Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Jumping the Queue + Hobby plans for 2018

Wow. Real life has really been kicking my arse recently. Work is crazy busy and I'm going to have to have another operation in the not too distant future so will be out of action again. Not the start to 2018 I had in mind...

Hobby time has shrunk to nearly nothing since the end of November (although thankfully I have still been able to run a couple of games of D&D) and all of my projects from the end of last year remain unfinished on my painting table.

Worse than that, I found myself without much painting mojo over the festive period and well into the new year, only barely managing to make the deadline for the Tale of Middlehammer Gamers December speed painting challenge, and running late with my Dwarfcember project, Ungrim Ironfist the Slayer King!

And here is below leading a nice big unit of Slayers. Come and have a go if you think you are hard enough and have no regard for your kneecaps!

With Russ taking a well earned break I found myself in charge of the monthly painting challenge again but shamelessly stole the "Jump The Queue" idea (paint a model you have only just bought/been given for Christmas rather than all those things you should be painting!) from his list as it seemed like a good antidote to more traditional 'start as you mean to go on' new years resolution type themes...

And yet I was still struggling! I should be painting any number of things: Tom Meier Zombie Dragon (unfinished Deadcember project), Necromunda minis to complete my Rogue Quest project (these were started Spring/Summer 2017 and ignored since), an Orc Trader (a UK Games Expo limited edition piece - which has had tiny amounts of paint applied on numerous occassions in completely impractical order, based solely on when I had left over colour mixed up that I thought might work on his numerous packages and parcels, resulting in a mess that hasn't been touched in months), Malifaux Neverborn reinforcements (a gift from a friend and at least 10 months since undercoating with only minimal work on basing), various assorted Alternative Armies and other sci-fi figs for my Star Bastards project (a November project not even started) - all projects worthy of attention, and if I couldn't find my mojo with these what was I going to surplant them with!?

In the end real life kicked me while I was down and I decided that what I needed
was some soothing/mindless batch painting so settled on the regiment of Skinks which I had been planning as my Slannuary project anyway. However I had a nagging feeling that this didn't really count as jumping the queue so much as reordering it, and it was telling that they still remained untouched on my painting table as the month progressed.

But then one of my D&D group gave me a promo figure from the Walking Dead board game, which he picked up at UKGE 2017 and at last I had a proper contender to jump the queue! My mojo returned almost immediately and I braved the arctic temperatures the very next morning to rescue a can of black spray paint and nestle it under my armpit until it came up to a useable temp.

She immediately suggested herself as a Zombie Escher ganger, the perfect complement to the three non-Zombie Eschers I painted back in the Summer as part of my Rogue Quest project. Here she is trying to eat her former gang-sisters' brains.

As is so often the case, the painting challenge led to me applying more paint to lead and I also finished up a Zombie Bounty Hunter and a Sci-Fi Necromancer to finally complete the story and hence the project, but I really needed that extra little kick in the mojo provided by being allowed to jump the queue in January.

Since then I have definitely picked up the pace a bit and have painted the whole unit of Skinks that I had long planned as my Slannuary 2018 project, plus a couple of vintage hunks of lead in the shape of a C22 Amphisbaena and B'rkath from the Runequest Demons set (who I always thought was an Oldhammer 'pathetic aesthetic' style Werewolf until a knowledgeable member of the community helped me out with an ID) for the Middlehammer group's February challenge, which is being run this month by the incorrigible Bryan T and has seen some lovely entries including a couple of exquisite Night Horrors from Bill Rowbotham from EffCee painting

The Skinks are loosely inspired by blue and red poison arrow frogs, and the Amphisbaena is based on the colours of an albino Burmese python. I know it looks like I have just slapped some yellow paint over half an undercoated mini, but I assure you there were at least two more steps to this paint job!

B'rkath is grey because the one I already have painted is in brown and I wanted to be able to differentiate between my wimpy werewolves.

What the hell did I get up to last year, and how far off plan am I going to go in 2018!?

First of all, lets see how I did against the Hobby Ambitions I set at the beginning of last year, and update them for 2018.

1. Add at least 2000 points spread across both my High Elf and Orc and Goblin armies by the end of the year. Sadly I only managed a total of 1245 pts across both armies, which breaks down as follows (pts calculated as per WFB4/5 with equipment as I played them):

High Elves:
Prince Tyrion (425), 4 Archers (52), Silver Helm Standard Bearer (86) = 563 pts

Orcs and Goblins:
Orc Warboss (110), Goblin Warboss (50), 4 Fanatics (120), 1 Ogre (40), Goblin Standards x 2 (12), Musician x1 (6), Spearmen x 33 (99), 4 Orc Archers (30), Orc Standard Bearer (15), Manticore (200) = 682 pts

I still have a fair way to go with both lead piles, (especially as I have just purchased more Middlehammer goodness for both armies this very week) and definitely want to add more options to my tournament forces so this resolution stays at #1 for 2018.

2. Finish the main Rogue Quest Project and any associated side projects currently planned.
Well, I just barely missed this as I finished the last of the main characters last year and my Sci Fi undead minis from January completed the project, although the last blog posts remain unfinished so I still can't call this one done.

I'm going to replace it for 2018 with a resolution to finish my Bad Moon kill team (which is more like a small clan already, and will form a major part of my 40k Greenskin Horde) for Shadow War Armageddon, which includes the awesome Crom "Fat Belly" from Knightmare Miniatures which I cannot wait to paint up for use as a Super Gretchin - But! I'm only going to do that once I finish off the Rogue Quest blog posts :)

3. Complete an all metal (or primarily metal) conversion. 

"This should involve actually cutting into lead! Drilling and pinning, and filling with green stuff. All things which any hobbyist worth their salt should be proficient in, and which I've never had a huge amount of success with, prior to a half a decent fix on a broken Trolls leg earlier this year. I'm reasonably confident, though not very skilled with converting plastic, but working with metal will be pushing my modelling skills."

4. Collect, convert, and paint my first Frostgrave War band.

Hmmmm.... This was already a carry over from 2016. What was it I said last year?

"This ambition stays as it is, with one amendment - NO MORE COLLECTING - the war band has to be assembled from the minis I already own. Apart from the replacement set of FG Soldiers. Obvs."

FAIL! I have no Frostgrave Warband with beautiful winter themed bases, but I do have more lead in the 'Potentially good for Frostgrave' sub category of the lead pile...

I'm replacing this one with something more productive - Running the 2018 Middlehammer Legacy Project, which looks like it is going to involve a bunch of us co-creating a fantasy warband themed around Middenheim, City of the White Wolf. So obvious similarities, the chance to possibly use some of the 'Potentially good for Frostgrave' lead I have acquired over the last year or so, but I'll only have to paint one figure myself.

5. Sell or trade more minis, games, and rule books.Well, I certainly acquired more minis through trade (including a successful UK to Norway Jes Goodwin Ogre exchange), but mostly I just bought more minis. That counts right?

NO! No it bloody doesn't! I'm surrounded by piles and piles of bloody rule books in particular, including hardback copies of later editions of 40k that I really dislike and have no intention of reading. If there are no more blog posts this year the chances are I was crushed to death by the wobbling towers of grimdark math-hammer. They are bloody heavy!

This one stays, and I'm going to count it completed next year on the sole proviso that I have one way or another shifted enough duplicate and unwanted rule books that I no longer fear for my safety when sat in my office.

So what did I get done?

Loads actually! I painted at least another hundred models this year (although still not keeping a completely accurate count - doh!) including a fair few not seen on this blog because I'm keeping them secret from the prying eyes of my D&D group; got more involved than ever with helping run the Middlehammer facebook group and got to know a great bunch of chaps in the process; ran the first annual (hopefully!) Middlehammer Legacy Project - which has to be one of my highlights of the last few years; completed my modular Snotling diorama for Da Great Snot Off!; taken part in all the Middlehammer monthly painting challenges and met another bunch of good eggs through the High Elves Anonymous support group :)

Another mini painted in 2017 - Teddy from Malifaux, in the style of vicious bastard Care Bear

But most of all I've played loads of games! Monthly D&D sessions (played with 95% painted Old/Middlehammer era minis) have been joined by a couple of games of Shadow War, a few more of Star Wars: Imperial Assault and X-Wing, and a raucous run at the opening act of the Oldenhaller Contract in WFRP. Brilliantly I've also played more Warhammer Fantasy Battle in the last year than I have in all the years combined since 1994/95! Highlights have included meeting fellow Middlehammerers to test rules for the tournament planned for this summer; carrying on the Crisis in Caledor campaign from last year with AVP Shaun; and introducing a friend to the game and helping her collect her first army (Dark Elves). The only downside is how far behind on all the blog posts I am.

2018 certainly holds lots to look forward to hobby wise - I just hope I can keep up with the posts otherwise my regular readership of Russian Bot-Nets will be disappointed. And we can't have that, can we!

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