Wednesday, June 30, 2010

US Battle Report - I Put a Spell on You

Today was the last battle at 650 before we bump up to 900 in July (provided that EV's Rippers show up by then of course).  The last couple games have been a real turkey shoot that haven't been good for either of us, but today's battle was tightly contested and entertaining throughout.  We also only had one or two rules questions, so we're learning the game better as well.  This is also the last battle on a 4'x4' board; we'll be going to 6'x4' for 900 points.  There should also be a new, blue "table" for next time as well.  So much change in the future.  In the present, things stayed the same on the list front.  Next time I'll post updated lists.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Terrain, part 2

After a break for lunch and to let glue dry, I went back at it.  I'm trying to think of a good way to get the corner halves to join up into a single piece.  Dowels seem like a good choice, but I don't want a big hole in the side.  Magnets could work, but that seems like a lot of trouble to go to.  I'll continue to ponder.  In the meantime, I covered the first island in Elmer's to see how it would work out.  Like a lot of these glue pics, the picture doesn't really do a lot to convey what the piece actually looks like, but it's better than nothing I think

First crack at terrain

I scouted out Home Depot with EV yesterday and found they had both reasonably sized pieces of hardboard and pink insulation.  I went back this morning to get some supplies.  I got a 2'x4' piece of hardboard, a 2'x8' piece of pink insulation, some Liquid Nails, and an extendable utility knife.  I had been planning on getting a hot wire foam cutter, but after having watched a couple videos on Youtube I decided to give a knife a shot.  While not going bargain basement on this project, I do want to save money where possible, and a $3 knife instead of a $20 (at least I'd expect) hot wire cutter fits that bill. 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pre-F1 update

Been a quiet couple hobby days.  Played Monsterpocalypse and (the non-Xbox Live version of) Settlers of Catan for the first time on Friday.  Also got the next wave of reinforcements, or at least proxies for them.  It's a couple days early, but I was at the FLGS.  Finally got a set of Warmachine templates so I can stop relying on my opponent having them.  Went out today to take a look at hardboard and pink foam insulation to get an idea of what I'd be spending and what I'd be getting if I go in for making some islands.  Lowe's had ginormous sheets of hardboard, but I couldn't find the pink foam.  I'll try Home Depot on Monday and compare.  Looks like costs will be reasonable(ish) and I'll be able to scratch the terrain itch.  In worse news, a week and half is all I have before my next class starts.  Haven't made any progress on the Khador, but I've gotten a bit of reading in.  The new ships will get painted soon enough, then we'll see about WM or terrain.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

US Battle Report - Big Badaboom

In the new light of morning, the airship isn't so bad after all.  I may try and touch it up some, which would be easier and less demoralizing than stripping it and starting over again.  I got in varnished in time to game with as planned.  EV did a random terrain setup again.  He took 7-8 islands and rolled for each of them, including them on a 4+.  He rolled 4d6 for inches and a scarrer die for directiion then placed the island from center accordingly,  Fleets were the same as the last two games.

Disaster strikes

I thought I was pretty clever with the whole "varnish part of my airship so I can hold it and paint the other part" idea.  It was successful enough.  I held the varnished part while I finished painting and the varnish held, keeping the underlying paint safe and intact.  The problem was the overspray on the unfinished areas.  It made basecoating tricky, but nothing too bad.  The real issue came when it was time for the wash.  Instead of behaving like a normal wash, it beaded on the ship like a freshly waxed car.  No running into crevices and away from high areas, just sitting where it hit the model, pooling here and there, no rhyme or reason to it.  I'll stop short of calling it ruined, but I'm not happy.  I'll look into stripping a varnished model and consider doing just that and starting over again on it.  I'll have the problem then of where to hold the thing while I paint it.  I suppose I could use a brush on varnish and paint a wing first, then do the rest.  Or I could try using a flying stand or a dowel to hold, but then there's the issue of painting the underside where the stick wouldn't hold.  Problems for another day.  In the meantime, not pleased.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A morning of painting

Got cracking on the airship this morning.  I ran into a problem that I had expected, but not to the extent that it manifested.  My big issue with painting US minis is that they don't have a base, so you have no choice but to hold the mini while painting it.  As such, the paint can wear off on areas that get handled too much.  This may be a function of using Vallejo Model Color, which I head is somewhat delicate.  I planned for this with the airship by intending to paint the body first, varnish a holding spot, then finish off the wings.  This has worked to a point.  Despite my best efforts, paint has been wearing away from the body as well, where I put it down when not painting.  The dorsal fin has been hit especially hard.  As such, I've moved up the varnish step to right now.  I finished up the front half of the airship and am in the process of putting a coat of varnish on it.  WIP shots:

Top shot.  I decided on a canvas sort of color for the balloon itself.  I had many thoughts on it, from red to white to black and white checks, but canvas seemed both realistic and it stayed within my established palate, which made it a winner.

I'm torn on the bottom.  I think I should work in a white plate or two, as the only white bits are going to be the nose and the tail fin.  At the same time, I think it looks fine as it is, and I did go a bit overboard on the heavy cruisers.

I also touched up my Krakens.  I had decided to paint the shaft of the ship bronze as I just couldn't justify the planks as wood.  I also painted the ram itself silver, or "iron" if you will, because of the Iron Ram rule the ship has.  The problem was the front of the ship was awfully shiny and metallic, so I wanted to break it up a little.  I ended up painting the arms on the ram black, though it doesn't show so well in this shot, and I think it does well enough. 

I hope to finish the airship tonight, but that's probably wishful thinking.  I have a game with EV tomorrow and as usual I'd rather not bring unsealed models with me, but I may not have a choice in this case.  I guess I could just bring the flying stand as the model itself is essentially just decoration, but that'd be very lame.  I'll put in a good effort tonight and try to make it a non-issue.

Monday, June 21, 2010

WM Battle Report - The Deathjack Cometh

Warmachine content here?  When's the last time that happened?  Played a 35 pointer with EV today, eSorscha vs the Witch Coven.  I had a notion a bit ago to do a 50 point game, and that's on the docket, but since I haven't played WM in a month or three, I thought it'd be a good idea to start with something smaller before jumping to a point size I've never played at before.  My army selection was somewhat influenced by wanting to use that last of the models I haven't used yet, eSorscha and the Devastator.  I wanted to run eSorscha and I would have taken the Devastator with her anyway, so it wasn't too hard fitting them in.  I had made an eSorscha list a while ago but had forgotten about it, so I made a new one up last night.  Turns out they were basically the same, except one had Doom Reavers.  Which list made the cut?  Army lists and the report itself after the break.

Friday, June 18, 2010

A brief ray of sunshine

Class is done, at least for the moment.  I have about 3 weeks now of glorious almost-freedom, where all I have to do is work.  No reading for school, no going to class, no writing papers.  I already have a bunch planned for my free time.  The Iron Dwarves are first on the docket.  I hope to finish the Krakens over the weekend and the airship before the next game.  Then I'm going to roll into Khador.  I'm going to finish the already started models first: pSorscha, Manhuntress, 'jacks, WGI.  After that I'm not sure.  I'll continue on with Khador until the beginning of July, when it'll be time for the next US expansion.  If we go to 900 points, that'll mean a flagship and a pair of destroyers (which I'll probably have to proxy until I can lay hands on the models).  If we do 800, then I'll figure something out.  Putting a 160 point model into a 150 point hole is never easy, but I'll just push until it goes in.  When those are painted, back to Khador until my next class starts up.

Of course, painting is not the only thing on the schedule.  I want to finally finish the latest Wheel of Time book, plus Hemingway's The Snows of Kilimanjaro, and a book on the Maya I read most of for a class last semester.  Not to mention all the other books on the ever-growing pile of books to be read.  Then there's the entire season of Breaking Bad to get off the DVR, plus the Chuck season finale, the summer season of Wipeout, F1 races, and Nats games.  I want to make some US terrain too, and take a stab at working up a spreadsheet for making ID lists.  And then there's WoW and everything that goes with that.

All of this in 3 weeks.  Something is gonna have to give.  I wonder what it'll be.  In the meantime, I'm off to get some reading in.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

US Battle Report - Short Work

Short, because they're dwarves see?  I'm multitasking here by finishing up the varnish on my heavy cruisers while I do up the battle report.  Only two tasks though, as my paper sits idle.  I'm telling myself that ideas are percolating so I can harvest them later.

Fleets are the same as they were last time and the time before.  I'm not going to type up the same list again, so if you're curious just go back a report or two.  As he often does, EV had the table set up before I arrived.  He used a random generator of some sort (4+ and the terrain appeared, then a scatter die for where it was placed I believe), so that's why the islands are clumpy and there's so much open space.  Setup picture after the break.

He's not heavy, he's my cruiser

The humidity broke overnight, down now to a manageable 65% from 90% last night.  It was the kind of gross night where every surface is wet even though it hasn't rained.  Thankfully that's done now and it looks like the humidity will burn off as the day progresses. Implementing my plan to get my heavies varnished, at least partially, before heading out for today's showdown, I got up early-ish to put on the first coat.  I had left the ships outside to dry, in the sun for extra drying speed.  When I went out to shift them a bit so they didn't stick to the box, I rethought my positioning, reasoning that leaving resin models in direct sunlight might not be the best idea ever.  So I brought them inside, stuck them in the bathroom, and turned the fan on.  They'll dry some more while I go get breakfast, then I'll flip them and hit the bottoms.  Hopefully the tops are dry enough by then that they won't stick to the box when I flip them.  In the meantime, I took a super high quality shot while they were in the bathroom.  Pic after the break.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The honeymoon is over

I had been all set to write a post about the joys of a new brush, how there's no job it can't do, how you feel like you can conquer the world with it in your hand.  That was before I finished up the heavy cruisers this morning.  On my second application of new brush to model, it's already started hooking.  I'm fighting the urge to trim the hook off, as that apparently leads to splitting, which is even worse.  While this day comes for all brushes sooner or later, I thought I'd have at least a couple weeks of bliss instead of a bare two days.

In better news, as mentioned the heavies are done.  I think I may have gone overboard with the white accents, but I'll wait and see how they look next to my other ships before I start wringing my hands in earnest.  The trick now is to find a suitable bit of weather so I can get some varnish on them.  The next naval clash is set for roughly 11 am tomorrow.  Forecasts for the time between now and then have 70%+ humidity until 10 am.  I'm torn between putting a coat of gloss on tonight after class and potentially stinking the whole house up and waiting until tomorrow before varnishing and hoping they're dry by the time I head out for combat.  Pictures to come tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

You've got to be kidding

One day I'll do a post about my gaming history, but suffice for now to say that I was a Games Workshop kid for many years.  Over time their pricing scam scheme left me disillusioned with the company.  While I still love 40k, at least the fluff and the minis, Warhammer Fantasy has never really been my cup of tea.  Fast-forward to today, where GW is doing advance orders for the new edition of WFB.  They've gone back to a stand-alone book model, instead of the big box with rules and minis that reigned for a couple editions.  I'm glad, in the schadenfreude sense, to see that the most basic form of the book will run you a cool $75.  We won't even talk about the Collector's Edition or Gamer's Edition.  Granted it looks like a well produced book and it does have a ribbon (I'm a sucker for books with ribbons), but $75?  As the entry into your system?  Before you even get into the minis, which the teaser page promises as "thousands of troops arrayed for war?"  Someone over in GW headquarters is crazy.  I used to steer clear of the smaller companies, but now I find myself heading towards the little guy to avoid this sort of profiteering madness.  One day GW is going to squeeze the ass of their golden goose one time too many.  I can only hope I'm there to see it happen.

update:  Today's "What's New" blog on the GW site provided still more laughs.  First is the description of the Collector's Edition: "It looks and feels like a family air loom."  I guess Americans don't have a monopoly on butchering the language.  Second is the so-called clasp that holds the book together.  I thought it was quite a nice touch, along with the triple ribbon, so you can imagine my dismay when the truth is revealed. Turns out it's not a clasp, or even attached to the covers of the book.  It's just a C-shaped piece of metal that sits on the edges of the book.  I had been impressed by the attention to detail, and to be fair the general quality of, the new books and templates, but now I'm starting to wonder.  $125 for the Collector's is ludicrous, but this new revelation makes it even more so.  Now I wonder if the rest of the releases are of the same quality.  Disillusionment, you are my neighbor.

More painting

Trying out a new posting interface here that claimed to be better with large numbers of pictures, something which interests me.  Unfortunately it's not working out so far, and with only 3 pictures, but maybe I'll get the hang of it in the future.  As mentioned last post, I'm trying out a palette.  I've been using a piece of plasticard to mix my paints on for years.  It's worked well enough, but I always wanted to actually use a palette.  I thought at the very least it'd help with inks as I mix brown and black ink to wash my Dwarves with.  While my experience is limited thus far, having only used the palette for two sessions, I'm already very pleased.  My paints would dry out fairly quickly before.  I'd often find myself constantly adding water just to keep paint from coagulating on the card.  Large scale painting, say of a squad of infantry, would require multiple paint doses as one batch would dry up completely before the job was done.  So far the palette hasn't had that problem.  Colors have stayed moist with a bare minimum of additional water.  I've also been cleaning it after painting sessions, so it doesn't look like mess that is my plasticard palette.  After two uses, it still looks fresh as the day I got it.  And all for a buck.  Trying out a second new function, putting in post breaks.  That in mind, pictures and more rambling after the break.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brief painting update

Started in on the heavy cruisers last night.  I got the planking ready for washing.  I also gave up hope that my go-to brush would stop hooking and splitting and decided to get a new one.  While I was at the store I got some brush soap and thought I'd try out a palette for the first time.  A brave new world of painting supplies.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

Did a bit of wrangling with blog settings so I don't have to juggle accounts to post here. Also tinkering with the look of the thing, as is plain to see. I've always meant to have a red theme here, in keeping with the Khadoran aesthetic as well as the scheme for my Iron Dwarves, so I'm making a start on it. Hopefully nothing breaks, fingers are crossed.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

US Battle Report - The Artist Formerly Known As HMcT

Pre-script:  Having gone through to the backlog here to make all the tags synch up, this first paragraph doesn't make much sense if you're coming here for the first time.  I'm sure you can figure things out.

First things first, HMcT has surfaced online as Etna's Vassal. I've since been informed that Etna is a character from Disgaea, so adjust your knowledge as such. He'll be referred to as EV from here out, at least as long as I remember it myself.

Another US battle today, this morning being my best opening for gaming this week. Class ends next week, so there'll be more opportunities soon enough. There may even be some Khadoran action in the near future. EV was very pleased about finally having a legal fleet for this battle. I made the slight adjustment of running one squadron of frigates instead of two.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Another quickie

Can you tell I should be writing a paper these last couple days? Bluff tokens are finished and sitting outside waiting for varnish even now. I tried taking a picture outside just to see how it'd work and it came out good enough. I may have to try it in a more systematic manner next time.

Painting the water was a nice change of pace. Having just applied the first coat of gloss varnish, I'm considering skipping the dullcoat stage and leaving them glossy. I'll give it a bit to dry to see how it looks, but it might make the water look better and since the tokens are almost all water it'd make sense.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Brief update

Took some time to do a little painting in between school work. I started on the Kraken bluff tokens out of necessity. I need some way to distinguish between the tokens, so I figured I may as well do them first. The water is done here, at least the non-foamy parts. The foam will get a grey base and a lighter grey highlight, and maybe a pure white highlight if I'm feeling saucy. As it is the water is more detailed than most of my work, with a base, highlight, wash, then a final highlight. Not that you can really tell that those extra steps are in there, but I know.

I'm still considering about the subs themselves. On the one hand, I want to paint them red so they keep with the theme of the fleet. On the other hand, black makes a lot of sense and having squadron markings on a ship that is underwater most of the time doesn't make much sense. Something to ponder. I'm also thinking about painting the balloon part of the airship with alternating white and black sections, with a red compartment underneath. I'm not sure how the checkerboard would look and I worry that it'd be garish, but I do like the idea.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

US Battle Report - Reinforcements arrive

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a day I'd been looking forward to for a couple weeks: the first expansion in our US slow growth "league." I put league in quotes because we're down to three people now, or so I hear as I've only played against EV. Still, the possibility is there and I won't complain about getting games in. Having any number of opponents, from 1 to 1000, is better than having none.

Back to the point, we had our first 650 point game today.  EV's hand was somewhat forced as he couldn't lay hands on any submarines, but I think he came off just fine with a flagship and a pair of heavy cruisers. My list is in the last post, but I'll put it back up all the same.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fleet update

Reinforcement day has arrived, fleets are bolstered, pictures are taken. HMcT added a Flagship and a pair of Heavy Cruisers, while I added an Airship, a pair of Krakens, and a pair of Heavy Cruisers. In keeping with my promise to myself to not buy new ships until everything I already have is painted, I got my Battleship done, finishing it up this morning. Sort of finishing at least. I only got one coat of gloss varnish on before heading out to get the new ships. It's been raining on and off since then, so more varnish will have to wait. The ship itself is painted though, so I say it counts just fine. One day I'll put together a nice setup and get some quality pictures (especially of that mortar), but for now here are some quick shots. First the starter fleet: