Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ouch. An Ork Just Math-Hammered Me.

Just a quick summary of something that I really didn't appreciate until yesterday.

30 Ork Boyz w/shootas, 3 rokkit launchas = 210 pts
10 tactical Space Marines w/ heavy bolter, plasma gun = 180 pts

Full squad of Orks shoot at Marines.  18 shoota hits.  9 shoota wounds.  3 failed armor saves.  1 rokkit hit/wound w/ no save.  That makes 4 dead marines = 64 points.  The Marine squad is now seriously compromised.  Points killed per points of unit is .305.

Full squad of Marines shoot at Orks.  Let's assume that are in rapid fire range.  16 bolter  shots  = 11 bolter hits = 6 bolter wounds.  Heavy bolter gets 2 hits and, oh let's just say two wounds.  Plasma gun gets a couple shots... let's just say both wound.  So that's 10 Ork casualties = 60 points.   Points killed per points of unit is .333.

In the end, I discovered that a full unit of Boyz is almost as effective for the points as a full tactical squad of marines, plus the Boyz can shoot you up and still charge you for an effective whomping.

Waaagh indeed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Choir of Menoth, model 1

I'm of a serious mind to have some painted Warmachine figures with which to play.  My abysmal win record recently (0/5 with PoM, 0/1 with Skorne) can only be attributed to unpainted/partially painted models.  I mean, it couldn't be me, could it?

So here is model #1 of a 4 member choir.  I'm satisfied with the results.  The scroll text was done with a Pigma Micron 005 (0.2 mm tip) pen.  The idea is to basically tap the pen irregularly on the line as you move the pen, creating some "words" that are longer than others.  It makes a reasonable facsimile of text at a distance.

The skin is GW tallarn flesh, washed devlan mud, repainted tallarn flesh over non shadow areas and then highlighted with a little skull white mixed into the tallarn flesh.  Maybe 60/40 tallarn/white.

Finishing this squad of 4 will allow me to field a few variants of a 15 point army, fully painted.

So far I have painted...
Warcasters: pKreoss, Feora, High Reclaimer, pSeverius
Warjacks: Reckoner, Repender, Revenger, Crusader, and a 90% done Redeemer
Units: just the one choir member; a couple Exemplar units have some sporadic color
Solos: Gorman DiWulfe

I also have a painted Testament of Menoth given to me as a gift.  I have to say, getting painted minis as a gift when you really know the person painted it specifically for you is pretty amazing.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gravity 2, Wraithlord 0

You'd think I would have learned from the last incident, but noooooo.  The Wraithlord took another majestic dive into the dogs' water bowl tonight.  This time the cause was a rinse-water mug being taken off the shelf, causing an HP multimeter to tip forward, pushing the Wraithlord.

He is now, once again, repaired and awaiting shipment to his new home along with some of his friends.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Black and Tan (pic heavy)

Here is a pictorial of Apple Barrel Country Tan (inexpensive acrylic craft paint) layered over black primer.  The tan is diluted to minimize acrylic binder texture on drying, as miniature painting ideally should be.












So after 12 coats of tan, the coverage is "good, not great."  There are still visible areas where the coloration is inconsistent.  This is a good demonstration of what goes into a very smooth paint job; I certainly don't have the patience to paint entire models like this for gameplay.  I think the misnomer here is thinking of each of these steps as "coats" like painting a wall would get coats.  When you are painting with very thin coats, one area is drying rapidly while you are working on an adjacent area.  I took pains here to go over each area only once between photos.  In practice I would be going back to the areas that had incomplete coverage almost immediately after finishing a nearly area.  The paint should be thin enough that it dries pretty much as you watch.

I might repeat this exercise with a foundation paint over black primer and see if the result is significantly different.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tutorial - Over/Under Lightning (Ulthwe Eldar)

As part of the Big Box of Eldar I have done a number of skimmers with the same style of lightning as the Fire Prism in the Eldar codex.  While not exactly like the codex version, mine have used the same over/under technique.  It's easy to execute.

First, paint your lightning as three continuous zig-zag lines.  Neatness is not a prerequisite here as you can see.  Try to at least keep the different lines obvious enough that you can follow them with the eye at this point.
fig 1. basic lightning shapes
Next, choose a line to follow.  In this case I chose the second one from the tip.  Paint sharp edges of the background color at the first place where it intersects another line to give the impression that it is going over that line.

fig 2. first edging over
At the next intersection, paint edges along the other line to give the impression that your chosen line is going under that line.  As you go, clean up any fuzzy edges with more of the background color.

fig 3. second edging, under
Continue alternating over and under.  You don't need to stick with the same line all the way through as long as each line alternates.  If you make a mistake, just paint the lightning bolt color over the edges and then draw the correct edges.
fig 4. alternate over/under
Sharpen corners and edges as you go, continuing the process out to the points of each line.
fig 5. continue and clean up edges
That's it.  Pretty simple, eh?  This would probably work for tribal-style tattoos as well.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Hordes: Minions ... Pigs 'n' Gators!

I love Warmachine, but I had a very hard time deciding on a Hordes army until I started seeing models like Lord Carver or the Blackhide Wrastler.  Pigs 'n' Gators!  I picked up the book this weekend, and ... well... it's pretty cool.  I don't play Mercenary armies in Warmachine, so maybe this experience is shared, but I was a bit disappointed by the division in the book.  It's Pigs OR Gators, for the most part.  That's fine, I can understand that, and I would assume that Rhulic Mercenaries and Magnus would not play nice together necessarily.

What kind of made me sad were the units that I absolutely cannot take as a particular mercenary force.  Playing pigs?  Sorry, no Feralgeist.  Playing gators?  Sorry, no Gudrun the Wanderer.  Playing anybody?  Sorry, no Lanyssa Ryssyl or Dahlia Hallyr and Skarath.  That last one just breaks my heart.   I tend to pick armies based on the models and not the rules, so to find out that my favorite models in the "faction" can't work together makes me sad.  It pretty much dooms me to have to start two Minion armies, plus another Hordes army if I am going to get some of the other cool Minions units/solos.

Then again.... I paint more than I play.  I should just buy the models, paint them, and stop whining.  After all, not playing Legion, Cryx or Cygnar didn't stop me from getting Vayle, Skarre or a journeyman warcaster.

In terms of the book, I was very entertained by the background stories.  Much like the other PP "Forces of" books, the art is big and bold, and the rules plainly presented.  It seems a little light compared to, say, the Protectorate or Khador books but it's a new faction so that's to be expected.  I really would have preferred to see more painting and hobby content, including maybe some close ups of the models to show details that aren't really visible on the web.  That would certainly give the book more value to me.  Pages-wise, it's about 2/3 the size of Codex: Space Marines but with much more color at exactly the same price point.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Avatar of Menoth Stained Glass WIP

If you are going to lose every battle, you can at least look good doing it.  I reposed the Avatar ages ago, and I've been meaning to paint him with stained glass for even longer.  I'm certainly not the first to do this.  My aim is something more ornate than the studio paint job, but not a walking church.

I've left all the tabards/curtains off, with intent to sculpt them to go with the new pose later.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Simple Shiny Gold Technique

Metallic gold has been problematic for me.  When the very gracious Tim Lison asked me what painting advice I could use, metallic gold was my immediate response.  He walked me through painting the Dwarf pictured here.  It has been the "gold standard" (hur hur) for my gold painting endeavors so far, but I started wanting something a little different.

One common problem I have is that my gold looks too orange and not yellow enough.  Citadel's Shining Gold or P3 Rhulic Gold just don't look very gold to me.  Even Tim's Dwarf was intended to be a weathered gold rather than a new gold.  My attempts have met with varying success but I think I have the beginnings of a recipe now, and I'd like to share it.  Please feel free to modify and let me know how the mods go!  The goblin at right demonstrates the technique, and I've included Tim's Dwarf in each photo for comparison.

The steps are detailed in the captions.  For this example I used P3 Brass Balls, Vallejo Game Color Polished Gold, Reaper Master Series Polished Silver and Citadel yellow ink.  Any equivalent Citadel, RMS, P3 or VGC paint should work fine.  Citadel does not make inks any more, so I would recommend using P3 yellow ink (or any artist's ink) if you need to buy some.

1. basecoat with brass
2. wash with Devlan Mud
3. Paint polished gold on the upward facing areas.  This could be done as a drybrush if desired.
4. Add extreme highlights of polished silver very selectively.
5. Wash with a very thinned out yellow ink.

6. Shade very selectively with Leviathan Purple wash.

That's it.  It fits my needs for a more pale, yellower gold.  Let me know how it works for you!

Gravity 1, Wraithlord 0

Last night was a pretty productive night for painting, with one notable exception.

A slight miscalculation when passing by a shelf in the kitchen swept this fellow off his perch and caused him to swan dive into the dog's water bowl.  He, um, didn't fare well.  T8 only counts during the game I guess.

After looking it all over, there is really no paint damage, and all the breaks are glue-points.  Putting him back together will be trivial.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Have Some Orky Fun - Win a Paint Job From Me

My friend Auberoun over at The Digital Waaagh is having a follower contest, and the grand prize is a paint job from me.  Follow his blog by 2/26 and get an entry into the drawing.  There is also a way to submit an Orky army list and get a second entry in the drawing.

So join up and put me to work!    You provide the mini and I provide the paint.

Details can be found here.

Blood Drinker, Heart Seeker, Swift Killer, Defender

After my daughter asked for "WoW: Cataclysm" for Christmas (which precipitated the purchase of Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King as well, since I had never upgraded from vanilla WoW) I got to thinking about the MMO experience.  Way, way back in the day my coworkers and I played Asheron's Call.  AC was contemporary with Everquest and Ultima Online, so definitely in the trailblazing era of MMO's.  The thing about AC that strikes me now is that it was big.  Really big.  To get anywhere you had to make a fairly harrowing and time-consuming run that would likely use several of the portals that existed throughout the world.  This was not an "on rails" experience, by any means.  Even getting from the starter town to a somewhat larger town required a dangerous run on a road through territory with monsters that could easily kill you.  And death in AC wasn't as forgiving as death in WoW.

In retrospect I can see why AC hovered around the 100k subscriber level while WoW has more people than the nation of Portugal.  WoW streamlined the fun parts and did away with the tedious parts.  AC embraced the tedious parts, and the "buff cycle" was a big part of it.  Going out into the big, wide world in a somewhat non-suicidal way required a series of protection and enhancement spells.  Since most fighting types could not cast those spells at any respectable level, a decent mage would be required.  To a great extent this required a lot of player cooperation; you did not solo this game very effectively.  You would get protection from piercing, blade, bludgeoning, acid, fire, lightning and cold.  You would get enhancements to your strength, coordination, endurance, quickness, willpower or focus depending on your role requirements.  You'd get a boost to your run skill, mace mastery, sword mastery, healing, etc.  Often the buff cycle would start with the mage casting a series of self-buffs so that he could successfully cast the high level buffs.  It was, to say the least, complex.  Oh, and there were spell components you had to carry that would sometimes get consumed when you cast the spells.  Out of hyssop?  Sorry, you can't cast anything that requires hyssop now.  (This was significantly simplified in the few years we played, being reduced to just a few different components.)  The title of this post refers to the four buffs that every melee character's weapon would get (yes, the mage would target the weapon and cast the spells.)  Blood Drinker increases the damage of the weapon.  Heart Seeker increases the accuracy.  Swift Killer improves the speed of the weapon.  Defender improves the melee defense modifier of a given weapon.  Yes, carrying a weapon often gave you increased your ability to defend yourself against others wielding melee weapons.  The game was definitely thorough.

Maybe I'm nostalgic for AC simply because it was the first MMO I played.  Maybe just because that was a more game-filled time in my life.  In light of my recent playing of WoW (as a Cataclysm Goblin) I see that AC gave much more freedom to the player than WoW does.  It meant there were tons of places to go but not always a sense of why you wanted to go there.  A lot of the play was emergent from playing with friends.  WoW gently guides new (or new-ish) players to the next area through the quest chains.  I suppose much later in the game you would have more options... I've never gotten past about level 40 in WoW, and I will say that getting there in WoW was quite a bit more interesting than grinding the Lugian Citadel and then the Olthoi Hive Nest was.

There was less to do in AC, but you were more free to do it.  Wait, what?  Okay, never mind.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Protectorate Goes 0/3

Okay, remember when I said I am a terrible general?  Well, this weekend I proved it with gusto.  Game Day over at Brian's house was an unmitigated success for everyone who faced off against my Protectorate army.  In three 25 point games I managed to lose to Khador, Cygnar and Legion.  My singular mistake, which I never seem to learn from, is that I put my warcaster too close to danger.

Battle 1 was against Khador.  I was actually doing pretty well for a while, taking out a Marauder with my Reckoner and doing some damage to Torch with my Redeemer.  I should have used Severius' feat immediately before this photo, because Torch got loaded up with focus and scrapped the poor little light 'jack.
Battle 2 vs. Cygnar was a lesson in Cygnar shooting.  eKreoss was around the corner from Kara Sloan and her pet Defender, but they still managed to get some amazing shooting off and take him down in a single turn.  Ouch.

Battle 3 was against Legion.  The "take away" from that was "no matter how scary Typhon is, the Carnivean can still eat you if you let him."

All in all, fun.  I imagine it's fun if you win, too.

In other news, it's snowy here and looks kind of pretty.

Friday, February 04, 2011

'Jack in a Day

Despite having played Warmachine for 4 or 5 years, I've never had a completely painted force.  Well, I can play a 15 point game if I'm very selective about the models but anything like 25 points?  No way.

So Wednesday, being a snow day here, I decided to open, assemble and paint my Reckoner for play this weekend.  He turned out pretty okay!  I tried to do the same thing Thursday, but being sick put me way back on any progress.  The Redeemer didn't go nearly as far.  Maybe, just maybe, I can finish it up tonight along with a 4 member choir.  If I play my painted Revenger as "Blessing of Vengeance" then I'll finally have a 25 point painted force.  pSevvy, Crusader, Reckoner, Redeemer, Revenger, choir, Gorman DiWulfe.

And we all know painted armies play better.

Warmachine Template Scatter Cliff Notes

In prep for playing some Warmachine this weekend, I looked over my prior math regarding template scatter and base sizes.  It occurs to me that there is a simple rule to follow, regardless of target base size:

3"/4" templates:  scattering 1"-2" hits the target; 3" or more scatters off target
5" template: scattering 1"-3" hits the target; 4" or more scatters off target

There's your short answer to whether Eiryss was hit or not.  I think I might be able to remember that.