Saturday, 16 December 2017

State Of The Workbench

Christmas Is Coming is a phrase I use a lot at this time of year along with Dashing Through The No. It's a busy time, especially as I am mid health kick, so I haven't had a huge amount of time to spare. That said it's been a reasonably productive week.
On top of the painting I have been doing some prep work. The Rangers, mostly to the left in the picture are planned to become robbers and brigands. Along with a few thieves, these should make a nice opfor. There are five space dwarves. These will eventually become good guys and maybe PC for Titansgrave. The aliens that look like a smaller version of Genestealers are also being prepped for Titansgrave. I can see a campaign based around them. I can see them becoming an alien race for the sci-fi wargame Future War Commander. There are some old GW skinks which are planned to be lizardmen. The plan for all but the dwarves is to give the a fairly tabletop standard paint job. Simply quick and easy.

There is a lot of part finished figures as well and some terrain. Whilst I have worked on the terrain this week, I haven't finished any if it. I have also worked
on a rat swarm base but that's not on the picture.

Next week is going to involve a lot of sand, glue and primer.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Workbench Space?

There is something about my current workbench that I hate. I can't quite put my finger on it but maybe that is because there is so many things wrong with it. It's too small, it's to dark, it's too deep, there is not space for a cutting mat, I can't get any more light into it, the storage space around is difficult to access and there is just not enough of it to name but a few.

At the moment there is the chance I could have a five foot by two foot workbench in the garage. The down sides with this is that this is pretty much all the space I would have and right now, and for most of the year it would a little bit chilly.

Every now and again I work on a design for a workbench. Like most of us what I would really like is a games room with a bit of workshop space. Well maybe a lot of workshop space. As well as being a gamer I am a bit of a tinkerer and I like to make things out of wood using big big power tools. So space for that would be good.

SO WHAT I AM ASKING IS does anybody have any good ideas about designing a work area/gaming area?

Thursday, 14 December 2017

River Troll

This uncommonly large beastie has been my main focus today. I am not really sure what he is meant to be in my games but According to Reaper he is a Marsh Troll. I don't have a clear purpose for him in the Viking game but I can see him as a Mutant in the Underground game. He is still work in progress. there is some highlighting left to do and some details to touch up (the teeth look pretty grim in the picture). I plan to do a water effect on the base but I am going o test this out on another base before trying it out for real.

I kept finding myself getting distracted again today. On top of painting this big guy, I think I have worked on another dozen miniatures. Nothing major, just tidying up. I have also moved into to doing some basing prep. I have gritted about twenty bases and attached another twenty to bases prior to gritting.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Painting Handle Vs Paint Pot Handle

For a while now I have been using paint pots as a base for my figures whilst painting them. It makes the painting process much easier. It keeps my fingers off the figure I'm working on, especially the head. You can get better angles with the brushes with a figure on top of a paint pot.

For  preference I use the older GW paint pots (pictured below). At one point I used to turn them upside down as the lip around the base of the pot fits around a 2p base quite nicely. I did try corks and bits of wood, maybe ten years ago but these didn't really seem to work. Unless you are the kind of painter that pins figures to bases corks do not seem to work so well. Bits of wood did not seem to do much at all.
It's big
Over time I have made up quite a sizable collection of empty of empty GW pots. At any one there are probably forty pots on the workbench. Of course you have to add plenty of Blue Tac and this needs to be replaced every now and again. Blue Tac, being what it is, is not especially tacky and things will fall off if you don't press them down hard enough and even then, they can still fall off.
About a 20mm base
The painting handle has a lot more positive pressure on the base. I could see a figure being knocked out of it but is seems unlikely that it would just fall out. It's a good size to fit in your hand and is a little more comfortable to hold. It has more heft to it with a fairly balanced centre of gravity. This extra weight might not be so good if you have to hold on to it for  a few hours.
And this one is about 50mm
All in all the painting handle is pretty good. I've had a go painting with it and it works well. In the round, the handle beats a paint pot every time but only just by a fraction. In the round, paint pots are free (well kind of) and the painting handle costs £5. To my mind, if you are the kind of painter who focuses on quality not quantity (really not me) or concentrating on a single figure then this is a worthwhile investment. If you are painting an army in a batch of ten figures or more, I am not sure that you would want to be buying ten of these or swapping the figure out every time.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Undead Of Some Sort

I've had another go with the inks today and have all but finished off what I started yesterday. These are some more Frostgrave figures. I am not sure what I will use the for. Mostly, I have selected them to paint because they have been hanging around, primed and based for about two years now. They also seemed like a good choice to try the inking things on.
Still a few more details to finish on them, especially on the faces but they are pretty much done.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Hill Or Frost Giant

I think I got this guy from Northstar as part of the Frostgrave range when it came out. It's not the biggest giant miniature I posses but he is nicely posed and has what I consider a very giant like face.

This week I thought I'd try out a few techniques that are new to me. One of the things I came across lately was to use washes as the main paint. It does work for all colours, especially on bigger areas and it seems to work better on grey. The colour on the base is the one I started with. Obviously on black you are not going to see it and on white it's going to be a bit too translucent but maybe that's not a bad effect either.

The skin and the fur are essentially washes which have been highlighted. The flesh has worked out very nicely and the fur is not too shabby either. The white hair and anything that is brown has had some paint and I think I gave the head of the axe a different colour of grey than the rest of it.

My plan is to try this out on a few other models. If it works this should speed things up a lot. This giant took about an hour which is pretty good for a bigger model.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

End Of The Week - Dark Age Men In Black

It's been an odd week for me but I have in the end reached my goal and then some so The New Cruelty is happy. You might have noticed from some of my posts it's not been the happiest week of my life. As I didn't start painting until Thursday I am prey happy.

My usual goal is five figures per week and despite not starting until Thursday I was pretty confident I cold handle ten figures in all. Given that they were men in black and they were spray painted black, there was always going to be a limit to what was needed. There are still a few bits and pieces that need doing but these are mainly required on the shields which I don't normally include within my challenge for the week.

the shield are white for a reason. In the plan, these guys have white shields. If I do plan to change the shields in the future, white is a could undercoat for shield transfers which is what I would probably use.

As I mentioned yesterday I have done a fair bit of work on one of my RPG backgrounds. Whilst this strikes me as a project that is destined never to be finished it is approaching a more acceptable state of incompleteness.

As usual I have no idea what I want to paint next week. There is nothing obvious in the queue. There is plenty of The Walking Dead stuff to do but I am not feeling and all the other stuff is odds and sods or stuff that has big gaps in the figures available (like the Blood Bowl Skaven Team for instance). I have some bigger figures to do and some swarm bases to finish off so I might get to that instead. Come to think of it there is a few of those that need attending to. I have been putting this off because I have nowhere to put them when they are finished. Sadly the weather is looking cold so I doubt I can do any more priming any time soon or I would move on to some other Titansgrave figures I have been planning in doing.

And speaking if The New Cruelty I had another look at what I actually wanted to do. When I looked at it again last week I recalled that I had told myself that I was going to take some exercise. So I ordered myself a Fitbit/ I haven't worn a watch in years so just the feel of the thing is odd. It is however having a positive effect already. Hopefully what get too Bridget Jones's Diary on you but maybe I will start thinking about it more often/

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Writing Your Own RPG Background Or All Is Vanity

I have been working on what I have called the Viking Game for about five years now even though in my head it's called Northmen. I made a couple of key decisions back when I started the project and I have pretty much stuck with them. The world expands but the central idea does not. Some of this expansion has been down to ideas that I have had and some is down to the figures that I have or have painted during the process.

In the past I have gone as far as writing my own rules so that I could make the world I wanted. These days I more or less stick with the Savage Worlds rules. It's simple and generic enough that it is easy for the players to follow and for me to run. One fairly basic rulebook does all you need it to. If you want a bit more flavour then there are other books to buy but none are major pieces of work. What the game does do is encourage you to use other backgrounds inspired by rules and media that you like as well as creating your own.

This is where the vanity bit comes in.

The game started as a bit of a cobble. I took some inspiration from elsewhere. Computer games, books, regular fantasy, films and RPGs. the only ideas I took from anywhere became section headings but I was clear with myself right from the beginning that I wanted it to be all my own work. You never know, I might get round to publishing it. What I really wanted was a pdf I could give to the players with all the rules in it right from the get go. This kind of happened but having a complete document starting to delay things so I thought I would start with what I had. This was a bit of a mistake but it was one I was prepared to live with.

Over time though I ran into a problem. What I had was great but I just kept tinkering with the book. At the front of the document is a table of contents. This has been a big waste of time as I keep adding things in and deciding that the sections need to go in a different order.

So after a year of cursing my judgement I decided to bite the bullet today. As a way of getting out of painting, I thought I would just get on and chop it into bits.

The core rules haven't changed significantly in well over a year but the background has. There were basically two bits to the background as I saw it. The world (or worlds, all nine of them plus a few extras), the town in which the game was based, it's surrounding region, the kingdom it's part of and then the other peoples of the world. the second part is the sagas and legends for the world. These have now become two separate books.

I like to tinker but in this game it is really about adding  more new bits. The details of the town already amount to about four pages. I expect to extend this so I have allowed space for about a page and a half of extra writing. For the time being I will fill this space up with a few pictures. There is supposed to be a map but there are supposed to be a number of maps. Originally I had planned to put all the maps in an appendix but this is more faff when it comes to rewriting the contents so I will add the map at the end of the section.

The region the town is in is called the Symark. This has had a similar amount of work as the town. Again I can see that this was going to get expanded in the future so I have allowed more space for this and for the map at the end. Early on I did a rough map and then I spent some more time on a more details map. Integrating it into a world map (chunking up) proved to be all but impossible. Starting with a world map, which is at this point not totally fixed, is a better idea. The region fits into the world much better.

The myths is the second big part of what I have been doing. Mostly I trying to ape the myths although I am not averse to taking some myths and bending them to fit into my needs. To my mind at the heart of every good fantasy story and rog scenario is a piece of history or a myth. As I have played about with the world in the game, the myths need to reflect the changes in that world. All of the scenario elements I have planned are also rooted in myths, even some that might take a long time to happen. The build up can be important.

This all plays to my ego. I want to be a good GM and for the players to have "fun" in the worlds I create. As a place to start I want them to have a firm base in the documents I provide. Rather than have a major piece of rambling work, it better to reduce it down into books or supplements. People, even the author, can get their heads around it better.

Friday, 8 December 2017

End Of The Week - Well The Week That Was

After what has been a fairly brisk week I thought it was time to put up some pictures of last week's work. 11 orcs for Titansgrave or maybe shadowrun.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Slump

I'm in a line of work where the work/life balance is normally pretty good. This is something that has tuned my life around. In the last two years or so I have had cause to want to savour that time as much as I can. There is only a finite time for us all so I should probably give up blogging.

I finally got my workbench back today. Well I got as far as opening it and putting a cup of tea on it. It's Thursday today and so far I haven't picked up a brush since Sunday. I still think I am going to make my weekly target though and I may even get to smash it. There are ten dark age figures on the workbench and they are mostly black. As they have already been primed black I just need to do the heads and hands and a few bits of detail. These were brought as Arthurian British but with a few changes they are going to double as the men-in-black for my Viking game. Just another opfor for the players to get their teeth into.
Headless Spearmen
The title of the post isn't really about the above. Before anyone can say humbug I am going to bring it back around to Christmas. In between the gas engineer turning up for his third and sadly, not yet final visit, I have been doing my bit to prep for Christmas. Not for me the relative joys of putting up decorations. I get the more mundane jobs. These usually involve me being in the coldest room in the house and getting dirty or dusty. Today might only be one day but this is what the last three days have been like and is probably what the next two at least are going to be like (hopefully with some time for painting).

Over the years I have come to think of myself as a simple man of simple pleasures. Well maybe a complex man of complex pleasures (usually involving a rulebook and some dice or a paintbrush). Despite the way I make it sound I have things pretty good. So when Christmas comes around, the apple cart gets a little upturned.

So tomorrow is going to be a me day, at least as far as I can make it a me day. Hopefully we will get the snow we have been promised and it will keep the chaos from my door just a bit longer.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Blood Bowl Eldheim Eagles & Other Stuff

Although the Elfheim Eagles have been in the offing for a while there are been some genuine publicity for them today and alongside that there are a few other new releases pending.

In the first supplement for the game, Death Zone all the elf teams got a mention. It seemed odd to me that they haven't come out earlier as they tended to be one of the more popular teams especially if you liked passing plays and dying players. I was expecting the other elf teams at some point but as GW came up with a kitbash way to do Dark Elves and High Elves could easily use this box (well maybe with a bit of conversion) leaving the wood elves to do, so they may not be hitting the website any time soon.
The Full Team
The box set has all the usual stuff. In order to field a reasonable team you are still going to need a couple of boxes. This is probably going to leave you with four of the twelve figures in the second box (two blitzers and two throwers) being pretty much useless but this has been the case with the other boxes as well. There are a couple of deals including one with all the new elf releases and another with just the team and the dice. Neither of these seem to have any cost saving though.
It's the look of the figures that is all important and they do look good. They have the distinctive elf style and grace. I thought the catcher was nicely posed and the thrower and the blitzer look pretty good to.
Not a Nazi salute

As I said earlier there is plenty of other new material and some "new" material which is also on pre-order. There is obviously a set of dice. As all teams now have a set of dice I guess they are just following form and they do seem to make money. There are card sleeves for the special play cards. At £7 for fifty they are no prohibitively expensive and are almost value for money. There are three team decks also due out. Obviously the elf team deck is there as is the deck for humans and orcs and I assume decks for other teams will follow. There is also the Almanac which is everything from Death Zone 1 + 2 plus a few extras. I haven't seen a copy of DZ 2 so this book might make it on to the shopping list.
The full Monty
There are also several new boards. Along with the Elf Team release the is a nicely manicured elf pitch on one side and a wintery pitc on the other. This comes with suitable dug-outs. Also out is the Blood On The Snow board with orc and human themed winter boards. Then there is the goblin board which has two fairly mashed up looking pitches. Both of these also come with dug-outs. Forge World have also done a couple of neoprene boards.

All in all they seem to have made it on to the wishlist.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Gifts Or Presents?

I use the phrase Christmas Is Coming a lot in December. Not much of a surprise. When I say it out loud, I say it in a way that would lead you to believe that ten thousand white walkers are just on the horizon would be a more appealing prospect. As an adult Christmas becomes little more than four weeks hard work followed by a whole load of indifference and disappointment.

Do I sound a little cynical? Well I am. After trying to think of a word that is a little stronger than humbug to convey my feelings, I decided that this is a nice blog and I should probably stick to humbug rather than the words that are springs to mind. I am definitely a bit of a cynic but it's a cynicism born out of real word experience. Does that make it better? Perhaps not. What it has taught me is that you might not get what you want but you usually get what you pay for.

This is the good bit. What I am talking about is do it yourself. I am not talking about hanging doors, I did that I while ago. 

Even yesterday I was talking about having a list of presents to avoid getting gifts. It has now become clear to me that this is going to be a Christmas of gifts. Mugs, socks and that I don't want and don't have space for. This is despite having a conversation where I thought I had steered the other half away from making the wrong choice.  Sometimes, no matter how hard I try,  the message just isn't going to get through.

So if I want presents I am going to have to go out and do it myself. I started of with a good sized list. After today, that list is going to get bigger. If I have the money why should I get what I actually want. If there were consequences then I probably wouldn't but the money is in the bank so why not use it.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Gifts For Gamers

What do you get the nerd in your life?

I was talking to one of the lads earlier about the buying of presents. It is that time of year after all. The nature of the conversation was about the difference between men and women. It has been my experience that women like surprises. Nice surprises. A light activated electric spider would probably not count as a nice surprise for my other half as an example. Men on the other hand are not all that keen on surprises.

If I might slightly misquote Dave Gorman, there is a world of difference between gifts and presents. My fear is that I am going to get all gifts and no presents. A gift being the kind of thing that someone buys out of a sense of duty. In my childhood this was socks, anything that could be vaguely useful for school such as pens and copies of the Guinness Book of Records. Presents on the other hand are things that people actually want. At Christmas gifts are pretty much anything purchased without much thought that are not on somebody's letter to Santa.

A while back I mentioned that I had made myself a birthday list. I didn't get much off that list so it's still floating around. What I tend to do is put things on the list that I probably would not go out and buy. As an example, I am a big Blood Bowl fan but I can't see me spending a huge amount of money to get some of the single Star Player figures from Forgeworld. This is definitely a present.

So the time is coming where gifts are getting ordered. Don't leave things to fate. If you want something let people know. If you want a surprise, give them a big list. You might just get all of it.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Gluing Things Together

Gluing one bit of a mini to another bit seems to be taking gradually more and more time as I get older. This coupled with all the playing about with the bases seems to have extended the amount of time I spend with a model before I even start painting it drastically. At least I don't have to prime everything by hand now.

I think I have already mentioned that I went to a game show yesterday. So as well as finishing off this week's work (probably what I should be blogging about but i don't have the pictures) I decided that I would strike whilst the iron is hot. This is probably a good way to go as most of what I purchased yesterday is larger figures and I always spend a lot of time staring at them and not painting them before I even start work.
This is the Reaper water elemental.  I guess it is somewhere in the region of 100mm/4" high. I am not sure about the material it's made from as I am assuming they think you can use it as is. If they do they have very low standards. It's a big beast but I am hoping it is relatively easy to paint.

The fire elemental is much the same thing. Just as big and maybe slightly heavier. Flames a little harder to get right so this may take a bit longer.

I've had one of the bat swarms for a while now. In games I like the idea of swarm creatures so I have done quite a few of them recently. A flying swarm was something I was missing. Now I have enough of them. I can't remember what the other beastie is called but it looks like one of the creatures kept as pets (I think) by Skyrim's versions of goblins. I can also see a post apocalypse use for it.

The one on the left is destined to be a demon/fire giant for the Viking game. It's not that long since I did one of the ones in the middle. I liked the pose and think I could do him with a vastly different colours. On the right is a sea troll which again I can see a post-apocalyptic angel on.

Lastly another big beastie. I don't have any gryphons and I am trying to cover all my bases. Not really all that good for the Viking game but it looks the part and I can see other uses for it.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

The Curious Nature Of Pricing In The Hobby

I've been to the Recon Show in Leeds today. It is perhaps the smallest show I go to and seems to be getting slightly smaller but still busy. Despite this, it still manages to take a large amount of money out of my pocket. I got four metal miniatures and a lot more resin figures, a rule book and a couple of second hand boardgames.

I can't be the only one that is noticing a change in the way things are being sold. Christmas in the city centres seems a little quieter this year and the traffic around the town centres seems much less chaotic. The death of the high street has almost become a trope. In the towns and cities where I go there doesn't seem to be have been much in the way evidence to support this idea. Shopping in the conventional sense hasn't stopped but it has changed.

The main reason for going to a show is that you can get bargains. Most of the stuff I buy there is cheaper by as much as twenty percent than the recommended retail price. Just about all shows have a bring and buy. In times gone by I didn't spend much there but as the years have gone on I am pretty much certain that I will spend something there.

On Friday I was at a high street gaming shop in Southport. This is perhaps my favourite shop and runs a close second to a shop in Llandudno. These are all miles away from me. None of my local game shops, there are four that sell gaming stuff in my town, carry the stuff I really want. I do support my FLGS but find the big chain bookshop a better experience as the staff, well some of them, are way more knowledgeable about games than the staff in other shops. None of them are cheap though and all the stuff is cheaper online than in the shops. Most will have a sale but not as frequently as most shops. Not the GW shop, the last time a recall a sale wasn't in this millenia. Even in sales, the discounts are not all that good and I can probably find a better deal online.

Whilst I understand that there is a chain of supply and operating expenses, there has to be a way of making things cheaper. More than this, there has to be a way to give a bit of variety of stock. Three of my local shops sell essentially the same stuff. Products in high demand are what are on the shelves. All seem to sell ten times as many copies of Exploding Kittens as they do anything else. Profits are what keep the shops going but they also seem to be driving away the very customers they need by not meeting their needs.

Gaming shops are becoming more multipurpose with table space and fresh coffee available to keep the customers happy. On top of these multiple income streams there is often a greater variety of products. Gamers are usually on the geeky side of things so any products that appeal to geeks will probably appeal to gamers. At the moment they are game shops that sell coffee but coffee shops that sell games.

As I said earlier, much of what I got today was resin and a lot of what I buy is now plastic. I prefer metal figures but I, like most of us, am fairly price sensitive. Many of the figures were Reaper Bones which are direct copies of metal figures. These are about half to a third of the price of the metal miniatures. For figures that I use a lot I am probably going to stick with metal miniatures. For larger figures, that come out of a box once in a blue moon that would be prohibitively expensive in metal, Bones are ideal. Whilst not without their flaws, they are good enough.

One of the more noticeable things about Reaper and Reaper Bones miniatures is that there is a significant price difference. GW, an early adopter of plastic figures, produce a lot of figures that are not noticeably cheaper than anyone else's metal figures. Rather than bringing the cost down, plastic has increased profits for GW.

Come to think of it, it's not done too badly for some other companies. I like Malifaux figures but they are not cheap and they are in the region of GW prices and may be even more expensive. Production runs are probably smaller than GW so I guess they have to make their money and the do seem to be making good money.

So where am I going with all this? Well the market is changing. The means of production are maybe not in everyone's hands but the skills to operate them are within practically everyone's reach. 3D printing isn't there yet but give it a few years, maybe five and small scale 3D home printing is pretty much in everyone's hands with good end results. Home made figures are out there now. Get a camera and you can take a pictures of pretty much any figure and make a fair copy so bootlegging a mini digitally rather than taking a mould is also just around the corner. Colour 3D printing will be coming along eventually. Why paint your own when you can get someone to pro-paint or digitally render the perfect painted figure. For a long while now, even though I have a lot of RPG and gaming books, I have had more digital ones. Even board games can be printed out.

So what am I saying. The MP3 changed the music industry. It's been a decade since I purchased a CD and the buying of DVD/Blu Ray is becoming a rarity. Now, even though I have an impressive music library, I listen to most of my music through a digital streaming provider through the computer or assistant. I am not especially creative or skillful but I can make a lot of stuff that I once bought for myself and you are close to that to. Those in the game industry should be aware of that and look to the music industry to see how they handled the change. What I think is that prices are about to get better for the consumer as the means of production comes to us and gaming companies see how to manage that.

Friday, 1 December 2017

Painted Or Not

I read an article in one of the UK wargaming magazines this week that was in response to another article about the merits, or absence of them of playing with painted versus unpainted figures. It's an argument I have heard a lot over the years and it seems pretty devisive within the hobby.

Years ago I went to the Grimsby Wargaming club. They have a rule of no unpainted figures on the table. By painted they mean a minimum of three colours of paint. I guess that this is probably about the minimum requires to paint a naked figure. This strikes me as someone, somewhere has put some thought into it but it also strikes me that someone is trying to push their own agenda. It also strikes me that there are people out there that want to break the system, like making something out of 100% GW parts.
I guess making  a figure out of their sprue counts as 100% GW parts
What people tend to do is look for loopholes when you start producing rules for gamers rather than rules for games. If you put a three colour minimum, you have to then have a rule about historically accurate colours. This in itself is a bit of a minefield as there are a lot of gaps in actual knowledge and people tend to just make them up.

This is a blog mainly about painting figures so what I argue might seems a little counter intuitive. It is true that I like playing games with painted figures. It would love to play games using nothing but Kev Dallimore painted figures in all their exquisite glory. I live in the real world and I know that I don't have that kind of money.

Grey is grey. It is difficult to tell the differences between units if they are all the same single colour and this is the really  core of what painted figures mean to me. To me that is the long and short of it. I have a friend who used to describe bases of miniatures as pretty painted counters. Although I riled at it back then, I do kind of see the point he is trying to make. Wargaming rules frequently dispense with reality but that does not mean we dispense with rules.

Having played games for the best part of forty years now, I have to say I prefer painted figures. I recognise the nature of most gamers works against this. Most of us will not sit down and paint an army in a week or even a month. It can take months or even a year to get everything done. Most of us lack the ability to maintain the focus required for this. What I have found is that if you start painting an army, you want to play it. If you don't use it, you go on to the next thing that is catching your attention.

It stops people playing on the spur of the moment ideas. I have seen a few games that only use unpainted 1/72 plastic kit figures. It might not be pretty but it is gaming. They wre embracing a chance to play experimental games that didn't cost three hundred pounds to buy and six months to paint.

All of us use rules, that is part of what gaming is about. When it comes to wargaming most of us tinker with the rules. I am used to the free and easy side of gaming. I am never that sure that I like the idea that a club committee dictates how I play a game and the spirit that I play it in. So  if you are going to potentially tinker with rules if not throw them out and start with a different ruleset, then, all least when you are starting out, why base them. As games mature you would expect to have all the figures based and painted but making it a require stifles creativity and leaves each wargaming with a lead mounted of expensive dust collectors.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Importance Of Family - Obviously Not A Gaming Post

It is said that Christmas is just around the corner. At the moment it feels like it more round a blind alley. I have been to the local Christmas market today, all eight stalls of it, just to have a hot dog. Except that it's a bratwurst because we all know that German sausage brings out the true meaning of Christmas. Tell me if I need to up the irony for anybody at any point.

To be honest I haven't done much other than some computer gaming for a few days. My cousin has been up for some work and I have had him staying with me whilst he is up here. This is no bad thing. he is not a bad bloke and I am happy to help out.

But Christmas is coming. lest we all forget that. A time of good cheer, beer turkey and massive bills. I can't help but think it's about family. I have lost the two most important members of my family in the last years so it ha made me think more and more about the wider family. And Christmas is coming. It's a bad time of year for all, in a lot of ways but it does have it's good points. One of those is family. So, take my advice, as someone who is not going to get to see his mum and dad this year, family is important and if you have a chance to do something with them, make it happen whilst you can.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Late Night

It's been a long day and a day of hard work, by my standards at least. It's getting to the end of the month and I feel my work is never done. And the space orcs aren't done either. i wa kind of hoping to have them complete today. I have instead kind of strayed onto a new background project. That said, I am pretty damn close to finishing them. Sadly, I am no closer to deciding what to do next.

Sunday, 26 November 2017

End Of The Week & Ghouls

I have had a good week this week and The New Cruelty is happy. I have managed to achieve all of my goals from last week. I did get all seven of the ghouls I started done. Done, based, varnished and completely finished. As far as it goes I am never happy but I am happy enough with these.

On top of this I have been working on six space orcs. Well in truth I have been working on eleven of them but I have been concentrating on just six. The six are pretty much finished, with a few details needing finishing off. For this reason I am not counting them as complete. The remainder are not that far of being finished either.Another good day should finish these off. If memory serves I got that at a show at Leeds last December. So a year turn around time is not that bad, for me at least.

In terms of writing  have been working on the Viking Game again. I have finished one of the background myths about the Romans and another which is roughly based on the Volsung Saga which has already been liberally borrowed from. I have done relatively little on the later but I have done some thinking about it.

Next week does not have much of a plan yet. The space orcs will not take all week. They will not be my finest work (still tabletop standard but not much more) but they will do nicely for what I want. As ever the question is what's next? I've had a look at what is about on the desk. It is finishing things of rather than doing something new. The plan is to do another basing bash but this is not the immediate plan.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Rough Month On The Blogging/Life Front - Not A Gaming Post

It's getting to the end of the month and I have just realised that I have managed to miss posting on three days. I had planned to post every day this year and at the very least post once for every day of the month and that seems like a target I am unlikely to meet. Christmas is now on the horizon. Whilst I love the day and the spirit of Christmas, it's looking like a month of hell at the moment. This calls into doubt my ability to get enough stuff done to make the daily blogging thing anything worth reading. That said, it seems a shame to stop now, especially as I have gotten so close to my goal.
Whilst it really is a state of mind thing, there is a lot going on at the Jackson place at the moment and none of it is conducive to getting things done. This is starting to annoy me in fact a number of things are starting to annoy me. The worst of it is that I don't actually see anything changing that anytime soon. This is not all bad. It has been at the heart of the burst of effort early in the week however it is getting in the way now.

When I think back, I am starting to see a pattern. I am looking at what has gone on recently and it all seems to be related. This means that I need to start looking at the bigger picture to see what is going on.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Work In Progress

Today has proven to be another busy one. Whilst I seem to have been busy enough painting I haven't got that much done. My mind has jumped from one project to the next. The ghoul figures are pretty much done but I am now working on the bases. They looked pretty bare so I thought I needed to njazz them up. Although they were purchased for a fantasy game I also have a plan for them in a post apocalypse setting. This means that I want the bases to do for both settings. So I have done a few bricks to dress them up a bit. I also got the GW box of skulls a few weeks ago. I can see every project from now on having at least one skull on them. Given that ghouls feed on the dead, pr anything they can make dead, I figured adding a few skulls would fit this. If I can find a few more bits to add to make them look busy I will.
I have also done a bit of work on the space orcs for Titansgrave. The figures are a pain and their arms bend in such a way that they can cover up a lot of details making it awkward to paint them. the base coat is pretty much done now. Some inking and highlighting is still needed. With abit of luck I should finished the six orcs and the seven ghouls well before the end of the week and maybe even have moved on to doing some more.

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Speeding Ahead

Today has been a really busy day. My other half is ill again. the fourth bug in five weeks. I;ve had a plumber in changing the sink, laundry needing doing, do needing walking, not to mention a pile of work needing doing to be done. This morning I was expecting to crash during the day but have been too busy to sleep. This means that I have been up and about and productive. When I have had time I have used it for painting. In fact I have managed to do a lot of painting. My target for the week is almost complete.
As well as doing all of this I have done some work on a dozen or so other figures. Another project I put off is the orcs for Titansgrave. Then there is a stream of fantasy figures that are background projects. These are not really any closer to being finished but it makes me feel good that they are just a bit closer to being done.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Start Of The Week & Ghouls

After a bit of digging around I found some bits that I needed for one of the projects I was thinking about. Ten years ago I got some Heresy miniatures 28mm ghouls. I was pretty keen to get them done and glued them together. So for the last ten years they have been staring at me from the paint queue. Every now and again a head or limb has gone missing. I dropped them all on the floor once. There is also a ghoul king figure and a baby ghoul. I can't find the baby and there is a specific limb for the king which is around somewhere. There were primed very badly and It have had to prime all the new bits as well.
Anyway the plan is to go green. A fairly fetid green perhaps. There is some nice With a bit of luck this should be a simple paint job. If it goes my way I should be able to get all of them done this week and maybe move on to something else.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

End Of The Week, Black Elves & Next Week

I started the week with fifteen figures to paint with a plan to paint them in batches over the next three weeks. Short of a little bit of touching up, shields and some work on the bases, they are pretty much done. I guess anything done in a batch with similar uniforms is fairly quick and easy to do. This would make it not far off my most productive week of the year.
This leaves me with a bit of a quandary for next week. I haven't planned to need a new project. What is currently lighting my candle is two projects that I can't find parts for. This kind of leaves me with some space orcs for Titansgrave or some more The Walking Dead: AOW or more Blood Bowl. I am a little tired of painting zombies and I don't have all the stuff I need for a full Blood Bowl Team. So I guess it's Titansgrave.

Elsewhere I have working on the Viking Game again. I started with a few ideas. I like to create the myths for the background which are loosely based on real myths and relate to the background for my game. There has been a lot of progress but none are close to being finished.

Computer gaming wise I have been playing Conan again. The game inspires me to create a tabletop version. To be honest this would require a lot of figures and a lot of time. So sadly I am not going to get into that just now.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Black Elves Are Almost Done

I usually set myself a target of five figures a week. What I have done in the past is plan on doing ten in a week and essentially never finishing them. If I stick to five I tend to get them done. Occasionally I stick one or two more in but it tends to get to be too big of a job. Not this week however.
Still work in progress
Basically all that is left is to put in black in all the bits where there isn't any paint. I am hoping that I will get all this done by close of play tomorrow. The fallback plan is put all the work into the non-leader figures but that will still mean that I will get twelve or thirteen figures done.

They did come with shields but they were a little on the high fantasy side and not very dark age. As for finding a replacement, I haven't made up my mind. These are bad guys so I need a suitable bad guy shield. The standard dark age round shield doesn't fit. I was thinking maybe Norman or Roman. I am currently leaning to the Norman kite shield.

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Red Dwarf XII

There are not many series that keep going and going. In truth there was a very long gap in the middle but aside from a few soaps and documentary series, I can't think of any that have been going since 1988. I recall the first season being the biggest distraction from doing my A levels. If I watched it once, I watched it twenty times. So often in fact that, even now, I can still quote it word for word.
Back from the dead twice, at least, the show is going from strength to strength. I keep expecting to to fade but it keeps coming back stronger. The plots still find different twists on what is essentially the same themes. Pretty much the entire universe seems to want this crew to suffer but not nearly as much as the crew members want each other to suffer. Each episode sounds like a afternoon with my mates. The bitching and the infighting is just like the real world even if me and my mates manage to throw in some quotes from Red Dwarf.
Whilst this is the second batch of shows shot in 2016, the tone is similar but different. Different enough to make it look and feel like a new season. Nearly all seasons of the series cultivate a new look and whilst this season doesn't, the vibe still feels fresh. I get the feeling that this season has more than a tip of the hat to the problems we all face in the real world.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Black Elf Update

These figures are being painted for my ongoing Viking game. The inspiration for this is mainly the Norse sagas but there is a little bit of Skyrim and the odd little bit of high fantasy thrown in. At it's core is the sagas. Little is said in any of the material that still exists about elves but black elves are mention a little. As I said yesterday, the reference states their skin is as black and they are bad. Anything else you might think you know about elves comes from Tolkien and D&D. Especially the pointy ears.
As you can see, the colours are a ways off from being completed. I am sticking with mostly metallics and some black. Although there is a hint of of purple in the skin tone, there isn't going to be any purple in the clothing. Outside of the metallics and the odd splash of colour for gear, most of the paint will be black.

I have finished off the base coat for the last three figures. These will just get rotated into the queue. So far, having gotten the priming of the last figures few figures, I am happy with the progress. I have even found some time to clear up the bench which should make my week a lot easier.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


I did have a post in mind today but as I forgot to take any pictures I guess that will do another day.

So I am still looking for an overall project. I guess my main interest for years now has been painting figures for the Viking game. I guess I am about five hundred figures down that road now. There are now not that many figures in the queue. There are about another fifty in the queue and I guess I could buy figures almost indefinitely. I mean I only have a dozen berserkers and I don’t have enough Scandinavian lookings thieves. Not to mention nordic looking clerics and I can always use more civilians. For the most part even the monsters are done. Seriously though. I found a list a while back of potential figure purchases for this game. They would give me more of the same but I am not sure that they would actually add anything.

So that got me thinking. Maybe it is time to move to something a bit more mainstream fantasy. I have humans. I could probably manage at least one for every conceivable class and gender. I think I could probably manage that with dwarves, well maybe not female dwarves but there are a few potential figures that I might like, just for completeness. As for elves...well I am working on some at the moment and I already have a stack of wood elves.

In game terms that leaves me with hobbits and gnomes. I address the lack of gnomes a while back and there is a plan for these. As plans go, it would probably be overkill. As I recall in all my time playing RPGs there have only been two people who have played gnomes and they both played the gnomish version of Tim the Enchanter. I have a plan for about twenty figures which is way more than I could ever need. 

For a while I had been using some old Grenadier (now Mirliton) figures and just hid the feet. This was because I have numerous old  (very old) preslotta hobbits. Whilst I love these figures they are really small and I thought were a bit short even for 25mm. Nice as they are, I don't think I have ever used them.

Part of me hates to say it but I am looking back to GW for their LOTR hobbits. There are even a few other manufacturers out that that have figures in the right scale and size t match them. You don't see many female hobbits or figures that wouldn't be anything other that poorly equipped fighters or militia. No clerics or mages. 

So maybe this could be a direction for some point in the future. Throw in some conversions and paint up some hobbits and gnomes. No use for the Viking game but maybe I can find a wayto use them.

Monday, 13 November 2017

The Black Elves Are Coming

I have fifteen black elves to paint so I guess this is me for the rest of the month. Before you say anything there are only twelve of them here, the rest are in the priming queue.This is a good start on the process however.
Not high elves
The Viking myths describe them as having skin as black as pitch. This is a bit too monochrome apart from where it is shiny. It is a pretty good bet that this would look awful as a skin tone. Pure black probably isn't the way to go either. The current plan is something slightly off black with a hint of a light purple in it. The plan is to give them bright white hair. D&D cannot have gotten it all wrong.

A colour scheme has always been a bit of a problem for me. I was looking at something along the lines of the elves in Thr: The Dark World. Black and bronze seemed about right. Too much black was going to clash with the skin. I am still looking for something dark but I do want some colour in them. There appears to be some lizard like skin on the scabbards and some other pieces. This gives me a bit of an option to make them green. I also need to work out what the black elf king's colours are. This will give me a few ideas about what colours to use kind of like gang colours.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

End Of The Week - Goblins & Varag Done

It's been an odd week. It's been busy but I have taken time to find the time to paint. Whilst I had higher hopes of getting more done, I have managed to meet my expected target of five figures. There has also been a bit of finishing off of figures that should already have been finished. I have also found some time to play around with some greenstuff. Why, I'm not so sure and there was no real purpose to it. Perhaps this was part of the future plans that I have.
 The bench is not looking good. It needs a bit of work to get it sorted. The construction of the bench itself is not exactly conducive but it is what I have. There may be a bit of sorting out done before I get into the real work next week.
And speaking of the real work. To be honest I can never tell what the next week will hold. What I am thinking at the moment is that it is going to by the Black Elves after being inspired by Thor 3 yesterday.

The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

         Rupert Brooke

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Getting Closer To Finishing Off & Remembering

I should start this post with a brief remembrance of the Fallen. Today is the day we remember our fallen soldiers in the UK. More than a few relatives died during the Great War, and a few fewer died during the Second World War. Luckily for my family, most of them were too busy making chemical weapons or were too old to fight during the second world war. I have lost a few friends during our more recent, poorly chosen forays into international politics. They will not be forgotten.
Earlier on I was confident enough about finishing off my paint queue for the week that I allowed myself to become a bit distracted. This has meant more farting around with Greenstuff. Then I moved on to doing a bit of painting. Not my best work to be honest I am not unpleased with the situation. With a touch of luck I can finish off the five figures I have been concentrating on and then finish the Blood Bowl troll that has been hanging around for a while.

I've been to see Thor Rganarok today. Whilst I take a few exceptions with how they treat the myths, it wasn't a bad film. It did give me the feel of the myths and it was really quite funny. Well worth a watch. What ut did do for me was reminded me of the post I did about the Black Elves. Maybe next week should be the week I start painting this project. This was in part why I got the Greenstuff out so I could finish off the bases for the last three figures

So I am now just listening to Sailing by on Radio 4. It'd the piece of music they play every night just before the shipping forecast. For a long while this was part of my going to bed ritual. this was the point when the lights went out. I kind of miss this kind of regularity in my life. It certainly used to help me get to sleep.

Whilst I would have liked to get a bit more done, it has been a busy day today. I have high expectations of the day tomorrow.

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Actual Progress

I have managed to get some painting done and I am even where I wanted to be by this time of the week. Normally I aim to complete the painting of five figures per week. By this point in the week I hope to have the base layer down on all of them and maybe a bit of work done on the flesh as well. Despite trimming my plans, I am still hoping to finish four goblin players for the orc team, my Varag conversion and the all but finished troll which has been on the bench for months.

I have managed to get some highlighting done on the armour and inked in the uniform base colour. So by own, somewhat limited standard, I am ahead of the curve. Now I am looking at what next week is going to hold. What part of the paint queue is going to rise to the top I wonder. I still haven't got a real long term plan but I remain hopeful.

Really not feeling well. My other half has given me a bug that is far from pleasant. I have a busy couple of days ahead of me so I am hoping the big isn't going to interfere too much

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

The Mighty Zug - WIP

I couldn't bring myself to paint this morning but I did find the replacement 28mm head I was looking for. In all the incarnations of The Zug, he is bald. The only really bald spare head I could find was this one by Mad Robot Miniatures. I think the head is supposed to be Bruce Willis and if it is, it's a pretty good job. It's not quite the chav head I was looking for but it will do.
Still very much work in progress
I wanted to evoke Zug, so I looked at the key features across the history of the figure. Apart from being bald, he has a gold chain and medallion, no right shoulder pad and some spikes on the left pad. In the early ones, he has an impressive cod piece. Some of these are done, some will be done.

I wanted to give him some animation, so I cut one of the feet from the base and then chopped his leg up a big so it could be bent back. No matter how I placed it, the arm only really looks right in the position it is in. Forward or back looks wrong and down doesn't look good either. A bit of greenstuff in all the right places and he should be good to go.

Anyway, I think he will pass and he has all the criteria of the Zug so should be okay for tournament play.

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

A Start Has Been Made

Late on today I have found some time to do a bit of painting. I have more or less finished what I was doing last week. Abandoned gracefully might actually be a better term. The figures are good enough for tabletop.

Now I am really just at the blocking out stage for what I have started today. Definitely not ready for a close up and most of the colours still need a second coat of paint. There are looking like a few opportunities to keep the work going as well.
The immediate queue is four goblin "linemen", a troll, Varag Ghoul Chewer and Griff Oberwald. The troll on it's own would be a big ask but he is most done already. I am hopeful that I will get these finished. If need be, I might drop one or two of the figures. The troll was started months ago, it's been in the paint queue since the beginning of August and it's been on the bench since since February, so finishing it off would put a smile on my face,

Monday, 6 November 2017

Baby Steps

Not much done today but at least I have got somewhere.
It is beginning to feel like this week should be cancelled.

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Griff Oberwald Conversion And The End Of The Week

Whilst I am still feeling lousy, I have to be up and able. This means that I am moving a lot more sluggishly today. But I am still moving. That said, I have no intention of painting but sitting at my bench was more comfortable than sitting in the sofa.
So over time I have gradually put Griff together. Although I haven't put the eagle on the shoulder pad, I have a plan for that as well. It wasn't that difficult to put together. Given that it is a gaming piece, I felt that I should pin pretty everything together. When they end up knocked down, there is a lot of falling over, turning over and standing up to be done with them.

My time yesterday wasn't wasted. I now have an idea for a few more figures. If I can find the right heads, which are in the bits box somewhere, I have an idea how to do The Mighty Zug and Zara The Slayer, although this is looking like a project for another time.

Anyway, The New Cruelty is unhappy. I haven't managed to complete the five figures despite the ones I ended to complete were already half-finished. The five are pretty close so I am thinking I will get five done next week and finish these off as well.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

I've Got Nothing

Whilst I started out well this morning, the day got away from me. I was up early enough to start finishing off Varag with a bit of greenstuff but I've been ill since getting back from FabLab. So basically, I've done nothing but baby sit a fairly skittish dog hiding from fireworks. I am now guessing that all bets are off for this week.

I was hoping to start work on a few human star players, Zug and Griff for definite and maybe do a Zara the Slayer if I could find the right bits. In the end I did some research as I like to call it. Or surfing the net and farting around as most other people would call it. It has to be said that I a feeling a little bit more hopeful that I can do the job on converting these figures well enough.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Varag Ghoul Chewer Conversion

Yes I am getting distracted again.

Well kind of. Something I mentioned in a post has been making me think. When I first started playing Blood Bowl I was very, very short of money. So my first team was made out of what figures I had. I converted some spare undead figures and when I say convert, I stuck some shoulder pads on some figures.

Anyway, I was thinking about buying some more Blood Bowl figures. Specifically, I wanted to finish the teams I already have. As I have what I have on the workbench (Human and Orc) I was thinking what I could do. So I looked at what I have left and for the orcs, like most teams, if you buy two boxes of figures, you end up with a couple of extra catchers and maybe some others.

So I dragged out an orc thrower. Throwers are perhaps the lightest armoured figure in the team and Varag is perhaps the heaviest. So what to do. It isn't an obvious conversion. The pose of the figure really is that of a thrower. Even so I thought I could work with it. Chopping the arms off seemed the obvious choice. The left arm was particularly distinctive. Then I remembered about the space orcs/orks I did a while back. There were plenty of spare parts. So I took one of the arms from this and chopped it to size. Maybe it is a touch smaller but I can't really tell when I look at it. It looks a bit more like the figures is trying to push off another but not as much as I would like.
Then it's down to a head swap, chopping off some bits of cloth (especially the bits that would defy gravity), added some armour plates after a few more bits to allow the extra armour. Job, almost done. A bit of greenstuff, when I get round to it, and then it will be job done.
Looking at the actual Varag figure, it's nothing like it. What is more important is that it doesn't look like the thrower that it started out as.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

What To Say About Today...

It has been mostly busy or busy sleeping having had a terrible night's sleep. Still busy because my other half is still ill.

I spent a lot of time talking to my uncle learning about my family history. There is a bit of awe in there and there is a bit of an object lesson as well. We spent some time trying to figure out how my grandad got to Cairo from the western ront when he was demobbed after world war one and we spent even more time to figure out how he got back to the UK.

Whilst I enjoyed FabLab I didn't get much dofne. I am more or less out of materials and have gotten to the end of my rope waiting for staff to order some more materials. So I might have to go out and order some of my own in the morning.

The big news is that I actually picked up a paint brush. Not exactly a hold the front page moment but it was the first time I have managed to do so this week. Although I have "tinkered" a bit I have mostly kept on track. There are some details to be done, the inking has mostly been done. So I am pretty confident that I am now going to make my painting target for the week.

Despite all this my motivation is still absent without leave. I am focussed on clearing the bench rather than on a particular project, although Blood Bowl will do for now.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

I Said It Was Going To Be A Blood Bowl Year

What I have found in the past is that if you don't know what to do, do something that you have loved doing in the past. So that has to be Blood Bowl at the moment.

Today has been about clearing up the bench and not killing the dog who has been driving me up the wall. I wish dogs could speak human because I would really love to know what she wants.

After dithering about deciding what to paint, I have settled on the Blood Bowl stuff. There has been a load of it sat on the bench for months in various states of incompletion. I figured that I wanted to start the Skaven Team, one of the more enjoyable teams to play, as long as you don't get hit.Then I thought maybe I should finish what I have started first. Then I looked up how much all the Star Players and Big Guys I need for the four teams I already have and figured that this would amount to well over £200. This has got me thinking proxies. I can't really do proxies for the big guys but there are prospects for the Star Players.  But that is a story for another day.
Anyway, I have to finish off the Troll big guy for the orc team and start the four goblins. This isn't a huge job but maybe one for next week.
The human team is a little closer to complete. I still need the star players but I am thinking maybe I could do some conversions here as well.

All that said, it's Wednesday and I haven't picked up a brush yer. I am not too worried. I have a load of half done human catchers and an almost complete ogre so I should be able to catch up and get to five figures.