Freitag, 18. September 2015

Tag Team Tournament - Let's play together

It has been two month since my last entry in this digital hobby diary (even though I had the intention to post more often). I was busy building Zombies to have them ready for a Tournament. Yes, after being at a 40K Tournament in June I joined the forces with a friend of mine to enter a Tag Team Tournament. I brought my Cult of the Maggot Chaos Space Marines (of Nurgle) and Chris his Orks.

Both, getting ready for the event, as well as the event itself were interesting experiences. Having a hard deadline to work against is definitely something beneficial to stay focused. At the same time you are so busy getting everything done that you are losing touch on other hobby aspects that you enjoy, like updating the Blog or simply picking up something different that you have on your work bench for some diversion. In the very end I won’t complain as I got 47 custom Plague Zombies ready for the table (more about them in a different post).

The tournament was all in all enjoyable. I personally just wanted to, even though it was a competitive event, play some games, meet new people and talk about the hobby. A nice side effect of tournaments is that you play against armies that you normally don’t face and that you are getting better in both mastering the rules as well as your own force. Chris has been to a lot of tournaments and is more experienced in this kind of (more) competitive environment.

We had to play three games in total, each game had a different scenario with different ways to score points. There were primary, secondary and tertiary objectives. You had to take care of a lot of things and it was a lot of fun. The very first game (against two allied Chaos Daemon armies) and the last game (against two allied Khorne Daemonkin armies) were both relaxed and enjoyable, the kind of games I would have at home with friends on a weekend. There were some minor rule discussion to get clarification on how things should be handled, but also a lot of great moments and laughs.

The second game we had was something very, very different: we faced a combined Necron force, let by two – as I call them – Hardcore Tournament Players (picture above). Their list wasn't too over the top, but the way they behaved made me feel uncomfortable from the start: they were very confident, (unintentionally) arrogant and, as they faced not so Hardcore Tournament Players, awkwardly childish. Of course they dominated us – they are among the best players in Germany/Europe and definitely know the game inside out - but this wasn't the main reason the first round of the game was annoying for me. It was because they play the game in a complete different way than I am. Once I realized this, it wasn't that annoying any more at all. It is actually quite easy to explain:  

When I look at the table I see this:

When "they" look at the table, "they" see this:

For me playing 40K is all about visuals, the background of the armies, the narrative and cinematic moments, to "them" it’s about numbers and statistics. We are not only on a different level with regards to actual gaming experience, we also have very different gaming culture. I am generalizing here, I am very well aware of that and I am sure that a lot of the more competitive players are also in the narrative aspect of 40K, but what I have witnessed during the Tag Team Tournament (there were more Hardcore Tournament Players) the Artwork vs. Matrix was the most straightforward (even though subjective) comparison for me.  

I learned a lot in this game, not only about my army, but also about me and how other people enjoy the hobby. Some things might be better, more efficient and effective – like positioning models or units in a specific way (like some other Hardcore Tournament Players did like in the picture below) – but I would never do it nonetheless, because “in my 40K universe” no army would act like this on an actual battlefield. And for me playing 40K is all about the narrative/cinematic feel.

This doesn't mean I won’t attend any tournaments in the future, on the contrary. I will of course face players that only see numbers and statistics and they will stomp me into the ground, but I don’t care as I will still have the chance to learn a lot during those matches. But most important I will meet other 40’K enthusiast that want to have a great time while playing the game together (and not against each other). 

Donnerstag, 16. Juli 2015

Hobby Dungeon

So far I used the dining table in our living room for the hobby. This is not ideal for various reasons (setting everything up, stowing it away, working with resin, etc.). In May I asked my landlord if there is a spare room in the basement which I could use as a workshop... and he said "yes, there another room that is empty" and so I came to my dedicated hobby dungeon.

It took me some time to clean it up and arrange it properly. It is just 1m wide and it was a little challenging to set everything up in a way that I can store (and get to) everything and to have sufficient seating space at the desk. I have it in use now for almost two weeks and I am more than happy. I have enough space space to sit comfortably to build, convert and paint. All the tools and paints are in arms reach and I can leave everything when I am done for the day without having to worry that the kids might eat a hobby knife or sniff some resin dust.

The dedicated hobby space also allows me to finally look into airbrushing, something that simply wasn't possible in our living room.

Sonntag, 5. Juli 2015

Nurgle Heldrake - Blight Drake – Coversion WIP: Brownstuff = Greatstuff

I finally got my hands on the Brown/Aluminium Putty by P3. It is indeed like Greenstuff: all you need to do is kneading the two components together until they are mixed up evenly (and the putty gets a brown-metallic look) and then you are good to go.

The difference to Greenstuff is noticeable right away. The Brownstuff is firmer and not as sticky, this way you can start even with some more finer modeling right away. I sculpted the carapace shape with the pluggers and it stayed... more or less. The Brownstuff has a "memory effect", but it is not as drastic as with Greenstuff, and the readjustments are easy to do. What is also easy (and fun) to do with the Brownstuff: corrosion.
Even though this was more or less a test I am very happy with the result, and assume that the next segment is going to be even crisper.

I am not sure if I can replicate this very specific look of the original carapace 100%, but I am confident that it will be close. Once the Blight Drake is painted and all the rust and weather effects are applied it will look consistent for sure.

Mittwoch, 1. Juli 2015

Plague Zombies - Hollow Bases

Before starting the mass production of the Plague Zombies I have to build 70 hollow bases first. Yes, I could just have bought some more of the scenic bases I got for my Plague Bearers, but this would have been too costly. So I went the cheap way and turned a bunch of old 28mm round bases into hollow bases for creating the swampy subsoil.

Creating hollow bases isn't too complicated.

1. Take a standard base and drill small holes on the outer edge of the upper base part. Make sure that distance between each hole isn't too big (I drilled around 20 holes per base)

2. Take a hobby knife and cut out the top part of the base. The drilled holes will help you not damaging the rim (it might dent or even break when you put pressure on the base)

3. Glue the base rim on 0,5mm thick plasticard (with proper plastic glue with solvent that melts the plastic). This will give it support and stability.

4. Carefully remove the remaining plastic flesh with a hobby knife and sand paper.

5. Cut away overhanging plasticard and sand the base carefully to remove irregularities.

1. You can glue the base on the plasticard right away and then start drilling and cutting. Actually, this way you will have the support from the plasticard right from the get-go.

2. For the clean up part you can use a Dremel or similar electric tool to remove the remaining plastic pieces. It is much faster as you sand/melt the plastic away, but you also have to be careful to not damage the rim.

Granted, it took me a couple of hours to get the 70 hollow bases done, but figuring out how to do them in a efficient way was a lot of fun, and in the very end it was much cheaper than buying blank ones.

Montag, 29. Juni 2015

Plague Zombies - Prototype

While waiting for my Brown/Aluminium Putty to arrive I started working on a  horde of Plague Zombies. I was gathering different bits and pieces over the last couple of month to build Zombies that resemble former Imperial Guard Soldiers without using the Zombies from Games Workshop as they are completely out of proportion and simply look goofy.

The different components I am going to use for the 70 Zombies I plan to build are:
- Zombies from Mantic Games 
- Ghouls from Mantic Games 
- Conscript Legs from Victoria Lamb Miniatures 
- Cadian Shock Troops Bits: Helmets, Canteens, Lasguns, Knifes, etc.
- Custom Made Hollow Bases for the Swamp Theme of my Nurgle Forces
- Rivets from a used Water Filter & Greenstuff

I am going to mix and match all the different parts as I see fit: some of Zombies will get helmets, some of them will get boots/not as ragged combat trousers made out of the Conscript Legs, some of them will get a lasgun or other weaponry in their undead hand to smack down enemies, some will get some extra guts hanging out of their open bellies... and all of them will get pustules and stand ankle-deep in swamp water (just like my Nurgle Daemons).

As a little proof of concept - having an idea is one thing, actually implementing is something completely different - I build a prototype:

The Zombie wasn't too complicated to assemble, I just have to make sure that I do the basing before I put the torso/arms/head on legs when I go into mass production. This way it will be easier to get the filling putty and the sand into the hollow base.


Sonntag, 28. Juni 2015

40K Tournaments: A Blast From The Past

Back then (almost 20 years ago) I used to attend tournaments. Since then my hobby focus has changed: for me it's all about the modelling and painting, about interesting scenarios and about the narrative - I am a fluff player.
But I am curious - especially after hearing/reading all the rants about new and overpowered codex-books (I couldn't care less) - and so I joined a couple of guys of the local gaming group and went to a tournament last weekend. I didn't play, I was just there to watch, listen and to take photos. And it was very interesting.

Yes, there were - in my opinion - awkward armies: I never ever would for example allies my Raven Guard with another Space Marine Chapter to get the benefit of a specific unit or special character. I have noticed that a lot of tournament players are solely focused on optimizing their army (while dealing with tournament specific restrictions) and to me it is a pity as it means that you miss out on a lot of all the great things of the hobby like campaigns and scenarios, formations or the extra bits like Kill Team or Zone Mortalis.

Two things I didn't understand at all
1. Messy gaming tables: I really don't get why there is food and drinks or stacks of paper on a table. There only should be aside of the armies (of course), terrain, objective markers, some dice, templates and the measuring tape (and even those I put aside when it is not my turn).
2. Bad treatment of miniatures: I saw miniatures just thrown in a box or piled up to a heap like if you didn't had to invest any time or money to get them on the table. This actually made me very sad.

Nonetheless it was a positive experience. The atmosphere was, even though it was all about the competition, friendly, and it was great to see some well painted armies on the table and to have some really nice conversations. Being at the tournament, even though I was just a fly on the wall (how fitting for a follower of Nurgle), definitely fired up the hobby engine to get "stuff done", and maybe I will even attend one in the near future as an active player as well.


Donnerstag, 25. Juni 2015

Nurgle Heldrake - Blight Drake – Coversion WIP: Greenstuff vs. Brownstuff

I started modelling the carapace using Greenstuff and ball-shaped pluggers. The goal was to reproduce the "hammer finish" look of the armour of the headpiece of the drone.

It all went off quite well; I was able to sculpt the basic shapes and get some proper dents into the putty. However, the end result wasn't satisfying at all.

Even though I worked with Greenstuff before on various miniatures I wasn't aware that it has some kind of "memory effect" - that's what I have learned after doing some online-research. So, Greenstuff tends to forms/bounces itself back to its former shape; it is not a lot, but enough to soften up modelled hard edges. And this is exactly what happened to the "hammer tends" on the carapace: they turned into some soft organic looking mush that has nothing in common with how the headpiece looks like (I am frustrated, so I am a bit exaggerating).

I did some tests and in theory I could wait 90-120 minutes until the Greenstuff has tried up to a state where it is not forming back, but then it also will be difficult to get into shape in general, and it is not guaranteed that I will get the hard edges that I want/need. Waiting that long to try hope that it will work out for each segment of the carapace is too risky: I need a procedure that I can reproduce to create a consistent look.

I started with looking for an alternative modelling putty. I ended up with ordering a pack of Brown/Aluminium Putty by P3. Due to aluminium particles it's supposed to hold up sharp edges and therefore is "ideal for modelling armour or weapons". I hope that this is case.
All I have to do now is waiting for the Brownstuff to arrive.