Tuesday, 31 December 2013

And Lo, Sainted Tigran made a castle of his ass: A terrain piece and horrid history of terrain building

I've always appreciated good looking terrain.  It is such a perfect accompaniment to well painted models and has a valuable role to contribute to the narrative of any battle and the continuing story of any army that crosses it.  That said I've never been one for making it: or maybe not anything notable for anything but cringe factor.  I remember getting a book from the public library when I was a child.  My head was full of knights and dragons and the book demonstrated how to build medieval castles out of wood.  I painstaking hacked up plywood and constructed a ramshackle hill that was supposed to terminate in a raised moat.  Somewhere along the line I'd screwed up the measurements and the "island" intended for a majestic castle was so crumped up it would have struggled to accommodate a 28mm scale outhouse.  Even to my 10 year old mind it looked like ass.  That sentiment remains and whenever I tried to build a terrain piece in the intervening years It ended up half completed and eventually made it's way into the trash.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Blood Bowl Witch Elf

Head on!  The face as a focal point came out clean.  Remainder not so much.
Fresh off a Blood bowl diatribe and still in possession of the witch elf kit I'm supposed to make a penitent from I decided to throw together a new Dark Elf Blood Bowl squad.  My last team was the Kar Karond Corsairs.  I painted them about 10 years ago and time away hasn't made the sculpts or my painting appear any better.  At the time I had a really bad idea about using yellow as a team colour and as a primary colour for a Warhammer Dark Elf army.  The team got painted and played.  The army ended up a terrible lesson that ended in horror and a poor choice of colour was only the first push of a snowball of pure hobby shit.  I have ruined many models attempting ill considered conversions, am guilty of many bad paint jobs but my greatest hobby shame was selling a relatively well painted army to a wargaming troglodyte.  It made me feel like Gepetto might have if he had sold Pinochio to the inmates at a Turkish prison.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Blood Bowl is a great strategy game if you aren't a prig

1988 Box art.  Rather sad but I still have my old copy.

"Friends don't let friends play Blood Bowl" is an unfortunate turn of phrase relayed to me some years back.  A friend of a friend of a fairly prominent North American GW employee passed on this little mantra from the former with a laugh and it became a bit of a punchline any time people expressed interest in playing it at the local hobby shop.  Recently this joke resurfaced in a discussion about the, "mystery box that wasn't" (Blood Bowl was rumoured prior to the Innocence rumour that replaced it then died) and someone tried to extol the "wonders" of Dreadfleet while disparaging the Game of Champions.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Penitent WIP part 2

Broken doll

I put a basecoat on the penitent.  Nothing more than than blocking out some colours to get the canvas rolling.  I wasn't sure where I was going with the skintone and honestly I don't think I'm there yet.  I'd considered a healthier pallor but the background I've been throwing around isn't rooted in clean and healthy living.  I like the face at this early stage.  The chalky complexion, hollow eyes and malformed scalp brought an eerie porcelain doll to mind.  I like the allusion to a broken or discarded thing.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Penitent WIP

Arms I added look terrible side on but the model's natural profile is worth photographing

 I was really taken in by the models Jeff Vader had posted recently on his own site and on the Inq28 forums at The Ammo Bunker.  The Warhammer Witch models are both graceful and dynamic and my green hobby monster was compelled to grab a kit and see if I could manage anything so amazing as he had.

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Idiot Savantry

This is just a quick entry to establish a rough design outline as much for myself as anyone that wants to follow or offer any suggestions because I'm not much of a rules guy myself.  The main goal of this project (Oh, is it a project already?) is to produce a story driven gaming experience that produces a narrative that is the reason for playing.  I see "winning" as participation rather than an accumulation of victory points.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Innocence Lost

I'd have been in a bit of a "hobby miasma" for a while now.  No new content on the blog and worse than taking the time to share what I was doing with others I simply haven't been doing anything for myself.

The workbench seems like a stranger.  At some point doing the summer I got wind of the Innocence skirmish game rumours. I was very excited.  Admittedly it seemed to good to be true (An inquisitor based skirmish game releasing with John Blanche inspired models) so it was hardly shocking when this went the way of wishful thinking.

I want to like the existing Inquisitor game but I can not.  I love the setting, the ideas the game presented but the cumbersome "rollplaying" mechanics are anathema to my enjoyment.  Throwing gaggles of dice and disseminating character information worthy of a spreadsheet detracts from a story telling system that in my opinion would be best represented with simple and fluid rules that focus on emulating the feel of reading Abnett, Cornwell or Dumas.

Bereft of the game I want to play I figure I'll try my hand at some game design.  I have been pouring over my collection of specialist skirmish titles, FFG's roleplaying titles and some rousing adventure stories on the way.  What might come of this; Who knows?  If I manage to hash out some ideas I may drop them here.  My hope is for a little cross-pollination to get me to revisit the hobby bench.   

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

General Update and Back in Action

trooper, sergeant, Barber Mott
 Well, it's been a while.  All right then.  On to excuses.  Starting a new job is a fairly decent one.  Real life has a strange way of eating hobby but this really isn't the reason.  It all came down to the loss of my favourite green stuff press mould.  It is a very nice piece of kit.  The detail is crisp and for ease of use it's even mounted on a space marine arm that is both functional and stylish.  Sadly it went AWOL and every visit to the hobby table became an exercise in frustration where I would look for it fruitlessly or attempt to make a replacement.  I couldn't find it and the substitutes were pure garbage.  Finally it turned up and suddenly second squad are coming together rather nicely.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Guard Medic/ INQ28 Chiurgeon WIP

You want hugs an all I got is drugs.

I like it best when a model does all the work and just seems to come together in your hands.  This was one of them.  The base figure is a Reaper Barkeep.  He was from a blister of three townsfolk I picked up at a LGS a while back.  GW doesn't have too many thickset models in their range and this guy was impossible to pass up.  As a stock figure he oozed character.  He was taking a rag to a stein he had in hand.  I'd carved him down a bit more than I might have needed to for this conversion.  I'd considered really cutting him up and turning him into a 40k noble (really cool painting from FFG product) and got about halfway through the chopping and had a change of heart.  The lower part of the body was a bit of a stumbling block because I would had to have cut him in half or dremel the hell out out of his apron.

Friday, 8 February 2013

First Squad Fall In

First squad reporting for duty (or just a photo op).
 I completed the first ten man squad for the Pohlesian project.  All said and done it took about two weeks to accomplish which isn't too bad for me as I'm not a prolific "army painter".  Determining the colour scheme on the character model that proceeded them certainly expedited the process where typically my efforts at painting multiple figures for the first time usually ends with much cursing and a motley of variations.

Friday, 1 February 2013

INQ28 Daemonhost- WIP

Low image quality warning, Shot with old camera
I started working on a daemonhost for my INQ28 project back in November.  I'd posted on the Deathsquads forum which is a great site with a solid community and worthy of attention.  When I did my build I'd been taken by the potential of the Warhammer wraith as a basis for the conversion due in no small part to the fine examples utilized by persons involved with their own INQ28 projects that I'd come across on many of the fine blogs and forums I'd been frequenting.  The utility of the model is quite incredible and suggest so many possibilities.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Special Characters and The Ceramite Graf

Cosca properly turned out for parade.
 I like to check out the special characters an army has.  What do they do and what do they contribute to the identity of their parent army?  Sure there are "gamey" characters that have some fairly serious consequences (both balance and ethical) when brought to battle with a tailored list but I want to focus on the story aspect.  The charm of many of the special characters for me is they are archetypes of economy.  My favourites typically have a story that seems rooted in some other story we have all heard before.  Sometimes I think this is why they resonate.  In most tabletop wargames there is little call for complex character development so a "snapshot" doesn't seem out of place.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Once More into the Breach

Test models for the Pohlesian infantry
 I have some of my better ideas when I discover I have run out of choices.  I considered using Death Korps models as line troops for the Pohlesian infantry.  I like the models quite a lot but I've never been fond of procurement by mail;  Call me paranoid I like to exchange money face to face and have things in hand when I pay for them.

Monday, 14 January 2013

About Turn! Direction of Pohlesian Infantry

Present WIP Infantry mock-up
I've been doing some thinking about how I might convert models for the Guard project I'm been playing around with.  Above is what I've managed to come up with.  While I'm not entirely displeased with the result it falls short of what I might have hoped to achieve.  It best to say with the resources I have available to me it is the best I can do.  I don't think that it's good enough.

Stand and Deliver! WIP

I was listening to too much Adam Ant: The rest is filler

Back when I made the INQ28 post concerning Inquisitor Ney I'd mentioned his that I'd been working on his henchmen.  It had slipped my mind for a while so I thought I'd remedy that with a study of and work in progress of Ramiro Hofgen.  I'd liked the idea board format I'd adopted for Cosca so I thought I's stick with it.  

Producing Snow and Groundwork on your Bases

Developing groundwork on a base can bring it to life or set a mood or theme for your models

I hadn't done a tutorial before.  I'd held off because there are so many out there and I wasn't sure I was bringing anything new to the table.  This is something I've been doing for a while and had anything about it before so hopefully this will give you a new technique to play with and enrich your own hobby experience.  I'd done some reading on celluclay and how military modellers had used it for building up ground work for ages.  There wasn't any to be found at the time and I was a little apprehensive about how it might cure or play with some of the other materials I typically play around with.  

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Field Marshal Zukas complete

Field Marshal Cosca Zukas is my first painted figure of 2013.  I'm terrible for painting the "fun" models first.  It means that many of my abandoned army projects consist of a couple heavily converted HQ or glam units and the term "army" ends up being a misnomer.  This time around I thought it was important to tackle the character first.  I have a general vision of what my "grunts" will look like but they are a radical departure from Zukas.  The infantry in the army are a fusion of cadian components and Perry plastics that overall suggest an early 2oth century model soldier.  The character was an opportunity to explore a more colourful uniform suggestive of the Napoleonic Wars.  By creating my character I was building my regiment's history.  That is my justification and I'm sticking to it. 

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Old Soldiers part 3- The poster child

Ding! Ding! Here comes the Shit-Mobile!
I have a sentinel that is probably the most unfortunate of all the models marked for the Junkyard project.  Neither infantry or AFV it stands apart from the other models I visited but holds a more inglorious distinction.   I had to get a photo of this one up as it best represents the transitions my guard collection has experienced over the years and is without doubt the most long suffering piece in my imperial guard collection.  This first photo is another beast entirely and even my butchered sentinel doesn't look this awful (maybe).

The Hydra Flak Gun That Could

This is a hobby "feel good" story.  Don't mind the clown on my ass.
A while back I gave up on Dark Elves (I can't reconcile myself with the spear/repeater bow men) for a pair of Hellhounds.  Somehow I managed to misplace one of the turrets.  It was one of the factors that saw me give up on my last attempt at a guard army.  It seemed every time I'd sat down to work on the models I was compelled to conduct yet another futile search for the errant piece.  Frustration trumped productivity and yet another project got sidelined.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Psyker Battle Squad- WIP build phase

Watch the fellow on the right; He says he has a headache.
I made this squad a few years ago but never got around to painting them.  GW had offered up 3 sanctioned psyker models for the previous codex release so if you wanted to field a complete squad you would be saddled with three sets of three duplicates in a group of nine members.  I think this was an ugly proposition that most hobbyists at the time encountered.  As a result there were many proxy conversions that made their rounds on the hobby forums and blogs.

Old Soldiers part 2- The Poor Bloody Infantry

Before I get into the series of posts on my new guard project I wanted to share a bit of my history with the guard army.  This post is a is a dovetail to the Junkyard of Shame where I offer up images and commentary on infantry models that remain from previous projects.

The glorious age of green bases and battlefields like golf courses
The Tirnov 9th were my first guard army.  I started this force in 1999 and built them from converted Praetorians.  I wanted the army to have the feel of a Napoleonic Russian force.  It was my first foray into sculpting with greenstuff.  Looking back it was pretty crude and simple stuff but it was ambitious for me at the time and if I hadn't tried I never would have kept at it .  I had a sizeable force painted in this style (I'll guess more than eighty but less than one hundred soldiers).  It took a couple years and I'm fairly certain the bugler on the right was one of the last models I converted for the project (2001-2002?) and is probably the best of the bunch.  There was a converted standard bearer I built at the same time but he ended up sacrificing his limbs for some project I can't recall.

By 2004 the army was looking pretty rough.  I'd "quit" the army after building a squad of cold one rough riders and an accompanying mounted priest (in 3rd ed a commissar or priest got a mount if attached to a mounted unit).  The painting was below the standard I thought was acceptable at the time and I wanted to try something new.  I'd had become bored with the scheme as well and had introduced some alternate colour schemes to the force that detracted from the uniform feel of the force and made it look even worse.

Strangely the company piper was always, "Found Wanting"
The Juran 11th Expeditionary Force were yet another cruel adventure for the poor Praetorians.  No sculpted disfigurements but I painted them with trews rather than dress pants.  I built this army with a "Victorian Lost World" feel.  Imagine determined and dour Scots knee deep in the jungle with dinosaurs.  The commissar was the "Hero" model from Schaffer's Last Chancers.  His role in the force made him the "other" in the regiment and the choice of a model styled asian was a nod to the dated writings of Sax Rohmer that fit the pulpy roots of the army.  The photos here are old ones but offer a "before they were beat up" glimpse that high quality images only make worse.

Gentle Ness- the big beast with a heart of gold
Gentle Ness was intended as a centrepiece for the army.  I'd wondered how I might build a Russ on dino back but the more archaic feel of a field gun made it a better choice.  Ness was inspired by the fat plastic cold ones at the time.  I made here out of a dollar store rubber dinosaur and a lot of miliput.  This army never made it too far.  I doubt I broke thirty models.  The Praetorians were amazing Perry sculpts but scale creep and improved sculpting techniques had begun to outpace the models.

Goldfish were bored as a result of the basing material
 When the most recent guard codex dropped I came back.  I opted to design a more modern looking army this time around.  The Bradenvoss 812 were a regiment in transition modernizing their structure after a bitter campaign.  I'd played with Cadian plastics since their release but couldn't get around how generic they looked.  I thought a head swap would make everything right.  I figured out a way to sculpt a passable wedge cap as a head dress.  I ran into some difficulties with a shortage of bare heads to work with.  I ended up adding a red combat scarf to many of the models I was working on to hide details on the surrogate melons.  Sometimes it worked and sometimes it looked like garbage.  More often the latter so again the project died.

Bradenvoss holdovers
 There were some things I liked about these models and the ideas behind this regiment.  The cam pat worked well for an urban winter theme even if it was too dark and the brief history provided the kernal for the current project.  There you have it; What came before.  If I can knock off a full test model I'll post it and some information on the Pohlesian 8th.