Saturday, July 30, 2016

Sneak Peak Header

My banner was old and tired, so I spruced it up with a couple of new fantasy figures, the better to reflect my ongoing Castle Meatgrinder project.  Probably should have waited until Miniature Monday and after that lovely figure was posted, but...uh, marketing?  Spam post?  Actually, I just forgot that I've been saving figures for Mondays.  Come back in a day or so, you'll learn what figure that is and see some of her friends form the same Bones pack.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Field Report: The Griffon

As a wee lad me dear old mam didn't have the money for fancy moving-picture shows or eateries with cloth napkins, so she would drag her brood of a half-dozen savage whelps through the streets of the local big town, exploring the river walk, the museums, and a little light window shopping.

On one of those excursions, she herded her children into a small used book store called, The Griffon.  Inside were the expected used books, many of the fantasy and sci-fi variety and many of the military history variety.  To one side sat a glass case with several dozen small gray toys, knights, dragons, wizards, and monsters.  Those little gray lumps captivated at least one of the long-suffering woman's sons, and he soon learned that they could be used in a new kind of game called Dungeons and Dragons.

In the back room, half a dozen slovenly 'old people' - the mists of memory now identify them as local university students - sat around a table.  One had set the scene of a car chase through a desert wasteland, and told another that the grenade hurled by an apocalyptic savage sat inches from his hands, caught in the groove between the hood of the car and the windshield wiper.

"Can I reach it?  Grab it and throw it away?" the young man asked.

"You can, but that will be your entire turn," the storyteller responded.

Instinctively, the little boy understood exactly what was going on.  This was one of those choose-your-own-adventure books played out in real time.  With dice and rules and complete freedom of operation and no wait, Mom, I want to see this.

That day played a pivotal role in the life of that little boy; by now you've all guessed is your old pal Warren.  That shop was my main reason for wanting a driver's license and job.  No more begging for rides, no more scrounging money for figures and paints, no more wondering how to find players.

Recently fortunate enough to be in town, I dropped in on the old game store.  It only moved location once decades ago, but it is now cleaner, brighter, and bigger than ever.  It has a full upstairs game room open full time now, rather than a dingy back room separated from the shop by beaded drapes.  Best of all, it is still run by Ken and Sarah, the two wonderful people who introduced toddler Warren to this great hobby of ours.  Over the years my gratitude has often been expressed financially, but not nearly to the extent that they deserve.  They are the epitome of what every FLGS owner should be - patient, knowledgeable, and completely cut-throat when they sit across the table from you.

They will be having a 40 year anniversary of the store opening party this coming October, and I regret immensely that I can't be there.  If you can, you should, it sounds like it will be a lot of fun.

Oh, and those little gray toys in a small downtown shop in the mid-1970s?  I still have the one that she bought me for the princely sum of sixty-five cents.  It was an 25mm Grenadier knight currently held in deep storage by a brother, along with a box of all the high-school painted figures we ever bought.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cult of the Dungeongod

Castle Meatgrinder is an extension of a Lovecraftian chaos-demon-god, oozing into the mundane world.  It tempts the unwary with promises of riches and power, but hungers for only the bravest and fittest, and so guards its lucre by extruding guardians both foul and vicious.  As heroes plumb its depths, and as it consumes ever stronger heroes, it deepens and grows and offers up great treasures the better to tempt ever more noble prey.

Not all denizens of Castle Meatgrinder were birthed from the mucus of its raw chaos.  Some men believe that they can tap into the power of the Dungeongod, and attach themselves lamprey-like, to its bulk.  Taking little, but adding to the chaos of the dungeon, they are welcomed by the dream-like sentience.  They lure the unwary, and sometimes even drag unwilling innocents into the depths of Castle Meatgrinder in the hopes that the screams and pain of their sacrifices will appease the Dungeongod, and it will grant them power and wealth.

They are the Cult of the Dungeongod.  They are a mix of figures from RPE's Southern Death Cult and figures.

First up, these Hooded Executioners.  The pack comes with six figures, but one was miscast, and not needed.

Most of the rest are from the Blighthaven pack.  That pack comes with three more figures; the zombies don't work with the human cult angle, but they'll make a re-appearance when I paint up the undead faction for Castle Meatgrinder.

I couldn't decide whether to go with black or red robes, so I went with both.

The guy on the left in the next photograph is probably supposed to be a zombie figure, but he  is clean enough to look like a degenerate human, so he goes with the Cult.

The two figures on the left, the guy with the grimoire and High Priest Come'atmebro, are list on's website under the HOF sci-fi line as Cultist Sinners Retribution.

That full pack comes with a third cultist herding little creepy crawlies.  In retrospect, those critters would work well in a dungeon environment, too.  Kinda regret not picking those up at the time.  Here's a shot of the book holder and High Priest working together.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chaos Panthers and Basing Issues

Welcome to an inadvertent series called Miniature Monday.  It wasn't intentional, but the summer lull in scheduling means that some painting gets done over the weekend at Chez Abox.  This week's offering is Splintered Light's Chaos Panthers, done in a traditional black so dark it has blue highlights.

Hold up, if these are specifically for Castle Meatgrinder, what's with the rock and grass bases?  It's going to look like everyone in the dungeon is carrying raw earth and grass around.  Maybe, but I like consistency, and that's preferable to some having stone patterns and some having grass underfoot. 

There is a more practical reason, though.  It helps cover up other basing issues.  As you can see, these bases are hand fashioned. The grass breaks up the ragged edges of the base.  It also helps cover up the little holes that invariable form when a standard washer meets a figure with an irregularly shaped footprint that doesn't quite cover up the 'donut hole' in the washer.

Monday, July 11, 2016

It's Okay, I'm With the Warband

Took almost half of the year of fantasy to get around to painting up some heroes, but they look great.  You'll want to click on the pictures to get the full effect.  This is a 10 man pack from Ral Partha Europe's BlightHaven line, specifically BH011: Human Mercenary Warband.

These guys look a little too uniform for the sort of rag-tag band of misfits that tickle my D&D sensibilities, but they'll make a fine force in any sort of warband skirmish game such as Song of Blades and Heroes or even Osprey's EnGarde! (which has yet to see the table - one more warband and we're good to go).

These troops match a color scheme used in my 10mm figures with a lone tower keep emblazoned on a yellow field.  In D&D they may make hired mercenaries (i.e. hireleings), but if a player wanted to use one for a character it wouldn't break my heart.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Guest Post at Castalia House This Week

Monday the good folks over at Castalia House published a guest post by yours truly:  Wargaming for Wargamers Who Don't Have Time to Wargame.  As a wargame-related article, I had thought it would go up today, but they snuck a high fast one past me here.  It's not too late - go check it out.  Then go back, that blog is one of the best out there, covering as it does such a wide swath of fantasy and sci-fi media.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Big Nasty Bugs

Giant scorpions are some of my favorite wandering monsters.  Big, armored, and poisonous, even mid-level adventurers have to consider tangling with them.  Wandering around, they don't even have any treasure.  (Unless a clever player thinks to carve out its poison sac for sale to an alchemist.) I've been trying to use more washes in these 15mm figures, and the mottled look turned out okay.  My brushwork needs a little more practice to get washes right. The blood red markings confirm to no known real-world scorpions, but give them a bit more menace.

These are more Reaper Bones figures, transformed from big to giant by the magic of scale creep. The sword-fellow is a sneak peek at a warband that I've been painting up - you'll see him in focus next Monday. 
Happy Independence Day to all you yanks on the other side of the big pond.