donderdag 20 juli 2017

Maxing the Mad, or how to make a Wasteland, part 2

No progress on the dunes yet, mucking with filler is reserved for the weekend. But as  I needed something to keep my mind and hands occupied as I recovered from an unexpected migraine attack, I decided to test the technique I plan to use for the rocky outcroppings/hills. So I made a pair of small(ish) rock formations:

My usual foamed pvc base, one or more layers of roughly shaped XPS (with a combination of Thermocut and good old breakaway knife, this new machine makes everything foam related more fast and more fun, I love it!). Then I slashed the heck out of them to create the striations in the rock. This technique is an adapation/combination of the way Rob Hawkins and JimBibbly make the rock faces for several of their awesome terrain pieces. If ya gotta steal, steal from the best, I say.. ;)

They're based with several grades of cork, grit and sand (which reminded me I need to visit a model train store soon, my basing stock is running dangerously low!). Tomorrow I hope to base them with a mix of PVA and paint  And hopefully I can paint them during the weekend, alongside fillering and sanding the dunes.
If this technique gives satisfactory results, it's on to the rocky dunes!

Note to myself for the next time: If I do make rocky formations of more than one XPS layer, make sure to add several places for infantry models to stand... Good for arty observers and snipers!

See you next time!

maandag 17 juli 2017

Maxing the Mad, or how to make a Wasteland, part 1

So, this weekend, once the Thermocut guides from Geboom were assembled, I had a play around with the machine  (nothing worth showing, I just made variously shaped foam confetti to get a feel for the machine.)
After that, it was on to serious business: Making a start on my Mad Max inspired terrain for Gaslands.
This will be a project in two parts, as I will also be able to use the generic desert parts of this terrain for my DAK, once I return to that project.
I decided to start on the generic part first. Saturday I cut the bases for three sand dunes and two rocky hills/outcroppings. I used my shiny new thermocut to cut out the XPS-foam plugs that will form the bodies of the hills and dunes:

After that, I got out my trusty old handheld foamcutter and profiled the dunes:
After this step, the dunes were sanded to smooth them out and fade away the cutting lines.

In between I also carved up a loose chunk of foam, and gave it a paint wash to test a technique for striated desert rock structure. I'm still undecided, but I thing I'll just have to go off the deep end and try it on the full sized hills.

Hopefully I can cover the dunes in filler and sand the next weekend and maybe get a start on the rocky hills as well. Then I need to add some rocky outcroppings, loose rocks and patches of rough/broken ground and the core set should be complete.
Then it's on to the Gaslands/Wasteland specific stuff: Crude Oil/tar ponds, jury-rigged nodding donkeys and scrapyards shanties and barriers. Some car wrecks to scatter about. I'm looking forward to making that stuff! With some luck, I'll manage to make parts of it scale-neutral enough to also serve for Necromunda and Gorkamorka... In the least it'll be a good exercise for when I start on terrain for that.

See you next time!

zaterdag 15 juli 2017

I'm gonna have me some fun...

As I said in my Photobucket gripe post, it was my birthday last week and my wife gave me a Proxxon Thermocut (she loves me, she really does!).
Almost immediately I ordered some supplemental tools from GeBoom at Shifting Lands through a friend. That friend showed up yesterday for a game of Gaslands with those cutting aids.
As they are laser-cut mdf they required some assembly.
Well, some assembly was done today:

(As you can see Geboom also threw in some of his lasercut windows, as a teaser. Thank you!)

Assembly was easy, but you have to pay some attention to orientation of parts (I only messed up on the first one, resulting in the large fence being a bit tilted, but nothing that will interfere with proper functioning.)
Once assembled, they are nice and solid. As with the wirecutter itself, using these guides will take some practice and development of skill. But I'm looking forward to finally getting to grips with that pack of XPS I've had in the garage for years...

So what are the plans? First off: Dungeons, naturally,  as I haven't painted that pile of dungeoneers and monsters over the past two years for nothing! I've stalled on dungeon terrain for a long time, as I couldn't get the accuracy of cuts I wanted by hand. Now, I have no excuse, but I need to figure out seriously how I want to go about building my dungeon terrain first. Do I go with floor plates and loose walls, do I build individual corridor sections and rooms, or do I go with modular tiles?
No longer are these thoughts idle daydreams...

Then there is the idea of building a fantasy medieval village for my Chivalry project (itself part of the larger dungeoneering/fantasy meta-project). Having the cutter will open up the option of making some stone buildings and maybe even a keep or castle for my young lord!

Ofcourse, anything I build for dungeoneering or the chivalry game, will also find use in Frostgrave.

Necromunda as well, as I was envisioning a number of concrete butresses/pillars where gangways and shanty towns were built against their surfaces.

Lots of ideas that can finally become reality!

Yet, oddly enough, it is most likely I will grab my old hand-held foamcutter the coming weekends instead, as I intend to build some Mad-Max style desert wasteland terrain for Gaslands... Ironic really, I've been lusting after this foam cutter for years, and now that I finally have it, I grab the tool that has been in my garage for years. Oh well..

See you next time!

P.S. Still working on downloading all my pics from Photobucket to restore this blog, but PB is fighting me every step of the way....

vrijdag 7 juli 2017

A day of contrasts.

Well, today is my birthday, yay me! :D

We had a lovely English Breakfast at a local place we had never been to before.
My wonderful wife gave me a Proxxon Thermocut, so I am over the moon and envisioning all sorts of projects, and my son provided me with the full Max Max quadrilogy set. Colour me happy!

A I went through my email just now, among the traditional (mostly automated) happy birthday messages from various online fora and retailers (I alway enjoy these, especially the ones that provide coupons, being a stingy Dutch bastard and all...) I found one from Photobucket...

So among the messages from various companies/groups saying "Happy birthday! We're glad to have you as a patron!" the one from Photobucket went:
"Um, yeah, well, we saw that you know, like enjoy actually using the photos you store with us... So we're gonna hafta start having you pay for that, mkay?"
Photobucket's version of  "Happy Birthday" :(
 Well, no, not okay. You just wrecked my blog and my various contributions to the online gaming community. That on my bloody birthday and on top of the increasing annoyance with pop-ups and ads the past year(s). So I shall be looking for another image hosting solution and restoring the visual aspect of my online hobby presence later this weekend. Until then, we celebrate.

See you next time!

vrijdag 16 juni 2017


I had a day off today, and it was well that I did, because halfway through the morning, the postie delivered this:
So I finished the gardening I was doing (well, "gardening", more weeds-exterminatus, really), made  myself a cuppa and had a sit down with my new toys. :D

What a beast:
Yes, that's near to 3 kilos of Grimdark Goodness!! (I guess if I put the dice and the objectives on there as well, I'd hit the 3 kilo mark perfectly...)

Speaking of the objectives, GW has really made a leap with plastic-tech in those. We already know about the 2 stage molding of the transparent section, but I discovered another surprise:
Yup, that antenna is hollow, courtesy of a sliding mold section! Previously I've only seen this on Gundam kits and high end scale model kits. Way to go GW, I'm impressed! I hope they'll use this tech more often.
I may see myself getting more of this kit, as the bits are just wonderful for detailing Space Hulk/Necromunda/Shadow Wars terrain.

So, having ogled the sprues (the models in the box are impressive, quite unusual part separation on most of them, giving them marvelous detail. Oddly enough, while my attention has been mainly on the Primaris Marines up until now (as they would need integrating into my Howling Griffons), I'm most excited about the Death Guard minis at this moment. They just look so good, despite being a bit busy, and my reservation about molded in "special effects" like smoke and spell effects. They look like a lot of fun to paint.
If I'd have to describe the new 40K box set in one word, it would be "Luxurious".  This time round they have really thought about presentation and the experience of unboxing it, and it really pays off. Spot on, in my opinion. It really reads and feels as a high end product.

So having ogled the miniatures and components (I really like the dice and the ruler by the way), I put it all back in the box and sat down with the new rulebook. A quick thumb through showed that the background is in the front, with the rules starting at page 170. A good call in my opinion.
So the afternoon I had a bit of a read, had a nap (Hey, it's my day off, don't judge me! Plus, I had been sleeping poorly the past week), read some more. Once my son is in bed, I'll read even more. I think I'll enjoy myself this weekend. :D

Truth be told, I haven't been this excited by a new 40K release in ages. Maybe even since 2nd edition...

See you next time!

zondag 11 juni 2017

Making Max Mad...

Recently, we got a little group together to try out Gaslands, the upcoming vehicle wargame to be released by Osprey. What makes this extra cool is that two of our quartet are people returning to the hobby after several years!

Apparently Gaslands has a strong theme of corporate backing and televised spectacle (sort of Death Race meets Running Man), but I prefer my vehicular mayhem to be distinctly post-apocalyptic in flavour. So down Fury Road I went...

Here's my automotive butchery in progress:
As the misses was away for the week, I took advantage of the opportunity to keep my painting gear set out in the living room and spent a little bit each evening daubing pigments on my little cars. These are the results:
Each has a reinforced ramming front. The guns are magnetised, the guns in the middle between the two cares are freely exchangeable between the two. Additionally there is a more advanced missile launcher, as well as an oil slick sprayer and caltrop dropper for the pickup truck.

Last thursday we had a game, each of us with one of their cars. The location visited was the Hasbro-Ginzu Memorial Zen Garden and Racetrack.We quickly got into the flow of the game, and carnage ensued!

At one point we had three a three car pileup, right in the middle of the tightest bit of the entire track!
My driver decided to bypass the choke point entirely, barreling through a bamboo grove, before tearing the right side off his car on the massive stone wall.
Shortly after it was all over. I managed to catch one the other cars in a salvo, just as I came tearing out of the second bamboo grove. It crashed and burned into the sacred stone standing in the bend of the track and exploded into confetti, as it's ammo and molotovs burned off. This flaming shrapnel then destroyed my already damaged car! Of the other two drivers, one was still manoeuvring his way out of the canyon formed by the walls, as the last of us passed the flaming wreckage and limped across the finish line with it's last few hull points intact.

We all had lots of fun, saw some entertaining reversals of fortune and agreed we should play again soon. Next time, we intend to play on a more open table instead of a racetrack, to see if we can get more use out of our manoeuvres and guns.

My thoughts on the game in it's current beta status: It's fun, quick and easy to get in to, but there are some areas that could use some more clarification. But the rules, in essence,  are tight as they are, and I fully expect them to get the necessary polish before release. I'll certainly be buying them!
In fact I'm already scouting out more cars to convert, and thinking about terrain....
But 40K 8th edition is also coming upon us, so I might be balancing two (or more) projects the coming months!

See you next time!

zondag 28 mei 2017

Stirrings of Badab...

Warning: lots of words!

It should come as no surprise that, seeing the recent rumours and previews of Warhammer 40K 8th edition, I have been looking at my Howling Griffons (and in a lesser degree, Genestealer Cult) again.
So this post will come in two parts: My thoughts on the 8th edition and the new models, which is apparently the "in" topic to post about these days, and my plans, thoughts and schemes for progressing my Howling Griffons army.

So, first part, the new edition and starter set:
As far as the rules go, what GW has previewed so far has me cautiously optimistic about the coming edition. It seems they are, at least for the moment, intent on delivering a fun and efficient game, that is still quintessentially 40K. I like some of the changes, I think, but I'm postponing judgement until I get my hands on the complete rules. Will I get them? Seeing how I own the core rules of every single edition so far, yeah, I'm not kidding myself, I'll probably get them That being said, I wil really, really miss the good old templates... These have been part of 40K since it's very birth and it is sad to see them go.

Now we come to the new starter set: I'm liking the amount of content in this one, and the fact that it contains a full blown rulebook instead of just the mini one. The minis content seems fine, especially taking into account that both the Plague Marines and the Primaris Marines are all distinctly on the large side. I do think it's a shame there isn't even a token effort at terrain in the box, but hey, there hasn't been for the past several editions, so I'm not really surprised by it.

Speaking of minis, there is of course the Deathguard in the box. While exciting for Chaos (especially Nurgle) players, from a design standpoint I find them unremarkable, neither exceptionally good or bad. While there is some nice design there, it get's washed out by the amount of detail and business on the models. This is a common problem with more recent Chaos releases. It's just all too overwrought. To me, 40K is, and always has been a Gothic, at times Baroque Space Opera in style and story. The Deathguard mini's have clearly strayed well into Rococo territory, with detail and business for the sake of detail and business... They don't have clear, readable lines. Which is a shame.

And to me that is the theme for the designs in this entire box: Deviation from the traditional style of 40K. Where the Death Guard deviate towards the Rococo over-embellishment that is epidemic in recent GW sculpts and designs, the Primaris Space Marines (Or UberMarines for short) deviate in the opposite direction, they're a bit to clean, too high tech for the setting, they're too much "modern sci-fi" in them for my tastes. While I mostly like the design of the Intercessor and Hellblaster squads (Seriously, what kind of name is that?! Hellblaster? It sounds like a chaos squad and doesnt match the naming convention of the other squads... Incandescor squad would have gotten a similar message across and not sound like a teenage garage metal band.), I'm not fond of the Inceptor squad and Gravis Armoured captain.  Both have an inexplicable hood or cowl that in my eyes is superfluous and breaks the profile of the figures. They look like total bullet traps to me. The Gravis just looks heavyset instead of tough and heavily armoured (to many Primaris Grox Steaks perhaps?). The worst offenders in my eyes are the Interceptor squads, for supposedly a fast and dynamic squad they just look so lumpen and static... While I get the idea behind the twin Assault Bolters, I think a Space Marine assault troopers must have a melee weapon. It's just tradition. The cleats on the legs bother me as well, stylistically and from a background perspective: If regular assault marines can jump from orbit and land just on their power armoured feet, why do these extra-tough, extra-enhanced Ubermarines need bumpers to protect their tender little feetses? The jumppack just looks too high tech, especially those fins on the back. I love the Primaris Lieutenants though, the models are nice and characterfull, and I fervently hope this rank wil return to the regular Space Marines as well.

Speaking of regular Space Marines: then there is the background... While I applaud GW for advancing the timeline without blowing the entire galaxy up (just most of it) and starting a completely new setting, there are some niggles for me. First are, obviously the Ubermarines. A central point of the setting has always been that Space Marines are mankind's ultimate warriors, the very best, and even they are in slow decline (Gothic Space Opera, remember?). And suddenly, here are even more ultimate warriors, even very bester than the Space Marines. They have been ordered into creation by a Primarch. And just like the Primarch, they return just as they are needed the most (Okay, that bit is pretty Space Opera...). But it seems that Mary Sue is spelled "Roboute Guilliman" in the far future, he arrives just where he is needed the most, just when he is needed the most and by sheer coincidence does just what he is supposed to do at any given time. It reads like a Matt Ward story or a similarly poor fan-fic. But okay, I can live with that.
What really troubles me is how easily and readily these new Ubermarines, a product of the most dire techno-heresy named  "Innovation" are accepted by everyone. Seeing the 40K setting just the rumour of their existence could/would/should have triggered civil war and schisms. But everyone just goes  "Uuh, Okay. I'll have some of those." about them. Even the most wayward and secretive chapters like Space Wolves and Dark Angels seem to accept this new Brood of Guilliman without even a blink of an eye. This should have been written/presented better. But, I'm trying to withhold judgement until I can get and read the new core book and it's background for myself.

If anything, this edition does well as showcasing what a grumpy old goat I've become. ;P

Anyway, back to my Howling Griffons and seeing how they will fit into/react to this new edition:
Lately I've been rethinking my approach to the hobby. Where before I was constantly challenging myself, pushing for perfection I simply cannot maintain that approach. Hobby time and drive have become more and more intermittent, and I don't see that changing soon. Unfortunately due to the frequent hiatuses and lack of practice, my skill level has dropped a bit. I simply cannot hold myself to the standards I held before. That way frustration and burn-out lies. Plus I want the hobby to be relaxing again. And now and then, actually get something finished, I kind of miss the rush of a project completed.

So, the Griffons will be my test case for this. I'm going to try and find a way to  paint and model them more quickly and easily (Quite the challenge with a quartered scheme...). No long filosophical bouts about what my vision of Space Marines are, and my interpretation of the Griffons chapter without touching a brush or files. I don't need to know exactly what I want my Griffons to be, I can work that out as I make them... No need to do things the difficult way, just for the sake of doing things the difficult way. Time to start just doing again. So yesterday I've been prepping shoulderpads, sculpting Howling Griffons iconography to mold and reproduce them more easily.  Only to find out my GS skills have deteriorated. Oh, well, 50% of the attempts were succesfull, those will be reproduced.
I've also been looking at 3D printed pads, something I would have refused to do before.
Next step will be making molds and building a pile of shoulderpads ready to go. And finding what is the minimum amount of painting I can do on my marines and still be satisfied enough with them.
To aid in this endeavour, I'm also thinking of hosting/organizing semi-regular hobby days, as painting together just works better, and I have some mates who are re-entering the hobby and are looking for pointers and tips. After all wargaming is a social hobby and I've been a hobby-hermit for quite some time now.

And while I was pushing polymers around into weird griffon-shaped lumps, I was pondering what 8th ed. and the new Ubermarines would mean for my Howling Griffons. My conclusion, for now, is that the rules look interesting and may get me into gaming again, but I'll have to see the complete product before I'm sure. The setting, eh, I'm not sure yet, while I admire the daring to advance the story line and change the status quo, I fear Rowboat Girlyman and his Ultramarines may become too much of a Mary Sue faction.  I checked and Mancora isn't swallowed by the Warp, so no problems there. Either way, since I'm focussing my Griffons for the Badab War era of their existence, I can choose not to adopt the current storyline. That's the advantage of having 10.000 years of "history" to play in. :D
As I said earlier, I'll probably cave and get the new starter set, so they will find their way into my army, perhaps. I have been playing with the idea of painting them as Mentor Legion instead, as, according to the background, they're the Imperium's "test pilots" for any new tech and procedures and I could see them detached to my Griffons to sort of "midwife" the introduction of Primaris Astartes.

So for now, the plan is to just ride the bow-wave of enthusiasm, try to get stuff done with the minimal amount of effort that still satisfies and see what happens.

See you next time!

zondag 7 mei 2017

Stealin' Genes

The samurai project has been flagging a bit the last few weeks. Mojo has been low in general for hobby stuff.
But this week, I decided to give Space Hulk Deathwing another run, 40K had been bubbling in the brain a bit again, due to the recent exposure Shadow War Armageddon and the upcoming new edition 40K were getting online.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that a large part of the technical issues of the game were solved, and that there was more variety in gameplay to be found. Sadly, the servers are still rather depleted after the rocky start, hopefully this will improve once the Enhanced Edition becomes reality.

Anyway, one thing led to another, and I decided to build a couple of Genestealers, as a palate cleanser and hopefully something that would kickstart the Mojo-generator again.
Originally I wanted all my genestealers for the Space Hulk project to be just generic genestealers. But today I realised I rather like the variety of 'stealers in the Deathwing game. Plus it would be more interesting to paint and model than just 20+ identical creepy aliens... I could always make some house rules for them in SH, Kill Team or =I=Munda if I were so inclined, or I could use them as regular 'stealers and just keep the variation a cosmetic thing.

Here they are: two Stalker Strain Genestealers and two Scythe Strain Genestealers:

The parts in the rear of the picture are a start at an attempt to convert some Tyranid Warriors into a pair of Broodlords or similar heavy, large Genestealer variants.
Now, to figure out how to speed-paint Genestealers and still have them look decent.

See you next time.

zondag 23 april 2017

Just in time for Hanami!

This has been a productive weekend! Also, this post requires a song:

The cherry trees have been finished (I just need to let them dry for a couple of days, and then fixate the flocking). While the flock was out, I also finished up the bamboo bases and the sacred rock.
Here's a FIP (Flock in Progress) picture:

Bright, aren't they? :D

During Hanami, Tamiya-san and Ronin Hasegawa re-enact the impromptu duel that led to their years-long friendship, as Katsunaka the priest and Kageyori the Miko look on from a safe distance.
And a slightly more top-down shot:
That's all of my currently finished Japan-specific scenery, as well as some of my "universal" rocky hills being almost completely obscured by the bamboo groves. I think they might be decent line of sight blockers... ;P

See you next time!

maandag 17 april 2017

Holy Stone

I had a spare hour, in which to knock out a quick scenery paint job. Here's the results:

The rock is, surprisingly, made from rock... The Shimenawa is sisal, hardened with thinned PVA, the Shide are foil from a tube of foodstuff (mayo or ketchup or somesuch).
Painted up quick, looks the part.
All in all, Easter has been productive.

See you next time!

zondag 16 april 2017

Oriental flora

Well, the bamboo got finished yesterday, but the light was gone already gone so far, I couldn't get decent pictures anymore. So these had to wait until today:
Daimyo Tempura finds his entry into Miso-Ji isn't quite as uncontested as he expected...

Today, as an added bonus, my wife joined me for painting, the first time in years (She used to be a very skilled and enthusiastic painter, but that hobby had fallen somewhat by the wayside for her.) It was really nice to be sat next to her and sharing a favorite activity. I got some progress done on the first batch of my Samurai villagers, but didn't quite get them finished

Also, earlier this week the tiny cherry trees I ordered online finally arrived:
A bit brighter than I had anticipated, but they'll server their purpose just fine! They're about 40mm tall, which works just fine for my purposes. I'll just put these on as inconspicuous bases as possible, so I can plant them wherever I like them to be on the table. Half of this batch will go to Gunbird.

I don't think I'll get these done before Hanami is over, but then again, with these, my samurai can go cherry blossom viewing whenever they want... ;D

See you next time!

woensdag 12 april 2017


So, today I assembled and based the remaining stands of bamboo:

 The PVA can dry overnight and paint should occur shortly. :D

As I had a spare base, some time and inspiration left, I decided to build a little extra:
A simple sacred rock. It's about twice as high as a 28mm miniature, so it's suitably impressive on the table.
My usual foamed PVC base, an actual rock, hot glue, basing sand and ballast. With a PVA-drenched length of sisal as Shimenawa and foil from some tube of foodstuff to make the Shide.  I hope to paint it alongside/after the bamboo.  With the trees I already have for (western) wargaming and the Torii I painted recently, I should be able to do a reasonably convincing small Japanese forest/wilderness table. Now I just need to get sufficient minis painted so I can give some rule sets a trial run, Daisho being on the top of that list.

See you next time!

dinsdag 11 april 2017

Trial of the Grasses

Well, the trial set of bamboo is done, except for some growies (flock, some small plants, such things)  on the edge of the base:
Looking at this, I'm ready to go into mass production, I think.

I misted the bamboo stalks with some matt varnish and then spray-primed the base in black. Naturally, this hit the lower part of the bamboo as well, but this wouldn't be a problem.
Then I painted the base with Vallejo Burnt Umber and drybrushed German Camouflage Orange, Desert Yellow and finally Iraqui Sand. Again, this hit the lower sections of the bamboo, neatly covering up the primer overspray, as I had planned. There was some minor flaking of the paint on the thinner bamboo stalks, but nothing too noticeable. Finally I roughly hit the bamboo stalks themselves with very watery English Uniform, to get rid of the uniform green colour.
Looks good to me, I'll be cutting bases for the larger bamboo bushes tonight or tomorrow, hopefully I'll have a complete grove by/over Easter.

See you next time!

woensdag 5 april 2017

I want another shrubbery!

And who am I to argue with the Knights who say Ni? :D

My second order of scale bamboo has arrived:
Twice as tall as the batch I already have, plus these have a wire core. I should be able to build a fairly decent bamboo forest now.
That is all, carry on...

dinsdag 4 april 2017

Daï-Bakemono, Die!

Today a package arrived to correct a years-old mistake of mine. You see, years ago, I missed out on the chance to buy a brand new box of Rackham Daï-Bakemono.

With the feudal Japan flame rekindled, I went on a search and found a site that still sold them, but in resin. A transaction was made, and today the fruits of that exchange arrived:
3 big 'orrible ogres, together with the goblin samurai that I ordered at the same time (shown in the top of the picture) they will form the command and muscle of my little band of Bakemono. The troops will come from the Goblin Ashigaru command that I did manage to snag some years ago.
The miniatures are great sculpts, full of character and detail. I'm especially pleased to finally get my mitts on the Daï-Bakemone, wonderful figures! A few details are less "Japanese" than I would like, but that is what conversions are for. One of the Goblin Samurai will get a backbanner and a more fancy helmet and will be the commander of the warband, with the other two armored Goblin Samurai becoming his lieutenants.

These may be next on the list, once I finish my villagers and get started on some terrain....

zondag 2 april 2017

Trimming the bush and skinning the villagers

When Samurai/Feudal Japan reappeared on the radar locally, a few weeks ago, I ordered a set of blossoming Sakura trees ( to share with Gunbird) as well as a set of bamboo. The bamboo arrived earlier on this week, but turned out a bit on the small-ish size:
Sufficient, but not quite imposing enough for the bamboo maze/forest I had in mind. So an extra set of larger bamboo stems was ordered the same night...
While waiting for those to arrive I set about trimming the excess flash off these bamboo stems. I've got a hundred of them to go, so I'm doing it in little batches, clipping a few every time I have a spare few minutes, like when waiting for the teawater to boil, etc.:
 I'm already a quarter of the way through the bag...
Once they are all clean (enough, with this soft plastic, I can't expect to get it perfect, and they're supposed to look good en masse, not being inspected individually up close), I'll start making a test bush, so I can start serious production once the larger stems have arrived. I'm hoping they'll arrive in the next week, so I can do this in a couple of days off I have heading my way.

Today, after a leisurely stroll in the forest, I painted the skin on my first 5 villagers:
The painting is a bit rougher than I would have liked. Apparently, I'm more out of practice than I thought... Still having a little bit of the shakes from a flu earlier this week may also have contributed.
I'm not too worried as they're essentially just set dressing/ objective markers.
The wash on the hats and woven basket are currently drying, maybe I can just finish those before supper?
Hopefully next weekend I can get the most of them dressed.

See you next time!

zaterdag 25 maart 2017

It takes a child to raise a village

In this case, my son needing someone to assist/supervise him with his homework.  As sitting there, staring at the ceiling until he needed me isn't my thing, I took my cutting mat, some tools and a batch of mini's along:

Luckily (for me, not for him!) he had enough homework that I could also get around to basing them:

So, I have been a good parent, had a nice father-son chat as we both worked on our own things and I gained a batch of mini's ready for primer and (start of) paint tomorrow. Win-win-win!

These are a sort of spontaneous collaboration with Gunbird, as he has enthusiastically started building a samurai village. As we both have an interest in medieval Japan wargaming, I might as well provide the population!

The project is (unsurprisingly, seeing my track record) threatening to escalate a bit though. My original plan was to limit myself to the Gempei War miniatures from The Assault Group, with some supporting mini's from Perry to fill the gaps, but I've already ordered a Koryu Buntai from the Ronin range by Northstar Miniatures, and find myself eyeing other buntai and more "modern" samurai figures from Perry, Kingsford and Northstar... We'll see how far this goes...

See you next time!

zondag 19 maart 2017

Geta job!

Job done, that is! 😁

With the help of my lovely wife (and her fabric collection and sewing machine), the geta got finished:
I just need to fidget around with the straps, get them neat, and find out the right length before I permanently attach them.

The wood is  "steigerhout" from a local DIY, which seems to be a low grade of pine. It's light, but not very sturdy, and hard to get really smooth and neat.  I finished it with boiled linseed oil, in the hopes of protecting them from wet and dirt at least a little bit.  The straps are terry cloth wound around sisal rope, held togehter inside a black cotton tube.
These are just a quick test of concept and construction, to see how they would be to walk on. If they work well, and I actually manage to wear these out, maybe I'll make a pair of decent wood. Maybe, someday.

They're a bloody hazard to walk around with on wooden flooring, but on carpet I can manage a (careful and nervous) run. Hopefully I'll get to try them outdoors sometime, the type of terrain they are intended for. We've got some inland dunes nearby so I might get to test them out on both woodland soil, some light mud and loose sand. Plus I get to confuse the locals...

See you next time!

zaterdag 18 maart 2017

I feel like sushi tonight.

Our  DnD Campaign set in mythical Japan has picked up steam again, which has gotten me looking at my medieval Japan references again. At the same time Gunbird started building Japanese houses and a second hand copy of Daisho came along on the LAF. Apparently Samurai are in the air... So why fight it?

Especially as I have a Pappis box full of the belligerent little dudes. :D A couple were already paint in progress and I had a basecoated Torii. As good a point to start (or continue) as any.
Here's the results of a day's painting:
I tried to get the Torii to look like a simple, weathered, rural one, the design just lent itself to that. No idea where it came from, it was a gift from Gunbird.

And more of a close up of the Samurai themselves:

The mini's are from The Assault Group, Gempei Wars era Samurai.
I've got a few more primered and ready to paint, but those will have to wait for another weekend.
Once my Daish rule set arrives, I'll have a root through my box and assemble a warband/Buntai. I should have some ashigaru as well. And if I have the right mix of weapons and gear, they may even visit Frostgrave?
For now, it's just fun to be doing hobby stuff again and sharing enthusiasm with Gunbird.

See you next time!

zondag 26 februari 2017

Warhammer Questions: Hesitations over Hammerhal

So, a new iteration of Warhammer Quest has been released. And unlike Silver Tower, this one actually had me interested/excited: Hidden conflict in the catacombs under a great, magnificent city, seeping corruption. The preview art showed the Heroes facing off against corrupted Nurgle warriors. Rumours of campaign rules, options for adding more monsters and creatures to the game. So, the right mood, the right setting, promise of replayability, this could be it! I said to myself that, if the funds were available at the end of this month, I'd treat myself to it.
Now, the end of the month is here, the funds are there, but I'm still holding off the order.
Why? Because doubt has set in about wether this game is really worth my money...

Part is because the setting of the game isn't as focussed as I had anticipated, instead of being more Nurgle-centric, GW has tried to cram all four Chaos Gods into this set. Which struck me as odd, as the first WHQ-reboot game was all about Tzeentch.

This was also reflected in the miniatures. Several let-downs on that area, in my eyes: First: no new sculpts, at all. Plus, there were less mini's than in the Silver Tower box. (And even less still, than in the original WHQ box...)
And to be honest, of the mini's in the box, the only ones that I'm actually interested in are the Cogsmith and Putrid Blightkings. Oh, and the Gryphhound. :)
The Kairic Acolytes actually annoy me for being in this set. I don't like the sculpts, far to bulky/beefy and not near mystical enough for followers of Tzeentch. Apparently they are the cockroaches of AoS as well, as you seem to find them everytime you go into a dark and dank area...  Sigh.

Finally, there is the doubt about how much I'll actually get to use it. Aside from some (semi) regular RPG campaigns and the occasional wargame with Johan, I don't really game that often anymore. (Something that I'm trying and willing to change, but hey, calendars and real life and stuff.)
So, I'm not sure I want to spend the cash on something that may just end up a closet-filler.

On the plus side, it has got me thinking about dungeons and dungeon terrain again, in other words, it may have lit a spark under my Dungeoneering project... (Which may turn out to be bad news for my Howling Griffons. But then again, that project has lain dormant for a month already. And maybe this will fire up the old hobby engine again? Which could benefit the Griffons as well.)

As a result I've been looking at options for dungeon terrain again, and thinking about what I really want from it.

There are ofcourse various commercial options, like Dwarven Forge, Hirst Arts molds, Ziterdes and things like Maki Games' M.U.P. and te offerings Manorhouse Workshop (though I discovered their excellent dungeon walls are no more to be found on their store.). Quick to get up and running (except maybe for Hirst Arts), but very spendy and ofcourse, clearly mass-manufactured.

So, I'd be expending a significant amount of cash (which I don't have to spend) to get a reasonable sized setup that isn't very unique in the end.
Plus, being an artsy git at heart, I like the stuff I use to be unique and "mine".

However, I have learned from my Space Hulk 3D project, that if I do build it from scratch, I need to do so in a way that is both quick and easy. I need to acknowledge that I no longer have the (near) unlimited time and energy of my youthful years.
What I've taken away from my Warhammer Quest Display and the walls for Frostgrave is that most time is consumed by the various styles and types of stonework.  I'll need a way to speed that up, and still get good-looking final results.
I could look at sheet materials for the textures (plasticard or resin), casting molds or maybe even texture rollers (though I don't know if those are tough enough to texture foam, most I see are intended for putty or clay). Or I could go monolithic and carve or stack XPS blocks.

What do I want from my dungeon terrain? I want it to be both modular and atmospheric and moody (just look at the picture above). I don't want/need squares or hexes per se, though it would be nice if it were easily made compatible with the original Warhammer Quest. I'm not sure if I'd want terrain tiles with (groups of) rooms and corridors or separate individual rooms and corridors. I think I'd even be fine with combining the both. A Forgeworld Zone Mortalis type set-up, expanded with a number of moveable walls would also be worth considering. I'm a bit hesitant about the Dwarven Forge style modules, I'd like a whole corridor or room to be a seamless whole where possible, plus all those little bits take a while to set up before a game. Definitely no papercraft for me! I'm looking for a (moderate) variety of styles, including cellars and dungeons and crypts/catacombs.
At some point I'd definitely want to expand it with caves as well. Multi-level is cool, but may already be too ambitious, let's just get a basic set done first.  I'd like to be able to build some larger dungeons, so I should be able to fill a 3x3' or 4x4' square table, for warband-sized skirmish wargames.

So, anyone have any suggestions or ideas how to go about this? Maybe there are some products or companies I haven't seen yet, that would be perfect for this?

See you next time!

dinsdag 31 januari 2017

Complete at last!

It took me a while, but now I finally have all the Appleseed movies and books I know to exist:

I've been re-watching the movies in order of release. Today I received Appleseed XIII and Appleseed Alpha. I'm two episodes in on XIII and saving Alpha for the weekend. Good times, and a nice distraction from the worries about the In-laws' health.

See you next time!

zaterdag 21 januari 2017

Clamping down on issues (A progress report)

Painting hasn't been progressing as much as I'd hoped. Part is just general lack of Mojo (a recurring theme on this blog, sadly), part is because Friday before last, my "boss" (Being the temp agency, as I do temp work) surprised me with a re-assignment to another project, starting the next Monday!
So the past week I've been in training for that new project, and I'll be starting actual work this Monday. Speedloading all that information into my brain the past week has fried it a bit. Plus some medical worries concering my father-in-law have cropped up, further dampening enthusiasm.

Nevertheless, there is some progress to report.
Painting on the second tactical squad is (slowly) proceeding:
Basecoat, wash, and the first layering on the yellow segments (except for the rightmost one). Still a long way to go, and there is the second half of the squad yet to come...
I've made a quick list of the squads, characters and vehicles I want to have, at minimum, in my 2nd Ed army for the planned Badab War Campaign. I was suprised to discover that it totalled 45 miniatures, of which 12 are already painted, and a further 10 are either already built or being built at the moment.
Suddenly this plan seems a lot more achievable!
Ofcourse I would like to have a larger variety of squads that this minimal list, and I'd like to have a few more vehicles and characters as well. But my daydreaming and wishlisting over the past few weeks had caused the project to grow very large and unachievable in my mind. If I can keep focussed on building this core first, I'll have a respectable 2nd Ed 40K army, as well as a generous chunk of a more modern one. Hopefully without getting discouraged or distracted along the way. Maybe tonight or tomorrow I'll clear everything that isn't part of this core list from the hobby table to assist in keeping this focus.
I really want this to succeed, as I really, really want to play this campaign!

And I've commenced battle with the notorious 3rd edition era Landspeeder kit:
I guess you can now tell why I chose the title for this post....
This kit is infamous for it's poor fit, and has since been redone by GW to adress these issues. But I still have this old one to contend with. It's currently drying up, as is my swearing streak! What a bugbear to build.
I've magnetised the underslung gun, and intend to do something similar for the gunner's weapon, so I can switch between the classic 2nd Edition 40K loadout of Heavy Flamer and Multimelta and the more modern/effective Assault Cannon and Heavy Bolter. Or even go single weapon, if I need to budget my points.
I'm also swapping the torsos and heads for more modern ones, stolen from the Assault and Tactical squad sprues. Once the basic assembly is done (and gap filling), I will be "Griffonizing" this one; adding details and decorations befitting my Howling Griffons chapter.
Together with the Assault Squad that has arrived recently, I should have a decent mobile element to my force.
And now I'm off to have a nice relaxing read in my 2nd Edition Codex Ultramarines. :D

See you next time!

zondag 1 januari 2017

A year in review, and a half-decade as well.

Well, another year has passed, and with that this blog is now, today, five whole years old!

Let's start with the traditional year in review. How productive has the past year been?
I've painted 40 miniatures, less than last year, but still, for me, a pretty decent year. I haven't been as focussed as the year before, as these 40 miniatures have been spread across several games/projects whereas my 2015 production has been almost entirely on the Dungeoneering Project. The past year I've painted, for example, some giant frogs, a converted Appleseed Landmate, a pair of Japanese priests/wizards for an RPG, 3 Escher gangers (after which painting stalled, sadly :( I'd like to finish the gang. ), I've cranked out a BFG Eldar fleet, I've made a good push on my Man O'War Dwarf fleet and painted the first half of my fantasy urban militia.
All in all, this year has seen an ebb and flow of both Mojo/inspiration and various subjects.

Scenery-wise, 2016 has been a pretty decent year, with me seeing 26 items of scenery completed. Admittedly, a far few of these were the tiny islands from the Dreadfleet boxed set, but they also include terrain for a friends as well as the Warhammer Quest display diorama, which was a lot of work!
Hopefully I can keep up productivity on the scenery area the coming year as well, as I really like doing it, but have neglected it for years. Plenty of plans and ideas, but I need the time, room and materials to make them reality.

Today also marks the exact date of this blog's fifth birthday! I know it's somewhat of a tradition to hold competitions and giveaways on such milestone blog-anniversaries, but honestly, the excess stuff I have is minimal and made up mostly of errors of purchasing judgement that I wouldn't want to foist on anyone! Plus I'm a near-broke and stingy Dutchman who can barely afford his own hobby/hobbies... I hope you will all forgive me! 😜
So, what is there to say about these past five years? Well, that my Space Hulk 3D project will turn 10 years old this year, and will still less than 20% completed... And that my interests and output have changed, as well as my approach to the hobby. I've moved more and more towards narrative and or skirmish gaming. I've also found I'm gaming less and less over the years, so maybe I should really rebrand myself as a wargaming collector and modeller rather than a "true" wargamer. I still model and build with the intent to game, though and I really miss having a stable group of fellow gamers that meet up frequently. Basically, I miss having a gaming "club" of sorts to bounce ideas and enthusiasm off, and to engage in joint projects with. The two local gaming communities aren't a great option for me, as they're both store-allied and thus limited to their product selection, and I like going on weird tangents...
 I've blogged at a fairly consistent 45-50 posts a year. Which I find both surprising and reassuring as I started this blog with a "we'll see where it goes and how long it lasts". It also reminds of how important this blog has become for my hobby. In a way, as much as my hobby keeps this blog going, in turn having this blog keeps my hobby going... You folks reading this are, in a way, my substitute game club, that I get to show off my weird little projects to. And I am truly grateful for your interest and readership, thank you all very much.

And now, let's look to the future:
What are my plans and desires for the coming year(s)?
 -The first, and most prominent is of course the Badab War Retro-Campaign. It's a joined project with a group of Belgian wargamers I met (funnily enough, through intervention of this very blog) last year. We will all be building/expanding armies for the Badab War a "historical"Warhammer 40K conflict. For me it means assembling and painting an entire Howling Griffons Space Marine army. Luckily, we will be gaming it in the Warhammer 40K 2nd edition rules. Which I still remember very fondly, but also featured smaller armies than today's edition. Since it ties into my Space Hulk project, hopefully some mojo will spill over into that, leading to some more finished corridor sections. Especially as Space Hulk: Deathwing is also feeding that particular reservoir... I'm really looking forward to this one, but I'm also dreading the amount of effort and painting in a, for me, short amount of time.
-Gaming: The past years, with the exception of 2015, by grace of Frostgrave, have been mostly barren of gaming. Not just wargaming with "serious gamers" but boardgames with friends as well. The past years have seen me turn more and more into a sort of hermit and I hope to break that pattern the coming year. Chronic non-alignment of calendars among friends will keep being a problem on that point, sadly, which means more effort expended. Nevertheless, the dice must roll.
-Fantasy: I hope to keep going on the fantasy project, even if off and on. I really need to settle on a set of rules and start having games, get people interested and returning for this. Also, there is still that planned dungeon to build.
-Games Workshop: Games Workshop seems to be making a comeback and redeeming themselves in the eyes of many long time fans/disgruntled veterans (two categories with a fascinating, but disturbing overlap). As a result their products have regained some of their shine for me as well, combined with a good dose of (near) middle-age nostalgia for me. I hope to finish that Escher gang and get something of Necromunda going again. =I=Munda is still holding fascinations, from both modelling and narrative gaming standpoint.
-RPGs: As always there will be the monthly games of IKRPG, great fun and a regular meeting with friends that is very, very dear to me. I will also try to keep GM-ing my DnD Japan campaign, despite it's regular scheduling gaps and issues, as this also means meeting up with people dear to me, that I don't see nearly often enough. Another friend has recently returned to our area and has invited me to a free-form rules-light narrative rpg campaign. So, maybe, just maybe, the coming year this crazy old hermit will finally crawl out of his cave? I sure hope so.
-Other stuff: As always, I reserve the right to go off on some weird tangent at the drop of hat. I've come to accept that this is how my mind works, and it is useless to fight it. Also, Johan seems determined to teach me the Battlegroup rules and get me gaming them as well. As I still have a stockpile of 20mm DAK and with the North Africa expansion coming out this year, I see little problems or reasons to resist on that point. :D

For now, all attention and effort will be going towards the Badab War Retro-Campaign. It's been a campaign that has had my interest for the longest time, and it also means meeting and gaming with a new group of people. So I'm positively chuffed that this is now a thing! There will/must be occasional sidesteps to prevent me from running out of steam and drive. Plus there is real life to contend with.

Which brings me to another point: Woodworking. This will also be seriously competing with my wargaming time and budget. I really like doing it and in a way need to do it. Hopefully, in time I can find a way, as well as the skill and experience, to do this (near) full time or at the very least make a side-income or self-funding hobby out of it. I've found that, despite doing it for more than a decade, I am really not cut out to live at a desk for the rest of my working life. Making things out of wood is, to me, an essential antidote to a life in a deskchair and the evils that works on me. I need to make things with my hands to keep my mind and body working properly. I can no longer deny or postpone this.
For now, I will be focussing mainly on acquiring the skills, tools and resources (wood! more wood!) needed to do this, and to find out what it is within woodworking that I like the best and am good at. Again I am very lucky to have friends who share this interest. I've already got a few shared projects lined up, including plans to build a gaming table. Which then feeds back into the desire to play more games, as I would dread building a gaming table and then not use it. "Build it and they will come" ;P
I've been thinking for a while what to do with this, if I should start a separate blog for my woodworking, or find another channel to share this with a wider audience, or even to share it at all, since it feels like boasting about baby steps? In the end, I decided it will be part of this blog for the foreseeable future. I've intended from the start for this blog to be an online documentation of my creative endeavours, and have shown non-wargaming things on here in the past as well. It just so happens that wargaming is my main and oldest hobby and thus forms the vast majority of my bloggings. This blog has always been, and will be, my digital archive of "Things-that-keep-Modhail-from-going-(more)-insane" and from now on, this will also include stuff made from wood.

I hope you will all keep reading my ramblings in the coming year(s) and wish you the best, both inside and outside of our weird little hobbies.

Geez, what a wall of text! Here, have a picture as a reward: :D

A happy new year, and see you next time!