Sunday, 24 May 2020

It’s been awhile...

It’s been far too long since I posted something on this ramshackle blog. My pile of shame seems to grow no matter the circumstance; have a kid; buy into Batman miniatures, work overtime; buy into Star Wars Legion, have another kid; buy swathes of old lead (to be fair that last one never really stops), Covid knocks the world on its ass; actually paint something? (gasp!).
I suppose it took being barred from doing anything outside of the house but yes, I’ve finally gotten started on a 3rd edition Chaos Army. Although, to be fair it wasn’t really Covid at all. 

Sometime in 2019 I’d messaged the admin of the old world army challenge asking to be included in the group’s next endeavour and then promptly forgot all about it. If you haven’t checked out the old world army painting challenge - DO, you won’t be disappointed. During a bi-weekly search of Facebook I received his reply asking if I was interested in joining. Was I though? Honestly I haven’t played a game of anything old school since 2017. Hell I haven’t had a game of dark heresy since then either, so did I still have it in me to take on a project? Was it even going to be fun at this point? I have no time to paint with work (now deemed essential), kids, wife, life. But I figured why not, I’ll give it a go, but once I started leafing through the 3rd Armies Book the old feeling came back. 
At first I thought about my dark elves, then I started looking through realms of chaos, eventually I perused some old white dwarfs (old for me) when the tale of four gamers articles jumped out at me. Paul Sawyer’s (Fat Bloke, man that name would not be printed these days) Beasts of Chaos Army from that era the most incredible looking armies I’ve ever laid eyes on; the contrast between the jet black skin tones and off white assorted garb really pops. You also have to consider it’s from the 90’s a time when GW armies were either red or insanely brightly painted with goblin green bases! His painting was fresh, and his writing is quite good, IMHO. It was settled. Chaos with a Sawyeresque (Blokesque?) paintjob (I cant paint as well as him as I cannot highlight black worth a damn, see my eldar weapons; any of them - shiver). 
I opened up a box of shame in my hobby room, took stock and started piecing together an army list. This is the most enjoyable part of the hobby for me; creating an army that fits my narrative and will be fair to my opponent; I want them to have fun as well without having to engineer a grand tournament worthy army list just to have a chance. Let’s crack a couple beers, chat, and have the only pressure applied be on our livers, not on camaraderie. 
Of course I quickly flunked out of the old world army challenge; an invasive surgery threw a wrench in the works for me. I realize everyone that takes part in the OWAC overcomes real life to make it through, so I make no excuses. Congrats to all those that triumph. Maybe next year, maybe dark elves.


In a way though flunking turned out better for me, as I had originally plotted an army list containing Chaos thugs, well a lot of thugs really; mounted thugs, shooty thugs , flail wielding thugs, double handed weapon thugs, you get the idea, and only a handful of beastmen. Sometime in February I changed gears and committed to a cloven hoof army of beastmen and Minotaurs, well perhaps with a sorcerer as beastmen shamans are a lot of points more, they are pretty competent in close combat over other mages. Even without casting hammer-hand? Digress.
For the army I wanted good sized units ~ not mighty avenging lord of chaos 30+ but big enough to survive a round of shooting and last awhile in close combat. I also wanted more that just hand weapons, I also had halberdiers, and double handed weapons with standard, musician and a leader in stock, I wanted to use them! I realize my figs aren’t everyone’s cup of tea; they’re circa 1996 and are all goats. If I had thousands of dollars lying around for 50 beastmen from the 80’s to buy off eBay I’d be all over them. Hell, I’d have a whole damn unit of flamingo men, but I don’t. These are the line of beastmen figs I grew up playing against and Ive always wanted an army of my own. They have an old school vibe to me, that may be nostalgia talking. At least they’re all metal (mostly).
All of these figs were purchased “used” off eBay (mostly in 2011) painted in varying states or in disrepair. I stripped the paint off all of them (except my plastic halberdiers) and had to pin most of them to their bases. 
 I don’t mean to go off on a tangent but I do my best during assembly; I always fill slota-base insert corners with putty, usually tamiya but I’ve even used blue poster tac.  I’ve seen a lot of armies with models that have gaps between the insert tab and the edge of the slotta “slot”. I want my models to stand straight up; sometimes adjusting the tab isn’t enough and  a dab of putty to bind them in place works great. I’ve never had a puttied model break apart either even when dropped from 5 feet or so, on plastic figs it does help to add a bit of weight as well. More than anything assembly related; even more than 10 part plastic models; it’s mould lines that I despise most. I’m pretty diligent that I “wipe them out - all of them”. Once that tedium is over they all get a rinse/bath in warm soapy water before putty/glue assembly so nothing gets trapped under the primer. I based them carefully with a mix of stuff in a tin I’ve been adding to for a long time; chopped cork, GF9 ultra fine, fine, medium sediment, beach sand from all over the Caribbean and Mexico, even glitter as I find it is super duper ultra fine. On a few models I super glued woodland scenics small talus stone in place then used watered down PVA for the sandy mix. When using a tub full of different mediums you get some bases more heavily modelled than others. But doing so adds a lot of variety and great detail with virtually no effort - glue, dip, brush or shake excess, wipe rim with finger (or paper towel - if you’re Guy’s friend, MWM reference there).
I really think these small assembly steps make a huge contribution to the overall finish. I’m keenly aware that I’m not the best painter, so it’s unfortunate seeing paint jobs far ~ FAR superior to mine kind of taken down a peg by mould lines or falling forwards or back or maybe worse an untouched base. 
Once painting is finished and some matt varnishing they will get flocked and tufts will be placed liberally. Shields will be done en masse somewhere down the line. 


And so here we are 3 months later and I’ve managed to get 41 beastmen painted and based to 90% completion. I still have some small bits to pick out in greater detail and the skin tone is not consistent enough for me and the bases need highlighting but at least I’m enjoying coming back into the hobby, I hope to post every month, perhaps bi-weekly if I make good progress (just NOT so long a read next time).
Thanks for reading, thanks for sticking around really, I hope to catch up with a lot of your blogs soon.
As ever; Thanks for stopping by!




19 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear about the surgery but great to see you back in action! The Beastmen are looking great - love the colour scheme - definitely much grittier and threatening than those bright 90's colours like you say. Nice to have the pressure off so you can be a bit more flexible with the project and enjoy it!

    As it happens I've just put my name in for the next round of the Old World Army Challenge so fingers crossed for that. There's always a bit of trepidation with these things. I remember doing the Lead Painters League a few years running on the Lead Adventure Forum and it could be something as simple as having to visit the outlaws on the weekend that might put the kibosh on your entry that week, never mind some of the big stuff real life can throw at you!

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    1. Whew! Enabling reply functionality since google bought out blogger was a bigger pain than my slaaneshi exploits!
      I’m glad you like them, your blog is legendary and the paint jobs you post c’est encroyable! It sucks that I flunked out of the OWAC as it really is (or I perceive it to be) a strong community. I’m sure you’ll be in and crushing it next year.

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  2. Wow just stuff, I remember seeing Fat Blokes Black Beastmen in To4G series and was like wow that's how all Beasties need to look. Never did manage to get a force painted that way though :(

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    1. It’s not too late Chico, you bang out more miniatures than most, maybe anyone I’ve seen! Sawyer’s army was amazing, hopefully my finished product reminds you of it, at least a little bit.

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  3. There was so much in this post that got my blood pumping. I'd love to see what you do with the Legion miniatures. I haven't gotten into Legion myself, but I think the models can be splendid.

    I also have to say that I like your idea of a chaos-thug themed army. I wonder, however, if there are enough models out there (especially old school models) to populate a complete army.

    In any case, beastmen are a great way to go too. I often looked at Brian Ansell's beastmen-centred force in Warhammer Armies and thought to myself, "This would be unbeatable."

    As I said in reply to you on my blog, let's hope your beastmen run into Krapfang's orcs once goblinoids and chaos creatures are no longer required to social distance.

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    1. Sir Sully! Good to hear from you. I collected all of the legion empire faction besides the tank, the imperial guards and.... that’s it. A lot of unpainted PVC plastic to get to.
      In terms of thugs I’ve got 26 oldhammer archers with full command (including the weirdo with a pistol) split into two small wedges for maximum shooting potential. I’ve got another 20 with various hand weapons (no command) and around 25 of the 5th edition metal chaos marauders that can be given flails or double handed weapons. For cavalry I have 8 of the metal marauder horsemen on plastic horses with full command, and champion. Anything older than 3rd isn’t really old school I but I like them well enough.
      The avenging lord of chaos’ beastmen army is impressive but chaos total lack of true war machines can really hamper their chances, but I felt nearly the same as you when I saw it; “this is a tough army”.
      I’m dying for a game; I doubt beastmen will compete with krapfang’s artillery and giant but let’s make it happen once the power of Nurgle wanes a bit.

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  4. Wow... That's an impressive collection to complete in 3 months. Significantly faster than my own output, obviously. All else aside, I like that you have a patented mixture of materials used for basing. I've discovered this approach actually works pretty well, I have a mix of ballast and sand that makes pretty decent rocky dirt, and I have a mixture of fine flocking and Italian seasoning that looks okay as a forest floor.

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    1. Thanks, still a ways to go, lots of touch up and unifying the skin tone. I adopted the practice of putting less effort into the ranks baryons the first and prioritizing the front row. In the end when I was comparing them I realized it wasn’t worth the additional effort; I banged out the first 30 quite happily, the next 11 took twice as long and in the end it hardly matters when the figs are 5ft away, your opponents checks out your general up close and says “cool”. From what I’ve seen on your blog you’re mikes ahead of me!

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    2. Thanks but it's just another skillset. I have almost no knowledge of painting units of tabletop quality figures. Every time I try, they come out looking extraordinary slapdash.

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    3. Not to overstep but I’m sure you could crank out a pretty decent army, but what you’re already doing is already pretty amazing.

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  5. Nice to see such a shapely update from you, sir. I fondly remember that magazine series! 'Fat Bloke' PCness indeed! Your paintjobs look great, those were excellent beast man sculpts. Hope you feel better in general soon!

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    1. The tale of four gamers is my all time white dwarf article of all time, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of how I would’ve made my purchases. In the end though I don’t think it would’ve mattered; anyone paired up with the skaven player (Roy barber? Was that his name) would’ve been doomed! It’s also nice to look back and see that GW actually had sales! I’m glad you like the sculpts there’s more to come!

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  6. Great looking paint jobs. I find it totally jarring when people don't bother to remove mold/flash lines. How can one miss that it's there and doesn't belong when you are painting the thing?!

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    1. You’re absolutely right! I really truly despise them, I get that nobody’s perfect and you may find a small line after priming or while painting, I also get that it takes awhile when painting a whole army but to find them and leave them on or to pretend they’re not there doesn’t make them go away!

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  7. Great paint! Greetings from northern virgina. Nice postings.

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