Sunday, 28 August 2022

15mm Dungeon: Tombs !


I’ve got a bit obsessed with the Tomb scenery that I created recently, and have been busy making additional pieces for the dungeon when I should be progressing the completed figure count…..oh well…it’s just that these small items are fun and easy to make, so I got a bit distracted…..

I realised that no self-respecting Liche Lord / entombed mummified Wizard would be seen dead (geddit ?) without a pair of sentries, so I painted up a pair of the skeletons from Alternative Armies to go alongside the already completed ones:

These skellies are on the smaller side in terms of heft and height when seen alongside the Guard figures, so I thought they would be fine for installing in some alcoves to stand watch over their ‘former’ master:

I think I had more success with the rusted and ageing effects than with the other skeletons, and tried to make them more mummified-looking than re-animated:

 I also attempted to echo the red palette used on the mummy and his throne for their armour and shields, and carved out two rough niches from blue foam as their guard posts:

These went so well, that I went ahead and added two flanking pieces as sort of catacombs or ossuaries, with some spare skulls and weapons/shields - again, carved out of blue foam, weathered, and with a few symbols  in a long dead language to adorn the walls:


I think I’ll add some additional bits and bobs to them in time, I have more de-articulated bones and weapons lurking in the lead pile somewhere…..

Next up, realising that I already had their occupants wandering free, I made some actual tombs:

These free standing tombs will populate the dungeon chamber - just offcuts of foam mounted on plasticard and suitably weathered, accessorised, and with some suggestions of long-worn inscriptions:

So, the Liche Lord is now well taken care of, with his own des-res to inhabit, and lots of companions to cater to his needs, so next time I’ll be turning to more inhabitants of the dungeon, mostly of a green or yellow persuasion, and hopefully moving the figure count closer to where we can start to see the cast and crew at play……

Sunday, 21 August 2022

15mm Dungeon: Treasures and Traps


Working on more Dungeon scenics at the moment, namely treasure piles, trade goods and some traps for the unwary. These are a combination of scratch-built and store-bought items, often including various accessory pieces as described in previous posts.

We’ll have a look at what’s on offer, and then send our reporter on the scene, Harry, to check them out….

First up, a combination of some translucent resin ‘crystals’ as gem piles, and coin/precious stone hoards, all based on the single squares that came as part of the original TT Combat tiles set:

I’d sourced the dome-shaped bead pearls via EBay with a view to use them as sci-if scenery, but thought they could at a stretch stand in here as variously sized precious stones; they sit atop some scrunched up aluminium foil ‘mounds’ with a bit of gritty flocking gel added, then painted up as coins - well, they had some bronze and gold paint slathered on in haphazard fashion…..

The coloured beads come in huge packs of all sizes, down to tiny dots in all colours, so are worth looking out for in the crafting section of retailers - they also hold paint well if you want to change them into something more utilitarian.

Next up, a straight out of the packet photo of the very useful barrels, chests, vases and vessels in the Crom’s Anvil range at CP Models:

Unfortunately, I don’t think the resin vessels are still for sale - as they are some lovely and varied shapes:

These paint up very nicely, and are a good scale match for large 15mm items, here again mounted on the single tile squares:

They should provide plenty for the adventure party to root through !

These are joined by a couple of the similarly scaled scatter pieces, to which I’ve added an accessory sword  and an extra vase, and a rack for bottles, made out of sprue scraps:

Now, you can’t have all this treasure lying about without it being defended, and in true D&D style, I’ve been playing around with scratch building some terrifying traps…..

First up, a trio of acid traps, built up onto the ‘drain’ squares tiles from the TT Combat set, with some additional skeletal remains from the old Pendragon ranges - the large yellow acid ‘bubbles’ are some of the pearl beads seen above, stuck down with flocking gel and suitably painted:

Our intrepid Cave Ape, Harry, is sent out to investigate……Hmmmm….that treasure pile looks tempting, but…..

Better move on and leave them unmolested Harry, why not head along that narrow corridor over there….. just be careful crossing those grates in the floor:

In fact, be VERY careful:

Argh ! - spike traps !

Some cocktail stick tips mounted into spare tile squares, slide up under the grates - let’s hope Harry gets the point and treads carefully (groan……):

Talking of treading carefully - next is a scratch built wobbly bridge, made from more sprue scraps from the tile set:

Mind the gap, Harry !

Phew….. made it into the next corridor…… uh, oh, what’s next:

Looks to me like another spike trap, this one designed to spring into the corridor and flush you down the hole ! …… at least Harry is too large to fit down it…… or maybe he made his Dexterity saving throw:

So, what’s next ? - I think Harry has had enough of the traps for now….. I wonder what’s through this arch?

Uh - oh, Harry….. out of the frying pan into the fire !

It’s the Lair of the Liche King !

Let’s hope Harry makes it through until the next instalment…… 

Sunday, 14 August 2022

15mm Dungeon: Bring out Yer Dead !


No self-respecting dungeon is complete without its garrison of the undead - whether liches or zombies or skeletons……lots of skeletons…… and my small scale effort will be no exception - I’m looking to include lots of re-animated skeletal warriors, alongside, as plot points, some freshly dead, who could go either way…..

First up is the absolutely superlative resin piece DFE01 ‘Mummified Wizard on Throne’ from Alternative Armies:

This really is the most characterful piece, and puts me in mind of one of the early sequences in Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian, when he finds the Atlantean sword in the tomb:

To my eye, it’s a spot-on match, just lacking the sword ! - so, I felt I had to have a go at one, and produce a nice focal point for the dungeon….. I just wished I knew how to produce cobwebs in 15mm !

The piece is mounted into a block of blue foam, suitably weathered in the usual way, topped by a Crom’s Anvil fire bowl, with some rubble at its feet and a few of those XPS foam bricks at the border, all mounted on scrap plasticard. ….. some outlines of geometric shapes hint at long faded decoration…..

I went ahead and added a sword, provided by Donnington Minatures’ EQ52 straight sword accessory pack: 

I initially tried for the same dry-as-dust brown appearance in the Conan movie, but this proved to be very bland looking in such a small piece, so carried on and added colour to both mummy and his throne, very much in the vein of the pictures on the Alternative Armies website, which are very atmospherically done.

If there was one small criticism of the piece, it is that the mummy himself is a bit on the small side - of course, he is seated, (and decomposedly dehydrated !), but appears slight next to most 15mm standing minis - hopefully, however, the grandeur of his setting makes up for this. 

No Undead King worth his salt would be without a set of eternal guardians, so I went ahead and continued with the Skeleton Guard set, again from Alternative Armies:

This a great group of Skellies in costumes of assorted historical periods, in some nice poses - I used a needle file to add some battle damage to the shields and nicks in the sword blades before painting:

I must admit, I think I went a bit overboard with a triad of paints to represent ageing and rust - it’s a difficult balance to get right on minis as small as these - so in close up, more brownish and  splodgey than I’d like, but at normal viewing distances, not too bad:

Now onto another tranche of figures, including some of the slightly less dead, to be used as plot points - will they re-animate as adversaries? - or just serve as something to plunder by our party of thieves and rogues (whilst the Lawful Good look on in disgust….) ?

A mixture of minis here - a trio of the supine skeletons from Alternative Armies ‘Dem Bones’ set, with added swords and shields from Donnington as above, as well as the various fallen warriors from their ‘Original’ range, a shield pile, and an unfortunate chap locked into a pillory:

I roughly free-handed some designs onto the spare shields, also trying to represent some marks and cuts to their faces, as well as splurging plenty of rusting effect overall - the fallen warriors had a final dry-brush of grey to try and bring out their unhealthy state - but this has rather dulled the finish, although perhaps appropriately - they are not in the bloom of their youth anymore !

I imagine that the pillory victim might still be alive when found by an adventure party - is he an innocent victim with useful information, or will he turn out to be something more untrustworthy….. ?

Finally, and rounding off this catalogue of the departed, a view of the finessed tunnel collapse victim from an earlier post - I’ve added a few scenic tufts to the base, which I think makes it a bit more interesting, and  the all-important treasure / object of interest - a magic sword - we know it must be magic, ‘coz it hasn’t rusted !  :-)

Next post : Traps and Treasures !

Thursday, 11 August 2022

15mm Dungeon: Creepies and Crawlies !


Getting back on track recently, with some more traditional dungeon denizens; to whit - all that creeps and crawls !

A range of the gross, horrifying and down right disgustingly ooze-laden critters that would frighten any self-respecting adventure party, have climbed their way up onto the workbench, and squirmed their way under the paintbrush……

First up, some very Old-School blasts from the past that have been part of the Lead Pile for a very long time - the dungeon low-lifes sculpted by Barry Minot for Pendragon Miniatures:

These are a selection of six horrid bug-like things, that although for 25/28mm miniatures, scale well as larger insectoids alongside 15mm:

Now the good news is, that these and all their companions are back in production at the Wargames Design Workshop - that have a great range of long-oop designs, and they are cheap as chips, to coin a phrase !

Alongside offerings from Dixon and QT Miniatures, the Pendragon catalogue is a goldmine of nostalgia - if you like somewhat lumpen, odd-looking minis - just right for my dungeon, I say !

Well worth a scroll through, if you’re looking for something unusual…..

Accompanying them, and from the same stable, some ‘acid spitters’, that I’ve painted up as a giant caterpillar and a pair of maggots, seen here with two of Alternative Armies’ superlative slugs:

Enough to give anyone nightmares ! - I went for a fairly true-to-life paint scheme on these, rather than something more Fantasy-looking, as to me all these sculpts are close enough to pass for the real thing - but I have some more left over in case I want to add more variety later.

Next up, some straightforward Games Workshop plastic spiders and rats - the latter are nice and toothsome, and the former have enough detail to allow you to finesse them as much as you like - I just went with a simplistic yellow-kneed tarantula look - as a confirmed arachnophobe, these also have the advantage of not looking too realistic !

Having made a small water feature earlier, I thought it deserved at least one self-respecting inhabitant, so made use of some 3D printed items I got from a seller on EBay, to produce an octopus, a fearsome land-crab, and a rather glum-looking giant toad:


Finally, for something a bit different, I had a bash at Irregular Miniatures’ 15mm Lurker mini - probably one of the better sculpts in their range - I guess it’s designed for HOTT-like shenanigans, but should not be out of place as a hidden assassin-type in the dungeon - he might not be as creepy as the above, but it is definitely crawling !

Lots of fun was had producing these, and hopefully they will get quite a lot of use as random encounters in any adventure - I think there’s always room for these before introducing anything more exotic.

Talking of exotic, the final flourish is the inclusion of a Plague Icon from Fenris Games, which I’d like to think of as some sort of summoning apparatus for all of the creatures - an object that attracts or sustains them, that could be a plot point that a party might have to destroy or deactivate:

Ostensibly for 28mm, I think another nice fit as an object of interest alongside 15mm:!/FGCTH24-Plague-Icon/p/46775396/category=8719520

Fenris’ stuff is a bit on the pricey side, but always beautifully produced, all sculpts sharp and clean, with some really interesting and unique designs.

Next up, some more Dungeon dressing - namely, Dead Dudes !