Archive for December, 2011

Signing off for 2011

Posted in Blather on December 31, 2011 by stingersix

Had a pretty good year with my miniatures hobby. The main news item for me was slipping back into painting and playing 40K, which is something I thought I would not do. As far as that goes, I’m enjoying painting the models a lot. The game itself is fun but can’t replace Stargrunt in my heart (!). That said, I think I only played SG once or twice this year, which is sad. But I did have another game of Tomorrow’s War yesterday (that sounds weird) and discovered once again how much I like that game. It’s forcing a bit of a change of perception on both myself and Chris R. as we learn it, but the way it handles things is engaging and fun. I’m looking forward to more TW next year for sure!

As for painting, I’m riding a wave of enthusiasm for painting my Space Marines. Maybe holding back from it for over 20 years has resulted in this pent up wave of energy to paint Space Marines now. Whatever, I’m doing it! I’m sort of entertaining the idea of trying to paint at least one unit, single miniature or single vehicle per month. Then by the end of the year I’ll have a ridiculous amount of Marines to display! <crazy>

But there are other minis that have caught my eye and maybe my wallet. I’d still like to go further into 15mm territory (since I think a game like TW would be really great at this scale). And there are several companies putting out new 28mm sci-fi minis that I’m looking forward to seeing.

One thing I’d like to try to do is push my painting technique a little further. I’ve done some repaints of my older work this year and it allowed me to compare it to the way I paint now. I’ve come a long way, but still have a long way to go.

So, 2011 was good and I think 2012 will be at least as good, if not better!

Happy New Year!

Drop Pod finished!

Posted in 40K, Minis with tags , , on December 24, 2011 by stingersix

Got that drop pod all restored and finished. Not my best work but good enough and it’s nice to have rescued a $33 model from the trash can (where I was going to put it at first). Thanks to Adan for giving it to me in the first place!

So despite the airbrush failure a few days ago, I managed to touch up the ugly parts of the basecoat with a brush. As I put the pieces back together it started looking more presentable. It’s kind of a boring model to paint – it’s just a transport after all, but I did the caution stripes on the doors, did a little detail on the seat harnesses and painted the gyro – those touches make it stand out a bit more. And I did the obligatory Furinkazan motto of the Rising Sun Chapter in kanji on the doors. They didn’t come out so well, but I was kind of rushing at that point – I need to get my wife to coach my writing.

If there is a reason I rushed it a bit, it’s because I’m hot to get working on the Space Marine Sternguard minis I just got. I have 5 of the metal ones and I’m building 5 more using the plastic Tactical Marines as a base and adding bits of bling to make them look like vets, including converted combi-meltas and flamers.

Anyway, here’s the finished drop pod!

RPG’s too!

Posted in Games with tags on December 21, 2011 by stingersix

As big a minis hobbyist as I am, my main hobby interest is roleplaying games. I also do an RPG blog which unfortunately doesn’t get as much traffic as this blog. So, I thought I’d plug my Game Machine blog here.

If you are a fan of roleplaying games, please check it out!

Airbrush Fail

Posted in Blather, WIP with tags , on December 19, 2011 by stingersix

Totally failed at using the airbrush today. I set about spraying that drop pod and made a huge mess. I wasn’t expecting miracles, just a smooth basecoat. What I got was a runny, uneven, blotchy mess. The trigger on the airbrush basically gave me either full blast or not enough. I tried several paint mixes, thinner or thicker, fiddled with the valve, etc. And despite the moisture trap, it was drooling water all over the place. The paint cup is poorly positioned (under the brush as opposed to on top) and paint would spill out – just a frustrating mess.I’ll probably have to sand the damned thing down again. I remember saying this would probably be more trouble than it’s worth.

Yup.

I get fine basecoats results with a regular brush so I’m going back to that and put the airbrush away.

Drop Pod restoration, pt.3

Posted in WIP with tags on December 18, 2011 by stingersix

After a week or two of soaking, scrubbing, scraping and sanding, I have finally got that beat up drop pod ready to re-assemble and re-paint. Here are all the parts:

I put 1/16″ magnets in the doors and engine housing so the doors will stay up better and so I won;t have to put a rubber band around it, which looks really ghetto.

Now to prime it!

Tomorrow’s War – Contact Front!

Posted in Games with tags , on December 16, 2011 by stingersix

Finally got a learning game of Ambush Alley’s Tomorrow’s War in last night. Although I’m sure Chris and I missed a few things and lingering memories of Stargrunt may have caused a few hiccups, I really love this game!

I mention Stargrunt because TW really is the spiritual successor to that game – unit effectiveness based on troop quality and morale is the heart of the game. The point is, a poorly trained conscript with an advanced combat rifle is dangerous, sure, but I’d rather face him than a Delta Force operator armed with a spear. In TW, what this means is better quality troops are probably going to kick nine kinds of hell out of lesser quality troops unless that difference is made up with numbers. Weapons and technology can provide an edge but it’s not a huge advantage overall.

In play, when a unit opens fire you roll a dice pool and look for 4+, and the dice you roll are based on troop quality;. Regulars roll a d8. Green troops get a d6. You roll one die per figure in the unit and add dice for other factors. For example, my 4-man fire team gets a base of 4d8 (1d8 per guy). The SAW gunner adds an additional d8 and the rocket launcher adds another 2d8 for a total of 7d8. If my troops’ Tech Level is higher than my opponent’s, I add another die for the difference (TL3 v TL2 would give me +1). So when I open fire, I roll all those dice and look for rolls of 4+ (successes).

There is no range measuring, which is nice – if you have an unblocked LOS you can shoot it. If you’re within Optimum range (8″ for Regular troops) you can add another Firepower die to your roll.

Against this the defender also rolls Troop Quality dice, one per figure in the squad, plus dice for armor, cover and other factors. A 6-man team with hard armor (2d) in cover (1d) would roll 9 dice, also looking for 4+. Then the defender tries to equal or exceed the attacker’s successes with his dice, and any that aren’t beaten indicate casualties. In play, this went surprisingly quick once we’d done it a few times. There are no pluses or minuses to figure out, only adding or taking away dice from your pool.

But the real beauty of the game is the Action/Reaction system. If I do an action with a unit in LOS of your unit, you can try to react and interrupt me. We roll off Troop Quality to see who goes first. This system can set off complicated chains of reactions but it definitely works and definitely gives the game a constant level of action. You can set units on Overwatch to try to interrupt enemy Reactions. It takes a lot to explain perhaps, but in play, it makes a lot of sense. The result is a very fluid game with a lot of back and forth and player involvement.

That’s what really sells it for me. I really dislike the Igo-Ugo sequence of play in 40K. Standing there doing nothing while an enemy waltzes right up to you is silly. Plus there’s a lot of down time while you just watch your opponent moving around and you can do nothing to react until he’s all done. Charging an unsuppressed and active enemy pretty much equals suicide, so you do end up having to employ more realistic tactics to reach your objectives. TW makes every move a potential turning point.

TW does have some issues – some rules aren’t entirely clear or even somewhat contradictory, and the organization of the rules is kind of scattered (why is it always like this?) Leaders are present but don’t seem to have nearly the impact they do in Stargrunt (and I still love how SG leaders can reactivate finished units). But just on one play I can see this is a game I can really sink my teeth into. Some more time with the rulebook and a couple more games and I’ll be deep into Tomorrow’s War!

I’ll get some pics of the game up soon!

Paint scheme, plus metal!

Posted in Minis with tags , , on December 14, 2011 by stingersix

Thought I’d put up the paint scheme for my Rising Sun Space Marine Chapter.

The base color is GW Astronomican Grey. The greaves and right shoulder are GW Skull White. The red is Reaper Fire Red and the gold trim is Reaper Antique Gold with Reaper New Gold highlights. I do the kanji characters by hand, with a brush or fudepen.

As I have mentioned before, Japanese themed Space Marines are not a new idea, and there are conversion parts that make them look more like samurai. I’ve chosen not to go this route, mostly because I’ve been painting my Space Marines this way for over 20 years, but also because I feel the addition of the kanji achieves a more subtle distinction – you notice the difference but the outline is the same familiar Space Marine silhouette. The kanji on the back banners combined with samurai crests also is distinctive without being too jarring.

In other news, I got a box of metal Sternguard Veterans. I like the solid feel and weight of metal but was reminded of how hard it is to work with compared to plastic. Cleaning and trimming is a bit of a chore. I mean to work up five more Sternguard from bits and so on to fill out the squad as well.