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25 April 2014

Becoming One With The Hobby

Immersing ones self into this hobby of ours is a wonderful, but also potentially hazardous journey. Let me explain... so, as mentioned previously in my post about painting progress, momentum and how easy it can be to get bogged down, I feel that there is a huge 'mental' element involved in painting/hobbying for a lot of us toy soldier collectors. The exposure to, whether on Blogs or Facebook groups for example, gorgeously painted models and thus the ability which many experienced hobbyists possess can be quite off putting if compared to ones own standards (if they aren't quite as good).

I was having a conversation in the pub recently where I was showing a couple of non hobbyists work chums my work (specifically my Cypher and Drod Pod) via photos on my iPad. This conversation took place a good 4 or 5 pints in to the evening so was rather lively but I remember saying that although objectively I am happy with my standard and I can see that my ability is slowly improving, on one level I am always disappointed with my models and that they are a million miles away from the quality of some painters. I cant imagine that I am alone in feeling this way and so find it fascinating that something which we love doing can elicit such contrary feelings.

Of course the flip side of any potential negative effects of getting balls deep in to the hobby is that there is no limit to the potential inspiration one can find out there on the t'interwebs. All our hobby blogs, Facebook groups, gaming clubs etc are such a wonderful source of ideas, tips/tricks and general awesomeness.

Personally I love seeing what others create and the blog scene is fantastic and I would love to hear anyone's thoughts or experiences relating to what I have written in this post.

Thanks for reading :)

23 April 2014

Work Station 2: The Return of the Killer Work Station

So I recently wrote an article about Work Stations. I mentioned that I would be 'upgrading' my set up; following a recent trip to Ikea I am happy to show my new and improved work station.

I now have a sexy chair, very good spot light and a nice big A3 cutting mat. To highlight the difference a good chair can make... yesterday I spent 10 hours painting! such a session would have been impossible on my old chair. Happy days!

22 April 2014

Bonus Time!!

Thanks to a very productive year at work I have quite a nice bonus to spend on hobbying this month. After hitting Forge World and my local GW store here in Bath I am happy to show off the new additions to my army!

In this picture you can see a Storm Raven, a Storm Talon and from Forge World; a Contemptor Dreadnought and Legion Praetors (still on their sprue's). I also put in an order to the brand new GW web store in order to take advantage of the 'free' limited edition Space Marine Captain- this order consisted of Inquisitor Coteaz, the Emperors Champion, Vanguard Veterans and an Aegis Defense Line. I don't want to think about how much these all cost but f**k me they are all sexy models! :)

My plan was to buy enough models to keep me going for the rest of the year. Considering I still have many units built and not painted already I am confident that I wont run out of things to build or paint; and that with the exception of purchases from Games Day I should be sorted until the end of the year.

18 April 2014

Dedicated Transport: Drop Pod

Another week, another unit to complete. This week it's the turn of my Drop Pod. I am rather fortunate to have the opportunity to complete this model as it was very nearly smashed into a thousands pieces by a dozy school kid at Warhammer World (you should have seen the look on his face when he realised he had knocked my unit onto the floor while putting his coat on! bless him).

Anyway, in preparation for painting my new Imperial Knight, I wanted to practice masking areas off and then using the airbrush to paint hazard lines and I figured that painting them on the edge of each door would be perfect to test this out. The photos below show the first attempt and I am very happy with how it turned out. There were a couple of instances of seepage when I used this technique on the other doors but it was nothing too serious and didn't ruin the aesthetic I was trying to achieve.

And here is the finished unit. In total it took me a good 2 weeks to complete this model; mainly due to its size! I'm really happy with the end result, and I think the hazard lines really set the model off. Here is the unit, with doors open and with Lysander to provide a reference for the drop pod scale.

15 April 2014

Work Stations!

As with all activities which can involve sitting in the same place for hours on end, I think the comfort of our hobbying work stations play a massive part in allowing us to achieve the results we want to. When you consider space, permanence, lighting, equipment etc, work stations can vary massively.

This is my workstation and to be honest its a pain in the ass! the only source of light is the main bedroom light which is positioned directly behind where I am standing whilst taking this photo and there isn't much room for a decent chair so I'm stuck on a small Argos £10 jobby which makes my ass numb after an hour of sitting on it.

But I have no other viable alternative at the moment so just get on with it. I am planning on improving the lighting by investing in a couple of decent lamps and potentially getting a better chair however I do feel like my work station is a hindrance.. and I wonder what everyone else has for their hobbying activities? for all the amazing work stations out in hobbyland there must be many of us who have awkward spaces to work in?

But what is the perfect hobby work station? For me, I was lucky enough to be visiting Bob on a warm summer weekend last year and we spent much of that time (when not gaming) sat around the garden table in the sun with beer in hand- painting. For me, as massive part of what made this great was the company, and how it was awesome to be having a conversation with someone, showing each other our progress, sharing ideas and generally making it a much more collaborative experience. We had loads of room, the light was perfect and it was comfortable.

The question is, does the quality of ones work station really effect the standards one can achieve?

11 April 2014

Cypher: Lord of the Fallen

Today I want to present pictures of my recently completed Cypher model. For anyone reading who hasn't seen my previous post about this model, I kit bashed this guy instead of using the GW metal model. I hope you enjoy seeing how he turned out! More pictures of Cypher after the jump.

I used a great guide for painting robed Dark Angels from Tale of Painters and whilst my technique isn't particularly of a high standard, I have certainly achieved a good 'tabletop' standard and so am happy with the quality of the paint job.

Below you can see a better shot of the backpack and Cypher's mysterious sword. I have used the backpack from the official GW Cypher model as I found an auction selling a set of 3 very cheap on eBay. The sword is from Chaos Warrior models.

I tried to portray a subtly to the model in terms of how Cypher is 10,000 years old. I achieved this by applying only muted highlights and using the new Citadel technical paint Nihilakh Oxide on the metallic surfaces. I think I have created and painted a model suitable of such a fantastic 40K character and am very excited about using him on the battlefield.

8 April 2014

Weathering And The Art of Pulling It All Together?

I've noticed that a lot of hobbyists choose to add weathering effects to their models. This is something I've never really done- my first steps being to experiment on my recently completed Rhino, Predator and Thunderfire Cannon. I do however want to delve deeper into this area as I think it can be one of those finish touches (alongside decals) which really pull an army together.

Whislt researching how to add weathering effects I discovered that there are many techniques out there! some which involve very complicated processes (for example using hair spray on your models)... which to be honest I cant be arsed with, so the below technique looks like the way I'm going to go.

If anyone has any feedback, thoughts or tips on weathering please leave a comment.

4 April 2014

Cypher: The Man and the Model

I first heard about this character whilst listening to the 40K Global podcast just before Christmas. Until that point I had no clue about this very intriguing character... but once I became aware of him I felt compelled to find out more; so I picked up the data slate. I'm not a huge fan of the general rule/unit segmentation which is going on at the moment in 40K and I was very reluctant to dish out £12 (or whatever it was) on what was my first [rules focused] digital GW product. I should not have feared though as the data slate is fantastic! 30 pages of background fluff followed by the rules, formations and missions.

*spoiler* The story of Cypher can be summarised as this - 'no one knows if he is a good guy or not'. The data slate regales the read with various stories where Cypher has worked for, and against, the Imperium and it presents various theories as to his possible motives. To reflect this, the unit can be used with practically any army aside from Dark Angels (they have beef with him for being one of the 'fallen'. Being a Space Marine player and generally someone who likes to root for the good guys (Jedi over Sith for example) I come down on the side which believe that Cypher is a good guy and working as a lone agent fighting for the Imperium. Of course GW will never confirm whether this is the case or not - and rightly so! Everyone likes a bit of mystery and having the ability to apply ones own morals to such a character/unit is fantastic!
The major problem with Cypher, for me, is the model which GW provide. It's old, metal and a bit rubbish. So, instead of picking up the standard model (shown above) I decided to build my own model using Dark Angel (and various other) bits.

..and here is the model which I built. I'm really happy with how it looks and can't wait to paint him up and add him to my army. I probably spent double the price building this guy (eBay FTW!) instead of buying the model from GW but I think the aesthetic I have managed to create.

Time to get painting!