dispatches from terra incognita

Category: Paint Table Saturday

Closer to Skull Pass

I have made satisfying progress in painting my Battle of Skull Pass night goblins. The infantry is complete, I’ve done the musician and standard bearer for the archers, and the troll as well. Four of the spider-riders (cavalry, I suppose) are nearly complete, though camera shy just yet.

Goblin leadership

Archer musician and standard bearer, along with a troll; poorly lit, alas…

One unit of infantry…

… and the other

I also fancied up the bases of some older-than-Skull-Pass GW skeletons I had packed away. I’m rifling through my mound of unpainted Reaper Bones for an appropriate necromancer to lead them.

Progress at Skull Pass

I mentioned in my previous ramblings that I had dug out my now-a-teenager Battle at Skull Pass box set. During the two minutes it held my interest back in 2006, I primed most of the night goblin infantry and painted their skin and spears. Then they went back into the box and I went onto other things.

Well, I have shown uncharacteristic persistence over the past couple weeks, and here is the result:

Night Goblins and a troll.


These fellows are finished, save for a bit of flock and a spritz of varnish. The troll got a bit more paint after I took the picture, but I still need to do his base.

Goblin leadership

And yet, still much more to be done… Fourteen (I believe) more of the spearman and then on to the archers. I primed first batch in black, which makes sense as their robes are predominantly that color. I did the archers in gray, which is my preference now, but I may re-spray them black as well to hurry things along. In general, I can see details better in gray than black.

There are spider-mounted cavalry as well, and then of course, all the dwarfs. I’m finding that the simple sculpts are an encouragement to process, so I may actually finish this one in a reasonable amount of time! Sadly, though, my brief summer interlude from teaching ends on Monday, so hobbying time once again becomes a precious commodity.

Onward and Backward?

One frequently reads wargamers lamenting their “Gamer ADHD,” the magpie-like distractibility that prevents us from completing our projects. I am thoroughly fortunate to have a dedicated gaming space — The Hobby Shack — which I was certain would sharpen my efficiency and dedication to wargaming. Well… I definitely spend more hobbying time than I used to do; yet still nothing comes to completion.

Some folks implement measures such as “The Pledge,” whereby they keep a balance of new purchases to items completed, forestalling wanton accumulation. I’ve begun to do so informally — for example, I have vowed to finish every mdf kit I have before purchasing another.

Regularly, however, I’ll find myself seated at my painting desk, staring aimlessly, overwhelmed to the point of paralysis. I simply have so many projects in media res that I don’t know what to do next. Cracking on to completion of anything feels impossible… And, this is a hobby! (We’ll set aside for the moment the fact that I have other hobbies as well).

I suppose an appropriate graphic representation of my hobbying experience would be one of those slow-moving maps revealing the formation of a tropical depression — lazy counter-clockwise spinning that never attains the fury of a hurricane.

As an exercise, let us examine my past week or so of hobbying. N.B.: I’m on my brief Summer Interruption from teaching (my school is year ’round so it’s only about 5 weeks long) and thus I enjoy the luxury of daily hobby time. Here is what I have been doing — not, mind you, in the exact order I did it, as my records and memory are not sufficiently accurate to reconstruct the timeline.

Way back in early 2016 (!) I was fortunate enough to benefit from the generosity of Tom Foss at Skull and Crown and his Great Wagoning of 2016. He utilized his laser cutting contraption to create some 10mm card wagons and horses for a Warmaster scenario he had planned. Somehow I managed to win a brace of said wagons. Mr. Foss posted them alacritously, and as I gushed about his wooden soldiers and made mention of my own humble aspirations toward same, he graciously included one of his as-yet-unreleased 54mm ImagiNation figures.

I did manage to photograph the missive with the intention of thanking and blogging…

Any reasonable soul would immediately email him thanks and set to work assembling and painting as a demonstration of respect, right? [Sigh]. Alas, my prodigious introversion/diagnosable communication defect assured that I would not acknowledge this kind gesture and, perhaps out of associated guilt, the packet has stared at me on the desk for three years.

A good bit of primer showing through, magnification reveals. Good thing it’s 10mm and really tiny.

At embarrassingly long last, one of the wagons is done! (I bought more 10mm stuff from Pendraken back then to try Warmaster myself; it’s also still in plastic baggies). The 18th Century chap is primed and awaiting pigmentation.

I possess the merest scintilla of Mr. Foss’ artistic ability; fortunately he and his laser provided all those little lines to guide my feeble brushstrokes.

Here’s an establishing shot of the painting desk to set up more of this week’s drama:

Top center are the remaining 5 stripped 54mm, possibly homecast guards in bearskins. They are at attention but have got none of mine as yet. Just below the bottle of light blue craft paint you might spy one of my Foundry Darkest Africa figures — my second ever miniature purchase, nearly 20 years ago. I painted him in an hour. There’s a Reaper Bones lass next to him which I also finished. Then a Funky Skull Games Street Wars NYC figure who’s awaiting a decal for his jacket (which will be so small that I’d probably be better off to just hand paint the design). Below them are some Bones vermin — scorpions, spiders, and spider & rat swarms. About half-way complete. Possibly from the Bones I kickstarter, which was probably from about 1909, wasn’t it?

Dominating the foreground is possibly the weirdest twist. Inflamed by an advert for a Printable Scenery Dwarven Airship, I pulled out, and this morning assembled and glued, my Warhammer Battle of Skull Pass figures. I started a bunch of the Night Goblins after buying the set (apparently in 2006, ye gods), but fairly quickly lost interest. I was struck yesterday by a vision of the dwarves (some of whom have pistols and one of whom isn’t wearing pants) and their airship, battling Night Goblins with a Jawa sandcrawler-type-thing which I suppose I’ll have to scratch-build. The sculpts on these figures are refreshingly simple, so it is within reason that I could get a bunch painted up.

I have simultaneously been according due diligence to the aforementioned mdf buildings, the idea being that I could set up a Matakishi-like city board. I’ve been consistently vexed by the immensity of the TT Combat buildings — 1:56, I guess, as opposed to Matakishi’s 1:64-ish creations. They are intended to complement those statuesque Heroclix figures perched on plinths rather than my collection of diminutive 28-32mm souls.

I’ve added the final bits to the trio of Grey Haven Houses (TT Combat) — mostly some Evergreen angle for trim to hide the corner box joints. I have plans to divide the interiors into rooms and add details, but that is for some time in the future. Each of these three dwarfs a Matakishi brownstone.

Save varnishing, I’ve completed the Chinatown square, Hawkers’ Stands, Little Ramen, Subway Entrance, and Phone Booth, all from Knights of Dice. [And to their defense, regarding my previous complaint about the pictured-but-missing tables in the square, I failed to note a critical explanatory asterisk in the photo on the Knights of Dice website].

Thus, I purchased some of said tables, which currently reside temporarily al fresco on what will eventually be an Italian restaurant.

I’m especially annoyed by the gaping door of this shop. The two Funky Skull hooligans are solidly 28mm and the Reaper Chrono-technician who beamed in is 32mm, yet all are barely half as high as the door. I’ll probably create an insert to assuage my fury.

Finally, I’ve assembled and mostly primed Dino Gas (TT Combat), which, as I begin to see, I don’t think I even like that much [sigh]. I’ll likely finish it out of sheer obstinance, but then go with Kraken Petroleum from Knights of Dice instead.

With Hirst Arts church looming in the background.

Thus ends the maundering tour of my most recent hobby achievements. Is there a coherent strategy? — 10mm cardboard wagon; dwarf and goblin armies; 19th century colonial explorer, Chinatown accoutrements; elephantine city buildings; vermin —one would say, “No.” This blog post itself should be added to the list. I do, however, feel some sense of accomplished satisfaction. And, it is, after all, just a hobby.

Toy Soldier Update

The toy soldiers I found in a junk store (last seen here) have been successfully stripped and repainted. Here they are after a lengthy bath in acetone and then Simple Green.

The chap on the left is clearly an authentic Britains of unknown vintage. His colleague was marked simply “ENGLAND.”

The highlander, you may recall, had experienced some battle damage. I performed a bit of reconstructive surgery with an epoxy sculpting material from Home Depot — poor man’s “green stuff.” No pictures of the process, alas, and my sculpting skills are rudimentary. Here he is with a spot of paint.

He didn’t have an integral base (I glued him to a washer) and I didn’t notice until the paint was stripped that he has “ENGLAND” in raised letters down his left arm! Particularly vexing for a Scot, one would imagine.

Here is the Britains infantryman in a Zulu war era uniform and then his comrade, in what is intended to be home service uniform.

Outer Order, Inner Calm

The titular incantation is frequently chanted in my house whilst we scurry, returning errant objects to rightful positions. The house, I suppose, is thus generally experienced as a calm and ordered space. My Hobby Shack … not so much.

The desk, in particular, teeters towards chaos. Behold the entire ensemble —the middle bit is where work gets done and the peripheries serve as storage. Miniatures from 6mm to 54mm cohabitate in various states completion, a menagerie found nowhere in nature.

Prominent are 54mm plains Indian warriors from San Diego Toy Company. Nearby you find 20-year-old Old Glory pirates (28mm), 15mm Death’s Head hussars (possibly Old Glory 15s), Chinese civilians, and mounted British command (both Irregular Miniatures). There are 2 remaining mercenaries from the Mordheim boxed set and two sets of Reaper Bones goblins. Looking on from the green hillock in the background are Foundry Victorians and Old West, my oldest miniatures.

Nestled amongst the lead are some 3D printed arcade game cabinets and mdf ladders. A 15mm 3D printed tripod from Fast Dragon Games cries out to be completed. MDF “sprue” from TT Combat and Game Craft Miniatures buildings resists the garbage can because I’m certain I could do something with all the wood left in them.

It goes on…

Yet completion yields no comfort. The storage shelves alongside have already been partially redivided and are still nearing capacity.
Progress is marked as a slow spiral, I imagine, ticking off little bits of my many projects. I customarily console myself that I am preparing for my retirement (still 10-15 years away) when I will finally enjoy the harvest of my current toil.

 

Paint Table Saturday

This post is less about what’s on the table than the fact of the table itself.

The Hobby Shack is not quite complete, with various bits and bobs of trim left to install. Yet, this battle station is fully armed and operational. The paint rack (last spied here in February of ’15) was relocated from my former painting nook in the house. The desk itself is a placeholder. I will construct a custom built-in with various drawers for storage.

Accompanied by downpour from Hurricane Mathew, I painted ten Prussian Jægers (54mm Square Pegs) and a couple of Reaper Bones. Mordheim figures lurk still on the window ledge (in largely the same state as they were two Februaries back) as well as some knights destined for Warmaster which can be spied above the drawer on the right.

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