Thursday, March 26, 2015

Adepticon 2015 Afterthoughts (Part 3)

This should be my last post on Adepticon 2015, and I warn you ahead of time that it's more of a ramble than my usual posts.

So after the Freeblades game on Saturday, I had about a 3 hour break then it was off to Lord of the Rings "March to Mount Doom Madness".  While I have no complaints about the tournament (nor pictures, as the tournie ran late), I couldn't help but notice that the participation for anything LOTR has basically come to a stand still.  Most of the regulars who attend the LOTR tournies at Adepticon were mysteriously absent and the vendors were shocked anytime anyone bought anything LOTR related which was both good and bad.  Good because I got things at a crazy discount, bad because the game is hitting an all time new low.  Even when the game became stagnant right before the warband rules came out people were atleast still playing and enjoying it.  Now, I'm not even seeing that.  In all honesty, it's such a great system yet I think the root cause for it's failing is GW's lack of support and high price-tag.

When I first got into GW's LOTR:SBG, I could pick up 24 guys for $33, now anything new you get 10 guys for $40.  Mathematically, we originally payed 0.72 cents a model, now were paying $4 a model.  If my math is correct, that's a 555.56% increase in price on basic troops.  Hero characters we're around $15 depending on who you bought.  Now they run the gambit of $20 to $75.  LOTR/The Hobbit SBG introduced so many people to the hobby because it was something they knew due to the Peter Jackson movies and even though it was a little expensive, you could buy a box or two and a hero for under $100 and have a decent force to play with.  With the jacking up of the prices, even those who are both interested in the movie and the hobby are now hesitant to shell $300-$400 down on something they're not sure they'll even like.

I understand that there is no support for the game because nobody buys anything LOTR/The Hobbit, but at the same time, nobody buys anything LOTR/The Hobbit because there is no support for the game.  It's a catch 22, the chicken or the egg kind of conundrum.

Needless to say, I had a revelation after Adepticon about my future with LOTR/The Hobbit SBG.  While I'm not going to jump ship and abandon my beloved game, I am going to take a step back from it.  I think it may be time to concentrate my hobby time into other realms for awhile and add a few more games to my collection.  I have a large Warhammer army that's ready for paint.  I have a decent amount of Space Wolves for a 40k army, Saga looks highly appealing to me, and the LOTR/The Hobbit SBG crowd in my area has moved over to Bolt Action.  So there are plenty of things to paint.  Like I said earlier, I have no intentions on abandoning the SBG game, but this whole revelation has got me thinking about the future of SBG.

In any case, here is my latest and greatest mini all painted up.


So I got this guy for $2 from the Reaper booth at Adepticon.  He's part of the "Bones" series of miniatures that takes they're normal metal miniature and casts them in a soft plastic material, retaining most (if not all) of the detail.  While I didn't see any miscasts or air bubbles, the mold lines on this material is quite difficult to fix via conventional methods that most of us are used to.  I normally take the back of my hobby knife and scrape away the mold lines.  Since this is a soft plastic, doing that doesn't work too well and if you try and use the blade part of your hobby knife you risk damaging the miniature.  I found using a conventional hobby file works good for those irregular mold lines in odd places on the model, but you have to be extremely careful with it.  You'll notice the cut on his face on the left side.  That was a mold line I tried to fix but didn't quite get it, so I improvised and gave him a battle gash on the side of his head to cover up the apparent line.

All in all, I think he turned out quite well.  Like I said before, the Bones soft plastic material holds detail very well for a very cheap price.  The downside is prepping the mini for paint.  I guess you get what you pay for.

So that's it for Adepticon for this year for me.  I look forward to next year.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Adepticon 2015 Afterthoughts (Part 2)

Continuing off from yesterday's post.....


Saturday was my game day.  I figured for this day I would schedule it specifically for throwing dice rather than taking any classes.  The first game was with the gentlemen from DGS games.  We played a different version of Freeblades called Free-Captains which coincidentally takes the game system on the water with boats and whatnot.  Now I'm not a Freeblades expert by any means nor would I even consider myself that familiar with the rules.  For those of you who are, Free-Captains uses the same rules as Freeblades, except incorporating boat mechanics and utilizing more models than your average Freeblades skirmish game.  Put it this way, we had 8 players (4 per side) each player controlling around 10 models minus the two players who controlled the casters.

On the one side we had a large Urdaggar Tribesmen raiding party and on the other we had a large Falkaar treasure hunting war party,  The senario is as follows....

The Falkaar are on the island, they're boats parked, finishing looting the place when out of nowhere, a large Urdaggar raidng party shows up off the coast, surrounding the Falkaar Cog-Ship.

The goal of each side is to get the loot tokens off the left side of the board (opposite the island).  The Urdaggar have 6 ships that can go anywhere in the water (the ships on the sides of the board) while the Falkaar control the large cog ship in the center of the board and have 3 small row-boats parked on the island.  The Falkaar start with all the loot tokens (6 in total if I remember correctly).  The cog in the center cannot go within 12 inches of the island or else it gets coat in the coral.  The row boats can't go beyond 12 inches of the island or else they get swept out to sea.  Only the Cog and the Urdaggar ships can leave the board, so it puts the Falkaar at a slight disadvantage.

The sides were picked and everyone took they're places.  I was on the Falkaar side for this particular battle.

and the troops I controlled were 4 Karadel Bladesisters  and 6 sailors.  I also started on the island with 3 of the loot counters.

It turned out the Urdaggar's battle plan didn't involve going after the loot tokens, rather attacking the cog in the center, hoping to overtake the big ship quickly and control the sea.

The Urdaggar Tribesmen strike first, coming along side the port side of the vessel.

Then the rest of them pounce while they're ranged unit sit back, slinging rocks that harmlessly bounce off the side of the cog.

Slowly but surely, the rest of the Falkaar force get on they're boats and drift out to sea.

By this time, the cog is basically being over-run.  The archer's have all fallen to the sharp axes of the Urdaggar.  The 4 knight defenders and the Jendal Bladeseeker Captain on the cog hold up as best they can, but are over run.

My vessel and the one on the far right creep up along side the Urdaggar Unproven's vessel and quickly over run them on both sides while the bulk of the Urdaggar tribesmen are too focused on the cog in the center.  Needless to say, it was a slaughter.

I left the sailors in the row boat to act as a meat shield while we emptied our elites and loot into the sea-worthy Urdaggar vessel.

Then the sailors took a few shots at the slingers on the right to thin out the enemies shooting a bit.  I think I managed to kill 2 or 3 off them with bad ass anchors.

We won the initiative the following turn, and quickly moved my sailors rowboat alongside the Urdaggar's boat, locking it in place while the newly acquired Urdaggar seaworthy vessel made a B-line  for the board edge.  Sometimes in battle, sacrifices must be made, and the sailors did they're duty.  

The Urdaggar Tribesmen howled in rage as the Falkaar treasure hunter's sailed away into the sunset with all the loot, winning the game.

I really had a lot of fun with this game.  As I really enjoyed the 8 levels of tower madness last year, I thought they definitely surpassed it with this event this year.  The increase in troops with the freeblades system really lends itself more to my type of playing, giving it more of a warzone type feel for me.  The Freeblades system by itself is awesome, but I really like the increased amount of miniatures on the table.  Maybe it's a personal preference, I don't know.  It's a great system all around and is definitely enhanced with more troops on the field.

The only downside with this particular scenario is that it was a bit slow in the beginning with it taking 3 turns to get on the row boat and get going.  Maybe it felt slow because all the action was on and in the cog and all my troops were still trying to get in the damn rowboat.  I think if the Urdaggar team would've split they're force a little instead of dog piling on the cog in hopes of an easily earned ship, it would've been more interesting in the beginning.  Once we started going though, it got really interesting.

The guy in the other rowboat and I discussed our plan to ambush the Unproven and jack they're boat at about the 3rd or 4th turn.  It was a little nail biting as we approached as I though for sure the Urdaggar team would see what was coming and split a few guys off to tie us up.  We really didn't hide our battle plan as both of our row boats went straight for the Unproven's vessel.  I think they figured the Unproven would hold us up long enough to kill everyone on the cog and they're slinger's boat would tie us up if it took a little longer than anticipated to take control of the cog.  I don't think they were expecting me to use my sailors as cannon fodder and create a traffic jam on the port side of the cog allowing us to sail away with the loot.

If anyone is curious about the boats, Matt over at Laser Dream Works creates and sells them.  I ended up buying the cog vessel and can't wait to put it together.  For only $40 dollars, your getting a great product at a great price.

Again, Freeblades is a fantastic game created by a bunch of great guys and I highly suggest people check them out.  Plus, it's not everyday you get to play a professional level game being GM'd by the designer.  Kudos to Jon and Matt for running a great game!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Adepticon 2015 Afterthoughts (Part 1)

So Adepticon came and went this past weekend.  A change of venue (closer to me, about a 30-45 minute drive from my place vs. over an hour beforehand), a few different venders, and always lots of fun.  I'm not sure if this was my favorite Adepticon as each one I've been to have always been a lot of fun.  I certainly had a blast at this particular one.

So I took a few classes this year.  I tried not to stack my schedule with lots of classes this year as I learned from last year that too many classes tends to take it's toll on you, especially when the Vendor Hall is calling your name.

So for Thursday....

First class up was "Building Gaming Scenery with marcineczek0 – Watchtower Project" run by Marcin who's class I attended last year where I built a little cottage.  I have mixed feelings on this class as it wasn't as good as last years due to it being new for Marcin.  I think if he would have written directions or some kind of packet with the directions on it rather than just telling us the dimensions it would've been a lot clearer as I found the audible directions hard to follow.  At the end of the class I ended up with a wobbly little 5 inch watch tower in desperate need of TLC. Overall, I enjoyed the class and hopefully next year he'll run the class more like he did last year.

Later that day I took a class called "Painted Weathering Techniques – The Techniques of Plague Lord Festus, 2008 U.S. Slayer Sword Winner".  To be honest, I didn't really know what to expect walking into this class.  I figured we'd learn about weathering powders or a new way to dirty things up with paint taught by a guy who's pretty handy with a brush.  What I ended up walking into was a class being taught by a master painter (Todd Swanson) with something like 14 golden demons and 4 slayer swords under his belt who was ironically a really nice guy who spoke in a language everyone could understand.  Some of his techniques I'd never seen before and he took a lot of care and attention to answer everyone's question and help with whatever problems people were having with his techniques.  He had examples of each step he was teaching, gave hand outs that had photo's of different types of weathering, and passed examples around the room of his finished masterworks.  I mean, look at this model..... it's freakin' awesome...... and a slayer sword winner of 2008..


First thing the next day was a class called "Hirst Arts Terrain and Casting" with Rich Nelson.  This was a late edition to my schedule as I think it was added a few months after registration.  I've always been curious about Hirst Arts blocks and I've seen some amazing things done with them.  As it stands right now I just don't have the room to cast really anything in my workspace.  Too messy and small.  One day when I have a huge basement with plenty of space and tables, I would like to dabble more into Hirst Arts, but for now, this class with suffice.  I had a lot of fun casting and creating as it reminded me of playing with legos when I was a kid.  It was a really fun "hands on" class that I would recommend for anyone who is remotely curious about casting and building hirst blocks.

The next class was called "Code Blue: How to Highlight and Shade with Blue Tones", taught by Dennis Smith.  Regardless of it being a beginner class, I found it interesting to see how other people paint.  I've noticed a trend with some of these higher tiered painters that they never use washes and that instead of going from dark to light, they start at a medium tone, shade down they're shadows, then highlight up they're edges.  It's an interesting concept that I've never done before.  I'd consider myself an "intermediate painter" on the skill level chart, but even these beginner classes can teach you something.  The class was small and allowed for a decent amount of personal attention which I think is paramount when teaching painting techniques.  Dennis was also a very down to earth guy and I enjoyed his class.

The last class of the day (and Adepticon for me) was one of the main classes I was looking forward to.  In fact, as soon a registration was open, it was the first class I grabbed from the list.  The class was called "Object Source Lighting (OSL) with Victoria Lamb".  For those who don't know who Victoria Lamb is, she was one of the very first miniature painters who helped pioneer OSL into miniature painting, the first female slayer sword winner, Australian playwright, and owner of Victoria Miniatures (I think, hell her name is on all the boxes).  The first half of the class was lecture style with a projector where Victoria went over the various forms and shades of lighting.  I found it interesting that with her background in theater, was able to pull a tool such as lighting and incorporated it into her painting of miniatures.  The most shocking thing was that her OSL technique involves dry brushing.  The fact that she was able to achieve the blends on the Mordheim piece via dry brushing is jaw dropping.

This has to be one of my favorite pieces in all of miniature painting that I've ever had the pleasure of viewing and is definitely deserving of it's trophies and various awards.  To see it in the flesh was like (to me) meeting your favorite celebrity.  

Here are a few other pieces she had on display for us to see.

Again, all of it was really a treat to see (even the test pieces).  I tried to replicate the fountain piece with the limited color selection available and also showed Victoria some pictures of my Skaven Warplighting cannon I did a few months back where I tried OSL for the first time.  She gave me a few pointers and left the classroom with a wealth of knowledge I hope to utilize in the near future.  A big thumbs up for this class.

Unfortunately my lunch is over now and I got to get back to work.  Part 2 should be up later tonight or tomorrow.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March to Mount Doom Madness Adepticon 2015 Army

As I said in my last post, I wanted to post a few pictures of my full army that I'll be bring to Adepticon 2015 March to Mount Doom Madness which starts in approximately 6 hours from now.  Take note that the rules for building an army for this particular tournament is 750 points and under 20 models, hence the low model count and the stacking of the Ringwraiths.

Basically, the design behind this army is to kill heroes.  Since this is a low model count tournie, I'm going to be taking on big heroes.  I figure the Dwim and Undying can shut people down while maintaing a supporting role while the Witchking, Troll Chieftain, and Knight of Umbar can do all the front line lifting.  The only issues I really for-see is either Galadrial going on a banishing frenzy (in which case I'll have to throw everything at her right away to shut her down), and/or running into a large (15-20 model count) medium hero cost army where I won't be able to protect my back support and I'll get overwhelmed.  My front line fighters are going to have to kill quickly if I run into anything of that nature.  I think it's a pretty good list as far as the parameters of the tournament goes.  Hopefully I won't get eliminated in the first round as this is also an elimination tournament.

I'll post my results and my thoughts on Adepticon 2015 either tomorrow or Monday.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Undying

This will be my third named Ringwraith and will complete my 750 point army for Adepticon 2015 March to Mount Doom Madness (this Saturday).  I kind of waited till last minute to paint this guy as painting Ringwraith for me is extremely boring and rather unrewarding as far as the finished product goes.  I have been painting other things between this post and my last post, but nothing that is 100% complete.  I figure after Adepticon is over, I should have ample enough time to complete all the projects I've been working on recently (mainly some Blightkings for Warhammer and some Riders of Rohan in which 3 of the 6 are done).

Anyhew, here are some pictures of the Undying.

Again, painting black is a bitch for me for some reason.  I really do need more work when it comes to painting this color.  I do like the contrasting red though as it brings more color to the piece.  Also, I think I've figured out the whole concept with painting horses, as it's more subtle highlighting rather than stark muscular beast due to the hair.  I'll be posting some army pictures soon hopefully, so expect another update in a day or two.