Yearly Archives: 2012

NoVA Open 2012 – Part 1 – Overview

I had a great time this weekend at the NoVA.  As expected, I was unable to repeat last year’s ridiculously successful showing, but I still did okay for myself and– more importantly– had a really great time.

Seeing as how I’ve got a lot to write about, I’m going to break things up into a few posts: an overview of the weekend today (obviously), followed by the usual game-by-game breakdown (actual pictures in that post, I swear!), and then finally a post where I’ll look at how what needed improvement from last year’s convention shook out, plus some comments about what did and didn’t work with this year’s.


I had nothing going on on Friday save two hobby seminars run by MisterJustin from Secret Weapon Miniatures.  They were (relatively) early in the morning; ideally, I’d have done the other sessions, but there was just no time: these were basically the only slots that didn’t have me up at the middle of the night or conflict with the GT.  Fortunately, traffic (and an unhelpful GPS) made me only 10 minutes late on the drive in from Manassas.

Anyway, Justin ran three seminars: airbrushing, weathering powders and basing.

The airbrushing seminar was very, very inspiring. I’ve needed something along these lines for a while: getting into airbrushing is hard, and while YouTube helps, it doesn’t quite compare to having someone three feet away from you walking you through what they’re doing and why.  I’m going to do more airbrushing, now.  It’s gonna happen.  I think I’m going to start with some Dark Vengeance minis.

The weathering powders seminar was interesting, but exciting to me.  It doesn’t help that I’m simply not all that nuts about having things super-weathered… or that I just had a lot of trouble getting the powders to behave the way I wanted them to.  Still, it’s a neat technique, and nothing compares with having an expert walk you through what he’s doing from feet away.  I wish I’d had a project that was ready for weathering; I’d have gotten a lot of mileage out of bringing it with me, I think.

What was far more interesting was the realization that doing decent weathering requires a holistic comprehension of the reality you’re trying to replicate on the model.  Since the preceding example was probably barely English, the example he brought up a couple of times was: you need to understand that mud dries differently on the the hull of a tank (inside-out because the vehicle’s engine makes the hull hot) than on the treads/wheels (outside-in because, hey, that’s how mud dries).  Weathering requires far more thinking than just drybrushing Calthan Brown on your models’ feet and calling it a day.

I passed on the basing seminar.  On reflection, I think I’d have gotten more value out of it than I would have from the weathering seminar.  I certainly had nothing keeping me from doing it.


This was the first year NoVA did a full-on, big deal painting contest.  At the last minute (Thursday night), I’d remembered this, so I read the rules (more on that later), grabbed some entries (my Dark Heresy character and a D&D antagonist that I’m really proud of).  As usual, nothing painted specifically for competition, just a, “Hey, there’s a painting contest, I have no excuse not to enter something.”

Although I couldn’t tell you who won four out of the six categories (see: feedback, later), it was plain that there were a good couple of fistfuls of stronger entries than mine.  No shame in losing to competition that fierce.

The Tournament

I’ll do a detailed breakdown of my games in my next post, but the short version is: I went 2/3/0.

I started the tournament on a great foot, and ended it on a great foot.  Five games total, three really great games, four really fun games, and one game that wasn’t all that great (but hey, could have been a lot worse).  That’s fabulous for a GT.

I won best fantasy single mini with my Ruby Ring of Ruin Warlock Engineer, which I was quite pleased with. As with the standalone painting contest, there was some really amazing competition.


I got to catch up with a good handful of IFL guys that I haven’t seen since probably last year’s NoVA.  That was nice (even if it did have me up until stupid late on Saturday night).  Also saw a mess of other folks, like Bob that are great to hang out with that I only ever see at things like NoVA.

Between that, and meeting some new folks at the gaming table has really motivated me (as did the last tournament I played in) to get out and play with a wider selection of folks.  I’ve very much settled into a rut over the past year where I really only play against a small handful of people: I really need to change that.

The rest of the weekend:

Why I Won’t Double-Vampire

Double-Vampire – v. The act of going way overboard on something that you had no idea you even needed/wanted a few days ago. 

I shouldn’t have to mention the Reaper Kickstarter by this point.  You should know about it and should have already contributed to it.  It’s really bypassed Ludicrous Speed at this point.

When Reaper announced that the option to take a pass on the Sophie model in exchange for a $25 credit… things got even more nuts.  What was 210 models (at the time of this writing) at $.47/model became 209 models at $.35/model.

That’s when people started talking about double-vampiring, because doubling down on a bullshit insane ridiculously good deal seems pretty reasonable.

I ran the numbers.  I’d already planned on ordering extras of a few sets included in the Vampire set: the Townsfolk sets, Dungeon Dressing, and Swamp Things.  Rolling their costs and shaving off the Sophie and an add-on or two that I like but don’t love puts a second Vampire level effectively at paid for.

I slept on it.  This morning, I decided I’m not going to double-vampire.

It really is a stupid good deal, and you really should 1) throw in on this thing and 2) double-vampire.

What’s keeping me from doing it?  I’ll enumerate the reasons:

1650 IndieGoGo

  • Pro Starter Packs x2 (4 minis each)
  • Terrain (5 minis)
  • Extramuros 05
  • Vecino
  • Gentilhombre
  • Volatinero
  • Bust of the Guard

Dreamforge Games Kickstarter

  • Leviathan Crusader x1

Mantic Kickstarter

  • Orcs
    • Krudger on Gore
    • Orc Flagger
    • Ax Orcs x60
    • Greatax Orcs x20
    • Morax Orcs x10
    • Boar Riders x20
  • Goblins
    • Goblin Archers x80
    • Goblin Warriors x60
    • Goblin Spearmen x40
    • Goblin War-Trombones x3
    • Goblin Mawbeast Pack x10
    • Goblin Sneek
    • Goblin and Mawbeast
    • Fleabag Riders x10
    • Snotling Mincer x2
    • Snotlings x3
  • Werewolves x6

Reaper Kickstarter

  • Vampire x1 (209 minis)
  • Mind Your Manors (3 minis)
  • Demons (2 minis)
  • Deathsleet
  • Pathfinder Red Dragon
  • Clockwork Dragon
  • Frost Wyrm
  • Deep Dwellers (5 minis)
  • Nethyrmaul
  • Hydra
  • Extra Townsfolk (5 minis)
  • Extra Townsfolk II (4 minis)
  • Extra Dungeon Dressing (5 minis)
  • Extra Swamp Things (4 minis)

Red Box Games Kickstarter

  • Watch Captain Whistlelock
  • Robert of Carlisle
  • Aenglish Watch x4
  • Dire Wolves x3

Sedition Wars Kickstarter

  • Biohazard (99 minis)
  • Terrain Pack (4 minis)
  • Dr Susan Ridley
  • Ramirez
  • Engineer Niven Banks
  • Hexen Phaedrus
  • Calamity Crew x12
  • Baby AI Drones x18
  • THI Carapvace

So, at the time of this post (it will likely change: Reaper has a frankly terrifying velocity, and 1650 has 5 days to raise another ~$700), that’s 737 minis that Kickstarter and IndieGoGo has coming my way.

In a word: Fuck.

That’s a dangerous amount. If I double-vampired, it’d be scraping close to 1,000.  I don’t how good a deal it is: crowdfunding already has me reaching beyond my grasp with projects.

(I plan on referring to this page every time I’m tempted to up a pledge.  Those Eisenkern Stormtroopers might look amazing, for example, but 737.  STAY STRONG.)

VT Horkie

In an effort to take my own (and others’) advice, I decided to paint a one-off just-for-the-heck-of-it mini to help get out of the rut I’m in. After some fishing around my sprue bins, I settled on an Assault on Black Reach Ork. Like almost everyone else, I’ve got a few, and I haven’t really done much with them.

For the record, I’m extremely happy with the way I paint green flesh. I’d love to do an Ork army, and probably would… if there were fewer models involved. (How I’m going to reconcile that with the Orcs and Goblins I’m getting from the Mantic Kickstarter, I have no idea.)

So, I sat down and started on him. Then it occurred to me that I could/should give him to a coworker of mine (who we’ll call “Just Belligerent”) that I’ve worked with for a very long time that’s constantly harping on me to give them a painted “figurine.”

(As an aside: I get this… not infrequently. I always take it as a polite expression of interest in my hobby. “Would you give me a painted mini?” is how someone not involved in the hobby says that there’s value to what you do, that you’re probably good at it, and they don’t think you’re a thirty year-old manchild… and that they don’t really grok the cost or time investment this hobby sometimes demands.)

Anyway, that seemed like a nice idea. Then, it occurred to me that I shouldn’t just paint this guy as a standard Ork Boy. Given that JB is one of those folks who’s utterly obnoxious about their Hokie Pride… I could do better than black, checks, and dags.

Obviously, I did the guy up in Hokie colors, which unfortunately makes him a Horkie. I suppose there’s an unintended insult in there (your school’s fans are eternally belligerent fungoid football hooligans), but it is unintended, and I don’t think JB’d catch it anyway.

I’m fairly pleased with how the colors came out. Bright, but still the right tones.

Of course, there are a couple of goofs on here that I’d fix, but I was pretty committed to getting this guy done in less than a day: the sloppy rivet above, a lack of color in his mouth, and I never did figure out the right way to fit 9-11-2010 into the model somewhere. I’m more disappointed about that than anything else.

This HDR shot kinda sucks: I couldn’t get the camera to focus correctly. Still, I like taking them, so here it is.

Salzenmund Apophaſiſ – Prologue Part I

The first session of the Salzenmund Apophaſiſ went down about a month ago.  This writeup’s a couple of weeks late, but c’est la vie.

Dramatis Personae

Amina Wegner – Boat(wo)man
Rosaria Gorman – Smuggler
Mannfried Orben – Noble
Nicholas Schlender – Burgher
Konrad Osterwald – Protagonist
Alberto Adriano Timoteo Raffaele – Camp Follower


Bözsi – Messenger
Dalibor – Outrider
Heiko – Tomb Robber
Helfried – Scribe
Herman – Miner
Humbert – Camp Follower
Irmuska – Bodyguard
Körbl – Bone Picker
Magdolna – Militiaman
Melker – Rogue
Sven – Mercenary
Viktor – Protagonist

I gave each of the PC’s d4 Henchbros to support them and, in cases of dire lethality, eat a would-be killing blow in place of the associated PC.  My DM dice have proven themselves to be downright spiteful, so a safety valve seemed prudent.  How little did I know…

I actually had a lot of fun rolling these up.  I gave each of them a skill, and rolled once on the Henchman Traits table.  They were 45% male, 45% female and two of them… hard to tell.  This gave us things like Viktor, the Protagonist with beautiful, lustrous hair, and Körbl the Bone and nose picker.

As promised, the PCs were all soldiers in service to Johann Tserclaes during the Sack of Magdeburg, serving under Graf Luboš Winther.  Winther, hits the limit for the depravity he’s willing to participate in and suggested to the troops he’s with that they desert, tag out of the war, and flee too someplace safe, like the Swiss cantons.  They agreed; finished loading up their loot wagon, and rolled out of town.

Along the way, they encountered some other looters who decided that a wagon full of loot’s far more convenient than a city full of unbewagoned loot and decided to take it from the party.  This went down almost entirely as an exercise to run the players through a WFRP combat.  As a result, the three unnamed looters (this is a lie: they were each named “Dieter”) were butchered and Nicholoas knocked into critical range.

Besides a bloody fight on the way out of town, their escape was uneventful.  That is, until a week or so after they’d left town.  Several of the party went foraging and hunting to supplement their rations… including Alberto, who shot, killed, and brought back a baby bear to cook.

The party was awoken in the middle of the night: Graf Winther was gone.  So was his horse and a sizable portion of the party’s rations.  Before they could investigate further…

Bears!  The completely botched Outdoor Survial hunting roll was incredibly convenient, as part of the initial arc I’ve had planned very much called for bears.  True story, no joke.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, bears in WFRP are very much not something to fuck around with.  At all.  Battling bears (2 Bears, 1 Bear w/ the Brute advance scheme) took quite a bit longer to resolve than I’d expected or would like.  It was also deeply, profoundly lethal.

The sacrifice-a-henchment-to-avoid-a-critical-roll rule effectively made the fight an exercise in feeding henchpeople into a woodchipper.

I’ll let the list of remaining henchpeople speak for itself.  Look at the list above, and now look at the list below:

Surviving Henchpersons

Bözsi – Messenger
Helfried – Scribe
Herman – Miner
Magdolna – Militiaman

So, yeah.  The math speaks for itself.  I hope next session’s not nearly as bloody.  This thing I’m doing right now?  Just a prologue.  Setting the stage for worse things to come.  Hard to do that if everyone involved is being transformed to bear feces.

1650 Kickstarter

Kickstarter / IndieGoGo’s really been kicking my ass over the past few months.  Could potential creators, like, take a few months off please?

Anyway, by now you should all know about the Reaper Bones Kickstarter, which has become such an insanely good deal it’s ridiculous.  There are so many freaking minis involved in this thing, it’s kind of all you can do is start laughing maniacally, eyes rolling back into your skull, while you try to figure out where you’re going to put all of them.

That said, I’m much more excited about the 1650 IGG:

It’ll be a skirmish game.  There will be rules.  Maybe they’ll be good: I don’t know.  With minis like this, though, I don’t care.

Dammit, more minis need musket rests!

I need these minis.  They’ll (probably) see use in my Empire army.  They’ll get pushed around in the context of the 1650 game.  They (might) see use in an English Civil War force.  They’ll definitely see table-time in an RPG context.

Get these minis to me.  Get these minis to you.  Buy into this thing, per favore.  It’s got 2 weeks left and only needs another $3,325 to go.  That’s totally doable!

As an aside, Tercio Creativo did totally set up their stretch goals all wrong.  (Not in a bad way for you, potential backer.)  When you need $8K to be successful and receive funding, there’s no point to having stretch goals that add additional minis at $4K, $6K, and $8K.  Contributors will get them if funding is successful, or funding won’t be successful and they won’t.  There’s no stretchiness to it, you know?

Hobby Doldrums

I’m in a pretty serious hobby lull.

The project I really need to be working on, the remaining three Demigryphs, have sat effectively untouched for over a month.  In fact, a complete and full accounting of all the hobby things I’ve finished since April looks like:

  • 1 Demigryph (no rider yet, so it doesn’t get logged)
  • 1 Daemon Prince (assembled only)
  • 2 Warpfire Throwers 
  • 2 Spacers (so I can field my chariot-based Screaming Bell at the proper width)

The end.  That’s it.  Nothing else.

Now, there are a lot of small reasons for this: I’ve been sick, I’ve been busy, I’ve been travelling, I’ve been subjected to the Olympics (tough to paint when someone drags your attention to some flip or kick or toss every few minutes), I’ve been committing Orcicide in Orcs Must Die 2.

I think the real reason, though, is that my hobby and my gaming are so completely out of step.

See, I need to finish these Demigryphs.  The How of doing them is still fresh in my mind, and it’s only going to get harder.  Except, I’m not playing my Empire right now, I’m playing my Skaven at NoVA.  It’s tough to focus on painting something when you’re not playing it.

Of course, I don’t really want to focus on my Skaven, either. Not that I really have any active Skaven projects, mind you, but right now I’m so much more interested in playing 40K than playing Fantasy right now.  Heck, where I was super-pumped about NoVA last year, I’m at 2% enthusiasm for it this year.  If the entrance fees weren’t as high as they are, I’d probably just cancel on it.

I could work on a 40K project, but I don’t even know what I’m doing with that game just yet: I’ve had time for one (1) game of 40K, and likely won’t roll any dice in the grim darkness of the far future until September and NoVA’s passed.  I’d like to figure out what army I’m going to be playing before I start painting stuff for it.

I should go digging in the bins to find something small that I can work on just so I can get back in the swing of things.  I need to get out of this rut.


While ordering some square-edged dice I stumbled across a d10Commandments; it had to be purchased.

I’m definitely going to use this thing in the game. I think I’ll use it for NPC’s motivations and secret guilts. Or maybe for things that religious zealots can assume about PCs.  “YOU!  YOU OVER THERE! YOU DON’T HONOR THE SABBATH!  I CAN TELL!  GET ‘EM!”

I dunno: I like weird dice.  Give me a break!

Hunger During the Thirty Years War

Dame Wedgwood thinks I let my PCs spend too much money on rations…

“The fugitives who fled from the south after Nördlingen died of plague, hunger and exhaustion in the refugee camp at Frankfort or the overcrowded hospitals of Saxony; seven thousand were expelled fom the canon of Zürich because there was neither food nor room for them; at Hanau the gates were closed against them; at Strasbourg they lay thick in the streets through the frosts of winter, so that by day the citizens stepped over their bodies, and by night lay awake listening to the groans of the sick and starving until the magistrates forcibly drove them out, thirty thousand of them. The Jesuits here and there fought manfully against the overwhelming distress; after the burning and desertion of Eichstätt they sought out the children who were hiding the cellars, killing and eating the rats, and carried them off to care for and educate them; at Hagenau they managed to feed the poor out of their stores until the French troops raided their granary and took charge of the grain for the army.”

“At Calw the pastor saw a woman gnawing the raw flesh of a dead horse on which a hungry dog and some ravens were also feeding. In Alasace the bodies of criminals were torn from the gallows and devoured; in the whole Rhineland they watched the gravyards against marauders who sold the flesh of the newly buried for food; at Zweibrücken a woman confessed to having eaten her child. Acorns, goats’ skins, grass were all cooked in Alsace; cats, dogs, and rats were sold in the market at Worms. In Fulda and Coburg and near Frankfort and the great refugee camp, men wnt in terror of being killed and eaten by those maddened by hunger. Near Worms hands and feed were found half cooked in a gipsies’ cauldron. Not far from Wertheim human bones were discovered in a pit, fresh, fleshless, sucked to the marrow.”

“By November rich burghers’ wives were seen in the market bartering their jewellery for a little flour. Horses, cats, dogs, mice were all sold for human food, and the skins of cattle and sheep were soaked and cooked. On November 24th one of Bernard’s soldiers, a prisoner, died in the castle; before the body could be taken away for burial his comrades had torn it in pieces and devoured the flesh. In the ensuing weeks six other prisoners died and were eaten. On a single morning ten bodies were found in the center square of the town, citizens who had dropped dead of hunger, and by December it was being whispered that poor and orphan children had disappeared.”

The Thirty Years War, CV Wedgwood

On GW Stores

So, my Golden Daemon entries showed up in the mail yesterday, in great shape, shipped by the ridiculously helpful Chicago Battle Bunker staff.  Everything went incredibly smoothly, and the Bunker folks went above and beyond in helping me get my entries back (which shouldn’t be surprising, because all of the GW staff that work a Games Day do an amazing job).

I’m deeply appreciative of their help!

I don’t do much with GW stores.  I’m fortunate enough to live in an area fairly well saturated with them, but there’s only been one convenient in the past couple of years (GW Fair Oaks).

The thing is, that store just cannot catch a fucking break from me.  The slightest thing off, and I start crabbing about it.  The store was transplanted from a less convenient location (in Potomac Mills), where the folks down there had screwed things up for me pretty colossally in the past.  Since moving to Fair Oaks, there’s been the occasional screw up that’s really set me off… but mostly because it’s stacked atop the sins of Potomac Mills.

But the thing is: I’m pretty damn confident that nobody involved in any of those screwups has anything to do with the Fair Oaks store anymore.  I’m crapping over a staff for stuff that’s not their fault.  And, if I’m being fair (and I haven’t really): they’ve been pretty solid lately.  I can pick up what I’m there to pick up without being smothered with the stereotypical redshirt hardsell.  Sure, one guy tried to talk me out of a potential conversion (protip: don’t do that, for a host of reasons), but that’s hardly grounds to give an entire store the perpetual stinkeye.

So, because I can’t really properly thank the Chicago Bunker staff by dropping off a case of beer or something, I’m going to try to make up for it by lightening the heck up on their more local comrades.  I haven’t been fair to them; it’s past time to start cutting them some slack.

Games Day Golden Daemon Photodump

So, GW posted pictures of the Slayer Sword winner. Hot. damn.

Anyway, here’s my promised Golden Daemon photo dump.  Again, cameraphone, etc.


Conversion contest & staff army photos!