Wow… it has been a whole year since I started this blog – and how it has flown! With this being a kind of milestone, I thought it might be fun to do a little reflection on where the hobby has taken me these last 12 months. It’s a fairly rambling, meandering post,  but let’s look at ‘models done’ first:

20 Scions (converted with Puppets War knight helmets), 2x Valkyries for them to ride in, Culexus assassin (converted from an old RT Harlequin before the new assassins came out!), Tripod (counts as Knight), 37-ish Praetorians (I think? I can’t remember… ), 1 Master of ordinance (converted), 1 Commissar, 1 Master of the Fleet (converted), 9 RT space pirates, 1 RT Ogryn and 3 Evil Spacewolves (converted).

Phew! I make that 74 blokes, 2 flyers and the 2 month-long Tripod build… not too bad for a full time working parent/part time student! It’s interesting to see how my emphasis has shifted over the last year – at first it was all about building and fielding a super-awesome steampunk Praetorian Guard army, with unique vehicles and pith helmets galore. I also dabbled with the idea of a medieval Scion/Knight army, but didn’t really get up and running with that idea… I think the whole army building mind-set burned me out a bit to be honest, so lately, I’ve been focusing on smaller projects, such as my BadWolves and Pirates. I love the work of John Blanche – the way he recreates his vision of the 40k universe just blows me away, and I humbly aspire to produce work in that vein. I have tried to express this in my reimagining of the Stormclaw Spacewolves as a lost pack of brothers, teetering on the edge of insanity and chaos. I have also become more nostalgic as the year has progressed, (like redcoats in space wasn’t nostalgic enough!), and have been increasingly drawn to the Oldhammer community and the fun, small scale projects that go hand-in-hand with it. My Pirates are an expression of this, and there are plenty more old school RT era models to come.

I also took a quick look on my ‘about’ page as a reminder of where I was when I started this blog… Things have changed… I’ve changed… Obviously, I’m a year older, (no longer ‘nearly’ 40…), and I’m exercising less, (getting older, see?), but for the purposes of this blog, the most pertinent change has been in how I enjoy my hobby… At the time, I stated that collecting and modelling (i.e. converting) were my favourite bits of the hobby, with painting and playing coming in at 3rd and 4th respectively. Collecting at that time meant ‘collecting all the Praetorians’, but that has changed somewhat to ‘collecting cool RT era minis and whatever else takes my fancy’. I have also found that my enjoyment of painting has really increased over the year, and I now enjoy it just as much as converting and modelling. However, the biggest change is that I now consider blogging to be an integral part of my hobby too, and is a part that I have come to enjoy immensely! My least favourite part of the hobby is still (somewhat ironically) the gaming, but I think this is only due to time constraints… a full blown game of 40k is such a long process! I’m keen to try a more skirmish-based approach, and I’m itching to give Rogue Trader a whirl. Anyhow, my ‘hobby preferences’ now look more like this:

1: Collecting

2: Modelling/converting, painting and blogging about it!

3: Gaming

Now… about blogging itself… I freely admit that I entered this murky world to basically put pictures of my stuff up on’t interweb… I got a hell of a lot of Praetorian inspiration from Colonel Gravis et al, and I fancied that I could enrich that scene. I don’t know if I managed that or not – I didn’t attract too many likes or comments about my Praetorians, though that might have been due to a lack of my own activity in that corner of the blogosphere, or maybe due to the infrequency and similarity of my posts about churning out squad after squad. It seems a bit disingenuous to even call Leadballoony a ‘blog about Praetorians’ these days… the blog has certainly diversified in recent months as my hobby enjoyment has evolved, and things have picked up as a result.

I’ve started to be ‘followed’ more, and have been flattered to receive likes and comments from fellow hobbyists whose work I really admire. This is immensely gratifying and inspiring stuff, and I’ve followed others and commented in turn. I’m continuously discovering new blogs and new sources of inspiration, and I feel like I’m getting to ‘know’ people through how they express themselves in their own interpretation of the hobby, their comments and likes, and the things they are working on… It did not even occur to me that I would end up being so emotionally engaged with what other people are up to when I started Leadballoony, but I find that it is exactly what has happened. I genuinely care about what other folks are up to, and I feel more involved in the hobby and more connected to others as a result of doing this blogging thing. I feel like I have gained friends and acquaintances as a result, so doing this blog has actually made an already very agreeable life just that little bit nicer… that is probably the most surprising thing of all, and for that, dear reader, you have my thanks.

Anyhow, I thought I’d wrap this retrospective up with a selection of some of my favourite pics from the last 12 months:

2014-08-24 18.23.275 Breakthrough2014-09-08 00.02.162014-09-23 19.47.312014-12-04 22.09.122014-12-28 62015-01-02 11.51.462015-01-11 22.58.162015-02-04 00.51.282015-03-01 11.34.28

2015-02-28 23.40.022015-03-08 21.06.252015-03-30 20.28.582015-04-12 12.18.002015-05-11 22.31.30IMG_0052IMG_0078IMG_0086