This gallery contains 2 photos.
No particular connection between these pieces other than they have all been waiting to be finished for too long.
First is a Reaper Miniatures Marilith that I felt fitted the Mediterranean/Arabian Nights/Greco-Roman/Byzantine feel. Handsome girl.
Next is a mashup figure, one of Eureka’s that I added a huge Kite shield to and a sword. Unfortunately I cannot remember what range he was from and searching the site doesn’t get me there either. I seem to recall he was some kind of stone age guy and his heroic posture made me convert him to fantasy hero. He’s one of my barbarians for Frostgrave/Sandtomb, for sure.
Then I have a statue. The original piece came from one of the collectable pre-painted miniatures games – the one that had something to do with dreams? Anyway, I thought it had a good general shape and scale for this game. The pillar is a wooden block that I carved a couple of nicks in before dabbing grey & white daubs with a heavy brush so it left texture. Along with this I have an old GW Lord of the Rings piece that, while the columns do not automatically fit, it is generic enough to pass.
Finally I have another tropical fish shop find, a Chinese temple/library/tomb. Again, this doesn’t fit into an Egyptian ruin setting. But my setting is Parsantium which has connections to fantasy China. My ruined city has been wandering around in space and time for a thousand years. Any old shit could have gone on there.
Everything, naturally, has a base (and coating if terrain) that is wind blown with the red dust of the desert.
Completed Zulus from the lead pile. Know the green is non-historical, but these guys will be used primarily in a fantasy role anyway.
The shield effect I created with an old larger brush. I cut the bristles square with a scalpel to created a blunt end. Then I used first almost-black and dabbed it on, trying to not make the patterns regular or neat. Then I added a red-brown to the black and dabbed in the centre of the pattern. Shield stitching was first done on black, then white.
As usual I finished with wattle stain-and-varnish and then picked out some details afterwards. Of particular note is the white of the stitching. This came out particularly well with a final highlight white dash, I think.
These guys are what I am currently calling the Iklwa, from the cattle plains below the great desert.
The following setting information is a fantasy adaptation of ‘The Zone’ described in Boris & Arkady Strugatsky’s classic novel Roadside Picnic, put into the world described in Parsantium by Richard Green. This is to splice the setting into a context for Frostgrave, the fantasy wargame set in a ruined city. My thanks goes to Hamish Sinclair for his concise description of the original Zone artefacts from the novel.
The artifacts left in the ruins of Qandir, the City of Brass, can be broken down into five categories:
(1) Recognisable objects, the most obvious of which are books, scrolls and other written material that can be used immediately by the Order. Also included are magically enchanted and recognisable artefacts such as weapons, armour and household goods (though many are actually cursed). Finally, for those with a more down to earth imagination, there are the items of plain treasure in the form of coins, jewellery and objects d’art.
(2) Beneficial objects, yet whose original purpose, how precisely they work or how to manufacture them is not understood. The ‘So-So’ and ‘Bracelets’ are among the artifacts that fall into this category.
(3) Objects whose functionality, original purpose or how to use them to benefit humans can not yet be understood. The ‘Black Sprays’ and ‘Needles’ are among the artifacts that fall into this category.
(4) Objects that are unique. Their existence is passed along as legends by Stalkers; have not yet been seen current magicians, whose functionality is so dangerous and so far beyond human comprehension that they are probably better off left undisturbed. The ‘Golden Sphere’ and the ‘Jolly Ghost’ are among the artifacts that fall into this category.
(5) Not object but reports of effects on people who were present inside the Zones during the original cataclysm. Humans who survived the catastrophe without going blind (apparently from a loud noise) or infected by the plague caused unexplained problems if they emigrated away. A barber who survived the catastrophe emigrated to a far off city and within a year 90% of his customers died in mysterious circumstances as well as a number of natural disasters foreign to the area (typhoons, tornadoes) hit his city. Even people who were never present during the catastrophe but frequently visit the Zone are changed somehow, for example by having mutated children or by having duplicates of their dead relatives return to their homes.
There are also a number of unexplained events or patterns associated with the Zone. Some relate to the catastrophe itself. For example, it is recorded that on the night of the catastrophe many people were blinded, they all reported being blinded by the sound of a thunderbolt. But no one person who was not blinded heard the thunderbolt. Also the Stalker Red reports that people new to the Zone suddenly lose the ability to control their own speaking in the Zone, though this may be nerves or related to the Zone itself.
Khemet is mentioned only a couple of times in the text. It is described as ‘ancient and corrupt’, and then ‘fallen’1. The simplified Parsantium adventurers map depicts Khemet as a desert and oasis zone west of the Pillars of Heaven Mountains with a west coast on the Corsair’s Sea. Parsantium is way to the north, many days’ travel. Away to the south and west through particularly difficult desert is Qadisa, a jewelled oasis in a fertile river valley.Referring to the Sarantium map, Khemet occupies the area of roughly Soriyya and Amuz.2
Khemet, we allow, is based on Egyptian themes. This means that religious life was strong with the people, and that their place in creation was strongly tied to the seasons. Let’s suppose that the same general situation existed as in the historical model: that the civilisation of Khemet was based around the annual flooding of a river fed by the Pillars of Heaven. This flooding created great agricultural bounty but required enormous effort to dam and channel the flow. Failure to do so meant the water escaped over the flood plain to the sea and people starved. Over the centuries a society evolved that ritualised this process and Khemet grew comparatively rich and cultured. They were isolated by the desert, the mountains, and the sea.
When Rezana was founded, Khemet was already an ancient civilisation. Pharaohs ruled the land. This position was hereditary and succession was generally a stable affair, interrupted only rarely when no heir was apparent and dynastic infighting disrupted the kingdom for a year or two with civil war. For the most part, life was a gentle progression, generation on generation.
The Pharaohs of Khemet were divine in that they were assumed to be directly descended from their immortal and transcendent ancestors, the gods, put on earth to perform the rituals that evoked the sun to rise and the Kushh to flood. More or less isolated physically and intellectually the Pharaohs and their advisors saw themselves as occupying a tiny centre of the world, surrounded by harsh environment and barbarians. In such a claustrophobic environment they developed increasingly sophisticated and bizarre beliefs and rituals concerning the afterlife. Mummification of the aristocrats, most specifically the Pharaohs, become an overriding concern, as did the storage of their remains in complex, trapped megalithic structures. Entire schools of thought grew, eventually incorporating all fields of magical research. Preservation of the Pharaohs’ bodies, and minds, and spirits was the goal. These magical colleges attracted students from around the world and the legends of their findings, powers and manifestations obsess magicians to this day.
No one knows for sure when, but the texts in the hidden libraries of the Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus hint, at some time between the years 400 and 600 on the Rezana calendar (a period suspiciously empty of other notations for Parsantium) as being the cataclysm. All communication between Khemet and the rest of the world ceased. Refugees told mind-warping stories of reality-tearing forces; the dead rose from their graves and the living fell in their thousands as if poisoned. The university city of Qandir, also called the City of Brass, disappeared from the land with a scream that blinded everyone that heard it. Expeditions to the kingdom either never returned, or came back shattered and depleted, telling tales of monsters that no military force could defeat. 1,000 years have passed, and the kingdom of Khemet is a cursed and shunned land. The passes through the Pillars of Heaven are treacherous because of the foul spawn that crawl up from the deserts. Trade with Qadisa is done by sea, bypassing altogether that blighted stretch of coast where no living creature tills the soil, but observers out to sea swear that they see movement amidst the rubble, and complain of terrible dreams.
The Esoteric Order of the Blue Lotus sponsors expeditions into Khemet to research and to return with artefects. This has been so for many centuries.
1 Khemet is an expected incorporation of the typical fantasy tropes of mummies and skeletons. From a miniatures point of view the Games Workshop faction of the Tomb Kings of Khemri is clearly the model, either intentionally or by convergent evolution.
2 Notes on maps: I have used one of the official Parsantium maps available from Richard’s web site, but I have also used a map contained in the novels Sailing to Sarantium and Lord of Emperors by Guy Gavriel Kay. By accident, design or subconscious emulation these two maps are exceedingly similar. So much so that I use them interchangeably, explaining away subtle differences as local errors of translation, ignorance, or merely representations of from different time periods. Where there is a difference between the two I choose the interpretation I think is better for the story. For example, there are Pillars of Heaven mountains and these do lead to Sampur (India). There is a Caliphate in North Africa, and Bathura and Rezana are cool names. The former western (Roman) Empire of Bathura sounds a lot better to my ear than Rhodia. The detail around Saradia, Trakesia are just so much more inspiring than ‘Gloomtangle Forest’, though, so I go with the Sarantium one for things like that. Ultimately, it’s a fantasy world and these maps were not compiled using satellite technology. They are approximations.
The mysterious obelisk clearly belongs to an older civilisation than the one that built the city where Sandtomb/Frostrave currently lies. The markings hint at Aztec. They also remind me of the ‘libraries’ at Angkor Wat.
This was a 3D print I made using the M3D printer I bought over a year ago through a Kickstarter campaign that is only now starting to pay off because I’ve abandoned the supplied software and am instead using an open source third party product.
A simple paint job of sprayed white, varnished with Wattyl Stain & varnish. Matt varnished, and then dry brushed white.
I’m not sure what I can use them for yet as they don’t really fit any of my core interests. But they are good models and a dream to paint.
I distinctly remember lodging a request with my mate, Pete, when he went to work in the UK to bring me back a box of GW Skinks. As a non-gamer, I’m sure he found the experience confronting. Still, if the most confronting thing you ever have to do is walk into a hobby shop and ask for toys then you have lived a very sheltered life, my friend. Pete has since redeemed himself by living such a harrowing life that I feel positively confronted reading his dispatches from the front.
Anyway, so I bought these skinks because I have a soft spot for the lizardmen (and rats). But how to paint them? The default seemed to be green? Why? Hard to say, really. Any skink I have seen is brown, and when you look at other lizards in the wild they have an amazing and beautiful range. This was in part why it took me so long to get around to painting them. I could never decide on a scheme, and I felt inadequate to the task.
Recently I have decided to paint things because they are no good unpainted when I am dead. Better to be painted shithouse than not at all.
A little research came up with the poison frog of South America. This test paint is an attempt to capture that scheme. White undercoat, black eyes, space marine blue hands and feet, blood red dorsal surfaces (that’s back, to you), yellow ventral surfaces (front), orange crest gills, brown for the bow and quiver, silver for jewellery. Wattyl Stain & Varnish. Tamiya Matt Clear varnish.
I’m pretty happy with this guy and now I just have to discipline myself to do the rest.
Here are the Ratmen (Skaven, Hosbecites from Slipstream) completed. The technique was extremely simple:
The only delay in the process was in waiting 24 hours for the Wattlyl Stain and Varnish to dry. Otherwise these steps could have rolled one after the other and the job could have been done in half a day… for someone who did not have a thousand other jobs to do including being interrupted by demanding children.