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Wednesday, 20 February 2019

How Much Do I Hate Painting White? - Or Stormtroopers Part 3

I haven't painted anything involving this much white in a long time. Come to think of it possibly ever. the are two reasons for this. 1) There isn't actually that much that is mostly pure white and 2) It's such an awkward colour and I normally don't forget this fact which I have since I started this project. Still better than yellow I guess. It didn't really start out as a project for me either. A friend was running Star Wars and the figures were a bit limited as they were using either tokens of the old Star Wars Miniatures game figures which I personally hate.
Still in need of a bit of work
So the Stormtroopers. Too much damn white. They are primed, details and washed. I am shading the white which is taking an age. This is a little discouraging. Even more so is the fact that I am probably going to have to do the whole process again although that should hopefully be a briefer process. Then I will have to look at basing them and I would be much happier basing the on discs or 2p coins as this takes much less time.
The truth is I am never going to be happy with them. At the moment I am hoping that I will get to the stage that I am happy enough.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Modernish Barricades

The post apocalypse is never far from my mind, at least in a gaming sense. Despite Bethesda recently ruining my gaming experience, I do not feel that the world is about to end. I think my interest goes back to reading The Postman by David Brin after reading a review in White Dwarf of all places. A quick reading and rereading of Day of the Triffids and I am kind of a fan of the genre. Zombies and nuclear war seem to be my preferred way to end the world. The Walking Dead and Fallout out gave been my most recent influences in tabletop gaming but I have a lot of love for ideas from the old RPG Aftermath and almost anything done George Romero and a number of other books and computer games.

Finding players has been hard in the past so I haven't pushed it. In there here and now things are not so bad on that score.  So I am looking at this as a possibility again so I figured it might be time to do something about it. I don't have many figures left to paint and those that I do have I can't find. What I can find is some terrain.

In the end (so to speak) it's close enough to the modern era that the terrain at least should be able to do double duty. What is available is a bit of a mixed bag. I wanted them to all tie together and look relatively uniform and with a lot of the longer I wanted a bit more stability and I wanted it to match what I had done in the past.If I do get X-Com off the ground this year I will need some terrain for that.I have medium terms plans for a zombie and one based in post nuclear war London. Part of me wants to get into 28mm modern but I have a few reservations about that.

I wanted a range of sizes some of which, if not all could be used as barricades and general scatter. Large quantities of tire piles seem to figure highly in a lot of games so I purchased some from Crooked Dice. These first four are produced by them although there is a crate found in my bit's box (I have no idea who by) added to make up the length. Then is is also an oil drum which I think is Tamiya.

The crowd barriers are from Ainsty Casting. I love these guys for terrain. Hopefully these will hold up to the punishment but will need to be carefully look after.
Most of what I have to hand is from Mantic's The Walking Dead : All Out War. Nice details on the terrain as I am starting to expect from Mantic. Some have been added to with stuff that I have handing around to make up the length. Some of the barrels are from a Tamiya kit I got back in the 1980's and other bits have been around for well over a decade. It's nice to get some of things used rather than just hanging around.
In total there is just short of three feet/ninety centimetres of stuff. It's never enough but it's a distinct improvement. I have some Mantic supply tokens to be done. These are a lot smaller but have a bit more detail. Think these will be a project for next week as I expect the Stormtroopers are going to take a lot of work.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Stormtroopers - Part Deux

Not much of an update today. I have primed the stormtroopers. A base coat of a light grey followed by a good hard zenithal coat of white. Hopefully this will give them a bit of pre-shading so I won't have to go overboard on the washes. Then I did the black bits and that's where I am.
Still way too much like Mr Blobby for a closeup
Things look like they are progressing for me so hopefully I will get these done pretty quickly. The big man is in the background. I need some black primer which I haven't got. I have painted a few things primed in blackin the last year or so but they were probably primed a decade ago. Will have to go out and get some.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

End Of The Week - Back In The Saddle

For a while Sunday evening was the time that I looked back at the progress of the week. Progress has been somewhat limited in the last year since moving out of my last home. This has been a major disappointment for me but I just haven't had anywhere to paint. Now I do and I have gone at it with some gusto this week.

My plan, according to The New, New Cruelty is to catch up on my planned painting schedule. This is a minimum of five figures per week with hopefully ten figures per week and this must include catching up on the figures I have missed already this year. So I have managed to finish thirty figures. This has got to be my best week ever. If I am looking at five figures then I am already almost caught up, if not I am now up to date for February. If I can keep the pace up for a couple of weeks I will be more or less up to date.

A few years ago I was planning on running a Weird War Two involving time travel. These were some of the figures I got for that. They are Nacht Jager are from Artizan Designs I think. They got put into the queue last year when painting was on my mind again. So they got primed and have sat there since November. It would be nice to have a couple more packs of them.

My plan at the time called for some quick wins and as well as painting the Germans in armour I have some Home Guard figures to paint. So when it came to priming them in British uniform I sprayed a load of other figures in the same colour. This includes all of The Department of Paranormal Studies by Artizan and I the others are by Pulp Figures. These are first to come under the brush was some figures planned for Weird War Two. Some scientist types and a few others.
There were also some civilian figures which I think are Warlord French Resistance figures. Partly for weird war Two and maybe for Very British Civil War. As I wanted a bit of variety in the ten I only painted three in British uniform.
In the queue was one Frostgrave figure. Not my favourite on the range which  is probably why it hasn't been painted yet. I need to replace the sword as I have managed to drop it and badly mangle it in the painting process.
Every now and again I come across a figure that I hate painting and worse still hate the finished item. When I look at it I think in terms of holding on to it, hiding it or taking a hammer to it (a nerdy version of the TV show Snog Marry Avoid).  This is a Reaper Bones figure which I usually like. the quality is rubbish and the detail is soft. It looks like it should have come out of a mid-noughties board game. Size wise it doesn't fit with anything. Currently I am thinking of hiding it.
In the same colour batch I did some more Viking game figures. These are a bit of a mixed bag. Some are Celtic figures from Conquest Games (it is a bit of a North Star fest tonight). They were purchased because they fit my concept of Franks for the Viking game (which is nothing like what they were but it's a fantasy game and it works for me). I assume they are sculpted by Mark Copplestone who is a designer I really like. Sadly one of the slinger poses seems to have a dodgy hand. Other bits I think are Gripping Beast.

More of the Conquest Games celtic figures again. This time done in a different painting style. More wash than paint here.

I have done a fair bit of prep for next week. The Stormtroopers I prepped a few weeks ago are primed and ready to go. I have some more Franks to do which I will do in the same "wash style". I have also prepped some post apocalypse/modern scatter terrain. There is a plan to have a play about with some older terrain and update it a little.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Dick Churchill

As a kid I watched the film of The Great Escape pretty much every year. It was a Christmas staple. The message I took from it was that in times of turmoil take solace in your purpose and quietly raise a couple of fingers at those who would do you down. There was a print out of the poster for the film on my wall for many years. I guess it is a nice piece of fiction. Whistling "Colonel Bogey" became a habit of mine when dealing with crap at work (my whistling is so bad nobody ever knew).

But a fiction it was in the most part. One of the truths in it was that many of the escapees were murdered by the Nazis. The first time I saw the film my jaw dropped. Unlike some of the other details in the film this bit was true.

Not many got to safety and of those that didn't not many survived. Dick Churchill was a damned lucky man by his own account. Of the seventy six men that escaped seventy three were recaptured. Churchill considered himself lucky that he was not one of fifty that were executed. Sharing a surname with the then Prime Minister led to the Germans decision not to have him shot, saving him for possible leverage later on.

Despite the loss of life he felt the break out was worth the cost. Churchill had been a squadron leader and flew in medium bombers. He wanted to get out and get back into the war. This was despite the terror of going through the tunnel. I get the feeling from listening to him that he felt that there were times that things needed to be done and when it came they should be done properly.

It is true to say that most of my heroes are anything but. Dick Churchill however was a great man, if a little lucky.

The New, New Cruelty

About two years ago I came up with an idea to motivate myself. It is easy for me to focus on somethings and not on others and in the round I know I need to give a little time to all. For me this became difficult  soI set myself a list of things to do each week with the intention of keeping to most of them, most of the time. Nothing too slavish but enough to give me a steer on what I should be doing. I called this The New Cruelty. The name comes from a Nazi themed restaurant In Steve Martin's fim, L.A. Story which is one of my all time fave films. It features Patrick Stewart (yes the guy that played Picard) as the maitre'd barking at guests and telling them what they could and could not have off the menu.

So as I am turning things around with the blog it made me think about the idea and that maybe it was time to revamp it. Things have changed in my life so things have probably changed with my approach to the New Cruelty.

1) Paint five 28mm figures (minimum) in a week or the equivalent thereof in other scales. By the end of the year I must have caught up on what I have missed so there must be at least 260 figures complete.  I aim to get ten per week done. 
2) Participate in at least one game of something per week be that wargame, RPG or board game.
3) Surf the net for less than four two hours a day (ouch). Tougher one than last time I was looking at this. Anything relating to my blog does not count.
4) Exercise is something I need to keep up with. I have a target on the FitBit. Whilst it is acceptable to miss targets on any given day I will meet the overall target for the week. I can't take the dog for a good long walk any more as the ex got custody of the dog.
5) Write ten blog posts per month. It was once per day when I initially started this but that was the idea for the year that year. No way I can keep up that pace. If at all possible and I can do a post around every other day I will get to a thousand posts by the end of the year.
6) Stop intending to do things and do things instead (well this still stands although I feel I have got more of a handle on things at the moment). 
7) Work out and stick to a morning and night time ritual.
8) Take vitamins etc.
9) If there is something that I need to do, write in a blog post so that it will get done (this is perhaps the most painful aspect of The New Cruelty).
10) Do something every day that helps me find a job and that advances one of my life goals.
11) Get out of the house and do something interesting or worthwhile at least once per week.
12) Eat less crap.

So some stuff has changed but maybe not too much. My life priorities are still pretty much the same with the exception of the last three points. Maybe I need to tighten this up a bit so I can use it a little better. Maybe next week.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Shedding Light (Well Lamps)

My eyesight seems to be getting worse. A few years ago I started to need reading glasses and it was never much good anyway. I have been using a magnifying lamp for years and this helps my figure painting become acceptable rather than a bit blobby. Still, I do okay I think.

When I was in the process of setting up the table I went to find my old lamp. The picture below shows you what I found. it was a bit of a blow. It was a great lamp. Good magnification and the anglepoise made it pretty much perfect. On top of that it was mispriced when I got it and it cost less than half price. An absolute bargain. It's well over ten years old and has seen some action.
Even more of a blow as I am a little short of money at the moment. So it came as a pleasant surprise when I found this in Aldi for £20. It's a fair but smaller, not anglepoise and for the most part the magnification is not quite as good.

Cheap has a quality all of its own. For something this cheap it works well enough. There is enough posability to make it work. The lens, although not massive is comfortable and has a sweet spot which, whilst small, is probably better than what I had. All in all a good waste of £20. If you need a lamp it is well worth the money.

I did find a couple of alternatives at Hobbycraft. they do look much better but are more exspensive