Friday, 30 March 2018

Resolute in my blog and my hobby.

The rumours of my demise are much exaggerated... That's right, I'm back!

Back on blogger to be precise. Although the blog has been silent for quite some time, if you take a peek to the sidebar on the left you will see my Instagram feed. I have actually been really productive on the hobby front over the last year, I just didn't have anything in the way of drive to update my blog much to my chagrin.

So what's changed?

Why now?

Well to be quite honest I've had the blog in my mind the entire time it has sat dormant. I know it's a bit late in the year to be talking about resolutions, but I'd like to bring mine to your attention for the sake of this post:

 Indulge me as I cover each one:

  1. I have been working on several projects over the last year and posting all of my progress on Instagram. Many of these projects first started here on the blog and the end goal was always to have finished content to post here.
  2. There is/was a lot of work involved in trying to get the blog back into a functional state once again. After the "Photobucket Embargo" debacle I lost a lot of my earlier content because many of the images were also lost physically as my back-up drive they were stored on died. I am still in the process of fixing the articles that remain. Those of which I still have images for will be getting cleaned up, some more may end up being either condensed or deleted. As you can see I've gone right back to my roots with the simple template, I don't want any more distractions from posting here.
  3. This one hasn't gone anywhere thus far, but should be coming to fruition soon as it is tied to the blog. I may have been posting all of my work in progress on Instagram, but I am dedicating the blog to all accompanying narrative and set-piece photography of my finished projects much in the same vein as my Huntsman post. 
  4. I had become a little too reclusive and distanced myself from my circle of friends for a time. But for several months I have been regularly attending Wednesday games nights at my local Games Workshop store with my friends and getting to know the community at the store a lot better and I've been thouroughly enjoying it (I even won an Age of Sigmar doubles tournament at the store recently).
  5. It hasn't got to that point in the year yet. But I do plan on taking part.
  6. It wasn't just in fleshspace that I'd become something of a recluse. I'd become a pure consumer of hobby content online. Lurking and watching, but never really taking part. That has change somewhat in recent times. I have started to engage and comment/converse a lot more across several different hobby communities, on Instagram, Facebook groups, Youtube, Twitch and even the odd comment here and there across the Blogsphere. If anything I'm more active now than I have been in years, it's just that it's in so many disparate places that it still probably seems I'm a little quiet on each one. 
So... All in all I've been doing quite well with my resolutions. And it's not going to be too long until it starts to pay off for my blog too. I have several articles in planning that I will be publishing in the very near future.

For those of you that have missed out on my hobby activities (which is probably most of you), I'll let you in on what I've been working on and what to look forward to seeing completed on the blog:

  • Daemons of Nurgle - With the release of the new Great Unclean One I gained the impetus to finally get back to my rotten little blighters and have very nearly finished painting an entire force, some of the members which started here on the blog many moons ago.
  • I missed the deadline on the last ExProfundis competition to Create a Monster, but I'm still finishing mine off, because I want to tell his story on the blog.
  • Beastclaw Raiders - I picked these up at the end of last year, mainly as a hobby project; but they ended up being used in the doubles tournament and bringing me sweet victory. They are a good contender for my armies on Parade project to come.
  • Skaven Pestilens - I have just started a force of ratmen to go alongside my Daemons.
  • Slaanesh Warriors of Chaos Warband - A little side project with a Realms of Chaos style, mainly aimed at playing skirmish level gaming.
  • Inq28 Warband - You'll recognise most of these characters from past articles on the blog, I thought it was high time they got some attention.
  • Death Guard Chaos Space Marines - I started a small force with the idea of doubling down on my Daemons to start playing 40k again. And I have.
  • Terrain - In between other projects I've been building lots of terrain I've had lying around for both fantasy and 40k.
I do have some other projects in mind, but I'm focusing on completing much of the above before anything new gets started. For instance I want to paint up some Primaris Marines, get back to my Orks (both modern plastics and RT/2nd ed projects), Ironjaws, a Giant/Gargant clan, Necromunda Orlocks (they were my guys back in the original and will be again), Shadespire. I'm all abuzz with ideas and want to clean off projects to move on to others.

And that's where I am at the moment. I'm plugging away at my current projects and I'll be fixing up the broken parts of the blog in my spare moments. There may be a few hiccups with old posts getting re-posted as edits occur and I apologise for that.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Is there anything in particular you're looking forward to see? Is there anything else you would like to see? would you like me to post works in progress on the blog again?

I'm really interested to know.

But until I next post,
Take care.

Friday, 26 May 2017

The Huntsman

Wytch-Hunter... Slayer... Headtaker... Beastmaster... Harbinger... Warden of the Deepwyldes...

The common-folk have many names for this wandering slayer of the Wytch-kind... And many have stories they spin, beside the firelight, on the darkest nights...

Yon is nay Sigmarite... But a follower of older Gods yet. Nay not the Dark Ones mind, but v'ry old...

Doth thou see those Ta'alismans he bears? I has't knowledge of these. The argent stag upon his shoulder marks him foremost 'mongst hunters. The Wint'r Wolf about his neck, makes claim of one who is't oathsworn to take the path of war and vengeance.

Howbeit that cannot be possible... The folk who once hath followed those ways art long since passed. Mine own grandfather's father told me these tales when I was but a childe...
- Godwynne Vaulk, Sigmarite Priest

Aye I hath seen that one once before upon mine own travels. And yond wast a dark occurrence I refuse to repeat aloud. But thee can take from me, if 't be true that man be here; th're art bound to be the dark'st of beasts, wyches and oth'r unnatural things abroad...

I bethink I shalt be staying in this town awhile afore I brave the roads again.
- Philius Chapmanne, Travelling merchant/trader

He fights the Dark Ones f'r all living things thee know... And they f'r him in return... 
- Unkown

I wast gath'ring firewood whereupon I did lay eye upon him, fright'd me almighty that one didst! He paced as silent as an apparition, thee wouldn't reckon it if'n you saw his brawn! I afirst took his trade as ranger or trapper by the cloth and tools he bore. I almost return'd to mine own work wh'reupon I did see something strange...

Upon his heel, walking in step, all mann'r of woodland creature, large and small, predator and prey. More gath'r'd and hath fallen in as yond gent near'd the edge of the wood. I wast stricken by the sight!  But I hadst to follow and pay witness...

Yond gent hath said not a w'rd leaving the cov'r of the trees to head ov'r the till'd earth toward mine own village. Yet the animals ceased beside the treeline wh're the lands of the wild end'd and did mark his progress across the land of men. They did hold vigil until he returned and hath passed through their throng. Again not a w'rd wast spoken as those creatures hath fallen in with him anon. And but soft disp'rs'd, the deep'r that man walked into the wood.

'T wasn't natural I bid thee!
- Johan Forrester, woodsman

Mine lord hadst bade us go into the heart of the forest to gath'r stout wood from the ancient trees yond hath grown th're. We dids't offend the f'rest, demons didst fall upon us in the form of terrible arboreal women, keening and wailing they slew many of our number, serfs and house guard all. The demons combated with cel'rity we couldst not match.

I has't nay pride in telling thee, we surviv'rs hadst clamb'r'd into a wagon to make valorous our escape, anon the demons ceased...

Pos'd upon a nearby mound we spied a hood'd figure, that gent did exchange an eye with what I took to be the leader of the demon kin. It issued forth a long shrillness and made haste to set upon the figure, but a bolt suddenly did sprout from its brow and toppl'd to the earth.

“Enough!” the figure did cry.
And as one the demons stalk'd back into the und'rgrowth looking ov'r their shoulder at him thus spiriting hence.
I made to speak thanks, alas the hood'd sir spake loud. “Begone, thee has't caused enough harm h're, nev'r return!”

We made haste in our leaving, forsaking our dead and hath not return'd t yond f'rest...
- Robann Karlson, House Guard

A time whence I wast a young girl, a t'rrible curse did befall mine own village. Animals and women, most w're barren, those yond b're issue gave birth to twist'd things yond couldst not be left to live. We knew in our hearts, 't wast Wyche w'rk, but afraid to give it voice.

One morn a wand'r'r arrived, hood'd and dark. That gent spake little of particular and left again. We bethought nothing of the travell'r but welcomed the coin he left. The next morn he return'd and carrying a grisly item, a head with the bloody stump of neck that he hadst parted with his axe!

He held the head high in the village square. By mine own heart 't wast old Mammy Carter who hath lived out by the edge of the wood for long years, but t'rrible the lady did look, twisted, black eyes and sharp teeth. Without a w'rd the strang'r hath left, taking his trophy. The Wytche Curse did lift... I am a grandmoth'r anon and we still honour that man to this day
- Anya Vansen, Village elderwoman

We w're dead to a one. The Beasts who walk as Men hadst invad'd our village and we w're hiding in the stone church. T'wouldn't be ere long bef're they broke down the doors and did lay their vile hands upon us.

Their brays of triumph a count'r note to the whimp'rs and wails of the women and children hiding 'mongst the pews. We did pray, those of us yond still hadst wit about us at any rate, to Sigmar, f'r his thund'rous warri'rs to fall from the heavens and deliv'r us...

The bleating and drumming at the door ceased with a loud thud and the splint'r of wood. We though t'was ov'r f'r us, cries raised outside. but the note hath changed... Alarm'd... The sounds came now distant from the church, we couldst not fathom what wast happening, the door t'was silent.

A few with heart 'mongst us brav'd to behold beyond the p'rtal, moving the barricade. We did cry out when we did see a beast at the door, but t'was still. A bolt through the back of the head did hold it fixed to the door. We peer'd outside into the village square wh're we couldst hear the clamour of battle.

We didst not see the gleam of gild'd armour, but one man hood'd. The ground litt'r'd with the beasts and we did witness him make such w'rk of the rest surrounding, cutting through them like saplings with his speeding axe, he did slay a score or more in only a few heartbeats... He didst not bethink it too many...

Thus the slaught'r wast done, he took the bite of his axe and slic'd the head from the ruined corpse of the Beast wytch-work'r... And hath left... Without a w'rd spake...

It took us a time to return to the church to announce we hadst been deliv'r'd... Joyous cries did ring out... But we yond did look upon said deliv'rence has't not the heart to say we bethought Sigmar hadst not sent it...
- Tobin Smitt, Village Militia

Out in the deep woods thee may come across a cairn of skulls, each with a mark laid upon't... Be ye sure to leave a token of gratitude...

- Brannon, Hunter/Trapper

This is my entry into the awesome  The Eclipse: an AoS28 Competition which was created by Bruticus over on the EX Profundis blog with people taking part on their various blogs, Facebook, Instagram and probably many other places...

Well I didn't start it until a couple of days before the deadline and it's a week later than that deadline now, even though we were given a few more days to finish I think I'm pushing it this late. I had a lot of trouble being able to get on with this due to my back injury, I even dropped him and broke him when I'd nearly completed him a couple of days ago and had to make some repairs. But even if it doesn't make the cut for entry, I like the character I made:

The huntsman AoS28 The Eclipse Competition

The huntsman AoS28 The Eclipse Competition

The huntsman AoS28 The Eclipse Competition

The huntsman AoS28 The Eclipse Competition

I'd really like to make a small warband, possibly of animals for him. Especially with the new Age of sigmar Skirmish rules. And I have other options to use him like, Song of Blades and Heroes or Frostgrave.

I really enjoyed this build and forced myself to push my painting to a more limited and weathered style than I normally do.

The narrative pieces were fun to do, I wrote them, used the Shakespearean English translator online and then edited them again with some more modern English to polish them off.

Well until next time, take care

The full gallery of entries can be found here: The Eclipse Entries check out all the amazing figures that were created.

Welcome to the new Meandering Shade blog

Hello and welcome to everyone, long time followers and new visitors, to my little corner of the internet. Where I create and play with figures, putty and paints, or dice, pencils and sheets to try to visualise the dark fantastical things that boil up from the corners of my mind. Welcome one and all to the new look Meandering Shade blog!

It's been quite some time since I actually made use of the blog and the purpose of this post is twofold, first an open letter to my followers who haven't seen me around for a while and what the hell I've been up to. And second it's... Well... Well it's a greeting and a "What the hell am I getting myself into?" post for any new faces... I think... We'll see how it goes...

So... My blog is actually 5 years old or thereabouts at the time of writing this post and I missed the recent  anniversary of it for reasons that will shortly become apparent.

At the end of last year I was really burned out, mentally and creatively. I just stopped blogging. That simple... I had no drive to anything hobby-wise, stopped looking at blogs as often, even on other social media like all the Facebook groups that many of us share, I'd click a like button once in a while, maybe drop a comment even more infrequently than that. but I had become completely disengaged and distant from my favourite hobbies.

Which as some of my longest followers know is particularly bad for me, because my hobbies were my best weapons I had at my disposal for fighting off my depressive episodes. It actually got to the point that I was considering throwing in the towel with my miniature hobbies and RPGs, selling much of it off and deleting the blog permanently.

I wasn't happy with the look of the blog, I didn't particularly like the content I had, everything was too unfocussed and all over the place, I thought I was doing a diservice to my followers with the way I was doing things.

But 2 of my personal friends Jess - Neon Pink Apokalypse and Carl - Roleplay Dwarf recently encouraged and urged me to try out Instagram, thinking that maybe that medium might be better for my needs. And I must admit I liked it, it wasn't everything I needed but the seed of an idea began to form. I started to do little bits of hobby here and there and making quick posts on Instagram and my creative drives started to come back slowly but surely.

I came back to the blog and had a look around it, poking and prodding at the inner workings and the idea germinated. I knew what I wanted to do with my blog. I'd speculated sometime last year that I was considering moving to Wordpress, but after some trial and error I decided I didn't like it, but coming back to Blogger to see some shiny new Wordpress-like themes was nice.

Here it is in a nutshell:

  • I wanted a completely fresh start and I have the tools at hand now to follow my muse. 
  • I want my new posts to have substance... what I mean is I only want to post on here what I REALLY want on here, the sort of thing I'd like to see if I was following me, interesting (hopefully) hobby content without clutter.
  • I'm using Instagram to mostly post my Works in Progress and other hobby content I feel would just be clutter on the main blog. I think the platform is really useful for me in that regard. I can take quick shots of what I'm working on or whatever hobby brain-fart comes my way and quickly post it there. so I got myself a widget all sorted out and you can see it in the sidebar so that my w.i.p. stuff is still visible on the blog, but not cluttering up the place..
  • Which leads to me also wanting to have nicer pictures on the blog. If Instagram is for quick updates, then I want to spend time making better quality posts/pictures for the blog. This is an ongoing process, I'll figure it out as I go.
There you go, it's a short list, but it covers my thoughts and ideas well enough.

So, with those ideas in mind, the first step was fresh start. redesign the look and theme of the blog and delete or reorganise some of the old content.

I may leave much of my older posts much as they were and carry on with the blog following my new vision/guidelines to myself. If I think something really doesn't fit anymore it will either be deleted or moved to an archive (which I've yet to set up).

A quick note for any of you that I follow, I was still having problems following people on Blogger and elsewhere. I've started to use Feedly as my blog reader now, because I can follow any blog no matter the platform and I like that you can organise them into catagories/folders for ease of reading etc. So if it looks like I've stopped following you, I haven't, I'm just following you off-grid as it were.

And that's about it really. Blog updated, creative drive returning, demons fought off. I'm going to be doing a catch-up on a lot of blogs and posts elsewhere that I missed out on over the last few months. Things seem to be improving overall.

The only sour note is that I had been involved in a minor car accident a couple of months ago, I was a passenger, nobody was seriously hurt. I've just had a lot of back problems since then and I've either been too doped up on painkillers, or in too much back pain when they wear off to get on with my hobby projects properly. So things may begin a bit slow around here for a while until I've started physiotherapy and recovered somewhat.

And here we are... We've reached the end and the beginning... I hope that was informative for both old and new faces and I'll see you around. I've already got a new post almost ready to go after this.

Oh one other thing. This is a recent thought. I've been musing over dropping the Stygianheart name and taking on my blog's namesake Meandering Shade as I have had to use it as a username in several other places because I couldn't use my normal one... Too many black hearted people out there apparently...

As ever I'm open to comments and suggestions, anything you want to say, add or advise just drop a line below and I'll respond when I'm able.

Take care.