Friday, 27 December 2013

The dead in the marshes

Do you remember that wonderfully eerie scene in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers where Frodo and Samwise are walking through the dead marshes?

Well, ever since uncovering the fan-made Fimir army book and deciding to build a converted army to represent them on the tabletop, I've had that scene in the back of my mind. The Fir Bolg are the dead souls, abandoned in the marshes, unable to rest. Being a huge Lord of the Rings fan and reading about the Fir Bog, I knew that I had to take inspiration from that fantastic scene. I may not be able to do them justice, but I have had some nice ideas - using the Games Workshop Grave Guard models from their Warhammer Vampire Counts range.

I've tried to model some of them as though they are rising from the swamp to join their comrades, summoned by the Fimir Meargh to help protect the clan. Hopefully it will work nicely when all painted up. They were a bit of a pain to put together to be honest - very small ball and socket joints, but I think that their different aesthetic will look good combined with the Fimir, suggesting that they are soldiers from an ancient army, long dead and rotting in the marshes.

I wasn't really intending to be moving onto the Fir Bolg just yet, but on New Year's Day we are going to finally be playing Regiments of Renown. I have put a decent bit of planning into my small band - a combination of Fimir and Marsh Hounds, but I wanted one other model to round out the warband. Looking through the army list at the models that were a bit different, yet cheap enough to fit into the points limit, the Fir Bolg just seemed to fit the bill nicely. I'm not sure if they will contribute much success, but it they do I think that their 'join us' special rule could really help! ;-)

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Colours come on as the nights draw in

Over the weekend I found a few hours to do some painting. Rather than sit at home alone and paint, I went round to a mate's house and we both set to work being all arty and geeky - productive, sociable, and just generally a nice chance to catch up with how things are (helped with having KFC for dinner). It's always nice to talk to fellow gamers about their armies and projects/plans they have. This friend has been working on a squig-themed night goblin army. I haven't played against it yet, but it sounds like great fun and the models look brilliant - a fantastic red and yellow colour scheme makes it really distinctive. He has quite a few different armies (to say the least) and they all have a really nice design idea behind them - as do other ideas he has planned/might like to do if he won the lottery and could afford to spend more money on little plastic figures!

This is something that I can relate to as the design aesthetic is something that I really like about different armies - my dwarves have their red and brass colour scheme and rocky bases, along with their 'pound them with guns then smack them with hammers' mentality; my black templars are a definite assault force, looking for the knightly valour and punishing the heathens, in their characteristic black army, white/bone tabards and red detailing; and then my fimir will be a magic-heavy force (ideally 3 wizards by the end of the project) backed up by some brutally blunt melee, lurking from the mists and the marshes. I wanted a different colour look from my other armies, so the blue kilts seemed like the perfect area to focus on - the dark blue of the base fabric and the bright light blue drybrush over the top. These blue colours will be key aspects across the army - even the moorhounds have the light blue as their eye colour.

So I was able to spend a brilliant bit of time on the fimir and moorhounds and the washes have really brought them to life. I knew that the black wash on the metal, shields, etc would work nicely to dirtify them; but I was really pleased with how well it worked on the kilts - darkening the dark blue base, providing the shadows for the folds, yet leaving the light blue nice and bright on top. And then the moment came to try the GW seraphim sepia wash over the grey undercoat for skin. Ok, I think I might be slightly biased but I'm really bloody pleased with how it has turned out!

Just need to finish the standard bearer model by adding something to the top - like an animal skull or similar. I do have one that I think would look really nice, but it's metal and would make the model really top-heavy and unstable. Then I need to finish off the water effect and grass on the bases, possibly adding in a few bits of bark as fallen marsh trees. Then it's just a case of mounting them all up, but it's all coming along rather swimmingly (not that you can swim overly well in a swamp - so perhaps the phrase should be swamp-stride-ingly). And then It's on to making more models and attempting some of the other troop types for the army. So many ideas, so little time and money!

Unforeseen reinforcements

Today I was doing some painting of my fimir (blog update to follow in the next week or so) and talking to a good friend of mine about the next steps for the project. I started talking about other units from the army book that I want to model - in particular the Marsh Reavers. These are fimir riding bog beasts into battle. I have has my eye on a particular model for the bog beasts for quite some time now, and came home to just check on the model again and think about what I wanted to do with them when I eventually get around to getting that far in the project many many months from now.

Then I read their website homepage which said they are stopping their online store on 4th November 2013! In a mad panic to get the model that I wanted I may have inadvertently impulse bought three of their Dragonblood Miniatures Lava Lizards - oops! Just imagine it painted in swampy colours!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Colours in the mist

I have finally managed to find a spare hour or two to get some paint on the fimir. The photos may look a little odd owing to there being base colours on the kilts, weapons, wood, etc, but the skin still being the base grey of the undercoat. Normally I would paint the skin as one of the first areas and then work my way outwards, however on the fimir I'm trying something different as the skin is simply going to be some coloured washes over the undercoat to give a shade and subtle colour. 

The kilts were slightly tricky to paint owing to the texture of the gauze, but it has worked nicely to get the dark blue base colour and then the light blue drybrush to highlight the texture, making it look like a rough-spun fabric. 

The hounds show how the shading of simply a wash over the grey undercoat can work. They have simply had a wash of Badab Black (GW paint, updated to Nuln Oil) and that really nicely gives depth to the colour, darkening the light grey, adding a bit of character. They will receive another black wash to darken them some more, but also a green wash to show the marshy environment that they live in. I'm not sure what colour to paint their eyes though - red would be a classic option, but possibly the bright light blue might make them glow and stand out. Also I need to work out what to do on the horns/spines and teeth/mouths.

God knows when I'll find time to make some more progress on these!

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Grey scale

Progress may be slow, but I've got a plan to actually start some painting this weekend - I doubt I'll get much done but it will be good to actually get some colour on the models and see if my ideas will actually come to fruition.

In preparation I managed to undercoat my models that I have produced so far. Grey might be an unusual colour to undercoat, but it provides some really nice shading, but also still some vibrant colours. Besides, it's going to enable me to use a rather quick painting technique on the fimir. Here goes! I'll see you on the other side!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Pushing on

Well as predicted it's September before I have managed to get anything else done to my fimir. However, getting married and then going on a honeymoon is a bloody good way to spend your time. Everything about the wedding went exactly as we wanted it to, including the extra little surprises that we hadn't told anyone about - like the falconry display/have-a-go, the after-dinner pub quiz, and the lego cake!

By all accounts everyone enjoyed themselves, and loved those extra little touches. Plenty of people have said that the wedding was 'very us' - which I think was meant as a compliment!

And now we're back from our honeymoon in Denmark (which was lovely - a really great place to visit!), and virtually straight away we're into the new academic year. My wife (I'm still getting used to saying that, and it's all rather exciting!) is also a teacher and started back on Monday, whereas my school doesn't officially start until tomorrow (Wednesday), but I did a full day on Monday and a half day today to try and get myself organised for the new year having done less school work this summer than I perhaps needed to owing to the wedding festivities. However, I'm now feeling more or less prepared, so took the opportunity to catch up a little bit with the fimir project.

So far I have modelled five fimir warriors, three moor hounds and one base, but three of the fimir were still without their kilts so that needs to be rectified before I can move onto the painting stage. The other two cavalry bases and all five warrior bases also need doing. So I sat down this afternoon to make a start. It's nice to feel as though I'm making some progress again.

Though unfortunately my progress may continue to be rather slow as we are still trying to work our way through the 40k campaign that I'm playing my Black Templars in. And Space Marines are getting a new codex (due out on Saturday) so I will be spending a bit of time re-costing my Templars army and possibly purchasing a few units that are now newly available to me. However, I will not let the fimir get forgotten about - I'm genuinely quite excited by the prospect of what I can achieve with this army - a definite sense of pride!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

The bells

Just a very quick note to apologise that there has not been any fimir update in ages. Firstly there was the end of the school year which is very busy and knackering as a teacher. Secondly I'm getting married in just under a fortnight's time so I'm busy getting the last few bits sorted for that. If I get a spare moment I want to get a few bits done, but to be honest I can't see me making any progress this side of September! Sorry!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

The Hound of the Fimirvilles

Of course Fimir aren't the only things that live in the marshes:

"There are countless tales of massive black-haired hounds stalking the moors in search of prey. At least some of the stories are based on the daemonic hounds summoned by the fimir as trackers or as allies in battle." - extract from the fimir army book, courtesy of the Warhammer armies project.

GW chaos hound models are absolutely spot on for the moor hounds!

Getting a 'head' of the others

One thing that I have wanted to do was get a fimir model that had a helmet on. This could be used as a champion or suchlike, perhaps with some kind of magic item helmet, but however I use him I wanted him to be wearing quite an ornate and over the top helmet. The problem was that I didn't have a clue how to do it. My other warhammer army is dwarves (which you will definitely know by now if you have read the other blog posts) and I do have one or two spare helmets (with or without horns), but I didn't think that they really matched the aesthetic that I wanted, and they were the wrong size anyway.

Then I had an idea - one of the boxes of dwarves comes with a horn playing musician with two different heads for the horn, one being the classic bell funnel, the other being a stylised dragon head breathing fire. I really didn't like the dragon head on the horn, but I thought that it would work really rather nicely as a helmet for a fimir warrior. So I had a go at making another model (the fifth warrior now) and gave him the dragon head. It's not ideal as my sculpting skill to match it up is not good enough - to me it doesn't look like the fimir's head actually goes into the helmet. I still like the idea though. What do you guys think?

I also thought that I should pay some attention to the tails. Fimir tales often end in bony blades, clubs, maces, etc. The lizardmen tails end in a nice sharp point which I am happy with for some of the models, but I wanted to get a few club-like tails as well. Basically I just tried a blob of green stuff that I then teased some points out. I'm not sure about it at all to be honest, but I'll leave it and see what it looks like once painted (if I ever get around to that stage, mind you wedding prep is slightly more important at the moment - less than 50 days!)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The evening's standard

One day this week my fiancee was up in London so was going to be back late. Therefore I thought I'd take the opportunity to do a little bit more modelling. I already had a musician, but I thought it would be nice to do a standard bearer (especially as I'm not sure which one would be more useful in my Regiment of Renown). I've got used to the work required in sculpting the head and bulking up the stomach, and I knew that the main staff for the standard from the lizardmen box was perfect, but I really wasn't sure about what to actually use for the banner itself. Just as I was thinking of using more of my bandage supply to sculpt, I thought about the boxes of dwarfs I have for my other warhammer army. In that army I have used figure head type standards as opposed to the flapping banners (except my thane with my army standard). Therefore I pulled out a box and found a nice banner design - all it needed was taking off a few of the more dwarven features, like the ancestor heads. I think it works really nicely, though I'll do a bit more work to it as I'd quite like it to look a bit tattered and worn. The entire model needs a bit more work - kilt, greenstuff on the scales along the back, a banner top, etc.

I also had some fun with this guy's shield. Now that I have received the shields that I want to use - some old GW goblin shields that look like they are wicker/woven rushes or wood and hides - I can keep moving forward with the project. The wicker type ones have a brutal spike on them and I thought that it would look fantastic to have a skull impailed upon on. Again my friend who plays Tomb Kings is an absolute star, because she had previously supplied me with a bag of skulls that she didn't need, some of which have helmets on, like dead Brettonnians. I'm very happy with the result!

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The naked truth

I've been looking at the three fimirs that I have sculpted so far, rather proud of what I have managed to achieve. But then it hit me, they have their belly shields, but other than that they are naked. Most fimir pictures have some sort of clothing, so how could I represent this?
I was thinking that some kind of fabric skirt or kilt would suit the style of the fimir quite nicely. Now I know that my green stuff skills are very basic and there is no way on earth that I was gong to be able to sculpt that. So instead I was thinking of getting some actual fabric and using that to drape around the figures, that way there'll be some nice material texture. Well, assuming that the material I get has a reasonably prominent texture so that it shows up!
So I had a momentary flash of inspiration and took a trip to the local supermarket and bought a cheap roll of bandage (got to love their smart price range). Soaked in PVA, moulded around the waist of the figure, cut to give some slits for easy movement (legs and tail), and with the belly shield glued back in place; well the idea is good.
And when I tried it - turns out pretty damn exactly as I wanted it!

I'm really looking forward to getting on and painting these!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Amidst the pools and sinking mud

I've done a bit more work on the modelling of the test base - a dry brushing (slightly heavier than I has originally intended), some tufts of scorched grass glued on, and some water effect added to the pools. Overall I'm really happy with the current result. If I can reproduce this on each of the other bases for the prospective army I'll be really bloody happy! I'm thinking of possibly adding in some bark pieces to represent fallen and decaying trees in the marshland, I think that would look quite cool and give another nice aspect to the scene.

'Facing' the challenge head on

Okay, so it has been a little while since updating the blog. The trouble with being a teacher is that work tends to take over, especially when its the final run to exam season; but this week is half term and the 6th formers I teach have gone on study leave - I make that pimms o'clock, well at least modelling time!

I am a green stuff virgin, but it's time to break out the putty and moulding tools. For the 'regiments of renown' list that I am planning (only 200 points!) I need three fimir models, this seems like a nice amount for me to start with and check if my skills are up to the challenge of then going on to model an entire army. I've previously posted some pics of one model that I started doing some work on - a musician, well I have continued working on that model, plus adding another two to it.

So this is the original musician test figure that I made. I found the green stuff a bit tricky to work with to be honest, and it's going to be a challenge to do that for an entire army, but I know that it'll get easier as I get more familiar with it. I'm actually rather proud with how the head turned out seeing as it was my very first attempt. I think it sticks to the ideology well and actually looks like a fimir (well, it will do once it's been painted anyway). I also tried to cover the scales along the back with liquid green stuff. I'm not convinced with how well this has turned out though. I think it has made them less prominent, so perhaps once painted I can make it just look like a leathery, tough hide rather than actual scales.

This is the model that will be the leader of my regiment of renown, armed with a morningstar and shield. Obviously the shield is a special magic, invisible shield - or alternatively I haven't got the ones that I want to use yet, so that will be something that I'll have to come back to at some point. The morningstar is taken from the GW tomb kings range (a friend of mine collects the skeles and has a load of spare bits that she has, incredibly kindly, passed my way - I'm using them for this project, but also as additional bits to help stylise my black templar crusade for 40k). It's supposed to look like the morningstar is being swung down, about to crush the head of some unfortunate victim. I'm not convinced that it looks right, but hopefully the finished model will give a bit more of an idea. I haven't got around to covering the scales on the back with liquid green stuff, that's next on the list of things to do. The face on this one is alright, but I don't think it is as good as the first one I did on the musician - think it was really beginners luck. Generally this one is just lacking a bit of definition I think, but hopefully some paint and washes will help get the desired look.

These photos show the model I'm using as a champion, dual wielding hand weapons to boost the attack output, hopefully this guy will be all about dealing damage. The head on this one took quite a while to do, the green stuff just wasn't doing what I wanted it to do. However, I eventually got something that I think is pretty cool, including some nice bony ridges along the skull. Again tried the liquid green stuff along the back scales, hopefully when painted it will look as I want it to, not convinced at the moment - think I might need to get the filing tools out.

Having done all of this now I'm getting quite excited about the project, but also realising just how much work is going to be involved!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

In the depths of the marshes

Fimir live in the marshes and I want to show that in my models, so for once I thought I'd spend a decent amount of time on the bases and really try to get a decent level of scenery into them. Normally I just go for something pretty simple (if I've even got around to basing the model at all!), but this time I'm going to do it properly.

So I've had an experiment, well at least started an experiment to get me into the marsh frame of mind to then develop my fimir properly. Firstly I covered part of the base in filler in an abstract kind of pattern to begin to represent the slopping mud, leaving some 'holes' to become pools of water.

Next I used some 'ultramarine blue' paint on the water parts and 'blackfire earth' (from the citadel textured paint range - first time I've used it and, whilst I'm not sure what I was expecting it to be like to use, I certainly didn't expect it as it was) to cover the filler and start to build the marshy earth.

A very liberal wash of 'coelia greenshade' over everything has helped to get the basis of a nice dark rotten green look to everything.

This is as far as I got today (as I was mainly focusing on painting some of my Black Templars seeing as I'm currently playing a 40k campaign). Plenty left to do - drybrushing the mud to pick out the texture, add some static grass in a few tufts, and pour in some water effect. Here's hoping that the scenic base will look pretty good and really help boost the whole visual theme of the fimir.

Those of you with eagle-eyes will have noticed that I have modelled a cavalry base rather than an infantry base - well, the fimir aren't the only things in the marshes!

Thursday, 9 May 2013

A little bit of drive

I've had the idea for starting the fimir army for quite a while now - I found the fan-made army book at least a
year ago now, yet I hadn't got around to doing anything with it. I'd pretty much planned the army I wanted to get, knew which models I needed to buy and what I was gong to do to them in order to convert them and make them suitable. Yet there was always the issue of time and money - having all the ideas in the world is well and good, but there's only so much anyone can do in the free time they have and with the financial constraints (I am after all getting married this summer and weddings are rather expense affairs). Besides I also have my Dwarf army for Warhammer fantasy and my Black Templars army for 40k.

So what has given me the kick up the backside to start this project in amongst all these other things going on in my life? Quite simple really - I found the rules that games workshop released for the special game at games day this year called 'regiments of renown'. It's a small skirmish game for Warhammer using only a very limited points allowance and each model acting individually. I love this idea (always fancied playing Mordheim but never got the chance and never will now it has been withdrawn), with a small selection of troops, building up a back story for these personalities and developing them as games progress. I've shown the rules to a couple of my friends and we're gong to organise a 'regiments of renown' day where we all bring our small troop and play a selection of mini skirmish games over the day, eventually deciding upon a champion (along with possibly a few other conciliatory prizes). So I thought that rather than bring my dwarves who people are fairly familiar with fighting against, why not use this as the perfect opportunity to build and test out some fimirs? Especially as I'm probably only going to need less than 10 models which means I should be able to find some time to 'experiment' with my modelling.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

The initial problem

So, it's all well and good wanting to start converting a fimir army using the lizardmen models, but this is where we start the initial difficulties - how?

How do you do about turning one of these games workshop saurus warriors into a fimir, like the old heroquest models?

Well the answer is going to involve a fair amount of green stuff. The basic plan is that the belly will be bulked out and covered with a small shield (almost a buckler) from the Dwarf thunderer kit. This will serve nicely as the traditional fimir bellyshield and add to a distinctive look, definitely taking away from the lizardmen aesthetic. Next the head angle will be changed so that it is less horizontal than it is now, more to around 45 degrees. The crest and top of the head will be cut off to give a nice oblong-ish kind of shape. Then the singular eye will be sculpted on top, with some ridges/folds in the flesh similar to the old heroquest miniature. The scales along the back of the lizardman will also be filed down and covered in some liquid green stuff. The warriors will be equipped with a variety of different weapons - some will keep the lizardmen ones, others will get axes from dwarf kits of random assortments of swords or picks that I have lying around. I also want to change the shields for something a bit less scaly; I've got some ideas, but not quite decided on that yet. This is really quite a large amount of work to be doing for every individual model. Especially when you think that this is only for the standard fimir warriors, the shearls will be made from the lizardmen skinks to highlight the difference in stature and importance. Think I'll need to be buying a fair amount of green-stuff!

Well...I've had a quick play around with my concept - just cutting the plastic around a bit to see how feasible it would be and whether the pose would look fimir-ish, not graduated to green-stuff experimentation yet. Hopefully I'll find some time to make some headway soon, but I'm a teacher and teacher's free time is rather hard to come by!