The Summer Solstice Painting Challenge

This painting challenge ends on June 20th.*

It is time for the next painting challenge with the second annual “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” painting challenge just ended. So I thought I’d announce a May-June challenge before I get started with the “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” round-up.

For this challenge, I’m looking for pictures of whatever single model you think is the best one that you finished anytime between May 3rd and June 20th, which just happens to be the summer solstice at least in the northern hemisphere where I live. You may also do a diorama for this challenge.

By “best” this can mean whatever you want it to mean: the best paint job, the model you like the most, or any other criteria you wish to apply. The reasons are yours but remember there can only be one best model.

For example, Toad here is one of my favorite miniatures not because of the paint job but because I like the miniature and I’ve built up a fondness for him using him a lot as I have in games of D&D as well as a marker/mascot for my Nurgle army back when I was playing a lot of 40K.

Rules of the Challenge

  • The challenge closes at the end of the summer solstice: June 20, 2021 at midnight (your local time).  If you can’t get your pictures posted by that date, it is fine.  Just post them as soon as you can.
  • A model is eligible for the challenge if it is completed between May 3rd and June 20th, 2021.
  • I’m looking to only see a single model per artist for this challenge. Instead of a single model, you may complete a single diorama for this challenge.
  • Questions and/or ideas?  Let me know in the comments.

* Photo of “Stonehenge in your face” by Simon Wakefield. Licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

“Neglected But Not Forgotten” Painting Challenge Round-up (March 2021)

The challenge for March was for people to dig into their pile of models and paint something they had owned for at least a year. I think most miniature painters, who have been at it awhile, have no general shortage of such models. the collector’s bug tends to hit model builders pretty strongly, no matter what they generally like to paint.

Many thanks to the eighteen artists who took part in the challenge. As always, in many cases, if you click on a picture the link will take you to a larger view. If I have accidentally omitted anyone’s work, please let me know and I’ll add you in. I made a list of everyone and checked it trice but you never know.

Steve, of Dreadaxe Games, begins our round up with his rendering of the mighty Inquisitor Coteaz. Steve says he “bought this figure maybe 9 or so years ago,” so it is neglected and then some.

Coteaz has a lot to recommend him: two-handed eagle cyborg mascot, lots of special abilities that made me weep real tears back in 5th edition, his magic hammer, and apparently a stern but calming demeanor. The inquisitor apparently helped Steve, in a small way, through a rough patch, which you’ll have to read about in his blog if you want to know more.

Marouda says that she is fairly new to miniature painting but she isn’t new to artistic endeavors in general and I think it shows in her work. She saw this challenge and Monster March, put on by Path of an Outcast. Between that and Azazel asking, “are you going to paint a model?” she decided that she was. After all, what is the worst that could happen, she thought.

I’d say it all turned out very well with this trio. The first is Giant Iguana from the Bad Squiddo Shieldmaiden Kickstarter from 2018.

This treant is far and way my favorite of Marouda’s work. She did a great job on it and I like the base very much as well as all of the vegetation extras she added to the miniature. The beard is a nice touch and I think adding the crown of green is much nicer than the bare branches of the unmodified miniature.

As you can see, the treant is pretty good sized.

Finally, Marouda painted this rather grotesque Maggotcrown Bonesack, produced by Reaper miniatures. She points out “how easily this miniature crosses genres,” and based on her picture below I’d have to agree with her.

Azazel, of Azazel’s Bitz Box and a most prolific painter, comes in this month with 13 entries. We’ll take a look at his five Dungeons & Dragons-based offerings and see the rest at the end of the round-up.

These four cute (but murderous) frog people are called Grung, from the “Waterdeep Dungeon of the Mad Mage” board game. I like the bright lime green Azazel used for their skin, which he details in his post.

They are “assassins” with the bowfrog being an “elite warrior.”

Muiral the Misshapen is another miniature from the Mad Mage set. Muiral was a warrior, who engaged in magical studies that in hindsight he probably should have avoided. He descended into madness, turned his odd experiments on himself with the result you see below. Azazel was going for a “boiled lobster red” with this guy. I’d say he most certainly achieved that effect and then some.

These goblins are from The Legend of Drizzt board game. Besides having pretty D&D board game sessions, with all of these sorts of miniatures that he as painted over the years, he also has a great collection if he feels like doing a tabletop roleplaying campaign.

Azazel painted this shadow dragon, Shimmergloom, which also from the Drizzt game.

Finally, from the Tomb of Annihilation board game, come a trio of Zorbos. They are apparently vicious koala-looking beasties that can take on some aspects of their surroundings to make themselves more formidable in combat. For example, they could take on the aspects of a stone cave they are in to increase their general toughness.

That is all well and good, but I do have to say these three don’t look terribly vicious. I’d say they’ve probably eaten too much bamboo and eucalyptus and just want a nap.

Eric, of Candore et Labore, painted this Warhammer Carnosaur, which was “epoxied together and primed black with cheap Walmart spray paint,” just before his wargaming group dissolved in the early 2000’s. So this beast has been hibernating for a long time indeed, which seems appropriate somehow for an ancient dragon.

I like Eric’s choice of colors for the dragon and love the base.

The carnosaur missed out on being “the big bad center piece of a bunch of large reptiles” for Eric’s youngest son’s army but I’m sure the beast is a lot happier in its new home than it was ratting around the bitz box for 17 years!

Blaxkleric (or Blax the Kleric), of Fantorical, offers up a White Gorilla produced by North Star Military Figures as part of their “Frostgrave” range. This beast is “known to leave their nest deep in the ruins of the Frozen City in order to hunt, these formidably-sized animals ‘are not above eating human flesh.'”

Blax also painted this steathy-looking FedSec Trooper from Crooked Dice Games Design Studio. He obtained the figure from “their now out-of-production Federated Security Starter Set,” and painted him to evoke a “Federation trooper” from the BBC science fiction television series Blake’s Seven.”

Daniel, Infinity player and local Imperial Guard Commander operating out the Santa Cruz Sector and Infinity player, painted this older sculpt of Gabriel DeFersen from Infinity by Corvus Belli. Gabriel “is one of the last templar knights,” who were broken up this time for the sin of creating artificial intelligence. Daniel relates that Defersen does well in games and has “got all the based covered” but you’ll have to pay a premium for his utility.

Does he seem a little disgruntled or is it just me?

Dave, of Faith & Steel, is adding some walls to his gaming table for his upcoming WW2-based games. This gate and accompanying walls are produced by Rubicon Models. As you can see from the pictures the walls will block line-of-sight nicely. Plus they’ll be good for any battles fought in Melbourne, Australia where “it is just about a law to paint ironwork green.”

I wouldn’t mind a gate like that at my house and, yes, I’d paint it green.

Marvin, of Suburban Militarism, painted these ten 1:72 scale Saxon soldiers, produced by Mars. Each line of five models represents a regiment “of the Saxon army during the Great Northern War.” The front rank in the picture below is “the Kurprinz Regiment.”

The fellows in blue are “Martinière’s Grenadier Regiment.” Check out Marvin’s post if you want to read more about his historical sources (or lack thereof) for the uniforms. As he says, oftentimes “details are scarce,” and he had to use his own judgment.

Marvin painted two more regiments before the month was through. The men in the front rank, below, represent Zeitz’ Regiment. They were “apparently disbanded in 1705 just prior to the Saxon army’s heavy defeat by the Swedes at the Battle of Fraustadt the following year.”

These models represent Hayn’s Grenadiers. The red and yellow piping on the back are Marvin’s “own invention.” He relates that “as key source Daniel Schorr wrote that it was unknown whether the battalion even wore grenadier caps.” Whatever the case, I think they work well with the rest of the uniform.

Marvin’s final offering for the challenge is this 54mm Worcestershire Yeomanry sergeant circa 1900. This piece is one of his “54mm Yeomanry Cavalry Project.” The model was manufactured by Mitrecap Miniatures. Marvin reports that Mitrecap’s source material for this model is 50 Years of Yeomanry Uniforms by R.G. Harris, plate No. 29 by Edmund A. Campbell.

John, of Just Needs Varnish, added two more models to his vast (I’m sure) collection of armored vehicles: a Czech S-I-d tankette (the one on the left) and a French R35 light tank. The Czech tankette is 1/72 and the R35 is 1/75 scale. John writes more at length about these models in a later post for any who are interested.

We’ll conclude our historical foray for the painting challenge with a bit of historical fiction by Mark, of Man of Tin, who refurbished some very rusty figures after watching the 1967 comedy film, The Magnificent Two, which is “set in the fictional 1960s South American ImagiNation of Parazuellia.” He decided the figures would make a good pipe and drum band for his Parazuellian Womens’ Revolutionary Army, complete with a reviewing general.

You can check out Mark’s post if you want to see the condition of the miniatures before he put refurbished them. He writes more about their uniforms in another post.

Tom Douglass, the owner of Dragon Den Games in Stockton, California, tackled a large project this month in the person of Mortarion of The Death Guard. He had fun and it was “easily the biggest project” he’d ever done. The daemon primarch was smaller than the imperial knight he completed last summer but a lot more detailed.

Tom had fun with the base too, adding “extra skulls and goo” and so forth. He even “made sure to always add everything in seven’s because how could I not?” Good man. How not indeed!

Despite completing the mammoth task of putting together and painting Mortarion, Tom still had some painting left to do for March. Some of his friends are “starting to pick up Tyranids,” so he painted up a mob of termagants. He had worked on the models some years ago and wasn’t happy with them. So Tom redid them using the new Games Workshop Contrast paints, which do seem to be perfect for batch painting things like termagants.

Wudugast, of Convert or Die, completed four miniatures for the challenge. They’d make an unlikely group to be thrown together by fortune for a time in, say, a The Magnificent Four or The Dirty Quartet type of scenario.

Wudugast doesn’t know the origins of this Orc Champion, but he’s had him for more than a decade now. The model does remind him of the work “produced by Rackham for the – sadly defunct and much missed – game Confrontation.”

Larsen van der Grauss was “released as part of the Kill Team: Rogue Trader set” and as “a Lectro-Maester” within the Adeptus Mechanicus. This “means he’s a prospector charged with seeking out new sources of power for the forge worlds.” The sculpt certainly isn’t lacking for detail!

This Data-Scrivener is another representative from Necromunda and an example of “futuristic hackers who specialize in stealing data from the hive’s ancient cogitators and manipulating them to suit their purposes.” Wudugast decided to paint the figure when he saw it in the House of Artifice book.

Corwyn the Hunchback is the last of our quadrumvirate and probably my favorite sculpt, mainly because I have a thing for evil magic-using types. He’s another neglected model having remained unpainted “since the late 2000’s,” and is an “evil shaman from Rackham’s Drune Kelt range.” It has taken quite some time but as Wudugast wrote, “the evil old bastard is finished at last.”

Matt, of pmpainting, painted four miniatures for the challenge. The first is Lord Karghoul, produced by Hasslefree Miniatures. I agree with Matt, who wrote that Karghoul “certainly has that ‘evil warrior vibe about him.”

Matt also painted this Space Goblin Commando by Reaper Miniatures. He wasn’t sure what he’d do with a space goblin commando but named him Globrik. Matt thinks he might go back and do some more work on him but isn’t sure if he should “try to tart Globrik up or just get on with something else.” I’ll be curious to read what he decides to do.

This Post Apocalyptic Hunter is my favorite of Matt’s four offerings for the challenge, who he has named Trevor. I’m not sure if this chap looks like a Trevor or not, but there it is. I thought he did a good job on the urban camouflage. The mask is a bit of freehand that I thought was an effective addition to the piece.

This is the metal version of Reaper’s Aina the Valkyrie. Matt acquired the miniature in late 2019, got it 70% painted and then “kind of just gave up.” He isn’t sure why. I particularly like the hair and also favor the shiny scale armor.

The kit gives one the choice between a spear and a sword for Aina. I think Matt chose correctly because I think it would have looked a little odd for our valkyrie to brandish her sword while she has a second sword in the scabbard. One could say it was the sword from an enemy or something else, but I think it is just better to give her the spear.

Plague Gardening painted this Princess Leia miniature from West End Games. He bought the model in 1987 and has completed her after “an impressive 33 to 34 years in my collection.” I think he did a good job with the shading for Leia’s white robe. He painted her base white to go along with his other Star Wars models, which you can see in his Princess Leia post.

David, of Scent of a Gamer, started painting this wizard “maybe 20 years ago.” The model was a freebee “on the cover of a White Dwarf magazine,” which he bought several copies of to “get as many different wizards as possible.” This is an interesting piece: I like how the wizard’s clothing sort of evokes something of a fantasy European Renaissance look juxtaposed with a beard that looks like he’s been using his magic to travel back to Bronze Age so he can hang out in Sumer.

Dave Stone, of Wargames Terrain Workshop, finished his wing of four land speeders. First up is this Land Speeder Tsunami. I think that the freehand work on the vertical stabilizer adds quite a bit of interest; especially when several speeders are displayed together.

Dave also did quite a bit of painting for his Battlefleet Gothic fleets. I don’t know too much about the game and I’m not terribly familiar with the ships, but I do know a Space Marine battle barge when I see one. This one is from the Night Hawks chapter and give him four barges.

Next up are four Strike Cruisers. There are “normally six in a fleet” but Dave’s Night Hawks “lost two to the warp.” Maybe they’ll turn up someday. Hopefully they won’t be painted pink and have grown lots of waving space tentacles or pointy bits during their wanderings. You know, after all, how impressionable these space marines can be at times.

These ships “are the three classes of escort ship” put out by Forgeworld “to use instead of the Imperial escorts.”

Dave tells me that these are also imperial ships, but that another version was released for the Eldar, which “were a lot sleeker.” I think these ships would make appropriate-looking logistics and support vessels.

Finally, we have a Desolator-class battleship, which Dave painted for his Emperor’s Children fleet. With five of these battleships, his chaos space marines have quite a formidable long range (if what I read about them is correct) threat going for themselves.

Tamor, of Dragons of Lancasm, painted this Hero Quest “gargoyle.” Tamor puts the name in quotes because he thinks the miniature is in fact a “second-rate Balrog.” I feel the old school balrog-bloodthirster vibe going on with this guy too. I also agree that this miniature would make a good “terrain piece, and potentially a construct (animated statue).”

Our balrog used to have a whip that Tamor carved off.

He also painted three squads of marines for his Space Crusade cooperative board game.

Finally, Tamor finished this orc. “He’s a bit paler than his brethren because he’s apparently been hiding with my skaven for at least a decade.”

Heretic 30K painted these ten miniatures – five heroes and five villains – from the Marvel Crisis Protocol starter set. He received them as a Christmas present in 2019 and they have been “collecting dust” until now.

Captain America’s shield is looking very crisp indeed!

“The figures are 40mm scale which makes them quite a bit larger than what most people are likely to already have in their modern terrain collections so it is handy that the starter includes a reasonable amount of scatter terrain too.”

Heretic had to assemble and paint the terrain as well.

We conclude the painting challenge by coming back to Azazel and his eight further entries. The first is a Varghulf Courtier from Citadel. Depending upon which lore you read, the Varghulf are “powerful Vampire Lords who have devolved into a permanently animalistic and bestial form,” or some type of ghoul-like creature.

Azazel painted a number of miniatures for Growing Hunger expansion of the Last Night on Earth board game. The first group of survivors are Kenny the Supermarket Bag Boy, Amanda the Prom Queen, Sam the Diner Cook and Detective Winters.

The next pair of Growing Hunger survivors are Mr. Goddard the Chemistry Teacher and Jade the High School Outcast. For Jade, he used “some of the Goth chicks I used to know in my own youth.”

The final pair of survivors are Stacy the Investigative Reporter and Victor the Escaped Prisoner. Azazel painted Stacy’s notepad to look like a tablet “to bring her into a slightly more modern timeframe” and because it would be fun to “see if I could make it look good.” It certainly does add some nice detail and a touch of verisimilitude to the model.

Azazel also completed this duo from Marvel Crisis Protocol, Rocket and Groot. He did some extra work on the bases “in order to really mess up the sidewalk where it’s been smashed in and smashed through by Groot’s extended arm.”

That extended arm thing is nifty.

I think it is cute that the angry raccoon’s weapon is much larger than he is. I suppose being a “master of weapons” he can handle it no problem.

I really like this Thrasher Snail by Reaper. Although I’m not buying miniatures very often these days, this is one I’d like to own. (I might go so far as to ask for it as a birthday present this year.) The production model comes with a bunch of what Azazel calls (and I agree from what I see) “poorly-cast flails.” I think his solution of using a “lovely twisted unicorn-style horn” was a much better solution and if I ever get this miniature I’ll do something similar.

Love the shell.

Next up are “Lucius” and “Seth” from Zombicide. I like how the game includes a “zombified” version of each character, which, as Azazel points out in the comments, “can be used as action versions, wounded versions or just extra-nasty zombies in various games as needed!”

We conclude the round up with “Ross” and Phil” also from Zombicide. I particularly like the zombified Ross (aka John Goodman) for some reason. Probably because I like the actor. Azazel relates that the idea of characters as zombies was “to let players who had been killed keep playing.” They never used those rules and instead “played with however many survivors the scenario called for and doubled up when there were more survivors than players – and then we would just hand off a character if someone was unlucky enough to die.”

Well done, Azazel. Thirteen entries and thirty-six completed models. Not too shabby at all!

Much thanks to everyone who participated in the “Neglected” March challenge. The next painting challenge, for May and June, is going to be “The Summer Solstice Painting Challenge,” which begins in May and closes on the Summer Solstice (first day of summer), which is June 20th at midnight (your local time). The idea will be to exhibit a single miniature or diorama that you think is your best or you like the most, which you completed between May 1st and June 20th.

I am thinking of doing a dragon-based painting challenge for July since my mind has been turning to all things draconic lately. I’m looking into to doing a Kickstarter-based anthology of short stories along the theme of dragons. It is all currently in the research and planning stages for now but I’ve been moving forward with the project a little each day.

April 2021 Second Annual “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” Painting and Hobby Challenge

The “Neglected but Not Forgotten” painting challenge ends on April 2nd, so I thought I’d announce the April challenge before I get too busy doing the “Neglected” round-up, which is looking like it’s going to be large indeed! For April I’m going to do a second annual “Paint the Crap You Already Own!” challenge.*

The idea is simple.  You can paint anything you want so long as you owned it on or before April 1, 2021. It doesn’t have to be a neglected model — you can have purchased it the day the challenge begins if that is your desire. A nice way to perhaps add something new to your collection of painted miniatures if you are tired of painting neglected models smelted during the Age of the Antonines.

Always good advice! 🙂

Also, again this year, as a Hobby Challenge, you don’t have to confine yourself to painting models.  For example, you can write a short story, paint a picture (or bedroom or some cave art), develop a recipe, post a Youtube video, complete a needlepoint project, finishing putting together a swing set out in your backyard, put in a porch light, etc.  Pretty much anything fun, hobby or craft oriented that you start on or before April 1st.**

Rules of the Challenge

  • Models for this challenge must be ones you owned on or before April 1, 2021.
  • The challenge closes on May 2nd, 2021 at midnight (your local time).  If you can’t get your pictures posted by that date, it is fine.  Just post them as soon as you can.
  • You can complete one model or project for this challenge or as many as you want.  Basing is optional if you don’t plan on doing basing later. It is mandatory if the plan is for the finished project to be based.
  • Models and projects you feature in other challenges (not also run by me) are welcome here too.
  • You can join in, and add more models at any time as the month goes along.
  • Models from any company, range, time period, scale, etc. are welcome.
  • Questions and/or ideas?  Let me know in the comments.
  • For those who missed the 2020 round-up in two parts, you can see part one here and part two here.
Pioneer’s Cabin Diorama by Dave of The Imperfect Modeller.

Painting an entire diorama is certainly a worthy project and who doesn’t love a fully painted tank?

Panzerkampfwagen VI, Pattern Tintenfisch, from Sir John’s Just Needs Varnish!

Of course some good, old-fashioned space marines are always welcome.  One or a whole squad.  (Wretched, Gollum-looking person peering out of a hole optional.)

My friend, Daniel’s, Deathwing terminators from a March 2017 game.

Like I said, a project doesn’t have to be painting miniatures to have a place in this April challenge.  Something like this map I made using Campaign Cartographer software or one drawn by hand would find a welcome home here.

Might be fun to run a Fantasy-meets-Old West mini-campaign using my little map?

Carve some Easter pumpkins, perhaps?***

If  you don’t want to paint a picture, play a game, paint a model and making videos is lame … then when all else fails bake a Cthulhu pie!

Once again, “In his pie at R’lyeh, dead Cthulhu dreams for (drowns in?) whipped cream.”
Tree Symbol Clip Art

* This challenge also has the added feature that I can pretty much recycle the challenge announcement, including the pictures, from last year. I kind of wanted to give that Cthulhu pie some more love!

** Home improvement projects may or may not be fun but they are “crafts” and thus count for this challenge.

*** Ensorcelling said pumpkin(s) as container(s) for the bewitched life force(s) of extinct but somehow still nascent being(s) of pure song is, like basing, optional unless you were planning on doing this at some point to complete the project in which case said thaumaturgy is mandatory. I will make case by case exceptions if you have unavoidable blockages such as not being able to secure required material components, timing of sacrifices due to astrological-related issues, ritual assistant union troubles, etc.

March 2021 “Neglected But Not Forgotten” Painting Challenge

For March I’ll be encouraging everyone to revisit their burgeoning pile of neglected models and pick one or a few old chestnuts you started and for whatever reason stopped working on. Or maybe something you bought a year or two ago and despite your best intentions has been gathering dust ever since. I’m sure everyone, who has been involved in the hobby for more than 30 seconds, has a closet full of metal, plastic, and resin that qualifies. I know I do!*

Rules of the Challenge

  • “Neglected” means a model that you acquired at least a year ago. The models can be sitting in a box still in the shrink wrap, partially assembled, or partially painted. The key is you have to have owned them for at least a year.
  • Your model must be based unless you aren’t planning on basing it later. 
  • You can enter miniatures you are working on for other painting challenges.
  • The challenge closes on April 2nd, 2021 at midnight (your local time).  If you can’t get your picture(s) posted by that date, it is fine.  Just post as soon as you can. The best way to let me know you’ve put up a picture is to either link your post back to this one or leave a comment here.
  • Questions and/or ideas?  Let me know in the comments.

As for me, I can’t remember the last time I successfully completed a painting challenge, including my own. Fortunately I seem to be doing ok lately running challenges even if paint and brushes aren’t my priority right now.

I do have many good neglected candidates, Frank’s Pig Demon being the prime one and probably the less said about poor Becky the Bloat Drone the better. It isn’t all bad news though: I did manage to eventually finish Poxwalker #18, pictured above in its previously neglected state.

How about you — do you have any neglected miniatures you might want to revisit for March?

* I thought of doing this challenge after simultaneously failing three painting challenges all in a go last month, including my own. You’ll notice for this one I didn’t declare that I would actually get anything done since when I do … I don’t. Perhaps this time by not making any declarations, maybe I’ll actually get something done. Probably not though. 🙂

Gongfarmer’s Almanac 2020

I wrote an article for the 2020 edition of The Gongfarmer’s Almanac, which is an annual fan produced publication celebrating Goodman Games’ roleplaying games — particularly Dungeon Crawl Classics and Mutant Crawl Classics.* I also helped edit three of the articles as well. The book is available as a free PDF download, so that is nice. I loosen the old purse strings for a hardcover copy for my collection, which is handy because it was a fun read and weighing in at a hefty 792 pages I used it to press tofu a few times before getting a tofu press for Christmas.

I like the art in the book. It has an old school feel that reminds me of some of the art I saw in roleplaying products back in the 1970’s and early ’80’s. Below is the dust jacket for the book.

Dust cover photo used by permission of Shyloh Wideman.

The book is a compilation of ready to use adventures, new classes, monsters, rules, tables and so on. My article is called “Another Man’s Trash,” which features a table of 100 different small, mostly junky, cast off items one might find during an adventure. The idea is to provide the Dungeon Master with a resource to generate some unique items when his players search around instead of having to come up with something off the top of his head or just saying, “You find 16 copper pieces and a bunch of junk.” The DM can pick an item he fancies or roll percentile dice. The choices range from the mundane to the bizarre.

A few examples of items you might find are:

  • Hardwood baby rattle shapped like a pig on a stick. Has been chewed on, probably by an infant with very sharp, little teeth.
  • Firesteel ring from a tinderbox set, in a pouch of moldy tinder.
  • Top part of the shell from a medium box turtle. “Achilles won the race at last,” is scratched on the inside part.
  • A single crossbow bolt that is completely black. The hunting tip is bent as if it hit a bone or punched through heavy armor.
  • Ball of yellow wax bigger than a hobgoblin’s head. Wrapped in cheesecloth. (An earwax collection amassed over many years!)

Many of the items are junk but a few are intrinsically valuable and many of them can be put to some unexpected uses by clever players.

The talented Matt Sutton drew the interior art for my article. He is a versatile artist and I think he also has a special gift for drawing dwarves. Our one-eyed friend is apparently showing off a chunk from an earwax collection he found (number 40 on the table).

Artwork used by permission of Matt Sutton.

Note that the article includes sub-tables allowing for cursed or blessed items or even items that are both cursed and blessed! So, with the right rolls one might get an earwax collection or some other item that is blessed to make a similar copy of itself once a week but also brings the possessor to the evil notice of a powerful devil. (Maybe the earwax collection was hers?)

I hope to contribute to the 2021 Almanac when the time comes. Perhaps another table of items one can find? Maybe something different next time, such as treasures, or in the same vein as “Another Man’s Trash,” so our DM has 200 items to choose from or maybe instead themed for the post-apocalyptic Mutant Crawl Classics game?

On a final, unrelated note, I’ve been having problems getting image captions to center with the block editor, so I had just stopped using captions. I do like my captions so this has annoyed me for awhile and based on what I’ve read on other blogs I’m not the only one who has this problem. I found this little tutorial that allowed me to easily solve the problem. As you can see from this post I now have lovely, centered captions. (At least they are centered on my machine!) I hope some of you reading this find it useful.


* I had no idea what a “gong farmer” was until I became interested in Goodman Games products and noticed this almanac. All I can say is it wasn’t quite what I was expecting.

Dave Stone’s “Paint What You Got” community challenge

Dave Stone at Wargames Terrain Workshop announced he is doing his Paint What You Got community painting challenge. The idea is to paint one or more models of any type and with the deadline not being until February 28, 2021 there is plenty of time.

My plan is to finally finish Frank’s Pig Demon and since it is a two month challenge perhaps the Hero Forge gnome, who apparently really likes dragons, which I’m painting for a friend. This will allow Frank’s demon to pull double duty, since I plan on having it be the first miniature I complete in 2021 for my own painting challenge.

I’ve made a little progress on the pig demon since I look the pictures in this post. I’ve done the blue shading on his cloak and made a beginning at cleaning it up with more of the base color before I do the final layer and highlights. I hope to have that stage done by the end of next week and then after that I’ll turn my attention to the trident.

I traditionally have several miniatures going at once on the painting table and I am feeling some temptation to make a start at working on the gnome while I press on with the demon. However, I feel compelled to resist that particular siren song because of how long a road it has been with the demon. Now that I’m nearing completion I think it is better to focus my efforts before moving onto another project. Perhaps things will all work out so that my friend’s gnome can find a home in both Dave’s challenge and Alex’s yearly Fembruary challenge at Leadballoony.

January 2021 “First of the Year” Painting Challenge

It has been awhile since I’ve done a painting challenge and thought it might be fun to do a challenge where you share a picture of the first miniature you completely finish for 2021. We aren’t interested in completing squads, mobs or other collections this time. The focus is to start 2021 off right by showcasing everyone’s first miniature fruits of the year.

Rules of the Challenge

  • The model can be a work in progress but must be completed sometime in January 2021.
  • Your model must be based unless you aren’t planning on basing it later. 
  • A tank, cavalry, chariot, dinosaur or some other miniature with rider(s) counts as one miniature for this challenge.
  • A stand with multiple miniatures counts as one miniature so long as all of the models are affixed to the same base. This excludes dioramas, but you can certainly post a miniature for a diorama so long as it is the first miniature you complete in 2021.
  • You can enter miniatures you are working on for other painting challenges.
  • The challenge closes on January 31, 2021 at midnight (your local time).  If you can’t get your picture posted by that date, it is fine.  Just post it as soon as you can. The best way to let me know you’ve put up a picture is to either link your post back to this one or leave a comment here.
  • Questions and/or ideas?  Let me know in the comments.

Some ideas from past challenges include a mighty dragon, painted by David from Scent of a Gamer

or perhaps an Imperial Knight if you are feeling particularly ambitious like the one painted by Thomas of Dragon’s Den Games?

If you aren’t in the mood or have time for a knight or giant, green dragon perhaps something a bit smaller, but still great, like the miniatures from challenges past in this little slide show. Remember any single miniature is fair game, even a status marker and the like if you so choose.

As for me, I’m hoping to finally finish my eternal work in progress, Frank’s Pig Demon. I got pretty far along before I stalled once again. There are a bunch of minor things I need to do, but finishing the demon’s clothing is the last major piece left. I’ll probably keep the basing fairly simple in line with what Frank told me he wanted.

Parcheesi 40K: Khorne vs. Ultramarines

My husband and I like to play Parcheesi off and on as a quick, low commitment way to get a little gaming in when the mood strikes us. It often works out for some reason that my dice tend to fall so I have late game zergs where I roll a lot of doubles and hence get to cover a lot of ground quickly with my pawns. I often play the green pieces and when this strangely ubiquitous phenomenon begins I have taken to “Declaring the Waaagh!”*

This gave me a spur of the moment idea: why not use our long-neglected Warhammer 40K pieces to play Parcheesi?**

I decided upon a tetrad of bloodletters, including one with a horn and of course their Banner of Hate probably constructed from the flayed skins of their victims. My husband used four of his Ultramarines he painted some years ago. The fact he had a missile launcher made me a little nervous but at least it wasn’t a flamer or that scary Assault on Black Reach captain!

The Ultramarines took an early game lead by getting two marines into the home square as you can see below.*** However, the forces of Khorne had some rather Tzeentch-like tricks up their sleeves where they posted themselves on the blue safety squares in an attempt to take the skull of the unfortunate banner sergeant.****

The Ultramarine banner sergeant turned out to be tricky as space marines in general that chapter in particular are known for. Thanks to some well executed maneuvers and dice tricks he was able to avoid my blue square snares and post himself with his colleague in a protective blockade. Unfortunately for the bad guys, my tricky Tzeentchian-Khornate bloodletters had a very strong position with a blue square blockade of their own with one of their fellows (top left corner) waiting to pounce.*****

I’m sad to report that despite everything, my daemonic blockading plans fell flat and both marines were able to escape past my red home row unmolested. (Note the position of both marines in the picture below relative to the picture above.) My daemons have to move up into the home row toward the home square so anything past that is safe territory for the Imperium.

It is a tight game. Two marines are already in the home square but the balance of my forces are a bit closer to home. Still, I’d say at this point it is a small advantage to my husband’s squad.

In the end I had my usual late game zerg but then so did the Ultramarines. Happily, the Khornate good guys won but it was a close thing: the last marine was in his home row only two squares from victory. So the game was almost as near a thing to a draw as you can get in Parcheesi.

The marines failed to close the warp portal before a massive incursion of Khorne goodness vomits into real space. The imperial fall back plan of Exterminatus fails when their bombs are possessed by daemons. Their primitive machine spirits become existentially enraged so the bombs immediately launch themselves toward the nearest highly populated worlds. Perhaps in a future game of Parcheesi 40K we’ll see if the space marine fleet can catch both the daemons and their own rogue bombs in time!


* I wish I could claim credit for thinking this up but it was my husband who first mentioned it, harkening back to our old 5th edition 40K games of marines versus space orks that always seemed to end somehow in my guys moving absurdly quickly all at once, overrunning his forces in a painful but mercifully short episode of buckets of dice being rolled and sanguine massacre. Actually it didn’t happen all the time: I think my husband forgets all of the times where his guys shot half my army off the table by turn two but hey I’m probably biased.

** The older 25mm bases worked well for doing this. I don’t think the newer 32mm bases would have done the trick because they are too big for the squares.

*** Sweet, sweet victory is achieved by getting all four of your pieces into the home square before your opponent does. Given the You Go/I Go nature of the game, a tie is not possible though I do remember a game I played as a child where my opponent got mad and flipped the board and tried to declare it a draw. She wasn’t the nicest of losers and sometimes used the same pernicious tactic in Candyland.

**** The blue squares are “safety zones” where pieces are safe from capture by the enemy. On the white squares, you may capture an enemy piece by rolling a number that allows you to end your move on the opponent’s square, sending him back to his home circle. Skulls for the Parcheesi Throne!

***** A blockade is formed by having two of your own pieces on a square. Neither your own nor the enemy’s pawns can move through a blockade. A blue square blockade is stronger still, because when you move a piece, breaking the blockade, your other piece is not vulnerable to attack. It is a common tactic to try and capture an opponent’s pawn by denying it the ability to move by means of a blockade, and use another piece behind to threaten a capture.

Dragon Egg Gazette, Issue 3

The Dragon Egg Gazette

Issue 3: June 19, 2020

A student newspaper that is part of the “Enchanted Forest” D&D campaign. 


From the Editor’s Desk

It has been more than three months since we published an outer planes issue of The Dragon Egg Gazette.  This paper originally came about from a conversation I had with Ann Wycoff, my human friend and frequent visitor to Dragon Egg from the outer planes.  She sometimes plays a sort of storytelling game with her friends called Dungeons & Dragons, which is one part board game and another part acting where the players take on the role of a hero or adventurer. Ann is usually the facilitator or “dungeon master” of the game.

The most interesting part of Ann’s game, in my mind, is she uses our real world as the setting or backdrop, but all of her players think it is a fantastic realm of make believe because their reality doesn’t have any dragonborn, elves or even goblins!

Apparently there have been a lot of big, important things going on that has put Ann’s D&D game on hold for awhile now.  So she hasn’t been around to help us with the outer planes stuff.  Fortunately, Ann visited Dragon Egg recently to procure some ingredients for a magic wand, and to “check out the Haunted Bridge for myself.”  (Scary!  I wish my parents would let me go see it.)  She also stopped by our offices and made arrangements to publish this issue you are reading now for the humans back home.  Thanks, Ann!

If you have an article you’d like to see published in The Dragon Egg Gazette, let me know in the comments or email me (c/o Ann if you are a human from the outer planes) via the email address on her Greetings page.

Wondermist

Flying Glowing Green Dragon clip art

The Haunted Bridge

by Staff Writer

“The keen-eyed traveler will notice a stone block here, poking up through the verdant carpet of the forest floor, perhaps another nestled under a fern before coming upon the crumbling, masonry pilings that are all that remains of the site once called Blood Drinker’s Bridge,” Forcrath Silverspur wrote in Points of Interest in the Enchanted Forest: An Adventure Tourism Guide, which introduces his article about the Haunted Bridge.

Haunted Bridge area as seen through Darkvision

Area near Haunted Bridge site as seen via darkvision.**

The ruins are located some distance south along the road a little over half way from Dragon Egg to East Egg.*  Here are five facts you may not know about the Haunted Bridge from Doctor Forcrath’s 1972 book.

  1. The now non-existent stream, which the Haunted Bridge used to cross, was magically dried up in 1605 when a vampire named Torsten the Fierce and other unknown casters completed a powerful series of spells that evaporated all of the streams, pools and other natural, standing bodies of water within the Enchanted Forest.  This took place during the Vampire War and was done because it is well known that most vampires cannot cross such bodies of water.  Torsten’s actions were a prelude to a general invasion.  Such was the power of Torsten’s magic that the stream has never come back in the more than four hundred years since.
  2. The site is not believed to be intrinsically dangerous, but it is thought that select dark spells and the creation of forbidden items can be facilitated by ingredients available on the site, such as certain powdered minerals and odd salts.  As such, the Haunted Bridge is sometimes frequented by dangerous individuals it is better not to meet.  Be careful if you visit!
  3. No one knows who built the bridge.  Scholars agree that it dates back to the 12th or 13th Century and facilitated trade with the human inhabitants on what was then the edge of the Enchanted Forest, which was much further south then than it is now.
  4. While plant life flourishes in the environs around the Haunted Bridge, magically-inclined or sensitive people report feelings of “general unease,” nightmares, and so forth when they stay in the area for more than a few hours.  Some also report bouts of bad luck after prolonged contact with the ruin.
  5. Mindless undead are attracted to the area.  The Dragon Egg Special Arbor Service conducts regular patrols to deal with the skeletons, zombies and so on before they build up to a level that becomes a problem.

* See Issue One for a map of the Enchanted Forest containing among other things, the location of the Haunted Bridge (Ed).

** Photo credit:  Thoolmar.  I’d love to learn that spell she used to make a picture while she was looking at the Haunted Bridge once I get far enough along at school and learn to cast high enough level spells.  Perhaps in a year or two you’d like to trade, Thoolmar? (Ed.)

Tree Symbol Clip Art

A Short Interview with the Introverted Hermit

by Biri Blackwing

We have been following the exploits, for quite some time now, of the human artist from the outer planes known as The Introverted Hermit.  She is best known in Dragon Egg for her Monday Mandala feature, where each week she shares a new mandala of her own creation.  The Hermit is up to #47, as this paper goes to press, so she has been doing this for awhile.

The Introverted Hermit also recently started an Etsy shop.  She is currently selling black & white downloads of some of her mandalas suitable for coloring.  Seems like coloring one of those with crayons or colored pencils or maybe even using some water colors might be fun.

Butterfly 125 wide

Q:  Why did you start making art?

Hermit: I’ve always had a need to be doing something creative – whether it was painting, dancing, writing, or drawing.  It speaks to and calms my soul in a way nothing else does.

Q: ‘Mandala 25’ is very attractive, especially with your colorization.  I have talked to several elves, who speak very favorably of your use of geometric patterns.  I read in your article, “Progress,” your reference to “Native American” and “Nazca art.”  What inspired you to create this piece, in addition to evoking themes from the aforementioned traditions?

Hermit: I think every artist is inspired by something.  I’ve always been fascinated with geometric, abstract patterns as well as by the art of the Nazca people.  I’ve also always had an interest in the art of Native Americans, since that is part of my own heritage.  The feelings those patterns and themes evoke allows me to explore my own thoughts and feelings during the process of creation.

Q: Is there an element of Art you enjoy the most?  What do you find the most challenging?  Why?

I think the most joy I get out of creating is in the process itself – allowing my own thoughts and feelings out onto the paper without worry or fear.  The most challenging part for me is to quiet my inner critic and to allow the joy and wonder of the process to just flow.  I think we all subject ourselves negative self-talk and overcoming that criticism, that fear of failure, can be very difficult.

introverted hermit mandala 25 colorized

Mandala 25 created and colorized by the Introverted Hermit

Q: I read some of your thoughts concerning being an artist, “imposter syndrome,” and so on, here and here.  (We think you’re a great artist by the way.)  How would you define what it means to be an artist?  Do you think there is a distinction between an Artist versus ” a creative” versus someone who simply “does art?”

Thank you! I think everyone is an artist – it’s just that we sometimes don’t recognize it.  Working with numbers is an art.  Working with words is an art.  Cooking is an art (one I certainly haven’t mastered!).  We all show our creativity in different ways, but everyone – from the tallest to the smallest, from the richest to the poorest, is an artist in some way.  And everything overlaps.  A painter is an artist, sure, but there are many other things they have to know – color theory, composition, lighting, musculature, how bodies move, ratios for color mixing, etc.  Art, and artists, are everywhere, if you just look.

Q: One elvish reader asks, “I see from reading your work that you sometimes encounter challenges moving forward with your work and getting things done.  I have started having this problem more and more myself, especially after I passed into my fourth century.  Do you have any tips or tricks to recommend that I could use to continue to move forward with my projects?  Thank you.”

I think as we age, it’s easy to become jaded and bored with things we want or need to do.  One thing I find that helps me is to have several projects going at once.  That way if I get bored or frustrated with one, I can move to another one and give myself a bit of break.  Once you’re concentrating on something else, your subconscious will often work out a solution to a problem and you’ll be able to see it when you return to the work.  And sometimes, we all just need a break – a rest, to recharge those artistic impulses.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’m flattered to be asked about my work.  One of the best things about creating something is to see how other people interpret what you’ve done.  Often, they will have a reaction that you weren’t expecting, and for me, that’s one of the biggest joys.  It’s like watching that creative spark jump from my work into someone else and that’s an amazing thing.

Introverted hermit mandala 25 black and white 125 wide

Shopping in Dragon’s Egg

by Thulunil Ummair

Everyone knows that adventurers love nothing better than to go shopping after getting back to town following their latest successful quest.  Smart adventurers know that some of the best shopping around can be had at the businesses in our own town of Dragon’s Egg.  Even people from the outer planes sometimes come here for their magical and mundane needs!  Here are five well-known establishments.

  • Bamira’s Stones (Gems and common magical components).  Owner:  Bamira Burntree (dragonborn).  While her public shop is quite small and features mainly mundane items, a much more extensive collection of wares can be had if you are one of her “preferred customers.”
  • Feather Fall Archery.  Proprietor: Oram Brightspear (elf).  A wide selection of long and short bows as well as a sideline of thrown weapons.  There is a sign prominently visible as one enters the shop that reads, “Crossbowmen not welcome.”  Even mentioning the word “crossbow” is enough to receive a permanent ban from the shop!
  • Kobold Or Go Home (General Merchandise).  Owner: Queequeg (kobold); Proprietor:  Gree (kobold).  Does a lot of business with goblins, which is ironic because Queequeg is well known to dislike goblins.  Yet he has a reputation for scrupulously fair dealing, and some of the people who sing his praises the highest are the aforementioned goblins.
  • Temple of the Green Dragon.  First Priest F’Rhogar Goldleaf (dragonborn).  The religious center of Dragon Egg dedicated to our god, Great Dragon.  Aspects currently emphasized are The Warrior, The Guardian, and The Healer.  A green dragon magician, Chrysophylax, lairs on the premises.  There is also a shrine within the outer gardens dedicated to all of the other gods, both draconic and otherwise.
  • Twelve Hammers (Metalwork).  “Dragon Egg’s Finest Smith Shop.”  Owner:  Falasar Moonclaw (dragonborn).  Large staff  of artisans fabricating everything smithing-related from basic tools to highly ornamented weapons, gatework, etc.  Can also contract for precious metals work, and so on.  Has a reputation for high prices and excellent quality.  Can have long waits if you are not a regular customer.

Corrections & Clarifications

The Temple of the Great Dragon contacted us concerning our story, “Raising the Dead:  Did You Know?” from the previous issue.  They pointed out that Great Dragon commonly gifts clergy with the spell Revivify, “making it possible to return an individual to life, who has just died.  This dweomercraft is effective even in the absence of a great vow, and has saved many lives on the battlefield, during parturition and so on.”

The temple representative went on to say, “Spells like Revivify are common magics but gods can gift us in many marvelous and unusual ways too.  Their will and power sometimes transcends system and category.  Remember First Priest Goldleaf’s words:  “Those who think that magic or magical beings follow universal laws or some system of Causality or Necessity are gravely mistaken.'”


Staff

Biri “Wondermist” Blackwing, Editor-in-Chief
Thulunil Ummair, Assistant Editor
Ann Wycoff, Contributing Editor/Outer Planes Correspondent
Your Name Could Be Here!

Dragon Seated black clip art

Sixty Day Miniatures of Magnitude Painting Challenge! (May-June 2020)

Time for another painting challenge!  This time the idea is to paint at least one model that represents a creature, machine or terrain piece that is on the larger side.  Aircraft, daemon engines, tanks, giants, trains, cavewomen riding mammoths, ships, and beasts that are great, writhing masses of tentacles, eyes, and maws that tumbled down from the stars or crawled up out of the sewer all will find a home in this challenge.

(Note that if you click on the pictures,  they will take you to the artists’ websites.  I’ve included some examples below of projects that would work for this challenge.)

Part of “Clean Oceans” mural on Mission Street in Santa Cruz, California

Rules of the Challenge

  • The challenge closes on July 3rd, 2020 at midnight (last place on Earth).  The project must be completed, but if you can’t get your pictures posted by that date, it is fine.  Just post them as soon as you can.
  • Models must represent a creature at least the size of an ogre or small giant.  Machines must represent something that is at least as large as a medium-sized armored vehicle or single-seat aircraft.
  • Terrain pieces and dioramas are also welcome.  (See examples below.)
  • Any scale is welcome.  The miniatures can be small but have to represent things that would be large at 1:1 scale.  Also, there is nothing to say it has to be a miniature.  If you want to paint a mural, put a coat of paint on your house, refinish a good-sized piece of furniture, those would all count too as long as it is a painting or staining project.
  • Projects can be works in progress at the start of the challenge or you can begin something new.
  • You can complete one model or as many as you want.  Basing is great, but is optional.
  • Questions, comments, ideas?  Let me know in the comments.

If you paint small models during the challenge that would strongly fit thematically with your larger miniature, you can include them in a group shot.  For example, if Azazel painted an APC, like the one pictured below, and also painted some suitable space marine passengers to go along with it, he could include the marines in the group shot.

001001 Citadel Rhino Plague Marines Iron Warriors

Rhino APC and space marine rides by Azazel of Azazel’s Bitz Box.

Dioramas are also welcome for the challenge.  In these cases the whole is greater than the sum of its parts so you are not required to include a large creature or dominating terrain feature, although you may.  Pat included a good-sized wall in his “Desert Attack,” but the diorama would have qualified for the challenge without the wall because there is plenty going on here without it!

“Desert Attack” by the eponymous Pat of Pat’s 1:72 Military Diorama’s

A single building will qualify for this painting challenge.  Dave built a Wells Fargo Way Station as part of of diorama, but the building alone would qualify too.  As you can see, he went to the effort to model the inside as well.  (Click on the image to see the outside of his building and the overall diorama.)

Inside of Wells Fargo Way Station by Dave at The Imperfect Modeller.

Wudugast’s rat-ogre and its slightly smaller friend would both qualify for the challenge.  If he painted the ratman, with the spiked club and shield, on the far right during the challenge, it would fit thematically with the others and he could include it in a group shot (like the one below) if he wanted.

Stormfiend Skaven Wudugast ConvertOrDie (9)

Wudugast’s “rat-ogre” (left) and friends from Convert or Die.

Aircraft, like this representation from WWI by John, could fly into the challenge.  Any sizable machine or vehicle from any historical period as well as from milieus that only exist in the imagination are fair game.

2017_0716_15482000

Amercom Albatros D.V in “Airforce, One” by John of Just Needs Varnish!

Miniatures that represent towering statues or impressive golems that might guard forgotten ruins or await orders from a dread magician are appropriate …

Stone Golem by The Introverted Hermit

… as are mighty warriors (reptilian and otherwise) riding fearsome dinosaurs!

Scar Veteran riding a repurposed Allosaurus by Maenoferren22 of Bogenwald.

Trolls can come in many shapes and sizes and fortunately a lot of them can stand eye to eye with an ogre.  Some have interesting professions and hobbies too, such as playing in death sports, football leagues, or both at the same time.

My friend, Dave’s, troll and accompanying goblin cheerleader.

As for me, I hope to finally finish a pig demon-looking thing that a friend asked me to paint for him so long ago now that he apparently forgot I still had the miniature.  Heck, I forgot about the pig demon too until I happened to find it when I was organizing my hobby room/office.  So this challenge will push me to put pig demon toward the top of my painting queue and get it back into my friend’s hands before the end of the Aquarian Age!

With then still WIP poxwalker #18 to demonstrate scale.

The pig demon is my first priority, but maybe I can squeeze in Becky the Bloat Drone here too.  If so, my post-Heresy Death Guard forces will wax mighty indeed comprising this daemon engine and a full 20 zombie squad (hopefully) of poxwalkers.  Let the galaxy tremble!

Becky: Failing painting challenges since 2017!

After this painting challenge ends, I’m going to take July off from running painting challenges. Azazel has written that he might be doing a Jewel in July challenge for 2020 and if he does I’ll be painting for that.

Until next time paint on!

 

Fight On! From D&D Vol 3: The Underworld & Wilderness Adventures ...