Saturday, 17 March 2018

Thoughts from my desk - Titania, MiniCrate, and other Miscellany

I've had a lot of random thoughts about the hobby recently, and as I finish my first miniature of the year (its taken a while I know!), I thought I'd take some time to ramble and lay out some of the ideas and opinions I've had floating around in my head.

I was lucky enough to manage to pick up the alternate sculpt for Titania last Black Friday and I've had a lot of fun painting up the undead faerie queen. I tried as best I could to achieve a middle ground between her standard colour scheme and her appearance on the classic Red Joker artwork, and I think I've succeeded. Though I don't know if I'll ever build a crew for her, I can see her easily being the first of several Malifaux miniatures that I pick up solely for the pleasure of painting.

I have only recently been made aware of Privateer Press's 'MiniCrate', which is a miniatures version of the loot crate business model. For those of you who aren't aware of it and fancy a look heres a link: MiniCrate. I've got a lot of thoughts on this because on a basic level it really appeals to me as a collector and a painter, which I think is really the target audience for this. After all, the miniatures that are part of this product are simply alternate sculpts and seemingly chosen at random from across the various factions, so not much use to gamers. I quite like the idea of getting a new miniature every month to just paint up and have on display, especially as most of these alternative sculpts are quite cool-looking. The 'mystery' aspect is what I think is the greatest turn-off for most people, as there's a good chance of not getting a miniature for any of your factions or even one you actually like. Miniatures can be quite expensive and it would be disappointing to end up buying something you don't even like the look of. Indeed, the whole thing seems quite expensive for just a single miniature every month, especially for anyone like me who does not live in the United States. While a novel and interesting idea, the whole thing doesn't quite work for me. Privateer Press aren't particularly my favourite miniatures manufacturer as far as aesthetic goes and I'm not deeply into the lore of the game, but I did think this product worthy of a mention as I can see it, or something similar to it, being successful in the future and possibly attracting me.

Now onto a few bits of misc. thoughts I've had about my miniatures recently...

Horribly flat colours in desperate need of a highlight, ideally two
I'm thinking of doing something with my Lord of the Rings miniatures this year. They are painted in quite a basic fashion and would benefit simply from a few highlights, a bit of dry brushing, and maybe some better basing. I also ended up with a part-complete second-hand Mumakil about two years ago I really ought to do something with. Of course I have other, more pressing painting matters to attend to first, but I can easily see my Easterlings or Uruk-Hai getting a little attention in future.

Last year I was able to get hold of some second-hand Sisters of Silence which I've not really done anything with yet, but I have added a converted Astropath, an imprisoned psyker (to use as an objective marker), and some Tempestus Scions to represent the Black Sentinels of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. I think I am going to use these as an allied detachment for my Custodes and paint them in the same way. Hopefully in future we will see some manner of combined 40k Talons of the Emperor codex and I can have my Custodes and Silent Sisters fight side by side properly.

Such an incredible miniature, just the right balance of detail and simple elegance 
Though I still have lots of Death stuff to paint, I have been greedily eyeing the new Daughters of Khaine miniatures. I am very tempted to pull my Dark Elves out of storage and start putting some of my Witch Elves on round bases in preparation for getting Morathi and some of her new mutant aelves. The main thing stopping me is the financial burden of my upcoming Custodes project (as well as all my other unfinished projects!), though later on in the year I can see myself splurging on some Daughters of Khaine. First however I have a tonne of ghouls and skeletons to paint, and won't consider getting anything else for Age of Sigmar until they are done.

Coming up on the blog soon should be my Malifaux miniatures which I am close to finishing; after which should hopefully be a little bit of Eisenhorn, some progress on my Lich war band, and possibly a bit of Age of Sigmar if I can get the colours on this next war band right. Life has continued to be hectic recently but I am managing to get some bits of hobbling in when I can.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

2017 Hobby Review and 2018 Goals

I already know the new Custodes will ruin my plans to
finish everything else this year...
Back in February last year I wrote a post on my Hobby Goals for 2017 and decided to do the same again this year (probably ought to try and remember to do it in January next year). I have managed to do a fair bit of hobby stuff these past 12 months, admittedly not as much as I would have liked, but I thought I ought to do a bit of a year in review again and set some goals for this next year. Unfortunately I have been quite ill this past month and will be on medication for the next few so I may not end up being as productive as I would like but hopefully things will pick up soon!

Finished Projects

- Menoth - I actually got this army finished! It was a bit of a slog halfway through but I'm happy with the gritty, alternative look for the Protectorate I have achieved. Unfortunately I don't really plan of having any games of Warmachine in the near future and I have no intention of adding to this force any time soon so I think I'll be putting it on display.

Amontekh the Arboralist - This random late-year mini-project for my Rogue Trader character was a fun distraction from work. Unfortunately I have had to temporarily drop out of my Rogue Trader games until my health improves, but hopefully Amontekh will reactive his reanimation protocols soon!

Scourge Privateers - I started this small war band for Age of Sigmar during the summer, inspired by Nick Horth's fantastic book: City of Secrets. Just before Christmas I managed to get them finished, which at least stopped a new random project carrying over into the new year! Pictures of the finished miniatures will appear on the blog when I get round to photographing them.

Work in progress

Base colours all on
- Dark Angels - Over the summer I begun an army-wide repaint, as well as minor conversion works on my Dark Angels. I forgot to take pictures over the summer but managed to get one or two over Christmas just to prove I have been working on them! I've decided to go for a metallic green look using some of the technical paints which is still rather WIP but is proving lots of fun to experiment with.

- Witch-Hunters - I also begun an army-wide repaint of this force, as well as the addition of new miniatures. Problems with desk space in my new apartment and St. Celestine's wings (I cant get them quite right) has hampered progress and motivation.

Percival, Pin-up Dark Paladin, and Twilight Knight Detective
all in various WIP stages 
- Misc. Kingdom Death - There has been some small progress with my backlog of Kingdom Death miniatures. I have completed some more pin-ups but I still haven't gotten around to photographing any of my stuff and putting it on the blog.

- Tomb Kings - Some progress but not a lot. My brother swears I'm never going to finish repainting them...

- Shadow War - I started a Astra Militarum Shadow War gang which I'm hoping to perhaps use for Necromunda and other 40k skirmish games as well. This is mostly in the planning/assembling stage and I don't have any photos yet.

A travel-weary Knight-Questor in the Realm of Death
- Misc. Age of Sigmar Stuff - I have managed to paint a few random miniatures for Age of Sigmar. Not as many as I would like but some have been done. When I've made more substantial progress I'll post pictures.

- Malifaux - I have started to play Malifaux which has been great fun. I got the Guild's Judgement crew box which I've started work on and I also got a few random miniatures for Christmas I cant wait to get some paint on as well.

- Lich Warband - steadily progressing but never seemingly enough to warrant an update. Though I started strong on this project (and didn't put any of it on the blog, typical!) it has slowed to being something I work on while I wait for other things to dry, hopefully I can get more work done on it soon.

No Progress (List of Shame!)

The Duc' d'Castlefells, one of the few minis I've actually finished for my FEC
- Flesh-Eater Courts - Unfortunately, despite my big plans for my Age of Sigmar army I have not managed to get any progress done on my ghouls. Part of this is due to the amount of 40k hype that has been going on this past year (which prompted the Witch-Hunters and Dark Angel repaints) and that I currently don't have space in my new apartment to get this large project out to work on. I am hoping that the 'Malign Portents' event will give me the motivation to get on with this project, even if i don't participate in the campaign itself.

- Imperial Guard - I actually forgot this was an ongoing project! I'll no doubt turn to it when my Witch-Hunters are done.

Goals for 2018

- Get some 40k armies finished!! - firstly I need to get some 40k stuff finished as my Witch Hunters, Dark Angels, and Imperial Guard are all stuck in a kind of limbo as I am working on them. I probably ought to have just chosen one to work on but hopefully I'll start getting through them this year!

- Work on my Flesh-Eater Courts - With Malign Portents approaching I think I'll finally get round to doing some meaningful work on my undead armies. I have been quite enjoying the build-up and mystery surrounding the next phase of the Age of Sigmar, and I think the campaign they are running looks increasingly interesting, though due to my health and backlog of other projects I don't think I'll have the chance to play and paint along.

My small, but slowly growing collection
- More Malifaux - I have quite enjoyed working on my first crew and having played a brief game over Christmas I think I could really get into this! I think I would like to not only get some more Malifaux miniatures but get some more games in as well. The use of a deck of cards instead of dice is really interesting and quite fun even if luck is very rarely on my side! In fact I'm already making plans to increase my Lady Justice crew and am contemplating which master I might buy for my next crew so I have a bit of variety.

Looking forward to when Morathi's new miniature comes out! 
- Daughters of Khaine - Dark Elves were my first Warhammer love and I don't think I can possibly resist such awesome new miniatures. I don't know when the new Daughters of Khaine will be coming out, so I think I'm going to have to try and get my Flesh-Eaters painted before they are released! I can already feel my wallet cringing and if anything is going to derail my plans for hobbying this year it will be the army of the Shadow Queen. I do already have a bit of a head start as I can rebase and repaint some of the miniatures from my old Dark Elf army (some Witch Elves, Warlocks, a Medusa, and a Cauldron of Blood), so I can just add some of the new stuff when its released and hopefully have a decent force.


As usual I have started or just worked on far more projects than actually finishing. I do naively believe that one day I will just have one or two projects going on at a time! In order to motivate myself I have decided that every time I finish a project, I will treat myself to a box of Custodes. I love the miniatures, in fact it was the preview of Captain-General Trajann Valoris that made me decide I wanted to do a small force of them as I thought his model was just brilliant. Hopefully such motivation will allow me to hurry up and get some things finished!

I just love these two miniatures, I cant wait to get my hands on them! 
While my health is not the best right now, and university stuff is pressing, I do hope I will be able to make the time for a bit of hobbying every now and again. In fact this past week I have managed to get some more paint on my Malifaux miniatures though they are still a ways from being finished. The year ahead look interesting and I hope that I can get plenty of painting done, get a few games in, and make some new purchases. I'll do my best to keep the blog updated and when I do this again next year I plan on having gotten more done!

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Amontekh the Arboralist

These past two months I have been playing in a game of Rogue Trader where the GM allowed us to play whatever we wanted. I decided that the only logical option for me would be a Necron Botanist, because there aren't enough nice gardens in the 41st millennium. Thus far we've spent more time harassing NPCs than actually getting on with any plot but we've certainly been having a good time!

Though we aren't using miniatures in our campaign, I couldn't resist putting one together for my character. I managed to get the Necron Overlord from the Command Barge really cheap on eBay and then it was just a simple matter of reposing him and adding some robes and a seed bag in green stuff. Though the miniature has a war scythe and a resurrection orb, I didn't think it would be too much of a stretch of the imagination for these to be a staff of light and an aetheroscope which is what my character is equipped with. 

Many millennia ago, Amontekh served at the court of the Nihilakh Dynasty as Lord-Gardner of the Grand Arboreum. Gifted in the botanical sciences he gladly accepted the bio-transference offered by the C'Tan so that he might live to see his work spread across the star and the gardens he planted grow to full maturity. His masterpiece was the so-called Grand Arboreum; an entire moon converted into a monstrous greenhouse for the cultivation of the rarest and most impressive of specimens the Necrontyr could gather. 

However, during the War in Heaven, the ancestors of the Eldar burned the Grand Arboreum to the ground, causing the extinction of many rare and wonderful plants that Amontekh had spent several lifetimes cultivating. With the destruction of his great greenhouses, Amontekh's rage was immense, yet even after the Necron victory over the Old Ones he felt only hollowness rather than the joy of vengeance. 

Nothing could replace the grandeur of the Grand Arboreum, and clad now in bodies fo necrodermis, his brethren cared little for the Lord-Gerdner's talents. He existed a while as a strange oddity at the Nihilakh court, the lords he served having no interest in the raising of new, verdant palace grounds. Depressed and despondent, instead of entering the Great Sleep with the rest of his species, Amontekh decided to wander the galaxy carrying little more than his ceremonial staff of office and a bag of seeds. Hoping that somewhere he might find a renewed meaning to his existence. 

Not even Amontkh can remember all the places he has been. Innumerable worlds have been blessed with his arts and there are many planets with unusual megaflora he has doubtlessly passed. Over the years he has reintroduced a great many different plants long thought lost to the universe as well as experimenting with new breeds which he will release into an environment to see if it takes hold in a cold and uncaring universe. 

Ever since the rise of humanity, Amontekh has lived among them, blending in amongst the masses either within stolen skin or pretending to be a loyal servitor. He finds humans fascinating and much reminiscent of the ancient Necrontyr, able to appreciate the beauty of nature when such miracles are presented to them. Known across the Imperium as the myth of 'The Green Man', or the 'Silent Gardner', Amontekh has recently attracted the attention of the Inquisitors attempting to ascertain the true nature of this mysterious wandering botanist. Not wishing to find himself on the wrong end of a boltgun the Necron has begun travelling with exploratory fleets and Rogue Traders on the edge of known space in order to keep his anonymity while searching out new life to add to his seed collection. 

Though often given to melancholy and the occasional desire to wipe out all organic lifeforms for their ignorance when presented with true beauty, Amontekh generally humours the younger races of the galaxy as he believes that one day they may be the only ones able to appreciate his talents once he feels the time is right to raise the Grand Arboreum once more...

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Autumn Workbench - Malifaux, Monsters, and More

I have been incredibly busy over the past few months but I have managed to get quite a few hobby things done in my spare time (i.e. procrastinating between more important things!). While I haven't managed to work on my Flesh-Eater Court or my Witch-Hunters, I have managed to do plenty of work on side projects. 

One of my main projects for this year, though smaller than my main army projects, is an experimental Lich Warband which I'm not putting together for any particular reason than wanting to try out some random painting/modelling ideas. The core of the war band are some small groups of skeletal warriors which are nearly done, just the basing and final details to do now.

One of my favourite miniatures GW has ever produced is Krell and I decided earlier this year to buy him on a whim, adding him to this project as leader of my skeletons. I even largely painted him like the GW scheme but with minor variations to fit the rest of the war band.

Perhaps my favourite conversion for this project thus far is this random Vampire Priest I cobbled together from spare parts. I wanted him to look like a non-combat orientated character, but more shamanistic than wizardly which I like to think I have achieved. 

With the Skeletal core of the army almost finished, I have started work on a Command Squad of wights as heavier hitters. This little unit is led by a character I'm currently just calling Lord Famine that I mounted upon a slightly-converted cow from the Giant kit, a piece that I've been wanting to use for ages now. This weird squad is probably most representative of the design philosophy of this project; that being pure creativity and experimentation. 

I've also managed to get a fair bit done on this Corsair war band for Age of Sigmar which I converted over the summer. It has been quite fun doing something a little different, even if it has admittedly distracted me from more important projects. I've used these miniatures as a test for using Tamiya Clear Red, as I'm currently considering a Horus Heresy project which I might use this colour for. 

I've also made a load of progress on the Malifaux stuff I ordered over the summer. I still have quite a way to go with these miniatures but I'm quite pleased with them thus far. I'm hoping that over the Christmas period I will be able to get my hands on The Jury for this crew as well as get in some of my first games of Malifaux.

Looking back at my hobby plans for the year, I realise that I have had mixed results thus far to say the least. I'm hoping that by the end of the year I will have managed to finish off the three projects mentioned above as well as get some other stuff done as well. After buying the Malifaux stuff in September I decided not to buy anymore miniatures until I had gotten more of my unpainted stuff done as I seem to have entered a never-ending cycle of starting new projects without finishing old ones while continuing to ignore my Tomb Kings. At the start of next year I shall do a 'year-in-review' post and we shall see how successful I have been! 

Monday, 11 September 2017

Starting Malifaux - The Guild's Judgement

With all of my Warmachine stuff painted I felt like I could justify starting a new, non-GW project and I finally managed to convince my brother to get into Malifaux with me. I've fancied getting some of Malifaux's miniatures for years as I think their plastics are simply gorgeous. Though they lack the customisability of GW I do think Wyrd's miniatures are of a similar quality as the level of detail and the crispness of the sculpts are top-notch. The style of sculpt is certainly different, incorporating much more flat space than GW and being more in line with true-scaling than heroic scaling, but I have encountered this kind of thing before with Kingdom Death miniatures and I look forward to the challenge.

For my first crew I have decided to go with 'The Guild's Justice' crew because they are ghost-rider-esque cowboys who are led by a blind ninja lady who is literally called Lady Justice. It doesn't really get much cooler than that in my opinion! As a fan of Westerns I think it is quite likely that as I expand into Malifaux further I will probably stick with the Guild as my main faction and I have already bought the Brutal Effigy to support any Guild crews I build.

As this is such a small model count game I plan on painting each miniature individually in order to try and paint them to the best of my ability. While I do like the colour scheme presented in the art, I would like to try and incorporate more of the Guild's signature colour of red into my miniatures though I'm not yet sure how I'm going to do this. I'd also like to give NMM a try but I've had mixed results with this in the past and may abandon it if I can't get the metallics quite right.

Once I have painted up this crew I think I will pick up a few more general Guild enforcers and minions that can run well with most masters before picking up Perdita Ortega or Sonnia Criid's crew box so I have another master to play with. I'd also love to get the Brutal Emissary as the miniature is simply badass and I'd love to see it stomp across the board terrifying my brother! He has started off with Seamus's crew but has no intention of staying within a given faction and is likely to pick up a range of different crews. As we are going to be away from home for the next few months at university we probably won't have chance for a game until near Christmas, but when we do I will make sure to post my thoughts on the blog.

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