Sunday, January 15, 2017

Start of 30k: Sons of Horus

     After much deliberation on my part, I've elected to do Sons of Horus as my 30k army. I've had some boxes sitting around for a while, just waiting to be turned into something wonderful. I picked up Calth over the summer at Historicon for a steal, just needed a little more motivation to finally get started.

     I knew I wanted to do a traitor legion since my 40k army is loyalists. I really love the paint scheme. I just hope I still at least like it after I paint it onto some 40 or so marines.

     How do I not fall in love with this scheme? And as a happy coincidence, I picked up that color from Forge World's airbrush line while I was visiting Warhammer World over the summer. I also picked up the grand baddie Horus himself at Adepticon 2-3 years ago. No excuse not to paint him now. A perfect (totally accidental) plan!

     I'm still out on medical leave (recovering from surgery has some perks I guess) so I've had lots of time to assemble models in between naps. I managed to make some headway with these guys last week.

     The Contemptor is complete and Cataphractii termies are well on their way. I put in an order with Forge World for the cool Cataphractii SoH shoulders to use on them as well as some SoH MKII shoulder pads and SoH heads to spread around the units.

     It was just a small order to get me started. I'm on somewhat of a schedule with these, I'm using them as part of my 2017 Motivational challenge on the Freebootaz Forum. If you're a member you can track my progress there. The objective is to paint one unit a month and I can't exactly paint the termies without their shoulder pads!

     I'll be getting probably more shoulder pads, some torsos, possibly some weapons, and definitely the SoH Legion Command guys when I place my Adepticon order soon. And maybe Russ as well.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year In Review

2016 has been a bit of a mixed bag for me. Obviously, I've not done much blogging this year, though I have completed a good number of projects.

It's been a hard year, frankly. My hobby progress started out slow while I was finishing my Master's degree. I also had the honor and privilege of being asked to join 40k Radio. That has been an absolute blast.

I expected that my hobby progress would pick right back up after classes were over. What I didn't expect was to get diagnosed with thyroid cancer in October.

I spent the next few weeks seeing a slew of doctors and ultimately I had surgery a few days ago to remove the majority of the cancer. I had a total thyroidectomy and a partial neck dissection.

The procedure went well, though they found the cancer had grown into my layrnx and had likely been growing for a decade. Surprise!

I'll be closing out 2016 a bit on the slow side, but I'll be picking up steam as 2017 rolls in. I'll be having some radiation treatment early next year but it should be smooth sailing after that.

On the hobby front, I have two projects I want to complete in 2017. The first is my Tyranid army and the second is a 30k army. I'm leaning towards Alpha Legion or Thousand Sons. Can't decide which one I prefer just yet.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

NOVA Open 2016 recap

     Once again, NOVA Open has come and gone. This was my 5th year attending the NOVA. I stayed at onsite this time around, staying at home was a huge pain in the butt last year.

     It's a nice little vacation (without really going anywhere) and it's much easier to stay at the hotel than to drag my butt (and all my gaming stuff) back and forth every day.

     On the advice of friends, I took part in the Narrative this year as a Nightfighter. Just three games over 3 nights. Nothing quite as grueling as the GT, 8 games over 3 days is a bit much for me. But one game a night was just the perfect way for me to jump back into 40k.

     I took a few seminars, including another great one from Raffa Picca of Massive Voodoo. He and Roman came to NOVA last year and I was so happy that they returned for 2016. Raffa's freehanding class was probably my favorite one of the weekend. We painted the Imperial dragon, which I thought would be really hard. But I'm a big fan of Skyrim and I trusted Raffa wasn't crazy, and sure enough, I made it work:

     Not going to win me any awards but a solid start. After taking the class with Jessica Rich last year at Adepticon and now this one, I feel pretty confident about using it going forward on some of my projects.

     NOVA did some Horus Heresy events for the first time this year, and they were incredible. They even did a 110,000 point Big Blam game across several tables. That was quite something to see.

     My most fun game, though, was my last. We did a team game for the final night of the narrative and it was the most enjoyable game I've had in ages. I got paired up with Todd who had a lovely Eldar army and we kicked a ton of butt!

     All in all, it was a fun weekend. I'm looking forward to seeing what events happen next year.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Out for NOVA Open 2016

It's that time again, folks! The NOVA Open starts today!

I'll be there all weekend, playing in the Narrative and partaking in several seminars. 

Some of my favorite vendors are back again this year, and as a special surprise, Games Workshop has provided goodies for the swag bags! How awesome is that!?

I hope to see you there!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Adepticon 2016: Geek Nation Tours review

    When I went to Adepticon this year, I went in style. I booked my Adepticon experience through Geek Nation Tours and they made it my best Adepticon experience yet.

    The perks are really outstanding and start long before the event even takes place. The tour package includes the hotel, transportation to and from the airport, and dinner every night. Other perks included special minis and items just for the GNT participants. Arguably the best tangible perk is that the tour also includes the very awesome Adepticon VIG swag bag.

     Additionally, as a part of the tour, you can sign up for events one week before the general public can. You're nearly guaranteed to get a spot in every event or seminar you want to attend. No need to scramble at registration with a thousand other people trying to score a VIG bag or getting waitlisted for that one really awesome event you wanted to be a part of.

     As part of dinner each night, GNT invites a variety of guests to come talk with you. The Welcome Dinner's special guest was Angel Giraldez (who was amazing!) and Fantasy Flight came in to run demos of X-Wing,  Armada, and Imperial Assault. Another one of the dinners we did was at Medieval Times, which was an absolute blast. Each night also had a theme. One night was Podcasters night with guests from a variety of popular podcasts, Demo night (which was probably my favorite), Painters night, and the Farewell dinner (more on that).

     It's a close call to make, but the Demos night might have been my favorite. CMON, Mantic, and Osprey were there to demo games for everyone. One company I hadn't heard of was there, too, Red Republic Games. They're the ones behind Arena Rex, which I gushed about previously. This was the night where I had a chance to do their awesome demo.

     A close second was the Farewell dinner night. GNT brought Mark Gibbons to speak with us, and I couldn't have been more excited about that if I tried.

     He was at the event to debut the game he created with Andy Chambers called Dark Deeds. It's a fantastic game, which I wrote about previously. It was fun getting to meet with him and hear about what he's been up to recently.

     The best part of the tour, though, was getting to meet and geek out with a bunch of really cool people I wouldn't have met otherwise. I wasn't able to travel with friends this year, so my time at Adepticon was made even better by the instant connections created the first night of the tour with fellow participants. I made a lot of friends and many fond memories.

     This was my third year at Adepticon, but it was my best yet because of the tour. So even if you've gone to Adepticon before, going with Geek Nation Tours is an experience I would highly recommend.

Friday, June 10, 2016

40k Radio: 3rd Edition!

     I have a wonderful, fantastic announcement today. I'm one of new hosts of 40k Radio! All new hosts, all new show!

     You may have heard that earlier in the year, 40k Radio was sold to Teras Cassidy of Geek Nation Tours and the old crew is retiring from the show. After putting out the call for host applications, three new hosts were chosen- Matt, JF, and myself.
      This morning, the last show of the previous incarnation aired. It introduces JF and I and was the last hurrah for them. Thanks so much to Rik and Kyle for a warm welcome and I wish them the best of luck in their next endeavors. You can listen to the episode and all new episodes from the Freebooter's Network iTunes feed and their website.
     We'll be releasing the first official 3rd edition show in about two weeks time. I hope you'll give it a listen!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Dark Deeds Review

     One of the best games I demoed at Adepticon was Dark Deeds. I have to say "one of" because there was no shortage of fantastic games that I tried over the weekend. This one, though, was a bit of a dark horse for me. I'd seen it being demoed in the vendor hall, but I didn't actually demo it until the after-con mixer, thanks to the D6 Generation guys.

     The game is a collaboration between Andy Chambers and Mark Gibbons. It's a small card-based game where you play as a minion working for a wealthy patron to commit a series of sinister crimes. The board is the Street and there you can find cards for civilians, Nemeses, and Guards. You, as the minion, must fulfill any Dark Deeds (objective cards) from your Patron, rob civilians, and kill Nemeses to collect points. There is also a Tavern deck where you can draw cards to help you in your quest.

     The person with the most points at the end wins, simple enough, but there are plenty of ways you can mess with your compatriots. Steal their goodies, sic a guard on them, or flat out ignore the action of a card of their own. This game is nothing but fun and laughs with friends or with strangers.

     I played it only once that night but was immediately hooked. Even though the con was technically over, the makers were kind enough to bring down some copies and sell them to those of us that missed out on it during the event. That was so fantastic, because otherwise I would have missed out.  I've now played it many times since then and it's always been a blast.

     There are rules mods included with the game so you can play it with anywhere from 2 to 5 players. 4 players is really the sweet spot. The games are a little shorter with more people, however, they're much more fun with more people killing, maiming, and backstabbing one another.

     Adepticon was the game's coming out party, it was only available for pickup at the event or preorder at the time. They also offered a special expansion for Adepticon only. The expansions are limited run and individually numbered. I had a bit of luck on my side, and somehow managed to snag the #1 Adepticon expansion. Very cool.

     But Dark Deeds is shipping now and you can get it from Games & Gears. At about $60 (give or take a few bucks due to the exchange rate) it's a little pricey but the quality is absolutely top notch. The coins are actually metal, the Street mat is that "mouse-pad" stuff that is really nice, and the tokens are stained wood instead of plastic.

     They also recently announced that there will be a new special expansion for Gen Con similar to the Adepticon one. It will include 10 new cards and a die, and will be available for order on June 8th! So, if you're like me and can't make Gen Con, you can still get your hands on this awesome expansion. They will also be offering some bundles for the base game and remaining Adepticon expansions, while they last.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Arena Rex Review

     Arena Rex is another of the great games I tried while at Adepticon. They were kind enough to provide us VIGs with a coupon for a free mini and that's what got me over to their booth.
Then I couldn't leave. They had a display case packed with amazing minis, painted stunningly. They had 6-8 different small-based miniatures to choose the free one from. I had no idea how I was going to choose one. I ended up deciding on the Lupa miniature, since it was limited edition. And awesome:

     I was highly tempted to get a starter box, but on Thursday they had completely sold out. Worse problems to have, right? They had more coming in, but they hadn't arrived yet. That ended up working out OK because it gave me a chance to try the game at our Geek Nation Tours demo night that evening. I had a fantastic demo with the guys and I was sold. 

     I ended up being able to pick up a Zephyri box set on Saturday. The box sets have 3 minis in them which is enough to play with but 4 is what we used in the demo. I'm looking forward to getting some friends to try it. It should be easy to do given the small model count. 
     They got started with a very successful Kickstarter and have since gone on to expand the range of minis available for each faction. And if you visit their website, you can download a free copy of the rules in either English or Spanish.
     Small skirmish games are really up my alley right now, since sometimes you just don't have the time to spend 4 hours setting up and playing a game of 40k. But really, more than anything, I love the setting. Ancient gladiatorial fights- what's not to love?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Adepticon 2016! Part 3: Swag

     Swag, swag, swag! This year's Adepticon VIG bag was swagalicious. They actually made the bags larger than last year's, presumably because they couldn't fit the largest item in the old size: a Hordes two-player starter box.
Digging in right after I got it.
      Also included were a Dropzone Commander rulebook, CMON best of book, a slew of loose miniatures, coupons for free minis, paint, many bases, and all kinds of other little things. Like last year, we also got Wrath of Kings starter boxes. I ended up with a Teknes box to go with my Goritsi box from last year.
     I actually ended up with a mega ton of Goritsi stuff because of the raffle on Sunday. I had a few tickets but a friend asked me to check his tickets because he needed to be at an event. His ticket won, there were a couple of HUGE Wrath of Kings armies to choose from. I didn't know which one he might like, so I grabbed the Gortitsi because I knew their models were pretty cool. 

     Sadly, the sea critters, Hadross, who are really cool, had already been claimed. But seriously a huge stack of minis. I brought them over to him after the raffle but he had no interest in the game so he generously offered them to me instead. I have a few friends threatening to play it, and have that VIG starter box, so you'll be seeing a lot of those minis coming up soon.
     There were several really awesome items this year, I picked out some of my favorites the first night:

     The Malifaux mystery box was a super fun surprise and I love the CMON bases. These are the planks, which is awesome. I ended up (yet again) coming home with almost more stuff than I could fit in my luggage. And I left with plenty of extra room, but I was not at all expecting to come home with an entire army's worth of boxes.
     If you get a chance, definitely snag a VIG bag if you can. They sell out in moments when the cart goes live in Oct/Nov so make sure you're quick about it. Or, if you're part of Geek Nation Tours, you get it automatically as part of the cost of the tour. Very handy.

Adepticon 2016! Seminars: Part 2

     Sorry for the delay, but here is the continuation of my Adepticon Seminars! Part one can be found here. My Saturday and Sunday seminars were a bit less grueling than Thursday and Friday. Only 5 between them.

Airbrush 101 - Choosing the Right Airbrush and the Joy of Using It with Ken Schlotfeldt
     Now that I've been faking my way through airbrushing with trial and error and Youtube videos with limited success, I thought I'd take a class to get some more info on airbrushes.
     This class was really informative and filled in some gaps in my airbrushing knowledge. Ken went over the various kinds of airbrushes and tailored the information toward miniature painting applications. I definitely recommend this class if you're thinking about airbrushing but aren't sure where to start.

Hands on with Two-Brush Blending with Matt DiPietro
     This class was awesome. I learned two brush blending ages ago but hadn't really gotten the hang of it. This class was the perfect refresher. I feel like I will get more out of the wet blending but there's a lot of application where this would be more useful.

     It took a little while to get the hang of it, but I got a really nice blend.

True Metallic Metal with Matt Cexwish
     After the class with Dave Taylor on day one, this class was a bit repetitive. I'd recommend taking either one or the other. No reason to do both.

The Secrets of the Loaded Brush with Ben Komets

     We dabbled a bit with loaded brush during the wet blending class but I didn't really get it until this class. Definitely a useful technique but one I need a lot more practice with.
     The wood blocks were useful because we could just paint over them quickly with a neutral color and and practice again and again. I might have tried it about forty times over the course of the class. It's not a technique I will need to use a lot, but it'll definitely come in handy.

Painting Faces with Ben Komets
     This class was probably the skill I leveled up the most in. Some very simple techniques that dramatically improved the realistic quality of my faces. The best bit of advice was to start with your base skin-tone color and mix in a little bit of black. It takes out the cartoonish look of skin tone straight out of the bottle. That alone makes a dramatic difference.
     I was very pleased with this class and highly recommend you take it.

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