Triumph of Death II: First casts and the foibles therein

always exiting to see this!

 The Magic and Perils of Mold Making

Seeing a master old is like Christmas. There is always that chance that whatever was put in the mold will either melt, explode or get squished. My master molder is really good but even then, as this time, something happened.  Read on if you dare!

 Some shots of first casts.. looking grand so far...

The usual M.O. of my caster is to spin the mold a few times and send me those samples for review. Once I give the thumbs up on a piece it is ready to be cast enough times and then recleaned and put into a production mold.   Many of the pieces like the horse and Pestilence, and the weapons and shield were gang busters, but then I looked at the crossbow and pike. Hands... hands were the issue.

Here we can see in this image that the hands were not casting properly. Mold issue? Actually no! After showing these to my sculptor he figured quickly the issue. He used some super glue around the hand area of some of the masters. When super heated the glue expanded into a "foam" of sorts, which filled the hand areas. Bummer, but mystery solved.

So, masters have been checked and recleaned, and go back into a mold. It's both art and science, and a learning experience.
 I love getting these kind of things out of the way pre- Kickstarter. 


Triumph of Death II: from concept to greens

Zweihander captain- looking every bit the part!

April is the month where I start picking up steam for the upcoming Triumph of Death II Kickstater- and here's some sneak peaks. Last time you got to see several of the concepts, now here are a few of the greens.

 I am super pleased with this guy! Drew Day Williams, my sculptor, has managed once again to take my chicken scratchings and make magic!
From concept
to green!

There are never enough missile troops for the undead, and only one undead crossbow sculpt from way back that I remember, so I thought we'd start off a unit of them.  Think of them as "late" Italian wars period.

 These poses will form units of crossbows, with a front rank of pavise to protect them (or to put on their backs.)

And one more teaser. 


Mad Maximillian 1934: Brutus V12

Putting the "GRRR" in grill

I'm a bit obsessed by making cars for Mad Maximillian 1934. This is my Brutus V12 driven by the famed racer and adventurer Oscar Schlepper.

With a crack driver, a single machine gun, some extra armor on the engine and an ACME caltrops dispenser, Brutus is innit to winnit.


Happy Easter from Skull and Crown

Wishing all of you out in bloggy land a very happy Easter and other spring like festivities!


Triumph of Death: Moar Greenz!

 A couple of shots of the upcoming Triumph of Death line up. 4 pike poses, and the second of the four horsemen, Famine. Looking a bit thin in the arms, he is...

Next time I hope to have some samples to show you.


Triumph of Death: From concept to Greens

Crossbow firing mid, with Pavise

 From Concept to Greens: Crossbow

New Triumph of Death crossbow greens and pavise, sculpted by the roguishly handsome Drew Day Williams. This set comprises one of the units that will be available in my upcoming Kickstarter.

These bad boys have already been sent off to be master molded. With luck and weather holding, I'll have some castings to show off in a week or two.
Crossbow firing high position
Crossbow at the ready


Triumph of Death KS II: Concepts

Gearing up for my next Triumph of Death Kickstarter, tentatively called "March of Death".

Here's a few concept drawings currently in the old sketch book.
Crossbows will come with a pavise

This KS will feature crossbow with pavise, armored pike, sythe bearing lads, a command group (or two depending on how well the KS goes) and  two of the 4 horsemen (maybe 3). 
Famine judging all 

Pestilence- She'll be mounted as well. 

More on the table soon- and some shots of greens, hopefully!  Let me know what you'd like to see in an undead landsknecht army!


Breaking Lances: Birthday Party Tournament

The Breaking of Lances!


This weekend was my eldest's birthday party- the theme being tournament. Mrs Foss, known for her award winning cakes did the boyo proud, and I ran a breaking lances tournament for everyone. A good time had by all.
The cake! Anyone guess the Coat of Arms?

Yes, that is some thick 70% chocolate ganache!

Children for scale. That cake could feed 30! (and will)
the tournament set up. We had 10 players, rotating out on different fields.
A squire's eye view of the action!

The night before...

The mad scramble!

I found out the night before how many young knights would be attending- so I scrambled over to the painting table to fill in some gaps. I didn't get them all done in time, but actually got enough done for everyone to have a knight.  I'll be finishing these up this week and will get some good snaps.

Say- when can we play the game?!!!

Fair question. I've been play testing and working on the rules over a year now, running tournaments at home, club, conventions and even drive by's at friends houses.  During that time I've been designing new knights and fiddling tuning gaming pieces like the tilting trays and jousting fence.  I'm happy to say that the rules are in second final layout stage and only need new photos added, and a bit more editing.  At this point I'm being "convinced" by my colleagues to do a kickstarter for Breaking Lances, which will probably happen in the early spring, after my Triumph of Death II- KS.
Breaking Lances on the run- Testing at House Dallimore

Sir Treadaway gloats over his victory, unawares that Kev has called in the Daleks

In the mean time I do have a few of the knights on my store for folks, and to test the waters. I'll also be running a tournament at Kublacon in the Bay area later this year.


More Light Box Backdrops

Captain Terror and Guido Veloce race across the wastelands

Light them up!

You'll have to indulge me as I am on a bit of a binge. I've discovered that painting back drops is easier for me that 10mm Roman shield patterns, so I've diverged a bit.  Actually I'm really having a blast doing these and it puts my BFA to good use.
Stage 1. Canvas, a big brush and some wet paint

Stage 2. adding in the land.
This particular back drop is for a face book friend and fellow designer. He does 3d stuff, so at some point I'll Rumpelstiltskin him for a project that I can't do. I love bartering!

Stage 3. Drybrush and add highlights. Fossling sold separately
The trick to getting these solid is big brushes and making sure the land section is painted up high enough on the material so that when you curve it, you get the right amount of land and sky.  Pretty happy how this came out, and I did one for me at the same time.

City Stuff

All the light box is a stage!

Another idea I have for light box backdrops is actually building a "stage" set.  Here's the start. The buildings were originally designed by the talented and handsomely rakish Jaye Wiley of Wiley designs ( Jay is my artist who does all my flags and cool add artwork!)

I've taken his original designs and started changing them up for scale, and layering. This is the first round of test shots.  Now that I look at them, I want to get a bit more depth to the set, but not full on 3D.
The Rum Thief, dress rehearsal.
For this backdrop, the cobblestone road is made of craft foam. I may just go back to an MDF for this though, as the floor is more floppy than I want. It does have a grand texture though, so I'll paint it up along with the buildings and take another shot.

Right- that's all I have for now. I'm thinking of doing an article for one of the gaming mags on backdrops. What do you esteemed readers think?



Light Box and Backdrops

Landsknechts show off their mortar in the rolling hills of Italy.

Light Box and Backdrops: Backstage Pass

So I got a new small light box, which so far has been totally worth the $19 I paid for it. It came with  black and white "craft foam" back drops, but I wanted to see if I could build out more for my worlds. having made several backdrops for my other shots, I thought I'd give it a shot.
lightbox exterior. You can see the LED strip and boundary edges

I took another piece of craft foam and hit it with the paint. The trick to making these types of backdrops is fast and loose.  I paint down the sky first then bring the terrain up to match, using the same colors of paint I use for my bases and gaming mats. Then, like basing, I added course pumice gel with paint mixed for some texture on the foreground, and dry brushed it with cadmium yellow after it dried. 

Backdrop Materials- what works?

This is something I keep experimenting with, and am finding different results based upon the needs and requirements. Here's a few thoughts.

Support stand not included...

All paint here is done like watercolors.

Paper:  Paper, especially a quality paper like Rives BFK  comes in large sizes ( 30x 40 inches)  and costs under $10 per sheet. It's thick quality rag paper made to be rolled up and painted upon. I use this to make my larger backdrops that can be taken to conventions, and is great as the "hold it up" for any game shots.

Canvas:  Only slightly more expensive, canvas is also designed to be painted upon. This is what I use for my game mats, so the idea just translates to canvas very easily. Canvas can be rolled, folded, stuffed, etc and is very travel friendly. It is less stiff than paper, so needs to be supported when taking the shot. The nice part about canvas is that you can let it "roll down to make a smooth transition from sky to ground. Kind of the whole set up instead of just a backdrop.
Wasteland terrain backdrop that matches my game mat.
Canvas impromptu photoshoot.
  I actually like that you can see the texture of the canvas in some of the close up shots. It gives it a neat look.; not realistic, but painterly.

Foam:  Craft foam is cheap ($1 per sheet)  comes in a bajillion colors and is super easy to cut. I've found that it takes paint very well, although check the texture. I've gotten a slightly porous foam which is great for painting, and a smooth foam which is more resistant- or at least can leave brush strokes more readily.
Foam sheet textured and painted for the light box
Like the canvas it bends easily and can be transported. This is what I am currently using for my new light box. The limiting issue with craft foam is size, which standardizes in 12" x 18". Great for the single figure, but can be a challenge shooting units.

 Right- that's all for now. I am actually in the process of making more backdrops, including some "stage sets" to go with them. more soon.

In the mean time, I'd love to know what you do for backdrops, or have any suggestions on what more you'd like to see.



Warmaster: Romans are not quite Legion

I've totally forgotten which legion shield I did here...

10mm Romans

So... I actually bought these beautiful minis from Steve Barber when he came to an Origins show in California, around the time my son was 2. This month my son turns 11... ahem... and started painting this particular unit around that time.

After finishing up a few cars for Mad Maximilian I was looking for another 1 weekend and done king of project. Browsing the Face books, I saw Saxon Dog was back to painting Romans, and my mind clicked.  I'll finally restart doing my Warmaster ancients armies!

Legionary and Auxillia that I painted in... October? 

These will be used with Warmaster, which should surprise no one that has read my blog. I'm basing them a bit differently; instead of traditional 20 x 40mm bases, I'm using 30 x 40mm. This allows me to be a bit more "diorama" with the models. Romans will be more ranked up, whereas my Briton/Celts will have a more open horde look.

Bases are color coded for clarity.

I really love painting these Steve Barber minis- they have way too much detail for 10mm figures, and I am compelled to match the work that the sculptor put into them.

Next on my painting table are two units of Celts, for parity. Eghad 10mm tartan!