Monday, July 28, 2008

Mysterious Victory!

I'm back, and I have a trophy! I won a bronze in the 40k Large Monster category for... my Ork Warboss!

Yeah, go ahead and scan the completion meter. You won't find it. It was a piece I painted earlier in the year when the Ork army was released. It was meant to be high quality, but not competition quality. All of the models that I put 50 or so hours in on didn't even make first cut, with the exception of the Duel, which got an honorable mention. I also got more feedback from Tim Lison on the judging, which will help me a great deal in the year to come.

I also got to meet a number of people whom I have known about for some time, which was quite a thrill. Anja Wettergren of Games Workshop, James and Cathy Wappel, Chris Borer, Mathieu Fontaine, Dirty Steve, etc. It was a great thrill to meet all of you, and I hope to see you again at future competitions. I missed meeting Vincent Hudon and jeff Wilhelm, but I got to see some of their great pieces there.

See you all next year!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

'Ere We Go! Chicago Games Day!

This is it! After a marathon completion session I have six entries ready to go for Golden Demon! Not all were the ones originally planned and some are stronger than others, but six shall be submitted.

Okay! It's off to Chicago!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last Day before Chicago!

(As opposed to being "upon us"... there are only so many ways to say that the time is approaching.)

I've officially dropped Warmaster Skaven and Moria Goblin Shaman as entries. Instead, I am going to do a touch up or two on my little Grot Orderly and enter him (her?) in the open category. It's a unique little conversion. Maybe the judges will look favorably upon it.

The Skaven Warlord still needs a backpack and static grass, but other than that he's done. It's a couple hours, tops.

The gyrocopter needs foliage, and I have some lichen I'm going to use. Other than that, it's done.

If I get those done, then maybe I'll consider cranking out the orderly or .... I dunno... something. Last year, a friend of mine from The UnderEmpire entered one of the staff categories just for the heck of it and won gold. These weren't models he had painted for the competition, they were just nice looking models that he had brought for a gaming tournament. Granted he's a great painter, but it's pretty cool to walk in with no intended entries and walk out with a trophy. Maybe I'll bring a model or two for categories I don't have real entries prepared, just to see what happens. The worst case is that they don't win.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chicago Games Day 2008 is Upon Us!

Let the freaking out.... begin!

No, I'm actually better off than I am letting on. The duel only needs snow. The gyrocopter has one good night left and the Skaven warlord will be done tonight, Wednesday. I think I'm going to go ahead and just drop the idea of the Warmaster Skaven, unless I suddenly explode with inspiration tonight and paint up three bases of them. The Moria Goblin Shaman is also going by the wayside. Too bad. I like the figure, but I just could never get it started with that one.

Is anyone going to be there? Any of you folks from Chicago Terrain Factory? Leave a comment and let me know!

Monday, July 21, 2008

My Inner Mason has +49 Holy Studded Diamond Mail

I love Progress Quest. It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing something, even though I cannot affect my characters advancement in any way. You just let the process run and your character merrily advances up the ranks, killing monsters, finishing quests and upgrading kit. It's like WoW without the $15/month, and you get to keep your life.

If you are a fan of the old single player PC dungeon crawl type game, then make sure you read carefully when the game first starts, as the first few progress bars fill. It made me laugh as they set up a (flimsy) premise like just about every game of that genre ever has.

My character, an Inner Mason named "MelFarrSuperstar" (seriously local Detroit reference) is level 79 on the Oobag server. If you really want to join up, join my guild "106".

Oh, and I guess I owe you some Chicago news... the Duel entry progressed considerably over the weekend. I have five days to wrap all this up, and it makes my stomach hurt to think about it.

Friday, July 18, 2008

One Down, Five To Go

As you can see in the completion meter in the above right, I finished the Commissar last night. Sorry for the lack of photos. That leaves five more entries to finish by next Saturday, three of which are coming about quite nicely. The other two (which should be pretty obvious on the meter) are in danger of not happening, which is okay. I'd rather walk in with four competitive entries than six mediocre ones.

Okay, from the dubious accomplishment department, I have now successfully watched the entire first and second seasons of the new Doctor Who series in preparation for the big season finale last night. Between Stef and Susan I had plenty of encouragement. I have made some assumptions about what is going to happen in this upcoming episode and I can't say I'm looking forward to it even a little. Okay, maybe a little. Okay, maybe I'm really curious. Yeah, maybe that.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Math is Funny

If you have never read xkcd then please do. It's not all kiddie-friendly, but it's intelligent in ways that math geeks (even not particularly knowledgeable math geeks like myself) will enjoy.

The internet argument one is amazing.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Chicago Games Day To-Do List

With hotel paid for, tickets in-hand and entries taking shape, it's time to start the list of things to do before Chicago Games Day.

  • finish base colors on marine
  • battle damage on marine
  • finish banshee
  • OSL
  • snow
  • riding crop
  • touch up freehand
  • shell casing
LotR Shaman:
  • redo eyes
  • armor improvements
  • weapon OSL
  • finish pilot
  • improve wood grain
  • basing shrubs / figure
Skaven Warlord:
  • trophy rack
  • long grass on base
  • fungus on base
  • improve skulls on back
Warmaster Skaven (not looking quite so likely)
  • Finish Eshin base
  • Entire Moulder base
  • Entire Skryre base
  • Entire Warlord base
  • Entire Pestilens base
Even with six categories I realize that I am likely to walk away with a couple honorable mentions at best, which is a little depressing. I find myself intimidated by things like this. I just don't feel like I can match that level of quality, and it's hard to say I'm seriously contending for trophies when I keep seeing minis that are out of my league, so to speak. I don't want to win a trophy because some category was poorly represented on a given year. I want to win because I painted a world class mini. I'm just not sure I'm there yet.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Getting Closer & Black Templar Captain

Well, we discovered too late that the hotel would charge us immediately for the hotel room for Saturday night after Games Day. Now we're broke. Whoops.

The Gyrocopter is the GD entry that I'm finding intriguing. I've only ever worked on it on my lunch hour at work, but it's starting to really take shape. It needs some basing work (shrubs) and the pilot, but the canvas is turning out pretty good. It will certainly be an answer to anyone who says they don't have time to paint if I can pull off a decent entry in a year of sporadic lunch hours.

Other entries are slow going. The beginning of painting on the duel entry is encouraging. The Moria Shaman is practically untouched in the past two months. I still plan on submitting him. Skaven Warmaster characters may get the boot if time is too tight.

In an attempt to fund the trip, Black Templar Captain is on the auction block:

Monday, July 07, 2008

Irresponsibly Doing What I'd Planned

I'm back on for Chicago. Sure, I have no idea where the money is coming from for the other big expenses this Summer, but doing something I've greatly anticipated and planned to do for the past year is just too hard to give up.

Between nervousness of competition and trying to pay for all these thing we must do, I'm going to give myself an ulcer.

That said, the Commissar is coming along again. He's really getting close now.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

A Tale of Two Summers

Last summer, after taking the family to see Ratatouille, I went to Rider's Hobby in Ypsi and bought a Warhammer Giant kit. I was determined that in the four weeks remaining until Games Day '07 I was going to produce something that could make first cut. I worked my tail off and got an honorable mention. Immediately after returning I started plotting my entries for the next year.

Friday saw the release of another Pixar movie, Wall-E. My family went to see it, and it was very good. Like last year's release, this one heralds four weeks until Games Day. Unlike last year, I am well on the way to having competition qulaity minis ready to go. My skills have improved.

Except.... this year I don't think I'm going.

Looking over the priorities for the summer, it has become clear to me that day trips to Chicago are a luxury I can not currently afford. Yes, after an entire year of anticipation I am disappointed, but I have to put family priorities ahead of my hobby, and even ahead of my second job if you consider mini painting my second job. (Or is my third job.... I forget.)

Anyway, thanks to everyone who kept track of my progress here. I plan to keep working on my entries as I have time, but problaby just for eBay sale and not competition. See you next year in Chicago, I hope.

EDIT: and clearly to make myself feel better about the whole thing, I was watching some video coverage of last year's Chicago Games Day. Lo and behold, I ran across video of my giant! It's only a fraction of a second (at 1:17) but it's there!