Tuesday 29 December 2015

2015 in review - already?!

The annual year in review post already? Wow, that really flashed past... As per usual, I'll review my 'progress' on the projects I honestly thought I'd crack on with this year (the more pessimisticly minded might see these posts as a listing of my failures, but I'd like to think I'm a bit more optimistically pragmatic than that...)


59 vs 155 = -96

Not the worst year for final tally score or for number of painted figures (that honour stays with the year I got married and started a new job), but nowhere near the best either! I dread to think how bad the numbers would have been if I hadn't finished that zombie herd for the Zomtober big finish though! Who knew, having a baby eats into your hobby time :s

2015: -96 (59 painted)
2014: 0 (80 painted)
2013: -416 (25 painted)
2012: -103 (68 painted)
2011: -173 (122 painted)

Last years projects (according to the plans made in the end of year post):


A flurry of activity at the start of the year saw me complete a small chunk of figures for this project, including a couple of characters that I'd had in progress for quite some time, but then my attention wandered somewhat and didn't return this way at all. 

With those figures completed, I've probably got enough to actually play a small skirmish game, once I finish cribbing together some rules (and assuming I don't start planning mass battle armies...)

Weirdly though, walking in to work this morning thinking about writing this post, I got myself quite enthused thinking about all the conversions and plans I had for this project, so who knows, once I finish some Batman figures and clear some space in the painting queue I might revisit this project!

The Last of Us

Having not bought the bits I wanted from Miniature Mojo (or the lovely fungus infected heads from CP Models) I've had pretty much zero impetus to paint the models I already have for this project. Onto the back burner it goes!

The Thing

Looks like when I said last year that this was a small scale project that I'd likely get distracted from, I wasn't wrong! Zero progress made, so probably onto the back burner for this one...

Star Wars

I only finished two figures for this project in the last year, which would normally be enough to relegate a project to the back burner, but come on, it's Star Wars, so it gets a pass. As soon as I stock up on some more 25mm round bases, I could put together some Rebels in order to have two skirmish size forces; however, there are a number of figures I'd quite like to bolster the variety of sculpts that I do currently own, but being pretty broke prevents me from stocking up and seems to give me project parslysis! One day I'll get Zuckuss though, in order to be able to complete my set of the Bounty Hunters... Plus I'll try and save some pennies to pick up a copy of Imperial Assault, as that comes with a plethora of tiny plastic space men...

Path To Glory

I still own the figures, but keep getting distracted from actually finishing them. Onto the back burner!

Mass Effect

Around the time my daughter was born, I acquired a copy of Sedition Wars from a disillusioned friend, and bought some Mantic Enforcers and Infinity figures to use for Cerberus conversions - I have been unable to source suitable helmets for these though, which has prevented me making any progress... I live in hope that one day I'll find someone has put CAD files up somewhere so that I can get a friend to sneakily 3D print some!

On the back burner:
ROTPOTA - one of those projects that I tend to look at and think 'well, it really wouldn't take much to get these done oh wait what's that shiny thing over there'
Nerdmarines - haven't been touched. 
Batman - I painted the Scarecrow! I've got a bunch of half-painted minis for this (as well as a box of unassembled Knight Models figures); one day, one day...
Everything else - the zombie project (the project that got me back into miniatures, and started this blog!) got some love this year, with an unusually active Zomtober - not bad for a project that was so far down my list of priorities that it didn't even get a heading on last year's plans! I've got enough of a backlog of zombie miniatures to keep me busy for years to come, so I don't think it will ever go away, and hopefully at the very least next year will see me complete Zomtober again!
Other than that, it was mostly odds and sods that caught my fancy that got painted, like a couple of Superheroes when the wife and I were watching the Marvel Cinematic Universe releases and the puppet guy from Fallout...

Next years projects:

Star Wars

I'll try and paint a squad or two of Rebels, as well as the rest of my Bounty Hunters if I can get a Zuckuss. In an ideal world, I'd find a Roron Corobb miniature going cheap so that I had all the bits needed to replay Palpatine's abduction from the Clone Wars animated series, but I should probably walk before I run!

Also, I've recently been reading the old D20 RPG rules and voraciously consuming PDFs of old issues of Star Wars Gamer, so in the back of my mind I'm considering running a Star Wars RPG, but we'll have to wait and see on that front...


I always quite enjoy converting soldiers for this project, so here's to hoping that once the decks are a bit clearer next year I'll be able to do some more of that!


I hope to at least finish the half dozen half-painted figures that I currently have on the go, and then make a start on the Knight Models figures that I have. The chap that I was going to play this with has just moved to Germany though, so there's less impetus to actually finish anything...


No big plans for this really, but at the very least I'll aim to complete another Zomtober!

on the back burner:
The Last of Us - unlikely to get any progress made unless I get to make orders with Miniature Mojo and CP Models, but you never know...
The Thing - who knows...
Path to Glory - hmm, it's been so long on the back burner that GW have actually updated the rules themselves...
Mass Effect - if I can find suitable helmets, I have more than enough models to make a skirmish scale force. Until then...
ROTPOTA - *shrugs* 

I've got Fallout 4 to play on the PS4 too, so that might see some attention turned towards that project...

And who knows, maybe next year will be the year that I get around to buying a Sanity Claws on eBay and painting him up for Christmas?

Wednesday 25 November 2015

A winner is me!

The lovely Dai over at lostdamnedstunted.blogspot.com recently held a draw, and I was one of the winners! Being the first name selected by the RNG gods, I even got first pick of the prizes, and so had this little lot turn up this week:

10 tiny but perfectly formed stormtroopers from the old WEG release:

They even came packed in an awesome old school TSR D&D minis box (note daughter's excited arms in this pic, as she thinks it's something for her):

I feel a bit bad winning though, as it seems like as opposed to being from Wales as I had assumed (being called Dai, loving rugby) according to the postmark they've come all the way from Sacramento!

Having heard that I had these coming, John did out some spares to add to my collection (presumably hoping to pervert me from the allure of my usual scale) [ignore the painted trooper for the Tally, he was just to show how they look painted up]

So, with these and the Boba Fett and Darth Vader I have tucked away already somewhere, I should have a tidy little Imperial force! Looks like I need to order some 20mm bases and get cracking! (Although I've got the Star Wars PS4 that comes with the new Battlefront game coming for Christmas, so it might be after that that my hobby mojo turns to Star Wars!)


59 vs 155 = -96

Saturday 7 November 2015

Zomtober 2015 - big finish!

As alluded to in my previous post, I had big plans for my final week after Zomtober post: a zombie herd!

Alas, the pictures that I took while there was still natural light were blurry and horrible, and the ones that I took later were dark and grotty, so apologies in advance:

The herd is mostly those horrible plastic multi-part zombies that were the first release from Wargames Factory (before they'd gotten used to CAD) with a few Heroclix and Doctor Who and Stsr Wars miniatures mixed in for a bit of variety, with the occasional metal zombie head from Westwind mixed in to disguise their origins! On the Wargames Factory zombies front, after the first coat of grey on the flesh I thought they might not turn out looking quite as bad as I'd expected, but sadly the second lighter shade of grey robbed me of all illusions that they wouldn't look bad - the detail is just too soft! I thought that I'd probably end up covering the majority of them with blood, but ended up being quite restrained when it came to it...

In terms of rules for the herd, I think I'd planned for them to be something of a roaming hazard rather than an enemy per se - too big to really take on single handedly, winning a combat against one would be more surviving to get away rather than glorious victory...
I'd pictured 'wounds taken' being less damage to the herd, more a loss of cohesion - potentially having some stats equal to the number of wounds that the herd has remaining, so as the herd is taken apart it starts being less of a maelstrom of destruction.
I also condsidered a special rule where whenever a wound is taken by the herd, a fresh (single) zombie is a placed in base contact with the herd, to represent it spreading out until eventually all that is left is a scattered handful of single zombies that can then be singled out and exterminated rather than the unstoppable wave that is the herd at full strength - so it would take some doing, but you could eventually wear away at the herd until all that is left is say 8 or so zombies - but in a game where ammunition is scarce and prolonged gunfire is only going to attract more enemies, is it worth it?

Finishing the herd (which I think I started at some point a couple of years before I got married, and potentially long enough ago that I could still have been described as being in my early twenties) brings the Tally to:

59 vs 131 = -72

So, overall Zomtober productivity this year leaves me with this:

Not a bad result I don't think? Plus, seeing everyone else doing it left me with more ideas for things I want to do, so roll on next time!

Mystery Adventurer?

The other day on a trip up to London to take our daughter to the aquarium, the wife and I popped into Orc's Nest. As well as a handful of board and card game bits (and a pack of bases from Renedra to use for some basing some planned scatter terrain), I picked this chap out of a box of random mins:

Any idea who he is or where he's from? His tab just says 'swordsman', and I quite liked him for a generic adventurer type for D&D or Frostgrave...


33 vs 131 = -98

Free Space Marine on this week's White Dwarf!

I was somewhat excited by all the rumours about there being a free Space Marine on the cover of this week's White Dwarf Weekly, and so daughter and I dutifully bundled round to my local branch after walking the wife to work.

Upon arrival though, whilst the rumours are technically true, it's not the model we were expecting on the front of the magazine...

Ah well, still bought it anyway to have a nose at the upcoming game (and hey, a limited edition badge is cool too I guess?).

Apparently there's going to be a Word Bearers badge on the front of Warhammer Visions in December, but I don't think that's enough to entice me to pay for that...

Friday 6 November 2015


As great as the Arkham video games' take on Dr Jonathan Crane is, I still have a massive soft spot for this guy:

Such subtlety, such grace:


I have a selection of resin bases from Fenris that I'd been planning to use on my Batman miniatures rather than my usual gravel and sand bases, but as this was a plastic Heroclix figure rather than a nice Knight Models sculpt I didn't want to risk wasting one of my limited supply in case he didn't take paint well! 

So, out came an offcut of cork sheet from making one of the zombie spawn points during Zomtober to make a basic broken brickwork base:

In hindsight, I should perhaps have made the cuts that separated bricks a little more pronounced, but hey, everything is a learning experience right?

A dab of glue, some sand, and a couple of pins later Arkham's 'Master of Fear' was based up and ready to go:

He was largely painted on lunch breaks when covering in other stores (as although I'm supposed to work 5 minutes from my house, where I can nip home at lunchtime to see my wife and daughter, it seems like recently I've spent a lot of days working in places like Ashford, despite having taken a substantial pay cut to not work there anymore, but that's a whole other story...)

He ended up using far less varieties of brown paint than I expected, which is a shame in a way, as I think I own at least a dozen different shades! Heh, and I complain about my wife having so many bits of similar looking material...

Finishing him brings the Tally to:

60 vs 155 = -95

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Zomtober week 4 - spawn points a plenty

This week's submission (although by this I of course mean last week) is not one, not two, but three zombie spawn points:

Many, many moons ago, I was writing a set of zombie rules, featuring simple, convention suitable rules, and a deck of zombie cards to decide what type spawned. Alas, the laptop that had the half-finished rules on died, but I still have a bunch of ideas rattling around in my head (there were rules for things like survivors accruing noise tokens for doing things like shooting or using a chainsaw), so maybe one day I'll get around to redoing them... One thing from that is zombie spawn points, hence, I made these!

Originally, I'd made and undercoated one a couple of years back which I thought I'd dig out, but I fancied building another to go with it.

Having a dig through some boxes in the garage, I turned up a zombie bursting out of the ground from an old Frothers set, and a gravestone and spade from a Heresy ghoul pack that I apparently overlooked when I made my graveyard a couple of months back. Some torn up cork built up the base after a quick dry-fit, then it was time to crack out the glue.

Superglue just disappeared into the cork, so I busted out the white glue (although I did splash a bit of superglue around the edges to try and toughen it up somewhat).

Once the glue had dried, I dry-fitted the zombie into the hole I'd cut to make it look more like it was actually bursting out of the ground, but the thickness of the cork if used was a little more than I'd originally estimated, which made the figure look a little silly, so I grabbed a coffee stirrer to make an impromptu riser:


I then added the second piece of cork, and pinned the gravestone to the base for stability (as as previously mentioned, the cork pretty much drank superglue)

I then used some pre-mixed filler (that I'd originally picked up from pound land with the intention of making some generic rubble piles with) and smoothed out the steps so it wouldn't look like the grave was on a rocky crag:

My secret weapon in this (and also now in applying glue to bases, rather than using a cut down matchstick or ruining an old brush as I previously had been) was a pack of glue spreaders from the children's stationery aisle in Wilkinsons!

It was at this point that I thought 'hey, surely I could make and paint another spawn point just as easily as the ones I've already got on the go, right?'
I'd had ideas for a couple of different spawn points floating around my head for a while, and knew I had the bits for at least one of them somewhere, but all I needed was another 60mm round GW base... Next time we went into town, we nipped into the shop, only to discover that 60mm rounds are now a web shop exclusive, and don't come in the mixed packs that I'd previously seen in-store.

Plan kiboshed.




Until a day or so later, when I thought to myself 'wait, don't I have an Imperial Guard Heavy Weapon Teams boxed set still complete in box from that time several years ago that I impetuously decided that I was going to build a converted Blood Pact army and went on a spree in GW somewhere' and the answer it turned out was yes, yes I do. Plan back on!

This one was planned to be fairly simple, a zombie climbing out of a sewer. The figure is from Black Cat Bases, bought many, many years ago (before their current troubles, which hopefully seem to be getting better?). A quick application of a file to the tops of the ears to round them turned the ghoul into a perfectly passable zombie.

After cutting out the hole for the miniature to slot into, I originally planned to cut the cork to shape having marked the circumference of the top of the base on it. After cutting out a fraction of it though, I thought it might be better to stick it to the base, and then use that as a guide to trim it like you would the pastry lid of a pie!

Kevin Dallimore's painting guides: excellent reading, and excellent weights for squashing gluey bases while they dry:


And with sewer miniature in situ:

At this point, my daughter decided that the spawn point in its current state of completion looked rather like the oaty rings that she likes to eat, and tried to do so. We agreed to disagree on this point.

And a little more pre-mixed filler to smooth the transition from cork to miniature:

It was at this point that I realised I was a little unhappy with the miniature - the sculpt around the figure was a little rough and ill-defined, so I had a crack at it with my trusty not-dremel to excise the unwanted material.

Pow, it looks more like he's actually in a hole now!

Admittedly, I actually dremelled right through the metal completely in one spot, but that's nothing that a spot more filler doesn't fix!

With my two bases ready to go, it was on to sanding (thank you trusty glue spreader again!) and the addition of the spade left over from a Heresy ghoul pack (the King I think? He's undercoated somewhere, I should really get round to painting him one of these days...)

I didn't cover the entire base of the sewer  spawn point, as I wanted it to look like Tarmac with some loose debris and rubble, rather than a random manhole in the middle of a gravel field.

You'll also notice in the picture above, I added a couple of extra details - a chunk of cork from one of my baggies of different grades and thicknesses of cork off cut for a larger chunk of rubble, and some metal details - a discarded set of burger and fries cartons, again from Black Cat Bases (expensive for what they are, really, but I quite enjoy them really!)

Then, for the first time in years (as I had a ton of things to undercoat at once), out to the garage with the first episode of the Dungeonpunx podcast to spray! (Ignore the Daily Mail, we bought it back in May for the free Lego and have kept it for spraying or if we were to need to start a fire). It's weird how my undercoating habits seem to move in cycles - spraying for maximum convenience on a number of figures, to getting annoyed at having to touch up the bits that have been missed, to gesso, to getting lazy and applying it too thickly and moving to brush-on primer, and so the wheel continues to spin...

Then I painted them, which I didn't take any step by step pictures of because who wants to see that!

This is the original spawn point I built a few years back - some Biohazard barrels from Fenris spilling their radioactive payload (because in the worlds of imagination, radioactive material gives you cool mutations rather than cancer), as is the case with this poor cat, who has lapped some up only to develop a cthulhuesque head and tiny wings! The cat was a freebie from Black Cat Bases, and the spilled goop is a base of GW Typhus Corrosion, followed by Nurgle's Rot, PVA glue to try and give it some structure, and then even more Nurgle's Rot!

This spawn point got a little moss and grass, and is done. Trivia - the zombie pulling himself got a Sotek Green tongue at my wife's suggestion, after I bought up the colours I'd need to paint Boba Fett's helmet according to a series of Youtube instructional videos should I ever get round to building my Knight Models miniature (but that probably won't be until I've painted the other two bounty hunters, and I am sadly still lacking a WOTC Zuckuss miniature...)

Last but not least, the zombie popping out of a sewer spawn point - dry brushing and washes a go-go! The discarded food items got a colour scheme to indicate that their previous owner might have been loving it, and that was that! I briefly considered adding a splash of gore to this figure, to try and hide the fact that it's face looked a bit ghoulish rather than zombie-like, but decided against it as I liked the way the teeth had come out too much!

Finishing these (yes, I'm counting them each as a finished figure!) brings the tally to:

33 vs 130 = -97

So, with just one week left of Zomtober (not that I've hit any deadlines so far, and everyone else seems to be stopping at week 4), I've got a couple of ideas for a finisher - If I can pull it off in time, I could have a biggie (although I also have a backup plan just in case!)

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Zomtober weeks 2 & 3

Too late for last week and too early for next week, I've decided to split this offering and have it count for both!

So here we have 4 zombies sans clothing:

These were originally bought from Tengu miniatures, who I believe are no longer trading, although these particular sculpts are now available from CP models.

Their lack of clothing was the reason they got painted, as I figured that t would take me roughly the same amount of time to paint any amount of skin on a zombie, so the less other colours needed the faster they would get finished! All else failing, if I don't manage to finish anything else for this Zomtober at least I've hit my original challenge of completing 5 models!

I'm sure you're all wondering: why grey zombies? Honestly, at this point it's mostly because I've got over 100 of the things painted grey, but way back in the mists of time when I started this zombie project (March 2009, according to PMs on the Lead Adventure forum sourcing my first Horrorclix zombies from a nice chap in Spain) fresh faced past me decided to go for a Romero influenced look. He also decided to go with 30mm lipped bases, whereas older wiser me is leaning more towards smaller bases, but that's a discussion for another time! When I get round to converting and painting some miniatures for the The Last Of Us inspired project I should get to paint a zombie in different colours, so there's always that to look forward to!

These four bring the Tally to:

30 vs 130 = -100 (the more eagle-eyed of you may have noticed that my acquired figure has gone down by one since the last post - I sent off a figure in a trade over the weekend!)