Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fire of Salvation

I'm glad to have this one finally finished. It seemed to take forever. There was marvelous detail and opportunity on this model, but it just hit an unfortunate conjunction of busy times for me and took longer than I would have wanted. Plus it didn't help that I took him to the tournament before he was really finished and had to do some repair work afterwards. All things considered though, it wasn't so bad.

What went right:
* Whites went better than I expected. I used more of a dirty earth tone instead of a grey tone.
* Glowing runes turned out nice. I like the effect and it's not too much. It's not very realistic, but I like it.
* Overall color balance worked out fairly well with the exception of how the menofixes in the shoulders seem to blend in too much.

What could have been better:
* General motivation to put more time into it, although I've been trying to limit the amount of time I spend on any one model these days.
* Lack of crispness to the painting seems to be a recent trend for me. I'm not saying I dislike it, but the jury is still out on that one.
* Realistic shading didn't really play out well for me, with several places being lighter when they should be darker.

Well, just a fast update. I've got a backlog of other stuff to deal with before I get back into a normal painting rhythm. KublaCon is just over 3 weeks away and I need to get seriously cranking on a squad entry.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MKII: Protectorate vs Cryx

Quick battle report, which is long overdue. I'm dead tired and sorely behind on things. The Fire of Salvation is parked with glosscoat drying too. Anyway, it was a 35pt battle under MKII and was quite amusing.

Protectorate: Feora, Avatar, Castigator, Daughters, Deliverers (6), Sunburst, Cleansers (6), Allegiant, Hierophant, 3x Wracks
Cryx: eSkarre, Cankerworm, Leviathan, Nightwretch, Bane Knights (10), 2x Pistol Wraiths, Tartarus, Wrathe

* Feora is still Feora. She kicks butt and sets things on fire.
* Cleansers are pretty rockin. Automatic fire is a pretty sweet upgrade for them. Still not my favorite, but improved.
* Daughters are, well, not quite as I remember them. They are still pretty fun though.
* New Deliverers are very cool. I love the new Rocket Volley option for them. It's a welcome alternative to firing shot after shot of deviating blast.
* The Leviathan still impresses me for the points.
* Bane Knights are pretty reasonable now. I'd say they are quite fairly priced now.

* Vengeance or Continuous Effects: Which go first?
* No measuring unit formation during Vengeance?
* Wall of Fire does not block LOS?
* When fleeing a unit can "cower"? (apparently it's correct, but still sounds wrong)

Feora pulled out a victory on this one. In the end I pulled out a NQ win. On eSkarre's feat round, she marked Feora and herself as non-targetable. However Feora's Blazing Effigy spell is not an attack spell. The Castigator trampled up over a couple Bane Knights and then Feora blasted eSkarre. It helped that she already had some self-applied damage on her, and the Sunburst was able to apply a couple points.

Still loving MKII. The rules flow well and play smoothly.

Monday, April 20, 2009

From the Painting Desk: Ridiculous

It's 90 degrees today. This wouldn't be such a big deal except that without air conditioning, the heat permeates my place and makes blending more difficult. So I'm taking a bit of a break for a day or two and catching up on other tasks around the house. Too bad since the Fire of Salvation is almost finished too. Even if I could finish painting it, the heat makes it unsafe to seal stuff (or prime for that matter).

On another note, the KublaCon painting competition has decided to go to an open judging format. I for one am stoked. They are planning to have a masters level and an open level. Speaking of that I'll have to get crackin on the things I want to enter.

Anyway, I'm off for a late evening swim and then melt into a puddle in a corner.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

SR4 Battle Report

The tournament yesterday was amusing. The quote for the day was "Dude, there's a Reznik in my face!" Overall I had a typical tournament record: 1 win, 1 loss, 1 by.

My List: Reznik, Fire of Salvation, Blessing of Vengeance, Revenger, Chior(6), Vassal, 2x Seneschals, 3x Wracks.
I brought a backup Harbinger list, but had no intention of playing it. I wanted to try out Reznik with a jack heavy list.

Battle 1: I fought against Protectorate ironically. Severius, Zealots+Monolith, Knights Exemplar, Chior, 2x Redeemers, Blessing of Vengeance. The battle overall was just difficult. Since I couldn't target Severius directly with spells, it limited my options. Plus there was this plateau terrain feature in the middle that screwed both of us up. I very nearly got a run on Severius with the Fire of Salvation (of which one hit would have probably done him in), but due to unfortunate positioning, he just couldn't quite fit through between two jacks and I got stuck. Then he managed to get a charge on Reznik with the knights and that wrapped things up. Overall it was a poor match up anyway since Severius is somewhat of an achilles heel for Reznik (feat, spells, etc).

Battle 2: Unluckily, I drew the by for that round. *sigh* I did however get to watch a magificent throwdown between Deneghra and Skarre where the Cankerworm destroyed both the Deathjack and the Nightmare. It was shocking.

Battle 3: I love the 3rd round. By then it's a game just for fun since I'm never in a winners' bracket. I faced off against Asphyxious, Soulhunters(5), Biles(7?), 3x Deathrippers, Skarlock, Wrathe and Gorman. This is where Reznik shined. I put Brand of Heresy on the Soulhunters, Zealot's Rage on the Fire of Salvation, and Enliven on the Blessing of Vengeance. It was downright punishing to the Cryx player. He could never quite leverage his full strength and I was able to relentlessly push forward toward his side. Near the end he retreated with Asphyxious behind a cloud but by using Perdition I got the Fire into LOS of Asphyxious and then pulled off the 10" charge and beat him down like the dog he was. This was definitely a battle where I felt like I executed extremely well and leveraged the full power and synergy of my army.

Casualties: A wrack got damaged slightly, and the Fire of Salvation, which wasn't completely finished, had a bit of an issue with a couple of pins, but overall no unrecoverable damage. I had worried about bringing the Fire of Salvation since I hadn't sealed it yet, but in hindsight I am certainly glad I did.

Overall: Great time was had. The "fanboy" Protectorate player was there boasting about not using Kreoss but he fielded a completely typical Harbinger list with Doc and Vilmon and Paladins and Redeemers. All things considered, I'd rather have a By than face that. Fortunately both of my battles were entertaining.

Monday, April 13, 2009

MKII: Mercs vs Cryx

Two more MKII battles on Saturday night. Just getting behind on posting unfortunately. Here's the highlights:

Battle 1:
Mercs (Highborn): Ashlynn, Nomad, Freebooter, Mariner, Nyss Hunters(10), Dougal, Stannis, Bokur, Herne&Jonne
Cryx: eAsphyxious, 2x Pistol Wraits, Seether, 2x Deathrippers, Soulhunters(5), Bane Thralls(10), Skarlock

Summary: I got Cryx'd. Admitedly I could have probably avoided it, but the Seether slammed the Bokur into Ashlynn and then a single Soulhunter charged and killed her. The battle was a poor match up anyway, as Asphyxious was dropping out cloud templates to provide cover to the Soulhunters, and the Bane Thralls had stealth, so it was pretty difficult for me to leverage my army against them.

Battle 2:
Mercs (Highborn): Ashlynn, Nomad, Freebooter, Mariner, Nyss Hunters(10), Dougal, Stannis, Aiyana&Holt, Gorman
Cryx: eDeneghra, 2x Deathrippers, Nightmare, Mechanithralls(10), Necrosurgeon, 2x Brutethralls, Bane Knights(10), Tartarus

Summary: I got seriously Cryx'd. Top of round 2 eDeneghra feats and then the Nightmare uses it's prey to move in, then tramples over the Nyss and into melee with Ashlynn. A single hit from the Nightmare killed her with damage to spare. This is the first thing I've encountered in 5 games that actually felt broken. With eDenghra's Pursuit spell, the Nightmare could potentially move 12" before it's activation, and then take a 9" charge/trample. We're planning on trying that out again to see what happens before reporting it.

Overall: Still loving MKII. The rules are streamlined and easy to follow. There's a few specific situations that are raising questions, but overall I love it. I'm sort of sad to be playing MKI for the SR4 tournament this Saturday.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

MKII: 2 More Battles

2 more test battles today. Again, no pictures. I played Protectorate against Cygnar at the LGS.

Battle 1:
Protectorate: eKreoss, Vanquisher, Dervish, Revenger, Reclaimer, Chior(6), Covenant, TFG(10)
Cygnar: Darius, Ironclad, Centurion, Stormclad, Squire, Strangeways, Mechanics

Summary: I pulled out a win by the skin of my teeth. The Covenant is awesome for the no-knockdown feature. The Dervish however was the star of the show. I used him to sneak around and then use side-step to make my way over to Darius and deliver a beating. I absolutely love the Dervish now. The Stormclad was totally badass to fight against as well.

Battle 2:
Protectorate: Amon, Devout, Dervish, Guardian, Repenter, Chior(6), Paladin, 3 Wracks, Sunburst Crew
Cygnar: eHaley, Defender, 2 Lancers, Trenchers(6), Squire

Summary: This was a bad match up for Cygnar. After a first round of eHaley's domination, I kept "no spells" on all my jacks and spell barrier on Amon for pretty much the entire game. Eventually I wore him down and took out eHaley, but he almost got a serious NQ win on me by trying to use telekinesis to move Amon out from his cover and then blast him with spells. Amon took a beating over the course of the game but pulled out the win. It was rough though since I lost most of my cortexes over the course of the game.
Amon plays like a whole new caster now. Even though I have to re-learn him, I like him. The Sunburst was actually quite good now.

MKII Experience:
MKII continues to impress me. The biggest issues that came up were just a distinct lack of rules where there used to be rules. I won't go into great detail, but this was today's list of questions:
* No mention that jack's can't spend focus outside of their activation (matters for free strikes, Darius' jackhammer, Devout's defensive strike, Vassal, etc)
* No mention that weapon crews can't run.
* No mention of what direction continue fire damages from (respective of shields)
* No mention of front/back arcs when knocked down (again, shields)
* Warcaster Attachments apparently are just solos now
* No mention of shield bonuses going away when that arm system is disabled
* No mention of warjack bonds granting an extra focus allocation
* Which wins between Purification and eFeora's Caustic Presence?

I'm seriously looking forward to more games with MKII.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Hierarch Severius

Doing another side-by-side on this one. Grand Scrutator Severius was the first Warmachine warcaster that I painted. I spent a ton of time on him working on the blending. I remember being very please with him at the time. Today I finished up Hierarch Severius, the Epic version of the original. Looking at these models side-by-side was an interesting exercise. For the purpose of this post I will shorthand Hierarch Severius (who appears on the left) as eSevvy, and Grand Scrutator Severius (on the right) as pSevvy. Unfortunately the lighting was tricky for eSevvy and I just didn't get good pictures, so he appears darker in the pics than in person.

There's a couple things that really shocked me when I took an honest look at the two. The whites on pSevvy are simpler and lack depth, but are smooth and clean looking. eSevvy overall has more of a gritty look to him. The reds on eSevvy are, without a doubt, much better. They have stronger contrast and convey much more depth, plus the blending is much better. However, for the overall model look, I have to be honest and say that eSevvy is not lightyears ahead.

Things that went well:
* Reds - These went great. Absolutely happy with them.
* Blacks - These worked out pretty well. Blending could have been better, but I like the end look of them.
* Brightness range - I'm happy with the overall effect. The blending on the whites was brutal, but I really wanted to put more contrast depth into this model to convey depth of field in his robes.

Things that could have been better:
* Whites - These frustrated me. I tried using more tonal variation but in some places it backfired on me. In the end I achieved the depth I wanted, but the blending left much to be desired.
* Metals - Overall I'm not displeased, but some places they just look unfinished.
* Gems - I suck at gems. I need more practice. On the plus side I used some paint-on gloss coat after sealing the whole thing and that made a noticeable difference for the gems.

Ok, well, it's late and I have a day packed with MKII test games at the LGS tomorrow, so I'm going to sign off. Hopefully it continues to prove a fun set of rules changes.

First MKII Battle!

Sorry, no pictures this time. Unfortunate too, since it was almost entirely painted. Lance and I played last night using the new MKII rules and I have to say that overall I like the changes.

My List: Reznik, Reckoner, Blessing of Vengeance, Hierophant, Knights Exemplar(6), Chior(6), 3 Wracks
Lance's List: Epic Asphyxius, Deathjack, Deathripper, Mechanithralls(10), Brute Thrall, Necrosurgeon, Necrotech

The battle was brutal. Before I go through the details of the battle, I want to share my MKII experiences:
* The game plays smoothly. Other than questions about staying in formation while charging, the rules were easy to navigate and use.
* Everything in my army except Wracks had changed. Some of it was substantially different (Reznik, Knights, Chior). However I can honestly say the changes didn't bother me at all. In fact, I liked most of them.
* Other than one instance of Reznik's Witch Hunter ability, I don't think we missed a single rule or ability during the game.
* Jacks are definitely better now. I love their new rules on damage and the boost to MAT makes them much more effective. The power attacks stuff is also pretty sweet.

Here are battle highlights:
* Reckoner, juiced up on spells and chior, charges in and wrecks the DJ in a single round.
* Necrotech created at least a dozen scraps over the course of the game. Those scraps also did a pile of damage to stuff.
* Reznik having Ashes To Ashes is a nice change of pace, and really helped with crowd control on the Mechanithralls.
* Epic Asphyxius is still a pain in the butt to get to. In the end, only he and Reznik were on the table, and he got the charge in on Reznik and pulled out the win.

It was both a close and a fun game. The new rules are excellent in my humble opinion. I'm looking forward to these changes being officially released next year!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Warmachine MKII

Well, if you follow Warmachine at all, you probably know that the MKII Field Trial has started. As a result my painting is slowing down in order to review the new rules and try to get a few games in. I'm not going to give a summary here of my thoughts except to say that I think it is good overall. One good thing is that MKII has me inspired to work on the Avatar.

Epic Severius is almost done now. Just down to fiddly bits and details. Hopefully I can finish him up tonight. The Fire of Salvation is assembled and primed on my desk.

I think that Legion is going to go on hold for a while. My hope of starting it soon has been drowned by a desire to finish up my remaining Protectorate stuff and maybe even go back and hit a couple more Cryx things. We'll see what happens though since my muse is a fickle creature.

Specific thought for the day: The P3 paint pots are fine, but when the top detaches from the pot entirely, it gets a little frustrating to work with. The GW foundation pots are fairly obnoxious because they don't stay open enough. In general I don't really like droppers cause I waste more paint doing that. Once of these days, maybe someone will find a better solution.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

From the Desk: Vacation!

I'm on vacation! All week! So there will probably be lots of activity on this blog since my vacation does not have any specific plans other than to relax. It's a week for me to unwind, get stuff done around the house, and generally bum around. So, of course, I have grand plans for painting.

Currently I'm working on epic Severius, who has been sitting in my unpainted bin since his original release date some months ago. The picture here is pretty terrible, but it gives you the general idea. It's a pretty detailed model, and I like the depth variation in his robes.

In parallel I'm starting the Fire of Salvation, and also doing the initial prep work on the Avatar (which has been sitting around for a very long time). I want to do some more serious conversion work on the Avatar because, to be frank, I think the sculpt is lacking a bit in the awesomeness department. I'll probably do a series of posts on it like I did with the DTMX.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Despite the poor economy that I keep hearing about, I received a bit of a raise this year. So, to celebrate, I'm looking into buying an airbrush. As is becoming typical for me, I'm doing some research on whether it's worth getting, what to get, and what I can expect in terms of learning curve. Mostly I've been trolling around BrushThralls, CMON and the Privateer forums for information as those are places that I routinely haunt and find useful information on. Below I'll put a list of links, but first is the summary of my research and my current plan.

I should mention, I've actually had a small amount of experience with an airbrush before. Nothing really valuable except to have an idea what I'm getting into. Long ago (back in college) I bought a Testors airbrush kit. I think it was about $50 and included a single action, external mix, siphon fed airbrush that used compressed air cans for propellant. It was a pretty feeble tool and not especially good for models, but it did give me some experience with what an airbrush is all about. I used it back then a couple of times for basecoating 40k stuff and doing some random things to larger vehicle models from that 40k line. That being said, if I'm going to try out airbrushing again, it's time to upgrade to an adult version.

Yes, yes... my developer side is showing through. My first step was to determine my requirements for an airbrush.
* Double Action - Absolutely necessary. I want the added control of how much paint is coming out.
* Internal Mix - External mixing is just too random. I want control. If I've learned anything from the W&N S7 brushes it's that tool quality and consistency does make a noticable difference.
* Separate Compressor - No compressed air cans. I'll splurge for the compressor even if it costs me. This gets back to that whole tool quality and consistency issue. The compressor must have a pressure regulator (variable) and moisture filter. Ideally it has a tank option as well.
* Budget - My working budget here is about $250. I'm not really willing to go more for now, but am also working under the assumption that if I really like it, I may get another airbrush further down the road (although hopefully not replacing the compressor).

Right now I have 2 leading candidates. First is the Paasche VL Millennium which has the advantages of being relatively cheap and entirely metal. Second is the Aztek 470 which seems to get a lot of recommendations. I'm not in any immediate rush to get one, so I'm going to take my time and ask around at a local hobby store and get further recommendations.

* BrushThralls has an excellent brief article about airbrushing that gets right to the point and, most importantly, includes a couple examples of actually using the airbrush on models. Yay ArkenTyre!
* CMON Has a good article about Airbrushing basics that I found very useful.
* Not to advertise, but DickBlick's airbrush section was useful to get an idea of accessories for further down the road.
* Privateer forums had a couple of posts that I found informative about selecting airbrushes and compressors.
* How To - An interesting site, I guess, but there are so many spelling and grammar mistakes that it is rather hard to sort through the information.