Tag Archives: Allegedly Helpful

Building a Frostgrave Warband

Frostgrave is, as I’ve noted, happening at Madicon. Although I’ve seen some rather impressive Frostgrave setups at the various HMGS conventions, this is going to be a fairly low-key afair: just a 6×4 table stuffed with terrain and folks handed wizards and warbands to push around until they run out.

For this to work, though, everything has to be pre-generated. We’ve done the Frostgrave-day thing before and it takes hours for people unfamiliar with the system to make decisions about school, spells, and hirelings. Wasted time. So, I’ve generated cheat sheets for the warbands I’m bringing to share: everything someone would need to play on the single sheet (with the QR sheet on the back).

Am I not considerate?

This process brought to mind some rules of thumb I’ve had rattling around for the best way to approach Frostgrave from an army-building perspective.

First off, all hirelings in Frostgrave (not counting the hirelings in the supplements) fall into the following ruthlessly broad categories:

Equipment Hireling
Hand Weapon Thug, Thief, Apothecary
Handweapon & Shield Man-at-Arms, Knight
Two-handed Weapon Infantryman, Templar, Barbarian
Two Hand Weapon Treasure Hunter
Crossbow Crossbowman
Bow Archer, Tracker, Ranger, Marksman

And I mean ruthlessly broad, here.  An Apothecary’s got a Staff… but you’re Two-handed weapon guys are going to be more martial than some skinny jackass with a Health Potion, so just give him a stick with a nail in it and call it done.  You could probably even conflate the Hand Weapon & Two Hand Weapon groups, but Treasure Hunters are so useful (and supplemental options), it’s justifiable to treat them separately.

(Most of the options in the supplements fall into these categories as well: they’re almost all Hand Weapon or Two Hand Weapons.  Only the Javelineer, with his javelins, and the Pack Mule, who I really just want to run as an actual Mule, are problems).

Within each category, you want some differentiation.  Two-Handed Weapon dudes, for example, ultimately come in three flavors: if you have three models equipped with two-handed weapons and they’re all different, you can point to the shoddiest-equipped and call him an Infantryman, the better armored one a Templar, and the gnarlier looking on a Barbarian.  Or you can say that they’re all Infantrymen, or Templars, or that the two with the scarier looking weapons are Templars and the guy with the spear is an Infantryman… whatever. By making your models individual, you buy yourself flexibility.

At a minimum: simply build two from each category. You’re not likely to need to run eight Thieves, right?  Two Crossbowmen will set you.


  • Hand Weapon Dude x2
  • Hand Weapon & Shield Dude x2
  • Two-handed Weapon Dude x2
  • Two Handweapon Dude x2
  • Crossbow Dude x2
  • Bow Dude x2

And make each model of each pair sufficiently distinct from the other (worrying less so about the two Treasure Hunters & Crossbowmen).

If you want to do more than that, I think it’s worth pushing a couple of those groups up to three models each:

  • Hand Weapon Dude x2
  • Hand Weapon & Shield Dude x3
  • Two-handed Weapon Dude x3
  • Two Handweapon Dude x2
  • Crossbow Dude x2
  • Bow Dude x3

If you really want to run more than two Thieves, go for it, but I just did the two (plus the two Treasure Hunters).  There are a couple of options across the Hand Weapon & Shield that you might want to take, and several options for the Two-handed Weapon and Archer models.  In the case of the Archers, I made a point to give at least one of them a Hand Weapon: remember, you want to be able to distinguish between the two models.

Both approaches obviously give you more models than you can run at once, but it’s so much easier to paint the 12/15 models together and be covered for the duration of your Wizard’s treasure hunting than to not and end up needing to assemble and paint a second sword-and-board guy halfway through a campaign.

Of the four warbands I’m bringing to Madicon, I’ve used this model for two of them: I’m bringing an assortment of Skaven just culled from my many, many Skaven models. I’ve got a Clubmen warband that’s simply a Warlord Games clubmen blister with a best-match for model to Hireling type.  But this is the approach I’ve used for my Cultists and my Barbarians: basically how I’ve wrangled all of the different options in those kits.

With models built: which models to start with?  I gave JC the following advice yesterday: “M is good, take as many bodies as you can, and Apprentices only look optional.”

Which equates to: 8 bodies in a starting warband with 300g to spend. Take two Thieves.  Take two of the following: Man-at-Arms, Treasure Hunter.  Then take two of the following: Archer, Crossbowman, Infantryman,.  Obviously, there are many more ways to spend your starting gold, but it’s good place to start, and stays within the above recommendations for building models.


Tutorial – How I Paint Faces

I’ve been pretty self-satisfied about my faces lately, so I figured I’d knock out a quick walkthrough of how I paint Caucasian faces while wrapping up my Blood & Plunder minis over the weekend.

I did have a couple of issues putting this together:

  • Like an idiot, I deleted a couple of the step photos.
  • I’m less than thrilled with the end result of the demo (but at least I have other examples of successful faces.

It’s kinda hard to tell the difference with some of these steps (which is why I accidentally deleted some of them), which is why I’ve supplemented the mini photos with a photoshopped face (source for the original image).  I’ve kept the strokes rough because I’m just paintin’ with a mouse, but also because frankly on a 28mm figure, that’s what brushstrokes are actually going to look like.

Step 0: Primed

I normally basecoat grey or, more recently, black with white zenithal highlights. This was a spur of the moment thing, so I ended up just basecoating white.  Won’t matter much.

Step 1: Basecoat

Paint everything GW Bugman’s Glow.

When dry, paint everything GW Cadian Fleshtone.

The goal is Cadian Fleshtone, but the coverage with it is poor enough that it’s just simpler to basecoat with the base paint.

Step 2: Layer

Block in shapes with GW Kislev Flesh.  Get the nose, eyebrows, cheeks, chin and jawline, lips, forehead, ears.

Step 3: Wash

Wash the whole thing with GW Reikland Fleshshade.

Step 4: Highlight

Now’s the time to be precise.  Pick out details with a fine-tipped brush and GW Kislev Flesh.  Target the nose, chin, eyebrows, lower lip, ear tops and lobes, and the tops of the cheekbones.

Step 5: Eyes

(Of course I kept all of these.)

With as fine a brush as you can manage, fill in the eyes with GW Rhinox Hide.  I’ve seen other people do this with black, but I think it’s too strong: you want to draw attention to the eyes, but you don’t want your figure wearing mascara (unless you do).

Go over the brown ovals with P3 Menoth White Highlight.  I prefer this because it’s a bright ivory… but it’s not actually white.  Leave some brown around the edges, though, to help the eye stand out.

If you screw up: just go back and touch up with more Rhinox Hide.

Take a pointed toothpick.  Sharpen the point.  Dab it into the GW Rhinox Hide you used above.  Wipe off the excess.  Pick a direction and poke it into the eyes.  I used to do straight-ahead, but it’s just easier to do the eyes looking off to the side and maybe more dynamic?  I’m using brown here because, again, I think black is too strong.

I did blue on the Frostgrave Barbarians last month, and thought it was really effective.  I might pursue this: do color, do the dot larger, and then maybe go in with a black dot as a pupile.

Step 6: Glazing

Mix about 50:50 GW Wazdaka Red : GW Emperor’s Children: looking for a nice rose color here.

Then thin that sucker out with a lot of water and a drop or two of matte medium, until it’s at about this level of transparency:

Better to be too thin and require multiple passes than not thin enough and ruin everything.  If you need to do multiple passes: just make sure it’s dry before the next one.

Carefully apply it to the cheeks and tip of the nose.  Maybe the ears if you feel like it.

Take some GW Dark Reaper, and thin it out as much as you did the rose.

Now apply it to the beard area.  In this example, I think I went too dark: you can do that, but I’m generally not trying to do stubble, just to give some color to the face.

Step 7: Wrap it Up

Finish painting the other details on the head.  Teeth, if you can see ’em.  I like to draw a little line of GW Agrax Earthshade between the lips (if the mouth is closed) or just in the mouth (if it’s open).

Other Examples

Here are a couple of practice heads I’ve been working with.

And some Frostgrave faces I think came out well and photographed OK.  This is where this approach has really clicked for me.


  • GW Bugman’s Glow basecoat
  • GW Cadian Fleshtone basecoat
  • GW Kislev Flesh layer
  • GW Reikland Fleshshade wash
  • GW Kislev Flesh highlights
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • P3 Menoth White Highlight detail
  • GW Dryad Bark detail
  • 50:50 GW Emperor’s Children : GW Wazdakka Red glaze
  • GW Dark Reaper glaze
  • GW Agrax Earthshade detail

Hopefully this helps someone out.

Frostgrave – Campaign!

Frostgrave Logo

I pretty much immediately got pumped about running a Frostgrave GameDay after my first game. I envisioned a couple of simultaneous 1v1 games, culminating in a larger melee with everyone on the table.

We’ll be running this at Huzzah Hobbies on 10/23 and, I’m sure, as a TGS weekend event.  If you’re interested in playing in the 10/23 game day: let me know!  There’s room for 8 and that’s it.

You can get the campaign here: Frostgrave – The Confluence Game Day

Light Arch

Finally got around to assembling my light arch last weekend.

Light Arch

A light arch tutorial (Part 1, Part 2) made the rounds around DAHGS a month or so ago, and a couple of the guys followed it with success. I’d just had one of my LED lamp die (the light wouldn’t come on and I’d smell burning), so following the crowd was pretty easily justified.

I am incredibly satisfied with it. The photos really don’t do it justice at all.  It’s amazing.  Good lighting is key to a successful paintjob, and I suspect that the light arch will be almost as big of a hobby milestone for me as moving to a wet palette.

Light Arch (9)

(Really, the photos don’t do it justice.)

I followed the linked tutorial pretty closely, with a couple of deviations.

My shopping list:

I also ended up with a bunch of T, L, and X connectors that simply didn’t get used in the build, but I’m sure they’ll be put to use later this year: now that Mrs. Rushputin has seen me do stuff with LEDs, she’s threatening to make me do the Christmas lights this year.

What’s nuts is I could have gone brighter and done the 5630 LEDs.  I didn’t, because I was concerned about length and needing to double up on power adapters. In the end, I think I could have made it work, but really: not complaining.

Anyway: the tutorial talks about termination bars: that’s not a thing that gets used here in Virginia. Fortunately, Brett found these 8′ long aluminum bars at Lowes (but not Home Depot) that are thick enough to be sturdy but thin enough to be simply hand-shaped. I could have gotten them in 6′ lengths and probably would have been OK, but when I lined everything up I think they turned out more like ~6’8″, so the extra couple of bucks and a minute with a hacksaw turned out to be worth it.

Honestly, the hardest part of the entire build was bending the feet. I’m sure there’s an easier way to do it, but I just used pliers and brute force. If you can figure out a more effective way of doing that, I’d recommend it.

After getting the arches together, I sprayed them with white enamel paint. I should have give that paint longer to dry than I did; there are a few spots where it’s crackled, thanks to a second coat applied either too late or too early.  Then, I bolted them to my desk; I have a dedicated paint station, so I can do that.  Other folks have bolted it to pieces of wood, or you could just have it sit on your workspace.

Light Arch (4)

Otherwise, the build followed the tutorial fairly closely.  Hopefully, this is a legible articulation of how I wired it:

Light Arch Annotated

I used a connector wire to bridge the top bar at the intersection.  This would have been easier with a shorter cable, I suspect, but it worked out okay.

Light Arch (2)

Instead of just running LED along the edge, I used the 3′ connector wire to bridge the one arch to the other, and hid the cable with the cable concealer.

Light Arch (7)

The LED strips are self-adhesive, but he’s not kidding when he says it’s not great. So, at every  point where I could cut the strip (every 3 lights or so), I hot glue gun’d across the arch to hold it in place. I also reinforced every point where there might be some extra pull with zip ties.Light Arch (3)

The remote is key.  The tutorial might claim it’s optional (but Highly Recommended).  It’s not.  Spend the $5 on it, or plan to fish around behind your desk to plug and unplug stuff when you want to turn the light off. The remote is little, though, so I mounted it to the side of a shelf with some velcro.  It’s not going anywhere (but, like, if it had to it could).

Light Arch (8)

Finally, I deliberately used a long-ass bolt to hold the arch together. This might seem counter intuitive (if I’m a picky enough pain in the ass to paint this thing, why wouldn’t I use a less obtrusive, more elegant, smaller thing to fasten these arches?), but I wanted the long bolt there so I could do stuff like this:

Light Arch (1)

Mounting stupid crap to the top of the arch.  I’m not saying I’m going to decorate it seasonally or anything… but I’m also not saying I’m not, if you know what I mean.

This was unbelievably easy to build, and the result is far more effective than I’d expected. If this is something you think you can use (and if you do work that requires good lighting), DO IT.

Tectonic Craft Studios at NoVA Open


Guys, Tectonic Craft Studios is going to be at the NoVA Open this year.  Don’t buy from these jerks.

Before you give them so much as a penny, be aware that they funded themselves via a Kickstarter that they have yet to fulfill.  They’re one of Those Guys who’ve run a scummy crowdfunding campaign that’s given the entire process a bad name.

And, of course, there’s the small matter of them taking money for product that they haven’t delivered.

Look: crowdfunding hardly ever ships on time. It’s a disappointing reality, but one I think we’ve all accepted.  Despite that acceptance, there’s a point where it’s clear that it’s not so much late as it is vaporware.  When NoVA hits, they will be over 15 months late on delivery.  That’s longer than the gestation period of a camel*.

The past year or so’s been an exercise in evasion and putting things off.  “Just a few more weeks.” “Done by next month.”  “I’ll have an update tomorrow.” 

Whatever.  I’m actually writing this a bit in advance (late July).  He sent out surveys a month ago, and nothing’s materialized. It was just another stalling tactic.  It’s telling that I’m writing this now, knowing that nothing will have changed in the next month and a half.

I don’t know what I’m going to do, myself: demand my money back, pick up the stuff he should have shipped to me a year ago, give him the finger, and walk out or what; I’m a pretty non-confrontational person, and it’s a lot easier to imagine screaming and flipping tables than it is to actually do it.  I’m not going to lay out some hard-man act that isn’t actually going to happen.

Whatever I do: you, reader, should know about them, their character, and their failed obligations before you give them either your time or money.

UPDATE: About to hit Publish on this.  The only developments since first writing this are 1) he sold stuff at GenCon and 2) he posted yesterday that his “ultimate goal is to get everything up to premium terrain packages out before 2014.”

Estimated Delivery is June 2012… but he’s hopin’ to get stuff out before 2014?


UPDATE 2: So, I talked to him at NoVA, and got my stuff. Some details can be found in my first post about the 2013 NoVA. This is a pretty negative post, so I wanted to make sure I noted the closure of the issue.

* Said gestated camel was found, spinal cord broken by promises of “next week,” “later this month,” and “soon.”

Cheat Sheets

I got in a game against fellow CGL’r Nick (who I wish had a blog because he’s an amazing painter)’s Tyranids a couple of weeks ago.  He’s running a Nidzilla jam that’s all about Tervigons and flying Hive Tyrants Biomancing themselves out the ears.

Because he’s got so many different units with powers that change from game to game, he’s typed up cards that he keeps in card sleeves that he marks with dry-erase markers, Warmachine-style, to track who has what.

This reminded me that 1) I’d done something similar for my Skaven for the 2011 NoVA (printed on letter-sized paper and laminated) and 2) that dang those Chaos Daemons have a lot of stuff that changes from game to game and boy-howdy I need something like that for my Khornate Daemons.

I knocked something together for the tournament last weekend (that I probably should post about), spotted a number of issues, and revised it. Here’s what I’m currently working with.  A copy of the page with the Warp Storm table goes on the back.

Daemon Cheet Sheet 3

I’m quite pleased with it.

And, ’cause I mentioned it, I might as well post the somewhat less sassy Skaven cheat sheet.

Skaven Cheat Sheet

WFRP 2E Winds of Magic Table(s)

Winds of Magic

Someone on the WFRP 2E Refugees group asked about a Winds of Magic table. Since nobody offered up one, and someone had mentioned Storm of Magic, I crapped one together.

It’s rough (since I literally threw it together in a few minutes); the Lores are from WHFB, not WFRP, and it’s never seen use at the table… but it’s a start. Furthermore, several of these lores are not, I think, actually represented in WFRP.  That’s cool, though: a appropriate situations’ll present themselves for their use or they won’t.

Roll d10 to determine what Wind is in ascendancy.

Roll Lores
1 Doldrums
2 Ghyran Life Nurgle, Skaven Dark
3 Azyr Heavens Chaos, Orc & Goblin, High
4 Ulgu Shadow Beastman, Slaanesh Dark
5 Purple Death Necromancy High
6 Aqshy Fire Orc & Goblin, Skaven Dark
7 Ghur Beasts Beastman, Ogre High
8 Hysh Light Necromancy, Ogre Dark
9 Chamon Metal Necromancy, Tzeentch High
0 Storm (All Lores)

Rune magic, rituals and such should probably not be affected. Petty Magic either isn’t significant enough to be affected, or should be affected regardless of the roll.

Roll d10 to determine the strength of the ascendant Wind.  All other Winds and lores work normally.  There’s probably a lot of room for refinement here, mind you.

Roll Strength
1 Becalmed – Cast as if Mag = Mag-1 (min 1)
2-5 Normal
6-8 Strong – Roll 1 extra casting die, drop 1 casting die
9 Dangerous – Must cast at full Mag
0 Tempestuous – Must cast at full Mag+1

Thoughts?  I’m not likely to use it any time soon: stuff’s getting Weird in my game, but it’s not going to run weird in this particularly direction.