dispatches from terra incognita

Category: Painting Page 2 of 3

Odds & Sods

Missed the traditional Saturday, but I submit a brief painting update.

First up we have the first painted fellow from my recently-won WHFB 6/e starter set. I hereby revise my assessment of the sculpts from “aren’t my favorite” to “absolutely my favorite.” Wide swaths of uninterrupted plastic make them a joy to paint.

Orcky Mc Orkface


Next up is one of my inexhaustible Reaper Bones. Historically, I’ve been intimidated by larger figures, so I’m making an effort to tackle some of these giant-types. It’s just like painting a 54mm, really.

Finally, the penultimate figure from my antique store triumph. This chap is the sole nemesis for Her Majesty’s army, an unmarked 54mm Zulu flat:

… And please show your right profile…

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.

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.

 

The Year That Was

I can say “long time, no post,” but when an entire year has passed since I attended to this blog, it seems a bit ridiculous. When I finally did check in a week ago, I discovered that the blog had been offline since April! Oh, well… A little elbow grease and filthy lucre and we were back on the net again.

I did manage to have a thoroughly productive 2018 on the hobby front. Christmas 2017 brought me a pile of lovely little boxes full of 54mm plastic warriors from Armies in Plastic, last seen here. Some, not all, was painted during last year. Here is the proof:

First up, Afghan Tribesman, both on foot and mounted. Apparently I thought I needed many of these fellows as I got three boxes. A little over half are finished. [I will note that my lights gave an unpleasant yellowish cast to all of the photographs, compounded by my oldish phone. However, I have pledged not to let “perfect be the enemy of good” this year, so the pictures come with all of their warts.

Pathans

Pathan Cavalry

Next we have the Brits. The Officer came in one of my free bags — he’s from a different era and war, but I like to have officers distinct from foot soldiers.

British Infantry

And Cavalry:

British Cavalry

I wanted lancers as well, so I supplemented the AIP miniatures with some from Expeditionary Force. They are a bit of work, as they come in pieces that one must glue together. Stunning, though.

“X Force” Lancers

Aside from the Pathans, the British will battle Prussians as well. AIP didn’t have the artillery I desired (little balls on the pickelhauben) so once again I sprung for Expeditionary Force. They’re listed as British, but paint re-patriated them.

Finally, a possible British ally or thorn in its side are the plucky US Marines.

US Marines

More anon!

Paint Table Annex

One of the great joys of my day is chatting with my wife as she prepares dinner. Cooking is her hobby, as miniatures (and guitar and carpentry and farming and sailing … oh, well, perhaps I have too many hobbies) are mine. The results of her work are impressive and delicious, and our boys and I gratefully partake.

The kitchen has a counter with bar stools and I often set up a little “painting annex” to keep my hands from being idle. One will note the 2oz. craft paint bottles. I do use the palette occasionally, usually when painting something large, like a terrain piece. I believe it was one of those You Tube terrain guys who I saw dipping paint out of the paint bottle tops, so I acquired the habit. Give the bottle a hearty shake before opening and there’s usually more than enough paint on the inside of the top. The light was rescued from the piano when it was donated to a good home; it is tucked behind the basket of napkins during the day.

On the table are some Reaper lasses. I sense that they are a bit uneasy, though, as the 15mm VSF bug has bitten, and three GASLIGHT units of Irregular Miniatures British have invaded the main paint table upstairs.

Poking around in the GULP also unearthed my Blue Moon “Missionaries, Explorers, Victims and other White Folks” who will likely force their way into the queue as well. I was also shocked by the quantity of Pendraken 10mm colonial and WWI figures I fell pray to years ago. All primed, a smattering painted. I had dreamed of a Warmaster-based VSF game. I later purchased Black Powder, which is along those lines, though intended for individually based minis. I might be back to Warmaster.

Paint Table Saturday + 48

Following the blizzard of productivity which coincided with February’s blizzards (well, o.k., they weren’t really blizzards, but a half-foot of snow is a lot for North Carolina), things have been slow, hobby-wise, for the past month.

I did finally manage to knock out the 15mm Pathans who so unceremoniously invaded the painting queue. As I find customary with Irregular miniatures, they looked like blobby bits of lead out of the bag, but painted up quite nicely. I don’t purport them to be historically authentic; my main source for guidance was the little line drawing in The Sword and the Flame rulebook. I’ll probably use them most often for VSF, so anything goes, I suppose.

It seems I’m a slow learner with the digital camera. I was attempting to follow the tenets of this miniature photography tutorial, and I ended up not being able to get the camera to focus properly. Apparently, cameras are complicated tools that one must take time to learn how to use properly…

In addition to likely inauthenticity, these are painted to my usual “good enough for government work” standards. I don’t do eyes (I don’t even do them on 28mm when I can avoid it) and the beards proved to be a challenge. I think one luckless chap suffered a daub of black on his nose.

Jumping the Queue

Paint Table Saturday features flagrant queue jumpers. Looking back yesterday at A) the Major General’s page and 2) my aged stage-set mountains, rendered me nostalgic for VSF and afflicted with remorse for my long-suffering 15mm figures. As things stand, I can muster a respectable force of British. In the back of my mind, however, I was certain that somewhere there existed some Irregular Miniatures Pathans, neatly stored but inexcusably denude of paint. A brief ruffle through the boxes and my quarry was in hand.

.

Reaper Bones have fallen into heavy rotation ’round these parts, and thus many moons have passed since I’ve tackled 15mm metal. First off, I was grateful that Irregular parted with so much lead for my dollars. Too bad for me that only about half of it was in the shape of figures and the balance was a nuisance known as “flash.” A solid 30 minutes with an Xacto knife cleared up that condition. A dollop of 2-part epoxy and they were firmly grounded on a washer. 3 packs of 10 men, three poses: firing while standing, firing while kneeling, and runnin’ at ya with a big sword. My new-found painting courage will soon render these chaps “ready for battle.”

However, the Afghanis were superseded in ill manners by a ragtag band from Mordheim. I bought the box set years and years ago, snipped everything off sprue, and stored it with customary anal retentiveness. The major barrier to their progress was the fact that they were all in little pieces. If you haven’t yet encountered that vintage of plastic figure, you get a bunch of legs, torsos, arms, heads, and weapons; Games Workshop awards one the privilege of cobbling them together using malodorous cement. While I had already suffered through assembling the Skaven, the human fellows remained in pieces.

Just behind my brush-washing jar in the paint table picture one might spy a nifty Testors Model Master Liquid Cement Applicator which, quite truly, is the bee’s knees. (Another of my hobbies is beekeeping and I don’t know what that really means…). When I discovered that cool glue bottle at Michael’s, I resolved that I could finish those fellows. And so, assembled is a band of what I think are called “Marienbergers.” I don’t think I’ll paint them just yet, but who knows?

Finally, below you see a shot of the stalwarts who were leaped over in line. I think what’s holding me back with the Woodland Warriors is that most animals are grayish-brown so I’m afraid that they’ll all look the same. Mixed in are a couple of Bones I lasses (Henceforth I’ll have to distinguish Bones I and II, as my box arrives Monday) and a Night Goblin from the Battle of Skull Pass set (which I also bought and which is largely naked…).

Paint Table Saturday

In the name of conjugal concord, I decommissioned my expansive paint table. As is the rule with all horizontal surfaces, it collected bits and bobs that only reduced its utility. Additionally, the higher purpose of my humble hobby space is to be a guest room. Though we don’t host guests frequently, I suppose those who do stay won’t want to bunk alongside a dusty profusion of hobbying detritus.

A dormer of his own

So, pressed back into service is a small oak table with two drawers, which does possess the distinction of being the only piece of furniture that my father has ever made for me. It’s positioned in a window dormer and thus features a nice view of our cul-de-sac. Immortalized squeaky-clean here, but that won’t last. And, it’s a a bit of a cheat really, as we shall see anon. The only apparent miniatures are a few of my Splintered Light “Faithful” Woodland Warriors.

I dulled the pain of disappointment over the diminution of digs by constructing a larger rack for my craft paints. This one holds the current inventory, including stray 4 and 8 ounce bottles, as well as a smattering of GW pots that persist. I actually broke out router and jig so that it has dovetail joints in the corners (!)

Here you behold the neat cheat. The continued health of my marriage also depended upon me moving the wargames table out of my sons’ room and, for the moment, it is a mound of wargames creations. I am haunted by the comment of a hobbyist years ago (which I likely read on the Miniature Page) who asserted that the critical first step of every project should be ascertaining where it will be stored. Well, I always trust that one to the angels, and like me, they get distracted before the job is finished… So, all my hobbying stuff is piled atop my wargames table, thoroughly defeating the goal of a tranquil guest room.

My current “project,” therefore, is to relocate the boxes of scratch building materials (which are some of the banker’s boxes beneath the table), box up newer projects currently homeless (and put them under the table), and create an attractive set-up on the tabletop, all before our next guest arrives in round-about a month’s time. Buena suerte, my friend, buena suerte.

Page 2 of 3

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén