Followers

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Rats & Thieves

The rats that I started painting again last week  are now done, well mostly. Eight of the nine are now complete so I guess that counts as four figures done.

Now I have moved on to the thief miniatures that I have prepped over the last few days. I say thieves but most of them are actually mages they just look close enough to thieves. By that I mean no stupid mages hats or wands. These and a bunch of other figures had the flesh done yesterday. For some reason I have decided to change my usual flesh painting system so I am now worried that they are all going to look like game show hosts. So far I have made a good start of the base coat. With a bit of luck I should have the base coat completed before I go away on Saturday. With even more luck I might have gotten a bit further. Sorry if they are still looking a bit off but they will look better soon enough.

Whilst my head is on what I am going, my heart is telling me to go and work on the Dark Elves. What has been putting me off is the basing. I have almost run out of green stuff. However I came across the basing tutorial to make glowing desert bases. The video is here and this is my attempt.

In the video it mentions that he got the idea from a lava base. That has given me an idea. In my game there are some dark elves on Muspelheim, the land of the fire giants and some on Svartalfheim, the home of the black elves and dwarves. In Norse mythology there is little to say about each of the worlds but the seems to be pretty dark dusty worlds and possible have a connection to fire so lava is not too much of a stretch. This might be a project for tomorrow.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Where Did That Day Go?

A strange morning. For various reasons I can't really say much about it, but it was made more interesting by knowing Matthew. Then the day kicked into full gear and the next thing I know I am sitting down at the bench just before six. It's almost like being back in the real world again. GOT and dinner got in the way but I got back to the bench a few hours before bed.

I have managed to do a huge amount of stuff last week, by my standards at least. All that and I still didn't paint anything so I need to put that right. I was going to work on the Dark Elves but as I have put some effort into some of the bases, I wanted to finish them off but I am going to need more greenstuff. There seems little chance of that happening this week so I have moved onto something else.

In fact it has been several something elses. My lack of focus this week is not as bad as last week. I have painted about fifteen faces of minis. Last week I was going through what I have in storage and I found a few thieves and clerics and some stuff that will do as both. These character types are not well represented in the figures collection. Some of the thieves might actually be mages that have hoods so I guess they can do double duty. Over the years I have found myself short of thieves and I have always wanted a big group of them that will double as brigands. as well as the ones on the desks I have some GW LOTR rangers will do the job.











The game I run features three types of clerics. Druids, these that follow the old Norse goods and Christian ones. Druids are quite rare. I am talking about the historical type of druid not D&D druids which are common enough. Christian clerics are not all that common but there are enough friar/monk types, the odd senior member of the clergy and even a few nuns. Some of what I have on the bench will add to this number. I think they are from Midlam Miniatures. There are also a couple of figures that will do as Norse clerics which I think are Frostgrave miniatures. Sadly no more druids though. along the way I am thought about introducing Islamic but I think I am too worried about pissing someone off.











The last group is a kind of catch all. Mostly Frostgrave stuff. A couple of barbarians are here. They don't really fit my picture for the game I run but I like them so they are on the bench. At the back of my mind is the idea of a conan game which these would be perfect for. A couple of wanderer / traveller / mage types are also there, just to make up a round five.











So these are the projects of the next few the next month or so. That is of course assuming I don't get bored and mentally wander off. Judging by today there is an excellent chance that this might happen. I am working on a couple of swarm bases, a large earth elemental made out of foam, the glowing base, a dungeon section, sundry bits of terrain and the dark elves all as side projects.

The trouble is I am enjoying it all. Stuff that should be background projects are coming increasingly into the foreground.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

End Of The Week And Stuff

This week has been more about getting stuff done than painting. My neck is killing me so painting has not been much fun and it has been a bit easier to do the other things. So all basing, gluing, varnishing and priming. There has even been the putting stuff away in boxes that will only get opened once or twice a year. In my head I am using what could laughable be call the British summer to use sprays outside. Even then the house still smells of propellant. Over the weekend I had hoped to go to a show and maybe pick up some foam trays to store figures but this wasn't going to happen.

Now I have a few days of grace. There is a bit more finishing off to do. To be honest, there are now some many projects on the go it might take me till the end of the year to finish them. My fucos (that was a joke) is far from clear. I am on holiday in a week so I have a little time to catch up but I am happy doing the scut work which is usually my biggest downfall so I am making the most of it.

With the next week looking like I might catch up on what The New Cruelty dicates, what I have started already and maybe a few new figure should see me get to my target. Then I'm on holiday so I doubt anything will get done.

Anyway, here are some of the figures I have put into long term storage today. Ex Harlequin now Black Tree Designs I think. No they are not Skaven they, are Ver men.



Really not sure why I got round to painting these figures now. Some have been sat around half painted for over a decade. I ordered some more when I got some High (I mean Dark) Elves last year. They so don't fit into any game I am planning at the moment. Although, that said, I could see a conversion job to sci-fi post apocalypse quite easily.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

"Completer Finisher"

It's not quite the end of the week and the only time I have picked up a paintbrush is to daub bases with ten year old ink to give them a bit of texture. As I seem to be in the mood for finishing things off and starting new things it means my work bench is only getting busier again. I have almost got to the stage where I have a draw full of primed miniatures to keep me busy till the end of the year.

Whilst doing this I got distracted by green stuff, bits of basing mainly but there is a plan for a few more swarm bases. There is a reaper bones mini that needed some work doing on it to even it out. I have been talking about dark elves all week. This got me into prepping the miniatures.Then I wanted to base them. This ended up with some of them going onto green stuff treated bases. I decided to put some work into these. I'll show them when they are done but about half of them are now on bases. The mouldings are nice enough for twenty year old designs but they had, and I mean had, really big pointy ears. To get them to fit more with my view of what is going on I took a blade to them. What would D+D players think?

Then there was the basing. There is a lot of stuff floating around that needed a few details finishing them off on the bases. Some texturing, inking and highlighting mainly.

Varnishing next. I must have spray varnished fifty figures this week/ All this in the name of distraction.

Anyway, here are some of the (lessor) night goblins.


Going back a few years, this would have been a paint table saturday thing. I miss that. It would be nice to sort that out again.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Earth Elementals

Just a quick little post, Some work has just been finished off on the smaller one by Northstar. Orange is apparently the new black. The larger one is a reaper bones crystal golem I think This has a few more bits lined up for the base as there is acres on unused space there. I like this model a lot and might get another one and actually paint it as a crystal golem/elemental.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Of Elves And Dwarves

It is starting to look like I am not going to get my five figures done this week and if I do it will be only by the skin of my teeth. Instead I have been prepping figures. De-flashing, putting them on bases along with some sand and covering them with primer. The plan is to get a load of figures ready for the next month or so of painting. What I went looking for was some elves.

Everything I paint for fantasy games has a focus on the dark age, well almost everything. After yesterday's post I got to thinking about what Norse elves and dwarves look like. Dwarves I guess are easy. They are just stubby, heavily bearded northmen. In Norse mythology there are two types of elves, light and dark. There isn't too much to be said about them anywhere. Black elves might even be dwarves.

Elves of all kinds are rare. Other than light elves being "luminous" and black elves being "blacker than pitch" and them being a little bit god-like (at least associated with the Aesir), the sagas have little to say about them. You have to look for wider germanic mythology for any more details. This makes it clear that they are human-like. In this era it becomes clear that elves are just as likely to shag you (and have children with humans) or make you, or your animals, sick. The early middle age era gives them an association with alchemy.

So no blond hair, pointy ears, associations with bows and longswords and a haughty attitude. Damn you Tolkien. Basically I have nothing to go on. There good elves and bad elves. If there is any difference it's going to be down to a style of miniature and a paint job.

As part of what I am doing with the figures I am looking for another project. One thing I don't have is much on the way of elves. There are probably about twenty wood elves in the collection. These I guess will do well enough for light elves although I might get around to doing something about that.

The black elves (and I use the word black rather than dark because I don't want D+D cookie cutter elves, all that pale skin, white hair and spider riding) I was going to use are the old Harlequin Miniatures which are now owned by Black Tree. High elves are just another RPG construct born out of Tolkien but the first load I got cheap on eBay. But I was still struggling with a paint scheme. I looked up dark elf miniatures and most seem to have a like like a cross between angst ridden teen/goth (black and purple) with a little bit of bondage gear (corset and thigh length boots). Or all in all not very Norse.

As the search continued I found a picture of the dark elves from Thor: A Dark World. This was a really stupid idea but given the picture this might be a bit of a give away.. By the fourth or fifth picture it started to sound more like a good idea. Basically black with some bright metallic stuff going on (well I am not really sure what to call it, it's like a silver with a sepia wash). I was thinking about using black as the skin tone (black as pitch) but I thought that might not look so good when painted. If I painted by High Elves like this, it might just work.
This is what angst ridden teenagers should look like, in my head anyway

I might do a bit more thinking about the dwarves but I have loads of these already. Maybe that is tomorrow's topic.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Dog-ri-la Or How I Learned To Stopped Worrying and Love Basing

My other half is away for a few days and I was expecting to go out for the day but decided against it when the weather started to look a little bleak. Oh good said I, a day where the kids will be playing and I can get on with ever I want to do. Computer games and painting figures. Now that I have some varnish I thought I could get on with a bit of finishing off and painting.

I really wanted to do some painting. Whilst surfing I have seen a few people who keep a tally of what they paint for the year. Although I am keeping track of what I do, keeping a list of what you have done seems a little too like Bridget Jones' Diary for me. anyway, I think that The New Cruelty demands I paint.

So after a few hours of playing Civilization (having played it till 4a.m. the previous night) I thought it was time I did a bit of painting. Just as soon as I sat down the dog started going a bit mental. This has continued throughout the day. My other half chose a dog breed that is essentially a bit clingy as well as being big and energetic enough to need a lot of exercise. So that is how may day has ended up. My life has been all about creating dogtopia. I have thrown and kicked more tennis balls and dog toys in one day than I have in the last month.

Although painting has been off the cards, no chance of doing any fine detail work, I still wanted to do something. So I splashed a bit of ink on some basis and sprayed on some varnish. Then I spent a bit of time putting on some flock and scatter. And here we are. Whilst I am planning to go out tomorrow, I expect to get another coat of varnish on them and then I can put them away until needed.

As I was scanning the work bench I realised I didn't actually have that much prepped and ready to go. Four Human catchers and six linemen, four goblins and and ogre and that was about it. Pretty much all the figures on the bench are now painting. So as I couldn't paint maybe I could sort out some stuff for when the Blood Bowl stuff is done. So I worked out what I wanted to do next.

The storage boxes are full of stuff. If I started painting what is there it would probably take me a couple of year to finish them all off. So I selected what I thought I needed to do next. Then came the glue and the sand.

Despite my fairly chaotic approach to painting, there is a plan to what I do. According to the plan I need certain types of figures. Most of what I buy for fantasy games is fairly dark age in its appearance. The Viking Game is still my most worked on game and my most underplayed. Despite this I still want to paint figures.

For well over a decade my group gamed with about one hundred figures. This pretty much limited figures for player characters not to mention only have one set of monsters which were some late eighties GW night goblins. I swore to myself that this would not happen again. With my game I try to limit players to the human race and I have a few norse themed non human races, specifically dwarves, light elves (or they are wood elves) and dark elves (which are not GW type dark elves but actually high elves). What has put me off doing other races is the absence of figures for them. I have talked about this before here so I won't go on about it here. What I am trying to do though is to make sure I have a pool of suitable figures for player characters. Fighters are easy. As well as some mundane plastic Viking types and units of infantry, there is probably a couple of figure trays of figures suitable for figures. Some of these can do double duty as barbarians, rangers and the like. I have some female fighters but the plan was always to get some more, I just haven't got round to it. When the project was in full swing the only female fighters I could find were by Foundry and they were a bit too high fantasy if you know what I mean. The Dice Bag lady now has quite a few I could use.

Thanks to Frostgrave I now have over a tray of wizards and magic types. I could probably do with more female mages. By the time I have finished with the plan I dare say there will be two trays of mages. I am somewhat over achieving here.

Where I am underachieving is in bards, thieves and clerics. I have three bard figures in the sense of the skald or scop. There are a few other figures I have that are unpainted that have something like a mandolin and so don't really fit the plan. In the game there are christian type clerics, and those for druids and the norse gods. Whilst there are no thieves as such, there are plenty of shifty types. My painted collection of clerics consists of about five druids, eight christian types and maybe the odd figure that would pass as a norse man of the gods.

So in about two hundred words, here I am the next lot of figures on the desk is a bit of a mixed bag but there are a few more clerics and some thieves. There are few odds and sods. One is a potion carrier from the Frostgrave range which I think will do nicely as a norse cleric. There are a couple of Midlam Miniatures Clerics as well. The thieves are mostly Frostgrave again and some of these are actually meant to be magic users but with the right paint scheme they will fit the part. And a few other figures which are again all Frostgrave.

I realise that now has got this far. But if you have, it would be nice if you could leave a comment.


Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Best Roleplaying Experiences

I have spent a huge amount of my live either playing or plotting RPGs. My experience is that some games are most definitely better than others. Over time, I have decided that games that have a more streamlined ruleset with a simple mechanism works best. It has ended up with a list of five games, this is not an arbitrary figure, it is just happened that there were five of them.

Traveller was the third set of rules that I purchased. I have started with Tunnels and Troll and moved on to D+D (rather than AD+D) but I was always a sci-fi buff. Then I started to see Traveller in the games shops I went in and I quickly found this was something I wanted to get into. This was my go to game as a GM for almost all of my early gaming experiences and it still has a pull on me today. Over the  years it is the game I am probably most invested in, in terms of money and playing time. It has a random generation system for characters which is still, to my mind, one of the best systems ever and certainly the best around at the time. It favoured skills over stats which was hugely different to the other games at the time. The gaming mechanism, roll 2d6 and get above 7 (or 8 depending on the ref), subject to skill and situational modifiers. It was well supported and the game is still played in an essentially similar format today and has plenty of online support. Whilst I have run this game a lot, it was the campaign that Jim ran in his version of Traveller in a coherent campaign that has gone of for decades that was the best. My experiences of the newer versions of the game have not been good but this is largely down to the GM not the system.

Harn or Harnmaster is one of the few fantasy games on my list. The world is essentially very medieval. Elements of low fantasy are part of the everyday world (with magic and religion having detailed separate books) with higher fantasy elements beyond the fringes of society. Again it a random character generation system although you have some choices. The referee can give you a bit more freedom if they like. One of the best elements of the game is the combat system. You get choices of what you do in melee and ranged combat that you don't get in most games. This gives you more of a feel for being part of the action. The mechanism for skill checks is nice and simple but can give you a variety of outcomes. This can easily be played in any variety of genres. This is a game that is still well supported on line and there are more mids for this game than any other I can think of that function much like mods on modern computer games. I ran this for a short while but it was really the GMing of Mike that got me to love this game, he turned it into something that was a bit more high fantasy that was a truly memorable game.

Conspiracy X is another game I love. Born out of The X Files TV show, it is a much darker yet more real world tabletop version of the show. Players take on the roles (usually) of  real or game created government agencies who fight supernatural and alien threats to the earth. I have always run it as a conspiracy within a conspiracy with a lot of science and supernatural elements. Although I am working my way through the second edition books, I have only ever played the first edition so my experiences only reflect that. It's a points buy system which allows for a lot of skill and ability customisation. It does leave you with a feel for the character and what has turned them into what they are. The mechanisms just use d6 (which changes in the second edition) and a simple roll modified by skills, stats and situational mods is about all you need to know as a player. You start with a choice of profession that gives you a range of skills to chose from and the ability to pull strings in certain areas. From here you can buy skills, abilities and influence. Influence affects you about to pull strings and acquire a range of equipment from light revolvers to Aurora stealth planes constructed with alien technology. The players, as group get together to spend points to set up a base and can give it a range of facilities, support staff as well as vehicles and gear. One of the coolest systems in the game was the martial arts sections. Each form comes with a range of abilities (flip, disarm, break neck, punch, kick, haymaker, killing blow for example) with more skilled fighters having the ability to create attack combos of multiple moves. Sadly this has never been a popular game and has extremely limited online support. This was a game that I got off someone else but turned into into a few long running campaigns and a few shorter ones.

Savage Worlds is my current go to RPG game and has been for about five years now. It is a simple and streamlined system which as it says, cuts out the fat and creates a fast, furious and fun system. This still allows for interesting combat and competition between characters. Character creation is simple and this allows players to get into the game quickly. There is no character classes but you do get to pick a variety of edges and in some games you get to pick a race depending on the background. Skill checks are easy enough to do with a fairly simple mechanism using different types of dice. My reasons for choosing this as my go to is that they game is multi genre and is easy to convert to just about any background. There are so many fan created background that go along with numerous in house creations. Any system can be converted over relatively easily and any TV show, film or game can quickly be turned into a background. If it has a flaw then it is that the game is so simple. Unless you are a careful GM you can run the risk of monsters being a bit samey. This game is big enough to be heavily supported online and this has a lot of fan support. I have run a few campaigns in this system. My Viking Game uses this as does the Fallout Game. I have played in a huge number of different backgrounds with other GMs and loved pretty much all of them.

Cyberpunk 2020 is another blast from the past. It's a game that I played a lot during the nineties and even now I still think about using the system. Born out of William Gibson's books and other authors of the time. It predicts a time when man and machine are completely integrated and cybernetics , if not an everyday part of life is common amongst the military and the underworld. Hacking computers whilst a human brain is directly meshed within the network is relatively commonplace. Whilst style is at the forefront of what many characters become there is a fair amount of substance to character generation. There are a range of character classes, each with their own unique abilities. There is a random element to character generation but you do get to pick and chose some elements. Although clearly based in America, there are supplements that cross the globe and even into near earth orbit and Mars. Skill checks and combat operate through a fairly simple system but there is enough meat on the bones to make it interesting. This is an older system but does not really feel that out of date although many of the issues around technology seem to have been more than a bit optimistic. Although it was fairly big at the time it has not stood the test of time despite Shadowrun (essentially the same sort of game but with orcs, elves dwarves etc) coming back for edition after edition and initially at least, not being as good a system. Whilst there is some online support for the game and a new edition, it is perhaps not as well supported as some of the other games. Cyberpunk was another one of Mike's games and a twisted turbulent campaign it was lasting several years.


If you have any suggestions (that are not D+D because I just won't believe you :)) please tell me about them.

Monday, 14 August 2017

End Of The Week, Maybe A Little Late

As the end of the week has been and gone, I thought I'd better show you what I had been up to. The New Cruelty demands five figures per week and  that is what I managed. With a bit of effort I even managed a bit more than the five.

The main aim for the week was to finish some more Human Blood Bowl team players. When the week started, things were going well but I had a little injury time so things slowed up for a few days. I finished them off and gave the bases a couple of coats at the same time as painting the bases for the precious Human Team players and the seven Orc Linemen from the week before.









There have been a few figures on the workbench for months. Some rats and a frost wraith for Frostgrave and a spirit of some kind from reaper. The rats have taken a few steps closer to being finished. The frost wraith is pretty much done.
The spirit was a bit of an experiment. This is a figure I have had for probably fifteen years. It was an impulse buy and it has never really gripped me. This has allowed me to experiment with it a little. Still a bit of work to do on this one.






My shopping trip yesterday saw me get some Blood Bowl Goblins. Whilst I have no immediate urge for a goblin team, some goblins are needed to cover all the bases on the Orc Team. I think I might do a Goblin team and an Underworld team at some point so these will do for that. Some special players and a few more goblins would be nice to finish that lot off.  So four Goblins have been glued up and based. Just need a Varag and the team will be all but complete.




My mind is turning to what is going to get done next. My mind is a little all over the place at the moment so I am not really seeing a next step. Whilst I am enjoying the Blood Bowl thing, the Goblins, the Human Catchers and the Ogre are not really doing it for me. An old fave of mine was a RPG called Conspiracy X, my mind is being drawn towards this. Some more fantasy stuff that would fit in the Viking game would be a possibility. The Frostgrave stuff I have done recently has been done because it was there, not because I have any real urge to paint. I was having a fling at Malifaux on eBay during the week. There are some figures I might tart up a bit. Still I don't have a clear direction for next week.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Games Workshop Sued And Matters Arising. Is It Really Fair?

Please go and look at this first...

This at least should give you some sense of perspective. In some ways it is funny. We all know that games workshop has been fleecing us for years. GW like a lot of companies that make miniatures, have gone over to making plastic miniatures rather than white metal (which is expensive) and resin (which is more hard work and not quite as good).  Most of us, I am sure, are pretty sure that money and not quality is at the heart of the process.

In my life I do prefer absolutes but when I look at this I am not sure if I am here to praise GW (faint praise is not all that damning right?) or to bury it (along with a myriad of other manufacturers).

One of the most shocking elements that has been revealed is that a model that sold for $20 actually costs $0.03 to produce. To be fair, I am pretty sure that this figure is not the actual cost of getting a product to market. Anyone who wears trainers already knows that most of them are made in a sweatshop in so poor third world country where the staff get paid $0.30 an hour and the trainers cost about a dollar and retail to close to $200 (sorry for the American money values but that is what has been quoted). When I used to play Flames of War I was disappointed that they went to using plastic but I was shocked when I found out that their production run was being shifted from New Zealand to Malaysia (I think). Malifaux also transitioned from metal to plastic.

We all know there has been considerable use of, let's call it the ideas of others rather than infringement of intellectual property. They are not the only company to do that but they are perhaps the most successful at it. Blood Bowl is my current fave miniatures game, to paint figures for at least. Setting aside the fact that some of the races are almost certainly the IP of others (orcs are certainly a creation of Tolkein) there was Monsters of the Midway (which I think the IP would now belong to TSR) which was an American Football based fantasy game (which also used IP races). Several years ago I recall a number of Blood Bowl based web sites being bullied by them. Likewise, people using the term Space Marine were also being pressured.
Is this a fair image? I am not so sure.
The guy behind it seemed to also be referring to Genestealers as infringing the copyright of Giger and Scott. Sure it is a big alien killing machine but there have been aliens before. Pretty much every has elements derived from elsewhere but I think that is something that detracts from the argument not strengthens it. There are a number of companies that use the look of characters from movies, TV and even games. TV has stolen things as well and computer games do it all the while.

This is just a list off the top of my head of copyrighted material that has come close to being infringed.

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, 2300AD, Alien, Aliens, An American Werewolf In London, Back To The Future, Battlestar Galactica, Battletech, Big Trouble In Little China, Blade, Cona, Dawn Of The Dead, Die Hard, Doctor Who, Dracula, Escape from New York, Fallout (has been ripped off many times but it ripped off multiple sources itself), Firefly, Flash Gordon, Frankenstein, Friday the 13th, Ghostbusters, Hitch Hikers's Guide To the Galaxy, Hot Fuzz, Ice Station Zebra (yes it is an old fim, and not a good one), Indiana Jones, Kick Ass,  IT, James Bond, Planet Of The Apes, Land Of The Dead, Left 4 Dead, Leon, Mad Max, Miami Vice, Monty Python, Night Of The Living Dead, Predator, Punisher, Rambo, Resident Evil, Roadside Picnic (that's Stalker), Scooby Doo, Scrubs, Sharpe, Shaun Of The Dead, Sinbad, Sin City, Sons Of Anarchy, Star Gate, Star Trek, Starship Troopers, Star Wars, Superman, Taxi Driver, Terminator, The Big Bang Theory, The Blues Brothers, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Fly, The Good The Bad And The Ugly, The Invisible Man, The League Of extraordinary Gentlemen, The Magnificent Seven, The Maltese Falcon, The Rocketeer, The Thing (film and comic book character), The Three Musketeers, The Walking Dead, The Ear Of The Worlds, The Silence of The Lambs, The Wizard of Oz, The Woldman, Tomb Raider, Traveller, Vikings, Warhammer 40k, X-Com, Zombieland and not to mention just about everything by HP Lovecraft. I could go on. And on. And on.

Companies do it because it is what we, the consumer, want. They are rarely perfect copies. That would be wrong. What they do is make something close enough to evoke the memories which is good enough for most of us.

American law is different to British law, I know that is kind of an obvious statement. But selling things is down to the profit motive. If you want to make money off something you buy it wholesale, if it comes with a caveat, well you have a contract. Compensation culture seems to be taking over again.

Third party retailers are almost always willing to undercut GW. I rarely buy anything other than paint from the stores directly because of this. So they defend themselves. They make a lot of money out of it but that is the nature of the free market and even with all that money, they don't always seem to be doing that well.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Britcon

Today I have been to Britcon. It's a smaller show with a definite emphasis on competition gaming. There are a few traders there and I was after a few things. The main reason for going was friends. Whilst it is a smaller show it does seem to have a good vibe. It's geared up for residential and these kind of events have a little more intensity coupled with some more friendly players. You get to know people.There were going to be a couple of people there, one was in a competition and the other was a volunteer on the bring and buy.

So I got a few things, varnish being the main one. Then I went on a trip the game shops in the city centre.  Did a bit of shopping here and there. Just a whistle stop tour really but as I don't get there very often it was a nice break.

Goodies wise, my main aim was spray varnish which I managed to get a couple of cans of at a good price. It was a day where I was after bits and most were not to be found. One of things I did find was some Army Painter inks. For a while now I have not been liking the sepia colour that GW do. The old one was much better so I thought the Army Painter might be okay. As I walked away with three different shades of brown ink at least I will have some variety. Whilst I nearly got some old Blood Bowl stuff I did walk away with a box of goblins because they were cheap. There a few other odds and sods but not much.

A few people were talking about Massive Darkness. Lots of figures for very little money etc. Somewhere along the line I have heard about it but I have not really had much interested. So I have come back  and had a look myself. Having listened to what what of the people I was chatting to was saying, there seem to be a lot of tentacles. Not sure that I can completely back that up but there are a lot of silly hats and implausible weapons. Like the latest Spiderman movie, I am sure that I haven't missed out on much.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Rats

Rats. Northstar rats in particular. Nice looking miniatures on line but lots of flash, so much so I still don't think I got it all and I will have to hide some of the undersides when I do the bases. These were brought because I don't have any medium sized rats I have plenty of smaller rats (which are ral Partha) which are about accurate size of slightly bigger and even the odd humanoid rat. I figure as well as a fantasy game they would do for Fallout or other post apocalyptic genres (anything that has use across multiple games is good).
Over time I have been a big devotee of the Frostgrave range. Whilst I don't own the complete range I am not that far off it. Here I went as far as buying three packs of figures because I liked the look of them so much. In hindsight, whilst the figures are nice, the castings are pretty poor which is unexpected as most of the Frostgrave stuff has been excellent.

They are still work in progress (and have been sat on the bench half painted for months) so no close up shots yet. As these get finished off. I would hope that they will improve. These are nice looking sculpts and fit my purposes perfectly although this may take a while. Rat wise I need a rat swarm and some larger ones still and all my rat needs should be taken care of.

I have had some more second hand malifaux stuff  through the post today. It wa cheap so I guess I can't complain but it did arrive a bit battered. Maybe I will move on to doing a bit more of that as time goes by.

P.S. Not sure what happened when I first went to post this but this morning I found the page full full of gibberish. A few unkind souls might say that there is nothing new there then. When I came back into the room the cat was sat next to the computer so I am guessing that might have something to do with it.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Good Service At Games Workshop, Warrington

To be honest I am not Games Workshop's biggest fan. On the pages of this Blog you will see that the only GW game I play is Blood Bowl and over the years this has been a small part of my actual game time. Whilst they have been kind enough to reboot it they are not exactly supporting it in the stores. There are a number of GW products I use it is only the paints that I really like.

Over time I have found their staff so pushy and obsequious as to be off putting even going in their stores. None of them seem interested in what you what but what you can buy. as a gamer with a broad range of interests, I find they lack an understanding of what gamers outside their immediate sphere of interest is and therefore can't help me with much of anything. The bottom line being that when I do go into one of their shops the plan is more like a snatch and grab rather than a shopping trip. All this has the upshot that I would sooner buy stuff from third party vendors or second hand on eBay.

The regular staff member left a little while back and was replaced by Tommy. He actually made me want to buy things and the first member of staff there that I have actually engaged in conversation with in two decades. He is brilliant with the customers, even the ones that would annoy some members of staff. Whilst I am personally not that interested in a lot of what he is selling, he clearly knows he stuff about their product.

Sadly Tommy is not even a permanent member of staff. He sounds like he is some sort of temp. If Games Workshop want some more of my money, they should give Tommy a permanent job.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Human Team Ogre

Now that I am nearing finishing enough players for the Human Blood Bowl Team, I thought it was time I should have a look at this figure now. What I am really doing is avoiding finishing the Orc Troll and dry brushing the Human Blitzers (not to mention the bad back I now have) that are already in the queue.

I hate doing bigger figures and they never really seem to get finished. They seem to take me a dog's age to complete as I seem to lose the will part of the way through. This figure is one of the few Big Guys in the game that I am likely to play so I figured I should get him done.
Anyway back to the Ogre. He is a nice brutish figure and really conveys what I think of as an ogre. The model is reasonably easy to put together. The right arm is a bit fiddly to get in properly but it did get there in the end. I had a few problems seating the number plate on the front as well. However, when it does slide together it makes an awesome looking figure. It was almost good enough to get me to buy some GW ogres for my fantasy RPG games as I don't actually have any.
For now at least, I have chosen not to place the head on at the moment. The plan is to keep it separate until it has been painted so I can add some details. It is currently on the workbench and is in the next batch of figures to get done.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Chaos Team Minotaur

I am not a fan of chaos in the main. Except when it comes to my workbench, home life and Blood Bowl teams. It seems a little back asswards to be releasing the Star Players first. As I already have a metal minotaur it probably isn't at the top of my shopping list especially as the next few teams I have in mind don't need one. That said, this one looks pretty good.

There are pictures of tokens for some of the chaos teams as well and a 3D image of an elf player. Things may be progressing. There hasn't been much news on the Blood Bowl Front of late so this at least shows that the work is continuing.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Imagine Magazine

Despite doing some painting today, I haven't really made any headway with what is on the table. What I have been doing is thinking about the past instead. Nothing too dark I assure you. I've spoken to a few people about the Tunnels and Trolls since I blogged about it the other do. This has kind of taken me back to better days

If there was a golden age of roleplaying, for me at least, it was the mid 1980s. It was still fairly free and easy and even the big games companies seemed to be in it for the love of the hobby. White Dwarf lead the way in the UK and it was Games Workshop's call to arms even then. TSR wanted in on the act and in the UK they launched Imagine Magazine (and I'm talking about this Imagine Magazine).

I found it around issue no 12 or 13 and it was a revelation. The range of games covered was about the same, but it did feature D+D a lot which was fine for me at the time. Reviews were a bigger part of what was in the magazine than WD. Like it's counterpart, it looked wider than it's niches to books and computer games. A few editions in they started doing a campaign background called Pelinore. This was the big inspiration for many of game games at the time and even now. Even to this day when I do floorplans, I do them like the ones for Pelinore. Many issues had a theme which greatly illuminated the games that I was playing at the time. It was like its rival but it was more about how to play rather than scenario after scenario.

It's not that it didn't have a scenarios. The centre of the magazine was a great eight page scenario every time. A few of these have become campaigns or the germ of a campaign. One of my favourites, Round The Bend, which I ran a few times, was a group of half orcs shrunk to an inch tall by an angry wizard just so they could clean out the pipework under his sink and find a missing magic item.

Sadly it all came to an end. Big business got in the way. TSR in america decided they didn't want anything competing with their magazines which were not to my taste. After thirty issues it was gone. To me it sent the benchmark for magazines that were to come after it. It also marked the start of the end for the free and easy days or roleplaying, much like the internet today. It wasn't much later that White Dwarf became in the in-house publicity manual it is today. Things changed around this time and not for the better. This was not a facet of the gaming industry it was more that the times were a changing.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Marking Time By What's On The Workbench

I haven't done much painting for a few days and this morning I was feeling the absence. Although I have had plenty to do, I have found time to do some painting. The New Cruelty dictates that I paint five figures per week. This means finish the paint job, nothing else. Things like bases, decals and various bits of set dressing doesn't count. By this standard, I have finished eight figures this week. As a bonus I have gotten close to finishing with quite a few more.
I showed six Blood Bowl Human Team linemen earlier in the week. These are here. As I thought I might get a couple of quick wins, I started and finished a couple of earth elementals. I will take a some better pictures of these and post them next week.

I have gotten close to finishing another seven Blood Bowl Players. One Troll for the Orc Team, four Human Blitzers and two Human Throwers. There are a couple of  Frostgrave miniatures that are pretty close to being done.

When I was doing the eyes of the larger of the two elementals (one Reaper one Northstar) I spilt a load of blue paint. This sent me off on a huge side track to use the paint. There have been some chemical barrels lying around, primed but unpainted, for a while. They have now been painted and washed and a little bit of work will see them done. A lot was used on the coins used as Blood Bowl re-roll counters. I have eight from the Humans and Orcs and some more from the Dwarf and Skaven teams.  I did  bit of work on the hands used as markers and the ones for the Orc team are fairly close to being done.

Now all I need is some spray varnish.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Another Milestone

For just over eight months I have been going at the blog pretty much every day. For the most part it has been fun although it has been hard work on a few days. Today it has not been so bad. I just posted about a game that is very dear to my heart and it brought back a lot of positive memories. On a day to day basis, it keeps me focussed on what I am doing and gives me some sort of purpose.

Just after midnight here, I hit 400,000 hits. This helps. It reminds me that I am not talking to myself, sadly that doesn't mean I'm not mad.

Tunnel & Trolls

My best mate called me up out of the blue the other day and we were talking about all kinds of stuff. Somehow Tunnels & Trolls came up in the conversation and he was telling me about how it was out in print again. Not only that but there were plans for a SF version as well. This would put it at the eighth or ninth edition I think.
This is not a picture of my copy, it's much more beat up
Way back when, sometime around 1983 or 1984 I think, I was reading a wargaming magazine. In it was an advert for a for a shop called Games Of Liverpool, now sadly long since gone. I must have spent hours pouring over this advert (and the one for Esdevium) as it had all sorts of wonderful things in it, but what to buy? I eventually settled on Tunnels & Trolls. Having no real idea what it was about did not disturb me. It disturbed my dad who was working in Liverpool at the time and had to go and buy it for me.

For the next few weeks my head was not out of the books I got, in particular it was the solo adventure Sword For Hire that I read through over and over. The book went everywhere with me. Today I found the copy I had and the cellotape that just holds it together has seen better days, much like the book it is still just holding together. The rulebook fared better despite losing the cover on its binding before the end of 1986. I must have spent days going through the solo adventure books and I didn't have that many of them at the time.

Today I am still playing RPGs. Maybe not as much as I would like but I would still say that this is a major part of my life. Much of my figure painting is geared towards table RPG. Whilst T&T is not my "go to" any more it has certainly had a big effect on the way I play games.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Blood Bowl Human Blitzers And Throwers

Just having a lunch break so I thought I would take a moment to show what I have done so far today. Four blitzers and two throwers. Although I haven't quite finished the linemen there is just a few bits of detailing, varnishing and transfers to be done and I might as well do all the figures together.
Early stage WIP
I'll have a few figures left over and as I have said before some might end up in a Nurgle Team. As there are a few Star Players out there that don't seem like they are coming out soon I might have to do something about it. I am thinking Helmut Wulf and Zara the Slayer. These could be conversions of some of the figure I already have. I could certainly see me chopping off the ball hand of one of the spare throwers and replacing it with and with a chainsaw/chainsword. Zara might need a little padding in the right places and some sculpted hair coming out the back of her helmet.

Although they are still at a very early stage they should progress quite quickly. Assuming I don't get distracted by the Skaven team has arrived. For the cost of one box set I have managed to get five sprues of Skaven of eBay. This gives me the players for a full Skaven team and all the players for the Underworld team when I get round to that.

And speaking of conversions. That leaves me with a few extras that I cannot use (a thrower and a blitzer) but I can see conversions to some of the star layers that aren't out yet, such as Hakflem Scuttlespike, Fezglitch (I have a Black Tree Figure that might do for this) and Skitter Stab Stab (who should be easy).

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Human Linemen

For a long while I have had a thing about Blood Bowl. It is probably thirty years since I played any other GW wargame (although I have played some of the old board games). With the Orc Team more or less finished, it's time to give them some opposition. The plan is to go through the teams in order or purchase. The birthday list has a few purchases with some Star Players so I will cross my fingers and see what happens. There is no way that I would spend all the money that the death roller would cost on myself and the Skaven have a lot of Star players and extras now.
Human Linemen - They will all be injured soon
The human team is more or less ready, I have a few more Star Players to buy but hopefully they should arrive before I have finished the rest of the players. Whilst I am hoping for a few games out of them, I don't see me playing them competitively. The Orcs, Dwarves, Skaven, Undead and Lizardmen are more my type of thing.

These are the first of twelve linemen I have. My current expectations is to finish them all for this team although I am starting to think in terms of doing a Nurgle or even Norse Team some of them might not get that far that instead.  This would still leave me with nineteen players. A few more Linemen for the Nurgle team might not go amiss if I can get them.

I figured that if I do the boring players first, things would get done quicker. After this it's all four blitzers and a couple of throwers. Then it's the catchers and an Ogre. When the special players arrive I will probably paint them individually and put a bit more effort in.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Gratuitous Work In Progress Shots

What chances I have had today I have spent painting. This should have been a good day for painting as my other half is out of the house for a few days. Trouble is the dog is missing her and has spent a lot of time going mental.

My first six Blood Bowl Human linemen are up. Progress on these has been quick but I have chosen a fairly simple colour scheme (Widnes Vikings' away strip). Compared to the Orc Team, these should be a doddle. Anyway, I have no pictures yet so I will do a bit more work and get some shots up.

The Troll
There is also the Orc Team Troll. This has taken a bit of a back seat for some reason. For a long time I have found large minis a little off putting as projects go (and horses to but I have got better at painting them). Whilst I haven't done much, I have taken the opportunity of having spare paint on my palette to add some details. This makes it officially a background project. The figure is hugely animated and will look really good when finished. My only gripe is that there is a lot of areas on the model that are hard to get to. When he is done he should make a nice addition to the team.

Speaking of background projects, I have three fantasy figures on the go. These are all Frostgrave creatures, a beastcrafter, a golem and an apprentice. These have been on the bench for the best part of a year so I figured that it was time that I at least made an effort with them.
Frostgrave "finest"
I guess the reason why they are taking so long to get done is that they don't current fill any needs, they are just things I like the idea of painting them. So the repeatedly fall to the back of the queue.

Going Mainstream?

I've just read this article that got flagged up on a google + group about Board Games. Apparently board games, especially the kind I like to play (i.e. not monopoly) are not getting increasingly popular. This may explain why I struggle to find so many of them in the shops. I do like playing board games and I can even go and play them in a pub in town.

But this begs the question, if board games are getting more popular, am I getting more mainstream?

For most of my life I have been a gamer of one sort or another, a sci-fi fan, a Star Wars fanatic and just a bit too nerdy for people to take me seriously. Over the course of the last decade though things have started to change. The sort of shops that I frequent (comic books, games, miniatures, models, and the like) used to be full of geeky, bespectacled nerds. Whilst there are still a lot of us about (I lost my beard) they are no longer the only group. There are even girls and more normal people to be found here.

Possibly it's games like Pokemon that have brought more people into the fold in more recent years at least although MTG has obviously had a big effect, The fact that games are more common on the high street has also helped. In my town there is a Games Workshop, Waterstones, my FLGS Netherworld and even Graigner Games (which traditionally sells console games). It's a fairly big town but none of these shops depend on their entire living on games (other than GW). This is odd because most of the towns of a similar size do have a shop that sells a much wider range of games than is available here.

Most of the stuff I play is still pretty much for geeks. If I was on a date, it would not be the sort of stuff I would lead with, It would be a fifth date conversation at least. Nor is it the kind of thing I would generally let work know about. I don't use my real name on here for fear of potential employers googling me. Many of my friends are a lot more open about their gaming activities but then they work in computers and I have spent most of my working life in Local Authorities. Whilst it's not the most mainstream of hobbies it is not thought of as badly as it once was. It's still not so mainstream. So I guess that whilst the world of geekdom is going more mainstream, I am not.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Gnolls Again

Although I am itching to get on with the Human Blood Bowl Team I am a little intimidated by the project. There is a lot of work in there and there is a few more figures to buy as well. Whilst I don't think that is going to stop me starting, it is going to give me the excuse to finish off what I already started.
Work in progress but nearly done
The gnolls were the last project I started before the laser cutting thing. So they have been sat there gathering dust for a while. This is one project I have been putting off because despite how the figures looked online, what I have been getting from the Frostgrave range has been a little below par. There was a lot of quite chunky flash and this seemed to my mind to be making them hard to paint.

Now that I have been painting them again, this seems a little less of a problem. The figures are looking pretty good. These still have a bit of work to do but it is mostly detailing and some work on the base.

My main problem is that the Frostgrave stuff hits my particular gaming niche at least as far at tabletop RPG goes. Whilst these are more D+D, a game I don't really play, they do represent a race I don't have any figures for. As well as their more traditional use, I keep thinking they would do as an enemy race if I ever do get Titansgrave off the ground.

Going back to The New Cruelty, I am pretty much on target to get double the required number of figures