Monday 26 November 2012

Defenders of The Shire

Here they are, after several years of languishing and a few weeks of painting: my hobbits. On the one hand, I really look forwards to having a game with these little chaps, but on the other hand, every death will be an epic tragedy...

Here's what I painted this month:

Everyone except Bullroarer
Bullroarer, Fatty Bolger, Bullroarer again, Farmer Maggot, Paladin Took


Archers and horn-blower


Here's my entire Shire Defender force with the eight archers I'd painted a few years ago, and Farmer Maggot's dogs. Not a 'legal' force if you're into that sort of thing. (Q: Why no Bullroarer? A: He's been dead 250 years!)

Farmer Maggot with Grip, Fang, and Wolf.
(Farmer Maggot drew the short straw when they were giving out twee hobbit names.)
"Don't trust black dogs with orange eyebrows"- Terry Pratchett.

And here's a special guest: Golfimbul meets Bandobras 'Bullroarer' Took and is about to be introduced to the civilised game of golf...

Well, thanks for following me on this month-long journey. I did enjoy painting this likeable and characterful force. I've needed your support and a deadline to get this project completed. Unfortunately, I didn't get any work done on my hobbit holes, and I really should prioritise them now.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Final hobbit WIP

Final WIP of the hobbits! Shirriffs, Paladin Took, and Farmer Maggot.

Now I need to finish the bases and take some decent pictures.

Oh, and I'll be selling multiple kidneys for my 'Hobbit' needs. I'm stunned at the asking prices here in Australia.

Thursday 22 November 2012

Hobbit forming

I'm running out of hobbit puns. Here's a teaser of my archers and hornblower.

As an added birthday bonus, here's a tease for Bandobras Took and Fatty Bolger.

I've got about a week to go to complete the remaining six hobbits (and base all of them)- this is looking achievable.

GW just released a teaser video of terrain for their upcoming Hobbit game- I have to say it looks excellent. I've had plans for a while for Dwarves and Goblins battling it out over multi-level mining catwalks, and so this really floats my boat. No surprises what my next LotR project will be. Time to sell a kidney...

Happy Birthday, Blog!

This blog turns 1 today! (I don't know how old that is in web years, at least 10 I guess.)

Thanks so much for all the kind words over the past year that have encouraged me to keep putting out content. With nice timing this week I've been given the nod for a 'Leibster Award' for up-and-coming blogs. (Nominated by Jay, check out his blog here).

Edit: Also nominated by Sam and Rusty- thanks, guys!

I've found maintaining this blog really helpful in keeping me on track and on time with various projects. I've improved my camera skills. I've toyed with The Dip. I've appreciated the effort that goes into all the great wargaming and miniature painting blogs out there.

What next? More of the same, hopefully. I've still got a huge lead pile to work through and a grasshopper attention span for periods and scales. I'd like to get some proper battle reports on here- its going to be another learning experience to strike the right balance of photos, diagrams and text to tell the story.

I think that the site header needs a change... something to represent the variety of scales and genres I dabble in. Any ideas?

Finally, as a Liebster recipient (can I put it on my CV?) I get to nominate blogs with under 200 followers that deserve recognition. There are so many good blogs out there, and I'm sure I'll kick myself when I remember someone I've forgotten, but please check out:

  • Shed Wars with excellent scenery and battle reports, swinging from the French-Indian wars to the post-apocalypse.
  • Femoral Head Ostectomy for some great pictures of gaming in Finland (set phasers to translate)
  • Stopping the Red Tide: Great pictures and fiction for an upcoming Cold War campaign that I can't wait to follow!
  • Hurry up and Wait: A blog that solely focuses on the Falklands, with combat in many scales and gripping battle reports.

Sunday 18 November 2012

More hobbit progress

Blurry phone photo of the painted militia. They just need flocking, then they're done! Archers, shirriffs, and characters to go.

Incidentally, the number of times I've painted a hobbit, sat back in smug satisfaction, then kicked myself because I forgot to paint their flipping furry feet... grr.

Kneecappers, & Jokerbowl 2012

I went to the Jokerbowl Blood Bowl tournament yesterday, at Tin Soldier Penrith. I'm trying to complete the nerd-challenge of playing every Blood Bowl team at an official tourney- I'm up to 9/24 now! Maybe by 2020, if I squeeze in two tourneys a year?

The Kneecappers were my first Blood Bowl team, when 3rd Ed came out in 1994. They've gone through a few paintjobs over the years- and I didn't strip them inbetween, so the details are somewhat poorly defined! Needless to say, I'd do them differently now (oy, the gloss...). The tankards are from metal tubing. The Blitzer has a transparent bottle from a 1/35 diorama accessory kit which I inked brown.
Troll Slayers



Long Beards

It's been a long time since they've been played with. To celebrate their dusting-off, I painted this figure (from Four A Miniatures) which makes a great cheerleader/ Bloodweiser Babe/ reroll marker. The kegs are from Impact! Miniatures.

Jokerbowl was great fun- good to catch up with old mates and roll dice again. I came fifth out of sixteen overall, with two wins, a draw, and a loss. Memorable moments include:
  • Turning Ephraim's sole Dark Elf runner into a frog
  • Meticulously advancing against Grumpsh's Dwarves, then failing a 2+ to score and being subsequently taken apart
  • Ripping into Nick's beautifully painted Necromantic team, even though they kept regenerating
  • Having a lacklustre first half against Vimes' Halflings, but then clearing the pitch of all but his treemen
My roster was two Troll Slayers with Mighty Blow, two Runners with Block, two Blitzers, five Long Beards (one with Guard), one Reroll.  I just realised that I underspent on my roster- I had an extra 10k in the bank I never used! An extra assistant coach or cheerleader would have been nice... In hindsight, Block on the Runners was excellent, but the two Troll Slayers with Mighty Blow generally underperformed. The Long Beard with Guard was useful.

Monday 12 November 2012

Hobbit progress

Skin done
I have completed all the skin and am going through the clothing. I'm painting identical poses all at the same time to reduce overly similar colour schemes. I'm restricting myself to a muted, earthy palette of mostly greens, creams and browns.

I decided not to do the dip for this project, so as to match the eight hobbits I painted a couple of years ago. These should give an idea of the look I'm going for, as I was really happy with how they came out.

In other news, things are coming up Barks as I acquired a cheap copy of 'The Scouring of the Shire', and an OOP Lobelia Sackville-Baggins miniature. Rumours are circulating of a GW 'Hobbit' box set to be released next month- no doubt fiendishly expensive but hopefully containing some nice terrain and minis.

I've made no progress on the hobbit holes, unfortunately. I may only have time to patch up the one hole I've almost completed.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Concerning hobbits I've painted

As part of my Hobbit Month, here are my previously painted hobbits.

First up we have the plastic 'Mines of Moria' hobbits. My clear favourite sculpt is Sam and his frying pan, with his backpack strewn with strings of sausages. I feel I've got his hair too blonde. Frodo looks like a drag queen with lipstick, and his eyes are too dark- I now leave them dark brown rather than black. His face lacks definition as well. Pippin and Merry are OK, but somewhat chalky. Looks like I gave them a final light drybrush?

These are my metal hobbits. The cloaks should be a variety of colours as they are pre-Lothlorien, but I painted them as elven cloaks in a grey-green shade.

Somewhere I acquired Merry and Pippin in armour, and I really like these guys. I considered building up a Gondor army just to go with Pippin so I'd have a use for him...

When I got Sam and Frodo in Mordor, I was really happy to paint them looking a little forlorn and weather-beaten. They've got a healthier complexion than their Moria selves, though! I thought about leaving the bases bare, but finally decided to add a few bits of grass to match my game boards (I had the same dilemma with Sauron, Isildur and Elendil).

More recently, I picked up Sam and Frodo in orc armour. Fun to paint, and if I field my orcs I'll be sure to stick them in there so that my opponent hesitates before killing them!

Finally, here's Frodo with the ring on. Or is it my Predator?

Sunday 4 November 2012

Hobbit skin and faces

I prefer to paint from the 'inside out', ie the deepest, hardest-to-get-to bits first, and the superficial easy bits last. Skin is often a deeper layer (hands are the exception) and in this project I'm doing it first. Besides, it's a drudge and I'd like to get it out of the way. Furthermore, when the skin and face are finished, it guides you as to how the rest of the figure will come together.

(I also try to paint messy bits before neat bits, so basing and drybrushing gets done early.)

My belief is that a face is the focal point of a miniature- get it right, and the rest of the figure works. The converse also applies. I don't paint eyes very often- you see eyes on people less than you think you do. More often, it is merely a shadow. Besides, getting eyes wrong ruins a face, and thus, following my logic above, ruins a miniature. Also, painting eyes- hard.

Anyway, I've gone through different styles and ways of painting skin and faces over the years, and this is what I'm currently using for my hobbits:
  1. All paints are Derivan MiNiS (which I believe are now OOP) over a GW Chaos Black spray. Lighthorse Brown to all the skin, covering the eyes but leaving the mouth black.
  2. Most raised areas except around the cheeks, sides of nose, between fingers (and toes!) in Tobruk Brown.
  3. Eyebrows, nose, chin, cheekbones, knuckles etc. Flesh.
  4. Watered-down Dark Chestnut to give shading to the eyes. Voila!
By stages as described above
Faded labels! Colours as described above

Cars, ships, and unspeakable nightmares

Had a great evening's gaming- DC introduced me to 'Uncharted Seas', where his Bone Griffons and their zombie whales just beat my fleet of Dragon Lords. We got a lot of rules wrong, but I'll happily play with DC's well-painted ships again- and I saw the 'Dreadfleet' components- lovely ships, measuring sticks, and islands- not to mention the high quality sea mat!
Not much later there were three ships left in total...

Then Shannon joined us for 'Mansions of Madness' (see my painted figures here)- Professor Harvey Walters and private eye Joe Diamond investigate my sinister cult. They fought off hordes of cultists, only to discover the horrible truth that the cultists were raising a terrible monster. In a race against time, they failed to prevent the creature being summoned and tried to fight it- Joe Diamond went down, but Professor Walters used an arcane spell to destroy the beast and win the game- but at the same time went insane! Totally Lovecraft!
Game over as the monster falls and the professor loses his mind...
Finally, the three of us played a game of 'Formula De'- I'll be keeping an eye out for this myself as it was a great fun game. DC won that game as well- three wins for him tonight, the dice gods were smiling...

Saturday 3 November 2012

It's hobbit month!

November is 'Hobbit month' on the One Ring, and I'm going to try and put a big dent into my unpainted lead pile. Well, a big hobbit-sized dent.

I picked up a batch of GW hobbits at a bring-and-buy a few years back, and they've been sitting around taunting me since then. I've got sixteen militia, four shirriffs, twelve archers, a hornblower, Paladin Took, Bullroarer Took (foot and mounted), Fatty Bolger, and Farmer Maggot. Thirty-eight figures.

I'm conflicted about painting my old slow way, or experimenting further with the dip. I still don't feel confident in getting consistent results, but I'll need to paint at an unattainable speed otherwise. The first few days of this project are likely to be prep days- I hate prepping figures.

I also made a hobbit hole a while back which needs patching up, and two more holes I previously started but never finished. Hopefully I can complete them as well.