Saturday, March 22, 2014

Plinth progress

I've been torn on posting to the blog.  While I'm tempted to share the WIP on my current painting projects, I also want to wait for the great "reveal" for Crystal Brush.  I finally decided on the latter.

But having cleared my calendar of all other hobby activity, that leaves little to post about.  So here's a taste of one of the two projects I'm working on -- the plinth.  Here's where we left off a little while ago.

This is only the second time I've made a proper plinth.  I realized last year, as I paid attention to more shows, either from afar via the Internet or actually participating myself, that a plinth is practically mandatory for a display piece.  That's probably obvious to most competitive painters, but I'm still just starting to dip my toe in the competitive painting scene.

Much like I had to learn to "like" basing as part of painting models for gaming, I'm force-immersing myself in the craft of plinth building.  Like the rest of the hobby, the more you do it, the more it becomes second-nature, and the more you begin to enjoy the process, rather than view it as a chore that is a necessary hurdle to begin actually painting!

So here I covered the foam mouse-ears with Milliput and used rocks and bark to make rock-like impressions.  I experimented with different textures.  I expected the smaller bark chip in the center to show the best results, but it turned out to be different sections on the larger bark piece on the bottom.

You can see I also added some doo-dads on the front of the plinth, to convey a more modern and industrial, or post-apocalyptic, scene.  There's not too much original there, but adding those kinds of items seem pretty much obligatory, as obligatory as the plinth itself.  I will take some credit, though, for the concept of the shards.  I'm sure it's been done out there, but I'm drawing on my childhood imagery of Frank Frazetta illustrations for this idea.

Now I add a layer of sand, followed by real dirt.  This is pretty standard fare, too, a la Massive Voodoo.  They recently showed a whole tutorial on impressing Milliput with different materials.  I had the idea before I saw their post, but they certainly helped validate and fine-tune how I went about it.

Finally, the day I've been waiting for -- to see the piece primed, in order to see it as a unified structure, where I can see the balance and composition that I have in my mind's eye.  I pretty much got what I was going for.

Now we'll airbrush on some base colors and see where it goes from there!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Warhammer: Lizardmen vs High Elves

With all my painting projects going on, I haven't shown much of the gaming side of the hobby.  As it turns out, I'm actually playing about one game a week, on average.  Usually Malifaux on Malifaux Monday, but also the occasional Dystopian Wars game or Warhammer Fantasy.

I might have an opportunity to play in the Warhammer Fantasy doubles tournament at Adepticon, so I managed to schedule two practice games with my pal, Rafael, in order to test out my 1000-point half of my doubles army.

The roll for terrain was sparse:  a two-story Tower of Evil, from which pours a River of Blood (yes, the blue river of blood), overseen by a Sinister Statue from amidst ancient ruins.

The armies have amassed for battle, and the High Elf Ellyrian Reavers have made their Vanguard move to skip over the river and evade the evil circle of doom emitting from the Sinister Statue.

Turn 1a  Lizardmen

The Lizardmen go first and send the Skink Skirmishers with the Skink Priest to occupy the Tower.  The plan will be to use the river, accompanied by powerful, magical Wind Blasts, to delay the center and the right flank.  That will feed the High Elf army piecemeal, while I roll up the left flank.  That's the plan anyway.  Spoiler alert:  (it doesn't work out anything like that).

Turn 1b  High Elves

Having occupied the building, I unwittingly gave the first High Elf unit free passage across the river, by granting them an easy charge, which spares them the need to spend two turns wading across.  So there goes that plan.  And maybe my Skink Priest along with it.  I also underestimate the distance that the Ellyrian Reavers can march -- far enough to avoid the charge arc of my heavy cavalry.  Both of my flanks are now threatened.

At least the Skink Priest strikes an imposing sight on the promontory.  "You shall not pass!"

As it turns out, the Skinks actually survive the assault on the Tower and hold it steadfast!  There is yet hope!

Turn 2a  Lizardmen

The valiant Skinks hand over the job of holding the Tower over to the more than capable Saurus Warriors.  However, in order to make the switch, the Skink Priest must leave the Tower, too.  He doesn't want to hang with the Skink Skirmishers, who will make a sacrificial maneuver, so the Priest finds a nice pocket to hide in.  It's a risk either way, though.

The Saurus Cavalry evade the Ellyrian Reavers, skirting just outside of their charge arc, leaving the Salamander to deal with them.

The lumbering Kroxigors have no hope of intercepting the fast cavalry unit of Ellyrian Reavers, but they can at least interfere with their movement and make way towards the less maneuverable, Elven Silver Helm heavy cavalry on the right flank.

In an attempt to save the Skink Skirmishers, the Skink Priest casts a boosted Wind Blast on the downstream Elven unit.  But the Elven Mage dispels it.

Turn 2b  High Elves

High Elves charge all of their obvious targets.  The Skink Skirmishers are crushed, but the Salamander gives as good as he gets and survives with one wound remaining.

In a key development of the battle, the Elf unit that crushed the Skink Skirmishers failed to Restrain their pursuit (despite the Banner of Discipline, even!), and they pursue out of position.

Turn 3a  Lizardmen

The Lizardmen take advantage of the odd position and assemble on the other side of the building to confront the Elven White Lions unit.  This spares the Saurus cavalry unit from a suicide run, and they turn their attentions elsewhere (totally forgetting to Swift Reform, which I just remembered as I write this...).

The Kroxigors force the hand of the Silver Helm heavy cavalry.

The Salamander defeats the Ellyrian Reavers but misses killing the final troop by 1 on the die.  Then fails to chase him down by 1 on the die!

The Skink Priest overlooks the fray below him and offers cheering support and military advice as best he can......."Hit 'im in the head!"

Apparently it was enough of a distraction to the High Elves that the Saurus win the combat and succeed in running down the unit!

The Sinister Statue looks stolidly on the battle, never bothering to interfere with his shocking anger.

Turn 3b  High Elves

The High Elves regroup towards the center.  The Ellyrian Reavers just barely squeeze by the Elven Phoenix Guard unit and make a surprise charge on the Tower, catching the preoccupied Skink Priest unawares and shutting him up in the dungeon.  The victory of defeating the White Lions is short-lived as I lose my Magic Phase.  Second game in a row!

The Ellyrian Reaver rallies on snake-eyes!

Turn 4a  Lizardmen

The Salamander ignores the dedicated Reaver.  He can't resist this perfect shot, to flame 3 units in a row!

Bwahahahaha!  Oh, yes, that's worth a close-up.....

The Ellyrian Reavers are destroyed, and the Phoenix are softened up.

Turn 4b  High Elves

Through clever charging angles, the High Elves manage a double-charge against the Saurus.  Another tricksy maneuver that I didn't see coming and makes me feel, yet again, that the battle will ultimately be lost.

But this is where it will be decided finally.  In the Blood and Glory scenario, in a 1000-point game, you pretty much have to kill the General.  Now we have a climactic match-up of General on General!

Turn 5a  Lizardmen

The remaining Lizardmen units desperately rush to the fray to aid the General's unit, while the battle rages!

Turn 5b  High Elves

Casualties mount on both sides, but both sides hold fast.  How will it end??!!

Turn 6a  Lizardmen

The Saurus Cavalry fail their charge!  But the Kroxigor come to save the day!  Rrraaarrrrr!

The Saurus General, Imtus'hexi, is protected from harm by the ancient artifact of his ancestors, the Stegadon Helm, and the Kroxigors bludgeon the High Elf command into a pulp, leaving their frail, broken bodies to float in the river, feeding the River of Blood with their own.  The battle is won!  Yay!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Meditative insight at the summit of Lead Mountain

It took over two weeks of dedicated spare time (including a snow day!) to bring all of these minis (and the plinth) to this stage.  Filing, cleaning, pinning, gluing/assembling, initial basing/magnetizing, and priming.

So it suddenly occurs to me that, at this rate, I might not actually finish painting my lead mountain in my lifetime!

I honestly believed I would paint every figure that I've accumulated over the last 7 years.  Albeit, I fully expected it would take me well into retirement (if such a concept still exists for my generation, but let's not go there).

I now have my doubts.

In other news, Jody Siegel, master sculptor and owner of Imbrian Arts, posted on the company Facebook page the Imbrian Arts goblins that I painted last year.  I am thoroughly honored.

Check out Imbrian Arts for some of the best sculpts in the biznez.  If you like Arthur Rackham and Brian Froud, here's an artist who is channeling their mojo.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Nose to the grindstone

OK, returning to my WIP ADD thread, after the Sapo detour... 

Since I finished Sapo 2 weeks ago, I've been industriously slaving on an additional, new project for Crystal Brush.  The DragonPainting forum is hosting a Monthly Challenge, the theme of which is to paint a Rackham figure in the style of the old Rackham Confrontation studio paint-jobs.  This was a perfect opportunity for several reasons:
  • I needed another project for Crystal Brush, since Sapo is probably ineligible.
  • I finally feel confident enough to tackle a Rackham-style paintjob, which has been a goal of mine, ever since I reentered the hobby in 2006.
  • I recently acquired a large inventory of new Rackham models from which to choose a candidate.  And the acquisition has me excited about Rackham all over again, so much so that I'm finally reading the Aarklash book that came with the Ragnarock game.
  • I decided on not one, but 6x2 models!  Chevaliers Strohm:  Goblin Knight Cavalry on Giant Rats.  I picked an entire unit so that I can get extra mileage out of this project and make some headway on filling out another unit that I can add to my Warhammer Fantasy Orc & Goblin army, a project which is progressing at only glacial speed.

So this is where I was after a week.  3 out of 6 models completely prepped, assembled, and filled.  I also assembled the Cerberus from Avatars of War, whose missing body half finally arrived.  I also slapped together the SpineSpur Rattler.  These two models are destined to join Cojo, to build out my Marcus crew for Malifaux.  I also rebased some old dogs, so that I can proxy them as Guild Hounds for Malifaux, if I want to.  And finally, you can see me using the excess green stuff to make mushrooms.

Modeling and green stuff takes forever.  I always underestimate the time it takes.  But I did know I was setting myself up for a big project.  So I knew I needed to focus on it in order to make it in time for Crystal Brush.  I now have my doubts...

Another week brings us to today.  The second set of rats are from the 2nd/3rd Edition of Confrontation, whereas the first set are from 1st Edition.  The 1st Edition set required a lot of green stuff to fill in the gaps.  The 2nd/3rd Edition models have different cuts, so I was hoping for easier work.  But, what time I gained doing less green stuff work, I lost assembling more parts.  These quick photos belie the time it takes to file all these parts.  But I'm just complaining, since I'd rather be painting!

Another example.  For the 1st Edition rats, the tails are integrated with one of the body halves, but for the 2nd/3rd Edition, I need to pin separate tail pieces.

Tails are drying.  I use 2-part epoxy most of the time, because I distrust super-glue.  5-minute epoxy adds that much more time to the assembly process, though.

I still need to do the green stuff on the second set of rats, but this is where the unit should be by the end of the evening.  That's a lot of metal!  The unit is going to be a beast to move around on the table.

I had no idea that the Rackham figures are so much larger in scale than Games Workshop!  They'll definitely look out-of-scale, in comparison to the old-skool goblin wolf riders, which this Rackham unit will be proxying.  The newer Squig Riders are a little closer to the same scale, but still, Rackham figures are definitely in another class.

Here's another scale comparison, as I try to decide what to proxy for the Myranda character, for Marcus' crew in Malifaux.

The Privateer Press model in the middle is surprisingly smaller scale than I expected.  The Rackham model to the right is a Kelt Sessair Fiona.  Both of them will probably work well enough next to Marcus, but I'm not thrilled with either one of them.  The Privateer Press one looks a little too "cra'-cra'", and the Fiona looks a little too masculine (despite her gravity-defying boobs).  Which is too bad, since the Fiona has the double pig-tail thing going on, just like Myranda's model.  I do have the new Marcus starter set on order, though, so I may very well just use the proper model.  We'll see.

And finally, a little treasure arrived yesterday.  My Kickstarter bundle from Imbrian Arts.

I had no idea (or I just forgot) that the resin figures come with limited edition authenticity certificates.  The certificates are works of art in and of themselves, accented with the cool wax seal.  Very classy.  I was contemplating painting one of these figures for Crystal Brush, but I'm not sure if my creative juices are up to the task to match these figures.  I want to spend more time on them than I have.  Maybe I'll do one for the MFCA show in May.