Sunday, July 23, 2017

6MMRPC - Week 3

Not much progress for this week, thanks to helping get our daughter through a week of band camp during a dangerous heat wave.  Work, the band family picnic, and a day out for board games rounded out the week before spending most of today creating eBay listings.

The only noticeable progress on actual minis this week was to add two Ral Partha skeleton archers to the 'soon' queue.  They got greenstuff on the base, then glue & sand/ballast mix, bringing them up to the same prep level as the others prepped some months ago.  All these skeletons are waiting for a cooler, less humid afternoon so I can spray prime them with paint/primer, this time with Army Painter Skeleton Bone.  Here they are as of today, newest ones in the bottom right:

One other item of note: here in Week 3, I took on a new commission project.  16+ minis will be from Raging Heroes: The Toughest Girls in the Galaxy, plus a large kitbash of a GW Eldar Wraith Knight and an anime garage kit.  That's going to take some time, especially to get back into airbrushing.  While this means my personal Mountain will be somewhat on the back burner, again, it also means I get to blog about painting some really cool new models and adding to my skill set.  So, watch this space!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

6MMRPC - Week 2

Beginning in late in 2016 and finishing in early January of this year, I tried a tweaked version of Sorastro's painting on some Reaper skeletons.  White spray primer was covered with a basecoat of brush-on Army Painter Skeleton Bone and other colors, then inked, highlighted and eventually varnished.  I liked how it all went, the improved speed, ease, and overall results.

Still, I wanted to try the full technique, starting from priming with Army Painter spray paint & primer all-in-one.  With Zombicide: Black Plague getting played quite a bit at the time, I didn't want to pull out many zombies for painting until I had the technique down pat and could turn them around in fast batches.  Instead, I opted to bring out some zombies that could be painted up and inserted into the game as proxies for anything sitting on the workbench.

A long time ago, some of these Ral Partha and Grenadier zombies were primed white or black for different projects, but none were ever finished.  Others were bare metal, just sitting around in the Someday Bins.  All went through a quick cleaning for mold lines and flash, then stripping in Simple Green or Purple Power.  After scrubbing, rinsing and drying, they were glued to Reaper plastic 1" bases.  Next came basing with Alene's Tacky Glue and a mix of sand & model railroad ballast, then primed with Army Painter spray primer/paint, Necrotic Flesh.

I am impressed with Army Painter paint/primer.  Fast, solid, one-coat coverage without sacrificing detail.  As far as I can tell without digging in and really painting minis, I'd say this stuff is a winner.  Alene's Tacky Glue...not so much.  Even when piled on and rounded up above the integrated base, once dried the integrated bases on the minis were plainly visible.  I primed anyway, thinking to ignore the edges and move on, but I guess I'm just too picky.  I later went back in with white pumice paste to hide the edges.

That's why these look the way they do, with a greenish primer coat on the minis and gaming base, and a band of white material between.  That's the pumice paste.  It's for fine art/painting and doesn't need primer, so it will just get painted and washed later, anyway.  The z's crawling from their graves received putty around their bases with a few sculpted rocks and dirt around the headstones.  Here they are, waiting for paint that may next week or next weekend:

As for other progress in Week 2, I listed some unpainted minis on eBay.  I also prepped a couple of RP skeleton archers, planning ahead for a last 'stretch goal' of painting at the end of the month.  But, that's detail for another day...

...until then...


Sunday, July 9, 2017

"Time keeps on slippin', slippin', slippin'...into the future..."

Once again, time has gotten away from me.  Here's the latest update:

Early this year, I stepped away from painting miniatures in favor of taking an inventory and handling some family medical issues, among other things. Six months have flown by, so with a new Six Month Mountain Reduction & Painting Challenge (6MMRPC) that started July 1, it seems like a good time to update the numbers:

2353 unpainted as of 12/31/2016
  -17 painted (15 in early January, 2 in mid-June)
  -44 sold/given away (April - June)
+129 added (June); Reaper Bones 3 KS, Z:BP, others

So, the first half of 2017 has seen a net change in unpainted miniatures of +68.  That's not good, considering my goal is to be deeply in the negative numbers, shrinking rather than growing the unpainted Mountain.  The new 6MMRPC will help get back on track and close the gap, first via eBay.  Hey, now, don’t judge; I have bills to pay. :-)

Hopefully that will go quickly, or at least smoothly enough to allow time for picking off a few Bench Queens along the way.  Example: experimenting with a faster, tabletop-level painting technique for Z:BP zombies. 10 Ral Partha and 6 Grenadier z’s will suffice and have been primed with Army Painter “Necrotic Flesh” spray primer/paint.  They might see paint by the end of this month.

After that, there may be a few paint-for-sale items and/or limited commissions hitting the workbench. If not, most horizontal surfaces will probably be covered with Zombicide: Black Plague through the Challenge period to year’s end and beyond.  I think I would like to have Z:BP wrapped up by early 2018, in time to switch over to Malifaux for a while before Zombicide: Green Horde arrives.  Yes, I pledged for that in June, but I do not know how many minis the core game, stretch goals and add-ons will include.  We’ll just have to wait and see when everything arrives mid- to late-2018.

Until next time...

Sunday, February 12, 2017

2016 Commissioned Minis

Here are some recent photos of minis I finished around the end of 2016.

Figmentia - Part II

(2 of 2)  After ripping through a little speed paint project in the first few days of January, I hit the pause button, so to speak.  I invested two weekends, part of a holiday and most every evening for over two weeks taking a fairly detailed inventory.  Why?

Well, for many reasons, actually.  First, I need to know what I have before joining any further painting challenges makes sense.  I have often referred to the unpainted backlog of minis as The Mountain, so keeping in that metaphorical context, I felt a survey was needed.  After all, who sets out to climb any mountain with only a vague idea of where the summit stands?  No one says, "Oh, I'll just start walking, see what happens.  I'm sure the peak is up there somewhere, behind those big, grey clouds.  I'm sure I won't need food or water, equipment, oxygen...everything will be just fine if I keep walking.  I'll know the top when I see it.  What could possibly go wrong?"

Knowing how many unpainted minis I have, what they are, their intended purposes, all give me some sense of purpose.  I can better decide what to paint next, set some goals, figure out which games interest me or what I will paint just for fun or competition.  Selling some of the collection also becomes a clearer option, but that's a topic for another day.

One more reason for taking inventory, although it's not the biggest reason: it seems like something I should have done years ago, and the time is right to get it done.  I mean, the last rough count was about 7 years ago, around the time I picked up a collection of over 90 dragons and more than 300 single minis at an estate sale.  Adding those in put me at approximately 3200 total miniatures, give or take a few percentage points.  A prior census was taken in maybe 2006 or early 2007, after moving everything into the current house.  Both of those counts were just that - counts - without taking the time to ID very much.

Most already in the collection were loose, out of the blister or box, having been picked up at auction or getting cleaned up, primed and stuck on steel bases.  This is where true self-delusion, evidence of Figmentia came in.  I kept thinking that I could make assembly-line painting work for me.  I whispered to myself, "If you paint it, the games will come."  I thought that if I prepped and primed, I would remember what I have and would never really need an exhaustive list.  I thought my memory and a spreadsheet for just one or two main manufacturers would be enough.  An actual database seemed like too much work, taking nerdiness about 3 steps too far.

I was wrong.  I did not anticipate the pace of life would keep me so much from the painting table, or that it would thoroughly overrun my previously photographic memory.  I did not expect Kickstarters and the explosion of boardgames to entice me into getting so many more minis. Along the way, some manufacturers and games simply died, leaving scads of tiny metal and plastic corpses in my house.

Okay, sorry, that's a little morbid.  Accurate, but still a little dark.

Anyway, reducing the backlog by selling on eBay, sometimes just to make ends meet, helped a little.  Painting binges and 'reduction challenges' did not make much of a dent.  The net result is that I currently have 2,557 mostly fantasy miniatures.  A few are 25mm scale, historical in nature, but most are in the range of 28 - 32mm.  Positive ID has been made on almost all of them, down to manufacturer, stock number, name and sculptor.  I have numbers on out-of-package or 'loose', new-in-blister/box/bag, painted and work-in-progress.  Here's that breakout:

Status Quantity
Loose 1162
NIB 1064
Painted 224
WIP 107

I have the data sorted and filtered several other ways, but I won't bore you with those details.  The point of all this, again, to understand the scope of the Mountain of Madness - 2333 unpainted minis - and to make a plan for conquering it.  A few will never be painted, just collected.  Others will be sold as is, just primed, loose or new.  Some I plan to paint and sell, hopefully generating funds for a summer event my daughter has been invited to.  And some will be painted for games, display or competition, should I decide to return to that arena someday.

So, the Mountain will be climbed.  Paths will be mapped, equipment will be readied, supplies gathered, and a couple of guides will be engaged.  It's not Mt. Everest (that title is reserved for a hobbyist with 50,000+ miniatures in his collection!), I know that now.  I also know it's time to stop writing about it and get to work!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Facing My Figmentia (1 of 2)

If you have known me for any length of time, you will know that I have sporadically acquired, collected, and otherwise accumulated a fair number of miniatures.  Some might call it hoarding, but my addiction may not be quite that severe.  Could I have sold, given away or dumped hundreds of them on eBay if hoarding was truly an issue?  I doubt it.

A more fitting term, coined and made popular a couple of decades ago, is Figmentia.  That is, "Figure' + "Dementia".  While the word and a few corollaries were just jokes, not scientifically backed, I've found there are grains of truth to them.  "Miniac" has fit me pretty well to varying degrees over the years.

Like most fantasy miniature collections, it all began innocently enough; Jr high school, back in the early '80s.  First came a few poor-quality lead minis to represent my D&D characters, then others for AD&D.  When I started DMing for AD&D, still more were added for encounters and my players.  I remember trading some comic books and sports cards to a friend in exchange for a few of the Grenadier yellow boxed sets.  Those were treasured items and some of my first painting attempts mostly with - you guessed it - Testors enamel, a bad brush and a toothpick.  Yikes.

Fast-forward thru 20 years of on & off hobby addiction.  The collection was static for long periods, then would suddenly grow when I hit convention auctions.  There was one glorious event where a good buddy and I pooled our money to outbid a game store for a big stockpile of mostly Ral Partha AD&D monsters.   We sat down afterward and sifted through them, alternating choices like we were picking teams for dodgeball in high school.  His team was mostly beastmen, like centaurs, while I went for the undead.  Good times.  I wonder whatever happened to his share of the hoard. I still have part of mine, but some has been sold.  I will have to ask him about it sometime soon.

See?  There I go again, trying to justify adding to the collection rather than trying to unload some more of it.  Figmentia...I haz it.  :-/

I digress.  Please excuse my wandering down a side road off Memory Lane.  Over the more recent decade or so, the Mountain of Madness (unpainted metal, plastic and resin) has grown sporadically,  depending on the game at hand or ease of access.  RPGs, tabletop war games, convention auctions, game stores, board games with minis, online shopping, crowd-funding and more have all played their part.  Occasional sales reduced the pile somewhat, but maybe not as much as needed.  I found it difficult to let go.  I know...shocker.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

3MMRPC - Ended December 15 - Updates and Corrections!

The latest official 3MMRPC ended December 15th, and these are my results in models painted vs acquired: net 7 added to the Mountain.

In the beginning of the challenge, my painted numbers looked good while working on commissioned models.  Frequent (if not quite weekly) posting was not far off track.  I began the challenge intending to complete the commissioned group already well underway, then use that momentum to charge up the slope of my personal Mountain.  As usual, Life cares nothing  for my intentions, especially those of any personal or hobby nature.  I am still slowly working on the last mini in the commissioned group.  While 27 minis in total were painted, they really don't count for the challenge, having just reduced someone else's unpainted pile.

In October, I got some paint and a Reaper Con Sophie mini by way of a prize for Yephima, the Reaper Bones Cloud Giant painted shortly before the challenge began.  While the mini did not count as using a Joker, it did add 1 model to the unpainted pile.  

I later burned all 3 Jokers at once for a Black Friday online sale, picking up 6 minis.  While some are intended for later painting and sale, they still count as adding to the backlog.

Net result: 1 new by win + 6 new by Jokers - 0 of my own painted = 7 added to the Mountain.

I see it this way: my personal goals were not achieved, but the spirit of the Challenge kept me honest.  It could have been much worse; it kept me from buying a bunch more Zombicide minis, for example.
Maybe next time I will do better.  Maybe these challenges are not really good for me, with so much else always going on.  Maybe it's just about timing, since Winter seems to be prime painting time, the least chaotic in general.  Time will tell, but I think for now I will avoid formal challenges.