Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Getting Close To Not Posting Today - Writing Is Fun

Giving yourself a goal is a good thing. It keeps you motivated. There is a reason for plodding on. The number of times I have heard from people in my family that when you retire you die for some reason hits me hard. I am a long way of retirement, unless things change, but I still like to have something to keep me going.

For years now I have been writing. It has always been my ambition to get something published. I mean properly published, not self published or something online. Now that I have something written down I am error checking it. As I am a either a little bit dsylexixic or I have a problem with typing (my fingers seldom seem to type what my brain tells them to do). So proofreading and error checking is mostly very entertaining.

So I am about twenty percent into error checking my first magnum opus (note the ego). It's a post apocalyptic bestiary for the UK, specifically London. It's only about five years in the making. Now I am looking at format and art. That is even more fun.

If anyone has any suggestions that might help, I'm all ears.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

50 Shades Of Decay Or How I Paint Zombies

Have you ever seen a body that has been dead for a while? I have. More times than I care to think about. I'm thinking about it now, so that last sentence was probably counterproductive. It is the stuff of nightmares. One of the last ones I saw sticks in my memory very, very clearly. I didn't eat a baked potato for about two years afterwards. Now I still can't face a baked potato with cheese. I always expect the cheese to start wriggling. Maybe you catch my drift, maybe not. No more details on that score but you are bright people so I guess you can work it out.

My early zombie cinematic experiences are of Romero films. These low budget epics used simple ideas. Most zombies were usually had light green makeup unless they were African American, then you got a kind of pale blue makeover instead. Feature zombies had a bit more gore, but if you were in the long shot you were green or blue. For the most part I still stick with this colour scheme. I use a number of shades of green to give each model a bit of variation. There is always a bit of shading but it is mostly ink and blood that I use for zombie effects. There are usually several tones of ink in there to give the skin a bit of variety.

As time as gone on, brown, especially baked potato brown, has come in, for obvious reasons. When I use green paint, I vary it with a little light grey or brown paint and mix it poorly. Red and black ink usually still feature highly and whilst I use sepia-ish inks in the main, the green and often red creep in there too.

One of the things I keep meaning to do is some fresher zombies. Ones with either healthy or healthy ish skin tones. The thought had occured to have some unarmed civilian types that I can initially use as a crowd. Then, well the players have got used to the idea of having them around, use them as zombies.

Zombies should look pretty badly hammered for the most part. I like Tamiya Clear Red for this. When it isn't varnished it looks like fairly fresh blood. Older blood should be much darker. Too much really doesn't work. When choosing where to put the blood I think in terms of where it would probably end up. Anything on the hands would probably wear off quite quickly but there would always be some there. Around the face is another good place. It follows that most of the blood is going to be on the front with probably more on the chest than on the legs. Rather than paint the whole front side red, I think it would be more splatter and drips. Little bits here and there across the front on the body, none or almost none on the back and some on the floor.

To give them a really shabby appearance, I use a lot of inks. Mostly I do a base wash in the right colour for the paint colour below. Browns help to make them look dirty, especially brown over black ink. Green give a real sense of decay but maybe not use too much of it or the skin will look wrong. High traffic areas are probably a good bet, ower arms, knees and backside are good place for green. A mix of reds, ruddy skin tone, purples but mainly green make a good range for skin tones but experiment a little. Red ink is good on facial features and around wounds done with Tamiya Clear Red. I am not a fan of the GW paint, Blood For The Blood God, for this kind of work.

The best advice is go and watch your inspiration, later Romero and The Walking Dead for me. Look at what they do for their make-up. Emulate that in a more simple form as you will have a lot of zombies to do. Get on with it and don't be afraid to experiment, because with zombies you can usually cover up anything you hate quite easily.

Zomtober must bring out the worst in me.

Monday, 16 October 2017

The Start Of Zomtober Week 4

The good work continues. This is going to be another hard week.

More Mantic The Walking Dead: All Out War stuff. Zombies from a variety of sets.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Zomtober Week 3

Really the title of this post should be Zomtober Week 3 - as far as I got.
There is still a few bits to do on the paint work. Across all the figures, there is plenty I am not happy with. There are also a few bits that are just not done. The basing still needs to be dealt with to. This is probably going to be put off for a bit.
The New Cruelty is not happy. I am not happy.

Well except I am. I have had a bloody good day, a nice evening meal in a restaurant and I have managed to put as smile on one of the lads faces on his birthday.

Next week... Zombies.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Where Did That Day Go?

For the first time in a while I am worried that I am not going to make my painting goal for the week. My other half has been ill. Although she is up  now, I guess she has been upstairs for about sixteen hours. She did get out of bed to help me do some shopping but other than that I have been busy. Then there has been prep for one of the kid's birthdays tomorrow to do. Not to mention playing a bit of Fallout 4 and my latest purchase, Dead Rising 3. Did I mention the dog is ill too?

Settling down to painting has been out of the question. I would have spent more time cleaning brushes than I would have painting. It's been up and down kind of day.

Having played Fallout for a bit it has rekindled my love of  post apocalypse RPG. So I have been working on the Underground setting. I now have an idea, the very bare bones at least, for a campaign. I still kind of have an idea about publishing it so I am still proceeding in that direction with the writing.

Still, busy day tomorrow. Hope I can find some time for painting. The shortness of time might give me the push that I need.

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Lasting Appeal Of Fallout 4

For better or worse, I am someone who loves the post-apocalyptic genre. I am not so sure I would be too keen on the real thing but as far as entertainment genres go, I guess it is my all time favourite. Other genres have their attractions but I guess these are not as great as mutants and zombies. This especially applies to roleplaying games and miniature painting.

The first apocalypse film to really have an impact on me was Dawn of the Dead which was quickly follows by Day of the Dead. This closely followed by films like A Boy And His Dog, Terminator, The Omega Man, Mad Max, Logan's Run and Planet Of The Apes. When I look back at my choices of Sci-Fi, worlds were being destroyed and settlements were being wiped out. The big comic of the time, in the UK at least was Judge Dread. As the nineties came along, I read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction with the most notable being The Postman. This book had a big effect on me. It taught me that if I don't take responsibility no one else will. If you were to take one thing away from this post it would be to read The Postman and not to judge it by watching the film. I guess the seventies and eighties were bleak times indeed. As computer games developed at the end of the nineties, Fallout came along. I have been hooked since.

A couple of days ago I started playing Fallout 4 again. Despite playing it heavily, I have never completed the main plot. I am getting close to completing Far Harbour but I still have a long way to go with the main plot. According to the game I have something like 700 hours of game play in it. There have been a number of back trackings and I am sure there is plenty of time I have just left the game running but I assume the figure is mostly accurate. Sadly, this is not as big as my investment in the Fallout 3 game (or Skyrim for that matter).

Despite all this time I am still drawn back into it. Unlike a lot of games, you are able to affect the world. In small ways and in specific locations perhaps. These settlements then serve you a little, allowing you to recover cash and resources from them. You have a real sense of being at the heart of rebuilding this world and not just going out and killing things although I have done plenty of that.

This has in turn spurred me into action. This evening I have been working more on my RPG background based in the ruins of London, called Underground. Whilst not a direct copy, the idea of going around and rebuilding is a part of what I want to do with the game. All gear is built from the ground up but the emphasis is different. You are building tools and machinery for settlements more than you are building weapons and armour. Vehicles made out of scrap also feature highly in what is going on. In lends some of the more stranger stories and events in London both real and fantastical (but no Jack the Ripper).

There is no real moral to this story. What there is, well it is just a piece of advice. Find your inspiration, tweak it into something you can relate to. Then go and make it your own.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Lego - Not What It Used To Be

Today was the first time I have played with lego for a long while. I was trying to assemble a Lego robot, with the word trying being the most important. Lego has gotten complicated. I don't remember being able to plug into it and program it to do things. As well as the technical side, the build was pretty damn complicated. This was not helped by the fact that to find the bits for one robot I had to look in several boxes that contain the parts for ten robots.

When I got back home I spent a bit more time painting. For the most part everything has a base coat and much of it has been ink washed. Progress is slow but I am confident that I will get there by Sunday. I keep looking at the Blood Bowl stuff on the bench and then I think about getting some more of it. Again I haven't been too focussed but I am not beating myself up about it.

I am still feeling a little detached from my normal reality. Right here and now it doesn't feel so bad. In fact it feels okay. Right now I am putting this down to watch Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories on Netflix.  Hopefully it should be an easy day tomorrow and Saturday is looking pretty slack too. Maybe I can keep this relaxed mood up a little longer.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Progress, In A Lot Of Different Directions

Well I have had a blip for a few days but I seem to be over it now. Somewhere along the line I have managed to get a solid three hours of painting in today. Whilst I am not speeding through the work, I am at least making progress.
A little bit of everything here
What I am lacking is a bit of focus. For a while now I have been wandering off part way through projects. Tonight for instance I have worked on all of these miniatures. Tonight I think I've worked it out. Maybe. The carrion crawlers (without the beards) have been on the bench the longest. Well they were cheap. The troll and the female mage have been around for about a year. I'm not sure where the mage came from, might be Northstar and the troll is from Midlam. The Blood Bowl figures of the last of the human team I started earlier in the year and The Walking Dead stuff I've had for a couple of weeks now.

A while back I made a decision to improve my painting skills. Feel free to comment here. Part of this involved using thinned down paints and a wet palette. It seemed logical at the time to switch to dropper bottles. This seems to have saved a lot of paint, whilst there is more waste on the day it means that the paint doesn't end up drying up which usually happens to most GW paints because of their either stupidly designed or cleverly designed (depending on your point of view) bottles.

In practice, occasionally, if not frequently, I put more paint on the wet palette that I need. Having been brought up to waste not want not, I figure that I should be using the extra paint. If there isn't something I can use it for, then I find something I can use it for. Or something on the back of the bench that gets one step closer to being finished. I have always had what I call Background Projects. These are something that doesn't take over (that's why they are background) but I can work on them when glue or wash is drying.

The background is becoming a lot more foreground. During Zomtober I have had more zombie figures on the bench. This has helped me keep on track. This week however I have run out of stuff  that is prepped and primed.

So now I am thinking I need to do some more prepping and priming. I was reading a blog post somewhere that somebody was doing just that in readiness for winter. They live in Canada where there is a chance that there might be one foot of snow. Here in the UK we might get one inch of rain but the problem remains the same.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Mojo Problems - Not A Gaming Post

I am feeling a little bit down today. There is a lot going on in my house at the moment. Some of which weighs me down a bit more than some of the others but it's not proving to be a good time for me at the moment. Despite that, you have to keep on keeping on.

For the second day in a row I haven't really done anything, well nothing meaningfully productive. Blogging is about as meaningful as it has gotten for me today. It's a good job that I am making myself stick with the daily posting thing or even this wouldn't be happening.

My work chair has not been sat on all day, well maybe the cat was on it for a bit. My other half isn't well so I have really had to step up. K is waiting for a death in the family to happen. It's a forgone conclusion sadly that this lass is going to pass soon and she is still young enough to make it even more tragic.

It's not been the busiest day but I am tired. Playing Fallout 4, which I haven't played for months, has proven to be much easier. I guess that there are a few decisions that are going to need to be made in a year or so that I don't really want to think about but are kind of playing on my mind. This means I am losing sleep and that means I am losing focus.

Timing is proving to be a big issue for me at the moment. I didn't really deal with the death of my dad at the time as I was busy looking after my mum. Now I am having to deal with both and some family turmoil as well. I went to pick up their ashes the other day. My dad had always wanted to be buried but my mum hated the idea. Shortly before he died, my mum talked him into a cremation. What didn't get settled was what to do with his ashes. My mum similarly left me without a clue what to do with hers. So now they are sat side by side in my lounge whilst I figure out what to do with them.

There is a lyric somewhere that goes something like "whatever gets you through the night, is alright". The trouble about the here and now is what is getting me through the day. That is what it is about for most of us. For me, I am finding things to fill in the time between the stuff that makes the world go around. This is typically painting figures or doing something gaming related. Tomorrow is looking like an easy day for me so I am hoping that I can get back in the game.

The uplifting thing is that one day I am going to come back and read this post. You might say that is a little depressing as this post is pretty far from uplifting. When I do come back to it, it will be on a better day when all these problems are behind me. Things will be back to their "normal" and I'll in the swing of things again.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Zomtober Week 2

This week of Zomtober has been focus on the The Walking Dead's All Out War expansion, Days gone by. It's another six figures, four survivors and two zombies. The zombies were getting tinkered about with last week and it is the survivors that I have been "concentrating" on. It has to be said that my focus has kind of gone towards the end of the week and there are probably a few details that still need addressing.

These are two of the most characterful zombies in the game. I love these figures and they are ones that are likely to feature a lot.

The four survivors, all from the Atlanta Camp have turned out okay. Some of the hands look a bit out but I think this is down to the moulding rather than the paint job. I am always a bit disappointed when I look at the pictures on Mantic's website and compare them to my paint job but I guess that the pro painted one are early run and have better hands and have fewer mould lines.
The shading on the collar on the figure in the red shirt has turned out really badly in the picture. It is better in real life but I will give this a bit more attention in time.

Anyway, the week ahead is probably going to be some form of the Miles Behind Us expansion. It's aither going to be the full box set or I might just try and concentrate on the Green household (with a couple of extra figures) and if I am feeling do the two zombie figures for the set as well.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Missing Time + Kodama

I am convinced I must have been kidnapped by aliens at some point today as I seem to have had an episode of missing time today. I definitely remember waking up. It wasn't much fun and I don't recall being too happy about it. Way, way too early for a Saturday. FabLab was fun and I enjoyed that bit everything after that is a bit of a blur. Ten hours later I am not really sure where the day went.

There was zombies involved in it somewhere along the way. The latest Resident Evil film I think. Which whilst it has a moderate budget, is about as bad as I should have expected.

The real high point of the day was the new Red Dwarf episode. Still good after all these years. I am way too tired to write anything about it now, but maybe next week.

Late on, I did manage to play a game of Kodama with the other half. This was the first time we have played it and it is a fun little game. In case you are wondering, Kodama are japanese forest spirits (I think). You have to build a tree by laying cards next to a main trunk and make it as attractive to the forest spirits as possible scoring points along the way. The aim of the game is to create sets of  symbols on the cards which may or may not meet the criteria for bonus points on the seasonal cards, available to all, and Kodama cards that the players get at the start of the game.

It is a pretty game to look at and there are plenty of cards, enough for a five player game with a degree of variety wide enough that you are never likely to have the same game twice. Whilst I don't think this game is going to change the world it is a fun game that would be easy to play in polite company and with kids.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Too Many Projects

Focus has always been my problem. I can never focus on anything for too long. There is just something in me that cracks and I mentally end up wandering off from one project to another. Today I have worked on five different projects. Admittedly my main focus has been on Zomtober and The Walking Dead and the figures are coming along nicely and should be done for Sunday. 

Part of what I have been doing has been painting the sabot bases for the Viking Wargame. I now have more than enough to do a good sized game with plenty of extras. The ones that I have textured are now all painted and even the bits where the paint was a bit thin has been given a second coat. I even did a bit of highlighting on one of the dark age leaders I did a few weeks ago.

As a wider part of that project I have been planning to build some palisade walls. It's part of the Viking RPG game that I have in my head. This has been a bit of a focus today as it's going to be my FabLab project in the morning. This might end up on the bench for a bit but at least I will have all the parts I need.

When I poured out a bit too much white paint and there was a some drying time on the ink I had just put on, I looked around for something to do with. There are still some human players for the last Blood Bowl I painted left to do. As these are in black and white (Widnes RLFC colours) I thought what the hell. I gave the next four, all catchers, a first coat of what. They will still need another coat but I guess they are a step closer.

Finally, I got hold of a copy of Sunless Seas a few weeks ago. Despite showing no signs of being able to play the game well enough to avoid frustration, I wa quite enjoying it. It's a Steampunk sailing game I guess with a touch of horror thrown in.

So I have been working on a few ship designs thinking I could cut them out on the laser cutter. The idea started out with a starter ship for the players which quickly turned into two versions of the same ship, one of which was about fifty percent bigger than the other. Then both got an extra deck. Then I thought there should be some kind of navy cutter or corvette. Now I am working on a much bigger cargo ship. I need to stop this really as the latest ship is on three decks two of which are four feet long. I wasn't planning on putting too much into 3d for these but maybe give them a bit more than texture and maybe things like doors and a steering wheel.

I really need to focus.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Zombie Movie Night

My other half is out last night. This means that I get to watch something other that cut price Marvel TV shows (seriously I have watched Legion, Agent Carter, Iron Fist, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and we are working through the second season of Daredevil prior to watch Defenders, two or three episodes almost every night for months and I only liked the first two).

So what am I choosing to watch? Well cut price zombie films (well all but one of them is fairly low budget), obviously.

Starting off with Cooties. This is a fairly standard zombie escape the building horror. The film is set in an elementary school (the American school system is a mystery to me). it's major difference is that if you have gone through puberty you are immune. Despite that, you can still end up as dinner. There is no help coming as the phones are out and school Head takes all phone off everyone. It's a nice twist on the survival horror type of zombie film with some great quirky characters (Rainn Wilson plays an outstanding steroidal PE teacher). I can see me turning this into a scenario for a zombie game.
 I went on to watch What We Become. This is a movie that takes itself a bit more seriously but then it's Danish (I am not saying the Danes have no sense of humour and I have met six of them :) (yes that was a joke)). It starts out with a flu epidemic and everyone in the house (and several others) are sealed in (it looks just like E.T.). It has some nice plot elements and is a very character driven drama. If you were planning a zombie game, this would not be the one to choose.
The ReZort is a bad movie. It has just about every zombie movie cliche going. This does not make it a bad movie in itself (zombie movies are all about the cliches). The movie takes place on an island full of zombies set aside for rich tourists to go on hunting holidays. I don't see this as a great idea for a zombie campaign but I guess you could squeeze a one shot game out of it.
Of all of them, The Girl With All The Gifts has probably been the star of the evening. The characters are all inside some sort of bunker with a load of children wo are trussed up and kept in high security cells with no readily apparent reason. As you start to piece things together things just get weirder. I can't say too much without spoiling the reveal but it has a good plot with a few twists in it to keep you on your toes. This has the potential for a great campaign and could be turned into something to keep players on their toes.
All in all, not a bad evening's entertainment.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

One Door Opens

This post is not so much about gaming. It is more about what skills gaming has given me over the years giving me the confidence to do other things.

I have had a bit of a problem with ones of my doors lately. Or should I say a member of my household managed to put a hole in one of them. The door is a total write off and as it was the living room door, it need to be replaced.

This would have been the thing that I would have probably turned to my dad for help with, if not getting him to do it for me. As he passed  eighteen months ago now, I no longer have that option. It was either get someone to do it for me, or do it myself.

A long time ago, my dad told me that I would never make any money from my hobby. Over the years, it has been a point of pride and of principle to prove him wrong at every opportunity. For a good ten years I managed to make my hobby, more or less self funding.

As part of doing what I have done, the hobby has taught me a lot of useful skills, some even have real world applications. Oddly the skills used painting figures are not really translatable to painting walls. I still have my dad's commentary about my ability to "cut in" when I was helping him decorate a house a few years ago.

If you have looked at my blog over the years you will have seen that I have managed to come up with a wide configuration of wooden shelves. There have been untold storage solutions. It has taken me to FabLab lately, where I have learnt a whole load of practical skills. I figured that if I could make a passable door in 1/56 scale I could probably do an okay job in 1/1 scale.

So with a whole load of second guessing, and watching YouTube, I managed to remove and renew the door. The hardest part was getting the damn door of the hinges in the first place. My god was there some gloss on that last hinge.

My point is that I have spent a lot of time second guessing myself. Perhaps a career change as a "chippy" is not on the cards for my, but my god, I did it. A few weeks ago I was helping my uncle put a concrete fence in. Not only did I do a pretty good job of it but I was able to channel a bit of my inner Grrrr to get the job done (it was get angry with concrete or hit it with a mallet) and it worked. Until then, the only concrete fence I had done had been made out of plastic I-beam and foam core.

Now I have a door that opens and closes as well...:)

The right tools help but it is all about mindset. If you can get you head into a job then you can usually do it. Anyone can learn just enough to get a job done these days, thanks to YouTube. Take some advice from me, if you think that you could probably do something, give it a go. You will probably impress yourself and maybe even someone else. If my dad is in heaven, I think he would be pretty happy with what I have managed today, although he probably wouldn't tell me.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Walking Alive

There is not so many zombies of the bench this week, mostly survivors. Whilst one of the zombies is waiting for just a few more details the other needed a bit more work. The real work is on the four survivors. There is a good coat of paint for them ready to be highlighted. I did play about with the shirt of one of them. It's a bit more effort than I would normally put in but it is kind of what it looks like on the in house model. My reason for not doing more is that if it goes badly, it goes very badly and means a restart and repaint, which never ends well.
The colours seem quite bright at the minute. Part of that is down to me trying to emulate what's already on the web and part is I know they are going to get darker pretty quickly. Yellow is definitely not a colour I normally use for hair, but the one on the mantic site seemed to work out okay.

Monday, 2 October 2017

Zomtober - Week 2 Begins

So this is week 2 of Zomtober. This is what I am starting with. I have already done a little bit of work on the zombies and started on the faces of the survivors. It was easier to do the skin tones for all the zombies at the same time and the punk zombie seemed to suit some of the colours I used last week.
The survivors is going to be the real work is this week. "Real" people are harder work than zombies because you can't cover up the mistakes with the same amount damage as the zombies. The Dale character seems to be a bit on the big side but then I am not sure that I like the uniformity in most figures.

Anyway, onwards and upwards.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Zomtober - Week 1

The plan for the week was to finish off all the minis from The Prelude To Woodbury Set.
The Governor, Brian Blake, was a fairly easy paint job. Whilst the mini is crisp enough for a good amount of detail, there is actually a limited amount of actual details. This is down to the simplicity of the images from the comics being easy to draw rather than a flaw in the figures.

It's difficult to put extra detail into some of the figures. When all you have to work with is a shirt and pants it is difficult to make the figure really shine. These are actually pretty nice figures and they have painted up pretty well.  The zombie having a snack was a bit more fun. When I first looked at the figure I thought the"snack" was actually handcuffs.
The three female figures look like they have come straight out of an office. Although this is quite normal clothing, it's difficult to make normal shine. A grey business suit is not going to stand out from the crowd. I always think the female miniatures need to be better colour coordinated than male ones.

Anyway, this is week one done. The New Cruelty is more than satisfied. Next week is going to see me paint the Days Gone Bye. More survivors and fewer zombies.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Gaming Tiles

Over the last couple of weeks I have been playing about with the idea of  doing some gaming tiles for roleplaying and board games. This stems from playing Star Wars: Imperial Assault and Descent as well as looking some of the home made 2.5d dungeon terrain. I like the idea of making the terrain easy-to-use, easy-to-build and interlocking.

Whilst I like the tiles and the figures and even the game of Imperial Assault, I am not going to go out and buy them because I know two people who I game with that have it already and I wouldn't be running it any way. However, I want them to play other games and I really want something I can customise so the commercial stuff doesn't do quite what I want. I did think about cutting stuff to the same shape and size as the FF game but that sounds like more hard work that it's worth.

So I came up with the idea of  creating my own. The first one is a try out of the 2.5d terrain. The original idea was a bit of a stretch but it was an easy fix to make something that works. I am stuff not sure I like the form. The Imperial Assault tile idea works much better and the absence of walls specifically means that the tiles can be closer together.

The prospect of the creation and painting of the dungeon tiles is fun and I like the idea but the printing out of images created elsewhere makes the process a lot quicker and more visually appealing.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Progress, After A Fashion

Today has been another busy day and I am painfully tired. What I need right now is some sleep. The work on the zombies has progressed a fair bit. That said, whilst I have done a fair bit of highlighting, there is still plenty of details to add before I would class them as finished.
The tiredness and the detail was starting to make me go a bit cross-eyed so I stopped the figure painting. Instead, I went to on to work on the bases for the Viking wargame for my Savage Worlds Wargame. All of what is now glued together and covered in sand is now ready to go. Then, there were still some bases that hadn't been glued together. The bases (of the bases) that I had available were not enough for what I needed. I did however have a number of the top half of the bases that hadn't been cut properly. The cuts were deep enough that chopping them down to the size of bases of the bases (look at the pictures if you don't understand) that there were easy enough to cut out. So, although it was a bit of a cobble together, the problems won't actually be noticeable when figures or blanks are put in the slots. Most bases now only need a touch up to the paint and there are about ten that need texturing and painting. There is enough there really to give it a go now.

Then I moved on to gluing up some dungeon tile ideas I tried running off last weekend. These are definitely not going to work in their current form but I will paint them up to see what they look like from an aesthetic point of view.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Woefully Busy Day & Some Fun & Zombies

Whilst I still have  a bad back that is causing me a lot of pain and a cold that just won't go away, the world isn't going away either. My other half is ill with the same thing I had although this seems to be the second time she has had it. She was that bad last night that she asked me where her glasses were and she was wearing them, on her face, at the time.
This picture demonstrates why most good painters (or do I
mean sensible ones) don't show their work until it's finished.
Zomtober continues. I took this picture yesterday to remind me to keep on track or else The New Cruelty will catch up with me. When I look at it I feel a slightly unpleasant feeling in my stomach. Still, very early days. They are very blocky and pretty hideous. It was for this reason that I wasn't going to post the picture. That said, I have worked on them a bit this evening after going out for a birthday meal, and I am happy to say that they now look a lot better. I realise that the blood looks pretty bright at the moment but when I get down to washing them and painting the clothing, the blood splatter will narrow down a bit and darken down a lot.
So getting a bit better but still don't look bad enough to be zombies
Still pretty far from perfect but they are getting there. There is a fair bit of detailing to do on them and lots and lots of highlighting and what I call "grebbing them up" to make them a little more zombie. This will include a significant amount of Tamiya clear red, which is the best blood substitute I have found so far (although I wouldn't recommend it for a transfusion).

There has been a bit of time for playing around with Corel Draw as well. I am working on some terrain ideas. I have had an idea for some roads for ages. For a while now I have been thinking about doing them in laser cut MDF. This might take a while but it is doable. It will take a long time because of the scope of the amount of stuff I am actually wanting.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Blood Bowl Releases

There are still a number of Blood Bowl Figures on the workbench in various stages of completion. Despite being in the throws of Zomtober, I still keep looking at them.  It's Blood Bowl that is really taking up much of the rest of my Birthday list (soon to rechristened the Christmas List). I have a bit of sitting around time so I was looking up what's new in the world of Blood Bowl.

The answer wasn't much...But there is a bit of promise out there. Whilst there is nothing new on the GW there is some stuff on Forgeworld site.
I did a post about a Minotaur big guy which is now out along with the counters for a chaos team. Then I found that there is a chaos team with all the bits in one box.  Chaos was always one of my fave teams so I guess I will take a punt when I next get the urge. I am not sure that I would buy the tokens at £8 when a whole team is £20 but they look pretty good.
On the downside, the elves are coming. I hate elves. A mate of mine, Martin, loves them and all his characters were either elves or behaved like elves if the game didn't have them in it. This may be why I hate them. Uppity, smug, arrogant and annoying. Yes Martin, I am talking about the elves.
Now I am a completist so I will get round to buying them. This is not a big ask as the figures are really, really nice.
If I can make them look this good, I might actually have to play a game with them. the only time I have used the elves I have is to practice against them. The Christmas list will just have to get bigger.

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

The Walking Dead & The Irony Of The Industry

I think I said yesterday that I had gotten hold of a copy of the Kickstarter box set. I have been after this for a while mainly because it has a few miniatures in it that are difficult to get hold of without Mantic points. The TV show and the comics are stuff I just love and to my mind are amongst the best in their respective genres.

At the time it came out I wasn't so sure that I was going to be interested in it so I didn't back it. Too much rigmarole I thought at the time. Whilst I am very happy with my purchase and the others I have made lately, especially as they were cheap, Mantic's latest releases have taken the edge off.
As you can see I was so happy to get this that I had
removed some figures for priming before I took some pictures
The kickstarter boxes are back on sale on their store. Admittedly seconds and more money than I paid for it. I suspect the guy who has a boxed set on eBay for £330 will be disappointed. What is naffing me off is there is a collectors edition set. This has three exclusive figures and three more that it says that are also exclusives (which I already have and have paid through the teeth for).  If I sat down what I have already paid for the bits in it, I would have been much better off buying this set and I would have got the three exclusive miniatures (really not available anywhere else unlike the kickstarter exclusives). As I really don't need all the duplicates (a third copy of the starter set might be too much and there is only one Governor and how many Lee and Clementine figures can I actually use (and the zombie with these two is great but is a bit distinctive)) I am not going to spend the money. I will wait to see if the exclusive come up on the web as all the other "exclusives" have done eventually.

To be honest, I shouldn't really complain, it makes me sound like a bit of a fan boy (and that hurts :) ). I keep buying the figures purely for the love of them.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Zombies Take Charge

Of my work bench at least...
Primed and ready to go
The eBay purchase of an All Out War Kickstarter box and Miles Behind Us arrived this morning. The day has been pretty much been all about that. I have prepped some stuff for Zomtober. The plan is to go through some of the box sets starting with The Road To Woodbury and moving on from there. I have done a few basing details on what I have started so far and made a fairly good attempt at the Brian Blake figure.


The zombies are coming. Well Zomtober at least. I haven’t done Zomtober for a few years. It was a pleasure when I did and this year I am really looking forward to it. This may explain my sudden purchasing of large numbers of The Walking Dead: All Out War.
"To be a part of this you just need to paint one or more Zombies or Survivors each week, in any scale you like, posting it to your blog by that week's Sunday (we use Sunday's as the end of each Zomtober week). So that means posting one or more newly painted Zombie or Survivor minis each week on or before the 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th of October 2017. This year has a very tight start and there is nothing stopping bloggers starting that first mini early in readiness for the Sunday!"

Anyone commenting on THIS POST will get added to the blog list (and on mine too if you ask). Feel free to do something similar on your own blogs - as the word spreads, more and more bloggers can be involved!.

Eclectic Gentleman Tabletop Gamer - Pulp Citizen
Four Colour Super Minis - Rob
Fantorical - Blaxkleric
Mike's Random Wargaming Meanderings - Mike C
Saturday Mornings - Ivor Evans
28mm Victorian Warfare - Michael Awdry
Miniature Mayhem - Terry Silverthorn
Cheaphammer!!! - Kieron
The Wargame Addict - Wargame Addict
Lead Reckoning - Fred Jackson
da Gobbo's Grotto - Wargaming blog - da Gobbo Grotto
Never Mind The Jankers - Roy Williamson
Paintbrush and Superglue - Matt

It will be a giggle.

My plan is for six miniatures a week for a total of thirty. There will be a mix of survivors and zombies (should I say walkers or would that be sacrilege?) 

Sunday, 24 September 2017

End Of The Week, Dark Age Leaders & The Coming Zombie Apocalypse

This has been a week where my energy levels have been at an extremely low level. The expression post-viral keeps springing to mind. It's odd that this has been my most productive week in ages. Being ill last Sunday lead me to this of a more modest goal than usual, four horses and start work on the riders and dismounted counterparts. All are now done and even based. During the process I even managed to find time to play about with a few new ideas.
The one on the left does look a bit like Keith Lemon
Aside from painting, I have done a lot of reorganising. This was really a space saving measure than anything else. Whilst not as effective as I was hoping, there is more space than there has been for a long while. I feel that I have reclaimed a little more territory.

FabLab has been extremely productive and more than a little bit of fun. I now have enough of the sabot bases for my wargame. As well as the stuff for the game, I have cut loads of figure base and some terrain bases. I am trying out a few ideas for a modular dungeon. This isn't as good as I hoped but it doe work (with a bit of, er, how would I put it, manual alterations?) I'm enjoying having someone to talk to. I have even got my uncle going. It turns out one of the other attendees went to the same school as him and he used to know members of our family.

Over the next week I have the Road To Zomtober. Not sure what I am going to do first yet. The plan is to go for painting half a dozen for every week. Maybe more if  I can find the time. I also want to finish off the sabot bases with  view to trying the rules out in a few weeks. A few weeks ago the plan had been to tackle some black elves. I ran out of the greenstuff I needed for the bases. I now have this so I might give finishing them off a go if I have time. There are no hard and fast plans for FabLab. I have other things to do on Thursday so I won't be doing anything until Saturday. If the cutter is playing ball I might have another go at the dungeon terrain.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

A Lot Of Fine Words

There was a lot of fine words (well ish) about getting all the figures on the bench finished. This would have been a lot better if I had actually done any painting. FabLab went well and I walked away with a load of bits and pieces. When I started tidying them away I got on a tidying up binge. I have freed up some space although not as much as I would like. Perhaps I could say that things are a little better organised. By doing this I managed to find a few things I thought I had lost including some Malifaux figures and some bases, both of which I have been looking for for months.

Now the workbench is clear and I have a better plan for tomorrow. The day is clear from lunch time and hopefully I will be able to spend most of the day painting.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Moving Swiftly Along

Despite having a week where I seem to have slept more than being awake, the figure painting is moving ahead briskly. The initial plan was to finish the horses I started at the beginning of the week and make a start on the the riders and their dismounted versions. Other than a few bits of detailing, the horses are now pretty much done. The riders and dismounted characters are pretty close to having a base coat done and even had some detailing.
If all goes to plan, the weekend might see me finish everything off. I have FabLab tomorrow. This is probably not going to get in the way too much as I don't normally start painting till late in the afternoon. So...The plan had been to finish off what I had started before moving on to the next project, which was going to be a figure for Zomtober. I am starting to think that I might just be able to get five or more figures done for the October the First.
If I can manage six figures a week, that would make thirty done by the end of the month. There are about fifteen in the house at the moment but I have a big delivery on the way. There are going to be some that are the same a what I already have. I'm not sure that duplicates of Ric and Carl  (not to mention Patrick, Liam Dennis and Sandra) are not going to stand out like a sore thumb but I might get round to selling them. I might keep hold of the zombie but I suspect they will get painted. It's easy to give one zombie a different paint job to another.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Road To Woodbury

The Real Evil
The Road To Woodbury arrived this morning. I am really starting to look forward to painting all of this stuff. What I am doing right now is nice, but the prospect of painting these and maybe even running an RPG game with them (despite having over a hundred zombie already) is keeping me going.
Group Shot
FabLab was a bit of a mixed blessing. My work from last week was done but the stuff I did today did not turn out so well. I'll be able to get something out of it but maybe not so much. Still, it gives me something to do. When I got back I was knackered so I haven't actually done much. This cold is still killing me and now the other half is coming down with it so time is going to be tight over the next few days. So I am going to have to make the most of the next few days.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Birthday Money All Spent

Although I have managed to do a bit of painting I had to stop early. Recovery from a bug isn't easy and I have been extremely fatigued which has lead to me having the shakes. Too much blood in my caffeine stream I guess.
Whilst I haven't been too successful on the painting front, I did much better on the eBay front. I got an original The Walking Dead :  All Out War kickstart box and the Miles Behind Us  everything in one box set. For months now I have been trying to get this and it's gone for less than any of the others I have seen.  I think that brings me to around eighty to ninety figures to paint. This should make Zomtober harder work than I thought.

Still FabLab tomorrow. I have a few things prepped and ready.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017


I have never been a big fan of horses. I got to ride one when I was six or seven and that was alright. At about 10 I was bitten by one and that put me off. Then I was thrown off during a donkey derby. There have been a number of times when I have tried to learn horse riding but I am a big bloke and the horses that I can ride should be drawing carts full of beer barrels.
But I digress. Horses. They are not my favourite thing to paint. I may have mentioned that. Now I have four of them to do before the end of the week and make a start on the riders and he dismounted riders. Still, they are now mostly blocked out and their bodies have been inked up. Just the detailing to go.

Having spent the best part of three days in bed I am starting to come round again. Hopefully I will get a little more done during the week. Tomorrow is looking pretty good and we will see what Thursday at FabLab brings. Sometime in the next few day I should have The Road To Woodbury for THD:AOW. I need to start doing some prep for Zomtober but there is a plan for that too. Hopefully that will mean doing an extra figure each week.

Monday, 18 September 2017

The Opposing Forces

Conflict is the driving force behind most games. This is why games are called Dungeons & Dragons, Tunnels & Trolls, Villains & Vigilantes and Mercenaries, Spies & Private Eyes and not Accountants & Academics. Right now the only real conflict I am interested in is Man vs Flu.

The RPG I was going to start running again (using Savage Worlds) involves fighting the army of a Necromancer (assuming they don't go off at a tangent). This means that I need a bad guy and his allies as well as a force for the good guys. There are no end of fighting types in the boxes upon boxes of figures I posses.
Big Nobs At The From The Battle Of Hastings
I might be a bit light on cavalry but I doubt this will be a problem as armies tended to be cavalry light if they had any at all. The bad guys, being an undead army, will be mostly skeletons and zombies with a few extras. I might need a few more but I think I have enough. There are a few skeletal cavalry still it bit form in a draw on my desk. I might get round to making them up. I need a few character type figures for the bad guys. The good guys should be easier. I'll still need a few banner men. The heroes will be whatever the characters pick. In the round, these should be easier to get ready. Either way, there should be enough figures to get some testing done later in the week.

eBay has been good to me again, if you can call it that. I have managed to get The Road To Woodbury expansion for The Walking Dead: All Out War for a good price. This will give me a chance to practice the rules and more importantly a chance to have some more figures to paint for Zomtober. Zombie games have been a big thing for me for years. I haven't run a game in ages and I am feeling the urge to run one at the moment.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

End Of The Week + Blurrgh

I. feel terrible. The cold finally hit me hard today and despite the best of intentions, I didn't get much done. The plan had been to finish the five figures I have been working on this week and then do some work on the sabot bases for the wargame I have planned.

Despite being asleep a lot of today I woke up at about 9pm and did some painting. The New Cruelty demands and I have answered the call. To my surprise I have more or less finished all five of them them.One figure needs a shield attaching and some touching up on the shield and another needs a sword painting up. The bases also need a bit of detailing. So in the round, I am calling this a success.They are not going to win awards but the are a good tabletop standard.
What to do for next week? Well I haven't quite decided. My best I have some personality figures to paint which are mounted and unmounted versions of the same figure to work on. So I am thinking I will do the four horses. If I am going to play test this game I need some cavalry figures. I have some plastic Rohan cavalry somewhere but they will need rebasing assuming I can find them so this seems like a good idea.

To finish of the bases will need a lot of wash. I really don't want to use commercially available washing as this will be expensive. I might have a go at making my own. There are a few ways of doing this so I might give them all a try.

Before my mum passed so gave me some storage boxes to save some space. I haven't had the heart to do them until now. To be honest I don't think I have enough to do all I'll need to do so I might have to buy some more. This will give me an excuse to get out of the house but I don't see a chance of this happening over the next few days as I suspect I am going to have a few days of not doing much.

I have gotten hold of a big chunk of greenstuff. There are still a few projects I have in mind for this. Not sure if this is on the horizon in the next week but maybe in the next week or so.Then of course Zomtober is in the offing and there may be some prep for that.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Bases, Washes And A Need to Clean Up The Workbench

This is going to be a quick post. I am coming down with a bug the kids have given me. Yey.

The FabLab went okay. I was bounced out a little early so I didn't get all that I was hoping to do. Hopefully the staff will finish off my stuff for me and I will be able to pick it up on Thursday. I still managed to get fifteen plus bases cut and all have been glued, most have been flocked and some have been painted. I should have just about enough to run a game when these are done and there will be enough for multiple options when the rest get finished.

After doing that I finished off a few more details on the figures.The Gripping Beast Romano-British are coming along nicely but I am struggling to bring out some of the details of the Northstar Frostgrave figure. Then I moved onto doing the washes. There are still a few details that need to be attended to as well as the highlighting. Hopefully I should get this done for close of play tomorrow.

Zomtober is on the Horizon. Although I have missed out for a couple of years, I have a plan that means that I should be taking part, I got a few minis today just for the purpose of running the game. These are perhaps the most expensive minis (in 28mm anyway) I have purchased in a while.I have primed them today but they should be being started in earnest in the next week or so.

Friday, 15 September 2017


I've said a number of times that I am not a big fan of basing. For me it's pretty much the worst element of figure painting. I should probably put a bit more effort in and then I would probably get better results. Even so, it has become the kind of thing that I do when I can't focus on the details of figure painting.
So today I started something that has been really hard work.  Having glued some bits together for the wargame sabot bases yesterday I have put some texture on them and given them a green base coat. I wanted to get ahead on this because tomorrow I am hoping to come away with a whole load more bases, maybe double the number I already have. My thinking was that if I don't do some of them now, the pile of bases will put me off completely. Now I have enough bases for about one army with a few spares and options. There are fifteen bases done. Mostly they are standard infantry bases but there are a couple for regular cavalry, and one each for heavy cavalry, irregular infantry and smaller monsters.

Hopefully I'll have a duplicate of this set so I can run two armies. With a bit of luck I will also have an odds and sods set with some different base layouts, irregular infantry, larger monsters and even some light artillery.

If the plan goes better than expected I might even have some more regular bases and some larger irregular bases that will do for terrain areas like swamps and woods.

At the end of the day I did get a chance to work on the week's figures. They don't really fit with anything on the horizon but the Arthurian age (Romano British) types are nice minis and the other figure which I think is a Frostgrave captain looks pretty good. I am worried that I have slacked off a bit on these to do the stuff for FabLab. For the most part they now have a base colour and tomorrow I am planning to ink them up and make a start on the highlighting, assuming the extra bases don't get in the way.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

FabLab, Wargames And Bases

Much to my surprise I got to FabLab just about on time. This proved to be a bad thing. Having booked the machine, someone else was using it when I got there and I was told that the time I had wasn't going to happen because they were going to close early. With a bit of targeted complaining I got them to extend the hours but still didn't get what I want done because it took over forty minutes to get the other guy of the machine.

For a while now I have been working on the idea and basics for a Savage Worlds driven wargame. There are a couple of wargame systems available already. The mass battle system in the rules is extremely basic and the Showdown rules won't handle mass battles. So I thought I could find a third way.

The plan calls for about ten to twelve units per side with units ranging from about five to thirty men. In a world where two hundred men might be called an army, this is about right. What I have wanted to do is give the rules a serious play test. I have played them through with digital paper counters and they seemed to work okay. Over the summer I have been thinking about doing it as a miniatures games, I just needed some sabot bases.
As a game it is really an extension of a RPG campaign but like most of my games, I like a mass battle element to them. So I want  a mass battle feel but still have the scope for using individual heroic characters. There are plenty of dark age figures in my collection but they are all based individually as I am primarily a roleplay at the moment. So whatever the rules were going to be would have to take this into account. I also wanted a system that would allow characters to be right up in the action but a bit more, well, wargaming light. The most obvious solution was sabot basing.

Take somewhere between two and six infantry or two or three cavalry figures per base. Make sure that there is some scope for bigger monsters and even light artillery (okay I have two dwarf ballistas and I might get one for a Romano-British early saxon army).

I had hoped to walk away with about enough bases for two armies. Time got a bit short but I have still walked away with enough stuff for eighteen bases, admittedly some are not needed at the moment and I could do with a few more leg infantry bases. However, I should have enough of the stuff cut by the close of play on Saturday to make that happen.

A bit of sand, some time, some paint, some wash (maybe make some of my own wash as I am now going to need a lot of it) and a bit of highlighting and that should do me.Time is getting a bit tight to have all this done and finish my figures but I live in hope.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Hellishly Busy Day

Not once today have I had a chance to pick up a paintbrush. Come to think of it I haven't even sat at the bench today. There has been a lot going on and to be honest, some of it has been pretty good.

Most of my limited laptop time has been spent doing stuff for fablab tomorrow. I have finished off all the ideas I have for the Viking Wargame and moved on to extra bits and pieces. This is more about basing. A while back I wrote myself, and my players some rules for basing after getting people who wanted to bring their own figures which were on display bases far too big for the 1" grids I use which came on piles of rocks almost doubling the size of the figures concerned. Most of the bases I already have but I figured some of the monster sized bases, especially the double length ones, not only do I not have but can't find. I thought I would try cutting out a swarm base as well and see if that looked any better. Pretty sure that it will and make the bases look a little more even to.

So I am hoping for a bit more basing time in the morning and maybe after I get back from FabLab. I should have a few samples to show as well.

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

A Good Year For The Blog

To be honest I have been blogging really hard this year. This probably explains why I have just hit seven hundred blog posts which is something that has made me proud. Some may say I have low standards :) Most of it seemed to make some sort of sense and it has gotten me few a number of darker days. It's already the year where I have posted the most and it's looking I will average over a post per day, if only just.

It does however seem to be paying off. Whilst the traffic has slowed a bit just of late, it is still running along at a much better rate than past years. Various other bloggers have been kind enough to put me on their blog rolls. Visitors are good but knowing that there are other people out there that think I am worth a mention really lifts my mood.

Playing a bit more of an active part in the blogging community and Google plus appears to have helped. I have more followers on the blog than last year, by about half a dozen or so and I've double my followers on Google plus. So I am quite happy.

I have done a bit of painting today. Although I could have done more, the base coats on the figures for the week are almost done. I'm at the Fablab tomorrow. For well over a year I have been working on a Savage Worlds wargame. The plan for tomorrow is to to make some sabot bases and actually give the game a dry run or two.

Monday, 11 September 2017

RIP Jerry Pournelle

Over my time blogging I have done several obituaries. To be honest I can't say I have any love of writing them nor any real talent in writing them. The thing is, people I admire keep dying. This may come as a surprise to you I know, given the shortage of admirable people out there.

When I first started reading  science fiction books by Jerry Pournelle were in just about every science fiction section of every bookshop. At the time I never read any of them. It's only in the last five years that I started reading them. I went through a phase of digging up old military sci fi books which brought him some criticism at the time. This, I think, was a product of the times he was living in and the world political situation in general and possibly some of his own experiences in the Korean War. He was something of a gamer in his time and contributed to a number of related gaming magazines. When I started going through some science fiction classics audiobooks, Jerry Pournelle figured quite highly on those lists. I guess his degree in Psychology did him more good than mine.

I guess it was his collaborations with Larry Niven that have stuck with me the most. The Mote In God's Eye, Lucifer's Hammer and Footfall are amongst my all time favourites. They are well thought through novels and have inherent consistency which make the worlds much more believable.

The guy was clearly a thinker. There are several statements referred to as "Pournelle's Law". The most relevant to me has always been "the importance of checking cable connections when diagnosing computer problems". Then there was the Iron Law of Bureaucracy. "In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely". If you have worked in any office, this has to colour your viewpoint in some way shape or form, depending on the side you were on.

He was a major advocate and early adopter of the personal computer. The are a number of non-fiction books he wrote about computers. This goes back to the early days of the personal computer. It is said to be the first author to have a book published that was written on a word processor.

I, for one, am sad that this talented man has passed away.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Just On The Edge

I have made it to the end of another week and I have stuck to The New Cruelty. Short of varnishing and a few embellishments on bases, I am back on target for my five figures per week. Five odds and sods figures, which I think are all Frostgrave, have been finished off. I have even got close to finishing a couple of background project ones on top of that.
So the plan is to do some early Saxon / Romano-British figures next. these are what is on the table and have been sat there for a while. They have been in the paint queue for about four years now. The whole Romano-British / Arthurian thing is a bit of an inspiration for me. This stems from the Merlin mini series years ago. The style of costume is probably a bit archaic for The Viking Game but I don't mind that. As a GM it is good to take a few liberties so they have become the figures I was going to use as The Kingdom Of Wessex. I did also think about using them as light elves and painting them with a white skin platte.
I've been to Southport today. There is a good gaming store there. A couple of presents have been brought for me. Not got them yet them, but I guess I will get them in a month or so. As a bonus I went to an arcade and walked out with enough 2p coins to meet my basing needs for another six months.