Sunday, 27 January 2019

Project Orc - Part 1

"The age of men is over..."

After flicking through the 'Armies of the Lord of the Rings' book in preparation for doing some new projects, I realised that by simply buying some Orc Warriors I'd be able to field several more armies than I currently can. Due to the somewhat random collection of miniatures I own, I worked out that if I had just one set of basic orcs I could not only bolster my Isengard and Mordor armies, but I could also actually field armies from Angmar and Barad-Dur as I owned relevant heroes but not any warriors.

So I've decided to get myself a bunch of orcs off of eBay, one of which I've converted into a Captain, and three of which I've converted into banner-bearers. Each banner-bearer will have a unique banner: a white hand for Isengard, a spooky-looking sigil for Angmar, and a crimson eye to use for Mordor* so I can switch which banner the squad has to represent which faction they are part of. The orcs themselves will be painted fairly drab and dark so as to fit in with any evil force I choose to use them with.

This little orc project to kick off my Middle-Earth adventures in 2019 will be a great boon to my Lord of the Rings projects and will dramatically increase my ability to get a range of games on the table. As the first supplement to the game coming out is 'Gondor at War', I think my WIP Isengard army is going to be pushed aside in favour of the forces of Mordor. I have just acquired Gothmog and begun rebuilding the Witch-King to lead this army, and I'm looking forward to painting up this rabble and bringing about the time of the orc!

*Tolkien mentions nothing of Sauron's heraldry in the second age (he seems to have adopted the red eye only after his expulsion from Dol Gulder), so I don't think I'll bother converting a banner for a Barad-Dur force. In the rare instance I'll play a game set during the War of the Last Alliance, I will either not field a banner or probably just use the Mordor one and ignore the anachronism.

Sunday, 20 January 2019

Inq28 WIP - Navigators I

So I've finally started work on my little Inq28 war band of Navigators. Thus far its been a whole lot of fun bringing my ideas to life from the original concepts I started coming up with last year. I thought it might be fun at this stage in the project to compare my original concepts with the assembled miniatures and talk about how things developed adapting from page to model.

First up I have my Navigator 'Duelist' who defends the honour of his house. The basis of this miniature is the Navigator from Blackstone Fortress whose cane I have replaced with a fencing rapier. While I originally planned to have him at rest, the angles on the base miniature's arm led to me having the sword pointed up instead so he looks slightly more ready for battle. I also eventually opted for a helmeted head over an exposed mutant one, to try and reinforce his more martial role.

In the process of kit bashing something else I created this bird-cherub thing that now lives on his shoulder. I thought it was delightfully creepy and decided to use it on this miniature of the war band to help frame the sword when viewing the Navigator face-on, as well as evoking the idea of an aristocrat out with his hunting bird.

Next, we have my first big kit-bash based on Commissar Yarrik's body. I mostly stuck to my original plan, the only deviations being a pointing arm as I couldn't get hold of a sextant, scrolls as they fit better than a book, and I felt like adding a backpack which perhaps serves to help coordinate the mechanical birds. Birds have in fact started to become a recurring element in this war band as I have assembled them, and I think I will end up making a crow or raven their sigil when I come to add free-hand designs. I was a little wary of using the slightly large ghoul hand releasing the birds, but I think it helps add some more asymmetry to the miniature and alludes to the mutant nature of the Navigators.

I'm thoroughly enjoying this project and I've already got my other three Navigators in the pipe-line which should hopefully be appearing on the blog sometime soon, first though I have some Middle-Earth stuff to get working on as the armies of Mordor are slowly taking over my desk...

Sunday, 6 January 2019

2018 Hobby Review and 2019 Goals

This seemed oddly relevant to these kinds of posts
Looking back at my hobby review of 2017 and goals for 2018, I think I haven't done too badly this past year! Though its true that I got side tracked and started/finished some projects I didn't mean to, I have gotten more painting done overall than I did in 2017 which I'm counting as a win. I've also posted more on the blog: 24 posts this past year as opposed to only 7 in 2017. In general, I've tried to rest and relax more this 2018, particularly as my health has been exceptionally poor. Painting and writing on this blog has proven to be a great source of relaxation and I hope that I can keep up a good pace of hobby and blogging this new year.

You may also notice that in the past I've posted my 'hobby review' in February as I routinely forget to do it in January, this year however I cheated and wrote this post as the year went along before editing it after Christmas. Coming back to this sporadically as the year went on helped to remind me what my goals were and what projects I was supposed to be working on, and I found it oddly motivating; resulting in me trying to get as many things done or worked on as possible. I can't say I've achieved everything I wanted to this past year, but I must say I'm happier with what I've done in the hobby more than in recent previous years.

Completed Projects

- The Guild's Judgement - My first project of the year to be completed was my first adventure into the world of Malifaux. I had such a blast painting Lady Justice and her crew, and I've enjoyed the games I've had using this system thus far. I hope that I can get some more crews together (I've certainly started making plans!) and games in future.

- Talons of the Emperor- So my plans for this year were kinda derailed a little by the new Custodes miniatures, and despite saying I'd only buy a box each time I finished another project I just went out and bought a load when I had the money. I can however say that this project won't be dragging on and, barring a few touches to bases I still keep considering, this project is done. It has been incredibly fun and very rewarding, and I think in future I would like to tend more towards smaller, more elite forces like this which can be finished relatively quickly and look really good. I do like the idea of continuing to add things to this force, but that may not happen for quite a while. I haven't had an opportunity to photograph them yet, but I'll be putting pictures on the blog at the next opportunity.

- Servath Reznik, Wrath of Ages - As I've decided to fully quit Warmachine (and focus on Malifaux as my non-GW game), I decided to pick up one or two Menoth miniatures I liked to finish off my collection. I've always been a fan of this version of Reznik; it forms a lovely centrepiece to my collection, and it was a nice break to paint teal and silver instead of red and gold!

The Iron-Mongers
- Primaris Kill Team - Not an intended project for this year, but the first issue of Warhammer Conquest was just insane value for money considering you got 3 paints and a brush for only two pounds. The Primaris marines which were in there as well were purely incidental really and seeing as  I had them, I thought I might as well make a little kill team out of them. This was a fun side-project and fortunately didn't take up too much time.

- Storage - One of my side-projects this year has been to create some more elegant storage solutions for my miniatures as they had started to take up quite a bit of room! I have invested in some proper carry cases for my Dark Elf, and Warriors of Chaos/Chaos Dwarf armies, and I've started considering how to store my Dark Eldar and End Times Elves. I'm rather happy that I've been able to store my miniatures in a more efficient manner, and I will no doubt continue to find ways to properly store my completed projects this new year as/when the need arises.


- Age of Sigmar - This past year, spurred on by Malign Portents and the release of Second Edition, I have started doing some stuff for Age of Sigmar which I've been adding to the blog in a narrative project called: 'At the Court of the Silver King'. This continues to be a WIP project but its certainly more progress than last year where I did virtually no AoS stuff at all! You can find all my ongoing Age of Sigmar stuff on the page of that name.

Lots of LOTR WIP...
- WIP Middle-Earth - Because I can't help but make more work for myself; I started doing some converting, painting, and general faffing about with my LOTR miniatures. Partially inspired by GW reinvigorating this part of the hobby with the 'Middle-Earth Strategy Battle Game' rebranding, and partially by a bit of a renewal of Tolkien in my own life this past year as my girlfriend has gotten into his works. Unfortunately most of my Middle-Earth stuff remains very WIP and I have quite a few projects currently in the pipeline. The only thing I have really finished is my 1985 Mouth of Sauron, but I am currently close to completing my Isengard army.

- Witch Hunters - I did a little work on my Witch Hunters last year after starting to repaint them all in 2017. I plan on picking them back up again when the new plastic Battle Sisters are released hopefully later this year. I've certainly got a lot of ideas for what I want to do with them, including what I think should be a really interesting and unique basing scheme as I think I'll have to do a lot of re-basing to 32mm bases.

- 40k warbands - At the end of 2017 I gathered together various spare miniatures I owned that weren't being used for anything and decided to paint them up as several small war bands to use in skirmish games set in 40k; whether that might be Kill Team, Shadow War: Armageddon, Inquisimunda, or whatever. Progress is slow and I'm increasingly considering selling some of them off.

Slowly getting my undead done!
- Lich Army - My experimental Lich army continues to provide me with weird and wonderful conversion/painting opportunities. Though not yet completed, I have enjoyed my work on this side-project immensely. I'm hoping to spend some time on this project over the summer and I'd like to get it done by the end of the year if I have the opportunity.

- Tomb Kings - I've had this army on the back burner for years, though I am slowly getting them done, ultimately for display purposes. I'm sure if I didn't keep finding other projects to do I would have finished repainting this stuff a long while ago.

- Navigators - Last up is a very small project I've just started, which I don't intend on taking up much time at all and should be the very first thing I finish this year. At my Uni's wargaming society there should hopefully be an Inq28 narrative campaign taking off soon, and I've decided to build a group of Navigators to take part. I don't plan on spending much money on getting this project together, and as it will only be about 5 miniatures it won't take long to get finished and on the tabletop.

No Progress (List of Shame)

Remarkably I've managed to get a little bit of everything existing worked upon this year, except for those projects which have disappeared indefinitely:

- Lost Projects - This year there have been some armies I have chosen to get rid of because I have no interest in adding to, playing with, or repainting. My Imperial Guard and my Dark Angels have either been sold or are in the process of being sold, with the intention that funds from them will be put towards pursuing new projects like the impending Sisters of Battle release.

Goals for 2019

- Sisters of Battle - GW have promised the long-awaited plastic Battle Sisters this year. I'd like to try and get as much WIP stuff finished as I possibly can by the time that they are released so that they can become my main and sole focus going into 2020. Of course this relies heavily on GW actually releasing them this year and I think that if they do it will be close to the end of the calendar year.

- Continue working on Age of Sigmar projects - Though I predicted last year that it would be the Daughters of Khaine who derailed my hobby plans,  I didn't actually end up buying any of the new miniatures; being distracted by the Adeptus Custodes instead. I did however set aside a few things when boxing up my Dark Elves which I plan to use as the beginnings of a Daughters of Khaine army. First however, I have the 'Court of the Silver King' project to finish which I am enjoying a lot even though progress is slow. The reveal of the Abhorrant Archregent also promises my FEC getting a bit of a boost this year which would be welcome.

- More Middle-Earth - I've really enjoyed getting back into the game this past year and I plan to continue painting and expanding my various Middle-Earth armies this year. I'm not setting myself a set schedule for what forces I'd like to get finished by the end of the year, but I'd like to make plenty of good progress and get a few games in where I can.

These miniatures just look so fun to paint!
- More Malifaux - With a new edition of the game launching and my interest in it continually growing, I intend on continuing to invest in new miniatures for Malifaux and to try getting some more games in with my brother.

- More games in general - I don't play as often as I'd like to, and last year circumstance stopped me from getting the games in I wanted. With the promise of a Inq28 campaign at my Uni's tabletop society, I may at least get some games in of that, but I'd also really like to take my Custodes out for a battle or two, and enjoy some Malifaux or Middle-Earth if I have the opportunity.

-Don't start new projects!!! - Last year I started a Talons of the Emperor army I didn't plan on doing, made a Primaris Kill Team, bought Reznik for Warmachine, promised to make a Navigator war band and decided to repaint all my LOTR stuff. My ultimate goal is to only have one hobby project on the go at a time (hahahahahahah....), so not starting new projects is going to be one of my main concerns in 2019 as I start clearing my backlog and continue to find more elegant storage solutions for the projects I have completed.

My first battle sister, hopefully the plastic sculpts will have improved as much as my painting has! 
I guess this year I will be returning to my hobby roots in many ways. My first foray into miniature wargaming was via Lord of the Rings which armies I am currently repainting, my first proper fantasy army was Dark Elves and this year I'd like to work on some Daughters of Khaine, and my first 40k army was Witch Hunters and I eagerly anticipate plastic Battle Sisters when they arrive. I do have other things to be working on, but these three projects in particular will be lovely little nostalgia trips.

We shall see how that all goes when I come to write the next one of these at the start of 2020, but overall I'd say I'm really happy with all the hobbying I did in 2018 and I'm quite optimistic for how much I'll get done this year!

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