Thursday, April 29, 2010

April Wrap-Up

I thought I might hold off the end-of-the-month wrap-up until tomorrow, but the fact is I'm not going to squeak out that set of eight Numidians slingers by tomorrow--I just know my own painting speed and it is not going to happen.  Plus it is a slow day and I'm feeling introspective, and tomorrow I'll be helping a friend move.

My miniature painting total for April was an anemic 14, my worst month to date this year.  On the upside, I'm within 12 of my goal for the year and am still painting about six times as many miniatures per month as I was last year.  There were several reasons for my lassitude in painting: illness, switching to terrain-building for a spell, and general ennui (or acadia, as I called it).  In all likelihood the slingers will be done by this weekend, so I'll have a strong start to May, and right now I generally feel motivated to paint again.

I got in one wargaming session this month, which is about normal for me.  Since I run at least one RPG session each week (sometimes two) I feel like I'm getting together with people enough.  I just feel a little embarrassed that I kicked the bejeezus out of the new guy.

As I mentioned earlier, I got started on a modular dungeon, but then abruptly stopped.  I have been thinking I might spend a month making terrain once I hit the 100 miniatures painted mark or finish the second Numidian set.  We'll see, a lot of things could change.

I also ordered 57 Wargames Factory Shock Troops, which should be winging their way here next month.  I'm having a little buyer's remorse about getting these guys; I don't play any sci-fi games and haven't been into 40K much.  I don't even know how I'm going to paint them: quick and easy or in a scheme I might actually like.

For my last meandering point, I wanted to talk about being the Army Collector.  There's a certain tragic quality to it, because I collect armies as much to build and paint as to play.  As I said earlier, I'm good to get one game in a month.  But lately I've been thinking about what kind of armies I like to collect, and one of those answers is big ones.  Or rather, ones that give a sense of gravitas about them.  In years past, when I hardly got anything painted, I tended towards more skirmish games: they were cheap and could be fully painted without too much difficulty.  Now, though, between my own increase in painting volume and the availability of inexpensive plastic miniatures, I really warm to the idea of larger, more colorful armies.  Maybe it is the romantic in me.  Maybe it is my sense of having accomplished something big.  Maybe I'm a closet megalomaniac.  But seeing units of multiple figures lined up with flags waving just seems more compelling to me than six figures, even really well painted ones.  Those seem more like a display piece or a diorama than a wargaming army.

I know others will disagree, and that's cool. It's a broad hobby and I'm just talking about what is buttering my muffin these days.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Beating up Noobs (Warhammer After Action Report)

I took out my Numidians for their first battle last Sunday as part of a Warhammer Empire army.  Lacking the required 1999 points (yes, we're playing 1999 points, just because) I had to use traditional Empire troops as well but downplayed the black powder.  I took no handgunners, cannons, or the steamtank ("stank") but did take a single mortar.

I thought I'd be facing my arch-nemesis Vince and his dwarfs (arguably the army he is most effective using) so I went with a pretty Core-heavy army of spearmen, swordsmen (Numidian), and halberdiers (need that S4) each with free company detatchments.  Backing them up were two units of archers (Numidian) and hunters (Numidian) and two small units of knights.  Leading the army were two Captains (a general and a BSB) and a Battle Wizard (lore of Metal).  My plan?  Harass the dwarves with archers between 18" and 24" away until I could move up the big infantry blocks and negate rank bonuses with detatchments (to counteract my inability to wound T4 opponents with S3 attacks).

When I got to the fire station, I was informed that I would be playing Eric, a new guy, in his first battle ever.  Eric was playing a Tomb King army list made by Vince and intended to be a pretty basic list: Skellie Spearmen, chariots, light cavalry, the TK-version-of-Grave-Guard, and a Bone Giant?  No skellie archers?  No swarms?  No flyers?

After switching my Battle Wizard to lore of Light the battle was pretty one-sided.  Eric got a little traction when his chariots plowed through one unit of knights on the flank and started moving sideways through my army, but the chariots stalled out on my unit of halberdiers after having been thinned by the Battle Wizard (who was worth his weight in gold).  On the other side his bone giant punked out against the other unit of knights and was locked up the rest of the battle.  From there, it was the slow, steady dissection of his army as I used the exact same methodology I was planning to use on the dwarfs, only this time I had S3 or S4 vs. T3, which without their rank bonuses put me on top.  On the last turn my Captain and his Tomb Prince went mano-a-mano, which is something that should happen in all WHFB battles, and after killing the prince my captain was slain by the Curse, making for a appropriately heroic end to the battle.

Vince and I usually try to give the new players a break (Vince actually throws battles sometimes) and I didn't bother doing anything tricky or underhanded, etc.  I just played a pretty straightforward and easily discernible strategy that just happened to work.  Soundly.

Final note--I'm proud of my Numidians.  I continue to believe that painted armies fight better because they appreciate all the hard work you put into them.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Numidian Archers

This week's accomplishment is eight Numidian archers by Wargames Factory.  I decided to do some things differently with the second set of Numidian Light Infantry.  For one, I used the "splash on" technique rather than dipping them.  Second, I managed to locate a can of Tudor Satin Miniwax Polyshades and used it rather than Bombay Mahogany.  Tudor Satin has a less brown to it (there's actually two archers done with Bombay--see if you can spot them) and seems a little thinner, which is good.  I like the control and tidiness of "splash on" and I don't need to use the garage to do it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back in the saddle again

If there's one truism in the hobby of miniature painting, it is that the one way to keep painting miniatures is to keep painting miniatures.  That may sound tautological, but when I decided to stop indulging in my painting funk I just sat down and started clipping and scraping and gluing and priming.  And now I'm back up to speed with a good head of steam and eight Numidian archers on the painting table.  My goal: finish the pack of 28 by the end of the month.  Might be a bit too much, but I'm hoping.

I'm also still on track with my diet.  For my two week reward I went a little big and bought two molds, the ones that  now are making up the backbone of my new modular dungeon.  I was thinking about what to get for my one month reward when Wargames Factory announced they were finally releasing their Imperial Guard greatcoats--I mean "Shock Troopers."  DINGDINGDING!  We have a winner.  I've been admiring Colonel Corbane's IG army for a while and have been considering my own, and these guys fit the bill nicely.  They're doing a nice pre-order sale and hopefully they will be in just around the time that I'm done with my Numidians.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Acadie and the Hobby Me

There are many forces which keep me, and for that matter a lot of other miniature wargaming hobbyists I suspect, from pursuing our dreams and goals in this realm. Certainly financial limitations, more pressing responsibilities like family, work, and friends, etc... But there are more insidious obstacles to overcome, like the “mental wall” that Phil Olley talked about in an article in Battlegames magazine. Right now, I’m struggling with several of them.

The first is acadie. Acadie isn’t depression, despite its common usage as a fanciful synonym. Acadie doesn’t mean that you can get your energy level up (that’s depression), acadie is when you just don’t care to. It is the “why bother” demon that plagues so many dimensions of normal life these days, and drives us towards pointless, time-wasting, fast-gratuity escapism (e.g. Facebook games like FarmTown). The perfect line of “reasoning” for acadie is “why build an army that you’ll never use? It’ll never see a table ever.” What acadie distracts you from is any notion that painting the army or completing a project is a worthy and rewarding goal in-and-of-itself. I’m one who believes that army gamed with > army never gamed with, but I also think that army never gamed with > army never made.
Right now I’m feeling listless, not lacking the time or the energy, but just the sense of ennui regarding putting something together. But there’s more to the story.
The other part is that right now I’m looking around for another job. I have a job, a good job at a good place that pays well, but the position isn’t as secure as I’d like, even in this economy, and I’m also starting to just wonder if it isn’t time to move onto something else, to just see if I can perhaps move up. The potential for moving, even a slim and distant one, is making me gun-shy about investing time an energy into something that will either take up space in a moving track or get sold or maybe even donated to a FLGS.
Thankfully I’m married to a wonderful woman who points out that my armies are composed of tiny little men who, even when taken in totality, don’t have the volume of a small easy chair and will in all likelihood fit into a large moving truck She’s a good woman, that wife of mine.

Small Stone Arch Dungeon Room

A small room (20' by 20' in game terms) for my modular dungeon.  For larger rooms I plan on doing more ornate walls using the various gothic molds by Hirst Arts.  But for these small ones I'll just stick to using the same layout as the hallways.
I've been dealing with another round of cold-related illnesses with my children, so my hobby productivity has taken a hit.  Hopefully I'll be back up to speed soon.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Dwarf cannon crew

Dwarf Cannon Crew from the Battle of Skull Pass boxed set by Games Workshop

If you're a dwarf player, then you can never have enough of war machine crew painted up.  Admittedly, the engineer in the middle ended up looking like St. Nicholas, but that's okay.  I'm glad to be getting some points on the board for April.

I'm still sort of wandering around the pile of lead and plastic painting odds and ends.  I really do need to settle on a project, but just can't seem to get fired up about the Numidians right now.

Monday, April 12, 2010

HOTT Lizardmen Spears

A base of lizardmen spears for my son's HOTT.  They began their life as Warhammer Fantasy Lizardmen Skinks, but they'll see more action this way.  One thing that really baffles me is the small base size that HOTT employs for 25mm armies.  I know GW goes big, maybe even up to 32mm scale, but these guys are crammed on there and they are the little ones.

It is nice to get back into the miniature-painting saddle again.  I don't multi-task well, and a lot of my time was taken up being a little under the weather and doing RPG and terrain stuff.  But I'm back to minis, which is where I really wanted to be in 2010.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More stone arch dungeon hallways

Not terribly exciting, but I thought I'd try to get the basic pieces done first.  I was home yesterday for a good chunk of the day, having taken a half day at work because I'm feeling under the weather.  This kind of terrain building is good to do when you're sick--there's little hand-eye coordination necessary and you can do it in small chunks of time.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Stone Arch Hallway

In addition to collecting armies, I also build terrain, both for my wargaming and for my roleplaying.  Right now I'm working on building a modular dungeon to use for Dungeons & Dragons or Pathfinder or any other Fantasy RPG.  Here's the first piece.


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