Friday, 1 January 2016

2015 Round up and 2016 Oldhammer Ambitions

Lots of people in the Oldhammer Community have been posting round ups of their (in many cases prodigious and high quality) output for the year. Frankly these have been intimidating. I only started painting again over the summer, and only joined the Oldhammer Community in the autumn, so my output has been minimal and of very poor quality in comparison. I've shared some of my recent work here in my post on Deadcember, and my major accomplishment the Marauder Wyvern (currently sans Azhag the Slaughterer) has been seen on the Oldhammer fb page. However, as my output is still primarily driven by my D&D campaign, and some of my players read this blog, I am hampered in how much I can share before the finished minis make their dungeoneering debut without creating spoilers. That will likely change as my painting for WHFB games, and my planned Rogue Quest project, pick up in the next few weeks, and some of my D&D related work is going to be featured here on the blog.

So then, my 2015 'Oldhammer' round up is one of significant moments rather than painted models. Here are my top 5 Oldhammer related moments of 2015:

1. Starting an 80s style AD&D campaign (using original Mystara source material and maps) bringing together both old gaming friends and new gaming friends, has without doubt been the highlight of my year and not just in gaming terms (I can say that, as my wife did not give birth to any children this year). Strangely, it is also what brought me back to painting and collecting Oldhammer style minitaures in earnest. Even though we have since updated the rule set we are using from AD&D 2nd Edition to D&D 3.0 (after 16 years of heel dragging), this campaign has very strong Oldhammer-esque themes running through it, not least in the the Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay inspired focus on career progression.

2. Playing HeroQuest (or a version thereof) with my three year old son, and having him ask to play again the next weekend. Some of you will have seen my post about it, and I have another post or two planned as we have carried on playing every couple of weeks or so. His Orc Treasure Hunter has since won races against monsters, hidden from skeletons using his watery illusion magic, used his toolkit to open doors and treasure chests, and shared his chocolate coins with a friendly neighbourhood goblin. And he loves his old mum., so lways brings her a present from the dungeon.

3. Recognising the therapeutic value to be had in painting and modelling again, and bringing my kit in from the garage to set up a permanent painting station in my (tiny!) office/nerd cave. It has been a really rough year for a number of reasons and finding a creative outlet in painting and modelling (and indeed blogging and engaging with the Oldhammer Community in general) has been really importnat in helping me get through it. My wife has been incredibly supportive in this, especially given how much money I've blown on old lead since the summer!

4. Playing my first game of Warhammer Fantasy Battle 4th Edition (the version I grew up with) for nearly 20 years! We started small as I needed a major refresh, and my oponent had only ever played Warhammer 40K before, but it proved to be hugely enjoyable and very much playable in the Oldhammer spirit. Playing with 99% painted forces was also really satisfying and has spurred me on to increase my output to fuel what is hopefully going to develop into a campaign. You can read the first battle report on this blog.

5. Surprising my D&D players with a fully painted Wyvern at the climactic scene of the adventure. This was a brilliant moment for me as a DM and as a painter. The wyvern had already been a feature in the campaign, but no mini had been available. When one popped up on OTC I snapped it up and immediately got to work painting it. This was at a time when I'd given myself quite a few other deadlines in relation to the D&D campaign, so it proved a challenge, but also served as great motivation. The looks on their faces when I placed the finished model on the table made all the money and time spent worth it ten times over.

Other highlights include: a fellow Oldhammerer deciding to send me a model I was after as a freebie when I was having a rough time, we eventually settled on a trade but his generosity of spirit was hugely appreciated; acquiring WHFB 3rd Edition, Warhammer Siege, and Realm of Chaos: Slaves to Darkness in good condition hardbacks for no more than the going rate (so stupidly expensive, but hey); acquiring the last models for my long planned High Elf army at really good prices; finally getting round to selling some models, even if there are loads more to go; buying 28 kilos of rule books for £7.50.... plus £25 p&p but still, 28 kilos!!!

When it comes to the new year, my Oldhammer realted hopes for 2016 are a mixture of ambitions and resolutions:

1. Finish painting my Caledor themed High Elf army. Now that I've got all the models I planned on owning for my High Elf army between first getting the 4th Edition box set back in 1992 and by the time I stopped playing (though not collecting) WHFB a few years later I can consider this army 'complete' - at least in collecting terms (although there may in time be a very limited number of additional purchases to round out unit sizes and add two additional sets of command figures this would not be essential). The next challenge is to have them all painted up. Seeing as they will be the main forces of good in the WHFB 4th Edition campaign AVP Shaun and I are hoping to play, I'll hopefully have some motivation.

2. Start work on my Rogue Quest project. If you haven't seen or heard about Rogue Quest you should check out these three blogs, which is where I first came across the idea:

Magpie and Old Lead

The idea is to put together an adventuring party of 6 characters from the Rogue Trader universe that portray any of the classic D&D character classes: Fighter, Mage, Rogue, Cleric, Bard, Ranger, Paladin, or Barbarian. This is so up my street, and I've been really inspired by what I've seen on the three blogs that I have already identifed and collected three minis specifically for this project. I can't wait to get started on these in 2016!

3. Improve my basing technique. As mentioned in my Deadcember 2015 post I am habitually lazy and unskilled when it comes to basing my minis and rely on poorly executed painted bases 90% of the time. I intend to improve my basing technique in 2016, although it will be small steps at first as I'll be focussing on finishing armies where the majority of existing forces have plain painted bases. I've been really inspired by what people have been doing with bases for their Frostgrave warbands and as that is related to my 4th ambition, I hope it will prove to be a motivation too.

4. Collect, convert, and paint my first Frostgrave Warband. I've been really taken with the idea of a game half way between D&D and WHFB, that also lets you reuse/repurpose your existing mini collection, making a feature out of otherwise random odds and sods. This really appeals to my eclectic collecting and gaming ethos. I've already got a few minis in the lead pile ear marked as possible Wizards and Apprentices but I need to fully digest the rule book (which only arrived earlier this week) before committing any paint to lead just yet.

5. Sell or trade more minis, games, and rule books. My collecting kicked into high gear again at the end of last year, in line with my rekindled love of Oldhammer and while I generally loathe parting with any gaming related items (we all have stories of letting stuff go we now bitterly regret), I have always said that I would eventually sift through my ever expnading collecton and identify stuff I'd be happy to sell or trade that had been acquired through job lots and can't otherwise be absorbed into one army, faction, gang, or another. Joining the Oldhammer Trading Company gave me the prompt I needed and I have now successfully conducted my first sale and my first trade as well as buying loads more minis! Still, there were more job lots bought at the end of last year, so I need to get those ID'd and valued, and did I mention the 28 kilos of rule books?

So, do you have any highlights from 2015 or ambitions and resolutions for 2016 on a similar theme?

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