Archive for the Blather Category

Catching Up

Posted in 40K, Blather, Dropzone Commander, Games, Minis with tags , , , , , , , on September 23, 2015 by stingersix

Wow, I have been slack here. No new posts since February. But I have done a ton of painting and completed several projects, not least of which is my Tallarn army for 40K. This is basically going to be a big photo dump of all the things I’ve been working on since then, with a few comments about what you’re seeing.

 

First of all, I finished my Tallarn army! I’m really happy with the way this army turned out. The detail and character on the minis is great and the theme (LRDG) fits it perfectly. The Rough Riders are the centerpiece models. Unfortunately, their in-game performance does not match how awesome they look, but whatever!RR_1 RR_2 RR_3 RR_4 RR_5 RR_WIP_1 Sentinel_top Sentinels T_1 T_2 T_3 T_4 T_5 T_6 T_7 T_8

I have had a couple games with my Tallarn. So far, I have lost every single time. Heh! But again, oh well. It’s 40K so what do you expect? These pics are from a fun narrative scenario where the Tallarn were accompanying an Inquisitor on a doomed archeological dig. The Tallarn defended their outpost to the last against the Necrons (who pretty much just plowed them under).

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Now, if there is any game that I have played a lot of this year, it’s the excellent Dropzone Commander. I can count the number of games of 40K I’ve played on both hands. I’ve lost count of how much DZC I have played! The game has really taken off at the store and the community is vibrant and growing. We’ve expanded our games beyond the default urban setting as you can see. My UCM army is big and getting bigger! I love the UCM air power! Dropzone Commander scratches an itch for me that was once fulfilled by Epic Space Marine. It seems to be doing the same for a number of other folks.

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Round about when I finished my Tallarn, I started painting some of the Knight Models Batman miniatures. Still haven’t played yet but I love these figures. Since it’s a true skirmish game, I’ve tried to do my best on these models and make them look as good as I can get them.

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In the summer, I started playing Bolt Action. This game is super fun and I’m hoping to play more of it in the future! I’ve had an American infantry force sitting around for a while, so it was good to finally play!

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And pretty much the last thing I’ve done recently is paint up the ships for the HALO Fleet Battles game! Spaceships are super easy and fast to paint. I knocked two fleets out in a week! The game is fun too!

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That’s what I’ve been up to since February! There’s much more to come!

Feeling Productive

Posted in 40K, Blather, Games, WIP with tags , , , , , , , on August 9, 2014 by stingersix

Somehow, I have three projects going on at the moment – All Quiet on the Martian Front, some 40K and something for Chain of Command. Working on multiple projects at the same time is not too unusual for me, though I had sort of thought when I finished my Daemons I’d throttle back some. Obviously not!

First up, a Warlord Games M8 Greyhound armored car, which I am painting for use in Chain of Command. Chain of Command is a very good game and one that delivers a very satisfying experience. If 40K is the blunt baseball bat of rules systems, Chain of Command is like a rapier, capable of reproducing real-world battlefield tactics on the tabletop. I don’t have the time to play all that often, but when I do, I hope to get this M8 in the game. It’s a decent model with a resin body and metal parts. Not much cleanup but the smaller fittings are fiddly and a bit difficult to attach, but I got them on. The kit has no instructions, but it’s not too hard to figure out. The only trouble I had was how to place the ring on top of the turret. But google image search turned up several good shots of this part of the vehicle, so I got it on there right.

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Next, Heavy Machine-gun teams for All Quiet. These need a bit of flock and some grass on the base but they are done.

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Finally, this is the first squad of what will become my Tallarn Imperial Guard army for 40K. I don’t have a lot to say just yet. After I get this squad done and see how the colors shake out I will comment more. This is basically my big 40K army project for the next year or so. I’m trying to make a fast recon force, with lots of Sentinels and Rough Riders!

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Vinland Saga – An inspiration to paint

Posted in Blather, Historical, Review with tags , , on January 6, 2014 by stingersix

I’m setting up the next installment of the SAGA campaign at the store (kicking off on Feb.9) and looking at my Jomsvikings that are in need of priming and painting. But, I was given an inspirational kick in the pants by a co-worker who left a couple comp copies of the superlative viking manga, Vinland Saga, on my desk at work. Vinland Saga is, hands down, one of the best manga I have ever read.

20140106_125214Creator Makoto Yukimura (who also did the sci-fi epic Planetes) isn’t writing some silly bastardization of history – the man’s done his research. It’s set in early 11th century England, during the period when the Danish Vikings under Sweyn Forkbeard were trying to consolidate their territories in England. The story is about a boy, Thorfinn, who has a serious deathwish, trying to avenge himself on Askeladd, the man who killed his father. Their relationship is a complex one, and Thorfinn’s development as a character is as difficult as they come.

This story is set against a grand historical backdrop, and brings in the rise of Canute the Great, who later ruled over the North Sea Empire of the Danes. It’s well done on all levels – the art, the background, the characters, the story, everything. The depiction of Danish, Saxon and Scandinavian culture is extremely well done and respectful.

It’s also gritty and bloody as hell too, on the level, occasionally, of Berserk (if you know that one) but not gore for gore’s sake. It’s bloody because it has to be – I mean, if you chop someone in the collarbone with a sword or an axe it’s not going to look very pretty is it? This story shows how brutal and tough life was for people back then. Many characters are traumatized or hardened by the violent world they live in, including Thorfinn. It really gets into the characters’ heads and how the harsh and violent culture they live in shapes their way of thinking.

In Japanese, the series has about 12 volumes out right now and it’s still going. Kodansha is putting it out in English and while they’ve done a good job, I SO wish we could have done it. I know I would have devoted everything I had to making it the best ever. Anyway, if you’re interested in Vikings, Dark Ages history, Saga, minis wargaming, manga, and graphic novels, seriously, ALL the stars have aligned for you right here. Vinland Saga even features the Jomsvikings! Even if you don’t like graphic novels and/or manga, if you’re into Saga, I highly recommend reading this series.

And that has all inspired me to get busy on my Jomsviking minis for Saga! As the sort of Delta Force of the Dark Ages, I like the sheer range and awesome power of the abilities they have in the game. I should also be able to have the ready relatively quickly, since their army doesn’t have a high model count. It’s also got me reading a bit about the Varangian Guard, and whoever the Jomsvikings might have been. Anyway, it’s cool when your interests, hobbies and work all line up!

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Heralding a New Year!

Posted in Blather, Games, WIP on January 2, 2014 by stingersix

One of the last miniatures I completed in 2013 was this Herald of Khorne.

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While I like the model, it’s Finecast and was a bit of a pain to prep – soooo many bits to trim and flash to remove. Also, the smaller pointy bits, like the claws are super fragile and a couple of them broke off. The sword also broke at the hilt. This model in plastic would be so much better. Anyway, it came out nice, so i just need to handle with care. I also did another squad of Bloodletters but you know what those look like so no pics this time.

My mono-Khorne Daemon army is nearing what I will call “complete”. My next main unit will be a Soul Grinder (and another accompanying squad of Bloodletters). Once they’re done, I should be able to get about 1850 points of Big Red Angry Daemons on the table. At that point, I mean to make a small force of accompanying Chaos Space Marine allies (for the shooty-ness, which Khorne daemons utterly lack). This will be a simple force – Kharne and a squad of Berzerkers rolling in a Land Raider. I need Troops though and for that I will use the Cultists from the Dark Vengeance box.

The Land Raider will be an interesting build. I have a trashed LR hull I got at the EndGame minis swap meet last year that I intend to restore. I figure a CSM Warpsmith hauled the burned out hulk off a battlefield somewhere and is dreaming up ways to revive and corrupt its machine spirit. I need to buy a few bits for it – lascannon sponsons and hatches and whatnot. It will be blood red of course, and I picked up some Forge World etched brass Khorne icons for it too.

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40K will not be my only miniatures project focus this year of course. We are getting ready to go full throttle with Dropzone Commander at the store this year, and we even have a demo day for the game coming up on January 18th! I’ve been getting more and more excited about playing DZC. It’s fast tempo and scale is a refreshing change of pace from the relatively plodding pace of 40K. I’m working on my second set of UCM minis from the starter set and I’m looking forward to expanding my army with additional units.

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And you see that Sherman tank on the work table there? That is of course for Bolt Action, the WW2 minis game that we’re also hoping to give a bit of a push to at the store this year as well. I have almost finished the last of the infantry platoon that I’m working on at the store (about 45 models) which will give me a good selection of stuff to play around with. I have yet to actually play Bolt Action, but I’m looking forward to it.

SAGA is also occupying my painting schedule at the moment. We are kicking off a new campaign at the store in February, and I am preparing to paint an army of Jomsvikings. These models by Gripping Beast are fairly easy and quick to paint and I will probably get onto them later this month. They’re assembled and based and ready to prime. 20140102_075729SAGA continues to be a favorite game of mine and it’s got a solid following at the store. I had a good time playing the Anglo-Danes last year and the Jomsvikings are a power army that I’m excited about fielding.

 

All this painting has me looking at ways to push my skills a bit more, and the one thing I’ve been trying to do for a while is learn to really use an airbrush. I’ve been occasionally using a cheap one for basecoating and such, and I have to say it’s been a challenge. But as I gradually get the hang of it, I think it’s time to try and really push myself. I asked for and received a Badger SOTAR 20/20 airbrush for Christmas (thanks Mom!).

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This airbrush is designed for detail work, capable of hairlines and generally small patterns. I can still use a cheap airbrush for basecoating, but this one I hope will allow me to really get some interesting effects done. I need to buy a compressor and I’ll use some Xmas money for that. I’m still on the very steep side of the airbrush learning curve and it will take time and practice before I feel comfortable with it, but I’m looking forward to getting there!

Man, that’s four games I’m painting minis for at the moment! No wonder I feel like I have no time! I’ve been keeping all this straight by using a kanban board, specifically, Kanban Flow. You can do this with a pen and paper, or post-it notes but the online version is easy enough to use. I also use this to track my work projects for VIZ and it’s great!

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So, it looks like a great start to the new year. Lots of cool games to play and minis to paint, and I’m excited to see what new things hit the gaming tables in 2014!

 

Clubbing baby seals

Posted in Blather with tags on October 4, 2013 by stingersix

Here’s a question. When you want to introduce someone to a new game, and sit down to play with them for the first time, do you let them win so as to not discourage them and bring them back to the table?

With good friends whom I know well, I do my best to win, play fair and teach them the game at the same time. I will give advice about the best moves to make, or present the potential outcomes of an action so they can choose what to do.

When I teach a game to someone I’ve never met before, usually in my capacity as a representative of the store, I definitely go easy on them. I do much the same thing as when I’m teaching a friend, but with a stranger, I will sometimes make a sub-optimal move. But for the most part, I’m less invested in winning the game than I am teaching it and showing the other person a good time. If they tell me to cut loose, that’s fine and I’ll do my best to win. I just feel that when you’re trying to show someone a good time, crushing them utterly doesn’t help toward that goal. The goal is teaching the game, not winning.

I’ve been on the receiving end of the baby seal clubbing, and it has soured my experience and put me off a game or two here and there over the years. Only human I suppose.

All that said, it’s not like I win a lot of games anyway! 😛

The Legion walks again!

Posted in Battle Report, Blather, Games, Nostalgia with tags , , , on August 30, 2013 by stingersix

Had a game of Epic yesterday for the first time in a long long time (this one was for you, Bruce, you old warhorse)! Looking at my old models, I can see how far my painting has come over the last 20 years! But the old minis still hold up well and it all looks awesome set out on the table. I was very rusty with the rules. but as we played, it all started coming back to me. I absolutely love the grand scale – it’s like playing Apocalypse in 40K, only a lot more manageable! Infantry die like flies, whole tank squadrons get wiped out in one go… fantastic!

The Rising Sun Chapter of the Space Marines and the Legio Tempestus face off against the Death Guard led by Mortarion and the World Eaters near an Imperial city on the edge of the badlands.

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Marines of the Assault company get to grips with a squadron of Chaos Land Raiders and are counter-charged by Bloodletters! In Epic, Assault Marines can actually kick ass!

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Grey Knights take it to Mortarion! The demon Primarch’s plaguewind killed one stand before it burned itself out. In the ensuing combat, the Grey Knights almost took him down, but Mortarion destroyed the Emperor’s finest!

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The Chaos Banelord Titan skulks behind a building. Good thing too, because when it finally emerged into the crosshairs of the Loyalist Warlord Titan…

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ENGINE KILL! The resulting explosion destroyed a nearby building and entirely wiped out the World Eaters swarming at the traitor machine’s feet! AWESOME!

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Ah, what a game! Many thanks to my friend Stephen for playing – it was fun to introduce him (he was 3 years old when I first started playing Epic) to an old game that laid the foundations for much of what 40K is today. Certainly Epic Space Marine was one of GW’s best designs. Too bad they’ve killed it off. But, as long as a game is being played it is never dead. In the far reaches of the galaxy, the armies still clash and the Legions still walk!

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Hold the phone!

Posted in Blather with tags on May 10, 2013 by stingersix

I’ve been accumulating miniatures lately. This is both good and bad. It’s good because, it’s mostly cool stuff – some old-school Terminators, drop pods (3 of them!), an old Inquisitor model, etc, and they’ve all been given to me or scrounged out of unwanted bitz boxes or giveaway piles.

What’s bad is, they enter my painting queue. I don’t like having a lot of unpainted minis lying around because I paint slowly, and it will take a long time to make the pile of unpainted stuff go away. Right now, I’m focused on building up a Daemon force. Then I have a mind to do a new army for SAGA (perhaps Jomsvikings). I also have to paint a unit of Chaos Marines for a friend.

So, I’m busy.