31 December 2010

Resolutions for 2011

2011 will be a year of change for me, in terms of gaming. I've lost my previous job and I'm currently (barely) staying afloat by painting figures and other artistic endeavors. So traveling to conventions will be severely limited. But I will be painting a whole lot. The job news was followed up about a week and a half later with news that my wife and I will be having a child. That's going to increasingly cut into my free time. In a strange twist, I've started to dabble in RPGs again, along with some other "old-timers."

Anyway, on with the actual resolutions.


1. Get back into pointless gaming. This is a carry-over from last year. I'm going to throw the "Legendary Battle" into this one as well. I just want to play some interesting non-competitive games again. Although I've going to one in a little over a week, I'm really getting sick of tournaments and the tournament mindset.


2. Paint lots of Romans (and the friends & foes.) Again, a carry over from last year. This year I'd really like to be able to pit two Roman armies against each other for some dramatic civil war action in the late Republic.


3. Cleveland East-side gaming. I'd like to get some gaming in my general part of town. I know there are a few other people around here, so it's just a matter of organization. Ideally I'd like to do something a bit casual. Some friends and I used to get together every other weekend, drink some beers, have some laughs and play some 40k in the basement. Something like that.


4. Make my hobby more profitable. That sounds a bit "unfun" but I assure you it isn't. I've said before that I believe that if one is going to devote 1/4 to 1/3 of their time to their work, it should be something they enjoy, and about which they are passionate. I've learned that lesson the hard way -- I'm now left with nothing to show other than a lot of stress & baggage from almost a decade of suffering at a job that made me miserable and made me feel shitty about myself. I don't want to go back to that. As long as I'm in this position, I want to try to do something positive with it. I'm trying to work on a few different possibilities. This is something I've really got to work hard for, and is probably the most important thing on the list. In terms of survival, that is. OK... everything else on the list is back to less serious business...


5. Paint more landsknechts. I've had some of them forever. I love the figures, and if nothing else I can work them into my Empire army. I'm not even sure I care if I use them. But they take time and I keep postponing working on them based on the idea that it's not efficient use of my time. I need to throw that idea out the window on occasion, and just enjoy painting them once in a while. (I did paint a few in 2010.)


6. Sculpt/Convert more. I've got some ideas. I know I can do it, I just need some more practice. It's a matter of motivation to get over that first obstacle -- starting.


7. Paint Macedonians/Successors. I've got a pile of pikemen. I want to paint them. I always seem to have other things that seem more pressing. Like adding to existing projects rather than starting new ones.


8. Paint Carthaginians. This has got to be one of the easiest to do. I've got a small batch of Carthaginian spearmen. If I paint them, I can mix in a bunch of mercenaries... some Spanish, Numidians, Gauls, etc. Most of those I've already got painted. Tah-dah: Instant Carthaginian army. Added bonus: they're cleaned, assembled, primed and based. They just need paint.


9. Gaming Table - refurbish or replace. I'd like to either repair and refurbish my existing gaming table (table tops that go on the dining room table) or replace them with an entirely new one.



That's it for the moment. Since I went back and added one extra last year, I will stop with nine and leave myself open to add a #10 tomorrow, after I've slept on the list a bit.

30 December 2010

2010 Resolution Review

A year ago, I made my first set of "new year gaming resolutions." Everyone else was doing it, and just like I'd jump off a bridge if everyone else was, I made my resolutions. So a quick review...



1. Minimal wargaming budget in 2010.

Success. Well, that was a given, unless I really lost my self control. Yes, I spent sigificantly less on gaming stuff in 2010 than I have in recent years. I also limited the number of conventions/tournaments that required travel expenses.


2. Participate in promoting the hobby.

Success. I ran games and taught people how to play at the only conventions I went to, and I ran games at both of the club Game Days. I've also been painting figures with my mind on having pairs of matched armies.


3. Get back to pointless gaming.

Fail. This one was a bit of a dud. I played in one Black Powder game that someone else ran, and did design one un-even (yet mostly balanced, I think) scenario for the Treachery and Greed campaign. But that was about it.

4. Get into zombies.

Fail. My ideas for a zombie game got pushed to the back corners of my brain. Mmmmm.... braaaaains...


5. Paint lots of Romans (and their friends & foes.)

Mixed. I've painted more Romans, friends and foes. But not at the extreme output I would have liked to. I'm OK with this.


6. Repair & update Skaven.

Mixed. I did most of what I wanted, with the big exception of painting enough of the new clanrats to replace the old ones. I will keep the old ones for big games, but I like the new ones better.


7. Sculpt Hellpit Abomination.

Fail. My sculpting time went elsewhere. Again, I'm fine with that. I will get to the Abom when I get to it. I can continue using the old one in the meantime.


8. Finish Empire steam tank.

Success. Finished that and I finished the war wagon as a convertable war wagon/STank/war altar.


9. Stop reading Warseer.

Success. I peek in at the Historical section semi-regularly, and occasionally peek at some of the painting sections, which have some great stuff in them.


10. Play more ancients/medievals.

Mixed. I played less games overall, but I think I played a decent number of ancients and medievals. I'm still itching for more, though. I'm also looking forward to trying out some new rule sets in 2011.


Addendum: After thinking about it a bit, I like John's idea for a big game. So I'd like to add an 11th resolution to have a really "Legendary Battles" type game of some sort.

Fail. The biggest game was the WFB game I ran at the most recent club game day. It was only 3000 points. I want a BIG, epic, all-day game.



Summary: I count 4 successes, 3 partial successes, and 4 failures. Not a bad record, though it still leaves quite a bit of room for improvement.

I shall now draw up my 2011 resolutions. I'm not just a sheep -- it's good to have goals.

Painting Quickies



Contemporary art? This is part of my pallette after painting a bunch of figures with rusty metal armour and weapons.

I get out three colors: a rich medium/dark brown, a solid orange, and bright silver. I get a different mix of one, two or three of those paints every couple brush strokes, and do a little bit of rough blending on the figure. I try to concentrate more orange & brown at the spots where rust and dirt are more likely to collect, more silver on the sharp or worn edges. Variety of color is good for old, dirty & rusty weapons.

After that I will give it all a black or dark brown wash. The ubiquitous GW Badab Black or Delvan Mud are both good for this. After that dries, I will do a little bit of light highlighting on select edges and planes with straight silver.



I've recently started doing something looooong overdue with my paints. I've been saving my many (many many...) empty GW wash jars (see above) and using them to mix paints that fall between two commonly used colors. This is helping cut down on time and wastes where I would normally mix on the pallette. Since I usually thin most paints as I use them, for better flow, I've cut to the chase and added a bit of Future floor polish and some Reaper anti-shine fluid to the jar.

I've done this for four of my most common "custom" mixes so far and have been very happy with the results and convenience so far.

29 December 2010

More Painted Elves; Nob's Journal Begins

Continuing to paint for other people. Finished some more elves, and some less savory types (sorry, no pic at the moment.) This only fuels my wandering thoughts of gaming in the First Age of Middle Earth as I'm revisiting Tolkein's books at the moment...


...and now for something completely different...



The Journal of Nob Scrobbelton
Seller of Fine Organic Herbal Supplements
"Because Hobbits Know Their Gardening"


Day One

Setting off from Folkhome. The village has given me a evil little mule to carry the two barrels of "Shannara Green." I think we've come to an understanding, though, and he only bites strangers now. I've also stowed away a pouch of Weeping Marsh'rooms to sell at the market as well. No one told me the mule's name. I'm not sure anyone has given it a name -- I think they're glad to be rid of the beast. I will call him José.



Day Three

I've finally cleared the forest and have arrived at a stinking little village at the mouth of the Weeping River. The food, ale and yokels are all of questionable value. The hospitality is alright, I guess. But that doesn't really help digest their victuals nor their conversation. I've arranged for barge transportation down river with a really awful smelling human. I talked him down in price, but still feel I was ripped off. I'm off to hunt down some aromatics to help make the journey bearable. Do all the big folk reek like this?



Day Five

Floating down the river. Bored.



Day Seven


Our barge was attacked by half-intelligent swamp iguanas. I participated in the defense, in what manner I could. But I'm a lover, not a fighter. I nearly died. Still, I sliced one of them in half as they tried to flee. Didn't get a chance to see if their hide made decent boots before the crew kicked them overboard to feed the fish. Reminder: secret healing stash in cabinet to the left of the cabin entry.



Day Ten

Reached the caravan crossroads. Description seems only partially accurate. There is certainly a crossroads present, but no caravans. I've got over a week more on the road, apparently on my own, before hitting civilization.



Day Seventeen

Close enough to civilization. I reached an inn along the road several days outside the city. The food and drink are decent, but the stable boy is a bit dense. He almost got his hand bit off by José not fifteen seconds after I told him that mule was a mean sonofabitch. The locals have been telling me stories about a werewolf prowling the land between here and the bridge a day's journey to the west. Werewolves? Seriously? I'd wager both barrels of herb that they're going to try selling me silver trinkets any minute now. What do they take me for?



Day Nineteen

José is dead. His throat was torn apart by a werewolf. If the stupid beast hadn't froze-up when I tried to make run for the safety of the guarded the bridge, I would still have my tent, my food and my blanket, and I wouldn't be lugging these barrels of leaf around on my own. It's not that they are heavy. It's just inconvenient that they're about as tall as I am. I'm going to try the puppy dog eyes on the Captain and see if I can get some help carrying my produce to market. That figging mule. His loss is going to cut into my profit. I'm going to have to dilute the herb a bit to make up for this.



Day Twenty

Made it to the city gates, thanks to the labors and protection of one of the soldiers of the bridge, a man by the name of Roderick. At first he didn't seem to pleased to be assigned to escort duty, but he eventually opened up a bit. After telling me that there are some horrible and deadly caves under the city, he recommended I stay at an inn who's main selling point is, apparently, an entry to said Caves of Deadly Doom and Hobbity Death. I don't know what to make of that. I think Roderick was dropped on his head as a child. He also recommended a cat house to me, but I told him I had no idea why I would need a cat as I am just trying to find a buyer, make my deal and get out. I don't plan on having time to develop a mouse problem. He just laughed as he walked away. I feel that my initial speculation on his early childhood head injury may be justified. Once inside the city, I hired some filthy little street urchin to direct me to the Inn and help carry the barrels. I'm finally feeling that the trials and tribulations of my journey are finally at a peaceful end...

24 December 2010

Merry Christmas



Merry Christmas to all who celebrate.

Though everything else is decorated, we usually have to leave the fake fireplace bare, as it's one of the dog's favorite places to nap.

I needed a break from wrapping gifts for the nieces & nephew. I hate wrapping gifts. One roll of paper already ended up snapped over my knee and torn in half. Back to the holiday slave pits in a moment.

But first, I'm digging into the rum balls and making myself a toddy to help me get through the evening...

20 December 2010

WAB & RPG & HE

I finally played my first game of WAB2.0 today. My Romans solidly beat a FotW Warlord army. Maybe it's the backdrop of the drastic (and more familiar to me at the momen) change between WFB7 & WFB8, but WAB2.0 doesn't seem much different (nor play much differently) than it used to.

After the game, my opponent spoke of doing an all skirmish army, to which I set up my reply:




This weekend I also tentatively dipped my toes back into the world of RPGs after 20 years away. The rest of the group are a mix of returning old-time RPG players and totally new players. Half the group got together for character creation. I will be playing a slightly dishonest hobbit drug dealer named (for now, unless I can think of something better in the next week or two) Nob Scrobbelton. :)

My slacker sidekick/familiar for character creation day...



I continue to paint. Finished some commission elves last week:


Except for the army standard bearer (red & white) the figures are plastics from the latest WFB boxed game. I was quite impressed with the quality of the figures. I'll be painting some of the new swordmasters next, and they look quite nice as well.

14 December 2010

One Ring To...

Reading

I've started re-reading the Lord of the Rings. I had wanted to do so after all the movies were released, but there have been a lot of books I've wanted to read for the first time. So it hasn't happened til now.

Since the last time I read LotR, not only have the movies been released, but I've also read the Simirillion (twice!), Children of Hurin, and portions of the Unfinished Tales. So in addition to comparing the books to the films, I've also got a completely different perspective on the story.

Of course, now I want to do some Tolkien themed gaming. ;)



Painting

I'm continuing to paint. I've only had time to work on commission figures the past few weeks, since that's now what's paying most of the bills. Still, I'm not keeping up as well as I should. No pictures at the moment. Some of it is commercial work, some others have been photographed but not edited. Maybe in the next few days. It's been a bit hectic around the ZeroTwentythree homestead.



"Life Moves Pretty Fast..."

In the midst of all this, I'm still trying to make plans for the impending offspring, the holidays, and still sending out resumes. I thought that as soon as my wedding was past, my life would slow down to a reasonable pace again. Instead I find it has accelerated to record speeds.

It's a bit of a contradiction, but in a way I also think I do well when I'm busy. "The devil tempts some but an idle man tempts the devil." I just hope that I can reap some rewards for working hard and provide for my family. And get back to playing with my toys a little more. ;)

We do finally have our first WAB2.0 games coming up. I think we've even managed to scrape up four players (including myself)!

07 December 2010

A Date That Will Live in Infamy



One more thing I almost forgot. Happy birthday to me.

Every year I make an image for whatever it is I'm doing for my birthday (usually something really small, dinner somewhere or inviting a few friends over.) Considering the historical significance of the date on which I was born, I usually theme it somehow. Obviously this one borrows heavily from images of a certain movie stolen from around the internets.



I've always really wanted to go visit Pearl Harbor.

06 December 2010

New 1:1 Scale Project

It seems that my newest project will be prepainted 1:1 scale and is due in about 8 months.

The past two months have seen a lot of change at the ZeroTwentythree household... marriage, unemployment and now fatherhood.

Shirts





Ages (years?) ago I created the following "what is good in life" to-do list and posted it at the W-E forum. In course of the discussion, I said I should put that on a shirt. Every once in a while someone brings it up again.



So I finally set up a shop at one of the online print-on-demand places, and set up that shirt and one other:

Infinite Rabbits

I will be adding some other shirt designs, mostly graphic/art designs -- not so much the wordy shirts. These first two were just things I've been joking about doing for a while. I don't make much of the sale of the shirts, but maybe I can make a few bucks to help offset my current employment troubles.

02 December 2010

WFB Lore of Life Markers




After yesterday's game, I decided to make some spell-specific markers for spell effects. I seem to have a fondness for the Lore of Life, so I've started there.

First a shot of my current Jade Wizard. To his left is the "Throne of Vines" maker, to the right is "Flesh to Stone." That's my poor attempt at making glowing eyes (using OSL) on a stone figure, my the way. Not altogether successful -- I may try to touch it up.

After I took the photo, I thought of a better Throne of Vines idea. I would need to model two separate mage figures. One normal one of him standing, the other of him actually sitting on a throne of vines. Then I swap them out as appropriate for his current status. Don't know that I'll ever get to that.


And lastly, here's my take on "Shield of Thorns." Not terribly impressive, but gets the job done. I was thinking I wanted something low-key, but after putting it in front of the unit, I'm wondering if I should have made it much larger after all.


I've got to figure out what the next lore to tackle will be. I've taken Fire as a secondary, but have also been considering Beasts. Maybe one or both of those?

01 December 2010

Eyes



A recent forum discussion of Wargames Factory figures brought up the topic of the eyes on their latest figures. As I painted some of the newest figures, I had some personal experience. I thought I would try to show some close-ups and explain why I like this style of sculpting.

Click the images to enlarge.



Here's a step by step of a pair of really quick heads I painted as an example. Mind you, these are really close up, so every little irregularity of my painting is advertised for all to see. I think they look fine when viewed normally.

The way I've done the flesh & eyes is the same as any style of figure: base coat of flesh, followed by a wash, followed by some highlighting & maybe a bit of color. Then the whites of the eyes are painted. In any case, this is a horizontal line across the eye. In the case of the majority of figures, there will be eye lids sculpted on, so you run your brush along the recessed portion (the eyeball itself. In the case of WF and some other figures, there is a sold orb. So the way I paint, the horizontal line is the eyeball, and the part above and below, which are left flesh colored, are the lids. Lastly add some dots for the pupil & iris.


I drew up a quick diagram (in profile) on the paper covering my work area while I was waiting for paint to dry. :) This shows the two styles of sculpting...


So the top diagram would be like the WF figures in the photo above. They have a solid orb. The lower diagram shows the eye with sculpted lids.

The reason why I prefer the solid orb style is that when you are putting the brush to the whites (or pupils) of the sculpted eyelid style, it is easy to accidentally get your white or black paint on the edges of the lids, since you have to maneuver the brush past this raised area, to get to the eyeball below.

An alternate method for the lower (well, for either, really) would be to paint the eyeball first, then go back and paint the eyelids over the top of them, but that seems like an extra step to me. I also tend to paint the flesh on most figures very quickly, as its usually the first step. Plus it's tedious enough painting eyeballs, I'm not sure I want to paint eyeballs, then carefully paint the lids after.

As with any painting techniques & sculpting styles, this is a matter of personal preference.

But the point I wanted to make is that the solid orb style eyes are only "eggy" looking if you paint them that way. Furthermore, the sculpted lid figures still require the painter to carefully paint on all of those details, otherwise they will produce equally awkward results.

28 November 2010

Carcass Weekend Painting

Over the Thanksgiving (aka Bird Carcass Day) weekend, I got a little bit of painting done. Mostly just this second engineer to compliment the first. Again, using another bird for the notorious pigeon bombs. The lighting is a bit weird on this photo, so it's a bit "glowing."



Next, someone at Warhammer-Empire.com asked me about a close-up of the previous engineer's monocle, so here's the best I could do for that.


I painted it like a gem. There are a lot of tutorials for that, but I did a quick illustration with the same paints on a piece of paper & scanned it in.

This is what I did for the telescope lenses they both had as well.

Thanksgiving WFB

Over the weekend six of us got together to brush up on WFB 8th edition a bit more. Half of us had played a few games, the other half had either one or no games of 8th under their belt. We played 3 games at 1500 points. I had a second Thanksgiving dinner (this was Sarturday) to go to, so had to bail out on the third round.

I played Skaven. I took a couple big units of clanrats, two (worthless) weapon teams, a unit of rat ogres, some gutter runners (with an assassin) a WLC and an Abomination. My general was a Warlord on a Rat Ogre Bonebreaker. With the addition of a "warlock enhanced weapon," this model can put out 11 S5 attacks. (I don't think I ever did more than 3 wounds per round, however.)

I won my first game against Dogs of War (using that fan made PDF DoW armybook that's floating around the internets,) though it started off very rough. I took a lot of casualties from missile fire and lost my general and his depleted unit once they got into combat. The WLC was chased away almost immediately by a small unit of light cavalry, and both weapon teams were sniped.



This is a photo late in the game. The Abomination is stuck between a militia spear unit (background) and a pike unit (right.) Fortunately, due to the free-wheeling reform rules of 8th edtion, my unit of clanrats on the hill had fought a round of combat, won, chased off the spearmen in the far background, then fought a combat in the DoW turn, won, reformed, then charged the pike unit from behind then following turn. The Abomination, meanwhile, ran over to and ate half the spearmen in one round while suffering no wounds himself. From the jaws of defeat, I pulled victory.




My second game was against one of the other first round victors, Daemons of Chaos. This is a fairly early game shot. There's a unit of Bloodcrushers off in the far distance chasing my gutter runners. In the foreground is where my Abomination used to be, but the unit of Flamers made quick work of him (shooting.) So there are two infantry units (horrors & bloodletters) slowly advancing, while two units of hounds target my WLC and mortar team.





This is a little later. After the WLC was destroyed, my rat ogres turned in on the hounds and killed all but one. The horrors then flanked the rat ogres who rolled terrible, didn't cause a single wound but at least rolled snake eyes for their break test. The next turn the one remaining ogre ran and both units pursued, into the woods along the edge of the table.

The other set of hounds reformed after eating the mortar team and hit my clanrats (with the Warlord) in the flank. They were easily destroyed and the next turn both units of clanrats charged the bloodletters and annihilated them in a single turn.

So with that, the table was a mess, but we both had about half our armies in pretty good shape. My opponent had 2 bloodcrushers and a hero, plus about 12 horrors and 6 flamers. I had two full units of clanrats, my Warlord, BSB and a fire thrower.

Close game, but had it played out I think that if he kept the horrors away and just blasted away with me from a distance with the flamers, there's nothing I could have done. I think flamers are one of the most ridiculous units in the game, but since I had an abomination in my army, I couldn't complain too much as they are probably in the running for the second or third most ridiculous unit in the game. ;)





This is a shot of the start of one of the other second round games. Marauder heavy Warriors of Chaos on the left, Orcs & Goblins to the right. I don't know who won. The other army not shown in any of the photos was an Empire army.

25 November 2010

Chaos Things, Engineer and Architect




A work in progress shot of some chaos Nurgle terminator things I'm painting for someone. There is so much going on with these figures, they're a real challenge to paint. Even just in terms of getting my paintbrush to where it needs to go!



Some English Civil War infantry command figures...



And for myself, I've painted a WFB Engineer. They're far more useful in the game now. They don't occupy a hero "slot" any more. Previously there were more important choices to take. They are relatively inexpensive, and their "master of gunnery" ability has been made more useful. Actually, artillery in general is more deadly, and even more so with this ability added in. Cap that off with the Engineer's equipment options. The two I currently like are the repeater pistol, which can be used to help defend against small infiltrating units hunting the vulnerable artillery, or the pigeon bombs, which can be devastating against lighter infantry units now that figures only partially under the template are automatically hit.

So this is the first of several engineers I plan on painting up.




I was digging through an art box full of drawing and modeling stuff and I came across this old model from school. It's a 1/2" = 1'-0" scale model of a chair. It was for a first year architectural projet. We designed a house, and in addition to drawings and a smaller scale model of the entire house, we had to select one room/space in the house and build a larger scale, more detailed model. I did a studio/study, and for some reason had an urge to build this chair as well (it related to the form of the room.)

22 November 2010

Balearic Slingers



I've got to admit that I am a bit hesitant to post this pic, as I'm still getting used to my new lights and the light colors on these figures have really washed out. But I'm going to post it anyway, even though I think it makes the figures look poorly painted.

After talking with some of the other local painters/gamers, I think I need to invest in a light box as soon as I am able. I'm just having too many problems with light when photographing my figures.

Anyway... in my quest to finish off some of the half-started projects on my desk, I finished up a unit of 9 Balearic slingers. One of those units that's generically useful to many ancient armies. I picked up a pack of Foundry figures at a flea market, and added one misc. slinger (another Foundry? Greek?) to bump the unit up to 9.


18 November 2010

Photo Bonanza

A bunch of photos this time. Like I said, I'm trying to fill up with commissions, so I've been working on a number of those. I also snuck in a few figures for myself.



First up, a GW dragon that took me forever to finish. This was an addition to an army I had previously painted. Someday I should try to get the entire thing together for photos (army owned by someone local.)






Handgunners for a new army commission I've just started. Plus a single pic of the ogre in the back rank.




After those, I squeezed in a few of my own handgunners. Still a few more to finish up after these.




That's it for now. On deck (or desk, if you prefer) are some ECW command figures, some high elf infantry, some chaos marines, a few other odds & ends (touch ups, basing, etc.) and hopefully a few more of my own figures get done as well. I'm also expecting a package in the mail with some other figures to paint.

Once I get some of the initial work settled & scheduled out, I will probably be open for some more commissions very soon. Preferably larger sized ones. Anyone interested can email me if they'd like. My email (if it's not on my profile here) is the name of the blog - at - gmail.com. My prices are generally in the neighborhood of $10 per infantry figure, and 1.5x-2x that price for cavalry. But there are a lot of variables, so that can go up or down based on each individual commission.

16 November 2010

Back in the Saddle





As implied in my last entry, I'm now unemployed. More or less. I'm jumping on some painting commissions, so I have once again been painting. 98% of it has not been my own figures, but paining makes me happier than sitting in front of a computer all day. So it's not neccessarily a bad thing. After all, I need to do something for income. If things work out, maybe I will stick with painting for a while. It's a bit of an uncertain venture, but less so than total unemployment. (I'm still pursuing some other options as well.)

I will be working in some figures of my own at some point. In the meantime, I did paint one figure for myself. Very quickly. I had already done the conversion and the flesh, so I quickly added a bit of color and the base. It was a broken Empire handgunner. I'm not even certain where/how I came into possession of this figure. So I cut off the front of a crossbow from the militia sprue and glued it on where the barrel of the gun used to be. Yes, he's got his little shot packages... I didn't think about that until I was actually painting the figure. But I think once he's in a unit of crossbowmen, he'll just blend in. I'll probably stick him in the back rank anyway.



15 November 2010

Another Mini-swap Figure

It's been so long since I've used my Marienburg army, I had forgotten that the gobbo I received in the mini-swap at Grover's Grillfest this past summer was still hiding in the humans' ranks.

So I painted up his base to match the rest of my figures and have added him to my display case, alongside the plague bearer I received last year.



The price of admission to the Grillfest is one painted figure. Towards the end of the evening, we have a random draw to see who takes home which figure. Coincidentally, I had also brought a night goblin this year.

14 November 2010

Game Day 23

This weekend was another Game Day, held at the home of one of the members of my old gaming club. There were four time slots, each with two games running.



I missed the early slot, but got there in time to play a home-brewed giant robot game. The object was to recover some crashed alien technology and remove it off your own side of the table. Our side failed pretty badly -- but we did contribute to the carnage quite a bit. The other game going on at this time was WWI aerial combat, Blue Max/Canvas Eagles using 1/72 planes. I was too wrapped up in 'bot destruction to get any pics.



Third time slot featured Circus Maximus chariot racing, using 15mm figures and a great looking homemade circus field. At the other table there was a game of Kill Zone (28mm futuristic gang warfare.)


The fourth time slot was my game, a 3000 point game of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Empire vs. Skaven. Each side split into four sub-groups so I could accommodate up to 8 players. As the evening started to wind down, the group thinned out a bit, so the other event (cards?) didn't happen.


When I went outside to get the figures from the car, I thought I had seen a portent of victory for one of the armies...


...but as it turned out, the game was a draw. Each army seemed to do better on their own left flank, while the center was a fairly jumbled mess.

12 November 2010

Good News/Bad News

The good news is that I will have a lot more time for painting now.

The bad news is that I will have a lot more time for painting now.

08 November 2010

Hundred Years War

There's talk of a Hundred Years War WAB campaign event at Cold Wars next year, so I'm considering that might be a good excuse to get some focus on my upcoming painting time.

Most of my medievals are later 15th century, but I do have a head start on a HYW army. The two options that look good for me at the moment are Burgundians (probably using the later Burgundian list again) and Flanders (Low Countries.)

The figures I already own that are appropriate for the era are...

60 Flemish Pike
20 Crossbow
20 Halberdiers
40 +/- Misc. melee troops
A few ribaldquins & one cannon


Depending which way I go with this, I will need to pick up a few more things. What I need in either case are some infantry command, some mounted characters (general and army standard,) and some medium and heavy cavalry. I can probably squeeze in a small unit of archers in either army as well. If I go Flemish, I will some more pike. If I go Burgundian... well, probably just a larger proportion of cavalry and no additional pike.

WFB Warm-up




Next weekend I'm running a WFB 8th edition game at the game club's Game Day 23. Most of the participants have either not played 8th edition yet, or have only a small number of games under their belt. That includes me. So my friend Rich & I playtested the game this past Sunday.

The game was 3000 points of Skaven vs. Empire. I took command of the Skaven, Rich ran Empire. In the photo above you can see my advancing rodent horde closing in on his more defensive minded humans, along with the 27 he rolled for casting one of the fire spells (I forget the name at the moment - it did d3 hits per rank.)


I tried to keep the armies somewhat simple, with just a few heroes with limited magic items. I wanted to have some of the cool toys from each army, though.

The Empire was (roughly):

General, Wizard Lord (Fire), Engineer, Battle Standard
2 x 30 Swordsmen
2x 10 Handgunners
30 Spearmen
10 Crossbow
25 Greatswords
2 x 6 Knights
7 Pistoliers
2 x Cannons
1 Mortar
1 Rocket Battery
1 Steam Tank

Skaven were:
Warlord, Grey Seer, Plague Priest (on Furnace), Battle Standard
3 x 30 Clanrats with spears
1 x Ratling Gun
1 x Globe Mortar
1 x Warp Fire Thrower
2 x 42 Slaves with spears
30 Plague Monks
24 Rats & Handlers
4 Rat Ogres & handlers
6 Gutter Runners + Warp Grinder
1 Abomination
1 Warp Lightning Cannon


As is the theme of 8th edition, the game was pretty random throughout. The game swung back and forth, with both of us more or less at the mercy of the dice.

By the time we called it, the Skaven looked to be winning by a small margin. It's hard to judge when a couple rolls of the dice can completely change the outlook, though.

I've been playing WFB for 6 of its 8 editions and believe that until this point it only improved with each revision. I'm going to give 8th edition at least a half dozen more games. So far, however, I'm pretty dissatisfied. I simply don't feel like it's as fun (for me) as past editions. That contrasts with some of the other games I've read or played recently (Black Powder, Crusader, or even WAB2) which have seemed much more rewarding & entertaining.

07 November 2010

Mini-Exchange (recipient)

I received my package for the Warhammer-Empire.com miniatures exchange. In the package, I found not one but three figures from ChumpChange. He painted and sent me the oldschool artillery crew below. I love these old figures, especially the "master gunner" in the center. I appreciate that he painted stipes on the guy to the left. I like the way that looks, but I'm usually too lazy/hurried to do it myself.

I'm actually short on artillery crew, so these are a very welcome addition to the army of Marienburg. I'm basing them up to match my figures today, and they will be seeing action right away, today and next weekend!


I really enjoy doing these mini-exchanges and I'm contemplating organizing some sort of figure exchange of my own.

01 November 2010

Empire Standard (mini-swap) & Update on Previous Entry



Below is an Empire standard bearer that I painted for the annual surprise miniatures exchange at Warhammer-Empire.com. This year I drew the name of one of the forum's most prolific and imposing modelers. I was a bit intimidated, so decided to go with a "stock" figure rather than try to model something myself. I figured I would try to paint something a bit extra, though, so I went with a standard bearer. My recipient has multiple Empire armies, and I was actually trying (unsuccessfully) to come with a good idea for a Nuln or Engineer's College standard.

Then one day my wife put Finding Nemo in the DVD player. The next day I flipped through the Empire Heraldry and Uniforms book and came across the imagery of the angler fish type creature that, according to the book, is sometimes used by Stirland troops in the region of the River Stir. I also liked the idea of bright colors lightening up the tone of an otherwise metal encased figure (metals are not my strong point.) So all those things came together for the idea below.




I'll have some other Empire figures to show off in my next entry.





So a bit of an follow-up to the previous entry....

First off, here's my Halloween Costume. I decided to go with a leathery look to the mask instead of the usual carnivale white look. I had already veered from "tradtion" with my lenses, so figured I'd just do my own thing. I incorporated some old prescription sunglass lenses into the eye-pieces, so I could actually see out of the mask! (At least when I wasn't overheating in it.

I'm making a few adjustments to it this week and will probably wear it to a Dia de los Muertos celebration this coming weekend. I'm considering dying the robes a darker color too.





And this is the watercolor ("Lost Snabbit") that I donated to the gallery benefit/fundraiser I mentioned previously. I can't seem to take decent pictures of watercolors, as the light end always gets horribly washed out. But this is the best I could do. I'll be attending the benefit later on the same day as the Dia de los Muertos parade & festivities. Busy weekend again.


30 October 2010

Can't stay on track

No sooner than I sit down at the miniatures painting table for a day or two, than I'm distracted by other things.

One is the Spaces Gallery 10x10 Benefit, for which I donated a watercolor (which I hope makes some bidder/donor quite happy -- as I liked it and I'm actually a bit sad to see it go).

The other is Halloween! I always have such grand plans for costumes. One out of every ten years do I actually pursue them. The rest of the time it's just whatever I can pull together last minute.

So granted, this is still dragging out til last minute, but I've been working on it. Probably for an inappropriate amount of time.

Here's 3/4 of the way through tonight's painting. I wanted to try the top part of the costume on...



I've since added some further texture & darkness to the mask, plus gathered together the rest of the costume, added some details like the metalic color and patina to the lenses & associated structure (screw heads...)

A few friends have gone off to Fall In this weekend. I've sent a request to buy me a pack of the Perry WotR plastics plus one of the command packs. Perhaps more figures on the horizon. ;)

In truth, I've been working on some commission stuff in between mask-making & other scheming.

24 October 2010

Lights! Cameras! (No) Action!





In pursuit of more accurate photos, I picked up some compact fluorescent "daylight" bulbs to replace my incandescent "GE Reveal" bulbs that I've been using for photographing figures, and fiddled around with the settings on my camera to accommodate the change.

I also borrowed my wife's camera, which is more than a few years newer than mine, and an upgrade from 5 megapixel to 8 megapixel. Both are "semi-automatic" type cameras that have a lot of the manual settings, but aren't nearly DSLRs. Both have decent macro functions as well.

The photo below is the best of the bunch. It was taken with my older camera. I couldn't seem to get hers to quit "over exposing" the shots. I will continue to play with both cameras. But I think the change in light bulbs is an improvement.



The figures are just miscellaneous painted figures I had on my work desk (where I also take the photos) and haven't been put away yet. I was trying to get some different colors, textures, etc. in the shot.

19 October 2010

Squid Trooper and Hoppalong Sidekick

I finished the Squid Trooper. A lot of it was just me playing around with some colors and techniques.




Also painted a rabbit from a pack of familiars. Orange, of course.



Wrapping up a dragon (commission) some Empire stuff and some ECW. Still trying to figure out what I want to pain for myself after all that.

It's Official; plus: Actual Painted Figures

It's official, I am now a married man.


We risked in outdoor wedding in October and everything turned out great. We had a wonderful time, and the next day, we hit the road...



...to a cabin in the woods in south-western Ohio for four days. It's my favorite area for vigorous driving. We also spent a good deal of time hiking around state parks & caves, grilling outside and we even rented some ATVs one afternoon. It was definitely a city boy's adventure out of his element. And a lot of fun.


We came back and I got a little bit of time at the painting desk, though we've both caught some post-wedding plague, so I've been a bit out of it the past few days.

Below is a WIP shot of one of Wargames Factory's Shock Trooper models (or "shock squid" as I'm calling this one.) I got a sample sprue in with a recent package, and thought I'd paint a couple up just for fun.

You can also see a few sample figures from the upcoming War of Spanish Succession kit that I painted for them, at their web page. Better photos are forthcoming -- these were just a bit of a teaser photo. I've been holding out for someone to do some later 18th century kits (like AWI or SYW) but I think I may end up tempted into the WSS after all.

03 October 2010

Painting on the Horizon & Mystery No More

My painting desk has been collecting junk and unused for a while, as I've been busy with other things. I cleared off some of the paperwork that was on top, and unearthed the sub-mess beneath. Soon I should have time to get back to painting figures.



The first orders of business are finishing some commission figures. The dragon in the background has been almost done forever, I just can't seem to get more than 15 minutes at a time to wrap it up. That's number one. I've also got to wrap up my figure for the miniatures-swap at warhammer-empire.com. I'll be cutting it close to the Nov. 1 deadline. A little change from being one of the first ones done last year. Then I've got a small batch of commission figures started (just to the rear/left of those sprues in the foreground.)

After that, I hope to do some more painting for myself. I've got quite a backlog of projects. (In no particular order.)
  • Empire: Characters, State Troops, Knights, Artillery Crew, DoW
  • Skaven: Clanrats, Plague Monks, Doomwheel, Characters, Rat Ogres & Giant Rats
  • Medieval: Flemish Pike, Crossbow, Plançonnier, Artillery Crew, Medium Cav
  • Renaissance: Landsknecht Pike & Shot, Gendarmes
  • Romans: ...will never end... always more Romans.
  • Macedonian Successors: Boatloads o' pike. Still need to get cav & light troops, but want to paint some of what I've got before buying any new figures.
  • 15mm Musket era? Ever since playing Black Powder, I've had the itch to start... Again, I should probably paint down some of the waiting pile already in my possession.



I finished my "mystery sculpt," shown below. It's a bit glossy at the moment, and may stay that way. It's a cake topper for my upcoming (a week away!) wedding.

I paint/draw orange rabbits, my fiancé loves butterflies. On our invitations we had an image of a butterfly landing on a curious rabbit's nose, and she wanted something like that for the cake topper.



My artists' acrylics were a bit old. I undercoated each with a lighter shade (yellow under the orange and cerulean under the pthalo blue) and everything was fine. But the orange and pthalo both turned out very thick & chunky, leaving a lot of texture. I tried fixing this on the second coat, but only made it worse before going out and buying two new tubes of paint. A bit too late, though, so there's still a lot of texture. I really wanted a nice smooth finish.

This will probably be my last update as a single man. But the next one should have some actual miniatures and/or gaming stuff in it. Some people talk about their hobby time ending when they get married. I'm looking forward to having time for it once again once all the wedding work is done!