Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Saruman (Orthanc)..... yep, the white guy on the horse

For some odd reason, I've always really loved this model.  I've had him for a long time just sitting on my shelf waiting for some brush time and after painting a few dozen dwarves, I felt I deserved to get a crack at him.  I also wanted to experiment with using cork as a basing material.  Now I've done the few rocks here and there with cork before, but I've never mounted a model on cork before... so this was rather new for me.

Also as of recently (as you may have noticed), my pictures seem to be giving off weird line marks in the background.  To prevent this, I bought the ebay special camera at 90% off and I'm still trying to figure out how to use the damn thing.  I also created a little light box that still needs a bit of tweeking.  So, same model, in my partially constructed light box, with my new camera....

I'm not sure which pictures I like better.  I might print out a background tomorrow at work and give it a go again.  I think the green kind of saturates the picture, but also adds a cool soft color.  I still need to add another light on the right side.  Either way, the model still looks pretty cool, and I'm definitely digging the cork base.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Thrain, before the madness

Now that I got that little rant out, I think it time to show off a model.  So as the title suggests, I painted up Thrain this past week.  I never took pictures or anything until yesterday.  So, without further delay (or ranting), here is the big guy before the capture and torment.

This guy was a challenge for me.  I'm not used to painting gold, and I learned a bit about its properties.  Flow improver tends to separate the pigment from the water.  I found that using just a little bit of water rather than flow improver helped thin the paint to a workable medium.

I had some issues getting his hair to look like that on the GW website, where he has lighter patches here and there.  I'm used to just painting hair a bit differently.  Its something I'm going to have to work on.

This weekends tourny (no pics) rant

After a long weekend of playing some SBG with my new Erebor force (which is basically done at 750 points, minus a few things to add to customize my force a bit more), I got a good handle on how to play them.  Lump them up together and smash the opposing force.  Pretty easy concept.  With my lowest defense being a 6, the survivability of the force can withstand most things, mainly arrows which I thought was going to be a problem.   So for a 3 game tournament, I won 2 and lost 1.

This is going to be a rant/bitching, you have been forewarned.

I have to say that the loss was one of the worst games of SBG I had ever played.  It had nothing to do with my force or my opponent honorably smashing me via tactics or even bad luck with the dice.  I can accept those conditions with a smile and still have a good time.  What it did have to do with was the fact that my opponent cheated his ass off.  Lets go into details shall we...

For starters, his dice were medium green with faded white to clear pips.  Judging by my painting, anyone can attest to my ability to be able to see.  From across a 4 foot table, 80% of the time I couldn't make out what his results were.  6's looked like 4's or 2's,  3's look like 5's, and 1's could've been anything.  Also, they were the only dice he had  (had about 25-40 of them too).  For anyone who plays war-games, different color dice is a must.  It allows for clear understanding of what your rolling for when multiple things are happening.  Basically, what he was doing was rolling a slew of dice and then assigning them how he wished.  I conceded the argument on the fight value (I've always assigned what dice are what regardless, but that's just me, plus the rules were on his side there), but he was also doing this to wound when he's got a str 6 and a str 1 creature.  That's clearly against the rules.  It clearly states on pg 43 "Regardless of how a model directs his Attacks, you must resolve all of one model's strikes before rolling for the next attack".  Can anyone tell me where it says "Roll a slew of dice that no one but you can read, and assign the best results where you want to cause the most damage"?

Next was the 2-hander rules in the errata which clearly states that if you have a model armed with a 2-handed weapon, you can still use a 1 handed weapon so you don't have to incur the -1 penalty to win the fight and you don't get the +1 to wound.  Since he never read the errata (even with it being out for almost a year), he wanted to argue it with me.  Since I didn't have a print of the errata on me, I conceded the point which allowed him to crush my flank with the help of another botch rule (see the next paragraph).  When I got home, I quickly printed up the errata, highlighted that part and shoved it in my rulebook.  It'll be a cold day in hell before I screwed due to someone inability to read and my assumption that people actually read erratas before playing in tournaments.

I think the icing on the cake was his interpretation on how unmanned wargs work.  Apparently, he believed that if you have a warg with no rider, they still count as cavalry which equates to a +1 attack on the charge and a knock down with double strikes on winning combat.  He also equated the rule to include his warg chieftain.  Unfortunately, the rules are once again against him, stating on page 49 of the main rulebook, sub-titled "What is a cavalry model", first line states "A Cavalry model consists of a rider and its mount", meaning that if you don't have a rider on-top of that beast, cavalry rules do not apply unless otherwise stated.  Unfortunately, wild wargs don't have a special rule of knock down on the charge like the spider queen or Shagrat.

By the time his wargs got into combat, we had been arguing rules for 90% of the game, and I personally just didn't give a shit anymore.  I wasn't having fun, and I just wanted to lose to get the game over with.  If your opponent isn't going to play by the rules, than whats the point of playing?  We weren't playing for prizes or any trophies, so I basically said "fuck it, I don't care", and just basically gave it to him.

The game did teach me a few valuable lessons.  Bring my big rule book, highlight certain things in said named rulebook, make sure I have a copy of the errata on me at all times,  refuse to play against an opponent who's dice you can't read, never assume your opponent is playing honorably, and bring the game to a screeching halt when you need to educate your opponent no matter how much he complains.

After the game ended, I remember I've had issues with this guy in the past with him making up his own rules and still playing with dice no one can read.  I've now made a mental note of not to play him anymore.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Oakenshield Rises!!

As the title would suggest, the next model I'll be showcasing here will be Thorin Oakenshield of the young persuasion.  Again, not many people have posted any examples of this particular model on the interwebs, so I had to kind of do my own thing on this little guy.  In keeping with theme of the Army of Thror, I wanted to make this model a bit more unique than others.  Take a gander....

I think you can tell right away what I did.  Yep, that's Azog's arm in which Thorin detaches from him during the Battle of Eastgate, one of the most iconic battles in all of the Tolkin universe... next to Helm's Deep and The Battle of Pelennor Fields of course.  I thought the pose would do justice to such an iconic moment.  I wanted to do more blood spraying, but I lack the ability/skill to create that.  All in all, it adds a nice personal touch to the piece overall.

As far as technical painting goes, I wanted to experiment with sharper edge highlights.  His blue tunic is a perfect example of this.  I really like the effect it gave, so I'll probably be doing more of this.  I also used the sharper highlight technique with the freehand work on the trimming.

Now, what's left to do?  Well, Thror himself, and Thrain.  I haven't decided if I want to pick up Thrain the Broken for this particular army.  Who am I kidding?  I'll end up picking him up.  I slso have my last box of Warriors of Erebor to do which I'm a little over halfway done.

As far as my tournie this upcoming Saturday goes, Thrain will be leading it with a bit more Grim Hammers then I intend on including in my Adepticon army.  It'll be good practice to see how these guys role against the random armies of Middle Earth.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Not as old Balin, yet still kinda old

Rapid fire update!  Well, not really... but quicker than usual.  I took the day off today because I have tons of vacation time to burn thru, and this time of year with the snow and all usually equates to not a whole lot of road construction happening.  So I spent the later morning and early afternoon putting the finishing highlights on this little guy.  Who's the little guy you may ask?  Young Balin, another fellow to go with my Army of Thror.

So this mini was quite a lot of fun to paint.  Since the model comes with him standing on a rock, I decided to add more so that you can quickly tell who he is on the battlefield.  I did have a problem with his back on the bottom left panel of his coat.  While trying to clean up some extra flash I ended up scraping some of his coat pattern off.  To counter this, I just free handed the pattern and it ended up pretty good.

And just for fun, I took a picture of Young Balin standing next to old Balin

Old Balin look a little taller, but the pose is pretty much the same.  Judging by the faces, my skill with the paintbrush has improved a bit.  It almost makes me want to redo old Balin's face.

Two more heroes and a spearman left to do and we'll have my first incantation of my 750 point army.  I have a tournament on the 25th and it'll be my first run with these guys.  Back to the painting station...

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Epic Mohawk!!! Yep, Dwalin in his prime

Before we begin today.....


Yep, that's right.... the bad ass himself, Young Dwalin in his prime.  The fact that his epic mohawk only got about 3.2 seconds of movie time is a crime in itself, but I digress.

Instead of complaining about non-sense, I'll show you guys what I've been up to the past 2 nights.  Painting this bad ass of course.....

This has to be one of my favorite sculpts in "The Hobbit" miniature line to date.  With that being said, he was a pain to paint.  Oh, I had a blast painting him, but all the little details were incredibly difficult to paint.  I had to do such an awesome sculpt, so I think I spent 2 nights (full nights mind you) painting this bad-ass.  You might be asking yourself "Dave, what the hell is that green rock thing by his feet?".  Well, lets take a closer look shall we?

With Dwalin being such an epic hero, I had to give him something a little extra to the base.   I had a few hunter orc heads laying around, and this seemed to be a fitting use of one of them.  All in all, I think it really compliments the piece, plus I got to use my favorite technical paint... "Blood for the Blood God".  If you haven't used it yet, I highly recommend it for anything bloody.  I love the globular pooling affect right where his severed neck is.

I think he turned out pretty good.  I accidentally cleaned the scar on his face.  Whenever I'm dealing with finecast, I go nuts with cleaning.  I think not having that scar gives him more of my personal touch.  Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A look back and then forward

This is going to be a ramble of sorts, so no pictures or anything new to show at this time.  Just a 2013 recap/reflect and 2014 look ahead.

Tomorrow will mark one year since I started this blog project.  I'll stamp it as a milestone since I've somewhat kept up with it.  Over the course of the summer I didn't really get alot done.  I'd blame 2 parts work with 1 part of not being motivated.  I think this year was about the busiest I've been as far as my professional career goes and it took a toll on my hobby.  Also, sometimes its hard to find the motivation to slap paint onto plastic.  It's a lot easier to flip on the playstation than it is to get that perfect wet-blend on that cloak.   Hopefully this upcoming year will be different, but lets take a look back at my 2013 goals....

  1. Finish the Goblin Town Box Set (Completed)
  2. Marry my gf/fiancee of 8 years  (Aug. 31st) (Completed)
  3. Paint a 1000 point Gondor Army (Completed)
  4. Paint a 600 point Rohan Army
  5. Finish up my Isengard Army  (N/A)
  6. Finish up my Mordor Army (N/A)
  7. Push my general orc total to 72 models (I think I'm in the 40's at this moment)
  8. Experiment more with conversions (Completed)
  9. Paint a 600 point Elven Army
  10. Finish painting my Garden of Morr Cemetery that is half done.
  11. Get more involved with the gaming community (Completed? Sorta)
  12. Become a better painter by working on my weaknesses (Completed? Sorta)
1.)  So I got the box set of Goblin Town completed, which has left me thirsty to do a whole 4 x 4 goblin town board.  I'll probably put that on the backburner for awhile.  By awhile, I mean a few years....

2.)  I did get married this year, which in hobby terms means 95% of my money for the better half of the year went towards the wedding.  Now it seems I have a little bit more pocket change to spend on the hobby, but with typical Games Workshop, it means I'll be getting less product at a higher cost.  Now the next big ticket item is a house with a full basement dedicated to my craft.

3.)  Now I did paint a 1000 point Gondor force.  Is it complete?  Nope.  I still have plenty to add to it.  Am I in a rush to complete it?  Nope, but it doesn't mean I won't dabble into it from time to time.  I still have calvary slots I need to fill as well as a few elite troop choices to round it out.

4.)  I did not get 1 Rohan model completed this year.  I own an entire legion of Rohan, but I just haven't gotten to it yet.

5 and 6.)  I'm labeling these as not going to happen.  Will I continue to paint my Isengard and Mordor forces?  Absolutely, I have tons and ton of models in my backlog ready to go.  Will I ever complete them?  Nope.  I've come to the realization as both a collector and a painter that an Army that I own will never be labeled as "Complete".  I know myself well enough after 31 years to know that I'll always want to add something or modify something.  Rather than saying "Complete" or "Finished", I think a more appropriate wording would be "I am happy with it for now".

7.)  What I meant by "Orc" was the general troops orcs.  Not Morannon orcs or any specialty orc models.... just general scrumy orcs.  I bought a host of orcs off ebay for dirt cheap before the warband books came out.  I've bagged them up and they're waiting for love.  They will continue to wait until I find the motivation to rip them apart and customize them to my hearts content.  Needless to say, upping my current painted count of orcs isn't a big priority at this stage.

8.)  Experiment with conversions?  Check.  I've done weapon and head swaps to a certain degree of success.  I hope to continue this trend with more complicated conversions, maybe going so far as to partially sculpt body parts to give already existing models a fresh/unique look.  I've come to the conclusion that I find this aspect of the hobby fun and exciting.  I plan to continue this trend into future endeavors.

9.)  Painting a 600 point elven force?  Again, I have the models, but this isn't a priority anymore.  When the time comes, they're time will come... until then, it just isn't a priority.

10.)  Finish painting my garden of morr?  It's still collecting dust and I need to change that.

11.)  As far as the community goes, I think I've gotten a bit more involved.  I try to play atleast once a month and I've gone to few tournaments.  I'll mark this one down as a win for me.

12.)  Become a better painter?  Hmmm... that's such a subjective question.  Over the course of a year, I'd say I've gotten better.  I think I've hit the point where my painting abilities aren't increasing in leaps and bounds, but I'm on the slow progression from intermediate painting to advanced/professional.  I understand the basics and a little of the advanced techniques, but I know I have a long way to go to where I want to be.  Even when I do reach a professional grade in painting, I'll be eyeballing the next tier after that.  I'd say this is a never-ending battle.  I believe I have the ability to paint at a world class level, it's just going to take alot of work to hone my craft even further.

So with that out of the way, lets look ahead to 2014.  What exactly are my plans for this upcoming year as far as my hobbying goes?

  1. Complete my 750 point Erebor Army for Adepticon (Done in Feb.)
  2. Get a decent amount of my Azog's Hunter army off my backlog and in my display case
  3. It's time to finish the Garden's of Morr.  Dust that sucker off and get it done.
  4. Complete one of the freeblades starter sets I bought last year.
  5. Paint that Cawdor Gang from Necromunda I bought last year.
  6. Paint some Rohan up into a playable force (300, 500, 750, it doesn't matter)
  7. Find and purchase Arvedui and Malbeth the Seer GW models (I seriously check ebay everyday for them) (Done late January)
So there we have it.... my plans for 2014 as it stands at this moment.  I went a bit more conservative than last year, but this seems a lot more realistic to me.  I'm sure I'll deviate from the plan and things might change as priorities tend to shift.  Here's to a brand new year..... happy painting everyone

Friday, January 3, 2014

More Warriors of Erebor

I hope everyone had a happy holiday or whatever you celebrate.  Looks like this will be the first post of 2014.  So adios to 2013 and lets get this ball rolling.  Now my original plan was to go over the goal list of 2013 and do another one for this year.  I'm still going to do that in the next few days.  Today however, I put the finishing touches on the next unit of Ereborian Dwarves.

These particular dwarves were the ones from the WIP post (I think like the post before my goblin town, you'll see it if you look).  I had a few issues getting everything to look right.  I'm still fairly new to weapon swapping and a repositioning.  I'm used to putting together and painting whatever is intended in the boxset.  Here is the finished fruits of my labor....


As I explained in the previous WIP post, the goal of this unit was to give everyone a different weapon than before.  Everyone rocking axes now had spears and previous spear holders are now rockin' axes.  With this unit being done, I'm looking at one more box of these guys, and some hero characters.  I might get 1 more box of both Warriors of Erebor and Grim Hammers in case I might want to do a bigger game with this theme army.  This particular army is definitely a labor of love.