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.

Monday, 29 December 2014

What I got done while I was away

I took some modelling stuff away while I was visiting my family, and I did get some of it done.

Here's some creepy mutants for INQ28 and the like.

Here's a better lit photo of one of them. They were my quick and easy things to do in between the harder jobs.

And finally, the CSU is assembled and done! I've also gotten to work on Cypher, one of my Christmas presents, but he isn't quite finished yet. I'm doing him properly with lots of pinning, and some of that is proving a little challenging!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Overlords Christmas Battle Report 3: Astra Militarum and Space Marines against Adepta Sororitas and Space Marines

With everything at a dead tie, we went into the final round. This was a pretty standard mission with strategy cards, and deploying in table quarters. The only complication was that it was the one where you draw mission cards equal to the number of objectives you're controlling. I was paired with a Space Marine bike list run by one of the gentlemen from HATE. We were paired against the tactical genius of Jason and Inquisitor Steve from the Overlords.

Due to some interestingly placed objectives, we ended up with the odd strange placement, like these Guardsmen holding a ruin while also running a line of guys back to claim the objective.

Jason hadn't been expecting to play, so borrowed some models from the club Imperial Fists army, and kept it super simple - Terminators, Tactical Marines and a Captain. Steve had a Battle Sister Squad in a Rhino, then a Canoness, an Inquisitor, and a bunch of henchmen in a second Rhino.

The Chimera full of Veterans raced out to the right flank to deal with the Rhino full of Sisters. It managed to get into the ruins without getting immobilised, which was a first for me!

Meanwhile, we managed to luckily immobilise the other Rhino, forcing the Henchmen and characters to walk.

The monowheel bikes allied to me get into a scrap with the Terminators, then Hit and Run out to let them hit someone else next turn.

Unfortunately, we underestimate quite how tough henchmen squads are, and we take a bit of a kicking from them!

The Chimera gets immobilised trying to get out of the ruins. I should have known! Meanwhile, my Scout Sentinel turns up somewhere useful from Outflank to shoot some people in the back.

The henchmen are causing us real problems!

The demo charge fails me, and the revenge fire blasts many of the Veterans to death.

The Hellhound thanks the Imperial Fists for getting into such a convenient straight line for him.

And the Imperial Fists kindly offer to return the generosity with as many krak grenades as they can manage.

The sole survivor of the Terminators bears down on the guardsmen in the ruins, but it's not going to be enough...

The Inquisitor and Canoness fall back to hold an objective.

Argh! Get them off, get them off! The Hellhound has definitely attracted a lot of affection for its shenanigans with Torrent.

The Sisters take out the Veterans, but with their Rhino destroyed, it's too late for them to affect another part of the battlefield.

At this point, the battle ended, with a close game - we managed to hold onto victory with a single victory point, with a Linebreaker swaying it. It turned out that the Naughty forces had managed to be victorious in the day's campaign, making things even less comfortable for the surviving Imperial inhabitants of the Pakeshi sector...

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Mobile hobby

In between watching Avengers Assemble and making a serious dent in the Christmas leftovers, I managed to get the mobile hobby area set up yesterday.

Because I'm working on metal models, it's easier to have a tray to catch all the bits from drilling and scraping mould lines - especially as my darling wife is allergic to nickel, and I don't want to get in trouble.

The cutting mat fits nicely into the tray, and means I don't mark up one of my parents' trays. Other than that, I just use the clippers, pin vice and scalpel - I have spare scalpel blades and drill bits in case of emergency, and about 3 metres of pinning wire. I very much doubt I'll be able to get through all of that in under a week!

I'm going to be trying, in the coming year, to deal with new purchases as I buy them, rather than buying to add to an ever increasing pile. As such, I've immediately got out Cypher, one of my Christmas presents, to start working on him.

My other gaming related Christmas present was Be'lakor, and I didn't bring a case that would be particularly forgiving of me assembling him before I get home - so he's going to have to wait until I make my way home.

It amuses me a little that the models two of last year's Advent Data Slates are now this year's Christmas presents...

Friday, 26 December 2014

Overlords Christmas Battle Report 2: Astra Militarum and Dark Eldar vs Eldar and Blood Angels

I have not forgotten the remaining battle reports from the Overlords Christmas event! After the first games were totted up, it seemed that the Nice forces had earned an early lead, seizing key objectives, and now looking to put the Naughty forces on the back foot. Many pockets of Naughty forces found themselves cut off and surrounded as the Nice Forces went in for the kill.

This game I was assigned some Dark Eldar allies, and the mission deployment was that we were deployed in the centre, with the Nice forces surrounding us from all sides. We had both Kill Points and the random card draws for victory points.

With the Blood Angels down one end of the battlefield, the Dark Eldar player grabbed me for a quick huddle and we agreed to run over and beat up the Eldar, hopefully before the Blood Angels got to us. We needed to do it that way around as the Eldar were much quicker and would have been on us before we'd finished off the Blood Angels.

The plan started off reasonably well, although in the first turn, we didn't manage to kill quite as many of the Eldar as we'd have liked.

The Nice team rolled up the "Governor's Daughter" objective, where they had to rescue the civilian from a randomly determined objective. They were unlucky enough to have it turn up at the objective at the centre of the board!

With the Blood Angels bearing down on us, and the Eldar down but not out, the Astra Militarum tanks raced back to hold up the Blood Angels.

The Eldar were still taking fire from the foot squad in the ruins.

The Sentinel finished off the Eldar Psyker, after the Hellhound had taken out the Dire Avengers he'd been leading.

A second Eldar Hornet arrived and the Ravager suddenly had some problematic company.

The Blood Angels were all over the Guard, and had reached the VIP. We were definitely in trouble!

The Guard managed to gun down the Assault Marines and the VIP, but the Hellhound was done for. The demolition veterans bailed out of the Chimera before it got taken out, so they had a chance of getting into assault.

The Librarian Dreadnought charged the demolition vets, and paid for it, being brought down by Melta Bombs.

Overall, while the Guard had taken some casualties and the odd Dark Eldar skimmer had gone down, we had a clear lead in victory points. The "divide and conquer" plan had paid off, and Naughty was back in the game...