I really need to stop prevaricating around the bush

So the Dragon is glued and ready to paint. Am I doing anything about it? Am I heck as like!

The first distraction was in the form of a freebie figure from the revamped White Dwarf. I thought he would make a nice leader for my growing band of Chaos cultists.

imageThen I got distracted by an old Bob Olley sculpt that I have had for about thirty years. I was inspired by seeing pictures on the Oldhammer Facebook group.

imageAnd finally my local GeeDub store is running a spooky painting contest. So I had a rummage through my bitz box and found this figure.

imagePerhaps it’s time to get my finger out and get on with the real job?

Getting the picture

This is a topic I’ve been having some problems with. Now things are starting to settle down a little with the house I thought it was time to get a little consistency with my model pictures.
There are a couple of blogs that I occasionally look at where their models are photographed with a scenic base and background and I quite liked it.
So here is my take on it.
photo4
The base was a square of polystyrene with some blue foam details. This was then coated in PVA glue and coarse sand added for texture. This was painted with some dark brown household emulsion paint.
photo3
Then it was drybrushed with two more colours of emulsion.
photo1
Then flocked.
photo5
I went a little low-tech with the sky backdrop. I used a diffuser tube, a kind of crude airbrush, figuring that the coarse splatter wouldn’t be seen.
photo2
On the reverse side of the sky backdrop I made a chaotic mix of colours. My main problem was that the card was not dimensionally stable and warped like mad. So I had to dry it like this.
photo9
Here is my set up. My camera is a Pentax istD. I went down the Pentax route as I have a large number of Pentax lenses from my time as a photographer in the Eighties. The soft-box and lights are from an eBenk WSB-342 studio kit that I bought for this purpose. The one thing I have done is to change the bulbs to LEDs as they don’t run as hot and don’t use as much electricity.
photo8
Here is the first attempt. The lights give a yellow cast, I haven’t as yet managed to source daylight bulbs, the white balance in camera is set to “Tungsten” and but a bit of tinkering in Photoshop (minimal, one slide of the colour balance) solves this.
photo7
Some trees in the background.
photo6
Now the chaotic sky.
So far the problem with this is the depth of field. There is far too much of it.
photo10
So I dropped the aperture right down and this is the result. There are some very minor adjustments to be made, but I think I’m pretty close.
Now to write down what I have done so I can continue to be consistent.
The model used for photography is from Ramshackle Games.
http://shop.ramshacklegames.co.uk/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=20&products_id=255

Tools

Really I should be writing about the last battle I had with Number 1 Son or showing you progress on the latest project. But I’ll do that another day, I am suffering at the moment from a surfeit of schnapps consumed last night at the village Solstice fire.

fire1
tools2
I’ve now got a computer set up in the workshop. So now I can play music and I have installed Illustrator so I can make artwork for laser-cutting. It is very slow but I mustn’t grumble as it was donated to me. Why a PC? Well the laser cutter I am planning on getting only runs on PC and I didn’t want to take the family computer, Apple, downstairs.
Whilst unpacking boxes getting the workshop set up I cam across a few rusty tools that had belonged to my Father and Grandfather. Nothing wildly exciting, some center-punches and a rather nice pin-vice.
tools4So they got an overnight soak in vinegar and then this morning a scrub with a wire brush and some wire-wool. I remembered that I had my Dremel set up in the hobby room, where I do my painting, so used that with a wire brush attachment to get into all the little cracks and crevices.
tools1Here they are all cleaned and with a light coating of turtle-wax.
tools3This is the pin-vice. I’ve added a wooden ball on top and I think I’ll make this my number 1 tool and shuffle the other pin-vice to back-up status.
I am starting to enjoy the fact that there is less and less Tetris involved when I am trying to get jobs done and the tools I require are right to hand.
The final job for the workshop is to get a L-shaped bench made which will be my station for airbrushing, glass-work and scratch-building.

So what have I been up to during radio silence?

Well I haven’t been painting prolifically as I have been mostly working on the house.
I joined a Facebook group called 1houranight which sets monthly targets and this has been keeping me motivated.
Anyway here is a selection of work. Apologies for the variable quality of photos, one of this year’s targets is to set up a little photo set-up so I can take decent photos.
Moonraker Miniatures
The Adventurer, his Concubine, his Accountant and his Bodyguard.
These are from Moonraker Miniatures and are part of my Rouge Trader collection.
Mirleton
This was a Christmas present.
It’s from Mirleton. I was disappointed to find out that there is only one pose of this as I wanted a small unit of Skaven cavalry.
Bad Squiddo
Another Christmas present a Female Orc from The Dice Bag Lady aka Bad Squiddo Games.
mine4
This is from Scibor and I bought it because a friend of mine is really into Dwarves. Seriously into them. And the thought of one of his little men consorting with one of the hated enemies will drive him to dispair.
Spellcrow?
This one is from Spellcrow I think.
Ozzy
This is Ozzy. He was a giveaway from Casting Room Miniatures. An offshoot of Foundry. Sculpted by none other than Kevin Adams. This plus a sale and free postage was too good an offer to pass up.
Ogryn
This is a test paint for my Imperial Guard Ogryn unit.
Dirty tracks!
Some armour for my Imperial Guard. I think I may have gone over the top with dust and mud.
mine2
This is from Kromlech. They are doing some very characterful Orks and Goblins. I have my eye on some more Goblin Pirates.
Anyway that is a round up of most of what I’ve painted. That I can remember. Sometimes I am getting a bit “Senior”.

Consistency

It’s been a while, and it gets worse everyday thinking I must add some more content. And then you don’t. And then the guilt builds up. So I am biting the bullet and adding a bit more content. It wasn’t helped by the fact that the editor when using a iPad was decidedly arsey.
This is the next stage for my painting, consistency in basing. I have, now, several armies each with an individual look, so it is important that the units in each army have some cohesion in basing style.
consistency
I am already recording what paints I use in a journal.
This piece of wood has been laser-cut with spaces for some 30mm bases that I don’t intend to use. The plan is to make up these bases as I make my armies and record what I have done in my journal so I will have a written record and a visual one.
I also want to experiment with other basing techniques and record the successful ones for future use.

Product of the Year 2015

This year there are two products of note.
The first is something you wouldn’t normally think of: yoghurt pot lids.
As I have two boys with rapacious appetites I tend to buy half litre pots. They come with plastic lids for resealing. Presumably the manufacturers don’t consider that their product will be consumed in one sitting. Anyway they make ideal one shot palettes, especially when using oil paints. I don’t have to worry about cleaning up, I just toss it in the recycling.
The second product is a paint from Vallejo, Dark Blue Grey.
I have been using it a lot on my Imperial Guard Army and have started using it on my fledgling High Elf Army. I wanted to steer away from the standard Games Workshop blue and white and head for more sea-like greys and blues. This clour just fits the bill.

Continuing the Pyrate theme

Next up we have from Eureka Miniatures a Pirate Teddy Bear.
Just went to the website to post the link and it seems that Eureka no longer stock them. A pity as I wanted a few more. Here is the link to their 28mm ranges, http://eurekamin.com.au/index.php?cPath=87_126&sort=3a, there are some interesting bits and bobs there.
image

Job’s a good ‘un

drag2
It’s arrived at last! And it’s huge! Flippin’ huge!
I am of course talking about the Heresy Dragon. I ordered it before Number Two Son was even thought of.
Andy, the creative genius behind Heresy, has had an absolute nightmare producing this. Originally he thought it would take a couple of months to produce. Since then…
http://heresyminiatures.com/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=260
drag1
drag3
drag4
Here is a scale shot with a 28mm figure just to give you an idea.
The pity is that now it has to go back into the box for a couple of months until my man-cave is set up in our new house.
Did I say, “New house”? Yes, I did. More on that to come.

Image copyright Heresy and is used totally without permission.

Image copyright Heresy and is used totally without permission.


Now go to Heresy and buy something!
http://heresyminiatures.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=7&zenid=663b39432d06ba7ae00dc76821cede6a

January/February work

It’s been a bit slow of late. Partly lack of motivation. Partly preparing artwork for the GOT shop. And also some health issues. I have had to go into hospital for an operation to remove some rogue cells. The after care medication is knocking me for six at the moment.
Anyway, I finished the Ratling Snipers and managed to do one base of my beloved Snotlings.
rat6rat1rat2rat3rat4rat5snot
I also did an illustration for someone attending this years BOYL, Bring Out Your Lead. The annual Oldhammer bash at Foundry HQ.Erik1
He wanted an eighties style of illustration. There’s room for improvement, but I haven’t really picked up a pen in years, so not too shabby. Not one bloody word of thanks mind you. Hmmmm.

Some more bits for my retail empire

Productive day today. I managed to get four batches cut today.

cont
The first was the shipping container. This time I got the setting right and didn’t have to spend an hour cutting it out. There are a couple of etch-lines which need attention. But I’m there.
case
This is a packing case. I probably won’t be selling this. Working on a formula of, “Three times time and materials” this works out at six Euro each. I don’t see many wargamers forking out that much for a single piece. So I need to make something a little less complicated in a cheaper material. This is made with 4mm ply rather than the much cheaper 3mm MDF. Which I have now sourced thankfully, now to find affordable acrylic.
los
“Line Of Sight” markers. These are designed for your less sporting opponent. For example, I have some of my Ork Stormboyz mounted on flying bases. So when they land behind a large obstacle anybody reasonable would assume they couldn’t be seen. So if you get anyone picky, “I can see your Ork, so I can shoot at the entire unit,” just replace your figure with a marker. “Can you see it now?”
alb
Finally a plaque for my Albion Army, when I finally get my display case out of storage.

Dezember’s finished work

tree
Treelady from Ultraforge Miniatures for my Albion Army.
I didn’t manage to do much over December, I wasn’t very inspired and this shows it. There are bits i am happy with and bits that are a bit bland and ho-hum. It was good practice with the airbrush getting some highlights and shadows.

Christmas and New Year freebies

loot
Here’s some of the bits I picked up for modelling over the holiday season.
The amorphous white blob on the left was some “Snow” used in my local shopping centre. I will be using this to make some explosion markers. Teased out, glued onto washers and airbrushed. Also in the future I plan to make some flickering musket smoke for my British Peninsular Army.
In the middle you see some nose cones from fireworks, very popular here for New Year’s Eve. These will go in my bits box to make rockets and random scenery for my Orks.
At the bottom are the left over wires from Christmas Tree sparklers. I was looking at Daggerandbrush’s, https://daggerandbrush.wordpress.com/, rather excellent tutorial on making trees and thinking about getting some florist wire to try it out.
Come Christmas we put sparklers on the tree.
spark
Tidying up the next day I was taking them off the tree and thought, “Umm nice pliable wire”. So these have been put to one side to be used soon.
I read Wargames Illustrated, it’s for the articles, honest! Looking at the December 2014 issue there was a photo feature on Brits versus Germans.

Image copyright Wargames Illustrated. Used without permission. Taken from issue 326 December 2014. Article Brits versus Germans. Page 105. By the Derby Wargames Club. www.wargamesillustrated.net

Image copyright Wargames Illustrated. Used without permission. Taken from issue 326 December 2014. Article Brits versus Germans. Page 105. By the Derby Wargames Club. http://www.wargamesillustrated.net


Now I’m a sucker for good scenery and ideas for making it, especially on the cheap. I kept returning to this image wondering what was familiar. Then it dawned on me that the crops were in fact bits of carefully trimmed artificial Christmas tree. All I had to do was keep my eyes peeled after the festive season for any discarded trees.
loot1
What turns up? And in the bins in the block where I live, so I didn’t even have to leave the building!

My review of 2014

Overall I have achieved a fair amount of work this year, although I did peter out in November and December. I managed to hit most of my painting targets for last year. Still to finish are a unit of British Infantry and to finish the Albion Faeries and Ork Jets which I’d started. Purchasing wise I bought 76 figures and managed to paint about 202. So the lead mountain is slowly getting chipped away. Although I am getting to a very competent standard of painting there is always room for improvement.
I figured out how to make movement/display trays for my round based troops and the result looks good.
Over the year I have received a lot of support and encouragement from the blogging community. Special mentions go out to: DaggerandBrush, Skarach’s World, AmateurAirplanes and Sigur from Battlebrush Studios. And of course a big shout out to my old gaming buddy Mug’O’Dice.
This coming year I want to engage more in Social Meejah and promote my blog a bit more. This will mean embracing Goggle+, banner advertising and actually engaging with the Blogosphere. Something else I want to do more of this year is laser cutting. I used to have the services of a laser cutter at my last job which was so useful for making markers and tokens.
Plus I want to pluck up the courage to post my work on CoolMiniOrNot.
There are two products I would like to suggest for Product of the Year 2014.
The first is Vallejo’s Metal Medium. This adds a beautiful highlight to your metalwork and can be mixed with ordinary paints to produce any metallic shade you could wish for. I must recommend that every painter has this in their arsenal.
The second product is Baking Parchment. It’s uses are many and varied. Painting base edges where you’ll have a wet surface potentially sticking to the table-top. Making a non-stick surface when cutting out a spray mask. Applying washes to a row of shields. Etc. etc. etc.
I still want to paint a unit a month. If I knuckle down I could finish an army. However this would be really dull and repetitive. I prefer to have some variety. I would like to enter some models into the Massive Voodoo competition, which runs until April. I don’t stand a chance of winning, against Golden Demon winners, but it will push me to improve. This is what I propose to paint this year.
* A unit of Ratling Snipers and an empty scenic base.
* Napoleonic Artillery
* Albion Sword Maidens
* And if they arrive in time a unit of Raging Heroes Troopers
After I have dealt with the Massive Voodoo competition then it will be, in no particular order:
* Finish my Roman Army, this is not so bad as it sounds, one fortified base and one commander.
* A DKK squad
* Napoleonic cavalry
* DKK Death Riders
* A unit of Centaur cavalry for Albion
* Another squad of Home Guard and a squad of British Infantry
* A Squig Mangler for my Orc and Goblin Army
* Albion Skirmishers
Other options with I may slot in are:
* A Dreamforge Titan
* The deodorant speeder for Rouge Trader
* Some Titanforge Undead Goblins
* Some 4A Miniatures Kevin Adams Goblin Seafolk
* A squad of Fallschirmjäger as opponents for my Home Guard
This year will be about smaller units and treats, rather than batch painting which I’m finding a drag.
This could be academic if we do settle on a house because I’d like to focus on making it habitable. And of course making my “Man-Cave”.
I would like to to ask if anyone has experience of insuring their collection as I am increasingly looking at my collection as my Boy’s inheritance.
So without boring you further, I bid you a creative and motivated 2015, and to quote from the late great comedian Dave Allen, “May your god go with you.”