Sunday, April 20, 2014

Citadel Tool Set Price Comparison

I've seen the usual grumblings over Game's Workshops fancy limited edition tool set they're releasing. It's priced at $150 which, at first glance, seems a bit steep. It's a 10 piece set (9 tools and the bag) with nearly everything you'd need to launch yourself into the hobby.

It got me thinking a little bit about my own hobby tools. How much have I actually spent on these things? Not nearly as much as on models, for sure, but I honestly had no idea. I use them and buy new ones all the time, so I took a little time and priced out what I've paid for the comparable items in my arsenal:

My set of tools.
Clippers- $24.95
Pin Vise (drill)- $10.15
Hobby Knife- $3.19
Mold Line Scraper- $16.95
Dental Pick- $5.95
Other sculpting tool- $6.75 (I have the one Citadel used to make)
Spreader- $16.46 for set of 5 (I use Colour Shapers which I LOVE)
Files- set of files for $14.95

A couple prices are approximate, like the dental pick, but most of these things I have bought within the last 6 months or was easily able to look up what I paid [thanks, Amazon :-) ]. I did pay retail for most of them, as I bought many of them in my local game store. Why pay for shipping and wait on clippers when a store quite literally across the street from me has them in stock?

That all brings me up to a grand total a few cents shy of $100. That's actually more than I thought it would be. But I didn't throw down for them all at once, either. If you buy the new Citadel items separately rather than in the set, you're looking at total of $141.00. So, and I'm rounding here, you're paying about $40 more for the "official" ones, $50 more if you want that nice canvas case (which, honestly, I do). That's really not so much more that I think it's worth getting up in arms over.

In a house with two hobbyists, you can't have too many of these things, and we do have duplicates of most everything. I would shell out the $150 if not for that and the fact that two weeks ago, I bought new clippers, hobby knife, and drill bits for my pin vise (oh, and I spent all my money at Adepticon). So going in on the whole thing seems a bit silly when I already have all the tools.

They do look very nice and I like the all-metal aspect. GW did make this little video, showing the tools off in action, too.

Of course, it is entirely possible that these tools do end up being terrible. But I highly doubt it. The Citadel sculpting tool I have is very good quality, and I've been happily using it for a while now. Their emphasis on them being all metal helps assuage any thoughts on quality. Cheap plastic bits breaking off is half the reason I replace anything I buy, so this is a big plus for me. I will, one day, remember to buy a metal shafted hobby knife for this exact reason.

I'm very tempted to pick up the sculpting tool set, because I like the angle of their pointy needle tool (mine doesn't have that) and the spear end tool is actually a different shape from the one I have. I'm also interested in the spreader, because it has more surface area than my colour shapers. I use them a lot for the texture paints, but I think the spreader would work better. So don't be shocked if I review that set in a few weeks.

I do really want the damn canvas case. More and more, I've been taking hobby projects on the road with me, so something like that would great. It's definitely way better than throwing them into a plastic zip bag, which inevitably rips from all the pointy things. I'll probably just make one for myself. I could whip one up in a day, maybe two, when I have some of that magical "free time" I've heard so much about.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Paint Debate Begins!

Fresh from Adepticon, with no other impending projects on my plate means it's officially time for me to embark on my Great Paint Experiment. I got started two nights ago.

Obviously, step 1 was to label them.  I wouldn't have gotten very far without that. So far, I have base coated their skin, fur, and cloaks. Tonight, I'm going to start basing the green on their armor. I'm really getting excited about this, already noticed a lot of differences between the brands.

I am doing a bit of live-tweeting about it, complete with WIP photos, using #paintdebate. It's really an experiment and not a debate, but that seemed catchier (and better yet, was a largely unused hashtag). So if you want to see my most up-to-date progress, you can do it there. I may do another WIP blog post between now and the end.

If all goes well, they should be finished by the end of next week. Afterwards, I'll take some nice photos of each mini, and do a full write up of what I found out. It's been interesting trying to keep track of all these paints, but so far so good! None have mysteriously walked off yet.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adepticon 2014 Recap

What a whirlwind of a week it's been! This was my first Adepticon, and I had an absolute blast. There was so much to see and do, I hardly know where to start.

Calm before the Warp Storm.
 I played Necromunda, Lord of the Rings, and Saga- one each day. It seemed like a bit of a leisurely pace, but it wasn't exactly. I was pretty disappointed that the event didn't really take off until Friday. I had left most of Thursday open to do demos and spend all my money, but neither really got started until Thursday night- right when I had to get to Necromunda.

My favorite terrain all weekend.
 I had a lot of fun with each of my tournaments but Saga was definitely the most fun. I had four really fun games and they were all laid back. I lost three and won one. I always enjoy playing new people. I got a lot of nice comments about my Bretons, too. Apparently, they aren't a very popular army so people were excited to play them and see how they work. More specifically about my games will come in another post.

I did two seminars, they were all I could manage before they all filled up! I took an Object Source Lighting class done by Victoria Lamb. She was fantastic. We started off with some images of some miniatures featuring OSL and a bit of the theory and technique behind it. Then we each got a mini and got to try it out for ourselves. If it hadn't started at 10pm, I think I might have gotten more out of it, but now I know better for next year.

Sunday was my "chill" day, all I did was ogle the Crystal Brush entries, take a Photographing Minis seminar with Thomas Wynn, and try some demos. The seminar was great, just a few of us, and I learned a lot about how to take better pictures (and how to do it cheap).

Over the weekend, I demoed a ton of games, including Deep Wars (which I spent a bunch of money on), Wreck Age, and Wild West Exodus. Deep Wars came out as my #1 favorite. I loved just about everything about it- but I was especially drawn to the setting. Underwater game? SOLD. I picked up some blisters for the game at the event and Casey just ordered one of each faction and the rulebook for us.

The swag bags were nice- I got the "full" swag bag, whereas Casey only got the partial. Apparently, only the first 1,000 people to buy their weekend badge got the full deal. The two best parts of it were the special Adepticon mini done by Victoria Miniatures and the Wild West Exodus mercenary figure. I actually made it a point to go over to the Wild West Exodus booth specifically because I was so impressed with that figure.

I got exposed to so many new and exciting things that an amazing thing has happened- no hobby burn out! Usually after a big even like this, I want nothing to do with miniatures for two weeks at least. Instead, I feel invigorated. So far, I've put together all my Deep Wars figures, assembled most of a box of Terradon Riders, and started putting together my Fulgrim. So productive!

Driving the 12 hours there and back again wasn't as bad as I expected. It was nice getting that extra hour on the way in (from the time zone change) although I think it was more hurtful on the way back. I'm still not back into my normal sleep routine. I'd certainly do a few things differently next year (like staying at the Westin) but driving was definitely the right call. We saved a lot of money, which we then could (and did) spend on minis.

I came home with so much loot. I can't believe we could still fit everything in the car. In addition to Deep Wars and the swag bag, I also hit up Forgeworld for Calas Typhon and the event-only Davinte Lodge Priest models. I also ended up with a half price Mumak (score!) and tons of random minis.

This was by far my favorite event that I've been to so far. It has a lot of elements to it that I've felt NOVA has been lacking, though they are running demos this year. When tickets go for sale for next year's Adepticon, I will definitely consider going again.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

On The Road to Adepticon!

The time is now! I'm all but at Adepticon. There's still this pesky 11 hour drive between me and all the gaming I can handle. The snacks are packed! I remembered to pack socks! All three armies are painted, packed, and ready to go!

See! Proof!
 I miraculously finished painting all my models ahead of time. This has never happened before, it's really a little strange. But! I do know that I'm so, so excited to head out to my first Adepticon! After a few false starts (like buying a weekend pass but not registering for events) in the past, it's totally happening! Unless we blow a couple tires or what have you... (knock on wood).

No! No bad luck! Back to enthusiasm!

If you're going to be there as well, come say hello! I'll be playing in the Necromunda, SAGA, and Lord of the Rings tournaments. I will likely also be found at the Forgeworld table, drooling over the Horus that they'd better have on display. He was at the Forge World Open this passed weekend, but they have to have more than one laying around!

I look forward to seeing some of you there. Safe travels to those of you going.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Shell Case Painting Competition!

In conjunction with Army Painter and Firestorm Games, The Shell Case is hosting The Big Damn Painting Competition! You can make everyone jealous about your skills AND win a very nice price at the same time!

The rules are simple: submit a single model entry (up to two entries per person). Any single model that you like, which does include things like tanks. Entries are due by April 6th, 12pm GMT.

For the official rules and how to submit your entry photos, please click on the link above. Entries will be voted on by the #warmongers community. The winner will receive an Army Painter Mega Paint Set worth £85 and two runners-up will get a £10 eVoucher to spend with Firestorm Games.

Entries have already started coming in! So pick up that brush and get to work! You have just over a week to submit them. Good luck!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baby Balrog: The Dweller in the Dark

Ages ago, Casey suckered me into playing Lord of the Rings. I finished my Moria Goblins not too long ago and now I am playing in the LOTR tournament at Adepticon (only two weeks away!). My most recent addition to the army is the Dweller in the Dark, whom I affectionately started calling my Baby Balrog.

Bring me the Hobbits!
 He's Finecast, and I've had some really mixed experiences with it. This model was hands down the hottest mess I've had to deal with. GW is really good about getting you a new one if you get a screwed up one, but I got him two years ago and just stuck it out.

He took so much work and still didn't turn out very well, honestly. All of his claws were jacked up, he was insanely bent over and had to be repositioned (twice), and a full inch of his tail is missing. But I digress.

I had a hell of a lot of fun painting him, once it got to that point. I finished him in two days, which is probably a personal best. It was a simple matter of priming him black, painting his magma (or is it lava? Going to go with magma, since it's on his insides), and then cleaning up the magma outlines. A little hair and highlight detail later, and voila, Baby Balrog.

I only have a handful of models left to finish for the army, just a couple Deadmarsh Spectres. As far as finishing things for Adepticon goes, I am almost done. My Necromunda ladies are finished, and my Saga Bretons are done, too. Although, even though it's only 3 models, I am sure I'll still be painting something the night before we leave. It's inevitable.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Joining The Shell Case!

Wonderful news, my friends! Phil over at the Shell Case has asked me to join as a contributor. And who am I to say no? Although, the lavish compliments he gave me certainly didn't hurt his case. I am incredibly excited to get started working with the fine mess of fellows Phil has assembled over there.

But what about Chickhammer? Well, I don't foresee this having any impact on the number of articles I put here. I'm happy with the pace things are going here. For the first time ever, I have articles written and queued up to publish, and that's keeping things at a steady place. Plus, there's lots going on in my personal hobbying as well as the Hobby itself, so I certainly have plenty to go on about!

At first, it will be just about an article a month from me over at the Shell Case, but there's lots to check out from the rest of the gang as well. Go ahead and give them a look. I'll also being carrying on with ODAM podcast as usual, so don't forget to give that a listen as well! I especially recommend Episode 11 if you want to hear me swear about Tyranids a lot.

On a personal note, it turns out I will be graduating a semester early (yay!) so things will be progressing quite a bit faster than I anticipated. Fortunately, it all starts rolling after Adepticon. Things are smoothing out and I've finally hit a good balance with this work-and-school plan I've embarked on. It's shaping up to be one hell of an awesome year.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Paint Range Experiment Part 1: So Much Paint

I've delved deeply into this experiment so far. I did quite a bit of research on paint comparisons, decided on the models, visited a lot of LGSs, and have purchased vast quantities of paint. Not a bad start, I think. The research actually took a lot more effort than I thought it would. There are lots of comparisons out there, but many of them are either bad or well outdated (don't have the new Citadel line, for example).

The haul so far, not including GW stuff I had.
 There are two fairly good resources out there for comparing paint lines. First is the simple but not-great comparison chart from Dakka Dakka. Next is the incredibly complex but far more accurate Mega Comparison PDF from the lovely people at Vallejo. This chart has every paint range I have ever heard of (except P3, which is understandable) and then some. I want to hug whoever put that together- you're brilliant and it made this experiment so much easier.

That said, I had to make my own mini-chart with the colors I intend to use. I wanted to make sure the colors I got really are close matches. But how do I know what colors I need? Because I finally picked the models! I settled on the Privateer Press Warpborn Skinwalkers. I already had them- plus they were assembled and primed to boot. The models have a great variety of textures to work with- fur, fabric, metal, and chainmail among them. So I think they're perfect.

I took the P3 color scheme largely into consideration first because they have the most limited range of colors. So they'll be done very similarly to the studio scheme. I listed out all the pieces of the model and started assigning colors to them from each range. Then I went through my paint collection and painted a sample of each under the color name.

It's still a big WIP, but here is my chart so far with the colors, notes, changes, and scribbles.

There are white paint swatches in there, honest.
There is one, surprisingly only one, hole in the chart. P3 really does not have an appropriate grey highlight color. The closest they have is Trollblood Highlight which has an unfortunate green tinge to it (as does the Bastion Grey, admittedly). I don't think it's doesn't match the other grey highlights at all, but it may be my only option. Or, I might mix some of the Bastion with their white and see how it goes. I'm undecided.

 I have finalized the remaining paints I need to buy and made a list of them. All of those I have here, I was able to get from my LGSs but sadly, there are a lot that are missing. Getting them online means both a discount but also a shipping charge, so I'm coming out about the same. I have about 35 paints left to buy, which is going to run me about $100 after shipping. There goes all my hobby budget for the month.

Preferably, I won't get started until I have all the paints in-hand, but because I have all the GW and nearly all the P3 paints, I might be tempted to get the fur/skin basecoat down while I wait on the rest. But I will try to be patient and wait. It's not as if I don't have five other hobby projects happening at once... ok it's more like a dozen.

Monday, February 10, 2014

2013 Daemonette Project

A little late, but better than never, right? I got sick, had exams, blah blah blah. I get it, I suck, but whatever. She's done. Here's my 2013 Daemonette.

I tried some of the techniques I learned at the painting class in December. I was pretty disappointed to discover that the two brush blending technique doesn't work at all with the GW paints. So all the blending here I did with a sort of modified (read: time consuming) technique. It worked, but not as well.

 The back shows off the blending in the fabric far better than on the front. I'm not entirely sold on her hair. I wanted to highlight it more to white, but thought it might be too much. I may go back and add a little more highlight later.

I used some of the Games Workshop grass tufts on her base. On their own, they don't stick very well but a little super glue solved that right up. The really disappointing part, though, was that the foam the grass is attached to is white. Distractingly white, even blindingly white against the earthy ground on the base. But I took a little bit of the brown wash to it and that colored up really nicely. It blends in much better now, and looks more natural to boot.

All three Daemonettes so far.
  I noticed a funny thing, I've used purple on all my Daemonettes so far. I'm going to avoid using it on this year's model (who I will definitely start in November instead of the last week of December). I think 2013 doesn't look as nice in the photo as compared to 2012, but in person they look about the same, in terms of quality, to me.

You can check these links for more on the Daemonette Project and the 2012 Daemonette.

I am pleased with the mini overall but incredibly displeased with the photos. I gotta do something about my camera and light set up. Currently, my nice SLR is visiting with my father for some business related photo shoots, so I can't do anything about that. But I really need to make a dedicated photo-taking space and get some better lights. Anyone have suggestions in that regard?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The New New White Dwarf

Doesn't it feel like just yesterday that we were all a-titter over the new White Dwarf? And here we are again with new New White Dwarf. As you've probably heard, the magazine has now been split into two separate items that are on different release schedules.

According to Games Workshop themselves:
White Dwarf features a host of articles, from new releases and painting tips, to rules discussions and gaming advice. We really have crammed every page to bursting point. The great news is that there will be a new issue every week, available for the same price as a pot of Citadel Paint and keeping you up to date with everything going on in the hobby. 
Warhammer: Visions is a visual extravaganza, a real feast for your hobby eyes. With 50 pages of Golden Demon entries in this issue alone, it’s a great way to find inspiration for new projects and see all the latest models.
A weekly little White Dwarf that seems, as described, to be the exact same White Dwarf we'd been getting, only broken up into 4 smaller ones released each week. They also seem to have done away with the subscription model entirely for this one- but anyone currently subscribed will automatically begin receiving Visions instead.

This does bring up an interesting question- what happens to the annual White Dwarf subscription model? It seems that now anyone can buy him on the GW website for $35. And I think I have to, because he's a bloody vampire hunter this year. S. O. L. D.

So how do these two new magazines stack up? Well, I dusted off my December 2012 copy of WD (Hobbit release) and sat down to look at them together. First, we'll look at the White Dwarf Weekly.

It'll set you back "as much as a pot of paint" or $4. Seems reasonable so far, although the magazine is only 32 pages, as compared to the ~140 pages of the original. So even buying all 4, you're still getting a bit less content for a few more dollars.

But it is, unsurprisingly, exactly the same magazine as before, simply sliced into a smaller bit- many of the usual suspects are there- various new releases, Paint Splatter,  Jervis Johnson, and designers notes. Some of the missing sections make an appearance in Visions, but I also imagine that the sections will rotate in as new issues of WDW come out. There's not really much else to say here- if you liked WD before, you'll probably like this, even though you have to physically go to your store to get it or buy it digitally each week (no subscription option, remember).

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