Saturday 26 August 2017

Hobby Season 2016/17 Review

The 2016/17 Hobby Season draws to a close, and how did I do? Well I managed to complete 7/14 out of 14/21 items on my list, depending on how you count the sub-bullets. But as you'll see the raw numbers don't tell the whole story. To be fair though I was really focused on the list this time with few deviations, except thanks to the output from the Great Build, but the To Do List was a real motivator this time. So, what did I do?

First up, the Dark Angels Land Speeder Typhoons were so close to being completed in the previous season, but just over a week after the new season began they were getting big purple stamps of approval instead of green. As I've mentioned in recent posts I'd effectively sabotaged myself in that regard, just putting them off for no apparent reason. But they got done and although there were some compromises made I was happy at the end, the finish was pretty good and to have moved these 'long in progress' models to completion is always a bonus.

My Imperial Knight was dutifully completed next [as it was next on my list]. The mix of freehand and decals was a particular challenge. The faceplate was also a bone of contention, which prompted me to magnetise it post completion so I can keep his Motörhead face but still cover him up should I feel so inclined.

Next up was the Dark Angel Bastion which again was a pretty big task. If I was in the business of measuring the scale of projects it would have been 'major', for that matter so would the Imperial Knight but as both had been worked on significantly in previous seasons that differentiation is somewhat moot [hence why major and minor stamps don't work for me]. What is worth noting though is that I said 'bastion' not 'bastions' and I completed both, just for the hell of it. To be fair there was not much extra effort to do the two at that stage. Once again compromises [I really am my own worst critic], the weathering was not how I intended it to look but positives outweigh the disappointments and completion trumps those altogether. Having extra line of sight blocking terrain is always handy too and in 8th positively compulsory.

And I did do the Quad Gun and Comms Relay [although it needs a base] so an Aegis Defence Line might be a nice addition next Season? Of course in 8th the Comms Relay is defunct and the Quad Gun may as well be for how useless it now is in the game, but c'est la vie.

I also managed to prepare my Dark Angels Armies on Parade display featuring many of last season's successes alongside my more recent and older achievements. This feels like a throw-away achievement perhaps because painting 1850pts of Dark Angels was something I managed last season but I think the fact I struggled to fit it all on my AoP board speaks to the effort I've put into these guys alongside my Xenos filth ;)

The Christmas period came along and although I was still productive the usual festive hobby malaise happened. That shouldn't be a bad thing really because wider context I did get tickets for the British Grand Prix. So the fact I wasn't painting figures but having a good time with my family shouldn't leave me feeling too bad. But part of the problem was I was struggling with the Drop Pods and in so doing I ended up completing my Genestealer Cult Patriarch.

Whilst I was at it I also managed it's Familiars, the Aberrants, the Primus and quickly brought the Magus up to scratch too. Although I'm happy with the results overall I actually think there's so much more to them that my style of painting obscures. I did a Google search for the Magus so I could try and get the little vials right. It turns out that almost all the examples on the net are like Golden Daemon quality. I don't usually mind but it was a little bit depressing even though I was quite chuffed with the blending on the Orange cloaks. Still, I'll get over it, it was just a little disheartening when I should be chuffed I'd just completed them... although the pictures I took did reveal my approach to highlighting has become slightly impressionistic now which I kind of like.

The Primus and the Magus were the last two parts of the Brood Coven to be complete because I did manage to finish the Drop Pods once the Aberrants, Patriarch and Familiars were done. Another point of note is my To Do List once again specified only ONE drop pod and I completed TWO! What's even more ground breaking is the original pod was six years in the painting and featured in my original To Do List from 2011. Funnily enough in a detached way, despite evidence to the contrary, I see them as relatively easy to paint now. Laborious and potentially tedious, but on paper pretty straightforward. No doubt I'd deny such a comment if I was presented with another to paint! Unfortunately it's the other projects that intervene and are far more inviting, hence why it took so long to do one, not to mention I had no real reason to have it completed ahead of anything else. Although I described it as 'less of a priority' I'm really pleased this got done and even more pleased with the results and that there are now two of them!

Although the Birthday Bash was not the reason the Drop Pods were prioritised their completion and subsequent comments about my army list choices at the event meant that my Ravenwing Black Knights became my next project. The Knights had been built and left in hiatus since June 2016.

I started in earnest on them in mid-March and the whole process became a mental battle as I ended up doing the seven Knights and six Ravenwing bikes simultaneously. 13 bikes at once was just a mammoth task for me, I don't know what I was thinking.

I did digress a few times, basecoating my Assault Squad and various Genestealer Hybrids which where equally moribund, forcing me to return to the Ravenwing as they felt more appealing.

Once I'd overcome the 'wall' of black it all seemed plain sailing, even if there was still considerable work left to do to complete them, but complete them I did. I think we can all agree this was a Herculean task borne out by the many posts I had to write just to keep the momentum going. I won't mention the five or six bikes and two attack bikes that still need doing though!

As the Ravenwing came to a close 8th Edition dropped and this provided me with some additional motivation to look again at some off list tasks. By no means they would get completed by the end of the season but a quick nudge here and there meant they were added to the Great Build list below which would potentially get them set for next season, time permitting. I then cast my attention to the Hybrids but yet again quickly got bored and jump-packed back to the Assault Squad, finishing them off with extreme prejudice!

Following that short successful detour I returned to the Hybrids for a third time. As pleased as I was with the wealth I'd achieved so far this season I thought adding 28 Genestealer Hybrids to my tally would be the raw quantity of number to the quality I'd already completed. If I could pull it off I'd be super-stoked. Last season I'd been close with the Land Speeders and sabotaged my chances by 'taking my foot off the gas', this time it was fatigue and the endless detail on the Hybrids that eventually held me up. I continued on all 28 where possible intending to switch to the Acolytes to guarantee one complete item and one 75%, rather than two items at 60%. I managed to do them all but as you know only the Acolytes have had their 2016/17 To Done! post so far.

However, I'll add in the Neophytes retrospectively here, once they're photographed.

So how do I feel I did this season? To be honest pretty, pretty good. I think even at the completion of the Bastions I felt as if I'd achieved sufficient to be happy. The Drop Pods just cemented that feeling and I'd added the Brood Coven inbetween so despite the fact most of these had been started in previous years I was feeling pretty pleased with myself. I did then check out what I'd done last season and was reminded how prodigious I'd been but then I realised how daft it was to compare my own efforts against each other. Sure it was a measure of what I could do but there is no shame in any of it, these things still exist in a finished state where previously they were not.

What I did in 2015/16 in no way takes away from what I achieved in 2016/17, or vice versa. The continued effort I put in is all additive so how can I feel less at the end of it? In the 90's I had very little to show for my efforts, now look at what I've done over the past seven years and more importantly what will I achieve next? And I did finish the season very strong, delivering a not inconsiderable model count in the final quarter to add that quantity I felt was lacking! In fact with 64 models painted [near enough] I was only 1 off last years total. Looking at it all - the big projects, the 'long in progress' projects finally off the list and all the doubling up to achieve twice my expectations I actually think I might just have eclipsed last Season - so much for being disheartened!

The Great Build

On top of all that I also undertook to get a lot of things built ready for painting. I actually wanted them primed and based too but the B/W build pics look cool so I'll use these. The point being to get things ready so when the urge strikes I've already got a headstart on them - better to have projects ready and waiting than a 'blank canvas' staring at me. To that end I managed:

Dark Angel Assault Squad
Blood Bowl Human Team
Blood Bowl Ork Team
Tyranid Lictor 1

I did get these primed [basecoated too] and ready to go as well

Dark Angel RT Razorback

Dark Angel RT Predator
In truth I think I underestimated how much I would get done in the 'Great Build', but I was probably doing all those painting tasks. At the very least the Great Build did provide a number of opportunities/distractions [delete as appropriate] in base coating these models when my main projects filled me with dread. I'll definitely try and do some more bits next season but I may well rename it the 'Big Build', y'know to lower my expectations ;) Although one stand-out success was the Assault Squad that went from build, through to prime and eventual completion in just one season - now that's accelerated delivery. It's not conclusive but a nice result from something that otherwise would not have been acheived.

I'll just leave this here again as a reminder, it struck a chord with me last year and again I think it'll be an effective mantra for all going forward.

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