Sunday, 16 May 2021

The Grey (Well Mostly Grey) Legion

After my last post I got to thinking. It's almost a road to Damascus moment for me. Over the last year I have probably primed and based hundreds of figures. It made me think about how many I had left. My gut told me that there would be quite a few.

I was surprised when I dug them all out. Surprise may be a bit if an understatement. When I looked at the part finished terrain and eventually chose not to look at the part finished figures.

So this was the first picture.

If you think about it, if you have a picture like this then you have probably got ten or twenty times the amount as unpainted minis.

This isn't individually but then look at the panorama shot.

Then there was a second panorama shot.

From here I moved onto terrain but maybe more of that another day. This was no less of an uplifting exercise. Maybe this was a call to arms for me.

The truth is this isn't even all of it. Some of it is so far buried I couldn't even lay my hands on it. It makes me sad. Perhaps the most saddening thing is that I haven't really got many of the projects actually finished.

I have been sat here much less regularly over the last two years. For a good, now 18 month year old reason. So with what little time I do have, I am going to use it a bit more wisely. Maybe finish some projects and banish the grey from my tabletop.

From where I am sat this has been a worth while project. Maybe you should do the same. So I am calling you all out. Bloggers or not. It is time to look at your unfinished projects and start making a dent in the backlog.   

Saturday, 15 May 2021


My bench is currently full. It's mostly full of paint and part finished projects. There is a fair amount of space dedicated to what I call the grey legion. These are figures that have taken the time to prep, glue to a base, cover the base with sand, prime and allow to be covered with dust.

Don't get me wrong, there are plenty that have made it as far as work in progress. I found some old figures that I thought I could upgrades little with all that I have learnt over the years, so technically they have been WIP for thirty five years. Still they are mostly at the stage where they still look a bit crap.

So the perfect thing to do was start to paint even more figures. So being geared up for Stargrave I decided to go back to the post-apocalypse. I think you can use robots in Stargrave too, but I didn't find that out until after I'd finished them.

Copplestone castings is one of my favourite miniature makers. I recall adding a few things in to make a price point. One of which was a pack of robots which were quite like Terminators. Rather than pairing them as shiny death machine I thought an aged look would fit my post-apocalypse better.

So here we are. A quick and dirty paint job. Looks fine to me. A few more bits to do, washes, varnish and a bit more debris on the base and they are done

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Stargrave, Fallout and Wargames Illustrated 402

My other half kindly gave me a copy of the latest Wargames Illustrated. Most, if not all, issues now come with a sprue of miniatures. This month it was Romans from Warlord Miniatures. Much as I like free stuff, I don't really do Ancients.

Then I remembered an idea for a project I had a decade ago. Fallout: New Vegas featured a group called Caesar's Legion. They featured in some of the deep lore if the game. So when it came to seeing my attempt at a tabletop rpg background set in Arizona, these seemed to be a natural choice as the looming big bad. That game was really done in 15mm but I wanted to do this in 28mm again.

So I have some free  Roman figures. I have a bunch of extra arms  from Stargrave and some equipment. Couple this with a few hours to myself and a knife. I doubt they are perfect but what the hell.

Thursday, 6 May 2021


Life has a habit of getting in the way if gaming. Still I have found Northstar getting in the way of saving money. Most of my figure purchasing has been through them or one of their subsidiaries.

I like the idea of Stargrave but didn't get the rules. I will probably get round to it but will wait until it gets to be a little cheaper. They figures tho seemed like a pretty good deal and that was before the stretch goals.  Over the years I have spent a lot of time putting plastic minis together and this was one of the better experiences. Two handed weapons seem to have arms that fit together very nicely. As with other Northstar kits the figures are perhaps in the smaller end but they more than make up for this by the number of option choices. 

It's left me with enough bits from two frames to do two frames of gnolls, a project I have been meaning to do since I got the original gnoll set. If anything it's the sci-fi gnolls that gave really got my interest.

Given a bit if time I might get round to actually painting them and maybe doing a few more warbands 

Sunday, 21 March 2021

2021, The Plan

Usually do some sort of annual review and a look forward to the year ahead. I missed out on this at the New Year as I was kind of busy with other things (kids, work and the whole Christmas thing). So I thought I might trying and do something now. Months late, but what the hell. I used to think of myself as a completer finisher, this year has persuaded me otherwise.

To my great chagrin, the blog  was a bit of a washout in 2020. No furlough for me. What time I got to myself wasn't much and I chose to do other things with it. Priorities were definitely elsewhere. In all honesty they still are. As much as I would like to keep it at the forefront of what I do, work and more importantly family are where I am focussing at the moment. Every now and again there is a little bit of space.

In reality, there was some figure painting and terrain building going on last year that didn't make it into the blog. It has been a year of solid progress, although nothing like as much as I would have liked. I usually set myself a target of five figures per week with a hope of making it to ten. I don't have an exact number but I am guessing the number was more like two to three. There was a fair bit of terrain done alongside. Not the best year but I was happy enough.

What can I say? About half my annual spend goes on stuff at shows, which for obvious reasons were almost all cancelled or I missed. I could possibly have gone to one at the start of the year but stuff got in the way. The lockdown also means that I haven't been gaming and it what I am doing on tabletop that keeps me going. No tabletop means no motivation. So I have fallen back on my standard choices.

Painting wise I managed a Blood Bowl team, the Chaos All Stars. I came close to starting on the Nurgle Team last year and dithered between Skaven and Dwarves so much that I did neither. Santa got me another team and the New rule box with two teams, some more big guys and a few Star Players. When I was off with the new C word in January 2021 I have almost finished the Nurgle Team. I really enjoyed that as a project. Whilst this is technically my Blood Bowl team for the year I still have a few to go. This includes the new edition.

Star Wars Legion was something I have been painting. This was more for the roleplaying we were doing rather than the game itself. That said I would love to give the game a serious try. I managed to paint over half a dozen box sets, maybe forty or fifty figures, this year. There are some more primed and ready to go and a few heroes to paint up. I am waiting to see where this game goes this year. 2020 has really screwed up the production schedule for the game this year. Made worse buy the change in direction the game has had when it changed parent company. Most of what I want to get hold of is hard to get hold of and little that I saw on the horizon is tempting me, When we get back playing the RPG I guess my enthusiasm for the game will come back. 

I mentioned in my last post I was looking at cyberpunk-ish figures. Reality's Edge was purchased for me, thank you Amazon Wishlist and my other half. Almost the same game as This Is Not A Test (my current fave). I can do most of what I want with what I have already although a few more might arrive. What I have is already in the paint queue has a fair bit I can use. These are likely to be finished this year. In reality these are probably going to end up up in various sci-fi and post-apocalypse games. Stargrave is on the horizon, so who knows.

The post-apocalypse is still my favourite genre and there are some figures that will work for this. 2020 was good for the end of the world mojo. I got a load of stuff from Copplestone and a lot of it got painted. This was the biggest single area of interest in the year. In 2021 I am still working on a game based in a post apocalyptic London which I am currently calling SunderDground, a play on Underground. If the stuff ever turns up from Mirliton there may be some more to paint. Still waiting for this three months later, thanks to all the people who voted for Brexit for that or Mirliton who I feel have right royally screwed me over.

I got Zona Alfa for Christmas and I have been toying with the idea of getting some Lead Adventure Miniatures. Would like a game of this and I probably already have more figures than I need. That said I already have a lot of suitable PA stuff 

Having the shed available, when I was locked down, meant that lots of messy terrain projects were back on the table. I have managed a few. Lots of PVA, sand and paint. I finally got a cheap Chinese laser cutter. They are a piece of shit but this one worked. I also got a Proxxon foam cutter and a 3d printer. So many toys and no time to use them. I spent a lot of time gluing mdf sheet to polystyrene and cutting it up. Lots of little projects. The big project for the year was doing some 10cm hex terrain tiles. I think this might be marketable so I am sticking with the idea and will get back onto it. The shed began to be a bit of sticking point as one of the kids is now using it to store a bike meaning that I have to breath in if I wish to use it. Now at a stage where I can just about get into it again. So I am back at it.

2021 is going to be a terrain year I think. As I have mentioned before I want to do some terrain boards for skirmish gaming. There is a plan for a frame for the hexes but also to do a series of specific boards. My plan is that this is something that is going to take years so I hope to get at least two, two sided boards done by the end of the year.

Kingdom Death was another one of my real world pre-apocalypse purchases. I have painted some of the figures. There is plenty still to do. This is a rolling project. If I do get to play anymore games this year I am hoping that this will be one of them. There is a lot to do with the contents of this box. What is in the starting box is enough to keep me going for six months. Maybe I will get round to buying some expansions for this but only if there is a real chance that I might to play it again. My hope is that I will finish all of the base game's monsters by the end of the year and maybe some of the character figures. I did buy some very small magnets and maybe I will play around with making the figures all interchangeable.

Fantasy is something I haven't really mentioned in detail so far. The game I run is very much based in the dark ages do the figures I buy tend to be dark age in general style. Since I first started roleplaying I wanted to be able to have a figure that would mean I could do pretty much any class, in any race, in any gender. I already have plenty of dwarven miniature, quite a few black elves but almost none of them are female. Coupled with the fact I have almost nothing I can use as white elves, of either gender, and most of the dark age female humans are, how do I out this, are inappropriate in a modern context, I ordered some female characters from Bad Squiddo.

There are also have some hobbits coming to the paint queue. It's very difficult to find female hobbits so I have done a few simple conversions on the Copplestone Miniatures I purchased. I am also waiting from some from Mirliton (which are likely the last figures I ever order from them), all done by Mark Copplestone. Not very dark age, hobbits always seem to dress like the were from the seventeenth century and not the tenth, which is where I like to set my games. I guess this is more of a vanity project.

I am hoping that there will be shows at the end of the year. Perhaps I am a little paranoid but I don't see Boris's roll out of going back to normal sticking to the timetable. Somehow I don't see most of the shows happening, even the ones at the back end of the year. Nobody in their right mind is going to risk putting on a show and I am not convinced I would go anyway. There is nothing in particular that I am currently looking to buy online. I made one purchase just before Christmas and another in January. My paint queue is sufficiently large that I want for nothing. 

2021 is not going to be a record breaking year for either the blog or figure painting. That said, I doubt it is going to be the worst year ever either. There is a solid plan, if a low key one. There is a big part of me wishes I could turn my hobby into a business but I doubt this is the year this is going to happen. 

In the meantime, I have been buying figures. I probably have enough figures, primed, based and ready to go to last me for the year. Within the queue are Star wars legion, some long out of production spugs, some cowboys, fantasy, a variety of dark age stuff (including cavalry and I hate painting horses), some savages, robots, sci to, pulp, sci-fi, Rangers Of Shadowdeep (more dark age stuff really), modern and cyberpunk.

I have no immediate plans to buy Anymore figures but I have said that before. Will have to see how I feel about that when Stargrave comes out. If I get through everything else CP models have some Pictish dwarves and some very D&D gnomes.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

Twice In A Month - Well Almost, Time For Painting And Terrain

For the second time in about a month I have found myself on involuntary lockdown. This time there has been nothing wrong with me. So stuck in and away from work and family I have tried to make the most of it. There was even a little bit of progress.

I am still not really feeling the urge to paint. That said I have managed to get a load of stuff primed. This includes not only my recent purchases but some stuff going back decades. In some cases more than two of them. It's a real mixed bag of stuff. Big guys, small guys, very big guys. I have ordered a load of fantasy stuff. Most is for the Viking Game. This included a load of female vikings. I also got hold of a load of female dwarves to round out my desire to be able to do at least one of every race, class and gender. I got somes elves too. Not quite so many though. The dwarves and elves are all from Bad Squidoo. I have wood elves and dark elves but want light elves. My plan calls for a slightly more ornate dark age armour so I settled on Romano-British / early Saxon. This might just happen this year.

I have some much loved, very old GW hobbits. I spent good money buying them up off eBay almost twenty years ago. Sadly, they just don't do it for me in what I have planned. There are only a few poses and no female figures. If I want to stick with the plan then I needed an alternative. So I looked to the stuff done by Mark Copplestone. This includes the Copplestone Castings stuff and the stuff he did for Grenadier. I have been waiting for these since December. I've already done some conversions. With what is on it's way I may even convert a few into Titansgrave. There is also some stuff from Macrocosm in there.

I don't really do D&D so I don't have a need for a whole range of odd, made-up, races. That said I don't include gnomes in this. Thinking back I don't know anyone who have played a gnome on tabletop. Ian played lying cheating, thief of a gnome illusionist (aka Tim the enchanter thief). This is even harder although I do have a plan.

The variety seemed to motivate me last year. Excuse me, the year before last. That said I am really having a hard time finding the head space to do this as family life is getting some most of my attention. No bad thing. 

Big battles have always been what I have aimed for but I am beginning to see that this isn't really on the cards for me. Even the games I have been buying have been skirmish games. A lot of the figures I have purchased in the last year or some have been post apocalyptic / sci-fi / cyberpunk. Withe the Cyberpunk game coming out closely followed by Reality's Edge I thought 2021 might be the year Cyberpunk as a genre came back to the fore. I would really like to give Malifaux a try to but nobody is remotely interested.

Still thinking it may happen but I am personally feeling This Is Not  A Test and Last Days. All of these are skirmish games so I am pepping enough terrain for this. This will hopefully include some 3" by 3" boards (well given how I have it planned its more likely to be 93cm by 93cm). I have a lot of boards planned so they need to be fairly thin and lightweight. If I have it right in my head these will be double sided.

Another thing in my head is to do suited terrain. Obviously a green board is the place to start but I can see winter, deserts, bare earth and a few post-apocalyptic boards to start. There are about another dozen or so ideas floating around in my head. 

When the shops reopen I will get on with this but in the meantime I have spent looking at terrain. I have some trees brought years ago. These all need basing so some woodland bases with detachable trees seemed like a good idea. 

Bushes are also something I want to do. I think bushes were the first bit of terrain I ever tried to do in the form of gluing lichen to flocked card. I have hated lichen ever since. Thanks to YouTube I have a few ideas. Not convinced I will get what I want out of it but I will give it a try. I was prepping some bases on my mini-band saw and I have managed to bust it. I think the band has just come off so I am hoping it will be an easy fix.

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Seems Like A Long Time In Lockdown

Lockdown seems to have happened three times since I last posted anything on my blog. I remember feeling confident that I was going to be furloughed which would give me time to do some hobby stuff and maybe even start a business. Well that didn't happen. Until relatively recently work has been an absolute monster. Life has been shut down. There have been big chunks of time when I have been away from my family to keep them safe. 

Now I am just getting over a beast of a dose of the illness in question. I'm not dead yet but it was  unpleasant. Well passed the isolation stage but really not over it yet. Still back in work. I'm dog tired and I have brain ache like you wouldn't believe and still coughing up a lung.

I'm now banned from the house until I have my coughing under control. So I am looking for a job so I can keep my family safe. Until I can get rid of the cough I am stuck locked down from my family and friends. 2021 is really hard to tell apart from 2020. 

Actual gaming is usually the driving force behind my figure painting. I mostly paint figures for the game I am playing or about to start playing. Well that isn't happening so I have been a bit directionless. Like most other gamers I have an element of the "shiny" about my purchases but not so much at the moment.

I still have plenty of Star Wars Legion stuff to paint. This was largely for someone else's game so, whilst I like the figures, it's not lighting my fire. Not only this but there are no new toys on the horizon and thanks to internal politics in the manufacturer I don't see a clear way ahead for the game at the moment.

I have intermittently managed to pick up a brush to paint my Nurgle Blood Bowl team. I've got the new edition (they arrive like London buses, you don't see any for ages....). I just can't find it in myself to finish them off. I like Blood Bowl and I guess that I will get around to finishing them off.

What figures that have arrived recently have mostly been fantasy stuff. I am trying to finish off a long standing promise to myself. That is to make sure that I have a figure for every gender, class and every race. So now I think I can do dwarves. There are enough figures to do light and dark elves (I do dark age figures). I've had enough wood elf type figures for some time anyway. With as far as halflings are concerned what has touched down so far, and what should eventually arrive, will have enough to cover enough different types that I can probably do all of what I want with the figures I have although some of the female figures may be a little flat chested. There are a few more human female dark ages figures to do. These are a little less Amazonian that what I currently have so should fit in nicely with the general vibe of my collection.

Somewhere along the way I got a copy of Kingdom Death Monster. This is a game that has sparked my imagination for a few years. There is some stuff on the bench prepped and ready to go. Again, without the prospect of a game I can't see me doing anything major although I really want to get into prepping it.

There are some gnome figure I may buy. This is out of the aforementioned completeness. That said I can only think of two characters gnome characters in over thirty years of gaming.

I think it's fair to say that Covid has sucked the joy out of gaming. For the first time in decades I can actually contemplate a life where gaming could become a tiny part of my life and maybe drop out of it for a while.

The only thing I can see on the horizon is possibly something cyberpunk, post apocalyptic or sci-fi. I got a PS5 with a view to getting Cyberpunk 2077 only to find that the game wasn't coming out on that console and that the game wa one of the buggiest releases in ages. I could see this inspiring a few gamers but no one is talking at the moment. I've just got a copy of Reality's Edge so maybe this is a way to go. Post-apocalyptic is always good.  I've done some figures in the last year and I have a few on the way. The same goes for sci-fi. There isn't that much difference in the figures needed for any of them. Maybe when Stargrave comes out later in the year I will give it a go.

This is my first post in almost a year and I can't believe how negative I am still feeling. Perhaps this is why I haven't been feeling blogging for a while. Still I am hoping things are getting better and that my mood in general will get better in the near future.