Wrapping Up 2020

Due to my minis being in two different apartments and being away from my own computer and Photoshop  during the holidays I’m a bit late with this post. But better late than never, let’s look back at what I managed to paint in 2020. Here’s the lot:

As per last year, sorry for the image quality – my photography setup is still not ideal for big group photos…

All together they’re 32 models. Quite a bit less than than I imagined I’d paint a year ago, but I’m again very happy with each and every model. And all my painted models still fit in my display cabinet! Just barely though, I think this year I’ve got to start moving some of the older ones to storage.

Here’s a list of all the models above, and links to the showcase posts if you want to take a closer look:

As you can see, last year I painted mostly single models or very small groups of models. The only project with more than three models was the Scout Squad, and that was only five as well. 2021 might see a change here, as I intend to work on the Indomitus box during the year, but we’ll see how it goes. Honestly, I’ve enjoyed painting single minis a lot, and I’ve certainly painted my best work this year, at least technically speaking. Picking a favorite is difficult, but I guess the top three would be Mollog and the two priests. The Ork Boyz and the Cabalists are up there too, though, and the Sentinel from 2019 still gives these guys a good run for the money among my favorite models!

Speaking of the Sentinel, my one regret for last year was that I didn’t finish any new models for my Astra Rodentia. Whereas all my other armies/collections (Space Marines, Underworlds, Orks, Blades of Khorne, Stormcast Eternals) received some new models, and I started working on a few new collections as well (Imperial Cult, Nurgle, Tyranids, Warcry), the space rats didn’t get any finished models in 2020. I did build two, however, and started painting them just before the holidays, so they should be my first finished models of 2021!

So what happened with my Hobby Bingo? Unfortunaltely, as in 2019, I failed to score any bingos. It was a bit of a shame as it would’ve been rather easy to “sculpt something on a model” and “scratch-build a piece of scenery”, but alas, somehow it just didn’t come to be. Maybe this year though!  I did complete one more square than previously, so it wasn’t all bad. I’ll keep trying this year!

One final thing I’d like to address is the state of the blog. As you’ve probably noticed, my posting has been less and less frequent. This is mostly due to work, and partly due to playing video games a bit more once again.. But I’ve been doing some hobbying too every once in a while, so I should have something new to show you before too long! Realistically speaking though, I don’t see the posting speed improving anytime soon, but it is what it is.

Even so, I have to say I’m baffled, flabbergasted even to see that the blog still gets a dozen or so visitors and 20-30 views every day! I mean, it’s not like there’s fresh new content frequently, and I doubt that people would look at a post more than once or maybe twice.. Who are these people and where do they come from? I might never know, but it warms my heart even so. Thanks to everyone who has stumbled upon this blog or has stuck around for longer, and especially to those who have taken the time to leave a comment!

Update, Still Here

It’s been close to two months since I last posted, and I thought I’d make a small post saying I’m still around.

Now, I’ve actually finished a couple of models since the last post: Mollog’s minions are finally done. I’ll be showing them off soon, but I decided that I’d write this update first. As you might have noticed, my painting / posting has slowed to a very slow crawl. The main reason is that work has been taking quite a lot of my time. Even in the evenings, if I’m not working, I’m so tired that watching Netflix or YouTube is what I end up doing. And so I’ve noticed that I’m only hobbying during the weekends nowadays, which obviously slows my progress.

Of course, I did have that week’s break, but as I travelled to the other side of the country again, I decided that I’d just build, prime and basecoat a few new/old models. Hopefully that translates to finishing some models quicker in the future! I also magnetized the bases of my Underworlds collection.

So what does a man do when he doesn’t have much time to paint anymore? Buys a mountain of new minis to add to the pile of possibility of course! With the impending brexit and whatever it comes with I’ve been stocking up on cheap (relatively speaking) plastic from the UK. If and when there’s additional taxes and more expensive shipping costs to Europe next year, I’m covered! No need to buy any more minis in years! Of course, that never stopped anyone… Nevertheless, the latest additions to the queue are as follows:

  • Primaris Intercessors
  • Battle Sisters
  • Skitarii Rangers / Vanguard
  • Ork Boyz
  • Poxwalkers (from Dark Imperium box)
  • Flagellants
  • Chainrasps
  • Glaivewraith Stalkers (from Soul Wars box)
  • 3 Nightvault warbands

And that made-to-order Indomitus box is being delivered as I write this. Not to mention the previous backlog… But in any case, you might see a pattern here. Aside from completing my Nightvault closet collection it’s just basic troop models from various 40k and AoS armies. I find that often these most lowly of game pieces are some of the best looking models from their respective armies. These were pretty much all bought as painting and modeling projects, they won’t be painted as complete (game-legal) squads. The Intercessors, Sisters and Flagellants for example will be used to expand my “Imperial Cult” collection.

All right, now to write that post about Mollog and his entourage, and get some actual content back to this blog…

Visiting the Hobby Shops in the Capital City

One of the perks of moving down south for work is that Finland’s one and only Warhammer store is now quite a bit closer. As in, a 45min drive instead of seven hours! When Games Workshop recently announced that each of their stores would sell Sergeant “Ripper” Jackson from 12th-20th of September, I thought what the heck, I’ll go and get her. And while I’d be in Helsinki I thought I’d check out a couple other hobby shops as well!

The result of my shopping spree

I ended up going to four in total and buying an item or two from each. First stop was Poromagia, an independent hobby shop / gaming club. Not only did they have a great supply of GW’s products, they also stocked a lot of AK Interactive and Greenstuffworld products. This is great, as I’ll be able to get all the cool things without waiting 2-3 weeks for a delivery! But the highlight of the store for me were the many display cases, all filled with beautifully painted models. I even found the “Orange Mechanicus Orks” I saw in the Warhammer store a couple years back, and stupidly didn’t take a photo of. They were a big influence on my own orange Orks, so I was very happy to be able to correct my mistake and take a picture of them. I bought some GSW barbed wire and a bottle of VMC Gold.

Noa Kaistinen’s Orks @Poromagia

Next I visited Hobby Point, which is a big crafting and model making store. It doesn’t sell wargaming miniatures, but scale models and model railroad stuff (among other things). They had a lot of Noch stuff, which could be useful in the future. Now I just grabbed a trio of paints and additives before proceeding to the Warhammer store. It’s a rather small space, and with Covid-19 there wasn’t as many gaming / display tables as there used to be, but it’s well stocked with minis and the staff was friendly and helpful. I got my Ripper and grabbed a copy of Helsreach novel too (I’m a bit excited about Black Templars at the moment).

Finally, I decided to check out Fantasiapelit as well. They are a bigger company and have a store in many/all of the big cities here, but I guess this one in the capital is the biggest. Certainly well stocked with GW kits! The biggest surprise was stumbling on some really cool models in an unassuming, largely empty display case surrounded by manga books. I saw the models and thought to myself “whoa, someone’s really pulled off the Blanche style..” I then circled around the case and read the card beside the models – “Creator: John Blanche”. So now I’ve seen genuine models from GW’s creative mastermind in plastic and paint! Of course, while I was surprised, I remembered that mr. Blanche visited Helsinki for Mordheim 2019, so that’s how the models got here. Apparently, the models were gifted to Tuomas Pirinen (the creator of Mordheim), who then loaned them to Fantasiapelit so that everyone could see them. Kudos, Tuomas!

John Blanche’s Nighthaunt models @Fantasiapelit Helsinki

I almost made it out of Fantasiapelit without buying anything, but then I noticed a copy of Gretchinz!, a board game which I remember reading about quite a while back and liking the look of. As the price wasn’t too bad I grabbed it. Don’t know when I’ll get to try it out or with whom, but that’s beside the point!

So yeah, four really cool shops with amazing inventory. I’ll surely be visiting them at least a couple of times before my eventual move back north. Oh, if only I’d have the space and time, I’d buy all the things..

New Desk, New Old Job

One of the reasons the bikers didn’t get finished sooner was that I’ve made another update on my hobby area. This time far more substantial than changing my light setup, as I got myself an adjustable/standing desk! Setting it all up took me a good couple of days, mostly on tidying up the cables.

For the most part it’s a big improvement! Being able to adjust the height to fit both working/gaming on the computer (lower down) and painting (higher up) is brilliant. I haven’t yet tried out painting standing up, but there’s certainly enough height even for that. The thinner desktop is also great, as it’s easier to clamp stuff on, and to actually get the chair under it.

Now, just like after my lighting update, unfortunaly I won’t be able to enjoy this setup for a long time. Next week I’m moving back to the other side of the country, to continue in the same job I had last spring, substituting an English teacher. This time there’s couple of hours more per week and the job lasts for the whole school year. Me and the wife are obviously a bit bummed about having to live apart for so long, but the pay and the additional line in my resume left me little choice. Just have to make it work. I don’t yet know how the new job affects my hobby time, but I’ll try to keep up with painting and modeling as much as I can, that’s for sure.

New Stuff, New Job

No miniatures today, but some updates for my hobby table and a development in the real life.

The old setup

First up, I’ve updated my lighting setup. My old setup had two lamps, but they were wildly different from each other. The other was a desk lamp with really warm, comparatively dim light. The other was a floor lamp with a bright white light, but the light cone was so tight that at times it was difficult to keep the model under it. The differences meant that I often had (harsh) shadows on the figure, and that when I was taking photos I had trouble with white balance as I had two lamps with different temperature values.

The new setup

I’ve thought about the update for a while now (well, basically since I got back to the hobby a couple years back), but after I recently saw a video on the subject and noticed how affordable the update could be, I decided to pull the trigger. I got two Tertial desk lamps from Ikea and two led bulbs from the local automotive store. These bulbs are nice as they have three temperature settings: warm, white and daylight. After installing the two lamps (had to modify the clamp on the other one slightly), I’ve gotten rid of most of the shadows. This obviously makes painting, as well as photography much easier. I think the lights could be even brighter (the video recommended 13W, whereas I found 9W bulbs), but for now I can certainly get by with these. They’re a big improvement!

My photography “studio”

Secondly, I’ve made myself some new brush pots! Okay, this is probably not that interesting, but whatever.. Some time ago I found some very decent (good even?) cheap brushes from the local super market. They come in packs of five, and I’ve bought four so far. My old Coca Cola cup started to get a little small for the lot, so I decided to get a second container for them. I then realised that I could make it myself, and ended up doing a bunch! I’ve worked as an insulator (/scaffolder) since last summer, so I’ve got access to all the aluminium that I could ever need and the tools to work it. Now, these pots could be described as prototypes, and aren’t really too nice. But they work as intended and are a nice memento from the insulation work. I made some others as well, a bit neater even, but my wife took them to her work before I could take a photo of them 😀

New pots, some new brushes and a sneak peek of an upcoming model

Never one to pass an opportunity to fill a hobby bingo square, I’ll claim the “something for the hobby that’s not for battlefield” with these pots!

Finally, I’ll be starting a new job next week, and this time it’s on my own field of work! I’ll be a substitute English teacher until the end of May, which should be interesting. While this is definitely a good thing for my career, it probably means that I’ll have less time to work on hobby projects. The job is also on the other side of the country, so I’ll lose access to some equipment for some time. I’m taking some minis and paints with me, however, and we’ll see how it goes. Expect fewer updates though, especially on new finished minis.

Wrapping Up 2019

All right, one final post to finish the year. Let’s look at what I managed to paint during 2019!

Above you can see the tally (apologies for the photo quality, my setup still isn’t ideal for big group shots). When they’re all brought out like this it.. Doesn’t actually look like much. But I’m very happy with each and every one of them, and with space (and wife’s tolerance) being a limited commodity I think my output has been just right!

All in all, I finished 57 models, which was about the same as last year, and more than a model per week on average, which was my target at the beginning of the year. Here’s a list of all the models and links to their corresponding showcase posts:

So yeah, not too shabby. During the past year I’ve embarked on a number of new (slow-grow) projects, such as the Astra Rodentia and Orks. I’ve also continued adding to older ones, such as my Revelators Space Marines, Underworlds warbands and working on the AoS 1st edition starter set. I’ve upped my weathering game and dabbled on more complex freehand designs than last year. I got to say that painting various projects with different color schemes and mixing things up with new techniques definitely helps to keep things fresh and motivating.

Speaking of motivation, there were/are two bloggers that deserve much credit for influencing me to pick the projects that I did and actually getting them done in a timely fashion! One is of course Azazel with his monthly hobby challenges. I did have a little time management mishap and missed one month’s deadline, but for the other 11 I got at least one miniature done.

The other blogger is Rob Hawkins, whose hobby bingo card has been a fun additional game on top of finishing models. Below you can see my finished card for the year. After finishing my last miniature of 2019 I looked at the card and noticed that I had painted some models that hadn’t been used for the card even though they could’ve been. I used the two SCE squads to cross off two additional squares, but even with that I couldn’t get a bingo. No matter though, I’ll try again next year with a little more ambition, and try to get at least that one bingo!

Of course, there’s still one more blogger that I shouldn’t forget when it comes to motivation: me! I started the blog this January, and actually have hard time believing I’ve gotten it this far. Sharing my work here and getting amazing feedback from you guys has pushed me to paint and finish stuff much more consistently than I otherwise would. So thank you, reader, for taking a look and commenting!

Going forward, I don’t think I can keep up the “almost weekly” post schedule for too much longer. This year, pretty much half of my posts have been showcasing my older work from 2017-18, and even my teens. While I still have some of those left, I won’t have many “padding” posts to put in between new finished models. Most likely my posting will just get more sporadic, but we’ll see how it goes in time..

And that’s it for 2019! Here’s hoping for an even better 2020! I already have some great models in the queue and many plans in my head, hopefully I’ll have enough time to transform many of those into finished minis!

From the Archives: Grot; A Married Man

To top off Orktober 2018, I painted an old metal Grot from my teenage years.

While I couldn’t quite get the Uruk-hai Warrior painted up in a day, this one I did! It’s the first and so far the only model that I’ve managed to paint in a day (not counting some models in my teens), which makes him quite special.

When painting the Grot, I had two main goals: to practice painting pale Ork skin, and to not use any washes on the metals. As the model is mostly naked, there was plenty of space to practice painting skin. I think I managed pretty well, and painting just one tiny model I had the patience to mix the skin tones and thin them down more than usual to get some nice layering/blending going. Not using washes on the metal was both an attempt to preserve the shine of the metallic paints and to try an old school method of painting metals: starting with a Tin Bitz equivalent and drybrushing silver colors on top. It works fine, but is a bit messy if you’re going for a more refined look.

This was a fun little project and great practice for when I eventually treat myself to Zarbag’s Gits. And I got to say that the sculpt was pretty fantastic: really crisp detail and next to no clean-up needed. I can definitely see why folks look back at metal minis with misty eyes..

But enough about the Grot, and on to the other news. I’m now a married man! I and my fiancé/wife got married during this last weekend, and everything went even better than I could’ve anticipated. Didn’t forget my lines in the church, and the reception afterwards was brilliant. Delicious food and drink, our families and friends, dancing, and the photography left to a professional. A wonderful weekend, and of course the best thing is that I got a wonderful wife out of it!

As you might have noticed, my hobbying and blogging has slowed down quite a bit during September, which was of course due to the wedding planning and preparations. I hope to get back up to speed soonish, though I know that our honeymoon will eat a week of painting time this month. Not the least bit sorry about that though 😀 Hopefully I’ll get the Cursebreakers done this week, and an Ork or two before the month’s over.

From the Archives: Tomb Banshee, Birthday, Update

It’s been a bit longer from my last post than I’d hoped, and I was supposed to have something new to show, but since I’ve been slacking a bit on the painting front lately, I’ll give you a previously painted Tomb Banshee. Additionally, as per the title, I’ll give you an update of what’s been happening in the ‘real world’.

But let’s start with the Banshee. It’s my birthday today, and I though she would be an appropriate model to showcase, as she was a present from my lovely fiancé last year. She was a bit unsure of what to get me, so helped her out a bit and gave her three options: the Lord of Plagues, the Wight King or the Tomb Banshee. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she picked the Banshee. While I don’t really collect any armies, I love this model and am very happy to have it in my collection. Painting her was also really enjoyable!

As I recall, it only took me a couple of days to paint her (that’s fast for me..). The model was primed in white, and the skin was basically just Nihilakh Oxide, a bit of Coelia Greenshade and a highlight. The face received a bit more attention, but nothing too dramatic. I wanted the clothes and the leather to look worn, and this was my first attempt at doing those tiny “scratches”. Very subtle, but I still like it! And finally, as you can see the paint scheme was inspired by the box art, apart from the hair. The distinct red hair was changed to blonde (a suggestion from my better half:), and even though I’m biased, I think I like it more like this.

The base was another new experiment. I wanted to do something a little more scenic than just sand that I had been using previously. I started with the model’s original square base that had some stones and the skull, and blended it on to a 32mm round base with a bit of greenstuff. I then dug an old chaos accessory plate from my bits box, made it a bit thicker with plasticard and stuck it to the base to act as a tomb stone or something. So it’s not too adventurous or elaborate, but it gave me a taste of a little more interesting base.

So, having talked about the model, what’s been going on in my life recently? In regards to the blog, the most important thing is that I got a summer job and started it last Monday. Naturally, that has cut into my potential hobby time a little. And blogging/commenting on other people’s post as well, sadly. Realistically, it shouldn’t affect me too much, but there might be (even) longer gaps between posts from now on. Especially in the next couple of weeks, as I’m still getting used to the new daily routine.

Another noteworthy thing is that I got my master’s degree last week, and with it, graduated from University. Not directly relevant to this blog, but needless to say I’m pretty chuffed! I did take my sweet time with it, but it’s done now!

The All-Important First Post

Hello and welcome to my blog! I’m mcmattila, a miniature hobbyist from Finland. I’ve been pondering about starting a blog to showcase and keep a record of my hobby accomplishments for some time now, and what better time to start than at the start of the year.

So, the aim of the blog is to showcase my miniature painting and modelling work. At this time I collect Games Workshop models, so the majority of the models in the blog will be from Warhammer 40k, Age of Sigmar and Warhammer Underworlds. That being said, there might be the occasional model from other manufacturers, game systems or perhaps even scale models or such. We’ll see where this goes. My plan is to keep this blog for finished work only and try to update weekly, but me being a relatively slow painter, I might not be able to keep that up for too long. Again, we’ll see where this goes.

I also have to note that this is my first crack at blogging and WordPress, so the outlook of this site might change as I figure how stuff works, and how I’d like the pages to look.

To finish this post, I’ll leave you with a picture of my workspace. A proper showcase post to follow soon(ish).

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