20150930 Wednesday Workbench

Wednesday Workbench

20150930 Wednesday Workbench

Kind of a lot of balls in the air at the moment:  the first batch of Huns are done and ready for varnishing.  The next, larger batch is in progress.  Somehow I volunteered to paint another few Partisans before the end of October, and since I’m painting WWI Germans and the FoW Great War book comes out any month, now, I might as well knock those out too.

Sollum (2)

Don’t have much to post about: probably should make a point of doing a Workbench Wednesday tomorrow since I have so freaking much in-progress.

Did finally get the chance to play the Sollum game over the weekend, and I took a couple of pics:

Sollum (1)

Sollum (2)

Sollum (3)

In four hours, 2.5 players per side, we got through something like eight turns.  I think think it’ll fly smoothly at Fall-In.

WWI German Infantry

I’m running an Amiens, 1918 game for TGS in January. This is good, since we’ve yet to do anything outside of WWII… but it’s bad because we’ve yet to do anything outside of WWII so whatever’s going on the table is going to have to get built and painted between now and then.

A confluence of motivations (including the above) has me running the game with Bolt Action (plus some modifications, beginning with lifting heavily from here) except in 15mm.  Someone mentioned it (running BA in the smaller scale but keeping ranges, etc, the same) on the DAHGS list and it sounded really cool.  Anyway, I made odd decisions sometimes.

German Test Model

This is my (unbased) test model for the German infantry.   I’d ask for C&C, but the color on this quick-cameraphone-photo doesn’t feel quite right so I’m not sure if it’s even worth asking for it.  It’s possibly too green and not enough grey; it feels too close to looking like the WWII USMC I painted last summer,  A different wash might help with that.

It’s also not-quite 15mm; I got buckets of Old Glory/Blue Moon figures and they’re very tall 15mm compared to the Flames of War WWI figures:


One of you is lying about your size

However I proceed, if I can keep the approach about as complicated as this, I’ll be able to blow through these guys in no time.  The hope is to blow through the Germans, maybe knock out the ones I have based for Flames of War while I’m at it then figure out how I’m going to tackle the Brits & Australians.


Wrath of Kings


Got in a game of Kings of War with Bill on Thursday.  Shades asked for a bat-rep; I suck at those (I’m generally too engaged in the game to think about taking pictures, never mind turn-by-turn notes or pictures) so, instead, thought-dump.

It’s also worth noting that I think I’m pretty late to the party on WoK: after the shitshow that was Sedition Wars, I gave CMoN Kickstarters a pass for a good, long while.  It’s only by way of a couple of impulse buys on some good deals that I ended up with minis for it,  So, some of my rambling is probably old-hat to anyone who’s been playing it.

We played a Skirmish: my Hadross (Fish Dudes) vs. Bill’s Shael Han (Steampunk Wuxia Dudes).

List Building

One of the things I like a lot about Wrath of Kings is the list-building: it’s very close to the way Saga does it.  Which is to say: it’s a middle path between points-based systems, where this guy being 41 points and that guy being 42 points is Significant, and the-hands-off-and-shrug method regrettably found in Age of Sigmar, where anything and everything is equal.  It looks a little more involved than Saga, it’s effectively the same.

Models are Leaders, Specialists, or Infantry: depending on the game you’re playing, you get X Infantry, Y Specialists, and some limited ability to chose some quantity of either 3 Infantry or 1 Specialist.  Models also have Ranks: 1 or 2.  Want a Rank 2 model? Swap out two Rank 1s for it.  That’s it.  “Rank” might as well be “Point.”

So, at Skirmish, I get

  • 3 Ranks of Leaders
  • 18 Ranks of Infantry
  • 2 Ranks of Specialists
  • 3 Ranks of Infantry or 1 of Specialist
  • 3 Ranks of Infantry or 1 of Specialist

That became

  • 3 Ranks of Leaders
    • Deepman Kaxes (Rank 1)
    • Deepman Kaxes (Rank 1)
    • Gutter Friar (Rank 1)
  • 18 Ranks of Infantry
    • 12x Deepman Guardian (Rank 1)
    • 3x Sevridan Gutter (Rank 2, so this is 6 Ranks)
  • 2 Ranks of Specialists
    • Deep Caller
      • Deep Caller
  • 3 Ranks of Infantry or 1 of Specialist
    • Calith Reaver (Rank 1 Specialist)
  • 3 Ranks of Infantry or 1 of Specialist
    • Calith Reaver (Rank 1 Specialist)

So it’s basically counting models, with some models counting double.  I like this a lot; it’s simple enough that you can build a list right before rolling dice without being a bullshit, “I dunno, man, points are dumb; you make the decisions!” cop-out.

  • Leaders
    • Madam Mui (2)
    • Dragon Legion Keeper (1)
  • Infantry
    • 9x Dragon Legionnaire (1)
    • 9x Iron Lotus Warrior (1)
  • Specialists
    • 2x Shield of Taelfon (1)
    • The Red Willow (2)

The 9 of each infantry’s important.  At the Skirmish level, each Leader can activate (or activate along with) at least 5 related models.  So he can effectively (and, in the case of the Legionnaires) deploy and move models in blocks of 10: 5 infantry, then 4 infantry and the leader.  This stands in contrast to my big messy mish-mosh of guys interleaved with each other, causing a traffic jam.


We had different Motivations.  I’m still trying to get my head around these.  Basically, there are five categories of themed goals, and each faction gets access to two of them: the idea being that each faction has different ways to approach winning a game.  Each theme has three goals, so there are six different ways to supplement the common goal of “murder all of the other guy’s guys.”  It’s an interesting concept but, at this stage, it feels like it’s maybe more fiddly than it needs to be: I’m especially annoyed that some motivations refer to 30mm objectives, some to 40mm objectives, and some 50mm. I guess the first stands for people, the second for loot, and the third for structures but still.  I do think it’s interesting that, in the tournament rules, you can’t choose the same motivation twice.

Bill’s was (ultimately) to have his Leaders/Specialists decapitate my Infantry and then taunt my Leaders with them (kill models, get tokens, use an action instead of an attack to spend the token while within 6″/8″ of my Leaders).  Mine was to overrun his force and push into his land (have single Infantry kill models, get tokens, carry tokens to near his side of table).

I think if I play the game some more, I’m going to try to get the Motivations printed up on cards (shame on them for not thinking of and doing this).  That’ll help me keep track of what I’m trying to do and what the other guy is trying to do.

2015-09-17 17.49.25

The Game

Anyway, I don’t know that the game was especially notable: I mostly mobbed around and got in my own way while Bill moved forward in formation. He won, of course, with me… actually closer than I’d have guessed to winning.  If the game had gone one more turn, I could maybe have even turned things around.

I did get a much more practical understanding of how the different models work (pushing them around and trying to do things with their cards and rolling dice around them is the only way I can internalize this stuff).  Which was really the whole point of the exercise.

Our game took about two hours.  According to the tournament rules, a Skirmish game should last about half that… given that I spent the whole time asking Bill questions and saying, “Okay, let me get my head around this,” and narrating every single thing I was doing… I actually think that’s spot on.

Assorted Thoughts

Not sure what Warmachine game sizes are nowadays, but it feels like it fits in the same space as Warmachine: it takes more models than Malifaux, but considerably less than, say, Fantasy.  It takes fewer models than Saga (assuming you’re not looking at an all-Hearthguard army): 15-29 vs. 25-73.  And I think it fits that spot a lot better than Warmachine does: I liked WM when it was about juggling Focus/Fury across a couple of models and thought it broke down when you started running a lot of small bodies, simply because “Roll 2d6, add, compare, then Roll 2d6 add, compare” once per model falls apart when you do it a lot. Here, it’s roll some number of dice: compare the roll to a chart. That the chart varies from target to target add some complexity, but it still moves a lot faster and smoother.

As far as I can tell, each faction follows a pattern: three subspecies of the faction each get a Infantry, a Leader, and a Leader Character, and each subspecies wants to be run with an appropriate Leader.  There are some pretty explicit synergies here.  I like that it’s straightforward because, in my dotage, I don’t have the mental bandwidth to keep up with the combo-based approach a lot of skirmish games favor.  It’s here, too, but it’s simple enough for even me to keep up with.

The setting is… okay.  It’s dumb as dirt that every person in the setting is human who was changed into a non-human somehow, and that (with the exception of Shael Han) there are so few humans left.  It’s weird.  This is fantasy, guys! You can have fishmen! You have have pigmen!  It’s okay!  It’s weird.

If you look at the photo above, you’ll note there’s effectively no terrain.  Four pieces, pretty much evenly spaced out across the table.  It was fine for what we were doing, but is sort of awful.  Doing more and more historical gaming has ruined me for half-hearted terrain: Huzzah’s Chris always sets up beautiful tables for his games, and the TGS games are notably gorgeous.  I need to get my head around what a game like this should look like, table-wise, because it needs more.

Anyway, I liked the game. A lot.  I hope to play it more, because it plays fast while remaining satisfying. Also, I’m looking forward to painting some of those models, and it’s always a shame to paint models for a game and then never play it.

Workbench Wednesday – Hobby Room

Near the top of my list of wants for our new home was a space I could dedicate to hobby stuff.  For the past decade, my hobby space was my work space, which made clocking out very difficult.  (It’s why I started doing ‘Workbench Wednesday’ posts: I work from home on most Wednesdays, so I’d turn 90% to the left, take a picture, and then get back to work.) It’s tough to focus on nerd work with work work hanging out in my peripheral vision, so I wanted to segregate the two spaces.

Old Workspace

The old space

The new home is perfect, and has accommodated this: there’s a bedroom in the basement just waiting to be used as hobby space.

The space, before.  I’ve got a lot (too much) hobby crap, have someone else’s hobby crap that I’m getting to A Good Home, and the movers just started dumping stuff in there.

Hobby Room - Before


So, it was a bit of work over the past month or so to get it shaped up.  Furniture to buy & build, unpacking and organizing to do.

The last, big step this past weekend was painting and lighting the display case.  I’m pretty pumped about that: we got the case from a closing Borders years ago, and I’ve never been satisfied with it.  It’s simply too dark; the lights solve that.  (I’d prefer a less yellow light, and that might come later.  For now, any light in there is a huge improvement.)

It’s not 100% done, of course: at some point I’d like to replace the folding tables with something constructed (which will buy me a little space and, hopefully, give me some place to store terrain) and I’ve got a pile of stuff that needs to go on the walls (posters and there’ll be an I-Love-Me area somewhere). All of that’ll wait, though; the short-term stuff is done.

Hobby Room - After


This is the new space:

Hobby Room - Desk

Space to do airbrushing (which will hopefully help me get some sort of facility with it).  A clock (which was really helpful with working on those Maquisards; every time I’d look up, the time was right in my face… back to work!).  No computer with which to distract myself.  Space for the iPad, if I feel like watching something while I work, but the space is fiddly enough that if I set it up to do that, that’s pretty much all I’m doing with it.

So far, it’s been pretty successful.  If I’m down there, I’m painting. End of story.

(Plus, there’s a catbed in the window for Diesel and two dogbeds for Cricket to bounce between: one beneath the desk and one on the other side of the room.)

Skirmish with Tatars

Semi-random Gaming

Skirmish with Tatars

Some ~random gaming going on:

  • Thursday, Huzzah’s Chris ran me through a Flames of War – Great War teaching/demo game.  I liked it well enough, but dang, it feels like a persnickety game.  The mini rulebook is something like 3x the length of the 7E 40K rulebook (yes, it has a ton of excellent diagrams, but that can only account for so much), and a handful of the rules feel weird (but I’m 99% sure that’s because I’m used to the way Warhammer does things and this isn’t Warhammer/40K/Bolt Action).  Still, I expect it’ll paint up lightning-fast, and, given the new wave of stuff coming out for it soonish, it sounds like it might see more play at the store, so I expect I’ll give it some more play.


  • Saturday was Frank‘s By Fire & Sword Tournament; at 12 people, it was nearly as big as the one Wargamer.pl ran at Historicon.  It’s a good game, but I think I need to 1) play it a lot more to internalize the rules (the only way I can actually get my head around a game) and 2) read the rulebook(s), each of which is the size of Gdansk and weigh as much as a Winged Hussar.  I ran the Imperial Outpost, so I brought pike & shot to a predominantly cavalry fight, and went 1/1/1. In each case, though, I could point to something I did wrong or a mistake I’d made, which is pretty much all one can ask for, right?  Anyway, it was a good time, and it sounds like Casey‘s (FINALLY) gotten his Swedes, so I expect I’ll be playing it more soon.
  • This coming Thursday, I’ll be playing Wrath of Kings with Bill, who I haven’t played with in years.  A confluence of events have conspired to put a couple of Kings of War armies (Goritsi and Hadross or, as I prefer, “werewolf dudes” and “fish dudes”), and I played a quick demo of it at NOVA.
Zurraigo - Front (1)

Capital Palette 2015

Capital Palette Logo

The Capital Palette was good to me this year, with a Silver and a Bronze.

In the couple of weeks leading up, I sunk a lot of time and effort into painting up 1652’s Zurraigo from Tercio Creativo*.  I’m quite pleased with how he turned out.  He won Silver in the Historical Single Figure category

Zurraigo - Plinth

Zurraigo - Front (1)

Zurraigo - Back (2)

More and more I’ve been wanting to work with more desaturated, “realistic” colors, and this was right there.  I’m happy with how I got colors in there that are bright without being technicolor.  I see myself working in this area for the next however long.

I got a lot of comments along the lines of “the one with the smoke coming out of the musket,” which says to me the smoke was too prominent and should have been darker.  I painted it to look like musket smoke which is, of course, stupid, because it’s a burning match.

On the first day of NOVA, I scramble-painted a handful of Maquisards.  I’d built them before the big move and primed them the night before… and then pretty much just painted them all day Thursday, finishing them just in time to hop in the car and drive to Crystal City for a seminar. They got Bronze in Historical Collection.


I don’t have any illusions: the only reason they won Bronze is because, to my knowledge, there were three entries in that category.  They’re not bad: they’re what I’d consider tabletop quality**, but they’re not even close to great.

I’ve got another 67 of these suckers to paint at some point hopefully not too far in the future.

My Iguana (which I keep erroneously insisting is a Salamander) bears mention, having made first cut.  First cut is a far cry from placing, but it’s not worth nothing.  In a tight field like Sci-Fi Large, to my mind it’s as big an achievement as placing with Historical Collection (if not moreso).


I entered more than these three, of course: I entered my Nomad Spektr, my Nomad Hellcats (who I seem to not have photographed yet), and a D&D character (who is similarly undocumented).  None of these made first cut, but that’s a right and just thing: there were so many spectacular other entries and I don’t have any illusions about their level.  Really: that’s why I’m so pleased with the Iguana making the cut.

I was frustrated in my attempts to get feedback on my entries (really just looking for it for Zurraigo) from the judges.  There’s simply no bandwidth after judging and it’s weird to do before it.  I need to figure out the right way to get that advice: this weekend’s seminars were hugely helpful, but I know I’d benefit from some targeted critique, especially from the specific folks I’m trying to impact.

I was also pretty frustrated by the way the awards ceremony went.  Basically, they announced the Golds, the end.  Then, word went out that if you got a finalist pin, you should gather over by where pictures were being done to find out if you placed in Silver or Bronze.  So, we milled about there for a bit before being told to sit down.  Then they found the list and rattled off names.  I seem to recall that something similar-ish happened last year.

I know the awards ceremony runs long: but this is the second time in a row where it’s felt like they’re just trying to get this part over and done with so they can get on to rambling about how great X-Wing or Malifaux is.  And that’s not ego talking (well, maybe 5% ego): in many of cases I have no idea what placed.  I know Rhodes’ German officer got Historical Single Gold, but I don’t know who, or what got Bronze.   John’s Zugs got Historical Collection Gold, but I have no clue what got Silver; I didn’t even know there was a third entry (I’m not kidding).  I don’t know what got Silver in Sci-Fi or Fantasy Single, etc. People names are nice, but when we’re looking in the display cabinet: we’re not seeing those, and it’s kind of tough to guess who painted what (John’s easy, Mike’s I recognized, and I was able to spot Dave’s by way of the Fury Road model, but that was about it).  They do this for Gold, but I think they fall short in skipping it for Silver and Bronze.  Would it be so difficult to do two slides per category, one with the Gold and then a second one with Silver and Bronze on it?

Also, I’d love the opportunity to go back and give the winners a closer, second/third/thirtieth look.  This can’t happen for any number of reasons (not the least of which is that, by the time the ceremony’s over, it’s like 9PM and people need to have collected their entries so they can go home), but I’m allowed to dream, right?

Update: Did the NOVA Survey yesterday, and one of the questions is (basically), “Would you like the ability to meet with judges after the award to discuss entries?”  Hell, yeah.  This is basically what I really, really want.  I never fail to be surprised and impressed by NOVA’s ability and willingness to adapt for the better.

Brief photodump.  I’m shocked and appalled that these were all the pictures I took; I suck.  Shame on me.

2015 Capital Palette Entry (1)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (2)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (3)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (4)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (5)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (6)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (7)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (16)

(This was my pick for Fan Favorite.)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (8)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (9)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (10)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (11)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (12)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (13)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (14)

2015 Capital Palette Entry (15)

* Who sucked ass on fulfilling a Kickstarter and still, two and a half years later, owe me stuff.  Screw those jackwagons.

** It’s worth mentioning that, with notably few exceptions (last year’s MacReady and Zurraigo above) every mini I’ve entered has been intended for play.  This is probably both why I don’t win first place that often and also why it takes me forever and a half to finish projects.