Friday 25 February 2011

Step right up, sports fans...

because Blood Bowl's in town:

I thought it might be nice to get something that I might actually get a game in of, which led to a few bids on ebay and a few quick texts to Uncle Johnny. I fondly remember the third edition human team (ah, the nostalgia of a decade ago...), so plumped for these as my team (and hey, they come in the box! That makes it a smart and frugal purchase right?)

A note on Uncle Johnny: He's not actually my uncle, and has only once referred to himself as Uncle Johnny, when he said I could have these

after debating the pros and cons of second edition vs third edition human sculpts (I prefer third, he prefers second, must be a generational thing), and so Uncle Johnny he shall stay for the forseeable future. Yes, that's half a thrower, cue John with the awesome idea of sticking him on a stretcher covered in a green stuff blanket with a new hand... The most awesome surprise though was that it was the old metal team (when John said he had some old third edition blood bowl humans I could have, I assumed he meant the plastics!)

The other thing that John gave me (because he's just that nice) was this:

A dwarf ref converted from an RT era plastic squat, which I think is rather cool, complete with whistle and red card. I think John said this little chap was built and painted around 1992...

Fingers crossed we'll be able to get a game in at some point.

Which brings us to:

24 players + 2 star players in the blood bowl box, 10 in uncle johnny's package (not including the already painted ref or half a thrower) =

34 vs 63 = -29
Bugger. Double bugger, as I know the postman's on his way with a joblot of miniatures that I bought because... well, I wanted a few of them, needed a couple of them, and the price was right, even if the total number of models was going to have an adverse effect on the tally (although hopefully I'll be able to trade away/sell the excess - TheMightyFlip gets first dibs though as part of a gentlemen's agreement). Looking on the bright side though, If I paint up a blood bowl team and finish off the fourteen miniatures I've been dabbing at over the last week, I'll have broken even again, and can then happily attack the joblot like a kitten full of sugar until the numbers balance out again. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to be all doom and gloom, and wail abouth the fact that the month is almost over and I've only finished eleven miniatures so far...

Wednesday 16 February 2011

Old rulebooks...

...have the best quotes (not always intentionally), whether it's Feskitt Bobb in the Star Wars Miniature Battles Rulebook, or the fact that in the first example scenario in the Doctor Who: Invasion Earth rulebook the consequences of capture by the Daleks is being made to work in the 'Dalek Mine' in the Kentish town of Ashford (I don't remember seeing that growing up, I must have not been looking hard enough).

What's that? Doctor Who: Invasion Earth you say?

Bought from an absolute gentleman by the name of Stavros Banjo over on the LAF, who was an absolute pleasure to do business with. He also had fancy return address labels, which is a bonus too. Lovely lovely, but ten miniatures is ten miniatures, and comes off the tally:

34 vs 27 = +7

And there was me thinking if I can get up to a nice buffer of 25 I can order some more minis... (yes, I'm aware that I just bought miniatures, but in my head whilst the buying was happening I was thinking of it as buying a boxed game, which doesn't really count as buying miniatures until it arrives and you open it to reveal, well, miniatures).

Sunday 13 February 2011

Christmas comes early!

Well, late actually (super-late, if you consider that I think I bought this mini for the christmas before last):

Zombie Santa! The annoying thing to paint wasn't the jolly old soul himself, but rather this:

A pile of dinky presents! Yes, I see that I slipped and smudged some white paint on the bear's paw, I'll fix that another day. Annoyingly, I was bidding on a Sanity Claws mini on ebay, but with five minutes to go zoned out whilst painting the presents, and when I looked up the auction had ended (even worse, it went for just over four pounds - last time I was awake and bidding when one ended, it hit thirteen...). Ah well, maybe next time...

Which brings us to:

34 vs 17 = +17

If I keep this up, I just might have to reward myself...

I don't need a raise...

...I don't need a paycheck, I'm your number 1 defender:

Yup, oblique music references and dungeons and dragons minis, that's what we're all about. I freely admit that I painted this Iron Defender because it was a quick paintjob, +1 point to the tally!

Next is a survivor for my zombie project, from the frother's sculpting competition set a year or so ago:

A lovely little mini (sculpted by a finnish blogger iirc, whose blog I haven't been able to find since). Annoying, he had a bizarre inverse mould line down one arm, and another mould line on the inside of his other arm that seemed to evade my notice until right at the end... One day, it'll all be holograms and there'll be no more cleaning miniatures (well I can dream...)

Spider-man got some new opposition today too, in the form of this pair of nefarious animal-themed villains:

I'm sure in one of the old Amazing Spider-man arcs they addressed the fact that an unlikely percentage of powered individuals in the Marvel universe were animal themed... Anyhoo, these two are heroclix repaints like the rest of my supers, as you can probably tell from the lack of facial detail - in Scorpion's case, I decided to paint him as if he were wearing some sort of ninja facemask, but I might go back and paint his face in at a later date if I change my mind (although if you think about it, as a criminal it's bad enough that you're so recognisable running round in an animal costume, let alone having your face out... what are the police in the Marvel universe doing with their time?)

The next pair were part of a trade with Svenn, who's always a scholar and a gent:

Anthropomorphic ducks! I'm terrible at internet trades - whenever someone asks what I want, I'll ask for 'something cool, something funny, or something older than I am' which isn't the clearest of requests, I'll admit. So, it was a request like that that ended up with Svenn sending me these (amongst others) Runequest ducks. They'll go in the drawer for Doctor Who, since that's the place they'll most likely see use (we've seen cat people, why not ducks that have evolved to the level of using swords and armour?) As is inevitable with posting pics on the internet at two in the morning, I've noticed that I forgot to paint the buckles on their belts, but that'll be easy enough to fix next time I get a chance.

Finally, we have the master himself:

wearer of the pallid mask, the King in Yellow. I finally got round to reading the King in Yellow a couple of weeks back, so dug out this mini (which was originally a Limited Edition freebie with issue 3 of Strange Aeons magazine, and is I believe no longer available).I wish I could say that I was wearing a tiara and taking instructions from a repairer of reputations whilst painting him, but that'd just be untrue. I originally tried painting a criss-cross pattern on his mask like the cover of the magazine, but it came out looking terrible so he got a repaint back to the standard pallid mask. All I need to do now is build a stage and convert some cultists in theatre masks and we'll be away...

Which brings us to:

33 vs 17 = +16

Bam, back in the double figure positives, which is a nice place to be until I find myself a click away from ordering more miniatures...

My final thought: One day I'll improve my attention span to the point that I start painting a miniature, finish painting a miniature, and then blog about it, rather than my current habit of flitting from miniature to miniature, finishing several at once, and then posting meandering blog posts covering several different genres (if you wanted to look at just Doctor Who minis, for example, clicking that label is going to bring up a whole bunch of other minis too...). But hey, maybe that can be my new year's resolution...

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Good morning Charlie...

...good morning angels:

What, those aren't the angels you were expecting? Painted three of these lovely minis from Crooked Dice today, since I am easily distracted from finishing half-painted miniatures by the allure of shiny things. Admittedly, I undercoated another 21 miniatures today, so I'm probably not helping matters...

Pictured alongside the four I converted last year:

you really wonder 'what was he thinking when he painted those?', which shows the benefit of using reference material rather than just painting from memory (hey, I remembered the Angels as being greener. Plus, admittedly I didn't use reference material for today's work, but I have looked at a picture of a Weeping Angel in the last fortnight, so that counts surely?)

Anyway, with that little lot there's enough to suitably menace the Tardis:

Although as we all know, there's no such thing as enough, and I've already started thinking about converting some of the mouldy looking angels that appeared in the new series out of some bits I've got knocking around, attention span willing...

Which brings us to:

26 vs 17 = +9

Not bad, but it would be nice to be in double figures again... That being said, there are 3 or 4 minis appraching completion in the painting queue, but them getting finished depends on me not suddenly fancying painting something else (such as the undercoated spies in the 7tv drawer...)

Sunday 6 February 2011

Anyone can be a stripper...

...if they put their mind to it. So, rather than doing anything productive this afternoon, I thought it high time that I have a shufty through my stripping pot. My stripping pot looks like this:

An old glass jar that once contained tasty, tasty fish (sadly the fish didn't actually come wearing tiny capes). Generally, whenever I buy minis on ebay that have already been painted, they get thrown in the pot and forgotten about until the next time I decide to spend several hours getting wrinkly fingers. Up until today, the pot looked like this:

I think it's mostly GW minis in there, and some of them have been in and out of the pot for a couple of years now. The gunky looking juice in there is standard household disinfectant. I've heard of the wonders of Simple Green, motor oil and whatnot, but disinfectant is generally easy to get hold of, and seems to work well enough. I've tried nail polish remover before (eye-wateringly stinky), and have heard good things about medical alcohol, but for now (or at least until this bottle runs out) I'm sticking with disinfectant. Now for the serious part: when handling hazardous liquids, make sure you follow the appropriate health and safety measures, and use whatever protective devices or materials you need. For example, when working with disinfectant, I donned this hat:

See? Perfectly safe. Also worthy of note is the podcast playing in one ear, balancing the perils of being distracted when handling small parts over a dark hole that leads to the alligator-ridden sewers with the rewards of having something to listen to whilst spending a couple of hours scrubbing at miniatures over the sink. On the subject of scrubbing miniatures, I had an epiphany today: I've been going about it ass-backwards up until now! In the past, I would scrub at the miniature with an old toothbrush (and scrub and scrub and scrub...), and then use a pin to winkle out an little globs of paint left in the crevices. Today however, I found that (for me at least) it's much more effective to go at it with a pin first - especially if the mini had in it's previous life received an over-zealously thick coat of paint, as you can often peel great chunks off in a single sheet.

 A quick scrub with the toothbrush later, and there's only a few globs left in the deepest recesses, ready to get picked at with a pin. It also seems that the longer you work at it, the more the paint seems to dry out, and sometimes reaches a 'sweet spot' where it's soft enough to affect with the pin, but rubbery enough that when you go at it it drags off in a sheet rather than just scratching away thinly. I also read somewhere that if you get a miniature wet whilst scrubbing it, the paint becomes harder to remove. I don't know how true this is, but I try to avoid it just in case.

Once this is done, any minis that still have significant amounts of paint on go back into the jar for another soak, and any minis I'm happy with go onto some kitchen paper to dry out:

Which gives us a variety of mostly clean minis, ready to get butchered by my painting skills. 

Wednesday 2 February 2011

A discourse on base colour...

...also known as random blather rather than (just) another post along the lines of 'I am weak, I bought things, and thus lose points on the tally' (but don't worry fans of basic mathematics, that'll be up soon).

When I say base colour, I mean literally the colour of the side of a miniature's base. Some people paint them brown or grey to match their table, and flicking through some old White Dwarfs from around fifteen years ago (thankyou ebay) it seems that a disconcertingly bright green was the fashion a while ago. Me? I paint them black. Now, some people argue that the base should be as unobtrusive as possible, blending into the table (and Fenris (iirc) do do some admittedly cool clear bases) so that at a glance it might look like there are actually little men running across your table, but I can admit that I don't paint to a high enough standard to achieve that level of realism. For me, they're miniatures, models, playing-pieces even, and I think a neatly edged black base looks nice. There's no right or wrong answer, that's just how I roll.

And now, as promised, comes the real reason for this post:

Lovely lovely scarecrows from Crooked Dice, to go with the lone dnd prepaint I already had, and the scarecrows from Foundry that I bought because no-one made the sort I was after (inevitably, a week after I bought those the previews of the greens for these started appearing over on the Crooked Dice forums...) These probably won't see the business end of a brush for a while yet, since I plan to at some point get the Gripping Beast scarecrows amongst other things, and I'd prefer to paint them all in one fell swoop rather than piecemeal (as I'm farly bad at matching colours at a later date). That, and the fact that ordering those would be a -12 on the tally, so I need to build up a bit more of a buffer yet... (anyway, it's been three years since the episode first aired, I'm sure it can wait a month or two...)

And thus, I'm now at:

23 vs 17 = +6

But I've got next week off work, so who knows, I might even get round to doing some work on the zombie horde that's sat half-finished in the painting queue for a couple of months now...

Anyways, now to go and prepare myself for tomorrow, that special time of the year when you'll see grown men wrestling children in newsagents around the country: Doctor Who Magazine has free (and appropriately scaled) daleks again...