Summer Reading Stack

A compilation of books in my summer reading stack. Some classics, some classics retold, some research, and some sci-fi pulp. 

What's on your stack?


Painting Triumph of Death: By the Numbers

Painting Triumph of Death

Whether painting legions or just single figures for skirmishes, this basic painting scheme works well for getting that ghastly look of an animated corpse as given to us by Peter Breugel. 
Our palette of doom!

The goal of this painting tutorial is to get a good and detailed paint job on lots of minis without spending a ton of time on each piece, creating the impact of a great looking unit on the battlefield.  I’ve broken my paint job into basically 5 stages to create my look.

Step 1: Priming

After cleaning your mini of any flash, and gluing on any weapons needed, I prime my models with spray primer.  For most of my minis I use a black primer, but after some experimentation I decided that a grey primer works best for the color scheme I will use.   Give the models a spray by first laying them flat on a surface (cardboard works great) and getting the undersides, then a second coat having them standing up to get tops and sides.  Remember to spray outside kids and away from your face!
I’ve tried three different grey primers/spray paints with varied results

Army Painter Grey Primer:  Darkest of the grey primers. Great spray action, smooth application. What I used on all the painted skellies you’ve seen to date. 

Armory Grey Primer: Medium color grey. I’ve had really bad luck with this primer type with two different cans. It comes out chalky and gritty; I can’t recommend this to you. I’ve never had a problem with Armory white, which I really like. 

Taymia Fine Surface Grey: A very light grey primer, super smooth, recommended by my sculptor Drew Day Williams. I may be in love with this one. 

Step 2: Base Coats

Using Privateer Press P3 Beast hide, cover the entire body of the model. Use appropriate wood color for the haft and paint the metal head black. At this point the model should be covered.  I like a darker haft to make the halberd look worn in, so use either P3 Ruddy brown or Citadel Dark Flesh. If you want a “newer look” I recommend Vallejo green ochre or Citadel bubonic brown.
Pro tip- you can “wet paint” some highlights onto the flesh at this point using a mix of Jack bone and beast hide if you want. 

Step 3:  The Wash

Take your mini and some Citadel Agrax Earthshade “shade” (really a glaze but we’ll call it a wash) and cover the entire model. As the wash drips down a bit, pick up the paint from the base and take it back into some of the deeper areas like eye sockets, etc.  At this point you can also clean your brush and then use it as an eraser to wipe away some of the wash in higher exposed areas.  This is more of an aesthetic call, to try it out and see if you like it.  
Note: this step is really quick- you can knock out 20 minis in 5 minutes easily. 

WARNING:  For some reason the size of the Agrax Earthshade bottle makes it very susceptible to being knocked over!  Make sure it is out of elbow and arm reach and that the lid is on tight. Wisdom is the knowledge that I’ve made this mistake before… (edit- I just tried shaking the jar after I had the lid open getting paint all over my pants and the floor. Clorox wipes are your friend. ) 

 Step 4: Paint Overs

Once the Wash is fully dry, take your base of Beast Hide and repaint the fleshy areas of the model. You don’t have to repaint it all. I hit the major leg and arm pieces plus the dangly bits. 

Step 5: Highlights

Next I mix 50/50 ish of Beast hide and P3 Jack Bone, and hit the skull sections, bony arm sections and all the joints. Basically all raised areas that you want to be a bit more standy-outy.   After I’m done with that I hit any fully exposed bone, in particular feet, hands and the front of the skull with P3 Menoch White Highlight- which is a light bone color and not white at all. 

Pro Tip:  When painting fingers, ribs toes etc, I find it best to not try and dry brush across, but rather take your brush and do down the length of the bone. It builds up the paint better on that surface and you get less accidental paint in between. 

If you painted up any area too much for your liking, just judiciously go over it with some more Agrax Earthshade.

That’s all there is to it. Now just base it up the way you want, or finish the rest of the unit and base them all together. 

Side shot of a unit showing variability in same technique

 Pro Tip: When multi basing, I find the models that have the best fronts and best backs and stick them in the rank that shows them off. After they are all based, I might go back and touch up or highlight bits on the models that are more prominent. 


Triump of Death: Success and Thank you!

I just wanted to give a shout out to all y'all in Blog land, and thank you for your support and feedback of my Triumph of Death minis and kickstarter over the last few months. I know I've been a bit obsessed with it, so thanks for putting up with me.

The KS was a jaw dropping success. I had no idea that my dream of undead minis based upon Breugel, Holbein, and inspired by the old Minifigs line would reach out and excite so many folks as much as it does yours truly.  196 folks pledged over all. I'm gobsmacked!

Of course a KS is like having a baby. We've all just gone through the "labor" bit and now have the wee thing, and now the real responsibility starts on my end.  I've already been as forward planned as could be, with most all the masters sculpted, cast and already half into production molds. Likewise I've started cutting bases for everyone, so, at least I don't feel behind. Once the surveys go out I can get a tally on which units are ordered and start the production casting on those. 

Whew... but today- I'm gonna spend half the day cleaning house, then sit down and paint something.

Final Stretch Art

Here's a few pics of concept art I did for the final three stretch goals- all of which were unlocked. Like I said I didn't think that we'd go that far up the chain, so I was literally doing the zweihander sketch 5 hours before the KS closed!  Nothing like timing and inspiration. It reminds me of a story I heard of a club playing Napoleonics with 3 guys at the table and 3 more behind painting reinforcements. That's love and commitment!
Variations of open hand marching. Lots of uses for these guys

WIP variant

Landsknecht style standard bearer
The Abbot- based off of a Holbein piece.
Dopple soldier with Zweihander. Note continued fisher king theme. This may be my next new badge.
 All of these scribblings are off to my sculptor Drew Day Williams and I hope to see them realized in the next week or so.



Triumph of Death: Have you got a flag?

Have you got a flag?!

Jaye Wiley has created a sweet suite of flags for my Triumph of Death Kickstarter, and I just got them back from the printers. Of course I had to dig in and see how they'd work.

 I took two of my open handed skellies and added some 1.5mm copper wire flag poles to them, dashed some paint upon their leathery hides, and then added some flag action.

skeleton marching open handed with a traditional long standard pole.
Skeleton marching arm close using a "baton" landsknecht style pole.

 Once painted up, I added the flags, gluing them on with watered down white glue. You can also use a glue stick, which lets you peel apart the flag if you don't line it up the first time; just make sure you seal it afterwards or it can come apart.  I used an exacto to "age" my banners, touching up the edges with a bit of paint afterwards.


Veteren Standard Bearer

With all those fancy flags,I'm in need a grizzled veteran standard bearer for the next stretch goal of my Kickstarter! This fellow is sporting a metal skull cap and mail bishop's mantle and wields a katzbalger sword. In his right hand he holds the landsknecht style baton banner pole, which will be cast separately onto the base.  A worthy warrior for a worthwhile stretch goal

 Speaking of Kickstarters- my Triumph of Death Kickstarter  has 3 days left as of the posting of this blog- so if you have not checked it out, please do so! 7 stretch goals have already been unlocked and we are closing in on the standard bearer- Go- go now!


Kublacon Battle Report Part 1: The Pikeman's Lament

Captain Pickwith's "Pokers" regiment clear the center amidst heavy fire.

Kublacon Battle Report:

I had the great pleasure and honor to run two games this past weekend at Kublacon game convention- hands down my favorite con of the year here in Northern California. The first game I ran was a scenario of dashing pluck using "The Pikeman's Lament" rules by Mssrs. Meresy and Lanke. Two sides, each consisting of 3 Captains and their regiments were racing towards a carriage inn off the beaten track. The goal; rescue (or capture depending on which side you were on) a parcel of letters written by a certain Dutchess to a certain Duke, that was not in fact her husband.

Fun Rules! I give them 4 out of 5 wigs!
Each of the 6 players commanded between 2 and 4 units and had at the lead a Captain model portraying them. The Captains all had cool traits and each had at least 1 mission, such as " you must duel" in order to garner more honor points.

The rules played well, and everyone got into the swing of things really easily. I was a bit worried that my 54mm woodens being multibased would be an issue, but it never even came up.

Peep's fighting Cocks regiment.

 The Right Flank: A duel is fought

During the beginning of the game both of the Cavalry regiments came together, with Schlager's Trotters taking casualties from Captain Dumas' Dragoons.  This prompted a challenge (Schlager had a mission to duel) and the two officers met in front of their troops.  Each rolled 3 dice with parrying and thrusting all around. Dumas got the better of Schlager- who did not at all live up to his name by rolling 3, 1's, and that was the end of that! Dumas horse charged and after a bit of a scuffle, routed the Trotters!
Dragoons give fire

The Duel! More wig than fight

Captain Dumas salutes his vanquished foe.

The Left and Center: The Dutches' Regiments break through

On the center and left the Dutchess troops were advancing with great valor and giving a stern beating to BlackStone's company of Foote who marched bravely to meet them. Blackstone managed to actually get the letters from the inn, but during the battle was dropped by a lucky (or unlucky) shot and the letters were lost in the scuffle. (no doubt to be found in the post credits scene by some ne'er do well, setting up the next battle).

Oh the Woodmanity!

Radcliffe's Rods give What for to Blackstone's company of Foote

All in all good fun was had, lots of ribbing, 4 officers hors du combat, and much honor gained!

Painting Contest: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

So, I entered my Triumph of Death units in the painting contest and managed to get bronze in the Masters category! This is my first time in the big kids circle, and I feel really blessed and honored to get such a cool trophy. Gold medal winners are the guys that go on to Crystal brush. Gonna have to really step it up for next year.


Triumph of Death: Procession

Kickstarter update and Kublacon!
Before we delve further, I want to thank all of you that have already backed my Triumph of Death Kickstarter! We've hit 115 backers and unlocked 6 stretch goal rewards so far- and we are only half way through the Kickstarter! I've got great stretch goal rewards in the wings, so if you haven't backed yet, or know someone who loves landsknechts, or skellies, or both, please visit my Kickstarter. 

This weekend I'll be running two games, The Pikeman's lament (using my 54mm imaginations woodens)  and a Breaking Lances tournament. If you are at Kublacon please stop by and say hey!- I'm giving out free samples of my triumph of Death minis!

Procession of Death

I've had some time this week to get the first castings of the Stretch goal rewards minis painted up and based. These are now part of the "collection of death" backer reward, which has already been claimed.  Thought I'd share a few pictures.

Some fun personalities to add into the collection!


Based upon a cross between an old Minifigs model and a Holbein woodcut, this guy is either carrying trophies or reinforcements. Just don't let him get behind you then dump the basket!

The Priest

The priest miniature is a straight up riff off of a great Holbein woodcut. One of the things that interested me in the wood cut was that the priest is wearing a hanger. And that storm lantern is awesome!

Hans Holbein's the Priest

Relquary: The Fisher King

 This model was inspired by Holbein's work, but is a machination of my own mind. My sculptor Drew Day Williams saw my drawing, and decided to sculpt it. I'm really glad he did!

fish lips
The drawing that caused this to happen.