12 November 2015

The Big Winner!

The Gamer's Armory, a game store in North Carolina, recently held a gaming marathon to benefit the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States. I live across the country from North Carolina, so I didn't participate in the event, but I saw on the shop's Facebook page that they were holding a raffle as part of the event. There were a couple of items on the Raffle Wall that looked interesting to me, so I bought a few dollars in tickets. A while later I got an e-mail announcing that I had won a Flames of War Operation Market Garden: Guards Armoured Recce Company boxed set. That was my first choice in prizes and the one that I applied most of my tickets toward, so I was pretty excited about it. Because I live too far away to just stop in and pick up my prize, I sent in a payment to cover shipping and they sent it right out.

It's a pretty cool item, with 17 vehicles, 2 terrain pieces, and some dice and tokens. I haven't opened the plastic wrap yet. The box makes a lot of noise when I move it around, so I hope that the contents haven't been damaged too much in transit. The box is a little worse for wear, but even if a couple of the vehicles are damaged I still made out pretty well, getting a significant WWII miniature force for the price of a few raffle tickets. Their website says they have raised over $45,000 over the course of 4 annual events, so it sounds like they are doing some good things. It is nice to win a prize, but I didn't mind pitching in a few dollars to a good cause anyway.

19 October 2015

Getting a Little Bit of Gaming In

My gaming and hobbying hasn't quite taken off like I planned for a variety of reasons. It seems like there just isn't enough time in the day or space in the house for all of my hobbies. We have plans to move things around and increase everyone's usable living space, but to move one thing you have to take care of another thing and it seems like stuff goes round and round.

I have, however, been doing a little bit of wargaming-related stuff. After spending a long time thinking about it I finally have sat down and started working my way through the Advanced Squad Leader Starter Kit #1 by Multi-Man Publishing. I've read tutorials, watched videos, and even worked through the first scenario on my own. I've been trying to use the big 2nd Edition binder rulebook to reference rules as I come across them. I feel pretty comfortable with some parts of these simplified Starter Kit rules, but there are some rules that I don't have a good handle on yet. I am pretty sure I was doing the Rally Phase incorrectly, the Routing Phase still gives me pause, and I am pretty sure that I am messing up at least some parts of Morale Checks and Close Combat.

I haven't even gotten into the rules for Support Weapons, Artillery, Vehicles, and all the weather and terrain stuff yet. It's probably going to take quite a bit more time and work to feel like I have even a basic grasp of the system. It was nice to actually sit down and roll dice and move counters around a bit. It's a complex game system. I had a copy of the original Squad Leader when I was a kid, and I played a simplified solo version of that game quite a few times on my bedroom floor.

08 July 2015

I Found Some of the Missing Time

In my previous post I mentioned that I wasn't exactly sure what all I did in between my final blog post in 2011 and the start of school in early 2013. Well, the answer to part of the question has been bouncing around my desk and bookshelves for a long time. I painted at least one more figure before my long break; a Grey Knight that I painted as a sample for the rest of my planned Grey Knight army taken from an army list in White Dwarf magazine.

I think I pretty much took the paint scheme right out of the same copy of White Dwarf that the army list was printed in. It's not particularly fancy and I have realized in the last few minutes that I am a terrible photographer, but at least I have a never-before-posted picture of a figure I painted.

Today I visited the (somewhat) local Hobbytown after work in an attempt to find the latest copy of White Dwarf; the one with the free miniature and all the rules for the new Age of Sigmar iteration of Warhammer. At first I kind of liked the idea of the new rules, but now I am not so sure. The most alarming rumor that I've heard is that all of the older Fantasy sculpts are going away and will be replaced by newer stuff that looks more like the 'Space Marines without guns, so Fantasy Space Marines!' design of the new figures. If I wanted Space Marines, I would buy 40k figures. I just kind of see this whole experiment not working out very well for Games Workshop. I really liked all of the fluff and design that made up the previous ranges of Warhammer Fantasy figures.

Anyway, I really wanted to grab the new White Dwarf so I could see what the fuss is all about even though I already downloaded the rules and warscrolls from the Games Workshop website. Come to find out, the magazine wasn't there and the Hobbytown is closing up shop (with today as the last day of operation at the old site) and moving to another location, so I don't know if they had a copy of the magazine at the other location or not because their computers were down and everyone at the counter was in a bad mood. I didn't even bother asking about it. On the way home it started raining quite heavily, and I was soaked pretty well all the way through because I was on my motorcycle. Once I got ahead of the rainstorm, the wind was still pretty bad and I got caught up in a nice big dust cloud blowing in off of the farm fields. I managed to stay in pretty good spirits about it all, but it was irritating to go all the way to Hobbytown only to find the inventory all gone and then to be caught in the storms on the way home.

07 July 2015

Don't Call it a Comeback (Yet)

I knew it had been quite a while since I posted on this blog, but I hadn't realized the gap was nearly at four years now. I took a bit of a break to do some other stuff, and I just never really got back to painting figures and playing games. That doesn't mean that I've been entirely idle in the gaming world. I've managed to keep up on some of the gaming news and I still follow a lot of gaming- and painting-related Facebook pages and social media hubs. I've also added quite a few boxes of stuff to my lead/resin/plastic pile by way of Kickstarter campaigns from Reaper, Soda Pop Miniatures, Mantic Games, and others.

Where have I been, and what prompted a return to this blog? Well, I went back to school and finally finished off a 4-year degree in Accounting and Business Administration. That took up a lot of my time and energy, and is really the main reason I was away from this hobby. But I didn't start school again until Spring of 2013, so that leaves a year of time unaccounted for. To be honest, I don't really remember what happened between November 2011 and December 2012. Judging by my Facebook feed, I got really into comic books, reptiles, and amphibians during that time period. I wound up with two snakes and a vivarium partially-prepped for Poison Dart Frogs before I got back into school and realized I wouldn't have time to care properly for frogs. In 2013 I rediscovered my card collecting hobby and started a trading card blog, which I have maintained with some regularity for about two years now. I've made a lot of blogging friends and really feel a sense of community with the sports card bloggers who comment on each others' posts and send trade packages back and forth.

As I was wrapping up my final semester, my wife went back to school to start her attempt at finishing a degree plan. This prompted a shuffling around of the room assignments in our home, which is an ongoing process. My wife is moving her study and hobby area from a hutch in the living room and a room in the basement into the room that previously housed our sons and a closet full of my gaming stuff. The boys are moving down the hall into a different room. I am moving my stuff from my wife's new area down into my basement lair, and our treadmill and other workout equipment are moving from my basement lair into the other basement room that will be vacated by my wife's hobby stuff. It's a lot of moving pieces and it is very hard to find the motivation to get it all done, so it all happens very slowly. As part of the process I have had to move a lot of my gaming stuff around and this prompts me to look at all the figures I've built and painted, opening boxes and sifting through all these forgotten treasures while waves of nostalgia crash over me. All of the old army plans and ideas have been coming back to me and I feel the urge to build and paint and plan out armies and projects. So I've been going around and reading more gaming news and visiting the blogs on my gaming blogroll and thinking about what it will take to get back into miniatures. I need to find all of my paint and see if any of it will reconstitute with the addition of plenty of water. I need to clear off some space on my desk for hobby stuff, and I need to get my shelves sorted out. There are a couple of unfinished projects just waiting for me to get back to them and I hope that I will be able to overcome the various obstacles that are currently in the way of my return to the hobby of painting figures and (possibly) playing games with them.

30 November 2011

Silence is Golden, Unless You're a Parent

Today we were pretty sure that our toddler had gone downstaris to play in the toyroom. At some point I realized that there wasn't a lot of noise coming from down there and asked my wife what he might be up to. Usually when he plays you can hear him acting out the voices for his cars or various crashes and bangs. He is a rather active child, so his play is usually quite noisy. Our hope was that he had climbed onto the beanbag chair and fallen asleep for a nap. I went down to check on him, but he wasn't there.

Then I went upstairs and saw the door open and the light on in the bedroom that contains my hobby desk. I went in and there he was, helping (his word) me with my figures. He'd managed to get a couple of paintbrushes and use them to paint my player character model (the half-orc from a couple of posts ago) a nice cement grey color. Luckily, I was able to rinse off most of the damage and the model doesn't look too horrible. Some of the grey didn't come out, and some of the clearcoat peeled off or clouded up, but the figure will survive without a full repaint. Then I cleaned up the brushes and some of the paint on the desk. I'm glad that he didn't hurt himself with anything and that he didn't manage to paint my Dwarf army, which was lined up on the far corner of my desk. I wanted to take a picture of the model before I rinsed it off, but I left the camera on for a couple of hours the other night and the battery was dead.

There are a couple of lessons in this. Always close the door to the hobby room, and never trust a quiet child.

29 November 2011

I put some varnish on a bunch of figures today. I guess I should've taken some pictures before I put the gloss coat on my Dwarves, so the pictures have a lot of glare. Here's the best of the bunch. In addition to these handgunners, there are a couple units of warriors that I'm mostly done with. I've got about a third of the army done. The rest of the figures are sitting on my desk waiting to get some paint on them.

I also assembled a bunch of Grey Knights for 40k. I am putting together the list from White Dwarf #375. It's got 10 Terminators, 19 small-based Marines of various types, a special character, and two Dreadknights. I've got half of the infantry put together and both Dreadknights are on the way. I still need a couple boxes of figures to finish out the army, but we'll see how long it takes me to get through painting what I've already got.

Oh, I went to the Games Workshop website and saw the pre-order price on that Mangler Squig model. It's a big model, and they want a pretty big price for it. I guess I could understand if it were some kind of modular kit or a centerpiece monster, but it's a 65-point novelty figure for a $57.75 MSRP. I guess in a Night Goblin and Squig army it would be the centerpiece model on account of the size, but I can't see paying full retail for it.

25 November 2011

Mangler Squigs

I saw an interesting photo from the French White Dwarf magazine on the Dark Future Games blog. It looks like Games Workshop is going to produce a Mangler Squigs model. I've seen the photo in a couple of other places as well, like the Warhammer Fantasy Battles Tabletop Gaming blog. It looks like the model will be Finecast, and also much larger than I imagined. I pictured Mangler Squigs as being a couple of normal-sized Squigs with some chains and an unlucky Night Goblin handler, but it looks like these Squigs are huge, and no less than five Night Goblins have been tasked with keeping them pointed toward the enemy. I really have no idea what all I've got in the attic, but I'm pretty sure I've got most of the figures for my planned Night Goblins and Squigs list. This will probably be a must-buy for me at some point down the line. Much of the list features random movement, so it will probably be quite silly to play with. Just point everything at the enemy and off they go!

I dug out the Dwarf army I worked on while I was overseas because I needed to get at my paints. My pot of Chainmail paint exploded during transit, but I anticipated such an event and wrapped the figures in plastic before I mailed them, so the only damage was that a few of my other paint pots got a nice silver paint job. At some point I will go upstairs and take some pictures of the Dwarf units I've finished so far. They might make a good rival for the previously-mentioned Night Goblins and Squigs army.

I made it to D & D Encounters this week and had a pretty good time. My Barbarian has a habit of never hitting anything the first time he swings his axe at it. But I still killed my share of bad guys and took at least my share of damage. And I even got a wondrous magical item for asking a magical hallway the right question. Today I went and got some basing material and varnish for my figures. I did forget to pick up some Badab Black wash, but I think I have enough to get me by. Oh, and I got some Grey Knights. I may even paint them. I meant to work on assembling them tonight, but that hasn't panned out so far.

I also ran into my cousin and his wife at Hobbytown today, which was a nice surprise. I don't get out much socially, so it's good to have random encounters with people who I know. Oh, and I turned 30 a couple of days ago. So far it's not much different than 29.

23 November 2011

PC Model

I painted up a character model for the new season of D & D Encounters. I may get around to finishing his base tomorrow. We'll see how it goes. It's a half-orc barbarian.

Also, for those who read this blog for family stuff, here are pictures of the boys taking impromptu naps. You'll notice that the twins tend to wear more of their food than they eat.


Sorry the post is pretty light on words. I stayed up way too late painting, and I have to wake up in four hours to go get tires put on my car.

04 November 2011

It's been quite a week for us. Two of our three boys have pneumonia and I have been laid low by some kind of energy-sapping head cold. Our oldest boy, Thing, had a good Halloween and got a whole pile of candy. He dressed as a pumpkin. He received many compliments on his hat, which was crocheted by my wife. She is pretty handy when it comes to making things with yarn and fabric. We didn't get pictures of him in his costume, as he wasn't feeling well and went straight to bed after trick-or-treating.

Yesterday was Thing's third birthday, but no one was really feeling well enough to celebrate, so we postponed it for a day. He got to decorate a cupcake with some toppings of his choice, open a couple of gifts, and also watch Cars 2, which was one of his presents. His little brothers, Hulk (left) and Wolverine (right), woke up from their naps in time to eat a few bites of cupcake. They enjoyed that quite a bit.

He also got a Human Torch Mighty Mugg action figure and a Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash track with some cars to go along with it.I gave him the Hot Wheels set last week, partly because he was feeling sick and needed a good inside activity and partly because I couldn't wait any longer to play with it. Overall, I think he had a pretty good birthday experience.

Yesterday also marked our 7th wedding anniversary. I am not sure when we will actually get to go out to dinner and celebrate that, but we agreed that forcing the issue while I am feeling so low wouldn't be worthwhile. Whenever I transition back up from a corpse-like state to my usual zombie-like state we will do something to mark the occasion.

This picture of Wolverine is my favorite of the night. I'm glad I was able to get a picture while he was still making this face. He enjoyed his first taste of cake, although he was rather picky and only went for the pieces that had frosting on them.

Hulk ate all of his cupcake pieces, and spent the rest of the time scouring his tray for any leftover crumbs or smudges of frosting. So far he is the only kid who has avoided illness, perhaps the gamma rays have made him immune to pneumonia?

I didn't go to the D & D Encounters session this week. I didn't think the other folks would appreciate me bringing my plague with me. I spent most of the week being a slug and lazing about. I watched a whole pile of Top Gear episodes on Netflix, and that's about it for the week. This was the sort of week that you're just happy at the end of it to still be among the living. I am hoping that I will be up and running by next week so I can get a few things done around here. Next weekend will be taken up by mandatory Army stuff (even though I am still on leave), so I would like to fill the weekdays with things on my to-do list.

28 October 2011

Last night I attended another D & D Encounters session. It went pretty well, in part because the tiresome guy from last time didn't show up. Actually, he did show up, but he was 20 minutes late and his spot was already taken by someone who paid attention and contributed to the game. My character didn't spend the whole game unconscious and dying this time around, so that was a bonus. He may have done better since I purchased a new d20 just before we played. My nice-looking one rolled two natural ones in a row last week, and I don't feel like I can trust it. I've got the only Level 1 character because I started so late, so I try to keep out of combat and use ranged attacks. I am nearly to Level 2, but that will probably happen just in time for the season to end. Hopefully I can get in on the start of the next season, and have enough time to keep playing with school and work. That's about it for hobby stuff. I would still like to paint up a character model this week, even though there is only another month or so left in the campaign. I learned that the comic shop was bought out by the gaming shop, and while I was in the game store I overheard the employees expressing that they don't know much about comics. That worries me slightly, as I started up a subscription box in the comic shop just before going into the game shop to play.