Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Lead addiction getting to me

Working on my Cancon aquisitions, Skulldred photo minis/boards and Hawkmoon sculpts all at the same time is seriously crunching me for space and mind juice.

My mistake was to base up and prime all the cancon minis I could like a conveyer belt factory.   It works too well...  This ate up several meters square, and prevented me from filing them away in bags like the rest of my collection.  Now I am going NUTS in my little workspace.  Lead addiction can, apparently lead to claustrophobia.

Owning a cat has also forced me into a much smaller space.  I cannot have both windows and the door open as she likes base diving out (1600 in vet bills) or jumping onto my collection.  She destroys game boards too.

No space.  No air.  Going... NUUUUTS!

To tide me over a stop gap until spoon' tells us his secret storage tricks, I have been blutacking my based minis to foamcore and placing them in box files so I can regain control of my office.  You get about 70 x 30mm bases in an a4 box, not bad.

Spending last night reboxing my 'painted' collection has unforunately highlighted that most of my minis are not finished to my liking.  Many are painted but not detailed, or have been rebased but the base not painted and finished.  A great deal of minis are base coated and washed, but not highlighted and worst of all, lots of them have naked shield bumps.  Yep.  I usually plan to do this kick arse shield and set the mini aside for later while I finish his mates.  Its sad that I have so many figures mostly done only to stop near the goal posts.

I have to do something about this!  But not now.  Too much work to do and too little space to do it in.  Box up everything then get Hawkmoon done and dusted so I can get back to Skulldred.

So all this made me think about my goals hobby wise, and I realise I have to divide my hobby into three parts to deal with my addictions impact on my living space.

First there is collecting minis.  Easy to curb, jusy stop buying.  The need to get that rare mini to complete a set is one part of lead addiction, and you always fight the feeling that your missing something amazing on ebay.  But its not too hard to fight the urge.  I soothe this ache by sitting down and sorting through my unpainted mini tubs.  Really enjoyable and relaxing.

Second, painting minis.  This is not top of everyones addiction, and to many lucky souls just owning is enough.  I want mine painted, and painted well (well, for me anyway- not to golden demon standard).  Worse, I like blended minis with crisp outlining.  I do not like obvious brush marks. I blame Fraser Grey.
This ultimately means my minis take a long time to finish.  I can kick out foundry style 'three shades to game ready' minis in no time... but finished to my personal tastes is time consuming.
Here I have to learn to curb my perfectionism, which is painful to an artist type.  That brings me to hobby division 3.
Gaming.  This is the part of my hobby that requires finished varnished minis and terrain.  I want, for example, a warband for each race.  That means a lot of minis painted to game standard at least.  If I can focus on a small number of Skulldred warbands, say four, to begin with, and get six key models done, I can relax and game with these for a while.
The terrain aspect is also a concern.  I love making it, but have no way to store it, especially now my Cat attacks it.

Order of initiative:  Daves new plan

So first things first, I am boxing away the whole collection, dusting down the shelving and getting the studio back into shape.  I need to clear several square meters to set up a Skulldred photo board and a space I can use dirt and sand away from my painting and sculpting space.

Once thats all done I can start trickling my projects through.  My John Blanche Undead Assault proj is taking up several shelves on its own, so breaking that up into sub projects will help.  All my GW plastics boxes I got for christmas will go into storage.

I think I may have to sit down in the future and prepaint a whole array of shields so that I can check off a load of figures quickly.  I am inclined towards making some flat centered shields ideal for painting and getting these cast up rather than filling citadel plastic shields.

Maybe I print off some paper banners to begin with from my oldhammer resources too.

I am thinking of setting up a 'totally finished only' shelf.  No varnish, no tufts... your not coming in!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Critical Mass

Okay, so heres the thing, dear reader.  My push to base up and paint all my minis has been violently successful in the first months of the campaign.  The thing is... well, if you take N number of miniatures that occupy S space in baggies, stored in boxes, then attach them using G glue to some very nice 30mm MDF (B) bases you get this forumula...

S(B x 30) = 1A+ (G+B+fingers =Z7 debonder)

1 being 100% and A being my arse.  Yes, the mathematics proves it.. I am up to my arse in minis.

By basing things I have increased their surface area, and that is a greater area than I can deal with neatly.  My current tubs method is not working as they dicontinued my 3 litre tupperware tubs, and you cannot store 30mm based and painted minis economically in take out containers.

Therefore I am up for suggestions on how to store my preciousnesses in an economical way.  Right now, I am leaning toward box files with magnetic sheeting... but a decent box file costs about 20 Australian bucks (or in Canadian Dollars Aboot 20 bucks).  An a4 sized bit of rubber steel sheet is pretty pricey out here also.  Australians are getting screwed badly with pricing.

I dont want to lay them down in foam trays... in my experience thats like rubbing sandpaper on your paintjobs.  I want to go the 'standing up with magnets' route.

Any thoughts appreciated.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Rebase-age groupshot

Its been a while since I did a group shot.  My blog started with lots of groupshots of minis on black.  I kinda loved that, so I did a quick phone snap after decorating some bases with flock in what little hobby time I had.
  Terrible pic, but hey...
Most of these I have posted earlier, but remind me in the comments if there is any I haven't and I will snap some proper pictures with the digital camera rather than my phone.  I know the beastman, mordheim dog and ludmilla loinripper are new.
Once again when I have a moment on the PC (wife is using it for an urgent lolcats update), I will put proper captions and stuff in.
Tired.  Long day.  Need a cup of tea.
Somewhere the tea is getting cold...
Citadel minis:  All and sundry!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A legion of eight!

A legion is, last time I checked, slightly more than eight... but as these are Greater Skeletons, maybe their like Chuck Norris, who is a delta force of one, after all.
This is a brilliant boxed set- very characterful, realistic take on skeletons that predated the Perry cackling whacky teeth skeletons that dominated my early years.  I really dislike citadels current plastic skeletons... I dunno, they look like chunky halloween decorations.  These Skeletal figures are beautifully sculpted and much more realistic in their proportions, but if I can put on my critical hood for a moment, come from the era in Guthries early work which was very stiff in its posing.  That said, all of Ral Partha releases at the time where stiff as hell, holding weapons in a weighless way like you see a king holding a sceptre in a medieval painting.
   By the way, I think Julie's modern minis are breathtakingly fluid in their posing- the summoning miniature with writhing nymphs is a masterpeice of figure work... so hey, hard to fault the lass!  My first sculpts make me cringe and I have only been doing it for a few years.  I am just saying that I realise these figures may look a bit flat and stiff to modern gamers.
  But, what they lack in depth and dynamics, they make up in old school charm, are a pleasure to paint and I do have a soft spot for them.  The Undead Balrog, hound handler are really strong designs and classics of their type.  Plus the assembly of the Balrog is genius... one of the easiest multipart models to assemble ever.  I gave his neck a gentle bend to give him more depth.  If you havent done this before, its actually quite easy.  Wrap the part in tissue to distribute the pressure of your pliers and make small, slow gentle bends.  A quick bend will shear the model at its weak spot.  I suspect heating the model would help, but rarely find a problem reposing.

WIP:  Julie Guthrie's Undead rising from the grave

It was a hot, dry day today, so I rushed through some 'nearly there' minis to get them to varnish stage... but ran out of time.  So, I guess I am about fifty percent of the way through this lot...  The further back, and more unfocused, the more unfinished.  I think they need 'shrooms on their bases.

Another reason I am hurrying these ahead of my Undead Assault Project is that the boxed set I received was sealed, but on opening I found them just starting to tarnish.  So the faster I get them well and truely sealed, the more likely they are to survive the next decade.  My priming didnt get into all the cracks, so I was eager to varnish them.  Fingers crossed for next week.

By the way, the great news is that Iron Wind Metals still produce all the figures in this range.
The bad news is that (at the time of writing this blog entry) they are individually listed and scattered throughout the fantasy sections of their webstore.  Most are in fantasy armies/skeletons, but some are in roleplaying and supernaturals if I remember rightly.  Its no biggie, I suppose... whilst hunting through you will encounter lots of cool old school classics, so it is time well spent.

I must confess I am starting to burn out painting bone and zombie flesh.  Even the Splintered light stuff for Skulldred is undead.  I may hoff break and do something really out there next.  Maybe some Realm Of Chaos or Malifaux for a change... oh... no my Malifaux figures are all undead too.  Hmmm.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Female magic user

A parcel arrived today with a couple of minis- one of which was this Ral Partha 01-337 Female Magic User.  She turned out to be the mid level of one of the three stage figures ral partha put out for dnd gamers.  Sculpted by Tom Meier, it features his trademark 'too fine to paint' details.  Bloody impressive is our Tom's steady hand, as he proves here by sculpting a raised pentagram on her belt buckle using nothing but green stuff and inhuman patience.
Occasionally I get a mini that just needs a bit of sprucing up rather than stripping.  This one was neatly undercoated and base colored, but the pevious owner seemed to have stopped mid way (perhaps the low level version of her died and he no longer needed the mid level!) and heck, such a nice shade of pink too.

Ral Partha 01-337 Female Magic User.  Sculptor:  Tom Meier.

Whilst my wife was enjoying a double bill of 'my big fat gypsy wedding', I decided to see if I could knock out a figure on the same day it arrived.  I took some photos along the way.
First I needed to address the flash.  Almost all minis from the 80's have the remains of flash under their paint jobs.  Kids where not clued up on cleaning this off I guess... or too lazy.  This one was reasonably well cleaned on the outside, but a chased off some flash under her arm  and had to re shape her wand arm, which was poorly cast and had a thick nub of metal on it.

As she arrived, mounted on a 30mm x 2mm MDF base by 'Warbases'
Next I re-established the base colors, painting over the scuffs and bringing her to an even, matt finish.  If your trying to get good at mini painting, the first thing you should try and do is just base coat neatly and evenly.  It takes a bit of discipline, and it is not how your shown how to do it in white dwarf or painting guides these days, which focus on completely finishing a section before moving on to the other- but I suspect this is mainly due to making it easy to illustrate, rather than being the best method to actually paint.  John Blanche (who?) mentioned this in a Blanchitsu a while back... he still gets all his base colors down first before shading.
  By the way, I firmly believe you should paint your gaming miniatures with their base colors before playing with them.  Undercoated or raw minis are dreadful to play.  By at least getting all the colors in, your minis look good at a distance- at which, lets face it, most games are played.  Once colored in, your good to game.

My current base painting technique involves the brilliant, BRILLIANT Liquitex Burnt Umber- which provides deep rich soil colors when applied in varying thicknesses.

So I kept the shading and detailing very simple, as I wanted her finished in one sitting.  I used slightly thinned black ink to edge all her details- flow aid helps here.  I also used a few glazes, which as you probably know, I thin with matte medium and flow aid.  Here I used an old bottle of Titilating pink from the monster Citadel Boxed set.

Varnished and ready for Skulldred.  "A wizards staff has a knob on the end"
A rear view.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Undead assault: Emerald Dwarf progress

S'up dudes and dudettes?  A quick iphone snap of tonights undead assault 'emerald dwarf' session.

Work In Progress.  Fantasy Tribes Era, Pre Slotta Dwarves from a more civilized age.

   Thanks to BridgendSteves disc of reference photos, I can confidently move forward on details.  Steve had closeups of the rooftop and sally port dwarfs- plus angles on the undead horde that threw up some priceless clues to their identies.  Sadly the diorama needs a good dust and better, diffused lighting, if you work at warhammer world get thee to a supermarket for a static duster and restore this treasured part of gaming history!

   Matching colors is tricky as this diorama dates firmly in his enamels stage, however I did go old school by popping open a goblin green from the 1980s I aquired off ebay (yes that sucker is still good!).  Mmmm... smells like mullets, space invaders, rubik cubes and clannad albums.
Cheers Steve!  Support the man in thanks by visiting his ebay store and procuring more lead!

I am gonna need to offload all my doubles on ebay to help pay for the remaining undead.

Thanks also to all you weirdos emailing me with undead assault minis!  Keep em coming... I need lots of skellys still, sword swingers, spearmen and ghouls. Oh plus that ballista.
I am going to have to dremmel off the champions weapon to fit a ballista bolt... seems a shame to damage a perfectly good figure but I guess its for a great oldhammer cause.
Greeble heep!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Undead assault: Sveta Patchmaiden

First Emerald Moon Dwarf off the blocks...  Sveta Patchmaiden next to her photo.  The base echos the set she is standing on in the diorama with cunning use of cocktail sticks.
Sveta Patchmaiden, Pre-slotta era Dwarf adventurer (Perry Sculpt?)
I just got a disk of photos arrive from BridgendSteve, (cheerz mutchly good sir) haven't had time to look at it yet, but oooooh, so exciting!  Gonna get me some large prints!
Hopefully if there are some good shots of the banners I can digitally flatten out, undistort and clean these up to make some printable banners to scale.  (Though I plan to then graphite transfer and handpaint my own. Just to be hardcore).
I plan to assemble a digital checkoff list from Steves pictures to help track, ID and trade each and every figure.  By the end I should be able to give you a complete shopping list!  It would make a dandy collectors page on ccmwiki!

I had the heartstopping realisation that the ballista is a mini not scratch built as I had previously thought.  Fortunately I had a set of defibs in my car and mi6 on standby to fix me long enough to win the card game.... wait... no that was casino royale... I get so mixed up with my exciting life and bond movies.  Where was I?  Oh yes... The dwarf ballista used to come with the stretcher crew.  Now I have to hunt down yet another mini!

My Ral Partha jabberwock arrived too... not certain I want to saw him up to get him coming out of the water...  anyone got a broken one?

Speaking of which, I am also looking for the wings and tail of the Orc Wyvern that was used by Pete Taylor to build his infamous yellow chaos spawn.  I got me a bust umberhulk and scorpion- just need those missing parts.  And yes, the umberhulks mouth is destined for a three headed minotaur belly.  Bonus points for oldschool cool if you spotted that one coming.
I am sick with flu at the moment (where is mi6 when you need them?)  So I probably will be getting some hobby stuff done in the next few days whilst I recover.  It will be good to get a few more wins on the project board!