Saturday, December 27, 2014

2014 Year in Review

It's been a great year for this little mini painting blog. This year I decided to dedicate a lot more time to painting again. Also, I changed format on how I post about projects, opting out of progress posts and going more for posts about completed projects or new things I've backed/gotten.

As a result, I've finished more projects and posted more than ever before. Which is awesome!

With that in mind, I thought maybe it would be a fun little idea to post up a Year in Review looking back on the projects and important happenings that went down in 2014. Within you will find pics and links to all the various projects and important posts I've made over the course of the year, along with some new thoughts on these guys.

As Mario says... "Here we go!"

Ok, ok. So this isn't actually from 2014. It was a Christmas present for my cousin, which was given to him at the family Christmas party on Christmas Eve '13. But I love this one so much I had to repost it as part of the year in review.

The dungeon is completely custom and made out of foam, drywall filler and toothpicks. While the Minotaur is a Reaper Bones mini and the barbarian is a Reaper Dark Heaven metal mini. He loved it and was really surprised by it (which was awesome). I'm not sure where he put it when he got it home, but I'm told that it's out on display and out of reach of his cats.

Mr. Bones' Garden is a custom diorama that I actually started work on during the the first Reaper Bones Kickstarter. The idea came from their Bones mascot, Mr Bones, and the map of the graveyard used to display stretch goal unlocks. There were a lot of starts and stops to this one and I actually didn't finish it until after the 2nd Bones campaign was wrapping up. But it turned out great and as a result I learned a lot of tricks while working on it.

When Games Workshop originally started releasing it's Lord of the Rings war game, they released a box set of Gandalf and the Balrog as part of their Mines of Moria line. I love that scene so I picked up the set and painted up the Balrog to the best of my ability. Planning, all along to build some kind of diorama of the pair.

It never happened.

Years later, after I found a better way of painting fire. I decided that it was time to redo the project, and thanks to the Apoca vs. the Minotaur I was able to use some tricks learned there to construct the base!

The Incredible Hulk was a really fun project. It went through a lot of planning before it came into being. Originally the base was going to be much bigger and detailed, but after some planning I decided that simpler was better. I've gotten a lot of compliments on him and as a result I ended up doing Iron Man and Captain America conversions as well.

Nearly 2 years after the end of the Relic Knights Kickstarter I finally received my product. As a result I ended up doing a marathon assembly session and following up with an entire week of posts dedicated to going through each faction. It was epic and the most assembly I've ever done in one go (the other being assembling SDE).

The capstone of Reaper's first Bones campaign. C'thulhu is the largest miniature I've ever painted and as such he took at least 40 hours or more to complete. But I'm super pleased with him and I've gotten a lot of compliments on it. It was kind of a pain to paint, since it required me to keep sections unglued. But it was worth it. He's super bad ass and I got to play with resin again!

While work went on for C'thulhu I began searching for minis that would work for the rest of the Avengers team. Once I stumbled on this mini, I knew that it would be completely possible. I kept the street scene going for Iron Man and made it so I could space him out, compared to Hulk. The lamp was an extra from the set I bought for Hulk too and helps tie it all in. The only modification that was done to the mini itself, was the removal of a fin on the top of his head, other than that he's all original.

I've been told that I downplay the awesomeness of this mini and am too humble about it. Usually, when I talk about him I mention doing the head swap and building of the green stuff shield from scratch out as if its not a big deal. But not in a pride filled boasty way, but more in a oh-I-guess-its-alright and I'm-not-that-great kind of way.

I guess they are right, too. He is pretty awesome and I'm really happy with how he turned out. The shield is possibly the hardest thing I've ever had to do, up to that point, for a miniature conversion. And it took 3 attempts to get to the final result.

The only thing I'm not happy with is his base. Its smallish and mid-street, so it's not as detailed as the bases for Hulk or Iron Man. But this guy had a lot more work involved to make him look legit, so I guess that makes up for it. I may break him off his base one day and do a more detailed one...

Nearly 2 years after I ordered Super Dungeon Explore I was finally able to knock it out and finish painting the base set and the extra Dragon's Clutch add-on. It turned out great and makes games using these pieces even better. There were a bunch of hiccups along the way and between burn out and moving, things took awhile to get finished. But This year was the year of SDE and this set set up the ball for getting a bunch of other models painted for the game as well.

I backed the new edition of Super Dungeon Explore for everything that was available. Because, I love me some SDE and the new rules make the game so much easier/faster to play. Plus up until this point I owned most everything for the game too, so the completionist in me couldn't let me pass up on anything. Especially not at discount Kickstarter pricing.

After the Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King Kickstarter ended, I was on a huge SDE kick and while I already had all the add-ons that were released to retail hobby stores. I was missing one big addition, King Starfire. But thanks to Relic Knights being released, and Soda Pop giving all of the RK backers a freebie $15 store credit as a thank you, I was able to put in an order for the giant Dragon Lord.

So, when he showed up and after I finished the base set of SDE, I got to work on him. But due to waiting on paint to dry, I ended up with some extra down time. And rather than sit there staring at him, I decided to knock out 2 models at once and got to work on the Herald of Vulcanis as well.

This skeleton Captain for Super Dungeon Explore was a blast to paint. He's got a ton of attitude and his details were easy to pick out. I think he's probably one of the best pre-Fogotten King models, even though I really love the Barbarian from the base set too.

No lie. I love dark elves. Sure it's probably thanks to R.A. Salvatore and his Drizzt novels, which I am an avid fan of. But when I saw that SDE was getting their own dark elf assassin, a little part of me squealed like a little fan boy. Kaelly was fun to paint, but required cutting her free from her base in order to do so. This provided an extra challenge of figuring out how to hold her.

I've been posting my minis a lot over the year on Twitter. I try to at least post up something for #miniaturemonday and sometimes #wipwednesday or #throwbackthursday. But I don't limit myself to them. As a result, I've found a lot of fellow mini-gamers/painters/hobbyists to follow and gotten a lot of new followers myself. One of the folk's I follow had started a weekly 4 Hour Painting Challenge on there. This friendly self-challenge is a nice way to keep practicing and also a good way to force yourself to focus on limited palettes of color. Anyway, this is my result from my first go-around.

Much like Dark Elves, I love Succubi. Well, Soda Pop added a Succubus to the Mini Bosses of the game, and assured that they would be getting more of my money. I guess you could say, Vandella seduced the wallet right out of my pocket. Like Kaelly, she needed to be cut off of her base, and had some hard sections to properly reach. But she turned out well and I'm happy with the results.

Unlike the other single releases which were Mini-Bosses, Nyan Nyan is an additional Hero. She is a great model and was a blast to paint. I'm really pleased with how she turned out and her blue hair turned out much better than the Base Set's Hexcast Sorceress. Due to her hairstyle, I couldn't help but give her the hair color and eyes of EVA's Rei Ayanami.

After the single models were finished, I started work on the Rock Top Gang turtles. I really liked painting these, except for a few minor issues. Originally the plan was to paint them up like the original TMNT toys from the 90s, but my paint mixing skill failed and they were all a bit off. Regardless, I think they all turned out rather well, even if their bases aren't yet finished.

After I begin looking for things to post on twitter for #throwbackthursday, I decided it would make a nice regular article for the blog. So, in November, I started posting older models that I'd painted before I started blogging about this stuff, under the banner of Throwback Thursday (I even made a custom BTTF style logo for it). To date, I've posted models for our old RuneQuest party, a monk converted into a bard, a Warhammer 40k Space Marine Dreadnought, a Babeester Gor Initiate, a Warhammer 40k Space Marine Sergeant and 2002 Christmas Sophie.

SPACE HULK! Finally after years of yearning for it, I finally got my own copy of Space Hulk. This is one of my grail board games. Currently, I only have the Space Marines and a few Genestealers assembled. But damn, does it feel good to have it on the shelf where it belongs.

Trex the Terrible!

Another Super Secret Christmas Present to finish off the year. This time it's for my cousin Mark and based off of his most memorable villain in all of our D&D games combined... the ogre half-dragon Trex the Terrible! He loved it too and couldn't stop staring at it after he unwrapped it. Which made me super happy.

This has been one great year for mini painting! I've knocked out a lot of projects this year, more than I've ever done, I do believe. It's all thanks to having started posting and joining in on the mini painters community via Twitter. Of course, things like Super Dungeon Explore: Forgotten King helps as well.

Next year looks like it'll be busy as well. I still need to finish the original releases of SDE, I need to paint Space Hulk and maybe one day I'll get Relic Knights painted. Not to mention all the other conversion and painting ideas I always have running in my head.

2014 was kind of crap in a lot of areas and I'm glad to see it go. But damn it was good for paint flow.