Sunday, 29 April 2012

Skeleton King & Bearers.

Got round to painting the centrepiece from the Raiders of the Undead boxed set last night:

Very reminiscent of this I feel, the aptly named Vitalstatistix from the Asterix books.

Also completed one of the less well posed figures from the box:

The detail is as good as any of the other figures but the pose is a little ropey, he does look like he is scratching the back of his head with his sword.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

A More Ancient Undead.

Work has begun on painting the more archaic skeletons from the Raiders of the Undead boxed set. First off the Workbench of Doom is this ossified warrior:

The kraken emblem on his diplon shield gives him, at least to my mind an Atlantean feel. Probably to do with all the octopus images you see on those Cretan & Theran pot shards from the early bronze age. What I really like though is the way the scorpions pincers form an eye guard on the helmet. Overall a very impressive sculpt and so far my favourite of this particular boxed set.

Monday, 23 April 2012

The More Recently Deceased.

I've finished off painting the more medieval looking skeleton figures from The Raiders of the Undead boxed set. These three will form a small encounter for the Retro Dungeon representing a previous explorer of the tomb and his two less well armoured retainers.

Not sure how efficacious that rusty crossbow will be but the axe & sword look lethal enough.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

First Skeleton Raider Painted.

After a brief stint in the garden this afternoon I settled down to begin painting my newly acquired skeletons. Here is the first one off the production line:

I might add some scallop shell devices to the chevron on the shield to mirror the one on his right shoulder, more work perhaps but tidies things up from a heraldic perspective.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Skeletons: Raiders of the Undead.

Something nice turned up in the post today:

Yet another eBay purchase for very reasonable money and in absolutely mint condition, even the box insert was still present and unsullied.
Inside a selection of Andy Chernak's finest, better in so many ways than todays huge weapon wielding & generally OTT offerings:

Of particular note are the following three, firstly a skeletal knight in full plate:

A more ancient undead with a nicely embossed shield and scorpion crested helmet, I particularly like the way the pincers form an eye guard:

And finally an aggressive looking axeman:

In all fairness all of the figures are pretty good, I like these because they will fit nicely into the Retro Dungeon. The knight & axeman will serve as recently killed adventurers freshly risen by evil sorceries and the kraken shielded fellow looks like an archaic guardian for some ancient treasure.
The box insert included really does reflect the times this boxed set was produced in:

1982 was a fairly active time in the history of roleplaying, particularly D&D and the inclusion of a dungeon floor plan and description ( on the rear of the sheet) is a nice reminder of where things were at with fantasy miniatures then. Superficially this set is aimed at fantasy wargames but I think this box insert gives a truer picture of Grenadiers target market.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Skeletons and an Owlbear.

Despite again spending the weekend evenings imbibing fine wines and consuming the spicy vittals of distant Cathay some time has been spent at the Workbench of Doom. Latest miniatures completed are a few more Grenadier skeletons and a Ral Partha Owlbear, all grist to the mill that is the Retro Dungeon.

By modern 28mm standards he's a bit of a stripling, however next to older 25mm miniatures he does look more impressive.

I'm hoping to have acquired a few more of these beauties via Evil Bay today, heres hoping.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Experimental Dungeon Terrain.

The last job of what has been a profitable weekend gaming & painting wise. I finally got round to mounting some of my thin plaster tomb walls onto blue foam to make up a prototype section and despite the result being a bit rough and ready I'm quietly pleased. A little more attention to detail in the casting & assembly processes and I should be somewhere close to the picture I had in my head when I started this project.

In Their Natural Environment.

For Grenadier Skeletons anyway, a Torchlight Fantasy Products throne room in resin.
The centre skeleton in the group is one of those armed & armoured in the curious range of equipment that Grenadier chose to model on their skeletons. The brigantine style armour and warhammer are very medieaval but the helmet and greaves are of a more fantasy/archaic style. I suppose the charitable way to interpret this is to assume that a previous adventurer exploring the dungeon had supplemented his equipment with stuff looted from some long dead warrior before himself meeting an untimely demise.

Another Archaic Warrior.

Pulled from his endless rest in some Stygian tomb here is another re-vamped Grenadier Skeleton. Just the thing for some iron thewed barbarian to hack down.

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Renovating a Few Skeletons.

The holiday weekend continues apace. Having scratched the yearly Call of Cthulhu itch yesterday this evening I'm back to the Retro Dungeon proper.
Like many others I have fond memories of the old Grenadier Miniatures skeletons and was far sighted enough as a teenager to actually buy some with the limited means at my disposal, a select few of these being depicted above. What I wasn't able to do as a teen was a decent paint job so the remainder of the holiday will be dedicated to re-vamping these bony fellows. A start of sorts has already been made on my favourite of the old gang:

I stuck fairly closely to my original colour scheme, just weathered and corroded things a great deal more. The helm was left in its original paint because it looked right & fits the theme of having something of an earlier age on the miniature.
These old Grenadier skeletons really were fabulous, there was a nice mixture of contemporary & archaic equipment, in respect of the fantasy medieaval feel of OD&D at least and the quality of the sculpting was (is) top notch.
As far as The Undead League Tables run I'd have to put them second to the Denizen Miniatures Legion of the Damned, but only on goal difference.

Todays other project has been to get some paint on the tomb wall sections I've cast up over the last few weeks. Here are the two very different attempts at mausoleum interior design:
The top one is finished in Dungeon Magnolia or dry-brushed grey if you prefer, the lower decorated in a more mediterranean style. Fairly sure I'll go with the classic grey overall.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

The Black Fan. Classic Call of Cthulhu Shanghai Style.

Got the Bank Holiday off with a bang today with a Call of Cthulhu all dayer.  Messrs Bryant & Johnston made the trip to HGA Towers to become their alter egos Henry Proctor & Gabriel Esterhazy of The Shanghai Municipal Police.
Previously these pillars of the community had been involved in the desperate business of "The Box that Sings" an affair that had left Esterhazy temporarily institutionalized and both of them in bad odour with their superiors. Luckily for them a nameless benefactor had used his influence to involve them in the search for a missing bookseller which was to ultimately lead to an upturn in their prospects.
Here are the duo in more detail.

After some confusion at the scene of the crime mainly caused by excessive thinking the wheat was quietly separated from the chaff and the net drew tighter around the perpetrators. A visit to a warehouse owned by The 21 Dollar Mob uncovered further clues to the victims whereabouts, the extraction of which were facilitated by a combination of Esterhazy's violent conduct & Proctor's poor marksmanship. After a brief return to Police Headquarters the by now tired and pissed off duo dropped all pretense of subtlety and stormed into a specialist brothel/ cult centre with all guns blazing and in a stupendous display of marksmanship and pure dumb luck dispatched every cultist in sight, dispelled the magic of The Black Fan & killed The Handmaiden of the Bloated Woman and rescued the kidnapped bookseller. Unfortunately the leader of the cult escaped by bending the fabric of time and space around him but he was denied further  access to The Seven Cryptic Books of H'san by dint of his hurried exit.

All in all a great day was had by everyone, the fact that a whole day passed so quickly being a fair indicator. From my point of view gamesmastering again set me to rights on a few points:
1. If I'm going to get back into old school or for that matter any other kind of roleplaying its going to be
a.) Based on investigation / deduction because thats what my player base enjoy (and so do I).
b.) Its going to be a lot of work for me.
2. Because its going to be a lot of work for me it will have to be occasional  day long sessions rather than frequent i.e weekly or fortnightly evening sessions. Given the nature of 1a & b this is probably a more coherent format.
3. A quick straw poll on the possibility of running a pure old school D&D campaign produced a negative result, but that blow was softened somewhat by the acknowledgement that a one off all-dayer complete with scenery and miniatures and the possibility of in game character advancement would be considered in a more positive fashion. On reflection and considering time constraints etc this is probably  a good result all round, frankly anything else would be prone to just peter out. Better perhaps to go for less frequent but more spectacular efforts, that at least is how it feels at this moment in time.

As it stands those are my thoughts, who knows a good nights sleep may cause a re-think but personally I always feel that first impressions count.

Monday, 2 April 2012

More Gelatinous Madness.

This has now officially become an obsession, the quest to create the perfect Gelatinous Cube. Here is the latest effort:

As you can see this Mark II cube is somewhat larger than his Mark I brethren, hence the use of a Dwarven Forge corridor to house him. I'm getting there quietly I think; this version is nearer to the 10x10x10' cube described in the Moldvay Basic D&D rulebook and the sheer size gives it some impact  compared with my earlier ice cube efforts. I'm still not happy with the finish though, the current batch of clear resin doesn't seem to de-gas as well as it might leading to the slightly 'fizzy' look; also this disguises somewhat the old helmet and coins held within, which again have settled to close to the surfaces to look right.
Hopefully Mark III will be better, back to the drawing board!