Sunday, 25 April 2010

Hobby Burnout!

I've reached that point again, I've spent the last two hours trying to get stuck into Harker's squad and instead, I've just been trying to find anything to distract me from it. I've realised that I've got hobby burnout, I've been here before, it's nothing new and I'll probably be here again at some point in the future.

I sometimes forget that this is a hobby, something that I do for enjoyment. Instead, I build up a list of things I need to get done, then I reach a point where I feel pressurised to get them done and finally it gets to me so much that I can't be bothered with it at all.

Luckily, I know I'll be fine, I'll give it a week or so and I'll be gagging to get stuck in again. In the meantime, I'm going to do a bit more work on my distraction project - Going on Campaign. I reckon I can get another section done in the next week or two, so expect to see stuff coming your way soon.

On the guard front, there's plenty of stuff I want to get finished and a few things I want to start, so once I've got my mojo back, expect to see some more interesting projects. In the meantime, it'll be a bit quiet here and a bit busier on GoC.

Stay tuned guys!

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Harker got greened

I've finally finished customising my Harker model and I've got to say, I'm quite pleased overall. It's been a hell of a journey, there's been blood, sweat, tears and a whole load of swearing! I know he isn't perfect, but considering I'm new to sculpting, I don't think he's that bad.

I did a bit more work sorting out the folds of his cloak, mainly smoothing out the folds on the back of the cloak and the clasp in the centre of his chest. I also did his cap badge (Damn you Admiral Drax!), in fact, I did his cap badge about 17 times before it ended up as a sort of winging V symbol. That was a real challenge but I'm glad Drax mentioned it as he'd look a bit stupid without a cap badge.

I used a mix with a higher ratio of yellow to blue for smoothing out the cloak as it easier smooth it over the faults with a softer mix. I found this bit really challenging as I'm a bit obsessive compulsive with my hobbying and not matter how much touching up I did, it never seemed done, I just kept seeing faults. Anyway, I'll leave it to you decide ....

I also did a bit more work on the hood, basically just building it up and sharpening the edges. I wish that I could have put more folds into the hood but the base sculpt had already cured before I realised that it needed them.

And there you have it, my take on Veteran Sgt Harker.

So, wrapping up, here's what I've learned since last time .....
  • The smaller the detail, the longer it takes to get it right, damn cap badge!
  • I need to remember that it's not going to be perfect, so I must stop beating myself up over it.
  • It would have been far better to have done each fold in one go, rather than in sections and then touching them up.
  • I really need to use references and have a proper vision of what I want to achieve, this would have helped with the folds in the cloaks hood.
  • I'm slowly getting better at sculpting but I still can't use metal tools.
Well, that's it for Harker, hope you enjoyed following my little project, time to start work on his squad now.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Harkers squad - Tactics vs Hobby

As the sculpting on Harker gets closer to been finished and ready to paint, my thoughts have been on his squad. Since Harker is a metal catachen model, I'll be using metal catachens for his squad. Luckily, I have a few to choose from as you can see.

Being veterans, they've got a host of options available to them especially considering that the squad can take upto three special weapons, a heavy weapon, shotguns and even a demo charge if I add a doctrine. So I've been thinking about how to kit them out. 

Choices, choices, so many choices, it's like been a kid in a sweet shop .....

Now the basic choice is Tactics vs Hobby, and it's a biggy! You see, I've always considered myself a hobbyist but I like to play games and I like to win. As a hobbyist, I'd take a wide range of different weapons giving me a wide range of hobby opportunities. As a tactician, I'd go for multiples of the same special weapon because I'm more likely to use the unit in a specific role. The down side to this is that it means that I'll have multiple of the same model in the squad since the metal catachens only have one model for each weapon type.

I pondered this for quite a while, and then decided that the hobbyist side of me won, here's why ....
  • I'm investing a lot of time with GS'ing the squad and so multiples of the same model are a sort of let down on the eye candy side considering the amount of effort I'm putting into them.
  • I only have one plasma gunner and if I was going to take multiples of a special weapon, it'd be plasma guns that I'd want to take.
  • I've seen entire regiments of plastic legs at the club so me calling a melta gun a plasma one isn't going to be a problem, so I can still play tactically whilst enjoying maximum hobby goodness!
  • Finally, I'm planning another couple of camo catachen squads in the future, so I'll be able to swap models between them for any WHSIWYG events.
Once my mind was made up, it was time to pick the actual models .....

As you can see, I've gone for a good mix of guys. I've got the missile launcher team for my heavy option as it was the only heavy weapon that wasn't wheeled as I didn't think that a wheeled weapon went with an infiltrating squad. I've also taken one of each of the special weapon options for a bit of variety and I've even added a demo charge guy in.

There's plenty of work in them but I'm hopping it won't take too long to get these guys greened up and ready for painting although don't expect me to be turning these around in a week - lol. Harker's taken a lot of a time but that's because I've had to do little bits and then leave it to cure overnight, as so only a little has got done each night. With these guys, I'll be able to do a bit on each every night, so hopefully I'll get them done in roughly the same amount of time as it's taken me to do Harker.

Harker is just getting his last green stuff touching up, so I'll be posting pics soon. I get the feeling this year is going to be quality rather than quantity!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Outstanding ForgeWorld service

I like ForgeWorld, over the years I bought quite a bit from them and occasionally, I've had the odd missing piece or miscast and they've always been excellent at sorting it out. It normally takes just one quick call and before you know it, the new part arrives.

Today, I'd like to share a story of outstanding customer service. I ordered some Hyperios Air Defence platforms from ForgeWorld, when they arrived the fronts were a bit miscast but at the time, things were a bit manic with family life so I put the box up to sort when things calmed down a bit. This is what they looked like when they arrived ....

Anyway, I got them out over the weekend for an upcoming project and then remembered that the fronts were miscast, so I gave ForgeWorld a call to see about getting them replaced. They said send them back and they'd replace them for me, so they went into the post this morning.

Now, you may be wondering why this is such outstanding customer service, well the family life issue I mentioned about earlier when they were ordered was the birth of my son and he's about to turn five!

Yes, that's right, ForgeWorld are replacing parts I ordered five years ago, now that's what I call outstanding customer service! I hope they turn up soon as I'm gagging to get stuck into my project, more about that when they turn up guys.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Harker gets green - part2

I've spent the last week working on my Harker project. I've slowly added folds to the cloak as it runs over his shoulders. I had to do this very slowly as it's quite detailed work and I found that if I tried to do too much at once, all I did was mess up my previous work. As the shoulder folds were curing, I added the folds to the inside of the cloak. These were a bit rough but there wasn't much I could do about it since the areas are quite difficult to get to.

I slowly built up the folds, but it would have been so much easier to just have done the folds in one go.

Whilst the various folds were curing, I started work on the cloaks hood. It was at this point that I realised that I really hate hoods. The one in pics was my fifth attempt and to be honest, I'm still not completely happy with it but I just have to accept that it's the best I can do at the moment. I can't tell you how hard that is for me!

That's all for now folks, over the next couple of days I'm going to see if I can smooth out some of the flaws in the cloak and finish of fine detail. Finally, I'll leave you with a pic of what I've been doing with me spare green stuff and the lid of my vaseline .....

What I've learned this time ....
  • It would have been much easier to do the folds in one go.
  • I hate hoods, no serious, I really do!
  • Green stuff is like a scab, you just can't stop messing with it.
  • I should have done Harkers squad first and got more practice in with sculpting before doing Harker himself.
  • Zoomed in photos that show up all your flaws really don't do much for your morale.
  • You can still be manly and have a little pink tin of vaseline as long as you put daemon faces on the lid.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

152 Armoured Assault Company

Finally got all the Russ's together for a group shot, so here's 152 Armoured Assault Company mustered for war. The company is finished for the time being but I am planning on adding the final three variants from the codex at some point as well as a company command tank. For more pics, check the links below ...

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Harker gets green - part1

I got stuck into my mission to make my Harker look a bit more like a professional soldier. First off was covering his bare beef cake chest and so I green stuffed a T-shirt onto him. Considering I'm relatively new to sculpting, I'm quite pleased with how it turned out. I built it up in stages, working from the belly, then chest and then finally sleeves before sharpening up the collar and sleeve lines. I needed to rework the chest a little but overall, I think I've got the look of it right.

Once the Tshirt had cured, I started work on his camo cloak. The first part was to add the base that the cloak would be built on. I must admit that this was a bit tricky, but after a few attempts, I managed to get something I was happy with. I wasn't worried about the marks or uneven surface as all that would get cover when building the cloak, the important thing was to even a solid base to build the detail on.

Once it was cured, I mixed up some more GS but this time added more yellow into the mix to make it softer. I then used it to fill out the dips and get a more natural drop to the cloak as it curved over his buttocks so that it hung straight down. It worked pretty well, the only downside was how long it took to cure with it having less firming agent in the mix. I also built up the bottom right corner of the cloak at the same time. Once it had cured enough to work on, I started to add the folds of the cloak.

I then added the folds to the right side and the central fold which split off into two folds as they ran over the shoulders. At this point, it was all a bit rough but the plan was to let it all cure over a couple of days and then use really soft putty to smooth everything out.

Once I'd got the basic folds on the back of the cloak sorted, I started on he folds as they came over the crest. These turned out to be a nightmare and I really wished I'd done the cloak flowing from the chest straight from the start. In the end I only managed to get one set of folds done last night. Since the folds turned out to be a bit of a none starter, I decided that I'd have a go at the beret to see if I could cheer myself up, and that turned out rather well IMHO.

So, this is where I am right now, I'm pretty pleased with the t-shirt and the beret but I do feel that the cloak lets him down a bit. I just need to keep reminding myself that I am new to sculpting and so I can't expect it to come out perfect. Here's what I've learned so far ....
  • I've found that sculpting has a very steep learning curve!
  • It's very easy to mix up too much GS and waste half of it.
  • You should always work in small bits building up into big ones.
  • The more yellow you add to the mix, the softer the putty is but the longer it takes to cure.
  • You shouldn't try to add GS that's started to firm up.
  • Spending time making sure that the bottom of the cloak base is level and the corners aren't curved really pays off in the long run.
  • Cloak folds are best done from start to finish and not in halves.
  • Vaseline makes an excellent lubricant but you shouldn't say this out loud to your wife in the queue of the supermarket.
  • Sculpting is time intensive but has lots of curing breaks, so I need something to be doing during those breaks to make best use of my hobby time.
  • I am not a brilliant sculpter, but as long as I get better each time I give it a go, I don't really mind.
  • Finally, I still can't work with metal sculpting tools!
Hopefully, I'll be finishing him off over the next couple of days if I can get these bloody chest folds sorted!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Smurf killing executioner finished

About a month ago, I showed you the WIP pics of my Leman Russ Executioner. Well, I've finally finished it and so I thought I'd share the pics with you. So, here's the latest addition to 152 Armoured Assault Company .....

This marks the end of another project, I'd planned to paint up six battle tanks for the armoured company and this is number six. I'm not planning to do any more tanks for the company any time soon but at some point I'll be adding the last three variants and a company command tank. In the meantime, I'll get them all together and get a group shot done, so expect that sometime soon.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Harker or Harper?

Sometimes I wonder where GW gets their ideas for models and armies, and sometimes, I just know.

I'm not sure if you hobbyists across the pond in the States get the TV series Sharpe, but it's been on TV for quite a while over in the UK. It's a BBC production about an officer called Sharpe who raises through the ranks during the Napoleonic Wars.

OK Col, what's all this got to do with GW and VSgt Harker? Well, this guy, that's what ......

When Sharpe was first given a battlefield commission, he was given command of a detachment of the 95th Rifles, an elite group of chosen men. This detachment was led by Sgt Harper, a brute of an Irishman who carried a multibarrel rifle that only he could handle. Does that sound familiar?