Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Templar Kit Project - Part 2

There's a good guide in No Quarter #24 for assembling the Bastion kit which I made sure to refer to beforehand. Really there's nothing amazing to note except for using regular superglue instead of that nasty plastic-melting bonding agent that a lot of other kits need.

In terms of pinning, there wasn't much needed. Being lighter, the plastics are a lot more resilient to popping apart. However, being neurotic like I am, I decided to pin a couple spots. The dremel makes very quick work of this step so pinning effort is almost zero. The biggest risk is not accidentally drilling all the way through the piece since the plastic is so much softer.

For this kit, there are 3 heads. I thought briefly about magnetizing the heads so that I could swap them out, however that just sounded like way too much work for so little benefit. To that end, I opted to just use the Templar's head, since that's the model I bought the kit for. I think it is nice that they included all 3 heads.

Now it's time to talk about magnets. This was a pretty tricky proposition for me since I'd never magnetized parts of a model before so I knew this was going to be an adventure. I made sure to pick parts from the Crusader and Vanquisher to do first in case I trashed something in the process. Fortunately I already had some magnets left over from previous orders, so I got drill bits that matched the diameter of the magnets. Then I broke out the power drill. Not the dremel. The power drill. Talk about scary! I hand-drilled a pilot hole with my pin-vise drill and then proceeded to use the big drill. It worked out pretty well overall. In a couple situations I had to green-stuff things back together, but for the most part it worked well.

It took me a couple hours of messing around and carefully drilling and assembling, I got magnets into all the places I needed. Everything holds together quite well, especially since the magnets I used were probably more powerful than I really needed. There were a couple of key challenges:

First, the shield was a real pain in the ass to get on there. I ended up pinning paperclips into the hand (since they are ferrous) and then putting 2 magnets on the back of the shield. It sort of works, but the shield doesn't hold in an angle that looks good.

Second, the left arm (that holds the shield) has a tendency to swivel a bit. It's a result of the way the magnets are in place and their polarities.

So, given those two issues, I'm thinking that probably my solution will be to put a pin in to keep the pieces straight with just one end of the pin glued in.

Well, that's the progres so far. Here's a picture of the Templar configuration assembled. Next step will be to add those final stabilizing pins and then get him primed. He's definitely not going to be ready for the Resurgence tournament at my LGS this weekend. Overall I'm fairly happy with how the magnetizing is working out. I'd like the model pieces to fit together a little tighter, but given this was my first attempt at it I can't complain too much. If there are questions out there about the plastic kit in general feel free to post comments and I'll respond.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Templar Kit Project - Part 1

Ah... Sunday Afternoon! Time to sit down at the painting desk, put on a WM podcast episode, and start a new project. This last week I bought my first PP plastic kit: the Protectorate Heavy Warjack kit. There's a lot of controversy about PP going with plastics, and I figured I'd provide my own perspective by actually walking through my assembly and painting of this kit. My goal here is to review the benefits and drawbacks of plastics. I should note that long ago I played Warhammer 40k (15+ years ago), and so I'm familiar with old plastic kit bashing, so I'm not a neophyte in this arena. However I also have a certain preference for metal models.

Please note that I'll be writing these posts as I'm actually doing the steps I'm writing about, so it may be a little disjointed.

The Product:
My first impression of the kit is pretty favorable. It includes all the parts to build a Vanquisher, Crusader, or Templar. It also includes the cards for all three. The plastic parts are all in a series of connected plastic bags. Everything is packaged so that it's easy to review that all the parts are there. As you can see from the picture, it's mostly the same parts for all 3 jacks with the exception of the arms/hands and heads. It didn't take me more than about a minute to decide to magnetize the arms. It should be pretty easy to do it and it's a project I've wanted to try for quite a while now.

Detail-wise, I was a bit concerned about the pieces. I grabbed my Crusader and Vanquisher from the display case to compare parts. Overall, I can't say the detail level is noticeably lower. There's pieces that seem less detailed, and others that seem more detailed. The plastic pieces definitely have the option of sharper edges, whereas metals don't seem to support that. My impression on this kit is that any reduced detail level is more a reflection of the sculpting and not the material or casting method. I'll be curious to see other kits.

Trimming the plastic parts is pretty easy. As opposed to metals where I almost entirely use micro-files, for these I entirely used a hobby knife. In general these seem to be relatively few mold lines, but that's typical for a new kit. I definitely found that it was harder for my eye to pick out the mold lines on these plastic pieces, primarily due to it being a material I'm not used to. However the hobby knife definitely makes quick work of mold lines and trimming went pretty fast. I will say that the mess factor of plastics is different. With metals, there are lots of little flakes and filing which have their own challenge to clean up. Plastics tend to create little strips and being light, their static electricity makes them stick to things.

I also used this opportunity to try the hair-dryer trick. Sho'nuff, it works like a charm. I took the Vanquisher flail hand attachment and held the chain under a hair dryer. After a few seconds I could see it bend by gravity alone. At that point I turned off the hair dryer and held it in the position I wanted it to stay in. I blew lightly on it to cool it back down and viola! Very easy I must say.

Well, that's enough for today. Next time I'll cover the assembly, since that will turn into a pretty large step. I'm include the magnetizing as well most likely.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

eKreoss vs eButcher = OUCH!

Last night I tested out my 35pt eKreoss list (with a couple modifications) against an eButcher list. Everything was going well until he feated. Then the wheels came off the bus and suddenly poor Kreoss was getting cut down by a Spriggan! It was relatively close, and some poor positioning on my part is what really enabled the situation, but still I have to give props to my opponent for really managing to wriggle out of a tight situation. I had the Avatar holding the center, barely still alive after the Butcher tore into him pretty good, locking most of the board down with his holy gaze. However it wasn't enough to hold off the assault.

I swapped in Eiryss into my list and I have to admit I wasn't super impressed with her as an addition to the list. I think there's still some refinement to go on my remaining 5 pts. Part of the challenge last night was that the Khador list didn't possess any of the elements that my list is good at negating (spells), and its strengths were in areas that I'm still somewhat weak in (hard targets).

Sorry for the terrible picture (unfortunately), but it's better than nothing I suppose. Next up I'll be doing a series of posts on the Templar kit. I picked one up (despite my concerns around plastic models) and will do a series of posts about my experience with it from start to finish.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Horgenhold Forge Guard

Just a quick post before sleep. Just finished sealing this band of little dudes tonight. They were a pretty serious speed paint job, but painting all 12 at once pretty much warrants a speed job. It will be handy to have two 6-man units rather than a single squad of 10. This made for a good test of using this sort of strategy. I may do this same thing with any Legion squads I pick up.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Resurgence Practice Throwdowns

The Resurgence tournament is coming up fast at my LGS (the 30th), so for Henry and I that means lots of practice games. And let me tell you, we're packing in the games. Last Wednesday we got 3 games in, and this afternoon we got 3 more games in. These games are fast and furious, and it's a lovely testing of lists under the new MKII rules. I have to say, I'm incredibly pleased with how the MKII rules shook out. Sure, there's some changes in models that make me sad, but there's plenty of improvements. For Protectorate, things are looking quite sassy indeed. But more importantly than the individual models is the overall rules set. We've taken the opportunity to double check a number of rules and in the vast majority of cases there's no ambiguity in situations.

I'm not going to go into detail of our lists for these games since there were many battles and we are trying to tune for the tournament. However I will say that there have been a number of No Quarter Challenge situations. The battle pictured above was a Goreshade vs Kreoss battle. In this situation Goreshade was just a touch short of taking out Kreoss by using Gorman to blind him and then charging in with full focus and just swinging like a madman.

The Resurgence format is pretty fascinating, and having to build on a list is a very cool feature. The scenario objectives are definitely creating an interesting dynamic to it, and we're finding that aggressive play is definitely favorable. I think that anyone not playing all out and charging to the middle is going to get owned on scenario points pretty fast. There's definitely an advantage to going first as well (obviously).

Overall the Protectorate feels pretty awesome. I'm extremely happy with how the Avatar plays on the table now. The Covenant is pretty much an auto-include now as well. Hopefully I'll remember to snap lots of photos at the Resurgence tournament. I think more important than the tournament is the effect MKII is having on the player base. We've lost a couple players (and in fact a press ganger) due to the rules changes, but there are several people saying they are going to start playing now. I think a lot of that is due to a fresh start to the rules, which are definitely more "newbie" friendly.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Avatar of Menoth

I'm calling this one done. I did some final clean up work on various places where the blending was a extra rough, and some metal work had gotten away from me. To be blunt, it was hard to come back from a month away from painting and consider doing too much more work on it. The clean up work was plenty to tighten up some fine details though and overall I'm happy with the end result. After having this model in my backlog for so very long it feels great to wrap him up, and to finally close out my remaining unpainted Protectorate models.

I loved this project, from start to finish. It was very enjoyable to take the time and think through what I wanted to do and really make this model my own rather than just accept what I felt was a sub-par sculpt. The painting portion was also enjoyable, and the end result really didn't feel like it came together until it was nearly done. The final shading and highlighting really put that slightly more dark gothic feel to the overall tone and brought it more to where I wanted.

If I was going to do this project over again, there a few things I might change. First, I think the base could have been tighted up a bit more. I still like the concept, but I could probably have executed it better. Also the rods between the waist and torso could use some change, but I still haven't figured out what would have been better. Also I think the fine inlaid details of the metal sections could have been made to pop a little bit more. Probably there's other details, but off the top of my head that's really the main points.

Having fielded this guy just the other night under MKII, I can honestly say that my favorite thing about having done this project is to bring his sword in line with the new rules, specifically making it obviously have REACH! I've always loved the concept, art, and (small) story pieces around the Avatar. When I first fielded him though I was always disappointed at his performance for the point cost. That made it really hard to get excited about assembling and painting him. Now in MKII, he's a big pile of iron awesome and I'm very much looking forward to fielding him a bunch.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

An Unholy Alliance

Tonight I got to play in a 2-on-2 battle. It was 35 points per player, with 2 troll players versus my Protectorate and Lance's Cryx force. Don't ask how Protectorate and Cryx managed to form an alliance to team up against Cryx! There's no good reason. However the battle was very enjoyable, and in the end the unholy alliance came out victorious. I'm not going to do a normal battle report because, quite frankly, I can't recall everything that happened. However I'll give a rough summary.

The Troll force was lead by eDoomshaper and Borka, with a slew of beasts (Mulg, Mauler, Bouncer, Axer, 2 Impalers, and a Slag), along with Fennblades, Scattergunners, Long Riders, a Hero, a Fell Caller, a Chronicler, and Horthul (and probably something else I'm forgetting).

I brought Reznik, the Avatar, a Crusader, a Revenger, TFG (with attachment, Choir, Vassal, a Sunburst Crew, and the Covenant. My Cryx ally had Mortenebra, a Leviathan, a Reaper, a Stalker, Slaughterborn, 6 Mechanithralls with 3 Brutes, the Necrosurgeon, a Necrotech, and 10 Scrap Thralls.

The battle was an intriguing face off. The big focal point at the start was the potential face off between Mulg and the Avatar. Reznik putting Iron Aggression on the Avatar was pretty sweet I must say. Mulg ended up going down to a well placed Reaper drag and then a swarm of Mechanithralls and the Avatar. On the flip side, later in the game Borka single handedly took out the Avatar on a charge. Honestly this was a pretty close game up until a failed counter-attack by the Mauler on Reznik. Reznik's 14 def saved the day for him with the Mauler getting a number of unfortunate dice rolls. On average, I think the Mauler would have probably just barely killed him.

I have to say that I am seriously loving MKII. Protectorate is almost like a whole new army for me again, and I'm really looking forward to playing them more. The refined rules make the game smoother to play and easier to learn. LOS and formation are good examples of that. I'll definitely be happy when the card decks for Warmachine come out though because I am sick of using these print outs!

War Wolf

Very quick post. I finished up this War Wolf today. Relatively speed painted, but it did give me some additional (much needed) practice at painting fur. I'm still not completely happy with how it turned out, but it's fine for the time I put into it. The armor pieces worked out pretty well though. With the blue being a part of the overall palette of the model, it helped tie the whole piece together a bit.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Random Stuff

Now that I'm back, I'm trying to get into the swing of painting again. I've had a bunch of models on my desk to paint for a couple other people for a while and figured this would be a good chance to get my chops back. Nothing spectacular here. Everything was speed painted so it's barely tabletop quality.

On a side note, I happened to go to the alternate LGS and they had a bunch of random WM/H stuff for 20% off. So much for my "buy as I'm ready to paint" philosophy! I picked up a Vanguard, 2 boxes of Forge Guard, a Seether, and Incubi. It was all stuff I was kicking around whether to get or not, and at 20% off I figured I might as well.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

2010 New Year's Resolutions...

[Disclaimer: This post contains fluffy, introspective nonsense.]

Well, it's time again for me to reflect on last year and look forward to this year. Last time I did this I was actually quite shocked at how much I had painted, and set for myself some reasonable (but important) goals for the year.

Last years goals:
  • Close out my unpainted models down to 2 factions at a time - Check! Actually what happened was I closed out all unpainted stuff with the exception of the Avatar and a handful of Wyrd models (which is a separate game). I'm actually pretty happy to be in a place again where I'm buying stuff shortly before painting it.

  • Start a Legion army - Check! Not only did I start a Legion army, I've got over a 1000 points painted and played it in tournaments.

  • Enter KublaCon again with entries I feel even better about than last year - Check! Last year for KublaCon was very exciting for me. I felt very good about my entries (especially eSkarre) and also entered the LGS' painting competition.

  • Models painted last year:
    This year I didn't paint quite as many models as last year. Last year I really hammered through a lot of units which bolstered my numbers. This year I had more focus on single models and especially more time spent on quality. The total comes in at 66. Here's the breakdown:
    Legion: 36
    Menoth: 7
    Trolls: 4
    Cryx: 11
    Malifaux: 7
    Other: 1

    Goals for next year:
    This year may turn out to be a poor year for painting. There's a number of big things queued up in my life that will undoubtedly impact my painting time such as starting a family and a likely work promotion. However, I still feel it's important to set some goals for myself...
    1) Again, focus on a KublaCon painting entry that I am really proud of.
    2) Close out my unpainted Malifaux backlog.
    3) Refine my own "style" of painting. This is a little more vague, but basically I want to spend some time understanding what my "style" is and focus on the strengths and weaknesses of it are.

    Well, that's enough of that nonsense. I've got a few days of vacation left before it's back to the grind, so time to put brush to paint and remember how this painting thing works. Happy New Year to all you fellow painters out there!

    Tuesday, January 05, 2010

    Return From Vacation

    Well, I just rolled in from a 4 week vacation. I'm dying to pick up the brush again. The only gaming stuff I did during the entire time was to read up on the MKII stuff that I hadn't caught up on. Of course, the first thing I saw on my desk when I got in was the nearly-completed Avatar staring angrily at me! I'm glad I have the rest of this week off to start getting my painting chops back.