Friday, May 29, 2015

Tectonic Craft Studios bases pt. 1

I picked up a bunch of Tectonic Craft Studios bases for use with my Deadzone Plague, and boy have they been a dream. The pre-textured bases mean that you can speed-paint a whole clutch of them and base an entire army in no time flat, while having them look amazing. Here's what I did for my Plague.

I grabbed the 25mm and 40mm base toppers for the deck plating and hulk plating, since I'm going for a sci-fi aesthetic. Then I primed them black.

Then I simply gave them a heavy drybrush of P3 Pig Iron. I considered doing something fancier like a bronze or something, but these are for a horde of space monsters, so I wanted to keep this simple.

 To give it an aged and rusted look I thinned down P3 Bloodstone and gave them all a thorough wash. I like Bloodstone for rust because it has a natural tendency to separate when watered down into yellow and brown parts when it pools, which gives a mottled rusted effect. I've also used Secret Weapon Miniatures rust pigment suspended in water, which is also really good, but gives a very different look.

I wanted to break up the brown rust, so I decided that some parts of this would be more likely to develop a blue patina. I just washed them heavily in GW Nihilakh Oxide where I wanted to break up the pattern, mainly using it to pick out any details like bolts or grates.

Finally a tore a small piece of blister foam and stippled on GW Ryza Rust anywhere it looked "broken" to emphasize where the metal was most worn.

And that's pretty much it! I'll do part 2 after I get the Plague models on the bases and do a few finishing touches like blood or slime. Hopefully get to that later this weekend.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Blog Necromancy and Time Management

I've been on a zombie kick lately, so I suppose it's only appropriate for me to raise the ol' blog from the dead again. This time I was inspired to write after reading my friend Marina's blog post in which she discussed creating a better, more efficient To-Do list. Having had good success a few years back with the idea of the $35,000 list when I was self-motivating to paint more commissions I fell out of the habit and subsequently my life has been kind of falling to shit. I need something better.

When I was doing the "6 things that had to get done the next day" list it ran into a number of problems, the two biggest being that a lot of daily chores got on there (I REALLY need to do dishes tomorrow...) and my wife would see my list and start adding things SHE thought were important to it, so that instead of a list of my 6 most important projects I needed to get done I had a list of 6 marginally important Honey-Do chores every day. Make that happen every single day and it's easy to see why it fell apart and I stopped doing it.

One of the great benefits of my current job is that I have ample time sitting at a computer with nothing to do, so I would like to figure out ways to more efficiently use this resource. Time is always one of my big constraints on doing things I want/need to do, so turning down time where I'm trapped at work sitting on my butt into checking items off a list seems like a good move. I currently waste most of this time farting around on the internet (doing things like writing a blog post...), so this seems like an ideal place to re-focus some energy.

I made a Google Document of a To-Do list. I don't think it's done, but it's a completely transparent attempt to cash in on Marina's great idea and customize it to my situation. I have a lot of chores that do need to get done, and I need to not forget about them, but I also have important projects that I've been slacking on (sometimes for dangerous amounts of time) that I shouldn't be ignoring any more, and those needed a spot. I like the "10th step" verbing that Marina used, as it will hopefully help me re-focus at the end of every day and prevent the list from devolving into the last one, as well as just keeping me honest with myself.

My original idea was to print the list out at the beginning of every week, but then I realized that doing so would defeat one of the greatest strengths of the digital document - the fact that I don't really need to worry about formatting as much (especially important in the 10th step part) and can be as verbose as required for a particular situation. So including Monday and Tuesday (when I started this), I have the beginnings of what this actual week is looking like, and how I'm doing.

As you can see, I didn't end up getting much done yesterday. I went home, started dinner, then played a single-player game of Deadzone. Jackie got home and had to leave immediately for an HOA meeting, so I was left to my own devices, which ended up being watching TV and screwing around with miniatures stuff. In the back of my head I knew I needed to do some of this stuff, but I just...didn't. So that was bad. That Google Doc has a 10th Step sheet attached to it, which ended up looking like this:

I like this part a lot. I am a master of ignoring problems and deceiving myself, so forcing myself to face the fact that I basically just flaked last night is eating away at me. I brought some of the pile of mail with me to work, and hope to get a start on that today, as well as call AT&T and deal with customer support for however long it takes to figure out why our internet sucks butts right now, then probably call the DMV to decipher the cryptic piece of mail I received (Do I owe them money? Do I need to get my car smogged? Did I just forget to sign something?). If I can knock those things out while bored at work I'll be miles ahead of where I was this morning, and in a good spot to weed eat the lawn (it's too small to mow properly), water the plants (it's not a long or difficult chore, I just always forget and they keep dying), and do the dishes (I have heard rumors that if I can keep on doing them every day or two they won't pile up into a terrifying mound of filth!).

By that point I should feel accomplished enough that I won't mind going to the bottom part of the list, which is basically the fun stuff I want to make sure I have time for. This part is important for me, because if I neglect to make time to play games I will end up being miserable and will get even less done. I will reward myself for being so productive today by playing Deadzone, most likely. I can't do any painting because my painting desk is covered in shit, so I'm motivated to check off that item as it will allow me to unlock other fun things I can be doing. If I extend this logic I should be able to turn this list into a way to do more of the things I've wanted to by doing more of the things I've needed to. Exercise will assuredly end up in the daily section pretty soon.

I also started a Someday Maybe list in the same Google Doc Folder, which I will use to kind of eyeball and think about the projects I need to do, but that are really back burner things. I can use this space to start planning them when I get bursts of inspiration, and the closer I get to having a fully fleshed-out plan the more likely I'll be to actually get started on those things. Just setting it up made me realize I'm way closer to the laundry room project than I thought I was from my disorganized notes on my phone, so I may try to get that done within a month or two.

Anyway, this whole thing may fizzle out completely, but I really hope not. I need to start making serious progress on some life goals, and getting on top of daily chores is something I need to be doing. I'll probably edit the lists to add other dailies as they come up, but for now this seems like a solid start.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


Been a little while, but I'm particularly pleased with this Trygon that I painted up on commission for a friend. Picture quality isn't amazing, but should be plenty good enough.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Battle Report (the app and an actual report!)

This is both a review of the Battle Report app for iOS, as well as an actual battle report!

Review first: The app is solid, and easy to use. It took me all of ten minutes of futzing with it in my spare time to figure out how to work it, it automatically catalogues whose turn the picture represents (assuming to make the setting correct) which makes for a vastly easier situation when it comes to looking back over it later. However, when I went to email the pictures to myself the file was slightly too big to send through Gmail (with only 10 pictures!), so I had to get the pictures off the phone in a more roundabout way. Slightly obnoxious, but overall the app does what it's supposed to, even if that's just basically taking pictures with the camera on your phone. 3/5

Battle Report!

First off: I hate Cryx vs. Cryx matches. The game becomes weird when none of your faction's tricks work, and models you expected to do certain things can't because of the lack of souls, living models, or both. Anyway, I went first, running a Skarre1 list I whipped up to try as a tournament-level list.
Points: 50/50
Pirate Queen Skarre (*6pts)
* Defiler (5pts)
* Kraken (19pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Bane Knights (Leader and 9 Grunts) (10pts)
Blackbane's Ghost Raiders (Leader and 5 Grunts) (6pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (5pts)
Mechanithralls (Leader and 9 Grunts) (5pts)
Necrosurgeon & 3 Stitch Thralls (2pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
3 Scrap Thrall (1pts)

In case you're wondering, the descriptions will be describing the picture below them.

My friend was running an Epic Deneghra list that I TOTALLY underestimated.
Points: 50/50
Wraith Witch Deneghra (*6pts)
* Nightwretch (4pts)
* Deathjack (12pts)
* Kraken (19pts)
* Nightmare (10pts)
* Skarlock Thrall (2pts)
Necrotech & 1 Scrap Thrall (1pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Pistol Wraith (3pts)
Warwitch Siren (2pts)

Seems like he's pretty low on models, right? Like he's going to get swarmed by my zillions of infantry? Well, as you see below, turn 1 for me was just running forward. Between Ghostly and Incorporeal my flanks had no trouble with terrain, and I just jammed forward with Mechanithralls and the Kraken, hoping to get some goodies in range.

He also moved up, but stayed cautiously outside of charge ranges.

Without anything to charge, I opted to just jam forward with Mechanithralls and try to keep him held back long enough for my second wave heavy hitters to get there and for me to score some scenario points. The Kraken tried to kill the Skarlock with its big canon, but a bad die roll (one of many, many such rolls this game) meant the little bugger survived.

Wait, what happened to all my models? Why are they all at the corner of the board, where dead models usually g...oh no. Now I understand how his list works. In one turn he killed over 30 of my models by casting Hellmouth twice, having the Kraken forfeit its movement to become a gun turret for a turn, and 4 pistol wraith shots, all while under the tender mercy of Denny's feat. Without any defense to help me my army disintegrated.

My turn was depressing. Since I couldn't move anything, I took some shots in place (Denny was incorporeal that turn, so I couldn't even shoot at her) and feated defensively (something I hate doing). I killed something to the order of 1 Pistol Wraith the whole turn.

Next Nightmare came in for the kill of the Kraken, barely breaking armor (ARM 24! Get bent!) while the Deathjack moved in and scrapped my 'node. The Kraken couldn't make his charge, so he just moved into position. Denny ran her full 14" away up onto the hill - which meant she was safe from my retaliation, but also didn't have Nightmare in her control area.

A series of more bad rolls left Nightmare standing, even though I was able to finish off Deathjack. Skarre was basically just hiding out, and I was running out of models fast.

Nightmare and the Kraken both rolled absurdly over average (something like 5 rolls of over 10 on 2d6 for damage in sequence) to scrap my Kraken. Denny went incorporeal and ran forward to hide behind the wreck marker. By dominating the flag he had 3 points, while I had none. It was looking real bad. If I didn't win next turn he would win on scenario.

I had exactly one chance! Skarre had a pile of focus (from the Skarlock casting sacrificial lamb last turn - and every turn), and she moved forward, her 7 SPD enough to clear the cover guarding Denny. Def 16 meant I needed 10 to hit. I cast Hellfire, boosting to hit, and...rolled a 9. Shit. Well, I might as well go for the second one I had planned! Cast, boost to hit...another 9. At this point we just called it, because Nightmare was right next to Skarre, Denny and the Kraken were deliciously nearby, and Skarre was hanging in the wind.

I learned a valuable lesson about eDenny, though - she's nigh impossible to pin down if a good player is fielding her. I haven't really run her ever (I can't bring myself to be That Guy), and I can see why she's absolutely top tier in competitive play. We agreed that since both of our casters were the pawns of liches that there was a dispute between Asphyxious and Terminus, and since they are "busy liches" they sent their underlings to hash things out. Asphyxious' interests clearly have won out. 

I want to run this list another time or two to see if I can improve it, or if I need to scrap it entirely. It seems good, and I think I just had a particularly bad matchup. We'll see!

IKRPG Commissions

I painted up some minis for a friend's IKRPG campaign. The Narn mini and the Kovnik Joe mini are for specific NPCs, while the Kossites are just to be used for general enemies to be fought. There are a pile of Winterguard and Kayazy as part of this commission as well, but I haven't gotten to those yet. I plan to paint the Khadoran troops as if they were part of an army (specifically an army I'd want to paint/play), that way if the client wants to pick up a warcaster and a handful of warjacks it's a short step to playing with an actual army.

Nyss Hunter Commission

All right, just a short post here to show off some Nyss Hunters I did for a commission for a friend. The super-close-up camera shot picks out all the problems, but they look pretty damn good at tabletop distance. The client was rightly pleased! I think one of my favorite touches was the purple hair on Cylena, making her easily visible at a glance.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Tyranid Commission 1

The first 20 Termagaunts are done. I'm rather pleased with how good they turned out, for how simple they were. When speedpainting this many matching models, a certain amount of not-give-a-shit has to set in. There's a lot of details, but I simply can't spend time painting every crevasse.