Tuesday, 30 May 2017

TUTORIAL TIME! Unit basing tiny figures

Hello again.

When building my 10mm fantasy armies, I gave some consideration to how I would base them. The chosen rules ("Warband" by Pendraken Miniatures) require units to be based as a single entity on 100x50mm bases, rather than several small bases combined to make a unit as with most rules, so I was concerned at how I would base them with so many figures in the way of the glue, flock, textured paint, etc I use for such activities.

So, her for your delectation (or for you to ignore should you so choose), is my way of doing it. I make no claim to originality or even to common sense in how I achieved my aim. You may well read this and think "what a *********" (insert suitable derogatory term) at how I might have missed something obvious, but here goes.

Firstly, however, let me show you the sort of thing I am NOT concerned with here, such as this Elven command unit, seen in the first two photos. There is plenty of room in and around the figures in units like this to just stick them all down at once and texture and flock to your heart's content afterwards. So, in such cases, just get on with it!

NO!!! We are concerned with multi-figure units!

1) So, first up, gather your materials. A selection of textured paint, flock, white modelling glue/ PVA, cocktail sticks and bamboo skewers to apply the textured paint, small rocks sold as model railway ballast, grass tufts, bits of know the sort of thing, a selection of which is below.

2) Check out the two photos below, both of the same unit. Once you have your materials, take a 100x50mm base (or whatever size you are using) and paint it on both sides to help prevent warping later on.

3) Once this is dry (and after adding the little box for the unit record dice at the back left corner of the base, apply any twigs or rocks you want on the base, gluing them down securely. These will need to be bedded into the subsequent earth and grass textures to look the part.

4) Plan how your unit is to look and glue down the first row of figures, who will form the front rank of the unit when seen from the front of course.

5) Once these have stuck securely (I use superglue for this), take your chosen base texturing material (Basetex, Greenscene textured paint or whatever) and apply it around this front rank of figures, but ensure you cover enough of the base behind this front row to take the texturing up to where you intend to deploy the second row of figures. I use a cocktail stick in the main for this, but a bamboo skewer is fine for larger, less detailed work.  Sprinkle in a few of the tiny rocks from your pack of ballast as you go. They will be held in place by the wet textured paint.

6) Whilst the textured paint is still wet, glue down the second row, ensuring that you butt the front of the figure bases into the texture you have already applied so that it largely covers the front of the second row figure bases.

7) As with the first row of figures, apply more textured paint around the back of the second row of figures, again leaving enough to enable you to stick down the third row, again ensuring you push them partly into the textured paint around the second row of figures so that the front of each base of the third row figures is covered. Again add a few little ballast rocks to suit.

8) Then finish off the rest of the base with textured paint. Take GREAT care filling in any gaps by dropping in moistened textured paint form the end of a cocktail stick, pushing and shoving it into accessible gaps etc. If you do not take care, you may well end up dropping it all over a figure. If you do, wash it off immediately with water! Add a few more ballast rocks to suit.

9) Once the whole base has dried, you can add grass. Mix up a dilute solution of white glue/ PVA, apply it at the end of a row of figures and simply let gravity take it down the channels and around the figures. DO NOT allow it to build up like a snowdrift around any individual figures, but tilt the base to manipulate the flow of the glue.

10) Once you have applied the glue you want to where you want it, sprinkle flock and grass in a mix that suits your taste over the glue and tip and tap off  any excess onto newspaper, ready to collect it up later for re-use.

11) Once the grass has dried (give it at least a day), use whatever paint you like to highlight the bare earth of any visible textured paint.

12) Add tufts or other effects to the bases to finish off.

As you can hopefully see from the photos, a little care and effort, together with doing things in a suitable order, can lead to some fully based and useable figures with no gaps showing to spoil the overall effect you want. Job done!

I based my Goblins in exactly the same way, so it works for everything I have tried so far.


Sunday, 14 May 2017

Finwe's Finest Finally Feature

Hello again.

The High Elves are here!

I actually painted the vast majority of the figures last year, but basing them has taken until this year to accomplish, as I have busied myself with other things, notably Vikings and Irish and then French & Indian Wars.

But the wait (for me at least!) is now over and the Goblins have some opposition of note (apart from fighting amongst themselves, at any rate).

The figures are all 10mm size and hail from the ranges of Pendraken. As with the Goblins, I bought the first ones at the Derby Show in 2015, buying one of the starter armies available at the time (and available still I believe, though the choices have expanded since then).

Blue is the theme colour and features on virtually all the figures to tie them together as a whole, unlike the rather more random look of the Goblins.

Now, I will show you the pictures as this juncture, but please tune in for the next post, as there are a couple of major considerations with these whole unit bases when it comes to texturing the bases that I would like to notify you about, should you ever choose to go the "Warband" route. I will do that next time...

So, till next time, here are Finwe's Finest.


The "Starter Army plus bits", which is still not the whole force available! The starter force is actually just 8 units, so this is a starter and a half!!!

The COMMAND stand, a mix of figures from the original command pack plus some additions.

The High Elf Sorcerers with pet statuette. It seems all the magician packs, regardless of which army they are for, get a pet statuette, rock or similar.


And a close up to show my attempts to shade and highlight 10mm figures just as I would 28mm.

The open grave on the back left corner of each base is to hold a small d6 which shows unit strength in the "Warband" rules.

BOLT SHOOTERS, resplendent primarily in yellow, but with that almost ever-present blue visible too, which ties them in with the army as a whole. My thought process was that blue was their colour, but different units or types of units might have different main uniform colours, hence the yellow here and... 

...the green of the SCOUTS (again matched with blue).

But those mounted types are rather more fanciful and independent-minded, so blue may not feature at all, as on this unit, the BLOOD KNIGHTS.

The knights of the STAR LORDS regiment are mostly blue-clad, however.

The STAR OF THE AINUR regiment. The banners in all cases are simply pieces of self-adhesive label folded in half around the pole of a normal spearman figure in the case of the infantry.

The RED WINGS regiment.

The SWAN GUARD regiment.

And the two-handed swordsmen of the GOLDEN OAK regiment.

And another ultra-close up showing my attempt to shade and highlight these 10mm figures.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Goblin gribblies

Hello again.

A major part of the first few months of last year was taken up with building and painting my first ever 10mm scale army (well, size, as 10mm is not a scale, which would actually be about 1:180 I think). That army was Goblins, bought at Derby on October 2015 from Pendraken, along with a High Elf army as opposition, and both were to form my endeavours to get in some games of "Warband", the fantasy rules also published by Pendraken.

Well, I have yet to get a game in at all, but, during my break from having a show project to take up my time, I have now based all of the High Elves, having painted them last year too, and, as I will show in the pictures below, added a reinforcement to my Goblins, which is the main subject of this post. (I will show the Elves in all their frippery some time soon).

The long and the short of it is that I now have both sides to furnish some "Warband" games, if ever I get the time and find an opponent who is available when I am!

Anyway, the reinforcement...

Long time players of Orc and Goblin armies to that doyen of fantasy rules, "Warhammer" version 1 to whatever, will know these things as Squigs. They were usually fielded with some sort of handlers. Pendraken know them as Squogglers, so that is what we shall call them here seeing as how they are Pendraken figures. I am sure all the copyright stuff is done and dusted...

The "bouncy ball with teeth and attitude" idea is the same as far as I can see and, though I have no games under my belt to prove the notion, I suspect their usage in the two games is also similar. I have even included some spare Goblin/ Orc figures as handlers, all based on a 100x50mm rectangle of thin MDF, this base size being the one used for all units in "Warband" (I think...)

So, with Giants, Ogres and war machines still to add to the green ranks, (but safely mined from the Lead Mountain in readiness), I have at least finished these fellows by way of something slightly different to the usual fare of warbands, trolls and wolf riders with which Orc and Goblin armies are so replete.


The whole unit, simply based on one base, which I think is one of the strengths of the "Warband" rules.

I painted all my 10mm figures as if they were my usual 28mm, i.e. with base coat, wash and highlights. The Squogglers started, unusually for me, with a white undercoat. The base coat was a bright red, which I highlighted with a bright orange, then "knocked back" with a wash of red ink from GW. Although the photo might not show it clearly, there is a distinct graduation of colour on their flesh. The Orcs/ Goblins have the same minimum three-stage paint job too, by the way!

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Sleeping Dragon Hobbyshop

Hello again.

Just a quick post to bring to your attention the arrival on the scene of a new source for your paint and scenic material needs, together with whatever they expand into over the coming months and years.

Nephew Nick is now Nephew Nick the Entrepreneur!

He has gone into business with his wife, Claire, as The Sleeping Dragon Hobbyshop, with the intention of providing a range of those various non-figure options we all need as wargamers to enhance the look of our various projects. They are looking to attend various shows in the future and develop their product base, so check out and check them out.

At the risk of being accused of rampant and unbounded nepotism, let me just say in all honesty that I have known Nick all his life (!) and he is seriously passionate about our hobby, has a "right" way of doing things and has considerable experience in a customer service environment. He simply will not let you down. I would certainly trust him with my order and my money and I do not say that lightly or just because we are related!!!

I truly wish him all the very best with this venture and heartily encourage all of you to check out the growing product list on the web and/ or at a show sometime soon.


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Coureurs de Bois

Hello again.

My last post (at the end of April, covering my Compagnies Franches de la Marine contingent for the FIW) showed how some of the figures for that contingent were not quite so uniformed and, therefore, suitable for other uses, such as Coureurs de Bois.

Well, here are my actual Coureurs de Bois, who may or may not benefit from the possibility of reinforcements.

Compare and contrast the two posts if you wish to see what I mean.

I am not generally a fan of the "this counts as" school of thought, having had bad experiences in the past when, for example, Thracian light cavalry morphed into Companions during a Hoplites vs Macedonians game I recall, to my decided disadvantage...

I would generally much rather buy and paint the real thing, whatever that thing might be. I do not even like units masquerading as each other - the Stipsicz Hussars are the Stipsicz Hussars, not the Ott Hussars, etc, though I can of course understand in games the size of a Waterloo refight where such things are necessary and agree with that necessity. But how often do any of us play a game of that magnitude and do that?
I would far prefer to build a unit and use it as that unit in whatever games, but that is a personal preference I freely admit others might not share. However, Cressingham's retinue for my Medieval English is always Cressingham's, the Loebl regiment for my 30 Years' War Imperialists is always Loebl, etc. When I finally get around to building my 10mm ACW armies however, they will be based on the respective 1st Corps of both sides at Gettysburg so, again, the 1st Texans will always be the 1st Texans in reality, but I can conceive of using them as something else given that they are only 10mm and the scale of the ACW is such that I will not always fight something from Gettysburg. They might very well become Georgians of Alabamans for a day...

Perhaps it is a scale thing (either battle size or figure size). Perhaps it is a period thing. Some units tend to be more generic than others, especially as camouflage and khaki take over from the colour of yesteryear, perhaps.

But this is one occasion when dual purpose is indeed on offer and this is a colourful period too.

Again, the figures are from the North Star "French Wilderness Force" box.


In "Muskets & Tomahawks", Coureurs de Bois come in units of 6 to 8 figures. Compagnies Franches de la Marine come in units of 8 to 12. I have 6 CdB and 10 CFDLM. Easy maths!!!

I like the character of these figures - well sculpted, well detailed and looking the part IMO.