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.

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