Monday, 25 April 2016

Getting back on the horse, and a surprise guest

So, threatening myself with a complete lack of potential content, I finally knuckled down this weekend and broke the painting block, finishing off the second Heresy familiar I'm using as a Changeling in Malifaux. Sure, there's things I'd touch up, but he's a gaming piece, he's finished, and I have more to do!

There is pretty constant assembly going on at the moment - but scraping mould lines and pinning to bases and assembling multi-part plastic kits isn't hugely good blog reading. Hopefully now the pace will pick up and I'll retain some consistency.

I am glad I can't see the future. I got home today to this gorgeous chap waiting for me on the mat. He's an Inquisitor kitbash by Whiskey Priest from The Leadpile. I won a competition a while ago, and, as a fellow sufferer of hobby block, there was a bit of a delay before I got him. Solidarity!

This wretched fellow just needs a little basing love, and then he'll be ready for the table. I'm not sure when I'll be able to get a game, but if I can get him done soon, I'm tempted to try and sort out a game of some sort down at the Overlords in May some time and get some nice photos for a battle report on the blog. I've had a few commissions come back that haven't fired a shot in anger yet, so they'll need their bad luck draining off from their paint.

Still, positivity abounds, and you all have two nicely painted miniatures to see on my blog. Onwards!

Monday, 18 April 2016

When you've gone to Salute and run out of puns on the word 'loot'...

Once more, I have been to Salute, and once more, I have bought a ton of stuff. Here it all is, piled up in the restaurant after the show. But you can't really see all of it there (just get an idea of the scale of it) so here's a bit of a breakdown.

First up, with have the Salute free miniature. This is one of my favourites so far!

Meanwhile, the people behind Maelstrom's Edge had included a free sprue of infantry in the Salute bags.

The guys from Siege Studios, the painting studio, were giving away some free paint brushes. Not tried them yet, but we'll see how they do.

If you said "G'day" to Eureka Miniatures, you got a free kangaroo.

 While Ground Zero Games had their usual "take a couple of figures" box, which I grabbed for my mate Reb who plays in these weird scales that aren't 28mm...

While if you had pre-ordered things with Bad Squiddo Games, you got "Baggy Credits" to spend - I chose to spend mine on this lovely notebook. That sort of neatly brings me on to pre-orders...

Oathsworn were letting people pick up their "Heroines in Sensible Shoes" Kickstarter models at the show, so I picked that up.

Obviously, I had pre-ordered some stuff from Annie (who runs Bad Squiddo). She doesn't have everything Reaper stock on her site, but if you want specific things, she can put in an order for you. In this case, there are a couple of weird Reaper Bones gribblies I'd wanted, and a few useful bits of scenery that was pretty affordable in Bones.

I also ordered the Bad Squiddo Orcs, because I have a Plan for them. I also picked out a few nice miniatures I liked from ranges like Bombshell, CP Models and Reaper that she stocks normally. That was everything I'd bought before the show, so lets move on to what I got while I was there...

My first stop was . . . Bad Squiddo Games. I knew Annie had a few new miniatures out that were being released at the show and hadn't been pre-order-able. It turned out it was these Ogresses, which I fell in love with and bought immediately.

"Oh no, he hasn't started a new system, has he?" I hear you say. In this case, fear not! My insides are not about to become my outsides. Some good friends of mine up in the wilds of Scotland have really gotten into Dropzone Commander, and really wanted the new releases and the show only models. They currently owe me one (1) soul for the queue I endured to get this lot. (That's a discounted mates rate - don't ask me how many souls it is for people I don't like!)

Mike McVey had pottered along to show off Studio McVey's latest project. These are some resin sculpts of things from The Others boardgame, which came up on Kickstarter last year. Sadly, we didn't back this one, as we were probably suffering from Kickstarter fatigue at the time. I loved some of the heralds of the apocalypse and picked them up for painting projects, demonic heralds, and maybe the odd Malifaux proxy.

I rambled on at length about how much I love Northumbrian Tin Soldier's work. I was more restrained this year, avoiding goblin related Nightfolk on the grounds of not having painted last year's yet. I picked up this little chap because he's an adorable little beastman thing.

Eureka Miniatures had sadly sold out of the new Chaos Warriors I wanted, but I consoled myself with a weird critter called Big Nose and some smaller scale Chaos Knights that I will probably make weird mutated things in my chaos army anyway.

I wandered over to say hello to Anvil Industry. I needed some of their Blacksmith 5th Anniversary model for an evil scheme, and decided to grab an Instigator while I was there.

I popped back to say hi to Annie while she wasn't so busy and picked up these crates for my goblins' baggage train.

I've followed Mr Lee's blog for a while, and watched with interest as he partnered with Broken Toad miniatures to put out some really interesting miniatures. I can't remember what this one is called, but it looked very 40K and I had to grab one.

Broken Toad also sold me some new paints I've not tried before, because I'm a great believer in buying something you've not seen before and seeing what it does.

I popped by the Maelstrom's Edge stall and grabbed one of their scenery sprues - they're intended to cheaply allow scratch builders to detail things up, but I plan on using them to updetail MDF scenery.

This little chap is for a dwarf related project. I found him for a couple of pounds at Lesley's Bits Box.

Which is also where I picked up this classic middle era Imperial Psyker with ridiculous clothes. I seem to remember Andy Chambers running him in some linked scenarios as a deranged planetary governor...

Studio Miniatures do zombie games, but they did one set in a medieval theme park, and this cosplayer figure appealed to me on a deep personal level.

I then hit one of the big purchases of the weekend. I've been really enjoying my Infinity, and Right Arm Labs do some excellent pre-painted terrain (and a lot of it is pre-assembled too). This lot came out at a very reasonable price. Unassembled is an 'objective room' which is a standard sized scenario room for Infinity.

 I'd introduced Sim to Dark Star Miniatures because of their metal paint range. She got very excited about it (its very clever from a technical stand point) and bought a whole set, then got excited about their inks (they dry matte) and bought a full set of them. I realised I would invariably borrow these, forget to put them back, and get violenced, so used my last money to grab a few paints, an ink, and some weathering dust to try out.

This Warmill terrain was, however, my last acquisition, as Sim was so exhausted by this point she somehow agreed to buy me some more terrain. I suspect I owe her for this, and I'll probably have to pay her back at WarhammerFest...

Monday, 11 April 2016

Dilemmas and difficult questions

Noble readers, I come to you with a number of dilemmas and quandaries which vex me greatly this day.

Firstly, I backed the Modiphius Kickstarter for the Infinity RPG. I popped by their offices last week to pick up my miniatures. The PDFs are still a little way out. I went for the miniatures to use as HVTs, but inconveniently, Corvus Belli have now released HVT models, which are similar to the Kickstarter ones. I like some of the HVT ones over the RPG ones, and vice versa...

I also got my Kickstarter maths wrong and ended up with a few spare quid backing it, which was put towards a second Nomad RPG miniature. So, the dilemma here is - do I keep them all and get them painted up, and what do I use them for? My initial thought is to get them assembled and painted up to be used as HVTs but also as legal proxies for miniatures which haven't yet come out. But do they all suit that? Do I need all of them - especially duplicates? I am a little stuck.

Here's a familiar little Heresy miniature I'm using as a proxy for a Changeling in my Malifaux Neverborn. He's done up to a basic tabletop standard, but the question remains - what still needs doing? I think the cushion needs a bit of tidying up, the knife handle needs love, and his horns and eyes have a way to go. Am I missing anything else?

 Myth, my Tiefling D&D character, is causing me no end of woes. I now want to change his trousers, the detailing of his top, the slashes on his sleeves, his lute, his gloves, his horns and his skin. What does need changing? What's fine? Am I missing something obvious? Should I not worry so much about some other bits?

So, definitely full of existential self doubt this week. I'll clearly have to cure it through ridiculous retail therapy at Salute this coming weekend.

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Infinity Battle Report: Nomads vs PanO

In which the author has trouble booking a table at his usual venue, attends a gaming club for the first time, and roundly gets his teeth kicked in because he hasn't played Infinity for a year...

With my Infinity figures conveniently assembled and undercoated by someone else, it was time to remind myself how this blasted game works. I laid down a challenge on my local gaming store board, received acceptance and arranged a nice 300 point Annihilation mission just to remind myself how all this stuff works. Sadly, my local gaming store is doing really well and is getting all its tables booked out in plenty of time, so I couldn't get a booking. Then HATE (Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts) had venue issues of their own causing them to move to a Tuesday, and my opponent and I changed venues.

HATE is held at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. It was very welcoming, and a little less busy than usual due to the late change of date.

We set up a pretty typical battlefield - with a mix of my scenery, my opponent's scenery and the club's scenery. My opponent won the initial willpower roll and chose his table side and that I would deploy first, and I in turn chose to go first. My side was the side at the bottom of the photo.

I deployed an invisible Spektr Forward Observer on the walkways in the middle of the battlefield. For those who don't play Infinity, I took this photo to prove to my opponent where the model was, but he didn't get to know where the model was!

On my right flank, a Vertigo Zond, Grenzer Sniper and Reverend Healer on the roof (with the healer lying down so she didn't get shot). An Interventor hid behind the shipping crate and an Alguacile by the remote.

Meanwhile on the left flank, Zoe and Pi-Well hid down the side of a building, behind the Lunokhod Sputnik. A Warcor stood openly on the roof, while my lieutenant, an Alguacile, hid behind the building by the stairwell.

My opponent had an Aquila HMG on the building at the bottom of the picture, with a doctor hiding around the corner. With a mechanised deployment, a Peacemaker Armbot deployed forward behind  the green silo with its companion robot. Further back was a baggage bot, an engineer and some other bits and pieces.

 So, the first thing I needed to do something about was the Aquila Guard HMG. I started off by having my Interventor drop White Noise - the plan was to then use my sniper rifle to take him out, but I totally forgot that the Grenzr has a visor himself, so was also blinded.

The waste of orders was annoying! I also left my Interventor standing out in the open as I forgot about her, causing her to get cut down the following turn, along with the sniper. I revealed my Spektr, who successfully targetted the Aquila Guard, but at the cost of being shot to pieces. I wounded the Guard with a guided missile, but didn't manage to get further - I used a free order to take out the Peacemaker, which I'd also managed to target before it got blown up.

The Peacemaker was then repaired by an engineering bot. My Zero Forward Observer then took speculative fire from a flamethrower. It went badly.

In my turn, I healed up my Grenzr sniper and shot down the Aquila Guard. He was healed up, then finally shot down and killed by the end of the game.

However, my game fell apart as a Cutter TAG revealed itself and rampaged up the field. My best chance was to get the Lunokhod to disrupt it's advance, but it managed to work its way around the Crazy Koalas, shoot them to bits, and storm down the field taking out everything.

In the end, the Warcor and the Lieutenant were the only survivors. The final score was a 9-1 loss. Hopefully a few reports of "unnecessary PanO aggression" might help morale in the face of this awful defeat!

Post Mortem

I was lacking in heavy hitters. I need something with a bit more punch to deal with threats like serious stuff like heavy infantry and TAGs. For now, I'm going to hold off and wait on Human Sphere to come out before I make any purchasing decisions...

Monday, 21 March 2016

Setting acheivable goals

This blog is probably a great monument to how terrible I am at setting achievable goals for myself. Here's my progress so far as to the stuff I'm meant to be getting assembled this month.

This is what the target is - finishing everything else in the Easter weekend is just not going to happen! So the good news is that I'm not down about this. I was full of optimism and believed I could do this, but the amount of focus and time I have after work and over the weekends is severely limited.

Probably part of the problem is that I've mostly focussed on little 'quick wins' for so long I haven't done a regiment in forever. Last month I tried to sort out the goblins, and while the sorting out happened, not many got assembled! Hiding behind my paint pots are an assortment of half finished sins...

So, lets recalibrate our expectations a little bit, shall we? Timed goals aren't great, as the real world getting in the way seriously messes up plans - it's not like work where it's your top priority for a certain number of hours a day!

So, first real goal - prep a goblin! This is a gorgeous Bob Olley sculpt that was done for GoblinAid. Most of my goblins are single piece sculpts so are pretty easy to do in isolation. It's just there's a lot of them! There's a bunch of half finished ones sitting on the desk, so they'll be the first targets. It's a nice thing to do around bigger projects and gets adorable little sneaky murderers ready for paint - which will start stocking up on similarly easy to paint things ready to go when I'm in the mood for it!

So there's actually a reasonable amount of stuff sitting in the 'ready to paint' pile. Most that weren't commission assembled are small single figure pieces, but the good news is that there's a nice backlog set up there.

The key thing, I think, is to plug on through the big unit of Forsaken, get them assembled, then split them into slightly smaller groups for painting. Meanwhile, keep knocking through individual figures to keep the progress going. Clear out the backlog of half finished things to start off with, then move on to other bits and bobs.

The Infinity stuff is basically done now - sadly, I've not been able to get a table at Dark Sphere this week - their gaming hall is thriving and you need to get in early! Current plan with Infinity is to wait for Human Sphere to come out, play some games with my current models and some proxies, then start thinking about what to get next - and definitely keep paying someone else to assemble all my stuff!

Meanwhile, getting these two little dudes painted will bring my Malifaux crew up to a full 50 soulstone painted crew. Teddy will need to come through, and the Coryphee and Performer are currently waiting for smaller drill bits to arrive from Hong Kong...

I am getting more stuff done than before - but I'm still not at a steady pace that I'm happy with. It feels like an engine trying to stutter into life.

Thursday, 17 March 2016


 I want to tell a bit of a story, but it doesn't have a start, middle or end. The words are a jumble in my head, the sentences could come in any order.

I'm sitting at my computer desk, in an uncomfortable dining chair because my wife is using the one office chair in the study for Actual Work. I'm drinking peppermint tea and recently finished a cupcake with a flower design on, and the middle of the flower was a smartie.

So, currently scoring around 'moderate adult'.

Sometimes, I walk home from work. My job can be pretty stressful at times, and it's a good way of clearing my head. It takes about an hour and a half or so, and I usually end up listening to some podcast or other.

I'd been listening to the Independent Characters latest podcast, which talks about oil washes and different paint brands, so I was feeling a little bit in an artistic mood. I'd also chatted a little to a couple of people at work about miniature painting and very much in my head was feeling like the painting I do is art (irrespective or not of whether it's any good).

Then I started taking photos of things. It started with a parked up post office van which had some interested sun fading on it in the yellow street lights. You don't see 'faded red' as a paint job very often - I suspect because it's really quite difficult to do. Perhaps it's something I'd like to try one day. The dust pattern along the bottom of the van was also pretty interesting from a weathering point of view as well.

Then the Independent Characters podcast finished up, so I decided to listen to the Radio Free Burrito for the first time. In it, Wil Wheaton talked a bit about some art he was thinking about involving old film, projection and so on.

This got me thinking a whole bunch about the art projects I've never gotten around to doing. When I was at school, I was one of those kids who constantly had grandiose plans I never followed through on. One of my teachers did push me over a cliff on that once by then signing me up to direct and produce a play on my own. That was good for my soul. I need pushing into things, I think. I'm inherently pretty lazy.

I took a bunch of photos with light and shadow and machinery and things. I've put some up on a Tumblr account I created a while back I've never been quite sure what to do with. I don't really know if anyone reads it. I don't like the interface. I'm not sure really why I have it other than for posting photos I want to be able to find later but don't want to leave on the blog because I think that they'd be filler that would kill traffic.

But tonight, I'm thinking about art and writing stream of conscious and I don't care about my traffic stats. Which is weird. I usually do. I mean, I don't, but treat it as a kind of score for how well I'm blogging and how good my content is. Rubbish view scores are a motivation to up the quality of my content. Competing with my past self, really.

Oh. Things I mean to do that never have. Write a blog about fiction and books I read. Write actual fiction myself. Do that painting project where I follow all the painting tutorials in the old GW Masterclass book.

Everything is a bit of a muddle. I think the weekend will be focussed in on sorting out little things I've not finished. Making things more ordered. Tidying. My mind is stressed and having trouble focussing and little successes are needed to give that little happy bump of 'done' and 'organised', rather than the big project of doom which takes a lot of effort to get done. Remember the lazy thing? But I need some success about now.

What I do is art. Be that writing on the blog, photos I take or painting miniatures or telling stories. Is it good art? That doesn't matter. It's art, and I did it.