So that was 2020

Before the interweb crashes I will get in first and wish my one reader ma Happy New Year. 2020 was unusual and thankfully for us wasn’t too bad. here is to the hope that 21 will be an unmemorable year.

As is usual I would like to nominate my product/products of the year. My biggie is the Elegoo Mars Pro, a resin 3d printer. The quality is amazing and combined with Patreons (more of which further down) and Thingiverse I don’t think I will be buying figures in the traditional sense in the near future. My second product is Army Painter Dry Rust. Go and buy it, it will be the best two quid you will spend.

So now on with the painting since the last post.

I managed to make the 2020 challenge, one figure a week, and managed to get double bubble of 106 figures done. There may be a couple of extra.

Next year the painting challenge is to tackle twelve projects that have scared you as a painter. Maybe the Heresy Dragon? It would be nice to see it finished.

I did fall behind with the make/fix/mend resolution. I seem to have ended up with a lot of extra projects.

I received a copy of Bloodbowl for Christmas, 2021 will see me making a pitch, 3d printed from files by Kraken 3d Studios.

Finally I would like to mention Patreons. This is a scheme where you pay an artist a small monthly fee and they produce something. I have backed, in no particular order.

Westfalia: some rather nice halflings, some have been themed around a certain galactic bounty hunter.

The Makers Cult: they are making some 40K proxies with their own little twist. Victory Corp, think rebadged DKoK. Iron Hive, mechanical ‘Nids. These are the two ranges I am most interested in, but there are others, dark mechanicus, Feudal Guard (think medieval with las guns) and some SMs.

Tabletop Terrain: modular sci fi vehicles.

Code2: fantasy medieval buildings.

Anyway I shall leave it at that.

Good luck for 2021

Two Kickstarters of note

Before I write about the last few months, which to be honest not much has happened in, I must point you in the direction of two very interesting Kickstarters.

The first is this one

I came across this guy when he requested help in testing some files he had designed. He sent me a couple which I printed up and painted. I was staggered by the quality and also what the range was. I had been looking for accessories to make outdoor adventuring a little more interesting and realistic and he delivered in spades!

Seriously if you have access to a printer back this project. It’s lovely.

I still have a load more to paint so keep watching this space.

The second Kickstarter is

I have backed this project, originally just for the desert houses, but he keeps adding more and more interesting pieces as he smashes through the stretch goals.

This was a freebie, which you can download, just go to the Kickstarter page

Lovely stuff, recommended.

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.

Mistakes were made

I have made my first catalogue. You can download it here.

I do sort of like the layout but there are aspects which could change. As I had a short window in which to make it and dealing with day to day life it didn’t get as much attention as it deserved. Version Two, a job for later in the year, will be much better. When I hit Version Three I will get a properly printed copy. As with a large majority of my work it takes a couple of attempts to get it right.

Here are my two biggest concerns.

I learned a very valuable lesson there.

Painting progress

I am plugging away at the 2020 Painting Challenge on Facebook. If I manage to paint fifty two miniatures in this current year I will be eligible to get a specially commissioned “Painter” figure sculpted by John Pickford. Many thanks to Jamie Loft from Old School Miniatures for making this happen. This doesn’t seem to be hitting the Lead Mountain though, I am painting figures aquired this year. The Spirit host is an exception, it has been sat on my desk partially assembled for two years and so it is part of my New Year Resolution. The Halflings are from Wargames Atlantic, I got a free sprue when I filled out an online survey for Wargames, Soldiers and Strategy.

All three together

Now I have my little photo set up working my photographs are getting better and more consistant. I have started shooting in RAW and doing a manual white balance. I do need to take a bit more time and work out a better depth of field, at the moment it is quite shallow. One thing I have noticed is that when the camera runs out of power it doesn’t save the settings so once I have an ideal arrangement I need to record the settings. This means I can start to be consistant. I would like to photograph my collection and I would like all the photographs to look the same. If you look at my gallery at the moment the colour balances are jumping around all over the place.

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.

Kickstarters and cake

I should have mentioned Kevin Adams’s Kickstarter a couple of days ago……. but

Anyway here it is. It is out of my range, price wise, which is a pity because it looks brilliant. I’ll leave you with the link so you can make up your own mind about this.

Next up are the 15mm Romans which I have no need for but to which I am strangely attracted to. This is live today.

Romani ite domum

This past weekend was the last day of temporary Red Shirt Klemens at Warhammer Salzburg. He’s been nice to the Boys whenever we visited the store and it’s a pity to see him go. so in honour of the occassion we baked him a cake.

What have the Romans ever done for us?

I need to start collecting a new army at a new scale like I need a hole in the head. The Lead Mountain is not decreasing. I will be getting another four plus units of my beloved Gnomes from OS Miniatures later this Spring. I want to get my 40K Ork army more in a stage of completion ready for Armies on Parade in October. That Heresy Dragon ain’t gonna paint itself! So why am I drooling over this?

I do like my Romans, from Asterix (have you seen the two latest animated films?), to Cato and Macro and to The Eagle of the Ninth. I do have a 28mm Roman Army all based up for Fields of Glory, never played sadly. I must photograph it and post it up.

Recently Gripping Beast have produced their Milites Mundi rules with some 10mm Romans, but they didn’t quite do it for me. They would be perfect for Warmaster which I have a hankering for. Then popping up in my Facebook feed came these images from Grenzer Games.

They are only renders at the mement, but generally nowadays plastics match the renders pretty well. I don’t need a 15mm army! What ruleset? How to base them? Well I suppose that would be dependant on the ruleset. Anyway have a look at what is getting me all excited.

And there are more images available on their website.

https://grenzergames.co.uk/

Grenzer Games are launching a Kickstarter.

For transparancy, I am in no way afilliated with Grenzer Games, don’t know them from Adam but they have been friendly on Facebook. If you guys from Grenzer do read this and want to send some for review……… me and my two followers would be appreciative.

Not a resolution as such

In an effort to keep up with the painting I have joined a new Facebook group. 2020 PAINTING CHALLENGE.

The object of the group is to paint one figure a week and post the finished results weekly. If you manage to post 52 figures in the goup album you will receive a specially commissioned figure of “The Painter” sculpted by John Pickford.

I have a few unfinished projects sitting on my desk for far too long so this might be an incentive to get them done. First up are the nine remaining figures from OS Miniatures Alpine Dwarfs. Coincidently they are also sculpted by John Pickford. They are halfway there and it wouldn’t take too much to get them done.

Here they are based and ready to go, three years ago!

Getting the desk clear of old projects would be quite motivating, nothing worse than staring at half done figures. And then, one project at a time on the desk.

Yeah right!

Tool making

One project I backed on Kickstarter last year was; Tabletop terrain from XPS foam: Buildings. This is a book detailing the construction of buildings from, yeah you guessed it, XPS foam. I’ve been looking at upping my game on terrain modelling and this book might just help. Laser cutting is good for some things, but you just can’t do curves and organic shapes. But a mixture of both should be the killer combination.

Looking at the images online pecils and pens have been used to form some of the detailing. Being the horder that I am I have loads of bits of metal lying around underemployed. A bit of cutting, a bit of cutting, some dowel rod, a bit of two part epoxy glue and a splash of paint I ended up with these.

Four different sized scribing tools. Slightly wonky (technical term) as I didn’t drill quite perpendicular to the dowel.

Here is a link to the book which will describe it far more eloquently than I could.

Tabletop terrain from XPS foam: Buildings

If this tempts you there still is the option to be a late backer.

My product of the year 2019

I have been greatly impressed by Reaper’s Bones Black range. Reaper’s figure range are sculpted by world class sculpters, really charactorful and lovely to paint. Just a pity I can’t quite afford them. Then a couple of years ago Reaper brought out their Bones range. These were white plastic versions of existing sculpts (and a lot of new, funded by various Kickstarters). I had a look but I wasn’t impressed. The details were soft and soapy (Mantic anybody?) and the plastic was bendy. Then, very recently, Reaper announced that they were bringing out a new range of plastic figures in a harder plastic, Bones Black.

I picked up three figures in October to have a look at the quality. And I have been impressed. Not quite as crisp as metal, but if you apply the “Three Foot” rule you would not be able to tell the difference on the tabletop. As all cast figures there are moldlines. I haven”t quite perfected the technique of removing them, but that is down to me not to any problem with the models themselves. Primer was applied, next time I might give them a quick scrub in warm soapy water, and it stays where it should.

Here is the first figure I have been working on. As I said in previous posts I haven’t had much painting time in the last couple of months. Something I intend to remedy next year.

I am very enthusiastic about this range which is being added to every month. December’s releases have two figures which have been on my wishlist for a while. The prices are affordable, quality sculpts what is there not to like?

I would like to take this oppurtunity to wish everyone (and you Ruth) a Happy New Year!

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

Here be Dragon

Old School Miniatures have a new project up for pre-order, The Battle of the Vale. Featuring Halflings fighting off various chaotic thugs.

The main attraction for me is the Dragon and the Thief.

https://www.oldschoolminiatures.co.uk/the-dragon–the-thief-43-c.asp

This has been sculpted by the depressingly talented Aaron Howdle.

You can visit his website and take a peek at his rather lovely illustrations.

Portfolio

The brush is dead! Long live the brush!

I have been meaning to replace my brush for the last year as hairs got less and less. But it was always I’ll do one more figure. I did briefly toy with another brush, but it split so I went back to my old faithful.

I bit the bullet about a week ago. i was sorting stuff out to make a painting area for Number Two Son when I came across a box of brushes carefully stored. Read hidden. In it was another of the same brush. Foundry Sable Mix General Detail.

If this new brush paints as well and lasts as long as the old brush I will be buying a few more.

Going back Gnome

The most excellent OS Miniatures company has a new Kickstarter.

More Gnomes!

As you know I have a great love for these figures and can’t wait to get my hands on this new unit and extras.

Please go and support it.