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?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Miniature storage solutions

Nothing painted since my last post, sadly - my painting desk is still covered in half-unpacked stuff, and with my wife working most hours that I'm not currently it's not left much time for hobby stuff...

I have, however, made some strides in sorting out my storage for painted miniatures - the sweet basement in our new place came with some built in shelves that I thought would be ideal for storing painted miniatures - my original idea was to magnetise the bases of all my miniatures (cue ordering some tiny magnets from Hong Kngnthat too an age to arrive) and use metal trays, so that whenever I needed miniatures for a game I could just grab the relevant tray and be ready to go, but then I thought about the possibility of getting some stackable boxes to really maximise the space, and soon found myself grabbing some Really Useful Boxes:

Three for a tenner for the 4L model from our local Rymans, which looked it would fit most miniatures quite comfortably (pikes notwithstanding).

So, I started digging out my painted zombies and survivors to see how many miniatures I could fit into each box, and barring the occasional lost limb that a quick dab of superglue was able to fix, found only one casualty of the move:

He bent back into shape carefully, with only minor chipping (and as he's a zombie, a little splash of blood is probably the easiest way to cover it up!)

And so, that's how many zombies you can fit into a Really Useful Box!

And lo, maximum space was used! Handily, I think I should be able to adjust the position of the shelves, as they look like they're on adjustable metal bits, so I should be able to raise the shelf they're currently on so that I can fit three stacked boxes on the shelf below.

A day has passed since I wrote most of this post, and so in the meantime I've had a rearrange of some shelves and bought some more boxes:

Mmm, efficient. Well, more efficient than the previous shelving:

which was a frankensteined monster of several drawer units spliced together, with a mix of finished, half finished, and bare metal miniatures in it. Once everything else is sorted, it's just going to be pure supplies...

Now comes the fun but - digging through my miniatures:

(Currently quite a mish mash, I'll sort them more when I get some more boxes!)

Back to the Really Useful Boxes though, I'll probably still look into magnetising the miniature bases and the bottom of the boxes, for ease of transport - I had a nose in a few shops around town after work, but couldn't seem to find any sort of magnetic tape or sheet - has anyone had any success with something like this?

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Moving right along...

I've been quiet for a while, but I'm still here! Just not getting any painting done at the moment, what with my new job and moving house!

We've moved 0.2 miles down the road, to a little house of our own, with one crucial feature - a sweet basement for me to turn into a gaming room!

Initially it looked like this:

And then in the midst of rearranging it looked like this:

But, having snuck back out all the things that my wife suggested we store in the basement and building some bookcases:

It looks like this:

(Painting desk starting to be visible amidst the piles of half-sorted oddments!)

Not done yet, but well on the way.

Several of my favourite features include handing ledges on the underside of the stairs on the way down, giving somewhere to display a number of nerdy collectables:

Built in shelving, that will hopefully one day be used to store and display trays of painted miniatures, for easy access whilst gaming:

And a sweet alcove for board games:

(Although I've since stripped out the family games to go live in the dining room, as I found another box of my games after taking this picture...)

Another benefit of moving house and buying lots of furniture (we own a dining table now, like real adults) is that I now have a metric ton of interestingly shaped bits of polystyrene and enough corrugated card to make several tiny model shanty towns:

As I unpack some more things, I'll probably have some more things to offer up for trade or sale, which I'll add to the previously used page to give first refusal to the good people of the circles of the internet that I frequent before I toss them to eBay...

Once I've finished the last few bits of unpacking down there, I'll need to sort out getting a gaming table. There were a couple of desks next to a skip over the road at the weekend (where one of the local universities seems to be clearing out one of their facilities) that I considered dragging home to see if I could lash them together to make the base of a table, but it had rained, and I'm probably going to need a table that can be folded own rather than several hefty chunks of pine, so I passed... Every YouTube video on the subject seems to involve carpentry to build a table from scratch - any advice, oh lovely people reading this?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

May the power of Pelor or some other monotheistic belief system that resolves around an advanced form of solar worship compel you!

This miniature was I think originally produced by Spyglass as a limited edition freebie for a fantasy book club. A number of them made their way to discount seconds shop The Works, and a nice chap on the Lead Adventure Forum was nice enough to pick one up for me (as my local branch didn't get any, boo). So, I undercoated it, painted the flesh (using a Foundry triad) and then didn't touch it again for a few years.

Digging through my project box for a few things to paint before getting sorted and actually working on project related miniatures (I know, I know, the same old story), I came across her and thought she'd be a nice mini to get finished.

I think my original plan for her was to have her in gleaming silver armour, but decided instead she might look nice in gold (which would help her stand out amongst every other silver armoured miniature I own), and would likely look a lot better doing it now with the paints I have than if I'd have tried it when I first got the miniature and only had a pot of Shining Gold to my name! Extrapolating from this, I imagined her as some sort of Paladin for a sun god, her unusual (compared to the rest of my Cadian Flesh toned miniatures) complexion suggested maybe she's far from home, spreading the word of her God and taking its light into the darkened places of the world. This line of thinking also influenced the colour of her cloak, as I thought it might be thematically appropriate for a paladin serving a sun god to have a cloak the colour of a clear sky... 

The cloak was base coated Fenris grey, then layered up from Caledor Sky to Ice blue and out the other side with the addition of increasing amount of white...

(Looking at this picture, I've just seen a splash of blue on the rock, which I'll fix with an extreme Bleached Bone edge highlight before posting!)

That's as far as the considered symbolism goes though - for the colour of her hair and the gem on her shield, I just asked my wife to choose! I originally highlighted the hair much lighter, but it just looked... wrong, so I glazed it with the original colour to knock it back a bit. 

I even tried the Kev Dallimore tip of painting the bottom lip a shade of red on female miniatures, which in my mind I imagined would look a bit harlot-ish, but in reality looks quite nice!

Finishing this pious elf maiden takes the Tally to:

21 vs 333 = -312
(I sold 37 orks, hence the reduced total on the acquired side of the equation!)

This is probably the last miniature I'll paint and post before moving house in a fortnight, as everything will be getting packed up (one of these days) - this also includes everything on offer in my previous Trade Post, so if you want anything get in quick before they get packed up!