Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lessons from an Expert

While I visited my parents over Christmas holiday, I had the good fortune to learn some modeling tips and techniques from a modeling master -- my Dad!

Here is the man / the myth, in his upstairs den.  Dad is an accomplished model airplane builder, with numerous regional trophies to his name. 

Building model airplanes with my Dad is actually the first experience I had in the hobby -- or at least one related to it.  Eyebrows were raised when a 14-year-old turned his attention from P-39 fighters to wizards and goblins....

Here is the upstairs workbench.

with current work-in-progress....

Here is the basement work area.  Dad uses spraypaint instead of an airbrush.  I brought my airbrush so that we could both learn it together.

Before exploring the airbrush, Dad showed me techniques for filling/sanding seams, applying decals, and weathering.

I practiced seam-filling on a belly-tank, and then we then experimented with different weathering techniques using the airbrush.  Here we tried a liquid mask technique and the hairspray-and-salt technique, first washed with water and then with alcohol.  The hairspray-and-salt technique gave results that I haven't seen in any of the videos I've watched.  Good thing we tried it out on spare parts first!

Next was to try my hand with one of my models, a Tau Devilfish.  Here is a half-day's work of sprue-cutting, cleaning, deburring, filing, and assembly -- before filling seams.

I wanted to try out a colored primer that I like.  The model is entirely primed in black, then masked, then primed in the olive drab.  It's a great military, flat color, but it's not what I want for my Devilfish.

I lay a foundation for the hairspray technique.  We're already up to four layers.  Lesson learned:  do not spray hairspray directly from the can.  It's way too thick.  Use the airbrush.

With my general-purpose, single-action airbrush, I try out camo colors that I saw in a Fine Scale Modeler magazine.

I like the general look, but I've learned that I probably need to use my dual-action airbrush for this kind of work.  The single-action airbrush had very inconsistent behavior.  That might be operator error, of course, but I'm pretty sure I have better tools for the job.  I didn't have the control that I really wanted, so the pattern isn't quite what I really wanted, but I'm happy enough for my first attempt.  It was a good first learning step! 

Much work remains, of course, but this will at least be presentable on the game-table as-is.

Monday, December 17, 2012

WIP - Tau Stealth Suits

Project ADD strikes again.  Finally deciding to take list-building semi-seriously inspired me to slap together these puppies.  Not that they're going to make a power-list or anything.  I just want the variety.  And I like that they can accompany my Kroot when they Outflank.  And the Stealth suits have more control on which side they come in on.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Game Night

I managed to play a game at my place with my bud, Campbell, proud owner of a newly acquired Necron army off of Bartertown.  Campbell says that he originally wanted to play Necrons when our group first played 40K at the outset of 5th Edition, but one of our guys convinced him out of it.  So Campbell is now a happy camper, after waiting 3 or 4 years.

As his opponent, I find Necrons to be a more interesting adversary than his other armies, Tyranids and Orks.  Plus the models look wicked.

I stepped up the point-count to 1250.  Back in 5th Edition, I had some 1500-point lists, so I blew the dust off of those and tweaked them.

We played a simple pitched battle, annihilation game, just to learn the forces and to continue instilling the rules in our heads (especially mine).  It's amazing how even the basic rules become questionable when you're actually playing the game.  I look forward to having that weight lifted when I play Dust Warfare!  Regardless, though, I am enjoying playing 6th Edition 40K, and I find myself interested in exploring my army options and adding new models and units.

During the game, I felt significantly overpowered, compared to the Necron force.  It felt like Campbell had 1500 points to my 1250, let's say.  Campbell and I discussed it afterwards, and I'm finally accepting the fact that I really need to take list-building seriously in order to play a matched game.  I've resisted doing that, out of the stubborn view that the game should be played on the table, not on the spreadsheet.  I've improved my outlook on that front, though, in two ways.  First, I'm accepting that 40K is simply not the game I want it to be.  Steve says, it's an acquisition/logistics game, not a tactical/operations game.  Regardless, we both find it a fun game to play, even if it's not exactly what we want it to be.  Second, I compare 40K to Magic: The Gathering.  Magic is played in two parts: deck-building and playing.  That's analogous to 40K.  I enjoy deck-building in Magic.  Therefore, I can apply the same attitude towards list-building in 40K.

Here are more photos of the game (no commentary).  We played a little over 3 turns.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Alkemy Aurlok Starter Box

This is the first modeling I've done with small resin figures.  I worked with resin with Dystopian Wars models, but they're very different.  The DW models are geometric, whereas the Alkemy minis are organic, and the DW models are made of a hard resin, whereas the Alkemy minis are made of a softer and more pliable resin.

As a matter of fact, the spear for the figure on the left was extremely bowed, and I had to use the hot water trick to straighten it out.  It's the first time I attempted it, so I tried a cautious (and lazy) approach first, by holding it under hot running tap water.  It seemed to work at first, but the spear returned to its bowed shape by the next morning.  I then tried a more extreme technique, by dipping each end of the spear in just-boiled water for about 3 seconds, shaping it, and then quenching it in ice water.  That worked.

I'm using the 25mm 'Desert Basin' bases by Secret Weapon.

The Alkemy models are smaller than I thought they'd be.  I respect Allan Carrasco's sculpting and Jeremie Bonamant Teboul's painting for this range even more than I did before, now that I know how miniscule the detail is!  I'm going to have a challenge matching Mr. Teboul's paintjobs.

I still need to work on filling gaps with green stuff before priming.  And I have the Eden and Carnevale models waiting to be built.  At least they're metal -- something I'm more familiar with.  I also have the Reinforcement box for the Aulochs, and I'm motivated to put those models together, too, to join their brethren and show a proper force on the tabletop.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

WIP - Various

I finally have the minimum number of Goblin Wolf Riders to make a legal unit for Warhammer.  Can't wait to have these guys rampage all over the board.  Sure, in-game they're an expendable throwaway redirecter, but I've always loved the imagery and style of the Goblin Wolf Riders.  Before all is said and done, I'll probably have two dozen or so of these guys!

So I'm setting myself up for an ambitious 3 months.  I have the prospect of playing 3 games that I've been itching to play but for which I haven't met any willing opponents -- until now.  In preparing for Demo Day #4 to be held in late February, I met someone who plays Alkemy and Eden.  So I'm going to attempt to prepare one faction for each game in the hopes that we can play any or all of them for Demo Day.  On top of that, I hope to demo a game of Carnevale myself.  That project is especially ambitious, since I need to not only paint two factions, but I need to build my canal district!  All of that on top of organizing Demo Day, preparing material for the Appearance Judging and Art Competition for NOVA Open 2013, and preparing presentations for the NCMSS!  Something's going to have to give -- I just don't know what it will be yet.  Probably Alkemy or Eden, at least.  But at the moment, I have the itch to at least assemble these models.

Here's a selection of thematic post-apocalyptic bases to swap out for the generic bases for Eden.

Carnevale.  Doctors of Ospedale will be my faction.  Patricians will be for guest players.  I might be able to fit in the Rakshaar Cthulu-like fish-men, too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Battle Report - Warhammer 40K

This game was the first time I had the pleasure to play on Steve's spectacular 40K gameboard. The board succeeds phenomenally in imparting the flavor of 40K. Add to that the enjoyment of expertly made Stingers by the gracious host, and you have the recipe for a great evening of entertainment.

The line-up between our two army-lists is the finale for our 1000-point match-ups. We'll be moving on to 1250 next. We also plan to play to the scenarios better, in order to break up the tactical patterns we've gravitated to. To wit, Space Marines run across the board into the Tau/Eldar static firing line. The Drop Pod tries to dismantle a flank while the Kroot and the Jetbikes try to rescue said flank. While this game played out to this pattern overall, the primary and secondary objectives helped force some different target priorities and maneuvers.

Check out the full pictorial battle report on the Picasa site.