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

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Adepticon 2015: Hobby Seminars

At Adepticon, I leveled up so much as a painter. I put skill points into weathering, glazing, and freehand. I'm looking forward to using these new techniques. I certainly have no shortage of miniatures to try them on either.

The first class I took was the freehand seminar with Jessica Rich. She gave us a mini with a cloak said we were going to paint fleur de lis on it. I was skeptical but the result was spectacular. Here's how mine came out:

I'm really proud of it. I made them a little too close together but the effect still works because I managed to space them evenly. It looked a little fake when I first finished, two quick glazing coats later it looked brilliant.

She broke it down for us into little steps and it made an otherwise complicated image surprisingly easy to do. A great way to kick off the con, this was my first event.
The second class I took was a weathering class with Todd Swanson. This one was a blast, too. We started with just a foot, basically, and he showed us how to shade it effectively, and then added rust on top. He gave a us a great set of handouts, too.

Eventually, my foot ended up looking like this:

I was a little floored by how well he came out, considering it was all new stuff and we didn't have a whole lot of time. I  definitely spent the most time trying to blend the highlights and shadows into the thing. After that, the rust effects were devilishly simple to do.

Later, I took two different classes about competition painting, one geared toward getting the best army score taught by Caleb Wissenback and the second was about painting competitions by Kirill Zhilkov.

Caleb showed us James Wappel's fantastic Lizardmen army, and using some interesting placement techniques, helped us see how something as simple as how you present your models on the display board can make a huge impact on your score. He even took a look at my Space Wolves and gave me some tips on them, so no more getting a 30 paint score at the NOVA Open for me!

Kirill's class had some very similar points, but was all geared toward entering competitions. He had some fantastic advice about sketching out your concept and considering what you want to go for before actually starting to work. It actually made me feel a little bad for not finishing my Crystal Brush entry, because I think I could have gotten a lot of constructive feedback.

The last class I took was on Sunday, a glazing class taught by Rhonda Bender. We go a lovely Dark Sword miniature to work on, but I actually brought a mini with me that was mostly finished so I could concentrate just on the glazing and not worry about painting up the base colors and highlight first. 

I was able to master the consistency, getting the right paint to water ratio. That was clearly my problem when trying this on my own, I was going just too thin. It make it difficult for me to see any results without lots of layers.With a better ratio, I did a nice colorshift on a tabard from tan to pink.

All in all, I highly, highly recommend taking any of these classes if you get a chance in the future. I'm a little tempted to skip games entirely and just go full tilt into painting classes at the next con I attend.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Adepticon 2015 Recap!

Come and gone yet again. It went by so fast. As last year, I had an amazing time at Adepticon. There was so much to see and do, and I know missed a ton of stuff, too, despite my best efforts.

It was held at a new venue, the Schaumburg Convention Center. This place is quite larger than the Westin, laid out better for the con, and the hotel was fancy as all get out. How fancy, you ask? So fancy that the bathroom mirrors were also televisions. Television mirrors. I felt like I was living in the future.


I don't travel a whole lot, but this is the fanciest place I've ever stayed. Unfortunately, the food prices were reflective of that. The bar, the restaurant, and even the concessions set up in the con were all much pricier than I anticipated. I didn't have a car, so I ended up spending more on food than I intended. However, the draft beers at the bar were $6, and that was awesome because I was expecting it to be more like $9.

As expected with a change of venue, there were some hiccups- lack of signage, mostly- but what an improvement over last year. The flow was much better, bottlenecks didn't really happen, and there was so much more room in the vendor hall. They probably could have put a few more vendors in there, even.

As part of the VIG badge, I got early access to the vendor hall. There wasn't anything in particular I was dying to get except the Forgeworld event-only model. And they didn't even have him! Post office delayed him until later in the day, so I was able to pick him up later. I also picked up Konrad Curze.

I feel like I might have missed out on some of the VIG perks, only because this was my first year having it. I didn't know about the early access to the vendor hall until I saw a random tweet about it. No idea what else I might have missed, but I sure didn't miss out on any of the swag. That bag was swag-tastic.

I got about a dozen free individual figures (some inside the bag, some from coupons in the bag), plus a Legion Everblight starter for Hordes, and a Post-Human Republic starter for Dropzone Commander. I also got a coupon for a Wrath of Kings starter, so I picked up the Goritsi box because I love the wolves in there. I also got some paint, a Hordes mini rulebook, several coupons to use for vendors, Adepticon shirt, and Adepticon pub glass.

All in all, I didn't bring home quite as much stuff as last year, volume-wise (that Mumak is big!) but I definitely spent more money. If I hadn't just taken a big commission (doing a ton of Dark Angels soon) I wouldn't know what to paint first.

In the vendor hall, Reaper did a Paint-n-Take which was free and really fun. They had several Bones models you could choose from. I skipped a few because I already have them but settled on this creepy guy. I spent a solid hour working on him and chatting with some ladies I met there.

 In fact, I met a ton of people. I haven't had a better experience than I did this year, especially when it comes to painters. Every painter I met was a) crazy nice and b) so willing to share their secrets and give advice. It was fabulous, I can't wait to start applying some of the tricks and techniques I heard about. I also had some of the most fun opponents I've ever had, too.

Overall, I had a fabulous time, got to hang out with some really awesome people, and best of all, just had a lot of fun. I hope it works out that I will be able to make it back next year. With it being in the midst of tax season, it's too soon for me to tell. But I'd be heart-broken to miss it.

I'm going to do some additional posts on the hobby seminars, the 40k Friendly, and the Saga Grand Melee, so be sure to check back for those soon.

This is Part 1 of my Adepticon 2015 coverage. Also see:
Part 2: Hobby Seminars
Part 3: 40k Friendly
Part 4: Saga Grand Melee

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

March 2015 Kickstarter Recommendations

March is a bit of a banner month for Kickstarters. Because who doesn't have enough projects going on already? Certainly not me.

The first one is Blood Rage by CMON. I've not been too enamored by most of their Kickstarter campaigns but this one has so many things I love in a single game. Vikings? Check. Bad-ass ladies? Check. Giant Monsters? Check. Gorgeous sculpts? Check!

First, it's a board game, which is a nice change of pace for me. But what sold it was the absolutely lovely miniatures you use with the game. There are four different clans, each unique and tied to a particular animal. There are also plenty of big beasties (including a Frost Giant) for you to fight in the game as well. I'm really looking forward to getting this one.

The second project I'd like to mention is The Edge by Awaken Realms. It's a miniatures game. Details on the game itself are a bit thin- but I don't care. The miniatures are just stunning. Absolutely stunning. They have two factions unlocked and have a third as a potential stretch goal.

This Terror Cultist is one of the cooler sculpts. A little Tzeentchy, no? They also have some daemon hounds that I think would be amazing Khorne dogs.

Lastly, Outlaw Miniatures has unfurled their Wild West Exodus Unfinished Business campaign.  They are essentially trying to fund the four long-hinted-at additional factions for their game. As with their previous project, I really think the minis are spot-on and have a lot of character.

 I became familiar with this game at last year's Adepticon. They gave away a free mini as part of the swag bags. A lot of companies make crummy plastic minis, but Outlaw Miniatures isn't one of them. I'm very impressed with the quality of the figures and how easy the figures are to assemble.

 I've played the game several times but have not yet brought myself to buying a starter. It's a cool setting and a fun game, but I just don't know enough people locally who play it (as is my curse with several other games I enjoy).

Hopefully these projects haven't done as much damage to your wallet as they have to mine.
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