Thursday, January 5, 2017

Kissing 2016 Goodbye - A Year in Review

So there we are, another year gone. The sands of time slip through my fingers, never to return. What do I have to show for it? Well, a fair bit. Up yours angst.

This year I vowed to double my 2015 total of 32 painted minis. How did I do? This year the total is 60, so ALMOST double last years total. Many folks paint a lot more, but for me that's great progress. Next year we'll shoot for 100.

I started off with this big fellow. I had great plans to paint more of them, but there's just so many things to distract one in this hobby, isn't there? I was glad to see the game getting taken up again though. Ironclad Games have taken over the property and are the process of revitalising the game. Good luck to them with that, I'd love to see it brought back to life.

Early in the year I was quickly seduced by Frostgrave, and took it upon myself to build a warband. I'd always fancied doing something Deadite flavoured, and this seemed the perfect opportunity to do so. Sticking to Bob Olley sculpts where possible, I painted up a group of Kandarian evilness.

The warband was built for a game at KnaveCon where I meet many of the Scale Creeps/Wipsters for the first time. Scale Creep was born in February, and the fellows there had already been a source of inspiration, encouragement, support and jibery for some time. The chat runs almost 24/7. Long may it continue.

As well as the Frostgrave game, our Rogue Trader RPG hit the table for the climax to season 1. Below is my own character, Techpriest Samdai. He was a pretty battered looking lad when I got him, but some careful GS reconstruction and a new chain axe and he was as good as new. I plan to add some more Adeptus Mechanicus to Samdai's retinue in time to build up a small explorator team.

I painted up some jetbikes for Macrocosm (An excellent company, incidentally) in the Spring, which I had originally developed the concepts for, among others.

The Mumbling is my hobby blog, but I'll quickly and briefly veer off on a wee tangent. This year saw me work with a a number of excellent folks on various miniature-related projects, which was, frankly, great. April saw the Pantheon of Chaos kickstarter, something I had been working on for some time with a group of artists and sculptors. This was a great success, and it was a privilege working alongside such a talented and excellent crew of fellows to produce what became a rather big range! I've had several great sculptors produce work based on my concepts, which is mega satisfying. Added to that seeing boyhood heroes like Bob Olley and Kev Adams produce models based on my work is a major bucket list tick. To anyone I worked with during the year, a big thank you. Here's a taster of some of the concepts I worked on, many of which are now finished miniatures.

Now, back to the hobby! The Judgement Day project hung up it's (tight) boots this year, the last entry coming in April, a Copplestone mini I'd had and gamed with for many years, the rapscallion and mercenary, Odysseus Jones, It was great to finally paint him up. Cheetor and I may return to it at some juncture, you never know. Especially as I picked up a few Mechanismo robots and street judges recently.

I have several unpainted characters from my gaming youth I would love to hurl back into the fray, maybe this year Lord Vortag and Stern Fluxbringer will rise again, if the brushes will it.

In May was delighted to be invited to add a painting tutorial by Geoff Sims for sourcebook The Woods: Legends of Shandisholm. This guy is available in the Myeri clan box, which is chock full of characterful minis, the mushroom picker and smith being some of my favourites. He is based on Alan Lee's Fomorian painting. You can find Oakbound here, and their Facebook page here

I'm also throwing the occasional article at The Golden D6, a new gaming magazine, the latest mag featuring an article on my current main squeeze, Dragon Rampant. You can take a look at the magazine here.

During the Summer the aforementioned Dragon Rampant took me to it's warm bosom, and I set to work on a project I had long incubated in the damp recesses of my to-do list. The Shadow Empire, ancient army of LoPan, disciple of Ching Dai and evil sorcerer.

I've had elements of the army in storage for years, and it finally came together this year as a take on what LoPan from Big Trouble in Little China might have been getting up to in China thousands of years ago, not long after he was cursed by the first emperor.

So far I've painted up three units of terracotta warriors, and the first couple of members of LoPan's retinue. Right now I have three Yaoguai Chinese demons on the painting table.

This year I deliberately decided to take breaks during longer projects to paint one or two models for other games/factions etc. This has worked well, stopping me losing enthusiasm during the slog of drybrushing dozens of terracotta warriors and allowing me to paint up some 'palette cleanser' minis at the same time. This chaos thug below was one of these, painted up to fight for me in the Gorechosen game by Games Workshop. It's tremendous fun, a great casual game.

Arnuld here got me interested in some old school Khorne guys. I have a whim to build an Age of Sigmar warband from the General's Handbook. It would be small enough to be achievable and would give me a Realm of Chaos/Dragon Rampant warband at the same time. Happily, my entry for the Scale Creep HeroQuest hero quest fitted in nicely.

The HeroQuest hero quest has seen a lot of hobbyists paint up a HQ mini. It's rather fun seeing the set slowly painted up by the community. Go check it out, I tell thee. 

As well as a fine gargoyle, this lad will make a good bloodsecrator (heh) or greater warbeast. At a push he could even see action as a terracotta statue of Ching Dai. Utility eh?

The final mini of the year is my chaos Santa. I've been meaning to paint up a seasonal mini for years, and again, the Creeps shot out a selection of Christmas themed minis, and so I finally got him painted. Next year I'll give him a wee friend maybe.

On the gaming front, it was a good year. I got a good few games in with some mighty folks. There's nothing like taking your newly painted warband for an outing, having some laughs and a few alcoholic refreshments. Rather than give you a tedious blow by blow account, I'll show you some pretty pictures and you'll get the vibe.

So, what for 2017? Well, right now I intend to finish the Shadow Empire. I need to add some cavalry, a chariot, some vampires and the three storms. After that, I think my genestealer cult could do with some love. With the new kits out, I'm very keen to paint up some new hybrids. I have half a dozen other projects I'd like to continue as well, there are the cylons, some more Sov judges, a few more fimir, a Bloodbowl team, a titan or two... 

Who knows what the hell I'll get up to.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's Christmas on the Mumblings - Chaos Style

I've painted this festive fellow up for the Scale Creep Christmas post. I've not had him too long, having spent a good long while tracking him down. He's a lovely chunky old chap, and after battling flash and mould lines, he was painted up in utterly traditional Christmas colours, which seem to make him a devotee of Khorne. There are some mind-bending nooks and crannies to get paint into, but he's such a nice sculpt I didn't mind too much.

I have never used snow effects on my bases, but I had some Hudson & Allen slush and snow that has been in my basing box for years. I put down a layer of slush, then when that way dry I added the snow. I thought of adding some glitter into the snow mix for extra Christmasness, but then I forgot. Still, the sparkle from the slush is plenty shiny anyway.

So, with that, I imagine this will be my last model of 2016. It's been a productive year. I'll most likely do a look back over the year soon, and think about the projects for 2017. There are already more lined up than I have the possibility of completing. Anyway, thanks for reading, and a Merry Christmas to all the readers of the Mumblings!

Monday, December 12, 2016

The HeroQuest Hero Quest - The Gargoyle

Taking a break from Chinese monsters, I set aside some time to paint up my entry for the ScaleCreep HeroQuest Hero Quest, the gargoyle. You can see him here. It was a treat painting this guy, he's been in my gaming subconscious for decades.

I painted him with the same recipe as my terracotta warriors. He will most likely serve in the Shadow Empire army as an animated statue of Ching Dai (LoPan's boss). His armour does have an oriental vibe anyhow. He may also see action as part of a Khorne warband, I like the idea of a walking shrine extorting the chaos warriors to even more acts of devotional butchery.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Shadow Empire - The Yeren

I initially had some trouble locating the main characters I wanted to use for the Shadow Empire. LoPan and the yeren were particularly bothersome. That was until I was made aware of 'The Demons' set from North Star Military Figures (thanks Colin!) for a Fistful of Kung Fu. This was a set that solved all my problems and gave me a few extras to boot. So armed, I could field some of the main villains from  Big Trouble in Little China.

Hey baby.
The Yeren always intrigued me in the movie. No explanation is ever offered as to why this hairy niutball is wandering around LoPan's hideout, he just kind of shows up and does his thing. He seems to be in thrall to LoPan though, so it makes sense to add him to the retinue.

The Yeren, or Chinese wild man, is a kind of demon/orangutan/gorilla/hobo combo. He's a curious wee fella with his sloth-like claws and too-wide mouth, and he adds some much needed colour to the army. I kept the colours pretty close to the movie character, though it took me a couple of attempts before I was happy with the face.

Check out his monkey buns.

That then gives me two of LoPan's retinue done with four more to go. Next up will be a triumvirate of demons, Ching Dai's enforcers. Before that though,  I'm taking a short detour for something Heroquesty and something a little seasonal.

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Shadow Empire - Liu Sheng, the Jade Prince

The first of LoPan's retinue is finished. Liu Sheng, the Jade Prince. 

Buried with his wife Dou Wan one hundred years after the first Emperor was interred in his tomb, he was awoken by LoPan to find tomb robbers had stolen Dou Wan's body. They would have taken him too no doubt, but the thieves warding stone failed them, and one of Sheng's tomb guardians awoke in time to scare off the looters before they could ransack the tomb further.

Something of a hedonist in life, Sheng's focus was sharpened by undeath. His suit ensured he was not bound fully to LoPan's will, and so Sheng resolved to find his lost wife and restore her to her rightful resting place, a quest he pursues relentlessly when not attending his new master.

I've had this guy for years. He's from John Jenkins Design, and has been OOP for some time. It's nice to finally get him painted up, it's a nice variation on the mummy theme. There isn't a terribly huge amount of reference around for jade mummies. There was enough to give me an idea of the kind of colour I wanted the jade to be though, quite pale, so that the individual tiles could be picked out. The pale jade suits (hah!) the undead vibe anyway. I chose a dark brown for the wrappings to give some contrast to the suits sections. There is a load of it around the back of the suit, as you'll see below.

I added a fair amount of targeted green glazes in the recesses, and finally painted the small amount of exposed flesh a dead grey with blue and purple washes.

I've been looking forward to painting this guy for some time, and I'm happy with the result. Next up, the beastly Yeren.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Shadow Empire - Painting Terracotta Warriors

Now that my  horde of terracotta warriors are complete, I though it time to put up a tutorial for how I painted them for anyone else out there who fancies painting animated clay men, or simply want to paint clay statues/urns etc. All the paints used below are Citadel paints unless stated otherwise.

The warriors are base coated with Tallarn Flesh. I then sponged on a generous helping of Shadow Grey. Many of the warriors are still coated with the remains of paint, as they were originally brightly coloured. The Shadow Grey adds a second colour to break up the basic clay colour a little. Once this is dry the whole model is washed with Reikland Flesh shade.

The model is then drybrushed with Tallarn Flesh, followed by Rakharth Flesh and finally Dheneb Stone. Finally, Typhus corrosion is blended into some of the recesses. Use this sparingly. I only added this step to some models that are cracked open, or to represent mud and dirt that has caked onto the clay over time.

The bronze on halberds, swords and shields is basecoated with Dwarf Bronze. The face of the shields is sponged with Shadow Grey. Wash the bronze with Agrax Earthshade, and then highlight with Shining Gold. Once this dries wash with Thraka Green (or Biel-Tan Green) amd the glaze with Waywatcher Green. Finally, paint Dark Angels Green into the recesses and blend out.

That's essentially it. Wood is painted with a dark brown to show the wood has aged and hardened. For larger areas of bronze, such as horses, I'll be mottling areas with dark greens to echo the patterns on living horses such as the fetlocks and facial stripes.

The basing is my usual recipe of base coat Dawnstone washed with Agrax Earthshade. This is drybrushed with Fortress Grey, Bleached Bone and then a light drybrush of white. This is then liberally doused with Typhus Corrosion and blended out to stain the ground and rocks. I then add tufts, though since I took these photos I've added some flowers to the bases to add more colour. You can see this below.

There we are!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Kickstarter - Dwarves at Arms

With less than three days left to go on the Dwarves at Arms kickstarter, I figured it was time to give it a wee plug on the the Mumblings, especially as I've been doing the concept and and design for it!

It has been the most successful kickstarter yet run by Macrocosm, who have three previous successful kickstarter projects under their belt. People just love dwarves it seems, though there are several rather fantastic non-dwarf add ons available too, but more on those later, especially the hobby horse riding ogres.

The twist with this particular take on dwarves is that the range is split up into dwarves from several historical eras. So far we have Crusaders, Normans, English Civil War, Late Romans, Vikings and Samurai. Each of these have several packs available. World War One Russian dwarves and Spartan dwarves are coming up as stretch goals. You can see pack 1 for the Samurai Dwarves below, which were designed by yours truly.

So, as you can see there's a massive range for dwarf lovers out there. The add on section bears special mention too, where you can add (deep breath) Jotnar (trolls) for the vikings, several sets of ogres, archers, cavalry, command, spearmen etc, WW1 tanks, treemen, a MASSIVE range of halflings, both fantasy and WW1, Monty Python dwarves, dwarf cavalry of various types, dwarf berserkers, a siege tower (chaos dwarf players should really check this out) and art prints. Check out the size of the trolls:

Huge eh? It also bears mentioning the kickstarter is really good value. There are a couple of other models I want to draw your attention to, as they are buried in over forty add ons. Look at these guys:

Ogres on hobby horses. Now, you might take your gaming a bit more seriously than I, and you may be thinking "What the hell, are you f*cking kidding me?" but for me, these are one of the best things in the kickstarter bar the dwarves themselves. A set of Monty Phyton Holy Grail dwarves and some of these lads, and you have a fine, fine theme for a warband. It also tickles me to think of these guys taking down some super badass chaos knights while making clip-clop noises.

As to the dwarves themselves, they are mostly multipart with several head and arms options, sculpted by the mighty Alessio Cispani.  Here's some examples:

Pretty cool eh? I'm sure the Vikings fans among you recognise the seer there. So, if you bear any love for the dwarves (or halflings, ogres or trolls), you'd be doing yourself a disservice not looking at this kickstarter before it ends.

Wayland Games

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