The Poxton Stranglers

Its a bit of a transition period at MiniMakeover Towers. Family members are selling houses and I’ve been flat out helping my wife set up her retail business (which I will plug here in the not too distant future). All that has meant a lot of picking up heavy things and putting them down again along with a lot of home renovation type activities like drilling holes in brick, hanging shelves, sanding and painting and all other man-card-reinforcing stuff.

Although the hobby skills don’t directly translate to DIY, a methodical attitude, patience and dedication to preparation do and I’m reasonably proud of the results I’ve achieved.

As such I’ve had little time or energy to devote to my beloved hobby, DIY is draining and while I’d normally get up early to get some mini painting done I now find myself looking in horror at the clock for a moment before bounding to the shower, as if the saving of a second will make me less late for work!

Actually that is a total lie, I catch up on some important business (Impact Kickstarter Campaign) and left-wing outrage (The Guardian) before shambling in. A life before smartphones was a life half-lived.

Also in transition are my projects, as we shift away from my ill-fated foray into the world of Necromantic Blood Bowl teams and hopefully toward better, smellier and suitably festering times with a Nurgle side. I haven’t posted much about the Necro, because for the most part I couldn’t figure them out. They’re a hybrid team, with bashy and dashy players. In theory you’ll be able to bash the sides that are dashy, and dash past the bashy ones – in practice I found them to be a mediocre and fragile bash team without enough agility to compensate. Most of my opponents were low armoured, agile teams which negated my team’s natural advantage of having Claws on its Werewolves, and I also didn’t have enough Tackle to bring them down regularly. All in all it was my most dismal season going 1-4-2 (W-T-L) just a year after hoisting the championship. Bye Frank!

FrankBack

So, we’re done with the dead-ites and the eye-bleeding futility that came with them. Now we’ll move on to Nurgle and probably a plata segunda of shambling misery.
However, I’m confident that they’ll do two things better than I could manage with the Necro – stymie my opponent, and pick up the ball.

So, on with the team!

First up are the Rotters, able though brittle servants of Papa Nurgle and thus pretty cheap. Best of all you get free ones when one of your team members kills somebody! Normally people use zombies to represent Rotters, but I’m one of the minority in this hobby that is at least partially baffled by the geek love and mainstrem-ification of zombies. Never played Last Night On Earth, never watched an episode of Walking Dead or read the comic. What I am a fan of though is old skool Realm of Chaos (RoC) minis and all the lovely white metal character that comes with them. Yes, yes, Plaguebearers aren’t Rotters, who cares! (plague swords optional)

PSRottersRaw

OK, so I’ve only got three warriors right now. Bilerot and two RoC champions. The Oldhammer revolution has turned these fellas into the hobby equivalent of bitcoins, right now fetching double the price I paid for them back in January. None of that will save them from conversion in the slightest, in fact you can see the claw I’ve given to Mr My-Arm-Is-My-Leg. Alien-Tongue is going to lose the scythe/halberd fairly shortly to be replaced with more tentacles. Bilerot is just going to get a paint job when I figure out a scheme…

PSWarriorsRaw

Just the one Pestigor right now, two arms good, three arms better is mantra. After two seasons of butterfingered undead fumbling the ball I am looking forward to a delightfully pustular Pestigor and his Sure Hands + Extra Arms ball cradling combo. This is what insuance looks like people!  Horned and boil-ey! He is a Beastface mini from blog reader Axiom’s personal line, a little on the large size, but I figure that will mean I roll a bunch of +ST . More Pesti’s to come later as I add them to the roster.

PSPestigorRaw

We now enter the ethically dubious section of the post. Astute readers will note that the below miniature is a Confrontation Chthonian Larva 2 from the very much defunct Rackham miniatures. This particular example is a resin recast, a very good quality one from a chap in Kharkiv, Ukraine. I’m unsure of the efficacy of the Ukrainian postal service currently (rocket attacks, insurrection etc) but it was just fine back in January and I’m grateful for it. I did do a good search for several weeks, but the only ones that turned up on ebay were also resin.  Its a damn shame people can’t sort their shit out enough to meet the demand for their quality product.

PSBeastRaw

So there we go, a long post for only half a team – none of it painted. I’m trying to come up with an original scheme that has NO GREEN in it. Just about every Nurgle team is green and I don’t do cliched schemes.

Advertisements

Necrostruggles

My enthusiasm for painting a team is composed of three separate impulses: the quality of the models, the colour scheme and my level of playing skill/results.

With the recently finished Chaos Dwarves that I knocked out in a little over eight weeks, the weakest of those three was model quality. I love the Houston colours and I like playing the team a lot. I will admit that despite owning every 2nd Ed Blood Bowl team and liking the characterful masks of the Chaos Dwarves, there’s no hiding the fact – even behind stripes and complex schemes – that they are very basic miniatures by today’s standards. The beards are particularly difficult to render because the dwarves’ hair is so blunt and ill-defined. There are also detail gaps around the gloves – you just have to guess what colour to paint where at times.
I am definitely proud of them – they’d be getting a bath if I wasn’t, but I’ve had a degree of gnawing dissatisfaction lately that needs to be addressed.

My painting techniques are derived from the same era as these minis. There really is only one technique – I layer from dark to highlight. Sometimes I use a wash or glaze but mostly I just put paint on paint, and it is a slow process.

In the long decade that I didn’t touch a brush several techniques have developed and are no longer news, or even old news. They just are, and they need to be learnt by me. Its going to be painful (not literally), but worth it ultimately as todays painters achieve better and faster results blending than I do layering. I also want to try NMM (non-metallic metal) as well at some point.

Part of the reason for such a sorry-ass, navel-gazing post like this is that I am attempting to resume my Necromantic team which stalled just before I went on holiday last year. Returning to the three drivers of painting enthusiasm I am finding them lacking in all three areas: there are a lot, of old blunt miniatures, a complex colour scheme which doesn’t excite me greatly and easily most damning is their indifferent form on the Blood Bowl pitch.

For some reason I can’t warm to the team. In playing terms Necro’s are expensive and lacking in basic skills, which can be accounted for in early results as is the learning curve that comes with playing a two-speed side that consists of either very fast or very slow players, however I’m eleven games in with a 3-5-3 W-T-L record and still very much in second gear.

Its fair to say I’ve suffered some bad luck this season, spending one game swamped with Skaven in my own half after a series of bad kickoff table results, and then having my best player – a werewolf get killed in my most recent match while also being robbed of victory via a cursed “ball clone” courtesy of dear Tzeentch. A good result against another Skaven team next round may lift me from the crisis of enthusiasm I am labouring under currently, but in the back of my mind is a sense of forboding that just may manifest into a dislike of this roster. I like playing Orcs, Dwarves, High Elves, Chaos Pact, Chaos Dwarves – I figured I’d like playing any team, but I am struggling to enjoy playing these dead-ites and its a bit of a strange feeling.

Maybe I’ll start on a Nurgle team then…

The Grand Old Flag, Frank and Gory

Ghoulish “Gory” Lyon and “Frank” Stynes have made it off the painting table and onto the pitch.  Don’t mind the solar powered snowman/abomination in the background.  Pretty happy with these two blokes, there’s only so many minis I can paint without reaching for the electric blue and my will snapped at four.  I’m colour coding the positions by skin colour. Green for zombies, blue for ghouls, yellow for flesh golems and black for werewolves.

Image

And the back…

Image

Frank was serviceably painted (by TFF’s firebreather) when I got him, as shown with my left thumb and a hideously brown dwarf cheerleader, so he is a makeover – yes they do happen!

Image

Five done now, the team is beginning to take shape.

Image

Zombie 2: OMG my hand is bigger than my head!

Image

 

Here’s zombie number 2 (heh), which is the rare combination of being sculpted by Gary Morley and not being total shit.  His left hand is way beyond even “heroic” proportions and that shoulder spike is positively phallic,  but overall he’s got some nice detail and assymetrical going on.  

One of the reasons progress on these guys has been so slow is that its really hard to make the colour scheme work.  The majority of the uniform is dirty white which doesn’t contrast enough with the dead flesh and the red & blue are both fairly dark.

Overall I’m pretty happy with the result- washing dried blood around his eyes and bandaged hand was pretty fun, I feel like I’m starting to get a handle on the walking dead.  What I won’t show are the two abortions that will shortly be getting a bath!

The Grand Old Flag, starting out

Image

Here’s an establishing shot of the motley collection of castoffs that make up my Necromantic team.  Unfortunately the weather has been mostly rubbish and even with white balance correction the picture is still too blue.  Unlike 80% of blood bowlers it seems, I dislike having an indicvidual mini for each position. I like my teams to look like teams (with apologies to Chaos Pact) and I want plenty of flat surface to paint a coherent uniform across.  I have none of that with this team, and furthermore I’ve got a colour scheme that is mainly comprised of two dark colours (red/blue) contrasting with the extremely un-undead colour, white.  It will be a challenge to match the lofty peaks that the Faceless Men achieved!

I’ve finished the old zombie, here’s the uniform I’m trying to emulate.

Image

Duds

I’m rapidly coming to the realisation that navy blue and red is not a good colour scheme for minis. Apologies to the Crimson Fists, but the walking dead are just too pasty and washed out to suffer from a muted scheme. I’ve been generously applying lipstick to several pigs in the form of spanish zombies over the last couple of weeks while I bathe in the afterglow of my painting success fully aware of the rapid onset of a looming “painter’s block”.

I actually have a strong dislike of navy, its like an off-black. A less funereal, less impactful colour that just cries “meh” to me. Its not me, its navy! The answer is a strong light colour to contrast the red, and they don’t get any stronger than white! My Demons could very well turn out to be Swans, I need to re-work the back story.