With the turning of the year closer than ever, these last few days often become a time of reflection and critique, and having been feeling thoroughly uninspired on the painting front lately, it feels right to start thinking about what I accomplished over the last 12 months. I need a lift in my hobby spirits you see!
A couple of other bloggers have attempted similar things, and indeed, browsing through their body of work from the last twelve months has been highly inspirational and really got me wanting to whack paint on lead again. The dreary winter nights and the lack of decent natural light really put me off my stride, you see.
Matthew Sullivan ( over on Oldenhamer in Toronto ) is one such individual, and he has managed to clock up an impressive 161 miniatures in that time. Wow! And if you are not a follower of his blog, I am not talking about 161 basecoat and dip plastic randoms, but an incredible collection of highly quality painted models that stretch from the classic Citadel Gothic Horrors range (of which he painted 18 individual figures) to 73 Star Wars assault miniatures!
Matthew's Talisman Samurai really made my eyes pop with its gorgeous riot of colours. I am sure that you will agree that he has a beautiful highlighting technique and can produce crisp, sharp colour without any bleaching or fading when lighter paint is added. I am particularly taken with the approach he has used to create that all important depth in his painting and I am guessing he uses a black undercoat and works up the colours. A truly terrific piece and inspiration enough to get me going with something suitably bright and exciting.
Axoim, of Magpie and Old Lead, also posted a blog about the year in review, only he had been even more prolific that Matthew. with 173 'things' painted, and that includes scenery too! He also fared very well on the gaming front and if you spend any real time on his blog you will quickly see how much effort and time goes into his gaming sessions. And talk about ambitious, he has only gone and created a 'hobby performance' graph to track his development over the last few years.
Impressive stuff, which helps rekindle the painting flame within old Orlygg, especially with Axoim sharing interesting painted figures like these eldar.
So what of me, then? How did I fair this year? To be honest, I haven't a clue. But I can flick back through this blog and have a glance over the painted models I produced during the past year and complete a rough tally. I am going to concentrate on painted figures only to start with, so here we go.
2 Night Horrors
4 Clansmen (McDeath)
1 Chaos Sorcerer
Julia McEwman, Dokko and Donald (McDeath)
1 Knight of Harkness
1 Undead Cavalry
1 Chaos Thug
Foundry Snorkling Mini Diorama
Renata/Renate (Death on the Riek)
Brooban Keyler (McDeath)
Chaos Hound (McDeath)
Lord and Lady McDeath
1 Chaos Beastman (Commission)
Palanquin of Nurgle
8 Scenic Markers
So about 94 completed painted models. Not too bad, I suppose, but nowhere near the lofty heights of Axiom and Matthew. My out put has been quite varied now I look at it, which doesn't surprise me, as I much prefer to paint different things, over working on units or regiments of many similar models. McDeath makes up a large proportion of the complete models, and I probably have the same number again in storage to work on next year.
So, as my fellow Oldhammerers have done before me, I need to set myself some targets. I definitely want to be well into the 100s by this time next year, with say a rough target of 120 complete models by the end of 2016. With my single glass cabinet already packed with painted models, I am going to have to invest in another display case if I am going to have space to store all these models too!
A great job for the wife!
|I spent some time over the last twelve months working on flesh tones and this Night Horror was an early attempt at improving my painting skill here.|
|I was able to further improve on painting flesh with my Clansmen...|
|And on a far larger scale, this giant. Looking back, I am really pleased with how my technique has improved in this area and I am beginning to experiment a little bit with other tones.|
|I have long sought to improve my shield painting skill, something that I was particularly poor at five years ago, and teeny-tiny surfaces like this really push me to my limit (which isn't far!)|
|With Thrud, I had the chance to perfect the skin tone I was working on. One of my favourite pieces this year!|
|This Night Horror was an attempt to apply the blending I use to create flesh, with a different colour. I am not sure of it worked with red but I am keen to give it another try in future.|
|Goodness, did I struggle with these treemen but I am really pleased with the end result. I think these are version three. Like Thrud, these models are some of my best work this year.|
|I had these models loitering around my paintstation for years and I set myself the task of getting them completed. Again, I had the chance to work on shield designs.|
|I was pleased with the armour on this Knight of Harkness. I used a blue wash to try and make the armour 'shine' a little and create a little tonal difference to the other metal armour I have painted. Probably my best armour paintjob yet.|
|My first speed paint. I took my just over an hour to paint this whole model - and it shows - but the experience was very beneficial. My painting style became a lot faster as a result. It is an experiment I would recommend to anyone.|
|This was another early speed paint. Not one of my best, but perfectly acceptable for rank and file.|
|I painted this in a morning and really enjoyed the process. It was also my first piece of painting all in the new Foundry Paints. Oh, and it also won a prize at the Oldhammer Weekend this year. Thanks Chico!|
|I was pleased with the colours on Renata. I wanted something bright that would reflect the gypsy inspiration, so used lots of different colours for her clothing. She is also the most expensive miniature I have ever bought - don't tell the wife!|
|My favourite model this year. A wonderfully characterful sculpt and my best paintjob. I am really pleased with how the colours I chose just 'work' as a coherent whole.|
|Spot was a restoration project and if you don't look too closely, I did an okay job.|
|Lady McDeath came out better than I had expected - considering I was attempting to recreate her look from the John Blanche artwork. My second favourite piece of the year.|
|Creating a sense of depth is important in figure painting, and this one (Fergus McEwman) is one of my very best. I am also very pleased with the skin tones here.|
|Mergrey Calchoner, a wizard from McDeath, who's colour scheme came directly from the card handouts in the game itself. A lovely combination of colours.|
|These were hard work. As I have said, I dislike painting big units of samey models but I am pleased that I managed to get these barbarians finished. I used speed painting throughout.|
|Though rather dubiously clothed, these barbarian ladies were also fun to paint. I have another four or five of these models and I hope to add a rank and standard to this unit in future.|
|More barbarians from the lengthy painting process for the McDeath rank and file.|
|Though a Scottish caricature, the clansmen were entertaining to paint up, though I feel that I could easily done better on the tartan. Still, they needed to ready to take to the Oldhammer Weekend so they had to stay as they were.|
|My final batch of barbarians, and though these were painted very quickly, it was at this point that my speed painted output started to resemble my usual style.|
|Three rather blurry orcs. I tried to change the colour of their skin from my usual recipe. I hope to do some more orcs in this same style soon.|
|I loved doing these. The Three Murderers for the Glenwoe scenario - oh, and Ratter!|
|My Tale of Four Oldhammerers contribution. My only completed model so far. I need to get going with this project once again!|
|My unreleased Citadel druid that the Grubzup! model won me at BOYL3. Here, I was keen to do something with pure white as it is always a difficult colour to shade. I used blue in the end.|
Like Axiom, I dabbled with a little bit of scenery this year, though it was nothing spectacular. My major project was the creation of a mini-gaming table out of the junk I had lying around the house. I used two old pinboards as bases, and built them up with sheets of foamboard (including old fashioned hills) and I must say, the experience taught be a great deal about creating the 'third army' - a gaming table that looks as good as you painted figures.
Here you can see the board in action. It is very lightweight and portable (which was exactly what I wanted) and though small in scale, it is just the right size for a large warbands game. In the photograph above you can see Stuart Klatcheff's McEwman force advancing on Drew William's embattled Greevant/McArno alliance while Tony Ackland, the original artist who worked on McDeath, looking on.
To help bring the board alive a little bit more, I painted up some sheep. Foundry do a lovely little set (complete with shepherd) in metal and I bought a pack during Salute. Small clumps of foliage do the same.
I mentioned earlier that I painted 8 little scenery markers and you can see some of them in this shot. Little tables, chairs, sacks of flour or barrels help break up the space around buildings and made a place look a little more lived in and realistic. They are also useful objective markers. The stone sheep pen was created from some old Brittain's walls I bought at a carboot sale. Based with plasticard and textured with a little sand and static grass, it makes a fine scenery piece.
You can also see most of the four buildings I completed this year (though I have three others than are not yet finished so I will not be including them here), two of which are original Warhammer Townscape cardstock, and two of which were printed out. Can you tell which is which?
I was also able to get more games in than ever before, largely thanks to the wonderful community we have built over the last three years.
|I was also able to catch this fine shot during our May visit. Oldhammer fans cluster around the Mighty Avenger to gawp at the wonders he brought forth from Stoke Hall.|
|And finally, on Halloween I visited the Wargames Foundry for the THIRD time in 2015 and played out a scenario in the Night of the Living Dead series.|
So, looking back it has been a really exciting and productive year. I think that spending this afternoon going through my 2015 Oldhammer journey was well worth it, as I now feel much more positive about the pile of lead and dusty paints on my desk. But what to paint first? Something different and simple to help get the old muscle memory back on form.
But what exactly?
Before I pop off to undercoat something interesting I would just like to thank everyone who rolled dice with me this year, especially Warlord Paul, Steve the Citadel Collector and Thantsants. Special mention must be made at this point to Stuart 'My Chauffeur' Klatcheff, who drove me to the Foundry and back more than once this year.
See you all next year, if not before!