Thursday, 23 June 2016

A shit load of projects

I've been blogging now for two years (it's the anniversary today) and the more I blog, the more ideas I seem to get. The quantity and scope of these ideas quickly snowball and I soon find myself trawling through google images for further inspiration and hobby websites to purchase the bits neeeded, all of which completelty overwhelms my actual blog entries and the actual time I can realistically allocate to making them happen. It's very quick and easy to make a few purchases when at the embryonic stage of these ideas (and they pile up quickly) and the arrival of them in the post leads initially to elation and a re-kindling of the excitement of that idea before it recedes into a slightly hazy memory as I have to stash the bits into the depths of a muddled to-do box that itself is hidden away in a hard-to-reach cupboard in the kitchen. There's always another project that I've made a start on and that needs to be finished first. To help keep these burgeoning ideas alive I have a huge "Ideas" folder on my laptop and on my phone (I must merge these one day) which includes research, images, annotations, sketches etc. I occasionally remember to re-visit this folder and when I do I am instantly again overwhelmed with the shit load of projects that I have to get around to doing.

This blogging space is great for trying to stay on top of it all, for setting realistic timeframes, for organising my thoughts for future projects and probably even more so for keeping tabs on the gamut of ongoing projects. Who else has a load of draft posts stashed on their blog, hinting and reminding of some of those embryonic, to-do ideas?

Right now I decided it's a good time to take stock with where I am with all of these hobby projects. So in an unusual step amongst a lot of the blogs I follow and certainly this one, I'll show a load of wip photos and reduce the effect of dropping "finished model bombs" which I have tended to do in my posts.
Let's start with my two, early days wip boxes, spot anything cool or interesting..? Can you see where I'm going with any of these?

Next up are some wip projects that are a bit further down the line, starting with some primed dungeon furniture for my Heroquest/Frostgrave family games. A combination of Grendel Scotia scenery and some original Heroquest parts which have been added too with some insulation foam to create a stone base and bits from my bitzbox to decorate the tables and stalls:

And here's the last batch of dungeon tiles, with some pretty patterns engraved onto the floor:

Next up; the models for a small Rogue Trader, Bob Olley warband, Squat, Ogryn, Ork, female cyborg? and a dinosaur. The dinosaur, nicked from my son's stash, adds to the wrinkle factor. He'll be given some guns and armour and perhaps even a bionic leg (I've a picture in my inspiration folder of course).

Sticking with 40k, I've got some more Heresy Gangers to add to my Freeway Fighter posse:

Here's another big project which I'm chomping on the bit (s) to get into, Nurgle Blightkings, 40k'd up with some steampunk additions. Yep, Blightkings, mashed with the drones, the Skiitari, some small clock cogs and a tank. Plus a load of other bits I couldn't be bothered to get out and photograph. I have a load of ideas and inspiration for this, but the gist of it is that these will be loosely based upon the original, classic and iconic Nurgle Champions from the Realms of Chaos, which I recently completed the collection and painting of:

Next up is a project I've wanted to do for ages, a trash-bash spaceship. It will be for my Logan's World Mercenary Warband and will be comprised largely from stuff I've saved from the recycling, as well as some old broken toys, some old computer parts and a few other bits I've picked up. This stuff is all hidden away in the depths of my garage. I've ordered a few additional bits from Zinge Industries so that I have hatches and doors to add a level of realistic detail. Can you see where this might be going?..

Ps. the decorated yoghurt bottles were a skittles game that my 4year old made for me on Father's day. We've had fun with it, but the wife will just chuck them if I don't rescue them... The sparkly decorations that he lovingly put on will be recycled as gems on some Frostgrave bases. See nothing goes to waste, everything can be added to my to-do list.

I've recently realised that my love of modelling, making, being creative and imaginative in three dimensions stems from my childhood love of Lego. Which of course has also been rekindled (much like my love of toy soldiers) by my children. They love Lego, we love making it together, so I was lucky enough to receive this from my kids (read wife) for Father's day:

It's possibly the first time that my wife has acknowledged my geekyness and love of toys/models, but I'm very happy doing this with my kids. As this is MY lego, they've been relegated to the role of parts finders, much to their disgust.

And finally something that I'm actually painting, although progress is slow as I'm distracted by my Lego Millenium Falcon and the European Championships (as well as all the usual life stuff getting in the way); a dragon ogre shaggoth conversion:

So, to conclude this lengthy post, here are the shitload of projects that I have, at one time or another, flying around in my imagination, in need of tying down:

Realm of Chaos Retinue Table challenge

Bitzbox warband challenge

Frostgrave Bestiary Challenge

Fighting fantasy Warband

Rogue Trader Post-Apocolyptic mercenary project

Dungeon Tiles

And projects I'll be starting:

Steampunk Nurgle warband, based upon the original Classic nurgle champions

Bob Olley warband with dinosaur

Trash bash space ship

Finishing a full 3rd edition Nurgle army

Orc and Gonlin mercenary contingent

Chaos Ally Mercenary contingent

Fuck me that's a lot of work. When will I be too old for all of this?

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

My son's birthday castle!

Happy Birthday little man!

This post's all about the castle I made for him, for his birthday, largely using the Simba Superplay toy castle from Debenhams but with an additional scratch-built tower made from a Pringles tube - you can see the build for that here, a baseboard made from insulation foam and a fair bit of painting (more on that later). Have a look at some pictures of what toys are for first:

His sister getting involved with the baddies on the ramparts

Getting to grips with the working drawbridge.

He was really happy with it and played with it for most of the day, me watching on thinking "I hope it's sturdy enough for the attentions of a 4 year old". So far so good. You can see that he didn't get any old lead to accompany it, just some of the plastic toy soldiers that came with the castle, but he soon added some dinosaurs as the good guys and the knights as the baddies:

The bad knights ended up in the moat; the victorious dinosaurs lined up for post battle inspection.

Here's a few close-ups with slightly better lighting, you can see the little posters and green washes I added:

And the completed tower (none of this is glued down, so he can remove and play with individual sections if he wants):

And before painting:

And a close up of the keep, with a few additional bits added to improve it (some shields, gargoyles, weapons and posters):

Here's a quick visual step-by step of how I went about the painting (it was pretty quick, much quicker than the build):

The insulation board baseboard was given a coat of brown house paint mixed with pva and sand. A grey equivalent was painted onto the courtyard. Lots of drybrushing with the addition of some white to the mix. Some green washes were then applied when it was dry. You can see the pier that I needed to create out of coffee stirrers as I had completely misjudged the width of the moat to the length of the drawbridge! Several coats of gloss varnish were added to the moat and you can see a few roots which were glued into place too.
The castle was primed grey with car primer.
A series of washes were applied over the primer. A dark grey wash first to exaggerate the recesses and shadows.
On the bottom right of the cardboard the castle sits on, you can see the successively lighter drybrushed pale greys I used on the walls. Then some very watery washes of browns and yellows were applied to add a bit of variety and contrast to the walls. The wooden areas were painted with the same colours and drybrushed up lighter.
You can see the subtle colouring of the washes here.
My temporary palette. Not including drying times, the painting process probably only took 45 minutes.
The final stage of painting was to add some dark green staining, moss like, again using very dilute paints. the paint had to be applied vertically and the brushmarks started from any sort of overhang, like a window frame or a rampart.
The flames in the torches were painted and a few little touch ups too.

Some old static grass was applied with pva in patches
And tree armatures were pushed and glued into position. A few last bits of dry brushing and touching up and it's done!

Ready for them to play with their toys and imaginations. Batman, dinosaurs, knights and a castle? Sounds like my kinda fun!

I'll have to set up my toys in and around it next....!!

Monday, 13 June 2016

Helsreach mercenaries - Adelei Niska

"Good work, you brought her back without a scratch and sorted my little headache out proper for me; here's your pay.... but we ain't done yet. This is a big one. I reckon y'all up for this one, but to be sure I'm coming wit ya. We're gettin' ourselves a ship, a proper ship. We're gonna be all sneaky like and I've got the plans down, meticulous like, but there's gonna be some shootin' and I want to make sure we're shootin' straight, so I'm leading this one. Gather ya stuff up, load up on what ya need  - this could be our last mission on this shithole cos if we get this ship we're outta here and you're my crew. In?

So this little post-apocalyptic mercenary gang is done for now, finishing with another great model from Hasslefree. I've converted him slightly, removing his original weapon, which was some sort of power axe and gone for an understated bolter type of weapon. I've obviously added a pet lizard on chained leash, which is very much inspired from an illustration in the Rogue Trader rulebook and Asslessman's great version. I decided to add some additional colour to his face, some faded/washed away eye shadow and slightly red lips. I think I should have added a tattoo which matched the logo on the car from my last post, I'll come back to that.

And here's the crew in their entireity. For my first bash at Rogue Trader/ Post-Apocalyptic I'm really happy with how they've turned out. Next time I'll be including more conversions as I enjoyed the car building the most and have always preferred that aspect of the hobby more than the painting, but heavy conversions do slow me down somewhat. Also the models I chose here are all new to me and I was quite happy with how they looked out of the box. I'd like to futurise some fantasy models next, I've an idea for some Nurgle/Steampunk based on the original classic champions and I've also got a little collection of Bob Olley space adventurers (plus Dinosaur) that I'd like to paint up... More to come..

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Helsreach Mercenaries - Arrabella; Peugeot 203

"Don't fuck this up", threatened Adelei Niska, his large presence adding considerable weight to the threat. "If she comes back with any damage on her, I'll do the same to y'all, one at a time, slow and steady like, and I'll enjoy it, clear?"

Adelei Niska took the crew to his garage and unveiled his pride and joy, "Arrabella", an old Peugeot 203 with raised suspension and over-powered v12 engine. She'd done a lot of missions and helped create a lot of stories with Adelei Niska as he built his reputation and eventual leadership of this province of Logan's World. But she was being brought out of retirement for this new mission; a crew of Ork Slavers had taken some human captives at the far side of Niska's patch, caused some damage and disrespected his sovereignty. He wasn't going to let it go, so he turned to his mercenaries, offered them plenty of incentive and the opportunity to take the car with them. His Maria would accompany them though, just for insurance and because he trusted her to bring Arrabella back in good condition..

You can see the construction of the car here if you missed it, so I'll start this post with the painting processes. I tried out a few new techniques on this badboy. I started with a grey primer which acted as a dull metallic undercoat. I then used some red/brown aerosol applied over this, leaving some of the grey exposed. This created a perfect base layer for my rusting techniques. For this I used a range of browns/reds/oranges mixtures all applied by dabbing a brush, I actually let the brush fall out of my grip onto the car to create a slightly random application of paint and I kept on jumping from one colour to another so there was a range of light and dark colours in any one area. It took a while and quite a few successive layers, but I found that this technique also allowed me to build up a slight texture to the finish too (none of the paints were watered down):

The above two WIP pictures are taken in daylight and show the true colours of the car, the first photo and subsequent ones are with my daylight bulb and actually increase the orange value slightly. Just goes to show that you can't beat real daylight for colour accuracy in photography..

Here you can see one of the images I researched, which helped me explore the rust colours/palette that I eventually went for. However some further research showed me that a lot of rusted out old cars still retained their shiny, chrome fixings, which provided a nice contrast to the rust colour but also a focal point. My model at this point was looking rather bland and needed some additional detail. You can see what I mean below;

So I introduced some Bare-Metal foil, which I had read about being used by serious car modellers on the net. It is incredibly easy to use and really jazzes up the finish of the car, perhaps better than paint can (unless I was to have gone down the nmm route perhaps..). Quite simply you cut a piece of foil slightly bigger than the area to which it is to be applied, use a cocktail stick to apply and push into any crevices and the material sticks to the model and retains all the detail/texture that was originally there. I used a cotton bud to burnish it into place and then a sharp scalpel to trim it back to the correct size:

I applied it to the rims of the headlights, the front grille, rear bumper and the side trim (very thin strips). I feel this really broke the model up and provided some much needed contrast. Some of the chrome then received a very fine wash of dry pigment in matt varnish, just so it wasn't so super shiny. The final stage was too add the last elements of weathering, more red oxide dry pigment, creating additional texture as to where the worst rust would occur (I assumed this would be mainly over the wheel arches from experience of my previous rust bucket cars - I 'm thinking of you Toyota Celica!) and then some oil stains around the moving parts and exhaust with Nuln Oil and finally my dusty dry pigment, applied heavily to the wheels and undercarriage to tie the vehicle into the desert landscape setting I've created for my Rogue Trader mercenary warband:

Oh and of course I added a Copplestone figure in the back, wearing fatigues and looking mean as she keeps watch with her rifle. I then actually went back to the model and added the logo on the doors, I felt the model needed something else to look at and to break up the shape. I was initially going to go for a scorpion (I wanted a desert creature) but after practising found it very hard to get an accurate shape of such a detailed critter, so instead plumped for a coiled snake. I definitely painted it too small on the whitewashed background, so had to improvise by adding the squared sign on a whim to fill a bit more space and add something extra. Snake squared I guess?

I think the only downside of using 1:43 scale cars is that they are quite narrow. I think the length is pretty much in scale, but they could do with being a touch wider for 28mm. I can't imagine two 28mm sitting side-by-side in the front...

The car kinda gets lost in my usual photo set up, with all the rusty structure in the background, so I've also taken some using a plain background, or at least my white kitchen table:

And to finish, a couple of shots of the whole gang, now with vehicle but just awaiting the last member and arch-leader of this mercenary group: