Long covid

These last few weeks have been a bit of a struggle. Covid has left me suffering with fatigue, lack of focus, demotivation and shortness of breath. I have been doing small stabs at hobby, but I haven’t had the enthusiasm to really get stuck in with the painting.

I have been making progress with Blender, 3d modelling software. And I am attempting to rig, basically putting a skeleton inside the figure, my model which will make posing a lot easier.

I have been making some tools for my workshop. I always need clamps for glueing and I have been eyeing up some right angle aids on that fabulous far eastern trader. My aim was to avoid plastic and as I had a lot of spare wood scavenged from the Happylab bins I thought I would attempt to make my own.

I am now working on a bigger version of this now.

The weather has been going from snow to sunshine and back again in a day.

I have had some nice walks when the weather has been clement. My mood improves after being out.

I have finished building the modular tiles for my 4 x 4 modular ruined city table. Now to slap some paint on them.

My neighbour, who is a bit of a perfectionist, took ten hours to deconstruct my Ender3 3D printer and rebuild it totally square. The difference is amazing and I will be posting some pictures soon.

There you have it. A brief catch up on what has been happening.

Life in the time of Rona

I have been under the weather for a couple of weeks now but have been testing negative. Earlier this week Number One Son tested positive and I was still negative. Upto this point I had been the only family member to be free from the Rona.

Thursday night I had a bad night with breathing difficulties and a savage sore throat. Not to mention sweats and chills. Friday morning I tested again.

Arse

Got booked that afternoon for a drive thru which has confirmed that I am a positive person. Just waiting on the variant.

About two weeks ago, before this all kicked off, one of the Patreons I sub to posted this picture.

Image copyright Knucklebones Miniatures.

I saw this and had to have a variant of it. Knucklebones had made some scuttling bug-like legs for a previous model. I chopped them up in Meshmixer and cut’n’pasted the bits to extend them. With this I lasercut some bits to make two open troop carriers. I’ll show them in a later post.

That idea lead on to me thinking about about an armoured variant. More parts were lasercut then Papa Nurgle visited. Not really having the strength or motivation I pottered a bit each day making it.

My little spot in the sun
My view

This is the result

The main body is lasercut mdf and card. Bolts are lasercut card. There are resin greebles from Ramshackle Games and 3d printed ones from Knucklebones. The legs are 3d printed and are derived from Knucklebones.

https://www.patreon.com/knucklebonesminis

And that was 2021

This year has gone in a flash what with lockdowns and isolations. Yes Wife and Number Two Son got it. Thankfully not seriously.

I did manage my 2021 Paint Challenge, but I didn’t finish the scary dozen. Sad face emoji. BUT I got The Dragon finished. Happy face emoji.

For 2022 I have four big projects to finish up. Bloodbowl, all printed up and now to be painted. Heroquest, paint the board and finish printing parts. Spacehulk, all the parts are printed and now need painting. Finally the modular terrain table, all the tiles are assembled and need painting/detailing.

Next year I need to carefully consider what I am printing rather than the scattershot approach of the last two years. And try and finish all the half started projects on my desk.

Yeh right! Like that’s going to happen!

My two products of the year are. Army Painter Dry Rust Effect paint, just brilliant. Secondly I have a new supplier of 3D printing Filament, GST3D. I have been getting some good results and they are European.

https://gst3d.eu/en/product-category/pla/

I need to make a group shot of my painting this year for the 2021 Painting Challenge and I will post it tomorrow (if I do not overindulge tonight).

All that remains is to wish my two followers and their dog a Happy New Year!

Direction?

The evolution of 3D printing has been amazing. Four years ago I was eyeing up resin models from Forgeworld and Ramshackle Games. Three years ago I dabbled in FDM printing, with my Ender 3, but wasn’t impressed by the quality. Just over a year ago I started scratch building models using laser cut parts. Six months ago I got my SLA (I will call it resin from now on) printer and I was blown away with the quality. And now I have started studying tutorials on how to model in Blender with a view to making my own 3D models.

There is, or appears to be, an arms race going on with resin printers, bigger build plates, higher quality light sources to expose the resin and faster print times. As a hobbyist/consumer this is good news.

So if you don’t 3D model yourself where do you go to get digital print files?

There are Patreons, where for a modest monthly fee you can support a creator who will make 3D models. There are of course some artists who are good, some ok and some meh. This is of course depending on your own personal preferences and requirements.

If you have a need for just one type of model and don’t want the commitment then you can purchase them from MyMiniFactory or Cults3D.

Maybe you just want to try something for free? Then Thingiverse is for you. A place where artists put out work to gauge reaction before starting a Patreon. If you like their work there is the option to donate a small amount. Thingiverse is great for the remix community, where people will take parts from different models and combine them to create something new. Sometimes you have to be quick if you like a particular design, because some artists skate very close, or over, the IP line of a famously litigious games manufacturer and if you blink it will be 404’d.

One could venture into the wild west of Telegram. Just about everything is there. I once had an invite and put my head above the parapets. I made my excuses and left.

This burgeoning of the 3D printing movement has breathed back life into many old game systems.

A bit of Heroquest?

The best thing about Heroquest is……

….Thingiverse. All the game parts are there. Someone has meticulously scanned all the character models and even left on the mold lines for that old school feel.

Warmaster now has beautifully sculpted armies for a fraction of the price you would pay on Fleabay for the original metal models. There has been a revamped set of rules (there has been some pooh-poohing in more traditionalist corners) with Warmaster Revolutions.

Battlefleet Gothic.

SpaceHulk.

Adding to the mix is social media enabling previously isolated enthusiasts to get to know others and share. I am talking with people from America to Australia and points in between. Groups on Facebook have reignited interest in classic old games. One can gather galleries of well painted armies/figures of your choice to inspire you in Pinterest. The Blogosphere. Twitter and Instagram. Instructional videos on Youtube.

What a time to be a hobbyist!

What direction is this going to take Games Workshop/Forgeworld? There will always be people who will buy from them no matter the cost. And that is the sticking point for some.

The cost.

There are arguments out there for and against their pricing strategy and I will let you make up your own mind on this. What I am saying is purely my personal opinion.

Let’s give an example: 40K. I haven’t played since the Eighties but I like the look of some of the models and with inspiration from some of the Black Libraries books (Gaunt’s Ghosts and Eisenhorn) I have always wanted an Imperial Guard Army.

Taking a pretty basic army composition:

4 Squads of Infantry

2 Command Squds

3 Ogryn

2 Sentinels

3 Mortars

Chimera

Leman Russ

Demolisher

Roughly, I have been led to believe, a 1,000 points. Buying direct from G’Dub is €382.

Buying a printer, resin, sundries (gloves, cleaning accessories Isopropanol) and four months of Patreon (this is for the Makers Cult who do a lovely Guard army) takes me to just over €400.

BUT

I now have the printer, which was the biggest outlay, and the files for the army. For the cost of resin I can now keep on printing. Another four or five squads or a couple of armoured vehicles? Just under €20.

You would like another army?

Just buy the files and resin. So for about a €100 ish you have another army!

Forgeworld Titans.

Owning one was not for us mere mortals.

Now it is a different story. You can find them for free on Thingiverse or buy them from various makers. For about €40 I can have a Warhound with all the weapon options I want. Compare that to €664 with four different weapon options Mars Pattern Warhound. Plus I know that I won’t be getting iffy FW resin casts.

There is going to have to be a radical rethink because in two years time 3D printing is going to be ubiquitous in the hobby.

This is going to impact on some of the smaller manufacturers. For the moment historical figures are pretty safe from this, but it is only time when people will figure out that there is a vast audience out there.

Is it good?

Is it an evil that must be stamped out?

I would like to hear your opinions on this.

Isolation Week Three

For me this hasn’t been too difficult. I miss my weekly trips into Salzburg to do my laser cutting. Apart from that I haven’t had any significant changes to my routine. The Boys miss their friends and I think it is hard for them. The Playstation and Amzon Prime have helped. Doom Patrol and The Grand Tour have been liked.

Games Workshop have brought out these cute little Chibi figures. I really fancied a Skitarii (top left) and a Space Marine (centre). And didn’t mind the Sister of Battle (top right). I bought a couple at my local WARHAMMER! They are sold in blind bags so you don’t know what you are going to get. I ended up with the Assassin (bottom left) and the Sister of Battle.

As a side note I feel really sorry for the new store manager. The store is in a bad location so there is very little passing foot traffic. A site in the Old Town would have been perfect, rent skyhigh though. I was told, “off the record” by a n other previous manager that he had whole days where no one entered the store. If you have an area sales manager pushing for results….. well not an easy job.

Anyway, here is my repaint of the Sister.

I don’t quite know what to do with the Assassin, I don’t like the figure.

Next up I treated myself, I shouldn’t as I have so many amazing figures that I want to paint, but I did. I played “What a Tanker!” at last year’s SELWG and it seemed quite fun. I love tanks and I was debating whether to get some of the Rubicon models. They are not high detail like Dragon/Tamiya, but they are more designed for wargaming and are a more reasonable price. However I came across some tanks by Meng Models from their World War Toon range. Fun Tanks for a fun game. A couple of clicks on eBay and one was winging it’s merry way to me.

Base coat
Hair sprayed and camoflaged
A bit of chipping
Pin washing with oil paint. Don’t!
Adding dust using fine river silt that I had collected

That was a fun model to paint. It did push me and I want to look at another technique apart from oil paints to weather the model. I definitely want to do some more. Something of note, Army Painter “Dry Rust”. Try it! It’s brilliant!

During this time I also finished my nazi UFO (pictures to follow), based and primed a unit of Gnomes, basic airbrush colours on another unit of ghostly undead, started Father Jack, made a tile set for “Four Against Darkness”, sorted through the Lead Mountain for my next project and made some high~beds for the garden.

Early March

It has been a busy week what with getting ready for; Austrian Salute (more details soon), redecorating Number Two Son’s room and keeping up with my New Year’s resolution/2020 Painting Challenge.

This week Jamie from Old School Miniatures posted that he was struggling and he proposed a quick challenge to motivate everyone. This was on Wednesday and those who wished to take part had to post a picture of a miniature that had not been started and it had to be finished tomorrow, Sunday.

This is my finished figure. A Halfling drummer from Warploque Miniatures sculpted by the talented Alex Huntley. I will be using him in my “not” Empire army.

http://www.warploqueminiatures.com/

For the regular 2020 Painting Challenge I managed to paint the command group of my Skeleton archers. These are from Scotia Grendel. Not my first choice of sculpts, these were in exchange for some laser cutting, I really wanted something to match my Bob Olley Essex Skeletons. So far I have not found anything that comes close.

As you can see my photography hasn’t improved much, but I will keep fiddling.

Something new for the workbench

I went and treated myself to a paint agitator.

It was a relatively cheap one from China, my first impressions were not so favourable but it is growing on me. I really wanted a Lab Vortex Mixer, these really are the creme de la creme of mixers. The hundred quid plus was a big decider against. At the bottom end were the Nail Polish Shakers and although I had seen positive reviews I wasn’t sure about their ability to hold G’Dub paint pots. I went for the next rung up which was the Tattoo Pigment Shakers. As I said my first impressions were not favourable, the actual bit where the paint sits is a quite thin rubbery part and may wear out and I felt that the agitation wasn’t as powerful as I expected. I am wondering if I can craft a replacement from silicon. Let’s see how durable the original part will be before I go any further. As to the agitation, I was simply not giving it enough time. Further use has shown that it is sufficient, patience dear boy, patience.

This week has seen the Black Dog snapping on my heels. I am in the Land of Rinse and Repeat. Wake up. Help get the Boys ready for school. Tea. Email, BBC News and Facebook. Let the chickens out. Go and get the milk. Do some little chores. Prep and cook Boys lunches. Help with homework. If I am lucky a bit of painting. Cook dinner. Get them ready for bed. And repeat the next day. And the next. It isn’t helping that I am feeling drained of energy and any motivation. In previous posts I have decribed it as, “The tyranny of Bullet Journalling” but the Bullet Journal has proved invaluable in keeping me moving and not sinking into a morass of self doubt and pity.

I AM keeping up with the 2020 Painting Challenge. I AM keeping up with my resolution of Repair, Make, Strip, Sort.

Busy

The last couple of weeks have seen me busy. My 3D Printer has decided it wants to start behaving again so for the last week it has been printing pretty constanty. It is slightly stringy but I don’t want to mess with the settings just yet. The strings can be dealt with pretty easily with a scalpel and file. I have managed to print an elemental cavalry unit for one of my Dragon Rampant armies, a skeletal giant for another DR army and on the print bed at the moment is an Ork Gobsmasher, a replica of an old Armourcast model. All of these are freely available from http://www.thigiverse.com. Next up is a replica of another Armourcast model, the Warhound Titan. The originals don’t come up for sale much and when they do they are quite expensive. You can see some images of the Titan here

https://rustymagos.wordpress.com/2014/10/17/armourcast-titans/dscf3252/

Tool making was next on the agenda. Number Two Son has been watching “The Mandalorian” and loves the helmet the protaganist wears. He also discovered on Youtube a cosplay video where they described in great detail, with downloadable plans, how they made one out of EVA foam. He would like us (me I expect) to make it. One of the tools they used was a rounded metal former. I had a cut off section of railway track and with a bit of work with an angle-grinder I ended up with this.

I have a rusty H Beam section which will get the same treatment.

A recent discovery (thanks Daughter!) has been the app, “Wish” where you can buy goods directly from the factories in China. I bought a 2m strip of LEDs for €3, that was including postage! I added them to my photo thing.

This is how it was originally
Now with added lights!

This has been expanded with a paper holder on the back and trays underneath if I want to do some more scenic photography. I will be getting some photographs printed up with dramatic skies. The light is a little yellow but I did a manual white balance on my camera and my first test result seems promising.

I am keeping up with my New Year Resolution, so far and also the 2020 painting Challange.

If doing basic carpentry, remember to keep your fingers BEHIND! the chisel.

Then there is my new paintrack. I had been running out of space for my paints and I had promised the Boys that they would have a paint rack in their painting desk. So they get my old one and I get a shiny new one.

Nice and tidy
Clutter added

A resolution for 2020

I have decided this year to have a resolution. Normally I don’t. They generally last for a couple of weeks and then fizzle out. Like gym attendences after January.

This Year’s Resolution is….

REPAIR, MAKE, STRIP AND SORT.

The plan is to do one of these activities a week throughout the year. I have made fifty two tick boxes in my journal.

There are odd little repair jobs that have been mounting up in my workshop for the last couple of years. Now is the time to get on and do them. Most will only take a couple of hours to do and I have been putting them off. If I do them it will make more working space and earn brownie points with the family.

I have started so many little projects and then left them when something else pops into my little head. Again more space in the workshop.

Figures sitting in jars of Methylated spirits. I have three jars on the go. Some of them haven’t seen the light of day for four years.

Boxes of random stuff from the move from England. Containers full of mixed screws. I have homes for this stuff, now.

If I do more than one of these tasks in a week then I will tick as many boxes as jobs done. The target is fity two tasks by the end of the year and if I do it sooner great!

Frohe Weihnachten

This last couple of months has seen me busy, but not, sadly, painting. First point of atta ck was my workshop. I am due to inherit some tools and workshop furniture from my departed father-in-law and I want to get everything ready so that the bits can slot into place with the minimum bother.

One view of how the workshop used to look.
And now the new look.

The cabinet in the middle, with the blue drawers, has been made to house various small bits and bobs that had been floating around without a place to live. The carcass was made from 12mm plywood generously supplied by Electric Love. I even had a couple of young lads who were at a loose end cut the timber for me.

I’ve made some more screw boxes as I have a large collection of unsorted screws. The screws were collected from Electric Love, at the end of the festival the tool cases were emptied and all the loose screws were binned.

Having to get up at a rediculously early hour to get the Boys ready for school is that there have been some quite amazing sunrises. Here are a couple, unfiltered or tampered with.

The next job which has taken the most time was making a painting area for Number Two Son. This necessitated moving book cases and vitrines around the Hobby Room.

He will be getting my old paint shelves and I shall make some expanded ones for me seeing that my paint collection has grown. I will take more photos of the Hobby Room once it has been cleared. My Daughter, Boyfriend and my Granddaughter stayed for ten days, so all the excess furniture we had been storing in the Guest Flat got decanted down into the Hobby Room.

Finally I would like to wish you all Season’s Greetings.

This Years card

London 2019

I am off to London. Is this going to be an annual event? This year is a two pronged attack: the main reason is to see my new Granddaughter and the secondary reason to visit SELWG. Supplementary to that is to pick up some food supplies and to meet my gaming buddy Seb.

I arrived at the airport far too early and regretted not bringing a book. Ryanairs new cabin bag policy means that I cannot bring my usual rollie suitcase and had to have a much smaller bag.

Sneaky gitz

Nevermind I have a few books waiting for me curtesy of eBay.

I am still surprised how much people are hooked into their mobiles and become zombified.

A bit of a dull dull flight but on the bonus side it arrived twenty minutes early and the luggage was waiting for me once I cleared border security.

I hopped onto a bus to Liverpool Street to meet a friend for lunch. It was certainly amazing to see the sheer amount of building work going on, everywhere. Shoreditch certainly has gone up-market from the shabby trendy area it once was.

Lunch was chinese, my first in six years and thinking about it as I type my mouth has started salivating.

From there to 4D Models to pick up some bits and pieces. They can post, but the postage would cost more than the actual items.

The day ended in Upton Park at my friends Sabba and Mark.

Thursday started with a nice walk across West Ham Park to the site of Sabba and Mark’s new house. The wild parakeets have moved eastwards and have started colonising the park. Sabba and Mark have taken an old terrace house, reduced it to a shell and then added to it. I had a few nervous moments climbing rickety ladders to view the various levels.

I saw the afternoon in Central London. First port of call was Forbidden Planet. So many nice things, my Wife’s wallet and my baggage allowance wouldn’t allow it. On to Hardy’s Old Fashioned Sweetshop to buy advent gifts for the Boys.

Late lunch at C&R, a nice Kampung Style Nasi Goreng. Something that I didn’t get around to last year. Then a little mooch around town via Rymans and Muji for stationary and to WH Smiths for some magazines.

I popped down to Trafalgar Square to see what was happing. There were more police than Extinction Rebellion.

Back to Sabba and Mark’s for dinner at Chawalla’s. It was every bit as good as last year.

First thing was coffee at my old house with Simon and Andrea, the new owners. It’s nice to see how the house hasn’t changed but the garden has grown and evolved.

Next stop waaay across London to visit my Daughter and new Granddaughter.

Poundshop glue

That kept me busy until late the next day when I travelled back across London just catching the tail end of the Anti-Brexit march.

I spent the evening at my gaming buddys Seb’s place. I placated his Wife with a big pile of Austrian chocolates and I presented him with some bits I had made for him.

The morning of SELWG was beautiful, crisp and autumnal. Seb and I arrived with plenty of time for a leisurely walk across the park to the venue, Crystal Palace National Sports Centre.

I didn’t bother this year handing out flyers as last year I had an increase in viewing but zero sales.

This year I made sure I had eaten beforehand so I wouldn’t get overwhelmed like last year. Obviously me being me I wasn’t organised to take photos. So I would recommend visiting https://onelover-ray.blogspot.com/2019/10/selwg-2019.html

The first stop for us was the Bring & Buy to drop off some bits for selling. Ahead of me was a gentleman selling some Gripping Beast Arab Spearmen, on my wanted list, but by the time I was processed they had been snaffled up. One vendor close by was selling off his stock at 50% and I just missed some of the new GW Squigs.

The morning whizzed by and before I knew it it was time to go and have lunch with Iain Smedley. We went down to a local pub The Bridge for a delicious Sunday Roast of beef. British beef tastes much better than Austrian.

Back to the show which seemed to have quietened down and managed to get a game of, “What a Tanker!”

Quick and fun. I will be looking out for the rule-set, from Too Fat Lardies and maybe I can persuade to Boys to play it. Obviously I lost to Seb, but that is the history of our gaming.

Back to Seb’s at the end of the day for last minute packing. I managed to get my main bag to 10 Kilos but my cabin bag was much more than that. I had a bit of a sleepless night tossing and turning worrying about my cabin bag. Up at sparrow’s fart to get the 05.10 bus to Stanstead. Going through security I got pulled up because I forgot to transfer a bottle of Angustura Bitters to my hold luggage. I kept my cabin bag discretely slung over my shoulder out of sight and managed to avoid a €25 surcharge. My back hasn’t forgiven me yet. Another dull flight and back home.

So would I go again? It was nice to see friends, meet new relatives and eat great food. But the show itself? The traders are the same old same old and the thing about Salute is that you get a load of new faces with new models hoping to get your attention. From the traders at SELWG I’ve bought everything in their ranges that is useful or interesting. For me to go again there is going to have to be some pretty major players turning up and to be honest I don’t think that is going to happen. Let’s see what happens with Brexit and how I feel next year.

“I’m not the messiah!”

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“Hello” to my new followers, or rather I should say “Hello” to my new random followers. I’ve visited your blogs. We have nothing in common.

I am a curmudgeonly old git with no social skills or graces. There are no pearls of wisdom to scatter before you. If you think that using someone elses quotes and random unattributed stock photos is going to set the blogosphere alight. well ….

Copyright Antonious Achilleos

Somehow I don’t see myself ever being an “influencer”. Already that word is starting to have negative connotations.

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If you take the trouble to examine my site stats you can see that I barely have a handful of followers and lurkers, hello Ruth. I am certain that there are a couple of bots and one is a dog. Добро пожаловать мои верные товарищи-роботы! И собачий приятель.

I blog to keep sane.

I blog, badly, about a very dull niche topic.

I blog about nothing that would help you raise your blog profiles. In fact linking to my blog would probably kill your traffic.

Copyright Shutterstock

So please

copyright grumpyoldtin

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Images are Copyright their respective owners. Used without permission.