Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Set New Coordinates...

In the not so grim darkness of the very near future...

I'm moving house! My lovely girlfriend and I are moving into a lovely apartment with a very lovely little office that gets lots of sunlight. In the interim, this will unfortunately require me to pack up my hobby projects and materials. I may try to keep a few minis and paints out to work on when I have a spare moment, but it's hard to justify such frivolities when there's so much other work to do. First world problems.

This is a bit of a placeholder post, as I had hoped to update in March, but scouring the online classifieds, viewing apartments, and beginning to purge and pack took most of my attention. I've been giving a lot of thought to how to pursue my Rogue Trader project. I can't seem to stop acquiring suitable models, GW and otherwise, so I'll have a nice variety of forces to choose from. I may roll up a random scenario using the scenario generator and assemble models and scenery according to that. I'm still mulling over whether to go "pure" Rogue Trader, using only the original rulebook, or add in rules and army lists from the various supplements, of which there are many. Regardless of which iteration of the vehicle or robot rules I choose, I think I definitely want to keep marines Toughness 3 with a 4+ save, it just seems truer to the rulebook's artwork that way.

Well, that's it for now. I should hopefully resume regular blogging once I've settled in and fully unpacked at the new place.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Quick and Easy Basing

Let's talk basing methods for a bit. A very mundane topic, I know. Lots of people swear by the trusty old pva glue and sand combo, and I used to use a variation involving watered-down wood glue and sawdust, but I've always found it to be a bit messy. My workspace is dirty enough without loose specks of sand or sawdust getting everywhere. Keeping stray glue (and therefore sawdust) off my minis was a pain (I used worn out brushes for glue application, so it was never as precise as I hoped). Basing had really become a chore. However, I eventually stumbled onto a solution, pumice gel medium.

Where have you been all my life?

This stuff is sold at art supply stores and is used to create textures or grounds for pastels. It comes in several different grades: fine, coarse, and extra coarse. I decided on coarse as a happy medium (no pun intended). It's basically gritty goop that comes in a plastic tub. Fun stuff.  You can just put a dab of the stuff on a base and use a small flat tool to smooth it out. I used a sculpting tool to spread it around. It's surprisingly controllable, but if any gets on your mini or over the edge of the base, it's easy to wipe off with just your finger (or your tool if it gets in a narrow space). It also has a fairly long drying time, so you can manipulate it or clean off any excess well before it sets.

When you first apply it, it looks fairly thick. In fact, I had anticipated it creating the effect of my minis wading through some muck. After a day of drying, it flattens out pretty well. You can also squish it down before it completely sets.

Immediately after application.
Shorty looks like he's playing in the snow.
After being left to dry for a day, it just looks like a sandy base.
Any excess wet pumice gel can just be scraped back into the tub to be used later, so you don't have to worry about it going to waste. It cleans up easily, you can just wipe your tool down with a wet paper towel (oh dear). It's fairly cheap, too. I think I paid like $8 for an 8-ounce tub, which should last me for several hundred miniatures from the looks of it. Hopefully this comes in handy for anyone who's tired of slopping glue onto their bases and dunking them in a tub of sand.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Lost in the Warp

As is so often the case for those of us invested in fantasy gaming, reality has pulled my attention away from hobby activity. I can't muster much enthusiasm for painting after 11 hours at the office. Thankfully, the worst is over now (all those 11-hour days ensured that my work was completed well ahead of the scheduled deadline) and I can get back to painting minis and blogging.

The Rogue Trader project has been coming along well, I currently have painted 9 orks and the great worm, and have started the pointy-hatted squad leader from the "Space Ork Raiders" boxed set. After that, I'm thinking of working on some human mercs or a giant deathworld spider. I'd like to get a bit more practice in before tackling my RT adventurers.

I've also been playing D&D 4E (totally not Oldhammer!) with some friends lately. It's my first time playing D&D since the late 90s, and while the current incarnation lacks the old school "pathetic aesthetic" that so many of us love, it's still pretty fun to roll dice and bullshit with friends on a Sunday afternoon (my character is a blustering first level fighter named Friedrich Mercurius, who, due to my terrible die rolling, struggles in combat against mere kobolds). Since 4E emphasizes combat being played out on a grid with counters or minis, the group has decided to purchase minis for their characters, and I've purchased some packs of monsters from Reaper's Bones line to provide us with adversaries. The Bones minis are obviously very economical, and I really like the larger monsters (like the great worm), but the smaller minis are a bit soft on detail (the giant rats) and thin weapons like spears invariably need to be straightened. My skeletons are leaning in various directions with floppy weapons, but at least they paint up quickly.

Painting my first fantasy models since 1998 has given me a bit of an urge to branch out from the 41st millennium. Some of my old 40k buddies have talked about organizing a Mordheim campaign and I've been rather taken by Whiskey Priest's "How Do You Start Oldhammer?" post at the Leadpile (and it's related topic on the Oldhammer Forum) as an exercise in building a small force on the cheap. I can definitely see a box of Perry Brothers plastics working well for both of these possibilities. Still, I'd like to focus on my Rogue Trader project and get a couple of small opposing forces (plus alien creatures) and some scenery finished before jumping too deeply into anything else.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Primary Objective

January 15th. A bit late for a "New Year's Resolution"-type of post. In my experience, calling something a "resolution" is pretty much damning it to failure anyway, so let's call this a declaration of objectives. I've long been a slow painter with a short attention span, so my main objective for 2014 is to paint 100 miniatures. 100 miniatures pales in comparison to some people's yearly output, but I think it will make for a reasonable starting goal (we'll see where I'm at by July). I got burned out when painting Orks and Imperial Guard for 4th and 5th edition, but pursuing this goal from an Oldhammer perspective should allow me to avoid that by focusing on creating warband-style forces of 10 to 30 models. Additionally, I will switch things up by painting a creature or terrain piece for every 5 infantry models I paint, which should give me an incentive to finish off the grunts.

My first Rogue Trader force is going to be a band of orks, primarily built from the classic Space Ork Raiders boxed set. Two of them were seen in a previous post, and I've painted an additional four. The goal is to have roughly 30 of them, organized in squads of 5, with a smattering of command and heavy weapons figures to season. I've also got a "Killer"-class dreadnought (still on the lookout for a "Super-Attack Onslaughter" model, though).

It begins.

After the orks are ready, I've got some space marines and mercs/adventurers on the agenda.

Sweet, sweet beakies.

A truly motley crew.

As my reward for finishing my fifth ork, I painted a Reaper Bones Great Worm. I went for a "sandworm" look; I drybrushed several layers of Citadel and P3 paints (Charadon Granite, Gun Corps Brown, Rucksack Tan, Hammerfall Khaki, and Bleached Bone) culminating in a Devlan Mud wash. I don't know how much the end result benefits from all those layers, but it was a fun figure to paint. This beast will serve as a burrowing GM-controlled creature.

Two of my recent orks about to run afoul of the worm.

Luckily, reinforcements arrive for the boyz!

I still need to paint the bases on my new orks and worm, but I'm going to wait until I have a few more models painted so that I can do it en masse. Time to paint some more orks! 'Ere we go!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Ambull in the Pantry

What's the point of a miniatures blog if there aren't any pictures of miniatures?

A couple of orks trying to defend their static grass from the predations of a roving ambull. Before you know it, he'll be in the gesso and it will be all over for the boyz.

I painted the ambull in 2007 and the orks in December of 2013.

"A beginning is a very delicate thing."

Hello, and welcome to the blog. I'm something of a lapsed wargamer. I've been collecting miniatures and playing Warhammer 40,000 off and on since 1996 (right around the end of the "red" period of Second Edition). Around 2009, due to changing finances and changing priorities, I took a break from 40K. I continued to read some blogs and forums to at least keep up with "the scene," and had a couple of friends who soldiered on through Sixth Edition ("Everyone uses flyers and fortifications now," they tell me), but it was tough to muster much enthusiasm when it looked like the focus of the game was now cramming as many vehicles as possible onto a 6' by 4' board. I had always favored smaller, more narrative-driven games, and I felt like I had been left behind. At least, until I found Tales From The Maelstrom. Here was something that really spoke to me, narrative-focused games with unconventional forces, well-written battle reports, great scenery and miniatures, a mix of vintage and modern.

I had always had a bit of a Rogue Trader fetish, starting back in my early days on the Internet, stumbling onto and the Rogue Trader Cult site. Eventually I acquired some of the old rulebooks through eBay, as well as a goodly collection of vintage miniatures. I was never able to get anyone to play with the old rules, but I loved having the books as reading material. The artwork and background were so evocative back before the universe became a grimdark parody of itself. It was such a relief to see what was happening at sites like Tales from the Maelstrom and learning of the greater Oldhammer community. It got me back in the game, so to speak.

So that brings me to now. Wargames were always a tough sell for many of my friends, although they enjoy boardgames and tabletop RPGs. I've found that it's much easier to get someone to play a miniatures game if they don't have to buy and paint a bunch of stuff beforehand (just look at the runaway success of Fantasy Flight Games' X-Wing Miniatures Game), so my current goal is to paint a variety of small forces suitable for playing Rogue Trader. This blog will chronicle my progress in that endeavor. Whether I can entice anyone to play remains to be seen.

Remember, the universe is a big place and, whatever happens, you will not be missed...