Friday, 7 December 2018

Imperial Knights - House Corvus Twins in manufactorum pt6.

Just checking in. Over the past few weeks I've had opportunity and the mental capacity to get back on the hobby, but the blogging will still be as and when. I'll do an update on my son at the end but the headlines are - he's doing well, back at school for a few lessons a day and he will start further treatment in January.

On to the Knights, this is something I'd been thinking about doing ever since I got my first Knight - making one shoulder similar to Heresy Era Mk5 Space Marine armour. However, instead of studs I would use the extra Mechanicum skulls in the kit.

I'm not entirely sure it works, simple studs might have been better [and easier to arrange] but it's done now and all I have to do is figure out how to paint it. I had a thought to do the entire shoulder pad black/yellow stripes but the black/white studs might look odd, plain red is the obvious solution.

And finally back to the legs. When Oscar's surgery/recovery was ongoing the prospect of painting was unthinkable but getting this pose locked down was challenging enough that my mind was unlikely to wander. With the unexpected changes to its pose after the heatgun and gluing of the left leg the right leg needed to be twisted a bit.

I kept trying to make the joint pipework fit but in the end I needed to extend the arc and suddenly remembered I had some spare bits of Magnetix, from when I remove the magnets for all my magnetising needs. I drilled out holes in the hip and thigh socket. Super-glued and pinned it in place then added hot melt glue for a stronger bond and fill it out. I'll greenstuff some pipework [poorly] over the top of all this. I also butchered the groin pistons so they almost look like they're functional. 

The left hip also required a hamfisted kitbash on the groin pistons, they won't be too noticeable when it's done. I also had to adjust the joint pipework on this leg.

There was quite a gap at the bottom of the pipework, so I cut a shim out of a rounded corner of sprue and filled it with poly cement to bond it all together. Greenstuff will hide the mess. The two trailing pipes were bent to fit. The left leg is at its maximum stretch and with both I cut the nozzle attaching to the leg so they could rotate to fit. The right pipe is bent SOOO much you can see the plastic has gone white between all the ridges to fit it in.

I also threw in some detail on the base. Some more bits from my Empire Strikes Back toy kit and a bit of tubing left over from the other Knights base, cut in half and it'll be attached clumsily to the tank.

And you might recognise the piece as DSS-02 Shield Generator. Not sure whether I'll go all in as metallics or try and make glowing bits either side or make them glass insulators like my Predator Las-Cannons - what do you think?

So the latest update is that Alder Hey hospital still haven't got a concrete diagnosis from their genetic tests - it is very complex and unique, but they have enough information to prepare a treatment plan. The bad news is they're considering it 'high-grade', but the good news is a recent MRI scan shows no change in the six to 8 weeks since he was first admitted. It might be aggressive but currently it is stable. 

My son will be having radiotherapy and a course of chemo starting in January. Full head and spine to try and nuke it all. It'll be 6 weeks, 5 days a week with the chemo starting week 4. Then 4 weeks off and then another 4 weeks of chemo. We've a couple of prep sessions beforehand and then we get to it. No prognosis as such as they just don't know but they talked about long term side effects and how that copuld impact him in his 50's, so they clearly believe this could be curative at least. Bottom line we're still in the same boat, we just have a timescale for the procedure.

He is taking it all really well, he has his sense of humour ramped up and we're all looking forward to Christmas. January/February will no doubt be hard and right now I'm looking at cancelling going to one or both of the Last Chance Open and GT4. Neither of them really matter in the grand scheme of things but it's a discussion to have nearer the time.

Anyway, I've done a fair bit of hobby so I will have plenty of pics to share when I finally get around to blogging in earnest again. In the mean time, stay safe.

Friday, 9 November 2018


So here's the explanation of what's going on. You may have seen a few posts that feature my youngest son [below] I'll start by saying he's fine and doing well, all things considered - we've won the battle, we just need to now win the war.

He'd had a routine eye test  for new glasses on the 18th October and the optician noticed his optic nerve was swollen and suggested we should take him to A&E to get a scan. After the CT scan showed a growth in his brain they transferred him to Alder Hey Hospital (one of the best children's hospitals in the country, and it's in Liverpool so only 30 minutes away) that evening.

The next day an MRI scan showed it was a 3cm brain tumour, a lot smaller than they would usually see and with no other symptoms we'd been really lucky to catch it; ordinarily they'd find tumours the size of a grapefruit in severely ill children. The doctors arranged for its removal the following Wednesday and just six days after the eye test it was removed. By the Sunday he was home and physically he's made almost a complete recovery from such extensive surgey, you can hardly even see the scar.

Unfortunately we're not out of the woods yet though. There's still more treatment to come as there are some secondaries on his spine (they won't operate on those) but having caught it so early we're hoping we've got a good head start on beating this. We've been back twice for tests but there's still no conclusive diagnosis of what it is. Some presentation of high grade (bad) and some presentation of lower grade (not as bad) cancer cells. Without a definitive identification they don't want to commit to treatment he doesn't need (radio or chemo). As he isn't presenting symptoms they feel they have time to get it right. So it could be another 2-3 weeks but he'll have an MRI inbetween so they can see if anything has changed. Until then it's back to the waiting game...

My blog hiatus and 8 year blogaversary post highlighted that my blog is a personal 'diary' first and foremost. As such it has covered a number of personal things outside of the hobby, ironically the blog was initially something I suggested for my wife to do when she was going through a difficult time. She never did anything with it and I just repurposed it. Going forward I'll need to use it as an occasional outlet, which I appreciate isn't hobby related so if I need to 'share' thing in future I may preface all those posts with a 'personal' title. Blogging will continue to be low on my list of priorities.

Understandably the hobby was not something I could entertain during the treatment - painting involves too much reflection, too much time in my own headspace when things were in the balance. As we await the next stage and the illusion of normality has been cast I've been ticking along with finishing my second Knight build but I've zero expectations on my To Do List as of right now. In the grand scheme of things none of it matters. There will be time where the hobby will help me through this challenge, there will be times where it won't. I'll continue to take pictures but when I share them will very much be as and when I feel the need.

I'm grateful for all those I've 'met' through the blog that have become friends on Facebook and who've contacted me to show their support; it's far from obligatory and this isn't a pity post it's just to inform everyone of the situation as I can't abide those cryptic statements that leave people hanging.

Lastly a huge big up and thank you to the staff at Alder Hey hospital. In a world built on celebrity and rife with 'super-heroes' it truly astounds me that miracles are being performed, without fanfare, every day by the amazing, surgeons, nurses, healthcare assistants and even the cleaning staff who would happily chat to help reassure us. The NHS is an amazing institution, offering such great care and with their support I hope we can kick this cancer's arse!

Monday, 29 October 2018

8 Days of the Week

It's my blogaversary and somehow I've been blogging for 8 years! I wonder sometimes if I could even take a break now? I wish I could dedicate more time to it, make it more integrated and enjoyable, find new ways to share what I'm doing but I know such effort would require time I don't currently possess. Trying to juggle the everyday real life, hobby and blogging means this is as good as it gets for now.

I still find it amazing that not only do I keep it going but folk are still popping by and commenting, and I must apologise yet again for not always coming back with a response - almost all the blogs I follow [including my own] are banned due to the IT policy restricting keyword 'games'. So I only really get to follow up on my phone, which means the responses aren't great/timely. I really though the G+ commenting would make things easier but I'm not so sure.

And the popularity, although significantly less has stabilised. Hopefully one day there'll be a resurgence of blogging, like vinyl. I mean blogger even has emojis now 😀 although not so sure they always render properly but it at least shows the platform has had some tinkering with. Maybe we'll get a better update eventually?

As always though the blog is my diary, my record of achievement and my hobby 'penseive'. Without the ability to remove my WiPs from my memory and store them here I'd be overwhelmed by the projects I'm working on and still to do. I'm glad you all have come along for the ride.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Blog hiatus

I'll be taking a bit of a hiatus on the blog for the foreseeable future. Real life has reared its ugly little head and I will mostly have to focus on that rather than the hobby and all it entails.

Ironically I've already written my 8th blogaversary post scheduled it and that even posits could I take a break? But I'll be back when I can.

I know its cryptic like one of those annoying Facebook posts, sorry about that, when I can explain more I will. And the support I'll no doubt get in my absence will be appreciated, you're all cool that way.

Moar Armies on Parade 2018

Armies on Parade 2018 has been and gone and as mentioned I couldn't actually get in store on the day due to family commitments. On Monday I nipped in to collect my figures and there was still this board on display so I had to get some pictures as it was absolutely stunning.

I think this might have come second overall and it's one of those armies that when you see it you think, yes I would love to play/have and army like that - even when you don't even play that game!

Such attention to detials and all the little touches, like the static grass, clumps of flowers and mushrooms.

From my social media browsing I felt AoP 2018 was a much more pleasant affair. Plenty of small scale Parades being celebrated alongside amazing dioramas. In fact I only really saw one negative comment because someone felt they'd been misled about the date being this weekend and so hadn't been able to Parade with a board they'd been making for more than a year or two. Not entirely sure why they couldn't now Parade it in 2019 but it seemed the hobby community was overwhelmingly enjoying the spirit of the event.

And that was confirmed by the staff at GW Manchester who couldn't have been happier to have had my army in-store. We had a nice long chat as I packed up where I promised to make the effort to be there next year.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing but hopefully it'll feature mostly things that have previously been unseen and although the board will be made of my gaming terrain I'll see what I can do to come up with a new a dynamic board that still tells a story.

I had thought at one point to take the Tyranids in their entirity as it's a new audience and whatnot but I think something new would be more appropriate this time and I can't imagine how I would transport all the nids. Regardless I may well have an Age of  Sigmar board with whatever Shadespire Warbands I complete...

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Imperial Knights - House Corvus Twins in manufactorum pt5. 'skipping leg day'

I know I agreed to pledge both these Knights to Dreadtober it's clear now they are never going to be complete. At this point I'll be happy with basing and primed. As I want to do both I really needed to crack on with the re-pose for the second Knight. I can say right now I am not enjoying it one bit. The feet aren't glued to the ankles, which aren't glued to the legs, which aren't glued to the hip pipes which aren't glued to the waist and times that by both legs [the second not even joined the two halves together] and it's a blooming nightmare.

I'd been avoiding dealing with it but had to press on. I split the toes so it could stand 'clamped' on the old Ben 10 toy. I drilled and pinned all the toes. Then I split a 12mm [or 10mm?] wooden bead and glued it in place for the ankle joint.

I removed the molded ankle joint - *Top Tip* score all the way round the ball joint then twist the piece off with needle nose pliers. So long as you go perpendicular to the cut it snaps off with minimal effort. Much safer than trying to cut through it entirely.

Now, I wanted some squashed deformation of the 'gas chamber' [that's what we'll call it] and got out my heat gun. I tried heating a flat-head screw driver for five minutes to use as stamp for where the toes would go. It didn't work so I hit the chamber with the heat gun and tried impressing the spanner... as you can see it was far from a success. It blistered the plastic - no real hardship but the chamber did sag and has fundamentally warped the entire shape.

What I failed to notice was the foot was also in the path of the heat gun [or sgot too hot when I put it in place on the chamber] and you'll see it distorted some of the toes. You can just see a 'nipple' on the left toe, that's the metal pin poking through the plastic! It won't be too bad when it's painted but I was pretty P'ed off at this point. The white powder is baking powder from super-gluing the pinned toes ahead of green stuffing some flexi-pipe.Adding baking powder makes it set really quick and creates a rock hard material almost like concrete.

I had an entire day visualising the task still ahead and the mistakes I'd made. I finally came to the conclusion I needed to find a fixed point. Fix one leg in place and find a way to make the second leg work [similar in principle to this Tip of the Day from Warhammer TV]. So I put the left foot in situ and drilled a hole for the rod that'll go through the leg.

As you can see the heat distortion [and probably the pins] means the front and back toes no longer sit flush on the chamber :(

Whereas the sides just about make physical sense.

So I was forced to add some Milliput in a very crude and possibly unrealistic attempt at crushing the chamber. I'm hoping the distressed paintwork will disguise then hamfisted sculpting but we'll see.

The toes were also filled out with Milliput - to ensure the panel pins remain solidly in place. I also sculpted some tread on the front and back toes. Although the sculpture on the chamber will go some way to hid the gap I thought some 'stacked heels' would create a more solid fit and allow a greater contact zone when I come to glue them in place.

I stuffed a load of Milliput inside the shin - so much it was busting through the seams. This was to support the coat hanger rod into the ankle. I put some super-glue on the rod and poly-glue on the front and back piston ball joints and joined it all together adding a final blend of Milliput between the ankle and wooden bead. Hopefully there are enough adhesives in place to hold this steady. Next up will be the two side pistons and then to glue the ankle to the foot.

I'll then work on the hip pipes and with one leg as a solid foundation it might help in positioning the second. The over-riding problem with these is eventually you have to make that leap of faith - as above I then cocked it up but I've dealt with the mistake and I'm now closer to finishing even if it's less than perfect. My dryfit image from the top looks like a pose I would be more than happy with but even only small discrepancies in the posing so far the pose might look very different

Monday, 15 October 2018

Imperial Knights - House Corvus Twins in manufactorum pt4. All your base...

Here we go, back on familiar ground - quite literally. Red Planet BASE! I used my Valejo black wash for this. Slightly thinned and mixed with the Sepia, it's worth noting that in some recesses the powdery residue, always present when using Seraphim Sepia, also materialised. But a quick touch up on those spots with Army Painter Dark Shade covered those up.

Vermilion drybrush.

1st stage highlight [Vermilion + pumpkin orange, roughly 4:1 ratio, maybe 5:1].

2nd stage highlight [Vermilion + pumpkin orange, roughly 3:1 ratio]

Lastly 3rs stage highlight - pumpkin orange.

The pipe is going to be very rusty but yellow - next level grunge compared with my Genestealer Sentinels. The supports might just be rusted metal though. I was really chuffed how quick this progressed and the knight is almost ready for priming too, but you see the guns in the background that need magnetising, while the second knight needs posing and basing too...

All of this is something I can get done in a week of concerted effort, I'm confident of that. However, this last week I've actually felt really tired in the evening and got a few 'early' nights in [10pm]. That doesn't help my progress and actually stunts my momentum because those parts are hurdles anyway, which is why I find it so easy to 'take a night off'. That said part of this years goals are hobby/life balance and burning the candle at both ends is just not sustainable [as I get older] so I have to accept some limitations. I might feel a bit on edge because I haven't moved these forward [the deadline still looms] but I'll get them done...