This article describes making and painting a batch of North Star 28mm fantasy miniatures. Frostgrave and Oathmark are a rules set put out by North Star Military Figures and Osprey Publishing. I have not played the Frostgrave or Oathmark rules, but I intend to use these figures with Osprey's Lion and Dragon Rampant rules. This article builds on a recent article Dan Becker's Frostgrave and Oathmark 28mm Fantasy Miniatures which also has a lot of photos of fantasy miniatures.
Click on the photos below to see a gallery of larger images.
Before describing the making and painting, a tale of a battle in the forest.
Two dwarf scouts discover two elf scouts in the woods. It is a tense stand-off. No shots are fired and no blows exchanged, but there is an exchange of angry and unintelligible shouts at each other.
The dwarf scouts sound an alarm and a dwarf warband arrives. From the trees and caves, many dwarves appear and threaten the elves to leave.
There are hoots and hollers and bashing of weapons and shields. But the elves are resolute and not intimidated by the shouting.
The elf scouts also sound an alarm and suddenly an elf warband arrives. The two sides join and the battle is on.
Swords clash, hammers fall, and shields and armor avert the damage. Spears stab and a rain of arrows falls on each party.
Another summons from the dwarves bring some human allies into the battle. From deep in the woods come the Oathmark humans. They join the melee and a tight shield wall push is on.
The elves too call to the forest and a wide array of beasts answer.
All sorts of rats, wolves, tigers, bears, and beasts join in the fight. From the rocks come two giant venomous snakes. And from the sky come two tall and powerful gargoyles.
How will this giant battle end? Will the dwarves and humans lose their nerve and flee? Will the elves and beasts succumb to the might of swords and axes?
As the battle rages on, a wizard's spell launches us into the sky. For a short while we watch the battle from above. Then suddenly the spell evaporates, and we find ourselves back in our comfortable home, reading this fantasy tale.
Thanks for reading about my North Star miniatures. The story ends here, but more awaits.
The photo at right shows six Dwarf bow men. They are part of a box of 30 hard plastic Oathmark dwarves from North Star Military Figures. The box has 6 sprues of pieces that you glue together for a total warband of 30 dwarves. There are 6 plastic sprues of pieces including 5 body poses, 12 heads, and numerous weapons each. I created 5 small bands of 6 dwarves each with different weapons. This will be useful for Osprey's Lion and Dragon Rampant rules that has several groups of 6 or 12 men.
The dwarves are assembled, primed black, and then painted with Vallejo acrylic paints. I chose mostly blue and purple cloth colors to try to make a cohesive looking war band. Once they are painted, I dip them in Minwax Black Tudor polyurethane, which gives them the black shadows. Finally, they are sprayed with matte varnish to give them the no shine look.
The bases are 7/8" (22 mm) washers. I use some Liquitex lava texture acrylic medium to hide the plastic bases. Then I use white glue and sprinkle on some small ballast rocks and some static grass to finish the bases.
The cave terrain is an inexpensive hard plastic resin piece. It is intended to be scenery for a lizard terrarium or fish tank. It looks pretty good as an objective in a miniatures game It came completely painted as you see here.
This photo shows the Dwarf spear men. No, your eyes are not going bad, that is part of the photo. At this point in the photo shoot, I think I got a bit sloppy with the camera. Most of these photos are taken at aperture f22 or f16 in order to get a good depth of field. This requires a shutter speed of about 2 to 3 seconds. Unfortunately, I think I grabbed the camera a little too quickly and caused some camera shake in the exposure. Sorry I don't have a better photo, but I will continue to describe with what I have.
These dwarves carry shields. The shield designs are from Little Big Men Studios. They are peel and stick decals. They have many designs, and these are Viking and English Dark Ages period shields.
This is a photo of Dwarf ax and hammer men. There are three ax and hammer arm poses, so you will see the 6 men all have a bit of repetition here. I love the beards and helmets on these guys.
At right is a photo of the Dwarf swordsmen. Even though there are only 5 body poses, you can vary the head and the arm positions, and you get a nice bit of variety. Again, more Little Big Men shield decals.
This photo shows the Dwarf leader band. The leader has a one-of-a-kind head and arms in my Dwarf war band. That is one bad-ass looking ax. The old man with the flag also has a one-of-a-kind arm.
Most miniatures rules have some kind of special effects for the leaders and banner holders. They usually rally troops or give a bonus when they are in close proximity.
The banner is made with toilet tissue. It is cut to shape and then wrapped around the flag pole. The purple and blue paint are watered down, and that glues the two halves of the banner together. Once it is dry, I use a marker to make the logo and the runes. The matte varnish coat makes is stiff to hold its pose.
The photo at right shows Elf bow men. Like the dwarves, there are 6 hard plastic sprues, enough to make 30 elves. I made groups of six to work with my particular rule set.
These elves are given metallic green mail armor. The color scheme is primarily green and yellow to make a cohesive looking band. The green metallic armor is made by mixing metallic silver with green acrylic paint.
To the right are Elf spear men. These fantasy look a little bit like Middle Ages French soldiers with their fancy mail, kit shields, and conical helmets.
The figures come with a plume that can be used as a long hair pony-tail or a feather plume on the helmet. I use one feather plume per group of six to try to make a squad leader.
Here are more Elf spear men. The shields are hand painted with what is supposed to be a hummingbird design. The hummingbird design is stolen from Austin, Texas City Parks department. My freehand painting skills are not so great. Later on the war band flag has a better rendering.
Here are some Elf sword men. They are tall figures, kind of like the elves in Peter Jackson's movies. One of these guys looks like the actor Orlando Bloom.
Here is the Elf leader squad. The leader has a one-of-a-kind sword and plume. The banner holder has a one-of-a-kind banner arm and left handed sword arm
The banner is made with folded over toilet paper. The acrylic paint glues it in place. The green design is the Austin Parks hummingbird logo!
To the right is the Human bow squad. This is the third pack of Oathmark plastic figures in this article. Like the others, there are 6 sprues and 30 bodies.
These miniatures look either like Slavs or Arthurians of the Middle Ages. I kept with a red and white color scheme to give the war band a cohesive look.
To the right are Human spear men. The chunky rectangular sheilds definitely look Slavic to me. I call this the Cambell's Soup pattern. The other squads for these humans have variations on this red and white pattern. That helps you sort the figures.
To the right are some Human ax men. For the photo shoot I mixed some men from this and the next squad. You can see the two men on the left have red on the left side. The rest have red on the right side. These men and those in the next photo should sort themselves out!
There are only two hammer and ax arms in the box. It is a bit repetitive, but you can put them in different positions which is one of the benefits of assembling miniatures.
More human ax, men. The bald guy looks like the father in "American Chopper" television show. Maybe I should have given him some tattoos.
Like the other figures in this article, the bases are made with 7/8 inch (22 mm) round washers. They have some acrylic texture on them, then a base color, then some stones and static grass. The final coating of matte varnish keeps everything in place
Here is the Human leader squad. The leader and standard bearer have unique arms from this set. The leader's head is also one-of-a-kind in my war band.
Up to now I discussed three boxes of North Star's hard plastic Oathmark miniatures. Now I take a small detour to discuss some mostly metallic animal figures.
From my teens, I always remember fantasy battles and dungeon crawls had animals: rats, wolves, tigers, bears, and so on. Of course I needed some animals, even though they might not be a unit for a war band rule set. They are definitely needed in a dungeon!
To the right are some North Star giant rats and a razor back hog. I think I need to get more rats. Sorry for the shaky quality of the photo.
In the photo to the right is a pack of nine wolves. These wolves come from two packs of North Star wolves. I don't know why one pack had five wolves and the other had four.
Here are some animals from Africa, all metallic North Star figures. The lion comes with a leopard (next photo), and the hyenas come in a pack of three.
I really enjoyed searching the web for example animals to paint. Although hyenas are vicious surly beasts, I really like their color scheme here. The example photos I saw showed a very similar yellow coat in both lions and hyenas.
Notice the bases on these figures. The animals did not fit well on a one inch (25 mm) round base, so I ordered some 40 x 20 mm "pill" shaped bases from Litko Aero. These shapes are custom, but Litko can make them for you in about a week.
I like these rounded rectangles. You have a few more placement options when the animals are face-to-face.
Here are more big vicious beasts. In the foreground is my rendition of a leopard. On the left is a grizzly bear. On the right is a sabre tooth tiger. The bear and tiger are huge and definitely will make a terrible for for two or three humans.
The bases are also 40 x 20 mm shapes that are in the previous photo. These bases have some grass tufts from Army Painter. Those tufts are a fast and easy easy to make good bases.
On the right we see metal miniature tyrannosaurus and triceratops that I had in a diorama ten years ago. These dinosaurs from from Magister Militum. I figure they will get more use if I repurpose them for fantasy gaming.
In this photo are two plastic giant snakes from Reaper Miniatures. These identical minis are from the Bones line of PVC plastic figures. What is nice about the PVC is that you can dunk it in boiling water, bend the shape around a bit, and then freeze the new position with ice water.
It does not show up in the photo, but once of these is painted as a monocled cobra. The other one is painted as a western rattlesnake. They are big animals, much taller than a human.
Finally we have two different gargoyles from Reaper Miniatures. Like the previous photo, these minis are PVC plastic minis from the Reaper Bones line. Both needed some reshaping in boiling water.
The green one on the left is perched on some marble column terrain. The purple on on the right is on some rocks. Both are epoxied to metal washers and have a few grass tufts on the base.
Thanks for making it this far. Whether you read the text or browsed the photos, I hope you enjoyed seeing my miniatures.
One last discussion. For this article I revamped my usual "photo and description" page. This article uses a photo gallery browser from PhotoSwipe. I like this photo browser, as it allows you to spin through just the photos alone, and it has support for mouse, keyboard, and phone gestures. I also updated my normal HTML and CSS style to use a more modern layout. You will see the text and photo sizes are responsive to your browser sizing. Let me know if you see any issues with a particular browser or device.
Coming up soon, some cavalry units, and
then eventually a battle report on a tabletop Dragon Rampant game.