Friday, January 27, 2012

Arch Lector of Manann


From Day 1, I've been planning to play up the nautical aspect of the Nordland army.  (I've already got a pretty clear idea of what my display board's going to look like.)  Although a general lack of easily accessible, usable nautical bits has thwarted me in terms of converting up most characters, I've been pretty determined to make sure that it's clear that my Arch Lectors and Warrior Priests can't be mistaken as Sigmarites: they serve Manann.

I'm definitely thinking Aeron "Damphair" Greyjoy, here.

Here's the first one.


He's the bottom half of a Flagellant body, with the top half sawn off and replaced with a Greatsword torso.  The shield's from the Empire General kit: I shaved the skull off and replaced it with a plasticard Manann's crwon.  The clerics should have portfolio-appropriate weapons, so I converted one of the Flagellant's scythes into a boathook.  The head's a Flagellant's, with a paper crown reinforced with superglue.



Monday, January 23, 2012

More Progress

Since the last time I really posted, I've been stupidly busy: both at work and at hobby.

On top of all that other stuff, I've done:

  • 20x Greatswords
  • 10x Handgunners
  • 10x Archers
  • 3x Wizards
  • 1x Captain of the Empire

At this point, I just need to do up the Engineer and the Arch-Lector.

I ran out of metal squares to glue to their bases: I've had to order a heap more of them from Wargame Accessories.  In fact, I had to go on a spree: ordering metal squares, movement trays from Litko and skirmish trays from Back 2 Base-IX.

I've been holding off on building the characters, since they're the most clear place to do conversions and work in the Manann / Nordland theme.  I threw together some wizards (Light and Fire) without any trouble.


Nothing special, right?

Well, I also needed a Shadow Wizard... and they don't really have any bits in the (otherwise magnificent) Wizard kit.



So, I trimmed the hair off of a Fire Mage's hair sculpted the hood up over it.

Not entirely pleased with the skull on the staff, but nothing else in the bits box really leapt out at me.  I might take a stab at it scratching up a crystal or something.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Super-busy

Ran the Storm of Magic Tournament over the weekend.  I've got some ruminatin' to do about it at some point in the near-term (particularly in terms of how I structured and scored it), but that'll wait.

I was also extremely productive Sunday and Monday: grinding through wrapping up the remaining Empire models.


In two days:

  • 20x Archers
  • 20x Handgunners
  • 10x Greatswords

Before my current list is ready to field, I still have 10 Handgunners and 20 Greatswords (10 of which are in progress) to assemble... plus characters.  Beyond that, just 10 Archers and 24 Knights are still on the sprue.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fimir Balefiend - Complete


I wrapped up the Fimir Balefiend over the weekend.  Come Monday, it was all over but for waiting for the water effects to cure.*





I'm extremely pleased with the green skin.  It's different, somewhat, from the approach I took with the Gremlins, but still worked really well.  I absolutely feel like I've Solved how to paint green skin... now I just need the spiritual fortitude to undertake a Orc or Ork army.  Also, the claws/horns worked out very well, too.  Distinct from the flesh, but not out of place.

The much hanging from him could be better.  I might return at some point to repaint it.  It's too similar to the Fimir's flesh; a series of different washes didn't darken it up enough to make it distinct.


I'm quite pleased with the barnacles / fungus / whatever that stuff is.  I think it goes a long way to breaking up the flesh and making it more interesting; the same way the boils do on Skaven.



The little conversion details came out okay.  I think they definitely accomplished their goals, though I can't shake the feeling that there's something else I could have done with the gut plate.  I did try adding verdigris: which completely ruined it... so I had to repaint it.  That little plant coming up in front of his right foot made painting the gutplate super-difficult.


The water effects didn't come out quite as well as I'd have hoped.  Unfortunately, they photographed even worse than they actually look.  Take my word for it when I assure you that it's not amazing but it's not terrible.

And, 'cause I was at it: some scenic/HDR photos (HDR Fusion, no Picasa tweaking):




Composition on these might could be better.  I tried to crop out the sides of the base, but maybe didn't do myself any favors with it.

Anyway, what do y'all think?

* Not entirely; after photographing the bastard, I noticed a few spots on the side of the base that needed repainting... I retouched the photos to cover it up since it's just the flat color and I don't feel like taking the photos again.  Not something I normally like doing, but I'm untroubled by it here.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fimir Balefiend - WIP


So, in my Storm of Magic list, I'm taking a Fimir Balefiend: Shadow's a pretty happy lore.

I'd considered just cracking open my copy of HeroQuest; there are a handful of Fimir Warriors in there:


But Casey pointed out that they're a little small.  According to Wikipedia, initially (and when HQ was published, Fimir were man-sized... but then an ogre-sized sculpt was done at some point and it's clearly had an impact: in Storm of Magic, they're Monstrous Infantry.

So, I converted one.





The base, as is probably clear, is a River Troll.  There's a Chaos Spawn tail on there, which was kind of a no-brainer.


I rolled the dice and bitz-ordered the Troll: unfortunately, it didn't come with arms that would work at all.  I was lucky enough to trade them to a club member for better arms, though.  I thought they needed a bit more, so I stuck on an old Skaven banner bit to (hopefully) breakup the shape and make it look less like River Troll arms.  Same thing with the ring.  The sculpting there to make that banner bit fit?  The hardest part of the dang conversion.


 The head is from a Krootox; the eyes and brow were drilled out and resculpted into a single eye.  The balefiend has horns, so I used some Gor horns I had left over from a Daemon conversion.  To make them fit, and to sculpted him a bigger head (since I'd list the three most distinguishing features of the HQ Fimir as single eye, club tail,  and big head).  It's not huge, but it's a lot bigger than it was, and it should be the right size for the model now.


And, just as I thought I was done with it, I realized that it needed a gutplate.  From day one, the lack of clothing had bothered me: Fimir are civilized (under certain definitions for the word) and wear clothes and armor, but I couldn't figure out how to sculpt something on that would work.  Then I realized that Fimir have always had gutplates: that's easy enough to do.  I sculpted a stylized Fimir face on it: I don't think it's photographed well, but it should paint up okay.

I'm leery of the chain: I don't think it works well... but I think getting it to hide under the Troll's rolls (which is what it really needs) is beyond my skill.

Anyway, I hope to have it done and painted before tournament in case I end up ringing.

Of course, I was 90% done with this (just tracking down an appropriate set of arms) when ForgeWorld posted theirs:
C'est la vie.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's just occurred to me that a stacked chart communicates hobby points better a lot than a layered multi-series line chart.


Much easier to read, and conveys as much information as, like, three other charts.

Also, man: Excel charts are way prettier than Google Spreadsheet charts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 Year in Review


This'll be the the third one of these I've done (madness!)

Year in Review
  • January saw me dropping my Hobby Status Spreadsheet into the wild for public consumption.  (There's no way for me to know how many folks are actually using it, but I still get the occasional ping for input and help with it, so someone out there's getting use out of it.)  I painted up a Gremlin crew (that, after not touching for nearly a year, sold off) and recommitted myself to finishing my Skaven army.  This was really a year ago?

  • February I painted Skaven.  This was a theme for the year.  Plus, I went back and added some to my Daemon army.

  • March saw me focusing on adding shooting elements to my Khornate Daemon army in hopes of making them a bit more table-viable for our annual Battle for the Cure tournament.

  • April was back to the Skaven: setting a clear painting project plan.  And I picked up a lightbox!  It's had such a marked improvement on the quality of my (still far-from perfect photography) and was so (relatively) inexpensive, I think everyone who put effort into painting their miniatures should get one so they can better share their work.

  • May was Skaven, Skaven, Skaven.  Plus, we had our first annual Clash for the Cure (which was just like the 40K Battle for the Cure, but for Fantasy).

  • June was Skaven... plus I finally (with some help) picked up the gumption to start selling off unused stuff on eBay, which was quite a success.

  • July - You guessed it: Skaven.  Also, I ran a tournament, partly as NoVA Open prep and mostly because hadn't had a local tournament in a while.

  • August was a busy month.  We picked up a display case to store minis in, I painted a bunch of Skaven, and played in (and did quite well at, winning Best Overall and Best Army Appearance) the NoVA Open Fantasy GT.

  • September saw, again more Skaven... and I played in the Blob's Park Fantasy GT.  Started off the month playing in a 40K tournament where I had a really unfortunate math mistake (and won Best Appearance).

  • October saw the last Skaven model I've painted in 2011: the Ratwyrm (winning Best Appearance with him). I also started messing around with HDR photos, something I'm likely to continue playing with.  Despite all of that, I spent most of the month too sick to accomplish much.

  • November saw my first true commission painting job.  Although I'd done some before for charity, this was my first "I will give you money to paint these minis for me" job, and it wasn't too unpleasant.  I'm probably going to look into doing this again in the future, since it solves my problem with enjoying painting for skirmish games (while being unable to enjoy playing them).  I also briefly looked into playing Necrons (an idea abandoned after a few weeks).

  • December was a sweatshop month.  I ground through assembling an unbelievable number of models: over 90.  I was an unstoppable building machine.  Unfortunately, when my hobby waxes my gaming waned, and I didn't really play many games at all.  
A key takeaway here is that, when I say it takes me three and a half forevers to paint an army, I'm not exaggerating.  I started actively painting my Skaven in January (which seems to be when I commit myself to an army for a year: 2009 was Daemons, 2010 was Skaven, 2011 will be Empire) and then had to actively worked on them almost constantly for eight months before they were ready: and many of those models (particularly the ones that helped me win Best Appearance) were actually converted quite some time before, in late 2009.

Additionally, early in the year, the Iron Fist League, the local gaming club I was a member of, schismed (for lack of a better word).  The two main subgroups went their separate ways: the subgroup that plays at my FLGS (Game Parlor) renamed itself the Chantilly Gaming Legion (CGL, pronounced "seagull").  Although it wasn't a clean break (a few folks, in both groups, seemed to go out of their way to make it acrimonious), it appears to have been an extremely healthy one.  There's almost zero drama around our parts and, from the few times I've checked in on the IFL Forums, it looks like there's precious little drama there, too.  I think both groups are the better for the split.  Furthermore, while I can't speak for parts South, the break really invigorated things for our local group: more people turn up to the store to play and more events get run.  The club just seems healthier.


Hobby Activity

Here's a breakdown of what the year looked like:


Some Daemons through the year, a ton of focus on Skaven from March through September, and a huge Empire rampup at the end of the year.  But, hey, we knew that.


Again, zero surprises here.


Or here.

And, because I've been doing this for two years, now, I can compare 2011 to 2010:



Gaming Activity

I find this really surprising: I played that many more games with my Daemons this year than with my Skaven? Crazy.
This doesn't surprise me much, honestly.

Site Activity


I posted considerably less this year (nearly 40 fewer posts).  I'm not sure I can objectively evaluate how the quality compares between the two years: am I posting less frequently, but with higher quality?  Or am I just posting less frequently?


I clearly ad a few traffic spikes, with a good number of peaks in between.

And then, because I can, I'll compare this year's site activity to last year's.  Traffic's definitely up, overall.


My top two most viewed posts in 2011... were from 2009 and 2010.  Huh.  What's interesting is that, back in May, I joined the BoLS Network (I've been in the FTW Network pretty much since I started the blog) and, although it consistently shows up as a significant referrer... it doesn't look like it's had that much of an overall impact.  I'm guessing that's because it's simply offsetting a reduction in traffic due to fewer posts.

The five most viewed posts actually written in 2011 were:
  • Necron Test Model - This... is one of the more pointless posts of the year.  "Hey, I tried a thing, and it looks terrible."  Someone took offense at an aside I made in the post, though, and reposted it to YTTH.  That's the big spike over there in late October.  So, one of the most useless posts of the year was one of the most viewed.  Blech.
  • Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven - Followup - I posted this hot on the heels of the book coming out.  I'm pretty sure that's where this traffic came from.  Also, Clan Skurvy has a rat-parrot.
  • Dreadstone Blight - This is the sort of post I like seeing getting traffic.  Pure hobby, and something I'm quite pleased with.
  • Uniforms & Heraldry of the Skaven - See my comments above: new release = high traffic.
  • Warlord on a War-Litter - Again: hobby posts are what I'd like to see do well.  And, man, I love how this model came out.
2011 Goals

Last year, I continued with some broad goals while setting some very specific ones as well.  (Here's a reminder of why.)
  • Finish - Success!  I got a lot of stuff done.  A Gremlin crew.  (Broadly) A Skaven army.  (Specifically) three separate Skaven painting goals for three different tournaments.  Boo-ya.
  • Paint - Success! Man, I painted a lot. Just shy of 200 models.
  • Compete - Success!  I played in a lot of tournaments.  Two RTT-level 40K events, one RTT-level Fantasy event, and two GT-level events.  Even better, I performed fairly well in most of them.
  • Have a Fully Painted Skaven Army - Success!  I started painting loathsome ratmen back in '92-'93.  It took me 18 years to have a fully painted Skaven army.  You can't imagine how proud I am of this army.
  • Avoid Forums - Success!  Though I might not want to claim it as such.  I actually made an active effort to get spun up on Dakka... but couldn't.  Traffic is... overwhelming over there.  Locally, avoiding the IFL Forum and its tendency to generate drama was made very easy by the club splitting.  (Never mind that the club splitting probably greatly reduced the forum's ability to generate drama.)  I didn't work for success here, but I feel like I achieved it.
2012 Goals
  • Finish
  • Paint
  • Compete
Those first three goals are never going to be inappropriate:  get stuff done, focus on the part of the hobby I get the most pleasure from, and put its out there for people to see.
  • Make Significant Progress on an Empire Army - I think I know better than to commit to having one done.  I know how long it takes me to paint and, at my current rate, it'll be 2028 before I'm done with it.  Significant progress will be sufficient.
  • Avoid Drama - Avoiding forums to avoid drama went a long way but, as noted above I wasn't able to escape it entirely.  I need to focus on the aspects of the hobby that bring me happiness and vigorously avoid those that don't.
  • Step It Up - I own WarpstonePile.com: it's time to switch the blog over to that (dropping the .blogspot portion).  An ad or two isn't going to kill the site, might maybe offset the cost of my hobby a bit and, when I'm unable to avoid drama, will ensure that at least something positive comes out of it.  I have clever ideas of using things like my army display sign on business cards.
  • Dump Stuff - This year, I started selling my unwanted, unloved stuff on eBay, with a great deal of success.  I've still got a lot of things I need to get out of the house (especially because one of my wider-scope, life resolutions is to declutter), so I'd better keep this up.  If I don't need it, don't want it, and aren't going to use it: it's gotta go.

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