Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Never got past pilot number 2...

Well, this post has been a little longer coming than planned. I had meant to post it a couple of days after the last but a heavy workload of late made mincemeat of my plans... but on holiday now and feeling calm and collected (at least by my standards).

So, last time I introduced you to the Amazing Screw-On Head who only got a single episode of his tv show and now I'd like to introduce you to another hero whose adventures were cut tragically short of... well... getting a second episode.

Fantasy fans I give you...

Korgoth of Barbaria!

Korgoth of Barbaria is a parody of classical sword and sorcery by way of old school roleplaying and modern 'alternative' animation stylings. The primary source is presumably Conan the Barbarian but it does seem to draw fairly broadly from the genre.

It's funny stuff in a pretty low-rent style (entirely appropriate to it's subject).

Interestingly, despite the classical fantasy setting, it's actually set in a post-apocalyptic future. Not quite sure where that came from ideas-wise but could have been interesting. Maybe some time-travel fun further down the line? Certainly it also had something of a 'Heavy Metal magazine' vibe about it too... not to mention a pretty heavy soundtrack to go with it... most notably used in a montage sequence around the middle of the episode.

Anyway, it's fun, if not spectacular stuff... except... well... watch the opening credits and tell me that's not a show you wanted to see go to at least a season?

Huh? It's a girl chained to a tree!


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Never got past pilot number one...

I shall admit, today has been a day of random thought. This is probably evidenced most visibly by the fact that I'm writing a blog post for the first time in... er... a long time. It even has content. Yes, actual content though it might be a little off on a tangent to what the few of you who still remember... um... remember.

Today I have been thinking about that most annoying of beasts, the tv pilot that, despite being legendarily awesome, never became more than said pilot. For whatever reason they just get canned but occasionally we get to see anyway (somewhat cruelly in some cases). I'd like to introduce you to a couple of my favourite 'missed opportunities' for your twenty minute, bite-sized pleasure.

First up is probably my favourite one-off pilot ever. The Amazing Screw-On Head.

I'll admit it, I am a huge fan of Mike Mignola's artwork. A little less so with his stories. I like Hellboy, I just don't love it... but oh man, the sumptuous art. It sings to me. Okay Steve, rein it in... getting overly flowery with your writing and nobody wants that.

The Amazing Screw-On Head was a one off comic Mr Mignola came up with, more of a broad comedy than Hellboy but with a similar sense of style. An interesting piece of trivia regarding the adaptations of Mignola's work is that he actively likes the visual style to be changed in each media. Hence the Hellboy movies have quite a different visual style to the movies and the animated movies another style again (rather anime in fact). Screw-On Head was tackled differently for whatever reason. It's Mike Mignola's artwork brought to life in animated form and it's a beautiful thing. His is a simple style, and it lends itself to animation rather better than you'd expect with all that heavy shading.

Screw-On Head isn't just a visual delight though. The script is smart, funny and knowing. The voice cast is pretty stellar too with the notables being Paul Giamatti as Screw-On Head and David Hyde Pierce stealing the show as head villain Emperor Zombie.

A genuine curiosity that I'd truly have loved to see played out week after week. But, alas, sometimes shows are too cool for their own good and are consigned to oblivion way before their time... and sometimes they barely make it past tripping over the starting block.

Luckily tracking down The Amazing Screw-On Head isn't too tough... so hope you'll take the time to enjoy.



There's another show, killed far too early that I'd like to share soon but this'll be it for today...

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Concerning why and the hobby drive...

Welcome to a philosophical tangent. Here you will find a total lack of actually useful information but perhaps something thought provoking, generally strange or just plain weird. It's rather like the Twilight Zone or it's successor The Scary Door...

It began with a post on the WAMP forum that asked what do we do with our painted miniatures. There's a general thing on there about display cabinets and the like as one would expect. The thread is below...

WAMP thread

It wasn't a new thought for me but it brought it fresh into my mind and I started to type a response but then I started to think that my actual answer was going to be rather atypical and perhaps a good subject for a blogpost. And here we are... after my self-psychoanalysis.

So, what's the big answer to what I do with my painted miniatures? Um... nothing. I have almost no interest in them at all. That's right, I don't have a display cabinet full of my figures. My Golden Demon winners are in several locations with my not giving much thought to them and the demon trophies are sitting in a box at my parent's place 300 odd miles away. I have a couple of painted demon winners in my flat, the Cadian Commissar and the Empire Greatsword but they're stuffed into a Citadel figure case along with some old paints and a partially assembled plastic Chaos Sorcerer.

So, the question is posed, what has happened to all the minis I've painted over the... err... decades (man I feel old)? Well, they tend to get stuffed into boxes and just hang around until they invariably get damaged and they often ended up thrown away. I've sold some over the years but honestly not that many. I just don't get attached to my figures. Hell, that's something of a general thing for me. I don't get attached to things very much at all. That old question 'what one item would you rescue if your house was burning down?' I'd probably answer with 'item? screw that I'm getting outside where I wont burn to death trying to rescue the toaster'. It's worth noting that I live alone with no pets so those 'dodge the question' answers don't really apply. If it came down to it I might rescue my laptop if it wasn't going to be a bother simply so I don't have to go through the motions of reinstalling software.

I don't have collections of action figures and geeky paraphernalia. I do have a G1 Optimus Prime but am not really that attached to it. I could always replace it if needs be. I periodically get rid of things usually in vast quantities as I dislike owning large amounts of stuff. Before I left Cornwall, I basically had an open house where I invited friends over to basically take whatever they wanted in huge quantities. Cue many looks of horror from said friends who never really understood my lack of a hoarding instinct. An unusual trait in a geek of course. Cars were filled up with my possessions and driven away. Good riddance for the most part. I took a crapload more to charity shops. I left Cornwall with a bare minimum of stuff. Everything I moved with fitted into the back of my brother in law's car. And no regrets of anything left behind...

So, I have no attachments to my minis and no wish to display them or the trophies I have won. I don't really game either. This does lead to a strange place. Given that my general drives are that I can't be bothered to spend my time doing things with no real gain to them, why the hell do I bother painting minis? On the face of it it seems insane. I don't find it incredibly relaxing as many people do and have little interest in the final product. So, what's the drive?

Process! The science of the hobby.

Yes friends, I am interested in what's possible and how it is achieved. I spend my hobby time theorising how to paint and seeing how well my ideas work. I have a particular fascination with the idea of maximum quality for minimum time spent. A lot of the time I don't even paint the mini beyond trying a technique out on a part of it. Once I know whether it works of not I often lose interest.

I like the idea of painting an army and spend a great deal of time working out plans, ideas and techniques to achieve them. I often buy some of the figures but I do wonder what would happen to said army should I actually finish it. In a box somewhere? Probably.

So, my hobby is a rather bonkers one and a rather atypical one. Only interested in the science? Is that mad, well probably but as a great man once said...

Back off man, I'm a scientist!

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Blanche on a larger canvas...



A little while back John was in the studio with his latest painting project, the new Forgeworld Cursed Ettin and I was suitably impressed and intrigued. This was something rather different from John: a monstrous figure. Okay, possibly a poor choice of words as John is rather gifted at making monstrous out of even human sized figures but this was on a much larger scale and on a figure with a rather different sculpting style...

The Cursed Ettin model is a figure sculpted by the enormously talented Edgar Skomorowski who slaves away in the Warhammer Forge section of Forgeworld. He tends towards a more sculptural style than the very graphic rendering employed by the sculptors in the Design Studio. The Ettin has an incredible level of texture in it's skin, rather like an Elephant's, which John saw as rather a challenge. His normal painting style is to paint texture on rather as he would in 2d and he uses paint rather thicker than most mini painters. Both of these factors needed weighing up in painting the Ettin.

The skin started with a basecoat of mostly white with a little orange and snakebite leather added. John followed this with a wash of nut brown ink to pick up the incredible textural detail. The skin was then re-highlighted adding yet more white to build the contrast and then more shading painted into the recesses with the ink mixed with a little black. Then repeated extra shadows with a mix of orange and black ink moving towards orange dominated washes. John leaves the top off his orange ink so it thickens, becoming redder with time. He notes that he doesn't have any red colours of any description. An interesting aside given the rich reds in his work but it reinforces that sometimes getting the effect you want doesn't come via the obvious route and that John has decades of experience to draw upon to achieve the effects he desires in either 2d or 3d.

The bionic eye is a ball bearing with no colour added and he added black washes to the eye sockets. John tends to leave the eyes allowing the sculpture to define them and isn't a fan of the goggle eyed look.

A fairly limited palette of materials and a lot of Snakebite Leather used. For me this one is all about the rendering of the flesh and it's vibrancy speaks for itself. Like all of John's work, it's a vivid slap around the face which demands an opinion. And here's the whole beast...


Sunday, 22 January 2012

The Asylum has 200 inmates...

... well, minus Neil who escaped to terrorises us all with his own blog... see the last post. So, 200 followers. I'm rather surprised if I'm honest. All going rather well. Not sure I have much content for this post though I can tell you I've got another John Blanche piece to put up very soon (and it's uncharacteristically big). So, I think I shall open the floor to all 200 of you. Upon this anniversary of sorts I'd like to take the chance, once again, to ask what you'd like to see in future? So, don't be shy, there's at least 200 of you...

Saturday, 14 January 2012

The inmate...



Spyglass Asylum has, or rather had, an inmate. Now you must understand that Spyglass is not your average asylum and it's denizens should not be assumed so either. We specialise in the uniquely obsessional, the not-so-borderline lunatics and curious insanities. And then, on the end of the line, is The Mad Converter...

The Mad Converter is unusual even amongst the inmates, or 'hobbyists' as we prefer to call them. There was an assumption in the early days that he perhaps didn't quite 'get' the hobby, neither concerned with gaming or even painting. There was only the conversion. A terrible obsession with modifying figures, spending countless hours upon them before casting them aside unpainted. We once spent an entire decade watching him converting figure after figure after figure without as much as a lick of paint amongst them.

Eventually we managed to persuade him to actually paint a few of them and he begrudgingly did so before flying off on a tangent of more converting madness. An extended leg here, a reposed arm there, a completely rebuilt figure around the corner. The occasional overheard mutterings about powdered Artemis or about how 'he'd show that damned bald-headed, crooked grinned head doctor a thing or two'.

The collection of converted figures grew, and grew, and grew. Always behind the closed doors of his dank little cell. The odd painted figure amongst their plastic, metal and putty brethren.

Then came the incident...

Just a few short weeks past we opened the door of his cell to deliver his morning gruel only to find the place cleaned out. The mad converter was gone, the figures were gone, his tools were gone. There was simply a note...

'I've heard that there's this wonderful thing called the internet and you can do this thing called blogging'.

Not good, not good at all. He's out there somewhere in the wilds now. He calls himself Neil and the most terrible thing has happened. He has internet access and is blogging his insanity to the masses. CALL THE INQUISITION!!!

For the purposes of your understanding, and perhaps your morbid curiosity, I offer you the link below to the beginnings of The Mad Converter's blog. I can only imagine the horrors you will see as the floodgates open...

MASTER-CRAFTED