I haven't had a lot of hobby time the past two weeks, thanks to a hectic time at work - the usual summer issue of too many people being away on vacation at once. leaving those who remain to pick up the slack. My wife is in a similar spot, so we've both been working late, getting home late, and usually we're both too worn out to do anything more strenuous than eat dinner and watch a few episodes of Doctor Who on Netflix before retiring...
In spite of all that, I did finally manage to paint up the white ape I mentioned a few posts back, a bronze casting of an original sculpt by my brother Tom. I went relentlessly old-school with the paint job, relying on a black undercoat and a lot of drybrushing, otherwise he might still be languishing in the pile of primed-but-not-painted models. He was primed with black gesso, basecoated with Reaper armor grey, and drybrushed with Coat d'Arms light grey and white. I picked out the eyes in yellow, and the mouth in pink for the tongue and gums and ivory for the teeth, washed with Devlan Mud, gave him another round of drybrushing, matte varnished and finally gloss varnished the eyes and mouth. The base was finished with the usual sand and PVA, painted and drybrushed, then given patches of static grass and a couple tufts.
So a pretty simple job, but it works well enough I think. Here he is with a Ral Partha 25mm figure and a Reaper 28mm sorceress for scale. He's not large enough to be an ERB white ape in either scale, but he looks suitably threatening next to the Ral Partha figure, and he'd be perfect for 15mm Barsoom games. The size issue is my fault; Tom asked me what size, and I told him something about 28 to 30mm being the standard these days, without elaborating that it's the standard for man-sized figures, and therefore the white ape should be a fair bit bigger... Ah well, I still like the sculpt, and I think he painted up well enough. And maybe seeing the painted model will convince Tom to do a few more of these guys.
Hobby Expenses... And a Personal Challenge
For the most part, painting miniature figures is a fairly inexpensive hobby. Once we have our initial set of paints and tools, it amounts to little more than replacement paint, blades, brushes and the like. I probably spend less than $75 a year on supplies, and with the huge backlog of unpainted figures I have from childhood, supplemented by a few eBay bulk lots and the occasional new set of figures (Usually because they're too cheap to pass up in my case), I usually don't spend much money on the hobby, and almost never in a big lump sum.
Well, that all changed yesterday - Reaper's Bones Kickstarter ended at 6pm, and when the dust cleared I suddenly realized that in the excitement my pledge had made it all the way up to $500. Now, that $500 is going to eventually result in a package of around 250 figures arriving at my door, plus several figure cases (I'm still not completely decided on what to pick for my last $75), so it's undoubtedly a good deal.
But I'm still a little bit in shock. That's by far the most I've ever spent at once on miniatures, and I won't even be seeing the vast majority of them until March of next year. So, I've now committed to two things of my own. Number One, a complete and total moratorium on any hobby spending for the rest of the year, with the sole exception of things like glue, paint, and the like, as I'll need those for Number Two: I'm pledging to make a serious dent in the unpainted lead pile before the Reaper loot arrives in March. I have six months to paint and base at least half of the unpainted figures in the house to make some room for the new arrivals.
I don't have all the details worked out yet, as I just decided to do it this morning, but I'll be going through the lead pile and sorting out groups of figures, goals and deadlines very soon. I'll be posting everything here, as incentive to keep at it and as a record of what I've completed. There will be all sorts of strange old models, and some new ones, being painted over the next half a year.
Wish me luck... It's going to be an interesting six months!