Sunday, 16 May 2021

We Must Not Be Hasty

It's been a while since I last painted something for Lord of the Rings, mainly because I'm still waiting to be able to play the opening scenarios of War in Rohan and Quest of the Ringbearer against another human being.

However, my birthday in April allowed me to get my hands on a character I've wanted for many long ages of the world, but I still didn't rush into getting him done...somewhat appropriately...

This is the new plastic (and much improved) version of Treebeard (or Fangorn, or another name that takes a very long time to say) the Ent, along with Merry and Pippin.

The model is fantastic and is my first real taste of how much GWs plastic models have improved. The flip side is that he comes in 62 pieces (an evening's work by itself) - in stark contrast to the much older Daemon Prince I did recently, which was in about a dozen parts.

Despite the excellent nature of the kit there were a couple of tiny gripes. Two of the pieces (parts 61 & 62) aren't in the instructions...which raises some perplexing questions about the order in which things are made. Also, some of the sculpting decisions seemed oddly fiddly, including the hobbits having separate faces. I kid you not.

However, neither of these take away from the fact that Treebeard is loads of fun to build and a doddle to paint.

If ever there was a 'miniature'that was made for my lazy combination of washes and drybrushing, it's Treebeard.

As you'll no doubt have noticed, Merry and Pippin are detachable, and so were painted separately.

They both sit securely without any needs for magnetising shenanigans, but Merry is a bit easier to dislodge, so I'll have to be carefulnot to lose him mid game.

Given that the hobbits can dismount, the kit also comes with both characters on foot as well (yes, there were 4 separate faces to attatch).

I've tried to match the colours to those I chose when painting the metal models nearly 20 years ago, apart from the cloaks being grey to represent the gifts from Lothlorien. 

Annoyingly, the close ups have pointed out that I've missed the green on Merry's brooch (and the snail in Treebeard's beard), which will need to be revisited.

I had been concerned that the new plastic kits would see some scale creep from the original models, but, as you can see, there's no issue (although Merry is noticeably plumper - which is arguably more book accurate).

There's something weird about the way GW photograph the new models, because they all look really chunky on the website - most notably Eomer, whose photo makes him look a bit like Thor in Avengers: Endgame.

All in all, I'm delighted with this week's work. The chapters with Merry and Pippin off on their own are some of my favourites in the whole of The Lord of the Rings.

I'm only counting this as three models painted as technically Merry and Pippin are 'riding' Treebeard like a cavalry model. Additionally, I didn't count them a separate on the acquired tally (how's that for honesty?). I've also picked up another model with my birthday money, so it's slow but steady progress.

Treebeard would no doubt approve of my lack of haste.

Acquired: 98
Painted: 86

Saturday, 8 May 2021

Unboxing: Lurkers From The Deep

Yesterday I took delivery of my 7TV: Lurkers From The Deep Kickstarter from Crooked Dice.

The Kickstarter was run at the beginning of the year and once again has shown that Crooked Dice deliver quickly and efficiently on the Kickstarter campaigns. As of writing, the smaller and miniature focused pledges have been delivered and the larger, MDF heavy (literally), pledges will start shipping shortly.

Lurkers From The Deep is the first 'feature pack' for 7TV. Feature packs promise to be narrative campaigns for the different iterations of 7TV (this one focuses on Pulp) and seem to be a natural development of the broader in scope Programme Guides.

This feature pack takes 7TV: Pulp in the direction of Lovecraftian horror, with more than a few intertextual references to 'The Shadow Over Innesmouth'. However, the Cthulhu Mythos isn't the only influence at play, as you'll see later.

The box itself, an old VHS video case, is a beautiful homage to the budget movies we'd rent fron the local video store in the 1980s because somebody else had rented Clash of the Titans.

The artwork not only evokes the (soon to be dashed on the rocks of disappointment) excitement and potential of obscure film rental, but has been designed with the same sense of wear and overuse the boxes in the store alway had.

The box is packed with rules, profile and other game cards, MDF tokens and the stretch goal miniatures from the Kickstarter campaign (these won't be in the standard release, but have clearly been popped in here for convenience during the dispatch process.

The 84 page Episode Guide contains background, not only to the story of the campaign, which focuses on the forces of law and order tackling the somewhat amphibious denizens of Marshport in the attempts to raise something Eldritch from the deeps, but also for the production of fictional film serial, along with five scenarios, character bios and some really nice maps.

The maps tie directly to the buildings that were part of the campaign, and so I'm going to need to improvise an reinterpret elements because I simply don't have the space in my house for that much MDF.

As seems to be traditional no with the 7TV: Pulp releases, there's also a movie poster postcard to add to my collection.

As expected with 7TV there are cards galore. There is a stack of Profile cards for the specific characters involved in the action - although you do also need cards from 7TV: Pulp. Cliffhanger Cards, Gadget Cards and Macguffin Cards are included to allow you to tailor the generic decks to some specific genre features of LurkersFrom The Deep.

MDF counters and widgets add a bit of thematic flair to proceedings. The yellow and brown bits seem to combine to create an on/off switch for one of the scenarios, whereas I think the cardboard ritual tracker is used in the final fight.

And then we move onto the miniatures, which include the stretch goal freebies: Professor Jemima Wittwood, Newshound, Doctor Fiske, Occult Investigator, two themed macguffins and a set of historically accurate heads for US Rangers (the Rangers miniatures released by CD assume that WW2 surplus was used for the costumes).

Wittwood and Fiske are specific characters for Lurkers From The Deep, whilst the others are generic Pulp miniatures. After playing his scenario, Fiske is destined to join my Mad Science cast: the University of Salem's Lost Faculty of Cryptobiology and Pseudoscience, he'll fit right in.

I opted for the Heroes pledge, which comes with 8 heroic miniatures, four of which are federal agents. These will probably end up pulling double duty as gangsters at times.

They are clean casts which have the characteristic Crooked Dice lack of clutter and needless detail. Something which I've commented before makes CD miniature fast and enjoyable to paint. It's also worth noting that one of the agents is a woman - it's always welcome to see good quality female miniatures which avoid the unnecessary objectification that litters the hobby.

If you look closely at the other half of the Heroes pledge, regular readers of the blog might recognise why I went for this option.

From left to right you have: Howard Ashton (gadgeteer), a technical genius who is a 'stark' contrast to the military he works with; Colonel Julius Roth, armed with a Thompson, for when you have to kill every m**********r in the room; a 'strange' spiritual custodian, I'll probably add a cape to him; Agent Maggie Stone, I've got her 'pegged' to work with a certain star-spangled super soldier.

Yes. They're adding to my Marvel project.

Finally we have the Dangerous Dames, which aren't actually anything to do with Lurkers From The Deep, but I added them to my pledge for other projects.

The Jungle Lord (Lady) is destined to be converted into Eve from my Freedom Force team, whereas I'm not sure about the Renegade Royal, but I'm sure there is something sci-fi I can do with her (they came as a two pack and I wanted the other model).

So that's it for Lurker of the Deep. I like the format of specific scenarios, although I will be adjusting layouts and casts as my miniature collection dictates. Having pre-prepared stories which are different from the standard missions offers narrative potential that I sometimes am to lazy to create for 7TV for myself.

I'm looking forward to playing.

Admittedly, the tally takes a bit of a hit, but Crooked Dice miniatures don't really worry me, as they never take long to paint. I'm planning to paint what I need for each scenario in turn.

Acquired: 97
Painted: 83

Friday, 7 May 2021

Blue Man Group

Another chunk of Tzeentch flavoured daemons painted this week. 10 Blue Horrors.

These were done in exactly the same way as the three that I began this project with, and I found it really helpful to have put my exact choice of colours in the blog post for them.

The Blue Horrors come in the same box as the Brimstone Horrors, and like them they are single pose. 

This is something that could put me off buying more of these as I'm not keen on duplicate poses for daemons serving the chaos god of change and mutation.

Assembling these chaps was fairly amusing as the multi-part nature of them is complicated by extra arms, tentacles, flames and tongues.

This meant that at times I was attaching pieces that constituted a face and a leg, or two arms and a tail.

In game, I'm not sure how much use Blue Horrors are, because the other Horrors seem to outdo them. For durability and combat you want Pink Horrors, for cheap objective grabbed you need Brimstone Horrors.

There is the option to use them for 'splitting' when Pink Horrors a killed, but this costs points that could just as easily be spent on something else.

However, for now I'm going to use them to bulk up my Pink Horror unit (because they can mix) until I get more.

Anyway, the numbers are back to being the right way round...for now...

Acquired: 81
Painted: 83

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Summoning Up Motivation

Every so often, there's a blog post where I'm genuinely chuffed with every single element of it.

This is one of them.

First up is a Daemon Prince for my 40k Tzeentch Daemons. It's made with the basic (and surprisingly affordable for GW) plastic kit, with only a small bit of kitbashing to give it a bird head from the Burning Chariot kit (along with a tongue made from a Screamer tentacle), to make it more reminiscent of a Lord of Change.

I went with a sword and malefic talon as its armaments as I didn't want it to be too 40k looking, so that it could do double duty in games like 7TV: Fantasy.

Arguably, I made a couple of mistakes with the sword arm. I could have chosen the other option which wouldn't have the blade almost tangled with the wings, and I accidentally left chunky mould lines on it, and only really noticed them after I'd finished the skin.

However, despite being nervous about it, I took the plunge to scrape the lines off after the fact, and fix the skin. It worked.

In terms of painting, the skin was done with a base of Grey Seer, a was of Drakenhof Nightshade and a heavy drybrush of Blue Horror.

The claws and beak were done with Ushabti Bone and Skeleton Horde, the loincloth is Flesh Tearers Red and an Emperor's Children highlight. The gold is Retributor Armour with an Agrax Earthshade wash.

The wings were actually done first with Black Templar contrast paint over Grey Seer. I then did a drybrush of Adminstratum Grey and drenched them with Drakenhof Nightshade when I was doing the skin, to tie them to the overall blue of the rest of the model.

I'm really pleased with this model. I've not done something this size (barring WW2 tanks) for some time, and I really enjoyed it. He's a suitably impressive leader for my army until a potentially even bigger bird materialises.

These standing stones are from a Mantic Terrain Crate I picked up half price for my birthday. I've said it before, that the chunkier contents of the Terrain Crates are really good pieces and these are no exception.

Done simply, with a dark grey base coat and a light grey drybrush, these are likely to show up in all sorts of games: pulp, fantasy, superhero, sci-fi and so on.

The beacon is from the same set and is equally chunky and good. I can see it being used in my burgeoning Rohan village for Lord of the Rings.

The flames were done simply with a heavy wash of Cassandora Yellow over white. I appreciate that the flames are backwards and the orangey reds should be on the out parts of the flames. However, I actually like the cartoony look of the flames, so I'm leaving it as is.

A fun element of the beacon is the fact that the flames are removable, which makes this a useful interactive piece of terrain for scenarios.

I've really enjoyed this batch of painting, and I think I'm on my way out of the slump.

In terms of my tallies, I'm only counting the beacon and flames as a single model, but that's still six more in the painted pile. However, on the last post I forgot to add three Doctor Who miniatures my daughter bought me.

Acquired: 81
Painted: 73

Sunday, 25 April 2021

Brimming Over

I've been struggling with motivation to actually paint recently (rebasing doesn't count).

This is something that happens to me for time to time, and in these circumstances I tend to look for easy wins to get me started. In all my years in this hobby, there have been few wins easier than these.

These are Brimstone Horrors for my 40k Daemons of Tzeentch army. For those who haven't been keeping up with all things Warhammer, when a Pink Horror does it turns into two smaller Blue Horrors, and when a Blue Horror dies it turns into two even smaller Brimstone Horrors.

Paint on these was incredibly quick. White undercoat, drenched with Tesseract Glow and then the eyes picked out with a green wash. I don't really think that they need any more than this, and I quite like that the Tesseract Glow hasn't taken on some of the high points of the models.

Arguably, the bases (done in the same way as the rest of the army) took more work...and before anybody says anything, the grass isn't catching fire because the Brimstone Horrors are made of magic flames - that's why it's green.

I got the Brimstone Horros as part of my birthday haul, which included a similar number of Blue Horrors and a Daemon Prince for 40k; Treebeard, Merry and Pippin for LotR; and a fantasy Mantic Terrain Crate that Warlord Games had in their sale.

I have a bit more birthday money to spend, so my tallies might take even more of a beating before long.

Acquired: 78
Painted: 67

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

All Your Base Are Belong To Us

I spent yesterday finishing off the full rebase of my Blood Angels using the Base Ready Scrublands from Geek Gaming Supplies.

I was only delayed by needing to order a load of 32mm bases. 

I don't know why GW changed the base size for the old style Space Marines (but I can guess), but I actually like the fact that it makes each model into more of an individual diorama.

Removing the old bases wasn't too much of an issue because I tend to use super glue for everything and so they were carefully snapped off.

The metal models (of which there are more than you'd imagine, needed clipping, trimming and filing. I didn't bother pinning them because I'm me.

One of the metal Death Company was gripped by the black rage, flung himself out of my hands and dismantled himself on my floor.

However, using super glue for everything and not pinning has its advantages, as it broke in the right places and so was easy to fix.

There was a little bit of touching up of chips and glue stains that needed doing, but the process of using the Base Ready product was as easy as before, although you do need to paint the base rim again afterwards due to the dusty nature of it.

I'm now calling this army finished. It's at 2000 points (which is as big a game as I can imagine playing), I find painting lots of similar things a bit dull, and the rebase has meant that there is no more space in their drawer.

I've also go the Tzeentch Daemons to work on, and I think I'm going to aim at getting them to 2000 points as well.

Again, I'm not counting these towards my painting tally as I should have done proper bases when I repainted them last year.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

All About That Base (No Trouble)

I'm struggling with motivation for painting as I'm currently in a bit of a 40k mood and I've run out of 40k things to paint...until my birthday later this month.

However, I've taken this as an opportunity to start the process of rebasing my Blood Angels.

As you may remember from the pictures in my previous post, my Blood Angels were based with the simplest of 90s themed lurid green flock.

I wasn't trying to be retro, I was trying to be quick and cheap when I first painted them (and it wasn't retro back then). However, they were in sore need of sprucing up.

And so I've invested in some 'base ready' products from Geek Gaming.

If you're not familiar with these products, they're essentially pre-mixed flock/sand/clump foliage provided in a variety of types to suit different landscapes.

I've gone fo 'Scrubland', as it seemed suitably generic for use across a variety of systems.

Basically, you pile PVA glue on the base and scatter the base ready flock on, and you're good to go.

I have no idea why I haven't been using this stuff forever, because its it's unbelievably easy to get a good result.

I've gone a little bit further by adding some slate and larger stones to the larger bases, along with some grass tufts to vary heights.

I didn't bother removing the old green flock first, because it doesn't matter if it shows through here and there, and it made life easier in the with not having to worry if I got PVA everywhere, especially under the Captain's cloak.

I've only done the Terminators and Dreadnought so far as this seems like to perfect opportunity to switch the regular Marines onto 32mm bases (when did that happen?) and I'm waiting for them to arrive.

I did, however, manage to finally add the missing Chapter badge to the extra Terminator I painted earlier this year.

I would highly recommend Geek Gaming, the base ready products are excellent and they were delivered in record time. Luke, who runs it, also does an excellent YouTube channel (sometimes called Luke's APS) which focuses on making terrain.

This process was so easy, I'm not even going to claim these as painted models.