Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What's Next?

Now that I've knocked out my 2,500 points worth of Skaven... I've had to sit down and figure out what to work on next.

Fortunately, I've got two tournaments in September, which makes some decisions for me.

In about a week and a half, we're having a small 40K tournament at GPC.  I'll be rocking the Daemons, of course, but realized I've only finished painting one octet of Blood Horrors... so I need to wrap up the other octet before next Saturday.  Fortunately, they're half painted: I just need to highlight the flesh and go from there.

At the end of the month, I'm going to Blob's Park.  The damn thing is 2,800 points, which means I need to paint another 300 points of Skaven by the end of the month.  That's poop.  The path of least resistance is, I think, to run a second Warp Lightning Cannon (since I have it painted), beef out my Stormvermin (since I need to get up to 700 points of Core... and they're painted), and paint up 6 Globadiers and another Warmachine (I'm thinking Doomflayers, just for the heck of it).  

That should get me through to October.  After that, it's tough to say.  Necrons should be on the horizon, and I'm hungry for them.  I'm eagerly awaiting an a-tier army to buy into and play.  I'm also still worked up about a Nordland Empire army, but that's a large enough effort to keep me from hitting the Necrons when they come out.  Also, it'd be sooo easy to knock out an Ogres army just for something different.

Fortunately, I've got until the end of the month to figure out what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

NoVA Blow-by-Blow

The Fantasy tournament was three rounds on Saturday, two rounds on Sunday.

I showed up on Friday to check in with two different lists printed out: one without Power Scroll (as it had been previously banned) and one with it (as it has been re-allowed shortly after it was FAQ'd). I decided, as I checked in, to use the one without Power Scroll.  I think that was probably the right move (and my performance backs that up).

Monday, August 29, 2011

NoVA Overview

Before I get into how I had a great time and all that stuff, I'll cut right to the chase and say I did extremely well this weekend, beyond any of my expectations.

I won Best Army ("Sum of All Parts"); tying the winners of both Best Conversion and Best Painted Mini.  I'd hoped to do well with Appearance; I went specifically with the goal of trying to do well with Appearance... but I certainly didn't expect to walk off with the top prize.  So, you can imagine how pleased and flattered I am.

Furthermore, I came in second place for Renaissance Man, third overall.  Despite planning to show up, try to do well with Appearance, and spend the weekend drinking: I ended up going 4-1.  This was absolutely out of left-field for me.  I planned to show up, roll some dice, and drink a lot of beer; winning games wasn't in the plan.

I got to see a lot of folks I don't really get to see much of (especially Jay, Doug, Austin and Kevin), and I got to meet a lot of new folks.  Thank you to everyone who introduced themselves (RGH, RGH Jr., Iggy Koopa being the ones who associated themselves with blogs); it was great to put faces on such (talented) names.  Gav Thorpe is an incredibly nice dude.  Someone (RGH?) had him sign their Chaos Space Marines codex, "Yeah, I wrote it.  So what?"

Doubly huge thanks to Austin for letting me stash my army & board in his room overnight.  That saved me an immense amount of hassle.

I'm really glad I played Fantasy instead of 40K. Five rounds of WHFB across two days were exhausting.  My tournament kit includes a chef's mat to stand on, and my knees and feet still ache.  Eight rounds of 40K would have me curled on the floor, crying and clutching my knees.

Anyway, the ICGC did a great job running things: games started pretty much on time and kept moving.  I had a great time (which didn't really have anything to do with my success).

I'll go over my games tomorrow (or the day after).

What Worked

  • Paint scoring had a very particular, structured format that kept things pretty objective while allowing for just a bit of subjectivity.  I remember being dissatisfied with the old GW GT appearance check list because it put a lot of emphasis on basic stuff without allowing for much nuance at the higher levels.  I feel that this was a huge step beyond that.

  • The format's solid.  We've done smaller tournaments using the bracketing structure and it's worked out OK.  At the local tournament format, it's a liability, since it either caps players at 8 or requires more rounds than are practical (especially when your FLGS opens at 11AM).  When spread across two days, and you can play the games you need, it works out really well.

  • Raffles.  Your name went into a raffle every time you lost a game.  I have no idea how many things they raffled off each round, but I saw a lot of folks win prizes.  Three or four folks from my (extended) gaming group won prizes.

  • Consistent, balanced terrain layouts are solid.  It'd get old for pickup games and such, but for a tournament it's inarguably great.

  • The hotel was nice, and there was a lot of space.  There were concerns about putting 400+ people in a relatively low-ceilinged space stinking the place up (let's call it what it is), but that wasn't a concern at all.  At points (particularly first thing in the morning) where I felt a bit warm, but I was never hot.  (Though they did cut off the AC on the Fantasy/Warmachine side of thing a bit early.)
What Could Use Improvement

  • The intercom system.  Not sure there's a fix for this, though.

    The problem was that the 1) 40K tournament had a tight schedule, requiring everyone to be coordinated, 2) the person doing the bulk of the intercomming sounded like everyone was an idiot and 3) announcements got longer and longer and repeated more often as the weekend went on.  That made it pretty dang hard to play: we couldn't hear each other at all over the announcements, hardly any of which had anything to do with us... which made them extremely disruptive.

    Like I said, I'm not sure there's a fix for this.  Everyone's going to be on the same intercom system and, at 200+ people in a tournament, there are going to be coordination issues that make the intercom scolding required.  Maybe the best one could hope for would be a recognition that there are other events as well, and that everything grinds to a halt when someone's talking on the intercom... so say what you're saying and be done.  Though I really don't think that would actually change much, because I don't think there was that much fat to trim from the announcements, and the repetition's justifiable and necessary.  So, I dunno.

    The converse was also true: Scooter's not a quiet dude, but I had trouble hearing some things the Fantasy organizers announced.  They probably should have hopped on a/the intercom as well.

  • A Schedule.  I guess there were schedules printed, but I never really saw them.  A schedule of the games should have been posted in the tournament area (next to table assignments?), so we wouldn't have to keep interrupting judges to ask how much time we had left or when the next round started.

    One hour or, at least, 30 minute warnings would have been nice.  We got a couple of "Don't start another turn!" announcements, but that was it.

  • There was no internet or cell signal.  I had to go outside and stand at the concierge stand to get the slightest of bars.  It felt like coming up for air: walking halfway across the hotel, taking the escalator up, and walking out to sync up with the mothership.  This could be a positive thing: removing a huge distraction of players, helping them focus on their games.  It'd have been nice to stay connected through the day, however: I know it completely prevented me from posting and tweeting about my games throughout the day.

    A wireless access point or something made available to NoVA guests might be worth considering.  I'm sure the 11th Company had some wired connection (since streaming video is a mite bandwidth intensive).  I'm sure wireless router or something could be stacked on top of a similar connection with a password posted in the NoVA space.

  • A poster listing walkable food options and/or delivery options would have been really helpful.  I have no doubt there were a lot of options but on the tight schedule, I didn't have time to try to figure out what they were.  
Anyway, since I don't want to wrap on a negative note (and really, I'm shooting for constructive, not negative), I really did have a great time.  Mike did an amazing job, and should be extremely pleased with himself.  I'm looking forward to next year!

* What I'm (unsuccessfully) trying to say here was that it sounded like he was talking down to everyone. I'm assuming that he's in the military and probably puts dangerous things in the hands of teenagers professionally, and I have no doubt that it was necessary and appropriate at the tournament.  So, I totally get it... but it made the disruption more unpleasant.

Saturday, August 27, 2011


The board's done!  The banners are done!  The sign is done.  BEHOLD!

Here's everything arranged!  (I might have a few more slaves and monks on there than I actually intend to field today, and I need to repair the furnace, but whatevs).

Signal is terrible at the tournament, so I won't be able to do much posting throughout the day.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What to enter?

Now, I've got to figure out something I should have thought about a week ago: what models to enter for the painting and conversion judging.

Assuming the following:

Right now, for painting, I'm considering the two models that did well at the GD last year: the Doomwheel and the Warlord.

I'm leery of doing the Doomwheel, though, because of

I could also do my War-Litter Warlord or even my Warlock Engineer (both below).

For conversion, I'm considering my Facebook pseudo-internet-famous Hellpit, my War Litter, my Warlock Engineer or maybe a Mortar.

Leaning strongly away from those last two: the mortar's just too rough, and while the Engineer is fantastic, it's barely converted.  So, really: Hellpit or War Litter?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NoVA vs The Storm

Man, I really hope Irene doesn't mess with the tournament.  (Mostly because it means a lot of dangerous weather for everyone, not just an interferance with my ability to play toy soldiers.)

Right now, they're talking 100 mph winds in the region on Sunday morning, and hurricane force winds specifically in the area the tournament is being held in.

Weather Channel - Irene

NoVA Prep Status

Monday, August 22, 2011

Display Board Update

Done painting and varnishing.  All that should be left are water effects (though I'm considering putting some blood effects down or something to break things up a bit; we'll see once I've put everything down on the board).

This is it.  I'm... not entirely happy with it.  What's there looks good, but it feels kinda bland to me.  I wish I'd had more inspiration for terrain to put on it.  Water and units might help that out, though.  We'll see.

The stalagmites are done as well.  I'm ambivalent about them.  They look alright.  Better than the styrofoam ones, for sure... but in painting them, I was reminded that I wanted to use those colors (Cryx Bane Base, Cryx Bane Highlight) to paint the Space Hulk Genestealers.  Between that and the Alien-esque way they kinda look, I can't help but feel that they'd be better suited as Tyranid terrain.

After the board's done, I've got to wrap up these freaking banners.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Display Board WIP

I'm waiting on the glue to dry on the board; I'll go back over everything thoroughly with some watered-down wood glue to fix everything in place.  I've found that this does miracles for adding durability to ballast (and pretty much everything else).

I've finished "sculpting" the stalamites.  Each is a 6" nail run through a 50mm base with successive layers of joint compound slathered on.  Not really sure when I decided to use joint compound, but the results look (to me, at least) considerably more natural and believable than the styrofoam stalagmites I've made before.

The joint compound's considerably flakier, however, so I'm reinforcing everything with several coats of, again, watered-down wood glue.  After enough of these, the outside will be extremely durable.

Once all of that's done (hopefully tonight) and dried (hopefully tomorrow AM), I'll start painting it.  That should go pretty quickly: airbrush on the basecoat then a couple of layers of drybrush.  Varnish that, then water effects and done.

I've stretched my non-existent photoshop skills to the limit to pull together a clever, attention-getting sign to place by my display board.  I'm going to keep that close to my chest until the tournament, though: more because I keep dicking around with it than from any coyness.

Finally, I've loaded up most of the display case: my Daemons on one shelf and my Dark Angels spilling off of another.  The top shelf's being saved for my Skaven (who are, understandably, a bit too busy psyching themselves up for the NoVA to spend time in the display case) and assorted one-off models that I've done.


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

In the Final Stretch!

I'm in the final stretch!

I just slapped some varnish on the rat swarms and the last model that needed rebasing.

This is the same Poisoned Wind Mortar I built back at the end of '09; it just needed rebasing to tie it in to the rest of the army.

The Rat Swarms weren't exactly necessary.  They're there in case the Hellpit dies (likely) and explodes into d3 Rat Swarms (unlikely).  Might as well cover all of my bases, right?

That means all I have left to do is:
  • Paint three banners.
  • Do the display board.
The end, that's it!  The board I'm going to work on this weekend.  I'm going to procrastinate the banners until next week.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Display Case

You might have heard about Borders closing down and being liquidated.  As it's where the lovely and tolerant Mrs. Rushputin likes to buy her smut shōjo manga, she's been cruising through our local store regularly as it goes through its liquidation.  While scanning around to fill gaps in her run of Mixed Vegetables, she noticed that they had begun liquidating furniture and fixtures.

They've got a number of very, very large tables that would make excellent gaming tables: if we had a basement, it's the sort of thing that would definitely go there.

More significantly: they've got several glass-fronted display cases.  IIRC, these were where the overpriced CD/DVD collections lived.  Getting a display case for my minis is something that's been on our to-do list for a long, long time: with as much time and money I've invested in my hobby, we'd like to pull its fruits out of plastic drawers in the closet and put them on display.  So, when she noticed these, she gave me a call.

We did some measuring and thinking and, after sleeping on it, headed out to buy one.

We had to do a tiny bit of demo to get it: all four of their cases were fixed to each other: an end piece on one side, another display case on the other, and a strip along the top holding it to the case behind it.  It took all of five minutes to sort that out, though.

It stands 4'8" tall, 13" deep and 3' wide.  It's pretty big, but not too big.  The shelves are space apart enough that their future contents should be well-lit enough, but it shouldn't be difficult to install lighting if it becomes necessary.

If you're in a similar spot, and have been looking for a display case: consider one of these (or, maybe, waiting for the liquidators to get more desperate and then consider one of these).  This one's in pretty good shape: some of the others are a bit rougher.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Forge World Skaven

I'm really surprised to not see much discussion of the amazing new Forgeworld Skaven kits.

The Exalted Vermin Lord is unbelievable: I'll probably have this sucker assembled and painted before I get around to doing my classic Vermin Lord.

The rules for the Brood Horror look like a lot of fun, and the model is pretty cool.  Not as cool as the EVL, but still lovely (and heart-warmingly reminiscent of my Hell Pit Abomination).

I'm really excited about both of these models.  Now I just need to wait for the crunch to wrap up before I can order them. :)

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Painting Progress - 20110809

Had an extremely productive weekend, which was refreshing after what's felt like an extended period of being too busy to do anything.

For starters, I managed to knock out the rebasing of all of my Stormvermin.  That's several more models than I actually need by the end of the month, but it was easy enough to just power through all of them.

Let the record show that I don't particularly care for rebasing minis. It's a little too tedious.  Just as well that, at this point, I really only need to rebase a single model (one Poisoned Wind Mortar) before I'm done with all of that.

I also decided to change things up a bit and knock out all of the movement trays.  I did a total of six: two 100mm x 120mm trays (from Litko), two 200mm x 100mm horde trays and two 5 model skirmish trays (from GF9).  They came together pretty quickly.

I also blew through another six Plague Monks.  (Not pictured because we know what they look like and the varnish was drying on them while I took these pictures.)

Finally, a while back I finally got the chance to play Chaos in the Old World (which is seriously a lot of fun), just about the time the Horned Rat expansion came out.  The components were solid, and I found it cheap on the internet, so I ordered a second copy of it (the expansion, not the whole game) to use for my army.  I'll probably get around to using the clanrat / cultist tokens as wound counters and the rat ogre / lesser daemon tokens as unit filler at some point.  I had a little free time, though, so I ended up throwing this piece of terrain together using the vermin lord / greater daemon token:

It's just the token, a round wooden chit to give it a base, and some left over Arcane Ruins.  It'll probably go on the center of my display board, I think.

At this point, I'm getting near the end of prepping my army... that's good, 'cause I'm getting a little tired of painting rats.  By my count, all that's left is:
  • 5x Plague Monks
  • 3x Rat Swarms (optional, for popping out of an Abomination)
  • 3x Banners (everything else is painted, I just need to do something with the banner)
  • 1x Mortar Rebasing
  • Display Board
This is, I think, pretty doable.

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