Thursday, July 18, 2013

Nerds and Summers - An update!

We’re approaching that time of year again when everything comes to a grinding halt, social- as well as activity-wise. The weather has reached that warm breeze quality that is so nice to enjoy when you sit inside with an open window (for me at least; I’ve heard it’s rather harsh and hot in other places of the world) and  you kind of accept that not much happens. People and friends are leaving for various locations around the world and I hope they will all take care and that we’ll meet and exchange long stories of wherever they decided to stay.

As for me, this has undoubtedly been one of the quietest weeks this summer; if not the entire year. Just about every single arrangement I usually frequent has been cancelled due to said reasons, and the single event of Warmachine in Århus this Monday was so hot people could barely bother for long. Still, this is exactly the kind of weather I’ve been yearning for. We’ll just have to make do without the company.

I’m still working on my Iron Fang Pikemen as described in my previous blog entry, seeing as we’ve passed the halfway-marker for Machinations league this month. It’s definitely not a bad month to participate in, seeing as so many people are busy with other stuff. I’ve managed just 1-2 games every week, gotten a few schematics and already sit neatly around 20 points or so. And that’s before I’ve even added the massive pool of painting stuff I’m going to haul in. While I don’t count on winning this by a long shot, I do intend to see just how far up I can push it for being a new guy in this environment.

We’re still making our way forward in the daily Pathfinder group. As you may recall, Skull and Shackles is still our current adventurepath, semi-stuck at the transition into chapter five because the players are currently setting full sails to find all the legendary treasures of the Shackles. At this time of writing, they’ve uncovered just about all of them from the first three chapters, getting in close to the fourth and have just acquired the map of the fifth chapter. It’s an exciting hunt, one that I look forward to make a youtube video about once it’s all over. I hope I’ll be able to inspire other GM’s to do the same, because treasure hunting is very much what’s piracy is all about.

There has been much debate about what campaign we should run next, seeing as once the heroes get started they’ll likely be done with Shackles around November this year or so. Currently, the decision has been boiled down to Serpent’s Skull, Way of the Wicked, Legacy of Fire or Wrath of the Righteous. I’m personally very much up for Way of the Wicked, seeing as we might as well keep the evil theme going. But it’ll definitely be very interesting to see where we end up, and whether we can complete three campaigns in a row (or as it may be for me, four!)

 There has been a significant amount of gaming going on as well, especially e newfound love for Path of Exile that has kept me more or less occupied with various builds and try outs. I believe that one of the things that truly makes this game shine to its fullest is the myriad of options and possible approaches you have about your character and how some players have made some of the weirdest skills work. I’ve recently been working a lot on Kripparian’s Discharger build, pretty much going in blind and testing since I had a Voll’s Protector drop in a random map. We’re basically dealing with a specc that’s able to one-shot an entire screen, including magic- and rare-monsters if you’re good enough. It comes with the eternal threat of reflect-elemental one shotting yourself, but who can honestly bother when it’s so much fun? It’s a difficult build to play, however, even more difficult to  gear up and master. You pretty much have a rotation that must go on, and it doesn’t take much for one step to fail, pretty much sabotaging the rest and leaving you derping (doing nothing) around a whole screen of mobs.

For those of you interested in trying out, check it out at:
Of course there is the Lightning Arrow Ranger, my current main who’s resting well on level 82 with her Lionseye that was recently five-linked. It’s a good and solid build that has so far has few issues with up to level 72 maps (I haven’t tried higher levels, so I couldn’t really say) as long as I’m a bit careful. Lightning arrow is definitely a safe and reliable choice, leaving me pretty much to hold one button and watch television in every map under level 70. I’d still like to play with other builds and have currently set out to try the dual sporker.

And yes, Steam Summer Sale.


As if I thought I could avoid it.

In all honesty, though, this year has been negligible. Partly because of reasoning from my side, partly because I don’t want to spend so much money on new games when I already have nine laying around waiting for me to be played. Some of them go back to the Summer Sale of 2011… Actually, that was the ‘worst’ year for me, since I’d just started making real money and everything, and desperately wanted revenge for all those university years where I couldn’t afford a single game. So I bought 15 that year. Haha!

Perhaps I’m also put off a bit by the fact that we have to deal with those stupid cards and we can’t just have those small, cute illustrations they used to make every day. You know, kind of tell a story with the drawings made of the persons from the game going on summer camp and everything. That may just be me, but it meant a great deal.

What happened to these??
Drawings aside, I’ve gotten myself Chaos on Deponia (the Deponia games are awesome adventure games, very much in the spirit of Monkey Island), the new episode of Walking Dead (because brains) and finally The Knife of Dunwall. I’m yet to complete Dishonored for good, although working fiercely on it, and I’ve heard a lot of good stuff about KOD. In general, Dishonored is one of those games I’d make breakfast on bed and marry; it’s that good.

So as we progress along the summer, know that I haven’t forgotten the blog or anything remotely geeky. Like everyone else, I’m simply busy with all that matters when the weather is warm and girls outside not wearing much clothes. Sitting inside, having a beer, staring at that pale screen and the tiny miniatures that need painting. And it has never felt better.

Have a nice summer!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Painting Iron Fang Pikemen Part 1

There are a couple of miniature units I have a really hard time scraping together the money for; those few cases in which I actually stop for a while and realize how insanely much I’m paying for insanely little. It’s usually not a huge concern for me, seeing as how I’ve likely spent way over a 1000 dollars on this hobby, but when I see such packed regiments as the Blood Knights from Warhammer Fantasy, I cringe. It’s way too much money for such a little thing.

And then there is the rare exception to the already uncommon rule - some models are just so immensely good-looking that the struggle has ended well in advance. I might put up my hesitant, grown up façade and put it down, but they know I’ll return and leave - this time with an empty wallet.

The Khador Iron Fang Pikemen comes to mind in this regard - actually, a lot of Warmachine minis do, which is partly why I love the game so much. I’ve had my eye on this unit since I began playing Khador, along with the Man O Wars, and this Monday I finally went for it. Not that I could really afford it that much; but that’s that. Some of you out there probably know what I mean.

With such an expensive unit, I decided to make something really special out of it. I’ve heard very differentiating opinions about them, some saying the assassins are way better (and frankly, I can see what they mean) but the assassins look way inferior miniature-wise. So I’d rather lose a battle while looking good than the visa versa. Besides, some have defended the pikemen, saying they can indeed do serious damage once paired up with the new Kovnik and attachments. We’ll just have to see.

There might be some assembly required before that, however. In a practical perspective, a lot of people have complained about their pikes being too soft and not durable enough. And let me tell you, there’s something about it. These models are made of metal which gives them that really nice, heavy feeling - especially because they’re quite sturdy already.

So I decided to replace their spears from the start, buying 10 sewing needles about the same size of the spears (50mm). Then I drilled out their hands and removed the spears, glued on the needles and the original parts on each end of it and made it stick in their hands.

(It sounds so easy, right? It isn’t. It’s messy, it’s a lot of drilling and you have to be careful in order to make it look good. I tried out the Army Painter Magic Superglue Activator - something I’ve had for some time but never got around trying. I can honestly say that I’m not that big of a fan. While having the glue stick and dry almost instantly is damn sweet, it’s my experience that when it comes to metal at least, you sacrifice durability for speed. I’ve did some accidental bumps with some of the models that would usually be no biggie, but shattered some of the glue-points outright with the Super Activator. So I recommend drilling everything into place and letting it dry the old fashion way. If you have the patience, that is. It took me well more than a whole night to do this.)

From there on it’s the same pattern as painting my other Khadors. They aren’t hard to paint and I imagine you have a lot of options if you want to take a less conventional route than I. For now, I’ve tried out my skills on the first three of them and can say that I’m very pleased.
I’ll be back later with more pictures as I get to paint the rest, along with comments on how. But, I really just followed the same way I painted Sorcha and Irusk.