Upcoming North Carolina Tournaments

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Black Library Trailer for "A Thousand Sons" and "Prospero Burns"


Although Warhammer 40,000 isn't my main game, I've been a big fan on the Horus Heresy series.  The Heresy is one of the defining features that make 40K's fluff so great.  It's an old story told brilliantly in a new setting, with Horus the fallen son turning on his divine father, changing the course of history forever. 

I'm really excited for A Thousand Sons and Prospero Burns to be released in the Spring, and I hope you can see why from this Black Library trailer for the two books.  The fall of Magnus and The Thousand Sons is one of the great little stories in 40K, of the tragedy and treachery that went on during the Heresy.  The details set out in the Horus Heresy novels, of Magnus doing everything he can to save Horus and then warn his father, with such terrible and unforeseen consequences, makes for a great tale.   

Here's hoping for great things from these two books.  Enjoy the trailer.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Southeast U.S. Blues

So I'm looking at the new WarhammerUSA site at http://www.warhammerusa.com/, and it's pretty darn cool.  I really applaud the effort to create a WFB ranking for the United States, with the acknowledgement that this is an exceptionally difficult task.  I'm also very much enjoying the articles they have up.  One thing that makes me sad is the lack of contributing Independent GT's in the Southeast United States.  I plan on attending Brawler Bash in Raleigh, NC this year, and hopefully Battle on Beale in Memphis, Tennessee as well.  Outside of that, I'd be looking at some serious travel to attend any other GT's.  Sadly, I'm not rich, single, and I don't have large amounts of free time, so I don't think there's much hope for me. 

Having more events in this area would be fantastic.  I know that some folks down in Charlotte, NC are looking to possibly put on an event, and if Grail Quest continues to do well and grow this year, I'm thinking of making it a two day event next year.  Events have to be two days and have 40+ people to submit to WarhammerUSA.

There's also the great work that Dallas (Thunderheart) is doing at http://www.thebigbluewaaagh.com/.  Getting together a more regional North Carolina Master's ranking, with smaller events able to submit results, makes for a fun local community that can grow and develop. 

2010 has a lot of opportunities for players in the area, and if we continue to get bigger and better like in 2009, the sky is the limit. 

Monday, December 28, 2009

I Promise We're Going to Stop Talking About These Spearmen

Alright.  Here we are.

Spearmen, check.  Shields, check.  Everything assembled, painted, and based.  Life was good for the evening yesterday. 

Now, I just need some painted Shades for January 9th and 10th, and to work on getting an Imperial Fist Tactical Squad, Eiryss, a Manhunter, and Viktor Pendrake done for the Tale of Painters Deadline on January 14th.  Oh yeah, and I'd like to paint and magnetize my bases.

Piece of cake.

Sunday, December 27, 2009




Back from vacation, and the Spearmen stared accusingly at me first thing this morning, wondering where their shields were.

Here's the thing with shields.  I kind of wrote off getting the forty-five shields done for these guys as a minor to-do after finishing the bulk of the models.

Turns out that forty-five shields is an all day project.  Four layers of Bronze.  Three layers of red on the snakes.  Putting everything together.  It's eating up some time.  The pictures here are from the shields and snakes after their first coat of paint, and what my fingers looked like at the same time.  Painting tiny objects can be a bit of a mess.

I should have completed pictures first thing tomorrow morning, and considering that January is a whirlwind month for me, I hope to have a ton of painting this week in order to get ahead.  Here's hoping!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Madness, Part Three

And here we are, with the weekend finished.  Two trays of Spearmen, forty-five in all, are arranged and painted on my desk.  The mountain is, for the most part, climbed.

It's just that the little buggers still need their shields.

But that's not getting done tonight, nor will it be done any time soon.  I'm going on vacation until Saturday, so while I might update a little from the road, I'll most likely see all of you then.  Cheers, and Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Madness Part Deux: Baby Steps

With my goal of finishing these forty-five Spearmen by the 21st ticking away, I had to take some action yesterday, even though I only had about an hour of time at home.  So the red basecoat is now done.  Here's the current plan:

Today - Get the silver painted on (legs and spears).  This is iffy, as I'm working this evening again. 
Saturday - Armor, skin, and boots.  Washes if able.
Sunday - Washes if still necessary and highlights on command. 
Monday - ???
Tuesday - Profit!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Madness

On January 10th, I have a tournament that I already have a list locked in for. It has a twenty-three strong Spearmen unit and seven Shades. I don't have these units painted, and I generally like to take painted models to tournaments....so these need to get done. I'll also be out of town from Tuesday to Saturday next week. Being as I like to overdo things, I suppose, I now present my recipe for going crazy.

Step 1 - Set yourself a deadline, lets say the evening of December 21st, to finish all the Spearmen.

Step 2 - Go ahead and assemble and prime all of your spearmen that you own. Forty-five of them, to be exact, since you might as well do them all at once.

Step 3 - Line them up. Look upon them, and despair. Think about how you have 12 hour work days for the next two days.

Step 4 - Get to work. Crazy incoming!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


Man, these were are much fun to paint as I though they would be. I once again went with gray cloaks over snow, with minimal red trim to match them to the rest of the army. I'll try and get individual shots taken and up as I get used to the new camera.

These guys remain some of my favorite models of all time, especially the Kapitan. They're elegant and fluid, and perfectly visually communicate who they are and their purpose. Models like that paint themselves.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dire Troll Blitzer

I still haven't worked out this new camera, so forgive the dullness of the photo.

Like the Witch Elves, this was a model that I really didn't like to begin with. The Mauler is the model that sold me on Trollbloods. The Blitzer, on the other hand, is the Mauler's goofy bald cousin.

But hey, you make some changes and with your own paint, these things can really look a lot better. I took off a lot of the extra bits, such as the ammo boxes, that normally go on the model. I felt that they cluttered it up and looked cluttered. I then repositioned the model just a little so it was coming off the base more and lunging forward.

I'm happy with the results. Lots of fun.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Swatting at Bees - The Art of Swarming the Enemy

Hi, my name is Ben, and I play swarm.

Now, a lot of people will define swarming (in terms of wargaming) in what I consider the typical sense; that is, in terms of how you do it. You need a lot of cheap, expendable units, outnumbering your opponent by multiples, and heading accross the board in vast waves designed to drown his or her army by sheer weight of numbers. Typically, this is done by the usual horde army suspects, such as Skaven and Vampire Counts in Warhammer Fantasy, Tyranids and Orks in 40K, and Legion and Cryx in the Privateer Press Games. It's also not how I play. Side note: Why are most of these armies kind of gross and slimy? Weird.

I prefer to define swarming not by the method, but by the objective. A swarm overwhelms its opponent, providing him or her with too many confusing options. If your opponent attacks Units A and B, then he must ignore C, D, and E, which remain threatening. Likewise, if C and E are attacked, then A and B are still around and deadly. Of course, in a typical swarm of, for example, Skaven, there will be far more than five options. In overwhelming your opponent with choices, the idea is to promote bad decisionmaking. Like a man attacked by hundreds of bees, your opponent should swat around in a panic. Maybe you'll lose a bee or two to the swatting, but your opponent's confusion will let you eventually bear him or her to the ground. His guns might be bigger and better, but they're nothing if he can't make proper decisions on how to bring them to bear.

Vast, horde armies are a mainstay of modern wargaming, and they have the aforementioned strengths. They usually have typical weaknesses, such as lower leadership troops and lynchpin units or models that hold the rest of the army together, sometimes literally like with Vampire Counts.

The type of swarm that I prefer might not be as numerous, but it accomplishes the objective the same. In my current Dark Elf army, I like to run plenty of Dark Rider fast cavalry, some harpies, and perhaps a unit of shades or two. Using this setup, I can force an opponent to make multiple decisions in the first and second turns. He or she is generally unable to focus enough attention on the big hitters coming down the table, as they have to protect their weak bits against these fast units that are up in their face.

Like a typical horde, this army forces opponents to make decisions that have negative aspects no matter what, hopefully forcing a panicked "swatting" at my army. Weak spots like warmachines are taken out quickly, assassination runs can be taken at key enemy units, and hard hitting units like Knights can be pulled out of position. Disorganization and panic reigns while my heavy hitters (Cold One Knights, Black Guard, perhaps a Hydra) come in unmolested to finish the army off. I once had an opponent end up turning his two flanks, still on his side of the table, completely sideways to face one another in order to deal with all my little biting units. Realizing what he had done soon thereafter, he conceded the round.

All in all, we look as good generals to make an opponent fight the battle on our terms rather than theirs. Swarming them with confusing decisions, be either method, is a great tactic for doing so.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Widowmaker the First

It's been slow progress lately, but at least things are beginning to move a bit. Big blocks of Dark Elf Spearmen continue to look at me balefully, but some progress begins to stir. Over the weekend, I finished three out of four Widowmakers and put down a bit of green on Eiryss. I also put together a Dire Troll Blitzer and twenty-one more Dark Elf Spearmen, and fixed all the broken Dark Elves that accumulate over multiple tournaments. I won't have any spectacular entries this month for Tale of Painters, but might be able to keep from not having entries this month if I can finish the fourth (female) Widowmaker, Eiryss, the Blitzer, a Dark Elf Sorceress, and Lysander...by this Sunday. We shall see. I'm certainly not going to do a poor job on something just to meet the deadline.

So yeah, with this Widowmaker I thought I'd shoot for a stealthy, shadowy snow look (much like the Vindicare). I already fixed the problems that you can see on the lower hand, where the fingertips were painted metal. I like that I'm getting eyes down a lot better these days, so there's an area of improvement.

My wife's camera was stolen, so I'm working with a new one, and so far haven't really mastered the flash and focusing options. I think I'm going to have to actually build a lighted little paper booth to take pictures in, to improve the quality somewhat with the new camera.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Questing Knight

I haven't worked on my Bretonnians in almost a year, but a few weeks ago I had an idea for a Questing Knight, and got to work on it. Things got started, but then slowed down, and I eventually finished it up yesterday. The head is from the new Space Wolves box, the axe from the High Elf Chariot box, and the rest is Bretonnian bits. He'll take a Lord or Paladin spot in the army, perhaps with the Questing Vow.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Blockage

I've been stuck lately, on the dreaded block that stops me dead every time: big blocks of core troops. I love to paint, but blocks of infantry just dry me up. Right now, I'm working on twenty-four Dark Elf Spearmen. After finishing thirty crossbow foot earlier in the year, I just don't have a lot of heart for it. Perhaps I'll be able to buckle down tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day....

The worst is getting stuck like this really slows my creative juices all the way around. I don't want to write about what I'm doing, make lists, or any of the other things I really enjoy in the hobby. It's getting stuck all the way around.

Anybody else have this problem, or know a good way of working with it? It always passes in time, and I end up muscling through a great many models quickly all of a sudden one afternoon. The flood gates must reopen at some point.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Short Tournament Recap - Sci Fi Genre 11/21/09

So I played in another one of the bimonthly Sci Fi Genre Fantasy Tournaments, something I always look forward to doing. It was the regular deal, 2250 points and three rounds. The scenarios were Thanksgiving themed, which was pretty fun. I managed to pull out a first place finish out of thirteen players attending, and had three good games. One of these days, I'm going to remember the whole camera thing, so I can start doing battle reports on video again.

I ran my Dark Elves with some of the old tricks, being as I'd been running them without for a while. I had the Pendant on my Lord riding a Black Dragon, a Cauldron of Blood, and a Scroll Caddy. Three units of Dark Riders, Black Guard with the Ring and an Assassin, and a small group of Shades. And of course, the Hydra and two Bolt Throwers.

Round One

In the first round I played Chris with his Empire. I think I played him a year ago with the same list, which had two units of Knights, two or three infantry blocks screened by skirmishers, a War Alter, and a Steam Tank, plus two cannons, two mortars, and a Hellblaster Volley Gun.

He had some bad rolls, missing with his big guns in the first round aside from putting a couple wounds on my dragon. Like most gun lines, things began to fall apart quickly as I pulled my army closer to his, and I quickly began to make a mess of things in his front. His Alter Priest was not equipped with the Speculum, and so my Assassin and Black Guard slowly chewed it up. The Dragon and Hydra ate war machines and then went to work on the infantry block. I managed to hold down the Steam Tank with the Cauldron of Blood, which can manage impact hits beautifully.

The scenario involved bonus points for capturing a turkey in the middle of the table, which I did early with some Dark Riders. I ended with a massacre, having nearly wiped everything he had off the table.

I'll try and get the other two rounds up tomorrow. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ho Ho Ho - Because I VindiCare

Every year, on Librarium Online, I enter into the Secret Santa event they hold, in which everyone paints a miniature and sends it to someone else. It's kind of a cool deal. Last year I sent off a Space Wolf Rune Priest, and got a White Scar on a bike. This year, I'm sending off a Vindicare Assassin.

It's a lot of fun to paint something a bit out of left field, that isn't on my normal docket. I didn't want to do him all in black, and noting that the guy getting my present has snow bases on his army (okay, so I puzzled out who the person was), I decided to go with a grayish Vindicare, who could blend in with the cloudy gray skies above the snow. The tricky thing when painting a model that is supposed to be "stealthed" is resisting the urge to give it all the flash and pizazz that normally you'd use to make a model stand out. I really wanted to go without anything shiny or bright here.

I think the result came out pretty good, and I'm proud to send him away as a gift. I hope that the person receiving it enjoys the model.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Cauldron of Blood

There are quite a few models in the Dark Elf range that when I first picked them up I didn't like. The Cauldron was one of these, because it's...well, it's a statue, but it walks. Kind of strange. So eventually I just painted it like a statue, all bronzed, because I didn't want to give it living elements. I painted it's handlers much like my other Witch Elves, and I really like the results. It's also a great thing to have painted for use on the table. It's abilities are amazing.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Who's Excited?

I'm excited. New army in for me in February.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why I Chose Khador

I mentioned a while back that I choose my army based on models and imagery. An example, which sold me using only one model, is Privateer Press' Khador Army.

As stated, big robots running around isn't a big seller for me. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, it's just not my particular usual cup of tea. But it does help that Khadoran 'Jacks are at least bulky and tough looking as compared to their counterparts. And their fluff is pretty cool, as they're a great Russian/Soviet hybrid culture. But none of that was the key. This model was:

It's just got a great Enemy at the Gates feel to it. The pose, and the look on the face is perfect, and it manages an eye patch that looks grizzled and not silly. This lady is waiting in a for three days without moving to shoot something, as the snow falls all around.

I mention this model because I don't generally rush to paint my favorite models, but will finally be painting this one very soon. I'm hoping to do a great job on it, and will really push to give it my best.

Monday, November 9, 2009

And Now, For Something Completely Different

So I haven't had a ton of progress lately on the painting front. I've been working like a dog, and just got a new job besides, which I start tomorrow. It's going to make for some long days.

I haven't had much to do with video games in a good, long while. I just kind of lost interest. But I always liked Bioware's games, and since I had some old games to trade for store credit, I decided to give Dragon Age a try.

It's pretty awesome. It's got a lot of great old school RPG qualities, and the story is engrossing as all get out. The best part is, it's one of those games that I'll play more than once when I'm done, simply to try out some of the many different paths you can take through the game. Right now, I'm playing a human noble warrior, and making the "good" decisions as much as I can. Next up, a rogue or a thief.

I highly suggest this to you, my tiny listening audience.

In the meantime, I will be working on more video battle reports. I keep forgetting to take the camera in with me, which I hear helps.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Looking back at some of my first Models

Ah yes, the Bretonnian Men at Arms, or as I like to call them, "My Crash Course in Painting Models". I did thirty six of these in thirty days, not really knowing how to paint, and just slopping away at it while slowly figuring things out. Everyone has models like these, whether they were twelve or twenty-five when they painted them. It's nice to see how far you've come, and how far you have to go.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Eighth Edition

So the rumor mill is hot and heavy with rumors of Fantasy going to Eighth Edition next summer. This would be right on schedule, although a lot of people seem really surprised. Here's some quick thoughts on what I'd like to see when Eighth is released:

- Ranks done by base size, so that Ogres and the like don't have to be five wide for bonuses.

- Break checks from fear and terror causers have leadership modifiers, instead of auto-breaking units. Like say -3 for fear and -6 for terror.

- A revision to the magic phase so that armies don't really have to focus on it all or nothing.

- Don't dumb down the game like with 40K.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Plastic Jacks

In comments, Simon asked, "What do you think of the new plastic 'jacks? Personally, I'm finding that the metal ones look a lot more Khadoran. The new ones seem very sleek and I don't like the proportions as much."

Let me start with the positives. Plastic Jacks are wonderful, in that they can be converted and magnetized and all that other good stuff. I'm thrilled that Privateer is moving in this direction.

However, like yourself, I'm not thrilled with the Khador Jacks. Don't get me wrong, I'll want to mess with that plastic kit pretty bad when it releases. But our metal Jacks, at least our good metals Jacks, are bulky and stocky. They exemplify their fluff, the "Khadoran Spirit" so to speak. Plodding, methodical, tenacious, tough as nails. They are solid and unyielding.

The new Khador Jacks...well, they're nice, but they're sleek and faster looking, with overblown, cartoonish features. They are not solid, and look like another Jack could just push them over. Also, I'm not a big fan of the buzzsaw thing on the Decimator, because it looks like something Wile E. Coyote might use (from a front angle, anyway).

What's hard is that I think the other factions really did well. The new Cygnar Jacks are gorgeous to my eye. Protectorate plastic Jacks are much better looking than their predecessors, and Skorne retained that skittery look (and will be well served by lighter plastic in the future). It's not that Khador didn't get nice looking Jacks, they just don't look quite as solid.

So in conclusion, I don't love them. Maybe they'll grow on me.

But yeah, I'll be picking some up the first day I can.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Khadoran Juggernaught

As you can see from the post below, this guy got a new paint job. The first one was yuck. This second one is still far from where I'd like it to be, but I think I have the basic techniques down for the colors. I'm loving seeing my Khadoran army come together, as the red over snow looks really nice on the table.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Imporance of Starting Over

There is, or will be, a moment in every painter's time when he or she will finish a model that they've spent hours and hours on, sweated for, and given their all to, only to find that it looks like substandard crap. There are two solutions.

1. Let it go and move on.

2. Strip it and come back to it.

I try to follow #2, and it's difficult every time. The 'Jack above is a good example. I hated it from the moment I finished, even though I worked very hard on it. My technique was just awful. Finally, after staring balefully at it for weeks, I stripped all the paint off. Tomorrow, I'll show you the improved model.

For now, I'm off to play in that 40K tournament at Sci Fi Genre. Cheers!

Friday, October 30, 2009

40K, Oh 40K! Or "Why I Need to Stop Fretting and Accept that I'm Terrible at Warhammer 40,000"

Tomorrow, I'll spend my Saturday morning and afternoon at Sci Fi Genre, playing in a Warhammer Tournament. I'll make my plan of attack, prepare for battle on the top tables, and hopefully squeak out another win.

Oh, wait. This isn't a WFB tournament, it's a 40K Tournament.

40K got me into the hobby. I love painting the models. The stories are amazing. And to top it all off, I still think Space Marines are the coolest idea since sliced bread. The problem is, I stink at the game. I have more than twenty Fantasy tournament wins under my belt, and in three years haven't placed lower than third place in any tournament I've played in (not to say that I'm a national powerhouse player or anything, far from it. So I do pretty well with that game. But 40K...well, it's a good thing that I enjoy playing so much, because I stink like old cheese. I think there are some basic reasons.

1. I only play Space Marines. It's not that I'm a new player, it's that I pick my armies in 40K and Fantasy (and other games) based on what sparks my interest in fluff and pictures and models. In Fantasy, a lot of armies do that. In 40K, none of them float my boat outside of Space Marines.

2. Space Marines absolutely do not fit my play style. I'm looking for fast, hard hitting, close combat machines. Space Marines have more in common with WFB Dwarves, and the game is more about shooting. So my instincts, which serve me pretty well in Fantasy, get me killed here.

3. I want to play my army like the fluff. I played a Raven Guard Scout army, even after they nerfed scouts to high hell and back. I'll happily charge Terminators and Assault Squads into crappy odds. I want to see my guys be heroes. Sometimes they are (I have a Scout Sergeant, above, who has killed a Tyrant, a Carnifex, Abaddon, and two units of Obliterators over the course of two games. Thus, the conversion). Most days they aren't.

So yeah, I'm terrible at 40K. But I'll be at the tourney tomorrow (at the low, low ranking table), because I love to play it regardless of winning or losing. At the end of the day, that Scout Sergeant and his heroic counterparts are what I really treasure.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Painting Scores in Tournaments - How I Run Them

Painting scores in tournaments, like composition systems, are a matter of great contention. You may advocate strongly for them, you may hate them, but not many people stay neutral on the matter. The two sides, as I've heard, go a bit like this:

Pro-Painting Scores: Painting scores should be required at every tournament. This is a complete hobby, not a game. Therefore, participants at tournaments should be judged on every aspect of the hobby, and not just their play, and this includes how well they paint their armies. Well painted armies are beautiful, and when new people come in and see these nicely done armies on the table, they will want to play. People who don't paint aren't really participating in this hobby. We don't want to see an unpainted army win a tournament.

Anti-Painting Scores: Painting scores should not be required. This is a war game, and painting is something you can do with your miniatures, but not something that should be required. Tournaments should judge who the best general is, and nothing more. When new people come in, they will be intimidated by having to paint for a year or so and get an army fully painted to have a chance at really participating strongly in a tournament.

I've floated somewhere in the middle on this subject for years, and have been often surprised that I am nearly the only person who seems to be this way. I love to paint (not well, but I try), and there is nothing better to me than really nicely done armies battling it out. I've won tournaments in the past with unpainted models, but not in the last year or so, and I try not to play with unpainted stuff just to make myself try harder on painting. But I do appreciate that it can be intimidating to a new player, and I have a problem when I hear about tournaments where painting was weighed so heavily it overshadowed most of the actual game results.

I think that perhaps the pro-painting scores ideal may be best at private clubs (say, for instance, The Cage in High Point), and a more relaxed ideal might be best for stores like Sci Fi Genre who are looking to bring in new customers for the hobby who may just want to play.

Here's what I've done in the past, and will do in the future. At Grail Quest 2009, I had a side competition where one could enter a single model. Everyone voted on the best painted model, and the winner got a gift certificate. Painting did not enter into the overall winner's score. This year, in Grail Quest 2010, I'll do the same, but probably change it to be people voting on the overall armies for best painted.

I think this is a good compromise. Where do you stand?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

North Carolina Winter Tournament / League

The boys down in Charlotte have put together a great idea. We're having groups of players from different parts of the state play each other in league games. Divided into small divisions of five or six players each, they'll battle it out with each other, and the top two players from each division will go on to play in a tournament in January. It should be a lot of fun, and it looks like Durham is going to have fifteen players (which may be the most players from any one area in the state). We're hoping for participation from High Point and others as well! This should be a ton of fun, and I look forward to smashing and bashing all the way through the next few months.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Madrak Ironhide

I really enjoy painting Trollbloods. They're monsters, but with a lot of human qualities. I suppose it's why people paint GW's Ogres as well, perhaps. My troll recipe:

1. Paint the skin in Tallarn Flesh.
2. Wash with dark blue.
3. If you're working with a troll unit, stop there to keep the blues light. For a light warbeast, wash again. For a heavy warbeast, wash a third time. Basically, the more monstrous the model, the more "non-pink" I want to make it, removing any "human" qualities and making it something fantastic.
4. Highlight with a mixture of flesh and blue.
5. For "albino" trolls like Madrak and Grim, use mixes of pale flesh and blues to make them pale. I hate the pink albino troll look, and wanted a pale blue instead.

As I approach 1,000 points of painted trolls, Hoarluk will come next. At 1,500, I would imagine I'll work on the rest of them, since I probably won't go any higher.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Big Blue Waaagh!

Dallas Posey, a player in Durham, has created The Big Blue Waaagh (http://thebigbluewaaagh.com) to serve the greater NC Warhammer Fantasy Community.

Big Blue Waaagh is designed to serve as a hub for our growing group of NC players, a place where each of us can keep up with the increasing number of tournaments and player groups throughout the state. I know I'm looking forward to having a central location to hear about the latest tournaments I can attend in places like High Point, Charlotte, and Fayetteville, and I hope to expand my circuit as well as new tourneys come to light!

Big Blue Waaagh will also be the central location for information on and records for Dallas' NC Master's tournament, an idea based on the Australian Master's system. Here, Dallas will record tournament results throughout the year, compiling the results using the Australian system. At the end of 2010, he plans on hosting a large tournament, inviting the top finishers throughout the state. It's actually a pretty novel and creative idea, and a lot of thought has been put into it. Go check out the details on his forums.

If you haven't been over the Big Blue Waaagh yet, and even if you have, I urge you to head over, register, and make a post or two to discuss upcoming tournaments/games days, ideas you have for the Master's system, or just to show support for a guy working to make our state community a better place. If you know of someone or a group that doesn't know about The Big Blue Waaagh, then please send it along.

The 2010 tournament series is looking cooler than ever. I'll see you there!


Sunday, October 25, 2009

What Helps You Pick Your Army?

It's the pictures and models grab me, and off I go.

I started 40K with Space Marines, and remain years later playing only Space Marines. It's the cover art and imagery, the armor and swords and the huge guns blazing. Shrike screaming down from the sky and slashing at his foes. Implacable Lysander lumbering slowly across the field, shouldering aside huge blasts and scattering tanks with his hammer. I started with Raven Guard, and at 3,000 odd points switched to Imperial Fists. Another chapter, and another, will follow.

Cover art got me into Bretonnians as well. I love that image on the cover of the knight wading into the spawn of Chaos. Open the book, and you see the faded pennants. Loved it. It burns me out, painting all the different colors and patterns, and at around 4,000 points of painted models (with 4,000 left unpainted), I've had to put them on hold for a bit.

The models got me into Dark Elves. By the time I bought into them, I had improved my painting at least to the point where I knew that I wanted to paint beautiful and intriguing models, and Dark Elves were it. Leaked Cold One Knights just looked so fantastic, and when I saw Lokhir Fellheart, I was doomed forever. I'm more than halfway done painting the army, and I can't wait to finish it off.

Khador and Trollbloods from Privateer Press grabbed me with the models. It's the Khadoran infantry, all in red, that I love, but for the Trolls I simply fell in love with the Mauler model. It's amazing and dynamic and all I needed to collect the whole army.

So yeah, pictures sell me. I'll play good armies or bad, but the art on the box and the sculpts inside, that's what gets me and keeps me.

Friday, October 23, 2009


These are my two Dark Elf Assassins, Rakhov and Witte. The first is the Shadowblade model, which was far too nice to pass up, and the second my favorite of the generic assassin models. The second gentleman no longer has his wrist blade, but instead wears one of Lon's Stegadon horns as a weapon.

GW really sold Dark Elves on me with the models. An army of well sculpted ninjas, pirates, dinosaurs, and scantily clad ladies. I believe they may have been targeting their core audience a bit, and I went for it like a mule biting an apple.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Video Battle Report: Dark Elves v. Lizardmen, 800 Points

Today marks my first foray into the world of video battle reporting. After going down to Charlotte and playing, and then those great video battle reports on Youtube, I really wanted to get into doing the same thing.

This is a test run, so to speak, for the real deal. Right now, we're having small, sub-1000 games at the local store here, and I thought that'd be a good way to work my way up to making real reports. The video is a bit of a mess (camera batteries died halfway through, so the second half is pictured via Iphone) and I kind of hate the sound of my own voice, but hopefully through time I'll make it pretty awesome with time.

Thanks to Chad Hoggan for giving me this idea.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Work that Inspires Me - Ulrik the Slayer

One of my favorite things to do is to look at the amazing work that miniature painters do around the world. Some stuff just amazes me! I thought perhaps that once a week or so, I'd pull one of the pictures I've found that have really inspired or impressed me.

This is an Ulrik the Slayer model by David Rodriguez. It won a Golden Daemon in 2007. It's a beautiful model and paint job, but the thing that really sells me on it is how dynamic it is. You can almost hear the cold wind howl as you look at it as Ulrik hunts through the ice. A great model tells a story, and this one really does the trick.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Imperial Fists Terminator Librarian

I don't know how everyone else paints, but my process goes a bit like this:

1. Look at primed model for a few days/weeks/months and do nothing.
2. Maybe put a basecoat on.
3. Get a bug up my butt and paint the whole thing in a matter of hours.

That may be a bit simplistic. What I'm trying to get at is that I tend to seize upon models suddenly and paint them very quickly from start to finish. It's not really a planned process, it's more like me sitting down and then just losing track of time until the model (or squad) is done.

For instance, last night I sat down to "just throw some basic colors" on this Terminator Librarian. This was at about nine at night, after a lovely thirteen hour work day. Click, goes my brain, and all of a sudden it's eleven thirty, my back hurts, and the Librarian is done. Ah well, I'm certainly not complaining.

This piece was done for a competition on Librarium Online. The deadline is November 7th. Guess I'll just be the early bird.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Troll Bouncer

One of the great things about Privateer Press is their ability to make models in dynamic poses that somehow manage to hold together well. There are some models that I own that I worry about moving our touching, or that I can only pick up if I do so in a certain way. Most Privateer Press stuff, I'm lucky not to have that problem (GW's High Elf Dragon is another great example of a sturdy sculpt).

One of the models that really stands out as holding together well despite its design is the Troll Bouncer, which I painted recently. He's got that huge (and rockin') ball and chain going, but the chain fits snugly into the hand, and while the weight of the ball should be rough and pulling things apart, it holds well with a little green stuff.

Sure makes for an awesome model.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Simple Guide to Stripping Paint Off of Miniatures

This is an article that I created a couple of years ago for Librarium Online. It's been very popular there, I think, having been up on the front page for around a year, so I thought I would share it here as well. Without further ado....

So a question I see come up here quite a bit is how to successfully take paint off of a painted model in order to redo it. For me, this was quite an issue, as there are a variety of methods you can find online, and many of them a) use illegal substances, and/or b) use extremely hazardous substances, and/or c) can destroy your models, and/or d) don’t work at all.

When I started trying to strip my models, I originally tried methods, which I found online, that didn’t work and destroyed two of my marines. This did not make me happy. I have also seen brake fluid suggested. While this does work, the substance is also extremely hazardous if it comes into contact with your skin or is inhaled, and I do not recommend its use.

Eventually, I came across the following method, which I will describe with pictures, to successfully remove brake fluid. To preface, I had models which looked like the marine on the left, and I had progressed enough to want them to look more like my newly painted models, of which there is a WIP on the right.

Step 1: Get Yourself some “Simple Green”

When I first heard of this stuff, I had no idea what it was and where you could get it. The fact of the matter is, you can get it at most home improvement stores, such as Home Depot or Lowes, and you can find it in the cleaning section, with all the concentrated cleaning chemicals and cleaning supplies. Heres what it looks like:

The great thing about this stuff is that it is non-toxic. It does have a smell, however, and you don’t want the concentrated stuff in cups in your house, so do this outside. Even if it freezes over a bit (which it has on me a couple of times) there doesn’t seem to be a problem. If you spill it on concrete or tile or whatnot, it’s a concentrated cleaner, and you’ve just cleaned the area a bit once you scrub it up.

Remember to read the directions and warnings on the Simple Green Bottle. Take any and all warnings seriously, although it is non-toxic. It can irritate some peoples’ skin. You’ll want to follow these directions, and wash up afterwards properly.

Step 2: Application

The best way I’ve found to do this is to use plastic cups, placing between 4-8 marines in each, and then fill the cup with simple green, covering all of the miniatures.

Here are some of my models soaking. You’ll notice a Land Raider Crusader over to the right in the first picture. It’s already been stripped on the bottom, so you can see some effectiveness there.

If I was in a hurry, I’ve had models be ready to have their paints come off in around 8-10 hours. The longer you leave the models in the Simple Green, however, the more the paint seems to loosen. I suggest a 3-5 day period of soaking for good paint removal.

Step 3: Paint Removal

This is once again a simple step. Either outside or in a sink that you can clean up afterwards with cleaning supplies, use a brush to scrub the paint off the model, doing so under running water. Be prepared if pieces come off the model where they were glued, you should be scrubbing fairly hard. I like to use an old toothbrush, but as long as you have a brush that will get into the cracks of the model and get the paint scrubbed, you’ll be fine. Here’s what my formerly dark blue model looked like after one scrubbing.

If you’d like, repeat Steps 2 and 3 to take even more off. I’ve reprimed the model and repainted from this stage, and been thrilled with the results.

Hope this helps, and feel free to make further suggestions in this thread if you have something else helpful on the subject.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Khadoran Iron Fang Pikemen

These guys are pretty tough to paint! On top of red being a less simple color to highlight and shade to begin with, these gentlemen have some tricky angles and details to go at. I think they turned out pretty well though. You can see the Destroyer hanging out in the back. Sometimes the fluff concept of Warmachine is not the most appealing thing to me (giant robots), but with a good paint job, I tend to like it quite a bit more.

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Rhymes with Witch" Elves

GW has some great painters. I don't think anyone will argue that. But I take issue a lot of times with the colors and styles they choose when showing off their models. It's not that the painting isn't top notch, and far better than I could hope to do, it's that they've done an excellent job of making the model look unappealing. One of my prime examples of this is the Witch Elf models, which are masterfully painted in the Dark Elf Army Book and advertisements, but really made me not like the models. Shades are another examples. These are my Witch Elves. While they aren't as technically good, I think I chose a color scheme that makes the model more appealing. What are some other models like this?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Imperial Fist Terminator Sergeant

One of the side benefits of the hobby, no lie, is that I learned how to properly spell the words sergeant and emperor. Who says this isn't educational? Anyway, after painting around 3,000 points of of Raven Guard last year, I decided to do something challenging and try to do the same with Imperial Fists. So I've been working on that for a bit, trying to master yellows, which can be a bit tricky. For a Librarium Online challenge, I painted this Terminator Sergeant the other day. We'll call him Sergeant Albrecht. I'm not sure where he lost that eye, but he sure looks mad about it. Luckily, he's joining his other nine friends to make a full squad, so whatever he's mad at should probably start moving in the other direction.