Saturday, May 24, 2008

Behold! Pictures!

I will be the first to admit I am not technically savvy when it comes to Digital Cameras. I have never owned one so there was never a need to understand this arcane example of high-tech wizardry. The reasons why I have not purchased a Digital Camera are many and varied but it really comes down to just four things.
  1. I am the least photogenic being on Earth. This has been the case since I was born and doctors attempted to photograph the experience for my parents. I have seen the pictures ... and I still can't get the memory of their existence out of my head.
  2. Technical equipment hates me, and I don't like it either. Simply touching a computer is often enough to set it on fire, sparks and glass flying from shattered monitors. Luckily I have found a way to put this talent to good use; I break technical things for a living. I turn good video games into bad news as a QA Lead Tester.
  3. I believe cameras are a gateway to hell, stealing the souls of their victims, sending the portraits into the netherworld .... never to be seen again.
  4. They cost too much. I would rather spend that money on food, video games, booze, and tiny plastic models of fat Ogres.
Even with all of these reasons to never go near a Digital Camera I felt it was my duty to secure photographic evidence of my own WHFB downfall and spiral into madness. I attempted to take some photos of my miniatures with an old outdated model, but they turned out a blurry mess. Luckily I had some dollars burning a hole in my pocket, so I ran out to buy a new Digital Camera, a 12 pack of beer, and a bottle of rum. Now that I am liquored up with technology on my side, nothing can stop me from subjecting you to my crazed model labors! Nothing!

Here are some pictures of the models I have done!

This is my Tyrant/Bruiser model made out of some Ironguts and Bull pieces and a bunch of fine jewelry chain. I don't have a name for him yet. I think he turned out pretty well considering I have no previous experience working with epoxy putty or model customization. I wasn't able to get any "Green Stuff" (the standard for this sort of work) and had to settle for the harder (and harder to work with) Tan A/B epoxy putty. I am told this "Tan Stuff" is usually used for making more rigid additions such as weapons or body parts. I attempted to use it as "Green Stuff" and it didn't go so well. It sets up very fast, in about 20-30 mins, and I didn't have enough time to work out all the kinks. Still ... I think it he turned out good overall.

Here is a side view showing off his psuedo-fur top and crappy rivet belt. Notice the chains woven through the skull eyes ... yeah. Intense levels of "badassitude" right there.

This is a view from the other side. I intend to eventually get a real Tyrant model once I can convince myself $35 is a good deal for one model that I don't particularly like that much. This guy will be relegated to Bruiser status once that occurs. Notice the keg by his feet. The theme of my tribe is drinking; both blood and beer. Still working on picking a name for the tribe, and thus the Characters in it. The current leaders are:
  • Beer Guts Tribe
  • Beer Gut Tribe
  • Blood Keg Tribe
  • Blood Guts Tribe
If you have an opinion on any of these, let me know. I can't possibly make a decision this important on my own.

This is my first Butcher. I made him out of Bull parts and a bunch of "Tan Stuff". The apron didn't turn out as good as I had hoped it would, but overall I am happy with it. It could have been much worse given my experience level (especially working with the "Tan Stuff"). You can't see it in this picture but the staff he is holding is a Man Trap on one end with a Cleaver on the other. This weapon represents many of the common Magic weapons used by Butchers, but I had the "Bangstick" in mind when I made this.

Here is a view from the back. I wanted to add some ritualistic piercings on his back and shoulders, but the "Tan Stuff" wasn't working. I clipped the rings and attempted to glue them directly, resulting in the white schmang you see here. I plan on cleaning it up before I prime this model for painting. I may add some "Green Stuff" now that I have it to make it look more like an actual piercing on his body.

This is my second Butcher, also made from a Bull and a bunch of "Tan Stuff". I made this one bigger, with a larger belly and apron/smock. The cord/belt I added didn't turn out as well I as I would have liked, and I may go back and add more details with some "Green Stuff" ... or just add them in the painting. Pretty straight forward conversion here, nothing too fancy.

Here is a view from the back. You can see he suffers from the glue/piercing issue as well, although it looks much less noticeable on this model.

Next up is my Tribe's Battle Standard. I wanted to make this guy look really bad ass for a standard bearer. He is wearing a skull mask, has a lookout gnoblar, with a huge ironfist and giant standard. I really like this model. I hope I don't screw up the pain job!

From the back you can see the back of the headpiece. I tried to make it look like an animal skin headdress, but it is mostly there to cover up the poor conversion underneath. The chains are there for the high level of "badassitude" they provide (being chains and all).

Here are my five Bull models. The Battle Standard is technically a Bull as well, although I would use him for an Ironguts if needed. There is a standard here as well with a Gnoblar in a perch. I took off the flag because it didn't look good leaning forward. Four of these models have slight modifications with straps/belts holding on extra weapons, kegs, etc. The only model I have any "fluff" for in this group is on the far right, Dr. Club. He has a lot of clubs on him. He is like a field medic, but his only remedy is beating people in the head with various sizes of clubs. Sometimes it works ....

You can see the modifications made with "Tan Stuff" a little better from this view. I am proud of the way these all turned out. I am working on an additional seven other Bulls which may be a bit more generic then these fellas (then again, maybe not).

Nothing too fancy here, just Ogres in Heavy Armor with Greatweapons. Two of these models have extra straps/belts added to hang their kegs on. I am working on an additional four Ironguts which will be pretty basic as well. You can't really change the perfect combination of heavy armor, big weapons, and Ogres.

Another view from the back. I am really proud of the little bit of fringe on the belt of the Standard Bearer. That was really hard to do with the "Tan Stuff" and I screwed it up about 16 times before I finally got it right.

So there you have it. I have mastered my daemons and brought you pictures of my maniacal works. I have some things not pictured of course. Here is the list:
  • 60 Gnoblar Warriors (yes, I really have 60 of them)
  • 4 Ironguts
  • 7 Bulls
  • 8 Gnoblar Trappers
  • 1 Giant
I just purchased the Giant kit today as I was not able to find a Hunter model and I didn't want to spend the same amount of money on two Yhetees. The Giant may suck in the game (so I have heard anyway), but the kit is fucking awesome! So many different parts, and extra bits. I am really going to have fun putting that one together.

You can expect a small progress report later next week. I didn't get to play any WHFB this week, but I did watch another player attempt to run the Ogres against the Orcs & Goblins. It didn't end well. The OK player bunched up all their units and got smashed by Savage Orc Boyz and Black Orcs. I learned a valuable lesson though: challenging a Tyrant/Bruiser with the Tenderiser is a sure way to get your Characters killed.

Until next time ...

Friday, May 16, 2008

Progress Report 5/16/08.

Another week, another handful of models cut, trimmed, cleaned, glued, molded, shaped, and based. I have "completed" one Tyrant (made from Battalion box extras, Iron Gut bits, putty, and chains), and two Butcher models (made from Battalion box extras, Bull bits, putty, and metal rings). I am pretty happy with the results given the state of my talent, the tools at hand, and the amount of time I spent working on them. I wish I could show you what the looked like! Maybe I will grab some pictures with my terrible digital camera this weekend.

I still have 3 Iron Guts, 4 Bulls, 4 Lead Belchers, and 20+ Gnoblars to put together. We'll see how many I can make it through in the remainder of this week.

Work has been crazy which has prevented Tabletop Tuesday (my weekly WHFB game) from occurring this week. Next week looks like it might be shot as well, so I might have time to start my base coat priming.

I have decided to use the "dipping" method of painting for my Ogre Kingdoms models. This is a combination of painting, and staining to achieve a more uniform look with less work. Since I am not particularly skilled at painting, nor do I have the excessive amount of time required to do it well, this method should help me out a great deal. I will be deciding on a theme and selecting my base paint colors off of that. Still working out who and what my Ogre tribe are.

Tonight while I attempt at piecing together 20+ Gnoblars I will be consuming a six pack of a Mexican classic; Negra Modelo. My review follows:
Beer Type: Vienna Lager

Appearance: 12oz. stubby brown bottle with the black, yellow, and gold foil cover and label. Poured a light brown with a thin off-white head that quickly dissipated.

Smell: Roasted malts and a little nutty aroma. Hard to make out, but there is just a hint of hops in there as well.

First Drink: Crisp, refreshing, and dark. I am a fan of brown (or darker) lagers and ales and I have always enjoyed this beer.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and light with just a bit of carbonation.

Last Drink: This beer gets sweeter as it sits and warms up. Almost hard to distinguish from Newcastle at some points (aside from the Licorice Newcastle smell).

Drinkability: I typically don't drink Mexican beers as they tend to give me a severe headache. This beer does that sometimes as well, but it is my default beer when eating Mexican food. I like to drink mine with a wedge of lime as the acid really brings out the roasted malt flavors in the beer.

Notes: Beats the hell out of Corona.

Verdict: 3.75 out of 5. Well crafted with good flavor and balance. I need to try the direct imitation Bohemian some day as well.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Progress Report - 5/10/08.

I have been neglecting two of the topics this gnoblog was created for: The creation of my Ogre Kingdoms army, and drinking beer.

Today I will rectify this situation!

Last week I finished the main assembly of my first Ogre Kingdoms Battalion Box when I completed my Leadbelchers. I knew I wanted to get a box of Ogre Bulls to convert into Butchers, mostly because I don't really care for the GW Butcher model (it looks a little ... toothy).

I considered buying a Tyrant model to fill out my army until I can spring for a Hunter, Gnoblar Trappers, Gorgers, Scraplaunchers, Yhetees, etc.

I went to a store here in Austin, BattleForge Games, in an attempt to supporting the local gaming community. This was my second time in this store (the first was to purchase the Battle For Skull Pass boxset) and I was still not impressed with their Ogre Kingdoms model selection or price.

I know the price is somewhat out of the retailers hands, as it is controlled by GW, but I also know I could find the models cheaper online. Lucky for them I am an impatient man! After pricing out the box of Bulls, and a Tyrant model, I realized I was close to $85.00. The Ogre Kingdoms Battalion box was priced at $90.00. I decided to go with another box and convert one of the Iron Guts into a Bruiser/Tyrant in addition to the two Bulls which would become Butcher models.

Today I made it to another Hobby store here in town to find two part epoxy putty which I could use to modify the models in the second Battalion box I had purchased. They didn't sell "Green Stuff" so I had to settle for some Tan colored A/B epoxy putty. I also purchased some chains, glue, and base texture so I wouldn't have to come back later.

Tonight I sat down and worked on completing the modifications I had made to my original Battalion box models, adding straps for kegs of ale and various weapons, before finishing with a textured cloth/animal hide hood for my Battle Standard model (he is wearing a skull mask and it looked bad just glued on with nothing covering the back of his head).

I do not have a digital camera to show pictures of the works in progress, but this is something I am hoping to rectify in the near future.

While I was working on these modifications I was also drinking a tasty brewed beverage; Red Hook "Long Hammer" India Pale Ale. My review follows:
Beer Type: American IPA

Appearance: 12oz. brown bottle with a green, white, and yellow label featuring a big hammer on it. Cool. Poured a light yellow-orange color with a thick head that quickly faded to a light lacing.

Smell: Hops and a touch of sweetness. Mostly just hops.

First Drink: As expected with any IPA the hops is the first thing that jumps out. It isn't overpowering and seems mellowed somewhat by something else I can't quite pinpoint.

Mouthfeel: Medium mouthfeel with a good level of carbonation. I can't really say it is good or bad, but it is in line with the other Red Hook beers I have had.

Last Drink: More sweetness now with a touch of sour citrus ... maybe grapefruit? The hops took on a sort of floral flavor as the beer warmed up.

Drinkability: Not the harshest Pale Ale out there and certainly drinkable. I tend to drink a lot of Red Hook brews but this is mostly due to them being on sale at the local market where I can get a $7.99 six pack for $4.99. This beer is quite good for a $4.99 six pack but there are others I would choose at the $7.99 price.

Notes: When I first started drinking beer I absolutely hated IPA and Pale Ale style beers. I must have had some poor examples of them then, because I drink them almost exclusively now when given the chance (Real Ale Fireman's #4 being my favorite).

Verdict: 3.25 out of 5. This is probably the best Red Hook brew I have had, far superior to their ESB.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Rulespocalypse NOW!

Rules. All games have them by definition.
game; noun
a competitive activity involving skill, chance, or endurance on the part of two or more persons who play according to a set of rules, usually for their own amusement or for that of spectators.
This definition does not account for the reality of the Rules. The cold, harsh, tundra of the Rules wasteland cares not of antiquated notions such as "amusement". It cares not for personal feelings, thoughts, or desires. The Rules are a force of nature in games. An unstoppable force that cannot be reasoned or bargained with. In all game situations the Rules are akin to God.

Much like holy books such as the Bible or Koran are passed down as the word of God, so too are the Rulebooks for Warhammer: Fantasy Battles. Each section of these books can be broken down, explored, and translated into many different possible meanings. Each meaning has repercussions that reach far beyond the mortal realm, and its tiny models, and into the very fabric of human existence. Within these pages are the powers to destroy and create, to live or die. It is up to us to learn from the Rules, to take it's message and preach it's gospel of the nerd. To become like that which we may never truly understand. To become Rules Disciples.

Much like Biblical Scholars we study the Rulebooks, finding new and interesting interpretations of the cryptic texts contained within. Good or bad, these interpretations shape our view of the world around us and can change the very outcome of every encounter in the game. It is nearly impossible to truly know the Rules. Many nerds have devoted their entire lives to the pursuit of this goal, some failing to ever again see the light of day.

I am not so strong. My knowledge of the Rules is limited, as is my exposure to it's grandeur. But I carry on, knowing that I may never reach the apex of the icy Rules summit. That I may die from lack of oxygen, or starvation, as I claw my way towards the top. To be dragged back down by the packs of ravenous dire nerds who roam it's frozen cracks and crevices. Trying is the first step towards failing and I try in spectacular ways.

Tabletop Tuesday this week was attacked by the Rules. Our minds clouded by it's death-like grip we stumbled on in an attempt at game survival. We missed critical rolls. We missed important turn phases. We royally fucked up yet another game of Warhammer. And to add insult to injury, we fought against one another, not in the game as prescribed by our nerd brethren, but in reality as commanded by our very Rules master. Possessed like angels of mercy, or hellish fiends, we bickered and argued over minute details of the game. Unable to come to a compromise we bitterly ground out the last few turns of the game before calling it a night.

It was a pathetic showing for both armies involved, but in the end the Ogre Kingdoms overcame the Dwarf army in this point for point rematch of last week's battle.

No "play by play" this week. No cute little paint images. This is the reality of the Rules. This is the pleasure and pain, and this is why we play.

May the Rules spare our eternal souls.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Re: Baby steps up a short bullet spewing hill.

Received some feedback on my first battle against the Dwarfs in the Ogre Stronghold forums and I thought it would make a good post here.

From user Mercules:
Wow... that was pretty one sided and ugly.

Terrain was against you - Bunch of hills in both deployment zones so no screening against the fire of the Organ Gun and nothing to hide behind or in.

Magic was against you - 4 Dispel Dice vs. your 4 casting dice and your 3 Dispel Dice did you zero good(while against another army they might have been crucial).

There are a few reasons I run the list as dispersed as I do.

1. Maneater can not join the bulls. Seriously, although the commander, he can't join up with any other units. That is why I throw the Butcher in with him, they protect each other.

2. 4 Bulls is 140 points and can still be panicked by the loss of a single Bull in the shooting phase. 2 units of 2 Bulls are the same cost, but if they panic the one unit by shooting it, the remaining bull is US 3 and if it runs through my troops it will not panic them as well.

3. Multiple units gives me more flexibility in getting those Flank Charges.

I don't think it would have made much difference in this case. This is actually a match-up I have been dreading. This or Empire with the Hellblaster. Without terrain this becomes a HUGE uphill battle.

The only things I might have done different, besides running the list more broken up, would have been to cast Braingobbler with 1 die and then tried to cast 3 other spells. Trollguts or Toothcracker could have really helped on your units. If he didn't manage to dispel them he could remove them on his turn with his 2 casting dice vrs a 7. If you get two buffs off he can only remove one and might fail. If you throw one die, then one die, then one die, then one die, you might fail a roll, but you might also get lucky and roll a 5 or 6 which can push him to use 2 dice on dispelling so you can get a spell or two through.

When you did get over there I might have charged the Maneater into the Organ Gun crew. If they failed their Fear check you could have destroyed the gun as they ran away. The Thane would likely charge you in turn and they are hard as iron and can be very nasty, but you might get your 5 attacks on him and do some damage.

That was about the worst setup you could have run into so don't get discouraged. That battle was swung in his direction before the first turn started. icon_smile Good luck on future battles.
Thanks for the response Mercules. Hopefully my explanation will help shed some light on how I played the way I did, and why (the Great Maw knows I need some explanation myself!).

The good news is your suggestions are mostly in line with how I attempted to play (aside from the Maneater commander which I screwed up ... didn't know they couldn't join a unit).

I didn't mention it in my last post but the way I attempted to cast the spells (for the most part) was as you described: 2 to 1 die for each spell, hoping that the Dwarfs would attempt to dispel them and run out of dice. This probably would have worked if it had not been for my terrible rolls.

As for charging the Organ gun crew, the thing about Dwarfs is they have Leadership 9 which I have rarely seen fail. The Organ Gun was also close enough to the Thane to use his check, but I believe that is 9 as well (maybe 10?). The 10 Thunderers directly to the right of my Maneater would have taken care of him regardless of what happened to the Organ Gun at that range as well. It was really a lose/lose situation on that hill. I knew if I tied up his Warriors in CC he wouldn't be able to fire at me and would have to go for the Gnoblar which is why I flanked them instead.

As for Gnoblars, I am not too concerned with using or not using them. I can certainly see their value, especially the Trappers with their scout abilities.

I have some thoughts on how to approach this battle in the future. Hopefully next time the OK will come out on top (with a big stinking pile of stunty lil ones beneath my massive feet).