Friday, September 30, 2011

Bringing a gun to a knife fight: pSorscha vs pDenny

Picture unrelated.  Awesome, but unrelated.
Last week EV asked me if I was ever going to run the Man o War Kovnik.  I told him I've run it before, but that was during my first steps into Warmachine in the dark days when I had not yet started taking pictures.  I remembered liking the Kovnik, especially when paired with a Kodiak, so I took his offhanded remark as a personal challenge to field the Kovnik once again.  This proved to be harder than I expected.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Another one(two) bites the dust

More finished warcasters.
Finished up Harkevich and Strakhov this afternoon, a full day ahead of the Paint the Target deadline.  Granted I still have to do arc markings and figure out snow basing, but that will have to wait until the humidity drops below 75% here in the DMV.  While I love warcasters because the models are typically more detailed and dynamic than regular footsloggers, the unfortunate truth is that I'll only ever sit one (possibly two in the future) on the table at a time.  Thus while I've been making (some) progress in painting recently, it won't show up on the table as the painted models (assuming I ever get them varnished and buttoned up) will be sitting in my case. 

This has extra bearing in the immediate future as my first thought on "What do I paint next" was "Finish that Sorscha I started way back when."  (As a brief aside, I sure have come a long way in miniature photography.  Those pics, admittedly my first attempts, make my brain sad now.)  I'm sure I've talked about this before, but a little more never hurts, right?  When I first started up with Warmachine I intended to stick with pSorscha until I got her figured out, not to mention fully painted.  Fast forward to now and pSorscha is one of my least played casters, one of the last ones I reach for when making a new list, and no more painted than she was when I made that above post.  While I'd like to rectify that situation, on the painting front if not the playing front, by doing so I'd also be adding yet another caster to the pile of painted models while those units, jacks, and solos continue to look at me with resigned (and unpainted) eyes.

To remedy this situation, I'm contemplating drastic action.  Pending the announcement of this month's (Paint the) Target, I may pull the Doom Reavers from active duty to get them painted up.  While they didn't blow my skirt up at first, I find them more indispensable with each passing game.  They're just so good at cutting things up in tiny pieces, not to mention resilient(ish) with the UA.  Then there's the spray the UA brings along.  I almost love the Doomies enough to consider running an eButcher tier army.  Almost.  This all said, it pains me to consider taking them out of the lineup to get them painted.  On the plus side I'd have a great incentive to get them finished quickly, plus I'd be able to field another painted unit on the table instead of tucking yet another caster away in foam.  Maybe I can even get them done before the deluge arrives. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Attack of the Parenthesis: eGaspy vs pIrusk

Random puppy pic to start the post off right.
The forces of Cryx and Khador clashed again today, "today" being Thursday despite what the post date says.  After a brief school induced hiatus, eGaspy was on the prowl again, menacing the noble sons and daughters of the Motherland.  EV did a preemptive list post over on his blog in what appears to be a wine-induced blogging frenzy, though the lack of dates makes it hard to be sure.  Considering his list didn't change from the last game, I'll just leave the link for you to follow at your whim.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Painting progress?!

Behold my progress.
Yesterday saw me pick up a brush for the first time in what felt like forever.  I got the greens done and "finished" the flesh, though I may go back for another round.  Before my long gaming hiatus painting was akin to throwing darts: sometimes I hit my target, sometimes I hit my foot.  In the past year and a half, during my triumphant return to wargaming, I've felt more comfortable with the brush.  The results I get may not be exactly what I wanted at the beginning, but I feel in control during the process.  Yesterday was more akin to the random results of old, especially in the faces.  By the end of the session I was more or less back to the new normal, but that first half hour or so was what I imagine walking a tightrope feels like.  Hopefully the cobwebs are shaken out now.

Taking a different angle on painting, my painting queue is currently unmanageable and is about to become worse.  Off the top of my head I have eIrusk, the Old Witch, Black Ivan (who needs a body as he's just the upgrade kit), and a Trollblood starter box all sitting patiently in their original packaging.  That's just PP stuff too.  Then there's all the stuff that's been assembled but not primed, primed but not painted, painted but not based, so on and so forth.  I'm rapidly approaching the sort of saturation that contributed to my previous hiatus.  To make matters worse (and better of course, who doesn't love more toys?), I just put in an order for the two player box, Bombardiers, and Aiyana & Holt, which will dump even more things to be done into my already overwhelmed queue.  Drastic action is required to keep this gaming ship afloat.

As such, I'm putting an end to all model purchases until I hit some sort of big milestone.  What that goal is has yet to be finalized.  My first thought was having all my Khador stuff painted.  Fully painted, based, and sealed, not in limbo like poor Orsus who's still waiting to have his base finished and be swathed in varnish.  I'm leaning towards having a tier force fully painted, either 35 or 50 points.  What level tier and what caster is still up for debate.  It may turn out that I don't even have the parts to make any tier list, but I'm not too concerned about that.  I'm thinking about running a tier list this Thursday in fact, so I'll find out if my plan is feasible very soon.  The point is that purchasing has once again outstripped painting, so I'm putting the brakes on hard until I get caught up some.  Hopefully nothing comes out soon that I start drooling over...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Lack of hobbying leads to random posts

Search "things to do that aren't painting" and you get this.
Another odds and ends post as hockey progress has slowed to a crawl.  EV was stuck in schoolworkland on Thursday, which is our kinda usual unofficial gaming day.  I intended to get in some painting during the time I'd normally be slinging dice.  Instead I finished off Oryx and Crake, a book I first encountered on a list of works that influenced 40k.   How a book that's eight years old influenced a game that's better than thirty years old is beyond me.  There are some parallels in genetic manipulation and dehumanizing a population, but overall I don't really see the resemblance.  Great book though.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Pulling defeat from the jaws of victory from the maw of defeat: a Warmachine battle report

Thursday my valiant Khadorans engaged EV and the vileness known only as eGaspy.  You could also call him Lich Lord Asphyxious, but who does that?  Going into the game I knew I'd be facing eGaspy, but that meant little as I've never played against him before.  The interwebs consensus is that he's a top-tier Cryx caster though so I decided to bring my A-game: full-on WGI Deathstar, Iron Flesh caster, geared to the teeth for attrition.

Then I changed my mind and went with a small assassination list.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Another stop gap

Remember these guys?
About to start on the battle report from Thursday, for real this time, but as with the last mention it may not be ready for today.  To tide you over, some more Space Marine.  Today I'll look at the class that makes my heart sing: Assault. If you're reading this blog you already know what an Assault marine is, so I won't do the baseline explanation thing. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Space Marine first impressions

The new face of couch multiplayer
I debated "covering" Space Marine for a bit, since it's a video game and not a proper wargame, but I decided that it's still part of the hobby despite not requiring a table.  The lack of a screenshot feature is going to be troublesome for a bit since they'd be perfect to put in the posts, but I may use a ghetto fabulous solution while I determine the best way to go about it.  In the meantime you get a Googled picture.  I'm not going to get into the campaign mode much, at least not in the immediate future, as it's a pretty standard FPS (except it's a third person shooter) campaign.  The multiplayer has a couple new elements which make it different to any other multiplayer I've dabbled in before.  Since this is my main focus at the moment, it's what I'll be addressing.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

For the interim

My namesake, now skating the big rink in the sky.
A battle report is under construction, so in the meantime you get a little bullet-pointer.
  • First off, safe home Pavol Demitra.  The former NHLer died yesterday in Russia when the plane he was on crashed.  Also on the plane were most of the KHL team Lokomotiv, some 40+ people all told.  A sad day for hockey.  I saw Demitra play a handful of times when he visited MCI/Verizon Center.  He was, for me, an unremarkable player except for one thing.  After the first few names I tried were occupied, I cast my mind about for FFXI-suitable names and I thought Demitra sounded nice enough.  Close to ten years later I'm still using it.
  • Space Marine is a good time.  I have two current complaints.  First is the multiplayer queue, which feels about 10-20 minutes.  Granted once you're in a room you're good to go, but finding that room takes entirely too long.  If you're trying to play with a friend it's longer still.  Second is the customizer.  It's generally quite good, except for two little things,  There are no quartered color templates available, so I can't do something like Novamarines or Howling Griffons.  Second is that I can't set all the helmets to a different color for the Blood Angels.  I've gone with a yellow helmet as I'm having a blast with the jump pack and chainsword, but if I swap to a tactical or devastator package the helmet will stay yellow.  I'd also like to be able to do a pre-Heresy World Eaters scheme, but I don't think you can mix Chaos emblems and Imperial gear.  The game reminds me of Gears of War, which is good, except that it doesn't have a cover system.  My Gears instincts were well-honed at one point and I still try to take cover by instinct, which leads to some awkward situations.  I'm getting the hang of it though and having a good time.
  • Just read an unboxing article for the Warmachine starter.  Looks like my plan to use that Destroyer chassis as Black Ivan will work out.  I was worried they might have been special models, like the Black Reach models, but it looks like they're the same pieces as the jack kits are.  Which means that it might make sense to get two of the starters and have as many heavy chassis as I'll ever need for Khador and Menoth both...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Between a rock and a hard place. And a chunk of ice.

It begins.
Quick post here, for reasons that will soon manifest.  First the hobby side.  You've no doubt already noticed the dynamic duo to the left.  I've been meaning to get to painting for a week or so.  Today I finally decided to stop meaning and get to doing, so I roughed in the colors on Harkevich and Strakhov.  As usual I'm not entirely sold on the scheme, and also as usual I'll probably run with it anyway.  Somehow I had to push to get going on Harkevich, but Strakhov promises to be smoother sailing.  This is the rock.

On the gaming side, though not the kind you're thinking of, I had a novel experience today.  NGF called me up to ask if I'd gotten Space Marine yet so we could try and arrange some play time as he'd just picked a copy up himself.  While I knew that the game released sometime soon, I didn't know it was today, hence the novel experience of being informed of a gaming development by the so-called Non-Gaming Friend.  I all but had to hang up on him to get to work on time when he called again to pick my brain about 40k fluff.  The long, slow con may finally be bearing fruit.  Now I'm hurrying to do this post so I can get to chainswording people in the face.  This is the hard place.

Unrelated to gaming, I've been reading Dan Simmons' The Terror over the past week or so.  It's really good, so good that it's been the main impediment to painting.  I still have about 25% to go, but if the rest holds up to the standard set thus far, and I have no reason to think that it won't, The Terror may give perennial favorite Guy Gavreil Kay's Under Heaven a run for Best Book I've Read This Year.  Considering how highly I regard Kay as an author this is quite a feat.  This is the chunk of ice.

There's my dilemma, three things I want to do at once.  For now it's off to the grimdark future where there's war, war, and more war.  Tomorrow though, who knows?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

What's that on the horizon?

Coming soon to a table near you.
Over on the PP site I found another reason for optimism: Bombardiers advertised right on the front page, marching in at the end of the month.  And they're just the first wave of the plastic Men-O-War.  Technically they're releasing the same day as the two player box, and therefore the Shocktroopers, but the Bombardiers have no models currently so the upcoming release will be their first.  Plus they'll all be in plastic, which is the crucial bit.  When I got started in Warmachine my first thought was running a MoW heavy army.  The reality of pewter models soon came home though.  The price tag was an impediment ($84 for a full unit), but not insurmountable.  The real deal breaker was their multi-part nature.  I'd never done much pinning before restarting in wargaming a year and a half ago no, and what I had done was mostly in plastic.  Getting an idea of what pinning involves by doing hand swaps or reinforcing plastic arms and bodies supporting metal plasma cannons is one thing, but Warmachine has a higher modelling barrier to entry than any other game I've played.  The sheer number of pins required for a single Man-O-War would have done me in, let alone a whole squad of them.  As a result, I shelved the idea of the MoW force and expanded along squishier avenues.  It's a bit ironic that once I get comfortable enough with pinning to give the MoWs a shot they come out in plastic, but I'm not complaining.  The only complaint I'll have about them is that with two boxes coming out on the same day, and one of them a very large box, September is going to be an expensive Warmachine month for me.

This month's Paint the is a "newish" model.  I'd been going between Harkevich and Strakhov, but with a 12 month window of release to pick from Strakhov is just a bit too old.  As such I'll lean towards Harkevich, who stills needs to be based and primed, but I should be able to paint Strakhov at the same time and finish the pair together.  Plus Stakhov is already primed and on the painting table, so judging by my pace getting Harkevich primed I'll probably get some good progress in on Strakhov before Harkevich is even ready to go.  I've also been thinking about doing an Empire guy or two, maybe a nice swordsman or Reiksguard.