Triumph of Death: From concept to Greens

Crossbow firing mid, with Pavise

 From Concept to Greens: Crossbow

New Triumph of Death crossbow greens and pavise, sculpted by the roguishly handsome Drew Day Williams. This set comprises one of the units that will be available in my upcoming Kickstarter.

These bad boys have already been sent off to be master molded. With luck and weather holding, I'll have some castings to show off in a week or two.
Crossbow firing high position
Crossbow at the ready


Triumph of Death KS II: Concepts

Gearing up for my next Triumph of Death Kickstarter, tentatively called "March of Death".

Here's a few concept drawings currently in the old sketch book.
Crossbows will come with a pavise

This KS will feature crossbow with pavise, armored pike, sythe bearing lads, a command group (or two depending on how well the KS goes) and  two of the 4 horsemen (maybe 3). 
Famine judging all 

Pestilence- She'll be mounted as well. 

More on the table soon- and some shots of greens, hopefully!  Let me know what you'd like to see in an undead landsknecht army!


Breaking Lances: Birthday Party Tournament

The Breaking of Lances!


This weekend was my eldest's birthday party- the theme being tournament. Mrs Foss, known for her award winning cakes did the boyo proud, and I ran a breaking lances tournament for everyone. A good time had by all.
The cake! Anyone guess the Coat of Arms?

Yes, that is some thick 70% chocolate ganache!

Children for scale. That cake could feed 30! (and will)
the tournament set up. We had 10 players, rotating out on different fields.
A squire's eye view of the action!

The night before...

The mad scramble!

I found out the night before how many young knights would be attending- so I scrambled over to the painting table to fill in some gaps. I didn't get them all done in time, but actually got enough done for everyone to have a knight.  I'll be finishing these up this week and will get some good snaps.

Say- when can we play the game?!!!

Fair question. I've been play testing and working on the rules over a year now, running tournaments at home, club, conventions and even drive by's at friends houses.  During that time I've been designing new knights and fiddling tuning gaming pieces like the tilting trays and jousting fence.  I'm happy to say that the rules are in second final layout stage and only need new photos added, and a bit more editing.  At this point I'm being "convinced" by my colleagues to do a kickstarter for Breaking Lances, which will probably happen in the early spring, after my Triumph of Death II- KS.
Breaking Lances on the run- Testing at House Dallimore

Sir Treadaway gloats over his victory, unawares that Kev has called in the Daleks

In the mean time I do have a few of the knights on my store for folks, and to test the waters. I'll also be running a tournament at Kublacon in the Bay area later this year.


More Light Box Backdrops

Captain Terror and Guido Veloce race across the wastelands

Light them up!

You'll have to indulge me as I am on a bit of a binge. I've discovered that painting back drops is easier for me that 10mm Roman shield patterns, so I've diverged a bit.  Actually I'm really having a blast doing these and it puts my BFA to good use.
Stage 1. Canvas, a big brush and some wet paint

Stage 2. adding in the land.
This particular back drop is for a face book friend and fellow designer. He does 3d stuff, so at some point I'll Rumpelstiltskin him for a project that I can't do. I love bartering!

Stage 3. Drybrush and add highlights. Fossling sold separately
The trick to getting these solid is big brushes and making sure the land section is painted up high enough on the material so that when you curve it, you get the right amount of land and sky.  Pretty happy how this came out, and I did one for me at the same time.

City Stuff

All the light box is a stage!

Another idea I have for light box backdrops is actually building a "stage" set.  Here's the start. The buildings were originally designed by the talented and handsomely rakish Jaye Wiley of Wiley designs ( Jay is my artist who does all my flags and cool add artwork!)

I've taken his original designs and started changing them up for scale, and layering. This is the first round of test shots.  Now that I look at them, I want to get a bit more depth to the set, but not full on 3D.
The Rum Thief, dress rehearsal.
For this backdrop, the cobblestone road is made of craft foam. I may just go back to an MDF for this though, as the floor is more floppy than I want. It does have a grand texture though, so I'll paint it up along with the buildings and take another shot.

Right- that's all I have for now. I'm thinking of doing an article for one of the gaming mags on backdrops. What do you esteemed readers think?



Light Box and Backdrops

Landsknechts show off their mortar in the rolling hills of Italy.

Light Box and Backdrops: Backstage Pass

So I got a new small light box, which so far has been totally worth the $19 I paid for it. It came with  black and white "craft foam" back drops, but I wanted to see if I could build out more for my worlds. having made several backdrops for my other shots, I thought I'd give it a shot.
lightbox exterior. You can see the LED strip and boundary edges

I took another piece of craft foam and hit it with the paint. The trick to making these types of backdrops is fast and loose.  I paint down the sky first then bring the terrain up to match, using the same colors of paint I use for my bases and gaming mats. Then, like basing, I added course pumice gel with paint mixed for some texture on the foreground, and dry brushed it with cadmium yellow after it dried. 

Backdrop Materials- what works?

This is something I keep experimenting with, and am finding different results based upon the needs and requirements. Here's a few thoughts.

Support stand not included...

All paint here is done like watercolors.

Paper:  Paper, especially a quality paper like Rives BFK  comes in large sizes ( 30x 40 inches)  and costs under $10 per sheet. It's thick quality rag paper made to be rolled up and painted upon. I use this to make my larger backdrops that can be taken to conventions, and is great as the "hold it up" for any game shots.

Canvas:  Only slightly more expensive, canvas is also designed to be painted upon. This is what I use for my game mats, so the idea just translates to canvas very easily. Canvas can be rolled, folded, stuffed, etc and is very travel friendly. It is less stiff than paper, so needs to be supported when taking the shot. The nice part about canvas is that you can let it "roll down to make a smooth transition from sky to ground. Kind of the whole set up instead of just a backdrop.
Wasteland terrain backdrop that matches my game mat.
Canvas impromptu photoshoot.
  I actually like that you can see the texture of the canvas in some of the close up shots. It gives it a neat look.; not realistic, but painterly.

Foam:  Craft foam is cheap ($1 per sheet)  comes in a bajillion colors and is super easy to cut. I've found that it takes paint very well, although check the texture. I've gotten a slightly porous foam which is great for painting, and a smooth foam which is more resistant- or at least can leave brush strokes more readily.
Foam sheet textured and painted for the light box
Like the canvas it bends easily and can be transported. This is what I am currently using for my new light box. The limiting issue with craft foam is size, which standardizes in 12" x 18". Great for the single figure, but can be a challenge shooting units.

 Right- that's all for now. I am actually in the process of making more backdrops, including some "stage sets" to go with them. more soon.

In the mean time, I'd love to know what you do for backdrops, or have any suggestions on what more you'd like to see.



Warmaster: Romans are not quite Legion

I've totally forgotten which legion shield I did here...

10mm Romans

So... I actually bought these beautiful minis from Steve Barber when he came to an Origins show in California, around the time my son was 2. This month my son turns 11... ahem... and started painting this particular unit around that time.

After finishing up a few cars for Mad Maximilian I was looking for another 1 weekend and done king of project. Browsing the Face books, I saw Saxon Dog was back to painting Romans, and my mind clicked.  I'll finally restart doing my Warmaster ancients armies!

Legionary and Auxillia that I painted in... October? 

These will be used with Warmaster, which should surprise no one that has read my blog. I'm basing them a bit differently; instead of traditional 20 x 40mm bases, I'm using 30 x 40mm. This allows me to be a bit more "diorama" with the models. Romans will be more ranked up, whereas my Briton/Celts will have a more open horde look.

Bases are color coded for clarity.

I really love painting these Steve Barber minis- they have way too much detail for 10mm figures, and I am compelled to match the work that the sculptor put into them.

Next on my painting table are two units of Celts, for parity. Eghad 10mm tartan!



Mad Maximilian: Captain Terror rides again!

 Captain Terror:

Just completed my second vehicle and driver for Mad Maximilian.
This one is an homage to one of Speed Racer's chief nemisis-es... and the leader of the race car acrobatic team, Captain Terror.

One mean dude

When building the car, I reflected upon Terror's visage, and the guy looks like a burn victim, with that rictus grin, so the car had to have flamers!

My pal McGraw, when seeing that I had laid out all my parts for the car and had flamers, Double Dog dared me to make them forward facing. Well evil can't just pass up a dare like that- so I made them 180 to fool everyone (and probably burn myself up during a race at some point).

The Captain! 

The making of a race car villian:

This project started as a Stuts Benz, that I scored off of Ebay for a decent price. I took it apart and stripped it down using Jasco paint stripper- the exact same stuff we use in my family to strip paint off of big cars. Caution when using it- wear two pairs of rubber gloves and glasses- you don't want to actually look like Captain Terror.

Fresh off the factory floor.

the original "DIP"

Ready for a rebuild.

  With the spare tires removed, there was a built in set of ports on each side. I ran a brass wire through them and bent it at 90 degree angles. These would be the pipes for the flamers.

 Once I had the car ready to rock, I watched a few episodes of Speed Racer (I heart Youtube) and did some research. This toy car is a good replica of the Cptn's vehicle. I used it as my inspiration. Those pipes "do" look like flamers...

  After I figured out the car and how I wanted the flamers to work , and had color scheme, I needed a driver.  Taking the body from the Eureka driver I had, I took a head from one of my Triumph of Death minis, and did my best to sculpt a cape. The feather was from a mordheim plastic sprue of days gone by.

I love the way Eureka built the big period steering wheels onto their drivers

What's Next?

 I've already made turn templates to lasercut, and worked with McGraw to create track templates, from which to lay out tracks to test. I've got a couple more vehicles already started, but need drivers- so keep posted race fans!



Anglo Dutch Wars ship Prototypting

3rd rate Anglo Dutch Wars ship

 Meanwhile in Fosslington ship yards...

I've had some time this week to do more prototyping on a project I started last year- 1/300th scale (6mm-ish) Anglo Dutch Wars ships
larboard side showing parts

Starboard side and parts, as well as base
 My goal for this round of prototyping was to figure out how many parts the model will be, how they separate and assemble, and then the thing I've been kind of dreading, the masts and yard arms. 

I'm going to call this a half victory, as the masts are all in the wrong place, and the yard arms are not working the way I want, and would be quite fiddly and fragile.
After building this out, I've got a cunning plan to change them. I have some other projects that take priority, but it was great to get a day to keep pushing this idea. 

Painted Lady

Why make these ships? Two reasons- I've been working on rules for fighting this era, and they are basically giant floating bling cakes! So much fun to paint. Here's an example of the larboard and stern castle.