Monday, July 9, 2018

June Recap

Despite my yearly family vacation eating up two of my weekends during June, I did manage to get respectable amount of games in as well as getting a full 1000 pts painted in time for the Bolt Action D-Day game (albeit a sub-optimal 1000 pts).  I had two normal games of Bolt Action, at 1000 pts, for the month.  In addition, I was one of 5 allied players that participated in the D-Day game.  Unfortunately, we had 7 axis players show up.  The reality is that we would probably have needed 4x the numbers as the Axis team.

Beautiful beach landing area for D-Day.

The nearby town, center board.

The nearby rural area.
Via roll-off, I ended up being the top allied player coming in at 8th place.  In case you have already forgotten, there were 7 axis players...  It was not a good day for the allies.

In other gaming news, it turned out that the Guild Ball group on the other side of town that I had never been able to make it out to had mostly fallen apart.  In an effort to rebuild the community, the organizer moved it over to my side of town at Lucky Dice Cafe and changed the night to one that I happen to be available for (at least for the summer).  So I jumped in on that twice in June, the first time just playing a small 4v4 to shake the dust off and introduce a new guy to the game.  The second game was a full game against an experienced and returning player.  I still want to really like this game but I'm just not sure about the game length and the intimate knowledge of your opponents team that is really required.  Ok, it is not really "required" but I don't respond well when I am caught off guard by something I flat out did not know my opponents guy could do, it doesn't make for a good play experience for me and can cause an entire turn of Guild Ball to collapse.  Anyway, I'll keep trying to give it a go as long as my schedule permits.

While on vacation, I also had a chance to duck into Mrytle Beach Games, which was a nice little game store.  They had a good selection of board games and as well as your typical Magic the Gathering selection/support.  They had a smattering of Warmachine, Guild Ball and Reaper Bones miniatures as well as selection of hobby supplies.  Nice clean store and bit spacious.  I don't know the history of the place (new?) but it did seem like they were still in the process of figuring out how to utilize their space.  I think I will definitely swing by there again next year to see how it is coming along.

Lastly, right before my vacation I linked up with a local guy I had spotted on facebook that was doing incredible stuff for Gaslands.  I tied him in with some others I knew were interested, a bingo they all hit the ground running.  And I subsequently missed 2 games of Gaslands while I was on vacation!  I did eventually get a game in but technically that was in July, so more on that next month.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Bolt Action - Americans

Mentioned in previous posts, I jumped in on a Bolt Action escalation league a few months ago.  The scale (as in the number of figures) and subject matter (WW2) is not the most appealing to me but I really wanted to support some kind of miniature league at Huntsville's new gaming store, Lucky Dice Cafe.  Bolt Action was the first opportunity and I decided to roll with it.  In retrospect, I am really glad I did because it has turned out very well and has been a lot of fun.

Rolling through the first month, I left myself in a bit of bind for trying to get my painting points in for the month.  I managed to get 250 pts of veterans assembled very quickly so I could play but before I knew it I only had one week left to paint them.  So a very interesting challenge presented itself to me:  14 figures in 7 days, something I have never even come close to accomplishing.
The first batch, 14 figs in 7 days.
I'm not really the biggest fan of Warlord's miniatures, so this left me a lot of freedom to really try to push my painting speed since I was not overly concerned how good the final product looked.  I just wanted them painted.  It also forced me to really see how much "messiness" Army Painter's strong tone was could cover up.  Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the results given the time investment.  The figures above eventually had some weathering powder applied to the base to shift the color a little bit.  I also placed the weathering powder randomly to knees and elbows, as well as some other areas that "seemed" to make sense.  All in all it was pretty interesting exercise but was a bit of painful, especially since my sweet spot for batch painting to be limited to just 3 figures!  

I also tracked the actual hours for the figures above.  All said, from not primed to sealed each model came in at about 2 hours.  I was really hoping for a sub 1 hour mark.

Between the initial 250 pt mark for the league and the 1000 pt mark for the D-Day game, I really only managed to paint my Chaffee light tank and get some more guys assembled.  This caused me to not get my painting points for the league for a couple of months.
I may have over chipped it.
While I did not completely rectify the previous mistake of waiting till the last minute, I did at least realize more than week before I needed to knock out another significant batch of models.  And my Greyhound scout car.  So I didn't have 14 models to paint this time, I had 19!  Plus the Greyhound!  And only 2 weeks to do so.
Ugh, so many!
We'll skip an up close shot of the Greyhound as I am not pleased with it currently.  Like the Chaffee, it is also not completely "done."  I'll eventually post some stuff up for them when I wrap them up.

Most interestingly, here I am at basically the half way point of the year and I've painted up 33 Bolt Action infantry figures.  Combine that with the Menoth models I painted for Company of Iron and I'm at 43.  My total for all of last year was just 36, so that has me feeling pretty good.  That is until I  think about all the other projects in the queue...

Anyway, the paints used for these guys:
  • Pants:  RMS Worn Olive (Base); No highlights
  • Jacket:  RMS Faded Khaki (Base); 1:1 RMS Faded Khaki:Bronzed Highlight (Highlight)
  • Webbing:  RMS Terran Khaki (Base); RMS Kahki Highlight (Highlight)
  • Rifle-Steel:  1:1 RMS Pure Black:AP Gun Metal (Base); AP Shinning Silver (Highlight)
  • Rifle-Stock:  RMS Blackened Brown (Base); RMS Intense Brown (Highlight)
  • Skin:  
    • Batch 1:  RMS Bronzed Highlight (Base)
    • Batch 2:  RMS Bronzed Skin (Base)
  • Helmet:  RMS Olive Green (Base); 1:1 RMS Olive Green:RMS Pale Olive
  • All shading was with diluted AP Strong Tone all over the model, some wiped away on highlight areas of the pants.  A second application was done (after the first dried) in select/deeper areas.
Overall, pretty happy with how they turned out.  The highlight's on the helmets are sometimes really off and also do not transition well but I'll try to correct that on subsequent figures.  I should have been more careful in applying the Strong Tone wash.  But, they are done.  Eventually I will need to add my MMG teams and 1-2 squads to have a more robust 1000 pt list but I can at least move on to other things now and revisit this at a more relaxed pace.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

March/April/May Recap

Ok, so I haven't done a good job of regular posts on the blog, let alone getting caught up on things I wanted to post or have meant to post.  On all fronts, things have just been busy but luckily that includes hobby stuff and managing to play games!

March - I'm a bit fuzzy, but I think I managed to get 3 games of Bolt Action in for the month for the escalation league.  Smaller games, only 350 pts, but as I recall them they were very enjoyable.  I also got several games of different things in at Adepticon, along with a few seminars.  More on Adepticon at the end.

April - The Bolt Action escalation league jumped up 500 pts for this month and I got 3 games in.  As a point sink (and out of fear my opponents would do the same) I managed to sneak a light tank into the list.  Again all the games were very good, even the game when I managed to get screwed by any unit having just a single pin on it, despite the units all be veteran.  I also got in a game of Company of Iron, with Mike.  You can find Mike's write up here.  I'm not quite sold on the game yet but I willing to give it another go or two.

May - Ah, my typical hell month because almost all the birthdays in my family are in May and that coupled with the end of the school year chaos, I only managed to get one game of Bolt Action.  I also queued up a bunch of new figures to fill my list out to a 1000 pts for the June D-Day game and got some paint on my light tank and greyhound scout car.

As for Adepticon, it was a great convention as usual.  As usual, I mostly played one-off participation games where the materials were provided and along with a couple of demos.  This included:
  • A Jetbike race using some modified Deadzone rules which turned out to be pretty fun.
  • A Mecha arena pit fight game using modified Deadzone rules.  This one did not turn out so great since it got dumped into someone's lap unexpectedly and he was not familiar with the modifications.  I basically ended up with a Mecha that was configured in a way that couldn't damage other mechs.  Afterwards I think he managed to get it sorted out for the next batch of players and kudos to him for trying to press through as best he could.
  • A 3 round mini-tournament of Eden for beginners.  They did a really great job of introducing new concepts every round and having plenty of people to help out (I think there were at least 3 of them for the 8-10 of us playing).  The game seems a lot of fun and apparently plays out very well with more than 2 players, which is nice.  I may have picked up a starter...
  • Played a Shadows of Brimstone custom scenario which was really great and a lot of fun.  We lost the boss fight horribly but it was still a lot of fun.  The game mechanics can certainly end up stacking the odds against you though.
  • Having re-read through the rules before the convention, I decided to skip out on my game of Fistful of Lead.  Not that the rules are bad, but they just didn't seem that interesting.  Which was why I did not back the kickstarter for their Sci-Fi ruleset.  
  • And then my hobby seminars.  They were good but I'm strongly considering forgoing them in the future.  Between the high costs, poor lighting conditions and other factors, I'm just not sure it is a good investment for me.  In fact, I really wonder if it would be a better investment to just hang out in the painter's lounge working on stuff with fellow painters.  We'll see.
  • I've also got a great demo of SAGA and have been really itching for it since.  All my other projects have taken priority though and so far I have "behaved."
Rounding all that out, in this period of 3 months, I've gone and double the number of kickstarters I backed in 2017.  Of course, that was only 1 so it is not that bad.  I succumbed to the Godtear kickstarter and I also had to go in on Dave Taylor's book.

Well, that sort of gets me caught up.  Next I will hopefully get some pics of my bolt action guys up along with my notes on how I painted them (before I loose them).  I've still got a lot on my plate to be ready for the NOVA Open though, so we'll see...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

January/February Recap

Ok, so I am a little behind on posting up to the blog.  Things have been pretty busy this year (already) on all fronts:  family, hobby and work.  Before we recap Jan & Feb (combined since I failed to even get a January recap up), let me remind myself about some missing blog posts I need to get up:
  • Final Thoughts of 2017 Hobby Audit
  • Hobby Goals for 2018
  • Company of Iron Hobbying
  • Bolt Action Hobbying
  • Bolt Action Proxy Hobbying
Alright, with that done and spoiling a few things, let's jump to what has been keeping me so busy (on the hobby front) the past 2 months.  The main item that kept me busy during January was the Tale of Three (Four, nope Three) Gamers challenge for Company of Iron.  I posted a bit up about this challenge a few weeks ago, here and have made a few updates directly to Mike that he has posted on his blog Mini Mayhem.  I did not get my unit painted up by the Jan deadline and it has dragged through most of Feb (yes, I might not make Feb either).

This is partly due to some burn out (I pushed really hard at the end of Jan to try make my painting goal for Company of Iron) and partly due to stumbling upon a Bolt Action escalation league at our new local store, Lucky Dice Cafe.  The league had a big mega battle (2500+ pts per side) at the end of Jan to launch the league.  With the Company of Iron challenge hanging over me (along with my failure of the Jan goal) I really did not want to take on more projects.  But, I really wanted to be involved in something with the new store and to expand beyond my limited play opportunities.  Given there were already 8 people signed up for the league, I went for it.

Which meant, I need to assemble my first 250 pts by the start of the league which was only a week later and to eventually get them painted up by the end of Feb.  Both of which I did, so some great hobby progress was accomplished, although I am still behind on my other challenge. 

Anyway, to compliment the Bolt Action hobby time, I've also managed to get 4 games of BA between Jan and Feb.  Granted, the first was just a couple of turns of a partial force of Germans for the league kickoff game and the 3 other games have been at the 250 pts level for this month's league.  Still, its been good to get out a play and to see something like this going on at the new game store.  I even believe over the month of Feb we saw the league grow to 14 players.  Maybe some of those people can be converted to Konflikt 47 players...

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

2017 Hobby Audit (Spending Analysis) Part 3/4

Well apparently the account does not like the beatings.  He ran the numbers again and things did not turn out quite as well as I had thought.  Still there are improvements, mostly.  Off the top of my head, the same caveats as previous years still apply.

Anyway, the spending breakdown:
Modelling Supplies:  15%
Painting Supplies:  19%
Gaming Supplies:  11%
Terrain Supplies:  8%
Miniatures:  42%
Scale:  1%

Other views: 
How much of the total spending was on kickstarters:  <1%
How much at conventions:  25%
How much FLGS:  Kinda lost track and don't feel up to backing it out.  Not significant though.
How much toward things that are getting to the table: 24%

The account swears by his numbers and it turns out my initial estimate of only going over budget by 5% was wrong.  He says it is more like 17%.  So, not as great as I had hoped but still a reduction from last years 23% over budget numbers.  Once again (making 2 years in a row) modelling and painting supplies took a pretty major hit with the purchase of my second hobby lamp (this one for my airbrush area).  It also looks like I got a little carried away at Adepticon.  But there was a major shift on kickstarters, getting it down to "noise" level! 

In truth, the money spent toward things getting to the table may be optimistic, since we have already seen how many hobby games I can manage to get.  They are all things that are pretty solid for the local group, so I am going to stand behind those numbers for now.

Explanation of categories, if curious:
Modelling Supplies - Includes items for assembling, miniature storage, etc
Painting Supplies - Includes paints, brushes, etc
Gaming Supplies - Need it to play the game, or it helps.  Includes tokens, cards, rules, etc.
Terrain Supplies - Anything related to terrain or the making of terrain
General Hobby - Things not related specifically to a particular aspect, like gaming/hobby magazines
Miniatures - Take a guess
Board Games - No hiding miniatures here!  Imperial Assault goes under Miniatures.
RPGS - Bet you can guess this one too.
Scale - Scale models/Non-gaming models

Up next, final thoughts.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Tale of Four Gamers - Company of Iron, My Week 1

So, taking a break from my 2017 Hobby Audit, I've decided to touch on and provide a week one update of something I'm involved in for 2018.  My buddy Mike over at Mini Mayhem, along with Derek at Throne of Angels have dragged me into a Tale of Four Gamers.  Mike is documenting the overall effort and what not on his blog, so if you are interested check it out.  As we intend to play at Adepticon, this will count as my "paint something for Adepticon" goal.

So for this first month of the Tale, I foolishly decided to go for what will be the only unit in my force:  Protectorate Exemplar Errants.  Tackling these guys first would hopefully give me plenty of breathing room to work the remaining force in parallel to other projects I would like to be working on.  So, straight off the bat on January 1st I jumped in.  And I jumped in the deep end.  I figured by the end of the first week, I would have everything assembled, cleaned, primed and the white completed.  And this is where I got:

They may look dangerous but just get out of their peripheral vision,
they can't turn their heads side to side.
Yep, just barely got to the assembled and cleaned (debatable) state.  And that alone took a herculean effort.  There are a lot of things I want to "say" about these models but they are not very nice words or comments.  I just can't resist at least one comment though:

Nice, "nubs" for slotting into the figure!
See those 2 red circles, indicating the "nubs" to be slotted?  Look at the figure and tell me where to slot them?  I kinda figured out, albeit to late, that the scabbard one is "supposed" to fit on the belt right behind the left thigh armor.  And that was really the problem with these figures, a lot of "supposed to's".  In fact, in a fit of rage and desperation let's look at what did not get attached:

Hmm, yeah we don't have time for this BS.
Yes, some are spare/extra parts but most are not.  This is a very dysfunctional group of soldiers.  Four have decided to drop their shields and pull their crossbows.  While the other six thought it was a better tactical choice to drop their crossbows and pull their sword and shields.  Who is in charge of this chickenshit outfit!?  Oh wait, I guess that is technically me...

The best part, I am thoroughly convinced that these guys will only perform if painted to the highest standards humanly possible.  Otherwise, they will just roll over and somehow die during deployment.  I'm sooo looking forward to the quality time I get to spend with these a-holes.

Friday, January 5, 2018

2017 Hobby Audit (Goals Failed) Part 2/4

Let's just jump right in, the 2017 Hobby Goal failures:

Specific Goals:
  • "Weeks having played miniature games > 12"
    • Sadly I ended the year with only 8 weeks where I actually played a miniature's game.  Lots of real life conflicts interfering with the bi-weekly game days coupled with the groups obsession with Frost Grave (and my disinterest in Frost Grave) limited my ability to get many games in.  Needless to say, this is trending in the WRONG direction.
  • "Weeks having played board or role-playing games > 20"
    • I am dumbfounded that this is such a hard goal for me but I ended the year with only 8 weeks where I played a board game (most of which were with my daughter).  There is a weekly Wednesday lunch group at work that plays board games.  The problem is, I'm that hard pressed to get my hours in at work with 2 kids now.  That being said, my daughter has managed to help me get a few games in.
  • "Read more books => 12"
    • Ah, this is embarrassing.  I read no books this year.  I just never really found myself with the free time to read.  I even tried audio books but there is an adjustment period, IMO, with them that I just never managed to get past.  The baby certainly did not help this, and usually when I found myself with enough free and quiet time to do this, I gravitated to my hobby desk.
  • "Paint something for CMON Expo"
    • Well, since I decided fairly early not to go to CMON Expo I did not bother to paint something up.  Honestly, the "gap" between Adepticon and CMON make this a tight deadline for me, compounded by usually deciding not to go.
  • "Painting something for NOVA Open"
    • Well, since I decided fairly early on that I probably would not make the NOVA Open I did not bother to paint something up.  Regardless, I should have still painted up my Blood Bowl team so that I can have it ready to play Stu if I ever make it back there.
  • "Paint up 1 (of my many) Dungeon Crawl type games."
    • Well, I gave this one a shot with Tail Feathers but it just did not help that I enjoyed the project.  Granted, I think I will enjoy playing Tail Feathers with my daughter.  I just don't enjoy painting these models up, so I got distracted every chance I could.  I finished the year with 2 birds, 5 bird riders and 1 solo still left to do.  
General Goals:
  • Oh the infamous "Don't buy more miniatures than you paint."
    • Nope, did not happen.  Sadly 77 models bought is probably at the lowest I have every been but I only painted about 36 models.  Still, compared to years past this is a pretty big improvement.  Also, keeping this goal in mind waved me off of a lot of purchases that I do not regret.
Overall, given the goals that I did achieve, I don't think it is to bad.  Other than reading no books for the year.  Ugh.  Yes, I certainly intended to get more done for the year but I was also dealing with a newborn.  Next time, my 2017 spending analysis.