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.

Monday 16 January 2023

First models of the year

I did not expect, at the start of the week, that I'd have finished painting Corax Hasht. They were in my lists for the Infinity Tournament at the Wayland Games Centre last weekend, and I was fully expecting to have to varnish their half finished paint job to protect it some point mid way through the week.

In the end, though, I knuckled down and painted in evenings and over lunch breaks while working from home and got him completely finished. I haven't really used him much in practice yet - he's a list swap in from a test list that didn't work so well. I'm writing this before I went to the tournament last weekend (scheduled posts are weird from a time perspective), so you'll have to wait to hear how he actually worked out in practice.

I also finished this Blackmane Gnoll Ravager by Reaper Miniatures. He's just a quick tabletop quality job to get him ready to use in RPGs when needed. I had particular fun giving him a gold tooth on a whim, which I feel gives him a bit of extra character as a bit showy.

Friday 13 January 2023

Upcoming Project: Dungeon Fiends

This is the Dungeon Fiends Starter set by Creative Sculpt Studio. I picked it up from their Kickstarter, though they're now available from retail.

I got these assembled while my wife was away over New Year, and I've now managed to get some photos of them before I start painting.

I picked them up for nostalgia reasons, so decided I wanted to go for an old school feel to the bases as well. I ordered some resin hexagonal bases from Fenris Games. Appropriately, I went with the "Dungeon Labyrinth" design.

There's a good selection of monsters. There's two zombies - one of a peasant or lower class corpse, while the other is a better armed and armoured figure, perhaps a guard or noble's retinue before his demise?

I had a bit of a dilemma for the cave troll miniature. This is clearly a more trained one, sufficient to wear some primitive armour and wield a weapon. The standard D&D stats for trolls have them all as large or above, so I had to consider if I'd find a larger base for him. Given the size of the model, I decided to stick with the hexagonal bases. I might come up with some fun rules and background for a slightly smaller troll, or just place him across four squares depending on how I need to use him.

The bug man is a fun weird model that isn't a typical D&D monster, but he should be an interesting monster to homebrew. The text for him suggests he might be a cursed noble, but there's plenty of options you could use.

The sentient slime is another interesting weirdness that should be a fun challenge for players. It's an opportunity for a weird paint job too.

One of my early hobby memories is reading "Best of White Dwarf Scenarios 3", which included an advert for Games Workshop's Adventurer's Starter Set and Monsters Starter Set. I never bought the miniatures, as I'd picked the magazine up as a back issue as it was, but there's a strong nostalgia feel to that.

This hobgoblin could definitely imagine being in a similar release or set at the time. It's not a style I've painted much, so I'll be interested to see how it turns out.

I'm less of a fan of the wraith sculpt from the set, but I'll see if I can come up with something that makes me like the sculpt a little more when I'm painting it.

Finally, we have the giant mutant snail. It's got a weird mouth and an eye stalk, so it shouldn't be too hard to make it pretty horrid.

I'm going to be treating these as a little "mini project" rather than as a set of individual miniatures to paint, because they have a bit of value to me as a set, even though they're going to have individual paint schemes.