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.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Work in Progress: Project Future Boys

I've been yammering on about my Eldar army for about a year. So instead of oblique references, its time for some photographic evidence. I pulled out all the stuff I had done so far and took its first ever group photos.

But first, an interlude on macro-photography: Macro photography is extremely time consuming and, at times, difficult. There are very good reasons why many people just can't be bothered. In the far future once I've figured out my lighting situation (note to self: buy/construct light box), then I'll probably do more of it. But for today's show and tell, I went with good old fashioned regular flash photography and let Picassa sort it out.

Make sure you click on the pictures for the full size versions

The initial army list can be found here. Having done some playtesting I know that a third unit of Fire Dragons is in order and due to the re-release of the Fire Prism and my own interests, some Falcons will show up as well.

As far as the actual painting goes, its a bit weird for me. I went well out of my way to keep the paint scheme simple and easy to replicate. The goal was to get an army painted in a shorter amount of time (relatively speaking). Lots of line highlighting, no advanced techniques and a more cartooney vibe to the whole thing. Its been an interesting ride so far. Initially I was worried that the whole thing wouldn't be as rewarding as the various 'masterpeices" I chase after. The thrill of the challenge and all that. But now that I'm 3 vipers and 3 prisms away from being done, a nearly complete army has become totally worth the compromises.

Anywho, comment away. We all know that I love answering questions about my projects

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday - Shipping Your Models

Two in a row. YES! The grand experiment continues and the dawn of Thutorial Thursday is staved off.

[Note from the future:] I forgot to make Tutorial Tuesday as edgy as I wanted. So.... I guess my shit is fuck. BAM! Edgy.

This week I have a video tutorial for you. I apologize in advance for some of the ridiculousness contained therein. You'll see why in a sec.

Weird moments of anger: check
Doofy golf visor: check
Poor lighting: check
Dropping stuff: check
Terrible music: check
Jamming out: check

Good advice: double check

That last bit is the most important part. For all the goofiness, this is a pretty good tutorial. It conveys 97.468 percent of the information you need. I just like to razz people

The only thing it's really missing is some better info on the Dremel bit you need. Its probably some kind of high speed cutter. The Dremel site has some options you can look at. Duder is probably using one of the larger cylindrical ones.

Anywho, as I'm selling off my back catalog of minis to make money for newer and bigger boondoggles, I have a need to ship fully painted miniatures. I have a bunch of stuff from the early days of my carreer - back when drybrushing was all the rage and chaos warriors looked like this:

Not mine, though. Mine weren't nearly this sw8.

I wasn't big on miniature cases back then, so I needed a way to ship things without them breaking. I found this little tutorial with a hail marry pass of a Google search. It turns out that I didn't have thick enough foam, a big enough Dr. Illbit or enough time/patience to try and force my way through despite my material shortages. I got about as far as experimentation. BUT, the method is sound and a great way to ship/store your models.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Train (Wreck) of Thought

One of the interesting side effects of this whole blog thing is the fact that I get a lot of practice writing. Which is great for me, professionally speaking. I feel like I've gotten to be a better of a writer due my practice here. Another bonus of posting a lot is that people tend to recognize that you're busting your hump trying to get articles out and will cut you a little slack on your editing and train of thought.

On to the meanderings:

My fluffy bunny side is constantly at odds with my competitive side. Despite my cribbing of army lists from YTTH, Mind War and the like, there's always this part of my brain that wants to put plasma pistols on Space Marine sergeants and field Marneus Calgar with a full honor guard. Luckily the part of my brain that actually likes to win games has gotten better at heading off my crazy ideas at the pass before they manifest in the 'real' world.

Those sites I mentioned have been real god-sends in terms of making 40k gel for me. Dethtron and I were talking about this - sometimes you really just need someone to hand you a tool so you can go about the business of learning the game. Dethtron (so am I) is befuddled by 8th edition fantasy and I had problems with 40k. The lists I got from YTTH were/are extremely helpful in just getting the game to click for me.

But there's just one catch - while I don't want the fluff bunny side of me to waste all my damn time and money, I don't want to give up that side of my completely. Rarely does Stelek do anything with what would typically called a 'fluff perspective'. And that's totally fine. He has his focus and he pursues it and while he acknowledges all of the other types of gamers and mentalities out there, he isn't all that interested in it. If you ask him for list advice - its always going to be filtered through his particular view point on competitive play.

But for me, not every game has to be played with the high level of seriousness that Stelek has that manifests itself in his lists. Yes I want to win and I want to play a tighter game - but as good as things like the Maximum Overdrive list are, they just don't grab me.

Despite my new found eye toward the competitive, I'm still drawn do things that tickle me in some way - like lots of grav tanks, or things with an element of the ridiculous in them. I want to focus on the ridiculous for a bit. You see, not every game has to be optimized. I don't mind playing games with a gimmicky army or even a wildly unbalanced one. Knowing what I know now, I can go into these kinds of games and just have fun with the business of pushing something weird around the table. Sometimes it doesn't matter if I win, just so long as I have fun doing it.

Some examples:

- The Stegadon herd (RIP): I know in my heart of hearts that there would be many games where I would be straight screwed. But, who cares. No matter what, I'd get to push around 7 large monsters. Ridiculous.

- This crazy fast Daemon list: I know the post title has the word 'competitive' in it, but lets face facts - as cool as Daemons are, their weird collection of rules and shortcomings make them pretty unreliable in a lot of ways. My Vassal experience with this list made it pretty clear that while this list is still full of incredibly random, no shooting daemons, it was hella fun.

- SandyDuncanWyrms Emo-wing: And here we are - the real reason I started this post. For whatever reason, there's just something compelling about a bunch of sad hawk-men. This is the exact kind of list I would push around. This is the kind of thematic craziness that really gets me going. It won't win every game, but it'll have fun doing whatever it does. Chumby had a good one as well, but just doesn't have quite the same level of insanity that SandWrm's has - but it's close. The Emo-wing has more special characters, more nipples and then the Deathmask speeders on top of all that. Sorry Chumbles.

But as a consolation prize, Chumby, I got you a Star Sapphire. Now just because
this is for Chumby doesn't mean we can't all add this to our slide-shows.

This list isn't by any means the ultimate list but its still pretty optimized. Or as optimized as the permise will allow. SandyWyrm even admits that its not perfect. He just wants to push some Sanguinary Guard around the table as best as they can be. And I fully support that. This is the exact kind of list I was talking about earlier.

Bonus points for this being cheap as hell. Assuming a 20% discount on applicable models, I figure this whole thing could be made (including the metal guys) for less than $300. That's a pretty rare feat these days.

Fun, crazy and cheap. The emo-wing is officially on my 'to steal' list. Bravo, good sir.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Dinosaurs: Not as Rad as Previously Thought

Science has lied to us about dinosaurs before. Between stuff like that and the realities of 8th edition fantasy, I'm a very sad Stegadon lover.

It turns out that not only are percentages a major part of army construction, but that there are a ton of other rules that make the Stegadon Herd fairly useless as well as impossible (at 2000 pts). Terror isn't as awesome as it was, template weapons will shark rape the skinks in the howdah and I can't squeeze 7 Stegadons into anything much less than 3000 points.

I've already had a bit of cry about this and I've already bitched and moaned about the percentages thing as well so I'll spare you the details.

Time to be positive.

As much as it pains me to let go of my Lizard dream, its for the better.

As far as I can tell from all the 7th edition battle reports and the opinions of some people who I go to for that sort of thing, Warhammer Fantasy was a little less fantastical than the players would like. From what I've been able to gather, the game felt too much like it did when I was still playing back in the 90's. Which was a problem.

By all accounts, 8th edition is almost an entirely new game and a fun one at that. So, I'll miss the idea of my 7 Stegadons playing in the yard and chasing down big blocks of infantry. I'll also miss the way the nuzzled me when it was feeding time and the way they didn't require me to paint 40 man units. However, I know that I can find good homes for my dino-buddies and I know that Warhammer Fantasy was a approaching teribad status before 8th.

Beyond all the begrudging respect I have for the 8th edition changes, there are further things that mitigate the kind of retro teen angst I was feeling about a month ago.

- The army is almost entirely assembled and still in original boxes, so I can still resell it at a good price and I didn't end up wasting much of my time

- I didn't spend much more than $45 bucks of my own cash on the army, so my financial loses are pretty tiny - though that means that a lot of Christmas gifts just became kind of a bummer.

- I hadn't had much time and interest to work on the army in the first place. Its freaking July and I only got as far as one test skink and a half assembled Stegadon. My Eldar and a bunch of side projects keep all of my painting time firmly rooted in 40k.

- I still have yet to buy the 8th edition rulebook. Now I'm not complaining about the price, but 75 bucks is a lot to spend in addition to all the models I'd need for a game I haven't played yet. Especially in the face of a massively overdue completed Eldar army.

- There are any number of other projects I want to work on, so the money I can raise from selling off the lizards will help out with whatever boondoggle I get involved with next.

The subtext here is that I'm selling off the Lizardmen rather than pressing on with them. It's like I said before, I'm just not interested in the Lizardmen beyond their capacity to have Stegadons. The rest of the model range just leaves me kind of cold (get it?! Because they're cold blooded! HA!!) and I'm not interested in watering down the dino-might experience with actual troops. The sheer ridiculousness of the whole army has been removed and, with it, my desire to play Lizardmen.

As it happens, I've still got the same Fantasy bug that everyone seems to have right now. I will be getting a fantasy army in the future - the question is really not a matter of if, but when and what army. Primarily, I'd like to learn how to play before I commit to a list.

With that - play me off, Ke$ha

Friday, July 16, 2010

No-pants Friday: Imperial Guard

Over the years that I've been running Laubersheimer Industries, the focus has shifted. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but whatever. the point is this: when I started this blog I had high hopes for it being some kind of amazing reference source and a showcase for my painting. In the beginning, painting was all I was pretty much interested in.

Fast forward to now. My interests in the hobby have shifted a bit. I'm still balls deep in the painting, but I've also started paying a lot more attention to the actual gaming. Things like list building and strategery are much more on my mind.

Which brings me to No Pants Friday.

While reading other blogs, Ive discovered that many gamers are masochists.
For whatever reason, punishing your readers in some way begets more readers.

Right along side Tutorial Tuesdays, I'm going to attempt to do a weekly series in which I talk about things that I have a less stable footing with. Strategy, list building and all that gaming related stuff that TKE, Kirbs and Stelek all do so well. Hopefully, I'll be rewarded by dropping trou and letting it hang out... rather than kicked in the junk.

Now that today's pictures has gotten me that 20% drop in employee satisfaction index scores Dethtron was talking about, I bring you the first No Pants Friday topic:

I Think I Know Why People Hate the Imperial Guard

People seem to hate the Imperial Guard Codex. I think I know the really real reason. Oh sure its a fine book for the people who play it - lots of options, good internal balance and lots of shooting. For many of the people who play against it, its often a different story. Even though the book has been out for more than year, people still complain about them being overpowered.* Hell, the IG are frequently rated as number one in people's top 10 competitive armies lists.

Since Dethtron is my regular opponent, I've played against guard a lot. I don't find them all that scary/irritating/worthy of scorn/broken. In my experience, an IG army is a pretty tough not to crack, but it's till just like any of the newer codices - you still have to know what you're doing to win with it and against it. In short, its good but its not that special. However, I have an advantage that many people do not.

I've seen a lot of people talk about the most obvious part of the IG reputation - the fact that they have a shit load of tanks. We all know that the one, inescapable fact about 5th edition is that tanks are good. But in my mind, that's only part of the bigger picture.

The reason I think that the IG get all the hate and see all the big tournament wins is because they can fuck with every aspect of people's game - even if the IG list isn't all that good. By its very nature, the IG army forces people to move past the same old shit they've been doing previous to the newest codex.

If it's not the IG tanks, its the IG numbers... or fucking with reserve rolls.. or the near unbreakable Commissar tarpit mega squads (my personal favorite)... or all the fast vehicles... or you get the idea. Like so many of the newer codices, it's all about the options. Whatever it is, some aspect of even a mediocre IG list is likely to put a monkey wrench in the works of Joe Gamer and his beloved Fluff Marines battle force.

And I understand why Joe Gamer is unhappy about all of this - in the little section of the blog-o-sphere that I nominally run in, its real easy to forget that there are a ton of people out there who just want to push their favorite miniatures around the table and call it good. Beer and pretzels types, hard core hobbyists, fluff bunnies - whatever it is, much of the 40k community is dudes in basements or fuckin' around in an FLGS drinkin' Mountain Dew and shooting the shit- not the tournament scenesters. Even if Basement Bob and FLGS Fred go to a tourney - they're still not all that concerned with optimization.

That advantage I mentioned - its a willingness to adapt.

So really, for me, what it comes down to is that by intent or accident**, the IG players kick over a lot of sand castles. The book is fine, it just changes the way people play more than any other army. And people hate that.

So this brings us to a close on my first serious steps outside of the painting studio (so to speak). Hopefully, I haven't simply regurgitated something everyone knew already. I;m sure if i did (or if people think I;m wrong) , I'll hear about it. Welp, constructive criticism is one of the keys to getting better. Be gentle.

------[Foot Notes]--------------------------------------
*was going to post a thread I found about this, but the same group of people were also bitching about Necrons being overpowered.

**Seriously, I do mean accident. There are tons of IG players out there who are firmly in the "I don't give a shit about optimization and high-level gaming" camp who just want to screw around with their IG codex.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fluffy Side Up: Yani - Live at the Apocalypse

My title for this post is not just a clever play on words. This post is all about the things that turn people off to Apocalypse games - things that make the game boring. Kinda like what Yanni does to music....

No, no, no... stop. That's just awful. Not only is Yanni an easy target, but he's also a dead horse. Is he even culturally relevant anymore? God, it's like a let JiveProfessor write my jokes for me.

"HAY! Look at me, I'm Jiveproffessor!! Dragonball Z reference useful info useful info star wars reference useful info internet meme snappy closing."

Haha! I kid, I kid. And I kid because I care.

Welp, I've thoroughly fucked up my intro now by writing down what was actually going through my brain.

You want to make sex with me, yes?

Right. So..... Apocalypse.

As I mentioned previously, for all the potential the Apocalypse expansion has, there are about a billion problems with it that make it extremely hard to have a 'game' if something isn't done to mitigate those issues.

The only person who gave a shit about the last Apocalypse post hit the nail on the head:

GMort Sez:

We tend to prepare the lists a fair bit in advance and limit the quantity of certain units like Super-Heavies. The house-rule document we use is about 3 pages long now, lol. That said, we don't really play Apocalypse super-competitively It's more a chance for a load of us to get together and use those really cool Forgeworld models that we never get to use normally and show off units that don't always make it into a normal 1500-2000 point game. Good preparation is the key to an enjoyable game I find ;-)

I'm gonna grab a key phrase out of that last sentence to help make my point (such as it is): enjoyable game. That right there is the key thing that too many people miss when they set up their Apocalypse shenanigans. 40k is supposed to be a game. Good games operate under an assumption of fairness. Unfortunately, the Apocalypse system, as written, tends to get pushed to an extreme where it falls down.

Specifically, its really, really, really, really easy to simply spend your way to victory.

All those scary things like super heavy vehicles, fliers, str D weapons and 10 inch blasts don't typically come on the models you already have. For the most part, it's forgeworld stuff - very pricey forgeworld stuff. Now, in a game system where most gamers barely have enough money for a 2000 pt army, the only protection they have is the force org chart. What the fuck do they do against 3 titans if they can barely afford a couple of Land Raiders?

Remove unit limitations and the game can become a full on arms race. You spend more money, you gain an advantage. Lame. No amount of well meaning assumptions about sportsmanship and propriety will prevent that.

Which brings me to another thing GMort hit on: the best possible thing you can do to ensure a good Apocalypse game is prepare. A lot. Its not just a matter of lining up people's weekends, its taking into account the flaws in the Apocalypse rules and working toward a fair game even if its not competitive. Make those house rules, share super heavies, ban flank march - do what ya gotta do. Just make sure the eight hours you spend playing is fun for everyone, not just the guys with 4 baneblades. Whatever you do, don't half ass it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Worthless Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum

It's no secret that many people in the 40k blogging community are kinda anti-forum. Myself included. Hell, Dethtron has made a career out of it.

I obviously can't speak for the likes of Stelek, Kirby or My Liege Elessar, but I find much of what gets posted to the various big boards out there to be thoroughly useless. Especially once you get into ANYTHING that has to do with tactics and list building. As vaunted as the 'community' and 'open discussion' aspects of forums are, they're often the biggest road blocks to good advice.

[Side note] Seriously, how much of a community can you form from a collection of random and anonymous strangers? In my opinion: not very much of one.

All of that 'community' and 'open discussion' leads to a very common end point of the army list/tactics thread - total uselessness. Too many people talking and too many people allowed to talk.

Essentially, you have a lot of 'experts' with no credentials being allowed to voice their opinions so long as they follow the letter of the rules. As with any event involving people who think they're experts - ego's tend to run into one another. Fights start to emerge, side fights emerge and then the actual idiots get involved. To top it all off, most of the people who want advice or opinions are really just looking for someone to validate their thinking.

It's even worse when someone posts a legitimate question and then no one can be bothered to answer. Or sure, its monumentally important to discuss how awesome Ogryns are but as soon as someone needs genuine help, not even the crickets bother to post.

To bring home my point, and to continue the high I got from my FNIF, I'm going to snowmobile a perfectly normal advice thread. For an added layer of journalistic integrity, I'm going to go back in time and make fun of myself.

Here's a question I asked on the Bolter and Chainsword during the end days of 4th edition 40k and my brief and catastrophic flirtation with the Dark Angels. Click here for the original.My comments are in classic Laubersheimer Industries Boo-berry Blue and my intelligent comments are in luxurious Dethtron Red. There will be far fewer red comments.

MainLauby - So, I'm building and painting my first Dark Angel Tactical Squad (10 man) and, being a noob, I need some advice. Which should have been - quit painting Dark Angels while you're ahead What weapons do I equip the models with?

I've alrady built and painted the sargeant with a chainsword and plasma pistol (now knowing full well I should have equiped a power fist - 20/20 hindsight, drats!). Score 3 for spelling errors and lose 1 for every point wasted on extraneous wargear. Total: -12.

My initial plan was to equip a plasma gun and a heavy bolter (because I had the model). Hoever, are there other, better or more tactically flexable combos? I was thinking maybe a Rocket Launcer and melta. Ah, some re-occurring themes with me before my discovery of YTTH - poor spelling and building things because they look cool rather than because they are good.

Keep in mind that my only heavy wapon choices are the bolter and rockets.

Thanks in advane. God damn, that's some poor spelling. A genuine question on my point, but hard to answer since its not in the context of an army list or anything useful like that. at all.

Isiah - The missile launcher and meltagun are good all-round choices. The meltagun is better than the plasmagun in my opinion as it allows you to assault after firing and doesn't overheat. The ML is a cheap versatile but no-frills weapon that can be used v armour and troops. With this combo you will have a solid take all comers squad. Granted, the lascannon and plasma cannon would be excellent choices but each are very focused on a certain type of target. So maybe bear those in mind for the next Tacs you build. Sadly, this is about as good as the advice gets. What really should have been said is play regular marines instead. Other than that, Isiah here, does a good job of trying to answer an poorly asked question.

Stella Cadente - for first squad........well it depends, what do you want it to do? Good point. And one I had not ever considered. And never did.

for standing back like cowards: pay attention to this choice of words 10 men Lascannon and plasma gun
for running in like heroes: Power fist and Meltagun
for a unit who are mixed about what they are and not good at any of it : power weapon, Heavy bolter and Meltagun

at least thats what I think I think that people who give advice shouldn't be so wishy-washy about it

Chaplain Lucifer - IMHO you should gauge your words more carefully. You are, apparently, easily offended Stand and shoot is a perfectly viable tactic and has nothing of coward of shameful. Why the fuck do you care? Is your membership for the All-Inclusive Super Best Friends Lifestyle Tolerance club up for renewal? Different folks, different strokes, and if for you having 10 guys running forward with a meltagun fits your style, for others, standing and shooting till there is no enemy alive is their style. And this is where the thread starts to become really useless. At this point I haven't learned anything and a stupid fight over semantics has sprung up.

MainLauby - all quibbling aside, I'll think I'll rock the melta and heavy bolter. Thanks for the advice. To this day, I have no idea how I came up with this combo. I'm pretty sure it revolved around how cool I thought the heavy bolter looked. Later on, I waffled back to a plasmagun. I then proceeded to waste a lot of time building and painting this squad only to find out that it sucked within playing two games.

At this point the thread devolves further into some people sniping at each other and then a bunch of stupid shit about how awesome shooting things is. Then there was a brief rules argument and then someone who has no pride in his models told me that yanking off the fully painted sergeant's arms was a good idea. One other person tries to give me actual advice, but fails because it didn't involve quitting the Dark Angels and, instead, convinced me to take a plasmagun with my heavy bolter.

I just don't have it in me to bother snowmobiling the whole thing. Its all pretty stupid and nothing interesting or useful gets talked about. Which is really what this whole blog post is about.

From this terrible advice to my own pathetic army list with an equally pathetic army, I ended up dropping 40k for a year or more.

Fucking forums.

[Edit:] gonna go back and add some pictures later tonight.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Tutorial Tuesday - Magnetic Vypers

Just got back from a cross country trip back to the homelands of Illinois to visit various friends for various reasons. Along the way, I got to hang out with Dethtron, traveled over 2000 miles, got hit on by a gay dude, met a collection of drunk stupid bitches and went to a wedding. Also, another good buddy of mine's wife went into labor during the wedding ceremony.

All in all a good trip.

Importantly, for blogging, I drunkenly chatted with Dethtron about blogging and my relative lack thereof. Between a good conversation about Not Brent and a polite decline of my drunken offer to piggyback on his success, I learned something:

I spend too much time damn writing my blog posts. So, I'm gonna experiment. Instead of spending the hours (and hours) writing my posts, I'm just gonna try the shotgun approach. I'm just gonna write what comes to mind within an hour or so and limit my editing. You get more content, I get more practice and, hopefully, more readers.

Thus is born - Tutorial Tuesdays.

Every Tuesday, I'm going to try and hold myself to a goal of finding a great web tutorial on... something and then share. Kinda like what the Painting Corps do, only with swearing. The bonus here is that if I miss Tuesday, I can always have a Thutorial Thursday instead.

Right before I went on vacation, I was getting ready to paint some Eldar Vypes for the much overdo Project Future Boys. On the verge of permanently affixing the turret weapon, I suddenly remembered that I could probably use magnets or something to make the weapons swappable.

After a few minutes, I found this: The Magnificent Magnetic Vyper.


Overall, its a pretty good tutorial. I think it suffers a bit from what many web tutorials suffer from (my own included) - namely, poor photography and less than precise language. Good nonetheless.

Anywho, I ordered magnets and went on the trail of tears I call a nonstop drive to Illinois.

When I got back, my magnets had arrived and i got to work (after a nap).

Here are my Notes:

- I didn't bother with all the frou-frou of making the turret fully pose-able. I only did the bit where you can swap the weapons.

- I used the same magnet supplier as the poster - K&J Magnetics. They make all the sizes you'll need at a reasonable price.

- There is no such thing in K&J's stocks as a 1/16" dia x 3/16" long cylinder. Just go ahead and get a bunch of the 1/16" dia x 1/16" cylinders. You'll also need a mess of 1/16" dia x 1/32" discs.

- I also didn't use any greenstuff. I find it to be a pretty great option when you're filling joins and such on more organic or small parts. But pretty awful on flat surfaces and straight edges since it doesn't take well to sanding. I used Milliput, but any sandable putty will work.

- Back to that communication and precision of words issue - because of the magnet size that does not exist and some personal preferences with measuring and drilling, I had a significantly different approach to the weapon magnetization. See my kewl diagram.

- Be extra careful with your polarities. The goal is to have all the weapons be interchangeable so make sure all the magnets line up the same way on all parts before gluing. If you put the magnets in wrong, then the thing won't work.

- When gluing the magnets into the sides of the mount, I stick the 3 cylinders and the disk together and then push them all through the hole I made. This allows you yo check to make sure things are level and properly spaced before you glue.

- I added the disk magnets to the bottom of the weapon and the seat on the mount to increase stability. Its a good idea to do this part first before gluing on all the horizontal stuff as the side magnets will tend to grab the seat magnet.

- Do a bunch of Vypers at the same time to avoid confusion and save time.

That's all for now. Lets see how long I can keep up the pace.

Friday, July 2, 2010

HEY! Look at me!!!

While it's not a fully full on Laubersheimer Industries post, I am doing Dethtron's job for him over on Dick Move. I voluntarily subjected myself to writing one of his Friday Night Internet Fights.

If you're one of the unlucky who has never heard of Dick Move and his epic fight against stupidity, I urge you to check things out.

Gogogogogo! Friday Night Internet Fight - Round 18