Monday, April 21, 2014

"Build-O-Thon" week or "I didn't feel like painting really"

Yes, another quirky title, but it really sums up the past week or so since I've posted last.

Rather than entertaining that thought just yet, I want to talk about something else.  Being as vain as I am, I usually check my blog once a day or even every other day, just to see if anyone has stumbled across my little dark corner on the interwebz.  I really do appreciate the feedback when people leave it, and it oddly enough brightens my day just a touch.  I'm going to make a mental note to try and leave more feedback for other people.

That being said, I noticed the other day my view count skyrocketed, and I figured someone either was really checking out my blog or I forgot to turn off my "Don't tally my visits" (or something along those lines) button again.  I really didn't think much of it until I went to visited the Adepticon website to check the results of the LotR tournament.  Apparently, my humble little blog is listed on the front-page of the Adepticon website along with a couple others under "Coverage".  I have to say, not only does it make sense as to why my view count skyrocketed, but it also gave me a little warm fuzzy inside.  Kudos and my sincere thanks to whoever listed me up there.  It's the little things that tend to brighten your day a little bit.

Lets get back to my overly quirky title.  Looking over all my new toys I bought at Adepticon, I felt a classic case of "Oh shit, I have way too much to paint" syndrome.  I'm not sure if anyone has ever felt that, but I tend to get that after I buy 100+ models and don't know what I want to get started on first.  I tend to sit in my chair, looking at all my cool new stuff as ideas float through my head.... and I just end up sitting there.  After 2 days of this, I looked to my shelves of things I've been collecting over the past few years, and still having the terrain building bug, I decided to crack open a few of my GW terrain boxes that have been accumulating dust and actually glue some things together.  After about a week or so of cutting, cleaning, scrapping mold lines, and gluing my fingers together, this is what appeared....

Holy gray batman, its the same color as half of the armies being played down at the local GW store.  I know, I know, low blow... but seriously kids, paint your damn models!  So in the picture we got the Tower, Chuch, Witchfate Tor, Dreadstone Blight, Deathknell Watch, and a few shitty Uruk Beserkers a gave up on halfway thru painting.  Some of these kits were pretty easy to put together while others were a bitch (lookin' at you Witchfate Tor).

Seriously, that Witchfate Tor was a pain to put together.  Of course the box I got had the directions for the Dreadstone Blight instead of the intended kit, but I'm an engineer by profession (land surveyor to be specific).  I've built some of the toughest models in the GW catalog.  I conquered both the Watcher in the Deep and the Beast of Gorgoroth before the recall.... yet this kit had me questioning my own abilities.  Being a grown adult and having trouble with this kit, I can't imagine some kid getting this for Christmas, then trying to fiddle his way through it.  I think that would constitute as child abuse in some states.  It was a pain to put together due to multi-level design and the floors having to be put together perfectly for the walls to fit snug around them.  On one level I have 10mm gaps between two of the pieces that are going to need alot of TLC before I even slap any primer on.  Also, the floor design to make it fit snugly into the previous floor was poor designing.  I'm thinking of magnetizing it so I can control the fit.  I have a feeling many weeks of time will being going into that piece.

So with having built what you see there, I still have a few more kits that need to be cracked open.  When GW stopped producing a few of they're terrain pieces, I went on a buying frenzy to get as much as I could afford.  Sadly, I've run out of room in my workspace to build anything else that is large until I finish some of what I have.  If that isn't motivation, then I don't know what is.

Also, I mentioned the uruk beserkers on purpose.  I actually finished those 3 that were on my desk when I took that picture.

Not my best work, but I can also say that it's not GW's best work either.  You figure I bought these right when finecast came out.  Yep, major flaws in these guys which is why I've attempted 4 times to paint them and gave up.  I finally said "fuck it" and just went for it.  For what they are, they didn't turn out as badly as I thought they would.  3 down, hundreds to go..... ugh....

Friday, April 11, 2014

My take on Adepticon 2014 Classes... and my Tudor House

Two posts in less than 24 hours?  It must be snowing in hell.  But seriously, I was going to lump these two entries together, but it got late and an hour and a half commute at 5:15am with less than 5 hours of sleep isn't the most pleasant experience.  This being an adult and having to make a decent living isn't what it's all cracked up to be.... but I digress... This is going to be a long one, but I'll throw some pictures in at the end.

I suppose I should start by talking about the classes I did take.  Oddly enough, one of the "classrooms" I ended up mostly in was on the 13th floor of the hotel in a parlor room which looked like a normal hotel room (minus the bed and bedroom furniture) with a kitchen and 4 rows of work benches.  An interesting setup.  I took 7 classes while at Adepticon this year.  Yep 7 two hour classes....  Color Theory with Meg Maples, Acrylic Additives with MajorTom11 of Dakka Dakka, True Metallics with Dave Pauwels, Intro to Two Brush Blending with Matt DiPietro, Intro to Green Stuff Modeling with Joe Orteza, and Building Gaming Scenery with Marcin "marcineczek0" Ignasiak.  It was a busy weekend to say the least.

I'm not going to be terribly harsh since I did learn something from every class.  The overall theme I got with most of the classes was they needed to be more hands on.  I hate just sitting there listening to lecture format.  I feel like I'm in high school again and I'm fuckin 31 now.  I want to touch things and work with my hands.  That is why I love this hobby, its an outlet for me to fiddle with things.  Also, I think if the instructors had some kind of a projector showing what they were doing blown up on a big screen.  That way, we could see first hand what they're talking about and interact with the instructor while they were teaching would've been extremely helpful.  I'm not a fan of looking over someones shoulder as they're explaining something.  You could say "Then buy a DVD and learn from that", and to that, I'd say "Yeah, but there is no interaction between said named DVD and what your doing.  What if you have a question or you are experiencing a problem?  How is a DVD going to help you then?".  Those are the themes that seemed to follow most of these classes.

The first class I took was Color Theory with Meg Maples, an award winning artist formerly of Privateer Press.  She's an amazing painter.  I actually met her before the class in the elevator without even realizing I was having a conversation with the teacher.  The class was interesting.  It was lecture format with a pen and pad of paper.  She went over how different colors contrast with one another, such as warm and cool colors.  Not having any formal art schooling, the color chart was pretty much a mystery to me.  We got to see some of her works up close as well.  The last 30 minutes though she let us loose to work on whatever we wanted to if we had brought miniatures.  It was my first day and first class, so after taking an upclose look at some of her other miniatures, I took off.  I think this class would be more suited for a 45 minute lecture rather than a 2 hour one.  Maybe having a color wheel for everyone and getting a more hands on use of it would've helped nail home the bullet points she was making.

Next up was Acrylic Additives with MajorTom11 of Dakka Dakka.  Sadly, this was the most disappointing class I took.  The topic is interesting, but the presentation was terrible.  Maybe because it was formatted to someone who has no knowledge of the different things you can add to your paint to get a different effect.  The instructor seemed like a cool guy, but just the presentation was bad.  He went over your basics like gloss, satin, matt, drying retardants, paint binder, flow improver, ect, ect.... but he didn't do any demonstrations of what each does.  With this type of class, just verbally telling people what each does is no better than google'ing it.  The last 45 minutes the class turned into an airbrush conversation.  I've never used an airbrush before, so what was being said really had no relevance to why I was there.  Thats about all I can say about that class.

Third up was True Metallics with Dave Pauwels.  Dave is an amazing artist (multiple golden demon and slayer sword winner) and I would love to sit down with him and just paint while asking questions.  Sadly, this class was more aimed at how to wash metallics and how to create your own washes (which is still pretty cool) rather than painting silver and gold.  My big issue with my painting at this stage is I have issues layering my metallics and just end up dry-brushing then going back and fixing "chalky" areas by layering and rewashing.  I want to completely eliminate the use of drybrushing miniatures.  Don't get me wrong, it was a very interesting class, and I learned alot.  I was just hoping for more of his fundamentals on painting with metallics via layering and blending rather than washing and rewashing.

On the second day after the Lord of the Rings tournament, I went straight into a class called Intro to Two Brush Blending taught by Matt DiPietro.  Matt DiPietro is the one if not the lead painter at Privateer Press.  If you've ever picked up a Warmachines or Hordes box and saw the painted models on the cover, you probably saw his work.  A very talented artist.  This was one of those classes that really needed a projector showing what he was doing.  I had alot of trouble grasping what he was trying to teach as well as most of the class.  I was part of the second group of four groups to go up and be shown the technique he was using by watching over his shoulder, and I felt it was extremely rushed through, and when I got back to my seat I instantly had problems applying the technique.  I'm not used to using a #2 brush, let alone two of them.  Also, I'm not used to using two brushes at once while constantly licking one of the brushes.  Saliva is a natural solvent in using this technique.  Needless to say, it felt awkward and clumsy, and he went too fast in explaining and showing it.  I had issues grasping the concept until he came around and showed it to me on my white paper palette the concept of the technique.  Even then (and now) I didn't feel confident in using the technique effectively.  I think 2 hours was a bit short for this class as well.  I think 4 hours would've been more sufficient for everyone to fully grasp (or atleast me).  Also, the lack of paint colors available was a big problem.  If I would've known that color schemes were going to be scarce, I would've brought my own.  I still haven't tried his technique since the class, so its something I'm going to need to practice to get perfected.  Maybe I'll go explore youtube and see it up close to fully understand what he was trying to teach.

Two Brush blending was the only class I took Friday.  On Saturday, after my Freeblade's game, I took a class called "Lose the Fear: A Introduction to Green Stuff Modeling" taught by Joe Orteza, a 14-time golden demon winner.  Needless to say, the guy is crazy artistic and quirky, which I found very entertaining.  He had a very interesting way of teaching the class mixed with awkward humor that kept me interested in what he was talking about.  I'm not sure if I enjoyed the class or just the guy teaching it.  It was a pretty basic class dealing with creating purity seals, a feather, and a chain out of greenstuff.  Again, this was another class that needed a projector showing what he was doing.  You can tell he's taught these classes for awhile now.  He had a white board and was drawing what he was talking about, showing us step by step how to mold the greenstuff.  It was a little confusing at first without knowing exactly what the end result was going to be.  Once the greenstuff started taking shape, it became quite clear what he was talking about.  I also liked the fact that he went around the room after every step or two and looked at our progress, showing his work to us, and/or correcting our mistakes by showing us what he's talking about within visual distance then watching us to make sure we understood.  Again, I really enjoyed the class and will probably be taking another one with him.

The last class I took was my favorite class by far.  It was called "Building Gaming Scenery with Marcineczek0", taught by Marcin Ignasiak, a very talented scenery guru that apparently built a shit ton of the scenery used on the playing tables.  I wanted to take this class last year, but really didn't know the protocol on attending classes after the webstore stopped selling.  Apparently, you just walk in, ask the instructor if there is any room for you (which in every class I was in there was), sit down, take the class, and pay up at the end.  Anyhew, I thought the class was awesome.  All the materials were provided, the directions were clear, and the instructor was on-hand to help and answer any questions you might have without being too aggressive or uppity about it.  I prefer this type of class where you just get down to business, plus I love building terrain.  One big thing I learned from this class is my new love of superglue gel.  The stuff is amazing for both scenery and miniature assembling.  Sadly, I didn't get my building built in class, even with an extra half an hour tacked on.  I would've liked to have seen how much plaster and water he uses for the walls and whatnot.  The following day, I spent a good afternoon finishing it and spent a good portion of the week painting it.  Needless to say, next year I'm going to attend another class with Mr. Ignasiak.

Next year, I don't think I'm going to take as many classes as I did this year.  There were certain instructors that I liked, others that I felt were lacking.  In the long run, I can say I atleast learned something from each class.  Also, next year I'm going to try to get into some of the classes that sold out within the first 20 minutes of the webstore opening.... like OSL and female faces.  I'll have a lot to pondering in the upcoming months.

So if you made it this far, your probably like "Where the fuck are the pictures you promised d-bag?".  Don't worry, I didn't forget.  So here are pictures of the tudor cottage I finished painting the other night.  I think it turned out really good.  My wife especially likes the window.

My cluttered hobby desk

Yep, that's bird shit on the roof

See, completely scratch build minus the doors and window which were casted by Marcin

Back View

Side view

Up close

I tried the light house for this guy..... just a tad too big to work

28mm True Size Uruk Hai for scale purposes

So that's my new house.  If I didn't build it myself, I'd swear it looks store-bought.  Now I want to build a bigger one or an entire village to battle in.  Oh man, too many ideas, not enough time to complete it all.  Anyway, I hope I didn't bore anyone to tears with my wall of text and I hope you guys enjoyed looking at my little cottage.  Let me know what you guys think.  Thanks for checking my blog out.

No painting tonight I'm afraid....

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Adepticon 2014 and the LOTR Tournament

I've been a tad silent since Adepticon 2014 ended last Sunday.  To sum it up, I love going to Adepticon.  If your even remotely into any of this hobby stuff, there's something for you at Adepticon whether it be sci-fi, fantasy, historical, skirmish, battalion, even boardgame like.  There is tons to do at Adepticon for whatever flavor your game is.

I didn't take a lot of pictures, well, because I forgot and was busy admiring other peoples stuff and whatnot.  I spent the bulk of my weekend going to painting and hobby seminars and shopping the numerous vendors for odds and ends, spending a ton of cash on hard to find stuff and things I probably won't open for a few years.  I only played two different games over the weekend.  DGS's Freeblades (check my last blog post for pictures of the 3 mini's I actually did get painted), and LOTR tournament.  I'm basically going to be talking about the LOTR games I played in this entry.

For the LOTR tournament, I did better than last year atleast.  Last year, I lost all 3 games in crushing defeat, yet oddly someone still did worse than me.  Go figure.  This year I actually won a game (while losing the other two).  I did manage to snap a few pictures, and I think the first picture sums it up pretty good.

I apologize for the blurry picture, but this was my last game of the tournament and I actually had to stop the game to whip out my camera and take a picture.  I'm starting off with the last game I played in the tournament for some reason (prolly cause it's still semi-fresh in my head).  I love when two battle lines are about to crash into one another.  After this picture was taken, within 3 turns my lines fell apart.  Knowing what I know now, I should've concentrated my hero's away from the trolls.  Those nazgul in the back (especially The Dwimmerlaik.... nasty nasty that guy is), basically neutralized my heroes while the trolls ripped them apart.  Initially I though, "Regular orcs with two trolls.... I got this shit".  Sadly, I did not have "this shit".  The bad rolling in the beginning didn't help much, but I've had worse luck than that, so I blame myself for the most part (though rolling 1's when actually getting a heroic strike off didn't help much).  It was a fun game and taught me a valuable lesson.  I took a minor loss even though he tabled me (minus Balin and 2 dwarves).  I held my camp in the bottom right corner and he was too busy mopping up my dwarves to realize the victory conditions.  I almost reminded him mid game too, but I needed as many points as I possibly could get my hands on by that time and alas, I remand silent while squeaking away with a few extra points.  Yay me?

John's Orc Army that looked good while crushing my dwarves.  If I drank I'd blame the ale

We'll do a "Quentin Tarantino" thing and go to the beginning now.  My first battle was against a Moria force led by Groblog with The Tainted and 3 fell spirits (?) as a contingency force.  She had too many special characters and not enough bulk troops which basically null-voids Moria's strong point.  Also, if I was going to bring a nazgul, I don't think The Tainted would be the first on my list (even though its a cool model).  She was also facing dwarves with an average defense of 7, so I win all ties, and if she does win a fight, she needs atleast 6's if not 6's by 4's to wound.  When facing a dwarf enemy, bulk troops is key.  Use your superior numbers to surround/trap, and throw 4 dice to my 1 or 2.  Basically, I charged headlong into combat with basically no strategy other than kill the Dweller in the Dark as quickly as possible, tie up the tainted, and make a B-line to any hero unit.  She failed her regular fury (non-heroic) roll with the shaman, and exposed Groblog too early which made me get the upper hand early on.  I downed the Dweller in one turn with Thrain and tied up The Tainted with Thorin.  Balin's special rule "longbeard" really helped me out in this battle, as I was able to steal priority twice, allowing me to pick and choose my targets.  It was a fun game, and afterwards I gave her some tips since she was fairly new to the game.  I'm not expert by any means, but I know a thing or two.  I took a major victory for this game.

The Moria army I faced.  Very nicely painted if I might add.

My second game was against Kyle and his amazingly painted Arnor Force converted into a Game of Thrones theme.  It was a pleasure just to look at his awesome miniatures, let alone play against them.  His diorama was fantastic as well.  I basically did my usual tactic again, bunch up and run in and try to kill his weaker heroes with my stronger ones.  Sadly, that didn't happen.  The terrain was definately in his favor, and he used it brilliantly against me.  He outnumbered me, so he held me up at a major choke point with some of his guys forcing me to split my force, and flanked the rear of my out numbered guys.  On the other side of the table, his cav was brutal.  It really could've gone either way, but he got a few rolls on me and my lines basically crumbled.  Well played sir..... well played.  I took a major defeat since he had all 4 artifacts in his position by the time I was below 25%.  All my heroes managed to survive and were a major factor in keeping me from getting completely overrun early on.  Well played sir, well played.

Kyle's fantastic converted Arnor army with the awesome diorama to go with it.  Everything about it looked awesome.

So I obviously didn't win best general.  I think my painting definitely stood out.  I think if I had a more elaborate display board, I could've competed a bit more with best appearance.  The judges got it right with who won best overall, best general, and best appearance.  The final award was best sportsmanship.  I'm not entirely sure how this is calculated, since for most players score a perfect score on this unless they're a total d-bag or hold up the game.  There probably is an X factor somewhere in there along the lines of effort or something to that degree.  Somehow, I managed to snag that award this year, which was extremely surprising to me in a good way.  I ended up walking away with a cool calendar to post in my hobby room, a box of Goblin Town Goblin's, and some Vallejo airbrush paint which can be used with brushes.  All in all, it was a fun time and I'm really looking forward to next year with (hopefully) a new army and better display board in to.

As for the rest of Adepticon, I'm a bit poorer in the pocket and I took a lot of classes.  I'll get into those topics later on eventually.  Hope you guys enjoyed the read.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Deadline Failure....

<Que Super Mario Game Over Music>

Yep, that about sums it up basically.  If you haven't read the previous post with the unpainted freeblades mini's, then I'll give you the quick version...

I bought a freeblade's band at last years Adepticon.  I figured I wouldn't get any Freeblade's play until Adepticon 2014, so I slacked off and didn't paint anything.  A week before Adepticon, it dawned on me that I should probably get a Freeblade's Band painted, since I'm signed up for a day of playing this Saturday.  And alas, I didn't meet my deadline...... /sadpanda

It was a valiant effort though, so all is not lost.  I got 3 out of 7 of them done, so I'm at.... 43%?  Okay, so it's still a failure, but in my defense, they're 32mm heroic size and working (mainly commuting for work) has taken a sizable chunk of my precious hobby time..... which I spent playing video game.... okay okay, I suck.  So lets see the failure....

Atleast the one second to the left is basecoated (sort of).  And the generic textured paint looks rather outstanding if your into lazy hobbying.  So lets see what I actually did get accomplished.

It's something atleast.  I think for what I did get painted, it turned out pretty decent.  This was also my first time painting Freeblade's miniatures, painting a female character, and painting in heroic 32mm scale.

With that being said, I have an early start tomorrow morning, so it's off the bed I go.  Thanks for looking!