Monday, 30 March 2015

063. Kick Stater - Toughest Girls of the Galaxy (Mk1)...

It was July 2013.  The idea of having a newborn and the associated financial changes that brings to your life hadn't yet sunk in.  I was still in spend-land where disposable income was a thing, and new miniature releases were catching my eyes all over the place.

In waltzed a small time miniature company out of France which were about to hit the big time and ramp up its range in a big way care of the newish phenomenon (for me at least) - Kick Starter.  That company was Raging Heroes, and their range was the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy!
Beautiful resin girls (and a hippo and bulldog and zombie cat)
I was blown away.  The concept art was engaging, the 3D renders were fantastic, and the few (very few) test prints they were showing were simply stunning.  So, much less money conscious Muppet leapt straight in for a Lieutenant level pledge (and then some) which qualified him for a bunch of free minis, together with whatever he wanted to purchase with his pledged credit from the main line.  That ended up being a bunch of Jailbird and Kurganova heroines and Jailbirds troop boxes.  Being somewhat cheap, I opted for single wave shipping.  

Raging Heroes were estimating a shipping date of March 2014 at the latest, with some coming as early as September 2013.  That was mildly optimistic of them.

"
We prepared this Kick Starter project for an entire year, working with top artists and suppliers (and planning for every potential pitfall we could think of)

...

We made sure that our sculpting planning was realistic. This means that you'll be able to have access to a first wave of production as early as September. And we have set up and used for the past several months a sculpting work flow that allows us to create many miniatures quickly without compromising their quality. This means that 80% of the sculpting process will be done by the end of the Kick Starter.
"

Young, naive Muppet was sucked in.  Coll new minis for March.  You bet.

...

Sigh

...

As it is, I still haven't seen my main pledge minis and won't likely see them for an indeterminate time yet, though other people have received all or large portions of their orders dependent what they ordered and how much shipping they were prepared to pay, and Raging Heroes themselves have advised me 'soon', a much bandied about term in Kick Starter land.  

Over the course of near two years since funding, Raging Heroes have said something about re sculpting to get the mini's just so, and starting from scratch a number of times, even going right back to redrawing the concepts.  Double sigh.  Even typing that I am sighing.

In the interim, Raging Heroes went out to build goodwill in the community prior to launching their next TTG Kick Starter (launched last week - some equally gorgeous [and disturbing] looking concepts are on offer though I wont be going in for this one) and agreed to ship all backers who were eligible, the freebie component of their orders.

I got my little box of resin on Friday.  I had elected for their take on spin cast resin (Finecast anyone) rather than metals as the concept was novel and they were promising to match hand poured resin results.  Is it Finecast - NO.  Is it hand poured quality - Not quite.  Is it good - bloody hell yes!

The freebie package included mascots for each of the three army factions they released, the Jailbirds, the Kurganovas and the Iron Empire.
Charlie, mascot of the Kurganova Shock Troops
Jinx, mascot of the Iron Empire
Harry the Baby Hippo, mascot of the Jailbirds
The freebie box also contained a few heroines (HQ types) for each of the factions. 

These are the ones for the Jailbirds.  The Jailbirds, as the name suggests, are female prisoners who have escaped and are now waging an insurgency against the authorities.  I planned on running my figures as Escher Gangers in a Necromunda gang.  Not sure what I'll use them for now (maybe an all female Necromundan 8th Company to run alongside my Cadians).
Raven, the Chain Breaker
Butterfly Lulu (one of the stray kids that hang around the Jailbirds) - that's a butterfly on top of the rifle scope - the gun is non lethal - its actually a dart gun.  The Lulu set that could be purchased through the KS emphasised this point.
Lucky Lucy, artillery spotter (casually smoking a very tiny cigarette)
Ash, who was intended as a tank gunner upper half (like the copula figures on GW tanks) but who was made into a fully legged heroine
Then we have the Kurganova Shock Troops - a kind of Cadian-esque, Russian inspired primary faction.  The Kurganova Sisters (triplets - triplets Basil) were one of Raging Heroes existing line of sculpts.  This range expanded on that theme.
Svetlana, the Light of Freedom.
Jaheeda Kano, Armoured Division Officer - another one who was only meant to be a top half for inclusion in a vehicle cupola but who got the full treatment in the end.  Also the only mini not in the same scale as the other girls.  Shes out by a mm or so in all proportions, most noticeably in her head - very odd.
Natasha, Comms Operator
Nurse Karoline, Field Medic, flicking the air bubbles out of her tiny syringe
A rear shot showing her tiny, sculpted finger poised to flick the syringe - there is a tiny hole between her thumb and - extremely fine detail capture
Then there is the Iron Empire.  An alternate force to the Kurganovas, who are German/Prussian inspired crossed with Egyptian themes, and from the limited background the company has put out, suggested to be necromantic/psychic to some degree - theirs zombies and mummies in their range.
Nertha, the Faceless Mother - a very cool mini, one of the only ones I like in their range
Kristina Karlstein, Armoured Division Officer.  The Iron Empires tank driver that got the full leg treatment.
W101, Cyberzombie bodyguard
The quality of the minis all round is outstanding.  The bare resin doesn't photograph the best, but hopefully you get a sense of the mini and the level of detail they've captured in their spin cast resin.  The minis are of an Infinity style scale and detail level.  There are tiny boot straps and buckles, clothing seams and stitches, ammunition belts etc galore.  It is definitely not a GW 'heroic' scale style.  I am very scared of what to do when it comes to painting them as there are loads of tiny details on all of them.

Lucky Lucy, Ash and Jaheeda are all a bit samey in looks, with Jaheeda standing out due to her odd out of scale size (noticeable in that group shot - shes the larger looking one on the far right of the photo).

They were all a bit of a pain to put together, with tiny little bits on some of them, and mould gates in the oddest spot, but I imagine that's the cost of spin casting them to a high enough quality level that you don't get lots of bubbles/voids where resin cant flow too.  The resin itself is on the brittle side of FW resin - but nothing like the gunk GW put out under its Finecast banner. 
W101 on the sprue
Svetlana on the sprue
I've only popped them onto the standard slotta bases for now while I ponder what sort of basing I want them on.  I also have to go back in and tidy off a few mould lines I noticed in the pictures, as well as fill in a few tiny gaps on some of the joins with GS.

Overall, if the rest of the minis eventually turn up and are of the same quality, I will be a very happy Muppet.  As I say, not sure what to actually use them for now, but at least I will have something new to build and to distract me from painting more Orks, without the need to spend any money seeing I paid for these near 2 years ago.

For those that stuck through the wall of text, Huzzah for you! HUZZAH!

Cheers all,

Muppet

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

062. Something different and more of the same...

I was saying to the lads the other day how my mojo was waning this past week and I had struggled to pick up the brush.  After such a massive start to the year, I'd been expecting the wall to have crept up and smacked me right in the face at some point, but I'd hoped that would have happened in the colder months around June, rather than this early in the year.

While I say the mojo is waning, its not to say its gone for good.  I have pushed on a tad with my Boys I started, there are at the base skin stage (I know there were some comments on my last Ork post to the effect to try and mix up the skin, but I haven't done that on this batch - I have a few odds and sods Orks I'll save that for at a later stage).
WIP Orks and Nurgle Lord from the other night
Instead of Orks, my eyes were drawn to the plastic Fantasy Nurgle Lord that I'd modified slightly by adding a holstered pistol and trimming down the horns on his shoulder pad, plus slapping him on a round base.  He's sat in a partially finished state for months.  Looking at him, I had the urge to get away from green and work on his fleshy parts.

I mixed a whole mess of pinks, purples, buffs and tans and green tones together on my palette and then started just brushing them on, James Wappel style.  I eventually got to a point where I had a half decent layer with respectable highlights in various tones. which were enhanced from the prior layers of paint and quite dark washes I'd hit at the first time I laid paint to the mini.

I thought it was in a good place so I went to my collection of washes and made a mix of reds, greens, purple and blue, keeping some of each primary colour to the side, and then started selective washing around the mini.  The end result was a really characterful (to my eyes) shade of decaying skin.  You get a sense in the picture collage below (another idea borrowed from the brothers Wier) of the different tones, but its lost something in the translation through pictorial medium.
The finalised Lord - not sure why the collage maker cropped the pictures but you get the idea
I finished it off with a cliched hyper yellow for the snot glob falling over the axe haft, and a basic metal and wash effect on the axe (really think it could have done with a rust effect but I didn't fancy trying that with the axe attached so close to the body - next time I have that idea I'll work on the mini in components).  I painted the chain mail in standard metallics, and the loin cloth/skin as worn skin.  The pants got a camo green treatment to offset the existing darker green armour that I'd worked on many moons ago.

He's not my finest mini, but he looks good to me and was a nice change from the Orks, and something to kick start what I think is going to be my next painting project after the Orks are done - my mixed Chaos Renegade Guardsmen and Marines.

Taking even a few nights away from the Orks has been good to refresh my painting motivation.  It's back to the Orks for this coming weeks,  although I'm behind, I'd still like to finish the four on my desk by the end of March.

Cheers all,

Muppet

Monday, 16 March 2015

061. A look back at young Muppets evolution of style...

James (otherwise known as the Hobbyist - who really needs to get back on with this blogging lark), one of the likely lads in our gaming group posted up a corker of an image on our group page the other day showing off his first mini he ever painted (a GW intro lesson Space Marine in Ultramarine colours) next to one of his new Imperial Fists he has been working on.  He challenged us all to dig around and see if we could find our firsts.  We had a good laugh reminiscing and smack talking our young selves efforts.

One thing that stood out was how Ray (Col. Ackland) and myself had come into the hobby as kids, whereas James found it later in life.  The standards on display on our firsts demonstrated that, with mine and Rays (Rays in particular - god awful mini prep and lovely thick paint application) being demonstrative of younger, over eager self taught painters, whereas James' benefited from a more mature approach, guided in part by the able assistance of a GW Red Shirt.  James for example kept all his colours within the lines, picked out fine details like eye lenses and the like, like a pro, and had a general tidy appearance.

Looking back at mine makes me glad I've kept them, as its demonstrated just how far I'd come over time, in both planning and execution.  My very first minis were the five Marines that came in the old 2nd Ed Warhammer 40K starter paint set.  Those minis (unfortunately for the purposes of this post) were stripped about 6 months back after Garfy posted about his efforts to paint up in classic scheme the old Second Edition starter box set (I highly recommend everyone go have a look HERE, and look back at his WIP posts - such a brilliant, nostalgia driven collection of posts).

So instead I dug out some of my Original Terminator minis and the last version of Marneus Calgar which had been painted around the same time and to 12 year old Muppets high and lofty standards.
Classic Ultramarines on plain green bases
What eye candy I put on for you fellow bloggers!  These guys benefited from a hand brushed Skull White undercoat, followed by varying thicknesses (apparently young Muppet wasn't aware of the benefits water brought to painting miniatures) of classic Ultramarine Blue, some Blood Red and Bolt Gun Metal.  Chestnut ink was all the rage back then, so Calgars cloak received three or four washes off it to shade it.  I'd learnt by the time I got to Calgar to reapply a white base coat over any spilt over blue, whenever I wanted to paint yellow as this made it much more vibrant, and much less blue-yellow.

The highlight of that era of painting really was discovering the benefits of using white as a base to make reds and yellows pop, as well as the inadvertent wet blending I achieved on Calgars sword sheath which transitioned the flame from red, through orange (mixing yellow and red as I didn't have any actual orange paint) and ending with yellow.

Nothing was shaded, nothing was washed.  Everything was flat colours, generally one coat only.  Highlighting didn't exist in my repertoire.  The most arty I got was adding 'blood effect' using splotched on green paint on my swords.  Mini prep consisted of using a blunt pair of school scissors to cut parts from a sprue, and dig into the plastic for realistic battle damage.  The sprue points on the bases tell you how fastidious I was with my prep.
Silent Guard (DIY Chapter) Land Speeder with sponge weathering - my basing has improved with new tools in the arsenal - static grass, basing grit, drybrushing!
Towards the end of high school I stopped collecting/painting and didn't come back into it until I was back at uni and had moved in with the missus. At that point a lot of my Marines went into a vat of brake fluid to strip them and then got a cursory brush over with an old toothbrush before being repainted, this time with genuine GW rattle can Chaos Black spray paint as a primer.  Those Marines of that era belonged to my DIY Chapter, the Silent Guard.

My early efforts were much like my original Ultras, but grey, and with the benefit of black ink lining which was my go too 'pop' tool.  Around this time I started seriously attending my local (now defunct) GW store and from that, I started painting more and more, and learning new ways to paint from the store lads.  I started applying base coats, layers, targeted washes, and basic highlights, as well as messed around with different methods of applying battle damage (black splotches with metal/steel inner splotches, dark base coat colour splotches with metallic inner splotches, sponge chipping etc).

Again unfortunately, most of that army ended up in a Simple Green bath when I got serious about miniatures again in the last three years (after another brief slow down/hiatus), so I only have a few vehicles left to show off what they looked like.  The Land Speeder shown was one of the re-purposed Ultramarine vehicles which instead of being stripped, just had new primer applied resulting in some thicker/rougher sections of paint.  As a mini though, it still stands up as one of my better paint jobs and one I'd stand by now.
My current generation Ultras
My current generation Marines are a mix of old, stripped for the second or third time (I had a small dalliance with a Badab War Minotaurs army at one point), and new models.  I went for a darker 'cobalt' blue as my reading of HH books always paints a picture of dark blue armour, rather than the brighter blue of GW styled armour.  These guys benefit from every trick in my current arsenal.  Proper mini prep, airbrushable primer, airbrushed base coats and primary highlighting, washes, glazes, edge highlighting (something I am woeful at and need to really work on - placement being one of the biggest things to figure out), proper basing materials, proper planning about what I want the army to look like etc.

Looking back, I've gone full circle, back to my roots in collecting an Ultramarines force, though the transition in capability and effect is obvious in my minds eye.  I don't regret my early stuff, as I did gain immeasurable pleasure as a younger hobbyist collecting, building, painting and playing with my miniatures of the time.  I genuine had a fully painted army that I would throw down against my mates armies every weekend throughout my first years of high school.  It was a real blast back then.

I'm only now closing in on a fully painted force again, this time my Orks.  Its only taken 17 years in between.  My Marines languish in a state of mixed colours, some only base plastic/resin, others in primer.  Only the four lads pictured are actually painted, and I have plans to revisit them at some point once I finally nut out a quicker way to paint Marines, and what I am actually doing with highlights.

I hope you've all enjoyed this break from my endless WIP posts about Orks.  If you've still got them, dig out your first mini, reminisce of a sweeter, more innocent time, and ponder how far you've all come on your own hobby journeys.

Cheers all,

Muppet

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

060. Boys Waaagh On!

This week sees the four Ork Boys that have been on my table finished, joining the other lads I've variably finished over the course of the last few years.  This completes my first 10 Boy Mob (not really a Mob but its all about the vibe as the cool people say).  
One 'mob' of Boys ready to Waagh! with accompanying Nob escort
Sadly, next up is more of the same - more Boys.  I have another 10 in the queue to do and figured I should make a start on them before getting onto something more interesting like the Deff Koptas.  I have said to the lads in the group that I'd hope to be able to finish the next 4 Boys by the end of the month, but that might be a stretch as motivation waned a bit on these 4, and I have some days away towards the end of the month.
An earlier WIP shot after the skin and teeth were done, but before leathers and clothing was finished
So interwebs, I'll be boring you for the next couple of weekly updates with yet more WIP Ork Boys - which I'm sure is a thrilling prospect for you all.  I might just try and do up some other spot updates to break it up a bit.
The four likely lads finished off this week
Cheers all,

Muppet

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

059. Boyz go to Waagh (WIP)...

Another week down and a bit further into my Ork Waaagh!

Since I completed the Kans, I have started on the last four Boyz for my first Boy squad.  This is another 3 Chopper/Slugga Boyz and a Boy with a Big Shoota.  These are all from the Black Reach set from a few years ago.

Over four nights I managed to get the bases done, the base metallics (including wash), the reds and checks and then started on the skin. Apologies for the rubbish photos, I stole them of the Facebook group page as I don't have them on the phone anymore.
Bases completed - though I have gone back in with Bleached Bone and lightened them a tad
Metallics laid down and washed - I'll darken the bare metal again at a later stage once I see how the whole mini is looking
The reds at an intermediate stage - I went back in and chipped in around the edges with Chainmail, then brightened the reds some more
Checks and base layer of the green skin completed
Skin washed and the second layer tone added
I'm hoping to get the skin and claws done by the end of the working week, and then the leather and clothes over the weekend.

Cheers all,

Muppet