Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Amazing Web-utilities

I found these two sites while looking for color equivalencies for Reaper Master Series paints. I may not have found anything close to Golden Blond, but I did find these amazing, free tools.

They're both color matching tools you can use to find equivalencies between paint brands. Extremely useful when you come across recipes that call for a color you don't have or can't easily get.

The Miniature Painter's Paint Database:
While both tools are useful, this one is less so. It's equivalencies are a bit far from complete and the paint ranges included are fewer (7 in total). However, this tool makes it much easier to see a complete color chart. This allows you to compare entire lines in a quicker fashion. But it still pales in comparison too...

Silicon Dragon's Color Match Tool:
First thing's first. This color match tool is fucking amazing. The above Paint Database is good, but the color match tool is better by a very wide margin. It has an insane amount of paint lines represented - everything from the more common offerings to various artists colors to all kinds of military modeler crowd stuff. Hell, even various craft paint lines are in here. Its madness!

And that's just the beginning, the real power here is that this tool allows you to match any color from any paint line to a multitude of paints from numerous other lines, at the same time WITH COLOR SWATCHES! You can even look for colors based on an RGB value. Yikes. It matches by brand, by finish and by type as well. I just can't say enough good things about this tool.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Siege of Laporte - an Apocalypse Report

While I was on vacation I had the opportunity to play an Apocalypse game with some really cool dudes - My buddy Colin and his extended gaming group.

First things first: Colin, Joe, Evan and Hoagy - thanks for the fun. You guys are a blast.

This was a real treat as I don't have a fully painted and assembled army of my own and have yet to find a play group where I live. I've played a whole two games of 5th edition and they were both Apoc games.

On the plus side, these big games are a good way to learn the rules due to the everything and the kitchen sink approach to army consturction. It's also a much more relaxed gaming experience for me as well.

Here is a direct link.

Here are some highlights not covered in the photos:

1) The night before the game, Colin and I spent a few hours turning an old siege tower I made 10 years ago into a plague tower. This thing was a bit terrifying on the table, but manageable. It would have been scarier if it hadn't absorbed almost every anti-tank shot we had for two turns. By the end, it was down to one weapon and was immobilized.

2) the Annihilatrix was also super cool looking but a series of the unluckiest roles in history ensured that we never actually got to see what it could do.

3) Joe and his accursed Fallen Angels killed one of my Vindicators, thus preventing me from getting to destroy terrain pieces. Curses!

4) Both sides had a land raider and wildly different experiences. Hoagy's LR absorbed scads (SCADS I tell you) of rocket and laser fire and kept going with not so much as a scratch on the paint. Joe's LR got one shotted by my Vindicator.

5) The Imperial super heavy's didn't have too much of an affect on the battle at the end to two turns. Lots of missing and piss-poor roles for any kind of damage.

6) We misplayed flank march a bit as we applied it to ALL reinforcements. But, it was kinda hard to tell which units were controlled by which player and, in any case, Team Chaos won because they had bothered to grab the only objective any body bothered to take.

7) The Green Tide was scary right about until the time it broke cover and ate a bunch of 10 inch templates. However, between all the fire this and the Plague Tower was absorbing, there were still a few Maelstrom of Gores lurking. I was not looking forward to that.

8) Early in the game, I ended up moving a dreadnaught (with no cc weapon) into combat with a chaos lord. We never did get to see who won. On the plus side, I did get a good lesson on using dreads to tie down enemy units in CC.

9) Due to a late start and some wife issues, we only got to play two turns. But it was fun as hell and in hindsight, I don't know if I had the fortitude to complete the game anyway. Apocalypse can be very draining... especially if you stayed up the night before to make a plague tower.

There you have it, a nice little report on the kinds of things I got up to in Chicago. I can't stress enough how much fun it is to play with buds and their buds (who are cool dudes).

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Other Side of the House - Project Thunderbolt

I've been working on a my thunderbolt since I got back from vacation - so, about 3ish weeks. It's been slow going due to my schedule. You see, I can't use my air-compressor after 10pm due to some noise rules for my apartment complex. I get home at 7:30pm, I then have to eat dinner. Add to that the fact that i like to give any paint i lay down with the airbrush about 2 hours to dry, I get 1, maybe 2 sessions a night with the airbrush until the weekends.

Unfortunately, most of my painting during the week has been touch ups,second coats and general mistake corrections. I've made progress, but it doesn't feel like much. At this point, I've got the base colors laid down and everything's blocked out. But, I'm coming up on needing to pull the trigger on markings (decals, custom stencils or both?)and basic weathering (time consuming do to oil paints). I just don't want to work on this right now. I don't think I could handle having to retouch the camouflage one more time right now. Plus, my Space Marines are pretty far behind right now. So, I sealed the plane, cleaned off my cutting mat and shelved the Thunderbolt for a rainy day.

Despite all this grumpiness, there is a lot of good that came out of all this" practice and experience.

So, without further wiener-angst, here are some more things I've learned about my airbrush.

1) Spray a little paint on something you don't care about BEFORE you start on the model. This way, there will be less chance for splatter when the paint suddenly starts flowing through the tip. I ended up having to some touch up work when I forgot this.

2) Familiarize yourself with the instruction manual that came with your airbrush. I had to strip mine down and give the needle a good cleaning due to some white paint. The instructions were super handy when the trigger fell out and I wasn't sure how to put it back together. Always good to know how your tool works.

3) Keep a brush and some water handy to quickly smooth out overspray. In a few sessions, the tip of the airbrush would collect dried paint and restrict the airflow. Sometimes, when it cleared itself, I'd get a patch of overly thick paint. If you let this dry, then congratulations - you've just added texture to your model. If you have the brush handy, you can smooth it out really quickly and respray over it to hide any streaking.

4) Seal your work. When you get to a point where you need to mask over a surface, it can often be useful to seal the paint before hand. Especially if it's going to be masked for a while. I ran into a couple spots where the masking tape pealed off the paint. BOOOOO. But, the one thing I did seal, never pealed. Sealing the paint will also help prevent handling damaging the paint as well. remember, the airbrush puts very thin layers of paint - it's much more prone to damage.

5) Yellow is an asshole to airbrush. Always paint it over white. Even if this means re-priming part of the model.

6) When working on the model, make sure the work area is fairly clean. I had to touch up the blue areas more than once because it got dirt on it. I ended up cleaning my work mat.

7) Pipettes are a totally boss. This makes mixing colors in the airbrush pot mega easy. It also allows you to make rudimentary measurements for recipes. I can't tell you how much trouble this saved me on mixing a very particular shade of yellow.

8) A thin and straight piece of paper held against a line or some such an be an amazing tool for touching up camo without having to re-mask.

Other than these things, I was playing a bit with color modulation (I think), pre-shading and/or scale color. You can kinda see the results in the pics above. Most clearly on the green bands of camo.

So, the whole process of airbrushing has been a frustrating learning process, but very rewarding. I'll share more when I figure it out.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Deathjack Vanity

Here are some shots of my Deathjack that I painted when Warmachine was still 100% relevant to my interests.

Here's a direct link.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Privateer Press Updates

Good: the new Privateer Press Website

Pretty solid redesign. Much slicker. Not too much to say about it other than I like it and it's easier to find stuff.

Bad: the models for the new Retribution of Scyrah models.

Fucking eleves. The models would be great for AT-43, Infinity or some other sci-fi game - not for a steampunk game. Bonus points for this being the new army that every ass-hat is going to play based on it's new-ness and novelty factors.

Between this and the Warchine 2.0 rules, I'm actually considering selling all of my painted Warmachine stuff.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Open Request for a Plague Tower

If anyone has a line on an old Epic Nurgle Plague Tower I would be super excited if they would tell me about it. I'd like to grab one up for a project I may work on one day and figured that sooner was a better time than later to to to find an out of print miniature.

Notes: I don't care if its painted, unpainted or in new in box. All I need is for it to be complete and undamaged.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Baltimore Golden Demon '09 Musings

As a miniature painter and a huge dork, I love when GW posts the winners from the latest Golden Demon competition. There are all kinds of mind blowing entries and all kinds of ideas to steal.

I also value it as a kind of humbling experience. More often than not, I've usually had the best painted army in whatever gaming group I'm in. Like many intelligent nerds, I have a slight ego. I also have increasingly infrequent (I hope) tendencies to be an over-competitive asshole.

The Golden Demon winners are a very easy way to remind myself of a few things:

1) That I still have a long way I could go with my painting skills.
2) There's almost always someone better than you at a particular skill
3) I'm pretty sure that if I gave up the pretense of painting an army and focused on solely the painting aspect of the hobby, that I could have a shot at a 3rd place or something. But I don't, so I'll never know unless I get off my smug duff and try.
4) The youngbloods entries make me crazy with envy at how good those kids are at such a young age.

I can walk away with these facts and use them as inspiration to better myself: both my painting and my ability to play well with others. Lessens in humility if you will.

So, why all the meandering touchy-feely introspection (that someone will no doubt think is complete bullshit)? Well, I'm hoping this softens the blow of what I'm about to write next. I have no real way of saying this without sounding like a jealous prick:

I was not very impressed by the '09 Blatimore Demon winners.

Link: Baltimore '09 Golden Demon Winners

There's a lot of very proficient painters represented in the gallery. But nothing really jumped out and grabbed my eyeballs. I don't know if it was an 'off' competition or if it was 'off' photography or I've become jaded or whatever. There was just very little that made me go "WOW". It just seems like there is just a ton of technically proficient, but very boring models.

This Dylan Gauker gentleman took 5 separate awards AND the slayer sword. But I can't figure out why based solely on the pictures that GW posted. I see a lot of models that I would consider much more interesting and, in some cases, better.

My leading suspicion for this mystery: that his work loses a lot in the translation to a photograph (a common problem).

The people who tend to win this many awards are without fail, super good. Just looking at his Slayer Sword winning Unit, I see a ton of flawless green-stuff work and a clear skill with blending. But again, kinda boring. His LoTR entry seemed, in particular, extremely lack-luster.

But, 5 awards AND the slayer sowrd. There's something I'm missing, I'm sure of it.

Oh well. It's all subjective any way.

In any case, here is some mind blowing stuff from last years Polish Golden Demon. Wow.
Polish Golden Demon Winners

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I'm Back

My vacation is over, so you all can look forward to some updates.

I participated in an apocalypse game two weeks ago, so I'll post about that once I pull pictures off my camera.

I also visited a battle bunker. I'll probably complain about that at a later date as well.

Bye for now.