Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Short, sweet, and hey where's my wallet?

It's my birthday today, so last night I was banished to my sweet basement while my wife made me a cake, and I managed to finish a couple of miniatures that I'd been working on, the first of which I present to you here:

Ugh, for all that is good about my basement, there is a distinct lack of natural light that makes miniature photography horrible! Although admittedly it was half one in the morning when this picture was taken, so it's not like there was an abundance of natural light available... Imagine that the colours aren't so washed out though nevertheless!

As you may recall, this is the promo Halfling Thief from Westfalia Miniatures, purveyors of a line of absolutely fantastic miniatures that are a joy to paint, and hopefully soon providers of the bounty of the first Kickstarter project that I ever backed...

Level of detail on a miniature is a difficult thing to balance, and I think Westfalia Miniatures are one of the best at getting it right - I had great fun picking out details like his pinky ring, the brooch on his cloak and painting tiny griddle lines on the sausages hanging at his waist, but there weren't so many things that I got frustrated as can sometimes happen when you spend ages painting details on an overly busy miniature and don't feel like you're making any progress...

[Brief diversion with a shot of how I spent the last minutes of my twenties...]

And here's the back! The cloak isn't as washed out as this to the naked eye - and the patch actually looks purple!

This was my first time painting fire on a miniature, and after (despite?) watching several youtube videos with wildly conflicting advice I think it came out looking alright (and oddly seems to be the only part of the miniature that actually photographed well...)

Eh, it'sdaylight now, so here are some much better lit pictures:

Fun fact: in daylight, you notice that the tea based display board that you made a couple of years ago seems to have taken on a strange tinge, and looks like it might have started going mouldy (boo!) - it looks like I might need to strip it off completely and redo it...

Anyway, finishing this chap takes the Tally to:

22 vs 333 = -311

What, did I say that I finished a couple of miniatures at the start of the post? Well, you'll just have to watch this space...

Thursday, 18 August 2016

What chair is best?

Having managed to get my painting desk cleared, painting whilst kneeling at the desk wasn't cutting it, and the dining room chair that I dragged down to the basement, whilst admittedly a massive improvement on kneeling on the floor, wasn't quite the thing either...

So I spent some time having a browse online, thinking that what I really wanted was a high backed computer chair with armrests - ideally one that swivels, for ease of reaching things, and on wheels, so that when I get round to dragging a TV down and setting up the SNES, I can move from one area of the basement to another with the minimum of effort and fuss, and found one that looked ideal on the IKEA website.

So, with my annual bonus coming in from work soon, I thought I'd place a small order (maybe getting another small bookshelf so that I can display the box or so of rule books that still have as of yet to find a home)...

...But then walking home today, my wife pointed out this chair in the street with a sign in 15 seconds from our house, so I dragged it home and I think it's exactly what I was after:

A little banged up perhaps, but so far it has proven to not be stuffed with live rats (which was my initial worst case scenario concern) so we're golden!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Star Wars objectives WIP

For a while, I'd been thinking about making some objective markers or small pieces of scatter terrain for my Star Wars project, and so finding myself with a few minutes spare I had a dig through my supplies...

These round flat bases (from a box of Frostgrave soldiers iirc) I thought would be perfect for this - they're about the right size (being roughly the same size as the bases that I use on the rest of my Start Wars miniatures), but as they're flat, they won't look like the objective is on a little platform (looking more like a piece of scenery than a miniature per se)...

What objectives would the armed forces of the Star Wars universe be after? Probably some damaged droids containing secret plans or some such...

I also had 75% of a sand trooper knocking around:

(I think he was a casualty of my search for a rifle for my scout trooper sniper, and his head later went on to decorate Chewbacca's base)

I'd originally planned to scavenge his backpack to spice up a miniature, but playing around with it and one of the bases I decided to use it for this:

Maybe it's the body of a trooper on a top secret mission carrying dastardly secret Imperial plans, maybe you're just scavenging the body for supplies, either way, it's a stormtrooper's butt as an objective and that makes me laugh because I am a mature adult...

I thought four was probably a good number of objectives to aim for, and so had another dig and found another droid:

Then, out came the Instant Mould - you didn't think I was going to cut these long out of print bendies up did you?

(Side note- I currently have serious concerns that I might have burned my thumbprint off incautiously transporting a ramekin of boiling water)

They might look like chewed and squashed jelly tots at this point, but hopefully they're actually a useable mould...

It turns out my milliput isn't the freshest, so there are no pictures of the next step, as it was somewhat mucky...

And then the morning after:

3P0 might be useable with a bit of carefully applied battle damage, but the other two certainly aren't (although admittedly R2 came out better than this, but this picture is taken after me going 'hmm they still look soft I wonder oh dear' as I squished it) so back into the moulds they go for another try!

Some time after this last picture was taken, C3P0's head seems to have been interfered with (potentially by someone with tiny hands, but equally likely it could have been me) so this particular cast will need even more battle damage if I'm going to use it!

The next batch came out looking like this:

R2 might be useable with a lot of battle damage and targeted burying in sand, whereas the R5 has disintegrated and C3P0 looks like something from the Eva graveyard:

So I think it might be back to the drawing board for these in this form until inspiration strikes again - maybe only one destroyed droid, and acouple of differnet objectives - maybe a crate of credits, or some bacta, if I can think of a way to make them less visually boring than just a box!

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Star Wars thugs WIP

So, this is what the blurry out of focus project alluded to in a previous post is:

Having vague intentions to at some point run a Star Wars RPG, a few months back I read through every back issue of Star Wars Gamer magazine, and it would seem that something approaching 93% of every Star Wars D20 adventure features an encounter with around four human thugs - equipped with this knowledge, I picked up a handful of Mark Copplestone sculpted scavenger types from em4 at Salute with the intention of 'Star Warsifying' them - some were fine straight off, whereas with others, all it took was a minor alteration like removing the gun magazine to make it look more blaster like:

(Sadly in my enthusiasm I didn't take a before picture!)

The mini that I bought to use as a leader type came slightly miscast, with a stubby little blob for a left hand, so it was conversion time! 

His gun was also too clearly modern, so that had to go too (after all, there's a fine tradition of hands getting lopped off left right and centre in the Star Wars universe!) and a suitable donor was located after having a shuffle through a selection of the prepaints (fun fact - most of my original choices for donors were then discounted due to having alien anatomy, like only having three fingers, when I wanted the whole hand for ease of pinning and hopefully not looking too differently scaled to whatever hand I ended up using to replace his left...)

[insert your own 'totally armless' joke here]

And lo, one donated fun and a clenched fist from a Perry sprue later we have a rejuvenated leader type, ready to spring an ill-fated and ultimately doomed ambush on a party of PCs before being recycled to the next encounter:

And here's the complete group ready for undercoat:

Well, it turns out that my can of flat black was pretty much dead, so here they are less than half undercoated waiting for an application of brush primer!

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Status update: minor progress...

I didn't think it was actually possible, but I've managed to actually get my desk cleared off and get some hobby time in...

Only a brief snatch here and there (thanks to the wonders of technology that means I can watch my baby sleep on the iPad whilst cleaning and basing miniatures in the basement) , but progress is progress! I'm loving being able to just leave things out to pick up whenever I want, rather than having to pack everything away. 
I haven't got a chair down there yet (I dream of getting a nice high backed office chair, but we'll see what the budget says next time we order from IKEA), so I'm currently kneeling on the floor when I work, or standing while my daughter plays with the toys in the basement...

Can you tell what it is yet?