Hobby Reflections – 5 years on

Hey everybody,
August is my hobby anniversary month, and I have been quite reflective over the last couple of weeks, thinking on how far I’ve come with the hobby, and celebrating the fact that I’m really enjoying myself at the moment. I’ve probably said this on several occasions now, which almost makes it null and void, but I don’t think I’ve ever been enjoying myself in the hobby as much as I am right now, playing more regularly than I have ever managed previously, and dabbling in many different projects within the ranges Games Workshop has to offer.

It’s that dabbling that I want to ramble about today, though. I read Tyler Mengel’s ‘Hobby Discipline’ post at the end of last week, where he talks about the variety of projects he has planned out, and bemoaning the fact there are so many minis, but such little time. It really got me thinking about my own myriad plans, and how I have over the years tried to thin out the hobby backlog, only to then find myself in exactly the same position after a few scant months.

Over the years, I’ve bought and sold too many forces, both large and small, and I’ve tried with varying degrees of success to limit myself to stick to projects. I think the Tau Empire army that I found myself building up, only to then sell off wholesale, was a fairly significant turning point for me, however, as it brought it home how much time, effort and money that I had sunk into a project, just to wave goodbye to the whole thing within the space of 15 months or so.

I’m fairly certain that I am one of these people who are most easily classified as a “hobby butterfly”, moving from project to project with a whole host of half-finished pieces scattered in my wake. I almost think I’m pathologically incapable of seeing an army project through to completion! My current focus has been with my Necrons once more, which is something of a nostalgia trip for me at this time of year anyway, but is greatly helped by the fact that I’m playing more games at the minute than I have for a long time, and can almost see the holes in my army lists and how I can plug them. It’s almost like the game is designed that way, right?! More than that, however, I’m also enjoying the fact that I’m spending a lot of time with the Codex of my army, poring over the available units and the armoury sections, to see what I could possibly bring to the table, how I could field a different-looking army, etc. It’s really addictive to play a game, see where I went wrong, then want to play again and make changes.

The Necrons project kinda burst onto the scene shortly after I moved house, but up until that point I was working almost feverishly on my Adeptus Mechanicus project, mostly in the attempt to get an Imperium army that I could play on the tabletop. I don’t think I’ve ever fielded an Imperium force, and the idea sort of got hold of me. Having had a whole bunch of Skitarii that were half-built and waiting for paint, I found it really satisfying to finally get round to painting them, and seeing the project that had begun sometime in 2017 coming to fruition. The only other time I have ever been able to paint with such single-mindedness was probably when painting up my Drukhari, earlier in 2017.

I mention all of these projects almost as an attempt to console myself, as I am capable of sustained interest in an army project without the need to have sidelines going on. Many people mention painting up five or ten models for a unit, then moving to something else as a ‘palette’ cleanser. Personally, I’ve taken that idea a step further many times, and have painted up several really disparate models side by side, knowing that they share colours, in an effort to keep myself interested and motivated. Deathwatch, Genestealer Cult and Electro Priests all shared space on my desk at the same time, and it proved to be a fairly decent way to make sure I kept going.

However, whether because I’m playing more, or my painting time has become somewhat limited, I’m finding myself wanting to concentrate on getting a much narrower selection of models painted up these days. My Necrons are a case in point here, as I’ve found myself wanting to get the Lychguard models finished in time for a game, so didn’t want to get distracted by painting up the Van Saar gangers or the Iron Golem warband that I could have also had on the table, because I know they all share some colours in common. Even within the same project, I was in danger of getting sidelined by painting Tomb Blades, Canoptek Scarabs, and the Triarch Stalker, and so put everything away except the models that I wanted to focus on right there and then.

It’s not a bad thing to have a number of projects on the go at the same time, and it can often be quite economical to paint up several different models at the same time if they all share a common colour/colours, like some kind of weird batch-paint session. But I suppose when there are too many projects on the go, and you run the risk of never finishing anything, therein lies the problem. It’s giving me a lot of joy right now to see my Necrons army coming along so well, as they will always be my first love and passion, though my earlier attempt at an army of them was nowhere near the sort of standard that I would like to hold myself to these days!

There is, of course, another side to the coin of playing so many games with a fairly small-scale force, and that is the number of models you end up with, through being able to change your list fairly flexibly. If I had stuck to the 2000-point list that I had outlined almost 12 months ago (even adjusting for Chapter Approved), I probably wouldn’t be staring down the barrel of so many units as I am currently, because I keep changing up the way I build my 1000-point armies. By making small adjustments, swapping one unit for another, then another for yet another, a small-scale list can see me go through at least seven or eight revolving unit types, on top of the basic battalion force that has remained something of a bedrock for the list these past few months. When playing at 1000 points, I might overlook the Doomsday Ark, or the Triarch Stalker, because it is quite a large investment for one model, whereas for almost the same price I could put 5 Triarch Praetorians in my list and see what they have to offer. But I could also swap them out for Lychguard. Or I could make a couple of swaps together, removing the Lychguard and the Cryptek HQ for Illuminor Szeras and some Tomb Blades. All of these units probably wouldn’t find themselves in the same list at 2000 points, but I might want them all ready to go for my various 1000-point lists.

It’s an interesting position to be in, and I can see myself ending up with a much, much larger Necron force than I would perhaps originally have planned because of it!

But this is where the collector in me resurfaces, and I think there was an element of this back when I was first getting into 40k in 2014. I actually had all of the named HQ choices, even though I probably had no plans for fielding them – the only one I actually liked to play was Orikan the Diviner. It’s something that has really informed my Drukhari purchases in the last 12 months, as well – wanting at least one of every model in the range. So what if a particular model looks like ass? I’m in that sort of mindset where I identify quite strongly with the army (armies) that I play, and so want to own at least one of everything.

Where my Necrons are concerned, this is something that I never used to bother with, as very early on in my hobby career I’d made the judgment that I didn’t like the sculpts for Warriors, Destroyers and Flayed Ones, and so would just ignore them in the Codex and build lists that didn’t take account of them as options for the army. I’d then proceed to bemoan the expense of Lychguard as a melee option for the army, without really taking account of the fact that I can get Flayed Ones for about 55 points cheaper. Of course, I could always look into conversions, but that is a subject for another day – suffice it to say, I would always prefer to have an official GW model over one that I had had to make as a stand-in.

I feel that my attitude towards making the most out of a Codex has really helped me to see the potential for the Necrons, but to some degree it has helped with all of the armies that I collect. My Adeptus Mechanicus army had always been centred around the idea of waves and waves of Skitarii, peppered with Onager Dunecrawlers and the like. But having looked at everything they have, I have come to some much more interesting ideas as a result, and the same is true of my other projects.

The somewhat forgotten few – projects that I’ve barely touched in years…

But this does then come back to the idea from the start of the blog, about having too many projects going on at once, and where to draw the line over what we can and cannot accomplish as hobbyists. I shudder to think at just how many projects I actually have going on right now – indeed, it actually gives me a headache trying to grapple with them all. It’s not just army projects, of course, as I also have a good amount of terrain that wants some attention, both in the box and fully built (even primed and ready for paint, in some cases). It was one of my hobby goals for the year to get at least one decent-sized piece of terrain painted, and as we say farewell to the second third of the year, I am still nowhere near realising that aspiration! But then, I’m quite far away from a number of other goals from my list, so I suppose it’s all relative.

It does feel like this might be a good place to talk about those hobby goals, though, and to perhaps re-visit the list and see if I can get rid of a few of these that definitely won’t be realised before the end of the year. I’m pretty confident that I won’t be painting any Deathwatch or Grey Knights in the remaining months of the year, and while I might buy him, Inquisitor Karamazov is probably not going to see my hobby desk, either. An Imperial tank? I was thinking along the lines of a Predator, but I suppose it’s possible that I’ll be picking up one of the new Skitarii vehicles sometime soon, so that might still happen. I do want to put some of my focus back onto the Adeptus Mechanicus, though, as I’d like to get another unit painted up before year-end there. I’m actually thinking I might try to tackle the Onager, which would be very cool! I’d like to have painted up the contents of a Start Collecting box, so that’s something hovering around my brain.

Necrons are at the forefront of my mind right now, though, and while I would really like to get the Doomsday Ark painted, there are several other units vying for my attention there in terms of playing games, so I think I will probably give them some sort of priority: Tomb Blades and the Triarch Stalker being top of the list, but also more Immortals, Canoptek Wraiths, and (a weird one), the C’tan Shard of the Deceiver. I have some vague ideas for using him in my next game, as it happens, so I would like to try and get moving with him. I suppose Necrons generally should be on this list, as I try to flesh out my army there to be something approaching the breadth of my Drukhari. I keep saying that Necrons are my first love, but the amount of models that I can field really does seem to belie that fact! Time to press on.

My Hobby Goals list was written with half a mind to reducing some of the backlog that I’d accumulated over the years, but I think the way that I’ve been approaching that backlog has changed somewhat, as I’ve been tackling things that I am actually going to be getting some use out of. I don’t think it’s going to really be that possible to ever not have a backlog, and as such I don’t think it’s something I should really try to aim for. But I’d like to try to have a couple of weeks, maybe even a month, where I don’t find myself significantly adding to the mountain of plastic that has been accumulating around me – especially seeing as how that mountain is now stored in the loft… those rafters can’t take infinite strain, after all!!

Mid Year Hobby Check-In

Hey everybody!
Things have been a bit sparse here on the blog in recent weeks, due to the fact that I’m moving house again at the end of this week. Two moves inside of two years isn’t really all that bad, if I’m being honest, though it’s still one move more than perhaps I’d like! Well, anyway – we’re having lots of fun because Jemma is now six months pregnant, so can’t do a great deal of anything when it comes to packing and moving stuff, but the heir is apparently developing beautifully, so that’s the most important thing!

Anyway!

I’m a bit late to the party on this one, for sure, but I wanted to check in with how I’ve been doing, hobby wise, especially in comparison with the hobby resolutions that I made back in December! So let’s get cracking, and see how widely I’ve strayed from these goals…

First of all, though, let’s take a look at what those resolutions were to be:

So then! I think the easiest thing would be to just run through the list quickly and see, one by one, what I have managed to do…

Build and paint a third Ravager
This one is still a work in progress. But it’s on my mind, which is good!

Build and paint an Imperium tank of some sort
I was hoping to do a Predator or something – you know, something that really looks like a tank? But I haven’t gotten anywhere with this yet.

Buy, build and paint Inquisitor Karamazov
None of these things has happened yet.

Continue to build up and paint the 1500 point Grey Knight List
This project has well and truly stalled!

Finish off painting the Deathwatch models that I have
This project has also well and truly stalled!

Work out what to do with those Tyranids, if anything
Finally, something that I can tick off! Check out this blog post for those plans! I’ve had several thoughts, plans and ideas since then, as well, though I don’t think they’ve yet made it into blog form. But give it time…

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
Another big tick in the box – I’ve sold the whole lot on ebay, including the Codex. That Tau bridge has been well and truly burnt!

Paint 10 more Neophyte Hybrids, and paint 5 Hybrid Metamorphs
The models are built and primed, ready and waiting. I just need to get myself sorted out! This has actually stalled in favour of the next bullet point, however:

Paint 10 Skitarii, the Tech Priest Dominus, and the Dunecrawler
Well, I haven’t quite managed the Dunecrawler yet, but the Skitarii are coming along quite nicely, as it happens!

Paint some Ravenwing Black Knights, and the Deathshroud
Okay, so this has also well and truly stalled, but my buddy Matthew has been recently sharing some progress he’s made with his Dark Angels, which has in turn started me thinking once again about a return to the First. Watch this space on that one!

Paint at least one proper terrain piece (not just an ammo crate)
Well, I have plenty of terrain pieces that are built and primed – it’s just finding the time, at the moment, to get anywhere with them! I think I’ve just been much more focused on getting dudes painted, their surroundings have kinda lapsed into nothing for me at this point. Though I have started painting four more ammo crates…

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
Okay, so this is probably the biggest one for me thus far – I’ve painted up quite a decent chunk of spooks at this point, and have had three games of AoS, which has been really positive overall! I’ve had some hiccups with it, whereby I’ve almost been branching out too much again, but I think I’m now contained to just Death and Slaanesh armies, keeping my AoS adventure much more understated and in keeping with the factions that hold the most interest to me.

Hopefully when I move, I’ll be able to get some more games in!

Paint the Doomsday Ark
Well, this one is still in pieces somewhere, so let’s move on…

Try out ShadeVault and Necromunda
Again, not managed to do anything here except paint gang members, so let’s continue…

Play more games, dammit!
Well, I’ve managed to play 9 games so far this year, across 40k, Age of Sigmar and Kill Team. Bearing in mind that I only managed to play 11 games in the entirety of 2018, 9 games in 6 months isn’t bad at all! So I feel quite good about this one, even though it isn’t as good as perhaps it could be!


So far, then, I’ve not been doing that well, but I think that’s partly because I was so focused, back in December, on getting my Deathwatch and Grey Knights painted, that I somehow thought I could do it to the exclusion of all else. Now, my buddy Kev has often said I just need to be focused here, but I do tend to lack that over a long stretch. I mean, if I had two weeks where all I painted were marines every day, then I might actually come out with a few hundred points of army at the end of it. However, I’ve been painting for one or two nights a week, for one or two weeks per month, and my focus is diffused over a wide variety of projects. Inevitably, I just end up doing nothing, or very little, and I think I need to get better at that aspect.

Last month, I started painting Skitarii like there was no tomorrow – at least, by my standards! And while it might not sound that impressive, I managed to get fifteen Skitarii Vanguard, a Tech Priest Dominus and a Tech Priest Enginseer painted up! That’s not bad, considering I’ve also been slowly packing up the house!

So I think I need to really try to hone myself into just concentrating on one project at a time, and going from there.

However!

Lack of concentration is one thing, but there has also been a number of new releases that have just grabbed my attention, and I feel now like I really need to alter my original resolutions in order to take account of them!

First up is, of course, Slaanesh. I’ve been a great fan of the Dark Prince since my Warhammer Invasion days, and I am thinking more and more about the need to start painting more of these things, and soon! I did also get a new Keeper of Secrets, which is just glorious but, due to the impending move, I haven’t yet made a start on it. So I’m thinking that might be a good project to keep for later in the year – we’ll have a small person to contend with, but I’m sure I’ll be able to cope with a centrepiece miniature! Ha!

Slaanesh has been a big deal for me for years, so I’m really looking forward to getting some of those daemons painted up – both the new stuff, and the old!

Towards the end of last year, I got into Chaos Marines again in a pretty big way. All of that Blackstone Fortress stuff was coming, and it really fired my imagination. Well, Shadowspear brought us loads more, and we’re currently on the cusp of Traitor Command for Blackstone Fortress, so it’s probably little wonder that, with so much heretical good stuff coming, I’m once again feeling the pull of the dark gods. I really fancy having a Word Bearers army, and have made some fairly slow progress in getting these things planned out. Chaos was one of my three “going bigger with” blogs from February, as I really fancied getting a Chaos force to the table sometime this year. The way that real life has intervened, I don’t think that will be possible now, but it’s something that I have on my mind at the moment, along with some other bits and pieces for a Chaos army, so I really hope that I can at least get a few more things painted before the end of the year!

I think I need to take a minute to talk here about the new line of Contrast paints from GW. They came out last month, to much fanfare, and I was actually pretty surprised at the results when I finally managed to try them out myself. The genestealer above was painted using Gryph-Charger Grey, and the blotchy appearance it left was really quite a surprise, and quite an eyesore. I’ve had that finish before with washes, and haven’t always managed to remedy the situation with some drybrushing or overbrushing, but considering these paints are supposed to get the model ready for the tabletop with one thick coat, I think the results are very poor.

Maybe it’s just because I’ve been doing it wrong, but even when mixed with the medium, that seems to tone down the pigmentation, while still leaving this blotchy finish. Is there some secret to it? I’m applying the paint as I think I’m supposed to, but it’s just leaving this horrendous look that I’ve yet to see work well.

I did try it on some space marines today, while I had some small dose of calm amid the flurry of cardboard boxes, but they just look bad. I’m particularly annoyed at this, because one of them was the 30th anniversary Primaris Lieutenant, which is actually a very nice model. Very annoying!

So I’m not a fan of contrast paints, which is just as well because I’ve only bought four of them. I think I’ll stick to the usual methods, but I’m quite pleased GW have brought out so many more base and layer paints, as it means I can start exploring new territories with them! I’ve already been thinking of a new Tyranid colour scheme after getting my hands on some of the old Forge World colours, so that’s exciting!

I’m also keen to continue painting up units for my Dark Eldar army that I’ve not had as a part of it so far. Incubi and Mandrakes, as well as Scourges, have been on the table as I inch closer to getting these chaps finished! So that’s all encouraging stuff.


In the middle of all of this, however, is my desire to just improve as a painter. There is so much that I can do to get better, top of the list being calm down and have more patience! A lot of the time I see myself rushing through things and getting sloppy, only to then need to go back and revisit the whole thing. I think I also need to try and get better with my brushes, as I usually wear them into the ground, while still using tufty things as if they were XS artificer layer brushes. While I have no problem replacing them when they wear out, I’m still a little nervy about starting to use a new one. I think I need to get over that, as it’s holding me back a bit.

There have been a few miniatures that I’ve churned out in the recent past where I’ve thought: yes, this is actually a decent looking mini. The one that immediately comes to mind is that Rogue Psyker from Blackstone Fortress, which is really quite neatly painted, and while the majority of the miniature is actually just basecoat and shade, I still look at it and think it’s come out pretty well. I suppose I’d like to try and capture that more and more as I go along, and paint in an unhurried manner but still get to make decent progress. It’s the dream, for sure, but I’m fairly positive that I could actually make it happen! It does help, of course, that the Rogue Psyker is one model, and did not require any sort of batch painting nonsense that I’ve recently been encountering as I’ve been doing the Skitarii, or preparing myself as I look down the barrel of the Chaos Marines from Shadowspear!

As the year goes on, then, I’m thinking I’ll be doing some much smaller-scale projects, five marines here, five daemonettes there, maybe a vehicle if I can manage it. Certainly from October, when Junior will arrive, I can’t see me getting much of anything done this side of Christmas 2020! But hopefully there will be bright spots on the horizon, as I can begin to get some things finished in the small hours while on the night shift!

But I don’t think I’ll get 1500 points of Grey Knights finished in 2019…!

Hobby Goals check-in: January 2019

Hey everybody!
While it’s not technically the end of the month just yet, I have an impromptu day off today, so thought it would be nice to check in and see where I’m up to as regards the hobby progress for this month. My original list of goals didn’t have any kind of time period against each one – so I didn’t want to finish painting the Deathwatch models I have in January, for instance, but I thought it’d nevertheless be neat to see how things are going!

So then, for those of you who may have forgotten, here’s a reminder of what I’d like to accomplish in 2019:

Work out what I want to do with the Tau army, if anything
This one hasn’t been quite as difficult as I’d first thought it might be, as it happens. I’d been thinking about what I wanted to do, and at one point I did feel like just getting rid of the whole lot. I initially bought into Tau because, if I’m being honest with myself, I was growing impatient waiting for the Dark Eldar codex to arrive, and wanted to play a xenos army with a book of their own. Being a completely different sort of project for me, I attacked it with relish and bought thousands of units (well, a lot) in a short space of time, built most of it, and started playing. Problem number one, therefore, was the fact I was playing games with an army that I hadn’t painted, which is never really advisable because it means you rarely get round to actually painting them up. Which has been my problem ever since, as it happens!

I’ve got a lot of stuff built, most of it primed, but I still have plenty of stuff just in boxes, so for my first efforts here, I’ve decided to get rid of the boxed stuff. I’m then going to look at what I have left, draw up a list or two, and see what I think from there. I think I still want to keep some of the big suits, so I’ll be keeping hold of things like that second Riptide, and probably all of the Crisis Suits as well, but I’m considering getting rid of the second Commander (not sure yet). I’m also going to see if it’s worth it selling off a lot of the bits that I’ve been keeping a hold of. This hobby isn’t cheap, after all, and so I’m thinking it might be worth it to sell off things like the fusion blasters and whatnot, in an attempt to then finance armies that I do want!

So far, then, good progress has been made with trying to sort out the Tau!

Continue painting the Deathwatch models I have
This one ties in to another blog that will be making its appearance tomorrow, but suffice it to say that I feel like most of the New Year/early January period was spent writing and re-writing lists for the Deathwatch army, before then building up more veterans ready for painting. So I suppose progress hasn’t so much been made with this one, as reversed, because I now have almost twice as many Deathwatch models as I had this time last year!

But I’m chipping away at them, and hopefully soon there will be finished units that I can unveil here on the blog!

Continue to build up and paint the 1500-point Grey Knight list
This one has somewhat suffered for the last point, but in recent days, I do feel like I’m getting myself back on track as regards this project. I am definitely feeling Grey Knights at the moment, so I’m excited to get this show on the road! While I feel like I’m swamped in Deathwatch and Tau miniatures that are just sat there, primed and taunting me, I’ve not been quite so prodigious with the Grey Knights, having a Strike Squad built up and primed, but nothing else, meaning I can concentrate on painting the Purifiers and the Grand Master.

So far, I’ve been making some pretty decent progress, I think, so I’m really quite pleased to be going down this route for my new army for 2019!

On a side note, I’ve recently managed to pick up the pieces for the Doomglaive Dreadnought that has been discontinued by Forge World, so I’m hoping that will turn out to be okay! The weapons are coming from the US, and the main body from Germany, so I’m always a bit nervy of such things turning out well…

Anyway!

Paint some Nighthaunt and see what AoS is all about
Of all of my goals, I think this is the one that I have succeeded with the greatest. While I’ve not fully painted the entire list just yet, I’ve nevertheless managed to get quite a lot done – so they’re not just bare plastic – and have played a total of two games so far. To put that into perspective, I played seven games of 40k during 2018 altogether! So far, then, I think I’m doing quite well with playing games. How are the models looking?

Well, there is still quite a bit to be done, of course, and I do think that miniatures that have been primed white look just dreadful until they are actually fully painted. But overall, it’s good to be actually seeing an improvement with them on the whole, I feel!

I’m really pleased with how my AoS exploration has been going, as well, as it has gotten me excited for playing, which is making me want to paint more, which is nothing but a good thing!

Of course, I have been a bit guilty of running before I can crawl, and have been planning out all manner of different army projects of late. So for AoS in particular, I’ve been taking steps to reduce that significantly, and have decided to get rid of the Idoneth Deepkin models. I know that I’ve only recently been building army lists for them and everything, but I do feel that, of all the armies I’ve looked into so far, they’re just not doing it for me. The models look fantastic, don’t get me wrong. It’s just the way the army seems to want to play, I just can’t seem to get into it. So I’ve taken back what I can, and will be selling the rest off shortly.

This isn’t meant to be some kind of slow abandonment of fantasy, however. Rather than going wide, I’ve instead decided to go deep into the Death faction, and will be broadening my Nighthaunt into the Legions of Nagash at some point, giving me the perfect excuse I need to buy the big guy again! Both of my AoS games have been at the local store against the same guy, who is Chaos through-and-through, so I think it’s perhaps a better approach to just stick to one faction and really go into that.

So there we have it! Hopefully there will be more exciting updates for you all next month, when I hope to actually have some finished units to show off!

Nighthaunt Updates!

Hey everybody!
Well, it’s only been a week since the start of the year, and all my grandiose plans for what I’d like to do hobby-wise in 2019, but I’m quite pleased to announce that I’ve already been making some great progress with a couple of these plans! I had my first game of the year earlier today, with my New Year/New Army project, and it was Age of Sigmar, to boot! Nighthaunt vs Maggotkin, just a 500-point game to get into the swing of things, as it were, but it was a lot of fun, and I’m looking forward to getting more fantasy games under my belt as the year goes on!

I’ve been trying to get some Nighthaunt painted up for roughly a week, using the game to try and spur me on a bit. I’ve made some good progress, and there are some models that are coming along really nicely, I feel. Don’t get me wrong, I still have quite a ways to go, given that there will be a lot of Chainwrasps to paint before I’m done with the army, but the models are so beautiful that I really want to try to take my time with them, and while I had been rushing a bit to get them futher along for the game, I feel like I want to try and take some time to do a better job now. Even so, the basic troops unit for the army, the Chainwrasps, can look pretty decent with a fairly simple colourscheme:

I primed the models with Corax White – never a fun thing to do, but between a lot of shaking, and warming it on the radiator first, I managed to escape having the dreaded powdery coating! Everything has then been shaded either with Nighthaunt Gloom, Drakenhof Nightshade, or Coelia Greenshade, to try and achieve a variation of spooky looks across the army. Some models I had painted the cloaks either Ionrach Skin or Celestra Grey, which gives a slightly different finish to the shade than simply shading the primer. There is quite a random look to them, which I do quite like – I don’t want to have a uniform look to my ghosts! I then drybrushed them mostly with Ulthuan Grey, though some were also drybrushed with Deepkin Flesh. I’ve tried to go over most of the “skin” with Drakenhof Nightshade, to give a bit of unity with the Thorns of the Briar Queen warband that I had painted up last year, though I’ve also just left them as they are.

The texture of the models is really quite wonderful for drybrushing, and it has resulted in some quite decent-looking tabletop miniatures already. Last night I then went in and painted all of the rocks with Mechanicus Standard Grey, and some of the bases had been done with Astrogranite. I’ve then shaded the rocks with Nuln Oil, and I’ll probably go back in with Dawnstone as a drybrush to finish that off when I’ve done all of the basing. I’ve then tried to focus my attention on doing the metalwork on a couple of the models, painting it all with Leadbelcher (and then picking out a few bits with Retributor Armour) before shading everything with Agrax Earthshade. I chose the brown wash mainly because I’d misplaced the Nuln Oil, but I think it actually looks pretty good for them – the weapons, certainly, need to look dirty and stuff! So I quite like how that has turned out.

I’m hoping to continue to plug away with these for a while, anyway – I really want to make sure I get the battleline troops painted up alongside the heroes, rather than focusing my attention on the single-models and then finding myself losing interest in the main troops. I’m not 100% sure yet how I’m going to paint the Knight of Shrouds, as I do want to make him something of a centrepiece (until I get Nagash!) but I feel that the fairly simplistic scheme that I’ve been using for the Chainwrasps would also do quite well for this chap, as well! I’ll continue to ponder while I paint the others, anyway, and we’ll see from there!

Army Building Thoughts
So I’ve started really small, with just 500 points, although that is already 23 models! But I’m building up to a much larger list – as I have a lot of Nighthaunt models already, I’m thinking that I might as well build up towards 2000 points, plan out that list, and then focus on painting it up in sections like this. However, list-building in Age of Sigmar is a bit different to how I’m used to, with different considerations to keep in mind!

For those of you who don’t know, there is a Command Point system in AoS similar to that of 40k, in that you can spend your points to grant different effects, although it’s a much more pared-back version of the 40k system. I think pretty much the majority of Hero models in an army will have a Command Ability, although there are three generic Abilities that can be used by any Hero if he is your General. Each costs 1 Command Point to use, and you can use the same Ability in each round if you have the points to do so. You gain Command Points at the start of your Hero Phase, and in addition you start the battle with 1 Command Point per Warscroll Battalion that you include within your list.

So there’s an incentive to build your list around a collection of Battalions. Unlike in 40k, there are unique Battalions available to each army, which are included in your Battletome and they grant you specific abilities if you meet the requirements for them – not only do you have to field the right amount and type of models, but they also cost points to include in your force. So, for example, in the Nighthaunt Battletome there is a Battalion called Deathriders, which requires 1 or 2 units of Dreadblade Harrows, 2 units of Hexwraiths, and 1 Black Coach. These models cost, at a minimum, 700 points (800 points if you go for the 2 Harrows), but you need to pay an additional 130 points to put them into the Battalion itself, which grants the ability to add 1 to charge rolls, and allows models from the Battalion to fight immediately if they make an unmodified charge roll of 9+. It’s basically the Wave of Terror allegiance ability (more in a bit), but will give you access to the ability if you take this Battalion in an allied army.

I’ve built my own army to include two Battalions, which will allow me to start the game with 3 Command Points. Which will be handy, although I don’t actually have that many targets for unique Command Abilities! Let’s look at the list, anyway, and I’ll explain my thoughts a bit more.

Version one has a total of six Leaders and four Battleline units, which meets the list building criteria as laid out in the General’s Handbook. Incidentally, how weird is it that the main rules for Age of Sigmar are laid out across two separate books? I mean, I kinda get it, in that the General’s Handbook is intended for the more serious gamers, and otherwise you can have a perfectly fun game by just using the core rules alone, but something as basic as list building should really be in the core rules, surely? Hm.

I did really want to get Lady Olynder in this list, but sadly she wouldn’t quite fit. I suppose I could do away with the Spirit Hosts, and then replace the Knight of Shrouds with her, and it would still be a valid Battlehost list, but I think that’s probably for another day. My initial plans for the army actually revolved around Lady Olynder leading a banshee-based list, so I was planning to have Dreadscythe Harridans and Myrnmourn Banshees, with the Briar Queen hanging around as well, but that quickly became overshadowed by the desire to have a more broad Nighthaunt army! I do still want to have the Briar Queen in here at some point, but for now I’m actually planning to use her as the Tomb Banshee model, as I feel that particular model doesn’t really go with the rest of the range now. Same story with the Cairn Wraith really, and why I had been planning to use the Liekoron the Executioner model for him instead. But I digress.

There are two Battalions in here, as I said, but while that does grant me 3 Command Points from the off, I only have the Knight of Shrouds who has a specific Command Ability, so the other heroes would be stuck with using the generic ones. However, you can use the same Ability more than once, if you have the CP to do so, and the Knight of Shrouds grants Nighthaunt units wholly within 18″ of him +1 attack. So I can give out +1 attack to several different units each turn, so the basic Chainwrasps can dish out 3 attacks each, while the Spirit Hosts would each get 7 attacks if they were to be targeted with this Ability! Nice!

While all of that is well and good, of course, I do still feel a little bit like I’ve been forced into it because of the Battalions – the generic Command Abilities are handy, but with only three unique Command Abilities in the entire army, I can definitely see myself dropping at least one of them (possibly the Shroudguard) at some point. I’m not sure what I’d replace it with, as I’m already at my max Leaders for 2000 points. Possibly another unit of Spirit Hosts, and then maybe one of the Endless Spells, as they do seem to be quite fun – I know people seem to decry the Nighthaunt spells online, but having no experience with this, I’m all for trying out something new until I get into the groove with it all!

The fancy stuff
Of course, while the army is always made up of the units and the synergies that arise from them all, Age of Sigmar armies also have a whole host of additional stuff knocking about in the background, along the same lines as Chapter Tactics and their like for 40k armies. This is where things get really interesting, and I must say, it was a confusing part of the game to me for a long time!

First of all, there are the Allegiance Abilities – a suite of six for the Nighthaunt, who do not have any kind of distinct sub-faction within the army. There are some powerful abilities here that are almost duplicated within the Battalions that I’m taking, which is why I’ve been thinking it might be quite easy to just ditch them if I feel I’m using up valuable points. Then there are unique Command Traits that can be given to the General. Remember when I said there were only three characters in the Battletome with their own Command Ability? Well, this will allow me to remedy that by choosing, say, the Guardian of Souls as the recipient of a Command Trait of his own. Importantly, unique characters cannot be the recipients of any of these things, so Reikenor the Grimhailer is out for receiving any further Command Traits or Artefacts of Power.

For the purposes of my list, I’ve actually chosen the Knight of Shrouds as my General – for a long time, I considered nominating the Spirit Torment, but I think the Knight is a much more bellicose figure to lead the troops! While he does already have a Command Ability, there appears to be nothing preventing me from also giving him a Trait, so I’ve gone with Ruler of the Spirit Hosts, which allows him to return D3 slain models to a unit within 9″ of him. So I’ve got recursion from both the Guardian of Souls and the Knight of Shrouds, which is going to be useful! Certainly, the Guardian helped a great deal during my first game today, as I managed to keep one of my Chainwrasp Horde units from dying right up until the final battle round!

I’ve got two Wizards in the army, Reikenor the Grimhailer and the Guardian of Souls. The Guardian has got the Spectral Lure spell that allows him to recur Nighthaunt models within 18″, while Reikenor can deal D3 Mortal Wounds to enemies within 12″ (with the potential for D3 more if the initial salvo slays any models). Both can only cast one spell per turn, and their unique spells are both really good. However, I can also give them an additional spell from the Lore of the Underworlds, so why not, right? I’ve given the Guardian of Souls the Lifestealer spell, which dishes out D3 Mortal Wounds on a unit within 12″, and allows me to heal him by the same number of Wounds dealt – as I need the Guardian ‘alive’ for his recursion spell, I think it’s a good enough gambit for him to take one turn off from doing that in order to heal himself in a pinch. Reikenor also knows Spectral Tether, which allows him to heal Nighthaunt Heroes within 12″ – as the most robust of all the units in the list (with 7 wounds), I figure he can be used to help keep others ‘alive’ as well.

While were on the subject of the Guardian of Souls, there are also three different sorts of Infernal Lantern he can be given, under the Artefacts of Power (basically, Relics). I was using the Wychlight Lantern in today’s game, but kept forgetting about it (it wouldn’t have had any effect, anyway). However, I’ve now decided to give him the Beacon of Nagashizzar, which buffs his Spectral Lure spell to returning D6+3 models/wounds, rather than just D6. So I’m guaranteed to get at least 4 models back, or heal 4 wounds, which is just incredibly powerful when dealing with this many Chainwrasps or pulling a Hero back from the brink.

I have the option of adding one additional Artefact of Power for each Battalion in the list, of course, so I’ve gone for the interesting choice of making the Tomb Banshee a wizard through the Midnight Tome – she knows Spirit Drain, which rolls a D6 equal to the wounds characteristic of an enemy unit within 18″, and deals out a mortal wound for each 6+. Finally, I’ve given the Knight of Shrouds Headsman’s Judgment, adding 1 to hit and to wound for his Sword of Stolen Hours. So that should be quite fun!

So that’s the army plan that I’m working on right now! I’ve got my work cut out, of course – it’s a total of 75 models to paint, and detailed ones at that! I still need to buy some Spirit Hosts, and another box of Chainwrasps, as well as the Bladegheist Revenants. But I’m looking forward to the task, as the models are really quite wonderful to paint, and should look fantastic as an army when they’re finished.

In the meantime, I’m hoping to get some more smaller-scale games in as I try to learn more of the intricacies of the game – Age of Sigmar has come a long way since I first tried it out back in 2016, and while many people still seem to think of it as something of a simple game (in my local area, at least), I feel like there is a lot more to it than perhaps I’ve seen so far. Having played one basic game at a very low-cost points level, I’ve only scratched the surface, so I’m looking forward to more!

2018 in review

Happy New Year, everyone!
It’s time to go all traditional, and all, and look back at my hobby year for 2018!

It’s been quite the year, I have to say! Despite some monumental events, including getting married in September, I’m glad to have been able to keep going with hobby stuff. I’ve definitely built more than I’ve painted, but of course that is always the case, really! Starting really quite early, I built this beautiful beast 12 months ago, though he sadly still languishes in the same state after all this time!

I really need to get a move on and make some decisions as regards my Tyranids.

I’ve done quite well with the Great Reanimation of my Necrons, getting a good number of units painted up, including the beautiful new Cryptek model. I’ve still got a way to go with the army, for sure, but having only had one unit of Immortals painted in the new Thokt dynasty scheme back in 2017, this year has seen a real surge! Splendid stuff.

2018 saw me start a couple of armies, most notably the Tau. I’m in a bit of a weird position with this army now, as I feel like it was a bit of a distraction for me while I was waiting for the Dark Eldar codex. I did enjoy building up the models, for sure, and I think there is still a place for them in my collection, but probably nowhere near as many models as I have ended up with! So I’m going to be looking through both the Tau and Tyranid collections in an effort to thin out some of the dead wood, so to speak, and make sure I only keep enough models for small forces of each that I want to actually play with. Famous last words, probably, but still!

I’ve made significant strides with yet another xenos force, the Genestealer Cults!

I was really quite surprised that I even managed to finish these guys, as I’ve been working at them for a long time now, but always seemed to be putting them off for one reason or another. Kill Team, in that respect, was a good thing for me, as it made me finish painting them up, and indeed to get moving with more models for the force:

Being a horde army, though, I’m still nowhere near to having the required number of models for the force, but I think I’m suitably inspired to keep going. Slow and steady, and all that!

I’ve been steadily progressing with my Dark Eldar, though having painted up pretty much the entire army in 2017, 2018 has definitely been a slower year for the dark kin. I’ve got plenty built up, for sure, mainly due to having formed the plans for the army during 7th edition, but we’ll see how many models get painted during 2019…

In terms of smaller scale games, I’ve painted up some Van Saar gangers for Necromunda, and have started work on the Elucidian Starstriders, but this is where things get interesting, as I started looking back into fantasy after all these years, with the new iteration of Warhammer Underworlds.

It was a lot of fun, and it has led to getting myself into a very ghostly mess!

The Nighthaunt models are beautiful, but I’m also vacillating between Idoneth Deepkin and Chaos Beastmen in creating my first army for the new Age of Sigmar. It’s definitely going to be one of them, though I’ll most likely also be picking up some of these new grots models in time. I do enjoy squigs!

Finally, I’ve been working on some of the Chaos Cultists that I’ve had hanging about for years, inspired by the weird and wonderful underbelly of 40k that we got to glimpse in Blackstone Fortress!

This game was quite the boon to me, as it inspired not only the Cultists but also work on the Electro-Priests that had similarly been hanging about for years – all in all, then, it was very much well-received!

I wonder what 2019 will see for my hobby! Hopefully some of those models that I’ve built up over the last year will see themselves finished!!


I’ve definitely enjoyed my hobby time this year, but in order to make sure I stay focused during the coming year, I’ve drawn up a list of hobby resolutions as a lot of folks have been doing over on instagram:

There is a nice mix, I feel, between some of the more wide-ranging stuff with the Grey Knights and the Nighthaunt, and more focused goals for things like the Neophytes and Doomsday Ark. There is bound to be more that distracts me as the year goes on, of course – I’m looking forward to the Genestealer Cults getting their bikers, for sure! Whether Inquisitors come out for Kill Team is anyone’s guess, though I’m fairly positive I’ll go heavily into this one!

I’m going to be writing up my Hobby Progress blogs on the last day of each month as 2019 goes on, so it should keep me motivated to stay on track. Exciting times ahead, at any rate!!

Hobby Progress, week four!

Hey everybody!
It’s been another quiet week this week, which is perhaps to be expected with Christmas and all. I’ve been trying to make some time for painting during the latter half of the week, with the intention being that I’d have something to show you all for this blog here on Sunday – which I suppose is the point of me doing these blogs in the first place, so well done me!

I’m still very busy with army lists, and having pretty much finalised my first plans for the Grey Knights, I’ve started work on the Purifier squad with gusto! I’m really enjoying these chaps for the moment, so I hope that continues. Unlike a lot of projects (Tau instantly spring to mind here), I’ve got quite a clear idea of what I want to achieve with the paint scheme, so I’m hoping that means it’ll go quicker for me! I’ve done the silver quite quickly – just a Leadbelcher base, with a bit of a focused shade of Nuln oil, then a soft drybrush of Ironbreaker. I’ve not yet gone in with the blue glaze, as I’m building myself up to that one! Having base coated the helmets with Celestra Grey, I’ve today gone in with a diluted shade of Coelia Greenshade – 1 part shade to about 4 parts Lahmian Medium. It’s left them with enough detail, but there’s a definite greenish hue to them that I quite like. The tabard on the Justicar has been painted Zandri Dust and shaded with Seraphim Sepia, and the gold details are just base coated Retributor Armour. Finally, the Force weapons have been base coated with Caledor Sky.

I’m hoping to be much further progressed as this week moves on, so hopefully I’ll have more progress for you all then!

I had the Grey Knights Paladin Squad for Christmas, and so have built myself a Grand Master using the parts from that kit to really flesh him out as a fancy chap. I’ve also been building models for both the Deathwatch, and the Ravenwing projects that I have going on at the moment – I’ll get to the latter in due course here on the blog, but for now, let’s talk about the xenos hunters!

I’ve been slowly building up a Deathwatch army since Death Masque arrived back in 2016, but have left it quite a while between the last phase of my painting and this current spurt. The reason being that I’ve been talking to a fellow gaming buddy about entering a doubles tournament in 2019, in the assumption that Warhammer World will be holding the event again!

Now, I’ve played in card game tournaments in the past, but I’ve never even attempted to go along for a miniatures tournament, as I get the impression that it’s just far too competitive for my liking. Well, Kev has not given me any reason to think I was wrong in this assumption, so far! He’s going Grey Knights (it was against his kill team that I first encountered that game, and he’s been building up the army since) so I’m going with another branch of the Inquisition, and hopefully we’ll either face Chaos or Xenos to make our army choices worthwhile!!

All weekend, then, I’ve been working my way through list ideas, and I think I’ve finally managed to come up with something that I would be reasonably happy playing – bearing in mind that I prefer fun things to play, as opposed to lists that are just too tailored and end up being boring:

Initially, it’s quite a cheap battalion list, with a fourth group of veterans that includes a Terminator taking up a significant number of the points. I’m fully intending to use this as a distraction unit though, hoping that it will draw enough fire that the other units will survive reasonably unmolested. The Venerable Dreadnought needs a new arm, which I thankfully have thanks to the bits box, and I’ve got a Razorback for the more melee-orientated unit of Veterans to get them closer to where they need to be. I did initially want a Chaplain in there with them, but I’ve instead gone for the JumpMaster as he has a slightly better stat line. Though I am wondering if the Terminator will be worth it, so might make some adjustments over time!

The first thing that strikes me about Deathwatch is just how many crazy options there are in the Codex, and how many interesting squad permutations you can get. I’m a bit confused by the whole mission tactics / special issue ammunition thing, and with the stratagems on top, I feel like this army is something that can be quite unwieldy quite quickly, so I definitely want to get some games in with it as soon as possible, as I need to get used to that side of things before I get into any kind of tournament setting, I think!!

To that end, I’m thinking I might need to make an alternative list, just to get to grips with the army in general, and then see how it goes adding in the relevant units. I do already have a sizable Deathwatch army, so I’m hoping to get to the shop in the new year and see how it goes! Stay tuned for those exciting updates, anyway!


It’s been a lot of fun resurrecting the old hobby progress blogs for December, and I almost feel a bit sad to finish the series! I do think they’re a great way to check in and keep me on track with my goals, so I think I’ll definitely be doing a monthly iteration throughout 2019. I have a lot of goals for next year, so we shall see how those pan out!

Come back on Tuesday, 1 January, to find out more about those goals!!

Hobby Progress, week three!

Hey everybody!
It’s been another quiet week for me, sadly, as I was a bit busy in work in the run-up to the holidays, so didn’t have much time in the week to get much painting in. It was my birthday on Tuesday though, and I had a few hobby-related gifts, including the Project Box from my brilliant wife, so I’ve been trying that out for mobile painting down in the living room, and it hasn’t been too bad so far! I tend to do most of my painting these days in the spare room, where I’ve got my paints and stuff set up ready, but I’d rather spend my evenings with my other half so tend to build on a tray on my lap rather than try to paint there, only getting to wield a brush in the hour or so before bed. Hopefully I can be a bit more mobile now, though, and get more done to the models I’ve been building up consistently for 18 months or more!

So I was due to have a game on Thursday, a final battle royale between six  of us at the store, but sadly that didn’t pan out. However, it did spur me on to actually get my stuff painted for the occasion, and I managed to finish both the squad of Immortals and Annihilation Barge – they’re tabletop standard, for sure, and the Barge definitely needs more work doing to it, but I do feel quite chuffed that they’re now significantly closer to being finished.

The next stage of my Great Reanimation is going to be more tesla Immortals, and then either moving onto something big like the Doomsday Ark, or maybe Tomb Blades. I do want both for the army, and quite soon, but I think the jetbikes might be more palatable in games than the Ark. Though with the way I roll dice, it could go either way!

I’m no further forward with any of the other projects, sadly, though I’m hoping to get moving on the Cultists as my next project in general, as I’d like to have them finished by the end of the year. I’d also like to have done more with the Skitarii, of course, but aside from the basecoat on the Tech Priest Dominus, I’ve not done anything further to those… Maybe next year!

I’ve been working on army lists in general, particularly for my latest new project, the Grey Knights, and with the arrival of Chapter Approved, I feel like there is a lot to digest with that now. I have primed the five Purifiers that I’d built up recently, so I’m looking forward to moving onto those guys soon, as I think they’ll look really awesome. So hopefully that will get me back into painting and stuff!

I think the time of year might not be helping, but I’ve been finding it difficult to motivate myself into painting. One of my resolutions for 2019 is to try and play more games, so I think that might help with the motivation factor – we’ll have to see! I have been trying to read a lot of Black Library fiction to keep myself immersed in the lore, in general, and I’ve been very active on my blog here in an attempt to further keep myself motivated, so hopefully all of these strands will coalesce, and I’ll see an improvement soon!