Leaving Summer Behind

So I really haven’t been very awesome keeping the blog up to date this year. There’s been a good deal of the standard reasons behind this happening (requires effort, haven’t set out a scheduled time slot just for bogging …too lazy, too tired, too much to do –you’ve heard them all before); however, there’s also been some pretty legitimate reasons as well—well, okay, one legitimate reason: we’ve updated the Imaginary Wars website–not only that, we’ve incorporated a blog page into the store’s website!

!blog moving day

This, of course, means I’ll soon be directing this blog’s traffic over towards the www.imaginarywars.com blog page–or at least I’ll be directing what little traffic still drops by (undoubtedly to see if I’ve yet kicked the habit of being lazy) over to the store’s website. And by soon, I mean this week (shock, gasp).

So that’s a bit of a big change; this blog has been a pretty big part of my life since starting it April of 2009. Sure, times like the last couple of months, it’s been not much of a factor, but for the most part it’s been a dominant part of my life. Now, in a way it feels like I’m shutting the thing down—which is silly, because I’m not. Mind you, I’m the guy who’s never been good at thinking any biggish change was anything but huge, scary, epochal change; so I guess wistful emotions cropping up when I decide to transfer my blog to a different address should come as no surprise. (What makes my wistfulness even more silly is that all the blog posts here have been moved over to the store’s website blog page.)

So, to wrap up: starting ASAP, this blog will be posting a link to the new blog address (still a WordPress site but one linked directly to the store’s website), and we’ll be moving forward from that point.

A Lazy Summer?  

Flooded areas: (to quote Donald Rumsfeld) "all parts north, south, east and west of the city.

Flooded areas: (to quote Donald Rumsfeld) “all parts north, south, east and west.”

So what else have I been doing with myself since my last post, back in the middle of June? Work mostly. Work and some holidaying. Holidaying and recovering from holidaying. Recovering and planning for the fall season.

Holidaying this year took the form of a camping road trip. With all of June’s flooding that had crippled Calgary (and indeed much of southern Alberta and all parts mountainous) , we decided to head away from the mountains visible from any higher vantage in the city and explore the eastern edge of the province.

The sheer size of the province made an impression on us: we traveled from Calgary, mid-way up the province to a lake that practically straddled the Alberta-Saskatchewan border (a six-hour drive), camped for a few days then drove down to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park (which ended up being roughly a nine-hour drive) and camped for a few more days.

flatland & hills panorama

Milk River. Southern Alberta’s Sweetgrass Hills and prairies visible in the distance.

hoodoo campground panorama

Writing-on-Stone campground area, nestled in a small valley between hoodoos and Milk River.

hoodoo & family panorama

A brief rest while exploring all the myriad pathways laced amongst the hoodoos.

FSSF road pic

Other highlights included driving on the Veteran’s Memorial Highway (Hwy36) to the small town of Warner. There’s not much in Warner beyond the gas station, the main street (most its buildings vacant) and the town’s civic building. The civic building is Warner’s main attraction: a dinosaur museum and a settlers museum. The pride and joy of the museums: the fossilized dinosaur egg (with a nearly complete baby skeleton inside) and the section of the Settler’s museum dedicated to the First Special Services Force–The Devil’s Brigade (Warner sits on the junction of the Highway 36 and Highway 4; Hwy 4 was renamed in 1999 to commemorate it having been the route the Canadians joining 1st FSS used to get to Fort Harrison).

Hobby Laziness? Only Partly.

Speaking of World War II:  my summer activities that didn’t involve traipsing across the province included putting some more work into my mid-war Canadians. I finished painting up my first platoon and managed to get them on the Battlefront urban rubble bases (they are, after all, in Ortona!) and now I just need to paint those bases. And add snow.

No good shots yet exist of the whole platoon in one frame; and even though all the squads are now on rubble bases, no pictures yet exist, so these will have to suffice. Updated photos (hopefully) soon to come!

With the first platoon mostly finished, I also started on the second and third infantry platoons (platoon #2 is the photo below). But I’ve ground to a halt and have been derailed by a different Flames of War project.

Earliest photo

The local Flames of War club decided to do something a little different that got me inspired and motivated: themed gaming. The theme they chose was recon armies using modified Tank/Infantry Aces rules as the backdrop. Armies would be small: no more than 600 points. List structure is intentionally more loose: the 600-point armies must be made up almost entirely of reconnaissance platoons (with up to 150 points of non-recon platoons being allowed). Even better: all games will be played with different missions (which helps overcome the malaise that sets in after a lot of games have been played: when they all start to feel sort of the same).

No pictures yet, but I’ve started building a Late-War German Panzerspahkompanie (armoured cars & mechanized scout vehicles). I’ve opted to go the horde route and rather than take a few hard-hitting scout vehicles such as the Panzer II Luchs or the Puma armoured car, I decided to take a lot of lighter reconnaissance vehicles. We’ll see how things go.

Maybe I Haven’t Been so Lazy…

I’ve also managed to progress more with my Heavy Gear collection. My first cadre is pretty much finished, needing only decals; and I’ve also got my Sagittarius strider to the same spot (though it still needs to be transplanted to its permanent base). I’ve even managed to hit the half-way mark on the second cadre for my Southern army!

Somewhere along the way I managed to stop posting progress shots of my ‘gears, so here’s some progression shots of my first cadre’s Black Mamba and a couple of shots of my Sagittarius strider.

Black Mamba

Base coat of Vallejo's Middlestone and Secret Weapon wash (can't remember the exact concoction of colurs in the wash though).

Stage 1: Base coat of Vallejo’s Middlestone and Secret Weapon wash (can’t remember the exact concoction of colours in the wash though).

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Stage 2: base coat cleaned up so only deeper shades and black lining is visible.

Stage 2: base coat cleaned up so only deeper shades and black lining is visible.

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Stage 3: Camoflage pattern started on lower leg (after which, I decided to use a sand colour with less green in it).

Stage 3: Camouflage pattern stippled on lower leg (after which, I decided to use a sand colour with less green in it).

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Stage 4: Camouflage complete and gun painted. Base is pretty much done.

Stage 4: Camouflage complete and gun painted. Base is pretty much done.

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Stage 5: Model essentially complete. Only unit markings and decals remain. (Base changed as well.)

Stage 5: the Black Mamba, essentially complete. Only unit markings and decals remain. (Somewhere along the way, his base was changed as well.)

Sagittarius

Sagittarius strider. (Striders are 'Gears with a crew compliment larger than one.)

Sagittarius strider at the same point of completion as the Black Mamba.

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The Sagittarius is spilling over the base it comes with. It will soon be on a 50mm sculpted resin base.

The Sagittarius is spilling over the base it comes with. It will soon be on a 50mm sculpted resin base.

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Revelation

I guess it’s not so much that the store has taken over my ability to still have a hobby life. And really, I did, find time to play some Warhammer last week, some Star Trek Attack Wing the week before and the Star Wars: X-Wing game the week before–all while staying caught up with of my “to read” pile of comic books!

This is my Empire army at 1000 points ...about to get thoroughly pantsed.

This is my Empire army at 1000 points …just before it got thoroughly pantsed.

It’s that I lack the discipline (energy?) to blog regularly about it that’s problematic. Or, hopefully, at least that was the case for the summer. With the store’s website a lot closer to what we want it to be (for now), I’m planning on blogging about the other store-related things that interest me, namely board games and comic books on top of miniatures, leagues and tournaments. I may even be able to get our new guy to write a sporadic blog post about Magic the Gathering.

But this is where I sign off, reminding anyone who still comes here that this will be the final blog post at this address. All future blog posts will occur at:

http://www.imaginarywars.com/blog/

Works in Progress: –and More Than Just Heavy Gear!

Posted by Kyle.
Kyle avatar - fixed

Bear with me on this tangent.

Despite having worked in comic-book stores for many many (many) years, I never paid that much attention to the business side insofar as the publishers were concerned. Not until a couple of years ago, anyway. It was then that I realised that comics parallel new movies when they first hit the theaters: the more popular ones open up with HUGE numbers and then their ticket sales continuously decline the longer they remain in the theater.

Comic books are almost no different: the first issue sells a huge number of copies and then attrition takes its toll: month after month the number of issues sold continuously decreases. Where comics differ is that they can create moments where suddenly everyone starts buying the series again; this is done through changing creative teams or by creating a HUGE event (such as a death of a character) …or simply by just rebooting the series and starting at number one again. All this does is reset the cycle; attrition kicks back in almost always by the next issue.

My painting speed goes through a very similar cycle that comic-book subscriptions go through; I begin quite motivated and clipping along at a good speed, and within an hour of picking up my brush, I start slowing down; I start getting caught in the details. I then remind myself to speed up –and I’m good for another fifteen minutes …until I start slowing down again.This isn’t a bad thing; it just doesn’t produce fully painted miniatures very quickly. Anyways, this cycle will repeat for the full evening while I’m painting until I’ve either had enough (rarely happens) or until my eyes get too tired, and I make myself stop (happens fairly regularly) .

Though I make my ever-slowing painting speed sound like a hazard I face every time I sit down to paint for an evening, it isn’t; the real hazard for me is getting distracted. Just as when I write, distractions destroy my ability to get anything done –heck they destroy my ability to get anything started. Unlike (it would seem) …well, everybody, I can’t turn on a movie or a tv show and then sit down to paint with any hope of getting anything done. I need to shut myself away from the wife and kid and plug into my mp3 player if I want to make any progress in an evening. (I do manage to multitask a little by listening to some hobby-related podcasts like Jaded Gamercast and Clockwerk Warriors done by some of my friends….yes that was a shameless plug –go check them out!)

Sometimes, like last night, I get distracted in the good way and am suddenly inspired to paint some other models that have been languishing at my painting table, waiting for my attention. The models that I suddenly made huge progress last night were some cultists for Strange Aeons. These are models that I started almost two years ago …and I finally managed to get them almost done last night!

The "Clever Cleaver" Cultist

Cultist: “The Clever Cleaver”

Cultist: "Brother Bolt Action"

Cultist: “Brother Bolt Action”

I really like the cultist models for Strange Aeons; they’re not too fancy, but they do possess a ton of charm. And I only have weapon details and the hoods to do before they’re ready to be based and varnished, which should be easy…? Hopefully getting the last parts of these two models done won’t take another year. The undead mummy (below) was only base-coated (the now defunct GW colour) Graveyard Earth, and I got him done to the point that I now only need to finish his skin, weapon and a final ink glaze over the bandages.

Strange Aeons undead: Mummy. The skin has been base coated Shadow Grey and isn’t actually as blue as it looks here.

What made last night great was that I didn’t shirk the Heavy Gear models to work on the Strange Aeons ones; I made progress on both sets of miniatures! Here’s the progress I’ve made with my first Heavy Gear squad:

Sidewinder #1 with camo started (camo needs 2nd lighter layer)

Sidewinder #1 with camo started (camo needs 2nd lighter layer)

Strike Jager

Strike Jager (Lt Bazooka missing): first layer of Camo striping completed.

Sidewinder #2 basecoat done and now awaits first layer of Camo "striping."

Sidewinder #2 base coat done and now awaits first layer of Camo “striping.”

Black Mamba: camo done. Weapon mostly finished. Environment-proof covers around joints,danger stripes & other small details not finished.

Black Mamba: camo done, weapon mostly finished; environment-proof covers around joints,danger stripes & other small details not finished.

So that’s where things are at right now.I have a few more gears and strider parts soaking in citrus degreaser (I find that helps the primer adhere to the bare model much better). Hopefully, I can work on this batch of gears and the next batch in tandem to help speed things up.

Bitz and bitz getting "the soak."

Bitz and bitz getting “the soak.”

I’m definitely behind schedule, but I’ll keep plugging away: I hope to have my Naga and two gear squads completed for when the 600 point battles start getting played (which will be on the 22nd …mind you, I’ll be going out-of-town that weekend, so it sure seems like it’s going to be a challenge to get any gaming done more often than once every two weeks….sigh).

 

Work in Progress: Demons! The Second.

Hello folks! Scott here again. I’ve been diligently trucking away at getting my Tzeentch Demon army painted up, and figured it was about time for another post.

Here’s the army in its current state of paintitude:

1500 points of deepstriking, flamethrowing pain.

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Work in Progress: Demons! All Tzeentch, All the Time!

Hello folks! Scott here, and there’s a tournament on the horizon, so that means it’s time for me to put my brushes to work on an army that has spent far too long languishing unpainted in my case: my much beloved Tzeentch demons! Here’s the rundown on the 1500 point list:

The full 1500pt force. Horrors and Lord of Change basecoated, Demon Prince finished, rest of the lads primed.

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One Month and Six Days: Imaginary Wars Store!

I was over at the BaneLegions site the just yesterday and realised that:

(a) the link to us that listing us as a retailer carrying their excellent models leads people not to our website but instead to my hobby blog;

(b) the last post on my hobby blog is all about how Imaginary Wars is not yet open for business; and

(c) I haven’t posted a blog update in over a month! (So much for my goal of trying to post every week!)

 So I decided to rectify what I can.

“Rectifying” includes having a picture of Krull, on this post as it’s easily the most awesome of all the BaneLegions models!

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Boss Zagstruk: Work in Progress

I’ve been thinking that I should be showing off more of the stuff I’m working on—in an attempt to get me to sit at my painting table and get more painting done. So today, I’m “showing off” where I’m at right now with a commission I’m working on: Ork Boss Zagstruk.

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When it Sucks Taking a Long Time to Paint Your Stuff

Slowly but surely (with extra emphasis on the slowly part of that equation), I’ve been plugging away at more of my Space Marine army. A few weeks ago, I got around to my shading wash on my now-yellow terminators—or rather, I did my shading wash on five of them.

As I progressed on the first one I realised the brown wash I was doing was WAY too dark: building up to a vivid yellow was going to be more work than I had planned with the kind of dark wash I just put down on the yellow termie. So I switched things up and remembered—after the fact—that I wasn’t using a brown to shade the yellow of my army; I was using the old Flesh Wash ink. So I proceeded to wash the yellow terminators with the Flesh Wash ink wash. Continue reading