donderdag 11 februari 2016

Space is a valuable commodity, Part 2

Remember part 1? space is a valuable commodity

Today, I finished putting together all of the paint racks Patrick from Pat's Laser Cuttings had given me at Poldercon. Turns out Patrick made a slight error in the amount of stuff he had to cut for me so I'm 3 racks short of my full order, but i contacted him straight away, told him what was missing and he is right on, I should receive the missing parts this week or so.  So, with 9 narrow and 2 wide ones built (1 was prebuilt by Patrick to see if he got his calculations correct and was given to me as a freebie) and waiting for the remaining 3, I can show you what a full rack looks like.
9 narrow and 2 wide makes for a perfect fit in a space that doesn't have the bit attached to the door, else I would lose the space for 1 rack, and the 3 remaining ones are spares for later and can fit on another plank if I wanted to. After putting in some paints to test the dimensions, I can happily say that the 9 narrow racks hold 30 paints each (so 270 in total) and the wide racks hold 21 paints each (so 42 in total). With my current paint collection (ignoring all of my Games Workshop for a moment that I hardly ever use anyway) this means I have about 1,5 narrow racks spare and 1 full wide rack. As I plan to buy more Vallejo washes and MiG Ammo weathering painst in the future this gives me all the room I need for a while.
The racks handle easy enough, even when filled to the max, as there is some wiggle room for my finger to grab a rack from the side and then slide it out with no problem. All that is left for me to do is to paint the exposed side gloss white with a extra coat of varnish, and then fire up the labelprinter to print out the paint codes (VMC 1-10 for instance, I have almost the complete set of that series, or just VPA for the few Panzer Aces colours that I own)

Now I can hear you say, I can't see my paints, now I can't just grab the colour that I need right now. Well, good for you, but 9 out of 10 times I'm painting by the numbers dictated by my notebook. I just grab the codes that I need and paint away. If  I do need to experiment, which happens from time to time, I can just slide open a rack and look at the bottles to see what colour I want as that is clearly visible. Just takes a hint of effort, no biggie. And it frees up a ton of space as these 2 paintracks:

...dominated my table space left and right of my monitor. Not that my tablespace isn't dominated by a ton of junk on it, but hey, details. :) Now, I can store almost 300 paints where before I could only fit 100. I'm now another step closer to swapping rooms with the kids. Something, that, due to the termination of my contract, is a lot closer then we had previously planned,

(Gameplan - in 3 weeks time I'm out of a job. To fool my brain and act like I still have a job, I have given myself 2 weeks to clean out my storage space in the city, toss what I can't sell quickly, save the miniatures and rulebooks, and trash everything else including the furniture, or have some guy buy the lot. Not having a storage space to pay for saves me 60 euros a month better spent on other things like a full tank of gas (at current prices) - Also, when that is done I can focus 8 hours a day at cleaning the current hobby room, packing everything up in boxes and moving it upstairs, leaving just the empty cabinets and tables. Then I have to time it for when the girls stay at my parents place for 2 days to get the lot dissasembled, moved out of the way, and the kids stuff moved into this room, and then store the lot in the what will be my new hobby room, so I can start assembling it after the kids come back. Big plans, I know, and in the meantime I have to try and find work as well, but now, if ever, is the best time to get this move done cause I have the time I would not have had, had I still been working. Well, that's how I feel about it anyway. I really want to see this happen asap. Only took me over a year to get there :) The pic has now been printed out as a motivator on my door......

And that is it really. What do you think of it?

maandag 8 februari 2016

Poldercon 2016

Poldercon 2016 was a blast. As expected, I barely survived it, but I had tons of fun and learned to play (or dislike) some games. I'm not going to do a report, you can find plenty of them on FB, but just how my day was.

I arrived spot on 9 o'clock when the doors opened, and picked up my new Poldercon mug and the goodies bag. Goodies bag you say? Yup, it contained a flyer for Bristlebag (custom dicebags made by Jan Senten), a flyer for Armypainter products, a discount card for Subcultures (which turned out wasn't needed as they had a huge pile of GW boxes with 50% off and a big box full of blisters from other brands, also 50% off), 2 packs of glass agitator balls from Scenery Workshop (10 in total), a Mantic Ork sprue (will come in handy to convert to Raiders I think), a lasercut pallet kit from Pat's lasercuttings (more about him later). A nice haul!

I then went upstairs to have a look at all of the tables. Almost all had high quality scenery on the table and looked stunning. I had some trades to do and I overpacked my backpack, so I waited almost till the games started to talk to the people who were buying stuff from me. 2 old paintracks netted me 60 euro, a couple of old 20mm vehicles went for 20 euro and I traded some bits for 2 1993 GW boars (that I now don't need!) and then moved doubletime to my first game, Black Ops.

Guy himself was demoing the Black Ops table, with some really nice, I think it was 4 Ground? scenery. We had a choice of a Seal team, Russian Special Forces team, a PMC team and a neighbouring Afghan tribes militia. Our mission was to free 2 hostages, Scooby and Wilma from a Bin Laden type character. Playing cards on top of the houses determined if the hostages were there or not. As I already owned the game and has read the rules a few times I was really looking forward to playing this and getting more knowledge. When handing out teams I took the militia, naturally, and I deployed on the long board edges, with the PMC on my left and the Russians on my right, both on the narrow edges. The village had seen recent conflict and there where 2 tanks. They might be operable, they might not be, who knows.

The game itself turned out to be as simple to learn as I had thought. You pick a playing card type (Spades, Diamonds, Hearts or Clubs) and your types of troops are activated by that type. Also, a Leader activates on a King or Ace, the heavy activates on the Queen and the regular guys activate on a Jack. Dead simple and really easy to pick up.

Black Ops has 2 phases. A stealth phase and a normal phase. Untill the alarm is sounded, all turns are Stealth turns, and you have to avoid making too much sound lest the guards will hear you. So, here I am running the not-so-well trained Militia.....

After a few cards I had moved up most of my troops (the leader had not moved yet as his card had not been pulled yet) and the troops on my far left had already been yelled at by the guard on the left building, and then shot at, attracting the attention of the guards in the middle building and stacking noise counters. At first, when it was the enemy leader turn, the noise markers were halved due to distance and halved again due to him being in a building, and he didn't hear squat. But the other players wherr moving up and making noise as well, so my RPG team decided to aim at the guard in the middle this point Guy reminded me this is the Stealth phase, and RPG's make a lot of noise! Well, this is a untrained militia, and my leader was still off the table, so Mohammed pulled the trigger and let loose. With a brilliant shot, and a loud explosion that sent debris and the guard flying high up in the air. And I got about 10 noise counters I think! Seconds later, the other guard in the building came running down the stairs with a rocket launcher, and ran right into a spectacular hail of fire from my 3 men next to the wall, and they managed to miss with all of their shots! Then the 2 man team on the left managed to roll sixes and killed the rocket guy with a single shot. How cinematic :)

By then there weher so many noise counters the enemy leader woke up and the stealth phase was over. My leader finally moved and hid himself in the bushes. The RPG team took aim at the next building and again launched a guard in a cloub of debris and fire. The other guard turned around and legged it. Accurate sniper fire then managed to hit my leader and my RPG team as they moved back to the other building, but my leader was saved by his body armour and Mohammed lucked out with a 6 for his save. No virgins for him yet.

The RPG team then saw the guard from the building legging it toward the tank. Uh oh. Off went another RPG shot....going wild this time. Mohammed by then was screaming at the loader for RPG to be loaded. (meanwhile the Russians where sneaking up from the right, but not really getting into the fight, and the PMCs where assaulting the compound, using a Minimi and throwing grenades, but taking casualties. My main force had stormed the building, but found no hostages, and decided to loot the building instead). Mohammd then fired off his last RPG and it too went wild....uh oh. By then the remaining guard had climbed into the tank, only to realise it would not start and was badly damaged. It did however have a functional turret and a shell in the breach.

In the central building the Osama look-a-like prepared to move out as the PMC team fragged the guards in another building, wounding and stunning 2 with the third coming out and gunning down a PMC. The Russians where still moving up.

Mohammed and his loader went to heaven as the HEAT round landed at their feet, showring the leader with parts of both men. Oh well, he had plenty of cousins where they came from. Fearing the tanks, my leader decided to call it a day and my group withdrew, with plenty of loot.

Meanwhile, in the central building things went from bad to terrible as the PMC Minimi opened up on the fleeing leader with the hostages, and managed to hit only the hostages, twice, with killshots.

With that the game was over, the PMC had 2 wounded they had not attended too so they would probaly be dead, I had 2 dead, and the Russians where unharmed. With the hostages dead the Russians had won. Putin had a field day promoting the team to Heroes of Mother Russia and promoting the commander for managing to beat the Westeners with only a few shots fired.

My tribe now has new carpets. Also nice.

Loved the game to bits, I really need to finish my Afghanistan town and my Taliban and play more games using Special Forces. It is too much fun not to.

Energy level was now at 50% and going down fast, learning new stuff drains me really quick. Next up was a Chain of Command: Afghanistan game. I had wanted to try out Chain of Command for a while as the whole system intruiged me but I just could not get my head around it. I chose Afghans again, opposing me where Dutch, the system was explained to us and I sorta got how it should go.

I had mixed feelings about the table when I saw it. Very open, big wide spaces, harfly any cover. The gamesmaster then told me the Dutch weapons outranged mine, and they could go on special overwatch, meaning they always fired first, and the first 2 casualties would be ignored as they all had bodyarmour. Ok....why would the Taliban even be here? Just for a show of force, or so we were told. I rolled high enough most of the time, we put some good dice down, but our suicide bomber turned out to be a bit of a dud, the Dutch saved everything. The Dutch quickly occupied all the rooftops and I had a sea of Overwatch markers opposing me. We deployed a MG team from a roof, fired a few shots, lost some men and withdrew them again. With the Dutch covering almost every angle I could not really see any place to deploy in force and get close enough to assault them. Then a sandstorm hit and all ranges were ct down to 12 inch. We deployed several teams and made our way in cover to the rightt side fields and hid there. The Dutch then moved all of their forces in that direction, the sandstorm dissapated. We pulled an ambush, scored 3 casualties, but no, the first 2 were ignored so only 1 Dutch guy was wounded. Return fire almost wiped out my ambuish team and the rest legged it. I shot an RPG but it didn't do much. Then they proceeded to gun down all of the guys in the fields, and I could not shoot back as I was outranged, and we could not use a dice to withdraw as the Dutch had the upper hand. And that was it really. I had to say, rolling dice to see what team could do something and what not, is not the system for me. Also rolling dice that get saved in a special die, and a 6 being ignored but multiple sixes are special, it doesn't work for me. I loved the fact it was in 20mm, and I saw mostly Elhiem, but it just did not click. I don't care that I lost, you are highly unlikely to win a game with Taliban anyway, but the open spaces meant I had no real way to deploy tactically and even get a small local advantage. We where told to combine arms but with the Dutch having the upper hand all I could do was react. Oh well, it happens. But it is not the game for me.

Energy level 20%, and it was lunch time. A ver good buffet with a selection of bread, fruit, meats and other snacks, plus soup and even buttermilk ( I love the stuff ) and nice chat with Sander from the Modus Reg Magni Momenti Blog about the con (it was his first time). We then strolled by the tables, commenting on the various games before hitting the few shops that were there. Subcultures had a big box of Maxmini blisters at 50% off so I grabbed a blister each of their M-16, AK-47, Dragonuv and Laser Rifle sets, as well as a pack of Fallen Legionairs (aka Bloodpact) and a Kromlech blister of Iron Reich CHem trooper heads (futuristic German gasmask helmets). All of this will come in handy for Inquisitor and Post Apoc alike. At half price, these were a steal. Also in the box was a box of Zombies from Wargames Factory. Not the best of models, but I actually don't own any 28mm zombies, so 10 euros for a pack of 30 is a steal. They are just bulk stuff anyway. With the last of my paycheck I bought a box of Northstar cultists for Frostgrave....they are actually for Frostgrave as well for other conversions.

I also picked up my custom paintrack order from Pats Lasercuttings I told you about a while back (remember > space-is-valuable-commodity ?). He had my entire order (a lot of wood) cut in 2mm MDF and even brought a finished piece with him, for free, which he had built to test if it all fit together properly.
You can just make out the hole on the right lower half....this is to pull the rack from my cabinet. The paint fits in there perfectly, 10 bottles for each level with wiggle room. Now I need to get a pot of white gloss so I can blend them in with my cabinet and make sure the labels will stick, fortunately I only have to paint the exposed bit on the right for that. I am thrilled that my designe looks as good as I thought it would, and in the end it cost me 5 euros (well, 65, but I sold my old racks for 60 so the balance is 5). Pat makes lots of stuff, all aimed at wargamers. Now to build the other 13 racks :D

Finally, just before the next games would start, I met up with Peter Schulein. A while back he had seen my Post Apoc stuff and my request and search for cars, and my comment on te high costs for Marx cars, and he offered me 8 of them for 10 euros. Which I would have gladly accepted, was it not that Kim vetoed the deal and I was not allowed to spend money on them. When Peter heard that, he offered them to me for free, on the condition that I paint them. Well, I can't say no to that! here they are, in their original wrappings even.....

Then the bell rang for the third game and I made my way to the Collision table from Code Orange Games. I had actually planned a free slot but a late night chat on Facebook convinced me I needed to try out this game. As fun would have it, Patrick from Pat's Lasercutting was my opponent. When we sat down the game got explained to us, it is not finalised yet so things can change, and while listening I looked at all of the sheets and datacards and chips they had on the table and that got me a bit worried. That vaporised in the first 5 minutes as they game is dead easy to play. Each round, you bid action points to see who goes first (I bid 3, Pat bid 2, so I won). You then have 5 character, each with their own data card, to place on the board. On the board are loot counters and pieces of a special Crystal that you want to collect. After placing your guys on the table you take 3 deck cards into your hand, these can be used later, and then the game is one. Activating one character costs 1 Action Point and he can do 2 actions, so walk-walk, walk-shoot, walk-pick up, or shoot shoot. Shooting is easy and deadly. Depending on the weapon you fire 1 or more shots, and you take a card for each shot. Cards have a value from 1 to 8 and FAIL or SUCCES. You have a sheet to place them on, one card per shot, and you have -1 to -3 mods and +1 to +3 mods on it, and you put the card on it in such a way the mod shows, but with the value hidden. Both players then reval the card, if your value is higher the shot has hit and has caused a wound. 2 wounds and you are dead. Simple.
When your character is finished the tunr goes to your opponent, and he does the same with 1 character. Then it is back to me, and I either pick a new charcter for 1 action point, or pick up the used character again for 2 action points. As you have limited action points, you have to balance it carefully. Picking up loot counters is a must as it gives you an extra hand card, and those help with shooting as they can replace a card that is too low. It is fast too, in the first round I took out 3 of Pats guys for one of mine. Using cover is vital, as is spending your AP wisely.

After this turn, Pat had to go again so I spent some time talking to the designers about what I liked and what I did not like. I strongly reccomended making a blank character card available to future players so they can add in pictures of their own models to keep up the visuals. They also intend to relase a miniatures line to go with the game. There will also be a Kickstarter I think.

Then I excused myself and just sat down and rested quite a bit, with lots of water as I was really beat.

Then came Bushido. Odd, that doesn't look like a Osprey rulebook to me. Uh oh. I did something wrong. I had mistakenly thought it was the Fantasy variant of Ronin, but that game is actually called Daisho. Oh well, let's give it a try anyway. A 5 minute talk about the various rules, 3 players on each side, his samurai vs my monks, a nice small board. Mission was to align the 3 idols so they faced my side. Also character cards per figure, with a lot of options (too much for my liking). 1 move and you are tired, 2 moves and you are exhausted and fight at a penalty. using Ki to use special skills. Well, can't remember too much, but I managed to kill all of his guys, but as I did not have the statues aligned in round 2 or 4 it was a tie. Ok, not my logic, but sure. Not my game, at least it was over quickly.

So, this year no freebies for playing games like I had last time. No biggie, but a reminder would have been nice. I think I will collect some Nuka Cola bottlecaps for my players when I do a TNT demo next year. (if, maybe)

5:30 was a nice time to leave, so I loaded up Sander in the car and we had a long drive back to Eindhoven to talk about wargames, taxes, wives, driving licences and of course our own reviews on Poldercon. After dropping him off at the station I was back home at 7, just in time to put the kids to bed. I showed Kim what I had bought and she wasn't all that pleased but I had bought them with her consent and I have promised to paint it all up as soon as possible and not spend anything again untill the next convention (April).

And when I looked at my mail, this chap had arrived, a nice trade on GW Hobby:
Just need to fill in the seams where they can be seen, some general sanding and then he is ready for primer and bronzing with patina, nothing special. After that I will make him a new, taller base to stand on and to cover in posters, and that will be another part of the city for November done.

Now, sleep :)

Size matters!

Last week I made a post on the GW Hobby (Dutch) forum that I was looking for a boar as I had rolled one up as a creature for Frostgrave. I got some replies, and a nice Dutch Expat in Sweden sent me the Northstar boar from Frostgrave, and I traded 2 old 1993 GW Boars at Poldercon to complete the lot. But then Mo!, who was giving a conversion workshop, gave me one of the new(er) GW boars.

 25mm base on the left, 40mm base on the right.
It's the size of a horse! I love it, it looks really agressive, it just needs some greenstuff to fill up the bare patches and gaps where the parts are glued. The Northstar one looks like a baby now....I thought about painting it as such but when I told Kim she made a sad face....babykilling and all that. So let's not shall we.

Since I'm spending so much time on the ruins I've only been able to cobble together a bag of skeleton parts for 1 undead, plus I found my Zombie from Crisis again. I know my giant rats are here somewhere, but they feel a bit weedy so I might swap them for some Necromunda rats. Don't think I will get it all done before friday though....well, I know so.

I want another one of those big boars though. I like!

donderdag 4 februari 2016

Wasteland Ruin - 3 Doors Down

Sorted the weathering and the labelling of the 3 doors. Also washed all of the rebar with Devlan Mud and afer that had dried, with Vallejo Light Rust Wash for that crusted rusted iron effect.

Next up: painting and weathering the tiles, and after that doing the paperwork. Can't wait, though that last step is going to take a few evenings I guess.

Wasteland ruin progress - grey sorted

Finished sponging grey on the model all over, even inside where it is bloody hard to reach. Did the tops with a almost pure white highlight, only picking up the top and some of the other straight edges, but it hardly shows. Finished painting the rebar in the base brown tone, will do a brown wash to pick up all the crusts and then do a orange drybrush tomorrow evening. Also just finished painting (well, using a sponge) 2 weathered green doors and a wooden door with glass. Just need to clean the edges a bit. I'm thinking of doing the tiles in a Khaki colour, that seems to match the ones I saw in the bunkers and KPN building I frequented over the years.
I'm expecting a envelope with a dozen or more sheets of posters and newspapers to cut up, bathe in coffee and spread all over the floors. After that it is time for washes and final weathering, before reprimering the plasticcard edge that has worn a bit and painting it black with 2 good coats of gloss and a matte varnish to end it. I don't see a point in varnishing the model atm, It is built pretty solid and not likely to be tossed around by me anyway...

In other news, I traded a big plastic Space Marine statue on the sprue that should be here by the weekend too. I'm planning on giving it a raised base and adding 40K posters to it, so it will be easy to change the theme of the ruins to 40K/Inquisitor by just placing that in a central square or in front of a ruin.

I'm having a hard time keeping my chin up. The physical pain is getting less with each passing day, though I still have plenty of problems with my back and knee, but I and Kim have detected my mood has gotten a lot darker over the week since I got the news of my job loss. I'm having trouble enjoying my kids and even getting a bit of a temper now and then. These are the first signs of a (coming) depression for me and I need to nip this one in the butt.

dinsdag 2 februari 2016

Crackle medium: lesson learned

I learned a good lesson.

A while back I was very impressed with the GW paint that creates cracked earth (Agrellan Earth). As usual, I was not so impressed with the costs of GW paint, so I looked for alternatives. I picked up this:
Bigger pot for the same price.

Since I'm working on a comission I thought it would be a nice time to create dried desert earth with it. So I whip up a tester base, mix it with brown paint and apply it very thickly.


Took over a day to dry and didn't crackle at all. Kim then told me that they used the stuff in art class and I had to apply a thin coat, and paint over that. So I did that, and got something like this:
...which is not at all what I want. A thicker layer of paint was no better. I knew there was a reason why I did not see anyone using this stuff as a replacement.

So, on my shopping list: Agrellan Earth

zondag 31 januari 2016

43rd Mechanised at Varpalota Challenge excercise - photo report by Hille Hillinga

Dutch Armed Forces photographer Hille Hillinga made some stunning pictures at the excercise in Hungary of our 43rd Meechanised Brigade.