Another year comes and goes…

More than five decades and counting…

This month has seen me move a couple of years past the half century mark. I feel much older, something of a relic really, far past my warranty….. but really it is the miles not the years!

My family was again very generous for my birthday, this being one of the rare occasions where I end up with some new miniatures & terrain rather than my usual budget conscious second hand items.

Over the coming weeks (EDIT: more likely months…. everything in this hobby takes longer than I expect!) I will share with you what their generosity has provided (some of it is still delayed due to being part of an order with pre-release pre-order items).

You may have been wondering if I have been painting at all… I have but not much finished. I have been spending a surprising amount of time doing prep work, learning how to operate my new airbrush, and getting things ready to put on eBay.

However, I did manage to finish a few things…

Things finished in April…

Some of the things I finished we will be keeping but some will go on eBay as I am not that keen on how they came out. For example that corner wall terrain piece came partly finished in a larger second hand lot we bought. I piece but it does not quite fit in with our other terrain so perhaps someone else will get more enjoyment out of it.

X-mas Ent

Better late than never they say… this is one of our holiday decoration miniatures and it was meant for last Christmas (EDIT: I try to do one every Christmas). When I did not finish it in time it languished on my work bench for far too long but it is finally done! I should probably start the miniature for next Christmas now.

It is a Reaper metal sculpt. Lots of little details, lots of character. My photo does not do it justice. It looks much better in person with the Mark 1 Eyeball.

Black Numenoreans

Next up a couple of kitbash conversion minis that were intended to be Black Numenoreans for our Middle Earth games but I am not sure how I feel about the final results.

I started with Perry plastic bodies and added bits from various other sets to try to create a more “fantasy” feel to them. Fighting in cloaks is unwise.

Where I think I messed up was with the poses. I did them spontaneously (EDIT: As I normally do with building plastic minis) rather than planning them out. I have seen how some folks plan poses using blutack and I can see the advantage in that down. One mini looks too static and the other too dynamic to be living people. Swing and a miss I think.

I am also rethinking how we should represent Black Numenoreans in our games. I have been looking at a lot of different historical and fantasy sets trying to come up with something I can do relatively inexpensively that would look cool. Probably something without plate armor. It frustrates me that Peter Jackson and Weta added plate armor to Middle Earth and that GW used those movie designs to create cool looking Black Numenorean plastic cavalry sets but then only a couple of poses of metal Black Numenorean Infantry that do not actually look like the cavalry.

Perhaps Fireforge not-Starks, Byzantines or Templars? Perhaps Victrix Normans? Perhaps Gripping Beast & Wargames Atlantic Late Romans? I am undecided.

Ghosts…

In the same lot as the corner walls we also got these translucent 3d printed pieces. I based them and added hands to the ghostly warrior, the idea being the body may be spectral but the weapons can physically hurt you. No idea why the mini had no hands to start with.

I think we will keep the horse but put the warrior on eBay.

Next is an obelisk that was a gift from our mate Tom.

Ancient Obelisk

He designed it from scratch, digitally sculpted it and then 3d printed it. Presenting it to us during his visit from the UK, which I mentioned in a previous post, he left the painting up to me. It was quite a challenge painting it as I was trying to find was to deal with or mitigate the print lines.

In the end, instead of trying to work “against” the lines I tried to work “with” them… ie treat them as an intentional part of the design. I think it worked alright in the end and I quite like the piece.

And here we have some assorted bits…

Frostgrave scatter pieces…

The cart was won as part of a larger eBay auction. It arrived painted to a decent standard and only had to do a few small changes for it to better fit our color palette.

The undead beastie (cat? dog?) is a bit from a Mantic skeleton sprue. The rest of the sprue and various other Mantic skeletons went back onto eBay. Once my Frostgrave Wizard becomes a Lich (one day!) he will only be able to summon undead animal companions so this should work nicely.

The scatter pieces are resin North Star official Frostgrave objective markers. They are neat decorations but really I like objective markers in Frostgrave to be more… universal? Vague? Mysterious? Since you do not know what you found until after the game it seems odd to run over to a ring or potion bottle on the table to only later roll a set of magic armor as your treasure. But they should look good as flavorful scatter decorations.

As for my birthday, again I am very thankful for my loving family! Sometimes I wonder how I have gotten so fortunate.

I had a dream!

While my pile of gifts was large and diverse, I do not have a big “loot haul” photo, but for now there are these Games Workshop Necromunda figures and terrain that Mrs. GG got for me. GW has gotten better at coming up with things I like lately and these lack the usual, overly skull festooned Gothic aesthetic of 40k Grimdark (barring that one sign).

Games Workshop Necromunda kits… but not for Necromunda!

The figures will be an experiment to kitbash with bits from other companies and perhaps paint up in schemes inspired by Elbows over on the Lead Adventure Forum, who seems capable of making even sculpts I normally do not like look brilliant.

As for other GW stuff catching my eye, GW was close with their new Ash Wastes landtrain, however a few too many Gothic arches and skills for my taste…

Almost… but not quite…

…. but I must admit I do like the new Necromunda Ash Wastes box set!

Here is a good review…


I love the buildings and the nomads look brilliant, especially the “flea riders.” Nicely innovative designs, even if some folks think the aesthetic is too much Tusken “Sand People” influenced and looking more Star Wars than 40K. Maybe that is why I like it?

It may look even better repurposed for a water or swamp world setting.

https://www.warhammer-community.com/2022/03/24/necromunda-ash-wastes-revealed-in-full-at-adepticon/

Sadly they will all likely be more than I am willing to pay unless I find them second hand on eBay at some point. GW Hobgrots are cheap on eBay right now for example. Maybe the kit will still be around for my next birthday…

Truth is though, I am not sure exactly how I would use these. Twilight ‘49 somehow? Core Space? Stargrave? Five Parsecs from Home? I have some Kroot from a lucky eBay auction awhile back that I want to paint up and put to use as well. I just am not sure how yet. Dieselpunk exploration of a fictional Mars and Venus with Human breathable atmosphere? A post-apoc wasteland on Earth for Twilight ‘49?

Speaking of Twilight ‘49, Mrs GG’s parents very kindly gifted me some outstanding pulp sci-fi miniatures from Bombshell in the States. Far too expensive for me to have justified buying for myself, especially with the constantly rising postage costs, taxes and handling fees.

Bombshell Miniatures

But these will go great with the Mantic Mars Attacks aesthetic. Sadly the Bombshell spare helmets are too big to be replacements for lost Mantic Martian helmets. However the sculpts are brilliantly crisp and characterful.

It is a bit of a running gag, which Mrs GG is not very fond of but tolerantly plays along with, that with my body giving me so much trouble these days that I would volunteer to become the first Fallout style Robobrain. And these Bombshell miniatures do the “brain in a jar cyborg ” very well.

She also got me the Reaper Bones “brain in a jar” for my Twilight ‘49 project. One of the great things about Mrs. GG is that she “gets me” if you understand what I mean. A true soul mate.

GG‘s future form? Reaper Bones Brain in a Jar!

Mrs. GG‘s parents also funded a new Ikea display case to add to the collection in our gaming room. It is largely empty right now waiting for our Dwarven Forge Wildlands and Monster Fight Club terrain kickstarter pledges to arrive.

Ikea Billy cabinets for the win!

Our gaming room is not finished yet but we are making progress and I love how it is developing. Again I am so thankful for what I have been to fortunate to have in my life.

Mrs. GG took some time off work and while Little GG was at school we got some Frostgrave games in. Three games to be precise.

Technically Mrs. GG “won” two of the three games thanks in large part to her better movement spells, getting three of the five treasures in those games as well as both of us accomplishing our “Ulterior Motives” in each game without any permanent casualties. We do play “competitively” in as much as we race to secure treasures but we are not confrontational, we do not attack each other. So it is not cooperative per se but sort of. It is a different gaming experience than the game is designed for but it works for us.

We are taking a bit of a short cut by playing with some unpainted minis, which I dislike, but if we wait for all the minis to be painted we will be waiting a very long time to play!

Since we are using unpainted minis we did not take many photos and there will not be battle reports on the games. I will say we are using all the Frostgrave books, including the Spellcaster books and it makes for great games although we are probably forgetting or overlooking various rules.

Also, since time was short we set up the table in a rush each time… so not ideal tables to be fair but each was a learning experience. I thought the cobblestone mat would be great for our city adventures but it is not quite working for me right now and I am not sure why. Perhaps it is a little too busy when there is not enough terrain on it?

In other news…

I finished the Korean zombie tv series “We are all Dead”.

We are all Dead

The first couple of episodes were difficult to get through but it paid off. It got better once it moved beyond appearing to just be a teen drama. It was decent up until the last episode which’s was disappointing. I wonder if there will be a second season, part of me wants to pick things up that were left unfinished but part of me hopes that it is just left as is… because I am not sure they can do a decent ending.

Decent endings seem to be a problem.

Mrs. GG and I watched Netflix live action version of Cowboy Bebop. Now, bear in mind we have not watched the anime… but we seem to be in the minority in that we enjoyed it!

Cowboy Bebop

I liked it more than Mrs. GG did. Well actually I loved it while she just liked it. But the final episode was terrible and the news that it was cancelled is very disappointing. Mrs. GG said that Jet Black reminded her of yours truly (not in looks but in personality) and I have to admit I felt a certain kinship with the character. So many times I watched him do things, say things, and I would think… “Yup, that could be me.”

The show felt like a fun mix of Buckaroo Banzai, Firefly, Killjoys, and Phillipe Marlowe.

I suppose I will need to watch the anime series now.

Surprisingly I convinced Mrs. GG to watch 55 Days in Peking. Unlike Zulu, it was not as good as I remembered.

55 Days at Peking

What was good was Bohemian Rhapsody.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Mrs. GG and I were both surprised how much we did not know about Queen and we found it enjoyable to learn more about them. I definitely definitely recommend it.

Another film we watched which was entertaining, if sad, and yet also informative. In the Heart of the Sea.

Based on a book that was reportedly one inspiration for the classic Moby Dick, a book actually inspired by reality it seems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essex_(whaleship)

Mrs. GG and I had no idea so many ships had been sunk by whales.

I find it fascinating that I can watch a war film and see myself facing the horrors of war as a soldier with stoicism but the idea of getting into a row boat with such creatures in the water as an angry whale or a hungry shark terrifies me. A product of military conditioning perhaps?

We both find whaling to be incredibly tragic and horrific. A dark stain on humanity, it also serves as foreshadowing for other environmental disasters, such as what happened to the Buffalo, as well as yet another lesson in greed. If only humanity would learn from its mistakes.

Speaking of mistakes….

What was not good was the recent season break return episode of Fear the Walking Dead, where Alicia is saved by a deaf musician. An interesting premise plagued by atrocious writing. Some of the very worst writing in all of the various Walking Dead shows.

AMC Fear the Walking Dead

Absolutely contradictory, foolish and in the end pointless. The episode after that was cruelly bittersweet and predictable but atleast not the complete trash that almost stopped me from watching any more Fear the Walking Dead. Apparently “falling” in love in the Walking Dead universe is a death sentence, especially Fear. “Falling”… wink wink, nudge nudge, know what I mean…. see what I did there? Oh so clever writers, sigh.

Seriously?

I have been looking for a way to watch the AMC webisode Dead in the Water (the back story of the USS Pennsylvania in Fear the Walking Dead) but from the trailer I suspect it will deeply disappoint me… pardon the pun…

AMC Dead in the Water

….much as Yakamoz S-245has been disappointing me. I am about halfway through season one and it has been throughly predictable and annoying. Maybe the Turkish Navy works like that but yet again I feel like I am watching a story about the military told by civilians who do not understand military culture.

Yakamoz S-245

If you are unaware of this show, it is a Turkish spin off TV series from Into the Night, a Belgian TV series about a solar radiation involved apocalypse….

Into the Night

Which was flawed but watchable. It had some interesting concepts but failed to live up to its potential in my opinion. I can see it making a decent setting for a wargame with some minor modifications.

And there we have it, another long blog post. Probably too long for most folks so my thanks and respect for those of you who got this far. I would love to hear your thoughts on what I have written.

PS We backed the Reaper Bones 6 Kickstarter, did you?

20 comments

  1. Congrats on another trip around old Sol! I recently finished my 57th trip this last week, so I know how you feel. Remember you are only as old as you let yourself feel – that is until you have your annual physical!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Apart from the rather atrocious set of events in my life and the world in general in the last six years, I’m rather liking my 50s. Partly the events prompted some serious mental processing, but also some of it is self-acceptance and perspective. I like what I like and I’ve learned a lot along the way; now I’m combining those senses of direction and technique to fine tune my life towards increasing daily delight.

    And of course getting older is better than the alternative. 😁💀 Happy birthday!

    On the theme of knowing what you like, I really enjoy how you routinely include the discardian aspect of the hobby. Sometimes the value of a piece is learning from it and then letting it go. It can be a great piece, and just not be delightful to you.

    I really like all your April finished pieces! Your work boosting the print texture of the obelisk into stonemason’s marks that make it feel more realistic instead of less is particularly inspiring!

    Re: the cobblestone mat, I like the look of it in small areas, but agree that it doesn’t read right across a big area. I bet it’ll be greatly helped by the addition of some Dwarven Forge banks, to create plazas and roads, and breaking it up with DF tree bases, hummocks or other variations. Did you get a DF battleboard? (I didn’t) I bet one of those with banks around could really help without creating too many lumps and bumps in the terrain (as they’d say on Time Team).

    Hooray for the new cabinets! Those are lovely and will make such a difference for you.

    My April done pile has been the big storage reorganization completion and some sewing of little kitchen cloths which are terrycloth on one side and flannel sheet (retired) on the other. I’ve made 7 (using them every day now) and have the materials for another 23. And there they are, directly in line of sight of my desk. Perhaps after I do some more synthesis and writing for my game Our Magic…

    Have a great last night of April and happy May!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you again for the very kind words! You do have a way of always putting a smile on my grumpy face.

      We did not pledge for any battle boards but we did pledge for terrain trays. I agree that the problem is the big spaces, we need to break it up with some textured Dwarven Forge terrain as you said.

      Never enough time, money or space!

      I miss my youth but making the best of this old body and liking the benefits of my experiences, even if my memory (or eyesight) is not what it used to be!

      Thank you again for sharing your infectious enthusiasm!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A belated happy birthday! 🙂 I like the look of the cake! I quite enjoyed my 50s but they are behind me now unfortunately! A lot going on in this post and I enjoyed reading it! I like all your loot and I think that obelisk looks really good – always better to work with 3-D prints to make the best of them!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s amazing how fast a year goes, isn’t it? Happy belated birthday! I feel your pain about not getting much painted in April, it was the least I had done in a month in a long time. Put some Warlord Games Roman Veterans and Celts put together for Broken Legions but didn’t get anything painted. Did a small piece of terrain for the game, https://www.one-ring.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=7&p=428773#p428773 if you are interested,

    Haven’t watched 55 days at Peking in a long time, but it seems to be a popular subject for wargaming. For that era I tend to watch The Sand Pebbles.

    Glad to see you got some gaming in, would hate to see that terrain just sitting in your nice display cabinets.

    Continuing to watch The Last Kingdom, my wife calls it the Uthred, son of Uthred show. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks mate!

      I do not frequent The One Ring forum any more, too many forums for me to juggle them all, so I did not see your work until you posted here. Great stuff! If you decide to start a blog I will follow it.

      With Wargames Atlantic releasing Boxers, I briefly entertained the idea of a Boxer Rebellion project. The diversity of the international forces appeals to me but I really do not need another project.

      It is important to get some games in so that we can remember why we are spending all this time and money on the hobby!

      The trick with the Last Kingdom is to have low expectations and enjoymthe bits you like while trying to ignore the bits you do not (like how the Welsh are portrayed for example).

      Like

  5. Happy Birthday, mate! It sounds like you had a great time and you definitely got a lot of nice presents as well. It was nice to see you get some terrain bits and bobs done but the Christmas Ent is a standout as well. What a fun sculpt! I like the idea of converting up some Black Numenoreans though I think the ones you made don’t look quite evil enough for me. They look like an enemy in Dark Souls, which I think is pretty cool but if you can add a touch of Morder to them, I think you’ll be in business!

    I’m really glad you got some gaming in too. It feels like it has been a while since you’ve been able to play. I enjoy seeing whatever fantasy stuff you get up to so I’m hoping the Frostgrave will inspire even more fantasy terrain and minis in the coming days!

    I watched most or maybe all of the Cowboy Bebop anime when it was reasonably new and it is quite a good show. I would venture a guess that it is actually better than Netflix’s version. Some of the characters like Ed, aka Radical Edward, are better in the anime format than as real people, I think. There is some depth to the fun of Cowboy Bebop that I think you’ll really like in the anime too. I’ll be curious to hear what you think of it when you get around to it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks mate!

      The X-mas Ent is a fun sculpt. Reaper makes a bunch of great holiday sculpts that are usually on sale around the winter holiday season. I have a few on my shelf waiting to be painted for future holidays.

      I tried to follow the same paint scheme I used on the GW Army of the Dead, which I have been using for Black Numenoreans already, for these Perry minis but yeah they do have a generic “Dark Knight” look to them. Do you have any recommendations on making figures “more evil looking” in order to “add a touch of Mordor” to them?

      The thing is, I am really not a fan of plate armor in Middle Earth settings. I see Middle Earth much more as a Dark Ages setting than late Medieval/Renaissance setting. So I may end up getting rid of these at some point anyway. If I had more spare time I would like to replace our GW Gondor minis with kitbashed figures using a lot Late Roman elements.

      Do not worry, I currently have a bunch of fantasy stuff on my workbench to finish this week.

      I am willing to give the anime Cowboy Bebop a try, but I have a lot on my plate right now already. Mrs. GG is not keen so that means it will have to be during my “solo tv time” which is pretty slim scheduling. I am curious to learn more about the Cowboy Bebop setting and how I might incorporate elements of it into one of my projects.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think making the armor look more damaged, cobbled together, or spikey would be what I would do though truthfully, I’m not a good converter and rarely do it at all so you might be asking the wrong the person!

        I look forward to seeing what fantasy stuff is coming up and the good thing about Cowboy Bebop is that its already old (relatively speaking) and it isn’t going anywhere so it can wait for you!

        Liked by 1 person

      • It was more a question of how you saw the Black Numenoreans. They have appeared quite differently in different material, be it the artwork for various games to the various different movies, animated and live action. GW seems to go with the Peter Jackson take of appearing undead, giving them that cause terror rule. According to online research sites some Black Numenoreans settled with the Haradrim so that is why I went with an Eastern styled helmet for one of them. But yeah, GW definitely went spikey with theirs, leaning into the Gothic aesthetic.

        Good point about the animated Cowboy Bebop. I still wish folks had not been so negative about the live action version. I was enjoying it until the last episode.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I misunderstood the assignment, mate! My apologies and I just sent you an email with a couple ideas that are not too dissimilar from what you had but hopefully spark some ideas.

        I had no desire to see a live action version of the anime because I couldn’t see how the anime could be improved by doing that. Its not that the anime is mind-blowingly visually, its just that the series is well-realized in that animated form and no TV show would have the budget to match what was already drawn. As I mentioned before, I think some of the characters like Ed, just work best as animated too and I’m not even a huge fan of animated shows. I suppose this is why I’m recommending the anime as I think you may find it even better than the show but only time will tell!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I can understand that. I know a lot of folks did not like the live action version of Ghost in the Shell. While I did not enjoy it as much as the anime I was able to enjoy it as its own thing. Same with Space Battleship Yamamoto (Star Blazers). Sometimes I can do that, sometimes I can not. The Wheel of Time tv series for example I could not enjoy. I do wonder if anyone can ever make a movie of the book Starship Troopers that I could enjoy.

        Liked by 1 person

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