What I did during the last weeks…

Life has been busy, but in a good way. I’ve got a new job and still have to settle into the new routines. I haven’t actually neglected playing games and painting (though it’s going slower), but I didn’t find time or leisure to write blog articles.

Here’s a quick update on my gaming-related activities. I hope that in the future, this blog will again resume a more structured appearance.

My painting has been rather eclectic. I really enjoyed painting the mole at the Vienna Nerd Institute painting workshop, so I’ve continued to work on the fantastic anthropomorphic animals from Oathsworn Miniatures. Here’s my collection so far:

animals

Inspire by our recent sci-fi game, I’ve also finished a landing party for an IPU (Interplanetary Union) starship:

IPU

It get’s even more idiosyncratic. I recently met a very old friend again. When we were youngsters, we played a lot of games together, among them Man O’War. Now he wants to rejoin the hobby and bought a whole load of Man O’War stuff. I couldn’t resist and by chance found a couple of second-hand Orc flyers, so I decided to give them a coat of paint:

flyers

I haven’t yet committed to build up a fleet, but I did get some Renaissance galleys from Navwar, which might do double duty as Orc ships if I can convince anybody to play the excellent Galleys & Galleons

And my final product shows that I haven’t completely lost my sense, as it leads back to my perennial obsession. Using the Busch maize field sprues, I built a corn field for the ACW. I’ve made it modular so troops can be placed inside.

 

I’ve also played a couple of games. Most of them Sharp Practice, but we’ve also started T.I.M.E. Stories, an interesting cooperative game about which more in another blog post.

And I had a game of Flashing Steel, still one of my all-time favorites!

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Vienna Nerd Institute

Together with an artist friend of mine, Johannes Grenzfurthner from monochrom, I have started a new project: The Vienna Nerd Institute.

VNI

This is intended to be a sort of adult education center for nerd-related stuff. We want to provide low-threshold access to skills such as miniatures painting, running RPGs, drawing comics or designing games. We have secured an attractive location in the heart of Vienna’s Museumsquartier, a lively area full of museums, cultural institutions and cafés. We have also managed to rope in people who are really good at what they are doing.

The kick-off event will be a miniatures painting workshop with my regular gaming partner Sigur Skwarl, who, as you will know, is also the master painter behind Battle Brush Studios. People can come along and either bring their own figure or paint one provided by Sigur – so if someone just wants to try out miniatures painting without investing in figures and paint, this is the place to start! While the workshop is geared towards beginners, Sigur is a very talented guy and I’m sure old hands will also profit from his skills.

SigurFiguren2

So, if you are in or around Vienna on 18 October, why not register for the painting workshop?

You can also find us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/viennanerdinstitute

For those of you who are somewhere else, I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening and how the project is doing.

On the Painting Table

Just a quick update on what I’m working on at the moment. For my birthday, K. gave me a gift voucher from my favourite miniatures producer, Peter Pig. I’ve kept the card for a while, as I enjoyed browsing the webstore and pondering what to order. Recently, however, I’ve started to work on a couple of scenarios for Sharp Practice and decided I need more Confederate cavalry, so I got four packs of mounted and one pack of dismounted troopers. That still leaves me with a bit of money for another order! As always, the service from Peter Pig was exemplary.

tray

The Texas Longhorn cattle you can see on the other painting tray are from Irregular Miniatures. I’ve got two dozen of them, as I want to make an impressive herd. This is going to be yet another scenario, namely the curious naval cattle drive of 1862, where sailors from the USS Kathadin drove 1500 Longhorns through enemy territory. Doesn’t that sound like a proper outline for a game of Sharp Practice?

I’ve also recently finished scratch building two log cabins. The basic structure is made from plasticard, with shish kebab skewers glued on as logs. The chimneys are cut out of blue foam and then covered with PVA and dunked into grit – looks a bit irregular but ok enough, I think. The houses will be used for ACW as well as FIW.

On the Painting Table

Not only am I a lazy painter, I’m also conservative and don’t normally change a technique if it works. Nonetheless, I have recently become a bit dissatisfied with my very limited set of skills. Basically, what I do is apply two layers of basecoat, paint the details, apply a wash, varnish. That’s it. This works ok for 15mm, but with 28mm figures, it tends to look a bit sloppy. However, reading about all this fancy shading and highlighting stuff always left me intimitated and being a bit colourblind, I often can’t even tell the difference between photographs of different stages of the painting progress as seen in glossy magazines!

Fortunately, my mate Sigur is a real wizard with the brush – in fact, he’s so good he runs his own figure painting studio, Battle Brush Studios. Two weeks ago, he offered to drop by for an afternoon and give me some basic hands-on introduction into miniature painting. He ended up spending several hours showing me how to layer the colours, how to apply highlights and shading and how to do tricky bits like black surfaces or hair. I have to say that several lights dawned on me when I watched him! Things are so much more comprehensible when someone actually shows and explains them and when you can ask questions. Sigur is a great teacher – maybe he will start to offer workshops. I for one would certainly attend.

This fox from the fantastic Oathsworn Miniatures range was started by Sigur and finished by me. The tunic, the bow, the quiver and the arrows were my first attempts at painting highlights and I think it looks ok.

I’ve slowly started trying the new techniques on some spare Mexican figures. It’s slower than my usual routine, but it’s also fun and rewarding, even if the result is not always as good as I’d wish it to be.

tray1

I’m also going to try it on some 15mm figures – there are some more crewmembers for the ship I want to paint.

I’m a gamer at heart and my primary objective has always been to get stuff ready for gaming. I certainly have no ambition to become a first-rate figure painter. It is, however, nice to add new skills to my repertoire and to be able to actually choose what to do (instead of having to default to the one thing I’m capable of). I don’t have to paint highlights, but now I feel I can if I fancy doing it.

Thanks again Sigur for showing me some techniques. Sometimes, old dogs do learn new tricks!

Apart from the painting, I’ve done some quick terrain building for our ACW games. I’ve made two decrepit huts and started to build an emplacment for a large gun guarding the coast or a river.

gunemplacement