Thursday, March 31, 2011

Adepticon Ho!

By the time you read this, lars4life & I should be nearing the Windy City for AdeptiCon 2011!  Next week I will be posting extensive reports & photos, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if the next few days end in me collapsing on the floor of my hotel room each night after marathon gaming sessions and beer-fueled shopping binges!  I should be checking both my email and Twitter accounts throughout the convention, so if anyone is attending and wants to meet up for dinner, drinks or just to say hello, send me a PM!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Say Cheese!

I got a very cool early birthday present from my wife the other day:

Y'see, a couple of years ago we took one of my nieces on a trip to the zoo.  After getting out of the car, I set all my stuff on the trunk while we packed everything up, applied sunscreen, etc. - I heard a noise, and looked over to see the bag containing my pride-and-joy digital SLR slide off the trunk and go *crunch* on the pavement.  (Needless to say, it wasn't one of my happier trips to the zoo, as I wandered around shell-shocked for most of the day).  Luckily the camera still took pictures, but the LCD screen was broken - I contacted the manufacturer and sent it off to be repaired.  I got it back, and I wasn't happy - the focus seemed to be fuzzy, and the color didn't seem quite right.  The thing I forgot to consider was the lens.  It was a not-so-great third-party lens in the first place, and I think the impact threw it off - I tested the camera with one of my older manual focus lenses that was a known quantity, and the pictures looked great.  But, that had been my only autofocus lens, and my digital SLR isn't terribly user-friendly in manual mode.  I couldn't afford to replace the lens, so the camera sat mostly untouched for the past year.  (I've been using a ten-year-old point-and-shoot camera for my pictures on this blog).  I mentioned to my wife that I wished I had the digital SLR up and running for my trip to Adepticon so I could get lots of pics for the blog, and she graciously offered to buy me a new lens as an early birthday present (my birthday is actually a few days after Adepticon).  So if you notice a marked improvement in the images you see here, thank my wife!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's All A Matter of Perspective

Note: My wife is a nursing student, and is currently assigned to clinical rotation at the psychiatric ward of a local hospital.

Me: Do you want to come to Adepticon with me, honey?  You're welcome to come along.

Her:  I can't.  I have to hang out with crazy people.

Me: (pause)  There's going to be two thousand grown men there, who will spend four days playing with tiny plastic spacemen.

Her:  Oh yeah, I guess that would qualify!

Monday, March 28, 2011

What Have We Here?

So lars4life has been corrupted by another member of our gaming circle and is giving Warmachine a try.  Since I want to be like the cool kids too, I had to give in:

...I got a pretty good deal on the Khador battlegroup, so I decided to give it a shot.  Originally I was interested in the Protectorate of Mentoh, but after reading about the play styles of the various factions Khador sounds like it might be more forgiving to a n00b.  Privateer Press is one of the few companies that has managed to put out plastic models that rival GW's in terms of detail, so I look forward to painting these up - keep watching for pics of the progress!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Deathwatch: Rites of Battle

Oooh, look what arrived at my door today:

...a shiny new copy of Deathwatch: Rites of Battle!  I haven't had a chance to dive into much yet, but it looks fantastic!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Black Library: The Founding

I found myself with some time to kill the other day and wandered into a bookstore - they happened to have a copy of The Founding, so I picked it up: I mentioned in my review, I enjoyed the first Gaunt's Ghosts novel, First and Only, tremendously - The Founding is a collection of the first three novels in the series (First and Only, Ghostmaker, and Necropolis) in one volume, plus a short story.  I'm still engrossed in the Horus Hersey series (currently working my way through Fulgrim) but after that I may have to take a break and see what Ibram Gaunt and his men are up to...

Monday, March 21, 2011

New Board Games!

I got some unfortunate news last week: my FLGS is closing (more on that in an upcoming post).  One of the first things the owner did was to put the store's board game library on sale at a steep discount - as I am a huge board game fan, I picked up a few titles:

...the first is Robber Knights from Queen Games.  This looks like a fairly basic hybrid "card-and-token" -type game.  I've come to appreciate games in this format since the wife & I attended GenCon last year - the games are usually good for two players, are a bit cheaper than full-blown board games, and don't take up a lot of space.

I also picked up a copy of World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game:

I have to say there are two main reasons I picked up this game: In my opinion, it's practically impossible to go wrong with a Fantasy Flight board game - everything about them is just so well done.  Also, Fantasy Flight recently announced that they did not renew their license with Blizzard, so this game will be out of print soon.  While I was only a casual Warcraft player at best, I have some friends who are WoW fanatics, and the wife is generally a fan of anything with a "fantasy" flavor, so hopefully I'll get some use out of it...

Friday, March 18, 2011

New Arrivals: DeathWatch

As I mentioned previously, I got a copy of Deathwatch for Christmas.  I also got a gift card, which allowed me to pick up a couple more items:

...a copy of The Emperor Protects, a book with three adventures, and the Game Master's Kit, which includes a quad-fold GM screen with reference table on one side and four beautiful color panels on the other, as well as a book containing NPC's and an adventure.  I may try doing a dry run of the latter adventure, if it times out the way I want it to I'm considering running it for some friends.

The Deathwatch books are my first experience with Fantasy Flight's RPG line - I have to say that so far I am tremendously impressed with the quality of the writing, art, production... everything really.  If this hold true across their entire line, I may have to look in to picking up the Dark Hersey books...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

So... many... orks...

Made a LOT of progress on my Orks the other day:

See, I work odd shifts, but usually I flip my schedule around on the weekends so I can hang out with the wife (I know, I know, that's exactly what they tell you not to do).  But actually, it works pretty well for me - I just take a nap for a few hours before going to work on Monday evening, and all is good.  Well, I knew I was going to have to be out later than usual on Tuesday morning, so I stayed up all night - and painted for seven hours straight.  The pic doesn't look like a lot of progress for seven hours, you say?  Well, here's the deal: I took all the Ork Boyz & Nobz that I currently had built (around 50 of them) and decided to mount them on my Freeboota Bases.  The problem was, since the bases are already painted, I didn't want to mount them and risk getting paint on the finished bases - so, I had to prime the Orks, paint their boots, then mount them to the bases. The other problem was that since it was 35 degrees and raining I couldn't use spray primer, and since it was the middle of the night and my wife was sleeping, I couldn't run the airbrush compressor - so that meant brush priming.  When I prime by brush I'm terribly paranoid about putting it on too thick, so I usually do two or three thin coats - and, since these models weren't on bases, I could only prime one side at a time.  So, the priming, boot painting & mounting probably took 4-1/2 or 5 hours by itself.  The only other real work I managed was getting all of the skin basecoated, but that's the lion's share of it for Orks.  I picked out three of these models that I needed to complete a unit of Boyz that I've already finished, and I am currently deciding what to do with the rest - originally I was planning to give each unit a different color scheme - some units with striped pants (a la vintage Hollywood pirate movies), some with freehand work across the unit, etc., but I have to admit that I'm considering just cranking them all out in a single color scheme for simplicity's sake.  Or, I might do the Nobz with a little more variation, since I'm only going to be running them five to a unit...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wheelin' & Dealin' I was perusing Craigslist a few weeks ago looking for deals when I came across this ad:

(click to embiggen)

I emailed the seller and asked for a list of what was included, and got the following reply:

1 orc warboss
1 orc army standard
1 orc boar chariot
3 night goblin fanatics
20 night goblins
20 black orcs
35 black orc warriors
10 forest goblin spider riders

Okay, so after searching around a bit, it appears it's this army box from a few years ago.    $75 isn't a bad price if everything is in good shape, and I haven't resolved my "haggling phase" yet.  I email the guy and tell him that I'm interested, and ask if everything is complete.  He replied:

"yes all of the pieces are there and I'm also throwing in my warhammer starter set thats goblins vs dwarves for free"

I told him I'd like to take a look at it, and tried to set up a time to check it out.  This started a two-week-long wild goose chase - it soon became obvious that I was dealing with a teenage kid, and apparently I got the only one on the planet who goes days at a time without checking his email.  He was trying to co-ordinate any potential meeting times with his Mom, who would have to give him a ride.  I eventually cut out the middle man and offered to meet Mom at her workplace, which wasn't too far away.  After killing three hours after my shift one day (when I would usually be home sleeping) so I could meet at a time that was convenient for her, I showed up and she had forgotten to bring anything with her.  I almost gave up then, but she mentioned that it was "... a whole bunch of stuff, a few big boxes".  Something told me to give it one more shot.  I finally managed to meet with her a couple of days later.

I didn't haggle.  I gave her the money, threw the stuff in my truck and drove away.

It was a trash bag full of Fantasy & 40K.

The bag was full of scattered sprues and flattened boxes, so it took me a while to sort through everything and figure out what was all there - here's the final tally:

The Orcs & Goblins Army that was originally mentioned in the ad - one model has been assembled & partially painted, everything else is still on the sprues.  (I prefer items to be unpainted when I'm buying used).

A complete Battle for Skull Pass starter set.  Models have been built & primed black, but not painted.  Has all the templates, books, dice, etc.

A Battle for Macragge starter set - it's missing the bottom half of the cardboard box, and the marines & a large terrain piece have been poorly painted, but it's all there.

A Space Marine Commander box.  He's been painted, but nothing a bath in some Simple Green won't fix.  All the parts sprues appear intact.

A Space Marine Assault Squad box.  Mostly unbuilt (I think a few of the legs have been glued to the torsos, but that's about it).  

A copy of the "How to Make Wargames Terrain" book.

A set of Warhammer counters (I have the one that's missing in the above pic, I just misplaced it on my desk somewhere)...

A giant container of flocking, and, dumping out the dregs in the bottom of the box...

...a random assortment of 12mm cowboys, indians & horsies, and eyeliner pencil?  (Maybe he was a cowboy / goth kid, or something?)

So overall, I think I did pretty good for seventy-five bucks - I haven't done the math yet, but along with the other deal I got and the couple of models I've bought off the shelf, I should be able to field a few thousand points of Fantasy Orcs & Goblins...

Friday, March 11, 2011

New Objective Markers one day last week I woke up at the crack of dawn on my day off for a doctor's appointment, and right before I was getting ready to leave the house, they called and canceled.  Grrr. Since I was up and had a morning to kill, I decided to crank out some objective markers - the last few times that lars4life & I have played at our FLGS, we've been using plastic tokens or dice as objective markers - not very immersive.

Back around the time GW published Planetstrike, they released this set of mines, bombs, & booby traps:

...I bought a set, threw it in the giant box that contains my terrain "to do" pile, and promptly forgot about it.  After digging through the closet for a while, I dug it out and decided to see what we had to work with:

...a bunch of 40mm bases, and four tubs labeled "resin mines", "resin bombs", "resin mine field signs", and "resin traps".  I decided to use the 40mm bases, as it's my understanding that it's a pretty common requirement for a lot of tournaments for players to bring objective markers that are built on 40mm bases.  I don't have any plans to play in any tournaments, but if I ever do, at least that's one less thing I'll need to worry about.

I just dug around in the bits until I saw some pieces that caught my eye (there are several different styles on each type in the tubs), and glued them down to the bases:

For the marker with the mine on it, I wanted to make my own sign, but I needed a signpost - I started by gluing together a couple of wooden craft sticks, using my small clamps to hold them while they dried:

Next, I printed out a .pdf file I had saved on my computer of some 40K-themed signs & placards - I think somebody posted these on WarSeer at some point:

I picked the "Entry Forbidden" sign, glued it to a piece of thin cardboard, and cut it out:

I glued it to my signpost and cut the bottom of the post at an angle so it would look like it was leaning, and glued it to the base with a blob of thick superglue.  Then I primed the markers with a brush-on primer:

Next, I coated the bases with PVA glue and dipped them in my tub of basing sand, and left them to dry a while:

After the sand had dried, I basecoated the sand with Bestial Brown:

...then I drybrushed them with Tausept Ochre:

Then I started painting:

(I painted the lips of the bases with Orkhide Shade, since the gaming tables at my local store are carpeted dark green).

This is what I came up with after a while:

Not bad, but they still needed a little something - I went to my terrain box and found this miniature razor wire that I bought a while ago:

To get the shape of the "coil" right, I cut a section and wrapped it around the barrel of a pencil:

Then I adjusted the shape and glued it down to the markers:

The one marker felt like it had a lot of "dead space" in the front, so I dug out a bag of assorted dried moss (available with the dried flowers in most any craft store) and tore off a few pieces:

Then I glued them down:

Mostly finished:

...I added a bit of flocking around the bombs, and some other weathering here and there.  Overall I think they look pretty good, and will definitely add a nice element to my games!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Orcs & Goblins Army Book

I stopped by the game shop and picked up the Orcs & Goblins army book the other day: every other blog & web site has pointed out, this is the first army book / codex that Games Workshop has printed as a hardback, and in full color throughout:

...I do have to say, it's a gorgeous book - since painting & modeling is the majority of the hobby for me and I'm always looking for inspiration, my favorite part of the codexes are always the color photos of the painted models.  I've heard a lot of grousing from the tournament players about the hardback being less "travel friendly", but I've had lots of problems with my softcover codexes falling apart, and I tend to treat them pretty gently.  I'll gladly take a few more ounces in weight and a few more dollars in price, if it means that I don't have to laminate the book with packing tape to hold it together, like I've had to do with the last few 40k codexes I've bought.

As far as the rules / changes - I have no idea.  :-)  Sorry, but I'm brand-new to fantasy, having just acquired the beginnings of an Orcs & Goblins army, and haven't even really delved into the ruleset at all yet.  I've heard some people complain that the changes were very, very minor, and this book is almost a reprint of the old book - well, I didn't have the old book, so I can't speak to that...

Monday, March 7, 2011

First Freeboota Unit Painted! I got my first unit of Freebootas mostly painted the other day:

...these were mostly a run-through to test different methods of painting Ork skin, color schemes, etc.  They still needs some touch-ups (mostly around the eyes, where the red got away from me) and some highlights.  I figured I couldn't go wrong with a straight black vest/leather pants combo for one unit of Boyz - when I get into the other units I'll experiment with crazier schemes like striped pants, freehand iconography, etc...

Friday, March 4, 2011

New Squarebase Models

I picked up some new Fantasy models for my long-term Orcs & Goblins project the other day:

...some Orc Boar Boyz & some Night Goblin Fanatics.  I mainly picked up the Boar Boyz because I remember when the models came out and I really liked the look of them, to the point where I seriously considered trying to find a way to work them in to my 40K Ork army.  Of course, right after I bought these, GW announced that there will be new Savage Orc Boar Boyz available next month.  (And I've been trying to intentionally hold out on Fantasy purchases until the new Orc book hits).

I bought the Night Goblin Fanatics mainly because I was reading about how they play, and the unit sounds like a ton of fun.  What funny is that after I put the models into my "to do" pile, my wife came into my studio one night while I was painting - she saw the Fanatics and said "*gasp* Are you building Goblin Witches?!?  Cool!!"  (she thought "witches" because of the Fantaics' pointy hats, you see).  While she's always been supportive of my hobbies (she's a gamer herself), the sci-fi "flavor" of 40K has never appealed to her - she's always been interested in fantasy novels, movies, etc.  I might have to paint up the Dwarfs from the Skull Pass box and see if she want to try a game someday...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Battle Report: Red Scorpions vs. Ultramarines lars4life & I made it to the FLGS last weekend to play a game - his Red Scorpions (using vanilla marine rules) vs. my Ultramarines.  we agreed on 1,000 points, since I'm still a n00b & he's still getting the hang of 5th ed. rules.  Unfortunately, we BOTH forgot our cameras (again!) so you'll have to make do with our crappy cell phone pics.

We rolled for the mission and got "seize ground", and rolled for number of objectives and got 5, although we both agreed we should cut it down to 4 since we were playing on a 4'x4' table and there wasn't a logical place to put the fifth one where it would be 12" from a table edge.  We took turns laying terrain and he deployed first - mostly because I asked him to watch my deployment and offer suggestions or point out any potential dumb moves on my part.

The table after terrain & objective placement:

The objectives are the orange disks in each quadrant.  (We both realized that we really need to make some objective markers!)

The units I brought:

-Two tactical squads w/ missile launcher & flamer
-Terminator squad, 4 w/ heavy bolter & power fist, one w/ bolter & power weapon
-Space Marine captain
-Dreadnought w/ multi-melta & storm bolter

lars4life's list was actually fairly similar:

-Two tac squads (w/ lascannons, I think?)
-Termie squad w/ assault cannon
-Commander Culn
-Venerable Dreadnought
-Two Razorbacks


We both used similar tactics, leading our troops out behind our vehicles while simultaneously trying to avoid offering side armor shots.

Hey, are you guys in there?

We didn't keep a turn-by-turn record of the game, so I'll just talk about some of the high points:

-lars4life's Terminator doesn't know when to quit: The only Terminator to survive my Vindicator (after he detached his commander) managed to walk all the way across the board and single-handedly destroy my Vindicator.

-Commander Culn is one bad mofo: 

Over the course of two rounds, Commander Culn managed to kill my chaplain and half my tac squad before he went down.

-Dreadnought slap fight!

I guarantee that the phrase "Dreadnought slap fight" will elicit laughs from lars4life & I for a while - our Dreads got into close combat with each other on round two, and then neither of us could do anything.  We both rolled like garbage during this combat for three rounds, resulting in our Dreads standing there slapping each other.

We got past round five, rolled, and the game ended.  The final tally was one objective controlled by each of us, one contested, and one open, so it was a draw.  (although to be fair, lars4life was giving me pointers on tactics the whole time we were playing - I had no concept of a "side armor shot" or how effective many of the weapons were against the different armor types, so if it wasn't for him helping he could have easily mopped me up by round three).  Overall it was a lot of fun, and towards the end I finally started to feel like I was finding my footing with the rules - we only had to ask for help with the rules a couple of times, and they were in fairly complicated situations.  Lars4life also had a co-worker join us to observe, and I think having him there asking questions was actually helping us learn the rules (kind of like someone quizzing you before a test).  He also bought a Chaos Space Marine codex before we left, and is already planning his first army...