Monday, 29 May 2023

A little plump guy…

Every now and then I diverge from my keenly focused projects and throw a random mini into the mix, and this is one of those:

He’s a repainted Mage Knight figure (that my daughter hates, and refuses to look directly at), who will work as an imp or minor demon for Frostgrave, and I’m sure can pop his ugly head up in Silver Bayonet games too.

I took painting him as an opportunity to use flesh tones that I wouldn’t usually - I started from Bestigor Flesh, so he looks fairly ruddy.

The Tally took a hit both ways though, as I grabbed this month’s freebie mini from GW:

An Arbite - you could really make a decent Inquisitorial warband with the minis they’ve given away over the last couple of years!

All in, the Tally now stands at:

21 vs 42 = -21

Coming next: more things that aren’t on this year’s project list, if I’m being brutally honest…

Friday, 26 May 2023

Got wood… kits?

So, over on Facebook (nearly a fortnight ago- I need to get better at writing blog posts in a timely fashion!) I saw an offer that was hard to refuse: ten random old TTCombat mdf kits for £16. I ummed and ahhed a bit about whether to take the gamble and sink some of my limited hobby funds into what could potentially be useless to me, but caved when I figured that if I could use two or three of them that was still under a fiver a kit, and hoped that I got some useful buildings. 

So, not long after I received roughly five inches of fun (feel free to insert your own joke here):

First off, I was immediately onto a winner, with a building suitable for the zombie project that was worth the price of admission on its own:

As was this clock tower, which could happily see use in the majority of my ongoing projects:

This set with no front page which turns out to be a billboard, which should work for zombies as well as scifi etc:

A ruined Wild West house. Not the most obviously useful for me, but a ruin is a ruin…

Crates! Everyone loves crates!

Another Wild West building. Onto the back burner you go, but I’m sure I can make it into something useable…

I figure if I leave out the actual oil well part of this, it becomes a perfectly serviceable generic tower. Stick a satellite dish on top and you’ve got sci-fi scenery!

Market stalls - great for fantasy, and equally useable for modern games:

The least useful thing, a billion chairs. But on the other hand, I’m sure some of the Rangers of Shadow Deep scenarios are in trashed parts of a convent, so a smattering of smashed up chairs would likely make perfectly good scatter scenery there…

Not immediately useful, but cool nevertheless:

And so I set about building one, having never made an mdf kit before:

YouTube had a variety of handy tips, like slightly raising the sheet on something to pop out the pieces, and spray priming them rather than brushing it on as they will apparently just drink paint.

Then my children wanted to do some painting, which was a perfect opportunity for me to carry on working on my kit! Unusually, I painted it in pieces rather than my usual approach of ‘stick it all together and if you can’t get a brush there you probably can’t see there either’, mostly sponging on colour to try to give the piece some texture:

Then it was a case of assembling it with lashings of glue, and weathering it until it looked like it would fit on my tabletop:

I decided against glueing down the roof piece, so that if need be I can stash loot tokens up there, use it as a sniper nest etc…

Saturday, 13 May 2023

Who you gonna call?

 So, we have a ghost:

Normally, I’m very measured in my miniature purchasing, and everything has a purpose for one of my current projects. Not this banshee though, that was picked up in a previous North Star sale just because she was such a lovely sculpt! She can stand in for a ghost for Silver Bayonet, Frostgrave etc though…

I painted her with a series of light grey dry brushes, and washed her with a bluey green contrast paint (she’s a bit greener in real life than she looks in these photos taken on a rainy day) to make her look a bit spectral. If I were to paint her again, I’d maybe have worked some colour into the initial layers of paint rather than having it all come from the wash at the end, but I like her enough not to want to strip her and start again, so I’m calling it done.


20 vs 41 = -21

Sunday, 7 May 2023

It just came off in my hand!

For a while now, I’ve been wanting to start watching Doctor Who again. We’d originally stopped watching when Capaldi took over, and so I thought I might as well start again, and work my way back through the modern series that I’d previously watched. I then delayed this plan by a couple of years, as I figured that I’d like to watch it with my children, but they were a bit young for it at the time. So when my eldest hit 8, I figured it was go time! It’s still a bit scary (and to my surprise, my youngest has clicked with it more than my eldest, and he’s only just turned 4), but I thought it might also be an opportunity to play some games too, so I turned to the Doctor Who Miniatures Game:

(The sun came out today, so I took the opportunity to take a poses picture too!)

For the first scenario, based on the first episode with Christopher Ecclestone’s Doctor, you need 6 Autons:

3 are Autons from the Doctor Who Micro Universe range, that I was luckily able to pick up dozens of packs of way back when.

I mixed up the colours a bit to try and give them some variety, but didn’t do any conversion work, as I figured animated mannequins would probably be on pretty much the same pose anyway…

To bulk out my ‘official’ Autons, I turned to the human figures from the Micro Universe range. While the monsters are generally brilliant, the human figures suffer from soft detail on their faces and hands - which makes them ideal candidates to be painted up as mannequins!

I took (from L-R) Martha, the eleventh Doctor, and Sarah-Jane, and cut and repositioned their arms to make them look slightly awkward, like their arms are fixed in position:

Mannequin Martha has come out looking a little bit like she’s coming in for a hug, but I’m not mad about it.

Finishing this half dozen brings the Tally to:

19 vs 41 = -22

What comes next? There’s a bunch of odds and ends on my painting tile, so I should probably work on clearing some space there! Although I should probably work on some more modern terrain…

Thursday, 4 May 2023

May the Fourth be with you…

So, my original plan for this year’s Star Wars themed miniature for May the Fourth was to grab another Jedi youngling from Hasslefree at Salute, and paint it over the next couple of weeks inspired by my son (much like I did 8 years ago for his sister), but unfortunately they ended up not going to Salute, leaving me painting this figure that I’d previously prepped just in case:

It’s Jon Odan, one of the player characters from Imperial Assault, a board game that if I continue painting at my current pace I’ll have a fully painted set by the time I’m 90.

She was painted mostly following the Sorastro tutorial on YouTube, although a lot of the time it was with the sound off while I was doing other things, so it might not be the most faithful paint job! 

Painting her brings the Tally to:

13 vs 41 = -28

As I’m off work this week, I also grabbed a magazine with some horses on the front to take on a coffee date with my wife. I guess as it’s a miniature accessory rather than a whole mini they don’t count towards the Tally? It’s not the most scientific count, truth be told…

Monday, 1 May 2023

Mayday! Mayday! Is there a doctor in the house?

 So, in between my laser focus in painting Skaven and making scenery for my year-long zombie campaign, I’ve recently dug this mini out of the painting queue to finish:

It’s Heresy’s version of John Hurt’s War Doctor, and I think it might be Andy Foster’s best sculpt, the likeness is just brilliant. I didn’t paint it his eyes, as I liked the grumpy squinty scowl he has going on…

To get myself prepped for painting him, I listened to the audiobook ‘The Innocent’, which I think I got as a freebie when we went into lockdown, and I highly recommend, even if only to spend an hour of your life going ‘wow, John Hurt really as brilliant wasn’t he?’.

One lesson from painting this mini - I really need to make sure I pin everything! Apparently I didn’t pin his hand when I built him (way back in the mists of time when he was originally available), as I discovered when he took a tumble off my painting tile and there was a horrible five minutes when I couldn’t find his missing hand - thankfully my wife was able to spot it, and I was able to glue it back on!

Finishing him brings the Tally to:

12 vs 41 = -29

Sunday, 23 April 2023

Salute 2023!

So, after a long time away (having not been since 2018, as in 2019 my son’s due date was the same time as Salute, so I skipped it, and then a global pandemic made it tricky to attend large gatherings) this year we were back to our annual pilgrimage to Salute, this time with an additional party member, my oft-alluded to friend that derails all my projects by showing me cool stuff (see Rangers of Shadow Deep, Inquisitor…)

Said friend drove us up to Canary Wharf, so this year was a much less bleary eyed trip than our usual break of dawn coach! 

After spending almost no time at all queueing, we paired off and started our preliminary tour of the stands. I wanted to run straight to Mantic to make sure I was able to secure the show exclusive Hellboy release, and then signed up to play a game of Silver Bayonet, as it’s on the project list:

I ended up taking the Russian unit, by dint of them being closest to me when it was time for our slot to begin at 10:30:

(This is before I’d annotated the sheet with brief descriptions of each model so I knew who was who, and also what colour we were using for the skill and power dice)

After we’d had the rules and scenario (troll bridge, with a hint of zombie villagers) explained to us (as three of us had never played before), it was time to begin! Everyone else made cautious advances on the objectives, hugging cover, but I figured it was the time for guts and glory and threw everyone bar my rifleman forward (who hung back and managed to land a fairly telling hit on my friend’s officer - I felt kind of bad about that, but he was the only figure he could see!)

My poor Light Cavalryman (who had so far mostly been tasked with standing in front of my Officer as a human shield, as he was the only one of my pistol armed troops that didn’t also have oil and torches, which I suspected might be handy against a troll) was then tasked with grabbing the clue marker, which of course brought the troll into play:

From this point on my only objective was to take down that troll. My rifleman popped out to snipe it, and everyone else cocked their pistols menacingly. My Officer had originally planned to shoot it before charging in heroically to slay it in hand to hand, but then I remembered that the icy river was difficult terrain so he’d have to forego his shot to have any chance of reaching it, so instead rather sheepishly moved behind the Light Cavalryman to prepare for a slightly less courageous but slightly more tactically sound counterattack next turn. Which was probably for the best, as the troll hurled a rock at the Light Cavalryman which (thanks to my opponents on the other side of the board spending Monster Dice) absolutely exploded him (cue ‘Team Rocket blasting off againnnnn’ quote as I remove him from the board).

While all this was going on, the players on the other side of the board controlling the French and Austrian units were cautiously closing on each other, with an Occultist doing their spooky thing whilst a Dhampir charged in to fight the opposing officer only to bounce off. My friend (controlling the Prussian unit), was much more tactical than I was, using cover and tactics to try and swoop in and steal my kill:

As the guy running the game explained, it’s not who does the most damage to the troll that gets the XP…

At this point, with my counterattack poised and ready to take down the troll, our slot came to and end, and I found out I’d have only needed to do 4 more damage to have finished it off! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and so Silver Bayonet might see a little bump up in priority up the Project list… one brief highlight was looking up during the game to see the designer Joseph McCullough watching us play, so I gave him an excited thumbs up! Also, that troll was quite a nice looking miniature… 

They also had a copy of the first expansion on hand, despite it not being out until next month, but I only managed to have the briefest of flicks through it after chatting with one of the other players before we had to head off to make space for the next batch of players.

Once we’d finished our game, it was time to do the rounds! The original plan was to do a lap first of all to scope things out, before swinging back to select stalls, but in the end we’d only seen about half of them by the time we stopped for lunch, and then rest took us pretty much to the end of the day! I was apparently also bad at taking pictures throughout the day, having a chum to chat to as I went round rather than my usual lone wolf approach, so what follows is only a tiny fraction of the goodies on offer at Salute.

There was a glorious Mordheim table, complete with glowing comet crater, and a ton of cool looking warbands:

Not bad for a game that’s been out of print for two decades!

Brief aside: every year, the tradition is that we have a picnic lunch sat on the grassy area just outside the Excel centre. Alas, this year we discovered that it was now a building site:

Bad Squiddo released a giant squid that is frankly impressive that it all fits in the blister:

I took a picture of this Batman game, as we were reminiscing about a previous Salute where I and another friend got overly excited and made a number of elaborate plans (and purchases!) for the Batman Miniatures Game. There have been multiple editions of that game since, and we’ve still not managed to play a game of it…

Giant barrel of dice:

The guy at the stand cut me a great deal on the fistful of dice I had at the end of the show!

Other things of note were thinking that I’d somehow missed the Hasslefree stand, only upon hunting it down after lunch to discover that they weren’t at the show (which outs a dampener on my plans for May the Fourth!) , and having a nice chat with Karl at Crooked Dice about plans for filling in gaps in their range, and the Doctor Who Miniatures Game (must remember to email him about that Preachers pdf!)

And so, to the meat of any Salute post, the loot: 

I took out a chunk of cash in the morning, to avoid having to deal with the terrible signal at the show and also for budgeting, which I only went slightly over.

I got:

The Limited Edition Lobster Johnson for the Hellboy game
A variety of scenery bits from Renedra, including an old barn and some fencing that I thought would work nicely as Mordheim walkways without their fence posts,
A sprue of Napoleonic Brits to round out my Silver Bayonet unit
A Frostgrave ruler, offered in consolation when I asked if there were Wizard Sheets for Second Edition and there weren’t
Some new clippers from TTCombat, as my GW ones have vanished and replacing them is insanely priced, as well as a pot of reasonably priced superglue
Plenty of Crooked Dice minis to fill gaps in my Who collection
A blister of Penangalan miniatures, as they’ll do nicely for my Ronin of Shadow Deep project
A 3d printed greenhouse to go with the set of gardening supplies that I’d picked up from Bad Squiddo
The same troll miniature that had been used in the Silver Bayonet game that I played in,
Some dice, including one with a rubber duck in,
Some bases, because I seem to have run down my stash of those,
A selection of minis from Tritex Games for my son to paint,
A not-who set from Tangent Miniatures that came with a song,
A selection of Burrows and Badgers miniatures to see if my daughter is ready to take the step up to metal miniatures and maybe play some games,
Amongst a number of other odds and ends!

Adding it all up, the Tally now stands at:

11 vs 41 = -30

Also noteworthy was grabbing Pat from the YouTube channel The Painting Phase as he was minding his own business doing some shopping to tell him how great I think the channel is, me being offered a peg:

Which got me a querying look from my wife when I posted on Instagram that I’d been pegged…

So, what does the future hold? Fortunately, due to the excitement of having miniatures that are explicitly his my son demanded that we do some painting today, so I was able to prep a couple of miniatures for painting at the same time…