Monday, 1 July 2019

Malcor Rises

High above, in a bare chamber carved into the frozen peak, an eerie mist clung to the debris-strewn floor.


Far below, at the base of the mountain, jagged chunks of ice crashed to the ground. Within minutes they came swarming in through the newly revealed doorways, like ants to a broken pot of honey.

As if agitated by the presence of the intruders, the mist swirled upwards, coalescing into the figure of a man. He half walked, half flowed to the solitary window and looked impassively upon the minute forms below.

Three more entities drew forth from the mist: half-formed figures that bowed obsequiously to their master and fawned about his tattered cloak as it solidified into being. They drew back as he clenched his fists, tilting their heads quizzically as if waiting for instruction.

The headmaster turned, face unreadable and eyes naught but dark shadows behind his mask. Wordlessly he pointed to the gaping hole that led to the inner recesses of the complex. The Advisory Council nodded in supplication before flying out of the chamber on their errands.

When they were gone, Malcor the Mad returned to the window and watched. Plans would be made and traps laid. The faculty would return and the intruders would be punished. The sanctity of the Collegium of Artistry would remain intact…

The last batch of figures for The Maze of Malcor brings us to the man himself and his Advisory Council.

For the latter I tried the same approach as I did for the Wizard Shades, but used a greenish basecoat rather than grey (if only to make it easier to select the figures to paste onto the background during photo-editing). As there is less detail in these, there isn’t as much colour to ‘bleed’ through, but I added a little flesh-tone around the face and torso.

Malcor himself painted up surprisingly easy. I went for the same greenish effect as his toadies from the feet up to the waist before doing a normal paintjob for the top half, drybrushing them to blend the two halves together.

I’m pretty pleased with how it came out, though I will admit to chickening out when it came to painting the eyes, which to my mind by rights should be glowing with magic – I didn’t want to ruin the paintjob by screwing up and making him cross-eyed or somesuch.

Now I have to work out how to build some more of the specific terrain for the scenarios in the book (for as little expense as possible!)

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Shades of Wizardry

As intruders steal into the prestigious Collegium of Artistry, it’s headmaster Malcor summons forth the spirits of long-dead teachers from the great staff room in the sky.

Soon the shades of these mighty wizards, each the foremost proponents of their fields of lesser-known magic, sally forth to defend their school from those who would loot it’s treasures…

I’ve sat upon these figures for ages, simply because I had no idea how I was going to paint them!

The ‘official’ paintjobs on the Northstar website has them fading from a normal-looking top half, into their wispy grey bottom half. However I wasn’t sure I could pull off the blending and wanted to do something different anyway.

After much deliberation and discussion with my mate Andy, I decided to start off with a ghostly pale grey base colour (they are shades after all), through which bleeds the colours they would have worn when alive (If you’ve seen the Doctor Who episode ‘Under the Lake’ you might have some idea of what I’m getting at). Cue lots of drybrushing.

I’m not sure if I’ve managed to pull this off – perhaps the colouring is too subtle for the tabletop, making them look more like statues – but if I don’t consider them finished now, they’ll be back in the painting queue for ages! I’ll refine the technique for the next batch of figures…

Oh, while I was at it, I found this feather in amongst some old Playmobil stuff that was being thrown away. I thought it'd make a nice 'furious quill' spell marker.

Thursday, 9 May 2019

The Monsters of Malcor; Part 3

The next bunch of Malcor miniatures, or ‘Phase Green’ as I call it.

Glass Spiders: The Decanters of Death! Drinks trolleys with attitude. The globes are supposed to be filled with acid. However I’ve no idea how to paint realistic-looking liquid and envy those who can. So in the end I just picked up my brushes and splodged the paint on here and there.

Mantodeus: Giant insects that pounce on the unwary from their nests. This model was an absolute b*st*rd to put together, with more drilling, pinning and gluing than I’d happily apply to one mini. As a result I painted this with little enthusiasm, sticking to a basic all-over green.

Acrisbird: Terror birds from the tropics. I initially went for a black and white colour scheme on this model, but the end result looked like a very annoyed turkey, so I went back and, considering that green seems to be the overarching theme of this batch, went over the black bits with dark green. Now it looks like an very annoyed parrot!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Call of Cthulhu RPG

This is just a short break in between the Malcor madness to bring you madness of a different kind.

For a while now I've been getting into the Call of Cthulhu role playing game (7th edition). I'm playing a number of play-by-forum games at

I've also been meeting up with some of the guys from the Herefordshire Board Gamers club for some actual sit-down role playing. I started jotting down notes for each game and this soon developed into a proper blog.

Said blog, if you are interested, is called 'A Pretend Terror' and can be found on the Yog-Sothoth website at

Thursday, 25 April 2019

The Monsters of Malcor; Part 2

Presenting the second batch of models from Northstar’s Maze of Malcor deal. Again they took a little more prep than I’d like, but they’re still great minis!

Banshee: screaming ghosts of women done wrong.

Bloodwave: blood-red killer or magical lava-lamp? You decide!

Bog Man: when zombie meets marsh gas, this floppy terror is the result.

Starfire Elemental: fizzing balls of blue fire, shaped by the lost arts of Astromancy.

I’m very happy with how these painted up, especially the Starfire Elementals, which I had no idea how to approach and just went for it! The next bunch is primed, so watch this space…

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Monsters of Malcor; Part 1

I'm currently ploughing my way through the miniatures I received in last year's Maze of Malcor 'Nickstarter'.

Here is the first batch...

Coal Man: a basic lumbering construct that's used to feed the Collegium of Magic's furnaces.

Collegium Porter: the ultimate in mobile storage.

Phase Cats: feline denizens that have bred in the magical atmosphere of the Collegium.

Shrieking Wolves: a cross between burglar alarm and security guard.

The models are very nice, although the casting quality left a little to be desired (I wasn't sure what bits to snip off on some of the more 'swirly' miniatures), but after being cleaned up the multi-part pieces went together very well (with one exception which is still in the queue).

So far they've painted up nicely - how long that continues remains to be seen!

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

The Iron Throne

And so it came to pass: the undead horde of Eternal Winter laid waste to the land of the living, leaving nought but swirling snows and freezing blizzards. On that fateful day, at long last, the Night King stood before the fabled Iron Throne: seat of the rulers of men since time immemorial.

“Er, so… it’s like literally an iron throne…”

“Yes oh Dark One,” hissed a rotting lackey. “The fabled Iron Throne: made from the swords of a thousand vanquished-“

“Yes yes, I know all that. I just thought, y’know, it was like symbolic. I didn’t expect it to be made of actual bloody swords!”

“’tis a symbol of great power oh King of Winter. Men have fought over it since it for aeons.”

“Fought to get off it more like! No wonder the living realms were so easy to conquer – they must’ve spent their defence budgets on haemorrhoid cream! Why didn’t you tell me? My arse is bony enough as it is without having to sit on a chair made of bits of pointy bloody metal!”

“Nonetheless it is now your rightful seat of command oh Lich Lord. What is your first edict oh Barrow Emperor? Sally forth the Legions of the Dead and destroy what remaining life remains on this world until even the lowliest insect is but dust beneath your feet?”

“Well yeah, duh!”

The great throne room echoed with a hollow ‘clonk’ followed by a pained sigh.

“But first, fetch me cushions - lots and lots of cushions.”

I saw an Iron Throne photo clip on sale for a couple of quid in Primark, part of their Game of Thrones range, and couldn’t resist.

A quick paint job later and my Frostgrave warbands have a nice (if rather uncomfortable) throne to fight over. Remember, 'when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. There is no middle ground (unless you happen to roll a 20).’

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Turning the Tables

Continuing in my attempt to get myself back into the modelling groove, I’ve cobbled together some more easy-build scenery in the form of these tables.

The second scenario in the Maze of Malcor expansion is set in a huge feasting hall and calls for three ‘long dining tables’. The scenario doesn’t specify how long, so that gives me plenty of scope.

The tables are simply offcuts of MDF or plastic disks with either bits of plastic sprue or more MDF off-cuts for the table legs. In retrospect the longer tables may be too narrow, but I went with what off-cuts I had lying around, so hey-ho.

The tables were lightly sprinkled with pieces of rubbish and stuff from the bits box to make them look ‘well-used’. The plates were largely neutered drawing pins and the cups were snippets of cable insulation. Not bad for a few hours work!

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Furnace

It was not for treasure that Gog the Mighty; Stalker of the Frozen Waste;, cleaved his way through the great Collegium of Artistry. Neither was it for glory, nor fame, nor the need to best himself against the rumoured phantom of the sinister Malcor.

No, it was none of these, for Gog the Mighty; Slayer of Frost Giants; sought only one thing…

Wiping the ichor off his greatsword, he stepped over the corpse of the giant insect and pushed open the great iron doors that stood between him and his goal. Bare torso glistening, he stepped warily through the doorway and smiled as he beheld the great black thing squatting in the middle of the huge chamber.

Dark hulking shapes moved slowly around it, but a barbarian warrior such as Gog the Mighty; Hunter of Snow Leopards; made short work of those. Soon he was facing the thing itself, with it’s smoke-stained pipes, blackened chimneys and fire-rimmed circular hatches.

His smile growing wider, he turned his near-naked body so that his loincloth-clad rear was as close to the intense heat that emanated from the thing as he dared.


No, it wasn’t treasure, glory or fame that Gog the Mighty; Crusher of Ice Demon; sought… it was warmth.

In an effort to get myself back into the groove again, I’ve made a start on some scenery for the Maze of Malcor expansion – namely the furnace from the eponymous fourth scenario in the book.

This scenario calls for a giant furnace room, in the middle of which stands said furnace: a 6” square model with a hatch on each side (wherein the Coalmen constructs will try to drag the unwary).

As luck would have it, I had a plastic bowl from a recent takeaway which was exactly 6” in diameter. I glued some old paint pot lids for the hatches and stuck some bits on top for chimneys. I also poked the inside of the bowl with a compass point to make rivets.

A quick going over with some black primer and an indifferent paintjob in an attempt to make it look hot produced this model. It’s a simple build for a one-off piece that’s only needed for a single scenario, so it’ll do.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

New Year's Nan

I'm starting the new year not with a Frostgrave mini, but something for my Very British Civil War collection.

(As I mentioned in my pre-Xmas post, my VBCW blog went kaput, when Photobucket tried to screw me over.)

A while ago I approached Mark 'TinShedGamer' Fuller, who I knew was sculpting some character figures for 1st Corps' interwar 'Twentieth Century Follies' range.

I told him the story of my Nan, who got into trouble during WW2. You see my Grandad was in the local Home Guard, and Nan would habitually welcome his unit back from manoeuvres by playing 'Come to the Cookhouse Door Boys', full blast on my uncle's Boys' Brigade bugle. This became something of an annoyance and eventually she was told firmly to stop!

And thus, after supplying him with some reference photos, the following standard bearer mini was born, complete with bugle!

Thanks Mark, and Happy New Year everyone!