Thursday, June 28, 2007

Totem Hunter

This model was a blast to paint. Overall I'm relatively happy with it, although there is one particular mistake I made: I sealed it after attaching it to the base. The matt coat put an odd finish on the Envirotex, making it look hazy (these pictures are from before I sealed it). On the one hand, I look at this model and see a bunch of things I could have done better, or I see technique mistakes. On the other hand, I'm happy with having painted like I have a pair and just gone for it. The spots on his skin and the water effects are two specific examples. They could have been better, but having never really done those things before, I'm very satisfied with my first time results.

Dick Blick

No, "Dick Blick" is not some new fancy curse word. It's an art store. Specifically, it has an online store from which I recently ordered more W&N Series 7 brushes at what feels like a complete robbery. I also picked up a very nice 12 well porcelain palette and some color shapers. I love all these things, and so, here's a quick tools summary.

Brushes: Winsor & Newton, Series 7 - I swear by these brushes. I was always afraid to get them (primarily because of the cost), and used to use synthetic bristle brushes. Now that I've switched to these, I'll never go back. I simply couldn't use any other brushes anymore. They keep a point amazingly well, are very durable (if taken care of properly), and are simply an order of magnitude better than any other brushes I've ever used. Unlike other lower quality brushes, I am able to use a size 2 for 75% of the painting I do. I recently picked up a second #2 and #1, as well as getting a #0 to try out. I don't expect to be using the #0 very much, but I couldn't pass on the price. Just as a final testimonial, my first W&N S7 was $35, and I've been using it for probably 8+ months now. I've NEVER given it a second thought that I spent so much on a single brush. Literally, after using it for a week, I've never regretted it and would easily spend another $35 to replace it if need be. Fortunately, Dick Blick has provided another option.

Palettes: multi-well porcelain - There's probably 50 different schools of thought on this topic, with alot of the differences based on personal preference. I like the porcelain palettes for 2 primary reasons: 1) They are easy to clean (just plop them in a bowl of water overnight and the next day just a light rub removes the paint), and 2) The wells keep me from making a mess. This is definately a preference things, but if you're going to get those crappy little plastic or metal paint well palettes, spend the extra money on a porcelain one instead. You won't regret it. The porcelain ones never stain, always come clean, and will last forever. Again, like the S7's, they pay for themselves after about 6 months.

Sculpting tools: Color Shapers - These are a new aquisition for me. The recommendation came from the Brush Thralls. I'm pretty lame when it comes to sculpting and conversion work, partially because green stuff has always given me fits. I've only used these new Color Shapers a couple times now, but I must say, they are marvelous. Literally, the green stuff does not stick to them. I was always having problems with it sticking to my metal sculpting tools before. I can't wait to use these little bad boys more. I got the variety pack of size 0 shapers which is probably the perfect size for the amount of sculpting I do.

In summary: new toys = good. Now, back to working on the Totem Hunter!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


I played 5 (!) games of Hordes this weekend against my friend Lance. I brought my trolls to face off against his Skorne, and I must say, it was a righteous rumble all weekend long. The final score was Trolls 2, Skorne 3. Clearly, there's no game summary for each game, but here's a spew of highlights:

  • Madrak went undefeated in his 2 games.
  • Doomshaper lost all 3 (once due to ridiculously lucky damage rolls
  • Champs + Krielstones + Gobbers + Sure Foot = abso-freakin-ridiculous.
  • The Totem Hunter managed to works as a great distraction. In one game he tied up a Cyclops Savage, Ancestral Guardian, and a pair of Paingivers for 2 rounds, giving the rest of my army buffer to focus on taking out a Titan with little danger.
  • Titan Gladiators are obnoxious to dispose of.
  • The Blitzer routinely performs great.
  • The Fell Caller is like a massive swiss army knife. The analogy is especially good since although a swiss army knife has alot of features, you can't really use more than 1 at a time safely.

Here's a listing of the various battles and their "killing blows":

  • Madrak vs Morghul - I forget how this one unfolded exactly. I think Madrak used his axe.
  • Doomshaper vs Morghul - A crazy big damage roll on Morghul's "can not transfer damage" spell put Doomshaper down.
  • Madrak vs Hexeris - The Madrak brick rolled forward and the Blitzer delivered a beatdown on Hexeris in melee.
  • Doomshaper vs Hexeris - Another crazy damage roll, this time from Deathbringer cast at the Mauler, and I stupidly left no fury on Doomshaper to transfer with that round.
  • Doomshaper vs Hexeris - I attempted a No Quarter Challenge at got betrayed by my dice, at which point my army was totally exposed and got beat down. A cyclops charge finished off Doomshaper.

That last battle deserves a quick note. What happened was this...

  1. Doomshaper feated
  2. Hexeris, in order to have Fury next round and avoid Doomshaper's feat, backed up the Bronzeback behind him, and riled it for 5.
  3. Doomshaper runs the Mauler forward, then charges the Mauler from behind in order to move forward 8", putting him just within 10" of the Bronzeback.
  4. Doomshaper casts Rampager at the Bronzeback, which has 5 Fury on it.
  5. The Axer runs in to form up with the Mauler making a wall in front of Doomshaper, who is sitting on 4 Fury.
  6. The Scattergunners gun down all the paingivers and other models nearest to the Bronzeback, leaving Hexeris as the closest model.
  7. During Hexeris' maintinance phase, Rampager takes effect, forcing a Threshold check on the Bronzeback. He's got 5 Fury, and a 9 Threshold, and... rolls a 4. If he'd failed, the Bronzeback would have frenzied and charged Hexeris in the back. It would have pretty much collapsed the Skorne army at that point. Unfortunately, it left me on the hill in a position for the Bronzeback, the Gladiator and the Cyclops to deliver beatdowns on all my warbeasts. Stupid dice! In the imaginary No Quarter world, I would have won that game. Still though, I'm glad I went for it, even though I lost.

I also got started on the Totem Hunter, but not far enough to post a picture.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Role Reversal

Played against Zugbart again last night, but this was a bit of a switcheroo. I played mercs and he played Protectorate. We only played 350pts, but it was quite entertaining.

The Armies:
Mercs (Highborn Contract): Ashlynn, Nomad, Alexia, 2 Bokurs, Gorman, Herne & Jonne.
Protectorate: Kreoss, Crusader, Repenter, Revenger, Eiryss.

The Game:
Ironically, I got assassinated by Kreoss in the first game on round 2. You'd think that being a Menoth player that I'd have watched out a bit more closely. Alot of it had to do with Ashlynn just being a superwuss for taking damage. So, we played the same lists again.

The Game (for real):
This time I played more conservatively with Ashlynn. Even though Kreoss' feat was still a pain in the ass, it didn't come up until the Bokurs had already gotten to have their charge round in, which made for some pretty serious devastation on the enemy jacks. All around, it was just an uphill battle trying to disable the jacks, and in the end I still hadn't taken out the Crusader. Kreoss also proved to be difficult to hurt, taking multiple hits from various sources before the final blow was struck. In the end, Ashlynn (enhanced with her Quicken spell) walked out of melee with the Crusader and took a hand cannon shot on Kreoss, striking him down.

The Highlights:
The Bokurs performed well, Gorman was Gorman, and Herne & Jonne were both quite useful (despite my early assessment of them). Alexia was really not that helpful, mostly due to a lack of living models to generate Risen from. The Nomad was, well, a damage machine, for one round. Unfortunately the Crusader got the charge against him so that dramatically limited the amount of damage I was able to lay out with him. Overall, I'd have to say that the Bokurs and Ashlynn were my favorite models in this battle.

Bases, part 3

The Envirotex dried. I think the blue ink actually doesn't look so great. I think using it straight would have perhaps been better... or else maybe just alot less blue in. I barely put in even half a drop too. Anyway, here's the pic with the water added. I'll probably add some static grass and leaves before calling it done. The ironic part is I still haven't decided what model is going to get this monstrosity.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Bases, part 2

Finished my two sample wood plank bases. They came out pretty well. The balsa wood part was really the hardest part. Once the pieces were glued to the base and dried, I just hit them with a generous coating of slightly thinned P3 brown ink.

The water base is pretty much ready for water at this point. Below is a pic of the prepared base. Before I foul it up with Envirotex though, I figured I'd better do an experiment so that I understand how to use it. I mixed up a very tiny batch of it, adding in a couple drops of blue ink, and it's sitting on my desk in a small plastic cup drying. I figure I'll give it a couple days and see how it turned out before I add it to the base.


Finished the Covenant of Menoth this weekend. No time for a big description. If you look carefully, you can see the image of Trogdor on the bottom right of the book.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Misc Day #314

Not really getting alot of any one thing done today. Instead I'm puttering around on a number of seperate things today. I've got the book bearer of the Covenant model painted, but the priest is still not even started at the moment. Probably later tonight.

I picked up Doc Killingsworth and Bosun Grogspar. Bosun is a way cool model. He'll probably get escalated even though I don't plan on fielding him anytime soon.

I also picked up some balsa wood to experiment with making wood plank bases with. I've been determined to find a quick and easy way to make wood plank bases for when I inevitably start getting lots of pirates. I had started with coffee stirrers and such but that wood is just a pain in the ass to cut to shape. The balsa wood is ideal. I've also been intrigued with making some swamp bases and finally found some Envirotex to experiment with. So I've prepped a base for that experiment as well. Below are pics of the bases in progress, along with a pic of the bottom of the swamp base just for example purposes.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Grim vs Harbinger, round 3

Got to play against Zugbart again on Tuesday. Although it was a fun game, it took over 4 hours, and by the end I think we were both ready for the game to be over. In the end, I couldn't kill off enough beasts to thin him down quick enough and ended with the Harbinger all by herself, who then got killed by beasts. To her credit, she put up a good fight. There was a moment near the end of the game where I might have had a chance to assassinate Grim, but it would have required slightly better than average dice rolls, and up until that point, both of us had had problems with our dice cooperating. Zugbart had a number of missed attack rolls which made a big difference. I had a number of damage rolls that would come 1 short of killing my targets, which made a big difference (since those blasted warbeasts just heal back up eventually).

Highlights from the battle for me:
  • Rupert dealt the killing blow to an Axer, in melee, rolling boxcars on a damage roll.
  • Gorman did a great job of neutralizing the Mauler up until Grim sniped him down.
  • Supported by Harbinger bonuses, 4 chior members came incredibly close to killing Grim in melee. Who knew?!

This Harbinger list featured half infantry and half warjacks. Honestly, I liked the idea at first, but I think it doesn't execute very well. Once the zealots were below half, and I had lost a jack, I quickly started running out of options. I think all-jack or all-infantry lists with the Harbinger are the better choice.

One new feature for me was using the Reclaimer. I have to say that he was handy, but once I ran out of infantry, he quickly became less useful. Pretty much his role the entire game was to turn dead protectorate models into focus for warjacks. His other features pale in comparison. If his actions were abilities instead, I could see him being way cooler. His other 2 special actions are relatively useless unfortunately.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Reclaiming My Time

Hooray! I finished the Reclaimer solo today. Not necessarily a model I plan on fielding very much, but it was a lovely model to paint regardless. I used him as an opportunity to practice a couple of colors that I've been unsatisfied with lately.

The black robes I did by starting with Ironhul Grey. Then I did 2-3 thin black washes on top of that. Then I highlighted with Ironhull Grey again, and used some straight black in some recesses to emphasize certain places better. I like the way this turned out, and it was relatively easy and fast to do. Black has been a color I haven't worked with much and rarely been satisfied with my results. This definatey helped my confidence. I'm looking forward to using this technique on the High Reclaimer and Testament. I really do like the look of black, red and brass together. Extending the color scheme from the Daughters to this guy worked great I feel.

The brass pieces took a little more work. I started with Pig Iron as a base, then used Brass Balls on top of that. The Pig Iron is just to give a smoother result to the Brass Balls. Then after that I did a wash of Blighted Gold. Then I used a mix of Armor Wash and Turquoise Ink and a little water (about 4:1:2 ratio). The Turquoise was a tip I picked up from one of McVey's articles in No Quarter (I forget which issue). It really makes a nice tint to the brass.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Grissel's First Battle

I played straight Hordes on Wednesday night. It was 500pts of my trolls vs a mostly proxied Skorne list. A friend of mine is considering playing Skorne and wanted to try them out. Overall the game was amusing. I have to say that I really like the feel of a Hordes game for a couple reasons: 1) Timing is critical, which requires more careful thinking, and 2) It forces you to take warbests, which keeps the game more in the realm of small squad action rather than the infantry swarms that seem to plague Warmachine. Anyway, on to the highlights...
The Lists:
Me: Grissel, Blitzer, Axer, Impaler, Fell Caller, Champs, Gobbers.
Opponent: Morghul, Titan Gladiator, Bronzeback, Cyclops Savage, Paingivers, Harpoon guys (whatever they are called).
I chose Grissel primarily because I've never seen her in action before. The Blitzer was a no-brainer. Choosing Champs over a Mauler was simply a matter of wanting a speedbump in the list.
The Game:
Overall I have to say that my execution was not too shabby, with the exception of my feat round. Without getting into gory details, the primary issue was about timing. I should have activated Grissel first, feated, and used her spells before activating anything else. If I'd done the order right, I would have really clobbered the two titans. I spent the rest of the game attempting to recover from a bad series of missed attacks. The Titans are just hugely impressive creatures with their 19 ARM. Without having a Mauler to boost str, it was hard laying out enough damage.

The Dice:
Ok, for the first time, my Vegas dice betrayed me. I had a shocking number of bad rolls, especially at critical times. Particularly on my feat round, if I'd had even average rolls, I would have made a much larger impact I suspect.
The Endgame:
In the end, probably because it was getting late, my opponent brought Morghul around into my backfield to attempt a kill on Grissel. At this point in the game I was really reeling. Morghul had Unrelenting on him and with his 17 DEF, he's already hard enough to hit. So... I went into No Quarter Challenge mode...

Below is a shot of the battle at the critical juncture. There's alot of proxy action here, so let me elaborate. Gorman (NE) was Morghul. All the other small bases were beast handlers. The eMauler was my own proxy for a blitzer (since my blitzer is not quite assembled yet). The Reaper (engaged in the center with the 2 remaining Champs) was the Titan Gladiator. The Devastator (S) was the Bronzeback. The Bokur (SW) was the Cyclops Savage.

It's the troll's turn. Grissel has just pulled 4 fury from the blitzer for a total of 6 fury. The champ leader was at 1 one wound left and knocked down. The Blitzer, Fell Caller, Grissel and the other Champ were undamaged. The Titan Gladiator was heavily damage, with only 1 aspect left and 4 Fury on him. The Bronzeback and Savage were relatively undamaged, each with 3 Fury on them. Grissel (measuring her control area) was approximately 5.5" from Morghul. Morghul has Unrelenting on him and no remaining Fury.

Here was my solution... The Fell Caller charges the Bronzeback (7 MAT vs 11 DEF), succeeding and doing some damage, but more importantly, his Inspire grants +2 to attack rolls for Grissel. Grissel moves slightly and casts Calamity on Morghul (6 Fury + 2 from Inspire and boosted, for 8+3d6 vs 17 DEF), hitting and granting +2 to attack and damage rolls against Morghul. Calamity doesn't cause any damage, so Morghul's Unrelenting is not triggered. The Blitzer walks into melee with Morghul and two-handed throws him into the rocks to the east (5 MAT +2 from Calamity and boosted for 7+3d6, vs 17 DEF). The throw (boosted of course) does 14+4d6, and at this point Morghul is out of range of any beasts he can transfer to, and he's knocked down. The Blitzer's Pyg Ace then proceeds to blast him with the gun. Note that average dice rolls for everything result in Morghul getting slain.

Star Performers:
The Fell Caller was badass. I love this dude, and he's getting promoted in my painting stack. The champs weren't great, but they did a good job at what I needed them to do, which was form a massive speed bump. The Gobbers of course were their own little rockstars. Grissel was, well, she was ok, but I can't say I think she performed great. It'll take me a couple more battles before I can really make a judgement on her. The Blitzer was (ignoring my dice rolling) quite the badass, laying out shot after shot with the gun and taking out key things along the way. Putting Farstrike on the Blitzer is something I now categorize as "stupid cool". Overall though I'm going to award MVP to the Fell Caller for this game.

Painting Again!

I finally put brush to model again for the first time in what feels like a month. I got started on the Reclaimer solo. He's been sitting primed on my desk for quite some time. I'm using him as an opportunity to practice shading black before I work on the High Reclaimer. It feels great to find time to paint again. I feel like my life has just been shooting along too quickly lately. This last week I finally managed to slow down enough to start reading the 5th Harry Potter book as well.

There will be a battle report coming, but I'm waiting to see if I can get a particular picture from the battle before I finish it.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Assembly-O-Rama Weekend

Well, I haven't painted for long time it feels, but this weekend I spent alot of time getting models assembled. Normally I hate doing assembly since I'm doing it as needed before painting the next model, so this was a night pro-active opportunity. It's late, so just a quick list of stuff I assembled this weekend:
  • Champs (all 5!)
  • Grissel
  • High Reclaimer
  • Testament
  • Covenant
  • Blitzer (well, not entirely assembled, but over 50% done)
  • Trimmed but not assembled Alt Paladin

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Harbinger 2,Grim 0

Another battle against Zugbart yesterday, although I have to say that this battle was less fun than our average battle. Zugbart's baddice luck with Grim continued, although not quite as terrible as before. Probably the bigger difference was the army compositions. I had almost an entirely infantry army against his almost entirely warbeast army. I spent my first turn getting the right models in the right place, and then on my second turn I had my daughters already charging Grim while the rest of my army was setting up for a crushing wave. Although the daughters didn't kill Grim (primarily due to his high defense), they did a little damage to him and more importantly forced him to use the blitzer's animus to sneak out of the fray. By the third round the zealots were delivering firebombs and the knights were setting up charge lanes. Vilmon was the star performer in this one, tying up 4 champs at once all by himself. The Harbinger mostly spent the game far in the backfield, not even using her feat. I must say, the more I use Vilmon and the Daughters, the more I love them. Anyway, there's a couple of pics of the battle on my photobucket album, but here's the shot of Grim in peril: