Archive for the ‘Editorial’ Category

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2020 recap

December 31, 2020

You probably don’t need me to tell you that this has been a weird, weird year. I could write about all of its miseries, but there have been many upsides to it too! I had my doctoral disputation before the lockdown measures, work has been fun throughout the year, and as we have no kids, even the lockdown measures have mostly meant more time together and extra time for hobbies. Now, obviously there have been downsides, but I think we’ve discussed those enough through the year.

At the end of last year, I laid out a few hobby resolutions for this year – how did these turn out?

Blog at least once per two weeks

Well, no. I did manage 20 posts including this one, which leaves me short by six posts. I’m still fairly happy though! As a researcher, a lot of my time is spent writing, which definitely eats into my writing enthusiasm. Still, having some sort of goal does seem to help, so I’ll strive for that again next year!

Paint at least 100 miniatures and scenery pieces

Almost, but no. At time of writing, I’ve finished 85 pieces. It’s not a hundred, but compared to my 2019 output (57 pieces total, which I already considered a productive year) it’s a major increase, and I’m really happy with that! Different subprojects, mainly my pirate hunters and our Ghost Archipelago thing, have been a key component here. Painting something specific rather than just chipping away at the grey mountain seems to work for me. A slight regret is that due to my slow posting rate, I haven’t shown off literally half of the things I’ve painted.

Get rid of at least 50 miniatures I don’t have a use for

Wow, I’d completely forgotten about this. I got rid of 1 miniature. Now, part of this is due to the pandemic – no conventions meant no meet-ups, which are usually when I give away stuff. I’ll do better with it next year, my storage space is overflowing.

Complete at least one major model or terrain piece

Yes! I finished a beached whale.

Learn at least one new painting technique

Yes! This has been the year of Contrast paints for me. After painting for years over a pure black basecoat, I’ve almost fully switched to black basecoat + lighter drybrush + Citadel Contrasts for basic work on minis. This has boosted my motivation and output enormously, and I feel that it’s also given me a bit of a technical boost too. I’m loving the stuff I’ve painted this year, if I do say so myself.

Give something back to the miniaturing community

This one was a bit more abstract, but I’ll do another yes here. I’ve published actual peer-reviewed research on miniaturing and been quite active online as well. I’ve found that as years go by, this becomes more and more important for me. It not only keeps my own motivation up, but also allows me to try and make a small positive impact in the world. I guess that this year it was especially important.

Get at least a few games in

Well, sort of. I think I played a single game with miniatures. That was with Emmi, so I’m really happy with that! I did have plans for solo gaming, but they remained plans. Oh well, quality over quantity as they say!

Learn to master my printers

Yes! I’ve become decently good at 3d printing. I recently bought my third printer (a Phrozen Sonic Mini 4k), and I’ve been quite active on the printing front community-wise as well. It has been fun, being able to help people with their printing issues and print things for friends.

So, what about 2021? If there’s anything 2020 showed us, it is that you can never know what will happen. Even so, I noticed that some of the hobby resolutions I made were actually pretty fruitful, so I want some for next year as well. As it would be a little bit boring to just repeat all of my previous ones, there are some new ones here as well!

In 2021 I want to…

Finish at least one stalled project, as I have a few that are all but finished. I’m looking at you (and in the mirror), fully painted ship with half-finished rigging.

Paint at least 100 miniatures and other pieces, as I came so close this year, which showed me that it’s genuinely possible!

Paint something I feel is out of my reach, as this is purely a psychological issue. I think that for many of us, there are some models that have been sitting for years, waiting for that moment when we’re “good enough to do it justice”, which obviously leads to years, years, and years of waiting, because our standards rise with our skills, resulting in never feeling “good enough”. Time to break that cycle, I know I’m a decent enough painter after 20+ years of practice!

Blog regularly and participate in our lovely little micro-blogosphere, as this really is one of the key things of the hobby for me. At times I’ve only clicked on the WordPress likes, but I’m resolved to commenting more next year. I also hope to show off more of my painted minis, now I’m finally managing to finish them. If you’re writing a blog that I frequent, just know that what you’re doing is a part of keeping my hobby inspiration up!

Paint something just for the fun of it, as usually my approach to painting is a little utilitarian: I paint something to use in this or that project. In 2021 I’m going to paint some things just because they appeal to me, regardless of whether I can shoehorn them into a project. I did it this year with my efreet, and I was really happy doing it!

Learn some freehand, as even after years and years, I dread it. Emmi has been doing watercolours recently, and she has encouraged me to learn non-miniature painting. I’m hoping to build up my confidence and skill in that department in 2021. Who knows, maybe we’ll see more tattoos, fancy fabric patterns and the like on my minis in the future.

I think that’s more than enough for one year! However, I have picked fun resolutions, which should definitely help with achieving them.

This blog was started in 2009, which feels like a lifetime ago. Whether you’re a new reader or one of the regulars, my sincere thanks for reading, commenting, and liking these posts, as that interaction is a big part of why this blog stays alive(ish) year after year.

With this, I want to wish you all a happy new year!

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2020

Wishing you all peaceful and relaxing holidays!

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It rhymes with Ovid

March 15, 2020

So by now you’re very much familiar (hopefully not too intimately) with COVID-19 and the whole coronavirus thing. This is obviously a serious situation, and a very trying time for people who are themselves part of a risk group or have loved ones at risk. For me as a healthy young(ish) person it’s more a case of staying at home to avoid passing the infection around. I’m currently waiting for the surely forthcoming news of Salute 2020 being cancelled, and I assume that our long-awaited holiday trip to London is off the cards too, what with travel bans and all. Things at work have been disappointing too, with several major seminars and conferences cancelled after a lot of work put into them. Of course these are minor issues compared to being afraid for your life, but it doesn’t really help.

Despite all the risk, there are some things that are making things more palatable: both of us working from home currently means a lot more family time, and cancelled kung fu, yoga and dance classes mean plenty more free evenings. We don’t have kids, so family time is very relaxing. The cats are happy that we’re home all the time, too.

On the hobby front more free time obviously means more time for everything fun-without-leaving-the-house. Personally, I’m looking forward to doing a lot more painting than usual, tackling my Steam backlog of unplayed digital games (I started with Yes, Your Grace yesterday, highly recommended!) and shortening my reading queue too. Might as well make the most of this sudden influx of time! I have a few recently finished Black Scorpion miniatures that I’ll post about soon.

Despite the global hardships, I can’t shake a feeling of a kind of fascination with the situation. Yes, it is a catastrophe in many ways, and I definitely don’t want to make light of it. But as I wrote in literally the first post of this blog, back in 2009:

I’ve always been fascinated (in a very sanerational and normal sense) by catastrophes, what-if fantasies, tales of desperate struggle and the end of the world. The sinking of Titanic, alternative history, Helm’s deep, Alamo, Chernobyl,  The Book of Revelation, global epidemics, thermonuclear war…you name it. The zombie genre combines all of this. Simple as that.

Obviously and luckily this isn’t the apocalypse and make no mistake – I hope we clear this thing as quickly as possible with as little tragedy as possible. There’s still something oddly unreal about this situation and watching it develop. It’s not fun, it’s not cool, but it’s interesting.

I don’t usually discuss topical, non-hobby events on the blog, and don’t really intend to. However, during the past years a wonderful micro community has sprung up around miniature blogging, and I’m frankly quite interested in how you lot are doing in your corner of the world. Stay safe, and keep painting and posting hobby stuff, we all need the entertainment!

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2019 recap

January 2, 2020

2019

Another year gone, what happened in 2019 hobby-wise?

Amazingly 2019 was the first ever year that I kept track of my miniature purchases and the like. Here’s the tally (“miniatures” refers to scenery pieces as well):

Miniatures bought: 62

Miniatures printed: 42

Miniatures sold or given away: 112

Miniatures painted: 57

Larger terrain pieces finished: 4

All in all I’m quite happy with the year. I finished the year with 8 miniatures fewer than I started the year with despite accumulating plenty of new ones. What this means in practice is that I got rid of old stuff that I was never going to paint – mostly WHFB miniatures from 10-15+ years back – and replaced them with miniatures and scenery pieces that are much more likely to be painted.

I painted a grand total of 57 miniatures and scenery pieces. I could have done more, but to be honest this is one of my most productive years in a while. As before, I’m a fairly meticulous painter although I’m slowly learning to be a bit more relaxed, spending less time on areas that won’t be very visible on the miniature. Did you know that when I started out as a teen, I would paint the soles of minis’ feet – despite them getting glued to the base? So..yeah. The end of the year was more than a bit stressful, with loads of work and my father passing away after a long illness, so I’m happy that I still managed to find time for painting. To be honest, painting more and spending less time on Twitter probably would have helped with the stress.

I also experimented with some new painting techniques. Nothing drastic, I just wanted to push my painting a little. While I’m happy with my painting, I feel like I’ve been somewhat stuck for the past few years. I’m currently learning to work with thinner paints and washes a bit more than previously. Who knows, maybe I’ll even try a white or grey undercoat one of these days. It’s only been 15 years since the last time!

On the project front, it’s amazingly enough still pirates. Seriously, this has been pretty much my only project since 2015, and I’m still enthusiastic about it. I do paint the occasional RPG miniature, and we did paint some Battletech pieces which I should show in a future post! Still, it’s mostly pirates and other 17th/18th century types.

The biggest change in my hobby in 2019 was the introduction of 3d printing. I had always looked down on it a bit: layer lines from FDM machines were ugly, resin printers too expensive. Basically, I had locked my opinions in around 2015. However, when I started looking into it, I realized that times had indeed changed, progress had been made (quelle surprise!) and people were producing some wonderful pieces on their printers. My enthusiasm sparked, I bought an Anycubic Photon which turned out to be a great idea. Before I knew it, I was down the 3d printing rabbit hole. It wasn’t too long before I found myself wanting something a bit bigger for printing terrain, but surely an FDM printer would be too…yeah I bought one. As of December 23 2019, I’m a proud owner of a Lotmaxx SC-10 printer as well. It’s been running pretty much non-stop since then, and I’ll show some of the results in a later post.

The 3d printing stuff has brought a feeling of novelty to the hobby that I realized I’ve been missing a bit. There’s something in the tinkering and tweaking that makes me happy, as well as the possibilities afforded by new technology. All of a sudden all sorts of weird and wonderful things are within my reach – I can print my own ships, buildings and sea monsters, how cool is that?

Last but not least, I got to combine work and play in a fun way. As you might know, I’m a games researcher at Tampere University, and we had the wonderful idea of doing some research on miniaturing. More on that later as well – I’m actually about to become a published research on the miniaturing pastime. How cool is that!

For the past x years this blog has been going on fairly sporadically. I post far less than I used to, and sometimes there are long (, long, long) gaps between posts. I’m hoping to remedy this a bit this year! The blog isn’t going anywhere and I’m still quite motivated about it and a huge thank you for that is in order to the regular group of readers and commenters – you know who you are!

2020I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions, but on the hobby front a few are in order. So, in 2020 I want to:

  • Blog at least once per week two weeks
  • Paint at least 100 miniatures and scenery pieces
  • Get rid of at least 50 miniatures I don’t have a use for
  • Complete at least one major model or terrain piece
  • Learn at least one new painting technique
  • Give something back to the miniaturing community
  • Get at least a few games in
  • Learn to master my printers

These should take my hobby in the direction I want it to go: more activity, interaction with the community and honing my own skills.

Here’s to another year of hobby goodness, stay tuned and my sincere thanks for stopping by!

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Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas! You can click on the card to view a larger version.

 

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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

Click for a larger version

Photo of pirate miniature blowing a kiss

Click for a larger version

And vampires, of all things:

Click for a larger version

Click for a larger version

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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Looking back on 2016

December 31, 2016

By now we’ve all heard several variations of “2016 was the worst year ever” comments. Enough of those! We all know the horrible stuff that has been going on for the past year, but this isn’t a blog about all that. Instead, a quick recap of the year’s hobby-related things and a cautious look forward!

Miniature output this year has been decent-ish. I think my total comes to around 30+ minis, but it could have been much higher. At this rate I’ll have all of my unpainted lead and plastic nicely painted around age 70 or 80 – assuming I don’t buy anything new. Apparently my painting output in 2015 was 33 miniatures, so this seems to be a fairly standard rate. I’ve also cleared out a fair bit of old lead that I know I won’t get around to painting. If someone else can get fun out of them, they shouldn’t sit in a cupboard tucked away in a box for years and years.

Reaching goals definitely happened. In my “Looking back on 2015” post I was planning on the following for 2016:

  • Painting up pirates, 18th century civilians, navy types and colonial soldiers (✓)
  • Building a second terrain board as well as a few different extra pieces (✓)
  • Modifying and painting a bunch of houses (✓)
  • Basing and touching up loads of palm trees (✓)
  • Building and painting plenty of scatter terrain (✓)
  • Most likely sneaking a few RPG miniatures in as well (✓)
  • Salute 2016 as well as visiting plenty of awesome sights and people in the UK and Ireland (✓)

Seriously, I managed all of that! In a hobby that for me is characterized by unfinished and discarded projects, periodical slumps and time and motivation constraints, I’m super happy to have reached my hobby goals for once. Salute was great, and meeting Paul of sho3box fame was definitely one of the high points of the hobby year.

The UK and Ireland trip was excellent in general, and I got to spend time with some wonderful people who I’ve met through this hobby. I spent an evening in the pub with Annie from Bad Squiddo and Dameon from Hasslefree, had a browse through boxes of Roy Duffy’s brilliantly painted miniatures and got to visit Pete “the Mouldmaker” Brown’s workshop and see miniatures cast. Good stuff!

Project-wise my pirate thing is still going strong. This is an actual surprise. I started the project in May 2015, and to my surprise it still hasn’t died. I’ve built terrain, I’ve gamed, I’ve read a ton of literature on the subject…what is this madness? Not that I’m complaining. The project has also seen me drift somewhat towards historical gaming. It’s a scary thought, so I’m painting the occasional undead pirate, ghost and crab man to keep me on the right track. The pirate ship that you may recall is still not finished, and it definitely should be. That brings me to…

Hobby plans for 2017

  • Finish the pirate ship. Started in 2015, if it’s still unfinished by the end of 2017, it’s going in the project graveyard, and that would be a crying shame.
  • Paint a dragon. More on this later.
  • Keep up steady work on the pirate project. There’s still plenty to do and I’m enthusiastic, so this shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Play games. Much as I love the modelling part of the hobby, I’ve found that the occasional game keeps me motivated.
  • Increase miniatures output. Nothing drastic, but maybe I’ll aim for 40.
  • Update the blog somewhat steadily, as always.

Next year might present some challenges to hobby activities due to (generally positive) real life things taking up time and concentration, but I’m definitely hopeful!

As I’ve mentioned before, my warmest thanks to all of you readers, both regulars and occasional visitors. Your feedback and engagement does wonders for my blogging motivation, and I’m happy to see people enjoy what I’m creating.

Have a great 2017, everyone!

Fireworks photo by VasenkaPhotography, used under CC BY 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/)

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Looking back on 2015

December 31, 2015

Photo by Anna Langova, public domain

There’s six hours of 2015 still left here in Finland, so just enough time for a quick look back on the year miniature-wise.

I had yet another lovely trip to Salute, and this one set the pace for my mini projects for the year. I bought a pack of Foundry pirates, and off I went!

As you’ve no doubt noticed, this year has been pirates, pirates, pirates. Building a ship, building a town, building a terrain board and occasionally even painting a pirate. Most of the things I’ve done this year have related to pirates, like the civilians (see here and here) that I painted for our Halloween game but will be used in pirate gaming as well.

My pirate fever doesn’t seem to be going away, so expect plenty of pirate-y fun next year as well. While the blog updates have been much more sporadic than in the blog’s heyday, rest assured that it’s not going anywhere. Dissertation work, sappy love stuff, video games, role-playing games and the like can be real distractors sometimes – although luckily fun ones.

What’s up for 2016? In no particular order:

  • Painting up pirates, 18th century civilians, navy types and colonial soldiers
  • Building a second terrain board as well as a few different extra pieces
  • Modifying and painting a bunch of houses
  • Basing and touching up loads of palm trees
  • Building and painting plenty of scatter terrain
  • Most likely sneaking a few RPG miniatures in as well
  • Salute 2016 as well as visiting plenty of awesome sights and people in the UK and Ireland
  • All the things I forgot

I’m actually quite happy with the year seen through hobby glasses. I could’ve painted more minis (I count 33 but there may be more), but that’s true for pretty much every year. I actually managed to finish quite a few things and keep a project steadily going. Certainly looking forward to next year!

As a final thing, all the best to all you regular readers (both old and new) as well as random wanderers. I always enjoy reading your feedback and it’s a major part of making this whole blog thing an enjoyable experience. Hope to see you in the future as well.

Long story short, happy new year 2016 everyone!

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Christmas time

December 23, 2015

It’s that time of the year again, dear readers. Have a great, relaxing Christmas (or other holiday of your choice)!

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Christmas time!

December 23, 2014

predacard

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake

Merry Christmas, dear readers!

The gingerbreadator (and photo) is by my dear friend, the incredibly talented Katri Lassila.

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