Tuesday, 9 August 2022

Dark Angels - Ravenwing Bikes, Attack Bikes & Black Knights - Blessed Verdigris

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been #PaintingWarhammer but ever so slowly. Adding the three additional bike to the batch certainly sapped some motivation. Add in my evening tied up watching Attack on Titan in it's entirety with my son it's quite the challenge to pop into the shed to paint.

That said I decided to do all the Blessed Verdigris, which also means picking out the feather on the Ravenwing banners and cowling. I don't do them white and they're almost this colour in that classic Ravenwing image.

As garish as that turquoise is it should tone down after a black wash. I think I made a mistake with using AP Hydra Turquoise, as I think my other Ravenwing used my lighter craft acrylics. At least it looks that way now I scrutinise my my past models. I also find the WiP pics a hassle to take with the sprue handles, so I'm even less inclined to record the progress, which doesn't help with motivation.

There's so much to do here I think I need a checklist of elements to tick off as they're done. Obviously the black highlights are the biggest things left to do and I am still trying to hold onto the idea that that's not hard. But, there's no getting around the fact there is a lot to do.

And bikes are notoriously labour intensive because you have the marine and the bike itself, and with the Attack bikes you have another marine and the sidecar! Not mention deciding how to do the cloaks on the Black Knights. So the process is not a problem it's just the scale of the task and finding time to do it that's daunting.

Frustratingly though I really want them painted. I can foresee them complete and it already fills me with a huge sense of satisfaction. I've also got Liam cracking on with his Adeptus Titanicus titans which are on my To Do List but I had no intention of tackling them anytime soon...

And this guy is only cropping up for convenience [but is more like an inconvenience].

So, we find ourselves in that situation where if it feels like a chore then it's not fun and not a hobby. And yet I desperately want to do it but can't find the time or the motivation. In which case - don't worry about it! Watch anime with your son, play Middle Earth with your mates, go to bed early if you're tired. These will get done when they get done, either this Hobby Season or the next, life's too short.

Friday, 5 August 2022

Citadel Contrast Paints

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity although technically a 'content creator' I'm not on any freebies list, so when I finally got to #PaintingWarhammer with Citadel's new Contrast paints it was at my local Warhammer Liverpool store. As that was weeks ago it's a good job I'm not being asked too! This would be quite the missed opportunity to promote the paints this far down the line. So, what did I think? Well I briefly used the previous Iyanden Yellow on my Halfling Blood Bowl team and these are much brighter with less contrast between the light and dark areas. I've seen some YouTube reviews that categorise these variances within the range, suggesting there should be clearer marking to show those that have high contrast, those that are better coverage and those that are borderline washes. I played around with the yellow, an orange, one of the browns and turquoise [I forget the names].

It's challenging, that's for sure. It makes you think differently about how you paint and how to cover up mistakes. I'd definitely be adding a lot more layers on this to fix things so it doesn't feel quite the speed improvement for me, although I'm sure with practice I'd get better. But the short term issue would be it's a step back in what I could achieve and I'm not really in a position to try that at the moment.

My issue with Contrast is it artificially creates areas of shadow, base and highlight. You have to manage how the paint dries to achieve that effect but it does it in such a way that the highlight is 'controlled poorer coverage'. When you're constantly being told you need 'two thin coats' for flat coverage it's quite the mind flip to then accept something that is deliberately less. The irony is that I don't usually subscribe to two thin coats. I'm quite happy to have poor coverage on that first coat, so that there is more texture and mix of opacities. So Contrast should be something I appreciate, but when it just gives the impression it's poor coverage it's hard not to balk at the idea.

Bottom line, for me I'm not ready to jump into the Contrast world just yet. When I come to do my Ad Mech Rangers I may well do the cloaks using my Iyanden Yellow, as I think it'll be just as good as this experiment here. I imagine if you're just starting out they might be useful but I'd be very much wanting some advice from those who know how to use them, maybe check out some YouTube videos to get my head round them. Extremely interesting, I think they have an immediate simple benefit, but then there is a much longer learning curve to master them fully, at least for me anyway.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Battle Report - Middle Earth Battle Companies - Chance Encounter

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity - I've been playing #MESBG [Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game] again at Otty's again. This was a very odd mission for Otty's Rohirrim and my Goblins. Chance Encounter's objectives is 'the leaders of both companies are looking for a quick victory, without taking too many casualties', however, the victory conditions are to reduce your opponent to 25% of it's starting models - so much for not taking too many casualties! I think this was the game where I was heavily outmatched and so had 5 re-rolls throughout, but forgot to use any of them!

Most of Otty's guy were in the top right, but there were a couple of archers in the copse on the hill top left, hence why my Wargs are heading in that direction. The rest of my force were going to use the rocky outcrop to shield themselves from any cavalry charges.

Which worked, to a degree as Otty split his force either side of the outcrop, it didn't help that he had a wandering ghost from the Army of the Dead in his ranks.

I must have used the terrain to my advantage, getting 2 Blackshields and spearman into the cavalry on the right and the rest trying to speed bump the rest of his force so my slow moving Goblins could find a way to swamp what he had. 

I must have been lucky as one of the Rohirrim has perished.

BUt the other knight takes retribution on my other Blackshield.

One of the Wargs had been killed by the archers, but the other made it to the trees and started to snap at the old guy and female before they could reload. It would ultimately take them both down.

The melee continues in the middle of the board and my Blackshield and spear support prepare to face the cavalry again.

I'm starting to lose bodies in the centre, but the Blackshield takes the second knight down too.

The army of the dead face down my Warg as it's races to turn the tide in the centre, while the last of the cavalry is out for blood on the Blackshield and he pays dearly.

The Warg falls too and I think I fall below my threshold. It was only now we remember my re-rolls so instead we agree I get to use them on the injury chart, which was a relief as without them I'd have lost quite a few Goblins. As it was we thought owned creatures died outright, rather than roll on the wound chart and so I thought I'd lost one of them. Everybody else was OK, this may even have been where my Leader's leg wound also miraculously healed. So he went from a 4" move to 5", it couldn't have been better. Then Otty does the injuries on his female ranger, she gets just a scratch to miss a game, and just as I'm suggesting that might be a good thing as it'll lower his army points to not give up the re-rolls he rolls again [you're allowed to but must abide by the second roll]...

It turns out that scratch was properly infected and she dies. I was in fits, properly creased up on the floor laughing. It was so funny!

Here's where my warband was at the end of it.

And, I'd secured enough influence points to finally bring in a Cave Troll as reinforcements.

Add in how tanky the Blackshields had been and I was starting to think my warband had much more potential than I'd initially given it thought. I was securing regions of Middle Earth which were giving me additional bonuses - +1 on the injury chart and move through woods, re-rolls and +1 to climb tests, the ability to choose to take priority once per game - all extra rules that are the reasons I'm falling out with 40k, but they've been introduced organically and one at a time. Rather than dozens of overlapping stratagems, buffs and relics that create countless options these feel measured and contained. It's added to my enjoyment rather than created an obstacle. Any I forget, hasn't changed my enjoyment, because I can win or lose without them and losing is not as soul-crushing. 

Sunday, 31 July 2022

Battle Report - Middle Earth Battle Companies - Plunder the Camp

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity - I've been playing #MESBG Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game again at Otty's. Annoyingly I will not commit to doing these the day, or at least soon, after I play them. It makes it quite hard to remember what's happened. It's not like I haven't done these reports before. Then again, finding the time and whether there is any interest in these aside from my own record it can be quite hard to motivate myself to write them. 

Anyway, Scott turned up with his Khandish warband. His leader is on a chariot and he had to plunder my camp of wagons in the centre of the board. So long as he spent a turn next to a wagon he could set it alight. This was the end of the first turn and his chariot had barrelled into the camp, but had blocked himself in, spending the next turn just manoeuvring. 

He then burst through my lines, scattering my goblins here and there. While I set about his foot soldiers, with my Wargs.

but kept a couple of Goblins inside the camp so I could sneak out and charge his chariot from behind to avoid being knocked over and prevent him torching the wagons - it was a pro-gamer tactic.

As the chariot trundled by I'd sacrifice a goblin just to keep the wagons safe. I'm not sure what happened next but I think perhaps I won because Scott only has the chariot and 1 warrior left in this pic.

Anyway, a fun game and whatever the result was, and that's all that matters.

Wednesday, 27 July 2022

7th Anniversary of the birth of the Man Cave

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've had my man cave for 7 years now, it was originally installed on 27th July 2015. However, when COVID hit and we went into lockdown the best hobby purchase I'd ever made - the Man Cave, became dual-purpose in becoming my home office. One thing I discovered though, was it was freezing in winter and one reason for that was there was zero insulation in the floor. For over a year I've been contemplating adding a layer of insulation and new floor but it was a nightmare to arrange - getting the materials, excesive delivery costs for such a small project, storing all my stuff while I made the upgrade and once done there was no guarantee i'll make a difference. Anyway, I finally managed to get all the planets aligned, my son was at uni and with the Queen's Jubilee bank holiday weekend I took some extra leave and had 6 days to turn this place upside down, inside out and back to front. I pre-empted the build by putting most of my stuff in my son's bedroom. This represents about 75% of what was in the shed and yet seems to take up more space - the opposite of the TARDIS!

I was then able to remove a wooden chest, some shelving units and my oversized computer desk/storage system. I had ordered new carpet tiles - easy to install, relatively cheap £20 for the 24 I needed and durable, perfect for my Herman Miller Mirra 2 office chair to roll around on.

I had wanted carpet, but couldn't find a good deal, this patchwork offcuts from two previous carpets in the house had served me well but I did not know what their condition was. I had a number of rugs on top that had offered more protection and warmth but they'd started to perish and so I'd convinced myself the carpet would be beyond saving. In truth it might have been OK, but I had the carpet tiles now.

I built a wooden frame and put down some weed supressing fabric. I've seen it used in shed wall linings [something I foolishly didn't do in mine, goodness know what's happening behind the plasterboard and glasswool insulation] as a breathable membrane. As I had some I thought I'd put it down.

I debated the best position for that cross beam, where the 6mm plywood sheet would rest and figured the additional support would be better under my chair rather than towards the back wall.

I was sure the insulation board, frame and plywood would be strong enough but that additional solid wood should prevent any sinkage. So much of this was straightforward and simple, although there wasn't a single section that measured the same. Operating the 'measure twice, cut once' approach just seemed to drag on and concerns about my back ended up with so much kneeling that I was exhausted and my knees were so painful, even with knee pads. 

The weather came in and it started to rain, so all the desk, chair and shelves had to come back inside with the plywood down on the floor for the evening. I was pleased at my progress but a little disappointed. I'd bought a tin of anti-mould paint years ago and wanted to paint the bottom half of the walls, just for added peace of mind. I haven't really had a mould problem since I got the dehumidifier, but even so that would make me feel better. Despite the cramped interior and my fatigue I managed to get a coat of paint on the walls. It looked like cream chees when it went on, it had been in storage for 5 years afterall. 

The next morning I got in there early and gave it a second coat. Having more room in the tin to shake meant it went on like any satin varnish, it looked awful at first but has a great finish, except for protecting all the scuffs and bumps the wall has suffered in the last 7 years. I then went about sealing everything up with aluminium foil. I'm not sure if it makes a difference but it looked cool.

I used two tubes of no more nails under the plywood and also counter sunk screws to ensure maximum strength and no squeaky floor boards. I didn't want the plywood shifting and creaking but the shed expands and contracts with heat, cold and moisture so who knows what will happen.

I tried sealing in the joints between the plywood boards too but it was just bit of faffing. It was quite the challenge to cut those two strips. I tried a Stanley knife for one and my Dremel for the other. Both were knackering, but I got there in the end.

I then fit the carpet tiles, using a spray adhesive. I'd watched some videos on how to do it and seen how you cut them to fit the wall but didn't quite understand why you did it that way. Having glued the 2nd to last piece down from my first row and went about cutting the final piece I THEN understood why you do it that way - lesson learned.

Except it wasn't, because I'd glued down the second to last tiles in the first and second columns before I realised I needed to apply the same approach and to the final corner piece too! Oh my that was a head scratcher. Regardless, the tiles went down and  I even ended up with 3 spare, which was slightly annoying as because these were recycled from an office space I'd actually used 3 slightly damage ones that would run along the back wall, unseen, under the desk and shelves.

You'd never see them, but I knew. I just had to put it out of my mind and start putting stuff back in. The weather got better at least, which made thing easier to deal with but I was going to have to be organised and try to get rid of some of the huge amounts of things I'd hoarded.

Like these Citadel inks I'll be putting on ebay.

I organised all my shelves and used small labels on all the boxes to help me find the things that were in them. Figure boxes on the bottom - they're plastic and aluminium so better in corners where damp and mould likes to originate. That shelf is about 5" off the ground though which allows some air circulation. Preventing these micro-climates is another approach I believe has helped keep me mould free for 7 years and something I will continue with. The ability to check the bottom walls at a glance, to spot any changes early, is also good practice in this environment.

OK, so after everything got back in it hardly looks any different and I'll admit there is some 'surface debris' and a variety of things I still haven't organised but this is a significant improvement to how it was before, both for  hobbying and working from home. My work situation is in a state of flux but any working from home will benefit from this upgrade.

Whether it is warmer in the winter has still to be seen. I've been able to put my fan on the middle shelving unit, which when turned on manages to reduce the temperature by 2 degrees, because it's blowing the hot stuffy air at the apex of the ceiling down. I hope it will be able to do a similar job in the winter circulating the warm air that sits above waist height and the insulated floor doesn't bleed heat the way it did when it was just 12mm thick board and a couple of carpets. Finger's crossed this keeps the shed viable for another 7 years.

A month or so on and things are doing OK. The plywood floor is doing fine, although the no more nails wasn't quite as effective as I'd hoped - the boards do squeak a bit but despite the small amount of flexing it feels otherwise stable and solid. The carpet tiles are great and it's super easy to move around on my office chair. No cold days to speak of but we've had warm days, including the hottest in UK history [we're so screwed in future years]. I was able to mitigate some of the heat during the day with the fan but it did eventually get up to 34-36 degrees. 32 is manageable but those temps are too much. When my feet started getting warm - it's a problem. Anyway, more to think about regarding cooling in the future. Other than that I'm really pleased.