Saturday, December 26, 2015

State of the dark elf forces.

Christmas at the in-laws and I brought the elves with the intention of magnetising and finishing the bases.

Here's the state of the army. I laid all of the elves I had from my case out on the coffee table. Did I bring the sand to base them? No. How about shields? Where are they? Ah.

Okay. Well, let's glue magnets into the bases.

Two mengil witch elves get 2 little magnets each into the base and... uh... shit... they're not sticking to anything. Well, they would were they flush with the edge of the base.

New problem needs a solution: how to mount the magnets so they contact the surface properly. Putty perhaps.

Will I make my deadline? Perhaps. Let's make it a fuzzier goal. Bases, magnets and/or shields?

Just relooking at the miniatures I painted 2 years ago and they are dark. Not in tone, but certainly in colour. I may go back over them with some highlights.

6 cold ones (including general) and 7 shades.


23 Corsairs and 13 warriors.


13 witch elves, 4 characters


20 warriors and 25 mengil's manflayers.

Monday, December 7, 2015

End year target: dark elves.

While sitting at work I have decided that I want to finish some miniatures as the year finishes. It's my biggest point of laziness: I have painted a bunch of miniatures but I haven't varnished or based them.

It's the dark elves, see. I want to get one of those naff but cool photos of myself taken with my 3rd edition army arrayed before me. To do that requires that I actually have an army I want to be seen with.

You know like this:

I've decided on the base design. I have all the shields. I have the cans.

Now to find the will to deal with these and more:

Sunday, December 6, 2015

By the hoary hosts of hoggoth: minis!

Yes, I read the new Dr Strange comic recently and I probably won't pick up issue 2. It's okay, I guess and that's the problem really. Okay art, okay ideas, okay writing and okay, I was not gripped. Chris Bachalo went from an artist I really enjoyed to an artist I remember really enjoying. Not my cuppa.


I started this over Thanksgiving. It was a bit of a messy process, I'd tried something new, following a tutorial by Shoshanna Bauer on her facebook page that used colour theory to create a more realistic skin-tone. It was going swimmingly until I ballsed it up a trifle with a poorly timed red-wash. I was able to recover, though I had to abandon the initial plan.


FA19 Citadel Adventurer, sculpted my Michael Perry.

When I was 8 or so I would run my fingers over advertisements in White Dwarf magazine, usually a single gritty black and white photo or some line drawings of a miniature with line upon line of codes and names underneath. I'd wonder what the miniatures looked like and make strange little plans of which ones sounded like they'd be great to have. These older White Dwarfs have been marked up with ticks and underlines of the minis that grabbed my interest.

I don't know if this was one I underlined, but she is certainly one of the ones from those advertisements.  A certain visceral memory is summoned up when I paint a miniature like this. There is almost nostalgia, but it is tempered totally by the reality of the piece of lead in my hand. This is not a thing past, not a thing that belongs there. It is as alive now as when it was first cast 30 odd years ago,

"Join an adventuring party, " Lissandra muttered, "visit distant dungeons, meet interesting creatures, and kill them..." Somehow, a trapdoor and four battles ago the joke had become truth and Lissandra wished she had taken up bookbinding like father wanted. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Lady Gray, or, a miniature painted, would you believe.


Praise be to all the painting gods. Finally. A miniature painted

Painted, not finished (basing and varnish await) but I'll put it in the achievement column anyway. Doing anything is a win.

Meet Lady Gray, and her boy, Rocko.

They are from Jon Boyce's very nifty Colony 87 miniature range of science fiction civilians sculpted by Michael Anderson. They are a mix of baroque and ramshackle. I get a very Dune-ish Harkonnen vibe from this one and her nominal consort (to be painted) which is a good vibe indeed.

Painting-wise, this was started two or three weeks ago and finished this Sunday gone, and I can't remember how many washes and highlights I daubed. I seemed to be mixing ivory and bone into everything on the wet palette and smearing between colours to get a range for highlighting.  About the only certainty was that I wanted to use pink and turquoise (P3 paints have slowly been getting into my kit) for the plating and the robe. Oh, and Rocko had to be largely unclothed.

(I notice looking at the photo that I need to add colour to Rocko's booties and there are a few rough spots between Gray's leg and cloak. )

I'd had a plan for the hair to be dark. The face changed that. The more I highlighted her face, the sterner she became and the more Thatcherite (ugh) she appeared. I could not soften the face to save my life. Just as well, really...

I did attempt makeup. Some very diluted turquoise for the arched eyebrows. Red for the lower lip and a touch of colour on the cheekbones. (New technical thing: I need to get better at using reference.)

Enough half arsed paint techneek talk.


It's been the same thing now for ten years.
"Mother," he'll say in his squeaky voice "let's go to the zoological garden."
By the Emperor, ten years of staring blankly at Desert Devils and stuffed Grinxes and listening to Rocko giggle vacantly has taught Lady Gray to hate. She hates the zoo. She hates the animals. She especially hates the smiles. One day, one day soon, she'll borrow her husbands jokaero things and see what the melting point of teeth actually is...

We are not amused.
What to paint next? I'll know when I do it,

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Gnome for the Holidays

While deleting draft posts from the page, I discovered this post that I'd started in January and never got to finishing.

I had got this far:

Christmas Day I painted gnomes, and a halfling with a crazy '70s mustache. First little bastards painted since the end of August.
And now I can't remember a damned thing about what steps I took to paint them. Here goes with the addled recollections.

This is a great miniature. One of those "ohhhh, I need this... I really need this..." purchases. It's from the Citadel Fantasy Adventurer line, FA34-2 Gnome Warrior Thief. This particular miniature was released in Spring of 1982, a variant/resculpt of the previous Gnome released the year previous.

It's a Michael Perry sculpt and it is tiny; just over a half inch to the eyeballs. You wouldn't think it given how much wonderful detail is on this. The smile is what gets me every time. I vaguely recall having a lot of fun painting this. Looking at this photo (and I really need to dig the miniature out to confirm this) I'm quite pleased with how the eye(s) turned out.

More of the fantastic details that help make this a dungeon adventurer.

This one I need to dig out so I can properly identify the manufacturer.

The palette on this one was kept really simple. I painted it in green and white with the intention of contributing it to the Oldhammer warband project. I don't know why I didn't to be honest. It's not a bad paint job for me and it works.  I'm particularly happy with the way the wood on the shield turned out. I think it was a base coat of oak that I then dragged a 'clumsy' oak/white mix through to create the idea of grain. Clumsy in that the white and the oak don't quite mix evenly and the brush tip has both colours on it creating a streakiness when drawn down the shield. It's something I'll need to try again as I really like the effect.

Also: most excellent facial hair which is hardly ever seen on a halfling miniature.


I have actually painted in the last week. One of John Boyce's Colony 87 miniatures. I'll aim to finish that and do some work on some eldar or dark elves. I'm still fixating on the idea of doing chore-ish squads and units punctuated by some of the odds and sods I have from various kickstarters/indiegogo campaigns and ebay impulse buys.

Let's see what the week brings.

Till then.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eulogy for a Games Store, and godawful funks.

My favourite local games store, Burdette's, is closing this Friday.

I am gutted.

Burdette's was a place that I felt comfortable socially. Which is a big thing, given my level of discomfort generally. The owners and the other customers/gamers were all around my age. The atmosphere was family friendly and relaxed. I tried to make it in every week to play Friday Night Magic, which was free of the brash, competitive bullshit that seems to pool in venues with much younger crowds.

There are other stores here, and some a little further afield, but right now none that can replace Burdette's.


This has been a year of descent into the depths. Lack of energy, general apathy and black moods have cut into any enthusiasm or motivation to get things done. Paint brushes have been unused, I have developed a lead hillock (not a mountain as such) and my work desk is a slippery slope that sends cats sliding to the floor. I've got 5 blog post openings that I've just not got back to.

Things will turn around, I'm almost sure.


Right, here's a link to a great set of miniatures made in the near three decade old Rogue Trader style:

Colony 87- 28mm sci-fi civilians

They are very crisp, very characterful miniatures. If you didn't know about these, look around the kickstarter and keep an eye out. Jon Boyce has put together a very successful kickstarter and is very approachable with any issues (a little damage to a miniature). I've chosen the first one I want to paint and now I need to get to it!

Now, I'll return to the virtual shadows...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dead Computers.

My netbook died laat week. Bad memory, I'm forced to assume.

And now my only internet capable device is my nook colour, which is like typing on a brick.

A TOTAL TRAGEDY! I scream from the velvety comfort of my chaise lounge as I fingermash a screen the size of a penguin book.

I've started gaming at a local store. FNM at the moment. It's been a decade since I last played amd I forgt how much fun it can be. I also forgot how frustrating it can be too. The folks I i also played were easy going but they're invested in the game at a much higher level than me. I don't have the money or.the time to really be competitive. Which is okay by me for the most part, playing is the journey. I just need to work on the mana conspiracy, I mean, my shuffling, no, I mean...


Yes, well. Painting-wise I undercoated 20 or so dark elves. I've got to face facts that the way to play with these minis is to bite the bullet and play the latest version of the Great Wyrm's games.

The most recent stuff painted aside from my wife's nails have been a couple of old harlequins. I love the original background for thses guys, the theatre geek in me to be sure, and the original eclectic, electro-clash painting style that went with it. Think cirque de soliel meets commedia del'arte meets grand guinol meets high art new wave punk elves of a dying high decadence empire with flashing blades, acrobatics and the blur of comic speedlines, ONLY COOLER.

Recently, the colour scheme has gone from a wild anything-goesindividualised regalia to a stolid uniform diamond patterned costume. Think of a trajectory like the one from Queen to Lady Gaga. They're both successful in their own right, it's the degree of the influences on each that tell.

In the interests of self preservation I painted them black, bone, purple and green with sky blue as a highlight colour. There's no freehanding yet. I want to get them all based and varnished before I start painting on stripes, or checks or other freehand designs.

I am deeply chagrinned at the lack of photos. I shall thrash the errant knave of a netbook and replace it at earliest opportunity.



The painting guide in the WARLORD 1st edition rulebook, by Reaper, is very well done. It goes into some very different techniques to those demonstrated by Games Warkshop. He book was worth it for this section alone.

LION RAMPANT and DUX BELLORUM by D. Mersey for Osprey publishing. I'm always on the lokout for intesresting rules that I can chuck my minis into. Lion Rampant is a pretty nifty set of small warband skirmishes set in the middle ages. Dux Bellorum is a dark age Arthurian rules set. I've not read DB yet but both books have a lot of great painted miniaturea from different companies. This is nice. I love seeing photos illustrating rules, and I love that the rules are not tied to a single miniatures line.

The big difference to my eye, is that LR is one figure = one man, while DBlooks to be one base of 2-3 miniatures representing a much larger number.

The LR book is very well written with plenty of good examples. The bibliography is good. I also appreciate that the author's voice creates a sspace where you can be as relaxed or as accurate as you like in terms of historicity.

I have SONG OF BLADES AND HEROES and MUTANTS AND DEATH RAYS from Ganesha games sitting on the pile to read.

WHITE DWARF I finally brought the new magazine for the harlequins rules and information. I just don't know. I just... This is such a corporate organ now; there are no authors credited, no staff painters named, and no sculptors to be found. I love the harlequin sculpts, and I really want to know who did them. I fear that the answer is now and forever more "Games Workshop."

I also ponder the 'eavy Metal brand, which has passed from the jokey context of "we listen to heavy metal while painting heavy metal" into something mysterious. What music do you listen to while painting resin and plastic? Synthesiser pop? The sounds of John Blanche and Jes Goodwin crying themselves to sleep? Who knows?


Would you believe that the above was actually written by the five cats who insist on running over the nook every couple of minutes?

Until later, take care.