31 March 2011

Adepticon 2011

This was supposed to be the year I went to Adepticon. I was very excited about that. But the unemployment and upcoming fatherhood have thrown a bit of a wrench into those plans. So no Adepticon for me. It's a bit difficult reading about everyone else going, all over Blogger and the fora I visit. But I'll survive. Maybe I will try to get some more gaming at home in this weekend.

I may not be going to Adepticon, but some of my recent commission work is! I just painted most of the Cinematic Effects range of accessories for Armorcast. One of the owners was putting together a really nice looking display for them when I recently dropped off the remainder of the pieces. They're really unique items and were an interesting change of pace to paint. Especially the "HE hamster rounds." ;)

I don't do much sci-fi anymore, but I'm hoping to try using some on a few figures in the near future. (Digging through old piles of minis!) At any rate, stop by & see what they've got. I believe they will have some new figures on display and for sale as well.

WAB: Rome vs. Carthage

Got in a WAB game with a friend who's just starting out. He's an experienced WFB player and has been working on his WAB figures for a while, but this is the first game we've played. He brought Republican Romans, so I wanted to try something more interesting than more Romans or Gauls, so I put together the elephant I posted in my last entry, and pulled out my half painted unit of African spearmen and fielded a Carthaginian army. It was a Punic War in Spain list, so other than those two items mentioned (and the leadership, of course,) the army was mostly Spanish & Celtic (or Celtiberian.)

Romans are on the left, Carthaginians are on the right. Here's the first turn advance...

My elephant took a wound in the second turn, stampeded through the unit that caused the wound, and into the first line of Romans.

Unfortunately, Jumbo blew his dice against the Romans (the crew both caused wounds, though) and stampeded back towards home. I had already prepared for this possibility and had opened a lane for him. Some of my own skirmishers, and my army standard bearer, panicked at the site of the elephant fleeing, though.

My heavy cav on my left flank (Gallic) have got themselves through the skirmishers and first line of Romans, and are locked in combat a little too far ahead of the rest of the army. Spanish caetrati have attempted to sneak through the woods in support.

And this is towards the end of the game. On my right, I managed to let a big unit of Celtiberians get flanked. They took heavy casualties, broke and took most of the flank with them. A lone unit of Roman velites mopped up most of the fleeing troops. My left flank was a bit similar, the cavalry broke and panicked the nearby skirmishers and ceatrati. In the center I pressed forward as quickly as I could in a last ditch effort. But my Punic spearmen panicked from the antics on the flanks, and left just two units going in alone, a big mob of Celtiberians and a unit of scutarii. Both performed fairly well in combat, but not well enough to break through the Romans. In the long run, they would lose the battle of attrition, and were on the verge of being surrounded anyway.

Victory to Rome.

I mentioned elsewhere that I don't have much faith in elephants. I've never used on in one of my own armies, but I have faced them. From that point of view, I have rarely seen them perform well. So while I'd like to give him another shot (or two) I'm already tinkering with a Jumbo-less variant on the list.

29 March 2011

Two Beasties

First some commission painting. It's a resin figure from Miss Painting Group, in Hong Kong.

And then an elephant for myself. Quickie paint job and poor photo taken with my phone.

21 March 2011

Toys and Ancients and Late Night Rambling


Iron Mitten has posted an amusing illustration regarding the state of ancients rules...


The saying, "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" keeps popping into my head in regard to WAB. Ten years after the game was released, I was still waiting for the promised supplements covering most of the popular ancient periods/armies -- many of my favorites. A year or so ago GW released a new edition of the rules, supposedly with a series of new army lists hot on its heels. Not only was the new edition barely a change from the old one -- I feel I paid a lot of money for a book that contained more errors than rule changes -- but we still have no lists.

I am looking forward to all of the new rules, and taking a second look at some already released rules.

Vinyl Toys

The opening reception for the vinyl toy show I previously posted about was this weekend. I had a long day Saturday, but managed to pop in the gallery for a few minutes. It was packed full of people and a decent variety of custom toys. There were a few I really wanted to buy, but alas, unemployment is taking its toll and I am really starting to feel the financial crunch -- it's no time for me to buy art toys.

Earlier in the week, I also started a new one...

...again, it's a Munny Mini. So far I'm pretty happy with it. I do have to admit to a certain amount of inspiration for this one. I'm working on painting up a set of the Armorcast Cinematic Effects for display, and was thinking about how much I really like they way that they capture a sense of action in our toy soldiers. The other inspirations were the fact that the Munny came with the baseball bat accessory and I wasn't certain what to do with it and earlier in the week I also saw a performance of Don Giovanni (in which my wife performs) and there's a lot of vengeance talk. Well, singing rather than talking, really. So mash that all together and I came up with the above. I'm hoping I've got some time to start painting it this week.

Hobby, Art and other Rambling

I've also been working on some 100% custom sculpted type things. I think the lines between my hobbies/creative outlets/work are starting to get a bit blurred. I'm not sure where those sculpts fall. For example I can trace my own process for two of them as coming from the vinyl toys, and two came from gaming & toy soldiers. Now all of them are converging into something that doesn't strictly fall into either of those categories -- at least not as I feel most people see it.

Painting and converting toy soldiers, painting and modifying vinyl toys, traditional sculpture, traditional painting, architecture, model building... there's always been a bit of crossover of skills & knowledge, but it's hit a point where I'm seeing far less boundaries. I feel like some of the toy stuff has completely left the realm of what most people do. When I've brought up 100% custom sculpts in the context of custom vinyl toys, it's like I was speaking a foreign language. I just didn't realize that what I viewed as a further evolution was something that they saw as "outside." I was recently talking about the fact that I sometimes like to see the obvious paint layers and brush strokes on some of my toy soldiers. That can be borderline taboo with many of the people who believe realism being the goal in figure painting (or any painting, for some people who only like realism in art!) I'm also (slowly) working on several larger "traditional" paintings based on one of the standards I painted on a WFB figure.

I feel like I can really appreciate the way that things I've learned in one media or interest has translated into some of the others. I think I've just had a few awkward moments recently where I've brought these up and they haven't fit into other people's narrower views of their hobby/art/job. But aside from the momentary awkwardness, I don't think this is a "bad" thing.

I've seen a few other similar cases on some of the blogs I follow, and I think that's great. I started this blog as a toy soldier and gaming blog -- and that's primarily what I follow as well. But I really enjoy seeing other people's sketches & drawings, paintings and other (even non-artistic) interests. It puts their toy soldier & gaming work into context.

16 March 2011

Two WAB reports

The past few weeks I've played a couple of WAB2 games with my Romans... much to my Romans chagrin. The games have been against Seleucids and Early Achaemenid Persians.

Both games played out more or less the same way...

First up Rome vs. Seleucids

Romans on the left had four regular legions, one unit of Spanish scutarii (auxilia), some Gallic heavy cavalry, and an assortment of skirmishers.

The eastern menace had four phalanx units, four heavy bolt shooters, a catapult, two units of archers, and an assortment of sling and javelin armed skirmishers.

Turn one the catapult snipes my general. From there it went downhill. I got close to engaging in combat (see photo below) but taking some last minute heavy casualties from shooting forced some panic tests, and resulted in the Romans fleeing, leaderless, from the battlefield. I don't think their odds would have been that great in combat anyway, considering their diminished numbers were facing fresh phalanx.

Game two, against the other eastern menace -- the Persians.

I fielded the same Roman army.

The Persians had about four units of Immortals, two units of levy, four bolt shooters, and some skrimishers.

I had wanted to take advantage of the Roman drill to try to fast march, but the bolters were a bit of a deterrent again. As it was, it wouldn't have made much difference by my after-the-fact calculation of the distances. That and I would have been eating six ranks worth of bolt shots instead of 2-3 after the first turn of shooting annihilated the skirmishers.

So that would be the pattern. The first turn saw the skirmisher "ablative armour" blasted away. The next few turns whittled down the legions and allies so that only a few lonely Romans actually made it into combat through the hail of arrows and other missiles. And like last game, they had to face fresh troops at a combat advantage (these were behind spara, rather than the phalanx benefit.)

In considering the assorted "stupid roman tricks" I'm not certain how to approach these all-shooting armies. In both cases my infantry units more or less equaled my opponents. So even if I bump up the skirmishers or try some shooting of my own, it will come at the cost of dwindling melee troops. Seems to be six of one, half dozen of the other -- in either case I won't have much that survives to actually get into combat. Maybe taking the raw recruits is the answer... go for cheaper troops?

I want to solve the puzzle with the Romans, but the easiest option seems to just switch back to the Germans & Gauls. ;)

10 March 2011

Ogres and Goblins


A year or two ago, the first three figures below were spotted at a Cold Wars or Historicon flea market. While I was cruising the rest of the market & thinking about going back to pick them up, they were sold to someone else. Later I discovered one of my friends had bought them. So now he decided to sell them and I nabbed them up, along with the hand cannon ogre in the second photo.

This nearly completes my collection of Marauder "Imperial" ogres. I am only missing the one with the morning star/flail type weapon.

Normally I repaint figures to match my own, but the painting on these is so good I see no need. I'm just going to base them up to match mine and touch up one or two spots of chipped paint.

Speaking of flea market sales, I've been dragging around my last three bases worth of painted GW snotlings for years, practically trying to give them away with no luck. So I've popped them onto individual 20x20 bases and will call them "lesser goblins." In addition to the ogres above, I also picked up some more unpainted snotties to add to the collection below. They will serve several purposes. One is that they can be pressed into servitude in my Skaven army, for more slaves. Second... I've been having thoughts of creating a light-hearted, oldschool "Dungeon" or "Heroquest" type board game, but using figures and (eventually) a modular 3D "board." So these make ideal low level denizens.

I've sent a lot of other stuff off to Cold Wars this weekend, for sale at the club flea market table. I'm having to thin the collection out to help cover bills. I do have one or two items someone is picking up for me from the dealers room. Although I'd like a pile of them, I'm going to have to be happy with one box of the Perry WotR mercenaries -- just so I can see how they look. Once my employment is settled, maybe I can jump back into medievals full tilt. Also, with an eye on finally starting the Macedonians/Successors I've asked for just a couple packs of Molon Labe (ex-Vendel) figures, since they're now easilly available in the US. I've long been curious to check out their size & quality.

07 March 2011

Basing (and Re-basing?)

I'm itching to paint up my Macedonians/Diadochi. Logically, I'd like to start with the pike. But there is one issue on which I can not decide: Basing.

Right now I feel like my preference in rules are in Limbo, and this will not be decided for some time. I think WAB is dying a slow death, and I'm not certain it has much to offer anymore. There are a number of sets on the horizon (mostly this year) including Hail Caesar (Warlord), Clash of Empires (Great Escape), War and Conquest (Scarab) plus I'd still still like to give Crusader (Crusader) a try. I've read the rules several times, never played yet. I've also heard a lot of good things about Impetus, and I still enjoy DBA, though I haven't played it in a long time.

So, that leaves me with several basing options...

1. Individual basing.
2. Linear basing (close to WRG)
3. Square/cluster basing (four heavy infantry per 40x40mm base)

I think I know the answer is #1, as it allows the most freedom. I just hate dealing with individual bases. But everything is magnetized, so I can make secondary bases on which to stick them as needed. Also, I can continue painting now instead of waiting for the next couple years to settle on a set of rules

I currently use a combination of #1 & #2, so if I want to play rules that don't conform (like Crusader) I will already have to adapt to my basing anyway. Either that or go back and rebase the WRG style figures. And I think many of us know how much fun rebasing is.

Really I'd just like to get over the basing stress and get my pikemen painted.

06 March 2011

Hail Caesar on the Horizon

Is it my imagination or does the cover of the new Hail Caesar rulebook look like the love child of the Black Powder cover and the WAB2 cover?

I played a game of WAB last weekend. My Romans vs. Selucids. I've got some photos & a report to post, but just haven't had the time to do it this week.

04 March 2011

Munny Tree & Vinyl Show

Looks like we're allowed to submit two at the upcoming vinyl toy show. Submissions are being taken tomorrow afternoon. Looks like I finished my Munny Tree just in time!

For those not familiar, each blank Munny toy comes with a "Hello My Name Is" sticker with a silver foil seal with a line drawing of a Munny and the motto "Seal of Munny" or something like that. Since I've split this one, body as one toy, head as another, and I'm using the name tag with the previously completed Rabbid Squabbit, I made a new one... in theme... from ink stained wood.

I'm still getting settled into the Stoodii, so my lighting arrangement for taking photos sucks. But for what it's worth (as usual, click to enlarge)....

01 March 2011

1:1 Scale But Still "Miniature"

Over the weekend my wife and I got our first look at "the new project" that will presumably take up a lot of my time later in the year. A friend's sister is an ultrasound tech and gave us a look ahead of our official ultrasound at the doctor's office (coming up sometime the next week or two.)

Everything looks good, and from what she could tell it looks like we are having a girl. I'm hoping that she will be "that more intelligent sort of girl who likes boys' games and books." I'll certainly give her a little nudge in that direction.