Sunday 30 October 2022

New 2mm Buildings from Irregular Miniatures: Review/Comparison


I thought I’d do a short review of some of the recently released 2mm buildings from Irregular Miniatures, and see how they compare to another manufacturer, particularly with regard to those in my Strength and Honour project.

Now Irregular have had scenics and terrain to go alongside their 2mm figures for many, many years, but they were mostly very much in the ‘area’ category, with multiple buildings to a base rather than necessarily being scaled to go individually with the figures at around 1/900th, and it is only more recently that they have been working on stand-alone architecture.

I’ve discussed using the output of various manufacturers with 2mm troops before,

but wanted to catch up on what I think are some very good new entries from Ian and the gang, sculpted by the brilliant Geoff Addison:

Now Geoff and Irregular have of late been absolutely knocking it out of the park in terms of adding new sculpts to the range, particularly some excellent scenic and terrain items, as well as these new offerings, so I was keen to take a look at some examples in the flesh, and offer a few thoughts.

Owning as I do already, an absolute plethora of small buildings, I just went for some representative examples from across the Classical/Arab and Medieval stock, rather than buying the whole real estate !

First up, let’s look at two Medieval Keeps and the Roman Military Watchtower:

In line with all of Mr Addison’s work, these all possess bags of character, and whilst demonstrating their ‘hand-sculpted’ pedigree, are clean and nicely proportioned - not ‘scale’ architectural models as such, but truly evocative and charming pierces that would bring interest to any table….

The wooden keep with moat is particularly fun, and usefully, the tower is a separate piece, so the moated mound could be used in a variety of ways:

Next up, the Classical Temples, Bath House and Military Command Building:

Lots of detail on all of these, and again, absolutely oozing character whilst giving a good representation of the originals - the Apse on the Bath House is spot-on !

The only funny thing, that I realised after taking these photos, is that the authentically characteristic arched doorways on the Command Building do look rather like the iconic sign of a somewhat anachronistic fast food chain - I promise to paint my arches a golden yellow !

As can be seen in the photo at the head of the post, and in the following, these more formal buildings are accompanied by a variety of smaller but just as useful utilitarian ones, including granaries, stables, barracks, and a great court-yarded Villa:

Once more, lots of potential there - all would be useful in a number of ways - similarly, the Shrine and Arab Tombs are really neat items - any self-respecting small scale world needs its own Via Appia lined with just such monuments and memorials !

So, how do these latest releases compare to those available from the other major manufacturer, namely Brigade Models in the UK ? - now I’ve gone via Scratch-built, Monopoly Houses, Rod Langton 1/1200th, Mighty Empires plastics to even 3mm from Peter Pig over the years, but the go-to has to be Brigade’s ranges in terms of the broadest variety of interesting individual buildings, and so I’ve put the two together in the following shots:

I think that you’ll immediately note that Irregular’s are larger, more on the chunky side of things, but not necessarily out of scale with Brigades’ - 

The level of detail is obviously different, but not overwhelmingly so, and the apparent ‘bulkiness’ is easily put down to differing types of design or construction:

Of course, Irregular’s are on their own integral bases, but these are relatively thin and innocuous, certainly not overly large or intrusive.

I think the most striking difference apart from this, is the perhaps ‘organic’ look they have, in comparison with the almost ‘clinical’ lines of those from Brigade - the latter are definitely more architecturally exact, whilst the former are a bit more expressionistic - I think based in multiples, Brigades buildings definitely look the part, but perhaps a single structure would be well represented by these new characterful ones from Irregular….

I’m definitely looking forward to painting them up, and will not hesitate to use them alongside their competitors, and in any event, am pleased to welcome their commercial release as additions to the Lead Pile, and very much feel as with so many things that are Hobby-related: “The More the Merrier !”……

Tuesday 25 October 2022

15mm Dungeon: Dungeon on Display !


I thought it was about time I put all the various items I’ve been working on alongside the Dungeon Tiles and saw how it all fits together - sort of a dry run, rather than an actual game, to give an idea what all the fuss has been about !

I laid out all the tiles from the TT Combat set, here covering a footprint of around three feet by three, and  added random items of scenics from the collection, to encompass a Wizard’s Chamber and the Lair of the Liche King, with various connecting corridors.

It soon became apparent that you can never have enough base tiles ! - the set is a generous one, but I realised that I have created and built enough scenics and terrain to cover multiple sets….. I consoled myself by deciding that it gave me the option to set up various themed dungeons, with differing pieces, rather than trying to throw them all into one !

I also felt that in actual gaming terms, it might be more practical to only lay down small areas at a time, where the adventurers are actually located as they move through, rather than having it all laid out at once - giving the opportunity to re-use tiles that are effectively behind the party, unlikely to be re-visited.

I also intend to lay the tiles onto a black base cloth, hopefully giving more of a sense of the filled space between corridors, but for clarity in the photos just put them down onto the bare tabletop.

So, without further ado, let’s join the Adventure Party as they enter the unknown - having descended a mossed covered stone stair, they halt at a gloomy-looking carved stone entrance:

Luckily Vilek the Thief has brought a flaming torch to light their way - what might lay beyond ?

The Warrior Woman Mela and Borrin the Dwarf push ahead, their suspicions aroused by a strange skittering sound, as if something was stealthily approaching across the floor of the stone corridor - oh the Horror !

Arachnid foes duly despatched, the Heroes spread out, not knowing what might await them - but sure that it will unlikely be friendly nor without peril…..

Gandagor the Ginger and Herk the Fighter find themselves beset by oozing slimes, and then imperilled by a brutish Ogre:

The Ranger Leofric, meanwhile, has stumbled upon the creeping-crawling guardians of the Plague icon…. Luckily he has his trusty bow, helping him avoid the poison they emit:

Vilek has thought better of getting involved in all this combat, and sneaks off to find something more interesting - beyond an eldritch archway, a strange glowing portal beckons…..

The Party has so far been holding their own, vanquishing various foes and overcoming numerous challenges, yet they are naive if they think their efforts have gone un-noticed, or that an evil will has not been watching their every move…..

Herk and Mela reunite to confront the powerful Wizard, lured to his mysterious chamber by the piles of treasure and plunder that are displayed therein, but things are looking dicey…..

Their material weapons, though tried, tested and true, are no match for his dark deviltry….. luckily, reinforcements arrive in the knick of time - the showdown begins ! 

Pretty pleased, then, with how everything goes together so far - the scratch-built items enhanced by various commercial and 3-D printed pieces, and the character minis looking good on their circular bases - given how much I have on hand, should be easy to give them plenty of different challenges.

One point to note is my latest purchase - some great solid-looking doors from Combat Zone Scenery - TT Combat have MDF kit doors to go alongside the Tile sets, but these are scaled for 28mm minis and looked a little overscale to my eyes, as well as being a bit flimsy, so I was very pleased to find these from the ChibiQuest Range:

The Chibi ranges are obviously for a specific game ethos, not actually designed for small scale minis as such, but I love the detail, character and heft in these items:

They definitely look the part next to 15mm figures:

All of the Combat Zone output is of high quality and well made, with plenty of small scale interest to be found amidst their varied ranges - well worth a browse !

To conclude then, a look at the set that started it all, giving a view of the amount and shape of the various pieces that go to make it up - they might be ‘flat’ and relatively simple when compared with much of the commercial and diy 3 or 2D product out there, but certainly provided me with plenty of inspiration !


Tuesday 18 October 2022

15mm Dungeon: Baddies !


A mini-hiatus from hobby work has seen a bit of a delay in the project, but pleased to report that some progress has been made with a few of the ‘Baddies’, who will be the adversaries of the dungeon adventurers.

These are all from Ral Partha Europe, and as always, are interesting and characterful sculpts, fitting nicely into depicting various magic-users and dealers of dastardly deeds in the darkness of dungeons !

First up, the Anti-Paladin, who I am calling ‘Omega’ - mainly because my attempt at drawing a skull on the front of his breastplate went awry with the first stroke, so I curtailed my ambitions somewhat, and went with the Greek letter, that seemed appropriate enough ! - He’s quite splendid with his closed helm and bouffant plume, and suitably menacing with his twin swords….

I’d thought of doing a sort of ‘flaming’ look on the blade held aloft, but so far this does seem a bit of a damp, if bright squib….. more detailing needed - have to dig out a ‘OOO’ brush with a good tip and try adding some licking yellow flame for the full effect…….

Next we have the Sorceress Gargamela, who is another beautiful mini, with flowing hair and robe and imperiously pointing finger - thunderbolt about to whizz from the tip, no doubt !

 She could also do with a bit more detailing, and some tidying up of an overzealous wash - I went for a relatively neutral green on the robe,  rather than something more starkly evil-looking, in order that she might do double duty as a more neutral NPC.

I’m quite please with how her hair turned out - I added in a shock of white - perhaps the frequent use of Magic taking its toll….

She is accompanied by the Druid Sylvanus, whirling his yew-tree staff above his head to conjure the retribution of some natural force that the adventure party has upset with their inquisitive blundering:

He certainly seems upset about something, anyway! I quite like the grumpy look there ! - some more tidying up required, but overall not too bad - again, with a somewhat neutral green, to suggest he is probably more wronged against, than actually on the side of Evil.

In a similar vein, we next meet Gandagor the Grey, who may or may not have wicked intent, but is certainly mysterious enough in his ashen robes:

He’s got some lovely symbols/sigils woven into his clothing, and a nice set of accoutrements hanging from his belt - I like the pose, too - looking as if he is just about to summon up something nasty !

Talking of nasty, let’s move on to two characters whose alignment is probably obvious, given their traditionally ‘bad’ appearance:

First, Derengar the Wizard, skull bedecked robes and all :

I need to do a lot more work on him, just the plain block colours and a bit of a dry-brush for now, but his imperious look deserves much more attention - he’s definitely the type of big ‘bad’ that you might encounter on a final level ! - another lovely mini from RPE.

Talking of lovely, his partner in crime is Evadra, splendiferous in her dark intent, and dangerous with her cursed blade:

I went for a sort of eagle’s wing look for her flowing cloak, which is replete with scale like adornments - hasn’t quite come off as I imagined, so a bit more re-working needed, I think - quite pleased with her sword though, definitely has a red-hot poker vibe !

There are rumours that Evadra has been known to seek the company of The Drow or Dark Elves, and perhaps her human appearance masks something else entirely….. meet with her at your peril…..

Talking of the Drow, a number have suddenly materialised on my painting tray:

Evadra may have some minions on the horizon !

That said, perhaps the Dark Elves are in league with another Siren-like life form, a Dryad of similarly dangerous charms: 


A lovely sculpt, originally form Crom’s Anvil, now with CP models - looking like she could lure anyone to their doom !

Beware the temptresses of the Dark !


Sunday 25 September 2022

15mm Dungeon: Character Progression…..


I’ve started the process of tackling the painting of my first group of player-characters for the dungeon crawl, as introduced in my previous ‘Roll Call” posting, with so far, some mixed results….

The minis I chose were principally from Ral Partha Europe, and are all excellent, well-defined sculpts with plenty of detail and character, so in terms of initial block painting, went quite smoothly - some of my colour choices not withstanding ! 

It was only when I made an attempt at highlighting, using washes etc, that things went a bit awry, showing I still have a lot to learn in tackling 15mm !

Anyway, onto the cast list:

First up, we have Melita the Female Cleric / Magic User, of the Sisters of the Sword, accompanied by the wily and devious Vilek, the Thief:

I think Melita warrants some more detailing, and although the basic paint job of ecclesiastical-type garb is fine, the highlights and first wash have rather muddied her off-white robes, similarly, areas of the flesh are now rather blotchy - I think getting my eye in at this scale is still taking time, and what should have been easy paler skin highlights are just sort of blobby - sorry Melita !

Vilek has come off a bit better, although the tabard/sporran affair to his front and his shoulder pads should have been a nice contrasting colour, again the highlights are off, with them turning a ‘spicy’ orange colour - he’s come over as a bit Sci-fi, - thankfully, his flaming torch serves to ground him somewhat…..

Moving on, we encounter more of the Thief’s companions, namely Herk the Hero, Male Fighter, and Borrin the Dwarf, a veteran warrior:


They are another pair of cleanly realised and interesting sculpts, with very good facial features and proportions, although Herk is a little on the short side !

The Fighter is wearing a nice pair of metal greaves, open to the rear, and a back and breast plate - nothing too hard to handle, although again, I’ve managed to muddy rather than give depth to his clothing - the saving grace, perhaps, is that I’m finally getting a bit better at dotting in eyes - a bit less ‘googly’ than before….. his shield is a nice blank canvas, but I have yet to think of what design to add - I wanted an orange field, but sort of faltered having put in an off-centre oblique/bend in white…..hmmm….will have to wait for more inspiration to come…. 

Borrin is replete with small details and weapons/accoutrements, as well as sporting some impressive horns to his helm…. I’m quite pleased with him so far, although I’m unsure about leaving his beard such a bland grey - my ambition might take me along the road of trying some more natural tints, but the reality is that I don’t want to muck it up - veteran dwarves do not like blotchy beards !

His shield design was my attempt at a flying green dragon in heraldic style 2D - bearing in mind he is holding it horizontally -definitely needs some more work - a bit more squashed gecko than terrifying draconian……

Joining him is Leofric the Ranger, resplendent in Lincoln green, ( I know, I know, a bit of a lazy choice for the stereotypical archer…)


Again, he’s suffering from some shoddy highlights, particularly blotchy on his face - but overall not too bad, if so far a bit bland.

Next, we have Mela the Shield Maiden, Female Fighter, who is rather suffering from my poor fashion choices for her, and Bork the Barbarian, who is giving me all sorts of headaches…..

Mela is an amazing piece of work, with her sharp, expressive features and detailed dress - but I think I have rather let her down with the colour choice - I mean, tangerine orange with neon yellow details….. whoa - the 70s are calling and Abigail wants her frock back……. I think years of painting uniform drab and more drab have not prepared me for coming up with inspiration for the female form - so I am sure she is cursing me for my poor taste - it’s a bad bridesmaids dress if I ever saw one !

I added the shield from my spares pile, and not wanting to polish the tur…..I mean, gild the lily, I went completely the other way with a plain brown - hoping to tone things down…. Not sure it works, really, so will have to have a think - at least it makes her look quite business-like…..

Bork is also all business, with his gratuitous weapons load of sword, long dagger, axe, shield, bow and quiver, topped off with a rolled blanket - there is a lot going on !

This sculpt is from Alternative Armies, and is actually a carry-over from 15mm Asgard/TTG:

Given his age, his features / details are rather soft, so a bit harder to bring out the character without a light touch….

Unfortunately, my painting here is as thick as that thing between his ears, and he is in serious need of some careful re-touching and detailing work - I will quickly gloss over my attempts at a tartan blanket for the shoulder roll…..gulp…..

Bringing up the rear comes the gorgeous Gandagor the Ginger, Male Magic User, and his wobbly green staff of wizardry…..

Again, a lovely detailed and characterful sculpt in appropriate pose, but also again, a bit let down by some of my muddy washing and over-enthusiastic dry-brushing…. Definitely a work in progress - someone will have to work their magic on him before he can really look the part.

So, as my old school reports always used to say “A good start, but must do better….” 

However, undaunted by my mediocrity - I went ahead with a bit of fun that is reminiscent of someone that people of a certain vintage might remember - a few visual clues:

Now, as a hardened player of the real thing at the time, and probably by then being too old for its target demographic, I recollect being scoffily dismissive of this particular cartoon, feeling it was misnomered as Dungeons and Dragons, but actually with hindsight, it wasn’t actually that bad, given the intent behind it:

One character that particularly annoyed me was the eponymous Dungeon Master, but when I spotted the shape and size of the Dosojin from their Sengoku Japanese range, something clicked inside my head….

So, my project now has its very own director of all things Dungeon:

A good bit of fun, anyway, before I get too serious in judging the quality of my efforts so far - he certainly seems quite pleased with himself, even when flanked by two of Alternative Armies’ scorpions:

Don’t forget to tune in next time for more adventures, Kids!