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 🙂

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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.

Painting Decembruary update, and a little bit of jungle

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Hi guys, just a few bits to share with you all today – my main effort has been focussed on progressing my big Deadcember / ‘Painting Decembruary’ project. I also got a little more jungle built as well, but let’s take a look at the big fella first:

As described in my previous post, the main part of the build is the rather lovely Death Dragon from Grenadier Masterpiece Editions. Happily, all the pinning, bracing and filling worked out really well, and the beasty has held together & can successfully bear its own weight. I have jazzed up the base with some scenic bits and bobs, and ghosts from the Mortis Engine kit, (an accompanying host of spirits are ‘a thing’ in the AoS warscroll).

I have also done some work on Arkhan himself – he’s a funny character to capture really, what with him being a Liche King, a powerful sorcerer, and a pretty formidable fighter too. He is based on an old metal skeleton knight, with some newer plastics added to refine the look a little and to get him equipped correctly. The first thing that had to go was the lumpy and outsized head – this got swapped for a suitably warrior-magey one from the skeleton kit. The next thing to get sorted were the weapons… Arkhan is supposed to be armed with a staff & tomb blade, but I decided to be a bit liberal with my interpretation of his gear. The staff looks more like a combat weapon, and is made of various components including a bladed staff head from the tree revenant kit. His sword, (slung over his back), is also of Elven make, so it looks like my version of Arkhan might be an ancient Elven warrior-mage of some sort! I also added a small jousting shield from the Brettonian Knight kit – it’s a smaller item than the one that the model is designed for, so it doesn’t hide the figure in the same way, but still gives me a flat area for some freehand. Here’s a closeup for you:

Terrible photos I know, but hopefully you get the idea. I still have some work to do – he needs a sleeve added to that right arm, and a proper saddle for example. I’ll be breaking out the green-stuff this week, with the aim of getting him primed for the weekend.

In other news, I also managed to crank out some more psychedelic jungle terrain for a bit of fun:

I’ve just realised that it’s hard to judge the scale with this photo, but if you look closely there are some bits and pieces on the base that help… basically I went big here, with a vague idea that these trees are carnivorous, and that their area of effect is shown by the big bases that they sit on… They don’t have to be used this way of course, but it’s nice to have the option to go for a deathworld type narrative if I choose. I’m pretty pleased with how this little side-project is going, and have much more to add further down the road 🙂

Anyhow, that’s it for now folks! I’ll try to get an update out next week, but if not then I’ll catch you dudes on the other side for the traditional retrospective post. Peace & goodwill to you all.

Baby, we were spawn to rock

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Greetings fellows, I have three more Eru-Kin to share with you today – these are the last three basic troopers. These guys share the same body as the second set of three that I painted up, but have bare heads, so they add more interest to the group. I persevered with purple, blue & a khaki green skin tones:

I love how they look amused when viewed from the right, and evil when viewed from the left 🙂 I just have some sergeant types to finish and then I’ll call this phase done with three squads of five, but don’t worry, I have many more to add to the spawning in the new year!

It hasn’t all been about the Eru-Kin since my last post – I also did a bit of building for Azazel’s ‘Painting Decemb-uary’ challenge. The aim is to finish up a ‘big thing’ that has been sitting around waiting for paint. Trouble is I didn’t have anything suitable in the queue, so I had to delve into the lead pile for something to tackle. The choice was made for me when I spotted my Death Dragon from Grenadier Masterpiece Editions… I’ve been putting off getting started on this wee beastie for ages – it is a huge piece of lead, and quite the challenge to build. I bit the bullet and put the dragon together over the weekend – much pinning and gluing required! Here she is as of Sunday morning:

Obviously the elastic bands will come off once everything has set 🙂  Next stage is to give her a nice scenic base and a new converted rider, (the one that comes with is a teenyweeny mage type who might well end up in my planned chaos gnome army… yeah, that’s another project for the future). I’ll be running the completed piece as a counts-as Arkhan the Black, Mortarch of Sacrament in my AoS Death legion… Mwhahahah!!!

Peace out dudes!

Spawn to be wild!

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Greetings fellows, another quick update for you this week – been chipping away at my new Eru-Kin project and have three new troops to share with you, but first up I want to share a little terrain project that I have been doing on the side. I have been wanting to do a nice bit of jungle terrain for ages now – visions of steaming alien deathworlds, bizarre prehistoric ‘lost worlds’ and psychedelic fantasy jungles are all inspirations here. Two things have motivated me to finally get my bum in gear with this – 1: my Space Frogs need a home planet, and 2: the release of a certain Frostgrave spin-off called Ghost Archipelago, (which looks like a fantastic game!).

When thinking on how best to make this happen, I thought back to Aiden’s superb jungle terrain for the Inquisitor Cynole game at BOYL 2016, and to Paul’s stunning deathworld jungle project over on Sho3box. I’m not about to question such hobby geniuses, (genii?), so I decided to trawl the interwebs for suitable low-cost aquarium plants, and picked out a few brightly coloured examples to base up:

I’ve sprinkled a liberal pinch of skullage around the place – partly to show scale, but also because we all know that skulls are cool! And no… I’m not sure where the rest of the bones are either, (best not to ask I think). I’ll be adding more to this terrain set as time goes by, but I’m quite pleased with how this little side project has started out.

 

So, on to the latest spawning for my Eru-Kin faction – I have three more basic troops to add to the mix this week. These guys share the same body as the first three that I painted up, but have different weapons & heads so they add a nice bit of interest to the group. I also wanted to try out some new skin tones, so I tested purple, blue & a khaki green:

I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out – doesn’t it all make more sense in a freaky space-jungle?? I think I’ll repeat these skin colours with the final three troops. Here they are by squad – as denoted by the loincloths, just to give you an idea of how it is all coming together, (the General has photobombed a couple of shots too):

 

Anyway, that’s yer lot for this week! I’m aiming to get the final 3 troopers finished for the next post, plus maybe some more jungle terrain… I am also looking to dip back into Fantasy & build something a wee bit special for my Undead – hopefully ticking off something for Deadcember, and Azazel’s ‘Painting Decemb-uary’ challenge along the way! Catch you all next time 🙂