Friday, December 31, 2010

Saying Goodbye to 2010

In lieu of a traditional look back at the hobby year that was as seen through the diceRolla blogging lens, I have rather decided to review the year that wasn't. I wanted to do a review of 2010 and still very well might in the days to come, but right now I do not have the energy or excitement to do so. The last few days have been rather exhausting as preparations for moving have now kicked into high gear around the homestead, leaving me this evening feeling perhaps a bit dreary and flat. I therefore don't want my current state of mind to sour any reflections I would have about my hobby adventures through 2010.

I've chosen instead to look back on some of the blog posts from the past year that never saw the light of day but instead ended up tossed aside on the cutting room floor. Regular readers of diceRolla may be surprised to learn that I do in fact exercise some discretion when deciding what to publish here, although I admit sometimes that filter is not quite fine enough. Nonetheless I do try to catch myself when I suspect something of being too dumb, pointless, or grossly off topic even for my own permissive standards.

Hopefully this will be a fun way of concluding 2010 here at diceRolla. My approach to blogging is I believe somewhat haphazard and I certainly do not have any notes or saved drafts to reference in preparing these examples of articles killed by the editorial staff. After scanning through old files of saved photos I was able to put this list together by memory and thus will only show the opening illustration and title I had planned on using. I think in most cases both the content of the articles and the reasons why I ultimately trashed them will be clear enough. So without further delay...

diceRolla's top 10 bad ideas for blogging from 2o1o

1o. Why guest cameos are bad for The Simpsons.

9. Terrible songs to listen to while painting your army or playing 40k.

8. H2O and You - Lubricate your Hobby.

7. Things Seen in Lombard, Illinois.

6. Step Brothers may cause brain damage, film review at 11.

5. How to ruin your Hobby Saw.

4. Jervis Johnson... time traveler?

3. Rejected Ideas for the Beasts of Annihilation.

2. Keep your Dignity - Losing with Style and Grace.

1. A History of the Groening Sector, Parts 1-3.

That last one is something I've held back on for reasons very different than those of the others listed above. Rather than labeling it as a "bad idea," I think it was rather like biting off more than I could chew as a writer. It's still an ongoing project that will hopefully someday be in good enough shape for me to publish here. Currently however I am happy to take my time and not rush anything along. So that's it, I hope you enjoyed this quick look at some ideas for articles so bad even I knew it was best to just discard them. It is sometimes good to just move on to more worthwhile pursuits. Even if I don't always get it right, I do try to make that distinction.

This really has been a great year for me on all accounts, both in HobbyLife and RealLife. I am very thankful for all of you who have played a tremendous part in making this such an enjoyable year. I appreciate the support you have offered to me and my efforts here at diceRolla and I value all the contributions you make to my blog. You have broadened my hobby horizons and for that I am quite grateful. Thank you and may you have a wonderful 2011!

Happy New Year!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Knights of Bal Timorea, Part 4

I am happy to report Sir Cumference has finally begun his long journey to the land of California. Safe travels, friend! I finished painting him a couple of nights ago but was not able to get him in the mail until earlier today so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he arrives on time. Seems my original confidence that I'd finish with plenty of time to spare was rather unwarranted. I'll never learn, will I?

From beginning to end this project was a blast and I'm really happy I decided to participate in The Knights of Bal Timorea. Despite the misgivings I had along the way about the color scheme and concept I had chosen, I'm now quite pleased with my contribution to the group. There are certainly things I wish I could have done better but there are as well some parts of the mini that turned out much better than I had hoped. Also I learned at least a few new techniques that should be helpful in the future so I'd say this was a success. Hooray!

I mentioned back in Part 1 of this series that my inspiration for Sir Cumference was the villainous black knight of the same name seen in the 1946 cartoon, A Knight for a Day. This is the reason why I went with a predominantly black color scheme. I knew right away that I wanted his heraldry to be the letter pi but there were a number of variants that I had considered. Ultimately I decided to keep it as simple as possible knowing even that would be challenge enough for me. My aim with the green background for this heraldry was to be reminiscent of a chalkboard in math class upon which the symbol has been written. I hoped the black would reinforce this Old School Chalkboard feeling and compliment the simple aesthetic I had in mind for the miniature.

I decided to go with red for the helmet's dragon crest because I thought the extra bit of color would be nice since the rest of the model is quite dark overall. Also at one point my goal was to have Sir Cumference finished by Christmas so the red and green helmet seemed at the time appropriately festive. My final reason for choosing to paint the dragon red is that amongst the knickknacks on my painting desk is this little fellow seen to the left whom I picked up decades ago during a family vacation. I thought it would be neat to pay respect to him as one of my longtime painting buddies and to incorporate a little more of myself into the project.

Like I said I'm really happy with how my miniature turned out and look forward to seeing him ranked up with the rest of the entries. That being said I am now a little sad to let him go, though I know I must as it is his destiny. It is the journey for which he was born.

And so with that Sir Cumference and his faithful steed, the warhorse Diameter, set off for distant lands in search of glory. Happy questing, brave knight. Farewell!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rubble by Nesbet

One of the bloggers I've been lucky enough to get to know this past year is Nesbet, author of Nesbet Miniatures who as it so happens is something of a renaissance man of our hobby. His breadth of knowledge is remarkable so that I'm now convinced there is nothing he can't do. You may even have recently seen Nesbet's technical and artistic savvy on display as part of Dark Future Games' search for a new banner design. My only complaint is that he doesn't post on his blog more often. I understand however he is a busy guy and has to spend much time playing bloody sudoku! with his miniatures' bases. :)

Tonight I want to show off some terrain pieces Nesbet made for me some months ago as part of a trade we hashed out over the summer. In return for the stack of movement tray bits I had leftover from working on Sector 7G, Nesbet agreed to make a batch of rubble and debris for me to incorporate into my urban ruins. He's actually not even a 40k player which makes these even more impressive to me, especially considering I gave him only the vaguest of instructions from which to work.

I'm not sure how he made this set of terrain (plaster?) but I really like it a lot and I think he did a great job making detailed, interesting scenery for my games. I haven't yet decided if I want to leave them loose for use as scatter pieces or if I would rather make them part of larger ruined structures. Either way I expect they'll look great once painted. Like many other projects, however, that will have to wait a while longer with all that I have going on now. I likely won't get back to work on Sector 7G until after AdeptiCon, but at that time this custom terrain specially imported all the way from Chile will no doubt become one of my top priorities.

Until then I have ordered some of the few remaining survivors of the cursed Haverbrook 212th Grenadiers to reconnoiter these rubble fields, as well as provide us with a better sense of scale. Initial reports indicate that they will make my gameboard look awesome...

... moving in for confirmation.

Confirmed, the terrain is awesome!

Thanks again to Nesbet for the killer terrain. If anyone is so inclined to let him know what you think of his hobby talents, you can find him at Nesbet Miniatures. Cheers!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Knights of Bal Timorea, Part 3

After taking the weekend off from painting I am back at it tonight trying to wrap things up on Sir Cumference, my entry for the Knights of Bal Timorea. I had hoped to already have him in the mail today so I now really need to finish pronto in order to make the Jan. 1st deadline. With that in mind I simply marked out a few dots onto the shield spaces to serve as a guide and then went for it, at last making my attempt at painting the heraldry. I'm not crazy about how they turned out but oh well, so much for consistency or quality. But more importantly, they're done... and yes, the design is supposed to be the letter pi. [cue the sad trombone] Whaa-whaa.

There are a few things left for me to touch up as well as some details still unpainted. The dragon on top of the knight's helmet has only received its initial coat, likewise the stones on the miniature's base. Oh and the horse needs some more attention but otherwise I suppose there's not that much left to paint after all. I went ahead and gave the cloth areas another wash of Badab Black to take away more of the blue tone and am now satisfied with the color. I'd like to finish painting the model tonight and then send him off on his way to California tomorrow afternoon. If not I'll try to find some time during the day to paint whatever remains undone. Looks like it could be a buzzer-beater... :)

My motivation to paint fizzled away since my previous update, the days having been spent with family enjoying Christmas. I nonetheless had several opportunities when I could have picked up a brush but just didn't have the enthusiasm needed to do so. My grandfather had been quite sick for the past couple of weeks and was in bad shape over the weekend before finally passing away late last night. I therefore found myself in a melancholy mood at times and not much inclined to paint. I don't want to dwell upon it now but I did feel moved to at least mention this as it has been weighing upon me.

It's been a sad day for my family but I believe it was cathartic and healthy. With my wife's consent of course, this evening I indulged in some perfectly timed escapism with my first viewing of Ultramarines: A Warhammer 40,000 Movie. In a day or so I'll likely throw together the obligatory review of the movie which every blogger is apparently required to write. I will say for now that it was just what I needed to get me out of my gloomy mood. Who can't smile when chainswords are chopping heads? After that it was very nice to sit down and begin painting again, my hobby mojo restored. I expect to be done with Sir Cumference by 5pm tomorrow at the latest and will then be ready to return to my regularly scheduled hobby projects.

Alright, that's all now... happy painting and gaming, everyone!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Thanks to SNS

Hello, folks! I'm taking a short break from the yuletide celebrations (i.e., up late wrapping gifts and putting toys together) and wanted to wish all of you a fantastic Christmas. I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and wonderful holiday season with your families and loved ones. So, MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Also I want to give a quick shout-out and thank you to Jake and Evan, authors of the new blog Shaken, Not Stunned where they are better known as Daemonetteboobs and Angelus Censura. I recently won their Holiday Giveaway drawing and chose as my prize a Space Marine Drop Pod for use with my Raptors marines. I was delighted to have received this generous gift from them yesterday afternoon and in time for the holidays no less. Awesome, thank you so much guys! This is my first Drop Pod so I'm eager to get it ready for use in my army although I haven't yet decided what manner of death I want to stuff inside. I'm leaning toward a Dreadnought of some sort but will have to think more about it to be sure.

Okay, no doubt most of you are either busy and having fun or else sleeping so I'll just end this now. Also I seem to be having all sorts of problems with my computer right now so it's probably best that I wrap this up by saying goodnight and farewell. I wish for you a peaceful and joyous holiday... Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Knights of Bal Timorea, Part 2

Once again I've demonstrated my inability to predict how long it will take for me to finish a project. A week of distractions and pre-holiday cheer has passed and Sir Cumference is still not yet complete. I am however feeling much better about the project than I had been as expressed in my previous post concerning The Knights of Bal Timorea. Painting the areas of black cloth on the warhorse and knight helped immensely and I'm now happy with how the model is turning out. I'd like to have him mailed out on Monday so that does not leave much wiggle room if my entry is to be in California on time.

The picture above shows the miniature after the areas of black cloth received a single application of Badab Black. This can be compared to the first picture of this post which was taken just prior to this step. I'm probably going to add Badab Black one more time once everything else is finished as it's still too blue for my liking and I would like to further darken its appearance. Really though from a couple feet away the "black" looks fine, but I think it needs to be darker. Here's another look at the areas I'm talking about, both before and after washing.



There's not much left to do on this miniature with the only big challenge left to tackle being the heraldry. I have an idea of what I want the design to be and have started to work out how I will go about painting it. My goal is to simplify the process enough for me to be able to replicate the heraldry with some modicum of consistency. I'll have to paint it five or six times on this Bretonnian knight so hopefully it's an easy enough design that I've chosen. Freehand painting has never been a strength of mine so no doubt this is going to be lots of fun. :)

Alright, time to get at it. I hope life is treating all of you very well, take care!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Knights of Bal Timorea, Part 1

I just got home a couple of hours ago from a quick trip with the family to NC looking for our future place to live. It was a good time and we saw a bunch of nice potential residences. Last weekend before leaving town I did, however, begin the review of my current projects and realized quickly what had to be my top hobby priority. The revised deadline for The Knights of Bal Timorea is Jan. 1st, at which time my entry must be in the hands of the folks at Santa Cruz Warhammer in order to participate in the project's finale. Since my knight will be competing with all the other late holiday season mailings, that means I need to send him out ASAP.

I have had more than three months to paint just this one miniature so of course I only get around to it now a week or so before it needs to be finished. Fortunately I have a pretty clear idea of what I want my contribution to this open group project to be so I'm not worried about completing the model in time. I had a couple hours to work on it Sunday night and made some decent progress. In all honesty though I'm really not happy with how it looks at this point and I considered scrapping my initial plan and going in a different direction. The thing is I'm working from a rather specific source of inspiration and so far am not satisfied with the way that idea is translating to my Bretonnian nobleman. I wasn't sure if I even wanted to post a picture because of my reservations over this but since I feel like pressing on with it, I might as well present my potential BIP (Blunder In Progress). Why not, right? Here he is pictured as I left him after that first painting session:

The color scheme is primarily green and black as seen above but I am yet to begin on the black which is the part that has been bothering me the most. I therefore hope once I work on the areas of black cloth I'll start to like it more and that's why I've decided to just continue as planned. If the scheme looks wrong in the end, oh well. This miniature is likely destined for someone else's figure case so I therefore probably won't mind nearly as much sending him off to his new home. And besides, it does seem like it would be a fittingly bizarre, ill-conceived representation of my efforts here at diceRolla. I say this because the whole idea is based on both a cartoon and a tired, horribly lame joke. Let me explain.

A couple of months back I saw a really old Disney cartoon called A Knight for a Day that I remember watching as a kid probably 25 or more years ago. It's a weird cartoon with a very weak hero, "Cedric," whom I never liked so that even as a little one I cheered for the bad guy to win. The black clad, cigar smoking villain in this tale is a true brute and spends most of the story bashing on the hapless good guy, driving him through castle walls and such. But for no apparent reason the writers chose to insert a completely inappropriate joke by naming this badass black knight, "Sir Cumference," a name which from that point on is not worked at all into either the story or any other more interesting jokes. It's used as just a dumb, throwaway math pun of all things. Why? I don't know... like I said, it's a weird cartoon.

And that was it for me. I realized then for SC John's project I wanted to make a tribute to this pitiful moment in animation humor. All the better that I would get to sneak in an admittedly awful joke into an otherwise very cool community effort. Now that's the diceRolla way! Having said that I might now be justifiably disqualified from participating in which case I will find my own suitably shameful way in which to display Sir Cumference, the Black Knight of Bal Timorea. At this time I don't know what that might be but I'll come up with something if I must.

Okay, that's it for now. My plan is to finish this mini off in a couple of days and then get back to those Raptors marines. Happy gaming, everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I'm a Gamer, Get Me Out of Here!

It's official, we're moving in February! We had initially expected to move to Asheville, NC at the end of summer or early autumn of 2011, but the window of opportunity to do this kept creeping closer and closer until it's now only two months away. It feels rather sudden and leaves quite a bit to be done in the time left so getting ready will likely not be much fun. Otherwise I am quite excited by this development and look forward to once again being a resident of North Carolina. I foresee better gaming days ahead. :)

Meanwhile these are going to be busy times for me over the next several months. I don't know for certain how this will impact things on the hobby front though I imagine there will inevitably be less free time to spend on my miniature wars. With AdeptiCon looming at the start of April I've decided I need to take a more organized approach than I normally do in order to have everything finished in time. This weekend I'm going to review and assess all the projects I have underway and come up with some basic priorities for them. I believe this will also be useful as I begin considering what hobby plans I want to focus on in the coming year.

These past few days have however turned out to be rather unproductive as Father Nurgle has continued to bless my household with his gift of the flu. It's therefore been a little painting here, little painting there type of week. Slow but steady progress at least and I have also been working on army lists for the Raptors to give me a sense of direction. Right now I have some spare minutes in which to paint so I'll catch up on that other business later. There's power armour to paint... bye!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Raptors Test Mini Update

My plan was to refrain from any weathering on the test mini for my Raptors project until I had the chapter markings in place. As it turns out I could not resist and went ahead with the first of my dirtying experiments. While that may complicate things when it's time to apply the transfers, I was too impatient to wait and by now have lost confidence in Forge World coming through for me in a timely manner with my order.

I've never tried to use weathering powders before so this was all new for me. Derina, author of both the Irons Hands and more things and Brigannion 4 blogs, suggested I go with rust powder to achieve the dusty appearance seen in some Raptors artwork. That's the look I want for this army so I took her advice and have made my first attempt at brushing on some dry pigment, using Orange Rust from Forge World. It wasn't quite what I expected but I feel like I started to get the hang of it towards the end. There were a few areas where the powder clumped a bit or went on streaky, but otherwise it was easier than I thought it would be.

(No worries, I've gone back and painted that little boot cable.)

Overall I think I'm satisfied with how the weathering powder worked and I'm happy with the choice of color. It surprises me how much it changes the tone or feeling of the miniature even though the effect itself is rather subtle. I applied the powder in two passes and was fairly cautious as I did not want to overdo anything and I now wonder if I should perhaps add even more Orange Rust. I may also try adding some darker earth-colored powder to his boots and legs but for now I'm going to leave him alone. I've started in on the first batch of Raptors and will be working on them this weekend. Yesterday I primed them and even had time to apply both coats of Devlan Mud. With those steps out of the way I'm ready to begin painting and am eager to find out how quickly I can get them finished.

Okay, that's it for now. I hope you're all having a great weekend so far... happy gaming and painting, everyone!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Raptors Test Mini WIP

I'm almost finished with this test of the Raptors Legion color scheme for my Badab project and so far I'm happy with the results. What is particularly nice is that it has been easy to paint and not time consuming either, exactly what I wanted for this army. I'm still waiting on my sheet of chapter transfers from Forge World so whatever weathering I'm going to attempt on him will have to wait until those are in place. Otherwise I don't think there's much left to do with this one. Good!

I'm quite pleased with how my first Raptor Space Marine is turning out and so I plan to next paint the four remaining Devastator Marines that make up the test mini's squad. I may attempt to also paint those Assault Marines at the same time depending on how things go. I'd like to work on building up my painting speed as I go along since I have a fair number of these guys assembled and ready. I'm about 80% sure at this point that I will use my Raptors in the Combat Patrol event at AdeptiCon so my goal now is to have them painted quickly to allow me time to become comfortable playing them and hopefully try out a variety of lists at that point level.

Also I've had more fun painting this test miniature than I had first anticipated so I think that's a positive sign for this new army. In fact I want to get right back to the painting so I'll just say goodnight and happy gaming, everyone. Bye!