Sunday, 12 November 2017

What is best in life?

Yeah, it's everyone's favourite brooding Cimmerian, Conan:

Mood music:

I love Conan, and have had vague plans to game in Hyperborea for several years now. Small scale, run using the Song of Blades and Heroes ruleset, borrowing models liberally from the other fantasy projects, it's yet another one of those ideas I had where I thought 'this is small enough that I'll be able to finish it and actually get a game in' that then ended up getting mothballed until my attention swung back round again...

Admittedly part of the reason for the delay was finding a miniature that I was happy with for the main man, but in the end I went with this lovely lad from Hasslefree. 

You might notice a slight bit of shininess and or discolouration around his axe arm, which is a result of repairs and some minor cosmetic surgery after an escape attempt:

I have vague plans for a 'tree' style campaign (the kind where if Player A wins a game, you play one scenario next, but if player B, you take a different branch, potentially unlocking additional reinforcements or other boons in a final climatic battle along the way), which I'm sure I started sketching out on a scrap of paper that I should probably try and track down...

But wait, there's more!

Conan doesn't want to take on the cult of various snake gods on his lonesome, though, so I've also finished one of the chums I have for him in the painting queue:

Nice, classic Grenadier/em4 barbarian. Chosen almost entirely because I love the idea of a near-nude berserker taking the precaution of wearing a full helm (I assume his mother made him promise to never go out without wearing his helmet, and so he always has). He was also painted to a lighter skintone than Conan, to make the big guy seem all the more bronzed by comparison.

I feel like I might have missed a trick by not giving him a comedic beauty mark or heart tattoo on his backside though...

And here's the pair of them together:

The Grenadier barbarian looks a little bigger and chunkier than Conan, but that's fine, he's in a more dynamic pose, and was always described as being athletic as well as beefy, so I'm still happy with my choice!


41 vs 40 = +1

Back in the black!

Necromunda pre-orders went up today though. I've been good so far.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Only in death does duty end...

...and even then that's not a given, as if you're suitably pious you might get a small anti-grav device attached to your cleaned skull so that you might be able to bip around looking menacing near an inquisitor, and if you're doubly lucky you might even get a laspistol grafted on, to ineffectually highlight to the enemies of Mankind your exact location so that their vengeance might be swift and terrible.

So, I finished a couple of servo skulls! They're a bit silly, but so quintessentially grimdark I couldn't resist. There's two, despite the fact that warbands can only take one in inquisimunda, but I guess it gives me the option of taking one with a small gun or one with a pair of crafty manipulators. It shouldn't matter that only one has a weapon, because we should be all about narrative over power gaming. I'm not competitive. No sir. 


39 vs 40 = -1 

Necromunda is going up on pre-order soon, so I think I might have to have a bit of a clear-out and list some unused projects on eBay! Why would you do this so close to Christmas GW, don't you know we have families to buy presents for?

Monday, 30 October 2017

We're off to see some zombies, some horrible zombies oh god!

A day late for Zomtober but a day early for Halloween... I was aiming to get this posted last night (when the miniatures were painted!) but when it hit 11 and the pictures were still uploading I realised I wasn't going to hit that deadline, and so am now writing this post on an iPad stood waiting for a train [and then some more sat at a station hours later waiting for a different train...]

As should come as no surprise given the content of the last few Zomtober posts, I've finished Dorothy and Toto from the Studio Miniatures Wizard of Oz set:

Please note my attempt at painting gingham as a reference to the film. Just don't look too closely. Maybe squint, too, if you wouldn't mind.

And here's the back of Dorothy:

There aren't any more pictures of Toto, as he didn't come out as I'd hoped - I tried giving subtle variations in colour on his fur, aiming for a grey brown like the original, but it just didn't come out right and I ended up settling for a flatter finish. His fur was very smooth, so my attempts at drybrushing were somewhat foiled...

The back of her jacket also contains some terrible freehand and squiggly approximations of text - as I was lying in bed Saturday night/Sunday morning wondering whether the clocks had gone back yet (after having fallen asleep earlier that evening putting my daughter to bed when I'd originally planned to finish painting these minis), I was struck with inspiration- what if I painted a biker back patch on the back of Dorothy, with a little cartoon witch head with crosses for eyes and the slogan 'witches get stitches'? This is my attempt at that. Unfortunately, her back is absolutely tiny compared to its size in my late night/early morning memory/imagination, so I had to go with an approximation of the text, but I quite like it nevertheless...

And here they are all together! Which, technically, crosses another challenge off of the list:

2017 Challenges:

  • Finish 5 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (5/5)
  • Finish 10 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (10/10)
  • Finish 15 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (16/15)
  • Finish something years old
  • Finish something SUPER old (as in, pre-blog old) x2
  • Finish a piece of terrain x3 
  • Empty out my stripping pot
  • Paint something from the stripping pot
  • Prep all of the monkeys in the monkey box
  • Build a wargames board
  • Paint all of the miniatures in a boxed game
  • Open Star Wars Imperial Assault and paint all the miniatures from it
  • Paint all the miniatures needed to replace the tokens in the Imperial Assault Core Game
  •  Paint a complete box of miniatures (either a full regiment or starter)
  •  Finish a complete skirmish force for a project (at least 16 miniatures, unless it's for a much smaller scale game like Batman)
  • Repaint something (either a miniature that I have previously painted, or one that was received painted)
I think when I'd set the 'complete box' challenge, I was trying to bait my future self into painting up my Joker starter for the Batman Miniatures game (as I've had it since before there was a rule set, and they're now on their second edition), but I'm counting it!

But wait, there's more! Not content with just survivors this week, I've also finished a zombie!

Side note - I can't find my current pot of TCR anywhere, which turned the 'five minutes' I told my wife I'd be finishing up these before Sunday night games night into ten minutes of grumpily searching drawers and boxes before giving up and trying to use Blood for the Blood God as a substitute, which doesn't work quite the same sadly

(As I tend to mix in inks and whatnot to get different 'shades' of blood - more black for zombies etc - and TCR goes pleasingly thick when mixed with inks, which behaves very differently when painting to runny BFTBG, hence the larger 'splashes' of blood rather than my usual 'flecks')

Despite that setback, I managed to finish this chap:

Another of the Horrorclix zombies that I got as part of my initial foray back into the hobby proper, and I think the last remaining sculpt of the batch! He's a fairly hench sculpt, that I'd been considering basing and using as a 'brute zombie', but while he is bigger than most of the horde, he doesn't have the same mass as the other 'brute' zombies I've painted, so he gets to be an ordinary biter.

And so, that brings another Zomtober to a clo-

What's that?

Additional bonus entry you say?

After watching the latest series of Game of Thrones, after seeing the zombie polar bear (spoilers, btw) I was inspired to add something similar to my project to go with last year's offerings:

While I didn't have a polar bear miniature, I did have a Horrorclix Zombie Reindeer in my bits box - as such the original sculpt was impaled with a hunting rifle, but a few minutes with a scalpel and a pot of liquid green stuff saw to that!

Ah, fur with detail deep enough that you can actually use drybrushing and washes to build it up, I don't miss you until you're gone...

The hand was painted in the same fashion as my wights, as a little inside joke reference to the hand taken as proof of their existence at the start of the book series...

Finishing these brings the Tally to:

37 vs 40 = -3

Well, being back in the black is tantalisingly close isn't it? Now, what shall I paint next?

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Something something heart something

Unusually on schedule this week with the next Zomtober offering - another Studio Miniatures Wizard of Oz themed survivor:

The Cowardly Lion reimagined as a sports mascot. There was a weird vogue for these when I started the zombie project (I think Zombiesmith may have made a couple that just seemed to crop up everywhere), but I think I'm far enough behind that it's become niche again! 

I guess there's some logic to the idea too - although you'd lose pretty much all manoeuvrability, the thick padding might actually make a pretty decent defence against zombie bites...

I'm sure there are better weapons than a hockey stick to protect yourself from the undead though (although it's something you can swing with both hands, and can be used to keep biters at arms length while you make good your escape... hmm, maybe I've undersold the hockey stick in the past!). Uniform colour was selected entirely randomly - I was rooting around in my paints and unearthed a pot of Sotek Green. Yellow stripes and badge were added just to give a little flourish, rather than any attempt to emulate any actual sports teams insignia!


33 vs 40 = -7

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Oh if I only had some braaaaaaaaaainsss...

Playing catch-up a little this week, we have two finished miniatures for my week 2 and 3 Zomtober entries!

First is the next of the Studio Miniatures Wizard of Oz themed Survivors box, a pitchfork wielding vagrant with overtones of Scarecrow:

Good fun to paint, even if the detail on his face was a little squiff (although it might just be that I've been spoilt by having painted Hasslefree miniatures, that even my modest level of skill can make look quite nice), but judicious application of a five-o-clock shadow came out looking pretty good I think and distracts from that! His eyes are a mote wonky, mostly because my daughter chose the exact moment to grab my chair and yell boo that the micron pen was making contact with miniature...

He got straw blond hair to suit the Scarecrow theme, and his clothes were painted dirty and worn partly for theme, partly because there's just something satisfying about scrubbing on some weathering with a ragged old brush!

The other miniature offered up this week is this militaristic zombie:

Back when I got back into the hobby in my early twenties, I was inspired to start a zombie project after seeing all of the great stuff happening over on the Lead Adventure Forum (which I'd joined to ask a member a question about where they'd gotten some miniatures that I'd stumbled on while googling for AEWWII miniatures). To get started, I bought a bunch of Horrorclix zombies from a nice guy in Spain (username PredatorPT iirc), and this chap is one of the last pair of that bunch to get painted (the other of which is currently sat half finished on my desk). The Horrorclix zombies are a mixed bunch - variable sizes, wildly variable sculpting quality, but they got me started and over a hundred zombies later I still like them (I think the Zombie Ventriloquist is still one of my favourite members of the horde).

This particular zombie is one of the better sculpts though - fairly crisp detail, characterful, but straightforward enough that he looks great with three or four colours and some weathering! Painting was fairly straightforward: I basecoated everything, weathered the lot, and then washed and highlighted anything that wasn't black before coming back to do a pass to pick out a couple of small details like the handle of his holstered pistol, the buttons on his pouches, and his teeth! I was tempted to apply some blood effects (as it's been a while since I got to play with my pot of TCR) but figured that given how dark overall the model is, you wouldn't really notice the blood on him...

Here are the two miniatures squaring off - you'll see what I mean when I say that the Horrorclix zombies are a little big! Mixed into the crowd though the scale difference isn't quite as noticeable...


32 vs 40 = -8

Coming next week:more of the same, hopefully!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Zomtober - you have my axe...

Zomtober is here again!

Doubly exciting this year, as my daughter has learned what Halloween is, so our house currently rings to repeated viewings of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Hallowen songs like these, so painting zombies feels festively apt!

So here for my first offering (a day later than originally planned) is the Tin Woodman themed survivor from Studio Miniatures' Wizard of Oz themed set:

Selected for my first week's submission mostly because time really got away with me and he was the one that I was able to get finished in the least number of steps on Saturday and Sunday night!

Ugh, my photography is doing me no favours with him is it? I used a variety of washes and shades (as well as various bits of weathering) to visually differentiate between the different parts of his makeshift armour; with his hair I was going for a 'hints of chestnut' rather than my usual 'bright ginger' that I seem to end up with when I get carried away from a Vermin Brown undercoat; the sculpt of the face is a little odd, but I did what I could.

Which brings the Tally to:

30 vs 40 = -10

In theory I might still hit the 1 miniature a week average by the end of the year, but who knows?


What do you mean where have I been?

[checks date on last post] wow, it has been three months hasn't it.

A number of factors contributed to this.

Shortly after my last post, I managed to slice through the end of my thumb with a meat cleaver, which made holding miniatures to model or paint very difficult:

I have also sunk a number of hours into the videogame The Witcher 3, which it turns out is super good, although I seem to be approaching the end of the game already, unlike Fallout 4 which took me actual years. This may have more to do with my daughter's bedtime being slightly earlier these days than the relative complexities of the two games though... I even got round to reading the advance copy of the first novel that I was sent nearly a decade ago, which is also very good. The multi million selling series of novels and videogames that came out in the interim are probably more of a testament to that than my much belated approval though...

I've not been completely out of the hobby though; I've built some scatter terrain (as was briefly alluded to in my last post) that is now sat undercoated in the basement:

(pre-undercoat sneak preview that those of you that follow me on Instagram will have seen months back)

as well as having half-painted several things that I won't name on the off chance that I manage to finish them once we're out of Zomtober, and having built about a billion (well, twenty odd, but it felt like a billion) wildlings whilst the latest series of Game of Thrones was on, until I realised that I was almost out of non-GW 25mm round bases for them (I'm oddly obsessive about what bases get used for what) and now they're sat forlornly on my desk waiting for their turn back in the spotlight. I also had a hankering to build some Gundam models (having been watching Gundam Build Fighters with my daughter of a weekend when we're up before Mummy), but rather than the logical response to that of ordering some Gundam models to build, I started writing the basis of a set of 1/144 scale giant robot combat rules, as you do. Maybe with a polish and a playtest I'll publish it, eventually. 

So, hopefully see you in a week rather than three months!

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

In the Emperor's name get back here so that I can show you the business end of this Eviscerator heretic!

So, there's a bit of a long-winded explanation for why this guy got painted. And why it took... 8 years maybe?

One of the guys at work has recently discovered Warhammer (40K to be precise), and knowing I am a big nerd wants to play some sort of game. Me being me, I've already bounced from the idea of playing Kill Team (which I'm assuming is what used to be 40k in 40 minutes), to Shadow War Armageddon (new! Also unavailable) to Inquisimunda (because it's basically Necromunda with waaay more options). I figure I probably know a couple of adults that I could probably also rope in to some skirmish scale wargaming...

Which brings me to this figure. Fired up with my current enthusiasm for Inq28/Inquisimunda, I thought I'd finish painting a conversion that was originally built for the Witch Hunters army that was last briefly mentioned on the blog 6 years ago:

A zealot with an Eviscerator - he was built so long ago that he was the last model in a blister of Empire Flagellants that I bought along with a Mordheim Witch Hunters boxed set. Off of the shelf in a Games Workshop. That long ago.

It's a fairly straightforward weapon swap - off came his flail, and on went the blade from a space marine chainsword (as it's big enough to look like an oversized Eviscerator on a normal human, and the handle of the flail is long enough to look like a two-handed grip). I figure his awkward stance is him swinging his chainsaw like Leatherface at the end of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre in his enthusiastic religious fervor.

I mostly basecoated him, then many years passed until the events of the first paragraph of this post.

Fun painting facts:

  • his ragged robe was my perhaps first experiment in painting using washes over a light basecoat. I haven't really used the technique since. Maybe I should give it another shot?
  • I added some blood effects on his feet (as I'm assuming that the battlefields of the forty-first millennium are mostly broken glass) using Blood for the Blood God. I do love some glossy blood effect.
  • I went with orange for his shoulderpad to try and make him look less fantasy - I'd originally planned to have it in the colour of the inquisitor he'd accompany, but as I haven't decided who that's going to be I went for an industrial orange and went to town on the weathering!

It's a fairly interesting little sculpt - I love the string of bells hanging from his waist, but I'm not sure where I stand on the book on his chest and parchment on his side - rather than being blank for you to add your own squiggles for writing, they come with sculpted indentation detail - with careful use of dark washes I was able to pick them out so that they looked passable, but it's fairly unusual (as if you look closely you can see the indents...)

Lastly, the blade. Oh hazard stripes, thou art a pain to do evenly. Thank goodness for a soft pencil and carefully marking out where you want the stripes to start and end rather than trying to freehand it!

Also, a goodly amount of weathering helps add to the whole effect. I briefly considered going hog wild with blood splatter, but I'm glad I held back as I think it would have been easy to go too far and ruin it...

He was actually painted about two and a half weeks ago, but a number of factors have combined to mean it's taken me this long to get him posted - I miss the Blogger app, it's a pain having to drag out my wife's laptop to edit posts; also I've been playing a lot of Fallout 4, as I ordered the Witcher 3 and want to finish Fallout of before starting another game that will take me multiple years to complete (and yes, I'm the sort of OCD nerd that is also reading the Witcher novels before playing the game); also, I've been working on a bunch of scatter terrain pieces in the hopes of being able to play some games at some point...


29 vs 40 = -11

So what's next? Some more Inquisimunda models, hopefully - I've a few stock models built that I'll try and get based up when I'm basing the scenery (which you may have already seen progress pics of over on Instagram), and then hopefully I can then move onto finishing some conversions that I've had in various states of half-completion for the best part of a decade - weirdly, despite my prediliction for the more Radical aspects of the Inquisition, a number of figures that I have would probably suit a more Puritan band (this Zealot, for example...)