Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Painting Guild Ball Masons - Highlight

Moving on with my Mason models, the next step was to begin highlighting.  If you haven't figured it out yet, I am a fan of Reaper Triads.  For whatever reason, I like these paints and I like being able to quickly grab a base, shade and highlight.  That being said, I have from past experience found that their highlight colors seem a little to "stark" to me, so my first pass used a ~1:2 ratio of paint to Vallejo Glaze Medium despite finding this was too subtle for the shadows.
  • RMS  Tanned Highlight - Skin Highlight
  • RMS Ashen Blue - Clothing Highlight
  • RMS Leather Brown - Leather Highlight
  • AP Gun Metal - Armor First Highlight
  • AP Shining Silver - Armor Second Highlight
It may be hard to tell from my photos below, but I am fairly happy with how the skin and clothing highlights turned out.  They are maybe too subtle but I can live with them and move on.

The leather highlights, esp in some cases, came in too harsh/different or I just plain screwed them up.  I think I am definitely going to put a wash/glaze over leather areas to tone them down/smooth them out.

The 2 armor highlights I think worked fairly well.  I mostly stayed to just edge highlighting but in the future I think I will definitely spread these out over more of the area (the upper part of Brick's breastplate is a prime target).

Individual shots:

Everything is probably too subtle but I'm going to move on.  Right now getting models actually painted, practicing and getting into the grove is the priority.  So, all that I have left (in my eyes) is:

  • Leather wash/glaze - Mellow some of the highlights
  • Skin wash/glaze - Mellow some of the shading
  • Deciding if I'm going to do any other washes/glazes - Not sure the clothing would benefit, for the armor Dave Taylor's guide recommends a blue or purple glaze
  • Some clean up - Odds and ends, mostly a few messy/stray marks, hit some of the buckles/buttons again
  • Sealing
  • Basing (yeah, should have figured this out from the beginning) - Probably muddy or dry dirt field
  • And maybe a little weathering (new ground for me) - I'm thinking because of the basing mentioned above, a little weathering on shoes/feet/knees would be appropriate
  • And if I want to ensure I screw these up, I can try painting the eyes.  Or I can just continue to believe they blink every time I look at them.  Probably should consider giving them eyebrows and doing something for the lips.  We'll see.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Game of Kings of War

So I finally got my Varangur list sorted out for Kings of War and got in a game with one of the locals, David.  Below, a picture of the 2000 pts for my first game of Kings of War with my own list and only my second game of KoW:

Soooo many models
The list largely pulled from the models I already had painted (luckily).  The "sand worm" and the witch coven you may recall from a few posts ago rounded out my force serving as a Devourer and Magus Conclave (x2).  The sorcerer lord still needs to be assembled to serve as my model of choice for a lone Magus.

Here they are finally on the battlefield, right after deployment (the magus conclave off camera on left and right, and a 20 man unit of Sons of Korgaan off camera to the left):

I really want this mat
After a couple of rounds, a few things have gone right, more had gone wrong but still in it:

There is a unit of cavalry off camera left that is ruing my day
Things looking pretty good here near the end of the game, except when you look at the number of wounds (the dice behind my units) on each unit:

The two beat up units on the left side evaporated quickly
The last turn of the scenario.  Somehow the unit of Sons of Korgaan had survived (seriously they shouldn't have, waver on 16 break on 18 with 14 wounds.  Due to Gift of Korgaan, they finished off the knights that charged them and as the only unit in the center of the table (part of the scenario) it won me the game (secondary scoring didn't give David enough to overcome winning the scenario).

Yep, inspiring forced a reroll and kept those Sons of Korgaan on the table
The final score was 15 (me) to 9 (David).  The game really should have gone to him and would have had me pretty much wiped off the board, with a score that would have been about 5 (me) to 19 (David).

Anyway, I found the game fun and exciting.  David was a great opponent and really helped walk me through my first complete introduction with my own forces.  I am thoroughly impressed with how stream lined the rules are yet complete enough to tick almost all the boxes I want out of something like this.  This also led to the game being over in just under 2 hours, which is a big bonus to me.  That being said, if I was (which I am not) the type of person that only plays one game, I'm still not sure there is enough diversity to the game to keep me interested for game after game, week after week.  Especially since I have no interest in exploring diversity by purchasing, assembling and painting so many models for another army to play.

I learned a lot from this game too, in the usual way:  burned hand.  My initial positioning of my Magus Conclaves was horrendous.  My flanks collapsed badly due to poor support.  I over committed my Devourer to a target, leaving him too exposed afterwards.  And didn't do anything all game long about that pesky bow line in the back.  While I did a decent job of using units to screen, I see how I could have used them better.

Anyway, I look forward to getting another game in soon.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

What Type of Gamer are You?

Probably old news, but I just stumbled across this:  Get Your Board Game Motivation Profile.

Hmm, so I appear to thrive on conflict but rather play by myself.  LOL.  Wonder how I can accomplish that!  Esp when you read below about the secondary aspect:  even funnier.

It's a fun little thing but I wouldn't say perfect.  It did nail a few things and miss a couple.  For instance, I consider myself primarily a social gamer BUT I hate party games (and yes, I pretty much throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to party games):  which is why I think my social result ended up so low.  Strategy appears to be a little misleading.  Reading the description, it appears this is an issue with complexity and length of games, which is pretty spot on despite the fact I pretty require a strong strategic aspect to my games.  Conflict it absolutely nailed though.

There are some interesting secondary motivations for each category too.  Under conflict it's social manipulation which I scored a 93% on.  LOL, So very true.  For fantasy, aesthetics is a secondary motivation for which I got a 92% and agree with.

Btw, here is the video game one and my results:  Get Your [Video] Gamer Motivation Profile

For video games, I would pretty much agree with the results.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Painting Guild Ball Masons - Shade

The next step on my Mason models was to begin shading.  My first pass through used ~1:2 ratio* of paint to Vallejo Glaze Medium**.  The following were applied into the deeper areas of the models and where shadows should (mostly) naturally fall from an overhead light source:
  • RMS  Tanned Shadow - Skin Shade
  • RMS Breonne Blue - Clothing Shade
  • RMS Muddy Brown - Leather Shade
  • AP Dark Tone - Armor Shade.  Brick, Tower and Flints hair Shade
  • Dave Taylor's Magic Armor Wash - Armor Second Shade
With the exception of the shading done with the AP Dark Tone, I thought the shading applied was way to subtle, even after a couple of passes.  This was most true for the Skin Shade.  I should have taken pictures at this point to show but I forgot.

In any case, I decided to do another pass with less glaze medium (~1:1 ratio*) into the deeper areas.  For the skin tone on the second pass I used a thinned:
  • RMS Tanned Shadow mixed with RMS Chestnut Brown (~1:1)

Individual shots:

I think things are still too subtle with the shading and I have gotten a little sloppy, but I'm going to press on to highlighting.

*Remember, part of the purpose of this write up is for my own reference.  I am not advocating this particular thinning ratio or thinning ratios in general.  All things matter and affect these kind of ratios:  age of your paint, your thinner, your style, palette preference, how bad a day you had, etc.  I always hear the "thin to the consistency of skim milk" but honestly feel like that is just as much of a crap response as any other.  My advice, grab a scrap of paper that has text printed on it and do a test stroke across the text.  Does it have the opacity that you want?  Does it seem smooth?  Does it flow off brush evenly and well?

**Note, like in part one on the Basecoat and thinning airbrush paints, for brush painting I also once narrowed several choices down to this being my preferred thinner.  I'm not advocating it, there are other good options I just found this seemed to work well for me.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Method to my Madness?

As a whole lot, what a strange set of purchases...  From this picture it looks like I have gone (more) mental.  BTW, that Chaos Sorcerer Lord was purchases at the local GW store.  Made me feel dirty.  LOL.  And yes, that is 2 sets of Cryx Witch Coven warcasters.  WTF!?

There is a method to the madness.  I think.  Maybe.  The voices said there was.  We'll see.

Also, I unboxed that purple worm.  I was concerned about what the quality was like but at first inspection the quality seems really outstanding.  There are a few spots that will have to be trimmed down to make it fit properly.  Maybe one spot to green stuff a gap.  I think I can have it ready for painting fairly quickly once I get the Masons off my plate.

Speaking of Masons, I will post up the results of my shading attempt(s) tomorrow.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Painting Guild Ball Masons - Basecoat

For my Guild Ball Masons team, I decided to basically mimic (as best I could) the studio art scheme seen in the picture above.  For simplicity, personal preference and laziness I planned a few minor deviations but in general, this is what I was shooting for.  Sure a bit uninspired but painted models are painted models.

Not sure if anyone finds the amount of detail I'm about to give interesting, but I'm going to make a slight detour after the first batch of these guys are done.  So, I'm going to be fairly descriptive in what I did for my own sake when I return back to them.  Maybe I can even learn and remember what I did wrong or badly through this process also.  Anyway...

The gang all primed.
Just Brick.
For priming, I used a 4 step zenithal approach with my airbrush:
  • Vallejo Black Airbrush Primer - From bottom and concentrated shadows
  • Mix of Vallejo Black and White Airbrush Primer (for Grey) - Perpendicular to model
  • Vallejo Skelton Bone- 45 deg angle from above
  • Vallejo White Airbrush Primer - Directly above
The main goal for me, with the 4 step zenithal was to understand the shadows and highlights a little better, and why stop at 2 when you could go 3 or 4 (with the airbrush, it really didn't take that much longer).  That being said, as you may see (or not) from the above photos, I think I mixed my grey too light which ultimately washed out some of the definition I was going for.  For next time, I picked up a bottle of Vallejo Grey Primer to avoid some of my color mixing issues (I tend to mix colors toward my personal preferences versus what I need - like in this instance I prefer light grey over dark grey).  I took individual photos of all the models at 90 degree rotation increments to serve as reference if I lost my way.  To take full advantage of all this photography I really need to improve my photo setup and actually sit down and learn how to use my camera.  

From the primed model pool, I down selected to a more manageable 4 figures to concentrate on.  My intent was to airbrush as much of the base colors, working from the inside out, as I could.  For my previous airbrushing I had tried a number of thinning approaches and ultimately selected Lester Bursley's custom mix (winning out over pure water, water/alcohol mixtures, Vallejo Glaze Medium and Vallejo Thinner).  Back when I went through this process, I had meant to try/evaluate Vallejo Airbrush Thinner but never did.  This time around (mostly because I didn't feel like remixing Les' formula) I finally picked up bottle of Vallejo Airbrush Thinner to try out on these models and I am really happy with it so far.

Most of the base colors blocked in, except the hair and a few details
The base colors, in the order they were applied with the airbrush:
  • RMS Tanned Skin - Skin Base
  • RMS Templar Blue - Clothing Base
  • RMS Earth Brown - Leather Base
For the skin, I planned on following the recipe from David Powell, over at Powell's Painting Projects.  I'm trying the second male recipe.

After those colors above were blocked in with the airbrush, I went back in with a regular brush and cleaned up the over spray.  Using the airbrush, for me at least, was out of the question for the armor sections due to their locations and managing the overspray.

For the armor, I planned to follow Dave Taylor's Liber Metallica method for Polished Steel (a great class at Adepticon for beginners+ if you like his Mechanicum Army).  This meant, first painting all the armor areas black before beginning.  
  • VMC Black - Pre-Armor
  • AP Gun Metal - Armor Base*
Some the accents (buttons, buckles, etc) where hit with:
  • VGC Polished Gold mixed with VMC Smoke - Gold accents**
After I got to this point, I hit a wall.  The hair was the last base color I was going to block in but I really didn't know "what" I wanted to do or "how" to do it.  Eventually, I just went for it (after all, they are just going to be tabletop quality, I hope):

  • Brick - 50% RMS Chestnut Brown and RMS Mahogany Brown
  • Tower - Light Sand
  • Mallet - VMC Light Sand w/several thin VMC Black washes of black afterwards
  • Flint - VMC Dark Prussian Blue w/VMC Black over most of it afterwards
For Brick, I'm not sure why I went with this combination/color as I intended a more brown color.  I may have thought if I highlight with a more suitable brown it will all come together but who knows but I like it as is.

Tower, not sure this is going to work (or anything will) because his "hair" has almost no detail and therefore I have no idea what to do.

The method for Mallet kind of worked out, since I envisioned him as an older veteran player that is grey-ing but upon closer inspection, it actually looks like he dyed his "tips" (maybe should have used a grey instead of Light Sand).  I think I can live with it though.

The thought for Flint, based on some reading on the web, was to use a dark blue since cool colors give a sense of depth and then highlight black.  Maybe it's a bad method, maybe my blue was not dark enough or maybe I just did it wrong but it just did not work for me/on this model.  All I could see, even at distance, was blue.  So I got really heavy handed with black and called the base colors blocked in/done.

Individual shots:

Sorry for the bad photos, esp these last two.  I tried gain adjusting some of them after the fact.  And since I had already moved on to the next step(s), I couldn't just retake the photos.  Anyway, I will eventually try to learn how to use my camera and take better photos, someday.

They definitely could use a few more colors and variations but I'm trying to manage how much time I spend on these models.  There are a lot of other miniatures that are getting jealous of these guys having paint.  Next up, shading.

*Note, I am really please and impressed with this color.  See right below this partly why I am so happy with it and why I will be checking out more of the range.

**Note, when it came time to do my gold accents (buckles, buttons, etc) I became extremely disappointed about my Vallejo Air Metallics.  I had originally transition to them because they were the only paints I had found that I felt like I could actually brush paint on reasonably well.  But when I reached for my Vallejo Air Metallic Gold, the practically brand new bottle was all clumped up and unusable,  along with every other (about 5) Air Metallic I had.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

July Recap

By the time I post this, my daughter will be back in school so I guess summer is kind of over (of course it is still hot enough here to convince me otherwise).  It sure did not feel like a summer break/vacation and sure as hell was not long enough.

Anyway, at the beginning of July I did indeed get in a game of Guild Ball with my buddy Mike.  This time around we tried out using chess clocks to speed up the game play.  I do think it significantly helped but is definitely something to get used to.  When the first player was out of time, we decided to call the game at the end of the current turn.  As our games have been lately, it turned into pretty much a stalemate.  I managed to sneak Honour in for goal but also put Flint in a position to be beat into a bloody mess.  So the game indeed 4-2 but only thanks to extreme heroics (and luck, lots of it) of Marbles to tackle the ball away from one of the Fishermen.  Given the probabilities though, Mike really should have had a chance to go up 4-6.

Speaking of Guild Ball, I managed to finish the base colors on the 4 Masons I was painting, including the hair.  I had serious paralysis when it came to painting the hair and I'm not terribly pleased with the results but I think I will let them stand.  Now I need to move on to shading and highlighting and get them off the table.

I also finished assembling the 2 Riflemen (Battletech name).  Just as painful as the others, at least I only have a few more to do to satisfy my craving.  Of course it always seems like just a few more.

I also recently happened upon something slightly interesting.  My first year in attending Adepticon, I demoed a Robotech miniature game and was given a free miniature for trying it out.  Now as I recall, there was a bit of funny-ness that went on with all that before the Kickstarter (something about 2 versions by different people comes to mind, idk) but I believe what and who I demoed indeed up being same thing that went to Kickstarter.  So it is kind of sad and frustrating to see that model (pre-Kickstarter) in it's pre-assembled form versus what eventually was delivered:

Hmm, 8 parts vs 20+...  
Speaking of satisfying cravings, I fell further prone to Mecha fever and a extremely good deal on Amazon and picked up the Battletech Intro Box set (the 2nd one with the better sculpts) to add to the mix.  From that set, these are the ones I wanted/could tolerate:

*sigh*  Also tempted by the Armored Core and CAV Kickstarters for even more Mecha goodness.  Hmm, looks like that Armored Core Kickstarter had to change it's name, that might not be a good sign.  Anyway, I'm confident I will hold out against these temptations due to a competing weakness/priority:

"I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror [joy] and were suddenly silenced [very poor]."  Obi-Wan Kenobi [quix42]

 OMFG!  Must resist.  Must not give in to temptation.  Awww fuck it, I'm pre-ordering.
Anyway, back to topic(s).  Not surprising I got very little done at the beach on the family vacation.  I did manage to finish cleaning up the Blood Bowl miniatures I took with me but I'm pretty sure I did a crappy job and need to revisit them.  Also identified some minis I need to paint and acquire/paint for my Kings of War army.

Since I've been back, I have also tackled going through my boxes of shame to try to thin the herd, consolidate things together and into smaller form factors.  I was completely unsuccessful in pulling anything out to add to my trade stock (I have a hard time letting go or just figure no one would ever want some of this stuff).  But at least things are (more) organized and sorted so I can find things, for now...

Lastly, I'm sad to say for numerous reason I decided to pull the plug on attending the NOVA Open this year.  Right before our family vacation I took the last step toward accepting this fact and cancelled my hotel.  I'm really sad I wont be there and get to see at lot of old friends, participate in some really great side games that I hear are brewing and taking some really awesome seminars.  And then there is the fact that GenCon just came and went.  *cry*  Adepticon seems so far away now.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Frustrated/Three Strikes (When your plan meets the real world, the real world wins)

Wow, what a frustrating weekend.  As the title suggest, so many plans failing:

Plan 1:  Due to working very late earlier in the week, I was to be off work at 1pm Friday.  This coupled with my daughter having after school tutoring (handled by my wife) and fiendish planning (fend for yourself dinner plans) was going to open up an unprecedented amount of free time for myself, which I quickly earmarked for hobby time!  I couldn't buy this many hours of free hobby time if I payed for them to go on vacation without me.  But then I got stuck at work till past 5pm...  Ugh.  Strike 1.

Plan 2:  Entering Saturday and still grouchy about about the day before going sideways, I was rewarded with an impromptu play date for my daughter.  That, again, was going to be handled by my wife.  All afternoon free!  But then the hammer fell, rain was in the forecast so my wife invited everyone to our house.  The first major ramification of this was a full throttle attempt to clean up before people got there, leaving me fairly exhausted.  The second is that this resulted in 3 7 year old, 1 9 year old and 1 12 year girls (yes, 5 girls) being in my house.  Suffice to say, I struggled to even watch the Olympics in the chaos/noise.  Are you kidding me...  Strike 2.

Plan 3:  Sunday I saw an opening and I jumped on it.  Wife and daughter were going to run an errand..  It wasn't going to take long enough to get any significant hobby time done but  I was going to establish myself hobbying while they were gone and valiantly fight off any attempts to be moved from my established position.  And then, while they were gone, one of the girls from Saturday and her parents stopped by to pick up something she had left.  And stayed awhile.  A long while...  Strike 3.

Once they left and we all got fed, I dug in my heels and managed to get a few hours work on my Guild Ball Masons models.  I began adding in the shadows.  The first pass though was way to subtle, so I am working on a second pass through.  I don't feel like it is going terribly well but I think regardless I will still end up with a tabletop quality I will be happy with.  Mostly.  We'll see...

Also through all of the above, I was dealing with the fact that GenCon was happening and I wasn't there.  =(  Of course in retrospect, there were only a few news items/announcements I found interesting:

Pretty sure I am not willing to buy into a game of this scale but that being said, I am very intrigued by what the dial system could possibly add to this kind of game and aesthetics seem different enough.

Again, I haven't had time to read up about it but I see Samurai!!!

Ok, WTF is this!?!?  Where/when do I get it!

Anyway, just a rant and a bit of a filler post.  I have a July recap mostly written up that should go up later in the week.  Assuming the nonsense of the past few days doesn't maintain it's momentum.