Monday, 6 February 2023

Look on my works ye mighty and despair

I'm working through a whole bunch of Dungeon Debris from the Mantic Terrain Crate. I haven't got the box done yet, but that's not for a lacky of hobby this week - I've just been light on the painting. I've got half a dozen bits finished, and there's a whole bundle still to go.

This batch has been a simple base coat, Agrax Earthshade wash, then a Karak Stone drybrush to bring stop it being too dark while tying it all together.

I'm continuing to work through the Terrain Crate bits. The TT Combat spray was still tacky days after it was sprayed, and when I tried to use some contrast with it, I found the contrast wasn't staying where I put it and really big patches were forming where you could see the base coat as the contrast pulled away from the undercoat. I'm now brush base coating everything, even where I want to use contrast over the top of it, and that seem to be clearing the issue.

The reason for the lack of painting was not, for once, my spending time listing stuff on my eBay account or binge watching some nonsense TV show (the latest guilty pleasure has been Outback Truckers, of all things). I've been playing games! During the week I made it down to Dark Sphere to play my first game of 9th edition, while I headed over to HATE on Sunday to get in a practice game of Infinity for St Albans Smackdown.

Next week is likely to be relatively slow on the painting front, too. I've got a couple of bits of real life stuff, and my online D&D game is having an in person finale at the weekend, which will take a bunch more time than it usually would. I'll plug through some bits and see how I go. This is probably a bit busier than I'd like to be, so I need to keep an eye on what my commitments are in the next few weeks and try and slow down a bit.

Friday, 3 February 2023

How January Went

January has started out OK, getting 3 miniatures painted. Corax Hasht joined my Shasvastii, while a Gnoll Ravager joined my D&D minis and Krystyna Skarbek came off my backlog of random minis.

Now, it turns out that in January 2022, I was super productive blitzing a bunch of painting for an upcoming tournament. Fast forward to January 2023, and I've been spending a whole bunch of my hobby time eBaying off excess miniatures and finishing up assembling miniatures that were half done.

I don't think that's a bad use of time, although it's a lot less "bloggable" than nicely painted miniatures. I am spending a lot of time tidying away or selling miniatures I've bought that I'm not planning on using in the near future.

The goal is to really strike an equilibrium between buying things, assembling things and painting things. Short of stopping, selling everything I own and starting again, I'm not going to instantly correct my past decisions where I've bought more than I can assemble and assembled more than I can paint. That is now the goal to be working towards.

As a consequence of the comparatively slow January, my recent assembly blitz, and my rolling 12 month tracking, I've currently got more "ready to paint" than I could reasonably expect to get painted in a year...

So, what will I be focusing on this month? I want to get this Terrain Crate painted and done as a bit of a morale boosting simple project. I've got the Horus Heresy test paints sitting that I want to get something done on but I don't expect I'll get them finished this month. Probably the test bases.

If the painting with the Terrain Crate goes well I really want to get into getting my Sphinx painted for the Mayacast Masterglass painting competition. However, the deadline for that is the end of March, and I won't be able to show any photos on the blog until the competition posts the photos in April. That both gives me some flexibility, but also means you won't see any progress shots of it in the meantime...

I keep looking a the Dungeon Fiends models I've got, but given I'm getting out more - I'm off to St Albans Smackdown this month, for example - I think it's probably unrealistic to try and aim for that as well.

I also the whole bundle of small palate / palette cleansers I have stacked up that it would be good to get some movement on. If I can get two or three finished, that will feel pretty positive.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Work in Progress Wednesday: O-12

The last of my backlogged O-12 models are now ready for paint. I've been putting off this work for ages, so I get to tick off an item from the half finished jobs list. Here we've got the general release of Katherine Cho and the Defiance version of Saladin. Neither need two sculpts, but as both of my duplicates came in boxes with other models, it does give me a couple of opportunities to get some practice in with my paint scheme.

Next up are some utility pieces. There's a Razor, who can provide a traditional camouflage and hidden deployment specialist in the midfield. There's a camouflage and hidden deployment sniper in the Lynx, and a forward deploying tough model without camouflage in the Crusher. The midfield pieces in O-12 lack a traditional cheap camouflage specialist, so I'm curious what, in practice, I'll end up going for.

O-12 seem to compensate for the game in infiltrators with a wide selection of Combat Jump and Parachutist models. Here we have the general release Delta Doctor, along with the two Defiance Deltas. Its very unlikely I'll ever run three at the same time, but having different sculpts for different load outs gives me plenty of flexibility.

There's an assortment of ALEPH models that you can take in O-12 because of their close ties. I picked up the Dakini support pack as part of the "ALEPH Reinforcement Pack" with the Defiance Kickstarter. This gives me some options for some cheap remotes - an HMG or Sniper that can be boosted with an EVO Hacker or REM Driver, and a fast moving Paramedic.

There were also a couple of Deva Functionaries included with the Reinforcement Pack which give some interesting options for list building. There's also another sculpt for Hippolyta, who got incredibly good when she got an N4 upgrade to gain a second wound. She's pricey, but I definitely want to give her an outing or two to try her out.

Finally, there's a couple of mercenaries - a Bounty Hunter and Armand Le Muet. Cheap line troops are always useful to have, so the Bounty Hunter may see a little play, while Armand joins quite a crowded line up of excellent snipers so may not see quite so much gameplay.

I've got my last order of O-12 for a while in. I've found in test lists I desperately need cheap orders so I needed to pick up a couple more Remotes for the seven point Kytta Remotes. To bring it up to a sensible assembly batch, I've grabbed the Alpha, a Cyberghost, Parvati, Andromeda and Hector, along with the new Gangbuster Hacker sculpt to reduce my proxying. They'll be off to assembly with Agnes the pilot (who I found sculling around the bottom of a Defiance box) once they arrive. 

This leaves me with pretty much all the utility pieces I need to swap in and out. There's an assortment of bits and pieces still to get - an assortment of mercenaries, alternative attack pieces and niche profiles - but I think I'll be able to write plenty of viable lists to learn with for now.

Monday, 30 January 2023

A secret agent, some junk and a repair

I had a couple of days off work at home this week and I was convinced I'd have a bunch of productive time for painting. In the end, I only really got to the painting on Sunday afternoon, as it turned out backlogged housework and tidying took up most of my free time. Definitely something to keep on top of in future, as it adds up!

Still, I managed to finish off the Krystyna Skarbek SOE agent model from Bad Squiddo Games, and I'm pretty pleased with how she's turned out. Contrast and a few bits of highlighting is a huge step up from just Contrast paint, while not taking much more time.

I also added some tufts and snow to help put the skis in context. The GW Valhallan Blizzard is still my go to for this as it seems to be pretty much idiot proof.

The newly painted Corax Hasht managed to take a tumble to the floor last weekend at Wayland, and got chipped in several places, despite the varnish layers. So the repair work has already begun.

First up, I've re-based the affected areas in Grey Seer, and done by best to blend from there into the rest of the model so it doesn't hugely stand out. I'll then re-contrast those areas followed by a varnish, then put them away a little more carefully this time.

I'm going to be trying to enter the Mayacast "Masterglass" painting competition this season, which does mean I'll be painting an Infinity model that I won't be able to show off until April under the rules of the competition. I've not started yet, but I've got a couple of months.

I thought I'd "blitz through" the Mantic Terrain Crate Dungeon Debris on Sunday, but it turned out to be a longer process than I thought. The TT Combat undercoat was still weirdly tacky after over a week, and had missed some recesses, so I decided to basecoat over everything rather than do a simple contrast job. I reckon for terrain you might want to do that anyway, as the larger surfaces are much more fiddly to do with Contrast.

I'd have liked to have finished a bit more, but feeling like I'm back on the horse and got some good progress, so it's not a disappointment. Everything is pretty good, all told.

Friday, 27 January 2023

Wayland January Infinity Tournament

Captain_Rose is organising monthly Infinity tournaments down at Wayland Games Centre. January was Cryogenics, The Armory and Frontline. Due to the hobby room being too disorganised, I couldn't find one of my White Company cases, which meant I ended up taking my Shasvastii.

First up was Cryogenics, and I was playing Elgriffo who was running Bakunin. His list consisted of a chunky Riot Grrl core link and then a bunch of support. I'd taken a Malignos who was chilling out in hiding near one of the objectives, and he got a shot at Zoe when she walked too close. He then got isolated, smoked and killed by a Morlock, but I was happy he took up a bunch of orders to do so.

That Morlock was my absolute nemesis as it went on a huge killing spree through my backlines, really wrecking face.

My Caliban with a Spitfire came across, managed to kill Zoe and Pi-Well, then on to the Reverend Moira, ending the game on three wounds and holding down a zone for me.

There was no way I was going to dislodge a whole Riot Grrl link, but my Mentor was able to slip past them to get within eight inches of the other HVT to squeak a 7-6 victory. My opponent had made the wrong call about whether to Delay or Discover on one crucial order, and if that had gone the other way, I think he'd have held out to a draw!

Game 2 was The Armory, and I was up against Vanilla Combined Army, being run by geomatrix. His first game had run a bit long so we started a little late, but we managed to get a full three turns in. I'd brought the Minelayer Speculo, and was able to drop a mine down next to a big line of models who'd thought they were well out of sight behind a building that was on the far side of the Armory to me. He ended up needing to spend quite a few orders getting the mine cleared on his first turn.

The mine clearance had left his Charontid Lieutenant relatively close to my Speculo, who managed to get across and chop him in half at the expense of getting shot down themselves. But this left his force really lacking in hit pieces.

With second turn, it was much easier for me to sneak in models to score controlling the Armory, and it ended up being a 7-2 win for me. This meant I was two games up and heading to play the final mission with a very short break due to our late start.

I was facing Reyzah, who had also decided to run Shasvastii. Things did not start well with a Taigha managing to make a run across the table and take out my Mentor Lieutenant in the first turn. Things continued in a similarly tough light, with me constantly short on orders and unable to get much out of my deployment zone, facing a Haiduk, Q-Drone and Noctifer Missile Launcher ARO team.

My Malignos also failed to do the job as a Seed Soldier Paramedic claiming my HVT took most of my third turn orders to put down. While I managed to scrape the final score to lose 4-3, with 125 points left on the board to Reyzah's 225, I was never going to tip the points over to a win.

All in all, I had three really fun games. It was a pretty laid back affair with eight players. Some of the Wayland Infinity terrain is a bit scrappy after years of play, but it was still functional. I'll definitely go again when I'm next free.

I've been trying to win more games than I lose for a while now, and for the first time after a tournament, I'm sitting on an ELO score over the starting 1,000 while on an exact 50% win rate.

I'm not confident I'll stay with this good a record with the tough opponents I expect to see at St Albans Smackdown in February, but I wanted to mark the milestone and achievement, because I'm really proud of it.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Work in Progress Wednesday - Bad Squiddo Ravens, Three Legged Goblin and Terrain Crate Dungeon Debris

With the weather being nice last weekend, I decided to start working through the massive pile of Mantic Terrain Crate scatter terrain I've picked up. I picked the Dungeon Debris set to do first as it's the "simplest", and I wanted an easy win.

I sprayed it with TT Combat "Strigoi Flesh" spray undercoat. I think I hadn't shaken it enough and it needs a bit more shaking than the GW sprays I'm used to. I gave everything two coats and a couple of spots ended up getting quite a lot of build up of paint while other areas weren't quite covered. I'm going to give it another go to work out if it was user error or the product...

I got this three legged goblin from Creative Sculpt Studio along with the Dungeon Fiends Kickstarter. Normally, this would just be a random miniature I'd paint, but during lockdown I played in an Enemy Within campaign with some friends online, and a three legged goblin gives me a bit of nostalgia for that.

I'd picked up a blister of raven miniatures from Bad Squiddo Games ages ago, and got them assembled as part of my New Year metal assembly blitz. They were the last done and hadn't made it to undercoating before I posted the rest of that batch, so here they are.

On a whim, I decided to make a "swarm" base of Ravens as well as lots of individual bases. I used some rubble from the Fenris Games Rubble City range to give some variety of height to the base.

So, I've got a whole bunch of stuff ready to paint now, and I'm going to focus on getting half done things ready for painting rather than halfway through a particular process. While I do that, I am getting a bit of a "build up" of stuff that's ready to paint so I may dedicate a week to painting up as many of the simpler paint jobs as possible to clear some space. I may get distracted though, it's hard to tell right now...

Monday, 23 January 2023

Miscellaneous Miscellany

With the Infinity tournament the weekend before last, I didn't get much painting done, but I have had a few bits and pieces turn up so thought I'd share what I've got and what I'm planning to do with them. First up, I got the latest Games Workshop releases.

For Warhammer 40,000 I got the latest Arks of Omen books - the tournament rules and the Abaddon book that gives the rules for Boarding Actions. I'm definitely adding 40K Boarding Actions to things I want to try having read the rules - they really seem like my kind of thing. For now I have enough Deathwatch to try the rules out, but 500 points is a really nice size to make a fun little hobby project.

The Age of Sigmar Pitched Battles book doesn't have anything new new in it that I'm particularly jazzed about. I need to get in a game with my Stormcast Eternals. However, reading the new Slaves to Darkness book makes me very thoughtful about putting together a Chaos force one unit at a time rather than collecting piles of models and then trying to get through them. It's not high on the priority list right now, but I'll look into it once I've got in a game or two.

I picked up some rust pigments by Ammo, along with some pigment fixer. They're going to be one of the things I try to try and solve my Heresy Basing Problem, but there's probably a bunch of other stuff they'll do once I've learned how they work.

Next up is the Slug Wizard "Squid Gnome" zine. I think I saw this over on Mastodon and decided to pick up a copy out of curiosity. It seems to mostly stem from a hobby challenge someone ran, done up in the style of an old White Dwarf.

There's retro style ads for existing small hobby companies, some little mini games, and a couple of articles about the lore of the Squid Gnomes, along with the painted models of various people who entered the competition. I feel like this will probably have meant more to the people involved in the competition or who had heard about it when it was happening - but it's a really high production value for a small niche little thing, and I really like it for what it is.

I also got some 3D printed miniatures from the Slug Wizards. I included a paint pot in the first picture because they're really small!

Here are three tiny squid gnomes, complete with spears, ready to be angry at things.

There is also a bigger squid gnome who has a big symbol on his staff so he's probably important. All four of them have gone into the box of "weird minis I'll paint at some point to be picked out when the whim takes me.

I also picked up the new Gaining Grounds Season for Malifaux. Another sorely neglected game...

I also decided to pick up some models to proxy as Sidebots for my O-12 bike. While Monstrous Makings does make a "Judge Junior", I'm not fond of the Judge Dredd nod so went with something a bit more realistic from Anvil Industry (although they're not as fast looking as I'd like). I did grab some 3D printed weapons from Monstrous Makings to replace the default gun with, though.

Looking forward to the coming week, I'm hoping to have an assortment of undercoated models up on the blog for Work in Progress Wednesday, and a report back from the Wayland Infinity tournament on Friday. In between writing the blog posts, I want to try and get the test bases done for the Alpha Legion, finish up one of my palate cleanser minis, and maybe blitz a mini project like the Dungeon Fiends or some Scatter terrain.

I'm also planning on entering the "Mayacast Masterglass" competition, but part of the rules of that competition say no posting pictures of the models online until the photos go up in April, so you'll have to show some patience on that one!

Friday, 20 January 2023

Deathwatch Shieldbreaker Strike Force

I picked up the 2021 Space Marine Christmas army box, the "Shieldbreaker Strike Force". With everything else in the force done, I got it over to Squiggle's Studio to get painted up. To give the sergeants a bit more of a kick, I picked up some sprues for Thunder Hammers, and a set of 3 "Easy Build" Assault Intercessors  to bulk out the Assault Intercessors and let the multi-part ones take the role of the sergeants.

The new regular Intercessors with the five I already have gave me five of each of the bolter types they come with to let me pick which I need for a particular game or particular role. It should be 

Heavy Intercessors are the new unit for the most recent Codex. They've got tougher armour and bigger guns - I'm interested to see how they turn out in play.

I gained another Captain to swap in and out as needed, along with three Bladeguard. They can't do anything super clever in Deathwatch, but I suspect they're going to be pretty good in the new Boarding Action games.

Finally, the new Primaris Speeder. There's three different ones with different names, and I have no idea which is which. Hopefully I'll get to play it enough to learn which one it is and what it actually does...

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

Work in Progress Wednesday: New Year Metals

Over the New Year, I got a whole pile of metal miniatures assembled. First up is this undead Ogre, which I bought over Facebook years ago. I believe that sadly the sculptor passed on since. His pose is reminiscent of a classic Games Workshop Ogre sculpt from way back when.

Next up is this mystery figure. I got it free in an order with some other models, possibly from Fenris Games? I don't know who or what he's meant to be, but he's got a nice grumpy feel to him. He, and the rest of the miniatures from here on, were undercoated in "PHR Bone" by TT Combat. I'm pretty sure I got it during my pandemic panic buying, and I wanted to use it up on models that weren't needing to match anything else...

This Reaper Human Fighter, Brigette was acquired from the Fenris clearance section, and will be joining the ranks of sensibly armoured women fighters and adventurers I've been amassing.

Miko the Vampire Hunter is a Bad Squiddo figure from the Feudal Japan range (though you may find her under the Horror section on the shop). Unlike many other Bad Squiddo figures, she doesn't have a puddle base, so I pinned her to one of the Archon Studio bases I had stashed away to try those out.

Next up are a couple of North Star miniatures for Frostgrave - an apothecary and Markswoman. I'm pretty sure this was a Bad Squiddo Bargain Bin special. Its worth having a regular nose through, as there's often bits and pieces where Annie has found some end of range bits and pieces, or ex show stock.

More Bad Squiddo miniatures next - this time a pair of Tiefling pirates. They do make me realise that with a bit of prep, characterful models like this can make much more interesting D&D encounters if you stat up monsters or characters to match random models you have. A Tiefling rapier fighter backed up by a second with a glaive and a breastplate isn't necessarily a combat encounter you'd have thought of if not prompted by the miniatures.

A lot of small miniature companies include random samples in with orders. In this case, Fenris Games sent me an urn. I've decided to throw it on a base for stability and paint it up to be a bit of dungeon scatter that might be an empty pot or might contain some loot.

Next up is a Dwarf Watchman by Bears Head Miniatures. Sadly, Bears Head are no longer trading - I believe the sculptor has moved on to producing stuff for other companies full time without having to deal with the general public.

Someone was selling an old Warzone Trencher for peanuts and I decided he'd make an excellent heavy baddy for Stargrave. Are they called pirates? Either way, its a good example of how the miniature agnostic nature of games like Stargrave give you opportunities to do non standard stuff.

Maximillian and Madelaine are sculpts that were made for members of the Rogue Emporium Facebook group some time ago. I think they're likely going to be joining the ranks of Stargrave pirates.

Finally we have the terrain pieces from the Mutant Marches Kickstarter, by WilhelMiniatures. These will be excellent scatter terrain for Terrible Places. Every time you look at them you find new awful things.