And Now for Something Completely Different…

This blog is mostly focused on creating the vision of Middle Earth that I share with my wife. But that is not all…

Despite agreeing to limit this hobby to one genre I slipped down a slippery slope thanks to a really great EBay auction and now I have a sci-fi distraction. Focused mostly on starship battles but also likely at some point to get into planetary complications.

Now I know a lot of people recommend X-Wing… but I like big fleet actions with capital ships. Armada? Yeah well maybe but I like painting my own ships and having a little more creative flexibility.

Winning an auction for some Dropfleet Commander ships convinced me to give it a try. First impressions, I like the mechanics. I love the ships… and fortunately my wife likes the ships too! She particularly likes the Scourge ships but not the Scourge lore so we may end up making up our own fluff. I really like all the fleets but I think I will focus on the UCM and let my wife play all the other fleets in opposition to me.

I am still undecided on the UCM color scheme, but most likely UN or MCRN from the Expanse. My wife wants her primary fleet, the Scourge to be in aquatic metallic colors. The Shaltari in a green theme and the PHR in the white of the box art. We do not have any resistance ships yet but when we do, I am thinking hodgepodge tramp freighter colors.

But it isn‘t all starships on my mind. Keeping a sharp eye on eBay I have some projects far down my list… such as GW Tau miniatures for the PHR, Mantic GCPS for UCM, and GW skinks and saurus warriors for Shaltari. Not so sure for her Scourge. We thought about her ships being like Moya in Farscape with a mixed crew of various freedom loving races.

Part of this is to make use of some minis I already have going spare… but also at some point I would like to work on 28mm sci-fi terrain.

But what rules? Gates of Antares reminds me of Bolt Action which was ok but a little too… streamlined for me. Good for tournaments with strangers in a shop but not really my thing. I do like the miniatures though.

I do not know anything about the Mantic sci-fi games but they have some cool miniatures.

So many interesting miniatures from so many different games… what to do? Stargrunt 2! I stumbled onto this thanks to a discussion on the Lead Adventure forum. Free game rules, hard sci-fi infantry focused wargaming. Old school and I love the look of it so far. Only problem is that it seems a bit one dimensional, focusing only on war. It would be great to have something with some other elements, like exploration. My wife had an idea of one game a month, with each game being an away team Expedition to a new world.

Any recommendations or suggestions on these future plans are greatly appreciated

Getting the defenses ready…

Some bits previously done, but with the two barricades I recently finished. Coming together nicely I think.

The staked positions are from the sadly discontinued Bretonnians of GW.

If you look close at the guard post you will find a snail I won in one of the bits auctions I won on eBay. I really love going through random bits auctions and finding gems like that hidden at the bottom of the pile.

Several colorful objective markers and scatter terrain. My wife is not a fan of casualty markers but I like them to add a sense of foreboding to the table. I thought the raven really set the piece off.

What do you folks think?

Getting some work done….

So as you can see I completed a number of on going pieces today.

Starting with the CD terrain pieces, one was previously completed but I went back and did some improvements. Mostly extra foliage. I originally was not going to put static grass on the edges of the CD‘s but decided it looked better on the table this way.

Each of my terrain pieces I try to add a small animal if I can. I am not always successful but here you can see a few. I love the owl. The rat turned out better than I expected. The frog…is not alone! I am something of an arachnophobe so that was not an easy piece for me!

You can see some GW Wood Elf & Sylvaneth forest spirit creatures. Again maybe not great for the Tolkien purists but my wife and I like the idea of small exotic creatures in the magical forests of Arda.

The we have objective markers that also make interesting scatter terrain to just add some flavor to the table.

Each piece came out better than I expected but in exchange took much longer to do. I particularly like how the statue, skeleton sign and palantir came out.

I thought the barricades were done but they looked like they were missing something the first time I tried to photograph them so I added the weapons.

The skeletons will probably be a strange choice to some folks for Middle Earth. I decided to add them because whilst not strictly Tolkien lore they exist in other Middle Earth mediums, particularly the computer games. Sauron was known as The Necromancer… These were won in an auction painted but pretty battered. I skipped stripping them to save time. I just repaired, rebased and repainted. That is why the detail looks a bit lost. Some I was able to get grains of sand in the eye sockets for the Skyrim Draugr effect I was going for but some had eye sockets too narrowed by layers of paint. Not my best work but table ready in my opinion.

Down in the Barrows….

Here we have some more auction winnings that started off painted ok but I tweaked them to match my aesthetic.

The wight with barrow is by Warploque, Kickstarter only unless I am mistaken. I decided to paint his armor and weapon to make him look less monochrome. On his barrow I added a lot more green and small details like the skulls.

The banshee is an old Games Workshop Fantasy Battles figure in metal. Again I painted the metal to give the future a bit more visual depth. I think she will make a fine wight down in the barrows…

Looking back…

Since I did not quite get any minis finished today, I thought we could look back at previous work. A mix of gifts, some to family, some to friends and one a gift to myself.

One of the couples represent me and my wife, or rather larp characters of ours… Zeno and Finya. I used a Gripping Beast kit bash for me and Eowyn for my wife.

The other two couples are friends of ours. It was much easier to find appropriate figures to represent the men than the women. In the end I had to make do with what I could find.

The winter holiday figures are all gifts for family members.

The Drakkar was a kit I picked up for my wife at the impressive Crisis tabletop wargaming convention in Belgium. It was my first time there and I was amazed at how incredible it all was. My wife did most of the work on the ship… we just have to figure out how to use it in Middle Earth.

And the dwarf with the quirky hat accessories is my inner dwarf…. when I am not feeling Gnomish!

Getting things done…

With many things to get done around the house I have not had time to get much painting done. But part of the reason I started this block is to keep me motivated. So here are a couple of things I just finished.

Denethor was won in an auction and did not require much of a repaint but I did a couple little things. I redid his face but his eyes were really problematic. He is sculpted with big bags under his eyes and that was difficult to paint in a way that did not make him look oddly bug-eyed. In the end I settled for him looking like Vigo from Ghostbusters more than the actor that played Denethor. Of course it was also rebased.

The banshee is an old metal GWFB model, again won on eBay, and again a minor repaint and rebase. I chose to paint the sword and jewelry to make it look a little less monotone.

The three standing stones are from an unknown game but make nice objective markers and flavor scatter terrain. A bit different but similar to the GW Elven standing stone that I am currently working on.

And finally some unit bases from Test of Honor. Good for unit leader, musician and standard bearer command units. But also work to hold scatter terrain that is on 25mm bases in a coherent manner. Put a tree on a 25mm base, a couple of flavor pieces and you have a cool little forest terrain piece.

In addition to freshly finished pieces I will put up my archived work… so expect a blog post a day for awhile to come.

The First of the Gnomes…

I have been working on miniatures for a few months now after a break of many years. This was done to take the place of my computer gaming… and having more than pixels in stored memory has definitely been rewarding.

My wife and I decided to focus on medieval fantasy, creating our own vision of Tolkien‘s Middle Earth. Although I have dabbled a bit in other projects which I will share on this blog eventually.

What really got my creative juices flowing was this conversion project, turning some spare GW goblins into Gnomes… or rather Dwarves of the Blue Mountains. And that inspired not only the name of this blog but the creation of the blog itself.

I was inspired by another artist in doing this by his conversion project along the same lines. After that I saw a couple of others folks doing this as well so I am far from alone.

Feel free to leave a comment with feedback, suggestions or recommendations on how you think I could improve my work.

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.

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