Cartoon above from the talented digital brushes of Brian Kesinger (@briankesinger | www.bkartonline.com), which if you liked Episode VII and also happen to be a Calvin & Hobbes fan like me is pure mashup gold. Note: plot spoilers may be in the series, so follower discretion advised.
So, back to the matter in hand and that several month ‘break‘. There are times when the best plans can go awry and this was one of those times unfortunately. If there’s one thing you really don’t want to mess with as a painter it’s eyesight so rather than try to work through the issue I was having and ultimately end up frustrated I opted to let nature run its course and take a break from the painting until things returned to normal and I could paint comfortably again. That was over two months ago! The good news however is the dust-sheets have been removed, desk cleared and I’ve been rattling through the list. I don’t really want to dwell on what was, but prefer instead to look ahead positively at what I can do to get back into the swing of things and boy what a backlog it is!
The hobby sure doesn’t stand still and at the point things headed south I was in the midst of painting a combination of Imperial Assault and Infinity Yu-Jing. The latter I’m going to park for now at least until the brush muscle memory has returned, as any painter will tell you it’s surprising how quickly your skills drop when you take a break for any lengthy period of time. So I’ll ensure I’m back up to speed before tackling anything else in the Infinity lineup as it’s a range I really like to take my time with. Before all of that though two pieces of work had to take priority. The first and most important being a 28mm Neo-Sov APC from Khurasan Miniatures which I’d promised to paint prior to my eyes going on the fritz. I already had a winter style tri-camo scheme in mind as well as weathering effects, however a fortuitous conversation with Jon revealed a lighter less disruptive scheme was preferred. After backing up a few stages (aka re-priming) I settled on a very lightly modulated Vallejo Intermediate Blue with Ivory and white highlights. The weathering was kept to a minimum and consisted of some lightly highlighted chipping and grime streaks followed by earth pigments and graphite for the track links and a very light airbrush of thinned Graveyard Earth and Vomit Brown along the lower edges. I also used the same mix to give the reactive armour some volume.
The second task was more of a rescue job on a mates Flames of War Typhoon for an ‘Operation Market Garden’ 2 v 2 game we played out at the end of January. Any chance to break out my Germans again is always a good thing in my book and this time my Fallschirmjager and Panzer Kompanie were up against a US Recon and the British Paras which was certainly interesting. History more or less repeated with the Allied forces failing to breakthrough and relieve the entrenched Paras in Arnhem even despite calling on the services of that aforementioned Typhoon.
Kickstarter wise it’s been somewhat quiet as most of the projects I backed slipped well into this year. No real surprise and generally speaking I’m pretty ok with that whilst I get things going again. Mantic’s Dungeon Saga box rocked up a couple of months back and first impressions are good. Adventurer’s Companion proof-reading quality issues aside it’s a nice looking product and I’m already considering a similar approach on the miniatures to what I did with Imperial Assault to get the bulk of the dungeon-dwellers speed painted and game ready. More over the next week.
So there we are. It was a much longer gap than I would have liked at the back end of the year and I won’t deny it’s set me back massively on where I needed to be. On the upside it gave me a chance to reflect on my approach to the hobby and I’m a lot more flexible when it comes down to the methods and techniques I employ for specific ranges and miniatures. Perhaps it’s pragmatism as I get older, but I think it’s also down to having dabbled with a lot of different techniques the past year breaking my own painting habits and forcing me out of a one-method comfort zone. It’s something you’re probably going to see a lot more of this year from me starting with the addition of Quick Shade in the toolbox (Yes, you read that right!). Don’t worry I’ve not resorted to ‘dipping’ everything as a way of getting through the lead mountain, but I will be switching up the approaches based on the project and outcome I’m looking to achieve so expect a real mix of everything from speed-painting weekends on Boardgame minis, terrain sessions to just chilling out and taking my time on a miniature or model kit I really like just for what it is.
… I have no idea where 2016 is going to take me, but it’s going to be fun finding out now I’m back!