Monthly Archives: April 2013

What’s Old is New

I’ve been on a bit of an old-school miniatures kick lately, no doubt inspired by guys like the Old School Grenadier Miniatures blog (now sadly gone, it seems).

A bit about that. I first started painting minitures in the 5th grade. Since I’m 40, I’ve been at it a while. I don’t claim to be a master painter; I learn more and more every day. But back then, and pretty much right through high school, I truly sucked at it. I painted all my miniatures with Testors gloss enamel paint, which doesn’t lend itself to shading, highlighting, mixing, or just painting in general. Not that I made any attempt whatsoever at any of those techniques. Most of my miniatures looked pretty gloopy.

It wasn’t until I started playing Warhammer and 40K in college that I discovered acrylic paint. A huge difference for sure. And although I have little love left for GW, I learned a lot from their publications and my painting dramatically improved in a relatively short period of time. Since I was building armies to game with, I painted GW figures pretty much exclusively from the early 90’s -2000 or so.  Around 2003,  I took a long hiatus from both wargaming and painting, having to pack up my paints and miniatures in storage. I only started up again about 3 years ago, and now I can’t stop.

Partly because of nostaligia and partly because I look at them and cringe, I’ve decided that in between my regular projects I’ll give some of my earliest efforts the repainting they so desperately need. Here are some of them.

Everyone I know who collected miniatures back in the early 80’s had the guy on the left. He’s from the Fantasy Lords set 121: Knights. I think he’s a pretty cool miniature from that time, plus he has a bec-de-corbin. How many miniatures do you own that are similarly equipped? Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of him with his old paint job, which was a true atrocity. I never bothered to base any miniatures before I started playing Warhammer, and I see no reason to base them for repaints. Next to him is a Ral Partha Dwarf: I can’t find the number. If any of you can, I’d appreciate you telling me. I recall he was in a blister labeled “Conquistador Dwarf”, but I’ve also seen him referred to as a “Dwarf Champion”. This guy never had any paint on him before now, so there was no “before” picture to take. I did base this guy, because I’ll probably be using him in my AD&D campaign as an NPC. I’m pretty happy with the way they both turned out.

Here’s an example of my work back then. Note the lovely Testors glossy flesh color on the charging halberdier. Impressive, no? Now just imagine if he had a face, how good that would look, and you get the idea of the general quality of my painting back then.

These are the repaints. The miniatures are some classics from that era: Ral Partha’s Chaotic Knights of the Skull (01-137). Like many of the miniatures of this time, scale was all over the place. These were supposed to be 25mm miniatures but they’re more like 32mm. The halberdier’s legs are far enough apart that you could fit the knight in the first picture within  his stride.  Although I think they’re both kind of silly, they were easy and quick to paint in between my current projects. I still don’t like the miniatures, but I like to think my paint job has improved over 25 years.

I think I’ll keep repainting old stuff and posting the results from time to time.

My Pile of Insanity

Like most miniatures enthusiasts, I have an ever-increasing mountain of unpainted lead and plastic that might one day get me my own episode of Hoarders.

Well, I will not go gentle into that good night, friends. I’m doing something about it. They say the first step is to admit you have a problem. Well, I submit to you my pile of insanity. Judge not lest ye be judged. I know some of you are worse.

First up: my desk. Thousands of miniatures have been painted and, in some cases, repainted here. Considering 90% of the painting I do nowadays is for the AD&D campaign I’m running, I have to be careful about what I show so as not to give my players any warning of what’s coming. In front of the paint rack is a group of miniatures, most of which are primed black. Some have been in this state for YEARS. The current project is a group of 10 Wargames Factory Zombie Vixens. Once these are done I have 20 more to paint. You may notice the backscratcher on the right. Highly recommended for those of us who spend hours painting hunched over.

This rack contains leftover bits on sprues,  Plano cases full of painted miniatures (don’t count), old boxed sets of Grenadier and Ral Partha miniatures (one day I’ll get around to repainting them), basing materials and supplies, etc. All the white card boxes are full of Heroclix miniatures, sorted by team. There are some hidden gems here, too. For example, I have about 40 Rogue Trader Beakie Space Marines, still on the sprue. I’m saving them for a rainy day.

Here is one side of my closet. The miniatures are on the second shelf, all unpainted: boxed sets of Wyrd, Confrontation, Alkemy and Privateer Press stuff; an unopened High Elf Battle Ready Battalion; an unopened WFB Battle of Skull Pass; several unopened regiments of High Elves, including a Cavalry Patrol; my Cawdor Necromunda Gang; some Warzone stuff I bought just because I liked it; a box of Defiance UAMC Marines; a box of Wargames Factory Shock Troopers (soon to be joined by 2 more boxes en route); a Reaper Dwarf Cannon; some Mantic Dwarfs, a box of Judge Dredd Gangers I bought at Gen Con for 5 bucks; and a Clan War Crab Regiment to go with the Clan War base set I haven’t painted. It’s over by the Space Hulk game that has all unpainted miniatures in it, too.

Below that are three shelves full of mostly unpainted scenery. Yes, that’s an original Warhammer Mighty Fortress. I’ve never used it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t. Three boxes of Pegasus Gothic buildings and ruins share the same shelf, along with a GW Chapel. (All those tackle boxes and miniatures cases have painted WFB and 40K armies in them, so they don’t count towards the pile of insanity.)

Here’s the other side of my closet, just for the hell of it. No miniatures here, just RPGs and card binders.

You could dive into this and never come up.

And lastly, here’s the box o’blisters. Way too much stuff to list here individually, but Reaper, Hasslefree, Pulp Figures, Armorcast, Warhammer FB, Privateer Press, Confrontation, Moonlight Miniatures, East Riding Miniatures, Wyrd, Killer B, Bronze Age, Rattrap and plenty of nameless and/or forgotten miniatures companies have at least one and most likely more than one blister in here.

If I was so inclined, I could count all the unpainted miniatures I have to paint. But I’m not so inclined.

After a recent barrage of orders, I decided I need to do something about this. I can’t keep buying stuff and not painting it. That’s craziness. So I’m doing what others in this hobby of ours have done. I’m making a plan.

Ten miniatures a week. If I can do ten miniatures a week and stop buying more than ten miniatures a week, I should make some headway, right?  Although the miniatures I paint are to some degree influenced by my needs for the AD&D campaign, that game is on a brief hiatus. So I can use the opportunity to blow through some lead. First step: start with the shit on my desk.

Over the last 2 weeks, I’ve painted 20 miniatures. I’ve bought about 50. So I’m starting over. Monday-Monday…10 miniatures, no new purchases.

Starting now.