Saturday, March 31, 2012

pVlad WIP #1

For once the picture looks worse than the actual mini. 
Another day, another surprising amount of progress.  Hot on the heels of my recent outing with his epic version, I sat down with the brushes and paints yesterday to show prime Vlad some love.  My plan was just to get a base coat of red down and maybe a wash.  Flash-forward a few hours and I'd finished damn near the whole model.  Sharp-eyed readers will notice this is a departure from my usual 5th Border Legion scheme.  Since Vlad wears ancestral armor, which I doubt he'd repaint to match a modern trend, it doesn't make much sense to have it in the usual scheme.  Thus the red armor, darker than my usual red, with the green cloak to keep my palette intact. 

Inspiration much?
Before I started painting I had intended to do gold accents on the armor, as befits an heirloom of a storied line like the Tzepescis, but decided to go with more of a Bram Stoker's Dracula, pure red vibe while at the table.  Having taken a tour of both the PP site and the interwebs in general, I'm leaning back towards the gold trim.  Thinking ahead to painting eVlad, I'll need to work in some sort of accent color for the shoulder details at least, so I might as well lay the foundation in pVlad.  Armor detailing aside, I have the hair to do and could call it finished after that (plus basing of course).  That vast expanse of flat cape just begs for some freehand though.  I'm none too happy with the cloak itself as well, so I may give the fabled two-brush blending a whirl.  Having (finally) read the posts about the recent Meg Maples painting class in DC on Plarzoid's blog, and watching a couple videos, it looks like a quick technique that yields impressive results and isn't all that different from what I already do when I end up with paint that's thinner than I wanted, but still thick enough to be workable.  Trying out a new technique on a mini that I'm otherwise very pleased with probably isn't the best idea ever, but that never stopped me before.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Blood on the Table

He was worse in Mk 1?  Is that even possible? 
I had an epiphany at the FLGS last night.  His name is eVlad.  Sweet baby jebus does he kill stuff dead, including pDenny (who I've never killed before).  He's such a slaughtering machine he doesn't even need to use his own hands to do the killing, he can just cause some of his closest killing friends to hulk out and become mini-Vlads.  Feated Doomie?  Try MAT 10, P+S 16 Weapon Master with Berserk and a 14" threat range.  Feated Kayazy?  How about MAT 10, P+S 15 (with Gang), 12.5" threat range that walks through people to get to the killing (provided you have the UA with the mini-feat).  Manhunters?  Just as sick.  I'm sure the novelty of this will wear off (eventually), but my head is already full of wackiness to try out.  Can feated Mechanics take out, say, the Avatar?  Or a clammed-up Devastator?  I'd like to find out.  The only (slight) draw back is you can't get characters with the feat, so now hulked out Great Bears, but there are tricks for them too. 

And then there's Vlad himself.  No explanation is needed there.

Turning to news that will make the world, or at least my local meta, a bit happier, I almost finished the Marauder yesterday.  One of the feet came loose from the base so I'll have to pin/glue it back down, which I'd like to do before finishing the base.  There's also the cortex door freehand to do, but other than that the jack is finished.  I put a coat of varnish on it yesterday so I could take it to the FLGS without having to worry about rubbing the paint off; hopefully this doesn't interfere with the bit of painting that still remains.  I'm sticking to the plan of doing pVlad next, but eVlad is shooting up the queue after his strong showing last night.  In related news, Drago is also rocketing up the "to buy" ladder.  Even Uhlans are moving up.  Maybe there's a tournament in the area soon so I can fully indulge my face-smashing urges in the proper environment...

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Marauder WIP #1

About to combo slam his way into your heart.  Or backfield.
Something odd happened yesterday.  On a whim I started on the Marauder.  A couple hours later, the thing was nearly finished.  I'm not entirely sure how this happened since I only planned on getting the metals painted and covered in Tamiya Smoke.  I got on a roll and just went with it.  While it isn't my best work ever (the top door/coal bin/whatever being particularly worrisome) I can't argue with the time invested/work finished ratio.  With moderate luck I'll be able to finish painting, apply a coat of varnish, and have it ready for gaming tonight.  The freehand on the top will have to wait in that case, but that's a small price to pay.  As if that wasn't enough progress for one day I also assembled eVlad, based Zerkova and Saxon Orrik last night.  This morning I primed those three, plus the pVlad I thought I had already primed.  I sketched out a couple quick eVlad lists last night while waiting for things to dry and am eager to see how things work out.  Despite a lack of Drago (who may well find a way into my bag before Beast 09 or Behemoth), the idea of running a dozen weapon masters with at least a 12" charge, MAT "Oh look, not snake eyes," and a P+S "Were you wearing armor?  I didn't notice." is very appealing.  Granted that's only on the feat turn, but it's not like he doesn't have other spells.  Plus there's Vlad himself.  Then there's Zerkova.  She seems like she could be decent, but I think it'll take a couple games with her to wrap my head around what she does and how she does it.  While the eVlad lists wrote themselves, putting one together for Zerkova was more work.  I generally have a list in mind when I head to the FLGS, or maybe a couple variations on a theme, which can make it a challenge to try and tailor a list to the level of my opponent.  Tonight should be much easier in that regard: eVlad for full face smashing, Zerkova for the noobs or "I want to try a jack heavy pSorscha list" match-ups.  Should be interesting.  Now to get back to painting so I can have a shiny new Marauder to lay down.

Monday, March 26, 2012

New Brush Finishes Typhon

Close enough to call it done.
After sitting on it for a couple weeks (and finally getting some of the Master's brush cleaner) I finally broke out the W&N today.  The early returns are very nice, but all brushes do great the first couple sessions with them.  There were a few stray hairs, plus one that stuck out past the point a bit much for comfort, but overall a good impression. 

Whether it was the brush or just a desire to finally finish painting something (feels like forever since I completed a project), today Typhon's armor got done, and with it the model in general.  There's a coat of varnish in the near future, then back to the table for pre-flock white on the base and arc markings, but Typhon is effectively painted now (and just in time for the Paint the Target deadline on Wednesday).  My initial impression is that the upper plates look a bit different than the Carnivean's do.  A quick photo check of the two seems to confirm it (plus reminds me I need to paint a blue/white stripe along the toes between the plates and the claws), but I'll do an old-fashioned eye check later tonight.  Typhon painted up real quick, which is always good, so if the results are a little different than expected I'm willing to make that trade.  Beasts are bound to have more variety than jacks, so it all fits.

Up next: pVlad and a Marauder.  I think.  Also in the works is a big (for me) post about the WGI Deathstar.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Typhon WIP #2

Taking shape nicely.
It took a day longer than I hoped, but I managed to hit my mark with Typhon.  Mouths are painted, as are the under plates, and the rest of the plates have a base coat down.  All that remains now is the long, slow slog through browns and oranges to get the rest of the plates done.  Complicating this matter is a problem that isn't really a problem.  Recently I got the holy grail: a Windsor & Newton Series 7 brush, size 1.  This purchase was driven by the failing of my previous workhorse brush which left me with three brushes that had anything approaching a point: a pair of detail brushes and, oddly enough, an ancient GW brush that I use for washes and drybrushing.  While I'm eager to put the W&N to use so I can see what all the fuss is about, I'm also hesitant to use it wrong and wreck a fine brush (by reputation) through not doing something vital.  I put on my internet detective hat and dug around a bit after I first got the brush, looking for general brush care advice and thoughts on the W&N in particular.  What I gathered was almost equal measures of:
  • use a brush conditioner after each use
  • twirl in a small amount of brush soap after each use
  • both of the above, but once a week/month/X hours of use
  • none of the above, meaning use it like any other brush
The usual caveats applied, mostly pertaining to not getting paint up into the ferrule (a phrase I'll assume makes sense to anyone reading this), but I did pick up a particular nugget that was interesting.  Apparently metallics are made with ground up minerals, which gives them their glitter, which is murder on a brush with natural bristles (like the W&N 7s).  While I don't have to worry about that with Typhon, it's something to keep in mind for when I finally take the brush out of its tube.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Typhon WIP #1

So much armor to paint...
Work is at last underway for this month's Paint the Target victim model, yonder Typhon, who will fulfill the "uses an aoe or spray template" requirement (as much as three times per turn).  The skin was done in one session and was as enjoyable as the Carnivean was.  For today I hope to get the mouths done, purple lining on the plates, a base coat on the upper plates, and finish things up with a wash (again on the plates).  This is very ambitious since the upper plates took approximately forever to do on the Carnivean, but it's not entirely crazy.  At the very least I want to get the mouths and purples done, which is well within my grasp.

In non-painting news, I accomplished much yesterday.  The morning saw a less-than-triumphant return to 40k.  I didn't bring my usual camera but did get a couple shots with the phone that I may take a new approach with, but there wasn't a whole lot going on in the game (plus I got my butt kicked all the way back to Baal) so that may or may not happen.  In happier news I finally based pVlad and the magnetized Marauder, both of which are ready for primer.  The Carnivean and test finished Shredders got snowy bases which didn't turn out as well as I'd hoped.  Just snow is a bit boring, so I'll be looking to add some rocks or something to break up all the white.  As if all that wasn't enough, I also assembled Zerkova, Saxon Orrik (who should have had his hand pinned as it's just going to fall right off but since he's firmly attached to a base it's too late to sink a pin into the wrist), and eLylyth (who did have her bow hand pinned in my finest display of pinning yet).  While the pile of unassembled (how is that not a word?) models is still vast I've been taking chunks out of it recently and, more importantly, not adding to the stack.  With any luck I'll be finished assembling some time before the world ends.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Magnets are an attractive option

Progress.  Slow, but progress.
The last week or two seem like a hobby wasteland to me, though on reflection I've actually gotten a decent amount done.  None of that work was done with a brush (well, a little was), so perhaps that's what's causing the wheel-spin impression I've had.  What all have I accomplished?  Another bullet list will illustrate.

  • Demo Corps base slots filled, then covered with tiny rocks and ballast.
  • Honor Guard assembled, magnetized, and based.
  • Ravagore arms magnetized, still no head.
  • Khador jack kit assembled, torso and Marauder arms magnetized.
  • pVlad got a rock added to his base to get him ready for ballasting, which I promptly forgot once I got to that stage. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Turning the Tables: pButcher vs Xerxis

Google returns this for "Turning the tables."
Last week I returned to the warm embrace of the Motherland in my first post-Gnarls game.  While thinking through a list the night before I engaged in an activity that I usually detest: I planned my list based on what I assumed EV would field.  This started mostly with planning a counter to Bile Thralls (Widowmakers), who are a rock-hard counter to the WGI I would be running (since I finished Kovnik Joe recently and wanted to field him.)  My distaste for list-tailoring sent me off on various themes, notably an all (or almost all) Stealth list, but as I was packing in the Kayazy I came back to tailoring.  While I'm against planning for a particular opponent, it makes no sense to do something like an all Stealth list that focuses on negating shooting when you know your opponent is all but guaranteed to take a melee-heavy force with little to no shooting.  Practicing in undesirable conditions is one thing, but bringing that Stealth list against a list packed with Banes, Biles, and Mech Thralls is an exercise in masochism.  After iterating for a while, I came back to my starting point of putting Joe (and Torch, also recently finished) on the table and came up with the following:

Friday, March 9, 2012

Progress with little to show for it

No model pictures = look at the bacon.
Let's start with the obvious: I have no pictures for you.  Photography fail aside, I've been rather productive recently.  I feel like a list, bullet-point style.
  • The Demo Corps are fully assembled and on their way to being based.  I worked up a big ball of greenstuff to attach the shoulders and then fill the gaps in the bases before ballasting.  Shoulders are attached, but I forgot about the bases.  Hope to get that rectified tonight, along with the unpainted pVlad that's been hanging around for far too long.
  • On the ballast front, I managed to knock over my tiny container last night, so today I got a new bag.  Considering how long the tiny bit I got 2+ years ago from EV lasted, the monstrous bag I got today should be enough to last approximately twice as long as I live.
  • Since I'm almost out of black primer, I got some more while I was getting ballast.  Quite the little shopping trip today.
  • Back to greenstuff, I applied it to Typhon and the Raek last night to prepare them for priming.  
  • Things primed this morning: Typhon, Raek, Yuri the Axe.  The first two will require another coat to get the undersides primed.  Yuri could use the same treatment, but can survive without it.
  • I decided my test Shredders are probably never going to get stripped and repainted, so I painted their bases white and laid down the first coat of gloss varnish.  The recently painted Carnivean also go the white base treatment.  On the schedule for tonight: applying snow to those three models.
  • The Shepherds got a little more love as well, the re-highlighting on the robes while also roughing in the purple and filling in the oranges.  I'm not sold on the scheme so I'm giving it some time for reflection.
  • I'm also chipping away at an old-fashioned battle report, complete with bears and pictures and all the usual stuff.
That's what I've been doing.  In addition to the above noted items I want to finish magnetizing the first Legion kit, build up the Khador kit that's been gathering dust for months, then carry on into the second Legion kit.

Thinking of splitting time between Legion and Khador modelling projects, I find myself stuck between the two factions.  With the frenzy of the Gnarls league behind me, I now have the opportunity to paint up all those Legion pieces I wanted to paint during the league (Seraph!) but couldn't bear to take off the table.  At the same time, I'm getting into the meaty part of painting Khador stuff where I have enough done to field fully painted lists, so I can paint up a particular unit or jack to expand what I have available for a fully painted list instead of having to paint everything except a particular beast that's already done, as is the case with Legion.  The current plan is to split time between them.  How well that works out remains to be seen...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recent adventures in hobbying

Small bases in action.
We'll start today with the visually interesting.  Legion infantry hit the painting table this week in the form of two Shepherds and two Swordsmen.  One of those Swordsmen has been kicking around on the table for a while, waiting for me to start figuring out a scheme for the infantry.  That never happened, so instead of testing out on a model I decided to just jump straight in and figure it out as I went.  Not the wisest choice I've ever made, but sometimes you just want to slap some paint around.  With the league over I don't have any concerns about taking models that will feature in any given list, like the Shepherds, and sequestering them on the painting table for days or weeks at a time where they will be unavailable for use.  That was the logic behind using a Swordsmen as a test model in the first place as there was little chance I'd field Swordsmen, plus I had 8 of them which is is too many for the min unit and too few for the max.  They've recently been beefed up to the full unit (with UA no less), but that has little bearing here.

Monday, March 5, 2012

This "Week" in the Gnarls League, Part 5

Not this Death Race (thank Jebus).
As entertaining as the Gnarls league was, by the end of last week I was feeling a little crisp around the edges after all that gaming.  What better way to cap that off than with a tournament?  The format was simple: 25 points, single list, all rounds use the Overrun scenario.  Apparently this is a "Death Race" format.  Looking back on the tournament, the name is fitting.  With 27 minute death clocks (54 minutes total for the game at most) and a scenario that forces you to the center, things got hot and heavy with a quickness.  It was an entertaining setup.

Coming up with a 25 point list was more challenging than I expected.  After getting used to playing at 50 points, cutting my list in half required some tough compromises.  While I could manage to run a tier list at 25 points the resulting list (Typhon, Seraph, 3 Shredders, 2 Shepherds, 2 Forsaken) was too heavy on support pieces (which I count the Shredders as) and too light on heavy hitters.  (I think of Typhon as heavy support instead of a heavy hitter, so the list is all support and no hammer.)  My second try was a little better (2 Carnis, 3 Shredders, 2 Forsaken), but there were two big problems: first I had one Carnivean too many, second I had no Seraph (and therefore no Slipstream).  Slipstream is too versatile to leave behind, so I went back to the drawing board.  Leaving behind the tier list I've come to love so much, my third attempt was much better: 2 Scytheans, a Seraph, a Shredder, and a Forsaken.  With both Slipstream and Tenacity I felt better about this list, but finally decided to trade in the Shredder to upgrade a Scythean to a Carnivean.  My final list was thus:

Sunday, March 4, 2012

This Week in the Gnarls League, Part 4

As you close readers will no doubt remember, I entered the last week of the Gnarls league tied for the lead.  Close readers that you are, you will also remember that when I'm involved in a game I often forget to take pictures.  Thus the obvious reason for the total lack of photos for this past week is that I was focused on rolling dice and pushing models around instead of taking pictures.  You'll have to use your imaginations.

My first game of the week was a mirror match against Mason.  I've played him a few times before and he's always managed to beat me, so this time around I was looking to even the ledger.  I took the same 50 point Aby list that I ran throughout the league (Aby, Typhon, Carni, Angelius, Seraph, Raek, 4 Shredders, Shepherd, 3 Forsakens).  Mason ran pVayl (his first time using her) with a Carni, full Raptors, Anyssa, Totem Hunter, the league Strider unit, a pair of Deathstalkers, and possibly Typhon and/or a Forsaken if he had room.  (I've played a lot of games since then so details are fuzzy, plus I didn't take notes or get pictures.  I'm fairly sure he had two heavies.)  We played King of the Hill, which played a role in making it a quickish game.  As usual Typhon took a number of blows to the chin and crumpled quickly.  I forgot about Rampager entirely and was reminded in a rude fashion when Mason ran my Carni into my Seraph (or perhaps Typhon), then popped feat to set up another alpha (beta?) strike in the next turn.  Fortunately for me that next strike never came.  Vayl has to play further up the field than she would otherwise to make use of her various spells and effects, which makes it very easy to hang her out to dry.  My Carnivean was close enough to get her into melee and the rest was history.  While pVayl is a wonderful toolbox, the options are a bit overwhelming and I have yet to come to grips with her, which looked to be the case with Mason as well.  The only way to learn is to get experience though.  Seeing your caster get eaten is never fun, but it's a lesson you're not likely to forget.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Eyeless Sight, Sprays, Forests, and You

Add the POW, carry the SPD, then drop the CMD?  So confused.
Last night at the FLGS there arose a question about whether a model with Eyeless Sight (say Typhon) and a spray could use that spray to hit something more than three inches deep in a forest.  Having seen some forum post saying you can spray as far as you like into forests, thanks to how sprays interact with Eyeless Sight, I've been playing it that way since.  (To be fair I did take a look in the rules to see if things worked as claimed and it seemed that they did, but then I've been wrong before.  See: Bulldoze and Slipstream, plus others I'm forgetting.)  I'll state here that the combination doesn't make a lot of sense.  Whether or not you can see through the trees should have little effect on how far your fire/buckshot/whatever travels in said trees.  Since my opponent and I disagreed on how it worked we played around it, but with the footnote to check on the particulars later to see how things fall out.  This post is that fall out.  First some quotes from the book of rules, specifically the softcover of Prime Mk. 2.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


Three patches down, one to go.
Sometimes the spirit just doesn't move you, as has been the case around here of late.  Perhaps you've noticed a longer-than-usual lapse between posts, an unmistakeable sign of this kind of malaise.  Fortunately I have mustered up the motivation to get a post done today, a post about the motivation I mustered yesterday in the form of painting objective markers.  The idea behind the markers is that they're from battles past when the Motherland had to sacrifice some (jack) limbs for victory and hasn't yet had to opportunity to recollect said limbs.  Her enemies are no doubt eager to lay hands (or claws or whatever) on these bits of fine, sturdy Khadoran machinery, hence the opportunity to contest the areas where these pieces reside.  I painted the markers in a more standard Khadoran scheme for two reasons: to give myself a break from painting the 5th Border Legion scheme, and to help underline the difference between these objective markers and the wreck markers I have.  Thankfully the deluge that assaulted the DMV yesterday relented today, so I was able to get a coat of varnish on the markers to protect them during the trip to the FLGS tonight.  Some snow will appear between now and the final coats of varnish, because it just isn't Khadoran without snow.

On the horizon, a package should be arriving tomorrow.  If it does, and if I can manage to slap together a pair of Legion heavy kits (hopefully with magnets, but with blu-tac if necessary) then I might be debuting a brand new list for the Gnarls league tournament on Saturday.  There are a couple big "ifs" in there, but should I manage the feat then I'll feel a lot better (theoretically) about the 25 pointer I'll be fielding.  In other league news the scoreboard has been updated and I'm tied for the lead, which isn't a great sign for my chances of victory considering that the guy I'm tied with (Danny, who pushed Skarre up for Aby to eat) is on the warpath for big games tonight while I'm trying to line up smaller team games.  We'll see how it turns out, but I'm already prepping my "I had a good time and that's what counts" interior monologue.