Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2015 whats in the dungeon? yearly review

so 2015 for me in the dungeon..erm..excuses excuses. not much time.
the real world away from this. i work bloody hard to provide for my family as a result of this i could safely say. im not a prolific blogger at all. my time, regrettably is limited for sitting down and chopping up/painting/sculpting etc.
20 posts this year for me is actually pretty good. im moving into my third year of blogging and 2014 hardly consisted of any hobby time at all. so much so that i actually considered just closing the blog. but things are slowly changing and i'm starting to find much more time for myself.
unlike many other wonderful blogs i see around. I dont have a large number of followers that feel the need to comment often. so my blog is more like a glass cabinet in a shop window. people pass on by. and on some occasions it changes. and these people take a look and move on.
i can live with that. i guess thats part and parcel of being an infrequent blogger. but hoping to be a little more active rolling into 2016.

so 2015. if i remember right i actually managed to get a few things done.

1 new hero
15 dungeon doors
12 giant rats
1 minotaur lord (been stting in painting queue for years. so a major victory here
15 clanrats
11 skaven slaves
5 goblins (gnoblars mashups)

ok ok. so maybe that isnt a great deal.
but for me and my lack of progress in 2014. its a clear and obvious improvement in turn around.

a total of 60 minis painted in 2015. with probably equal amount started. meaning going into 2016 i still have a load of stuff to catch up on. but hey..dont we all?

so a quick review of my completed stuff in reverse order

i was quite happy with this guy. if you look at most of my stuff done this year it consists of a lot of batch/unit painting. so was nice to break free and focus on a solitary figure and try a few new things out. the freehand tattoos on this guy was a first for me. and i also tried a new skin tone out. which wasnt too bad.
my one realisation from this was that i need to get some proper brushes. ive been using GW brushes for a long time. and they really dont hold their point well for fine freehand. so ive been eyeing up a few winsor and newton brushes to treat myself to in the new year.

What did i learn?
buy some good quality brushes.
trollslayers are cool.

Dungeon Doors
so i managed to grab some dungeon doors from zealot miniatures. these are for my AHQ adventures.
double doors are to get around the bottle neck negative tactic that was in the original advanced heroquest. ive been working very closely with a guy called slev who bounces around various rpg sites. he has a ruleset that makes AHQ much more indepth. and ive done quite a lot of graphics and such for it that i dont show on this site as i dont feel anyone will care if it is out of context.
anyways the doors..they are for that.

grabbing a total of
2 porcullis'
12 open doors
8 closed doors

my intention to make every door completely unique rather than just simply painting them was probably a bad choice as it just added to my already mountainous to -do pile.
but that said i managed to complete a total of 15 double doors
 which can all be viewed

i still have 8 to complete to get through my original batch of doors and i should be good to go adventuring.
what did i learn?
stop making life hard for myself lol

As part of fleshing out my skaven bestiary for AHQ i managed to nab a few sprues off ebay for plague monks and skaven slavers (that come with the rat ogres box set) so expect to see the plague monks completed very soon. and im sure ill complete the slavers in 2016 too.
but that aside both sprues were chosen to kill 3 birds with 1 stone. as they also came with a total of 12 giant rats attached to them.

nothing really special here. you can tell they didnt get too much love from me. infact i got my daughter to help me. and she absolutely hates painting. so i bribe her to get me to help me on very rare occasions.
but they helped flesh out the bestiary in pretty much no time.
what did i learn?
im getting bored of painting in units. you can tell this by the obvious lack of love given to getting these painted. they are good enough for the table. but clearly a rushed job just to get it done and out of the way. so i need to learn to balance the cool projects and the laborious projects in order to keep myself as creative as possible.

ok so i went into oldhammer mode here. i'd been up in the attic and dug out pretty much all of my old mini collection and games in an attempt to sift through and clear out a lot of the junk that ill never want or need. as a result i dug out all sorts of 40k stuff. epic stuff, bloodbowl and loads of fantasy stuff.
there really are some absolute gems in with the old stuff. and as part of this cleare out i'll be looking to be getting rid of a lot of my old stuff that i dont need.. i have no idea why i even have so much 40k crap. i dont even like it lol. as for the 40k epic stuff. i loved the idea of massive armies on a small scale. titans tanks infantry all in a much smaller set. but allas ive got loads of it. and dont play it. so they will be going too along with the bloodbowl collection. the fantasy stuff though. will be staying. im surprised how much cool figures ive got from the 80s and 90s. and this guy above is one of them.
this was the first hefty weighted metal model i had painted for a long time. actually it was the first metal model i had painted for a while too. i'd forgotten what a joy it was to paint metal as opposed to resin. i dont know if its the weight or the way the paint lays on it. but i just prefer it. not taking anything away from the resin stuff you see these days. but im an old schooler and i like the old ways. so painting this guy was a nice experience and definate break from the norm.

what did i learn?
paint more cool figures like this. as this was easy to paint as well as being the most enjoyable mini ive painted for a long long time. interms of techniques i didnt try anything new here other than glazing the skin to make it look a little more tanned that regular human flesh. and also i tried some wet blending on the horns which turned out pretty good.
so expect to see some cool older minis cropping up in 2016.

another delve into building up my AHQ bestiary. these were straightforward table top standard unit painting here. simple base coats and washes and that was it
you can tell again i dont give the same love to units as i do singular figures.

what did i learn?
i still dont like painting units..but maybe i can get away with very simple paint jobs going forwards. its not great to show these bog standard paint jobs to people. but at least it shows progress. i guess i need to get around the mental block of that to allow me to love the unit painting method.

Skaven Slaves
this was my first real unit i painted to completion for my skaven bestiary.
a mixture of simple technniques and some washes etc meant that these took me quite a while to complete. they arent anything special . but you can clearly see they were given a lot more love than the clanrats. as a result of how long these took versus the mountain to-do list i had to make a choice of quick and easy versus nice and detailed. at this point now ive already decided i will save the good paint jobs for characters rather than units. saving that nice detailed paint job for the big bad dungeon bad guy versus his minions kind of makes it worthwhile in the long run.

what did i learn?
stop spending ages on units...i dont like it.

before i made a start on the skaven i was kind of just trying to get back into the swing of things. kicking around with ideas with not much direction.
as a result of this i wanted to work on some goblins. but i never actually liked the GW goblins.
i have no idea where gnobblars came from over the last few years. but they are new. and ill just ignore them completely as i just think they are something novel to balance the ogre units out a little and give something cheaper for the warhammer player. i dont play warhammer so i dont care. what i did care about was the fact they actually look more like goblins than goblins do.
so as a bit of kit bashing seemed cool at the time i churned out a few new goblins with a mixture of gnoblar heads, goblin legs and torso's and night goblin arms (cheers seb for the idea)

personally i think these look fantastic and was really happy with them...but they took a while to actually do.
going forwards i think they will get less love than seen in the above picture.

what did i learn?
gnobblar heads are cool for goblins.
i also tested out a new colour scheme for greenskin flesh which i kind of like but need to refine it somewhat.
i need to do more of these.

So. thats what i actually got completed in 2015...not a bad haul for me. but by nowhere near what i would like to be churning out.
my favourite from this year has to be the minotaur lord. maybe a mixture of nostalgia helped there. but it really was the most enjoyable project ive done in 2015.

so with 2016 right around the corner. what do i have planned?

Finish the dungeon doors off
only 8 left to go. with all of them already started i just need to gather some inspiration to get them finished.

finish off my heroquest furniture.
i only have the alchemists bench and the sorcerers table to complete. ive started the alchemists table and have planned to sorcerors table. but id definately like to have these completed soon. that would then mean i have created all of the base set heroquest furniture. after that i may be looking at the expansion furniture (which only came in token format) like the forge from kellars keep and such. as well as a few designs ive drawn up. i may at some point do some themed furniture too. a skaven throne and stuff like that. but ill stick to my goal to make sure i have finished the heroquest base set by the end of 2016 at very most.

more Skaven
i have a huge skaven bestiary i would like to fill out more.
ive already started on some converted plague monks which i hope to complete very soon.
then there is the slave masters.
and other various character types after that.
ill then take a look at what else i need and either buy or convert from what i have to make more variations.

Chaos troll
remember this?
well inspired by a gotrek and felix short story. a quest for AHQ was created from it, which inspired me to create the big bad final boss from the quest (i'd like to do more unique characters of this type going forwards) but ive been working on him over this xmas holiday period and hope to have a new post following my updates. ultimately leading upto me completing this beastie.

so they are my immediate plans going into 2016. i hope to at least double my post count from 2015 over the next year as more time gets free'd up for me. im hoping to get many more things started. but for now my main focus is clearing out the backlog and things i no longer need in order to help me gain some positive focus moving forwards

so with that in mind. i hope youve all had a great xmas. and ill wish you all a happy new year!
see you in 2016!!!

Friday, 18 December 2015

The Troll Slayer - Borek Rognisson

Tales told of a wandering Dwarf, from Karak Hirn to High pass. Sightings of which people claim he is so tall that he stands taller than any man. Almost a myth amongst the high mountains where few dare to tread, there has been witness from travelling merchants, miners and roaming war bands where tales of this mountainous dwarf have spread amongst the taverns littered around the feet of the black mountains "He's as big as a bear!", "I thought he was an ogre", "we only saw him stalking through the trees but he was monstrous and flames were leaping from his head", "I saw him, chasing after two of them chaos scum".
Any Dwarf when asked just shrugged their shoulders "Tall tales for stupid human folk!" they would say with a shrug of the shoulders or a dismissive grunt.
For years the outcast Borek Rognisson wandered the mountains of the Old World in fulfilment of his sworn slayers oath, to seek a great worthy death. Unfortunately for him, half of the tales that spread of his existence were and still are true. For Borek is a mountain of a man, for a Dwarf!
Having sworn his oath to become a slayer from a very young age, he was exiled by many of the Dwarven clans. No Dwarf ever mentions his name or even acknowledges that this young Dwarf, who even from a young age stood taller than most of the battle hardened Dwarven warriors even exists.
The tales drifted from town to town yet few ever saw this dwarf. Those that did and those that met him were ridiculed for spreading such stupid tales. "A tall dwarf?" often met with a raucous of laughter amongst many inns and taverns.
Until one day that is, Growing bored of not finding his true death amongst the mountains, Borek decided that down on the flat lands might bring him his true death.

A dark rowdy night at the Crooked Arrow. Sitting on the outskirts of Nuln, Traders, Hired swords, Nobles and Adventurers alike had gathered away from the cold blistering winds coming in from the grey mountains. Much ale and wine had passed the mouths of the patrons inside the tavern. Singing, debating, scuffles and flirting from the tavern girls all joining up into a mixture of noise that could be heard through the walls outside.
The door opens. To which nobody notices. Until one of the nobles sitting by the door stares silently at the doorway as this hugely muscled dwarf adorned with tattoos and the normal fiery headed Mohawk of a slayer steps through the door. A huge double bladed axe slung in his ham fisted hand. Another smaller throwing axe glistened in the light as it hung from his belt. The noble quickly grabbing the nearest persons arm in order to alert them to the presence of the dwarf. Quickly the tavern falls silent all but for a few whispers as all eyes remained focused on the broad frame of the Dwarf as he lumbered through the crowd silently. Patrons stepping back in awe to allow the dwarf to walk wherever he wished. Trudging up towards the bar, people step aside to allow him access to the innkeeper. Reaching down as he pulls a glistening gold coin from his purse and slapping it down on the wooden bar, "BEST ALE!" he says in a simplistic deep voiced tone. The barkeep nervously pours the dwarf a beer into a large wooden tankard. Silently the dwarf picks it up, glugging it back in one. Slamming down the mug with a thud. "ANOTHER", again the dwarf slams back the drink. "Weak man beer" he thinks to himself.
The tavern was still silent as the whispers bounced amongst the groups sat around the tables. Nobody wanting to make eye contact with the dwarf. Was he a dwarf? The rumour may not have been true. But he surely was the biggest dwarf anyone had ever set their eyes on. His shoulders as broad as two men. His arms thicker than most tavern wenches thighs. His huge hands dwarfing the empty tankard as he asks once more for ale. His tattoos reminiscent of that seen on many other slayers. His axe glinted in the dim tavern light as it rested against the bar.
"Is that the bear man?" they said. "He’s not that big" was whispered nervously so to not be heard.
The dwarf smirked to himself, for dwarfs ears are much keener that humans.
Turning around quickly to look around the tavern, instantly all eyes avert away from him nervously. Nobody would want to upset a dwarf that big!
"Go ask him" the dwarfs head turned to look where the words were coming from, huddled around a table sat a large muscular human, a fellow dwarf, an elf and a young wizard, the wizard was urging the dwarf to go speak with Borek. "Here we go" though Borek as he decided to save the party a journey, picking up his axe and ale he walked over to the group sat around the table..........................

the rest as they say. is history.
and we have also just cleared up. that i will never be a writer lol but thats the story of 'Big' Borek Rognisson

OK so I've gotten the fluff out of the way. I've spent a few weeks on this guy. and i like to kind of kick out a back story when i do anything i do. the doors, the furniture. i always tried to show some sort of extra life was going on there.
here. the fluff was to actually get around the fact that the scale of Scibor miniatures is a little...well lets talk about that later on....

Having read a lot of the Gotrek and Felix novels over the last year or so. i was obviously influenced by the Gotrek character. being the stereotypical grumpy slayer type. I wanted to somehow pay homage to that. but at the same time give him personality of his own.

these two images below are probably the best representations of Gotrek based on my own imagination from reading the books.

so i know i wanted something that represented the sheer bulk of the character as per the 2nd image.
a short solid built beast of a dwarf.
having searched all around i landed at scibor miniatures door.

searching through some of their ranges i finally settled on the following mini
he carries the same amount of bulk that i wanted from my slayer. A mixture of muscle and fat somehwhat like the build of a power lifter or a strong man. a pure bulked up strength to the character.

i didn't want a dwarf with 2 axes. but this mini carries a pose that had potential for adjustment.
so i ordered this guy and about a week later he turned up in the post (not too bad for international shipping)

now back to the scale. Adverstised as a 28mm/30mm miniature was always going to be a gamble.
if they don't know what scale it was made to. then god knows how big he was going to be.
i would say the average 28mm dwarf stand at around the 22mm mark or there about.
this guy stands at 31mm in total height. 26mm excluding the mohawk.
so thats where my "biggest dwarf" story came from.
i think its probably safer for Scibor to advertise at 30/32mm rather than 28/30mm
as i would imagine some people may be slightly pee'd off at spending their hard earned cash on something that doesn't fit into their games.

that aside. its a great miniature. it did require quite a bit of shaving and filling to get rid of the mould lines, but i can live with that.

so now i had the mini in my hands. i could finally decide what i wanted to do.
i always intended on him only having one axe. so i had to decide which was going and which was staying. also i didn't like the axe to decided i would be making my own.
finally i settled on keeping the right handed axe.
the left arm i chopped away the axe and drilled a hole through his hand then heated the mini slightly to squeeze into a fist. trimmed the arm a bit and fitted it in place so i could give him a "pull down the sky" 80's rock ballad power fist.

i then snipped away the axe from the right hand to leave just the handle. after digging through my bits box i found an adequate axe head. to which i then decided to sculpt a star design onto to give it more of a troll slayers axe look.

a few more bits to attach to his belt to give him that 'adventurer' look
a gold pouch and throwing axe and a small satchel. as well as a dwarf emblem as his belt buckle

then trimmed and re-sculpted his moustache as i didn't like that curly moustache of the original.

now more recently i have been wanting to do more free hand designs and well i always intended that this guy was going to have tattoos, he's a troll slayer after all. the final result i wasn't that happy with, but im going to blame my shaky hands mixed with the necessity to actually go out and buy some new brushes. but all in all. it didn't turn out too bad.

you may notice he is on a custom 'lower' base. an obvious compensation for the large scale. but he doesnt look too outlandish in comparison to these rather short goblins.

so all in all i think ive wound up with a pretty bad ass troll slayer.

based on my severe lack of posts i will wish you all a very merry xmas. as my next post will no doubt be in about 3 months time :)