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


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...


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. ;)


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.


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


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.