Archive for blast from the past

#HeroQuest2019: This is a Gargoyle!

Posted in Chaos, heroquest, old stuff, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2019 by krautscientist

As key luminaries of the realm have aptly pointed out, one of the best things about HeroQuest is the Gargoyle:

And while I stand by my earlier assessment that the Chaos Warlock is actually the cooler miniature, the Gargoyle pretty much won by sheer shock and awe tactics, back when I originally opened the game box: He was massive! He came in three separate parts! I remember a younger version of myself not wanting to let go of the model for the entirety of Christmas, back in 1989 ๐Ÿ˜‰

A couple of years after that, I actually painted the Gargoyle, trying to match the paintjob that appeared on the back of the HeroQuest quest book (once again, courtesy of Mike McVey). Here’s the result:

I remember being over the moon with my paintjob back in the day. From a modern perspective, it’s easy to see how my approach was hampered by the limitation of seemingly never using any shading and merely painting on the base colours ๐Ÿ˜‰ I am still pretty pleased with the colour blending on the sword, though…

Now it was clear that painting another Gargoyle would have to be a part of my #HeroQuest2019 project. My original plan was to keep the Gargoyle for last and only paint him once all of the other monsters had been finished. But then real life (TM) had been such a slog recently that I felt I deserved a little reward for soldiering on, so the Gargoyle jumped the queue a bit.

When it came to the actual painting recipe, I didn’t have to think all that long: Sure, one option would have been to actually paint the model as a stone statue — after all, the Gargoyle is supposedly rather a stone effigy come to life than an actual Daemon. Plus there are some rather gorgeous “stone” Gargoyles, painted by fellow hobbyists, out there. But this approach just seemed a bit boring to me.

These days, I am actually aware of the fact that the HeroQuest gargoyle is a slightly rebranded Bloodthirster of Khorne (or a statue of a Bloodthirster brought to life, to be precise). To the point where the vintage metal Bloodthirster from the time HeroQuest was released actually included options that allowed you to basically assemble a bigger HeroQuest Gargoyle.

And a Khornate Daemon required bold colours: Red and brass. So I ended up back with the “official” Mike McVey paintjob yet again:

Now the picture above doesn’t really use the actual Gargoyle model as included in the HeroQuest boxed set, but rather a slightly more elaborate metal prototype. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why my paintjob ended up looking slightly different — although it’s still heavily based on Mike McVey’s approach. Here’s a first tentative look:

I wasn’t so sure about the somewhat different look at first, but the model has definitely grown on me over the last couple of days, and I am pretty happy with the finished model now — definitely an improvement over my last paintjob from the mid-90s (even though the difference doesn’t look quite as stark in the photo as it does in real life):

I would also be remiss not to mention Tale of Painters’ flame tutorial yet again, which really came in handy when painting the Gargoyle’s sword — I merely reversed the recipe this time around ๐Ÿ˜‰

So with the model finished, I set up the usual, proper “glamour shots”. So here, without further ado, is the Gargoyle:







All in all, I am really very happy with the finished model — this guy will make for a brilliant boss monster to pitch against those pesky heroes… ๐Ÿ˜‰

What’s more, with the completion of the Gargoyle, Team Chaos is now finished as well. Just look at them, all glorious red and dark metal:


At the same time, I still need to complete quite a few models before my HeroQuest set can be considered finished: The Goblins are still missing, as are the Fimi/Fimirs/Fimirach (?!). And then there’s the furniture, of course, something I am already looking forward to quite a bit! If nothing else, though, I do have at least one model for each of the monster types now:

And while we are at it, here’s a look at all of my completed HeroQuest models right now:


As you can see, the assembly also includes the two “bonus models” I have created to round out the set, namely Sir Ragnar and the Witch Lord.


What’s more, I was surprised to find out that this collection actually makes for some forty models that I have mostly managed to paint in the first quarter of 2019 — that’s quite an achievement, given my – usually glacially slow – pace when it comes to painting!

So that’s it for today. Of course I would love to hear any thoughts and feedback you may have, so don’t be shy! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: The Forces of Chaos

Posted in Chaos, heroquest, old stuff, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2019 by krautscientist

In a way, all of the greenskins and undead I have painted for my #HeroQuest2019 project so far have mostly been a preparation for the models I want to share with you in today’s post — because even back when I got my first HeroQuest set, I immediately fell in love with the chaos models above all others: This was basically my very first contact with GW’s approach to the forces of chaos, but even back then, the faceless, armoured menace of the HeroQuest chaos warriors deeply appealed to me — and with long lasting consequences, arguably, because I am still a fan of heavily armoured, spiky chaos models to this very day!

So I wanted to do the chaos warrior models justice, but I was also slightly nervous about coming up with the right recipe for them. And there was also another problem, one that becomes obvious when you take a look at the chaos warriors appearing in this picture:

Yes, two of them had already been painted previously — and quite horribly so, to be honest: The first model was caked in an absolutely atrocious paintjob that mostly consisted of a thick coat of Blood Red, slathered over an even thicker undercoat of the old white GW primer. Even with several scrubbing sessions, I wasn’t able to completely strip off the paint, so I feared he would never exactly be a beauty again:

Case in point, there was even a weird lump on his left shoulder that didn’t match the look of the other chaos warriors, and only after some prying with a hobby knife did I discover that it was an ancient lump of superglue… Oh well… ๐Ÿ˜‰

His buddy, on the other hand, seemed like he would be less of a problem, because old his paintjob was a lot thinner — it consisted of hard to remove scale model acrylics, though, so even after stripping, there was still some black on him:

…So these two were the models I started with. Here’s another look at them, next to an old plastic WFB/Talisman chaos warrior whom I may use to represent the named chaos warriors that appear in some of the quests. Since he already looks like a slightly upgraded version of the HeroQuest models anyway, this seems like a pretty sound approach (as an aside, I still have an entire squad of those old plastic warriors that forms a part of my very first WFB chaos army):

So it was clear that I would start with the more damaged of the two chaos warriors as my guinea pig, because there was simply a lot less left to lose with that – already pretty rough – model. But still, the question remained: What recipe was I to use for my HeroQuest chaos warriors?

My first point of reference was to take a look at the classic Mike McVey paintjob from back in the day:

But it didn’t take me long to realise that this approach wouldn’t work for me: I am no Mike McVey, for one, and wasn’t sure I would be able to reproduce all of the tiny patterns and detail you can see in the model above — and I also have to admit that the finished look seemed just a bit too trippy and artistic to me — I was looking for something a little more down to earth for my own models.

Another approach that I had seen fellow hobbyists use was to paint each of the four chaos warriors as a follower of one of the four chaos gods, respectively. This seemed like such a cool idea, and I really thought about it for quite a while. In the end, however, I really wanted the four models to work as a massive, unified block of inhuman, armoured malice, and having them in all colours of the rainbow would have worked against that intended effect.

So I went back to the other obvious reference material: The chaos warrior monster card included in the game itself:

Now this seemed quite a bit closer to home — and it would also have the added benefit of perfectly matching GW’s classic “Red Period” for chaos models.

So here’s how my first test model turned out:

GW’s modern red hues look great when layered on top of one another, so they also worked like a charm when highlighting the armour. I was basically able to use a variant of Duncan Rhodes’ Bloodthirster recipe (which I also used to paint my own Bloodthirster and Daemon Primarch Angron conversion, respectively.)

The sculpt itself helped a lot, as well — in fact, it feels like those old HeroQuest chaos warriors were basically invented to teach people how to edge-highlight armour plates. Granted, the results are still not quite as tidy and clean as I would have liked, but I was still really happy with the finished piece — and all on a model that had seemed like a total loss beforehand, no less! ๐Ÿ™‚

So I quickly painted the second chaos warrior in line, the one that had previously been painted black all over:

Things got even easier afterwards, because the remaining two chaos warriors were still pristine and didn’t require any salvage operations. So it didn’t take me long to finish the entire set of four chaos warriors:

So with the success of finishing the chaos warriors still fresh on my mind, I turned to the model I actually feared the most: The Chaos Warlock:

Don’t worry, we’ll be getting to this guy in a furture post…

The Gargoyle may be the showiest, biggest and most complex monster in the HeroQuest box, but I think I like the Chaos Warlock even better — again, I blame being a huge fan of Skeletor during my childhood. But even from a modern perspective, I think it’s one of the most interesting models in the box, and one that hasn’t really been superseded by flashier, subsequent Warhammer releases. There’s also the iconic pose — anyway, to make a long story short, I think the Warlock is the coolest model in the entire HeroQuest box, period.

Unfortunately, he was also always and, invariably, the first model to be lost for good. I have actually managed to lose two of those over the years — I distinctly remember painting one of them about about 25 years ago, it was even the first model I ever used actual Citadel Paints on, incidentally. But it’s nowhere to be found today, probably lost at the bottom of a moving box in the attic or basement…

So I was really lucky when, back in 2013, fellow hobbyist (and grimdark impresario) Alexander Winberg was awesome enough to send me an extra chaos warlock — and after the model had been part of my to-do pile for more than five years, I felt it was finally time to get it painted at long last, nervous though I was about the prospect…

Once again, I first looked at the classic McVey paintjob:

And even after doing quite a bit of research, this was where I ended back up — it’s just the most inconic way of painting this model, and the one that seems to work best (unless you are going for a direct copy of Filmation Skeletor’s look):

So for once, I would try to approximate a McVey paintjob directly — no small feat, certainly…

Another point of reference that helped immensely during the painting process was RemyT’s warlock (his are probably the best-painted HeroQuest models in existence), and his version actually used the plastic model, and not the metal pre-production prototype, which definitely helped.

Anyway, I had to cheat a bit here and there, suggesting detail instead of actually perfectly painting it, but I quickly felt like I was actually on to something:

The whole exercise actually gave me a whole new appreciation for Mike McVey’s and RemyT’s respective paintjobs, simply because they have managed to feature so much detail in so very little space. I did the best I could to replicate the look, but like I said, some of the more intricate patterns and effects are suggested, rather than cleanly painted (those tiny white triangles on the robe get less and less convincing the closer you look, for instance). I also left out some of the most delicate wrinkles and squiggles from the reference material, mostly because it felt like taking the model even further would have meant pushing my luck and risking a paintjob I was already really happy with…

That said, my paintjob basically shows off the maximum of detail I could safely pull off, within the limits of my abilities as a miniature painter. Like I said, I was really nervous about this particular model, and I would argue I have managed to do it justice, at least to the best of my abilities.

So here’s the finished piece:

In spite of not achieving the exact same level of detail visible on Mike McVey’s and Remy’s models, I am still really, really proud of the finished model, if I do say so myself: Finally having painted the warlock to this standard was one of the moments I was really looking forward to when I started this model!

So, in closing, let us take a look at “Team Chaos” as it stands right now:

And with that, we are done for today. I would love to hear what you think, of course, so feel free to leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! ๐Ÿ™‚

#HeroQuest2019: The Witch Lord

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 12, 2019 by krautscientist

More #HeroQuest2019 today, but after blazing through the entire set of undead monsters, I felt I had earned myself a little wiggle room for a bit of fun. So what is this about?

As you have already seen in a previous post of mine, I won’t simply limit myself to painting the classic models, but I am also looking at some chances here and there to add some custom models to my set of HeroQuest, in order to create representations for the special characters that appear in some of the quests, but don’t have an official model. So this time around, my plan was to create a model to represent that most dastardly of recurring HeroQuest villains: The dreadful WITCH LORD!

For those who don’t remember the game, seeing how it’s been thirty years and everything, the Witch Lord made his first appearance in the standard quest book: Intrepid adventurers would accidentally awaken him about two-thirds through the base game’s collection of quests, while actually searching for a magical artifact, then had to find a magic sword that could harm him in response to his awakening. The Witch Lord then served as the quest book’s end boss, so to speak. Yet that was not the end of it:

A couple of expansions for HeroQuest were released a bit after the basic game system, and one of these was titled “Return of the Witch Lord”. Here’s Les Edward’s cover artwork for that particular expansion:

Illustration by Les Edwards

When I saw it, I was instantly in love! In fact, the cover artwork alone sold me on the expansion, so when I was allowed to choose a HeroQuest expansion box as a birthday gift, I chose this. How could I not, with all those wonderfully skeletal knights on the cover, and let’s not forget Skeletor’s debonair cousin at the centre of attention!

In hindsight, especially from a collector’s perspective, it would have been so much smarter to get, say, the “Against the Ogre Horde” expansion that actually came with some original sculpts, whereas Return of the Witch Lord just featured more skeletons, mummies and Zombies. But I couldn’t help myself, that illustration just went straight for the throat — in fact, it remains one of my favourite fantasy illustrations of all time, and I feel tempted to say that I even prefer it to the actual HeroQuest cover artwork.

There was also something truly cool about having a recurring villain across several iterations, especially one so blatantly inspired by Skeletor. Fun fact, though, I didn’t even realise the villain of the piece was supposed to be the Witch Lord as the German title of the expansion was “Die Rรผckkehr des Hexers”, and the only character referred to as a “Hexer” (Warlock) in the German version of HeroQuest was a character from an earlier quest, represented by this model from the box, yet another skull-faced evildoer:

Don’t worry, we’ll be getting to this guy in a furture post…

Anyway, be that as it may, I think you can maybe understand why remembering the Witch Lord gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling. So when I sat down recently to think about whether or not I could add a couple of custom conversions to my classic HeroQuest set, it was obvious the Witch Lord would end up right at the front of the queue.

I started by collecting inspiration online and looking at other people’s work, as I usually do before a conversion project. Once again, Lestodante’s collection provided ample inspiration:

Models from Lestodante’s collection

As you can see, the model he uses for the Witch Lord is, in fact, a custom sculpt that almost perfectly replicates the artwork while also looking very much like an official HeroQuest model from back in the day — a wonderful solution, and I am still green with envy!

There was also Ampersand’s really cool Witch Lord:

Witch Lord conversion by Ampersand

As you can probably guess from looking at the model, this one uses more modern GW plastic parts, namely from the (still available) Skeleton Warriors. So I made a note and earmarked that particular kit as a possible source of useful bitz.

As an aside, there’s also the Frostgrave Lich Lord, who would have would have worked really well, too, even though I only discovered this after the fact:

In fact, given the resemblance in both the design and the very name, you’ve got to wonder…

But anyway, a proud converter like me has to come up with his own version, right? So keeping the excellent inspiration in mind, I decided that the best way to start was to work from the very artwork that had inspired me so much many years ago. So here’s a closer look at the Witch Lord as originally imagined by Les Edwards:

My initial idea included some Skaven Stormvermin and Empire flagellant parts and would have looked a bit like this 40k renegade psyker I built a couple of years ago:

And I think the general approach would have worked pretty well, too. But then fate struck, and I discovered an even better approach:

You see, one of the things I wanted to achieve with my Witch Lord model was to have the model invoke that particular, slightly clunky “retro GW” Oldhammer look: I wanted a model that looked like it could actually have been produced back when HeroQuest was originally released.

So what better way than to start with a vintage model from back in the day?

So here’s what my very first Witch Lord mockup looked like:

The model is actually mostly based on an old, early-to-mid 90s Dark Elf Warlock. This guy:

And I still had the remains of one of those in my bitzbox. It was already in a pretty sorry state, too, missing both its its head, right hand and staff by the time I got it, so it’s not like I actually had to vandalise a classic model to make my Witch Lord — if anything, this was yet another salvage job!

The head came from the – aforementioned – GW Skeleton Warriors, with horns from the plastic WFB Chaos Marauders. And I began building the Witch Lord’s staff by combining an old Skeleton standard bearer arm (for the staff) and a bird skull from the GW Skulls kit.

After I had the basic outline, it was mostly a matter of matching as many visual cues from the artwork as possible. So here’s the finished conversion:

I replaced the first version of the left hand with a Empire flagellant hand. The detailing on the staff was achieved by grafting some Bloodletter horns and teeth to the bird skull for a pretty convincing look, if I do say so myself (Fun Fact: I have since discovered that the staff wielded by the leader of the Nightvault Godsworn Hunt warband would have been an almost ideal place to start — oh well…).

And since everything was still looking rather hideous at this point, it was a good thing that the undercoat had the great effect of pulling all of the disparate parts together rather nicely.Take a look:

Even though I had to make a couple of compromises, I think I have still done a pretty good job at matching both Les Edward’s art and the somewhat clunky vintage HeroQuest look, wouldn’t you agree?

When it came to painting the model, the artwork worked as perfect inspiration, so I tried to match it as closely as possible, especially for the luxurious crimson robes, dark metal and bright golden parts. Here’s a PIP shot…

…and here’s the mostly finished model:


Of course the Witch Lord needed to be on a proper HeroQuest base, so I carefully cut a damaged skeleton from its original base and used that for my Witch Lord model. One weird but cool thing was that the undercoat produced a really pronounced crackle effect when sprayed onto the base, and for no discernible reason, at that. At first I was a little miffed, but then I realised that this was a cool little effect, seeing how this is the base of a powerful undead monstrosity, so I actually embraced it:

And I still wasn’t done with the model itself either, as I wasn’t perfectly happy with those empty eye sockets, and rather wanted to feature those evil, glowing eyes from the artwork. So I went back to the model and created the tiniest eyeballs you can probably imagine, from almost microscopic amounts of GS. So here’s how that turned out:

And with that, the model was officially complete. So without any further ado, I give you: The Witch Lord:




All in all, this was a great way of expanding the classic collection of models, give myself a fun distraction between painting all of those monopose monsters, but trying to match the retro-GW look was also a neat little challenge.

So here’s a look at the Witch Lord commanding his army of the undead:

So that’s it for today. I am pretty happy with my little undead horde, but I still have a lot of work before I can call my set of HeroQuest completed, so it’s back to the painting table for me ๐Ÿ˜‰

It goes without saying that I would love to hear your thoughts on my version of the Witch Lord, so drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! ๐Ÿ™‚

#HeroQuest2019: The Walking Dead

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2019 by krautscientist

More #HeroQuest 2019 this week — after completing a bunch of Orcs, I turned my eyes to all of the undead creatures appearing in HeroQuest. And I still remember how I was very much in love with the undead models back when I first received the game: I had a huge thing for skeletons back then, for some reasons (I blame Masters of the Universe), and I still remember simply being blown away when I saw John Blanche’s “Skeleton Horde” illustration on the back cover of HeroQuest’s “Return of the Witch Lord” expansion quest book:

“Skeleton Horde” by John Blanche

Once again, I had already painted some test models back in 2014, and my testers also featured a proof of concept for each of the undead creatures appearing in the game:

Of those three, I liked the Zombie the best, so that’s where I started — I also feel the Zombie is one of the best monster sculpts to appear in the HeroQuest box: It’s such a deceptively simple model, but between the effective pose, the sinister looking weapon, and the surprising amount of detail, this guy is really one of my favourites. Maybe that’s the reason because one of the HeroQuest Zombies was the very first model I have ever tried to paint:

 

“AHHH! IT BURNNNNSSSS!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

My first painting steps notwithstanding, I was still pretty happy with my 2014 proof-of-concept:


So I decided to stick to the original recipe fairly closely. Unfortunately enough, I was not quite able to match the greenish tinge of the skin, seeing how it was originally achieved by using an old GW Green Ink that has since dried up for good. I still did my best to make the models look suitably moldy, though, and here’s what I ended up with:


Funnily enough, I painted these while watching Christopher Odd’s playthrough of the Resident Evil Remake on YouTube, which seemed like a pretty good match ๐Ÿ˜‰

As you can see, I once again added some variation to their clothes, so as not to end up with six models that were completely alike. Oh, and I allowed myself one small kitbash, swapping in an axe blade from an old Warhammer Skeleton kit. The weapons have that certain HeroQuest clunkiness, so I think it works rather well:

So with the Zombies finished, I next turned my attention to the Skeletons.

For the 2014 test model, I used a very simple approach of brushing the bone colour directly onto the brown undercoat:

It seemed like a good idea at the time, and if nothing else, it made for a bit of contrast on the model. It also led to a somewhat dirty and dusty look, however, and I really wanted to look my Skeletons look much more bleached, and maybe a tad cleaner. So for the new models, while I still used drybrushing, I went for a lighter colour overall and basecoated the entire Skeleton in GW Rakarth Flesh before washing and drybrushing. And I think it worked pretty well:

Here’s a direct comparison between the old and new recipe, and I think the new approach works far better:

The rusty scythe was definitely a keeper, though, so I kept the look ๐Ÿ˜‰

What was really nice was how quickly I was able to bang out eight Skeletons (and I’ll even need another for to have everything I need to play the “Return of the Witch Lord” expansion). Here they are:

And finally, the mummies. Once again, there was a 2014 version…

…and while it worked well enough, I felt the models needed a little more contrast. So I threw in an extra drybrushing stage (and used a general recipe very close to that of the new Skeletons). Anyway, these guys were probably the quickest of the bunch to be finished, and I am pretty happy with them:

So all in all, this means another bunch of models for HeroQuest and a whopping twenty models to cross off my list. Take a look at my little undead army here:

Oh, and since those models were all painted back in February, I’ll consider them another contribution to Azazel’s “Neglected Models” challenge one again ๐Ÿ˜‰

Truth be told, there’s actually one more undead model that I haven’t shown to you yet — but that’s a subject for another time, as I would say the …gentleman in question very much deserves his own post…

Until then, I would of course love to hear what you think, so drop me a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! ๐Ÿ™‚

#HeroQuest2019: Into the breach…

Posted in Conversions, heroquest, Orcs & Goblins, paintjob with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2019 by krautscientist

Work on my current endeavour to paint a complete HeroQuest set continues, and while today’s update may not be the most exciting one, it was always clear that this project wasn’t going to be all shiny hero models — no, a true dungeon master also needs enough monstrous henchmen, so I continued the project by painting some of the HeroQuest monsters:

During my previous attempt at painting HeroQuest models (back in 2014), I had already finished a couple of test models for some of the monster races included in the game, so I already had a basic idea of what I was going for:


While I knew I would have to slightly tweak some of the recipes, this was still a solid base to start from, if nothing else.

For starters, I chose to work on the Orcs, the most numerous monsters to appear in the HeroQuest box. The base game comes with eight of them, I already had the one test model (that would only need a few minor touch ups), and I decided to throw in an extra Orc to bring the overall number up to ten. Ultimately, my goal is to have the sixteen Orcs that are required to also be able to run the “Kellar’s Keep” expansion, but for now, nine Orcs to paint seemed just tedious enough for me ๐Ÿ˜‰


Like I said, my test model seemed like a good place to start, with a tweak or two. I definitely wanted to keep the recipe for the skin — it’s an approach I discovered a couple of years ago over at A Gentleman’s Ones, and it has served me really well over the years, making for a convincing looking green skin that also has a certain warmth and organic look to it. So that was definitely a keeper. I also wanted to keep the overall, slightly grimy and dirty look, mostly because it just seemed like a good match for Orcs.

Now the basic sculpt of the HeroQuest Orc is pretty cool, but the models are also all virtually identical, except for their weapons: There are four different weapons and I had nine models left to paint, so I decided to go with differently coloured smocks for every three models or so, just to add a bit of variety. Apart from this variation, however, I basically stuck to batch painting the models:

While this worked fairly well, I discovered once again that batch painting simply isn’t for me. There’s also the fact that the HeroQuest Orcs are just complex enough to be slightly irritating when you batch paint them, but I gritted my teeth and soldiered on. And here are my finished Orcs:

Now these guys certainly aren’t award winning material, but they work well as a group, and I’d say there’s just enough colour variation to keep things interesting. I also changed my recipe for painting the weapons a bit when compared to my test model, and I think the dark metal look, with added scratches, works better than the initial approach.

Two quests in the standard HeroQuest questbook call for an Orc warlord, who uses the model with the curved, notched Scimitar, so I gave that particular model a red jacket, to set him apart from the rank and file. While I may end up creating a dedicated warlord model at some point, this guy should work well enough whenever I want to stay within the framework provided by the classic models.

So here’s a closer look at the different weapons and fabric colours:

Oh, and I guess it’s pretty obvious how, like my previous HeroQuest models, these ten should also definitely count as contributions towards Azazel’s “Neglected models” community challenge for February ๐Ÿ˜‰

 

Anyway, with ten models completed, I felt I had earned a little fun for myself, so I ended up creating a custom model for a HeroQuest NPC: The second quest in the classic quest book is about rescuing an Empire Knight captured by the Orcs, one Sir Ragnar (or Sir Manfred, in the original UK version. He’s Ragnar in the German version, though, probably because Manfred is a pretty common German first name — a name suited to your dad or uncle, however, not to a mighty Knight from a fantastic realm. Just saying…).

Now the actual game doesn’t feature a dedicated model for Sir Ragnar, as he is intended to be represented by the Chaos Warlock model — but, come on, I couldn’t let that stand, right?

While doing a bit of research, I stumbled upon this custom model for Sir Ragnar/Manfred, commissioned by fellow hobbyist Lestodante:

And while this basically seemed like the ideal solution – the model actually looks like an actual, official HeroQuest model, the chances to get my hands on one of those seemed slim to nonexistent, so I had to get creative myself.

Taking quite a bit of inspiration from Lestodante’s model, I kitbashed my own Sir Ragnar. Seeing how the character is an Empire Knight from the (almost-) Warhammer world of HeroQuest, I mostly used plastic Empire bitz, some of them rather vintage, which was key for achieving that slightly clunky, vintage HeroQuest look. So here’s my version of Sir Ragnar:

The conversion is actually really simple, combining a set of legs from the old Empire state troops with a torso and arms from the – still available – flagellants and an old plastic Knights of the White Wolf head. I wanted Sir Ragnar to look like he had spent quite some time in captivity, hence the shaggy beard and tattered shirt. Both his hands and neck are also manacled, which I think is a good way to represent both this captivity and his less than stellar stat-line in the game.

I also did my best to make sure he matched the rest of the HeroQuest models in scale. Oh, and I gave him a proper HeroQuest base, of course, salvaged from a heavily damaged Skeleton model.

All in all, I am pretty happy with the finished model — and building a character to match the classic miniature style was a neat little creative challenge!

So yeah, if nothing else, you can see how I am taking this project rather seriously ๐Ÿ˜‰ I would love to hear your thoughts about my progress so far! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Seven years of blogging — and a return to the very beginning

Posted in heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 19, 2019 by krautscientist

Eternal Hunt is officially seven years old as of today — little would I have expected the blog to last so long when I started it back in 2012, as a way to chronicle my way back into the tabletop wargaming hobby. Since then, I have beeen fairly productive, if I do say so myself, and explored parts of the hobby I would never have considered beforehand. I’ve gotten in touch with lots of hobbyists all over the world and received lots of bitz drops and awesome models — let’s not forget that! In fact, a particularly awesome gift arrived just the other week, as you may remember, a bit early for the anniversary. Anyway, it has been quite a ride!

The blog currently stands at 414 posts, some 1.200,000 views, 450,000 visitors and 410 followers — all pretty cool numbers, considering the fact that this is merely little old me screaming into the void here ๐Ÿ˜‰ In fact, after a somewhat slower year in 2017 (with just 25 posts), I would say 2018 saw a bit of a rebound, with 40 published posts, and arguably some of my finest hobby work (especially in the field of INQ28) to date. Joining different, forum-related painting events as well as Azazel’s community challenges on a fairly regular basis, as well as getting together with my friend Annie for joint painting sessions fairly often, has given me a fairly steady stream of new content to share with you all, and I fully intend to keep up the pace!

At the same time, as I’ve said before, it has become more and more difficult to keep people interested in this place, given the encroaching age of Instagram. I’ve already beaten that particular drum quite enough, however, and remain committed to keeping this blog alive, in spite of everything. At the same time, I have also discovered (or, in some cases, been pointed towards) some truly cool blogs in the very recent pasts, such as Larsonic Miniatures, J’ai un planning chargรฉ, or Eastern Empire,ย  to name just a few. And some of the new blogs I have been following were even started fairly recently — so maybe blogging is not quite dead after all?

In any case, let’s make a deal: I’ll keep posting here if you keep reading, liking and – most importantly – commenting. Sound fair? I think we should give it a go!

Now then, since absolutely nobody is interested in boring numbers, it has become a bit of a tradition here at Eternal Hunt to illustrate each year’s anniversary post with a look at something that is truly retro — and boy do I have some old skool goodness for you this year!

In order to discover just what the heck I am talking about, let us return to the beginning of the year for a bit and, ultimately, all the way back to my very first steps in this hobby: Back In January, I had a hard time getting my arse in gear once again and deciding on which model to paint next, when my gaze fell on this unlucky fellow:

The Dwarf from Advanced HeroQuest, horribly mangled from my earlier paintjob — this must have happened sometime during the early-to-mid 90s, but that’s still no excuse: That poor model was a stain upon my honour, so I decided to try and salvage him, just on a whim, and it spite of it not having anything to do with any of my current hobby projects.

Here’s what I ended up with:


Ahh, much better, wouldn’t you agree? In fact, the heroes from Advanced HeroQuest have aged pretty poorly, but I am still reasonably happy with the outcome. So happy, in fact, that I next eyed up this guy, the warrior, from the same game:

Seriously, what was I thinking? The tip of his sword had snapped off years ago, so I quickly replaced it with a newer Empire sword and decided to finally paint him up properly. And at the same time, there was this model:

The Wizard, this time from HeroQuest proper. As you can see, I really did a number on these poor models back in the day. And that’s not even mentioning the HeroQuest Barbarian, one of the first models I have ever attempted to paint. He was already repainted during a previous attempt at salvaging ancient models.

So after a bit more painting, I had managed to go from this…

…to this:

And by that point, a plan was already gestating in the back of my head: So I dug out my old copy of HeroQuest (only a few odds and ends remain from my original first edition box, received as a Christmas present, back when the game was originally released in 1989, but I was lucky enough to snap up an Advanced Quest – or “Master Edition”, in German – set when they were sold off cheaply at a local supermarket back in the mid-90s), and to my delight, most of it was still there, except for a couple of cardboard parts . So I set it all out and started to think about whether I could actually achieve one of my all-time hobby goals: to finally own a fully painted set of HeroQuest, the very game that got me into the hobby:

Illustration by Les Edwards

Because, like so many others, I was actually introduced to the entire wargaming/tabletop/roleplaying conglomerate of hobbies by way of HeroQuest. I remember playing the first games on the evening of December 24th, 1989 with my parents, and following that, many hours spent coming up with my own games, playing with or against friends and trawling fleamarkets and garage sales for all kinds of retro-GW games and miniatures back in the day — as long as it had HeroQuest-esque models, I bought it and entered it into my growing collection: HeroQuest, Advanced HeroQuest, Battle Masters and two of the “Dark World” board games (that were, weirdly enough, marketed as boardgame versions of longrunning German RPG series “Das Schwarze Auge” here in Germany) — it all grew into one huge pantheon of heroes and monsters for me, and I still have fond memories of that time. I also made my first attempts at painting models back then. And they were absolutely horrible, of course — you saw some of those abominations further up in the post ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, here I was, returning to the game at long last. And looking at the models I would need to paint, it did seem achievable:

Of course there would also be the furniture to take care of — and maybe the odd extra model here and there…

So I decided upon a plan: For this project, I would mostly stick to the models that were part of the original HeroQuest set, with a couple of additional monsters thrown in here and there for good measure. Once that was completed, I would add the Men-at-arms at a later date. This left me with a sizeable, but still manageable, amount of models to paint, which was crucial because I am a bit of a hobby butterfly and occasionally have the attention span of a chimpanzee that’s been set on fire — as evidenced by a prior, ultimately abandoned, previous attempt at painting a HeroQuest set.

As an added incentive, however, HeroQuest actually turns 30 this year, so that should give me an extra push to go through with it. And I have also discovered all kinds of places online that are dedicated to HeroQuest, Ye Olde Inn chief among them, and I was surprised how much HeroQuest seems like an entire sub-hobby unto itself. Anyway, down the rabbit hole we go…

My first port of call was to finish the four hero models, and those will be the main course for today. So take a look at them:

 

The Barbarian:


You are the Barbarian, the greatest warrior of them all. But beware of magic, for your sword is no defense against it!

The Wizard:



You are the Wizard. You have many spells that can aid you. However, in combat you are weak. So use your spells well, and avoid combat.

The Elf:



You are the Elf. A master of both magic and the sword. You must use both well if you are to triumph.

The Dwarf:


You are the Dwarf. You are a good warrior and can always disarm traps that you find. You may remove any visible trap in the same room or passage.

 

I already had fond feelings for those HeroQuest models before, but painting the four heroes has given me a whole new appreciation for them: I think they have really managed to age terrifically gracefully, given the fact that they are, when all is said and done, one-piece board game models from 30 years ago. Granted, they are nowhere near as detailed as modern GW miniatures. But their striking design and instantly recognisable silhouettes still work really well, and seem to draw out my will to really paint them well.

As for the actual paintjobs, I had a blast going for that classic, bright high-fantasy look. The paintjobs were mostly inspired by Les Edward’s art from the game’s cover artwork (and the character artwork from the different role cards).

Is this my Oldhammer moment, then? Possibly so. At the same time, and unlike a sizeable amount of the Oldhammer community, however, I fully retain my appreciation of modern day GW models (in fact, I should think the work on these bright, characterful HeroQuest hero models should probably be a rather helpful inspiration for my eventual – inevitable – treatment of the characters from Blackstone Fortress.

It’s just that this return to the distant past happens to feel like such a nice palate cleanser right now — and like a veritable breath of fresh air, if cou can believe it.

Oh, and lest I forget: All of those models should be a rather fitting contribution to Azazel’s “Neglected models challenge” for February — after all, most of them had been neglected for more than two decades…

So wish me luck in my endeavour — and here’s a little something, just to get you in the right mood for this project as well:

I would love to hear what you think about the finished models so far, so please leave a comment! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more! ๐Ÿ™‚

Episode 40k: A New Coat of Paint

Posted in Conversions, paintjob, Pointless ramblings with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2018 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, something rather different today — but first, to get you all in the right mood:

Episode 40K
A NEW COAT OF PAINT

Somewhere in Germany. Having rediscovered an old action figure thought long lost, a hobbyist by the name of KRAUTSCIENTIST embarks upon a fun tribute project.

Will he be able to return colour to one of the galaxy’s pre-eminent bounty hunters, the scoundel known as BOBA FETT?

As the release of a new Star Wars film looms near, KRAUTSCIENTIST touches brush to model….

 

Well, that should tell you most of what you need to now about today’s post. I’ll be heading out to watch Solo: A Star Wars Story later this week, and I thought the release of a new Star Wars film would be the perfect occasion to actually finally tackle that aforementioned tribute project — so what is this about?

Let me prefrace this by saying that I used to be a massive Star Wars fan during my childhood and early teens: I saw the old trilogy (Episodes IV to VII) on TV around the age of ten, and together with the – mostly excellent – Star Wars video games released by Lucas Arts all through the 90s, the series became one of my great nerd passions during those years (to the point where I can still quote entire TIE Fighter cutscenes by heart, ridiculous as that may be). I was a diehard fan (albeit one who was always rooting for the Galactic Empire). The (first) cinematic re-release of the touched up first trilogy came out shortly before I finished school, then the following prequel trilogy wasn’t really all that great — I don’t hate it as viciously as many people, but it did feel as though I had outgrown Star Wars a bit at that point. Which, with the benefit of hindsight, actually put me in a perfect place to see the new films, as I went into them without any big preconceptions or expectations, and so far, I have been having a blast with all of them — let’s hope the trend continues with Solo. But anyway, the thing to remember here is that I used to love Star Wars with a burning passion for quite a few years.

The other important thing is to understand that Star Wars action figures used to be a bit of a holy grail for me during my childhood: My first contact with Star Wars happened when the films were broadcast in German television for the first time (I believe) during the late 80s — in any case, it was enough of an occasion for some new merchandise to be released (mainly books and a neat book-audiobook combo for children), yet the original action figures had long disappeared from the shelves by then. This may be hard to imagine nowadays, with myriads of Star Wars action figures in all shapes and sizes freely available — but back then, if you actually wanted some Star Wars action in your life, you either had to get creative and proxy stuff with the action figures you had (I even went so far as to paint a certain MotU figure glossy black to create a poor standin for Darth Vader at one point) , or you had to be extremely lucky and find some of the original figures during yard sales and the like.

That exact thing gappened to me one day when I actually struck a rich ore of used Star Wars action figures at a local flea market, and I must have bought at least a dozen or so. My only regret was that the Darth Vader figure was already gone by the time I showed up: A childhood friend had actually managed to snap it up earlier in the day, and I would end up buying it from him for a whopping 20 Deutsche Marks — made even worse by the fact that the figure was actually pretty terrible, even in its complete form,…

yet the one I bought from my friend didn’t even have the terrible cape OR the shitty lightsaber. Oh well…

Some of Kenner’s old Star Wars action figures were much cooler, though. For instance, Kenner also released an action figure of everybody’s favourite bounty hunter,Boba Fett, and while it was functionally very simple and didn’t feature any bells and whistles, it’s also a surprisingly cool figure, given the time in which it was produced: Something I have always liked about Boba Fett’s outfit is how strangely workmanlike it seems, with the scuffed armour and the little pouches on the legs with tools sticking out of them: Like there’s just a guy underneath it all, albeit one who must have had a rather colourful life. Boba Fett really seems like the epitome of the “used universe” design philosophy Star Wars brought to the SciFi genre, and the 1979 action figure does a surprisingly good job of channeling most of that appeal. Here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

I think they actually did a pretty great job with the outfit (it even has the little pouches on the shins). In fact, according to Toyworth.com, Boba Fett was indeed one of the best selling Star Wars action figures. The same article also answered one of my big childhood questions, incidentally — I always thought that bright red rocket in his bag looked suspiciously like something that might actually be launched via a hidden switch, but it was permanently attached to the figure and always seemed to have been — well, turns out there is more to that particular story:

Boba Fett was the first new mail-away action figure created for The Empire Strikes Back; although advertised as having a rocket-firing backpack, safety concerns led Kenner to sell his rocket attached. A few early samples of this toy is considered “a rare and precious commodity”, and one of the rocket-firing prototypes sold at auction for $16,000 in 2003.

Anyway, the picture above shows you how Boba Fett would have looked in his ideal form.

Now he was also among the figures I picked up back in the day. Here’s what mine looked like, however:

I don’t even blame the poor guy: At this point, he has gone through several pairs of hands and probably survived several childhoods and all kinds of weird adventures — and at a biblical age for an action figure, as a stamp on the plastic shows: Designed in 1979, this figure is very probably older than me!

But while the actual wear and tear on the figure’s official paintjob actually recalled Boba Fett’s scuffed in-universe look, I came up with the idea of giving the figure a new coat of paint, as a fun little experiment. I had wanted to do this for quite a while, but when I finally came upon dear Boba again last week, I knew I needed to make it happen.

The first thing I had to do was to at least try to get rid of some of the more egregious mold lines — it’s a relatively cheaply made action figure, after all, with all that entails. I couldn’t get rid of them all without damaging the underlying detail – a particularly pesky mold line running straight down the helmet proved all but completely resitant to my efforts – but I did my best. I also shaved off theย  date stamp and the made in Honkong sign. Then the entire figure was scrubbed down and given an undercoat of Army Painter’s uniform grey, which seemed ideal because it already matched Boba Fett’s “official” overalls fairly closely on colour.

Speaking of the official colours,ย  I did quite a bit of research before actually starting to paint. And little did I know that Boba Fett’s costume is not only one of the most complicated outfits of the original Star Wars trilogy, it’s also one of the more disputed ones, with many different variants and discussions concerning it various details and minutiae. To wit, the costume is even noticeably different between both of Boba Fett’s canonical appearances:

Left: The Empire Strikes Back, right: The Return of the Jedi

Plus there was also the fact that, allowing for the fact that they were basically producing a rather cheap action figure, Kenner’s designers also played loose with the design, simplifying quite a few of its elements.

In the end, I dug up as many production photos, fan art and merchandise pictures as I could find and tried to aim for a stable composite between all of the established versions, trying for a look that isn’t obsessively faithful to any one source, but tries to be authentic nonetheless.

Among many other sources, this picture of Hot Toys’ Sixth Scale Figure turned out to be the most consistently useful reference material:

This was my first experience repanting an action figure, although I understand repaints like that are a bit of a thing in certain circles. One thing I can tell you is that I could really get used to the bigger, far more forgiving scale ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, without further ado, here’s my repainted Boba Fett:

The back is the part where the action figure diverges the most from the actual movie costume, greatly simplifying the complexity and shape of the jet pack. I just played it by ear and tried to come up with a solution that was at least reasonably close to the official sources.

The scuffed and worn look was achieved via a mix of washes, sponge weathering and scratch marks that were actually painted on by hand. I also tried my hand at recreating – or at least approximating – some of the markings that appear on the armour:

The emblem on the ride side of the chest was a bit of a cop-out, as I just used a small decal from the Imperial Knight decal sheet. To make up for that lack of fidelity, however, I did the best I could to freehand the Mandalorian skull symbol on both shoulder pads (incidentally, I discovered that the symbo shows a stylised Mythosaur skull — sheesh, that sounds stupid, even for Star Wars ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

One thing I am crazy happy with is the markings I freehanded onto the left side of the helmet:

So here’s a comparison showing you the figure before and after my ministrations:

And just for fun, here’s my repainted Boba next to theย  – rather lovely – Disney Infinity version (I couldn’t tell you anything about the actual video game, I just swooped in to snatch two or three of the figures once they ended up in the bargain bin):

I can safely say that this has been a rather enjoyable little gaiden project: While I don’t have any immediate plans of doing something like this again, I did have a blast repainting this guy!

Oh, and I would be remiss not to mention that this isn’t actually the first time Boba Fett has managed to sneak into my hobby life. Because there’s this guy, The Mandalorian:

The model was started as a fun experiment after I had seen several Boba Fett kitbashes online — plus I realised that one of the old Khorne Berzerker helmets already had the perfect Mandalorian look ๐Ÿ˜‰ After building the model, I actually turned it into a member of Inquisitor Antrecht’s INQ28 warband, and even came up with a tongue in cheek background vignette for the character.

To be perfectly honest, however, the model is precisely the kind of pop-cultural shout out I said I was wary of in my previous post, because – at the end of the day – this guy is still clearly Boba Fett ๐Ÿ˜‰ Building and painting the model was still great fun, however, and I think I did a reasonably good job with the much smaller bitzbox I had back then.

So yeah, so much for a post that has been a bit of a blast from the past. I hope you enjoyed the change of topic — and if not, don’t fret: We’ll be back in familiar waters from now on. Of course I’d love to hear what you think about my Boba Fett homage(s), so feel free to leave a comment!

As always thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

Oh, and may the Force be with you! ๐Ÿ˜‰