Friday, 6 December 2013

018. Issues with Blogger...

Hi all, anyone else having issues with Blogger recently - namely the blog roll feature.  All this week mine has been intermittently dropping off or collapsing and when I click it, it is saying that with the demise of Google Reader the product is not supported and will be removed.

I've been googling how to export my roll elsewhere but it doesn't seem to be possible.  I have well over 200 blogs I follow along with and it will be a real shame if I can't get the updates for them anymore.

Anyone else experiencing this and have a work around that does not involve copying each blogs URL into a new third party product that wont then deploy through Blogger?



Tuesday, 26 November 2013

017. Nostalgic look back at the olden days...

Digging through a pile of White Dwarf I had sat next to my bed I found an oldie-but-a-goodie, White Dwarf 209 (May 1997 Australia).
Even though it was the High Elf release, there was plenty of other coverage within
What stood out ion this issue (other than the really bad clothes and hairstyles of the era) was the amount of non-core game material.

I don't just mean the presence of Necromunda and Epic, but the White Dwarf issued rules and campaign ideas (precursor to Chapter Approved), extensive background coverage, terrain making ideas, and my favourite from this edition, random articles on all aspects of the hobby - in this case, a look behind the scenes at the mail order function from when they still had a back catalogue and bits service.
I can't believe there was a time they would custom cast you a bit to order
Now reading this article shows me why they had to stop it in an economic sense, the labour costs alone would have been too high to cover any sales income arising from individual bits purchases, particularly when weighed against the rising cost of metal, and the storage space requirements to hold the inventory.
Do it yourself Chapter Masters - 96 points a pop and look at that stat line
What the article does provide for me at least is a look back at GW as a hobby business, rather than the Shareholder beholden corporate it has morphed into.
Combat squads making their first appearance - bit on the pricey side mind.
Bit of a lame post this week, but I haven't progressed anything painting wise beyond laying down some primer on some minis I wanted off my desk.  With luck, it will be back to painting updates next time around.
Some classic JB - You can see the inspiration for Ezekial in here
Cheers all,


PS - for all you Doctor Who fans out there - blimey what a cracker that was - Capaldi came across all hard and sinister, and that was just looking at his eyes.  I'm man enough to admit I welled up once or twice watching that.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

016. Avatars of War shinies...

A lovely package turned up in the mail the other day (oh how I love the receipt of a "what's this package that just turned up!?" message from the missus) and it had in it a couple of Avatars of War heroes.  
Front of package
Rear of package

I wanted to add some mercenaries to the warband during the future campaign and looking through the book decided on an Ogre and a Dwarf Slayer.  Having settled the sort I wanted I then started my trawl through eBay to see what I could turn up.

Eventually I found the Avatars of War range which appear to be designed to fit with GW systems, and look the business without being something you see on every table top.
Slayer bits

With Rodrick for scale
They come in some really big plastic blister packs that seem slightly over large for the minis they contain - there's a potential cost saving for you Avatars of War - scale back on your packaging.

They are both multi part white metal, and both had minor mold lines but a fair bit of metal flash - easy enough to clean up.  Assembly was straight forward although on reflection I think I got the Slayers Mohawk on backwards.
Ogre bits
Another scale shot
I used James Wappels greenstuff and glue technique but need to work on that as I got good results only 2/3rds of the time.  I went back over some of the joins with some liquid greenstuff just to tidy them up a bit.

They seem to fit in well - the Ogre is huge though I don't have any GW ones to compare him too.  The photos were taken the other day - you can be assured the Heroes have had some more paint applied since then.
Group shot for scale
Back to it then, cheers all.


Wednesday, 6 November 2013

015. More WIP Mordheim Heroes...

A quick update on where I am at - unfortunately not as big a leap forward as I'd hoped.  

I picked out the heroes based on feedback from my group that in game terms I'd be best off starting to use them first to generate as much loot as early as possible rather than pad out the Warband with more scrubs but have fewer opportunities to pick up loot.
El Capitain - Rodrick Rubenstein
I went back in and tidied up the skin tones, placed the odd eyeball and dotted the occasional iris (I got a new Rafael brush from Secret Weapon many months ago and tried it out for the first time with these - it is definitely a superior performer compared to my old GW brushes - applying the eyes was so much easier), and coloured the hair.
His Champions - Uncle Boris and brother Jory
I had intended to mix up the hair colour but ended up with 4 of the 5 having the same gingery hair - so I've woven this into my burgeoning back story to reflect those 4 being relations - the hoary old campaigning father (Captain), his uncle and brother (Champions) and son (young blood).  The other chap I have started calling the Spaniard (that'll have to change to the Estalian or whatever the Old World version of Spain is meant to be) as he is quite gaunt and took on a lighter hue of skin tone and some shifty feline type eyes - I'm imagining him with darker hair, being the silent and deadly type.
The Youngbloods - the Spaniard and young Luthor
I also went in and worked on all the leather work, and then cut back in all the black and tidied the base edge.  I like to do this to set myself up with a clean palette for the next stages (clothing and metallics) so I can start trying to see in my mind what I want to end up as.
Family portrait
This weeks been a wash out with work and home duties taking up a lot of time and leaving me pretty flat - the last two nights I've bombed out on the settee watching movies with the missus after we put bubs down.
The scrubs patiently waiting their turn
Hoping to make a start at the next steps which will be anything that is not garment or armour - so all the little trinkets, weapons and doo dads.  I'm looking to get that done by the end of the weekend.

That's another post down - cheers all,


Saturday, 26 October 2013

014. Something a bit different - Mordheim - Reiklanders...

The gaming group I semi regularly get out to has been talking about Specialist Games for a while and after attending a Blood Bowl tournament the talk turned to setting up a league.  I looked at it but pulled back as I didn't have the spare time to commit to a full season, it was a brand new game to me different in may ways to the other games I have experience in and the model range wasn't flash.  

The group said I could convert a team easily enough but I am not hot on converting as I lack the design imagination to see the finished product.  I did have a fancy at the Willy Miniatures Chaos team which had been done through a Kickstarter a while back but the retail price + shipping was way out of my comfort zone for an unknown game.

Knowing the group likes to flit between games it wasn't long before their attention turned to another game that I was more comfortable buying into.  Mordheim.
The Captain.
I'd been in the hobby a little while when Mordheim dropped in but had not shown much interest as my focus at the time was 100% on the grim dark side of the GW stuff.  Fast forward a few years and its been dropped and moved to Specialist Games and I've picked up a number of Fantasy armies following the move to full time work and the allure of disposable income.
His 2 Champions
What this meant when the guys perked up about running a casual drop in, Mordheim campaign was that a) I had a stable of miniatures I could draw on, b) buy in cost was nil other than time as the rules are free to download and I had minis on hand which required no conversion/other buys, and c) although I hadn't played Mordheim before, it wasn't completely foreign seeing as I had played a few editions of Fantasy as well as Necromunda which was a similar play system.
And his Young Bloods
I dug through my boxed up Empire army and pulled out enough miniatures to build a respectable Reiklander warband - having settled on them as they popped up first in the warband list, were Empire based so fit my miniature needs, and looked the all rounders which for a Noob makes good sense.
Marksmen with Crossbows
Marksmen with Long Bows
I've been working at them for the last week for half an hour a night once the bubs has been put to bed - that means progress is slow as shown in the pictures (which are from the phone as the camera has once again got a flat batteries when I wanted to use it), but it is painting progress which means my hobby is still active, and there is a chance I will eventually have a fully painted warband ready to walk into the dark ruins that is the City of the Damned, Mordheim. So far it's bases done (except for rim tidy up and flock) and flesh tones laid down, washed, highlighted and re-washed (I don't know when to stop) so now I need another final spot highlight to call that part done.
Warriors with Sword and Shield
Warriors with Halberds
This week will be all about clothing - my Reiklanders are going to hail from Altdorf which means blue and red is the order of the day, but I am thinking of doing all blue garments and red for the armour rather than the split blue/red garments - other wise I was struggling for armour colour as I didn't fancy doing all steel.  The alternative was to go for black lacquer armour and ding it up a bit with scratches showing the bare metal beneath.

That's it.  The Prospektor has been put aside which is a shame but he will get done eventually (by years end I hope) - he is too cool a model not to finish.

Cheers for stopping by.  Happy hobby all.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

013. Plastic crack - New and old Marines...

Sternguard - very nice bit of kit
I mentioned in a previous post how I was going to be picking up some of the new Space Marine kits and sure enough I did and they have absorbed my allocated hobby time for the last 3 weeks or so as I rummaged through the frames across the various kits.  I must say up front, irrespective of the price issues facing GW products, they are still making some gorgeous kits - case in point the new Sternguard set.
I simply loved the hand on sword hilt bit - really cool addition.
The set itself builds five Marines but comes with a wealth of additions which I didn't let go to waste.  The only downside with this kit is it is quite different in styling to the old metal set.  The old metals were also replete with detailing, but this plastic version of the kit seems to outshine what they managed a few years back.
At this point I started swapping bits between kits - I think the head is from the Tactical set
The kit went together with minimal fuss which is par the course for a GW plastic kit in the main.  I had lots of fun picking out bits and matching them to each suit of armour.  I'm not too fussed with what they are armed with other then the bit had to look cool which is why there isn't many flash combi- weapons - most of the straight Bolters looked better in my opinion, particularly those with throw backs to the current FW Heresy sets.
I borrowed a Mk4 FW helmet for this one - some slight greenstuff work needed to tie the crest in
Arrayed for duty
I also picked up the new Tactical kit.  Now I have loads of the buggers already - but this was new, and I was getting it cheap and I liked the idea of fleshing out and mixing in bits and models with my existing Marine range.  Aside from a few models that were built wholly from this kit, most of the bits from this set, with the remainder of parts from the Sternguard kit were used to spruce up older models, or build new ones with the aid of my bitz box.
A Sergeant model
Missile launcher with FW Mk3 shoulder pad and a Sternguard helm
The obligatory 'loading Bolter' pose - a bit of a faff on to get right
A gnarled veteran
More Sternguard bits mash-ups
The Sternguard kit came with a load of spare pads, helmets and weapons (the weapons come attached to the right hand now and the right arm stops at the wrist which means you have to think about which right and left arm combos to use) which I spread throughout my Tactical Marines.

I also used some of the resin basing bits and bobs from a basing kit I won in a GW store painting comp years ago.  I either missed the instruction that told you to file the bottom flat or I was meant to pad out the bases first as the bits look mighty odd on the base as they are - I'm going to have to get creative when I apply my normal sand mixture to build it up around the resin and make it look natural rather than blobby.

I mentioned my bitz box above.  It came into its own over the last few nights of building.  Over 16 years in this hobby has meant I have lots of odds and sods, as well as parts from scrapped/shelved projects (like my failed start at a Minotaurs chapter for the Badab War) which I was able to dive into to build a few extra models using bits from my box plus spares from the Tactical, Sternguard and Vanguard frames.  This basically let me build up a whole Command Squad and most of a Devastator Squad (although all the guys in that are armed with Missile Launchers - I'm not sure where my other heavy options got off too).
A Company Champion salvaging parts from an old Minotaurs army
A Veteran for the Command Squad with a Combi-Grav gun - those legs are nearly 12 years old going by the colour of the plastic and mold lines, and the helm was from a Venerable Dreadnought
Standard Bearer
Another Veteran with a mash of Sternguard, Dark Vengeance and other bits
Another Veteran - I finally ran out of the useful bits (ie legs) with this guys so he won himself a set of Mk4 FW legs
Another Sergeant - this one for the Devastator Squad
The Librarian - looks a bit like one of my work colleagues (sans the Power Armour of course)
I wasn't going to get a Vanguard kit as it hadn't impressed from the stock photos, but again, a cheap eBay deal is hard to resist so one duly got delivered (much to the missus' delight - shes on first name basis with the delivery guy at the moment - its not all plastic for me though, some deliveries are for the bubs).
Vanguard Vets be tripping over themselves
Having perused the frame and built the models, I'd say this kit isn't as good as the Sternguard - it seems about 85% cooked compared to where the Sternguard kit is at.  Again, it also doesn't gel fully with the old metal ones.  The biggest problem I had with the kit is the positioning of some of the legs and the way the torso's attach gave most of them a very front leaning pose.  I rectified this using some cork to build up the bases so they didn't look like they were tripping up so much.
The squad leader
One of the 'tripping up' culprits - he won himself a cork base to avoid looking gumby
I don't know why all the enemy seem to be off to the left but all the gun arms pointed the same way
As with the Sternguard, building these was not about kitting them out with the best load outs, but rather using bits I liked the look of best.  Where possible this meant a power weapon and fancy pistol.  I am a big fan of one Lightning Claw rather than a pair.  I never understood why you would give up an ability to shoot just to have two gloves with Wolverine claws attached which preclude you from scratching yourself when itchy.
A top down view - each Jump Pack has unique top detailing
Overall I've had a blast building these guys, and rummaging through my old bits and old built models looking for ways to integrate new bits and spruce things up.

On the painting front, these guys have definitely jumped towards the top.  I'm really digging the idea of painting them as Ultramarines as it brings about a nostalgic glow when I think about my first attempts at painting (when pulling apart some of my older Marines I had a laugh seeing residue of original Ultramarine blue from their pre-grey Marine faze most of them find themselves in currently), plus there is lots of eye candy already out there to use as motivation.

My next post though will with luck be the conclusion to my Gorka Morka Ork Prospektor who has languished on my painting desk looking forlornly at me as I surrounded myself in new grey plastic shavings and super glue fumes.

This has been a longer post than I intended, but I guess that makes up for the last few weeks silence.  I have been lurking on blogs and commenting here and there while on the bus  and have tried to keep up with the various blog going on's for those that I follow (which you can see on the right of my page).

Cheers all for sticking with it if you made it down this far.  Happy hobbying.


Thursday, 19 September 2013

012. Simple Green...

The good Col. Ackland queried my reference to Simple Green in my last post.  Its a tool many hobbyists I've seen around the blogs use to strip miniatures.  To my knowledge its a yank invention and unlike Dettol or Brake Fluid, isn't harmful to your health, although I have worn gloves when handling it at stronger concentrations.

Simple Green in some of its varied forms
I normally use the basic green flavoured variety but my local stockists (Bunnings) stopped selling the concentrate version, instead picking up the same formula in Orange scent - same product, this one simply smells fruitier.  They also did a two pack deal including the concentrate with a premixed spray.

When I last popped into the shop though (Bunnings at Noarlunga Col. - not sure if you are that far south or further North but I know the Marion store also had it in when I popped in there - its in the cleaning aisle) they had the trusty green in a pre-mix back in so I picked up a bottle.  Not only is it good for stripping minis, but it actually does what it says on the bottle - all purpose cleaning.

After first picking it up a while back I swiftly converted the missus to its varied uses around the house - its a really good cleaning product.  The red version (not pictured) is a great carpet cleaner - perfect for all the little miss's various bodily explosions; while the blue one is a decent window/mirror cleaner (although there are better products out there for that purpose).

I generally chuck things into a deep bowl and cover with diluted concentrate (no real ratio used - a guesstimate is fine, determined with reference to how much gunk needs to be stripped (paint or mold release agent)) or straight out of the bottle for the mixed variety.  I then leave it for a number of days - the latest one has been a week but every couple of days I add a few more minis I have stumbled across in my current clean up into the bowl and give it a good stir.  Occasionally I'll pop a mini out of the soup and give it a little scrub with an old toothbrush.

After a while its a case of getting the mini out and generally the paint layers will come straight off down to the primer layer - I've had a bit of luck getting that off if I scrape a blade across the surface to break it up a bit and then re submerge it in Simple Green, but generally I leave it as is.  I'll give the mini a rinse with warm water to remove any lingering Simple Green and then its good to go again.

Good stuff, and cheap enough for what I use it for.  The only thing its ever balked at was the last packet of Heresy Armour I got from FW which had release agent about 2mm thick - I'm slowly having to carve that stuff off as nothing I have hit it with has even touched it yet.

So there you go, a look at the cleaning products in use in the Muppet household!!

Cheers all,


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

011. Gorka Morka Ork Nob finished...

Finally finished!
I think the title says it all.  I sat down last night after the wee one had gone to bed and finished of this Nob who has been on the go for a couple of months now.  Its an old Gorka Morka Nob which I swapped out the left axe hand for a plastic Nob pistol, and the entire right arm for another plastic Nob Choppa.  I also switched out the head (the original had a much smaller head - obviously GW have played with the proportions since this mini was originally made ~1999) for another bit from my Bitz Box - useful thing it turned out to be for this job.

Colour scheme is straight out of my normal Ork approach as is seen in my next picture - the family shot of all my Nobz / Banner Boy / Warlord.  The new one is a bit of the runt.

Family Photo - 'Arry the Photogenic Ork looks massive next to the new one
After finishing up the Nob I picked up the Prospektor Ork I had started around the same time (also from Gorka Morka I believe) and laid down the base coat for the skin.  I'm hoping to push him on a bit this week.

WIP Prospektor Ork
And finally for tonight, a look back down memory lane.  These are the very first miniatures I painted up when I was about 12 or 13 - they came in the old Citadel Paint Set circa 1997.  I hand painted a Skull White base coat and then applied some very uneven layers of blue, red and yellow.  The notional Sergeant got a yellow skull to distinguish him from the scrubs.  

Looking back in time - circa 1997
These guys are currently in a bath of Simple Green.  Garfy's post over on Tale of Painters (here) plucked at my old nostalgia heart strings and made me dig these out of the back of a drawer.  My interest in Space Marines was rekindled following last posts launch of the new Codex and thought I might have a go sprucing these guys up a bit.  I did keep a set of plastic Terminators from the same era in their original paint scheme so all my original efforts are not lost.

And that's it for tonight.

Happy hobby all.