So it's the end of the year. Over the years I have taken time at New Year to look at what I have done in the last year and see how I have progressed. Time for a little bit of retrospection on what I have done on the blog and a look into the future.
Christmas week has been a bit busier than I was expecting but in a good way. The downside of this is that the blog has suffered a bit. I have missed more posts in the last week than I have in any two other months this year.
Figure painting wise it has been a good year. Since creating the idea of The New Cruelty, I have largely stuck with it. On the weeks where I haven't I have usually made up for it somewhere along the line. Where I think I have done especially well is at looking what has been sat around for years and getting in painted. A lot of stuff that is five or even ten years old has made it onto the painting desk alongside a few much older models and into the paint queue.
Blood Bowl has figured highly this year, which looking back to last years post is not much of a surprise. I have painted two full teams with a number of extra players. Whilst there are a few special characters (star players and big guys) still to go, these team are pretty much done. I have even managed a couple of games. All in all I am happy with the progress here.
I haven't done too much on the X-Com front this year. The plan is still here though. I have acquired quite a bit of terrain but I have a few decisions to make about the miniatures and a few total gaps. Whilst it's not back to the drawing board it has been a year where I have reviewed my choices. Mostly I am thinking about backing the Chronicle X kickstarter. So X-Com is still going ahead.
Titansgrave has had a bit if work done on it this year, although it seems more likely that these will get used for Shadowrun than anything else. The film Bright on Netflix gave me a bit more impetus. Most recently I got a dozen orcs done for the game. A number of figures are now on bases with grit on them and need priming. This is usually a good indication that things are going to get done but more of that later.
The Viking Game and dark age stuff in general has been a big focus this year. The plan was that this was going to be a bit more on the back burner this year but some models have captured my imagination. The buying of specifically dark age figures seems to have dropped off a bit this year but there have been a few. There are also a few that I have plans for. I have been saying for a while that I want to some period appropriate zombies.
Zombies and survivors have seen a fair bit of action this year mainly due to Zomtober and the release of The Walking Dead: All Out War. Another game I haven't really played but it is the single game I have spent the most on this year.
Frostgrave is, as far as the figures are concerned, still a going concern. Playing the game is not really a current prospect and I have yet to play an actual game of it. The minis for the game I love. I have painted a load of them over the year and there are still a number of works in progress. I have backed most of the games Nickstarters but I did not back the Ghost Archipelago one this year. The stuff I gave focussed on has been anything that would do double duty for the Viking Game.
The New Cruelty calls for about five figures per week. So that would mean a minimum of about 250 across the year. I would hope to get closer to 300 though but we will see. Some terrain would be nice as well.
Blood Bowl is I have enough figures for a full Skaven Team already but fancy some of the Forgeworld replacement figures and some Big Guys and Star Players. These are probably going to have to come from Forgeworld as they would be difficult to do myself. The Elf Blood Bowl Team is now out and that is likely to be a purchase soon. I have some goblins painted for the Orc Team but need some more to make a full team plus the specialists. What is left of the Goblins and Skaven will go to make another team. Somewhere there is the bare bones of a Dwarf Team as well which has been gathering dust. There are a few boards out there as well which I am likely to get. I assume that other teams will be on their way too. Finishing at least one team and about half a dozen special characters is the goal for the year so around 24 figures.
As I mentioned earlier, there are still more figures in the Titansgrave queue so I can see that a couple of dozen of these might get done this year. It would be nice to acquire some more suitable figures and get these done. Some of the Frostgrave plastic gnolls are destined for this project this year and maybe some fantasy stuff as well. There are some figures already in the active queue but needs priming. My plan is to have a look at Starfinder but I somehow doubt that I will go that way. I usually plan my work in terms of foam trays (36 figures) so completing one tray is the goal but two trays would be really good.
For the Viking Game/fantasy there are plenty of figures in the queue. I did get hold of some plastic rangers for LOTR. Whilst I have no use for rangers I do have the need for masked thieves and brigands and the thought was that these would do nicely for that. If I am venturing into the fantasy game side more I have some ten year old plastic skinks which have been primed for an age. These might get a look in soon as they have made it to the bench as a clear out in the garage. I might get some CP Models gnomes. These represent a gap in the collection and some more up to date hobbits might be nice. Celtic Dwarves figure in my Viking game so they might make an arrival. I don't want to put a figure on how many miniatures that I am going to paint but I would be surprised if painted less than about 50 figures but two or even three trays is possible (up to about 90 figures). I also expecting to finish my Viking background for the RPG I run and the wargames rules I am working om.
Frostgrave is still WIP, ish. There are some figures still to paint especially the plastics. There are still plenty of soldiers, gnolls, cultists and undead to do. Although I can see a number of uses for the figures, the game is pretty much a dead parrot. I like the look of the figures but they are all a bit small.
Zombies and TWD There are still a few big gaps in what I want from Mantic. This is bound to get worse as Mantic will release more stuff. My plan would be to finish, or get close to finishing, what I have already before I buy any more. I would like to run a zombie game at some point but I am still trying to source the right figures for that. Zomtober will likely be a feature again this year. There is a plan for this but I will likely do that closer to the time and this plan does not involve Mantic. I suspect that this will be most of October so with a bit of look about 30 figures. If I get the urge, zombie might figure in some other weeks but I couldn't see more than a couple of tray of figures this year..
I would like to get hold of a copy of Kingdom Death Monster if I can get it at the right price. If I do, then this will feature highly. I will also get a copy of Star Saga at some point as the figures fit in with a few plans I have. There are another 30+ figures here. I would like to think I will paint the figures for Tokaido this year. This would probably be with inks, my latest painting techniques.
Speaking of new techniques, my plan is to get a better work bench set up in the garage. This would allow me to get the airbrush out. This in an area of painting I have yet to master so would like to give it a whirl at some point.
There were a few projects that have been in the background for years. I have enjoyed doing some 6mm Napoleonics. Whilst my mates were talking in terms of a big campaign, this hasn't happened, for several years. This is a shame as we were looking at a decade long campaign (real world time) which would have been something of substance. If I do any of that this year it will be for my own amusement. Weird World War II has been thought about a few times but I guess this is a dead duck for the time being. The same goes for VBCW. I like the idea but I am a little short of opponents at the moment. I continue to tinker with a 15mm Mecha game for Savage Worlds, which now seems destined to become a 28mm mecha game. Still a way off but closer to completion. A lot of the stuff I have done, am doing and plan to do would do double duty for a post-apocalypse game. I have worked a lot on my Underground background and some of this is getting close to completion. I may even seek to get some of this published. The English Civil Figures I have seem destined to stay in their box and the super hero figures are probably going to stay unpainted.
The future of the blog looks pretty secure. I have gone out of my way to post a lot more this year. Including this post, I have put something up 370 times with December being the slowest month by far, more than double my best year yet and a massive multiple for my worst year. Some days have been harder than others to get something done but the fact that I have done is down to trying to honour the commitment I made to blog. The New Cruelty, may way of making sure that I do some painting (at a lot of other stuff) seems to have worked well for me. My gut is telling me to do fewer posts this year as it has been very hard work to keep it going in 2017. For the time being I am going to stick with the daily posts.
My hope for the year was to get to 500,000 hits which I thought was a big ask. A very big ask. Sadly I haven't got there. On the plus side I got with 500 hits of my target which was pretty good I thought. The temptation to load up some pages to get over the 500k mark was tremendous but I resisted. For 2018 I would love to get to the million mark. That is really not going to happen but I think getting to 650,000 or eve 700,000 might be achievable but would be happy if I hit 550,000.
The blog has added about 20% to my follower and a similar amount to the number of people following me on Google+. This has been fantastic and thanks to everyone who has followed me this year and especially to those who have been following me for even longer. A number bloggers have put my blog on their blog rolls. Most of these have been on blogs I know well, follow and admire. For me, this is the biggest measure of success. Knowing that I am deemed worthy for this is a big boost to my blogging confidence.
Thanks to all for reading and A Happy New Year to all of you.