Painted Gate for Cthulhu Wars

The one Cthulhu Wars miniature you know you’re going to need in each and every game are the gates. And lots of them.

After painting up a regiment of zombies for my Kings of War army, I needed  a break from panting rank and file so I decided to try out a test colour scheme ad techniques for a Cthulhu Wars gate.

Here’s how it turned out:

CW Gate (2)

The gates were originally 2D card counters, which work perfectly well, but as one of the stretch goals from the first Cthulhu Wars kickstarter campaign, fully sculpted plastic gates were unlocked. I think these are superb. The detail of the sculpt is great and the design is clever too, as you can fit both a Cultist on the gate to control it or one of the larger monsters (in the very rare circumstances that a monster can control a gate).

Here’s the original card gate and on the right, an unpainted plastic gate:

CW Gate (9)

I decided to try and replicate the blue/white glow of the card gate on the plastic version and I’m happy with how this has turned out. Some more photos from different angles first so you can see the effect I’ve achieved:

CW Gate (1)

CW Gate (3)

CW Gate (4)

CW Gate (5)

CW Gate (6)

CW Gate (7)

CW Gate (8)

I love the skull that’s been deposited in one of the four… ‘receptacles’ on the gate. Just had to paint that skull sitting in a pool of fresh blood for  a nice bit of contrast with the cold grey and blues.

The gate was quite simple to paint and I’m happy it didn’t take me too long to do, so I feel I’m able to paint all my gates (or enough for all the possibilities in a 3 to 5 player game, as I don’t have any of the larger sized Cthulhu Wars maps) to the same standard.

The gate was undercoated in black, with a Vallejo Dark Blue Grey #70.867 base coat. I then washed the whole miniature with Army Painter Strong Tone ink and applied two layers of drybrushing. First a 3:1 mix of the Dark Blue grey with white, then a 1:1 mix of the same.

I then picked out all the skulls (I didn’t realise just how many there are until I started painting ’em all!) in Army Painter Skeleton Bone and then washed them all with Army Painter Strong Tone ink, adding a bit more wash to any areas of the grey rocks where the drybrushing was a bit too heavy.

Next up the blue glow. I airbrushed on Vallejo Andrea Blue #70.841, working from the centre of the gate outwards and working my ‘around the clock’ so all the gate was bathed in a blue colour emitting from its centre. I gave  a quick blast of this blue onto the sigils on each of the gate’s four raised columns. I mixed white in with the Andrea Blue in a 4:1 mix and then carefully airbrushed this much brighter blue around the circle in the centre of the gate and over the pentagram, with a quick blast again around the clock so the lighter blue was spilling out from the centre too.

Lastly, I used a fine detail brush to paint pure white into the central circle, pentagram, and various sigils and then drybrushed pure white onto the rest of the gate, again working from the centre outwards.

A quick retouch of bone colour here and there to the skulls and a daubing of my blood effect onto the skull in the receptacle ( a 1:1 mix of Tamiya X27 clear red and Army Painter Strong Tone ink) and the painting is done.

I need to varnish the whole thing, but will use my tried and tested method of using spray gloss varnish followed by a coat of spray matt varnish to dull down the shine. I’ll cover the bloody skull with a blob of blu-tack so that the fresh blood effect isn’t ruined by the matt  varnish.

I can see me losing the will to live a little when it comes to picking out all the skulls when I come to batch paint a large number of these gates in one sitting, but looking forward to playing with the glow effect with the airbrush should keep me going.

I briefly considered painting a few gates with the light effect of the colours of the different Cthulhu Wars factions (green for Great Cthulhu, red for Dark Goat etc) but then this would mean having to sift through the box of gates to find the correct colour to use and then doing so again should a rival faction take over that gate and frankly, that all seems to be too much of pain to bother. I’m pleased with how this gate looks, so will paint all of them in the same way, although I will (eventually) paint the Colour Out of Space gates in their respective colours, so those gates still work with those additional rules.

Thanks for reading! 🙂


Cthulhu Wars Miniatures: Onslaught 1 and 2

WI backed both the original Cthulhu Wars and the Cthulhu Wars: Onslaught 2 Kickstarters. The first RPG I ever played was 3rd Ed Call of Cthulhu and I was always fascinated by the macabre and alarming tentacular beasties that were illustrated in the ‘Beastiary’ sections.

I bought some of the early lead CoC miniatures, some Investigators, cultists and gribblies and enjoyed painting them. (If I ever find hem, I’ll post pictures here0.

Nearly three decades later and I discover the Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter, chock full of superb 28mm Mythos beasties. Well, I didn’t have to think twice – I was in, for as much as I could afford. And not long after, I jumped in with both feet for the Onslaught 2 Kickstarter. Just over a week after that was delivered, (there was quite a delay, but it was well worth the wait) Petersen Games have launched their Cthulhu Wars Onslaught 3 Kickstarter, which is currently live. Go check it out, there’s some great new sculpts involved (especially the Masks of Nyarlathotep set).

But back to Onslaught 1 & 2. After receiving Onslaught 2 in the post, I began to wonder just how many Mythos beasties I now actually have. So, I put them all onto one table. You can see how that looks below..!


“Errr…911? Yeah, I … ah… I think the stars may be right. Or something…”

And I didn’t fit them all into the frame for that shot! Here’s a quick tour of some of the miniatures. Firstly some Cultists who’d better know what they’re doing as they’ve summoned Cthulhu to the power of three (or one ‘Buffthulu’ as the central sculpt has been dubbed by Cthulhu Wars fans; and two Cthulhus)


The Cthulhu on the right is a glow-in-the-dark version, a stretch goal from Onslaught 2. The ice blue dude to his right is Rhan-Tegoth; another glow-in-the-dark Great Old One (GOO)


Next up, the ‘King in Yellow’ faction. The fearsome-looking large dude in the middle is Hast- *cough* He-Who-Is-Not-To-Be-Named , with the glow-in-the=dark version to its right.


The ‘Crawling Chaos’ faction, with the superb sculpt of Nyarlathotep dominating the centre of the shot.


My favourite faction sculpts ‘The Opener of the Way’ aka Yog-Sothoth and his cohorts.


What’s all this Ia! then? Oh, it’s the ‘Black Goat’ faction, Shub-Nigguarth and her Dark Young. Tentacles-a-plenty and some superb sculpts. Very gribbly and the fully capturing the essence of the Mythos. Gibbering horror!


Tsathoggua doesn’t look too pleased to have been woken from his slumber by this High Priest..!


The Watcher of the Green Pyramid, with Slime Moulds to its left and right.


A Hound of Tindalos emerging from the right angles of an intermodal shipping container. This great sculpt, along with ‘Buffthulu’ above, were made available through artist Richard Luong’s Kickstarter which produced an artbook of his work from the first Cthulhu Wars kickstarter. As far as I can tell, Richard hasn’t been involved with Cthulhu Wars Onslaughts 2 and 3; and as good as the artwork is for both of these, I miss seeing his exceptional work. I encourage you to look at his Tentacles and Teeth Facebook page for more of his eerie and visually arresting art.


A gigantic Dhole, about to make a Cultist’s day very bad (albeit very brief)…


A selection of independent Great Old Ones, with Leng Spiders and Gugs to their right – none of which you’d care to meet in a dark alley. Or anywhere else. At all. Ever. No sir.


Abhoth, the so-called ‘Source of Uncleanliness’ -my absolute favourite miniature from all three Onslaughts to date. A giant, dripping brain sat astride a pustulant mass of flesh and slime with writhing tentacles, emerging from a bubbling lake of filth. Sanity check please!


A Star Vampire. you can’t really make it out in this photo, but there’s a screaming victim laying prone on its base, as the Vampire feeds… *shiver*


Bholes, Zoogs and Cultists. The dark red miniatures were collector’s editions from the 1st Onslaught Kickstarter. I was particularly glad of these, as it gave me some sculpts that I hadn’t otherwise been able to afford (as despite having bought a helluva lot of Cthulhu Wars products, I haven’t been able to buy everything). Cthulhu Wars is a premium product game, top quality stuff and the price points reflect this.


Edit 10th August 2017

Woo-Hoo! Just over a week ago I saw a post on the ‘Cthulhu Wars Cultists’ Facebook group (heartily recommended if you’re a fan of either Cthulhu Wars game or the Cthulhu Mythos in general and essential if you like both) saying that a UK retailer had some Cthulhu Wars items back in stock. I took a look immediately and was delighted to find that the three factions I didn’t have were available; ‘Windwalker ‘ (with Ithaqua and Rhan-Tegoth  as the GOOs), ‘Sleeper’ (Tsathoggua) and the Tcho Tcho (with Ubbo-Sathla). And all three were at a discounted price too!

Bank balance and overdraft be damned, I clicked and ordered all three sets. I hadn’t expected to be able to get any of these here in the UK outside of the Onslaught 3 kickstarter so I’m very pleased to have been able to do so. They arrived just the other day and I’m really looking forward to trying them out in a game (especially the Tcho Tchos) as the asymmetrical rules Sandy Petersen has created really give each faction their own unique flavour, style and strategies to discover and master.

First up, the Windwalker faction.


These look like they’re white in the photo above, but they are actually a very appropriate frosty blue colour.The Gnoph-Keh (the quite tall furry beasts with long, low-slung arms, one of which is on the far left of the photo above) never really appealed to me when I saw their concept art, or photos of the finished sculpts, but seeing them in the flesh/plastic I do like them – they’re suitably weird and yet menacing.

The Sleeper action with the mighty Tsathoggua bigature (he ain’t mini). This is one solid hunka plastic. Man, summoning this GOO has got to be so satisfying. “I summon Tsathoggua…” *puts bigature on table* Boom! (table shakes).


The Formless Spawn are another great sculpt- oozing tentacular toothy gribblies. And the Wizards? What the what!? These guys are just plain odd. It’s a cape, no it’s wings! How many legs has he got, they’re not even human-shaped and Ye Gods what the hell is he pulling apart and proudly waving at us..?!? Ewww!

Just look how pleasssed the Sssnakeman on the left of this shot is to sssee you. Rubbing his little handsss with glee.


Last and by no means least, the Tcho Tcho faction. The Tcho Tcho have always creeped me out, with their almost-human-but-not-quite vibe. This faction is different from all the others in that their GOO is not worshipped by them, it’s their slave. This faction has its own unique sculpts for the Cultists, setting them apart nicely from the other factions.

Unique Cultist sculpts for each faction are being introduced as part of the Onslaught 3 kickstarter; a completely unnecessary but utterly cool development.

The Tcho Tcho have fewer monster types than the other factions. They just have the Proto-Shoggoths to utilise, but what great beasts these are. Take a look at the concept art first (which I think is by Kent Hamilton, my apologies if I have this wrong).

You can clearly see in the illustration that the Proto-Shoggoth is erupting from a human disguise and the shedded skin is ripping and crumpling away . Reminds me of something from one of my all-time favourite movies – John Carpenter’s The Thing.


And here’s the finished sculpt in all its toothy glory. Smile for the camera! Cheese!!!


Blimey, I have got a LOT of painting to do, but it’s going to be fun!

Thanks for reading! 🙂


Cthulhu Wars Onslaught Two: Miniatures and Maps Galore!

I backed the original Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter campaign and the follow up Cthulhu Wars Onslaught Two. The latter campaign finished in November 2015, and has been through a long development process. Sandy and Arthur Petersen have kept backers well up to date with progress over the long months between the conclusion of the Kickstarter campaign and fulfilment and after 20 months of patient waiting a delightfully large package arrived at my door yesterday, chock full of Cthulhu Wars Onslaught Two goodies:



What you see above wasn’t the ‘get everything being produced by this Kickstarter’ pledge either, which gives you a sense of just how much new product was created as part of the campaign.

I opted for buying several add-ons, including four of the new map sets; Yuggoth, Primal Earth, The Library at Celeano and (my favourite) The Dreamlands. I aldo ahve the boxof Highpriests, tge Great Old One Pack #3; Gobogeg, a Great Old One (GOO) created by Sandy Petersen for this campaign (and IIRC, intended to be what Danforth looks back and sees at the end of At the Mountains of Madness that drives him insane).

I’m going to mke future blog posts looking at each of these boxed sets in turn and full detail,so more o them in the g=future, with links from this post to be added to. For now, i’ll look at some of other the items that were a more integral part of the campaign, such as the Glow in the Dark GOOS. A bit mental perhaps, but useful alongside the rules for using independent GOOs in games of Cthulhu war with the new rules and spellbooks that came as part of this Kickstarter.

Here’s a look at each glow in the dark  turn. The plastic is by nature somewhat translucent, so it can be a little hard to make out all the detail on the sculpts in these images:


Great Cthulhu




Hastur (oh, heck – I named him ;))




Yog -Sothoth











With my not having (yet) bought The Sleeper, Tcho-Tcho or Windwalker faction box sets, i didn’t have miniatures for Tsathoggua, Ubbo-Sathla or Ithaqua, so I’m particulalry happy to have these glow in the dark versions. If/when I get around to painting any of my Cthulhu Wars miniatures, they ought to look just as good as the non-glow in the dark sculpts do.

I also received a grey coloured set of Cultists, which are intended for use for your own ‘home-brew’ faction. not a clue as to what faction i might ever create yet, but it’s lovely to have the option to be able to do so. I imagine a particularly gribbly miniature from a Mantic or Reaper Bones range might strike me as inspiration for a new GOO and the rest will fall into place from there.


Backers of the first Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter received one each of many different sculpts in a dark red, intended as collector’s pieces you could paint up and display, without impacting on the number of playing pieces you have for each faction. Two more were unlocked as part of Onslaught Two; A Satyr, from the Ramsey Campbell Horrors# 2 set and Insects from Shaggai from Ramsey Campbell Horrors #1:




Insects from Shaggai

Eight colour gates were includede two, along with a s et of rules titled ‘The Colour Out of Space’, which allow these gates to be used in regular games of Cthulhu Wars, adding a rando element to each turn of he game. They add another layer of complexity, but sure look fun and isn’t that the whole point? 🙂


The core Cthulhu Wars boxed game comes with card counters to represent the gates. grey 3D plastic sculpts were included as one of the bonus stretch goals in the first Kickstarter and I think they add a great extra visual touch. They are also very well designed, being able to accommodate a cultist, High priest or even a GOO.




New Green Battle Dice were included (the original games’ Kickstarter included a red set)


And there’s also a set of custom dice to represent in-games effects and conditions such as the growth of Ubbo-Sathla and the King in Yellow’s Desecration:


Quite possibly my favourite component of the Onslaught two Kickstarter is the hardback ‘Omega Rulebook’. The original Cthulhu Wars rulebook was a glossy paper booklet. Perfectly okay, albeit with the rules in very small print. The new Omega rulebook corrects any issues with the original rules, has many more examples of game play, a comprehensive set of FAQS, rules and playing tips for the map expansions and is a glorious 176 full colour hardbacked pages. Adorned with Richard Luong’s superb full colour illustrations and black n’ white linework, it’s a practical and beautiful set of rules.

More on the various map sets and extra miniatures in future posts over the coming weeks.

Thanks for reading! 🙂


Cthulhu Wars – The Ultimate Cthulhu Miniature & Hound of Tindalos

I backed Richard Luong’s Kickstarter to produce an artbook of his work and two new miniatures for Cthulhu wars- an Ultimate Cthulhu miniature and a Hound of Tindalos.

Richard’s superb artwork is one of the highlights of the Cthulhu Wars game for me. His designs are excellent and the full colour ‘mood’ work very absorbing and atmospheric.  I’ve bought  a print of his work from his website and so the chance to own a well designed, hardback book of his art was very interesting  to me. The fact that an exclusive Hound of Tindalos miniature (complete with rules for using it in the game) and an ‘Ultimate’ Cthulhu miniature were also available sealed the deal for me.

Uh oh! Looks like the stars are right…


I really like this design for Cthulhu. From the chitinous, armoured look on its forearms , chest, shoulders and legs, to the two sets of three eyes (hard to see in the photos) and the three tails.


I like the cyclopean ruins too and the way his tail is going into and emerging from the sea.


The wings are an interesting design. Fibrous and frilled on one side and leathery and layered on the other,


There’s another, very cool feature on the base of the miniature, that gives it a scary sense of scale. Take a look at the close up below, particularly the bottom left and note the sinking boat ( a cruise liner?). Cthulhu is (as it should be) terrifyingly huge.


Here’s the Ultimate Cthulhu miniature next to the original miniature from the Cthulhu Wars boxed game:


I like them both for different reasons, but I do think that the Ultimate miniature looks far more sinister.

Next up – the Hound of Tindalos. The Hounds are described as inhabiting the angles of time and can manifest through corners, appearing in a pall of smoke . Their creator, Frank Belknap Long, describes them as having “..lean, hungry bodies.” I think Richard’s design encapsulates all this brilliantly.





Here’s a few pages from the artbook to give you an idea of Richard’s style. Excellent stuff.



You can see the three eye design Richard has given Cthulhu in the picture below.


You can see more of Richard’s artwork on his very aptly named ‘Tentacles and Teeth’ Facebook page.

Thanks for reading!


Cthulhu Wars Miniatures

What’s all this “Ia!” then..?

Cthulhu Wars 001

It’s the remainder of my Cthulhu Wars Kickstarter delivery! I received the core game quite a while ago and now all the extra pieces have arrived, including some fantastic miniatures. Here’s the goodies straight out of the three boxes:

Cthulhu Wars 002

And all laid out. So… not much, then 😉

Cthulhu Wars 003

I received the ‘Opener of the Way’ faction expansion (a whole new faction to add to the four in the core game the purple miniatures in the photo ), the ‘Great OId One ‘sets 1 & 2 (large grey creatures at the back), 22 plastic gates to replace the card stock ones from the core game, limited edition dice, superior card stock faction sheets, a host of Kickstarter freebie collector’s edition models (dark red), Asenaith Waite player marker and yes, I bought the t-shirt too.

Cthulhu Wars is an EXCELLENT game. I may be biased , as I’ve been a fan of Lovecraft’s work and the Call of Cthulhu RPG since I was a teenager. However all my friends who have played the game seem to share my opinion too, so you don’t have to be a Lovecraft fan to enjoy the game.

If you are though – wow. Just WOW.The quality of the finished product is superb. This is reflected in its price point, but it’s a premium product and for me – worth every penny. Here; I’ll let some of the miniatures do the talking:

Cthulhu Wars 004

Cthulhu Wars 007

Cthulhu Wars 005

Cthulhu Wars 014

Cthulhu Wars 012

Nice touch having the Star Vampire’s victim writhing on the base

Cthulhu Wars 011

Cthulhu Wars 013

Cthulhu Wars 015

Cthulhu Wars 008

The dice on the right  have ‘Miss’ , ‘Pained’ and ‘Killed’ results (top to bottom in the photo above)  The plastic gates are great. They’re cleverly designed so that all size of monsters can fit onto them:

Cthulhu Wars 009

This is my favourite though – Abhoth the Source of Uncleanliness. Properly gribbly!

Cthulhu Wars 016

If I tried to add photos of ALL the miniatures, this would be  a looong post, so i’ll leave it there for now. I’m going to go and have another good look at them all. 🙂