Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Old School Swooping Hawks

   I just finished up a bit of a fun commission. I got a handful of half-painted Swooping Hawks and another half dozen unpainted. The client wanted me to match the paint scheme to the partially painted ones and to finish them up.

   It was a bit of a challenge to match the paints. But that made it one of the more interesting projects I've worked on in a while. I spent a fair amount of time mixing and testing and retesting colors until I got pretty close.

   The only bummer about them is how top heavy they are. They did a lot of falling over, so I had a lot of chipped wings to fix.  I sealed them extra well just to be sure they don't do any chipping in the future.

   It doesn't look like it from the cobwebs on the blog, but I have done a ton of painting lately. Lots of posts coming up over the next few weeks.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 Year in Review

   2015 has come and gone. It was a rollercoaster of a year, that started on a really, really low note but has happily ended on quite a high one. Hobby-wise, I've struggled, but in every other aspect of my life I am so much better than I was a year ago. So all in all, 2015 was pretty legit.

Hopefully you didn't drink as much as Party Troll.
   I really only set one goal for myself for 2015, which was to paint more. I failed on that front pretty hard. To be fair to myself, when I set that goal, I didn't know I was going to be in school for the latter half of the year. I also started a new, more demanding job, so between the two, I haven't had much hobby time.

   But that isn't to say I haven't painted at all. Just not as much as I would like to have painted. I worked my way through several commission projects and had a lot of fun with those (especially the Fire Dragons). I never really went full tilt into commission painting as I had intended, for the same reasons I didn't paint much. But I am hoping to really get that together after school is over (in June).

   I still managed to do 3 events- Adepticon, Historicon, and NOVA Open. I had a ridiculously good time at Adepticon, and I am very much looking forward to attending this year in 2016. I've signed up for 12 hobby seminars which is... ambitious. But I want 2016 to be the year of leveling up my painting skills. I'm definitely on track for that.

   Historicon was enjoyable as always. I made a killing at the Wally's Basement flea market. I bought some assorted miniatures that were just cheap (AoS just came out so Fantasy stuff was at steep discounts) and I picked up a good half of a Tyranid army. I've since collected a whole army and am looking forward to working on them. I'd like them to be my big project of 2016 but I think I'll wait for a new codex first. Shouldn't be too long.

   2015 unexpectedly turned out to be Year of the Board Games for me. I started playing board games in a big way. I received my Blood Rage pledge and my Zombicide Black Plague as well. I can't speak highly enough of Blood Rage, it's possibly my favorite board game now. But I've also gone through several Fantasy Flight titles I'd never tried before, and about another dozen besides that. 2016 will probably be just as big for board games, which I am really looking forward to.

   I did a lot of things for myself this year- started taking better care of myself (especially mentally) and I am in a much better place than I think I've ever been. I'm greatly looking forward to what 2016 has to offer, both personally and professionally.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Hammer in the New Year 2016

   My little baby tournament is now a teenager. After an unfortunate hiatus in 2015 for personal reasons, Hammer in the New Year returns for 2016 better than ever- and under new management! Phil (you can find him over at elphilo) will be running it this year as a 2-day GT. But I couldn't let my baby go on entirely without me, so I will be running the paint judging.

   Phil has been running our local RTTs for some time now, and after I saw the logo he had commissioned for the event, I knew I left it in capable hands.

   The tournament will be on January 23-24, 2016 at Huzzah Hobbies in Ashburn, VA. It is a 5 round event, at 1850 points, and will be ITC format. Entry fee is $40. Pre-registration is preferred, there are only 32 spaces. So please email Phil at elphilo40k (at) gmail dot com for Paypal instructions or you can pay in person at Huzzah Hobbies to secure your space.

   Information on the ITC format is located here, as well as the ITC FAQ.

   The event schedule is as follows:

  • 9:00 am Check-In
  • 10:00 am Round 1 
  • 1:00 pm lunch (and paint judging)
  • 2:00 pm Round 2
  • 5:15 pm Round 3
  • 8:30 am doors open
  • 9:00 am Round 4 
  • 12-1230 pm lunch
  • 12:45 pm Round 5
  •  4:00 pm Award Ceremony
   There will be some awesome prizes (check Phil's blog for updates on what they will be when he releases them). If you have any questions about the event, please contact Phil for the most accurate response.

   We will be releasing the painting rubric very shortly.

   I look forward to seeing some of you there!

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...
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