Saturday, February 27, 2010

Kaya the Wildborne WIP

Good news... I finished the Warpwolf today! There were just a few remaining things to address on him and so, with a little work during the day and then some more this evening, I was able to wrap everything up. That leaves just my warlock left to paint and I will have completed my Circle Orboros Warpack. I doubt that there is enough time to paint her before the start of the next month but I still feel like getting this much done is a good accomplishment for the month of February. That doesn't mean, however, that I am not going to at least try. Tonight I have therefore officially started painting Kaya the Wildborne.

I decided I would try out something a bit different with Kaya by lightly drybrushing the entire model with Bestial Brown. I was having trouble figuring out the overall color scheme that I wanted to use and thought that this would be easier for me if I could see all of the details sculpted onto the miniature. Brown seemed to be the way to go since I'll be sticking with the earth tones common to the Druids of Circles Orboros. And it's always seemed to me like gold-colored paints go on better over brown rather than black, so even the metallic areas should benefit from the brown drybrushing. Although I'm little concerned that I might have gone too heavy with the paint in certain areas, such as Kaya's abdomen, I am generally very happy with how this experiment is turning out. It really is amazing how much the details stand out now and I'm pretty sure that this will end up helping me to get her painted quickly and with less hesitation than I would normally have experienced. I didn't get much beyond this initial step tonight but you can see the results of my labor in the above WIP photo. Also it is enough to start a color guide for Kaya the Wildborne:

Undercoat: Chaos Black, Bestial Brown drybrush
Skin: 5A, Ogryn Flesh, 5B, 5C, Ogryn Flesh
Hair: 53A, 53B, 53C, Devlan Mud
Eyes: 34A, White?
Armor Plates: 41A, 41B, 41C, Thraka Green, touch-ups with 41B
Gold Edging: 36A, 36B, 36C, Devlan Mud
Pants, Vest, and Sleeves: 7A, 7B, 7C, Gryphonne Sepia
Cloak: 26A, 26B, 26C, Thraka Green
Arm Guards: 12A, 12B, 12C, Devlan Mud
Boots: 14A, 14B, 14C, Devlan Mud, multiple washes of Baal Red for the top of the boots
Straps and Tassels: 45A, 45B, 45C, Devlan Mud
Trinkets: 9A, 9B, 9C, Devlan Mud... also the Stone bits on the tassels are done like those on the base, then washed with the other trinkets
Staff: 13A, 13B, 13C, Gryphonne Sepia
Base: watered down Bestial Brown, Devlan Mud, Graveyard Earth drybrush, Kommando Khaki drybrush
Stones: 57A, 57B, 57C

Friday, February 26, 2010

ChiTown Chaos

I've come up with some basic ideas on what type of Chaos army I might use at AdeptiCon. Since the convention officially begins four weeks from today, I need to keep any more painting required to a minimum and I therefore want to use only those miniatures that are already painted where possible. I haven't worked out points, but what follows is a rough outline of what I hope to include in my army list.

HQ: Chaos Sorcerer (partially painted)

Elites: Chaos Dreadnought

Troops: 6-9 Chaos Marine Squad, Rhino
Troops: 10 Chaos Marine Squad, Rhino
Troops: 5-7 Plague Marines, Rhino
Troops: 5 Lesser Daemons
Troops: 5 Lesser Daemons
Troops: 5 Lesser Daemons

Fast Attacks: ???, 3-4 Chaos Bikers (unpainted)

Heavy: 2-3 Obliterators

Although I usually like to have at least one selection from each category of the Force Organization Chart, in this case I'm not too concerned about taking a Fast Attack unit. My army used to have Flesh Hounds and Harpies, but since daemons all became generic in the current codex, I no longer have any painted Fast Attack guys. The Chaos Bikers are at least assembled so I'll consider trying to get them painted in time. I started the Chaos Sorcerer a long time ago and I doubt I would be able to replicate the old colors that I was using at the time, but otherwise I like the model and think it would be a fun inclusion in the army. I don't remember if there is a limit on the number of Troops choices that can be included so that would need to be addressed if I end up not being able to take more than three for the Team Tournament format. I'm going to spend sometime this weekend working out points values and whatnot and, once I find a list with which I am happy, I will figure out what painting I will actually have to do for it to be complete.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thirty Days to Chicago

AdeptiCon is now only thirty days away... exactly one month from tonight I will be in Chicago and hopefully checked into my hotel room. With the convention so close, and with me currently focused on painting my Circle Orboros Warpack, I've decided against trying to get the Dark Angels ready in time so as to come with me. As much fun as it would be to throw down against some old friends with a new army, at this point I am not interested in pushing myself so as to make that happen. I'm considering other options as I do have several usable armies which I could take with me. I've even entertained the idea of not taking any painted minis with me for fear of having to put them on the airplane. I don't care to imagine how they might be mistreated and manhandled while being loaded into the cargo portion of the plane, and I'm pretty sure their transport case is too big to be taken as carry-on luggage. What is a nerd to do?

If I do take an army with me, it will almost assuredly be one of my two old Chaos Space Marines armies. Or perhaps I could mix the two together and add some Plague Marines to my generic Chaos Marines force. It's therefore time to break out my Codex and start number crunching some lists. Also I need to track down my Nurgle army in case I do want to choose some units from it. I've been offered a spot in the 40k Team Tournament but would much rather stick with my painting-academy plan, so therefore I don't need to worry about whether my army would be competitive or not. I am still going to follow the tournie restrictions since any games I play would be against people who themselves had to use the army-list rules of the tournament. As it stands now, I've got some ideas for what I would like to include and have almost everything I will need already painted. My HQ selection will need work and I might have some Chaos Marine Bikers to paint up, but otherwise this should be far less to do than if I stuck with the Dark Angels as originally planned... so much for that resolution.

So expect to see more 40k lists popping up here over the next week or so as I sort this out. Meanwhile I'm going to just be happily painting my monsters for HORDES and hopefully stop stressing over which toy soldiers I want to bring with me on my trip to Chicago. No matter what it's going to be a fun time, and besides, with my schedule of hobby classes I doubt I'll even have that much extra time for gaming. At this point I'm really looking forward to this and it will be great to hang out with some old friends, anything else is bonus!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Late Night WIP

I'm going to be staying up for a while tonight to keep painting the Feral Warpwolf. I feel like I'm into a good groove and have been making good progress... I spent all of last night beginning to define the sculpted musculature and hope to finish up that process this evening. It's been an interesting night so far and I get the sense that the miniature is drawing me on to do more. I think this is probably a good state of mind for a painter, however unwise it may be for the father of young child. I'm ready to accept the consequences of being tired and out of it tomorrow but right now I simply must paint more.

I was in some pretty deep thought earlier while painting concerning the nature of painting and how it occurs. It's something that has crossed my mind before but tonight it has really been in the forefront of my thoughts. Although it is a basic and straightforward question, I doubt it has been examined too often by those in our hobby. So, why do I paint the way that I do? I'm not wondering with regards so much to any particular techniques or skills but rather more having to do with the colors chosen, the order in which they are applied, and the placement on the sculpture itself. And why is it uniquely the way that it is for each miniature? This intrigues me to no end and is something I would like to explore in the future. However, as I have already dropped the Warpwolf twice in the last couple of hors while contemplating this matter, I should probably just focus on my painting for the time being. I've reattached the two spines that popped off of the right shoulder and believe the glue should be set by now. Back to it, then!

PS - I'll come back and add a picture to the top of this post in the morning to show how far along I got tonight. I expect by the time I stop painting it will be too late to worry about messing around with my camera. Otherwise I am going to just go for as long as I can....

[2/24/2010 - Update: Yes, the picture at the beginning of this post was taken around 10:00am of the following day. I painted for another couple of hours before calling it a night sometime between 1:30 and 2:00 am. It was indeed a good night of painting!]

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feral Warpwolf WIP

I decided to take Thursday off from painting after having completed work on the Argus minis, but I was then too tired to get any painting done last night. Despite a somewhat late start tonight I was able to get in a couple of hours painting time and have begun work on the Feral Warpwolf from the Circle Orboros Warpack. Once again I am quite impressed with the miniature itself and believe I'll enjoy getting him painted up. I don't want to just replicate the colors I used on the two Argus models, although I do want them all to look like they belong together. Having an army comprise of mostly a bunch of monsters does allow for more latitude than I'm used to when painting uniformed soldiers. I'm therefore looking forward to being able to vary the color scheme a little as I go along and hopefully make each character or beast look like an individual while still having them look like a cohesive group.

Just as with my previous WIP, I'm going to keep an ongoing list of the paints I use. I plan on adding to it as I make progress on the Warpwolf so that once I've finished with him I'll have a full color guide.

Basecoat: Chaos Black
Body: 6A, Devlan Mud, 6A, 6B, 6C
Shaggy Fur: Scorched Brown, Dark Flesh drybrush
Spines: 6A, 10A, 10B, 10C
Armor Plates: 41A, 41B, 41C, Thraka Green, touch up along edges of armor with 41A
Scar/Wound: Baal Red, Mechrite Red, Red Gore, Blood Red, Baal Red
Eyes: 4B, Gryphonne Sepia
Tongue: 6A, 5B, 5B and 5C mix, Ogryn Flesh
Claws: 10A, 10B, 10C, Devlan Mud
Teeth: 9A, 9B, 9C, Devlan Mud
Armor Edging: 36A, 36B, 36C, Devlan Mud
Straps: 45A, 45B, 45C, Devlan Mud
Base: watered Bestial Brown, Devlan Mud, Graveyard Earth drybrush, Kommando Khaki drybrush
Stones: 57A

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Circular Logic

I finally managed to finish the two Argus minis tonight... yeah! Painting all of the gold edges for their armor took a lot longer than I had initially expected but in the end I am quite happy with how they turned out. I need to glue some grass to their bases but otherwise they are done. Who knows when the weather will cooperate and allow me to spray them with the matte varnish, but for now I content to appreciate what I've accomplished so far. These are the first Privateer Press miniatures that I've ever painted and I definitely had a lot of fun with them. After these guys, I know I want to paint a bunch more. It's also been a strange feeling working with metal again because I've become so accustomed to the plastics available from Games Workshop. What really stands out the most to me is their weight... I love the extra heft that the metal provides. I'll get pictures up as soon as I can.

Even though I wasn't able to get the Circle Orboros Warpack painted as fast as I had hoped, I'm still want to continue with them as previously planned. But what next after this initial group? Thanks to the iBodger phone app, I have been making lots of army lists over the last couple of weeks to help me figure out what type of miniatures I should look at adding to me collection. I know I said earlier that I was just going to paint whatever appealed the most to me, but I'm really spoiled for choice as there are so many that I like. I might not know how to play the game but I have gotten a sense at least of what type of miniatures can be used to make playable armies. I'm therefore starting to collect and paint with army lists in mind in something like an escalation type of format. I'm sure I'll end up with more than these minis, but this is what I'm aiming for with which to begin my HORDES experience. So check out my first couple of Circle Orboros lists and let me know what you think:

Kaya the Wildborne (+6)
2 x Argus (8)
Feral Warpwolf (9)
Gorax (4)
TOTAL = 15 Points

Kaya the Wildborne (+6)
2 x Argus (8)
Feral Warpwolf (9)
Gorax (4)
Shifting Stones (2)
6 Tharn Bloodtrackers (5)
Lord of the Feast (3)
TOTAL = 25 Points

These two lists are based on the miniatures that I've already purchased and therefore I've already got a game-legal army underway. My goal is to have enough to field 35 to 50 points worth of Circle Orboros with maybe some extra guys as well so that I can change things up as I learn the game. I plan on collecting approximately that same size army for each of the other factions so that I can play around with them and figure out which of them I like the most. Right now though I'm content to just work on what I like with some help from my lists for guidance. What can I say? I'm a gamer and so I love making lists!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Snow Day in SC

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody! I'm up early with the baby and so thought this might be a good time to post an update, especially since blogging later tonight might not be the most romantic of ways to spend the evening. Hopefully I'll still be able to get some painting done today as I am now very close to finishing the two Argus models. Even though I was aiming to complete them last Friday, this was not in the cards for me. Amazingly enough my area of the state got its first real snowstorm in a dozen or so years and ended up leaving a couple of inches of snow on the ground!

As fun as it was, this did not help my painting as we lost power Friday and it did not come back on until the early hours of the following day. I had been painting for only about a half hour or so before the lights went out and therefore wasn't able to get much accomplished on those doggies. Considering how rare of an occurrence this is for the coastal region of South Carolina, I'm not upset about this surprising delay and appreciate the little taste of seasonal variety. When it's usually green all year long, a day of seeing white is a nice change of pace. I took the above photo the next morning as the snow was quickly melting. The view is from our backyard looking out into the salt water marsh on which we live. We usually get very light snow flurries about once a year but the snow never sticks. Having snow on the ground this close to the ocean is indeed an exceptional thing to see and I'm grateful for it.

Last night I was able to get back to work and painted for probably another three hours. I finished painting the leather parts of their armor and harnesses, as well as taking care of their teeth and claws. The teeth in particular were pretty time consuming but I'm happy with the final results. All that's left now is to paint the gold trim on their armor and a couple of metal rings, their eyes, and then finally whatever tidying up needs to be done. Oh yeah, also the little stones on their bases. I'm not 100% confident that I'll finish them off today because of the holiday, but I do feel good about my progress and suspect that I will still be able to manage some painting time. Fun, fun, fun!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Argus WIP

I'm painting again! I've been working on two Argus models from my Circle Orboros Warpack for the last three hours which means that HORDES is now underway! I'm having a lot of fun and the miniatures are a joy to paint. I plan on staying up a while longer tonight and so I hope to have these two finished by tomorrow. Could I possibly have the whole group painted by the end of this weekend? That would definitely be a cool accomplishment. We shall see.

On this project I want to do a better job of keeping track of the colors I am using. Therefore I will be listing out my steps as I go along. This is what I've got so far:

Basecoat: Chaos Black
Body: Foundry 42A, 42B, 42C
Shaggy Fur: 42A, 42B, Devlan Mud (Argus #1) or Badab Black (Argus #2), 42B drybrush (A#1) or 32B drybrush (Argus #2), reapply appropriate washes to each Argus.
Armor Plates: 41A, 41B, 41C, Thraka Green, touch up along edges of armor with 41A
Muzzle and Nose: 34A, 34B, 34C, Badab Black
Harness: 45A, 45B, 45C, Devlan Mud
Metal Rings: 35A, 35B, 35C, Badab Black
Foot Pads: 34A, 34B, 34C, Devlan Mud
Claws: 10A, 10B, 10C, Devlan Mud
Teeth: 9A, 9B, 9C, Devlan Mud
Armor Edging: 36A, 36B, 36C, Devlan Mud
Eyes: 4B, Devlan Mud, 4B
Base: watered Bestial Brown, (possibly a wash of Devlan Mud?), Graveyard Earth drybrush, Kommando Khaki drybrush
Stones: 57A, 57B, 57C
Base Lip: 34A

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Nerd Rage

I've noticed recently that my enthusiasm for 40k is once again on the wane. I haven't been able to get any painting done in a while now and I'm definitely feeling that loss of momentum. I'm starting to get really excited about painting some of those Privateer Press miniatures and so the prospect of working on my Space Marine Scouts right now just doesn't seem all that inspiring. But I believe there are other factors at work as well, in particular one that I have been aware of for a long time but am perhaps only now starting to understand the full impact that it has had on me. I'm talking about the dreaded phenomenon of Nerd Rage, in particular that of the Internet variety. Seriously, how can I get Internet Nerd Rage Syndrome added to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders?

I think I've figured out a key element of my 40k-interest cycle... spending too much time online kills my interest. After a period of time away from the game, invariably something will catch my imagination and I begin the process of immersing myself into the game once again. The joy and thrill of the game comes back to me in addition to my love for its beautiful miniatures and dynamic background. Everything is fun and enjoyable and I make big plans about all the things I want to get out of my hobby and wonder why I ever let things slip away. As I try to get back up to speed on what has been happening in the larger wargaming community, and in particular that of Warhammer players, I spend lots of time soaking in all that is available online regarding my favorite games. I have now come to the conclusion that this has largely been a mistake and has ended up only serving to drive me away again into the waiting arms of some other game system or miniatures manufacturer.

Although there's a lot of really useful info available and plenty of inspiration for painting, what turns me off is the huge amount of whining, complaining, arguing, and general negativity that is endemic to gaming sites and forums. You'll find annoying rules-lawyers at any gaming store, but the nature of online discussions seems to concentrate all of them into one place. And living up to the unfortunate gamer stereotype, the people who engage in this display an almost total lack of civility or cordiality. Instead it either quickly degenerates into rudeness and bitter scorn or else simply starts out that way and sinks even lower into mean-spiritedness and vulgarity. I don't think the majority of people who do this would treat others that way in person, but the anonymity of the internet allows them to indulge their basest instincts. It reminds me of the type of gross behavior you get when there's a bunch of dudes in a room and no women around to help lift them out of the sewer. Add to this the wide range of ages represented by online users and the lack of maturity demonstrated becomes quite understandable, especially considering that this is a hobby to some degree appeals to that part of the male psyche that doesn't want to grow up.

So what am I going to do about all of this? Simple... avoid it. I may not be able to cure INR Syndrome, but I can at least keep it from affecting me. I don't game nearly enough, nor am I competitive enough, to make it worthwhile to me. I'm now trying to significantly curtail my intake of online 40k conversations, especially in the forums and comment threads as these are easily the worst battlefields of gamer futility. I find that there seems to be much less of this on people's blogs and even the biggest Nerd Rage offenders at least try to be on their best behavior when participating in someone else's personal webpage. I therefore plan on just keeping up with the blogs that I find most interesting but otherwise not get caught up in whatever happens to be the debate-du-jour. When it comes to wargaming, I choose peace.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

I Heart iBodger

A long time ago I was an avid user of Lone Wolf's army construction software... yup, Army Builder. Just to be clear that I mean no infringement upon their intellectual property, Army Builder is a registered trademark owned by Lone Wolf Development. So with that disclaimer out of the way I can hopefully continue without fear of litigation. Even though I had not used their program for several years now, I do fondly remember sitting at my computer making list after list just for the fun of it. Unfortunately it now seems that Lone Wolf has been following Games Workshop's example and has recently swung its own IP-Hammer at Privateer Press. Apparently they did not like the fact that users of Privateer Press's forums would sometimes refer to army construction software generically as "army builder" programs and therefore asked PP to remove all such instances. They further wanted Privateer Press to police their forums in the future to prevent anymore such occurrences, as well as to educate their users regarding the legal issues involved and why "army builder" is not in fact a generic term. In order to comply, Privateer Press had to delete numerous offending threads, thus destroying significant content that had been developed by the community of gamers who used them.

I don't want to get into the legal concerns here as I am by no means a lawyer. It just strikes me as being a very petty, small-minded move on the part of Lone Wolf. I know defending one's IP is important for companies to do so as to not jeopardize their claim to ownership but in my opinion this was a really bad move on their part. Lone Wolf's own products exist within a legal grey area themselves and come extremely close to infringing the IP-rights of all the game companies for whom their software is designed to support. What's worse though is that this was brought about not by Privateer Press's actions but by those of average gamers posting at PP's forums. Considering the size of the company and the niche market that they serve, I believe this was a horrible public relations blunder on the part of Lone Wolf and has done tremendous damage to their relational equity with the gaming community. It will be a long time before I purchase anything from them again and right now do not foresee ever giving them my business in the future. I'm not going to help out a company that treats fellow gamers in such a manner.

Having fully returned to my hobby of choice, I had recently thought about getting the updated Army Builder software from Lone Wolf. It's by no means a necessity and in fact I remember seeing quite a few bugs showing up the last time I was an active user of their programs. It was nice having all the stats and information regarding weapons compiled onto a few sheets of paper to use while playing, but certainly nothing I couldn't do on my own. This has therefore kept me from spending some cash on something I don't need... thanks, Lone Wolf! But the other really great thing to come out of this is that I have also been introduced to a very neat phone app called iBodger. It is officially supported by Privateer Press and designed to be used for Warmachine and Hordes as an army list construction tool. Even better is that it is free! Not only does it help you put together your army lists, but also serves as a way of keeping track of one's miniatures collection. Very cool! Had it not been for Lone Wolf targeting Privateer Press and going after their forums, I might have never heard of this app and so for that I too am thankful. It's funny how things work out. One of the first things I did after getting my iPhone was look for applications suitable for gaming but I found nothing useful. I'm really glad therefore that Privateer Press saw the potential for this and is giving it their support. I'm starting to really like this company and I look forward to getting to know them better. And if you play their games and have an iPhone, go check out iBodger for yourself.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Well, It's A Start

With the conclusion of the first month of the new year, I think it is appropriate for me to check on the status of my resolutions. I plan on doing this each month so that I can track my progress, or lack there of depending on how things go. Even though I'm not keeping up with all of them, I do feel good overall about my progress on some of them. Also I feel like even being mindful of the other ones will be beneficial in the long run as a way of motivating me. Let's get to it, then!

1. Even though I basically did not paint anything the last two weeks of the month, I still easily surpassed my goal of painting for at least four hours per week. I want to avoid any of these longer breaks from painting and would love it if I didn't miss a single day, but I'm not going to beat myself up over this. My little daughter had her first birthday party on the 31st of January so there was a huge amount of preparation necessary. A lot of friends and relatives came to the party and my in-laws stayed with us for the last few days of the month as well. We did so much cleaning that nights when I could have painted I was just too tired to even set up my painting station. Plus we had some unusually cold and wet weather this month which caused some unavoidable delays in getting those Scouts primed. I'm looking forward to making more progress in February.

2. I finished the Dreadnought and managed to get both it and the Librarian sealed with the matte varnish spray so I'm that much closer to having my Dark Angels ready for AdeptiCon. I'm freaking out just a little bit about making this deadline but I'm ready to hopefully turn it up some.

3. As noted above, I may not be making fast progress, but it is progress nonetheless!

4. Nothing to report here. A couple of times in January I wanted to do some painting but did not think I had anything ready to go. I'd forgotten about my Realm of Battle Gameboard and so missed an opportunity there to at least get started on it. To avoid this in the future, I think what I am going to do is get a few pieces of terrain primed and then just keep them ready to be painted... sort of a rainy-day thing to work on between other painting projects.

5. I started the New Year very strongly on this one and was drinking up to four liters a day of water. I've slipped however in the latter part of the month and therefore am recommitting myself to drinking more water.

6. I'm off to a good start with this one, having purchased the Open Fire! box for Flames of War, as well as a Circle Orboros Warpack for Hordes. I've read through the quick start rules for Hordes and have gotten the first batch of models assembled. This month I want to put together some models from a rival Hordes faction so that I can begin playing around with them and see how the game really works. I'm really eager to paint some warbeasts but feel conflicted about this because of my resolution to have the Dark Angels painted in time for AdeptiCon.

7. Even though it will probably be controversial, I'm counting this one as a success. I spent $115 in January on my hobby, having purchased Codex:Tyranids ($25), Open Fire! ($40), and a Warpack ($50). I wanted to patronize my local stores rather than just shop online as I normally do which is why I had to pay full retail on the Open Fire! and Warpack sets. Had I just gotten them from TheWarStore, however, my total for the month would have come in at $99.99. I tried to show support for my FLGS and ended up paying more than I had to. Oh well. Again, I do not think this is worth beating myself up over it. Lesson learned, though. I appreciate what the local stores are trying to do, but neither of them is very convenient to get to and aren't even all that great as gaming stores. So for this new month, I've already got my February purchases planned out and sitting in the online shopping cart.

8. I'm not sure exactly how much weight I lost in January, though I definitely lost some. I think it was around 11 pounds although that is just an approximation and could have been more. It turns out the electronic scale we have at home is wildly inaccurate and would change it's reading by several pounds just by moving it to a different spot on the floor. Fortunately my mother-in-law has given us a real scale like the ones you would see in a doctor's office so I have confidence that for the rest of the year I will be able to accurately track my weight loss.

9. I wasn't able to get in any games of 40k in January as everything got crazy and hectic in preparing for my baby's party. With my growing interest in other games, I'm considering expanding the scope of this resolution to include any of the wargames that I play or am currently learning to play. Also I still hope to play quite a bit at AdeptiCon so hopefully March will be able to make up for a few other months as well.

10. I hope I have done well so far on this one, but really I'll have to check with them on it. I do feel good about it, though. God I love them!!

So that's it for January... here's to a new month!!