Thursday, April 30, 2015

New Board Games almost seems like a cosmic law that when a good deal comes around, I won't have any money.  Or, I'll have money saved for a very specific purpose, and an amazing deal will pop up elsewhere (this was the first year in recent memory, for example, where a too-good-to-say-no Craigslist deal on a new army didn't pop up a week before Adepticon).

So, I was a bit shocked when I found myself with a little bit of extra money in my bank account when this email showed up in my inbox:

(A friend recently informed me that Amazon does this sale every year to coincide with International TableTop Day).  It had been quite a while since I had added any board games to my collection, and they actually had a pretty good selection - I wound up grabbing Tsuro, Love Letter, and Forbidden Island:

...all of these have been on my wish list for a while - I was reeeeally tempted to pick up a copy of 7 Wonders, because it was crazy cheap, but I wanted to focus on games that are known to play well with two players, since it's just my wife & grabbing a quick game a lot of the time.  I was also flip-flopping on King of New York just because I've heard good things about it, but they sold out while I was trying to make up my mind, saving me from making a decision.

Once I get a few plays in with these, look for a review!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Khador Manhunter Solo

I finished a Khador Manhunter Solo the other day:

...this was probably one of the first models I bought beyond the battlebox because it's a highly recommended addition to a Khador army, but it's been unfinished forever - because the *&%#@ arms kept breaking off.  Every. Time, I. Turned. Around.  Every time I opened my bag the GD arms would be broken off.  I finally scraped & drilled the sockets, stuck them on with Super Glue and Green Stuff, and have resolved to throw it in the ocean if they break off again.

Painting was pretty unremarkable, except I came across a bottle of Reaper Flesh Wash in my newly-filled dropper tray while I was working on it - I have no idea where it came from, as I didn't buy it, and don't remember getting it as a sample in a swag bag.  I was even hesitant to try it, as it looks VERY purple right out of the bottle - but I wasn't really happy with how the skin tone was coming out on this model, so I thought I'd give it a shot.  I was really pleased!  It's much more natural looking when it dries than GW's Baal Red wash or the Army Painter red ink that I've been using lately.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Hobby Time!

One of the deals I struck for my birthday was for some hobby time - I was off work, the baby was at Grandma's, and my wife was working, so lars4life & I got to spend a day hobbying:

It felt good to be working on stuff again.  Above you can see my new portable set-up, which I'll be detailing in an upcoming post...

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Itsha Birfday

So, I've noted my fondness for LEGO before on this blog, and just thought I'd share some neat gifts I got for my birthday this year:

...the double-decker couch from The LEGO Movie!  The real story here isn't really the couch, but all the minifigs the set comes with - I really wanted a UniKitty, but the only set I had noticed that it was included with that I was interested in was Metalbeard's Sea Cow, and I wasn't willing to pay two hundred and fifty dollars for it.  It also comes with a ghost Vitruvius (I came dangerously close to paying $50 for a "limited edition" Blu-Ray back around the holidays just to get the Vitruvius fig) and a Benny, which gives me all the feels - the LEGO Space sets were my absolute favorite as a kid.

It also came with a couple of Spongebob Squarepants Mega-Blok (boo hiss) figures that my friend bought because the store was sold out of the individual LEGO minifigs - I'm usually not a fan of Mega-Bloks, or even Spongebob particularly, but this fig cracks me up every time I look at it:


Later that evening, my wife took me took a great dinner with all my friends, and I was presented with this:

The Ghostbusters Ecto-1!  I've really wanted this set - it was about the only thing I was bummed about not getting at Christmas, and it was starting to get hard-to-find, so I just kind of resigned myself to not getting it - it was totally unexpected!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Khador: Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Prince

Another model I finished recently:

This is Vladimir Tzepesci, The Dark Prince.  I originally started this model quite a while ago, but it wasn't holding my interest, so it got thrown in my bag.  I dug it out recently because I've resolved to finish all my partially completed/needs repaired/etc Warmachine models before moving on to new ones, and I sat and sat and tried to come up with a novel technique or conversion for this one... turns out, it's just not a very interesting model.  Really.  He has some neat abilities that I want to try out, but as far as the model goes it's just not terribly compelling.  So, I just finished 'em off and ran with it...

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Khador: Battle Mechaniks

Hey, look at me - I actually painted a unit for the first time in over a year!

These are the Khador Battle Mechaniks that lars4life got me as a birthday gift... two years ago, I think?  They've been primed and knocking around in my bag since then.  While we were at Adepticon we decided to go downstairs one night and make use of the open hobby area, and next thing I know they were 90% done - a few touch ups, some clearcoat & basing and they're done!  Cetainly not my best work, but not bad for shaking off the rust...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Review: Ironheart Artisans Dropper Tray while I was at Adepticon this year, I stopped by the Ironheart Artisans booth.  Mainly to see what new stuff they had, but also just to say hello - I always enjoy talking with them.  They're great guys (& a girl) and, for some reason, are one of the only vendors with the foresight to bring spare hobby supplies (glue, paintbrushes, etc) to a hobby convention.  (They pretty much sell the hobby supplies at MSRP as a courtesy to us gamers).

Anyways, last year I bought one of their paintbrush racks & a couple of their 4-tier stepped paint racks to organize my airbrush paints, and was pleased with both purchases.  This year, they had a really cool prototype paint tray with handles & locking cover, but the problem was it's designed to fit the P3 paint pots - I really don't use that many P3 paints.  But, another item caught my attention - their dropper bottle tray:

See, since my son was born, I've had to go semi-mobile with my hobbying - I watch him a few days per week, so I needed something to carry the essentials.  I grabbed one and brought it home to try it out.

Like most of the Ironheart pieces, it's laser-cut MDF and comes unassembled:

It went together pretty easily (MUCH more easily than their 4-tier trays) and I just put some wood glue on the tabs & edges when I assembled it:

(Now with 100% more festive Easter tablecloth, courtesy of my wife)

And here it is loaded up with 70 of my dropper bottles:

One of the nice things is that the tray is deep enough to hold the bottles securely, but shallow enough that it's easy to read the labels.  This also makes it easy to group certain paints together - for example, all my flesh tones are along one edge:

...and all my "utility" paints are along one edge:

(You might have noticed that most of my paints these days are Reaper, Vallejo, & Army Painter.  I'll cover the reasons for the switch away from GW in an upcoming article.)

Overall, I'm pretty pleased with it - it's cheap enough to buy on an impulse, but sturdy enough that I can toss it on top of my bag and it doesn't break.  (As long as you use a good quality glue to put it together - I used Gorilla Wood Glue).  So far Ironheart Artisans are three for three on stuff I've bought from them - I look forward to seeing what they come up with next!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

AdeptiCon 2015 Part II


On Saturday, our first class was "Six Step Eyes" with Meg Maples:

Meg showing us how it's done

In the past ten years or so, I've probably taken half a dozen classes just on how to paint eyes.  It's probably the first major hurdle of taking your painting beyond "tabletop quality" for most painters.  I've tried different methods, technical pens, etc., and it's still 90% luck for me.  This class came closer than any other to giving me the ability to actually be able to paint eyes - I think with a little practice, I'll be able to replicate it consistently.  I'll even give you the six steps so you can try it yourself:

  1. -Paint entire eye socket black
  2. -White oval (eyeball)
  3. -Black dot (outer edge of iris)
  4. -Color dot (iris)
  5. -Black dot (pupil)
  6. -White dot (reflection)

(Optional): Gloss coat eye so it's shiny.

That's it.  And it made sense.  Here are a few of my attempts: it's not great, but this is far better than I've been able to achieve in the past.  Plus, I was having a really hard time picking out the eyes on this model - Reaper claims you don't need to prime their "Bones" models, but I find it necessary just because I can't see the details on that bright white finish they come in right from the factory.

Our next class was "Painting Sheer Fabric", again with Jessica Rich.  Man, this class was hard for a guy who mostly paints power armor 90% of the time.  And, as Jessica warned us, when you paint a model using this method, it has an extremely long "this looks like crap" phase until everything starts to pull together.  Regardless, you can see a (very) little bit of the intended effect in this WIP pic of my model:

Compare that with what Jessica is able to achieve, and it's pretty sad.  Still, it was fun to try.  lars4life & I have already been talking about where we might be able to apply the technique to our own armies.

After classes, we headed out for dinner - we usually budget for one "nice" dinner per trip to AdeptiCon, and this year we went with Weber Grill Restaurant:

...which was fantastic.  We headed back to the hotel and hung out for bit before calling it a night.  The next morning we made one last lap through the dealer room (I made a few purchases that I'll be reviewing here shortly) and headed back home, another AdeptiCon in the bag!