Sunday, May 25, 2008

::blows dust off blog::

Wow, it's been nearly a year since I updated this thing!

The reason behind the silence is, ironically, the fact that I've been painting miniatures. You see, the problem is that they haven't been my minis. Word of advice to anyone thinking of starting up a for-pay minis painting service: don't do it unless you're no longer interested in painting your own figures, or unless you have lots of spare time.

See, I don't have tons of spare time. Turns out I can only devote so much of that limited quantity to painting miniatures, and since I fired up Grubstake Painting that time's been eaten up with working on other people's projects.

I suppose if the pay was decent it would make up for it, but the fact is I'm not a fast enough painter to justify the money I get. Sure, I'm working on a batch of Civil War minis right now that will ultimately net me $1800, but that's over the course of what will be about 8-12 months. Not a great take for a year of work, no?

So I've decided to throw in the miniatures painting towel. The Civil War batch will be my last big one; I've got one client who sends me 1/300th scale planes in small batches, and he loves my work (::blush::) so I'll keep that kettle bubbling, but otherwise I've got to get back to my own projects!

Speaking of which, I've been sublimating for the fact that minis action has been rather thin on the ground by slowly amassing a truck-load of "projects". I sat down tonight and came up with a project list. Not a pretty sight. Here it is, listed in anticipated order of completion:

*Hexon II Terrain
Can't have battles without terrain, can we? I ordered a big-ass batch of Hexon tiles last year, and they're set to get flocked and detailed soon--I actually got started on them a couple weeks ago, then ran out of flock and couldn't find any at my local hobby joints, so I had to order some! What is this world coming to? I should be able to finish all that up in a couple days' work. Pictures will follow once the project is complete.

* 28mm Fantasy
This would be using Armies of Arcana. I've been slowly painting up a skeleton army about which I'm quite excited--skeletons hold a special place in my heart thanks to Ray Harryhausen and the fact that some of my earliest miniatures purchases were skeletons. Des has put together an Amazon army that rocks on toast, and my old friend Alex has put together a Dwarf army. Hopefully we can all take time out of our busy schedules to get these figures painted up and on the field of battle!

*20mm WWII skirmish
Two projects in one! I keep returning to this scale and period, and I've had two specific "theaters" that have consistently captured my interest for years now. The first in the Battle of Berlin, the second is the Romanian operations against the Russians in the first half of the war (41-43): the siege of Odessa, the invasion and later defense of the Crimea, etc. There have been some really nice plastic sets put lately, so I'm going all 1/72 plastic (with just a handful of metal figures thrown in to fill the gaps), and I've got plans to do the ruins of Berlin in paper and foamcore. Stay tuned for further developments on that.

*20mm French & Indian War
This was actually a bit of a lark, but I just picked up Iron Ivan's rules on FIW skirmish battles and a couple boxes of Indians and Colonists; Des is a fan of the period, and I figured it would make for some fun games. I downloaded some paper farmhouses and forts, and I'm getting all my trees together and rebased so we can have some battles amidst the wilderness of America!

*28mm Zombies
Technically this should be higher up the list--I ordered a bag fulla zombies last year and painted them up really quick, but I still need to download and print up some card buildings from World Works and just generally tidy up other terrain-related loose ends, and that bumps it down the priority list for the time-being. Planning on using All Things Zombie for the rules.

*10mm Samurai
I really wish this were higher up the list; I painted up a stand of yari-wielding ashigaru and they look fantastic, but there's just a ton of minis to paint up, and I want to tackle the smaller/easier projects first since I'm still finishing up work for clients. I'm really hoping I can get to this project over the summer. The good news is that this is pretty much the only project on the list that doesn't require any new terrain--I have a couple resin huts and some rice paddies ready to go, and the rest of the terrain will come from my general collection.

So that's the list! As you may have gathered, I'm putting an emphasis on cost-effectiveness and ease of assembly. Buildings will be almost entirely card and paper, minis will be plastics when possible.

What about Fantasy Warriors?
Excellent question! Why yes, I do have a perfectly workable set of miniatures rules and two completely painted armies. Why not use those? I don't have a really good answer to that question, other than after selling my terrain boards I haven't had any completed terrain to game on. I've considered "road testing" Armis of Arcana with our FW armies, but the fact is that Amazons and Skeletons really aren't that hard to paint and we should have brand-new armies ready to go pretty quickly, once we get around to sitting down and painting them. But if that doesn't appear to be happening quickly, once my Hexon tiles are ready to go I'll definitely bust out the Orcs and Dwarves for another round of mayhem.
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