only 24 cm tall and 16 cm wide. All but 8 pages are black and white.

The majority of the contents of this book revolves around presenting the fantasy wargaming and role playing hobby. It’s obviously a work of passion by a guy who loves his hobby and he wants you as a reader to love it too. In his excitement he crosses the line from calm enthusiast to full on frothing geekboy fundamentalist. He gets a bit carried away.

I’ve heard this book referred to as “well worth having for the pictures alone” – but that’s just not true. In fact, it’s a blatant lie. It’s not subjective or in the eye of the beholder – this book is NOT worth having for the pictures alone. Or for any other reason, as a matter of fact.

The quality of most pictures is pretty poor. Black and white pictures of poorly painted and poorly based miniatures, or just bare metal miniatures. As previously mentioned, there are 8 colour pages in the centre of the book. A few of them are decent, others would have been splendid as a full page in landscape format. Most are of the author’s own poorly painted collection.

Here are two examples of how little Hackett cared for paragraphs, as well as some examples of the picture quality in the book.

Apart from poor pictures and inane rambling (no, not my blog!) the writer decided to cram in some sort of rules system. These are the most confusingly laid out rules I’ve ever seen. If you’ve played War of the Ring (from Fantasy Flight, not the GW game) you know there are some rather opaque rules sets out there. This beats the WotR rules, without contest! I can’t even pick out an example, as the rules are so mixed up with anecdotes and opinion that they’re impossible to make sense of. I’ll just leave you with these examples of inspirational tables and maps. Would you play a rule set by a man who made these?

So, in conclusion not my finest purchase. I would recommend people to not get this book. It’s good for a laugh or two, but as a source of inspiration it fails. A few of the pictures are intriguing (I saw some cool Ventauran Space Troopers from Denizen) and the author’s genuine (but sometimes scary) enthusiasm for fantasy gaming gives him some credit. Also, it was published in 1990 and if I had owned it at that time I might’ve thought the pictures to be the dog’s danglies. Now, in 2010 it’s at a terrible disadvantage to the ‘net. Some other older books stood the test of time much better. For my next “review” of sorts, I’ll take a look at the Citadel book “Fantasy Miniatures” from 1989.

If you’re wondering how things are going with the Stillburg project I’m progressing nicely albeit at a slower rate than I had hoped. Two of the remaining seven hero miniatures are painted, and I’m hard at work with Aldor Berlepsch now. Once he’s done, the four main characters are finished and I’ll post them on here complete with stats and back stories.

Jun 212010

I did it, I finally finished the last undead miniature for the first scenario in the Stillburg campaign! Very happy with that, it’s the first time ever that I’m making this good progress with a miniature painting project!

Enough about me though, and on to the undead lads. First, we have a regular run-of-the-mill skeleton trooper from the Nightmare Legion regiment of renown.

Not much to say about him. He’s very similar to the other guy from the same regiment I painted a while back. No helmet, a ring mail cowl instead. That’s about the only difference. I have the third sculpt too, and a bunch of doubles. Haven’t decided how I’m going to paint Mordini (he’s the leader of the regiment in Warhammer fluff) and the regiment champion in the same colour scheme and possibly also keep a bunch of the standard troopers. A 28 mm skeleton regiment? If that is not a step down the path of doom, I don’t know what is. The remaining troopers are up for sale at the moment though, let me know if you’re interested.

Next is this armoured skeleton which I’m quite fond of. It turned out well and was very nice to paint. The shield is a bit naff, and looks too clean but as discussed on the LAF, I just don’t have the heart to dirty up my minis.

I’m in two minds on how to treat these heavily armoured skeletons. I think I should do some sort of “elite troops” type of profile for SOBH, but for now they’ll be used as regular skeletons the lot of them. If I ever paint up the remaining Legion troopers, they’ll serve as lame skeletons and the armoured guys will be a bit beefed up.

Here’s another of the armoured ones. The miniature was severely beat up, so much that I despaired at the beginning when I started painting him. After initial problems, I decided to do a full metallic scheme on his armour and things turned a lot easier. Turned out OK, but lack of definition and soft edges was a bit of a problem.

This here is probably my favourite skeleton! The poor unfortunate sod have a spear piercing his torso diagonally – how’s that for bad luck! I will most likely shed a (very small and manly) tear when he dies… again! I’m satisfied with the shield too, the “gradient” turned out nice. I wonder if GW still produces that chestnut wash. It’s awesome!

Finally we have the last zombie in my painting queue for a little while. I’m painting more zombies for the next scenario, but more on that in another post. This guy is (as all other undead minis) an old Citadel guy from the 80s. I got it as a wedding present from Paul over at LAF and Sho3box, so naturally I named the zombie… Steve. No, Paul. It’s Paul the zombie. A bit of a rushed job as I was hurrying to meet my weekly quota, but I think he turned out pretty well. A little paler than the previous zombie, more purple wash (ie bruising) and less definition in the shadows. I’m satisfied with him though – especially the eye, even if it’s missing an iris.

I like to say that he’s one half-assed zombie. Ha!

So, here are some group shots of the whole big happy undead family. I’m very satisfied with how they turned out, save for one thing: That blue archer. He doesn’t belong. As soon as I have the will to paint up a replacement, he’s gone!

That’s it then. Now, I’m on to painting up the heroes of Stillburg. Currently working on Duncan Sandels, the knight templar protector of Brother Wendel. He’s turning out quite well, and it’s been fun painting humans again!

Until next time, have a nEYEce day and thanks for POPPING by for a LOOK… heh. Puns. I’m a riot!