Monday, 11 January 2021

Harry Potter Progress

It's been an absolutely crazy couple of days for me. One thing after another's been going wrong. Luckily I had a chance to finish up some models before everything went to hell.

They didn't photograph as well as if have liked in my lightbox. The colours a bit bolder in person. They still look pretty decent though, so I can't really complain too much. 

I might redo Ginny at some point, as the varnish I used killed a lot of the subtler shading and highlights on her, but on the whole I'm happy with them. I particularly love how Luna turned out. 

It's actually quite refreshing to have a break from painting GW sculpts. The Knight Model Harry Potter range is a joy to work with too. I'm probably going to do a couple more of them before returning to working on GW stuff. My friend is making noises about having stuff for me to do with the Death Guard codex approaching, so I'm guessing my near future will be somewhat Nurgle-y! I'll have to see how I feel now I'm going back to work.

Stay safe guys and I'll be back soon.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Hitting the ground running in 2021

Happy New Year! 

I was going to write a really long end of year review post for 2020, but quite frankly last year is one which noone wants to look back on, much less relive in any detail. Instead I'm going to hit the ground running on the new year and hope things look up in 2021. Oh wait, we're back in Lockdown here in the UK. Never mind...

On a more positive note I've got a week off work and suddenly finding myself with nothing better to do, so I've spent it being pretty productive with attacking my backlog. It's gone pretty well so far:

I've managed to knock out four characters over the course of the first three days of the year. Really not a bad start at all. They've turned out pretty well, even if I say so myself. Mounted Legolas in particular was a joy to paint up. I've wanted that sculpt ever since I got into the game, so I was super happy when it cropped up on Made to Order at the end of last year. 

Lots of progress also means I had a chance to test out the lightbox which a friend very kindly bought me for Christmas, so you may see an uptick in the quality of photography on here once I've had a bit of a play around on with it.

Naturally the first photo I took was of something that didn't fit in the box:

That's everything I painted last year. I originally took the photo for the scrapped review post, but I still wanted to show it off.  That's 498 painting points across twelve months. Quite impressive I'm sure you'll agree. What's even more impressive though is the fact that I'm still in negative figures! Covid really hasn't been good for my self restraint on starting new projects. 

That's why the first part of this year is going to be spent trying to clear through my mighty backlog. If you saw my last post, you'll know that I've got plenty to keep me busy for a while.

Luckily I'm feeling really productive right now, so I'm going to channel that productivity into producing tangible results before that feeling fades again.

Currently on my work bench are this:

And these:

That's the Mirkwood Terrain I've been working on for my home board for a while now, then a couple of Harry Potter characters which I bought in my frenzy of impulse buying back in the summer. They should keep me busy for a while, whilst scratching my hobby itch in two very different ways.

I'll keep you updated on how I get on. 

Thursday, 17 December 2020

He's making a list, he's checking it twice...

.. And thats the extent of the festive content on here. Bah humbug!

Seriously though, after talking about getting to grips with my backlog in my last post, I decided to do a mini audit of all the half completed projects I have strewn about:

That was my first mistake. As you can see it's huge!

To be fair, everything listed as Death Guard is for a friend who really doesn't care how long I take to paint his stuff, but it's still a pretty hefty list. 

It very much confirms how much of a hobby butterfly I am. It also shows how terrible I've been at finishing projects I start until recently. None of those are fresh in their box, they're all things i've started and then gotten distracted from!

Now the purpose of making this list isn't just to depress myself with my lack of productivity, although that is an unfortunate side effect. It forms a handy reference guide when I'm looking for something to paint. In theory, it means that no project becomes wholly forgotten. I can find something that needs doing and catches my interest at a particular moment, then go dig it out and work on it.

It's a simple enough theory at least. I've even made a start on it, with Saruman and some Ringwraiths on foot making it onto my painting handles this week:

I'd just like to take this opportunity to say that photographing mostly black models is a pain in the arse with my current setup! 

They didn't turn out too badly for a few evenings worth of work though. I didn't try anything too fancy with the Wraiths, as beyond scenario play, they're mostly going be used as dismounts. I did them mostly with Contrast apart from final highlighting and the metallics. 

 I did put a bit more effort in on the layering on Saruman's robes though. It didn't turn out as smoothly as I'd hoped, but looks decent enough. I picked him up on a whim a while back, partly because I absolutely love that particular sculpt, but he's also going to eventually be part of my Fantasy Fellowship/White Council. That's a while off yet with my current plans, but Its nice to have him done.

I'm not sure what I'll do next, but general productivity seems to have settled on me now, so that's always a good thing. Hopefully my manic work schedule between now and New Year doesn't chase that away!

Talking of which, this will probably be my last post before Christmas, so I'll take this opportunity now to say stay safe and have a Merry Christmas to you all. It's been a crazy year, but hopefully things will be looking up as we go into 2021.

Merry Christmas! 

Friday, 11 December 2020

Getting to grips with my backlog

I've slowed down my pace of work a little this week. I've just been chipping away at my backlog. This time I finished up my mounted Knight of Umbar for Corsairs and some Morgul Knights for my Mordor force:

They didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped, but they're decent enough. Quite frankly I was sick of looking at them on my painting desk, so it's nice to be able to move onto something else. 

I'm coming to the conclusion that my Pile of Shame is getting a little ridiculous again. Being stuck inside most of the year has given me far too much free time to scroll through ebay and pick up various bits and pieces which I probably didn't need. A quick glance at my running total of painting points shows just how much all that has added up, despite how much I've been painting recently! 

I need to get back into positive figures on my painting points. I haven't been nearly as disciplined with it as I really should have been. With that in mind, I've decided that I'm going to force myself to be strict and not buy any new models until I hit that magic number of zero!

If I manage that, I'll treat myself to a set of Balin's Tomb terrain and some lovely Hobbit characters from Forge World. A nice little incentive I reckon. 

Luckily I've got loads of metal Middle Earth characters knocking around which I can knock out reasonably quickly, plus my Indomitus sets which should take massive chunk off that total too. Wish me luck!

Saturday, 28 November 2020


I've had a really productive few days. With a lack of anything else to do right now, I've really been cranking through projects at an excellent pace. Yes, that's right. I'm actually making a dent in my backlog! Wonders will never cease.

First of all, following on from last post, I painted up Shelob:

She was a lot easier to paint up than it was to build her. Getting a decent angle to for a photograph was a pain though, due to her pose. This was the best I could manage, sorry. 

Because I was so worried about how fragile the model was, I focused more on doing a relatively simple paint job, then varnishing the hell out of her, rather than attempting anything too fancy. If you look closely at the first photo though, you'll see I did manage to freehand some patterned markings down her back, just to add some interest. 

I'm pretty happy with how she turned out and I'm looking forward to the world being a little less mad so I can get her on the table, especially as she got a big boost from the new Cirith Ungol Legendary Legion! 

Alongside Shelob, I also managed to finish up Gaffer Gamgee for my Hobbits, along with his flower tokens:

He was less fun to work on than I was expecting. I'm not sure what it was, but he was a slog to get through. Perhaps because of the relative lack of detail on him compared to the other FW Shire characters. It's a shame really, as I was saving him till last out of my initial purchase as a treat, but he didn't live up to expectations.

Still, I'm happy with him and he's another character for my army done. Only 50 more Hobbits to go!

Finally this week I finished up my second Mounted Aragorn:

I accidentally snapped the leg of the one I painted about a year ago. Being a wholly metal model and the break being at the ankle, I figured it was easier to buy and paint a new one, rather than mess about trying to pin such a thin area!

Tbh I think on the whole he turned out than the original. Obviously I've gotten better at painting than I was back then, but I think a few subtle changes in colour choices made all the difference too. It all seems to tie together much better.

The only thing I'm not entirely happy with is his cloak. 

It didn't come out as smoothly as I'd hope. I can't have everything though and it looks decent enough. 

He marks the start of a repaint project I want to do for my Rangers/Grey Company force, so I'll be working on that alongside the rest of my backlog. I'm really just drifting where inspiration takes me atm though, so anything could happen. I'm just happy to be getting stuff finished. 

I'll post more soon, but until then, stay safe and happy hobbying! 

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

The Road goes on and on...

With the UK being back in Lockdown right now, you'd think I'd have plenty of time to get some projects finished. You'd be wrong unfortunately. Somehow I'm busier than ever. I have managed to find a little time to plug away at my backlog though, mostly Middle Earth stuff.

My Hobbits are coming along nicely. I've only got a few bits to finish up and I'll have the entirety of my initial purchase painted up. I figured the occasion called for a nice group shot:

Quite a sizable force is starting to come together, even if it's barely a third of my final army plan! I'm really taking my time though to make sure each one is the best it can be. That might sound like insanity when selling with a horde army like this, but the models are so nice I want to do them justice.

Of course finishing this batch meant that it was time to order the next one.

I honestly think I'm going to start seeing Hobbits in my dreams before this is done!

I want to take a little break before I start on the second batch though, so I turned my attention to other bits and pieces which I had laying around.

I figured I'd work on the Shelob model I've had for ages. A quick, relaxing build and a refreshing change of pace from Hobbits. Perfect, right? Wrong. After four hours of swearing, snapped limbs and endless bending and repositioning, I finally managed to wrangle the bloody thing into something resembling a model:

If anything would have benefited from transitioning to Finecast, it would have been this. It was a complete nightmare! At least it's built now and (should) be relatively simple to paint up. I'll let you know how it goes. I'm in a productive mood right now, so expect a flurry of posts over the next few weeks.

Until next time, stay safe and happy hobbying!

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The tiny horde grows!

My bout of productivity after my last post was killed somewhat by being rather ill for a week. Rather annoying, but at least I'm feeling better and back at the painting table now. 

Luckily I've been productive enough this week to make up for lost time. For the most part I've been plugging away at m horde of Hobbits.

That's 13 out of my 75-strong army list done now. Still a long way to go, but it's steady progress. I've finished just over half of the mass of models I bought at the end of August. Not bad going. 

 I'm finding them to be a lot of fun to paint up, especially the Forge World characters, so it's not as gruelling as I thought it would be. Breaking them down into batches of 3-4 at a time, plus a character seems to be the way to go. It keeps things interesting enough that I don't get distracted.

I've also found time to do a supply run into town to get the bits and pieces I need to make a start on building my terrain project. 

I've got some big plans for all this. Hopefully I'll get the time to start cracking on with that in the next week or two. 

I'll keep you posted on how I get on. 

Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Books and Hobbits

It's not often I cover news on here. Quite frankly, my erratic posting schedule would make that a bit of an exercise in futility. The latest release from GW has gotten me ridiculously excited though. 

Quest of the Ringbearer is up for preorder this weekend. Its the latest sourcebook for Middle Earth and as well as giving us some pretty cool new Legendary Legions, it also focuses on narrative play.

As much as I like Matched Play in my GW games, Narrative is where my heart is at. I've been wanting to dive into the narrative side of things for a while.

You might remember me saying I wanted to dive into some solo narrative scenarios during lockdown. That never really materialised due to various reasons, but my attention has been firmly swung back in that direction now. 

I've got to wait for the book to be in my hands before I decide for sure what I'm doing, but at the very least I'm using it as an excuse to build some terrain. 

Whilst I work out what I'm doing with that though, here's some Hobbits to look at:

They're the first completed batch from the group which I showed you last time. I'm really happy with how they turned out, considering that it only took two evenings to get them done. That was helped immensely by the fact that I deliberately kept the scheme very simple. I didn't want to do anything too complicated, considering I've got another 68 of the buggers to paint for my final force!

If I can work to this standard across the army though, I'll be very happy. 

The only thing I'm not 100% on is Baldo's face, (he's the one on the far left for those uninitiated into the dark rabbit hole which is SBG.) which I can't decide whether it's an issue with the sculpt or my painting skills. Probably a little of both Hobbit faces are even harder to do than even normal ones.

Either way I'm happy to call these done and move on. I'm feeling my momentum return on the painting front, so I'm just going to roll with it.

Hopefully I'll be back with more finished models soon. 

Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Indomitus stuff

Considering how excited I was about 9th Edition 40k and the Indomitus box, you may be wondering why I haven't posted about anything since release.

Well the recent heatwave was part of it. For a while it was just way too hot to even think about sitting down to hobby. I'd imagine a lot of people in the UK were in the same boat. It's really been ridiculous.

The other reason for my lack of posting was that I really didn't want to post about it until I actually had something substantial to share. I've really been taking my time with these models, trying to do justice to these gorgeous models. 

I'm happy to say now though that I can show you what I've been up to.

May I present the first three finished models for my Golden Knights chapter: Sir Auron Malakai of the Red Blades (Judiciar) and three Knights of the Black Griffin Brotherhood, warriors of the Bladeguard Veteran Cadre. 

These have taken far longer to do than I imagined. What I predicted would be a week or two's worth of work turned into a month and a half! Granted the heatwave slow things down, but that's still a pretty substantial misprediction! 

I'm not entirely happy with how certain parts turned out. In particular, I need to have a think about how to improve my recipe for swords in the future. Overall though I really love them. They were lots of fun to paint and (not to blow my own trumpet too much) I feel like they're some of the best models I've produced to date. 

The heraldry was a lot of fun to do too. 

Every squad in the army is going to have its own unique heraldry. I'm terrible at freehand so it's mostly going to be produced by combining parts from my vast collection of transfers. 

The Black Griffins were made mostly from the extras on the Indomitus sheet, but also by stealing the House Coldshroud symbol from my spare Titanicus transfer sheets. 

Custom transfers from Fallout Hobbies really helped the whole process as well. The crossed sword Chapter symbol was really important to me to incorporate in there. I always said it was the Chapter's symbol when I played them years ago, but I never felt brave enough to attempt to paint it onto my models. Luckily the wealth of third party companies producing 40k gubbins these days means that I don't have to!

The sheets were really nicely made and gave me enough symbols to do the entire army. They were pretty cheap too considering I had to pay for shipping from America. Only £25 delivered. I'd definitely recommend them! 

So now I've finished this squad, it'd probably make sense for me to finish the rest of my Indomitus stuff, wouldn't it? 

Well yes, but also no. 

I think I need a break before I paint my second squad. I want to do something a little simpler as a palate cleanser. Each of these was basically a character model in their own right in terms of detail. I think I'd go mad if I jumped straight into another squad of them right away. 

Luckily I have plenty to keep me busy. Because I'm terrible at keeping to hobby pledges, I've got a bunch of Hobbits to work on, some of which are probably going to be next on my agenda. 

Just a few! I blame the Green Dragon Podcast and their Shire episode. 

I also bought the new plastic Eomer, so I definitely need to crack on with that at some point. I also fancy working on my EC's again now that I know how I want to run them in 9th Edition. 

Whatever I work on, I shouldn't be too long in doing it. Finally getting these models finished has put me in a productive mood. Considering how precariously large my backlog is getting, I hope it carries on! 

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Making Progress

I recently found myself with five days off with nothing to do. That in itself was a shock tbh, as I've been working way too much over the course of Lockdown.

'Great!' I said to myself 'I can get loads of hobby done.'

I should have known better. It turned out to be way too warm and muggy for me to focus on painting at all. I ended up spending most of that time replaying Final Fantasy 10! 

Oddly enough though, my motivation to hobby has returned now I'm back at work. Maybe it's because I can settle back into my routine of sitting down to paint for an hour or two when I get home. Whatever the reason, I've actually started making progress on things again, which is always a good thing. 

9th edition 40k has gotten me pretty excited. Partly because both my Emperor's Children and Slaaneshi Deamons have gotten a boost through the rules changes, but also because it shakes up the game drastically in general. I got really quite sick of how stale things got in 8th and ended up playing far more Middle Earth than 40k, so a change is long overdue in my book. 

As a result of this newfound excitement, I've been working quite steadily through the 40k stuff on my Table of Shame, trying to clear some or most of it before the 9th Ed launch somewhat ruins the whole idea behind it. 

There's also the fact that not all of the stuff on there is my own. There's also my mate's Death Guard which I've been working on for a while now. Luckily he doesn't mind me taking my time. He knows how I am at actually completing projects!

 I did say to him I'd try and get a good chunk of it done before the edition launches though, so I focused on those first. I've already managed to crank out a Rhino and some more Plague Marines for him over the course of the past couple of days.

Not my best work, but they look decent enough and my friend loves them, which is the important thing.

 Every time I sit down to paint Death Guard for him, I seem to forget just how ridiculously overdetailed those kits are. I can't believe they're just starter box models!

The Rhino didn't turn out too bad either:

I'm pretty proud of the Plague Marine I converted into the hatch instead of the standard gunner though. It's a little detail, but it ties the whole thing into the overall look of the army rather nicely. 

Anyway, with a few more Death Guard models done and out the way, I was able to focus on my own stuff for a little while. 

With two Indomitus boxes on the way, I've been thinking about how I'm going to paint them. I had thought about doing Red Hunters to go alongside my Inquisition, as I've started painting my existing Primaris Marines in that scheme. However, the more I look at the knightly aesthetic of the new models, the more I was inspired to revive my old homebrew chapter, the Golden Knights.

There's only one problem: in the 12 years since I last played them or painted a model for them, Forge World has stolen their colour scheme for the Minotaurs!

Cheeky gits! 

I don't really mind though. It gives me the perfect excuse to update their colours to something a bit more interesting. My original Golden Knights fell to Chaos, so it would actually make sense that a Primaris-ised version of them wouldn't have the same scheme. 

Fluff-wise, it'll also be interesting to come up with a justification on why they're back as a loyalist force. Right now, the background I'm writing for their rebirth talks about how there was a loyalist survivor who was in tbe Deathwatch at the time of their fall. He's been petitioning to be allowed to refund the chapter, but it wasn't until Gulliman returned to life and the launch of the Indomitus Crusade that he was allowed to do so. 

Something like that anyway. On a cool note, I've actually had said loyalist, Alrik Wulfenhein, as the Watch Captain in my Deathwatch army for years. It'll be quite nice to develop his background further and decide what the future holds for him! 

Anyway, back to painting. I want something recognisable as the original chapter, but with a twist. After a bit of playing around, this is what I came up with:

It's a fairly simple update to the scheme, but I quite like it. I'm thinking about possibly changing the Bolter casing to black though, just to make it stand out a little more. The final version of the scheme will incorporate a load of heraldry and squad markings too, really playing up the Knight aspect, so those will be fun to develop too.

It's quite a simple scheme to paint, which is always a bonus. My plan this weekend or early next week is to sit down with my Indomitus boxes and a can of Retributor Armour spray and crank through as much as I can in one go. The quicker I can get them done, the lesser the long term impact on my painting points! 

I'm also hoping to finish up a few more bits this later week too, including the rest if this test squad. I've got to really take advantage of this hobby mojo while I have it!

Anyway that's all for today, stay safe and happy hobbying!