6 Steps to Attractive Balls


An Ursa Miner Bruin and an OCP Patriot with magnetic balls.

I attached magnets to the bases of my DreadBall miniatures.  I also magnetised the bases on my Blood Bowl teams a while back.  During play the ball (with corresponding magnet) can be quickly and easily placed on the players base, where it will stay during play.  It makes a surprisingly fiddly aspect of the game easier.  Those of you who have hardly given a thought to where you position your balls may be sceptical, but its worth the minimal effort. Continue reading


Flint Churnblade – DreadBall Forgefather/Blood Bowl Dwarf

Flint Churnblade

Flint Churnblade

Another vintage addition to the Ursa Miner Bruins, Flint has been hanging around the unpainted figure mountain for ages.  DreadBall seemed like a good excuse to get him painted, so I went for it.


Continue reading

Barik Farblast – DreadBall Forgefather/Blood Bowl Dwarf


Barik Farblast

Barik is a 2nd edition Blood Bowl Star Player who overcame his racial inability to throw the ball satisfactorily by using a (surprisingly high tech) bazooka.  The models clean lines are quite a contrast with more recent Blood Bowl dwarf miniatures (which tend to look like Warhammer miniatures with their weapons clipped off rather than sportsfolk).  I think that the figure probably fits in better with a game of DreadBall than it does in Blood Bowl. Continue reading

Cialis Cowgirls – DreadBall Cheerleaders #1

Bambi, Tiffany & Candi.

Bambi, Tiffani & Candi.

Most Blood Bowl figures are a bit too fantasy looking to be suitable for use in DreadBall.  DreadBall miniatures are also a bit smaller than the GW heroic 28mm that Blood Bowl figures conform to, which also limits compatibility.

Those restrictions dont apply as much to the second edition Blood Bowl miniatures range.   Continue reading

Blood Bowl Elf Test Piece

Well, strictly speaking its not a “Blood Bowl” elf per se, but the figure is painted for use in my Blood Bowl games.

The miniature is from Shadowforge and a very nice figure it is too.  Some of the Shadowforge sculpts are a bit overly sexualised for my tastes, with high heels, chainmail bikinis, S&M accoutrements and ensembles etc, but these figures dont suffer too badly from that.

Obviously long flowing hair isnt very practical in a contact sport and the “belly top” (are they still even called that?) seems more of a fashion statement than a sporting decision, but in the context of the vaguely WWE panto that is Blood Bowl, I am ok with this look.

I found this photo while confirming that common or garden humans do still use the phrase (and indeed occasionally wear) “belly tops”.  I can confirm that “belly top” is still in use as a term and also a garment, as this mildly amusing photo shows.

The sculpting, detail and general design of the figure combine to give a simple and somehow vintage look.  There are few extraneous bits and pieces hanging off the figure but it still has lots of character.  I like this approach to miniature design.  The figure looks more iconic than the overburdened designs often seen from GW and the like.  Extra detail does not automatically make a figure better.

The model was very nicely sculpted and cast too.  It was genuinely a pleasure to paint, largely because of the clearly defined sculpting.

I considered painting the gems blue rather than the amethyst that they ended up, but I wanted to use some of my new purple paints.

I also couldnt decide on a suitable area to paint the player number on, which is a bit of a failing for a miniature designed for use in a football game.  I may resort to simply painting the number on the base, but that somehow feels like cheating.

The yellow and orange were painted in ways that I hope will be fast and simple to replicate (I do have about twenty more BB elves to paint after all), whenever I get the Blood Bowl urge next.  The pale flesh (of which there is a fair amount) was a bit time consuming to paint, but painting any significant area of flesh to any sort of decent standard always takes a while really.

As a test piece for my long awaited (since the 1980s) Blood Bowl elf team I am reasonably pleased with it.

Close Up Photos of my Tiny Balls

L to R: Blood Bowl 3rd ed, Blood Bowl 3rd ed, Blood Bowl 3rd ed with added base, Blood Bowl 2nd ed with added base.

I turn thirty-seven next week.  Perhaps I should have outgrown amusing myself with headings like the one above by now.  I remain entertained nonetheless.

The balls in question are for use with Blood Bowl, in case that isnt obvious.

L to R: Dungeonbowl spiked ball, Blood Bowl 2nd ed ball with base (green for unclear reasons), a scratch built bomb, a “Ball Squig” (originally a RT ork squig), Blood Bowl 2nd ed ball (painted blue because its “Enchanted”) and an Iron Ball made from a metal recast of the 3rd ed ball, distributed at the 2003 Blood Bowl.

Over the years Blood Bowl has had various rules for playing the game with alternatives to footballs.  Largely those rules were not great in my opinion.

My regular opponents didnt really want to add the sort of extra random factor that those… ball-ternatives brought to the game.  That changed after I had played a lot of Dungeonbowl with SOS/theottovonbismark and MT, so I made up a few of these little models.

We used the bomb in a few games and the Ball Squig too.  I think that we also used the spiked ball on at least one occasion.

All of the balls have a magnet inserted into the base that corresponds with magnets under the bases of my Blood Bowl teams, as modeled by the skaven mutant above.

The odd-balls may make a reappearance in some Dungeonbowl games soon.  Maybe.

Blood Bowl Dark Elves from 2002

Continuing my Blood Bowl retrospective on from my halflings and skaven its the Munnig Marauders up today.  Tuern Redvenom (centre below) models the 2002 Marauders strip.

The metal second edition Blood Bowl Dark Elf team was one the first GW 28mm purchases that I made, back in about 1990 I think.  They sat unpainted in a box for years.  I even ended up adding the third edition team (I cant remember for sure but it was probably to get my hands on BB witch models) and some star players to the box at various points, but the lot remained unassembled.

I found myself time rich and cash poor in 2002  and at that time there was some enthusiasm in my gaming group for Blood Bowl.  I decided to be less precious about the big pile of BB figures that had been sitting around for an age and churned out a few teams quickly to a tabletop standard lower than my usual painting level.  The Marauders were part of that process.

The paint job is simple and a little uninspired, but functional.  The figures are a mix of second and third edition figures, with the odd very small conversion or two for reasons that I dont remember now (like the second edition blitzer with the head swap in the middle above.  He had probably lost his head for some reason back in the early nineties).

I could never decide whether I liked the Blood Bowl thrower/quarterback type figures to be posed with or without the ball in hand, as it often leads to teams holding several balls, which looks a little daft.  Still, when the result of leaving them out is that the player seems to miming carrying a ball (like the thrower on the right above) then I tend to come down on the side of the sculpted on ball.

This team got a small bit of play, but the skaven were my go-to team around the same time, so the dark elves didnt get to the pitch/dungeon very often.  They did however acquire a number of irritating chips to the paint for reasons unknown.  This was doubly annoying as I didnt record the colours used on the armour which meant that covering  the chips was going to be very difficult.  So I decided to add some blood stains.

Funnily enough, the figures with the bloodstains look a little more finished than the others now: the red made them pop a little, even if that may not be immediately apparent from the not so great photos.

Horkon Heartripper (centre above) has to be one of the weakest Blood Bowl sculpts ever.

The candy floss pink hair on the witches turned out well.  I have always enjoyed painting pink for some reason.  The witch herself is a bit goofy, doing star jumps with that Einstein hairdo.

The witch on the left is an old and redundant second edition dark elf catcher given a new lease of life by the addition of a Marauder witch elf head and a pair of green stuff breasts.  A third witch was needed in case I ever decided to field Roxanna Darknail or some other dark elf star player.  I never did, but I tend to be completist with these things.

The witch in the shot above is the better of the two third ed BB witch figures.  Initially I wasnt too fond of the third edition team at all really, with their large noses and features, but they grew on me a little bit.  The witch here looks so eighties rock that I started to like the model while painting.  Now that I think of it that seems to be a common theme for me…

Uniquely amongst my Blood Bowl teams, the Marauders played in the official, honest-to-Nuffle, accept no substitutes, actual Blood Bowl in Nottingham in 2003 (note lineman #6 modelling the commemorative coin given to contestants).  I wasnt even there though.  This team had been borrowed by another player who didnt have a team of his own.  The Marauders didnt place in the competition unfortunately 🙂

Blood Bowl Skaven from 2002

Continuing the Blood Bowl retrospective that started last week with my Goleen Gladiators halfling team, today its the turn of the Roughnecks.

I painted this team in 2002.  I was very short of cash at the time (a regularly recurring theme throughout my life unfortunately), but I was time rich.  As a result I decided to go through my big box of old Blood Bowl figures (some of which had been sitting there since 1989) and attempt to get through painting as many of them as possible, as fast as possible.   Appropriately this speedy Blood Bowl push began with a skaven team, the fastest team in Blood Bowl.

The team is a mix of second edition BB figures, third edition BB figures and a couple of old WHFB rat-ogres.  As is often the case, I overdid it a little by painting up maximum numbers of most of the positions.  Still, its better than only painting twelve guys and ending up always fielding a couple of half finished players later I suppose.

The colour scheme was decided upon for speed of application more than anything else.  The chosen uniform colours were applied as a couple of washes over a black through grey to white drybrush.  The fleshier tones were layered on in a slightly less down and dirty fashion, but it is very much a “tabletop quality” paint job.

I added some metallic scuffs and dents to the figures, but it was a bit crudely done.  Most of the marks look like genuine real life damage to the miniature paint job rather than scaled down wear and tear from a Blood Bowl pitch, which isnt ideal.

The grubby greenish yellow worked well I think.  It was easy and rapid to apply and still gives an interesting and slightly unpleasant pestilential look appropriate for rat/man hybrids.

I enjoyed playing skaven probably more than any of the other teams that I have played Blood Bowl with.  Elves are fun to play for sure, but the cost per player involved makes the first few league games knife edge stuff, plus starting teams tend to have few position players, which can make them a little bland.

Neither of these issues affect rat-dudes as the skaven lineman is arguably the best in the game: fast and cheap and easily replaceable.  While just as fragile as wood elves, skaven teams have a safety net of reserve players that makes coaching them slightly less stressful.  Skaven dont have AG4 across the board of course, but they have it where it counts.

The Roughnecks (who have had their name prefixed with a variety of local area names that begin with “R” over the years.  Its currently the “Reenascreena Roughnecks” simply because its a funny sounding local place) have played most of their games in familiar, sewer like, underground confines of dungeons.

This happened back in 2004-2005 or so when MT, SOS (AKA theottvonbismark) and I played a very large number of three way, five-a-side dungeonbowl games on a variety of dungeon maps.

Our Dungeonbowl variant made a small number of rules changes to the 3rd edition Dungeonbowl rules as written, but nothing very radical (other than turning the game into a three player affair, which while not too crunchy in rules terms, was a big change in play terms).

During that time the three of us leveled up a large number of teams in that rather absurd, potentially maybe a little bit too random but consistently hilarious environment.  It counts as my best Blood Bowl experience bar none.

Three disease-ridden mutant rat people get the party started.

I recently found a document containing a list of the house rules that we used for our Dungeonbowl games.  MT still has all of the old team rosters too, which I am sure make for an amusing and nostalgic read.  A return to the dungeon may well occur at some point in the future.

I coached the Roughnecks through a large part of this Dungeonbowl period, making them probably my favourite team, although its a close call between these squeaky little guys and one other team, of which more at a later date.

I am not sure at what point it seemed like a good idea to end up with three Blood Bowl rat-ogres, but it happened.  Funnily enough I think that the old hairy rat-ogres look a little more like Blood Bowl players than Headsplitter (centre) does.

Blood Bowl Halflings from 1995

I am doing some work on Blood Bowl miniatures at the moment, while also playing BB games on the Xbox.  I have my first  “real life” game of Blood Bowl for years coming up any day now, so its safe to say that game is the passion du jour.

That said, I wont have any new miniatures to show for a while yet, for a number of not terribly exciting reasons.  So I am planning to do a little retrospective on the BB teams that I have painted to varying standards in the past, starting today with the Goleen Gladiators halfing team.

These funny little guys have never seen very much action on the pitch (I mean, who wants to play halflings?).  They were a fun,  fast to finish project, full of characterful models: ideal.  Puggy Baconbreath (visible centre above) is an all time favourite figure of mine.  His determination is palpable: he is as focused as a halfling can get.

The paint job was straightforward and quickly applied.  Its a simple, bold and bright scheme that is well suited to both hobbits and Blood Bowl.

The miniatures are a mix of second and third edition Blood Bowl figures.  The third edition guys are easy to spot I think: they are the four largest figures.

There was a painted treeman with the team at one stage, but he fell into his component parts at some point and was subsequently stripped of paint.  Its possible that I will get around to painting him up in the gladiators scheme again some time.  Unlikely, but possible.

20+ Years of Painting Orks

I have recently been painting orks again, primarily for use in a Gorkamorka weekend planned for the summer.  I spent a bit of time deciding how to paint this new batch, trying to find a balance between speed and quality that suits me.  I also wanted to make sure that the finished figures looked as I imagine them to look: inevitably slightly comical but mostly brutal and savage.

With all of this paint scheme and concept development going around in my head I thought that it would be a good time to take a look at the other ork/orc figures that I have painted over the years, starting with my first mob from the late eighties.  If you can imagine Jason Donovan and Jive Bunny being in the charts then you will get a feel for the era.  It may also make you suddenly need to go to the toilet.


40k Orks -1989

The Evil Sunz boyz above are from the first GW plastic ork kit.  Quite primitive by todays standards, it was still a big deal back in those days.  The ork Klans were a big part of the background then and each had their own dominant colour and look.  Obviously the Evil Sunz chosen colour was red.

I painted the Evil Sunz mob in the same colour scheme as my 6mm Epic orks.  As I had all the klans painted for use in Epic I had made some decisions regarding secondary colours for each of them at that point (extra important at that scale to distinguish the units).  Thats why these guys have a lot of white in their outfits.

I went with quite a dark skin tone compared to the standards of the day.  As everything that I painted back then had GW Goblin Green bases (I rebased the above guys recently, although I cant even remember doing it…) I thought that it would be better to use a darker colour for the base flesh tone.


Blood Bowl Orcs -1994

Five years later Chaka Demus and Pliers were oozing from the speakers in the shopping centre when I picked up a copy of Blood Bowl 3rd Edition.  On a whim I decided to paint the orc team supplied, rather than the older BB figures that I still had knocking around unpainted.  All of the models in the shot above are plastics from that box, with the exception of the metal goblin on the pogo stick.

I spent ages on these guys.  I dont know if it is apparent from the photo above but I put many, many layers of wet blending into the skin tones (although the darker recesses do still look a bit “inky”).

At the time I was seeing if I could paint up a showcase project that displayed the highest level of painting that I was currently capable of.  I think the fact that that particular team is still unfinished says a lot really: I dont have the patience to paint a lot of models in that way.

Ignoring the technically dodgier areas (the red in particular is poor) I dont think that the figures look that much better than if I had approached painting them in a faster and dirtier way anyway.  As gaming pieces they could do with heavier contrasts that are visible at a few feet away (at a gaming distance, if you know what I mean).  Generally I feel that that sort of contrast serves a gaming miniature better than carefully graduated highlighting.

The uniform chosen is particularly un-orky.  Thats largely because I wanted to ensure that the figures looked like football players, rather than scruffy Warhammer Fantasy figures.  Its still too clean and antiseptic looking though.  I would approach painting an orc team very differently these days.

Gorkamorka/40k test figures - 2011

It would be a staggering seventeen years before this fatter, crankier and jaded painter sat down to paint another ork/orc.  Thankfully I havent a notion about what music is in the charts (or even if there are charts) anymore, so the intervening years havent been all bad.

The figures above were an attempt to rationalise my ork painting process again.  If the interim between orks has taught me anything its to Keep It Simple, Stupid.

So I did some research on quick ways to paint orks.  The video tutorial below proved to be quite cool, although the finished product wasnt at a standard that I was happy with when I tried it.  Its a pretty great way to get an army painted though, and I found that some of the techniques used inspired me to try some new things.  Its worth a look if you have ten minutes.

So taking some elements from the above tutorial I sprayed the above batch white, washed the whole lot with the ubiquitous Devlan Mud and applied the base skin colour as a mix of paint and ink.  This translucent layer let the shading from the Devlan show through it, although it did mean that the base flesh colour was a bit patchy.  This generally got easily camouflaged with the simple one stage Game Color Off White highlight though.

The final result is ok.  The skin is quite pasty, somewhat reminiscent of my Patient Zombies, which isnt to everyones taste for orks, but I dont mind it.  Two things made me decide to abandon this colour scheme and painting technique though: 1) it was a little more time consuming and fiddly than I was hoping it to be and 2) the orks didnt look as gritty, threatening or Mad Max II for my liking.

Gorkamorka/40k Orks - 2011

So I tried a completely new approach again and got a look that I am happy with.

If you will excuse the brief lapse into GW Orkspeak “Da Bigdogz” above came out to a level that pleases me, but without taking so much time that I will never get the project finished.  I worked up from a black undercoat with mainly drybrushed base coats followed by one layered highlight.  The metal areas got a few washes too as I like the way that it makes the metal areas appropriately dull.

These guys are a few from amongst the first that I have finished.  I have thirteen sitting complete in the miniatures cabinet at the time of writing which at least means that I am able to get through them reasonably quickly.  Thats a good thing too as I have another thirty or so figures that I want to paint before I finish up with the orks.

The paint scheme has the high contrast that I favour with gaming figures these days.  Although close inspection will reveal errors and hasty shortcuts the payoff of the quick turnover is worth it to me.   The Bigdogz also look sufficiently Mad Max for my current tastes so I regard the project as quite successful so far.  There will be more Bigdogz going up in more detail here over the next while.

Thats my potted history of ork painting done.  Over twenty-five years condensed into one page, and at no extra cost to you the reader either.

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