Monday 30 December 2019

Nobody, nobody trusts anybody now, and we’re all very tired...


Wondering whether I could finish anything off before the year ended that might make a dent in the Challenge / Tally numbers, my eyes alighted on a group of unpainted miniatures that have been sat on the mantelpiece in my dining room for a couple of months now awaiting for inspiration/ motivation to strike again for me to convert some more of them, and thought I’d take the plunge and get them painted!

While long term I want to add some more to the group (including a large ‘boss’ sized Spawn akin to the Blair monster) for now we have:

One ‘medium’ spawn - in the future I’d like to make two more, one inspired by the dog creature and one by the split face Thing that they initially bring back to the base.

Much fun was had splattering Blood for the Blood God and Gloss Varnish over these miniatures to give them the gribbly effect that you see on screen!

A couple of Thing facsimiles, converted from Sedition Wars miniatures with mechanical parts generally scraped or melted off and liquid green stuff used to hide it, as well as parts from the Wood Elf Dryad kit from the depths of my bits box! Their trousers were painted like bloody long johns, because as we know “I think it rips through your clothes when it takes you over. Windows found some shredded and bloody long-johns in the trash but the name tag was missing. They could be anybody's.”

Then comes the first of the ‘partial’ Things - I envision a rule whereby if you take out a larger Thing, there’s a chance that part of it manages to escape and potentially still infect your survivors. These first two were heads from the remnants of a Wargames Factory zombie sprue (keep everything, even if it’s awful - the soft detail on these made them ideal for half transformed parts!) and a milliput mound of tendrils.

The next couple are Warhammer zombie bits with some additions - I especially loved the idea of a leg spawning great long Thing insectoid legs and scuttling after you with a weird loping, hopping gait!

Last but not least, we have a partial inspired by one of the most iconic scenes in the movie, the bit where Norris’ head decides to get out of dodge and runs off on its own on spidery legs. Incredibly fiddly to build (and a nightmare to photograph!), even though the eyes have come out looking a little more cartoony than I’d envisioned I’m still pretty happy with the result!

Painting these (over the course of a couple of evenings this week while we frantically work our way through a Star Wars movies rewatch before we go and see the new one) brings the Tally to:

46 vs 43 = +3

Right, nobody gift me any miniatures tomorrow!

All I need now is to paint up a Macready and convert some more Things...

Saturday 28 December 2019

Tabby! gonna steal all your stuff... (Click here for the theme tune)

I love Nextwave, so to the casual observer it might be strange that I’ve taken so long to work my way through painting miniatures of them (8 years and counting currently). I’m getting there, slowly but surely!

There are a couple of variations in how her costume appeared, but I used this image for reference whilst painting (although I used the more metallic design from other pieces of art for her flight belt).

I painted the back of the miniature too, as is the convention. Not my finest work, but looks good at tabletop height!

Which brings me to another point: I used my new Foldio photo booth that I got for Christmas, which comes with pros and cons - 

Pros: better pictures, so you can see a truer representation of the colours (although I’m still not quite there yet with my miniature photography - according to the literature that came with the photo booth, there’s a Foldio photo editing app available that I might download and try)

Cons better pictures, so you can see every little flaw or mistake - she looks fine at arms length, but blown up and lit like this I start to notice things like the patchy bit on her skirt, or the sloppy painting on her coat. Eh, I’m paining these for fun rather than profit, and I can live with that!

Finishing her means I get to cross another item off of the 2019 Challenge list, which is something that’s happened very infrequently this year!

  • 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 pic
  • 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!

I also picked up the limited edition Grombrindal miniature this week:

Because as well as it being a cool miniature, I thought a Squat Tech-Priest would sit nicely in a radical Ordo Xenos warband alongside a Howling Banshee. That does mean that there’s no movement on getting the Tally into the positive before the end of the year:

38 vs 43 = -5

I also took the opportunity to try out my new Citadel Paint Stick, and undercounted some miniatures. Fun fact - it’s very difficult to attach miniatures on non-GW bases to it, as they have a shallower slope and the elastic bands tend to slip off of them - coincidence of planned, I’ll let you decide...

Thursday 26 December 2019

Hobby Christmas Loot

Christmas brought Hobby treats this year:

A set of Cultists of the Abyss from my children (my wife was less than impressed at my suggestion that I’d exchange them for Escalation in order to have the same models but also have the rules to use them - at the same time, I still haven’t finished painting the main game that I got last Christmas, so adding an expansion into the queue probably isn’t the wisest move, so I’ll probably paint this set, and when I get round to picking up Escalation I can cannibalise the cultists that come with it for conversions); a miniature version of my wife’s pop up photo booth (presumably so that now I won’t ask her to get her large one out every time I need to take a picture of a single 28mm miniature); and a Citadel paint stick, as we were amused by it last time we were in GW picking up the latest White Dwarf (I’m surprised that I didn’t get a red paint handle too, although that might be as my wife’s eyes glazed over slightly as I and a Gw staffer tried to explain our joke about things getting painted faster on a red handle...)

These treats bring the Tally to:

37 vs 42 = -5

Back into the negative we go with only a few days left of the year! I’m not mad about it though, my family chose some miniatures that they knew I’d like, which is more important than an arbitrary self-set target any day of the week...

(Although the temptation to try and smash out a couple of miniatures quickly is very real, only tempered by the fact that the entrance to the basement where all my painting gear and miniatures are is currently barricaded behind a pile of stuff that we had to move to make space for Christmas Dinner yesterday... also, the fact that I’m probably going to buy the retail exclusive Grombrindal as tech priest miniature tomorrow...)

Thursday 19 December 2019

Regdar, punching bag extraordinaire...

So, Christmas looms ever larger, and life has been getting in the way of my attempts to finish 52 miniatures this year - at this point, we’ve gone from me needing to complete a miniature every other day to hit that target to needing to finish three every other day...

Regardless of whether I hit that target or not, here’s another finished miniature:

(still getting to grips with using my wife’s photo booth, but I think this is better than the usual late night miniature photography!)

A miniature of Regdar from an old D&D board game - if you’re not familiar with Regdar (although you’ve probably seen him getting murdered numerous times in various pieces of art) I’d recommend giving this a read: The Many Deaths of Regdar

I like that he’s actually equipped with a bundle of stuff, he looks like he’s prepared to go delving! Less fun was the weird blending of some details from the casting process - his helmet stretched across to meet his sword, which I carefully cut away but might have taken a smidge too much material...

Finishing him brings the Tally to:

37 vs 27 =

Wait, the postman has been...

Northstar’s Black Friday sale brought 6 miniatures, and eBay brought a classic Harlequin Solitaire (as I’d been enjoying painting the Howling Banshee in my previous post and thought that all else failing I could use it for Blackstone Fortress after rules were published in White Dwarf)

Which actually brings the Tally to:

37 vs 34 = +3

Painting Regdar reminded me of an old plan (in the 4e days) to paint a miniature for every Dungeons and Dragons character class, and I thought I’d look back and see whether I could do the same for 5e, and was pleasantly surprised at how far done I was:

Classes (as of 5e Player’s Handbook):

I think I’ll add adding to this list to next year’s Challenge, and also may well add races to the mix... which also gives me another idea for an addition to the Challenge... 

Sunday 8 December 2019

Wailing Death...

Another miniature finished in the race to the end of the year!

A Howling Banshee, the first Eldar model I have ever painted. A couple of years back, I started musing over building an Ordo Xenos warband for Inq28, as it wasn’t something I’d ever really thought about before (all my previous plans having involved those mainstays in the Ordos Hereticus and occasionally Malleus), and started imagining a group with a Kroot tracker, an Eldar Ranger, maybe even a Rogue Trader as I’d never thought about converting one of those... then Blackstone Fortress came out, which had basically everything I’d been thinking of. Not to be dissuaded though, I mulled on it some more, and decided I fancied painting a Howling Banshee...

This was over a year ago now that she dropped through my letterbox, according to my Timehop app last week, but now I’ve finished her! I’d originally planned on going with the traditional bone coloured armour scheme, but whilst procrastinating experimenting with techniques I went over the grey under coated miniature with Tamiya Accent Colour Panel Liner (as you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram), and was so struck by the effect that I decided to go with a grey scheme instead!

She even got a tiny freehand (well, freehand Micron pen) version of the Howling Banshees rune on her forehead. Ooh, these pictures are the first on the blog using my wife’s new photo booth, and looked amazing when I was taking them, but not looking so hot on my iPad as I write this post...

As opposed to this shot, taken at the same time with the same settings, which looks a lot more vibrant and closer to the actual miniature. Eh, there’s still things for me to learn I guess!

In the latter stages of the paint job, I began to wonder whether she’d really be an appropriate crew member for an Ordo Xenos Inquisitor, being that she is basically the enemy from their point of view, and wondered if she might be more suitable in the employ of an Ordo Malleus type, maybe having been sent by a Craftworld to act as a bodyguard for an Inquisitor that the seers have predicted will foil some machination of Slaanesh... Wherever she ends up going, I like the image of this totally alien... well, alien, standing silently, unmoving behind the Inquisitor during more diplomatic encounters, but being unleashed as a shock weapon during combat and absolutely terrifying enemies with her acrobatics and combat prowess...

Finishing her brings the Tally to:

36 vs 27 = +9

So, if I can finish and post 16 miniatures in the next 23 days, I hit my one a week challenge target. Don’t hold your breath, but stranger things have happened..

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