Well he is in a spot of bother. His words about it.
“Hi! My name is Andy Foster, I’m a miniatures sculptor who has run a tiny indie wargames miniatures maker for the last 21 years. Unfortunately, this means I can’t afford to buy a home in the UK because our housing market is nuts, and the average starter home costs over 12 times what I make in a good year, so I am only able to rent.
And because the housing market IS so insane, rental property prices are also incredibly high, and I’ve just been told that the house we have lived in for the last 8 years is having its rent increased by the landlord from £800 a month to £1175, which I absolutely can’t afford to cover.
The problem is, because I am living hand to mouth, as a lot of indie miniatures manufacturers do, I don’t have the funds in my bank account to pay for a deposit on a new rental home, or the fees involved, which amount to around £1500 for a tiny 2 bed terraced house in the UK, so I must turn to you, dear friends and customers, to help me out. Any amount is gratefully received! Any extra may need to go towards a new bed, wardrobe, etc if the house ends up with a bedroom that is too small for our current one to fit in (and I suspect my existing wardrobes won’t survive another move, they’re decades old self assembly things that are already a bit fragile!)”
There is a Go Fund Me set up and it would be really nice if everyone reading this was able to donate a little something. Even a quid would be amazing.
I mentioned the “Not Nog Ball” medball Kickstarter a few days ago. There has been a new addition to the campaign.
We’ve just got permission to add the Noggin character pack to the Medball Kickstarter which is great news! It consists of 3 miniatures; Noggin as a referee, Nogbad as a fan (with separate rattle) and Knut waving his scarf.
And finally some trivial news.
Last summer we were looking after two kittens that were dumped on a friend’s farm and were going to get them re homed.
One of them decided that he adored me and decided to stay. I now have a constant companion wherever I am.
Finally it is here. Last year was a bit of a blur, nothing really of note stood out and it really did go quickly. I did hit a significant number complete with upcoming health checks. Nothing major to worry about, slightly high cholesterol and low thyroid function. I don’t have occult blood which is really not as interesting as one would think.
One thing which I do regret is that Grumpy Old Tin laser cutting is no longer a thing. The makerspace I was using changed hands and the new owners, Pioniergarage- Salzburg, have a difference in opinion about accommodating the less abled. Long covid means that it it is impossible for me to stand for two or three hours beside the laser machine and the computer is placed so you cannot sit and operate it.
More tomorrow as I had a bit of a painting blitz this last week.
Finally my Product of the Year is Vallejo’s Model Colour Vermillion. A really good punchy highlight red. I did get on the cool kids bandwagon and bought some Dirty Down Rust. I only tried it once and I realise I need a bit more practice with it.
I have a few more pictures to add, since May. May? Where did the time go?
This is some armoured centaur legs, from the Makers Cult, scaled up from AT scale to 40K scale. The top half is an Armiger. This was a test of the livery I am using on my Titan, sat in a box awaiting paint. The lesson wot I did lern is to not apply gloss varnish until all the armour is painted. The gold was very problematic because of this. My next big print project is a Reaver Titan mounted on the Makers Cult 40K scale centaur legs. Warlord might be a bit much.
This is from the Tesseract Tomb Patreon. I have wanted a train set for ages and he is going to be producing parts over the next few months.
This is the Marauder Giant which is now starting to fetch eye watering prices on Fleabay. Many thanks to the Delta Squad who made this possible. First rule etc.
Finally a Spaash Mareen. Number One Son and I have been taking advantage of the 9Euro German rail tickets and have been travelling to Munich for lunch, As you do. I thought I would pop into WARHAMMER! and try out this newfangled Contrast paint that all the cool kids are using these days. The Red Shirt gave me a figure to try it on. While I was slappinig paint on he was inanely chatting to me in English, but in German was really (like really) pushing the hobby onto Number One Son.
One of our lunches. Nothing too extravagant, just a pork knuckle, potato dumpling, dark beer gravy and sauerkraut.
BUT as a result of the trip to WARHAMMER! Number One Son has expressed an interest in gaming. So now the modular table is getting some use, perhaps I need to get on and paint it? We are using our own version of One Hour Skirmish.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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.
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!