Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Goodbye, Game Parlor

Today, my very first Friendly Local Game Store will close its doors forever. It was announced late last month that the owners will be retiring and "the store with every type of game" will be no more.

I've played these nerdy games a long time, but it wasn't until I moved to Northern Virginia that I found my first true FLGS. I'd been to many in my MtG days but none of them were "my" game store. They were just a place I bought cards and played sometimes.

But Game Parlor was different. It became special to me. It's where I cut my teeth on 40k, and where I met many of the people I now delightfully call friends. I have so many fond memories of this place. I ran my first tournament there. I won my first prize there- smoking boots for last place (which was a new set of dice). I even nearly got snowed in there when I went for a game of 40k on a day it was supposed to flurry but turned into nearly a foot of snow.

On Sunday, the community threw them a farewell potluck. One last hurrah. It was nice to see so many familiar faces there one last time. I couldn't help but get a little choked up when Cindy did, as she gave a small speech thanking us, when really, it should be us thanking her for nearly 25 years of gaming.

Game Parlor will be missed. I wish Rob and Cindy all the best.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Eldar Fire Dragons

   I got a delightful break from bikers to work on a box of Eldar Fire Dragons this week. The client wanted them ASAP, so they went from box to table top in 6 days. Considering my normal speed is kind of slow, I'm pretty proud of that.

   These were a lot of fun to paint. I haven't had much opportunity to work with yellow and orange on this scale before. I pulled out the airbrush for the base yellow and base orange. These are single piece figures (except for the big gun) so I couldn't have just left their heads off and airbrushed them separately. And they're Finecast which meant fixing a bunch of messed up details.

   After a little creative masking, I was able to use the airbrush for both colors without issue. I used one of the new Citadel Air colors for the orange. I had to thin it a bit more than I expected, but it went through the brush well enough. Too bad the paint pot is total rubbish for using it with an airbrush. I have no idea why they would sell airbrush paint in normal pots. Looks like I'm investing in some dropper bottles.

   I'm very pleased with how the orange turned out on them. These dudes are all shredded (criminy, look at those buns!) so it gave me plenty of opportunity to play around with the highlighting on them. I've also exceeded my butt jokes quota for the month.

   When I turned them over to the client, he handed me a pile of Swooping Hawks (with a two week turn around), so you'll be seeing more Eldar again soon. Those will be fun because half are painted but require touch ups and the unpainted half he'd like me to match to the first half. I'll try to take a few more photos of the process with them.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Just a note...

   I'm not dead yet, but I am dead tired. Grad school has been taking a much bigger toll on me than I expected. I feel like I've done nothing but run around with my hair on fire since August. Don't work full time and go to school full time, kids.

Krom gets it.
   I've hardly gamed at all since it started. And I've barely painted. I went to the NOVA Open, bought a bunch of minis, and forgot to write all about it. I'm finishing up a current commission and that's been it. And it's been bloody bikers. I've painted so many of those this year. I haven't painted a miniature for myself in months.

   This, of course, hasn't stopped me from collecting more miniatures. Oh, far from it. I made a killing at the Wally's Basement flea market at Historicon. I started collecting Malifaux. My Raging Heroes Toughest Girls of the Galaxy miniatures finally arrived early last month. As did my Stonehaven half-Orcs just before that. And now I'm waiting on Blood Rage to ship at any moment.

   And as of today, I officially have an entire Tyranid army. They're all in boxes and waiting to be unleashed to consume the biomass. About 2600 points worth of them. I bought the last bit of what I need from a friend today. I have even decided on a color scheme. And some day I will put them together. But that day probably isn't soon.

   My finals are this week (yay, quarter system...) so of course I want to do everything but study. Like clean, write this blog post, and make fancy foods. But most of all, I want to hobby. But I can't because I sort of need to pass my corporate taxation class.

   I miss painting for fun and relaxation. I miss writing posts, taking photos, and hearing from all of you lovely people. I just miss the hobby. And it looks like I will keep on missing it for some time, since I don't graduate until June. Well, that's enough procrastinating I suppose.

   Please, do me a favor, would you? Go spend a little time painting, do it for me. You're a dear.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Stonehaven Halfling Adventurers KS

Long time no see, eh? I have just a quick little update to today. It's been all work and (mostly) no play here lately. My new job has been kicking my butt with some projects. But I've still been getting some hobby on, including playing a new game *gasp*. More on that later.

But I wanted to share a Kickstarter project that I'm excited about which is a set of Halfling Adventurers by my ever-favorite Stonehaven Miniatures. It's live now and has 9 more days until it's complete. They've already reached their funding goal and have unlocked a ton of cool stretch goals.

One of 4 available merry bands.
I've pledged for everything available thus far, because I have problems not converting my money into miniatures. I'm very fond of the non-adventerers they have available this time as well- a whole inn's worth of staff. I love characters like this that you can use to fill out your RPG campaign scenes with. Who needs a generic NPC when you could have a halfling stable hand?

More to come later this week, including an update on what I've been up to (besides working long hours). Hint: it starts with Histor and ends with icon.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Hobby Home

It's been a month since I moved, and I got all these fancy hobby-related goodies I thought I would share. I promise I've been painting, too, but that's for another upcoming post.

When I got the new place, I realized I have a ton of space in my living room for hobby furniture. A little time in Ikea and I had exactly what I needed. First was the most important part: the painting desk.

It's a Micke desk. For $80, a good deal. My favorite part is that the side shelves can be built on the right or the left. This was not a 100% necessity, I would have just drilled new holes to switch it around myself, but it was much easier with it purposely made that way. Very handy because I intended the right side to be in the corner of the room.

I has a very large and spacious drawer, too, which helps me keep all those 'desk' items accessible- scissors, pens, rulers, stapler, etc. There's no actual hobby items in there, but I needed a convenient place to keep all of those things. All my hobby tools are actually in the shelving unit to the right of the desk.

These are actually two separate units from Target. The top piece is 2 shelves high, which I've had for a long time. The bottom piece is 3 high, and new. They're part of the ever-popular cube storage collections. Both the 2-cube and 3-cube styles are still available, plus a whole plethora of cube styles and colors. Most are stackable with units by the same brand, too. You're looking at $15-30 for each of these, depending on the brand.

The fabric cubes are also from Target. This particular pattern I got on clearance, so might not be around. But they come in a zillion colors. They range from $6 to about $20 (for the really fancy ones). The tricky part is making sure you get ones that fit your unit- they're not all sized the same, as I found out the hard way. Just check the measurements on the package.

Most exciting, though, are the plastic drawers. They're Sterilite 3-drawer bins and they're excellent for storing all your hobby essentials. Plus they fit nicely into those cube units. I haven't labeled the drawers yet, but they are nice and organized. There's one for tools, airbrush supplies, extra paint, sculpting goodies, bases, and basing supplies. Note that P3 paint pots stand up nicely in them, but dropper bottles don't. For $9 a pop, they're a good deal for the organizationally challenged.

I get a lot of questions about where I got my Adeptus Astartes poster. Unfortunately, you can't just buy it. It was a free promotional item when a new GW store opened up in my area back in January. You can occasionally find things like this on eBay.

Last but not least are the fantastic display cases. You may recall the Detolf one I purchased ages ago, which it turns out they still sell, despite it having been on "clearance" when I bought one. The ones I purchased this time around are the Klingsbo cabinets and they're a hundred times nicer (at only twice the price).

These cabinets are sturdier, have 5 glass shelves instead of 4, are raised off the ground, and have a lock so you can use to secure them closed (the lock also makes a nice, sizable handle which the Detolf lacks). All huge bonuses. Plus, they also have a nice wire shelf at the bottom that looks really nice empty but can also be used... as a shelf. So it has 6 shelves in all.

It's a little taller than the Detolf one, but because it has 5 glass shelves instead of 4, each shelf has a little less clearance. That's totally OK, though, because my Imperial Knight and Dark Elf on Black Dragon both fit in there nicely with several inches to spare. It's about 10.5" clearance between the shelves, and there aren't too many minis that tall. Certainly none that I plan to purchase. When the time comes, even Smaug will fit in there, though he will likely get a whole shelf to himself.

I originally bought just one because $140 is a little steep. It's totally worth the money, but I just moved and had to buy all kinds of stuff (like, that desk and storage stuff and a dresser, too) I couldn't really afford another $140 cabinet. The apartment building does actually expect me to pay rent on the place, after all.

My parents had helped me move, and were helping organize the place while I was at work (greatest parents ever) when my mom decided I needed a second cabinet. Not just because I have enough minis to fit in two but because we're apparently psychically linked and she thought the living room would look nicer with one unit on either side of the TV. That's exactly what I said about the Detolf one when I got it years ago. So they drove an hour away to Ikea to get me another one and had it assembled by the time I got home from work. Best surprise ever.

I haven't added lights yet, but it's on my list of to-dos. There's a lot of little things I still need to get for the new place (plus a sofa...) so they're just going to have to wait a little while longer. But there are some nice ones that are wireless out there I'm looking in to.

The whole place has really come together surprisingly well. I'm just so thrilled that I got a space so conductive to hobbying. It's by no means perfect (I have no paint rack yet, I'm borrowing one in the meantime) but it really gives me no excuse not to paint for an hour or two every night. Nothing needs to get dragged out or put away, it's all just there, ready and waiting.

The best part? It's actually been working. I've been painting and using the airbrush a lot since I got settled. Posts with pics of those items to come shortly. But almost every night I've gotten some hobby done. I might actually be able to start making a dent in the huge backlog of minis I have. Who'd have thought? I think I am going to start with my Saga Revenants and then work on some terrain pieces I've been collecting.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Little May Update

May has been a *busy* month, but you wouldn't know it from the state of the site. I finished the Dark Angel biker commission (yay!) and I moved house. I'm really looking forward to a much more chill June.

The commission was supposed to be totally finished before I moved, but an apartment became available about a month sooner than I had expected. Then I got a call letting me know one would be ready in 2-3 weeks, which two days later turned into "it's available now, come sign the lease or we'll give it to someone else." Well, ok.

I did the majority of the move (most of the big stuff) over Memorial Day weekend with a ton of help from my parents (and their trailer). After a week, a bunch of new furniture, and many emptied boxes later, I have something resembling a livable space now. I'm still not sure where a lot of stuff is just yet, but I'm making progress.

So, I have a Darkshroud and box of Thunderwolves left to finish of the commission. But, on the bright side, I'll get to paint them on my shiny new painting table!

This is a very work-in-progress shot, but it's really coming together. Poster is hung now and there's stuff organized on the shelves. Now if only I'd remembered to buy a chair to sit in... oh well. Kitchen chair will suffice in the meantime.

I also received my Carnevale Kickstarter goodies on Friday! A nice little housewarming gift, if I do say so. Although, I did also get a Garden of Morr as an actual housewarming gift. I have some pretty great friends, just saying.

I've barely had any time to do anything other than peek in the box and make sure everything looked like it was there. I hope I can dig into them a little deeper this week.

There probably won't be any hobbying for me this week, other than putting together the Darkshroud. I have lots to unpack and this weekend I'm attending my college reunion. Then it's more unpacking, I suspect.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Dawn of the Airbrush

 It's been a busy month at chez Chickhammer. I started a fantastic new job and I've found a new love- the airbrush. A woman has needs, don't judge.

Just playing around.
 I've been working on a Dark Angels commission (largely Ravenwing Bikers) and the client had an airbrush which he kindly let me borrow. I used it for ten minutes and I was in love. I base coated the entire fleet (I say fleet because there's like 50 of them) in a little over half an hour.

Base coated!
 I decided to make the bikes a very dark grey and the power armor legitimately black, to create a little bit of contrast. I thought all black everything just looked incredibly flat. The airbrush was immensely helpful in this endeavor. I managed to do all the dark grey and the white with the airbrush, after some masking off at least.

 Then they were ready to start the brush work.

 I had a little bit of an issue with overspray with the white, but not nearly as much as I had expected. It's so unfortunate that these are largely Dark Vengeance models, because those jerks are attached to their bikes. Makes it a lot harder to airbrush them.

 Fortunately, I also have a bunch of Black Knights to do and they are blessedly separate pieces. I've gotten a good bit of them done so far and I can't wait to start working on the Apothecary. Looking forward to the challenge of the white on him.

 This airbrush has really changed my entire outlook on painting. It's going to save me a ton of time, and can do things I haven't even begun to try. I can't wait to see what other amazing things I can get done with the airbrush. My initial thoughts turn to Smaug...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Raging Heroes TGG Freebie Rewards

About 2 years back, Raging Heroes launched their Toughest Girls of the Galaxy Kickstarter. It was scheduled to deliver last year, but due to its wild popularity, it has been delayed. They simply were unable to produce that volume of miniatures in the allotted time. There are worse problems to have, I'm sure. A lot of people have received minis already, but I opted to wait for one whole shipment, so I had none. Until now!

Raging Heroes has just launched a new Kickstarter, for Sisters of Eternal Mercy, Lust Elves, and Dark Elves, each in Sci-Fi and Fantasy versions. They felt terrible about starting a new one before finishing delivery of their first (though I understand their motivations), so they decided to ship out the first Kickstarter's freebie minis to everyone who backed the project for free.

I was already ecstatic about their new Kickstarter TGG2 (go check it out, there is still time to back it through Paypal even though the campaign is over) but now I've actually received my freebies from the first one. Well, it's actually been about two weeks since they arrived, I am woefully behind on posting this.

They are SO wonderful, I can't wait to get all the Sisters of Eternal Mercy in the current project. There were 14 freebies in all, 11 ladies and 3 mascots. All the freebies came in resin, though you could select metal or resin for the other rewards. I opted to risk getting them all in resin (mystery resin can be really hit or miss, usually miss). But I am so glad that I did, because they're stunning.

The details are crisp and they look even better in person than they did in the images they've shared with us, or in these images either.

Faceless Mother, front.
Faceless Mother, back.
I just pulled out just a few to photograph, but there's a lot more. How could I possibly choose which one to paint first?

 Particularly charming are the mascots for each of the three factions. They also included mascots for the factions in TGG2 as well. Harry the baby hippo might be my favorite.

Like so many other projects, these are sadly sitting in the painting queue. I'm knee-deep in Ravenwing bikers right now but as soon as they're finished it will be time for some personal projects.

I'm a little behind because I got a new job (yay!!) and I'm busy trying to wind down with old clients and ramp up with new ones. But this new job means more money (aka more minis) and more free time to spend with said minis. The best of all possible outcomes, really.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Adepticon 2015: Saga Grand Melee

Last, but certainly not least, was the Saga Grand Melee that I think I was looking forward to the most. I had a smashing time playing Saga at Adepticon the year before, and this one had the promise of being even more awesome. Partially because I knew it would be bigger, but mostly because it was an officially sponsored Saga Grand Melee.

Gripping Beast, the makers of Saga, have sponsored some Grand Melees across the pond, but this was the first one in the States. They gave all players a really cool tournament blister pack that included a special Warlord figure, event-exclusive fatigue markers, and a special kite-shield decal.We also received an incredibly swanky event shirt and event pub glass, which they even filled with beer for us. What's not to love?

I opted to take Casey's Vikings instead of my own Bretons for purely practical reasons- they're a much smaller army. His 6 points of Vikings takes up about a quarter of the space my fully mounted Breton army does. I'm sorry my boys had to stay home, but because I flew out to Chicago, space was a serious issue.

It also wasn't heart breaking because I've fallen out of love with my Bretons. I never really got into their play-style. Now with the changes in Crescent and Cross to mounted figures, they take a fatigue if they end their move in terrain, they're even less appealing. Several scenarios are terrain-related, and they can't go into buildings either, so it's just not an ideal tournament army.

The Vikings didn't do as well as their Space Viking counterparts, but I had a blast playing with them. I went 1-2 for the tournament. I took a Valkyrie as my Walord, 2 points of Warriors, 3 points of Hearthguard, and 1 point of Berserkers. Those guys can really jam, too.  I enjoyed their play style so much that I am seriously considering starting a Viking army.

The terrain they had was amazing. Lots of pieces by 4Ground, which have some fantastic thatched roof huts and the like, but also some custom made pieces. The terrain was largely put together by Eric Hagen who was one of the organizers of the event. He made this piece which I thought was particularly lovely.

He also put together this one absolutely stunning Great Hall table, just for fun, and had his own army hanging out on it.

The organizers definitely put a ton of time and thought into the event, and they did a fantastic job. We had some fun scenarios, and they added in one from Crescent and Cross, too, which was new to me. I haven't played any of those scenarios yet, save for the one in the final round of the event.

I wish I had been able to play both days of the tournament, it was on Friday and Saturday with 3 games on each. But the 40k Friendly took up my whole Friday. Everyone I played was a lot of fun, and I'd love to have doubled that enjoyment.

 Lastly I'd like to mention how fantastic the prize support was. First, that big great hall in the last photo? One of those was a raffle prize. It's humungous. I also won a raffle prize, which was a lovely set of acrylic measuring sticks for a Crusaders army.

I have been talking about doing a Crusaders army, too, so I think this is probably a kick in the pants to get to it! But the call of the Vikings may be too strong.

This is Part 4. Also see:
Part 1: Adepticon 2015 Recap
Part 2: Hobby Seminars
Part 3: 40k Friendly

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Adepticon 2015: 40k Friendly

Tournament scene got you down? Tired of aggressive power gamers and unfun net-lists? Do you actually want to enjoy your games and the company of your opponent? Then Adepticon's 40k Friendly is the event for you. I've never had a better time at a 40k event. Ever.

They gave us colored sashes, which denoted what team we were on. I was team blue! We got team points for game points, and for earning badges. Some badges were earned for doing certain things in games, others were given out for "sillier" reasons, such as the Jameson badge I earned for enjoying some libations during the event.

We did some silly things in between rounds, too, including a pie eating contest and a parade where ran around the 40k GT Championship games, singing about how much fun we were having. Oh, and they gave us bandanas to wave around, too. They also had a drinking contest between the team captains and we came up with a team chant.

The theme was Friendly the 13th. We had a Crystal Lake in the center of each table, and the scenarios all involved Jason trying to hurt us in some fashion. The last game was the most fun, because not only were you battling your opponent, you were also fighting off Jason himself!

My Rune Priest won ;-)
My first game was fun, but a bit of a blow-out. Not only did I get max points for primary and secondary, but my opponent didn't even get bonuses for badge scenarios. My first tabling! And in the Friendly, of all events. I did bring a *few* Thunderwolves... eight is only a few, right?

The second game was even more enjoyable, though, because we got paired up with a teammate and played a two-on-two game. That was right fun, especially since I got paired with the Blue team captain who had Dark Angels. We, of course, had our honorary Wolf vs. Angels duel between champions first.

We won that game, too. Two wins in a row? I was officially on a hot streak. The final game we played was one-on-one again, sort of. They gave us a Jason who had rules, and could move, and wanted to (surprisingly) attack us. Some people were killing him over and over again (he kept getting back up!) but we weren't as successful.

We only ended up killing Jason once, but I scored points for the killing blow. We tied on the Primary mission, but I won on secondaries. It didn't occur to me until I was telling someone about the event later, but I actually went 3-0, undefeated. I've been playing for 5 years and I've never managed that until now!

Pink team ended up coming away with the win overall. I guess the rest of my team wasn't quite on the same hot streak I was. But win or lose overall, the event was absolutely fantastic. Just hours and hours of laughing and carrying on and enjoying the game.

I ended up with about 14 badges.
If at all possible, I want to play at the Friendly again next year. It was such a unique and fun experience. Things are a little all up in the air now (I just got a new job, am moving in the next few months, etc) so I don't know if I can make it out just yet. But if I can, you can bet I'll be showing up for the Friendly. I really recommend trying it at least once.

This is Part 3. Also see:
Part 1: Adepticon 2015 Recap
Part 2: Hobby Seminars
Part 4: Saga Grand Melee
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