Setting expectations high for 2018, following on from my Russian Alternative Troll of Chaos and Oldhammer creatures from Greek mythology, I think there’s time for one more blog entry this weekend. I worked on a few different projects over Christmas, including painting miniatures from two manufacturers I haven’t tried before – Dark Sword and Westfalia Miniatures. In many ways these two companies couldn’t be more different, so the theme of tonight’s post is a bit of a stretch.
First up, a female elf archer and a kobold from Dark Sword. The elf stands in for one of my friend’s retired D&D characters, a social inept ranger named Fthanwen. I opted for classic wood-elf greens. About half way through I decided to practice my freehand technique on the cloak. I didn’t quite get the effect I wanted, and it’s a bit of an arbitrary pattern – I didn’t particularly want to reflect any real-world culture in the wood elf textiles. But even so, I’m glad I pushed myself, as I think a plain green cloak would have been a little dull. The kobold’s colour pallet chose itself – or to be more accurate, the great Tony DiTerlizzi chose it! This is one of three ‘DiTerlizzi Masterwork’ kobolds, and I kept as precisely as possible to the colours in the original illustration.
I love their flawless late 20th century fantasy art aesthetic – from giants and dragons in dioramas inspired by the illustrators I grew up with, right down to the integral, oval bases, which give even the small minis a satisfying weight. But despite that, I don’t have much from Dark Sword. The price seemed prohibitive, high even in a market that includes Games Workshop, and at close to 28mm scale they’re quite small, with details that were quite easy to obscure. But having painted these, I am fully convinced. They were an absolute joy to paint, pretty much everything I tried worked first time, and at every natural break I just wanted to keep painting. I finished both over a weekend. I will buy more.
Next, a very different pairing: a female fencer and halfling soldier from Westfalia Miniatures. I was lucky to win these in early 2017, against tough opposition, through r/minipainting’s ‘Tint Your Tribe‘ competition (thanks, Reddit!). I actually started working on both of these almost as soon as I received them, but made a few missteps with the colour scheme and decided to return to them with fresh eyes later.
Where Dark Sword’s miniatures are reminiscent of the 1970s and ’80s, Westfalia’s are unmistakably modern, cast in resin, they’re light and flexible, and have both smoother surfaces and far sharper detail in places that a traditional sculpting process probably wouldn’t have reached. But they’ve found a lot of love in the Oldhammer community. ZeroTwentyThree – whose colour scheme I genuinely didn’t steal – says this of them:
My fondness for this range of figures just keeps growing. They look nice in photos online, but they are even better in person. The proportions, the crispness & detail, the poses, the concepts – all awesome.
Being still quite unfamiliar with resin, I struggled a bit trimming away some of the flash, but found the softer material much easier to sand and pretty quickly had them ready to paint. I wanted to do something a bit special for the fencer, so I glued her to a slightly oversize 30mm base, weighed that down with a treasure chest, barrel, and loot-bag (complete with freehand dollar symbol) from The Battleforge, and roughly carved some cobblestones into green stuff. I eventually settled on winter colours for the fencer – I was reading William King’s Gotrek and Felix novels, much of whose action takes place in the frozen north – and colours loosely inspired by a bumblebee for the halfling. Definitely not stolen from ZeroTwentyThree.
Westfalia seem to have a very quickly expanding catalogue and a few minis are even out of production already. I’m especially interested in their Fat Monsters range, which features a very attractive owlbear. Maybe when I’ve finished the other four halflings though.