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Kingdoms of Men: Kestrel

“I tell you true: the Kestrel ain’t a flash sort o’ship, oh no. Not many opportunities for your death or glory capt’n to distinguish theirselves when they’s carrying dispatches or on the lookout for smugglers. She’s still got teeth though, mark my words. Aye, you can scoff, but many’s the merchant found hisself striking to a Kestrel that he let get too close.”

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This is the first of my ships for an inevitable human fleet. I was loosely inspired by my old Bretonnian Buccaneers from Man O’ War when designing this, but I’ve elected to go with a small number of cannon rather than a catapult, in addition to various other differences. I suppose I could make a catapult variant without too much difficulty if I decide to go full-on nostalgia mode. 😉

As with the Elf ship I shared a couple of weeks back, this is another sculpt that I’ve rescaled to 1:900. I had to make some sacrifices in terms of detail, but even so the ship still sports a wheel and even tiny gun carriages. Again, it’s a combination of Shapeways materials: a high def black acrylate ship with a white strong flexible base. I’m calling my fledgling range of fantasy vessels “Treacherous Tides” and I’ll put them up for sale on my Shapeways store soon.

In other exciting news I now possess copies of Galleys and Galleons and the fantasy expansion, Fayre Winds and Foul Tides from Ganesha Games. Apparently these rules work well for around 6-7 ships per sides so we’re not talking full fleet actions here, but that’s good since I don’t have many ships (yet 😉 ). Thinking about it, my Man O’ War fleet wasn’t much bigger than this anyway. Anyway, I’m looking forward to trying these rules out with the Dreadfleet mat and islands I’ve still got lying around.

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High elf ship

This blog may well take on something of a nautical air in 2017. Last year I shared some renders of various vessels that I’d been playing around with in Blender. These were all 1:600 scale since I felt that was a good size to let me get enough details in. After a few Shapeways experiments I decided that this was a little too large – when I wanted to make some big ships they were going to start getting seriously expensive!

I’ve therefore re-worked a few of my designs into 1:900 scale to see whether I can retain a reasonable amount of detail in this more cost effective size. This was slightly more work than just shrinking the original designs since I had to respect design rules such as minimum wall thickness, but fortunately it wasn’t too much effort to work with my saved Blender files.

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It also occurred to me that I could also try printing some sea bases in the low cost ‘strong white flexible’ material that Shapeways offer. This material has a rough finish that is unsuitable for high quality miniatures, but I thought it could work nicely for drybrushing a base.

This is the smallest of the Elven vessels that I have planned, mounting a single bolt thrower in the bows and a magical obelisk at the stern. The miniature is about an inch long, so it’s fairly dimunitive! I elected to print the ship as a single piece, but if I want to go down the casting route in future it would need to be in two pieces (hull and sail).

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I’m really happy with the way the details printed in the high def acrylate material (I’ve learnt that this is actually an Envisiontec machine, though apparently not their highest quality). And I’m pleased to report that the sea base experiment was very successful. So there will be more to come!

At the moment I’m not too sure what I’ll do with these ships – I’m enjoying the happy memories of Man O’ War that working on them is bringing back. I know Ganesha has a set of naval rules (Galleys & Galleons) with a fantasy supplement (Fayre Winds & Foul Tides) that it might be worth me getting hold of, as I really like their approach to rules writing.

 

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Elf warband: Heroes

The rest of the Elf warband! As usual these mighty heroes are available on Shapeways. There is still free shipping on any order containing the original 4 heroes or the skeletons until the 20th.

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To add some variety to the warband, this set contains a heavily armoured Elf Lord, a Blademaster and my first cavalry – a hero riding a white lion.

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One of the reasons I started working in 15 mm scale was because it would allow me to make some slightly larger miniatures without the 3d printing costs becoming too ridiculous. Sadly it’s still more expensive than I’d like, but it would have been unthinkable for me to have made this lion rider at 32 mm!

Sculpting the lion was quite a challenge and I went through a couple of iterations. I know I could still make it better but you have to draw the line somewhere and move on.

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The pose for the Elf Lord was definitely inspired by one of the Stormcast Liberators that I was painting at the time! The challenge here was to make a heavier looking suit of armour that still fit in with the aesthetic of the rest of the warband. I’m quite pleased with how this guy turned out.

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The Blademaster is intended to be very fast and very deadly, but obviously quite vulnerable since he doesn’t put much stock in wearing armour. I made him slightly less muscular than the Warriors of Darkness savages but I think I maybe could have gone a bit further.

That’s the second warband complete now, so I’ll be giving the 15 mm miniatures a rest for a bit. It’s probably time to get back to a slightly larger scale!

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Elf warband: Sorceress and retinue

Shock horror! Gareth has made some elves! Who would have thought it? 😉

More of my increasingly large collection of 15 mm miniatures, this fearsome elven sorceress and her retinue can now be purchased from Shapeways. Until 20th November you can even get free shipping if you buy them with the original four heroes or the skeletons.

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I love the aesthetic of Games Workshop’s High Elves but I didn’t just want to replicate the pointy helmets and scale mail vibe in a different scale, so I’ve come up with a slightly different take. The inspiration is probably still quite obvious though!

This isn’t quite all the elves I’ve sculpted, but some production issues with the more adventurous sculpts mean that this is all I can share for now. I hope to show the rest in a few weeks. Then I’ll finally have two full warbands and the Song of Blades and Heroes adventures can commence!

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It’s challenging to capture the female form with such distorted proportions but I’m fairly pleased with the result here. Part of me wishes I’d had the sorceress floating a bit higher in the air, but concerns about the centre of gravity and the extra cost of using more material made me keep her fairly close to the ground. Not much danger of her falling over when she’s attached to a penny though!

I elected to use liche purple and warlock purple instead of the red spot colour I’ve used on all the other elves to make her seem a bit more otherworldly. A couple of cheeky bits of freehand emphasize her importance. 😉

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Back on familiar ground here with my tried and testing non metallic metal recipes. I’ve elected to go with turquoise (the citadel triad of stegadon scale green, sotek green and temple guard blue) rather than the more traditional blue. And you have to have white cloth somewhere on an elf!

Well, it wouldn’t be a 15 mm post without a gratuitous money shot so I suppose I’d better close with this:

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Warriors of Darkness

darkwarriors800The first of two small warbands that I’ve created for use in skirmish games like Song of Blades and Heroes, here we have the ultimate bad guys – the warriors of darkness!

As with all my 15 mm miniatures, I’ve made these available for anyone that would like to get hold of them via Shapeways.

A bit of a mixed bag here. The two heavily armoured warriors were sculpted over a year ago with the rest of the warband being more recent. I think it probably shows a bit in the poses!

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I’m really pleased with how the leader of the force, known only as the Relentless, has turned out. I had to go through quite a few iterations before all the details printed nicely but it was worth it in the end. It was great fun painting the demonic shoulder pad and the chipped shiny red armour. The largest chips are sculpted, but I added a few smaller ones with the brush.

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I shared this guy previously, so you can see more of him here. Every good fantasy warband needs a magic user!

dark_elite1dark_elite2The heavily armoured elite. You don’t want to mess with these guys! Again, you can see how well the black high def acrylate captures very fine details – the chainmail loincloths are incredibly tiny.

dark_savage1dark_savage2The lowly savages can’t afford as much armour as their brethren but they make up for it with muscle.

relentless_coinrelentless_stormcastJust a couple of shots to try and give a better idea of the scale of these guys. I’m conscious that they may look a little rough blown up to five times actual size, but they look great in the hand (honest 😉 ). I don’t fancy that stormcast’s chances!

I took some work in progress photos while I was painting one of the savages, so I intend to write a future post documenting that process (I have to finish up the dark sword tutorial first). In the meantime, here are some of the main colours used:

Red armour

Basecoat: khorne red (GW)

Highlight: squig orange (GW):white 1:1, then add more white

Shade: Add black to khorne red

Glaze: Evil sunz scarlet (GW) and khorne red

NMM bronze

Basecoat: dark flesh (GW):vermin brown (GW) 1:1

Highlight: orange brown (VMC):creamy ivory (reaper) 1:1, then add more creamy ivory

Shade: rhinox hide (GW), black

Savage flesh

Basecoat: fair highlight (reaper):rakarth flesh (GW) 2:1

Shade: rakarth:cloudy grey (reaper):rhinox hide (GW) 1:1:1 with a bit of reikland fleshshade (GW) added to the mix

cloudy grey:rhinox:black 1:1:1

Highlight: creamy ivory (reaper):white 1:1

 

I’ll leave you with a teaser for the next warband – elves!

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Fantasy Ships

Back in the day I had a part time job as the admiral of a mighty Bretonnian Man O’ War fleet that ruled the waves of my bedroom carpet. I’ve always retained a fondness for fantasy naval vessels, so I suppose it was inevitable that I’d try my hand at making a few.

The renders here are a selection of the ships that I’ve created in blender. Blender is really good for this kind of hard surface modelling and it was great fun coming up with various designs.

I’ve printed most of these at Shapeways, but I haven’t had enough time to put any paint on them as yet. Too many projects and not enough time! These are firmly on the back burner while I work on figure sculpting.

The ships are roughly 1:600 scale, which is larger than Man O’ War but I found this to be a nice size to get all the details I wanted to include to print nicely. Each ship is split into at least 2 pieces that I think would probably be castable, but it’s not something I intend to explore.

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You may not be able to make out the spokes on the wheels of these human ships, but they actually print really well!

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Elves – of course! My thinking was that they’d have some powerful magic users, hence the obelisks of power at the stern and the arcane dais on the catamaran.
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Dragon ships. The heads at the front breath fire, which is best avoided if you’re in a wooden ship…
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This demonic vessel uses a combination of wind and slave power to ram enemies, and has an unholy portal mounted amidships through which unspeakable things can be summoned to assist in boarding!
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Savage beasts

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A few more of my own sculpts fresh off the painting table. These were actually sculpted about a year ago but I only just got round to doing something with them.

Quite a range of sizes with this trio as the goblin is only 11 mm to the eyes, whereas the minotaur is a far more imposing 21 mm and is therefore mounted on a 2 pence piece, as befits his status. 😉

One of the many reasons I like this scale is that it gives me the opportunity to create some relatively large beasties without the costs becoming too ridiculous. I definitely intend on doing some more in this vein in the future.

I’m currently sculpting a small elf warband for use in skirmish games like Songs of Blades and Heroes but I think I’m likely to do something similar for the greenskins in the not too distant future, so the orc and goblin are useful concepts for that.

I’m making these available in frosted detail on Shapeways. Recently there have been hints on the forum that the high definition acrylate material will be rolled out for general use fairly soon, which would be really good news.

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Main colours used

Green skin

Base: warpstone glow (GW)

Highlight: scorpion green (GW) with a touch of creamy ivory (reaper), add more creamy ivory

Shade: caliban green (GW), black

Yellow armour

Base: khemri brown (GW), then golden yellow (GW)

Shade: dark flesh (GW)

Highlight: creamy ivory (reaper) with a touch of flash gitz yellow (GW)

Glaze with flash gitz

Minotaur skin

Basecoat: tallarn flesh (GW) and calthan brown (GW) 1:1

Shade: rhinox hide (GW) and black 1:1

Highlight: tallarn flesh, then add in yellowed bone (reaper). Final highlight yellowed bone and white 1:1

Glaze wazdakka red (GW) and liche purple (GW) into recesses

Minotaur armour

Basecoat: black

Highlight: khorne red (GW) and white 2:1, white with a touch of squig orange (GW)

Glaze with khorne red, evil sunz scarlet (GW) and squig orange

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Infernal summoner

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When I started sculpting my 15 mm guys, I was envisaging a little game involving the four heroes against various classic fantasy baddies that could be played on a coffee table. The idea was that these would be brought into being by an arch villain: the summoner.

As often happens I lost my way with that project, although I do have various evil henchmen sitting around waiting for a bit of paint. I’ll get round to that eventually, but since I have actually painted the head honcho himself I thought it was worth sharing.

With this miniature I wanted to convey the impression that he is mid-summon, floating above the ground wreathed in infernal flames. I do have a nagging feeling that he might look more like he’s being immolated, but there’s not much I can do about that now!

I decided to paint some object source lighting on this piece, as I thought it would help sell the flame effect. I’m not generally a big fan of OSL as I find it often seems to photograph better than it looks in the hand. But I’m reasonably pleased with the result here – especially on the metallic bits around his waist. I suppose I could photograph him against a darker background to make it look better in the pictures.

I’ll make him available on my shapeways shop soon…

A couple of gratuitous shots for scale:

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Colours used as follows:

Armour

Basecoat: khorne red

Highlight: squig orange and white

Shade: Add black to khorne red

Glaze with evil sunz scarlet and khorne red

NMM bronze

Basecoat: 1:1 dark flesh and vermin brown

Highlight: 1:1 orange brown and creamy ivory, add more creamy ivory

Shade: rhinox hide, black

Flame

Basecoat white, build up colours with flash gitz yellow, trollslayer orange, evil sunz scarlet, black

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Skeletons

Skeletons1Skeletons2Skeletons3Skeletons4More of the 15 mm miniatures I’ve sculpted for myself – some baddies this time! There is a vague plan to play some games with these when I’ve got enough of them. I’m thinking something like Song of Blades and Heroes or maybe Open Combat (although I don’t believe this covers fantasy particularly well at the moment). But I will also need to sort out some terrain before then.

I sculpted the skeleton with the scythe first (an obvious nod to Heroquest) and after a successful test print I created the other four. It was here that one of the big advantages of digital sculpting became apparent, as it was a simple matter to just rearrange the parts I’d already made. Apart from modifying the skulls (a few missing teeth, a big hole in one of them) I just had to make some new equipment and call it done.

I abandoned any thoughts of getting miniatures cast in the interval between the ‘Heroquest’ skeleton and the others, so it freed me up to pose them however I liked. I’m really pleased with the arrows on the two skeletons with bows. The shafts are right on the design limit for thickness in Shapeways B-HDA material so I was a bit concerned about how they’d print but they came out great.

I’ve made a decision to use non metallic metal throughout all my 15 mm miniatures but I avoided the super shiny look here and tried to make the weapons look a bit more weathered. Very quick to paint these though – I got all 5 done in a single day which is unheard of for me!

 

Colours used:

Bone

Basecoat: yellowed bone (reaper), wash with agrax earthshade (gw)

Shade deepest recesses with rhinox hide (gw) and black

Highlight with creamy ivory (reaper) and white

Metal

Basecoat: cloudy grey (reaper)

Highlight: 1:1 rainy grey (reaper)/white with a touch of temple guard blue (gw), then add more white up to pure white

Shade: cloudy grey and dark flesh (gw), add black

Wood

Basecoat: khemri brown (gw)

Wash with desert yellow (gw) and black mix, deepest recesses with thinned black

Highlight with kommando khaki (gw) then creamy ivory (reaper)

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Dragon Maiden

dragon_maiden1dragon_maiden2dragon_maiden3dragon_maiden4dragon_maiden5dragon_maiden6After proving beyond doubt my total mastery of sculpting 15 mm miniatures ;), I decided it was time to have a go at a slightly larger scale. So here you have my first attempt at sculpting a 30 mm miniature.

Concept-wise there’s nothing particularly original here. Games Workshop have been starving me of High Elves recently (at the moment it’s starting to look doubtful they’ll ever return, but I live in hope) so I decided to make my own. As I usually do when I sculpt something, I spent a while with a pencil and paper sketching various designs for armour and so on. I rejected a few designs that I thought looked cool on the grounds that they probably wouldn’t print very well or look good when painted.

I was conscious that I needed to get better at anatomy. At 15 mm you can get away with a certain amount of fudging, especially with the distorted proportions I’ve been favouring. As the miniature gets bigger it becomes more difficult to hide this ineptitude, so I spent some time on google and bought a book (Anatomy for 3D Artists) to try and improve my knowledge. There is still a long way for me to go in this area though.

I wanted the scale to be similar to the Warhammer range. Happily I have hordes of these miniatures lying around, so some time with a ruler enabled me to get a rough idea of the proportions to use. The pose was deliberately kept very simple as I was already stretching myself with this project and I didn’t want to make it any more difficult than it needed to be.

blenderI roughed out the proportions in blender and spent a fair bit of time viewing the model from every angle until I was happy that the anatomy wasn’t too awful. I then went back and refined each element, and made decisions about how the hair and the cloak would flow. Hair is an interesting element – you can either sculpt individual strands, accepting that due to the limitations of the printer they will be thicker than you’d like, or you can just sculpt the general form of the hair and let the painter deal with it. Because of my experience painting this kind of featureless hair in various plastic kits I decided to go this way. But perversely I’ve gone the other way with my 15 mm miniatures and I’m quite happy with that too!

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As usual, the miniature was printed at Shapeways. In this case I was able to evaluate the new high definition black acrylate material vs frosted extreme detail. My impressions are overall favourable, but I’ll probably write more about that in a future post.

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There are one or two things I’d do differently next time. Because this was my first miniature in this scale I wasn’t totally sure how much I needed to exaggerate the details to get a good result. I think I did ok overall, but there are a couple of places where I didn’t get it quite right. The biggest disappointment was the eyes, which are too bulbous. For the 15 mm miniatures I’ve found that I need to make the eye protrude quite a lot to get it to print well, but here it’s overdone. I disguised it as well as I could with the paint, but it’s a source of irritation!

I elected to go with non metallic metal when painting as there are some interesting shapes and I wanted to explore the reflections. For the steel parts I used my tried and tested method of highlighting with cyan and shading with red added to the mix.

Overall I am quite pleased with how the miniature has turned out for a first effort at this scale and I’ve learnt a lot that will hopefully lead to better results in the future.dragonmaiden_coin