Saturday, June 30, 2012

I Survived 6th Edition Midnight Release

For a little while there, I wasn't so sure we would actually make it in one piece. Cool cats Hubs, Richard, Bart and I had innocently set off for our little road trip over to the Bowie Bunker to pick up our preorders. However, we didn't know until we were already on our way that there was a massive and dangerous storm moving into our area, right over us and moving toward the Bunker.

The radio said winds were upwards of 80 mph, and it certainly was that. One of those huge blinking construction signs with a merge arrow blew across a lane of traffic just in front of us and smacked into the side of a tractor trailer. Then it got hit head on by another car (at 20mph or so, since the rain made traffic slow). That, plus one of those orange traffic barrels blowing in front of us combined with assorted flying debris made the trip nuts.

Fresh out of the plastic.
We got to the Bunker safely (thankfully) but the power was out! We hoped the power would come back on by midnight, but it didn't. The Bunker was running on emergency power, so they couldn't let us in. It was a big but totally understandable bummer, since we drove all the way out there to check out the Bunker (I've never been there and I hear tell there's a Space Marine I could take a photo with).

They did hand us our preorder boxes, but then they had to send us on our way. Bummer. Casey and I made our way over to our local GW store this morning so I could pick up the most ridiculous thing to happen to measuring since digital displays:

They didn't mention they made the metal tab look like teeth.
The tape measure is completely absurd- but I'm planning to make it a little more absurd. I'm going to give it a laser. Without an actual laser pointer in my possession at the moment, I cannot say for sure that it will mount the way I plan. But, some day soon when I have some free time (and a laser pointer) I will work it out.

Monday, June 25, 2012

30th Anniversary Grombrindal on Shield Model

 I picked up this awesome model on eBay back in the beginning of the year, when I was scooping up unique pieces to fill out the army. I got so caught up in my Slayers and Longbeards, though, that he didn't get much attention for a while. I thought he'd make a nice #miniaturemonday addition, so I set aside some time this weekend to concentrate on him.

If you're not familiar with #miniaturemonday, it's a fun thing that a bunch of painters across the  Twitterverse have been participating in. Each Monday, people tweet a photos of mini projects with that hashtag, and other people tweet back comments, suggestions, and encouragement. It's really quite lovely. There is a Miniature Monday website, as well.

I'm not sure how many Grombrindals I can really get away with having in a single army. I have the 30th anniversary model and the regular production one where he's holding a great weapon, but then there's the 2012 White Dwarf subscription model which I am practically obligated to use, since my warrior unit will be pirate themed.

Is three Grombindals too many? I'm thinking no, only because of how I plan to paint them up. The 30th anniversary model is the only one where he has the signature white beard. The regular production one will be grey or brown to match the Longbeards, and the pirate one will (most likely) be black.

Speaking of pirates, Avatars of War (the makers of my as-yet-unpainted Rune Lord and Dragon Slayer models) have an Indiegogo campaign going on right now (it's similar to Kickstarter) to produce an entire Dwarf army. They've made enough money so far that they're going to make a regiment of ten Dwarf Treasure Hunters. I can't wait for them to be done! They will be amazing in my pirate warrior unit. It still has a little over a day left, so if Dwarfs are your thing, check them out.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

6th Edition Pre-Release & Party Times

Unless you've been without internet access for the last day or so, you know that GW finally put 6th edition up for preorders. Being the lucky duck that I am who lives on EST, it was 7pm here when it was midnight GMT. Didn't have to wait up or anything!

I ordered my goodies and had them shipped to the Bowie Bunker in Bowie, MD because there are going to be some festivities. Hubs called and confirmed that they are doing a midnight release, but  we don't know the specifics of what the festivities entail. We, along with Richard and Bart, are carpooling up there Friday night for some fun and to pick up the new rules.

If you live in the DC/Baltimore area and are heading to the Bunker for you shiny new toys as well, don't be shy and say hi!

*Update* GW has announced that they will be selling some release-day only goodies including lanyards, a beanie, and a belt at their Hobby Centers.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Madame Mad Scientist

Hubs has been running a semimonthly Deadlands RPG for a few friends and I. I bought this nice Mad Scientist Reaper model to paint up for my character. Reaper has some really nice Savage Worlds figures, including hucksters, outlaws, and bone fiends, if you're into that sort of thing.

In the game, her name is Trixie. She hides all sorts of useful things in her bustle and she's pretty keen on shooting that lightening gun. I had a fun time working on her. Sometimes it's nice to take a break from a big army project and just do a single figure. Painting her was an enjoyable, leisurely time rather than a "get it done" batch painting.

I'm still having a bit of a trouble getting the skin tone to look just right. It worked out a lot better on my Dwarfs than it did for her. In fact, her face in general was really hard for me. This is the first time I've had any serious trouble with one. I think the face on my Pleasuredaemon came out better with a lot less effort.

She just needs to be based now, but I have time. We've been having a little trouble scheduling dates to play the game lately, as life tends has been in the way. Hopefully we'll be able to get back into the swing of it soon. It's always a little bit more fun to play with painted characters.

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Things We Do For Love

Hubs and I went to visit my family a couple weeks back, and he wasn't keen on staying too late the day we drove back. My father, however, wanted to make a smoked brisket and I couldn't say no to that. So I bribed Hubs into leaving late by offering to help put some of his new Vampire Counts models together, since he would have spent that time working on them.

Somehow, "some" turned into 30 ghouls and a box of Hexwraiths. I may have been had. He was traveling for work this past week, so I put them together while he was away. I haven't felt much motivation to paint, so this was a nice change of pace. The ghouls' heads were a pain in the butt to scrape mold lines off, but I had Omar and the Bunk keeping me company as I slogged my way through them.

Bam. 30 all done.
I'm really glad this isn't my army. I can't imagine trying to paint these guys up. A lot of their hands are too close to their faces. But when I picked up Hubs from the airport tonight, I had to fess up that the Hexwraiths are still in the box. Oops. But it's not my fault, honest.

I bought these  guys instead :)
I double-super promised myself I wouldn't put the wolves together until I finished painting the Longbeards. But I have the boxes now. It's times like these that I wish I  had 6 arms. I need to get the Hexwraiths together first, though, so Hubs can get his VCs together for NOVA. Hexwraiths, Longbeards, Space Wolves. Looks like I have my weekend work cut out for me. Anyone else have good hobby plans this weekend?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Experiences as a Lady in Wargaming

This post is something I've wanted to write for a while, but I was having trouble pulling my thoughts together. Part of the reason I started this blog in the first place, called it "Chickhammer," and chose my tagline is because I want to talk about what it's like being female in our male-dominated hobby. I need to start by talking to people already in the hobby about some small things they can do to make the environment friendlier for women.

I should explain just what I mean by a friendlier environment. Obviously, we're not a pack of wild dogs. But, you probably have noticed that the wargaming culture, and the "geek" culture in general, skews largely male. The interesting exception to this is the video games, where women are about 40% of the players. It's hardly remarkable now when a woman says she plays video games, whereas fifteen years ago it was "a big deal."

The wargaming community, though, still suffers from a large gender disparity. This has been very evident in my own experience. In every tournament I've attended, I have been either the only woman there, or one of two. In fact, I have only played against another woman once, but it was a teaching game, she's a real-life friend who's new to the hobby (props to her for joining the ranks, might I add). Our online community is no different; there are few women I come across when reading posts and commentary.

So why aren't more ladies joining in on wargaming? Like all sub-cultures, our community, suffers from the same ills as the society at large. In the US specifically, our society does not always respect or value its women and no sub-group is immune to this bias. This devaluation of women is something that happens no matter the group (in fact, I already wrote a piece about wrestling doing this). Those influences are why we find the same cultural biases lodged in the corners of our own community.

That doesn't mean, however, that we have to put up with it nor does it mean there's nothing we can do about it. The beautiful part about it is that we all control our own actions, and can change our behavior. I will not speak to the general vitriol of the community, as it was done so well on Faeit 212 that there’s no reason for me to comment further.

Rather, I’d like to point out some things that have happened to me in this community, and why some of these things impede women from wanting to join. Some of these experiences have been good, and some bad, but the over-all experience has been a welcoming and positive one. 

  • In the first GT I went to, one of my games was played in nearly complete silence, because my opponent didn't say more than three words to me at a time. Perhaps he was just shy, but it made for a very long game.
  • I’ve heard "Wow, you're a girl that plays Warhammer?" more times than I can count. When asked this, I often feel I'd get less incredulity if I were a leprechaun or had two heads.
  • During a tournament game, my opponent offered me a beer from his under-the-table cooler. He's hands-down the nicest person I've ever played, although I do believe I still owe him a beer.
  • I've played a few dirty cheating cheaters (who hasn't?). The first person I ever played that I didn't know personally was one of these people. I was so green, I didn't know better, and didn’t know his army at all. It wasn't until talking afterwards that my experienced friends realized I'd been taken advantage of.
  • A friend of one opponent asked me out for drinks, during our game. My opponent's reply was "Man, not cool. We're in the middle of a game." Good on you, sir.

These are just a few examples, but as I said, over-all, I've felt very welcomed. Unfortunately, this is almost entirely due to the awesome people I game with regularly and has no bearing on what I can expect outside of them. Sexism in the community, not just in person but also online, is at unacceptable levels. If I did not personally know some very nice people who were in the hobby, the shameful way the online aspect of the community conducts itself would have turned me completely away.  

If you don’t have these friends (or know where to make the acquaintance of some), you’re going to have a harder time of it. I was lucky to be introduced into a club full of people who have been very supportive of me. These people taught me how to play and to be a "good" player.  By that, I mean a respectful opponent who isn't constantly bemoaning how bad their dice rolls are (although, some days, your dice are out to get you).

That being said, there are some specific things I’d like to address based on my experiences. My hope is that by talking about these things, it'll make the community a little more aware. The first thing is that you can talk to me. I am perfectly capable of speech, and it makes the game far more enjoyable when you get to know your opponent a little and can talk about the game, their army, the tournament, each other's lives- whatever.

In actually holding a conversation with me, you might find out I'm twenty-four years old, hold a full time job, and have an awesome dog. These things indicate that I am adult, and therefore not a girl. Calling me a girl is both demeaning and patronizing, regardless of your intention when saying it. It diminishes my validity as someone to be taken seriously amongst our peers. I don't call you a boy, because you aren't one. We’re both adults here, so please don't call me a girl. It sets me up as being less than your equal.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

23-6-12 I Have To Make A Choice

As has long been rumor, 6th edition will be released in two short weeks. This leaves me in a bittersweet spot. On one hand, I'm phenomenally excited about this new edition . On the other, I'm wondering where this leaves my Dwarfs progress and learning Fantasy. There is no way I can learn both at once, it would be too confusing. Since I jut started in Fantasy, I don't know if I can just abandon it for the shiny new toy.

However, I know there's something to be said for picking up a new edition and learning to play it along with all your fellow club members. That is a process I did not get to participate in for 5th. I think I can gain a lot from the experience but it would mean either throwing together a Space Wolf army in record time or dusting off my Daemons. I do not have the time (or disposable income) necessary to pull that Space Wolf army off. It would be fun and awesome to try, but it's just impossible.

That means it's Daemons or sticking to Fantasy. I'm torn. I've hit the tables a bit with the Dwarfs, and I am really enjoying the mechanics of the Fantasy system. I even have one win under my belt! Even still, I am going to show up and tear a copy of 6th off the shelf on release day. Maybe after I read through it my decision will be easier. One can hope!

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