Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Greenskin Menace!

After playing a game of Warmaster at the Specialist Gamesday we had a couple weeks ago, I figured I'd pick up a couple of armies. I was able to get my hands on Tomb Kings, Orcs, and most recently, Empire. In an effort to actually get an army to the table, I figured I had the best chance with the Orcs. Yes, Tomb Kings are basically white with a wash, but I'm really liking the way Vincent has modified his generic skeletons to keep them in line with the Khemri fluff. I don't know if I'll ever get around to that, but I didn't want to rush anything into production and regret it later. And the Empire... well, they're pretty complicated in terms of painting, what with all the quartering and whatnot. Plus, I'm still trying to get them up the full 2000 point force I'm aiming for.

So, as it stands, Orcs are going to be the first Warmaster army for me! I've spent the last few days cleaning up the models, and I figured that, before adding characters, I have over 3000 points - more than enough. I decided to lay out the army and get an idea of the size:

Top view


Monday, August 27, 2012

Hobby Arsenal - The "Other" Brush

So you've gone hog wild and spent tons of money on some nice sable brushes. And you still scrub your models with a toothbrush. Let me tell you a secret - toothbrushes are for teeth. A toothbrush is engineered to be softer and less abrasive - you want to remove the burrito you had for dinner, not the enamel from your teeth.

So what's the other option? You could use a brass brush, and while it works for metal, it's going to tear up your plastic and resin models. No, you want something in between the toothbrush and the wire brush.

Enter the AP brush:
For Long Fangs, not your fangs
The AP (All Purpose) brush is a standard in rifle-cleaning kits throughout the military and civilian world. It is compact, like the toothbrush, but has tougher bristles that will stand up to hard scrubbing and still be able to remove that tough paint. As an added bonus, some clever person added the tiny bristles to get into hard to reach areas.

So do yourself a favor and pick one up - you can get them from Amazon or the interwebz (look for "receiver brush" or "rifle cleaning brush") or your local gun store. Your scrubbin' arm will thank you.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance box set up for preorder now!

Warhammer 40,000: Dark Vengeance - Limited Edition

I'm really liking the Crimson Slaughter Chaos Marines and the Cultists. The Hellbrute, on the other hand... There are parts of it I like, but other parts, not so much. I think it looks a little too Obliterator-y in the back - rounded off, and not as angular as the front plates. 

The Dark Angels I could do without (never been a fan), but I might be able to do something with the Tactical squad.

This is listed as a Limited Release, as it comes with an exclusive Dark Angels model, Interrogator-Chaplain Seraphicus, though I'm sure they'll drop the character in the next sets that come out and keep everything else as-is.

$107 USD - go get your copy now!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ultrasonic - stripping miniatures with SOUNDWAVES! (Part the third)

For the Before and After test, I grabbed a selection of miniatures that fit all the ranges of what I might want to strip - primed white, primed black, and fully painted. Note that the Wyvern in the picture is in fact a dark red, and not primed black.
Lab rats

After the first cleaning and scrub, these are the results:
After the first pass

To the left, you'll notice the models that look like they are brand new - these were the white-primed models. In fact, I didn't have to do any scrubbing at all on them - they came out of the cleaner looking like that! Obviously though, the models on the right are more the average on the first run. most of the paint is off, but there is retention in the crevices and deeper pockets. The Wyvern was too large to be fully submerged, so that's why it looks the way it does. The paint on some of the Carrion and the Sphinx was extremely difficult to remove - I don't know if this was the paint used, the number of models in the unit, or the fact that my Simple Green was now completely filthy. At this point, everything with paint on it went back into the bath for round two.

After the second cycle and scrubbing, here is what I had:
And after the second pass
 Most of what you're seeing on the models is less of a paint and more like if you did a black wash on a model to bring out the contours. I would have no problems with priming them. The Wyvern cleaned up pretty well, though there is still paint in the recesses - I chalk that up to the model not being able to fit fully into the solution. Also, some of the Carrion have a little paint left in their wings - again, not sure if this is due to a different paint or weakened solution.

Conclusions: I'm completely satisfied with the ultrasonic cleaner. It is a huge timesaver and allowed me to get done in hours what would have taken days or even weeks (albeit with similar effort.) I was hoping that the ultrasonic action would break superglue bonds, but it doesn't seem to be the case - some bonds were broken, but others weren't. If I really need to break a bond, I'll probably have to soak the model for a few days.

Obviously, the cleaning solution has a finite lifespan, and for my Before and After test, it looks like mine had reached its limit. This is not a deal breaker by any means, as even a jar full of cleaner will only last so long.

Heat and size are also huge deals - I am convinced that the unit's heat capabilities really helped break down the paint. And I'm glad I got the larger unit, as it means I can clean more models in a shorter time as well as having the capability of being able to put larger models into the bath.

All in all, if you want to work quicker and can afford one, I highly recommend picking up an ultrasonic cleaner for stripping your miniatures. I'll have to try some resin models next, though I'm sure the results will be similar. I'm also thinking that this would be a great way to clean your miniatures for priming, instead of having to wash each individual part. Looks like there are going to be more tests...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ultrasonic - stripping miniatures with SOUNDWAVES! (Part two - Electric Boogaloo)

Previously on Direct Fire...
As I alluded to in my previous post, my rationale for getting an ultrasonic cleaner to strip models was that I had recently come into the possession of a metric ton of Warmaster models. I didn't like the paint job, so I needed a quick way to strip them and get them ready for priming. I could dump a handful of them in a jar of Super Clean, wait a few days, scrub them, put in a new batch, wait a few days, etc., but I wanted to get the job over with.

The first victims to visit the bath were some Warmaster Undead that had been soaking in Super Clean for a couple of days. Before I had decided on purchasing the ultrasonic cleaner, I had tossed these guys into a jar and left them to soak. I took them out of the jar, and along with a couple of additional unsoaked models, dropped them into the cleaner. I set the timer to the recommended 280 seconds and stepped back. Apart from a high-pitched buzz-whine (probably can't be heard if you're an old person - you know, like that mosquito ringtone?) I didn't see much going on. At any rate, once the cycle was done, I pulled out the tray and rushed the models to the sink to start scrubbing. And not a whole lot happened... Well, that was disappointing. So I rethought my strategy - longer cycle using heat. Would it work? I didn't know, but I did know I had my receipt for the cleaner in my pocket...

After what seemed like 8 minutes, but was, in fact, only 480 seconds, I carefully pulled the tray out of the hot Simple Green. I sat down at the sink and started scrubbing. And the paint was coming off! Success! I put the next batch of models into the cleaner as I worked on the first batch. Just like the week-long soakings, I still had to scrub, but I didn't seem to be scrubbing as hard. Not all of the paint was coming off (especially in the deep crevices,) but I decided to toss them in the cleaner again for another ride. Sure enough, the second time through was enough to loosen up the paint in the hard to reach areas. Before I knew it, I had cleaned the paint off of over 80 models in about an hour!
Not too shabby

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Warhammer Quest re-release! Sort of!

I just saw the news on another forum - Games Workshop is working with a company called Rodeo Games to release Warhammer Quest on the iPhone and iPad. Good news for people with an i-device, bad news for everyone else.

While I would like to see a re-release of a "real" version of the game, this could be a good substitute. Hopefully, it will be good...

See Games Workshop's Blog Post and Rodeo Games' Site for the full details.

Ultrasonic - stripping miniatures with SOUNDWAVES! (Part One)

Now, don't get me wrong - I'm all for dumping a handful of models into a jar full of caustic liquid and letting them sit for days on end, waiting for the paint to slowly slough off. My weapons of choice are Super Clean, which comes in a big purple jug, and a couple of glass jars. Drop the models in, dump in enough Super Clean to cover, and let science handle the rest. In 3-7 days, I return and scrub the offending paintjob away. But sometimes I'm in a rush and when I want to work on some models, I want to work on them now! Besides, I have a lot of Warmaster stands that I need to clean off and I don't want the job to stretch into weeks or months.
It's purple and it will take your skin off.
There are options for the less patiently minded - one I have used in the past is a jelly-like substance that works extremely well for removing paint. In fact, the paint strips almost as quickly as you can apply the goo! The down side is that it will eat plastic and is extremely toxic - in fact, I think it may be the inspiration for the Gelatinous Cube from D&D. Therefore, I try to use this stuff as a last resort.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reaper Bones Kickstarter

Now, I realize this is not at all Specialist Games or GW related, but have you seen the Reaper Miniatures Bones Kickstarter yet?
I am not a role-player, but holy cow, this deal is reeeeeallllllly tempting... $100 for well over 100 models! Not only that, but because of the nature of Kickstarter campaigns, the higher the total pledged, the more models get added into the mix!

This is a really interesting project and I plan on keeping my eyes on it to see where it goes.

If you're wondering how much you're actually getting for your dollar, a really nice person has done up an infographic for your education. Just mouse over the image and look to the right for the value of the current metal model.

Bear in mind that the Bones line is plastic and not metal, so the comparison isn't quite apples to apples, but $10 for a 7-inch tall dragon? Yes, please.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Specialist Games Day

Sunday, August 12 saw a Specialist Games Day at The Whiz in Westborough, Mass. There were games of Epic, Blood Bowl, Warmaster, Space Hulk, and Trafalgar (published by the now defunct Warhammer Historicals.) I played one game of Epic, which went horribly, and my first game of Warmaster.

For the Epic game, it was my Orks versus Black Legion Chaos. Unfortunately, my dice hated me, and I couldn't hit or make any saves for most of the game. For example: I would roll twelve dice in an attack, requiring fives or better. Everything would come up threes or worse. Nevermind trying to hit on sevens... I wound up getting a little disgruntled, but fortunately, my opponent Ruth didn't seem to hold it against me. I don't mind losing a game when my opponent is more skilled (i.e. most opponents) but to constantly lose due to terrible dice rolls is extremely frustrating.
The Warboss and his Krew move to take out a lone Chaos Terminator stand
Vultcha Skwadron makes a ground attack on the Decimator
Da Boyz
 On the brighter side, I was able to dive into Warmaster using my opponent Matt's Chaos army. I fought against his pure Goblin army, and this time, the dice were more conducive to an enjoyable game. I really enjoyed the game and found the rules to be less "crunchy" and more abstract than Epic, making it a more relaxed game. I've got my Tomb Kings and Orcs currently floating in a bath of Castrol Super Clean - hopefully the next time I play Warmaster, it will be with one of those armies.
The Chaos Army in all its glory
Facing the distant enemy
Giant Squig!
Trolls attack the Chaos Knights

Friday, August 10, 2012

Net Epic Armageddon Tournament Pack available

Just a quick post here to let everyone know that the Net Epic Armageddon site is now up and running. All the crunchy development stuff will still take place on the Tactical Command forums, but the Net Epic Armageddon (NetEA) site will serve as an easy entry point for players and house larger Epic-related projects.

One of those projects is the latest version of the NetEA Tournament Pack. From the site:

The NetEA Tournament Pack goes back to the idea of a living rulebook when Epic was seeing active development from Fanatic. It contains:
  • The official Epic Armageddon game rules and all of the errata found on the Epic Armageddon Resources page. All is stressed here as some errata are missing from the rulebook sections found on the web page above.
  • The most up-to-date FAQ available, essentially an expanded version of the FAQ found on the Games Workshop web page above. Each Q&A is a footnote in the appropriate section of the rules.
  • All of the NetEA Approved tournament army lists and any rule extensions and Q&A's that accompany them. NetEA Approved army lists are tournament ready and balanced against one another using the Epic tournament game rules. These lists vary slightly (point-cost and unit-stat-wise) from the official lists due to community feedback.
  Visit Net-Armageddon and get your updated rules today!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

General Specialization and a new look!

As stated in a previous post, I've been mulling the idea of changing my focus from strictly Epic to a more generalized Specialist Games view. I've been kicking around the idea for some time, but it really became relevant when one of the guys in the gaming group (Dave, The Epic Gamer) offered a general Specialist Games day up, rather than the usual "Let's play Epic."

Now, of course, I still love Epic. But, I've been playing other games for at least as long. 40K, Warhammer Fantasy Battles, Blood Bowl, Man O' War, Battlefleet Gothic, Mordheim, and Space Hulk were all staples for me as I was growing up. Well, I was already out of high school for them most part, so my growing was pretty much done, but you get my point... Every now and then, as I go into my basement to look for a specific model, I'll glance at the shelving unit and see boxes full of games and miniatures I haven't touched in years. For the area I live in (around New Haven, Connecticut), the gaming scene is pretty non-existent, which is weird since I'm literally minutes from three universities! This isn't to say that there is no one who plays the games I do, it's just that I haven't found them yet. So, the classics collect dust...

This all changed when Dave (The Epic Gamer - check his blog in the Blogroll) mentioned a Specialist Games day - "Hey!" I thought. "A reason to clean off the old games!" And going through those old games rekindled my interest in them.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Flying Lunchboxes and Evil Lawn Darts!

Boy, it's been a while since I last posted... I've been both busy and lazy - never a good combination. I've also been toying with the idea of making this into more of a Specialist Games blog rather than strictly focusing on Epic. Why? Well, because I like more than just Epic! But enough of that for now..

Speaking of Epic, I recently made up some proxies for models that don't exist in the Epic line. I asked a few great painters to apply paint and brush to said models and what you see below are the results.

First off, the Lunchbox (a Space Marine Storm Raven proxy). The first two are painted in Imperial Fists colors by Egel. The second two are from the Lamenters chapter, painted by CaptPiett. Both guys hang out on the Tactical Command forums.

Next up is the Evil Lawn Dart (a Chaos Dreadclaw proxy). This was painted in World Eaters colors by HerrR, also a regular staple of Tactical Command. To be honest, when I first saw the photo, I thought HerrR was playing a joke on me - I thought I was looking at fullscale 40K models. It took me a few seconds to realize that everything in the photo is Epic scale. Awesome!
Thanks to Egel, CaptPiett, and HerrR for the photos that make these models look so good!