Monday, September 30, 2013

Terrain in action!

Just some photos taken of the terrain-mat in action, at Warmachine night down at our local hobby store!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

How to make terrain mats

Most people who’ve ever played with miniature games during their life will know that pretty minis is one thing; pretty terrain is something else entirely. And those who’ve been playing with terrain will know that often we’re dealing with clunky, cumbersome pieces that aren’t really that easy to transport at all.

So a friend of mine shared a link with me; it led me to a blog where this guy from Germany displayed his project of “terrain mats” - effectively terrain that you can roll up and transport easily.  Something that I just had to try out for myself. I’ve included the link for tribute, but this is mostly my version of his guide and how it went for my first time around.

The concept is rather simple; you produce a mat of terrain that can easily be transported since it’s made of cloth. The usual problem back in the days with such projects was that the flock would easily fall off, leaving you with a painted piece of nothing, unless you soaked it in glue beforehand. But this time we’re trying with a new method, consisting of water, sand, acrylic colors and acrylic paste. If you’ve been dreaming of such an opportunity, do read on and let me share some words of recommendation with you!

Some things to know in advance:

It’s messy like hell: You’re going to mix acrylic paint with water, sand and sticky paste. I had paint all over; the clothes, my hair, the table, the sink, the floor. Even though I’m slightly retarded at that sort of thing, I did try to keep it clean, but you’ll easily get it running everywhere if you’re not careful.  And then there’s the flock, which will definitely make a huge mess of things, especially once you start shaking the loose flock off. You can do this whole procedure outside, but know that it’ll be a bitch to do if it’s windy.
It’s more expensive than you think: Don’t be an idiot like me and buy everything the day before. Do your research.
You’ll need a lot of flock: My mat is about 4x5 feet; it took my entire store of six cans. Better have too much than too little.

Some things to acquire:

- Canvas in whatever size you need. Warhammer Fantasy I 4x6 feet, Warmachine 4x4 feet.
- Acrylic paste (four tubes as a minimum)
- An acrylic paste gun (you’ll need this unless your STR score is insane)
- Some sand
- Acrylic paint in whatever color you want your terrain. I chose brown and yellow.
- Some platform to which you can strap your canvas.
- Flock. Lots of it.
- A day’s worth of time.

Some things I did:

Having bought everything, I placed the canvas on top of an old warhammer board. My mat is a bit too small for Warhammer, I know, but it’s because I want to have some add-ons of various types for it; I saw they’d made shorelines and a lot of other good stuff which I want to try out too.

I attached it with a stapler; an advice I hesitate to pass on unless you have a way to remove them without damaging the canvas. I used some pliers from Game’s Workshop that did the trick nicely. It’s very important that the canvas is held in place, just don’t stretch it too much.

I then mixed up the magic stuff in an old coke bottle; sand, acrylic paste and paint along with water. It’s nice and messy which is why I recommend wearing some kind of gloves. It looks like shit, literally, and you need to make sure it’s sticky before you apply it on the mat.

Then I made a road. Keep in mind that if you do this outside, it will dry up a lot faster. Better make the layers a bit thicker than thinner, since this will make it stick better.

Repeating the same stuff with the yellow color.

Then flock that shit. Go crazy with grass, rock, earth, whatever you desire. It makes a good effect if you mix some of it, rather than having separate puddles of flock around.

And then on to the other side. I mainly used the GW green grass, glade grass, sand, ash grey and spring flower grass.

Time for patience. Tobias writes that you need some hours to let it dry; I let it have all night outside since I’d rather err on the side of caution, so this morning I could easily drag it inside and remove the staples. Then I lifted up in both ends, shook it a bit and funneled the loose flock into a small container. This is great, because you can reuse it.

Then I left it to hang and started beating it up. Kick, punch, bite and dragon shout it to get as much loose flock off as possible. Some will fall off no matter what, but in general it sticks really well.

You can theoretically stop it there, but if you want to go one step beyond I recommend sitting down with some glue and applying flock to all the areas that seem too bare. Also, if you have any static grass, flowers of the like, now is the time to apply it.

Once done, kick it a bit more and you’ll have your very own rollable terrain ready to go. I’m very satisfied with it, to be honest, and look forward to try it out in a different landscape next.

Kudos and respect to Tobi’s Paint who originally had the idea: and Scatterbrainedwargamer for presenting me the article!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

To our Boys in Red

I’ve been severely neglecting this blog for the entire week, mainly because of work. I recently started up in the local hobby store, selling miniatures, board games and in general being helpful towards customers by pushing Privateer Press stuff to them. It’s going remarkably smooth and well; so much that the first thing I do during my weekend is sitting down to write about Warmachine.

Lately, I’ve added some points to the paint-bank. I honestly had to, seeing how preciously little time I’ve had for actual gaming during the week. My usual Thursday evening I skipped out on, frankly because I was too tired, so I’ve been working with completing my third Warcaster, the Behemoth and the “Make an objective” schematic. I think there have also been some reading of “The Dresden Files” and Diablo in between; but I digress.

First of all, the behemoth is complete! (It has been for some time, if you’ve been following my facebook or Deviantart) and one mean beast it is indeed:

I’ve often been fapping squeeing about this model. I include it in almost all of my armies because it’s just so good. Yes, as everything else in warmachine that depends on the circumstances and how you use it, but it’s a mountain of steel with two shouldercannons.
Fuck, what’s not to love?

As for painting, it was pretty ordinary with the red highlights all the way up to very slim orange around the edges. I considered, for a moment, adding in some weak blue on the metal to make it extra special, but decided against it. I bought him used, which is why some minor pieces were missing, and from the start I made a rock out of green stuff, and glued him on in this pose. It offers more support for him, since he’s huge and made of metal, and used Super Epoxy glue for the purpose. He’s been moved and thrown around a lot since then, and survived pretty well.

Next up is the nasty Butcher of Khardov. I don’t like Butcher in a play-style sense. He’s too direct and seeing how warcasters already have a huge “Kill me!” sign on top of their head, having one that prefers getting up close and personal just seemed like a bad idea. On the other hand, he is a glass cannon; you can be pretty sure that unless it’s one of the very heavy boys that get in his face, he’ll likely be able to tear it a new one in the following round (and honestly, even warbeasts and heavy jacks won’t leave that encounter unscathed).

I’ve only played him for one game so far, and used him way too Irusk’ish. His feat is devastating and his spells okay, however, so I’ll take him for a spin again, sure.

Regarding painting he’s really straight forward. Very straight. Instead of coming up with something creative, I decided for basework, seeing how that’s always fun and easy. And for the first time in history, I’ve added blood on a mini’s weapon, which I usually loathe like the plague. This seemed like the exception, however, his history taken into account; river running red with blood and so on. I found a really dark, red ink which you can apply varnish to and it’s basically blood (the water I made with C1212). I don’t remember the ink’s name, seeing how it was my boss who provided it, but I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

Finally there’s the objective.

There’s not that much to say, except that I find it kind of nice. It was just what I had laying around put on to a base. The ground and rock was made from polystyrene on which I sprayed a tiny bit of GW paint (it dissolves poly, which creates this nice rocky effect)

And there you have it!

Next project is terrain; I still need to make something at least for the five points. On top of that, I'm contemplating something very, very special soon!

Stay tuned!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

WoW: Going ashore on Timeless Isle

It’s been a while since we heard anything from Azeroth. Mostly because I haven’t had that much to say and decided to bide my time and behold what wonders the miraculous patch 5.4 could possibly have in store for me. Mists was another expansion like Cata, in which I started out with the best intentions, but so many things got in the way that I never managed to attend any raids. And whenever I log in I can’t be assed about the Raid Finder, overtly critically comparing it to the old TBC days of “pure” raiding. Snobby, I know.

For said reasons, I spend a lot of time soloing around in WoW; making gold, pulling own weight, trying out various classes. WoW has really turned much more into this direction than just a couple of years ago, and I’m honestly in no position to argue. Even though I’m sad I haven’t been with a proper raiding guild for some time, there’s still so much to see and do in Pandaria that it was all worth it.

For me, Patch 5.4 was kind of a make or break, subscription-wise. Likely what Blizz intends to do with it; keep people like me for a couple of months more. And while I’m not going into every tiny detail about the notes (you can easily google that), I’ll cover some of my experiences with it so far. Namely; the Timeless Isle.

Timedelayed Isle

Except for the mandatory handful of class tweaks there is a lot of good stuff going on in 5.4 - I haven’t done much reading up on the new raid, yet. But I’m surprised to learn that it’s the final official raid in this expansion? For some reason it seems kind of anticlimactic how we fought Thuzad, Illidan, Arthas and Deathwing and now we get to storm Orgrimmar and kill that annoying orc who never stops fucking talking. I’ve heard from horde players that they’re ironically looking even more forward to shut him the hell up.

The Timeless Isle; aptly named the Timedelayed Isle on the high pop-server (mine is one of the highest Ally servers out there) and the resulting lagging, is a very intriguing idea. Basically, if you’re going into it blind, you’re sent off to this lush, green island and told to go out and have fun. It’s kind of like when you went to those children’s parties as a child, and the grownups had hidden treasures, candy and all that shit all over the garden; just for you to find. Now, replace candy with epics and know the other people around you are still egomaniac douches and you’re kind of getting the idea with TI.

The Isle itself isn’t that big, but certainly bigger than Isle of Quel’Danas. I’ve always loved those island areas, and the emphasis around here is on exploration, which is hugely rewarded. Not long after arriving, you’re sent on a series of quests having you travel around the island, and in classical Skyrim-way, you’ll run into several opportunities for sidetracking. Things such as hidden chests, glinting stuff in the sand, rare monster spawns and mysterious caverns all await you and your endless curiosity.

A central proving ground serves as the main quest hub, from which you’ll be sent out to slay various beasts of the isle in order to fulfill a quest chain related to the new raid. The creatures here are a bit more tough and durable than what you might’ve been used to in ordinary Panda Land; but luckily, this is where the next part comes in!

Free ep0xxX!!1

In all my many years of WoW, I don’t think I have ever had such easy epics. Scattered through chests, on creatures and in various other ways on the Isle, are tokens which you can use to create epic items of high quality. Mainly armor-pieces that are bound to your bNet account, meaning you can actually grind/find gear for those poor, undergeared alts of yours. It’s kind of nifty, and while the pieces initially don’t go over iLevel 500, it’s possible, with enough grinding, to upgrade them to the tiers in which they become rather nice. We aren’t talking Tier-gear here, but it certainly was some of a shock to open a chest and have two epic items thrown right into your face. To much satisfaction for my rogue, who still struggled for decent shoulders.

The grinding mostly consists of acquiring coins that drop from a lot of things on the Isle. Mostly creatures; ordinary, elite and super rare spawns that require groups. Since one of the early quests require you to achieve 50 rare stones dropped from elites around the Isle, a lot of people quickly figured out how those annoying turtles were in for a truly rough ride.

In all seriousness; I’ve never, ever seen so much turtle massacre in my life.

The good thing is how the rare spawns are open to kills from everyone participating; meaning you can like I did and put on some nice music, chill around and look for rare spawns and join in on the fun. There’s certainly an undeniable charm in watching 20+ players throw themselves, hungrily, against a poor rare turtle; tearing it to pieces and ripping its corpse like taken out of a zombie movie.


In other parts of the Isle you’re able to participate in small challenges, such as pillar-jumping, skydiving with the right gear to hard areas ( my rogue was able to get an iLevel 500+ helmet on his own, by exploring) and even a gambling den. Wage your hard earned coins to pick a chest and hope it will pay off. Maybe you’ll get ripped, maybe you’ll get even richer. It kind of reminds me of Zelda, in a way…

There’s even four minor open-raid bosses in the middle of the isle you can join in on for more epic gear, or get lucky and start the quest to build the legendary noodle-cart for your cooking. While the quests sits safely in my inventory, I refuse to complete it till I’ll actually have the money from the sales I make through it. Sorry, Blizz. You’ll have to do better.

Things to see and do

I’m pretty certain I’ve only covered about a fraction of this place; after all, I only had a couple of hours to check it out. It’s certainly one of those places that need to be seen and in many ways a lot more interesting than Quel’Danas ever was (despite Quel’Danas being really cozy, atmospheric and beautiful - I still go back there from time to time). I’m not entirely sure whether it’s enough to keep me around for another subscription cycle, or I’ll return to some ARPG’s while waiting for Hearthstone, however.

While there certainly are some great ideas and finally something to grind for (the high level epics) I’m still not sure it’s IT for me. The good thing, of course, would be that so many of the epics are accountbound, meaning you can really get gear for an alt without playing it first. Also, the gear seems to adjust to your current spec, so from that angle I can only recommend Blizzard for such an approach.

In training

Another feature that truly got my attention was the Proving Ground. I didn’t know about this till before a couple of days up to the patch; needless to say I was stoked. Here’s the deal ; if you’re like me and the very notion of trying out a new role or class in the presence of PUG morons scares the living daylight out of you … fear not! The proving grounds allow you to try out as either a healer, tank or dps in a series of trials tailored to your style. That means you can finally get to try out healing with that alt, without people screaming at you for being noob. As such, I finally got to play around with that paladin healing only to realize how much I suck at it. Some things apparently aren’t meant to be; although I strongly consider trying for the tank next.

All in all…

With three days left, I’ll likely take a couple of closer looks on the Isle, maybe dig some scenarios and the like. If you haven’t given patch 5.4 a go yet, or even the game, now is a somewhat good time to return. You can easily gear up to be on par with the current level of difficulty, and it’s even fun doing so. It kind of brings my thoughts back to Guild Wars 2, and the collective achievements, interests and helping each other out that I enjoyed so much.
Perhaps even the turtles will have a break later on.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Pacific Terminus

Things went above expectations against Cryx; it’s not a sentence I imagine ever getting used to. Call me pessimist, but I blame thrice victory in luck>skill, especially this time around.

If you didn’t guess, I won yesterday’s match against the infernal stalkers of the dark world. Despite playing around with Doom Reavers for the first time, and for once pulling out ol’ Epic Irusk. Mostly just for the additional league point. Besides from that, there is only so much you can do in 35 points, so I remained with a small group of pikes, winter guards and the Behemoth. The latter ended up as the star of the show, beyond doubt, seeing as my opponent had brought Lich Lord Terminus for some fun.

Granted, I don’t know much about Terminus. I’m still in the stage where most people field something new that I’ve never heard about, and I pretty much just shrug and see how it plays out. To me, that’s the best way to learn the tricks of this game, seeing as I’d have to be slightly autistic (in that ‘Rainman’ way) to memorize every little unit, solo and engine for all armies. Terminus has such an awesome model, however, and in my D&D terminology, a Lich Lord sounds like someone who prefers to remain in the back and nuke me from orbit.

It would definitely be a way to remain safe, compared to the contrary. Which was what my opponent decided to go for. Apparently, this Terminus is some of a YOLO-guy; he wants to get up all close and hug’ish, kind of like the Butcher, I imagine. I’ve seen some games in which Terminus has accumulated an immense amount of souls, bringing his Armor to the point where it’s barely fun anymore (we’re talking around 30 or so…)

I got lucky early on, when a Behemoth shot deviated into Gorman and blew him up, and tried to hold my position till I found out which flag would disappear (‘Incursion Scenario’). Luckily, I faced Bane Thralls and not knights, so my winter guards were able to pop a few from a distance. I’ve been commenting on how eIrusk is a tricky caster to run well, but I was thrilled to feel how my general experience with the game had improved so much that I could utilize him for much better effect. There can be so much movement going around with so much flexibility if you plan for it; in my case, I screened my reavers behind the pikes, so they’d be ready to charge through them on his feat-turn. It seemed kind of brilliant.

And suddenly, there he was. Terminus. In the middle of the table, moving up to play. At this time, my opponent was a bit disheartened; complaining pretty much from turn one about the behemoth and its Armor Piercing ability. Again, I’ll have to point out, I made this list totally on a whim with very little planning. But when the huge pile of undead rage stood there in the middle of the field, Joe shouted for the guards to focus fire and clear a line, Irusk Energized, feated and crossed his fingers. In one massive charge, the Behemoth thundered down the lines (with much cheering, I’m sure) and began pounding the Lich Lord. 

It didn’t end well for the evil overlord, truth to be told. The rolls were good and Terminus was soon after reduced to a steaming pile of undead rubble. Score points there. Even though they honestly felt a bit too easy; I had the feeling my opponent was too demoralized at that point to care, Terminus was barely screened from the charge and it happened during my second turn as player 2. Ah well…

I’m currently racing against another player for the first place in the league, but I’m sure she will haul home a lot of points, seeing how I’ll be busy with work for the remaining weeks. Still, a badge is a badge. I need to complete the creative schematics as well, starting with the custom made objective marker, which is well underway:

And coming up next; Warcaster painting time. Butcher. I honestly never liked this guy that much, even though he’s kind of an “Off the rack” choice for so many Khador players. I always look at him and compare him to the style I’m used to play with Irusk and think it almost seems too…well…crude and direct. But I can’t argue that his feat is very good and he goes well with the guards, pikes and behemoth too. I’m going up against Retribution this Thursday, but I contemplate on trying out an Old Witch list instead, with a list specifically made for scenario-wins. We’ll just have to see about that.

Finally, just a small happy jump that the awesome guys over at Privateer Press on twitter RT’ed my Khador Sheep Dog to all their followers. Thank you all for you awesome response; it’s so nice to hear that people like your work! : D

Till then, stay tuned and safe!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Dey took'is DAWG??

In recent updates, I just wanted to share with you all how I completed a project long overdue: The modification of the Khador Wardog.

Rulewise, the dog is good. It’s really, really good. So good for that one, odd point that there’s barely any competition for the support it offers. Whether for the parry, the additional defense or (my favorite) countercharging those asshole arc nodes coming up way too close to your caster - you absolutely want to consider Dog.

Modelwise, however, it’s a different story. I suppose that with a faction such as Khador, there are certain expectations regarding our beloved canines. They’re likely supposed to be huge, butch and menacing - likely named something along “Comrade Fang” or “Bloodthirster”.

Me, I’ve decided to name it “Totte” (Danish for something like “fluffy hairy”) and make some special modifications myself from the original model:

Into this:

Quite simple, nothing hard. Yet, everything I could possibly want from my very own dog : D

It's league time!

I love Warmachine, and I love Warmachine Leagues even more! Good news for me is how Equilibrium is kicking off just these days and we’re off to another month of gaming for glory, fighting for fame and winning for…valor. And badges.

A thing that genuinely intrigued me about Privateer Press when I first entered the game was how simple and yet elegant they run their league play. In certain months, running on short intervals of a couple of weeks in between, you’re simply able to accumulate points for playing, painting and doing new creative stuff with your craft. Seeing as how the creative people are decently rewarded for their dedicated work, it combines so nicely with the fact that you’re able to participate in a rather laid back, casual fashion. If you’re like me and don’t really fancy going to tourneys just in order to compete within your game, league is just for you.

Equilibrium brings on the new batch of schematics for you to fool around with. Some are what you’d expect, such as more points for making terrain (which is a great incentive, seeing how so few people can be assed with this) and completing various point tiers. On the new front you can now earn additional points by letting your opponent decide which warcaster/warlock to include in your army, or hell; even let your opponent build your army! While I’m likely not going to aim for this one, it’s still a nice idea. The core of the schematics is first and foremost focused on gaming this time around, rewarding you for a fully painted army only if you win 50 pts. Battles within five rounds.

There are of course new maps to fight over. Nothing that really blows me away, and yet offers a couple of reeeaaally interesting opportunities - such as a map in which the terrain moves, or a scenario in which you’re able to field two of the same character. Just imagine that. I can’t help but feel the appeal of actually being able to run two toughened winter guard death stars, or hey; just one with DEF 17, tough, fearless and constant boosted ranged attacks? Yes please.

I imagine the use of this map will depend heavily on the allowance of proxies in whatever environment. Our EO has strictly stated that the original PP mini must be provided for duplicates, and while it’s fun, I don’t feel tempted enough to go out and buy a second Joe. Sorry.

I fired up the battles to come this weekend with four games against the Legion of Everblight. Followers will know I’ve always struggled a bit with these guys, especially since they were among the first opponents I’ve played. I’m still rather terrified by some of their beasts, and a lot of stuff I like to play around with they tend to ignore. Still, I was amazed that I won the 50, 35 and 15 point game against them.  The one time that really did me in was that horrible flying assassination caster of theirs.

I had the chance to play around for a bit with Vlad3 as well, mostly for fun. It turned out to be a lot of fun with a lolol-list mainly consisting of him and as many jacks he could pull and sprint around with wind wall. I must admit, I’m kind of in love with Signs and Portents so far and I’m definitely contemplating this guy when I get tired of Irus/Star/Pikemen setup. The thing that’s really amazing about it, is how it effects Fenris too, meaning that on a charge this guy hammers for an insane 5D6-lowest dice roll. In one game he tore most of a unit to pieces by himself just with the aid of this spell.

With legion victories off, I’m moving on to Cryx this Monday. I bet it will be nothing less than interesting.