On the Painting Table

Recently, I’ve been painting a couple of 28mm figures for our RPG group and to my surprise, I enjoyed it a lot. So I decided to continue. An additional motivation was my discovery of a new game by Andrea Sfiligoi: Sellswords and Spellslingers. This is a cooperative miniature wargame, something I find very interesting. After reading an inspiring review on the Lead Adventure Forum, I ordered a copy of the rules – I’ll let you know more as soon as I’ve played a game!

This is Inga. She’s from the wonderful dwarf range of Lead Adventure and was a treat to paint. I really like the Lead Adventure dwarves, they are pretty close to my imagination of those guys, which is heavily influenced by Terry Pratchett. I imagine her to be a slightly crazy inventor and tinkerer.

In preparation for Sellswords and Spellslingers, I’ve ordered a couple of fantasy miniatures from Black Tree Design. They come at a very modest price (especially if you take advantage of a sale, as I did) and have a decidedly old school look, which I like very much.


I’ve also finally started painting my dwarven fleet for Man O’War. First up were the submarines. The colour schemes correspond to the Viennese underground lines… who said dwarven jokes have to be funny?


On my workbench, you can see some ACW command figures. I’m slowly building up enough miniatures for regimental level actions. I’ve finished a couple of regiments recently, but at the moment, I feel like I need a short break from the Blue and the Grey.


Fantasy figures to the rescue! On the far left, you can see Cartimandua from Bad Squiddo Games – Annie was kind enough to give me one a long time ago, so I’m happy I’ll finally paint her. The dwarf is again from Lead Adventure and was a present from Virago. The two Orcs are old HeroQuest figures.

What I did during the last weeks…

Life has been busy, but in a good way. I’ve got a new job and still have to settle into the new routines. I haven’t actually neglected playing games and painting (though it’s going slower), but I didn’t find time or leisure to write blog articles.

Here’s a quick update on my gaming-related activities. I hope that in the future, this blog will again resume a more structured appearance.

My painting has been rather eclectic. I really enjoyed painting the mole at the Vienna Nerd Institute painting workshop, so I’ve continued to work on the fantastic anthropomorphic animals from Oathsworn Miniatures. Here’s my collection so far:


Inspire by our recent sci-fi game, I’ve also finished a landing party for an IPU (Interplanetary Union) starship:


It get’s even more idiosyncratic. I recently met a very old friend again. When we were youngsters, we played a lot of games together, among them Man O’War. Now he wants to rejoin the hobby and bought a whole load of Man O’War stuff. I couldn’t resist and by chance found a couple of second-hand Orc flyers, so I decided to give them a coat of paint:


I haven’t yet committed to build up a fleet, but I did get some Renaissance galleys from Navwar, which might do double duty as Orc ships if I can convince anybody to play the excellent Galleys & Galleons

And my final product shows that I haven’t completely lost my sense, as it leads back to my perennial obsession. Using the Busch maize field sprues, I built a corn field for the ACW. I’ve made it modular so troops can be placed inside.


I’ve also played a couple of games. Most of them Sharp Practice, but we’ve also started T.I.M.E. Stories, an interesting cooperative game about which more in another blog post.

And I had a game of Flashing Steel, still one of my all-time favorites!

Fantasy Ship Miniatures

Nicholas Wright, author of the fantastic Galleys & Galleons rules, is working on a supplement to cover fantasy naval combat. I’m already looking forward to pressing stout Dwarves into service and sailing the high seas with High Elves! As a youngster, I owned the old Games Workshop game Man O’War and had a Dark Elf fleet, with two of my pals fielding High Elves and Dwarves. Sadly, all my figures save one single sea serpent are lost, so I found myself browsing the web for alternatives. To my disappointment, it seems that there are not too many fantasy ships on the market.

Let’s have a quick look at what’s available.

The old Games Workshop Man O’War range was rather comprehensive, covering most of the classical fantasy races (Elves, Dwarves, Orcs) as well as several specific to the Warhammer setting, such as Skaven. There were not only ships available, but also flyers and sea monsters. Most of the miniatures looked quite nice, but unfortunately they are long out of production. They can be bought second hand, for example on ebay, but you have to be prepared to pay a rather hefty price. The ships seem to be scaled at something like 1/1200, with a battleship being about 50mm long.

A Dark Elf flagship.
Man O’War Dark Elf flagship.
A Dwarf submarine.
Man O’War Dwarf submarine.

The current big naval fantasy game seems to be Spartan Games’ Uncharted Seas. It offers a range of eight races, among them the indispensable Elves, Dwarves and Orcs. The ships are huge: On the web page, the scale is given as 1/600, with battleships being about 130mm long. For most purposes, this makes them incompatible with other ranges of fantasy ships.

Dwarf destroyers.
Uncharted Seas Dwarf destroyers.

Green Forest Trading produces a small range of fantasy ships in 1/1200. It is limited to Reptilians, Undead, Humans and Steam (presumably Dwarves). Some of the designs look a bit clunky, but the Undead rams are quite nice. I don’t know how large the ships are, but I guess they are not too small, as they are also rather pricey, costing about as much as the Spartan Games vessels.

Green Forest Treading Dwarf steamers.
Green Forest Treading Dwarf steamers.
Green Forest Trading Undead ram ships.
Green Forest Trading Undead ram ships.

Ral Partha Europe have a range called Empire, where they offer five different fantasy navies: Orcs, Dwarves, Elves, Humans and Isthak. The latter are pseudo-Egyptians with nice looking galleys. The ships are small compared to the others, 20-30mm long, which would probably make them about 1/2400. I have to say that this is my favorite range. The ships capture the old Man O’War aesthetics very well, are inexpensive and demand only a small gaming space.

Ral Partha Europe Orc ram.
Ral Partha Europe Orc ram.
Ral Partha Europe Elf catamaran.
Ral Partha Europe Elf catamaran.

Of course, there is always the option of converting historical ships for fantasy. Renaissance galleys and galleons would be apt for humans and the steam gunboat look that seems to be the established stereotype for Dwarves could easily be achieved by using, well, steam gunboats from Ironclad and American Civil War ranges. Incidentally, it’s interesting that the designs of fantasy ships tend to adhere strictly to the archetypes established by Man O’War: Dwarves have steam ships, Orcs have barges made from junk, Elves have sleek sailing boats.

I think there is a real gap in the market for generic, decent looking fantasy ships. While I personally would prefer 1/2400, I guess 1/1200 would be the most popular scale, as the ships would fit in with old Man O’War miniatures people might have stashed away. This could be a great opportunity for a small independent company – perhaps an enterprising sculptor will give it a try?

The Raft is making a Christmas break and will be back in the New Year. Have a merry Christmas and enjoy the holidays!