Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Old News: GW Posts Army List That Isn't Terrible; People Stunned

It's true - GW posted an army list on its main site that isn't the worst way to spend your money since the last time GW tried to 'help' with list building (here's an example I'm sure you'll remember fondly).  Super props to Kennedy for catching the existence of this thing.  Sure, there a few minor tweaks that needed to be made here and there, but that's not the important part of my discussion and there are more qualified people who have covered this

What's more interesting to me is the hoopla surrounding the list.  Take this comment from the Antipope*:

I am very surprised that they published a fairly competitive list in the GW website. I thought it was anathema to them. The end times must be drawing near.

hopefully, not antispacepope
 Its a pretty common sentiment and, largely, the evidence from GW's past behavior and all the cryptic statements the FAAC crowd holds up as Ape Law would seem to support that this is indeed odd.  But lets look at this from another perspective - maybe its not that a GW employee has crossed into the Forbidden Zone but rather that GW is doing what it has always done and it's the player base that's perhaps changing.

GW is a miniatures company.  Its what the FAAC people always say, and in this case, they're correct.  But its not out of the kindness of GW's heart or some kind of commitment to artistic excellence that this is the case.  It's simple economics and its the same reason why Privateer Press could also be called a miniatures company; It's where the money is coming from.  Sure the books are kinda costly - but there made in small runs (which means they cost more to make) and they aren't required past a certain point to play.  Theoretically, an enterprising gaming club would only need to have one BRB between the lot of them.  Hell, players using the same army could share codices.  However, everyone has to have miniatures.  Even if someone buys ALL the current codices and a BRB, the total cost is still about $90 less than the cost of the models for the 1500 point army up there.

When it comes to these little update thingies, their front page blog posts, the WD battle reports, etc - GW will always, always showcase a collection of well painted works of art when given the choice.  GW wants to sell you miniatures.  Well painted examples of the product will entice you to help make that happen.  That's the reason they have the 'Eavy Metal team in the first place.  The unfortunate side effect of this need for visual awesomeness is that the armies that get showcased are either built by goofball super-hobbyists or created out of the studio's collection of sales pitches. 

Enter Kevin Chin's Imperial Fists.  The reason this is on the GW site is because it is an incredibly good looking army.  That just also happens to have a good plan behind it.  Which is where I think that this is more firmly an example of a shift in the player base than shift for GW.  Sure GW has been going the distance on 5th edition, but the rules are a means to a miniature selling end.  Its the players that are responding to it.

------[Foot Note]--------------------------
* Not that I'm picking on the Antipope.  Its just that he commented on my blog so I didn't have to go far for an appropriate quote.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Running Your Dreadnoughts Like a Business Part 1: Cost-Benefit Analysis

In between playing Minecraft and looking for the best possible location for my Amy Adams/Isla Fisher fantasy three way, I occasionally think about 40k.  For the last few days, this list from GW (more on this in the future) has been floating near the surface. 

I've always really liked the various flavors of Space Marine.  The aesthetic is pretty great, the rules have been increasingly solid and the latest codices have been absolutely fantastic at creating 3 distinct forces.  Plus, who wouldn't want to push some armored bad-asses around the table? Losers, that's who.

Despite all that, I've never really pulled the trigger on getting myself a marine army - though there have been at least 3 major attempts over the years.  But more than any other army, the collected space marine chapters are the most frequent subject when I get into listmania mode.  There's just so much damn flexibility with the three books.  Even more once it dawns on you that custom chapters can stand in for ANY of the 5 flavors.  Its kinda crazy.

Each of the 5th ed. marine books has there strengths, but there is one thing they all share in common:  they all have access to the extremely awesome Rifleman Dreadnought... or the Destroid Defender Dreadnought if you want to be, ya know, technical.  Unfortunately, its also one of the two very valuable and very 'not produced by GW proper' models that most often find their way into lists.  The other item being the las-plas Razorback turret.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Silence...

When I talk about my 'hobby' I tend to lump painting, gaming and blogging all into that one word.  Which means they're all equally affected by how much time I spend on video games.  Lately, you'll notice that I haven't been blogging lately.  Which should tell you that I have been playing the shit out of some video games.

I tend to go through cycles with painting - I'll have 3 months where I am all about it and then another 3 of struggling to complete a single project.  I'm in the middle of one of those slooooow phases.  It took me a month to finish one (1) fire prism.  One!  On the other hand, I have played over 100 hours of Fallout: New Vegas, another 70 of Borderlands and went to Florida.  Oh, and Minecraft finally found me.

Rather than further try and justify/explain whatever blah blah blah I think is going on in my own head, I'm just gonna talk about the video games if been whiling away the hours(days) with.

Fallout: New Vegas - Most of you have probably already heard about this one and maybe even played it.  I think it's pretty goddamn fantastic and I'd be surprised if it doesn't get game of the year.  The game is tight, the quests are good and the whole visual feel really captured the essence of Fallouts 1 and 2. Plus, all the Sunset Sarsaparilla you can drink.  In every respect, its much better than Fallout 3.  However...  If I had one complaint, and I do, it would be that Fallout New Vegas should have and could have come out 2-3 years ago instead of 3.  New Vegas isn't enough different, technologically, to be a proper sequel and Fallout 3 wasn't a proper sequel to Fallout 2.  Some very cool Fallout callbacks though.  Oh, and watch the hell out for guys with Ballistic Fists and those damn super wasps. 

I ended up with 100+ hours clocked on New Vegas and had beaten the game, seen all the endings and gotten 44 of the 50 achievements.  I was itching for a new game and still kind of in a Fallout mood.  Along came the game of the year edition of:

Borderlands - I really dig this game to.  In comparison to New Vegas, it was a much needed move towards a simpler game.  Much more of a classic shooter.  The game play is pretty fun (even if there is a lot of travel - but hey, I just finished Fallout) and the setting is phenomenal.  Borderlands has a ton of LOL moments that Fallout was sadly missing.  The graphics are actually what drew me in.  I have yet to see better cell shading.  Very cool and very slick.  The millions of guns thing is over-hyped since most of them blow and isn't even a 'thing' beyond the fact that you need them to kill bad guys.  My one serious complaint is the difficulty level - the human bosses will fuck you up like a car crash while all the big monstery-type bosses were pathetic to the point that it jarred you out of your suspension of disbelief for the game.  The Destroyer is supposed to be this grand, evil demi-god and was a total pussy.  Maybe its a message about the most evil creature of all.

It turns out it's man.

Minecraft - The ultimate sandbox game.  Its very simple looking but if you think the game play itself is simple, then you'll get eaten alive in survival mode.  It's kinda hard to describe so I'll just link to this SA thread instead:  Minecraft: Gentlemen... shit posts - ban

I've been digging on this since I get back from America's wang and its been an experience.  Its been hours of mining, crafting, engineering and building goodness punctuated with me catching the edge of the learning curve and flying of the ramp.  Some highlights of my WTF moments:
  • In an attempt to power my smelting furnace with boiling hat lava (an idea that sounded great until I said it out loud), I ended up burning myself to death and destroying half of my inventory.
  • I built my very own Lighthouse at Alexandria/Eye of Sauron only to find that it was so tall that the lights on the eye spent most of their existance obscured by cloud as to render the tower lame.
  • While mining for bulk building materials and managed to fall into a previously unknown pit.  Some of those caves are wicked close to the surface. The only thing that hurts more than falling damage is cave skeleton attacks.
  • I burned down an entire forest.  Also, myself.   Once you harvest the trunks, the leaves remain suspended in air (the game is in alpha).  This bothers me aesthetically and I resolved to clear them in the most expedient way possible - fire.  Pro-tip your fire breaks need to be at least three spaces wide.
I strongly recommend looking into this game and maybe trying out the free version if you're feeling feisty.  If you're gonna by, do it soon.  The game is maybe a month away from beta and doubling in price.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dave G is a Baller

Dave G posted up a really fantastic bit on nearly the exact same thing I've been going on about.  Seriously, go read it if you haven't.  I'll wait.  Probably just make a sandwich in the meantime...

You're back?  Good.

Its very gratifying to see my own ideas help spawn something like this.  It's also very gratifying to see that Dave and I aren't the only ones feeling like we do.  Between the two of us (mostly Dave), there have been a sizable chunk of comments from people who've gone through what we have to say, stroked their beard areas thoughtfully and said "yeah, that's pretty great."

There's a lot to like about Dave's post.  Its the kind of thing I wish I had written.  Curse that handsome devil!  He basically nailed a big chunk of the concepts I hadn't gotten around to committing to this blog.  Dave even managed to steal my as yet unwritten reference to and accompanying praise for what the Massive Voodoo guys are all about.  

Here's the defining quote for the TL;DR people:

...who says that we have to approach our miniatures and constantly try to place them in the context of our reality? Not just because we're already talking about science fiction and fantasy settings, but also because we can treat these figures as three dimensional canvases.

This article deserves a full minute of cheering from a sold out arena-rock crowd.

Think of this post as me holding up my lighter.

Incidentally - is it a good thing or a bad thing that lighters have become rare enough to warrent a software replacement?

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Chunderhawk

... or, rather, the leaked Storm Raven pics e'erbody has been talk talk talkin' 'bout.

Yeah, I know.  Everyone already has a Storm Raven is teh sux0r article.  This is my article.  There are many like it, but this one is mine. 

It's name is Raquel.

Right, so a lot of people seem to hate this little big guy.  I actually like it...  conditionally. 

That condition being whether or not I can chop that nasty-ass turret/air intake combo off and replace it with something that wasn't Magos Fisher Price's first and last crack at an STC vehicle.  Because, really, that's what's ruining the aesthetic for me. 

I like the wings.  I like the boxy body.  I like the goofball tail fins. But that turret... man. The turret and air intake are like this model's unnecessarily tall guido hair.  Other than that, it looks exactly like I'd want it to - exactly like the space-brick I'd throw through the window of my neighbor's space shuttle

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Evidense-Based Painting

I should probably come up with a name for the series I've been slowly but surely churning out.  But not today - it's not all that important.  What is important is the fact that this series has gotten me a ton of new readers and a ton of new mental connections.

Today's post picks up where I left off last week:

I know I've stated this before - but to be absolutely clear - I have no beef with the people who pursue this style or even with the style itself.  If it's your cup o' tea then fine - I've had my fair share of it as well.  My beef is with the perception that its the 'best' or even 'only' way to do things.  In many situations it is, but in an equal number of ways it is certainly not. 

Look at me... quoting myself.  Jeez. 

Evidence Based Practice is a fairly important idea for me.  Professionally, I deal with a number of health science faculty members and students and being able to speak their 'language' is important.  EBP is also a key component of the particular brand of information literacy instruction I engage in.  Whether I like it or not, EBP is a necessary tool for me to do my job.

Fortunately, I do like EBP.  As I've come to have a better understanding of the process at work, its wormed its way into my personal life as well.  Now, getting into the whole deal with EBP would take a lot more space than I'm prepared to use.  The idea that best practices are, well... 'best' is nothing new.  Neither is the idea that rigorous and well executed scientific testing is a pretty great thing.  And that's just the tip of the iceberg.  It would take an entire series of wikipedia articles to even begin to explain the full scope of the process.

For today's ramble, I'm mostly interested in the 'patient centered' portion of the concept.  The idea that whatever it is the doctor decides to do must reflect the values and unique situation of the patient.  It's not just taking medical history and allergies into consideration, its also paying attention to socio-economic status, social values and the like.  For example: while invasive surgery may be the most effective way to treat, say, a tumor - it may not fly if the patient is a hard-core Christian Scientist or too poor to afford the procedure.

Turns out that the whole patient centered thing is also an incredibly useful way of looking at painting advice.  This brings me back to my continued concerns with the "golden daemon style" and my self-quote.  This also links up with the infuckingcredible work that Dave and Ron have started up. 

Knowing that emulating the Golden Daemon Style is the best way to when a Slayer sword and even having a swath of good tutorials on advanced blending is virtually useless for people who don't even know how to hold a brush.  Hell, its fairly useless when you have an entire army to paint even if you do have a handle on things. Simply put, the Golden Daemon style simply is not appropriate for every situation.  But its easy to miss this amongst all the falderal that is the hype about the Golden Daemons and the ever increasing mass of tutorials aimed at that style.  All I can say is, thank Unholy Krondor for people like Dave and Ron.  I think those two have exactly identified a problem and taken steps to fix it.  Starting out painting is scary when this is what people are saying you should strive for. 

So to get back to an example - maybe dry-brushing IS the best technique for a pure beginner or someone with shaky hands. 

Maybe someone's models should be judged on a different set of criteria than whatever the hell would win a slayer sword.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Hax0rz Have Stolen My Megahurtz

Looks like I'm down to a once a week post schedule... unless you count my work over at HoP.  This is another part of my ongoing thought experiment/exploration about the state of miniature painting.  This one is based on some comments I got and a whole bunch of ideas put forth on other people's blogs.  It should prove to be short since I don't have a clever story to start out with.  With any luck this will be coherent on top of short...

Today's subtopic is the internet.  Or, to be more specific, the internet's role in creating the current state of my painting weltschmerz.  This was always going to be a part of the discussion, but it wasn't until the MM(ESNO) threw down some science that things really popped.  I now know a lot more about how to approach the topic and that it needs its own space to breath.

My initial thoughts on the internet's role was fairly negative and a bit reactionary- it was more along the lines of how access to ideas tends to flatten the peaks and valleys out.  More like what Dethtron or, more recently, AbusePuppy were getting at - only grumpier and one-sided.  But, now, things are a little less nefarious and dastardly than I had initially planned on lamenting about.  I also realized that I was coming dangerously close to becoming a slave to the tone of the first two posts - its important to me to explore these ideas, but I need to make sure that I don't get trapped in an artificially created pattern of though.

Monday, October 25, 2010

That "Wrong Thing" I Was Talking About

Gonna keep this installment of the running thought experiment a bit short even if it is 'late'.  Fallout New Vegas has been sucking the life out of me through my eyeballs for four five days now (in a good way).  I'm a little bit sleep deprived, a little bit addled and a lot distracted.  I'm also jonesing for more Fallout.

On my desk right now, I have 6 bottlecaps.  If I was in the Fallout universe, I'd only have enough money on me to be barely worth the ammo it took for the hero of the story to kill me as I tried to mug him for no reason.  He'd be frustrated with me and would probably be wondering why he used his fancy pistol rather than the service rifle he has a bajillion rounds for.  That would last for a few seconds and then I'd be just another generic corpse for him to step over on his way to the next town.

Why did I think mugging a heavily armed sociopath was a good idea? Was I really that high on jet?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Forgotten Piece of the Puzzle

Now that I've finished reading and digesting IA9, I can finally get around to a painting theory article - one of the things I'm actually good at.  To be honest, I haven't sat down and mapped this one out (I'm experimenting), so it'll be probably be a nice mix of light gonzo journalism, running discussion, swearing and rambling logic.  It might not make a lot of sense. Oh, and I won't be crowding the narrative with RPG content.  Its not good for either subject.

Sit tight, coz this is gonna be a long one.

Lets get started, shall we?

Or rather, lets get prepared to get started.  I have to admit:  I've had a lot of trouble getting this one of the ground.  Lots of false starts, unnecessary detailing of my lunch foods and even a near miss with e-drama.

But a trip to the grocery store put things right. Which is where we actually start...

It was midnight and I was entering the grocery store smack dab in the middle of the third shift's restocking routine.  Having worked in a grocery store that was open 24 hours, I know what this is like.  The store is basically open as an afterthought - no extra staff around to smile at you and tell you where the olives or even register your presence.  Sometimes they don't even bother with wet floor signs.  But that's another story about bruised egos and the hidden dangers of flip-flops.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Imperial Armor 9: Is Awesome

I was gonna start writing some stuff on the importance of je ne sais quoi when it comes to miniature painting, but then IA9 came in the mail yesterday and ruined all that.  

Forgeworld is the kind of thing I'm glad I didn't really discover until I was a gainfully employed adult.  The big price tags would have driven me mad for putting so much amazing stuff just out of reach.  At the risk of sounding like a fanboi, its just so damn cool!  Even if it is largely useless in the regular game of 40k, there's just something appealing about the stuff they make.

Actually, its not an amorphous something.  I know full well while people go ape-shit over forgeworld stuff. Its rare by virtue of its cost and often a kind of status symbol.  The detail level of the models is intense and the they strive to make things seem otherworldly in comparison to the regular plastics.  Plus, the units the make are both unfettered by the rules and internal logic of a codex and, often, extremely powerful.  Its just... unique.

But that's just the models.  They also print specialist books.  And that's what really gets my dick hard.  I've had more than a few forgeworld kits in my time, but its usually been a part of the typical process of building an army. the books, on the other hand...  are the exact kind of thing that I just can't resist.  At all.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bonus RPG Content: The Boring Technical Stuff

Since Monday's post was too long for another installment of the RPG stuff to be added, I thought I'd write up an entire post on the subject.  Also, big thanks to everyone who's been following along so far.

I was planning on going into the meat of the campaign - things like character creation and what we wanted to do in terms of balancing the narrative with hack n' slash with all the other stuff.  Unfortunately, I think it makes more sense to first talk about the boring techincal stuff that makes this RPG campaign work.

When UglyRaincoat first brought the idea up in gchat or somesuch g-contrivance, the whole idea of getting back into some RPG action it seemed more like it was born out of a simple urge to recreate good, old times and reconnect with friends.  I'll definitely touch on what the idea matured into at a later date, but at that point in the game the question of whether it was possible was more important than what it would look like.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Take Your Readers to Work Day

While I was shooting some awful pictures of some works in progress, I decided to go all out and document my entire hobby cave.  So, lots of pics, not that many words.  There's also a few random things I found on the camera and a few re-shoots that I took when I went through the camera's memory this afternoon and found some things where the flash hadn't gone off.

My hobby cave is actually a large closet attached to the loft area of my apartment.  It was actually one of the selling points for the only decent apartment we found when we first moved out to Connecticut.  We didn't know anyone out or even have the first clue to the housing situation so our efforts in tracking down housing were a bit rough.  This was made worse by the fact that the extreme distance we were moving (1000 miles) and short time frame only allowed for one trip out here to look before we moved.  The place we moved into was great, but considerably more expensive than we wanted.  In any case, we decided to spend more money on a nice place rather than being miserable in a cheaper, crappy place.  In any case, special lady friend was  gracious enough let me use it right from the first day we moved in.  Being in a loving and supporting relationship kicks a whole ton of ass. 

OK, lets get started!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Quick hits: wots all this then?

Since I have yet to construct a light box despite owning tracing paper, I haven't taken pictures of the stuff I've been diligently working on. So, its time for another bunch of (extremely) quick hits as a lead in into some RPG discussion.

1) Tyranid FAQ Blues - I'm really tired of hearing about how the FAQ nerfed everything to hell.  Yes, we all get it the Mycetic Spore stuff rulings are complete ass.  As for the hive commander issue, I don't see why people are so upset - the writing was on the wall when the IG FAQ came out.  So, do yourself a favor next time and just go ahead and automatically assume that reserve bonuses wont stack unless explicitly stated.

pictured: Tyranid players
2) Plague Bearer Progress - I've got 15 done (in three color schemes, no less) all the way to varnishing.  I've got another 5 on the table that should be done this weekend.  Progress has been good for the most part with the exception that one of my color scheme gradients had too much distance between shades and ended up needing a lot more work than anticipated.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Monster Mish-mash

Been suffering a bit of writer’s block with a mild case of apathy of late. It’s been kind of difficult to get momentum built back up on my own blog on top of keeping the posting schedule over on the HoP on track in the face of Dethtron’s increasingly glamorous lifestyle. What with the fancy degrees and the metal and all. The lucky bastard. Lol.  Brent too, for that matter. Man, I forgot how much of a bitch school could be this time of year if you’re a student.

My main issue has been getting posts to a full length. So, I think I’ll just go ahead and try and scotch-tape two ideas together..

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amazing Internet Adventures! Chapter 3: Escape From Pleasure Dome

Having passed the challenges of the Gates to C'Mon, Lauby is free to explore the many treasures the Great City has to offer. While the threat of agonizing death by space lightning and the lure of the land’s many courtesans threaten to derail his quest, our Hero’s proceeds with a grim determination secure in the knowledge that the information he seeks is worth any cost. Along the way he meets the beguiling witch, Tenebra, who offers to be his guide.

So far, poking around CMON has been extremely rewarding. Though I’m not entirely sure that I’ve got enough ideas to round out every model in the Daemon army, I’ve got enough to keep me going for the near future.

This installment is mostly stuff that is relevant to my Slaanesh Heralds. Though I’m pretty sure I’m gonna paint the actual heralds in a color scheme that’s a throw-back to the red-robster claw daemonettes of the 90’s, I need ideas for the chariots. I might also find stuff that changes my mind - which will be important since the heralds are a but further down on the to do list.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Using Your Personality When You Blog AKA Strictly Stealing

Seems like I've settled into a nice chunk of writer's block.  Oh sure, I've got the amazing internet adventures to work o, but I'm just not feelin' it right now.  I'm also not feelin' making a light box and photographing some plaguebearers or even mailing my buddy his Silent Death minis back.  I guess its more of a general motivation problem now that I think about it.

But I'm not totally without ideas!

One thing that's been on my mind a bit is the question of what exactly Laubersheimer Industries is about.  The overwhelming response I got for my mini-rant on Slaanesh and some Brent related madness over on Blood of Kittens kind of got the ball rolling on that thought process.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Amazing Internet Adventures! Chapter 2: At the Gates of Pulchritude

Having been trapped the Labyrinth of the Arch-Fiend, Mediocrity, Lauby manages to escape via the secret exit that opens up beneath the Isle of Deadly Death. Relying only his wits and his unbelievably good luck, our hero boldly makes his way to what he thinks will be a safe haven. Unbeknownst to him, but knownst to us, he is in fact heading towards an even greater challenge as he comes upon the Gates of Pulchritude, entrance to the grand City of C’Mon.

Don't worry folks, these intros are just gonna keep getting worse.

Continuing from last time, I’m still in need of some ideas for color schemes to fit in with what I want to do for my army and, at the same time, will avoid having to order a ton of paint. Things haven’t been good so far. Dakka was an almost total waste of a small portion of my precious, precious life and it’s not yet time to throw a Hail Mary on Google.  And I'm sure as hell not going back to a forum any time soon.  Time to bring out the big guns. Time to head over to Cool Mini Or Not.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Amazing Internet Adventures! Chapter 1: The Junk Planet

In which our hero is reacquainted with his old enemy, Mediocrity, and his nefarious henchmen, Rank Stupidity and Evil Abraham Lincoln.  Lauby is thrown in Mediocrity's labyrinth during the course of his search and barely escapes with his sanity after facing the many horrors contained therein.

Pew pew pew! I'm in spaaaaaaaaace!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

One Year Ago Today: A Look Back

For the life of me, I can't remember exactly what got me digging through my old archives to see what I was up to a year ago.  I'm pretty sure it was the realization that I had started yet another army without having gotten 2000 points of the previous one done.  I think a recent list from Stelek that got me thinking about my iron warriors may have been involved as well.  Anyway, I came across this post from September 15th - of last year.  This was back in the days of Iron Warriors and also back when significantly fewer people knew or gave a shit about Laubersheimer Industries. 

History is important

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

List-erine: Titles are Hard

Looks like I totally missed the No Pants Friday I was planning on doing last week.  It was going to be an uplifting message of tolerance and, simultaneously, a detailed analysis of one of the longest standing 40k internet feuds of all time.

Sadly, it was not to be.

A bunch of plaguebeares, Arrested Development (the show) and Samus Aran herself handily prevented that from happening.  Oh, and yesterday's terrible (in hindsight) post went into the crapper the moment I had to solve some blogger issues relating to a custom URL.  In any case, I've managed to clear that, Arrested Development and Metroid: Other M from my to do list and I think its about time I started building back up to a more regular posting schedule again.  I have something nice and introspective planned for tomorrow that absolutely tickles me to no end.   Today, I have something a little more vacuous.

Lat weekend was a lot like this, in fact.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Quick Hits: This, That and the Other Thing

The beginning of the college school year is a time that hits one's free time pretty hard.  I know I've seen it - a bunch of the bloggers who are also students seemed to have disappeared for the last few weeks.  Its not much different for those of us on the other side of the exchange either.  Work has slowed down to a manageable level of chaos as all the new technology initiatives that rolled out over the summer are beginning to take hold in the students minds.  Looking back at the last couple of weeks, it was pretty hard to find the energy to paint let alone run two blogs.  So it looks like I'll be easing back into the more frequent posting schedule that I had built up to prior to the beginning of the semester.

Last week was a lot like this.. minus the booze this guy got to drink.
Which brings us to today's post, just kind of a quick rundown of some stuff and things that caught my attention that I didn't have the energy or time to write about.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Daemon Week: Plaguebearers WIP

Daemon week has been kinda sparse - not much of a week at all. I thought it might be nice to fix that a little bit.

Actually, first, a bit of whinging.

Its the beginning of the school year.  Work has been crazy as all the students make there way to campus and need some hand holding.  As part of the group of people that are trained and paid to hold those hands, I have been run ragged over the last five days.  No down time at work and barely enough time and energy when I get home to even uproot my ass from the couch.  Special Lady Friend compared me to a washed out picture of myself when I came home on Monday night.  Ouch.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Daemon Week: Friend of a Fiend

This week is gonna be a bit different.  I'm pretty pumped about my recent Daemon purchase, so I though I'd mine that feeling for a whole mess of articles.  So my recent schedule will be interrupted while I deal with my warp-spawned boner.  Its entirely likely that there will not be a Tutorial Tuesday or even a No Pants Friday this week.

The post from last Friday generated quite a few comments.  Most of them on the relative merits of which model to use for Fiends of Slaanesh.   So I think this is the place to start my discussion on my choices for my army.  Or, at least, the choices for models for the army since I am unabashedly copying one of Stelek's lists.

Sylvester Sneekly is also a fiend.  But irrelevant to our discussion.

Friday, August 27, 2010

No Pants Friday: Daemons

Like I keep mentioning, its been a hell of a week.  HOP launched on Monday and Dethtron and I have been working our asses off over there as well as trying to keep up with our own blogs. The school semester started too, so my job is busy (and rewarding) again.  Plus, I had to drop off some guns at Jimmy's to match some silencers he had gotten, I had to pick up my brother at the hospital and drive him back home for dinner and then I had to pick up some new Pittsburgh stuff for Lois to fly down to some customers I had down near Atlanta. THEN I had to get back to the house to stir the sauce...

Still, It's Friday and we're takin' our pants off to let it all hang out.  It's No Pants Friday!

I was feeling generous today.  I went with the surreal rather than the awful.
Today's pants-less topic is daemons.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Elfs, Part 4: The Darkest Dark Before Total Darkness

I'm actually, doing it, I'm finishing an article series.  Huzzah!  After this post on the Dark Elves, I've got just one more bit of writing to do and I think I can call this one done.  Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

Let me just take a second to preemptively pat myself on the back.

The Dark Elves

They may still have a huge collection of teribad names, but some of them actual manage to sounds scary.  Of course, most of those have to resort to the hackery that is looking up 'evil' in the thesaurus and then making names out of the synonyms, but still...

Have you seen the Avatars of War figures?  Spooge,

The rest of the fluff is more than makes up for this.  I'd be willing to bet money that the authors felt the needed the douchy names so that they could bring the bad-ass-itude of the Dark Elf fluff within the safety limits set by the World Health Organization.  Seriously, if it wasn't for the names, you'd have to have a hazardous materials license and keep the book in a lead case to keep it from melting people's gonads.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: Glaze Medium

Man, things have been a bit rough around the edges this week with the new semester starting and the House of Paincakes taking off considerably faster than Dethtron and I had even dreamed possible.  Actually, the fact that new blog has more followers than old blog is one of those things that makes me jealous of myself.  Thankfully, day two has been much more subdued and allowed us both to get our feet back under ourselves.

In any case, since I imagine that some new traffic is headed my way via the super cool new network I've helped create, Its pretty important - paramount, even - that I keep up the post schedule.  Wouldn't look right if one of the founders dropped off the face of the planet now, would it?

Probably not.

So, I find myself at the nub end of another Tuesday and in need of another Tutorial to link the two concepts together Voltron style to form blazing sword and Tutorial Tuesday

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Slightly Different House of Paincakes Shout Out

More than likely, you’ve seen quite a bit of buzz/hype/hullaballoo about the House of Paincakes today. Since I’m one half of the team that brought this baby into the world, thought I’d talk about it slash promote it. Plus, since I’m posting my promotion later than much of the rest, I have the added bonus of a slightly different perspective.

It’s been a crazy day so far for me. The response we’ve gotten is bordering on overwhelming. I kinda expected us to languish in obscurity for a while longer. At this point, I’m wishing I had taken the day off to deal with all the traffic and incidental stuff that’s cropped up. None of that is to say that the publicity and the work have been unwelcome - quite the opposite. To be honest, we’ve exceeded my own best case scenarios and I’m sure Dethtron’s as well.

Just by the time I woke up late this morning, we had already had something like 10 blogs applying for membership. Add to that the genuinely useful & constructive criticism* over on YTTH, the unsolicited promotion by our new members and the tremendous support of our initial blogger group and it has been one hell of a Monday. In a good way!

However, the biggest surprise isn’t the successful launch or even the existence of constructive criticism. It’s the amount of positivity and genuine excitement that’s been cropping up around us. A full half of our members have thrown up a post about the network. All of them have been pretty pumped that we exist. Apparently we correctly identified a need/hole/niche in the community.

To be honest, all the positivity and the collaborative spirit that we’ve been riding all day are the reasons we’re doing this.

For us, the whole blogging thing has become the unexpected third leg of the hobby.**   Blogging is a motivator and an outlet that we’re, frankly, lucky to have. It’s the kind of thing that has really helped us step up our game and meet some genuinely cool people. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But let’s face it; it takes a lot more than simply writing a post to get your own word out.

So that’s where we hope to come in. Like we said in the vision, we want to help you get the word out. That’s why there are so few language rules and why we’re entirely disinterested in the difference between casual and competitive. Like so many others, we genuinely want to promote the hobby in as many ways as possible.

Hell, we’re just a simple blog network now, but Dethtron and I have a ton of ideas to play with in the future. Big things are on the horizon and we look forward to sharing them with you. And that’s a key point – the sharing. So as much as Dethtron and I are running the blog, it’s entirely about you guys and your work.

So, check out the site, sign up if you’re feeling saucy, hang out and help us build this House of Paincakes.

Friday, August 20, 2010

No Pants Friday: On Cheating

Its Friday and you're at home rather than out and doing something fun.  LETS TAKE OUR PANTS OFF!

That's right, bitches - It No Pants Friday!  Before we get into it tonight, here's your obligatory disturbing image for the night:

Ahhh, South Carolina
Right, tonight's post might not actually be all that fun.  You see, its been a while since I've got my rant on.  I've been trying to hold back a bit - I find that ranting begets more ranting and eventually leads you down the path of the asshole.  Often times an asshole who then has to spend time defending being an asshole.  I'm not really in to needing to defend my self all the time. So I I've been trying to keep it cool and engage people in conversation rather than hit the caps lock hey and scream at idiots.

But this week has surpass my ability to avoid drama.  Well, lets get into it...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Elfs, Part 3: You Guys Wanna Get High?

I’ve got lots of stuff coming down the pike in terms of my hobbies, so I thought it best to try and finish my thoughts on elves before I get waylaid by any one of the three projects that are about to start.

As much as I love the Wood Elf models, they’re eliminated from contention until a new book drops. Since the internet doesn’t seem to think it’s likely in the next year or more, it’s probably best to move on. Kind of a bummer, I know, but the book is just too old and has too many leftovers from a totally different design era. I’m sure they have some good builds hiding in the book; I’m just not interested in suffering long enough to find them

Which brings me to the High Elves.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: The Elusive Vyper Shuriken Cannon Upgrade

[Pre-game Groveling:] For large portions of my day of late, I've been saddled with an absolute dog of a laptop.  More of a crap top actually.  Between it and whatever pack of lies it has that's claiming to be IE, its eaten three posts now.  This was one of them.  Hence the lateness.  Please forgive me, faceless peer group!

I'm back with another Tutorial Tuesday!  We're back to Vypers (which are not here to vash and vipe your vindows) tonight AND we back to a tutorial that I have first hand experience with.  Well at least I should anyway. I wrote it!

Monday, August 16, 2010


NOVA came and went and as far as I could tell, it went well.  Everybody involved seemed to have a good time.  There was no drama at the actual event (though I'm sure this wont stop the peanut gallery from stirring shit up after the fact).  So big props to MVB for creating something fairly unique and pulling off a number of amazing feats in the face of the so-called 'common knowledge' that the other events stand by.

Quickly now:  the coverage on the NOVA open was petty solid and, in particular, the U-stream feed was a nice change of pace from the likes of the random video collages and the various BoK cheating watchdog videos that we're normally subjected to.  However, I think that a bit more thought could and should be put into things.  Or at least, better preparation.

Friday, August 13, 2010

No Pants Friday: Wood Elf Motivational Seminar

3rs party profits are up this quarter at Laubersheimer Industries!* As a reward, please enjoy this mandatory motivational seminar brought to you by Matt from S/Energy Global (a wholly owned subsidiary of Amalgamated RoboDynamics, Inc). Lets all give him a big round of applause for hosting today's No Pants Friday.

Motivation made manifest.  Now, go out and sell, sell, SELL
Since most of the 40k blogosphere is losing their collective mind over the NOVA open tonight (myself included), I thought I'd post up some very cool advice I got from Matt.  Way back when, after a post on Wood Elves, Matt was kind enough to drop some science on me and was then kind enough to let me post it.  It's solid stuff that I think is worth sharing and comparing.  It also gets me out of actually writing a post so I can get to the business of obsessing over the NOVA Friday Night Exhibition Matches

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Thutorial Thursday: MORE DIY Light Boxes

Here I was thinking I had successfully staved off the first Thutorial Thursday for another week. I thought my clever combination of lies, excuses and techno-wizardry had been enough.

Then some helpful jackass super-pal posted up some additional light box alternatives.

Then it dawned on me that my posting was a bit light this week and I was still saving all of my juice for AFTER the NOVA open and for when people aren't gonzo for tourney's.

Begrudgingly, It's.... Thutorial Thursday.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday: DIY Light Boxes

When I sat down to write today's Tutorial Tuesday, two things happened.  1) I had no idea what to write but I managed to figure something out.  2) Blogger conspired with IE and ate my post.  In any case, I figured I'd better get off my duff and re-write this thang just so I can move those creepy Asian guys further down the page and further out of our memory.  I do believe I've managed to gross myself out.  Ugh.

Lets talk about some macro photography rather than dudes in suspender mankinis and their bulging whonngs.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Apple Turnovers: Now With MORE Piping Hot Filler

Hey, everybody, just a quick filler post to entertain yourselves with on this lazy (for me, anyway) Sunday afternoon.

This picture is only partially relevant

Friday, August 6, 2010

No Pants Friday: Net Liszts

Ahhhhh, the sweet smell of the same Franz Liszt joke Dethtron and I keep using that nobody seems to care about....

For those of you fleeing the latest Friday Night Internet Fight, here's some good news - the  refugee camp that is No Pants Friday has plenty of room for you.  So lets begin the orientation and begin your re-adjustment to real life so you can reclaim your place as a productive(ish) member of society.  I may have to let the Surgeon General know about this FNIF stuff and what it's doing to the populace, she* may need to get some warning label's ready.

The start of the process begins.... NOW!

I'm more than willing to help rehabilitate you, but nothing is free.
As previously stated, this week's No Pants Friday is all about net lists.  Or, as I like to think of it, a great way to avoid wasting time and money. 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wednesdays in Progress: Eldar and Some Pics I Promised

For the last two Tutorial Tuesdays, I had forgotten to take pictures of my own efforts utilizing the techniques.  Time to fix that.

First up, from last week, here are my attempts with Lemmingspawn's hawt lava bases:

This one has been photoshopped a bit to give you a better idea about the actual color of the finished product.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tutorial Tuesdays: Foam Trays

Tutorial Tuesdays is still kicking and still holding off the nearly inevitable dawn of Thutorial Thursdays.  Continuing along with my theme, today's super useful and way sweet tutorial is yet another that I've put into practice myself.

But first, some exposition.  Here we go!

In the race to get our models painted, we often forget about the most crucial aspect for ensuring that your minis have a long life - storage.  Or we flat out ignore it.  I've done it myself in the past.  I can't tell you how many times it ended up that my ENTIRE Chaos army ended up traveling in the upturned lid of a copy paper box.  Just looking around at some buddies of mine, some of them are still holding on to the idea that an unpadded tackle tray will keep things safe.  Some of them don't even bother with that.

Just because it has compartments, doesn't make it safe.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Elfs, Part 2: Deforestation Kelly

Despite my proclivity to start articles series that I never finish and even despite blogger eating the first draft, tonight brings us to part two of my totally awesome Elf series.   Same caveats as before - it's gonna be a while before I start up some fantasy, so I'm just spinning my wheels for fun. 

I'd also like to state that if any of my handpicked, elite cadre of readers wants to shout out some Elfy advice to feel free and do so.  8th edition has shaken most of the low hanging fruit of the ol' list building tree and there are many of us that have no idea of even how the rules shake out let alone what to spend 2250 points on.  So while I'm clearly fishing for some knowledge I can put in the bank, this could helpful for a lot of other people too.

Oh, also, as an elite cadre, feel free to conduct ninja training or super secret raids on my behalf. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

No Pants Friday: Hobby Lists

It's Friday and you've probably already checked out this weeks FNIF and felt that familiar, cold rage creep up your spine as you've no doubt realized that RAW does indeed support getting cover from units with 4 foot gaps between models.  Right about now, you're ready for something nice and fun.  Unfortunately, you have to look at this first:

Interestingly enough, morale actually seems to be improving if you measure it by page views.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Totally Forgot To Title This

Been a pretty solid week so far, work has been productive without the aggressive deadlines and the manic atmosphere that usually accompanies getting things done around there.  The ebay auctions are coming along swimmingly even if they are a bit slow.  Plus, Special Lady Friend has started learning how to play the Axel Foley theme on the ol' keyboard. 

Actually think about that last one - I'm just a bit of her practice away from having a Beverly Hills Cop day - ON DEMAND!  Compare your lives to mine and then kill yourselves.

Actually, one more good thing - the increased blogging of late has led to a whole mess of comments and lots of great interaction with the people I'm internet friends with.  No Pants Friday seems to be doing well and BroLo might actually rip one of them off.  Good times.  Now I just need to get that 'followers' number up...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Pourpre and Purpur

I Got some help requests from yesterday's Tutorial Tuesday.  As always, I am more than happy to help.  Its one of the great things about the painting/modeling side of the hobby - people are actually willing to listen to the advice they were actively looking for.  None of this "what do you think of my list but I really just want validation" crap. 

Anonymous and Orange both had some questions about the color purple - anonymous just wants a recipe and orange wants help with a Thrullg. Wall of text coming your way!

Advice dog is here to help

I'll deal solely with the color itself before I jump into the Thrullg's tentacley embrace.

Purple is one of those colors that a lot of people have issues with.  Like red and yellow, it can be tricky to do right.  Unfortunately, purple suffers from all of the problems commonly associated with red and yellow.

 - Availability of premade shades of purple - between the Citadel and P3 paints, there are a whopping 4 shades of what I would call purple - keep in mind that those ranges add up to something like over 150 paint colors.  Ouch.  Reaper has a ton of purples, but they aren't the most easily found brand.

- Purple has a nasty tendency to be a weak pigment - not nearly as bad as yellow, but you will still need more coats of paint than you probably want.

- Its hard to highlight purple with out running into the whole pastel colors issue.  You have to be pretty careful with just adding white and hoping for the best.

So, how to sidestep these issues or at least try to?

As far as finding pre-made colors goes - you have to either deal with the fact that you can only get your hands on a select few shades or you can bite the bullet and order some of the harder to find stuff.   Reaper Master Series paints are a good place to start due to the wide range of colors available.  That's pretty much it.  You can always mix your own, but then you run into the problem of consistency of color. 

As far as good base coverage goes, the only solution here is hard work.  I notice this a lot with the weaker pigments - its real easy to slip into an over-thick coat of paint complete with a lumpy surface and noticeable brush strokes (I call this 'artifacting').  The only way to deal with this is to be prepared to use multiple thin layers.  Which is something you need to be aware of anyway.*  Its just a matter of thinning the purple down a bit and doing multiple coats - making sure each coat is dry before the next one goes on (a hairdryer on low helps immensely with this).  Sometimes one or two will do, for others it may be 4 or even more.  But that's just the way things are.  If you're in a hurry, then you can use the Citadel Foundation purple as a first layer and then layer other shades on top of that. 

Highlighting purple is the real bear.  Purple turns all pastel the more white you add to it and there aren't that many commonly available shades to work with outside of that.  Its a conundrum.  Plus, as a secondary color, purple has a distinct tendency to stray towards red or blue.  You gotta be careful when you're using one lighter shade to highlight a darker one.  Warlock purple and liche purple are very different colors. If you wanted a blueish shade, be very careful with that warlock purple.

The easy way:  if your a Citadel paint user, get all three of the purples (liche, warlock and hormagaunt).  This will give you a solid pair of blueish purples to work with and a nice reddish one.  You can use the darker one as a base (adding black to shade) and then use the lighter shades to highlight (being careful with adding white for extreme highlighting).  Just keep in mind how close to magenta Warlock purple is.  Its real easy for it to take over the tone.  For bonus points you can track down the P3 purple and throw that in the mix.  The only real downside is that ALL your purples will look alike - you won't have a lot of variation since you have so few shades.  Be aware that the purple wash just sometime wont be dark enough to matter.  Especially on top of the Liche purple.

The expensive way:  track down some of the Reaper Master Series paints.  They often come in these pre-matched trios that make it super easy to find matching tones.  The sheer number of extra purples you can find will really open up color and shade options for you.  You may not have to do as much (if any at all) mixing of midtones, shadows and highlights. Same advice as above - thin coats and careful color matching. Be aware that the Reaper paints dry to an extremely flat finish (your sealant will solve that problem, though).

Highlighting bonus tip:  Don't be afraid to use a blue gray (along the lines of Space Wolve gray or Trollblood highlight) to mix highlights for a blue-purple.  It can obviously end up a bit drab, but you'll sidestep the pastel issue a bit and get a cool effect to boot.  As far as red purples go, a pink or even a pinkish flesh color can also work.  A bone color added to either would also be worth experimenting with to see how you like it. 

To recap:  a good purple needs a solid base coat and highlighting scheme that doesn't make it look like your model is ready for Easter Sunday.  Multiple thin coats and judicious use of white as a highlight are key. 

Now, on to the Thrullg

First up, one thing you can always do is hit up the PP forums and see if they still have an 'ask the studio' thread and ask your question there.

However, if you've ever seen one of the GW master class articles or virtually any PP how-to, you'll notice that the studio painters very rarely use a color straight out of the pot.  Their base coats are almost always some 2+ color mixture and, overall, their schemes are always complicated.  For the purposes of this section, I'm probably going to have to dip into that a bit but I'll try to keep it in terms of what you're likely familiar with.

General Notes:  Be prepared for a lot of layers.  Since this is a mono color monster, a good, even base coat is going to be key.  It will make or break the paint job.

It looks like the scheme goes to ways blue to gray and blue to red.  the base coat is obviously a a blue purple that then transitions to a redish color.  In other areas, the base coat fades to a blue gray.  Both of these are relatively easy to achieve. 

Base coat - Pick a nice dark blueish-purple.  Liche purple would be my guess.  Be sure to thin your paints a bit and do as many coats as it takes to get smooth, even coverage.  Balck or white primer would both work.  If you have both, do a test on something other than the thrullg to see which one purple covers better.

Easy Shading - on another model, do a test to see if the purple wash is dark enough to matter over the Liche purple.  If not, add a touch of baddab black to it and try again.  The key with adding the black is to make it darker without making it too drab.  since we're going to be highlighting up so much, you wont have to add too much black.  I think a 25/75 black/purple mix is a good place to start.

base coat some more - Touch up your base coat.  Layer more liche purple leving the black wash visible in the crevasses.  Then begin layering up to a pure hormagaunt purple.  make sure that at least some Liche purple is still visible.  This means mixing lots of intermediate shades between the two colors.  be careful with the foundation paint as its pigments can take over really quickly.  The key with layering is to not cover up ALL of the previous layer. 

Build up the gray - Troll Blood Highlight is my weapon of choice here.  If you don't have it, either fortress gray or space wolves gray are good subs (mix some experiments with the purple and see which one you like better).  Using multiple thin layers, build up a gradient from the hormagaunt purple to a about a 50/50 mix on the areas you want gray.  The keys to this are, again, thin layers, and patience.  Smooth coats are also going to be important to this transition. 

Finishing the gray - Use a wash of Shadow gray very sparingly in the shadow areas - this is NOT the kind of thing where you slather the whole area with the wash - JUST THE SHADOWS.  Use a very thin wash and use multiple layers for best results.  Do a couple of quick highlights with a mix of the purple/gray color.  These should be much closer to pure gray than when you were creating the gradient.  Do some very sparing extreme highlights with pure gray.  For best results on the tentacles suckers, use simple line highlighting and go straight to pure gray.

Finishing the purple - begin doing your highlighting by mixing warlock purple into the hormogaunt.  Paint a smaller and smaller area with each mix (same as above). Leave plenty of the blueish purple showing to maintain the effect you want. Do some extreme highlights with pure warlock purple and a few (not hardly any at all) areas with a touch of white mixed in. The various bands and banding lines on the muscles on the model are good places for the last highlights.

Note: use a fairly fine brush for all your extreme highlighting.

Note 2:  When thinning your paints, the GW stuff does pretty well with just regular old water.  For our purposes, just a little bit will do you though for everything but the wash.  Also, if you see the paint separating, stir it back together. 

And that's really it.  the rest is just easy details.  Though I would recommend painting the claws and the mouth black before you paint the details to make them stand out better.

Also, please snap some pics of the model when its done.  I'd love to see it.

If you two guys (or anyone for that matter) have any questions on any part of this post, please feel free to contact me.  Either in the comments (I have email notifications set up) or email me directly. I may not be a Mike McVey, but I'm happy to share the knowledge and experience I have.

------[Foot Note]--------------------------
*Not saying you have to use this technique or even that your wrong if you're not, its just best practice.  But best practice is not always useful depending on your own situation.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tutorial tuesday: HAWT LAVA!

3 Tuesdays in a row, bitches!  Woohoo!  Its a tutorial hat trick.

Continuing along with my preference for tutorials that I've actually used, this week brings us to some pretty good hot-lava bases for your daemon/chaos warriors/Dio army brought to you by Lemmingspawn.

It turns out that this isn't the first time I've pimped this guy out to you, but I'll do it again because I think his stuff is just that cool.  Here's his amazing Iron Warriors stuff that still blows my mind as well as all the rest of the stuff he does.  Be sure to check this thread out for a good cross sample. prolific and talented.  God, I hate him.

Back to the tutorial.  I first found this little thing back when I was first noodling around with some Blood Letters I had.  Its a pretty solid tutorial, to be honest.

Pretty awesome effect, huh?
Important Note:  I did not paint this.  There has 
seemed to be some confusion in the past.  That is all.

Like most tutorials (even my own, so settle down), there are a few pieces of key information missing.  Since I've actually worked from this tutorial, here are my notes to help fill in some gaps:

 - You'll have to pardon some of the wierd spellings, odd grammar and strange turns of phrase.  You see, Lemmingspawn is... he's... Australian.  He comes from a place that does more to harm the English language than even we Americans can.  Also, if I've learned anything from 5th grade geography, he probably knows Kirby since all foreigners from the same geographical region know each other.

 - When it comes to making the lava bubbles, I had issues with the size of the starch balls I was able to get as well as the size of the pin heads.  Due to the fact that you're going to be covering the pseudo bubbles in white glue to make them look like melty rock and to cover gaps, its real easy to make the bubbles too big and make them look comical or just plain stupid.  Because of my problems with the materials suggested, I ended up making a bunch of small green stuff balls and then cutting them in half once they dried.  It takes a bit longer, but you end up with more control over the final product.

 - He never bothered to list the paint colors he used.  We just get a vague picture.  Luckily, as frustrating as it is, it's not really important.  Just use whatever colors you have on hand wile keeping two things in mind:  Its a good idea to use a lot of colors to hide your layers better and keep Lemmy's advice about pastel yellows in mind.  Other than that, pick a starting point on a spectrum and go, man.

- On the other hand, the Tamiya clear red is one of two things that you can't really skip over.  You will need this and it is pretty fiddly.  Of course its meant to be thinned and sprayed through an airbrush.  A little water will go a long way to help with streaking.  Also, make sure you let the first layer of the clear red dry before you apply another or seal it or whatever.

- The final gloss coats are mandatory.  Without a few layers of a brush on gloss varnish, the lava will look flat and uninteresting.  You absolutely need the illusion of depth it creates.  So if you're the kind of person who builds the miniatures on the base, it may be a good idea to paint the lava AFTER you seal the mini.  Or at least save the gloss coats (both the red and the final clear) for after the sealing.

And there you have it.  Another extremely solid how-to that has served me well.

If I get my shit together, I may have some pics of my own examples of this method later tonight.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Elfs, Part 1: Some Assorted Nonsense and Something About Elves

For the life of me, I just could not get my head wrapped around a Sunday and Monday post.  Until right this very minute.  Amazing.  It's like you all can actually see me have ideas from the comfortable anonymity of your own bat-caves/McMansions/Hovels or what-have-you.

On Sunday, I was going to write about a pretty excellent Wargaming ASKEW article by Squire Tastytaste over on BoLS.  Oh, and the utterly irrational stupidity that you've come to expect from the comments section.  Buuuuuut... I stopped giving a fuck half way through.

Today, I was going to write up a bit on the various GW options you have for your skirmish gaming - Kill Teams, Combat Patrol and Necromunda.  A compare and contrast kind of thing.  Unfortunately, I don't have the street cred to talk about games I haven't played (Kill Teams, Combat Patrol) and its been literally over a decade since I last played Necromunda.

I think I'd rather talk about Elves instead.  Some of you may find it hard to believe that I just wrote that.

But first, A quick run down of the two almost-rans.  Turns out they don't need a whole post.

The Color of Bullshit is Devlan Mud - actually TastyTaste's article was a pretty solid piece of humor dealing with being over-reliant on a painting technique to the point that it's holding you back.  Turns out that there are a lot of militant Devlan Mud fans who totally missed the point.  Especially this guy, Muskie.  Who, in the process of clumsily transitioning from confused nerd-rage to shameless self promotion, only managed to prove that he is a very uninteresting writer.  I hadn't seen blog posts that boring since the last time I went through my own archives. HIYO!  Although Muskie wins extra bonus points for a terrible nickname and being almost the only person to ever comment on his blog.  ON HIS OWN BLOG!  I'm such a bitch. Well, I learned and I'm sure he will too.


Necro-Combat-Teams.. munda- Kill Team (Battle Missions version) doesn't have enough limits, Combat Patrol has too many.  Necromunda is way more investment in time than is worth it sometimes.  I think there's a middle ground between all three.  But, I need to get some games in with the two 40k mods.  Oh, and bonus points for Tau being the only army that still manages to get stuck with compulsory unit choices in either game. 

Right so on to the attractive and willowy meat of the today's post that is totally, not at all made up at the last minute.


Hmmm, probably going to have to premtively "part one"-ify this bitch.

ELFS!  (Part 1)

8th edition Fantasy has been a real motherfucker in terms of me wanting to spend money and wanting to paint new and crazy things.  It's like the new rule book, Tommy from 3rd Rock From the Sun and that girl from Juno snuck into my dreams and planted their own ideas in my brain.  Oooh, topical.  I'm sure Dethtron and Brent were involved in some ancillary capacity.  In any case, those damn, dirty elves have gotten their hands on me.

Up until recently in my life, I wasn't much of an Elf person.  They were typically portrayed as the super douches of the fantasy landscape.  And the people who were typically drawn to them were super douches as well.  Thankfully, where D&D embraces this, Shadowrun makes fun of it a bit with the whole elf-poseur sub-culture.  And the names, oh Unholy Krondor* the names.  If it wasn't some effeminate bullshit with a bunch of L's in it, it was some effeminate bullshit combo word about animals or the dawn or magic or some such crap. Ugh. There's only so much Elmondoria Magichawk a guy can take.

See what I mean?
Pro-tip:  searching for pictures of elves with google safe search turned off is a mixed bag.

Hell there was even a time when I was still plating WoW that I began to develop a racist attitude toward the bastards.  That's right, actual racism against a fictional race.  I... had problems back then.

Then I discovered that the Eldar had grav-tanks and were pretty damn rock and roll.  Been really enjoying the Eldar codex and all the fluff since that moment.  The space elves are some pretty tough dudes as it turns out.  They make war, not poetry.  They also spend more time actively trying to screw people over and killing motherfuckers rather than simply ignoring them and ultimately agreeing to help out of some sense of honor or duty. 

Quick experiment - compare the wikipedia entry for the Tolkein elves with the entry for the High Elves in Warhammer Fantasy.  Which dudes would you rather hang out with?  The guys whose entry details naming conventions or the guys whose entry details their ass-kicking conventions?

Plus, it doesn't hurt that the models are pretty bad-ass.   

So the Eldar opened my eyes to the wonderful world of bad-ass elves that GW runs.  Non of this Tolkein bullshit and D&D jackassery I was used to. 

Now that the Fantasy bug has eaten its way to the center of my brain, I keep trying to figure out which army I'll play.  There were some early contenders in the Lizardmen**, Skaven and Beastmen, but it keeps coming back to elves. And they come in three flavors, Dark, High and Wood.  Suh-weet.

I think what attracts me to the fantasy elves are the same qualities that attracted me to the Eldar - sleek lines on the models, a range that has a pretty solid visual motif that links the models together, fast moving units and a weird tendency towards elite specializations.  All three flavors have those qualities.  Not to mention the fact that the elves can play in all three combat phases of the game rather than just one or two. 

Now, just to decide which elves I like best and then ignore them for a while. 

------[Foot Notes]--------------------------------------

*Evil be thy name.
**Had to sell the Stegadon Herd to keep the bank from repossessing the ranch.  Then the wife died of dysentery and Junior went off to fight in the war.  Its just me and the dust bowl now.

Friday, July 23, 2010

No Pants Friday: Close Combat is Scary

Well, its Friday and we all just got done reading the latest FNIF. Sow hat to do now? Well, if you don't want to spend undo time considering the warped nega-verse that Not Brent probably comes from, you can always hang out here. With no pants on!

That's right, its another No Pants Friday here at Laubersheimer Industries!

What to blather on about... what indeed. I was going to do something on the ridiculousness of trying to apply classic military philosophy to wargaming. But... I missed the relevance boat by a few months and I don't want to write an actual paper. Then I thought about doing something on the merits of Kill Team and Combat Patrol... but i want to write about it more often than once. So how about...

The Relative Awesomeness of Hand to hand Attacks vs. Vehicles

A subject I'm sure to be partially wrong on... or not. YOU decide!

Right, so among a lot of other authors out there its becoming increasingly common to dismiss or overlook hand to hand attacks as a way to destroy vehicles. Its not usually stated outright, it just comes up in conversation or in an incidental way. I'm sure that it's not even intentional - its just that CC and its flaws tend to be discounted and overlooked in the dialogue.* Now, as more and more new/noob players make there way to the various tactics and strategery blogs that are exploding everywhere, I think the down-playing of hand to hand effectiveness is detrimental to the learning experience.

While making a strategy out of close combat tank hunting is hardly what I'd call easy, rewarding or even possible for many codices - it exists and it will bite you in the ass if you're not ready for it. This is especially true in the face of the increases in the number of truly nasty CC monsters that the 5th edition codices have brought. Compounded by the fact that more and more weener units are coming equipped with grenades (for free).

Now lets get some bullshit outta the way: The Land Raider and the Monolith. They're AV 14 all around and virtually impossible to kill in close combat. These two (the LR in particular) are constantly being trotted out as things that automatically trump the idea of using CC to destroy vehicles. Primarily, beacuse their AV14 asses get to ignore anything that isn't strength 8 or rending. Well, the LR is a problem, but lets face it - its not the most common vehicle in the world. For all of the greatness of the Land Raider, you don't see one in every army. And, the more Land Raiders you see in an army, the less of the other stuff you see. So while its scary, the Land Raider just doesn't automatically invalidate anything. Chances are, your army has something else around that could be employed in an anti-land raider role.**

I guess the point of all this is to impress upon the new guys (who may or may not be aware that I exist) the fact that close combat is actually an effective (if not easy) means of killing tanks.

First and foremost, all CC attacks hit the rear armor of the target. Which is usually terrible. AV10 for the most part. That means that even the lowly frag grenade can get a glancing hit. If the target hasn't moved, then all those attacks hit automatically. What makes this all very, very nasty is the fact that if your opponent charges your vehicle on his turn and then you fail to move on yours (for whatever reason) then there's a second round of auto-hits in your CC phase. On top of that, a successful penetrating hit, has four good results on the table. Two of them destroy the tank, and 2 of them set you up for another go. Plus, its pretty easy to multi-charge groups of tanks.

Even if all you do is keep the tank stunned for a turn or to, how is that any worse than the idea of using autocannons for suppression fire - to the exact same effect?

Beyond the raw destructive potential of CC, there's also the fact that it can fuck with movement and target priority. Often both at the same time. If you want to avoid the ass beating that unit of Marines is going to deliver to your tank line with their 'piddly' krak grenades, then you have to shot them down, or move. Frequently both at the same time. Especially if you simply cannot afford the chance that any of them might survive and might torch your tank.

Now, the other side of the coin:

I'm under no illusions that CC is the best way to go about tank killing. Shooting is still the preferred method for most of us, more options, more range and better probabilities. Give me a melta any day. So as much potential as CC tank hunting has, it also has some serious hurdles. Hitting fast moving tanks on a 6 is pretty improbable - especially when you're stuck with a single grenade attack for each guy. So is actually making it into combat with a vehicle moving like that.

Any kind of bubble wrap, unit pad, space cushion or some other impediment is going to keep you off of the metal boxes. Distance is extremely important and canny players know this. Shooting you down on your march over or even making sure that there's always space between you and them are all very common, easy to implement and hard to avoid strategies. You will see them used. Further, since infantry outside of a tank tend to get killed really quickly (especially when doing something useful), a unit isn't going to be given many turns to run around causing mayhem. Don't count on those 5 assault marines to be around for long once they start causing trouble.

The whole point of all this is that the effectiveness of CC against tanks is often lost in the noise of what is considered best practice. It's not perfect or even 100% effective, but then again, nothing is. Just be aware that despite all the nay saying that goes on about CC's relative merits in this regard, it can and will fuck you up if you aren't paying attention.

Also keep in mind that there are a number of armies who are more reliant on CC than the all so common marines and IG. Daemons, Tyranids, Space Wolves, Orks - all of these guys are extremely happy when one of their CC guys gets onto an enemy tank. To make matters worse, these guys are also better at this then the other armies. This makes it extremely dangerous when you don't pay enough heed to CC as a threat. Do not laugh at a powerklaw Nob or rending Slaanesh Daemon just because the armies they're in are considered 'uncompetitive' or because someone glossed over the finer points of close combat and its relative value.

In short: CC is a another tool in you and your opponents' toolbox. If you have better options, then by all means use them. Hell, plan for better options if you can. Just don't write off close combat in a game involving luck. Forewarned is forearmed.

------[Foot Notes]-------------------------
*I'm sure the really advanced players know how to deal with CC, but it often doesn't come up in the various posts. Just an off handed reference to CC being crappy and its taken for granted that people know the whys and hows of dealing with it.

**Even if its just to glance it into uselessness. A neutralized threat is a neutralized threat.