Charlie’s 2021 Hobby Year in Review

2021 happened, so now it’s time for the Goonhammer team to look back at what they achieved from a hobby standpoint. In today’s hobby year in review, Charlie is showing us his homework.

My internal chronometer tells me it should only be May right now. The fact that I’m sitting here writing a yearly round up is repugnant. It’s well known that time accelerates as we age, but I haven’t even hit 40 and a year is starting to feel like a jerky animation voiced by chipmunks and played at 3x speed. I just checked which pieces I even wrote this year and (discounting hobby progress updates or things to which I was only a minor contributor) was appalled to discover I only wrote four. FOUR. I felt like I’d done more than that, and it should be May right now… it just isn’t. But when I look at the individual things I did, I’m happy with all of them. Clumped together by theme, then, here are those things.

Progress on the Cobalt Scions

I’ve been enjoying working on my homebrew successor chapter so much that I haven’t worked on any other armies at all. This year they passed the 2,500 point milestone, and only now am I starting to feel the urge to start a new army. One with less tidy painting. There’s still loads in the Primaris range I’d like to paint, but I really would like to have a new non-Imperial army to throw at people.

I won’t waffle at length about these guys today, since at some point I’ll do a proper army showcase for them. For now, here’s the class of ’21:

Also among the “things I did for this army” includes the oh-so-controversial decision to switch my base rims from black (nice in the cabinet) to brown (nice on the table). Every time I used the black-rimmed army in a game I could just see an army of circles marching across the map; the brown looks way better to my eyes, and takes less attention away from the marines themselves. Your mileage may vary.

Progress on Terrain

Biege paving tiles, ohhhhh myyyyyyy
The current macro-goal is to make a fully modular urban board, so all my recent terrain efforts have been focussed on that. I’ve still got a loooong way to go. This year I started carving paving tiles out of foamex boards. Foamex is PVC based, so it takes rattle cans fine. When the board’s done I’ll make sure Goonhammer gets a step by step guide. I’ve just been doing little sections of this here and there between other projects, but it’s now at the point where – if I leave space for roads – it comfortably covers a 4’x4’ table. Soon I’ll start working on grimmer, greyer tiles and the road sections. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Tarting up the Sector Mechanicus

A while ago I just slapped a few layers of drybrushing on my Sector Mechanicus terrain so I could get it on the table, and then failed to get around to adding any colour or cables or railings for……. multiple years. Oooooops. I rectified that by making it a lot more YELLOW. Trust me when I say it’s not this obnoxious in the flesh.

I also did the cables and railings, which (surprise, dick bags!) makes a huge difference, as evidenced below:

Sector Mechanicus walkways with and without the trimmings. Credit: Charlie Brassley

This, combined, is a huge improvement, and looks like this:

The other thing I’ve started on the urban board project is more actual buildings. I’m making extensive use of the Sanctum Administratus kit to create modular, stackable building sections. I’m currently working on ruined sections, but those are very much not finished. Here’s a photo of two intact sections stacked on top of each other:

Things I wrote

OK so technically this was at the very tail end of 2020, but I wrote the getting started guide for the Imperial Guard. Into the new year I wrote some advice on Warhammering on a budget. Some time after that I issued a major update for my semi-automated 40K Crusade roster that proved far more popular than I expected.

Following on from that I wrote the piece I think I’m proudest of: the Goonhammer Guide to running hobby intros. It’s an essential hobby skill, but content-wise it’s massively under-represented compared to painting and tactics advice, so Neon and I really went for it in trying to create a guide that would help established hobbyists bring new nerds into the fold. We’re both ex-GW frontline staff with a lot of experience in this area, and it felt good to write about one of the few things in which I feel comfortable describing myself as an expert.

I’m under no illusions that it’ll be read nearly as much as Goonhammer’s competitive content, but I’m really pleased that it’s there and waiting if/when people go looking for advice on the subject.

Lastly, I wrote about my brand new gaming space. I’ve been living in a bit of a student dive for a decade and finally had enough money available to do something serious about it. The difference was… marked.

Deathwatch Surprise & Phobos Forays

To finish with wee plastic men, I painted a couple of Deathwatch lads – one for me, one for a mate – in time for a roleplay session in which my friend Tom traumatised six of us with an appalling array of Tyranids to fight. Good times.

With the painting, I took the opportunity to try two different methods of painting black armour; neither were a runaway success, but if nothing else it was nice to paint power armour that wasn’t blue.

Finally, just this last week, I painted my first ever Phobos lad! I like the idea that stealth troops get stealth colours; if you want the paint recipes for this chap’s armour, I blogged about it over at the Beard Bunker.

Cobalt Scions Incursor. Credit: Charlie Brassley

Plans for 2022

Work on the urban board must continue, the Phobos elements of the Cobalt Scions will be expanded, and I’m joining some of the other nutters in my gaming group with a New Year, New Army initiative. It’ll be Goffs, I think. Expect a lot of heavy metal and rock-based “jokes.”