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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  🙂

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