Friday, September 30, 2011


Sweet delicious candy!

Here's hoping some detail work and a good wash will make them look a little less like the world's most depressing children's vitamins.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Humidity be damned: primerfest 2011

Not sure it was the best idea, but when the humidity dipped down to 60% here this afternoon (positively arid for central NC in fall) I sprang into action.

Army Painter Dragon Red
(Battletech, Kuritan 2nd Sword of Light; OGRE, 1st Polish Lancers):

Army Painter Demon Yellow
(Heavy Gear, Eastern Sun Emirates Honor Guard and Footmen; OGRE, Vatican Guard

Battlefront/Flames of War War Paint British Armour
(Heavy Gear, ESE-aligned Badlander clan; OGRE, undetermined Combine unit)

Army Painter Ultramarine Blue
(OGRE, Royal Navy)

So it worked out fairly well, all things considered. Bullet points (bet you a dollar I can't actually get this into a bullet-pointed list):
  • War Paint, as usual, is freaking fantastic. I am redoing army paint schemes in my head in a frantic effort to use these as much as possible.
  • Army Painter is good, but the brighter colors I guess make it a bit trickier?
  • the red went on surprisingly well, the real champ of the day (not counting War Paint)
  • the yellow had a few problems; some weird strings of paint I had to knock down with a fingernail, a bit of a bumpy finish in places, problems getting into very tight spaces on the Heavy Gear minis but worked like a charm on the flatter surfaces of the Ogres
  • the only real disappointment is the Army Painter Ultramarine Blue. I've used it already as the color primer on my Heavy Gear MILICIA MP Cadre, and I had similar problems today - powdery coverage that rubs off at a touch.

Here's a few close-ups of the problems with the yellow:

Still, here's hoping a bit of touch-up paint and an eventual wash knocks these problem spots down.

PS: hey! I think the bullet-points worked!

EDIT: well, the close-up pics of the yellow guys were so underexposed and blurry that the problems don't show up. Maybe I just need to bring a dry ice machine every time I plan on fielding them....

Monday, September 26, 2011

Screw you, humidity

Blogging/Modelling/Painting/Gaming pledge

Very simple: each week I will do something minis-related - either building, painting, or actually getting to the table - that's blog-worthy. Then I'll write it up. I'm tired of these big lacunae in my minis production and in this worthless blog. It stops now.

Last week, in the same burst of productivity that brought my last three updates, I wrote this, planning to publish it this week and follow it up immediately with glorious primed minis, ready for more brushwork.

Unfortunately since then it's either rained, threatened to rain, or been (as it is today) around 70% humidity, none of which are conducive to spray priming.

Right now I have three colors of stuff in the bullpen, raring to go: the two halves of my ESE/Merc army for Heavy Gear (yellow for the Emirate Guard, WWII British Armor for the mercs), a unit of the Kuritan 2nd Sword of Light for BattleTech (Dragon Red, of course) and two of my three-Ogre detachments for Exercise K (Vatican Guard in yellow, 1st Polish Lancers in red). I actually went outside with them this afternoon, but I didn't want to gamble on the same muggy conditions that left my Chaos Dwarf Blood Bowl team from last season covered with crappy, powdery and 'orange-peel' primer.

So to keep my momentum up, tonight I will base and assemble 1500 points of Mid-war Germans for Flames of War, for the Ostfront scenario Britt and I have been discussing for the past two years. The sole holdup has been my lack of progress; I've been sitting on these minis for at least a year and a half now. Tonight I glue together halftracks! Spread artist's pumice to base up infantry! Dust off those two Tigers!

There's supposed to be a break in the weather towards the end of this week; I'm hoping for one good afternoon of breakneck priming, as well as racking my brain to figure out what else I might need to haul ass on assembling in order to be ready for the shrinking number of good priming days offered by a typical North Cacalacky fall.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Napoleonics and Performance Anxiety

So here's a picture from a Napoleonics game I played in at the end of the summer (exactly a month ago, August 18*) up at The Game Connection. These figs are Ron's - the owner of the store. When I sometimes refer to a game at Ron's, this is where I'm talking about. In any event, I love playing Napoleonics - I love the history, I love the decisions, I love the spectacle.

And this is what makes me bottlenck on actually doing anything with them myself. For some reason, when you say 'wargaming' to me Napoleonics is probably what I always thought of first, despite the fact that I only even saw my first game of them played two or three years ago. It's where a lot of the 'grognard' geek-lengendry seems to come from - as far as I know, while Saint Gary came from a medieval wargaming background, Dave Arneson was a Napoleonics wargamer before they went off and invented D&D. And frankly, it makes me nervous every time I start to seriously think about doing something with it myself. Even list-writing, which people like my old friend Chris Norwood (of blogging fame) can tell you is a throwback to the endless stacks of RPG characters I used to make with no real expectation of them hitting the table, seems intimidating to me. For example, my primary wargaming buddy Britt and I have discussed doing some Napoleonics ourselves a few times, and I even proposed we both build forces for Gorodetshcna, using the OoBs from Napoleon's Battles v3, which we both own. Cool, all the work is done already, off to buy minis, right?


I picked Gorodetschna since Britt is working up some Russians, and I wanted to do not-France. The probelm is that I cannot figure out which of the myriad units fielded by the gloriously heterogenous Austrian Empire are supposed to have been at Gorodetschna. Are my Austrian line units German or Hungarian? Is my light cav made up of Dragoons, Hussars, or Uhlans?

There's a stereotype about Naps gamers that they're universally detail-obsessed, that fistfights and bitter recriminations will arise over incorrect regimental facing colors, or improper bricole usage. Now I'm not going to get to that level (God willing), and none of the people I've gamed Naps with seem to have those tendencies either - but it would be nice to have the RIGHT DAMN NATIONALITY represented by my minis. So, off to the stacks to do some research. In the goofy sci-fi and fantasy make-em-ups I have previously played, this hasn't been a problem, and those of you who know me know that an enforced trip to the library to pore over some dusty-ass history books is a B'rer Rabbit in the briar patch moment. But still, it's one more step between intention and actuality, and with higher stakes (or at least real historical verisimilitude) than whether or not my Space Elfs are the right colors.

And while we're on the topic of minis and colors - I'm a very, very new painter. So far my best success has been with Heavy Gear minis, roughly-28mm tall mecha suits. This means I can basecoat them with colored primers, hit a few items with gunmetal, a few more with a dot of color or two, and call it a day. MAYBE hitting it with a wash or ink if I get really ambitious.

This will not cut it for Napoleonics, I think. And even at our chosen scale (15mm), there can be a startling amount of detail on each individual mini - uniform, harness, weapon, flesh, plus stuff like uniform facings and frogging and buttons and oh god the bees in my head make them stop. Seriously, I am honestly afraid of putting brush to mini with this scale.

And yet I keep checking 15mm minis websites, making up shopping lists, fiddling around with the handful of Napoleonic history books I have (80% of which are written or edited by David Chandler, which is something I never knew before being bitten by the Naps gaming bug). Clearly it's a sickness. Because I'm already thinking of bagging the Gorodetschna plan and talking to Britt about trying to build up to playing the Battle of Borodino next year, just in time for its bicentennial....

^NB: I wrote this, as well as the previous two entries, all on the 18th, but I've spaced them out for publishing them since I didn't want to push my first new content in a month off the front page within an hour.

What's in the box? 22,000 tons of nuclear fury

Six Combine Mk IIIs, Six Paneuropean Legionnaires.


Glued these guys up today (Sept 18). I have had them for OVER A DECADE which makes me feel super old. Planning on running Exercise K with them at MACE when I go for the first time this November. Still have to paint them and source a map somehow. Squads will be:

Red - 1st Polish Lancers
Yellow - Vatican Guard

Green - 1st Armored Divison (Old Ironsides)
Blue - Royal Navy

Dumb/thematic names solicited. Right now I have some bad ideas for the Vatican Guard Ogres, as well as some good ones for the RN (fictional British naval captains!) but I'll take any suggestions.

As for the actual assembly, they are really clean sculpts and other than a bit of flash on some of the treads and gun barrels, they went together effortlessly - although I do wonder about how that wasp-waist is going to hold with just CYA glue. I've got some JB Weld on hold if they prove fragile in service. Here's hoping the periodic rumors about SJGames looking for a new caster to start making these things again is true.

And by 'next Friday' I meant 'a month later'

I've played a fair amount of Heavy Gear lately, and made some actual progress on my painting as earlier mentioned. Britt and I played a refresher/learner game (since he hadn't played with the new Field Manual rules yet, and I'd only played one game with them myself). We had a good time, although in retrospect we both think that we stocked the table with too much 'area' terrain, which Heavy Gear doesn't seem to recommend or handle too well. We realized this when we found out that we could only actually hit each other with grenades. Sometime in the next week or two we're going to try it again, with more discrete units of terrain, maybe we'll actually be able to shoot each other like God and the good folks at Dream Pod 9 intended.

Here's some shots from our game - my guys are MILICIA - the blue MP cadre and the grey war-criminal cadre; Britt's guys are Northern Guard in dunkelgelb and black (very slimming):

See that grey dude on his ass in the last pic? That's a bad outcome for the grey dude. Not pictured: my blue dude who got blown to smithereens by an errant grenade from his former squadmate...

Then a little bit after that, there was a one-day mini-campaign-tournament thingy at The Game Connection, and I took my freshly (mostly) painted WFPA 'Jump' Dragoons and a platoon of also-airborne infantry. Problem was that I didn't realize that due to the format, I wouldn't have enough Support Points to actually airdrop either unit more than once. So I said screw it and put the SPs into CPs, which is all that let me hang on as long as I did. I was able to put a real hurting on William's MILICIA guys (which hurts, as the MILICIA are my first and favorite HG faction), but I wasn't able to push him off the gasworks objective in time, giving him the win. This put me on the defensive against Tyler's Black Talon force for the next two games, and it was a walkover for him. Skill 4, two actions, jump jets, AGMs and light railguns - I did what I could, but there was no real way I could keep him from destroying his three objectives in game two, and in game three I couldn't even get anyone off the board (not even my Hardy Aller tank, which came on and got roadblocking Claw-series gears airdropped in behind it before I conceded). Losing meant you didn't get a chance to repair 'dead' gears, and infantry were never eligible for resupply, so all in all I'm not sure I took the best force for the setup.

Here we see two surviving infantry squads standing up to a Vulture gear. It went better than I could have ever hoped, in that Tyler's Vulture didn't murder them before jumping past them to fire on the hovercraft they were guarding.

Still, it's a great game, with great minis, and I've finally broken my painting phobia. My paintjobs aren't great by any means, but they look fine on the tabletop, and I can already tell that my WFPA guys look better than the MILICIA who hit the paint table before them. Unfortunately now we are heading into a typical NC fall, which means my days of good weather for priming are going to be few and far between. Over the next few weeks I have a bunch of projects I need to get glued up so that when one of those nice days pops up I can take advantage of it by getting all messed up on paint propellant in the backyard.