Sunday, 26 March 2017

Middlehammer Monthly Painting Themes - 2017

Hi all!

This is a boring post with no pictures a quick brain dump to provide some more detail on some of the ideas for possible monthly painting themes for the Middlehammer facebook group.

For the most part, the idea here is that they are Hobby Projects (for fun) rather than Painting Competitions - so the emphasis is on taking part, and hopefully getting people talking and having fun with their ideas☺

I'm mostly putting this out there to get a conversation going and see which if any of the ideas below have the most interest behind them, so not saying this is or has to be the schedule - and very interested to hear any ideas, comments and suggestions people have about themes or competitions they already know about and think we could link up with, or new ones they would like to see happen.

I was hoping to have the Middlehammer Blog Hub up and running by now, but sadly ill health has meant I've barely been able to do any hobbying and the Middlehammer Legacy Strikeforce project has quite rightly taken priority (seeing as it involves actual modelling and painting, and lots of other people putting in effort too!). Anyway, one of the main ideas for the Hub will be to host a calendar of monthly painting themes and give some detail and updates etc. on what they involve. For now though I'll just leave this here...

Some ideas from the Middlehammer group that worked really well last year:

April Fools! - this was a really fun one and anything and everything that you think links to the idea of April Fools is fair game! Last year I painted up a Goblin Doom Diver which seemed to be the perfect choice, but I was also tempted by a number of Bloodbowl nutters, jesters, mad mages, and other comedy characters from various games and ranges. The world is your lobster!

Mayday! Mayday! -  pick up a project that needs rescuing, either because of mistreatment by a previous owner, damage in storage or transit, or just having been sidelined for too long and now being covered in dust and cobwebs. Last year I finished off a unit of Goblin Wolf Riders that forced me to try my hand at press moulding for the first time. This theme was practical, productive, challenging (for me at least!), and most of all, fun!

Scenery September - another very practical painting/modelling theme! Everyone needs scenery to get the most out of all the hard work we put in on our minis and armies, and how many of us have a stash of interestingly shaped bits of cardboard and polystyrene in the shed? Well if you need a bit of a push to turn that junk into a scratch built masterpiece (or not!) then this is the theme for you!

Plus some more established monthly painting themes from the Hobby Blogosphere:

Orctober - now a regular fixture in the Oldhammer/Middlehammer hobby calendar (thanks to Erny of the estimable Erny's Place among others), O(r)ctober is the month to get your greenskins painted. Anything orcy (or goblinoid) in persuasion is fair game, inc. ogres, snotlings, bugbears etc. I think the idea is to start from unpainted or undercoated minis at the beginning of the month and get them done by the month's end (although I don't think you'd be in too much trouble if you focused on finishing off your orcy-works-in-progress!)

Deadcember - this Undead themed challenge is also becoming a regular fixture thanks to the efforts of Rab's Geekly Digest. This one is both a hobby project and a painting competition (albeit a very friendly one!) - there were even prizes last year! Again, the idea is that you post a picture of your intended project at the beginning of the month, and have to have it finished by the end of the month. Indications are that this will run again in 2017, so start planning your entries now! ;)

And some other ideas:


Sporting Summer??? - The summer months seem to warrant a more leisurely pace and something which stretches over June-July-August seems wise. Da Big Mek of Middlehammer Township, Mark Evans, last year suggested a nice idea which was to paint up a 'team' of any kind you fancied. It tied in nicely with all the on line scuttlebutt around the Bloodbowl Reboot that was 'kicking' around at the time (Sorry!/Not sorry!), but a team was also interpreted to mean a gun crew, support staff, vehicle crew etc. I played around with the idea of a Warhammer version of the Royal Navy Field Gun Races, and might still go for a diorama of that one day (once my hobby skills catch up with my hobby daydreams that is!) Imagine teams of Orcs, Dwarfs, Brets and Empire gun crews going up against each other!

Vermember???- This happened in 2015 I think. I may have dreamt it. The obvious culprit, Snickit, of the excellent Snickit's Tail, swears it wasn't him. Last year I had my own mini Vermember celebration, and there was a little bit of extra ratty goodness going on at that time of year in the wider Oldhammer/Middlehammer community, but it wasn't a real theme or competition like the others. Maybe we should change that?

Slannuary ??? - I'm not even going to apologise. I just love monthly pun based painting challenges OK!!! Slannuary juts screams Middlehammer and a celebration of all things Lizardmen! I like it as it has fairly broad appeal to both the Middlehammer and Oldhammer communities (you could even include some of Diehard Miniature's superb Eru Krin if you wanted to take it in a Sci Fi direction!), I had good fun with this one myself back in 2016, but it was actually the tie in with another possibly New Year's theme that made it as much fun as it was for me...

First Miniatures Month
- January seems the perfect time to revisit what first got you into the hobby and the idea of First Miniatures Month seemed to really speak to the community last year and I remember a number of good blog posts at the time. I know we don't need an excuse to revisit our first loves in the hobby, but it is always nice to have one!

Your Painting Theme/Competion Hobby Project Here! - I'm sure there are far more, and far better, and far more better, ideas for painting themes out there.  Please get in touch via the comments, or by dropping me a line on facebook, feedback on what themes would be popular among the community is key!

Thanks for taking the time to stop by ☺

Monday, 20 March 2017

Middlehammer Legacy Strikeforce: Stats and background

Howdy folks!

Well things are definitely progressing, the first of the Strikeforce minis have reached me from farthest flung northern Europe, and we've had more updates from David and AVP Shaun on their entires. I can't wait to see all these guys together and get them set up for a group shot!

So, next steps are to come up with names, backgrounds, and stat lines for these bad ass motherfunsters! I love this bit and I'm really looking forward to what people come up with for their various mercs 😀

Thanks again go to Pete Grange for helping out with this and bouncing some ideas around!

Rogue Trader Stats

The standard Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader stat line will be largely familar even to players of later editions of 40K, all of the familiar elements are there, the major difference being the additional range of 'mental' stats reflecting the more Roleplaying Skirmish Game nature of RT compared to later 40K. In addition to the familar Leadership (Ld) score, we also have Intelligence (Int), Cool (Cl), and Will Power (WP).

Example RT stat line

I've captured a few of the basic profiles, which I hope cover all the races/troop types that we have represented in the Strikeforce (so far at least!):

Now, tweaking to suit background and to make these glory hunting psycopaths stand out from the crowd is encouraged, and I think people should go with what best suits their idea rather than being bound too much by 'rules', but do remember stats can go down as well as up!

For example, Hudd Paxton, Human Mercenary, is going to have a higher S and BS than your average human, but he is a tad unstable so his WP and Cool stats are going to drop:

Hudd's back story

Hudd Paxton grew up in Scottstown, a medium sized mass-agri settlement on Ridley's World. His family worked hard for the local Imperial task masters, and it was a source of pride when the young Hudd was drafted into the IG regiments being conscripted for the campaign to liberate nearby colony world LV426(b) from unknown Xenos infestation.

Poor Hudd has no idea what happened on LV426(b), his mind having been wiped by the Commisariat after the campaigns conclusion, a proces which unfortunately left him a little unhinged. He developed pyromaniac tendancies and a pessimistic outlook which eventually saw him 'accidentally' left behind by his battalion on a remote outpost after an unfortunate incident saw the units entire supply of Malted Recyclahol go up in flames, and the rest of the camp with it. Two days later Hudd looked up, having grown tired of watching the pretty flames, and realised he was on his own...

With his valuable skills as a combat technician Hudd soon hooked up with a band of mercs, his morality about what jobs they took a secondary consideration as long he was allowed to use his favourite industrial flame thrower. Now, if only he could stop himself trying to lick the promethium pilot light again...

Hudd Paxton, Human Mercenary and semi professional fire eater

Thanks for stopping by, and stay tuned for more updates on the motely crew that make up the Middlehammer Legacy Strikeforce!

RIP Bill Paxton (May 17, 1955 – February 25, 2017) - "Game over man. Game over."

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Middlehammer Legacy Strikeforce: Hudd Paxton - Human Mercenary

Hello all, and apologies yet again for the delayed updates on the Middlehammer Legacy Strikeforce Project.

Grandfather Nurgle continues to single me out for attention. I can only assume he wants me for an aspiring champion becuase he is working really hard to defeat the best efforts of modern medicine. Bastard...

Anyway! After some chat on the Middlehammer fb group, and continued illness of myself and a couple of other participants the deadline has now been extended right up until the end of March, with entries to be with me by first week of April, and the draw for the lucky winner taking place in second week of April.

I've had another few updates from participants since the last post, so in additon to my human merc, Pete Grange's striking Eldar, we now have Mikael Igge Holmberg's bruising Ork brothers and their pet Snapasaurus (not the official biological name - it is possibly some form of previoulsy unidentified Squig!) - and we've seen grainy black and white security cam footage of a group of Muties, and a Mohawked Merc with a Tommygun! I've also heard rumours of a couple of Squat ex-guilders on their way to join the group!

Big thanks to everyone for their efforts so far - it has been great to recieve your updates and encouragement!

Here are some snaps of Igge's Orks to go with the pics of Pete's Eldar from my last post.

Igge informs me the min-T-Rex is an old orky extra bit from the Foundry - I love it!
These two are great - there's something about the bright orange hat that reminds me of Jayne from Firefly!

Hudd Paxton - Human Mercenary

So I was looking for some inspiration for my Human Merc with Flamethrower, and I was starting to lean towards the 80s Stadium Rock idea. Then something sad happened. Bill Paxton, an actor who appeared in many of my favourite movies growing up, had passed away aged just 61!

Private, 1st Class, William Hudson: "Stop your grinnin' and drop your linnen!"
Suddenly it all clicked into place. For those who don't know Paxton played one of the most iconic characters in the movie Aliens - Hudson the cynical Colonial Marine squad leader. The work of HR Geiger is well known to have been an influence on the development and some of the imagery behind Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader; the Colonial Marines from Aliens definitely had a touch of the snark about them like the human renegades from the banner picture; and it would be an homage to Bill Paxton and the character of Hudson.

I give you Hudd Paxton: Human Mercenary. 

Not the best lighting I'm afraid, not showing the blue tint on the glasses, or the rust and corrosion on the flamer as clearly as I'd like.

Bag straps need to be brown, some more detail on the comms back pack needed too I think...

A better shot of some of the corosion and rust on the Flamethrower

He's still not 100% finished, but I've done enough for a meaningful update, and he is back on course to be finished before the deadline at least!

I've had a bit of trouble getting an orange I was happy with, but also had some depth to it, but washes of plasma red and chestnut inks have helped, as have highlights of mixed Troll Slayer Orange and old school Sunburst Yellow.

Still some more detail to do on the bag straps, and I'd like to add some detail echoing the graffiti on Hudson's chest plate on the Orange Shoulder pad, but that might prove a stpe too far, so we will see how it goes.

Bill Paxton as Hudson - note the graffiti on the chest armour, which ties in really nicely with the RT Human Renegade.s
The bandana is not a Hudson trade mark, but it does tie in nicely with some other Aliens characters, as does the oversized Flamethrower, both of which remind me of the Smart Gunners, Vazquez and Drake.

Colonial Marines Vasquez and Drake armed with Smart Guns - the psycho sexual interplay between these two characters is an under appreciated element of the film imho.

It was the flame thrower that was giving me most grief though. I really didn't want to go for the classic dirty gun metal look, and had been trying to use non-metallic paints for metals, but once I thought about the flamethrower from the original Alien movie it again all clicked into place. The dirty industrial plastic look and rusted metal was perfect, so I set out recreating it as faithfully as I could.

Here you can see the original movie prop in detail. Image from the AVP Wiki.
Here you can see a less knackered version of a later model (from one of the Aliens computer games I believe), but it doesn't have the same character for my money. The gas canisters (made from a pair of Cadian IG binoculars) have been painted red and white, but I'm probably not going to add any warning signs for fear of making the model too busy.

A later evolution of the same model flame thrower as seen on the AVP Wiki.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering what Hudd Paxton keeps in his webbing, this is a good example - a picture of Hudson's technical kit from the Aliens Movie - image, as per all of the Alien/Aliens movie images in this post, taken from the AVP Wiki.

Hudson was the combat technician for his squad, and I like how this emphaises the different roles that marines have to play in combat - much the same reason I choose to include the comms style back pack on my human merc.

Anyway - apologies again for the lack of regular updates, but hope you enjoy seeing progress so far!

The project has a few more weeks to run and then we will hopefully get all the entries together for a group shot before they head off to their new home (where ever that might be!)

Thanks for stopping by and stay tund for more updates :)

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Middlehammer Legacy Strikeforce: Project Update and Mercenary Freebooter

Damn! I must not have been paying sufficient lip service to Grandfather Nurgle, because he gave me one hell of an infection. I have been really ill for over a month and on all kinds of hideous antibiotics (which is not good in these days of increasing antimicrobial resistance!) and totally lost my hobby mojo, other than a few comments online and approving loads of new Middlehammer member requests - it's great to see the group continue to grow! :)

This has meant an absence of any updates on the Middlehammer Legacy Strikeforce project, or any progress on my entry! Apologies to those who are taking part, and many thanks to Pete Grange for the nudge with the very striking Eldar Mercenary he is entering - WIP pics looking very good!

Pete Grange's evocative Eldar Mercenary in the theme colours of Blue-grey and Bright Orange

Rear shot showcasing more of the wraithbone armour, which I love with this colour scheme!

I'm wondering if this months hiatus means we should extend the closing date for entries and the March 31st deadline a bit? If you are reading about the Legacy Strikeforce project for the first time and want to get involved, just leave a comment below, or contact me via the Middlehammer fb group :)

Human Merc with Flamer

Anyway, I've taken the inspiration for my entry from the iconic image of the two Human Renegades from p.172 of the Rogue Trader rule book.

I had a few ideas in mind, but this was the one I could most strongly visualise and I had a promising selection of Oldhammer/Middlehammer bits to work with that would fit the theme perfectly.

I had fun with a few ideas, including a more relaxed attitude as in the picture above, but here is the pose I went for in the end:

I'm still to decide on a name for him. It's either going to be something from 80s Stadium Rock, or an homage to the Alien Films. Not sure yet.
He is deliberately holding his flamethrower like an Ax, and by Ax I obviously mean an Electric Guitar. I adjusted the angle of the head slightly to show off his earing, and I like to think this gave him a little bit more rock star attitude. I tried scarring up the very clean and shiny shoulder pad a bit too.

I'm still far from 100% happy with it but the original Cadian flamer arm was just too scrawny. It needed the beefcake upgrade from a Catachan. Surgery was required!

I hated doing the green stuff on his arm. A slightly misjudged first cut meant more *ahem* 'scultpting' than I had hoped for. Even after getting it to a point that did not look too awful there was something jarring to the eye. I could not figure out what was wrong with it. Then it hit me - He had two elbows! The angle of the arm I've used is completely different to how it has ended up, so the original elbow now appeared to be sticking out like a weird bony protrusion above his wrist.

This was the route of the problem, the angle of the arm was all wrong really, even if it did have the Arnold Scwarzeneger look I was after.
UPDATE - I was so far from happy with this massive glob of greenstuff and extraneous elbows that I cut it out and started again, also removing a piece of detail (a webbing pack I think) from the inside of the piece, which appeared to be floating in the original build and can still be seen in the pictures here.

It's better, but still hideously amateurish. But! It's not that long ago that I would have balked at the thought of using greenstuff in a conversion like this. So, small steps, but progress is being made.

Here you can see the 'floating' ammo pack or whatever. That's gone now.
The fuel tanks for the flamer are made from a set of IG binoculars, turned back to front. The 'Comms' style back pack and webbing come from the same plastic IG sets. At one point I had a combat blade from the RTB01 sprue on his left thigh, but took it off as it was one accessory too far and he looked like he might go buckaroo on me.

Detail of the Batman like Utility belt and the worst shot of the offending elbow putty
I was really keen to start getting some paint on this mean mother sucker, and was relatively happy with the Blue-grey base colour, but then I got ill, and my painting suffered. So I stopped.

I had a bit of a burst about two weeks ago, adding the base flesh colour and a first wash of brown-purple ink, and the orange base coat of Troll Slayer Orange over Blood Red. One coat of Plasma Red ink has gone on, but it did next to nothing. Sadly, since then I've hardly been able to do anything to it and it has languished in need of some attention...

You can see his aerial is slightly on the wonk. It is going to need a better fix unfortunately. I might need to pin it but it is going to be fiddly seeing how small the piece is.

The scarring I did at the beginning has not really come through very well. This photo also shows up the hideous resculpted arm. Gah!

Now though! I'm hoping I've got my hobby mojo back and this chap is number one on my to do list!

I'm hoping some of the other participants are going to share some WIP shots on the Middlehammer Facebook page, and if so I will ask permission to share them with you here too :)

Thanks for looking! Do check out the original post for the rules and then drop me a comment below or via fb if you are interested in taking part!