Thursday, 5 October 2017

Painting with an injured hand


Yesterday I somehow cut the side of my right index finger open. Holding a paintbrush hurts like hell right now and delicate work is just impossible. Obviously, that means the Bretonnians and the Tale Of 1 Warden are on hiatus for a week or two. Bretonnians are the very definition of “delicate work” and I am not screwing this project up for anything. So the question becomes: what can I do while this heals?

Let us apply logic (and analgesics) to the problem. A lot of the early stages of painting a miniature are forgiving of mistakes: basecoating, inks, large areas of drybrushing. I can use this time to get a bunch of models started and finish off the details once my finger's better. I have a whole bunch of Flesh Tearers models that are just basecoated in red spray and one of the benefits of their colour scheme is that a lot of it is just two flat colours.

Yes, yes, starting things and not finishing them is a real problem of mine but progress is progress and if that's all I can do I might as well do it without guilt, mightn't I?

Even then, though, after a while the finger starts to really, really hurt. Its the position I have to hold the brush in.

Now, snips and a plastic scraper... those I seem to be able to hold for longer and there are some building projects I want to get to. I ordered some spare sets of legs to make some Sternguard for my Flesh Tearers (“In the grim darkness of the far future there is no job satisfaction”); I have some Eternal Guard I want to hybridise with spare Sister of Avelorn parts to make Maiden Guard; and I have a conversion kit from Grimskull Miniatures for making an amazing Death Guard Rhino.
Yes, it is the cheekiest third party miniature I have ever purchased but screw it look how pretty!

I could also take baby steps in getting over my fear of painting my Lord of Change and get the all-over blue wash and drybrush stages done. That model legitimately terrifies me. Its gorgeous but so very complicated.

I'm bummed that I have to put the Bretonnians on the back burner but I'd rather pause the project than do it badly. 

Saturday, 30 September 2017

A Tale of 1 Warden #7: Qualified Failure

I hit a roadblock a week or so back. The yellow that came out so well on the Archers came out patchy and horrible on the knights so I had to go back to the drawing board on one of the major colours for this army. So I haven't got much more done than the Archers I showcased a while back.

Still, I've managed to get a better yellow now and should the sun ever come out again I'll hopefully get some pictures up soon. It won't take me too long to finish the Battalion, though the peasant command groups are proving a little more challenging than I expected.

As to this coming month's challenge, to be completed alongside the remaining models from the Battalion, I'm going to keep it simple. The challenge is a unit of infantry or cavalry and I'm going to pick cavalry. In fact, I'm going to paint a second unit of Knights Of The Realm. This one won't take so long, hopefully, as I now have the methods for painting horses pretty much down and this unit will be painted in the simpler colour scheme of the Duke of Gisoreux (red and black, very simple colours to lay down). 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

A Tale of 1 Warden #6: The Horse Barrier


Chipping away at the peasant units in my Battalion I was starting to feel confident with the bright colours and basic methods I want to tie these first few units together so I decided to finally tackle the Knights of the Realm. I'd even found the White Dwarf with the best horse painting tutorial GW ever published (May 2013, the 8th edition High Elves release, and it uses the modern paint system if you ever want to track a copy down).

Now, I only have myself to blame for my current fatigue. I have eight knights, the tutorial has eight methods and I forgot just how difficult the horse bit of the Bretonnia Knights models were to paint.
This is how one reaches what I have come to call The Horse Barrier.

There was this facetious comment that did the rounds back when Age Of Sigmar was about to launch about why Fantasy was meant to die: “No one likes painting horses.” Its an extremely over-simplified, sarcastic and downright odd belief but I am starting to sympathise.

Now, I don't usually mind painting horses but Bretonnian warhorses are amongst the most user-unfriendly models in the Warhammer canon. The way the legs are moulded into the barding, not always distinctively, means you're constantly trying to reach your brush through the middle of the model at odd angles.
Oh, and the one I was painting as a light bay went a bit wrong and now I have an orange horse and no motivation to fix it. I just want to move on. Sir Donald that knight will be or whatever medieval French equivalent I can find.

Moaning aside I know there's an element of Half Finished Model Syndrome going on. Right now the models look dispiritingly awful because I've spent several sessions over the better part of a week getting only the smallest element of the model done and the rest is undercoat. They look terrible but once I have some more of the model done, like the big block colours of the barding and knight's tabards, it'll look better even if the horses aren't up to much.

The yellow on the Archers isn't actually that consistent but once its part of a complete model with other colours around it the eye is a lot more forgiving. 

Saturday, 23 September 2017

My favourite Elf


There are a few models I really regret not picking up when I had the chance and, thankfully, eBay exists so for the most part I've been able to track them down quite cheaply. One that eluded me until last week was a particular High Elves Mage that I always loved but missed the boat on and finally I've found one for cheap:
(Incidentally, yes, I do have the other arm but he fell apart in transit and I need to acid bath him).

It would probably be easier to explain what I love about this model using a properly painted example so here's the version from (I think) an old Army Book:
Now, I'm no metal snob. White metal was a horrible material that hated undercoat, chipped like crazy and somehow hated glue more than it hated paint so the models would just periodically collapse. HOWEVER, for a while in the early-2000s GW used the material to produce some of the best character models they'd ever put out.

Which is where our elf here comes in. He was one of a set of Mages that came out for the seventh edition and I adore the little guy. He might not be the most dynamic model but I feel that works. He's not floating in the air or throwing out fireballs, in fact he's posed more like an Empire Engineer than a typical wizard which is awfully fitting. Elves are the most magical race in the game, naturally, and to them magic isn't a floaty, wibbly mystery its science. This guy is holding a crystal ball as if it were a scientific device because, to him, it is. His clothing is arranged in enough layers that a two tone colour scheme will still look visually interesting but not so many layers that it looks too hard to paint.

He also looks mildly offended, probably unintentionally but that's so very High Elf, isn't it? 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

A Tale of 1 Warden #5: Overdue Showcasin'


Yesterday, all of a surprise, the sun came out. My house is truly the worst place to take photographs. It is literally aligned against the passage of the sun so even the garden doesn't get good enough light half the time (nevermind British weather) and I cannot wait for that light tent to arrive.

Anyway, the first completed models for my Bretonnians: half a unit of Peasant Archers! The rest of the Battalion is in various states ranging from half-finished to barely started but I'm still very much enjoying the project. So, precious, precious photographic evidence:

These were a lot of fun to paint and quite easy once I'd broken down in my head what was hard leather, what was cloth I wanted to be brown and what was cloth I wanted to paint in grubby heraldic colours. Originally the halved yellow and red was going to be the colours of a random knight champion but I like the contrast so much they're going to be the colours of my general's family (and of the Errants and Realm Knights of his household, just to make my life easier).

I was surprised by how well the yellow came out, actually, which I put down more to the Zandri Dust undercoat than any actual skill on my part. Between these and some Skinks I've been painting on the side using Macragge Blue undercoat I finally feel sold on using different coloured sprays.

As to the rest of the Battalion: the remaining Archer are about half done; the Men-At-Arms are just getting started with just some flesh tones filled; and, the Knights are taking a while to start because I'm painting each horse a different colour, partly as a colour test but mostly because since I'm painting them in uniform heraldry I want something to make the models looks more like individuals.

With eleven days of Month One to go I doubt I'll get everything all the way done but I'm making progress I'm more than happy with.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

The Legion of Substitute Miniatures #1: Female Chaos Marauders


With Warhammer Fantasy no longer being a going proposition I'm always on the lookout for interesting alternative models. The other day I was trawling eBay on my regular trawl for out of production High Elves characters (there are so many great ones...) and after a little link-following stumbled across these:
Shieldwolf Miniatures' Shield Maiden Infantry. Twenty models with options for hand weapons, shields, spears and crossbows. For my purposes the crossbows aren't important but I mention them for completeness.

Now, it may seem unfair to look at these models and see them only as alternatives for another company's models but, to be frank, there's no chance that I'd ever get to play Shieldwolf's own game system so this is the only way they'd get my money.

(Well, that an eBay seller would get my money and they got his money but you know what I mean. Money was got and ultimately it was got because I play Warhammer.)

So, female Chaos Marauders. There's a Kickstarter coming soon for more heavily armoured female miniatures who could easily be their Chaos Warriors. So, if you ever wanted to do Valkia's Horde of Chaos Ladies or just wanted to represent the fact the Norscans are a warrior culture and that maybe their womenfolk might be involved here's a good option.

You could also use them as Kislevite Kossars which would be a good use for the crossbows. I know Kossars are armed with ordinary bows rather than crossbows but they have access to Empire technology so it wouldn't be entirely out of line or you could simply count the crossbows as ordinary bows. Kislevites are quick on their feet it makes sense that they'd have worked out how to walk and aim at the same time.

For my part, though, they'll be Marauders because, as usual, my conception of Chaos is very, very influenced by the less technologically advanced peoples of Game of Thrones so basically a cross between Dothraki, the Free Folk and the Hill Tribes.

Any character I create for them will be less annoying than Ygritte. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

That time I cheated for six years and it never mattered


In my defense no one seems sure how this started but for almost the whole time I used my old Bretonnia army I was cheating with my trebuchet.

In fairness, it wasn't deliberate and everyone seemed to think we were doing it right. You see, back when the 6th ed. Bretonnia book hit the Field Trebuchet was the most powerful stone thrower in the game with its Strength of 5(10). Somehow our entire group managed to convince ourselves that it also used the large round template.

It didn't. It used the small one same as every other stone thrower.

Anyway six years later I'm playing a game with someone who has never played against Bretonnians before (not an uncommon problem, I mean, the only Bretonnia armies I've ever seen in real life are mine and Tom's and half of Tom's started off as mine) and so I had to explain how things worked as we did them. So, when I fired my Trebuchet for the first time I had to read out the rules...

...and found nothing mentioning the large round template.

I'd cheated for six years.

And it never mattered. I had almost never hit anything with the bloody thing. I had been cheating massively, using a template that could easily annihilate an entire ranked up unit of infantry in one round and somehow no one, not one single member of our group, could remember it influencing a game.

If you want a perfect example of my damned luck this is it: I cheated with the unknowing collusion of everyone it effected for six years in a way that should have swung endless games in my favour and it never mattered