Saturday, January 20, 2018

Review: GW Figure Holder



I picked up the Games Workshop figure holder a while back because I wasn't entirely thrilled with my home made alternative. The hot glue sticking the base of the mini to the cork was sticking just a little too well, and I broke a couple of bases trying to get them off.



So when GW came out with a figure holder, sorry, Painting Handle, and it was shockingly reasonably priced, I decided to make use of my discount at the FLGS to get it even cheaper, and give it a try. It's the first GW thing I've bought in a decade, and I'm really happy I did.



The holder fits comfortably in my hand, and the shape makes it easy to twist and even hold it upside down. I really like the fact that it isn't a straight holder, but has a flared bulbous base. I'm undecided if I want it to have a little more weight or not, especially toward the bottom. It isn't prone to tipping over, but when I move my paint tray from the table to the shelf, I usually lay the figure holder flat to that it doesn't accidentally tip over, and maybe hit something else on the tray.



As for holding figures, it easily fits any base up to 2" across. I've even tried it with a variety of Bones minis that have weird shaped bases. Once a figure is in, it's in. I've even done some shaking, and as long as I don't get ridiculous, the minis stay put.





Loading the minis is probably the biggest... maybe only issue I have with it so far. You have to put the mini on the holder, and then use both hands to pull the grips apart, while the mini then drops/slides into the grip. It works, but, I feel like there might be better ways to do it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Painting at Work: Lizardmen

My experiment to increase my painting productivity, and to make sure I can squeeze in a bit of hobby time just about every day, even if it's only 10-15 minutes has gone fairly well. I'm still figuring out what the best use of the time is. So far I've found that base coating and blocking in colors goes well, but trying to do detail work isn't productive. Discovered that with Devona and Almaran the Gold.

Switching over to the lizardmen worked out fairly well. I've been able to do a fair amount of work on them in a relatively short bit of time. It would go faster if I hadn't decided to keep the color schemes that my nephews and nieces picked out.











My plan for the next batch is going to be undead. Specifically skeletal undead, I thought about using my time to prep minis, but I think that the filing, scraping, assembling, washing, etc. would be a bit too messy.

Of course, this contract is up this week, and I don't know what my next position is going to be like... so we'll see how things go.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Stonehell: Back and Forth with the Lizardmen

Session 52 was played on 11/14

Eiric, wizard 6 (Kat)
- linkmen (Lomax)
- Neon (dog)
A-A-Ron, Thief 6 (Henchman)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 5 (Henchman)
Karl, Dwarf 5 (Julia)
- Hobart (dog)
- men at arms (Maln the Dwarf)
Lex the Cheeseman, Fighter 1
Daryll (NPC Cleric 6)
Brie, wizard 1 (Apprentice to Eiric) - Stayed in town researching

Starting their visit to the dungeon with a swing through Kobold Korners, they’re cornered by Trustee Sniv who wants to know what’s up in general, and to ask them to stop slaughtering his entire customer base.

Eiric promises to ease off on killing *everyone.*

Heading back down into the Reptile House, they pass back into the totem pillar hall, and spot a lizardman scout who immediately ducks out of sight, yelling as he goes. The party backs out of the chamber, and takes the northern passage up through the room with the 4 headed snake statue. Examining the empty rooms as they go, the party reaches the lounge overlooking the small arena, surprising a couple of lizardmen. They recover quickly, delivering powerful blows on both Karl and Orpheus that would have dropped lesser men. Karl hits back just as hard. Orpheus hits back harder, and the lizardmen down.

Sadly, they were just the scouts of a full patrol, that advances into combat while simultaneously sounding a horn. The party pushes the lizardmen out of the lounge, and toward the old feast hall. They flinch at Eiric’s casting of Continual Light in the archway between it and the Hall of the Hooded Cobra Statue. More Lizardmen approach, and the party retreats back into the lounge.

Eiric drops another Continual Light spell at the far end of the area, where even more lizardmen approach from. A now illuminated lizardman shaman drops silence in the lounge. The party backs further out of the lounge, trying to draw the lizardmen into a spot where Eiric’s lightning bolt can do it’s deadly work. They hold position, waiting for a short eternity. A-A-Ron advances back into the lounge to see if the lizardmen are waiting for them. The lights remain on, but the silence has ended, and no lizardmen are in sight…

Kills: 16 Lizardmen
Gains:
Losses:

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Art and Re-Skinning

One of the joys of running games at my FLGS The Brooklyn Strategist is that I never know for sure who's going to show up at my table. My current roster includes some artists who sketch during the game.

This is a picture of a demon larva and the player's tiefling bard.



This is one of the "norkers" (actually a nothic, but I called it the wrong name, and it stuck) the party encountered a while ago. 3 more of them appeared in this week's session, along with some gricks (both normal and a couple of Alphas).



Of course, none of those monsters are ever described as they exist in the MM. The gricks in my game had armored eyes at the end of each tentacle. For some reason eyeball monsters have been a staple of my games...

As game was breaking up, one of my players was talking about the flying multi-tentacle mouthed monster they fought a couple of sessions back.

"You mean the hydra?" I asked.

"That was a hydra?"

I do so love re-skinning monsters, even when it's just a minor little tweak to make things just different enough...

I do need to be better at having things ready for game though.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Painting the Eye Beast

For many months now, the Bones Eye Beast (very clearly not an IP infringing Beholder mini) has been lurking in the corner of my painting tray. For most of that time it was consigned to being abused, being slapped with whatever leftover paint I had out, then shoved back into the corner.

Truly a sad existence for such a monster.



So I decided to do something about it. And since I'd already used a rainbow of colors on him, I decided to take that as my theme and run with it. At the point I decided to do this, the beast was mostly red. I had a clog that spit out way more paint than I needed, and... well...

Moving down toward the base, I added orange, and then to yellow. Going up, I took the red to Imperial Purple and then up to Oceanic Blue.





The gums and outer edge of the eyes were painted with Breast Cancer Awareness Pink, while the eyes and teeth got Linen White as their base coat.

I painted the central eye with Rich Leather and Driftwood Brown, with flecks of Dragon Bronze. The pupil was painted with Nightmare black. The blood vessels are heraldic red.



At about this stage, pretty close to done, I got some advice, and mostly was told the eye wasn't scary enough, and the teeth should be dirtier. I decided to glaze both the eye and teeth with a sepia wash to make them more yellow. I focused, with the teeth closer to the gum line.

I also wanted to tone down the pink a bit, and gave all pinks a glaze of Dragon Red.









The base of the eye beast is covered in scattered treasure. After I glued it to a 2" base, and glued a washer to the bottom of the base to help with the highly unbalanced mini, I decided that I didn't want to use the molded base as it was. So I used a little extra greenstuff and evened out the difference between the integrated base and the larger base I glued it to, and then covered the whole thing in sand. When the glue was dry I base coated it with Brown Liner. Then I drybrushed it with a blend of Dragon Red and Rich Leather, and a tiny bit of Brown Liner. Then again with just Rich Leather, then with a Rich leather & Driftwood Brown blend. Then I added in some Linen White.

Total Minis Painted in 2018: 5

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Stonehell: Poo, Pools, and Party Lights

Session 51 was played on 11/7.

Eiric, wizard 6 (Kat)
- men at arms (Koltic, Pargax)
- linkmen (Lex the Cheeseman)
- Leon (dog)
A-A-Ron, Thief 6 (Henchman)
Orpheus, Human Fighter 5 (Henchman)
Karl, Dwarf 4 (Julia)
- Hobart (dog)
- men at arms (Bollox, Elphon, GoMat)
Daryll (NPC Cleric 6)
Brie, wizard 1 (Apprentice to Eiric) - Stayed in town researching

Picking up from last week in the middle of the Hobgoblin Redoubt…

From the guard room, the party explores around and discovers that it’s guarding the main entrance to the Redoubt and the stairs going up to Kobold Korners, and down to the next level. They then move off to a side entrance to the area, finding a weird turret thing protecting a bridge over a deep spike filled pit. The turret is empty of whatever had once been used in it.

Passing under a spiked portcullis, they open the door to a room with an old straw mattress full of bugs. A-A-Ron gets swarmed, but the bugs get sprayed with PowerThirst by Karl who then runs in with a torch to light them up. FWOOOM! A-A-Ron and Karl get a little toasty, but the bugs are all fried.

They also discover a midden, but opt not to dig through a 5’ tall pile of poop.

Down around the corner they come to a humid room with a large sunken tub that still steams with clear hot water. Karl swishes the water with his 10’ pole, stirring up the ooze that had settled to the bottom of the tub. No one sees this, and Karl decides to get into the tub. This proves to be a poor choice, and he almost immediately begins to scream in pain, flailing and splashing as his hair is all burned off, and his skin starts to be eaten. Eiric magic missiles the water, killing the ooze, and Karl is dragged out and healed. However he remains completely hairless.

After giving Karl a few moments to grieve for his lost beard, the party continues on. The come to another closed off and locked door, but nothing bangs back from within, so they open it up, and find a large salt formation growing in the dry room. Eiric takes some samples.

The next room investigated was an old room covered in patches of saffron mold. The large, mostly cracked and broken urns in the corner weren’t interesting enough to warrant investigating, and a spray of oil and a torch tossed in concluded all interest.

As they were so close to the Halls Without Doors, they decided to scoot on over and finish up the map of that section, and checked out the Temple of the Wargod. Now abandoned, it wasn’t of much interest, but the map was complete!

Moving back into the Redoubt, they decided to try to finish this map as well. THe next area has an old camp site, long abandoned, then a creepy room with a broken sword and spent candle in the middle of the room. Karl pushes Elphom into the room, since no one was volunteering to go in. His childish scream was loud, but the lack of anything bad had the rest of the party laughing at him.

The party circles back around to check out the cave system, discovering that another ooze had taken up residence. This happened when Elphon had it drop down on him, dissolving him before anyone could react. They quickly killed the ooze as it ate Elphon, then carefully made their way along the widened passage till it opened up in the woods outside of Stonehell. Enjoying a moment of sunlight and fresh air, they then head back in, and to the Disco Room.

The flashing lights strike most of the party, but only Karl and Lex are affected in any way, but what a way! Karl is not only miraculously healed, but all of his hair grows back! For Lex it’s even more miraculous, as he goes from being a simple cheese maker to a highly proficient warrior! (leveled up to 1st level fighter) Feeling more confident, the party troops over to the locked room, and using Karl’s pick ax, start to bash in the door. As soon as the gap is big enough, a variety of undead start to claw their way out. Darryl ends most of them, and the few remaining brain-munchers are pounded into the flagstones. The room beyond is depressingly uninteresting, until a loose stone is found and behind it a sack of coins and gems!

Packing up, the party heads up to the surface, and back to town. Bonuses are shared around the remaining hirelings, and many of them opt to go off and party.

Kills: 2 Grey Oozes
Gains: Complete Maps of Without Doors and Hobgoblin Redoubt. Sack of coins and gems.
Losses: Elphon

Monday, January 8, 2018

Snowstorm Yeti Speedpaints

Almost immediately after making up my list of current and planned hobby projects, I tossed both to the side, and worked on something completely unrelated to anything on either list.

Yetis

Why yetis? Mostly because of the snowstorm that just pounded the east coast. I was inspired to see if I could do a speed paint of them. Not worrying about mold lines, I went at it.



As usual, I started by giving them a wash in warm soapy water, and a good scrub with a toothbrush.
They were then all base coated with Reaper's Blue Liner, cut with a bit of flow improver. I then mixed in Snow Shadow in increasing amounts and dry brushing the fur.





Once at about 6:1 Snow Shadow:Blue Liner, I switched over, and added a drop of Pure White to the mix.



I painted the tongues with Dragon Red, and the necklace, staff, and teeth with Rich Leather.

That was as far as I got the first sitting.

The second sitting (Friday), I worked only on the flesh. I used Imperial Purple for the skin, with increasing amounts of Snow Shadow for the highlights. I also glued them to bases.



Saturday I finished them off. The stones on the base, staff and necklace were painted with Mountain Stone, highlighted with Cloudy Grey. The eyes were painted with Frost Blue. The twine wrapped around the staff was painted with Tanned Leather and Driftwood Brown.

The skull and teeth were painted with Army Painter Bone, highlighted with Reaper Pure White mixed in.




The base was finished off with a bit of woodland scenics snow effects.

Of course, once I was done, I decided to go and do a little more. The necklace stones I repainted as bone, and then I added a brush of Pure White on the highest bits of fur.

Minis completed in 2018: 4

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Hobby Update

As the new year has started, it's a good time to take stock of where I'm at, and where I'd like to go hobby-wise.

First off, this is what's on my painting tray:


Frostgrave Heritor, Warden, and 5 Crew - They're coming along nicely, and will be done fairly quickly. I'm pleased with the progress I've made on them, and like how they're all shaping up.

The Halloween Knight is just about done, but the cloak and armor needs a little more blending.


Eye Beast - This guy was sitting around mostly as a way to sop up any spilled/excess paint. It reached the point though where he'd been completely covered, and so it was time to get him done. Now that I'm actually working on him, he's going quickly, and I expect that he'll be done soon.


Rogue Stars Figure (The Rogue) - Based and primed. Mostly I pulled him out so that I could test out the Happy Seppuku base stamp. I don't actually have any use for him at the moment, and so he might just end up going back in the case.

Random Sci-Fi Angry Chick (aka COBY5 - Ygrainne Assault Trooper from West Wind) - Same as above.

Projects that are on the drawing board, in order of importance:
1a. Weeping Angels TARDIS base
1b. Roller Derby Girl
2. Possible Commission job?
3. Basing all the minis I've done except for the bases
4. ??

I'm actually not sure what I want to work on next. Not that I need to worry about it at the moment. And I can always knock out some of the many many Bones I've got. Practice working on faces, and doing skin tones.

I also have a fairly deep shelf-of-shame, mostly half (if that) painted minis from a decade ago. A few might need to be stripped, but I think I can work from the blocked in colors already on them.


At work, I'm still painting lizardmen. I brought my paint kit with me as I traveled for the holiday, but never actually pulled it out to work on anything. After I finish up the lizardmen, I'm going to move onto skeletal undead. I've got a bunch from the various Bones kickstarters, plus some Mantic skeletons. Those should keep me busy, but also be easy enough for work.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 (and December) in Review

That's it! 2017 is done and over with. Auld lang syne has been sung, kisses shared, resolutions made, and fireworks have terrified the dogs. But before we move on to 2018, let's take a look back at the year overall and December specifically.

First up, Last Year's Goals:
  • Paint more minis (1 a week would be great!) Close!!
  • Wrap up the Frostgrave terrain challenge Sort of? Challenge shifted as I gave away most of my terrain.
  • Play more D&D and Frostgrave Rousing Success! (at least for D&D)
  • Get session reports written up faster and posted! Sort of... Better than before
  • Hike more Up until I moved, yes. Since, no. Lots of visits to the park though.
  • Go to ReaperCon again, and get a silver Yes on the first, no on the second, but I got closer this year!
New goals for 2018 after I wrap up the monthly update...

Gaming
Managed to squeeze in a couple of 5e sessions, though I have now lost 2 of my regular players due to moves. Hopefully the core of the group will be able to continue on, and we'll pick up a player or 2 to make up for the loss.

Stonehell has now seen the second level completed, and the party has hired the kobolds to dig out an access tunnel to a sublevel that I still need to map. We actually got together to play a game in person again over the Christmas break, and they've gotten seriously lucky in the places they've visited. We'll see if that continues.

Minis
I finished up 4 of the lizardmen that I've been painting at work. I also wrapped up the Medusa, Devona (Belle), Almaran, and the wraith. That brings my total completed minis for the year to 49.



Not bad! Still need to write up some of the posts on them. Here's a few closer pics.




Starting off the year I've got the rest of the lizardmen to finish up, the Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago crew, and the Eye Beast that I've been poking at but not really focusing on. I also found a couple of minis that really need to come off the shelf of shame soon. Plus I've got 3 minis I need to paint up as gifts. Ideally to be done before March. They'll be next.

Books
Lots of reading this month! Even allowing for a week off between Xmas and New Years...
Farthing by Jo Walton - Alt-History murder mystery. Not sure that the story was good enough to justify a story in which Hitler is the dictator of Europe until at least 1949.
Robin Hood Hacker Collection by Carolyn McCray - Fun, but good gods is it silly
The Art of the Impossible (Star Trek: The Lost Era, 2328-2346) by Keith R.A. DeCandido - As even, one of the best Star Trek writers.
One Constant Star (Star Trek: The Lost Era 2319) by David R. George III - Solid story
Frostgrave: Ghost Archipelago: Tales of the Lost Isles - Decent short stories, but nothing that I would recommend unless you were a fan of the game already.
Déjà Dead (Temperance Brennan, #1) - So different from the TV show... I hear the writing gets better.

Goals for the New Year!
  • Continue to paint at work, and try to finish 2+ minis/month from that
  • Get more tabletop gaming in! (Frostgrave I'm looking at you)
  • Attend the monthly New England Paint Day at least semi-regularly
  • Build a photo background thing and use it to show off my minis!

Hope that you all have an amazing 2018!