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They see me rollin’

January 18, 2019

The year’s first finished hobby project is gloriously simple: a dice tray. I’ve never considered dice trays to be all that necessary to be honest, but they do bring a satisfying neatness to rolling dice. I had been thinking of making one for quite a while, so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on that train (more like trayn, amirite).

Dice tray with Fate dice

The finished tray with some lovely Fate (Fudge) dice

The tray is a simple IKEA hack that has been around for quite a while. I bought an old RIBBA picture frame for 0,50 EUR from the local Reuse Centre, threw away the glass (plastic in the newer ones), ripped out the stand, pulled out those little tabs of metal that hold the backing board in place, added a couple of pieces of cardboard to bring the rolling surface up a bit and to cover the holes where the tabs used to be, glued a suitably cut piece of hobby felt in place with PVA, and what do you know, a neat little dice tray. All in all, it cost me exactly 0,50 EUR, as I got the felt from a friend – incidentally left over from her similar dice tray project.

I can now roll my dice with a satisfyingly muffled clatter. The tray ended up looking quite nice, although I’m thinking of decorating the corners with something suitable. The small size means that it’s actually quite convenient to take along to gaming nights. The tray has seen quite a bit of use already, as the early year has been wonderfully RPG-heavy.

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What went down in 2018?

January 1, 2019

It’s a new year, yes it is! Another year behind us, and this blog is still going – not as strong as it once was but still happily plodding along with no signs of stopping. Must have been one of the most quiet years of the blog, averaging a neat one post per month. I’m not stressing over it, but I would like to blog more. Maybe that’s a new year’s resolution of sorts. I did paint a bit and do some other hobby stuff, although not as much as I would’ve wanted to. Home renovations, Emmi moving in and a new job in another city did cut into my hobby time quite a bit. Anyway, less grumbling and more positivity, so what did I do?

Painting numbers stayed low, but I did enjoy the things I did paint! I haven’t shown everything I’ve painted on the blog as they’re waiting for a suitable time to get a couple of photos. There were pirates, obviously:

Long John Silver by Slug Industries

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Photo of pirate miniature blowing a kiss

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And vampires, of all things:

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The things I haven’t featured on the blog yet? Terrain pieces, a battlemech, some animals and a few more pirates and civilians. Any of these tickle your fancy, dear readers, and I’ll be happy to bump them up the blogging queue.

I did get in on some Kickstarters and was happy with all of them! I got a Spanish fort from Slug Industries, some lovely ruins from Fenris Games and some samurai animals from Bad Squiddo’s onna-bugeisha Kickstarter. All of them are obviously still unpainted, but I’ll get around to them. The fort I’m definitely planning to tackle in 2019, hopefully the rest too!

As the years go by, other people in the hobby become more and more integral to enjoying it. There’s a small, regular crowd that frequents this blog as I do theirs, and a shout-out is in order to the wonderful people running sho3box, Leadballoony, The Raft, Azazel’s Bitz Box and Imperial Rebel Ork – as well all the rest of the wonderful people who drop by to comment. Your contribution and interest is one of my main motivators for doing the whole blogging thing, so a heartfelt thank you for that. Meeting some of you in person have been hobby-related highlights of the year for me.

I visited a couple of conventions, too! By now Salute is a regular feature of my year, and this will happen next this year as well. I went to Crisis in Antwerp for the first time ever this year, and can heartily recommend it! It’s a great show and Antwerp is lovely too, so we turned the trip into a nice little romantic getaway. Check out Thomas’ post on Crisis 2018 for a great recap of the event. If you want a great convention in Europe without the bustle, hassle and high costs of London (for Salute), I definitely suggest giving Crisis a try.

All in all it was a very nice year! I’m surprised that the pirate project is still alive – it started in 2015 for crying out loud – and still my main focus.

Not to get too much caught up in the past, what’s in store for 2019 hobbywise? In no particular order:

  • Building and painting the aforementioned Spanish fort
  • Painting the little boats I just bought from Games of War
  • Painting more pirates and 18th century civilians
  • Finishing a few unfinished buildings
  • Building some jungle terrain pieces
  • Getting in some solo gaming (I just realised the other day that I miss it)
  • Blogging a bit more
  • Focusing less on the buying side and more on the painting side – one can always hope

That’s it, dear readers! Have a great 2019 and thanks for your support, friendship and other warm, fuzzy things.

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2018

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From the painting desk #62 – Dastardly pirates

December 15, 2018

Plenty (for me) of painting done recently! I haven’t added all that many pirates to my pirate crew recently – that changes now. I realized I have a ton of wonderful pirate miniatures, and what do you know, they could be painted! With that intro, here we go:

Three 28mm pirate miniatures

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On the left is a female pirate from Bad Squiddo that I bought on our visit to CRISIS in Antwerp in early November. While she’s pretty much on the borderline of almost being too fantasy, she’s just suitable enough. A lovely sculpt in general, her hair looks weirdly unfinished which gave me a bit of a headache. Are those ribbons? Dreadlocks? In the end I just painted everything as hair. That gripe aside, she looks very menacing and has a sweet Jack Sparrow/Black Sails Anne Bonny mash-up vibe. The axe is brutal, too. The miniature is also a great example of a non-sexualized female pirate miniature, we definitely need more of those.

Next up is a carpenter from Black Cat Bases. While he’s not explicitly pirate-y – he could well be used as a carpenter on a merchant ship – I added him to my pirate crew. A lovely, characterful sculpt that was fun and easy to paint. What more could you ask for?

My third pirate in this lot is one of my favourite pirate minis of all time, a knife thrower by Foundry. He’s one of the most characterful pirate minis in existence, and looks like a really rough customer. I used a darker skintone (as with the female pirate) for some variety, I think a pirate crew should be a motley one. There’s a narrative element as well, as in my imagination he’s not a European – I’m sort of thinking Queequeg in Moby Dick, so some South Pacific blood in him. Absolutely loved painting this one!

These three are a welcome addition to my crew. They bring my pirates up to a total of 18 or so – might be time for an end of the year group shot?

They also serve as a great reminder, that when basing and painting style are consistent, you can easily mix miniatures from different manufacturers despite the somewhat different sculpting styles.

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From the painting desk #61 – Terrors that flap in the night

November 18, 2018

It’s more than a couple of weeks since Halloween, so time to recap! As is tradition, I put on a horror themed miniature game for my friends, which in turn was a good incentive for me to get some vampires painted.

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These two ladies are part of Bad Squiddo’s My Last Sunrise line, and they’re lovely! I showcased the third one in a previous post. Long, flowing robes and clean sculpting (courtesy of Gus Kearns) made these really fun to paint. Again, I went with a very grey skintone – I had both corpses and statues in mind. I painted the robes in bright colours to counterbalance the grey skin. The painting isn’t as smooth as I’d like – it was a bit rushed so the blending is just not there especially on the blue dress. Other than that, they’re ok.

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Another miniature from said Kickstarter campaign, this one needs no introduction. He’s obviously the big D, Dr. Acula, Alucard, the mysterious owner of Carfax Abbey…so yeah Dracula. A quality sculpt by Gary Morley and a easy to paint mini, I’m quite happy. As with the notorious cloaker, I went with a very, very classic look with red cape linings and all. I went for a more human – if pale – skin than with the brides, to represent Dracula being a bit more sophisticated and trying to blend in with humans.

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This one is from Reaper, and documentation in this blog reveals that I bought the mini…nine years ago, back in 2009. Sheesh. Well, after nine years of waiting, she’s now finally painted! As you may have noticed, I love painting red, so I went with that here as well. It was a quick, rough-ish paintjob but I feel it does the trick. After all those years in the cupboard I’m just happy that the mini is finished. It’s still a pretty neat sculpt, so kudos to Derek Schubert!

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Vampires come in all flavours, and this one from Heresy is definitely one of the nastier-looking ones. Paul Muller has managed to sculpt one of the nicest vampires around, in my opinion. I gave the mini a really quick paintjob consisting mostly of drybrushing and washes, but I’m still immensely happy with the end result. It looks like a nasty beast, just like I wanted it to.

The Halloween game itself was great fun as usual, with vampires successfully eating every single villager before sunrise. A random selection of photos shows you many of the usual suspects appearing in these Halloween games as well as some of the painted minis showcased above. You can click on any photo to open a bigger version in a new tab. Thanks to the players for the photos!

The hunters…

…and the hunted

Nosferatu stalks his prey

A hapless nightwatchman flees from approaching zombies

A damsel in distress

It’s a monster rampage!

Due to some really poor luck on the vampire’s part, these two basically spent such a long time together that they became a couple

 

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Citadel painting handle – a review

October 27, 2018

After 20+ years of painting, little tends to change in my painting routines. While obviously the level of painting goes up slowly but surely, the biggest change in my painting has been the adoption of a wet palette a few years back. Imagine my surprise when I found myself looking at a new painting tool! I’d been hearing a lot of positive feedback about Citadel’s painting handle, and as it’s a very affordable piece of kit (6,50€ here in Finland), I decided to give it a try. Now, I’ve hardly ever used a painting handle. While I have occasionally experimented with blutac and paint pots, a few occasions of minis suddenly falling off and crashing into the table quickly dissuaded me.

My friend Crab Man sitting comfy. Base is 25mm round.

Having used the handle for a week now, I’m really happy with it! Also, it has changed my painting a bit. The handle is very nice to grip, the spring mechanism holds the miniature’s base securely (although I’ve only used it with 25mm round slottabases so far, it should work with 32mm, 40mm and 60x35mm oval as well). It does help with finger strain, and helps me keep the model I’m painting just a little bit higher, keeping me from hunching down as much as usual – something my neck and shoulders are thankful for. It also keeps my grubby fingers away from the mini itself. The only downside I’ve noted is that the stiff mechanism can be a bit difficult to operate with one hand – although that obviously helps secure the model in place.

Overall verdict: There isn’t all that much that you can say about a painting handle review-wise. If you’re looking for a new painting handle, or are looking to try one, and use minis on round plastic bases, you could do far worse than this. At the price point it’s excellent value for money, and I’m looking to buy one or two more just for convenience. As an added bonus (or minus, depending), it looks a bit like a somewhat painful adult toy, while it’s actually a pain-lessening adult tool.

You can get the painting handle from the Games Workshop web store as well as their physical stores.

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From the painting desk #60 – All the single ladies

October 19, 2018

With my painting desk finally set up and Halloween approaching at full tilt, I’ve been painting a lot in the last couple of days. It’s time to showcase my first finished minis in god knows how long.

The first one is a pirate from Black Scorpion. I really love the posing of this mini, it makes for a nice change compared to typical fighting poses and gives the character a whimsical, flirty feel. I painted the legs as having pants on because I’m quite sure no one would choose to dress their female minis in a cropped top and a loincloth while the men are fully clothed, amirite Black Scorpion? For a bit of diversity and a painting challenge I went for non-caucasian skin which I think turned out nicely. The closed eyes are a nice touch and saved me the trouble of painting eyes!

Photo of pirate miniature blowing a kiss

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The second miniature is a vampire from Bad Squiddo’s My Last Sunrise Kickstarter. It’s a wonderful sculpt of one of Dracula’s brides. I love the combination of alluring and monstrous on the mini – the exposed leg and flowing dress create a wonderful contrast with the snarling, beast-like face and the hand that is almost a claw. And no, that’s not white in her hair! I haven’t yet given this mini a blast of matt spray so the old Citadel ink I used catches the light something awful.

Photo of female vampire miniature

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This was super fun to paint! A really crisp, clean sculpt and it was easy to make her look good. The drapery is great and the face is full of character. Of the three female vampires in the KS, this one looks least like a human, prompting me to paint her in a very gray, inhuman tone. For the base I went with my autumn mix as it fits the horror theme much better than my bright Caribbean basing.

It’s really good to be back in painting action. Hopefully plenty more blog posts on the horizon too!

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