Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Endgame - End Of The Line - No Spoilers

My world is full of disappointment. Many of my long loved IPs have turned on me and left me feeling kind of blue. I'm looking at you Star Wars and Fallout. I guess everything has its time and will eventually fall away and loose it's impact. A few others crap out fairly quickly and some take a decade or more.
I have been following the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man came out. Although I have not loved every single film they have all been good in their own way. Entropy has been a terrible thing and I was expected it to fail and die eventually.

Last night I went to see Avengers: Endgame. The last Avengers film had set up a high level of expectation for me. I was concerned that the season had peaked too early. Endgame had a lot to live up to and there was obviously going to be a lot to fit in in a short time. Well I say a short time, it was three hours long. With many of the characters dead it was time to see what Disney were going to do. I mean how badly could they screw it up (yes I have seen The Last Jedi and yes that was sarcasm).

So I sat through the trailers wondering how good or bad things were going to be. I had been sat on the fence for a few days before hand.  So there I sat, waiting to find out.

Disappointment was not the word I would have chosen. It was a bit of a roller coaster in fact. The plot was good. the characters were the ones acting like the ones we know and have come to love. Triumph and tragedy is all around. Tony and Steve ae still at loggerheads but they manage to work through it. It almost managed to bring a tear to my eye a few times. It is well worth the money.

The only thing I didn't like was there was no easter egg at the end. I know there is a Spiderman film on the cards (I like the actor and he is the best Spiderman I have seen but it's still Spiderman) but the absence of the easter egg makes me wonder about the future of the franchise. This is more than ten years down the line and the actors may have aged just a little bit but I really love these guys.  I cannot help but think about what comes next and, being a true fan, I worry.

Monday, 29 April 2019

Start Of The Week - Higher Hopes

The painting of 28mm figures is still my life and this week it's mostly focussed on fantasy RPG stuff. As I am about to go to bed I figured that I should post what I am expecting to do this week.
Firstly there are more of the lizardmen I started batch painting last week. There are another 12 on the table which are already petty close to being finished. I expect these to be completed by close of play tomorrow. There is a little more work in most of these as they are all metal figures and they had a lot more detail in them. They are much nicer than the plastic ones. If things go well I might just start off the last twelve and I may even finish them off. These are nice simple figures to paint especially the plastic ones.
Almost two years ago I started painting some black elves. I liked these guys at the time and wanted to get some more so I did at the end of 2017. Although none of these are strictly speaking black elves (I think they are actually high elves) they do actually fit the aesthetic of my Viking game a bit better. Whilst I am not sure about the pointy hats they seem to work with what I want. They are a bit more involved that the lizardmen and will take a bit more effort.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

End Of The Week - Better than expected (37)

It's not been such a bad week for figure painting. Most of what I have been working on for the last three weeks is now done and somenew stuff has made it through to completion. I am not feeling finishing the last two figues off for some reason but I am sure I will get round to them soon enough. I did start the Lizardmen skinks and have finished the first twelve and I have started the next dozen which are well on the way to being finished.

Skinks. There are rather a lot of them and more yet to do. These are a nice easy paint job as they are mostly low detail plastic. There will be more next week and probably the week afte that too. I now really hate turquoise.
This guy is the Frostgrave Snow Troll. He looks better here than he does in real life. I can see a few gaming uses for him so he seemed like a worthwhile project.
These are all Wargames Foundry  Street Violence figures. I got a job lot of eBay more than ten years ago when I was foing a lot of moden role playing. This is a nice range of figures and relatively easy to paint.

More Street Violence figues from the Foundry. These come from a coupleof different sets but as they are all dressed in green this seemed like the place to put them. Thre is no real purpose other than I was tired of them sitting there.
 Artizan designs is where I got these cowboys from. Thy have just been sat around fo a while, the best part of five years I guess. When I first started painting 28mm figues for the blog I think it was some moe of the figues I got with these. How times fly.
This is really a mixed bag. On the far left is a Frostgrave vampire. I don't mcuh like this figure and I struggled to get him to look right. Second left is a Reaper gladiator whcih I got about fifteen years ago making it the oldest of todays crop. I am not sure about the craz lady on the inner right but I think she came fom Black Tree Designs. On the outer left is the latest of what I have been calling the last of the Viking project. This figure came from Gripping Beast about five years ago when I first started the project off.

There is supposed to be another pictue here but it seems to be having problems loading it up. It's another four Street Violence figures. Some are meant to be members of the A-Team from the eighties which I guess dates the range or at least the designer. he others are just some random figues I got in the bulk buy.

I guess all of the Foundry stuff was set to do double duty for modern and post-apocalypse stuff. On the whole I like thema lot and they fit well with my Copplestone stuff. Definately more at the heroic end of the market.

Generally I would call this a good week but it has been a grind. The New, New Cruelty is happy enough. In genreal I have been just about okay with what I have achieved this year. I am glad I have almost finished most of what I have set out to do and I am now almost back on track again if not still slightly ahead. Given that I usually class figures like the skinks as half a figure I am still behind (should be closer to 31 and not 37).

Getting There - The Subtle Art Of Getting Figure Painting Done Right

A few years ago I set myself the goal of becoming a better miniature painter. This has done a lot for my skill level and my enjoyment of the hobby. Life is struggle. The last three weeks of figure painting has reminded me of that.

This week has been a reminder of that. On the plus side a lot of the figures I have been working on were a lot closer to completion than I thought. So far I have gotten through about two thirds of what was on the bench with much of the rest being being close to completion. If I didn't have a magnifying lamp showing up every last blemish I would say that they were done.

Realistically it has been the Malifaux figures that are taking up the bulk of the work. I like them and want to do a good job on them but they are taking ages. There is a lot of detail crammed into not a huge amount more space than you find on a regular model. I don't much like the way the do faces, on the old metal figures at least, and getting the skin right on them has been a beast. There is one figure in particular that I haven't started yet because the thought of gluing two spindly arms to two spindly hands carry swords (and not smashing them of in the process of painting) is really putting me off.

This has been a struggle. I will come back to the Malifaux figures but it might be a few weeks. Fir the sake of my own sanity it's time for a few quick wins.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Start Of The Week - Curse Of The Lizardmen

I get round to finishing things off. Most people do. However I finish things off eventually. There is always a plan usually made with good intentions. I guess like many of you a large number of of my plans involve clearing or at least making some headway into the lead mountain.
Even though I already have nearly thirty figures on the go I am aiming to start some more this week. Using the good weather last week I did some priming and one of the things I did was to prime some old lizardmen skinks. This was on top of the stuff I blogged about 18 months ago. These were an idea for figures I had years ago and I have some of their bigger replacements as well which I have had for a very long time.

The tribal vibe works well with a lot of fantasy games.  Not mine really but this is part of the plan to have figures for all the major races. They used to be one if my favourite Blood  Bowl teams as well.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Happy Eastra

No I didn't spell it wrong, the church did when they co-opted a fertility festival notable for eggs and rabbits celebrating a goddess of that name. But what the hell it's all about the chocolate eh? So I hope you have all enjoyed your chocolate and thought about the things that you should do on days like today. Ihope you and yours are well and that you have concentrated on what is important about today, the people you care about.

End Of The Week - So Close (3)

The first week of Easter hasn't been such a bad time. It's been quite good in fact. Having sent my mate on his way on Monday the week has been a fairly busy one. I have even managed to get a few quick games in at a new board game cafe called Board Beans which seems like somewhere I will be spending a while. I like my board games and they do a good hot chocolate and an IPA made out of cornflakes. What is not to like. For the most part I have done right by The New, New Cruelty so not such a bad week. If have kept up with my blogging, exercise and have not spent the day surfing.
The downside is that I haven't finished much but I have finished some stuff. Three fantasy era zombies. These have been around for a while and I haven't really painted them because I have plenty of zombies and they don't fit in with the rest of what I have. I have no idea where they came from and I guess they have rarely been far from the bench for about four years. The New, New Cruelty is not very happy with me.
I say "So Close" because much of what is still on the bench is petty close to being completed. To be fair to myself I think I over estimated the work that needed doing on them. There seems to have been a few mistakes that I have had to rectify which always takes some time. Tonight I have put some serious work in but this was probably the first time I can say that this week. I am not really sure what next week holds but I hope that I will finish off what I still have to do and start something else. Hopefully I can find something that is a bit more uniform which is always quicker to paint.

Friday, 19 April 2019

The Things I Have Learned About Priming

Priming is something that most mini painters hate. It is a chore and a massive drain on time  and energy to do on a large scale. Since the advent of reasonably durable spray varnishes, I have even gone through periods where I didn't prime at all (it is not as bad an idea as you think but not something I do any more especially on highly detailed figures). There are any number of people that will tell you how to do it their way. I am more about the pros and cons.


The Brush
Traditionally (well maybe historically) priming is done with a brush. This has the advantage of ensuring that all the crevices are covered with paint. The main downfall, to my mind at least, is that it takes a lot of time. This is made up for by cheapness and the ability to do it any time of year. You are also doing it with a brush which rarely gives a fully even coat. I generally only do things this way when I have spare paint on the palette.

The Rattle Can
Rattle cans have been around for a long time and they became more of a thing during the nineties. It is much quicker than painting. You generally get a more even smoother, more even coat of paint to work on. Some brands of paint come colour matched between rattle can and acrylic paint. On the downside you generally have what you have in the house or have to buy it. It is not something you are going to do in the house or even close to the house. You really don't want to breath the stuff in so you need a well ventilated area or a face mask. Rattle can propellent is a nasty enduring smell and you really don't want to breath it in. Manipulating the figures to get the paint in the crevices is relatively hard work. Spraying in cold weather (anything below 15 centigrade or about 60 fahrenheit) is a really bad idea and the effects can be awful. Some types may require higher temperatures so always check the back of the can. Rattle cans are not cheap and some are cheaper than others but they are a lot quicker than brush priming. Spray primer has the side effect of helping to bind texture to the base and makes a nice consistent colour for painting the base later.

NB you can get some colours that are designed for plastic. If you look closely they are also good for non-ferrous metals which makes it a great choice all round. My experience is that acrylic and car primers in general are better. Enamel is also available and is often cheaper but slightly shiny.

The Airbrush
Airbrushes are a great piece of kit and you can get some effects that are really difficult to achieve with a brush. You can use them inside the house without gassing yourself and your family (I would still use ventilation and some sort of extraction system as you don't really need the particulates in your lungs so better wear a mask especially if your ventilation isn't up to standard). They are a bit easier to manipulate than rattle cans so getting paint in the crevices is a lot easier. It gives you the ability to prime in whatever colour you want. Airbrushes are not a cheap option. A half decent airbrush and compressor is going to cost at an absolute minimum about £200 or $250 ish and probably closer to £300 or $400 ish. Then you need paint, thinner cleaning fluid and any number of other bits. Then there is the cleaning and maintenance. You are not just going to use it for priming so it might be a good idea if you like using an airbrush. Like the rattle can this is a good way to bind texture to the base.

In general what you are looking for in a nice flat matt colour.

I started by painting everything black. These days I only use black for certain figures that are going to benefit from it. Oddly, and don't ask me to explain, a base coat of black is not always the right choice for figures that are all black as you are really trying to paint something that is extremely dark gray to get a sense of texture. Miniatures that are generally very dark (bark brown, midnight blue) or are mostly silver, steel or iron, and anything that is black (Darth Vader). It might be more useful for figures that come in pieces and some vehicles. It has the advantage that if you miss a crevice when painting then it is clearly an attempt to make it shadow rather than the fact that you missed something out. In this day where talent is in liquid form (that's washes to you) this is not really an issue. The downside is that it make the paint on job of it very dark which makes painting brighter and less pigmented colours very difficult.

Is an obvious choice for very light coloured figures. It really holds inks and washes well. I sometimes concentrate on using washes alone. Using white as a base can give a really ethereal effect. White is a difficult colour to shade and make it look good.  In order to get shading then it might be worth while spraying white over light grey. In my experience white works better on smaller scales than 28mm in order to lift the colours.

Light grey primers are where I go to as a default. Although they lack some of the things you can get from the extremes of black and white, it is the best choice for most colours as it is not too light or too dark and holds all colours well enough. It works especially well with brighter colours, they seem to have a depth of colour without the washed out colour that white can bring. Unlike much of the other stuff I talk about here there a few negatives I can come up with.

Many hobby useful colours have been around for a long time but there has been a profusion of suitable colours in the last decade or so. The advantage is that the primer is also the right colour for the main paint scheme so you are saving yourself a lot of time. I use these mainly for units of figures that have the same basic colour normally uniforms, where the figure is predominantly naked, are covered in fur of have some overwhelming colour. This works for a lot of colours but they can undermine other colours painted on top of them especially if the base is light. This can be a major time saver.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Slow Progress

So far this week has been a little less manic. The weekend looks a little bit more manic in a good way. That said, it is Wednesday and I feel like I haven't done that much actual painting. Plans seem to have been sunk but that is nothing normal. Now I have a tomorrow and a little time on Friday and Sunday to finish off what I am doing. This makes me think that I am going to be hard pressed to get anything finished this week.

I have been doing some figure prep on the basis that today was going to be a good do for priming figures. As it turned out it was a very good day for priming and it was also a good day for running out of primer. I have a fairly good sized batch to do do. There should be enough to keep me busy for a few months when things are done. So tomorrow I expect to go and get some more primer, get some spraying done and hopefully finish off what is on the bench.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

End Of The Week - ?/^&$%" (0)

Some progress has been made, never as much as I would like. Most of the current project and the background project now has a base colour and a wash although there are a few I have barely touched. Almost not detailing has been done and that is what generally takes the time. What I have done so far looks pretty good to me. If I pushed it today I would probably finish but I have friends here so that is unlikely to happen. My plan is basically to add another five figures into the mix. If I can finish them next week that would put be back on track. A bit of basing of some more elves (alfar) has been done. These are planned as black alfar for the Viking Game.

Today's post is a little bit early so maybe I am being a little bit premature in saying this but I haven't finished any figures again this week. It has been a very busy week for me. Painting has played a major part in it but unfortunately the paint has been emulsion and the objects involved were walls. Someone now has a Slytherin themed bedroom. After a series of some hard and some fun days, painting has not been on the top of the agenda.

Instead of painting I have been board gaming. This has been an enjoyable distraction. There may be some more of that next week. I will probably get around to posting some pictures of the games when I get round to it.

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Discover: Lands Unknown

This weekend is all about board games. I have a friend down for the weekend and that is pulling another friend over to mine. We have been playing a few games but the most fun for me has been Discover - Lands Unknown. I got it for Christmas and it has been a game I have had my eye on it for a while so was quite happy.

It's a game about survival in a range of different environments. Each biome has its own challenges and environmental effects. Each box comes with two of the potential six regions that are available.The balance of resources is key on each board. On top of that there is a plot. Each scenario has a story which unfolds as the exploration takes place. After playing the game this seems to make it a nice touch but I can't say too much without giving the plot away.

Concepts about survival within the game seem pretty sound although not especially detailed. Obviously you need the basics but gear can be made and what you scavenge is important. It concentrates on food and water but seems to bypass shelter altogether. I would have thought that shelter would have played a bigger part but I guess that must interfere with the need to push the players into exploration.

As cooperative games go, it is cooperative light. Sticking together is better but not essential every turn. Players are prone to doa resource grabb but then try to help each other out. The end game is less cooperative apparently. I haven't got there yet so I can't really comment. There is a more cooperative variant published

The game is hard. Having played it twice the trend seems to be towards getting there but as a team we have failed to beat it twice. I am not sure if that is because we have gotten better but it is probably more likely the second time we played there were three players rather than two, giving us more actions to start with and a lot more per turn.

Each environment is tough. The biomes have slightly different resources and the mix of what out have represents what you might find there. This makes tactics that seem to kind of work in one area won't always work in the other. It's a nice feature, and along with the level of challenge make the games interesting enough to be replayable. Every day the situation varies a little. The trend is such that things tend to get more problematic as times go by and the amount of stamina you get is determined by the cards. This makes planning an entertaining process which may end up being a waste of time unless you work on the worst case scenario.

The blurb tells me that each game is unique. This is probably true, statistically speaking. Although there are a range of board and cards, it seems likely to me that in order to make the game work, the cards need to have a relatively similar split. So, whilst there are way more variations than I would care to name, the variations are geared up to work together. It's more like different shades than different colours.

Typically I buy games for two reasons, it's either because it's a genre I really like or it's an idea I kind of like that seems like it might be fun and has a good rating on Board Game Geek. At rank 4151 (at this moment although I remain hopeful) his game is definitely in the former category. This is not a fair representation and the game (assuming you like the genre) is a fun game to play and it is still fun even when you lose.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

End Of The Week Dog Tired (0)

It has been a busy week and one with a lot less sleep than normal. The week has not been a total loss. I managed to get to Salute for the first time in my life. This is a big show by the standards of the U.K. (I will talk about it another time). Although I enjoyed the show, it was a chance to meet up with old friends. This has put a real smile on my face.

 Despite getting less than six hours sleep a night I have not found much time for painting. Right now I am all but dead to the world. I could do with a little bit more sleep.

The New, New Cruelty is not very happy with me. For the most part I have managed most of my minimum levels of expectations for myself. The one thing I have not managed has been finishing off figures. Although I have done a bit of figure painting tonight I am still nowhere near finishing my plan off. Some are closer than others but...well...they are nowhere near done. The week coming also looks busy. I would like to think I will finish off what I have aimed to complete this week and maybe some of what is in the background project.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

Projects New And Old

Although I am more than happy with my total output of figures, for a while now, I have been casting around for a new project. Whilst there have been no shortage of projects it has only really been the Viking game that has been what I would call a major operation. This has geared most of my fantasy stuff as well although there have been a few similar projects, like the gnolls, that have caught my eye. Part of me would like to get back involved with this project but I think it's time for something else.
The majority of my work so far this year
Going back to what I was saying not so long ago about getting involved in projects with others I have an eye on that. This is tempered with the need to do something that other people might actually play. Titansgrave was the only thing in the last year or so that has really hit home. When I started on it I had the expectation that there would be a little more support which hasn't materialised. There are minis that I am struggling to find (space elves that are not wearing combat armour for instance) which makes things difficult. That said, I have a good chunk of figures that could be used and it wouldn't be too costly to get the rest of what I need.

Conspiracy X is a much beloved game from my past. It's a bit like the X Files or Delta Green (without the Eldritch Horror but lots of supernatural and alien stuff instead). Every now and again I think of doing a reboot. Doing a version in Savage Worlds always appeals. There is a plot I can just walk into playing which would be fun. There would need to be a good chunk of money on figures though.

X-Com is on the horizon. My plan kind of morphed into using Chronicle X but I am still working on what to do with that. The last computer game did my head in. All in all I am not really feeling it.

Post Apocalypse often seems to be the next logical choice. It is probably my most beloved genre and I have several ideas for games. This has never been a game that loved me back. Outside of Fallout, people don't seem to like the idea. Oddly, given my love for the game, I don't actually have a lot of figures. Maybe I am comparing that to the Viking Game which I have a lot of figures for (not quite enough to break the suspension on my car but enough to make me aware of it when I am driving). If I sat down and worked out what I have I might have more than I think.

At the time I was thinking about the Viking Game I was also thinking about doing a game set in Japan in the 17th century which was kind of like the Journey To The West (that's Monkey to you). This is a project that I would have to start from scratch. Whilst I love the idea it's just too much money. It is this idea that is making me think about this whole process right now so it might not be a dead duck.

None of my projects are really hitting the spot. I have painted a few Malifaux figures. I am enjoying that a lot but I don't see me getting a game any time soon. The 1940s stuff has also been fun and I have quite a few Germans to do yet. Whilst these will get done the real plan was for something else, what I am doing at the moment is more for another GMs project that I am playing. This is the same for Star Wars.

Since starting figure painting again a few months ago I have been all over the place. In fairness I am kind of enjoying it but it lacks any sense of purpose. What I am doing is just for kicks but I get a bigger buzz from having a purpose. The real world is making my life pretty gnarly at the moment for the first time in decades. It would be nice to have something to work towards.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Starting The Week And A New Background Project

This is going to be a week of fun. So is next week come to think of it. This leads me to believe that I might bite off more than I can chew if I am not careful.

The plan is to stick with another 15 figures this week. If I get 10 done I will be happy. Another mixed bag. Figures from about a dozen different manufacturers and nearly as many eras.
One of my old standbys is the idea of the background project. These are usually figures that have hung around for a while (5+years is usually a good point to start) that I kind of want to paint but have no immediate plan for. If I was being honest most of what I am doing is a background project if I stick to that rule. The real reason is that I don't like wasting paint. If I put too much paint on the palette it doesn't go to waste.
There is also a fledgling plan to do some terrain. One of my friends is trying to talk me into doing a post apocalypse skirmish game. I like the idea, P.A. is perhaps my favourite genre. The things is I an also thinking about his plan to play Hey You in the Jail, Zombies and Empire of the Dead. Whilst I have used some of the figures from these purchases they have never been for their intended purpose. Oh yeah, I forgot Flintloque. I have a pile of that stuff.  I am not trash talking them. I guess I must have done some of that myself.

This and the stuff other people have gotten me involved in has been niggling me of late.  If it's P.A. then I guess I don't care. I have no real money to throw at it at the moment so I will be doing everything on a budget anyway.