Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Woods - Secrets of Shandisholm Sourcebook


Released very recently by Oakbound Studios, Secrets of Shandisholm is a sourcebook for tabletop roleplay set in the world of The Woods. it's a world of Celtic folklore where the lives of everyday mortals brush up against the supernatural realm of the Folk. 

Creatures such as the Fae, Sprites, Phooka and Nuckelavee are all detailed within, as well as the background of Shandisholm itself and all the rules for gaming in the world of The Wood using the SystemMech rules, which curiously do not require dice. The narrative always take precedence, which is something I can get behind. The book is crammed full of lovingly crafted stories and background, and anyone with even a passing interest in Celtic-style fantasy would do well to grab one. 

I was lucky enough to be asked to work on a painting tutorial for a Myeri Tiarna for the book, which I had a lot of fun doing. Of course, the Myeri are of particular interest to me. The author describes them thus: They're a blend of some things which have been massive influences on me- the Heroquest Fimir, The Dark Crystal, the art of Alan Lee, Irish folklore, Polynesian carving, Inca social structures, walking in the Dartmoor countryside. It's fair to say I poured a lot of my favourite things into them!

A man after my own heart. There is a lot of detail on the Myeri in Secrets of Shandisholm. For a taster:

The Myeri's origin is shrouded in mystery, but their own myths say they were created by a god called Dagda and were intended to be a perfect society, which is why they have a caste system based on physical traits. For some reason Dagda then rejected them and cast them from their home realm, leaving them wandering through the Void until they happened upon the Mortal Realm, emerging out of the sea. They were sustained on their travels by a piece of coral from their homeland which resisted the crushing horrors of the Void and guided them to the new land. Unfortunately the power of the coral drew the attention of the Fae, which sealed the doom of the Myeri and caused them to be scattered into the fens.


It's pretty fair to say a lot of love has gone into this book. The Myeri are easily drafted into a fimir clan, and any fimir fan should really take a look. Accompanying the book is a Myeri clan box. Inside are 9 metal miniatures: 5 Losbast warriors and 4 Oibrithe workers. The box also has parts to convert a Losbast warrior into a Draoi wizard, an Oibrithe worker into a Scealai (wandering poet/piper) and to change one weapon into the Pou-Koruru totem of the Meirge (ancestor guardian).


I am always excited at anything Celtic, stooped and cyclopean, but what excites me most about this set are the non-combatants. The workers and the wandering piper are something I that I'd really like to add to my clan. My absolute favourite Myeri was the piper from Oakbounds previous set. These look to be more of that ilk, the smith and mushroom gatherer my favourites, bar the Scealai. The huge Losbast with the totem is giving me the eye too. Well, he has only one, after all.

All in all, a tremendous read. As I say, if you are keen on Celtic folklore, fimir or a new narrative biased game system, give Secrets of Shandisholm a go. You can get more info a the Oakbound site, or from the Facebook page.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Shadow Empire - Terracotta Warrior Swordsmen Unit


Today sees the second unit of terracotta warriors for the Shadow Empire army finished. I had a little trouble finding command figures for this unit as I only had one set of the John Jenkins Designs command, and alas they are no longer available. After some searching I found an excellent source of Chinese Qin era miniatures at Renegade Miniatures in their Warring States range. I had previously sourced my Qin shields, halberds and swords from them (okay, the swords are Saxon, but nobody will notice, Shhh.) Not only do they have plenty of infantry and command figures, but also a good range of cavalry, so I guess those terracotta warriors riding bronze horses is going to be happening now.

On another note, Renegade's customer service is exemplary, they made sure I got exactly what I was after and then some, I can't recommend them highly enough.

Here's the Renegade command set below. There are a couple of officer models, the other one with the fabulous moustache will be leading the crossbowmen.


I particularly love the standard bearer. I made the standard from steel rod and a printed flag (repainted once attached and folded/torn) topped with a plastic skull for garnish.


The John Jenkins sculpts are a lot of fun, the definitely have a nice sense of humour to them. I love the guy on the left here who's using another warrior's arm as a weapon. His back is entirely caved in, as is the warrior's back on the right, who has given up his shield in favour of holding his torso together. They probably secretly hate Mr 'All in one piece' there in the middle.


So onto the crossbowmen. Once they are done, it'll be onto the non clay-based portions of the army such as LoPan's retinue and the vampires. I will be adding the aforementioned cavalry and a chariot to the terracotta contingent down the line as the army grows.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Kickstarter - Dark Dwarves


Chris over at Macrocosm has just launched his latest Kickstarter, Dark Dwarves. Being a long time chaos dwarf fan, I'm pretty intrigued by this, especially as they are more in the 'spiky stunty' style. There are a lot of the units you'd hope for, handgunners, crossbowmen, axemen, but also more esoteric units, like the 2 man mortar and weapons teams like the bazooka,  flame thrower and gatling gun.




So if you're looking for some great value evil dwarves, head on over and take a look. The add on section is also offering some deals on the crazy popular Monster Balls from Macrocosm's previous Kickstarter. They're pretty hilarious and have a lot of gaming uses. The ball of steel is something I'll have to pick up myself I think. Who doesn't want a giant floating armoured cyclops ball?

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Shadow Empire - Terracotta Warrior Halberdier Unit


My first unit for my mythological Chinese/ undead Cathayan army for Dragon Rampant is done, a unit of terracotta warriors. A four point heavy Infantry unit with the 'Undead - No Feelings' rule. Lo-Pan's rank and file.

I'm really rather delighted with how quickly I was able to get these done. The fact they are mostly one colour helped quite a bit. I managed to pick up a large coffee table book on the tomb of the first emperor recently, which has as much reference photos as I could ever want. It did give me the idea to add some cavalry though, so expect some terracotta warriors riding bronze horses at some point. Hopefully I can source a war chariot too.


I plan on three units of the warriors ultimately, one with halberds, one with sword and shield and one with crossbows. The second unit, the swordsmen, is on the assembly table, I just need to procure some command figures, as sadly, John Jenkins no longer sells the terracotta warrior range. Renegade Miniatures warring states range looks like a likely source of models for replacement officers and such. A little conversion work and slight mutilation with the solder pen (wearing a mask) and they should be good to go.


So that's four points down, twenty to go.

Friday, June 17, 2016

New Gaming Magazine - The Golden D6


The Golden D6 is a new hobby fanzine that has been increasingly popping up around the gaming community grapevine. Curious, I took a look and was impressed at the level of hobby love crammed in there. Battle reports, gaming articles and showcases of lots of delicious miniatures fill the pages. (The evil 40k clown army in issue 4 being a favourite. A jokaero in a top hat is always a good thing.) It gives me the old White Dwarf vibe, it even has stories in. It's always nice to get a magazine looking at a wide variety of miniature lines and gaming systems, and the D6 collects a lot of goodness from around the industry and community so my lazy ass doesn't have to go looking for it. Definitely worth a look.

Issue 5 will have an article on my Frostgrave deadites, which is pretty cool. So if you fancy giving it a look you can click the old link here and away you go. If you use the link and buy an issue or subscription I'll get a tasty cut, which I'll spend on miniatures, which I'll paint, and then post here. The circle of life. Beautiful.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Shadow Empire - Terracotta Warrior Officer


This guy is the test model for a new force, my first army specifically for Dragon Rampant, the Shadow Empire of Lo Pan. He was a "shadow emperor" appointed by the First Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Lo Pan was put on the throne as an impersonator because the Emperor was afraid of being assassinated. However, Lo Pan tried to take over and was cursed by the Emperor to exist without flesh for 2,000 years until he could marry a girl with green eyes.

Lo Pan, of course, is most well known to me from the film 'Big Trouble in Little China', a magnificent pulp movie where Lo Pan attempts to finally escape his curse, but is thwarted by Jack Burton, truck driver. If you haven't seen this film, you really are missing out, and the rest of this post won't make a lick of sense.

Seen it? Great, read on.

My take on this army is based on Lo Pan not long after he was cursed by the emperor, maybe a few hundred years. He commands a variety of Chinese horrors, first and foremost of which are the terracotta warriors, which he has been able to steal from the emperor's tomb by virtue of the fact that he did sit on the throne himself, if only as an impersonator.These clay warriors are supported by jade mummies, hopping vampires, guardians (the weird ball monster from the movie) and other nasties. I'm hoping to include a Xing Tian, a headless giant. Lo-Pan's unit will have the sorcerer himself as well as his hairy, bestial servant, some demons and a so on. The three storms will operate as a unit on their own. If all goes well I might even try a terracotta warrior war chariot.

The officer here is painted as if he's been in the tomb several hundred years. By pure chance I picked a huge coffee table book published during the warriors exhibition in London a few years ago, which was packed with great photo reference. The bronze sword took a little work, but after conferring with a mate on the level of age to apply to the bronze I think it works, and provides a point of interest on a pretty monotone model. Many of the real warriors are mottled with different colours, so I may try that on some of the unit.

So there you go, the humble beginnings to what I'm hoping will be an interesting 24 point force for Dragon Rampant.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Myeri Tiarna - Alan Lee's Fomorian


For today's post, I've returned to a favourite subject of mine.

This handsome fellow is a Myeri Tiarna by Geoff Sims, from the forthcoming Myeri Clan box for The Woods: Legends of Shandisholm (due out August, it looks like it's going to be a beautiful book). He's armed with a Snaghyrn and based on Alan Lee's Fomorian painting. You can find Oakbound here, and their Facebook page here. Anyone who has any interest in the Fimir or Celtic fantasy should really check it out. The background of the Myeri is fascintating, and anyone who loves the fimir will love this as dearly.

The original Alan Lee painting.
The Alan Lee Fomorian is somewhat chubbier than the Tiarna, and the colour scheme is quite different, as I've painted him to match my own clan. It's very nice to have a model based on this painting, the great grand-daddy of them all.


In my own clan this fellow will be Murdach, a noble of the Fir Domhan. Having a more human size noble gives me someone to lead my fimm, and as they are due to go raiding in about a fortnight, he couldn't arrive at a more opportune time.

I painted his cloak Hawk Turquoise to match the other high ranking fimir in the army, and added some freehand detail along the bottom to increase his bling yet further. His bronze has had some verdigris added. He might be a noble, but he still lives in a bog. 

Painting the Tiarna has given me some mojo for adding to the Fir Domhan. There's a Myeri bagpiper around here somewhere...

Wayland Games

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