Monday, 23 February 2015

TRO goes to Winter Challenge, Part 2

I managed to forget to take any photos of the games I played on the first day of the event. I managed to fit in a couple of games, which mostly consisted of me having my teeth kicked in quite thoroughly, but in a friendly and educational way.

In particular, I learned some key lessons about how much protection you need to give your troops when deploying if you're going second, and about balancing the range bands of your weapons so that you are engaging at the optimal range for the weapons you're using.

My proudest moment was using White Noise to block an MSV sniper's vision, then running up Pi-Well with Assisted Fire and taking out the sniper. Any game where you can deploy electromagnetic interference to block a sniper scope, give an AI's targeting systems additional processing power through a deployed wi-fi node and take out a sniper as a result is just plain awesome.

On the second day, I was paired with Domo, who was running an Aleph force, I think Steel Legion. This included Ajax and Phoenix, who are rather nails. Here, Ajax tries to capture a roof being held by an NPC Odalisque, with them both lying down and "engaging in close combat". There's a Captain Hammer joke in there somewhere.

The mission objective each time was to capture the roof of the building in the middle of the board. Here, Pi-Well completes a Sensor scan to discover that some helpful chaps have heavily mined the other side of the building.

We won two games and lost one, leaving us in fourth place. Sometimes I felt I wasn't contributing much, but I did manage to get some useful things done. Here, a co-ordinated order got Zoe, Pi-Well and the Reverend Healer all up onto the roof in one go, before someone lobbed a grenade onto the roof to try and get us off. We survived, and won the game as a result...

The only problem I really encountered was with finishing games - sometimes with the new rules and people working out what best to do, we didn't really get the full three turns to play out. The line between "getting the hang of things" and slow play is impossible to judge, so I'm not sure what a TO can do about it.

We all got a little loot for turning up, and another little bit of loot depending on how we did, either in the "achievements" game or in the win/loss/draw side of things. I didn't get anything special, coming fourth in both, but did manage to get the Vortex Special Ops patch for the Nomads - along with an Antenocitis Workshop Egg Car and a couple of pin badges. We also all got a poster.

All in all, I'd heartily recommend going to one of the Wartrader's Challenge events if you can make it. They're excellent fun, the people are lovely and they're well organised. Definitely worth a visit, even when Exeter is very far away...

Monday, 16 February 2015

TRO goes to Winter Challenge, Part 1

At the end of January, I went down to Exeter. It turns out Exeter is really quite a distance from London! I travelled down on the train Friday night after work. This meant I got in very late, and basically went to bed straight after I got to the hotel.

I'd picked a Premier Inn about an hour's walk from the venue. It felt like it was a former motel, arranged around a courtyard, and the corridors were rather sparse. But the room was nice and the cooked breakfast tolerable.

The walk from the hotel to the event was a little odd. Countess Wear, where I was staying, seems to be twinned with Stepford. It was all very nice and expensive, with big houses, pretty parks and vintage cars in the gardens.

Once you crossed the railway bridge, you entered the industrial estate where the event was being held. I specifically took a photo of this waste plant / incinerator for my wife, because she quite likes power plants.

Once I got to the event, I found a wide variety of different tables set out for people to play on. These included the usual urban tables, but there were also forested ruins, a board consisting of a series of islands, and a spaceship interior board.

Between the first and second day, the attendees all retired to a nearby pub for dinner. If you go to an event in Exeter, I'd recommend doing so - the food was affordable and delicious! I did not take photos of that, because I was busy eating and chatting. In the second part of my account, I'll be covering how I found the games on both days of the event.

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Rogue Trader Era Space Ork Designs

I was sorting out a few boxes of old miniatures for a friend who was selling them on eBay. I noticed the old box design for the Space Orks, and decided that the flavour text, example paint jobs and glyph designs might be of interest to people...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Where the hell have you been?

I've been busy Doing Things - the Winter Challenge, LARP, gaming with people. I've barely been keeping up with reading blogs, let alone writing them!

I do need to at least do a proper write up for the Winter Challenge, and a 40K game I got in against Dark Eldar (played by a friend of ours, rather than the wife).

In the meantime, here's a picture of a skeleton rock band.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Health Check: New Year's Resolutions, End of January

So, lets have a look at how I've done with my New Year's resolutions for painting and stuff.

The Main Goal

- Finish painting at least two things a month

That's three things completed and sorted out.

Bonus Goals

- Finish more than two projects a month


- . . . and limit purchases the following month to whatever I beat the target by

Abject failure.

I picked up a Bob Olley Mechanicus off eBay when I finished the third model this month in a fit of enthusiasm, forgetting I was meant to wait until February. I then also didn't manage to get a fourth figure finished, because I desperately needed to buy a couple of Nomad Remotes for the Totally Crit Open at the end of February.

Preparing for Events

I didn't manage to get all my figures assembled for the Winter Challenge, which was very frustrating. Fortunately, it wasn't ITS, so I could use proxies, but I still feel bad about it.

I now really need to get sorted for the Totally Crit Open, because that is ITS and if I don't have the models assembled I'll be left begging people to borrow theirs, and that's just humiliating.

This does worry me a little regarding my "two a month" painting target - as I really can't afford to distract myself from assembly, and February is a short month. Still, I'm an adult and I can wear it. If I don't get two things painted this month, it's not the end of the work - I can always focus on trying to catch up in future months.

Monday, 19 January 2015

All sorts of busy

Well, it's been a busy week here. I've been desperately procrastinating assembling the figures I need for Winter Challenge 2015. So far, of the 9 models I actually need for my list, I've assembled 2 - and it's not easy assembly. I've twice now had to go back and pin things that I thought would be fine with just glue. They're beautiful models, but quite delicate!

I'm sure some of you will be saying you've seen this chap before. Which is right - but he took quite a few chips when I was gaming with him last year, so he ended up back in the painting queue for a bit of medic work and touch up. I actually think he looks better now than when I finished him the first time around.

I got to play Infinity again on Tuesday, with the first Actual Infinity Models. Zoe and Pi-Well took the field. It was my Ariadna opponent's professional opinion that Pi-Well was really, really annoying...

We were playing the armoury mission from the book, and I learned a few things. Veteran Kazakhs are really really tough, but have no BTS, so do not like a swarm of nanobots to the face. They like explosive close combat weapons even less!

I managed to pull a win out of the game, almost entirely due to the Reverend Healer marching across the field, punching a Veteran Kazakh to death and clearing the rest of the room single handed. She currently remains my stand out "woman of the match".

This was a work in progress shot I took of the pirate goblin from Goblin Aid I've been working on here and there. I'd originally planned to do a simple tabletop quality paint job but I've somehow ended up trying to give him a red drunk nose and stripy trousers. On top of that, my wife pushed me to also give him rosy cheeks!

I'm starting to take these high definition close ups as a way of reviewing how well my painting has done so far, and what needs touching up. This identified for me that the front of his coat, his tooth, his lower lip and just under his left eye all needed work.

I've also finished the last of my assassins. The Culexus is just done to a simple tabletop quality, but I'm happy enough with it for gaming purposes.

I now have all four of the assassins painted, which means that I should really try fielding the formation at some point in the near future. How could that possibly go wrong?

Monday, 12 January 2015

Infinity: First Battle with N3

So, a few of us brought 150 point Infinity lists to Dark Sphere to start learning N3. We had a simple mini mission of "claim the centre building". With my models not yet assembled, I used some proxies, but generally using models I have so when they're assembled I'll have a head start. Here's the list I went with:

Mobile Brigada: 39
Rev Healer w/ MULTI Rifle: 37
Zero w/ Combi Rifle: 18
Bounty Hunter w/ Spitfire: 20
2 x Combi Rifle Alguacils: 20
Alguacil w/ Light Grenade Launcher: 14

I'd originally planned to have my Zero mine up the central building, but my opponent got first turn and mined it up first.

This is around the point I realised that Infinity is going to be a lot harder to do battle reports for. As your turn can have models activate multiple times, shoot and be shot, it's not just a case of taking a quick couple of photos after the end of a Movement Phase and a Shooting Phase.

As such, I abandoned taking photos pretty quickly, and instead, I'll sum up what I learned. Hackers are really good against models who are vulnerable to them - possibly because at the moment they are feared and people will move to avoid encountering them. It may be that it turns out that bullets are perfectly acceptable anti-hacking protocol.

Learning range bands is going to be important. There was a point where I realised a grenade launcher would need a 1 to hit, and another point where the Spitfire did horrible things to a sniper because he got close. The Reverend Healer was also completely bad-ass, making me realise that the higher point medium infantry can be really tough when used right.

In short, Infinity is really about having a tool box, with each unit having things that it is good and bad at, and no unit being all round amazing at everything. I'm liking it more and more already.

Monday, 5 January 2015

Pomodoro and Progress

So, following my review of last year and many ambitious commitments, I decided to start as I meant to go on, and be pretty productive.

I've been meaning to try out the Pomodoro Technique for a while now. For those of you not into clicking links, the short version is that you spend 25 minutes doing a thing, then take a five minute break. Then you do another 25 minutes, and 5 minute break, and so on, taking a longer (half hour to an hour) break every 4 Pomodori. They're named after the tomato shaped kitchen timer the chap who came up with the idea first used (Pomodoro being Italian for tomato).

And it worked pretty well. I managed 5 Pomodori on New Year's Day, getting all sorts of things sorted, from starting assembly and preparation on Zoe and Pi-Well, through to actually getting some more paint on the infamous Herald of Tzeentch.

I then ran into the problem with Pomodori, because I then didn't get anything done for two days. The Pomodoro technique is really useful for keeping on working once you've started - several times after fifteen minutes I'd finished a thing, and instead of slacking off and stopping, I went and did a little more on something else. It was super helpful with that. What it didn't do was help me get the willpower to start.

This is where I'd really recommend people think about spending an hour a day at their hobby and making it a habit. I heard about this on the Independent Characters podcast, and some wags have started calling it #tuttletime (currently doing OK on Facebook, not trending on twitter). Poor Carl. As he rightfully points out, he had the idea suggested to him by Paul Rudge, but "Paul Rudge Points" or "Rudge Recurrences" just don't have the same alliteration.

Still, the time was useful, and I did get some more painting in later in the week, as the renegade / cultist is finally done. I also bit the bullet and sent out the Exalted Slaanesh Daemon to Golem Painting Studio. I think after having something more than four years which is a present for something else is the point to admit you're probably taking too long doing it... I'm also super excited to see what they do with it.

So, how are my commitments looking one week in?

Projects a month: 1/2
Operation: Complete Other People's Stuff: 0/3
Hall of Shame: 0/5
Finishing the 2014 backlog: 1/20

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My painting review of 2014

It looks like I've been a bit more productive this year!

Finished models

Wicked Dolls for Malifaux

Adeptus Arbites Kitbash

20 Guardsmen

Collodi for Malifaux

MkI Thunder Armour

Commissar Lord

Imperial Priest

Leman Russ Tank


An angry Squat

Codename: Oberon by Mantic

A mildly tipsy Squat

Anvil Industry Werewolf

Bonus: Stuff other people painted for me!

Imperial Beastmen, painted by Simlauren

Imperial Guard Bombard, painted by Golem Painting Studio
How did I do?

Well, that's certainly better than I managed last year. But if you scroll down that post, you'll see I set myself some goals. How well did I do with those?

Not include models I'm selling in my tracking systems next year
Well, that was an easy one.

Take part in the Independent Characters Hobby Progress Challenge
Well, I took part - but I sort of intended to complete it! I didn't complete the challenge, but I certainly got a lot more models painted as a result.

Finish the blasted Collodi crew
Oh dear. I got halfway there, but there's still four Marionettes to finish basing.

500 point Warriors of Chaos Army
Not started.

All of Salute 2012's purchases painted
Nope. The Storm Troopers were done last year, but there's still a female Commissar, the show Mayan and all the Sarissa Precision stuff that's not finished yet.

No new systems (Infinity, this means you) until I've fully painted one of my other skirmish games up
Abject failure. You'll notice my posts about lovely Infinity stuff, and you will notice above no skirmish games completed...

Future Plans

I think that trying to plan a full year is a mistake. I have projects I want to progress, but I may get distracted by a different project. Y'all understand that, right? So, I'll separate out "what I'm interested in at the moment" and "what I'm committing to".

I've taken to listing my projects on a project page of the blog. It's not fully written out yet - I do it as and when, as I get inspired by different projects. The eternal project of the Imperial Guard is written up, as is the Cypher project.

My big drive at the moment is Infinity - I've found deadlines are good for me getting things done, so being booked onto two Infinity events (one in January, one in February) will help me get my Infinity stuff sorted.

Otherwise, I'd like to get some Guard stuff done, enough Inquisition done to field a small allied contingent, and get some Malifaux in.


So, important things with commitments is to be realistic, so lets start by setting some realistic ground rules. Any Kickstarter projects, either arriving or backing, don't count to the wider restrictions, because, well, I just get sad otherwise. Presents (Christmas, Birthday, etc) don't count. Salute most definitely doesn't count.

I have just over 16 years of painting mountain if I keep painting and modelling at the rate I did last year. It'd be probably be better if I got it down to around a decade.

That really means that as a base minimum, I should be finishing two projects a month - 24 a year. That's going to be the basic rule. There's some "stretch goals" to work for too.

- Finish more than two projects in a month, and limit purchases the following month to however much I beat the target by

- Finish "Operation: Complete Other People's Stuff". (only 3 items left!)

- Clear the Hall of Shame of anything started before 2014. (5 items)

- Finish anything I started before the start of 2015. (20 items)

These ones are all aspirational - which means that unlike "finish 2 things in a month", I can aim for them if I'm doing well, but don't feel so bad if I miss them. I'm also very keen to focus a lot of effort on things I've been given as presents, because, you know, it's not cool to have things people gave you sitting in boxes. I don't just want to be resting on my mint plastic/resin/metal treasure like a geek Smaug. It's not comfy, for starters.