31 January 2009

Cloak Trouble

I've been having some trouble painting the cloak on my Space Marine Lieutenant as it is a huge piece of cloth without any deep sharp folds in it. I am trying to paint it in a blue-gray color, but with the huge area I'm having a hard time getting the highlighting to look right. It keeps winding up looking like it's got poorly-painted stripes on it. I don't have much problem with tightly folded or small bits of cloth like the Space Marine Sergeant's loincloth pictured below because they've got plenty of folds and ridges that can be highlighted, but this cloak has really got me bothered. I've just redone the basecoat, so we'll see if I can get it looking right this time.

I spent much of the day trying to get homework done but I took a break to work on this cloak. I've got to go play National Guard next weekend, so I won't have that time to do my homework. I need to get a little bit ahead during this week so I don't fall hopelessly behind after drill weekends.

My parents and my little brother stopped over tonight to see the baby and talk to us; mostly to see the baby. I played a couple of Mario Kart races with my brother on the Wii and my dad asked to see a couple of miniatures I'd painted so he could see the actual scale of the things I've been posting on my blog about. I think he likes the blog pictures better because they're enlarged a bit and show the details better.

The prices on the turret parts for a Razorback with twin-linked Assault Cannon go so high on eBay that I may have to select a different armament for my Razorback. The Assault Cannon parts apparently only come in the new Land Raider Redeemer/Crusader kit, so they fetch a steep price. With the current prices you wind up spending $16+ for a 35-point upgrade. For that price you may as well just buy a Razorback kit and slap the Lascannons or Heavy Bolters on it. We'll see how it goes. It looks like currently only one guy is parting out the Assault Cannon turrets and he's listing them one at a time about five days apart, so anyone who wants one is competing for the same auction. Maybe some other folks will start in on it and the price will come down. I also haven't looked at any bits resellers who may have a sprue I could use.

28 January 2009

I was randomly clicking around other people's wargaming blogs today when I happened upon these two posts that discuss the same thing I was discussing yesterday; that is, rare earth magnets on Razorbacks and Predators. But they take it steps further than I had discussed. These bloggers have magnetized just about everything. They can drop a Rhino roof and doors in and make the vehicle a Rhino. They can swap that out and add a Razorback turret if they feel like it. They can then swap out the Razorback turret and stick the Predator turret and sponsons on. Then after that they can change tha armament not only of the Predator turret, but also the armament of the Predator's sponsons. They also swap out the bustle racks on the back of the turret. That offers a lot of flexibility when building an army list. I may have to try it out.

In some personal good news I got hired on at my job. I was previously just a temp, but I put in an application and got hired to my job as a more permanent employee. The really good part of that is that I will be eligible for healthcare benefits after my wife gets laid off from her job in March. I didn't have enough time in the job to get hired on at the next pay grade (about $4,000 more per year), but if I hit a few goals over the next several months that will probably happen sooner rather than later. Either way I feel lucky to have a secure job that pays reasonably well in the current economy.

27 January 2009

After some research on eBay I have discovered that I can order the Razorback turret from a reseller on eBay. That means that if I do not glue the turret of my Predator down when I build it, the same vehicle can perform double duty. Of course, if the Predator has side sponsons I'll have to swap those out as well. How? I think the answer is rare earth magnets. I can drill holes in the recesses where the sponsons go and mount magnets in them, then I can drill corresponding holes in the back of the sponsons and mount magnets in those. I'll have to do the same for a pair of Rhino doors, so I can use those when the vehicle is set up as a Razorback. It should work out pretty well. The good thing is that all of the magnet work will be hidden while the vehicle is assembled, so it won't have to be exceptionally pretty for my first try. I think if I can get the parts at a decent price that will be the option for me.
Today I did math. A whole bunch of it. I even figured out where the negative one goes once it's factored out. I am like a math loser. I can take the examples from the book and replicate the steps for the problems in the assignments, but I really don't understand what I'm doing most of the time. It's more of a "monkey see, monkey do" thing than anything else. But I managed to get through all 72 homework problems and get 100% on the quiz, so it was all worth it in the end. I could've just thrown that time away on World of Warcraft or Madden. Now I get to start it all over again.

I did manage to slap some primer on all of my assembled Space Marines as well, so the hobby side of things wasn't a total loss. And perhaps most importantly I figured out what to do with my Lieutenant and the Tactical Squad that will probably spend most of the game sitting on my home objective. Space Marines have the option to split units of ten into five-man combat squads, so I can split off the Sergeant, the Marine carrying the flamer, and three guys with bolters, then attach the Lieutenant to them and send them out to kill stuff. The rest of the squad can sit on the objective with the missile launcher and shoot at promising targets. Probably an even smarter idea would be to put the assault team and the Lieutenant in a Razorback and send them ahead all quick-like, but I don't have a Razorback and I do have a Predator. Doing the combat squads thing makes every unit in my army a five-man squad, so I'll have to learn to coordinate movements and have more than one squad hit at the same time to avoid being taken out by the enemy in a piecemeal fashion. When we make the move up to larger games my first step will be to expand all of these units out to the full ten figures that I'm allowed. And toss in a unit of Terminators. Anyway, I got some paint on some figures today so I'm happy about that.

Oh, and I've been listening to 40K Radio and The D6 Generation the last couple of days. They are both being sponsored by a new company called Battle Foam. They make foam trays for miniatures. I currently have my figures in ornament boxes, but they don't have any protection and when I transport them they tend to bang around. I am a rather cheap dude, but I am starting to think that instead of buying more figures I should start looking at some cases for transporting them. Realistically I have more than enough minis to last me through several years of painting, so maybe it's time I spent some time and resources protecting them. It's a thought.

26 January 2009

Today I did math for most of the day. It's been awesome. I managed to clean off my desk a bit, so that's been nice. I was actually able to fit my textbook and graph paper on the tabletop. I would actually be working on the homework still, but the software had an error and I had to quit. Hopefully that gets sorted out. I am still unsure about my ability to get all of my homework done from week to week but the army is paying me money to go to school and if I drop out now I'll probably never go back, so I will have to find a way to get through it.

My wife dropped a shelving unit on her cell phone at work, so we get to replace that. At least we had insurance, so it was $40 instead of a couple hundred dollars. The slug-baby survived his first day of daycare, so that's good. After I went to the cell phone store to get that sorted out I stopped at Hobbytown to look around. They didn't have any of the new Ork releases, so there wasn't much to look at. I wish there was a little more info forthcoming about the Imperial Guard stuff that's coming out later in the year, but you can't have everything you want. Mainly I would like to know what they plan on doing with the Catachan Jungle Fighters. I have heard them being ridiculed quite a bit since I started looking at the Imperial Guard, but I like the look of the models and that's what really matters.
A while back I posted about my subscription to White Dwarf. To recap, I ordered the subscription through Paypal, the order got processed, but Games Workshop never did whatever they're supposed to do to finalize the payment. So I was getting the subscription for free. When I wrote about it last I had e-mailed them but hadn't heard anything back. They finally got back to me and we worked it out so I could pay them and clear my conscience.

On Saturday I hadn't quite finished my paper when the scheduled time to go to our friends' home arrived, so I dug out the dusty old laptop that I had in Iraq to see if it would run. It was noisy and a little bit slow, but it ran. So for the first hour or two E.A. and I did our homework, then we pulled out our miniatures and had a bit of a hobbying marathon. I assembled nearly all the remaining infantry for my Space Marine force. For the most part it went well. The Assault Marine Sergeant borrowed a Lightning Claw from the Space Marine Commander kit and it didn't go on exactly right. Most of the problem had to do with getting the arm to look right and still be able to mount the shoulder pad. I was able to get it on there, but there is a gap. Once the jetpack is on the gap should be fairly well hidden, though. I am also having some trouble getting the Space Marine Scout with Heavy Bolter to actually hold his weapon, as the Scout torsos have these pouches on their chests that block the left arm from grabbing the handle on the front of the gun. I'll have to work with it a little more. The Scout Sergeant with a Power Fist from the Commander box looks pretty good, if I do say so myself. I'm pretty excited about him. And the Commander himself looks to be one bad mother with his Storm Bolter and Power Sword. I'm still considering what sort of pattern to paint on the Sniper Rifle Scouts' cloaks. I'm leaning in the direction of something urban with a lot of greys, dull blues, and black. I'm also trying to decide what to do with the inside of the cloaks, whether they should be done up as a flat color or as dual-purpose cloaks with another type of camo on the opposite face. I also clipped out the parts I'll need for my Predator CFV and separated them into major assemblies for painting. E.A. cleaned up some figures and spent most of the time working out his paint scheme on a Fire Warrior. He wound up with a nice desert red color for the armor and a tan color for the cloth bits. I think his army will be quite nice-looking on the tabletop.

My wife starts work again in a few hours after a couple months off for the birth of the slug-baby. We are still trying to figure out how our scheduling is going to work as there already didn't seem to be enough time in the day or sleep in the night. The kid has really started interacting with us in the last couple of weeks. It's been pretty neat. He will laugh in response to us talking to him or touching his face. He spends most of his awake time watching things around him and making baby talk. He has also been developing a smidgen more independence, meaning that we can occasionally set him down or put him in his baby swing for a bit of a break from holding him. He will occasionally even sleep on his own without being in contact with someone.

I can't think of much else to write about. I heard a rumor that the Imperial Guard are in for a new codex and some new figures in the March time frame. That may be exciting, but as far as I know it's still just a rumor.

23 January 2009

I am at a bit of a sticking point in my homework. Some of the skills from school have come back fairly quickly (mostly the procrastination and lamentation skill sets) but I am finding myself blocked when it comes to writing a paper. The paper is due at 11 o'clock tomorrow night, but at noon we're going to our friends' home for a bit of a break. During the break I'll probably try to assemble the rest of my Space Marine infantry and perhaps make some headway on the Predator. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I've started drilling out the barrels on the Space Marine weapons. I don't always get them centered properly, but at least they have holes in the ends of the barrels. It doesn't take much time or effort with the pin vise and some drill bits. I wouldn't use the Dremel as it is liable to take too much plastic away at a rapid pace. But back to the schoolwork. I am generally optimistic about most of my classes but my Cultural Anthropology course looks to be a pain. The teacher is retired and teaches just the one class for fun. That means she is free to lavish all of her time and attention on the one section, and obviously thinks that we should all feel the same degree of excitement about it. That's fine if you're an Anthropology major and can't get enough of this stuff, but not so great if you're a person with a life who just signed up for it because it was one of the last online courses left with open registration. We'll see how it goes. I'm not hoping for a miracle, I just want to pass. A's will earn praise, but C's earn degrees, right?

edit: It would appear that I repeated much of my last post in this post. I am very likely losing my mind.

20 January 2009

One quick post before bed. I'm finding it difficult to get into the mindset of being a student again. It doesn't help that my Cultural Anthropology professor has generated approximately 35 pages of instructions and announcements in the last 24 hours and in spite of all the practice has proven herself incapable of forming a complete and coherent sentence. She does have the ability to randomly alter the size and color of her text as a way to emphasize the important points in her meandering paragraphs. Apparently she is retired and only teaches one or two online sections, so she is free to lavish all of her attentions on the little website that acts as our classroom. It's too bad she doesn't spend a little of that free time doing some proofreading. My other classes shouldn't be too bad, assuming I can overcome the odds and pass my math class.

Given the amount of time I expect to spend lost in the world of education I can see that hobby time will be very limited. I may have to commit the cardinal sin of assembling my models and playing with partially-painted figures just as a way to actually get some games in during the few years it will take to earn my degree.
I don't have much time as I am working on schoolwork, but here are some pictures of the completed Space Marines. I've painted them over with gloss varnish, so they are a bit shiny. It doesn't look good in pictures but I kind of like the look for the tabletop. I may hit them with a matte varnish at some point. You should be able to click the pictures for a larger view.

19 January 2009

We got home from our trip; I don't have much to say about that. I did stop at one game store while I was down there in Utah. The prices weren't very good compared to what you can find online, but they had a whole lot of selection. I think they had just about everything you can get from the mainstream gaming companies. There were a couple of games going on, mostly Warhammer 40k. There was a group of players playing an Apocalypse game on the new Realm of Battle gameboard. I think the game was Orks versus Chaos Space Marines. One of the guys had an Ork Battlewagon on the table. One disappointment was that almost nothing was painted. The gameboard wasn't painted or flocked and very few of the figures were painted. Everone seemed to be having a good time, though.

I had a brief look at the comic books, but I really don't think I'll ever go back to them. They have priced themselves out of my reach, and many of the titles I used to read have become political platforms for the authors to push their agendas on the reader. We realized that the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle doesn't fall on drill weekend this year, but I really have no desire to go. It would be neat to go and meet some of the artists and get some sketches done, but I just can't get into it. I suppose that's a good thing. I'll probably try to gather a collection of comics featuring the Thing so my boy can read stories about his namesake, but other than that I'm probably done with comics for good.

School starts this week. I'm not really looking forward to it. I want to at least pass all of my classes and maybe get an idea of where I want to go with my education. Right now I'm just taking classes that I can hopefully pass in order to get off of academic probation and get my financial aid reinstated.

16 January 2009

Not much to report tonight. I spent the evening getting ready to go on my trip. I did find a little time to brush some varnish on my Tactical Squad and finalize my 750-point list. I toyed around with some different configurations and hopefully have something that will work well. I am torn about including the Predator tank. I think I may be better served by a Dreadnought or some more infantry and a Rhino or something to that effect. Depending on how many vehicles and armored targets my friend has in his army I may be in a little trouble, as my list seems to be a little heavier on the anti-infantry side. I couldn't find anything else that I really liked under the point constraints I had going, though, so I'm going to go with what I've got. The good news is that I only need to paint 16 more infantry and one tank to reach that particular goal.

The army features one full squad of 10 Tactical Marines. They get the free Flamer and Missile Launcher weapon upgrades. The Sergeant is the basic Bolt Pistol and Chainsword guy that comes with the squad. Since I didn't buy them a Rhino, they will probably stick around close to home base and act as defenders in any mission that involves objectives.

The rest of my units are fairly mobile or have rules that allow them to set up closer to the enemy. This will help me out against my friend's Tau as the Tau have some of the best shooting in the game. I have a unit of Scouts with Sniper Rifles and a Heavy Bolter. Their job will be to shoot up the Tau infantry and try to cause pinning tests, keeping the Fire Warriors' heads down so they can't shoot me up. My other Scout Squad is kitted out to be a poor man's tank killing unit. They've got a Missile Launcher as well as Melta Bombs and a Power Fist. Assuming there is something armored to kill, these guys will set up close to it and try to kill it. I also have a small unit of Assault Marines who will hopefully be able to take out my opponent's Kroot unit. They can Deep Strike during the game, which will hopefully keep them from getting killed by the Tau shooting before they can get stuck in close combat.

My Lieutenant rounds out the infantry. I'm still deciding where to slot him. The only unit he really fits in is the Tactical Squad. I may wind up sitting my Sniper Rifle Scouts on my home objectives and pushing the Tactical Squad out in order to get the officer involved in the fighting. And then I've got the Predator, which will probably try to support wherever the battle line needs some firepower. A Whirlwind or a Razorback with the Officer plus a combat squad might be a better choice for the points, but I don't have those models and I do have a Predator. I think someone famous once said that you go to war with the army you have. My main worries are that I don't have a lot of armor-killing units and that my squads may be too small. I suppose we will see what happens in an actual game before getting too crazy.

Last night I dug out all of my 40k models and ran the numbers through Army Builder. Depending on what wargear I choose, I've got around 2200 points in Orks and nearly 2900 points of Space Marines. Of course with the restrictions on army building I couldn't actually field all of the models at the same time except in an Apocalypse game, but I've certainly got a lot of painting to get to. So far I've got 250 points of Space Marines painted. It's a start.

14 January 2009

I finally finished off my Space Marine squad, so in the first half of January I've already accomplished nearly 50% of the painting I did in all of last year. Not a bad start; we'll see if I can carry momentum through all my upcoming obligations. I do think I'll try to paint the Predator next. The picture below shows a couple variants of the Terminator. I'll probably be doing the one on the right side of the photo. It's got an Autocannon and sponson-mounted Heavy Bolters as opposed to the Lascannons on the other one.

Hopefully that will go together well. I will possibly open the box up and look at the parts tomorrow. No pictures of my completed Space Marines as the cameras aren't nearby at the moment.

There is a new creature residing in our home now. There are quite a few regional Yahoo! Groups that go by the name Freecycle. Basically, people within a specific area join up and post stuff that they no longer need, and other people can e-mail them and arrange to haul it away. You can also post requests if there is something you are after. The catch is that no money changes hands. You're not allowed to sell the stuff you post. There are usually so many useless posts that I don't pay them much mind, but last night a message popped up offering a Russian Tortoise that the poster's kid no longer wanted to take care of. We'd been wanting to give Owen (our original Russian Tortoise) a companion for a while, but they aren't an extremely cheap animal to buy, generally around $80. So I e-mailed the lady and arranged to go over there after work and check it out. In order to take the tortoise I also had to take his cage, an extremely heavy 6-foot long enclosure. So I now have a huge terrarium in the back of my truck that I really have no need for. The tortoise doesn't have a name yet. He wasn't being fed proper vegetables or the mineral supplements he needed nor was he getting the UV light required for synthesizing his nutrients, so his shell is a bit malformed and I think it had a couple of soft spots. It should start to heal up and harden now that he'll be eating properly and basking under our UV lamp. Also included was a nice artificial pool/water dish that sells for $40-60 at the pet store. So it was a pretty good deal all around for us.

That's about all the news from me for today. It's exciting to be making some progress on my miniatures, hopefully I'll have more good news to report soon.

12 January 2009

I didn't get much done on my Space Marines this weekend as I was off playing with the National Guard. I did finish the basecoats on all of the weapons and other metallic bits this morning while the wife and kid were asleep. The rest of the day I tried to help with the baby a little so the wife could get packed for her trip down to Utah. I'll be flying down there to join her next weekend. I'm trying not to be grouchy about it as I would probably prefer to stay up here and do my own thing. I think my next painting project will be the Predator, followed by a full squad of ten Assault Marines. My 750-point list only calls for five Assault Marines, but I've got ten of them and I might as well paint the whole lot. Then I'll probably get the Lieutenant painted up and follow on with my Sniper Scouts. I'm pretty excited about the Sniper Scouts as they have cloaks that can be painted with some sort of camouflage scheme. It will be fun trying to come up with some sort of appropriate pattern for them. I also need to come up with a basing system for my army, as I don't see them fitting in well with bright shiny green grass. I'll probably try to do some sort of urban rubble.

Next week school starts and the wife goes back to work the week after so we'll see how that goes. It's hard to imagine fitting anything else into the schedule. We bought a baby swing from Craigslist today that he is content to sleep in for a decent amount of time, so that should free us up a bit. It's a big step up from one of us having to hold him at every moment during the day.

The weather is supposed to be clear here all week, so I'm going to try getting some use out of my motorcycle to save some gas money. With the wife taking her car to Utah I'll be stuck with the bike and the truck, and the bike seems like a better option as far as gas money. We'll see how I feel about it in the morning. I started it up and rode around the block this evening to make sure it was good to go.

05 January 2009

I made some minor progress today on my Space Marine squad. I thought I was concentrating on quantity over quality, but it still took two hours to get the tops of a few backpacks and the metal and housings for five weapons done. I don't know how other hobbyists can burn through entire regiments in the time it takes me to paint five or ten miniatures. At least I am getting closer. There really isn't much more to do on these guys. I need to finish painting the metal on backpacks and weapons, do some highlighting, finish some details on the missile launcher Marine and the Sergeant, then a clearcoat and I should be good to go for this squad. It will probably still take most of the week to get it done a little at a time. Then I think I'll edit my five-man squad to match these guys. From there I will get to either work on something exciting or something intimidating. I could do some Scouts with Sniper Rifles and camo cloaks or some Assault Marines. Maybe I could build my Space Marine Captain (who plays the role of Platoon Leader in my mind, as the Company Captain has better things to do than run around on a combat patrol). Those are the exciting options. On the intimidating front, I could use my airbrush for something other than a desk ornament and get my Predator tank painted up. I actually think that tank is a bad choice of words for a Predator. It's more of a CFV (Cavalry Fighting Vehicle). The Space Marines don't really have a tank. The closest thing they have is the Land Raider but that seems to be more of a heavily-armored, heavily-armed Terminator delivery device than a tank. Anyway, all of the above options would constitute progression toward my first goal of getting a 750-point army put together so I can play against my friend once he gets his starter Tau force put together. I've got plenty of time to decide, but for now I think it's about time to go to bed. Click the picture below for an extra-large view.

03 January 2009

Getting Closer

I've got all the backpacks and weapons cleaned up and primed. They aren't actually glued on yet; I painted the inside surfaces while holding the parts in my hands and then slid them onto their pegs so I could paint the outside surfaces and let them dry. So far I'm pretty happy with the color scheme. I'm not going to paint the bolter bodies red as I'd originally intended. I'll probably paint them to match the rest of the armor, so they'll be green or brown.

I spent some time today looking at the Apocalypse book and the Apocalypse: Reload supplement for 40k. Specifically I was looking at the Baneblade tank and thinking (a dangerous pastime, I know) about using one in an Apocalypse game sometime in the future. Then I got to thinking that the Imperial Guard wouldn't really just let the Space Marines use a Baneblade without some sort of supervision. The Imperial Guard and the Space Marines both work for the Imperium, but that doesn't mean they trust each other enough to hand over one of their rarest, most powerful pieces of wargear. I imagine that the tank would be accompanied by at least a high commander with his attendant bodyguard unit and perhaps some other kit. Maybe a squadron of Sentinels? It couldn't be because I like the way Sentinels look, though. Since Apocalypse armies don't have to fit the standard force template, I was thinking of building a Guard force consisting of a Baneblade, a Catachan 'Death Trap' Ambush Patrol (found in the Apocalypse: Reload book), and perhaps a kitted-out Command Platoon to represent the officer acting as the Baneblade's babysitter. I imagine that group will run out to a little over 1000 points. Add a regular-sized Space Marine army to it and you've got yourself a small Apocalypse force. That's all dreams right now, though, as I haven't even got my first Space Marine squad painted yet. If I alter the first five Space Marines I painted several months ago to match my new color scheme I'll have an additional Combat squad to work with. Then I can paint my Scouts or my Assault squad. That was all really off-topic, but this is a hobby blog and those were my hobby-related thoughts today. I also really want to use the Vortex grenade template I've got, so that's another motivation to get several thousand points of figures painted up. The Vortex grenade is a little hole in the fabric of space that drifts randomly around the battlefield. Anything that it touches gets sucked into the Warp where it is either destroyed or subjected to such horrors that it loses it's mind and becomes part of the zaniness that makes the Warp what it is.

Bolters and Backpacks

That's all I've got left for this batch of Space Marines. Well, I've also got to paint a couple of extra details on the squad's Sergeant. But the bulk of the work that's left is painting and attaching backpacks and weapons. I should be able to finish it this weekend.

02 January 2009

Now it's time to set some goals for 2009. Most of my aims for 2009 are not hobby-related, so I'm going to try keeping the gaming stuff to something manageable. I'm going to focus on small playable forces for a couple of game systems. This is primarily intended to be a hobby blog, so I'll stay away from the non-hobby goals.
  1. Get 750 points of Space Marines painted up to oppose my friend's Tau army. I'd like to get this done as soon as early February so we can get some games in and learn the 5th Edition rules.
  2. Follow up with 750 points of Orks, so we can have a little variety in our games. Ideally this would happen within a month or two of getting the Space Marines to 750 points.
  3. Continue to expand these armies at approximately the same pace as my friend's army, so we aren't waiting on each other to get a bigger game in. Eventually this should lead to us having enough points to challenge other people at Tuesday game nights.
  4. Paint my Flames of War U.S. force. It's rather small, so it hopefully will not take long. I must admit to being rather intimidated by the 15mm figures. I suppose it is just because they are different from the heroic-scale Warhammer stuff I'm used to. I don't have the list in front of me, but I think it's 80 or 90 infantry and 8 or 10 vehicles. It's basically an understrength infantry company with some armor and anti-tank support. I've got the start of a similar German force, but don't quite have all the components. Since there is no real presence for the game in this area it's not as high-priority as the 40k stuff.
  5. Assuming I get through most of what's lined out above I'd like to work on some other projects as my whims move me. These projects would include 1000 points of Warhammer Fantasy Orcs & Goblins, a handful of Foundry Pirates that I picked up from somewhere, some odds & ends for my Skaven army, and maybe even a couple boxes of Lord of the Rings figures.
  6. I've got plenty of figures, but no terrain for them to fight over aside from a flat grass mat. I want to focus a bit on adding some terrain to my collection. Hobbytown has quite a selection of terrain for various genres, including quite a few pieces on clearance. It wouldn't take much to attain a fair collection of stuff over the course of several months. I also should look into terrain that I can build myself.
That's probably plenty to take me through to next year and then some. My priorities for this year revolve mostly around school, work, and family. I'll have to try keeping a balance so the hobby stuff doesnt take priority over the more important things. It's going to be a pretty stressful year, but hopefully I'll be better off at the end of 2009 than I was at the end of 2008. I think I regressed a bit last year and I'm certainly very far behind where I wanted to be at this stage in my life.
Today my friend E. A. decided to go to Hobbytown and pick up the beginning stages of his Tau army. He invited me along to act as a paint and hobby supply counselor and because it was an excuse to hang out at Hobbytown for a couple of hours. He wound up getting the Tau Empire Battleforce and a Tau Crisis Battlesuit Commander to lead his force. He also picked up some paints and in true wargamer fashion began making plans to build an Eldar army as soon as he gets a playable Tau force built. I drooled over the Baneblade kit and had a look at the Flames of War spinner rack. I also remembered to pick up some clearcoat for my finished figures, as I've got a few things that are painted but still aren't protected from dings and scrapes. I very nearly picked up some airbrush thinner and some decal setting solution, but then decided not to because I couldn't remember which decal solutions were good for which applications. I'll have to do some research. I really should learn to use my airbrush, I think it may come into the picture when I paint up some vehicles for my Space Marines.

During the trip I realized that I am not very knowledgeable about the game itself, as there were many questions about the armies and gameplay that I was unable to answer at all. My friend seems to be the sort of person who will deliberately and methodically go over the army list and pick the best options, research combos on the forums and podcasts, and spend a couple of hours at the paint rack deciding which color of red is most reminiscent of Mars. As a result he has a lot of questions. I don't really have any answers, as my approach to games and armies is more of an, "Oooh, shiny!" attitude. Luckily the guys at the store are more helpful than I am.

I made a small amount of progress on my Space Marines today, getting some of the brown armor highlighted. We haven't been able to get much going the last couple of days as The Critter has been very fussy and demanding. Perhaps tomorrow I will find time to make a post about my hobby goals for 2009. They are not quite as ambitious as last year's goals, but I think they are attainable. Anyway, making a 2009 goals post seems to be the nifty thing to do, so look forward to that in the near future.