Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Battlelore Minis for 1/72 scale

Interested in these figures? I'm selling a bunch on my sales page, along with other minis, including from the recently-fulfilled Bones 3 Kickstarter!

Battlelore is a tactical minis board game produced by Fantasy Flight games that's gone through a couple editions. The first edition was set in a generic fantasy world, while the current second edition is set in the slightly less generic world of Terrinoth, home to Fantasy Flight's Runebound, Rune Wars, and Descent games. The core game and its expansions were on sale at huge markdowns at Fantasy Flight's webstore and at Cool Stuff Inc. at the end of last year, leading to some speculation that Fantasy Flight intends to stop support if not production of these games. But it was an excellent opportunity to stock up on some very interesting fantasy minis.

Why the interest? Because I knew that the minis were sort-of-kind-of close to 1/72 scale, the preferred scale of this blog. How close? Let's take a look.

The core game comes with two factions, the first of which are the noble paladin-people, the Daqan. Shown here are minis from the core game and from the Daqan expansion, "Hernfar Guardians."

An Ironbound, Greyhaven mage, Citadel Guard, and Yeoman Archer. The core game comes with the guards and archers; the expansion has the Ironbound, mages, and extra guards. They seem close in size to Sven, with similarly proportioned features, but note that Sven the comparison viking is on a taller base, meaning the Battlelore minis are actually a bit larger. But they're close!

A Rune Golem, Riverwatch Rider, and Citadel Lancer, with an Eagle Games horse for comparison. The golem and rider are from the core set, the lancer from the expansion. The horses are noticeably bigger, though their human riders are actually about Sven-sized.

The large "Legend" figures: a Siege Golem from the expansion and a Roc Warrior from the core game. The riders are almost exactly 1/72 scale, and the large critters they ride look great next to Sven.
The other faction from the core game are the Uthuk, barbaric chaos-types who are into blood magic, demons, and other such ickiness. Shown here are figures from the core game and the Uthuk expansion, "Warband of Scorn."

A Viper Legion, Blood Sister, Berserker, and Blood Harvester. The core game includes the Legion and Harvesters, while the expansion includes the Berserkers, Blood Sisters, and extra Harvesters. Like the Daqan, these human figures are actually just a bit bigger than Sven, though perhaps they are close enough.

A Grotesque, Obscene, and Flesh Ripper Brute. The Grotesque is from the expansion; the Obscene and Brute are from the core game. These larger creatures look fine next to Sven. If anything the Obscene almost seems too small!

Legends: The Chaos Lord from the core game, and the beetley Doombringer from the expansion.
The third faction, the necromancy/undead themed Waiqar, is available in two expansion sets. The first was Heralds of Dreadfall, the second was Terrors of the Mists.

A Skeleton Archer, Reanimate, Necromancer, and Bone Horror. The first set includes the archers and Reanimates; the second has the Necromancers, Horrors, and more Reanimates. Included here for comparison are two painted skeletons from Caesar Miniatures undead set. The Caesar figures are just a bit shorter than Sven, but are noticeably shorter than the Battlelore figures. This perhaps shows why I'm hesitant to recommend these figures as complements to a 1/72 scale fantasy collection. On the other hand, the Bone Horror looks just fine as a 1/72 scale boney aberration.

A Wraith, Barghest (actually two figures per base), and Death Knight, with an Eagle Games horse for comparison. The Wraith and Knight are from the first set; the Barghests from the second. As with the Daqan cavalry, the Death Knight horse is much bigger than the 1/72 scale horse. The Wraith is huge! You could probably mod it so it isn't so big, though you'd probably lose the cool bands of tattered cloth in the process. Or it can just be a really big ghost.
Legends: A Banshee from the second set, and a Barrow Wyrm from the first. The Banshee is about as big as the Wraith, and its skeletal minders are closer to Sven-sized than the Reanimates. The Barrow Worm looks just as big as an undead dragon ought to.

Conclusions? These are some great-looking pieces, and the larger figures are for the most part unobjectionable. How you feel about the humanoid and cavalry figures for 1/72 scale is pretty much a matter of taste. They are just a bit too big for my taste, but I'm decidedly a pedant about scale. If you like the look of these, it's definitely worth picking up, especially if they go on sale again.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Bones III for 1/72 scale

Since starting Cheap Fantasy Minis a few years ago, I've gone through 3 Kickstarters expanding Reaper Miniatures excellent Bones line of cheap plastic minis. While they are standard-sized gaming minis, I've found that many of them are readily adaptable to 1/72 scale, the preferred scale of this blog. For this most recent Kickstarter, I skipped the core set and went for the Stoneskull and the Graveyard expansion, plus a few extra add-ons. The expansions had a lot more small minis and terrain pieces, which I find are best for adapting to 1/72.

My sets arrived last week, so I've taken some comparison shots of the more interesting minis.

The Stoneskull expansion includes six new kobold sculpts, four of which are shown here. I was worried that they might be too large, like the kobold leaders from the second Bones Kickstarter, but they look great. If anything they are a tick smaller and more delicately featured than the original Bones kobolds, making them even better suited for 1/72 gaming. Shown for comparison are one of the original Bones kobolds, plus an unpainted kobold from the Wrath of Ashardalon game.

Other small critters from the Stoneskull set include the gremlins on the left and the "veggie-pygmies" on the right. A Caesar Miniatures goblin is shown for comparison. I'm not sure what a veggie-pygmy is, or what use I'd have for them, but they're just a little under human-sized even in 1/72 scale.

"Stitch golems" on the left; "grave minions" from the Graveyard set on the right. The stitch golems are a little chunky-looking but just about the size of Sven. Similarly, the graveyard minions have somewhat large heads and hands but are otherwise human-sized. As mockeries of human form, they look just fine!

Plant monsters: A "saproling," and a couple of "death star lillies." The saproling is just a bit bigger than Sven, which is what I'd expect from a modestly-sized tree monster. The lillies look big enough for Sven to fit inside, if he gets too close.

Getting a little bigger. Here we have a naga from the Stoneskull set and a "carrion worm" from the Graveyard set. These would be just a little bigger than Reaper-sized humans but look suitably monstrous next to Sven.

Even bigger: a flesh golem, minotaur, and larger stitch golem from Stoneskull, plus one of the ogres from the core set. I always like when large minis are looking down, like the minotaur is doing here. It makes it look like they're sizing up smaller adversaries like Sven.

Finally, the biggest: an absolutely titanic iron golem, and a clear plastic air elemental. The latter should make a fine companion to the fire and water elementals from the previous Kickstarters.

I expect that soon after Reaper finishes fulfilling the current Kickstarter, the Kickstarter for Bones IV: I Can't Believe We're Doing Another One will launch soon after. I'm not sure I have the scratch to back this one (depends on how well I do on my sales page!), but I'll definitely keep an eye on it and live-blog updates. In the meantime, check out this gallery for a preview.

Friday, May 19, 2017


I finally painted something this year!

Bandits, or peasant partisans, or village militia, etc. They're a mix of Zvezda peasants and Hat/Airfix Robin Hood figures with a few mods, as I first showed off back in August (ugh). They look pretty good as a group, but let's take a closer look.

Melee dudes. You can see that the Zvezda figures are similar in style but noticeably taller. My wife asked me one time if I ever tried painting non-Caucasian figures. I pointed out that most of my figures had green skin, but she had a point that all my humans so far were people of pallor, so I tried a darker skin tone on some of these.

The Lord of Loxley himself, plus a fiddler, converted from a sitting Imex pioneer figure with some legs pilfered from one of the Merry Men. I'm pretty pleased with how seamless it looks.

Ranged units. The Zvezda slinger and archer with the mondo longbow absolutely tower over their Airfix counterparts, alas.

I've got a few more post ideas lined up, plus the guards I started at the same time I started the bandit project to finish up. Stay tuned!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Terrain Kickstarters

A few years ago, the hotness in fantasy minis Kickstarters was Twisting Catacombs, a series of resin terrain pieces for dungeons and such by Zealot Miniatures. They are 28mm scale, but I was curious if some of the smaller pieces would look okay in 1/72, the official CFM scale. They had all kinds of fiddly bits like food and tankards and bottles that I thought would look, if not exactly in scale, close enough to work at the table. I was a very late backer, and with the vagaries of Kickstarter fulfillment, I only just got my order a month ago, and have been meaning to take some comparison pics.

I have not done so :(. I intend to, but simply need to take the time. The reason I'm mentioning it now is because of another 28mm fantasy terrain Kickstarter that's still taking backers. TerrainCrate is a project by Mantic Games, whom I didn't realize, in addition to aggressively competing with GamesWorkshop for great justice, was also quietly building a line of plastic terrain pieces. Obviously they're intending to blow up the line, marrying plastic and terrain for value, much like what Reaper Miniatures did for plastic and mini figures years ago with their Bones line. Anyway, the "crates" of terrain look like a fantastic value, and there are still a couple of days left to back the project. It's fairly certain that not everything will work with 1/72 pieces, but I'm hoping many of these plastic pieces might readily be modded or adapted.

PS: Speaking of Reaper and Kickstarters: Bones IV is coming! Reaper won't start it until they've finished fulfilling the last Bones Kickstarter, but you can check out this gallery from a ReaperCon attendee to get a preview. It took me longer than it should have to realize the hut had legs (as described in legends).

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Stuff for Sale!

Long time, no blog, but I finally got around to updating my sales page. Check it out, not only for new 1/72 sprues, but for board game pieces from Battlelore 2nd Edition, Shadows of Brimstone, Arcane Legions, Temple of Elemental Evil, the World of Warcraft boardgame and lots more. I'm also selling a few old board games and RPG books that are worth a look. Plus, Reaper's Bones III Kickstarter should be shipping some time later this year, and I'll have a lot of stuff to add when it does!

I've actually had time to paint a bit lately so hopefully I'll have an actual finished project to share soon. I've also been acquiring a lot of minis lately (hence the sale) that I'd like to show off soon. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Storage Solutions

[RPG fans: Don't forget that I have a stand-alone RPG blog! I've been putting up a few new posts lately. Some are reposts from when I did RPG blogging on this blog, but there's also new content to check out. Please do so!]

One could say that I've painted a few minis, but I was never too satisfied with how I was storing them. I have a few drawer sets atop my painting table, including a mini hardware set of the sort intended to store screws and washers and things like that. It stores most of my 1 inch high minis quite well, and each set can live in its own somewhat portable drawer, but I have a few problems with this system. For one, it's not a display solution; it hides my completed projects instead of showing them off. More importantly, these drawers aren't at all airtight. That's not a problem for bolts and nails, but for minis it means they get quite dusty. So over the past year I've been leaning toward a better way.

Let's start with my new approach to storage trays.

Special points if you know what you're looking at. It's an Arcane Legions movement tray, of the sort that I've accrued in a plethora. I cut and superglued a bit of magnetic sheeting to fit, the kind designed to let you print your own refrigerator magnets. The magnet is strong enough to keep my metal washer bases in place so long as they aren't rocked too hard. I can even turn some of my lighter figures upside-down and have them stick for a bit. This way I can keep my little troops together and move them all at once.

But I still needed a place to put them all.

It's an Ikea display case, dubbed a Hemnes, to be specific. It was actually a Father's Day present from last year that I managed to finally build in the fall. It's a very nice piece, though I admit that the price tag is not exactly consistent with the Cheap Fantasy Minis ethos. I considered the cheaper Detolf that is often mentioned for mini storage, but while I liked the unobstructed all-glass look, it has a number of gaps on the edges and is not at all air-tight. If I wanted a dust-free solution, I had to splurge a bit. I'd like to upgrade with a Dioder lighting kit, and possibly some more shelves, but it looks pretty good for now.

Let's see how everything looks up close. Sorry for the intense flash on these.

Ranks of little troopers.

A mass of larger beasts.

My small but growing collection of stony terrain.
Regular CFM readers may realize that the three above shots do not represent everything I have painted. I need to make more magnetic trays and migrate everyone else to their new home. Ironically, that means that all those Arcane Legions movement trays I've collected, which were previously an albatross, are now in hot demand at the 1Mac household. Seriously, if any readers have any they'd like to be rid of, drop me a line!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fountain and Bridge

Here are some terrain pieces I finally finished painting last weekend. The first is a resin fountain by Airfix, first mentioned here.

Sven and Reaper fountain added for comparison.
Painting is done, though I'd like to add some water effects to the basin and fount. Painting was a simple gray basecoat and a few stones painted brown for contrast, with a couple layers of drybrushing and a blackwash to bring out details. Some of my drybrushing was a little coarse, but I'm very pleased with this overall.

Next is a nice bridge kit by Italeri. I think I first read about this kit on Sean's blog, though I can't find the post.

Even though it's marketed as 1/72, it's a pretty big bridge, probably designed for scale vehicles to drive over. It could definitely be used for larger-scale gaming.
The One Inch Guild square off against some pesky goblins for control of a key strategic landmark.
Sven hides from the obligatory bridge troll.
Painting was basically the same as with the fountain, though the drybrushing is even rougher here. The resin fountain had a nice stone texture that was completely absent from the Italeri plastic, so my drybrushing was really a sort of sloppy highlighting. The kit went together pretty well, though I had some issues getting the curved bed to fit in the sides, and the seems on the support bits at the base are pretty obvious. Still, this is an attractive, solid piece of terrain. I've already let my son play with it (while supervised!), and it handles toy cars going over it without a problem. Speaking of, here he is, helping daddy with the basecoat.

Little helper.
P.S. Thanks to those of you who posted comments this month. Sorry they are only going up just now. I only caught them in the "Awaiting Moderation" cue today. I love hearing from my readers, and I'll be more diligent about posting comments in the future.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Alliance Trolls comparison

Slowly getting back into the habit of blogging, starting with some pics of the new Alliance trolls. EY already has a nice review, and new 1/72 fantasy blogger Philotep has a great how-to on painting one of them. My contribution will be this comparison shot with some similar miniatures.

Left to right: a Reaper Bones "Cave Troll," Sven the 1/72 comparison mini, one of the Alliance trolls, a Bones "Mountain Troll," and a Games Workshop "Mines of Moria" troll. These Alliance trolls are big; not as big as some "normal"-scale gaming minis, but big enough to compare favorably. Even if you don't game in 1/72 scale, they're big enough to work, and at 8 figures for ~$10, they're quite a deal. Stylistically they are quite similar to the Mountain Troll, which could serve as an alpha or captain of these Tolkein/Jackson-inspired bigguns.

Here's a quick height comparison with Sven:

And here are the four poses in the set, of which there are two each. From the front:

We gonna stomp your citadel!!
 And from the back:

Oops, wrong citadel.
Flash is a bit of a problem, as is sometimes the case with Red Box/Alliance. The poses are maybe a bit flat (to simplify the molding), but not as much as they could be. And the detail is actually really good; again, check out Philotep's excellent "tabletop" paintjob to see just how nice they can look. That Bones Mountain Troll is clearly a better figure, but it also retails for over $5 (it's metal counterpart is $22!). The dollar-to-quality ratio of the Alliance figures should be very tempting. Good, not great, and on a budget, which is sort of the motto around here!

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year review

Hail, loyal readers! Since 2016 was a bit slack on the new CFM content, and since New Year's is a good time to consider the past and look forward to the future, I thought you all might appreciate knowing what's going on with me hobby-wise.

I've not had as much hobby time recently as I'd like, which I regret. I have an excuse though! I started a new job in the fall, which I love, but which calls for a lot more time than my previous job. Between it and my normal parenting duties, I'd probably still have been able to do more hobby stuff than I was able. The big wrinkle is that before I was even looking for a new job, I also committed to a big freelance project that's still taking a lot of additional time. I probably wouldn't have taken it on if I knew about the new job, but now I'm obligated. Again, I'm happy to do it, but something had to give, and if you can believe it, making and painting tiny figures had to take a back seat.

The good news is that once this freelance project is finally complete, I believe I'll get some balance back in my life that I can dedicate to more hobby time. Hopefully I can get in done in the next few months. In the meantime, I've done a little painting, including these guys. I've also been doing some collecting: I got many of the new Caesar and Alliance fantasy sets in trade that I want to do review/comparison posts for. The same goes for the Battlelore 2nd Edition figures I got when the games were marked down in a recent Cool Stuff Inc. sale.

I've not given up on the hobby and hope to do more posting in the future. So keep an eye on this space! Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!