Saturday, 11 February 2017

Terrain tanks

As tends to happen in the New Year, I thought I'd turn over a new leaf, tidy off my workspace and make a fresh start:


Pow! Space for projects! I was due to inherit my wife's old cutting mat when I got around to clearing my desk off, but it seems to have disappeared into the ether when we moved...

Having finished the first painted miniature of the year, I thought I'd celebrate my new found desk space by using it all to make some terrain using some of the interestingly shaped pieces of party food packaging I'd being furtively stashing over the festive period:


This excitingly shaped piece of vacuum-formed plastic originally housed a number of individual portions of lobster mac and cheese (also highly recommended), so I gave it a wash, trimmed the edges off, and then cut it a base from the 2mm ply that I found a few months back, bevelling the edges with a Stanley knife as is the convention:


I filled the hollow recess with scrunched up newspaper, figuring that I could douse it with diluted PVA to make a papier mache esque filling to give it a little additional support:


Here it is again, with additional glue:


And then, all of the clamps:


If anything, I could do with more clamps; however after a day of drying, I came back and applied some more glue and re-clamped any bits of the plastic packaging that weren't glued down properly.


I also applied glue and sand to the interior voids on the piece, with the intention that the finished piece would look like a number of submerged tanks jutting out of the ground.


I also dug out this little bit, that I thought would fit nicely with a Star Wars / Fallout vibe for the piece:


I'm not sure who made it, I think it came as part of a job lot with some Future Wars figures and some robots with 'Denizen' on the bottom of their integral bases...

It was at this point that, overeager and enthused with the progree that I had made thus far, I skipped a step. Rather than smoothing out any rough edges and better blending the plastic base into the wooden one with filler, I jumped straight into sanding the base (what can I say, I had the glue out already and got carried away...)


Obvious in hindsight, but not too bad it turns out - I was able to go back over any rough spots the day after with more glue and sand to break up the outline of the plasic base where it was still visible. Not as perfect a finish as smoothing the groundwork out with filler, but better than having to scrape all of the basing material off and start again!

Next came some detailing work to make it look less like featureless plastic - I had a couple of ideas for this (one of which involved prying the interior piece out of a number of Heroclix bases to make 'lids') but after a quick straw poll over on Instagram I went with this:


I think it's some sort of mesh tape used to plaster over - whatever it might be, I found it in a pile of rubbish at work so the price was right!


Yes, I did spend an entire evening carefully trimming pieces into shape with some fancy Champneys nail scissors..


A little bit of diamond tread patter plasticard from my stash adds a little detail to the remaining flat space, making an observation platform:


Apparently I then missed a few steps (and weeks) taking pictures, but I went on to paint it. Painting was a little bit fraught, as for the first part, I didn't feel like I was making much headway and started to feel a bit less motivated to finish it, coupled with dropping the piece, which due to its thin plastic nature shed paint like no ones business (which explains the level of battle damage in the finished piece I added to hide it!).
Lots and lots of metal bars to pick out do not make for a satisfying painting experience, although sponge weathering is always quite pleasing! Once the dirty wash went on though, it started coming together in my eyes:


After finishing the basing, I wasn't sure whether to call it done, or go and add some additional paintwork. I decided to leave it a day or two (which turned into a week, and involved me getting distracted and starting another project, which I then got distracted from and started a third piece, but hopefully they will have posts of their own soon enough) before coming back to it with fresh eyes. When I did, I went back and added some extra dirty wash to a few places where it had dried a little thinner than unwanted, and then went over the whole piece adding streaks and splashes of Typhus Corrosion and then called it done:


(You might notice that this post has been so long in the making that I've actually now inherited the cutting mat mentioned at the start of the post!)

Here's a close-up win a Fallout miniature for scale:


And a couple of close-ups of some of the Typhus Corrosion streaks:




Pow, challenge complete! It should work as a water or fuel tank site for anything from Fallout to Star Wars, or even for modern zombie games with a few fences around it maybe!

2017 Challenges:
  • Finish 5 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (0/5)
  • Finish 10 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (0/10)
  • Finish 15 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (0/15)
  • Finish a piece of terrain x1 
  • 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)

And as a little teaser, here's a deliberately obfuscated sneak peek image of the distraction project and the distraction distraction project mentioned earlier in their earliest stages:



Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Kickstarter came!

The Kickstarter I backed came!



Northern Mercenaries from Westfalia Miniatures! The main release was three groups of four miniatures, which I backed all of, as each group had a miniature or two that I just couldn't resist!


Oh, the Paladin that started off the whole shebang on the bottom left - she'll make a lovely northern lass for the ASOIAF project, maybe a rough and tumble Mormont Lady... The flagbearer should be god fun to paint too!


Left to right, top to bottom we have: Dynamic mega Cleric! Incredible weather-beaten future wildling princess! Cheesecake Wizard and Apprentice for Frostgrave!


The ridiculously dynamic thief aand wildling girl sheltering from the icy wind were the two miniatures that made this set an essential purchase...


I also added this sweet bard as an add-on. Normally I wouldn't be overly fussed about a bard (because I already have one for the oft-overlooked Classes Project) but just look at her! That pose! That hat!


There was also this cool little pack mule yeti, that I have very little practical use for but also can't wait to paint. As you can see, the resin miniatures are fairly flashy, but the majority of it comes away leaving no trace of it with the application of a fingernail, so the rest should clean up beautifully once I dig out the tools!

Alas, they didn't come before the new year, so they hit the Tally now:

1 vs 14 = -13

well, we had a good run. Three and a half weeks before we hit the red.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

2017 Challenges redux


So, having thought some more, I think my initial self challenge list for the year is going to look like this:

  • Finish 5 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (0/5)
  • Finish 10 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (0/10)
  • Finish 15 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new (0/15)
  • Finish a piece of terrain
  • 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)

It won't replace the Tally; I'll still be aiming to get more painted than I acquire! Think of the challenges as more of a fun way to focus my productivity, and hopefully clear out some of the half painted miniatures in the painting queue - although being totally honest, I have so many prepped miniatures that never got past undercoating that there's technically a queue before they even reach the queue!

My WIP tray in my hobby desk, which is generally what I refer to as 'the queue':


Three drawers of WIP miniatures, waiting for their chance to make their way into the tray in the desk:


Although truth be told, there are also some other drawers that have half-painted miniatures in too...

You will probably notice that some of the challenges seem to contradict one another, like finishing multiple miniatures before starting anything new compared to the majority of other challenges; this is fine, who needs the hoops you're jumping through to be perfectly aligned? The hardest bit will be balancing the two types of challenge - if I get distracted and start something new before finishing 15 old miniatures, the counter resets and I'll have to finish an additional 15 old miniatures to complete the challenge; I think I'm going to have to decide whether to power on and try and smash out 15 existing miniatures straight away, or do I forge on with Star Wars Imperial Assault whilst the excitement of Rogue One is fresh in my mind and try to crack a couple of challenges from the other end of the Spectrum?

Monday, 9 January 2017

2017 Challenges?

I feel like what this year is lacking is a series of hoops to jump through to try and encourage myself to make some hobby progress.

I'm thinking maybe something along the lines of:
  • Finish 5 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new
  • Finish 10 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new
  • Finish 15 miniatures from my WIP drawer before starting anything new
  • Finish a piece of terrain
  • Empty out my stripping pot
  • Paint something from the stripping pot
  • Prep all of the monkeys in the monkey box

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Monica!


Is gonna microwave your ass (to once again reference the Nextwave theme tune):


She was in the Avengers, you know.


This was quite a fun miniature to paint, even though I'm not normally a fan of painting white, and colour matching something existing rather than just making it up as I go along (the jacket, in this case) is also not one of my favourite things. I was tempted to try and paint some 'sparkles' on the 'whoosh' effect on the miniature, but thought better of it...


Finishing Monica means that I'm now past the half way point for completing the Nextwave squad (and it's only taken me five and a half years). Once I've finished Tabitha and Aaron, I'll see about getting some Doombot heads to splice onto generic suited thug bodies to make some mooks for them to punch out. Plus, another fringe benefit of Nextwave being such a mad series is that I could dig through my stashes of Heroclix, pull out multiple Wolverine models, replace all their heads with telephones, and call it good for a random Beyond Corporation weapon...


Tally:

1 vs 0 = +1

But what next? I think I might stick to my guns and try to clear off my painting table to make space to make some terrain, truth be told...

Sunday, 1 January 2017

2016 end of year post

Ah, the annual end of year retrospective post, wherein I analyse loosely how little my yearly output matched the aims that I had set out the previous year, and then waffle on a bit, glad that the Tally resets to zero and I'm finally back in the black (also known as 'the most wonderful time of the year')

Tally

56 vs 343 = -287

2016: -287 (56 painted)
2015: -96 (59 painted)
2014: 0 (80 painted)
2013: -416 (25 painted)
2012: -103 (68 painted)
2011: -173 (122 painted)


Not my worst year, and not bad considering the Tally mostly took a hit when I came into possession of a very large box of warhammer all the way back in March. I'd actually been doing pretty well up until that point (although in the interest of full disclosure that's because I was saving all of my hobby pennies for the annual outing to Salute, but that admission paints me in less of a 'saintly paragon of self control' light). Once again Zomtober was a fairly weighty contributing factor to my painted models total, as I got a bit carried away and went somewhat over the one model a week target for the month...

Whilst writing this, I've discovered a mathematical error in the Tally as it appeared in my posts thus far, and so have adjusted the finished total accordingly! In my defence, I'd only missed one acquistion (the freebie on the first issue of the relaunched White Dwarf, which it seems I added to the Tally but forgot to keep on the total the post after...)

Posts

40 posts this year - apparently I was chattiest in 2014 when I managed to make 69...

Aside from posting nothing at all in June (having moved house at the start of the month, all of my paints and miniatures were boxed up until I got my hobby basement sorted!) it seems that I've actually managed to post semi-regularly this year - this feels fairly surprising, as now my daughter is getting older I seem to have less hobby time (gone are the days when she was basically a beautiful sleeping potato, these days I tend to find miniatures in her doll house or she wants to sit on my lap and paint too).



Starting an Instagram account for my painting seems to have helped with engaging with other hobbyists too, as I can post WIP pictures and things rather than having to have something finished to show as tends to be the case with my posts on here.


Projects (according to last year's end of year post)

Star Wars

Only one miniature finished for this project (the Talz Copilot), but a few bits half done.

Every time I go to prep the rebel miniatures I have to make an opposing force for the stormtroopers that I painted way back when, I end up browsing for more to fill in the gaps in my collection to make useable forces, and can't justify the cost to buy from the states- does anyone have any they want to trade so that I can kickstart this project and actually get something painted?

The same goes for Zuckuss - my lack thereof seems to have become a bigger mental stumbling block than it should, really, and I've vowed to myself that I won't paint my nice shiny (and now long Out of Print) Knight Models Boba Fett until I've painted 4-Lom and Zuckuss, to make a complete set of the Bounty Hunters from Empire...


ASOIAF

Only the Wights and Others that I painted for Zomtober were actually finished and posted up on the blog, but there have also been a few bits converted or half-painted behind the scenes over the year, so the project endures...


Batman

A couple of bits finished for this, but as ever in a disorganised fashion as things struck my fancy - I even actually finished the Bat himself this month! Still haven't started any of the expensive official Knight Models miniatures that I have though...


Zombies

Nothing modern finished this year, just the fantasy zombies for Zomtober. It's one of those projects that I can always add something to though (and have plenty of things assembled or undercoated, ready to go whenever it takes my fancy)


on the back burner:
The Last of Us - still haven't made any real progress on this, other than occasionally taking out the bits I had put aside, sighing, and then putting them away again (although my Joel and Ellie miniatures were pulled out as backups for this year's Zomtober, but ended up getting shelved in favour of the direction I ended up going) - with The Last of Us 2 being announced though, maybe that will swing my hobby focus back this way...
The Thing -I dug out my selection of gribbly bits from my bits box, then got distracted googling other people's conversions for gaming The Thing in 28mm, and got a bit disheartened because what I found other people had done was really good...
Path to Glory - The same story as ever - the entire warband is sat undercoated in the tray of WIP miniatures in the top of my hobby desk. When White Dwarf relaunched and had a free Khorne Champion on the front, I speculatively rolled up a warband for him, but it didn't spur me to actually build or paint anything...
Mass Effect -Still waiting on finding some suitable helmets for the Cerberus Assault Trooper conversions. Also, my friend that currently has access to a 3D printer is changing jobs soon, so it might become even less likely to happen...
ROTPOTA- I really need to get on with painting some monkeys. I have some lovely monkeys, but most of them have fairly hefty integral bases, and when it comes to choosing how to spend my limited hobby time some relaxing painting or kitbashing with Perry bits tends to win out over grinding off lumps of metal with a rotary tool...

Whilst Fallout wasn't specifically a listed project in last year's post (merely being alluded to) the number of completed miniatures increased four-fold, although admittedly that's because it was only a single miniature strong before this year started! 

Once again, still no Sanity Claws for Christmas. Mostly because I only ever really think about it at this time of year when it's way too late to get one in time for Christmas, and I'm too broke to get one anyway!


Projects for 2017:




Star Wars - I saw Rogue One last week. I really want to convert some Commandos. Or kitbash some fancy black Stormtroopers using Stormtrooper bodies and helmets from specialist Clone Troopers. And maybe buy Star Wars Imperial Assault. Seriously, anyone with old WOTC minis to trade, get in touch.



ASOIAF - I'm going to finish this project before GRRM finishes the book series, so no rush.
Japes aside, I still enjoy converting and painting miniatures for this project (plus, I have quite the stash of bits for it) - maybe I'll even work on some long-plannede conversions, as hinted at by my choice of image...



Zombies - I'm aiming to do Zomtober again this year. Although technically it was AE:WWII that got me back into the hobby way back when after my teenage hiatus, it was the zombie project that was my first real project, and so a main project it will likely always stay. I've probably painted more zombies than I'll realistically need over the last few years, but there's always something else I can add, whether it's more zombies from the various stashes of miniatures in my hobby drawers, or more survivors, that can be used interchangably with the majority of my other 'mildly post-apocalyptic' projects like The Last of Us or Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

On the back burner:

Batman - I'll still pick at the occasional model, but without worrying about what. I think in part I'm moving this project out of the spotlight to trick myself into getting something done, as that seems to be the case when I focus on something else...
Fallout - it would be a main project if I had more minis that I could use for it. Who knows though, maybe I'll actually properly read the Salute guide this year and find out if Brother Vinni is in attendance before he's sold out of all of his Nuclear Sandlot miniatures... Then again, I've actually had a chance to sink a few hours into Fallout 4 over the festive period, and been inspired to convert some miniatures that I have squirreled away, so you never know...
The Last of Us - as previously mentioned, it's a solid maybe. If I end up placing that order with CP models though...
Path to Glory - I should probably drop this off of the list, given how long it's beenon here (and how many unposted WIP pictures I have of the conversions), but part of me still wants to believe that I'll be able to turn my focus onto these and knock them out fairly quickly. More likely, however, is that I'd probably pull out the tray they're in and get distracted by the basecoated 3rd edition Human Blood Bowl team that's sat next to them...
ROTPOTA - hangs on by a thread, because really all I need to do is paint some apes!

So, place your bets on what actually gets painted next year!

Sunday, 25 December 2016

...and to all a good night!

As alluded to over on Instagram, I'd been working on something thematic to post for Christmas:


Pulp Santa!


Recently rereleased by Artizan Designs, I actually got this miniature when it was originally given away as a freebie for placing an order (5 years ago or so, I think?)


He hasn't photographed particularly well here (especially the snow!) but I'm fairly happy with how he turned out!

He was based on a 30mm DS base rather than a 25mm round, as I figured if he ever got used on the tabletop it would most likely be as a thematic festively themed random event with my zombies rather than anything else...


This miniature was also my first attempt at modelling snow - I dug out a pack of snow scatter that I picked up on the cheap at Salute a few years back and wanting a 'drifts of snow' kind of effect, mixed it with PVA to make a paste that I lathered onto select areas with a toothpick. When it dried though, it didn't look fresh and wet enough, and I was inspired by a conversation in the comments on Instagram to try giving it a coat of GW Ardcoat, which gave it a much more pleasing finish! I may have to pick up some of the new technical paint that GW have released for modelling snow bases to try out in the New Year though...

Finishing Santa takes the Tally to:

56 vs 342 = -286

Almost catching up on last year's number of completed miniatures, if I recall correctly...

Anyway, with all the festivities over the coming week, I'm unlikely to be posting anything now until the annual year-in-review post, so I'll take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!