Archive for the heroquest Category

#HeroQuest2019: Game on!

Posted in Battle report, Conversions, heroquest, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2019 by krautscientist

My quest to completely assemble and paint my vintage HeroQuest set has taken over much of my hobby time this year, as some of you may have noticed, but last week, the time had finally come to give the finished game set an actual spin.

Now for those of you who are not that much into HeroQuest – or who don’t even remember the days of yore when the game was first released – this may all seem a bit eggheaded and not all that interesting, for which I apologise. It has to be said, however, in terms of my personal hobby voyage, for lack of a better word, that this has really been a moment thirty years in the making, and that to be able to play a game of HeroQuest (with the full rules, no less) with a fully painted set that I have managed to complete myself does feel like a rather huge achievement.

Anyway, without further preamble, let’s get into the meat of this post: Annie and T. were awesome enough to join me for this special game night (cheers for that, guys!), and we decided to play a one-off game (at least for now), using the first quest from the second edition Quest book called “The Trial”

The quest is actually not entirely unproblematic as a starting point, because it’s much tougher than “The Labyrinth”, the beginners’ quest from the 1st edition of the quest book. While “The Labyrinth” features nothing tougher than a bunch of greenskins, “The Trial” pulls out all the stops and features just about every monster within the HeroQuest box, the dreaded Gargoyle included. However, this also makes it the perfect showcase game for HeroQuest, as it uses all of the monsters (and of the furniture) — what better way to make the most of my completely painted set, eh?

So I made some very small tweaks to the quest (including a house rule for searching rooms and added wandering monsters) and we were off: Annie and T. chose to play two heroes each, with Annie taking control of Tonriel Silkspinner (the Elf) and Braband the Fierce (The Barbarian), whereas T. would play Thorin (the Dwarf, obviously πŸ˜‰ ) and Garo von Stein (the Wizard).

These four brave adventurers would boldly enter the catacombs of Verag the Gargoyle, slaying vile creatures and discovering priceless treasures along the way…

But we are getting ahead of ourselves, so let’s start at the beginning: Our journey started, as every journey does, with a first step:

The plot quickly thickened, however, as the heroes ventured out from their starting room, encountering the dungeon’s first denizens:

And they kept getting in more trouble by opening additional doors — just as planned πŸ˜‰

Even at this early point, a streak of bad dice rolls already reared its ugly head, so the fights against the first couple of greenskins turned out to be more troublesome than expected. Little did the heroes know, however, of the monstrous legions arrayed against them:

For now, both the exploration and the fighting continued — and the first treasure chest was uncovered!


Braband the Fierce added another bead to his string of disappointments, however, when he discovered the chest he had fought so hard to reach turned out to be empty.

Thorin, on the other hand, needed some alone time and took a walk around the centre room of the dungeon.

…before coming to Tonriel’s assistance, since the elf had managed to disturb some more denizens of the dungeon.

Exploration moved to the upper left corner of the board — very much the home of a couple of undead horrors and of one of the quest’s “minibosses”, as it were.

Our heroes yet remained oblivious to this fact, but they were at least smart enough to team up before advancing further (and Braband even got in a second, more successful, attempt at emptying a treasure chest of its contents):

There was a collective intake of breath around the table as the fell guardian of Fellmarg’s tomb arose from his long slumber…

…only to be instantly KO’ed by a well-placed Genie spell:

Strangely fitting for a mummy champion to be knocked out by a Genie, come to think of it… Anyway, it may have been a short guest appearance, but the creation of a custom model was still totally worth it πŸ˜‰

Shortly afterwards, Braband and Tonriel were hard at work running into yet more trouble a couple of rooms further down. And thanks to a spectacularly unfortunate dice results, the lowly Orc pictured below turned out to be much more resilient than he should have been — once again, that is…

Here’s a look at my fortress of evil as seen from the players’ perspective…

And here’s a look at Annie’s side of the table: Her experience with RPG groups and deck-building games is clearly evident in the efficient way she organised her materials… (just compare it to the utter chaos behind my GM viewscreen…):

In any case, the heroes had learned their lesson, electing to form a neat conga line for their further exploration of the environment.

Returning to the centre of the catacombs for what seemed like this quest’s inevitable showdown…

But wait, had our heroes managed to overlook a room towards the bottom of the board? “Come hither, Braband!”, called Tonriel, “’tis probably just more greenskin vermin in this room!”

“Oh sh….!”

The two chaos warriors and Fimir were vanquished, but not without taking a toll on the heroes’ HP: In fact, things were looking pretty dire at this point, with all heroes down to their last couple of HP and all healing spells and potions already used up.

So it was at the worst possible moment that the foul Verag’s lair was revealed:

But our heroes were nothing if not unconventional in their problem solving: Garo von Stein jumped right into the fray, as you would expect from someone with only one defense dice and only three more hitpoints to his name.

His audacity paid off, however, as Verag was instantly slain by a well placed Ball of Flame — while some of the heroes actions were slightly eccentric (bordering on idiotic), I have to admit they really made the best possible use of their offensive spells against dangerous targets!

Unfortunately, his advance had put the Wizard into a bit of a fix:

But he managed to dodge a full round of attacks, right in time for Braband and Tonriel to show up as backup and provide him with a clear route for a strategic escape.

It was a close call, but in the end, our heroes prevailed:

In fact, Thorin the Dwarf even chose to celebrate the occasion by dancing on the table — a bit rich, really, considering his less than stellar combat performance…

But in spite of everything, the heroes were victorious! They did manage to win by the skin of their teeth, though: One more round of combat could have produced the first hero casualties. For this reason, the heroes didn’t perform any further searching in the rooms that were left, but chose to end the quest then and there.

In all fairness, however, they did manage to vanquish quite a few monsters along the way:

So yeah, that was my first HeroQuest game in a long time — and definitely the first game using a fully painted set. So how does it hold up?

We actually had a blast, but then we’ve all grown up with HeroQuest, seeing the game as a bit of a gateway drug into the hobby. So there’s at least some nostalgia involved. There were many legitimately great moments, though: the surgical obliteration of the quest’s two most dangerous creatures by magic, for instance. Or Thorin’s inability to score a single hit on a consecutive five or six rounds: T. just didn’t roll a single skull, to his mounting frustration. On the other hand, the same skill also made him defend lots of damage when it really counted, keeping him alive longer than should have been possible:

“If you are defending, that’s an excellent result. If you are trying to kill something, not so much…”

But the fact remains that the game worked really, really well, in spite of being 30 years old. Granted, it was ever so slightly clunky in places and lacked some of the quality of life features we are all used to from more modern games — both of these problems were ameliorated by the fact that we were still (re)learning the ropes while playing, however, and so we were happy enough to be able to grasp the rules in a speedy fashion: They are really straightforward and robust enough to let you dive right into the game!

Thanks must also go to Annie and T. for indulging me in this venture. We had great fun, and to be able to serve as the evil dungeon master using my own toys again was a lovely, nostalgic moment — one that I hope we’ll be able to repeat sooner rather than later.

But that is a story for another time! For now, everything goes back into the box:

Before we tune out for today, however, let me say that I would love to hear any thoughts, feedback – or, indeed, old HeroQuest war stories – that you may have! Please feel free to leave me a comment below!

And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

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#HeroQuest2019: A small relapse…

Posted in Conversions, heroquest, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 8, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, I am currently working on lots of neat projects that I hope I’ll be able to share with you soon. But for today, let us return to my #HeroQuest2019 project, as I find myself drawn back to the world of adventures in a world of high fantasy fairly frequently.

The reason for this is twofold: One the one hand, this has been such an enjoyable project that I just want to keep adding things to it. On the other hand, finishing a HeroQuest model rarely takes longer than an hour or so, so it’s always a fun romp that usually ends in success. And, with the main game system taken care of, I am now free to fill out some blank areas on the map and go above and beyond what’s required for the base game. Plus I may actually have a proper game of HeroQuest coming up later this month, so I had best get my stuff in order until then πŸ˜‰

One very enjoyable option for HeroQuest aficionados is to come up with custom models for characters or monsters that appear in the quests but don’t have dedicated models. I’ve already created several custom models like that, and it has been a lot of fun:

But once you take your first step down this road, there’s a real temptation not to stop before every character has their own dedicated model, and so I keep looking at the HeroQuest quest book for new inspiration. Case in point, “The Trial” from the second edition quest book has a more powerful mummy in it that is described as the corpse of a legendary warrior. And I knew I had an old Tomb Kings skeleton head in my bitzbox that might work rather well for glitzing up a standard mummy…

I started with an (already horribly painted) stock mummy model that was in pretty rough shape — hence I had no qualms about cutting it up πŸ˜‰

And I used some plastic bits to turn it into a mummy champion, so to speak:


Now the bitz I used for this conversion are all a bit more modern than the actual HQ models, but I still think the vintage look is retained. It’s also a really simple conversion, mostly based on swapping in a skeleton head and hand from the old Tomb Kings skeleton warriors, as well as an ancient skeleton hand with sword.

The fun with these conversions is that the aim is not only to convert something that looks cool, but, more importantly, a model that seems plausible within the framework of the vintage HeroQuest look.

Anyway, there was that wonderful moment when the undercoat pulled all of the disparate parts together:

And here’s the finished mummy champion:


The finished model does betray the fact that the mummy I used was in a pretty rough state — working from a “clean” stock model would arguably have led to an even better result. But I am still pretty happy with the model.

One thing that doesn’t photograph too well, unfortunately, but works really well when seen up close, is the glowing eyes and mouth areas:

The glow that’s only suggested in the photo is really arresting when looking at the model from up close.

And here’s a comparison shot with the champion and a standard mummy:

Yup, definitely the embalmed corpse of a powerful warrior, and not just your standard, run-of-the-mill mummy. Yessir πŸ˜‰

Come to think of it, the Return of the Witch Lord expansion has a quest with four special undead monsters called the “Spirit Riders”, and this recipe would probably work really well for them, too. Now if I can just cobble together enough old Tomb King heads… πŸ˜‰

 

The second model I want to share with you today works in a similar way: It’s also a stock HeroQuest model, slightly converted to represent a special character. In this case, it’s a model to count as Grak, the son of the Orc warlord Ulag, defeated by the heroes during an early quest:

As you can see, the conversion is based on a standard HQ Orc: I wanted him to look less like a warlord like his father. In the quest book, Grak kidnaps the heroes after they have slain (or “captured”, if you own the German edition of HeroQuest) his father. Now maybe his kidnapping of the heroes is not only an act to avenge his father, but also to prove how he can become the next Orc warlord. His one bid for power that he must not mess up. But while he may be formidable in a fight, I also wanted him to look like a bit of a doofus πŸ˜‰

The conversion itself was really simple: I merely spliced in some plastic Orc and Goblin bitz. The most important part was Grak’s silly little hood, created by shaving down an old Night Goblin head. Truth be told, the entire Idea was mostly nicked from Luegisdorf’s very nice HeroQuest collection over here, to give credit where credit is due.

Converting Grak was quick work, and so was painting him: I went from blocking in the main colours…

…to an almost finished model in just about an hour:

Again, I really love how knocking out a HeroQuest character or two serves as a nice and easy little palate cleanser every now and then! Anyway, here’s the finished model for Grak, completely painted and varnished:



And here he is next to his dear old father Ulag, both ready to be slain by an enterprising group of heroes

And one last model for today: I really wanted to figure out proper colour schemes for the Men-at-Arms that come with both HeroQuest (at least with the Advanced Quest version) and Advanced HeroQuest:

Seeing how the twelve Men-at-Arms from HeroQuest are the one thing in the box I have yet to paint, I thought it would be smart to start with one of them — and boy oh boy was that less fun than expected:

Don’t get me wrong, I am rather happy with the finished look: It’s renaissanc-y enough to match the model’s design, and also clean and bright enough for HeroQuest’s particular high fantasy flavour (even though those guys are very obviously proto-Empire State Troops).

The way to get to the finished model was less than enjoyable, mostly due to the face: Now the detailing on the face was fairly soft to begin with (with the eyes more suggested than actually sculpted), and the fact that the models have a massive mold line running down the centre of their faces didn’t exactly help. I didn’t end up with much in the way of facial features, so I basically had to paint on a face with the brush. It took quite some doing, and the guy certainly isn’t a natural beauty, but at least he has a face now:


I also realised the guy wouldn’t really qualify as a proper test model without the different weapon alternatives, so I quickly painted those as well:

The Scout:


The Halberdier:

The Swordsman:

The Crossbowman:


So yeah, one down, eleven to go πŸ˜‰ Anyway, I want to keep most of the colour scheme for all of the other Men-at-Arms, with the helmet plume as a way of distinguishing different players’ mercenaries.

So that’s it for today. Dealing with those vintage models is always a wonderful fresh breath of air for me, but that may just be nostalgia. But no, those models are rather lovely in their simplicity and unabashed high fantasy look and feel. Good times! πŸ™‚

It goes without saying that I would love to hear your thoughts on the latest models! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

 

 

#HeroQuest2019: Finished set impressions

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2019 by krautscientist

This post is long overdue at this point, but today it’s finally happening! Let’s take a look at my finished HeroQuest set, the project that has kept me occupied for most of the first half of 2019. But now I finally have the completely* painted copy of the game that I’ve always dreamed of:

There you have it, all set out on the garden table. And with my recent purchase of the four role boards for the heroes (and thanks to a couple of donations from my friend Annie), I am also the proud owner of all of the printed materials that came with the game once more. Yay!

On a related note, you probably won’t be able to make it out in the pictures, but that very loud green price tag up in the corner says “20,00 DM”, TWENTY Deutsche Marks. That’s 10 Euros (given the value of the Euro back when it was first introduced), but even if you are generous and figure in inflation,a price of even 20 Euros would be inconceivable for this entire package today, especially given the inflated aftermarket prices — seriously, if only I had picked up ten of those boxes back in the day, I would be a made man now πŸ˜‰

But anyway, let’s take a look at the models again, because those are very much the stars of the show, aren’t they? Here’s the entire collection:

As I have said before, I had a blast painting these, and I would argue that the project has improved my painting techniques quite a bit. There’s nothing like having to coax the last bit of detail out of some rather ancient sculpts for teaching you how to be a better painter πŸ˜‰ Well, that and the bright, colourful and slightly vintage approach felt like such a breath of fresh air!

Here are the four Heroes, pretty much my favourite part of the project (except maybe for the furniture):

The lowly Goblins:

The Orcs, complete with their warlord (a refugee from the Battle Masters boxed set, as you may remember):

The Fimir…Fimirs…Fimirach?! Anyway, those guys were tricky to figure out!

The Skeletons (just six more to go, and I have the amount of models I need for the “Return of the Witch Lord” expansion):

The Zombies, including a slightly converted model in the front row:

The Mummies round out the collection of undead monsters:


And, of course, the Chaos models — very much the collest part of HeroQuest’s bestiary (and clear proponents of the red era of ‘Eavy Metal painting):

And, just because I like to mention them again and again, my converted models for the captive Sir Ragnar, the Orc Warlord Ulag (and/or his son Grag) and the Witch Lord:

And let’s not forget the furniture, one of the best parts of the HeroQuest experience (and also just about my favourite bit of painting in this entire project).

All of this makes up an entire box of retro goodness:

But how does this all look in an actual gaming setup? I created a little scene, mostly inspired by the quest called “The Trial” from the Master Edition’s questbook. Unfortunately, I had chosen the windiest day of the month, so both the GM screen and furniture kept falling over. But I was able to get a couple of pictures out of the ordeal. Take a look:







What a nostalgic feeling, to finally see the game set up in the way I imagine it was intended to be played. This really makes me want to actually give the game a spin — and hopefully it won’t be too long before I can make it happen!

For now, everything goes back into the box, however, along with a couple of still unpainted models that I am confident we’ll be seeing more of in the not-too-distant future:

Because today’s post hardly marks the end of my exploration of HeroQuest: For one, there are still twelve Men-at-arms to be painted, along with the extra Orcs, Goblins, Fimir (…) and Skeletons for the “Kellar’s Keep” and “Return of the Witch Lord” expansions, respectively. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll be able to track down the elusive models from “Against the Ogre Horde” and “Wizards of Morcar” one day — without having to sell a kidney in order to be able to afford them, that is… πŸ˜‰

There are also those pretty cool Talisman and early WFB plastic models that you see in the box — those should make a pretty nifty addition to my HeroQuest collection as well. And there’s also my battered copy of Advanced HeroQuest to think of. Speaking of which…

Here’s a little something that I painted just recently:

One of the Skaven models from the Advanced HeroQuest box. Those guys do fit the general HeroQuest look rather well, but they are not spectacular models. Which made trying to get them to look cool even more interesting:


And here’s another comparison shot: The new Skaven next to his cousin that was painted 25-ish years ago:

Unlike with my very first HeroQuest models, I knew what I was doing by that time — but only just barely, as you can see: The left model looks more like a rabid chihuahua than a ratman…

But anyway, maybe the remaining Advanced HeroQuest models would be a cool next thing to paint as part of this project? We shall see…

Whatever comes next, I now own the fully painted HeroQuest set I have always wanted. And I have enough ideas to keep this project going — what more could I ask for? For now, in closing, let us take a moment to remind ourselves precisely why HeroQuest is so great:

 

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: Finishing touches

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2019 by krautscientist

With the Sorcerer’s Table and Alchemist’s Bench now officially done and dusted, I was left with two final pieces of HeroQuest furniture from this original set of four models left to paint:

It goes without saying that I remained committed to making each of these pieces as cool as I could — after all, the furniture is one of the things that makes the original HeroQuest boxed set such a classic!

I started with the weapon rack. Now this piece was interesting in that it’s really easy to make it look really dull — after all, the weapons stacked on the rack should be mostly silver, right? And you could even paint the rack itself silver as well and be home in time for dinner…

This was obviously the biggest possible pitfall to avoid here, so I chose to use a few spot colours to make a nice contrast with all of those silver blades. I also decided to paint the rack itself as wood, seeing how the sculpt itself suggested a bit of a wooden texture to the entire thing. I would be remiss not to mention how RemyT’s paintjob once again served as a major point of reference, although I chose to swap around a few colours.

Anyway, here’s the weapon rack with the first couple of base colours blocked in (and most of the wood already finished):

And a bit later, with all of the base colours in place:

This already gave me a good idea of the colour balance, so all that remained were some finishing touches. Unsurprisingly, the whole thing really came to life after the washed had been applied, especially when it came to making the metallic parts look more like metal and less like painted plastic:


From here on out, it was all a question of adding a few finishing touches and higlights, and I took my sweet time with this step.

The obvious problem with the weapon rack, as was pointed out to me by fellow hobbyist Anderas, is that it’s completely out of whack with the rest of the HeroQuest set when it comes to scale: Those weapons are really far too big to be wielded by any model appearing in the game, except maybe for the Gargoyle πŸ˜‰ But I still cannot stop myself from liking the weapon rack immensely: It’s an interesting and fairly unique addition to HeroQuest’s set of furniture, and it was also fairly enjoyable to paint because it provided the perfect excuse to work with different colours in order to make all those weapons look suitably interesting and exotic.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the finished weapon rack:



And, as an extra little bit of fun, here’s a comparison with my newly painted weapon rack and an older piece still sporting the earlier paintjob from elementary school days:

So, just one piece to go, and this last one represented a bit of a challenge: the Torture Rack:

So what was the challenge I mentioned? Well, as you can see, the stock torture rack has these weird handles that come as separate pieces. Those were missing on my version, long lost to some unremembered calamity (or, more likely, my general tendency for messiness). So I needed to think of a replacement while, at the same time, I really didn’t like the stock version: Those handles have always seemed so weird to me. So why not kill two birds with one stone (or rather, one torture rack) and work on a replacement that would seem more believable (and mechanically sound).

After a bit of scrounging around, I came up with this solution, thanks to some some leftover bits and bobs from my bitzbox:

Those handwheels somehow seemed far more believable to me, and they were really easy to make, too: The actual wheel can be any round slice of plastic, while the handles were made from cut-down spikes from one of those spike racks from the CSM vehicle sprue that any chaos player is sure to have dozens of πŸ˜‰

The parts where the stock handles normally attach was carefully cut off before the handwheels were glued on, then reattached to work as a kind of spoke for the whole assembly.

I was pretty happy with this solution, and everything came together rather nicely when I undercoated the piece:

The paintjob itself was a fairly straightforward affair, because it was mostly about creating a suitably weathered wood effect on the rough planks of the torture rack, with some metallic accents here and there:

Of course the obvious fun came when the rack had been painted and it was time to crack open the Tamiya Clear Red for some added blood spatter. Take a look at the finished torture rack:


As a tribute to the older “paintjob”, I decided to place the bloodstains in almost exactly the same locations as before, only with a slightly more realistic look.

Before going for the bright, glossy look, I created a deeper layer of stains that look more faded and matte, mostly to hint at the fact that this torture rack has probably been in use for quite some time — brrrr…. 😦

 

And with that, the four missing pieces of furniture were finished. And I am honestly pretty chuffed with each and every one of them, to be honest:


All of this also makes for a pretty productive Easter holiday, if I do say so myself:

Even better, yet, this also marks the completion of the entire set of HeroQuest furniture. Here’s the complete collection, assembled for your viewing pleasure:

The prospect of getting to paint the furniture was what kept me going through some of the more grueling parts of this project — and rightly so, because I truly had a blast with those pieces! If you still have some of these somewhere in your cupboard of shame, I can only recommend giving them a spin — it’s highly enjoyable, and it taught me more about painting wood than my entire 30 years in the hobby that came before πŸ™‚

However, I was so happy with myself about all that painted furniture that I almost forgot a sizeable part of the HeroQuest boxed set that still needed to be painted — the doors!

Because the game comes with 21 bases for the cardboard doors that are such an integral part of the HeroQuest experience, and while those are hardly the flashiest part of the game, I would still need to paint them in order to be able to call my copy of HeroQuest truly painted.

I chose to go for the same stoney look I also used for the bases on all of the hero and monster models:

And while this made for a fairly quick and dirty approach, painting over almost 40 of those bases (because I still own almost two complete sets) took a bit of doing. A fair bit of my last hobby session at my friend Annie’s place was actually given over to the somewhat thankless task of painting, washing and drybrushing door bases:

But I soldiered on, and now the doors are done as well — including quite a few spares:

And last but not least, I was finally able to get my hands on the last component of the game that was still missing from my copy: the four character boards:

Now this was the one instance where I had to venture into the den of madness that is trying to buy HeroQuest items off ebay, but I got an okay deal, the boards got here without further damage, and they are in fairly good condition, considering their age, so all’s well that ends well.

And with that, I have actually completed my HeroQuest set (minus the twelve Men-at-arms, but those will have to wait for a bit yet). And of course I am not entirely without ideas for future additions to my collection.

That will have to wait for a bit, however, as does a proper photographic exploration of the finished set — that’s what you can look forward to for next week’s update. For now, I would love to hear your thoughts about this week’s update, so please feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: The end is nigh…

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2019 by krautscientist

Not much longer before I finally own a completely painted HeroQuest set — and it’s probably for the best, too, because my readers are likely getting bored with all of the HeroQuest content of late… πŸ˜‰

Anyway, last time I blazed my way through some of the more pedestrian parts of HeroQuest’s furniture, painting a whole lot of bookcases, chests and tables:


This left me with some of the more original pieces, and I was really looking forward to getting started. So here’s a look at the four missing pieces of furniture I still needed to paint at this point:

I decided to start with the sorcerer’s table, a nice and straightforward beginning. Blocking in the base colours, then working with washes and a heavy drybrush to create the table’s stone texture was relaxing work.

But that blank page on the right kept teasing me, because I knew I wanted to do something fun with it — on the one hand, simply leaving it blank would have been such a wasted opportunity, but on the other hand, simply adding more scripture also seemed like a somewhat bland solution, so I went for something a little more involved: I figured that whoever the owner of the table might be, they could possibly be trying to summon a dastardly monster to sic it on the heroes, so I did this…

Do you recognise what this is supposed to be…?

Quite right, it’s a miniature version of the Gary Chalk illustration that appears on the back of the monster cards (incidentally, the same creature also makes another appearance on the cards for “wandering monsters”).

If you are familiar with HeroQuest related trivia, you may also be asking yourself: “What about the candles?” Because each sorcerer’s table originally came with two candles (complete with flames) that were, invariably, the first parts to break or be lost, apparently: Nearly every owner of a HeroQuest set has to mitigate the fact that those chandles are likely to be lost or incomplete.

The funny thing is, I actually do have another sorcerer’s table with the candles …mostly intact:


As you can see, it was subjected to an earlier, less sophisticated paintjob, and I really wanted to start fresh with an unpainted piece. Plus I also chose the skull and rat setup for nostalgia reasons: You see, when I received my first copy of HeroQuest, the table never had the candles — either they weren’t included in the box for some reason or (equally likely) my dad didn’t realise what they were and threw them out when he assembled the original game for me. Anyway, I only realised the candles were a thing when buying my second copy years later, so I thought it would be a nice shout out to those golden days of yore to build the table with the rat and skull πŸ™‚

I also made sure to paint the rat with light grey, almost white, fur, as a shout out to the Skaven race, because their Grey Seers mostly have light grey/white fur as well πŸ˜‰

Anyway, here’s my finished sorcerer’s table:




Next up was the alchemist’s bench, easily one of the most interesting parts of HeroQuest’s furniture set — oh, sure, it may look all boring and angular, but as we’ll be seeing in a minute, this is a piece where you can really give it your best shot as a painter.

Anyway, it was easy enough to get started by blocking in the base colours, especially the wood: Once again, using Vallejo’s Parasite Brown made for an excellent match with the colour on the cardboard part of the bench. Here’s the piece after basecoating and a first pass of washes:


The next step was to take care of the wooden parts of the bench, and I did so with a mixture of drybrushing and freehanding, trying once again to suggest the texture of woodgrain. This was even more important here than on the tables and bookcases, because the alchemist’s bench has some large, flat surfaces that really profit from that extra bit of detailing:


When it came to the desktop, I picked it out in a dark red, to suggest that the surface of the bench has been covered in some kind of felt, leather or rubber, the better to serve as a support for all kinds of chemical shenanigans. By the same token, I made sure to paint on lots of dirt stains and scuff marks, to show how the bench is suitably dirty and grimy:


With that out of the way, the actual bench was mostly done:


This was were the fun started, however, because there were still those nifty extra parts: The scales that go on top of the bench were painted in a heavily verdigrised bronze/copper colour, always a nice little touch:

Most time was actually spent on the little potion flasks, though, in order to turn them into a bit of a eye catcher. This part was also an excellent way of introducing a bit of bold colour to the entire piece:

After everything was assembled, the bench was varnished with matte varnish. Then the flasks received a thick coat of gloss varnish, for fairly obvious reasons. And I also added a last round of glossy “special effects”: Some blood effect on and around the receptacle on the left side of the bench, and some ink splatter around the inkwell, papers and quill. Those last touches really sell the model, if you ask me, because they create that slightly chaotic look that really fits the desk of a mad alchemist. Take a look at the finished piece:




When all is said and done, this was one of the most rewarding pieces in the entire set to paint, and it’s also one of my favourite parts of my HeroQuest collection now.

 

Before we pack up for the week, there’s one last model I want to share with you today — and it has nothing whatsoever to do with furniture. So what is this about?

Of course I do realise that, technically speaking, the hero and monster models are all done and dusted. But there was still one last addition I wanted to make to my collection: You see, there are two quests in the HeroQuest quest book that call for an Orc character, namely an Orc warlord named Ulag and, slightly later, his son Grak. And while the quest book advises players to just use an Orc model with a longsword to represent either of the two, this didn’t sit right with me: I wanted a proper model I could use for whenever the game called for an Orc warlord!

My search for a period appropriate (GW) model led me to this guy:

One of the old Battle Masters Orcs, released only a couple of years later than HeroQuest (and cast in the same green plastic, incidentally). The Battle Masters Orc won out against a monpose Warhammer plastic Orc by virtue of looking a bit more similar to the HeroQuest Orcs, while at the same time boasting a slightly more heavily armoured look that made him seem more formidable.

Now the Battle Masters models are ever so slightly less detailed than the HeroQuest miniatures, but I hoped that a suitably involved paintjob would still make the model look cool enough for the job — oh, and I also spliced in an Evil Sun shield emblem from a slightly more modern plastic Orc kit, for good measure πŸ˜‰

Applying the same greenskin skin recipe I had used for the rest of my Orcs, albeit with another higlight layer or two thrown in, I was able to create a model that looks similar in hue to my other HeroQuest greenskins, yet ever so slightly stands out as a more important character due to its more sophisticated paintjob.


And something pretty funny happened during the painting process: When I checked out the HeroQuest cover artwork for the umpteenth time, I discovered this guy lurking in the background:

It’s a huge coincidence, obviously, but I still feel kinda vindicated by this discovery πŸ˜‰

So I So here’s my stand-in for Ulag, Grak or any other Orc Warlord I may need in games of HeroQuest:



Like I said, I think the model works fairly well as a leader for the HeroQuest Orcs: The pose and overall look are close enough, whereas the added armour really makes him look like a leader figure for the lesser orcs. Here’s a comparison picture:


And here are all of my HeroQuest Orcs with their new leader:

This also means that I have completed three “bonus models” for my HeroQuest set: Sir Ragnar (Manfred), The Orc Warlord and the Witch Lord:


It pleases me that I actually have models for these characters now, and it’s certainly a little touch that makes my HeroQuest set just that little bit more unique.

So just a few more pieces left to paint, and then I’ll have completed a project that has been thirty years in the making! For now, however, I would love to hear any feedback or thoughts you may have concerning today’s update! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: Dungeon interior design 101

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Terrain with tags , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2019 by krautscientist

Time for another update from the depths of the dungeon: With the hero and monster models for my HeroQuest set now accounted for,…

…it was time to turn my attention to the furniture that comes with the game.

Now I have been looking forward to this particular part of my #HeroQuest2019 project for quite a while, both because the little furniture was always one of the coolest parts of HeroQuest, but also because the pieces provide an interesting challenge:

At first glance, the task of painting the furniture seems straightforward enough — even moreso since there isn’t even that much to be painted in the first place: Nearly all of the pieces, save the weapons rack, are made up of a foldable cardboard part and a plastic part that holds everything together and provides some sculpted detail. However, therein lies the challenge: While you may or may not choose to make the monsters and heroes resemble the in-game art (or the Mike McVey paintjobs on the box, for that matter), that choice doesn’t really matter all that much during the actual game, where the models basically stand on their own.

Not so with the furniture, because the art on the cardboard parts is always there, so it makes sense to ensure that the paintjob of the plastic part actually fits the art — or even matches the colours employed. This added a fun little wrinkle to the whole exercise, and one that doesn’t usually occur during 40k painting.

Now you could obviously choose a different approach and replace all of the cardboard with new parts made from wood, foamcore or GS — and, indeed, back when I made a short previous attempt at painting my HeroQuest set, that was exactly what I wanted to do, prompted by Damien Thevenin’s fantastic work, among others (his blog is unfortunately defunct, but photos of his work can still be found on various forums, Google, Pinterest and, in fact, on his Facebook page).

These days I feel a little differently about the cardboard parts of the furniture, however: They are really charming, for one. And the match the high level of the rest of HeroQuest’s graphical presentation. So I decided the cardboard parts deserved to be preserved — which, in turn, would require a bit of “Trompe-l’œil painting”, so to speak, to make sure everything fit together from a visual standpoint.

I started with something that I knew would be fun, namely the fireplace and sarcophagus:

I actually made a previous attempt at the Sarcophagus, inspired by a similar piece created by the aforementioned Damien Thevenin. Here’s the stock (unpainted) sarcophagus next to the one I built up using foamcore and some extra bitz:




I still think the built-up piece works rather well — I am only a bit miffed in hindsight that I didn’t give more care to the actual paintjob…

So my second attempt at painting the sarcophagus ended up being a bit more conventional — but also more involved, with the actual paintjob carefully built up over several instances of careful drybrushing. Take a look at the finished piece:



When I was happy with the colour, I added a few lines here and there that might be cracks, veins or fault lines in the stone — they were simply drawn on using a pencil, an idea stolen from a marble base my buddy DexterKong created using a pencil a while back.

The technique worked pretty well and seems like it should warrant further exploration at a later date…

The fireplace was great fun in that it contained a bit of a “special effect”. Seeing how the logs that are part of the sculpted plastic bit are actually a bit farther away from the roaring fire burning in the background, as it were, I decided to go for the look of logs that are starting to catch fire, with their edges beginning to glow. It’s an effect I’ve had to improvise, but I am still happy with the outcome:

I also added several layers of Bloodletter glaze to the stone floor, making it look as though there were heat radiating outwards from the fire — an effect that already came in handy back when I built the base for my Daemon Primarch Angron conversion.

So with the first two pieces successfully completed, I decided to jump right into a bigger task and tackled the bookcases, cupboard, treasure chests and tables next. All of these use the exact same wooden tones for the carboard artwork, so it definitely made sense to paint them back to back:

Now seeing how the plastic parts on these pieces of furniture are so relatively small, you wouldn’t suspect them to be a lot of work, right? I thought so too, but finishing those pieces did take quite some doing!

Fortunately enough, my friend Annie helpfully pointed out that Valllejo’s Parasite Brown is a surprisingly close match for the wooden tone appearing on the cardboard pieces — this made my life much easier during the painting process!

So let’s take a look at the results. We’ll start with the bookcases and cupboard:


The Parasite Brown basecoat really did most of the work here. After adding some Strong Tone wash, the wood on those bookcases was drybrushed, although by being very careful and deliberate about it, I made sure that the bristles of the drybrush actually created an effect similar to woodgrain — a bit of a happy accident, admittedly πŸ˜‰


The relatively straightforward way of painting the wood left me with enough time to focus on some of the smaller details, such as adding some character to the rats perched on top of the bookcases and cupboard:

Next up were the treasure chests, which should have been the easiest part of painting the furniture, but did take far longer to complete than they had any right to. Once again, I used Parasite Brown for the wood and contrasted it with heavily blackened and worn metal fittings (created by undercoating the metallic area with Leadbelcher, then going to town on it with a heavy wash of Dark Tone and Vallejo Smokey Ink. Some scratches were then sponged and painted on).


The tables followed the same formular, although they were interesting in that they allowed me to experiment with painting on some freehand suggestion of woodgrain. You should even be able to make it out in the pictures below if you squint πŸ˜‰


Oh, and as you can see, I also painted the little throne. This has always been one of my favourite pieces of HQ furniture, but it turned out to be really straightforward to paint (a small accident with a pot of brown paint notwithstanding…):

Working with these pieces has also made me (re-)discover what HeroQuest already taught us in the gender-stereotypical toy landscape of the 80s and 90s: That it’s perfectly okay to play around with little furniture if you feel like it. Seriously, those pieces are just begging to be used for little vignettes:

Ah, yes: There’s nothing like a comfy chair next to a roaring fire, and with treasure to plunder already in sight — this is the life!

 

Now all of the above actually adds up to quite a collection of finished furniture, if I do say so myself. Take a look:


This leaves only four unpainted parts, and seeing how each of the remaining pieces is one-of-a-kind, this should make the home stretch of the project rather enjoyable. At least that’s what I hope! πŸ™‚


On a partially related note, I have recently upgraded to a new phone, and of course one of the more important things was to figure out whether it was any good at taking miniature photos — so what better test run than to set up some mock HeroQuest game situations? Anyway, I thought you guys might enjoy these as well, and they seem like a nice capstone for today’s post:





For now, these shots are merely a staged affair, but at this rate, it won’t be long before I actually get to experience the fully painted game in earnest — keep your fingers crossed for me! πŸ™‚

And with that, it’s back to the painting table for me! Please feel free to let me hear any feedback or comments you may have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: Back into the dungeon!

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 9, 2019 by krautscientist

It’s back to HeroQuest this week, as my #HeroQuest2019 project slowly but surely reaches the home stretch, and I have some new models to share with you. So let’s not waste any time and get right into the meat of things, shall we?

When we last talked about progress on my HeroQuest set, I still had to paint two more monster types: the Goblins and the Fimir (Fimirs? Fimirach?). I won’t lie, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to painting yet more green, but I also realised that I had to power through those models before ending fatigue set in.

Fortunately enough, fellow hobbyist Weltenlaeufer provided me with the perfect kickstart to my efforts over at the Ye Olde Inn forum: He inquired after my recipe for painting greenskins, and in order to answer him, I posted a step by step tutorial for my Goblins and also used this as the perfect opportunity to actually get those Goblins painted at the same time — pretty smart, eh?

[In case anyone’s interested, the full tutorial can be found here. I don’t really want to reproduce it here, mostly because it’s mostly based on A Gentleman’s One’s fantastic greenskin recipe anyway).]

And so a short while later, the Goblins were finished:

While the recipe for the skin and weapons is very similar to the approach I used for my HeroQuest Orcs, I decided to paint the Goblins’ clothes in a slightly more colourful manner — it makes for some added visual variation, for one, and also helps to differentiate the Goblins from their larger cousins. I think it also fits that the small, wily Goblins should be a bit more into fashion concerns than their lumbering Orc relatives… πŸ˜‰

So here’s a look at all of the HeroQuest greenskins:

So that left just one type of monster, and I had good reason for leaving this one for last: the Fimir.

Now the Fimir are an interesting colourful touch in HeroQuest’s bestiary, in that they do fulfil the role of the classic lizardman, but with a twist. They are cyclopean, for one, and their armour has always struck me as interestingly mesoamerican — but maybe I am just overthinking things here. Anyway, my main point of reference for the models’ paintjob was, once again, the classic Mike McVey approach, seen here on a prototype model that also appears on the back of the quest book:

This is the prototype Fimir as he still looks today, in Bryan Ansell’s private collection. I nabbed the picture from RealmofChaos80s.

But the truth is that the actual Fimir models contained in the HeroQuest boxed set are not quite on par with the prototype. Now this is definitely true for some of the other monsters as well, but by and large, most of them work really well on their own, especially given the relatively unsophisticated one-piece mono-pose nature of the HeroQuest models.

The Fimir, however, definitely get the short end of the stick in this respect: The models are weirdly clunky and ungainly, with lots of weird angles and strange lines. To wit, the mere act of cleaning the mold lines off those models was an exercise in frustration! Some of the detail from the prototype model is either far softer on the production models or nowhere to be seen at all. So I would have to deal with that issue during the painting process.

At the same time, finding an actual painting recipe that worked also took some doing — in hindsight, it’s funny how I actually have so many different test models for painted Fimir in my collection. In fact, for an extra bit of fun, here’s an evolution of my various Fimir models over the years:

I and II weren’t even painted by me, but by the first of my friends to dabble in miniature painting, back in elementary school. I think he was onto something with the red Fimir, though, and if I should ever paint another set of Fimir, I think I’ll be going for an alternate scheme like that (this would also be a cool way of suggesting different tribes or broods of Fimir, seeing how they are lizard people and everything…). III was the first Fimir I painted (with scale model acrylics, no less). IV was painted with Citadel colours, but I’m not quite sure what I thought I was doing there — I seem to have had a pretty bad painting streak during the early-to-mid 90s, in hindsight. V and VI are my modern attempts that we will be taking a closer look at in a second:

So here’s my first “modern” Fimir model painted some time last month, in order to nail down a painting approach:


The main colour I used for the skin was GW Moot Green, and it ended up looking…very green. I also became too greedy for a quick recipe during the painting process, and didn’t spend nearly enough time carefully layering on the skin colour, adding some pretty slapdash higlights on top, instead. All of this lead to a pretty rough looking model, at least where the skin was concerned.

At the same time, there were also some parts that I was pretty happy with: The golden armour works pretty well, as does the obsidian-style axe, if you ask me. And I think the red jewel that adorns the belly plate actually came out pretty well. But whichever way you want to cut it, I would need to tweak the recipe on the second attempt. Which is what I did this past weekend. Take a look:


The difference seems subtle at first, but I would argue the skin works quite a bit better: The higlights have been layered on more carefully (and in several steps), and the overall skin tone – created by mixing GW Warboss Green and GW Elysian Green in various ratios (starting with 70:30, then 50:50, then something more like 30:70) – makes the Fimir look a little less cartoony and more like a somewhat crocodilian swamp dweller. At the same time, I kept most of the touches that had worked well before, such as the golden armour and the axe looking as though it was made from some kind of obsidian or volcanic glass.

I also painted three models at the same time, in order to finish the last missing monsters for my HeroQuest collection:


And while the test model does look a bit different, it can still be used to fill out the ranks:

As a matter of fact, fellow hobbyist PDH has offered to send over three more Fimir models from his own collection, which will give me the opportunity to either tweak the recipe yet again or – more likely – go for something completely different to hint at a different subspecies of Fimir.

In any case, that means all of the “green” monster models from the base game are now officially complete:

And, even better, with that, I have actually managed to paint all the models in the classic HeroQuest Game System:



And here’s the entire HeroQuest collection so far, with some extra monsters to round out the bestiary as well as the added characters, such as Sir Ragnar and the Witch Lord. Quite a few models, if I do say so myself — and almost all of them have been painted in 2019! Take a look:


Honestly, I never thought I’d see the day — this project has been thirty years in the making, and it’s also a bit of a childhood dream come true, to be honest. When lining all of those little guys up for the photo, I couldn’t stop grinning πŸ˜‰

And still, that’s not quite the end of this project yet: I do have a couple of ideas for additional models (and there are still those Master Edition men-at-arms to take care of), for one. Before that, however, I’ll have to deal with all of the HeroQuest furniture — something I am actually looking forward to quite a bit, and I am in fact already hard at work on the first pieces!

For now, however, I am incredibly happy with the models I have managed to complete so far:


Also, on a related note, my friend Annie was wonderful enough to let me have some more leftovers from her extra copy of HeroQuest, namely the monster cards and Master Edition questbook, which brings me one step closer to owning a complete set again:

So that’s another huge chunk of #HeroQuest2019 out of the way — it actually looks like I may get to take the completed set for a spin this very year — who would have expected that, eh? πŸ˜‰

Of course I would love to hear any thoughts or comments you may have, so drop me a line! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!