Friday, April 29, 2011

New Warmachine Models

Picked up a couple new Warmachine models for my Khador force the other day:

A set of Doom Reavers and a set of Winter Guard.  These are part of the basic 25-point build-up I'm trying - along with the Khador Battlegroup I picked up, I just need some Widowmakers and I'll be set...

Forge World Mk III Boarding Marine Has Arrived!

I got a package in the mail today - it was the MkIII Boarding Marine models I ordered at Adepticon!

I actually bought two of these models - my plan was to paint one to go with either my Black Templars or my Grey Knights army, and use the other one as a "showpiece" model and to try to do some serious work on my non-metallic metals technique.  Unfortunately, the wife & I were hit with some unexpected expenses over the past few months, and it's left us scrambling to raise the money to finance our trip to GenCon, which is usually our big annual vacation together.  So, I've decided to list my extra model on eBay - you can check it out here if you're interested.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Grot Riggers

...once I got the Grot riggers for my Battlewagons sorted out (see below), I also wanted some for my Trukks.

I think these Grots hanging from antennas come from the Warbiker kit (my biker models are from several editions ago, so I don't know for sure).  I drilled a small hole in the bed of my Trukk model for the antenna:

...then I mounted the Grot:

I also added one to the old Wartrukk model I have:

While I don't care for the Wartrukk (the new Trukk is a waaaay nicer model) I really like the way the Grot is positioned here - hanging off the running board, just inches from being sucked under the exposed rear wheel.  Very ork-y!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Grot Riggers

While I had a very basic idea of the list I was planning to run with my Freebootas, I didn't have the specifics worked out.  While going through the codex, I decided it would be a good idea to have Grot riggers on my vehicles.  Since I'm trying to make this army as WYSIWYG as possible, I started looking for a way to model these. 

I think these Grots in backpacks come with the Loota & Burna Boyz kit - I bought five of them from a bitz seller, one for each of my Battlewagons.

I trimmed off the mounting tab on each model:

...and I mounted each one in the rear compartment of the Battlewagon, next to one of the Orks manning the shootas:

Overall I think it's a cool solution that gives a little extra character to the model!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Quick Tip I've been working on my Freebootas - one of the weird things about this army was that it was easier for me to paint the bases separately (or at least it seemed that way initially).   I solved the problem of keeping excess paint off the bases by priming the models without bases attached, painting their boots, then mounting them to the bases.  However, I'm making pretty heavy use of washes for the troops, and I noticed on several models that I got a little too enthusiastic with the wash, and it dripped onto the bases after I set the model aside to dry.  (The Citadel washes are pretty much impossible to get off once they dry).  A silly little trick I came up with to prevent this:

...on the models pictured above I have just applied wash to the backpacks - I simply tore a small piece of paper towel and situated it under the area that was washed to catch any drips.  Cheap insurance!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Book Review: First and Only

I've been reading a lot of Black Library books lately, since my wife got me an e-reader for Christmas.  To be honest, I've tried reading some of the Black Library fiction in the past (mostly through occasionally picking up an anthology here and there) and found a lot of it to be hit-or-miss.  One thing I noticed was that I consistently enjoyed Dan Abnett's stories, so I decided to try First and Only:

First and Only is the first book in the Gaunt's Ghosts series of novels, which follows Colonel-Commissar Ibram Gaunt and the Imperial Guard regiment he commands, the Tanith First-And-Only.  The Tanith First-And-Only is so named because there was an attack on Tanith shortly after repatriation into the Imperium - the ships that were carrying the troops raised by Tanith to enlist in the Guard were departing the planet at the time of the attack, and Tanith was destroyed entirely - thus the Tanith First-And-Only are not just the only Guard regiment that hails from Tanith, they are the sole survivors of the entire planet.

I'm not going to go into the plot of the novel, if you're buying an Imperial Guard novel you know exactly what's on the bill of goods.  Needless to say, my father raised me on Clint Eastwood westerns, classic war movies (The Bridge on the River Kwai, The Guns of Navarone, etc) and a whole lot less respectable movies (see: anything starring Chuck Norris).  If you love these types of movies, then you'll love the book - Gaunt and his men are the consummate soldier bad-@$$es, surviving any situation no matter the odds.  While there are plenty of ridiculous parts (example: if Space Marines are "the equal of 1,000 mortal men in battle" as GW is so fond of reminding us, and Chaos Space Marines have had their abilities amplified several orders of magnitude beyond that, how is it that Gaunt is able to defeat not one, but two Chaos Space Marines in hand-to-hand combat?) But, overall it was a fun read.  Although I'm currently deep into the Horus Hersey series, I'll definitely pick up more in the Gaunt's Ghosts series in the future...

Monday, April 18, 2011

Review: Litko Gaming Tokens

I got a package in the mail the other day:

It's the gaming tokens I ordered from Litko Game Accessories!, wait, let me back up a minute.  At GenCon 2009 I came across this little booth selling very cool custom acrylic gaming tokens and markers.  My career as a wargamer was still in it's infancy, and I didn't even know what a lot of the items were meant to be used for, but they looked awesome - I wound up buying some of their pop culture tokens, that have sayings like "n00b" and "OMG" just because they were funny to throw down on the table during an epic moment in a game.  As I actually started playing some games of 40k, it became obvious that there are some things that need to be tracked over several rounds (models that have multiple wounds, vehicle crew stunned) or unit/vehicle actions that need to be indicated (smokescreens, etc).  Like most gamers, we usually just marked these things by setting a dice on or near the model and making a mental note - while this works, the Litko tokens just offer a more elegant, and more immersive, way to do it.

The first product I got was the heart tokens:

I intend to use these to track characters that have multiple wounds.

Next, I got the charge tokens:

...hopefully these will break my habit of forgetting to resolve the charge.

Next, I got the alert tokens:

...these will just serve as a general "note" for a given situation - stunned, shaken, etc.

Next, I got the smoke screen markers:

...these actually come in two pieces - after assembly, they look like this:

These are pretty great!  One of the things that bugged me the most in a game was laying down a line of dice to represent a smoke screen - it just really took me out of the game, to see a bunch of dice in the middle of a battlefield.  These solve that problem.

Finally, I got the flaming wreckage markers:

...these are actually four pieces per marker.  Assembly:

These look fantastic!  The black smoke is semi-translucent so it really feels like smoke, and the glaring yellow & orange of the flames & bases looks great!  I've seen some people make wreckage markers from cotton balls or steel wool, and, sorry guys, but those look so ghetto.  I'll take these any day of the week.

Pros & Cons:

I am really impressed with all the products I bought - they really manage to capture the "feel" of the situation they're supposed to indicate, while still being really simple and iconic - kind of like the health & power-up indicators when you're playing a video game.  The products are really well made and are made in the U.S.A., and I've made it a point to stop by the Litko booth every time I see them at a convention and they're always tremendously friendly.  Many of the token packs are are geared towards historical wargames / naval games, and include way more tokens than the average 40k/Fantasy player would need - you could easily place a group order with your buddies and split up the packs to save money.

My only complaint was shipping time - it took almost two-and-a-half weeks before my order shipped.  I contacted Litko after a couple of weeks-  they responded promptly, apologized, and said that they were currently short-handed and that my order would ship in the next few days, which it did - I wasn't in a rush to get these, so no big deal.

If you're interested, check out their web site or Facebook page for more info.

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Boatload (heh) of Freebootas!

...see what I did there?

Anyways, I got a whole mess of my Freebootas painted the other day - so many, in fact, they barely fit in my light box:

These Boyz are the rank-and-file, and I painted almost all of them at once (there's still two or three that were still waiting on bitz orders when I started these).  I'm actually really glad I got these out of the way first - while I'm going to have almost as many Nobz, they're going to be done in different color schemes for each unit, and it won't be as tedious to paint them.  Here's some shots of a few at a time:

I went with a basic brown pants / black shirt scheme for these guys.  I wanted my Orks to be a bit less "neon" than the GW examples, so I came up with a recipe for Ork skin:

-Basecoat with Orkhide Shade
-Light drybrush of Goblin Green
-Heavy wash of Thrakka Green
-Light drybrush of a 50/50 mix of Goblin Green & Bleached Bone

I'm pretty happy with the way the skintones came out.  Hopefully a lot of the pirate touches come through in these pics!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Build Party I got together with lars4life & another friend not too long ago for a night of "non-specified gaming related activity" - meaning, we knew we were going to do something hobby related, but we didn't know what.  I threw my Army Transport, a few unbuilt models, and my portable tool kit in the truck and headed over to his place.

What we wound up doing: first, we checked out a local shop that I haven't visited before.  We recently got the unfortunate news that our FLGS is closing down, and this shop is the next-closest one - unfortunately, they don't stock any Games Workshop products, being mostly a Privateer Press / M:tG / comics store.  We spoke to one of the employees who said they were seriously considering picking up GW products, but the main problem is space - namely, they have none.  They are still considering getting the "basic" GW product setup, with the freestanding rack of products like you see in a lot of franchised hobby shops.  They were actually very friendly, offering to accommodate us with playing space for 40k games even though it's not a product line they carry right now, even going so far as to say they would set up extra tables in the basement of the store if necessary.  The three of us were also looking for various models for our Warmachine armies and they didn't have anything we were looking for, so we jumped back on the highway and drove to the other side of the city to another game shop, with much better results - I picked up some books & models and other assorted stuff (more to come on that in the next few days).  After that, we got some dinner, stopped and picked up some beer, and headed back to lars4life's place to build some models and BS.

How do you know you're an "old" gamer?  You buy your beer in pints, and they cost as much as the twelve-packs you used to buy in college...

...Overall it was pretty productive, I got most of my Khador Battlegroup assembled: thing I wish I would have known BEFORE starting assembly:  The plastic that Privateer Press uses for their models is much harder than GW plastics, and plastic glue won't do a thing.  Nada.  After trying to get the 'jacks assembled for the better part of two hours, I got sick of it and busted out the pin vise and super glue - as a result, EVERY joint on the warjacks is pinned, except the heads & legs.  After searching some forums the next day and figuring out that plastic glue is worthless, I popped off the few pieces that weren't pinned and re-glued them - no harm, no foul, I guess...

One extra touch I added was to drill out the bombard cannon on the Destroyer warjack with my rotary tool:

...overall they're very cool models - I dig the steampunk/dreadnought aesthetic, and I'm looking forward to painting them.

Monday, April 11, 2011

More New Models!

After playing a game at my FLGS store the other day, I picked up a few new models:

Some Night Goblin Squig Hoppers:

...while these are neat, I didn't really need them per se - I just needed to buy something small, and anything with squigs is cool.  Y'see, my FLGS has a pretty nice "rewards program" where you earn a stamp on a card for every $15 you spend in the store - once you have a full card, you can turn it in for 30% off your next purchase.  I was only one stamp away from a full card, so once I bought the Squig Hoppers I was able to get this at a healthy discount:

...the third & final Land Raider Crusader for my Black Templars army.  I still have all three of these waiting for me in my "to do" pile, along with the Templar doors & ramps from the chapter conversion pack.  Some friends & I are planning a "build party" for the near future, I hope to knock them all out then...

Friday, April 8, 2011

Adepticon Recap Part II


Saturday we woke up and munched on some food we brought with us for breakfast.  I had a chance to look through the Grey Knights codex at that point, and had seen enough to decide that I wanted to do a low-model-count Grey Knights army (mainly because lars4life kept saying the codex was "ridiculous" and "broken", so of course now I want him to have to play against it).  ;-)  I headed over to the concourse and picked up the bulk of it:

Lord Kaldor Draigo, two boxes of Paladins, and a Dreadknight - I pretty much just need another Dreadknight, Inquisitor Karamazov and a couple of Dreadnoughts (I already have a Land Raider that will go with this army).  

Lars4life had been hanging around the Privateer Press room and talking with the Press Gangers quite a bit, and he mentioned that if we took our Battlegroups to their room and played a game they would give us some free swag.  He had assembled his the night before, so I headed down and told the guys I was looking to put my models together.  They set me up with a hobby knife, superglue, pin vice & brass rod and I went to work.  While I was working a few tournament players who were waiting for their game to start came over and we chatted for a while.  After an hour or so I had my Protectorate Battlegroup assembled:

Noooo, the legs totally aren't backwards on that Repenter.  I would never make a silly mistake like that...

About this time I became evident that the snacks I had for breakfast weren't cutting it and I was starving - I ran back out to the concourse where the hotel had set up the lunch service and grabbed a sandwich.  After that we headed back up to the Press Gangers table and told them we were looking for a game - apparently they were doing the Battlegroup games as 4-players, but we waited for quite a while and nobody else looking for a game showed up.  They decided to go ahead and start us as a two-player game.  After a brief explanation of the rules we got started, and in the middle of turn one we needed a spray template - the Press Ganger helping us went off to look for one, and disappeared for twenty minutes.  Needless to say at this point I wasn't having the greatest time.  This changed pretty quickly, however, as I got a feel for the rules - I have to admit that by the end of the game I was having a blast!  It came down to Warcaster vs. Warcaster - lars4life won the game under the scenario rules, but for fun we played it out and my caster killed his (using a strategy told to me by the Press Ganger helping us - there's no way I would have known to do it on my own).  When we were done they gave out prizes:  They gave both of us a Prime Mk. II rulebook, tape measure, & dice! 

Since I had bought the Prime Mk. II rulebook the day before, I went back to the vendor I bought it from, told them I had just won a copy, and asked if they'd let me exchange it if I put it towards something more expensive - they agreed, and I swapped it towards a Venerable Dreadnought for my Grey Knights army:

After running around for a bit, it was getting close to dinner time, so we headed over to Claim Jumper where we were served a ridiculous amount of food:

Lars4life picked up the tab as a birthday gift (thanks!)  We waddled back to car and headed to the con for our next class: Raising Your Game: Painting to a Competition Level with Chris Borer.  I had met Chris a couple of years ago when he was gracious enough to sit in for an instructor that was a no-show at a seminar at Origins.  This was a lecture-only class, and Chris passed around examples of his work to illustrate his talking points.  There was some very good info about composition and technique, and Chris' work is amazing.  His Fulgrim model from The Primarch Project is quite possibly the most gorgeous model I've ever seen in person.  I've heard that there are collectors out there willing to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for Golden Demon-winning models, and I always thought that was a ridiculous idea.  If that model ever came on the market, however, I would have to take a very hard look at my finances...


Sunday was a pretty slow day, as we were wrapping things up.  We got our stuff packed and ready to go, then went back to the main ballroom for a final pass.  The line was pretty much non-existent at the Forge World booth by then, so I took the opportunity to place an order for some Inquisition doors for the Land Raider that I'm going to use with my Grey Knights.  We  wandered over to the Black Library booth and found Dan Abnett and Nathan Long sitting behind the table, looking very dapper in their suits.  Lars4life realized that he had forgotten to bring any of his Black Library books with him for an autograph, so he grabbed a copy of Legion for Dan to sign. I had brought my copy of The Founding for him to sign:

And, since I read most of my Black Library books on the e-reader my wife bought me for Christmas, I had the foresight to bring a silver paint marker and asked them both to sign the inside of the cover:

After wandering around a bit more and picking up a few more bits, we headed to our final event, the Black Library roundtable with the aforementioned authors:

It turns out that SandWyrm was in there too, and he has a great recap at his site.  Needless to say that both authors were tremendously funny and charming, and even though lars4life & I were both exhausted and starving at that point, I gladly would have sat there for another hour and listened to more stories.  I'm a fairly new reader of the Black Library books, and now I have a lot more on my reading list!

After that we grabbed some lunch and hit the road for home.  Overall I had a great time at my first Adepticon, and we're already planning what we want to do next year!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Adepticon Recap Part I

Thursday Thursday morning I swung by lars4life's house, picked him up, and we headed out to Adepticon.  The plan was to leave late enough to miss morning rush hour, but get to Chicago early enough to avoid afternoon rush hour.  Little did I know that there isn't a time in Chicago when it's NOT "rush hour", at least compared to any other city in the Midwest.  Luckily lars4life had some experience driving through this area, and successfully navigated us to the hotel.

We checked in to our room, dumped our bags and headed downstairs to check things out.  We walked up to the registration desk and asked for our badges, they told us "We're not quite ready yet, check back in an hour".  We wandered a bit, went back to the room for a while, and headed back down an hour later.  We were again told "We're not ready yet, it'll probably be another hour or two".  I asked the guy, "We have classes tonight - how are we supposed to know where they are"?  This resulted in the guy staring at his shoes, mumbling something, and slowly shuffling away.  Needless to say, lars4life has very little patience for poor customer service - he caught the attention of the nearest worker and very firmly asked for our registration materials now.  They gave us our badges and swag bags, which of course resulted in a stampede of gamers lining up behind us to pick up their badges, and basically sent the workers at the registration desk into a panic, so... sorry guys!  I guess that means lars4life & I were registrants #1 & #2 for Adepticon 2011!  We went back to the room to dig through the swag bags and check our event listings.

I had heard rumors that there was going to be some very cool swag for people who pre-registered - we dumped out the bags, and there was a Warmachine Battlegroup!

Adepticon 2011 swag bag contents

...on top of that, there was a con-exclusive miniature from Gale Force Nine, a couple issues of Game Forces magazine, a Warmachine quick-start rulebook, a mini-copy of No Quarter magazine, a "teaser" book from the Black Library, a sprue of minis from Warlord Games, a bag of magnets from Amazing Magnets, a bag of bitz from Spikey Bits, a cinematic effect from Armorcast, a mini from Full Borer Miniatures, a badge holder & lanyard, an Adepticon luggage tag & deployment marker, and even some cookies!  Overall, an amazing amount of swag - easily worth twice the price of admission to the con!  The only bad part was that I got the Khador Battlegroup, and I had just bought it a few weeks earlier.

We headed back downstairs and I made my first purchases - a copy of the Grey Knights codex and an Arachnarok Spider:

After grabbing some dinner, we headed back for our only event of the evening: Moving Forward: First Steps to Advanced Painting with Mathieu Fontaine.  I had taken a class on airbrushing with Mathieu last year at GenCon, but that was a much more "lecture-oriented" type class - this was a hands-on workshop focusing on blending, zenital lighting, and color theory (although Mathieu has a whole separate class on color theory that I hope to take this summer).  Mathieu gave us models, showed us how to make a wet palette, then would call us up in small groups, demonstrate a technique, then watch us attempt it ourselves.  Overall it was tremendously helpful, and I was able to achieve effects that I never would have thought that I was capable of.  Here's a few pics (keep in mind these were taken on-the-fly without a light box, so it might be hard to make out the subtleties):

 Model w/ tunic basecoated

 Dark tones shaded

Light tones highlighted

After chatting with Mathieu a bit (lars4life swapped Warmachine Battlegroups with him, and he was nice enough to give me his unwanted con-exclusive mini), we headed back up to the hotel room. We were both pretty beat, so we decided to hit the sack early and get some sleep - this proved to be harder than expected, as lars4life had been having a severe allergy attack due to something in the Chicago area, and wound up snoring like a rusty chainsaw all night!  I even ventured downstairs to see if the hotel store was open and maybe would have some earplugs, but no such luck.  While I was downstairs, I saw the guys from The Eternal Warriors sitting in the lobby talking and almost stopped and said hello, but I looked & felt like a wreck so I passed.  When I got back to the room I had the bright idea to search the Android Marketplace for a white noise generator app for my phone - I found a free one, installed it, dug a pair of earbuds out of my bag, and was able to salvage a bit of sleep.


Friday was actually the only day we didn't have any events scheduled.  We woke up and grabbed breakfast at a diner in the mall just down the road.  On the way back, we stopped at the Target by the hotel to get some earplugs for me and some Breathe-Right strips for lars4life to solve the problems of the previous night, then we headed back to the con check things out.  Entering the main ballroom, one of the first things we saw was an amazing diorama of the Siege of Terra put together by the guys at Opposing Forces:

My pics don't even come close to doing this display justice - it was simply fantastic.  There was even a "sub-level" under the display with details like the Emperor's throne room, a motor pool with Techmarines & Servitors repairing vehicles, etc.  We chatted with one of the guys from Opposing Forces for a bit, then I headed off to do some shopping.  I saw the Forge World line and decided to jump in it, figuring that it wasn't going to be any better on Saturday.  I wound up waiting for the better part of two hours, but while I was in line I got to chat with some fellow gamers.  The second half of the line put us squarely in front of the Blue Table Painting booth, and I chatted with Shawn and his wife.  It was nice to check out their work - I have heard mixed reviews on the Internet, but everything they had on display looked great (Shawn readily admitted that it was "Level 3" -and higher stuff).  As I neared the end of the Forge World line I came to the display cases with their new & upcoming models in it - by far the coolest was the new Eldar titan:

I finally got to the end of the Forge World line and picked up my pre-order:

Copies of Imperial Armor 9 & 10: The Badab War Part I & II, Model Masterclass Volume I, a set of Black Templar transfers, a set of Black Templar etched brass, a set of weathering powders, and a Gretchin Crew set.  I also ordered a couple of the MkIII Armoured Boarding Marines, which the guys told me sold out in the first ten minutes of the booth being open.  While the cashier was ringing me up, one of the guys working the booth came over and pointed to my Badab War books and, gesturing to the cashier, said "Open those up before you leave so he can sign them".  The look I gave him must have made it obvious that I was wondering "Why would I want the cashier to sign my books"?  He said, "This is Kenton Mills.  He's responsible for a lot of the art in those books".  Kenton was mobbed, however, and asked me to stop back when things weren't so hectic.  I ducked back in to the booth later and he was nice enough to sign the books for me:

Next I stopped by the vendor booth on the concourse and got most of my Warmachine shopping out of the way:

I picked up the Prime Mk. II rulebook, the Khador faction book, a Kodiak warjack, the last Man-o-War Shock Trooper I needed, and a Butcher of Khardov warcaster.  Still no luck finding the Widowmakers I need, though...

It was around dinner time at this point, so lars4life & I headed back to the room to drop off our stuff.  We decided that as long as we were in Chicago, we really should get a Chicago-style pizza - we called down to the desk and asked for a recommendation, and they told us to get Giordanos.  We gave them a call and less than an hour later we had a ridiculously thick pizza arrive at the door:

I was firmly in a pizza-induced coma and ready for bed, but lars4life wanted to run around some more and headed downstairs.  He asked me what faction I wanted to trade my Khador Battlegroup for, and I told him "Protectorate of Menoth".  He grabbed it on the way out the door, and when he returned later that night he had indeed swapped it for a Protectorate box...

More to come!