It’s week 32 of tracking my hobby progress, and this week is rather special for me, not because of any significant amount of progress being made on, well, anything, but because it marks two years since I started down this Warhammer road! But first of all, what have I been up to this week?
The answer: building more models.
You know, this blog project was intended to track my progress with painting miniatures, and to keep up motivation and the like, but has developed into more of an activity update. At least, it has in my head. I mean, I would rather think of it as, “I need to get painting so that I can have something to show for Sunday”; rather than, “I need to get something to upload for Sunday”. Building stuff is fine, so long as I then paint it! But all that said, we are now entering into the time of year when I want to start stocking up on models built and primed, ready to paint over winter. So there is that. But still!
This week, I did actually try to paint some people, but that didn’t turn out well for me, if I’m honest. I built up the Vanguard Veterans kit that I’ve had hanging around for ages, and was casting around for some way of painting them different to Ultramarines, settling on Scythes of the Emperor. For those who didn’t follow that link, the colour scheme is a dark grey/black head, arms and legs, with a yellow torso and backpack. I thought it’d be cool to try something new, and while the black bits were easy, because of both the level of detail and the way I’d posed these guys, painting the torsos yellow because a nightmare, one that probably wouldn’t be worth it as very little of the actual torso armour is visible! So I abandoned it after three guys…
But you can see them on the far right of the picture up there!
Also built this week were four more Mark-IV marines for my Alpha Legion, two of whom are bare-headed, which might be interesting. I’ve also built five of the Deathwatch marines from the Overkill box, which are very beautiful models, I have to say! And I bought Death Masque, having told myself I’d wait until the models were available individually (because Duncan’s recent tutorial has shown they will be…) I’ve built up the Venerable Dreadnought and four of the five Deathwatch Veterans, and I have to say, I was quite surprised at the quality of the plastic in that box.
The Dreadnought had some pretty bad mould-slips, but it’s an older kit so I wasn’t expecting a pristine cast, you know? But the new Veterans were pretty uninspiring when compared with the marines from Overkill, and even if you think, “well, they’re not character models”, they still didn’t feel the same quality as the maximus marines from Betrayal at Calth. They felt like an old kit, is what I’m trying to say, even though the sprue is datestamped 2016. So, hm. Maybe they were a bit rushed, and the actual single-box release will be a nicer cast. I’ll be buying more, because of course I will, so we’ll see what they look like…
So it’s been two years since I first put a brush on a piece of plastic (or, more accurately, finecast resin). It was 10 August, if we’re being strictly accurate, though it was actually a Sunday, which is why I’ve held off posting anything on my blog until today. Without trying to be particularly arrogant, I’m actually really impressed with how I’ve progressed as a painter in that time, something that I feel is pretty accurately summed up in this picture:
The beast of Nurgle was the first project, and the Alpha Legion marine is the most recent finished project I have, from July. The beast is okay if you think everything in a Nurgle army needs to look like it was sneezed-upon. Overall, I’m unimpressed with it, but I think part of that might actually be because I’m not all that much of a Nurgle fan anyway. But there is so much more that I could have done with it, but didn’t. The ‘ardcoat is probably unnecessary, but I didn’t really know what I was doing, let’s be honest! By contrast, the marine looks like, well, how marines actually look. Sure, all of the panels aren’t perfectly edge-highlighted, and there are spots where I probably should tidy up the paintwork, but overall, this looks like an actual miniature that I quite gladly accept as being my own work!
The last two years have seen a whole bunch of models painted up, and more than anything, I’m really, really happy that I’ve actually stuck with this. I think I’ve talked about this already on my blog, but for years I’ve never thought of myself as particularly crafty, being more creative with words than anything else. The thought of making something out of bits of plastic – granted, bits of plastic that were already largely looking good on the sprue, and only required release and a bit of glue – let alone actually painting these bits of plastic… it made me a bit nervous, to say the least. But I tried it, couldn’t believe how amazing it was to be creative in this manner, and have stuck with it since! Yeah, there may have been times where I’ve taken a small break, and times where I’ve felt a little overwhelmed by the huge stack of plastic in boxes that I’d collected to my person, but I don’t think I’d ever felt like throwing in the towel.
I think my one regret so far has been not playing as much with these things. I love the look of Warhammer 40k, and I love the idea of playing battles with these guys, no matter how abstract that actually is. So I thought it’d be time to set out some hobby goals for the next twelve months!
Top of the list, then, is to play more. My local GW has just started some skirmish-style 40k games as a regular thing on a Thursday; unfortunately I couldn’t make the first one last week, but I’ll be heading up there this coming week, armed with 250 points of Necrons, so we’ll see what happens!
I also want to get moving with more of my Necrons. This is an army that is really, really dear to me, being my first and all, and I want to try to improve upon it. I’ve noticed that, when painting new units for them in the past, I’ve tried to match the look to the rest of the army, which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, “the rest of the army” contains some of the very first models I ever painted, and I feel that I could do so much more better with them now! I’m not going to 100% change the look of the army, but I do want to try and be better with some of the things I plan to add in the coming months. Top of that list is the Doomsday Ark that I’d planned as my summer project about a week before Age of Sigmar dropped last year. Might try to make that happen this Autumn…
I’m going to enter Armies on Parade at my local store this year, too, with my Stormcast Eternals. I already have a lot of, I think, really nice models, and when I played that four-player game earlier in the year, a lot of folks did stop to admire my guys, so I’m thinking I might as well! I want to try to get a few more guys painted up for this, starting with the Knight-Heraldor, and maybe the Dracothian Guard. There are still, what, six weeks or so before the event, so who knows what I might be able to add!
More than anything, though, I want to improve my painting skills generally. I’d like to think I’m a half-decent painter – like I said before, my marines look like marines, and not a car crash. But I’d like to get better. Every so often, I manage to turn out something that I’m really impressed and pleased with, but more often than not, I churn out stuff to something approaching a tabletop standard, and leave it at that. Recently, I’ve come to notice that I’m painting models just to get the colour on there, rather than taking my time and making things look really nice. I also have a lot of gaps in painting things, which are sometimes unavoidable, but usually means that I’m never really improving, if that makes sense? So I want to just go at a lot of things, and really try to produce some miniatures that I can be really proud of!
Even though this blog was only intended to run for 2016, I think the idea of some regular checking-in progress blog is good enough to continue well into the future! I’m thinking I might try to get as much as possible finished in the four and a half months that remain of this year, so that when 2017 begins, it will indeed be a “week one”, though I’ve picked up plenty of models this year that have been going on from 2015, so I guess it’s no big deal. Anyway, might have more of a think about that.
That’s all I can think of for the time being, anyway! I’m sure more ideas will present themselves as time goes on, and I’ll add them in to my progress blogs over the coming weeks.