Monday, May 9, 2016

Order Sergeant Oh So Fancy

Another One Down
     Progress! As yet another week passes, I have another figure done. While I took the week (not solid) to complete this figure, I did show him some extra love.  With his slick and dynamic pose, cool and unique helmet,  and bad ass looking rifle, how could I not?  I am beginning to get my eye in on these Infinity models.  The fine details are and conventions are all foreign to me, but after three models completed, I think I understand what I'm looking at and how I want to paint the different bits of the model.
What's Next?
     Still four models remain from my Infinity stuff.  Once these are complete it will be time to return to the Sisters of Battle.  I must admit that my time away from the hobby is at least partially because of the Sisters.  Painting those old metal models in bulk is like a long roam across a parched featureless desert with endless dunes seeming to repeat forever off beyond the horizon.  I must charge on and find the end to the sands, perhaps these Infinity models were just the oasis I needed.
Here are some additional pictures of the completed Order Sergeant:

Monday, April 18, 2016

All My Paints Are Dry!




Back in the Saddle - Hobby Pledge
     It has been ages (approximately two years) since anything has been posted up here.  It's a shame.  I really enjoyed blogging my hobby through the years and I feel it's time for a return to form.  There came a time where I thought to myself "if I died tomorrow, who would paint all these stupid miniatures?  Not my three year old, that's for sure.  Besides I've seen him color... I can't let that happen to my beloved minis."

     With the image of my child's seemingly fever dream inspired scribblings being applied to my most precious resin figures, I made a vow then and there:  I will paint something.  More than that, really, as I've decided to make steady progress, blocking out time and keeping myself honest.

Canoness from a Sisters of Battle army I'm working on (Warhammer 40k)

Realistic Goals
     Now I'm certainly no stranger to the hobby game.  I've painted my fair share of the minis so I've learned a thing or two.  Like the Sun Tzu of painting (hyperbole fully engaged here) I arise from the wreckage of projects past, wisen and worn by time and countless samey metal models.  I know the taste of sweet victory but more importantly I have supped enormously at the table of defeat.  I've got to tone this down. A bit.

     Returning to Sun Tzu (briefly, I promise), and his oft quoted statement of knowing thy enemy, the same holds true when trying to establish a hobby pledge or goal or what-have-you.  The enemy, as in most goals you might have in life, is typically yourself.  Know your weaknesses and play to your strengths.  Here are the elements of my plan:

  • Mix it up - For me this means a variety of models to break the chain of monotony.  I have a breadth of models in my inventory now, and not being afraid to shift gears completely will keep me mentally engaged.  Getting bored of painting usually has more to do with the process than it ever is about the outcome.  We all typically revel in the product of the process, sometimes obsessively so.  When you're batch painting Orks though, the light at the end of that tunnel can seem very dim indeed.  Variety  will correct this and it also neatly brings me to my next point.

  • Small Batch - I used to paint batches of ten.  I then reduced that to five.  I might even further reduce that (at least temporarily) yet further still.  What small batch or single model painting loses me in efficiency it gains back in focus.  It's easy to be excited about the next model when it's only a single night's session away.  It's almost like (and I hate to use this analogy) chain smoking.  I'll be "riding the buzz" of completed models, pressing me onward to initially completing squads to eventually completing armies.
  • Scheduled Sessions - Model painting certainly isn't my only hobby.  Primarily I'm a PC gamer at heart.  Often times in the past I would choose spending time in a video game over painting quite readily.  Who can blame me, really?  Video games offer typically instant satisfaction.  Painting is no doubt a hobby that requires more patience but does not only offer a healthy dose of satisfaction and accomplishment at the end of a model, but also the physical manifestation of your dedication.  To ensure that I'm not placing my hobbies in competition with each other, I've decided to dedicate portions of a few nights a week to hobby progress.  That means those times not scheduled as such can be turned over to video games, the odd video program, or more hobby (should I choose).  Don't force yourself to constantly have multiple hobbies duke it out for attention during your free time.
War Jacks from a Cryx starter set (Warmachine)

Going Forward
     I hope that I can use this blog to keep myself honest, post what progress I've made on a weekly basis, and perhaps spark some conversation with people stopping by.  I'll be streaming on Twitch from time to time, I'll be sure to post that here when I do.  I sincerely enjoy sharing my knowledge of the miniatures painting hobby with newcomers so feel free to ask me any questions concerning the hobby you'd like.  I'll try my best to answer in a timely manner, pointing you in the right direction.


Pictures of my Progress
     I've babbled on at length, time to get to the point and show what I've achieved in the last week.  I've completed two models from the table top game called Infinity (think Xcom + Ghost in the Shell) by the company Corvus Belli.  I've had these models assembled and primed for about 4 years now so it was about time I put paint on them.  I hope you enjoy them.



More to come...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Inquisitor's Thoughts on 7th Edition

This is as pretty as they get.

I've had the weekend to think about the new rules, how they'll affect the game, and the quality of Games Workshop's eBook editions.

The Good

First off, the changes to army composition. My mind literally cannot comprehend what it's going to do. It's too busy being inordinately excited about the possibilities. Unbound armies? You can run an old school Inquisitor with Storm Troopers leading squads of Sisters and Grey Knights with Storm Talon support. The possibilities are intoxicating. Yes, I'm thinking of having a small troupe of Inquisitors driving a swarm of Tyranids at their opposition. ALL OF THAT IS POSSIBLE NOW.

But what's crazier is that you can do these combinations as Battle-Forged armies as long as you fill out the Detachments. There are no limits on the number or types of Detachments you include in a Battle-Forged army. Inquisitors have an extremely light Detachment requirement. It can simply be a single Inquisitor. Or you can have them as part of a GK Detachment. A Canoness with a squad of Battle Sisters fills an Allied Detachment. Storm Troopers? I haven't looked into the Militarum Tempestus codex, but it likely has a small Detachment included to allow you to add them to larger armies. Storm Talons a little trickier, but Throw a SM Captain and some Tac Marines in and you can add them.

To a fluff gamer, the changes are an amazing boon. To a WAAC player, they are as well, however there is an important caveat one must consider: the rule book itself says that players need to agree on limitations on unit numbers, composition, etc. When it comes to tournaments, expect specific restrictions on Force Organization. When playing friendly games, play friendly. Just because the rules technically allow you to field all the most overpowered unit combinations you muster . . . don't expect others to ever play against them unless that's what they're looking to fight.

In addition, the Psychic Phase will change things tremendously. Sam will likely discuss it in more depth, but I do like what it does for the game. I've never been one to really deal with running Psykers of my own, but if I get in some games in the future, that'll likely change. I mean, I'm a Grey Knights player. They're Psykers all over . . . after the last codex. Incidentally, my last game was shortly before it dropped. I even own a couple Dread Knight boxes, but I haven't gotten around to putting them together. But back to the point, the Psychic Phase sounds like it consolidates and limits some of the crazier things that were being done with Psykers. Eldrad cannot Fortune everyone 4 times a turn.

The Bad

Speaking of Grey Knights and the Psychic Phase, the Aegis now does nothing as Sam brought to my attention. It reduces the Leadership for Psychic tests . . . but Leadership is no longer involved for Psychic tests. I put forth the idea of it cancelling a hit on the test or making hits only on 5+, but that seems awfully effective . . . probably too effective. Sam thought it could give Adamantium Will, but I thought that was a bit too close to what the Sisters do (in fact, they nearly all get it through their Shield of Faith).

Which leads us to a gap in how the Sisters operate with the new Psychic Phase. Deny the Witch, a Sisters specialty, is based on spending Warp Charges. Since the Sisters have a grand total of ZERO Psykers in their list, they get a grand 1d6 Warp Charges to spend on Deny the Witch rolls. This is a bit weak. My solution is to give the Sisters this rule: "Every Unit with the Act of Faith Special Rule is treated as having Mastery Level 1 for purposes of Warp Charge generation." Why Act of Faith instead of Shield of Faith? Simple: it prevents vehicles from generating charges.

The Ugly

I purchased the eBook edition of the 7th Edition rules. As beautiful as Games Workshop's physical books are, their eBooks are awful. I have no experience with the enhanced iPad edition, so they are likely better. Perhaps it is merely a limitation of the formats they use. I have several PDF copies of Paizo's Pathfinder books. They're virtually identical to print copies. The same applies to PDFs of White Wolf / Onyx Path games. Really, it applies to pretty much every other company out there that sells electronic copies of their rules. GW, however, sells the books only in ePub and Mobi formats. Formats designed for straight text. The artistry of the book layout and design is simply lost. Which is truly sad. While GW may make terrible business choices at times, their products are definitely top notch. I cannot say that about their eBooks.

Conclusion

A lot of the new rules aren't very new. Other than a few major changes such as the Psychic Phase, it's sometimes hard to tell where the rules deviate from 6th Edition. It's not too hard to get the feeling that FAQs and errata would get us to the same spot. In a way that's not a bad thing. transitioning from 6th to 7th will not be difficult. I truly love the opportunities that the revised army composition rules allow. The bad part is that some of my favourite armies need some errata to work better in the new paradigm.

And GW really needs to start providing good PDF versions of their eBooks.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The Other OTHER Dice God: Ash

Nom, nom. Crunchy Power Armour coating, tender squishy human inside.

Wait, who's this guy?

Let's face it, we all know that one guy: the guy who just can't win a game. It doesn't matter what game he plays, what dice he uses, or what army he fields. The guy just can't win a game. That's me. I'm Ash, the Dice God of Despair. That picture above? My poorly painted Sister as she's devoured by unpainted Nids run by a new player. Never give up the faith! The faith is my shield! *chomp*

I'm pretty sure Sam got me into 40k so he could have some easy wins.

I haven't talked much about gaming on the blogs lately. Frankly, I've been out of the loop. I'm living out in the middle of nowhere with the Only Game In Town being a comic store that sells some 40k, but no X-Wing. (That's not the actual name of the store. But it should be.) I don't think they have a 40k community. At least they have Magic? That I don't play? Ugh.

So why are you here?

My point is that 7th Edition 40k is coming out. Man, it seems like it's only been a couple years since I was talking about the new changes in 6th Edition. Oh wait. It was. Like, the week of 16 July 2012. At least it sounds like the rules will be good. Unbound Force Orgs? I've been dreaming of this day. Sisters with Exorcists all day long. EXTERMINATUS just got serious. I'm talking Grey Knight Techmarines with Orbital Strike Relays all over the board. My Steel Dragons Chapter can have all the Devastators I can field. Cheese aside, I'm looking forward to reading the rules as soon as my digital edition can be downloaded.

So do you actually PLAY any 40k?

Erm, well, I did mention the lack of community where I am. However, this does not stop my love of talking about the game! And the occasional wistful glance at the boxes of miniatures I'll one day paint (I swear!). But not only do I like talking 40k, I also enjoy talking about X-Wing and other tabletop games. My heavy gaming of late has been Legend of the Five Rings using Roll20 and Skype. I try to get some Pathfinder in too.

Okay, fine. Tell us about your dreams and aspirations then.

. . . .

I think I just sassed myself. *cough* Right! I'm not the super painter dude that Sam is, but I love rules. I am not however, the type to wield them as a sword. I earn my losses fair and square. What I'm saying, I suppose, is that I enjoy analyzing the rules and what they mean from a more narrative standpoint. I care more about what the special rules say about the army than how the special rules make an army unbeatable if paired with some bizarre ally combination. I'm also a sucker for pretty models.

That's me. I'll be over here clicking "refresh" on my Black Library downloads page until I can read the new rules.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Adepta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle) Army Commission Project WIP (Part 2)


First Completed Squad

     Five down and 36 more to go.  GUH!  I shouldn't say it like that.  How about one squad down and seven more to go?  That's slightly better.  This squad took me about a week to complete from primed to finished.  I can only paint after 8:00 pm and I didn't paint every single night during that week.  I think that I can refine my process and get another five models done in perhaps 4 or 5 days (and that's allowing for some nights were I don't paint).



Thoughts About the Models

     I'm becoming more familiar with these models now.  I want to remind people just how old these sculpts are.  Some of these models are on the near side of almost 20 years old.  That's INSANE!  Unfortunately they show their age in a number of ways.  Obviously the first tell-tale sign is that they're metal.  I've been over that before so I'll move on.  The next big indicator is the faces.  The faces are a bit crude.  They aren't ugly, but there is a HUGE difference in the finer detail that can be achieved via plastic or resin crafted through modern sculpting techniques.  And finally there are just some bad looks that had to be made given the technology of the day.

     When these models are sitting at normal gaming distance, none of these faults really matter.  They still look like a part of the 40K aesthetic.  The only thing that might strike you at that distance is that there appears to be quite a large number of repeat poses.



Thursday, April 24, 2014

First Completed Scion



Astra Militarum Tempestus Scion Showcase

     I've completed my first Tempestus Sci... BAH nevermind that silly name... STORM TROOPER! HAH! Yes I've completed my first Storm Trooper from the new kit.  I'm not planning on cranking this squad out just now, as I've got bigger fish to fry.  I really wanted to completely assemble and paint one of these new models, however, so I could learn a bit more and give you guys a more detailed review of the model.


Assembly

     This kit, more than any other infantry kit from Games Workshop, demands that you follow the instructions.  On my previous post concerning this kit, I mentioned the instruction booklet (which it actually is, not a single sheet but an actual little booklet) and how impressed I was with it.  After completing the first model, I now know that the amount of detail they put in there was absolutely required.  The power cords coming off most of the weapons require that you match them to certain arms and backpacks.  Test fitting your model before you start gluing is mandatory too.  The backpack's power cord needs to meet up with the weapon's power cord and that determines the angle of the arms.  I would recommend plastic glue for assembly over super glue.  As long as you check and double check the fit of everything prior to gluing, you'll be fine.


Painting

     Games Workshop released a two part video tutorial on their YouTube channel (you can find part one here).  I want to first point out that this recent trend of them releasing these tutorials to coincide with their recent releases is actually really smart.  The videos are easy to follow, and well produced.  Even a 6 year veteran to the hobby can still learn some things from these.  I decided to follow their basic path to completion, but I altered colors to match with my existing guard.

Here are my other Imperial Guard Infantry... sorry... Astra Militarum *sigh*

     I tend to fully assemble infantry models before painting as I figure that if it's difficult to get my brush there in order to paint something, it's generally difficult to see that area.  That said, if I were looking to paint this figure up to a competition standard, I would have left the weapon off to better paint the chest armor.  There are some very fiddly details on these models so I also recommend just base coating pretty much everything first, then coming back to clean up prior to applying washes.  This should be pretty standard practice, but with all these fine details (like the metal trimming all over the armor) you want to make sure your base coats are nice and clean, carefully going over all the edges where two colors meet.

     One thing that stood out as I neared the end of painting on this model: no decals.  I wasn't a fan of transfers when I started in the hobby, but after becoming more familiar with all the tips and tricks in applying them, making them blend into the model, and weathering them, I've come to quite enjoy them.  My guard veteran squads all have transfers, each with a meaning as to the organization of my particular regiment.  I like these little visual story bits.  The new Storm Trooper kit does not have a transfer sheet at all, which isn't a surprise because there isn't any actual real estate on which you could apply them.  I decided that I would copy the GW style of paint job on their box-art Temestus Scions and have an arm stripe, but instead of a brighter shade of blue, I would incorporate white, as that can be seen as a common color across my existing guard.  This decision turned out to be a wise one.  Once I added this stripe, the figure seemed to be complete.  If you are planning on following your own custom theme for your Scions, and perhaps you were on the fence about the arm stripe, I am here to say that it's a good idea.  Here are some pictures followed by a few last words.  Enjoy:






Conclusion

     I like these models, but I actually like them a slight bit less than I did on first impression.  These models are perhaps too detailed.  With hardly any larger open surface areas, I found it difficult to express the same amount of freehand blending and weathering.  Weathering seemed to busy up the model a bit too much given the existing level of physical detail.  I'm going to try more edge weathering on subsequent Scion models.  I still like the models, just not quite as head-over-heels as I was when I saw those first leaked pictures.

Base

     The base used for this model can be purchased from the fine folks over at Secret Weapons Miniatures.  This is from their "Urban Streets" bevel edged resin bases line found here.  I like the fine detail that Secret Weapons Miniatures has on their bases, but I have a few points of contention with this set.  The first complaint is that they are a bit "tall" which resulted in this Storm Trooper being about a head taller than my other guard on standard bases. The second complaint is that the beveled edge was rather rough and required a good bit of clean-up.  Both of these complaints certainly aren't deal-breakers, and I will most certainly continue to use them for my Tempestus Scion squads.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Kris - The Other Dice God

I'm still figuring out this whole "painting" thing...

Better late than never!

     Hi there!  As I'm sure you've gleamed from my clever post title, my name is Kris.  I started this blog along with fellow Dice God member Sam almost 2 years ago, but this will be my first post.  Right now, the name of the game is Warhammer 40K.  I've previously played Grey Knights and Necrons, and currently have two army projects in the works - an Adepta Sororitas army (to which Sam is lending his amazing brush skills) and a still undecided Xenos army (more on that later).  I'm not a great painter, but I'm slowly trying to get better.  However, for my Sisters of Battle, I'm leaving that to a pro.

I may paint poorly, but at least I'm organized.

     Outside of 40K, my interests are spread all over the tabletop world, including Warmachine (Menoth), Firestorm Armada (Relthoza), BattleTech (Clan Wolf), X-Wing, Magic the Gathering (mono-white Angels), Yu-Gi-Oh! (Dragons) and Heroclix.  I've also got a big box of Relic Knights coming sometime later this year, containing 4 separate armies (Doctrine and Shattered Sword Paladins for me, Noh Empire and Black Diamond for Sam).  I also do a bit of board gaming with a group of friends, including games like Zombicide, Descent and Super Dungeon Explore.

I painted these when I was 11.  Don't mind the dust...

Where did he come from?

     While I'm still relatively new to 40K (having only started mid-way through 5th edition), my entry into tabletop war gaming began almost two decades ago.  It was the summer of 1995.  MechWarrior 2 had just released for the PC and reruns of the BattleTech animated series were airing every morning.  What can I say, I was a pre-teen who liked him some giant walking death machines.  It was no surprise that when I saw a group of people playing BattleTech at my local comic shop, I was instantly hooked.  I spent several years as part of our local MechWarrior's Guild, but then high school happened any my attention shifted to girls and sports.

I won one of these!

Then what happened?

     Graduation came and went, and I felt the desire to game on the tabletop once again.  But when I went looking for the BattleTech community, they were nowhere to be found.  Instead, there were two new games out that everyone was talking about locally: Heroclix and Yu-Gi-Oh!  I dove in head first and ended up playing both at the national tournament level for a while before pulling back to a casual interest level (though I do still dabble in both from time to time).



     Fast forward to 2009 and Dawn of War II for the PC.  I found the world of Warhammer 40K completely fascinating.  I began reading wikis and searching for any fluff I could find.  So, when my good friend Sam mentioned being interested in getting into 40K, I was all in. For the second time in my life, a video game led me to the tabletop.  I suppose the rest is history!



You mentioned something about an undecided army?

     Indeed I did!  My main work in progress 40K army is a heavily mechanized Adepta Sororitas list.  I desire a second army, but I'm unable to decide between the following three ideas:


  • Necrons with Triarch Stalkers, Annihiliation Barges and Immortals in Night Scythes.
  • Iyanden Eldar with Wraithguard, Wraithlords, a Wraithknight and a Forge World Wraithseer
  • The same Eldar above, but dropping the Wraithseer and putting the Wraithguard in Wave Serpents
     I tend to build army lists around models I like and themes I enjoy.  Sure, Necron Wraiths are awesome and Eldar Jetbikes tend to dominate, but neither of them fit my army vision.  I'd rather lose with an army I love than win with a win-at-all-costs list.

     So...  What are you waiting for?  Leave a comment and let me know which army you think I should move forward with!