Saturday, March 18, 2017

Storage Solutions

[RPG fans: Don't forget that I have a stand-alone RPG blog! I've been putting up a few new posts lately. Some are reposts from when I did RPG blogging on this blog, but there's also new content to check out. Please do so!]

One could say that I've painted a few minis, but I was never too satisfied with how I was storing them. I have a few drawer sets atop my painting table, including a mini hardware set of the sort intended to store screws and washers and things like that. It stores most of my 1 inch high minis quite well, and each set can live in its own somewhat portable drawer, but I have a few problems with this system. For one, it's not a display solution; it hides my completed projects instead of showing them off. More importantly, these drawers aren't at all airtight. That's not a problem for bolts and nails, but for minis it means they get quite dusty. So over the past year I've been leaning toward a better way.

Let's start with my new approach to storage trays.

Special points if you know what you're looking at. It's an Arcane Legions movement tray, of the sort that I've accrued in a plethora. I cut and superglued a bit of magnetic sheeting to fit, the kind designed to let you print your own refrigerator magnets. The magnet is strong enough to keep my metal washer bases in place so long as they aren't rocked too hard. I can even turn some of my lighter figures upside-down and have them stick for a bit. This way I can keep my little troops together and move them all at once.

But I still needed a place to put them all.

It's an Ikea display case, dubbed a Hemnes, to be specific. It was actually a Father's Day present from last year that I managed to finally build in the fall. It's a very nice piece, though I admit that the price tag is not exactly consistent with the Cheap Fantasy Minis ethos. I considered the cheaper Detolf that is often mentioned for mini storage, but while I liked the unobstructed all-glass look, it has a number of gaps on the edges and is not at all air-tight. If I wanted a dust-free solution, I had to splurge a bit. I'd like to upgrade with a Dioder lighting kit, and possibly some more shelves, but it looks pretty good for now.

Let's see how everything looks up close. Sorry for the intense flash on these.

Ranks of little troopers.

A mass of larger beasts.

My small but growing collection of stony terrain.
Regular CFM readers may realize that the three above shots do not represent everything I have painted. I need to make more magnetic trays and migrate everyone else to their new home. Ironically, that means that all those Arcane Legions movement trays I've collected, which were previously an albatross, are now in hot demand at the 1Mac household. Seriously, if any readers have any they'd like to be rid of, drop me a line!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fountain and Bridge

Here are some terrain pieces I finally finished painting last weekend. The first is a resin fountain by Airfix, first mentioned here.

Sven and Reaper fountain added for comparison.
Painting is done, though I'd like to add some water effects to the basin and fount. Painting was a simple gray basecoat and a few stones painted brown for contrast, with a couple layers of drybrushing and a blackwash to bring out details. Some of my drybrushing was a little coarse, but I'm very pleased with this overall.

Next is a nice bridge kit by Italeri. I think I first read about this kit on Sean's blog, though I can't find the post.

Even though it's marketed as 1/72, it's a pretty big bridge, probably designed for scale vehicles to drive over. It could definitely be used for larger-scale gaming.
The One Inch Guild square off against some pesky goblins for control of a key strategic landmark.
Sven hides from the obligatory bridge troll.
Painting was basically the same as with the fountain, though the drybrushing is even rougher here. The resin fountain had a nice stone texture that was completely absent from the Italeri plastic, so my drybrushing was really a sort of sloppy highlighting. The kit went together pretty well, though I had some issues getting the curved bed to fit in the sides, and the seems on the support bits at the base are pretty obvious. Still, this is an attractive, solid piece of terrain. I've already let my son play with it (while supervised!), and it handles toy cars going over it without a problem. Speaking of, here he is, helping daddy with the basecoat.

Little helper.
P.S. Thanks to those of you who posted comments this month. Sorry they are only going up just now. I only caught them in the "Awaiting Moderation" cue today. I love hearing from my readers, and I'll be more diligent about posting comments in the future.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Alliance Trolls comparison

Slowly getting back into the habit of blogging, starting with some pics of the new Alliance trolls. EY already has a nice review, and new 1/72 fantasy blogger Philotep has a great how-to on painting one of them. My contribution will be this comparison shot with some similar miniatures.

Left to right: a Reaper Bones "Cave Troll," Sven the 1/72 comparison mini, one of the Alliance trolls, a Bones "Mountain Troll," and a Games Workshop "Mines of Moria" troll. These Alliance trolls are big; not as big as some "normal"-scale gaming minis, but big enough to compare favorably. Even if you don't game in 1/72 scale, they're big enough to work, and at 8 figures for ~$10, they're quite a deal. Stylistically they are quite similar to the Mountain Troll, which could serve as an alpha or captain of these Tolkein/Jackson-inspired bigguns.

Here's a quick height comparison with Sven:

And here are the four poses in the set, of which there are two each. From the front:

We gonna stomp your citadel!!
 And from the back:

Oops, wrong citadel.
Flash is a bit of a problem, as is sometimes the case with Red Box/Alliance. The poses are maybe a bit flat (to simplify the molding), but not as much as they could be. And the detail is actually really good; again, check out Philotep's excellent "tabletop" paintjob to see just how nice they can look. That Bones Mountain Troll is clearly a better figure, but it also retails for over $5 (it's metal counterpart is $22!). The dollar-to-quality ratio of the Alliance figures should be very tempting. Good, not great, and on a budget, which is sort of the motto around here!

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year review

Hail, loyal readers! Since 2016 was a bit slack on the new CFM content, and since New Year's is a good time to consider the past and look forward to the future, I thought you all might appreciate knowing what's going on with me hobby-wise.

I've not had as much hobby time recently as I'd like, which I regret. I have an excuse though! I started a new job in the fall, which I love, but which calls for a lot more time than my previous job. Between it and my normal parenting duties, I'd probably still have been able to do more hobby stuff than I was able. The big wrinkle is that before I was even looking for a new job, I also committed to a big freelance project that's still taking a lot of additional time. I probably wouldn't have taken it on if I knew about the new job, but now I'm obligated. Again, I'm happy to do it, but something had to give, and if you can believe it, making and painting tiny figures had to take a back seat.

The good news is that once this freelance project is finally complete, I believe I'll get some balance back in my life that I can dedicate to more hobby time. Hopefully I can get in done in the next few months. In the meantime, I've done a little painting, including these guys. I've also been doing some collecting: I got many of the new Caesar and Alliance fantasy sets in trade that I want to do review/comparison posts for. The same goes for the Battlelore 2nd Edition figures I got when the games were marked down in a recent Cool Stuff Inc. sale.

I've not given up on the hobby and hope to do more posting in the future. So keep an eye on this space! Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!