Monday, 20 February 2017

Procrastination and Q&A

For the first time this year, I don't have an update ready to go on a Monday, as real life painting of ceilings* has dominated my life in the last week.

Happily, there's still something to share as the excellent St Anderw's wargaming blog has a short Q&A with me as part of their Better Know A Blogger series, and you can read my contribution over here.

Read the older submissions as you'll find a few blogs from his previous Q&As that will definitely be to your taste. Worth mentioning his own blog is also pretty good for hobby progress and fantastic for 40k new unit breakdowns. It's a regular read for me since discovering it.

In addition, here's a WIP of an oldschool favourite that I picked up in the recent GW made-to-order offering - the wonderful Inquisitor in Terminator Armour.

I've been painting this during the occasional lunchbreak in my local GW for their next miniature challenge. Close-ups from my phone always make it look a little harsher than it is in person, but it'll come good before the end - promise!

* I was using something a little larger than a size 2 on this occasion.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Miniature Factory: Uncle Meat

Sculpted by the wonderfully talented Jacques-Alexandre Gillois, this has been sat in my WIP pile for quite some time. In fact since April last year when picking it up at Salute. It's so ridiculously detailed that I wasn't sure it would be done justice by my skills at the time - but now felt like the right time.

I wanted an unhealthy feel to him, but quite practical with it. His only real concession to colour is the chainsaw and a little use of green and blue on the visor and boots. Obviously the visor should be transparent, so I just tried to echo the sky.

Very pleased this one's finally done, and if you want to see how it's done properly then visit the Miniature Factory website to see their studio versions - which are so beautifully done it's a little depressing.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Heresy Miniatures: Colossus Elemental

Now my Colony 87 project is done and dusted, it's time to hit the next projects in the WIP pile from Salute 2016, starting with this beauty - Heresy's Colossus Elemental.

I looked at the official paint job on the Heresy website for this guy, and felt it was a little too monotone and wanted to do something different to play with the elemental side of the figure more than the stone/rock aspect. This was an exercise in OSL and playing with colours I wouldn't normally use on a figure together.

He's painted up to feel like he's grown from a crystalline formation on the ground, and powered by something in the chest. All the blues, greys and purples were airbrushed to try and achieve a smoother gradient then highlights added by brush.

The scenery is a bit of a cheat as it's an old piece I found in my bitz box and wanted to use up and happily it illustrates the scale of the model towering above. Few tufts of different grasses on there, and we're done!

Very happy it's a resin figure, because this would be far too heavy as a metal model to handle comfortably. This was a timely reminder that Andy at Heresy cranks out such a wide variety of great figures. More power to him.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Colony 87: Conclusion

So that's it - the whole set of figures painted during January. Phew.

Personal highlights would be the Recordist, Junker and Botanist - but generally I'm happy with how everything turned out. Here's all 12 characters from the two projects to highlight the wonderful variety in the sculpts.

That's 12 characters and 3 pets over the past 18 months, and they're so rich in character it was a real pleasure spending time on them. As a side project for this year, I'd love to work out a diorama to feature all of them - but so many other things to finish before that thinking starts!

If you like the look of these figures, I'd recommend following the project creator on Kickstarter as there was talk of a third wave later this year. He's delivered both projects on time, with zero delays and no drama - and I can't speak highly enough of how well the projects were managed.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Colony 87: Mechanic Asa Stent

The final piece in the jigsaw, the mechanic Asa Stent - she's a no-nonsense lady with a wrench.

Very happy with how the face turned out here. Green eyes, and better shading in evidence. Playing around again with blues on black, and pushing up contrasts on her jacket and hat. With hindsight, she would probably benefit from a little glazing, but that's one for the future.

But we're finished! I'll post up some group shots during the week.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Colony 87: The Animals

As I close in on completing the Colony 87 figures, here's a little quickly painted bonus - the animals! Say hello to Chameleiod, Vermilepus and Karakulak. They were given as a freebie for people who backed the first Colony 87 Kickstarter, but I think you could also buy them separately. Initially they didn't fire my enthusiasm, but once basecoated they really came to life.

Karakulak has been painted in similar markings to Bubastis from Watchmen. Vermilepus reminded me of an oboe-playing character from one of the bands that appear in Star Wars. Chameleiod was painted to look like it's shifting from rich blues and purples to match the more muted, orange tones of the landscape everything else is based on.

While they are finished, they aren't based yet, because I want to use them as pets on larger bases to accompany other figures. So watch out, as they'll make an appearance in-situ when other figures join my civilians project.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Colony 87: Junker Korl Feldspar

This is the badass of the group. Not much else to say about him at the top, so here are the pictures!

I did make a small error and over-egged the highlighting on the front, but it still turned out fine(ish) with a bit of hasty glazing. Wanted the face to feel like blotchy skin where he may encounter unexpected splashes while hunting through the wastes, but kept the back of the head normal or it would have looked a little too Gorbachev.

This was a nice experiment in trying to use layering and glazing a little better on fabrics, and it feels like I'm heading in the right direction with more patience in the colour transition.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

2017 Goals - Painting Backlog

When I started writing everything down I realised it was becoming quite a lengthy post, so have split it into three sections. Summary, Hobby and Backlog. Here are the broader goals around the painting backlog

This year I wanted to be a little more disciplined in my approach and wrap up projects, rather than let whimsy take me where it will and end up with too much start on the workbench. So here are my goals with which I'll judge myself by end of year.

Infamy [3]
With pretty much the whole range of figures sat in a cupboard, I'm waiting for my  Twistered pledge to arrive before dive into this lot as I want to have a consistent feel through everything - so crazy as it sounds most of these will wait until 2018. But I do have a couple of larger 54mm automatas and a Tesla bust to improve my larger scale painting with.

Colony 87 [9]
Finish all the figures from the second set released last year, completing the set and bringing the total to 15 models in all.

Hasslefree Miniatures [12]
Paint everything I picked up at Salute - Admiral Almos, Colonel Hogan, Hostrom Hammersmith, Ullr the Red, Bolverk the Bold, Howling Gorvhogguth, TradKarl, Weird West Boudi, Harby, Rogue Drax, Blanche and Mystic Warrior Jen.

Heresy Miniatures [3]
Finish everything I picked up at Salute. Started with an Ogre at the end of 2016, and have a few more left - the Colossus, Ghoul King and Brother Bude.

Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolves [28]
Dust off and rebase my existing models with the new Sector Imperialis basing kit. Paint up the whole Ironclaw Strike Force that may have been purchased over Christmas. Whoops.

Warhammer 40,000 Death Guard [16]
Complete two tactical squads and a random Demon Prince I found in the cupboard.

Guild Ball Morticians [3]
Complete the Season 1 & 2 roster with Scalpel, Vileswarm and Veteran Graves.

Guild Ball Fishermen [5]
Complete the Season 1 & 2 roster with alternate Shark, Corsair, Sakana, Jac and Tentacles.

Willy Miniatures [1]
Sportscasters. I finished the Ogre (let's call him Bob) last year and have the Vampire (who is definitely not Jim Johnson from Blood Bowl) and then that completes my homebrew Guild Ball NPC collection.

This sets my initial goals at 80 figures, which would be more than I've completed in a calendar year since returning to painting at the start of 2015. That's an average of over 1.5 figures a week, consistently through the year. Quite a challenge for me I hope. Now a number of these will be tabletop or thereabouts, but a few will be stepping stones in pushing my ability.

Achieving this would also mean I can play a nice selection of rosters for Guild Ball or Kill Team events in 40k. It also helps flesh out my sci-fi civilian options for a diorama that's brewing in the back of my mind.

There's a bonus entry here too. Complete everything in my Zombicide Black Plague monster set. That's a little more ambitious as I think there's about 100-150 figures in that pile. Note that doesn't even include the hero characters - because I have 66 of those sods, which is a year on its own at my speed! This one is definitely not very smart, but that's why it's down here as a bonus.

So that's me and the plan for the coming year. You'll already see I've managed to start into the Colony 87 figures but need to pick up the pace - as one figure a week isn't going to be enough to meet the targets. Especially when there's such variety in there, but let's see I we do!

2017 Goals - The Hobby

When I started writing everything down I realised it was becoming quite a lengthy post, so have split it into three sections. Summary, Hobby and Backlog. Here are the broader goals around the hobby itself.

I want to lift the standards of my individual figure painting to the next level. I'm talking better use of colour theory, smoother layering and glazing and even improving simple accuracy on the basics.

There's a Games Workshop five minutes' walk from where I work, and I want to get into the habit of competing at small local events. From looking in the store window they've got some competent painters attending, and even though it's a friendly affair - I'd quite like to win a monthly painting competition there!

Thanks to the AmmoBunker's OMAM (One Miniature A Month) challenge, I've been able to paint something each month for the last two years. That's 24 consecutive months of progress! While the challenge itself slowed down considerably on the forum in the second half of 2016, it proved a value motivator for me - and I'll be tracking my own progress again with this as a benchmark. Feel free to join in.

My blog entries over the past year have mostly been finished figures and accompanying text. I'd like to try and add a few more posts on the in-progress pieces, or tips and tricks I've acquired. Reasonably sure that while most of this won't be new to you, but if I don't share ... we don't know if it is :)

A good friend of mine, Omero, had the idea of pushing his painting to see what could be achieved on a figure with only 90 minutes of painting which we've created the #90MMC hashtag for - 90-Minute Miniature Challenge. There's a twofold benefit here - it means you're always finishing a figure, whether the outcome is brilliant or not, there's a quantifiable way to improve your paintjobs through the year. Also, it helps dent the backlog. Imagine ticking off a standard squad figure each month with this method. 12 figures for a total of 18 hours in the year. Then you get to compare your December figure with the January one to see where you've progressed. Everyone can do that, right?

I've never been to Warhammer World. As someone who has been playing, on and off, with Games Workshop miniatures since 1988 this seems like a heinous oversight and one I plan to correct this year. Your suggestions and recommendations for what to do and when to go are very welcome.

2017 Goals - Summary

Hello 2017.

With the massive bastard of a year we called 2016 behind us, it's time to quit dragging my heels and be a little more active on the hobby front.

I didn't set any hobby targets for last year. This was mostly down to a big change in my working life (I went self employed) it wasn't clear how much time would be available with this shift in working - so setting goals because gauging my free time seemed counterproductive. Happily it was more than expected and I completed 58 models, large and small, and attended two fantastic courses to understand how to paint better.

With a good idea of my working plan for the first half of the year, this led me to think about better structure for 2017 and pushing out of the comfort zone - but keeping it achievable. You can read more on the following two posts:
Most of you will be familiar with the concept of SMART goals. For this purpose I've opted for the definitions to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-related. In layman's terms this means I'm picking figures, planning to finish them, think I can, ensuring they're related to a project and will be done this year. Easy!