Archive for hero quest

The 2019 Eternal Hunt Awards, pt. 1: A look back at my hobby year

Posted in 40k, Blood Bowl, Chaos, Conversions, Fluff, heroquest, Inq28, Inquisitor, old stuff, Orcs & Goblins, Pointless ramblings, World Eaters with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 8, 2020 by krautscientist

Awards

Welcome to the first installment of the 2019 Eternal Hunt Awards! It’s that time of year again, eh? So let’s lean back and, just to switch things up again for this year, start by taking a look at my personal hobby year — I hope I won’t bore you to tears… πŸ˜‰

2019 turned out to be a bit of a grind, from a RL perspective: With multiple bouts of heavy illness striking in my closest family, I was left reeling more than once. Now things are slowly on the mend again, thankfully enough, but I still realise that the year has tired me out pretty badly. At the same time, paradoxically enough, it has also been a fairly successful hobby year — but then, I tend to lean into the hobby during stressful times as a way to keep me sane, so there’s that, too.

Anyway, I am pretty pleased with 2019 as a hobby year, if nothing else. So let’s take a closer look at the stuff I have worked on – and managed to complete, for the most part – over the past twelve months, shall we?

I. My hobby projects

Twelve months ago, my output for 2018 looked like quite the bit improvement over the previous year. A “whopping” 52 models — not bad, not bad at all! At least for my glacially slow pace when it comes to painting:

However, it is with no small amount of pride that I can tell you that I have managed to paint 100 models in 2019. Still not a huge achievement for some of you painting animals out there, but certainly an unheard-of feat over here, in my little corner of the noosphere.

 

My project of painting an entire HeroQuest set accounts for most of those numbers, with a total of 67 models for everything that came in the box as well as a few extra pieces:

But there’s also the final third of my 2018 output, made up from a combination of my usual main projects, that is my World Eaters, some new INQ28 characters and some new signings for my Orcish Blood Bowl team.

Add some odds and ends and you end up with exactly one hundred models. Yay! πŸ™‚

 

One thing I am really proud of is that 99 of those 100 models were pieces that were already in my posession before — for years, in many cases (and literally for decades in the case of those HeroQuest models). So while I still did buy a few new kits in 2019 (and while many, if not most of those new models, remain unpainted), I did at least manage to make a substantial dent in my backlog.

Once again, thanks must go to all the people who kept me painting: Azazel and his monthly challenges, for one (one a related note, Azazel, dude, where are you?). My friend Annie and our regular painting sessions. And, of course, all the readers and fellow forum users who still hold out and keep commenting on my stuff during these dark days of dying blogs and forums. Anyway, a heartfelt thank you to you all!

 

With that out of the way, here’s a closer look at my 2019 hobby projects in turn:

1. #HeroQuest2019

Definitely my biggest hobby endeavour of 2019, which is why it also deserves prime billing here: Last year, I went back to the very beginning of my life as a hobbyist and made a commitment to finally paint an entire set of HeroQuest, the game I had instantly fallen in love with 30 years ago, due in no small part to an iconic TV ad and, of course, to Les Edward’s bombshell of a cover illustration:

Illustration by Les Edwards

And after several false starts and stops, I finally made this plan a reality during the first half of 2019, painting all of the models from the standard boxed set (furniture included), as well as a few extras here and there, to round things out:

Painting those classic models was, of course, a delightful exercise in nostalgia. At the same time, it was also a breath of fresh air, as going for that bright and iconic retro look was a really enjoyable experience. I also learned a lot, I’d say. And seeing how I knew I was only really going to get one shot at painting those classic models (given the hugely inflated aftermarket prices), I tried to give it my all. And I think it shows!

Thanks to Ye Olde Inn, a forum of dedicated fans of the game. The place made me realise that HeroQuest isn’t simply one more tabletop game, but rather a small hobby unto itself. All the inspiration on the forum and the encouragement from my fellow forumites really did wonders for my productivity! In fact, my browsing through the vast forum was what gave me the idea to actually go and convert some extra models that would serve as some of the special characters that appear in the HeroQuest campaign…

Even better, though, not only did I manage to paint the whole shebang, I also got a game in.

So thirty years after its release, I finally got to play HeroQuest to play the way it was originally intended — and that was quite something.

And even beyond the models required for the set, I did end up painting and converting even more stuff, so I guess we’ll be seeing a bit more HeroQuest here and there in 2020…

For now, head over here to get a better look at my painted HeroQuest set.

 

2. Khorne’s Eternal Hunt

I didn’t originally have anything much planned for my World Eaters at the start of 2019 — well, I did finally manage to finish the display base for my Daemon-Primarch Angron conversion, at least:

Now the Lord of the XII Legion finally has the right killing ground below him — and all before an inevitable official GW model blows my own attempt out of the water!

A closer look at Angron and his finished presentation base can be found here, in case you are interested.

But beyond that, I wasn’t really planning any big additions to my collection, originally: My World Eaters paint scheme seemed rather outdated to me, as did the officially available CSM models, so I really wanted to wait for a bit before working on any more members of the XII legion.

Fate, however, had other plans.

Thanks to a supply drop from my buddy Augustus b’Rass (which we’ll be getting to further down this post) back in February, I felt the itch to finally paint that World Eaters Dreadnought he kindly gave to me when I visited him in Amsterdam. So I finally completed Argus the Brazen:

One model, right? Where’s the hurt in that? It felt good to finally have given the model its due. But then, a bit later, the new CSM models hit, and I have to admit that they managed to light a bit of a fire under me. Before I knew it, I found myself messing around with the new models, turning them into proper World Eaters…

…and then one thing led to another, and I ended up with a test model for a new breed of “KrautScientist World Eaters” on my desktop:

The new painting recipe might still not win any awards, but it’s quite a bit more elaborate than my old approach (which, it must be said, also relied on many paints that are OOP nowadays). It’s also closer to my current painting standard. And it’s actually more fun to paint than my old recipe, if you can believe it.

Anyway, models that had long lain dormant where swept up in the process as well, so I finally got to paint my counts-as World Eaters version of Huron Blackheart, for instance:

And I started to combine some of my “refurbished” conversions and some new models into a project tentatively called “The Hateful Eight”, a possible World Eaters kill team for 40k:

And while I have only really painted four models for the kill team so far, some of the new guys are simply among the favourite World Eaters models I have come up to this day:

So it may be slow work, but I really like the way these guys look together:

And there’s finally some red and brass in my recap post again! Yay! πŸ™‚

 

3. The world of INQ28

The other half of my 40k-related output went into creating yet more 40k characters, and while I didn’t manage to bang out several complete retinues (like I did in 2018), I am pretty pleased nonetheless with the “INQ28 Class of 2019”:

The reason for this is that I have finally managed to complete one of my oldest warband projects, running alllll the way back to 2013, by completing the retinue of Inquisitor Titus Alvar of the Ordo Xenos:

Another model I had wanted to complete for ages was Lord Sebastianus Danver Balzepho Vlachen, one of the Velsen Sector’s big political movers and shakers:

This is just one guy, but it feels as though finishing the model has really helped me nail down a piece of the background lore that informs these models, and that’s great! In fact, I have been reading up on lots of Inquisition related background lately (via many of the old Inquisitor publications, as well as the very cool Dark Heresy RPG sourcebooks), which has given me all kinds of ideas for the immediate future, so expect to see more INQ28 sooner rather than later!

4. On the Blood Bowl pitch

Ever since Annie succeeded at roping me into creating a Blood Bowl team, working on some new Blood Bowl models has always served as a nice way of exploring a somewhat silly and whimsical side of our hobby — plus it’s always a fun thing to be working on during our joint hobby sessions.

Not only did those final models round out my team roster, I also used their completion as the perfect occasion to give the entire time a once-over, cleaning up the paintjobs here and there, painting on player numbers — that kind of stuff.

And with that the Orkheim Ultraz are now finished. There may be a couple of hangers-on and sideshow models left to add, but the core team (with all the players and tokens I could ever possibly need) is now complete:

Head over here to meet the complete Orkheim Ultraz team.

 

5. Dipping my toe into the new Contrast Paints

Well, figuratively speaking, of course: Actually getting enough of the stuff to be able to really dip my toes into it would, of course, be prohibively expensive…

Err…anyway: The Contrast Paints were the talk of the town for a fair part of 2019, and I was lucky enough to get to test them when they were still brand new at my local Warhammer store. I painted two models using the new paints and found the experience delightfully refreshing:

Exploring those paints a little more will certainly be part of my hobby life this year. And I think I already have a pretty good test model in mind…

 

So that’s my output for 2019. Quite a successful year, I’d say. And lots of formerly unfinished business now neatly tied up. Yay! πŸ™‚

 

II. Other hobby moments of note

I already mentioned this in my last post, but getting a Christmas card from the Wier Brothers – and right in time for Christmas, no less – was such a wonderful surprise!

Speaking of surprises, though, a particularly awesome one was when my buddy Augustus b’Raas suddenly sent me an awesome squad of Khorne Berzerkers right out of the blue last February:

That was so cool! I am also pretty sure it had a major part in getting me back into painting World Eaters this year (so I guess our Auggs is going “Just as planned!” somewhere right now) — if nothing else, it led to my painting the World Eaters Dreadnough he had given me, and that in turn kickstarted everything else, as I have already explained above. Anyway, thanks again, buddy! πŸ™‚

Receiving models from fellow hobbyists also nicely bookended my entire hobby year, as fellow Ye Olde Inn forumite Anderas was nice enough to send me this rather lovely looking Orc as part of the 2019 Ye Olde Inn Christmas Exchange:

Speaking of which, preparing a model of my own for the exchange was a very cool moment for me as well — the fact that Weltenlauefer, whom I sent the model to, was over the moon with it did, of course, sweeten the deal. My little Witch Lord now gets to lord it over Weltenlauefer’s brilliant catacomb terrain:

Kickstarter

After joining Dave Taylor’s campaign for his excellent book “Armies & Legions & Hordes” last year, I am back to checking for cool projects on Kickstarter at least semi-regularly, and I found two really cool things that I wanted to help fund in 2019:

The first one was MOMiniaturas’Β  Mercenary Kickstarter that I fell in love with right at the height of my HeroQuest infatuation:

The Mercenaries themselves have a wonderful “Retro Warhammer Fantasy Empire” look about them, which really sold me on them right away. And I was also able to pick up some really cool extras from MOMiniaturas’ back catalogue along with them for a good price. The whole huge package of about 30 models arrived in late autumn, and while I have yet to paint any of those models, it should be a treat!

I also backed the Tabletop Fantasy Miniatures Kickstarter featuring sculpts by Ana Polanscak:

Ana has long been one of the most original voices in this hobby of ours, participating in a crowdfunding campaign to get my hands on some of her sculpts was really a bit of a no-brainer! The models are a wonderfully quirky and sinister little bunch, and painting them should be quite a lot of fun!

4. Hugs for the Hug Throne!

 

III. Blogging

*Sigh* It would all be peaches and cream, if not for this part of the post. But seriously, let’s get the good stuff out of the way first:

Eternal Hunt turned seven in 2019, which was really cool. I have also managed to keep the posts flowing, more or less, ending up with about 400 posts again.

At the same time, interest in this blog (and, I should add, in blogs in general) seems to be dwindling, with the numbers going down all the time. To wit, this were my stats at the end of 2018:

And this is what things looked like at the end of 2019:

You know what? In my hubris, I always expected that this blog would come to an end when I’d run out of things to say — not when people would stop giving a feth.

This really frustrates me, and I could probably go on about it all day. I’ll force myself not to do that, though. Maybe it’s inevitable that Instagram should supplant all of the old blogs and forums. Maybe that’s what people want. It’s not what I want, however, so I’ll keep fighting the good fight over here — or what I think the good fight is, at least. If you are still with me after all these years, then I thank you from the bottom of my heart! Please keep reading and commenting! It’s what keeps this blog going, simple as that.

That said, if anyone does want to listen to me ranting about Instagram a little more, why, just look at last year’s post — everything that I said then is still perfectly accurate, even moreso today, in some cases.

 

IV. Plans

Back when I laid out my hobby resolutions for 2019, I made sure to point out that I didn’t want to overpromise and paint myself into a corner, so I only named a few models I wanted to paint. Looking back now, twelve months later, I cannot help noticing that I did not manage to paint a single one of those models — so much for resolutions, I guess… πŸ˜‰

But the good thing about the new year is that you get a new shot, right? And there are a few models I would like to see some paint on. Here they are, provisionally…

 

As part of my rejuvenated interest in building and painting 40k World Eaters, I also created a new version of Lord Captain Lorimar, based on the new Abaddon model released in 2019:

This is one model that I would definitely like to try and paint this year,…

Countess Mandelholtz, of the Mandelholtz House of Imperial Finance, just keeps appearing in my new year’s resolutions — but only because I took me so long to get this particular model right that I am now scared of messing it up with a sub-par paintjob…

but there have been some additions to House Mandelholtz last year, not least of all one Mr. Azaleas Vile, the banking house’s prime factor:

So maybe we’ll be seeing more of House Mandelholtz and its agents in 2020…

I might aso finally dip my toes into some Inquisitor 54 (after all, I picked up the original Eisenhorn model a short while ago).

The 30k incarnation of my World Eaters has fallen by the wayside a bit, ironically pushed aside by my 40k World Eaters again — but in light of the rumours of GW wanting to turn the Horus Heresy into a proper mainline setting, I guess there’ll still be a chance to work on those models in the future. If nothing else, I would really like to finish my “Argel Tal duology”, if only to pre-empt a possible Argel Tal model by Forgeworld…


Oh, and I tried failed during the summer to finally paint my second Armiger Warglaive …erm, sorry, that’s “War Dog” now, for The Bolter & Chainsword’s ETL event, but that’s really a shame because I am still very fond of the model:


So you can probably expect the Huntress and her ride to be finished at some point in 2020 as well.

Oh, and lest I forget, now that the new plastic Sisters have finally been announced in multi-part form, I really need to get my hands on a squad of them…


You know, just to have a bit of fun with the kit…

 

All of these are rather loose targets, however. If there is one thing I really want to do is to contribute to/participate in LarsonicMiniaturesOndroma event:

The talent on display is truly staggering. It has to be said that, up to now, I have actually been ridiculously neglectful when it comes to the event, but I fully intend to change that! Scout’s honour! πŸ™‚

 

So yeah, that’s it for today — if anything, this post has already gone on far too long anyway. Let me finish by thanking all of my readers and by encouraging you to keep visiting this place for the next twelve months. And please do speak up every once in a while, just so, you know, I get the feeling every now and then that I am not just screaming into the void…

And please feel free to let me hear any thoughts you might have on my 2019 output or my varios hobby plans!

As always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#HeroQuest2019: A Christmas Carol…of Undead Sorcery

Posted in Conversions, heroquest, old stuff, paintjob, Pointless ramblings, Totally worth it with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 24, 2019 by krautscientist

Hey everyone, so here is my Christmas post for this year, and right in time for the festivities, no less. And I have prepared something for you that is at least a little heartwarming, as is only right and proper for this season.

Furthermore, one of my first hobby activities this year has been to return to the very beginnings of my life as a hobbyist and paint some old HeroQuest models, so it seems only fitting that one of the year’s last posts should also deal with the very same game — so what is this about?

Speaking of HeroQuest, you may have seen how my biggest ongoing hobby project this year was to paint an entire HeroQuest set, and for once I actually managed to go through with it. Ye Olde Inn, a forum dedicated to all things HeroQuest, became an indispensable part of this project, so when the forum ran its annual “Ye Olde Inn Christmas Exchange”, it was clear to me that I really wanted to participate, both as a small way of giving something back to the community, but also because I like events like this, where everyone builds a model and sends it off to somebody else.

So I really wanted to do something cool for the exchange! And this ambition doubled when I learned that my model would go to fellow hobbyist Weltenlaeufer whom I was happy to advise on painting his own HeroQuest models throughout the year. Now he had told me multiple times that he really liked my models, and flattery will, of course, get you anywhere with me πŸ˜‰

But on a more serious note, this meant that there was a fairly good chance that he would like having a model built and painted by me in his collection — but I really wanted to give it my all and not just paint any old standard model (although “standard models” can be rather lovely when painted really well, as we will see later in this post).

Anyway, I reflected for a bit on what kind of model would be cool enough for this endeavour, and I settled on the closest thing the basic HeroQuest game system has to an arch-villain: The Witch Lord, as seen here painted by the great Les Edwards.

Illustration by Les Edwards

As I have already outlined before, I instantly fell in love with that illustration when I first saw it — enough so, in fact, that I used it as an inspiration when I finally built my own version of the Witch Lord earlier this year:

“So yeah, how about sending Weltenlaeufer a Witch Lord? That would certainly be cool!” But how would I go about building another one?

Fortunately enough, as outlined in my original Witch Lord post, I had come up with a plan for a plastic Witch Lord conversion as my original approach before later using an old Citadel metal model for the actual conversion. But I still felt that this recipe could work really well for the task I was facing now. The approach would look similar in nature to this renegade psyker I built a few years ago:

The basic combination of bitz at the heart of this approach – combining the legs of an Empire flagellant with a Skaven Stormvermin torso – makes for a slightly stooped and subtly sinister body that works for all kinds of villainous sorcerer types, Witch Lords included. But even though the basic idea was sound, it still took me a rather long while before I finally came up with a basic setup that worked:

Taking Les Edward’s illustration as my main point of reference once again, I tried to go for a model that would hit enough of the artwork’s visual cues to read as the Witch Lord, even if it didn’t reproduce every element from the artwork. I still tried to make it a rather close fit, though, and bitz from about ten different kits went into making the model look right, including a Skeleton warrior head, a ghoul hand, some Empire Knight feet and a Bloodletter mandible. By lucky chance, I tried the horns I got as a leftover piece from when I shaved horns off the new vanilla CSM helmets to replace them with Khornate helmet crests a while backΒ , and they really made the helmet work so much better.

Here’s the model just a bit later, glued together and with the necessary tweaks in place:





Up to this point, however, I still wasn’t entirely sure whether or not I was on to something. That changed after undercoating, though, when all the disparate parts really turned into something that looked reasonably closely like a HeroQuest model:




When painting my new Witch Lord conversion, I tried to basically recreate my earlier paintjob, with just a few minor tweaks here and there, and went for the classic triad of basecoats,…



…washes,…



…and higlights.

I spent quite a bit of time on that last part, obviously, to make sure the model would really work as a centre piece character.

So here’s my finished plastic Witch Lord:







I was really very happy with the outcome, as this felt like a worthy contribution to the Christmas exchange. And I do think the model holds up when placed next to my original Witch Lord model. Take a look:


I would be hard-pressed to decide which of these I like better. True, my original model is quite a bit flashier, on account of using a different base model, but the new version is actually much closer to the kind of model you would actually find in a HeroQuest set from back in the day (it is also, it has to be said, much easier to recreate for someone who wants to build their own Witch Lord, which is useful).

At the same time, I did my best to create a subtle connection between both models: They both use an identical palette and the weird avian skull on their respective staffs is also just the same. And they both – hopefully – match the piece of artwork that inspired them to begin with:

The new Witch Lord also looks pretty convincing next to some actual HeroQuest models, if you ask me:

So that was my model for Weltenlaeufer’s HeroQuest conversion done and dusted, right? Not quite, because I wasn’t finished yet:

I also wanted to make sure the packaging matched the style of the model, and seeing how the Witch Lord emerges his tomb, as represented by the little sarcophagus that comes in the HeroQuest set,…

I thought it would be really cool to incorporate this element in my package as well, so I used “Keramin”, a plaster like material that dries really fast and hard, in order to make a quick copy of the lid:


Talk about happy accidents: The casting process was actually not quite perfect, leading to some bubbles that marred the face of the reclining figure. But they actually ended up making the face look even more gaunt and undead, which was of course ideal in this case:


So I painted the copied lid up in suitably stony colours…


…and used it to add that certain je-ne-sais-quoi to Weltenlaeufer’s package, so upon opening it, he would find this:


A recreation of the Witch Lord’s tomb, to be opened by an intrepid (or foolish) adventurer to unleash an ancient horror upon the Old World…


Mission accomplished, at long last! So I packed it all up and sent it off to Poland towards the end of November, then spent a frantic week or so wondering whether the postal service would somehow manage to mess this up. They didn’t, however, so not only did my little Witch Lord arrive in time, but Weltenlaeufer also ended up really liking the model, by the looks of it:

Yay! πŸ™‚

Even better, actually: As if on cue, Weltenlaeufer had recently picked up a brand new set of brilliant tabletop catacombs from Dwarven Forge.

Here’s my, pardon his plastic Witch Lord surveying his new domain:




By the way, you can check out more of Weltenlaeufer’s very cool ongoing HeroQuest related work on his thread here.

So all’s well that ends well, right? Hah, we’re still not at the end! Because not only did I send off a model, I also received one in return: Last week, I received a package from fellow forumite Anderas, and out came this gnarly little gentleman here:


A wonderfully painted Orc — far neater than anything I have ever painted myself! This goes to show how my aversion to “standard models” was entirely misguided. The delightful little git has also managed to get his hands on a chaos warrior sword, it seems, and seems to be handling it very delicately, given that one protective glove πŸ˜‰

What’s probably the nicest bit here, however, is that the model also features some rather lovely painted on cobblestones:

Anyway, thanks a lot Anderas, and indeed all the fellow forumites from Ye Olde Inn, who have made this little event such a heartwarming affair! I urge you to check out the rest of the contributions — some very creative riffs on HeroQuest models can be found in the event thread.

And, of course, thank you to my readers and commenters! I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and hope you’ll be having a great holiday season!

I’ll be back later this month – if all goes well – with this year’s installment of the Eternal Hunt Awards, whatever that may look like. Until then, I would, of course, love to hear any thoughts you might have! And, as always, thanks for looking and stay tuned for more!

#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!

#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!