30 June 2009

We may be nearing the end of the house-hunting process. As of my last house update, we were waiting on the appraiser to go in and appraise the house. He went through and found something that needed painted and a couple of pieces of siding that he wanted replaced before he would bless off on the loan. Additionally, he appraised the house at $4000 less than what we had offered on it and wouldn't go any higher.

The siding and paint weren't a big deal as the other agent has been more than willing to fix things that need done in order to close the deal. The $4000 was kind of a big deal as it meant we would either have to offer that much less and see if the bank would accept it or come up with the $4000 on our own to make up the difference between the loan and the price. Bah!

We sent in an offer for $4000 less and waited. Yesterday the bank finally came back and accepted the lower offer, so things so far are still working out. Now we have to wait for the siding and paint to be finished so the appraiser can go back in and approve it. If that goes well we should be clear to go ahead and get the house. I hope we stay there for a while, because I don't want to go through that process again. At least at the end of this latest ordeal we came away with a nice little discount.

29 June 2009

A Response to Lone Pilgrim

Lone Pilgrim made a pie chart and wrote a post in response to an article in White Dwarf in which Jervis Johnson discusses the motivations that people have for their hobby. It seemed like a wonderfully nerdy thing to do, so I made my own chart. My wife teased me for being such a nerd, but sometimes you've got to just be yourself no matter what other people say.

I think I've got the chart divided approximately according to my own personality. It is somewhat different from the one that was posted by Lone Pilgrim; the collecting models portion on my chart is significantly larger while the Camaraderie and Playing Games portions are much smaller.

I greatly enjoy planning, purchasing, putting together, and painting models. For me that is the main part of the hobby. Along with collecting and creating armies I enjoy the background material and coming up with forces that both make sense and include all of the models I enjoy. I have been having a great time with my plans for the Last Chancers and the Imperial Guard color scheme for my other troops, just like I enjoyed building up my Skaven army and coming up with a color scheme and force organisation for my Space Marines. I get pumped up about lists and plans and new products. I love to look at release schedules and plan out what I need next. I even enjoy sitting down and getting stuff painted or put together.

Playing games and camaraderie with other gamers are things that I anticipate and think about when planning and painting. They're sort of an end-goal for all the work and creation that goes into the hobby, but in my experience so far they have fallen short and left me disappointed. Part of it has to do with the local gamers and attitudes that come into play, and I imagine a large portion of the blame lies in my social awkwardness and the difficulty I have in putting myself out there to make friends and be a part of games. Whatever the causes, I generally find myself coming home from a game feeling let down rather than motivated and excited for the next one.

Lone Pilgrim had a couple of commenters who mostly agreed with him as well as some comments who trended more to the playing games and camaraderie end of the scale. It is interesting that the hobby is spread across such a wide spectrum. I suppose that it is really several hobbies in one. But if you think about it, many (if not most) hobbies are that way. People tend to specialize and move toward the aspects of a hobby that interest them most.

28 June 2009

The Last Chancers

I've been reading The Last Chancers, a collection of novels and short stories set in the Warhammer 40k universe that chronicles the adventures of the 13th Penal Legion, also known as Colonel Schaeffer's Last Chancers. They are an Imperial Guard unit made up of prisoners who take on suicide missions as a "last chance" to gain a pardon for their crimes against the Emperor. Generally these pardons are given posthumously. It may not be a literary masterpiece, but it's certainly a page-turner.

It has also got me thinking about an Imperial Guard army list centered on the Last Chancers. The old Guard Codex had a special unit and accompanying miniatures for the 13th Penal Legion, but they were removed from the army for the current edition. I think that given the fairly small numbers of the Last Chancers in the novels I will have to model them as a command squad and maybe a Troops or Elite selection and then model the rest of the list as another more conventional Penal Legion or even a standard Imperial Guard unit. I will probably pick and choose characters and ideas from all of the books in order to give myself a range of things to choose in the list. In one of the stories the groups is accompanied by a Naval Officer who calls down a bombardment on some renegade Guard units. I'll add him to the list as a Master of Ordnance Regimental Advisor. One of the other books features a demolitions expert that I can fit into a Special Weapons Squad. I still haven't got it all nailed down yet (and I'm not quite finished with the book) but it is certainly generating plenty of ideas.

19 June 2009

We are getting ever closer to closing the deal on the house. I just hope the VA appraisal goes well. If it does then we should be good to go. I've started packing some nonessential items, mostly miniatures, books, and magazines. It's amazing how much stuff you can find once you start digging around. I don't really have anything to talk about that I can recall; I'm pretty sure I had several things I wanted to post about earlier today but they have slipped my mind. Oh well.

16 June 2009

Today was a pretty good day. I felt like I got a lot done at work, which is always a nice feeling. The paperwork is in for a bit of a promotion for me which comes with about an 11% raise, so I'm hoping HRO will approve it. If it goes through it will about cover the difference between the house payment and the trailer rent we're paying now.

The HVAC guy went to our prospective house and fixed the furnace, so that shouldn't be a dealbreaker for our loan. I've been shopping for homeowner's insurance and it looks like it will be a little cheaper than I anticipated. Our agent said the numbers I'd gotten so far seemed high, but to me they sounded a lot lower than I had projected in my mind. My projections weren't based on fact at all, but it's better to go high and be relieved than to lowball it and be frustrated. It's starting to look like this may come through for us. One of the guys at work drives a commuter-ride van that picks up right near the house so if I can take advantage of that I will save tons of money on gas, especially during the months when it's too nasty to ride my motorcycle in to work. It's about double the commute from there to work than it is from here to work, and that could get pretty spendy even if I am driving my wife's car in place of my truck.

My wife and the Chomper (he's popped out his second tooth now) went and ran errands this evening so I watched the Astros play the Rangers and painted Scouts. The Astros lost, but the good side of that is that the Rangers' pitcher is on a couple of my fantasy teams and his numbers helped me out quite a bit. I had a tough decision to make between painting Scouts and compiling the parts for my initial Imperial Guard list. In the end the Scouts won; the Heavy Bolter guy is the closest to being finished so I have attached a picture of him below. He still needs some details, highlights, and his head and arms need painted. They're starting to look pretty good, though. Close-up you can see that my brush isn't very steady, but at gaming length they look just about right.

Once I'm done with my Scouts I think I will paint the Razorback just to complete the 750-point force. I'm more pumped up about the Imperial Guard right now than I am about Orks, but I can fit more fun stuff into the Ork list at 750 points than Guard. By the time I get through my HQ Squad and an Infantry Platoon there aren't a lot of points for anything else. I see a lot of people getting around that by running Veteran or Penal Legion squads in place of infantry platoons, but in my mind the lack of numbers seems like it could cause trouble. It also seems to go against the main traits of the Guard as a sheer mass of men grinding out victories for the Emperor. I did manage to fit a couple of Sentinels into the list, and the 1500-point list manages to add Valkyrie and Leman Russ support to the army.

I may find a way to fit some Gretchin and Stormboyz into the painting schedule during my Guard push, though. I may even decide to alternate units from each army to keep me from getting bored with one. I want to paint some Assault Terminators as well. I had originally planned to do all five with Thunder Hammers and Storm Shields, but I've been reading and it seems it may be better to do a mix of weapons. We'll see. Hopefully I'll be so busy moving to a new place in the next month that I won't have time to paint.

15 June 2009

We had the house inspection today. It went better than it could have. Now we have to wait and see if the bank will fix one or two things before the appraiser comes over to decide if we can get the loan. Buying a house is a pain. There are a million steps and at any point something could fall through and you're left to start over again. I hope this deal goes through because we like the house and really don't want to repeat the parts of the process we've already done once or twice.

The Space Marine Scouts got a little paint on their pouches, boots, and holsters. The boots were going to be mostly black, but I didn't like the way that looked and painted them green. I think it looks better, although it adds a step to the process. I would like to finish them soon and move on to other things, but I don't think I'll get to it this week. Hopefully next week I'll have a couple of free hours to work on them.

14 June 2009

I didn't work on my Scouts today as I had some other stuff going on. We drove by the house we're trying to buy this evening. The people are still living in it, so we didn't walk around the yard or anything. It's been so long since we put in the offer and looked at the house that when we do the home inspection on Monday it will be almost like looking at a new house. Hopefully we can get through the home inspection and the VA appraisal without any trouble. We went to the liquor store today and loaded up on empty boxes so we can start packing up in anticipation of moving.

I added a number of new links to my bloglist on the sidebar. I think I've got about 100 blogs linked at the moment. Generally with that many links there is usually something new to read.

I'm still trying to decide how I will assemble and paint my Imperial Guardsmen. I am also trying to come up with an army list. I'll probably wind up doing what I always do and just find a way to fit the models I want to paint into a certain number of points. I've spent some time looking at various army lists and builds for my various armies, but in the end I usually just wind up painting the models I like. It's not very competitive, but 99.9% of my hobby is spent painting and building models.

11 June 2009

Not a whole lot to post about at the moment as I haven't had much time to do anything hobby-related. It looks like we will probably be able to buy the house we've got an offer in on as long as the home inspection goes well and we can make the finances work. It's been a pretty stressful week for me with trying to make sure that will work out as well as dealing with some other stuff that's been going on. Nothing too serious, but lots of little things that add up. This isn't a whiny emo blog so I'll spare you the details.

I read today that the new Imperial Guard files are out for Army Builder, so I'll probably download those and play around with that a bit. After having that software to do the heavy lifting it gets tedious to do the math by hand.

Edit: Apparently the Army Builder data files for the Imperial Guard are not on the Army Builder site. They can be found at the AB40k Maintainers site, and after debugging and whatnot they will probably be made available on the Army Builder site.

07 June 2009

I think I've decided on a paint scheme for my Imperial Guard forces. I really didn't want to paint another green/brown army because all of my armies so far (Space Marines, Orcs & Goblins, Skaven) are painted green and/or brown and because so many Guard armies you see on the internet and in GW's printed materials are in those colors. So I knew what I wanted them not to look like, but I didn't really have any idea what did want to paint them like. Games Workshop had an article on their site showcasing various armor camouflage schemes, and on the last page I found this one:

It is officially called Mars Pattern XXI, but I imagine regiments fighting on any red planet could use it. There is a little bit of green in the camo, but not enough for it to be a major color. I'm not sure how I'll paint the infantry, but I imagine it will be some sort of grey/red combo.
I finally finished my Assault Marines. The pictures are not that great, but they get the idea across. I'm not sure what to paint next. I should probably paint my Scouts or the Razorback next, but that's a lot of green and brown to paint. I've got a group of about ten half-finished Easterlings that would probably paint up pretty quick, so I might change gears a bit and get them done. Then maybe I'll put some more models together to get away from painting for a couple of days. I am moderately pleased with the Assault Marines. They look decent enough from tabletop distance.

04 June 2009

This evening I had planned on finishing my Assault Marines and writing a post on what exactly appeals to me about the Empire, but instead I went to dinner at a friend's house and wound up staying too late to do much but check on my Fantasy Baseball teams and call it a night. I suppose it is significant that I left my house and went into a social situation on my own motivation rather than coming up with a mumbled excuse and staying home to paint.

03 June 2009

With my new Pledge not to purchase any new figures until the first week or so of August, I have of course been beset on all sides with all manner of exciting upcoming releases and current offerings, in addition to the things I already knew I wanted. I have to keep reminding myself that pretty much any figures I want will still be available in two months' time, and probably for several years after that.

There are many tempting things on the market, though. The Warhammer Fantasy Skaven are scheduled to get a new book later this year, and with that book there will surely be new models. I also have a few more units and war machines in my inventory that I planned on adding to the army at some point. Perhaps the new book will even bring back the Doomwheel? What is a Doomwheel, you might ask? It's sort of like this, but mobile and with more spikey bits:

The Imperial Guard are getting a couple of new models in July and August, mostly various armor like some Leman Russ variants and the Hellhound/Devil Dog/Bane Wolf kit. I am also toying with the idea of some artillery pieces for them.

The Space Marines are getting one piece of equipment in July that I am really excited about. It's a Land Speeder variant called the Storm that can caddy five Scouts around the table. I'm thinking about using it to insert Scouts with Sniper rifles on a high point and then arming it with something shooty to support them. Space Marines are also getting an Ironclad Dreadnought, which isn't that exciting except the the weapon arms shown in the concept art are exceptionally neat. I don't think it will be worth the price GW is asking, though.

I am not very interested in the upcoming Warhammer 40k Planetstrike expansion, but some of the terrain kits that are being released to coincide with it look neat. I haven't reached a point yet where scenery is an issue, but if we get a new house and I have an area to set up a table in it might become a more pressing need.

The upcoming Elves for GW's Lord of the Rings line don't excite me much. There is still plenty of stuff I would like to do with the Lord of the Rings line, but most of the specialist troops are available only in expensive blister packs, which is very cost-prohibitive. The basic troops are an awesome deal, but until more stuff gets released in plastic I will probably have to stick with what I've got.

40k Orks and WHFB Orcs and Goblins don't have any new releases really, but I've got a lot of models for both armies and I would like to field them at some point. The Orc/Ork models have a lot of character and are quite zany, so they should be fun to paint. I just need to get around to it.

Over the last couple of years I've picked up quite a boxful of Reaper's CAV mechs. People get frustrated at the lack of a player base for the game and offload their collections at huge discounts. I really like the way the models look, and I need to make some room for them in my painting schedule. The same goes for the various Reaper Warlord stuff I've accumulated and the Mordheim figures I've got in another box. Also the Dogs of War units for Warhammer Fantasy, which as concepts go are some of the more interesting models in Games Workshop's line. I still need some halfling archers and a halfling hot pot, but haven't been willing to pay the price eBay is asking, which in many cases is more the GW is selling them for.

Additionally I've got the Baccus 6mm American Civil War stuff, 15mm World War Two for Flames of War, some superhero stuff from various manufacturers, a couple dozen Foundry pirates, some Vikings and their enemies in both 15mm and 28mm, and I think that's about it. Oh, and a few Warhammer Fantasy Dwarfs.

And now I get to the thing that really sparked this whole post. The latest issue of White Dwarf highlights the new Warhammer Fantasy Empire releases, an army that I like but have so far been able to avoid. I don't need a fourth Fantasy army, especially since two of my first three haven't seen paint yet. The good thing is that the Empire will still be around in ten years when I get caught up.

I put a little bit of paint on my Assault Marines tonight, but not a whole lot. I've still got a couple more hours until they are finished. They probably won't get finished tomorrow night as I am going to dinner at a friend's house, but I'm hoping Friday night will see them done and perhaps some progress made on another unit besides.

02 June 2009

My Assault Marines are sitting very close to completion, but I chose sleep over painting this evening. All that's left is brown highlights on the armor and some skulls and eyes and other little details. From there it's on to the Scout Squad, which is about 35% done. I am hoping to perfect a quick method for painting faces and arms for the Scouts, something that doesn't take fifteen layers and looks good from a couple of feet away. After the Scouts I will need to paint my Razorback to finish out my original 750-point force. Rather than building another army out to 750 points right away I may just keep expanding the Marines to make them playable at a higher level so I can more fully participate in the action at game night. Or I may decide to just start painting whatever unit grabs my fancy. I'd like to paint some Stormboyz and Gretchin for the Orks, I've got a couple of custom Regimental Advisors and a Commissar for the Imperial Guard, and it would be fun to get a full Squad of Space Marine Terminators on the table. I've also got some Skaven I'd like to work on, several Dogs of War Regiments of Renown for Warhammer Fantasy, and some Vikings and WWII figures that it might be fun to work on. I think my main focus right now is the 40k armies, though.

I am embarking on a new Pledge of sorts. I am proposing (to myself) that I refrain from purchasing any new figures until the first week of August. Why the first week of August? I get a double paycheck sometime that week or the week after, and I will probably divert some of that money to new toys. This will be painful, as there are several releases between now and then as well as figures currently on my wish list, but honestly anything I bought in the next couple of months would languish unwanted on the shelf for months or years before being painted anyway. Things I will be allowed to buy include paint, maybe some magnets, and basing materials. If we get a new house before then I may allow myelf to buy a paint rack in the name of organization. But no new figures. I'll try to update here every week or so to track my success.

I will not bore anyone with the details of my Fantasy Baseball teams, but I am doing very well this year. If things keep going well I should earn several trophies this season.

Now I should go to bed, and hope that the neighbors don't decide to have a rave,, show off their new gangsta rap album, install an air conditioner in the middle of the night, engage in loud arguments, or any other noisy and distracting behavior. It's been a good week for loud noises in the middle of the night.