Tuesday, 30 December 2014

He'll stab you in the spleen and then suck out your brains...

After several months of cutting (literally, not figuratively, as it was quite a nice head that I'd like to use somewhere else that was awkwardly placed in a high collar and so required careful shallow cuts from several angles), I finally managed to remove the head from the Hasslefree figure for this conversion:

Essentially, he's Markus, a Mark Evans sculpt from Hasslefree, with a minion from Crooked Dice head and the sword from a GW Boromir figure. What would drive a man such as myself to combine such an odd assortment of parts you might ask? This:

A couple of Salutes back, I saw this limited edition Gale Force 9 Dungeons & Dragons box set of an Illithid Raiding Party, and was quite taken with the idea of a swashbuckling scoundrel Illithid. Not wanting to spend £40 to get a single figure though, bathe idea was abandoned to sit in my hindbrain and wait for the right alignment of parts to show themselves...

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Four more years! 2014 in review...

Ah, the annual year in review post, wherein your intrepid author aims to objectively review his project progress for the year without waffle or navel-gazing, which inevitably devolves into a list of things that I have still not completed and the things that distracted me from them!

I made 68 posts last year, making it my most prolific to date. Despite my claims last year that I'd try and post more wip posts rather than just painted miniatures, this didn't always happen (and in fact there are still wip projects waiting to be posted from the year before!) - an exception being the post before this one, but in the interest of full disclosure I'd have to admit that he only got posted because I was reminded of the fact that I was going to be posting more wip pics whilst working on a draft of this post!

I also managed to make at least one post a month, although the traditional drought towards the end of the year was still present - I just don't seem to get stuff done in the Autumn and Winter! This year admittedly though it was down to a number of factors, including some time spent playing Mass Effect, a downer period of wanting to get a new job, and preparation for the impending arrival of my daughter next year, which will also mean that I'll have less hobby time next year! Well, we all know I was never going to be an army painter anyway...


80 vs 80 = 0

I squeaked it back into the black (technically) at the eleventh hour, which is especially impressive considering the monumental size of the negative the year before!

2014: 0 (80 painted)
2013: -416 (25 painted)
2012: -103 (68 painted)
2011: -173 (122 painted)

Last year's 'projects for next year':

Path to glory

Another year, and the warband is still sat undercoated in a box waiting for a tickle with the paintbrush. Admittedly a little paint has been daubed on some of the miniatures, but not enough to warrant a post about the affair. Whilst I did in fact get round to producing a finalised updated set of rules for the modern wargamer who fancied a spot of Chaos warband based skirmish wargaming, I still have as of yet to finish the Chaos Wastes themed scenery that has likewise been sat half-finished for over a year now... It's a bit of an odd fish this one, as it's a project that I'm enthused about, I have everything I need for it, and it's not exactly an unreasonable amount of miniatures to paint before calling it done, but it just seems whenever I go to put some time into it something else always seems more appealing... I'm not going to relegate this project to the back burner just yet, as it's still eminently achieve able, but admittedly that's what I said this time last year... 


I emptied the Heroclix figures out of my stripping pot, found that they were generally still as caked in paint as the year I'd put them in there, and then packed them away in a baggie. Onto the back burner for this project, for now at least...


I acquired some more for the collection, and painted Gotrek and Felix, but beyond  cleaning up and undercoating a couple if models no other progress has been made...
It's a bit like the Path to Glory project in a way, in that I've pretty much for everything I need, but whenever I sit down to paint something there's always something else that just piques my interest a little bit more...

Star Wars 

(This picture is from my wedding day)

The one project that looked like I was actually focusing on a single thing for once, after playing some Star Wars Battlefront with my godson back in August and joining the 6 Month Mountain Reduction Project, I beavered away and managed to knock out a few painted figures! All I need to do now is paint up an equivalent amount of Rebel Troopers and (gasp) I could even use them to play some sort of game!

A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones):

Waaaay back in February, I painted the House Stark troops that I'd previously converted. Other than that, I've converted a couple of Lannister troops, worked on my in armoured Jaime conversion (the head I have for it is just a smudge too big I think, curse you slender figures!), and done some work on the flesh times of my Ned conversion, but nothing else. The Christmas gift of some new Perry sprues should spur me into some more conversions though (and admittedly, the only reason I didn't start doing some on Christmas Day was that my superglue had dried out!)

Dungeons and Dragons

It seems ever more unlikely with the passage of time that my 4e game will take off (I mean, 5th edition is out now, it's been that long). That doesn't stop me from painting generic fantasy miniatures though, and as I'm currently playing in a Pathfinder campaign I may end up painting a few miniatures for that too, and then it's really just the same project with the serial numbers filed off and a snazzy new title...

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I bought the hench gorilla I was after from Bushido the game, and put him in the tub of miniatures that I have for this project. I even picked up the Heroclix figures I was after for a couple of conversions (I wanted some 28mm discarded riot gear for apes to brandish), but having still not gotten around to seeing the film, bar a single slightly too small gorilla painted back in April my attention still hasn't swung around to painting up gangs of apes (and potentially the whacking great integral bases that need filing off of a number of the miniatures might have something to do with it too...)


The backburner projects: Halo, Three Kingdoms, Doctor Who, Blood Bowl, and all the rest - not a lot doing. I painted up a couple of Silence miniatures, and the occasional oddment that caught my eye, as is my way.

I did however finish the display board that I was making, that I now use in most (if not all) of the pictures that I post, so that's a victory of sorts I guess?

Next years projects:
(Yes, this will be the basis of next year's retrospective post)


As mentioned, I've just had some new figures for this project, so will hopefully be able to take the two starter forces up to skirmish level (including painting my Ned conversion and finishing off my Jaime). This project has always suffered from being a bit too grand in scope, as I have ideas for all sorts of warbands, but if I can get a couple done then I can add a figure or two here and there gradually as time goes on... 

Since starting the draft of this post, I've built a couple of House Stark archers and bought a copy of the World of Ice & Fire book, so you may be seeing something from this project sooner than you'd expect!

The Last of Us

If I let myself buy some bits from Miniature Mojo (assuming that the bits that I want are back available on their webstore) then with the bits I already have squirrelled away and a little green stuff this project could be a goer, as it only needs about half a dozen conversions and it's ready to go! We've heard that before though, so we shall see...

The Thing

As my beloved put some 'not The Thing' survivor miniatures from Studio Miniatures in my stocking this Christmas, and I have a whole host of chaos spawn bits for making grubby fleshy monstrosities in my bits box, this is another small scale easily achieveable project that I will probably get distracted from...

Star Wars

As previously mentioned, basing and painting a squad of rebels is all I'd need to do to have two skirmish size forces, then it would just be a case of painting the occasional figure that caught my fancy (like the remaining bounty hunters, for example - if anyone has a spare Zuckuss figure lying around to complete my set I'd be eternally grateful...)

Path To Glory

Same as last year, I just need to finish painting the warband that's been under coated for gods knows how long... And then finish the scenery that is already almost done...

Mass Effect

Way back when (four years or so back) I started playing the original Mass Effect. Alas, my xbox wiped my save, and it was four years before I was ready to give it a second chance, and even then that is mostly because a friend of mine played through the games around the time of the birth of his son, and with the imminent arrival of my daughter I thought that seemed like as good a reason as any to give it another go! Being a Bioware game (oh, Knights of the Old Republic, how I loved you), it's a compelling sci if tale that really would translate quite well to something miniatures based, whether that be a tabletop wargame or perhaps the D20 RPG that you can find floating sound on the internet... Alas, I don't have any miniatures already in the lead mountain that can be pressed into service, but if I can get my hands on a copy of Sedition Wars and some Infinity and Mantic miniatures I should be able to come up with something! The main issue I've had so far is that all of the aliens look so very... alien, which makes it hard to proxy humanoid scifi miniatures for them! And don't get me started on the difficulty of finding a suitable head donor for a Batarian...

On the back burner:
ROTPOTA - going onto the backburner for now, because that's where it's most likely to get worked on when it distracts me from a main project! Although admittedly, between finishing the draft of this post and it actually hitting the internet, I've since re-watched the first (modern) film, so we'll see if that affects my future decisions on what to paint!
Nerdmarines - 3 minis to paint, but 2 are vehicles. Might get some love between larger projects, but we'll see...
Everything else - if you've read this blog more than once, you'll know my hobby preferences are like that of a magpie, so the occasional Doctor Who miniature (or maybe the Deadpool mini I got for Christmas) will probably sneak in here and there! 

Just what are you lot up to?

As I generally post and view blogs from my smartphone via various apps, I don't often actually sign into blogger and see my traffic stats, traffic sources and so on. Finding myself sat on a rail replacement bus, today I thought I'd have a nose and see if any interesting search terms had lead people to my corner of the internet, and discovered this:

Femtrooper porn? I'm sorry that this wasn't what you were looking for...

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Dem bones back in black...

Three posts in one night? What fresh madness is this?

An old skeletal champion type (who I think is a Ral Partha miniature that I picked up at a past Salute, but I could be wrong) got a quick and dirty paint job (including some experimentation with mixing washes on the mini, which was fun to try) and trying out the new rust Technical paint from GW, to take the Tally back into the black:

80 vs 80 = 0

That's technically in the black, right?

Just who is that brave and or stupid masked vigilante?

Determined to finish the year with the tally in the black, I've stormed ahead and finished another miniature:

Hasslefree's Aaron, inspired by a certain Kick Ass comic and film character. He was pretty much done before today, but I'd been putting off finishing him up by adding the pattern on the wetsuit as my freehand skills are a little lacking:

Perserverence and lots of holding my breath whilst carefully adding tiny splashes of paint and constantly referring to reference pictures later and he's done! 

The reference material was a bit of a pain though, as trying to get different angles on the suit proved somewhat difficult, as the design seemed to vary slightly between the different images that I'd gathered...

Ah well, finished is finished, which brings the Tally to:

79 vs 80 = -1

So close, so very close!

I love mushroom men, this I know...

I love Myconids, as I think I may have alluded to in previous blog posts. I mean, this is the shirt that my wife got me for Christmas that I wore today whilst painting these miniatures:

As the Tally getting back into the black isn't unreachably far away, I thought it would be nice to finish off the dozen mushroomy fellas that I had half painted on the TV unit for a little while. Well, I say a little while, I literally had to dust them off with a large soft brush before I could continue painting them...

My encounter group of myconids is broken into three groups of four models each:

The first group is Hasslefree's Agarix miniatures, lovely little sculpts that will do for generic Myconid types. I would say warriors, but really they're peaceful mushroom farmers who are minding their own business until adventuring parties come trampling through their domains and start attacking them because they're different looking...

The next group are from Ral Partha, and are 25mm rather than 28mm. I don't mind this though, variety is the spice of life after all eh? I converted one to be a wizard or cleric type (or a Rotpriest, if we're running these in 4e) with the addition of a mushroom staff, and added a mushroom piece from an old Games Workshop Night Goblin sprue to another with an outstretched arm to make a farmer type - is he sheltering then with his arm, or perhaps summoning them? Depends on the needs of the encounter! And yes, I am a big nerd, and colour coordinated the mushrooms to the Nintendo standard (green for life, 1up style etc)!

The last group are Myconid gas spores, mildly converted with a little cutting, scraping and bending from GW Tyranid spore mines from the old Battle for Macragge 40k starter set. I imagine that they grow out of the ground like any other mushroom, on several stalks, held up by their buoyant head, until the day that they are mature enough to pull themselves out of the ground and become mobile, still trailing their stalks beneath them...

I picture these as somewhat like guard dogs for a Myconid colony, probably floating aimlessly about near the entrance , acting almost as an early warning system for the arrival of bands of roving adventurers looking for loot and seeing these peaceful ambulatory mushroom chaos as nothing more than sacks of XP (the horror!). 

The gas spores seem to be fairly large in the reference imagery I could find, but a little handwaveium deals with that (I mean yes, if you try to apply physics to a fantasy setting they'd probably need to be bigger in order to contain enough gas to float, but worlds of magic, that's why).

So, having finished these dozen miniatures brings the tally to:

78 vs 80 = -2

which would have put me back into the black if it weren't for the second round of Christmas presents... (Not wanting to sound ungrateful, don't get me wrong!)

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas loot part 2

Aka Uncle Johnny fights the tally more:

A second batch of Christmas presents has added 5 to the tally, putting the current end of year total to:

66 vs 80 = -14

Which somewhat scuppers the plan to get back in the black by finishing off the dozen Myconid bits that I sneakily put half an hour of work into earlier today:

Eh, if I finish these, 3 more minis will take me back into the black. I can but assume my standards for 'finished' may well slip somewhat for these...

Merry Christmas!

Yuletide greetings one and all!

As I'd finally managed to get to a point where it looked like I'd finish the year with the tally in the black, inevitably my wife bought me miniatures at Christmas...

Mmm, Perry English army box set (which will be the basis of some House Stark troop conversions when I get back on the ASOIAF project and the Knight Models Deadpool (as I'd been umming and ahhing for years over whether I could live with myself if I spent silly money on the old bendy Heroclix sculpt).

My stocking was equally nerdy, containing the Studio Miniatures 'not The Thing' sculpts 'Mack' and 'Waynes':

Huzzah for toys, boo for being back in the red:

Tally 66 vs 75 = -9

Hmm, she's bought me more miniatures than I'd bought for the whole year...

So, theoretically if I can paint 10 miniatures (of the dozens of pre-under coated and often half painted miniatures I have in various stashed) in the next 6 days I'll be back in the black, but I make no promises.

Also, my little brother bought us a giant stormtrooper, but he's too large to be considered a miniature so he's not going on the Tally: