Monday, 28 September 2020

Few More Posts And Updates On New Wix Website

More "Alternative Armies" Elementals Have Been Added To The New Wix Website 

With a couple more new postings of finished miniatures having been posted up recently on the new Wix website, I've started the lengthy task of transferring some of my earliest articles across as well - starting with a retitled Monthly Musing from 2010, which focuses upon a 15mm Napoleonic "Black Powder" project I started (and disappointingly never finished).

I have though been somewhat hampered in my efforts by Blogger suddenly reverting to pure HTML whilst I'm looking at my pages' content, randomly realigning my paragraphs and haphazardly changing the fonts of previous postings...

In addition, the top of the website now contains links to this (old) Blogger site and a brief summary of "Fantorical" since its start as a printed 'fanzine' way back 2003. Going forward the plan is to create some more of these additional pages covering subjects such as purchases, "Kickstarters", shows and painting projects.

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

First Post Up On New Wix Website

"Alternative Armies" Lesser Air Elementals Join My Earth and Water Elemental Units 
The first post for the all-new Fantorical website housed on Wix is up, so please do come pay it a visit here:

All of 2020s postings are now available, and over the next few months I'll be porting across the vast majority of my other postings during the past decade on Blogger. The good news is that Wix allows me to post-date my articles, so instead of overrunning my main feed with old posts, they'll simply slip onto the site in the background and be there to view should a trip down memory lane take your fancy.

Not all my posts will be coming across, and some will be combined so that they better fit the six paragraph style I currently use. For those interested I'll continue to provide some updates here on Blogger regarding what is coming across, as well as some of the other updates Wix seems to offer as an actual website (e.g. An About page, and Projects page).

Monday, 21 September 2020

"The Future's Bright..."

"...The future's Wix."

After a weekend tinkering with Wix I'm pleased to say that Fantorical has definitely found itself a new home and over the coming weeks I'll be busy shifting across the majority of this blog's thousand plus postings over to that platform instead.

Why Wix?

Wix has a series of easy-to-use templates with which to create a website from scratch. In addition it also has a Blog page, which acts like a normal blogging platform with posts and tags etc. This makes posting really simple with the platform automatically positioning my pictures, text and captions. The platform also offers a lot more options once you start using the Wix editor to make your own templates. I haven't spent too much time on that yet, but it contains gadgets such as Popular Posts and Labels just like Blogger has.

Wix also seems to allow me to post bigger and better quality pics, so I'm hoping that'll encourage me to produce more Battle Reports. On Blogger these were always a very time-consuming type of post. But having now successfully transferred a few of this year's BatReps over to Wix it seems clear that the platform makes them extremely easy to configure and upload.

How Different Will Fantorical Look On Wix?

As I'm currently using a quite generic template on Wix, Fantorical will look a little less colourful to begin with. I rather like the snapshots personally but the background is too white and somewhat sterile-looking. However, the posts can now be broken down into Categories, so at the top of the page I plan to offer the option of subjects such as Finished Figures, Battle Reports, Wargaming Shows, and Monthly Musings.

What Is Being Transferred Over To Wix?

The vast majority of my postings on Blogger will be moving across to Wix over the coming months. This week's goal is to get all of 2020's articles across and then start posting new content regularly once again. I also aim to bring across my posts from 2010 onwards, as well as some articles from my earlier blogs/painting diaries. Obviously, these will come up on my main feed too, but will clearly be labelled under the category 'From The Vaults' or some such. Personally, I'm always fascinated by my ambitious projects from the past and seeing just how much I accomplished once a new 'shiny' arrived to distract me.

Disappointingly, the comments won't be coming across. I'm a bit gutted by this as I think this is the most important part of Fantorical - where we can discuss thoughts, opinions, suggestions, help, recommendations and advice. I did consider maybe taking a snap shot of the comments and adding them to the relevant post. But that seems a lot of work when the discussions will remain for all to see here on Blogger if anyone is that interested in a five-year old conversation.

What Will Happen To Fantorical On Blogger?

I've no intention of taking Fantorical down on Blogger, and indeed, for the foreseeable still intend to post updates (such as this) on the site. I'll also be signposting visitors to my new posts on Wix when they start.

I do plan on maintaining my comic review site "The Brown Bag" on Blogger until the end of 2020, before shifting that across to Wix. The postings on that are reasonably straightforward, so I'm hoping I'll be able to struggle through until Fantorical is fully ensconced on Wix. The thought of moving two sites over to Wix simultaneously was too much for me to contemplate...

Friday, 18 September 2020

"We Interrupt This Transmission..."

"...For an important announcement."
Sadly, Blogger has decided to withdraw the Legacy Button on its platform and as a result I don't plan on using it to produce many more posts for the foreseeable future. I simply cannot stand the new version as it takes me at least four times as long to do anything, and then it still seemingly corrupts fonts and re-formats my postings for no obvious reason.

Indeed, having looked at a few of my older posts, the new Blogger seems to have altered them too, and the thought of going through my backlog of over a thousand posts to see what its altered isn't something I'm willing to do.

I will try and persevere with the new format but certainly won't be posting three times a week anymore - unless the Legacy Button makes a most welcome return. I'll also be exploring other platforms like Wordpress and Facebook as an alternative.

Thanks for visiting and I hope to still comment on people's blogs. But frankly this has really sucked the enthusiasm out of the hobby for me... 

UPDATE: I'm uploading/re-editing my 2020 posts on "Wix" to see how well it works. Please drop by to see how its going at:

Monday, 14 September 2020

"Mudmen Are Formed In Pools Of Mud..."

"...Where enchanted rivers collect and evaporate and concentrate the dweomer."
These ten 15mm scale metal miniatures of some Lesser Earth Elementals are produced by “Alternative Armies” and can be bought either separately as blister HOT88 Lesser Elementals or as part of the company's pre-made twenty-four point strong HOTT1017 Elemental Army pack. The diminutive sculpts count as a Horde for "Hordes Of The Things", with five figures sitting quite snuggly upon a 40mm x 30mm base.

To begin with, each model was super-glued upon a wooden baton to help my brush-tip better reach all their details, and were primed in two coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna. The Mudmen were then washed in "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade, before being dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna.
"Because they are creatures of magic, mudmen are sometimes called dweomerlings."
I did consider subsequently applying a lighter tone to the diminutive figures so as to highlight each sculpt's smooth details a little bit more, perhaps by giving them all a fleeting touch of "Vallejo" Heavy Brown. But I soon realised that I had a bigger problem to solve first because the Strong Tone Quickshade seemed to have acted like paint stripper on all the Lesser Elementals and disconcertingly disintegrated their base layers down to the bare metal.

As a result I had to reapply two more coats of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna to all of the miniatures and reapply the "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade once again. This time whatever chemical reaction had occurred before failed to materialise, so I swiftly gave them a (second) dry-brush of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna and thought it best to leave the brutes well enough alone...
"The Power Of Kroll" WIPs - A Swampie Warrior, Rohm-Dutt and Ranquin
I therefore simply 'snapped' all of the Mudmen off of their painting sticks, and super-glued them onto some pre-cut plastic bases I bought off "eBay". Admittedly, "Alternative Armies" do supply the necessary bases for the figures as part of their HOTT Army packs. However, the resin stands are a bit chunky for my liking, and I was keen to maintain the aesthetic established by my previously painted "De Bellis Antiquitatis" forces.

Finally, having recently watched several viewings of the 1978 "Doctor Who" adventure "The Power Of Kroll", I have assembled and based my collection of Swampie Warriors by "Black Tree Design". This is by far my favourite of the "Key To Time" stories, so I was rather pleased to discover I also own figures of the Swampie Leader, Ranquin, and the traitorous gun-runner Rohm-Dutt too.

Friday, 11 September 2020

"Water Elementals Are Elemental Creatures..."

"...Made of water and various other liquids."
These six 15mm scale metal miniatures of some Lesser Water Elementals are produced by “Alternative Armies” and can be bought either separately as blister HOT88 Lesser Elementals or as part of the company's pre-made twenty-four point strong HOTT1017 Elemental Army pack. The diminutive sculpts count as a Warband for "Hordes Of The Things", with three figures sitting quite tightly upon a 40mm x 20mm base.

Initially, each model was super-glued upon a wooden baton to help my brush-tip better reach all their details, and were primed in "Vallejo" Heavy Blue. The Water Elementals were then drenched in "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade, before being dry-brushed with (more) "Vallejo" Heavy Blue. 
"Its torso trails off into a vestigial whirlpool."
Next I took an old brush and lightly highlighted all the creatures' waves with some "Vallejo" White, making sure to apply the paint far heavier towards the crest of the waves. As a final touch, I went back to each figure's eyes and mouth, and applied some additional "Citadel" Drakenhof Nightshade to these areas.

All of the miniatures were then 'snapped' off of their sticks, and super-glued onto some pre-cut plastic bases I bought off "eBay" many many moons ago. To their credit, "Alternative Armies" do supply the necessary bases for the figures as part of their HOTT Army packs. However, the resin stands are a bit chunky, and I was keen to maintain the aesthetic established by my previously painted "De Bellis Antiquitatis" forces.
"The area around the aiming point is plastered with heavy shells."
Having finished the first of my entries for my HOTT'ember Challenge with Roger "Dick Garrison" of "Rantings From Under The Wargaming Table" fame, I have also completed painting one of the resin craters sold by "Warlord Games" to use as an Artillery Barrage marker for "Konflikt '47". The kit actually comes with a number of "craters of different shapes and sizes depicting pits in the ground where a bomb, shell, or a military mine has exploded", but even its smallest offering was somewhat larger than I would have liked.

I had hoped to contain my marker to a 25mm circular base. However, in the end I had to use a "Citadel" 50mm base instead. The crater itself is excellent though, and was painted using my 'tried and tested' basing palette of "Citadel" Doombull Brown, Rakarth Flesh highlights and Agrax Earthshade wash...

Wednesday, 9 September 2020

"They're All Tame Until They Take A Chunk Out Of You."

"Well, you know what they say. Human see, human do."
This 28mm scale white metal model of a 'savage Simian Minion straight from the lab' is produced by “Crooked Dice Game Design Studio” and can be bought either separately or as part of their Simian Minions four-figure collection. The figure is designed to be used with the company's "7TV" United Radionics Programme Guide, but I intend to field it as one of several gorilla guards for my ongoing project based upon Franklin J. Schaffner's 1968 science fiction film "Planet Of The Apes".

The miniature was initially primed with two coats of "Citadel" Abaddon Black, before being enthusiastically dry-brushed in Vallejo" Heavy Charcoal. It was then drenched in "Citadel" Nuln Oil, before having its trousers and sleeves pigmented using a combination of "Vallejo" Heavy Violet and "Citadel" Druchii Violet.
"Mounted Simian" WIPs - The two cavalry models have been assembled, primed and dry-brushed
The Ape with Baton's face, ammunition belt, rifle and strap were treated to a layer of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna", whilst the soldier's wooden stick was painted using some Charred Brown. All of these areas were later shaded using "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade. Finally, I 'picked out' the metallic parts of the gorilla's firearm with a little "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil.

With my 'test piece' for my Simian Minion horde completed, I've spent a little time assembling, basing and priming four Mounted Simians. I'm not really sure whether I'll manage to get these cavalry models completed within the time-frame of my twenty-four hour 'Paint An Entire Project" Challenge. But they certainly have proved a welcome diversion after painting so many infantry figures over the past few weeks.
"Alternative Armies" WIPs - A giant Earth Elemental, a giant Fire Elemental and a Human Wizard
In addition, I have spent some time slowly progressing the largest (base-size wise at least) of the units for my "Hordes Of The Things" Elemental Army. The giant Earth Elemental by "Alternative Armies" has actually taken quite a toll upon my enthusiasm for the HOTT'ember Challenge, as its wash of "The Army Painter" Strong Tone Quickshade has repeatedly stripped away its double undercoat of "Vallejo" Heavy Sienna back down to the bare metal underneath. Indeed, this particular amalgamation has resulted in a distressingly similar result on my ten lesser Earth Elementals as well...

Fortunately, I've had far more success 'testing out' my use of "Vallejo" Sun Yellow for the first time on my giant Fire Elemental. This particular Game Color gives a much brighter finish than my ever-trusty "Vallejo" Heavy Ochre, and should therefore hopefully prove a very visible contrast to the murky brown 'mud-men' on the tabletop.

Sunday, 6 September 2020

"Each Section Was Led By A Corporal..."

rbons, and most of th
"...Armed with a Sten submachine gun."
This 28mm metal model is from the "West Wind Productions" "Secrets Of The Third Reich" blister B-SOTR04 Sten-B. However, rather than use the miniature for Andy Cooper's "Weird WWII game", this British soldier will actually form part of a (Regular) Infantry Section for "Konflikt '47" by "Warlord Games". Indeed, the figure will actually represent the section's "high quality" NCO, armed with a trusty submachine-gun.

The Tommy was initially primed using "Citadel" Doombull Brown and washed with an old pot of "Citadel" Devlan Mud. Once dry the infantryman's weapon, boots and large ammunition pouch were pigmented in "Citadel" Abaddon Black, whilst his bullet proof vest was painted using some Calthan Brown. In addition, I 'picked out' the infantryman's gas mask filter with a dab of "Citadel" Knarloc Green too.
Space Commander Travis wonders what could possibly lurk behind the closed hatchway
Both of these areas were darkened using (more) "Citadel" Devlan Mud. Finally, I 'spotted' the Corporal's eye-goggles with a combination of "Citadel" Ironbreaker and Nuln Oil, before applying some "Vallejo" Heavy Skintone and "Citadel" Reikland Fleshshade" to the soldier's hands, ears and neck.

With my 500-point strong Great Britain And The Commonwealth army almost completed, I managed to make another visit to the LVL Up Gaming Store in Bournemouth so as to play-test some cooperative rules for my homemade brew entitled "M.I.S.S." On this occasion I brought along some figures taken from my old collection of science fiction miniatures by "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio", and some cardboard sections from the first edition of the Alien Versus Predator Board Game by "Prodos Games".
Supreme Commander Servalan sacrifices her Federation Troopers to the hungry space mutants
The scenarios we played involved Supreme Commander Servalan and Space Commander Travis leading a boarding party of troopers on board a Terran Federation Science Station which had suddenly ceased communicating with Star One. Needless to say, this was due to an alien viral infection getting out of control and turning the laboratory workers into nightmarish blobs of disease-ridden death.

We managed to get in five games during the afternoon, four of which we won, and one of which turned into a total bloodbath, as the mutated scientists devoured everyone in sight, including the noteworthy Section Leader Klegg; who up until this point had somehow managed to survive every exploration of the space station. Hopefully, we'll get some more games in next month, as I hope to add the Liberator's crew, some event cards and additional scenarios to the "Blake's Seven" proceedings...

Wednesday, 2 September 2020

(Lead) Mountain Musings - "Elemental Army" HOTT'ember 2020

"Alternative Armies" WIPs - A giant Earth Elemental, a giant Fire Elemental and a Human Wizard
This month's randomly themed attempt to try and reduce my overwhelming collection of metal, plastic and resin miniatures has been rather waylaid by Roger 'Dick Garrison' Webb's agreement for us to both paint up a twenty four point "Hordes Of The Things" (HOTT) army over the next few weeks. Roger will be documenting his progress on a Conan the Barbarian force using 15mm "Copplestone Castings" over on his excellent blog, "Rantings From Under The Wargaming Table", whilst I'll be working on an Elemental Army by "Alternative Armies".

My particular HOTT Army is readily available from the Scottish-based wargaming company as a single pack containing an entire Magical army, and comprises of a multitude of figures taken from their HOTT and Tabletop TTF miniatures 15mm metal ranges. It consists of:

Magician General (Human Elementalist) @4AP - Human Wizard
Behemoth (Giant Elemental) @4AP - Fire Elemental
Behemoth (Giant Elemental) @4AP - Earth Elemental
2 x Warband (Lesser Elementals) @2AP - totaling six Water Elementals
2 x Shooters (Lesser Elementals) @2AP - totaling six Fire Elementals
2 x Hordes (Lesser Elementals) @1AP - totaling ten Earth Elementals
2 x Lurkers (Lesser Elementals) @1AP - totaling four Air Elementals
"Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" WIPs - These Simian Minions are slowly having their base layers applied
I have always wanted to play HOTT and as a result own a couple of armies for the fantasy miniature wargame published by the Wargames Research Group. However, up until my whimsical challenge to Roger, I've never managed to find the inspiration to actually knuckle down and paint one of them. Unsurprisingly, this isn't the case any longer, so I've already started work on many of the Elementals, as well as the force's leader, a little known human wizard called Gandalf the Grey...
August 2020 - Strong month for the likes of "Otherworld Miniatures" and "Precinct Omega"
Painting wise, the past four weeks saw me enjoy my second most productive August since this blog started, with my "Planet Of The Apes" project using "Crooked Dice Game Design Studio" miniatures really helping me keep my enthusiasm high for the entire period. I've actually still got a few more of these twenty-four hour 'Paint An Entire Project" Challenge hobby sessions left to complete, so realistically expect to finish even more Simian Minions over the next few weeks.

In addition, I managed to clear through all of my Oozes, Slimes and Puddings by "Otherworld Miniatures", and diminutive resin "Ballmonsters!" by "Precinct Omega". The vast majority of these characterful sculpts were admittedly rather straightforward, but they all helped me maintain a steady stream of tabletop ready models every couple of days...