Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Latest Painting Projects: Last of the Mohicans & Footsore Minis "Skraelings"

Conquest Miniatures "Last of the Mohicans" pack: Hawkeye, Chingachgook, Uncas
Contrary to what it may look like from reading this blog, I have actually been painting in the last couple months. The problem is what I am painting is deadline-driven. I need it for a project. Soon. Most of those projects have been for convention games, such as getting stuff ready for Cold Wars -- or more recently -- Cincycon (next weekend!).

The first of these convention-related subjects are the six characters from Conquest Miniatures' "Last of the Mohicans" pack. A couple of the games I was running at Cold Wars last month were scenarios from the movie. So, I pretty much needed to have the figs done in time! I purchased the set months ago, but never got around to painting it until deadline pressure loomed...not like that is common for miniatures wargamers or anything!

In the above image, you can see my take on Hawkeye, Chingachgook, and Uncas. I tried my best to make them look like the actors from the 1992 film starring Daniel Day-Lewis. It certainly looks like Conquest Miniatures had them in mind when they sculpted them. I used successive layers of watered down acrylic washes to do Hawkeye's shirt. I think it looks better in person than in this photo. I also like how Uncas turned out. His faded green shirt and decorative beading on his straps and belts makes for a good look.
Conquest Miniatures "Last of the Mohicans" pack: Magua, Alica, Cora
Next up is Magua and the ladies, Col. Munro's daughters Alice and Cora. Conquest chose to sculpt the ladies in their tea dresses rather than what they wore for most of the movie. That is unfortunate because I think there is a lot more detail and possibilities with the ladies' "campaign wear." I don't particularly like Alice's face. I think I can only partially blame it on the sculpt, though. Cora's looks better, I think. I also did washes to come up with the tan and light brown for the ladies' skirts. They came out okay, but a little too much collected in the folds. So, they're not perfect.

I like how Magua came out much better. The sculpt appears to be from when he was at the Huron village negotiating with the chief on what to do with his captives. I like the contrast of the antique gold shirt and the blues and reds of the blanket. I couldn't resist decorating up his apparel with fancy borders and beadwork. Even though he did not have on warpaint in that movie scene, chances are he will see action on the tabletop during battle. So, I gave him my take on the movie warpaint scheme. All in all, I'm happy with how the Mohicans characters came out. They'll definitely add some splash to the tabletop when I use them in scenarios.
Footsore Miniatures "Skraeling Warriors" with scratch-built gun stock war clubs
My most recent batch of figures comes not from Conquest Miniatures -- for a change. I love Conquest's line so much I rarely paint anything else. However, they do not make a pack armed solely with hand weapons -- no bows or muskets. I need those types of figures for one of my scenarios I run in "Ohio Frontier Aflame." So, when I saw that Footsore Miniatures' Skraeling line had a pack armed with separate spears, I bought a couple at Cold Wars. Since the spear is not in as common usage in my period as it is in the Viking period (which is what this line is produced ostensibly for), I decided to do some of my own weapon modification.

First off, I wanted to make at least a couple figures armed with what are sometimes called Indian "gun stock clubs." There is debate about whether they actually used discarded musket stocks, but nevertheless, the shape is similar. Early on, animal horn points were inserted on the club. This was later replaced by metal points. I decided to make my early ones with deer horn points. Where did I get the shape? Well, I'd been saving the lead sprues that some of the 28mm spear points I owned came attached to. These provide jagged-like points on a curved shape. By trimming off all but two of the points, it made a passable club. The difficult part was drilling out the end so I could attach a needle to it through the warriors fist. I figured this would be a more secure hold than simply gluing the end of the weapon onto the fist itself. Plus, the end of the needle gives a rounded end to the handle. I like how they turned out, and would have done more if they weren't such a pain!

I like the Footsore Skraeling miniatures themselves. I'm not exactly crazy about every single figure having an animal tail dangling from their clothing, though. I made the best of it, though. I'm sure they researched it well and it must have been spoken about in Viking sagas or other sources.
Footsore Miniatures "Skraeling Warriors" with scratch-built root ball war clubs
The rest of the weapons I modeled were forms of the root ball club. This was much easier to do. I simply epoxied a small rounded bead onto a paperclip. Once it was dry, I bent it into the proper shape. I added more epoxy to give it more of a transition from the handle to the root ball. I kind of messed up the middle figure above when adding epoxy, and went overboard. However, some root ball clubs were more compact and less streamlined, so it doesn't look horrible. I think these ended up looking the most accurate of the all the weapons I modified for these figures
More Footsore Miniatures "Skraeling Warriors" with scratch-built root ball war clubs
I really like how the figures painted up. They are mostly all bare-chested, which gave me more scope for applying tattoos and warpaint. Although I know some Indians wore large amounts of warpaint covering much of their chest, shoulders, and face, I tend not to paint them that way. I am not sure they look as "realistic" as more subdued amounts of warpaint. Strange, I know. Maybe on the next batch of these that I do, I'll try one of the all-black or all-blue paint warpaint jobs.

I did a mix of leather tones and common colors for their loin cloths and leggings. I decorated them to make some bright and colorful and others more subdued. Once again, I referred to my picture book of Robert Griffing's paintings of Indians. Time and again, it has proven an excellent, well-researched source of Indian apparel, patterns, tattoos, and warpaint.

I hope you like them!

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