Thursday, 8 May 2014

On the Painting Table: Gripping Beast Normans

Before posting I watched in horror as these miniatures fell to the hardwood floor whilst attempting to move them to a room with better light. Amazingly the paint survived really well bare some small chips (they are still unvarnished), and only three tops of bows had to be re-glued. There's a couple of bits that need fixing properly, so please bear that in mind...

Defence of a Fence
After finishing the Mordheim Freelancer last week, I got cracking with a new project. SAGA was a game that I followed closely before it was released, but somehow never got round to playing it.

I planned to get a Welsh warband back then, but eventually opted for the Normans (I have a bit of a soft spot for the old sods). My 40k Spears of Mawdryn draw some inspiration from the Welsh of this period - so I wanted to go for something a bit different. I've also treated myself to a few Norse Gaels primarily to represent dubious oiks from the Hebrides (Kingdom of the Isles).

The vague setting we have in mind for our games is Britain 1066, where Harald Hardrada won at Stamford Bridge and took York as a base of operations and capital, and where William still won at Hastings - leaving the contention for the ultimate control of England and the rest of Britain more open between the factions.

The Miniatures
Firstly, the Gripping Beast miniatures are (of course) beautiful, with very little flash on them. The only minor criticism is that the front of the crossbows have to be cut from the torso. It's a good idea to make it a single sculpt but there were one or two that were a bit flimsy and one snapped irreparably.

The plan was to balance quality with speed when painting these, so I wanted to develop a half-decent tabletop standard but get the whole 4 point force painted in under 20 days - currently I'm still on track to get that done. I've been painting two or three at a time, and with a couple of days of no painting I've averaged 1-2 models per day. Could be quicker, but I'm happy with that.

These have been enjoyable to paint and another good lesson in painting. I'm slowly edging forward in trying to be a bit more bold with highlighting and shading, but similarly I don't want to have too high a contrast between them.

Lessons Wot I Have Learned: 
  • Mix paints less - usually as I forget what I actually mixed later
  • Base coats make a difference - this has become very apparent on these, as the archer and crossbowman in green are painted Loren Green but the crossbowman's first coat was Stegadon Green and gave the slightly richer colour I wanted. No mixing necessary. Inks have been used less on these too.
In progress: I've found the lens case of an old telescope is great for holding the mini whilst painting
 And last but not least
After passing the 100,000 hit mark and getting two more Liebster nominations from Carl at Hitting on a Double 1 and Marshal Argos at 313th Drop Troop Regt (both excellent blogs I urge you to visit immediately if you haven't), I just wanted to thank everyone that has ever taken the time to visit or comment on my blog. I know it's a cliche but I pretty much expected this to fade into complete obscurity, but instead I've found a superb bunch of like minded people who produce amazing hobby goodness and continue to share fantastic ideas and motivate me to keep up this lark. That's the soppy bit over now.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Liebster Award: The worthwhile chain letter

Admiral Drax has very kindly nominated me for a Liebster Award. You're a scholar and gentleman sir!

So what is a Liebster Award? It's essentially a chain letter (but one that's actually worthwhile, I think) where you nominate some blogs you like to get people to go read them. Here are the guidelines:

1: Copy and paste the award on your blog linking it to the blogger who has given it you.
2. Pass the award to your top 11 blogs with less than 200 followers by leaving a comment on one of their posts to notify them that they have won the award and listing them on your own blog.
3. Sit back and bask in the warm fuzzy feeling that comes with knowing you have made someone's day!
4. There is no obligation to pass this onto someone else but its nice if you take the time to do so.


The format has changed slightly since Chris at Sippin' on Paint Water very generously nominated me in 2012. I like that, it's organic. So feel free to alter or ignore any of the sections when re-posting, except the nominations of course, or add your own.

10 Truths about Me
  1. I'm a terrible swimmer.
  2. The height of my acting career was when 'Eric Pollard' once praised my on-stage performance as John Virgo (I was about 9 or 10...)
  3. I went to the same school as Major Gonville Bromhead.
  4. To echo Drax, my educational background is Forensics and History. My specialist subject (for want of a better term), is French-Canadian history and more specifically the Catholic Church in 19th-century Quebec. If you ever suffer from insomnia...
  5. The shortest job I ever had was one week in a cheese factory.
  6. I'm a terrible name-dropper
  7. I have met Bill Oddie on more than one occasion. See, that was terrible.
  8. My childhood home was a windmill. The advantage to a kid being that there was no naughty corner.
  9. I always try to look for the positive in every situation. 
  10. This blog was almost called Cake or Wargames?
My 11 Liebster Awardees 

In no particular order, and I wish I could add plenty more, and there are those with more than 200 followers that I would love to add (I think I'll be doing a separate post soon) - but please look to my blog roll on the right to see all of the wonderful blogs that I like and read.
And of course... 

Admiral Drax (yes I know that's 12, and regardless of Drax nominating me, his blog would definitely be on the list).

Drax's 11 Questions 

1. Why did you start blogging?
Mostly as a way of getting back into this mad hobby of ours again, and having an outlet to waffle. I never expected anybody to really be interested in what I was on about, never mind to feel like a part a great community of people - many of whom I hope to get some proper games and a beer or two with one day - especially after a great game with Scipio, Karitas and Zzzzzz with wonderful hospitality provided by Mr Zzzzzz. 

2. If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
I have to pretty much repeat Drax's original answer, to get GW to stop being daft with pricing and shutting themselves off in Lenton Towers rather than engaging more with the community. I'm not saying they should implement everything the hordes demands, just at least make a sincere effort to listen.

3. What is best in life?
Knowing that you've at least made someone's day a little better.

4. Do you want to live forever?
Definitely not. I still probably wouldn't get all of my painting finished or models built.
5. Fame or fortune?
Fortune, fame would be insufferable, but then I don't really want fortune. I'm pretty happy now.

6. What miniature are you most proud of having painted?
Probably my most recent Mordheim Freelancer - as I've never really enjoyed painting in the past (shameless plug of old post), this was a watershed where I genuinely started enjoying painting.

7. How do you deal with burn out?
Accept that it's there for a reason, and it's temporary. Do other things, during my recent mini-burnout I did a lot of Curling across the country - chucking rocks down ice isn't for everyone though. Anything creative is good, as it starts bleeding back into wanted to build and paint miniatures again. Or even get some new miniatures from a completely different period, game, setting. 

8. Why is a raven like a writing desk?
Because "quoth the table nevermore"? 

9. Star Wars or Star Trek?
I'm going to say Star Trek here, as much as I love Star Wars and the Expanded Universe. Although there are plenty more series that I would rate over both. If I went into those now, it would warrant a separate post.   

10. If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?
Probably Gripping Beast. But that's a bloody difficult one.  

11. What is your favourite take away?
Food from a local Chinese restaurant that no longer exists.

I'm going to be lazy and pose the same questions to my nominees. Thanks again Admiral!

Monday, 28 April 2014

On the Painting Table: Estalian "Caballero" for Mordheim

What a week! Last weekend saw a fantastic game of Battlefleet 1900 with Scipio, Coldsteel and Ollie - keep your eyes peeled on the Palladian Guard blog for more. The burnout of March has well and truly gone, with productivity and sheer bloody enjoyment at a high.

I'm finally getting a Mordheim warband together to face-off against Scipio's Vampire Counts and Coldsteel's Last Watch. My original plan had been a band of Stirland deserters with A Field in England psychedelic, folk horror element - but decided this was too similar to my Mawdryn Space Marines (more on these soon..)

Time for a rethink then. I'd already bought one of my favourite GW miniatures of all time, the Mordheim Freelancer Knight. His Don Quixote look gave me the idea to assemble a ragged band of Estalians. I thought this was reasonably original, but saw that Victoria of Victoria Miniatures had won the Australian Golden Demon with this incredible Estalian Inquisition warband in 2000 (which I must have seen in the UK WD back then). In the past this would have put me off, but I decided 'sod it', Estalians it would be. 

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