27 December 2012

2012 Goals in Review

I'm a couple days early, but seeing as nothing gaming related will be happening and I won't likely have much free time to do this for a while, I'll get a head start on the review of my 2012 hobby goals. I tried to make keep them very modest, yet optimistic & attainable. Let's see...



1. Play a game (or games) on at least 12 days this year. That's a game a month goal. I'm only counting my attendance at Cold Wars as a single "day."

Failed. Had three days of gaming: Cold Wars, Grillfest and WFB with TWA.


2. Get at least 8 WWI planes completely finished, get the rest of the stands, a hex mat and play at least one game of Blue Max/Canvas Eagles.

Failed. Not much progress. Still the same two planes mostly finished (still no decals.) Plus a few more assembled but not rigged or painted. I haven't looked in ages, but last few times I was ready to buy the stands, they were out of stock. Looked at options for the hex mat. At this point, I'm scraping money together for the holidays so not likely to buy anything for gaming.


3. Paint Romans, friends and foes. A hold over from the past two years. This year I will even set a modest number. Finish the mostly painted scutarii I started last year, and paint 4 units of Roman legion.

Failed. Didn't touch this project at all. Due to lack of time to play, WAB falling apart, and lack of money, I've sold off my Romans & most of their friends. I still have the Ancient Germans and some of the Gauls. (For now.)


4. Make trees. I've got a kit of deciduous trees. I've had them for a couple years. It's about time I put them together.

Failed. Haven't even thought about this. With almost no gaming or other modeling/painting going on, there doesn't seem to be much point in bothering anyway.


5. Paint a unit of landsknecht pikemen and the pack of casualty figures.

SUCCESS! I did paint the casualties and some of the pikemen. I'm not going to count or get hung up on numbers. But I enjoyed some painting earlier in the year and need to feel some degree of success in this list.




6. Paint the strumpets. I've got 4 of them ready to go on the painting table, from the same range of Reaper figures as the previous civilians. In fact, a few more civilians would be nice as well. Let's say the strumpets plus another 6 civvies.

SUCCESS! Again, not really counting numbers and I do know that I've still got some unpainted civilians. But, again, I enjoyed some painting and made some progress.



So I achieved a 2/3 success rate... if I don't examine the criteria too carefully.

I'm not going to bother making any sort of 2013 goals. It's too depressing, since they would most realistically look like, "Play one game in 2013," and, "Don't sell the last remaining bits of my gaming collection," and even then I'm not sure I could attain those.

I think that I just need to come to an acceptance of the fact that I no longer have the option to have hobbies or other luxuries, and that after 30+ years of gaming, I have to walk away. Really, I've already done so. I just keep looking back and it's rather depressing. I'm not sure there will be any further blog entries, as there's really nothing more to talk about unless I'm trying to sell off the remainder of my collection in the coming months.

19 October 2012

What's Going On ZeroTwentythree?

Not really any gaming related news to report. Haven't painted figures nor played a game since the Grillfest.

Work and family responsibilities continue to take up most of my time. My daughter is 15 months old now. She's starting to walk, though with some uncertainty. She still crawls about half the time, presumably because she can do so at an amazing speed compared to the toddling about.

When I can squeeze in some late nights I've been back at the vinyl toys. Just opened an online shop, in fact. (Trying to raise money for a new crib and so I can hopefully afford to buy a few Christmas gifts in the next month or so.) I think some of the appealing things about working on them rather than gaming miniatures is that I am 100% free to do whatever my imagination directs me to, and I also don't feel any pressure to reach any goals (unit, army, figures for a game, etc.)

Below are some of the most recent customs I've done.


27 August 2012

Grillfest 2012

For the second time in a month, I played some WFB! That makes 5 games now in the past year... all within a few weeks time. I might be back, time permitting. This time it was with my newer gaming group, B.R.E.W.S. at the fifth annual Grillfest. As with previous years it was WFB (and grilling) during the morning & afternoon, and board games (and grilling) in the evening. WFB was played at 1600 points, I think we had 8 players. A few others couldn't make it til later, we probably had about twice as many people total. A couple of photos from early in the day, before everyone showed up:







We played three rounds. My games were against a witch hunter themed Empire army, mercenary Ogre Kingdoms, and fast (all skirmish or mounted) Dogs of War. Against all odds and thanks mostly to blind luck, I smashed all three opponents and ended up winning the first ever BREWS Cup, photographed below immediately after I got it, but before I had a chance to wash it and pour the beer directly in to it.





As part of the festivities, we have a painted miniature exchange. Bringing a painted figure to trade is part of the "admission price." I posted pics of my contribution previously. This year I came home with a beautiful undeadish conversion of the Archaon figure. My photo doesn't do it justice (I think I still need to work on better lighting.)





Later on, in the boardgame phase of the Grillfest, I got to play the light-hearted King of Tokyo and one of my favorites, Betrayal at the House on the Hill.

I haven't been around much. No time for gaming, record low interest in WFB the past year or so, etc. Plus a few of the other guys (and/or spouses) who aren't around as much showed up too. So it was good to just see everyone, BS about games and not-games alike. I don't get much free time or chances to play games or even just be social anymore... so it was a much needed break. I really need to get more of this sort of thing.



Coincidentally, but unrelated to the Grillfest, I also received one of the few new figures I've bought lately, in the mail on the same day. 

What is it? DemoBot! I have no game use for it, I just love the look of the figure & wanted to paint one up.

13 August 2012

TWA WFB 1500 points

Played a two round 1500 point event today with my old gaming group, Twinsburg Wargame Association. They were small & quick games. I was a bit rusty & had to ask more rule questions than I probably should have, but I think it went fairly smoothly for me.

Game 1 vs. Goblins




The game was pretty undecided at first. I thought I was screwed when, after eating the pump wagon and wolves, my elephants (demi-gryps in disguise...) got stuck in a combat with the giant where he rolled the "yell & bawl" result for several turns until I finally broke. My plan was to finish off the giant before the mangler squig could swing around behind me, but instead they got tied up, eventually failed a break test, fled and were run down/eaten by the giant squig(s).

In the center, speaking of squigs, I fought the unit of them with both my spear and greatswords. Eventually the flank unit of night goblins joined in, but broke and fled. The unti in the back panicked at some point, which took several/most of the goblin heroes off the battlefield. That was pretty much the end of the game.

On my left flank, the knignts with grand master, walked over the lone goblin hero and then battled it out with the trolls. I managed to cast Mindrazor on them at one point, which was fun but sort of a bit of overkill. I ended up winning after losing the elephants, but the rest of my army was in good shape compared to the competition.


Game 2, vs. VC


Next game was against the VC. It can be summed up with the single word "attrition," but that might neglect the roles that "grave guard" and "Empire deployment" played in aiding the vampire win.







Initial set up in the first pic, the second pic is about 2 turns into the game.

After discovering the woods were a "venom thicket" the greatswords went on a really bad detour that kept them from bringing their force to bear in any sort of coordinated way with the rest of the army. Perhaps I should have just sucked up the random casualties and continued through the woods.

I had limited ways of dealing with the wraiths, all of which failed initially. I ended up having to charge my IC knights (with grand master with a runefang) laterally between the two battle lines to finally fix the situation. But that left a major clusterfcuk in the center, in which the grave guard got to deal individually with, first, the IC knights & grand master, then the elephants, and finally the greatswords.

To my credit, in spite of my horrible deployment and maneuvers, I caused a lot of damage. Unfortunately the VC spellcasters could raise new troops even faster. So it was a losing battle most of the game. I even successfully cast Pit o Shades several times, but it did me little good.



I need to revise my list a bit for the 1600 point games at the upcoming Grillfest. A few things to consider and, of course, that extra 100 points.


08 August 2012

W-E Figure Exchange

For the past few years I've been participating in the Warhammer-Empire.com "Pleasant Surprises" figure exchange.

This year I jumped all over my exchange figure(s) pretty quickly. My recipient this year had a bit of a unique WFB Empire army. I tried to match his color scheme and basing as best as I could. His plog is here, if you want to see his army: http://warhammer-empire.com/theforum/index.php?topic=36470

(Hopefully he doesn't mind me using his photos, as they are much better quality than mine.)







It was fun to work on for a couple of reasons. One is that I've never painted an all white color scheme like yours. The other is that I haven't done a diorama style unit filler like that for Empire before.

I'm contemplating the option of basing my own figures mostly on 40x40 bases from now on, which would make little vignettes like the one above possible as part of my own collection.




07 August 2012

Empire Photos, Game Room Environmental Issues



I recently posted a pic of most of my painted Empire stuff. I've taken a few photos of some individual units, and may do some more in the future. For now, here are the greatswords and spearmen. Both are mixed troops (though mostly human) per my mercenary army theme.




Now that we've been in the house a few months, and I've been working (both job-work and a bit of occasional mini-painting) in the attic, I've started thinking about my hopes for a game room up here -- or at least a removable game table for a bit of gaming.

The problem I've discovered is environmental. There is one window, and it currently has a portable air conditioning unit in it. Most days the poor little guy (who I've nicknamed "The Little AC That Could") struggles just to keep the attic tolerable. Mornings and early afternoon are usually OK. By the time 4-5pm hits, it gets a bit... warm. 7-8pm is usually worse, and after that it starts getting a little better. That's with just me up here, a few fluorescent lights and the computer. Add a few more lights and either one or several opponents and I think it would get too uncomfortable in Summer. I'll have to see how Autumn and Winter go, but I suspect the latter will be chilly.

We did start to unpack a few more boxes. Mostly art and photos that are now hanging around the house. Not only does that clear up some of the attic space, but the house is finally starting to feel a bit more like a home.

02 August 2012

Army List Building and the Other Toys


Army List Building

I'm hoping to actually get two days of gaming in this month. Both will probably be mostly WFB. So, as I believed I previously mentioned, I picked up the 8th ed. Empire army book.

I've now sat down a half dozen times to try to create n army list.... and I just can't plow all the way through it. I think it's at least partially because of frustration due to the importance of list building in the game. Like, if I don't pick an optimized list, I'll end up bringing a pointy stick to a tank fight. I think it's also a bit of frustration at having to relearn the fine points of an army list for the same game yet again.

At any rate, I just closed the spreadsheet I use for list building yet again, and have no idea what I will use. I should just show up with a bunch of figures that look good on the table and improvise the army list as I go. ;)


The Other Toys

I've posted pics of my previous adventures in art toys (vinyl, scratch sculpted, etc.) before. A while ago I bought a limited edition resin toy, D.O.G. 1.0 that I had been watching before it even went on sale. I had an idea for a DIY custom that combines several of my interests/hobbies into one project. After I had started, there were still a few of the original SIY toys left, so I bought the last of them so I could try more than one variation.

At any rate, here's a photo of the original, plus a wok-in-progress shot of the first in my D.O.G.fighter series...



The colors/pattern are inspired by (and closely follows -- as best as one can on a robot dog turned biplane) a historical plane, hence the name. Roundels and other details forthcoming.


15 July 2012

Marienburg So Far

Still unpacking & such at home. Took a photo of the painted portion of my Marienburg army -- not all of which is really Empire-by-the-book. (I think I could field about 6000 points in the current rules.)






It got me thinking about the WFB of my youth. My friends and I used to get together over Christmas/winter break and play a giant multi-day game of WFB, trying to put as much of our armies on the table at once. We still used a pre-determined points limit. We also had some really basic scenario rules (usually just an objective, centered around capturing Santa Claus and his sleigh of goodies.) This was way back in the days of 3rd edition.

At any rate... thinking about a big game now. Bigger than what's pictured in the above image. Need to get back to painting!


06 July 2012

More Planes, Empire 8th, and the Paint Comes Out

Time is still a scarce commodity in the Twentythree household, but I've squeaked in a little hobby time.


WFB Empire - 8th Edition

I finally broke down and picked up the new(ish) army book. Haven't done more than flip through it, though I've read quite a bit on the internets since its publication. I don't expect too many surprises. But I'm planning on playing my first WFB games in at least a year in August (maybe before?) So I figured I'd better get in on the new Empire action.

While I was at The Local Game Store, I thought I'd take a look around. They had the Warlord Games Macedonians (and Greeks), about which I'm very curious. However since they were priced at $8 more than regular retail, I passed. I'd prefer to support local stores, but not at inflated prices, especially when mail order or convention show discounted prices would be a good $14 less.


WWI Planes

I unpacked my work space and modeling supplies, but still had many of the paints packed away in boxes somewhere. After spending weeks doing nothing but unpacking, cleaning, etc. I wanted to kick back and relax a bit. So I built a couple more WWI planes.

First is a Roden Pfalz D.III. The Pfalz is a beautiful plane -- sexy like an Albatross. Unfortunately this kit was difficult to work with, had a lot of flash, and my patience just wasn't up to dealing with it very well. So this ended up being one of the uglier assembly jobs I've done. I do place a lot of that blame on the kit, though. Also annoyed that there was no pilot included. I've looked around and think I found a box of pilots that I will order in the near(ish) future.




Next was a Revell SPAD XIII. A very nice plane, but in a different (less sexy) way than the German planes. Much easier kit to put together, and the end result is much better. I also appreciate the inclusion of a pilot.


I still have to do the rigging for both of these, plus three of the previously assembled planes. I should get back to painting them as well! Plus the planes that have already been painted still need decals as well.


Paint on the Horizon

I finally unpacked the paint. What got me to do it was the upcoming figure exchanges. There are two in my future.

One is the "admission price" for Grover's Grillin' Cheesefest, which is the local/BREWS summer cookout and outdoor gaming extravaganza hosted by Grover/Mike. I'm still trying to make up my mind what to paint for this. The first year I did a "blind box" -- well, actually two. The guy who drew my name had to pick Box A or Box B, without knowing what he got. As it turned out, he got Repanse turned into a standard bearer. The next year I brought the other box, which contained the old, long OOP Night Goblin "giving the bird," which is honstly one of my favorite classic figures. I may do another blind choice this year, but label to two boxes "Good" and "Evil."

The other exchange is the annual Warhammer-Empire.com "Pleasant Surprises" figure exchange. I did a bit of converting/modeling for this a couple days ago, and just started painting tonight.  I didn't get very far yet, and need to step away from the computer and get back to work! I am very excited about this, because I had a couple of ho-hum ideas before coming up with one I really liked and jumped right into!

Other projects on the desk are to (finally) clear out some of the figures that I should have painted for other people long ago. This would include some High Elf spearmen to augment those I previously painted on commission, Lothar von Richthofen's DR.1, which I built quite a while ago but still need to paint, and my own unit of alternative demigryph models... Chevaliers l'El├ęphant. I'm still working on the modeling & sculpting -- they should look much more fearsome when I'm done!




07 June 2012

Setting Up Shop

Attic

At the beginning of the week, this is what my new attic looked like:






After several late nights of sweaty work, I've managed it down to this:






In the far corners are my old wooden K&E drafting table (left) and my steel work table (right.) In the foreground along the right are most of my bins of painted figures, as well as all of my painting and art supplies.

Tonight I had some work work (job stuff) to do, so no time for the attic. However, I did measure it up and I should be able to fit a 4x8 table comfortably in the middle of the room. It will have to be stored away when not in use, but that shouldn't be a problem.

Progress!


Blog Reading

Also, I haven't had much time to read other people's blogs in quite a while. Work, moving, the baby, etc. are all keeping me busy, and most of my time in front of a computer is spent doing things I'm being paid for. Most of my personal "casual" internetification now happens on my phone when I get a few minutes here and there (waiting in line at the grocery store, etc.) I have previously looked in to the Blogger app, but it's only geared towards posting entries. BUT, I have just discovered the Google Reader app for the Android and I'm now equipped for reading all the blogs to which  I subscribe.

27 May 2012

Moving and Painting

My family and I have moved into our new place. It's been a hectic two weeks.

We've got an extra room at the new place, in the finished attic. We will be using this fairly large room for all of our music and art -- and hopefully a gaming table. But at the very least, I will have a nice space for painting (figures or otherwise.)

In the last few weeks leading up to The Big Pack preceding The Big Move, I managed to sneak away to the basement late at night and paint a few figures. Below are an assortment of photos from that period:













FYI, it took 7 tries of "Add Selected (images)" in the new and "improved" Blogger editor to get most of these images to actually appear. The last one took two additional tries, as it wasn't added with the rest. My frustration with Blogger continues...

01 May 2012

Hobbitses





I'm managing to squeek in a little more painting. A few Empire/landsknecht figures, but still working on them.

I did finished 6 halflings from Goblin Factory.




I like them. Not quite up to GW standards, but they have their charm. Especially at $8.50 for 6 figures (and no overseas postage.) That compares to $15 for 3 or $55 for 12 GW halflings.

I like the size & proportions, and appreciate that they still look like simple rustic militia without being turned into a mockery or caricature. They fit well with many of the RPG oriented halflings, and will be good for bulking out (haha...) the rank & file troops.




Also.... it seems that Blogger has a "New Look." Sadly, the functionality still seems to suck, which is really annoying. I'd rather have them fix the way things work before spending yet more time switching the way it looks and screwing with the interface. Still having issues with formatting, especially inserting & positioning images.

17 April 2012

Paint!

The long break from painting & gaming continues. But I actually did something! TWO somethings!


First up, Teclis. This is for the same client/friend I've painted for before. The base isn't finished in the photo (its downstairs drying right now.)

While I was waiting for washes, glue, etc. to dry, I also finished up the last figure from the second Townsfolk pack from Reaper. Not my best work, as it was a bit rushed.


Otherwise, things continuing as before. Life is dominated by baby and work, both of which are growing quite well.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, we've got to move. the good news is that we found a new place. It's nicer than where we're at now, and has more room, all for about the same price. I will also be much closer to the Cleveland game stores (which are all on the west side of town) as well as most of our friends, including the other Cleveland gamers I know. The down side is that both of our jobs, and the babysitter are all now 30 minutes away. My job is actually flexible, and I can work near home on days where I don't need to take Abby to the babysitter. The other gaming related down side is that I am now even further away from my old gaming group (the guys from the Twinsburg Wargame Association.)

28 March 2012

Painter Dave - Warpaint Studio

I have just learned that Dave Gulczynski, the man behind Warpaint Studio (link to his page in  the "Wargame Links" section, to the right) and occasional part of our local WFB group, has passed away.

He had a wonderfully clean and colorful painting style that made my figures look like dull little pebbles. His commissioned figures brightened up the local gaming tables, and the tables and collections of his clients around the world. I'm sad I never had him paint anything for me. Locally, everyone simply called him "Painter Dave."

Very sad and unexpected news.

Packin' Up

Not much going on in terms of painting or games since Cold Wars. The entire household (even the dog) has been dealing with various medical issues, and I've been sick for a week and a half.

As I previously mentioned, I did set up a work table, but it appears that I will not get a chance to use it. This weekend we learned that the house we rent has been sold. We've now got just over a month to try to find a new place to live, pack up and move. No money nor time to pack, but we've got little choice.

It's been about two years of feeling like I'm living on a rollercoaster, I'd really just like to exit the ride ASAP.

On a more positive note, my wife took one of my favorite family photos (so far) with her phone recently...

13 March 2012

Cold Wars 2012

Back from Cold Wars. Had a good time. Spent time with old friends that I don't get to see nearly as much as I'd like. Although my events had to be scaled down, I think they still worked out well. Only 6 players (I allowed a max of 8) per event showed up. I played in a couple Day of Battle games. Got to see a lot of great games.

In fact, how about some photos? (More wordy bits at the end.)


My two WAB events. I revisited my previous Cimbric War demo game, with a few adjustments. Romans on the left in the first photo/game, Romans on the right in the second one. Romans won both games, though the Cimbri snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the second game. They had managed to take both flanks, but instead of timing their frontal & flank assault on the Roman line, they hit it piecemeal, in one-on-one frontal combats.



At one point a couple of guys walked by to look at the game, and one turned to the other and knowingly explained, "Lord of the Rings." I got an internal laugh out of it, but was too busy helping my players resolve a combat to explain otherwise.



These next two photos are of a table used for two games, if I understand correctly. First was a "Red Dawn" scenario, second was a zombie game. It was just inside the Distlefink Hall (my game was in the lobby on the other side of the doors) and at one point during my first game, we heard the cry go up, "Wolverines!" Great looking table.




I assume this is some sort of Mars/VSF game.




A double blind WWII game. 



Great use of the "teddy bear fur" terrain. There were a couple of table using that material.



A couple shots of a beautiful looking game. Don't know what it was -- Napoleonics or 1812? Some more great looking games/tables follow.










 Three shots of what appeared to be a 54mm War of 1812 game.



 Another zombie game. 15mm this time. Hordes upon hordes of zombies flooding the streets. Some nice LED effects on some of the terrain, too.




So, as usual, lots of great games, terrain and figures. A lot of zombie games. Probably one of the most popular genres.

I sold off some of my stuff in the flea market. Not as much as I would have liked, but I have no room to complain. Got rid of a few last bits of painted fantasy figures, as well as both painted and unpainted historicals. The most popular painted stuff -- by a long shot -- were the ancient Spanish. I would have never thought that, but I suppose there are always Romans, Celts, and similarly popular figures for sale.

I spent a record low this time. I only bought a couple items. The only flea market purchase was a single action airbrush that was labeled "never used," though when I got home & unboxed it there was obviously paint on it. I only paid $15, so we'll see how it goes. In terms of figures I bought a set of Eureka 18th century civilians that includes their string quartet set, C. E. Bach & his clavichord, Fredrick playing the flute, and Fredrick & Voltaire out for a walk. I also grabbed two packs of hobbits from Goblin Factory, and some pirate women from Bronze Age. That's it.

Architects of War Also had a great booth in the dealers hall. In fact, I *love* they way they display all the plastic kits, with a painted example of the contents on a pedestal behind each stack of boxes. I really wanted to take home the Otherworld giant, but it was way more than I could justify spending.

The only dark spot was having to deal with a seriously rude woman in the flea market. As I was still unpacking and putting prices on some things, she started rummaging through my stuff (she had a table too -- well, three of them, apparently) and disappeared with some of it, explaining "my table's right over there." Later on, after the market had started she returned some of it, but kept at least one item. Later still, I had to go looking for her to either get my item(s) back or collect my money. Rather than pay what I was asking, or even try to haggle, she more or less insisted that I should take what she was offering. After a second trip closer to the end, I finally collected the rest of it. It wasn't even the money itself that annoyed me -- rudeness really irritates me and will only make me unwilling to give ground against that sort of person/behavior.

So this was probably my last show for a while. I'm not sure when I will be able to get to another one. Historicon is definitely out. A little bittersweet, as I had previously resolved that I needed to put painting and gaming aside, but this weekend really reminded me of how much I enjoy the hobby. So I'll see what I can try to work on in the little spare time I've got.