Friday, June 29, 2012

Hobby Update: And the other randoms

In an attempt to pique the interest of some of my board gaming friends about playing what I totally swore was a skirmish game, I acquired a pair of War Machine starter boxes quite some time ago.  Since then, they've languished in their primer.  I understand that put's me in the conversation for best painted at a War Machine tournament...  I kid, of course!  But seriously, one of the new guys at the club comes to us from playing War Machine, and I saw an opportunity to maybe get a little bit of use out of my small crew of Jacks.  It turns out they're super easy to get painted.  I knocked out the big jack while taking breaks from the Possessed, and the little ones in about 20 minutes apiece.  They aren't much more than table top quality, but I don't feel like putting a large amount of effort into models for games that I doubt I'll play a whole lot.  Still, a sense of accomplishment is always a nice thing.  You might recognize the color scheme.  I swear I know that other colors exist.  The first Jacks I painted were actually for use as Obliterators in 40K, so in an effort to be able to use them for both games, I found my options pretty limited.  I think it works pretty well though.

My other stated goal from previous updates was to get the Nightbringer fixed up and ready for paint.  A cursory glance told me I'd need a little green stuff.  When I started the more involved work, I found the work would need to be a bit more expansive.  Obviously that didn't faze me much, as I've got more than a few colors already on this bad boy.  I am starting to wish I had been a bit more patient.  I am careening forward without a plan beyond simply, "Make it green."  It's a more complex model than I initially thought.  The model has a robe that wraps around the body, parallel to the ground.  This breaks up the flow of the model.  The initial inspiration for the whole army was actually a simple dark to light transition on this piece.  Now I find I need a new plan.  I may go with all green on the robes, with black skin and green highlights.  That seems to be the simplest of solutions.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hobby Update: What I was supposed to be doing

It feels like forever since I've put up a hobby update, so here comes a two parter.  Two weeks isn't that long in the grand scheme of things, but lots has been happening in the real world that makes it seem that way.  Thankfully, they've been, by and large, good things.

I did not meet my original goal of finishing the Possessed by last Sunday.  I did get them finished though.  A couple extra days is nothing to sweat too much, particularly after putting in some really solid work on other things.
I'm very happy with the way they turned out.  I used to be afraid to experiment with new techniques.  None of them really made sense to me.  With this current batch of models, I told myself to just go for it, and it really seems to be paying off.  I'm also beginning to understand more of the theory behind certain things.  It's exciting.  I feel like I'm unlocking a whole new set of possibilities.

The regular Possessed used the standard color scheme I'm going to use across the whole of the force.  I started by airbrushing Mechrite Red, then a Scab Red/Red gore mix.  After that, I grabbed a brush and started on the Chainmail and Red Gore.  All the horns were done with Bleached Bone and a wash of (surprise!) Devlan Mud, followed, in some cases by a quick drybrush.  I really want to avoid having my models look like they spent a couple days incubating in the wash, so I tried to make sure I went back over most things to pick out the raised sections.  I put on the various highlights, typically a Red Gore/Blood Red mix.  With all the mixing and matching I did to stretch the Possessed kit over ten models, I had to shift back and forth between plates of armor and near-organic shapes.  This tended to break up the monotony, rather than raising the difficulty level.

Then we have the two unit champions.  Since this is supposed to be a Word Bearers army, I went with black armor and skull helms to make them appear to be Chaplains that have gone off the deep end.  I finished the one on the right first, then waited until the rest of the squad was finished to do the other.  In that time, I managed to snag a pot of G-dub's new Eshin Grey.  This may be my new favorite color.  It's very dark, and I don't believe they had anything quite like it in the previous range.  I am quite often wrong about such things.  Regardless, you can tell that one marine has a pretty obvious highlight line, while the other doesn't really show up on camera.  If you're willing to believe me, I'll assure you it's there, though quite subtle.  It's most apparent on the rib cage, where I used all three colors and they seem to transition pretty smoothly, while also not making him look like he's just gray which is always a danger when highlighting black.
Going forward, I plan on making this the beginnings of two separate squads, which is to say I'm currently at what amounts to a pair of combat squads for each.  That means I need to add nine more "regular" brothers, an icon bearer, and some small embellishment for each squad to delineate which is which.  Currently, I'm planning on a set of bells for one, but haven't decided on what to use for the others

Sunday, June 24, 2012

A Small World After All

Another week.  Another good league game.  This week I was paired up with one of my usual playing partners to stand against a couple of Ultramarine players.  One of my opponents was new to the club, and as we were rolling off for sides and turn, he lost one of his dice which had some sentimental value to him.  He asked me to check my dice, since they were the same shade, but all my dice are Iron Fist League logo dice, and they all turned up with the same logo.  But there were too many of them.  It turns out the club I used to be a part of on the East Coast ran an event he attended, and he still had the die he received.  This small coincidence kicked things off in a very positive direction and led to a great game.

The mission we rolled up was called Return to the Eye.  The primary was Seize Ground with five objectives, while secondary was kill enemy psykers, and tertiary was killpoints.  It also contained a special rule allowing each player to remove something from the table and redeploy it via deepstrike every turn.  Our opponents took first turn and threw Rhinos and Space Marine Tactical squads all over their half.  In response, we decided to have everything walk on in our first turn.  We rolled on almost entirely on the left side of the board and began a big sweeping right hook.  Most of our first turn fire was ineffective, while our Daemon Princes took a few return wounds in the top of the second turn.  Unfortunately for them, it wasn't enough to dissuade us from throwing them forward again.  In our turn, we smashed up a couple of tactical squads and a dreadnought, while the Defiler started lobbing battle cannon rounds down range.  Our force brought so much force to bear that the left half of the board was completely uncontested.  Meanwhile, by turn three, our transports were free to floor it for the far side of the board. 

On the top of turn four, our opponents Thunder Hammer Terminators arrived.  One of our Daemon Princes had worked his way across the board, so we offered him up as bait back towards their own board edge.  This pulled the Assault Terminators away from the central objective, which should have contributed to icing the game for us.  It turned out that a Daemon Prince, a Greater Daemon, a squad of Possessed with Furious Charge, and a full turn of shooting couldn't kill off four regular Terminators.  After the number of 2+ saves I've made in the last year with my terminators, I now got to experience the other side.  It happens, but man it can be frustrating.  With a little late scrambling, we contested both objectives on the far right, including the back corner after a big time deep strike with the Defiler.  The game went one more turn, and the Defiler didn't make it, but it was a moment of great levity.  We did manage the other contest, so we pulled off the primary and tertiary objectives, 2-1 and 8-5 respectively.  It's another positive result for the league, but more than that, I'm stoked about the pace of play and the quality of the games. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Playing Well With Others, Part Deux

Crow can be delicious when it has the right spices.  It seems I should have given the team league a little more time before making a judgement.  Since my previous post, I've gotten another pair of games in.  Something has been different these past two weeks.  Game lengths have shortened.  Pairings seemed to fall into place.  Game play has gotten quicker.  Overall, everything seems to be running a lot smoother. 

At the risk of jumping to conclusions once again, I can only assume that this has something to do with a learning curve.  Four thousand point slug fests are still present but have mostly given way to 2000 or 2500 point games with two players to a side, or one player taking on two.  This takes things one big step towards being more manageable.  I also have to give the players credit.  After just a couple weeks of experience, they seem to be showing up with multiple lists for whatever they might end up having to play, rather than building a list on the fly and obsessing over points for an extra half-hour.    During games, phases seem to flow a lot more smoothly.  There's more communication between players in the dead spaces of the game, so when the action starts to get thick, both players are active when they can be.  There's a lot less of the, "Well, let me see what you do there, and then I'll make a decision on where to shoot."  Total game time is still a little longer, but not noticeably so.  It's going to be interesting to see if there's more to the curve, or if we begin to plateau.

Another bonus is adding to the list of armies that I've gotten to play alongside.  Orks aren't exactly the most tactically complex army, and pairing them with Chaos Marines isn't a force multiplier.  In contrast, Eldar and Dark Eldar are quite a bit squishier.  Add to that the speed and guns my teammates brought to bear, and suddenly it felt like teamwork.  Things started to click.  I had a role to fulfill.  Be resilient.  Push forward.  Apply pressure.  Get stuck in.  I can do that.  Games were less about simply pushing towards combat because my team's assault forces didn't cover the whole front of the board.  Planning became a thing.  Tactical options opened up.  My teammates and I worked together to achieve a mission.  It felt good.  It felt really good.  Hopefully there is more of the same on the way. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hobby Update

The Chaplain/Aspiring Champ
After a couple weeks of effort, the Possessed Marines are to the point where they're getting individual attention.  I even have a couple of them finished.  Three to be precise.  I'm hoping the remaining seven will be done in about a week.  That may seem like a long time, but batch painting details has never been my strong suit, especially since each model is relatively unique.  After that, I'm not sure what to use to replace them as the main project on my queue.  I suppose the other unit of Possessed might warrant some attention, but I can't remember the last time I painted that many of something.  It seems a little counter-intuitive and I don't know why. 

Possessed Brother
I decided to add in some green to the color scheme.  I wanted something to differentiate the Possessed from the regular brothers, and I only wanted it to take a glance to do so.  If the horns and beyond human parts weren't enough to do the trick, I thought a little color variation would.  The green will hopefully tie the Word Bearers to the daemons that I'm hoping to work more on.  Sort of a consistent color of corruption, if you will.  That'll give me the option to run them in a variety of capacities, whether it be as two separate army books or as whatever incarnation they appear in together in the next Chaos codex. I started with Caliban Green, but that was too dark and reminded me a little of Christmas... albeit, evil Christmas.  I jumped up to Warpstone Glow and that seems to work a lot better. 

Hobby Goals
-Finish the Possessed by next Sunday
-Greenstuff the Nightbringer

Monday, June 4, 2012

Playing Well With Others

The Defiler is secretly a Triarch Stalker...
A new league has started up and it's got a little wrinkle.  Team games.  It's an interesting dynamic.  I think of myself as a very sociable person, but playing with people is not the same as playing against them.  I've had two games of this and am expecting several more weeks of it.  Thus far, I'd have to say it hasn't panned out quite how I had hoped.

There are a number of things that could be contributing to this.  I'm playing a new army.  Or rather, returning to one.  I thought I'd give the Word Bearers and there current book one last hurrah before sixth edition and a new Chaos book.  It's been an adjustment.  Game night is also under a little bit of a time crunch for the first time in a while.  But the overall deciding factor feels like the trouble of having four or five or six people involved in a game.

Simply finding a game becomes more stressful.  Because the league is set up as something akin to a campaign, there are restrictions on who can pair with whom.  Suddenly, navigating the pool of players becomes a lot more complicated.  Additionally, no one comes with a prepared list because no one know who or with how many players they'll be paired, and everyone still wants to take all of their toys, so points levels get pretty bloated.  This, plus plenty of waiting around during shooting and assault phases, leads to extremely long games with what feels like even longer periods of inactivity.  This past week saw four and a half hours of game finish just through turn five.  I like 40K, but that just doesn't work for me.

I am also struggling with "Are you sure you want to do that?"-itis.  I make mistakes as part of my human condition, but it's easy to live with your own mistakes.  Playing with a partner, particularly one who makes a series of decisions that make you grit your teeth and look to see how other games are going, has the effect of pulling my focus away from enjoying the table top and focusing on other things.  At the same time, I don't want my teammate to feel like I'm pushing him out of the way to play both his army and mine.  With an opponent, it feels natural to give advice to a player who isn't as good, and just as natural to shut up when playing someone more skilled. 

I'm not throwing in the towel yet.  We'll see what happens this week.  Hopefully, I'll have a game that reverses the trend.  

Friday, June 1, 2012

Basing and Resourcefulness

Rather than actually finishing the painting of the Manticore, I chose to spend yesterday fiddling with the bases of the monster.  You might have noticed that I chose to use the plural form of the word.  I have mentioned that I was waffling over what system to use the model for and eventually decided that with a little bit of cunning, I could have my cake and eat it too.  This feels extra nice in lieu of the recent announcement of impending price gougin... I mean adjustment.

Obligatory magnets = miracles joke

To the right, you can see the 60mm round base for 40K.  It started life as your basic GF9 magnetic base.  Up close and basically naked, it's not the prettiest, but I plan to use some red or purple tinted water effects to fill some of the gaps.  That plus a little bit of scraping on the excess superglue and I'll really be in business.  I used tinted auto glass from a wreck that happened outside a friends house.  It's a very dark surface, which means I have to be conscientious of ensuring some sort of contrast in the lower parts of all the models.  In this case, it will end up being a few brighter coats of red on the claws of the monster.  The surface is also reflective, which gives it an otherworldly quality that I think will be excellent for a daemonic army.

To the left, you can see the standard Fantasy base that I use on all my Warriors models.  It's not the most complicated process, but having to drill into the marble can be a rather delicate extra wrinkle.  I ended up drilling three separate holes for each spot on the base.  Once the holes were finished, I sunk three quarter inch magnets into each hole.  It's enough attraction that I can turn the model upside down and wiggle it a little without it falling off.  I'm hoping that never turns into a victory condition in a game.  I added a couple pieces of glass in addition to the usual marble.  The original plan was to have a few shards on the model itself, but I've backtracked on that.  They're already glued down, so I'm going to roll with it as best as possible, rather than trying to re-drill the holes. 

So at this point, I'm back to actually painting models.  I need to finish the body, after which I can paint the alternate head, albeit in a much less ornate style.  The heavy detail will be reserved for the riders.  In summary, for the cost of the model, plus eight kitchen tiles and a dozen magnets, I can use the big guy in two game systems and three different ways.  I'm thrilled with the way he looks, but the cheapskate in me is happiest about that.