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 :-)
Thanks mate :-)
The Shaman looks great. Love the skin tone. Those building are really cool but the coolest thing about this post has to be your six year old son hehe. I have three girls, 2, 8 and 12. I forced the 8 and 12 year olds to paint zombies with me. To my surprise and theirs they really enjoyed it. It’s cool to pass the torch on aye. Great post mate, keep up the good work.
Thanks mate, glad you like the Shaman, and yeah – I was really impressed by his patience for it! He does have a fantastic imagination too, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the hobby bug bites him tbh :-)
fabulous scenery, proper rogue trader!
Thanks mate – from the mind of a 6 year old too! Brilliant :-)
Good lord, wish I’d known those Maelstrom’s Edge bits earlier ! They’re exactly the kind of thing I like to lake terrain.
The Boltgrave barbarian is absolutely wonderful, just the right dos eof Blanchitsu and RT into him. Just brilliant.
Hello mate, they’re great aren’t they? Such a good idea, I’m amazed that it isn’t more widespread! Thanks for the kind words on Mr. Snow dude – I’m so pleased with him, but JB approval means a lot :-)
Those buildings are fantastic! Done in an afternoon? Extra impressive.
I read the Amtrak Wars series in 2001. I did enjoy it even if the lazy stereotypes were tough to stomach occasionally. Techno savages based on the Mutes is a great plan.
I ogled the art book in a bookshop as a kid. I would like to have a look at that thirty years later.
Thanks mate, a little bit of detailing carried over to the Sunday, but not much, just lights and terminals really.
It is a good set of books, a bit cheesy for sure, but no worse than Feist, Howard, etc. The Mutes are the pick of the bunch for me too rich fodder for inspiration! I have that art book too – it’s lovely :-)
I don’t know why I posted anonymously there , weird.
Hmmmm, that looks superb! I’m taking note of that set!! Too early for my six months padawan, but that will also eventually come :D
Thanks mate – yeah, maybe give it a year or two ;-)
Those ME terrain bits are really quite useful, and I expect to see them quite a bit more when they become more available.
Working on terrain with your kid is a great idea. My nearly 6 year old is very interested in such things, but the nearly 3 year old makes it hard to have time to work on hobby.
Kids make it hard to find time for anything! Great fun though – I’m sure you’ll get them invonved at some point :-)