Sunday, November 25, 2012

Death World Basing Kit Unpacking & Review

Over the weekend I picked up GW's new Death World Basing Kit and since the product description on their website is on the vague side I thought I would post a more complete break down of what's in the kit. First off, the kit comes in a sturdy plastic case with an easy to remove lid and compartments for the components - a thoughtful feature.

The set's real selling point is the sheet of brass etched jungle foliage. The single sheet contains 16 large palm leaves, 7 large fern like branches, 13 small ferns, 5 leafy vines and 14 thorny vines. These are all nicely detailed, but for the cost of the set it would have been nice to get two sheets considering the rest of the kit isn't terribly impressive.

Which lead us to the low point of this review.  There are two bags of different sized gravel in the set. While convenient, you can scrounge up free rocks just about anywhere.  Insert your own McKayla Maroney is not impressed meme here.

Next there are two bags of resin pieces. Most of the sculpts have been reused from other GW sets. Many of the smaller pieces consist of skulls, spiders and small leaves. There are three pieces that incorporate the Venus fly trap plant from the Catachan heavy weapon team.  Additionally, some pieces include battlefield debris such as a las-gun and a musket. The set includes three square pieces for fantasy bases which use various bits from the stegadon kit.

Four large resin pieces are included for bigger bases. These include a large log with a skeleton wrapped in spider webs, two pieces of Lizardmen ruins and a boring 40mm round base with a fly trap plant and Space Marine helmet.

The resin pieces are convenient, but are likely not going to be worth the purchase if your bits box is decently stocked.  Conversely, if you're looking to deck out an entire army with temple themed bases, this kit won't have enough supplies for your project.  The flat bottom of some of the resin pieces are rather thick, which means you'll have to put in a bit of work to get the piece to blend into the base your working with.  These criticisms aside, the quality of the resin casts are excellent.  The details are crisp and there was not a single poorly cast piece in my set.

Outside of the brass etched foliage, this kit is nice, but hard to justify the $33 price (which is why I bought mine for $24.50 - thanks FLGS Black Friday sale!). If you're really desperate to get the foliage, the kit might be worth it to you. I have not been able to find another good set, aside from a store in England and I'm loathe to order things internationally.  Overall, you should be able to get some mileage out of the kit to spruce up the center piece models in your army - characters, monsters, elite units and the like.  If that's your goal, then I'd recommend the set.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Golden Skull Painting Contest 2012

This past weekend Games Workshop's L.A. Battle Bunker (which is in Orange County) held their annual super-hobby-gasm weekend, which included the 3rd annual Golden Skull painting competition.  It's like the Golden Daemon, except that people like me actually have a chance to win a prize.  Speaking of which, my Saurus Calvary won first place in the fantasy regiment category and my Albino Suarus Lord won first place for fantasy singles.  I'm told I have some engraved trophies coming my way, how awesome!  The store did a great job of organizing the painting contest, which was more streamlined from the past two years.  More coverage can be found on the store's facebook page

Here's the overall winner, a murderous Wall-E:

And first place 40k squad:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Finished Unit Filler; Other Odds and Ends

A semicolon in a post title, edgy.  Finally finished a unit filler that I started a horribly long time ago, but only now had the time to finish because everyone at the one inch warriors home base has been ill with a stomach flu, which wreaked havoc amongst social calendars but generated hobby time/baseball postseason viewing opportunities.

I also finished an odd Kroxigor I had lying around, which subsequently spurred me on to start the tedious project of re-basing the older units in my army.  I originally based the lizards in a horribly dark scheme topped off with some flat looking flock.  In redoing the Krox's I added some 5th Edition Chaos Warrior debris in Khorne colors to round out the color scheme on the unit.  

Finally, I also painted up a standard bearer for the unit.  The sword is from the Cold One Cavalry kit.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Unit Filler #2 - Appeasing the Lizard Gods

One of my ongoing Lizardmen projects has been building unit fillers for my Saurus regiments.  One of my ideas was to construct a small statue of an ancient, long dead lizard god festooned with trophies taken from the fallen enemies of the Old Ones.  After sketching a few designs, I realized the best way to make the idea come to life was to sculpt the statue out of Sculpey clay.  I have no sculpting skills, which is apparent from my first attempt, as seen on the left in the photo.  The thing came out looking bloated and lethargic, lacking the vengeful, cold-bloodedness that I wanted to evoke.  It's also too large and looks like a fifth grader made it.  I was going for an ancient, crude stone statue, but yuck.  Attempt number two on the right came out better, but there's still a few spots that will need to be cleaned up.

After it's mounted on a 50 mm base the plan is sculpt some jungle vines creeping up the sides with green stuff and pile up skulls, severed heads and helmets around it, in homage to some unnamed, angry serpent deity.  Then, I'll model some Saurus warriors presenting their latest offering to the gods.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wargaming Anecdotes - The Land

One quirk of wargaming that I have always found mildly amusing is how the uninitiated relate to the hobby, particular in terms of the vocabulary.*  Someone who's never seen this stuff before and who wants to engage you in conversation about this very strange pastime will likely not know the proper terms for all of our hobby paraphernalia.**

One of my favorite all time examples of this is The Land.  In college my buddy Justin worked at a Wizards of the Coast store and they let him take home a War-Zone Terrain game board that got too beat up to be used in the store.   His roommates took to calling the board "The Land," as in "Justin, are you gonna get out The Land and battle?"  The name stuck and even though Justin has acquired a few other gaming boards, only this one is known as The Land.

Here's some action shots from our first game of 6th edition where we brought out The Land.  Take note of the matching hills that I got from War Zone.

The Orks and IG prepare to battle for The Land

Justin's Catachans take up position on one of the matching hills

*The same thing happens in the legal profession when dealing with laypersons, but it's not amusing when you're dealing with a client's employee whose eyes glaze over while you explain the importance of the declaration you need to them to provide in support of your motion for summary judgement.

**During a game at a GW store a passer-by asked if my Orks were Ninja Turtles.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

40k Sixth Edition Test Run & 2 Years of One Inch Warriors!

After breaking down and buying the new 6th Edition rulebook (I always tell myself I'll just wait for the small one to come out with the box game...) I took the new rules for a test run in a small 1,000 point game of my Orks versus my buddy Justin's Imperial Guard.  Afterwards we concluded that we didn't get the full 6th Edition flavor in the small game we played, but I figured it'd be worth documenting the more noteworthy points of the battle.

We ended up fighting the Emperor's Will mission (which is just like Capture and Control from 5th) with rather hastily generated army lists.  Neither of us had played 40k in nearly two years since we've been more preoccupied with Fantasy, so we were both pretty rusty.  This was more of a hindrance for me given the issues that Ork armies have nowadays and in hindsight the list I took was so bad I won't even comment on it since this post is supposed to be a report on the new rules and not my shitty generalship (full disclosure, Justin gave the Orks a wupping just like Wesley Willis wupped Batman's ass).

Moving along, the warlord traits we rolled ended up being utterly useless.  My Warboss got furious charge... which he already has.  Justin's CO gained the ability to re-roll failed reserve rolls, but he elected to put everything on the board with guns blazing out of the gate. 

The change that stood out the most during our game was vehicle damage.  Hull points make vehicles feel more balanced.  Orks obviously have a hard time with armor, but with the opportunity to whittle down an enemy tank it seems like you get slightly more out of what little anti-armor you have instead of having to get lucky with a good roll on the damage table.  It's satisfying when you tell your opponent you're about to unload on his tank that is hanging on to life by a single hull point!

On other fronts, the new casualty removal system is surprisingly easy to use, even when you have a mixed up mob of Ork Nobs. I'm a not huge of fan of the reduction to cover saves, but I can live with it.  Mysterious objectives are a fun additional, particularly when the one in your deployment zone gives you a bonus to cover saves!  Pre-measuring is good and makes perfect sense (it's the 41 millennium, I would think genetically-engineered-super-soldier-space-marines would have a good grasp on the range of their bolters so they don't waste ammo on out of range enemies).  Getting random charge distances for this seems like a fair trade.  I'm also a big fan of the snap-shot rule.

The one element that I don't like is having to generate random terrain effects in the middle of the game.  I understand the idea is that your warriors do not know what dangers lurk in that dense, foreboding alien jungle, but having to consult a terrain chart every time a unit comes into contact with mysterious terrain interrupts the flow of the game.  A simpler rule would have been something along the lines of rolling doubles for difficult terrain tests inflicts damage on the unit.  That way, there's less chart consulting and having to mark terrain features with paper scraps during the game, ruining the atheistic of the board.  You might think I'm being hypocritical considering my positive views on random objective effects, but the objective rule are more streamlined considering there's only one chart.  It also seems that most of the mysterious terrain effects are just "narrative" ways to get your dudes killed faster.

In closing, from the perspective of a casual 40k player whose main squeeze is fantasy, I think 6th Edition is positive step for the game.  

On a more important note, this post marks the two year anniversary of my blog!  To mark to occasion, I give you a photo of a Ork dreadnaught I made from an Imperial Guard sentinel and a spattering of other bits.  He's kicked more ass than any other unit in my Ork army.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Product Review - Secret Weapon Leaf Litter

A little while ago From the Warp had a great post about putting together woodland themed bases.  The concept is equally applicable to jungle bases and Ron's post got me thinking about how I could punch up my Lizardmen.  I've been using static grass and clump foliage, but that doesn't quite give the impression that my army is marching through a dense Lustrian jungle.  After doing some research on Google images, I determined that the best way to represent  jungle terrain on a standard sized infantry base was to model on some fallen leaves.  I turned to Secret Weapon Miniature's dark green leaf litter, a blend of various dried herbs and whatnots that smells rather lovely.  I've previously used dried, crushed bay leafs for autumn leafs on a Halloween diorama, so I had little hesitation about using this product.

I used my Saurus Calvary and albino Saurus Lord to test out the product, and I'm very satisfied with the results.  I didn't go overboard with applying the leaf litter, as I wanted a more subtle effect:

Since this worked out so well, I'll eventually go through and apply the leaf litter to the rest of the army, and there should be plenty in the bag to get the job done. If you really wanted to do-it-yourself, you could concoct your own blend herbs and tea leaves, but for the price and convenience, Secret Weapon's is the better option.  If you're interested in trying this stuff out, check out Secret Weapon's how-to video for the product.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Slann & Temple Guard Family Portrait

If you're gonna put down a unit that costs 700+ points, you want it to look good.  I'm fully anticipating that in the next game I play with these guys, freshly-painted-model-syndrome will kick in and they will die a horrible, agonizing death.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

And now more Temple Guard

See, hockey playoffs end and I get back to painting minis.  I normally love combining two of my favorite pastimes by painting minis and watching sports simultaneously (usually a third pastime, drinking beer, gets involved) but NHL playoffs are too intense and there would be an extreme risk of me knocking paints and figures everywhere when something exciting happens like Kopitar or Carter score gaming winning overtime goals in the first two games of the Stanley Cup finals.

Moving on... I finished off the last eight models so all that's left to do is base the entire regiment and then go through everyone for touch-ups.  Once that's done it'll be time for glamor shots with the hypno-toad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This Just Happened... now I can go back to painting toy soldiers in my free time.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Please Enjoy this Video...

I am *this* close to finishing my Temple Guard and have been so for about a month, but my attention has been hijacked, and rightly so, by the L.A. Kings' glorious run towards the Stanley Cup.  Neither have I been able to finish one of the half dozen or so half-baked posts lingering in my blogger account, but I'm in a really chipper mood today (thanks to the Kings), and I feel like sharing a highly amusing and equally educational video with y'all by CGPGrey.  The first segment is about the historical misconception that vikings wore helmets with decorative horns.  It made me think of all those Chaos marauders, warriors and space marines running around with what are basically throat-slashing-handles attached to their heads.  Enjoy:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Albino Saurus Hero Finished

Managed to sit down an wrap up this model over the weekend:

The only thing interesting about the final steps on this guy was that I played around with Lahmian Medium to make a few glazes and washes.  It pretty much works as advertised so I won't pontificate on it.  This stuff would have been nice to have when I did the washes on the skin since my usual soap + water + paint technique didn't give me the results it normally does.  If you look closely enough you can spot the areas around the lower legs and feet that didn't turn out that great and which I was too lazy to re-paint. Despite that, I'm happy with the figure.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Field Report: New Citadel Paints

On my lunch break today I was able to hit up a local GW store and try out some of the new Citadel paint range. When I first learned about the new range I was pretty curmudgeony about the whole deal, but that's mostly because the names of the colors are so horrible (Exhibit A: XV-88...), but now I'm more optimistic about the whole thing.

The store had multiple paint stations set up with about 15 different paints to play with. Since I was pressed for time I only tried a few paints that interested me the most.

First, believe the hype about the new base white. I tried it over a piece of black primered sprue and it produced fairly solid coverage with just a single coat without being too globby or streaky. If I were painting my own model, I'd probably thin it down and build up several coats. Still, very impressive stuff. The new base red also looked really good in person. It's fairly bright and not desaturated like the old foundation red.

Next I tried the green glaze over a space marine shoulder pad than someone already painted silver metal. It works just like the launch video on GW's website promised and I was very pleased. I'll be buying some of this for my lizards since I glaze all their gold weapons and armor and now I won't have to make it from scratch every time.

I also tried one of the dry paints over a dwarf's beard that only had a black undercoat. The stuff is very thick and worked just like GW says it does. A little bit goes a long way and it covers well over a dark color. The only issue I see with these is that the selection of light, almost pastel colors seems odd. These will require further experimentation.

Lastly, I gave the texture paints a go with a spare base. In my opinion, these are just OK. I don't see them replacing modeling materials for people who want to create really dynamic bases for their minis. However, if you just want to get an army on the table as soon as possible, these would interest you. These might have some potential for weathering mud and sludge on vehciles or terrain.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Albino Suarus WIP Part 2 - Painting Gold

The next step in my little painting experiment is trying a new technique for gold.  I encourage you to read Luaby's post on this technique since he's far more knowledgeable about these matters than I am.  For those of you too lazy to click the link here's the gist of what I'm going for: gold paint in general stinks because it lacks opacity and thus does not provide good coverage, but you can cheat and mix it with brown paint (good opacity!) and layer up to straight gold paint.  I've seen this done in White Dwarf painting tutorials, but they never explain it properly.  They also leave out a key point that Lauby brings up: you need to properly match the brown you mix in with your gold  - i.e. a yellowish brown for a yellowish gold.  If you're new to that idea, go do some reading on color theory at The Back 40k, it'll blow your mind.

Back to my Saurus.  For my Lizardmen army I usually paint gold by putting down a layer of Cathal Brown foundation paint for an undercoat, base coat with Shining Gold, wash with Devlan Mud, highlight with Burnished Gold and then glaze with Dark Angels Green for a tarnished look (I know these colors are now obsolete, go look up the conversion chart if you must).  This recipe is based around Shining Gold, so I used this as the base to mix a brown into.  Consulting SandWyrm's super awesome color wheel, I reasoned that Shining Gold seems to have a good deal of orange in it and thus Bestial Brown would be a good match.  I used a 1/1 mix, with a spot of Scorched Brown added to darken the color.  Scorched Brown has a lot of red in it, but I didn't want to use straight black and end up over desaturating the hue of the gold.

The next step was to wash everything with Devlan Mud and then layer on a roughly 3/1 mix of gold and brown.  Now there's enough base color on the model to paint on layer of straight gold without it going on streaky:

Monday, March 19, 2012

Albino Saurus Lord WIP & New Paint Brush Review

One of the casualties of last year's hobby-hiatus was the plastic Saurus hero that I bought to experiment on with some new (to me) painting techniques.  Armed with my new Winsor & Newton Series 7's and needing a break from painting Temple Guard, it was time to get back to work on the Saurus hero.

One of the things I wanted to try with this model is a method for painting a "cool" black and white using turquoise to shade and highlight the colors.  I based my recipes from two BoLS tutorials (here's a link to the black and the white).  As these call for some P3 colors, I modified them so I only have to use my GW paints.

The Saurus is going to have albino skin with black scales.  The turquoise should tie him in with the rest of my army, which is painted with the now OOP Scaly Green.  If you know your Lizardmen fluff, this means he's marked for greatness by the Old Ones!  Since the bulk of the model is going to be white, I started with a light gray undercoat (another first for me).  I then built up the albino skin with the following:

1. Base coat with white mixed with a small amount of Hawk Turquoise and Fortress Gray.  You know you're in the ballpark when you look at the color and think "minty fresh toothpaste."
2. Wash the area with Hawk Turquoise. 
3. Apply a wash of Hawk Turquoise mixed with black into the deepest recesses.
4. Going back to the base color, start adding highlights.  Then mix in white for the next layer and use pure white for the final highlights.

(Sorry for the poor photo, I'm still learning to use my new camera)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

More Temple Gaurd Finished and New Brushes

Over the past week I put the final details on eight more Temple Guard, including the command group.  Eight more of these guys to go, and the whole unit will be done.

I might need a break before moving on to the final eight models.  Temple Guard are time consuming due to their level of detail.  From start to finish, this is what needs to be painted: green skin, black scales, stone details on the halberds, gold, bone/skulls, wooden weapon shafts, cloth straps/wrappings, gems, eyes, shields and the occasional shrunken head.  The skin and scales aren't too hard since they were dry brushed, but all those damn intricate details made me go cross-eyed a couple of times.  They still need to be based, but that can wait until the whole unit is ready to go.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Old Stuff Day 2012

It's Old Stuff Day - it's just like shopping at thrift store, which I've done in the past because I had no money in law school, not because I'm a hipster... Anyways, not like one inch warriors has been super productive since Old Stuff Day 2011, but I've combed through the archives to give you some links to awesomeness.  First, my best post from the last 12 months was about painting wooden weapon shafts, which I wrote a few weeks ago... not that vintage... well then, go check out my Stegadon and the Chapel of St. Nigel.  Those should keep you from doing anything productive for a couple of minutes.