Saturday, July 18, 2015

Stonehaven Half Orcs

It's raining Kickstarters around here lately. In addition to my Oathsworn Miniatures, here are my Stonehaven Miniature Half-Orcs. I went for the choice of 10, rather than the complete set.

Here are the first three finished figures.  From left, the Paladin, Barbarian and Bard.

Half Orc Barbarians are cliched, but Stonehaven captures something unique in her.  Not a savage brute as would be typical, but a wild spirit, one who is curious and joyful. I am tired of grim-dark barbarians.  The Paladin begs to be generated as a Ronin and the drummer girl is appropriately Sgt. Peppers meets Punk rock.

Stonehaven has some of the most interesting fantasy sculpts on the market.  The faces ooze personality, clothing and armor is superbly detailed and the casting quality is top notch. Minimal shaving or filing is needed to get these ready to paint.  Any negatives? A strong tendency to sculpt miniatures that are "flat" in cross section. I am sure this is mainly a desire to keep the casting and spinning process simple and avoid multi-part models. Despite this, the poses are dynamic and natural.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Burrows and Badger Oathsworn Work in Progress

Here are my first three works in progress from the Oathsworn Burrows and Badger Kickstarter.

From the right, Snowbelle Venomdart, Grimnir One-eye, and Daggit Neverseen.

The Hare may be my favorite sculpt; it seems to best capture the aesthetic Oathsworn was aiming for. 

After some highlighting and base details, these will be finished. More pics to follow.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Burrows and Badgers Oathsworn Kickstarter - First Impressions

Woo hoo...

My Burrows & Badgers Kickstarter from Oathsworn Miniatures arrived yesterday. While it certainly wasn't the most expensive Kickstarter I've backed on a per figure basis, I admit to some buyer's regrets for going in for all 20, along with international shipping.

All of those regrets are gone. While it may be the euphoria of opening up new shiny, the quality of the miniatures and the professionalism of Oathsworn set a standard for all Kickstarters to come.

I've sorted the twenty miniatures from the full set by size. Oathsworn does divide them into two factions, with the more noble animals called the Goodbeasts and the evil characters Vermin.

These are the smallest five, a mix of mice and shrews. The shortest figures, in the center and far right, are about 20mm to the eyes.

Most of the taller figures stand about 28mm to the eye.  However, the toad, squirrel and lizard are hunched or bending, but there actual size is quite tall.  My favorite in this bunch is the hare. If Sandor Clegane came back as a rabitt...

The Badger, the tallest figure, stands about 46mm to the eye and 50mm overall. He's pretty massive.

These are great looking  miniatures and well cast. If you like collecting and painting quality products, go right ahead. However, are they too niche for the average fantasy gamer or RPG player?

Possibly. Unless you are gaming in a anthro-type world, I suppose they are pretty far down your list after buying player characters, goblin-type swarms and big boss bad guys.

However, who says you can't mix anthro-animals with fantasy humans?  Not C.S. Lewis. From the left, a Reaper mouseling, an Oathsworn mouse archer and a Reaper halfling.

Below, the Oathsworn wildcat warrior next to Reaper's Lionman.  While they come from different artistic sensibilities, they are certainly compatible with each other. 

Oathsworn does mention they are working on a rule set, but I like the idea of buying non-game specific miniatures. I can only hold so many rules sets in my head at once (fewer as the years pass). I'll probably stat them into Open Combat as soon as they are painted.

Monday, July 6, 2015


In traditional D&D/d20, Hobgoblins are criminally underused. Mainly because, I think, they are average for the goblinoid creatures - they're humans, basically. Not as sneaky as goblins, nor as brutish as orcs. Not as savage as bugbears, and not as pack minded as kobolds.

I particularly like this one, shown above and below. While dual wielding with a sword and an axe, his pose is particulary dynamic. Of course, the pose came at the price of separate pieces for the arms. Fortunately, they fit well and stayed secure with my mix of superglue and epoxy glue.

As with almost all of Reaper's metals, the production quality is excellent. Flash lines are minimal, and the white metal is substantial. The heft of the metal may be a psychological bonus more than anything, but to me it helps justify the prices I pay today compared to twenty years ago.

If I had to put in one complaint, it is the facial sculpture. A little too simian/Planet of the Apes. OTOH, somebody might use these for just such a product. 

On the eve of the Reaper Bones III launch, a couple of wishes for the project:

1) These guys in plastic. I'll want at least two more as extras.
2) Other hobgoblins - archers, rogues and shamans
3) Female goblinoids - orcs, ogres, hobgoblins and goblins
4) Kings or tribal chieftains.  Whatever is appropriate.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Tom Bombadil

We Tolkien fans can be an inconsistent bunch. In the Ring trilogy, we complained about what was left out (Tom Bombadil), and then in the Hobbit trilogy we complained about what was put in (anything  apparently).

Given the darker tone of LOTR, and Peter Jackson's later treatment of Radagast, it is probably for the best that Tom was omitted.

I am a Tolkien fan and not a scholar, so I won't even attempt to go into his contextual meaning and
literary significance. For me, his appearance in Fellowship of the Ring is an interesting detour that in no way distracts or diminishes the large work. It gives the reader a hint that Middle Earth is an even larger and more complex world than what is just presented in the main trilogy.

Above, the Hobbits and Tom are all from Mithril Miniatures, the finest producer of Tolkein licensed figures, in my opinion. Unfortunately, they have prices that could make even GW blush.

Casting Game 

If Peter Jackson had included Tom Bombadil in Fellowship of the Ring film in 2001, who would or should have been cast at that time?

My top five picks are: 

5. Robin Williams -  Hollywood's probable choice, but would have been a likely disaster
4. Rowan Atkinson - imagine the facial expressions 
3. Terry Jones - putting a Monty Python actor into the movie could be jarring, but no more so than Billy Connolly's Scottish caricature dwarf in Five Armies. 
2. Robbie Coltrane - ex post facto typecasting since Bombadil is not far removed from Hagrid

and my top pick...

1. Barry Humphries - he was one of the best parts of The Unexpected Journey, and his performance was the right mix of menace and humor that was missing from the series. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Into the Woods

One of the many things I like about Reaper's variety is its focus on a variety of "worlds" within typical RPG fantasy, such as aquatic, subterranean and of course, the forest.

From the first Reaper Bones is this Not-Ent, officially titled Spirit of the Forest. It is a large figure, but it could stand to be a bit bigger; another 2 cm and I could picture a couple of halflings riding on its shoulders. Maybe in Bones III we can get some proper giant tree men.

From Reaper II, are these centaurs.  The sculpts are very nice, but the female centaur's spear shows one of the primary weakensses of the Bones line: thin weapons or extensions. Despite several treatments in boiling water and cold water, the spear returned a warped form. Oh well, maybe it is a spear made from a naturally crooked branch. 

The sylph and dryad below are also from Reaper II.

 My daughter so liked the Sylph mini that she wanted to play one in our D&D 5E game. She's 10, and not likely to abuse or exploit the flying rules, so we went with it.  Using the DM Guide, I created this race using the Aaracokra as template.  Their flying has been reduced to fluttering basically, but that is to justify their numerous other abilities from Fey ancestry.


The Sylph are spirits of the air from the fae world. They are happiest soaring on the wind above mountains and hills.


As winged beings, slyphs resemble fairies and pixies, however they approach the size of small humans. Both males and females average about five feet tall, without much extreme variation. They are much more slender than humans or even elves, weighing about 80 to 110 pounds. Their gossamer wings are thin and graceful, and are capable of carrying the sylphs aloft over short distances. Slyphs skin coloration spans the same range as humans, but also includes tones with a copperish or silverish sheen. Hair coloration is also similar to humans in addition to bright reds, greens and blues.


Sylphs make their homes at high altitudes where they can be close to the wind. Nonetheless, they are also curious about the world below them and will periodically travel far from their home. They are most wary of humans, for it is greedy humans who often try to capture and rip them their wings from them. Though they do not understand why Dwarves so prefer the subterranean world, they recognize the natural goodness of their society. Orcs and other goblinoids are even more distrusted but rarely sought out by the sylphs.  But as individualists themselves, the sylphs know that all people are unique and not bound by their racial tendencies.


Sylphs live atop mountains and remote highlands where they can soar on the winds. Contact with settled races is rare, but they will find companions among woodland creatures and air elementals especially elves, eladrin and aarakocra.


The sylph has a number of natural abilities as a fey born creature.

Ability Score Increases. Your Dexterity score increases by 2, and your Charisma increases by 1.
Age. While not quite as long lived as elves, sylvans can live for several centuries.
Alignment.  As an isolated nature loving race, sylphs favor neutral alignments, and evil slyphs are rare but not unheard of.
Size. Sylphs are usually about 4 ½ to a little over five feet tall, and weigh around 80 to 100 pounds.
Speed. Your base walking speed is 25 feet.
Flight. You have a flying speed of 30 feet, and can fly for a maximum of 3 rounds before alighting. They can glide at a rate of 20 feet horizontal and 5 feet on the vertical as long as distance and air currents can provide. Sylph cannot fly is wearing Medium or Heavy armor.
Languages. You can speak, read and write Common and Sylvan.
Keen Senses. You have proficiency in the Perception skill.
Fey born. You have advantage on saving throws against being charmed, and magic can’t put you to sleep.