Thursday, 26 July 2018

Bloggers Day

hi all

Just a quick “in between narrative posts”

Dave Stone is looking to organise a bloggers get together. This sounds amazing and I fully intend to get there if I can, bringing my game Blood, Sweat & Horses with me.

Here’s the link for details...


Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Jwar Tales part 2

Akari, Master Monk of the Temple of Ro-Kan, held up a furry paw and chittered softly in the secret Tanuki tongue into the wind.  The whispered plea, buoyed by a thread of the master’s spirit energy -Ki, spread out among the ancient boughs of his forest sanctuary. Akari rested back into a meditation pose, cross legged on the gnarled tree stump that had been moulded to his diminutive frame. Moments later, a pair of tiny birds, their bright plumage flashing in the weak light of the glade, flitted over to his outstretched arm and came to rest. Solemnly, the ancient Master addressed his avian messengers.

“Little ones” he began, once again reinforcing his words with gentle whispers of his Ki, to settle the nervous nature of the wild creatures.

“Fear not, we face a challenge to the Balance and you must carry my words to the others in my stead. We have little time and I must determine the truest path for us to follow. Gather the younglings, bring them to me, the children of Ro-Kan and their companions will be our instrument, their innocence will counter the conniving political wrangling of the Prefecture and will restore the Balance.”

The birds, their feathery breasts puffed out with the importance of their mission, bowed their heads and spreading their wings darted off into the forests surrounding the Temple grounds.

Akari nodded his satisfaction and returned to his prayer pose. Opening his mind to the shining streams of Ki, he gently pushed his spirit out once more, hoping to determine the best course of action to prevent the pride of the Prefecture from pushing them closer to the darkness that threatened to overwhelm the Jwar Isles.

Following the tiny thread of probability that he had discovered, he attempted to unknot the twisted skein of possible events that led to the upsetting of the Balance.  Satisfied that he had found the right thread he tracked back toward the nexus point – the crucial moment that tipped the Balance. 

“There!” he muttered to himself

“that point there”.

In his mind, he saw a powerful samurai clad in full battle armour surrounded by a small band of Ryu retainers.  The samurai, clearly a member of the ruling house – Takashi, handed an important looking scroll, dripping with seals and ribbons, to a human female and bade her to guard it with her very life. 

The retainer bowed deeply to her lord, clearly pleased with the honour of bearing such a prestigious document.  Placing the scroll into a leather bag and slinging it across her shoulder, she adjusted the large katana at her waist. With that, the retinue moved off setting a fast pace, clearly at haste to deliver the message.

Akari, with a quick focus of Ki, moved along the thread a little further, tracking the party across the cultivated lands of the Ryu clan and into the foothills that marked the border with Ro-Kan.  Here in the southern reaches of Akari’s adopted homeland the samurai drew his party to a halt.  A gentle nudge of Ki and the timeline edged forward a few hours to the point where a small group of green clad humans approached the Takashi lordling. 

“Ito Clan” the Tanuki chittered

“what brings the Snake to parley with the Dragon?”

Whatever it was, it signified a shift in the Balance and that needed to be addressed.  Akari reached for his Ki and shifted the timeline back to the arrival of the samurai and his band. Drawing on his spirit energy he created a replica of himself and his companions and inserted the band of monks into the probability thread.  With that done, he drew back on his view until he could watch the events unfold.

Unbeknown to the ancient Tanuki, a small flash of red fur streaked across the unfolding conflict, ducking in between the twisted trunks of the woodlands and peered out from the thick undergrowth. 

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Jwar Tales part 1

High in the jagged and heavily forested mountains, the monks of Ro-Kan tended the sprawling gardens of the temple.  Simply clad acolytes flitted here and there, running errands for the elders or sat in clusters, studying the lore of the Great Kami under the close tutelage of the Masters.

In among the deep shadows of the dark woods, a small gap in the trees opened to the thin mountain air, allowing weak sunlight to gently illuminate the secret glade.  Master Akari sat atop a small ancient tree stump, contoured from thousands of hours of meditation to perfectly accommodate the mysterious Tanuki’s unique physiology. With barely a twitch of his sensitive nose and swish of his lustrous bushy tail, the Master sat in a comfortable prayer pose and allowed his mind to drift down familiar conduits.  The Balance is all, the Balance is key, the Balance must be maintained at all costs.  Ying and Yang, night and day, all must be in perfect harmony or the Jwar Isles and their unique place in the world would be lost.

Further and further, Akari allowed his spirit to wander the ethereal realm of the Kami.  At times soaring among the cottony clouds with the carefree lesser Air Kami, then diving into the sparkling oceans of the playful lesser Water Kami. Carefully he ghosted through the fiery intensity of the blasted lands of the lesser Fire Kami and conversed with the serious golem like lesser Earth Kami.  All around him he felt a vague disharmony, a slight disjointing of what should have been perfectly balanced.  A putrid darkness gathered again at the edges of the real world and bled its poison into the unreal realm, threatening to destroy that which he held dear.

Casting his mind deeper than he had for many years, he probed the darkness, searching for the tiniest thread of probability to follow, a small series of incidents that would lead to the coming darkness gaining ground. Deliberate or not, all actions have consequences, all decisions determine a path that can change people, places or even the very fabric of reality/unreality.  There! The barest hint of shadow, twisting and winding like a coiling viper. Akari, concentrated his formidable mind, focusing his Ki on the darkness in an effort to gain some insight into the cause of the disruption. 

Slowly, very slowly the knotted skein of shadow unravelled until…

Withdrawing his mind, with a degree of effort, the Master snapped back into his body with a minor jolt and sighed. Drawing his plain, homespun robes around his diminutive frame, he picked up his gnarled Jo staff and rapped it loudly on the tree stump three times and sat back down to wait. 

Minutes later and with the barest whisper of rustling leaves, a large and powerfully built orangutan moved into the glade.  Clad in armour and dragging an enormous brass club, Kosuke a monk from the distant Empire moved with a grace that denied his size and heavy equipment. Settling into a crouch with a heavy snort from his simian nostrils, the giant ape grunted a question to the Master.

“Yes, my brother the Balance is in peril once more.”

Another huff, another question…

“Ah this time it starts with the children of the Dragon”

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Fire! Fire!

Hi all

I've actually started doing some bits for the Flash Point Zoo project for Uncon. I will be putting it out on the video diary but I thought I'd give you a sneak peak of the 3D fire tokens that I've been putting together.  I used Vallejo paints throughout this project bar the black primer.

First I had to buy the mdf tokens, I got 35mm rounds from Minibits specially made and these would form the bases. I then made a trip to a pound shop and got myself some white bathroom sealant.

and made these...

starting with a little blob of sealant, I let it dry completely before using the gun to add little cones of sealant all over the base, in an effort to make a vague fire type shape.

after that I sprayed the whole thing with black primer, to add shadow and to cover the base.  Once dried I very roughly covered the flames in white paint, more of a very heavy drybrush. 

I then took a big brush and started to roughly paint a bright yellow across he model, leaving a white rim at the bottom of the flames. Then a bright orange...

after that I switched to an orange red...

then a bright red, followed by a dark red. All the time I let a small amount of the previous colour show at the bottom and all the time starting the next layer as the previous was drying - almost a wet blend.

once dried, I covered the whole thing with GW red wash...

then drybrushed the whole thing with a brown/orange...

then a lighter drybrush of bright yellow...

and finally a very light drybrush of pure white....

then I just tidied up the bases and voila...

hope you enjoy

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Dragon of the East

Hi all

He tried to tempt me at Salute 2017, he did it again at PAW 2018. Finally at Salute 2018, I succumbed...

I literally could not deny the desire to own at least one of Dave Stone's magnificent dragon models! Honestly I have tried and tried and tried not to buy one as they are an investment of funds, time and effort but hell, I'm only human - I ended up mostly trying to stop buying more than one!!

To be honest it was a straight toss up between his brand new Wyvern which had just been freshly painted and this bad boy....

Oriental Dragon pic taken from Dave's website here

In the end I had to go with the Oriental Dragon, I'd wanted him for so long and even the gorgeous Wyvern model couldn't compete, so I dutifully dug out the £50 from my sorely pressed wallet and handed it to Dave's grinning daughter, who knew she had me beat....

fast forward to this month and in an effort to boost my flagging mojo I decided to build and paint this beauty, knowing that it would make me very happy indeed....and it has.

This beaut of a model is made of hard resin and is massive (I haven't measured it, but have placed it next to some 32mm samurai later).  Really neat casting and only need some minor filling around the joints, which I did with a little bit of Das.  My only complaint, and it is my only complaint is that the brittle nature of the resin meant that I snapped one of the critters moustaches within the first 5 mins.  That was the only mishap and took a few tries at supergluing it back on to finally sort...

I used a grey primer to spray on as a base. I like using this primer as A) it's really cheap, B) it sticks fantastically to any surface son no need to pop your expensive mini into a bubble bath and C) the grey is a really neutral colour so I can go light or dark on it (plus I find coloured primers too confusing...).

After much research (ten minutes on Google) regarding colour schemes, I decided to do a bit of a mishmash of the boxed art colours i.e. I did what Dave did... and a flaming mane of hair, using my fire technique - more on that in a couple of weeks.

I mostly used Vallejo paints and GW washes to paint the beastie.  Below at all the base colours - Joe, take note of the sandstone rocks - no grey for me!!

The highly detailed scaling and features gave me the opportunity to really build up the paint layers, due to the size of the "mini" (ha!) I did this with successive dry brushes and then a final detailed highlight.

I even took the time to practice with some OSL, a technique I'm yet to truly get to grips with...

I love the pose of the model which goes against the traditional coiled viper look of eastern dragon artwork and instead concentrates on the "launching into flight" look - neck stretched and powerful legs pushing off from the earth.

The detail is fabulous, each scale sculpted rather than textured on...

I tried to take some pics with the flash on to show you the layers...

and finally some scaling - yup those are 32mm Bushido minis...

What a BEAST!!

I really enjoyed painting this but now I'm going to have to avoid Dave's stands at the next few shows, else I'll get that bloody Wyvern and then the sea dragon, then the fire breathing beastie...

hope you enjoy