Saturday, 14 April 2018

A little diversity...

I've made a decent amount of progress over the last couple of days, but I'm afraid you'll have to wait a little while longer before I post it up. I've got a new phone arriving with a much better camera, so i'm waiting until that arrives before I snap some photos of what I've been up to.

In the meantime I just wanted to quickly share something that I'm rather proud of.

I wanted a little more diversity in my Necromunda gangs, so I had an experiment with painting darker skin.

I'm actually rather shocked at the fact that I've been in this hobby over 15 years and this is the first time I've ever attempted to paint a non-Caucasian skin tone.

I think it's a trap a lot of gamers fall into. The vast majority of painting tutorials out there focus on lighter skin tones and most people don't even consider doing anything but that, despite the massive diversity that must exist in a setting like the 40k universe.

Anyway, this was actually pretty quick and simple to do and I think it's produced some fantastic results. I started with a Rhinox Hide basecoat over a white spray, then layered Skrag brown on the raised muscles and finished it with a Seraphim Sepia wash to tie the two colours together. The clearly defined muscles and lines on the model made this really easy, but it'll be interesting to see how this works on a model with softer lines like my Eschers.

My job was also made a lot easier by the fact that I didn't have to worry about the face thanks to the mask I've decided to add to all my Cult gang.

So there you go. A really easy method to produc darker skin tones. Next up will be trying to apply this to some of my Thousand Sons, as canonically most of them come from the Egyptian/Persian region. I've got to actually focus on some of my Hobby Challenge pieces before I do that though, so that might be a while off yet.

Happy Gaming!

Thursday, 12 April 2018

Slaaneshi Side Project

In my last post I was feeling pretty positive about my painting points. I should have known it wouldn't last. I went down to my local gaming shop for my 30k campaign game on Monday night, not intending to buy any models. I picked up White Dwarf while I was there and saw that they had the rules for Chaos Cultists for Necromunda in there. My resolve crumbled almost immediately.

Less than 20 minutes later I bought a box of Witch Elves to kitbash into Slanneshi Cultists!

(My usual apologies for the awful picture quality. I'm getting a new phone this week, so this should improve very soon!)

It's an idea I've had for ages, but I've never really gotten round to creating. I've always thought that the Sisters of Slaughter heads on the Tzeentch Acolyte guys from the AoS range would make for some really creepy looking Cultists and after a rummage through my Necromunda bits box, it turned out that I was right.

Now you might think that buying a £30 box just to use the heads is a little wasteful. You'd be absolutely right in that thinking. Luckily I do have a use for the rest of the box. I'm intending to make use of the rest of the kit to make some Death Cult Assassins when I revisit my Inquisition, so they won't go to waste. Technically I'm getting two completely different sets of models from one box!

This little distraction shouldn't take too long to finish, so it'll make a nice side project for me.

What do you think of them?

  I also managed to get a couple of photos from my game.  I've realised that I take loads of photos of my games, but never seem to get around to posting them on here. I'm going to try and fix this in future.

  The first photo was taken moments before I was denied an honourable duel with his commander by the hail of Bolter fire from the Tactical Squad hidden in a building off-camera to the right!

The second captures the moment where my Breachers bit off a little more than they could chew!

I think you can pretty much infer the result just from looking at these two photos. It was good fun though, despite the thrashing my XVth Legion received. Michal's always a great opponent and much amusement was had at my appalling luck and his dishonourable tactics.

After a few games at the 1500 points stage, I'm feeling my campaign list is somewhat lacking in power compared to what it keeps going up against. It's a little annoying, but this can't really be helped. Thousand Sons armies tend to be quite points-intensive and I was forced to improvise a little to make use of what I had available. I should be able to fix this when the rosters expand to 2000 points though. I just need to make sure I get what I need painted in time.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Speeder done

Just a quick one today. I managed to get the Land Speeder done yesterday, including applying transfers:

Considering how little enthusiasm I had for working on it, I actually think it hasn't turned out too bad. It's far from my best work by a long shot, but it's certainly not looking terrible.

That said, I've still decided to leave the painting on the other Speeder until a later date.

Next up I think I'm going to be working on Horus a little more, base my Veteran Squad and maybe paint a couple of Justerian. A few days off from painting red and gold Space Marines will probably do me some good tbh, especially considering the idea I've had for my next 40k project. More on that later though.

For now that's 10 points for me and I've entered positive figures. Definitely a good start to the weekend!

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Annoying Land Speeder

I don't know what it is about this model, but it's really starting to bug me. I just want it finished and off my painting desk ASAP.

I think my annoyance with it might be down to a couple of factors. Firstly it's the fact that I don't really want to be painting it. I'm doing it because I need it for gaming. My campaign list has a pair of Land Speeders in it because I can't afford to drop £100 for the pair of Javelins which I really want until later in the year. I'm including them as a nessesity, rather than because I love the models. That really can't help things.

I think the second reason is that it's taken far too long just to get this one model finished. I'm slow at painting vehicles anyway and I really haven't liked how previous painting attempts have turned out, so it's already been stripped twice. Thta basically means it's been cluttering up my desk for ages, easily since before Christmas.

So I just want it gone. I've made it my pledge for this stage of the Two Week Challenge simply as way to force me to sit down and finish it.

That basically means that I'll be rid of it by Saturday at the very latest. I thought I'd be done with it today, but I was too knackered when I got back from work to even think about sitting down to apply transfers. Hopefully I can finish it tomorrow so I can move on to something that excites me.

I'm not going to even think about the fact that I need a pair of these things...

Anyone else have a project like this?

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

A horde of progress!

I've been pretty busy over the last week. After getting annoyed with the Land Speeder I was painting for my Thousand Sons and dumping it back in the stripping tub, I decided to take a bit of a break from painting red and gold. I turned my attention instead to the easy painting points I was talking about in my last post.

Having had a rummage through the case containing my Emperor's Children, it turned out that I had no less than 27 Cultists which just needed basing to be considered done.

Possibly the easiest chunk of painting points I've ever scooped up!

I also found Kharyk the Wanderer and Aryan Ythykal, my Sorceror and counts-as Lucius who I was working on before Christmas.

They both just needed a couple of highlights and basing, so I got those done too:

That's another 20 points right there. I'm actually shocked that I didn't get these finished at the time, but I'm guessing that I just got distracted. Thanks to these guys, I'm in a position where I just need to claw back one more point and I'm in positive figures for the first time ever!

 Of course this deviation from my focus on my 15th Legion had to come at a price. That price was a crumbling of my resolve not to start on my Primarchs until I'd painted the armies to go with them. Having racked up 47 painting points in a single night, I was feeling pretty good, so I decided to make a start on Horus:

Not a bad start for a couple of hours work I think, although obviously there's still a long way to go on him. Annoyingly I can't just push through till he's finished, as due to a packaging error he came without a head, so I've got to wait for a replacement part to be sent out to me. I think I'm going to get everything save for that done while I'm waiting though.

So yeah it's been quite a productive few days for me. I need to get the Land Speeder done this week for my hobby challenge, so that'll be a bit of a slog, but at least everything's heading in the right direction and I'm in a productive mood, so it shouldn't be too bad.

Watch this space.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

It's all in the bases

I've been having a good think about my painting points. 'What else is new?' I hear you ask. Well I've been taking a long hard look at how I approach my projects and how I complete them.

It all started on Monday night. I was chatting to  one of the regulars at my local gaming club about my current projects and he said 'it's awesome how much you've been painting recently. Your stuff's looking really great'. While it's nice to get compliments, it got me thinking: I have been painting a lot recently. Since last July, I've pretty much painted an entire Emperor's Children army for 40k, as well as launching back into my Thousand Sons for 30k, plus some Necromunda stuff. So why don't my painting points reflect that?

So I thought it over and realised something. My problem is the way I paint, or rather the way I almost finish models. Looking back, I've realised that I rarely actually complete models 100%.  I work away at a project until it's more or less done, looking good and just a couple of details to go, then get distracted and move on to something else before it's fully complete. Even if I finish a model, I often end up leaving the bases till later, which means the painting points can't be claimed.

Long story short is that due to my hobby ADD, I've been cheating myself out of a lot of painting points, even though I've been more or less painting whole armies!

So how do I fix this? Well I'm taking the obvious route. I'm going to go back to projects I've been working on recently and do the little bits which will let me claim the points for them. Bases seem to be the biggest offender in this area. As an example, I'll be able to claim 16 points just for adding another layer of washes and trim to finish these Cultists!

I can't believe the amount of easy points I've been missing out on. It seems insane. I think it's just that my mind struggles to focus on those last few boring details which complete those models and gets distracted by the next shiny thing/cool project. I'm even more amazed that I hadn't picked up on the fact that I was doing this until now.

It should be easy enough to fix though. If anything, I could do with a rest from the endless red and gold I've been painting recently, so it'll be nice to go back and break things up somewhat.

The only danger is that I'll get too distracted and forget to work on my Two Week Hobby Challenge, but hopefully I can stay disciplined enough for that not to be an issue.

Expect to see a lot of 'squad completed' posts from me in the next few weeks!

Anyone else run into this kind of problem in the way they paint? I'm sure I can't be the only one who does this.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

Only three years in the making... Breachers complete!

It's amazing what you can achieve when under pressure. With the imminent arrive of a pair of Primarchs and the looming spectre of the 'Box of Shame', I managed to sit down and actually finish up my Breacher Squad:

Once I actually forced myself to work on them, it wasn't actually too bad. It was more a case of just getting myself to my painting desk and minimising distractions.

One thing I have learned is the importance of planning out transfers before doing them. I decided to add the serpent symbol of the Order of Ruin after I'd already done the decals for half the unit. I had the idea that it would appear on every one of their shields, with it going on their shoulder pads as a backup. I ran into a problem with one of these guys when I realised I'd already applied transfers to him in such a way that the serpant wouldn't look right on both the shield and the pad, so it ended up going on his lower leg instead. It wasn't a huge issue though and I've my lesson for next time.

I'm so glad these are finally finished and looking great. I've been working on the idea for them for so long that it actually seems strange to think that I've got nothing left to do. Considering I've been working on them for three years though, I'm glad they turned out well.

So that's the Box of Shame avoided, 10 painting points in the right direction and a cool looking unit to use in my game on Monday night. Not bad really.

Now to turn my attention to my Veterans and Land Speeders, plus a Heavy Support Squad. These aren't nearly as urgent, as I've only pledged a single Land Speeder to the next stage of the challenge, but I need to at least get them built and base-coloured so I can use them on Monday night.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Motivation back!

Remember that lack of motivation I was talking about yesterday? Well it seem that the universe has a weird way of solving these issues.

I got an email today saying my package of Forge World goodies has been dispatched. That basically means that unless I make progress quickly, my painting points total is going to be shot to pieces.

With that in mind I sat down and forced myself to apply the final few layers and basing on my Breachers, so they're pretty much done now. I just need to sit down with the Micro Sol/Set on my day off tomorrow and finish applying the decals.

You'll have to forgive the slightly subpar photo quality. I only had my phone camera to hand and I was about to go to work, so didn't have time to get a proper shot. Tbh I think they're looking pretty good as they are, but my principles won't let me claim the painting points for them until they're completely done, otherwise I'll get lazy and never get round to doing the transfers.

After that I need to do my Veterans and I'll be able to bump my points up by 20, which should at least cover the 'cost' of Magnus. Not sure how I'll offset the rest, but at least it's heading in the right direction! 

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

That still counts as progress!

Ive been in a bit of a hobby slump over the last week. I was on a roll for a few days, ready to finally finish my Breacher Squad over the weekend, then for some reason I lost all desire to do any hobby.

I think it's because I haven't been able to get out and play a game for a while. My work schedule has been all over the place recently, so it's been over a month since I've been able to get a campaign battle in. I haven't even had time for a quick Necromunda game.

It's annoying that my desire to hobby these days is tied so closely to finding the time to game, but I suppose that's a side effect of being an adult and having responsibilities.

On a plus note I did manage to organise my hobby space a little bit. I bought a box for my vast bits collection and spent a few hours clipping bits from the bag of sprues I've had knocking about for ages and distilling the contents of some of my many bitz boxes into it too.

It's nice to get a better handle on what I've actually got instead of spending ages searching through sprues every time I want to build something. Doing this yielded some interesting discoveries. I have far more Mk3/4 heads and bolters than I'll ever need, but I'm running alarmingly low on the bits I need for my Thousand Sons helmets. I also have more Combi-Plasmas than I thought, so I may do something with those very soon.

So yeah, I'm calling this my hobby progress. I need to shake off my painting funk soon though, as I've ordered a load of stuff from FW, including no less than three Primarchs! If I don't get on with things soon I'll find my painting points shot to hell when they arrive.

There's also the fact that if I don't get the Breachers done this week, I'll be in the Age of Darkness 'Box of Shame'. Noone wants to be there, especially in my first two weeks on the challenge. I've got four days off later this week though, so I'll hopefully kick myself into shape then.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Back on track

After my little distraction, I'm returning my attention to my more pressing project, which is of course my Breachers. I promised myself that I would get my 1000pt force painted before the end of the current campaign leg, but that isn't looking like a realistic prospect now. I've got nothing in the force that's above about 75% completion and I can't even take part in the game now due to real life getting in the way.

Instead I'm going to set myself a wider goal. The next stage of the escalation campaign is 1500 points. That's not actually a massive amount more to do considering the premium that Thousand Sons pay for their units in 30k, so it seems reasonable to aim to get that completed in time for the end of second campaign stage, which will be in a month or so.

I've also decided to give myself a little kick up the arse in the productivity department. The Age of Darkness podcast (which is fantastic btw and you should check it out) runs a regular segment called the 'Two Week Hobby Challenge', where listeners set themselves challenges and aim to complete them in two week segments. It seems a great way to keep motivation up and also adds an element of accountability if I fail to complete it, so I signed myself up.

My pledge for the next two weeks is to finish painting and basing my Breachers, with a stretch goal to get the transfers done as well. This seems a pretty easy start for me, as my Breachers currently look like this:

 They're coming along nicely, even if I do say so myself. I reckon a couple of nights work on them should see them finished. Considering how long I've spent on them, I'll be over the moon to finally see them done and sitting in my display cabinet.

In case you're wondering, this is the state the rest of the force is in atm:

I finally feel I've reached the turning point between thinking 'this looks terrible and will take ages' and 'actually these are nearly done and don't look too bad'. It's a fine line, but it's always nice when a project reaches that stage.

I think the focus of the next period of the Two Week Challenge will be focussing on the Veterans, but I'll see how I feel when I get there. Either way, expect lots of hobby progress posts in the next few weeks as I get these done.