Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Swamp Thing’s hillbilly cousins...

Here’s that promised post of miniatures finished over a week ago now:

Some Shambling Mounds, from the same D&D board game as the hogs in my previous post.

These were pulled out as I’ve been scribbling down some ideas for a potential campaign, and one idea involves an elvish incursion overlaying part of the Faewild onto the material plane, and I thought plants coming to life and trying to digest the adventurers would be an encounter you could do some fun things with. Lots of drybrushing, spot washes and little touch ups here and there to try and make the two identical models look slightly varied and we’re done, bringing to Tally to:

35 vs 27 = +8

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

3-5 feral hogs...

Is that still topical? Either way, I’m falling behind in both painting and posting, as these were actually finished last week but I’m only getting around to posting them now:

Boars! These are single pose minis from an old D&D board game that I dug out whilst rooting through boxes in the basement, and I thought would make the basis of a good potential wilderness encounter if I ever get round to running a D&D game...

Whilst discussing what I was currently painting with someone at work, I told them ‘boars’. ‘What’s a borse? Some fantasy thing?’ They asked, to which I replied ‘no, you know, like a hairy pig?’


33 vs 27 = +6

In other news, my wife recently bought a fancy pop-up photo booth for her business, so expect pictures on the blog to show glaring flaws more obviously (not in the next post though, as the photos were done for it before the booth showed up - I mentioned at the start of this post that I’m behind on posting right?)

(See also our new rug, that my wife is very happy with)

Thursday, 21 November 2019

A Wildling Princess...

Another mini finished as the end of the year looms closer, this time a lovely Hasslefree sculpt that I’ve painted as a ‘Wildling princess’ for the A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones project. Having a nicely sculpted face helps with the painting, although the flesh tones on this miniature were actually painted ages ago before she was relegated to the ‘Work In Progress’ drawer for who knows how long, so may have been before my current face painting slump began! It’s hard to tell in this picture, but she does actually have pupils, although I went over them again with the Micron pen after taking this picture to make sure they were more visible, as you can see in this blurry close-up:

Just to head off the inevitable criticism at the pass - yes, as she’s a Hasslefree mini, there’s more underboob on show than would be practical for a barbarian lass from snowy climes (the gloss varnish on which is actually still wet in these pictures) I know. The rest of the Wildlings in the queue are practically dressed I promise.

One thing that was especially fun about painting a Wildling was the fact that they tend not to have much in the way of iron weapons and armour, so painting her bracers and other metal details in a variety of shades was an interesting challenge, and Indecided to paint her twin blades to look slightly rusty and worn, as if they were long ago scavenged and not particularly well maintained. She got a head of red hair as I figured that being ‘kissed by fire’ would only add to the Wildling princess feel!


30 vs 27 = +3

Monday, 18 November 2019

May the Shiny be with you...

Thus begins the mad dash to get my average painted figures up to one per week before the end of the year! This lady is a Heresy sculpt that was originally purchased to be a Kayleigh-expy in my Firefly project, and then sat in a drawer for a few years, but only got started when I watched The Last Jedi and thought she could pull double duty as a Rebel / Resistance engineer of some sort after seeing Rose Tico banging around in a jumpsuit!

She’s been mostly painted for at least a year, I’m fairly sure, so it only took a couple of touches to finish her off. Her face isn’t great - it looks like I’m having an off year for painting faces! 

Finishing her brings the Tally to:

29 vs 27 = +2

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Better late than never...

Originally planned as a big finish for Zomtober, I was going to slyly work on these between my main offerings, but somehow managed to only really finish the bones across the four week period!
Once I’d missed that window, I thought maybe I could speedily finish them off in time to post for Halloween, and while the Risen were soon brought to a finished state, I ended up really enjoying painting Alexia, and taking my time on her (well, as much time as a few minutes a night every other day can be, having two children is eating into my painting time!). A few minutes here and there all add up though, so now I have my first finished Warmachine unit:

‘First unit?’ I hear you cry? ‘I thought you got into Warmachine in the Mk 1 era?’ 

Yes I did, but to my shame what little has paint on is at best half painted, so this is the first thing for the game that I’d actually be willing to post on the internet for other people to see. They’d been in their box for ... I don’t know, but it’s probably something like a decade...

Onto some slightly closer shots!

First up is the Cygnar contingent:

I bent their arms gently to try and create some variety in their poses. Minimal effort, minimal result, but that’s fine by me!

I’d originally planned to give the Risen a base coat and a wash and call them done, but inevitably I got carried away giving them some highlights, weathering, and a little battle damage to make them more visually interesting.

The Menoth posse:

Not a lot I could do with these to add variety, given the sculpt. One of them you’ll notice is also mid-cast, as he has additional material in the space between his arm and torso, but I figured it was probably too late to get in touch with Privateer Press about getting a replacement!

I went with purple for the Menoth Risen to make them stand out from the Khadorans, rather than any specific army colours (although I could have claimed I spent hours of gruelling research poring over old magazine articles coming up with it)

Speaking of Khadorans, here they are:

I think that it’s supposed to be a fur trim/collar around their neck, but to me it will always look a bit like they’re wearing a fake beard!

Next, is the Thrall Warrior, which is an absolutely lovely miniature - I went with a fairly simple paint scheme in the interest of speed, but couldn’t help but go back and add little details and areas of interest, like making different areas of the armour look like different materials, or giving the blade a green hue to make it look sickly and evil...

I painted the back too, as is traditional:

I went for a fairly subdued cloth for his cape, to make Alexia stand out more...

Speaking of Alexia, onto the main event:

Having not read or played the Witchfire Trilogy, I had no preexisting nostalgia or love for Alexia before I bought her - I think I saw a goth girl with a magic sword raising zombies and thought ‘cool, that’s entirely the sort of thing I like, I’ll pay with cash please’. Now, ten or so years later, I’ve finally painted her!

She’s a beautiful sculpt, as is to be expected of anything sculpted by Kev White (and when I googled to confirm this, I was reminded that Paul Muller sculpted the Thrall Warrior and Risen, making this officially the greatest collaboration of all time), and was a real pleasure to paint. I even tried out some techniques I’d never tried before, like OSL on her sword and glowing eyes (although I think the eyes came out best on the skulls on her base, and are somewhat hit or miss on the rest of the unit). I also experimented with mixing metallic and non-metallic paints to get an unusual colour for her armour (it’s a dark grey with just a hint of metallic as a base, with metallic highlights and weathering). 

I spent some time carefully layering her black cloak with dark greys, an effect that is absolutely unnoticeable after I went a bit gung -ho weathering it (as I imagine on the run from churchy types that aren’t keen on her raising the dead she’d probably get fairly dusty). 

Side note: painting the gold on the Witchblade was a pain entirely due to Liberator Gold - my pot had separated so completely that it was entirely orange (the shade you can see on the edge in the picture below) - weeks of shaking had done nothing to recombine it, so I grabbed a cocktail stick and started dredging up the actual colour from the bottom of the pot. As you can see, it’s not quite the colour it should be (the colour at the bottom) but I’m getting there! 

So, finishing these brings the Tally to:

28 vs 27 = +1

And also lets me cross something off of the 2019 Challenge!

  • Finish something  old
  • Finish a piece of terrain
  • Prep all of the monkeys in the monkey box
  • Build a wargames board
  • Paint all of the miniatures in a boxed game
  • Play a game of Blackstone Fortress with fully painted miniatures
  • Finish a complete skirmish force for a project (at least 16 miniatures, unless it's for a much smaller scale game like Batman)
  • Repaint something (either a miniature that I have previously painted, or one that was received painted)
  • Convert a miniature and show WIP pics
  • Finish a member of the Nextwave team
  • Average at least a miniature a week by the end of the year (so, paint 52 miniatures)
  • End the year with the Tally in the positive!

Everything else is looking a bit shaken though, as I’m rapidly running out f year!

Sunday, 27 October 2019

Zomtober week 4: the circle is complete

If by circle you mean the challenge, that is.

Week four is another survivor, from Hasslefree this time:

As always with a hasslefree miniature, she’s a lovely sculpt, even though my attempts at fixing her pupil have left her with an entirely black eye looking somewhat like the mother from Coraline... Which admittedly I don’t completely hate, so am leaving as is. I might go back and see if I can get some definition back into her shoelaces though...

She was originally bought one Salute for the The Last of Us project, as I like that she has a torch, but she can pull double duty fighting her way through zombie hordes if needs be.

Painting her brings the Tally to:

15 vs 27 = -12

and also draws this Zomtober to a close - not my biggest year, being four ladies and a cameraman, but expect something related to appear in the next couple of weeks (as unfortunately I just couldn’t get them finished in time for this post! Unless I save them for next year...)

In other news, I had thought that the blogosphere was dying out, but having dug deeper it seems that my followed blogs weren’t showing up properly in Bloglovin (the reader app I use), so I’d been missing out on a ton of people’s blog posts! I’ve been taking steps to manually rectify this, so hopefully I won’t miss anything else!

Sunday, 20 October 2019

Zomtober week 3: once more unto the deadline...

I honestly thought I was making good progress on this week’s submission, but once again I found myself spending my Saturday night adding the finishing touches! Also, my usual plans for something bigger (like a previous big finish) for Zomtober have had very little work done on them, so we may end up with a week of Zomtober appearing in November, but I digress...

Another beautiful Crooked Dice survivor this week:

Colour scheme selected by the fact that my wife wants a yellow coat, and I thought it would be a fun colour to dirty up (spoilers: it was!). I really should grubby up all of my survivors, it’s very satisfying to do and looks better (and also can hide a multitude of sins)...

She has a water bottle, that underneath all the dirt and scrapes is a rather nice blue, as if pre-catastrophe she was probably a VSCO girl (hey I’m hip!)

Painting her brings the Tally to:

14 vs 27 = -13

So, three weeks of hitting the deadline! I’ll commit to finishing and posting at least another Survivor by next Sunday, and anything else that I manage will just be a bonus...

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)