Saturday, 26 December 2009

Christmas 2009, a retrospective.

Hello there merry readers, onlookers and general passerbys!

I realised today that the question one is often asked on Boxing day is 'so what did you get'? Though those that ask do not really wish to know, they merely believe it to be the 'right' question to ask and perhaps, even possibly moreso, to initiate in conversation.
I answered this question today with a simple answer 'books and a voucher that I will never use'.
This answer was quite simple but indeed quite true!

As I write this, sitting next to me is a (quite sizable) pile of tomes which I recieved or have bought over the 'festive period'.

Firstly, was a gift to myself and the book I am currently reading out of interest. This book is 'Leviathan'. A 'young adult' book that is rather VSF in reading. Very simple, quick but great for VSF related ideas.
Secondly is a book that Ross very kindly gave me when we played Slaughterloo. It is Route 666, a compilation of 'dark future' related stories which I believe follow on from the actual route 666 story by 'Jack Yeovil'.
I also bought myself Michael Moorcock's 'Blood', 'The War Amongst the Angels' and 'The Revenge of the Rose'. I am a Moorcock fan and saw these in a charity shop in Oxford on the Cowley Road. It is an excellent Charity Shop, bursting at the seams with stuff. There are some excellent finds to be had in there. Also, from the same charity shop I found 'The Art of Discworld', a book I recall glancing in on a wander around Borders when it was at it's normal state.
I also visited Oxfam Bookshop in Oxford, quite a good one in my opinion, and discovered the illustrated version of 'Eric' for £2. I was very happy with that! Coventry Oxfam is the best I have visited for anyone concerned in the buying of secondhand fantasy/SF books. However, Astley Bookfarm cannot be ignored for anyone in that part of the country.

Hannah, my girlfriend picked up a copy of 'The Fifth Elephant' for me and my parents got me Unseen Acidemicals, finishing off my collection of Discworld Novels (not including the teen ones, I am only missing 'hat full of sky'). My parents also got me Dan McGirt's 'Dirty Work', based only on the illustration on the front being 'not too dissimilar from a Discworld cover'. Reason being it is Josh Kirby!
Hannah also got me Hellboy: Volume 1, a HUGE graphic novel which I really look forward to reading, and Watchmen, which is in fact signed by Dave Gibbons. A lovely and very unexpected gift!
Then another personal buy, today (from Waterstone's in Oxford) based on the judgement of Steve Blease I picked up 'The Chronicles of Conan' using the money my Grandparents very nicely gave to me. It is a wonderfully bound and presented book that will look excellent on my bookcase at home!

What of the useless voucher you all ask, well, the voucher is one for 'Burton', which I believe is a fashionable Men's clothing outlet. Anyone that knows me will know I am not the 'fashionable' sort, much preferring the band tee-shirt and jeans look. Anyone who would like this and would swap it for cash, I would be more than greatful!

Surprisingly, I got a few other things. A few DVDs were in store for me, the Starship Troopers trilogy set (yes, yes, I know), The Colour of Magic and Hogfather. Uponm watching Sky1 last night I discovered that Going Postal is also going to be released as a film very soon! Wonderful news I thought. I intend on watching the Colour of Magic today. I have only seen the first half.

Hannah's mum, very unexpectedly got me a 'make your own morph', after discovering I am sculpting little men to be made into tin soldiers... Quite a humourous present and I remember Morph in my childhood.

So yes, maybe it wasn't quite as true, but as you can see, had I told them the truth I may have scared them off!

I took Gavin Syme's (of Alternative Armies) advice as to yesterday. He told me to take a day off, relax and don't do anything related to 'the hobby'. I enjoyed yesterday, made sure spirits were high and had a really nice day.
I truly hope you all shared this experience and I would be more than interested to hear what you all got. Not just as a conversation opener or because it is 'what one SHOULD ask', but out of genuine curiosity.


Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Off to the Club!

Well, Abingdon Wargames club is on tonight and I intend on playing Uncharted Seas with Richard.

He has just bought the LEU01 : Bella Manicotti from Alternative Armies, with the intention of beginning to play Flintloque and possibly even Slaughterloo.

I wish him luck!

He also wants a gnome army for Panzerfauste Legion once it is out and there are some codes for it.

I haven't got any updates, but I will have some later or tomorrow. I have been 'working' on actual sculpts for AA rather than personal ones today, so nothing on the Toad Noble unfortunately.

Cheers guys!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

The moste Excellent artiste, Goyah of Catalucia.

The Moste Excellent Artiste, Frantastico Goyah of Catalucia.

This is the new VLE code from Alternative Armies. Limited to 250 casts, the set comes with Goyah, his easel, a canvas and a Todoroni subject. I loved all the miniatures in the set, but felt I could rework the subject into a rather more fitting model as you will see below.
I begin most of my sculpts with a quick sketch, as you can see, the initial idea is not too different from the original model. Though the original is nice, I wanted to push him as a pomp of a character, an overweight snob of the highest notability.

Below the model is shown with the head and arm removed, as well as the scarf which laid down on his chest. The idea behind cutting all of this away is to allow space for me to work. Sometimes I even sand it down flat to give a smooth surface.

Measuring the arms, the originals were a little disproportionate the the body of the model and in each other. I looked at myself in the mirror, hands at my sides. My hands fall just below my groin, as represented in the photograph on the miniature below.

After attaching the arms, I chose to consider how the arms would be placed. I then took his left arm (our right) off to allow ease of handling whilst sculpting (I hate finger prints!).

After removing the left arm, I gave him a large, bulbous head (blob of greenstuff). I have flattened it out at the back onto his back to make it look attached rather that just floating. All of my toads are a little hunched, so I wanted this guy to fit as well. I think this is more to do with physique rather than his character.

Using a sculpting (dental) tool, I made 2 little dents in his face. As usual, I smoothed it out with a clay shaper, removing any hard lines.

I then gave him 2 little nostrils. For this, I looked at the Bella Lugosi miniatures from AA and considered how they were originally done and how this model would fit in. Originally, the model had tiny nostrils which were barely noticable. Now they are a bit more prominent, but not over the top.

I then worked on the mouth. Using the sculpting tool, I pushed down to create the mouth. You could easily do this by building up, but it is a technique I have used on all my toads so chose to continue. I also used a Taper pointed clay shaper to draw lines from the toads nostrils to his mouth, and under his lip. I also lightly pressed between each nostril on the top of his head to create a little more detail. When sculpting, I try to keep in mind not only the basic style of painting (block colour), but also those who like to use ink and drybrush techniques, but also pure highlighters or layer painters (Kevin Dallimore/Steve Dean style).

This closeup of the face shows the detail put into the miniature's face so far. I also rolled up 2 balls and stuck them to his head. I then smoothed them out at the back to join to his head. This mades doing the eyelids later a much easier task.
I then dotted each eyeball with a taper point clay shaper.

As I mentioned before, I wanted this model to represent a fat, prudent toad. To show this in miniature form, I sculpted a large belly and 'man'boobs (or 'moobs') onto him. The reason I did it this way and not in the uniform stage was so that I can just 'dress' him when it comes to that. I find worrying about shape AND form AND detail all at the same time can confuse a miniature and the sculpt will just look messy in the end. This way makes a) tidying up and b) correcting the miniature, much easier.

A side view of the 'moobs' and belly. I may add more to the bottom of his belly.
One thing I noticed was that his shoes are WAY smaller than any other todoroni miniature out there. He needs to keep his webbed feet somewhere (even if he doesn't use them!). So I enlarged them with a block of greenstuff, shaped with a sculpting tool and then smoothed out and joined to the metal shoe with a taper point clay shaper.

Tomorrow you will see more progress on the model.
I suggest giving 4 hour intervals before returning to a sculpt, sometimes 3 if you are pushed for time or have a comission, but handle the model VERY lightly.
I don't attach mine to cork, simply as I have never had to. Though in the future I think it is something I should consider as you are much less likely to touch the actual model.
Cheers guys,
Rambling over.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Christmas SLOO!

Well, I am back in Abingdon for the festive period. I have taken this as a chance to play some Slaughterloo games with Ross. The soundtrack for the game was Sharpe, followed by the lord of the rings.
I enjoyed the Sharpe music rather more! Perhaps a hash of both at the same time is required!

Rather embarrasingly, only half of my division was painted. However, I am rather proud of the ones that are painted.

The Generale Ferro Rospo overlooking the battle. Rather annoyed by his girlfriend it would appear!

The Todoroni surround a unit of Krautian Dwarf Guard, who rather annoyingly formed square. As is typical!
My other units softened them up and the Hussars charged towards them, failing to make the distance. A great shame which may have chaged the final outcome of the game!

The game was as fun as I remember it being and I really wish I could play it more regularly. I was well up for another game, but I would have liked to change my division. I think I would have gotten bored half way through.
Well done for the win Ross!

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Sod it!

I have a high-res camera now, so I should be able to take some good photos.
I'm gonna photograph my todoroni army as the previous photographs were shite.

I'll also record what happens at the Scimitar Wargames group.


It's been a while!

It certainly has been a while!

I am just playing around with a few things at the moment and this is one thing I felt I left behind. I think it's down to lack of followers really. But that's my fault!

Anyway, I have just had my assessments at Uni and it happens that I got a Merit/Distinction level pass for the first part of it! I am very happy with that (perfection from the start is impossible, after all!). Hopefully I will bump it up to Distinction over the next project. I really need to get mounting my work!

I have also begun sculpting for Alternative Armies properly, which I am chuffed with. It is a shame I cannot talk much about it, but if I see any painted, I will be filled with pride.

I am waiting for a phonecall from GW about the job still. I have been told I will be phoned tomorrow.

Me and Hannah are waiting in our freezing home for the insulation people to come round, it appears they arrange times to turn up in Warwickshire, but then never bloody do. Perhaps there is an abyss somewhere in Warwickshire where insulation people go on the way to Kenilworth...

Sorry for the lack of Photos, perhaps I will start up again soon.