In to the Albino Forest…

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Hi guys! Wow, a second post in the space of a week! I’ve had a real surge in creativity this week, which has coincided nicely with temporarily having a bit more time on my hands. I have taken full advantage of this, and dived into The Chapel project with a couple of test pieces prior to starting the warband itself. Here are a few shots of some kind of forest daemon and an Ostium Guide shrine – the aim here is primarily playing with wood (fnar fnar), practicing some basing techniques, and getting my eye back in with freehand on that tiny shield:

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I really like the new Dryad kit, but I couldn’t resist the temptation to make a really creepy example. I’m still working on the fluff for this particular creature, but suffice to say that she’s bad news… I’m particularly pleased with my efforts at painting silver birch bark on her right thigh:

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And here’s a close-up of the guild heraldry for my Ostium Guides – it’s a wee bit rough but hopefully you get the idea – it’s supposed to be a candle, (a guiding light so to speak), in front of a white tree. The meaning of skull beneath is pretty obvious I think 🙂 :

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And finally, here’s an update on my guides following some GS work. They are undercoated, based and ready to paint:

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I’m super excited about all this – the plan is to try and finish up the guides over the weekend, and then to get started on my warband… I also want to do more forest daemon thingies, and a whole haunted forest for them to play in! Watch this space 🙂

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Mummy issues

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Hi guys, so good to be posting today. It has been ages since my last post, I’ve just been so damn busy! But hey, good news – I’ve finally finished up my heavy servitors/mummy blockers, (‘mummy blockers’ as in Egyptian undead wot do blocking rather than things wot block Mums…)

To be honest, I found the whole Mummy thing pretty tricky to reconceptualise as a 40K servitor… I mean, what is the deal with Mummies? Surely they are just wrapped-up zombies, yeah? They should be human sized, yeah? So why are they so strong compared to regular zombies?? Don’t tell me… because magic, right?    Right…   *sigh*

Look, I know it’s only pretending and all that, but the whole ‘Mummy problem’ gave me some headaches when planning this project. I was torn between making pimped out human-sized servitors, or going with something that reflected the Blood Bowl stat-line. In the end, I went with option two because I wanted these guys to read as being slow, strong and very well armoured. I used Stormcast Eternal legs and the torsos from the Kataphron kit to give a really chunky industrial look, and used Kataphron heads as well to tie them in with my Zombie Linemen. The arms were a bit hit and miss – I kind of tried for an asymmetrical heavy-lifting idea on their right hand side, but I’m not sure how well that came off. I also got lazy and used a servo-arm on the one guy, and the grabber from a servo-arm on the other, and wish I hadn’t. I think they look awkward and skinny, but done is done. Here they are – see what you think:

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To be honest, these are my least favourite models in the project, but I’m not going to lose any sleep over it – I can always revisit this in the future after all. The important thing is that the team is now complete, and here they are – the Clockwork Orange in all their glory:

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Now… time to get immersed in the Chapel >:-)

Ballroom Blitz(ers)

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Hello chaps, just a quicky from me today – I’m still working my way through my cyber-undead Blood Bowl team ‘The Clockwork Orange’, and have completed the Wight Blitzers/guardian class servitors. Sadly, painting time has been extremely limited of late, so I only have these two minis to share with you… but hey, progress is progress, right? Here in their role as servitors:

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And here they are with the rest of the BB team:

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I’ve taken a slightly different approach with these two by going for a more skeletal look, (Necron bodies & servo-skull heads), rather than the fleshy AdMech approach I took with my counts-as Zombies & Ghouls. This kinda makes sense to me from an undead perspective, what with Wights being ‘properly’ dead and all that. I also thought ahead and figured I’d probably use Necron warrior bodies if I ever add any Skellies to the roster, so I thought I’d better go large with my Blitzers. This also nicely reflects their role on the field – fast & hard-hitting! This means that I just have the two Mummy blockers to finish up, and the Clockwork Orange is good to go! These two are next on my list of jobs, so I’ll keep you posted 🙂

In other news, inspired by this post over on sho3box, I picked up a copy of Dinoproof over the weekend and had a couple of games with my eldest son and my Brother-in-lead Ross, (yes, my eldest had his first nerd-night!). This is a great little game to just pick up and get on with – you need suitable 28mm minis for your Slayers, toy Dinosaurs, some D8, a £10 rule book and a 3×3 table. Rules, tactics & gameplay are simple, so this is perfect for a short gaming session, and particularly good for kids. It also has some nice campaign development and some scenarios to work through, so it has some replayability. We all took different approaches to the game – my son went for dakka, while Ross went for versatility… I went with an angle grinder, (which I used to kill a frickin’ T-rex!), and a total lack of guns, intelligence or finesse.  >:)   Sadly, I didn’t take any pics, but trust me, this was great fun all round and for £10, this book is well worth a look.

 

Finally, the Chapel is calling to me my friends – I’ve been shopping and I have all the bits & basing material I need to start my warband. I’m really excited about this project and can’t wait to get started… I’m hoping to be able to report some progress on this in the near future, but until then, peace out dudes!

Cyber-Ghouls

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Hello chaps & chapesses, just a quick update from me today. I got the next batch of AdMech/undead Blood Bowl minis finished up over the weekend – this time it’s the Ghouls. These were a funny one to re-imagine for 40k, and they are a bit of an oddity in the BB team to be honest (what with not being dead and whatnot). In the end I focused on two key features of BB Ghouls – their speed, and their paper thin armour. The Sicarian kit seemed the obvious choice, and here’s the result:

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I’m a big fan of this kit, and have used various bits out of it a number of times, but I’ve never assembled and painted one ‘properly’ before. These guys are pretty much stock, though I did need to shorten the legs to fit the base, (easy enough to take a section out of the shin), and I had to chop some left hands to be right hands, (switched the little finger with the index finger). The backpacks got de-cluttered as well, but otherwise they are pretty standard. It’s the first time I have used the gasmask head option, and boy, are they good! I think that the inflexibility of leg poses would probably get annoying if I had to do a whole bunch of them, and the softness of the transition between armour and body suit was a bit frustrating, but overall I still think this is a brilliant kit. Painting was as per the Linemen from my last post – continued experimentation with black, that lovely orange that I’ve been enjoying so much of late, and blue for the spot colour.

In other news…

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I have started putting together some bits for The Chapel project over on Heresy of us – the project is a really cool collaborative project where creativity and story-telling is king. Real life has prevented me from getting stuck in to this as much as I would like, but I’m getting my toes wet with these WIPs for my take on the Ostium Guides brief:

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I imagine these guys as being grizzled woodsmen and guides, their age being a testament to their skill in surviving in and around the Albino Woods. They are members of a guild, one of many that exist in the various villages that dot the landscape. – there is strength in numbers after all, as there is always the temptation to avoid payment to a lone guide, (usually by simply murdering him or her at journeys end). Having a guild behind you is no guarantee that this will not happen of course, but it does promises retribution for such betrayals… Revenge is invariably terminal, as he pile of skulls amply demonstrate.

I’m looking forward to doing some more work on these guys. I changed my mind on the one fella’s arm so that needs sorting, and I have some sculpting and tidying up to do, but hopefully I’ll get them a bit further forward over the coming weeks. I’m aiming for a medieval/low tech woodsy feel if that makes sense?

I am really looking forward to working on my freehand with those lovely blank shields, and I am excited about doing the bases – I deliberately went for bigger bases than strictly necessary, and I intend to put a lot of effort into them as a test bed for my warband proper… Speaking of the warband, I think I have figured out what I am going to do in that regard – it’s going to be a huge departure from my usual fare, so I’m excited and nervous in equal measure… Hopefully it all comes together, and I end up with something worthy of the project! I’ll keep you posted 😉

The future’s bright – the future’s Orange!

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Wow, it has been ages since I last posted anything – and with good reason I’m afraid, because I haven’t had anything good to show! My studies continue to dominate my life outside of work at the moment, but I did find time to do some building over Christmas… happily, I have just finished painting the first 5 models of my current project. Here they are:

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So, what we have here is the result of a lot of thinking, and no small measure of ingenuity on my part. They are unarmed, general purpose servitors for the 40k/RT universe – part of my long running goal to populate my imaginary world with non-combatant figures. Logically, there should be unarmed servitors all over the Imperium in 40k, kind of a Borg backdrop to the main action. I always really liked the idea of the Borg in Star Trek, kind of undead in SPAAACE! I love how they just ignore the away team when they first beam on to a cube, but then mob them when they start presenting a threat – that would be a really cool mechanic in-game.

I’m determined to push myself as a painter this year, and I made sure I was doing so when painting these, (hence they took so damn long!). I experimented with how I do black and took a very different approach to the flesh tones, and I’m quite pleased with both. Also note the dead white eyes… I’m really pleased with how they turned out 🙂  Overall, I’m happy, though I may revisit them & add some light weathering in the future, just to tie them in a bit more with their role.

Anyway, here they are again with my old Agentia Scrutator team, (Salvage Agents), just doing servitor shiz:

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But… ‘Hey you, where the Jeffing-hell is this ingenuity of which you boasted earlier in this post?!?’ I hear you ask. Well, thing is, these are more than simple servitors…  Regular readers of this blog will know that I really do like a bit of reusability in my projects – like my techno-barbarians that also work as a fantasy Frostgrave warband for example. Time is precious y’awl, so if I can get a number of functions out of each mini then so much the better…  I think I may have kicked the arse out of it this time though, because this:

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Yup, that’s right peeps, my servitors are designed to double up as Blood Bowl players – specifically, they are proxies for Zombie linemen from the undead team roster – servitors are practically zombies, so it kinda works I reckon! I also built & undercoated the rest of the undead player types needed for a team over the holidays – but again, they are all intended to also work as servitors in their own right. I don’t mind showing you the WIPS for the rest of the team now that the cat is out of the bag.

First up, we have the Ghouls, (scavenger class servitors):

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Next we have the Wight blitzers, (security class servitors):

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Finally some Mummy blockers, (heavy duty servitors):

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And the whole team – provisionally called the ‘Clockwork Oranges’ (fluff pending):

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Well, there we have it – this project has been bit slower than usual, but hopefully worth the wait. I’ll be getting the rest of the team painted up slowly over the next several weeks before moving on to something new and rather exciting…  More on that in the future, but meanwhile, you know the score folks – thoughts, comments, questions & feedback are always welcome 🙂

Peace out dudes!

2016 Retrospective

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Greetings Earthlings, this is a little early I guess, but I don’t intend to be on my computer that much between now and January, so I’m going to get in there with the traditional retrospective on the last 12 months. Time to recap on the things I’ve produced, tally up the model count, and generally reflect on 2016.  🙂

January started with a bang – some scenery, (including a vintage Land Speeder), and the start of a new squad of golden oldie Guardsmen:

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February saw Mezura the Navigator completed – one of the most involved conversions & paint jobs I have ever tackled, along with a Xeno-cyborg assassin:

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March was pretty special – I made a couple of sci-fi buildings with my youngest son, and finished my Amtrak Wars inspired techno-barbarian Frostgrave warband:

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April saw 3 additions to the golden oldie Guard squad, an additional techno-barbarian in very tight pants, and a whole barbarian village:

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May and June were very quiet on the hobby front – my house was a building site and any hobby time was out of the question. The work was finally finished mid to late June, and I managed to paint up a Mean-machine inspired pit slave that subsequently won me a painting award at the local GW store:

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July was a bit eclectic – 2 more random chaps and an unsatisfying metallic paint/Eldar experiment, plus some extremely ‘grown-up’ painting on some characters from Silver Tower:

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August was epic – BOYL happened, and the mighty 215th Praetorian took to the field of battle for the first time in ages – I played some awesome games, got my face sculpted on a mini, and my Rogue Trader came runner up at the BOYL painting comp too! I also had a bit of a painting spurt and managed to do the funky green melon-headed alien that I won for the painting, the disc cutting homeboy with my face sculpted on, a freebie from Ramshackle Games, a random wastelander, two fishy xenos, 16 droids, and 8 Skellibobs!!:

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September saw another 8 Skellies and 14 Zombies – very much on a Frostgrave overdrive by this point:

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October saw me revisit my tick-tock man project from 2015 & add three more clockwork killers to the mix, as well as two ED209 inspired enforcement droids for Dreadtober, 6 flickering fire/explosion markers and a Zombie Troll:

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November was busy, but I managed to squeeze in a visit to Warhammer world with the clan, and I painted 11 Morris Dancing death cultists, a huge Stone Golem/Earth Elemental thing, 10 dead/dying markers and a Bloodcrow – all for Frostgrave:

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And that brings us bang up to date with December, where I have completed a Mummy, a Werewolf (including a severed head marker), a Lich, 2 Wraith Knights and 4 armoured Skellies:

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Phew!! So, all together I make that around 17 bits of scenery, one vehicle, (speeder), and 117 models of varying size and complexity. Not bad, considering the 7 weeks that my house was upside down! That is actually a slight increase on last year, though many of the big groups of minis were quick and easy, (e.g. droids, skeletons, zombies). It has been a record year for Leadballoony on the stats front as well – 13,500ish views to date, 4,400 visitors, 565 ‘likes’ and around 400 comments. I guess I must be doing something right, right? 😉

Plans for the coming year are a bit vague at the moment – I’m finishing a degree in May, so a lot of my focus is on that right now, but I’ll be doing a Bloodbowl team for sure, and I have a mountain of Lead to get through, both old and new. I also keep meaning to revisit my chaotic Spacewolves, and there are still some scenic bits I need to sort out for Frostgrave too… There is also the small matter of all the boxed games I have accumulated and keep meaning to tackle, (Silver Tower, Hero Quest, Conan, Blood Bowl). One thing is certain, I won’t be stuck for stuff to paint!

Also I’m wondering what GW have in store for us this year. I’m sure we’ve all seen the ‘leaked’ SoB and Inquisitor minis already, but I sense bigger changes coming for the core game… maybe something a bit End-Timey?? I keep hearing rumblings about Necromunda too – now there’s something that would certainly get me fired up… interesting times ahead I think! In RL, BOYL is definitely on my to-do list, and I really hope to see some of you there. Whatever else happens, I am determined to keep pushing my self as a painter & converter, to explore new outlets for my creativity, and to keep on enjoying what I do.

Anyhow, if you’ve gotten this far and are still reading – well done! This is the serious bit where I reflect back more generally about the last 12 months. Now, I don’t know about you, but in many ways, I am glad to see the back of 2016. I read the news a lot and follow politics and international affairs quite closely, and I found this year to be deeply worrying, even horrifying at points. I’m sure that most of you can probably hazard a guess as to the kind of thing I’m alluding to, but I’m not going to go into details – debating politics isn’t what this blog is about. My aim is simply to point out that a lot of ‘big scary stuff’ has happened in the world this year…

So, why do I make this point? Simply because it provides a context as to why this has been the kind of year that makes me especially grateful for my health, my family & friends, and the community afforded by this fantastic hobby. I am lucky enough to enjoy all of these things in real life, but this blog adds an extra dimension to these joys. For example, my parents & Nan keep an eye on my painting efforts from afar, while my kids get excited when something we do together gets posted. I can connect with existing friends & acquaintances in the hobby, and I continue to make new ones. Most importantly, I can dive into this weird, creative, wonderful shared thing – and it is this escapism that is most important for me. Without it, I find it very easy to get caught up in ‘stuff’… I worry, I stress, I obsess, and I can end up in a bit of a hole. Life is a serious business after all, but time spent visiting the fantastic universes that we inhabit and populate is like a safety valve for me -I am certain that it is a meditative stress-buster that improves psychological health & general well-being, and you, dear reader, are a part of that. The clicks, likes and (especially) the comments I get on here are so motivating, and they turn what could be a fairly introverted experience into something sociable and collaborative. Also, if you’re following me, chances are I’m following you, and I am continuously inspired, amazed and delighted by stuff you folks do – the grandeur of continent spanning projects of dazzling complexity, the loving recreation of characters and armies from the misty dawn of the hobby, the insanity that fuels the desire to leave no mini unconverted, the exploration of different games systems and genres, and the joy of seeing the creative explosion that happens when someone returns to the hobby, or first embarks on their blogging adventures. I love it all.

I guess that what I am trying to say, (in a rambling and long winded way), is thank you all for being a part of my hobby, and for allowing me to be a part of yours. You all help to make an agreeable life just that little bit better, so thankee sai, I wish you all long days and pleasant nights, and I’m looking forward to sharing 2017 with you  🙂