Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bring Out Yer Dead! Bring Out Yer Dead!

Hello everyone and welcome to a very grave installment of the Dispatch.

For this one, we are going to look at a graveyard and someone that might just call it home. So without further ado, let's get to it but make sure that you're quiet. After all, you don't want to wake the dead, right?

I Can Really Dig This Place
Another Malifaux Terrain Project

Another piece of special terrain that I wanted to make for Torments Reach is the graveyard. After all, you can't have a western town without a graveyard, right? In the Malifaux rulebook, they define a graveyard as a piece of terrain covering at least 3"x3". For mine, I decided to go a little larger as it is supposed to be a piece that models can interact with so there's no point in making it too small IMO. So first things first, we need a base. A few quick (and noisy) cuts with my handy Skil saw and voila! Instant MDF base!

Next comes adding a little bit of depth to the graves. It you think of most movies, they always show graves as these raised up section of ground by the marker. Makes sense if you think about it as they did stick something in the hole that would displace some of the dirt. To create a similar effect with my graveyard I grabbed some corrugated cardboard, cut it into roughly man-sized rectangles, and hot glued them onto my MDF base.

Next came the grave markers. There are a number of different ways to do this. There are companies out there that make resin or metal tombstones, not to mention the plaster casts that you can get from Hirst Arts. All of these are well and good but there's two problems that I have with them. Number 1: I don't own any of them already. Number 2: I'm cheap. Instead I decided to make my own markers out of some basswood that I had floating around.

In all honesty, I also prefer how this method looks compared to the other options. If you think about it, I am trying to make a frontier town. Why would they spend the time and expense to ship in stone grave markers? Save your money for the living, the dead won't mind.

Now that you have the markers, it's time to attach them. Liberal amounts of hot glue was the route that I choose so that I wouldn't have to worry about any of them popping off in the middle of a game.

With those little details added, its time to start making it look like terrain. Dump on the glue, pour on the sand, and come back tomorrow!

Once the glue is dry, paint it up with some brown paint, dry brush it with a lighter shade, and add some flock or static grass (whichever suits your fancy). And there you have it!

Not bad for a first attempt at making a graveyard in my opinion, though I think I'll do things a little different for the second one (Remember the first pic? After all, you can't have enough graveyards!). With this one I think that the graves and the pile of dirt are too angular so I'll have to see what I can do to fix that but we'll look at that another time.

Honey, I Thought You Said We Were Having Goulash For Dinner!
Taking A Closer Look At Mantic Games Ghoul Miniatures

For those of you who might not have heard of them, Mantic Games is a fairly new miniature company from England that makes plastic fantasy figures. Basically, think along similar lines to that other mini company across the pond but a lot less expensive. Take one of the most versatile and popular minis you can find out there nowadays, the zombie. The other company charges $35 for twenty multi-part plastic models while Mantic give you thirty for the same price. This is all well and good but just what do these minis look like? For that much less it seems like they would probably take a hit in the quality department. I've always wanted to take a look at them "in the flesh" but never had the chance until I found a promo on the Mantic website.

"Sign up for the Mantic newsletter and an English online store newsletter and receive a sprue of two ghouls for free." That sounds like a heck of a good price to me so I signed up... and then never heard anything. Months went by but I never looked into what had happened. Personally, I figured that there must have been some loophole that I fell into for being international. No worries either way really.

Then I received this package in the mail in the beginning of November. The crazy thing is check out the date that it was shipped!

Six and a half months later and they actually arrive. Talk about crazy! Not that I'm complaining about getting free stuff, it just cracks me up that it took that long. So what do these things actually look like...

As you can see on the sprue, there are two different bodies that you can mix and match the torsos and legs, plus several heads and hand options. Some variety like that is always a plus in my book as it means that you can make a whole unit and not have them looking like gingerbread men straight out of the cookie cutter. The heads, bodies, and legs are all attached with recesses instead of a flat join which I like as well. It seems like this gives a slightly stronger connection over a flat seem. The hands are a different story though. To swap out for the knife or cleaver hand, you need to cut off the current hand and stick the new on onto the flat stump that is left behind. Personally this makes me wonder about durability especially because the proportions on these figures seem to be much closer to realistic instead of the usual heroic. Then again, if you get a even join there you shouldn't have too much trouble as long as you're not throwing the things around between games.

The only other concern for me was the size. At first glance, these minis seem to be a little on the small side as you can see here.

The thing to remember is that these guys are seriously hunched over like they are running forward, which you can definitely see when you turn them to the side.

If he were actually standing up straight he'd probably be close to Sonnia in height which is saying something as Wyrd minis tend to be larger than the norm.

Overall, I have to say that I'm really impressed by Mantic. Not only is detail very crisp but there was almost nothing for me to clean up before I started gluing these guys together. It's worth keeping in mind that the proportions on these figures is more realistic than you normally find but that doesn't strike me as a bad thing, just something to be aware of. They are also continually expanding on their current lines and adding more as well. Currently Mantic produces undead, elves, and dwarves and there are more in the works even now so there's almost something for everyone out there. Combine all of this with their high quality and exceptionally affordable price point and you definitely have a winning combination. If you are looking to make a fantasy army, you should definitely check them out.

Parting Shot...

And there's another one in the books! Thanks for checking out the blog and as always, if you have any questions or comments feel free to either leave them right here on the blog or you can email me at Plus you can now follow the Dispatch on Facebook by clicking on the like button to the right. Until next time...

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