Sunday 22 August 2021

Momiji, the Blood Sorceress


Today's offering is my first foray into Japanese fantasy miniatures.  I've built plenty of fantasy models before, as well as a fair number of historical Japanese figures (well, some might argue that my black-clad ninjas are fantasy rather than historical - but at least they're human).  But until now I've never tackled Japanese fantasy figures.

I wouldn't have built the miniatures below except that I happened to see them in the Bad Squiddo range.  I fell in love with them immediately and made it a priority to buy and paint them!

Momiji, the Blood Sorceress

At first glance, Bad Squiddo's "Blood Sorceress" figure is of an apparently young and attractive Japanese woman.  With a very big sword.  And extremely long horns.  And she's not walking, but rather floats through the air.  So probably not a normal person, then.

I did a little research on depictions of Japanese ghosts and witches before painting her.  The impression I received is that they are often depicted as having traditional costume and equipment, but are maybe a bit paler in colour than average.  I've tried to make her clothing and skin fairly pale (well, apart from the red accent on the border of her robe).

Apparently there aren't many named witches or sorceresses in Japanese folklore - or at least as an outsider I wasn't able to find such information.  In the end, I chose to call her Momiji, which apparently translates roughly as "red-turned maple leaves".  Is this suitable?  I don't see why not...

The Undead Manservant

In the same pack from Bad Squiddo, the blood sorceress has an undead manservant.  This model could be used as a regular, living samurai without any difficulty as there really isn't much that insists on his status.

However, I wished to keep him as Momiji's ghoulish assistant.  In contrast with her pale appearance and clothing, he is finished in a dark colour scheme with reddish purple overtones.  I suppose I was aiming to suggest a demonic origin; hopefully this is obvious.

I've given this model a name too: he's Shuten Doji.  That name does come from traditional Japanese folklore: he was a demon or oni.  This seems appropriate for my figure.


I'm not sure how I'll use these figures yet.  My preferred rules for Sengoku-era skirmishes (Test of Honour) don't have any provision for mythical or magical creatures & monsters.  Mind you, I imagine that if I looked around I would find that someone has published house rules for such.  Alternatively, I could just use them as models with regular abilities, for now.

Either way, I'm very pleased with these figures!

Saturday 14 August 2021

Early Scots: the Piper


A couple of years ago I showed a mode of a sword dancer that I had prepared for my Dark Age Scots warband.  At the time someone commented that I needed a bagpipe player or other musician as well, to complement the scene.  Well, I have finally built that model!

The Base Model

Models of early or medieval pipers are not very common, which isn't surprising as there is no documentary or archaelogical evidence for them in Scotland before the 16th century!  I did eventually find a suitable model in Antediluvian's "Islemen-Galloglass Command 2" pack.

This model is technically for the later middle ages - maybe 1300 to 1400 - but styles of dress and equipment didn't change that quickly in more far-flung locations such as the Scottish isles.  In the earlier period, bare legs and no shoes seem to be quite a feature of Dark Age celtic peoples, especially the commoners.

The only change I made to bring my model back to 800 or 900 AD was to replace the legs.  I cut off the model's legs-in-hose-and-shoes and replaced them with some bare legs from a plastic Zulu.  As a bonus, my figure is now standing still, rather than marching forwards - that suits my purposes better.

The Piper

Once this simple conversion had been done, painting the figure was very straightforward.  He has a plain, brown tunic and a patterned cloak, vaguely suggestive of tartan.  The pipes themselves are just a leather bag with some wood or bone tubes.


My SAGA Scots now have someone to play music for the sword dancer!  Or he could lead them into battle, I suppose.

Either way, both the pipes and the sword dance are probably anachronistic; neither is documented as being present in the dark ages.  But then again, the origins of both are not entirely clear, so they could have been present at this period.  Please, just allow me my little fancy!

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Apocalypse Survivors: The Collection


Not so long ago, I catalogued all my zombie models and came to the conclusion that I had 178 of them.  Since then, I found another 11 zombies (in the best traditions of horror films, they were hiding somewhere unexpected).  This brings my zombie total up to 189 models.

It seemed only fair to perform a similar exercise with my survivor models, just to see how many of these were in my collection.  In this case, the number is possibly larger than I was expecting!

As before, I've created a definition: a survivor model is one that I intended for games which represent a zombie outbreak.  I have excluded other "modern" miniatures which could be used in such a setting, but are really part of another collection (for example, Doctor Who, spy-fi, space opera or post apocalypse barbarians).

Ready?  Let's go!

Unarmed Civilians

This picture shows a selection of ordinary people with no significant weapons.  I'm discounting cameras, handbags, walking sticks, beer bottles, the prop phasers owned by the Star Trek cosplayers and the large number of cats owned by the crazy cat lady.

Of course, it is possible that any or all of these items could be used as an offensive or defensive weapon if the wielder was sufficiently inventive.  However, none of these figures appears to be using such an item in an aggressive manner.

I believe that there are 41 models in this sub-collection.

Hand Weapons

I have 37 figures who are equipped with items that they are wielding as melee weapons.  These fall into the following categories:

  • sporting equipment: golf clubs, oar, cricket & baseball bats, tennis racket
  • tools: poles, spades, chainsaws, crowbars, chains, wrench
  • edged weapons: machetes, cleavers, knives, swords, axe
  • desperately hopeful: fire extinguisher, stiletto shoe, crucifix, folding chair


Not all my survivors are human!  I have 9 dogs in this collection, ranging from the enormous Irish wolfhound to the less terrifying dachshund.

Exotic Missile Weapons

Fighting zombies in melee is not a long-term plan for any survivor.  These guys & gals have equipped themselves with some unorthodox ranged weapons, including:

  • rocket launchers
  • autocannon
  • speargun
  • crossbows and composite bows
  • flamethrowers & petrol bombs
  • catapult
  • pipe bombs
  • firework
  • super soaker
  • thrown item (tyre, rock)

I imagine that there will be a lot of different opinions about the utility of many of these weapons against zombies.  Or indeed against any type of target!

Regardless of their effectiveness, I have 20 models in this part of the collection.


There are 7 models which I have loosely classed as "machines":

  • 3 of these are motorbikes - fair enough (even though one of them seems to be demon-possessed).
  • there's a mobility scooter
  • "Penny" has a radio-control set for her robot "B-9".
  • lastly I have another robot model, possibly sentient.  Or maybe it's a person in armour improvised from some deep sea environment suit?


Unsurprisingly, the largest bloc within my survivors are people equipped with firearms.  There is a mixture of handguns, sub-machine guns, assault rifles and shotguns here.  These weapons are wielded by a wide variety of humans from the calmly efficient to the wild-eyed & nervous.

I count 57 miniatures in this section.

The Authorities

Last, but not least, are the boys and girls of the police and army.  The 15 military all wear body armour and carry some fairly heavy weaponry, whilst the 11 police are equipped more lightly.


When I add up the models from above, I come to the total of 197 miniatures.  This is more than the number of zombies in my collection, even if only just.

It does beg the question as to whether I could ever run a campaign with all these figures appearing at some point.  Perhaps any casualties would be put back away for good, being replaced by another, as-yet-unused figure?  The campaign would end when there were no more humans left (obviously!).  Hmm - I think this sounds a bit too ambitious to be achieved.

In any case, these numbers (of survivors or zombies) are just a snapshot.  I will often add new models to my collection - and Zomtober isn't that far away: I always try to paint some new figures for that!

Saturday 7 August 2021

The Flying Carpet


Not so long ago, I showed my Saracen force for SAGA.  In that article, I added a few extra elements suitable for fantasy games (a sorcerer, a djinn and a roc).  However, no Arabian-style medieval fantasy army would be complete without a flying carpet.  At the time, I didn't have such a model - but I do now and here it is!

The Flying Carpet

After realising that I had made this grave omission, I looked around for suitable models of a flying carpet.

There are quite a few such miniatures around, but most were not much to my taste.  At one end of the spectrum, many such models are much too highly animated & detailed for me, whilst at the other end are some very "decadent" pieces with lounging slave girls and the like.  They look more like an exotic picnic, rather than an adventure in progress!

In the end I chose a middle-of-the-road model from Midlam Miniatures.  It's a fairly old-school figure, but it works for me.

As cast, the carpet did have mounting points for the rider, but I felt this was too far to the back of the "vehicle".  I filled these and drilled new holes towards the centre of gravity.  I also added a sturdy piece of brass rod as a "flying" support, rather than trying to use a transparent plastic post.  The weight of a metal model would have made any plastic into a weak point, I think.

The carpet itself is an image found on the internet..  I did distort it a little bit to fit the shape of the metal model, but my skills in this area are fairly rudimentary.

Once I was reasonably happy with the shape of the image, I printed it onto paper, trimmed it and glued it to the metal model.  Fortunately the metal has only a few gentle undulations in it (no complex curves or folds!) and it wasn't hard to ensure that the paper followed these contours.

Once the paper insert was dry, I painted the fringes of the carpet in a complimentary colour.  The figure was also straightforward to paint; he's a fairly regular 28mm man.  Mind you, I did have a little difficulty in figuring out his clothing; he wears a lot of different layers; some are trimmed with fur and others are not.


I'm happy with this model.  It's a little crude in detail, but paints up nicely into a very colourful and exotic piece.  And of course there's nothing to stop me from adding further flying carpets to my collection in the future, should I choose!

Sunday 1 August 2021

Frostgrave: Assorted Figures


It's been a strange year (and a bit).  We've not been able to go out much because of the various lock downs and so haven't really played any games.  However, this has left a lot of time for painting.

I've been powering through a number of projects and individual figures, but I just realised that many of my recent completions are models for Frostgrave.  It makes sense to document them all together, so here we go.

Last of the old GW Wizards

When I started looking for miniatures with which to play Frostgrave (back in 2015!), I remembered that I had a decade-old collection of Games Workshop plastic wizards.  I re-based and finished painting seven of them (here:, but at the time I couldn't find the 8th model in the set - the Dark Elf sorceress.

Well, she finally came to light and so I've re-based this model for the frozen city.  Considering how long ago I actually painted this figure, I think it's help up well.  Mind you, I can't help thinking that her choice of clothing is not optimal for an icy wasteland.  Maybe the cold never bothered her anyway?

The Old Wolf

This is another old (ancient!) Games Workshop model.  It's one of the figures I prepared for Frostgrave some 5 or 6 years ago, but the snow effect on its base had aged very badly.  Oddly, most of the models I have prepared at that time or since are just fine, but this and maybe one other were yellowing visibly.

I painted over the discoloured parts of the base with white, then used a mixture of white paint and glue to stick down some "realistic" model snow (instead of the bicarbonate of soda I had used previously).  Because of the over-coverage to hide all trace of the yellowing, this is now the snowiest base in my collection!

Medium Constructs

For some time, I have been searching for medium constructs for Frostgrave.  There are plenty of large models of mechanical men, golems and the like and I have a selection of these from various manufactures already (see here and here).  However, I wanted some man-sized items as well.

I was delighted when I came across this set of "Magical Automata" from Midlam Miniatures.  These figures are available individually and I don't really need four, but I just love them!

Painting the grain in the wood was not much fun, but I think it has worked better than I had hoped.  Mind you, the models have no texture on these "wooden" parts and so they could be painted differently (as iron, ceramic or anything else you can imagine).


As part of a recent "NickStarter" campaign from North Star, I received a bonus sprue of official Frostgrave cultists.  It seemed appropriate to build them (note that I've only made 4 of the 5 models on the sprue), though there's nothing particularly different or unique to distinguish them from anybody else's cultists.

I've finished the cultists with a brown theme.  This helps to identify them as a coherent group and also separates them from my other Frostgrave figures, none of whom are predominantly brown.

The Wandering Mage

Here's another North Star "freebie", recently finished.  She's a somewhat generic wizard or apprentice, though I imagine that the figure could also be used as a thief, healer or pretty much anything else that isn't combat-oriented.

Mind you, now that I look at the model again I remember I had intended to paint the robe with classic wizard's stars and moons to identify her as a wizard - but I forgot.  Hmm, is the figure truly finished?  Should I go back and add the intended detail?  I'm not sure.


Another part of the recent "NickStarter" was a sprue of Gnolls (hyena men).  Again, these seemed useful for Frostgrave and so I've completed all five figures.  This time they're painted in a dark grey or black theme, though there are splashes of other colours from their mismatched assortment of clothing and equipment.  Gnolls should be very useful as wandering monsters, or even as hirelings for the less scrupulous wizards.


That's all for now!  I think this pretty much cleans out my stash of unpainted models for Frostgrave, though no doubt I'll find a few more if I look properly through my storage.  And there's always the possibility that I might buy further models in the future...