Sunday, September 30, 2012


The Blood Bowl league launched its training season this weekend, so I was motivated to work on my standard starter teams that come in the 2nd Edition set.  As it turns out, most of the folks playing have some acquaintance with the game, so I ended up playing my Lizardmen.  Still, I was happy to make some progress on these guys.  I thought the color on the base would complement the color of the pitch, but I'm actually going to darken the color on the base.  After seeing some of the other teams' color schemes, a darker base helps the model stand out from the pitch, and you really don't notice the contrast between the base and the pitch.

My Lizardmen actually did well against their Skaven adversary, but, hey, it's a flaky dice-game -- it's not like I really outplayed my opponent.  Not that I wanted to -- this was really a learning game, and I was really satisfied to play with someone who was at the same skill level and had the same attitude towards the game.  We helped each other out, and we talked through the tactics and the logic for some of the decision-making on both sides.  It was exactly what I had hoped for as a re-introduction back into the game.

I definitely wanted to fit in some painting today, and my mood led me to work on the Goblin Wolfrider.  I probably spent more time on it than I should have, but I  really enjoyed working on this model today -- I was zoned out while working on it, which is not a bad thing.  I'm about 65% finished.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

NOVA Open 2012 Art Competition

The NOVA Open was held this year Thursday through Sunday, August 30 through September 2.  They introduced for the first time a separate art competition that focused on individual works, as opposed to judging entire armies as a component for tournament scores.  The format for the art competition is more along the lines of events like the Golden Demon competition, held at Games Workshop Games Days, or the Crystal Brush competition held at the Adepticon convention.  As a matter of fact, NOVA Open arranged with the Crystal Brush organizers (Cool Mini or Not, also known as CMON) for the NOVA Open art competition to be a qualifier for the Crystal Brush.  That means that the winner of Best in Show wins a plane ticket (and hotel accommodations, I think) to attend Adepticon in Chicago and participate in the Crystal Brush.

I originally planned to build up to my big announcement, but I spoiled it in my blog entry yesterday, since I stumbled on the photo on the NOVA Open site.  But let's pretend that didn't happen....

The art competition had two divisions with 3 categories in each:
- Fantasy:  Single small-size mini, Single large-size mini, and Diorama
- Sci-fi:  Single small-size mini, Single large-size mini, and Diorama

Here is a link to the gallery on the NOVA Open site, showing all of the miniatures that were entered.  One nice thing that distinguishes Crystal Brush from the Golden Demon is that the Crystal Brush allows miniatures from any manufacturer, whereas Golden Demon limits the miniatures to only miniatures produced by Games Workshop.  Another notable difference is that the grand prize for the winner of the Crystal Brush is $10,000!

I entered minis in all categories but the sci-fi diorama:

Fantasy, single small-size mini:  Freebooter's Fate, Master Assassin

Fantasy, single large-size mini:  Red Box Games, Bloodmaw & Horsebane

Fantasy, diorama:  Red Box Games orc & goblin -- "Defiance!"

Sci-fi, single small-size mini:  Games Workshop Eldar Ranger

Sci-fi, single large-size mini:  Games Workshop Krootox and Kroot Rider

So I was giddy with excitement when they announced that I won the Fantasy Diorama category with "Defiance".  That earned me a sweet Grex airbrush as a prize, plus a beautiful trophy.  Really, the trophy is the most attractive and practical award I've seen for any miniatures art competition.  Granted, I've only seen the awards for less than half a dozen....

While I was already riding high on the recognition for the category-win, I can't express the honor and uplift I felt when they announced that I won Best in Show!  I am still absolutely thrilled.  I am so excited to finally attend Adepticon!  I'll have a chance to try out all of those lesser-known miniatures games that are so hard to spark local interest to play.  Some of the games are even demoed by their publishers and designers.  I may have a chance to meet some of podcasters/vidcasters that I follow, including the guys from GarageHammer, the guys from d6 Generation, and Joey of TheJoeyBerry.  And I'll be able to see some world-class miniatures close-up at the Crystal Brush and meet some of the artists in person.  What a fantastic opportunity.  I am so over the moon!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Two-week Teaser

One reason for starting a blog is to have more writing and photo space than what other media offers, in order to update friends and family on news and events going on my hobby.  I experienced some very exciting highlights over the first two weeks of September, and I've barely had a chance to relay it all.  I'll share it all over the next several days, so that I can pace out the content.

So the big exciting news happened at the NOVA Open, a gaming convention that is in its fourth year, I think, held at the Arlington Hyatt Regency, located next door to where I work!  It doesn't get any better than that in terms of convenience.

I volunteered time over the course of this year to engage with the NOVA organizers and staff.  When I attended for the first time last year, I was blown away by how large the event was and how well it was organized.  I was curious to learn just who was behind all of it, and so that's why I got involved.  One of many goals for them this year was to construct enough of their own terrain to be entirely self-sufficient and be able to populate well over 100 tables for the Warhammer 40K tournament.  I spent quite a few weekends helping construct terrain.  It was a great opportunity for me, because, along the way, I learned about a lot of techniques that I was curious about, including mould-making, casting, foam-cutting, terrain-assembly, flocking, and, best of all, airbrushing.

More about the big news later.  For now, here's a link to the NOVA Open web-site in case you want to check out the galleries and see what it's all about.  Oh, ha, ha, spoiler alert!  I just went to the site to grab the link, and it looks like my big news is on the front page (depending on how close to this publish date you visit the site, of course).  In that first picture for the painting contest, I'm the grinning bald guy on the left!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Relearning Warhammer 40K

My first game of 40K in probably about 3 or 4 years.  Haven't missed it, to be honest -- 5th Edition, that is. Now that 6th Edition allows pre-measuring, I'm ready to give it another shot.  After playing the game tonight, I definitely like the direction they moved 6th Edition.  More thoughts on that another time, after I have a few more games under my belt.

I played the Tau / Eldar allies on the bottom, versus the Ork hordes on top.  There are some lessons that I needed to relearn, like don't senselessly sacrifice your Eldar Ranger snipers, even if they look really cool on top of a container stack.....

More pics

Monday, September 24, 2012

Project snapshot

So here's a view of the projects that are currently at the top of the heap.  Bear in mind, my "top projects" are an amorphous set, reprioritized on a weekly basis!  I reshuffle them based on the direction that my gaming group is going, the events I have planned, the competitions I attempt, etc.

To wit, here are photos of the Orc & Goblin army I've been working on since the beginning of the year, but which have been interrupted repeatedly by other projects shouldering their way above them.

Spearmen and basic warriors.

Spearmen and archers.

More of the rabble, mixed with some Dark Elf items I inherited from my buddy, Oko.

A cyclops and an ogre (by Reaper), waiting to be cleaned.

A goblin wolf rider, needed to complete a unit of 5, alongside one of the four that I painted sometime around 2007.  I want to duplicate the color scheme of the wolf, I think.

Goblin spider riders!  Yuk!  I hate spiders.  I wasn't going to give this unit any priority, until I saw someone design a "unit filler" with the spider riders crawling all over a house.  I thought that was an awesome idea, plus I want to push myself in the direction of embellishing my armies with more unit fillers as mini-dioramas and practice more conversions.  Here, the spiders are crawling over ruined statuary.

Here's a classic Games Workshop troll to add to the army.  I originally planned to knock this guy out quickly, but I discovered that I really enjoyed painting him.  This is about a couple hours of work, basically just "sketching" out color and value.  I decided to use him for an experiment -- to try going to town on the colors, in the vein of the classic fantasy illustrators:  Frazetta, Boris, Suydam, and their proteges, like Bisley.  I'm going to put together a presentation of this project for the NCMSS club.

It's not all about the miniatures.  Here's terrain that I've been working on for probably a year or so -- walls and fences.  Not that it's hard -- it just keeps falling off the immediate To Do list.  So far, I only have base coats.

Warhammer 40K has entered the mix again, with the release of 6th Edition.  I didn't expect to play 40K again, but Games Workshop killed some of the sacred cows in 40K, much like they did for Warhammer Fantasy -- mainly, they now allow premeasuring.  I still have plenty of complaints about these antiquated 25+ year-old rules systems, but I can tolerate them enough now to benefit from having a large player community out there.

Anyway, here's a Tau Broadside with twin-linked Railguns.  I don't like the blocky style of the Tau battlesuits, but I figure I should build at least one so that I have a reference for my proxies.

Now this is what draws me to play 40K!  Gnarloc riders.  Yeah, baby.  The Kroot rock.

And again, this hobby requires terrain.  Here are some barricades, pipelines, and a bridge, all primed and ready for weathering.

Yup, it's more than just the pretty figures.  Here's how I prefer to transport them -- on magnetized trays.  It's a lot more work than just throwing them in foam carriers, but I have a hang-up about the foam -- I think it will rub off the paint-jobs.  I'm just paranoid, I know.  But another advantage of magnetizing, especially for Warhammer Fantasy, is that I can significantly reduce my set-up and pack-up time.

These metal plates are marked for cutting with shears.

And finally, some of the NOVA Open guys are organizing a Blood Bowl league for this fall.  So I dug out my starter teams for Orcs and Humans, to motivate me to finish painting them.  I finally decided on the color scheme for the Humans.  I wanted something different than the standard blue-and-gold.  I'm going with a wine color.  They'll be called the Burgundian Grape-Stompers.  Those fouls are gonna hurt!

Sunday, September 23, 2012


Welcome to the launch of Mini Mayhem - The Blog!  I'm writing this blog to document my personal activity in the hobby of tabletop miniatures games, including:

  • Painting miniatures, ranging from tabletop quality to display quality.
  • Playing games -- mainly fantasy, sci-fi, and alternative, but with an eye towards historical, too -- both skirmish and army-scale.
  • Designing my own game, which I've been working on since 2006, called...Mini Mayhem!
  • Organizing events.  I organize local Demo Days to showcase the lesser known miniatures games, and I volunteer time to the NOVA Open, a large wargame tournament/convention in Arlington, Virginia.
I named my game "Mini Mayhem" at the time of its inception in 2006.  At the time, the only name conflict I found was a site dedicated to fans of the Mini Cooper.  Doing a quick blog scan today, I find one blog devoted to a cute Roller Derby girl, and I see a blog similar to mine, named Mini Metal Mayhem.  My apologies if I'm stepping on any toes out there!  Although I'm sure the Roller Derby girl is tough enough to handle it.

The reason I'm starting a blog is because I already maintain a fairly regular painting diary on the painting forum, WAMP.  I have so much more activity in the hobby (some of it very exciting and new -- at least to me!), that I decided to expand both the scope of my diary as well as the scope of my audience.  I expect to write short but fairly regular content, and I'll probably continue to dual-post to WAMP.

If you're interested in checking out essentially the backlog of this blog, check out these Work in Progress (WIP) threads on WAMP:

 Next up:  a new hobby ADD snapshot state-of-affairs.  What are the multitude of projects I'm working on?