Monday, August 24, 2015

Return to ancient graves

After a long hiatus I've recently returned to Ancient mythology. My interest got reignited by the current hype about Osprey's "Frostgrave". Despite my admiration for the figures and terrain people have come up with already (just have a look at the Frostgrave sub-board over on Lead Adventure Forum), I couldn't afford to start yet another collection of (very) specific terrain and figures for this trademarked setting. Also, I've yet to determine if the game is a keeper.

So I've begun to scratch-build some random ruined terrain, which will fit in with my existing Mediterranean pieces. I could use it as ancient remains in settings up to the present day.

Essentially it's all built from a 3mm polystyrene sheet and based on very thin plastic card. The two pillars are made from a tube containing vitamin tablets, which was cut up; the tube also provided a 'stopper' which was repurposed as a fancy metal decoration on top of an altar.

So far I've refrained from playing any game which involves zombies. The concept and people's fascination with it is, for some reason, completely lost on me. However, "Frostgrave" (like many other fantasy games) calls for zombies – so I tried to add a twist at least: I'm repurposing some Foundry Mycenaeans for the role of "undead ancestors", "earthborns" or other restless spirits that can be called upon.

Still experimenting with colour schemes. These two got a greenish grey skin tone; Foundry's Granite works quite well. The next ones might have a more brownish complexion. And some I might even paint as ghosts – we'll see. For their somewhat decayed or simply ancient equipment I used brown and green hues (Foundry Rawhide & Vallejo Green Grey/Khaki, Foundry Teal Blue for patina effects). Their simple bases are to match my Argonauts, as seen here before.

More to come soon, I hope.

Monday, June 08, 2015

A Lion on Crusade

With my thesis finally locked 'n' loaded I started painting again after a (veeery) long hiatus. Admittedly I've done a bit of practicing inbetween, and people say it's like cycling: once learnt, never unlearnt. However, I'm still struggling, and most likely painting won't become a habit anytime soon due to constraints in "real life".
Earlier this year I had been kindly given the promo model for Tactica 2015 (thanks a lot, Alex!), King Richard I "the Lionheart" sculpted by Michael Perry. Although the model is a bit rough in parts (like quite a bit of the Perries' recent output, I'm afraid), I had a blast painting him as a one-off.

Since the sculpt mixes depictions of the Great Seals of 1195 and 1198 anyway, I opted for the more commonly known blazon of walking lions to decorate the horse barding with. Initally a great idea, until I realised the motif was to be replicated four times. Well, I wanted practice, right?!
Of course, there's no king without men to lead. So I dug out a few leftovers and cobbled together a small warband. "SAGA-sized" forces are a favourite of many wargamers these days, and who am I to swim against the stream? Besides, it's a good start when you have just a couple of minis at hand.

This first group of knights on foot was originally acquired (and half-way painted) to be used in games inspired by the Nibelungenlied – or rather its literary background in the Holy Roman Empire of the late 12th and early 13th century. Said background had already inspired the Romanesque artworks of Carl Otto Czeschka, which, in turn, were adapted to the screen most famously by Fritz Lang in 1924. To cut a long story short: That's why a representation of Hagen von Tronje and his distinctive winged helmet (funny wings are by Hasslefree) is included here.

To be honest, almost any shield design has been inspired by German blazons rather than English ones. Some of them are quite local, and none is a hundred percent accurate for the given place and period. My aim was rather to build a generic warband which might roam the Holy Land in 1190 as well as Sicily under Emperor Henry VI or the 'German wastes' in the struggle between Philip of Swabia and Otto IV.

Thus eventually even King Richard might be replaced by a more fitting leader. Unfortunately, though, you aren't spoilt for choice when gaming the period between Norman kite shields and the rise of the Great Helmet, at least in 28mm. The Perries seem to have given up on their venture into the later Crusades, while others have focussed on the later 13th century. So this is the place to applaud Black Tree Design for filling that gap. I may recommend them wholeheartedly – on each occasion I received everything in good order and within a couple of days, and their models are excellently sculpted and cast. Despite a few awkward poses, the models have great and accurate detail (e.g. note the shield straps). Furthermore they scale with Perry minis quite nicely. Don't be put off by some unfavourable photos on their website or the amount of bad-mouthing on the internet. I was, and I was wrong.

My last purchase for this warband so far were these lowly footmen. Again, very nice sculpts full of character and detail. Having assembled quite a few plastic models in the past, good old one-piece metal figures were a relief. First and foremost their poses look a lot more natural than anything at least I was able to create from plastic kits.

And there you have it. In SAGA terms I'm now able to field a smallish 4-points warband, made up of three units of foot knights ("hearthguard"), one unit of militiamen ("warriors") and commanded by a "warlord" in disguise of Richard I (it my be someone else, you know). The all-new "Crescent & Cross" rulebook has just arrived – but I might as well repurpose them for "Lion Rampant", "Lords & Servants" or any other skirmish-sized game set in the Middle Ages. Because this time I'm determined to stay with "No pressure please". ;-)

Painted May to June 2015. Miniatures by Perry Miniatures (Richard I) and Black Tree Design.

Monday, August 18, 2014


Hey folks, some might have seen my memo over "At the Mountains of Lead" and clicked on the link therein. For those, welcome!
For anyone else wondering what the hell's going on here, just to explain: Due to burning real life issues™ and their miserable effect on my involvement in this great hobby of painting & gaming, I felt compelled to leave said project. This place will therefore by no means become a substitute but rather be used as a backup, just in case I want to share the odd hobby-related ramblings or people like you, dear readers, want to get in touch with me.
Hence, please don't expect any updates, least regular ones, or a general revival. It's just an old hut at sea-level where I can recover from that bloody anoxia. Overall, most likely I will move on sometime in the future–but any announcements will appear here as well as via twitter, of course.

Until then, dust off a chair and take a seat or have a look around, if you want to. Never mind that dog under the stairs, he won't bit, for certain. :-D

Friday, March 15, 2013

To conquer new frontiers

'tis been a while since the last post, but be assured, it served a purpose. For about five years I have been scheming and struggling to conquer Lead Mountain and shared my efforts via this blog. Of course, on my way uphill I've encountered various other base camps and fellow mountaineers. And so, even if mountaineering at "Big L" is a lonesome business where you are, after all, down to yourself, it's a much nicer prospect to share your stove with some like-minded people back in the camp. Therefore, I will join forces with two comrades, namely Lt. Hazel and Doc Remington, both savvy alpinists themselves (and very amiable guys, but don't tell them!). The first tents have been raised, and I think there's some tea brewed up already, so we'd like to invite you to pay our new base camp a visit, over

At the Mountains of Lead

Okay, in plain language, what does it mean to the CLM blog? Essentially, from now on new stuff will be posted exclusively under the new address. This blog will become dormant, but no pics or articles will be removed whatsoever. It is with a tear in the eye that I say goodbye, but at the same time I'm very excited. The three of us have put quite some thought into this joint venture, and we're aiming to bring you better and more regular content, easily accessible on one single website.

Therefore, I hope you'll join us over there and keep supporting me and my friends by subscribing, commenting or even just visiting our new site.

Thanks a lot for your time, and see you At the Mountains of Lead!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Reviews & Forecasts

At the beginning of Janus-headed January there are things to look back at and things to look forward to. Not to join the choir of hobbyists making New Year’s resolutions (always suffered embarrassing results there), here’s just a recap of projects past and ahead.

Since wargaming projects are doomed to never get finished in a literal sense that’s a bit of a misnomer. However, to my biggest surprise, on last recount five projects got battle-ready at least:
  • Mycenaeans for our participation game at the Hamburg Tactica. Admittedly, these were carried over from 2011 but, as always, the bulk of the figures (about 50 in total) were painted at the last possible moment. After the show the armies went into barracks at Hazel’s man cave and haven’t returned yet. Meanwhile you can see them pictured in Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy issue 61.
  • 3rd century Romans for SAGA. Triggered by a sudden outburst of Dark Ages vibes round here, these were prepared in a hurry to counter Hazel’s Germanic warband. Finally I got an excuse to paint up those gorgeous A&A miniatures which, as an added bonus, are a perfect fit to the equally exciting late 2nd century Romans from Aventine’s. Happy times!
  • Konradin’s army for Impetus. Again something that I had on my mind for quite some time. The fantastic presentation of the Frankfurter Spieltrieb at Tactica 2012 gave that much needed, erm, impetus not only to restart my Medieval ambitions but to actually complete a basic army. Kyrieleis!
  • Dystopian Wars fleet. Rather an impulse buy after a friend of mine started a Prussian force. Really couldn’t let him down without an opponent in sight, so I’ve gone for a Kingdom of Britannia starter fleet. A few tiny flyers are still to receive some final touches, but all in all the Brits are ready for their first game this year.
  • Surprise encounter for our traditional Year’s End Gaming Weekend™. Just a few 28mm figures, it has to be said. Unfortunately, they haven’t been used in anger yet since we had to reschedule the gathering. Therefore don’t want to give too much away beforehand, but rest assured that they will get pictured here anytime soon.

There were other things I wanted to tackle, even acquired figures for, but never got round to. Here’s what has been postponed to 2013 (and beyond).
  • Army of Charles d’Anjou for Impetus. Never go wrong with two matching armies. Painting this one’s already started, so it’s definitely going to be finished this year.
  • Late Roman warband for SAGA / Dux Britanniarum. My Middle Imperials are already at about the right size to be used for a game with TFL’s much acclaimed “Arthurian” rules and will be upgraded accordingly soon. However, as a true Roman nut I’m drawn to the later period as well. So, again, I’ll start out with a smallish 4 point SAGA force built from Foundry’s “olden but golden” range.
  • 1400 Reloaded. You heard it here first, folks: I’ll give the Later Middle Ages another try. At least I’ve learned from my false start with Impetus in 28mm, and this time I’m aiming for a Dux Britanniarum-sized force. These might be as well the ruleset of choice. But more on that in one of the next postings.
  • WW2 in 15MM. Okay, the Second World War hasn’t been a genuine interest for me. That said, the recently released starter set for Flames of War was simply a deal too good to be missed. The miniatures included provide a nice selection of troops, and they are perfectly usable as starter for other rulesets as well (I’m looking at you, IABSM!). Though, if I ever will add to the core forces included is mainly up to the response of possible project partners.

These projects will keep me busy for a while. There’s the odd side show, of course, still dwelling in the heights of Lead Mountain.
  • SciFi in 28mm. A newly acquired X-Wing miniatures game (which round here has been a huge hit so far) has relit my interest in the genre in general. That could easily draw upon several boxes of figures piled up in my cabinet.
  • Hoplite Wars in 15mm. Ages ago I traded in two army boxes of Xyston Greeks and forgot about them – until recently. Maybe their time to get some paint has finally come.
  • ACW in 28mm. Fairly the same as with the Flames of War boxed set: Perry plastics are always good value for money, but this time it’s Hazel’s turn to convince me of a new project. As I type this I’ve likely given in already.

These are, however, projects with a rather doubtful ending. I have no high hopes for them, the more as you never know what lies ahead (here’s deliberately no mention of the eagerly anticipated advent of Perry-made AWI plastics). Other hobby-related ventures, like commission work or writing articles, will perhaps add to the inevitable confusion of schedules and plans.

In summary 2012 has seen quite a few achievements on my section of the hobby front. However, in all likelihood 2013 is going to be more frugal since I’ve become redundant recently. Thence most effort will be put into finishing my doctoral thesis and/or find a new job as quickly as possible. Nevertheless I’m determined to spare some time for the hobby and, of course, blogging about it. We’ll see how this works.

Finally, what better way to celebrate the 100th post of this blog than by wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2013! Next time there will be pictures again, promised. ;-)

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Merry Musings

Holidays ahead will see me putting down the brushes for the rest of 2012. So it’s time for another wrap-up. Another post or two will detail my very own projects, those achieved, those just begun as well as such planned for the coming year. However, as some of my dear readers will already have noticed I’m also doing commission work, and that’s what I’ve been up to recently almost all the way. So let’s take a step out of the accustomed “big project” talk and get to the bare bones of this blog, i.e. a fun bit of showcasing.

First off, there’s been another batch of 1/72 models. Thanks to a loyal customer the likes have kept appearing quite regularly on my paint desk for years now. However, I still find this scale to be a challenge, for these models are not your typical wargame pumpkins with overly pronounced detail. I enjoy painting them nevertheless as both creativity and skill of sculptors in 1/72 scale are just outstanding! The pictured figures are meant for a piratey 17th century diorama, so the man in the centre is geared to Angus McBride’s imaging of L’Olonnais (as seen in the Osprey volume on buccaneers).

Another newish scale for me is 40mm. Admittedly, I’ve painted a few larger scale models before, mainly the gods for our “Trojan War” participation game (until I get them photographed myself pictures thereof can be seen in Wargames, Soldiers & Strategy issue 61). My dear friend and partner in crime Lt. Hazel was bitten by this nasty bug obviously, since he and our mate Driscoles, author of the Triumph & Tragedy rules, are about to stage a whole game using 40mm models. Of course, they’ve gone for an optimum by choosing the Perries’ excellent Peninsular War range. Though I can’t take any credit for organising the game (which will premiere at Tactica 2013), I was kindly invited to do some supernumeraries first and now some regulars in support.

No surprise, bigger scales allow for greater detail. And let me tell you, there’s a lot of that in particular on Napoleonic uniforms. I’ve tried hard to get them right but for sure die-hard enthusiasts will easily point out some obvious errors. I stand to be corrected, but in the meantime I rest assured that the game itself will make up for any inaccuracy single-handedly.

Lastly I come back to my loved 28mm’s. Having liquidated the remnants of my first dabbling in the world of Impetus I agreed lately to painting up a bunch of complementary models from the Perries’ “Azincourt to Orleans” range. The first figures shown here are still WIP, but you get the idea. For colouring I picked out at random the armorial bearings of noble families from Swabia (given that the figures might be used as troops involved in the Swabian Cities’ War of the late 1380’s). That was no requirement, but even such superficial research is part of the fun for me really.

Those models are an almost perfect segway to my very own projects up next. But I hold my breath for the time being, because this requires a separate and wordier post. If you look forward to that is up to you. ;-)

In the meantime, as the follow-up might get delayed, I’d better seize the chance to wish you all a Merry Christmas or just Happy Holidays, whatever suits you best! Have a good time everyone!

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Jolly Day's Camp

Every self-respecting army needs baggage. And for Impetus enthusiasts it's the best excuse to go down the diorama route even further on even bigger bases! So I had to include this piece for a reason.

Actually, a camp scene had been planned from the very beginning. On the one hand, once this piece of art created by Tactica big shot Frank Bauer had opened my eyes for the dioramic possibilities of 15mm, I wanted to create something similar. On the other hand, what got me interested in Konradin's adventure in the first place was that certain "Medieval romance" theme written all over it. To many people Konradin must have appeared as a youthful knight errant on a quest to bring back those blissful days of his grandfather's reign (admittedly, not blissful for anyone concerned). In my mind a revelling entourage, feasting even in the face of battle, captures this feeling best.


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