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Ride to ruin (February’s Snag a Normie Challenge)

Ride to ruin (February’s Snag a Normie Challenge)

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Project Blog by ninjilly

Recommendations: 81

About the Project

One of my 2019 goals is to convert my RPG friends onto miniatures games. Warren's call to arms on the XLBS for recruiting a friend in February pushed it forward by several months. 84 miniatures by the end of February... feck me

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Game Day - We come to it at last...

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 2
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… the great battle of our time.

After 26 days of hard graft, game evening has arrived. How many normies will we snag?

84 models painted84 models painted
Game Day - We come to it at last...
why yes... yes that mane is too primrosewhy yes... yes that mane is too primrose
Game Day - We come to it at last...

84 miniatures painted and ready to go. The Witch-King and Theoden models need a bit of finishing but are largely done. They don’t really need their own posts as I painted along with this and this youtube tutorials from the War Gamer. I swapped out a couple of colours and did it with less skill but I’m pretty happy and more importantly the Normies were delighted with them.

Game Day - We come to it at last...
Game Day - We come to it at last...
Game Day - We come to it at last...

Everyone had a great time. Plenty of good food, good laughter and dice rolling.

The scenarios are good, teaching the concepts of objectives nicely. As the Wargamer in the room, I was a bit disappointed to see that you need to have read the whole rulebook to get started. I’ve used the Infinity starter boxes before and much prefer the way they introduce concepts without needing to crack open the main rules whilst teaching. No one else seemed to care but that’s because I acted as a talking rulebook as they played 2v2.

By the end of the night they were playing without needing help and were already working on the tactical side of the movement and cherry picking fights. We only got through two of the four scenarios but they are very keen to come back for the next two as soon as we can get it organised. Each side got a scenario win and they all spent a good amount of time flicking through looking the books, arguing about which heroes were pointed higher than others and drooling at all of the glorious gratuitous model shots.

Conclusion

I had a fantastic time doing this project. I moaned about the number of models and joked about hating myself with a friend throughout the 26 days but looking at them now, it blows my mind to to see what was possible in the timeframe. Seeing them react to the models and how excited they got playing the game felt fucking amazing.

I don’t know when or if I’ll do something like this again any time soon but despite all my grumbling, before the project was finished I had picked up a large Gondor force for cheap on eBay to start painting up for the Gondor at War campaign book.

Will the Normies pick up models and start hobbying? I don’t know. One of them absolutely will and I think at least two others might do after another evening or two. My intention is to offer a painting teaching night at some point soon to get a group hobby night started.

Two days from the end and I got my biggest shock of all though. I was chatting to a good friend as I was unboxing the Gondor force and she said “if you fancy a hand getting through them, I’d be really keen to give painting a try”. I just about fell off my seat. This is a true Normie, one with zero interest in anything nerdy. She probably won’t ever become a gamer but in two weeks time, she’s coming over and I’m going to crack out some Burrows and Badgers minis to teach the basics of painting.

Overall then, the hobby aspect has been hugely rewarding to me, the daily habit of painting has been wonderful and the RPGers are super keen to get into gaming with minis. Thanks to Warren and the OTT guys for starting this campaign.

Minis painted – 84 ✔️

Normies snagged – 4 (+1 bonus Normie trying out painting) ✔️

Snag a Normie campaign – completed ✔️

T-minus 2 days - (not so) Glorious Grass

Tutoring 2
Skill 2
Idea 1
1 Comment

So I didn’t want to buy a grass mat just yet because I’m not sure which one I like the look of and I hate to be rushed spending money 🙂 Many months ago a friend was clearing out his Room of Doom and gave me one of the GW grass mats. It hadn’t even been out of it’s packaging.

Ideally, I’d glue it down onto a 6×4 board but I don’t have space to store that and I don’t have an easy way of getting anything like it in time for Saturday anyway. I also wanted something that could be used at either 6×4 or 4×4. Cue a make shift gaming surface…

T-minus 2 days - (not so) Glorious Grass

Let’s bring in the star of the show – cheap 2ftx2ft foam tiles. This gave the chance to change the size of the table at will. In hindsight, getting 1×1 tiles would have been a better plan though much more time consuming.

T-minus 2 days - (not so) Glorious Grass

Step one – permanently attach the edging with the hot glue gun.

T-minus 2 days - (not so) Glorious Grass

Step two – contact adhesive is spread over the outer edges and the middle of the tile, leaving a couple of inches around the interlocking edges.

Step three – go around with a sharp knife and cut round the interlocking edges

T-minus 2 days - (not so) Glorious Grass

Step four – get the contact adhesive back and fill in the sections you didn’t do before

T-minus 2 days - (not so) Glorious Grass

This is where I got to on this project. I will be going back to cover with some different tones of flock and to get a coat of watered down PVA to seal it. The foam tiles themselves, being cheap, are a bit thin and once on the table the sides that overhang did flop a bit. I think in the future I’ll get some hardboard to mount them onto or maybe just get one for putting over the table surface to lie these on.

T-minus 5 days - Quick terrain

Tutoring 0
Skill 1
Idea 0
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[I didn’t have time this week to do hobby and post here so I’m going to dump all the posts up in one day but title them as though I was an organised human being]

Most of my terrain is sci-fi so I knew that for the games day I was going to need to get a gaming surface and some scatter sorted. The scenario booklet that comes in the box set does take great pains to note that the Pelennor is a barren land so scatter isn’t a big priority. I decided to try out Mel the Terrain Tutor’s CD scatter method to quickly get some pieces done using stuff that could just be found around the flat.

Finding old DVDs wasn’t difficult but it turns out that I am far too efficient at throwing out polystyrene! I eventually found some in the box for my printer – enough for this project and probably for making some rocks etc in the future.

I’m not going to go into much detail here as I really didn’t do much different from Mel’s instruction so I’d say just go and support a great creator by watching his videos… maybe even ding his dong while you are there.

T-minus 5 days - Quick terrain

A few weeks ago (in the middle of the Rangers of Shadow Deep project), I stumbled upon a Woodland Scenics kit for £4. £4?!?! For 6 armatures and more than enough clump flock for all of them. The instructions were simple – twist ’em, tacky glue ’em, flock ’em. I chucked prime ’em in there and at the end I gave them a good spray of cheap hairspray and used a lighter fine flock to highlight but that’s it. They look good. At some point I’ll go and work on the trunks with washes and highlights but I didn’t have time.

One of the trees is done with a different clump that I’ve had in the flat for donkey’s – I loved the colour but sadly it is really crumbly so it’s not up to much. It and one of the other trees I based on 55mm bases but treated them the same in terms of filler/spackle, texture, paint, flock, seal.

Now our two elements can be joined and BAM! Scatter done.

T-minus 5 days - Quick terrain
T-minus 5 days - Quick terrain
T-minus 5 days - Quick terrain

T-minus 6 days - Riders and Walkers (?) of Rohan

Tutoring 0
Skill 1
Idea 0
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Progress has been stalled a bit this week as I spent the first half of the week fighting back the lurgey  and the second half of it mourning my pre-lurgey existence as I succumbed to darkness…

Still, you can paint with snot streaming down your face and minus the internal organs you coughed up days ago! I had fooled myself into thinking that painting the horse-lords would be a nice treat after the orcs but, though there were 12 fewer models, I used a couple more colours so it still turned into a conveyor belt.

T-minus 6 days - Riders and Walkers (?) of Rohan

Honestly, it was a pretty straight forward, no mess production line. The only mistake was priming in Army Painter Fur Brown which wasn’t really brown enough but I hadn’t managed to get any Leather Brown in time so I just had to make do. Other than that, base colours were simple:

Leatherwork, weapon shafts, etc Revell Leather Brown with a wash of GW Agrax Earthshade.

Cloth Vallejo Cavalry Brown with a wash of GW Agrax Earthshade.

Cloak and shields GW Waaagh Flesh with a wash of Biel-tan Green.

Mail, weapons, helmet details Army Painter Gun Metal with a wash of GW Nuln Oil.

Shield details were done in P3 Marrow White or GW Gehenna’s Gold (this was also used for tiny bits of detailing on some of the helmets).

A couple of models needed a few extra colours to break up fabric so I used GW Eshin grey and Steel Legion Drab which both got washed with Agrax Earthshade.

All the hair was done with GW Uriel Yellow mixed with differing amounts of Army Painter Fur Brown to give a mix of shades of blonde though most came out looking much the same 😂. Everyone got a wash of Agrax here too as well as over the skin tone which was GW Kislev Flesh.

T-minus 6 days - Riders and Walkers (?) of Rohan

Horses used most of the same colours so that they tied into their riders and so I didn’t need to think too much about horse genetics.

Hair/fur colours were Leather brown, Steel Legion Drab, and Stormvermin Grey (I’ll need to go check on this one cos I know that’s not the exact name). Manes were a mix of the matching colour (as horses tend to have in nature) and something a little darker. Saddles and reins etc were painted in Cavalry Brown, Leather Brown or Steel Legion Drab.

Riders got glued to horses and the washes were done at this point so most of the horses got a coat of Agrax though I was using Nuln Oil until I realised that I need the little I have left for the Witch King on his Fell Beast.

T-minus 6 days - Riders and Walkers (?) of Rohan

All in all, I’m happy with them all. They were nicer models than the orcs though some of the definition between hair and the fletching of the arrows was awful… I can only assume that when you have long hair and are riding a horse, it causes a huge amount of movement and your flowing locks tangle with your arrows and become like a King Rat on your back.

I’ve pretty much given up on tracking my time through this project but I did remember to start and stop a timer during the final six riders and their horses (they took about 7 hours start to finish).

Models painted: 81

Models remaining: 3

T-minus 6 days - Riders and Walkers (?) of Rohan

T-minus 12 days - Trololololololol

Tutoring 3
Skill 3
Idea 3
1 Comment

Needing a bit of a break from little orcses, I spent all of yesterday working on the Mordor Troll model. He started the day without arms because when I was putting him together I didn’t have the rule book to hand to check weapon stats… which, it turns out, makes no difference so just went with what I thought looked best.

One of the things that is coming up as I work my way through this project is the difference between the beautiful new Theoden models and just how old the rest of the sprues are. The orc models were pretty ugly in places and They don’t hold up to much of a close inspection. This model had gaps at most of the joins and areas where it didn’t line up very well. Between liquid green stuff and scraping/filing I managed to get it to a reasonable stage before priming but it has made me deeply appreciative of modern GW models.

T-minus 12 days - Trololololololol
T-minus 12 days - Trololololololol

Primed in Zandri dust

Armour base Army Painter Gun Metal for the metal parts, Vallejo Russian Uniform for the fabric and Revell Leather Brown for the straps.

Skin tones GW Steel Legion Drab and AP Fur Brown

Hands and feet GW Eshin  Grey with GW Administratum Grey drybrush.

 

T-minus 12 days - Trololololololol
T-minus 12 days - Trololololololol

The next stage was to slap on some washes. For the metal parts, I went with GW Nuln Oil and then everything else on the model got a coat of GW Agrax Earthshade. On the highlighting front, I went back over the raised parts of the skin and the fabric on the armour. Like the orcs, I’d really like to go over all the metal with a couple more layers of wash (with some medium mixed in) to dirty it up a bit but that’s for a later date.

Some part of my brain also kicked in to remind me that I spill wash almost every time I sit down to do it 😁

Is there anything better in this world better than blu tack?Is there anything better in this world better than blu tack?

As the washes dried off, I drilled holes for the pinning, flocked the base and with a small amount of super glue, everything was done. I’ve put some tufts on after I took the final photo and at some point in the future I might go back to do some more work on the skin but I’m happy with it overall.

Models painted : 57

Models remaining: 27

T-minus 12 days - Trololololololol

T-minus 13 days - Morannon Orcs

Tutoring 0
Skill 3
Idea 2
1 Comment

The back that had to be broken. The hurdle that had to be leapt. The blight of Pelennor – Morannon orcs. Honestly the subtitle for this post could be “why I’ll never be a batch painter”. There’s nothing fun about the last week of painting – the scheme isn’t very interesting, the models aren’t very good and other than for demo games I don’t know I’ll use them as an army. All this sounds pretty bad…

But look how many got painted!!!

Orcs next to the Warriors of the dead from last weekOrcs next to the Warriors of the dead from last week

Just bashing away a little each day, an hour here, a couple of hours there, listening to podcasts and audiobooks, I, Ninjilly The Slow (Painter, thank you very much) to give my full title, painted 36 orcs in 5 days. I’m chuffed to bits.

T-minus 13 days - Morannon Orcs

I forgot to track time in terms of hours spent on them because I just fit them in before bed each night but I reckon it is in the region of 16 hours. Regardless, the sense of achievement in saying that 11 days into this project and I’ve completed 56 models. I didn’t finish 56 models in the whole of 2018.

Next up is a bit of a palette cleanser… The Mordor Troll.

Models painted : 56

Models remaining: 28

T-minus 13 days - Morannon Orcs

T-minus 19 days - Little and Often, Wherever

Tutoring 0
Skill 2
Idea 0
1 Comment

I’ve been finding small ways to work on bits of the project in the gaps of my day. After the moaning at work about the smell of primer last week, I’ve stuck to building sprues.

High tech fastening systemHigh tech fastening system

Today the box has the two sprues for the Mordor troll and the two quarter sprues for Theoden. Still space for clippers, plastic glue, hobby knife and a lighter to clear the glue nozzle if need be.

T-minus 19 days - Little and Often, Wherever

At work, it’s easy to set up in our break room… So far no one has complained about the smell of plastic glue.

T-minus 19 days - Little and Often, Wherever

Over my 15 minute tea break and during my 35 minutes for lunch, I managed to get both Theoden models made up and made a start on the Troll. Realistically that’s just time I would have spent fannying around on social media so I’m happy to put it to better use. Win for productivity!

Theoden on horse and the important foot on rock power poseTheoden on horse and the important foot on rock power pose
'arry the Troll, he's 'armless 'arry the Troll, he's 'armless

T-minus 20 days

Tutoring 4
Skill 4
Idea 3
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To finish off the Warriors of the Dead, I drybrushed them with Flayed One Flesh but decided that it wasn’t pale enough so I went back over them with P3 Marrow White.

T-minus 20 days

Next up it was time to cover over the visible signs of the slotta framing with some more Stirland Mud.

T-minus 20 days
T-minus 20 days

Lastly I made up a flock mix. The base was Gale Force Nine Marsh Blend, added Jarvis Rough Pasture and some Army Painter Green Grass. I wanted to keep the green in the blend fairly tame given that it was meant to be the Battle of the Pelennor Fields.

And they are done.

Time elapsed: 5 hours

Models painted: 20

Models remaining: 64

T-minus 20 days

T-minus 23 days - Bring me your dead

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 3
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It is a cold and bitter day in the UK, though Edinburgh has gotten off lightly. Still, getting out of bed was tough so instead of priming before breakfast, I took the two sprues of Warriors of the Dead to work to prime on my break.

A quick blast of white, warmed through given the outer temperatures and left to dry in the break room… much to everyone’s chagrin. Turns out spray primer smell is deeply offensive to librarians

T-minus 23 days - Bring me your dead
T-minus 23 days - Bring me your dead

I was meeting a friend for coffee after work so I knew that I wasn’t going to get much done.

For starting the project I thought it would also be fun to relisten to the Lord of the Rings audiobooks as I paint. I know, I’m a special kind of nerd.

T-minus 23 days - Bring me your dead

On top of the white coat went a liberal coat of Games Workshop Biel-tan Green.

T-minus 23 days - Bring me your dead
T-minus 23 days - Bring me your dead

As for why I decided to paint on sprue… I don’t really know. I’ve never done it before so I thought I’d just give it a try. I’ll need to glue everything together to see how I feel about it but it certainly made holding the minis much easier.

Tomorrow I’ll finish these guys off with some highlights and try to get them on their bases.

Time elapsed: 3 hours

T-minus 24 days - Basic Base

Tutoring 5
Skill 4
Idea 4
No Comments

I tried to post this twice last night but my phone wasn’t playing ball so today there will be two posts.

As usual, Goblin Gaming managed to get the order out and at my door by the next day and DHL left the parcel in my safe place instead of giving it to a neighbour which leads to awkward stilted conversation eating into unboxing excitement.

Not going to lie, I was a bit concerned that the wall of plastic was going to be overwhelming but I had forgotten that LOTR minis are largely two or three pieces. Obviously this isn’t always ideal but given this project’s mantra is “think less, paint more”, it is perfect.

T-minus 24 days - Basic Base

After separating out the sprues, I set to bases. I wanted these done at the start mainly to get them out of the way. Normally I make up a basing mix, ova it on the bases and then prime the minis and bases as one piece but that takes more time and effort.

For this project I added a tub of Games Workshop’s Stirland Mud to my order and in less than two hours managed to bash through all 84 bases. It used up a little more than two thirds of the tub so there is plenty for blending in once the miniatures are in their slots.

T-minus 24 days - Basic Base
T-minus 24 days - Basic Base
T-minus 24 days - Basic Base

Stage one done. Next up I’ll be getting into the Warriors of the Dead

Time elapsed: 2 hours

T-minus 25 days - The Plan

Tutoring 3
Skill 2
Idea 6
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After the success of the structure of my DayKnight 30 day project, I decided to plan this one even further. Leave nothing to chance and more importantly don’t waste time thinking once I have models in my hands.

T-minus 25 days - The Plan

So I sat down last night and planned out my colour schemes, checking which paints I have and which I need to pick up so I can stick them onto my Goblin Gaming order

T-minus 25 days - The Plan

Step by step with washes listed in square brackets included. I don’t want to think about anything once I get started, just tick off the step and move onto the next one.

List in hand, the wonders of the modern era let me sit on the bus this morning and spend my hard earned pennies. It should arrive tomorrow and then Operation Paint All The Things begins in earnest.

T-minus 25 days - The Plan

T-minus 26 days - So it begins...

Tutoring 0
Skill 0
Idea 9
2 Comments

I like my friends. A lot. They’re a good bunch – funny, smart and nerdy. We met through a pretty crappy company we all used to work for and bonded over superhero movies, Game of Thrones and most importantly Lord of the Rings. About 18 months ago several of them got into Dungeons and Dragons in a hard-core way and it has been great to have a bigger pool of people to play with.

Towards the end of 2018 I was giving serious thought to how little I gamed over the year and how I felt like I’d drifted from the miniatures hobby against my own will. Changes to my work pattern meant I’d had to leave my club and while I’ve been able to join one closer to my house, I’ve been having issues tied into my army choices that are too much for this blurb.

The relaunch of Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit as Middle-Earth Strategy Battle seemed like a good way to reinvigorate my hobby and possibly convert my RPG friends to miniatures.

I dove into Rangers of Shadow Deep and have lined up Frostgrave so I can get games faster with a close friend and so MESB took a backseat. Then @warzan issued a call to arms – recruit a gamer in February, even if it is with a GW product. Bring in new people, help build our hobby.

Challenge accepted.

Make it easy

I looked at finances for the month and it is possible to pick up the Battle of Pelennor Fields box and eat in February. Next I needed to check I had willing participants.

It’s a simple plan, take the hobby side out of the equation. Instead of introducing ideas piecemeal, have a one day event where we play through the scenarios, have fun learning the game, drink some beer and eat some food.

Hobby nights? Everyone building a Battle Company and having a campaign? These are dreams but it had to be about them having fun. Everything else can come later

Call...Call...
...and response ...and response

See here’s how it looks.

26 (ish) days, 84 miniatures plus a bit of terrain and learning the rules.

What have I done???

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