vrijdag 27 februari 2015

Disruptions and distractions

I've been ill the past week.* Which limited my hobby options to idly leafing through my note- and sketchbooks in those moments I wasn't either asleep or actively engaged with being ill.
Not very nice at all. :(

*: Nothing serious, just one of the fun seasonal bugs doing the rounds here...

And while it was fun, and a much needed distraction, to see my other ideas and plans outside of dungeoneering/fantasy again, it has been a bit too distracting, as I seem to have lost my focus on the Dungeoneering/fantasy/Quest project...
I'm not yet fit enough to do hobby stuff, so hopefully the distraction will pass, and I can resume work on my Dungeoneering/fantasy (let's just say D/F/Q from now on, shall we?) project as planned when I've recovered. But I'm not too confident.
You see, I've been able to focus on the D/F/Q project far longer than I'm used to sticking to a hobby project. It's a bit of a surprise to me, really. So I'm not sure how to deal with this. Usually distraction struck much sooner, and it meant the previous project would be relegated to (one of the many) back burner(s) for a few months at least.
Which I don't want to happen with the D/F/Q project (Gods, this project needs a catchier name!).
So, how do I deal with this?
Do I ignore the ideas that are floating around in my head and knuckle down the fantasy project, with the risk that the itch won't go and I make D/F/Q a chore for myself?
Do I allow myself the sidestep with a little "refresher" project, so I could return to D/F/Q with new energy, but risk that the sidestep leads me deeper into the other project(s), causing me to neglect the D/F/Q project?
Or do I try and do both, and see what wins out, survival of the fittest style? It would mean dividing my already limited hobby time even more, further reducing any progress I make.
At this point, I really don't know what the best option is.
Do any of you have some good advice or own experiences to share?

zondag 22 februari 2015

Barking up trees

This weekend I had originally planned to make some more progress on the Warhammer Quest display unit for the glass cabinet. However, I had neglected to calculate for the various celebrations (an anniversary and two milestone birthdays) within our family... Which my loving wife dutifully reminded me of, as I was pulling out all the hobby gear.

So the progress hasn't proceeded as progressively as planned. :-(

I did get the trees for the display covered in bark-like texture. (Hence the title of this post.) I painted the wire skeleton with several layers of wall-filler made slightly thinner and goopier with the aid of PVA glue. I brushed on an initial layer of watered down filler, to act as a "primer coat" for the following layers to grab on to. Then I added several layers of a thicker mix until the wire frame wasn't protruding from the surface anymore. For the final layer I threw a handful of sand into the mixture, to give it some more texture. I put this on roughly and with visible brushstrokes to emulate the texture of bark. Once dried it is a bit more subtle than I'd hoped, but when painted it should suffice:

As I had several tree wireframes still lying around, I've textured them at the same time, as you can see above.
Here is a close up of the two trees (and separate branches) for the display, so you can see a bit of the texture I achieved:

As a bonus, while these were drying between layers, I managed to clip and clean 18 GW the Hobbit Goblins. I'll be using these as some sort of underground degenerates, and they can double as mutants for games of 40K or =I=Munda, so they'll be based somewhat generically. I also managed to greenstuff the torsos of 11 second-hand Battle for Skull Pass spiders, so they are ready for primer. Additionally (filler is applied quickly, but dries slowly) I filled the gaps in the Heresy Miniatures Lurkers I showed a while ago and attached them to their bases.

All in all, looking back, while I didn't do what I planned to, I've been quite productive. And all that in a weekend I, beforehand, considered lost to sitting up and playing nice with relatives...

woensdag 18 februari 2015

Thoughts and aqcuisitions

Last weekend Johan came for a visit. He brought a little care package along, a group of Harlequin medieval spearmen. The baggy included two halberdiers, who will go to reinforce my already painted knight his retinue (making his retinue the largest of my knightly warbands).
The remaining spearmen will form a troop of city watch. Currently I'm thinking of giving them pavises and painting them in the heraldry of the 14th century Knight who held lordship over the area I live in:

It is a bit bright and bold though, which clashes somewhat with the "yokel guard" image I want to go for. So, I may yet reconsider and go for a more subdued shield decoration after all. On the other hand, historical pavises were often beautifully painted... And it could serve as a contrast with the scruffy yokels behind it?

Additionally, a package arrived today from the ever lovely people at Hasslefree:
Unusually, not a pile of miniatures for me this time...  With the recent influx of extra mini's and the gradual expansion of the project, the bottom of my box of bases was getting into view. So I needed more. As my funds were insufficiently ample, I couldn't splurge on a handful as miniatures as well. :(
I did need a set of lady noggins for a few conversions though, and I simply couldn't resist the lovely Luna. So those got included.
As always, service from Hasslefree was prompt and friendly and their product is absolutely top notch, I couldn't recommend them more!

zondag 8 februari 2015


Originally, I had planned to start painting on a new figure today... But a hectic week at work, a busy friday and saturday, as well as bout of cold/sinusitis that will neither go away, nor fully manifest, has left me knackered and under the weather.

Over the past months, due to my constantly taking things out of boxes, adding items and rifling for bits, my stash of miniatures for the Dungeoneering/Fantasy skirmish had become a sprawling mess. Originally a neat stack of two storage boxes, it had become a mountain of semi-filled storage boxes, loose sprues, blisters and miniatures, liberally sprinkled with bases and bits. I had trouble finding my way in it.
So instead, I took some time to re-arrange and repack my stash, and while doing so, sort out the retinues for the Knights I am converting. I had also recently received some extra Bretonnian minis, including some troop types I previously lacked (halberdiers and squires, matching foot and mounted figures) that could immediately be processed.

Knight number one:
He now has a retinue of a Halberd-wielding Sergeant-at-arms*, two spearmen, two halberdiers, a bannerman, a drummer and five archers. Most likely he will be the Lord (Baron/Earl) of the area or otherwise highest ranking local Knight. Hence the slightly expanded retinue. (I try to keep in mind the concept of a Lance as a fighting unit, or Lances Fournies, with my retinues. I however have larger numbers of men on foot, to account for the needs of scenarios where I'll be depicting a towns militia or stronghold garrison... Also, as of yet, I'm lacking crossbowmen.)

*:Note that I'm not using Sergeant-at-Arms in the historical sense of a non-knighted armoured cavalryman (Aka same gear as a knight, but none of the perks of nobility). I use it to refer to the leader of a Knights footmen, effectively the head of the garrison in absence of the knight.

The second knight:
His retinue consists of his squire, his Sergeant-at-arms, two spearmen, two billmen, a bannerman and five archers.

Then there is the first oddity:
 A sorceress, and her protection detail. She is escorted by a bannerbearer, two spearmen, four archers and an archer-Sergeant. A squire serves as her chaperone. I'm still unsure how she fits into the greater whole, if she were in the employ/under the protection of a local lord, the escort would be in his colours (leading to me "needing" to expand the group to include both extra footmen, as well as the lord himself). If the escort is in her employ, are they mercenaries (which would mean making the group look like irregulars, something I'd rather not do. I'd prefer the sorceress and her escort as a more clean-cut crew) or are they her household troops? If so, how did she become head of a household, and how does she combine the demands of magic with the demands of running a household and protecting her demesne? Questions that will need to be answered before I start painting this particular group.

And then there is the final group:
A local "Hood"lum and his mates, together with their woodland outlaw archers.... ;)
This group will be painted in either greens and browns or otherwise in faded, worn colours, I'm still deciding to go Hollywood or historical brigands with them. Maybe I'll convert the archers to look less clean-cut and orderly as well, if I can find suitable bits.

This left me with a single billman, who will be added to the retinue of my already painted knight. (Which means I'll have to mix the colours to match, something I hadn't counted on...)

With this sorted (heh..), the retinues were neatly bagged and labeled and I set about repacking the sprawling mess of other miniatures. The retinues and the remains of my Bretonnians went into one box, along with stuff I was planning to work on in the short term or otherwise wanted to keep apart from the larger mass of minis (Like my Mordheim miniatures). Everything else went into the larger storage box. A lot neater than before!

Result: Two knights, a sorceress and some local ruffians are now provided with a fitting entourage and my supply of dungeoneering/fantasy minis is again accessible and orderly. Fairly good for an off-day... :)

In other news, 2015 seems to be the Year of the Dungeon outside of my own hobby world as well...
Darkest Dungeons has been released for PC, other platforms to follow, the 25th anniversary edition of Heroquest seems to actually become reality and now Privateer Press has announced a dungeoneering boardgame for their Iron Kingdoms setting for this fall. Colour me a happy (if soon to be poorer...) man!

zondag 1 februari 2015

Quick update

Sorry, no hobby stuff this weekend...
Yesterday Darkest Dungeon went into (Kickstarter backer-only) Early Acces ("regular" Early Access starts on Feb 3rd.) and I've been on a bender.
I've caused the death and/or crippling insanity of a fair few of heroes now, and I've been loving every second of it!
But fear not, the game is most definitely feeding the inspiration reservoir for my wargames stuff.
I should make a concentrated effort to get more reference screenshots, but I get sucked into the game.

The premise of the game is that you, the player are the heir of an ancient estate. You get a letter from your forebear (father, uncle, grandfather, grizzly, it's uncertain). He has been digging (literally) into the occult and has been excavating the warren of catacombs and caves under your ancestral mansion. In his quest for unnatural power, he has unleashed an ancient, unspeakable evil. It has corrupted your manor and the surrounding lands. Sadly, the letter is delivered several years late, and things have really gotten out of hand, the rot has dug deep. You are tasked to hire adventurers to purge the Great Evil and reclaim your birthright. Sadly for your troupe of capitalist adventurers, exploring the dark twisted places takes a heavy toll. Your heroes will get stressed out to, and beyond, their breaking point and will suffer potentially debilitating mental problems as a result. You have to manage their stress by several means, including drunk debauchery, asceticism and self-flagellation, and hope the cure doesn't cause new problems. No-one wants an unhinged drunk, or a masochist with a death wish at their back when the monsters start coming out of the woodwork! Life is cheap and may will die...

If you like dungeoneering, Rogue-like games, dark fantasy, Cthulhu, black humour and/or a Mike Mignola/woodcut-like art style, go check out Darkest Dungeon.

Happy Cthulhu Ftaghn and don't forget to water the Mi-Go!