Monday, January 28, 2013

My Mind Is Blown: Rob Hawkins

This morning, rather than talking about my own work I want to talk about someone else's. I spend a lot of time looking at other blogs. I know there are people who do the exact same thing. There are blogs I check daily, like because I kind of obsess over his creativity and output and then there are others I check periodically like Stahly's because I just like to look at pretty miniatures and they deliver the goods.

I had stumbled passed through a link on Dave Taylor's blog and for a while he was working on a sort of cartoon-ish looking castle for Wrath of Kings that was extremely well executed, but not my style. I'd do a quick scroll through the pics and then move along. Then I ran into this:
This picture is of a wild west building with a futuristic power generator on the side. The generators actually light up and are made out of LED Tea Lights.
Considering the quality of the other terrain in this post, and the fact that I had just bought 20 Tea Lights to use in my Adepticon projects, his blog had my full attention. Also, this painted neon "light" effect is just fantastic.
Yesterday I stumbled into his shots of the building interiors and was absolutely floored.
That's the inside of this building. Go check out his blog to see how the saloon splits into 2 sections for miniature photography opportunities:
Seriously, as a terrain nerd, this guy's work makes my head explode and I'm sick with envy. Oh wait, the jail is fully detailed too:
In fact, its a fully detailed wild west town.
But of course, this isn't all he's done. I decided to look at his terrain gallery and stumbled upon the trench board he had made. It just so happens that I need to make four 4'x4' trench boards for Adepticon and though I won't be ripping this off exactly, I will no doubt be borrowing some ideas from it:
If you are an obsessive terrain nerd like myself I highly recommend checking his site for inspiration. His work is fantastic and I look forward to following his blog in the future. Back to own work later today.


Friday, January 25, 2013

40K Warzone Tournament Play Testing

The forces of Chaos on the streets around Dominion Gate.
Last night my friend Brian Parisi was nice enough to come over so that we could play test one of the scenarios to be used at the 40K Warzone Tournament. I have one of the city tables almost ready for the event and I've had the two scenarios that go along with the city boards written for a month or so now, so it seemed like it was time to put them to the test.

We started playing at 8PM. Brian was fielding a Chaos army using the new Chaos Space Marine Codex, and I was fielding the brand new Dark Angels for the first time. I don't have his army list but it was roughly something like this:

Chaos tough guy on a Blood Crusher or something.
Spawn acting as his bodyguard
2x Chaos Space Marine Squad
Chaos Cultist Squad
Plague Marine Bike Squad
Stratagem: Familiar Ground
All these pics are blurry because of the sheer speed of the bikes. I wish this shot came out better. Proper lighting and a steady hand would have made this a dramatic shot, like out of a post apocalypse movie.
My army looked like this:

Interrogator-Chaplain with jump pack
Assault Squad acting as body guard
Command Squad with Standard of Devastation
2x Tactical Squad
Stratagem: Interdiction Assault
Ignore the bare metal Brother Bethor model in the corner. I have two Brother Bethor's laying around, both unpainted, and both with their standards removed. Oops.
The mission we played is called Block By Block and has the Primary Objective: Loot and Salvage and the Secondary Objective: Plant the Flag.  The two objectives run slightly counter to each other. Loot and Salvage gives you a Victory Point for each full turn you hold an objective for, and Plant the Flag encourages you to cover as much ground as possible as you place a flag in every building you pass through. You have to decide whether you want to sit back and rack up VP's or stay mobile.

I'm not going to go through a turn by turn synopsis, but I'll give a rough overview. We both moved out of our deployment zones and claimed the nearest objectives so we could start accumulating Loot and Salvage VP's. Brian had more scoring units on the board and at one point he was gaining VP's on 4 objectives. I, on the other hand, stayed put on my two objectives and stuck my Command Squad with the Standard of Devastation between my two Tactical Squads so they could use Salvo. I have to say it was a fairly effective tactic. My bolter fire was punishing, and my Overwatch shots were highly effective. The little bit of fire my Command Squad took harmlessly dinged off of the Techmarine I stuck at the front of the squad.
The Nurgle Bikers used their speed to come around behind my Tactical Squad, but then the combination of Salvo from that Tac Squad, and the normal fire of the 10 man Assault Squad with Interrogator-Chaplain I brought on from reserve left a big messy stain. I'm sure in a twisted way Lord Nurgle approves. 
Overall, the way I deployed and played my army cost me the Primary Objective. He was just better set up to rack up points. My army was static to take full advantage of the Standard. It did pay off in the end though. Brian took the Primary Objective even though the game ended with him only having his Cultists left, hiding behind Dominion Gate. But in the final turns I was able to use my Assault Squad and Techmarine to plant flags and secure me the Secondary Objective. Not surprisingly, the Standard of Devastation ensured I took First Blood, and my Interrogator-Chaplain and Assault Squad helped bring me Slay the Warlord. When Brian left I declared it a Chaos Victory, but looking at the Victory Point structure it broke down like this:

Primary Objective: Loot and Salvage (Win 8 points/Tie 4 points/Loss 0 points)
Brian = Win 8 points

Secondary Objective: Plant the Flag (Win 6 points/Tie 3 points/Loss 0 points)
Nick = Win 6 points

Linebreaker (2 points)

Slay the Warlord (2 points)
Nick = 2 points

First Blood (2 points)
Nick = 2 points

Brain = 8 points
Nick = 10 points

Victory = Nick/Dark Angels

So my first time out with the new Dark Angels Codex I won - and with a completely Greenwing force. I feel good about that. It wasn't an easy win, but it was a win none-the-less.

From a play testing standpoint I feel like it went perfectly. The objectives encouraged us each to make hard decisions about or mobility and the game had a good mix of shooting and hand-to-hand fighting. Brian was concerned that his Stratagem, Familiar Ground, would be too powerful as it grants Scout and Move Through Cover to his whole force, but it wasn't enough to win him the game. My Stratagem, Interdiction Assault allowed me to place a 3" breach in the ground that acted as an additional board edge for my reserves to possibly emerge from, and though it allowed me the option of getting up close and personal, I ended up coming on from my deployment board edge instead, so neither was game breaking in any way - at least with the forces we were running.

All told I consider it a successful night and I thank Brian for coming over and helping out. I'm going to send that Scenario off to the Adepticon staff ASAP so it can be added to the packet.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Adepticon WIP Table Shots

Tonight I am play testing one of the scenarios from the 40K Warzone Tournament and I went to take some photos as I set up the table and discovered my memory card was full. I guess that's reason enough for a blog post right? Here's some quick shots of things I've been up to in the last month or so.

I wanted to vary up my GW Cities of Death buildings and arches are a common theme, so I looked in my pile of junk that should be out in the alley with the other trash and I looked in my actual recycle bin and I stumbled upon the humble "cherry tomato tray". The pattern of the plastic involves a series of arches so I decided to clip them out and give them a try. They were then added to an extension that I built onto the top of a Cities of Death building. The end result looked something like this.

Tomato tray and clippers. The tray didn't stand a chance.
Arches in place.
This piece is done for now. Some washes could really add some pop though.
The gateway below, now named Dominion Gate, was actually part of a team tournament display the Nerd Night Crew (which evolved into 2ndCityWarzone) used at Adepticon some 4 years back. I added a pair of bases to elevate it even further and then gave it a little more dry brushing and washes in the recesses to give it a little more depth than it had.

Dominion Gate
Adjacent to Dominion Gate on either side are sections of park land
Dominion Park
Dominion Park
 I had a day where I was sick of looking at city terrain and felt stagnant so I packed everything up and started work on the trench boards. These shots show where the opposing trench lines will run. Circles represent where craters will be built into the board. The center diagonals represents the killing field between deployment zones. Rectangles along the trench lines will be dug outs.
Overhead of the trench layout.
Overhead of the trench layout close up on one deployment zone.
That's it for now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wreck-Age Glamour Shots,

These photos were all taken this afternoon by Anton Zaleski, I think they came out fantastic so I'm going to post all of them even though the cart technically isn't done yet. The first two shots are of the work in progress Boar Cart and the second 3 shots are of the Weathered Storage Container.

I hope you like them.

Wreck-Age: Weathered Storage Container and Boar Cart.

Three weeks since my last blog post? I'm slipping. Its not that I haven't been immersed in all manner of hobby activity, but I just haven't had time to blog about it.

Though a lot of that time was spent working on Adepticon tables, I've also been involved in Wreck-Age play testing of both the table top game and their RPG. With Wreck-Age on the brain it was only natural that I painted a couple of Wreck-Age models.

Today I completed their Weathered Storage Container. I put it on a base for display purposes but obviously didn't require it and is not glued to the base. The base was purchased from Dragonforge. Here's some shots of the completed model:

I glued the doors mostly open to show the grim interior.
I'm really happy with the weathering powders near the base of the container.
 I also have this Wreck-Age Caravaneer Boar Cart ready for basing and weathering. I just ordered a properly sized base for it yesterday so now I have to wait a week or two to complete it.
This cart is awaiting a properly sized base from Dragonforge.
That's it for today. I need to get back to work on my Adepticon tables and I just got all of the new Dark Angel models in the mail so I have plenty to do. Still, I cleaned up some Wreck-Age Stakers so I plan on priming a couple and setting them on the table to get worked on between projects. For the quick updates on my WIP Wreck-Age pics you can follow my WIP thread on their forum.

As always, more to come!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Introspection Time 2013

Angels of Absolution bike. One of the few models I painted in 2012.  I am frothing for that new Dark Angels Codex.
2012 was a weird hobby year. It didn't fall into the usual patterns. I was so wrapped up in preparing my event for Adepticon last year that during the months of January, February, March, and April I didn't pick up a paint brush to work on much of anything other than scenery. It was fun running my first event but I dropped the ball really hard in my opinion and set out to correct my mistakes this time around.

I didn't lay out my hobby goals until almost May. Here's what they were:

1) Go to Galactic Force Games more.
Through the summer/autumn and I managed to walk into Galactic Force once every 2 months and spend $10-$20 every time I've walked in. Restocking my paint collection isn't going to keep them afloat but every little bit helps. I did say I wanted to go in and possibly play a game some time, but I'm an introvert so that still hasn't happened. I do plan on buying Dark Vengeance from there at least.

2) Go to the Chicago Battle Bunker more. 

I'd say I accomplished this somewhat. I attended 3 tournaments at the Bunker this year which leads me to...

3) Attend more events. 

Seeing as I went to 3 tournaments in the last half of the year I'd consider this an accomplishment. Still, Adepticon and 3 tournaments really isn't enough to balance out my investment of money and time. I need to bump that up closer to 6 to feel good about it, or get regular home gaming established again.

4) 2000 Points of Angels of Absolution

I am stupidly close to this goal. I painted 2 out of 3 Ravenwing (Warden) Bikes and have several more almost complete. As soon as I have that Codex in my hands I intend to knock those out and get them on the table along with a bunch of other goodies. This is the year I crack 2000 points for sure.

5) Play Warhammer.

Failure. Utter failure. I even know someone I can play WFB with now and haven't. I had so much fun at the 'Its How You Use It' WFB Tournament at Adepticon I fully intended to get more games in. I better get in at least 1 game before Adepticon because I'm signed up for it again.

6) Paint Something Big!

I would call this a failure too but even though my intent was to complete something like the Caestus Assault Ram or my Ork Stompa, the Cities of Death board I've been hyper detailing should really count for something right?.  I've put a stupid amount of time into it. We'll just call it a wash and forget I ever listed this.

7) Purge My Collection

Marginal success here. In May/June I listed a lot of stuff on Ebay and paid my rent with it. That was good. I still have piles of stuff waiting to be listed though.

8) Get an Early Start on Adepticon 2013

Here's the one thing I did right this year. I started thinking about what I wanted to do in the Spring/Summer. I presented the idea to Matt Weeks in July, and then I started gathering up Stratagems from books and putting rules together in the computer. I got everything to Matt in a timely manner and I started working on tables in November. However, I am taking way too much time on the tables and need to get cracking so that I don't have a repeat of last year where I'm slopping paint onto things moments before I load the tables into the car.

I did have some cool hobby accomplishments this year that weren't part of my goals. I took home a Painting Award at Adepticon in the Combat Patrol event and then took home 2 Painting Awards and a Sportsmanship Award across the 3 AWC events I went to at the Bunker. I don't know how that happened, but I'm pretty stoked on that. I also started helping the developers of Wreck-Age with play testing and that has been pretty rewarding.

This year I was broke so I didn't buy a lot of models. In fact, the only models I acquired this year were gifts. I got the limited edition Interrogator-Chaplain from Dark Vengeance from a friend and I own most of the Wreck-Age line for play testing. Other than paints, the only hobby supplies I've bought have been bases from Dragon Forge and Secret Weapon, along with some bitz from Spikey Bits. This year I'm going to break the bank though. I need all of those new Dark Angel kits except Belial.

I'm going to keep my goals condensed this time around. Here's what I want to accomplish in 2013:

1) Get my Angels of Absolution to a few tournaments with some of the shiny new units from the Codex.

2) Complete a unified and competitive Ork warband for Combat Patrol.

3) Attend more events/play more games.

4) Get my Adepticon tables done on time and run a cool event.

5) Paint a Stakers warband for Wreck-Age and help get them some more support and play testing.

I think that's reasonable. We'll see.


Here's my 2012 in images:

Two of the buildings I completed for Adepticon 2012.
Wreck-Age Pack Boar
Wreck Age Dog
Angel of Absolution. 5th Company. 2nd Squad.
Angels of Absolution biker. 2nd Compay - Wardens (Ravenwing)
Angels of Absolution - Flamer.
Angels of Absolution biker with Meltagun. 2nd Company - Wardens (Ravenwing)
Converted Angels of Absolution Pintle-Mounted "Dual Stormbolter". 
Hyper detailed Cities of Death board with building "movement trays".