Sunday, 13 October 2019

Zomtober week 2: this is the news...

Ooh, writing that title just makes me want to go and rewatch The Day Today!

So, week 2 and another post on schedule! Work has been a bit much this week, so I wasn’t sure if I’d have a post ready in time, but what else are Saturday nights in October for if not frantically trying to finish and photograph miniatures? So I present to you the Channel 7 news crew:

These two are from the Frothers Zombie sculpting competition winners set from about a decade ago, so I’ve procrastinated something fierce on getting them done!

I’m having a bit of an off year on painting faces currently, a trend which seems to have continued here. My glasses prescription changed, and I’m painting without my proper light (so that I can hang out near my wife), which might have something to do with it...

As ever, I turned to my wife to select a hair colour, and she chose a silver purple (as one does). She also suggested mixing in some silver paint to give it a slight sheen, but that didn’t really do a lot unfortunately...

In the set of zombie rules that I’ve part-written, I included some rules for these figures - they esssentially act as loot tokens, but if you get into combat they can be lost (or if you’re of a more callous mindset you might consider them ablative armour...)

And now a profile shot, to show off some shaky freehand (although not the only bit on show - as well as the presenters microphone, there’s also a shaky watch face on her watch!).

Another week, another shot in the arm to the Tally:

13 vs 27 = -14

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Zomtober 2019: tiny wife 2: electric boogaloo

Ah October, the month where I reappear for regular blogposts due to the motivational power of a community project - there’s nothing quite like a public declaration of promised productivity to get me working until the early hours of the morning if need be! Plus, at this point in the year I tend to look at my total completed miniatures year to date, and then look at the total of miniatures I aimed to complete for the year, and the discrepancy between those numbers, and then get carried away trying to do something grand for Zomtober (like painting dozens of Wights or a zombie herd).

This year though, I’ll shoot for at least one a week, and anything else is a bonus.

So, week one 2019, an updated version of my wife in miniature:

Oof, try as I might I just couldn’t get a decent picture of her...

A post-apocalyptic survivor from Crooked Dice, repurposed as a zombie survivor (as I especially loved her trash can lid shield). I painted her extra grubby and weathered, as I figure if hordes of flesh eating monsters start roaming the streets you’re going to find yourself squeezing through some crumbling buildings to escape, and if anything it just means maybe I’ve just been inspired to make up rules for a box of washing powder as an objective or loot...

She’s also painted with a much paler skin tone than my usual, in part due to my wife being paler than the median tone of my miniatures, but also because a while back I bought a selection of paler flesh tones that I haven’t had a chance to use yet...

Finishing her brings the Tally to:

11 vs 27 = -16

See you all in a week!

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Are you still there?

Ah, Spindle Drones, in my head they're something of a mashup between the turrets from Portal and a sinister, unknowable alien intelligence. I've not read the novel yet, so I can but hope that they turn out to be dorky and adorable pets...

This paintjob was another classic case of millions of layers that end up looking like far less effort has been put in, but that mostly comes down to failed experimentation. My initial concept for their colour scheme was to have the legs look non-metallic (to look more alien, less robot) while their 'carapace' would look metallic, but with an unusual sheen. I'd originally planned on just giving the metallic coat a wash, but then Contrast paints came out so I thought I'd give them a try. I toddled off to my local GW and grabbed a pot of Aethermatic Blue. I applied a coat of the Contrast paint over a bright silver base, and found the effect a little timid, so ended up going way overboard on the next pass, leading to having to take multiple passes trying to glaze it back to closer to what I originally had in mind. Obviously, this didn't go to plan, so I had to keep going back re-applying the lining separating the plates, then glazing it with Contrast again... Eventually, it came to a point where I decided enough was enough, and I moved onto picking out the details.

For the central eye I went with classic evil robot red (I imagine them patrolling with their eye a purple colour until they detect a foe, when it turns red, maybe a tiny alarm goes off), whereas for the cabling and lights of their leg joints I decided that the key colour of the alien nature of the fortress would be Privateer Press' Arcane Blue, to reflect the ghostly blue seen on some of the tiles.

Speaking of the tiles, I forgot to mention the basing in my previous post! They're mostly based to match the majority of my existing miniatures, but with the addition of randomly arrayed tessellating tiles meticulously cut out from plasticard:

that then got painted with Aethermatic Blue Contrast paint and Arcane blue, in order to tie them to the Spindle Drones and the aforementioned blue tiles that I may be misremembering as appearing on some of the tiles.

Completing these brings the Tally to:

10 vs 27 = -17

Blackstone Fortress completion stats:

Explorers: 0/9
Enemies: 8/35

What's next you ask? Well, you know what time of year it is...

Monday, 30 September 2019

Do you hear... sniffing?

So I've actually managed to finish painting multiple miniatures, in a shocking twist of events!

I quite like these Ur-ghul miniatures, even though the poses are a little chorus line-esque.

They were painted using a mix of the GW and Midwinter minis youtube tutorials, and have come up looking rather good, especially when you consider that the majority of the paintjob is repeated drybrushes! I think these might also be the first miniatures that I've painted from a grey undercoat rather than my usual black. I'm glad that I took the time to go and outline some of the muscles, a step that I was originally going to skip, as it really makes them look a lot better - plus the liver spots are a nice little touch!

Completing these brings the Tally to:

6 vs 27 = -21

Hopefully I can press on and complete some more of the BSF miniatures to cross off that section of this year's Challenge - if inspiration wanes, I've got the tie-in novel ready to shepherd my attention span back this way!

Blackstone Fortress completion stats:

Explorers: 0/9
Enemies: 4/35

Saturday, 28 September 2019

So yeah, when I said I'd returned...

...that might have been a little premature.

Son came, and all productivity went out of the window.

(this is the day he was born, he's bigger now)

One of his middle names is Cassian (at my wife's suggestion, to my surprise), so we have an action figure ready for when he's older:

As alluded to in my previous post, I'd been trying to convert some additional Traitor Guard to make the squads in Blackstone Fortress up to ten man units, but after some fun kitbashing I just couldn't seem to get the heads to a point I was happy with them...

I struggled to find any donor heads that I liked, so tried to cast some, but results were... mixed. I think maybe since I had already built the miniatures it was a little tricky to make an easily useable mould...

Enthusiasm faltered somewhat after this. If anyone has any ideas for suitable heads (or spare heads from the BSF traitor guard left over from a conversion) let me know so I can rescue this project from limbo...

After this, I had a hankering for some 40k (a friend of mine had recently rekindled his own enthusiasm for 40k, and I'm easily swept along by enthusiasm), and dug out my abandoned paused Chaos Space Marine project. I mulled over what to do with them, and had a weird epiphany where suddenly the Black Legion made sense to me. Previously, they'd seemed like the Chaotic Ultramarines, the vanilla option, but as I was sifting through my bits box thinking what colour scheme would work for an army with Noise Marines, Plague Marines and some weird Dark Mechanicus stuff, something clicked in my head and I realized that the Black Legion are the best of all worlds - slap a snazzy black and gold paint job on any chaos mini and you've got a great looking veteran of the Long War ready to roll poorly shooting at less pointy Space Marines.

I built and undercoated a small force, but apparently I only managed to take a single picture of a chap that I converted to be wielding a melta gun before my attention wandered again:

(I also added a couple of bits to the Tally buying some Plague Marines, mostly because it was one of these minis that I saw a very nice Black Legion paintjob on that started the ball rolling in my mind...)

Taking a break from miniatures (because why focus on one hobby when you can spread yourself over three or four - see also videogames, binge-watching Parks and Rec with my wife as she's on Maternity Leave) I built some Gunpla:

Build Burning Gundam, beautiful and delightfully poseable, and also a valuable learning experience - don't use Tamiya panel liner accent colour like it's an ink wash, as it will eat through plastic:

(they were fixed with judicious application of glue, then sanding it back down and painting them to look like they had never been carelessly ruined).

Also - Wing Gundam Fenice, which is built, but still needs going back over to fix any seam lines, then painting and posing:

It's been a couple of months since reaching this point though...

Then, inspiration struck for a long back-burnered project:

Had a hankering to re-watch the film while my wife was out at a hen do, and set to digging out a selection of gribbly bits (and then watching the 2011 prequel, which honestly I enjoyed)

Ah, horrific aberrations in miniature form presented without comment. Inspiration burned fiercely and I finished building half a dozen or so miniatures, but ground to a halt somewhat when I couldn't find a suitably sized dog head that I liked. To see someone that actually finished their Thing project (and also that is good), click here for inspiration. If I make one more man-sized Thing, two more Spawn sized Things, and one boss sized Thing that should be enough to knock up some rules...

Then, running into a friend of mine, the conversation ran over a selection of RPG topics, touching on the Iron Kingdoms RPG, and I was reminded of how good the fluff is for Warmachine, with a complex, mulit-layered plot that actually advances. I had every MK1 book, and decided to go back and get caught up with everything I'd missed in the last decade (seriously, if you've never read any Warmachine lore, give it a go - I think they set up a company to generate steampunk war fiction and the wargame was just a happy accident that spun out of it). As these things tend to, this gave me a hankering to paint some miniatures. Handily, I already had a selection of miniatures in the Lead Mountain, and thus was able to dig out some bits and bobs without spending any money.

Well, that was the plan anyway.

What can I say, I was minding my own business trawling eBay and I'm a sucker for a bargain. Also for classic sculpts like this Haley. 
Side note: reading old issues of No Quarter, Kev White sculpted way more Warmachine and Hordes miniatures than I had previously realised. 
So yeah, Haley (because I love her in the lore. Not because she's an epic time controlling protagonist, but because she spends an amount of time going 'oh bugger it' which amuses me) and some Stormsmiths, because I like their triangulate ability, it appeals to the maths side of me.

Also, since I got Haley, I got her character Jack Thorn too so she'd have a friend. And a Squire, because I've wanted a little robot battery for a while.

So into the stripping pot they go:

(with a few chums)

Not everything I wanted to strip would fit in the pot though... There's a lunchbox full of leftovers I've got my eye on though as soon as I can slip it past my wife...

While we're on the subject of hits to the Tally, I found myself with an hour to kill between visits at work (darn trains) so nipped into a games shop that I'd never been into, and as you should always support local businesses that you enjoy or else they will disappear treated myself to some Thri-Keen from the Nolzur's miniatures line:

Probably not something I'd ever use, but I've got a soft spot for those wacky bug men. Anyway, there were no beholders.

So, four months of purchases brings the Tally to:

2 vs 27 = -25

Honestly, could have been way worse. 
I looked over the 2019 Challenge just in case I'd accidentally knocked something off, but no such luck. If I finish a miniature every other day until the end of the year, I should be able to cross off at least one thing...

While it may seem that I've mostly been building and accruing miniatures, some painting has occurred, it's just that I've generally got someone with me:

So, expect to see some finished miniatures in the near future...

(check out those liver spots - thanks to the Midwinter Minis painting videos for inspiring that)

Saturday, 4 May 2019

May the Fourth, Revenge of the Absent blogger

So, it's been quite a while since my last post - with the impending birth of second child, I've not had much time for painting little men, but didn't want to miss out on the tradition of a Star Wars post for May the Fourth so managed to knock out this on a few tea breaks at work:

A psionic from Osprey Games' Rogue  Stars, that with the right paint job and the addition of a length of coloured acrylic rod makes a nice gender swapped Luke Skywalker type.

Apologies for the awful lighting, it's the night before and so I'm crouched over the Dining Room table trying to get something half decent.

Apologies for the awful painting, it's been a few months! As you can see in the next picture, there was a little mould line (but one of the annoying ones, an indent rather than flash) across her face that it turned out I hadn't fixed at all when prepping the miniature, which I'd hoped I'd be able to disguise with paint, but in the end had to settle for painting as a rad scar:

Originally I'd planed to paint her the same as Tatooine Luke, but as I was working on her ended up inverting the scheme of the trousers and top and quite liked it, so left it as it was!

Also pictured, an objective marker that is essentially a Stomrtrooper's bum:

Made yonks ago out of scrap parts from a WoTC bendy miniature, it can represent some intel that the Rebellion need to acquire, or maybe explosives that they need to capture in order to sabotage some Imperial project...

Whilst I may not have been getting much painting done these last few months, that doesn't mean I haven't added anything to the Lead Mountain:

Four Nurgle terminators for £7.99 was too hard to resist...

As was a Rhino! Admittedly, it's missing the turret hatches, but I'm sure that I've got at least one (and parts to kitbash another) in my bits box...

Finally got hold of a Jokaero for the Ordo Xenos warband I've had kicking around my head for a little while now...

Picked up some Poison Wind Globadiers from a friend of a friend, so now I have enough to make a legal unit of them (well, legal for a game that is no longer current), as well as a dinky Night Goblin because look at his little face.

A friend mentioned that he had some old Warhammer and D&D miniatures back in the day, and after having a clearout gifted me this little treat, an old Warhammer Fighter!

I wasn't able to make it to Salute this year for the first time in a while, as baby could potentially have come (spoilers: he didn't, and is nine days late as I sit typing this the night before it publishes), but luckily Adam (lostinthewoods79 on Instagram, look him up, he's an embarrassingly good painter) was able to grab me the show mini and this promo of some sort of space necromance that looks like it would be ideal for Starfinder.

I finally managed to pick up some of these pipe straws from Flying Tiger, which will be adorning some Necromunda / 40k terrain at some point in the future...

Jimchenko (previously lauded buddy) gifted me this old Necromunda box, filled with all sorts of lovely plastic bulkeads! Now, I need to get hold of some mould-making silicon so that I can make duplicates to fancy up some boxes...

Also, this beautiful GM Canon kit that was a Christmas present from my wife came, and was then immediately stored until the day when I will have bountiful hobby time again!

The Mantic Hellboy game that I backed on Kickstarter came too! Frustratingly, it was delayed, and so came a week before baby's due date, so I haven't been able to dig into it as much as I'd like! Just look at this though:

Very much looking forward to getting some paint on these!

So, factoring in everything, that brings the 2019 Tally to:

2 vs 12 = -10

Not honestly as bad as I thought it would be when I started going back through my photos to see what I'd acquired since the start of the year! And also, it would be a very different story if I counted the board game pieces in the Hellboy game...

Whilst I haven't gotten much painting done so far this year, that doesn't mean that there has been no hobby:

My Blackstone Fortress miniatures are now all ready for undercoating. Well, they would be if it weren't for the fact that I was determined to make the 7 man renegade guard squads into proper 10 man squads so that I can use them outside of BSF too:

Going has been slow though, and I'm still not sure what to do for their heads...