Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Khador Widowmakers - Painted

I painted my Khador Widowmakers the other day:

These were pretty simple - since they're wearing leather trenchcoats, I was able to use inks for most of the model.  Unfortunately, I have been pretty unimpressed with their performance in games...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Just an FYI...

...convention season has left me a bit behind with my painting, modeling & writing - I'll be switching new blog posts to Tuesdays & Thursdays for a few weeks instead of the usual Mon./Wed./Fri. while I get caught up.  I have some BIG painting projects, scratchbuilds & tutorials coming up, look for them soon!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Board Games: Don Quixote

I found a good deal in the "50% off" bin at Barnes & Noble the other day:

A couple of times a year, Barnes & Noble has a sale to clear out excess inventory - it usually starts at "30% off" and increases 10% every week until the stuff is gone.  The sale usually includes a couple of decent board games, and the guys over at BoardGameGeek usually give a heads up if there are any decent titles - this year, the standouts were Don Quixote and The Adventurers.  I checked the B&N near my work as soon as I heard about the sale, but they were cleared out of board games.  A couple of weeks later, my wife went to meet a friend at a different Barnes & Noble, so I tagged along - I was surprised to find three copies of Don Quixote still in stock at that store!  It's a decent little tile-laying/settlement-building game, and is good for 1-4 players (my wife & I are always on the lookout for board games that are 2-player friendly).  I look forward to trying it out, and at the price I paid it's a welcome addition to my collection...

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kovnik Grigorovich - Painted

I painted up my Kovnik Grigovich model:

Kovnik Grigovich is cool unit attachment that can make motivational speeches every turn, that give some very cool buffs to allied units.  He got the same paintjob as the Winter Guard, pretty much, since that's who he rolls with - I would have liked to give the face/hair a lot more attention on this model, but impatience got the best of me.  There are tons of seams/details on the coat (the back of it, too), and all his medals, etc. - I was just ready to be done with this model.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Board Game: Merchants of the Middle Ages

I found a pretty good deal on Tanga the other day:

(For those of you unfamiliar with Tanga, it's a "one-deal-a-day" site, similar to W00t, but frequently features board games).  Recently a flood of titles from Z-Man Games, one of my favorite publishers, began appearing on Tanga - apparently Z-Man has been sold to French publisher Filosofia.  (Not too worry, word on the street is that Zev is staying on as an employee, and availability of titles shouldn't be affected much).  Merchants of the Middle Ages is one of the better-reviewed Z-Man titles, but Settlers of Catan is the only game most people think about when it comes to the "resource control"  family of games.  The game is beautiful and the pieces look to be high-quality, I look forward to playing it!

Friday, August 19, 2011

War Dog - Painted

I finished painting my Khador War Dog:

As I mentioned previously, the War Dog is cool attachment for your warcaster that pretty much lets him move wherever he wants, without having to worry about free strikes.  I modeled a drop-off on the base, so he looks like he's jumping down off a ledge  This is because the pose looks kinda silly if he's on flat ground - I see what the sculptor was going for, and I appreciate a dynamic pose as much as the next guy, but it just looked odd - like he was doing a one-legged "paw stand".  Some readers commented on the previous post and asked about converting the dog to different pose - I think this would be really difficult, as the way the back legs are positioned would require major re-sculpting.  (Not that I'm not up for a challenge, but I was in a hurry to get him table-ready, so I went with this solution).

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Board Games: Castle Ravenloft & Seafarers of Catan

...as I mentioned in my post about Origins 2011, I was fortunate enough to win a promo pass for GenCon this year.  Unfortunately, the wife & I had already bought our badges, and getting one refunded & re-buying a badge with the promo pass looked like it was going to be an exercise in frustration, so I floated the idea of a mutually advantageous trade out there to some friends - one of them was thinking of going to GenCon anyway, and had a few board games on my wish list:

I've heard nothing but good things about Castle Ravenloft and have been thinking of picking it up for a while.  Sefarers of Catan has actually been on my convention shopping list for a few years now, but the wife & I kind of hit the point of burnout with the Catan games last year, so I haven't been in any rush - this copy is still in the shrinkwrap, and now I have all the expansions to the base game.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Airbrush Compressor

I was browsing Craigslist the other day and came across an ad for some airbrush stuff - I went and checked it out and wound up getting this compressor for a song:

It's a Testor's compressor that has a much stronger motor than the Harbor Freight compressor I've been using - it's also got a built-in cooling fan & runs a bit quieter than my current one, which is nice.  Sitting behind it in the pic is a Paasche single-action airbrush that the guy threw in - this will be handy when I want to spray varnish or Future acrylic wax, but don't want to risk gumming up one of my good airbrushes...

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Butcher of Khardov - Painted

I finished painting my Butcher of Khardov warcaster:

...although Karchev the Terrible was the first warcaster that I bought outside of the Battlegroup box, it turned out that I liked the playstyle of The Butcher a lot better - I've been using him almost exclusively, and I got tired of playing with a primered model every week, so I decided to paint him up.  I'm pretty pleased with how he came out, considering that I wasn't going for a competition-quality paint job or anything.  I find myself using a lot of Citadel Tin Bitz on my Warmachine models, as it really seems to fit the steampunk aesthetic in general, and the grimy, industrial feel of the Khador forces in particular - funny, because although I love the color, I never really found a good place to use it in my 40K armies.  I also learned a few tricks for painting/shading faces at the classes I took at Origins this year, and I think they really helped on this model... 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

GenCon 2011 Trip Report, Pt. II


On Saturday the wife & I both overslept - we had a game of Carcassonne scheduled for 10AM, but missed it.  We decided to take it easy for most of the day - we went out exploring around Indianapolis a bit.  When it came time for lunch, we wandered over to the Hyatt-Regency and went to One South, which was completely deserted:

This was actually one of our best meals of the trip - I got the Italian beef sandwich, and my wife got the pastrami:

After lunch, we headed back to the hotel and spent an hour or so in the pool & hot tub.  After a bit, I headed back over to the Dealer Room to see what trouble I could get into - I actually had some money burning a hole in my pocket, as there was a quite a bit of stuff that I was planning on buying that wasn't available; as I mentioned before, I wasn't able to get a Crokinole board, and nobody had an Inquisitor Karamazov model available.  I had been considering Descent or Twilight Imperium from Fantasy Flight, but didn't see copies of either at their booth.  I had expected Super Dungeon Explore from Soda Pop Miniatures to be available at the show, but it was still a pre-order only.  I stopped by the Catalyst booth to get a copy of Levithans, but it wasn't out yet either.  Eventually I wandered by the Battlefoam booth - I had picked up a P.A.C.K. 216 at Origins to organize all my paints & tools, but I had a few dozen that wouldn't fit - I decided to pick up another one:

I originally requested two of the trays for Vallejo/Reaper paint bottles,  as I've been moving more towards Reaper paints, and one P3 tray instead of the tool tray that is usually included with the 216 - they were sold out of the P3 trays and offered to ship it to me, but instead I decided to go with a pluck foam tray, as I really don't see myself winding up with 50 bottles of P3 paint (I have over 150 colors of GW / Vallejo / Reaper / P3 / Rackham paints already).  With the pluck foam, I can customize it to carry all the "miscellaneous" bottles into one tray.  I also almost talked myself into buying a P.A.C.K. Mini, just because every time I look at one I think of a thousand uses for it. but decided to hold off for the time being.

Next I headed to my only painting event of the day, Painting Non-Metallic Metals: Practice and Theory with Zach Lanier.  This was by far the stand-out seminar of the convention for me - I always intend to try painting non-metallic metals, but I've always wound up getting intimidated and just using metallics and a wash.  Zach laid out the process in a very logical, easy-to-understand manner, and I feel much more confident about giving it a try.  We had some time left over at the end of the class, and Zach was able to give us a demonstration:

He also let us drool over his collection of award-winning models:

After the seminar, I decided to head back to the hotel room - I actually had a ticket to play in the Privateer Press Iron Arena, but was feeling pretty beat, so I cashed the ticket in and went to get some dinner with the wife...


On Sunday the wife & I woke up early and got everything packed up and loaded into the car, since we had to check out of our hotel by 11AM.  We moved the car to the parking garage at the Circle Centre Mall and headed in for our last day of Gencon.

It's become a bit of a tradition for my wife & I to play a game of Munchkin when we go to conventions, and this year was no different - we headed to the Steve Jackson Games area for a game of Munchkinomicon:

This went exactly as a game of Munchkin should, with everyone progressing pretty much equally until someone got to level 9, then everyone would team up and deliver a beatdown to said player.  Me & another guy got pretty close, but he won in the end (actually because another player didn't have anything to play besides an "all clerics go up a level" card - most unsatisfying loss ever). After this game, the wife told me "If you want to go to the Dealer Room, this is your last chance."  Of course she didn't have to tell me twice!  I swung back by the Battlefoam booth, as by this point I had talked myself into the P.A.C.K. Mini:

I also swung by the Reaper booth, as I wanted to pick up a set of their awesome Mousling figures:

They also had a pretty good deal on a GenCon-exclusive "basic colors" paint set - I picked up one of these, as I'm going to be replacing my GW & Vallejo Game Color paints with Reaper & Vallejo Model Air as they run out.

After the final lap of the dealer room, we went to the mall and grabbed some lunch, then hit the road - another GenCon in the bag!

General Thoughts About GenCon 2011

-As I said, there was a lot of stuff I wanted to buy that wasn't available, or companies that weren't there - really, guys? You're going to skip GenCon?

-The layout of the Dealer Room was kinda screwy - there were whole areas I think I missed because the layout was weird.

-The swag bag was a slight improvement this year - it included a Magic deck, True Dungeon token, a full retail copy of Rift (strange choice, but whatever), and a coupon for a free D6 from Crystal Caste.  (At Origins, and at  previous years at GenCon, they just threw a D6 in every bag - this year, you had to go to the Crystal Caste booth & redeem the coupon.  I didn't bother, since the GenCon die was identical to the Origins die this year). 

-The Fantasy Flight booth was awesome.  The Wizards of the Coast booth kinda sucked.

-I didn't get a chance to check out Space Marine, because the booth was hidden in one of the weird pockets of warp-time in the Dealer Room.

-It was kind of nice to see WizKids with a substantial convention presence again.

-The new spaces at the Indiana Convention Center are nice, but since they didn't use a lot of the old space (the entire Exhibit Hall "D", several of the ballrooms, etc.) the con actually felt more crowded than in past years.

-If you bring a rolling suitcase or stroller into the Dealer Room, we should legally be allowed to kill & eat you.

...and that's about it for GenCon 2011 coverage.  That puts and end to all the "major" conventions of my season, but I'll be going to at least one more regional convention this year!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

GenCon 2011 Trip Report, Pt. I

     After dealing with a ton of work & personal stuff and racing around to get caught up on chores, the wife & I were FINALLY ready last Wednesday to depart for GenCon 2011! We loaded up the car, dumped out a few huge bowls of food for the cats, and hit the road a bit before noon.  The drive to Indianapolis was uneventful, and we got to our hotel around 4PM:

I was also glad to see that my Khador army made it to Indy unscathed:

The wife & I weren't able to find any events Wednesday night that interested us (I didn't find out until later that there was open gaming at Union Station on Wednesday evening) so we decided to have a nice dinner out.  My wife had been saving our credit card reward points for the better part of a year, and we were able to get quite a few gift cards for Ruth's Chris Steak House:

I knew it was going to be expensive, but I have to say it was one of the best meals I've ever had.  I had the Kobe filet:

And my wife had the crab cakes:

After dinner, my wife & I headed back to our hotel to relax.  While checking Twitter, I noticed a tweet from Screaming Heretic:

...so I jumped on the elevator and met Joe and The Jen from the podcast in their suite. Joe & I talked about D&D, podcasts, blogs, 40K & Warmachine for a few hours - in the process, I'm pretty sure we re-wrote the rules for all the cheesy units in 40K, figured out how Games Workshop could increase profits while charging 75% less, and solved the current global financial crisis.  Unfortunately we polished off a bottle of Sailor Jerry while doing it, so I don't actually remember the specifics.  (Oh well, there's always next year).  At one point we went downstairs and ran into Mack Martin, formerly of the Dice Like Thunder podcast, and now with Fantasy Flight.  The first word's out of Mack's mouth were "WE GOT THE STAR WARS LICENSE!" referring to Fantasy Flight's announcement from a couple of days earlier.  After chatting with Mack for a minute we headed back upstairs and hung out for little while longer - the Screaming Heretic folks had to be up at 7AM & the wife was texting me wondering where I was, so I said my goodbyes and headed off to bed.


On Thursday morning the wife & I woke up and had a bite to eat.  I had some events that I registered for later than the others, and had to go to the will-call desk at the Convention Center to pick up the tickets.  I had heard rumblings on Twitter that the will-call line was really long, but I had no idea until I got there:

It's hard to get a sense from the picture, but the will-call line started at the desks at one end of the convention center, ran down THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE CONVENTION CENTER, then doubled back on itself and ran THE ENTIRE LENGTH OF THE CONVENTION CENTER AGAIN. And, of course, I got stuck in line next to the guy who decided to bitch about it, loudly, THE ENTIRE TIME.  I decided I was going to kill somebody or lose my mind, so to occupy myself I logged in to my Twitter account and invented the "GenCon Will-Call Line Game"

Needless to say, it appeared to be a hit:

Next year, I'll put up a .pdf with a list just in case the lines are as long, and we can all play  :-)

After almost two hours in line, I finally arrived at the will-call desk:

I grabbed my tickets and sent a text to my wife to grab my backpack and meet me at the Convention Center.  She showed up a few minutes later, and we and headed to the Indiana Convention Center for our first event, Crokinole:

If you've never played Crokinole, it's kind of like a cross between horseshoes and shuffleboard, played on a tabletop by flicking wooden discs on a waxed wooden playing surface.  We first played it at GenCon last year and had a lot of fun, so we decided to play again this year.  I actually had halfway decided to buy a Crokinole board at the con, but Mayday Games wasn't there this year.  (This actually turned out to be a good thing, as there was absolutely no way I could have fit the thing in the car on the way home).

After Crokinole, I headed to my next event, Death Angel: The Space Hulk Card Game:

I had actually just bought this game a couple of weeks earlier during a sale, but hadn't had a chance to play it yet - it turned out to be a lot of fun!  I was a little leery as I'm usually not the biggest fan of card games in general, but I think it would be more accurate to describe the way this game plays as a "board game without the board", and it really does capture the feel of a game of Space Hulk.

After Space Hulk I met back up with my wife and headed to the food court for lunch:

After lunch, I made my first lap of the Dealer Hall.  My first stop was the booth for The WarStore, where I bought almost the last of the models I need for my Grey Knights army:

Two Dreadknights & a Venerable Dread.  All I need now is an Inquistor Karamazov, and I haven't been able to find one of those since he's slated for a re-release in Finecast next month.

Next I went by Days of Wonder's booth to pick up a copy of the only Memoir '44 expansion I didn't own yet, Winter Wars:

I had really wanted to get this at Origins this year, but Days of Wonder wasn't there.  When I first went to their booth at GenCon I didn't see any copies on their table - I asked the lady working if they had any, and she started to shake her head no, but said "wait a minute" and dug around under the table - she came back up with a copy and said "I put this aside because I thought we might need it for demo games, but I'll sell it to you".  Score!  I would have been really disappointed if I hadn't been able to pick this up.

Next, I stopped by the WizKids booth to pick up a copy of Quarriors:

This is a "dice-building" game - think "Dominion", but using dice instead of cards.  I haven't had a chance to play it yet, but everyone I've talked to raves about it, so I decided to give it a shot.

At this point my wife had joined me in the dealer room and we decided to go back to the Days of Wonder booth and pick up Ticket to Ride:

We both like train games & have some friends who have expressed interest in them too, but all we had in our collection was Empire Builder, which isn't the most "n00b friendly" game, takes a long time to play, and, to be frank, is kinda ugly - Ticket to Ride is supposedly a more streamlined system and looks great, so I'm hoping it fits the bill.

After the dealer room we went and grabbed some dinner, and I headed off to my first painting demo, "Painting Faces of Miniatures".  There was some good info in this class, but unfortunately nothing I didn't know - it's all about patience & practice!  After the class I headed back to the room, relaxed for a bit, and went to bed early, as two days of long hours & greasy food had kind of caught up with me...


The next morning the wife & I headed back to the convention center for our first game, Nuns on the Run.  We first played this game a couple of years ago at Origins and really liked it, but we hadn't played lately, so we scheduled it - most of the players are "novices" (basically "nuns-in-training") and are trying to sneak around the Abbey to obtain their "secret wish".  One player controls The Abbess and The Prioress, who are trying to catch the novices in the act and send them back to their rooms before they can achieve their goal.  It's a fun game that uses a unique mechanic of not being able to see where everyone else is on the board (you record your location & moves on a score card) unless The Abbess or The Prioress get close enough to hear you sneaking around.  You can move faster, but then you risk making more noise and getting caught.  Overall it's a light, fun game that I highly recommend!

Next, we played Dominion.  (Sorry for the lack of pics, I wasn't really thinking straight on Friday, apparently).  I had played this a couple of years ago at Origins and really liked it, and I thought the wife might enjoy it too.  We got paired with a couple of really experienced players, but luckily they were really nice guys who were happy to play with just the base game and show us the ropes as we played.  Of course we finished in 3rd & 4th place, but all the scores were within three or four points of each other, so we didn't do too bad.

After Dominion, I ducked back into the Dealer Room and grabbed my GenCon t-shirt before they sold out:

I stopped by the Fantasy Flight booth, where they had display cases showing their upcoming releases - one in particular caught my eye, Wiz War:

Wiz War is fun game where player negotiate a maze collecting treasure & fighting monsters.  The trick is that the other players have items that can spawn monsters, trigger traps, or even rearrange the maze itself!  Wiz War was first published almost 30 years ago, and the license has been kicked back-and-forth and tied up forever - gamers desperate to play have taken to printing their own copies or  creating elaborate 3-D game boards using Hirst Arts molds.  I'm really excited that Fantasy Flight now has the license, and this game will definitely be on my Christmas list!

Next,  I wandered by the Rio Grande booth, and noticed they were having a pretty good sale - Puerto Rico, which has been on my shopping list forever, was on sale, as well as all the Dominion expansions, so I picked up Seaside:

About this time we decided to go to dinner - we headed to The Ram Restaurant & Brewery, which is a GenCon institution.  Every year they partner with Privateer Press and re-theme the entire restaurant as a gamer mecca, as well as offering some very cool merchandise.  Unfortunately they were packed and it would have been a huge wait for dinner, so I just grabbed the 2011 t-shirt and a "growler" (a refillable 64-ounce jug that they sell their microbrews in):

Hey, it's even Khador, my faction of choice!  We headed back to the hotel and tried the restaurant there, the Circle City Bar & Grille.  We were pleased to find that they were offering a special menu with "fantasy themed" meals like "The Feast" (an assortment of meats, cheeses, and hunks of bread) and "The Beast" (a gigantic bratwurst).  I just got a plain 'ol turkey club, but my wife opted for "The Bird" from the special menu, and was served an impossibly huge drumstick on a giant pile of mashed potatoes:

Needless to say, watching her try to eat this thing was entertainment in its own right.  After dinner, my wife headed back to the room and I head off to another painting seminar, "Bloodly, Bloody Minis" with Michelle Farnsworth.  Michelle showed us some really cool techniques for rust:

...and for blood effects:

After the class, I headed back to the hotel.  As the wife & I were getting ready for bed, we noticed there were fireworks going off over Lucas Oil Stadium, which we could see from our hotel room - we turned off the lights and enjoyed the show:

After the show, we hit the sack.  Part II still to come!