Morning chaps, it has been a while! My apologies for that, life has been busy of late and my ‘toy soldier’ time has been limited. I have been plugging away in the background though, and managed to do all the boring stuff like Greenstuffing & undercoating my Frostgrave warband. I also managed to get my head shaman painted up – something of a test piece for the whole warband, but more on that later!
Firstly, I wanted to share a little bit of scenery that I cranked out over the weekend with the help of my youngest son. I got involved with a recent Kickstarter called ‘Maelstrom’s Edge’ – it’s a self-contained game with some sweet minis, and some brilliant scenery bits that come on a sprue… The idea is that these bits can get snipped off & glued to any old box or tub, adding enough detail to make a decent building. Anyway, faced with a fairly dull Saturday afternoon, me & the little’un went at it with a couple of olive pots that I had been hoarding, and a couple of these sprues. My boy picked out all the bits that he wanted to use, then, with a bit of help, he snipped them out and filed the edges smooth while I cut out some thick card for the doorways. We then got busy with the super glue – junior telling his old man exactly where things ought to be stuck. The buildings got a spray undercoat before texturing & more paint was added. I was amazed at how ‘into it’ my little man was – he’s only six, but he pretty much designed these himself, and he got involved with the painting too… turns out he wields a mean drybrush! Anyhow, we had good fun, he made his daddy proud with his perseverance, and he’s really chuffed with the results. We had a chat about what else we could do with different shapes and sizes of tub, so hopefully we’ll be doing more in the near future! Here they are for your viewing pleasure, complete with an Imperial patrol for scale:
Pretty good eh? It’s well worth picking up a sprue of Maelstrom’s Edge scenic pieces if you get a chance. The six year old is optional, but comes highly recommended :-)
Now, on to the Frosgrave warband, based on the old Marauder Chaos Thugs. Last time, I mentioned that I got a really strong Native American vibe from the minis, and that they put me in mind of the ‘Mutes’ (Mutants) from the Amtrak Wars series by Patrick Tilley. Well, I went and got myself reacquainted with the series, (long out of print, but tracked down via a second hand book website), and I’m thoroughly enjoying the read. It’s a cracking post-apocalyptic adventure, packed full of adventure, mystery and magic – maybe it is nostalgia, but I’m loving it. It comes with an accompanying art book too! Objectively, it’s a bit hammy in places, and it’s a bit clichéd when it comes to racial stereotyping, (the post-apocalyptic Shogunate that gets introduced in book 3 is particularly cheesy), but it is a product of its time and none the worse for it. Anyhow, I digress. Suffice to say that the plain-dwelling Mutes are a major inspiration for this project.
In the book, the Mutes are broadly sketched out as primitive but noble Native American analogues, with shamanistic ‘Summoners’ that can really ‘do magic’, (nicely offsetting them against the technologically advanced Amtrak Federation, incidentally). One of the main characters is an old but powerful Summoner called Mr. Snow. He’s a wonderful character, and the head of my warband has become my attempt to translate him to the table-top via the 40k/Frostgrave universes. My version of Mr. Snow looks a bit younger than the ‘real’ character, but that’s fine by me – the pose is spot on, while the leg calliper does suggest a degree of age and/or infirmity. I’m actually really happy with the bits of tech that are on show, like the calliper and the staff.
Having become an homage to Mr. Snow, I knew that I wanted to paint this guy in a way that resonated with the novels. Most Mutes are described as having some physical disfigurements, such as patches of bark-like texture on their flesh, bony lumps on their bodies and faces, and swirling patterns of colour on their skin. I thought that the various skin patterning described in the books might not come off very well at 28mm scale, but I still wanted to get that idea across, so after some thought and experimentation, I ended up with a ruddy skintone & quite heavy shading – almost like banding on the skin. He looked quite good at this point, but he still wasn’t quite ‘right’ so I started to play with the idea of warpaint and did some more research on Native Americans before lightly dabbing on spots of colour on the face and arms, building up a pattern that I liked. The rest of the mini got painted with a fairly neutral palette, suggesting animal hides and natural materials, and I went for a bit of freehand Native American art on the belly plate. After a while, I ended up something I was happy with:
So, there we are – Mr. Snow, head Shaman and test piece for my Frostgrave warband… I hope you like him folks – he’s a real hodge-podge of influences and ideas, but I hope I’ve managed to make a coherent character that works in either a sci-fi or a fantasy setting… it’s a tricky balancing act! Now, to get stuck into the rest of the warband :-)