Friday, December 27, 2013

Masterclass Painting Seminar

This past weekend I had the good fortune to take a fabulous 16 hour painting class. It was run by award winning painter Meg Maples of Arcane Paintworks. Taking the class was my Christmas present from Hubs. I am so glad I was able to do it, I learned *so* much. Best gift ever.

Getting started.
There were about a dozen of us in the class, and it was held at Huzzah Hobbies, a game store I am very fond of. The store's only downfall is the distance from me, if it was a little closer I would game there all the time.

The miniature we painted was Reaper's Viking Girl. A fun model with some nice textures to work on. Normally I'm all over Reaper's miniatures, but most had serious trouble straightening out her sword. I was lucky and just needed to tweak it back a little on mine. I don't miss working with metal minis.

We started by learning two brush blending on her cloak. This technique has changed my life. Essentially, you start by putting down a medium base color. Then you take two brushes, one loaded with a darker paint and the other damp with water. You apply a dot of paint in, say, the crevice of her cloak, and then use the wet brush to blend the dark color into the medium one. Same can be done with a highlight. The effect itself is great, but how easy it is to do is really what sold me on it.

I am so proud of my cloak.
 Then she taught us how to do eyes. With a #2 brush. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it with my own astonished eyes. My attempts were feeble, this was definitely where I struggled the most. I tried her eyes so many times that I started losing the detail in her face. I really ought to go back and remove that paint and try again. Meg suggested buying one of Reaper's Faceless Horrors to practice the eyes on, since it's 70% eyeballs. Done and done, he's on the way.

Day two covered hair/fur and metallics. Much less frustrating than eyes, for sure. I don't think I really got the hang of the hair technique. I think with more practice (and a different color set) it will look a lot better. But the reddish brown just wasn't working out.

As finished as I got her over the weekend.
I would have liked to show you the 100% finished model, but unfortunately, holiday plans and travel got in the way. Silly family time, getting in the way of hobby time. I want to finish the fur and the shield (and try her face again) before I call her finished.

One of things I didn't expect to learn was how much I like the P3 paints. I've almost exclusively used GW paints (and a few Reaper here and there) since that's what we have had. I don't think I am going to make the swap over, as we have so much paint already, but I'll probably use them again in the future.

I wanted to get this post up a little sooner, but again, holiday travels. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season. I'll be updating again next week with my 2013 Daemonette Project miniature. She is in progress!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Killin' All Your Dwarves: Moria Goblins

Started these guys back in January during our fun LOTR movie and painting marathon. They only needed another five hours to finish, and I finally decided it was time to just rock them out. I'm glad I did, it feels good to have something else in the "painted" column.

First up are the Prowlers, because they're my favorite:

I went for the classic Moria Goblin look, why mess with a good thing? The deep red against their green skin looks really sharp.

 These two crack me up. I don't know what's so amusing about them, but sheesh, they make me laugh.

 All my fancy metal leaders. I like the feel of the metal ones more- I don't know what it is about the weight of them that makes them feel better than plastic.

The whole gang isn't quite as big as I'd like it to be. It's looking likely that I'll be playing LOTR at Adepticon (got my tickets and booked my hotel, woot woot!). It only "looks" like it, because I'm on the wait list for the doubles 40k tournament which is during the same time, but which I would prefer to play. So, for the moment, I'm treating is as though I'm playing LOTR and getting these guys ready.

In preparation for that, I should probably get another box of Goblins. I need to base my Barrow Wights, but they're painted. Primed but unpainted are some Dead Marsh Spectres, Tainted on Mount (Foot is already painted), and a Dweller in the Dark. Not an impossible number of things to paint by any measure. I keep putting off the Dweller because I simply cannot decide how I want to paint him. But I have some time to sort him out.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Stonehaven Gnome Scholar

I finished this little guy about two weeks ago but just finally got around to taking some nice photos of him. He came from Stonehaven Miniatures, as part of their Gnome Kickstarter. They arrived in the beginning of October and I've already painted two minis from the set.

 I really bought these guys just to paint them. So I thought it'd be fun to put him on a big ol' tree stump (that I picked up for $1 at Historicon). The big stump also meant a big base- he's on a 60mm, even though the Gnome is only about the size of my thumbnail.

The leaves on the base came from Secret Weapon Miniatures. They make some cool stuff, including these leaves in several color varieties.

He'll probably end up becoming some weird NPC in a game of Savage Worlds eventually. But for now, he's just part of my miniature shelf, hanging out with some Daemonettes, Fenrisian Wolves and Moria Goblins.

Friday, November 8, 2013

All The Social Networks!

Last night, I decided to finally launch a Facebook page for Chickhammer. So, if you're into that sort of thing, check it out! It will be updated with links to the blog posts, work in progress photos, podcast links, and whatever other sort of hobby-based goodness I think you might like. I even added a nifty little Facebook widget to the side bar.

I hemmed and hawed about doing one for a while, but finally decided to give it a try. It's a little more instantaneous than the blog and I think that'll be fun. So, more WIP photos for sure. There will also probably be a lot of pictures of my dog. She's hobby time enemy #1, as she likes to push my minis away and sit in my lap. She turns on her sad eyes and suddenly I've forgotten I was painting and then... you get the idea.

Anyway, since I have your attention already, I'll also mention that I'm on Twitter, you can find me @LilThunderLiz.

Happy Friday!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Stonehaven Troll: Finished!

Wouldn't you know it, I finished a  project! I needed something small and fun to break up the drudgery that painting my Space Wolves became. This guy was just the ticket. A one-shot figure with some interesting details and definitely no power armor.

I named him Zab.

I probably spent a good 5-6 hours painting him, all told. I did the bulk of the work a few weeks ago and then finished him up over the last week in short painting sessions. I'm most happy with how his skin turned out, I've never really painted green skin before, so it was an interesting challenge.

You can see on the armor that it's a bit rusty- an effect archived using Model Mate's Rust Effect. This was my first go with it, but let me tell you what, it is some mighty wonderful stuff. But I'll save that for a later post just on it.

He's not yet available on the Stonehaven website, but will be sometime in November along with the rest of the Gnomes from their recent Kickstarter campaign. Don't forget- they're currently running a campaign for Elves, and so far they look great. They just introduced a new troll, too :-)

Next on the block are the LOTR Goblins I started back in the beginning of the year. They're 80% finished so I am hoping to whip them out quickly.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Stonehaven Elves!

Well, Stonehaven is at it again. Less than a month after receiving my fabulous Gnomes Kickstarter rewards, they are back with an Elven Adventurers Box set! More minis and I haven't even painted the first ones yet (because I am a terrible procrastinator).

So far, they've unlocked 10 figures from two different adventuring sets. As of this writing, the miniatures include a Druid, Pikeman, Rogue, Mage, Ranger, Librarian, Sniper, Footsoldier, and more. They also have some interesting stretch goals, including a Ent-ling! I'm just smitten with him.

Additionally, the creators have all but confirmed that there will be another Troll released as part of this project. I love the two trolls from the previous projects, so I'm all over that. Being impulsive and unable to control myself, I have gone in at the Completionist level, which gets you one of everything unlocked in the project. That will set you back $150.

But given that the Gnomes had 40ish figures (plus tons of extras for $120) and the Dwarves had 20ish figures (and also some extras for $53), I feel confident that they'll hit somewhere in the 40-50 figure mark this time around, too.

Best part- their communication post-funding is excellent and both of their previous projects arrived on time! Not enough Kickstarters can say that. Now, if like me, you already backed Reaper's Bones II with wild abandon, then you might be concerned about spending so much money "this month". Well, mini addicts, I have good news! This project doesn't fund until November 8th, so you'll have at least a paycheck in between the two to recuperate.

So if you missed the Dwarves and the Gnomes, now is the time to get in on the Elves project and avoid disappointment and jealousy! And if you're so inclined, the Dwarves are available on the Stonehaven Webstore. Gnomes will be available there soon. At the very least, check it out to see them painted up. They were painted by James Wappel so you know they look amazing.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

A Little WIP Wed and an Update

It's been a little while since my last update, I definitely over-booked myself this semester. I don't know what I was thinking signing up for 5 classes, but here we are. I haven't had much time to spend tending the blog. Thankfully, it doesn't seem to have gone feral in my absence. But I'm delighted to say that I haven't been entirely quiet on the hobby front.

Look at all the goodies!
My Stonehaven Kickstarter Gnomes arrived on Friday, and I must say I am quite pleased with them. They are much tinier than the Dwarves (as one might expect), so I will definitely need some real patience when working on them. All told, the Kickstarter gave me about 40 Gnome miniatures, plus a lot of extra goodies like familiars, Gnome children, rats, a scroll, and many other little fun accessories.

In the back of that photo, towering over everything else, are two lovely trolls! The one on the right, with the club, was a part of the Dwarven Kickstarter, but in my infinite silliness, I did not order one then. Thankfully, they had a few extras and I was able to order one during the Gnome Kickstarter. The troll from the Gnome set is my WIP Wednesday for this week. I will, hopefully, finish him this evening.

Menacing, isn't he?
This weekend I took a little "me" time which included working on him. I'm very happy with how his skin turned out. I just need to finish up the last few things on him and then he'll be all set to terrorize a merry band of Gnomes. If you like their Gnomes or the Dwarves (I sure do) they are doing another Kickstarter soon which, rumor has it, will consist of Elves.

I do also owe you a final post on my completed Space Wolf army (with nice, fancy pictures) as well as an additional post related to the NOVA Open that I never really got around to doing. There's a dozen things I could write about, but I just don't have all the time I need to take photos and write up the posts.

One class is ending next week, so hopefully that will free up enough time for me to get back in the swing of things here.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

NOVA Open 2013: Battle Report

Now that I'm (somewhat) rested and refreshed, it's time for the battle reports! I took a bunch of notes during my games to help me keep track of what happened and how the game went. Turned out to be a great help in writing this post. First, though, the list I took:

Hroar's Blood Fangs - 1850 List

HQ: Wolf Lord in Power Armour (235 pts)
      1 Wolf Lord with Melta Bombs; Runic Armour; Thunderwolf Mount; Power Axe; Storm Shield; Saga of the Beastslayer
      1 Fenrisian Wolf
HQ: Rune Priest in Power Armour (120 pts)
      1 Rune Priest in Power Armour with Runic Armour; Warlord; Codex Psychic Powers (Jaws of the World Wolf & Living Lightning)
Troops: Grey Hunters Pack (190 pts)
      9 Grey Hunters Pack with Meltagun x1, Mark of the Wulfen x1
      1 Drop Pod
Troops: Grey Hunters Pack (205 pts)
      10 Grey Hunters Pack with Meltagun x1; Plasma gun x1; Mark of the Wulfen x1
      1 Drop Pod Pod
Troops: Grey Hunters Pack (200 pts)
      10 Grey Hunters Pack with Flamer x1; Plasma gun x1; Mark of the Wulfen x1
      1 Drop Pod
Troops: Grey Hunters Pack (150 pts)
      10 Grey Hunters Pack with Flamer x1; Plasma gun x1; Mark of the Wulfen x1
Elite: Dreadnought (125 pts)
   1 Dreadnought with 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons
Elite: Lone Wolf in Power Armour (50 pts)
      1 Lone Wolf in Power Armour with Melta Bombs and Mark of the Wulfen
      1 Fenrisian Wolf
Heavy Support: Long Fangs Pack (130 pts)
      5 Long Fangs Pack with Heavy Bolter x2; Missile Launcher x3
      1 Squad Leader
Heavy Support: Long Fangs Pack (125 pts)
      5 Long Fangs Pack with Heavy Bolter x3; Missile Launcher x2
      1 Squad Leader
Fast Attack: Thunderwolf Cavalry (220 pts)
      1 Thunderwolf Cavalry with Melta Bombs; Storm Shield
      1 Thunderwolf Cavalry with Thunder Hammer
      1 Thunderwolf Cavalry with Melta Bombs
Fortification: Aegis Defense Lines (100 pts)
      With Quad Gun

Game 1 vs. Matt C.
Tau with Eldar Allies

I got my nearly-unavoidable Taudar game out of the way first. A lot of armies were along similar lines to this list. It was fairly disappointing to see so many of the same list across the tables.

Nonetheless, this was a fun game and the craziest thing all weekend happened. My Lone Wolf, a last minute addition to the army, killed his Wraithknight. I'm still a little shocked by it. But here's just before it happened:

Claw harder at its ankles!
The Wraightknight charged into my squad of Grey Hunters, and was slowly killing them off. But, then my Lone Wolf came in from the side and rended him to death. I still can't believe it. Granted, it's the only victory I had in the game, so I was going to savor it a little bit anyway.

Final Score: Lost, 0-20

Monday, September 2, 2013

2013 NOVA Open GT, Come and Gone

What. A. Weekend.

Turns out, I didn't totally finish my army. They're 90% done. The only thing that I didn't get finished (and I was painting until 1 am the night before, just like I said I didn't want to do) was 2 Grey Hunter squads. I just didn't get a chance to do all the details on their faces and weapons.

But there they all are! That's what I took with me to the NOVA Open. I'll finish them all up soon, but for the moment I need a little painting break. But, now, onto the event.

The schedule change between this year and last, for the GT at least, was both a good and a bad thing. Doing 3-3-2 games on Fri-Sat-Sun was an excellent change. However, the first game on Sunday ran 7:30-10am. That was too early for me, but the part that really sucked is the last round started right at 10:30. Hotel check out was at noon. So, you either had to check out before your first game, or risk being late for your second game.

Because I lost my voice (more on that in a minute), I ended up dropping out of the Sunday games, which are optional for the people who weren't playing for prizes. So, I was able to get us checked out ok since I couldn't play. It would have been a huge pain, especially considering that a trip to the parking garage takes half an hour (the parking situation is terrible). An extra half hour, making it an hour between the two rounds, would have solved that problem entirely.

Another change this year, which I think was excellent, was that they moved the vendors down a floor to a more open space and had the registration set up right as you came down off the escalators. It made for a much better flow than last year. They're still a little light on the "con" part, there were only a handful of vendors. I'd really like to see some vendors running game demos (which was one of the best parts of Historicon). There was a decent selection of seminars to choose from, but most conflicted with my ability to play in the GT. There's not enough to make it worth spending $45 to get a weekend pass. Picking one day and getting a day pass would have been entirely sufficient to see most everything.

That being said, I did make out like a bandit at the vendor booths. Warstore was there again, and they always have some awesome things to go through. My favorite vendor, though, (who I hope comes back next year) was The Game Room. They had bins and bins of individual minis and some bits (organized by army) for 40k, Fantasy, Warmahordes, Flames of Wars, and others, plus, some Forgeworld stuff, terrain, bases, and so much more. They also had tons of new boxed items, painted armies and units for sale, plus a lot of out of print items. A phenomenal selection! Not only that, but the owners are just the nicest people you could hope to meet. If I ever find myself out in Ohio, I will definitely make it a point to visit their store.

I didn't really get a chance to go through the vendors until Sunday. The GT games were most of my day, with some scrambling for lunch/dinner in between. The only other thing I scheduled initially was the Craft Beer Seminar on Saturday night. After two days and 6 games, I was feeling pretty good. So I stayed up a bit later than I would have otherwise and stretched my social butterfly wings. The seminar was really interesting, with a discussion of brewing history in the United States and tons of beer samples (large samples, too). I didn't call it a night until 2:30, which is unusual for me.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: HobbyZone Painting Station

 I've been in the market for a painting station for a while. I don't have a permanent painting area, usually when I paint, I'm on my sofa with my minis and paints on a lap desk. Useful enough to get the job done, but not terribly practical. There's no where to keep my brushes from rolling away, or to keep my paint cup from sliding around.

 I don't like GW's current plastic one (even at half price, I wouldn't buy it) and haven't seen much I'm fond of. The old one that GW used to make- out of particle board I believe- I really do like. Hubs has one, and uses it constantly. After some internet searching, I found some from HobbyZone that I liked which is similar, but with them being in Poland, I was a little hesitant to purchase something I couldn't see and touch.

Hesitation- totally unfounded.
 But a Twitter pal recently took the plunge and was so pleased with his that I had no excuse (he blogged about it, too). I ordered the small one, as I didn't want something very large. Space is, as always, a concern. For $20, the one I picked up was very reasonably priced, although the shipping was a bit steep ($17). It only took 9 days to arrive, so I can't be too upset about the shipping charges.

You can choose between two bottle sizes, I opted for the 35 mm size since I use mostly Citadel paints. You can see in the photo that my Citadel paint cup fits into the station. But this is a bit of a lie. As ordered, the paint cup does not fit. When I opened the package, I was incredibly disappointed to find that out. It was close, though, so I took it to my parent's and used my father's woodworking tools to make the hole larger (about 5/16th of an inch larger) and shave down the flare at the bottom of the cup before I assembled the station. After some fiddling, it fit.

Other than my paint cup not fitting, I'm pretty pleased with this station. It went together quickly and easily with just a little wood glue, no adjustments necessary. It's sturdy, too, even when it's filled with paint pots. I built it Saturday afternoon and was using it on Sunday. It fits plenty of paint and brushes and has a few oblong holes for your knives and clippers.

I am very happy it arrived when it did, because we already had the trip up to my parent's house planned and the weather was perfect for some outdoor painting. I live in a bit of a hobbit-hole (in that I'm underground) so I like taking advantage of their patio.

Overall, I certainly recommend picking up one of these HobbyZone painting stations if you're looking for one. It's a very fair price for a good quality product.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Update: 3 Weeks Until NOVA

Is the tournament looming and I still have models to paint? Yes.

Am I running around with my hair on fire? Yes.

Is it completely my own fault for procrastinating? Not entirely! (stupid bugs)

Here's what's left.
NOVA is in just three weeks. I have LOT of work to do still. But I've made some pretty serious strides in the last week or so.

As seen above, my Grey Hunters are all assembled, primed, and washed. So are the Long Fangs. Thus far I have been batch painting them all. I'll keep batch painting them through the first layer color (dudes on the left) and then the highlight. After that, I'll break them down into groups of ten to finish all the detail work. Otherwise, they'll get boring really fast.

As far as assembly goes, I just have the inside of one drop pod to put together and then my assembly is entirely finished. I want to make more headway on the Grey Hunters before I sit down and play with the final drop pod, but I'm hoping to assemble it and prime all of them so I can paint them next weekend.

My friend Kevin is also frantically painting his Tau for NOVA, so we've been doing a some group painting sessions. It's definitely more fun to paint with friends, especially when you have big projects like we do. Tonight we're having another one, I am hoping to get to the details on the Grey Hunters.

There's about 65 models total that I need to complete. Yeesh.

Monday, July 29, 2013

CGL Quarterly Tournament Results

My gaming group ran a tournament this weekend. It was a nice way to shake off the rust after not having been able to play for about 6 weeks. I think I might need to shake off a little bit more of the rust though, since I went 0-3.

Look out, sir! Behind you!
I've been slowly evolving my list over the course of my games to try and make the most competitive Wolf list I can. Moreso than with any other army have I wanted to run a little bit of everything. With Daemons, it was easy, I wasn't interested in running any Nurgle or most Khorne stuff. Space Wolves just have too many damn options. But here's what I brought to the tournament:

    Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf (215 pts)
            Melta Bombs, Frost Axe, Storm Shield and 1 Fenrisian Wolf attachment
    Rune Priest in Power Armour- Warlord (120 pts)
            Runic Armour, Psyker Level 1 w/ Codex Powers; Jaws of the World Wolf and Living Lightning 
    9 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod (195 pts)
            1 Plasma gun, 1 w/ Mark of the Wulfen
    10 Grey Hunters in Drop Pod (220 pts)
            Wolf Standard; 1 Plasma gun, 1 w/ Mark of the Wulfen
    10 Grey Hunters Pack in Drop Pod (175 pts)
            1 Meltagun
    10 Grey Hunters (160 pts)
            Wolf Standard, 1 Plasma gun 
    Dreadnought (125 pts)
            Twin-Linked Autocannons
    6 Long Fangs (130 pts)
            1 Squad Leader, 2 Heavy Bolters, 3 Missile Launchers
    6 Long Fangs Pack (125 pts)
            1 Squad Leader, 3 Heavy Bolters, 2 Missile Launchers
Fast Attack:
    8 Fenrisian Wolves (64 pts)
    3 Thunderwolf Cavalry (220 pts)
            1 w/ Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield, 2 Melta Bombs

    Aegis Defense Line with Quad Gun (100 pts)

The Games:
Nick- Tyranids
Mission: Objectives

I'm always up for killing a little Xenos, so this was immediately going to be a fun matchup. However, he had 5 Monstrous Creatures and the Doom so it was looking like an uphill battle from the start. I was not wrong. He took two Tervigons which spawned a huge amount of Termagants first turn, but I killed plenty of the pests quickly. Then they both got stopped up early in the game, which helped.

But between them, two flying hive tyrants, and the Trygon, there wasn't much I could do. Too many giant scaries and not enough firepower to go around. Then, you know, the Doom flops down and my Long Fangs are suddenly gone. We took the full time allotted, 2 1/2 hours, and it was a slow grind the whole way.

I managed to hold onto one objective for dear life, and that was the only VPs I scored all day.

Result: Massacred.

Just as an aside, his army was lovely. The tan bodies with red carapaces is a great combination and it was very well executed. They're in the picture above.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Historicon 2013

This weekend the huge wargaming convention Historicon went on in Fredericksburg, VA, which it just so happens, is practically in my backyard. How could I not go? I don't particularly fancy historical wargaming, but I did want to see what all the hubbub was about.

Hubs and I originally planned to make a weekend of it, but plans rather dissolved after we discovered our "guests". We've been officially cleared of visitors (yay!), so I almost skipped it to put my house back together and because I knew I couldn't go for the full day. I ended up deciding (with a little cajoling from Hubs) that a half day would be worth the trip.

Despite losing one hour to traffic, I am so very glad I went! Right off the bat, the event is just huge. And no more than five minutes after we got there, we ran into our good friend Richard. We ended up spending most of our time exploring the event together.

A pirate game, played across 3 giant tables.
The sheer amount of new things to investigate was startling. As I said, I'm not into historicals, but that doesn't mean they still aren't fun to watch people play. It does mean that pretty much everything was news to me. By the end of the day, I think I had whiplash from trying to see everything.

The longer I was there, though, the more it became apparent that I have little-to-no interest in any games at 15mm or less. While they might be enjoyable systems to play, I'm simply not interested in painting anything that small. That's probably for the best, the last thing I need is to get sucked into another game (but I did anyway).

As generally happens at these sorts of things, the vendor booths tend to get you in trouble. I managed to walk away with just 4 minis (all for under $20), a personal best I think. Richard and Hubs got in a bit deeper. At the Warlord vendor booth, they were running demos of Bolt Action, which they've talked about getting into more than once. They joined in on of the demo games. I really do love when companies run demos for you.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Reaper Bones: Soft Giants

Amidst the chaos lately, one nice thing that happened is our Reaper Bones Kickstarter goodies arrived. Hubs went in on the Vampire level plus a bunch of the extra things. On top of that, I added all of the 8 Giants offered and a Mister Bones (because, shoot, he was $1).

Overall, I'm very impressed with the detail of the sculpts. Before the Kickstarter happened, we'd gotten a few of their Bones, but none were as detailed as these Giants. I wasn't too sure how all that detail would look in the Bones plastic. They're not as crisp as a resin or metal model would be, but for 75-80% of the price, who'd complain?

I'd say that all told, the Bones plastics are about 90% as nice as the metal ones. For the price, it really can't be beat, especially as other miniature lines continue rising in price. Just as an example, you can look at their Bones Minotaur ($3.49) vs the Metal Original ($16.99). Not quite as nice, but really close.

Of course, as soon as I opened the box, I wanted to get working on these straight away. But with all my hobby items packed up (still, sadly), I had to go out and purchase glue and another hobby knife. For under $10, though, it was worth it to get some hobbying done (and have a little time with my mind off other things).

However, I wasn't thrilled that scraping mold lines, in the traditional sense, is basically impossible. You have to gently shave them, scraping will get you no where due to the soft nature of the plastic. This plastic is also very unforgiving, one little misstep with the knife and your model can lose his nose, a finger, some hair, or other delicate bits. It's more difficult to accidentally decapitate a model made of harder plastic.

Somewhat disappointing, too, was that the swords and other extraneous bits were seriously bent out of shape. Now, I understand that it's 100 degrees outside, and was probably 150 in the delivery truck, but this was a real pain in the butt to fix. Several of their bases were also warped, to the point that they wouldn't stand upright. Of the 8 giants, 7 needed repositioning.

Uhh, miss? I think something's wrong with your spear.
For resin models I've repositioned, it was just a quick matter of heating up some water. This plastic, though, responded very poorly to that treatment. They need to be in the hot water for much longer, and (especially the swords) took several times to get them to the desired position. Eventually, they were "close enough" and I gave up after about 30 minutes of fussing with them. They're better but still not great.

In summary, though, the Bones line has a lot of good minis for great prices. While the softness of the plastic has a few disadvantages, it will be great for those that are really into conversions. I can't imagine anything easier to do conversions with than this plastic.

I picked up the giants to play some of Reaper's miniatures game Warlord. Hopefully sometime in the near future I'll be able to give it a whirl. But my time until NOVA is ticking down, so we'll see how much progress I make on my wolves in the coming days.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The State of My Hobbying

In addition to the increased work hours and going back to school full time, an unexpected, dreadful thing has happened. We got bedbugs. I don't know where the buggers came from, how long they've been here, or when they'll be gone for good. It's been two weeks so far since we received confirmation, and at best, we won't be able to get back to life as usual for another week, quite possibly longer.

This whole affair has been quite the grim rollercoaster.

Among other things, this means that I can't do any hobbying. Why's that? Well, this is what bedbugs do to your life:

It's not pretty.
That is all of our hobby stuff. Minis. Paints. Brushes. Cases. Gaming Aids. Books. All of it, bagged up and piled in the middle of the hobby room. Our bedroom, kitchen, and living room are in similar disarray. And it all has to stay this way until we are re-inspected and cleared of bugs.

Unsurprisingly, this is really throwing a wrench into my tournament preparation. NOVA Open is 54 days away. Best case scenario (if we're cleared on Tuesday), I'll have 50 days to finish my army. It's going to be rough, but doable. If we aren't cleared, I'm not quite sure what happens next (other than tearing out my hair). But I'll cross that bridge if we come to it.

Please, please do yourself a favor when you travel and check your hotel beds for bedbugs. You do not want these suckers coming home with you.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tutorial: Raised Shoulder Pad Logos

My sculpting talents aren't all that great, in fact, I shouldn't even say "talent" when referring to what I've generously been calling "sculpting" on my part. So when I decided I wanted a raised Great Company logo for my Space Wolves, I was in a bit of a pickle. Then I remembered about the marvelous Blu-stuff casting material.

Remember that stuff? I reviewed it back in February. It's wonderful and makes projects like this super easy. First thing you need to find is what you want to copy. That part wasn't difficult- as soon as I saw this shield I knew I had found my GC logo:

Skull with fangs? Yes, please! Roll the two parts of the Blu Stuff together, push it over what you want to copy, and blamo!

Instant mold! Mix up your green stuff and get busy! I used a slightly higher than 1-1 yellow to blue ratio for these. I pushed a little into the mold, and then used its tackiness to pull it back out. I wet my finger very, very slightly before pushing the GS into the mold. It's a little tricky to figure out at first; you want it to be still tacky enough to pull it out of the mold without sticking tightly to your finger.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Long Overdue Long Fangs Update

As I mentioned previously, posts will be a little more infrequent, but I was hoping not to go a full month without a post. Well, c'est la vie. Despite not finding the time to update, I did manage to find the time to get a little work done on my Heresy-era Long Fangs. They're fully assembled and ready for some paint.

They're made from a mixture of Grey Hunter box pieces and the Forgeworld MKIV Heavy Support Squad. The big guns are all Forgeworld- the over the shoulder missile launchers were just too awesome to pass up. While I prefer the over the shoulder heavy bolter that comes in one of their weapons kits, these underslung ones come in a pack of five. More fiscally responsible to buy them that way.

I also managed to finish up the armor conversions on my Thunderwolf Cav riders and get them primed. The wolves themselves have been finished and painted for a bit, but I was dragging my feet on the riders. No more!

It's a little hard to see in the image, bt they all have a raised skull Great Company logo! Yes, indeed they do! I made a mold from the fanged skull on a Storm Shield from the Thunderwolf Cavalry box and used it to make many, many skulls to use as my Great Company logo. I will be doing a tutorial shortly on how I made them and how I affixed them.

Unfortunately, I have some exams soon and between them and some personal things going on, I don't know exactly I'll get to painting these guys. But my first priority is working on the rest of the Grey Hunters. They all have heads now, so that's a plus, and a right few of them even have all their arms. It's just a matter of finishing the armor and chainsword conversions.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Playing All the Games!

I put down my brushes a bit in exchange for lots of playing time these past two weeks. I had 2 games last week and 4 games the week before. After those 4 games in one week, I discovered I'm clearly not yet ready to weather 8 games over 3 days. But I'm working on it.

Purging the universe of Xenos scum!
 I'm trying to play a few games against every army so I can be prepared for anything at NOVA Open. I made a little chart to keep track of my progress. There are 15 armies, so far in my practice I have played against 6 of them, and a few of them more than once. I think I can somehow get on without playing against Space Wolves and I highly doubt I'll play anyone with Sisters (nor do I know anyone I could practice with) so there are 7 left I need to have a go at.

There are suddenly a dozen people in my local club playing Tau, so I don't think I'll have any trouble getting in plenty of games against them. I expect Tau, Necrons, and CSMs to be a large chunk of the armies at NOVA, so I'm going to concentrate on getting extra games in with them. Then I'll probably browse through some of the codexes to get acquainted with the armies a little further.

I usually play against the same 2-3 armies, so making a concentrated effort to familiarize myself with other ones is important. Nothing makes a game harder than not really knowing what you're up against. That's gotten me into a few bad situations before.

When you go to a big tournament, aside from painting the army, what do you do to prepare?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WIP Wed: Wolfy Aegis Defense Line

Hobby time has been scarcer lately than usual, but I managed to get some paint onto my Aegis Defense Line. I spent a while about two weeks ago wolfing it up, but I'm just getting to painting it.

I used some spare storm shields I had to give it a little more flair. While the Sons of Russ do love the Emperor very much, I'm not crazy about the Aquila. I used some of the wolf skull bits to cover the head of the eagle, but you can still clearly see the wings, so it's a nice mesh of the two I think.

I think I'm going to do the wings in gold and the skulls in skull colors. The rivets will be bronze. I still have to highlight and wash the red. That red is ye old Mechrite Red. I just can't get the color I want with the current set of Citadel paints. I gambled on my pot lasting me through the whole army, but now it's clear that it won't. I've been having a hard time finding another one, so I might have to figure something else out for the Grey Hunters.

And, also just for kicks, here's my WIP Rune Priest. He made a magical reappearance after having been missing for a couple weeks. I had almost given up hope and replaced him. Now his armor is nearly finished, and I got started on his cloak.

There seems to be too much grey going on in the army. I thought I'd give him a white fur pelt instead of grey. I considered brown, but I seem to not do well with the brown furs, so I figured I'd try white. It may not be obvious from the photo, but his bolt pistol is an official MK IV one from FW. He's the very first of my crew to be properly equipped with Heresy weaponry.

On somewhat related note, things are getting a little crazy around here soon. Starting next week, I'm going to be doing a lot more hours at work and commuting further, and then beginning in May I'm going back to school. This will likely grind my hobby time to a full halt while I adjust. Updates here will be less frequent than usual. However, I will definitely still be on Twitter, with any army progress I can manage.

As I'm trying to play as many games as I can, I think my hobby updates will be less often, but more substantial. Hopefully, things will even out again in a couple months after I've gotten used to the new schedule.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Testing the Space Wolf Waters

Recently, I played my first two 40k games in quite a while. The wolves are finally in a place where there are enough finished and based that I can get some games in regularly while working on the remaining models. I also borrowed a couple of Casey's vanilla Marines to proxy things and pad out the list where necessary.

I wanted to get a full 1850 points together, but last week, I was in NJ to go attend the post-Wrestlemanina Monday Night Raw (which was great, if you're into that sort of thing) and this past weekend I was at a wedding, so I haven't had much hobby time. I managed a 1500 game and then a 1750. The 1500 at first probably for the best, I'm rusty on the 6th rules and entirely new to the Wolves.

The 1500 point game went my way, but I got walloped in the 1750. Good news, though, is I'm getting a better feel for the army and for how I need to play them. Obviously, they're very different from my old Daemons. As a close combat heavy army, though, I have to say, overwatch can bite my bum. Probably nothing to new to you who have been playing regularly.

I'm still testing things out and working my way toward a solid 1850 point list for NOVA. I am very pleased with how the squad of Long Fangs has performed hanging out by the Aegis Defense Line and manning the quad gun. Split fire is rad, rad, rad. Hopefully I'll get a chance soon to test it out with a list that has fliers, rather than the tank-heavy IG list I've been playing against.

I ran the Thunderwolf Cav for the first time but unfortunately they got chewed up before I could really test their might out against anything. Same with the Fenrisian wolves, but I ran a small unit of five instead of the ten I plan to run in the end. I've not been excited by the Rhino, so I'll likely drop that. I need to get my hands on another drop pod so I can try using 3 of them, which has been part of the ultimate plan for a while now.

Hopefully I can get my hands on another opponent for next week. I don't want to just get as many practice games as possible, I also want them to be against many different armies.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Big Box Of Guns

Seems I've run out of excuses to lollygag on the Grey Hunter conversions. Their guns arrived, and quite timely, too. I ordered them with the expectation that they'd take 3-4 weeks to arrive, and they got here in less than two. Nice job, Forgeworld.

Turns out, I made a small error and didn't get any heavy bolters. Oops! I think I panicked a little after I added everything to my cart and it totaled nearly £200. I took some things out and accidentally axed the set of heavy bolters. I'll have to order some soon.

I did, however, get two Special Weapons packs (2 each of missile launcher, flamer, and meltagun), two sets of Umbra bolters, a set of Umbra Ferrox bolters, and the MKIV power weapons set which is basically a whole ton of goodies I can mix and match into the army, including torsos, chainswords, and a thunder hammer all to match the MKIV armor. It cost me all of my hobby money for the month, but totally worth it.

I am very happy with the power weapons set especially. My favorite is definitely the heavy chainsword, which is just a giant, two handed chainsword. As there are no rules for it in any codex that I'm aware of, I'm definitely going to model someone with it as their regular CCW because why the hell not? It's awesome. I'm also pleased to see that without much hassle, I can convert the chainswords from the Grey Hunters box into some appropriate looking MKIV ones.

Just need to clip some of the teeth off the back.
It's great that I can use the ones that are decked out with wolfy bits. That is part of what gives the army the character I like so much. It also means I'll get good results without too much work, definitely a bonus.

Having all the weapons, though, means it's time to sit down and finish up (or, um, start) the green stuff work on the torsos and legs. I've been working on other things to this point, but now it's time to really give them a go. Hopefully I will have a little more hobby time soon, I have plenty of things to work on when I do.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

And The Winner Is...

The random number generating gods have chosen: Druff! Congratulations! Please send an email to ashley (at) Let me know your country and what email address you'd like your gift voucher sent to.

I had a fun time running the contest. Thank you to all who entered. I really enjoyed reading your responses.

Happy gaming!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

100th Post Giveaway!

Welcome my 100th post! Look at that, talking to you a hundred times. I can't believe it's been that many already. It wasn't even a year ago that I split this page off on its own. I started the blog as a way to keep track of my hobby progress, but it unexpectedly turned into a way of connecting with all of you.

Break out the party hats.
Between here and Twitter, I've connected with an amazing array of wargamers. I've been incredibly inspired by all of you. Your own work, advice, and encouragement have been so amazing. I couldn't have grown so much as a painter and hobbyist in the past year without your help and support. That's why I've decided to do a small giveaway in thanks.

But, that's why you're here, isn't it? I invoked the magic words: free stuff! I'll keep you in suspense no longer. Here's the deal: I'm going to give away a $25 Games Workshop gift voucher. All you need to do to enter is leave a comment (using Disqus, please) on this post saying what you might like to buy with it if you win. One entry per person. The contest will be open for one week, starting right now and ending on April 9, 2013 at 11:59 PM, EST. The winner will be randomly selected and announced on April 10.

Now, of course, there's a little fine print regarding the voucher. This giveaway is open to everybody, everywhere. I checked with GW and the email voucher can only be used on the website it was purchased from. That means, if I buy a voucher on the US site, but the winner lives in the UK, the winner would have to spend it on US site, pay for shipping from the US, and then wait for the post office gremlins to slog it all the way across the ocean. That's a pain in the butt for everyone.

So, if you enter, you agree to a) give me your email address so I can email you the voucher in the first place and b) tell me what country you live in so I can buy the right one for you. Unfortunately, it also means that the $25 number is only an approximation if you're outside the US, as native currencies are used on each country's site. GW only lets you choose fixed amounts from a list, so I will send the winner whichever one is closest to the equivalent of $25 USD and you'll get that one. It might be a little more, it might be a little less.

Sound good? All right! So, tell me, my warmonger friends, what would you buy if you win $25 gift voucher?

*Edit* You don't need to leave your email/country in the comment. I'll ask the winner for that after the contest ends.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Guest on Noobhammer Podcast

Obviously the hot topic we began with was the new Tau releases. I'm not super excited about them, but there's definitely a lot to say. We also discussed our current hobby projects, including a bit about the ice bases I'm using for my Space Wolf army.

I unexpectedly had to dip out in the middle (Hubs found a stray dog and we had to figure out what to do with him), but I had a fun time chatting about the hobby. The discussion carried on with some interesting Fantasy stuff after I left.

Head on over to their page to listen to Episode 31: An Easter Miracle.

Mark of the Wulfen Pack Complete

These guys were so fun to paint that I whipped through them very quickly. I also planned ahead and made a set of bases for them before they were painted, so they're ready for action.

After my initial excitement over them, though, I have to say these models are quite the mixed bag. The sculpts are nice, and so perfectly what I had in mind for Mark of the Wulfen. On the other hand, the material they're cast in is utter rubbish and parts of the models appear to have been melted. To be honest, it looks as though someone put a flame to parts of the models.

Their hands in particular suffered and several fingers are deformed. There were also a few places on each model that looked like hot plastic had dripped on it after it was taken out of the mold. That wouldn't have been too hard to fix if the plastic wasn't, frankly, complete shit. It's very, very hard and a little prone to chipping, especially if you're scraping flash off like you might any other plastic model. I had to retouch part of one of their legs with some green stuff for that very reason, a whole section chipped right off.

I'm quite torn over them. While I am pleased with the sculpts themselves, I cannot in good conscience recommend them because of the quality of casting. There were a lot more bubbles in them than I initially saw (many more became apparently after priming, I had to go back for more touch-ups) and the mold lines were far too difficult to remove. I would say if you really like them, purchase with caution.

Now, I don't have any squads to stick these guys into just yet. But, I just did a Forgeworld order for all the Heresy weapons I need, so the Grey Hunters will be coming along soon. Thunderwolves and Fenrisian Wolves are slow going. I'm getting a little bored with their fur, so I've only been finishing 1-2 at a time. I have 150 days left until they need to be done, so I should probably start a tighter schedule.

Now, be sure to stay tuned. There will be a special announcement in the next couple of days!

Friday, March 29, 2013

D&D Dungeon Command Review

Casey and I picked up several of the Dungeon Command boxes in the last few months. If you haven't heard of it, it's a Dungeons and Dragons skirmish game that came out last year. Each faction box has everything necessary for one player to start, including rulebook, board tiles, cards, tokens, and 12 pre-painted figures. Each faction retails for $39.99.

They have five faction boxes released at the moment- Sting of Lolth (spiders), Heart of Cormyr (the only good guys, haha), Tyranny of Goblins, Curse of Undeath, and Blood of Gruumsh (Orcs!). It's a nice mix of baddies. More factions are planned, but I haven't heard anything beyond that.

We have three of the five boxes- Cormyr, Undeath, and Goblins. There are rules to break up a single box into a two player game, but honestly, it's way more fun to just get two boxes. You can also play with 3 or 4 players, but I haven't tried that yet. We'll probably pick up the Orc set at some point in the future.

What I like most about the game, other than it being self-contained, is that it's quick to pick up but not so simple that you get bored with it quickly. It's a little different than most skirmish games I've been playing lately, as it's card-based in a way not too dissimilar from MTG. The board is marked with a grid, and each creature gets to move so many spaces per turn. Games take about an hour.

The pre-paints are pretty nice and the sculpts of the figures are good. As much as I like painting, it's refreshing to occasionally play a game where you don't have to paint the minis yourself :-)

The trailer for it kind of fun, too. I'll just leave that right here...

Happy gaming!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First Impression of Mark of the Lycan Pack

I've been trying to devise a way to get a handful of models to denote those with Mark of the Wulfen. A box of the OOP GW ones occasional goes up on eBay, but for a ridiculous amount of money. No thanks. A range of other options are out there- everything from cobbling up something with Beastmen bits, to buying werewolf heads, to sculpting my own from scratch.

Obviously the latter wasn't happeneing. I don't have the time or the skill at the moment. The Beastmen parts I feel are too big to fit in well with a Space Marine unit, and the heads I found weren't all that "wolfy" in my opinion.

But, as luck would have it, I found this very interesting Mark of the Lycan pack made by Mythicast. They have a handful of things on their site, but I was only interested in these guys. I really like them because they perfectly fit the Mark of the Wulfen aesthetic that I envision of what they should be. Of course, that's probably on purpose, as you see they have curiously familiar armor on their legs.

I really like that they come as a pack of 5 with all different sculpts. For $33 (including international shipping) it wasn't a bad deal either. They are, however, made out of a weirdly hard resin. I don't think it's going to be too brittle, but it's definitely not the sort of thing we're used to working with. Scraping the mold lines will be interesting.

A close-up of my favorite pose.
 As far as details go, they are pretty good. Not as crisp as what you get with some other companies, but there's a lot more detail in them than you can see in the photos of them on their website. Though, there are a couple of spots on them that aren't great. There's a few bubbles but not in major areas and some weirdly placed flash (like the crook of an arm). Over all, though, the casting is better than some of the Finecast stuff that Quality Control lets out of GW's door.

Even though they came from Singapore, they took less than three weeks to get to me, which made me very happy. The bases they came with are a little weird, so I'll probably use some of the regular bases I have hanging about. Overall, I'm pleased with this option for my wulfen marines. I'm really looking forward to painting them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Has Anyone Seen My Dog Whistle?

There are so many wolves on the loose here, it's getting a little crazy. There are 24 pups on my painting table today, and they're nearly finished. Everyone, at least, has their base coat and first wash finished. A few more, those on the right, are a little bit further along than that.

You may have noticed that there's 25 figures in that image. The top, third from the left is actually the rider of the Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf. He's the one with the majestic cape. His armor was old-school enough that I didn't need to give him any green stuff, and since he's got an axe and a shield, he didn't need any weapon changes.

It's a little difficult to see in the photo, but there are 3 shades of greys and 3 shades of browns. I wanted a good variety and I think I managed to achieve that. There are the three complete ones, they're hanging out with my Venerable Dreadnought on the shelf, based and ready for action. Soon, my brothers, soon.

But in the mean time, I picked up one more goodie yesterday to help fill out my tournament list.

I am a bit worried about what I'm going to do against all the flyer spam I expect to see at the tournament, and short of taking allies I thought this was my best and cheapest (for both money and points) option. It will definitely be manned by a squad of Long Fangs. I'm also looking forward to putting this together and making it look suitably wolfy :-)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ice & Snow Base Tutorial

I had a couple questions about how I did the bases for my Space Wolves. So I thought I'd do a post about it. Plus, this way, in three months when I have to make one more, there's concrete evidence of what I did instead of "Uh... I think I used this color?". At least I know what I'm up against with myself.

Here's how they look "in action".
I didn't want to do just snow bases for my Space Wolves, so I opted for ice instead. I couldn't find much in the way of instructions just for ice bases, though. I basically cobbled together this method through advice I found online on working with cork and trial and error.

What You'll Need:
Your bases
Cork sheet
Realistic Water (from Secret Weapon Miniatures or Woodland Scenics)
Gale Force Nine snow flock (or the Woodland Scenics equivalent)
     Hoeth Blue
     Drakenhof Nightshade
     Lothern Blue
     Ulthuan Grey
     Gloss paint of your choice (I used GW's)
     Abaddon Black
Your preferred sealant, I use Testors Dullcote.
Your 100% finished models (sealed and all)

Step 1: Getting Prepped
   Rip on up on that cork, yo.

   I started very basic, just ripping off a round-ish piece that was just smaller than my base. It's handy to have a base of each size nearby for comparison. Then you can get fancy with multiple pieces on a single base or layer the cork for a little height. Go crazy, just keep in mind that you're going to be putting something on top of it eventually.

   Then glue your pieces down, I used super glue since it was handy. Let that dry for a bit. Now, if your model is like the Fenrisian wolves, it has a little bit of a base attached to the foot for a stronger contact point. I used my hobby knife to carefully cut some grooves into the cork to set the model down in the base a little to conceal the connection. You won't need to do that all/most models.

Step 2: Paint That Thing
   At this point you can prime them if you want, but I skipped that step and just painted straight on the base and cork. Start by getting a nice base coat of the Hoeth Blue. Use a stiff brush to help you get in all the nooks and crannies of the cork.

   Give it a good wash with the Drakenhof Nightshade. Let it dry for a good long while.

Next, give it a good drybrushing with Lothern Blue. You don't want to get in the deep crevasses or anything.

Then give it a nice drybrushed highlight with the Ulthuan Grey.

You can be sloppy with the base itself, as that will soon be covered with snow. You just want a nice icey color to go under the snow, as it will affect how that looks.

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