Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Wrap Up, and 2013 Resolutions

[Disclaimer: This post contains fluffy, introspective nonsense... Just like last year's did.]

I'm doing this post early since I'm leaving on vacation and won't get any additional painting or modeling done before the new year.

Last year's goals:
1) Enter KublaCon masterclass painting again - Check! Not only did I do this, but I won a bronze.
2) Finish reading my books on color theory - Check! Very much so. I read 6 books on color theory this last year. I can honestly say it was a very valuable learning.
3) Use my airbrush once - Check! Again, very much so. Not only did I use it once, but I used it enough to really like it. I also upgraded to a better airbrush and have used it a few times now.

Models painted last year:
This year sucked for painting quantity. A mere 35 models. 2 of those models were huge based models. I also only painted 1 unit, which was a Gatorman Posse of only 5 models. Compared to last year where I painted multiple units. This year was pretty rough due to work travel as well, where I spent a total of 5 weeks away from home. I'm not super thrilled with my results, but painting 2 huge based models was a new challenge and I definitely learned from that experience, as well as painting multiple models to competition quality. There was also a side project of painting bases for Secret Weapon that was snuck in there and I didn't count that in the blow.
Minions: 18
Legion: 8
Protectorate: 4
Cygnar: 2
Mercs: 2
Cryx: 1

Goals for next year:
1) Attend Lock & Load. This one is pretty straightforward. I've already registered for it. I want to get as much out of the experience as I can. This includes attending painting classes, entering the painting competition, and playing a ton of Iron Arena.
2) Get my Croxorz collect up to a "completed" status. This one is a little more fuzzy since it depends on what new stuff comes out for the gators, but at the minimum I'd like to add Pendrake, Bone Grinders and a second Gatorman Posse, in addition to the new Bogtrog warlock.
3) Expand my airbrush skills. This is a little harder to quantify, but I want to use the airbrush to do more than just controlled base coating. The Judicator should make a great first project for this since it will require masking and shading and some mixing.

I'm sorely tempted to add another goal here, but I want to stay focused. These goals give me a mix of fun, skill growth, and painting targets. Hopefully 2013 will be a bigger year for painting than 2012 was.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Throne of Everblight

It's done! This massive tentacled monster was a crazy beast to paint. It really does make a nice centerpiece to the army though (at least until the Archangel comes out). The model is huge though (8.5" tall) and pushed the limits of my lightbox. The main photo here is fine, but all the fancy pics below expose the problems. Anyway on to the analysis.

What went well:
* Starting with the airbrush to get metals base coats done first was a huge jump start.
* Getting base coats done before trying to finish any particular section entirely.
* Not getting too fancy helped keep me on task.
* Painting the sorceress separately made both parts far more manageable.

What could have been better:
* The cast of the tentacles had horrible mold lines. I mean horrible. Cleaning them up wasn't even much of an option. I did my best to hide them with paint but a few places are still pretty terrible.
* A bit better color balance overall would probably have helped.
* Simply more attention to the entire thing. About the only part that I don't feel I could have used more time is the tongue.

And here's a bunch of Lytro pics of the Throne using my new camera!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #19

Not a lot to report this week. Fewer projects has made for less scattered results.

First up is the progress on the Judicator. I've finished assembling everything that's going to get put together prior to priming and airbrushing. It's just too big and complex to fully assemble, despite my normal preference. I found a great step-by-step Judicator report that was actually a handy reference. The author used an airbrush and opted to keep some parts separate as well. I've chosen slightly different arrangements of what to put together and what to assemble, but it's fairly similar.

Something else to note is that I got a resin base to put it on. I've already pre-drilled holes for pinning the feet down as well. It's a resin base by Secret Weapon which I thought was a really good thematic fit for the Protectorate. It also just happened to be a really nice fit for the feet as well. I did have to make a slight modification to build up a spot for the left heel to rest on just to avoid it looking like the foot is hovering.

And no progress shot of the Throne since it actually got done just this morning. I will however share a photo from the moment of realization where I find that it's too tall to fit into my case with the existing arrangement of shelves. I had to raise the upper shelf by a notch to gain about 1/4" of clearance, but now that upper shelf is even tighter for getting my hand in there. In any case, it's a nice problem to have so many painted models.

And that's it. Likely no weekend posts from me for the next 3 weeks as I'll be on vacation. I'll try to get a post for the Throne up tomorrow. And now I need to rush off to get a game in tonight before I pass out from exhaustion!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

"The Color Of" App Launched

For those interested, Kwok Pan Fung has launched his iPhone app version of the color toy/tool from his website. I just downloaded it and it works just like the web version. It's an amusing toy that can bring some inspiration when playing with new color schemes. You can read more about it at The Color Of site. Also note that the app is free for this first day of launch!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #18

Productive week, but the weekend wasn't so much unfortunately.

Tons of progress on the Throne. Almost everything is base coated at this point. The metals are mostly done. The skin is about half done but needs some serious shading work. The chitin and claws obviously need a lot of work. The mouth is about half done as well but I'm debating whether to use some purple tones to help tie things together. The base of course is nowhere other than gluing down the beginnings of rocks and such. It's such a large area to cover that I really need to find some other stuff to add but I'll figure that out as I get closer.

I should note at this point that my goal is to have it done before I leave on vacation on the 20th, but that timeline is getting pretty tight. It's going to be a stretch, particularly if I'm trying to get any actual games in as well.

Second is the Judicator. I'm down from 63 pieces to 20 pieces. Granted, a large portion of that was the missile ports. However getting the legs and main torso mostly assembled was a huge feat and it's coming together to a point where I can start to envision it. The real key is going to be getting to the level where I know what I do and don't want assembled prior to painting.

And that's it. Nothing else on the desk at this point other than the Extreme Carnivean, which didn't get any attention. That project will definitely be waiting until I get back from vacation so that I can spend plenty of time on it.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #17

Roundup time, and it's late, and I'm sleep deprived, so this is warp speed.

First is the big progress on the Throne. I was originally going to do the main flesh first, but then I realized the metal sections would take forever so I decided to take a different path. I got out the airbrush and in 2 sessions of probably 20 minutes each (counting set up and tear down for each session), I undercoated black and then base coated metal. Talk about fast. The fiddly armor sections are so tedious to paint with a brush, but with the airbrush they went super fast. And holy smokes do I love my Steenbeck Infinity airbrush. So easy to use and so very very fast to clean. Absolutely worth the money I spent on it. I also spent a little time just fiddling around with it and getting more comfortable with the controls and accuracy.

Speaking of the airbrush, I'm becoming very fond of using the Golden Fluid Acrylic paints with it. I can just squirt in some paint, squirt in some of my magic airbrush formula, and I'm off to the races. And the GFA paints are nice and smooth and have yet to cause a serious clog for me. I'm seriously thinking of investing in more shades. I've definitely had better luck with them than the P3 paints when it comes to the airbrush.

Also the Sorceress for the Throne is nearly done at this point. I'm waiting to do final work on her until after I permanently mount her on the Throne itself.

I also finished the Shepherd this week but she made it to the gallery already so no pics there. Plus there was a ton of assembly prep work. I trimmed most of the Judicator pieces so that is ready for assembly to start now. I also got a tad more work on assembling the Extreme Carnivean, but nothing really worth showing there.

Given that I'm going to be on vacation in a couple more weeks, the next couple roundup sessions will be the push to finish the Throne and Judicator before heading out.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Shepherd #2

Second Shepherd done. Nothing fancy. Super fast retrospective...

What went well:
* Painting fast. Didn't spend more than probably 3 hours on it, and that was while also working on other stuff.
* Washes on the wraps worked out nicely for only being 3 applications of paint.
* Sometimes simple is better. Rather than spending a pile of time, I treated this second Shepherd model as obviously second string since I won't be likely to field it very often.

What could have been better:
* Spending more effort on the conversion. More bits, more resculpting, more general effort would have made this stand out better. I might still do that in the future.
* Skin and eyes are definitely sub-par for me. Not exactly happy but it's done.
* Not being lazy and doing some freehand just for kicks. I really need to get off my butt and start doing more freehand just for the practice of it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

From the Desk: Judicantbelievehowmanypieces!

Seriously: 63 total pieces. This is going to take a while to put together. I do have to say though, the castings look really good and hardly any mold lines on first inspection. I'm stoked to get started on this project.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Gaming Innacuracies: Parallax Effects

Ever sit on the other side of the table and watch as your opponent moved a model and you thought to yourself "Gosh, it seems like he moved way more than he should have"? Well it's entirely possible that your well-meaning opponent was the victim of a parallax effect. And what's more, you might have done it yourself as well. Curious to understand more? Read on!

Disclaimer: I'm not a formal mathematician.

What is a Parallax Effect?
Although strictly speaking, a Parallax is the apparent difference in position of a single object based on 2 different viewpoints, for the purposes of this article I'm reversing the object and viewpoints. In gaming speak, the Parallax is the effective error encountered when measuring is done from a closer position than the distance being measured. More specifically, when I go to move a model I typically hold my tape measure above the model and then move the model using the tape measure as a visual guide for where to move my model to. What's wrong with that? Well let's take a closer look...

How does it work?
So this diagram shows the math behind the situation...
The top corner represents the viewpoint (or where your eye would be). The line in the middle of the triangle is where the tape measure is being held, with Y being the distance above the table that it's being held. M is the distance attempting to be measured, whereas M' is the projected distance due to the displacement of the tape measure from the table surface.
In order to keep the math fairly simple and straightforward, I've assumed that the angle of the two sides joining at point A (the start point of the measure) is a right angle. If it wasn't, the math gets much harder. However with this simple assumption then the calculation is simply a ratio between the sides. I've done the basic algebra to solve for M'. Now that the math is out of the way, let's look at some examples...

What are some examples?
First let's talk about moving a model. Most small based models are 2" or less in height, so let's assume that we're holding the tape measure 2" above the table. Next, let's assume that we're standing about 24" above the table surface (I took a sample of myself standing at my dining room table), or 22" above the tape measure. Now's let's assume I'm moving my Knight Exemplar forward 5" in a straight line. Using our math from above, we discover that the 2" displacement of the tape measure results in an actual movement of 5*(22+2)/22 = 5.45", almost half inch.

Now let's look at measuring an AOE. Let's say I've just dropped the 3" AOE on an Ironclad. This time I lean in closer to the table (12" above the table surface), and due to the height of the Ironclad I have the template 3" above the table surface. Now the math gets further exaggerated. Normally the radius of the template would be 1.5", but due to the displacements it creates an effective viewing of 1.5*12/9 = 2". So your 3" AOE has suddenly become a 4" AOE, all due to not moving the viewpoint appropriately.

Now let's look at an extreme example. Let's say I'm about to surge across the table with my Uhlans on the first turn, running a full 16". And let's say I've leaned in a bit on the table so I'm only 18" above the table surface. And due to the height of the models, I've got my tape measure 3" above the table surface. What's the net effect on the movement? Well instead of 16", the angle of viewing turns it into 16*18/15 = 19.2". That's over 3" of extra movement!

Ok I know what some of you are saying out there, and no, it really isn't that bad in practice. Lots of things help mitigate it: looking to the side rather than from straight above, laying down the tape measure closer, and actually moving your head around just to name a few things. But there are definitely times when having a bit more precision is important. Let's look at some alternatives...

What are some alternatives?
First is obviously to lay the tape measure down right on the table. This is not always possible, particularly when lots of models are jammed in. But if it's in option, it definitely helps.
In that same vein, when doing a charge, doing a combined measure of the move and reach all at once before touching the model is great. Sometimes moving the model first results in some introduced inaccuracy. If the distance is at all in question, then I declare the charge and measure both at once to make it clear whether I was in range or not. Again, not always feasible, but when possible it helps eliminate contention.
Next, try rolling the melee gauge when measuring small movements. Set the melee gauge on the table against the model's base. Then gently "roll" the gauge up on it's corner, keeping it in contact with the table. Then just slide the model forward so the base touches the gauge again. This lets you measure 1/2", 1" and 2" very accurately. I'll do this a lot when I need to maneuver a model around a bunch of other models/terrain but the total distance traveled is critical.
Ask your opponent to check the range. This is particularly common for checking ranged attack distances to targets. Just measure your end and ask them to look over the end of the tape measure to check whether it's in range or not.
Finally, know the AOE and base size matches. For example, a 50mm base is pretty close to 2" in diameter. If a 3" AOE drops on a large based model and you want to see if models nearby are in the AOE, use the 1/2" end of your melee gauge to check the distance between those models and the hit model.

When should I worry about parallax effects most?
Ok, so let's talk frankly here: All the above stuff is good to know but how often is it important to pay attention to this? In an ideal world we would have fancy gaming tables that would light up from below and show you what's in an AOE and how far a model could move, but we're a few years from that probably. And by it's very nature, moving physical models around is going to have some amount of inaccuracy. On top of that is a balance between accuracy and not bogging the game down. So what's a good practice for when to make attempts at being more precise?
I tend to bring in the more accurate methods when distances in the following two key types of situations:
    Distances are not clearly obvious to my opponent (or myself). I'm particularly of this for charges since a failed charge is pretty critical.
    Critical models are involved. It's one thing when an AOE lands on a bunch of tightly packed Temple Flame Guard, but another thing when Nicea is potentially clipped by an AOE.

Closing thoughts:
Well hopefully I haven't put you to sleep with all this. I think much of this was already intuitive to many players, but the other day I pointed it out to my opponent and they responded with "Oh, hey, that's a good point." So after doodling the math during a very boring meeting at work and plugging in a few sample numbers (and being shocked at the results), I figured a post on the topic wouldn't hurt.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Finally done, after sitting around a long time. Proteus once again gets me to a complete set of painted beasts for Legion. Before I dive into the analysis, I want to reflect on plastics.

This was my first plastic warbeast kit to paint and I have to say that cleaning up mold lines on plastic models is just not my cup of tea. It's a different process from metal that I just don't do nearly as often. Cutting into a model with a knife is always more dangerous than using a micro-file. I'm sure eventually I'll get used to it, but for this project I missed a bunch of mold lines and it burned me in the final painting effort. Although I understand the move to plastics, I have to say my preference is still for metal. I'm just more used to it. For warjacks it is easier to clean up mold lines in plastic since many of the surfaces are fairly flat, but for the Legion heavies, it can be pretty challenging to clean up all the little spots.

What went well:
* Basing turned out nice. In particular the broken rocks in front help break up the visual look but not create too much distraction.
* I remembered to paint the rune before sealing!
* Chitin came out pretty well again. Nice to know that after not having painted this large chitin for quite a while that I could still replicate the look.

What could have been better:
* Again, cleaning up mold lines better would have helped.
* Tentacles could have been a little better, but to kick it up a notch I would have had to carefully highlight and shade each tentacle individually.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #16

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving! There's not much to show or talk about on my painting desk this week, but I wanted to get the post in anyway. For the casual reader, I recommend just moving on to the next blog to catch up on. Just a bunch of random updates here and no pictures since the holiday stalled out a fair amount of my activities.

Proteus is done and I'll post pictures of him tomorrow (hopefully). The Shepherd and Throne didn't get any action this week, nor did any assembly happen.

I took the time to clean up my miniatures cabinet, mostly due to a chance invasion by my son. So I cleaned out a bunch of old junk terrain and used the crate to store all my good terrain in, and put that crate out in the garage. That freed up space in my case so that I could move stuff around and have a more sensible arrangement.

My pre-ordered Judicator should arrive this week as well which is exciting. Of course it will be hard to stay focused on the Throne once the it arrives though. At this point though I basically have 3 models I want to finish during the next 3 weeks. Normally that shouldn't be a big deal but when 2 of them are huge-based models, it's pretty daunting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Wrapping up another solo model for Legion here. The Succubus could have gone far better than it did unfortunately. This definitely turned into a "fighting with paint" situation. This analysis is going to be longer than normal so I'll dive right into it.

What went well:
* Extensive pinning work on the arms and wings saved me lots of heartache later, since those connection points are very thin.
* The base color worked out really well, despite only needing 4 colors to get it done.
* Uhm, yeah, and she's done. Honestly I don't feel like a lot went well with this model.

What could have been better (or went completely wrong):
* This particular copy of the model had horrible mold lines. I mean really terrible. And this model doesn't have a lot of meat to cut into. Unfortunately I didn't notice the mold lines when I bought it. I still should have gone back to the store and asked to swap it once I got it open.
* Speed painting this model was a double edged sword. It got done, and with relatively little time needed, but still left me pretty unsatisfied.
* In general I just found myself fighting with this model. It happens every so often and it's disappointing when it does happen. However I find that it's just important to wrap up that model before starting any other projects.
* Lots of ugly blending transitions and mistakes that never got properly cleaned up. Again, was just sick of fighting with the model.

As a final note, I think this model was sort of a mixed bag. I was excited to get it and paint it, but something about it just really broke my spirit. Perhaps it was the irreparable mold lines that was the root of the problem. Or perhaps it was the sculpt itself. I can't help but wonder if an alternate sculpt would have been more inspiring to paint. You know, perhaps something like...Spud's custom sculpted Succubus (scroll way down to see the results).

Sunday, November 18, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #15

Lure of computer games: 2. Lure of painting: 5. Victory: Painting!

First up is Proteus. Made a lot of progress this week. The chitin is mostly done other than final shadowing/highlighting for contrast balance. The base is done painting-wise, but will need some minor flocking probably. I also got the base coating for the skin done which was incredibly tedious. At this point he's about 70% probably. I'm going to push to finish him this week despite the impending holiday and ensuing distractions that may occur.

Not pictured here is the Succubus. She's done! Nothing amazing, but I'll rant about that when I post the final pictures tomorrow.

And, uh, just a quick picture of the completely minor progress on the Throne. Again, just to torture myself with the lack of meaningful progress. The model is not sitting squarely on my desk where I have no choice but to see it. I'm going to need to get the airbrush out some more to speed this one along. There's so much base coating to do that without the airbrush it would be a soul-crushing amount of work to get over the initial hump.

Nothing else to report really. I'm trying to avoid making some OCD timeline of what needs to get finished by when to be at fully painted before my Holiday vacation up north. I'm pretty sure if I did, I would find that there's no humanly way I can make it happen.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Daily Inspiration: 3 Hours Without Distractions

Today's inspiration comes from the Massive Voodoo guys. This post is both awesome and frustrating. Having the opportunity to sit down and paint solid for 3 hours uninterrupted is something I would love to have but rarely get the chance to do anymore. Getting a chance to do that with a good friend pretty much never happens. There was also a post by Meg Maples on the Privateer Press Insider about focusing during painting time which I liked. It's easy to see these sorts of things by great painters and just get jealous or angry. Personally though, I find them inspiring, and it makes me want to figure out how I can create more focus to my painting. As an example of where I fall down, I was painting last night and put on the moving Immortals streaming to my computer while I painted. The results: I did paint during the 2 hours the movie was on, but I also ended up watching a fair chunk of the movie and not getting any actual painting done. I probably could choose movies that are less likely to draw my attention away. Particularly movies that I've seen a lot before. Time to raid the DVD closet I think!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Vassal Mechanic

Nothing particularly fancy here. A quick 3 hour paint job to slam this out. I'm skipping any analysis since it was a speed paint job and nothing really divergent from my normal stuff for Protectorate. Just good to have finished another model after a month of no completions.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #14 (+2)

So rather than cheat with my numbering and account for weeks I didn't actually post, I'm rewinding to where I should be, even though 3 weeks have passed (again) since the last Weekend Roundup.

So I took on a project to paint a full set of the Flagstone bases from Secret Weapon miniatures. It was a project that took me far longer than it should have. I spent a fair amount of time on a few prototypes. My goal was to come up with a painting scheme that would be easy to replicate accurately, was not too terribly long to paint, and yet still looked good. The results are pretty decent. For my own sake, I'll put my notes here on the painting process:
Step 1: Prime white and then base coat white.
Step 2: Wash individual stones using SWW Red Black, Flesh Wash, Concrete, Cool Grey, Dark Sepia, Sewer Water, Stone, Parchment.
Step 3: Go back over Red Black and Cool Grey stones with Sewer Water to darken a bit.
Step 4: Drybrush lightly with P3 MWH.
Step 5: SWW Baby Poop in the gaps between stones to darken. Additional darkening using SWW Heavy Body Black.
Step 6 (moss only): Base moss with P3 Wyrm Green, then wash with GWW Thraka Green.

In my quest to get to fully painted, or very close to it, I'm trying to knock out the Vassal Mechanic real fast. I'm also heavily motivated to finish him since I just pre-ordered the Judicator a couple days ago. This guy is pretty fast to paint. I think this is a total of about 3 hours painting time or so. I'm calling him mostly done. I'm just going to get him stuck on a base and then do any final touch ups necessary.

No photo for this item, but I did a bunch of trimming and prep work on the Extreme Carnivean. Nothing really worth showing at this point. I'll try to do some posts of that project along the way. I'm very tempted to turn it into a competition quality piece, but I'm reserving judgement until I get it fully assembled. The thing is massive and might be a real challenge. On the plus side, the thing is massively awesome looking in pieces.

And then there was some other stuff. I got started (barely) on Proteus by base coating all the chitin sections with P3 Jack Bone. Next will be the layers and layers of washing. I also got a bit more paint on the Sorceress for the Throne. And the Succubus, well, she's got nothing new going on. I'm just including her as self-incrimination of my lack of progress on a model that I really do want to be able to field. All said and done, there are currently 6 projects on my desk at once right now, including the Extreme Canivean, and the Gator Trays (which got no attention at all the last few weeks). I'm really in need of closing out some things and getting focused.

Finally some flagrant display of my excuse for lack of updates. I spent a couple weeks touring around China for work. The trip was both exhausting (5 major cities in 10 days) and exciting (a weekend to bum around in Beijing). I ate amazing food, talked with amazing people, and saw amazing things. I am honestly looking forward to another chance to go out there again, particularly Taipei. These photos are some of my favorite impressions of China.

And I'm out. Now that my traveling is done until my Christmas break up in Canada, I am hoping to get some serious brush time in and close out some of these models.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Battle Report: Feora vs Doomshaper and Mountain King

This battle report is actually blatantly copied directly from an email. Often times when there's a game in our small gaming group there will be an email the next day capturing the amusement of the game for the others that weren't there. This one was pretty amusing, but even more so was the write up by my buddy (and opponent for the game) Lance. I'll let you read his version of the battle.

Some quick notes about terminology. "Paper clip mode" is a term we use to mean being helpful sportsmans to each other. We use this for situations like when someone hasn't played for a few weeks, or we're playing something completely new, or just generally helping each other remember features of our army. I also built my list with no knowledge at all about his list, despite what appears to be helpful match ups for me.

This was an extreme paper clip mode game. Things like me going "uh,
i'm moving them back and not activing that unit, the MK base is F'ing
huge" and scott forgetting he could boost the shots from the battle
engine on the first shot, which we retroactively fixed.

There may have been another round of scott applying damage and me
trying not to die between actions in round 2 and 3, but I think this
is the turn flow.

Scott was sporting;
f'ing battle engine
f'ing nicea (sp, the daughter character solo)
two light jacks, the arc node and the spell protection one
full zealots with monolith bearer
aiyana and holt

I was running;
pDoomshaper tier 3
2x runeshapers
mountain king
min kriel stone unit

When we plunked the stuff down there were a few interesting observations.
- hex hammer from feora does d3 damage when you cast spells,
runeshapers were in danger
- the mountain king is huge, I had problems initially placing my bonus
wall from the tier
- 35 point lists are hard
- zealots + aiyana damage boost + zealot prayer is a crap load of damage output

we played the three control point, one vanishes objective. scott won
the roll, i picked the side with a forest in the deployment zone. the
central area of the board was fairly clear.

scott - round 1!
Zealots take the lead, the battle engine and aiyana/holt go on one
flank. an arc node jack takes the other.

me - round 1!
I throw elemental communion on the MK so it can run 14". I pretty much
shove it out there so it can contest the center point and be within 2"
of the tier bonus wall. I know it can get blinded but I'm just
attempting to anchor down the scenario. Janissa receives elemental
communion and parks behind the wall, off to the side behind the
mountain king. Janissa, arm 19, cover. I smugly prepare to give scott
the finger if he tries to whack her.

we roll. middle control point, aka the one the mountain king would
have been contesting, vanishes.

scott - round 2!
nicea charges janissa and melee-kills her over the wall. Giant foam
middle finger is returned to the case. He uses sprint to engage
doomshaper from behind. OMGWTF. To be fair it was still 8's to hit,
and weapon master charges are violent.

zealots roll into position and pop greater destiny. a few pop bombs on
the MK and set it on fire. Scott misses the earthborn with the damage
boost. If he had hit he would have cleaned it's clock by putting more
zealots on it and a battle engine shot.

me - round 2!
runeshapers on one side move up to take the control point. lob magic
templates and aiyana and holt, decimating them and freeing the troll
people from their tyranny.
Mountain king moves up 5" to engage feora, gorman and a bunch of zealots.
doomshaper and the kriel stone folk fail to kill nicea.
earthborn chills, barely moving and staying where it can get +2spd and
+2 arm from terrain.
runeshapers on the flank with the light jack are largely ineffective,
running up to engage zealots and contest the point.
I feat to try and keep feora from slaying the MK.

scott - round 3!
battle engine contests the point the runeshapers had taken, uses
repulse and shoots two runshapers down.

nicea jabs doomshaper for 8. I take it because I want to hang onto my
other three transfers.

The zealots, in a feat of bravery, walk out of melee with the mountain
king. Many zealots were eaten. One remained behind so I could push
forward. This opened a hole for his light jack to walk in mostly
between the MK and gorman. He pushes gorman 1", out of melee with the
king. Gorman then proceeds to blind the Mountain King.

feora pops engine of destruction and charges the earthborn for a ton
of damage. He was in range to try a flamethrower assassination, but
three fury allowed for too much damage shunting. He took 4(?) points
of damage on his caster due to the doomshaper feat.

feora sets my army on fire.

me - round 3!
the entire kriel stone unit is knocked down from fire/tough checks.
Bad things happened to runeshapers. Doomshaper took 2 or 3 damage from
fire. Due to bad fury management, I only have 5 to work with.

Go time! doomshaper slays nicea in melee and puts fortune on the
earthborn. I'm sitting on 1 fury, aka dead if it doesn't work. The
earthborn boosts to hit on a two handed throw, needing a 9 or 10 to
hit feora. It hits, and I win the str check (12 vs 11 due to engine or
destruction). Feora is hurled into the zealot that is engaging the
mountain king. The blind mountain king starts making pow 19 auto-hit
attacks. Three licks to the center of the feora.

In grand warmachine style, I think both scott and I were riding the
edge of "how to hold this together". He had me wrapped up if I hadn't
of pulled out the assassination. Feora could have easily survived a
round of attacks from the earthborn and then could have dispatched it
or moved on to doomshaper. The battle engine by itself could have
probably finished off doomshaper.

Swapping out mulg, an axer and whelps for the MK in my normal tier
list lineup felt like an ok point trade because the MK takes slams and
power attacks out of scotts portfolio of destruction.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #13 (and 14 and 15)

UHhhmm... Yeah. This whole weekly update thing just isn't always possible. More about that below while I play catch-up in typical sound-byte fashion. This is gonna be a long one so get a drink and buckle up or else tune and surf away.

Here's progress on the Succubus. Not a whole lot unfortunately, but most of the base coating is done.

No pictures, but the themed transport trays for my Gators are primed and base coated and have a couple washes on them. Next step is highlighting and then just the Envirotex and final details.

Skarre got finished! No more updates there! Hooray! Also I'm fully painted on Cryx finally! Double hooray!

If y'all haven't seen this already, check it out! Massive Voodoo are doing a big competition. I hope I can get something together to enter for it.

A tiny bit more progress on the sorceress for the Throne. Nothing amazing, but I'm happy to be keeping things moving.

Proteus is all assembled on his base and primed! Not sure when I'll start him, but he's there.

Oh, and here's an amusing pic... I got the Extreme Carnivean and some spare parts to create an alternate Shepherd with. Here you can see one of the eCarnivean's claws next to what is normally a Spawning Vessel Acolyte. It's, uh, big! I'll do a whole series of posts on it as I make progress, but don't hold your breath of course.

And battles! Harbinger vs Venethrax! Lytro gallery.

And that's that! Well, except for the explanation of so few posts. My work is crazynastyhello right now. The last 2 weeks I have painted almost nothing other than the flagstone bases. I was gone for a whole week, and tomorrow in fact I leave for another trip so there isn't going to be any more updates for probably a couple more weeks. It's frustrating, but on the flip-side, my job does a marvelous job of paying for my hobby (among other things) and this next trip promises to give me some excellent inspiration as well. I'll post photos when I get back.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Pirate Queen Skarre

Finally done! After sitting on my desk for probably 3 months, Skarre is finished. A very big reason that she got done this week and not 6 more weeks from now is pretty much my desire to wrap her up before I leave on a bunch of work travel. More about that in my weekend roundup post later today.

This model is delicious. Seriously, I really enjoyed painting this model. I could have spent a lot more time on her. It's got a nice pose and overall I feel like it's fairly accessible. My only gripe is the left side of her face which is (probably) meant to be mostly hidden and shadowed, but it has just enough space to make questionable. There's enough gap such that some light could legitimately get in, meaning it should be visible. On the other hand, it is heavily obscured, making it easy to justify it being mostly shadowed. Again, tough call. Otherwise it's a majestic model. Kudos to the sculptor.

What worked well:
* Dark and brooding - I wanted a color scheme that created some stronger contrast in terms of brightness, but overall had a darker look. I feel like that worked out pretty well here.
* Lighting focus - I wanted to be very intentional about how I handled the highlights and shadows, and particularly how the eye was drawn. I feel like this also worked out pretty well. There's lots of deep shadows, with highlights predominantly on the upward-facing areas. The notable exception is her face where I purposefully highlighted brighter than the light would hit, specifically to draw in the eye better.
* Glowing parts - The glowing green pieces worked out pretty well, standing out as glowing against much darker surroundings, but not so overpowering as to draw the eyes completely away from her face.
* Ink glazes - I used a couple layers of ink glazes on the blue and purple surfaces to smooth out the blending better. This worked extremely well. I've read about this before plenty of times, but this was the first time I really felt like my own execution of it worked rather than ruined.

What could have been better:
* Multiple slops - During the course of painting I had a number of unfortunate slops. Particularly on her, uh, boobs. So many layers of paint there.
* Spending more time - I could have easily spent more time on this model and smoothed everything out better. The camera is a harsh mistress and really reveals the flaws. After staring at it for so long though, it was just time to be done.
* Some freehand - Adding some freehand, particularly on the cloak, would have really kicked it up a notch. Plus I need to start doing more freehand work to get better and more confident about it.
* Metals - Yeah, just... yeah... I spent a fair amount of time on them, but this model is rife with tiny details and had a lot of trouble getting the metals right. I think that my entire approach for the basecoating was probably flawed there. Definitely a lesson learned for the next time.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Daily Inspiration: Clever Basing

Today's inspiration comes from the Tale of Painters blog. This blog routinely has impressive stuff and good tips and tutorials. This particular model however struck me because of the clever basing element. I love how this guy is peeling up the deck plating and revealing some piping underneath. It helps make the base seem less like a gaming marker and more like a micro-diorama. Kudos guys!

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Naga Nightcrawler

Once again I'm fully painted on Legion beasts. This particular model was an interesting change from the others. It has relatively little skin which posed a problem for me. Specifically getting a glowing rune on him. But after consulting with some friends of mine, I settled on the neck near the base of the skull and it worked out fine.

What worked well:
* Speed painting this guy worked great. He really only took about 3 nights of painting to get done, and while working on other projects as well.
* Including the rune was good, even though I was hesitant. I like the way it worked out.
* Simplicity over complexity. Rather than trying to get fancy with basing or color schemes or whatever, I decided to keep things simple and I think it really paid off.

What could have been better:
* The "legs" could stand out a bit better. They sort of blend in, but even on the studio scheme they tend to blend in as well.
* More shading on the undersides of various places of chitin would have helped bring a little more dramatic feel to the overall look. I just didn't take it that one extra notch.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #12

I had dearly planned to get much more done this evening before posting, but my 2-year-old cancelled those plans. *sigh*

First up is the progress on Proteus. So far he's mostly assembled for the basic level, but there's still a lot of work left to do. There are a lot of seams that need smoothing out. This being my first plastic beast kit, I can't say I'm particularly thrilled with plastic, but it's not terrible. I'm just not used to working with plastic as much. In addition, I need to get him on the stone base as well. Proteus seems like he's going to pose a particular balancing challenge with his head being all metal and he's so far forward. I may need to angle him slightly or weight the back end somehow.

Quick side note, I picked up a Protectorate Vassal Mechanic. I wasn't expecting to, but I put in a reserve request for it and it arrived sooner than I expected. So he quickly got assembled and primed. I wasn't planning to get anything until the Judicator, but, well, the Mechanic will be pretty valuable to have with the Judicator I suspect so it was either now or later.

Ok, this picture is pretty lazy on my part. I didn't feel like setting up individual shots. Going left to right...
The Succubus got started! Just a base coat on the flesh and a single highlight layer. Nothing really fancy here.
The Naga is nearly done. I've even got the base ready. However the one key remaining task is to paint a glowing rune on him to match the rest of my beasts' schemes. I'm just having a real challenge trying to figure out where to put that rune. My leading plan is to put it at the base of the skull, on the side, just past the circular chitin piece. It's just going to be a tight fit.
Next is Skarre, who's nearing completion. I'm mostly just tweaking and tweaking at this point. I don't want to call this one done until I'm really happy with it. My remaining list of items to do is pretty small (mostly just smoothing and metal work), but I keep spotting little things to adjust. Hopefully done this week.
Finally is the Sorceress that is on top of the Throne. The Throne has been sitting around primed without any activity and I figured this was the best way to kick start the process. Of course, I say that but getting the Succubus and Naga done will take priority.

And finally, I get some significant progress on the additional cRoxorz trays that I wanted to build. Today I poured the plaster and textured it. These trays aren't really that hard to make, but the process is lengthy due to all the steps that require long drying times. But it's worth it. I can't explain why, but my cRoxorz just demand this level of attention and diligence. I'll probably never consider doing trays like this for my Legion or Protectorate forces.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Legionnaire Standard Bearer

Straight to the analysis...

What went well:
* Matching the color scheme and style of the original unit. I felt like this guy really hit it.
* The overall shading of the banner worked out well. Not the rune on it though... more below.
* Uh, and just, uh, being done with the unit!

What could have been better:
* The rune on the banner. I wanted to have a glowing rune to match the rest of the army theme feature, but honestly, it just didn't work out as well as I hoped. I was originally trying to do a stippling method, but that sort of went sideways. Then it just went further sideways. I probably should have started over, but, oh well...

And that's it, on to the next thing!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #11

Sound bites episode tonight. Not much on photos.

Finished Farilor and the Standard Bearer. My goal wasn't to paint them great. It was to paint them to match the original squad. Here's a side-by-side. I feel pretty happy with the matching job I did here. The green has a slightly different hue, but it's close enough that it isn't obvious. Challenge accomplished!

No progress on Skarre. Sigh!

I managed to get both the Naga and the Succubus assembled. I'll probably prime them tonight. I actually went ahead and put the Succubus on a base despite my normal process. I figured it would be easier in the long run. I also started assembling Proteus which is about 75% done now.

I've started prepping 4 more TableWar trays for my CRoxorz. I don't know what it is about them, but it makes me want to go the extra mile for theme.

Played another game against Lance's Venethrax list. This time I brought Harbinger, Vessel, and a pretty hard hitting list. I pulled it out at the last moment with an assassination run on Venethrax with the Harbinger herself. Crusader's Call, charging the Nightmare to get range to Venethrax who was hidden behind a forest, and then dropped the nuke on him.

Last thing is sort of a personal venting about life and crap, so people can feel free to tune out at this point. I had an insane week at work. In addition to work being intense, I totally overate during the week and yesterday when I stepped on the scale and I weighed more than I have in two years. This is incredibly frustrating because as of 2 years ago I had finished a run of losing 55 pounds. Things could be worse. The week was intensely stressful and partially I survived because gaming and especially painting provides an outlet for me. It grounds me and brings me relaxation, and most importantly joy. I set a bunch of goals for myself for this year. The only goal I haven't met is losing the few remaining pounds that I really wanted to. So for the rest of this year I'm going to use painting as a vehicle to help me stay focused on relaxing and losing the 15lbs I need to lose in order to hit my goal. I'll keep those posts off the IABN feed and generally try to keep them low key.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Captain Farilor

Farilor here makes the first half of the Legionnaire UA. Painting this pair was an interesting challenge which I'll talk about more in my weekend roundup. Here however I'll just focus on Farilor. Nothing particular special to talk about. This model was pretty fast to paint using my normal Legion speed-painting techniques. It's been a long time (probably a year now?) since I painted a Legion model and I did enjoy picking them back up again. This particular model was quick to paint but gave me a minor bit of trouble. When putting him on a base, the cape broke off. Normally I would try to pin such a piece, but this one just doesn't support an easy pinning solution so I didn't bother. Instead I went with green stuff and glue. Well I apparently wasn't quite careful enough and snapped it off. Fortunately the break was clean and didn't need much clean up afterwards.

Anyway, not much else to say here. What went well? I painted a Legion model again and enjoyed it! What could have been better? Not snapping off his cape! On to the Standard Bearer...

Sunday, September 16, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #10

Ten? Crazy!

Finally some real progress on Skarre. I decided it would be wise to get her on a base sooner rather than later, so I whipped out something that I'd wanted to use for a while and put it all together. It was definitely a good time to go ahead and do this step as well. It'll help me make sure I have a good balance in color between the base and the model. I got a fair amount of work done as well. I did a couple of thin ink washes on the blue and it really smoothed out the blending and brightened up the color nicely. I also did some general clean up and a bunch of work on the metals. So far it's coming along well and I'm still enjoying painting it.

I also got started on Farilor and the Legionnaire UA. These guys are sort of an interesting painting challenge since I want to make them look at similar to the original squad that I painted. I'm keeping a pair of the original squad on my desk while I do these two in order to have as a reference. I'm also still mulling over what to put on the banner, but that will likely take a while to decide.

So my whole self-imposed countdown before getting a new airbrush got thrown out the window. My normal online seller for airbrush supplies was having a big sale and I broke down and picked up the Harder Steenbeck Infinity. It just arrived this last week so I haven't gotten a chance to try it out yet (despite my anxiousness to), but it looks very nice and definitely ridiculously easy to clean.

Maelok is now 3-and-0! I won a game against Lance's Venethrax experiment this week playing 35pts using the Overrun scenario. Lessons learned: When faced with Satyxis jamming, counter-jam with Gatorman Posse and be amused how the Satyxis can't kill them when they are fully buffed. I also have to say that I am really enjoying playing Maelok. He's amusing and extremely survivable. He definitely push the r0x0r into my cRoxors.
And as an added bonus... Lytro pics of the battle!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Vessel of Judgement

Wow am I glad this one is done. Not very proud of this effort. There's a bunch of obvious problems with this model, and I'm going to skip any normal analysis. The only time I started to feel at all happy about this model was when I got the bulk of the red/black highlighting done. But in general I was just pushing to get completed and the final result shows it. And so, just pics for this posting. On to other projects.

Sunday, September 09, 2012

From the Desk: Weekend Roundup #9

Another evening posting of my weekend roundup. Why do I always wait until 10pm to do these?

Significant progress on the Vessel of Judgement! I got a bunch of work done on it. Once I turned the corner of getting some highlighting and shading done, it started to feel a bit more like positive progress. This is a common problem for me. Often I feel like a model looks terrible until I get a certain amount of highlighting progress done. I've definitely hit that point finally here. I also reached a point at which it was critical to get it on a base just from a handling point of view. So I quickly got the base put together. Nothing amazing there.

And in order to keep my momentum, I got the priest and, uh, puller guy, primed and ready for painting. I also have the chains primed but it didn't seem relevant to post pictures of those minor parts. Of course, this picture isn't particularly interesting either. But the point here is that I'm in the glide path now to finishing off my first huge based model. I honestly think this is a pretty important accomplishment for me. I've been putting off these huge based models for far too long. And with the colossals coming out soon (which I love already), then I need to start clearing my existing huge based models to justify getting more. Anyway, enough of that prattling.

Ok, so the Succubus... What a pain in the butt to assemble! I'm pretty OCD about making sure my models can't accidentally come apart due to tipping over on the table. So of course for this very finely sculpted model, I decided to pin all the little fiddly bits, and this has become a nightmare to do. So many tiny arms and wings! And getting things lined up properly when pinning? Ugh! So this is a WIP shot of extra long pins sticking out. They are the pins for the upper arms and wings. I had to put it all together in this way to make sure the pins were secure. At this point I have all the holes drilled. I need to put everything together which shouldn't be too much more work at this point.
I do have to mini-rant that this particular copy I got had terrible mold lines. Really awful. And the sculpt is such a fine sculpt that there wasn't much I could do to clean them up completely. Oh well.

Mini battle report:
Maelok vs Morghoul, 15pts, overrun.
Another battle with Maelok, and another close victory won by pulling out a multi-part assassination run. Actually the biggest thing that enabled it was Morghoul feat doesn't prevent Warlocks from spending fury. Zorch!

And that's it! Another week and a good feeling one at that.