28 February 2011

WWI Early War French (for sale)

I'm continuing to clean out some of my old figures. These are from yet another one of my projects that never really got off the ground.

I've got 21 Early War French that I'm going to put up for sale. The photo below shows 10 of them. The remaining 11 need to be based, but otherwise match the figures below and include another officer. All figures are from Renegade Miniatures. The bases are 1" washers.

If they don't sell in the next week or so, I'm shipping them out with friends to the Cold Wars flea market. I'm looking for $150 for the whole bunch.

24 February 2011

WFB Terrain (Marshes)

Two more WFB "magic" terrain pieces. Both are from the Marsh category. This is my Earthblood Mere though I think I will use it as the Mist Wreathed Swamp as well. I had wanted to put reeds and other flora around the edges, but then it becomes a bit of a hassle for gameplay. So I left it flat for ease of moving formed units over it. I also wanted it to look less like a real swamp (this is magic terrain, after all) hence the colorful green.





Next is the Khmerian Quicksand. My terrain and my armies are not desert themed, so I didn't want to do something that looked out of place. So I tried something a little more muddy. As with most of the other terrain pieces, I'm trying to keep it simple and quick. I'm saving the big investment of time for some of the more involved pieces -- like the buildings.

23 February 2011

More WFB Terrain

Two more. Arcane Ruins and something I haven't decided. The elf was from a tournament trophy I won a long time ago. It was stored in a box in the basement and got a bit smashed up. I just found it again while packing up my office/studio for a move. Thought I'd turn it into terrain. I'll probably call it a Sinister Statue... from a Skaven point of view. Or I could use it as an Elven Waystone, I suppose.

22 February 2011

Cleveland Game Store Review (repost)



I have updated a new, 2015 list of Northern Ohio Game Stores.  

Go to the new entry!



This previous entry and its replies seem to have disappeared from my blog. Here's a repost:




In my last entry, I complained about the lack of game stores in my part of town. Really, they are mostly concentrated in one area. As a long time gamer, I've seen stores come and go in the Cleveland and Akron (and beyond) areas. As with everything, I'm pretty opinionated on what I like in a game store. So what follows is my review of them on my own terms of what matters in a game store.

Disclaimer: I am writing this from the point of view of someone interested primarily in miniatures games.

There are several things I look for in a game store (besides proximity.)

One is Availability of Product. This doesn't necessarily mean it must be in stock. I'm willing to wait a week or two for the store owner to place a special order for me, and I've always been willing to pay in advance, unless they've given me reason not to. Stores that fail in this respect are just encouraging their customers to shop online, in my opinion.

Another is Environment. This includes organization, cleanliness, available gaming space, and whether or not the place stinks like a locker room located next to a landfill.

Honestly, I started to type a few more things, but when I cut down to the bone, these are the two most important factors. So I'm not going to bother with the rest. Sell me the products I want to buy (and if you're really good, sell me something else!) and make sure your store isn't so repulsive that I have an aversion to entering. Sounds simple, right?

So in Cleveland, on the map above we have a number of stores plus a couple semi-related stores that I will also address at the end.


Comic Heaven. This is the lone east side store. In truth, I haven't been there in years. It's a fairly clean & organized store. Nothing glamorous, but functional. They have one table, but I've never seen it in use. Most of the time, I've seen it buried in boxes. They are half comic store, half game store. They've got what seems to be a decent selection of board games, RPG games, and GW stock. They seem to carry some of the non-GW brands from what I remember. I've been in there asking if they had certain games/products, and if they did not I was never offered a special order to come back and pick up later. The staff has seemed friendly, thoguh. Seems like a passable store. But nothing special dragging me out there beyond the fact that my parents live nearby (and I grew up in the area), so it's occasionally convenient to stop in.


Recess Games. There are three locations. Until recently, a lot of my WFB gaming was done at Recess Games at Great Northern Mall. Honestly, it was one of the best run stores I've been in. It was clean, well organized, the owner and staff have usually been friendly, and if they didn't have something in stock (even if its a line they didn't carry, and even if it was a small order) they would get it for me. Some pre-orders were also available at a significant discount, and anyone who had their card (spend a certain amount & you get the card) got a regular 10% discount. Until recently, they also had a number of gaming tables where groups would meet for gaming on different assigned evenings. But the tables have disappeared, and the focus seems to be moving to board/family games and early childhood toys.


Warzone Matrix. Our WFB gaming has moved to Warzone Matrix. Over the years the store has been through several names, and I believe several owners. It's the closest thing to being centrally located, is easy to get to (right off the highway) and I believe is the only store actually within the city of Cleveland. Unfortunately it's on the border area of a bit of a questionable neighborhood, and the jokes about making sure you park your car in a well lit area aren't entirely jokes. The store is packed with products, including some out of production and hard to find stuff. They've also got a lot of new/current items as well. One of the biggest draws seems to be the gaming space. They have a couple of separate rooms for RPG games (and I assume card games?), and in addition to the existing tables for miniatures games, it seems that they are expanding and adding a few more tables. But there are a few downsides. I've never tried ordering anything from them, but I have noticed some price increases. OOP products have been marked up to reflect pricing of new products (so, for example, you may find a pack of figures that wasn't sold for more than $8 when it was originally available, but now the price is scratched off and its marked up to $16) and when I've bought both GW and Vallejo paints the last couple times I've been there, I've been charged $5 per bottle. Although they've got a lot of stock and gaming tables, the place isn't exactly pleasant. It's partially a maze and very overcrowded. Finding stuff is difficult -- though each time I'm there I notice something I've never spotted before. Gaming there is somewhat determined by the weather outside. In the winter, it's cold. Everyone dresses in layers and leaves their coats on to play. In summer it's stuffy and smelly. It does seem like there is a bit of a reorganization going on as the store expands into the adjacent space, so hopefully conditions improve.


Gamers Haven. This store moved to its current location a couple years ago, from a storefront that was somewhere around 2-3 times its current size. The old location was large, roomy, well organized and clean, and had plenty of gaming tables. The stock was OK. Good for GW games, and it looked like they had a decent selection of RPG, board and card games, though maybe not as large as I've seen at some other stores. The new store is still pretty clean and organized, and still has a couple gaming tables. Be warned, though, that customers are not allowed to use the bathroom. So if you plan on playing a game there... you have been warned. Anytime I've emailed them about events listed on their web page, I've never received an answer. Every time I've tried to order something not in stock, it's either never come in (even when I've been told "come back next week" and then drove across town based on that) or I've just been flat out told that I should buy something that they already have in the store. I've been told similar stories by friends, including one who previously spent a lot of money there but was yelled at by the owner for not buying anything when he stopped in and they didn't have anything he was looking for. Last I heard, my friend had stopped going there altogether.


CtrlAltElite. I've only recently found out about this store. It's a bit too far for me to easilly get to, but I will stop by as soon as I can. From the photos on their Facebook and Web page, it looks like a nice place to play games, though the stock seems to be limited to mostly cards and GW products. I'll add more comments as I get more information.


A couple more comments about other related locations in Cleveland...


Alter Reality. I have never been to this store. As I understand it, they carry mostly RPG and card games. Not my cup o' tea, so I haven't been there.

Hobbytown USA, Mentor. There is a Hobbytown USA in the strip Mall outside Mentor Mall. It's a large hobby store, mostly full of plastic models, RC cars, planes, etc. and some train stuff. Last time I stopped in, they did have a very small selection of GW items. They're also useful for some terrain & basing products, like Woodland Scenics. This is out on the far east side, about 15-20 minutes past Comic Heaven.

Wings. As far as I know, Wings doesn't have their own web page. The link goes to the Google info page for them. Wings is also another hobby store, geared towards plastic models, trains, etc. Once again, it's useful mainly just for hobby supplies. I buy polystyrene sheet and glue here, but that's about it.


Have I missed anyone? That's what I know of within about 50 miles.

At one point there was another west side store, over in the same neighborhood as Warzone, the Recess stores, and Gamers Haven, but I'm not certain its still around. There was also a second store in Great Northern Mall that closed a couple years ago. There was a store in Twinsburgh, but the owner moved quite a few years ago.

Beyond that 50+/- mile radius, I'm at least somewhat familiar with a couple stores in Columbus, Massillon, Toledo, and Erie and Pittsburgh PA. But that's a bit beyond the scope of this "review."

21 February 2011

Screwed Over by Wargames Factory

My own bit of fuel to the fire that has been the Wargames Factory Takeover of Doom... I've generally kept quiet on everything until now. But at this point, it seems that it can't hurt. And I'm pissed off.

I did some painting commissions for Wargames Factory in November & December. Just a few units of (so far) unreleased figures, for their use on packaging and web/promotional materials. They were delivered to WF the first weeks of December and January. After re-submitting all of the documentation requested (invoices, shipping receipts, emails, etc. including my photos of the work) there was a long period of silence during which I sent occasional emails asking for an update on the status of my payment, I have now been told that they won't be paying me because the new manager does not have possession of the figures, and it has been recommended that I privately contact a former employee to try to get payment from them.

I painted for Wargames Factory, not for my contact person at the company. I honored my end of the agreement with WF, my work was delivered. After that the fact that their staff changed, and that somewhere in their apparently rough transition the work has not made it into the possession of the current staff, is not my problem nor does it negate our agreement.

So you can add me to the list of people who have been screwed over by Wargames Factory and their Takeover of Doom. Based on this experience I will (obviously) not work with them again. I recommend against anyone else working with them as well. Hell, at this point I'm done buying their product and encourage others to shop elsewhere too.

If all of this somehow gets resolved I'll post an update.




Here's an article I saw posted elsewhere that seems to piece together what has gone down at Wargames Factory:

http://www.montrealfinancial.ca/blog/the-parable-of-the-toy-soldier-how-a-small-gaming-business-b.html


UPDATE: As promised, I am updating that the management of WF and I have resolved this issue. Details in a newer blog entry.

20 February 2011

More WFB terrain

More WFB terrain.

The first batch of mushrooms (smaller ones) for the Fungus Forest. More on the way. Also a Wyrding Well, which is described as where the "blood of the earth," an amber liquid, bubbles up to the surface. Mine's more like a spring than a well, but I thought that was fitting.




Sinister Statue and one more small 'shroom for the Fungus Forest.




Ghost Fence.

18 February 2011

WFB Terrain

Considering that terrain plays a greater part in 8th edition, I've been bit by the bug to work up some new terrain.


Some of the new stuff I'm working on. First the small items I did last night in a fit of simple inspiration. I've altered a few of these a bit from the book descriptions (which are usually vague anyway):


Magic Circle and Sorcerous Gateway (fairy ring):





Bane Stone and Elven Waystone (warpstone):





And another project I am working on, these will probably get used for the Blood Forrest and Wildwood, as both are "angry tree" terrain pieces:


15 February 2011

Badlands Showdown

Over the weekend I played a 3000 point game of WFB. It was my Skaven vs. a friend's Orcs & Goblins. We used a 4x8 table and the terrain generation rules from the book -- though we dropped our total number of terrain pieces from 10 to 8. We randomized the scenario and ended up with Dawn Attack. Both of us ended up with several units deployed on our own right flanks, with nothing on the our lefts.

So here's a rough layout of the start of the battle.


In the distance, the black blotch is a Sorcerous Portal. The building was a Tower of Blood -- or in our case, a Library of Bloood. The settlement in the center of the O&G deployment area contained an Elven Waystone. The rough patch in the foreground was a Khemrian Quicksand, and the building along the edge of the battlefield in the forground was a Dwarf Brewhouse.





The greenies go first and more or less surge forward. A few blown animosity rolls leaves the general's unit squabbling along the back edge of their deployment area. The small unit of wolf riders are used to slow down my plague monks with a bait & flee. The Abomination takes a few wounds from a bolter, and the Warp Lightning Cannon (WLC) misfires and shoots off in a random direction off the Skaven table edge.





View of the battle from the Grey Seer's Bell tower.






View of the opposite flank, from the point of view of the Plague Monks. Clanrats and slaves rush around the Library of Blood to engage giant spiders and their invisible riders.






View of the Abominations ass. Plague monks to the right, slaves to the left. Lots of Orc shooting in ahead, plus a solid unit of biguns and their supporting night gobbos.





View just to the left of the last photo, right behind the skaven Warlord's unit. BSB is in the clanrat unit to the left. Night gobbos skulk through the settlement across the field.





In the distance, on the Skaven right, the slaves have chased down the spider riders and keep the rallied wolf riders at bay. The clanrats who ran along the inner side of the Library of Blood charge the orc archers and get bogged down in combat thanks to the unusually stiff morale of the orcs.

The Abomination is gunned down by orc artillery, and an attempted combined charge by the Skaven Warlord's unit and the slaves along side him fails, as the sluggish slaves have no thirst for combat. The general's escort goes in alone but wades through the orcs, routes them and chases them down. The plague monks begin their slow wheel and redeployment in search of a decent opponent.

Closer to the center, the rat ogres learn the danger of massed goblin archery combined with poisoned attacks. One lone, injured r'ogre is all that remains.

A lucky Scorch spell nearly annihilates the squig unit, which an unlucky attempt at firing leads to the second misfire in row and the WLC explodes.

A unit of Skaven gutter runners (and an assassin) sneaks on to the table alongside the giant, but are hit by a fanatic, suffer two casualties and decide they've had enough, fleeing off the table. One of the fanatics initially heads towards the open space beside the Seer's unit (behind a fence) but then heads back to the injured giant and takes him down.

The orc general's unit continues to squabble.





The Skaven Warlord's unit weathers the attack of several goblin fanatics and finds itself between the night goblins and the goblin hero riding a gigantic spider.

The bell continues to shamble aimlessly.

In a "contest of the abused" the lone r'ogre charges into the Quicksand and fights it out with the remaining squigs & handlers. He breaks and pursues, but is perforated by a hail of goblin arrows the following turn.





Towards the end of the game...

The Skaven Warlord deals first with the spider hero, then with the night goblins. The clanrats in the distance finally finished off the orc archers and then turn on the bolter. The slaves, seeing that the fighting is almost done, finally get themselves into combat and swarm the catapult.

In the center, the night goblins begin retreating as the BSB, clanrats and plague monks continue to advance. At some point the second unit of gutter runners appears next to one of the catapults, but is shot up by the the gobbo archers along the flank. The gutter runners again panick right off the table, but then the gobbos themselves are sent running after sustaining heavy casualties from magic.


In the end, it looked like a decent victory for the Skaven. The "big stuff" didn't have much affect. The monks & furnace, Abom and r'ogres were more or less kept out of combat. The clanrats and warlord did all the work, along with unusually successful support from the Seer's magic. Most of the Skaven casualties were caused by artillery fire, fanatics and a couple good rounds of volley fire by 40 gobbos. Just like the big Skaven threats mostly stayed away from combat, the Orc general & his big unit of orcs, the giant and the squigs all never saw any real combat either.

Another good game. I do have to admit that I am getting past some of my dislike for the 8th edition rules. It still makes for some frustrating and stupid things happening in game, but I think I've achieved some sort of almost Zen like state of denial. I am also enjoying these bigger games of WFB (3000 points) even more than the smaller games, too.

11 February 2011

Munny Tree

Although it's only sort of peripherally related to the toy soldier hobby that was the theme of this blog when I started, I thought I'd continue posting some of the other toy & sculpting updates in my life.

So I've wrapped up the custom Mini Munny I had previously been working on. The "Rabid Squabbit" will be entered in a custom vinyl toy show at the beginning of next month.

I'm not entirely happy with how things turned out. I will consider it a "learning experience," however. I still like the form & concept -- I've just got a lot of issues with the level of finish. My wife & friends have told me I'm being picky, but I think that's the point.








Since I replaced the existing head with a freshly sculpted one, I figured I'd try doing something with the head. I had a couple of ideas, but for some reason I kept coming back to concepts involving trees. So here's the basic skeleton worked out. So far it's made with the obvious Munny head, plus florist wire (mainly uncoated 18 gauge,) a fender washer and a bunch of epoxy putty.


Next I will work out the general shape of some roots (though it's pretty well balanced so far!) then bulk everything out, ads some smaller branches, and then apply a finish coat over the entire tree surface. Finally, of course, I will paint it. Or work out some sort of deal with someone else who wants it or wants to paint it.

I'm thinking the head should have been up higher, and at least one small branch should have been coming out the side of the head.

10 February 2011

Quit Clowning Around, or The Shortest Campaign

After numerous discussions, we've revived Mordheim with the local WFB group. Six of us played our first games of the campaign tonight. We had two Reiklanders, one Possessed, one Sistas of Sigmar... and then there was my game... sadistic Undead carnival beating up and eating up the Marienburgers for a laugh.

I present the pictorial evidence...




Off to the left side of my starting position, a group of zombie clowns shambles along flankwise. So I send off a detachment of melee troops to deal with it, along with covering fire from two marksmen, one with a bow one with a crossbow.

After shooting provides no results (across the board -- all game) I try to send in a champion swinging a gigundous sword, and a couple warriors armed with clubs & daggers. The big charge comes... and one man runs in, the others failing their fear tests. Mr. Lucky (as he was briefly named) walks in, swings blindly at one clown and is quickly surrounded and eaten. See above.

This is why people develop a seemingly odd fear of clowns.

They're just not funny when they're eating your brains!





In the meantime, the major scuffle is brewing outside the ruins of a walled manor house in the center of the table. My leader (Gunter) tries to impress the vampiric Ringmaster by doing his best impression of a doormat. The rest of Team Quitter mills about, half heartedly swinging weapons to no effect.





The turn following Mr. Lucky's devouration, the rest of the troops finally run into combat. However, their emotions for their fallen comrade must have been too strong to allow them to fight effectively, as the couldn't hit the broadside of a zombie. Not even the one that didn't even have a body.




Back to the manor house, Team Leader, Gunter has been skewered, and the Ringmaster follows up into Plastic The Noob (one of my youngbloods.) The rest of the team continues flailing wildly and ineffectively at the ghouls.




Here we see a reenactment of the legendary Mr. Lucky Zombie Clown Beatdown. It didn't go any better for his unnamed compatriot.




Too little, too late. Plastic The Noob gets a lucky dagger shot and takes the Vampire out of action. One of the swordsmen also drops a ghoul, though I continue to lose warband members and bottle out...




The result? Death, death, death, injury and poverty. I lose my leader, a youngblood and a swordsman, but the champion and warrior escape and fully heal. I get almost no rewards (one shard) and don't feel the warband is worth saving. Hence, the posthumous "Team Quitter" title. The carnival, on the other hand, appear to have both made off with significant wealth, and have some satisfied and well fed zombies. Zombie clowns.

I'm thinking of fielding either Skaven or Possessed next time. I feel the latter are reallly difficult to use, and tried them in three campaigns back in the day. Or maybe I should try something new. It could give me an excuse to paint some new figures.

03 February 2011

For Sale: 40k Nurgle Chaos Terminators

For Sale

6 Old metal chaos terminators. Fairly heavy conversions. I've held on to these for a long time, as I am very fond of them. But desperate times require desperate measures. I no longer play 40k, and as much as I enjoy having these in my display cabinet, I also need to pay some bills. So I'm hoping some Nurgle/Chaos fan will give them a good home. Click to enlarge pics.

$200 plus your choice of postage.














For Sale: Mutants/Renegades/Cultists/Spaven

For Sale

21 Mutants/Renegades/Cultists/Spaven. Whatever you chose to call them. 20 converted from old plastic Skaven, using various 40k & Necromunda weapons. A lot of pistols, a few shotguns, and two primitive looking flamethrowers. Also includes one old metal Seer with pistol. When I played 40k (long ago, several editions back) I used these as Nurgle cultists.

$100 plus your choice of postage.







For Sale: Unpainted

For Sale

I'm in the US. Buyer pays postage. Everything is either still in its original packaging, or still on the sprue, if opened.

I will list painted figures separately. I may also have some painted/unpainted historicals to list. I have to decide how desperate I am and what I am willing to part with at this time.

Photos of many of the items available here:
http://s11.photobucket.com/albums/a195/ZeroTwentythree/sell/



WFB

Skaven
- Battalion (still shrinkwrapped in box)
- 10 Unassembled Clanrats (includes all bits: bodies, shields, handweapons, spears, standard and musician.)
- 40 Unassebled Clanrats (complete clanrats from Island of Blood box)
- 10 Unassembled Plague Monks (includes extra arms and other bits)
$120

High Elves
- Island of Blood set (still on sprue)
$35
(Or take it for $30 and I keep the griffin.)

Bretonnians
- Repanse de Lyonesse
$10




40k


Space Marines

Predator Annihilator $30
Rhino $23
Land Raider $43
Bike Squad $31
Bike Squad $31
Land Speeder $20
Land Speeder $20
Land Speeder $20
Land Speeder Typhoon $20

SM Infantry Pile: 2 scouts, 3 space wolf scouts, 2 scout heavies, 5 heavy weapon marines, 2 leaders, one cloak, 1 jump pack
Marine & Space Wolf bits
All SM Infantry: $100

Forge World Land Raider Promethius conversion kit $11


Imperial Guard

IG Infantry: Nork Deddog, Solar Macharius, Yarrik, Old Inquisitor in Term. Armour, 2 Officers
All IG Infantry: $60



Orks

Ghazghkull Thraka $24



Inquisitor

Artemis $20

02 February 2011

Classic Figures

Painting some classic figures for a commission. More to come...



The banner is from Imperial Forge.