Malifaux: Guild Austringer

“My arm is tired”


A man walks into a bar with a gigantic, unusually coloured raptor on his arm.  

The barman says “Where the hell did you get that?”.  

“I won him in a raffle” replies the bird.


Austringers are effective in Malifaux games.  The bird does all of the heavy lifting, attacking foes, distributing orders to friends, capturing small mammals in its talons, regurgitating food into the mouths of its young, making loud “Raaaawk!” sounds, that sort of thing.  The guy in the coat just stands around looking grumpy.

Just like the Executioner shown a few weeks ago, this guy was painted in the run up to the Malifaux competition that I played in a while back.  I decided to attend the competition late and so some decisions regarding colours used for this figure were based on how quickly they could be applied, rather than necessarily on colour theory or inspiring movies recently watched or whatever.

The “Bayou Raptor” was initially painted the same way that I would paint a crow or raven (just like the guys that feature on parts of my graveyard terrain).  That approach was fine if a little drab, but perfectly good enough for use in games, which I did.

A few days later I decided that I wanted to make the bird look a little less dull.  What I came up with is shown above.  The bird is a little goofier looking than I had intended, partly due to the rather Muppet like sculpt and partly because the pattern of plumage that I tried to paint looks rather  fake I think, despite doing a bit of research into real bird of prey patterning.  Ho hum.

My lack of enthusiasm for the plumage plus the somewhat one-sided nature of the handlers relationship with the raptor has me considering using a more… esoteric scheme on my second Austringer miniature.  Maybe.  Im not sure that adding that level of goofiness to my Guild crew is desirable but it might be a laugh.


Malifaux: Scales of Justice

“Please… kill… me”.

In Malifaux each crew is led by a Master.  Nearly all Masters have a Totem that is theirs alone: some form of manifestation of an aspect of a Masters psyche made flesh due to the magic forces that Malifaux is saturated in.  The figure above is the Scales of Justice, the Totem of Lady Justice.

I dont know what is supposed to be going on in Lady J’s head, but seeing as this unhappy looking guy represents those thoughts given form, I am probably better off.

The concept of the figure doesnt really do anything for me.  The blind justice thing is already amply displayed by the Lady J figure and it was unnecessary to ladle it on here I think.

Maybe its just me, but the strong visual links to crucifiction looks to me  like the original figure concept sprung from the mind of someone heavily weighed down by Catholic guilt.  As someone who is not weighed down by same but who happens to live in a country with a large percentage of fruit loops who are, the figure design is a bit of a turn off.  I bought the Totem simply because it is an easy fit into the game, but I think that perhaps I should have come up with a proxy miniature more to my liking instead.

The sculpting on the figure is good and it was easy enough to paint.  The casting was acceptable, but like many Wyrd products it could be better.

Wyrds casting quality is extra disappointing considering that it comes from a company that started as a manufacturer of collectors figures for display.  I hear rumours that their production will switch entirely to “sprueless plastic” soon, which might help.  I hope that it does.


A note on basing: since I started the Malifaux project I have begun adding more and more bits and pieces to the large, flat 30mm slot bases that I have been using.  The Malifaux rules tend to be generous regarding base size, so the simple (and most importantly fast) basing technique that I have been using for a couple of years just looked too plain.  As the Malifaux project has progressed I have begun adding more and more bits to the bases, although years ago I promised myself that I was done with that sort of thing.  It turns out that I was wrong.

The cactus visible above is a symbol of this malady.  Like the grass tufts that I started adding after I painted Santiago Ortega I liked the look so much that I went back and added cacti of various shapes and sizes to every Malifaux figure that I have finished so far.  I imagine that tiny cacti will feature on every vaguely cowboy looking figure that I paint in future.  They are cute though.

Robosheriff / Malifaux: Guardian

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This rather crudely sculpted cowboy robot makes me smile every time that I look at it

Its part of the weird but oddly appealing range of Golgo Island miniatures that I picked up from East Riding Miniatures.  I bought the figure with plans to use it in post-apocalyptic/sci-fi western games where it would form the strong arm of the law in the Standard Falls Sheriffs department.

While that use remains valid, Robosheriff  will also serve well as a proxy Guardian robot in Malifaux games.  Thats why the figure got bumped to the top of the painting queue recently, seeing as Malifaux is the new black at Chateau Sho3box.

The sculpting on the figure really is pretty crude, which made painting it a little less enjoyable than I would have liked.  Therefore I went for a simple and quick drybrushed metal effect rather than doing anything too fancy, as I figured that it wouldnt be worth the effort.

Sculpting aside, the rigid pose is quite suitable for an obviously not-very-bright robot and the clunky design and lovable dopey expression make it a fun figure to put on the table: it always gets a laugh.  That definitely counts for something.

This is how the rather tall figure scales up with some rootin’ tootin’ Mali-folk.  L to R is The Judge, Robosheriff, Santiago Ortega.  The boys are on 30mm bases and the Robosheriff is on a 40mm.  Would I watch a movie that had the above image as a poster?  Damn straight I would.

Edit: a helpful Malifaux player knocked this card up for me so that I can use the figure as a proxy Guardian with minimum fuss.  Very kind.

Malifaux: Guild Executioner

This large gent is part of my Malifaux Guild faction.  I painted this figure plus one other in preparation for my first Malifaux tournament just over a week ago.  I got the figure finished on time, but I had to go back to it subsequently to tidy up a couple of areas that I wasnt happy with.  A couple of other parts of the paint job could maybe do with some more work, but at this stage I will likely leave the figure as is.

The blacks came out funny in the photo: the highlights on the black are not as harsh as that.  Something funny happened with the contrast :/

The design of the figure is a bit mad, somewhere between a hangman, executioner and some sort of S&M cyborg.  Rather than simply paint the figure in black all over (a rubberised or high gloss PVC look could be fun) I decided to try painting leopardskin trousers on the figure.  I thought that it might be funny and that it would play on the S&M look a bit.

I consulted the notes that I made while painting Dr.Leghorn and attempted to replicate that.  Largely it worked, although there are a couple of spots in particular that I am not happy with.  A learning experience.

L to R: Copplestone, Malifaux, Foundry (including metal base stuck to the slotted base), Hasslefree.

Also of note is that the figure is quite large (thats a 40mm diameter base).  Unfortunately due to my poor choice of miniatures for comparison purposes, the Executioner doesnt look that big in the photo above at all.  Oh well.

This guy has turned out to be quite a fun figure to field in Malifaux games.  He also serves a couple of purposes in my current Lady Justice crew line up whch has led to a more satisfying experience when playing games featuring Lady J: he has helped to make smaller games fall into place.  I havent got this much fun out of a 250lb semi-naked, masked man in leopardskin trousers for months.

Busy, busy, busy. And Malifaux.

COMs new Kaeris crew face off against my newly reinforced Lady Justice force in the midst of my almost completed graveyard terrain (just a few more gravestones to add)

Todays slightly-later-than-usual post is a bit wordy.  Even though this week I have managed to get a couple of cool miniatures painted up and the graveyard terrain set has advanced to near completion, I haven’t had an opportunity to take any proper photos yet.  The phone photo of my regular game with COM shown above is all that I could manage visually this week.

Largely this is because I played a lot of games over the last few days, by my standards at least.  Saturday was a day long boardgame session featuring four games (Marvel Heroes, King of Tokyo, Nexus Ops and WizWar).  It was a good laugh and it was fun to again play with some people that I dont get to game with as often as I once did.

I then played in my first Malifaux tournament on Monday.  Despite making a number of noob errors my luck managed to hold at crucial points throughout the day, resulting in me winning the tournament, which was both unexpected and nice.  For my troubles I won a limited edition figure, which I have cleaned, filled and primed so it should show up finished around here sometime soon.

In addition to this I also got my weekly game with COM in on Tuesday.  All of this gaming plus the painting time spent making sure that I had another couple of figure options available for my Malifaux crew made the last week jam packed by my standards.  And thats before I even mention real life stuff, which is more tempestuous than usual too, but thats not a subject for around here.

So, not much time for photography.  I did manage to liberate some of the photos taken by the organisers though (my thanks to the Cork Games Guild for that).

I strike an album cover pose in anticipation of the first game. Thats my “I am hungover and totally unprepared for this.  How the hell does this game even work again?” face.

Regarding the tournament (my first of any kind for a while and my first toy soldier/tape measure tournament for many years), part of the reason that I signed up was so that I would be forced to tackle a couple of Malifaux figures that I had not got around to painting yet.  This enforced deadline worked a treat, and I managed to get a pair of fun figures for my Guild crew finished on time for the tournament.  Even better, my finished crew also won a prize for painting.  Go me.

Two of my Death Marshals and my Convict Gunslinger (a proxy using my rebased Dr Leghorn) quake at the approach of bizarro-Lady Justice.

The green clad gent (me) attempts to decipher what horrible things that a Zoraida crew might be able to do to him, as his opponent applys a cold can of beer to his overheating thought centre.  This game was the most tense and close fought (and therefore most fun) of my day.

All in all, this means that enthusiasm for Malifaux is back up again around here and that the Ursa Miners will be taking a back seat for a while.  This is fine with me as I have been trying to vary my painting subjects this year in an effort to avoid the burnout that hit me last year (and to a lesser extent in 2010).

My Guild Executioner will likely be the next finished figure to get posted up.


I recently picked up a set of the plastic Citadel woods to add to my graveyard.

The trees in this set are like something from Sleepy Hollow, with their Brothers Grimm, Tim Burton aesthetic.  Very suitable for inclusion in my graveyard terrain in other words.

My graveyard is painted to match my wasteland terrain set and so I painted the trees to match the dead bits of wood that feature on my Scourged Forest gaming mat.

I had originally planned to leave the trees devoid of the foliage pieces supplied but when I assembled the kit I decided that I liked the unusual looking leaf pieces too much to simply leave them in the box.

In a moment of madness I decided to add magnets to a number of the tree branches with corresponding magnets inset into the underneath of the leaf pieces.  Now the trees can reasonably represent both autumn and winter or living and dead.

Sort of fun to do?  Yep.  Easier to store as a result?  Probably.  Worth the trouble?  Nope.

Like the trees themselves I painted the large plastic base supplied to match my gaming mat.  I dont think that I will end up using the base very often as I plan to use the trees as freestanding single pieces.  Nonetheless I figured that I might as well paint the base alongside the trees anyway: who knows when I might decide to use the woods in that fashion?

Lastly the tree above (which I showed along with Santiago a while back) got painted at the same time as the GW set.  Its a plastic tree supplied with the Horrorclix starter set from a few years ago.

I based the tree so that it would have the regulation footprint for representing a “hanging tree” in Malifaux games.

I am currently working on a another couple of sets of Renedra gravestones to bulk out the graveyard set, then I will be fully finished with it.  Once I am done with those I will try to get some half decent photos of the whole thing set up for a game.

More Graveyard

I recently got another couple of items finished for my graveyard, the open grave and the crypt in the foreground of the picture above.  The photos are a bit poorer than usual Im afraid, as I dont have a set up decent enough to take photos of anything much bigger than a 28mm figure for the time being.

The one on the right is a plastic piece that came from one of the GW Lord of the Rings boxes, kindly donated by PB a few years back.  I sprayed it with GW Roughcoat back then which was a mistake as it obscured some of the details on the lid of the sarcophagus.  I enjoyed painting the books strewn around the base.  I like painting miniature books for some reason that I havent quite worked out yet.

I traded some bits and pieces with COM in exchange for the resin grave piece above.  I dont know where it originally came from, but I think that its a Grendel piece.  In my haste to get it finished the painting came out a little more lurid than I had intended.  I am tempted to go back and tone it down a bit but I probably wont.

The piece originally had a tombstone, but that was mislaid at some point before I got my hands on it.  I made up the stone shown with an old piece of Foamex board that I had lying around since 1995.  I used Instant Mold to copy the pattern on the sarcophagus lid and stuck the copy to the Foamex as a quick way to make the headstone look a little more authentic.

Malifaux: Santiago Ortega

Santiago Ortega

The first Ortega that I finished is this tough looking hombre.  Santiago is the Ortega clan beefcake.

The paint job came out fine, better than the Death Marshals, but not as well as either the Judge or Lady Justice.  The figure is quite cool looking but a bit fiddly to paint for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is one that is common with the majority of Wyrd miniatures that I have come across so far: its multi-part.

Multi-part miniatures can often avoid that somewhat flat, two dimensional look by adding an arm or gun or wing or whatever on an axis that the casting process does not allow.  Despite this, I generally prefer my human sized figures to be single piece as it makes them more durable and it makes painting easier.  Trying to paint Santiagos face behind his big ol’ right arm was a hassle, and it shows in the painting quality.

Santiagos duster came out better than those of the Death Marshals a few weeks ago.

Fiddly reason two is also a feature of the Wyrd style.  The figures are moderately heavily detailed (which is nice) but the detail itself while crisp, is very fine.  When painted well they look fantastic, but I find that miniatures with heavily cut detail suit my painting style (and my patience levels) better.

But I should stop moaning.  Santiago looks like a pretty cool alt-cowboy type and the paint job came out pretty solid anyway.

Lastly, here is a picture of Santiago with part of my next terrain sub-project.

St. Craniums Cemetery

Following on from Mondays WiP post here are some close up shots of some of the finished graveyard elements.

A few meandering points:

  1. I wanted to avoid green plants.  Therefore I went with rusty red on the undergrowth to get the terrain to fit in with the rest of my wastelands stuff which in turn matches the bits of lichen that I attached here and there.
  2. I am particularly pleased with how the mausoleum roofs worked out.  I am also happy with the three crows that feature throughout the piece.   By using a different technique to the last time that I tried to paint black birds they came out much better.  Its a very minor thing, but satisfying for me.  Sometimes it really is the little things.
  3. The large skull-faced gates (one of two shown) are both magnetised so they can be removed as and when required for game purposes.  I considered leaving the gates permanently open, but adding the magnets was more fun.
  4. I went for a walk around a local overgrown graveyard and took some photos in preparation for painting this stuff.  As It happened I simply went for the easy, more theatrical approach to painting the pieces rather than trying to duplicate complicated patterns of wear and plant growth on the pieces.  The end result is more Scooby Doo than some might like.  Visiting the old graveyard turned out to be interesting in itself anyway, even if it had little influence on how the models finally turned out.

Since I finished these I have dug up a few more bits that will be getting painted up to go with this set, but for now I have plenty to game with.  In fact I played a game with COM on the brand new graveyard terrain within hours of finishing it, which was satisfying.

Graveyard WiP

I have wanted a graveyard terrain set to game with for many years, but I never got around to picking up the many expensive crypt, mausoleum, gravestone and perimeter pieces required.

Then Games Workshop released the Garden of Morr graveyard kit last year.  It looked like a convenient and reasonably cost effective way to cover my toy soldier graveyard needs so I picked up a couple of sets last Autumn.

After some consideration I decided that I would prep the graveyard to fit with my wasteland terrain.  The classic movie graveyard tends to be a bit greener than that and for a while I was tempted to go for that more Transylvanian look.  I have a bit of an aversion to playing games on green, golf course like tables however and as I had already painted up some Renedra gravestones that I picked up at Salute last year to match the wasteland terrain, I went with that again here.

The Renedra gravestone kit is straightforward and very nice.  The Garden of Morr is fantastic.  It goes together very easily without need for clamps or rubber bands or anything fiddly.  It also looks really nice when assembled, even before painting.

The painting process took me a few hours each day for about four days or so. I tend to be slow at things like this so its possible that some time could be shaved off that I reckon.  Below are the steps that I used to prep the lot, which should give anyone interested an insight into how I approach projects like this, for better or for worse:

Parts were clipped from the frames, mould lines and the like were cleaned off and the loose gravestones were attached to cork tile bases.

Everything was sprayed with matt black acrylic car paint.

Next all of the pieces were lightly sprayed with grey primer spray from above.  I recently read somewhere that the kids call that “zenith highlighting”.  Who knew?  Cat provides cheerleading section.

All of the parts were then given a pretty heavy drybrush of white acrylic.  Note the Deadwood DVDs that were running on the laptop while I worked, helping to keep me in a cowboy frame of mind.

Some areas were tinted with washes of ink and/or thinned paint.  Detailing started in some areas.  Another cat provides aesthetic critique.  Note the DVD rental of Cowboys and Aliens which I had hoped would keep me in a Western frame of mind.   It didnt.  Dont watch it, its depressingly awful.  If I believed in souls then “soulless” would be an apt description.

More detailing. The most significant progress here was on the mausoleum roofs, although various other elements were also layered up.  This was usually done with a single tinted translucent colour so that the black through grey through white beneath showed through.  Painting GW Tin Bitz on the railings was the most tedious part of the whole job.

I am not really a GW basher: I have had plenty of fun with their products over the years even if I dont tend to have a whole lot of interest these days.  But there was a somewhat amusing element to this kit that I thought that I would mention.

GW products get a lot of stick about their propensity to stick skulls and skull motifs on any vaguely flat surface.   A graveyard seems to me to be one of the few places where its possible to get away with that sort of thing, but the GW designers decided to go berserk with skulls on the Morr kit.

Out of (morbid) curiosity I counted the skulls and skull motifs on the set.

A Garden of Morr features:

  • 244 “human” skulls
  • 115 skull motifs
  • Total 359 skulls per kit

I assembled two kits meaning that I quickly painted a staggering 718 skulls.  Hilarious.

A few skulls here and there is fine with me as I am not going for a realistic looking, architectural style piece.  The sort of graveyard that featured in Buffy or Scooby Doo is what I was looking for.  Even so, that really a lot of skulls.

If the vast amounts of head bone on the kit dont bother you then I thoroughly recommend it, its very practical in game terms and it assembles very quickly and easily.  I would not recommend buying the kit with the intention of removing most of the skulls and skull motifs as it would be a huge pain in the arse.  I am sure that some people would do it, but it would feel like a waste of time to me.

Photos of the finished elements of St Craniums Cemetery will be posted up on Wednesday.

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