Monster May(hem): The Last Straw…

I’ll have to admit, I was getting a little concerned that I wasn’t going to get my “monster” completed before the end of May.

I’d sat down, fully intending on making some in-roads into everything I’d previously started, then discovered that the reading glasses I use for detail painting had snapped, meaning I couldn’t use them.

My mother-in-law had given me one of those magnifier headsets, with removable lenses, so I thought this would be an ideal time to try them out…

Shouldn’t have bothered. For something supposedly designed for this exact purpose, they were remarkably crap. The lenses are too small, so you’re almost cross-eyed using them and whilst they are standard magnifications, I couldn’t find one that met my needs. I ended up going out and buying a cheap pair of 3.5 magnification reading glasses for 99p – whichnis what I should have done in the first place.

So, the only thing I’d managed to do during this debacle was give the figure and base an undercoat of Docrafts Linen.

As this is pale yellowy-white, I thought it would give me a head start on making it look like straw.

I then lined up my yellow and brown paints to see what would be the best colour to go for next. I ended up using an ancient pot of GW Swamp Brown, which is more yellow than brown.

And now we were cooking with gas!

The next stage wad to provide some depth, with a wash of brown. Viewing various images of hay bales online, I decided that probably Docrafts Chocolate Brown would be the best option, so a watery solution of this was mixed, then liberally applied to the model. I also used the same colour, but unwatered, to paint the muddy base.

Looking at the model, I thought it looked a little one note, so went back online to se how others had painted it. Unsurprisingly, the first one that came up was the one from Crooked Dice’s website, followed by one on Brummie’s Wargaming blog and Simon’s version at Fantorical.

Looking at all three, I noted that both CD’s and Simon’s had varigations in the painting, which upon closer inspection of both the pictures and the model itself, I realised were actually branches/sticks lashed into it’s body. Looking at the brown paint I had, I decided they were a bit too brown, so mixed some Chocolate Brown with some Docrafts Dark Grey until I had a colour I was happy with. All the ‘sticks’ were then painted and some of the bindings given a highlight of Linen.

As I wanted the eyes of the Straw Man to look as though they were glowing, I filled the cavities with a generous wash of GW Mithril Silver, followed by a coat of GW Bogey Green, which I also used to touch up the straw round the eye holes, to look as if the light was reflecting from within.

I then turned my attention to the base, giving the broken planks another coat of Linen, then washed the mud part of tge base with Docrafts Burnt Ochre. The planks then got a wash of mid-grey, as wood tends to go this colour if left untreated and then weathered.

I was almost going to call it done, but something was niggling at me. If you’ve ever been to a farm or anywhere that has hay or straw, it doesn’t matter how well bound it is, you always get stray strands scattered about. That’s what was missing.

Luckily, the sewing tin had a reel of cotton the right colour, so several lengths were cut, then PVA painted around the figure’s feet. I then sprinkled these about, adjusting where necessary, until it looked right.

I think it adds a little something.

So, Monster May(hem) done and with time to spare. As I had to wait for the figure to dry, I decided to crack on with AND finish my Action Man-inspired figures.

First, the finally completed Bulletman;

Next, Atomic Man;

And yes, he does have the silver piping on his sleeves;

And finally, what was originally a HeroQuest plastic Fimir, but with a little Carrion Crow magic, is now The Intruder- “Action Man’s Greatest Enemy”;

And as the three above are “Forgotten Heroes” this leads nicely into the announcement for this year’s ‘community art project.’

For those who are not aware of what this is… where have you been? We’ve only been doing this every year since 2016!

Joking aside, if you’ve not taken part before, the “rules” are simple:-

During the month of June, you must produce a recognisable figure of a character that has either not had an official or unofficial figure made of them or has, but you want your own version.

Any scale, any genre – your choice. You want to paint up a GW Imperial Commissar as Marshal Law? Go ahead! You want to sculpt the ultimate version of Venom? Go for it! You want to use a discarded Hulk action figure head to make a 28mm version of M.O.D.O.K.? Um… I may have beaten you to it…

If you want to take part, just drop a comment on here and I’ll add you to the blogroll. Your first post should introduce the character, as if it’s a touch obscure (like when I did Bananaman) people may not know who it is.

Any questions regarding this, feel free to ask. At the end of the day, it’s all about having fun, so no need to take it too seriously and, if you do rake part, at the end of June, you’ll have a unique figure that no one else has.

Roll on Forgotten Heroes 2022!

A Brief Diversion to a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

Waaaaaay back in May last year, I backed my first Kickstarter, details of which can be found in this post.

It was supposed to ship around September 2021, but various issues led to delays, but finally my pledge arrived last Monday! Yay!

However, I wasn’t in when the postie turned up, so had to wait until last night to collect my goodies. I pledged £30 ($40) for a squad of 28mm Astroguards cast in white metal, which would have been 8 Astroguards, so £3.75 a figure. However, due to the success of the campaign, I ended up with the bonus add-ons, so ended up with 22 figures, which works out as £1.36 a figure. Result!

Here is the Astroguard squad, with two female Astroguards swapped out for the duplicate sculpts from the original squad, along with two of the bonus figures, armed with heavy weapons – a light repeating laser on the left and a meson blaster on the left.

They kind of remind me of the cloud car pilots from The Empire Strikes Back, so I may very well paint them to resemble that uniform.

Next, more bonus figures. These are, left to right, top to bottom, “cantina celebration” aka party walrus-man, Gary, Beefhead Elder, Rod Roebuck, Space Cadet, Ensign Packman and Man Hunter.

Obviously, you can see these were inspired by Star Wars, Star Trek and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, but all will join my Distant Stars project.

Finally, we have the droids…er…bots. A Power Bot at the top, with a selection of arms and four Scouter Bots, all with a different head. I may add the two spare arms to one of the Scouter Bots, if I feel inclined.

Nice clean sculpts, although some flash on a couple of the figures, but nothing major. Strangely, they were supplied with 20mm slotta bases, rather than 25mm, which is fine for the Bots, but look too small for the others, so these may have to get swapped out.

These were just the figures from the basic pledge, so there are more in the range. Should you be interested in getting some for yourself, this is what the Kickstarter page has to say;

“Missed the campaign? Don’t worry, there’s still an opportunity to pick up figures from the Star Schlock Astroguards Kickstarter. 

Visit for info!

That’s all for this brief diversion, as I still have a giant made from Shredded Wheat to paint up before the end of the month – then we’re in to Forgotten Heroes territory!

God knows what I’m going to do for that… I’m not quite as organised as I was last year. I have a vague idea, but we’ll have to see if if will work.

Monster May(hem): Lost in the Mists

I can’t quite believe that I haven’t posted on here since March…

Whilst what time I did have spare has been used for hobby-related pursuits, it’s not been miniature-based and not really stuff that could be posted about.

And no, Keith, I’ve not been battling sky-pirates on Barsoom, clad in an outfit that would put Sean Connery to shame…

I was actually scooped up by the Mists of Ravenloft and have been spending my time negotiating the tangled history of the Demiplane of Dread, in order to make some sense of it…

In other words, I finally got my arse in gear to start typing up my revised version of this setting for AD&D Second Edition, picking and choosing the bits I liked from the setting (supplemented with fan-created content from The Fraternity of Shadows website) and revising those Darklords that I thought were a bit weak or incomplete.

Obviously, this is a pretty major undertaking and one that I’ve been planning on doing for a while (although some of my musings on revised Domains is available on the Café du Nuit forum on the Fraternity’s website, should anyone be at all interested – the Crow flies to many places…).

Anyway, as June is looming ever closer, which means Forgotten Heroes is on the horizon (yes, it will be back again this year), I needed to get my hand back in, so decided to take part in Keith’s annual Monster May(hem). So naturally, I needed a monster.

As the “Straw God” is actually a creature in Children of the Night: Demons, a fan-created netbook available at the Secrets of the Kargatane website and I happened to have the below languishing in a box, I decided to combine the two:

So, first order of the day was to plaster the base with Milliput, texture this with a rolled up bit of tinfoil, then jam the figure’s feet into this to set. I then attempted to attach the arms, initially with Milliput (didn’t work, as would have required me to sit there holding it in place for far too long), then Loctite Multi-Purpose Strong Adhesive. The latter is, quite frankly, rubbish – unless you want to cover your model in stringy bits of glue that stick to everything, but fail to stick together what you actually need it to.

So, we went with the old faithful – Wilko’s own brand ‘power bond adhesive’, which is the cheaper equivalent of No More Nails. I should really use this first, as I always end of using it and it works… Seriously, forget your expensive superglues in their tiny tubes – get some of this stuff. Squeeze a little out on to a spatula and spread as you please. Sets pretty quickly and as it’s designed to attach skirting boards to walls, etc. it’s pretty damn strong. And you get 300g for £2.60, which is cheaper than a 20g tube of superglue. It’s a no-brainer really…

Anyway, the base was looking a little empty, so some suitably snapped coffee stirrers and cook’s matches were snapped and distributed to reprsent broken fencing and we had a figure almost ready for painting;

However, I do have a plastic box somewhere which has some small white plastic birds, suitable for either pigeons or crows depending on how they are painted, which were from a model railway site. The idea is to add one or two of these as ‘crows’ to either the base or perched on his head and/or shoulder, but I couldn’t remember where the box was…

So, I may not have set the bar particularly high for myself (compared to others taking part), but I’m hoping that I will end up with a cool model that I’ll be able to use in my upcoming Ravenloft games… just don’t tell my players.

That’s all for this post, but rest assured I will be posting a little more regularly over the next couple of months.