Sunday, June 28, 2009
Saturday, June 27, 2009
Then again, maybe I'll just grab some of the Ancient Hawaiians and see what happens. We could be away for two weeks or more, I just don't know. Better safe than sorry, right?
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
After I move on from the Hundred Years War portion of the medieval period, I am pretty sure I want to next focus my attention on the so-called European Dark Ages and in particular the wars fought between the Franks and the Arabs for control of Spain. (Makes sense considering the number of Carolingians and Andalusians I purchased in the last couple of weeks.) As I said before, though, I am only very superficially familiar with not just this period but also much of the time preceding it as well. I believe therefore that Gregory's history should be a good reference for that transitional period from the end of effective Roman control to the later portion of Merovingian rule. Even though this is earlier than time in which I have expressed my main interest, it should nonetheless provide an excellent foundation for my understanding of the later Carolingian renaissance. Also it serves to keep the other books I have fresh for when I am actually ready to start painting the relevant armies.
So much thought and consideration has gone into the choice, I really hope the good Bishop does not let me down. But just in case I'm take Longitude as a back up.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 22, 2009
I still do not understand how the FTC plans on carrying out this new directive, nor is it clear to me what type of punishments or censorship they intend to impose on suspected violators of this type of commercialism. I personally am in favor of bloggers disclosing any relationships they have with the businesses they write about, but I believe this should be left up to the individual writers to do and not mandated by some unelected agency. Ultimately I believe people should be responsible for themselves and their own decisions... Caveat emptor, you know? I thought at this point in time most people are savvy enough to understand that anything on the internet should be approached with some skepticism, yet once again I see that our government thinks less of us.
Due to the nature of my blog here at diceRolla, with quasi product reviews and a list of links to manufacturers and retailers, I suspect at some point this humble site could draw the attention of just such an agency review. As I certainly never want to run afoul of our Federal government, I am therefore prepared to preemptively comply with any new or future FTC blog-censorship guidelines with the following disclosure:
I am the sole author of this blog and the opinions expressed are 100% mine and mine alone. I have no commercial or financial type of relationship with any of the businesses mentioned on this website, nor with any of the manufacturers of products discussed on this website either. This is all done entirely for my own enjoyment and as a way of expanding the scope of my hobbies and interests. If any company should ever approach me with the intent of having me write about them or their products, I will be completely transparent and honest about any such arrangements and the form of compensation offered. I think it would be cool if my blog was to be considered to have that much influence so you can bet that I would want to brag about it.
Hopefully that disclosure will be sufficient for anyone whom our Big Brother assigns to keep tabs on diceRolla. Who knows, maybe that lucky bureaucrat will end up liking what he or she reads and start paint miniatures too!
Sunday, June 21, 2009
I have had the most fun today. It's been a wonderful Father's Day for me, my first as a dad no less. I can't express how joyful I am in my life. I am exceptionally grateful to my beautiful wife and I love her so much!!
Saturday, June 20, 2009
And so that means I need to pick out another book to start reading. Here then are the ones I am considering:
Longitude by David Sobel
The Book of Contemplation by Usama ibn Munqidh
A Short History of Byzantium by John Julius Norwich
The Last Pagan by Adrian Murdoch
I plan over the next couple of days to read a little of each of these and see which grabs my attention the most. Also there's still the possibility that some of my Amazon books will arrive in time in which case I may need to expand the field of contenders... in that order after all is a book called Nero's Killing Machine which sounds plenty exciting to me!
Friday, June 19, 2009
Today I was able to make good progress on the billmen as I finished the cloth areas including the two helmet covers. I'm overall pleased with the covers but I had some trouble getting the red part smooth on one of them though. If you look closely it appears a little clumpy but I don't think it's too bad to worry over. I might try to straighten the separation of the colors a bit but I'm satisfied to leave them alone for now. I also painted their shoes which means I can't delay any longer returning to their padded armor suits. I'm far enough along with these guys that I can now start to see the direction they're taking. And so far I think they look pretty good! Maybe with it being Fathers Day weekend I might even be able to finish them up this weekend. Maybe, just maybe....
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Despite my online search the evening before and a thorough exploration of the mega-store this afternoon, I couldn't find anything concerning the Hundred Years War that interested me. So I then was mainly looking for books related to the history of any of the armies I want to paint in the near future, although I also ended up picking out a number of science books as well. I couldn't find anything on Andalusia in particular but I did get a biography of Charlemagne which should be quite useful. I would however prefer to save such reading for a time closer to when I'd actually be painting the related miniature forces. Last summer when I first started my current project I was reading everything I could find on the Hundred Years War, but now I'm in the position of running out of source material and inspiration. Therefore, as I am not ready to jump into any of these histories, I have chosen to begin with something quite a bit different. I am starting with a natural history of dirt, appropriately titled "Dirt: The Ecstatic Skin of the Earth," by William Bryant Logan. A book about dirt, now that's interesting.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Concerning the aforementioned areas of red clothing, I am in fact a bit frustrated. I can't tell if they're brighter than when I painted the spearmen and crossbowmen. I have this nagging feeling that previously I had mixed some of the mid-color into the highlight rather than using the highlight color straight out of the paint pot. This is yet another reminder to myself as to why I need to not drift away from project. It is a timely warning too as I have found myself recently starting to think more and more about other armies which I want to paint. Don't get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying my HYW: English. It's just that my interests have shifted a bit since I first started them a year ago (and even longer than that since I first started researching them). Of course the cure for that would be a nice new book on the Hundred Years War to reignite my imagination a bit. As I am never one to scorn such prospects, I believe I have hit upon the right course.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
I've already simplified their color scheme as I had initially planned on painting the cloth areas in a more elaborate halved or quartered pattern. Instead I decided to just use solid colors but to at least vary them from section to section. For example, one guy now has one red stocking and one blue stocking rather than each stocking have both red and blue. Most likely I'll wait on making up my mind until the last possible moment so that I can get a better sense of how they'd look with or without the colorful hats. Right now though I feel like it would be a mistake to pass on colorful hats no matter the situation!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
That's it. I'm going to sleep.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Yesterday my packs of Old Glory 15s arrived and it's been fun examining them. I've got to say that I am pretty darn impressed with them. I still think Corvus Belli and Xyston make better looking miniatures, but the Old Glory ones are certainly nothing at which to sneer. Most impressive so far is the variety of figures in each pack. Of the Andalusian Arabs that I ordered I've so far opened the Command and Arab Spearmen packs. The command bag has four different leaders and four different standard bearers, each consisting of two mounted figures and two on foot. There's even greater variety in the pack of spearmen which has nine different sculptures!
I'm confident that the Old Glory 15s are definitely good enough to justify purchasing an opposing set of Carolingian Franks which I am now planning out. Even though it's sort of impractical to assemble DBA armies with Old Glory packs, since you are likely to end up with a bunch of extra figures, it seems to me that they would be an excellent choice for other games like Big Battle DBA and FoG. Big Battle DBA for the Dark Ages sounds like it could be quite fun, not to mention a good use for my sixteen leftover Andalusian Arab Spearmen. But when I think about having to paint eighteen stands of Frankish knights, a total of fifty four men and the same number of horses as well, I still feel that normal sized DBA armies would keep me happy and content for this time period.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
As for painting, I was able to get most of the metal areas finished yesterday and will do the final highlight of silver today. I've noticed some areas of junk on the blades of their weapons that I believe to be due to poor conditions when I sprayed them with the black primer. Using spray paint has been a challange me for as long as I have been using it for applying the primer coat to my miniatures. I've lived almost my entire life in areas of high humidity and I've never seemed to work out through trial and error the best time to use spray paint. There has been improvement over the years but I still worry everytime I go to prime figures that I'm going to ruin them. If I ever figure it out I'll be sure to pass along any information or tips that I manage to gather, but until then I'm certainly open to advice.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
The number of figures required for FoG has tempted me into trying out Old Glory miniatures. Their prices are good but not quite the great deal that I had associated with them. Perhaps as long ago as a decade or more I ordered a few bags of 15mm guys from them and at the time I think they were packaging them at 50 per bag. I really don't remember much about Old Glory from back then but I must not have been that impressed if it's been this many years since I last purchased from them. That might be though because of the extra expense involved in using their miniatures for DBA. It's frustrating to have to buy 24 slingers when you only need two!
Despite this I decided yesterday that I would give them another look and ordered five bags from their Dark Ages range of Andalusian Arabs. I'm going to start off using them to make an all-option DBA army (III/34ab). If they're decent enough figures, I will most likely place an order for some Carolingian Franks so that I could put together a historically matched pair of armies. After that, because of the number of miniatures in each bag, I would only need a few more in order to be able to put together Big Battle DBA versions of the army. But considering the rate at which I am currently painting, I think such plans would be pretty far off. Especially since my initial purpose was to just get a sample of Old Glory's stuff. It would even be satisfying for me to finally have a couple of armies from Book Three of DBA's army lists. Anything more than that might be asking too much of this painter.
Monday, June 8, 2009
I was on duty as parent for much of the day and the baby was intent on having lots of fun time with daddy. There's not much painting to report although I did get the base skin tone completed on the billmen. If I have extra time tomorrow I'd rather read more of the FoG book so I don't expect to do much painting, but of course I never seem to know.
Sunday, June 7, 2009
It has a chunky and somewhat lavish feel and is a very well illustrated rulebook, it is an Osprey product afterall, with a bunch of related period-themed army books. The army lists used are based on a point value system and they seem to allow for a decent amount of flexibility in the compostion and organization of one's chosen army. So given that adjustment to my thinking, I am once again going to see if there's enough there to sustain my interest over the amount of time I know it would take me to paint even just one army. Even though I think it could be a lot of fun and the usage of battle groups reminds me of the old Armati rules, I am just not sure if it would be worth it since one FoG starter army uses the same number of figures as five or six armies for DBA. To justify that, it seems like it had better be a very fun game.
As for the here and now, today I finished painting the 25mm knight and glued him to his base. I am no however planning on completing the base until I'm working on the bases of the archers and billmen as well. This afternoon I sprayed the primer coat of paint onto the billmen and mounted them on their temporary stands. I'm excited about being ready to begin painting them as they are some of my favorite miniatures in this range. It's too late for me to get started on them tonight but I'm content to wait until tomorrow as I can in the meantime start reading the FoG book. Hopefully it will be good enough that I have something positive to report.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
As for the hobby part of the day, I didn't do quite as much as I had thought possible but oh well. The billmen are now all cleaned of their mold lines and will be primed tomorrow. Also the 25mm guy is virtually done. I still need to touch up some areas around his belt and do a little more with his sword's hilt and pommel, but otherwise everything else is complete. I'll post a picture once the marker is finished since the WIP shot was already close to being fully painted.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Thursday, June 4, 2009
As for the HYW English, I started work on those mold lines earlier tonight and was able to clean two of the four billmen before dinner. I imagine I should be able to get the other two prepped without too much trouble and (weather permitting) spray on the primer as well. In the past I think one of the things that kept me from being able to paint as much as I would have liked was preparation fatigue. My custom was to do all preparation work that I could for an entire army of figures in one go before I would be willing to start painting them. By the time I was finally ready to paint, far too often I was already burned out on the whole project. It was all that time cleaning off the mold lines… Agghhh!!! MOLD LINES!!!
Whoa, sorry about that. I’m alright now.
Okay, so I just wanted to say that I’m trying a different approach with this current army that I’m painting. I’m not doing any prep work on the figures until I am ready to paint them. I like the results so far as I’m getting to paint without sacrificing anymore of my sanity in the process by spending days on end scraping and filing. Also I don’t know if this will make it easier or not to dabble in side projects but I’m hopeful about that too. Whatever the case may be, I’m painting now and having fun so I must be doing something right.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Once painted and mounted the larger scale figure should be functional as a marker since it will be easy to handle and use during a game, but also still looking good and fitting in visually with this part of my collection. So for about an hour tonight I went back to painting the big fellow. It's a nice change of pace but I want to resume painting my 15mm English as soon as I can... I just don't want to have to scrape off all the mold lines. Ugh, lousy mold lines.
Monday, June 1, 2009
In the photo below you can see an example of a finished (i.e., fully painted and based) element for the 15mm Hundred Years War - English army, the single unit of spearmen included in the army's list. I'm not sure exactly when I painted it but I believe it was around last October. A few days ago I decided I had to fix that stripe running down the guy on the right's helmet, but otherwise I haven't done anything else to them since I took this picture. I'm a lot happier with the corrected paint job as the stripe was supposed to just help delineate the separation of colors, but instead it seemed to me to assert itself and became a focal point. I'll take new photos of all the finished elements and I think the improvement should be pretty obvious.
I'm really pleased with how well the bases have turned out so far. In particular I'm happy that it looks like their standing on the ground instead of each of them perched on their own little boulder. I've tried a lot of different ways to disguise the metal base that 15mm figures come on and this is the first one that has actually worked. Personally I think these guys look pretty sweet, but of course I am biased.
That's it, I'm tired and my body hurts. I'm going to sleep.