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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.

So many projects…


As you can see I got a few things done this week. A mix of things.

The trees are destined for eBay and I tidied up some Isengard Uruk-Hai that we won in an auction already painted to a decent standard. Not as quick as I expected but much faster than starting from scratch.

Perhaps more interesting though are the Mordor Orcs that were a bit of a mad scheme project. I had some Republican Roman figures I painted up as possible Pelargir troops but then changed my mind å tried to auction on eBay. No interest on there so I decided to try to find a way to put the to use.

Turning this…

… into this…

… and ending with a result I am quite pleased with.


Weapon and shield swaps were easy enough but the real trick was replacing the heads. I used a mix of heads in my bits box.


You can see some works in progress that resulted in this…

… a real mix of heads, historical, fantasy and horror. Even a spare head from a GW LOTR Orc. My wife was not fully convinced but I like them.

I thought cutting the nose down on a human head worked well on the Orc to the left. I may have gotten carried away with the greenstuff hair sculpting though.

I also experimented with a translucent figure. A Reaper Sylph.

I am not fully sure how we will use the figure but since we are thinking of using “fairy tale” elements in our Napoleonic blah blah project.

But I also have a lot of things on the go, started but not yet finished…. such as these Napoleonic French troops (who may not stay French, but more on that later).

A single Victrix 1807-1812 Fusilier on the left. The four Warlord Games “late” Fusilers in greatcoats. Then three Warlord Games “early” Fusilers. Then two Warlord Games “late” Grenadiers in greatcoats but with Victrix Grenadier heads (for the bearskin headgear). And finally on the right one Warlord Games “early” Grenadier.

Confusing? I think so. This kind of confusing complexity and somewhat static looking marching poses are some of the things that put me off Napoleonic era wargaming. But digging into it and learning more about the subtle differences in uniforms, the variable positioning available in some of the plastic multi-part kits and the small battle more than simple skirmish narrative style gameplay of Sharp Practice has changed my thoughts on it all.

Another thing I did not like at first were the French greatcoats. Instead of issuing blue, like I would have expected, they tended to have greys and browns… since blue dye was expensive and hard to come by, hence only more elite units got blue greatcoats. Mix this with several colors of shako (their iconic hats) cover and field expedient trousers, a French unit on campaign could look like a rather motley bunch.

It seemed at odds with my image of Napoleonic military pageantry.

But the more research I do, the more this quirky campaign image appeals to me. It makes painting troops in almost identical poses a bit more fun as you can express some individuality through slight uniform color variations. This and so many companies make so many different types of French troops, you can do some great kitbashing.

Hopefully this will be more obvious when get these French fellows painted. But will they be French?

I am still undecided on whether to do fictional French or to create a French inspired Imagi-Nation. We also need to decide if we are doing a fictional Earth or a completely new “flintlock fantasy” world. By using a fantasy setting the button and stitch counters may be less offended by my mixing uniforms issued in different years.

Input from you brave folks reading this is most welcome!

Another thing on the go is my Dwarven Forge terrain improvement experiment.

On the left my improvements based on the “old” paint scheme. On the right the “new” scheme. The only adjustments I made to the pieces on the right were a matt clear coat on the bigger piece and painting the ferns in the center of that piece a different green, like the piece on the left.

We also noticed the Dwarven Forge terrain looks better on a Deep Cut neoprene mat compared to the Citadel grass mat. I used one of our Deep Cut dice trays for the photo.

Ideally we would do a full mat comparison at a convention before making a purchase but the current international health crisis makes that impossible.

One thing I noticed, the more I use the Dwarven Forge terrain the more I prefer it to our traditional terrain. I am a little disappointed in the quality of the factory paintwork but the sculpting is amazing and it is a joy to paint. Doing little things like painting the tail on the rat takes the piece to the next level.

What are your thoughts on it though? How do you think it looks? What can I do to improve it?

Our Hagglethorn Hollow Kickstarter should be here soon and it reminds me that we have to be conscious of storage space limitations. That said, it did not stop us from taking some Dwarven Forge castle pieces off the hands of our mate Tom! It is currently on the way from the UK and we hope it does not get stuck in the new border issues.

In other news, we watched the first Hornblower TV movie “An Even Chance”. I love the Hornblower series and was hoping my wife would like it. According to her, other than the slow start, several nasty characters and lack of character background exposition she liked it. I told her that I thought it gets better as you go, with decent character development and a very admirable Horatio Hornblower.

The Expanse continues to entertain. We have only two more Sharpe TV movies to see. There is just so much more we want to watch than we have free time!

Warg Madness!

As you can see, I finished some more Wargs. These all have been made to be riderless. I also finished a bat swarm and some terrain pieces.

With this lot I now have 20 riderless Wargs. Whilst working on these, as they were almost done I realized I should have filled in the seams on their backs. But then matching the paint would have been a headache and adding to the time spent… so this will have to do, at least for now.

The bat swarm is the metal one from Reaper.

I used greenstuff to change to tombstone into a more natural rock… not my best work but I think it is ok. As always it was a challenge to decide exactly how to base it. Some models make sense to model as if underground (for example these are for our Moria Goblins) but we will rarely be gaming underground so I decided to stick with our generic temperate outdoor base design, just as I have done for our Moria Goblins.

This is how the foam Ziterdes tower started….


It is a decent enough tower but you can not access the inside so Iould like to eventually replace it with a Dwarven Forge or Tabletop World Tower.

So some of you wanted a close up of the Dwarven Forge terrain. Here is a shot showing the differences between the “old” and the “new” painting.

I will try to replicate the older style with the scattered autumn colored leaves on the newer pieces. I also think we need some variety in mushrooms. Suggestions on mushroom colors welcome! As are any suggestions on how we can further improve on the DF terrain.

A couple of people have also asked to see our work space, gaming space and storage space.

As you can see, I get the comfy chair. And yes, that is quite a lot of work waiting to be done. The shelves are not bowing under the weight however… they warped due to moisture whilst in storage.

We have not filled up the display cabinets as quickly as I had expected. If you look close you can see several Tabletop World buildings waiting for the arrival of our Hagglethorn Hollow Kickstarter pledge… so that I can try to match the paint! (Sidenote: I have been slowly taking over space from my wife’s sewing). Apparently HH is on ships and due to arrive in the EU later this month. No idea however how long it will take to get distributed though.

I have been researching “Really Useful Boxes” to see if we can come up with better storage for things not on display. Particularly our Battle Systems Core Space stuff.

Our gaming mat is the old Citadel grass mat, pretty practical but it does look like a golf course. I have been thinking more and more of a neoprene mat to use with our Dwarven Forge terrain. What is frustrating is not being able to take a piece of DF terrain to a convention and compare it to various mat makers material. Photos are just too darned deceptive. I also noticed that using a dice tray we have from Deep Cut that distance really makes a difference. What looks good from 3 feet away does not look so nice up close. But of course my eye sight is getting worse every year as well.

In other news, we finished the Napoleon miniseries. Not a great show but watchable and it inspired some interesting research paths for me. I find myself respecting Napoleon’s abilities and some of his ideas but hating many of his decisions and disliking his personality. His passion for education and science was commendable and his Napoleonic Code was much greater in my opinion than his military achievements. But his reversal of Republican ideals, his nepotism, his egomania all make him a tyrant… although I struggle to apply the term petty to that.

I am looking forward to season 2 of Snowpiercer later this month. And of course Disney+ has a bunch of Marvel stuff for us to watch.

Not to forget, my wife and I have three more Sharp movies to watch…. and I need to convince her to watch the movie Waterloo with Rod Steiger as Napoleon. Christopher Plumber is the definitive Wellington in that movie, for me anyway. Then there is the Hornblower series…

More Wargs!

So, as you can see I finished some more Wargs… and movement trays (only 50 more to go)… and some pack beasts!

Most of the Wargs were won in an auction already painted to a decent standard, I just did my usual tweaks. A couple were from another auction and had to be done from scratch, you may notice the non-GW 40mm bases that I used. I often look for ways to cut cost.


The two on the left is how I got them (14 more to do still). The two in the middle are ones I only had to tweak. The two on the right are the ones I did from scratch.


The giant Warg is actually from a figurine of Sharku from Eaglemoss. I removed Shaku. Then I used greenstuff and putty to try to hide the leather riding harness on the Warg. Finally I repainted and rebased the Warg in order to create a new Warg Chieftain model. My wife and I prefer this to the usual GW Warg Chieftain model. Now the creature looks as dangerous as the stats make it in the game. It is a real beast!

This….


… has become this….

The Warg Chieftain was also an experiment for me with Citadel Contrast paints. I used Snakebite Leather over a base coat of Army Painter Skeleton Bone. It did not come out as I expected but I think that was down to me putting it on too thick. I ended up tweaking it with washes, dry brushing and too many coats of matt clear coat. In the end however I am at least satisfied with the result.

Sharku is a bit bigger than the GW Orcs, like the Warg, but I figured I could kitbash him into a large, standing Orc with some new legs.

As you can see my Warg pack is growing. The bulk are made to have riders…

I need to paint a lot of riders!

We only have a few currently finished designed to have no rider.


The pack beasts came out about as good as I hoped. The horse is a better sculpt than the mule but the horse is an expensive metal Foundry model and the mule is an inexpensive soft plastic Wizkids model. Both are going to Battle Companies that have been using riderless Rohan horses as proxies until now. I am so glad to have this done! Two more of the same to do though… then I need to source some new, different ones…you can never have enough pack beasts.

This has all taken much longer than I expected but free time is challenging to find given the recent holidays. Speaking of holidays…

My wife’s parents spoiled us with a very generous gift of some Dwarven Forge terrain! We are both very happy about the look of the terrain. The sculpting is brilliant and the material very robust. I want to tweak the painting though, to take it to the next level. Expect a future blog entry about that!

And my mother spoiled us with some terrain from Battle Systems! I am thinking of modifying the art-deco building to be more Bladerunner-esque cyberpunk for our Core Space project where the Dangerous Days expansion introduces a slightly more post-apoc vibe to the game.

The Expanse continues to be a great show and it gets me itching to play Core Space. My mate Tom has helped out with that by gifting me a very cool Battle Systems Core Space shuttle. He put it together, I just took a marker pen to the white cardboard edges.

It even has a cool interior!


Another holiday surprise was the arrival of the “Terrain Essentials”book from Mel Bose, which we backed on Kickstarter quite some time ago. Whilst the book was considerably delayed the quality in the result was worth the wait! I hope the same holds true for our Hagglethorn Hollow Kickstarter pledge which is reportedly on a ship heading to Europe even as I write this.


Mel’s book arrived with resin figure of Mel, which I love! He will have to become an NPC in our Core Space game. I just have to decide which head to use… I am leaning towards the hat version, reminding me of Jayne Cobb!

My wife and I have learned a lot from Mel’s YouTube channel. His book should continue to further educate us on quality terrain building.

https://www.youtube.com/user/TheTerrainTutor

Speaking of learning… I have learned a lot from the blog of my mate Kuribo. I highly recommend his blog.

https://kuribospainting.com

Another of my mates, Tom, not only has a cool blog…

http://darkspacemessages.blogspot.com

…. but also a YouTube channel!

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCMoPPcQr-6fhzKuFxcYpKaw

In other news… the Mandalorian continues to entertain thanks to passionate fans!

On New Year’s Eve we watched, “The Death of 2020”. I have to be a bit careful here because I do not want to veer into political blogging. Several parts of the show made me laugh out loud, not something I commonly do when watching tv. One section really irked me a great deal… but anyone reading this that knows me personally should be able to figure out what part that was. Overall the show illustrated just how outrageous 2020 has been.

In the search for something light hearted we were surprised to find a Monkey King tv series that is better than we expected. Cheesey but funny at times.

Of course we only watched the first episode… before going back to watch some more of the Napoleon tv series I mentioned in an earlier post. We are up to the bit where he becomes First Consul. I was unaware of the part his brother played as President of the Directory. The show glosses over a lot of the details but it is good for encouraging more research.

Speaking of Napoleon… one idea I had for our Gothic… blah blah.. Napoleonic project was to use a fantasy world rather than a fictional version of history, and Hyborea came to mind. Imagine a few hundred years after the death of Conan and black powder weapons have been invented….. seems the internet almost always has an example of someone who had my ideas first…

http://grande-age.blogspot.com/2010/08/aquilonian-army.html

Other inspirations I have had for this project has come from this amazing blog…

https://themedetianwars.org.uk/tag/sharp-practice

I love the Imagi-Nations he has created. The narrative aspect of his gaming is exactly what my wife and I are after. I spent quite some time going through all of his blog posts. Great stuff!

We won an auction for a bunch of Napoleonic British and for a great price…. my wife really likes the Hanoverian landwehr wheel caps, so we are thinking of using these all for an Imagi-Nation of her own creation. The question is, do we use a fictional alternate history setting or a completely new fantasy world? I see pros and cons to both.

We also like the 95th Rifles that Wargames Atlantic are coming out with, so will likely get those in the future for her. Perhaps using those with the Hanoverian landwehr wheel caps as Jaeger type skirmishes.

Well this has been a particularly long blog post. I guess I had a lot to say. I hope all of you Reading this have had an excellent Winter Holiday and start to a better New Year!

To the last skeleton!

The last 36 skeletons…. finally! I am glad to have this behind me. Not my best work but not too bad either I think. You can judge for yourselves. I dislike square bases but otherwise, if we were using skeletons for any of our projects, I would be ok with using these.

Various different manufacturers, various different states of pre-painting, many of them repaired by me before being repainted. This whole skeleton project was to avoid being wasteful with incredibly inexpensive EBay auction win leftovers. My wife and I discussed at length my decision to invest my limited free time on this but I feel it was the right decision. In a way, as arrogant as I know it sounds, I feel like I “saved” theses figures… as if I rescued them from the Island of Misfit Toys.

As you can see I finished a couple of small terrain pieces, which we will not be keeping, and more unit movement trays which we will be keeping. However, we have another 53 movement trays to finish…

I have been thinking a lot of what I want to try to prioritize in the future, in addition to all the Middle Earth project items. Core Space, a sci-fi adventure game with a Firefly vibe and my Gothic Horror Napoleonic themed Sharp Practice project. So much to do!

Part of that planning is research. One of the most intriguing and inspirational blogs has been this one…

His alternate history settings are very imaginative and he has a flair for narrative gaming. In particular I like his fictional nation of Ruritania and the story of his character Doctor Sandorius. He also creates brilliant participation games for conventions, my favorite being his Cthulu Elizabethan Soloman Kane horror adventure in North America…

https://bogdanwaz.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-creatures-of-croatoan-school-of.html

Much of my research has reminded me that I just do not have enough time, money or space for all the things I want to do. For example I cancelled the Samurai component of my Napoleonic Gothic Horror project but still continuing with the other campaign ideas (Europe, North America, South America and Africa). I am considering cancelling my Ancient Roman and Greek projects but continuing with my Persian project… the upcoming Victrix Persian releases are just too darned tempting!

I have cancelled my Fallout project, Star Saga project, Gates of Antares project, Zombicide Invader project, Alone project, Star Wars project, Deep Madness project, Sedition Wars project and Endure the Stars project. I am not sure if I will give up on my Stargrunt project but I might just never get around to it. I have too much invested to give up my Dropfleet Commander / Full Thrust project…. but again I have no idea when I will be able to continue progressing it. At this stage I am glad I did not invest in Black Seas because I can not see myself getting to paint or play it any time soon.

The new Xenomorphs and Colonial Marines from Gale Force 9 have me thinking that I need my Core Space Traders need to visit LV-426 though.

It is considerably more price effective now that they are offering the figures without the entire game.

In other news… the Season Finale of the Mandalorian Season 2really delivered! I do not want to spoil it but the end was great! The episode, like the entire series, was not perfect. Sometimes you need to avoid looking too closely at the plot holes but where it gets things right it gets them brilliantly right. It just outshines the Sequel Trilogy in every way. Did anyone else get a “The Black Hole” movie vibe from the Dark Troopers?

It is disappointing however that yet again a thread I was participating in on Lead Adventure Forum was closed… this time the Mandalorian thread. At least it was not removed like the Starship Troopers thread but being locked like that feels a bit stifling. The internet helps me feel connected in my remote rural area during lockdown but it seems my views and how I present them bothers some folks. So much so that I end up getting censored. It makes me feel increasingly alienated from other people. I speak my mind and yet again get insulted for the length of my posts then silenced. As always I care too much, think too much and wear my heart on my sleeve. Sigh.

I have considered ending my blog and deleting my various forum accounts. But I hate leaving a job half done. And the handful of people who are supportive of my work, you know who you are, keep me going. I really wish I heard more from my old friends about this blog but the good news is that I have made some new friends from this project and my posting on Lead Adventure.

So, rather than further cut myself off from people I have reached out again, this time regarding Core Space on Board Game Geek since I have not been successful in getting much of a Core Space conversation going on the Lead Adventure Forum. My first post on Board Game Geek is a bit lengthy if you are curious…

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2565253/rambling-observations

I hope I do not come to regret these decisions.

Moving on from feeling sorry for myself, the latest season of the Expanse has been brilliant! Much better than last season. I find myself really caring about the characters and being immersed in their reality. Very different “hard sci-fi” compared to the “space opera” of the Mandalorian but both good in their own way.

We started watching both the new El Cid series and an old miniseries on Napoleon. Both have been a bit disappointing but we hope they will improve.


It is funny how a little thing can get a show off on the wrong foot for me. I was optimistic about the costuming in El CID from the trailer but in the first few minutes of the first episode the use of a frog without a scabbard for the sword of the hero just spoiled my mood. Silly of me, I realize but that is the truth of it. I am bothered by little details like that.

The Napoleon miniseries has a great cast at least. I like the actor of Napoleon, although he seems quite different from Rod Steiger’s Napoleon in the movie Waterloo, which I also really like.

I am pretty excited about all the new projects announced by Disney. Star Wars, Marvel… and Willow! I love that movie. “Peck! Peck! Peck!” Oh Mad Martigan, you fool!

And with that thought I think I will close this blog entry… wishing all of you a Merry Winter Holiday and Happy New Year! Thank you all so much for your friendship and support. May your wishes come true and your health be good!

Getting tired of skeletons…

I have so many projects I want to work on. More than I have time for to be honest. But right now my priority is to clear away some old project bits and move them on. So skeletons are at the top of the list.

And real world stuff has gotten in the way of my free time entirely too often this past week/weekend.

As you can see I finished some skeletons and terrain bits destined for eBay or as gifts to friends. It does feel great to finish something but seeing what is stacked up next can take some of the wind out of my sails. I find doing a project because I need to rather than because I want to drags the process time out by a large degree.

In other news, whilst I had less painting time I had more TV time.

I watched season 3 of Into the Badlands… which apparently is the last season. Unfortunately it seems they did not know that so it has a little bit of a cliffhanger ending but at least it is not a very dramatic one. I struggled to get into the show originally but some mates kept recommending it so I kept trying. Finally after a few attempts I got into it. The character Bajie played by Nick Frost and the beautiful costuming carried the show for me. I am not really into the over the top mystical martial arts.

Which is one reason I did not like the new Disney Mulan. Angry Joe and his mates pretty much sum up why I did not like it. But in short, it was uninspiring, not funny, weak character arc, unlikeable characters, wooden acting, implausible plot. The only thing I really liked was the costuming and set design. The animated version was considerably better.

Last Friday’s Mandalorian was good. Not perfect but good.

What I wrote on the Lead Adventure Forum….

“A good episode. Bill Burr did better than I expected. Some nice marksmanship from the Stormtroopers, at least at the bridge anyway. 

I was going to say it was a solid episode but I am not so sure about that. It was a little confusing  to see some scenes evoking empathy for Imperials only to have them go back to cannonfodder immediately thereafter. It felt a bit like Finn being so quick to gun down his former comrades.

Pirates… or Rebels? Why would pirates blow up the transports instead of stealing them? Since discontented locals were set up in the previous scene, makes me wonder if they were locals or maybe mercenaries hired by locals? 

Too short yet again! I would have liked some more interaction between Cara Dune and Fennec Shand… as well as between Din and Boba (who came across as a glorified chauffeur this episode). 

Was Moff Gideon’s entire flightplan logged in that terminal?

Gripes aside I liked the episode overall. As usual lots of old tropes but done well. I liked the points Mayfeld (Bill Burr) was making both in the transport and in the cafeteria. Brilliant costuming and set design. Great camerawork and special effects. It may not have exceeded my expectations as some of the previous episodes have but it delivered a decent half hour of entertainment…. now if only they would make the episodes an hour each!”

If you want to follow that very long discussion…

https://leadadventureforum.com/index.php?topic=120938.0

I went into Mulan with high expectations as was let down… I went into Assassins Creed with low expectations and was still let down. Some decent costuming and that was it. Good actors not doing their best work. Terrible plot and writing. I have not played the game but am familiar with the basic premise. This movie made me want to play the game even less. Not as bad as a Uwe Bolle computer game Movie but that is a pretty low bar.

My wife and I have gotten as far as Sharpe’s Waterloo. Definitely not as good as I remember. It seems like the shows are actually getting worse as they go. I am a Sharpe fan but I just do not remember him being so… awkward and unlikeable at times in the books. Sean Bean is great casting and is spot on sometimes but other times I think the writing let’s him down. After we watch all the Sharpe movies we will move on to Hornblower. I hope my wife will like it!

Disney put out big news on all the upcoming Star Wars and Marvel projects… and Willow! I love the original Willow. Val Kilmer is brilliant as Mad Martigan. I am very keen to see what they come up with. I am looking forward to all the Star Wars stuff in hopes it is as good as the Mandalorian. Despite being a big Marvel movie fan I am less enthusiastic about all the various Marvel projects. I am looking forward to Black Widow, the new Thor movie, the new Doctor Strange movie and the new Loki tv series though.

What about you folks, what are you most looking forward to?

Things finished, on hold and just beginning…

I tend to have too many projects on the go at once, so it feels like a long time between finishing things… but when I do finish a bunch all at once it feels great.

As you can see I got a lot finished this past week, even though we did not get any gaming in over the weekend.

I did a new Galadriel for my wife. I went with a more fair complexion this time. Some other odds and ends finished for friends and EBay. Neither my wife nor I am keen on this sculpt of Gollum but fortunately we have a model with a different pose for me to paint.

The skeletons are Mantic and a good example of me repainting something I got very inexpensive on EBay (1 Euro plus postage).

We do not need any skeletons for our projects however…

I did some terrain bits that are alright I think but will be going to a new home. I am still not satisfied with some 3d prints. My mate Tom sent me some well printed boats and a tree but they have proven more the exception than the rule.

Tom has a cool blog….

https://darkspacemessages.blogspot.com

Lots of cool stuff to read on there but he needs some motivation so if you see something you like on there be sure to let him know! Reader feedback really helps motivate us bloggers to keep writing so if you want to keep reading but surety tell us what you like.

There was a time when I would have been very pleased with these buildings and terrain…. but I have to admit I have been bitten by the Dwarven Forge/Hagglethorn Hollow/Tabletop World bug. The buildings are plaster and are decent enough sculpts but a bit delicate.

In other news whilst Fear the Walking Dead and Walking Dead: World Beyond are on mid-season Break Season 10 of Walking Dead finally arrived on Amazon Prime in Germany. I started watching it and yeah, it is grim. There is something about Alpha and the Whisperers that make Virginia and the CRM look like amateurs. They actually scare me more than Negan and the Saviours did. Religious fanatics have that affect on me though… and the Whisperers have all the hallmarks of a religious cult. I am about 6 episodes in… and whilst our protagonists make some bad decisions they repeatedly demonstrate pretty epic combat skills. Watching them compared to folks in the other shows… in a D&D context….World Beyond looks like Level 1 to 3 killing giant rats. Fear is like level 9 to 12, getting retainers and building castles. Walking Dead is like Level 15+ adventurers dominating everything until the DM throws them a curveball or beats them with a plotstick.

I tried watching Utopia… I stalled a few episodes in because it is just so bloody grim. Like, mentally exhausting grim. It started out kind of hokey fun, if dark but quickly went off the charts into crazytown. I am surprised I lasted as long as I did, about halfway through the season. We will have to see if I decide to continue or give up on it.

Into the Badlands got more episodes without me noticing so I need to get caught up on that… and still finish Knightfall, and Vikings…

Season 2 of the Mandalorian has been great! The episode today was just plain….epic! Maybe not as technically good as the previous episode with Ahsoka Tano but this one has one of my favorite Star Wars characters, played by a badass actor, flipping old Lucas canon on its head. Now normally I oppose this kind of thing but I admit I think I like how this has turned out. Only time will tell if it was the right call though.

The work continues… but for today, Happy Thanksgiving!

Whilst I have been staying busy this past week today I am resting a bit today and taking stock. My wonderful wife is making a fine feast so we can celebrate today in style…. and I am very thankful for all the wonderful things in my life, such as my family.

I wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving as well!

Now, back to our regularly scheduled material….

As you can see, other than the sabot unit trays most of this stuff is destined for EBay or as gifts to friends. I will be so glad when my backlog of unwanted minis are painted and disposed of. And I will also be glad when the 50 remaining sabot unit trays are finally finished.

One thing I did accomplish for us is to finally get that GW jungle plant to get a look I am satisfied with.

Next to that is a little Reaper Bones robot that I made into a steampunk clockwork assistant for my Gnome tinker. In hindsight I wish I used a different base for the clockwork thought, something thinner. I need to get more of the very thin Warlord Games 25mm bases.

Sometimes I do something for EBay then have second thoughts. This vampire is an example of that. I was tempted to keep it but in the end decided to continue with my original plan. This was something I found in my sprawling bits collection. It was not designed to be a stand alone mini, being part of a larger GW kit but I think it works, although the sword is a bit oversized…. like many GW models. My poor photography skill with this tablet just does not do the model justice.

In other news Tabletop Troubador continues to say the Hagglethorn Hollow Kickstarter is delayed, being stuck waiting to get aboard a ship in China. Very frustrating. Over a year delay with terrible communication from them. No activity on their Facebook since April. No involvement from them on the comments section of the Kickstarter for months, instead using a Customer/volunteer in NZ to act as an intermediary. Nice guy but I want to hear more from Ike and Johnny, the guys behind the project. Their updates come rarely and are underwhelming when they do come, with very little real information. My wife remains more optimistic than me but I think we are going to get burned.

Walking Dead: World Beyond was terrible, again. Ugh. Reminded me why I often hate flashbacks. Nothing really new, same old domestic violence tropes with terrible decision making throughout.

Fear the Walking Dead was mediocre. Again I feel like the show is going round and round. Going over old ground and repeating itself. It feels like some brainstorming writers’ sessions had a couple of interesting ideas but did not know how to connect them. Very few fresh ideas. That said I am curious about where they are going to go with that key. At least that has potential for something new.

My wife and I continue to enjoy going through the Sharpe movies. We are up to Sharpe’s Siege, halfway through before it got too late last night. We have so much we want to watch together and so little free time.

In a moment of self-reflection….

One reason I left Facebook was that I felt one company should not have so much power over the internet. Another was my bad habit of becoming rather self-righteous. I have had two careers, the military and police where confidence is essential for success. This can too easily lead to self-righteousness. I was reminded of this by some discussions of late on the Lead Adventure Forum regarding the Mandalorian and Starship Troopers.

Art, be it film, music, literature or even in games, is very important to me. Perhaps a little too important at times.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Spiders… why did it have to be spiders…

As I have mentioned before, I have mild arachnophobia. I know it is foolish to be afraid of something that I know can not hurt me but that is the point of phobias… they are irrational.

I keep trying to tell myself that lesson… fear is not real, that it is a product of my (overly fertile) imagination, that it is a choice. Some spiders bother me more than others. Not based so much on their venom but rather foolishly on their appearance. Wolf Spiders are among the worst for me. We had them in our basement when I was a child. Not dangerous but they have a profound subconscious affect on me.

So why am I fascinated by the idea of intelligent, evil giant spiders? I suppose because they make a villain I love to hate. As I grow older I am less inclined to kill real spiders with hate fueled glee. I find myself much more inclined to live and let live. But that ones not stop me enjoying the death of spiders in films, books and games.

Tolkien made great use of evil spiders so naturally we wanted some for our MIddle Earth gaming. It can be a challenge to find inexpensive spider models that are also adequately horrific. I know many folks recommend Halloween toys but various attempts of mine just did not look scary enough.

I think we cracked it now though.

We waited awhile for these o finally be released but we got the new Giant Spiders from Wargames Atlantic. They come with four spiders to a sprue, six sprues to a box. Two big multi-part bigger spiders and two smaller single piece spiders.

The bigger spiders are interesting in that they come with bits to turn them into high-tech sci-fi spiders… pretty good for Heinlein’s Starship Troopers arachnids. The only flaw is that there are two “arms” with what look like biotechnology ranged weapons, one left and one right. But these are the only limbs with “claws” so you either make one spider dual wielding gunfighter style or you have a creature with only one “clawed” limb. Which I suppose is certainly possible but such asymmetrical appendages strikes me as odd on an otherwise symmetrical creature

As you can see in the photos above, I put together two of the larger Wargames Atlantic spiders and compared them to the other spiders I have right now. The largest is, I think, a spider from the CMON Massive Darkness game. The white ones are from Wizkids. The smallest ones are terrain decoration pieces from Citadel/Games Workshop.

The Wargames Atlantic spiders had only minor mould lines to clean up but doing each leg was time consuming. As was putting them together. In fact it was fiddly, which as irritating. As was the lack of instructions in or on the box. However, in what appears an increasingly common cost saving habit Wargames Atlantic at least has a parts diagram on their website.

For our Middle Earth gaming we need a few different kinds of spiders. A Spider Queen (60mm base), her Broodlings (25mm base), Mirkwood Spiders (60mm base), Giant Spiders (40mm base) and Shelob herself (60mm base).

Sadly the smaller Wargames Atlantic spiders get a bit lost on a 40mm base but are a bit too big for a 25mm base. And whilst the GW Broodling model is a swarm of tiny spiders the stats for it sound more like a single big, but not huge baby spider instead of a swarm of tiny ones.

We may use 32mm bases for the Wargames Atlantic spiders and use them as Broodlings or we may get rid of the Wizkids spiders and use the Wargames Atlantic ones as Giant Spiders… but on 32mm or 40mm bases? The thing is, we do not really need many Broodlings as a Queen can only have three if I remember correctly.

EDIT: Wargames Atlantic have recommended the following blog post as instructions to build their spiders…

https://www.karwansaraypublishers.com/wssblog/assembling-plastic-giant-spiders/?fbclid=IwAR3RG5zgWsoZZdtaID6e4c0RvcJpgg0mw4uU2OHFu0m7NePEPrT5wiBkgKs

Something else I worked on was a reversal of our Farmer Maggot plan.

We got a couple of new Farmer Maggot models in a good deal on the Lead Adventure Forum. So I decided to sell the painted one I had planned to keep. Since I did not want to sell two similar looking models I repainted the one with the repaired head and my wife liked the new paint scheme so much she convinced me to keep it as a generic Hobbit farmer. So base edges repainted to reflect that status.

In other news, The Mandalorian continues to be awesome. The episodes are too short which I think leads to some unnecessary plot holes but overall it is some of my favorite TV of all time. It has restored my love for the Star Wars universe.

A disappointing Fear the Walking Dead episode. It feels the the show is going round and round in circles with June and John. Just when you think the characters might be developing from their experiences they go back and do the same old things yet again. Sigh. Nothing felt fresh in this episode of sympathetic villain character exposition and limb removal.

And yet surprisingly, Walking Dead: World Beyond finally had a decent episode (EDIT: Bret, you can watch this one, ignore the rest, and still enjoy it as a stand alone short story).

Although I normally hate flashbacks this one had a military theme that I found quite compelling. Being a veteran Infantry NCO the moral dilemma in the episode was a tough one… which made it so interesting to watch. What would I have done? Did she make the right call? Should she keep it secret? Things like this are why I like zombie apocalypse stories, they provide a framework to ask philosophical questions that can be applied to many real world situations but in a way that allows some distance from the immediate baggage that comes with trying to show the same question in a real world situation.

If I was an academic type, willing to go back to school, I think one topic that would engage me would be disaster psychology. I have always been particularly interested for example in riot control policing and served in the National Guard for a few disasters including Hurricane Andrew and forest fire fighting in Washington State.

Having finished season 1 of La Revolution, I can say I found it entertaining despite the annoying cliff hanger season finale. I think I will use the premise of the show as part of the foundation of my Napoleonic Gothic Horror project.

Speaking of which it has been a fun, but headache inducing, challenge trying to decide exactly how the alternate timeline of my Napoleonic project will go. Part of me wants to have it be Napoleon remaining as First Consul of a Republic more inline with my own values that has not suffered the defeats of the later Empire but part of me wants to have it be a “what if the Emperor had not lost at Waterloo” setting.

Considering the potential offense my first setting could create, if I really lean into what I want to do with it, I may not feel comfortable blogging about it. Essentially I would like to see a French Republic founded on some of the earlier, very progressive revolutionary ideals without the baggage of The Terror and the backsliding on things like slavery and women’s equality. This Republic seeds revolutions world wide in the fight against monarchies that in our real timeline came later. And I am thinking a much more overt conflict with the Catholic Church tied into the adventures of exploring the world whilst dealing with superstition as well as the supernatural with reason and science.

Would adding steampunk be too much?

Ever onward…

While we did not get any gaming done, I did manage to finish quite a bit. Almost all of the figures are destined for EBay but a couple are for us, as is the terrain and unit trays.

First up I wanted to show an example of my “product improvement”. EBay auctions that I have won arrive in various states of painting, from untouched on the sprue up to almost just the way I like it… I always find something to modify to make it my own so far.

Some are better than others but these old GW plastic Bretonnian archers are a good example of the better than usual. You can see I only had to do some small touches… you can be the judge of how big an improvement it may be.

Next we have some gifts from my friend Tom.

You can find his blog here…

http://darkspacemessages.blogspot.com/2020/

A longboat that he 3d printed and a Skaven pool that can be put to other uses. I did some small touches but he did the bulk of the work. Thanks Tom!

On the boat I added the tiller arm to the rudder and some green staining below the oarlocks. On the pool I added a mushroom and the rat. Little touches to put my own stamp on them. Normally I am not a fan of 3d prints due to the inevitable print lines but the construction of the boat masks these, making them look like the grain of the wood in my opinion.

I watched this video on painting 3d prints but it was not as helpful as I would have liked.

Do you have any advice or suggestions for painting 3d prints?

Next up is an old, out of production Games Workshop/Citadel jungle “palm tree”. I have a lot of these and did this one as a test sample, trying to decide if we use them or sell them on eBay to raise money for more Dwarven Forge swamp trees. I am still unsure. My wife likes it but I am less enthusiastic, feeling it is just ok. Looking at various blogs and tutorials I think I need to get more variation in the leaves. Perhaps using some yellow and lighter greens on the fronds. I tried several colors of paints and washes already on the fronds and trunks. I am not satisfied with the base in particular. My wife recommended not adding static grass, which I think is the right call, but it looks somehow unfinished to me… perhaps I need to get some more small foam foliage bits to use as ground cover. You can see I added some grass tufts, some with flowers, but it just does not seem enough.

Of course right now the plan is to use these as jungle pieces. However, I suppose I could make them desert plants instead. Since Dwarven Forge does not make desert plants, maybe that is the way forward. Any of you have some advice on this?

Next we have a couple of metal GW Farmer Maggot models. One had the head removed and not in a clean manner. I tried to fix it with greenstuff thereby make it look like a hooded mantle and longer hair. Mixed results in m opinion.

There other one has a face that turned out looking a lot like Buddy Hackett!

I also finished the latest addition to my Dwarven Battle Company. It is a metal Oathmark Dwarf, I made the one handed axe he had into a two handed axe which I think is a great improvement given the original size of the axehead compared to the length of the haft.

And of course you can see I did a bunch of unit sabot trays. One thing I have noticed is that my efforts to make them look cool has resulted in the 25mm bases not always fitting easily into the trays. Frustrating.

In other news, Fear the Walking Dead continues to be much better than Walking Dead: World Beyond. I want to like World Beyond but the show keeps letting me down.

Unlike The Mandalorian, which continues to amaze me. These are a couple of little things that annoy me about Season 2, Episode 2… SPOILERS…. look away….

…..such as The Child’s eating habits but otherwise great stuff. I like lizards and frogs so The Passenger is brilliant. I have arachnophobia so the episode felt tailored to me. The New Republic pilots were cool although not completely logical. Why not help with repairing the ship? Why save them to then only leave them? Overall it felt to me like it suffered from the short running time. My wife likes 30 minute episodes. I prefer an hour. This episode felt rushed compared to the one before with the Dragon. Why did The Mandalorian have to walk to Mos Eisley? Why not take the transport the bandits/bounty hunters(?) must have had? Given how many species there are, with so many languages… why didn’t the Mandalorian have some sort of default translation option right at the start? It felt too many times like the writer/director wanted specific cool scenes without worrying about the “why”… high in my opinion Leads to immersion breaking plot holes. That said, yet again the show has several old tropes which it does deliver surprisingly well. The final scene however makes me feel the writer/director did not intend the ironic message I took from it… that the Child is also a “Monster”.

What do you think?

So many trays…

So another busy weekend where no games were played. I finished a few things, sabot unit trays that will most likely be used for terrain rather than troops. Some GW Seraphon/Lizardmen fo EBay and a bunch of GW Numenoreans that I converted to Black Numenoreans… which had no success selling on eBay so converted back to Last Alliance Numenoreans. Hopefully they will generate some funds to help cover our various Kickstarter pledges….

… Such as the Core Space: First Born Kickstarter that I am very excited about!

We will be pledging for Blood & Plunder: Raise the Black but I am unsure as to at what level. We are more interested in the ship model and figures than the game itself. I want to add more to my kitbashing conversion pile!

We considered backing Dire Alliance but I think we will pass unless some amazing stretch goals get unlocked.


One of the things taking a lot of our time is deciding how deep to get into the Dwarven Forge Wildlands pledge manager. We want it all but we can hardly afford that. It is quite expensive stuff. But we love the aesthetic and think it will go nicely with Hagglethorn Hollow… if it is ever delivered. My wife is more optimistic than me!

Said wonderful wife has treated me to a book I am keen to study and fully digest.

This jaunt of mine into this idea I have had of Napoleonic Gothic Horror Gaming using Sharp Practice as a sort of mash up of X-Files, Star Trek, Sharpe, Hornblower and more has meant that I have had to shelve any thought of post-apoc (ie Fallout) gaming. All because I wanted something to do with the ship we are getting in the Reaper Bones 5 Kickstarter. Sigh.

In other news Walking Dead World Beyond was disappointing again on Friday. So much lazy writing. However, Fear the Walking Dead was pretty good today. Having been a cop myself, some years ago mind you, the stories focusing on John Dorrie really catch my attention.

I am enjoying the French Gothic Horror Drama La Revolution.

My wife is not interested in La Revolution but we have been watching Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norell together. We like it.

Episode 1, Season 2 of The Mandalorian was… EPIC! I meant, near perfect. I wish Disney would fire Kathleen Kennedy and put Jon Favreau in charge of all things Star Trek. I am enjoying this on par with the original “A New Hope” Star Wars. I really think it is that great. It shows just how terrible other shows are but do not need to be. It shows how you can have a dark, violent, gritty show that is still filled with empathy and not poisoned by a toxic cynicism overdose. It has a central theme of hope that I have been craving. Astounding cinematography, set dressing and costuming. Brilliant writing with just the right touches of humor without becoming a farce. The exploration of the Tusken Raider culture is surprising and yet rewarding. Yes, it feels like a Samurai Space Western…. but a great one!

It is still a long way off but I am looking forward to the new version of Dune.

Oh, and speaking of movie trailers… I caught this disturbing one Songbird. Horrific as it looks, it does perhaps help put our current crisis into perspective in a somewhat over the top satirical way.

What do you think? Be sure to let me know… leave a comment. Like, share and subscribe as they say!

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