Fembruary challenge part 2 – Vasquez

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Greetings all, I’m very happy to be able to show off my second mini for ‘February’, but before I do that, I have a little terrain distraction to share with you… I picked up the ‘Legions of Nagash’ book for AoS last weekend – it is a great book, and gives the forces of death much more nuance and flexibility. There are a number of changes to how the armies of Nagash operate, but one of the major differences is how summoning works. Very briefly, you now get to set up four graveyards from which your summonable units can spawn – obviously, the Gardens of Morr kit is the go-to choice for the discerning modeler, so I got mine down from the loft of holding, and got the four main bits built & painted:

It is worth mentioning that the new ruling calls for a nominated ‘point’ on the battle field, so using a fairly big piece of scenery would be cheaty… the first two pieces have an obvious single point, but the second pair don’t, so I painted a gold ornament on one end of these two. I’m pretty pleased with how they came out, and they really are lovely kits that don’t take long at all – especially if you leave out the fence!

Here’s a nice atmospheric shot of Gorgo Romero raising a zombie horde, (with thanks to my wife for vaping hard to add the special effects 😉 )

 

Moving on to ‘Fembruary’, I just want to say how delighted I am with the support for this – I have been admiring and commenting on the many excellent contributions that have been popping up among my fellow bloggers and beyond – good on you all for getting involved, representing, and spreading the word. I’ll have to curate a round-up of images and do an end-of-month recap – a task I look forward to immensely.

Anyway, time to introduce my second effort – I have named her after the awesome Vasquez, (played by Jenette Goldstein), of Aliens fame. I know the mini doesn’t look particularly like the movie character, but hey, she’s never been mistaken for a man either, and the gun seals the deal for me 🙂

 

And here she is with Siouxsie:

 

I had great fun painting Vas – she’s a cracking mini, and it was great to mix it up a bit with the skin tone. I think the purple/yellow/red flashes work nicely with the more utilitarian bits of uniform, but the star of the show has to be the pink dreads… They just look so damn cool! I have three more of these Ghosts of Gia in various stages of being painted – I optimistically thought I might get 10 done, but no way that is happening, so I’m going to crack on with getting five of them painted before the month is out. I also have a long-neglected character to paint as part of Azazel’s latest challenge, so plenty to keep the brush busy over the next ten days! Until next time folks 🙂

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Fembruary challenge – Siouxsie

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Happy Thursday folks, and I’m delighted to share my first competed mini for Fembruary with you all. As a reminder, I’m laying down the following gauntlet:

Dear reader, no doubt you have heard of Orctober, Deadcember, Slaanuary, and all the various themed months of the year… I would like to propose that we add Fembruary to the list – a time of year for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some female miniatures for a change…”   I’m delighted with the uptake so far – thank you to all who are mucking in, spreading the word and getting involved! Time for me to step up as well, eh? 🙂

So… my February contribution is going to be trying to paint Annie Norman’s (of Bad Squiddo Games/Dice Bag lady fame) ‘Ghosts of Gia 1’ collection, plus ‘Olivia Nutron Bomb’ from BOYL last year. These 10 minis sum up everything that I want Fembruary to represent – the celebration of grown-up, non-sexualised representations of women within our nerdy little hobby universes. No silly battle heals or unnecessary/unfeasible cleavage here – what Annie succinctly describes as “Believable Female Miniatures” in her mission statement. It has been a slow start, what with basing and undercoating, but I have started with ‘Angel’ from the Ghosts of Gia range:

 

You can probably guess that I’m running with an early punk/goth/glam rock vibe for this project, (plus whatever other tropes make sense to bring in) – hence ‘Angel’ becomes ‘Siouxsie’, leader of an outcast Escheresque gang called ‘The Banshees’. She was fun to paint – quite a simple sculpt in many ways, with a few odd bits here and there, but fun nonetheless. I’ve added in plenty of little details to add that Oldhammer flavour, and gone for a wide palette on the mini… slight downside to that is that my youngest Son saw this mini and asked me why she had a tree on her head… now I can’t un-see the tree!! I don’t think Siouxsie would have ever seen a tree though, so I suspect the irony would be lost on her 🙂

One thing to note – the spray undercoat was shockingly rough, which is not uncommon this time of year in the UK – winter and all that. However, I actually don’t mind that effect if the model supports a rough and ready approach – it would suck on shiny Ultramarines, but is fine on a Scavvie if you know what I mean. In the case of Siouxsie, I think it works nicely.

Anyhow, that’s all for now dudes, but plenty more to follow as the month progresses!

More Eru-Kin, and the Fembruary challenge

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Happy Monday folks – been a while, and I have had precious little time for painting, but I do have a some stuff to share. I’ve had three Eru-Kin squad leader types in their undercoats since before Christmas, but they were on the back burner while I got my version of Arkhan finished for Azazel’s painting challenge. I don’t like having stuff sitting around unfinished, so I got these done as quickly as I could. Check ‘em out:

The banner guy is a small conversion – he had a Lizardman sword added for weapon continuity reasons, but he’ll have to wait for his banner I’m afraid. They are destined to lead their respective squads to BOYL this year – roughly identified by the colour of their loincloths (or skin in the case of two of the squad leaders):

 

Now, challenge time… It is an increasingly congested market at the moment – it’s a challenge keeping up with all the challenges! But… I am issuing the call to all WIPsters and hipsters, painters of hammers old and new, Inq28ers, collectors and gamers. Dear reader, no doubt you have heard of Orctober, Deadcember, Slaanuary, and all the various themed months of the year… I would like to propose that we add Fembruary to the list – a time of year for us to collectively challenge the male domination of our collections, and commit to painting some female miniatures for a change… Sisters of Battle and/or Silence, Witch Elves, Sorceresses, Inquisitrixes, Escher gangers, Daemonettes and Shield Maidens – whatever female minis you have on the to-do list, I challenge you to bump them to number one in the queue for the month and get some paint on ‘em… Let’s do something cool ok? Ok???  Ok.

For myself, I’ll be tackling Annie Norman’s (of Bad Squiddo Games/Dice Bag lady fame) ‘Ghosts of Gia 1’ collection, plus ‘Olivia Nutron Bomb’ from BOYL last year. These 10 minis are grown up, no-nonsense representations of post-apocalyptic femininity – no silly battle heals or unnecessary/unfeasible cleavage here:

I’ll be approaching this project with an 80’s punk/goth/new romantic vibe – think Siouxsie and the Banshees in glorious technicolour… In fact, the gang/squad is going under the working title ‘The Banshees’, and will be perfect for Necromunda, RT, or any post-apoc pulp games.

Finally, I want to give a big shout out to Annie – for those that don’t know, Annie is a hobby nut who set up her own business specialising on providing a range of “Believable Female Miniatures” across all genres, (that’s quotation marks, not ironic apostrophes), and is increasingly making waves on Kickstarter to grow this range. I really admire her vision and determination to make the hobby more representative – something the whole world desperately needs IMHO. Annie rocks – go check it out on www.badsquiddogames.com

Decembruary painting challenge completed!

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Happy Friday folks, and I’m happy to report that my super death-dragon monster of deathly death is finished, thus comfortably getting me over the finish line for Azazel’s Decembruary painting challenge. As a reminder, the challenge was to paint a ‘big thing’ that has been put off for a while, and this certainly matches that brief – I’ve had this project in mind for months, but never seemed to have the motivation to roll my sleeves up and get cracking… You can probably see why – this was a complicated and intimidating kit bash to represent Arkhan The Black in an OldHammer stylee, and is based on the venerable Death Dragon from Grenadier, (still available from mirliton.it as ‘Arkor the Eternal’). This is what I ended up with:

So let’s talk a bit about the build… First things first, this old girl is a big lump of lead, and I made it more complicated by deliberately ignored the ‘correct’ pose to make her a bit more dynamic… much pinning and filling was required to make sure she was rock solid! I used an old GW skeleton cavalry mini to represent Arkhan himself, with some minor conversion work to swap the (MASSIVE) head, add a right arm, add a tilting shield, and sculpt a saddle & banner mount. He also got some manly man-chains to steer the bugger. The base got quite a lot of attention as well – Arkhan gets a bunch of spirit host attacks in AoS, so I wanted to represent this on the model. The banshees from the Mortis Engine kit fitted the bill nicely, while some trees & scatter filled in the gaps and added a third point of stability for the dragon. One final thing to note – cleaning the mould lines off such a big model created a lot of lead shavings and off-cuts. I glued all this gash to the base and used it as texture, thus avoiding any thorny issues with responsible disposal. I even managed to sneak the rider’s original massive head in there – waste not, want not!

In terms of painting, this piece (is it pretentious to call it a ‘piece’??) provided ample opportunity to cut loose and have some fun. First up, I wanted the spirits to look like they were really glowing, so I had loads of fun with OSL. I think it came off nicely, though I think I overdid it a bit on the dragon’s eye sockets… I’ll sort that bit out next time I have some skellies on the table, but otherwise I am really chuffed with how the glow effect worked. Another bit that got a lot of attention was the banner and (to a lesser extent) the shield, and I really got to push the boat out with the freehand here. I am delighted with how it came out – that banner ended up being one of my favourite ‘things wot I painted’ ever! The rest of the paint job was pretty standard – I painted the trees to match my woodland bases, and I took my usual approach making things look tatty and old. A smattering of leaves and tufts of grass complete the base, though I do need to just go back and add some OSL to the leaves, (they got glued on last, and I didn’t want to risk painting on to wet superglue).

Here are a bunch of close-ups from various angles & focus points – I’ve tried to capture all the interesting bits for your viewing pleasure:

 

So, that’s it folks, what do you think?! I’m delighted with how it all came together & hope you like it too 🙂   Huge thanks to Azazel for setting the challenge and motivating me to tackle such a big & intimidating project – it is great to have such a mighty hero to lead my legions, and I wouldn’t have got around to it without this challenge, so high-fives to you dude 🙂

Primaris Marines (?!) and some ‘Nasty Bush’!

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Greetings fellow aironauts, and welcome to the first ‘proper’ post of the year on Leadballoony. I really haven’t had that much time for hobbying over the Christmas break – it was a pretty busy time, but I did manage a few bits and bobs, starting with a few jungle bases:

 

This is a continuation of my side project to create some psychedelic jungle terrain, and is meant to provide some really dense patches of bush (fnarr fnarr) with small paths wending their way through. Placing minis on said path is a bit of a bugger, but is absolutely doable. There will be plenty more to follow on this project, so expect to see the odd bit of jungle turning up over the coming months!

Next up we have some unplanned and unexpected Primaris Space Marines… yeah, random! There is an explanation though – my youngest son surprised me a few days before ‘the big day’ by asking for some…  He was quite clear that we needed some real ‘goodies’ in the collection, and that the heroically proportioned and clean-cut Marines were the way to go:

We (I) got them built and undercoated gold over the break, but my boy dictated the weapon loadout & colour scheme, as well as doing all the drybrushing & inkwashing. It was great to see him totally absorbed by the process, and I have a feeling that he might get into the hobby as he gets older:

There is no specific chapter in mind for these guys – my boy wanted to do his own colour scheme, so the purple & gold is very much ‘rule of cool’. I reckon it looks rather smart! I specifically left out some of the finer details, (like highlights on the coloured panels and chapter iconography), just so that they can be improved at some point in the future. No doubt my son and I will slowly grow this small band of brothers as the year progresses, and I’m actually looking forward to doing some more – they are really rather nice to paint! Unlike a lot of folks, I don’t have any skin in the Astartes game, so I was actually happy to see correctly proportioned Marines hit the market… There. I’ve said it… I’m coming out as a secret Primaris fan. Hell, I can even largely ignore the awful & clunky fluff that justifies their existence! As far as I am concerned, this is what Marines look like now – indeed, they should always have been this big, so this as-yet unnamed chapter will be entirely made up of Primaris. Here are a few fun pics of them engaging some wily Eru-Kin on some distant death-world:

 

It hasn’t all been space jungle & giant Marines over the holiday though, there has also been the ‘small’ matter of Azazel’s ‘Painting Decembruary’ challenge… Happily, my version of Arkhan is progressing very nicely – the build is finished and I have started adding colour, but I’m keeping all that under wraps for now so you’ll have to settle for more B&W for the time being:

 

That’s it for now folks, hope you enjoyed the post & catch you all soon!

The dreaded retrospective post

Greetings Earthlings, and oh my goodness – another standard Terran year has flown by! Holy shit-sticks, that went by fast, and what a year! I think that I can safely say that this was my best wargaming/modelling/painting year to date, with some truly memorable hobby events & experiences in 2017. Let’s do the traditional month-by-month review shall we? *warning – photodumptastic!*

January: I put together a Blood Bowl team with a twist – ever looking for re-use opportunities, I converted up a team of 40K Servitors that I can play as Undead in Blood Bowl, or use in the 40K setting as plot points or ambulatory scenery. Most of the team were painted in January:

 

February: I completed my 12 strong team, and unleash the Clockwork Oranges on the pitch:

I also received my summons for what turned out to be one of the highlights of the hobby year – my invitation to the Chapel:

I had volunteered to help bring the Albino Forest to life, so did a woodland base to help me nail down the look, plus a forest creeper (can you spot her?):

 

March: March was when I started to get stuck in to the Chapel project in earnest. I managed to paint up 2 more woodland bases for the forest, and I completed a pair of Ostium Guides:

I also started converting up my Chapel warband…

 

April: More converting and priming of the warband in April, but only one painted mini… but wow, what a mini! Lindethiel Gladesinger, Spiritseer of the Crimson Tree Exodite clan and leader of my warband was born into the world:

This model really encapsulates what I was trying to achieve with this project, and is a personal all-time favourite of mine. I hope she presents a different take on the Eldar, exploring the possibilities of an Exodite world where Wraithbone is replaced with a naturally occurring wood. Other than the leaves, the only colours here are greens, bone, gold and white – a really challenging reduction of colour that was as exciting as the unconventional build.

 

May: I had a real shift in focus during May, with my Undead forces for AoS taking centre stage. I managed some 43 minis to table-top standard over the month, including 3 C17 command unit figures, 5 ghosty things, a big Skellie from Knightmare Games, 18 Nightmare Legion skellies, 9 Cursed Company skellies, and 5 random skellies…  phew, that’s a lot of skellies!

I also cranked out 3 stand-alone trees for the Albino Forest, including a heavily converted flesh-eating arboreal monstrosity:

Oh, and I also finished the last assignment for my degree! Five years of graft finished, and just the long wait for the results to endure.

 

June: … was a write-off – a combination of post-degree burn-out, a week on holiday and a fortnight of business travel meant that I did NOTHING hobby related.

 

July: I had a great July – First up, I completed a second member of my Chapel warband – Eldranar the Huntsmaster:

He’s essentially a Dire Avenger Exarch, reimagined for an Exodite warband. The same restricted palette was used here as for Lindethiel, with the addition of grey for the cloak. There was more Chapel excitement as I had the pleasure of meeting up with Mark in RL to work on the boards that would be used for the Albino Forest, and got to see his superb minis first hand. Last, but by no means least, BOYL happened… as usual, this prompted a flurry of last-minute painting, and I managed 11 Tallarn (including one on a toy-hammered jet bike), 7 Blind Beggar androids, and a Tom Meier Zombie Dragon:

BOYL itself was epic – what a weekend!!! Getting to meet so many virtual friends & making new ones, shaking hands with hobby heroes of legend, seeing some of the most classic & beautiful oldhammer minis in the world, and playing so many awesome games made this a weekend to remember! If you missed the big write-up, you can read all about it here.

 

August: Obviously, BOYL inevitably leads to BOYL booty! (the pirate kind, not the ghetto kind), so August saw me quickly paint up 5 Victorian zombies and 5 zombie dogs:

I then powered my way through the Zombies of Karr-Keel set from Upstream Games House, (beautifully sculpted by Kev Adams), and so the ranks of my deadwalkers were swelled by 12 zombies (including a monkey) and a corpse cart:

All these new zombies inspired me to complete a Die-Hard Miniatures Necromancer to ‘mance all their asses:

I also painted another BOYL purchase with my youngest son – a Tony Adams Wolfman (the one on the right – duh!):

Finally, I completed some more models for the Chapel project – four more Exodite Avengers to complete the flesh’n’blood side of the warband:

 

September: … was all about the Chapel project… The first order of events was to meet my commitment to finishing the Albino Forest – six more Woodland bases were completed, including some pretty involved conversions like these:

That took the total forest to 9 bases, plus 3 stand-alone pieces:

 

I also pulled out all the stops to finish the tree constructs & complete my warband (really proud of these guys, especially the big’un):

Here’s the whole band on the first day:

The weekend was absolutely awesome – a real Inq28-style feast of free-flowing game play and gorgeous minis. There are loads more pics of the stunning work on display here & here – go take a look if you haven’t seen them already!

 

October: I had quite a quiet month in October – maybe a bit of hobby burn out, but I just didn’t really feel like doing much. I had my graduation ceremony, (and was formally awarded a 1st class honors degree – woohoo!!), and I managed to get motivated to paint up some more skellies for AoS, starting with another 24 Nightmare Legion minis:

These were joined by 4 random skellies and another Necromancer:

 

November: I kicked off a new army project in November – the rather spiffing Eru-Kin from Die-Hard miniatures, starting with this lovely Predatoresque General:

Me being me, this inevitably includes a terrain side-project, so I started a space-jungle (as you do):

And added 9 Eru-Kin gunners:

I also did a quick terrain/vehicle piece for games with my kids – a toy Tardis painted up ‘properly’:

 

December: Bringing us bang up to date, December saw 3 more Eru-Kin get completed:

And 5 more bits of space-jungle:

 

Phew! I know it’s daft, but I do like to do a tally for the year… in this sense, 2017 was a stonker – I managed 154 individual miniatures and some 30 bits of terrain of varying size & complexity. Obviously, the quality and complexity vary, and I posted less this year than last, but interestingly, my blog stats are up despite publishing fewer posts. On a more generally reflective note, 2017 has been an incredible hobby year – BOYL was superb, as was the Chapel project – the Chapel in particular inspired me to create what I think might be some of my best work to date. I also need to give a nod to the various games & mini producers out there – there has been some awesome kickstarters over the year, and the big dogs (i.e. GW) have had some incredible releases as well.

Creatively, I’m painfully aware that I have swung wildly between the world of Oldhammer and the Inq28 universe on this blog… honestly, of the two I find Inq28 the most demanding mindset to maintain, but also the most rewarding. That said, I love collecting & painting the old stuff, and the OH community is such a nice place to hang out. Looking to next year, I definitely want to get to BOYL again, and plan have an Eru-Kin army for the occasion. I’m also keeping my fingers and toes crossed that there will be another invitational from Mark of Heresyofus fame, so that we can keep the Chapel narrative alive. I’ll almost certainly going to be playing more AoS and Frostgrave, and I’m really looking forward to getting into the new Frostgrave release ‘Ghost Archipelago’… Oh, and there is the small matter of Necromunda… no doubt all of these distractions will require warbands/gangs and terrain. As a matter of fact, I have some OldHammer Necromunda plans lurking at the back of my mind, but maybe there will be a slight lean towards Inq28 this year… I might continue growing my Exodite warband, or (more likely), start something entirely new as a way to keep pushing my painting and modelling standards. Most importantly, I want to keep having fun with what I do.

The fun aspect is important in terms of keeping me engaged with a hobby that continues to provide a much-needed relief from the pressures of real life. But… it is so much more than just an escape – it is a way of meeting great people (online & RL), of playing great games and telling great stories, and of creating a shared experience that very few get to know. Of course, 2017 included the full range of ‘life stuff’ for me – as most years do, and in many ways it was a pretty grotty year. But I also know how hard this year has been for some of you guys… I have been humbled and inspired by the courage, honesty and dignity shown by friends that are really only known to me through this creative thing that we share.

It turns out that, on reflection, this hobby can be friendship and support, kinship and identification, distraction and solace, motivation and inspiration… Not a bad return for ‘playing with toy soldiers’, eh? Here’s looking to the future – thank you for being a part of this thing for me, and for letting me be a part of it for you. Happy new year.