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2015 – Year of the Unfinished Projects

I am sure this title can be interpreted many ways:

  • A typo in my summary of my success at completing projects last year.
  • A prophetic vision of the outcome of this year.
  • Or a simply defined goal.

Like many miniature hobbyists, I have countless unfinished projects.  This year I have decided to focus on finishing (some of) them, and that means going back to some older ones.

Half-timbered row house terrain.  Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain. Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain.  Est. circa 2009.

Half-timbered row house terrain. Est. circa 2009.

First we have part of my ambitious town project.  I intended to start small (with a square) for use in Confrontation (and other 28mm games).  I did detailed work and actually built each building individually to reinforce stability and provide the slightly off-kilter appearance these buildings show in European towns and cities.  At the far right the building with no timber shows where the project stalled.  The edging was a bit tedious but mostly other projects (and life responsibilities) took over.  I was reminded of my goal when I played a game of 40K recently and used this to fill some table space.  Goal for this year: finish this building strip and complete at least one more row.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Dwarf ruins for use in Games Workshop Lord of the Rings.

Next we have the start of some dwarven ruins for use in Lord of the Rings.  I actually have a few pieces I intended to use as scatter terrain.  What was completed was finished in one weekend.  The intent was to build terrain for the battle of Balin’s Tomb from the main rules.  I have a Fellowship and I figured this would give me a reason to finish painting them.  After the initial flurry of activity, little else was done.  This particular piece needs paper cladding and work to define the raw stone (Styrofoam) vs worked stone (foamcore).  Also completed were a small plaza and raw stone building with stairs to a higher level.  Goal for this year: finish the 3 pieces started and three more scatter terrain pieces.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

Devil Dog half-finished project receiving a new powertrain.

The next unfinished project is much more recent, in fact it was one of my stated goals to finish in 2014.  Instead of using the light tank, I will instead turn the two hulls (and add another) into a wheeled IFV to proxy as a Razorback for my 40K Space Marines.  As they will be filling out an existing army, I see them as more likely to be finished.  Goal for this year: build 3 Razorback scratch-builds.

Now I am sure some of the more regular readers will notice that I have a long gap in posts, and nothing here mentions the HOTT Orcs.  Well, as I mentioned in my last post, the rust wash was a bit over-done on the orcs.  It pretty much crushed my morale on these figs as the rust wash was the last part and now I am not sure if I can repair it or I need to go the route of stripping.  Here are a few pics.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Uruk-Hai count as spears in my Orc HOTT Army.

The second picture was done with a shadow to show just how rusted out they are.  I have seen metal that rusted, but normally they were pieces of heavy machinery left in a field for decades.  I have had a few opinions and universally they are not good.  But, despite being discouraging, I will pick up the brush and finish this project.  Goal for this year: finish my orc HOTT army.

Now this isn’t to say I expect all my time to go onto these projects, and this year I will expect some other random things to get thrown at me.  I will be doing more Hirst Arts dungeon pieces.  To tie into that, by summer (hopefully) I will have my Bones 2 Kickstarter miniatures…roughly 100 figs to populate my dungeon and provide more painting fodder for my voracious 5 year-old daughter who is taking up the brush.  I have also been taking my time to finish a few choice models, a novelty for me.  I also am thinking about how to do a better modern/sci-fi city scape and I might go to Blade Runner, the new Total Recall, and 3rd World Slums for ideas to do some terrain for skirmish.

Of course that also brings up the small collection of a small strike team I bought and haven’t assembled/painted…

But all of this is not to say that last year was a wasted year.  In the span of this year I managed to build (and paint) a small dungeon.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin.  Hassle Free Miniatures Hayden.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin. Hassle Free Miniatures Hayden.

I also completed a scratch-built dreadnought in a relatively short timespan…well short considering my work responsibilities and trips during that time.

Dread_update53

And let’s not forget the completion of not 1…

General and his red tunic

General and his red tunic

Scorpion Artillery.  Miniatures by Warlord Games

Scorpion Artillery. Miniatures by Warlord Games

Why so tense, the Optio isn't around...

Why so tense, the Optio isn’t around…

Not two…

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Sparabara.  Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Sparabara. Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

All miniatures Wargames Factory.  6 units of a Persian Army.

All miniatures Wargames Factory. 6 units of a Persian Army.

But three DBA armies.

A closer look at the hordes.  All plastic models Wargames Factory, metal miniatures by Warlord Games.

A closer look at the hordes. All plastic models Wargames Factory, metal miniatures by Warlord Games.

Chariot from the obverse.  The halters and yoke are detailed and cry-out for the attachment of reins.

Chariot from the obverse. The halters and yoke are detailed and cry-out for the attachment of reins.

Wargames Factory Celt Cavalry.  In different armies these can count as either cavalry or light horse.  There will be one more unit of cavalry that will be a general option.

Wargames Factory Celt Cavalry. In different armies these can count as either cavalry or light horse. There will be one more unit of cavalry that will be a general option.

Ok, maybe two and a half since the Brittons/Gauls/Galatians aren’t painted.

I also painted quite a few single miniatures.

Faceless Horror by Reaper Miniatures

Faceless Horror by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon.  Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon. Reaper Miniatures Pathfinder Goblin

Reaper Miniatures Harvey Brimstone, Astrid Female Bard, Mummy Warriors and Mummy Captain

Reaper Miniatures Harvey Brimstone, Astrid Female Bard, Mummy Warriors and Mummy Captain

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token.  Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures.  Games Workshop Dunedain from the Lord of the Rings.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token. Anirion Wood Elf Mage by Reaper Miniatures. Games Workshop Dunedain from the Lord of the Rings.

DSCF6438 DSCF6143

Astrid Female Bard by Reaper Miniatures

Astrid Female Bard by Reaper Miniatures

Barrow Warden Mystic by Reaper Miniatures

Barrow Warden Mystic by Reaper Miniatures

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon Treasure Token

A longer post than usual for me, and quite heavy on pictures (even if most are recycled).  I encourage all the folks out there to set goals but be flexible.  There is a lot of time and effort that goes into this hobby, and the minute it starts feeling like work is the time it stops being fun.  It is all that wandering from project to project that defines the enjoyment of the hobby.  Having the freedom to walk away from a project that has lost its grip on your attention is part of what keeps it enjoyable.  The ability to pick up a new one also keeps those embers smoldering.  If nothing else, I hope this post inspires you to revisit what attracted you to this hobby in the first place.  Hmmm, seems a bit like a Hallmark card there.

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Check in the Box

AKA – one project done.

I had a some time and motivation so the last unit of horse got finished for the Early Achaemenid Persians.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Actually looking at them now, I notice I am missing the bronze bling-bling on the halters.

But now this means the Persians are complete.  Behold the might of Darius and tremble:

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Although not the best photography, I feel this captures the size of the army.  Being only mostly large bases, this army has a much bigger foot-print than say the Early Imperial Romans.  It also causes blindness from sheer over-use of colour.

A short update today, but a big one for counting a project complete.

Hopefully this will inspire you to at least power through that half finished project that has haunted you.  Now with them complete that means my yearly list of…oh, well maybe I am still a lot behind.

Ack-a-what-nid?

As most of my regular readers have probably forgotten, I do have an Early Achaemenid Persian army in progress (or sitting getting dusty if honesty is your thing).

Anyways, I do have a bit of progress.  In fact I have completed 50% of the remaining units this weekend.  For those keeping score, that means I painted 1 unit.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

Early Achaemenid Persians by Wargames Factory.

This cavalry unit in DBA will be my General.  I wanted the fact that he was a combat leader shine through so I painted him similarly to the Immortals.  Slightly different since no horseman would ever wear white (Austrian Napoleonic horseman stay quiet).

I made my own banner by added a bit of paper to a lance.  I cut out my shape, liberally covered it in white glue.  Curl while drying and presto – instant banner.  I was stuck on what to do.  I wanted a pretty and bright banner but that would be historically inaccurate.  In fact, as near as I can grasp from my research, during this period a Persian “banner” was more of a plank on a staff.

sign

So I compromised and did a plain cloth banner.  I figured purple was simple enough.  If I get bored with it, I may go back and either paint on the two-headed eagle or some piping.

I have also made some progress on dungeon modules:

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

I have created a set of stairs.  Normally these will mark the entrance to the dungeon.  A fairly simple affair, the stairs line up with a level above exactly…the extra step on the stairs is to make the last step flush with the floor tiles of the next level.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Yet another corridor section.  The broken pottery and stacks of sacks give a cluttered feel.

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

Hirst Arts Modular Dungeon

And a shot of the stairs with the corridor.  I wanted a minimalist approach so they could easily match any piece while an ornate set of stairs might not fit as well.

Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Marius Burrowell by Reaper Miniatures

Now when we last left Marius, the intrepid explorer he was pondering what treasure to open first.  He chose the chest…

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Marius Burrowell and Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

In Soviet Russia, chest choose YOU!

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

Mocking Beast by Reaper Miniatures

I painted this up quickly and am quite happy with the effects it evokes.  I may go back and rust wash the “metal” parts.  I am also considering a bit more high-lighting of the “wood” and a few washes to blend the red into the wood.  It is a bit over-exposed in the picture, in reality the transition from wood to gums is a lot more subtle.  Of course it still needs to be based.

I also got lazy with the mold lines and made them the gum line where I found I missed them.

Hopefully something here inspired you today.  Maybe you too can make a dent in that forgotten army.

Dog’s Breakfast

Or, a little bit of everything. A brief update today as I have had little hobby time due to the wedding stuff and the effort to get home back in order. Well worth the effort to have time with the wife away from the kids.

Anyhow, I have made a bit more progress on the Persians. Yes, you did read correctly, I have made some efforts on the last few models for that army.

Wargames Factory Persians.  DBA Light Horse.

Wargames Factory Persians. DBA Light Horse.


I opted for an irregular pose for the light horse. Paired with the dynamic shooting pose I feel it captures the air of a hit and run unit. The horseman in green looks like he lost control of his horse. Oh well.

I do have a new hobby that I was able to start on today. Hirst Arts produces molds to make terrain like Lego. If you aren’t familiar with this company I suggest you check out their site: .

My vibrating table and first mold about to be cast.

My vibrating table and first mold about to be cast.

My cast pieces

My cast pieces

I am using a mixture of concrete powder and plaster of paris to cast my pieces so hopefully they will be stronger than plaster alone. I am finding my first few casts are a bit brittle but as I was more patient in removing them I had some better luck. With trial and error I am sure I will get the hang of it.

Hopefully something inspired you today, despite how brief this update was. Future updates will likely see a combination of my casting and also painting progress on the Persians. The last two units of cavalry have base colours on everything right now, but that is misleading as the horse technique I use takes a lot of time and layers.

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming

These aren’t newly painted models, but Persian models from a couple months ago.

I didn’t really want to post these pics, but I have decided to for a couple reasons.

1. I want the entire Early Achaemenid Persian project to be documented.

2. I have a problem.

Horde and Sparabara units.  Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Horde and Sparabara units. Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Not some of my best work, and I know I have posted some pretty rough work up here already.

The reality is I have suffered in silence long enough. I have a condition known as project fatigue. It takes many forms and the symptoms are diverse. Don’t cry for me. Instead, donate to the painting fatigue charity. Well charity isn’t the right word. Let’s call it a drinking fund. And if you can’t buy me a drink, have two yourself.

Painting fatigue is a seldom talked about condition with a stigma. Let’s switch to alcoholism and be cool like Charlie Sheen.

Ok, rant aside, I powered through these units when maybe taking a break would have been the better choice. Yes they look pretty rough but they are part of a larger army. At the end of the day I don’t think it will be as obvious with so many other units around them. Plus, eventually I will have TWO of these armies so they will stand out even less.

In the grand scheme of things, they still look good in a group shot:

Sparabara.  Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Sparabara. Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Sparabara.  Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Sparabara. Miniatures by Wargames Factory.

Hopefully this inspired you today, if nothing else to take a break from painting to socialize and have a drink. WARNING: do not drink your painting water. WARNING: do not drink and paint.

And now for something completely different…

So the wife and I were talking about  my next projects and she decided that Lord of the Rings should take precedence over the Greeks.

A direct reason for this was her desire to have a dwarf army.  Short jokes aside here is, ahem, a little aside from the Persians.

Games Workshop dwarves.  Pictured here are Rangers and a Warrior.

Games Workshop dwarves. Pictured here are Rangers and a Warrior.

 

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings dwarves.  Pictured here are a Grim Hammerer and Ranger.

Games Workshop Lord of the Rings dwarves. Pictured here are a Grim Hammerer and Ranger.

The Games Workshop plastic kits get both good and bad reviews.  They are designed to go together quickly and they do paint very easily with very bold details.  The overlap dead space just needs a bit of fudging.

I am very happy with the grim hammerers as they paint up very nicely to provide the embellishment details shown in the movies.  Yes, these particular guys were drab in the movie, but they were busy being torched by a dragon.  No need to waste good CG making them look pretty.

DSCF6351 DSCF6348 DSCF6344

I tried a new type of wash to do the cloth and I am very happy with the subtle effect.  I wanted drab but worn cloth and the wash worked well.  For all cloth I blended two-three shades darker (I mix my own colors) and then watered it down to make a wash.

For those who haven’t made washes before the general principle is as watery as still hold pigment.  The key to achieving this is mixing on news print or paper-towel.  The excess water gets wicked away but keeps the pigment suspended.

The usual process I do for a wash is an off (but “dark” colour) like brown or black to wash.  The skin might get a wash, not decided yet.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Persians with a work in progress shots of sparabara number 3.

Wargames Factory Persian

Wargames Factory Persian

Wargames Factory Persian

Wargames Factory Persian

Hopefully something here inspired you today, if nothing else you have visual confirmation that green and red do not go well together at all.  I think I am getting a bit too much satisfaction in making these units clash and garish.

Shazam!

So a few new Persian models have been painted. As usual, I kept with the low key colour-scheme that defines this army.

Wargames Factory Numidians as Persian Archers

Wargames Factory Numidians as Persian Archers

Ok, so the first line is absolute sarcasm.  In fact, as my wife saw these particular models she was trying tactfully to tell me I was off my rocker.  I believe her words were something along the lines of “Ummm, shouldn’t they be a bit more, how do I say this…subdued?”

The answer I gave her wasn’t really satisfactory until I showed this picture to her:

No, Ibrahim, I have never heard of "colour-blind".  Who was asking if all Persians have this?

No, Ibrahim, I have never heard of “colour-blind”. Who was asking if all Persians have this?

The small unit of archers was maybe a bit too vibrant.  But, since it is colourful with the right colours it should work.

Wargames Factory Numidians

Wargames Factory Numidians

Wargames Factory Numidians

Wargames Factory Numidians

The archers do seem a bit flamboyant even beside the sparabara.  I am not sure if it is the smaller base (and less ground colour) or just my garish choice of colours.  Either way, this particular unit is one of two options, one that won’t see a lot of play.

All models Wargames Factory

All models Wargames Factory

A bit more drab is the second unit of psiloi.  I opted for Arab nomads.  I had it pointed out afterwards that Arabs would wear pants due to blowing sand.  Oh well, they stand out for not looking like an acid trip.

Wargames Factory Numidians with a Persian head.  Psiloi.

Wargames Factory Numidians with a Persian head. Psiloi.

Wargames Factory Numidians with a Persian head.  Psiloi.

Wargames Factory Numidians with a Persian head. Psiloi.

Still, my other psiloi unit is not as garish and bright.  These two units seemed to absorb light after taking pics of the archers above.

A comparison of both psiloi.  All models Wargames Factory.

A comparison of both psiloi. All models Wargames Factory.

Also getting some attention was my unit of Spear.  Now, I wasn’t sure what the spear could represent.  In the later Achaemenid Persians the spear would be the Immortals.  During this period, it is almost 100% that Immortals were sparabara (at least in my readings).  So the spear would likely be Greek subjects/mercenaries.  Or, I also thought that Phoenicia was conquered by the Persians by this point.  So, using the Numidian helmets and Persian spears, I present Phoenician hoplites:

 

Wargames Factory Numidians as Spear.

Wargames Factory Numidians as Spear.

Wargames Factory Numidians as Spear.

Wargames Factory Numidians as Spear.

Although a bit crude, I am happy with the shield insignias.  The left hand shield is…I have no idea to be honest.  I was trying to do laurels, but after doing one I thought it looked a bit rough.  But I thought, who said all shields were done by artists.  It looks striking and across the table it looks good.

Also completed were the unit of Auxilia.  A combination of Persian and Numidian parts, I think this unit looks very unique and striking.

Wargames Factory miniatures.  Auxilia.

Wargames Factory miniatures. Auxilia.

Wargames Factory miniatures.  Auxilia.

Wargames Factory miniatures. Auxilia.

Together they look like a nice contrast.

Wargames Factory miniatures.

Wargames Factory miniatures.

And of course the obligatory group shot.

All miniatures Wargames Factory.  6 units of a Persian Army.

All miniatures Wargames Factory. 6 units of a Persian Army.

All miniatures Wargames Factory.  6 units of a Persian Army.

Point the way to the Greeks!

In all, that is 7 of the 13 units for the army complete.  I know the skin is rough, and I will go back to do a wash or inking at a later date to make the models pop a bit more.

Now the weird bit of trivia: what does Shazam have to do with Persians?

It can be a very complex answer or very simple, but either way, hopefully something here inspired you today.