Monday, May 31, 2010

KublaCon 2010 Update (part 2)

Kubla has come to a close for me. I'm pretty exhausted today, so here's a quick summary of the entire weekend...

Warmachine: In addition to the win in the Mangled Metal tournament on Friday, my teammate Aaron and I pulled out a win in the 2-on-2 multi-player event on Sunday. He was playing eStryker and I was playing Harbinger and we had some really good games.

Random: There were some amusing things going on, but the coolest new thing I saw was the remote control tank tournament, where each team got a random amount of time to move on their turn.

Classes: I managed to catch Lazlo's painting class. He spent a good hour demonstrating how to paint black and it was rather helpful. In addition he did demos of cloth texture and eyes. I think the take-aways for me were actually that having more paints in dropper bottles would really help my control of color, and some very valuable advice about how to avoid chalkiness that I need to try out.

Painting: Results for the painting competition were awesome. I only entered the open level (since last year I didn't get any golds). I got a silver for Typhon and golds for Pandora and the Lady Justice Guild crew. Afterwards I got to chat with one of the judges as well to get some feedback about Pandora and that was extremely helpful. I'll post that info when I get pics up of Pandora.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

KublaCon 2010 Update

KublaCon is in full swing here, and yesterday I got to play in a 15pt mangled metal tournament. Kubla is a nice break from my normal hectic lifestyle these days, but I'm actually taking a break from it for today to get caught up on life. Tomorrow I'm planning to play in a special multi-player Warmachine event. However, for now, here's a summary of the 15pt tournament from yesterday...

The format was 15pts, warcaster/warlock and jacks only (standard Mangled Metal). 40 minute rounds with no timed turns. The mission was Killbox, but I don't think anyone ever lost to the scenario, although I heard a couple stories of people nearly screwing up by moving out of it. It turned out we had 16 people for the tournament as well.

My List:
Thagrosh, Carnivean, Angelius. I opted for Thagrosh because, well, his feat is pretty broken at this point level. I chose the Angelius for its speed and armor piercing hitting power. The Carnivean was because it's just plain awesome all around, but especially because its animus is awesome in this format. My intention going into the tournament was to use the Carnivean boldly and be ready to bring him back with the feat after I lost him.

Round 1: Loss
Karchev, Juggernaut, 2x Berserker - This was a really close game. It was a back and forth trading of heavies, with me starting the assault with an Angelius alpha strike under Draconic Blessing. Even a Khador jack cries under the pain of an armor piercing P+S 16 attack. I ended up using Thagrosh's feat to bring the Angelius back for a second round of it as well. In the end, I got a run on Karchev, but he was camping 5 focus and my dice rolls were just low enough that I failed to take him down by a few points and then he clobbered me. Incidentally, when he did swing and connect with the first hit (that I couldn't transfer either), he rolled triple sixes. Ouch!

Round 2: Win
Goreshade, Leviathan, 2x Slayer - I sort of deserved to face Goreshade. His feat is nasty in this format, just like Thagrosh's. This battle was swift. I put Thagrosh out there and alpha striked with the Angelius again. Goreshade rushed up, cast Mage Blight, feated, and dropped 3 Bane Thralls on Thagrosh. Then, in a moment if sheer luck, I walked the heavy wounded Carnivean out of melee with a Bane Thrall and survived the free strike without losing an aspect and proceeded to spray down all the Bane Thralls on Thagrosh. Thagrosh then charged in and cut Goreshade to ribbons.

Round 3: Win
eDoomshaper, Mauler, Axer, Slag - Unfortunately I lost the initiative in this battle, so I had to stall a bit before rushing in. My opponent made some errors in distance judgement and I managed to capitalize. Again, the Angelius alpha strike was devastating, crippling the Mauler but amazingly not killing it. However the next round was pretty crushing, leaving only eDoomshaper alive in the troll force. He made a desperate run on Thagrosh but at that point it was too late and the poor elder troll was cut down.

Round 4: Win
Amon, Devout, 4x Dervish - This could have been an amazing battle. It could have been full of crazy and kickass. It could have been a truck load of fun. However, my opponent's dice were just cursed. 3 times he charged in needing small numbers (5's and 6's) to hit, and all 3 times he rolled 3. After that, it all feel apart like a house of cards. I honestly felt bad, and would love to get in a rematch with this guy at some point.

Round 5: Tie
Asphyxious, Deathjack, Nightwretch, Cankerworm - Stupid casters running stupid away. If we hadn't run out of time, I'd have won this one. As it stood, I nearly pulled it off, but to the credit of my opponent, he managed to position his Nightwretch just right at the end to prevent me from getting the charge I needed on Asphyxious. So very very close. It was a pretty tight battle actually, with the DJ nearly coming back from only 2 boxes remaining to ruin my day. However he missed with all his attacks and after that it was short order to finish him off. Parasite was the bane of my existence in this game. If only we'd had another round to play.

Round 6: Win
Karchev, Behemoth, Juggernaut - Another close game. My opponent pulled the Karchev slingshot trick, dropping the Juggernaut on Thagrosh and the Behemoth on the Carnivean. However, my transfers kept me alive and then the Angelius was free to charge Karchev in the back and skewer him. Even if I had rolled average on the Angelius' damages and not killed Karchev there, Thagrosh was still rockin around and could have finished the job. Proof once again why I like Warlocks over Warcasters.

Don't ask me how it worked out, but apparently due to strength of schedule... I won! I was more than a little shocked actually. I though I was in contention for maybe 3rd place, but amazingly I came out on top. More than that though, I had a really kick ass time. Here's my bullet-point highlight reel:
  • Everyone I played was super awesome fun. Not a single bit of jerk around. And it was pretty much all people outside of my LGS area.
  • The format was a blast. I love the small point battles like this. I mean seriously, we played 6 rounds in about 6 hours!
  • It was amazing how often I forgot about Thagrosh's Death Shroud. I'm not sure it would have made a difference in most cases, but I need to remember it.
  • The Angelius is super awesome. Love it on the battle field!
  • I got a ton of comments about my Angelius conversion and my painting in general. It was also very cool to see almost every army be fully painted, and even those that weren't fully painted were mostly painted.
  • Friday, May 21, 2010

    From the Desk: Seeking Critiques

    Well, this is yet another work-in-progress shot of Pandora. I'm near completion, but I'm trying out something new. In addition to my normal "things left to do" list that I'm keeping, I decided to take photos and examine the photos for detail work that needs to be cleaned up. I think many people have the challenge with models looking better in person than in photos. I was thinking about this and figured I could use that to my advantage. So, here they are! Also, as a part of a community experiment, this is an open invitation for feedback comments on what needs to be improved. Constructive criticism is very much welcome. Part of the challenge for me is that I've been staring at this model for weeks now, so it's easy to just miss something obvious. Here are some of my own notes:

    Things to do/finish:
    * The base - You can't see it here obviously, but it isn't done still.
    * Coat - I want to put some freehand on the back of her coat. I still haven't decided what yet, but it definitely needs a little something. My first thought was glowing runes, but I may steer away from that.

    Things to improve:
    * Mouth - It isn't as crisp as it should be.
    * Boots - The shading has some oddities to it that need to be resolved. I also think more color would be useful, but just don't know where to go with it yet.
    * Cuffs - The coat cuffs already got reworked once, but they need more effort I think. I don't want to overdo them because it will throw off the overall focus balance of the model, but they need something.
    * Skin - Her mid-section could use some improvement. I need some reference photos to help out here though.
    * Belt - Now that I look at the photo, the belt isn't as crisp as it should be. Go photo reference experiment!

    Things I'm resigned to not being happy with:
    * Box - The NMM on the box is terrible, and I don't see it getting any better. It's awkward to get to in the first place, but the tiny fidgety surfaces are nearly impossible for me to work with effectively.
    * Greens - The glowing green streaks are not as smooth as I would like them to be. I'm not sure it's feasible to fix them at this point without a major amount of work. Ironically I think that problem is more obvious in person than in the photo.
    * Fingers - The sculpt just had a problem here that I couldn't correct. Specifically her left hand (right side of photo). There's not much I can really do at this point to smooth things out with cutting off and resculpting it entirely. In hindsight, I should have found appropriate hands from another model and replaced these hands.

    Tuesday, May 11, 2010

    From the Desk: Turning the Corner (of the Box)

    Sleepy again... making progress though. I'm starting to feel less like smashing it with a hammer, and more like I'm getting somewhere. It's still a little frustrating, and there's some places where I've made some color choices that are not working out so great. However, it's still recoverable. I'm going to continue to take my time on in.

    On another front, I've been making some terrain! I'll post more about that when I actually have something worth reporting. For now though, all I can think about is how desperately far I am behind my goals towards KublaCon.

    Friday, May 07, 2010

    From the Desk: The Box of Woe

    Sleepy... bad photo... feeling better...

    Not much more to say here. I'm making progress on Pandora slowly, and she's starting to come together to a point that I'm feeling ok with. Still though, I kinda want to hit it with a hammer and move on. This may not end up being a KublaCon painting entry after all.

    Monday, May 03, 2010

    From the Desk: Angelius Conversion Work

    The Angelius is a breathtaking beast to behold, but the pose of the sculpt lacks a certain degree of action deserving of such a creature. I'm sorry, but it's true. The only time he'd be "sitting" on the ground is when he's sleeping. I wanted to do a little conversion work to better reflect this full-time flying pose. To that end I did this bit of conversion work. Despite being a relatively simple change, it took me a frightful amount of time due to my lack of conversion experience. Unfortunately I didn't take any in-progress shots, but it's pretty easy to figure out how I did it.
    First I started with a wedding cake pillar from a craft store and packed it with leftover tabs removed from models and secured it with green stuff. I then attached it to one of the metal PP bases. My reasoning here was that with an increased model height, I needed to put far more weight on the base to help compensate. Next I cut out the coil piece from the body of the Angelius and put a brass rod in place to re-join the two pieces at an appropriate length and curve. Next I put in some Milliput, dremelled that down appropriately after it cured, and then refined the gaps with green stuff. The remaining work mostly amounted to filing, smoothing, and pinning the re-sculpted body piece to the pillar to secure it.

    Bing bang boom, and there he is, ready to be primed. He's not exactly "epic", but he's a little more exciting than before and I'm pretty happy. One side note is that I probably should have put magnets into the base before doing the final attachment, but hey, being smart is overrated.

    Saturday, May 01, 2010

    Tournament Report: Any Random Saturday

    Another local tournament has come and gone. I'm in an odd mood this evening so this report will be a little left of center. Please note that all ratings use the traditional rating scale of "jock itch" to "locomotive".

    Players: 7
    Number of douche bag players: 0
    Format: SR2010
    Point size: 35
    Fun level: banana
    My results: 3rd place
    Tournament organization quality: box of drywall nails

    My list: Fiona, Mariner, Gun Mages with Officer, Nyss Hunters (10), Grogspar, Dougal, Bokur, Eiryss, Aiyana & Holt, Reinholdt

    Battle 1:
    eStryker is badass. Even under Fiona's feat, he went for the assassination run. This first picture shows him boldly charging in and trying to put the hurt on Fiona. He did his overcharge thing and roll +11 str, which meant he was doing P+S 26!! However, at MAT 7, he needed 9's to hit, and even boosting that's rough with Fiona's feat stripping off a die. He rushed in and... miss, miss, miss! I breathed a sigh of relief and then tried to figure out how to finish him off. Unfortunately he'd disrupted the Mariner which put a real crimp in any plan to hit him with something hard.
    The end result was I dog piled him, and just barely failed to do enough damage, mostly because the Bokur rolled well below average on his back strike. Then he counter-attacked, and got a really solid hit in on Fiona, but due to further bad dice rolling (which plagued us both), he just barely didn't kill Fiona. At that point she was able to finish the job. Victory for Thamar!

    Battle 2:
    eStryker again! Didn't I just kill you?!?! This battle was majestic. My opponent and I did great jobs of maneuvering to limit what each other could get done. I should have feated early, but as it turned out the second round feating worked better. In the end I ran my assassination plan. Nyss took a 9-man Nanokian Branded CRA against eStryker and nailed him with some damage. I unleashed Holt on him as well (Aiyana was too lady-like to slap eStryker around unfortunately) and put a little more damage on him. Then Fiona, in a brave gambit, charges Ol rowdy to close some distance, tosses out Teglesh Mark on Aiyana to get the rest of the range she needed, and tries to spell him down. eStryker's got 1 focus and sitting on 16/16 (def/arm). She rolls and hits. POW 12. Dice minus 4. She just needs to roll 8 or more on 3 dice and.... 3... 1... 1! Damnit! I gracefully forfeited at this point. This guy went on to get first place, which I'm not sure it makes me feel better or worse.

    Battle 3:
    At this point it's just for fun really and it turns out to be eCaine. That's right... 3 people were playing Cygnar and I ended up playing all 3 of them. This battle was pretty amusing. At this point I was tired, and out of the running for 1st, so I was a little sloppy. His list had a pile of shooting in it too, so we traded bitch-slaps. In the end, a mistake on my part (using Fiona's feat on turn 2) caused him to go for the assassination run. Here's an interesting thing to note: Shield Guard applies to Gunfighter attacks. So yes, in this picture, the Bokur standing behind Fiona was able to reach around and block one shot for her. In the end, that's exactly what it took to survive. He had Fiona down to 2 points left, and more of Thamar's luck saved the day. At that point I dog-piled him. It was actually Holt charging in from behind that put eCaine down.