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. 

Sunday, 29 March 2020

A Brace of Aragorns and a Gun Girl

That sounds like the setup to a bad joke, but it pretty accurately sums up my hobby progress over the last few days.

With GW and most other hobby outlets battening down the hatches for the time being, there's no better time to be making some headway on my pile of shame.

I've had two different versions of Aragorn sitting on my desk for ages. That might seem strange, but he's one of my favourite LOTR characters, plus I want to use him with different setups for different army lists I field him in. 

I'm not entirely happy with how the one on the right turned out, with the varnish killing the effect of the fine shading work I did on his hair. It'll do for now. Finishing these off gives me an appropriate Aragorn model for both my Helms Deep and Rangers lists.

I also painted up Haldir, again for my Helms Deep list:

He's probably going to sit unused for a while, as the Made to Order for his accompanying Elves has been delayed, but it was still fun to paint him up. 

And now for the Gun Girl:

This one surprised me a little. I was working on other stuff and happened to spot her on my desk. I bought her ages ago for use in Necromunda, but I never got around to finishing the model.

It's such a nice sculpt though that it seemed a shame not be using her in game, so I decided to give her a punky edge and make her part of my Inquisitor's Warband. 

It's certainly not the best paint job I've ever done, but I love how it turned out. 

Having finished her, I realised that I've really been neglecting my Inquisition forces. You might remember how psyched I was for them in the run up to the release of 8th edition, but the hack job which was done on their rules in the transition between editions really killed my enthusiasm for them. 

Being in lockdown though gives me the time to tackle long-neglected projects, so I'm thinking I might dig them out and try to get them repainted and ready to go for the current edition. 

 I've got so many other projects on the go though, I'll have to see what happens. It'll certainly be nice if I can. I'll have a look over the next few days and decide what I'm doing. 

That's all for today though, stay safe, wash your hands and see you next time! 

Monday, 23 March 2020

Hobby Season

I'm starting to get the sense that this whole Social Distancing thing is going to push my posting schedule through the roof. If nothing else, it'll encourage me back into the habit of writing my blog regularly again, which isn't a bad thing. At the rate I'm going though, I'm going to end up with a near-daily posting routine! 

I finished work early last night, so I finished the Plague Marines from the other day. It seemed a shame to cover up all that hard work with pus and goo, but needs must:

I went with the 'less is more' approach when it came to applying the technical paints. It's very easy to overdo it with Nurgle and ruin the model by covering up the details which provide points of visual interest. I feel I struck a good balance here, but I kept having to tell myself to take it easy and not go too crazy.

My mate seemed pretty pleased with the result so I moved on and churned out some Poxwalkers too:

These were a really quick 'Contrast and Technical' job but I'm happy with how they turned out. I could have quite easily spent ages building up the layers and picking out every detail, but quite frankly there's way too much details on these and I've got another 20-30 to do. I'd drive myself crazy if I started down that path!

That's all for today. Stay safe and wash your hands and I'll see you next post. 

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Nurgle-y goodness

I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing about sickness atm, what with everything going on. For me though, living on my own and the lack of external activity going on has given me a chance to get on with hobby projects. I haven't been forced to isolate yet luckily, but I still have far too much free time on my hands atm. 

I've been meaning to paint a mate's Nurgle stuff for him for a while now, but I've been continually getting distracted. This seems the perfect time to crack on with it.

It made sense to start with basic troops, so his first batch of Plague Marines were first on the painting table:

This is before I've had a chance weather and gunk them up, but otherwise they're done. 

It's a fairly basic paint job. The green was done with Contrast and the gold is my standard recipe. They seem pretty good to me, but the magic will come once I crack out the various Technical Paints and I have the opportunity to really go nuts on them.

I normally don't like Nurgle stuff, but these have really been quite fun to work on. I don't think I'll be doing any of it for my own collection any time soon, but it's a nice pallette cleanser between my own projects.

That's all for now. I'll post up the finished models in the next couple of days. After these, I've got another 10 Plague Marines to get through and a horde of Poxwalkers staring at me from the 'To Do' pile. I'm hoping to squeeze in one of my own projects in between those though. I'll see how I go. 

Friday, 20 March 2020

Battle Companies and Fell Beast

"I should be back to posting regularly soon".

Those words always seem to come back to haunt me, To be fair, posting about once a month is more regular than I've been at certain times in the past, but it's not quite what I had in mind.

Part of the reason of the slight lapse in posts has been down to the fact that although I've been managing to sit down and do some hobby fairly regularly, I haven't really been making much progress on anything. I've been 'picking' at projects. A little here, a little there, but nothing solid in any one direction. Minor progress on various stuff really doesn't make for interesting posts.

I've finally managed to get something finished though. Me and a couple of mates are starting a Battle Companies campaign, so I was able to focus my attention on something and get my starting companies ready.

We each had to pick a good and evil company to take, so I chose Minas Morgul and Mirkwood Elves as my two:

The Elves made sense to me for my good force, as I'm already working on a Mirkwood force. It'll also eventually give me the option to convert up some fun stuff which I normally wouldn't be able to take, such as putting my Ranger on a horse or Palace Guard with Glaive.

That'll come later though, for now here's the basic warband, Aleth's Watchers:

I didn't really do anything special modelling-wise with the basic crew, but it gave me a great chance to lavish the kind of care and attention onto them which I gave to my event army a while back. I'm really happy with how they turned out, especially the armoured guys. I'm actually a little relieved tbh, as they looked pretty terrible whilst I was painting them, right up to the final stages. If I can keep up this kind of standard across the entire army though, I'll be very happy indeed.

For my evil company, I chose Minas Morgul. This was mostly down the fact that I wanted to collect a non-human faction, but also because I love the theme which the rules designers put into the Company List. A couple of Black Numenoreans, their Orc minions, plus the option to recruit spirits ands gribbly things later seemed too much fun to pass up. The fact that I want my main Mordor force to also be themed around Minas Morgul was just the icing on the cake!

I've decided to name the company Elandur's Marauders, named for the Black Numenorean Knight who leads them. 

They were great fun to build and paint, even though the plastic Orc sculpts are showing their age a bit now, with a lot of softer details, especially around their shoulders. I managed to disguise this a bit though by sculpting extra cloth wraps onto a lot of them. A lot of people also go for a mishmash of colours on Orcs, but I opted for the more ominous look of having them all in blacks and greys. 

I feel this really helps sell the idea of them hailing from Minas Morgul. I remembered that the Morgul host is described as being 'all in sable' in the books and I think it'll look really great when applied to a larger army, especially when lead by the Witch King.

Talking of the Witch King, I picked up the plastic version of him on a Fell Beast from the Pelennor Fields box. I was going to wait a little while before grabbing him, but I had a Pokemon Regional cancelled on me due to Coronavirus-related reasons and I needed cheering up!

I've never liked the pose of the plastic Fell Beast, so I quickly set about creating something much nicer with the kit:

A fairly simple reposing, but it completely changes the feel of the model in my opinion, perching on a ruined pillar instead of balancing weirdly on a flying stand.

The trickiest part was cut and reposing the legs to sit naturally on the pillar, but it wasn't too hard. I also transplanted the armoured head into the dipping neck and took a hairdryer to the wings to give them a downward curve. All in all, I think the final result looks far more menacing that the original. 

All I have to do now is work out how to paint it (plus the two wraiths on top) and transport it to games! I'll work that out later though.

That's it for today though. I'm having a good go at clearing my backlog ready for some other projects atm, so I'll probably have some Nurgle-y stuff to show you next time. That's assuming I don't get distracted again. I wouldn't actually mind being forced into self-isolation right now, as it'll give me a chance to knock out some of my backlog!

Anyway, until next time, stay safe and happy gaming! 

Monday, 10 February 2020

Elves and Event.

It's the start of February and I finally have some finished models for 2020 to show you. It's certainly been a slower pace than 2019 but I like to think it as quality over quantity.

I managed to get my Wood Elves finished for my event last weekend. I didn't get a chance to post them up until now due to how ridiculously busy I've been, but I'm excited to show them off, as I'm quite proud of how they turned out in the end:

With only 333 points of a very elite army to paint, I was able to really lavish attention on each and every one of them, going into far more detailing and highlighting than I normally would. I feel it really shines through in the final result. 

They're going to be forming the core of my much larger future Mirkwood force, so I really hope I'll be able to keep up this level of quality across the whole army. I should be able to. The rest of the force isn't intended for any particular event or deadline, so I can really take my time with them. 

As I got the event army done in plenty of time though, I was also able to spend a week working on the display board to go with them:

This was great fun to work on and surprisingly easy to do. The base was an old placemat covered in sand, the trees were plastic toys I found in a charity shop and the foliage came from some model railway supplies I found buried in the back of a cupboard. Never have I felt more justified about my habit of never throwing anything away. It all comes in useful in the end! 

It came together really nicely in the end though, despite the hodgepodge beginnings. Really once the base colours were down, it was just a matter of adding flock and foliage until I was happy with it. The most nerve-wracking part was actually transporting it to the event on the bus!

The event itself was excellent fun. The small points format and 100pt cap on individual models meant that some really interesting and seldom-seen themed armies came to the fore. 

I wish I'd taken a few more pictures of the other armies and games, but tbh it slipped my mind on the day. I did manage to get a few nice pics of my own games though:

Tauriel proved to be something of a beast in low points games. She killed more across the day than the rest of my army combined. She even singlehandedly broke an Angmar army in game three! 

Despite that though, I lost all five games in the end and narrowly missed out on best painted army. I don't mind too much. Fun has always mattered more to me than results. I don't know when the next one of these events is going to be, but I'm already looking forward to it! 

Now the event is out the way I can focus on my other projects. Next on my painting table are my mate's Nurgle/Death Guard stuff, alongside whatever personal project I decide to do next. I should have some time to blog more too now I'm not crazy busy, so the next post shouldn't be too long in coming.

So until next time, happy gaming! 

Thursday, 23 January 2020

Elf Things

It's the third week of January and I've yet to complete a model this year. After being so massively productive last year, this feels very unnatural to me.

Luckily this state of affairs shouldn't last much longer. I'm in the final stages of preparing my Mirkwood army for my mate's event at the end of next week. I've got a dozen Elves in various stages of near-completion including a couple of conversions which I'm quite proud of:

I made my own version of the Mirkwood Cavalry model to better tie in with the Ranger theme which I'm going for with this army. I know it's not the best of pics, but I'll show them off more once I've got everything finished. 

They were really simple to make. All I did was splice together the plastic Ranger models with some Riders of Rohan. Simple but effective I think!

I've also started working on something which I've never done before: a display board.

As I've never really played in many gaming events before I started SBG, there's never been much call for me to make one before. I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do that though. The small size of the army means it doesn't have to be particularly big. In fact to give you an idea of scale, I used an old placemat as a baseboard for it!

This is also my slightly sneaky way to try and get a shoe-in for best painted. I'm really proud of how well I've painted the army, but it's very small. Hopefully this way it'll stand out more!

Regardless I'm really looking forward to finishing this up. It's a very different project to the army painting I normally focus on, so I'll be a fun little break. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

Slow start to the year. Plus Ghosts.

It's been a ridiculously busy start of the year for me. Prep for Pokemon Regionals has consumed so much of my free time, I've hardly done any hobby since the new year. What little I've done has just been adding layers and washes to a couple of Mirkwood Elves. Nothing too interesting.

I did have a moment of weakness though and bought a copy of the new Mortal Realms magazine. I have zero interest in starting Age of Sigmar, but I can see great potential for mounting them on square bases to create a Spirit-themed Vampire Counts army for Fantasy.

Thirty minutes locating my stash of square bases and assembling the ghosts later and I had this:

That works pretty well I reckon. Even though the models were made for Sigmar, they rank up rather neatly. I had to jiggle them a little for the more flamboyant poses, but it works. 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I went back and cleared out my local newsagents! 

Yes it smashes apart my painting progress, but at £2.99 a pop, I couldn't really say no. That's two big units of 'counts as' Skeletons for about £25, more than enough to fill out my Core. 

Luckily these should be fairly quick to knock out. The Contrast paints were literally made for this kind of project. I've a few ideas knocking about to make use of the Sigmarines as well, but I'll get back to you on that when I've had a proper think. 

That's really it for now. I should get a bit more done soon, now Regionals aren't looming and work's gone quiet again. Until next time, happy gaming! 

Monday, 6 January 2020

2019 into 2020: a slightly late New Year post.

 Happy New Year to everyone!

I've been away from blogging for a few months, mostly because of lack of reliable internet. It's been really frustrating, but I'm back now though and I figured I'd do a quick year review post and talk about my plans for 2020. I was hoping to get this out before the new year, but life gets inconveniently busy over the holidays unfortunately, so I'm sure you'll forgive the untimely nature of this post.

Overall I feel it's been a really fantastic year, both personally and hobby-wise. I've travelled around quite a bit this year, met some amazing people (both in and out of the gaming community) and generally had a pretty good time.

In terms of hobby, not only have I played some fantastic games, I've also managed to stick to 90% of the goals I set for myself back in January and achieve an ambition which I've had ever since I was twelve!

I'm referring of course to my adventures in the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game. Anyone who actualy pays attentions to my 'games played' sidebar will realise that I've been playing an awful lot of it this year. I've always something which I've wanted to do, having been a Tolkien nerd since an early age and been fascinated by the LOTR sections in the back of old White Dwarf magazines. There's never been a group near me who played it though, so I haven't been able to jump into the game.

 That changed back in January when I met Shaun through my local gaming shop. He's been a prominent member of the SBG community for years and it didn't take long for him to draw me in too. A single demo game was all it took!

I've found the LOTR/Hobbit community so friendly and welcoming, I feel I've really found my hobby happy place. That's probably the biggest reason why Middle Earth projects have made up the vast majority of the frankly ridiculous amount of painting which I've done this year. It's almost scary how easy it is to slip into a new army project when playing that system, something which I really should work harder to keep a lid on this year.

To give you an idea, this is a photo of all the Middle Earth miniatures which I've completed since February:

Those were on top of the various 40k and other projects I've completed, making for a grand total of 585 painting points earned across the year!

In fact I've been so productive that for a brief, shining moment, I actually broke into positive painting figures- something which I thought would never happen! The arrival of my Mirkwood army shattered that moment, but it's something that actually happened, abeit briefly and my hobby backlog is certainly a lot more managable now than it's ever been.

The only downside is that between all that painting and real life stuff happening, I've somewhat let blogging fall by the wayside this year. It's a shame because with 2019 being the most productive hobby year I've had for a long time, this should have been reflected in my blogging output, but in fact it was the quietest year on the Wandering Mind since I started it in 2009.

It's a situation which I'm determined to resolve going into 2020. I find blogging about my hobby really rewarding. If nothing else, it's a record of what I've done. I also love sharing my work with the world, even if not many people actually see it. I think part of the reason it's fallen off is that Facebook groups are far easier to post and share my work to these days. Doing that is nowhere near as satisfying though, Hopefully 2020 will be the year I finally get back to a more or less regular posting schedule.

Ok, now I've wittered on a bit, you're probably wondering: What are my plans for the coming year?
Well I'm glad you (hypothetically) asked:

 I don't really have any big new projects lined up got this year. With fully painted armies ready to go for each of the major systems I play, I'm in a pretty good place. I've got nothing huge looming which I need to tackle, but I've got a couple of ideas on where I want to go from here.

I think I'm initially just going to focus one finishing up projects I've already got going but gotten distracted from. The main ones I can think of right now are:

1. Mirkwood Elves

I need 333 points of these done for an event Shaun is holding at the start of February. Luckily I only need 13 models and I have 7 of those finished already, so this should be pretty quick to do.

I'm particularly proud of how my Rangers are shaping up for that force:

They're a bit more vibrant that most Wood Elves you see, something which was very much deliberate. Pretty much every Mirkwood force I've seen painted so far has a very muted pallete, which in turn makes the army look boring as hell to look at on the table. Don't get me wrong, I understand why people have made thos choices, it's just not what I want for my Wood Elves.

After getting the event army done I'll probably expand the force out 700-800pts at some point. I got Thranduil and some Armoured Elves for Christmas so they've gone on my painting list too, but they're not nearly as urgent, so I'll get around to them at some point. 

2. Nurgle Odds and End

I promised a friend of mine last year I'd paint up a load of his Death Guard and Nurgle Deamons, but with one thing and another I kept getting distracted. 

These are going to be tackled in early 2020 as fairly high priority, probably starting with a massive blob of Poxwalkers and Plaguebearers. Wish me luck!

3. Mordor Terrain 

If you've been paying attention to the few posts which I made this year, you'll realise this is another project I got majorly distracted from in 2019. I bought a box of Warcry terrain intending to turn it into a Mordor themed board, but then I had to finish off my Corsairs for an event, then got distracted even further by Mirkwood.

I want to get this done and dusted in the next couple of months so I can have a Middle Earth board to play on at home. Most of my home terrain is 40k-based with lots of city ruins, rubble and industrial gubbins - not exactly evocative of the grandeur of Middle Earth. Considering that SBG is rapidly becoming the main system which I play, this will enhance my play experience immensely!

That should leave me a bit of time to return to a project which I abandoned a couple of years ago:

 4. Fantasy Dark Elves

This is something which isn't really a priority but I'm wanting to weave between my other projects this year. 

The Old World announcement from GW a couple of months back has gotten me pretty excited for the return of square bases in some form. With this in mind, I figure I should get my Druchii finished ready to play with for when it eventually comes. I first bought my Dark Elves back in 2009, so I think it's high time I actually finished them to a good standard. I also have a couple of friends who are keen to dust off their old armies too, so even if these rumblings of the return of the Old World don't amount to much, it'll be good to play a few games of Fantasy again.

On top of that, I've got friend who's hinting at gifting me his old Orcs and Wood Elves, so there's a possibility that there's that to look out for at some point in 2020 too. As if I don't have enough projects to be getting on with!

So there you go, that's my slightly rambling review of 2019 done and dusted, along with a quick look ahead at 2020. With the blog going dark for so long, it felt pretty good to be able to return with quite a chunky post for people to sink their teeth into. Hopefully I can keep up the writing habit this year, but as ever we'll have to see.

Happy New Year once again. I hope you all have a great year both in and out of the hobby!

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

"Build me a board worthy of Mordor"

I've been away from this blog again for a while. Summer at work and rapid fire Pokemon Regionals  in September have basically meant that I've had to choose between blogging and actually getting hobby done. I'm sure you'll forgive me for choosing the latter!

What have I been working on, I hear you ask? Well, considering the fuss I've been making recently about being organised and getting stuff done, you'd think that I'd not be buying anything new for a while.

So did I. Then a deal came along which I couldn't really say no to.

You see, GW released Warcry recently and it looks pretty snazzy:

Don't worry, I haven't gone out and bought yet another game (Well, technically I have, but hear me out...). What I was really interested in from the set was the terrain:

The moment I saw that photo, I thought "that looks like it would make a great Mordor Fortress". I've been playing a LOT of Middle Earth recently, but I don't actually own a whole lot of terrain suitable for playing it on at home, so this seemed like a solid place to start building up my collection.

What really sealed the deal though was the fact that I had two seperate friends who wanted the Warbands but not the rest of the box, making buying the box just for the terrain a very affordable proposition.

So I dived in and got to work. After a few hours of clipping and building, I ended up with this:

Not a bad start I think. The trick was working out how I could make it look good, but also making it easy to play on, especially as LOTR involves a lot of fiddly positioning.

In the end I decided to make several smaller pieces rather than making one or two large buildings, so I have maximum flexibility to change things up between games. This ran into the slight problem of there not being a whole lot of height to them though. I think I can solve this later, when I start adding extra elements beyond Warcry stuff. For now I feel it's a fairly solid core of buildings to work from.

Next came painting. I didn't want to go to nuts with the paint scheme, but I had a pretty clear idea for what I wanted. Most of GW's Middle Earth ruin terrain is painted to look like white stone, obviously going for the look of Osgliliath, or a recently captured settlement. I wanted mine to have been occupied for longer, so I wanted it to look like the filth and darkness of Mordor has really taken hold.

I decided that Cirith Ungol from Return of the King would be my best reference point, as that was built by the men of Gondor, then corrupted by Orcs.

With that in mind I started to experiment with various sprays:

This was done with Chaos Black as a base, a fairly heavy layer of Mechanicum Standard Grey sprayed on the top, followed by a light Corax White, a Nuln Oil Wash, then a light drybrush with Mechancium Grey again.

Not a bad result I reckon and it was pretty quick to do too, only taking about three hours from start to finish, including building the rest of the set at the same time. The only change I made from my first piece to my second was swapping the drybrush colour from Mechicum Standard Grey to Dawnstone:

I think that simple swap just makes the whole thing 'pop' a little more, whilst keeping the dark and dingy feel I was after.

I want to go back later to add some more browns and blacks to the deepest crevasses to get some real filth in there, but I think it looks good enough for now.

The wood was just several layers of Seraphim Sepia over Corax White. It's a ridiculously simple method, even if building up the layers takes a little while. Definitely one I need to remember in future projects.

So that's mostly what I've been working away at. Nothing too massive, but now that things have quietened down elsewhere in my life, it'll hopefully mean that I can find the time to get some projects finished.

I've currently got the next couple of terrain pieces, some Corsairs, plus a few other characters on my painting desk, so I should be able to get those done pretty soon. Hopefully you can expect slightly more regular updates coming up. Hopefully.