perjantai 14. huhtikuuta 2017

Looking for my painting mojo

As is probably apparent from the silence in my blog I haven't really been interested in doing any painting for a while. My rush to the finish line in the painting challenge was bit of a dud with plenty of things on the table, but I just couldn't get anything finished up. Those have now been pushed aside to wait for some inspiration to finish them at some point.

Lack of painting mojo isn't anything new though as frankly I haven't really felt super interested in painting anything since last summer or autumn. I have periods where it's fun to paint up things, but I just can't bring myself to crank out unit after unit of minis in similar garb. At times painting yet another Napoleonic unit or some more WW2 stuff seems too much like a job. This does tend to cause some issues as the games I like the most tend to require quite a lot of minis with an average Napoleonic division coming at around 200-300 15mm minis in our games for example.

Interestingly the thing I'm disliking the most at the moment is painting with a brush. Airbrushing is still ton's of fun, but somehow when I need to go in and pick out details to finalize stuff all motivation goes out the door.

Even though I can't get myself painting, it doesn't mean I've abandoned other aspects of the hobby. I've actually been playing quite a lot lately with version 4 of Flames of War being a ton of fun despite some of the oddities and rules that I disagree with. The old edition and lists were starting to be boring and this really brings a fresh way to play the game without making it too different from the previous editions. Dropfleet has also been fun to play as well as all the different board games that I've gone back to.

So with a plenty of gaming and other activities I'm slowly trying to find my painting mojo again. One thing that I'm not going to do is trying to force myself into painting any larger projects for a while as that's really killed my interest in brushwork. I'm only painting whatever seems cool at the moment and not stressing about even getting it finished. Last weekend was quite fun with some airbrush work on additions to my Dropfleet army as well as on a Chaos Rhino that I'd built up last summer and started on by airbrushing a base layer of different rust shades. I tested a some chipping products from Ammo of Mig that allow you to paint over a previous layer and by wetting it again you can scratch of some of the top layers. Worked out quite nicely and now the Rhino is waiting for some detail and decal work before I can get to washes.



My mancave has also got a bit more furniture and it's starting to look more like what I want it to be. Another desk was bought for the PC so that I don't have to cram everything onto one desk. Some storage solutions for books etc. were also added which aren't really visible in the picture. Finally I bought some more paint racks from Warbases as well as new paint from a  newish brand called Warcolours. Haven't had time to test them out properly yet, but from the test pieces I did they really seem very promising! Not ideal for historicals, but strong vibrant colours and a nice 5 shade colour setup that should prove great for fantasy and scifi stuff.



With that rant out of the way  I'm off to celebrate easter. My parents are visiting Finland for a week so some time will be sent with them as well as the in-laws. Nice to have a four day weekend after a few weeks of working 10-12 hour days.

perjantai 24. maaliskuuta 2017

Final challenge entries

With the Painting Challenge over it's high time I get to posting my final entries! Points wise my challenge wasn't much of a success with only 506 points gathered out of my original goal of 1000. Personal worst of the 5 editions I've taken part in, but still I'm pretty happy with the result. When setting up my target I didn't know I'd be buying an apartment just a few weeks later and spending much of the beginning of the year redoing it before moving in. Even after that I've honestly felt quite exhausted constantly and rather spent my time watching various TV shows and spent my hobby time mostly gaming instead of painting.

Enough rambling and onto the things that I actually managed to paint up!

First up the cast of Danger 5 and their arch nemesis Hitler with some of his cronies. I'd planned submitting them for the final bonus round as they were perfect for the theme, but seriously underestimated how long it would take to paint them up and missed the deadline. Still when I accepted the inevitable it did allow me to paint up the accompanying human and lizard soldiers for Hitler that would otherwise have been left for another entry. Great sculpts from an even better TV show. Now I just have to figure out how to actually use them in some game :)






For my final entry it was time for my entry fee. The wednesday crew had decided to paint up some Spanish Civil War minis for Curt's collection and I decided to join them. SCW has always interested me, but never enough to get me started on collecting any forces. So this was the perfect opportunity to get some painted without having to commit to a project. Luckily my fellow Finn Teemu (Vain Vader) was organizing the group entry and had ordered plenty of extras so I was able to source a mini from him. I went with a Miliciana as what sane man could resist a fiery southern woman! Like all Empress offerings the pose and general sculpt was great, but the face was bit of a let down. All the minis I've painted from them have had fairly smooth faces with little detail, perhaps more realistic in the scale, but it just doesn't look as good as a some exaggerated details.





With the challenge ending I was left with a few projects on the table in varying states of readiness. Different fantasy miniatures had paint thrown onto them as well as two battalions of Napoleonic Saxons that got about all the base colours done and were only missing a final highlight and a wash. I just couldn't get myself to finish them as doing large groups of nearly identical minis just started to feel too much like work and I had to force myself to pick up the brushes. So I felt better leave them on the desk and continue when I start to feel like painting again.


Finally part of the reason why I've been fairly quiet on the blogging and painting front aside from the renovations. A product development project on which I've been working on as one of the lead designers for the last couple of years has more or less reached it's conclusion with the first production runs and project delivery to our customer. As we are using a subcontractor outside of Finland there's been quite a bit of travel to inspect and approve work. Still quite nice to see things in real life after looking at them on the computer screen for such a long time! Hard to realize the scale of things as well considering that the smallest sizes weigh about 17tons and take roughly 100 cubic meters of space. As you can see I'm also pretty adept at playing the part of the inept office worker. No helmet and taking a selfie while hanging at 4 meter height with no proper walkways is something that is exactly what they tell you not to do at the occupational safety courses that I've gone through :) I probably should write a hazard report due to that...


tiistai 21. helmikuuta 2017

Renovation news, secret santa and painting challenge entries

Phew it's been quite a busy 6 weeks. Apologies for my absence and lack of comments on other blogs as well. We got the keys to our new apartment in the middle of January and since then I've been there every single day after works and all the weekends except for a Flames of War tournament. Finally there's light at the end of the tunnel and our renovation is starting to be finished and we are moving in on Friday. Practically every single surface in the apartment has been redone except for the bathrooms which I'll do later on in the year when we've settled in. Walls and ceilings were painted, I've installed new wood floors and redone the stairs. In addition we tore down a wall to open up our living room and gotten a brand new kitchen. We ended up hiring a company to do the kitchen, but I did the rest myself with help from friends along the way. Quite an exhausting experience with practically no free time for a month and a half, but still quite rewarding to see the whole thing being finalized.

Now that we've been packing things away the whole scale of my hobby seems to show itself as well. I was actually pretty surprised myself as well with just the board games taking 5 large moving boxes straight away and the miniatures even more. I ended up taking some to the new place already to put them on the shelves to make space for packing dishes, clothing etc. I'm starting to think that thinning out the collection might be a good idea sometime...


Also I ran into a slight issue with transporting all my painted miniatures! Normally I store quite a lot on showcase shelves and when I started to pack them away found that I ran out of foam trays to pack them in. So I had to empty one tray out in my new wardrobe to make space for more stuff from the shelves ;)


With that out of the way it's time for some of the Painting Challenge entries that I managed to finish before our renovation kicked of properly. First up a pair of King Tigers and Wirbelwinds for my Flames of War Germans. The later model without Zimmerit was my Secret Santa gift and definitely came in handy as I needed one for the tournament in late January. So thanks to my mysterious benefactor once again! The other one was dug up from my lead pile. It was bought used as part of an eBay auction. One of the only minis that was actually useful from the lot as most were put together wrong, missing parts etc. Definitely the last time I'm buying anything just looking at a tiny picture online.

They were all painted with colour modulation using 4 different shades going from dark yellow to an ivory shade. Camouflage was added on top of that with some further modulation on the camo shades on the later Königstiger. Enamel washes, chipping and mud were the used to weather them.







As my final Flames of War German entry for the challenge I painted up some Sturmgewehr armed infantry. I'd originally planned to field Panzergrenadiers, but in the end ended up switching to Volksgrenadiers so I need to paint up a few more stands armed with assault rifles. I still haven't really figured out how to get camouflage clothing to work at this scale, but from your normal gaming distance you can't really see it anyway.


And finally some refs for Blood Bowl. When I saw Forge World bringing out limited edition referee sculpts I couldn't help myself. I'm a sucker for everything that says limited and with them being such nice sculpts I immediately placed an order for them. They were a nice little side project to paint up. Certainly refreshing between the Flames of War stuff.



With this post done it's back to packing our stuff. A couple of more days to endure and then I can hopefully have some desperately needed hobby time for myself. At least at the new place I'll have a small room for myself and all my things so it's an improvement!

keskiviikko 18. tammikuuta 2017

Painting Challenge: Blood Bowl - Da Jestaz

Time to get my latest entry from the Painting Challenge up. Blood Bowl Orcs from the new plastic box set from GW. I had originally planned to get these done before New Years, but as it would turn out these were deceptively simple looking and took way more time than expected. I almost got them ready for last week, but couldn't get the decals and basing done in time. Well at least they are ready now!


Thinking about colour schemes I decided to go with my local hockey team, Jokerit (Jesters), which is currently playing in the KHL as the only Finnish team. They used to be one of the top teams from the Finnish league, but a couple of years ago they signed up for the Russian equivalent of NHL. First two seasons went pretty well with them being one of the top teams from the league, but honestly this season has been pretty embarrassing. I was thinking between this and the team I played most my years in junior hockey, but in the end decided to leave that scheme for the human team. As Jokerit was the local rival back then for us it felt better to picture them as the brutes.



As I said they ended up much harder to paint than expected. As they are push fit models with connecting points in visible areas they really had to be put completely together before painting, which made reaching some of the detail extremely difficult. My method of painting them was also pretty suboptimal. I normally paint all the areas with a base shade before washing and then doing the highlight layers, but I guess on these picking a proper order and doing an area from the start to finish starting from the recesses and working up would have been far better. There were countless times when I messed up some area I had already gone over when I tried to do something in a small crevice and had to go back and touch it up again. Also the combination of red and yellow was far from ideal. It's pretty unbelievable how you can get a shade that doesn't cover a lightly washed version of itself  in under 4 coats of paint. Needless to say they were a pain at times to paint.



I was thinking quite a while about adding weathering on them, but in the end I ended up with leaving them cleaner and with a more cartoony look. Just seems to suit Blood Bowl minis better. Plus if I get fed up with it it's always easy to go back and add scratches etc. on them. However to break the monotony of the armour I decided to paint the checkerboard pattern that somehow is so iconically orky. Another thing that got left out was the team logo. I tried to freehand a suitably Orkyfied version of the Jokerit logo on them, but my brush skills just weren't up to it. Luckily it was easy to remove the shabby tries from a varnished surface.The logo will be added at a later time when I've gotten around to ordering suitable custom decals for them. It's just so much easier to design it on the computer and get it printed out. I'd do it myself, but I want it to be white and haven't  found any place where I can use a printer that is capable of printing white. Luckily Fallout Hobbies does custom decals for a reasonable price and I've used them in the past and liked the quality, so I'm gonna get a sheet from them when I've figured out the logo for the human team as well. Player positions and numbers are from the normal GW sheet that comes with the box. As a more ideal team composition would have 4 Black Orcs and 4 Blitzers I left my player numbering empty for them in preparation for the future whenever I end up buying reinforcements.



Since taking these pictures I've gone back and added some pigments to their boots to vary the tone as suggested by Martin on the challenge blog. Definitely ups the look of the minis. With these done it's back to Flames of War for the last couple of vehicles I need for the end of the month. I've also got the two Blood Bowl referees to paint up that are about half way through, but that I didn't get ready for last weeks entry. We'll see about this week. Painting time is a bit limited with a business trip and the whole renovation thing disrupting my free time.