18 months later (…or what was I thinking?)


Although I tossed the idea around in my head for a long time it wasn’t until January of last year that I officially started this project.  A mix of Mage Knight, Mage Wars, BattleLore, Summoner Wars, etc. with miniatures. This week I wanted to zoom out and see where it currently is and take an assessment of what all I still need to do.  This is actually the first time I’ve gotten everything spread out at once and to be honest it’s kind of exciting and is re-energizing me to forge ahead with more.

I’m currently using some Heroscape hex terrain for the world map in order to get in more encounters and playtime.  I’m using the Hirst Arts cavern mold pieces for mountains and I’ve gutted a Disney monopoly board game that I picked up second-hand for cottages and castles along with some prototypes:


This is the look and flavor I’m trying to achieve:


The leaders enter the map where they battle to control cities in which they can purchase additional troops:


They will conquer and control mines, mills, temples, etc. which will allow them to gather resources such as gold, lumber, stone, faith, mana for spells, etc.:


They will encounter enemies as they explore:


When an encounter occurs the battle between the armies (Earth Tribe and Cloud Tribe below) takes place on another board representing the battlefield:





The cards keep track of individual troop statistics such as name and description, movement values, if they are melee or ranged, unit value (how many spaces they take up in the leaders army), attack rate and hit points.




At this point I have not come up with a name for this game and I’m still working on a few issues such as battle mechanics (we’re close), the logistics of gathering components to cast spells and how to balance and counter balance the elemental factors.  For instance, how will fire and ice interact?  How will clay and lightning interact?

I’m leaning towards giving each tribe a set of values that include all the elements present but that are stronger in some while weaker in others depending on where they fall on the spectrum.  In other words the Magma Tribe will be higher in fire and earth, the Divine Tribe will be higher in Arcane and Runic and the Air Tribe will be higher in Lightning and Frost.

The Fire Tribe will have an advantage over the Water Tribe with a high attack rate but low defense and vice-verse with the Water Tribe over the Fire Tribe.  All in all I’m trying to create some drama that will affect which enemies you have advantages and disadvantages against and who you choose to battle.


Thanks for dropping by,

Night Owl



Sylvan Elves


It’s been a while since I’ve worked on the Elemental Tribes project and the excitement of the upcoming Frostgrave release has inspired me to work on another clan.  Now while I wouldn’t consider “life” to be an element I would consider it to be a source of magic.  I really had trouble deciding how to do the elves.  On one hand I had the lovely inspiration of the darker autumn elves from the Disciples franchise:



On the other I had the vibrant spring themed elves of Heroes of Might & Magic:


Because of the Reaper Bones miniatures I have on hand I decided to go with the latter.

So without further ado I introduce Sylvan Elves of the Life Tribe.


I picked up some Hero clix  faeries a while back when I first started the idea of doing Elemental Tribes, so long ago in fact that I don’t remember what they were originally.  I think Hornet or something along those lines.  After unsuccessfully trying all kinds of methods to strip the paint from these gals I finally gave up and just painted over them.  The detail is pretty blurry but they serve their purpose.  They are based on the sprites from Heroes of Might & Magic.


This week I’ve been working on a healer and a couple of archers:


I was able to add a mage and another archer this weekend:


I really wanted to gather and paint up a tribe of elves that represented a wilder and more tribal Druid-like feel than what I have seen available on the market.  Yes, GW does make some nice Woodies but the entire genesis of this idea stemmed from the idea of “using the miniatures I already have lying around with minimal additional purchases”.  I also didn’t want them to be armored or using any metal weapons as they would obtain all their resources from the forest so there will be some modifications coming up with the mage and a ranger who are both wielding swords.

More to come…


Night Owl


Hirst Arts Bridge Inspired by Video Game


Last week while I was working on the sewer tiles in the den my wife was playing a PC game called Divinity – Original Sin.  Occasionally I would look up and see what was going on when things start getting a little excited.  At one point I looked up and saw this bridge and said “Whoa – I need to build that!”  So…

The inspiration:


I started by using some of the balcony support blocks from the 3″ Tower mold #79 and floor tiles from the Egyptian Floor Tile mold #290:


I wanted to give the bridge a little more length so I extended the middle a couple of inches.  This build was a challenge because I actually had to assemble the entire piece upside down:


I added pillars from the Gothic Arena Mold #42 and let it dry overnight before flipping back over:


I built a stair case based on Ruined Field stone Tower tutorial on the Hirst Arts website:



This bridge will align itself with the castle project, the Narthrax tower and give the dungeon set some vertical interest.


I added a few details to the ledges just to break up the flatness:



I can’t comment on the game play and although it appears that most of the PC game is outdoors it is still full of inspiration for terrain builders and every time I look up I see something else I “need to build”!

Here are a few screenshots I found on Google:





Night Owl

Messing with Narthrax – Paint


Narthrax has been propped up on my workstation staring at me for over a month.  One of the reasons it remained there for so long is because I wasn’t able to decide what color it should be.  Red? No.  Blue? Nah.  Green?  Nope…and so on.  At the risk of sounding a little too artsy sometimes you just to let the colors emerge.  Break out the Gesso!


A base coat of brown.  Hmm.  A more natural color maybe?  I noticed my daughter was playing Skyrim the other day and I wonder if that didn’t have some effect.


I started adding some highlights and thought maybe some cream and rust colors might help lighten it up.


The eyes need some rework:





Now back to the base that I built for her a while back and some better lighting.





It still needs dome detail work and a magnet placement for the back foot but I’m surprisingly happy with the direction this is going.

Thanks for taking a look,

Night Owl

Hand Carts using Hirst Arts Doors and Floor tiles


Once again I found myself waiting for paint to dry and nothing to do but fiddle-fart around with random things on the workbench.  It occurred to me that some of these gear casts could make nice wheels.  Here we go!

First thing I needed to do was file off the teeth.  This is much quicker with a rotary tool.


Next I used an awl to scratch wood grain lines across the face of the disc:


I used the door pieces from the water cavern wall mold and filed off the base on one side (I used red paint to show the area to be removed for clarity):


I used the awl again to scribe wood grain into the newly filed area:


I added the wood floor tile and ramp from the cavern accessories mold.  Then I painted, washed and drybrushed everything.


Then I assembled the pieces like this:



I cut an axle out of a bamboo skewer and attached the wheels:


I added two more bamboo pieces for handles:


These are perfect little add-ons that will help detail a scene and easy enough to build that anyone could get a dozen or so in a couple of evenings worth of work.


I hear the sound of a market just around the corner…

Thanks for stopping by,

Night Owl

The Sodden Seraph: Part 2


A quick update on this build with more pics than words.


I’ve added some details to give the place a little character and while it’s not completely finished I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.




The smaller building in these shots is just a stand in for what will be a pump house or a tavern or both.





Although the main brewery building does have a lift off section it is the modular side components that give me several choices of configurations.


For instance:


I still need to figure out a method to attach a sign that will withstand the rigors of the gaming environment (magnets?) and add some more details and weathering to give some history.


Night Owl

Interesting Mold Find at Craft Store


I was down at a not so local craft store the other day looking and pricing supplies for a different project and came across these clockwork molds in the glass department.  They are used to make powdered glass jewelry items (instructions mention something about freezing and microwaving?).  I thought they looked like something I could use so I picked them up. The package comes with four small square molds.  Two of them consist of gears and a clock face while the others, not shown, have wings, keys and a lock.  The firmness of the mold is less rigid than LINKA molds yet not as “squishy” as Hirst Arts molds.  So I took the bait, brought them home and messed with them a bit over the weekend.

First I gave them a coat of black spray paint as a primer, followed by gold spray and a dip in a black ink wash.  These look good as is for an antiquated clockwork project.


I am planning something a little more ancient, more of a lost civilization time frame for these.  I poured out some dark turquoise and emerald-green paint making sure not to mix them.


Next, using the spongy materials that many miniatures are packaged with, I took some hemostats (tweezers also work fine here) and dipped it in the unmixed paint and dappled the casts.



I followed this with some blacks and rust:



Lastly, I used a dry brush of bronze to tone everything back down and sealed with a satin clear coat.


Interestingly enough the new 1 inch bases that were included in the Bones II Kickstarter package fit perfectly on the clock face and would make a fantastic health counter or condition marker for miniatures.  Unfortunately it isn’t the size I’m using for my skirmish armies.


Maybe a Father Time turn counter?


The wings, although limited in use, can add a nice flair to some terrain pieces.  I used both sets, adding my own cracks by scraping an awl across them, on this pedestal and finished it up with paint, flock and autumn leaves made from Birch seed husks.





Now to figure what do do with all the gears.  Hmm…time to go rummage the parts boxes and see what we can come up with.


Night Owl