Starting to get back to normality

It has been quite a while since I last managed to write a post and it has been for good reason as for the last few weeks I have been helping my better half with her business. Our house has been extremely busy and I’ve not been able to stop for any sort of free time, let alone hobby time. Anyway that’s over for now and it’s just the Christmas period to get through. There is some light at the end of the hobby tunnel.

There are still a few hobby updates to share though. The biggest is probably X-Wing. I’ve not played a game for over 12 months, but the new Star Wars trailer must have awakened something (geddit?) in me and I’m back listening to X-Wing podcasts, reading websites and buying expansions. I’m not interested in any of the really large ships as I am just interested in simple dog fights if I’m honest, so I’ve been ordering ships from the releases that I missed in my time away. Frustratingly I found that buying expansion packs is still nigh-on impossible and I’ve got months to wait until the new ships actually arrive. At least it will give me time to dust off the stuff that I already have. I suspect that my general Star Wars excitement will build exponentially over the next year until the new film is released.

I’ve not been able to get in any games of tabletop Blood Bowl and have not even been able to find time to schedule FUMBBL matches in the Twitter Beard League (TBL). I have though got my Meiko Miniatures Ratmen and Underworld teams through in the last week. They look really nice and I can’t wait to paint them. I don’t know why but I was really shocked that they were all metal miniatures. They feel really nice and weighty compared to the plastic that I’ve been playing with recently. Sadly they’re still in the packaging and the box has gone straight on the shelf for now. I’m still waiting for the three teams that I purchased through the Impact! Miniatures Kickstarter which is a shame. I’ve also been picking up 2nd and 3rd edition GW goblins and have enough now to make a full team – another project. The plastic Nurgle and High Elf conversions that I started a while ago are still in various states of assembly and are currently sitting on a tray on a different shelf. I’ve also been looking at sideline counters, tokens, figures, and dugouts. I quite fancy making some generic items to support my teams. Another thing on the (long) list!

I am signed up to three tournaments in the next 6 months, the first of which is at the end of February. I have no idea what I want to play yet, just as I have no idea what I want to play in the new league season. I am also strongly considering stripping and repainting my 2nd edition metal Human team so that I can take them to the NAFC in May. Now that my painting has improved a bit I think I could do a better job with them.

I have also been skirting around the fringes of Epic. I’ve catalogued the collection that I have and have found myself looking at lists and the bits that are missing. I’m caught between selling it all or spending a little(!) bit to be able to make up some forces. Still not sure. It’s third on my list of game priorities anyway.

It is still going to be a couple of weeks until I fully get back into things. I hope that until I get time back in the cave, I can make some decisions about what teams I want to play and what I want to focus on. I can then crack on and get things done.

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Quick hobby update

I’ve just looked at when I last posted here and it wasn’t that long ago although for some reason it feels like it has been months. I’ve got a few things that I want to share shortly but thought that for now I’d briefly update on the progress that I’ve made.

Since I last posted I have primed nearly 70 Blood Bowl miniatures ready for some winter painting. There’s an undead team as well as dark elves, chaos dwarves and norse. They join the dwarves on the shelves ready for some painting. I put dark elves in that list but I have since painted them! I’ll do a separate post with some pictures but they were done very quickly using some classic Blood Bowl colours. I don’t have a plan for playing them in the near future so they have gone back on the shelf but this time with paint on.

Talking of my shelves (interesting I know), I needed to buy some more of the little plastic display cases that I have been using but saw that they’ve massively increased in price. So much so that I started to look elsewhere and found a really cheap glass display case from Ikea. I picked it up last weekend but haven’t put it together yet. It’s going to mean a little rearrange of the cave again (which I love anyway).

I’ve not been paying any FUMBBL but quite fancy playing a game or two again. I’ve been spectating again which is a good start. Gaming and tabletop-wise I am playing at the Exiles tournament next weekend and will be taking my Ogres. I was hoping to be able to take my custom pitch but am waiting for the final version to be printed following the changes that I made. The changes were minor and the kind of thing to expect when printing a large mass of colour on such a large scale on a slippery surface. I am still hoping to be able to get a pitch to the winner of ExeBowl which is now only a few weeks away. I’ve not played any other games; summer is a quiet time at the club.

On the hobby side of things I have made a decision to try to get better a painting. I’m never going to be brilliant but would like to try to improve given the amount of time and money that I spend on the hobby side of things. I have been watching some painting tutorials online and am using my Warhammer High Elves (remember them?) to practice on. I’ve done one and numbers two and three are underway. So far I am really pleased with my progress. I’ll going to share my experiences here and will post more regular updates. I hope that we’ll be able to see improvement between posts 🙂 I’m enjoying the process so much that I am probably going to paint a whole High Elf army and have been looking online for nice miniatures to paint.

That’s enough for now. There are likely to be more posts over the winter as I get back into my evening routine of football on the radio and NFL on Sunday evenings.

The man cave gets a tidy

Since I spent the best part of a winter decorating the house and then working on the man cave I don’t think I’ve posted here anything on what it looks like now.

Earlier I spent a little bit of time moving and reorganising the furniture and my hobby stuff. I’m a good organiser. I like having things organised and well stored. My problem is that I’m not really a neat and tidy person. Over time things just get messy and rubbish piles up and things don’t get put away and, well, things need reorganising.

Part of the changes are due to me painting more and being more interested and active in the miniatures hobby. There are a few important things for me in the cave. The computer is vital as it gives me my streaming TV, films and Youtube tutorials. I use the cave a lot over the winter months with the NFL or football on in the background either on the TV or the radio. I also like to have all of my paints, brushes and other tools close to hand as well as the miniatures that I am working on and want to work on next. I don’t find it daunting having a pile of things to do, I find it quite motivational. I also like to have on display the things that I have done. This is really nice as I can see the progress that I have made over the last year or two.

  • Purple drawers on the right have got my paints in.
  • Box on the lowest shelf above the desk has got my next projects in it.
  • Red boxes have some comedy DVDs and some old camera equipment in.
  • Tall black drawers on the right are full of wires and computer stuff.
  • Tall black drawers on the left with the laptop on top have got assorted hobby and modelling bits in them.
  • The little perspex boxes on the white shelves have got my painted Blood Bowl teams in.
  • Clear box with the green lid has got more Lego in it from when I was a kid.
  • In the other end there is a load of junk behind the curtain and on top there’s my PS3 and my Homebrewed Wii (for Zelda).

This is it looking its best 🙂

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A little hobby update

I’ve been picking up projects and have been making little bits of progress here and there so I thought that I’d write a short post updating on everything that I’ve got going on at the moment.

I’ve been having a podcast clear out. Only a few weeks ago I had nearly 60 podcasts on the download queue including about 40 gaming related ones. I’ve just got fed up of hearing the same things over and over again so I’ve unsubscribed from most of them. I did have a lot of Warhammer Fantasy podcasts and these especially were getting on my nerves. I’m down to two that I will listen to now. I was always a voyeur when it comes to WFB anyway and I think that I was getting a bit annoyed with it all so have also cut out a lot (but not all) of WFB social media.

To counter this I am very much into Blood Bowl. The league season is coming to an end, but I am getting a lot out of the Blood Bowl Twitter community and I am really enjoying the little projects that I’m working on. The biggest of these is my custom pitches. I’ve wanted to make a pitch for a long time, but whilst reading some of the old Blood Bowl magazines I saw an article about making a pirate pitch with a set of house rules for it. I’ve started making the pitch and will post on this separately soon. I’m also going to make a felt pitch and a variation of the classic astrogranite pitch. I’m not a modeller or crafter in any way really, but it’s a lot of fun and so far I am really pleased with progress. Flicking through the Blood Bowl magazines has been great fun too – it is an inspirational read.

I’m also still working on my teams collection. I’d like to have one team for each of the 24 Blood Bowl races and then after that maybe each of the star players. It is a long term project! I’ve been painting the ogres but needed to get the snotlings primed before I could do anything else. This was also a great opportunity to finally strip and prepare a couple of other teams. I’m always looking on eBay for bargains and recently picked up a 2nd edition dark elf team and a 2nd/3rd edition dwarf team. These along with the snotlings and some warriors and beastmen for a chaos team have been prepared and primed. I also primed the freshly stripped 2nd edition orc players that I’m going to use as thralls in my orc vampire team. The vampires are going to be a mixture of old 40k orks and Warhammer black orcs with the weapons snipped. I’m working on back stories for all of the teams and even the pirate ship pitch. This is really making me think about how I want them to look and play and is helping to drive me to get them all done.

Outside of miniature games, I have been fiddling with building and rebuilding my home media server from an old PC. This is something that I am always tinkering with really. I have also been wanting to play old Nintendo games – Zelda especially. So I have dusted off the Wii and spent an evening homebrewing it. That worked and was really simple, I’ll write something shortly to say what tools I used to do it. Anyway, I can now play Zelda again so will start playing that soon. I’ve not spent any time on it since getting it working as I need to reconfigure the buttons on the controller as it’s not natural to play at the moment.

What else? Oh I’m going to try to get back into playing some online Blood Bowl and am going to make a real effort to play tabletop games at the local club over the Summer. The ExeBowl tournament is doing well and we’re getting a lot of interest which is nice reward for the work to get it to this stage. There are a few bits to do before the event itself but we’re on track for a fun event. I do keep looking to find a Blood Bowl tournament that I can attend as a player, but think I will need to park that for a couple of years. I’ve not played any X-Wing recently but do have a few games lined up for when the Blood Bowl league finishes. I’m sure I’ll get back into that when the next wave of ships arrives.

All in all, hobby things are going well. There’s a lot going on and I am feeling good doing it. I’ll post and share on each of the individual projects as I work on them. At the moment it feels quite good doing a little bit of everything, which isn’t usual for me. I normally like to work on one thing until it is finished. But I think the fact that everything is so enjoyable means I can’t leave a project alone for too long.

I’d love to know what projects you are working on and what is motivating you at the moment.

The 100th Post Let Down

It’s true. This is the 100th post on my little blog. Thanks for reading 🙂

It’s been a little while since I last posted here and that is partly because I wanted to do something special for the 100th post. I’ve been putting it off trying to think of what to do and it always came back to a review of the last 99 posts. As it happens though I am not going to do that. I’m just too excited and on a hobby high to write something retrospective. I’m forward thinking and I’m just going to write down what is getting me going at the moment and what I am working on.

Well firstly, I’ve finished the background work needed to setup and publicise my Blood Bowl tournament – ExeBowl. It is now NAF approved and although it too early to have my first paying customer, I am really pleased that there has been a good level of interest. I’m hoping that we’ll have a great event and that we’ll be back next year. I will write up a little post in the future about what I’ve done and how I’ve approached the Tournament Organiser role. I’ve not had a Blood Bowl league game for a few weeks but have 2 in 2 weeks coming up and overall I am really hyped by Blood Bowl. I’m slowly trying to get back into FUMBBL and the Cyanide game but there’s no rush.

I am really enjoying writing the Blood Bowl match reports and the good feedback is really appreciated. I think in part this is a big factor in my hobby high. Through Twitter and the blog, I feel part of a little group of like minded readers and social-media friends. It’s not a pressure to write or paint, it’s now a nice part of my life that I am pleased to be able to share with people. When I first got back into the hobby, I was obviously an outsider, but feel that I’ve been able to contribute rather than consume recently. This is very rewarding. I hope that over the coming months and years that I will be able to meet many of you either in person at gaming events or online via Skype of Google Hangouts (get in touch if you fancy some Skype painting or a chat).

As a result of all of this I have started painting again and have lots of plans for new teams to paint and model – more on that soon. I feel that I’ve found my balance of life and hobby-life; I’ll do them in my own time to the best standard that I can do and I’ll be happy. Sometimes when you consume everything via podcasts, blogs, forums and Twitter you can (well I can) get overwhelmed and a little envious. I’m not in a position to travel to tournaments every week, I can’t buy every army out there, and I’m not the best painter. I’m just a normal guy with a pretty normal life who occasionally likes to paint and play with little toy soldiers. But it makes me happy and at the moment it makes me really happy 🙂

Blood Bowl is and always will be my main focus, but I am also looking into other games and other miniatures. Infinity and Malifaux are both of interest and there’s always X-Wing in the background. I’ve found what I like, I’ve found what I don’t like and I’ve found my voice really. It’s exciting times.

So this 100th post is about the present and the future. The journey has been a good one. I have learnt a lot and met some interesting people along the way, but it’s the future that I’m looking forward to and I’m doing it with a smile on my face.

Now I’m off out to the cave for a spot of painting. See you soon.

Autumn is here and that means hobby

It’s September, the apples are falling from the trees and the paddling pool is packed away for another year. The nights are drawing in and the various sports that I follow are starting their new seasons.  That means that I get back into hobby mode.

Last night was my first night out in the cave painting for a long long time. I’ve got another couple of hours in tonight. No major challenges taken on yet, I am finally finishing off the 2nd Edition Blood Bowl human team that I started in the Spring. At the time I didn’t have enough catcher and blitzer models to make a full roster so I am doing the 3 blitzers and 2 catchers that I picked up over the Summer. Plan is to finish them over the next few nights; that would then be a second fully painted squad to play with.

Next up will probably be the 2nd Edition pro-elves. I’ll be looking over colours later tonight, but will probably repaint them as the Galadrieth Gladiators.

Also on my mind is the collection of Warhammer Fantasy High Elf army that has appeared on my shelves. Think I need to stop collecting and starting painting and playing a little more…I do love collecting though 😉

On the subject of playing, things are a little difficult on that front with all my family responsibilities. I really hope that I can sort it out that I can play in the local Blood Bowl league that will be starting in the next couple of months.

Right that’s enough from me at the moment, but expect more from me over the next few evenings as I spend more time in the cave.

Displaying my 28mm miniatures

Now that the man/hobby cave is finished, I finally have some space to spread my hobby wings.

I’ve not got much room in there and certainly not enough for a large display case, but still I think it would be nice to show off some of the finished minis. A lot of my unpainted, unused, collection of minis are in boxes with the finished team and the next two in line for painting in foam. As I complete more teams I want to be able to keep a few either on the desk or on the shelves, without getting covered in dust.

I took a look on Amazon for display cases and came across these. As they are only £4.50 I thought they were worth a go and so got two. They arrived earlier this week and I’m quite impressed. The quality is really good and they take 15 miniatures comfortably. At L20.5cm x D10cm x H10.5cm, the figures are quite low in the case so I’m going to build something to raise them up into two or three levels. I’m thinking I’ll make something out of lollipop sticks, paint it up and make a kind of wooden stand to show them off.

They’ll look really nice on the shelves and looking at them all the time will make me want to play with them more 🙂

The plastic case opened up

The plastic case opened up

15 miniatures in the case

15 miniatures in the case

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** Just want to add that I’m not in anyway associated with the manufacturers of this product. I’m just a gamer, hobbyist with a blog and I like to share things that I like or find useful. **