Monday, October 20, 2014

Halfing Assassin & Cautious Marine

Now that I no longer have to be focused on a single army to paint I've been letting myself work on a few extracurricular minis just for the heck of it.

The first one is a little halfling mini from Reaper, Dicarus Darksword. You'd think "little" and "halfling" would be redundant, but this is easily the smallest halfling mini I've ever seen. I was compelled to give him a cork base just so he'd look to be about the right height.

It'd be too obvious to paint him black
As far as the size is concerned though, it might actually be correct. The D&D player's guide lists halflings as approximately 3 feet, or roughly a few inches taller than my 2 year-olds. Now that I have context for that kind of size difference it makes me think about how they'd adapt in a fantasy world. In my mind a rogue character would want to keep their distance, and probably play dirty to compensate for the fact their bow looks like a kid's toy. Hence Jimson here who would use traps & poison to drop his targets.

The owner of my FLGS has a handful of "demotivational posters" hanging around his shop. This one motivated him to create his own version.

He's been trying to get me or Yorrik to paint this mini for a long time now, but we always have too much on our plate to take on pro bono miniatures. This changed a few weeks ago, as I was preparing for OFCC.

One of the tasks I decided to take on for the team event was creating team T-shirts. While I was getting price estimates the game store owner offered to pay for the shirts and sponsor the team provided I would a.) add the store's name & number to the shirt design and b.) finally paint his cautious, plasma-wielding marine.

The owner asked for a halved blue & orange scheme. Orange is a pain, but I did it anyways. I've never seen a creamsicle colored marine, so I figured I'd make the orange a bit lighter. The plasma gun bothers me. The owner gave him a gun that melted in a hot car, so it's bent upwards. Sure it looks like it's more likely to explode, but I prefer undamaged looking gear.

More when I have the time.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Painting Competitions: Objective Marker & Holidays

This year has been pretty productive in terms of mini painting. Aside from my May Madness thing, and preparing my army for the Portland tournament, I also slipped into some painting competitions. Here are a few that I haven't shown here before.

Objective Marker
The most recent competition was to create & paint an objective. I was working on my Daemon army for the OFCC, so I decided to create a Chaos-appropriate marker.

These books come from the Burning Chariot mini from GW. The books attach to the chariot with pegs at the end of their ribbons/tentacles, so I melted them to give them a more organic look. It's a little difficult to tell from photos, but I did my best to make it looks like the books were floating/flying. The paint job is pretty standard.  The monsterous book stands out the most to me, although I do kinda like the patina on the metallic binding, and I tried to draw the Konami code in the lower right-hand corner of the floating book.

The contest is still pending, but at the moment I think I stand in second place. I'm not being humble when I say my mini won't take first place either. One of my fellow local painters produced a beautifully converted Imperial Fist casualty holding up a banner with a NMM freehand chapter symbol.

The other contest I've neglected to mention on this blog was last Winter's Holiday themed competition. The store owner left it open ended, but most people made Christmas-themed submissions. There were a bunch of great entries, like a Santa Orc tormenting a grot as it painted a toy train, a Jewish Space Marine wielding a power-menorah, a Krootox & rider painted up as the Grinch who stole Christmas (one of my favorites), and a literal Hel-turkey with cultist pilgrims on its base.

My entry was one that the store owner had requested. He's said he hoped someone would turn in an Ork wielding a giant dreidel. I figured I could do a bit better than that even.
You can see I made a few little conversions.
1. The dreidel is a real wooden dreidel. I trimmed the handle, carved out some grooves, glued on some plates, and added a ton of little rivets. So many rivets.
2. The ork is actually from WH Fantasy. The legs are actually from the chariot box.
3. There are a few little extra conversions on the ork. I added treads to the feet, a yarmulke, and sideburns. That's right, he's "Orkthodox"
4. The Santa Marine is wielding a candy-cane shiv, cuz there's nothing more dangerous during the holiday season.

I got second place, but I still ended up receiving the prize I wanted (Sisters of Twilight on Forest Dragon), so it's all good.

It sounds like the game-store owner wants to do the holiday theme for the next painting competition too, so I'm already trying to brainstorm a few ideas.
1. A Tau Snowman
2. A Wood Elf Dryad decked out with Christmas tree trimmings
3. An IG "Nutcracker" (maybe a Mordian or Commissar Gaunt) vs a Rat-Ogre "Rat King"
4. An Orc riding a rocket-powered sled

I'm leaning toward the Dryad, since it seems easier and a lot cheaper. Plus it'd be creative enough that no one else would do it.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

If Classic Movie Monsters were Chapters

Warhammer & Warhammer 40k are rife with puns, homages, and word play. The game universe is awash with references to literature, pop culture, historical figures, world cultures, & myths. In this section, I draw inspiration from various sources to imagine them as new armies of the Imperium.

Both Fantasy and 40k have their share of monsters, and I thought this month would be a good time to imagine some of the Classic Universal monsters. Several of these archetypes have already been claimed in 40k: the Blood Angels are vampiric, the Space Wolves have some werewolf aspects to their back story, etc. although this still leaves several classic characters up for grabs.

(Just FYI, I opted not to represent Frankenstein's Monster here since I already used that as inspiration for the Prometheans)

Brine Reavers
Classic Monster: Gillman from Creature from the Black Lagoon
Colors: Forest Green with Sage green forearms, lower legs, torso, and eagle
Concept: Following a disastrous battle on Hadal II it became apparent than the Imperium lacked elite amphibious combat specialists. In order to fill this need, the Adeptus Mechanicus sought to create a chapter from a stable line of semi-aquatic abhumans.

Pious Shadows
Classic Monster: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Colors: White and black halved
Concept: In an effort to satiate the Black Rage of their Blood Angel geneseed this chapter's apothecaries created an elixer capable of evoking their inbred rage in a controlled manner, as well an elixer to suppress it. It was thought that this would alleviate the psychic turmoil, but as time has gone on, the potion's original recipe has been lost, and it has become harder and harder to pull marines from a never-ending rage.

Rictus Chords
Classic Monster: The Phantom of the Opera
Colors: Purple with a white helmet, and black torso, chest, & backpack
Concept: A chapter obsessed with music and sound, it is thought that a mutation in the chapter's gene-seed has affected the marines' Lyman's Ear, creating a compulsive interest in aural arts. For this reason Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor Christine has embedded herself within the chapter to monitor them for signs of slipping to Slaanesh.

Pharaoh Lords
Classic Monster: The Mummy
Colors: Gold with Royal blue backpack, shoulders, & helmet stripes
Concept: When not in combat, this chapter sequesters itself within its massive fortress hidden within the desert sands. When they return, battle brothers are interred within life support sarcophagus similar to that found in Dreadnought armor, where they slumber until their next battle. Any who disturb their rest without cause are eliminated quickly and brutally.

The Unseen
Classic Monster: The Invisible Man
Colors: Silver with black shoulder trim & eagle
Concept: A chapter obsessed with stealth tactics, their Librarians sought every method of obscuring their warriors from the enemy. They were so single-minded in their efforts that they turned to the highest order of sorcery to meet this end. The chapter would almost certainly be considered excomunicate traitorous, but they have not been seen ever since.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

That looks familiar


That was my response a little bit ago while skimming through projects over at kickstarter.

I noticed there was a new project for Earthdawn miniatures. I had to check it out, since a buddy of mine, Morgan, helped write the newest edition of the Earthdawn RPG (check out Morgan's blog here).

The minis are from an old series by Heartbreaker Miniatures. I'm not sure when they were made, but I'd wager it was close to 2 decades ago, judging from the style and proportions. Some of the minis are pretty rough.

Regardless. I was checking out the offerings and I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

See that guy in the lower right corner? I painted him (it? I'm not sure if they have sexes). You might recognize the mini if any of you followed me back on Warseer when I was writing my Dark Sun campaign project log.

These were painted up to be a pair of Pterran brothers that were running a slave quarry in my old Dark Sun game. It just so happened that my FLGS has a few old T'skrang minis for sale, & they fit the bill nicely.

I wasn't sure why they'd use my miniature in their KS at first, but when I did a google search for similar minis there weren't many other options. The only other painted T'Skrang#3 mini has it's weapon swapped, so I bet they couldn't really use it for promotion.

I was a bit conflicted seeing a picture of one of my minis used for a kickstarter. It's flattering to see someone liked my painting well enough to promote their product, but also gives me pause, since I hadn't been asked permission (as far as I knew). After some digging though I eventually figured out they'd snagged the photos from the Reaper message boards. When I logged in I found they had, in fact, asked permission, & if they could credit me. Bonus.

So now I'm not conflicted, simply flattered. I'm also eyeballing a few of the minis for future painting. (I can't help it)


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ordo Fanaticus Club Challenge: What I Learned from my first Tournament

This weekend I participated in my first big 40k tournament. More to the point, I played more 40k in two days than I have in the last two editions (about 7 years, really). Ordo Fanaticus Club Challenge (OFCC) is a more casual tourney, with more emphasis on painting and sportsmanship than other competitions. They sell themselves as a place to play if you've never been to a tourney before, which really appealed to me.

In truth, it was difficult at times, but I enjoyed my first experience.
Our Team, the Imperial Fist Bumps
So if you're thinking about going to your first tourney, here are a few things I wished I'd known beforehand. (plus a few shots of some of the minis I liked)
One of the best parts was seeing all the well painted armies, and models that I've never seen in person before, like this Ultraforge mini

Get a Board
The first, and most important lesson I garnered from my first tourney is definitely to get a display board.

Walking around, you could see the boards were extensions of the armies. When I first arrived teams would display their game boards along the tables, and often the best boards got the most of attention.

The high quality displays matched the bases of the minis themselves, incorporating themselves into the scenery, sharing details like terrain, lighting effects, or bits. A lot of people clearly spent a lot of time creating, painting & tricking out their boards & it was really impressive.

Beyond the artistic appeal, the boards serve an important function as well: Carrying your army. Loading and unloading my daemon army from it's carrying cases took a long time, and moving it from table to table was cumbersome. People with their own game boards were able to simply put their armies in place & walk to their next game. After my first game I realized it was a real hassle to be without, so I borrowed a tupperware tub lid from the terrain containers and used that to haul my army around for the rest of the tourney. 

If you want to go to a tournament get a board. It doesn't have to be fancy. One of my teammates bought a cork board on his way to Portland. It worked great. Get a board.

It's Tiring
You shouldn't leave a day of gaming feeling like you spent a whole day at work, but that's how I felt at the end of the first day. We spent 9 hours gaming, with a few extra hours of lunch, inspecting people's armies, and whatever it is people chose to do afterwards. (I also chose to drive to and from the event each day, which added 3 hours to my commute each day)

I'm also night owl so the 8am start took a small toll on me as well.

By the end of my third game I was leaning my back hard against a nearby pillar to help ease my spine. I was tired, my back ached, and my feet were throbbing. Then I drove another 90 minutes. I was sore.

So quick bits of advice to ease your body:
* Wear comfy shoes (one of my teammates suffered for wearing flip flops)
* Drink plenty of liquids
* Sit when you have the opportunity

in one battle I faced a pirate themed Daemon list that featured a Helchicken & a Helparrot.

Take everything you'll need
This might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but if you're used to playing pickup games with friends, you might not always take all the essentials along with you. The idea is to be properly prepared for each game, or able to help out a teammate should they have forgotten anything. Some items include:

* Base Rule Book
* Your army book(s)
* 5+ printed army lists (one for yourself, each of your opponents, & the tourney organizers)
* Templates
* Dice
* Measuring Tape
* Glue

That last one is important. My Be-lakor mini lost his arm, & I saw several necron wraiths snap in transit to their next game. Minis are being packed, unpacked, moved from table to table, and placed in some pretty precarious situations during games. There's a really good chance something will break, & when it does it's important to have glue ready to fix it.

Be Prepared to Lose
OFCC is billed as a friendlier tournament. Before the event teams send in their lists to admin who rate how aggressive the list is, and they discourage powerful, hyper-competitive lists. That being said, there were still a lot of Imperial Knights, Wraithnights, Waveserpent spam, and I even faced a Firestorm Redoubt (a 600+ point fortification of death). Even a friendly competition got pretty competitive, so be ready for that.

That being said, even when I was losing I kept it friendly. Laugh when your dice get the better of you. At one point my Flying Daemon Prince Warlord with 4+ Feel No Pain was shot from the sky, took a wound for falling, then was promptly blown to bits by a D-strength missile without a save (If my math is correct, there's only a 0.8% chance of that happening). In another game I lost my Lord of Change to the first round of shooting from Orks (!).

The dice gods were laughing at me. (Others noticed too & even offered to buy me new ones)

I laughed though. It doesn't do you any good to get upset about dice rolls beyond your control. All you can do is joke about the situation and change your battle plans moving forward. I ended up winning the game against the Orks, & even tied 10-10 against the Astra Militarum player with the enormous fortification.

Make some Friends
Finally, tournaments are a rare opportunity to meet fellow hobbyists from all around. The Portland tournament drew folks from Spokane and Canada (each over 300 miles away) so take some time to connect with other people who are passionate enough about the hobby to come long distances to compete.

I played five games over the weekend & all of my opponents seemed like good people. Each game was slated for three hours, which is plenty of time to get to know someone. My first game was against a guy named Aaron, & it turned out we both served as military cryptologists, and even went to the same school. It's great to make those kind of connections anywhere, let alone with someone who shares the same pass-time. Plus if you continue to play tournaments there's a good chance you'll see the same faces over and over again, so making a few connections is a good way of ensuring you'll have a good time at future events as well.

Going to your first tournament can be a bit daunting, but you should go prepared to to meet some fun people, play all of your games with class, and to be sore for a few days afterwards. It'll be worth it though.