Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Photo/Drawing/Logo by Todd @ Sincain40k

Fellow NOVA Open & Capital Palette super-enthusiasts, Greg Hess, Todd Sherman, and John Stiening, have organized a painting challenge for the month of ....Dreadtober!

Basically, everyone paints an Ork Killa Kan (or 3) or some kind of Orky Dreadnought.  For fun!  We share and compare at the end of the month.  Or show your progress during the month, if you want to show WIPs.

Check out the details on Greggle's blog and join the fun!

In other news, I'll be checking out the Redstone Rumble this weekend, in the hopes of ferreting out the elusive, miniatures gaming scene in Huntsville.

And speaking of works in progress, I've been working on my Leaders and Specialists for my Teknes crew for Wrath of Kings...

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A casual Wrath of Kings game

I hosted a game for the first time at my apartment, since moving in, back in February.  With a little bit of shifting around and experimentation, I found a way to fit the 6x5 table in such a way to allow relatively comfortable access to all sides of the table.  There was a comfortable place to sit on any side of the table, and there were plenty of near-hand, flat surfaces to keep game accessories and food/drink off the game-table.  My vision for miniatures-gaming in my apartment has been achieved!

The venue.

To induct my new setup, my friend, Chris, came over for his first game of Wrath of Kings.  This game was the first game of Wrath of Kings that I have played casually -- my games to-date have all been tournament games.  Tournament games are not my first choice, but, so far, they have been the only opportunities I've had to try out the game.  

I much prefer a casual game at home, as opposed to what feels to me to be high-pressure, fast-paced tournament games.  Not only is a casual game more relaxed, with access to food, booze, and music, but I can ensure that my opponent is a person that I'm going to enjoy spending my time playing with.  And, of course, it's a lot easier to accommodate the dogs at home!

The eager and excited spectators....

Chris just finished assembling his Hadrossian force.  I like how he solved the issue with the "deep-well" bases, by filling the bases with green stuff and then imprinting it with the texture stamps from Happy Seppuku.

Chris' Hadrossian forces were tasked with the Motivation, 'Burn it Down'.  His Leaders had to control and Interact with the grey columns, which mark his objectives.  Controlling an objective requires having more models within 1" of objective than the opponent does.

Since I was allowed to place one of the columns, I placed it on the chokepoint on the bridge.  That ensured at least one of his objectives was out of the water, where the Hadrossians would have had a movement advantage.  With very lucky Deployment and Initiative rolls, I was able to swarm the bridge and take control of it right away.

Teknes swarms the bridge and blockades the first Hadrossian objective.
Rampaging piggies!

The Teknes Motivation was 'Steal Intel'.  An Infantry model must individually Interact with an enemy Leader.

The forces inevitably meet near the Hadrossian objectives. 
Battle commences!

The Teknes vanguard control the Hadrossian objective, hopefully surviving long enough to bait Hadross forces into position for a counterstrike from the main force.
Hadross emit a wave of the dreaded, mind-numbing "Resonate" effect, weakening the Teknes forces and strengthening the defenses of the Hadrossian forces.  Teknes troops drop like flies, and the game looks grim for the Teknes side. 
The tide has turned!
Teknes retaliates with its Leaders, who lay down the pain.  But with the Leaders wounded, it's anyone's game now.
Using some positional trickery with her 'Rescue' capability, a Teknes Defender Lineman (Linewoman?) slips through the fray to Steal Intel from the Hadrossian Gutter Friar.  Teknes squeaks out a victory!
Teknes: 0 points    Hadross:  -2 points

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

NOVA Open 2015 - Part 2

So this was the highlight of the convention for me.  Painting alongside the Massive Voodoo team, Raffaele Picca and Roman Lappat.

Photo courtesy of CJ Kinder and Silly Pineapple.

This moment was a wonderfully serendipitous opportunity that presented itself on Thursday afternoon, when the fine German gentlemen had no obligations on their schedule.  I suggested we pass some time and enjoy ourselves painting -- and that we paint at one of the demo tables as a way to invite anyone else to join the fun.

Roman and Raffa picked up a Dark Age 'Brute' miniature each at the Cool Mini Or Not booth and painted the whole thing from scratch over the course of the afternoon.  I had the great pleasure to watch both of them as they went along.  Unfortunately, I missed the critical step where Raffa painted the skin highlights on his figure.  I definitely wanted to observe that step, and it just happened so fast, I couldn't believe it when I glanced over and that part was done!

A couple of folks joined us, and we had a great chat with them.  Roman and Raffa really enjoyed the experience, because it was a rare opportunity for them to just enjoy painting again as a hobby, with no pressure or obligations to paint for a client or endure other professional constraints.  I hope we can carve out time in their schedule to do it again next year and invite more people to join us!

The eye-candy at NOVA Open becomes more spectacular every year.  Here is an 11-foot Star Destroyer that was made simply to blow peoples' minds.  It was on display at the X-Wing tournament, naturally.

Another eye-catcher were the phenomenal terrain boards used for the Lord of the Rings events.


Goblin town.

Goblin town detail.

Port city of Umbar.
Huge kudos go to the D.C. Hobbit League for producing these fantastic boards and whipping up support for this excellent game.  They were tremendously successful, generating participation that was on-par with the Malifaux national championship, occurring beside them!

It is this kind of terrain that most excited me about the gaming side of the hobby, when I attended my first Games Workshop Games Day in Baltimore.  The 3-dimensionality, the character, the texture, the "stage"....  I wanted to bring the miniatures alive in these scenes.  I am seriously considering learning the Lord of the Rings Strategy Game, just so I can participate in this event next year and play on these boards!

Here are some shots of some of my peeps.  This, too, was the highlight of NOVA Open for me -- to spend quality time with my D.C. friends.  The gentlemen below recently launched the Tactical Gaming Society, a gaming club devoted to narrative-style, scenario-driven gaming -- sporting high-quality terrain boards and high-quality painted miniatures.  I wish I was there!

Steve Carey and Owen Beste -- 'in character', running the 40K Narrative.
Photo courtesy of CJ Kinder and Silly Pineapple.
John Stiening, expert painter, strutting his stuff at the Grex airbrush speed-painting competition.
Photo courtesy of CJ Kinder and Silly Pineapple.

John Stiening's Death Korps of Krieg army.
John's army bombarded and assaulted other tables during the 40K Narrative event, wreaking random havoc and destruction.

I spent a chunk of this past weekend learning how to use Audacity, which is an audio editing tool.  I made some course edits of the interviews that I conducted at NOVA Open, and I submitted the audio files to Combat Phase.  Unfortunately, I submitted the files just as co-host, Robert, was putting the most recent show in the can.  I was hoping to make it in time for the show this Thursday, but Combat Phase is a little off-schedule at the moment, since co-host, Kenny, just moved to Sweden, and Robert is confronting the same learning curve that I am with the technical aspects of the show, until Kenny gets settled in.

But be sure to be on the lookout for the next episode.  I interviewed Mike Brandt, the NOVA Open founder; Owen Beste, NOVA Open board-member and a co-lead for the 40K Narrative event; Aaron and Laini Bostian, organizer and player respectively for the Age of Sigmar event; Devin Smith, organizer for the D.C. Hobbit League's Lord of the Rings events; Aaron Darland, designer for Wyrd Miniatures; and other interviews, including vendors and players.

Also, be on the lookout for the next issue of Figure Painter Magazine.  I'll be submitting an article with even more photos, professional ones by CJ Kinder of Silly Pineapple, including the winners of the Capital Palette!

In the meantime, enjoy another photo dump by this amateur photographer.

A sculpt by Raffaele Picca.
From the Cool Mini Or Not display case for Dark Age.

I had to buy one of these!

More pics from the Capital Palette display cases:

Another one of my favorites by Caleb Wissenback.
By Melissa Powell.
By Jennifer Wojcik.
By Todd Sherman

By Richard Rush.
By Angel Giraldez.

Oh, and I almost forgot to add, this was another highlight of the trip! 

1st Place - Fantasy/Alternate Collection
 I was surprised to earn 1st place, given that the competition level was so high.  I will display this trophy with pride.  It was hard-won, and I was honored to have it selected by Roman, Raffa, and Justin.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

NOVA Open 2015 - Part 1

I have so much to say about NOVA Open and Capital Palette, I hardly know where to begin.  Which is just as well, since I must conserve some of my material to submit to Figure Painter Magazine!

This Ork mini-Bomba by Joe Johnson is hand-crafted from a plastic Easter Egg!

Indeed, I spent most of my time interviewing convention organizers, leads, and judges.  I bought a handy-dandy electronic recorder, and once I figure out how to use some transcription software, I'll compose an article to submit to FPM.  In the meantime, I have the audio files, which I plan to send to the Combat Phase podcast, to include as a segment on their show.  Combat Phase covers all aspects of the miniatures gaming hobby, including industry trends, industry and games history, any and all game systems, modeling and painting, fiction, and more.

A phenomenal display board for a Lord of the Rings army. 
The forces of Morder exit the gate of Minas Morgul.

This year, both NOVA and the Capital Palette had the most turnout to date, with over a 1000 convention-goers and 119 entries to the Capital Palette.  Games included:
  • 40K GT and Invitational
  • 40K Narrative
  • X-Wing
  • Warmachine and Hordes
  • Malifaux, including the national championship
  • Lord of the Rings Strategy Game / The Hobbit
  • Infinity
  • Blood Bowl
  • Wrath of Kings
  • Dark Age
  • Age of Sigmar
  • Spartan Games demo games for Halo Fleet Battles, Planetfall, and Firestorm Armada
  • Demo games for the post-apocalyptic game, This Is Not A Test
  • And more!  (sorry if I forgot some)
Demo games from Spartan Games.
front to rear:  Planetfall, Halo, Firestorm Armada

I originally planned to play Wrath of Kings Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  It turns out I played only on Friday.  I was the only one who showed up on Saturday.  The TO was sick, and the other players were no-shows.  Maybe I was the only one who didn't get the memo!  In any case, I was content to recover the 4 hours on Saturday and Sunday.  I had no shortage of other entertainment options!

My Teknes force.  It's about 65% to 70% painted so far.

Bacon vs Bacon!  I got clobbered, despite my superior numbers.  Combos are key.

The absolute highlight of the event for me was the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with the  master painters of the Massive Voodoo blog:  Raffaele Picca and Roman Lappat.  Roman and Raffa traveled all the way from Germany to judge the Capital Palette, along with Justin McCoy of Secret Weapon Miniatures.

Caleb Wissenback and Roman Lappat.
I have more photos of Roman and Raffa that I'll be sending to Figure Painter Magazine.

My good friends, Aaron and Laini Bostian, enjoyed themselves immensely.  Aaron was one of the event organizers for Age of Sigmar, and Laini has been trying her hand at the game, quickly learning how to optimize her lists and her tactics.

Aaron laughs with evil glee, as his grand plan comes together to unleash Age of Sigmar on the world.
Laini prepares some Wood Elf fury.
Laini's incredible hand-decorated measuring tape.  She also designs jewelry.
Richard Rush kindly shared this libation at the Age of Sigmar table.

Some parting photos.  More to come!

John Stiening and Marc Raley.  Vehicle painters extraordinaire!  The talent apparently requires Hawaiian shirts to work right.
A wonderful piece by Rhodes Davis. 

By Marc Raley.

One of mine.  An Alkemy figure. 
A first show appearance, I think.  About two years old, actually.  I've been waiting to enter the entire unit, but I haven't managed to finish the rest of the models yet.