Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Still Searching For A New Direction

I have had a bit of time today to spend on gaming. This is despite the dog going mental (trick or treaters and fireworks mainly to blame) and my other half being ill.
The usual chaos
The problem is not a mojo one but one of focus. I have done some priming, I've glued some stuff together and textured a load of bases. The idea at the moment is to get as much primed as I can before the weather gets much colder in order to prevent the risks posed by cold primer. Really it's just an excuse for not doing anything in particular.

When I get stuck I usually refer back to the annual plan. X-Com, Frostgrave, the Viking Game, Titansgrave and Blood Bowl were my main areas of interest at the beginning of the year. My off workbench work is leading me towards a post-apocalypse games.

Whilst I really liked the early Frostgrave stuff and I have invested heavily in it, I have painted as much as I am likely to for a while. It does have the advanatage that they double up with the stuff for the Viking game and who knows, maybe one day I will actually play a game of it. It is actually getting harder and harder to find fantasy stuff that I haven't got.

I like the idea of Titansgrave but this is a big project. Unlike a fantasy game, I don't have too many figures to start off with. I already have some Saurians done but need more. I have some unpainted orcs but need more. I have plenty of human figures that would do at a pinch but really I need more. To have a good range of character figures requires would require 50-100 figures. Double that to do what I need for NPCs and double that again to cover monsters and bad guys.

Fallout is always a possibility but to get where I want to be with that would be a big ask. It was easy in 15mm but the number of figure I would need to do this in 28mm, well it's large. Probably in the region of 200 figures plus monsters. Knowing the scope of what I did for 15mm, double this figure is probably where I would want to be. My Underground game would be a lot easier and I could probably get away with 100 figures as a good start.

A while back I wa all psyched up for doing a weird war two game. I have over 150 figures for this and they are gathering dust Similarly, I have a start, but only a start, for a super hero game. There is a enough lead here to make a start but it isn't really lighting my fire.

So when I get down to it, the real issue is about what am I actually playing. well the answer is nothing. Whilst I am not a complete shut-in, I don't get out much any more. I'm not gaming in any meaningful way at the moment and I guess this is the problem. There is just no reason to it.

Anyway, back to the prep work.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Where Did That Day Go?

I had a plan for today. I swear I did. Well I think I did. Maybe. Or did I?

My other half has been ill all day and seems to be getting worse. I think this is the second day of the hangover. Then I have ended up taking a family member to A+E. There is three hours I'll never get back. On top of this, the dog is going berserk because of the fireworks and that is going to mean another sleepless night for me (sixth in a row, damned dog).
I went through some figures looking for the next project and found my Skaven team. There are the equivalent of two boxed sets in the cupboard, I was going to get a few extra figures from Forgeworld (which I haven't done yet) and paint them up as a set. I only need a couple of blitzers and throwers and four gutter runners. The extra figure box has a thrower, blitzer and a couple of gutter runners so I already have too many figures. The main reason for two boxes is the extra linemen. I am really not sure why I dragged these out, it just seemed a good idea at the time.
Whilst I was looking for something to paint I found these ork figures. i was going to use them for Titansgrave which I still think I will get round to doing.When I finished them I couldn't find the bases so they ended up in storage. Maybe I will get back to these now.

I'm not sure what I am doing this week even now. These are going to get primed along with anything else I can find to do tomorrow. Even if all I do is prep and primed this week, the time won't be lost and I am still ahead of the five figures a week curve.Really what I should be doing is the dark elves that have been on the bench for months now.

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Zomtober Week 5

It's the end of Zomtober, I'm watching Stranger things and it's almost Halloween as well. Spooky. Even with the extra hour of the clocks going back, today has been a struggle but I have managed to get a lot more stuff done than I was expecting. Despite the dog, and kids and dinner and a hung over other half. There are still some details to do and the bases need finishing but I am a lot closer than expected.
I have had these three under wraps since the beginning of the month. This is Lee, Clementine and the feature zombie (my favourite zombie in the range). Lee and Clementine feature in the Telltale games series games which is pretty much the closest the being in the show.
This is Carol and Sophia (in pre-zombified state). I like these figures because they have the vibe of scared people just after the apocalypse. The Carol figure confuses me. Maybe it's something to do with the TV show. I want to trim the knife off but I am worried about losing some value if I get rid of it.
Andrea and Amy are another couple of good figures. Andrea just looks like a plain clothes police officer whilst Amy does a good job as being a civilian or a victim. I have really rushed the faces on these two and I will come back and look at that again.
Neagan and Abraham shouldn't need too much of an introduction. I am not so sure Neagan's grenades came out okay. Abraham is a great figure and the fact that he is standing on half a zombie really makes it.

Lastly, this is Glenn, Michonne and Lori. Although there is some work on the bases still needed, I am reasonably happy with these three.

So The end of Zomtober 2017.  I have enjoyed the process. My painting plan, The New Cruelty, has had a good month. I am up about forty figures which is about a dozen more than I would have expected so that is a bonus. I have really rushed these through today. Not that I have ruined them but there is more work to do on these before they are finished.

It's been an entertaining month.Thanks to all the people who have been involved involved in Zomtober and to everyone who has stopped by. It has been a blast for me. For the first time in a while I have felt part of something on the web.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Getting Close To The End Of Zomtober

I am still doubting that the figures I have planned will be completely finished by the close of play tomorrow. That said, practically everything now has a base layer of paint. Putting a wash on shouldn't take too long, it is not an exact process. If I can get this done early enough, I will probably find time to do the highlighting.
I can't see the basing getting done but that hasn't happened much this month anyway.

Not a bad day all round. One step closer to sorting things out with my sister. Fun at the FabLab. A bit of time with my uncle. Now sat in front of the TV whilst my other half is out mentally scarring bar staff because it's halloween in a few days.

Friday, 27 October 2017

Post Zomtober - Zomtember / Govember?

Today in particular has not been a good day. A lot going on and nearly all of that has not been good. I'm dealing with the fallout from my mum and dad's death and it is really just bringing it all back. I have had to go looking for stuff today and that has brought back a lot of memories. All good but that does not really help.

On the brightside....

October in general has perhaps been my most productive figure painting month of the year so far. The New Cruelty is very happy. I want to keep this energy going. I am not sure that I can maintain the momentum if I stick with TWD minis although I am enjoying the process. In order to keep things going at a good pace I am calling it Govember (I thought I had made this idea up all on my own but apparently I am not the first). But what to do?

Whilst I have enjoyed painting The Walking Dead: All Out War stuff, I think it is time for a change. But to what. I had an idea for some police for the X-Com game. Screaming civilians would be useful for this game as well as All Out War. I am feeling the post-apocalypse vibe at the moment and I have some figures that I could happily do for that.

Looking around my workbench there has been some Blood Bowl stuff that keeps catching my attention. If I wa a completer finisher I should really be finishing off my human team. There is still some transfers and base dressing for the last batch of orcs I did. My plan for Christmas is to get some Blood Bowl stuff from Forgeworld. Whilst there isn't anything new, I am looking at some of the stuff that is already out there. I am not sure I want to spend a load of money on this if I haven't painted what I have and  I already have a few boxed sets to paint.

Then of course there is always the Viking game. Two of my FabLab projects relate to this. I wanted some defensive walls for the game for a specific scenario. This was going to be a season finale so I wanted to put some effort into in. I have also been working on the idea of doing some Viking ships, not just longships but knarrs and karves as well. If I can make that work I could also do some skyships. These are not a big part of the game but if had them, I am sure that I would find a way to make them part of the game.

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Some Progress On Zomtomber

I can't believe that I have got this far into the week and not picked up a paintbrush. Concussion and a birthday seem to have kept me away from the bench. Today I have managed to get back to it and things have gone pretty well. there has been a bit of quiet time away from the distractions which has allowed me to get on with things.
Figuring out where to start has been the hardest bit. The figures I showed the other day are not the only ones in the queue, when I went looking I found all these minis and the cars as well. It is still Zomtober but I am already thinking about what to do after the end of the month. There are plenty more to do but maybe some civilians are needed. One of the figures types I like a lot in the TWD: AOW range are the frightened unarmed civilians. I can see a few uses for these coming up.

Still a bit more work to do yet.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

The Walking Dead Season 8

When the Walking Dead started in 2010 I was full of hope. A zombie TV show was a fantastic idea. Until then all I had had was the occasional film which were, over time, gradually getting worse, with the odd exception. Whilst I was full of hope back then, I was full of expectations for Season 8. Season 7 had ended on a comparative high (compared to most previous seasons) and I knew this was going to start with a bang not a whimper.

My other half made me watch a series catch up, looking all the way back to the beginning. Then I watched the last episode of Season 7 again, really just to reacquaint with "recent events". By the time it was all done it was midnight so watching the first episode of Season 8, the hundredth episode, became my first birthday treat.
So, the first episode. It was right back into the fight like no time had passed at all. There are plenty of speeches with not just Ezekial sounding like he was Henry V. They would have convinced me to fight. It was at the end of Season 7 that you got a real idea about how outnumbered Rick and his allies were. So without too many spoilers you get to see what unconventional warfare looks like in the zombie apocalypse.
All Out War has been the main subject of my figure painting this month and all out war is very definitely what you get here. War and preparing for war is what this episode was all about. Obviously with it being the first episode, the war is going to be a feature for a while yet. I am assuming this is what all the episodes are about for this season, at least until the season break, assuming there is one.
The team, with the exception of Eugene, seem tighter than ever. This is despite geography separating most of the main characters. Even those that were once in the edges of what was going on and potentially taking a different path, like Father Gabriel, and being drawn into the cause.
There are a few twists and betrayals in here. Nothing too unexpected but you are left trying to figure out what happens next. There is still plenty of peril and nothing seems certain.

What is certain is that this is a great kick off to a new season. After 100 episodes, The Walking Dead is still going strong and it looks like this is going to be the most exciting season yet.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Never Let Your Kids Choose Your Birthday Cake

This is a cake designed to feed forty. There are four of us and as it is chocolate I can't even give some of it to the dog. The kids thought it was a good idea. And I had been doing so well losing weight.
It is getting on for two foot long. I have seen smaller wedding cakes.

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to eat it :)

Happy Birthday To Me AND The Start of Zomtober Week 5

The day hasn't been too bad to me so far. The best gift was a copy of Terraforming Mars which is a game I have been dying to play for ages. A load of The Walking Dead: All Out War Stuff that I am going to have to send back. Amazingly a load of the minis were missing. I can't imagine what happened to them. Strangely I have a load of primed zombies and survivors on the workbench.
Anyway, this is the start of Week 5, the final week, of Zomtober. I haven't made up my mind about what I am going to do this week but I think pretty much everything is now primed and ready to go. There are a few specials, not on the picture, that I might end up painting. They have been on the bench for ages and are probably in the background of some of the earlier shots.

Monday, 23 October 2017

The Walking Dead

I've just watched the series catch up. I have nearly finished watching the last episode of the last season and then it's on to the first episode of the new season.

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Zomtober Week 4

Again, not quite finished. The weather here has been to bad to spray varnish the figures. It has been one storm after another here. But once  they are varnished I can play about with the bases and all should be good.
 The end of Week 4 already. Where did the time go?

Saturday, 21 October 2017

What Makes A Good RPG Background

Backgrounds for RPGs are something I think about a lot. As a player and a referee I believe it is a strong background that makes a good RPG. The question I keeping asking myself is what then makes a good background.

The first thing that struck me when I started thinking about this was interconnectivity. A game needs all of it's background parts to connect. If the players are going along a linear scenario they support material needs to fit what the players are doing. In fantasy games there shouldn't be a lot of background information in the form of something like a gazetteer. Information was passed by word of mouth. Bards and skalds pass on local news, they know what is going on and where things are. Most importantly in history, bard and skalds pass on the legends of the culture.

Myths, legends and lore about gods would be a strong influence on the population even if there is little to back them up. In a world where gods manifest themselves and the warriors of legend have only been dead for a generation, their impact would be even greater. Most people would know the stories of the gods or saints during the middle ages. Such stories would be recounted by fathers to sons and from priests to their flocks. Just having a list of gods and their areas of interest is good but games like D&D don't venture much further unless you buy another book. In reality, stories of gods show that they are much more complicated that most people consider them to be.

Maps play an important part in most games. It is something that the players and the GM use as a storytelling prop as well as gauge how far the players have to travel to get where they want to be. A number of GMs that I know spend a lot of effort on a map. Whilst this is laudable it would unlikely to have happened in reality. Maps were few and far between and typically highly inaccurate. If the players have anything at all it would probably be little more than a rapidly drawn sketch. In the game I am working on at the moment, I have a number of maps in mind. The game is set in the London Underground. The Tube map is iconic. Every station has multiple copies and many diaries have a copy of the map in them. The trouble is, in a post apocalyptic game, such maps are massively out of date. The Tube map is symbolic. The gaps between stations have nothing to do with actual distance. Accurate maps are few an far between and are not available to the public. Then there are post ruin maps. These are made by the survivors. This means that inaccuracies are going to be everywhere whilst perhaps being more realistic that the symbolic maps.

Players need a good reason for their characters to work together. They need something that ties them together as individuals in the real world. Whatever goes on in the game has to mirror, in part at least, what the players see as the view of the real world. I think this in one of the reasons why evil campaigns don't work so well. Whilst I have been in purely military campaigns there are plenty of players to whom this does not really appeal. Following a dogmatic chain of command's orders can be hard to take. Playing rebels is much more fun for players than playing government forces.

Friday, 20 October 2017

I Had Forgotten How Much Fun Concussion Was

Yesterday I managed to trip up and knock myself up. Somewhere between the dog jumping up and my other half leaving her crocs in an unusual place, I ended up in A+E. Blurred vision, memory loss and seeing stars. I guess I should have counted my blessing at the time but I am cursing my other half at the moment.
Concussed? How could you tell?
So I missed out on posting, or doing pretty much anything else (including FabLab which I am especially annoyed about) yesterday but I am getting into it a bit more today. Today I am bit more into the real world. A much more productive day all round. I've done loads around the house, did a load of writing for the Underground game and then I've moved on to figure painting.

The  six zombie figures I am doing for this weeks Zomtober are moving along at a pace. Most are now pretty much complete and even some of last weeks figures have had a touch up. Nearly all of them have now had the basing done. I've even wandered off to a few of the background projects. Things are looking good all round.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Getting Close To Not Posting Today - Writing Is Fun

Giving yourself a goal is a good thing. It keeps you motivated. There is a reason for plodding on. The number of times I have heard from people in my family that when you retire you die for some reason hits me hard. I am a long way of retirement, unless things change, but I still like to have something to keep me going.

For years now I have been writing. It has always been my ambition to get something published. I mean properly published, not self published or something online. Now that I have something written down I am error checking it. As I am a either a little bit dsylexixic or I have a problem with typing (my fingers seldom seem to type what my brain tells them to do). So proofreading and error checking is mostly very entertaining.

So I am about twenty percent into error checking my first magnum opus (note the ego). It's a post apocalyptic bestiary for the UK, specifically London. It's only about five years in the making. Now I am looking at format and art. That is even more fun.

If anyone has any suggestions that might help, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

50 Shades Of Decay Or How I Paint Zombies

Have you ever seen a body that has been dead for a while? I have. More times than I care to think about. I'm thinking about it now, so that last sentence was probably counterproductive. It is the stuff of nightmares. One of the last ones I saw sticks in my memory very, very clearly. I didn't eat a baked potato for about two years afterwards. Now I still can't face a baked potato with cheese. I always expect the cheese to start wriggling. Maybe you catch my drift, maybe not. No more details on that score but you are bright people so I guess you can work it out.

My early zombie cinematic experiences are of Romero films. These low budget epics used simple ideas. Most zombies were usually had light green makeup unless they were African American, then you got a kind of pale blue makeover instead. Feature zombies had a bit more gore, but if you were in the long shot you were green or blue. For the most part I still stick with this colour scheme. I use a number of shades of green to give each model a bit of variation. There is always a bit of shading but it is mostly ink and blood that I use for zombie effects. There are usually several tones of ink in there to give the skin a bit of variety.

As time as gone on, brown, especially baked potato brown, has come in, for obvious reasons. When I use green paint, I vary it with a little light grey or brown paint and mix it poorly. Red and black ink usually still feature highly and whilst I use sepia-ish inks in the main, the green and often red creep in there too.

One of the things I keep meaning to do is some fresher zombies. Ones with either healthy or healthy ish skin tones. The thought had occured to have some unarmed civilian types that I can initially use as a crowd. Then, well the players have got used to the idea of having them around, use them as zombies.

Zombies should look pretty badly hammered for the most part. I like Tamiya Clear Red for this. When it isn't varnished it looks like fairly fresh blood. Older blood should be much darker. Too much really doesn't work. When choosing where to put the blood I think in terms of where it would probably end up. Anything on the hands would probably wear off quite quickly but there would always be some there. Around the face is another good place. It follows that most of the blood is going to be on the front with probably more on the chest than on the legs. Rather than paint the whole front side red, I think it would be more splatter and drips. Little bits here and there across the front on the body, none or almost none on the back and some on the floor.

To give them a really shabby appearance, I use a lot of inks. Mostly I do a base wash in the right colour for the paint colour below. Browns help to make them look dirty, especially brown over black ink. Green give a real sense of decay but maybe not use too much of it or the skin will look wrong. High traffic areas are probably a good bet, ower arms, knees and backside are good place for green. A mix of reds, ruddy skin tone, purples but mainly green make a good range for skin tones but experiment a little. Red ink is good on facial features and around wounds done with Tamiya Clear Red. I am not a fan of the GW paint, Blood For The Blood God, for this kind of work.

The best advice is go and watch your inspiration, later Romero and The Walking Dead for me. Look at what they do for their make-up. Emulate that in a more simple form as you will have a lot of zombies to do. Get on with it and don't be afraid to experiment, because with zombies you can usually cover up anything you hate quite easily.

Zomtober must bring out the worst in me.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Start Of Zomtober Week 4

The good work continues. This is going to be another hard week.

More Mantic The Walking Dead: All Out War stuff. Zombies from a variety of sets.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Zomtober Week 3

Really the title of this post should be Zomtober Week 3 - as far as I got.
There is still a few bits to do on the paint work. Across all the figures, there is plenty I am not happy with. There are also a few bits that are just not done. The basing still needs to be dealt with to. This is probably going to be put off for a bit.
The New Cruelty is not happy. I am not happy.

Well except I am. I have had a bloody good day, a nice evening meal in a restaurant and I have managed to put as smile on one of the lads faces on his birthday.

Next week... Zombies.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Where Did That Day Go?

For the first time in a while I am worried that I am not going to make my painting goal for the week. My other half has been ill. Although she is up  now, I guess she has been upstairs for about sixteen hours. She did get out of bed to help me do some shopping but other than that I have been busy. Then there has been prep for one of the kid's birthdays tomorrow to do. Not to mention playing a bit of Fallout 4 and my latest purchase, Dead Rising 3. Did I mention the dog is ill too?

Settling down to painting has been out of the question. I would have spent more time cleaning brushes than I would have painting. It's been up and down kind of day.

Having played Fallout for a bit it has rekindled my love of  post apocalypse RPG. So I have been working on the Underground setting. I now have an idea, the very bare bones at least, for a campaign. I still kind of have an idea about publishing it so I am still proceeding in that direction with the writing.

Still, busy day tomorrow. Hope I can find some time for painting. The shortness of time might give me the push that I need.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Lasting Appeal Of Fallout 4

For better or worse, I am someone who loves the post-apocalyptic genre. I am not so sure I would be too keen on the real thing but as far as entertainment genres go, I guess it is my all time favourite. Other genres have their attractions but I guess these are not as great as mutants and zombies. This especially applies to roleplaying games and miniature painting.

The first apocalypse film to really have an impact on me was Dawn of the Dead which was quickly follows by Day of the Dead. This closely followed by films like A Boy And His Dog, Terminator, The Omega Man, Mad Max, Logan's Run and Planet Of The Apes. When I look back at my choices of Sci-Fi, worlds were being destroyed and settlements were being wiped out. The big comic of the time, in the UK at least was Judge Dread. As the nineties came along, I read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction with the most notable being The Postman. This book had a big effect on me. It taught me that if I don't take responsibility no one else will. If you were to take one thing away from this post it would be to read The Postman and not to judge it by watching the film. I guess the seventies and eighties were bleak times indeed. As computer games developed at the end of the nineties, Fallout came along. I have been hooked since.

A couple of days ago I started playing Fallout 4 again. Despite playing it heavily, I have never completed the main plot. I am getting close to completing Far Harbour but I still have a long way to go with the main plot. According to the game I have something like 700 hours of game play in it. There have been a number of back trackings and I am sure there is plenty of time I have just left the game running but I assume the figure is mostly accurate. Sadly, this is not as big as my investment in the Fallout 3 game (or Skyrim for that matter).

Despite all this time I am still drawn back into it. Unlike a lot of games, you are able to affect the world. In small ways and in specific locations perhaps. These settlements then serve you a little, allowing you to recover cash and resources from them. You have a real sense of being at the heart of rebuilding this world and not just going out and killing things although I have done plenty of that.

This has in turn spurred me into action. This evening I have been working more on my RPG background based in the ruins of London, called Underground. Whilst not a direct copy, the idea of going around and rebuilding is a part of what I want to do with the game. All gear is built from the ground up but the emphasis is different. You are building tools and machinery for settlements more than you are building weapons and armour. Vehicles made out of scrap also feature highly in what is going on. In lends some of the more stranger stories and events in London both real and fantastical (but no Jack the Ripper).

There is no real moral to this story. What there is, well it is just a piece of advice. Find your inspiration, tweak it into something you can relate to. Then go and make it your own.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Lego - Not What It Used To Be

Today was the first time I have played with lego for a long while. I was trying to assemble a Lego robot, with the word trying being the most important. Lego has gotten complicated. I don't remember being able to plug into it and program it to do things. As well as the technical side, the build was pretty damn complicated. This was not helped by the fact that to find the bits for one robot I had to look in several boxes that contain the parts for ten robots.

When I got back home I spent a bit more time painting. For the most part everything has a base coat and much of it has been ink washed. Progress is slow but I am confident that I will get there by Sunday. I keep looking at the Blood Bowl stuff on the bench and then I think about getting some more of it. Again I haven't been too focussed but I am not beating myself up about it.

I am still feeling a little detached from my normal reality. Right here and now it doesn't feel so bad. In fact it feels okay. Right now I am putting this down to watch Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories on Netflix.  Hopefully it should be an easy day tomorrow and Saturday is looking pretty slack too. Maybe I can keep this relaxed mood up a little longer.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Progress, In A Lot Of Different Directions

Well I have had a blip for a few days but I seem to be over it now. Somewhere along the line I have managed to get a solid three hours of painting in today. Whilst I am not speeding through the work, I am at least making progress.
A little bit of everything here
What I am lacking is a bit of focus. For a while now I have been wandering off part way through projects. Tonight for instance I have worked on all of these miniatures. Tonight I think I've worked it out. Maybe. The carrion crawlers (without the beards) have been on the bench the longest. Well they were cheap. The troll and the female mage have been around for about a year. I'm not sure where the mage came from, might be Northstar and the troll is from Midlam. The Blood Bowl figures of the last of the human team I started earlier in the year and The Walking Dead stuff I've had for a couple of weeks now.

A while back I made a decision to improve my painting skills. Feel free to comment here. Part of this involved using thinned down paints and a wet palette. It seemed logical at the time to switch to dropper bottles. This seems to have saved a lot of paint, whilst there is more waste on the day it means that the paint doesn't end up drying up which usually happens to most GW paints because of their either stupidly designed or cleverly designed (depending on your point of view) bottles.

In practice, occasionally, if not frequently, I put more paint on the wet palette that I need. Having been brought up to waste not want not, I figure that I should be using the extra paint. If there isn't something I can use it for, then I find something I can use it for. Or something on the back of the bench that gets one step closer to being finished. I have always had what I call Background Projects. These are something that doesn't take over (that's why they are background) but I can work on them when glue or wash is drying.

The background is becoming a lot more foreground. During Zomtober I have had more zombie figures on the bench. This has helped me keep on track. This week however I have run out of stuff  that is prepped and primed.

So now I am thinking I need to do some more prepping and priming. I was reading a blog post somewhere that somebody was doing just that in readiness for winter. They live in Canada where there is a chance that there might be one foot of snow. Here in the UK we might get one inch of rain but the problem remains the same.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Mojo Problems - Not A Gaming Post

I am feeling a little bit down today. There is a lot going on in my house at the moment. Some of which weighs me down a bit more than some of the others but it's not proving to be a good time for me at the moment. Despite that, you have to keep on keeping on.

For the second day in a row I haven't really done anything, well nothing meaningfully productive. Blogging is about as meaningful as it has gotten for me today. It's a good job that I am making myself stick with the daily posting thing or even this wouldn't be happening.

My work chair has not been sat on all day, well maybe the cat was on it for a bit. My other half isn't well so I have really had to step up. K is waiting for a death in the family to happen. It's a forgone conclusion sadly that this lass is going to pass soon and she is still young enough to make it even more tragic.

It's not been the busiest day but I am tired. Playing Fallout 4, which I haven't played for months, has proven to be much easier. I guess that there are a few decisions that are going to need to be made in a year or so that I don't really want to think about but are kind of playing on my mind. This means I am losing sleep and that means I am losing focus.

Timing is proving to be a big issue for me at the moment. I didn't really deal with the death of my dad at the time as I was busy looking after my mum. Now I am having to deal with both and some family turmoil as well. I went to pick up their ashes the other day. My dad had always wanted to be buried but my mum hated the idea. Shortly before he died, my mum talked him into a cremation. What didn't get settled was what to do with his ashes. My mum similarly left me without a clue what to do with hers. So now they are sat side by side in my lounge whilst I figure out what to do with them.

There is a lyric somewhere that goes something like "whatever gets you through the night, is alright". The trouble about the here and now is what is getting me through the day. That is what it is about for most of us. For me, I am finding things to fill in the time between the stuff that makes the world go around. This is typically painting figures or doing something gaming related. Tomorrow is looking like an easy day for me so I am hoping that I can get back in the game.

The uplifting thing is that one day I am going to come back and read this post. You might say that is a little depressing as this post is pretty far from uplifting. When I do come back to it, it will be on a better day when all these problems are behind me. Things will be back to their "normal" and I'll in the swing of things again.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Zomtober Week 2

This week of Zomtober has been focus on the The Walking Dead's All Out War expansion, Days gone by. It's another six figures, four survivors and two zombies. The zombies were getting tinkered about with last week and it is the survivors that I have been "concentrating" on. It has to be said that my focus has kind of gone towards the end of the week and there are probably a few details that still need addressing.

These are two of the most characterful zombies in the game. I love these figures and they are ones that are likely to feature a lot.

The four survivors, all from the Atlanta Camp have turned out okay. Some of the hands look a bit out but I think this is down to the moulding rather than the paint job. I am always a bit disappointed when I look at the pictures on Mantic's website and compare them to my paint job but I guess that the pro painted one are early run and have better hands and have fewer mould lines.
The shading on the collar on the figure in the red shirt has turned out really badly in the picture. It is better in real life but I will give this a bit more attention in time.

Anyway, the week ahead is probably going to be some form of the Miles Behind Us expansion. It's aither going to be the full box set or I might just try and concentrate on the Green household (with a couple of extra figures) and if I am feeling do the two zombie figures for the set as well.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Missing Time + Kodama

I am convinced I must have been kidnapped by aliens at some point today as I seem to have had an episode of missing time today. I definitely remember waking up. It wasn't much fun and I don't recall being too happy about it. Way, way too early for a Saturday. FabLab was fun and I enjoyed that bit everything after that is a bit of a blur. Ten hours later I am not really sure where the day went.

There was zombies involved in it somewhere along the way. The latest Resident Evil film I think. Which whilst it has a moderate budget, is about as bad as I should have expected.

The real high point of the day was the new Red Dwarf episode. Still good after all these years. I am way too tired to write anything about it now, but maybe next week.

Late on, I did manage to play a game of Kodama with the other half. This was the first time we have played it and it is a fun little game. In case you are wondering, Kodama are japanese forest spirits (I think). You have to build a tree by laying cards next to a main trunk and make it as attractive to the forest spirits as possible scoring points along the way. The aim of the game is to create sets of  symbols on the cards which may or may not meet the criteria for bonus points on the seasonal cards, available to all, and Kodama cards that the players get at the start of the game.

It is a pretty game to look at and there are plenty of cards, enough for a five player game with a degree of variety wide enough that you are never likely to have the same game twice. Whilst I don't think this game is going to change the world it is a fun game that would be easy to play in polite company and with kids.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Too Many Projects

Focus has always been my problem. I can never focus on anything for too long. There is just something in me that cracks and I mentally end up wandering off from one project to another. Today I have worked on five different projects. Admittedly my main focus has been on Zomtober and The Walking Dead and the figures are coming along nicely and should be done for Sunday. 

Part of what I have been doing has been painting the sabot bases for the Viking Wargame. I now have more than enough to do a good sized game with plenty of extras. The ones that I have textured are now all painted and even the bits where the paint was a bit thin has been given a second coat. I even did a bit of highlighting on one of the dark age leaders I did a few weeks ago.

As a wider part of that project I have been planning to build some palisade walls. It's part of the Viking RPG game that I have in my head. This has been a bit of a focus today as it's going to be my FabLab project in the morning. This might end up on the bench for a bit but at least I will have all the parts I need.

When I poured out a bit too much white paint and there was a some drying time on the ink I had just put on, I looked around for something to do with. There are still some human players for the last Blood Bowl I painted left to do. As these are in black and white (Widnes RLFC colours) I thought what the hell. I gave the next four, all catchers, a first coat of what. They will still need another coat but I guess they are a step closer.

Finally, I got hold of a copy of Sunless Seas a few weeks ago. Despite showing no signs of being able to play the game well enough to avoid frustration, I wa quite enjoying it. It's a Steampunk sailing game I guess with a touch of horror thrown in.

So I have been working on a few ship designs thinking I could cut them out on the laser cutter. The idea started out with a starter ship for the players which quickly turned into two versions of the same ship, one of which was about fifty percent bigger than the other. Then both got an extra deck. Then I thought there should be some kind of navy cutter or corvette. Now I am working on a much bigger cargo ship. I need to stop this really as the latest ship is on three decks two of which are four feet long. I wasn't planning on putting too much into 3d for these but maybe give them a bit more than texture and maybe things like doors and a steering wheel.

I really need to focus.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Zombie Movie Night

My other half is out last night. This means that I get to watch something other that cut price Marvel TV shows (seriously I have watched Legion, Agent Carter, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and we are working through the second season of Daredevil prior to watch Defenders, two or three episodes almost every night for months and I only liked the first two).

So what am I choosing to watch? Well cut price zombie films (well all but one of them is fairly low budget), obviously.

Starting off with Cooties. This is a fairly standard zombie escape the building horror. The film is set in an elementary school (the American school system is a mystery to me). it's major difference is that if you have gone through puberty you are immune. Despite that, you can still end up as dinner. There is no help coming as the phones are out and school Head takes all phone off everyone. It's a nice twist on the survival horror type of zombie film with some great quirky characters (Rainn Wilson plays an outstanding steroidal PE teacher). I can see me turning this into a scenario for a zombie game.
 I went on to watch What We Become. This is a movie that takes itself a bit more seriously but then it's Danish (I am not saying the Danes have no sense of humour and I have met six of them :) (yes that was a joke)). It starts out with a flu epidemic and everyone in the house (and several others) are sealed in (it looks just like E.T.). It has some nice plot elements and is a very character driven drama. If you were planning a zombie game, this would not be the one to choose.
The ReZort is a bad movie. It has just about every zombie movie cliche going. This does not make it a bad movie in itself (zombie movies are all about the cliches). The movie takes place on an island full of zombies set aside for rich tourists to go on hunting holidays. I don't see this as a great idea for a zombie campaign but I guess you could squeeze a one shot game out of it.
Of all of them, The Girl With All The Gifts has probably been the star of the evening. The characters are all inside some sort of bunker with a load of children wo are trussed up and kept in high security cells with no readily apparent reason. As you start to piece things together things just get weirder. I can't say too much without spoiling the reveal but it has a good plot with a few twists in it to keep you on your toes. This has the potential for a great campaign and could be turned into something to keep players on their toes.
All in all, not a bad evening's entertainment.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

One Door Opens

This post is not so much about gaming. It is more about what skills gaming has given me over the years giving me the confidence to do other things.

I have had a bit of a problem with ones of my doors lately. Or should I say a member of my household managed to put a hole in one of them. The door is a total write off and as it was the living room door, it need to be replaced.

This would have been the thing that I would have probably turned to my dad for help with, if not getting him to do it for me. As he passed  eighteen months ago now, I no longer have that option. It was either get someone to do it for me, or do it myself.

A long time ago, my dad told me that I would never make any money from my hobby. Over the years, it has been a point of pride and of principle to prove him wrong at every opportunity. For a good ten years I managed to make my hobby, more or less self funding.

As part of doing what I have done, the hobby has taught me a lot of useful skills, some even have real world applications. Oddly the skills used painting figures are not really translatable to painting walls. I still have my dad's commentary about my ability to "cut in" when I was helping him decorate a house a few years ago.

If you have looked at my blog over the years you will have seen that I have managed to come up with a wide configuration of wooden shelves. There have been untold storage solutions. It has taken me to FabLab lately, where I have learnt a whole load of practical skills. I figured that if I could make a passable door in 1/56 scale I could probably do an okay job in 1/1 scale.

So with a whole load of second guessing, and watching YouTube, I managed to remove and renew the door. The hardest part was getting the damn door of the hinges in the first place. My god was there some gloss on that last hinge.

My point is that I have spent a lot of time second guessing myself. Perhaps a career change as a "chippy" is not on the cards for my, but my god, I did it. A few weeks ago I was helping my uncle put a concrete fence in. Not only did I do a pretty good job of it but I was able to channel a bit of my inner Grrrr to get the job done (it was get angry with concrete or hit it with a mallet) and it worked. Until then, the only concrete fence I had done had been made out of plastic I-beam and foam core.

Now I have a door that opens and closes as well...:)

The right tools help but it is all about mindset. If you can get you head into a job then you can usually do it. Anyone can learn just enough to get a job done these days, thanks to YouTube. Take some advice from me, if you think that you could probably do something, give it a go. You will probably impress yourself and maybe even someone else. If my dad is in heaven, I think he would be pretty happy with what I have managed today, although he probably wouldn't tell me.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Walking Alive

There is not so many zombies of the bench this week, mostly survivors. Whilst one of the zombies is waiting for just a few more details the other needed a bit more work. The real work is on the four survivors. There is a good coat of paint for them ready to be highlighted. I did play about with the shirt of one of them. It's a bit more effort than I would normally put in but it is kind of what it looks like on the in house model. My reason for not doing more is that if it goes badly, it goes very badly and means a restart and repaint, which never ends well.
The colours seem quite bright at the minute. Part of that is down to me trying to emulate what's already on the web and part is I know they are going to get darker pretty quickly. Yellow is definitely not a colour I normally use for hair, but the one on the mantic site seemed to work out okay.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Zomtober - Week 2 Begins

So this is week 2 of Zomtober. This is what I am starting with. I have already done a little bit of work on the zombies and started on the faces of the survivors. It was easier to do the skin tones for all the zombies at the same time and the punk zombie seemed to suit some of the colours I used last week.
The survivors is going to be the real work is this week. "Real" people are harder work than zombies because you can't cover up the mistakes with the same amount damage as the zombies. The Dale character seems to be a bit on the big side but then I am not sure that I like the uniformity in most figures.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Zomtober - Week 1

The plan for the week was to finish off all the minis from The Prelude To Woodbury Set.
The Governor, Brian Blake, was a fairly easy paint job. Whilst the mini is crisp enough for a good amount of detail, there is actually a limited amount of actual details. This is down to the simplicity of the images from the comics being easy to draw rather than a flaw in the figures.

It's difficult to put extra detail into some of the figures. When all you have to work with is a shirt and pants it is difficult to make the figure really shine. These are actually pretty nice figures and they have painted up pretty well.  The zombie having a snack was a bit more fun. When I first looked at the figure I thought the"snack" was actually handcuffs.
The three female figures look like they have come straight out of an office. Although this is quite normal clothing, it's difficult to make normal shine. A grey business suit is not going to stand out from the crowd. I always think the female miniatures need to be better colour coordinated than male ones.

Anyway, this is week one done. The New Cruelty is more than satisfied. Next week is going to see me paint the Days Gone Bye. More survivors and fewer zombies.