Monday, April 28, 2014

Paint Line Comparison Results!

In a spectacularly short fashion (for me) I have finished my four test minis in 12 days. I certainly learned a bit about these paints, and what I like or don't about each. I tried to just do my 'normal' painting to get results most helpful to me in deciding what paint I like best. But now to the fun part! Here's what they look like all painted up and based:

Not my most stellar paint job, but more than adequate to the task.

The first and most obvious difference is the bottles, so I'll start there. I don't have any particular love for the Citadel ones, but the P3 bottles are terrible. Half of the lids broke off during this experiment. It was incredibly frustrating and led to a few spills.

Surprisingly, I was not impressed with the dropper bottles either. I really thought they were going to be my all-stars of packaging. But in reality, they were frustrating to mix. Both the Vallejo and Reaper ones had problems; they took an absurd amount of shaking. The Reaper paints also separated the most quickly.

Reaper model.
 But the real problem with the separation is that a whole bunch of what separates to the top gets in the nozzle of the dropper. So even if you shake it like crazy, you're still going to waste those first 2-3 drops every time you pick it up- it's either too thin or not the appropriate color.

Lastly, they also started clogging. I bought almost all of the paint for this experiment brand new just for this, so I was unhappy to find that a few days into the experiment the droppers were already clogging. Overall, I was very disappointed because easily dropping some paint onto my palette or wet palette was a huge plus.

Vallejo model.
The next big difference was consistency. After all, the difference between P3 and GW's consistencies was what got this whole experiment started. P3 is the thickest, then GW, then Vallejo, then Reaper. I usually thin GW's a little bit before using them. P3 I thinned nearly every time. I only occasionally felt that I needed to thin the Vallejo or Reaper paints. Only a few of the Reaper paints did I think were too thin.

Consistency was actually a little hard to gauge at first, because of the separation factor. P3 has had virtually none, which I think is pretty impressive. Go P3. A quick shake'll do for GW. But Vallejo and Reaper were a pain in the butt, and ended up being somewhat wasteful. I can't imagine how much paint I wasted just on these four models. But it wouldn't have been as much of a problem if not for the dropper bottles, as addressed above. Unmixed elements getting stuck in the nozzles was really a huge downer for me.

Citadel model.
Problems with separation didn't end there, though. Once I started trying them out on the wet palette, Reaper and Vallejo didn't do too well. They separated on the palette after a little while. Not the end of the world, but certainly added more time to my painting. I was very pleased with how GW performed on the wet palette. P3 obviously also did well in that regard, as they sell you a wet palette just for that purpose, it wasn't a surprise.

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.

Experiment Proposal
Part 1: So Much Paint 
Part 3: Results 

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.
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