Sunday, April 29, 2012

Weekend acquisitions

So, I visited some friends over the weekend, and stopped by a game store that I have supported since it was run out of the guys house.  He had some Warmachine stuff on sale, and I picked up 2 blisters of Ghost Raiders (I think my box has arrived at the FLGS, so that would give me a full unit), and eGoreshade.  And an unopened tin of GF9 Merc dice.

So, the decision is - do I keep the dice, or trade (or sell) them?  I don't need more dice, but they are kind of nice, and I like the pirate logo.

More later tonight, and I hope to get some painting in later today.  With any luck, I might manage to lose a game tonight via Vassal as well.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Rocketry and list-building

Earlier today (or possibly late last night), I had a (very mild) epiphany: rocketry and listbuilding are, in some ways, very related activities.  No, seriously, bear with me here - there are some similarities between playing with little plastic and metal toy soldiers and lighting an extremely flammable substance in order to hopefully propel a cardboard tube with a pointed wooden tip at high speeds.

For starters, both involve lots of money.

Okay, kidding aside, here is my point.  I often sit down and, armed either with ibodger or a deck, start to build an army.  To an extent, I know what works for me and what doesn't.  I know what I can do with Lord Carver and a bunch of farrow brigands (besides lose, anyway).  I have a Terminus list that seems to work fairly well for me, although it needs some tweaking.  But, when I have a new unit or caster, I don't really know how well it will work with my playstyle and in my local meta.  I can read all the forums that I want, but until I actually put Ossyan and Hypnos on the table together, and play some games with them, I don't really know how well they work for me.  And, one game isn't really enough - you need a larger sample size to determine if your wins (or loses) are flukes, or serious problems with the list.

So, how does this relate to model rockets?  Well, right now, I have three rockets that I have been working on this week.  Two of them are relatively simple builds - an Estes Viking and an Estes Wizard - similar, though not identical to, other rockets that I have built.  I am building them mainly because they can take C motors, and are light enough to hit roughly 1600 feet with the right motor.  (As I said, I want to take advantage of a club launch with a flight ceiling higher than 1000 feet).  So, just like a Carver + Brigands list, or my Terminus list, I feel reasonably confident that, even though each kit is new to me, they are similar enough to what has come before that they will take off and fly without a problem.

The other kits - an Estes QCC Explorer - is a considerably more complicated.  It's an entirely new type of build - and, just as is the case with a new faction, or even a new unit or warcaster, it may not perform the way that I think it will.  I have build lists that I thought looked good on paper, only to get slaughtered (repeatedly) on turn 2, or were fine in general play, but could not handle scenarios.  Likewise, there is a chance that, come its inaugural launch, the Explorer will explode into a thin cloud of cardboard and balsa pieces, rocketing upward at 200 mph or so.

In other words - theorymachining is a good thing, but until the figs and the dice hit the table, no matter how good something looks on paper, you can't really know how well it will do.  You may have a pretty good idea, based on experience, but when trying something new, sometimes you just have spectacular failures.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not much painting tonight

I did some painting tonight.  I did not finish anything, but I worked on a wardog and a unit of widowmakers.  I had hoped to get in a game on Vassal, but for various and sundry reasons, it just didn't happen - too much stuff on my end.  It's also why I did not paint much - a bunch of interruptions made it such that I only painted in 5-10 minute bursts.  Hard to get anything done in that kind of time frame.

I also got distracted.  See, I am a man of many hobbies.  Well, several, anyway.  There is a reasonable chance that this weekend will give me a chance to indulge in one of them.  And what hobby is this, you ask?  I like to build and launch model rockets, and this weekend, there is a launch about 90 miles away.

Now, I can launch pretty much any day of the week, but there are some fairly significant restrictions.  I can't launch anything that will fly higher than 1,000 feet (without FAA clearance), and, at the moment, I don't feel comfortable launching anything that will go over 750 feet or so, just because I do not have access to a field that will reasonably accommodate that kind of altitude.  I like to have 1 foot of horizontal clearance for every foot of projected altitude - so anything going up 750 feet means I want to have an area roughly equal to a circle 1,500 feet in diameter.  That's bigger than it seems.  So, until now, I have been launching tiny little rockets with nothing larger than a C motor.

Anyway, the launch this weekend has a standing waiver for 12,000 feet of clearance.  I'm not certified to any motor strong enough to launch a rocket anywhere close to that distance, but I do have a couple of kits that should blast past the 1k mark.  Unfortunately, they are not built - or rather, were not, since I am in the process of building three of them.  I just need to have them built by Wednesday night, so that I can paint them on Thursday.

(Then, Friday I can drive for a couple hours, so that I can run a marathon on Saturday, and then drive home.  Sunday, I can then go and launch some rockets with my son.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Exchange fig is done!

Need to take a better pic, but the camera batteries were pretty low, so it will have to wait. In the meantime:

He's an Ogrun Bokur (obviously), but painted to indicate that he serves the greater glory of the Dragonfather.  I'm reasonably happy with the fig, and certainly would play it in my army.  But, he's off to some random press ganger, and I will be getting something interesting in return.  I do think that I need to get another of these guys, and paint him up in a similar fashion.

The Ogrun and the Pistol Wraith are each worth 3 points, which gives me an official total (so far) of 6 points for April.  Good enough for the 5 pts/month challenge, but nowhere close to making anything but the most miniscule of dents in my collection.  Oh well - more painting tonight, and my pile of lead will be diminished by at least a little bit.

SR tourney pics

Presented without commentary at this time:

SR Tourney pics

Still looking at dates for the next couple of months.  I hope to havedates ironed out and official for events from the end of May through the end of August.  An (extremely) rough concept is as followings:

End of May (possibly) - 35 pt SR
June/July - 3 more events, roughly every 2-3 weeks, aimed mainly at GenCon-style events, to give people a chance to test some armies
August (post-GenCon) - painting event.

The May, June & July events will probably have entry fees of $5, which will be used for a prize pool in the form of store credit. (And, he should be getting more stuff in - I hope to make some Thursday nights and convert some WFB/40k players as well.)

Friday, April 20, 2012

The hills are alive. . . .

. . . . thanks to my green flocking.  Sorry.  Anyway, last month, Felix over at Pokeminiatures had a post (the final in a series of them, actually) about hills.  I meant to answer it at the the time, but, sadly, I had no finished hills.

This was actually kind of shocking.  Normally I have a box of the things sitting in the basement. And not a small box - it's ranged anywhere from one of the ones you get when you buy 10 reams of paper, all the way up to moving boxes (as in, 3' x 3' x 2', full of finished hills).

So, I figured I ought to churn out some hills before I wrote anything about it, even though I probably have dozens of pics of hills on the computer already.  Plus, I was going to be running a tourney in early April, so it was a good excuse to spend some evenings working on terrain.

But then, real life happened, and I wound up running my first tourney with mostly unfinished terrain.  (Boo!  Hiss!  Bad Pressganger!)  In fact, I haven't put up the pics yet in part because all that bare pink foam is kind of embarrassing. 

Anyway.  I don't have WIP pics.  I don't bother to take them with my hills, because it is generally not worth it.  They are basically cut pink insulation foam, typically 1" thick (although I have also used 1/2" and 3/4", which look better for 1:160 and 15mm scale, respectively), with either straight sides or a slight bevel.  The bevel is a compromise - the straight sides are great when it comes to gaming - a model is either on the hill or off it, and you don't have the "Argh!!  My Devastator just rolled down the hill and took out pSorscha and some Widowmakers!" problem.  But the straight sides just look wrong.  And slopes either don't work (ie, rolling jacks), or are fragile unless you base them on something a little more sturdy.  But bevels work okay, more or less.

So, my finished hills generally look something like this:

These work fairly well, are reasonably sturdy, and I can churn out a bunch of them in an afternoon.  Actually, that's not true - while it's not as though each hill is a finely made, bespoke craft item, they do take some time.  But a lot of it is waiting for paint or glue to dry.  I can cut a bunch of them in an hour or so, and flocking them does not take much time.  Heck, each layer of paint is pretty quick - but the paint just has to dry before the next layer.  So I will generally paint up a couple dozen of them at a time, and let them dry.  When I have a bunch of them fully painted, I flock four or five a day until I start running low on painted hills, at which point I just go and cut a bunch more foam with my hot wire cutter.

And, while the pic above is of the straight-sided hills, they all stack fairly well, provided that I remember to cut hills beyond a fairly narrow range of dimensions.

So, that's how I make my hills.  And yes, right now, that paper ream box is mostly full again.  (I trade off terrain from time to time, which is one of the ways I make a dent in my omnibus wishlist.  I am thinking of taking a bunch of stuff to GenCon to dump in one of the auctions - it's unlikely that I can make the trip pay for itself or anything, but selling a vanload of terrain would let me buy more minis.)

Random podcast thought

While I like to listen to gaming podcasts while I paint, I am wondering if they don't enable my army altaholism or something. Last night, I was originally working on some Khador stuff (had a couple of lists I want to try soon, and I wanted to work on the gun carriage too), but listening to a Retribution tactica had me thinking about working on my psychotic elves for a while too.

 (Quick aside - not sure if I like the new blogspot interface when it comes to posting.)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

See, I'm painting!

Managed to get a couple of things done tonight. First, I am almost done with my exchange fig. All that is left is the basing, and the sealing. Hope to get those done tomorrow.

And, I finished up this guy:

I've also worked on a bunch of other things, although I did not bother taking pics of them. For various and sundry reasons, I did not stick to only one faction for the month, although I am not yet certain whether this has hurt my painting or not. I haven't gotten to play much, although now that Vassal 4.2 is out, I might try and get in some games that way.

Anyway, the Bokur and the pistol wraith would fill the points requirement for the month, but I am going to try and finish some other figs - mainly infantry, actually. I have a minimum unit of Blackbane's Raiders on order - if they get here before the end of next week, I might manage to get them done as well, since they will be painted in the same way as the pistol wraith.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Productive day so far.

In addition to what I had done earlier today, I have also managed to prime a unit of gun mages and a journeyman warcaster. And finish a couple of hills. And do a little work on the pistol wraith, getting the base color down.

I also started putting together some more terrain for sale (or trade). Thanks to the Ogre kickstarter, I need to raise some money, or put up with an annoyed wife for a while. Thus, making terrain to sell.

I love the smell of primer in the morning!

So, I did not get as much done last night as I had originally hoped, and I am trying to make up for it today. So, this morning, I went ahead and primed a pistol wraith, an extra exchange figure, a unit of Greylords, and a unit of Widowmakers.

At some point, probably toward June, I am going to sit down and take another massive inventory of everything that I have for Warmachine and Hordes. I will inventory each figure, but include its current status (NIB, assembled, etc), and even try to get a system in place to keep everything organized.

As I have said elsewhen, my current ratio of painted to unpainted is about 1:25. I'd like to bring that down to 1:20 or lower by mid-year, although I harbor no illusions that it will be down to 1:10 anytime in this calendar year. Especially with me already saving money for GenCon - good thing Colossals are expensive - it will keep the number of acquired figs for 2012 a little lower.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Random painting/model update

So, last night, I continued work on [REDACTED]. It's an exchange fig, due by the end of the month. I have a bonus fig that I am trying to get done - it's not as far along, but it is mostly armor, so it is catching up fast.

I also put together a plastic Marauder - I decided that I really did not need another Juggernaut, so I took the parts I had left when I made the Decimator, and made a marauder. (I was planning on magnetizing, but there were issues, and I eventually decided that simply gluing up the decimator was a better idea.)

The new jack and a full unit of winterguard riflemen should be primed sometime this morning, and a couple of old figs are going into the dip sometime today. A couple of previously dipper figs (gun mages and a journeyman warcaster, I believe) should also get the priming treatment soon; I just want to check them again for any paint that I missed in the stripping process.

ETA - Marauder and Winterguard rifles are now primed. Had to go to basement to look for some old paperwork, stayed down there long enough to prime some figs and get something accomplished.

Monday, April 16, 2012

First tourney

So, I ran my first Warmachine/Hordes tourney on Saturday - a 25 pt, deathclock, mangled metal event. Although turnout was a little light (5 players total), it seemed like everyone had a good time, and I'm already putting together some ideas and trying to schedule my next couple of events.

I'll be posting pics of it later, but a quick text recap is that we had Legion, Skorne, Mercs (pMagnus), Retribution and Cryx, so no duplicates. Cryx won in the end, although if another round had been played, it could have gone to Mercs. (No worries - some of the players had to split, so the final results were copacetic, and everyone, as I said, seemed happy at the end of the day.)

I learned a few things - first, I need to work on some of my prepping and organization, to reduce some of the time lost between rounds. It wasn't a huge deal, since none of the games actually went full time, but it could have been, and I need to prepare for it.

Second, I need to cut more zone markers, and make a bunch of objective markers and flags. I wound up duplicating some scenario types (though not scenarios), just because I was not as prepared as I should have been. It goes without saying that more of my terrain should be finished and painted, of course. Already, I have finished a few more hills since Saturday, and a few more will be finished by tomorrow night.

Third, while I could use the tourney software, I ran into a couple "Huh?" moments, simply because I was not as familiar with it as I should have been.

But - and this is a big but - everyone had fun, and it all worked. I just see some room for improvement, that's all. I already have an idea that I want to try for the next one, which (unfortunately) means that I have to not only finish the terrain that I currently have, but just about double it. It will make for a couple of big boxes, but I probably won't be bringing anything for someone to borrow unless they ask for it ahead of time. I'll still bring loaners for weekly games, but I think a tourney is going to (generally) mean that everyone has to provide their own figs. (That said, if a novice is willing to come to a tourney and get curb-stomped, albeit in a nice way, and learn the game the hard way. . . I'll loan them an army, if they really want.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Terrain update

It won't all be painted (heck, most of it won't be painted), but each table now has something like 14 different pieces of terrain that I can place. Still have to finish cutting the last of the zone markers, but that should not take long tomorrow, since most of them are marked out, and just need to be cut out.

On tap for tomorrow - make sure everything that needs to be printed has been, make sure appropriate docs are on the laptop, make sure I have the software on the laptop, get all the terrain packed up and ready. I am going to try and pack up some extra figs to loan tomorrow as well, but that may not happen until Saturday morning.

And yeah, I have the stuff pretty much packed up for painting.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No terrain work last night.

Originally, I was going to work on terrain last night, but instead, I spent the evening cutting templates for the various controls zones used by the scenarios. I'm not done with them yet, but only because I ran out of the materials I am using to make them - a quick trip to the fabric store tomorrow will let me finish them up tomorrow afternoon, I hope.

After Scouts tonight, I want to work on all the various terrain items made out of pink foam - I may not get them done, but I should be able to at least cover up all the fields of pink.

I think that I will follow the lead of Felix, and take stuff to paint for when I am sitting at the tourney. I haven't run one for PP yet, so I don't know how much time I will actually have to work on things, but a few minutes of painting here and there is probably possible.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Terrain update

Well, the good news is that it looks like I will have enough terrain for each table - I capped the event at 16 people, so 8 tables. Each table will have the same items and same general setup (eg, each will have two hills, or two patches of rough terrain, etc), and will be roughly symmetrical. And, as an added bonus, I will be able to change the terrain around a little bit after each round.

The downside is that I won't have everything finished and painted, so there will be a lot of pink foam or bare plaster, etc. But that's for this tourney - I am looking to events for the next couple of months, and by the next tourney, this stuff will be painted. And that's not idle boasting - I can make and paint terrain a lot faster than I can paint a miniature.

And no - I am not taking pics. I don't know who reads this, but I don't want to give away any hints before Saturday. I will take pics and post them then, however.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Yikes! Less than a week!

So, it just hit me - I am running a small tourney in just under a week (16 player max, 25pt MM/T&C), and while the game store has some terrain, I should do some work to make sure that there will be enough for each of the 8 tables to have a decent setup.

I will be doing all the setting up, of course, and yes, it will change some from round to round. But I need to go down to the basement and take stock of what terrain I have already made, and make some of the stuff that I am missing. It won't be painted for this tourney, but if I can get it made by Saturday, then I should be able to have it painted for another tourney sometime in May, right?

The good news is that the hills and walls should either be done, or nearly done, so I can concentrate on some of the other things.

Friday, April 6, 2012

March pics

Proof that something got finished. These were mostly done before the month of March even began, so they were pretty low-hanging fruit, as it were. I hope to work on more infantry this month, if my real life actually allows me any time. (As I have typed this, I have been interrupted no less than three times).

So, a deathripper and a defiler join the ranks of the finished. Another 9 points and two models, against all I added in March. Still improving that 1:25 ratio, but not by much. This month should be better. I hope.

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Gotta download pics off the camera, but so far today, all I have done is started assembling the stuff from the 2-player starter. And moved 6 cubic yards of dirt. Yeah, that was fun.

Probably won't be priming the full units from the starter until tomorrow night, but I am thinking about trying out Khador this weekend. Especially since a trade arrived today: a unit of widowmakers, greylords, minimum WG (yay - infantry spam!) and berserker. Plus a heirophant for my Menite scum. Between the trade and the starter, I just about doubled my khador collection.

I'm baaaack

That's right, back safe and sound from an 1800-mile (round-trip) driving experience. going to take some pics today of stuff I finished just before I left, try to assemble the figs from the 2-player starter, and do some general terrain building. That's all more important than mowing the small jungle which I laughingly call my yard, right?