“Schools Out”

I am a massive “Alice Cooper” fan and I’ve seen him in concert numerous times (if you ever get the chance do go see him, he is a fantastic showman, BTW) but I hear you ask where exactly are you going with this? well as with most musical acts these days he plays his concert and at the end scoots off stage with his band in tow, but you know he is going to come back to play his encore as he hasn’t sung “Schools Out” yet, it’s only after this that the concert is really at an end.

Well this is my “Schools Out”.

I’d like to begin by thanking all of you who have shown support for me (misplaced as you will soon discover) and for all the calls for me to continue with my blog. In a way all this support I have received would make it harder for me to reverse my decision, as I feel to do so would smack of gross cynicism on my part, the old “support this shop or lose it” attitude. This was never meant as a gimmick to drum up more followers or comments, but was a genuine feeling of need to bring this stage of my life to a natural end. I honestly just thought the few usual suspects (Simon, Dave, Bryan, Mark, IRO etc…), would see it and after a few “sorry to see you go” comments I would shuffle off into the wastelands, and everyone would carry on as before, soon to be forgotten.

Now there has been some vitriol aimed at Jez (Carrion Crow), as being the reason for my decision to quit blogging, well first off the opinions he stated in his post were not even his, but those of other bloggers that he felt he needed to bring to the attention of his followers. On top of which having now re-read Jez’s original post again…

https://carrioncrowsbuffet.wordpress.com/2018/06/15/one-voice-singing-in-the-darkness/

(Something I should have done before my last posting!) it is all very tame and reasonable, the very fact that many of his posts are thought provoking is one of the things I most enjoy about his blog, and his opinions are always valid, he should never change that! Yet it would seem like a festering sore I have carried this idea around with me until it has grown out of all proportion, and all the inflammatory language I used is all mine and should not reflect upon Jez in any way….

“A while ago I came across a post on a fellow bloggers site informing the world of a cancer that was driving away real wargamers from the internet…”posers” who though claiming to be gamers were in fact nothing but shameless self-promoters, who like some sixteen year old girl posting endless “selfies” of themselves, merely used their blogs to showcase their latest figures and bask in the praise of other bloggers rather than posting “Batreps” of the games that they played.”

This is all me, if anyone has been “trolling” me it is myself, so please point all flaming torches and pitchforks in my direction. This brings me to the conclusion that a severe case of self-disappointment is what has attributed to me reaching this point, I have always referred to myself as a “gamer” but the brutal truth is I am not, I wish I were, but truth be told I’m just not that into actually playing “wargames” or any games really, I’ve never been a child of the computer game generation even though I had an Atari 2600 back in the day, but after only about eight months sold it on to the some of my parent’s friends for their grandchildren. I’ve never really played a computer game since, no matter how many times I’ve been told by friends “Oh you should play this, it’s right up you alley!”. I do love the idea of a beautifully set up table with lots of exquisite scenery and exciting adventures concerning heroes and armored warriors rushing into simulated battle, but the reality of actually rolling the dice and moving the figures about just leaves me somewhat cold (sorry). I do still play the occasional game with my sons (X wing, Zombiecide etc…) but this is more out loyalty and because it’s my kids, rather than the thrill of the game itself. A bit like the model railway I have always dreamed of building, though the idea of playing with the trains again seems like a bit of a waste of time.

But this is not the only reason I have decided to call it a day (it is a small part of it, but there are other considerations too). I’m just not enjoying it as much as I used too (or should), and I do want to try some different things in the very limited bits of spare time I seem to get these days. Much as I enjoy blogging it does have a bit of a monopolising effect on your time to get stuff done so as not to let down your readers, something Simon seems to be able to do with consummate ease turning out two or even three excellent well written and entertaining post a week! Whereas I always seemed to be struggling to hit my personally imposed weekend deadline. Now I know this is daft and I should post when I want, but that’s just how I am.

I started this blog with the aim of making me paint some of my pile of unpainted figures and in this respect I have done so (not all of them but as we all know when you’ve painted all your figures you die!). So I would like to consider my time blogging as well spent on the whole.

However since Christmas though I have been secretly hoping that something would rekindle my interest and enthusiasm on one of the blogs or the TMP, and kick-start me off painting again, nothing sadly has re-lit the spark, even though there has been lots of gorgeous stuff on show. I will of course still be around the blogs, commenting, I’m still interested in what you all get up to, so you haven’t got rid of me completely, I have made too many good friends here for that.

As for my sewing, some of you seem to have the idea that I plan on creating a new wardrobe for my “Action man” collection, no, no no!, I will not be doing this, likewise I WILL NOT be taking up cosplay, though I have no problem with others doing this, I, as a sad overweight fifty year old man have no desire for people to see me dressed as…well just about anything really, I’d much rather blend into the background at a comic con, happily buying my old comics. So far I have made three cases for my glasses, and a half finished cover for the back of my computer chair (the cats have scratched the heck out of the original!). Next up we plan on making some new curtains for the little bedroom, so hardly riveting blog-post content there!

Though at present I can’t see me coming back into the hobby any time soon, never say never. So….

“Schools out, thank you and goodnight” and he leaves the stage.

No amount of chanting “Alice” is going to bring him back, the house lights come on…

It’s time to go home.

Cheers Roger.

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

“And thanks for all the fish”

I thought I’d better share with you out there in the “Bloggo’sphere” why I’ve been somewhat AWOL for the last few months and to lay to rest the kind concerns of a couple of you who have E-mailed me over my absence. I can begin by assuring you all that reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated! (Who said shame!!?) Back at the start of the year I hit a bit of a milestone birthday, rather like Marc Bolan and a certain tree! And this has set me to thinking about life and the hobby that has taken up so much of my time over the last thirty (and a bit) years, and what else I’d like to try before my final slow decent into the grave.

A while ago I came across a post on a fellow bloggers site informing the world of a cancer that was driving away real wargamers from the internet…”posers” who though claiming to be gamers were in fact nothing but shameless self-promoters, who like some sixteen year old girl posting endless “selfies” of themselves, merely used their blogs to showcase their latest figures and bask in the praise of other bloggers rather than posting “Batreps” of the games that they played.

At the time this really hurt me as I was one of these “non-gaming” fakes that apparently caused so much upset to the “true believers”, but over time I have come to the realization that they were in fact right and that whatever it is I do, it is not strictly “wargaming” as there is very little “war” and not a lot of “gaming”, so technically I shouldn’t be inflicting my nonsense onto the proud traditionalists like your good selves. This is not an attack on the original poster, in fact in a way I’d like to thank him for giving me this reality check in as much as that rather than wasting my time on figures that will never see a battlefield, I should in fact be diverting my energy into some more useful hobby.

This does however mean that I will sadly have to let a couple of you down when it comes to promised future commitments, especially Simon and Jez, I really am sorry to let you chaps down like this, but the truth of the matter is I’ve really just fallen out of love with the hobby at the moment, whether I’ll go back to it I really don’t know. So I thought I’d take some time out to access where I stand and Simon’s always excellent “Top ten” post seems the perfect finale’ to go out on. But what I hear you say are you going to do to fill all of this new spare time?

Well one thing I have always wanted to be able to do is sew! My mother was always a wiz with the sewing machine turning out clothes both for me and for my Action Men (GI Joe for our American readers), including Wrestling costumes, Cowboy outfits, Roman Legionaries, and even a tiny Knitted “Starsky” cardigan (No really!). One of my biggest regrets is that I never said to her while she was alive “Teach me how to sew”, so in part inspired by my brother in-law who has the sewing bug in a gig way (I WILL NOT however be making a cosplay costume!!) that is one of the things I have been messing about with over the last few months, and no I’m not very good at it, but learning is part of the fun right.

Another thing I have been “ramping up” is my comic collecting, again in part due to the brother in-law attending several (quite a few actually) comic conventions and me being dragged along for the ride, I have been picking up the odd issue here and there, mostly seventies/eighties Sci/fi based stories, but the old collecting bug has begun to bite deep, and the thrill of the chase is quite enjoyable at present. I would also like to take up a sport of some kind, I’ve always fancied the idea of “Crown Green Bowls” (energetic I know!!), myself and a friend played a bit down at the local park a few times when I was a child, and I’ve often said I’d like to try it again, but I might wait till the weather is a bit warmer for this. I have also set up a new “blog” for my brother in-law to post all the stuff he has going on within “cosplay” adventures (I added a link to this at the bottom of the post*). But anyway there you go plenty of options on the table to keep me going for a while.

So before I go off into the sunset, I just want to say that it has been a privilege blogging, talking and in some cases even meeting you all, and I wish you all the very best with your gaming (or indeed whatever you do), I shall still be about occasionally posting comments on your excellent blogs (I’m not quite ready to go totally cold turkey just yet). I’d like to finish by pointing you all over to the right where if you scroll down a bit you will come across my “blogroll” please, PLEASE! do work your way through all of the blogs listed there, everyone is a feast of content and have the writers own unique spin on your wonderful hobby, all are deserving of your “followage” (not a word but you know what I mean).

Cheers Roger.

Posted in Uncategorized | 22 Comments

“Blax the Kleric’s, top ten of 2018”

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Dick Garrison first permitted me momentary access to his wonderful hobby blog “Rantings From Under The Wargames Table”, and I extended a similar invitation to him with my own website “Fantorical”. During that time Roger has both sculpted and painted some seriously awesome models, and once again his output during the past twelve months has been no less impressive. Indeed, I think his “Top Ten” for 2018 arguably contains some of his best work yet, and certainly gave me some headaches as I carefully traversed his “Into The Wasteland Project” and marvelled at the man’s annual additions to his ongoing “He-Man” project…

(10) “Colonel Bill’s Wargames Depot” “Belt Fed Gaming” – Morag, Una & Fiona Gaelic Witches (July 12th):

Gore fans amongst you will doubtless approve of this terrific trio being given a place within Roger’s Hall of Fame, as their pointed fangs and blood-stained lips clearly distinguish them as potential pin-ups within the world of the Undead. Lovely deathly-green skin tones, a possibly still beating heart in one hand, and even a bit of bare bosom shows just how very well Roger can paint the walking dead.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/07/12/the-saga-of-constanzi-katerina-elena/

 

(9) “Mantic Games” – Rordin (September 1st):

I was nowhere near as successful as Roger in his endeavour to paint his “Dungeon Saga” boxed set. However, when I do come to paint my own Dwarf hero, I will be repeatedly visiting his posting of Rordin to see just how it’s done. I am not a fan of the plastic used by “Mantic Games” for this figure, so know precisely how hard it can be to paint, so that makes this excellent tutorial in dwarf armour all the more impressive. Tremendous work.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/09/01/axe-hammer-bow-book-sagatember/

 

(8) “Statuesque Miniatures” – Dame to die for  (July 22nd):

Roger has painted a fair few damsels over the past twelve months, but none more caught my eye than his Jessica Scarlet. The shimmering red dress is absolutely top-notch stuff, and contrasts splendidly with her visible black stocking and long white gloves. The face is also tremendously well-painted, and completely avoids the oft-seen error of simply slapping some red lips on a figure in the mistaken belief that’ll suffice to represent femininity. A really beautiful miniature.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/07/22/the-d-a-and-the-dame/

 

(7) “Tin Man Miniatures” – Cave Girl and her pet T-Rex (April 20th):

There’s an awful lot to admire with these two miniatures. Be it the Raquel’s subtle skin tone and fur-skins, or the fantastic blending from green to yellow of Rex’s scaly hide, both models are extremely well painted. In particular, the fact that you can actually see the dinosaur’s claws, as opposed to having them half-submerged in grit and flock as with my own figures, shows the care which Roger took to make sure the models were appropriately based too.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/04/20/raquel-and-rex/

 

(6) Lancashire Games – Snakemen (28th May):

Admittedly, I had never seen these miniatures before Roger painted/posted about them, and as a result, I immediately fell for the scaly-skinned space aliens. Disappointingly, these days “Lancashire Games” seem far more interested in historical ranges, so I haven’t been able to source any for myself. However, I am able to visit Roger’s colourful chaps from time to time and dream…

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/05/28/of-swords-and-snakes-week-46/

 

(5) “Crooked Dice” – Temporal Travellers (May 17th):

As Roger is a fellow “Doctor Who” fan I have taken great delight in the past sending him the odd spare set of figures I’ve uncovered in my collection. One such bag was the now Out of Production Temporal Travellers by “Crooked Dice”. I was especially pleased to gift these to Roger as the group contained a smashing likeness of Sarah Jane Smith, as played by the much-missed Elizabeth Sladen. Roger’s subsequent paint-job on the Third/Fourth Doctor’s companion did not disappoint at all, and put my own efforts on the figure sadly to shame…

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/companion-piece/

 

(4) “Wizkids” Dungeons & Dragons – Firepelt Cougar – Cringer  (June 29th):

It is sometimes incredible the difference a simple paint-job can do to a pre-painted plastic miniature. Roger’s stunning transformation of a dark-furred “D&D” big cat into the impressively green companion of He-Man, Cringer, was outstanding. And whilst the figure is still available at a cost, I have yet to pull the trigger so as to replicate Roger’s palette swap for fear of my own skills falling far short of his brush-work. Just look at those strips and the face – spectacular stuff.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/its-not-easy-being-green-or-grey-for-that-matter/

 

(3) “Moonraker Miniatures” – Powered Armour Troopers (April 6th):

Personally I love a bit of rust on my models when I can get away with it, especially when it means I can apply my “Mig Productions” Extreme Rust Wash. Roger however, used no such trickery upon this pair of awesome robots and instead relied upon his skill with a paint-brush to ‘weather up’ these automatons amazingly. They really are stunningly painted, and look awesome when photographed amidst some of Roger’s excellent-looking “Into The Wasteland Project” terrain.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/04/06/banged-up-bots/

 

(2) “Roger Webb” – Merman (June 29th):

I am a sucker for Merman. I even own a “Funko Pop!” figure of Skeletor’s ineffective minion. So when I saw Roger was sculpting one from essentially scratch, I was all eyes. The final result did not disappoint in any way shape or form, and was in many ways Rogers “Master(piece) Of The Universe”. Mind-bogglingly good green-stuff work and an excellent paint-job make Merman a real eye-catcher, and debatably any other year, this would have easily been my favourite model.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/its-not-easy-being-green-or-grey-for-that-matter/

 

(1) “Moonraker Miniatures” – The Professor  (March 30th):

One of Roger’s first postings of 2018, my favourite model of the year has to be Roger’s wonderful reimagining of “Doctor Who” for his “Into The Wasteland Project”. Not only is the figure passionately pigmented, but I absolutely adored Edmond Atkinson’s fictional background and the gas-mask wearing explorer’s kit-bashed time-travelling machine. Marvellous stuff, absolutely marvellous.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2018/03/30/the-professor/

 

As ever, there are many other models which Roger has painted to perfection which still haven’t made this list. So before I retire once again to my own blog, I would like to highlight the entirety of Roger’s stunning-looking “Into The Wasteland Project”, his masterful work on the contents of the “Dungeon Saga” Boxed Set, and wish you all a Happy New Year…

Simon.

(As usual I’ll just stick my “oar in” at the end to say a massive thank you to Simon, for not just writing one but TWO! Top Tens this year, and to thank you lot out there in the “cyberverse” for reading this high prose’, and my usual nonsense, you really do keep me honest, productive, and make this such a joy to do. All the very best too you all for the new year.

Oh and be sure to check out my “Top Ten” of Simons output for the year at…

https://fantorical.blogspot.com/2018/12/top-ten-miniatures-of-2018-rantings.html

Thank you, cheers Roger.)

Posted in 28mm fantasy, 28mm Pulp, 28mm sci-fi, Dr Who, fantasy, Foprgotten Heroes, Into the Wasteland, Masters of the Universe, Saga'tember, sci-fi, Top Ten's | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

“Blax the Kleric’s, top ten of 2017”

Any long-suffering fans of “Rantings From Under The Wargames Table” who were expecting to take away some sort of festive cheer from this posting will sadly be disheartened to discover that once again I have momentarily deposed Dick Garrison so as to post my own Top Ten favourite miniatures which he has painted during 2017. On the one hand this has proved somewhat easier than usual as Roger wasn’t as proficient in his production as he has been in past years, but on the other much more difficult as the man has certainly painted some extraordinarily nice models during this time too. Indeed, during this period Roger has both seemingly completed his “Very British Civil War” collection by “Irregular Miniatures” and, yet again, provided an in-depth look at his awesome sculpting abilities with two more welcome additions to his ongoing “He-Man” project…

(10) “Hasslefree Miniatures” – Human Eve – Adventurer Lara Croft Style (Jan)

I’m guessing quite a few wargamers at least own a sculpt of Lara Croft, so it was hard not to see why, Roger’s take on the definitive “Tomb Raider” proved so popular on his blog. However, what was particularly impressive with this figure was his sheer perseverance to ‘keep going’ when the miniature’s fragilely-positioned arms “kept snapping off” whilst he was painting her.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/how-far-to-hitchin-week-34/

(9) “Games Workshop” – Ork Stormboyz (Jan)

I’ve always had a soft spot for Stormboyz, ever since I first discovered “Games Workshop” and the world of “Warhammer 40K”, so was always going to try and squeeze in some of these old OOP metal sculpts into any Top Ten if I could. Fortunately, not only did Roger paint up quite a few of these greenskin shock troops that it would have been impossible to ignore them, but he gave them just the sort of scruffy, rusty palette one would expect from the Germanic-flavoured close combat assault infantry.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/01/16/jump-to-it-week-35/

(8) “Moonraker Miniatures” – General Cowley (July)

One of the first models painted by Roger as part of his “Into The Wasteland Project”, I absolutely loved both this figure’s splendid-looking paint-job and the character’s fictional background story. There’s a real air of Benito Mussolini to this miniature, in my mind at least, with his marvellous array of medals and imposing gesture really marking him out as a determined dictator of men.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/08/05/into-the-wasteland/

(7) “Irregular Miniatures” – Scorpio Bug (May)

An arguably rather unimpressive model when unpainted, this giant alien insect was transformed into vibrant life by Roger’s brushwork, and once again had me scouring the website of the miniature’s manufacturer looking for one to purchase myself. The red and brown palette really works by drawing the eye along the entire length of its carapace to its stinger, and is a great example of just how sellable a figure can become when it is properly pigmented.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/new-kids-fromthe-block-week-41/

(6) “Bend Sinister” – Sci-Fi Troopers (May)

If there is one thing Roger is very good at, apart from being the ‘Sorcerer Supreme’ when it comes to green-stuff, it is his ability to paint camouflage or stripes on his miniatures, and this pair of Sci-Fi Troopers are a marvellous demonstration of his skill. Jaw-droppingly clean-lined and well-pigmented, these two figures look excellent, with their colourful façade contrasting nicely alongside their gas-mask heads.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/05/20/new-kids-fromthe-block-week-41/

(5) “Hydra Miniatures” – Akarr (Feb)

I must confess to originally thinking when I first saw these blue-skinned extra-terrestrial that I’d never heard of the wonderful 15mm alien figures before Roger posted them up on his blog, and wowed me with their incredibly vivid colour scheme. However, these are actually the second batch of such figures over the past few years which the fiend has fantastically pigmented, so I immediately felt morally obliged to include them in my Top Ten; especially as the contrast between their skin colour and red bases is so very eye-catching.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/02/11/akarr-bilk-strangers-on-the-painting-table-week-38/

(4) “Maidenhead Miniatures” – Woman on Terra-Bird (Feb)

Another sequel to a range Roger hasn’t previously touched since January 2015 (the Akarr being the first), this formidable-looking cavalry model actually made me contact the manufacturer to establish whether I could still purchase some for myself. This model is tremendously well-detailed, and Roger’s blended brushwork is absolutely stunning, particularly around the giant bird’s head and beak.

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/02/18/whos-that-out-with-a-couple-of-birds-week-39/

(3) “Ground Zero Games” – Gilbert the Alien (Jan)

Being a “Metal Mickey” fan I never really paid much attention to either “Get Fresh” or “Gilbert’s Fridge” as a child, so found Roger’s paint-work and detailed description concerning this sculpt of the much-loved alien puppet tremendously endearing. Not only is the model’s palette absolutely spot on, but once again Roger turned to a tin of green stuff in order to ensure his beloved figure had “his trade mark spikey Mohawk.”

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/how-far-to-hitchin-week-34/

(2) “Heroclix” – The Skunkwoman (May)

Rather embarrassingly my collection of unpainted “Wizkids” miniatures is rather extensive, and resultantly I will probably never manage to re-paint my own copy of Wolfsbane any time soon as I feel it’s one of the “Heroclix” range’s less impressive sculpts. Roger though has taken this underwhelming figure and with a bit of genuine green stuff magic, turned it into an absolutely awesome “villain from the early days of Bananaman back when he was a staple of the Nutty comic.”

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/05/08/raising-a-stink/

(1) “Roger Webb” – Beast-man (June)

Essentially sculpted by Roger from scratch, or at least from a dollie, this corking creation of Skeletor’s leading henchman is absolutely mind-blowing in both pose and paint-job, and is easily demonstrative of Mister Webb’s jaw-droppingly good skills when given the time (and patience) to do so. Like many, I so wish Roger had been able to turn this figure into part of a range for “Wargames Supply Dump Miniatures” as I’m convinced it would have been a market-winner!

https://rantingsfromunderthewargamestable.wordpress.com/2017/06/29/im-so-money-supermarket/

Needless to say, there are a fair few other models which disappointingly just failed to make this list. 2017 really did see Roger painting across a myriad of genres (and scales), with the likes of his wonderfully grubby “VBCW” Riflemen, extraordinarily extra-terrestrial “Silent Death” spaceships and wickedly wild “Wargames Foundry” Bondage Betty all getting close to the mark too…

Simon.

(Well that just leaves me to finish off with my usual huge thank you to Simon for doing this again, and to hope you enjoyed it, as he’ll be doing it all over again in a few days time with his choices from my 2018 output, while I’ll be let loose on “Fantorical” with my choices from his. So till New Years eve, Id like to wish you all the very best of Christmas’s from the both of us! Cheers Roger)

 

Posted in 15mm Sci-fi, 28mm fantasy, 28mm sci-fi, fantasy, Foprgotten Heroes, Into the Wasteland, Masters of the Universe, sci-fi, Superheroes, Top Ten's | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments