Monday 30 December 2019

A little painting over the holiday period

While visiting family over Christmas, I took a little "go bag" of painting supplies and a few miniatures. In between the various social obligations of the season, I managed to fit in an afternoon of painting, getting two miniatures fully painted up.

Please excuse the pictures - I had a choice between getting better photos at home or finishing another hour of Skyrim, and you can work out which won.

First up was this mimic, who was produced after winning a sculpting competition on the Oldhammer Sculpting Facebook group. I painted him with the box lid separate. He's mostly contrast paints. In particular, I love the slightly cartoonish wood look I get from using Snakebite Leather.

The tongue, however, is painted using more traditional methods, with Vallejo reds and Games Workshop Shade paints. It was a good small exercise in reminding myself how blending works, as I have some higher detailed pieces coming down the line.

I also painted this undead familiar by Diehard Miniatures. (Diehard Miniatures is the method Tim Prow puts out his personal sculpts for public consumption...) I'm pretty sure this creepy little fellow was the reason I ended up backing their Undead Kickstarter. As such, he was part of the Shelf of Shame, and is actually the first miniature from there I've got painted. There's now just an undead spaceman and an undead centaur to go.

He was base coated with Wraithbone and painted with Skeleton Horde contrast before I started playing around a bit. I tried using Black Templar contrast to drop in darker shades (with only moderate success) before drybrushing. I used both some Wraithbone but also some Vallejo pale green and pale blue to add more variety to his colours. Finally, he got a wash of Seraphim Sepia, which brought the varied colours together.

The base was washed with a couple of different contrast paints, then once they were dry, drybrushed with Kindleflame as I was curious what it would look like compared to my usual bone coloured base dry brush. I quite like it.

Unfortunately, the picture here really doesn't let you see all that much of the miniature, so I definitely need to re-photograph him with some better lighting conditions.

Monday 23 December 2019

A tidy desk is the sign of a tidy . . . oh dear

I've not really done any hobby stuff for the past couple of weeks. Or rather, I've been selling off clutter and catching up on reading White Dwarf. Oh, and I saw the new Star Wars, which I personally thought was excellent.

Sadly, this doesn't really give much basis for a good hobby blog post. I've got a tournament report to write up and had a couple of games of Infinity beside that, but looking back I didn't take particularly great pictures to illustrate a blog post on them...

The challenge right now is not to feel guilty for taking a break. Or doing other things. Striking the balance between "getting into a habit of painting regularly" and "making sure it doesn't start feeling like a chore" is one I'm still not getting right yet.

I don't want to feel like this is a grumble. It's more a flow of conscious. The thing is, life is good. I read some White Dwarfs. I saw a movie which I really liked. I've got more clutter out of my house which makes me happy. I did that rather than something else. Understanding that opportunity cost without regretting whatever thing you chose to do is something I definitely want to get better at.

I won't be doing much hobby stuff over Christmas, but I hope to get a post in before the New Year. Until then, have a great holiday season, however you celebrate it!

Monday 9 December 2019

Painting progress and musing on how brains work

Saturday was mostly chores and tidying, but I finished up the Grey Seer I picked up from the Made to Order service a while back. This makes him the first Skaven for my actual AoS force I've finished, which I'm quite happy with.

On Sunday, I wandered down to HATE to get some metal assembly done away from people who are allergic to nickel. I got three Infinity repairs done, as well as getting Queek Headtaker assembled as my next Skaven character. Two of the three Diehard Miniatures Undead also got made up - I discovered I didn't have a suitable base for the third, so I've got that ordered. Finally, I got the Caliban from Wildfire done, so that's all the Shasvastii from the starter assembled.

I had a couple of revelations about the hobby from the weekend. I've been playing "Chaos and Conquest" on my phone a bunch. It's an OK game with plenty of achievements to keep me interested. This weekend there was a timed "achieve a bunch of stuff and get a fancy champion" event. I decided to go for it and sunk a bunch of time into it . . . but it got quite stressful. It's reminded me that hobby stuff should be fun and not a chore. (And maybe extended runs of trying to achieve a thing over a timescale, as opposed to trying a hard thing and failing / succeeding has too similar a stress pattern to my work and I shouldn't do it.)

The other was over assembling the Caliban. He's got a very simple to fix gap in an obvious spot - but I'd not taken the liquid green stuff down to the club. Having a tiny part of one thing "not finished" almost completely countered the sense of achievement I'd got from getting eight significant things done (between painting, repairs and assembly).

I think it's about expectation. I've had very restful weekends where I got a bunch done because I got "more" than the target done, while another weekend where I did the exact same amount of stuff but I'd planned to do more - absolute misery.

So yeah - definite learning point. While I can't stop unexpected failings, I can try and set non specific goals "do this number of things" and set a low 'target' that I can then over-achieve and feel good, while still doing the same amount of stuff.

My brain is stupid and irrational, but at least I can game it!

Monday 2 December 2019

November Painting and Hobby Review

As November drew to a close, I managed to finish up my first Shasvastii. This is one of the Nox Troopers from Operation Wildfire, who basically serve as line  troopers. I'm really pleased with how the paint job has come out, and a special thanks to Joel Traveller who suggested adding a second colour to the gun to stop it looking too unrealistic.

I also dropped some Contrast paint onto "Trista the Loremistress", another one of the Reaper Silver Anniversary models I picked up to help me get back into painting. I'm definitely building up a good head of steam now, so pretty happy with how that went!

As I previously mentioned, I got three Inquisitorial figures done for "Purge the Pit" - which I'm now not going to. A bit sad to be missing it, but it was definitely the right choice.

So, how are the "quarterly goals" going?

Q4 Goal

  • Paint 6 models

Q4 Stretch Goals
  • Finish Skaven test paints
  • Assemble 10 Malifaux models - IN PROGRESS
  • Paint 10 Malifaux Models
  • Clean and paint club terrain crates
  • Assemble and Paint Diehard Miniatures Undead
  • Paint Purge the Pit force - CANCELLED
  • Order Organiser
  • Infinity MDF Case
It's not too bad, all told. I've now got five of the Malifaux figures assembled, and I've started on my Shasvastii, which weren't on the goals list. I've also noticed that as I go, more stuff is ticking up a warning on my Kanban Board that I've owned it for a year and not painted it.

To make sure I don't lose track of stuff I still want to paint and assemble, I've set up a Shelf of Shame page to keep track. The list currently isn't too bad. Of the five items on there, I still need to find the Diehard Undead in the Big Pile of Boxes. Then I'll need to assemble them at the club. Similarly, the Warhounds have only just ticked over, and should probably be added to the club hobby go bag.

Meanwhile, the Tsyklon and the Libertos are for my Nomads force and I need to do some test paints for those to determine how on earth I'm actually going to paint them. Once that's done, they're both lined up in my "first painted Nomads list" I've drafted up.

That leaves the club terrain crates, which are a bit of a "boring" project. Still, they're plastic, so I can dig them out and work on scraping the mould lines on them in between work that needs a bit more concentration.

The good news is that the one year mark is doing it's job. I reviewed the stuff that is "ticking over" in December and have already added a couple of things to the eBay pile on the grounds that I can't really justify holding on to them.

In other news, while I'm trying not to buy new stuff as I paint the existing stuff . . . I really couldn't say no to this. So, queued up after the Skaven are Sisters of Battle.

On that subject, I've at least started getting some base layers onto the Grey Seer. He's going to get a little more attention lavished on him than clanrats will, but I'm still not going to go too hyper detailed. I do have an army to paint, after all!

All in all, a pretty good month. I'm diverging a bit from the "planned" stretch goals for the quarter because things have changed, but that's not the end of the world. I'm still getting stuff painted and having fun.

Thursday 28 November 2019

Infinity Learning Game: Ikari vs Druze - Decapitation

With my Ikari models recently back from my commission painter, I decided on a whim to run them at St Albans Smackdown. I haven't got the Wu Ming or Tanko models yet, so wrote some unusual lists to try out. I took one of them down to the club to try out against shrikeh's Druze.

The list I wrote was as follows:


GROUP 1 5  / 5  / 5
 PANGGULING Hacker (EVO Hacking Device) Electric Pulse. (0.5 | 25)
 YUAN YUAN Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 9)
 YUAN YUAN Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 9)
 YUAN YUAN Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 9)
 YUAN YUAN Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / Pistol, Shock CCW. (0 | 8)
 FUGAZI DRONBOT Flash Pulse, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 8)
 PATHFINDER DRONBOT Combi Rifle, Sniffer / Electric Pulse. (0 | 16)
 RUI SHI Spitfire / Electric Pulse. (1.5 | 20)
 LÙ DUĀN Mk12, Heavy Flamethrower / Electric Pulse. (0 | 21)
 DESPERADO Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / 2 Assault Pistols, CC Weapon. (0 | 13)

 DESPERADO Chain Rifle, Smoke Grenades / 2 Heavy Pistols, AP CC Weapon. (0 | 11)
 YOJIMBO Contender, Nanopulser, Smoke Grenades, CrazyKoalas (2) / Pistol, DA CCW. (0 | 21)
 FASID HMG + (Smoke and Normal) Light Grenade Launcher, Antipersonnel Mines / Heavy Pistol, Knife. (2 | 53)
 BRAWLER Lieutenant Rifle + Light Shotgun / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 16)
 KRAKOT RENEGADE 2 Chain Rifles, Grenades / Pistol, DA CC Weapon. (0 | 14)
 WARCOR (Sixth Sense L1) Flash Pulse / Stun Pistol, Knife. (0 | 3)
 TOKUSETSU EISEI Doctor (MediKit) Combi Rifle / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
 TOKUSETSU KOHEI Engineer Combi Rifle, D-Charges / Pistol, Knife. (0 | 14)
 YÁOZĂO Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
 YÁOZĂO Electric Pulse. (0 | 3)
 LIBERTO (Minelayer) Light Shotgun, Chain-colt, Antipersonnel Mines / Pistol, Knife. (1 | 10)

 5 SWC | 300 Points

Open in Infinity Army

The test game went really well. A little too well in fact, as the Druze got blasted off the table. At the end of my first turn, I'd got a Lieutenant kill and taken out Cordelia, so I was up on specialists, too.

It all fell apart when the planned Druze counter-attack with Scarface failed a Flash Pulse save and then failed to pull back, so the Al Fasid filled Scarface full of HMG bullets, and by the end of my second turn there were perhaps two Druze left alive... We called it there at 10-0.

The downside of this game was that I hadn't managed to get a good experience of a lot of my models - the Rui Shi had done a little, the Al Fasid had proven a useful gun platform and the Yuan Yuan had been devastating. But similarly, Yojimbo and the Lu Duan hadn't done much at all.

I'm not planning on running Ikari much this year, I just thought it would be fun to run them for a game and a tournament to see how they run. I had good fun, though, so I'll definitely come back to them.

Monday 25 November 2019

A gentle Monday of painting

My dearly beloved pointed out my painting area had become a bit of a mess and stepping back a moment, I realised she was completely right! Rather than just put everything away, I decided to use my post LARP recovery Monday afternoon finishing off small bits and pieces and putting them away as I completed each in turn.

Given how worn out I am, I've decided to give Purge the Pit a miss. This makes me sad, but wiping myself out isn't really the smartest of moves.

This Kum biker was commission painted, but unfortunately took a little knock in the post and lost his right arm. His paint job still needs a little touch up, but that can be a future job as he's now usable on the table.

This Yuan Yuan was a model I forgot should only be air dropped in the narrative of the games, not in real life. She's now been reattached to her base and her drop wings put back on. I'm not planning on playing more Ikari any time in the immediate future, but she can go into a case and be ready to play.

I finished up the Jokaero. All that really needed doing was finishing up the base and fixing the eyes.

Inquisition flamey minion is done - again, another one just waiting for a base that was an easy win.

And the other flamey boi was also just waiting for a base. Now I have a bunch of Inquisitorial trouble I should try them out in a game of 40K at some point. Not sure when I'll fit it in, though - I need to remember not to over-commit again!

I also finished up assembling Miss Deed for my Malifaux crew. Not super exciting, but its another step towards being able to play Malifaux!

Monday 18 November 2019

A busy couple of weeks

So, I've had a couple of weekends since my last hobby update, so how have things been? The original plan was one weekend for painting and one for things to do, but that got rather stymied by a request to spend a weekend re-sorting the eBay pile.

Still, I managed to settle down on Saturday morning and get three of my Inquisition nearly done - there's just a few details and finishing up the bases to go. With me off at a LARP next weekend, I've got one weekend to get it all done. Achievable, but *internal screaming*.

My Ikari came back from my commission painter and I decided on a whim to take them to the St Albans Smackdown tournament. I threw a couple of lists together and took one to the club to practice on Wednesday. Poor shrikeh got demolished by Yuan Yuans and we called it part way through my second turn with two Druze left able to move.

Sadly, that used up all my skill and luck for the tournament itself! I managed to come dead last after three losses. It was a lot of fun, but for my next tournament, I'm definitely practicing to try and do better! The odd loss isn't a problem, but consistent loss drains your enthusiasm for playing.

Then, on Sunday, HATE had a bring and buy. So I dragged a bunch of stuff down to the club and spent a few hours parting people from their cash. Taking into account the cost of the taxis to get me there and back, I just about broke even. When it happens again, I'll only take enough to take on the bus. The extra stuff really didn't merit the taxi fares.

As expected, November's White Dwarf had new Inquisition rules. And as I feared for Purge the Pit, there were points drops on some of the units I'd taken. Inquisition flamers and the Jokaero both got a chunky price cut meaning there was a need for me to find more models to paint . . . or was there?

With 25 points to spend, I decided that rather than make things harder for myself, I would use the model I'd planned to use as a Primaris Psyker as a Daemonhost, and in turn, give the model James painted for me to round out the warband. An extra model, but no extra painting.

There's a busy couple of weeks to come, so the blog may be a little quieter than it's been. December (after the first weekend) is pretty quiet, then busy again between January and April. I think maybe a little too busy. So, for the future . . . perhaps leaving a little more time for me, rather than over-committing due to the fear of missing out.

Thursday 14 November 2019

Infinity: Learning Dahshat - Transmission Matrix vs MRRF

I'm planning on heading to the European Infinity Challenge again next year. My initial plan is to take Dahshat company, as they've been what I've been having my commission painter focus on now the Druze are basically all done. Also, I got fed up of losing.

But the event pack for EIC has been published and it's given me pause. This year, its a Mid-Tier tournament with the Spec Ops and Tactical Window Extras. In particular, this means you're limited to 15 models on the table, and Dahshat excels in the 16 - 20 range. Worse for me, one of the listed missions is Transmission Matrix - a mission that covers the table in Repeaters accessible to both side's Hackers, while Dahshat are terrible at Hacking and most of their best tricks are hackable.

So, I thought I'd get in some early practice. I put together a list that notably did not use McMurrough or many hackable units. I avoided McMurrough as he's often an order sink and for a practice game, that's taking a lot of the game time back to "McMurrough practice" rather than exploring options for dealing with an unfamiliar army composition and restrictions.

My opponent, Yashar from HATE, brought along his beloved MRRF. He's also ranked number 1 in the UK right now. But you get better by playing people who are better than you!

I lost the Lieutenant roll and he chose the deployment side and to make me deploy first. Hoping to tough out the first turn, I chose to go second as it really helps with scoring in area control missions.

I did not have a strong enough ARO presence to pull that kind of nonsense.

Duroc air dropped in and rampaged through my lines.

I finally revealed a disguised Father Sforza and filled the Werewolf full of viral rounds, but the damage was done and I didn't have much to push up the table with.

My Bashi managed to successfully clear a sniper but took a mine doing so, dying horribly.

It took all my orders just to start clearing obstacles, and I never had the remaining orders or tools to clear my way to the objectives.

Pretty much everyone ended up glued, dead or both.


  • You need a very strong ARO game to pull the "lose deployment and go second" trick. I did not have a strong ARO game.
  • Think about what the core link is for and use it for that.
  • The Al Fasid is Very Slow and there is little redeployment for him, especially in Transmission Matrix with large sections of the board cut off for him.
  • Have a solid game plan and stick to it. I was so focused on "see how the units do" I hadn't really thought about who would have the job of pushing up to the other antennas and capturing them.
Particular thanks are due to Yashar who was feeling a bit under the weather that day but dragged himself out to play me anyway. His feedback was really useful in making me think about list design and planning, in particular.

So, definitely back to the drawing board, but I've learned a bunch!

Monday 11 November 2019

October painting and hobby review

With October down and into November, lets check how I'm doing with my quarterly hobby targets. I finished up the Dreadmere Mercenaries for Reaper Bones as one of my palette cleanser quick paints.

I finished the Skaven test paints, so that's one of my additional goals done. This also took me over the target number of models for the month complete, so I've hit my quarterly goal in the first month! Everything now is a bonus.

James from Gonzo History Gaming painted this psyker for me, though I have not counted him in my own painting totals.

I also complete the first of my Purge the Pit models, although I really should have got about five done to have a steady rate of painting between starting the Purge the Pit project and the event itself. Whoops! I guess I'll be painting quite a bit more Inquisition over November.

Q4 Goal

  • Paint 6 models
Q4 Stretch Goals

  • Finish Skaven test paints
  • Assemble 10 Malifaux models - IN PROGRESS
  • Paint 10 Malifaux Models
  • Clean and paint club terrain crates
  • Assemble and Paint Diehard Miniatures Undead
  • Paint Purge the Pit force - IN PROGRESS
  • Order Organiser
  • Infinity MDF Case

The main priority for November is obviously Purge the Pit so I can take an all new force painted for the event. Any painting outside that is likely to be to break up the painting - but they're all pretty different figures so I'm not too worried about getting fed up with painting the same thing over and over.

In a slight change of direction, the Games Workshop Christmas previews showed a Skaven Battleforce that's basically everything I wanted to get next . . . but I really can't justify that without getting the existing Skaven I have painted. So maybe around Purge the Pit I can get some Skaven assembled? But I'm going to be strict with myself and not abandon assembling the Malifaux models first.

So, next month I need to paint more than I managed this month to be ready for Purge the Pit. It's time to really up my game!

Thursday 7 November 2019

Reaper Bones: Black Review - Dreadmere Mercenaries, Part 2

I finished the Reaper Black Bones Dreadmere Mercenaries last month, based off the tutorial by El Soldado Tranquilo. I undercoated black as instructed, then drybrushed heavily with Grey Seer. I didn't manage to exactly copy the scheme at this stage as he did a darker drybrush all over, then a lighter one with a brighter colour over the top of the mini and the weapon.

I then washed the entire figure in Snakebite Leather, but chickened out of using a wet brush to thin out the areas I wanted to be lighter. The other blogger recommends trying watering the contrast down before and after painting, so that's something to try out in future paint jobs.

The next drybrush stage went down well and I was pretty happy with how it then started to look. I'd actually really like some figures just left at this kind of stage. I definitely want to try a more detailed pass with Rakarth more like a base coat before the Agrax in a future pass.

I then dropped in some Contrast paints to match three of the Cities of Sigmar paint colours. I felt these weren't desaturated enough. The tutorial didn't cover how to add other desaturated colours, so I want to play around with this more.

I took another couple of drybrushed highlights using bone and grey colours, along with Agrax washes, which brought everything together more and made the colours much less bold. I decided to leave these figures at this point, but I definitely want to play around with this methodology more in future.