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! 

Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Building a Board

I really should know better by now than to say I'll blog more. I've been pretty busy hobby-wise over the past couple of weeks, but I've had very little energy to put a post together. Better late than never, I suppose! 

Last time I talked about how I was thinking about doing some solo narrative games of Middle Earth to keep myself entertained during Lockdown. With things starting to be eased here in the UK, this might not be an issue for much longer. I still figure it's a fun project to work on though.

I've decided to start simply and find something which I already have most of the models for. One scenario which I've had my eye on for a while is the Orc brawl at Cirith Ungol. I've been thinking about doing it ever since I started working on a set of Mordor terrain last year, but as ever with me, I never really got around it.

Doing a bit of research, there's actually surprisingly few existing scenarios which cover this scene. The main one which I could find was in the old Return of the King rulebook from about 15 years ago. The ruleset has come a long way since then, but I'm sure it won't be too difficult to negotiate around that.

It also has the added benefit of me already having most of the models and terrain I need to play it. The only things I need to do is paint a few Uruk Hai and build a board for it!

I know that's a pretty big 'only'. To be honest though, I've been meaning to build a gaming board for years. I just haven't really found the time to do it and used mats to play on instead. I've even got all the materials I need for it. I found these 2 foot by 2 foot art boards in a charity shop years ago:

It was a brilliant find, I must say. The only issue was that there were only three of them.

Luckily I had an old Armies on Parade display board knocking about which i could use to complete the set and make a 4x4 board. All they really needed was a bit of a clean up and a few coats of spray paint, but as I said, I never actually got around to it until now. I've been using them to support a gaming mat instead. 

With some government-mandated free time on my hands, I figured now's the perfect time to get it done.

A quick sand down and ten minutes with a spray can and they looked like this:

Not too bad, but they stood out horribly alongside the Armies on Parade board, particularly as they lacked the same kind of texture, so I started stippling on some slightly watered down Nuln Oil to try to both darken them down and add some visual interest at the same time.

It took a few more layers than I thought it would. The wood really sucked up the wash! That added to the ridiculously hot weather that week meant that the layers kept drying in some weird ways. 

This is how one of the boards ended up looking after a couple of layers:

Not ideal, but I soon had it sorted after a few more layers. 

Eventually I ended with something looking like this:

Nothing too flashy, but very passable and generic enough to cover many different gaming systems. A bit small for 40k, but perfect for pretty much everything else I play. 

A few rocks and it becomes Mordor. A few buildings on top of that and it works for Cirith Ungol or other Mordor fortresses:

Alternatively, it looks pretty good for Titanicus too:

There's plenty of flexibility in there. Not bad for a few days work!

It's also quite handy as a backdrop for photographing models on, especially with a large window nearby for natural light. Here's some Plagueburst Crawlers from my Table of Shame which I finished up, so there's progress there too!

I'm pretty happy with the work I've been putting in over the past few weeks. It's felt good to accomplish something I've been wanted to do for ages. Hopefully I can keep this hobby enthusiasm going, especially with 9th edition 40k on the way. I'm hoping to finish up my Table of Shame before then, especially as I broke my own rule and ordered the Indomitus box, but we'll see how I get on with that. Fingers crossed! 

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Getting a grip

I've been bouncing between projects so much recently, I'm surprised I don't have whiplash!

Lockdown really hasn't been good for my focus at all. I've just been flitting between projects almost at random, not completing any of them, whilst also buying way too many models. 

It's hardly surprising tbh. I tend to build and paint stuff with playability in mind and I'm always at my most productive when I've got a game or event to get things finished for.

So whilst I'm stuck at home, I've decided to give myself something specific to work towards, which should hopefully help me get things rolling again. 

I'm setting myself two goals:

1. Paint everything on my 'Table of Shame'.

2. Work towards getting everything sorted so I can play some solo games.

Nice and simple I reckon, but it'll keep me busy for a while and give me the kick up the arse I need to be productive again.

My Table of Shame is a pretty simple idea:

I just put all the projects which I've been putting off for ages on a table and took a photo. Those will be the only things which I'll be working on. I'm not buying any more models until they're all done.

Pretty simple, eh? I'm aware I could be setting myself up to fail here, but at least it gives me a clear sense of what I'm working towards.

I've even already made a start on it and finished up the Emperor's Children Veteran Squad which I showed you guys a few weeks back:

Barring the lack of transfers right now (waiting to get paid so I can do a FW order now they've reopened), I'm pretty happy with how they turned out in the end. An entire 30k army done like this is going to be pretty eye-catching! 

I've got the bits standing by to do another squad, plus a really fun Fulgrim conversion, but they aren't on the Table of Shame, so they can wait. 

Moving onto my other point, I've decided to finally scratch the gaming itch I've been having. Obviously with social distancing rules being what they are in the UK atm, I'm not likely to be able to get a game against a real opponent any time soon. That means I'm going to have to be a little creative. 

I've had the idea of playing some games against myself, taking control of both forces. Whilst I doubt this could work well with large scale games like 40k, it might work reasonably well with games which veer towards the skirmish-y end of the spectrum, like Middle Earth. 

I quickly realised a big drawback to this idea: playing both sides would mean there won't really be any back and forth between me and my opponent. I'd know exactly what they were thinking, making it harder to play an interesting game. 

This got me thinking even further. I've been wanting to play some narrative scenarios ever since I started the game. Maybe I could play through some of those by myself? It would certainly encourage me to play in a more interesting and narrative way. 

I figure it's certainly worth a try. The worst that could happen is that it doesn't work as well as I hoped. At the very least, it'll keep me entertained for a few more days of lockdown, which can't be a bad thing. 

I'll cover my adventures in making this plan a reality in a later post. I just wanted to put a post out covering where my mind is right now, hobby-wise. 

I'm going to be trying to blog a bit more often too, as that should also help me get into some kind of hobby routine. I don't know how successful all this will be, but it'll at least be interesting to find out. Hopefully I'll be back with more soon! 

Saturday, 13 June 2020


That's the sound of my painting points being shattered into a thousand pieces!

To cut a long story short, whilst everyone's been getting excited about the reveal of 9th Ed 40k, I've veered off in a completely different direction.

My hobby motivation has very much come in fits and starts over the past few weeks. I think being stuck inside has been starting to get to me a little. It pretty much killed my will to work anything. When I did, I found myself unable to focus on any one project for very long. 

A friend of mine managed to really stoke up my hobby inspiration again a few weeks ago though, which led to a completely unexpected purchase:

I've always been a massive potter nerd and loved the look of the Harry Potter Miniatures Adventure Game from Knight Models ever since they started previewing it a few years ago. I never had anyone to play with though so I never actually picked it up until now.

 If that sounds like a familiar story, that's because it's exactly what happened with Middle Earth last year! It was even the same friend who convinced me to take the plunge on both occasions. 

That friend added me to a Facebook group he runs for the game and let the beautiful models splashed across my FB feed slowly erode my self control. Clearly he's a bad influence on me! 

The models were a dream to paint up. I enjoyed working on them so much I managed to finish all of them over a single weekend. The small size the game is played at and the scale of the models themselves also really encouraged me to treat each one like a character piece in their own right, so they were great fun to do. 

I'm really proud of how the they turned out. I feel like these are some of my best painting to date! Normally I'm really self critical of my painting skills so that's saying a lot. 

After finishing the Order, everything kind of snowballed. My mate pointed me in the direction of an ebay shop selling other models for the game at ridiculously cheap prices and just like that, I was hooked. Three weeks after buying my first models for this game, my collection looks like this:

I regret nothing! 

Yes my painting points are totally ruined when I already have a massive backlog of other stuff to work through, but at least it gives me something to occupy my ever dwindling attention span with whilst I'm still stuck inside. Even if I never actually play the game, they'll make excellent display pieces. 

That's all for today. Hopefully I'll have some more to show you soon as I get my hobby mojo back and try to dig my way back out of backlog hell. I've even had a fun idea to try and actually get some games ayed of some description, but I'll tell you more when I get there. 

For now, stay safe and I'll catch you next time. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2020

Projects between projects

Carrying on from my last post, I'm really starting to get back into the swing of things. I'm still plugging away at my Emperor's Children, but I've got some other bits to show you.

I actually did these over the course of the past few weeks but I forgot to talk about them last time. 

First up, I unearthed my old Dark Elves when I was cleaning the other week. 

I was planning to have a go at getting these back into some kind of usable condition this year anyway, but I hadn't made any specific plans yet. Finding them really sparked the urge to work on them though, so I'm going to be weaving them in between other projects I'm working on.

So far I've managed to spruce up ten Corsairs:

These old metal models are a dream to work with compared to the newer plastic ones. Plus they have so much character to them. Unfortunately they're really expensive to source these days, but I got a fantastic deal on a bunch of them a few years ago. It's almost shameful that it's taken so long for me to paint them up! 

These first ten turned out great I reckon. If I can keep this kind of quality across the army, I'll be exceedingly happy. There's really no rush to get them done though, so I can really take my time with them.

I've got another ten half-finished on top of these, plus another twenty waiting on my to do pile, but I got a little distracted by my Emperor's Children. I'll probably return and finish them up after I do a couple of squads of those. There really is no structure to what I'm working on atm, I'm just drifting wherever my mood takes me, hobby wise. 

Another thing I forgot to mention before is that I built a bunch of terrain. 

I did this mostly to give myself something simple to do whilst I was trying to get my hobby motivation back. I had loads of it laying around from my Conquest subscription, so it felt good to finally be doing something with it.

After a spray of black followed by silver, it's going to be super simple to finish up, so I'm going to be working on that between other projects too. 

I'm finding that having a constant level of low key hobby to do in some form is helping me to stay sane during the lockdown. I think if I had nothing like this to keep me busy, I'd be finding things really difficult right now. Luckily GW reopened their website last week, so I'm no longer in danger of running out of paint! 

Stay safe guys, I'll catch you next time. 

Monday, 4 May 2020

A little bit of craziness.

I started lockdown in a really productive mood. I was posting on here more or less daily and I churned out a ridiculous amount of progress in a short space of time. I think I might have burned myself out a little though, as
I've entered a bit of a slump for the last few weeks

So I've spent a bit of time focusing on other, non hobby-related things and now I've made a return.

Inspired by the GW online preview revealing Saul Tarvitz, I've started working on something I've wanted to do for a while now: 30k Emperor’s Children! 

I've always loved the IIIrd Legion, both before and after the Heresy. I've got a massive 40k force of them and I've always meant to do a 30k version to accompany thing that's always bothered me though is how 'normal' most 30k EC forces end up looking. They went off the rails really, really quickly and were well on their way to resembling their 40k counterparts by even the mid point of the Heresy!

I get that part of the appeal of Horus Heresy gaming is representing Legions before their decline, but that wasn't for me. I've always said that if/when I did my 30k Emperor’s Children force, it would represent them in their full blown crazy phase. I've just never really gotten around to making it a reality until now. 

Well now I've got a lot of free time to kill, I figured I should really give it a go. 

After a couple of hours rummaging through bits boxes, I had my first squad built:

I had so many odds and ends laying about that it was pretty easy to knock something together. The trick was balancing the 30k and 40k elements so they wouldn't look totally out of place on an Age of Darkness battlefield

The main rule which I set myself was No Mutations. I wanted them to look horrific, but mutations really belong in the Scouring and beyond, after they've spent some time in the Eye of Terror. 

After that it was time to get some paint on them. I picked three to do as test models:

These took absolutely ages to finish, but I've got the process down now so the rest should be a bit quicker to do. I'm really happy with how they turned out though and I can't wait to crack on with the rest of the army. I reckon it'll look fantastic and really striking when it's done.

The only thing that's bugging me right now is that I can't get hold of the transfers I want I order to finish them off, due to the Forge World website still being closed. I'll just have to be patient, which tbh isn't my strong point. 

Oh and in case you're wondering, I haven't forgotten about my Inquisition project, I'm just waiting for some hobby supplies to arrive before I get on with it. I'll post it up when those arrive!

Monday, 30 March 2020

Clearing the Decks.

After my last post, I'm looking seriously at how to organise and carry out my Inquisition project. Before I do that though I figured I should start clearing my desk of my current work in progress.

Naturally for me that includes a load of Middle Earth stuff, so I set to getting those done. 

I surprised even myself a little with how much I got done in a night though. Clearly all this government-mandated hobby time is making me more productive! 

Theoden and Merry here are just a couple of dismounts for my all-mounted Rohan force, hence why they've been unfinished for so long. They turned out pretty great considering they were only sprayed white when I started! 

 I'd say it took about 2-3 hours to get them polished off, not including basing, which is bloody good. Normally character pieces take me a week or so. 

Part of the reason I churned them out so quick is that I made a conscious decision to skip the normal blending and finicky details I normally pour into characters. Being dismounts, they won't even hit the board in most games I play with them, so I didn't want to overcomplicate the painting on them. Theoden will see use in my Helm's Deep list, but tbh he looks good enough to pass even then. 

The only thing that's bugging me is that I can't find Theoden's shield anywhere, so he'll have to make do without it until it turns up!

Next up was finishing off a few Elves which I had leftover from my event army a few months ago:

I started painting them back in December, but then my event list changed so they weren't needed and fell by the wayside. It's good to finally have them done. 

The mounted Ranger was a conversion I did for Battle Companies. Obviously that campaign has been delayed for a few months now, but it's a fun model which I'm looking forward to using at some point. It's just a shame I can't use it in regular games outside of a counts-as Mirkwood Cavalry model.

Finally I magnetised a trio of Blight Haulers for my Nurgle-loving friend:

It was a surprisingly lengthy process, as I had to use green stuff to line up the prongs of the guns with the sponson mounts. I didn't trust my ability to cut precise grooves to house the magnets, so I went for the GS route instead.

 It also had the advantage of breaking up the uniformity of the gun mounts by adding fleshy growths to hide the magnets. The lack of customisation on the newer chaos vehicles really bothers me, so that alleviated it a bit. 

I won't be painting these myself. My mate is going a little crazy in strict lockdown atm, so I said I'd run them over to him when I get a chance.

 It might be a while before he gets them, but he's in the vulnerable group, so he's most likely going to be cooped up far longer than I will. It'll give him something to take his mind off it for a while at least.

Now those bits are done and off my desk, I've just got a few more bits to do, then I'm fully ready to go hard on Inquisition. It's annoying having to do it this way, but general progress is being made at least, which can't be a bad thing! 

Stay safe guys.