Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Zen of Painting

I have hit a zen-like state with painting this week, and I hope it lasts.

So for the summer months, painting isn't something I can always get to. I lose my computer/40K room to my step-son (home from college) and the daily schedule isn't really a schedule. Not to mention how busy my weekends are.

So this week has been great. I've found time to paint before work, at lunch, and at night. I'm making real progress, and feel like I might actually meet the 400 point challenge.

It helps that I came to the realization that I don't need to spend as much time on my boyz as I was. Oh sure if it's a special character then yeah he gets the complete detailed work. But for the boyz, I'm not having them look bad, but I'm not focusing on every tiny little detail. I can't. I'd burn out from worrying about getting them done, and not having the time to get them done.

So this week I've got 4 bodies done. Torsos and legs are complete and together. I have arms in various states of completion and heads with base coats. They aren't done, but they feel like they will be soon.

So combine the time I've been able to put into it, the epiphany about not having to spend so much time on my boyz, and the visible headway I've made and painting time has become very zen-like. Gone is the feeling that I have to get this done because I'm so far behind, and gone is the way painting almost seemed like a chore. It's a relaxing pastime again, and that helps feed into it too.

Now hopefully with me camping this weekend I'm able to hold onto this feeling and feed off of it and into it next week as well.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Oddz 'n Endz

Just going through some unfinished posts, thoughts, and ideas I've never really completed or followed up on.

Dawn of War II - I finished the campaign, finally. And really I was a bit disappointed with the challenge of the final mission. Not to say it was bad, because it wasn't. But I had a harder time with some of the other missions leading up to it (especially when I decided to go after an Ork Warboss to get some more Terminator armor). The story and campaign were great, but I guess knowing some of the difficulties I had I was surprised how easily I completed the last mission. Not to say there weren't some hairy moments, but I never had that "Oh crap I'm gonna die bad here" moment.

Plus, the single player campaign was the worst thing I could have done for multiplayer. Again, I loved the campaign, but man after focusing so much on levelling up my guys, getting good loot, and finding different combinations of loot to make my guys lethal, multiplayer was like learning the game all over again. Not to mention the campaign is all Space Marines, and I like to play the other races in multiplayer (especially Da Orks).

I'm hoping there will be some cool DLC coming. Maybe some Xenos-centric campaigns?

Ork Boy #4 - I finished up Ork Boy #4 and I almost have #5 done. No pics, but even though I'm not spending the hours on them that I did on Zagstruk, I'm still a slow painter. This is great for the look of my army (I hope), but not so great for the 400 point challenge. I need to get on the ball and paint some more. I was hoping to be done with my boys and maybe onto my Nobs or Stormboyz by now.

400 Point Challenge - As I've said I'm way behind in the 400 point challenge. I'm not sure where my buddy Chris is in his painting, but I just got word that my buddy Steve is almost done with his tacit cal squad (he's doing marines) and then he has 5 assault guys and he's finished. I still have to finish up my Boyz, then start on my Stormboyz, and my Nobz, and then my Warboss with Bosspole. Yeah I sense failure in this challenge, and it reeks as bad as the sweaty pits of a nervous Space Marine about to be swept up by Da Green Tide.

Ravenor by Dan Abnett - So I was coming home yesterday and I was thinking of stopping into my new gaming home when I decided instead to stop off at a book store I pass all the time. I ended up picking up Ravenor by Dan Abnett because I've really been itching to read a 40K novel. This would be my first. I love the selection of the novels Black Library publishes, but why does everything have to be human-centric? Black Library really needs to do a Xenos series. I'd love to read something from the Ork perspective (it could be funny and brutal), or from the Eldar. Sure the Tyranids might not be fodder for a great story, but not every Xenos race is a mindless collective bent on the destruction of everything around it. Still, I'm definitely enjoying Ravenor, and now have a new way to soak even more 40K goodness. It's just another step to as complete a 40K immersion as my short attention span and love of shiny things will allow.

Non 40K news - My wife purchased my ticket for the RiffTrax Live: Plan 9 from Outer Space show on August 20 (I love her). I'll be going to the closest theater to my tiny small backwoods town, which is actually my old stomping grounds of Jackson, MI. I encourage everyone who loves bad science fiction movies and laughing at them to go see this event. For those who don't know, RiffTrax is from the people who did Mystery Science Theater 3000. And since this is riffing on the worst movie ever made (not the most un-entertaining that would be a toss-up between Twilight and Ishtar...yeah I went there) I don't expect to be all. Anyway if you're going to Jackson look for the fat nerd (oh wait, that doesn't clear things up at all). Well let me know and we can at least say hi and I can bask in the glow of your praise about my blog...or wither beneath the brutal criticism. Whichever you prefer.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Finding Your Church of Gaming

Okay this is NOT an article about religion. Let me just get that out of the way. But I grew up in a church going family. My grandfather was a Baptist preacher. So I've spent a lot of time in church. While it was a gathering of religiosos, old women with wrinkly skin who covered the smell of their halitosis with Dentyne, and pot lucks. A church is also a place where people of a like-mind can meet, talk, and find strength and inspiration by mingling with their people.

In a way, a gaming/hobby store is very similar to that. I found my gaming church last week, and I'm really happy about it.

I live in a small town. It's a great place to raise my kids, but it's a horrible place to nurture my gaming passion. I may not be the only person in the area that plays 40K, but I wouldn't be surprised if I was. Not only is there no real gaming community in this small town, there isn't a gaming/hobby store within an hour of there either. Hell, there isn't even a comic book store probably within 30 minutes of that town.

So for the most part I've had other people buy things for me to save on shipping. That's cool, as I could get the stuff I needed. However it kept me from having some place I could connect with other gamers. A place I could talk about the game with people who know and cared (beyond my circle of gaming friends). A place I could breathe deep the sweaty air of nerds in their glory, and be strengthened in my own nerdery. And a place I could actually buy my own stuff too.

I've found that place, and I'm excited about it. The place, EAC Games in Maumee, Ohio, is still an hour away from where I live, but it's not that far from our remote facility for the company I work for. I'm down there at least once a week, so I have ample opportunity to stop in there. I can talk to people who are knowledgeable. I can get input and ideas from other people. I can be inspired in all things nerdy.

Basically I have found a church of gaming that I can join my people and find acceptance as I worship Gork and Mork (believe me they are a lot more fun to worship than that Emperor dude).

Oh, and I can buy stuff too.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sealing the Minis

Being new to 40k, I haven't really attempted a "How To" article, because I'm still learning how to. So for my first attempt at what could be viewed as a "How To", I'm describing how I seal my minis after painting them. But please, feel free to offer suggestions, because if there's a better way to do it...I want to know.

During the winter months as I finished up minis I wasn't able to seal them. My garage is where I do all my primering and sealing, but my camper was in there for winter storage. So now that summer is here and camping season in full swing - I've been able to get the camper out of the garage so I can primer more parts and I can seal the finished boyz.

So let me tell you about the first boy I painted. I went out and bought some some spray enamel. I sprayed my boy, and when it was done and dried it looked...wet. See I didn't pay much attention and the can I bought (which was with the flat enamels) was gloss. So he looked wet. I was really kind of pissed and embarrassed.

I was able to fix him by covering his head and arms, and doing a light coating of flat. It didn't completely take the shine off, but it dulled it. I had covered the arms and head, because if it did what I wanted it to, then he'd hopefully look sweaty. If it didn't work, then I figured better his armor and clothing looked bad than his head and arms. He doesn't look bad, but the spray gloss enamel has been retired.

Now I use a clear flat enamel that I bought at a major hardware retailer. I'm not endorsing them, so I won't mention their name, but I can tell you it starts with L and ends with owe's. Nothing fancy, but it does what I need it to: Protect the paint. Now, for things like blood on a blade, or a wound, something like that then a brush on gloss enamel is my preferred choice. That way it pops against the flat.

To seal the minis up, I set them on my saw horse in the middle of my garage. Then I use what I call a burst method. Keeping the can back about 12 inches, I spray the enamel on in "bursts" to keep from causing a build up, or dripping. A burst of enamel, then a different angle and another burst. I do this as I move around the Mini in a circle. Then I let it dry. Simple as that. Once that's done, then I'm ready to finish the base (I've read that it's best to do like sand or grass on the base AFTER sealing as the enamel can bunch up on the base material and make it look like crap).

I started sealing because I want to protect the minis I spend so much time painting. However I never really saw the need for it until Zagstruk. He's the first metal mini I've painted, and I've noticed that the paint comes off the corners and sharp edges easier than the plastic minis. Maybe I need a different primer? I'm not sure, but to be safe, I definitely have him sealed. The only thing I've noticed is that the flat enamel sealer I use dulls the colors a bit. Maybe it's just the stark contrast to the shiny gloss I used before...but maybe a semi-gloss would be better? Do they make a clear semi-gloss spray enamel? Anyway, as the name of the blog implies, I am no expert - just a new guy to a game. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

You Will Be Motivated...or else.

So the time sink du jour for me lately has been tooling around looking at the humorous and demotivational posters. The site has been around for a while, and this isn't the first time I've spent time there. This time, though, I really took notice of their Warhammer 40K posters. There is this funny Obliterators Poster, this one that combines my love of 40K and bathroom humor, this poster about 40K classic edition, and the one with the greatest Ork gun ever.

Well it inspired my buddy Steve to create one of his own:

Which then inspired me to create one of my own:

For the record, I like Steve's better...except for all those Space Marines on there.

Anybody else got a 40K motivational poster they created, or a favorite 40K motivational poster on the internet? I love these things.