Moments of Inertia by Rachel Crawford

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Update

Things are a bit subdued in my life at the moment. I had major surgery less than 3 weeks ago and am very much just beginning my recovery. While I feel better nearly every day (in more ways than one), it’ll be a good few weeks before my life is back to something resembling normal.

In the meantime I’ve been reading plenty, watching lots of YouTube, and getting some hobby done when I’m feeling good enough to sit at a table.

I haven’t really had much of the right kind of energy for programming or writing, which seems like a shame because of all the free time, ideas and motivation I have bursting from my seams, but that’s okay. I suppose it’s best to save my thinky-energy for dealing with real problems should they arise and keeping myself comfortable.

Natalie is being a great help, getting shopping, cooking and generally providing morale support. I feel incredibly grateful to have such a good companion around. My mum has also been excellent, helping us return to Edinburgh from the hospital and doing some shopping for us when she can. I’ve also received a lot of nice messages and visits from friends and family members that have really helped to keep me happy and comfy.

If this upward trend continues my time in the recovery doldrums will pass by like nothing.

<3

Stormcast Lords and Liberators

My army of Stormcast Eternals is growing. The chap above is a Lord-Relictor, a very gothic sort of priest who can heal friends or zap enemies. He’s from the original Age of Sigmar starter set which I bought pre-assembled and half-painted from a friend, so I had to struggle through painting not-in-subassemblies. Which turned out fine in the end. There’s only a few places I couldn’t really get the brush into, but they’re not visible on the final product unless you go looking for them.

I’m particularly pleased with the candles and hourglass, which are coloured purple to connect him to the Realm of Death.

It’s such a characterful model and I feel very happy to have painted it!

Where the Relictor is more of a support character, the Lord-Celestant is more of a leader. I bought him off eBay quite cheaply because I thought he’d be fun to paint and add to my Skirmish warband. (He was!) He’s got a sword, a hammer and a ridiculous hammer-cape, so he can dish out quite a lot of damage while also buffing the soldiers following him. I experimented with using a dark blue wash (Drakenhof Nightshade) to shade the sword and hammer instead of a black one (Nuln Oil) and the result is nice, I think. It’s subtle, but it makes the metal look colder and somehow more solid.

Finally, I got through all these guys from the starter set. Like the Relictor, the Liberators were already assembled and partially painted. The process was a bit of a slog in places – when you’re putting the base colours down on 10 models at the same time, it takes a long time before you start to see the models looking anything like they will in the end, so it’s easy to lost momentum. But I got them done, and now I have a solid battleline of chunky golden boys.

I now have only to paint the 3 Prosecutors, the 3 Retributors and the mounted Lord-Celestant and I will have finished the Stormcast side of the starter box. And I’ll have enough of an army to play actual non-Skirmish games of Age of Sigmar. Exciting!

Bloodreavers

Following on from the three Blood Warriors, I’ve painted up five of the Khorne Bloodbound’s speedy, scrappy horde unit. (Everything in this army is called a blood-something.) They’re a huge step up in quality from Garrek’s Reavers, the first Khorne models I painted, both in terms of quality and in terms of how happy I am with the colour scheme.

I went through them one at a time, giving myself space to practice painting skin in three different colours. Painting the muscles, scars and such on these guys was an absolute blast and I’m much more confident about painting skin now. I chose the vibrant red and bone trim scheme I debuted on the Blood Warriors and I’m mostly pleased with how it turned out, but I need to improve how I paint the bone sections, which can be quite unsatisfying. After painting the first model (second on the left) I added two new paints to my collection: Screaming Bell and Gehenna’s Gold. Together these create a beautiful, vibrant brass I decided to use for the bronze sections of the weapons and armour. My taste is very much about saturated colours and high contrast, so the Balthasar Gold/Sycorax Bronze combo I was using previously just doesn’t cut it for me. For the bases, I really wanted to put some skulls down – perhaps I should create a little box of pre-painted skulls ready to add to bases.

These are horde units, so I’m going to have to learn to paint them faster and smarter if I’m ever going to get through the big group of them that are in the main AoS starter box.

Now that I’ve finished all the models from the Storm of Sigmar starter set, it’s time to move on. I’m not sure what’s next. I’m gonna paint a quick and easy Frostgrave dog while I make up my mind.

Blood Warriors

These three fellows have been my most recent hobby project. I really like how they’ve come out.

I decided to paint their armour in strong red after painting Garrek’s Reavers, my first Khorne models, which I feel came out way too dark and desaturated. After swithering for a bit I went with the bone-coloured trim for the same reason – I didn’t think I’d be able to produce a bronze that contrasted enough with the red. As a painter I definitely prefer my colours to be bright and bold, and for there to be plenty of contrast on a miniature, so I’m glad that my chosen colour scheme satisfies both of my itches. They have a tonne of little details to pick out and sections that are difficult to paint quickly. Getting the base coats down took a long time, but it paid off the moment I finished basing and began shading.

This was also my first time using Daler Rowney’s Simply Gold Taklon Brushes, which I can recommend.

I have a soft spot for Khorne mortal models1, which are always suitably threatening, rabid-looking and have plenty of interesting shapes, as well as lots of nice little details to find. Despite all that stuff being present, my favourite part of these models is probably just the chainmail, parts of which hang down in messy strips. It’s easy to paint, and once finished adds a bit of flash and bulks out gaps in the shape of the mini.

This trio are from the Storm of Sigmar mini-starter set, which contains a small subset of the models from the big old Age of Sigmar starter set. I picked up Storm of Sigmar in a local shop because I fancied painting a handful of Stormcast and Khorne models, and shortly afterward got a good deal on the big set from a friend who was having a clear-out. Once I’ve finished all the models from Storm of Sigmar2 I’ll begin working my way through the big box. In other words: I’ll be painting Blood Warriors and sculpts like them for a few months yet. It’s a good thing I like painting them! (Although I really do need to figure out a way to make putting the base colours down faster.)

Hobbying is taking up quite a lot (read: most) of my free time these days and as a result I haven’t had much time to write about all the things I want to write about on here. Little hobby progress updates like this one feel like low-hanging blog fruit, so I might do a few more.

  1. The soft spot is hardened by the absolute absence of any women in the army. Probably my number one thing I wish GW would do is release female versions of Blood Warriors, Bloodreavers, etc. I have my fingers crossed for the rumoured Darkoath army, if it ever exists, containing some cool barbarian ladies after the style of the Warqueen

  2. I’ve done all the Stormcast, you can see them here

Emperor of the Eight Islands

Imagine a more magical Game of Thrones set in a kind of medieval faux-Japan: you’ve got your tengu, your fickle forest spirits, your sorcerors and witches, but that stuff is just supersition and faith to the noble families who vie for power and the samurai who protect and serve them. This is the world of Emperor of the Eight Islands, which is the first book in a series I’m itching to continue with. It’s pleasantly compact and quick-to-read, at about 250 pages of flowing prose. I’m not looking for volume in my reading diet these days, so more bite-size books are much more preferable to 600-page endurance-fests.

I won’t go into specifics about the story other than to say that while it certainly sets up its sequel, there’s enough meat on the bones to be worth reading on its own. The book just presented me with a very engaging place to be and characters to be with, so I thought I’d give it a recommendation. It’s succeeded in making me interested in checking out some of its source material – Japanese folk tales and old novels – where games and anime and that sort of thing haven’t quite. So who knows – maybe I’ll be reading The Tale of the Heike at some point down the line. If you happen to know of similar novels/comics/whatevers that might scratch the same itch, please let me know!