Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Showcase: Falkaaran Adventurers

It's new release Tuesday!  The Falkaaran adventurers have surpassed their Kickstarter goal, hit a stretch goal, and are on their way out to backers and retail stores!  

I just finished painting the company's studio models this week, so let's take a look at what the finished freeband looks like...

Where to start?  There's a ton of character in each model and they're all so different, the opportunities afforded while painting a Falkaaran freeband are huge.  I was directed to paint each model to its "codex" standard, but as we'll see in the weeks to come when I paint more, there's a ton of ways to make your adventurers stand out from the rest on the table top.

The Bladeseekers hail from their home in the Falkaaran city Jendal, where the country's most renowned blade-schools can be found.  Some of the best swordsmen in the world, Bladeseekers often lead freebands after committing to a blade-quest, seeking to attain the rank of master.

The colors of Jendal are green and white; to accent those colors on the model, dark brown was chosen for leather armor, cream for clothing, light brown for trimming, and brass for buckles and studs, just enough contrast between pieces so that all his great details stand out.


The pikeman doesn't hail from one particular city, but is found across the country in the most populous areas, defending its citizens and protecting its baronies.  This model has fantastic scale armor that looks awesome painted with a dark silver and highlighted with mithril.

The shield has a lot of canvas for something cool to be painted on, or battle scarring from its time in the field, maybe something like this...

That's the Falkaar royal heraldry, but you could use any of the cities heraldry to make your shields stand out.
Falkaar Royalty

This tough looking guy is the Knight Defender, a royal guard and leader in the field.  Super tough this knight can stand up to a mountain of punishment and still lay down his own with his massive warhammer.

Hogwarts is located in Scotland, but the wizarding elite of Falkaar study the arcane arts in Tlhar (a tough name for a mere mortal to pronounce).  Their colors are a gold pterodactyl resplendent on a field of black.  The Traazorite Legions to the south are rumored to ride dinosaurs, and this seems proof positive of that.
I wanted to give this Fire Wizard the look of a true pyromancer, so a bit of glow on his staff, hand and eyes lets you know he can cast fireballs with the best of them.

The Falkaaran rune for fire is "Thra," which is featured prominently on the back of his cloak, surrounded by the signs of the celestial and mundane.  North (covered by his hanging hood), south, east, and west are at the four points on the circle, accompanied by sun (above east), moon (above west), earth (on the lower left), and more.  It's a kind of zodiac, if you will.

The Bladesisters of Karadel are resolute and pragmatic fighters, seeking the killing blow as swiftly as possible.  Red is a fitting color for such a maiden of death, and it just so happens that is the color of their home as well.

The Bladesister is wonderfully posed and a true joy to paint, I had a lot of fun putting lipstick and eye-shadow on this one!

Those of Falkaar's cities open to the ocean host a swarm of sailors, so when the freeband heads out, there's sure to one or two tagging along for a chance to claim their share of the booty!

This cool Sailor sculpt can easily be converted to be holding a brace of daggers or a sword for a bit of variation in your freeband.  The anchor does look cool though!

That's it for this week and a look at the new Falkaaran Adventurers for DGS's fantasy skirmish game Freeblades!  Come back next time as we start getting ready for GenCon.

Good gaming and happy hobbying!

Friday, July 26, 2013

The Glue that Holds it all Together

In most peoples' hobby kits there's knives, files, green stuff, paint, brushes, pliers...  but one of the most important hobby "tools" that I can't find in my tackle box, and one which I use every single day, is my radio.  In fact, I couldn't imagine starting my work day, or hobby time for that matter, without flipping on some tunes.  So, this week I'd like to put the models aside that I've been working on and talk about what I've been listening to, and maybe hear back from you, and see what motivates you while putting paint on plastic (or pewter or resin).

I'm a 21st century man, so my radio is actually my laptop computer which I hook up to a pair of old MCS 24" speakers and stream either Pandora or news radio.

Usually the first thing I turn on in the morning is NPR and listen to Morning Edition to get the day's scoop and so I can feel worldly.  Throughout the day I'll check back with NPR and listen to All Things Considered, Here and Now, and This American Life, and even listen to the BBC's World Service, but after the morning news it's time for something to put me in the fantasy mood...

Fantasy metal is by far, my most favorite thing to listen to while hobbying.  My obsession started on a Wednesday night game night over at my buddy Justin's, when he turned on Type-O Negative, Amon Amarth, Manowar, and Rhapsody of Fire.  I had grown up with with rock and metal bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden, but never realized there was a whole genre of music dedicated to fantasy themes.  I was hooked.

There's almost as many fantasy metal bands, with differing sounds and subject matters, for each and every fantasy lover, and that's really what I enjoy about the music.  No two bands sound or feel the same.  

One of my early favorites was Kamelot, who has a classic 80's hair metal feel and uses strong lyrical references to classic fantasy themes which they tie together with fantastic instrumentals and melodious vocals.  Tons of Kamelot songs jump out at me as truly great, like: Wander, Blucher, The Fourth Legacy, Karma, Center of the Universe, Farewell, Across the Highlands, and Wings of Despair.

Blind Guardian is another band that seems to transport the listener back in time to when music was a bit more gritty.  Guardian's lead singer has a haunting tinge to his voice that perfectly complements the age old themes in their songs and is backed up by sharp guitar riffs and instrumental solos.  I highly recommend:  Otherland, Lionheart, Skalds and Shadows, Mirror Mirror, and Mordred's Song.

Another band I would consider as a 'Classic' fantasy metal band is Dark Moor.  Like the two previous, Dark Moor's sound is shared equally by compelling vocals and enrapturing instrumental accompaniment.  A strong, albeit somewhat effeminate, lead vocalist sings along with the tinny ring a mandolin and lyre and rises above the pounding of deep guitar riffs.  Some of their favorites are:  Before the Duel, Nevermore, Maid of Orleans, Starsmaker (Elbereth), and Hand in Hand.

If you like pirates, you've gotta listen to Alestorm!  With a uniquely "piratey" sound, due to the use of an accordion or ketar, Alestorm is characterized by fast-paced feel good lyrics and instrumentals.  It's impossible to listen to them without a smile on your face.  Check out their songs:  Wenches and Mead, Huntmaster, Captain Morgan's Revenge, Terror on the High Seas, and The Sunk'n Norwegian.

There's a ton of great other bands and songs out there and not time to feature them all!  Here's a quick rundown of songs that you have to hear:  Manowar's Sons of Odin, Falconer's Lord of the Blacksmith's, Korpiklaani's Pine Woods, Hammerfall's Let the Hammer Fall, Sonata Arctica's Don't Say a Word, and Turisas's To Holmgard and Beyond.

These are some of the songs that fuel my hobby, so, what fuels yours?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Bandit Job Posting: Those Who Wish to Keep Their Left Eye Need Not Apply

Raiding and pillaging is hard work, and those who are on the front lines take the brunt of the abuse.  Throughout the ages an army's expendables have gone by a plethora of names: cannon-fodder, grunt, chaff, kamikaze, the list goes on.  For the Black Rose Bandits in Faelon they simply call theirs "thugs."  This week we're going to look at four unlucky fellows who pulled the short straw and got the thankless duty of being bandit cannon fodder.  It's hard work, and as you can tell by every single one of them having an eye patch over their left eye, not a great career move if you want to keep your left side as your best side.

This project is thanks to Jon C. who commissioned up four different poses for his thugs.  He wanted something different, a little more dynamism, different flavor, but he didn't say anything about the eye patches...

Here's the stock thug pose, you may remember this guy from a previous post where I converted yet another thug for Jon.

To get the all-pewter models into different poses took a little green stuff, some brass pins, and a fair amount of elbow grease.

This guy is probably my favorite, somewhere along in his adventures he found a conquistador helmet!  Sometimes I have a very rough idea of what I want to do with the green stuff and I let it tell me what it wants to do when I put it on the model.  After smoothing and shaping the helmet a bit, it said, "Matt we're going back to the 16th century with this guy."  I can't argue with what the 'stuff says.

In hindsight I probably should have given him a silly little moustache.

Here he is painted up.  I really am pleased with his color palette, the contrasts are subtle and classic with a nice disbursement of light, medium, and dark browns.

It's hard not to like this pose, it says exactly what it means, "I'm going to brain you with this chunk of wood!"

This model needed a major leg reposition.  I cold get away with simply bending the leg on some with jeweler's pliers, but on this guy I had to get out the bone saw and take some off the top of his left leg to get the pewter to move as far as I wanted it to.  Repositioning the legs really is the difference in building the overall feel of this model's action, without it his lower half would look terribly rigid compared to the action above. 

This guy has a lot of potential for interpretation, what is he doing with his right arm?

Is he punching?  Taunting?  About to lay across with a backhand?

Ultimately it's up for you to decide, though I think he could be just about to do this.

This guy is really swinging for the fences!

So much so that he's completely weight bearing on his rear foot.

A blood trail streaming off his mace would push this guy over the top...

Well, that's it for this week and these thug models!  Thanks for stopping by and checking out my work.  If you'd like a model professionally converted contact me at midwestmonsterlab@gmail.com and I'll get started on your project!

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