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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

To Paint Or Not To Paint - Semi Professionally

Today, for the first time in a long time, I have sat down with the intention to paint something for sale. As it happens I didn't do anything for sale in fact I didn't do anything at all. My workbench is my dining table and I didn't get much time to do anything before having to pack things up.

I have been trying to come up with a way to price my figures. Whichever way I look at it, if I want to do it professionally, I have to charge a lot. A decent paint job takes about an hour for a fairly basic uniform and maybe more. Doing a character figure or one with a complicated uniform of camouflage takes even longer. This does not take account of gluing things together, basing, prepping and all the rest. This is putting me off. If each figure is going to take about an hour then the price is going to be huge. I cannot see me charging less than £10 per hour and £15 seems more reasonable.

Has anyone paid for people to paint figures in the past? If you did, what did you pay and how happy were you with what you got?

Monday, 12 November 2018

RIP Stan Lee

Originally I was planning a different post today but the passing of Stan Lee made me change my mind. It's official, his death is all my fault. I had been watching David Bowie on YouTube earlier pn the day and thought it had been a while since one of the cultural icons of my life had died. Never, ever...EVER! tempt fate.
When it came to comic reading in my early life the works of Stan Lee were not really my thing. My heroes were from Star Wars and my comic of choice was Star Wars Weekly. I might look at Judge Dread but it was Star Wars and not the superheroes of Stan Lee that caught my attention. If I did go for a superhero comic it would be Batman.

As I got older and started to look for more nuanced characters I found that Stand Lee and his cast of characters were much more intriguing. Things were muddier for them. They had real world  problems to deal with.  My mantra, as my dad would have it, was "do the right thing". In my world and the world of Stan Lee, doing the right thing is seldom easy. For a long time I have nailed my colours to those of "Team Cap". Even though this might have cost me dearly, I have come to believe that the right thing is the right thing even when it has cost me.


Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance Sunday

Today is a special day in the history of the British Isles. A hundred years since the end of World War One. 
My grandfather fought in the war and there are a number of uncles I never met because of it. I guess my grandfather was lucky. He joined up at the age of sixteen in 1914. He spent the first two years of the war guarding German prisoners in Wales. This was probably a lucky billet for him. We are pretty sure that he served with the East Lancashire Regiment first. No one is quite sure why. This regiment was based a fifty miles North of where he was from. That said his brother ended up in the Scots Guards, so maybe not a total surprise. By the time he was sent to war the Battalion was in France. He spent about a year with the Battalion fighting in various, far from glorious engagements. Although not especially well known they appear to have taken a beating. Two battalions of the regiments were combined into one. They must have taken a further beating as the battalion he was in was eventually folded into the Manchester Regiment.

I recall being told that about sixty men of his battalion went over to the Manchesters. His record shows that he ended the war with the Northumberland Fusiliers. He may also have served in the Lancashire Fusiliers but we are not quite sure if that was the case. According to the records he never made it beyond the rank of Private. If he is half the man I recall this would likely be done to his sunny disposition rather than a lack of talent.

The war affected him badly although he seems to have gotten away without serious injury. The man it left behind affected my dad and me in turn. It seems strange but I still feel the effects of that war that ended a hundred years ago in the way I was brought up and the man it made me.

Unlike his brother, for whom my dad was named, he did not fight in World War 2. His brother had a more chequered military career. But maybe that is a story for another year.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

The Urge To Paint / Mobile Paint Station

Painting 28mm miniatures is my passion and along with the building of terrain, video gaming, roleplaying and board gaming this is what takes up my free time. I have spent the last six months of so not painting. The move and the need to get some money coming in has kind of superseded the urge to paint. As much as anything else it has been finding a place to paint. Despite being a house, the place where I am living at the moment is smaller than pretty much anywhere I have lived in the last twenty years. So I have no place for workbench. Right now I am regretting getting rid of my old cupboard. I know I complained about it a lot at the time but right now I am longing for it. I started the year with the desire to continue The New Cruelty. Perhaps it is time to get back to both.

So I have had to come up with an alternative solution. The only place I have to work is my kitchen table. Obviously this is not a great place to paint and it's a fairly high traffic area so I can't leave anything setup indefinitely. Despite being broke I looked up some of the commercially available solutions. Mostly they don't suit me and are far from cheap. I am used to a lot of space and a lot of paint. This leaves me with what I have to hand. Which is a lot of boxes. Most of my stuff is currently in Really Useful Boxes, the hobbyist's best friend. So this is the idea....

So Really Useful Boxes it is. It will work out fine. Just as long as I breath in through my nose and out through my mouth and remind myself that this is a temporary solution. With non-bespoke solutions nothing quite fits but this is not a big issue as the setup does not have to be hyper-portable. I would like to have all my paint in the one box but I guess that's my own fault for having too much paint.

Let's see how quickly I can get naffed off with this.

Things would be progressing further if I could actually find any paint brushes.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Blood Bowl Nurgle's Rotters

I may have mentioned a number of times that I Like Blood Bowl (and zombies, and sci-fi, post-apocalypse, and fantasy, and WW2, well the list goes on). The truth is that I am a bit of a Blood Bowl Fanboy. Whilst I have loved all the figures that have come out, the only team to come out so far that I haven't had in the old edition was the Goblins, perhaps my least favourite team.

Nurgle is not a team I have ever owned. If I recall correctly it was a team that wasn't actually a team in the last official rules but an officially sanctioned team in the Living Rule Book. It did get supported with a team but these were just figures from other existing teams. Correct me if I am wrong. Now that it is here I was going to be a must buy.

So with Nurgle being on the market, I asked for a box for my birthday last week. Due to a slight misunderstanding I ended up with only one sprue. No problem really. When I get round to it, I might buy another box set or I might use some of the Chaos All stars that I already have to fill in any gaps. Sadly I expect that I will always have a few spares.

Reality is usually a hard place in my experience and I have not been a big fan of GW over the years. Most of the nineties I referred to them as the Nottingham Company due to their absolute betrayal of what I thought they stood for when they stopped stocking every product not made by them. This quickly seguey ed into grumbling about the figures. Whilst I am not a big fan of snap-fit the quality and the poses are just getting better and better.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Maybe I Am Not So Niche After All - I Am Not A Nerd Anymore

I have been told several times lately that as I play board games, war games, RPGs and computer games that I nerd. If you actually knew me, other than the glasses, I am guessing that as long as I wasn't wearing my Atari T-shirt (which is a bit of a give away) that I probably don't come across as a nerd.Some may argue about that with me but what the hell.

What I am about to say might not be news.

Nerds are now everywhere. 

There were more women in my FLGS than men the last time I was in there (a rare occasion admittedly). My local bookshop (and the chain it belongs to) have been stocking board games for years and used to sell RPG stuff as well. Within ten miles of where I live there is just less than ten shops that sell games. You can play games in three or four different pubs within a similar radius.

This week things are changing again in a way that seems to me at least to be a paradigm shift. I happened to turn on Radio 4 on Sunday and this week The Archers are going to feature a board games night. No less nerdy maybe. The Archers is no exactly mainstream itself. But the real killer came today. When I went to the supermarket.




Today I found out that Tesco is selling Pandemic and Codewords. These are two "mainstream" euro-board games. Whilst not the best prices I have ever seen for the games they are not far off a good prices. I mean Tesco for flip's sake. My hobby is now so mundane that you can pick it up with the bread and milk. Where does this end? Will there be a copy of The Walking Dead - All Out War there next week? Will Games Workshop have a shop in shop by the end of the month? Will Warlord be selling boxes of Africa Corps just in time for Christmas? I guess not. But still.

The world of gaming is changing. "What a world. What a world."

Friday, 26 October 2018

Blood Bowl - The Champions Of Death

It is fair to say that I am a bit of a Blood Bowl fanboy. Even when it was out of production I was still buying the odd team of eBay. I have my favorites but my first love was The Champions of Death. When the third edition came out I was too skint to buy it so I made my own out of what I had available. Possibly my first conversion project and it has to be said it was pretty bad.
The latest release from GW is my old favorite. If somewhat slow they are a reasonably robust team that can soak up punishment. What I liked about them the most was the ability to resurrect a the team players from your opponents if you killed them, which happens a lot more often. This means you can fill up your players bench quite quickly in a competition. Sadly it's skeletons not zombies.

Having only seen a video and one picture I have already presumed that this will be my next project when I get round to buying it at least. Whilst I am a big fan of the whole range, this team, like the other recent releases, is amazing. The YouTube Video is pretty good but I am still hoping to see decent close up pictures.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

It's My Birthday

I frequently talk about Dave Gorman when it's my Birthday and his view on whether or not you get presents or gifts and this year I am happy to say it has been a lot Osprey published gifts. What do I mean by the difference between presents and gifts?
Possibly the most disturbing picture of all time
We have all had gifts, the perennial favorites seem to be socks and scarves. Gifts are usually something that you might use. Or Maybe not. Socks and scarves are the epitome of gifts. I mean who doesn't need a few more socks and a scarf on cold days? I have a set of shot glasses somewhere that were a gift. They are still in their original box, unopened, which is currently in another box, in another box in the attic. Gifts are not fun, they lack imagination and are usually given out of a sense of duty with the easiest thing be brought.

Presents are something special. People have gone to an effort to find something that you like, even if it's just asking you what you want. This even applies to things that make you go WTF? They were brought because someone knows you, often better than you know yourself. They buy something because they know it will make you happy. There is a thought process in there somewhere.

So today I am feeling more than a little bit blessed.

Oddly zombies feature pretty highly. I like zombies. The fact that other people know that I like zombies might not be a surprise. I even got some miniatures. What more could a guy ask for? Well Osprey books is always a good one and then there were a few other books too. I even got some Star Wars lego.  What a day.

I am hoping that my dry patch is over now. Maybe there won't be another Three Months Gone post in January. Now have a few books to review and maybe even play the odd game. What I would really like to be doing is a work bench update like this one but I don't currently have a bench to work on. Maybe that needs to change.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Three Months Gone

Has it really been three months since I posted? What started as a promising year on the blogging front has not fared quite so well. Time has been short and I haven't really had a chance to look in on the blog for a good long while. Partly because I haven't had time to do anything worth posting. Money is tight and I haven't really got a paint station, time to paint or anything new and interesting to concentrate on. For a while I couldn't even find any paints or brushes but that is not the case any more. So rather than post something dull, I haven't put anything up.

It is mainly my fault, well after a fashion. So I can't really complain.
I wish I had saved the Yossarian face-palm image for this post
But here I am. I am back on the laser cutting journey after losing all faith in the process. Having waited for three months for the damn machine to turn up I found out that it was somewhere, lost in transit. The suppliers seemed unable to tell me anything other than it was probably in transit and was maybe, almost certainly, possibly, somewhere near the Suez canal. Given that there was thousands of pounds involved they seemed ridiculously keen to give me my money back.

So this is the way things happen. I put a huge amount of effort in and then something way beyond my control destroys the plan. Fortunately I haven't wasted much in money but I have wasted the whole of the summer. As money has been tight since then this has been a bit of a bummer. I get well and truly pee'd off with existence and try to move on to something I think is a bit more practical. Like finding a real job. Which, given my current personal circumstances, is way more difficult than it sounds. Another month down, and a hundred jobs applied for and I am still struggling to find some work.

It is starting to feel like I am in a bit of a decaying orbit. This is better than it sounds. Sooner or later I am bound to hit the ground and then things will start happening. Rather than trying the economy route I am thinking maybe it's time to push the boat out. My problem all the way along has been that I am looking at getting a laser from China. Despite ordering from England, Germany and Belgium they are always from fecking China. This is potentially an expensive option but I am hoping I can lease one in the short term. Given that I am looking at an expensive machine I am no longer looking at a shed as a base of operations. Instead I think I have found a cheap place to set up a business.

In recent weeks I have done a bit of gaming again so I should post some stuff about that soon. Having found some cheap stuff in a game shop in Southport (which is a good FLGS) I have doubled my gaming spend for the year so far. On top of that I am expecting some goodies for my birthday so it might be worth watching this space.






Saturday, 14 July 2018

Boardgames - I (Almost) Never Get This Right

I like playing board games. It's something I like to do and would happily do more off. As with most things I wonder how good I am at playing them. Playing games multiple times gives you a certain degree of insight into them and I just don't play most games often enough. Over the years I have come to believe I have a certain amount of natural talent at playing game. However I don't learn from my mistakes. What this means is that the first time I play a game (assuming that everyone else either hasn't played it or hasn't played it much) I usually do pretty well and more often than not I win. When I play again, I winuch less often.

So I ask myself why. Do I just fail to learn from my mistakes? Or is it something else? I have come to the conclusion that I just don't play enough games.  There are a few games that I really like playing but to be honest what I enjoy about gaming is the company as much as the game. Playing games is less about winning and losing (especially when you are winning). It's always about a chance to meet up with old friends and meeting up with new ones.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Is It Worth It?

This one is all about money. We all like money don't we? So if anyone has any thoughts I would really appreciate you giving me the benefit of them.
Usually the only currency I am interested in is two pence pieces
So the times are a changing and I am about to go into business for myself. Laser cutting anything game related seems to be my first course of action. The name of the game in business is making money.  So I am a bit torn. This blog has always been about doing something to amuse myself. Why I want to do this I am not sure. Painting figures used to be enough but I have found that blogging about it seems to make me a better painter.

Or to put it another way, HELP.

And no I am not asking for a handout.

I am thinking maybe I should put AdSense on the blog. I am almost at the stage where five or ten pounds a month might suddenly be important. I guess there are other ways to make some money to. Has anybody done it? Did it make any money? Did it naff of the readers? How much of a pain was it? Are there any things I might need to know?

Hell I am even at the stage where I am considering putting up a YouTube channel seems worthwhile even if it's going to take a while to make money. I spent six months toing a desktop video editing course so I might as well put those skills to use.

On a wider scale than this, if anyone has any insights or tips about setting up a business I would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Yossarian, CorelDRAW And Positive Changes.

Mucking about with an image of Yossarian in Corel Draw is my way of saying I am not sure where the time as gone. I guess the character of Yossarian has become my internet totem. At the moment I am really feeling like the only sane man in an insane world. This feels like a good thing and I might have got a bit of my mojo back.
Things have very definitely settled down here in my new home. The face palm thing is more about me looking back at how things were and not about how things are. Perhaps, just perhaps, I have been a little bit dumb recently. In spite of some of the bad stuff going on, the good stuff is actually leaving me with a smile on my face most of the time. My only real problem at the moment is that I have nowhere to work. The place I am living in is a lot smaller than I had before and I currently have no workbench. I went to the Phalanx show last month and managed to buy a grand total of two figures. Since then I have acquired a freebie plastic robot creature. This brings my figure acquisition total to five figures for the year. It has become clear to me that I need to have a bit of a clear out. This is is some ways painful and in others quite liberating.

To be fair I am not blaming this on the move. A lot of good has come out of it. I don't really have a project. I started the year with a whole bunch of projects but I am not feeling any of them at the moment. The only thing I think I want to but is Kingdom Death: Monster but this is a huge amount of money to spend on figures when I am not doing any painting.

Lots of stuff looks like it might change in the next few months on top of all the changes that have already taken place. Whilst some of them might not seem so good and I looking for the best in all of the outcomes. One of those changes is that I am looking at starting up a business again.

So I have ordered a shed and a bigger and better laser cutter than I ordered last time. It's taken time to put a base in for the shed but real progress seems to be being made. There is even a grand plan and I am I thinking I could really make a go of things. The shed some give me some workspace and allow me to put some of the bulky stuff that is currently taking up space in it and free up some space in the house.

Monday, 21 May 2018

A Change in Circumstances

Well this was my workbench. As you can see it's pretty much empty. It's probably well on its way to being fibreboard now as it went into a recycling bin yesterday. Whilst I have never been the biggest fan of this set up it is a steller leapahead from what I have at the moment (which is pretty much nothing at all).

This is one of the casualties of my current situation and it is that situation that explains the six weeks since my last post. My relationship has broken down and this is the reason I have just moved house. The place I am in is much smaller, in a fairly mediocre area and my tenure here is somewhat tenuous.

Alongside the loss of my relationship and the loss of my home, I am going to have to significantly downgrade my car, I am losing my dog and may well lose my job and regardless of what happens my income has dropped significantly. I am currently living in a world of boxes and things on a creative front are not looking outstanding either.

Although I am not altogether enamoured about all of the details of my current situation there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Quite a bright light in fact. So whilst things are not all going my way I am pretty from being down for the count. There are a few plans afoot and I have a good feeling that any day now things are going to really go my way.

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Painting The Grenadiers, Now Technically Mirliton Miniatures

As time goes by I have gotten better at painting and whilst, I am no professional, I do okay at painting 28mm figures. Well I think so. The trouble with getting better is that everything takes that bit longer, When I was painting 15mm minis, which I used to do a lot, I could get ten figures done in an afternoon and they would look okay. I dare say if I worked all day I could paint ten 28mm figures fairly well. Sadly I never get all day.
A mixed bag. Reaper. Foundry, Grenadier, Foundry again and Grenadier again.
Last week was a bit of a bump for my painting plans. It was not the best week all round. This week, whilst better, is still looking like hard work. Today is looking like the only day I am going to get to do much. So I guess it's good I managed to finish enough figures to complete last week's target and this week's target as well. Then there is about another dozen or so that are pretty close to completion and another twenty based, primed and ready to go.

So as I can't paint I am watching YouTube. For the last couple of days I have been wanting to watch the original Dawn Of The Dead. It's still a classic and the benchmark for anything to do with zombies ever since. All in all not a bad night.
This should be the archetype for my next zombie

Monday, 2 April 2018

End Or Start Of The Week

This has not been my most productive week of miniature painting. It's still Easter weekend so I am calling this the end and start of the week and my habit is to review the week.
I only managed to get four figures finished from last week's roster. This fell short of my usual target of five figures. Given that I am repainting an titivating some figures I had much higher expectations. That said it has been an exceptionally crap week. Stuff has been going on this week and it's not been good. It's also a bad anniversary for me which has caused me to have an almost total lack of focus. Still there is a chance that I can catch up this week as a lot of the other figures I started are pretty close to being finished. The New Cruelty is not happy.

Still assuming that I am going to get somewhere with these figures, there is another bunch of figures to do. Whilst I was having a sort out the other week I came across a bunch of mutants which I think are Mongoose Miniatures Judge Dread Muties. These were done well over a decade ago and are pretty bad, hence the picture being at a bit of a distance. These should improve quite nicely.

On the health front I have managed a 5k run this week. Not my fastest performance ever but I managed it. The second one I have managed since taking my health a bit more seriously. After all that I can safely say that I am the lightest I have been this decade. So on balance I have managed to get through the week

Sunday, 1 April 2018

Happy Easter

Happy chocolate production industry windfall day to you all.

Seriously, happy Easter to you all. Just got a few more chocolate eggs to eat.

Friday, 30 March 2018

Defining Moments For Me In The Gaming Hobby Part Two

So I thought I would look at the games and what has influence my gaming life in adulthood. See what you think?
When I started my degree I met up with Jim and we played a lot of Traveller. Jim's other love was 6mm WW2. He had Brits and Germans and plenty of other stuff but no Americans. So I embarked on a crusade of trying to be able to play just about every formation which I failed. At the time the money I spent on Heroics and Ros seemed obscene at the time. We played a lot of Command Decision, the only game I think I was ever any good at and I lost, a lot. I dipped my toe in again a few years, on a smaller scale, but using GHQ figures. Still love it.
After I started work and got my own PC I started playing UFO: Enemy Unknown but you probably know it as X-Com. This was my first computer gaming obsession. I spent days playing it. I have gone on to play this game over and over. I have completed it well over a dozen times. Although I haven't played all the games in the franchise I have played nearly all of them. This has been another crossover experience. This has become a game I want to do on tabletop.
After finishing my degree I had a fairly stable gaming group. Most of the GMing was done by Mike and Mike loved Cyberpunk. This is a game I had looked and I had read the William Gibson novels and I liked them. The system was okay and I was more into sci-fi than fantasy games so it was a win win for me. What really made the game tho was Mike. He created a great game with plenty of paranoia. It was the kind of campaign that still lives in my head and my main character in that is still one of my all time faves.
Fallout came out not long after UFO. This was another game I have played and played. I have always considered myself as a child of the apocalypse that never came. The world of Fallout would have been one that I could have carved a life out for myself, if the worst had come to the worst. I had read some post-apocalyptic books and  looked at games like Aftermath and Gamma World. This has started a lifelong love of the genre as a gaming arena.

We moved on from that to Harn. Again this was with Mike as a GM. This was another great campaign. As a team we really gelled, apart from one of the mages who had a habit of killing his mates with a crazy  powerful spell. This is a game I really brought into. My character is this was one of my most beloved. Sadly, due to player pressure it was turned into a D&D game as 3rd edition had just come out at the time. This gutted my character and the game for me. I ran it myself a couple of times and it has become one of those games that I would really like to play again.
Conspiracy X was the first real campaign I ran as an adult. Although I guess inspired by The X-Files it was it's own game. There were aliens but the main focus was on the supernatural. This game has over 50 detailed NPCs and a database of well over 600 hundred entries. I spent years of using all my gaming time devoted to this.  I had player characters from one season battle their characters from the season before. It went on for a few years and has been reborn a couple of times and had a few special one off sessions. Although I love all the stuff I have one this is the one I have the softest spot for.
Savage Worlds came along after an introduction by a friend of mine called Mark. This has become a staple of the games I have been running for over a decade. It is a great, yet simple set of rules. Given that I play in an environment where the games change frequently, it is even more ideal. It has become the backbone of the Viking Game I am running on and off and what I have aimed to convert all my other games into.
When Fallout 3 came out I was hooked. It had been a decade it more since I last played the game and I kind of missed it. It took a game that I loved and turned into an open world shooter with a lot of choices to make. I have played it through to the end multiple times and still not finished it off. The post apocalyptic vibe is still one I love. New Vegas and Fallout 4 have just reinforced that for me. This became a game I spent years trying to reproduce. The figures I have for this are all in 15mm and that hasn't really got much of a look in for a long time. I keep hoping that Bethesda is going to release another game although I guess I might be a bit hopeful.
I remember seeing a promo video for Skyrim in HMV and being hooked immediately. It is perhaps the perfect fantasy setting for a computer game and to me at least the definition of open world game. Whilst I couldn't say for certain I am pretty sure this is the individual game that I have the longest time investment in, although it may be UFO. There is just so much to do. After all this time I am still finding stuff to do in the game. There is DLC I haven't even touch yet.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

Defining Moments For Me In The Gaming Hobby Part One

I thought I might give a meme another go. For a while now I have been thinking about what influenced me to be the gamer I am today. There have been a huge amount of influences over the years and I have been working out what they were. So I guess this is where I start. Well I wrote a list and figured that it was a massive piece of work so I decided  to split it into two. This part is really about my childhood. I will do a post about adult life next.

It starts with my first day at school. At nursery school I had played with some Britains toy soldiers but they hadn't really stuck with me. One of the kids in my class had brought his brothers painted Airfix Romans with him. I remember them looking really good to my five year old eyes and losing one of them down a crack in a step as we threw stones at them to knock them down. As I recall he got into a world of trouble. This is really where it all started for me.
As I got a little older I moved into  buying them myself. Mostly in the form of WW2 HO/OO figures. Over time I moved onto the 1/32nd scale stuff. I ended up with huge numbers of these. I suspect the owner of the house I grew up in is still finding them in the garden. If there is one thing that still makes me think back to my early childhood it is the box of British Paratroopers. About the only 28mm modern figures I have painted have been paras.
My later childhood was dominiated and I mean dominated by one thing alone. Star Wars. It was all I had heard about for months and it was all I ever dreamed of. Playing with the toys is a guess where I learned about narrative. There were heroes and villains and sometimes the villains were in black and white. I has been a constant in my life, I see relics of my life with this film every day.

Tunnels and Trolls was the first role-playing game I bought and I have mentioned my love of it before. I got my dad to go to Game in Liverpool which I am always grateful for. It's tongue in cheek approach still impacts what I do as a GM today. As rulebooks go, it is perhaps the one I have read the most. You just have to look at it to see how loved this book once was. It was the solo gamebooks from T&T that created the Fighting Fantasy surge of the mid eighties which was also a lot of fun.

Reading the T&T books got me into playing the games but it was seeing the citadel miniatures fantasy figures that really sold me on the who hobby. The first figures I ordered from GW had a leaflet with them. This leaflet was so well read that the paper just wore away at the folds.

The next load of GW figures I ordered came with a catalogue. This to got read and re-read. As well as all the lists of figures and pictures it had the first painting guide I had read along with types for customising figures. For me this represents a golden age of figures. It is the figures from this book that still have the biggest pul for me.

One holiday I found a shop that sold so roleplaying books so I brought the original D&D basic set. I spent the rest of the holiday creating characters and running them through The Keep On The Borderlands. Back then I kind of loved the game then but I have had a real falling out with it since. D&D, whilst it has improved, has become about selling the next book and the next, each in turn allowing the creation of stronger characters which create an unpleasant kind of arms race. What D&D did do for me was give me Imagine Magazine. This really was one of the best RPG magazines of all time and I still refer to it even now.

As part of what I was doing I kept buying wargaming magazines as that was all that was really available. As a christmas present I got some 15mm figures and I especially fell in love with the Navwar ECW. This started a love affair with not only the period but reading about the periods I love. The first Osprey books I got were about this period and I would borrow books from the library to.

In the months after that I purchased the Traveller Starter set. In the years that followed I hand generated a whole sector and did a few detailed subsectors. A few years ago I threw about a card filing system with two hundred hand generated characters. I miss them now. A decade or so ago I made it a mission, still to be completed, to collect all the classic GDW stuff and anything else I could get hold of from the classic era. It is a game I have played and run a lot. I found a fellow obsessive about the rules in Jim and we still talk about the good old days even now.

As I got more and more into sci-fi the film Alien became a big pull. I read the novel and got a books about the set and costume design for the film. I was way too young to watch the film at the time it came out but remember sneaking around to watch it late at night on the 14" black and white TV. This film caused me to create my own Traveller universe just to fulfil the fantasy. It is a series of films that I have watched a lot (well maybe not the third one...travesty). I have brought figures and played board games, role-playing games, card games and even computer games.  Whilst it isn't Star Wars it is a close second.

In the first issue of Miniature Wargames had a sci-fi ship to ship combat system. I used this ruleset to make my own game. Counters were made from cornflake packets and games were played out on a large piece of paper with a hand drawn grid. I set up the different species as different fantasy races. This is probably because I didn't have much imagination.

Whilst I was doing my A levels videos were all the rage. One of my mates rented Dawn Of The Dead. The film was a revelation. Survival and horror. It made me a life long Romero fan. It was a world I could relate to and problems that I could actually sort out. Zombie horror films became my main source entertainment for two decades. Later on computer games like Resident Evil and Dead Rising have occupied me dir many days.

This one is an odd one. 40k was a great game in its day. Sadly that day was really in 1987. It's figures were a change and I loved them at the time. The races were fantasy one and this appealed to me at the time. What was I saying about not having much imagination? It seems like I was not the only one. I spent a lot of money on the figures at the time. In many ways it was this game and the figures I painted that got me through some of my darkest teenage years. It is also a time I lament. White Dwarf had become a staple of my life and it was around this time that it, like the shops, changed into something I started not to like.

More tommorrow.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Really Not A Tabletop Post

As ever the painting of figures, specifically post-apocalypse and modern ish 28mm figures continues. My blogging mojo and my work ethic is definitely back in its right place. When I have had a moment I have been able to do a bit of writing and game prep for games that don't look like they are about to come off. Even so I enjoyed doing it. Although I have only finished the one figure today, the real world has been getting in the way and this evening has kind of blown me out of the water.

I am pretty sure I have compared what I do here to the nerd version of the book Bridget Jones' Diary, or rather I have indicated a wish for it not to turn into that kind of thing. Today, having looked at what is going on in my life I am pretty sure that I have got it all wrong. It's been a of week of hard work and disappointment and I am really hacked off with it all. The phrase "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" springs to mind.

It is time for me to make a decision about a few things. At the moment people are telling me to do one thing or the other. The next thing I know they are pulling the rug from underneath me. Now I don't know what to do. Whilst there are a number of options open to me they all require a very ballsy decision. My aim was not to gamble about my life but to ramble about it. At the moment it feels like it's about time to spin the wheel.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Workbench Update

Really not a lot to post today. I have done a fair bit but I can't say that would actually notice much unless you looked really hard. Most of what I have done would constitute thinking and that does not make for an especially interesting blog post.
I really should put some of this paint away

As part of the workbench clean up I have been putting things into various forms of storage. In the big picture a move may happen this year and I would like to be ready of it does. One of the areas that I am lacking suitable storage for is larger figures. I am mainly thinking about base size and overall height. I have a fair number of figures with 40-50mm bases and up to 60mm high. My only current plan is to build something. The current plan is to build something out of foam core and for it to be about double the height of my existing storage tray and the same overall base dimension. If anyone has any other ideas, please let me know.

Sunday, 25 March 2018

So The End Of The Week (Is Nigh)

So I have painted some more Future Skirmish Savages and I am quite happy with them. They are nicely complicated models which have given me a whole load of ideas. Whilst I have been painting them I have also been writing up a bit of a background for them as well. I am mainly thinking about my Underground background as I have been going along. This has also inspired me to do a similar background for the Cultists I did a few weeks ago. Which in turn lead to ideas about raiders, cleansers, bygones (mutated neanderthal/chimpanzee ish throwbacks), crazies and wilders. These should all fit in with my figure painting plans. I have also been painting some other Grenadier figures. Sadly I am not so happy with them.
My plan is to get some more but money is a bit tight at the moment so I might have to put that plan off for a bit. Another five or six of the right figures would be enough to have all the savages I might want.

During the week I was doing some sorting out and found most of the rest of the Copplestone / Grenadier figures I have. I have started work on some of them and have some more for next week. This has given me a bit of a first world problem. I have started using old GW plastic bases for sci-fi stuff lately but all the older stuff is on 2p sized bases. This is kicking me in my aesthetic core.

Anyway The New Cruelty is happy. I have finished eight figures this week and there are a load of figures very close to being done. I also have some stuff I want to work on now. I have managed to get most of my health goals done with the odd near miss. I haven't spent much, if any, time playing video games this week. This has given me time to do the writing.

The post-apocalypse vibe is pulling me in again. I am looking at figures and even thinking in terms of terrain in a serious way. In part I am think about Summerland and Underground but even Fallout would be a nice game to get back into although that would have to be a different game than I originally had planned. My original game had involved a lot of big battles and I am not sure how I would manage to get hold of the number of figures (I think it was over two hundred) that I would need. That said, I have other projects on the go that I currently have figures for.

So next week is looking like more of the old Grenadier / Copplestone stuff and maybe planning some terrain.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Too Early Or Too Late - When Collections Get Out Of Hand

The clocks have gone forward and it is now officially very late. I haven't posted yet as I have been out having fun. I suspect Sunday is going to be a lazy day.

Although I have done a bit of painting today I have been mainly sorting through figures. I found a load of stuff that I thought I had lost. Along with all the stuff I have put away recently my eyes have been opened up to my collection.

The truth is I have no idea what I actually have. The amount of unpainted lead I have is obscene and the amount of plastic seems to be growing even faster. I think I need a proper storage system.  Not just for what I have painted but for the stuff that is yet to be painted/ Perhaps in general I need to review what I actually have a look at the gaps in the collection that need filling before I buy anything else.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Profound And Vivid Insights

Whilst I am prone to introspection I tend not to do I have spent a good part of the day trying to tart up some more of the old Grenadier figures in my collection. The difference I am noticing is fairly frightening. The stuff I have been repainting recent was either not painted by me or was painted twenty years ago. I was not surprised when it was a bit kack.

Today I am repainting stuff I have painted about five years ago. This was when I was first getting into painting 28mm again for the first time in years. All my painting for a long time before that had been 6mm or 15mm with the odd foray into 28mm. So I was surprised when I realised how bad my painting was five years ago. It is almost easier to recover the stuff that is twenty years old.

Now I am not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand I am quite pleased about how far I have come on my skill building journey. On the other hand I am a little disappointed in myself. I thought I had more talent. Now as I recall it I did push through the painting queue at the time because I had a game to run. I have to say that I thought I had done better back then.

Anyway, I found some foam trays. For months I have been after buying more foam trays. Now I have found ten empty ones. This means that I have finally got somewhere safe to put most of the figures I have painted. This has made me think about some of the large figures I have painted later. This might be a project for the near future.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Detailing And Moving Onto The Next Project

The Future Savages are doing okay. They don't seem to have gotten especially more detailed but I seem to have worked on them for ages.
Perhaps I have spent too much time trying to figure out what to do next. The background projects are still there but they are not really keeping my interest. There are plenty of figures available to paint but most of them are part of what I expected to be much bigger projects. I have a Skaven Blood Bowl Team but I am missing a load of players so I don't want to start it.
So I went ambling around trying to find some more storage space and I found some more Grenadier figures (and a few Foundry figures as well). These were painted quite a while ago. More recently than some of the other Grenadier figures I have put up on the blog. So I guess that I am looking at some more repaints. I seem to remember doing them in a hurry about five years ago. I am hoping that they will look okay with a bit more work and hopefully my skills have improved a little. At the time I was painting almost exclusively 15mm figures and I have learnt a lot about painting 28mm since.

Tomorrow I am hoping to finish off the Savages and more onto at least some of the above figures.

Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Blogging Mojo

My blogging mojo seems to be back. Last year I posted almost every day and on average just a little over once per day. This year started with an ambitious plan which has been a little less auspicious. I am starting to see a bit of a turn around and I started to think about how and why. So I thought about how I was doing this and I thought I would share it with you.

I initially started with a much smaller plan. Most years before 2017 I have had a month where I have gone out to write a blog post every day. This was down to having a reason to do it. One year I posted very little across the year. In 2015 I had the sum total of 25 posts. My plan became that in one month in 2016 I would do more posts than I had done in the previous year. This gave me a great feel good effect. Things dropped off for a bit after that but I still ended up doing three times as many posts that year as I had done the year before. I think the key here is small, achievable goals and follow this up with other small achievable goals. In 2017 the plan became to do the same thing in January. Then it became a few more months, and a few more. Then it got to a nice round number of posts. Swapping and changing all the while.

As part of what I have been doing I created a challenge for myself which I ended up calling The New Cruelty. This gives me, amongst other things, a minimum number of figures to paint every week and an intention to play at least one game per week. This gives me something to blog about. If there is always progress, then there is always something to look at and talk about.

This year has been hard because I knew it was going to be difficult to top last years numbers. If you are having a similar problem then learn to accept it. It is what it is. Find a way to do something without over facing yourself and keep doing it. What I have done has taken a bit of time to work up to it. I am not sure I will keep up the almost daily posting but I am looking to post much more often. Maybe you want to take smaller steps if not baby steps.

Over the years I have suffered from what I call Project Fatigue. In terms of what I paint, I like to mix up what figures are on the bench. If there is a painting event I might get involved in that to, especially if it is of interest to me and it's not something I would paint all the while. This keeps me interested in what I am doing. Chopping and changing might not work for you if you really like one area of the hobby. However you may wish to reframe that if you are painting an army or armies. You might just want to doing something a bit different, chopping and changing to keep you interest up. Another way is to have what I call Background Projects. Figures that are not really my main focus but fulfil one of my over all goals. They are there when I fancy a break or I end up with too much paint on the palette. This gives me other options too blog about.

Having specific things going on during the week is always a big help. In the last few years I have had a regular game night and spent some time at the local FabLab. This gives me something else to do and a whole wealth of subjects to talk about.

Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Future Savages

These are more of the old Grenadier (Mirliton/Moonraker) Future Skirmish Savages. I have decided that I really like the aesthetic and thought about getting some more. When I worked out what this would cost (along with what I would order from Copplestone) the cost came out to well over £300 for about 200 figures. So not a project for this year and the apparent shortages of funds.
The figures have progress nicely. I am already at the ink stage and have a few more colours to do. Then on to the highlighting. So currently reasonably confident that these will be finished before the week is out. Then it would be a case of working out what to move onto next.

Monday, 19 March 2018

Beginning The Process All Over Again

So I have eight figures from the old Grenadier Future Skirmish range to repaint. Not happy about the fact that they are repaints but I am hoping that might make it easier. Last week's experience says that there are pros and cons, maonly cons.
I like the figures and the Mark Copplestone sculpting vibe in general. Obviously there is plenty in this range and a lot of almost identical stuff in the Copplestone Castings Range. There is enough choice of figures for me to do a lot of what I want. I can see me revisiting these figures in the near future.

These figures should not take too long, at least I hope so. As my plan has been  to clear my work bench I wasn't expecting there to be too much to do. It is clear that I am already developing a whole load of new background projects to fill in any gaps I might have.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

End Of The (Most Productive) Week

This week has not really been about  painting 28mm miniatures. It's been about  me finishing of what I have started. Whilst i haven't finished off every half paint figure on the bench, I have come pretty close. Some are abandoned rather than finished but not in bad condition all the same.
A couple of years ago I got these Grenadier tribal type figures from a bring and buy. There are fifteen of them in all so these are the first batch. I am not generally a big fan of repainting figures but I thought at the time I could maybe strip them. Upon close inspection I thought that the paint might be enamel so I decided against it. Repaints rarely turn out especially well (see the Grenadier figures a few weeks ago) but these didn't turn out especially badly. From a distance they look okay.
The Blood Bowl Troll has been sat around since the beginning of last year. I have fiddled with it every now and again. So in the spirit of what I am doing I decided to add some finishing details. I could go a lot further with this figure but I think it is time to call it a day.
There is a whole load of scatter terrain to finish off from earlier in the week. This is what I have finished so far. Most of this is relatively recent although I think the well was brought in the mid nineties. Some is Ainsty, some Scotia, some Midlam and some Ristul Market. Just glad to have them done really.
The stone monster (golem or construct) is a Reaper Bones mini. I have painted one of these before. It's a nice easy paint job. I got this at the last show I went to in December.
The de-bearded carrion crawlers came from a D&D boardgame that I got at a fete for a pound a couple of years ago. Realistically I think these were the only two figures worth having from the set and I suspect the rest of the game, with maybe the odd exception. The type of plastic is a bigger to paint but I have learnt a few new tricks since starting on this.
I painted four actual fantasy miniatures this week. Three dwarves and a human priest. The dwarves are two from Midlam and one from Northstar and I think the cleric is from Gripping Beast. Some of these were not actually on the bench and the blacksmith and king had only been started recently but in my head they still count. I guess none of these are more than three years old.
The Ver'men (not Skaven) priest was started this week. I found myself with some paint to spare. Just a quick no frills paint job. I have a few more of these guys hanging around and I am not sure that I am that inspired to paint them but I can see them on the bench already. I think I got these last year or the year before.
Finally there are four Cold War Miniatures zombies. Nice minis but a little bit small compared to some. They do however fit with a lot of newer minis and you cannot fault them for character. The figures are probable ten plus years old and have been on the bench for at least five years.

As far as The New Cruelty goes this has been my best week for ages. I would argue that I have completed the equivalent of twenty five figures this week. I have done a fair bit of exercise this week including my first 5k run in over 7 years. I have kept up on the less vigorous exercise and kept to my step count. I have played one boardgame and I have even managed to do a blog post every day this week, for the first time this year I think. The New Cruelty is satisfied. Ish.

Saturday, 17 March 2018

There Was A Reason For This Post

I remember waking up with a really good idea for a post this morning. I should have written it down.

The day has worked out quite well and I think I am getting closer to my eventual painting goal for the week. At close of play today I am pretty relaxed about there being almost no half painted figures on the workbench. Oddly, I am less relaxed because I have no clear plan for the next project. This morning I spent a bit of time trying to figure out what to do next. Having gone through all the figure storage draws I have, I drew a complete blank.

Despite saying I was going to finish everything off before starting something else I have found another three figures to paint. Both had kind of been started but almost nothing had been done. They did get finished very quickly although they were easy paint jobs really. To be honest I am not sure if they spoke to me or I just had some spare paint that suited them so I started them.

Currently I am wracking my brains for what to do next. I went back on the blog to look for my annual The Plan post from last year yesterday. This is turning into a somewhat frugal year for me. So no new figures and all I see are figures that I want to buy.

So the current plan is I have some more of these old Grenadier (now Mirliton) tribal figures to re-paint. I did think about striping them but I am never sure that this is a good idea having had a couple of very bad (read costly and psychically painful) experiences with stripping figures so I have stick with the repaints. My plan for the was originally for the Fallout game. The game has a number of tribal groupings which are essentially native American on origin but not exclusively so. These figures give a nice evocation of that. The plan had been to get some Apache figures from Artizan. I already have a few of them but wanted to do a bit of conversion as well to make them look more the part. Another game I have worked on was a game set in a post-apocalyptic London called Underground and these figures would be perfect for that. Maybe Titansgrave as well.

This all got me back to one of my biggest problems at the moment, admittedly it's a first world problem. I don't have the time for it and I don't have any regular people to play with. Most of my inspiration comes from playing console and PC games and, thanks the the missus, my console has been disconnected since November. My head is constantly flowing with ideas for games and they all want to come out but there is currently no outlet for it.

Maybe I should get back to Fallout or some form of post-apocalypse gaming. Over the years I has really been my first love. Fantasy RPG is good and I like my Viking Game  but it's the events after a disaster that make my RPG mojo let loose.

So, after a little bit of using the blog as therapy, maybe I will get back to dealing with the apocalypse then.

Friday, 16 March 2018

Blood Bowl - Doom Lords

Blood Bowl is definitely one of my favourite games. Board games and figures and almost certainly the odd death....what  more could a tabletop gamer want.

There are many blood bowl players out there who love a nice friendly game with a certain amount of strategy. I am partial to this on occasion to. The teams that have been brought out so far are all about the finer points of the game and may even on occasion wish to pass the ball. This is what my games used to be about when I used to play older editions of Blood Bowl. Skaven, various elves, dwarves, humans and even orcs have a few options on attacks and defence and I would make the most of all of them.
This all stopped when I played a game with a Chaos team. Offence is all about the grind. Put almost all your players in a cage and push on through. Defence is all about the grind. Hit em. Hit em. Hit em again. The trouble is my old Chaos team looks a little small compared to the new figures.

But is looks like they are coming. The Doom Lords are on their way. Sadly there isn't much detail out there yet but I remain hopeful. I would guess it will be another sprue of six with probably 2 chaos warriors and 4 beastmen. There may be a bit of variety in there.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

Just So I can Have Something To Aspire To

28mm figure painting is my life at the moment Not much else is getting a look in, not tabletop and not console or PC gaming. This last couple of weeks has really been about tidying up my work bench. Well more about putting on some final details so I can clear the piles of figures that are either outstanding for some time or just need a few details finishing off. Some of these figures have been on the bench for more than four years. I guess if I had a more immediate use for them they would have been done ages ago.
Anyway I thought about doing a bench clear up. And this is what happened. This is as tidy as the bench is ever likely to be so I thought I would put a picture on the blog to remind me. That said this pictures was taken four days ago.

And four days later...
New stuff is already starting to creep in not to mention the fact that I am already getting close to not being able to see the bench again.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

RIP Stephen Hawking

It's amazing how quickly bad news circulates the globe these days. At the first hint of bad news it is there staring at you on a news feed somewhere. before you know it, even Wikipedia has been updated, usually before the news has had chance to sink in.
Most of my inspirations, I will use that word rather that heroes, have been science fiction writers. But there are a few scientists out there that have had a big impact on me. I guess the first physics book I read, other than a textbook at school, was A Brief History Of Time by Stephen Hawking. The book was everywhere in the late eighties and a book I read for kicks, rather than studying for my degree. Over the years I have read a few more of his books including The Universe In A Nutshell and A Briefer History of Time.

Physics was not really my thing in school, but over the decades I have become more and more interested in it. Most of this is down to Mr Hawking. More than physics, he was a force for good in the world and never missed the opportunity for a moment of fun it would appear. So it is sad to hear that he has died today. I can think of few really great minds in my lifetime and he is really the only one who springs to mind when I think about the word genius.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Early Work

I got a bit of time this morning and I finished off a few details on some scatter terrain for my fantasy RPG games. I have moved on to other stuff now but much of that is getting close to being finished.
I think the chests are from Midlam Miniatures, the logs are from Ristuls Extraordinary Market and the other stuff is from Ainsty Castings.

Monday, 12 March 2018

All Over Again

This is going to be a week of change. Hectic, painful but ultimately for the best. Still the week begins again, all over again. Here is what is on the table. I don't expect to finish it all but I remain hopeful.
I have already managed to finish off some terrain pieces and perhaps one figure with a few more fairly close. My plan, to only work on what was on the bench has kind of waivered with a couple of extra figures now on the table. I am hoping that these will be quick wins.

So as with any busy week, it has started off with a plan that I have kind of broken already, I am expecting it to be a productive week.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

End Of The Week All Over Again

This week has all been about desk clean up. I have an unspoken rule that nothing new hots the bench until everything that is on it is complete. I have already managed about a dozen figures in the week and have finished off a few more over the weekend.

The Frostgrave soldiers are a bit of a let down. Aside from being tiny compared to everything else (including the metal Frostgrave stuff) they haven't turned out quite so well. The word I am thinking is abandoned rather than finished. There are a few nice details on them but in the main I am say "Meh" to myself over and over.

The Reaper giant demon is a much better proposition. I really like the figure and can see a few uses for it. In general I like the reaper bones range. The detail is good (as good as the metal figures) and of course the price is right.

The remaining two human figures are also Frostgrave miniatures. All of these have been hanging around since I got the Nickstarter. The one on the middle bottom row has been on the bench is various states of incompletion for over two years no. I did not find either of these two figures especially interesting to paint. They have turned out alright though.

So in the round for the week that is 18 figures down. In my way of thinking the demon is probably the painting equivalent of 3 figures and the ogre/giant orc/goblin is about two. So call that 21 figures for the week. The New Cruelty is very satisfied.

To be honest it's been a crap week for me. One element of my job has come to a head and that looks like it's about to resolve itself but not in a good way. This has meant I have been really busy and I suspect that I am now going to be skint for a while as well.  In general it has been a week full of arguments and upset and the fact today has been mother's day has really not helped me out. So all in all I am hoping for a better week next week but I am not extremely hopeful.