Monday, September 22, 2014

Happy Hobbit Day 2014

Today is Hobbit Day.  It is the day chosen by the fan community to celebrate the works of Professor Tolkien's Middle-earth cycle.  In the books, September 22nd* (of The Shire Reckoning) is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.  It is also the date Bilbo "disappeared" from his 111th birthday party to leave The Shire forever and the date that Frodo left Bag End seventeen years later to begin his quest to destroy the One Ring of Sauron.

My original from 1984.  The cover is almost detached.  This may be the last year I read this copy.

September 22nd also happens to mark the day on which I begin my yearly rereading of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.  Every year since I first read the books back in 1984 (I was 13 at the time) I have opened The Fellowship of the Ring and accompanied Frodo and his companions on their long journey through Middle-earth.  I don't always complete all three books and I'm sure I have missed a year here and there.  But there can be no doubt that I have read the books at least 25 times over the years...and counting.  I'm so very thankful that I discovered Tolkien's works so very long ago.  For it was Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, and the others that directly lead to my love of roleplaying, wargaming, and miniatures.

So happy Hobbit Day to you all.  Now it's time for me to open my well-read copy of The Fellowship of the Ring and start my journey anew.

* Note: I am well aware of the differences between our calendar and that of The Shire.  September 22nd has been chosen by consensus as the date to celebrate Bilbo and Frodo's birthday rather than the converted date.  I'd rather not debate the merits of September 13th-ish vs. September 22nd.  To me, it's just not that important.  So have a pint, raise your mug, and drink one with me!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Blunderbuss Pirate

Though it is never far from my mind or from my gaming table, pirates and Legends of the High Seas have taken a backseat to other projects lately.  I absolutely love the ruleset and the genre but I have been unable to give it the attention I would like over the last six months.  The winds of change are ablowin' however.  A scurvy band of pirates have been seen scouting out the Caribbean town of Port Largo in recent weeks.  The townsfolk know that it's only a matter of time before they become brazen enough to take a prize leaving port.  Yep....I feel a LotHS game brewing!

To add to the denizens that call Port Largo home, I painted up this nifty model from Black Scorpion Miniatures.  Black Scorpion has been my "go to" company for miniatures of the piratey nature for years now.  I've always been pleased with the quality of their products and this blunderbuss wielding rogue is no different.  He is one of the four miniatures offered in the Rogues 1 blister pack.  Though I have yet to paint the other three minis, I can say that the quality of the others is as good as this one.

Since I seem to be giving a mini review (pun fully intended) I must add an important detail.  All of the pirate models I own from Black Scorpion (and I own them all except for the Pirate Girls line) are metal.  It should be no secret to regular readers that I absolutely hate resin.  When I found out that Black Scorpion was switching to resin I hurried to complete my collection of pirates by purchasing my missing figures in metal before they disappeared.  So while I'm giving two thumbs up for the metal sculpts, I cannot say the same for the resin versions.

The first parts I painted on this pirate were his hair and scarf.  Before I had decided on a full color scheme, I knew I wanted both to stand out.  I chose a light auburn for the hair and a garishly bright yellow for his scarf.  For the hair I used my standard color palette for red hair:  Auburn Shadow (09241), Carrot Top Red (09242), and Highlight Orange (09242), all from Reaper.  For the scarf, I tried a new technique for shading yellow.  I painted the scarf in Sun Yellow (09008) and let the pure color stand for the highlight.  I then mixed in small amounts of Imperial Purple (09023) for each successive shade.  I was very pleased with the results.  Instead of powdery looking light yellow highlights and dirty shades, I ended up with a very clean color graduation.  I'm currently working on an elf maiden in a yellow dress.  I plan on trying the same technique to see if the results are as good on a larger surface.  Updates to come.....

The green shirt was a huge problem.  For one, I kept getting small dots of green paint on my freshly painted yellow scarf.  Painting over a dark color with such a light translucent one was no easy task.  The main issue was with the highlighting though.  I used the Mossy Green triad from Reaper.  When I began mixing in the highlights the paint turned chalky.  No matter what I tried I could not get the color to play well with the others.  I mostly fixed the issue by glazing a darker green over the highlights but the evidence is still on the shirt if you look closely.  Oh well.  I don't think I'll be using that combination again anytime soon.

So another new pirate is completed.  Now I need to choose a name (something Irish would do nicely I think) then decide which crew I want to add him to.  I'm thinking this weekend would be a great opportunity to field him for the first time and see what that blunderbuss is capable of.  Will he survive his first raid?

Thanks for reading.