Ever since I published my last Battle Companies battle report, found HERE, I received a few inquiries on the dice tray I use in there, and where I got it from.
The answer is actually way more simple, it's a 30 seconds do it yourself creation.
If you have the Battle of Pelennor Fields starter box (aka, the 6th edition starter), you have gotten that double sided ruler and Middle-Earth map insert. I took of the measuring part, and that is the artwork in the tray itself.
The other part of the tray is a cheap picture frame (which I bought at a dutch storechain called HEMA past september), and removed the "stand up" part on the back for if you want to put the frame upright on a cabinet.
The art piece was then inserted into the frame (put perhaps a white paper behind it, the frames paper edge that comes with it left a small half centimeter gap at the side) and closing it up, the dice tray was finished, voila.
Keep in mind, due to the smooth surface of the frame, dice with straight corners (like the GW Middle-Earth ones) seem to slide instead of roll on it, which doesn't happen when one rolls d6 with the more rounded off corners.
What a good week, even though the mailman isn`t passing by...
But that doesn`t mean we are completely lying still overhere...
I finished printing my first building from the Dark Realms Patreon I support, the Council Circle where Elrond formed the Fellowship to go out and destroy the One Ring. Though I`ve kinda gotten to nicknaming it "The Covid-19 project", by the time life resumes as normal I want to have this all painted up and ready for the table. And it is rather big, being the smallest of the 4 sets released in february, it never the less is almost 30cm in diametre.
Talking the Patreon, the third building for The Shirelands was released this week, and that was no less then The Green Dragon Inn itself, awesome looking model!
Talking 3d printing, I began printing all sorts of bases, to base some of my Lord of the Rings. These wood ones for example will be serving for the Corsairs force when I get round to painting them.
These is a set of the various sizes of cobblestones ones.
These "muddy beach" ones look very suited for my rank and file Idoneth when I come round to painting them in the future, perhaps starting with the WarCry needed ones.
For the Dwarfs, bases where printed. I plan to use these on the "Champions of Erebor" to make that little force look just a that more regal.
Some other sets I printed samples from (aka, one of each size):
And finally these Rocky Sands, which I really like a lot and I`ll probably be printing to field, to begin with, an Easterling Battle Company on, and perhaps even a whole army. I just will need to see to rescale the 50mm one to 40mm for the cavalry.
So yups, a good week for sure, even without anything arriving by post so far...
So slowly but surely we are settling in the post-AHOC regime, and one plan I have for the remainder of the year is by working with "themes" for every month. Starting as soon as the coming week, as in April I will be focussing on mecha models in all sizes, though the odd distraction will of course be included.
At least one fun thing comes from this isolated lifestyle, in that I finally found the time, and more importantly the effort, of taping the small weekly WiP clips again.
But for now, I am going to be painting first and foremost Tau for 40k and Gundam for FWC the coming weeks, and see how much I can get done over the period of corona ridden downtime.
With the AHPC behind us, and me managing to not only grab XXth place (out of 68 participants), I also managed to paint a hefty XXX models this edition.
And as a result, some of the squares on the bingo have been scratched away.
The first one to be completed was "Paint all of the models in a Faction starter box", as I entered the full contents of this set into the challenge, because I needed them for a tournament:
An almost auto-score this year, especially with all the epic stuff and BKC models, was "Paint a vehicle", and it was these guys that made me scratch it out:
"Finish painting a model that's been in your to do pile for over a year" must have been done a dozen times, because that is generally what the whole AHPC is about and what keeps motivating me to participate. So for the good of the chart, let's take Queen Maud, the 2016 Crisis figure I've been wanting to paint up since the show, in order to include her on the The vault tab above.
And I also grabbed "Paint a model for an army that you don't already collect and play", as I began building a force for Frostgrave... with the added angle of printing my whole band by myself.
"Paint a Monster" was completed in sixfold, with those stone golems for my Infernal Dwarf army.
"Repaint a Pre-Painted Miniature" happened with the gashapon models in this 6mm force, who come from UFO toy catchers in softplatic.
"Build and Paint a Scenery kit" was completed with this Tattooine house, literally build as layer upon layer of plastic was printed together hehehe.
"Sculpt something on a Model" was achieved as my printed Baby Yoda his ears wouldn`t come out well due to him being only 17mm tall, so I sculpted on new ones using greenstuff.
"Make something for your hobby that's not for the battlefield"... okay, how about a complete hobby room then gnargnargnar...
So that is a nice start for sure on the challenge, and I hope to get some more done in the coming months, as I`ll be spending evenings at the desk accompanied by Lord Ipsqueek.
It is a thing. After every AHPC, I need about a week to get back to actually painting in a rhytm suited to social life requirements, instead of the "steal every second for brush strokes" speed of the past 3 months.
It is also a thing that if there is one thing I really don`t like in the hobby, it's preparing movement trays. It's boring, messy with all the flock going around, and gives in my opinion not much of a satisfication upon completion.
Not to mention the fact that painting and finishing those simple plastic plates takes as long as a piece of scatter terrain...
Okay, except perhaps lining up all the LOTR models of the past year that got painted up in the cabinet nice and tidy...
So I force myself to always do the movement tray thing the week after the AHPC, and go for the amount I have lying around at that time. The benefit though is they are all printed, this batch by my "pre Ender 3" buddy to go to for prints, but he gave me the files as well that I had him make, and now I can print up my own in between... and store in a box until probably next year end of march.
To that end, this year I tackled 48 of the trays, 18 for infantry and 30 for cavalry for should I really actually start rebuilding my dozens upon dozens of Rohirrim. They are all stripped, they are all ready... but I keep getting distracted.
But heck, at least I now already have some flocked stuff ready to mount them on... and found a use for that Vallejo bottle of Mutation Green that stood here untouched for 3-4 years now...
I admit, I`m in love with my Ender-3. That little machine must have been one of the, if not the, best christmas gifts ever.
I mean seriously, why should I ever shelf out money on terrain ever again, as I can print it for a fraction of the cost?
And it was by backing the Dark Realms patreon, with all his LOTR suited terrain, that I bit the bullet for good.
Yes, even MDF.
Bear with me as such, as I`ll have a look at some comments I often read or hear in conversations.
1. It takes a long time.
Yeap, those large houses take a while to print. An average three storey house might take, especially if you go for the hyper detailed, with interiors, out there, as much as a week that the machine is running. But, if you order it online, it takes about the same time to arrive by mail.
2. But what if the print goes wrong a few days in.
It happens, nothing you can do about it. Just like when a parcel gets lost in the mail...
3. But those filament rolls and the machine aren`t cheap!
Are you kidding me? I pay, for good quality filament, rolls of 1 kg the sum of 19.95 euro. And I can, if I want, get about 3 - 4 large buildings out of that with the Ender - 3. Name me one company where you can buy three LARGE (I`m talking at least 20cm by 20cm footprint here) buildings for 20 euro, and which have a good quality.
4. Is it hard?
Well, if I can do it, anyone can. At first I used the basic settings the machine comes with, but soon I found more specified profiles for both figures and for terrain (which can be less detailed in layer settings) on YouTube, and copied those. They work great.
The added benefit is that you can "try out" stuff with small, free prints from sites like Thingiverse. I printed a ton of scatter terrain before moving to bigger buildings.
5. But don`t the layers show?
Yes they do. But PLA is rather paint absorbing, and after the primer paint it is already a whole lot less. And it also adds greatly to drybrushing for the models, with the added texture.
6. What about miniatures?
Okay, here I agree with others, if you want to print a full wargame army to high quality, you might be better off with a resin printer instead for the smoother details then a PLA printer. I printed some infantry, and they are okay if not the most fantastic, but that is great for the skeleton hordes or the likes, or bigger beasts. But for characters and such, indeed a resin one might be better...
So yes, for me the Ender-3 was a god gift, the only problem one might really encounter is shelf space, as it is VERY addictive to paint everything you see and like. So I`m going to slowly start focussing on the buildings suited for Middle-Earth gaming actually.
And so the 10th challenge came to an end, and in a brand new format of a treasure map game.
And I must say, I liked that system a lot!
The benefit I see to it, as a participant, is that you can now plot a course to get your bonus points collected, instead of with bi-weekly deadlines whom tended to steal away your valuable painting time during the course of the challenge, and leave other entries half finished.
Even with Baby Thorin deciding that my Hobbit Hole and the constant rambling of the Ender 3 is the best place to doze off...
Now, I must admit I got into a time crunch as well this year even with all the meticulious planning in the beginning, babies seem to do that to you, so a couple of entries where shortened in from full regiments (the Chaos Dwarves, the 6mm musketeers, ...) to smaller scale entries, and some never got out of the starting blocks ( a full 6mm army for the italians in Russia for example, or a Blood Bowl team).
On the other hand, I did round out two full forces in one go, with my Italian Cruel Seas fleet (which was my biggest entry points wise) and a 6mm Belgian army.
But those where entries from in the beginning, and like in my previous participations, come half of january my speed tended to drop due to a variety of reasons. I am going to have to take this into account next edition for sure...
But the numbers for this year!
In the end, I amassad a nice 1127 points, which is 127 above my set goal of 1k, and that target was already higher the,n the previous two years (where I had noted down 750 as a goal). While I didn't score a personal best of over 1500 pts like in the first year, the only real time pressure I got was the Snow Lord finale. I should have done like others, and visit it asap, then go on the scenic route. In the end, I made this map of my "by location" entries, and ended up with those included with a nice 27 entries total, averaging about two per week. Not bad at all...
Now, I managed to visit quite a few of the locations, and had the challenge gone on for 1 more week, the Awdry's Atoll would have been feasible as well. But heck, with 11 locations visited, that wasn't to shabby for my taste and time.
The challenge reduced the lead mountain in the end by 203 figures, and that is after all everything it is about: getting stuff done (okay, granted, stuff was added for the challenge, and the things never began will go in the closet until next year probably hehehe), so it was another great heap of fun. It's just a pity I can't get the time of commenting on a lot of entries, because while I did view a lot of them while at work, I just forgot to revisit them in the evenings for some well meant compliments, so by this route, congratulations all to making it a visually very lovely challenge once more.
One thing that has been constant in my AHPC this year, is that while I was painting a variety of figures and welcoming the baby, my Ender-3 kept churning on steadily. In a "learning curve" manner, this has been almost all terrain, small and middle sized items found on Thingiverse, aka scatter terrain.
While I am starting to feel confident in the meantime to tackle bigger projects, the heap of small sized items piled up and now I`m slowly in the process of painting them all up for use on the gaming tables.
As such, this, what will be my final entry in this year's challenge, I have a heap of scatter terrain, in all manners of sizes and ranges, to present.
The first batch as such is all based around "wood" as a theme, with barrels, some treetrunks, a comfy bench and an archery target.
Of course, every table can use some rockwork to litter around the table. Small rocks, a stalagmite throne and a column of madness, together with some "blocked hex" tiles for Warhammer Underworlds.
Rounding out all of this, the first of a slightly larger terrain piece, in the form of this Tattooine house for Star Wars Legion.
Pointswise, I have no idea, I would estimate around 2 cubes worth of things, as the house itself nearly fills one, and then there is all the rest. So appologies to the minion on duty for the mathematical work...
And so ends my adventure on Challenge Island this year. Personally, I found the mapgame far more fun then the bonus round system, as one could hold to a "planning" without skipping out on bonusses when RL threw one at you. Thanks to Curt and the minions for once again running the challenge, and I look forward to the next edition!