Thursday 26 August 2021

Hobby Season 2020/21 Review

Afternoon #warmongers and #warhammercommunity The 2020/21 Hobby Season draws to a close, and how did I do? COVID19 lockdown has been an odd one this year. I know a lot of hobbyists have flourished under it, with time and opportunity to just paint and paint and paint. It's been beneficial in some ways so lets start with my first task:
    Develop a more healthy hobby/life balance - go to bed at a decent hour[ish]   

    I brought my son back from Oxford University [yes, proud Dad name-dropping again] in November and that meant I was at the whim of his availability to watching TV shows in the evening. He is even more of a night owl than I am - awake throughout the night, going to bed at 4am or 5am and getting up at 2pm. So, I tend to go to bed around midnight and get up at 6:30-7:00. I'm not sure if that's better but I'm no longer having to get up at 5:30am, so that's an improvement in my book.

    Find time to play some games, not just tournament play so I can have some fun among the daily grind...

    Obviously this did not happen. With lockdown there was very little opportunity to game. I haven't played 40k since 2019! Lets just admit the 'hobby' is my hobby at this point and gaming was something I used to do. That said, me and the boys got our act together a while back, finally admitted defeat to playing some kind of miniatures game via Zoom and instead started a Middle Earth Role Playing campaign. It is very odd to be back role playing, but every session I have gives me face-ache as I spend most of it grinning and laughing at the rest of the guys. It's been so much fun so I'm really glad we did it. 

    But what have I painted? Refreshed Rippers were first on my list, well they weren't actually on my To Do List but first on my list of things TO DONE! It was just bringing them up to current standard as their painting was over 10 years old and it showed next to their newer hatchlings.

    My giant space rat for #PitOnParade shouldn't have been my next TO DONE! But the varnishing debacle on my #DreadTober Tyrannofex made me miss my deadline and this snatched the finish line first. Worth noting this community project did win a special award for Armies on Parade.

    And my belated #DreadTober Tyrannofex. After the varnishing drama I pulled up my socks and got it completed, a week or two after the deadline but all guns were completed too and it was really impressive as it got over the line.

    I'd been chipping away at my Genestealer Cult Acolyte Iconward for quite a while. It shouldn't have taken too long to finish him off but I was slightly hampered by my fear of painting all the little test tubes and vials. It got completed alongside my Tyrannofex.

    These Devgaunts had also been progressing alongside the bigger bugs and inbetween other projects. No idea what I may need them for but they're done.

    Blog-wise the Servo-Haulers took up most of November for Armies on Parade. I honestly didn't think I'd be able to get them done in time but I did more than expected and I was really pleased with the results and they got to feature in my board. 

    The fact AoP was the end of the month and not the beginning as I originally thought allowed me to meet the deadline, as well as be positive about it at the same time. #BePositive folks, remember this should be fun and often it can be challenging if a model isn't going the way you expect.

    Not necessarily a TO DONE! but actually getting the Servo-haulers complete for #ArmiesOnParade feels worthy of including in my review

    #NidVember and #NomVember obviously coincided with blogging about Armies on Parade, but I got the Devgaunts and Iconward completed almost simultaneously. But they weren't the only models, as I progressed with the Tyranid Warriors and Hive Guard conversions, they were almost completed before the festive period hit and I took a well deserved break to recharge my batteries.

    This trio of Nurgle Blood Bowl players will no doubt show up later alongside the completed team. But, chronologically they somehow snuck in here. It's really handy to have such a pallet cleanser between other projects.

    I was still sculpting the scratchbuilt Tyranid Void Shield Generator in January and it was completed by the beginning of Feb. For a project so long in the making [over 6 years] it came together so quickly, once the sculpting hurdles were overcome [always the case]. If you go back to my To Do list post you'll even note I said completing this was 'unrealistic'. I've said it before but I can't quite convey the enormous satisfaction completing this has brought me. My hobby season could have stopped right here and I'd have been happy, but it didn't...


    With such a big project [Tyranid VSG] complete I had no real idea what was next but this little Adeptus Titanicus Cerastus Lancer was staring at me and I wondered if it would be easy to crack on with it. It was. About 3 sessions and he was done. Painted to match my existing full scale Lancer, it felt incredibly quick finishing him, but he's been WiP for months! Annoyingly he wasn't even included in my TO DO List! He should have been but it vexes me I can't cross that one out.

    I'd been working on my Nurgle Blood Bowl team since January 2020 - they were a 2019 Christmas gift. Experimenting with skintones and trying not to batch them all in one go. I painted them in 1s, 2s, 3s and 4s. There were some hits and some misses but overall I was really pleased with the results and their presence as a whole.

    After a bit of break and lack of motivation I'd been working really hard on my Aberrants and then I was inexplicably distracted by an Aegis Defence Line. Suddenly, out of nowhere, I had a Rotspawn to close out my Nurgle team. I had a trip to Warhammer World on a Monday, he was built on the Tuesday, primed and finished on the Friday night, even with a role-playing session on the Thursday. I don't recall ever achieving that level of start-to-finish so quickly. He's utterly disgusting too!

    A wise man once said "'cause you come from out of nowhere oh, oh" and certainly the Dark Angel Aegis Defence Line somehow burrowed into my consciousness and had to be completed. I had the Aberrants as my main focus, was pootling along with the Munitorum Containers and right in the middle of being distracted with the Aegis I bought and painted the Rotspawn. But when it was done I got back onto the ADL and I'm really pleased with the result, just sad I doubt I will ever field it in anger. It could just be a benign terrain piece or part of my next Armies on Parade? It is definitely worth noting this is another 'heritage' project. I won a Blog Wars painting competition and bought the Aegis with the Element Games Voucher, so that's nearly 8 years ago and it's finally complete!

    And with the Aegis detour finished, I redoubled my efforts on the Genestealer Cult Aberrants and their completion is a huge milestone. This was the last of the 7 items on my Tyranid TO DO list.

     The turquoise ones posed many issues with their skintones - I was happy with them at the wash stage. But, taking all 12 up to finished state but leaving the Turqs last allowed me the overall perspective to decide yes, highlighting the skintones was the right thing to do. 

    However, there was a period of intense uncertainty mid-way through and all the little details were incredibly time consuming and it took a lot of will-power to eventually get them TO DONE!

    Having false-started, avoided, re-started, avoided, tried again, paused and many more iterations of start/stop. I finally finished my Dark Angel's Deathwing Land Raider Redeemer. So many times this felt like it was going nowhere. When I finally made progress it felt lacking on the track covers and I decided to experiment with printing my own decals, which delayed it again. With the decals printed it was just 2 days later and it was TO DONE! and I absolutely love it. There are flaws I can pick out and some of my close up shots look awful, but I think it's fab. The fact I can love it so, despite those issues, I think is even more progress on my behalf - 'done not perfect' feels so great! 😇

    I followed up with more Dark Angels, this time with the Macragge Tactical Squad. I couldn't recall how long I've had these for, but luckily I have a blog and a search function - October 2013! And I got these, the Crashed Aquila Lander, Pilot, Genestealers and Termagants for £14! 8 year's later they're done, and there's 11 of them because I had an additional Heavy Weapons guy, but I appreciate there would only be one in the squad.

    Thanks to Otty's relentless encouragement for Middle Earth Battle Companies I realised my 12 Moria Goblins wouldn't suffice for a growing warband. I thought an additional 6 Goblins would be enough, but the first game saw 2 goblins die, but one of my heroes gained an additional 6 Influence Points for reinforcements from an inspiring recovery from a wound! I ended up replacing the 2 dead Goblins and attracting 3 more in one post game turn! So it looks like I'll need some more... 

    As the Season came to an end I was realistic about my current motivation and potential TO DONEs. The last thing I managed was the additional Knight Preceptor Weaponry. Even just the cheap art acrylics had given a great finish and I thought I'd lost some of that with the additional yellow. But, the final effect is vibrant beyond all my expectations. I'm so pleased with the result.

    I think that's 65 miniatures [some of which are bigatures]. So quantity, quality, 'mass', legacy [WiP for longtime] and terrain - which is always a massive achievement. I've tried new techniques, explored different colour schemes, FX and even sculpted again! It's been a really rewarding season, I was happy at the completion of the Tyranid Void Shield Generator, and look what I then went on to achieve! On top of all that I got a lot of things to good WiP states as well, so next season could already be well served.

    An amazing Season, potentially one of my best given the diversity of its output. Not sure how I can top that in the next one, or if I have the motivation and resources to do so, we'll just have to see. My son is due back at uni in October so I will have more hobby time again. Till then I just need to get some stuff built and prepped. Hope you all had as successful a Season as I did!

    The Big Build is my 'self-help' initiative to build miniatures. Building isn't always my favourite thing but without a construction phase I can't have a painting phase. So I recognise the special effort this challenge is to me, so I can progress through to the painting stage.

    The giant space rat for #PitOnParade was the first build of the season. Great to be a part of this community project which went on to receive an Armies On Parade award - recognised for its community spirit.

    I got the Halfling Blood Bowl team for Christmas, as a treat for myself. Building figures at Christmas feels like a tradition, I was glad to keep it going.
    My Tyranid Void Shield Generator has been taunting me with it's incompleteness for years. As New Year's hobby resolutions became a thing on twitter I did join in on some GW author's question what did we have to pledge to complete and I said this. By January it was all built and I was highly motivated to get some paint on it [as you've already seen!]. More importantly I did not feel the 'post-Christmas malaise' I usually do, which I feel this surge of creativity was responsible for.


    This Macragge Tactical Squad had been languishing on my shelf for far too long [8 years!]. I only had 1 marine to fix and base and they could be primed and realistically added to my project list.

    They'd been on my To Do list for so long, but without the banner guy they were never going to progress. That one model meant they could be primed and sit on my shelf ready for paint, some day...

    The Ravenwing Talonmaster was [yet] another item that had sat in a box for a year or two [or three]. The build was further complicated by my attempts to also have it as a third Land Speeder Typhoon, with the help of some magnets. Quite a challenge and potentially completely unnecessary but I did it.

    Treated myself to some more pointless terrain. But it is terrain - so it counts double! ;)

    I built the Nurgle Rotspawn, OK it only has 4 parts but it still counts.

    I finally kitbashed three Ravenwing Bikers into Ravenwing Black Knights, I never knew you could have a unit of 10!

    I managed to get the missing weapon shield to finish building my Imperial Knight Preceptor weaponry.

    I needed some additional Moria Goblins made up, should I ever need to expand my Goblin warband. I threw on some greenstuff too, to help individualise them a little bit. Should I need some of the more specialised characters I'm hoping Otty will kitbash some for me.

    I finally got these three attack bikes built/rebuilt. They're all primed and ready to go alongside the Ravenwing Knights. That'll be 13 parts with the sub-assemblies, 6 bikes, 3 sidecars and gunners and 4 riders. It's going to be a real slog, especially if I do all the black alongside the delayed Talonmaster. They're for the next hobby season though, it'll be a pretty impressive achievement getting them done.


    1. A season of great work! The Tyranid VSG project in particular was a rewarding completion. Such a unique thematic piece!

      I've managed just two games of out-of-doors Titanicus since 2019 (so no 40k/30k/Blackstone Fortress/just nothing). So I can relate. But I long ago decided the hobby IS the hobby and gaming with any of it is extra.

      So let's just keep on keepin' on!

      1. Glad to know I'm in good company. I've had a FEW games of Middle Earth Battle Companies which I talked about but didn't mention above. That's been fun, but at some point 40k will have to be played, I just think it's got far too complicated and bloated. Remember when everyone said how streamlined 8th was at 5he beginning. Now we've got so many models that are multi-wound, complex objective scoring missions, like ITC tournaments and even the narrative missions have the added details of Crusade benefits and buffs. Too many layers of detail for me. Struggled to finish most games I fear for what would happen now. I'll still give it a go at some point though.

    2. A great year by the looks of it, every project has such a clear stamp of your painting style on it (I think I could recognise it in a random line-up!). I only managed to play three games this year, but they were all good. Hopefully we can all get some more games in over the next year.

      1. Thanks, you're right my painting style has become a signature. I guess it helps that not only is the colour palette shared across many factions, to help unify them as a whole; but, I keep using the same techniques. This means I'm getting better at them but they still match up with things I did 5 years ago. On top of that I keep the standard for all miniatures.

        That said, it's the odd things like the Underworlds warbands [from previous years], Blood Bowl teams and the Moria Goblins that are giving me new experiences. The end results are subtly different and it's helping me grow as a painter. I just need to do more of them.