28 Mar 2014

Insurgency rising - part 7

Hello guys,

I only 13 insurgents more to show and I've decided to put them in two groups of 7 and 6. This project got a bit sidetracked now that it came to painting them (I know, I know, I'm drifting), but I would still like to paint them all as soon as possible to finish them for good, or they will never be finished.

So, below is a pic of all seven insurgents, nicely lined up in front of ol'Whateley's farm :D.

From left to right, there is a leader (note the clever position of a radio and somewhat civilian clothes with hoodie and bandana) and three "ordinary" riflemen. First one has an old type of webbing, with pouches and straps attached to a combat belt. You can see on the backview photo, that he also sports a nice little backpack. When I was working through the pile, I figured I'm giving some sorts of webbing or pouches to everyone, so I left one rifleman blank. I only covered his face with bandana to make sure he seems like one of the "bad guys". I might mention you can see both him and leader from this batch wear sunglasses - hidden identity comes in handy when you're doing something illegal! Last rifleman is one of the foreign fighters again. His face is covered with balaclava and he was (un)wise enough to rambo-stick two magazines together. I wanted to do this for a while, but I just couldn't sculpt a magazine I'd be happy with. So I've cut one from spare AKs (that I converted into a RPK with a drum magazine, but more on that in next post where I'll show you that miniature). He has backpack as well, but as he has no straps I'd imagine he must be experiencing a lot of back pain. I didn't gave him straps as "everyone has them", but I didn't want to leave him blank as that's boring...so now he has to suffer based on my decisions - it's like playing god! Hra hra hra!

I might mention I've noticed how most of  the survivors got one leg stretched like some sort of ballerinas. That's odd, but oh well, who'd notice.

Anyways, here are the remaining three miniatures - a RPG gunner (thanks again Colgar6!), another leader and another rifleman. I wanted to really put some effort into the RPG gunner as I got spare from Rovanite at Grekwood miniatures and from Colgar6. You know...if they went through the trouble to get me some, I might take time to preform a surgery and make sure at least one RPG gunner is actually aiming the weapon. And he is. I did, however, just remembered I forgot to give him a backpack with extra rockets, so that's something I need to sculpt before I paint him. And perhaps to one of the riflemen, surely a RPG gunner like that deserves an assistant!
Leader has another of those "awkward poses" (remember the molotov guy?) and I got another brilliant idea to fix that. He is caught in a momentum of action, blazing away with his pistol (that I've made sure is "naturally" angled - not too "gangsta" and not too "orderly") as he has ran out of ammo on his rifle. Surely this could only be preformed by someone with vast experience in insurgency, hence the balaclava. Not much to say about the rifleman after such a heroic figure, so let's just say he exists :P.

In other news, I'm trying to paint some of these insurgents but I've been painting a little something for last two weeks, spending way too much time on a single miniature and I can't see a brush anytime soon as it drained all of the mojo in my shallow painting mojo lake.

I did jump deep into the Slovenian myths and folklore and I took notes of twenty five (!) creatures that sounded like they could be used in either a Dark age "Jason and the Argonatus" kind of game or Strange Aeons (so interwar era monster hunt). I've left out various villas and dwarfs and whatnot, as there is no use of having a beautiful woman standing on the middle of the board, having no impact on the game :P. I'll try to convert/sculpt as many as possible to end up with kind of posts I was showing last summer - full of beasts. I could fill a post with all the ideas and what not, but I'm trying to keep "planning" posts on minimum and I will just post some observations when I'll also have something to show for it.

Thanks for looking,

23 Mar 2014

Zombies again

Hello guys,

I've been working on hobby related stuff quite a lot lately, yet I kinda feel I have nothing to show you. Following great weather, there is a downpour today, so I didn't want to take photos of the insurgents conversions I was posting lately. I have mostly all done by now, and of those some are more or less successful :P.

Luckily, this means I finally got an opening to show you zombies I've painted a while ago. They are not my best paint jobs, somehow I find zombies boring to paint lately.
They are the "usual" group of 4, with 2 vixens and two studio miniatures male zombies. Again, they all have mostly similar colour palette, which I figured should speed up the painting. While they may look too unified when put together, colours blend in with the rest of the "horde" (that's now betwen 50-60 zombies strong, if you were wondering).

I only got two photos to show you the front and back of the figures. Except for the news guy, they are all striaght out of the box, painted and with some blood splashed. There really isn't much to say about them.

Journalist is a ripped half naked zombie guy that got converted. I don't like my zombies looking all alike and if there's anything I dislike even more, it's overmuscular body showing from under a thorn shirt. Booooring. So, at first, I started sculpting helmet and body armour on him to make him a police man or a soldier...but that's quite boring as well. I was highly influenced by modern combat at the time I was painting those, so I remembered I could always do with a dead reporter. Someone has to risk his life to let the people know what is going on! So...that's it. Eagle eyed readers might notice he has his camera entangled around his feet.

Thanks for looking,

18 Mar 2014

600 years since last enthronement of the Carinthian dukes

Hello guys,

not a hobby blog as such, but an introduction to yet another project I'm thinking of starting while I should be painting my moderns! :P

On this day, 600 years are passing since last enthronement of the Carinthian dukes and Carantanian "princes" before them. A ceremony that has been practiced for around 6-7 centuries.
A reconstruction of Carantanian coat of arms. Same symbol (with different colours) is a coat of arms of today's Austrian Styria.

Map of the early Carantania and today's Slovenia. The state was larger at some point in the past, too.
Long story short, in 7th century, Carantania was formed. Carantania is said to be the first Slovenian, and Slavic in general, independent state. It was preceded by a larger (also including today's Czech republic and Slovakia) Samo's (a Frankish merchant turned ruler) tribal union. After his death, Carantania was formed as a result of a revolt against Avars (Avarian?) overrule (Avars were nomadic people similar to the Huns). If I really simplify the history, it was an independent state until middle 9th century, when the Avars have turned their attention to Carantania and other Slavic territories again. Carantanian "prince" (called "Knez" and not really a prince) had to ask Bavarians (western border) for assistance. Bavarians accepted the offer, but under one condition - Carantania had to give up it's outer independance and accept Bavarian (Frankish) over rule and Christianity, as the kingdom's religion. Carantanians agreed and defeated the Avars with Franksih help. As a guarantee, knez Borut (also "Boruth") has sent his son Gorazd ("Cacatius") and his nephew Hotimir ("Cheitimar") to Bavarian duke as hostages. As an interesting fact, they resided on the Herreninsel on the lake Chiemsee (Bavaria), where they have been converted to Christianity. I might want to brag a little and let you know I was there last friday, but there are no remains to be seen there. They returned to Carantania where Gorazd ruled as a first Christian knez, followed after three years by Hotimir. They were expanding Christianity in the region, which was badly received and people were revolting. One of the revolts, against later knez, called Valtunk, was described by our greatest poet (so you know it is good :P) in his magnum opus. A part of it (translated in English!) can be found here, if anyone fancies a hard read :D. Also "Kajtimir" is another name for "Hotimir" and Valjhun is Valtunk, but there is no evidence that he was really Hotimir's son. He was his successor as a knez, that is for sure. Anyways, Bavarians were conquered by Franks in approximately same time and Carantania became part of Frankish and later Holy Roman Empire and so on. In Bavaria, the oldest known Slovenian texts were found - dating from the 10th century. They are Christian texts, probably translated to help with Christianity of the people. Even in 14th century, some parts of today's Slovenia were believed to be "completely wild", as people there still believed in pagan gods.

A future prince speaks to a pesant, sitting on the Stone.
The stone today. On top of it is a Carinthian coat of arms.
Slovenia's 2 euro cents coint
Every Carantanian prince and later Carinthian duke (Carinthia is a part of Austria and partly Slovenia today) was enthroned in Slovenian language, following roughly the same ritual from the first known Carantanian knez Valuk to last Carinthian duke Ernest the Iron on 18th march 1414. After that, the Habsburg rule was strong enough they felt no need to follow the ritual anymore.
The Carantanians (Karantanci) were free members of village communities and were electing their "princes" (and later dukes) following a unique ceremony. The ceremony took place at Krn Castle (today's Krnburg), which was probably the centre of the state. The prince had to swear that he would respect and defend the people's will and their right in front of all the assembled free people. Then the peasant or "kosez" (kosez was actually a member of Knez's personal guard, full time soldier and a sort of a nobleman), sitting on a prince's stone (the capital of an Ionic column from ancient Virunum that was located in the vicinity) would give the sit to the elected prince in exchange for a horse and a specked bull. Even after the Carantanians have lost their independence, the ritual was preserved and the dukes of Carinthia would be enthroned in Slovenian language (or proto-Slavic, if you prefer), but naturally, a King had to be asked for permission and so on. Later, ritual was extended with the use of a Duke's throne, a two-sided throne where new duke and a high ranking Christian priest (the exact title escapes me) were giving away land (feuds). On the throne, the duke had to take his oath in German.
The ritual is said to be so interesting, even Jean Bodin wrote about it (claiming the ceremony is unrivaled in the known history). His texts drew the attention of Thomas Jefferson, who is believed to have incorporated parts of it into the American Constitution.
(modified article  based on Slovenia.si)
Duke's throne at Krnski grad (Krnburg) in 19th century. There is no castle there, if you wondered.
The throne is located on the exact same spot where it always was. As you can see by the quality, it's clearly my photo :D
Other side of the throne. I keep forgetting which one is which.

So, how does this apply to the hobby, you wonder? Well, it doesn't really. But my unofficial scapegoat, Colgar6 keeps drawing my attention to SAGA with his great battle reports (that you should read if you haven't done so yet). As this wasn't enough, he has started a Jason and the Argonauts project, as well. While I've just started working on my moderns, I'm already looking towards either Carantanian warband for SAGA (that I'd never play, but I wouldn't mind converting some plastics as a "soul project") or Jason's tale with a twist - a young Carantanian warrior and his band of soldiers, traveling through the state, engaging the creatures of Slavic mythology (that not much is known about). Probably on their way to save a woman. This is always a valid reason to risk your life. I like both ideas as their core has been done, so rules are there, but in the meanwhile, they weren't done with that twist, so if done right, it would be an interesting project for everyone else, as well.

As plastic boxes for SAGA are full of miniatures, I could probably easily pull out two warbands - either pagan and christian Carantanians, fighting each other (which sounds a bit boring as the only difference would be the flags and symbols I suppose) or Carantanian warband fighting Bavarians and/or Avars. I checked the existing warbands a bit and have decided Pagan Rus is not good enough for what I want, although it fits in regard to the names. "Rus prince" is a knez and "Druzhina" are "družiniki" (druzhinki if you prefer), which, as said, were called Kosezi here. Still, the plain Vikings would perhaps be more suitable...or even someone completely different as bow seems to be popular weapon in Slavic armies of that time. Miniatures might be quite problematic, but as there are known connections between Alpine Slavs and Baltic, I could get away with some Vikings. The Avars are bascially a nomadic horse archers kind of guys and Bavarians are kind of Franks. All I really want to do is sculpt some chainmail over people's faces. That's the second coolest helmet design after Greek Corinthian helmet.

The other one, a mythical journey of brave little men fighting against all odds to achieve something appeals to me more. Not counting the names, Slavic mythology has giants, satyrs, spirits, people with dogs heads, unicorns, centaurs, dragons, basilisks, snakes, cannibals, spirits of headless children, werewolves, death (as a skeleton with a scythe!), witches, gnomes and such, an underwater man, vampires and so on and so on. I did a bit of researching last year for my SA games, if you wonder where the sudden surge of my mythology knowledge came from. I prefer this one as I really enjoyed working on my Strange Aeons lurkers last year. Plus they could all be used for a SA set in Slovenia. I have some trouble separating ancient Slav beliefs from Christian myths, but most of Christian tales are just rebranded ancient Slavic stories. As Strange Aeons is set in interwar era, this is no problem at all for them, but for games set in Carantania, I'd try to be a bit more sure of what I'm putting in....but just a little bit, it's all fantasy after all and as long as it's cool it fits.

The hobby posts with more than blabbering will continue with my next post, honestly!

Thanks for looking,

13 Mar 2014

Insurgnecy rising - part 6


I've decided to speed up my painting for this batch a bit and decided to use them for my today's post instead of another blank post with conversions. Those aren't varnished yet, but as I'll be away from home for next couple of days, I wanted to post them today regardless.

I feel a bit bad with showing three at a time, but it seems to work for me. I got a rifleman, RPK gunner and a leader today.

Rifleman, as usual is nothing special. He is reloading his SA80. As he wears his hat rambo style, it seemed suitable to dress him at least partly as a civilian. When I first started working on the kit, his body seemed best but I can't end up thinking it looks even more awkward than any other.  He has a standard vest (but to be honest, not two are alike in my force :D) and camouflage pants.

A RPK gunner, on the other hand, is a whole other story. I love how he came out in the end. He is clearly a skilled resistance fighter. His ski mask came out great, but I've noticed now that I have always taken photos in a way where you couldn't see his face from up front.  I have substituted the dark sand colour for khaki on his uniform and it came out looking far more like an US woodland than the with miniature from the last batch.

Lastly, a leader. He's got a high tech vest, a (camouflaged!) M16 and that's about all that's interesting here. I like the pose, but there really isn't much more to add.

I might mention that I've somehow painted every pair of shoes differently. Not that anyone is looking at the shoes, but it's a nice accomplishment :D.

Lastly, there is the complimentary photo of the insurgency rising. Nine still isn't something to brag about, but I am getting there.
They are put together in a group as per FOF Quick Start rules. First group has a leader, RPG, RPK and 4 rifles. Second one is stuck with a leader and a RPK for now.

Thanks for looking,

9 Mar 2014

Insurgency rising - part 5


I got another three painted insurgents to show you today.

We got two riflemen and a leader. The only thing leaders can be picked out is by their radios. So if need be, I could still use them as an ordinary trooper or use an ordinary trooper as a leader.

Guy on the left with the AK is in the "action" pose. I think he looks a bit more acceptable now that he is painted, but the broad width due to the stretched arm with rifle makes him a bit impractical in gaming. In his  left arm, there is a lit molotov cocktail. He has a rolled up ski mask and a mix of two different camouflage patterns. I've figured as he is a veteran insurgent, he would be able to find a complete fatigues, even if not from the same kit exactly. His pants are the Yugoslav lizard pattern I've talked about last time. As I really like the result and this camo is easy to paint, I've decided most of the insurgents will have their fatigues in this pattern. His shirt ought to represent US Woodland, but it looks nothing like that. I can't really put my finger on it, but I think the problem is green is too dark and sand is way too sandy. I should probably use khaki instead of dark sand. Still, it is very different from the lizard pattern and it gives him a bit less uniform look, which is fine. As most, he stores his mag in a chest web vest.

Guy in the middle is a businessman type. To avoid the clean look that previously shown AT guy has, I've decided to paint his jacket in camouflage pattern. It represents (carelessly) worn camouflage shirt.  I got no idea why I used the fat man's head on the miniature and the camouflage scarf in combination with a "postman bag" makes him look like some sort of a hipster. I've taken a photo of two of them together, to show how different looking they came out.

Lastly, there is the leader. Not much to say here. He wears a black raincoat and a "sandy" hat to obtain some contrast. His vest is (too) dark green and radio can be seen on his chest. As a leader, he obviously wears camouflage pants.

Oh, do note the added pants pockets on the fatigues. It's not a game changer, but it does feel right to have them there.

To prove the insurgency is indeed growing, below is a photo of the rebels so far. 

Thanks for looking,


4 Mar 2014

Insurgency rising - part 4


still going strong with the insurgents. I was trying to avoid another post with only five converted miniatures, as I can't loose the feeling I'm only repeating myself. On the other hand, I keep posting twice a week this way, and with all the great ideas I've been getting in the comments, I keep improving the guys in the end.
I've decided to add some more WIP photos from related project, too.

So, regarding the conversions. We got five rifle armed insurgents, all basic grunts. I'm trying my best to avoid repetitive builds.

First one, the fat man, is really much like the first one, except for the AK instead of an RPK (which is a long barreled AK in itself!). I've made his pants hang loose and not tucked in the boots. He has the chest webbing and not a backpack, like the first one. Head I think is different, but they both look alike. So, apart from the different, probably more civilian paint job, he is still quite alike.

Second guy is that "standing still" pose, that should look awesome but somehow seems unnatural, too stiff. First miniature of this kind held a brit rifle, this one has an AK now. Firing in an awkward pose, we can only suspect he is not the most trained of the batch. His face is covered with a bandana (great idea, Joe!). Also, notice the extra pants pockets, making pants look a bit more like military fatigues.
Actually, looking at it now, I have done a bad job on his right arm surgery. Instead of cutting it, I puttied it and it seems unnaturally large from certain angles. I'm not sure if I'd leave him sleeveless....but then again, that is the only sleeveless miniature I got. All others got "properly dressed". If anyone cares, his right arms are actually those of a crossbow.

Third guy is the first body I had to use again (it's 10th miniature and I'm not using the kid). He is mostly same as the leader I did using the first body and even uses the same rifle. The thing is...with those miniatures, that come with "premade" weapon arms, it's really a sin not to use them as they are. I have, however, made an exception with third body of this kind. But when doing that, you lose two weapons for benefits of one (need to destroy the M16 to put AK in his arms if you know what I mean). His head is covered in another sloppy ski mask and I really, really hope those will paint fine. I love the look of the covered miniatures, but up close, they are a nightmare.

Fourth guy in this group is another one with SA80. He is totally civilian and carries a bag of an interesting design. Those bags do exist and I happen to own one myself. Or I have...it's been years! Thinking about it now, it might be a gas mask bag. Anyways, this particular guy stores his ammo there now.

Last guy for today is my favorite of this batch. I really like how his pose came out. He's got a bit more elaborated vest and a rolled up ski mask. He is certainly a veteran fighter. Hands used for this intimidating pose are the ones that hold chainsaw. I've repositioned the wrist, made some hacking and glued the AK on.  This also explains the curious position of his left arm (that came out great in the end).

To keep this post a bit longer, here is a photo of others. Since the photo was taken (earlier today), I've prepared last 4 riflemen, too. So now I got all 27 miniatures on the table in various stages of completion.
On top of the photo, group of five (very, very badly sculpted) corpses can be seen. I've lost interest in them as soon as I've started them, so they really look awful.
Below them are the one just shown. And under those, another batch of five. In this group, we got (from left) a leader in an action pose (a clever solution to that awkward molotov holding body), a true RPG gunner (the insurgents were supplied by one Col. Gar (get it? :D). As a bit of a thank you gesture, I've decided to hack and slash until I have at least one figure that is actually firing an RPG. It was a nightmare and I still have to hack some more, but in the end, I think it will be well worth it. The rest of the guys are ordinary riflemen again.

Below them are: an RPK guy (I've cut the M16 to replace it with an AK, as I it has been mentioned before), RPG guy (this one will only hold the RPG and won't be in an actual firing pose. A complicated surgery like that takes all the mana from me!  Last one is another leader. Not on the photo, but in similar state of completion now, are another 4 riflemen.

All together with those I've shown before: 27 armed and ready. Okay, just armed for now.

Moving on (yes, it's a long post, but at least it's entirely hobby related!). Here is a current state of my Slovenian soldiers. The progress is slow and it's boring. Not really all that much fun, so I'll try to push it. Pants seem baggy, but once the torso is done, it shouldn't be too bad. Also, the boots will certainly get cut. This is just horrible.
Below are the automatic rifles. For newcomers, I'm working on FN F2000S (S stands for Slovenia, not plural form :P). After lots of consideration, I've decided the original try (the longer two) came out too long, even if I'd shorten the barrel. So I've grew a pair and cut one. I am now rebuilding it and it simply doesn't want to end up looking right. I think the whole proportions are messed up now, but I'll figure something out.

Also, I've almost finished painting a group of another three insurgents, which will be shown in the next post.

Thanks for looking,