Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Perplexing Box

On an ordinary Tuesday, a box arrives in the mail...

My wife has determine that having daughters has corrupted my sense of awesome. I thought "corrupted" seemed a bit negative, so she downgraded it to "tainted." My daughters both squeeeeed when they saw the box, so now I have the choice of buying each of them their own box or giving mine to them. No way I'm giving up my precious mousies, so it looks like I better go get the credit card...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Kung Fu Movie... Filmstrip-Style

Check out Bob's favorite movie, as portrayed in filmstrip style "frames and captions."

Monday, September 27, 2010

Installing Ubuntu 10 on a Dell E6510

Had a little heartache with this one.  My brand new work laptop just didn't want to boot with Ubuntu 10 (lucid lynx?... I forget the animal names.)  The problem was a black screen after boot, which it turns out is caused by the open source nouveau graphics card driver.

The solution:
  1. Boot from install CD.  Press F6 immediately after POST to go to the installer menu.  
  2. Once in the installer menu, press F6 again to select "Other Options"
  3. Choose "nomodeset" in the Other Options menu and press enter, then press escape.
  4. Choose "Install Ubuntu" from the menu and install as you see fit.
Once installed, boot the system without the CD and do the following:
  1. Hold down shift on boot to enter the GRUB boot menu.
  2. Press 'e' to edit the first item on the boot option list.
  3. On the line that includes "quiet splash" and add "nouveau.modeset=0" to the end (no quotes)
  4. Press ctrl+x to boot
  5. Choose "boot into low res mode only this one time" (or similar) when prompted.
Once booted into low res mode you can update the hardware drivers to use the proprietary nVidia driver, in fact you will be prompted to do so after booting the first time.  Install the driver (ignoring the other update manager window for now.)  Rebooting after installing the proprietary driver will eliminate the black screen issues.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Unlikely Truth: Our Hobby Isn't That Expensive

As much fun as complaining about the price of this hobby might be, I'd like to present a counterpoint.

Yesterday was great fun.  I went to a Michigan State football game (vs. Northern Colorado) with my dad while my wife and kids spent the day with my mom.  Looking at the ticket stub, my eyes kept gravitating to the price on the ticket: $49.  And that's just college football... NFL tickets are more.  Potentially a lot more.  Even the act of taking my three kids to an IMAX 3-D movie, after concessions and admission, can get pretty near the $100 mark.  For the price of a weekend activity with the family, one could get a good start on a new army.

Part of why I am suddenly of the opinion that this hobby isn't the money-pit that many people portray it as is the fact that fleeting, temporary entertainment is incredibly expensive, while the same money spent on miniatures is a one-time investment which results in something you can use to your heart's content.   Even in the hobby realm it's comparatively cheap.  Have you ever priced serious RC cars, or model trains?  How about telescopes?  Even plastic military models give war-gaming a serious run for its money.

So the next time you feel obligated to declare that you are never buying from manufacturer X again because of a price hike, or if you get irritated that minis seem to be priced by in-game usefulness rather than the quantity of raw materials used to manufacturer them, take a look around and see what everything else costs.  Good grief, look at your own cell phone bill or cable bill.  Are you really getting your money's worth for those?

Like my dad once said:  I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no socks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

WHFB: Long Range Throwing Weapons?

So, throwing weapons.... a staple of my Gutter Runners.  I recall stipulations in prior editions that thrown weapons did not receive the -1 penalty for long range.  I can find no such exclusion in 8th ed.  Does this mean that my poor rats are shooting at -2 if they move and throw more than 3"?

At least they get to march and throw.  That's a good 18" threat range.

EDIT: Slicer sets me straight.  I thought Quick To Fire was only a stand and shoot thing, but it also removes the -1 for move and fire.  The long range modifier still appears to apply though, so only -1 instead of -2.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Gnawing Urge for New Armies

So I'm reading Rhellion's blog post in which he chronicles his Ogre Kingdoms opponent walking away from a game in the bottom of turn two because he didn't like how charge reactions work in 8th ed.  And then I started thinking about Ogres.  And thinking more about Ogres.  And starting Army Builder to see what an Ogre list could include in 2k.  And looking at GW's web site to see what an Ogre battalion includes....

You know what?  With a little conversion, you can have a 2k Ogre army for about $150 and a little conversion work.  I can't say I'm not tempted.... a unit of 6 Bulls in two ranks of 3 would get 22 S4 attacks with ironfist = 11 hits = about 7 wounds + 3 S5 impact hits + 3 S4 stomps = about 12 wounds on a typical T3 troop if you can get all 6 Bulls into combat (yeah, I know... good luck with that.)

The list:
Tyrant w/ Skullplucker, Armor of Destiny, Obsidian trinket, potion of speed, luck Gnoblar
Butcher w/ Talisman of Protection, 2 tooth Gnoblars
6 Bulls w/ Crusher, Bellower, Stardard Bearer, ironfist, light armor
6 Bulls w/ Crusher, Bellower, Stardard Bearer, ironfist, light armor
6 Ironguts w/ Gutlord, Bellower, Standard Bearer
20 Gnoblars w/ Groinbiter
24 Gnoblars w/ Groinbiter
4 Leadbelchers w/ Thunderfist, Bellower
4 Leadbelchers w/ Thunderfist, Bellower

It's basically two battalion boxes, with two of the Ironguts converted to be a Tyrant and a Butcher, and a couple Gnoblars nabbed to act in the luck/tooth capacity.  Is it optimal?  No.  Is it playable?  I'm sure it is.  Does it look like fun?  Yeah, actually it does.  The only thing I wonder about is how useful Gnoblars would be with their M4 stat.  Seriously, getting the big guys into combat (and away from shooting) seems like the best way to use their strengths, and Gnoblars as a screen would slow them down.

So now I have to wonder... why!!?!?  I already have my beloved Skaven (including a bunch of on-sprue ones from Island of Blood!) and my wolf riding goblin army, which consists of exactly ONE assembled and painted model (and about a dozen unassembled.)  So why am I toying with the idea of another army?  The rules?  The minis?  I really don't know.  I'm already jonesing for a Hordes Minions army, and I have a ton of Eldar to build and paint.  Why do I want Ogres now?!!?

What drives you?  How do you turn it off?!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Extremeast-09... or something like that

A friend has commissioned me to convert and paint for him a Beast-09 warjack using the Extreme Juggernaut as the base model.  The pose will resemble the fluff art in the Khador book, with Beast-09 standing on a barricade of sharpened logs in a snowstorm.  His army isn't snow based, so I'm leaving the snow off.  The ice on the ax is also getting the ... ax.

So why convert a Beast-09 when there is already a model?  As you can see, the Extreme Juggernaut is considerably larger than the regular Juggernaut.  For a unique, named warjack, the larger model just seemed appropriate.  Many people have converted the Extreme Juggernaut into a Khador Behemoth, a conversion commonly called an Extremoth, but precious few mentions of people making Beast-09 from the kit.

A quick comparison of the standard Beast-09 model to the EJ shows that I will need the following for starters:

  • additional shoulder pyramid spikes
  • longer ax haft and additional ax "gubbins"
  • extended exhaust pipes
  • modified knuckle spikes
  • modified thigh details
  • ring of runes around neck
  • modified head spike
  • cute little "first place" ribbon on left side of chest
The final product will be based on the artwork more than the original model, so some of the aspects of the model that are exaggerated (like the ring of runes) will probably be much smaller on the conversion.

Stay tuned, Khador fans!

Vallejo Black Lava (part 2)

Continued from part 1.

Here are the post-drying states of the three models I tested Vallejo Black Lava on.

The leftmost base received a fairly generous coating and then the space marine legs were stuck into the wet goop.  The adhesion was quite good after it was dry, and took a fair bit of tugging to get them detached.  You can clearly see one of the footprints left behind.  The base was then basecoated scorched brown and drybrushed khaki and bleached bone.  The texture is quite nice.  This is a slotta base, and the lava does not seem to have sunk into the slot at all.  I can see myself preparing many bases like this at once for future use.

For the middle base, the lava was placed over the cork used for the base build up.  I drybrushed a little cold gray onto the black to pick out the detail.  You can see that the cork top surface is replaced by the very small grit of the black lava in a nicely random looking pattern.  The cork edges were also nicely obscured by the lava I applied there.

The third base was given a thinner coat of black lava around a miniature that had already been glued to the base.  You can see that the texture is a bit different than the first base, which got a heavier coat.  I can see the application of this thin a coat of black lava for things like metal corrosion.  I gets the job done for basing, but doesn't make for a very rugged looking base texture.

I'm very pleased with the way this is working out and I will be using this to base a whole lot of tIoB clanrats in the near future.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vallejo Black Lava (part 1)

Following the lead of several other bloggers, I bought a jar of Vallejo Black Lava texture paint to try for basing (and eventually mud and corrosion effects, if I get the gumption.)

First off, I was impressed by the size of the container for $10 (from Sprue Brothers.)  Maybe I have Citadel price desenitization, but I was expecting about 1/4 of what I got.  This looks like enough to base an army.  The jar itself has an inner plug that should keep the gunk from drying out for a good long time.  So far so good.

I tried three tests to start.  The first, the assault marine, was a figure glued to a base.  I painted the black lava around the feet onto the base.  It was surprisingly easy to keep it off the feet of the mini... much more so than using glue and sand.  The second test was to paint a round slotta base, clumping it on thick enough to cover the slot, and then placing the marine legs into the black lava.  I wanted to see if the black lava would sink into the slot over time, and if it has any adhesive qualities.  Lastly, I used a little thinned out black lava to paint on some of the cork texture on Skrolk's base.  I wanted to see how fine a texture could be achieved (on top, the flat area of the cork) and if the texture on the broken side of the cork could be obscured.

I'll detail how they dry and paint in part 2.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Poor Island of Blood Skaven Take One for the Team

First off, let me say that I love the new set.  The minis are awesome.

Poor little rats.  GW just posted the Island of Blood reference sheet on their website.

By my reckoning....

High Elves: 953 pts and not legal list
Skaven: 659 pts, legal list (except for the mysterious warlock engineer halberd)

Now, I'm not expert as to which number is higher than other numbers, but it sure looks like the High Elves are at a distinct advantage over the Skaven.  I thought maybe the inclusion of the griffon was the issue, but the more I fiddle with the list the more I realize that I can't make a High Elf list work with those models.  There are just too many points in special and too few in core.  Even if the Prince just walks and gives up all his special equipment he costs too much to fit with the small core points level.

So I'm interested to hear if anyone has played the set as delivered.  Are the High Elves just unable to handle the model count that Skaven bring?  Or are the Skaven magic/weapon teams just too much for equitable High Elf points to handle?  Maybe they are just there to lose and give a feeling of false security to the Forces of Order in some cunning plot by the Council of 13.  Inquiring minds want to know.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Severius Saves The Day

Today's battle: Protectorate of Menoth led by Grand Scrutator "check out my new cloak" Severius vs. Legion of Everblight led by "Gluefist" Lylyth.

Ready..... fight!

The match mostly consisted of me moving my forces up so Matt could beat on their faces.  Gorman Di Wulfe underestimated the advance distance of a Shredder (remember, folks!  You don't have to charge in Warmachine!) and got, well, shredded.  My warjacks advanced into woods when fighting against Legion (the fourth classic blunder, I believe) and got beaten into scrap.  The Crusader was killed in one turn of savage thrashing without getting a swing.  The Revenger at least did some damage, but got pounded into art for his trouble.  My Bastions skirted the woods and managed to do some hurt to the Carnivean from the other side.

And then Matt made a game ending error.  He moved Lylyth into the woods, within 12" of Severius and less than 3" of the edge of the woods.  Next turn I up-kept Eye of Menoth (of course) and Defender's Ward on the Bastions, then with my remaining 6 focus moved up and cast Immolation on Lylyth.  Three times.

First attempt.... needed a 7.  Rolled a 6.  Rats.

Second attempt.... needed a 7.  Rolled a pair of 5's. Crit!  7 damage, and you are on fire bow-lady!

Third attempt.... needed a 7.  Rolled a ...  7!  (whew)  6 more damage for enemy Warlock.

So 13/16 health gone from L, and my damage potential for the turn is done.  I run the remaining choir up so they are engaging Lylyth and hand the turn over.

Legion's turn: Fire does not expire and the resulting damage roll takes the rest of Lylyth's health.  Menoth.  Is.  Victorious!

If my little caster-on-caster gambit had failed he would have eaten me alive with his remaining warbeasts, but a Warmachine/Hordes game can turn in a moment.  Fun game!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Wanted: Island of Blood WHFB rulebook.. $20, you ship

Just what it says in the title... I want to buy someone's Island of Blood Warhammer mini rulebook.  I'll pay $20 via Paypal and you pay the first class postage to Michigan (U.S.)  Please be able to mail it within a couple days.

If you are willing, email me, hakoMike, at gmail.  I'd rather deal with one of y'all than someone on eBay.

Road to Games Day 2011

I am undeniably excited.  Games Day this year is in Chicago and the date does not conflict with my regular summer vacation plan.  After a two year hiatus I will get the chance to test my painting muster against the rest of the country.  With the talent pool undiluted by multiple Golden Demon competitions all summer I know my chances of winning are even lower than before, but I'm giving it a shot.  Painting for competition also fits well with my goal.  Now, what to paint?

So who is going?  Maybe I'll get to meet some of y'all in person.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Simple Menoth Freehand

I know... I'm on a posting glut.

I was pleased at how well this little 5 minute freehand came out.  I had painted this gaming quality Severius model for Warmachine a while back, but his plain cloak never really did it for me. 

This little freehand occurred to me as a way to break up the ubiquitous "line parallel to cloak edge" freehand.  I tried to space the little "Menofix" shapes based on the folds in the cloth so that they would seem roughly equidistant.  Not perfect, but it adds just enough color to the back of the fig to make it more interesting.

Watch Out Where the Huskies Go

I've noticed that my recipe for snow apparently yellows over time.  The recipe?  White glue + baking soda + water.  You see in this pic (taken today) that the snow on the ground is quite a bit more yellow than it was when I entered this into competition (closeup pic.)

A couple of the little flying sparks have been lost on this piece...  I probably should repair it because (believe it or not) the whole thing is a gift for someone who paid me to do a large Space Marine commission.  That's his chapter color scheme.  I really should send it to him....

I always liked how the OSL came out on the banshee. 

Skrolk WIP 4

How long do you paint a single mini before you just call it done?  I'm not painting Skrolk for competition or anything, but I just can't seem to get to that "time to wrap this guy up" moment.  I uncovered a mold line running up one side of the censer and across the bone staff-topper, and had to scrape it down and repaint those portions.  I have meticulously highlighted the pages of the book, almost to the point where I am afraid to try the freehand work there.  I resculpted part of the base in putty because I thought it looked to "corky."

It's been two weeks of work on nothing but Skrolk, probably along the lines of 30 hours of work.  Maybe I'll just go for the gusto and paint him competition quality.  It's not like I haven't gamed with my competition minis before...

Man that photo came out high contrast (high gamma?)  Once again my photography/Gimp skills stab me in the back.  How Skaven of them.