Monday, January 10, 2022


Happy Christmas and New Year to you, dear reader(s).

This year I was able to take off the whole week between Christmas and New Years, which was almost enough to relax, despite the best unmentioned here efforts of 2021 to drag us down right at the end.  

I got some good loot this year as well, and hope you did too. 
Putrid Blightkings, clay shapers, a D&D battle mat flip book, and some figures for a project I am definitely not doing. 

We managed to escape town for a few days to the mountains with the cousins, and I ran the kids through another two sessions of D&D.  Being kids they are a bit easy to distract, and being numerous, they argue about what to do, so we are not that far in the campaign.  They did get to roll dice though, so it was good. 

Flip book in action

Which did not stop me from introducing more side quests, some political intrigue, and to allow them to dual class when they leveled up. 

Aside from the stuff I got personally, we also got some family games, including family favorite Mille Bornes, as well as a few others that the kids got which are not shown here (an escape room puzzle, and a Nancy Drew mystery game).  

The kid also got a combat patrol, dreadnaught, and librarian, so at some point there will be enough marines to viciously slaughter my Eldar.  Of course by the time they are painted, the new Eldar codex and miniatures will be out, so maybe I can regain the upper hand?

Here is to a better 2022 for you and yours. 

Monday, January 3, 2022

Christmas Knotty list

Well, nautical list at least.

Final ship boxed up for display

My dad is a huge fan of the Aubrey-Maturin book series, and since it has been a while since I beat my head against a wall, I thought I would try something new and challenging, like building and rigging a 1/700 ship, and then add a time limit to get something done for a Christmas gift.

The primary ship in the book series is the HMS Surprise, which is a real ship, modified for a longer life in the novels than it had in the real world.  The Surprise was a captured French Corvette, which was re-rated by the British Navy as a sort of frigate, although its service life was short, and it was paid out in 1802.  (the ship in the novels gets another 15 years of service)

I bought the files for the hull to 3d print, and while the files were good, the print was not, and I spent quite a bit of time cleaning up the various strings and bubbles.  I had printed another ship's hull before as a practice, and that one turned out nicely, so it was probably something to do with our "winter" weather (40 degrees F and wet).  During the cleanup I broke off the catsheads.  I also printed a stack of ships boats that I modified from files found on Thingiverse, and added a lantern that I scratch built from a bit of plastic WHFB lance and some wire. 

3d printed ships can have 3d printed masts and sails, but being an idiot, I decided that I would scratch build my own masts and sails.  The masts were made from paper clips, plastic card, and thread.  At this stage I learned that I was literally incapable of tying the knots, and my wife helped by doing those. At least I got to work on my sailor language.  I also made sails from paper, which I painted, cut out, and then drooped on curved surfaces to approximate the billow of the sail. Spars were thinner paper clips and other assorted wire.

Masts finally finished, spars and sails drying

After getting the masts done, it was time to work on rigging the ship.  
I skipped knots completely, and went right to super glue, so it does not bear close inspection. 

I also made a pair of ratting looms in Tinkercad, which were much harder to use than I anticipated, and I had to press gang my wife again for this job. Getting the lines to have enough tension for glue to take hold was difficult. In the end, the ship only got one pair of rattings, rather than the eight or so that it should have. 

Reference materials

I was heavily inspired by A Miniatures Hobby Room, who happened to post a lovely British Frigate build that I saw in the middle of this process.  After crying in the corner for a while, I copied what I could, but fell woefully short. (and that is a smaller ship too!)

This is the largest picture that I took of the "finished" product

I was working on this down to the wire, with the ship being hot-glued into a baseball collectors box (80cm cube) and the box put into the bag about five minutes before we left for Christmas dinner. 

So what did I learn?  That tiny ships are very hard!  No fleets forthcoming from me. If you are planning to something similar, give yourself another week of time, since I think this could have turned out better with a bit more effort.

In the end, my dad did like the ship though, and put it straight away onto his display shelf, where it displaced a Lego helicopter that a grandson made some time ago.  So all is well that ends well.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Dreadtober 2021 - Alaitoc Eldar Wraithlord Finished

Well this is exciting, as it is very rare that I actually finish anything, particularly if it is for myself! 

So you will forgive the self indulgent photographs that follow.

Basic shot, similar to all the others, so that you can compare.  Note here that I sealed it with matte spray, and then went back and gloss highlighted all the gems.  I also added a bit too much weathering powder, scraped from pastel chalk, then fixed a bit with 70% alcohol.  If you look closely, you can see that the alcohol interacted with the left foot a bit.

Sword shot! Bone and polished bone for the sharpened blade edge. 

The back side.
A side shot to give you an impression of the whole thing.

Closeup of the base work. I took the suppled 60mm Eldar base, and removed the broken bit of Eldar scenery from the middle (now where the grass tuft is).  I covered over the Eldar ground work with some plastic card to make the pavement.  Then I did about three times as much work as I needed to by trying to do too much and then ruining what I had and then trying something new.  I think it came out ok in the end. 

Final photo, scale shot to let you see how big this fellow is! 

Thanks for following along with me as I painted this guy.  I learned a few things about painting, for example that a zenithal highlight and "two thin coats" really can do a lot of work for you, and "add a bunch of water" does not make a paint turn into a glaze. 

Next I should really finish up my in-progress Eldar before stating something new...

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Dreadtober 2021 - Alaitoc Eldar Wraithlord part 4

 Nearing the end, where I either futz around with details endlessly instead of moving on to a new project, or finally get it done! 

I finished the gems, added some "writing" to the stole, and worked on decals.  The decals were an exercise in frustration, as two tore, and one did not fit where I wanted it to go. Still need to glue the torso and the legs together, and coat with a sealer (look at the shine on that dome!). 

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Dreadtober 2021 - Alaitoc Eldar Wraithlord part 3

Just a small update today on the Eldar Wraithlord project.  Most spare time this weekend was spent shoveling mulch, so not very much time to paint. 

Most of the work was done on the sword, which I helpfully excluded from the photograph... oops. I did start in on the gems, and did a few touch ups and highlights here and there. 

I need to get this done before the end of the month for "Dreadtober" but also because I have other things I want to get painted! 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Dreadtober 2021 - Alaitoc Eldar Wraithlord part 2

 As mentioned last time, I am working on a Wraithlord (an Eldar Dreadnaught) as a way to expand my Alaitoc army, and also conveniently to get some hobby energy by building something during a time when others are working on similar projects. 

Here is the current status:

Still to come, work on the sword, metal highlighting, decals, gems, and final assembly. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Dreadtober 2021 - Alaitoc Eldar Wraithlord part 1

Sometimes there is a hobby challenge or group effort that just seems to line up nicely with what you might already be planning on doing.  One of these regular events is "Dreadtober" where hobby-ists build and paint a dreadnaught or equivalent unit.  It also happens that I am working on my Eldar army, and have a Wraithlord new in box.

As it happened I had Indigenous Persons Day* off for the first time in 30-35 years, so I was able to put in some time painting on Monday.  Knowing that I might have time, I built and primed the Eldar Wraithlord in advance so I would have something new and exciting to work on (remember, new projects are always better than finishing projects... for certain values of "better")
*formerly known as Columbus Day

Wraithlord built, warpvanes kept separate

Building this kit was pretty amazing, as it has a wealth of options for hands/feet/arms/decoration, choice of several different gun combinations, and the shoulders, hips, and waist are all ball joints, which allows nearly too much possibility.  I decided to go with a pose that suggested that the wraithlord had swung around to fry someone with the left hand flamer, and then a swept back sword arm. I magnetized the heavy gun (here a scatter laser) so that I could switch it out if needed, and also to protect it from damage.   I enjoyed building it so much that I was soon on ebay looking at how much another one costs... fortunately did not pull the trigger yet. 

I primed the figure on Sunday, which was fortuitous as it was both warm, and relatively low wind.  Had I waited another day it would not have worked out at all, as the temperature dropped and the wind came up.  I went with an over all black primer with a zenithal cream spray to help pick out details, as well as hopefully to help with highlighting.  After I sprayed the figure but before the paint had dried the torso fell over, which accounts for the black splotch on the center of the head. 

Primed Wraithlord

Here is how it stood at about noon yesterday.  I kept the figure separate at the waist, which allowed me to get under the torso.  This being a newer Eldar figure, it has a ton of gems and such all over its body, so being able to maneuver the brush around is helpful.  I have completed all the first coats of all the colors, including the four different "yellow" shades.  If you look at the legs, or the left forearm, you can see some of the lighter bit from the zenithal highlight actually worked out for once?  Maybe there is something to painting two thin coats...

More to come, as I got a couple more hours of painting in yesterday, but did not take any pictures yet. 

Thursday, September 30, 2021

Eldar construction

 I won a couple of auctions on Ebay recently, and was able to supplement my Eldar with some additions.  The figures went for pretty cheaply because they were incomplete, but I thought I could correct the deficiencies with my bitz box and sculpting "skills". 

I have a box of metal Howling Banshees which I got from my sister as a gift long ago, and wanted to update to a full 10 figure squad, so this auction lot of four incomplete bodies was perfect. Since the metal box came with six swords, and a pair of mirror swords, I had to find new arms for only one of the regular bodies, and then figure out how to finish off the two exarch bodies. 

Here are the completed bodies, which left to right used the right hand metal mirror sword, a harlequin sword arm and sculpting (and also a bit of putty to correct the miscast end of the pistol), the exarch with a converted Dire Avenger arm and a dire avenger pistol arm, and then the final figure with a dire avenger arm and the left of the mirror swords. (and cut down and re-sculpted forehead) 

I also got a metal Autarch body, which I have been chasing on Ebay for years. This one was also incomplete, but on the plus side it was the limited edition version from the starter box. 
I finished this figure off with a fusion gun arm that I had bought for this purpose long ago, a dire avenger banner, and (not shown) a warp vane and some putty to make a backpack.  Since the current model of the Autarch has about 1/10th the weapon options of the old metal ones, I magnetized the arm socket, and gave him a fusion pistol option as well (the current option has the fusion pistol, power sword, and swooping hawk wings)

These have all already been primed, so rather than complete another project, it looks like I am sticking with Eldar for a while longer...

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Alaitoc Eldar Progress

 I have been painting a bit lately, mostly on weekend afternoons when the chores are done, the children are occupied with screens, and the light is good.

Here is where I am currently:

In this picture (aside from the mess) we have an eldar guardian squad, swooping hawks, and wraithguard that are nearly finished.  Also in progress are the rangers, warlock, fire dragons, and dire avengers. 

All of the bases will be done at once later, but I should probably get going on that soon too. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

I certainly do not need a new project...


This weekend we celebrated the birthday of a friend and his son, who happens to be really into tanks lately.  Casting about for a present, I thought about the 3d printer sitting in the garage, and printed out a M1A1 and T-72BM. These had a bit of clean up and sanding before I primed them. 

The duelists

What the newly printed T-72BM looked like

As the title indicated, I certainly do not need a new project, but at least the terrain for 15mm Normandy would be useful for 15mm WWIII... However as these prints took roughly 15 hours each, it might make sense to just buy some of the lovely Battlefront kits instead. (and the Team Yankee starter comes with a bunch of tanks).