31 December 2013

Challenge Day 17 - Out with the old, A goold old Rant, Saxons and Nubians

Well it is the last day of 2013, so I shall begin by a quick look back at what I wanted to achieve this year.

Hmm!! I really did not do to well on the year of balancing of forces in fact quite the opposite, however I am not concerned as the year progressed some major changes to gaming were made. Out went all the rule books previously used, different rules for many periods and in came Hail Caesar and Black powder. The change this has made to our games is huge as they are so adaptable and easy to learn and play, even with all the chopping and changing of periods we do.

This lead us to changing some scales for certain periods so the balancing of armies became an obsolete issue.
On the positive side of all this I did achieve a couple of my goals for the year, to attain 100 followers and to try to post more often!! Both of which I have been fortunate enough to exceed in.

Other than this the years had its ups and downs for me personally. I have met some great bloggers personally and gained some new friends. There has been Blog con and Bloggers for charity both good projects worthy of support. The downside has seen my health dramatically suffer and forcing a change of career path. But on the whole a rather positive year. Of course I have been slightly mischevious during the course of the year as several of my posts prove out, but that is Loki. He gives and receives in equal measure. Ray and Fran have featured in several of these posts and there has been some good banter. So expect a bit more of this in the future.

Anyway enough of that old rubbish and on with the real meat and potatoes of the days events, well unsurprisingly I have not done much with the brushes today. ( I took Tamsin's great advice) Yesterday was a hard day at it completing three Nubian warbands today has been very sedentary and slow. I had to take the wife and kids shopping today and discovered the battery was fecked on the car. You know that seven seat heap of crap is supposed to be called transport!!! ( oh for a feckin rocket launcer I would it who is boss) its broken down more times this year than the wife has given me entry to the forbidden zone!! Funny how these things all start to happen days after warranties have expired!! Having got it started I managed to get us all to the supermarket, so I park up and this feckin twat parks right bang next to me at such an angle I cant open the feckin drivers door to get out. That just about confirmed that today was not going to be a good one.

Eventually I got to the paint desk to get some pictures taken of the Saxons, the best I could manage follows as really I need the morning light for pictures.

So first of the bunch is 9 unarmoured spearmen.

Then seven armoured spearmen.

This was a motley bunch 6 archers, a casualty and a bloke having a beer.

Next up was 8 unarmoured types in smurf hats with axes and swords.

Finally 10 armoured with axes and swords. this was a rather eclectic mix of figures and I tried to tie them all together with the shield colours, using a red, green and white palette. Combined with the French from yesterday that netted me 290 points towards my target, so not a bad haul.

As promised I also took a picture of one of the Nubian warbands.
Now I will make it clear these are not and were never planned to be the highest quality of my work and the figures only have a shade and highlight over the black primer, but for 20mm figures this works very well when viewed from average gaming distance. I am pleased with the result an they will look a lot better when based.

Having so little time left today to paint I decided to prepare half of the skirmisher archers for the Nubians, so mounted 4 units of 8 onto painting sticks ready to prime. I finished the bonus round entry first thing this morning ready for submission to Curt, these really are very simple pieces but for an extra 50 points towards my target could not be missed. The French unit remains untouched today, I may get an hour or so tomorrow on them.

Well all that remains is for me to wish you all A very Happy and Prosperous New Year.


30 December 2013

Challenge day 16 - Napoleonics and a day for my own stuff

Blimey are we really only 16 days into the challenge it certainly feels a lot longer, but time does not lie. Well today I shall begin with the Napoleonic French that I could not show you due to the 24 hour rule in the challenge. The Saxons will be in another post as I need to get some better pictures and did not have time today.

Just before Christmas I completed the first of my 10 French battalions but did not have time to submit it so banked it to add to the Saxons.

Now I will be the first to admit that a unit in greatcoats is not that difficult to do as you dont have the fine details of a full uniform to paint. However they still take a fair chunk of time to paint like this and I gave them a full mix of colours for the Greatcoats. 

I am also savvy enough to know that ordinarily blue greatcoats were issued to the guards and some officers, what can I say, I painted a unit of Frenchmen that have light fingers and pilfered some non regulation overcoats. They are for my collection so it really is no matter at all.

Today I decided to take a break from all the work for others that I have been doing as I had prepared some more of my newly acquired Nubians. 
They day really started by me spending an hour or so converting and mounting three more warbands onto painting strips ready for priming later today if time permitted.

Having made a start on a Nubian last night I then set about completing that first, before undertaking some more. 
Not a bad days work, three warbands painted and I have started to prime the next three in readiness for the smokin' brushes. I have still got to base the three painted warbands once they have dried out and are varnished. Once I get a bit of daylight in the man cave I will take some pictures so you can see what I have done.

Well folks thats another small update for you I am going back to my brushes to prime the few remaining Nubians and then have a night off. 

29 December 2013

Weekly round up 29-12-13 - Pulp-o-mizer and Challenge Day 15

I forget a lot of places I randomly discover when searching on Google for different things, or draw inspiration from fellow bloggers, but just occasionally something gets stuck in my head and I remember to actually bookmark it!! One of those sites is PULP-O_MIZER now this is a great bit of fun to play around with and if you happen to be a fan of pulp then head on over and play. Your work can be saved, printed, or turned into a whole raft of items should you so choose.

I could not resist having a little play to see what I could come up with and the idea of crazed robots from Valhalla rising to exterminate "The Badger" seemed far to tempting to resist (well in my tiny mind it did).

Why have I been dabbling into things Pulp well one can firmly square the blame on two bloggers, Mr Awdry and Mr King both seem to have a liking for this kind of thing so being naturally curious I went looking. Curses this is going to be such a distraction, I am resisting but being of a creative persuasion at times it is awfully hard. One might now find the odd item popping onto my workbench just for fun you understand .

Well its been a productive week in the Great Hall, I have spent more time with Guiness and mince pies than is good for my figure! But got a lot done both sides of the two day brush ban! Of course the week ahead also has some interruptions as well what with it being New Years Day bang in the middle of the week. Having said all that I am currently beating Kevins score by a fairly comfortable margin after yesterdays submission to Curt. I have climbed back into the top spot although I am sure Kent will reclaim that honour shortly, as Ray pointed out I have beaten his target in 15 days so things are looking good on the Badger bashing front although I am keeping a weather eye out for the sandbags.

Now of course I am going to be a victim of my own circumstances as Curt has refused to accept a revision to my target, until I hit it. So I am going to have to wait and accept the ridicule of having set a low target when I had different circumstances. Hey ho that's life and we all roll with it don't we. I also cant show any pictures yet of the latest submission as they have not been up for 24 hours yet.

What I can do though is show you what I have been up to today. Once again I have hit my stride and have advanced the first set of 12 French Infantry to the stage of final highlighting, then its just weapons and metal to finish, I have also been working the next unit , they have not progressed quite as far as I wanted today but any progression is better than none.
What did happen to day was the temptation of the Nubians got to me, so off with the six boxes I went to the kitchen sink, out came the washing up liquid and a nail brush in preparation for bath time. The wife actually thought I was going to do the washing up can you believe it!!! After a good wash and scrub and spending ten minutes trying to locate a cupboard in the kitchen that contained a tea towel, yes I really do not operate in there unless I need a cuppa and aforementioned slave is out!!! They were dried off and taken up to the man cave for a de-sprueing session.
One old ice cream tub and over 300 Nubians later it was time to get to work on the basic conversions. The limitations of the plastics meant I did not have enough Javelin/spear men to work with. Hence the pins being used as replacement weapons, after blunting with a diamond file.
With a few deft slices from a scalpel old weapons are removed hands drilled and a pin minus the head inserted ready to mount onto strips ready for priming.
Well that is the first Hail Caesar division mounted and primed ready to go, only 67 figures so should not take to long to chunk through these over the next couple of weeks.
Nubian test figure, not quite finished these are not being given the full three colour treatment most of the figures will be two colours over the black primer and the result at gaming distance is acceptable to me.

Well I do believe that is an adequate summary of the events this week and I have more than enough to keep my brushes flowing with paint. I am in a groove at the moment so will make the most of it and reload my smoking brushes.

I hope you all have a good week ahead and If you dont make it back before I wish you all A Happy and Prosperous New Year.


28 December 2013

Challenge Day 14 - New beginnings and plans changed

Today started very well, with me receiving news of a commission for a French force for the French Indian Wars. I am particularly pleased to hear this as I have to pay the bills in January and hoped that I could obtain some commissions without being solely reliant on the EBay vehicle to achieve this. Although I tend to not have any problems selling my figures for a good price on said site. I don't even mind about the fees as having run a business, I know they have to make a profit from it or there is no point. What is nice is the simple fact that the figures required for this commission, I already more of less have and intended on painting these in the later stages of the challenge.

Now talking of the challenge, as expected I have started to slide down the table, but am still thankfully ahead of my good mate +kevatthecabin who's wife I must thank as she has slapped a painting ban on him this week as she is off work. So this gives me a bit of a cushion, although not much of one as I know when he does make a submission it will not be a small one. But it is enough for me to get more painting done in an effort to win our own little race. I have sent another entry in to widen the gap a little further though.

I have also had to re prioritise my painting order for the challenge, as when I formulated my plan for hitting my target I did not have any real commission work or indeed plans to take any on. Circumstances however have changed and therefore so have the priorities. The first thing I am doing is increasing my target and my revised target is with Curt. The increase and is to a target of more than I achieved last year, but I feel that I need to make an early adjustment that will still be a big challenge taking the new circumstances into account. I also would like be able to secure a top ten spot, having narrowly missed that last year so my revised target has also been set with that in mind.
2 units of French underway
Hopefully I will still get to complete my French Napoleonic forces during this years challenge, but they will have to take a back seat, or be worked around the more important matters of painting to earn a living for now. I did complete a unit prior to the beginning of the festivities but only submitted them today. I also have another battalion that is part way through, though they will remain in that state for now at least.

Today I started the day by painting, dry brushing and flocking the Saxons as I woke up again in the small hours, so took the opportunity to get them finished. This allowed me to make a start on the first of three French regular infantry units for muskets and Tomahawks all of which will be twelve figure units, I also have an officer and ensign to paint up for the same client. So for the next few days this is what I will be focused on completing those.
The end of a fairly productive day started blocking the next unit
Well folks that is it for today, as I am all out of completed figures to show you until Curt has had them for the statutory 24 hours.


27 December 2013

Challenge Day 13 - 'Budgie Smugglers' and role play

Twas one of those nights, you know the sort when two old friends sit and discuss plans they have for the year to come over a pint or two. This evening was to be a touch different though as they sat starting into a nice large pint of the Black stuff. The Badger Baiters Arms was a typical spit 'n' sawdust affair and a much favoured drinking hole of Francis's. A motley array of faces lined the bar, many a weather beaten with a sprinkling of fair damsel thrown in to break it all up. Ray as usual had his eyes on swivel sticks as his head rotated like an owl in order to take advantage of fair maidens.

Francis decided that another pint was needed so he could get Ray's attention, over the years he had come to realise that in order to actually talk to Ray he needed to be lubricated well so his mind opened up!! Several lubrication's later and Francis decided to open up the conversation to fantasy games. Ray usual shunned this form of gaming as malarkey only fit for fools but tonight would be different, not being used to the heady dark brew his mind was opened. Similarly though Francis had also consumed a large volume of the brew as well, in fact so much so he began to hear voices.

"D'ya heat dat Ray, d'ya hear it. there's a feckin' fairy sat on the table right in front of me!!"

"Your 'aving a bubble mate there ain't no fairy! You have consumed to much black water my friend" came the high pitched retort from Ray.

"I'm tellin ya there is ya eejeet!"

Suddenly Ray could see it standing on the table was a tiny wee fairy!!

"Fran you are right bugger me there is one right enough."

Once the pair had got over the shock, the fairy spoke, I am the fairy of Christmas cheer and on this night I am going to grant you one longed for wish each. You don't need to do anything at all as I already know what they are. The pair of them sat in their chairs mouths agog.

"Francis you have always wished for Ray to get more involved with the fantasy gaming haven't you?"
Ray you have always wanted to be bigger presence than Francis haven't you?"

Both shook There heads in agreement and suddenly the fairy waved her wand and the pair were transported through a magical vortex of time and space!

They both emerged from the vortex in a strange world,
Ray was rather puzzled as he could not see his good friend Francis, all he could feel was a wetness under foot and realised he was in swampy ground although it felt firm enough under foot for him to feel safe. He could hear a muffled groaning.
The muffled groans were coming from Francis who had been transformed into a dwarf. However he was not feeling like this was any form of Christmas cheer and could be heard trying to gain Rays attention with his shouts!! " Oi Ray ya fecking eejet will you get your bloody great foot off of me."
More shouting could be heard from Francis " That fecking fairy has a lot to answer for!! just wait till I get me hands on her" he quipped

Meanwhile Ray was still trying to locate his friend and an eventual glance downward he spotted the dwarf "Blow me Francis is that you?"
"of course its me you feckin dimwit now get off me" came the reply.
Ray then spoke again " well you are definitely smaller than me for once", " I may be small but you are even dumber than usual" came the barbed reply.

"what da ya mean" said Ray. "you're a feckin Troll thats what" retorted Fran.
"well we are definately in a fantasy setting me old pal" said Ray.
"I'm not so keen on the fantasy lark now Ray" "enough is enough Fairy get me back in the pub" shouted Francis.
Once again the fairy waved her wand and the two old friends were sat in the same spot with beer in hand and the fairy had gone.

"I wont mention Fantasy ever again Ray" quipped Francis.
"I dont know I quite enjoyed that" replied Ray
"Well I didn't " said Francis
"Why not, I didnt know I was gonna end up stood on ya" said Ray

"I wasn't bothered about you standing on me!! but the sight of you as a Feckin' great Troll in red budgie smugglers has damaged me for life!" came Francis's reply.

with that they finished their drinks and went home!!

26 December 2013

Challenge Days 11 and 12 - Festive break

The Great Hall has been closed for painting for both days as I celebrate the festivities with the family. Too much food and alcohol to consume for the application of paint, and of course I wanted to remain attached to my baubles which I am sure SWMBO would remove rather swiftly should I have even attempted to do so.

I did however get let out to provided a quick update after receiving some very nice gifts yesterday, I am now equipped with a good supply of vouchers for my local store. Kevin and his good wife Charlie also provided me with a whole raft of Parthians, that should give his Romans something to cause the odd headache.

My boys invested in plenty of Nubians, as the start of my biblical armies for 2014. The wife got me the 3 foot batteries I required for Black powder and a nice set of Commanders for my C in C stand.

Overall not a bad haul and they will keep me rather busy for a while.

Finally a quick shot of the workbench at which I will be getting some time at tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by today

24 December 2013

Challenge Day 10 - Christmas Eve

Oh, I just have to be totally nuts to be painting on Christmas eve but I have been, but only for a couple of hours. The wife wanted me out of the way while she did some household chores and told me to go and paint as the boys were happily building things with lego in their room. So the opportunity was taken.

I really did not do much today, I painted into the small hours last evening, in an effort to break the back of the 42 Saxons that I have as a small commission. Unusually for Foundry figures these are not a nice paint, the moulds are obviously worn as the castings were a devil to clean up properly and I was unable to remove some of the mould lines or risk losing parts of figures. So far I have managed to complete 18 of these and have another 8 almost complete and 16 that are well under way. The whole grouping is a real mix of different types and I am trying to work them as best I can by creating groups of similar figures together and working them that way.

I have also started the base work for the spider, this is going to take some hard painting to get the overall finish right, but should look very nice if I can pull it off !! The spider remains untouched from the four hour session I put into it yesterday as I want the paint to fully harden off before I start handling it for the fine details.

Well That only leaves me to wish you all a very Merry Christmas, I hope you all enjoy your celebrations and get at least some of the shiny new toys you have your hearts set on.

For obvious reasons I shall not be posting tomorrow as I will undoubtedly be playing games and having some fun with the boys. I should return with another update possibly Boxing Day, anyway have a good one folks!


23 December 2013

Challenge Day 9- Arachnaphobes Look Away!!!

First up a big welcome to the newest crew member of the longship Tim, who's fine blog can be found HERE.

Okay so we are now 9 days into the challenge and my last couple of days have been fairly quiet on the painting front. with certain festivities just around the corner family life takes a huge stride forward and painting time is reduced as one would expect.

Yesterday saw the first fortnightly bonus round posted on Curt's blog and what a treat that is for anyone who likes to see great painted figures so click the banner on the side bar and go visit analogue hobbies for yourselves.

My submission to the bonus round was a very small and simple extension to all the French Indian war civilians that I had shown earlier last week. with six unarmed civilians adding to the 14 already shown.

The only other work that I have submitted was my Druidic ritual display piece to brighten the Hail Caesar games myself and Kev H play.

These are 20mm figures painted to my table top standard, hopefully this will enthuse my Ancient British to do the job properly when we are next in battle.

Now if you have a problem with spiders I suggest you stop reading  as the next picture is not for Arachnaphobes at all.

I was quite pleased when Curt opened the challenge up to fantasy figures and beasties this year. Not that I do much in the way of fantasy painting as this very blog will prove but I do like to paint some of the stuff, that definitely falls into this genre. I have had a certain Arachnid for quite a while, intending it to be part of an Orc and Goblin army, but I just don't like warhammer as a game so I never started the painting.

The challenge however gives me a great reason to paint some of these items, even if the only reason is to clear them from the plastic pile. So that said I have a plan for the spider, its a little off the wall or out of the box but hey that's me sometimes, and I may have left it a bit late for what I plan to use it for but I will be trying. In the foreground you can see I am also well under way with my next batch of figures these are all Foundry Saxons and I really need to get these done and off my bench as soon as practical, I plan to have them completed the first week after Christmas.

Well good people, that is my offering from the workbench for today, thank you for stopping by.


22 December 2013

Weekly round up 22-12-13 - Frustration and flying paint and lots more !!!

First I will get the frustration out of the way. I have been at great pains this week as I have been unable to return the favour and follow a couple of good blogs why? Well my reading list is well over 300 blogs and blogger wont let me add any more, so please if you have a blog, do bloggers like me a favour, check to ensure you have the followers gadget installed on your blog, because if you don't I can't follow you and nor can many others. Now there is a very simple solution and all you need to do is follow this LINK written by James and do exactly as it says on the tin so to speak and I will be eternally grateful.

Right now onto the business end of this post. Well it certainly has been a busy week in the Great Hall, I have clocked up over 70 hours painting and scored 309 points this week in an effort to get to a certain point pre festivities in order to sit back and not worry about things for a couple of weeks. Also I have plans that will remove a couple of weeks from January as well so this should give me the cushion I wanted to create to ensure I hit my targets.

As you may be aware this was the first full week of the challenge proper and I have been super busy on the back end of the brushes. My opening entry was this years entry fee of a sheriff from the foundry ranges.
This was followed by a small group of armed settlers from the redoubt ranges, that can be used either for the French Indian wars or the American war of independence.
Friday nearly saw me screw the whole plan up after trying to spray varnish indoors without ventilation but the end result was certainly worth it for me as I managed to get the Skraeling warband submitted. This is a bittersweet one for me as I bought these with the clear intention of keeping them but I now need to earn an income while I sort my health out, so these are going to be sold via Ebay, of course if any of my regular readers want to lay claim before then please do contact me.
Here is a group shot as an opener all 37 figures amassed me 200 points toward my target.

Now the warlord was a super sculpt and I went to town on him, using a red and white war paint to lift above the muted tones of the leggings and bones. I used researched tribal patterns and found sequences of dots were common markings so that's what he got on both forearms. As always these characters form the main focal point of a saga force so the basing is always given a lot more work. In this case a rocky split level outcrop.

This is the 12 figure levy unit these were devoid of warpaint so as to distinguish lesser fighters.

Three groups of eight warriors distinguished by simply using 3 different coloured breech clouts.

The challenge overall this week has produced some stunning work from fellow hobbyists and I urge anyone who has not done so all ready to click the link in the right side bar and go visit The Analogue Hobbies blog and see for yourselves.

I will be continuing with updates throughout the festive period when time allows though I can not guarantee they will be daily after today for a while. So I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

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