Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Emperor's Hounds

As noted in my last post, one of my first projects for 2011 will be getting a painted, playable space marine army on the table before the current 40K campaign ends. Towards this goal, and riffing on a color scheme and background concept with which I made a faltering start nearly three and a half years ago, I present the "Emperor's Hounds" in their subdued livery (once again using the outstanding Bolter and Chainsword painter tool):

The early inspiration for the color scheme was that it was one on which I could experiment with the use of the Army Painter dip. Though I'm not sure that I'll make use of the dip over the new standby, GW's Devlan Mud wash, either method should allow for quick, satisfactory results. As noted in the previous post, developing the competence to, and tolerance for, painting quickly is a goal.

Fluff-wise I'm looking for these guys to be fairly generic marines. Alternately dubbed the Emperor's Hounds, Wolfhounds, Warhounds, Devil Dogs, etc., depending on who you talk to, they're going to be a fleet-based chapter that recruits on the move, and thus has no stable home world. By not opting for a single source of recruits, this opens up my options to include marines from all sorts of cultural backgrounds. It would be natural to make them a Space Wolf successor, but I think I'm going to skip the feral nature, keep the furry icons to a minimum, and opt for a lot of classic Rogue Trader-era imagery. Shark teeth painted on Mk. VI helmets, "KILL" and other friendly slogans written on bolters, and plenty of dirt.

With tactical squads forming the core of a marine army, even one as offbeat as I plan on assembling (more on that later), getting a squad of 10 power armored marines cleaned, assembled, and ready for a halfway decent day for priming will be my first task.

More to come.

Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Plans

Two and a half weeks is far too along into the new year to engage in the typical hobby blog activity of making resolutions. That and my anemic posting frequency suggests that generalized goals are of little service to me anyways. But a strategy of some sorts needs to be determined. Although I maintain this blog merely as a self-gratifying means of chronicling my hobby projects, rather than as a creature itself that suffers during my long bouts of neglect, I haven't posted since October. And the review of my "2010 Totals" showed that I purchased nearly 100 models while painting a grand total of three. Yes, three. Sure, there's plenty of excuses for my lack of progress - new job responsibilities, XBox distractions, and, most of all, my impending nuptials.

Regardless of the reasons though, at this point I'm simply accumulating "stuff" and not doing anything with it. With a new house on the horizon and the resultant need to pack and move, I simply cannot justify hanging on to a hobby that takes up this much physical space if I'm not actively involved in it. As I have no desire to abandon a hobby that has given me so much enjoyment over the years, I'm going to instead try and whip myself into action by laying out some distinct project plans for this year.

1. Redesign Hobby Area
I've already made some headway on this first task. As my significant other works from home, we've had to arrange a workspace for her, which meant my hobby area had to be moved. In the process of doing that I've begun to reorganize things. Gone are the mass of figures that were either half-started projects or ones I intended to work on "soon." Knives, brushes, files and other assorted tools found homes in drawers and a newly acquired Ikea rolling drawer unit houses things like flock and other basing materials as well as work-in-progress projects.

With the addition of at least one more decent lamp, I should finally have a workstation that will be workable for some time to come. For far too long I've tried to work in a small square of clear space on a cramped desk, but with this reorganization I'll hopefully remove that as an obstacle to actually getting some work done.

2. Scope Out Projects
The main problem with buying figures when not actively working on them is that when you finally get around to that project, you realize that a number of those purchases aren't actually going to be used. For instance, I now probably have far more vehicles for my 40K space marines than I'll actually be able to use in a single playable force. As I've noted in previous posts, 40K isn't a game that I'm intending to invest in to the point of having spare or alternate units.

So, the next task will be identifying the handful of imminent projects (as noted below) and determining what is ultimately going to comprise each of those projects. Even if I don't intend on working on all of the components of a project in the first go round (e.g. it's highly unlikely I will be painting every marine I intend for my final force list at one time), I want to concretely determine whether a figure has an anticipated home or not. If not, it's going to eBay/Bartertown/etc. Though I'm not moving right away, if I can start winnowing my collection while working on projects I'll find myself in that much better of a position when it comes to packing everything up.

3. Initial Projects
Below are the first three projects I intend to work on in 2011. I could have picked others that would have been quicker to accomplish (such as my Uncharted Seas fleet), and thus giving me a few quick "wins" in this mission, but I wanted to instead work on things that would have instant utility. So, each of the below projects are related to games that I'm either actively playing, or have an identified group that I can get a game with.

Space Marines
I've been saying for about four years now on this blog that I am in the process of working on my space marines, and yet haven't done more than post a never-ended stream of color scheme concepts. Fortunately my semi-regular gaming group is just starting a 40K campaign for which getting units painted provides substantial in-game rewards. In an attempt to transmute that incentive into motivation, my marines will be receiving my initial focus.

After toying with a number of color schemes, most of which didn't lend themselves to any quick or efficient painting techniques, I've settled on a scheme that I should hopefully be able to crank out while relying primarily on washes. With any luck this will help shift my painting mindset somewhat and allow me to embrace the idea of painting quickly. While I am far from an expert painter, I'm quick to perceive an imperfection in a work-in-progress paint job, and toss the whole figure in a Simple Green bath. For instance, while I may have only finished three figures in 2010, I started and stripped three times that many.

In my next post I'll lay out the details of this hopefully efficient scheme for my marines.

I've long admired the figures in this range, but was able to resist making any purchases as I had nobody to play against. Then, just before the holidays, one of my regular opponents got into this game through a league at an LGS. With my feeble excuse sundered, I used some holiday money to pick up all of the Haqqislam figures that I should need while I learn to play the game. The plan here, unlike the larger marine project, is to blast through the entire force in one bout of painting and I'll be setting myself the goal of not buying anything new until my prior purchases have been fully painted.

That last goal owes much to the lessons learned from getting into Malifaux. As the first new miniatures game that I had bought into in many, many years, I was determined to paint additions to my crew as I bought them. But my Seamus force expanded quickly beyond the starter set with naught but primer on any figures, and GenCon saw me returning with Colette and an entirely new faction (Arcanists) to choose from. The plan here is to stop any further expansion until I have a playable Resurrectionist force (with both Seamus and Nicodem as completed options) and Colette's starter set has been finished.

I also have a small Ramos crew that I promised to paint quite some time ago for a buddy. This long-suffering friend has been gracious in accepting my excuses, but as I'm not only inconveniencing him but denying myself an opponent as I sit on his figures, it's high time I get to work.

So that's where 2011 is going to start. No doubt I'll interject other quick projects here and there, but it's time to get something finished!