Thursday, 16 November 2017

Star Hat Miniatures Online Store
It's official! Star Hat Miniatures now has an Online Store!

There is a lot of celebrating going on here in Hobbiton. Please have a look and let your friends know.

Also, there is a new Kickstarter just around the corner...


Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dungeons of Doom III + Runequest Durulz Duck Knight

Greetings Fellow Delvers!

Here we are in the final week. What can I say, the support for this Kickstarter has been amazing! Here is the main Dragon Slayer Pledge Reward with 11 miniatures so far and more to come:

Dragon Slayer Pledge Reward.

I have never reached a point like this in a Kickstarter where I have felt so much passion for (and been committed to) sculpting some of the most wonderful miniatures for you. As you can tell, I really enjoy sculpting. I thank God for this new skill and honestly, there is a satisfaction that comes from creating what my beloved wife calls "little men".

So what's been going on? Well, it's lambing season and we got another set of twins this morning... oh, and we also unlocked Drake, a duck that was inspired by the Durulz from Runequest. Funny thing is, Jennell Jaquays - legendary artist and game designer - found my post on Facebook and shared it. To be complimented by her was an unexpected surprise! However, it was her art that inspired my sculpt...

It was this art by Jennell Jaquays that inspired me to sculpt Drake.

I didn't really know the history of how ducks became part of Runequest but it appears that Archive Miniatures produced a Barbarian Duck and his Lady (before Runequest). Later, Greg Stafford and his friends added the Ducks/Durulz to Glorantha so people could use these miniatures in their games!

Archive Miniatures Duck Barbarian
I had a lot of comments on Facebook and here on Kickstarter about Howard the Duck, mainly the rather weird movie from 1986. Here is the comic that inspired that Duck Barbarian miniature (from 1976!)

Howard's First Appearance in Marvel Comics (with Red Sonja and Spiderman!)

Ducks aside, the next Legendary Hero is bound to make a splash!

7 days to go! Please continue to spread the word on your Social Media - There are updates on the Facebook page:

Drake + 'The Duck Knight'

Let's Unleash The Dragon together before the week is done!

God bless you and enjoy your gaming!

Friday, 4 August 2017

Dungeons of Doom III + Legendary Heroes Feluria & Yako

Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom III. They're back! More delvers lost in the Dungeons of Doom! This time they're hunting The Dragon!

Feluria & Yako
By Luke Butcher

Feluria and Yako were not always the inseparable duo you see today. They both seem to have the same care-free, whimsical attitude about the world.

Yako had always been a prankster, travelling from his favorite fields to create mischief in the nearby sleepy villages. When he judged the time was right, Yako would pull pranks and make it seem like an unsuspecting villager had been the one to pull them.

One day he went too far. Yako made the mistake of digging out a bit of dirt near the town apothecary. This caused a section of the wall to fall out, crashing into the village center, where the well which provided water for the entire village was.
Shelves full of many different concoctions fell into the well, from which erupted an angry water elemental!  Polluted by the potions, the once benevolent elemental water elemental demanded the one responsible to come forward and face judgement or it would destroy the whole village. 

A frightened apprentice stumbled from the rubble, drenched in the perfume of various salves and ointments, while terrified villagers stood rooted in terror. Just as the water elemental was about to pass judgement Yako leaped in between the two; facing down the elemental and conveying he was the one responsible.
The sentence for polluting a water spirit was death and Yako knew this. He was fine with people taking the fall for petty pranks but letting someone die from his tom-foolery was out of the question. As Yako stood there ready to accept his fate, a fairy appeared and petitioned to be his guardian! 

Feluria had been tailing Yako for a very long time, albeit unseen from afar as his occasional companion. Upon birth intelligent beings such as Yako are assigned a watcher fae (as they can be destructive if uncared for). 

Being a watcher was common enough. A fae becoming a guardian was by far a more rare occurrence. They had to feel a true sense of empathy for a creature; which could be difficult considering how often their view of the mortal world shifted. Yako took after Feluria's own heart; a spirit of nobility and liberty that knows no bounds.

Whether moved by Yako's gesture or Feluria's plea it remains unknown. The elemental allowed Yako to live but only as long as they were bound as mistress and familiar. Ever since that fateful day Feluria and Yako have been inseparable, though sometimes only by force of the magical bond set upon them.

The funding from this Kickstarter will pay for the moulds and casting of at least 8 new miniatures. Legendary Hero pledge backers will unlock more miniatures from 5k onwards. Reaching 10k funding will unleash The Dragon!

Delvers Lost in the Dungeon of Doom III

What are you waiting for? Let the adventure begin! We're going on a Dragon hunt!

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Dungeons of Doom III Kickstarter + Dragon Slayers

Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom III. They're back! More delvers lost in the Dungeons of Doom! This time they're hunting The Dragon!

The Long, Sad Tale of Horsepuncher Jones
By Grant Stone

Not every halfling has the luxury of a loving uncle or occasional visits by an indulgent wizard. As a rule, halflings are happy to sit, to smoke and drink, and enjoy each other's company. But every now and then, there's a halfling who just doesn't fit.

Lortho Balbins was a halfling of unusual cynicism, more mocking and arrogant than most. Those who knew him would say he was a hard halfling to love. Even his own mother had been known on occasion to refer to him as "a bit of a dick". Lortho's face was twisted in a continual sneer, and he held himself as if he had coconuts in his breeches.

Eventually, Lortho felt he had outgrown his home. Or perhaps his home had tired of him: it was communicated to him, by coughs and raised eyebrows and missing invitations to certain parties, that he was no longer welcome. So one evening he left his front door and the valley of his home, stopping only to break into the house of the most famous halfling, steal some blood-stained armour from his study and piss on his gate. Then he made his way into the night.

If Lortho thought he would find a warmer welcome in the world of men, he was soon disappointed. Halflings were rarely taken seriously, but at least the charming and eager-to-please nature of most of them, combined with their willingness to share their strongest pipeweed, they could often find employment in the hospitality trade. Lortho thought he might be able to do the same, but his arrogant demeanor did not go over well with either tavern keepers or quiet drinkers. The best he could do was earn a few coppers as a stable boy, but even this was doomed to failure. Lortho had never before seen the mounts of humans and elves. At the first appearance of such a giant beast, snorting and stamping in the stable doorway, Lortho was terrified. He was found several hours later by the barman, curled up in the corner of the far stable, whimpering.

Dismissed from employ, Lortho continued to travel. He moved further into the world of men. The cities he travelled to grew larger, as did the four-legged monsters the men rode. If Lortho were to have any hope of surviving in this world, he needed to find a way to avoid these beasts.

By the time he arrived in the next city, he was calling himself Horsepuncher Jones. For a while things looked up. He was treated, if not with respect, at least with a little more wariness. After all, someone called Horsepuncher Jones was clearly not a person to mess with. But he still needed to eat and his new name was an employment issue. Nobody wanted to order their lunch from a halfling waiter with a face like his, particularly if he gave his name as Horsepuncher.

Eventually Horsepuncher found himself falling in with the lowest parts of society. The rag-thieves, and cart-tippers, the false cripples and goat-renters. But his pride would not let him stay. He wanted money. More, he wanted to return to his valley a rich man, pulling his fortune behind him in a series of carts. For a Halfling such as Horsepuncher, there was one option.

He fell in with a band of adventurers, brigands who travelled to delicate underground ecosystems, trampling flora and murdering fauna in a never-ending, and often futile search for treasure. What gold they did find was spent on healing broken bones and repairing broken weapons. No matter how many times he dove into those black, fetid caves, Horsepuncher never seemed to make any money.

Finally, his luck, never in abundant supply, ran out. Lost below ground, his party scattered and barely sober, Horsepuncher stumbled into a nest of very large, very angry rats. They climbed up his legs, crawled under his stolen armour and bit him into blackness.

It should have ended there. Pointlessly dead and bound for halfling heaven where, like any other meeting of his kind, he could expect to be shunned and eventually disinvited. But there was no light in the sky, the amber of fresh beer. Instead, Horsepuncher woke at the mouth of a sewer near the city, body covered in scars but otherwise untouched.

He stumbled out, wincing into the morning sun, wondering what had happened. It was early and the moon was still in the sky, waning, just a slice falling behind the hills. He felt strong, as if he'd enjoyed a hearty meal. Perhaps, Horsepuncher thought, he'd had a lucky escape, the first of his life. Perhaps things were going to go his way from now on. He continued to feel that way for a few weeks.

Then the moon rose full and Horsepuncher realised his woes were just beginning.

The funding from this Kickstarter will pay for the moulds and casting of at least 8 new miniatures. Legendary Hero pledge backers will unlock more miniatures from 5k onwards. Reaching 10k funding will unleash The Dragon!

Delvers Lost in the Dungeon of Doom III

What are you waiting for? Let the adventure begin! We're going on a Dragon hunt!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Dungeon Crawl Classics + Monday Game Night

Tenkar and Buffalorick drink to our success!
My latest RPG rulebook. A plethora of random tables within!
What happens when you create two successful Kickstarters, sculpt a few dozen miniatures and launch a new hobby business? You get less time to share your hobby on the good old Hits To Kill blog, that's what! Lewis mentioned the lack of recent activity as I was enjoying a break from my Dungeon Master role last night. The regular Monday Night crew were put through a Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel that Lewis had written himself. It's a fantastic module that will most likely see it's own Kickstarter before Christmas. We were all having a ball,

So what do we play on Monday Nights? D&D, AD&D, DCC, Traveller, Wasteman, Road Wolf, Star Wars, Mordheim, Warhammer 40k, Epic, Bolt Action, Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game, and many more commercial and homebrew tabletop RPGs and wargames. We have even played Adventure Time Munchkin! There are plenty of rulebooks (Tunnels & Trolls, Dragon Quest, Rune Quest, MERP, GURPS, etc.) on the shelves that don't come down but hey, I guess we will wait and see. In particular I would love to play Paranoia and Dragon Warriors sometime in the near future. Blair's Traveller campaign would morph into Paranoia easily enough. Although I could easily drop the AD&D characters into Alpha Complex!

I can tell you that for me, the game system doesn't matter. The players matter. Oh, yes, every one of them can referee like a boss (and they bring that mastery to the way they play). More importantly we compete, collaborate and create memorable experiences. I feel blessed to know them and share Monday nights in worlds beyond our own. Sound soppy? Well, it should. Sometimes Monday night is what gets me though the week!

So, here you go Lewis... an update! What's happened since the last post here at the end of February?

March rolled by with plenty of communication with Ian and Allan Farley at Regal Enterprises. They handle all my casting and the metal masters are the first step towards sharing my creations with gamers around the globe. Holding my creations in metal is almost as exciting as sculpting the originals out of putty.

Some of the Metal Masters.

I also tried unsuccessfully to get a license to sculpt characters from the DCC rulebooks. Alas Goodman Games weren't ready to let their characters go. They allowed me to keep Hugh for personal use though. I painted him and gave him to Lewis, I gave away the unpainted metal extras from the spin casting to the backers as a unexpected gift. He won't be available for sale.

An Unofficial Tribute to Hugh.

April saw the launch of a Star Hat Miniatures website. As a life-long gamer and collector/painter of classic metal fantasy miniatures, I now also enjoy sculpting miniatures for tabletop games. Star Hat Miniatures was born in 2016, after a successful Kickstarter campaign: Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! A second Kickstarter (Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! 2!!) launched early in 2017 expanded the initial range of figures to 30 odd weird and wonderful adventurers, ready for your gaming table.

I painted these for pledge backers of the Ken St. Andre Troll.

If you see anything you like, or are interested in having your own favourite fantasy character sculpted, please contact me via social media. Because I live in New Zealand (a stone throw from Hobbiton), and all miniatures are cast to order, it may take a few weeks for your order to get to you.

These miniatures are also available at Game Centre in Hamilton, New Zealand. Game Centre also stock a fine variety of brushes and paints for all your hobby requirements.

May was a fantastic month! The unpainted pledges from the 2nd Kickstarter were packed with care and sent to their new homes with help from the Box Trolls: Dave, Blair, and Greg. It was awesome to deliver on time! I also traveled to Taupo for Queen's Birthday Weekend to attend LexiCon - an opportunity to hang with some Sci-fi and Fantasy fanatics. 

Lewis, John and I were part of a panel that talked about roleplaying games and miniatures. It was cool to see Lewis fill a table with his work so far. A massive dungeon filled with special terrain, trappings and miniatures.

Dungeon of Doom Kickstarter
June is here! A week ago a new Kickstarter launched that has me conflicted: Dungeon of Doom.  However, I do believe this is the best terrain available in the US (or anywhere really) - Dwarven Forge is amazing and Stefan Pokorny is an inspiration! 

So where is the feeling of conflict coming from? Shipping entire dungeons to New Zealand costs a Dwarven King's randsom! Long ago, Lewis came to me with this Kickstarter: Dwarven Forge's Game Tiles: Revolutionary Miniature Terrain. I said it looked great but since we live in New Zealand, it would cost a ton to get it here... hey, let's just make our own! The result?

We (er, by 'we' I mean 'ew', as in Lewis) make our own terrain (from wood, cardboard and goblin entrails) here and I think that's how it's going to stay unless a 3D printer magically appears one day in the Man Shed...

The Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! are not related to Stefan's Dungeon of Doom but I received this photo from a backer that showed how well they go together:

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How does our DWARVEN FORGERY™ compare? Here are some photos from last night's game:

Until next time, God bless you and happy gaming!

Monday, 27 February 2017

Treasure Hunt by Aaron Allston + Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Treasure Hunt
Last night I was back in the DM chair after a long break as a player. Currently our gaming group has a few campaigns on the go, with different game systems/settings, including Traveller and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I didn't bring the players back to old characters from the D&D campaign, deciding instead to run the AD&D classic, Treasure Hunt (1986).

It wasn't until today that my good friend Stephen pointed out I had run the module, quite by coincidence, on the three-year anniversary of the author's death. Aaron Allston wrote modules, supplements and sourcebooks for various roleplaying games, and a slew of Star Wars novels.

Now, I am not new to Treasure Hunt. When it came out back in the 80's, I was in a group of a dozen players from High School (including Mr Holland the English teacher) that were at the mercy of another friend called Stephen (who usually ran Dragon Warriors but in this instance was our DM). How he wrangled us all, I barely recall. I would reckon it would have been like herding cats.

Aaron Allston
(December 8, 1960 – February 27, 2014)
Zero-level cats. I have mentioned before the similarity between Treasure Hunt and the Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel system. Back then, playing AD&D without choosing a class was kinda funky. Each player character began the game at negative 500 experience points, working our way up to 1st level. We were very free in our gameplay, often making spontaneous choices, which Stephen would take note of as they determined a character's eventual class, alignment, etc.

Fast forward thirty years and I am on the other side of the DM screen. How did our group of "experienced" forty-somethings cope? So far, so good. We are about half-way through the module and already the players are trying things they might not if they had a list of skills and special abilities on their character sheets. I also have a couple of new favourite NPCs. One has been tweaked slightly; A Half-Ogre instead of a Half-Orc. I'm not sure how he will fare next session but he could end up making a cameo.

So thanks Aaron for the zero-level concept which began with Treasure Hunt and proved popular with D&D fans - James M. Ward included an appendix for 0-level characters in Greyhawk Adventures (1988). Thanks also for  Gazetteer 1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (1987) and D&D Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Last Week of a Successful Kickstarter + How Do You Do It?

Alliteration Works!
What a great start to 2017! Starting with a Kickstarter that funds in two days, January is almost at a close and so is that Kickstarter. Dungeon Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! 2!! has basically followed that same template as the first DDLitDoD! and apart from being 19 days long instead of 33 days, the backer trend seems to be similar also. Lots of action initially and then a plateau. "Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship. Upon a painted ocean." to quote Samuel Coleridge.

What do you do? How do you get more interest? How do you get beyond this inertia? When backers change their pledges up/down/sideways or worse yet... drop off altogether!

With extraordinary strength of purpose. Or, in one word: Faith. Not just in God (although that certainly helps me!) but also in the creative process and being ready to begin right now. Why wait? You're probably as ready to start something now as you'll ever be. And you keep on communicating. Discuss the project with your backers. Ask what they like. What they would love to see. Keep working on it, and be patient.

I have no doubt the second Kickstarter will fund and I didn't even before it went live. What is the secret of my success? Hard to be sure. Obviously having "Dungeons" in the title has helped. People recognise the genre just from that work. Alliteration may also have contributed. What do I think is more important than all that? I love sculpting these miniatures (a new skill, though I've painted them for decades) and have enjoyed fantasy roleplaying since childhood. I let that love shine through. Be passionate! People get that. I really would love my miniatures in your hands and on your gaming table! Because I believe the world is a better place when people come together. Games are one way to enable that.

I have also made some new friends from around the world. The internet makes collaboration easy and with their encouragement and support, I offer something better than if I did everything myself. It also means word gets out in different places, like France and Germany (and America) for example. Friends closer to home are equally important because the Kickstarter isn't over when it hits the funding date. Without my gaming group, collating addresses and packing boxes would've been a nightmare!

A shout out to a few fine fellows my be in order here:

Lewis, Grant, Greg, Blair, Dennis and Dave for their inspiration at the gaming table (and help packing boxes).
Erik Tenkar, for letting me sculpt his famous dwarf, Tenkar Calishun.
Ken St. Andre (creator of Tunnels & Trolls), for his advice on Trolls and encouragement throughout this project.
Rick Loomis (Flying Buffalo) and Liz Danforth for their blessings and support.
John R. Lehman for his review.
Rom from Cult of Game, for his mad graphic design skills and another cool review.
Will from The Grinning Skull: Grim’s Dungeons of Doom, who is definately a kindred spirit!

My loving wife and our awesome children who don't mind having a crazy sculptor around.

God bless you and have a fantastic week!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Tenkar Calishun + St Andre Troll + Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! 2!!

Warriors & Wizards. 
Here we are, January 2017 and I realise that my gaming blog has been gathering interweb dust. So, what have I been up to? December featured a trip to Fiji for a youth convention on climate change. I am really surprised how quickly Christmas rushed by! I enjoyed time with my family at the beach - it's a cracking hot summer in New Zealand. Running through the native bush and swimming at the beach is a great way to unwind after a challenging year in my new role as a Youth Ministry Coordinator.

I also began sculpting again. I sculpted my first 'Green', a barbarian called Kroag for my friend Lewis. Green putty is so much easier to use than Tamiya Quick Epoxy Putty! I continued to be amazed as more miniatures took shape. While at the beach I contacted another blogger, the renowned Erik of Tenkar's Tavern

I found him on Facebook and sent him a message:

  • 31/12/2016 08:50
    Darcy Perry

    Hey Erik, not sure what time it is there but it's quarter to nine, the morning of New Year's Eve here in New Zealand. I am a longtime follower of your blog. I was wondering if you ever had a miniature of Tenkar the Dwarf sculpted? I am new to sculpting but have managed a successful Kickstarter campaign and will be starting another one early 2017. Are you interested? Merry Christmas, Darcy Perry
  • Erik Tenkar
    31/12/2016 08:51
    Erik Tenkar

    heh - that would actually be kinda awesome

We chatted for a while and Erik sent me some artwork. Over the next few days we discussed details about his axe and shared our love for gaming,

Tenkar's Tavern

I started with his face (needs more beard!)

A double-bladed bearded-axe!

Goat insignia on his stein!

Then I thought about my friend Mark, an avid Tunnels & Trolls gamer. Ok, a fanatical Tunnels & Trolls player. He has even written and published Solo T&T Adventures! So, me thinks, how about making him a Troll? I hadn't sculpted a monster before. I may have even told a few folks I would stick to smaller heroes. Never say never.

Wait a minute, he's mates with Ken St. Andre! Ken stayed at his place last time he visited New Zealand. What if I asked Ken for advice about a Troll miniature? That would be really cool. So I went back to Facebook. I soon had an email with two screenshots of a Troll from Snow White and the Huntsman, along with a couple of snapshots of Ken's smiling face! Game on!

The result? The St. Andre Troll!

The Wire

Low on Green Stuff, I resort to left over Tamiya Quick Epoxy Putty.

Fedora hat for style.

Ken prefers his Trolls without toes or nails/claw.

The great Troll Hammer!

Note the rulebook and dice bag!

Welcome to the Dungeons of Doom!

Ken's archetypal Trollworld Rock Troll.

Ken is an amiable guy. He also knows what he likes in a troll. As you can see, I took some licence as an artist, making the St. Andre Troll a combination of sentient rock and more Ken-like features. I was also inspired by the art of Josh Kirby and Liz Danforth that for me, were the Trolls of my youth. They are burned into my brain. Ken suggested a Tarzan loincloth, which was great because (I love Tarzan, and) it meant a belt. Which meant a belt buckle. So I put a T&T on that!

I also slipped a rulebook in his left hand and a dice bag hangs from the studded belt. You need a lot of six-sided dice to play Tunnels & Trolls! The hammer is a nod to Troll Hammer Press, while the fedora hat is Ken's signature headgear.  

I launched the 2nd Star Hat Miniatures Kickstarter this afternoon. In a couple of hours it was half funded. As I write this, I realise I will be packing a lot of boxes in February!

God bless you all and enjoy your week!