Monday 4 May 2020

Doctor Aphra, I presume?

This year’s May the Fourth miniature is this Doctor Aphra expy:

Originally released for Rogue Stars, I thought she’d make a delightful stand-in for Chelli Aphra (it’s the goggles, more than anything else!), everyone’s favourite Archaelogist/downright awful human being.

I was tempted to try and add a flying cap too, but thought it would be a shame to lose the nicely sculpted hair - hey, people take hats off sometimes you know!

I read the entire run of comics she appeared in earlier this year, highly recommended for anyone that’s a fan of shenanigans, murder droids, and further shenanigans. There’s also a run drawn by Kev Walker, which is always a win in my book! As previously mentioned, she’s a terrible human being, and I love her.

The miniature isn’t an exact match for Aphra’s comic outfit, so I went for something evocative rather than an exact match. I’d originally intended to paint the jacket a reddish brown, with an orange collar to more closely match her comic appearances, but after putting on a base coat of Mephiston Red I was so enamoured with it I just carried on! I gave the collar a bit of orange detail though as a nod:

Also, she was painted over a grey undercoat, and between that and the delightful Mark Copplestone sculpt was an absolute pleasure. From this experience, I think I’m now sold on grey under coats over black, although even with the light box my pictures don’t quite show the colours properly, so here’s a wonky picture of me holding her a bit closer to the lights in the hopes of showing that I do in fact apply the occasional highlight to my miniatures:

Ah, you’ll just have to take my word for it!

If I see the murder droids that are her sometimes companions, sometimes foes in a bargain bin at a show, I'll grab them to keep her company, but for now she's flying solo, and finishing her brings the Tally to:

2 vs 56 = -54

Next: who knows? There are a variety of odds and ends on my paint palette, but on the other hand, I'm just about to start the Witcher series again, so I may get sidetracked making miniatures from that universe...

Friday 1 May 2020

Virtual Salute 2020 and lockdown hobby progres

I didn't get to go to Salute last year, as it was to close to my son's due date (spoilers: he ended up being born nearly two weeks late, a good month after Salute!), and having only missed the show once in the last however long I was looking forward to going this year.

Alas, with everything going on the world it wasn't to be, but I thought I'd recreate the experience at home by spending the day ordering myself miniatures instead (thank goodness for enforced lockdown reducing our spending on frivolities to allow us to justify a treat like this!), occasionally tweeting using the hashtag #virtualsalute2020.

Whilst it's not the same (I did especially miss the picnic that my friend Joe normally brings), my children made sure that I was suitably sleep deprived to recreate the 'up at 5 to catch a coach' feeling, and so coffee in hand I placed some orders! Then over the next fortnight (as the postal service is understandably variable currently) parcels of joy started arriving on my doorstep!

First of all was a package from Anvil Industry:

Having been enamoured with Zona Alfa and seeing a lot of cool minis over on the Facebook group, I picked up some PMC type chaps as well as a load of guns, pouches and whatnot that should allow me to convert any number of modern miniatures (as I'd been struggling somewhat, as my bits box is largely fantasy and science fiction based, with a grand lack of AK47s). I also ordered their rat swarm miniatures after seeing them on Ash Barker (of Guerrilla Miniature Games) Instagram (and he was nice enough to respond when I asked him where they were from).

Next, was Bad Squiddo Games:

I have coveted this set of resin foodstuffs for a couple of years now, but generally at Salute by the time Annie's stand has quietened down enough for me to get in there these have sold out, so now was the perfect time to acquire them. They've already seen use, but as props in homeschool math exercises (as daughter didn't want to play a math game, but was perfectly happy to come to 'Daddy's generic fantasy shop' and work out how many pieces of stock had been taken by raiding barbarians...)

Seeing everyone else posting their parcels made me wish I'd bought a few more things from Bad Squiddo, but alas there are only so many hobby funds and I wanted to place orders with a couple of companies...

Next was Crooked Dice:

Essentially, the Militia 2 set that I didn't order on their Birthday, as well as some other odds and ends, including some X-Commandos that I thought would make good stalkers for Zona Alfa with a head swap and some additional gubbins from my Anvil order. Also included was a freebie of a guy holding a crow, which was nice!

Then came Mantic:

As soon as I'd heard that Salute was being postponed, I panicked a little bit, as I hadn't ordered this last year when it was originally available, as I was going to get it from them direct at Salute. Thankfully (after a week or two of tweeting at them whenever I could) Mantic found some stock at the back of the warehouse that they made available to order (and were nice enough to message me to let me know that it was going live so that I didn't miss out). It's a lovely sculpt, so I'm incredibly happy that I was able to get one.

Then came CP Models, who wouldn't have been at Salute but I had been meaning to put in a little order with them for a while:

Some fungus faces (for the long postponed The Last of Us project), Mei-Lin the ex-Statuesque Fembot (for cyberpunk), a Batt-Ball player that I've had my eye on for a training droid for a Scarfworld introductory scenario, and a plague doctor, as a sign of the times. They also threw in a freebie set of alien heads, that I'm sure I'll be able to find a use for.

Still to come is a little order from Fenris of some scenery bits, but there's no miniatures in it so it won't affect the Tally!

Salute wasn't the only thing to affect the Tally though...

As previously alluded to, but not actualy posted about on the blog thus far, I placed a a little Crooked Dice order on their birthday:

Mostly for that cyberpunk girl with a robot arm, which is essentially the perfect sculpt for my feelings towards the genre (I walked out of the cinema after watching Alita filled with a desire to play a game where you buy robot arms). Word to the wise though - although you can't tell in the pictures on the webstore, the miniature has very prominently sculpted nipples, which is an ... interesting choice. Maybe they're also a cybernetic upgrade? I may give them a little file before I undercoat her lest they draw attention away from her aforementioned sweet robot arm... 

As well as this, Uncle Johnny (who lives not half a mile down the road from us) was after a 1/48 scale US Army helmet to put onto a smaller scale miniature to see if it looked better than the existing oversized one, so daughter and I dutifully used our daily exercise allowance to go for a walk and slip the following into their letterbox:

Obviously, as Uncle Johnny is far too generous by half, he left a bag of treats on the doorstep for me:

He'd previously asked if I fancied a sprue of German Infantry when I had bemoaned my lack of non-fantasy miniatures to kitbash bandits for Zona Alfa, and due to hating the idea that I might finish the year with the Tally in the positive he stuck in a whole box! I may have to take just the one sprue and post the rest back through his door to keep the hit to the Tally down... There's also a load of small Star Wars helmets on display stands, as apparently he ended up with a load of duplicates whilst filing gaps in his collection...

So. all in, the Tally stands at:

1 vs 56 = -55
(I only counted one sprue of the germans)

Don't worry, if you know what time of year it is you'l know that there's going to be at least one point put on the other side of the scale very soon...

Due to being furloughed from work during the ongoing lockdown, I've also managed to get some hobby time in. Not much mind, as most of my time is spent homeschooling, cooking, or doing one of the seventeen loads of washing up we apparently produce daily by all being at home, but some nevertheless.

Firstly, I've been sprucing up some Mantic ruins to use for Zona Alfa:

It took a long time to green stuff away the connector holes, but after a couple of weeks doing a little here, a little there, they're now finally ready for painting.

Then, a buddy messaged me about Rangers of Shadow Deep, and I thought 'a solo wargame that I could play using miniatures I already have? that sounds doable' so I find myself making a village:

(the eagle-eyed among you will notice that this picture was taken moments before I realized that I'd stuck the wall on upside down - I only noticed because the gap in the thatch didn't align with the doorway, not the fact that the door didn't touch the ground...)

Whilst technically I would be able to play RoSD sooner than ZA, as I have to paint all the miniatures for ZA, whereas RoSD I can mostly fill the ranks with the generic fantasy miniatures I've painted over the years (although sidenote, I apparently don't have any giant spiders, which is going to be an issue with the first narrative arc of the campaign that comes in the main rulebook), scenery is another matter, as I don't have any rivers, or bushes, or trees, so I'm going to have to make some generic fantasy terrain! To that end, although I have most of the material I'd need, I made some of my own flock:

Sawdust plus paint, simple! Given how much I want to make (and also doing it quarter of an hour at a time means fairly straightforward tasks can take days) it looks like lockdown will end before I get a solo game in, but who knows...