Sunday, June 30, 2013

Massive Voodoo brings hobby to the masses

I received my copy of Massive Voodoo's first artbook this past week.  I supported the studio's IndieGoGo crowd-funding project, and I'm glad I did.  Congratulations to Roman and Raffaele, two icons of the hobby!

I here I am with the masters themselves at Adepticon 2013, after they generously offered a good 20 or 30 minutes of their time to chat about painting, running a studio, and their views on the industry.

Raffaele Picca, me, Roman Lappat

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lead Mountain and Potential Projects

This past weekend I made a rare (maybe twice a year) visit out to the far suburb of Chantilly, to the Games Parlor store.  Games Parlor stocks some old, old, old lines of miniatures, which, luckily, no one but me seems to ever buy.  I've made all of my most critical purchases already, so when I swing by, it's to pick out the remaining gems, such as these....

With a fresh game of Dystopian Wars under my belt, I'm motivated to add another squadron to my Prussian forces.  Here, I've filed some Jager Class Small Airships. 

The doo-hickey's on the right are the flight stands, yet to be magnetized and assembled.

The Jagers apparently specialize as submarine killers.  Submersibles haven't been a threat in my local scene, however, so I'm hoping I can use these ships effectively in another role.  I'm skeptical, though.  They're the same army-point cost as frigates, but they lack the firepower and boarding capability of frigates.  I suppose they trade firepower/boarding for the ability to fly and having a 360-degree Tesla weapon.  That part will be fun....

The Dragonpainting forum is featuring "Pirates" for their Monthly Painting Challenge....for the month of June!  However, I'm still tempted to attempt to crank out over the weekend as many of the pirates I show in the picture below.  I've been looking for the motivation to add the Pirate faction to my Freebooter's Fate game.  The Pirates are sturdier models than the fragile Assassins and Goblin Pirates.  I need the more durable human Pirate models so that I can offer them to other people to use.

I'm not keen on the Pirate henchmen that come with the starter box.  As much as I love Werner Klocke's sculpting, his Pirate henchmen look like a couple of dandies (the center-rear guys in the top-hats).  So I rebased the Privateer Press Sea Dog Crew to use instead.  I'll still use Werner's excellent Captain Rosso and Curly Ann (front center and far right).

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Dystopian Wars battle report

My buddy, Erik, fought his way through D.C. traffic (stay off our lawn, you crazy protesters!) to play his favorite minis game last night -- the steampunk strategies of Dystopian Wars.  We're trying out the scenarios from the Hurricane Season supplement.

Here is are the initial maneuvers of Turn 1, just before the bloodbath began.

Check out the full pictorial battle report here.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

NOVA Open gaming convention and the Capital Palette painting competition

I have fewer pictures to show this week for miniatures and games, since I devoted a lot of my hobby time towards organizing the NOVA Open painting competitions.  I am pleased to say that we finally posted the information on the NOVA Open web-site.  I'm glad I can now point to the web-page, when I promote the event at various forums, clubs, and stores.

Speaking of promoting the event....go to the NOVA Open this Labor Day Weekend!  It's awesome!

How's that for sophisticated marketing?  Just do it!  OK, here are some details...

The NOVA Open is a gaming convention held in Washington, D.C., featuring a variety of tabletop miniature games, a Magic tournament, around two dozen hobby seminars, loads of vendors, and the Capital Palette painting contest.  For the Capital Palette's Best of Show winner, Cool Mini or Not awards airfare to Chicago for the 2014 Crystal Brush!

Think of NOVA Open as essentially the East Coast prelude to Adepticon, but with all the city amenities and famous, historical sites of Washington, D.C., only a couple of subway hops away.

The award trophies for the Capital Palette are, in my opinion, one of the most attractive trophies in the hobby.  Heavy, inscribed glass in the shape of the Washington Monument, they're practical for display and transport, as well as beautiful, tasteful trophies to adorn your shelf. 

In addition to trophies, Grex USA will award category winners with a Grex airbrush!

I'm ineligible to win one of these bad boys this year, since I signed on to be lead organizer and supporting judge.  Besides myself and local painter, Bob Likins, 3 more judges are on the panel this year, including Justin McCoy of Secret Weapon Miniatures as Head Judge, supported by Caleb Wissenback and Alex Akers, all three of whom have earned some assortment of Golden Demons, Crystal Brushes, etc.

Check out the categories, schedule of events, and other details about the Capital Palette on the NOVA Open web-site.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Work in Progress - Alkemy

I finally found time to pick up brushes again.  For my Alkemy figs, I'm combating an over-glossy base-coat, resulting from too much matte medium in my mix.  Now that I've watched Jeremie do his wet-blending, I'll have much less cause to use additives now.  I also recently learned from the Mierce Miniatures web-site that aerosol primer works better on resin models than airbrushing acrylic primer, so maybe that has something to do with my adherence problem, too.  Just when I thought I was free of aerosol primer forever!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Dropzone Games 1st Anniversary -- Jumpmaster Painting Competition

Dropzone Games celebrated their 1st Anniversary, and the event was a tremendous success.  They had a great turnout, enough to fill and energize every room in their 13,000 square foot facility!

My goal was to participate in their Jumpmaster Painting Competition and submit a broader representation of my portfolio -- both older and newer stuff that hasn't competed much or at all.  Plus, I like to give exposure to alternative ranges of models as much as I can.

I did bring along Border Dispute, too  --  just for display, though.  There wasn't a category for it to compete in. 

As you can see, the field was very strong for this competition.  There was a matrix of categories, very similar to what I composed for NOVA Open:  Historical, Fantasy, and Sci-fi, matrixed across Single, Large/Vehicle, and Unit.  I entered Fantasy Unit, Sci-fi Unit, Fantasy Single, and Fantasy Large/Vehicle.  You were allowed two entries per category.  My entries are the ones presented on the black display boards/plinths.

Freebooter's Fate Pirate Goblins, Malifaux Ramos faction, Malifaux Bayou Gremlins (on the pre-fab swamp base), Warhammer 40K Eldar Rangers.....

Rangers again, Horders Troll Axer, Red Box Games goblin on bear (Bloodmaw and Horsebane), Reaper Elf Lord, and Reaper Pirate Sharkman.

So here were the standouts that grabbed my attention.

Dire Avengers.  Very clean and poppy.  My photo doesn't show it well, but the gemstones were some of the best I've seen.  Brilliant.  I haven't seen a varnish shine like this one did.

Tau Crisis Suits.  I'm not crazy about the color scheme, but it does show off the different elements of the model very well, and the lining is superb -- very precise, and great accenting for non-weathered models.

Awesome metals and weathering.  Love the salt-stain effect.

Eldar Harlequin.  This girl just started painting a few months ago, I think I heard her boyfriend say.  She's a natural!

Excellent all-around techniques on the Hordes Trollbloods.  This was staff work, I believe, so it wasn't competing (whew!).

I don't recognize this model.  Neat imagery.

This picture doesn't do this paintjob justice.  The fluorescent paints work really well for this style of model.  I'm sure this unit looks fantastic in-game.  The only problem is that the fancy models steal the show from the good work done on the rest of the models.

More by the same artist, I wager.  Again, the pic doesn't do it justice.  This guy knows what he's doing.  You can read in his models the decision-making that's going on in his head for every element of the model and every highlight and color choice.

This paintjob inspired me to finally purchase this model.  Well, that, and the 11%-off weekend special!  Basic but very effective airbrush, followed up expertly with the brush for final touches.  I had the pleasure to meet the artist (another Mike).  He really brings out the character and motion of this model.

Very nice chipping.  I studied this one for a while.  He did a lot of work on the edging of the chipped paint, unless he used a different technique and has me fooled.  If it's edging, that was a lot of work.  But it really paid off.  As a matter of fact, I think he won the plaque for Sci-fi Large/Vehicle.

Classic primary colors.  Proof yet again that the color wheel works, when applied with the right balance.

This pirate was another piece by Mike.  Nice work.  The metals look very natural.  The dark-lining and contrasts are very effective, while still being subtle.  A very good choice for basing, too.  Simple,  color-coordinated, and thematic.

This Eldar figure was one of my favorites.  Partly because I've never seen the model before, and I've never seen an Eldar figure with an instrument!  The style is very clean, which, of course, works well for Eldar.  There were subtle variations in the colors, particularly on the harp, which succeeded in giving a clean miniature more depth and interest.  A simple but very attractive color scheme.  It brings attention to the main features of the model.  And the gems and eye-lenses are fantastic.

So, I am pleased to say that I won the Fantasy Unit category with my Ramos faction (see this blog entry for a close-up), and I won the Fantasy Single category with the Pirate Sharkman!  Very exciting! 

To top off the excitement of the award, special guest-visitor, Andy Chambers, presented the plaques!  As a matter of fact, one of the highlights of the weekend was participating in an intimate Q&A, where I asked questions about Games Workshop business model and waxed geeky on rules design questions about Dust Warfare, Epic, and his new game, Blood Red Skies.  Dropzone will post pics of the awards ceremony, which I'll point to when they're available.

Thanks again to Dropzone for hosting a great event, and the best of luck to them for many years to come.  Happy Birthday, Dropzone!

Friday night gaming - Warhammer Fantasy

I had the rare pleasure to play a game of Warhammer with my friend, Rafael, who is a busy professional with an infant and another on the way.  Many thanks to Raf for spending precious leisure time, playing Warhammer!  Here is a link to the full pictorial battle report.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Impromptu game - Warhammer 40K

My friend, Campbell, and I pulled together a relatively short-notice game.  For a Monday night, of all things.  I know, crazy!  Like, whoa, gotta slow down before I hurt myself - do I think I'm twenty years old again?

Anyway, here was my brief highlight during the game.  I had just finished wiping off a unit of 7 or 8 Wraiths, as well as popping one of those skimmers, located where that smoking crater is now, with my Piranha.  That's probably the first time my Piranha has ever done anything useful.  The Necron Warlord was whittled down to only Wound at this point, but he should have died.  Still, things looked promising with my Kroot outnumbering the one Necron unit sitting on their objective.

After this, it all exploded in my face.  The Necrons on the objective handily despatched an entire Kroot unit.  The Necron Warlord ate an entire unit of Fire Warriors for lunch, and the Scythe flyers deposited two fresh Necron troop units on my objectives.  I handed in the towel at that point.  But I learned a lot, and I had a few good moments.  Time to go back to the list-building drawing board, though.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

WIP - Kroot

Purchasing pre-assembled models is so convenient.  Granted, these guys don't have all the accoutrements or poses that I would give them, but that's fine when I'm just filling out the ranks.

I have more Kroot in the queue that are unassembled.  When I get my legs with my 1000-point list, I'll figure out how to prioritize expanding my Tau force to the next level.  But I would like to have the option to field two units of twenty, if I really wanted to.  Or several more smaller units.  I want to try the new Sniper option, and I look forward to adding the Krootox to an infiltrating unit.  I'm still irked that they robbed the Kroot of their close combat capability, but it is some small consolation that the Krootox can function practically with its unit, instead of hindering it.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Friday night gaming - Alkemy

My friend, Erik, and I continued to test-play a scenario for Alkemy.  It's called Spy Run.  Erik's Khaliman Republic in the upper-left corner need to carry a map to the opposite corner.  Only the map carrier needs to make it to the other side to win the scenario.  The Aurloks are waiting in ambush in the other corners.  The Aurloks don't know who carries the map.  The Khaliman don't know how the Aurloks are distributed between the corners.  The Aurloks must discover who is carrying the map in order to Raise the Alarm and call in the remaining 20% of their force to even the odds.

The only alchemical components available for casting formulas are attainable at the upper-center dais, at the rock.  The alchemists don't begin the game with components, only alchemical stones.  That makes the dais a tempting secondary objective.

In the first moves of the game, the newly-painted Toad Shaman discovers the map carrier right away!  It's not the amputee shown in this picture, but his twin, farther south.

At the end of Turn 1, the Aurloks are attacking from the cover of the forests.  The Toad did not have enough actions to Raise the Alarm; he'll have to wait until Turn 2.  In the meantime, Tecum'seh takes an initial stab at the map-carrier.

We had time to only play a portion of Turn 2, but it was exciting.  Tecum'seh finished off the map carrier and recovered the map.  The Khaliman commander plugged Tecum'seh with a couple of arrows to soften him up.  The beefy Auroch and his Khaliman counterpart duke it out in epic fashion, with the Auroch squeaking out the advantage with a Fast Attack and preserving his own health with his Toughness and the proximity of the empathetic healing Toad Shaman.

The game was left in a precarious balance, with Tecum'seh within range of carrying the map back to his deployment zone, but threatened by striking distance of several Khaliman models.

The Khaliman commander strikes a heroic pose.