A miniatures games blog about Warhammer 40k, 15mm American Civil War (ACW), D&D, Classic Battletech, painting, terrain and anything else that rolls or shoots...

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Another dumb short picture post

Since I've never posted any actual painted minis of mine, here's a Bushwacker in progress:

A Little Piece of History

The first thing I did upon deciding to throw my hat back into the Warhammer 40k ring was run over to my Friendly Local Gaming Store and spend my paycheck on copies of the new (to me) rules and the appropriate codex for my chosen army.  I've never tasted competitive play before and this was one of the main reasons I wanted to come back into the fold in the first place.  Glancing through the Imperial Guard codex, I realized that my army, while perfectly legal by the ancient Second Edition standards, would need a lot of work to be brought up-to-date for Fifth so I decided to fall back on my tried and true Ultramarines.

No sooner had my fingers touched the Codex: Space Marines when I was heckled by a young punk playing in the Magic tournament being held at the store (ironic, huh?)  He seemed to think I should have chosen the Tau because "they rule."  When I responded, "Who the fuck are the Tau?" he looked at me blankly for a second and turned away, shaking his head and muttering something he's probably glad I didn't hear.  Whatever...I was rolling dice when his mom was still wiping his ass.  Besides, he smelled funny.  I guess some things never change.

Codex and rulebook in hand, the second order of business was to beef up my army.  Veteran Marines have gotten a big boost in the new rules (something I will cover a little bit later) and I thought a squad of Sternguard would be just the ticket...I even had the perfect models for the job.

Wayyyy back in the late 90's, Games Workshop used to have a nifty "outlet" section on their website where they would unload older, discontinued models at a fraction of the original price.  One such deal was a 10-man squad of original Space Marines from the glory days of Rogue Trader circa 1987.  Being a student of the game, I hopped on this deal but never got around to painting them up.

What better models to represent hardened veterans than some of the first Space Marines ever produced?

What I thought would be a walk in the park in terms of painting actually took me much longer.  My nemesis in this venture turned out to be the white.  Dear God...the white.  One thing I've learned about being a grown-up is that time is of the essence, and it's a rare day when you can spend 3-4 hours painting little soldiers.  Thus, I had to spread this work out over four days of roughly 90 minute sessions.  I actually think this helped me out in terms of keeping my sanity from the monotonous task of painting and re-painting the white....oh the white.

For my first large-scale effort, I think everything turned out pretty well.  The castings themselves didn't do me any favors and there were a few molding issues I had to work around but that's all part of the fun, right?  So they say.

Ready for war!

Despite the painting issues, it did feel pretty cool knowing that I was painting a little piece of Warhammer 40k history.  It's interesting to see the way sculpting and casting techniques have developed over the last 20 years. 

Sergeant w/ Chainsword & Hand-Flamer
I have to say though, my favorite part about these marines, and something I really think GW should bring back are the BEAK HELMETS!

Not quite sure what the guy on the right is holding, but we'll call it a storm bolter!

The Emperor's Finest

The Emperor's Finest (boyband)

My favorite model of the bunch though, by far has to be the one who breaks all fluff convention.  No helmet, no gloves and a plasma gun.  Really?


For heavy weapons...there's this guy, with his skinny lil' legs.  I'm not quite sure what he's packing, as it kind of looks like a lascannon, but on the back of the model, there are rockets hanging off his pack.  I guess it could be either?

Space Marine with....thing...

I've always had a self-imposed rule of not allowing myself to field a unit unless it's fully painted.  This has been the cause of much consternation before, but it's always kept me motivated to keep on moving.  With this squad completed, I've got a couple more units lined up and then this army should be ready for war!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Phoenix Hawk (Part the First)

So I was diggin' around in my box of mini stuff the other day, and found an unassembled Phoenix Hawk mini in a baggie that I had almost forgotten about. I decided to assemble it so I could prime it this weekend along with the Highlander I bought a while back. Here's a recap of the assembly process.

To start with, the casting of this mini was pretty atrocious. Normally, Iron Wind stuff seems to be pretty good and doesn't require a whole lot of cleaning, but the arm sockets on this particular mini were all kinds of screwed up and the arms didn't fit. I didn't bother photographing me filing out the arm sockets so it'd fit together, but it took me a little while. The next step was the arms themselves:

At the top of that picture is a laser that fits under the right hand. Both arms came bent at that 45 degree angle like the one at the bottom of the pic, which I didn't really care for, so I decided to repose the left arm by splitting it at the elbow with an X-Acto knife, as you can see in the two piece in the center of the photo. Also, due to the crappy cast, the laser didn't actually fit on the right arm because the hand was bent downwards. This would not do at all.

I cut the hand off the arm and filed down the back of it so that it could be glued back on straight and then the laser would fit properly. Then after a little super glue, I ended up with this:

The round elbow joint on the right arm was filed flat near the bottom so there was enough of a contact point for the forearm to be glued back on, and the bit where it was attached before was sculpted a little bit with an X-Acto knife and a fine file. I'll probably pick up some modeling putty before I prime it so I can sculpt it a little bit more and hopefully make it look unmodified.

At this point in the assembly process, I found out first-hand why there are warnings on tubes of Krazy Glue that tell you not to get that shit on your hands. Bad scene.

Anyway, after taking a break to pick super glue off my left hand, I finished the assembly of the 'Mech, and it looks like this:

Not bad, if I do say so myself. Next up will be working on that elbow joint a little bit more, priming and painting. I'll probably get on that in the next few days, and more pics will be up then.

Now to pick the rest of that superglue off my knuckles...

Friday, October 22, 2010

This is our blog, which is totally about Texas Hold 'Em.

As the other contributor to this blog, I'll introduce myself as well. I'm in a pretty similar situation to our fearless leader here. 28 years old, gainfully employed, living with my (surprisingly supportive) lady friend, and after a long hiatus, getting back into the swing of serious gaming.

I came to find miniatures gaming when I was about 12. I can't remember how exactly I found it; it may have been through the first Battletech video game, or maybe randomly because I was a kid who was really into the idea of giant robots. I got my parents to buy me the old Battletech boxed game, back in the day when FASA was still owner of the rights, and the Japanese hadn't sued them to make all my favorite 'Mechs look dumb as heck. I took to it quickly, and soon had amassed an enormous stack of sourcebooks, which eventually came to include an awful lot of RPG stuff as well (mostly Shadowrun, the Star Wars RPG, and Rifts). It was way easier to find Star Wars nerds to play RPGs with, but I really loved Battletech, and despite not getting to play all that often, I kept buying books all the way through high school.

Cue the same old story: went to college, boxed up all my stuff, didn't even bother to look for it again until a few years ago, and then somehow it all got lost during a couple of years of vagary. Then I ran into that other dude who writes for this thing, found out he was a former M:tG/Warhammer 40k nerd, and then it all started over again. I learned how to play 40k from him, and then while talking about gaming plans one day, I asked, "Ever played Battletech? That shit is awesome." So now we play both.

The real miniatures aspect of gaming is pretty new to me, as when I was a kid I didn't have the patience to paint shit. Now, however, I find it to be a relaxing hobby, and I'm working on learning all the techniques. I'll be sharing my trials and tribulations here, and hopefully the end results won't look too bad. My attempts on the crappy plastic minis from the boxed game haven't turned out all that bad so far, but I'm still learning, and my minis look nowhere near as good as the ones Rob paints.

Currently, I'm working on getting my crap together for GASPcon, where Rob and I will be participating in a few games, the highlight of which (for me) is bound to be the Battletech Poker Run. I'm painting up a few minis in preparation, with one extra because I didn't read the rules very closely before I decided to blow money on a new mini expressly for the con. In the next week or so, I'll be posting pics of a Bushwacker, a Mongoose, a Solitaire, and probably a Wolfhound and a Highlander as well.

So that's where I stand on this thing. The game has changed a lot in ten years, and it's been sold off a few times, leading to some weirdness (Battletech using the Clix system? Get the fuck out of here with that shit) but I'm pretty excited about a lot of the new material I'm seeing, and I'm really looking forward to gaming a lot more and posting it up. I figure I'll probably think differently after I get owned at that con, though...


It all started in 1994 on a cold and rainy Saturday in November. Like many 13 year olds, I had already graduated from POG's to this new game called Magic: The Gathering. For me, it was like discovering crack and when I was handed a pack of cards in the boys locker room of Thompson Middle School, I knew I was hooked. When it comes to locker rooms, some guys find steroids, some find weed, I found a card game.

But I digress.

Fast forward a year to that day in November, 1994. I found myself in my fathers car being driven to a Magic tournament just outside of Philadelphia. I was going as a boy who played a boy's game, but little did I know I would leave that hotel ballroom a man.

I really blame this on my father. While I was off kicking ass (I won the tourney) he was over in the corner watching four overweight, balding men push little figurines around a 6x4 table covered with hills, forests, rivers and blown-out buildings. They looked like army men and the dice were the same ones he'd used so many times before while beating me up in Risk, but this wasn't just any board game. This, he'd find out, was Warhammer 40,000.

My life was about to change.

After the tournament was over, I found him and he introduced me to the middle-aged men huddled around the table. We watched for at least an hour as the battle played out and they explained to us what was going on. Each model had its own stats and dice were rolled to determine hits, misses, casualties, etc. It all made perfect sense! To top it off, the armies themselves were right out of the movies. Superhuman Space Marines blasting away at hordes of green-skinned Orks. The evil minions of Chaos who are hell-bent on conquering the galaxy while legions of vicious Tyranids devour entire worlds. This was it, I had found my place in the nerd-world. This wasn't just a game, it was a lifestyle.

As soon as we had gotten in the car I told my dad what I wanted for Christmas.

In my euphoria, I had overlooked one tiny detail. The models were supplied unpainted.

Thus, I give very first Space Marine! Handsome, no?

If you look at the base, you'll notice I hadn't quite grasped the concept of shaking the paint before applying it.

Luckily with painting, like most things in life, the more you work at it the better you'll get and work I did. I spent the next six years buying, building and painting whenever I could. I was drawn to the forces of the Imperium and before long had amassed armies of Ultramarines, Imperial Guard and the Sisters of Battle.

Here's a picture of the new (circa 2001) Commissar Yarrick model I painted just before putting the hobby down and leaving for college. I like to think it's a little better than what's above.

So, here we are. I'm 28, out of school, gainfully employed, about to marry the woman of my dreams (who even supports this wild idea) and I've decided to get back into the hobby. While I'm at it, I figure there's gotta be someone else out there in my place so I might as well write about it! Ten years is a long time and I'm sure just about everything has changed except for the you still roll a 12-sided die for wounds on a Krak Missile? No? Shit.