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. 

Friday 8 July 2022

Where's my head @?

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been #PaintingWarhammer a little bit but I confess the blog has been a bit quiet recently. I'll not apologise, because we know it's not necessary but I am somewhat conflicted as I both want to put more effort in to make the blog more successful and I really don't have the energy to hobby at the moment, let alone blog.

Currently I have a number of other priorities - my son is back from uni and he's wanting to watch TV with me in the evening, which I can't turn down. I love that we share that time together, even if it isn't always interacting with each other, we're sharing something. We're watching Attack on Titan anime, which is alright, if a little frustrating. I don't know if it's anime in general but they certainly drag things out, maybe it's different writing sensibilities. 

On top of that, having rearranged my home office/hobby space [more to come on that soon], I may be taking on a new job. After 20 years in the same role I'm in the process of getting a secondment for 2 years as a senior creative designer. It's a massive change, but I need it, however daunting a prospect it might be. It could be more stressful as it's new people, new expectations and my current boss is the absolute best - we're like an old married couple and I'm going to miss speaking to him every day. That's been the hardest part about working from home - not seeing him every day. But, theses opportunities don't come up very often and my career has stagnated for far too long. 2 years and back could be just what I need.

I've also had a number of migraine's recently that have set me back a bit and I've got to design my wife's birthday cards, which is a challenge in itself, so the hobby is taking somewhat of a backseat. That said I am painting now specifically for #ArmiesOnParade - my Ravenwing and eventually my Death Guard are primarily just for that that hobby event. I still can't see playing any of them for 9th edition but it'll be nice to finally have all these bikes completed. But of course, Space Marine bikes are labour intensive. I've got 3 bikes, 3 Black Knights, 3 Attack Bikes and the Primaris Chaplain on a bike. That's a lot to do so I need to find a way to balance all the effort it requires. On the plus side I am just about convincing myself that highlighting the black is not a problem, and my head is in the right space to persevere with these until completion. But, the effort is significant, so I just need to break it down into manageable chunks so I don't become overwhelmed.

It's quite the goal to get all this done for AoP. I even had some stretch goals to scratch build some extra terrain elements too. It's highly unlikely I'll do them, but you never know. The Death Guard is a huge challenge and may even have to be scrapped if I can't be as slapdash and grungy as they deserve to be in the time remaining. That is still down to be something I do with my youngest though. We even got him a Myphitic Blight Hauler the other day for him to build and paint. If we do spend time painting together that could speed things up significantly and my plan for the parade could be achieved. If not, it'll just be my Ravenwing and scenery, with the Munitorum Containers also on the To Do List.

So, that's where my head is @ the next couple of months are a little unsettled, but September/October might bring about renewed focus and sense of normality. 🤞

Wednesday 6 July 2022

'nids part 337 - Modern Synthesist's Tyranid Barricade - TO DONE!

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been #PaintingWarhammer on Mr Pink, aka The Modern Synthesist's Tyranid Barricade. And this was just another evening's work to get it done. There were a lot of striations on the chitin plates, that middle one in particular, but otherwise it was eerily familiar.

As I was painting the edges it almost felt exactly the same as my own efforts. As each paint stroke went on I could almost feel the process of the sculpt, which brought back those first-hand memories of sculpting my own Tyranid defence lines.

I explored some additional redness to the bonewhite on the inside. Watered down Vallejo Extra Opaque [I know it's a contradiction to water it down] Heavy Red does an amazing job of adding that raw soreness to the interior. It looks like the bio-organic growth is painfully rupturing through the ground and the additional tones make it more interesting too.

The tiny little dots inside some of the furrows are a really nice touch. Adding the odd highlight to them to stand out, as if they are seeding spores - it's a nice touch. The Barricades are not just defensive structures, but also organisms to further xenoform the planet they've infested.

It's been an absolute joy to turn this round so quickly. To Take Mr Pink's model blend it with my hive fleet and further expend my on repertoire in how I paint my nids.

It's made me think again about scratchbuilding. I really need to think about my next effort - the Tyranid Promethium relay pipes. My priorities are all my Ravenwing and Death Guard to do for #ArmiesOnParade but once that's out of the way I should explore the joys of scratchbuilding again.

So, here's my Great Big BLESSED VERDIGRIS Stamps of Approval! 

Monday 4 July 2022

'nids part 336 - Modern Synthesist's Tyranid Barricade - Base, Prime and Basecoat

Afternoon #WarHamFam and #WarhammerCommunity I've been #PaintingWarhammer, you may or may not recall a year or so ago that Mr Pink, aka The Modern Synthesist sent me a gift. I was so inspired by his Tyranid Barricades back in the day I took a leap of faith and sculpted my own, with no prior experience. Following that I made Tyranid Bastion, Capillary Towers that would form a Skyshield Landing Pad and eventually my Tyranid Void Shield Generator.

My inspiration by him was something he wanted to reward and so he sent me this resin cast of one of his barricade as well as a couple of his original sculpts. I revered these items, but the cast felt like it should be more. It wasn't enough to remain in the slightly dodgy black primer it was languishing it. It deserved to be taken into the Hive Fleet and become part of my own army. I mentioned this to Mr Pink and he was perfectly happy to take it further, it was mine to do with as I wished.
It took a while to both build the confidence to do this and find a spot, but with the Halflings done why not just throw in some Tyranid. So I'd added sand to the base, to match my army and then primed it Red Oxide... That's when I discovered the original  Black Primer was even worse than it's finish portrayed. I don't know it was an enamel primer, but it reacted badly with the Halfords primer and blistered and puckered like fingers that had been in the bath too long.
This quick side project was rapidly deteriorating. So I swiftly decided to strip the worst of the effected areas with acetone free nail varnish remover and then primed it again as you see here. I then Red Planet BASEd the edges.

Bahama Blue Craft Acrylic on the chitin plates, you can see it's still wet!

Bonewhite on the inside and I picked out some of the guitar wire ripping in Khorne Red.

A sepia wash, followed by an Army Painter Strong Tone Wash to give the blue depth.

And on the inside too. I think this was just an evening's work and I'm already onto highlights - good progress.

Here's my Great Big Big Build Base BLESSED VERDIGRIS Stamp of Approval.