Jun 25, 2011

BitS Terrain Piece (j/k)

Like many folks I scour the clearance toy racks. The search doesn't always pan out. But today I scored something interesting at Toys R Us. The scale is quite large for Warhammer, but the wall sections are particularly nice. We will see what I end up doing with it. But whatever comes of it I can't really complain for 35 bucks can I?

Jun 16, 2011

Awesome Cauldron of Blood

For those of you haven't checked out the Painting Clinic, here is your chance. This recent video features a scratch built Cauldron that is fantastic!


Jun 14, 2011

Thunder Lizard Chariot WIP

Warhammer Fantasy Podcast Review Part 3

Welcome to the next installment of the Warhammer Fantasy Podcast review.  Next up I would like to focus on a few more of the great podcasts based in the United States.
This is another must have in any respectable fantasy focused podcast play list.  While it has two hosts the similarity to other podcasts ends there.  They are physically located in different places which gives them two separate local gaming stores from which to report.  They are also not separated by the normal power gamer and hobbyist line of demarcation.  In fact, never having met Joe, I'm not entirely sure how I would go about dividing them up.  Suffice it to say I love the unintentional comic relief provided by Joe giving Chuck a hard time on just about everything.  The cast is based out of Illinois, which is one of the strongest hotbeds of Warhammer Fantasy in the US, which gives them access to a plethora of talented guests for the show.  I really enjoy that they make a strong effort to make the show format consistent and the information as timely as possible.  Also, there is a concentrated effort to keep the episodes shorter in length which is nice change of pace as not everyone has time for a 4 hour podcast. 
One of the newer kids on the block this is definitely Warhammer Fantasy for the dirty south (it's a US thing for you UK readers).  You should note that you will find the cast doubly enjoyable if you are into home brewing (or just beer in general).  One thing that sticks out is that this cast really has great production value and the main host, Erik Lindley, certainly has a voice made for radio.  In addition to his broth Kevin, Erik is regularly joined by the legend, Tom McClure, and from the great white north, Andrew Webber.  These additions really gives Brohammer an excellent spread of gaming perspectives from which to draw, from the gentleman gamer to the hardcore tournament player.  The "Real Men" parodies that have become a main stay of the show are really well thought and at times comedic genius.  The one real knock on the show is that they are not put out consistently enough to fill my appetite.  I have a fever and the only prescription is more Brohammer.

Jun 10, 2011

Warhammer Fantasy Podcasts Part 2

Picking up where I left off last time I figured it was high time to review the English podcasts in my play list.  One thing that is terrific about the English fantasy podcasts is that they are members of a gaming community that includes some of the best Fantasy players in the world.  As such this gives the podcasts a large pool of talent from which to draw (Russ Veal, Mark Wildman, Michale Biggs) which enhances the casts exponentially.  I also really enjoy hearing the reviews of the same event across multiple casts.  It's like one of those books from back in the day in which each chapter tells the same story that you thought you knew from the perspective of a different character.  Finally, these podcasts have added some great catch phrases to my everyday vernacular!

Bad Dice
Another top tier Fantasy specific podcast which I picked up last year during their fantastic coverage of the 8th edition rumors.
Fair warning - it may take a few episodes to understand what the heck these blokes are saying.  While it is often dubbed a UK tournament specific cast, there really is a lot more to the cast than that.  Of particular interest was their discussion of some of the more controversial topics like the decline of painting standards in tournaments.  This cast is unusual when compared to the rest in that both hosts are highly competitive, power gamers.  I suppose you could dub Mr. Johnson the hobbyist of the lot given his better painting ability.  That and it appears that his lot in life is to play second fiddle to Mr. Curry in the rankings (BC is currently ranked the #1 player in England).  I will wrap this up by saying that if your are interested in upping the filth in your game, then this cast is for you.  Done and dusted.
Like many, I heard Dan Heelan for the first time on an episode of Podhammer and so it was no surprise when he setup his own show.  Another awesome Fantasy specific podcast, though with the same formulaic setup for hosting.  One host, Heelan, is the consummate power gamer while the other, Wayne Kemp is the shows stereotypical hobbyist.  The cast covers the gambit from event coverage to battle reports and everything in between.  I particularly like their army review discussions as they are articulate and substantive enough that I don't come away with many questions unanswered.  Of particular note is the Dwarf review with Andy Spiers, which is an invaluable reference to any budding 8th edition Dwarf general.  However, my favorite content has to be their coverage of Whoops.  I could almost see the tears of frustration forming as Dan struggled to deal with the extra volume of randomness that is the "Hobby Weekend".  Finally, I will wrap this up be saying that HeelanHammer has to be in the podcast rotation for any serious Warhammer Fantasy player.
Two Gamer Radio
First I must admit that I've not been a long time listener.  Also, a bit of fair warning that this show does cover some 40K, does not not have the greatest production value (though I like the gimmicky left and right stereo effect) and has an inordinate amount of technical difficulties.  Even considering all of that I really like this show because this is the ying to the other English podcasts yang.  Bad Dice and HeelanHammer are looking at the English Warhammer Fantasy scene from the top of the rankings, from the perspective of the competitive power gamer.  Two Gamer Radio delivers their content from the bowels of mediocrity, from the perspective of the average gamer.  Delusions of grandeur not withstanding, most listeners will readily identify with the plight of these common gamers and their struggle to ascend from the bottom tables.  Also I found the eloquence in which they deliver some of their viewpoints in the context of a larger rant, usually about the evil empire, very refreshing.  This is a podcast that is definitely worth a try.  
I realize that there are a few other English Podcasts out there (Black Sun and Failhammer).  I will hopefully add more reviews after I've gotten a few more episodes under my belt.  

Carnosaour Conversion

Trying to figure how this will work into the army.

Jun 9, 2011

Warhammer Fantasy Podcasts

As I listen to more than my fair share of gaming podcasts I figured I would share my current playlist and a review of my favorite casts.  Other bloggers, like Rhellion, have provided leads to other interesting casts that I would have otherwise overlooked.  I primarily listen to the podcasts each morning when walking the dogs, in the car and during my painting sessions.  I find Point Hammered somehow perfectly apropos as I'm bending down to pick up dog s%$t.  I try to listen to all of the Warhammer Fantasy centric casts, but with their increased proliferation it is starting to be more difficult.   To kick things off I'm going to start with two of my favorite Warhammer Podcasts.
This is one of my favorite casts as it really hits on all of the notes that, for me, make a great Warhammer podcast.  The circus is piloted by 2 hosts that really play well off of each other using a heavy dose of tongue in cheek, pun-laden banter.  One plays the role of the A typical gamer while the other the role of the self described fluff bunny.  Their quixotic attempt to stay on topic is especially funny when the break the 4th wall and acknowledge their inability to reign in their latest digression.  I appreciate their ability to articulate their viewpoints without needlessly being confrontational, even when their views are diametrically opposed.  They do an excellent job of expanding the casts' perspective and knowledge base by bringing in other members of their gaming community.  Finally, I actually enjoy the long format as they use the time to cover more topics rather than just beating the proverbial dead horse to death.  
Point Hammered
Let me first say that I had to warm up to this cast.  The first few times I listened I couldn't get past its' rude, crass and in your face nature.  After a few episodes I realized that this wasn't a superficial element added to the cast to gain shock value.  It turns out that these guys actually this strange in real life.  Even more surprising is the fact they do actually know what the heck they are talking about.  Another interesting aspect of the cast is that each host kind of fulfills one of the three roles in the wargaming trinity; gaming, painting and sportsmanship.  Finally, I really enjoy the sometimes unique topics which are a refreshing change of pace to tactics and painting.    
Here is my current playlist in no particular order.
  • Garagehammer
  • Point Hammered
  • Bad Dice
  • HeelanHammer
  • Brohammer
  • Waaagh Cast
  • CanHammer
  • Ohiohammer
  • Podhammer
  • Two Gamer Radio
  • SeanHammer
  • D6 Generation
  • Gamers Lounge
  • Tabletop Hooligans
  • Worlds End Radio

Jun 7, 2011

Rankings – Effect of Tournament Type

Following up on my previous post I've wondered what impact the type of
tournaments has on the rankings.  To start off I should outline what I
mean by tournament types.

From my perspective there are 3 distinct types of tournaments.  They
are all valid, but each plays to a different set of player strengths.
The first type of tournament is the Hard Core style tournament, think
'Ard Boyz or Adepticon.  It's all about the tough lists, rules as
written, generalship and scoring is all about the battle points.  I
won't disparage anyone by mentioning specific players that compete
well in this environment, but you know who you are!  J

The second type is the Hobby style tournament, think Whoops.  I've
never actually attended one of these tournaments so I'm only going by
what I've heard from the net.  They focus more on the narrative and
hobby side of Warhammer.  Players take them much less serious and they
may include significant rules changes, more random zaniness and
possibly non-Warhammer elements.  I genuinely don't have a clue what
would work at this type of tournament or be able to give an example of
someone that excels in that environment.  To that end though, I
imagine that this type of tournament wouldn't have much effect on
serious, competitive rankings.

Finally, there is a third tournament type that combines the best from
the previous two types which I dub the Holistic tournament style.
Think Brawler Bash.  It's about the sum of all the parts; battle
points, sportsmanship and painting all make up significant portions of
the scoring.  Hard armies, D-bags and unpainted armies are welcome but
are not in themselves an auto win button.  It's not uncommon for this
type of tournament to have a comp system or at the very least
incorporate some sort of banding system.  To win this style tournament
you have to be a genuine "Triple Threat".  Joe Rogers and Dave
Bednarek are two guys that come to mind.  They are excellent generals,
awesome painters and all around nice guys.

Now I'm not going to get into the age old debate which style
tournament is better.  I'm a firm believer to each his own and all
that.  But what I'm curious about is does the type of tournament a
player attends have any effect on the rankings?  At face value I would
say no since any differences are mitigated by having to convert the
scoring into the standard template found on Rankings HQ.

Not one to leave things alone we should dig a little deeper.  I think
we do have to consider whether a players strengths meshes well with
the type of tournament.  A prototypical alpha male, power gamer who
dislikes the hobby and social aspects of Warhammer would feel a little
out of place (didn't say unwelcomed) at an event like Mid West
Rampage.  As such he may not place as high as he potentially could at
a tournament like Adepticon which focuses more heavily on the game

Next we should consider a players army composition.  The type of
tournament strongly dictates the army composition restrictions in
place.  This could range from no restrictions, all the way to the ETC
style composition so popular in Europe.  Comp restrictions can change
the very definition of what a legal army list is and in some cases
punish players that bring subjectively "hard" lists.  The net result
is that a player will have to consider the comp when selecting his
army and developing his list.   Ultimately this may help or hinder the
player's finish depending on the degree that either his list or play
style have to change to accommodate the comp restrictions.

Lastly consider that different types of tournaments attract different
types of players.  Is it possible for a tournament to attract the
"right" kind of opponents to make it more winnable for other players?
I realize that this gets more difficult as a tournament gets larger in
size do the normal randomness of initial match ups.  But I've seen
examples of how a real power gamer can do really well at reasonably
sized Holistic tournaments provided they can get past the comp mongers
and manage their soft scores.

Realizing that I've rambled on for far too long I will cut it here.
If for nothing else at least rankings gives us something to talk

More Rankings Non Sense

So I was looking at my ranking this morning and who should I see sitting right above me?  Non other than Mr. Garage Hammer himself David Witek.  Not sure how to take having the Richard Lewis of Warhammer ahead of me in the rankings!  :)

Rankings - Tournament Attendance Effect

I spent a couple of minutes this morning on Rankings HQ and it got me thinking about rankings.  Specifically what do they actually tell you?  A vocal friend of mine commented to me that rankings tell you who went to the most tournaments, not who the best player is.  Strangely enough, there may be a Nugget of Knowledge tm in there.  Or maybe not when I consider the source.  J


Rankings HQ uses the best 3 tournament scores over the last 12 months to calculate player rankings.  So you would need to attend a minimum of 3 tournaments a year to put yourself on equal footing.  Every extra tournament you attend could further improve your ranking by allowing yourself to eliminate a poor showing or use a good finish based on an excellent set of match ups.  If you look at the current rankings you would have to drop all the way down to 17th place before you found a player with only 3 tournaments.  However, you can also find a plethora of players buried in the rankings that have a large number of tournaments under their belts. My take away from this is that attending more tournaments can potentially improve your ranking, but you still have to be a good player to capitalize on it.  At the end of the day the best players are the best players because of the extra time spent on their craft, which includes attending more tournaments. 


Consider this a down payment on a longer discussion on rankings I'm hoping to continue in the future.  I would like to look at things like the subjective nature of soft scores, match ups and a few other things along the way. 

Jun 5, 2011

I decided that the chain mail didn't come out that well as it's almost too small of a scale to be really discern what it is.  Plus, there is no chain mail on any of the TK models.  So instead I took my hand at trying scale armor instead.  Made with the a slightly larger "C" tool.  The difference is that it's made sort of like shingles if that makes sense.  Here the first attempt.  Fortunately, no matter what I end up doing on the Cold Ones only a small portion on the outer facing side will be visible.  :)

 Here is a shot with the comparing the chain mail to scale mail.

Jun 2, 2011

Tomb King Cold One Tutorial

Just a quick note that I've completed the tutorial. 

Chain Mail - First Attempt

Working on the Cold One Chariots I decided to try my hand at sculpting chain mail.  Scouring the Internet I gleamed a few tips and was pretty confident that I at least had a shot to make it look half way decent.  Here are the shots from my first attempt. 

To build my "chain mail" tool I took a hypodermic needle and filed away one side so that it formed a "C" shape when looking at it from the end.  I then mounted it into an hobby knife handle.  I added the paint to make it easier to identify which direction the "C" was facing.  To sculpt the chain mail it was as simple as pressing in a row of "C"s in a straight line across the surface and alternating the direction of the "C"s on adjacent lines.

While I'm happy with how the chain mail came out I'm leaning towards switching to some sort of plate mail for the remainder of the cold ones. 

Army Building 103

A couple months ago I detailed the basics of how I've gone about collecting my armies over the years.  To sum up it's buy everything and then buy more of it.  The net result is I have a ton of models spread over a few huge armies.  Over the last few months I've realized that this approach really has not helped my efforts to be more competitive both as a player and a painter as it has limited my opportunities.  I've decided to flip the script with my next army (after I get bored of adding to the TK).  My next army will be High Elves based on the theme I detailed last year.   With the theme in mind, but before I paint a single model, I will develop a competitive list using proxies.  One the list is finalized I will get to cracking on painting the army.  I'm also going to set a limit of 3K on this collection just so it doesn't get out of hand!  No idea if that will work or not, but it's worth a try.