Archive for August, 2010

August 29, 2010

PAX Prime

by Nate Birkholz

I’ll be headed off to PAX Prime in Seattle this coming weekend for work. I’m still trying to decide whether I will be bringing along my unpainted models or not, but I will at least be heading to the Privateer booth in search of the Stonekeeper UA and looking for games to watch, if nothing else. PAX seems to be less of a destination for Warmachine than other conventions, which is odd to me since it is in Privateer’s backyard, after all.

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August 27, 2010

WIP: Witch Watch

by Nate Birkholz

I made some more progress on Zevanna Agha over the last few days, somehow managing to squeeze in some time painting over lunch. I had tried to get the shoulder bag to look like it was tanned human skin, but it didn’t really work, so I went a different direction. I also painted the leather straps under her shoulder pads, finished the fur lining of the hood, washed the bandages on her hands more, covered the green wash on her staff, and washed the rest of the staff with Devlan Mud (I’ll add some highlights later).

Look at me when I'm talking to you!

On second thought...

I will probably be washing the tip of the staff in blue, then drybrushing white over the part that wraps around. I wish I could find more closeups of other people’s approach to the Witch (and her staff), it is really hard to find good images of her on the Internets. I will be painting the shoulder pads in a darker red than the sash, the bird in the same blue as the cloak but washed with black, and then I’ll try to get the boiler to have fire through those tiny little slots, which didn’t go well for me on my Gorten model…

Fur is Murder. So are giant rusty metal claws.

On deck for after Granny Agha: Baldur the Stonecleaver, whose face I basecoated today.

I also assembled The Lord of the Feast, who is perhaps better to be known as Lord of Annoying Little Bits of Metal to Glue Together. I tried to pin his sword but chickened out. I tried to pin his arm but got the pin going the wrong angle. The bird, skull-cap (bwahahahahahaha…haha…ha…), and antlers each required me to hold a poky little metal thing completely still against another poky little metal thing until the glue set so I can drop it in a week and do it all over again. I really hated the seam where his arm pieces joined together, so I made a greenstuff arm circlet for him. I feel like the armband came out a little big, I hope it works out once it is painted gold (or maybe it would work better if painted to look like rusty iron, since I know how to do that, now…). At least I got myself to try something different. Lord knows he’ll still eat faces on the tabletop!

Look, over there, my lunch is shooting at us.

August 25, 2010

The Wurm Has Turned…

by Nate Birkholz

…The Devourer Wurm, that is, and I am the proud owner of 14 points of Circle Orboros: Baldur, Woldwarden, Wold Guardian, and Shifting Stones. Next week I will be heading to PAX, where hopefully I will be able to add the Shifting Stones UA, as well, bringing me to 15 points.

Pinning the beasts was a chore, and I got too creative with the 'Warden--he's a little off-balance.

Technically, I own 20 points since I got a Blackclad solo and a Lord of the Feast–one of my FLGSes was running a great sale on old models with new cards–but they aren’t part of the initial force.

Funny, since when I was first looking at Warmachine I specifically said to myself that I had zero interest in Hordes. Anyway, now to start playing like I have a miniatures wargame rules book with a fifth page…after I paint these, that is.

August 22, 2010

Going in Circles

by Nate Birkholz

Randomly, those wacky tastemakers at Lost Hemisphere got me interested in Circle Orboros with an offhand mention of the excellent Wold Guardian model. The past couple of weeks have seen a wealth of information about upcoming releases for Circle, including probably the coolest-looking Warlock to date, Cassius the Oath-Keeper and his favorite pal…Wurmwood, Tree of Fate (I said coolest-looking, not coolest-named). News also came of Nuala the Huntress, the Unit Attachment for the very-scantily-clad-and-yet-totally-hands-off Tharn Bloodtrackers; the Officer and Standard Unit Attachment for the Reeves of Orboros (who bring preposition inconsistency to Circle Orboros); and finally, we have seen the cover artwork for the upcoming book, last to be released of the primary Hordes factions. It seems all three of these are coming in November. In addition, the Druid Wilder Warlock Attachment was sneak-preview-released at GenCon, and will be released widely in September.

I don't think they are here to invite you to the drum circle down at the community center.

Now here’s the thing: I had decided to start putting together the list I had designed for Zevanna Agha, the Old Witch of Khador, but all of a sudden, I seem to start thinking of Circle Orboros as “my” faction. I have had to go back through this post and change the wording  from “we get” to “Circle gets.” There are some more reasons I am leery of the change in direction, however.

Firstly, most of the people I know who play Warmachine don’t play Hordes, and can’t really teach me the differences in the rules and details of the factions as well as they can teach me Warmachine. I know the games are designed to be compatible and that they have significant overlap, but the nuances of the Fury management rules are alien to their thinking–one of them actually said he just thinks of Hordes as, “That game that ruined Warmachine.”

I like the fact that Fury allows you to be more flexible as a turn progresses, with Focus being more about gambling on your chances for the turn ahead. Fury does, on the other hand, mean that you need your Beasts more. A Warcaster can still win handily when their Warjacks have been eliminated, and in fact can even be stronger because they don’t have as much on which they can spend Focus; this allows a Warcaster to be more aggressive with their Warjacks, I feel, since they can more afford to sacrifice them. I also don’t like that Fury can make you lose control of your Beasts, but again, it allows flexibility to take that chance if you really want to push your luck and use more Forced attacks in a turn.

Hordes casters do seem to be balanced slightly below their Warmachine counterparts. Their spells have more tradeoffs and their feats are generally slightly weaker, not to mention they seem to have a lot of weak points against Warmachine forces in a way that the Warmachine forces do not suffer. The beasts seem to be stronger than the Warjacks, however, and they are more flexible; the Animi really make up for the lower power of the Warlocks, again at the cost of Fury management challenges.

Hordes infantry seems also to be devalued, at least at the 35 point level. This may not necessarily be a bad thing, but I feel like it limits some options in scenario play, and I really like modeling infantry. I don’t want to get involved with something of the size of Warhammer/40K armies, but I do like the variability of the forces, the opportunity to paint more, and the visual impact of a group of similar models on the table.

So now I introduce further indecision into the mix. That said, at least I have decided on the Witch, after all, should I start with Warmachine. The possibility exists, of course, that I could start with a small force each of Khador and Circle, but then my initial investment is really diluted and it takes me much longer to get to a position where I can start playing with larger forces.

August 15, 2010

WIP: Some More Witchiness

by Nate Birkholz

I got in some more painting on the Old Witch yesterday before I got sucked into Red Dead Redemption. I am really appalled at how slow I am at painting, not sure how I waste so much time–I feel like I should video-record myself or something to see what I do that takes so long… Anyhow, I gave up trying to drybrush the folds of the sash and scarf. I seemed to always have too much or too little paint on the brush, so I just painted along the tops of the folds and then washed with Citadel Wash.

I feel like I make no progress, but she also seems to be getting close.

I undercoated the satchel with my usual flesh undercoat, Vallejo Brown Rose, and will drybrush a lighter tone to highlight–we’ll see how that goes–then wash with Ogryn Flesh wash. I was going to try to make it look like tanned human skin, but I am not sure that is going to be apparent. I also painted the bandages around her hands, then washed with Gryphonne Sepia and dabbed red wash in spots. I’ll highlight the edges of the bandages and wash with sepia again, and maybe one more round of highlight and wash if necessary.

I undercoated the various skulls with dark brown, washed with thinned ivory, washed with Devlan Mud, and drybrushed with unthinned ivory. I think I might drybrush again before doing another Devlan Mud wash, since the coverage didn’t end up like I wanted it to.

I also made some progress on the staff:

I am trying to emulate the color of a stick I found in a park near my home.

I will touch up the twine near the base, I was getting tired of detail work at the time, and then will wash with Devlan Mud. The green faces seemed like a good idea at the time, but I feel it’s getting to look a little like a bag of skittles, and I think I might repaint white and then wash the faces blue instead.

I am looking forward to finishing with the Crow, at the end.

August 8, 2010

WIP: Witchy Accents

by Nate Birkholz

When last I indulged in electronic narcissism related to my very meager painting skills, I had written at length about drybrushing the Old Witch’s cloak. (Wow, does that sound anti-climactic… Yet accurate.) I spent some more time with Zevanna Agha and a lot of little Italian bottles yesterday. Instead of my original plans for improving the cloak’s highlights, I mixed up some more of the white with the dark blue in it, and added in a lot of surfactant-treated water and VMC thinner to create a translucent glaze, then brushed it along all the peaks of the folds on her cloak. This was less translucent than I had hoped, and a bit brighter as well, and it ended up brighter than I expected, instead of the first of several coats to lighten the highlights as I had planned. I darkened down the mix and brushed in some more on surfaces that should catch less light, and to add secondary highlights in flatter areas. This is obviously the opposite order than it should have been, but so it goes.

This is better than before, at least.

The photos push the contrast which is a valuable method of checking my work. I take a lot of close-up photos and review them later since even with my magnifying glasses, it can be hard to see a lot of details, and adjusting the contrast on digital photos can really reveal some subtle variations.

A closer look...

The effect works acceptably well at normal viewing distance, but I’m still trying to figure out exactly what to do to really pull it together. As you can see, I also basecoated the sash and the bird skulls. I need to highlight the sash next, and then decide what I want to do with washes. I will try just washing with Citadel’s Baal Red, first, but I suspect I will end up wanting to mix some Badab Black with the Baal Red to tone down the brightness.

I also used Vallejo Verdigris on the copper pipes at the top of her boiler to give them an aged look. I’m satisfied with the results, though in my mind’s eye this was going to be the detail that really threw the model over the top (the copper doesn’t stand out well in these photos):

The Vallejo Verdigris thins out really well, better than the paint, even.

Finally, I added a few coats of red to her Scarf and basecoated her fur hood trim. The red on the scarf and sash took three coats before it was really ready, which is a common principle of working with red paint, I have noted over the years. I accidentally dabbed a little red on her face and had to touch it up, so I tried some highlights, but they were very obvious, so I washed with Citadel’s Ogryn Flesh to even it out. I feel like I should have had some more contrast to the bandage over her eye, the value is the same as her skin, which makes it get lost, but I’m not changing it now:

What's Khadoran for Babushka?

Next I will work on the sash and the babushka, then drybrush the fur trim.