Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Excuses

 Lots of excuses as to why I have not posted lately, nor even touched any miniatures at all in the last couple months. (Taxes, Birthdays, selling on Ebay, weather etc.)

Here is a more substantial one: Vision. 

For the last six months or so, I have had difficulty focusing on objects within arms reach... which is to say painting and modeling range.  To manage it I would have to take off my glasses, and without them on bring said object closer and squint at it with one eye.  Naturally this is a fairly limiting practice! 

A couple of weeks ago I got new glasses with progressive lenses, which I have had some difficulties adjusting to.  I think that I am ranged in enough now that I can paint miniatures, although I have been working up to it with some terrain work. 


I do however have a number of projects at the stage where they are nearly ready to post about, so I only need to get my rear in to gear and... do it.   Hopefully before we get into the busy part of the early Summer. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Klingon Armada - Actual play

This weekend I played an actual game for the first time in a long time. 

Stew, of the excellent blog A terrible Loss of Lead and Wealth, had suggested that he was interested in trying out some Star Trek-esque gaming, and we eventually hashed out a time to get together.  As long time readers know, I have been very slowly building up a couple of TOS era forces basically since the blog began.  Despite this long build up, I still needed to prepare for the game, and spent a number of evenings painting up a few more ships and some various tokens and such. I also put together a quick reference sheet, since there is no official one, and printed a play mat.  

Drone/Missile markers of two types
Shuttles

Federation shuttle markings

Newly painted D6 cruiser

Stew had a very lovely set up with shade and three tables that more than accommodated the 3x4 foot mat I printed off at work. He took the perfidious Federation and I took the noble warrior Klingons. 

CB New Jersey Class, CA Constitution Class, DD Saladin Class, FF Burke class

D7 class cruiser, 2 D6 class cruisers, F5 and E4 frigates 

Despite both being bloggers, we were more than a little caught up in the game and I only managed one picture of the game!  

Scene of destruction

Hopefully Stew took more pictures. 

The game played very smoothly, although we both agreed that drones (heavy missiles) seemed a bit pointless, since in the numbers used they hit nothing!  Maybe next time I will have to take a CAG variant to really pump them out.  We also tried out of a few of the more esoteric Trek technologies, but unfortunately my glorious boarding action merely eliminated the redshirts on the New Jersey, and did not capture the ship. 

I had a great time, and Stew said he was hooked, so there ought to be more games in the future. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

New Year, Same project

 Last year, I started on building an Eldar army, something I had long wanted to do.  The intent of this was to "quickly" build up a force to combat my kid's Space Marines.  I had collected the Eldar over a very long time, and with the interest in 8th/9th edition 40k and the kid's new Space Marine army, it seemed like time to get going. 

As it happened, I quickly outpaced the kid as return to in-person school soaked up the available free time.  (free-time that was not spent on Minecraft anyway).  This in turn slowed me down until it came to Dreadtober, where I bashed out a Wraithlord in a month.  I also added to the project with a Falcon, Autarch, and Howling Banshees. 

Here are the original project figures after about a year of work:

Clockwise from the top we have Dire Avengers, Fire Dragons, a Warlock, Rangers, Swooping Hawks, and in the middle we have some Guardians.

Aside from the Dire Avengers, these are largely finished, with just gems and bases to go.  Since I plan to base everything at the same time AND am not 100% sure what I want to do, they have been in this state for a while.  The Dire Avengers need a bit more highlighting and work on the white of the helmet before they are at the same stage as the others. 

Now a logical, and sensible person would have stayed with the army as seen above, finished that, and then moved on to expansions on it (or the 1001 other projects I have piled up on my desk).  Instead, we had some scope creep.
Added to the army above we have a Wraithlord, Falcon, and Wraith Guard.  Bizarrely [or characteristically] these added items were finished before the original.  The Wraithlord is 100% done thanks to Dreadtober, and the Falcon just needs a base and sealer coat.  The Wraithguard only need basing. 

Also added to the army but not yet finished are the Howling Banshees, striking scorpions, and an Autarch. 

So what is next?  Well the 9th edition Eldar Codex is coming out in a month or so, and with it a ton of new kits.  I also have jetbikes, more guardians, more Swooping Hawks, support weapons, and a squad of War Walkers that I could/should add as well.  A Farseer would also be useful...  So plenty more to come, I just need to find the time. 

Monday, January 10, 2022

Holidaze

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.