Saturday 31 May 2014

Salute Saturdays: Ax Faction

Another miniature company with stuff on display at Salute was Ax Faction.

This is their most recent piece, which is called the "Druid's Daughter". Girl riding giant armoured hare? Fair enough...

You will, as I post the various pictures I took, you may start to see a teensy bit of a theme to the models. Not that they are excellently sculpted, or well painted, but the choice of subjects.

In short, all but one of their sculpts include scantily clad women. Most of them with their breasts out. Their website (apart from turning on music every time you change page) claims that they produce "edgy & exquisite 32mm miniatures with brash styling and provocative design". Honestly, its just cheap and a quick way of selling miniatures, dressed up as 'edgy' - which it isn't. Tons of other miniature companies do it as well.

This sculpt shows that they are perfectly capable of making good miniatures without women trying to catch their death of cold. Personally, I don't find their figures offensive or make me feel excluded - but there will be women who do.

I've heard it asked before why more women aren't into the hobby. The answer is partially answered by this sort of thing. The fact that I am not offended is not the issue - and there will be women who aren't as well. That's not the point. What is important (if you care about seeing a better balance of people in the hobby) is to not dismiss someone else's upset or offence because you aren't - that is, essentially, blaming them and not the cause of the problem.

I don't have an easy answer to this - and I'm not sure there is one. But given I was posting the photos, I thought it would be good to mention that it pays to be self aware. Please, just take that moment to be thoughtful of someone else's feelings if they raise an issue. It will help a lot.

Monday 26 May 2014

Sitting down and painting a model

Having resolved to do a bunch of painting over the Bank Holiday weekend, I found myself approaching Sunday lunchtime with only a little base coating done on my Commissar Lord, this month's target for the Hobby Progress Challenge.

So, I sat down, and I painted him. With a short break in the middle, I've just come out of four straight hours painting, and I don't regret it, am not feeling burnt out from the painting, and I have a painted figure.

Now, his base isn't painted, but that's because I need to leave the basing gloop I use to dry overnight, but he's scraped in under the deadline. Also, he's not just base coated and washed - the cloak had some proper hand blending done on it, and things like his medal ribbons were picked out properly.

I am pleasantly happy with my self right now. I'm going to potter back downstairs and try and get a little bit of work done on the Beastmen shortly. I should also sort dinner.

I have put the plastic Sentinel I was tinkering with away. Looking at the coming month, I am going to be ridiculously busy with non war-gaming related bits and pieces, so an ambitious painting challenge is . . . ill considered.

So, in the coming week, I'm going to pull out another character - probably a priest - and prep him up so I can get a quick, easy win. The wins are helpful, as they're helping me Get Stuff Done and feeling motivated. And that can't be a bad thing!

Saturday 24 May 2014

WARNING: SPIDERS - Salute Saturdays: Otherworld Miniatures

I've put a warning on today's post because some of the spider models that Otherworld produce were so realistic that they caused some of my group to refuse to approach their miniature cabinets. You have been warned.

Otherworld Miniatures seem to mostly specialise in figures for games like D&D. They have a really extensive range and looking at the products from companies like this actually makes me wish I was running a D&D campaign where I could use them!

I really love this "Water Weird" model, where they've used a clear resin to make a monster which is basically animated water.

An assortment of beasties, badly photographed.

I'm not sure what these are - but they made me think of Death World flora when I saw them - probably because a lot of early GW stuff was designed so you could reuse your D&D models for it.

Our spidery friends. I did warn you!

I really quite like the lizardmen here.

The dryad / water sprite models are nice, too.

The demon idol is a classic image, and those acolytes are really tempting, if I could think of a use for them.

I understand the dragons are new, but were on display at Salute.

Some undead. My party were encouraging me to hurry up and stop photographing by this point!


If you ever wondered where you could get a 28mm scale giant grab from for your games, here's your answer!

Monday 19 May 2014

Putting motivation theory into practice: I finished a model!

Well, after last week's waffling on about getting motivated and staying motivated, I really needed to put my money where my mouth is.

The Mk I Thunder Armour model is now complete and finished! My darling wife thinks I should do some edge highlighting to finish him off, but I am quite content with how he is. Hopefully, Tommie won't be too disappointed in me.

So the Mk I moves over to the "finished" column. I've undercoated the Commissar Lord so he moves over to the "Painting" column, and that leaves a slot in assembly. As the Lord Commissar will take a while to paint, and I still have a bunch of Beastmen to finish off, I picked a slightly bigger assembly job.

The job in question is an armoured Sentinel, which are much cheaper in the new Astra Militarum book. I wasn't sure if a Plasma Cannon or a Lascannon would be better, so I'm going to try magnetising it so I can try both out.

I have also picked up the most recent White Dwarf magazines and have been studying through them for every last detail of what's going on with the new rules set for 40K which will be out on Saturday. It will surprise no-one to learn I am mind-bendingly excited about this.

There is no point in jumping into rumour and speculation at this point - I'll have the book in my hands in under a week. From what I've seen from the official GW sources, there's a huge potential to tell stories which is a big part of what I love about the hobby.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Salute Saturdays: Taban

I do like Taban's post apocalyptic skirmish game Eden. I really do need to finish painting up my Jokers gang so I can play my darling wife.

I narrowly avoided a recent crowd funder they ran for a board game called "Escape". I managed to hold back because I haven't finished painting my existing gang.

There are just so many gorgeous miniatures they've done. They had trouble crowding them all into the space they had available!

I have a small group of the creepy evil clown faction. Because evil clowns.

They also have a load of weird post apocalyptic mutants, zombies and beasts.

Sim has the killer robot faction, called ISC.

These are, I think, a new faction of humans, recently escaped from their robot overlords.

And another newer faction - who I don't know the background to yet.

I want the creepy walking robot puppet theatre. I really, really want it. It took so much self control not to pick it up on the day!

Monday 12 May 2014


So, Headologist recently posted asking how people deal with hobby burnout and how they keep motivated.

"So, TRO, why are you posting about motivation? You're absolutely terrible at it."

Harsh, but ultimately fair.

At the time of writing, I currently have in progress some Malifaux Marionettes, 20 Beastmen, a Tzeentch Herald, a Chaos Warrior, Sarissa Silos, a Sarissa Warehouse, Nicolai from Eden, a Mk I Power Armour and a Commissar Lord. When did I start each of those?

Tzeentch Herald: Before July 2012
Marionettes: October 2012
Sarissa Silos: November 2012
Chaos Warrior: August 2013
Sarissa Warehouse: April 2013
Nicolai: January 2014
Beastmen: March 2014
Mk I Power Armour: April 2014
Commissar Lord: April 2014

Oh deary, deary me. That really is quite tragic, isn't it?

I think really, there are two challenges - avoiding getting burnt out and getting out of burn out when it happens.

Avoiding burnout

For me, avoiding burn out means feeling like I'm making progress. Sadly, this means I do sometimes end up falling into the trap of creating overly elaborate plans and never doing any actual work.

Yeah. Like that guy.

I started off using a burn down chart so I could see my progress compared to the stuff I had still to do. Unfortunately, I have so many things to do that this invariably ends up looking like this:

I got stuff done that April, but you simply can't see it. The jump up is Salute.

I tried just counting what was "in progress" that month, which did have some positive effect. But the other problem was it counted all progress, not getting things finished - so things didn't get finished.

But, following some advice from The Independent Characters podcast, I moved over to using Kanban, using free software at Kanban Flow.

I find this works quite well for me. I get to move things across as I get them done, and the Kanban principles are also quite useful.

I would also recommend the super simple system used by my friend James over at Gonzo History: Gaming Edition. It is a very simple equation: [Models Painted This Year] - [Models Bought This Year]. The aim is to keep the number positive. I'm currently on 25 - 40 = -15. It's not terrible, but its on the wrong side of zero, and that needs fixing.

Overcoming burn out

So, recently I've been slowly coming out of some burn out triggered by my Imperial Beastmen being a far, far harder job than I realised. I can kind of distil the principles of this down into a few key rules.

If you're going to procrastinate, do something productive
Cut down on possible distractions

I've combined these into one. This is a picture of my table from mid April. It is an absolute bomb site. It is still quite a lot of a bomb site, but every time I was at my painting desk and a bit fed up of painting, I did some tidying - throwing away old receipts, putting a few boxes away... And if I was really fed up, I went and did some housework. A quite incredible amount of housework has been done during my recent burnout, so it's not a total bust!

Get old projects under control

The age of some of the older projects has been quite a demotivation for me - so I've effectively put all but one of them on hold. That was Collodi, who is now done - now it's half the Beastmen I'm going to try and finish off. When they're done, that blasted Herald is in my sights.

(Admittedly, realising how long I'd had someone else's model also freaked me out a bit into getting that one done. I am a terrible, terrible person, and clearly owe the owner some ice cream.)

Do something you love

I adore my kit bashing, so the Mk I Thunder Armour project for INQ28 has been something that has really got me sitting at my hobby desk again - and when he's been drying, I've turned around and done a little more painting on the Beastmen.

Vary what you're doing

So, as I started painting the Mk I, I started missing the kit bashing - so up pops our Commissar Lord friend (who is also my painting commitment this month for the Hobby Progress Challenge). Switching between prep and painting is another thing to keep some form of progress going while I'm going a little stir crazy from holding a paint brush.

I'm incredibly pleased with the green stuff work on his sword arm - it had a massive void and there was absolutely no detail. I've managed to get the folds of the sleeve and the sculpt of the cuff all fixed smoothly - this is not something I'd have been able to do a few months ago.

The staff head was also replaced, and pinned for strength. There is absolutely no way this is something I would have even tried so much as a month ago.

Set goals

Really, it's become apparent to me that I work a lot better with fewer projects "on the go". 9 projects on the go is insanity and foolishness, and is not actually the case - some stuff is just not getting done.

As such, I think a reasonable "to do" pile is one 'detail' project for display or competition, one 'unit' where I'm churning though a big project for gaming, and one slot free for quick wins which will keep me enthused. I'll probably also have some things in assembly and preparation while things are in the painting pile too, so it stays constant and I've always got something on.

Finally, there is the most important lesson of all. James actually called me on this one a while ago.

Just paint something

I spend an inordinate amount of time talking about painting compared to the amount of time I spend painting. Sometimes, I just need to stop talking about painting and actually do some.

Like now, for example.

Saturday 10 May 2014

Salute Saturdays: Troublemaker Games

I already mentioned a little bit of Troublemaker Games in my original Salute coverage, but they had a lot on display!

Here, in amid the Timeline 300 Martians I already know and love, was some really nice . . . epic, in fact, plastic scenery sprues.

Here's one of them free standing on the table.

Something people will not have seen for a long time - 6mm plastic sci fi infantry and tanks.

It turns out that Troublemaker successfully crowd-funded their own 6mm wargame, "Defeat in Detail", which they are now producing.

There's an assortment of bits and pieces which they've done for a few different factions.

These are some infantry for a faction called the "Cybershadows".

It does seem that conveniently, a lot of the models could co-incidentally be used as a "counts as" faction for other popular, discontinued 6mm wargames, should someone have a mind to do so.

They've got a really excellent range of bits and pieces for this game done up, from the walkers to the planes.

The tanks have also been nicely thought out and have their own distinct look, despite their suitability to be used for other systems as well.

These ones, I think, are coming soon to a new crowd-funder. They looked pretty nice. Or are they part of the original campaign? I know not!

Some cannibalistic bikers.

I love this big chunky shuttle. Sadly, I don't have a use for it right now.

These could also be used quite nicely as combat robots in 28mm wargames as well.