Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2016 Gaming Review and Ambitions for 2017

So, it's that time of year again and the blogosphere is filling up with yearly round ups and hobby resolutions. Yes, it's cliche but I find it a useful exercise, and I've surprised myself at how much I have actually produced in 2016 - although no where near the consistent standard of many Oldhammer luminaries.

I've followed the lead of some other bloggers and my 2016 round up focuses on those minis that did not get featured in a blog post - mostly for two reasons a) the standard is table top ready at best and/or b) they are intended for my D&D campaign, so I tend not to show them on line before they have actually debuted in our campaign and we only play once a month so that can take a little while. 

I've not kept an accurate count for 2016 (something I should try and remedy for 2017) but a conservative estimate is just over 100 minis, of varying quality and detail. You can check out the rest of my output by checking out my blog posts for 2016 :)

I also wanted to revisit my Hobby Ambitions for 2016 and see how I did, before deciding on my ambitions for the coming year. So lets start by taking a look back at what I wanted to achieve in 2016:

1. Finish painting my Caledor themed High Elf army.  Well, this was to be my major project this year and it got no where near the attention it required. I certainly didn't finish painting them all, and I may even have made an additional purchase in the shape of a very badly treated Prince Imrik on Dragon which will probably take years before it sees the light of day. I did however make some progress, adding a couple of basic troop units, a couple of bolt throwers, a fair sized unit of Silver Helms, and a couple of extra character models.

More importantly, I managed to play a couple more games of WFB4 with the ones I had painted - and this actually contributed to why more elves were not finished, because I felt the need to work on my Greenskin army in parallel, adding two units of Goblin archers and a few more lines of assorted Orc infantry along with the Goblin Doom Diver and Wolf Riders already shown on this blog.

Given my other projects I'm going to be more realistic, but am determined to keep up momentum with both WFB armies, so my 2017 ambition is going to be to add at least 2000 points spread across both armies by the end of the year.

The forces of Caledor - I have about the same again, plus more cavalry, still waiting to be painted.

Da Greenskin Horde - loads more in the lead pile to add to this mob, including some chariots if I muster the gumption.

2. Start work on my Rogue Quest project. This has definitely been my most successful ambition. Four out of six embers of the party finished and blog posts published, a couple of spin off projects thrown into the mix and a couple more lined up before the end, the next member of the party on the table and already base coated, the final member finally acquired after more than 12 months of searching!

It also spurred me on to bash out a few gangers that had been hanging around since before my 2015 painting revival.

Plastic Orlock Gangers from Necromunda and a metal 40K 2nd Ed Catachan match up well as general urban scumniks
You can review my progress on the main project by following the link: Rogue Quest

For 2017 this ambition becomes Finish the main Rogue Quest Project and any associated side projects currently planned.

3. Improve my basing technique.  OK, so as predicted I'm still working to complete existing forces so I still paint my bases a fair amount of the time, and use basic sand flocking or poorly textured putty most of the rest of the time, but at least these days I use putty to fill in the gaps, and the painted bases have got a bit better (in some cases).

There are however some genuine signs of improvement. I've taken to using lentils or small balls of putty or dried lentils to represent toadstools, and small stones as boulders etc. Really basic stuff, but it does make a difference. The Discworld models below are an example of what I mean.

I've seen the light with this one and I think it is going to improve naturally from here on, so I don't feel the need for a basing related ambition in 2017. I'm going to set myself a different challenge: Complete an all metal (or primarily metal) conversion. 

This should involve actually cutting into lead! Drilling and pinning, and filling with green stuff. All things which any hobbyist worth their salt should be proficient in, and which I've never had a huge amount of success with, prior to a half a decent fix on a broken Trolls leg earlier this year. I'm reasonably confident, though not very skilled with converting plastic, but working with metal will be pushing my modelling skills.

4. Collect, convert, and paint my first Frostgrave War band.  FAIL! I've certainly managed the collecting part in that I let myself free wheel and buy whatever minis I thought could fit in to any number of FG war bands, but I have not assembled any complete war bands.

I did build and paint a set of models from the Osprey Frost Grave Soldiers box set, which is a great set and one I will have to acquire again as I turned all of mine into D&D NPC types. I jumped at the chance to create a few unarmed farmer/merchant types as well as assorted town guards, watchmen, rogues, angry flaming brand wielding peasants, and foresters. I guess some of them could be used in FG, but that's not why I made them...

Now, if only someone was making a similarly diverse kit with fantasy female models, my D&D NPC needs would be so much easier to meet!

Night Watchmen (complete with a poor first attempt at Object Sourced Lighting)  - built from the Osprey Frostgrave Soldiers kit
Rogues - built from the Osprey Frostgrave Soldiers kit
Rogues (rear view) - loads of great bitz in the FG Soldiers kit!
Town Guard - built from the Osprey Frostgrave Soldiers kit
Angry peasants and Foresters - built from the Osprey Frostgrave Soldiers kit
Treasure token made from bits and bobs from Blacktree Miniatures - Farmers or Merchants (FG Soldiers kit again)
I also cobbled together some basic treasure tokens/scatter terrain for FG/D&D using some crates, chests, and urns from Blacktree Miniatures, and some press moulded quivers of arrows. So it wasn't a complete bust!

This ambition stays as it is, with one amendment - NO MORE COLLECTING - the war band has to be assembled from the minis I already own. Apart from the replacement set of FG Soldiers. Obvs.

5. Sell or trade more minis, games, and rule books. FAIL! I've not sold another thing all year. I have drastically reduced my purchasing however, and am making good progress at actually painting things from the lead pile and actually using them in games! I really need to pull my finger out with this one though. Did I mention the 28 KG of superfluous rule books? This ambition stays as it is, but maybe it moves up a few places in importance?

So what else did I manage to get painted in 2016?

Discworld Characters

Because I didn't have enough painting deadlines towards the end of the year, I decided to paint some Discworld characters from Micro Art Studio as presents for some members of my family, all of whom are big fans. It was only this year that I was able to bring myself to read his last book before he died, The Shepherd's Crown, and I painted these very shortly after finishing the book. A poignant moment for me.

These were finished the day before they were due to be given as gifts - luckily I managed to get some WIP shots, but sadly none of the fully finished versions.

WIP of the whole bunch - Granny Weatherwax was a popular choice with my family :)
Note the dried lentil toadstool :)
Basing with Rocks on it
The basing is part of the model on this one - so I can't claim the credit for this one ;)

More D&D NPCs & Monsters!

Most of my painting in 2016 focused on my D&D campaign, though with an emphasis on usability across a number of game systems such as WFB, Heroquest, FG etc...

I've shared lots of my recent work in my post of Mini-collecting driven D&D Campaigning (or vice versa?), so these pics focus on minis that I have not shown on the blog before (with a couple of reappearances). The minis come from a variety of producers, but many of them current - More from Blacktree, plus some from CP Miniatures, Hasslefree, a couple of Necron Scarabs from GW, a giant centipede floor tile (I can't remember who made this I'm afraid) and a Prince August noble for good measure.

Dungeon based NPCs and Bad Guys
Tavern/Village based NPCs
Religious NPCs
I find myself painting a lot of Bards etc. due to the nature of our D&D campaign, and one of my favourite models of the year was this chap, the One Man Band from CP Miniatures 28mm Victoriana range - who has now made his debut as Sparrow the Bard in our campaign, so can be shared here.

Sparrow the 'One-Man-Band' Bard

Heroquest Rescue Jobs + RPG PCs for Son #1

A combination of wanting a distraction from other painting projects, and the inspiration of the brilliant Heroquest Hero Quest over at Scalecreep, saw me work on some HQ models that AVP Shaun sent my way as extras, and the ones we mainly use when my son and I play (rather than the pristine set I paid ridiculous money for as one of my first key Oldhammer purchases!)

I started off with the handful of undead that had already been half painted by AVP Shaun, in 2017 I'll be moving on to the surviving greenskins who have suffered a bit more at the hands of a previous owner :(

HQ Undead - I'm not happy with either of the zombies, but they were a chance to experiment with dead/rotting flesh tones
Red Panda from Darksword Miniatures and a pimped up HQ Orc in a shiny Gold Leather jacket serve as Son #1's PC options

Shot of some of the extra bits added to the Orc Treasure Hunter - from the FG soldiers kit again!

The promise of more HQ and some creative genius from the 4year old mind of Son#1 has also spawned the first side project of the new year, and filled me with so much enthusiasm I rescued a can of spray undercoat from the near freezing garage and now have it inside a sock coming up to room temperature ready for action tomorrow!

So what are your hobby related ambitions or resolutions for 2017?


  1. Replies
    1. Cheers Matt! It's a damn shame they don't scale better with most figures I use for D&D etc. as they are gorgeous. We did get to use the Luggage as a Mimic last session though - that was deeply satisfying :)