Thursday, 27 December 2012

2012 - The Year in Review

I'm getting my new photo area set up and haven't gotten a ton of painting done in the last week so I thought I'd share some general thoughts and musings about what I've been doing gaming and blog-wise the last year and lay out a map for where I hope to go in 2013.

I started this blog on September 22nd and said I would try to update 3-4 times per week.  Some weeks have been better than others but after 96 days I have posted 81 times (not counting this no-image posting nonsense) so I'm feeling pretty good about the quantity of content so far.
The feedback I've gotten from people has been overwhelmingly positive but the one criticism I've gotten more than a few times is regarding the quality of my photographs; for 2013 my new portable studio and enough space to properly use my tripod are being added to the mix so hopefully there will be an overall improvement there.
Content-wise I'm hoping to post more battle reports (I'm hoping for 1 per month) in 2013 and I'm also aspiring to share house-rules for existing game systems I'm using as well as hopefully (fingers crossed) disrtibuting a set of playtest rules for my own 25mm skirmish gaming system.

I've been all over the map with painting projects in 2012 and there's no reason to think that will change in 2013.  It looks like I am entering into a 50 model painting challenge in early 2013 so that may dominate a week's worth of posts but otherwise I am expecting 50% of my posts next year to be models, scenery & vehicles for 25mm post-apocalyptic skirmish gaming (you can guess why...)

2012 saw me gaming alot in the first half of the year.  I was playing Malifaux almost every week, playing Gamma World, Pathfinder, D&D and Dark Heresey every month and still dabling in other things here and there.  The second half of the year I changed jobs which disrupted my gaming schedule quite alot but it looks like I'll be able to kick off 2013 with alot of gaming new and old systems (DC Adventures, Pathfinder, The Hobbit, Necromunda) and hopefully playtesting as well.

When I started my blog I was hoping to use this as a platform to talk about and get people excited about some gaming and hobby projects that don't currently get alot of coverage on other sites.  I hope some of you have found some good ideas (or atleast avoided some bad ideas) but I'm really hoping to get more feedback in 2013.  To that end I will no longer be posting notifications on Facebook when I post new content in the hopes that a more gaming focussed audience translates into more gaming discussion.  In addition I hope that any of you who would like to see something specific on the blog (product reviews, spotlights on local retaillers, con coverage, etc) will speak up and play a part in getting what you want.

Thanks everybody who's taken the time to check out my little corner of the web.  I always have loved this hobby and always will love this hobby and this blog has been one more (very rewarding) outlet for me to share my hobby with my fellow gamers.

2012 was great and I'm looking forward to an even better 2013!


Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

Hello everyone.  The holiday season has been super-hectic, I actually haven't even touched my paint brushes in 3 days (can't remember the last time that happened).  I do however have 2 interesting items to report today.

First up; Santa was very generous and got me a portable photo studio/lighting rig for Christmas so the quality of my photographs should be increasing dramatically before the week is out!

Secondly; Darren who owns Strategies Games & Hobbies in Vancouver was kind enough to take some time out of his busiest time of the year to take and send me photos from the Secret Santa I participated in in his store.  I've got to say some of the entries look absolutely amazing so I hope the quality of my paint job holds up to scrutiny.  I would also be remiss if I didn't say a HUGE "thank you" to Carmin who works at Strategies and was also one of the first people to follow my humble little blog for the fantastic job he did painting up a werewolf for me.  That fig will be seeing double (maybe triple....) duty in Chaos In Carpathia, Warhammer and possibly my DC Adventures game.

I hope everyone is having a safe, happy and healthy holiday season and I'm looking forward to featuring more and higher quality hobby content for everyone in 2013.



Secret Santa (not so secret anymore) entries.
Photo by Darren Bolton-Strategies Games & Hobbies
Reaper Werewolf
Photo by Darren Bolton-Strategies Games & Hobbies

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Thorin Oakenshield

It seemed like the logical first step to getting Thorin and Company done was to paint Thorin so here we go.

I have to say I'm excited about painting Thorin & Co. for 2 reasons.  First up they are cool figures that I can use to play through an exciting campaign with, secondly when they're done I will have figures to fairly accurately represent every dwarf character option in either a D&D or Pathfinder game.

Thorin himself looks like he should stand out on the tabletop from the rest of his company.  Inspite of the fact that he is both dark and monochromatic none of the other members of his group use any blue in their clothing at all so when the whole lot of them are assembled he should still stand out.

Up next; Fili and Kili.


Thorin is ready to lead his band of dwarven brothers.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Hey look!  More Zombies!

First up I've got to be honest about the pictures of the AMAZING figures you are going to see below; I own them, but I did not paint or convert them.

A few years ago I was doing a table for Canadian Games Day featuring a precinct house full of Adeptus Arbites holding back a horde of zombies.  The table looked pretty good (wish I had pictures of it), my Arbites were decent, and most of the zombies were well done...but there was one batch of 20 zombies that years later still represent the kind of hobby expertise that I aspire to attain one day.

My friend Ryan, who is the owner of Hobby Ninja in Oshawa Ontario converted (sculpted in 2 cases!) and painted these fantastic models.  Typically I've been using my blog to showcase what I have done and what I am working on but I really wanted to show off these fantastic models and give a shout out to Ryan's store which I don't get to game at nearly often enough for my liking.  If you think these figs are as cool as I do swing by Ryan's shop and get the benefit of his friendly advice for yourself.


9 Zombies, mostly stock models, well painted
4 Zombies, more heavily converted (love the old man with the bottle!)
4 more of Ryan's excellent conversions.
Ryan sculpted these himself!
Back through the breach!  A return to Malifaux.

Awhile back I had been playing alot of the Resurectionist faction for Malifaux.  I had always intended to branch out and do up a Leviticus force which I started by repurposing my old Confrontation Aberration, and then I used a painting contest at Hobby Ninja in Oshawa as an excuse to get Killjoy done and I've sort of been in a holding pattern since then.

After showing the Aberration the other day (which I'm using as my Desolation Engine) and getting excited about fantasy-steampunk painting that Cygnar figure I decided to pull out some of my unpainted Malifaux stuff and get back to it.

First up; my first pack of Steampunk Abominations.  These guys are the bread and butter of a Leviticus force and can Voltron together to form into the larger Desolation Engine.

I've got 2 more of these on my painting table as well as a host of other steam-powered robots and undead monsters.  You might be seeing more of these in the near future.


Steam-powered undead!
(photo provided by The Hobby Ninja)

Monday, 17 December 2012

Yes....I've decided, it was the best blind pack I ever bought!

So I decided to put the hyperbole machine on hold for a few days and take some time to decide if the Batman blind pack I mentionned a few posts back was in-fact the best blind pack of miniatures I had ever bought and the answer is yes.

As anyone who collects gaming miniatures knows there is always "something" you need in your collection that you just can't get for a variety of reasons; it's a long discontinued fig, it was a convention exclusive, it's an old promotional piece you just didn't qualify for, etc.  My "something" was the worst possible problem; it just plain didn't exist.  Over the years while playing and planning post-apocalyptic and zombie-apocalypse games in particular I have slowly built up a collection of cars that are almost the right scale or close enough to the right scale to pass but I've always known in my heart-of-hearts they weren't really the right scale.  I could live with that with every vehicle in my collection except one; the Ford Crown Victoria Police Interceptor.  I have managed to get a few of these in 1:43 or 1:48 scale over the years but they're just too big, with other cars you don't notice so much but you can't resist putting your cops right up next to their cars using them as the last barrier before the horde arrives and then it's obvious.  Wheels that come up past a 25mm figs knees, figures who can't see over the roof, car doors as long as your mini is tall, etc.

So when I got my brick of Batman Heroclix figures and pulled this out of the vehicle box I was over the moon happy.  Now my real challenge is to find some Heroclix players who are willing to part with a few more of these beauties.

Oh, and by the way, there were 2 vehicles in the pack.  I'll show you the second one soon.


Police Cruiser (Jill & Leon shown for scale)
Ready to roll!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Secret Santa: Gun Mage Captain Adept

Well today was the big reveal at Strategies Games & Hobbies of the Secret Santa miniatures.

I know Darren is going to be sending me shots of the entries but I thought I'd start out by showing the model I painted.

One of the things I found tricky when I started this project was that I really had NO idea what to use a guideline for painting.  I started off by assuming that the person I was painting the figure for was probably following the colour guides in the Cygnar army book for Warmachine but even then this gave me pause, if I tried to paint to match an army I've never seen in person and everything came out 1 shade or tone or highlight off it would end up looking terrible because it would look like a failled attempt to blend in.  In the end I decided to go for a colour scheme that was probably completely different than the rest of the army the figure would be in but still somehow captured the 'feel' of the army.  So on it's most basic level I took what I perceived to be a colonial era American military uniform and painted it as a colonial era British military uniform.  I'm sure it's different but I hope the receipient is satisfied with the look of the figure and how it feels in his force.

To be honest it's got me thinking about painting up some Warmachine stuff again.....


Stand fast and prepare to be fireballed!

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Bilbo Baggins

Tonight saw the completion of the non-dwarf good-side models from my Hobbit box set.

Bilbo Baggins joins Gandalf and Radagast in their quest!  Tomorrow night I hope to get started on the first of my dwarves (probably Thorin himself) with the goal of ultimately getting all the good forces I need to play through Escape From Goblin Town done before the year is out.

Tomorrow I should also be able to show the model I painted for Strategies Games & Hobbies Secret Santa as I believe tomorrow is the day of the big reveal!


Preparing for a hobbit's holiday.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

A blast from the past: re-based, re-used and re-cycled

Quite awhile back a group of friends and I decided to give (at the time) new upstart fantasy skirmish game Confrontation a try.  We were all drawn in by the amazing looking models which hold up extremely well to this day and alot of my friends in backlash against the "big" miniature companies of the day loved that the models boasted free game rules in every blister pack.

Did I mention how awesome looking the models are?  Fantastic, because the rules were (in my opinion) terrible.  For starters they were poorly translated, incomplete and favoured the tactic of whoever has the biggest beat-stick whether it's a monster or a special character wins.  I played a handful of games and then decided that it wasn't the game for me.  None of that ever changed the fact that the models were and still are I kept painting...

Fast forward to now-ish and I've been playing Malifaux.  Malifaux is (again just my opinion) a great game with great models.  I love everything about it, but when it first came along there were gaps in the model range as there always are with new games.  I wanted to do up a Leviticus crew which is basically a combination of necromantic and mechanical abominations but there was 1 figure missing, I needed a giant-undead-steampunk monster as the threat in his force.  This was a great excuse to re-base and touch up my old Confrontation Aberration!

The Aberration is a really nasty looking hybrid of monster and machine that is basically ogre-sized for 28mm games.  So far he's only been to the table twice in games of Malifaux but I'm sure I'll be finding more uses for him soon.


Aberration (front view)
Aberration (side view)

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Radagast The Brown

The unexpected journey continues today with Radagast The Brown.  Radagast is the extra bonus figure contained in the Escape From Goblin Town box and I was pretty stoked to get him given that I was going to need a Radagast figure for my Fall Of The Necromancer campaign.

Radagast is defintely the most detailled figure in the set and he comes with an extremely well sculpted plastic base.  This interpretation of Radagast is interesting because it deviates so much from the traditional image of a fantasy wizard.  Radagast basically looks like a cross between an absent minded professor and a tree-hugging hippie and I think it works really well to create a distinct and unique character model.  On a side note unrelated to modeling I was also suprised to find out that in The Hobbit Radagast is played by Sylvester McCoy (the 7th Doctor, for Doctor Who fans).

I'm caught up on elves for my Fall Of The Necromancer game so I think I'll paint Bilbo next and then get started on Thorin's Company.  My Hobbit games are still a few months away so I've got time to paint each one like a character model.


Radagast and his loyal companion Sebastian

Monday, 10 December 2012


I was going to go for a Poe reference but even by my standards that seemed too obvious....

Back to plotting my DC Adventures game and now before I really get down to PCs I'm sort of casting about for characters I may want or need as NPCs but I'm not entirely decided on yet.  In the event that I need a magic-using NPC my first reaction for a go-to would be Zatanna but I know one of my players will call me out on having a pre-new-52 model for that and that is a shame I just can't bear.  So instead I've once again gone into my collection for a character who is still in New 52 limbo; Raven.

I have to assume that eventually Raven will ither find her way into Teen Titans or more likely Justice League Dark (which is an awesome comic by the way), but for now she's available to fill a niche in my RPG campaign.

I'm still working away on my Hobbit stuff but there's probably a few more superheroes in my next few updates because I just got a few more Batman packs with some new characters including a vehicle pack I'm trying to resist calling the best blind pack I've ever bought.  We'll see if tomorrow I show up with a reasonable measured perspective or if I wake up in hyperbole-land.


This figure would also make a terrific sorceress for a fantasy RPG
Another civilian

Touched up another civilian for my DC Adventures game this morning.  This is a Tony Stark figure from the recent Avengers set (you can guess what that red breifcase is).

So far I'm doing pretty good on the civilains and supporting characters but it might be time to get working on some PC models......



Friday, 7 December 2012

Gandalf is my first step on an unexpected journey.

I picked up The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey last weekend on release day and I've been trying to decide how to get started.  It looks like I'll be playing the good side when I start working my way through the campaign but for now I've decided to start off by painting the 2 figures I can use in my Fall Of The Necromancer campaign; Gandalf and later Radaghast.

I haven't kept track but this is probably atleast the 10th Gandalf model I've painted and I've got to say I still really enjoyed it.  The great thing about GWs Lord Of The Rings models is that they have tons of great details like belts, pouches, equipment, etc but they aren't so covered with extra bits and pieces  that they take forever to paint.

I think this Gandalf miniature is great and I'm really looking forward to painting Radaghast either tonight or tomorrow.


Gandalf is off in search of a burglar.

Thursday, 6 December 2012


So depending on your level of comic book fandom your reaction to that name is one of three things:
1.  Catman?  Seriously?  Who the hell is Catman?
2.  Catman?  Why would anyone want a miniature of a lame (and tubby) pastiche villain from the 70's?
3.  Catman?!  That guy kicked ass in Secret Six!

As much as I intend to embrace the New 52 in my DC Adventures game I have two great laments of the passing of the old DC continuity; I miss Stephanie Brown being Batgirl, and I REALLY miss the Secret Six title.  To that end it is very likely that Deadshot, Bane and Catman will be making appearances in my game.

Catman is another Heroclix model that I have touched up and re-based and I have to say this time around the touchups were really minor.  The figure came extremely well painted out of the pack and I just cleaned up some edges and gave it a wash to bring up some detail work that was already on there.


Hero, villain or anti-hero?
A blast from the past, becomes inspiration for the present and maybe even an army for the future.

A while back I was engaged in (and lost) two painting bets with my buddy Darren.  As Darren and I are both men of wealth and taste we choose not to bet things as vuglar as money and instead our currency is a mixture of shame and servitude....

....okay, but seriously.  Darren and I have undertaken some speed painting "bets" in the past where the stakes are that the loser (or losers when there are more participants) will paint a model for the winner.  In one of my lost painting bets we were each painting the contents of a Last Night On Earth board game and Darren managed to beat me by a few hours in our other painting bet we were each painting a Warmahordes force, along with our mutual friend Carmin and Darren was able to use Army Painter's products to get his entire force done in 3 days while my Cryx were less than half done at that point.

As my payment for losing Darren sent me 2 of the awesome Space Hulk Blood Angel Terminators to paint for him.  I recently got back into painting 40K models and another friend Mark came through like a champ and gave me a full set of the Terminators from Space Hulk for my own collection.

I got Darren to send me pics of the two figures I painted for him so I can use them as a template for painting my own models.  Now if I can just stay focused for a few days.....


For the Emperor!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Thanks New 52!

As I do a bit more prep for my DC Adventures game I realized that the whole DC reboot to "New 52" continuity has opened up alot of great possibilities.

In the merger with Wildstorm a bunch of characters have been left unused, which makes them perfect for inclusion in a superhero RPG.  Today I have repurposed another Heroclix model, this time a Marvel Heroclix Luke Cage/Powerman to stand-in as a New 52 version (atleast my New 52 version) of an old Wildstorm character: Jackson Dane.  Now I have a character who can function as my group's patron and has implied but as of yet unestablished ties to a number of teams and individuals in the greater DC Universe.  Using Jackson Dane as the narrative device linking and driving my group also opens up the ability to bring in some non-traditional DC adversaries for my group to deal with...but more on that later.


Jackson Dane powered-down...
...and ready to lead a Wetworks team in the field

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Pan Oceana WIP

This week I'm painting a few figures that I unfortunately won't be posting pictures of until Dec 25th to keep a few people surprised about some Christmas goodies that are coming their way.  I am however also doing up a few odds and ends I thought I'd share so that you have something to look at in the interim.

Today's post is some figures I had started about a year ago and got to a minimum tabletop standard for a few games that I am now going back and finishing up.  These are 6 miniatures from the Infinity game for the Pan Oceana faction.  I had painted a Haqqislam force for Inifinity a few years back but then several of my gaming friends also chose to do Haqqislam so I decided to start a new force.

Hopefully these figures will be finished by the end of the week and I can get started on the next batch.

ORC Trooper, Hacker & Fusilier Lt (WIP)
ORC Trooper, Sikh Commando & Grenadier (WIP)

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Dire Wolves

Wow.  This past week was brutal for non-gaming.  I had a Necromunda game and a Lord Of The Rings game both of which I had to cancel/postpone, I've got to say when your games start falling through it really takes the wind of your sails to paint.  Having said that it looks like I'm back on for Necro in 2 weeks, and hopefully I can reschedule my LOTR game for next week.

In the meantime I was looking for a quick easy project to tackle to get me back into the swing of things and something truly fantastic got done.  I have always liked an element of horror in my fantasy gaming (Ravenloft for D&D, Vampire Counts for Warhammer, etc) and the one set of models in my collection I've never been 100% satisfied with are my choices of wolves (Dire Wolves specifically).  It seems that when most miniature companies design wolves for fantasy games their inspiration is either a real-world wolf; which look to me like they would last about 8 seconds against an armed and armoured warrior, or they go they crazy route of giant mutant dogs with spikes and things like that.  What I always wanted was a GIANT wolf, something that looks big enough to be a threat to a warhorse 1-on-1 where the size is really the only thing that coveys it's unnatural nature.

In my box of pre-painted D&D miniatures I found about a dozen Dire Wolves from one of their old blind pack sets.  They were an uncommon in whichever set had all the Ravenloft minis so I bought quite a few and ended up with a decent amount of these guys.  The funny thing is as much as I wanted GIANT wolves I had always thought these were far too big, they would never fit on a standard cavalry base so I could fit them into 1" squares for RPGs nor would they rank up if wanted them to double duty in my fantasy army...but when you're bored and the hobby knife is in your hand it's amazing what you can do.

I am super-excited about these figures because I will be able to use them in; D&D, Pathfinder, Warhammer and Chaos In Carpathia and they took me less than 2 hours to turn from scrap in my bitz box into a cool unit/encounter worth of models.

For the rest of this week it's back to the Enforcers and I believe I may just have started on an unexpected journey....


The bases are 2" long and 1" wide so these are in fact HUGE wolves.
....but they do manage to rank up!