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A New Beginning…

Tinkering with Artwork and Ideas!

The more complex the mind, the more the need for the simplicity of play.

— James T. Kirk
Let‘s go on an adventure!

This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

The faces of Gandalf…

So I have done a few different Gandalfs for my wife. One in plastic, the others metal. The three Gandalf the Greys were repainted from what the previous owner had done. Gandalf the White was a fresh paintjob.

First, the plastic one. The previous owner wanted a very dirty hem on his robes. I chose to keep that whilst basically repainting everything else.

Then two metal versions of Gandalf the Grey. I suppose I should have painted the hatless version with a Moria underground base but decided to instead go with my usual generic outdoor base. And yes his hat is blue, not grey…. as Tolkien wrote.

Gandalf the White. I hate painting white. A mate suggested I try the new Citadel contrast Apothecary White… anyone have an opinion on that?

I finally finished season 3 of The 3%. I loved the show when it came out… but as the seasons went on I felt it lost its way, more interested in surprise twists than a coherent narrative. I really liked the social commentary and diversity but if the show does not get a fourth season I will not be upset.

What does upset me is reviews of the Mandalorian. I keep reading reviews complains that it is a hokey space western where the protagonist never even takes off his helmet and everyone has unpronounceable names…. err… and? Firefly anyone? Urban‘s Dredd anyone? Reviews like this matter to me because they can push producers away from the things I like to watch.

I prefer the review by Angry Joe….

It is my hope the show will be gritty but not too dark. Let the Cassian Andor spy series be dark… I expect nothing more from a spy that is more assassin than spy. But let us have something a little more hopeful from our Mando….

The faces of Eowyn…

Eowyn is one of my wife’s favorite Lord of the Rings characters… so naturally we sought to find the various versions of her… we do not have them all yet. Yet.

I recently finished Isildur and Elendil. Repaints of them anyway, from the previous owner. I was tempted to sell them but my wife likes them so they will be proxies for Gondorian Knights of the White Tower.

Some minis I did sell were some GW night goblins…

In other news, quite the surprise on tv last night. I keep telling myself I need to get motivated to paint from 2000 hours to 2200 hours but normally I feel more like just sitting back and watching a movie or tv series.

Last night I put on Carnival Row because I thought my wife might like it. She tends to like Victorian crime dramas and fantasy so it seemed a sure hit for her. I was not enthusiastic because of Legolas… er I mean Orlando Bloom being it.

Don‘t get me wrong, I thought he made an excellent Legolas… at least in the Lord of the Rings movies anyway… but I have not liked him in anything since… particularly Kingdom of Heaven. I wish his character had been killed instead of Liam Neeson and his awesome adventuring party retainers… their story would have been much more interesting. Bloom gave probably one of the worst pre-battle speeches in that movie I have ever seen…. and I have never forgiven him for it.

The trailer for Carnival Row did not give me the impression much had changed with him but after the first episode…. wow! Much, much better acting from him!

And the show itself? Brilliant! Very engaging, great writing, editing, costuming, special effects, acting, and overall cinematography. Excellent social commentary that highlights things like racial discrimination in a way that subverts our own usual stereotypes… if you care to think that deeply about the plot. Economic inequality, political corruption, policing, war, technological social issues, religion… great commentaries on all these topics. Whilst have some great action scenes.

It is so far one of the best things I have seen so far this year. I only hope it continues as well as it started.

Crisis Loot!

Back from Crisis in Belgium having had a good time, got great loot and stayed within budget!

It was a good event… but not a great event. There felt like less traders/manufacturers and less customers but the bring and buy was entirely too jam packed. The atmosphere in the bring and buy section felt a bit like a Black Friday sale. Lots of jostling but if you made eye contact and spoke most folks apologized. Seemed like to me however some avoided eye contact so they could pretend it was not another human being they were being rude to. It was so bad my wife lasted only a couple of minutes and left me to it.

There were some great things available… too much for my budget! I saw a painted 28mm sailing ship for 150 Euros that was appealing but that would have been a big chunk of the budget to spend before seeing the traders…

I did get some Harlequin miniatures for a great price, 3 blisters for 5 Euros. Stuff for our Middle Earth project.

I was tempted by a box of Gates of Antares miniatures, a box of TT Combat Kickstarter halflings And a GW Dwarven airship… but decided against them.

That said, I did pick up a couple of decently painted GW LOTR minis.

And some Blood & Plunder Spaniards…

…. since we are planning on getting the galleon in the Reaper Bones 5 Kickstarter.

I was very, very tempted by an all in Mantic Star Saga Kickstarter bundle. 250 Euros is a lot of money though and when I went back later to see if we could haggle he was gone.

Not all the great deals were in the bring and buy… which to be honest ran mostly at eBay prices.

Anja got some great dice trays from Deep Cut Studios.

One of the best deals I got at the show was a fellow at one of the trade stalls, unfortunately I did not catch the name, that was taking offers on some stuff…. so I got quite a bundle for 15 Euros.

The terrain piece needs some love, those old Mantic Marines need a repaint and the sprues are incomplete but still a great bargain where we both felt we got a good price since we haggled.

There was another guy with GW sprues taking offers, I tried to look through his boxes early in the day but the crowd around them was like the bring and buy so I left it until near the end of the day and undoubtably missed some good pieces. What I did get was alright.

Victrix was scheduled to be at the event so I planned on getting their new Vikings and Saxons. Unfortunately they ended up not being able to attend. I got some Saxons from another trader who had brought some of the Victrix stock over for them but was too late for the Vikings, which had promptly sold out.

Lots of Rohan troops in that bag!

My wife got some foam terrain pieces from Shifting Sands….

…and furniture from HQ Resin……..

… and some cool minis from Wendy’s Miniatures…. one of them made by Lead Adventure!

We met a very friendly gentleman from Poland at TMP miniatures who made an interesting proposition on a resin lair terrain piece… make an offer or roll a d6. My wife rolled a 5! Great fun and a nice piece of terrain to paint.

My wife’s favorite gaming table was the Asterix table….

…. whereas I could not settle on just one favorite table!

We spent quite a bit of time at the Crooked Dice stand. I have some regret for not backing their recent Colony 87 kickstarter but then I had not planned a 28mm sci fi project back then. Their display pieces and very charismatic staff quickly won my wife over.

If we had a bigger budget we would have bought quite a lot there. As it was we used the last of the Pounds I had from when I lived in the UK to get a blister…. and the kind folks their gave us a cool mini for the very last of my British change.

That mini should go well with the wildlife my wife picked out from Warbases.

I was able to rectify a mistake I made at Spiel where I forgot to get a mini from the Polish company, Wargamer from their Anno 1666 line. A chap that reminds me of Captain Alatriste!

He is another mini for the far off Spanish galleon project…. of more immediate use… a person in power armor from Brother Vinni…. should go nicely with any Post-apoc or sci-fi project…

We also picked up some vegetation…

…but there was so much more we wanted! Again this year, like last year I found I had neither enough time nor money.

A large portion of my time was spent at the TT Combat stand, getting lots of motivational information about the future of Dropfleet Commander and Stellaris. It sounds there are years of support and projected releases for Dropfleet, which they see as a strong IP. I got some of the new monitor class ships from them… three of the four fleets, which was alley budget could stretch to.

And finally… my wife convinced me to try a magnifying lamp in place of my current magnifying headset…

Overall an interesting and entertaining event. I wonder if Brexit will change that next year of course. My wife was disappointed by the atmosphere which she found less friendly than the larp and historical re-enactment conventions we have attended in the past.

Will we go again next year? Only time will tell…

What we do for money…

So, a couple of plastic GW Boromirs finished. One for my wife, one destined for EBay. Brown base trim for us, black for others.

And a Dwarf I finished some months back.

A number of things I have painted have ended up other places than our Middle Earth project (or my more recent sci-fi side project). Usually pieces I repainted quickly in order to generate more interest on eBay.

We did not get much money in the auctions, certainly not compared to the time put in but it helps defray costs and has helped improve my painting skills. I turned down a couple of commission offers because I just do not want to commit to deadlines given my backlog of pending personal projects.

Speaking of backlogs…last night, when I should have been painting I watched The King…

Not terrible. Rather dark cinematography as well as a somewhat dour mood. There is little revelry, even in victorious moments. Perhaps more realistic than most films but the silence after say a single combat felt awkward. Very much an anti-war movie. At first I was surprised by the take on Falstaff, quite different from Shakespeare but by the end he grew on me.

I will admit though, even if it is more fantasy than history I prefer the Branagh version of Shakespeare’s Henry the V. It is etched into my mind as iconic, with a Henry on par with King Arthur.

That said, this version helped remind me just how optimistically fantastical Branagh’s version of Shakespeare’s Henry is.

Yesterday I had the stitches out of my left hand, the operation seems have gone well. My physiotherapist is another American veteran living over here. Talking old Army days did more good for me than his therapy for my hand… at least that is how it felt. The hand is pretty good. Still tender but full movement.

So with that and Brexit delayed, back to the plan to visit Crisis in Belgium on Saturday. This will be my second time but first for my wife. I hope she will be as awestruck as I was.

https://www.tsoa.be/crisis_general.html

Crisis is a huge tabletop wargaming convention, the biggest on the Continent. I got some great deals there last year but more so my eyes were opened up to do many possibilities. The hobby has grown so much since my youth.

Morale here has been a bit down since the delay of delivery on the Hagglethorn Hollow Kickstarter but going to Spiel helped motivate my wife to start painting a Ranger of Ithilien…. so I hope that Crisis will fire up her imagination as much as it did mine last year.

And in a bit of good news, a mate of mine has started his own blog. I expect good things from that!

https://darkspacemessages.blogspot.com/2019/11/frostgrave-swords-normalcy-edition.html

It can be a sour hobby to have in a vacuum so blogs and forums can help connect those of us not using newer social media platforms.

For a forum I recommend Lead Adventure for a largely British based English speaking community….

https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php

…. and The Miniatures Page for a largely American English speaking community….

http://theminiaturespage.com

I really need to work on my German to get involved in a German speaking community….

Busy, busy…

The weather and family conditions allowed me to finally clear coat this lot… some fresh, some revisits for improvement. It is amazing what you notice when you try to photograph a miniature, little mistakes that were previously overlooked.

First up, Eomer as you might expect followed by a conversion to make Erkenbrand. Notice the iconic red shield and famous black horn, the Horn of the Hammerhand, of this Lord of the Rohirrim. A mistake in my opinion for Peter Jackson to leave him out of the films.

Next up, Théoden. One of the metal GW sculpts. I have one of the new plastic ones that I suspect I will put together with a helmet, perhaps a shield if I can, to have yet another version of the Rohan King.

Originally my plan for the other mini was to be a converted proxy for Theodred, the son of Theoden. Getting an inexpensive Theodred seemed unlikely… and still proves so for the foot version but I did find a mounted version. So this fellow is now just a generic Rohan Captain. Notice how I changed the hairline and gave just a mustache instead of goatee. Jackson made Theoden much younger in the movie than Tolkien made him.

Next we have some of Westfold Redshields in service of Erkenbrand

Next we have some more general Rohan troops.

On the left is a mini someone else converted, I repainted him and added the banner. Next is a Gripping Beast Late Roman I did. Then another conversion by someone else that I repainted. And finally the fellow on the right that I painted… I do not know the sculptor but I think it looks the part.

And here you can see a Gripping Beast Dark Ages warrior I converted to be a proxy King’s Huntsman.

Next, a couple of Haradrim slaves. I experimented with skin tones and am not truly happy with the bronzed one. Originally the dresses were yellow and blue.

My wife suggested painting them red instead. They looked better but even though I used two different reds they still looked a bit too uniform. I experimented with the purple and was pleased with the result.

And now, Gandalf……..

… or rather two Gandalfs!

Both are the plastic GW version… one for me and one destined for EBay. You can generally tell something I do that is not going to end up on our table because I will do the trim of the base in black instead of brown.

Such as with these Grishnaks.

In other news…. it would appear there is a character based on me in the Mandalorian tv series on Disney+…..

For Rohan!

Trying to get some things finished today or tomorrow but for now some figures my wife and I finished a few ago. Whilst she did a few figures she did almost all of the shields.

As you can see a mix of Gripping Beast unarmored Dark Ages warriors, armored Saxons and Vikings as well as Late Romans… and the usual expected GW Rohan figures.

We have some old Wargames Factory Dark Ages minis that I intend to join the Rohan ranks but have not gotten to them yet. Their design makes their poses a bit stiff looking out of the box but kit bashing helps with that.

I hope to attend Crisis in Belgium next week to get some Victrix Saxons and Vikings for even more diversity. And I have some Conquest Normans looking to join Theoden at some point….

Speaking of diversity, we committed to the Reaper Bones 5 Kickstarter…. so we will have to see how we can get as much as possible to fit into our Middle Earth project.

And in other news the Mandalorian looks awesome in the trailers but I am disappointed that it does not look like Disney+ will be available in Germany until Spring 2020.

Gnome is pretty grumpy about that!

For our friends…

First off, a couple of reworks I finished. I went back this week and did some changes to of our Elves.

Originally one was going to be a Rúmil (brother of Haldir) proxy but I decided to try again using a Galadhrim body next time… and now he is just a Rivendell High Elf Captain.

Next to him is a Herclix Elf I rebased and converted to a Rivendell High Elf. He is a bigger scale slightly, so I am thinking he should be a Captain…. like Ajax at Troy.

Not everything I do is destined for our gaming table. A mate of mine who has been very generous with gifts and favors (thanks Tom!) likes Bretonnian knights… so I gifted him some knights I painted up.

We committed today to the Reaper Bones 5 Kickstarter…. it is a big investment for us but Reaper has a solid reputation for delivering. And it will take me at least 18 months to clear my backlog. Only another 24 hours or so left if you are thinking of backing it….

Archers for Rohan…

So here you can see how we put Gripping Beast Late Romans to use as warriors of Rohan. Ideally, if we were sticking to a consistent Dark Ages aesthetic I would probably have used Late Romans for Gondor or Black Numenoreans but as is, trying to match Peter Jackson‘s aesthetic for Gondor we are using later period minis instead.

My wife liked the look of the Late Romans so they joined her Rohan Army.

Also I have an unusual figure that I had planned to put on eBay but decided instead to add him to my Mordor army, most likely as an orc.

I added the shield, it is a GW chaos shield I think and I changed his sword by curving it as well as sharpening the tip.

My wife decided Orc as I was on the fence whether it should be Orc or Black Numenorean. As an Orc Captain I figure the head on the shield is his former Captain.

So much done, so little finished…

The last week has been very challenging, primarily due to surgery on my left hand. It has hurt less than I feared but more than I hoped. Recovery so far has been good but apparently I have a few weeks of physiotherapy and healing to look forward to. A condition called trigger finger of all things, in my left pinkie.

So not much painting done… hence some photos of Rivendell Elves I finished awhile back for my wife.

Early into this project my budget was tighter than it currently is so I was trying all kinds of ways to cut costs. So winning auctions of minis not strictly Lord of the Rings but inexpensive led me to proxy conversion work. This does have the added benefit of more diversity in poses.

So you can see I converted a Games Workshop Warhammer Fantasy Battle High Elf to fit into the Army of my wife with the banner bearer above. I intend to do similar conversions with various elves of various makers in the future.

Whilst not being able to paint this past week and having to unfortunately cancel a visit from some friends from the UK, I was able to nip over to Spiel in Essen whilst at my in-laws for help with my son. This led to some retail therapy….

I found a Fallout box set half off due to being a demo box at one stall. This was a pleasant surprise because this item was supposed to be a gift in the past but their production was delayed. Once it finally was available I was put off by the cost given my focus on the Middle Earth project. The discount, even if it means I may be missing an arm off one of the minis, was enough to convince me to get it…. and maybe use the mini in power armor for…. Core Space!

OK, I admit it. I am a big Battle Systems fanboy. I got some of their terrain on eBay at a great price and was blown away by how great it is. I also like all the support from the designers with the various videos.

Meeting the guys behind the company after a few hours of watching them in YouTube videos was an odd feeling but they were great. I immediately took a liking to them.

And both my wife and I were convinced to give Core Space a go…in a big way! They gave us a great deal on a big bundle, including an original Kickstarter core set with all the extra gubbins!

I am very, very excited about that. One of my goals has been to create a great space station game environment in 28mm. The Core Space minis are brilliant and I look forward to painting them up. I am thinking of putting them on clear bases, let me know what you think of that idea if you have an opinion.

We finished season 4 of Gotham, it was ok but the show has gotten less engaging each season. I prefer the more idealistic Jim Gordon And dislike how casual he is now about things like torturing suspects for information. Season 5 is not yet on German Netflix so that will have to wait.

No painting meant I had more time for TV so finished season 9 of The Walking Dead. By the end of the season I felt gut punched but better than I felt after the controversial Negan murders of the previous seasons.

It is always weird watching Negan for me because I think the actor looks a lot like me. Much as I want to hate the character that always makes me want him to have a redemption story.

I hate the Whisperers. If I was a character in the show I would run the risk of losing my morals in pursuing a very aggressive war against them. They bother me even more than Negan and the Saviors did. It is fascinating to think about how they bring out such emotions I me.

So it would seem we have a new season of Vikings coming….very surprised by that!

I very much enjoyed Vikings when it started but as the seasons went on I felt the show increasingly failed to deliver on expectations. Some odd plot and costuming decisions but generally brilliant casting. I kept hoping the writing would improve but to be honest I was a bit relieved when I felt the show had ended.

Good looking trailer though… so I am cautiously optimistic….

More Elves…

Some Galadhrim…. plastic from GW. Won in auction already painted, but repainted and based to suit our color palette. Darker than my wife expected but she says she is happy with them.

And a Storm Caller proxy, using a converted GW Fantasy Wood Elf… although the conversion was just to trim her hair…

And a mix of both metal and plastic GW LOTR Wood Elves…

Plus some some older Citadel WHFB Wood Elves. These had some minor changes, like trimming down the glaive like spear heads but retain much of the paintwork from the previous artist.

In other news, half way through season 9 of The Walking Dead. Not terrible but not as good as I hoped. The first time jump was ok, but the second one is a bit confusing for me. I have lost track with how this timeline now fits in with Fear the Walking Dead. Disappointed in Michonne. Surprisingly, I like Judith. And I like the new group, especially the music teacher.

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