Monday, December 31, 2012

Year Ending...Final post of 2012, Year in Review

And so 2012 is soon coming to an end. This will be my last post of this year. The year seems to have flown by.

Much like I did last year, I have decided to do a sort of summary and a comparison of sorts.

As I stated last year, I’m a numbers kind of guy, its my business to crunch numbers, not money but numbers in designing things. So once again numbers always fascinate me. I continued the Hobby Activity Log you can see on the right. The final tally:
                                        2012 2011
Models Built/Converted: 258   225
Models Painted:                46     74
Models Purchased:           181   191
Tournaments Played:         5        4
Go-Kart Races Entered:     72     11

As you can see, even though I did virtually no commission work over the year, I still built and converted more models; about the same number painted; purchased roughly the same number of models, only that the majority this year were not Games Workshop models, but were Gripping Beast. I played one more tournament this year than last year, still fewer than in past years. AND as you can see I really stepped up the go-karting.

Now as I said before, this was not intended to stroke my ego, but was more intended as a motivator and budget type of thing for myself. I have learned a lot by intentionally doing this. I started the blog back in April of 2009 and prior to that spent tons of time posting on forums. Quite honestly it has capped some of my spending, as I saw the gap between what was bought, converted/modeled/ and what was painted once again. I did play more tournaments this year, but far fewer games. And it feels like I converted less minis, but built a ton of models mainly because of my work on Historical armies and the large size of them. My painting is certainly lagging behind again.

Last year I raced in 11 Feature races, which woud be 33 races in total in the modern LTO go-kart. In 2011, my highest finish was second in a heat race and fourth in a Feature race, and I finished 6th in the points championship. This season I raced and attended a great number of karting events, 72 in all. I won 4 Feature races and tons of heat races on the local oval along with the Series points championship. That was quite the leap and a hell of a lot of fun in the modern kart that my oldman and I built. I also jumped into a vintage kart for some roading racing and won the Feature races at Dousman and Quincy, which was extremely cool. The equipment we built for the modern karts definitely worked well. So I did accomplish my goal of racing more.

Five tournaments played, 2 of which were at Adepticon last spring in Warhammer Ancient Battles. I played the singles with my Romans again and played terrible, but had fun. Then teamed Mike Butcher, my Crusaders with his Saxons once again, and we played well and the Team that we named Grumpy Old Coots came away with the Overall Win.

As for the blog, today we are at 254 followers compared to last year at this time the blog had 181 followers, that has increased gradually as I suspected it would. My blog list is growing, and my forum activity has decreased drastically and probably will continue to decrease.

I retired one post from last year as I thought it was a bit dated since it was a review of Conquest Games Mounted Normans, it did have over 2,105 Views.

This I find interesting, here is the top ten in posts as they stood all time on my blog along with the number of hits from 2011:

My first Skaven War Litter conversion: 1,586 Views

My first Nurgle infested Chaos Space Marine: 1,478 Views

Converting Chaos Warrior to Chaos Space Marine post: 848 Views

Boba Fett Chaos Space Marine conversion: 737 Views

Pics of My WAB Imperial Roman Army: 657 Views

My Chaos Warrior Unit and its conversions: 640 Views

My Preheresy Iron Warrior - Old Stuff Wednesday: 512 Views

One of my Exalted Champions: 469 Views

My First Orc Fight Scene for a unit: 447 Views

So, that was 2011, now we move to 2012 and the top ten viewed posts, with the views currently:

FireForge Games - Teutonic Knights Review: 5,224

Nurgle infested Chaos Space Marine: 4,063
Chaos Warriors to Chaos Space Marine: 3,518
Gripping Beast Plastic Viking Hirdmem Review: 3,332

Something Different....Skaven War Litter: 3,058
My Chaos Warrior Unit Beginning to take shape: 2,548
Boba Fett Space Marine Conversion: 2,495
Old Stuff Wednesday - July - Pre-Heresy Iron Warrior: 2,210
Space Wolf Scout Conversions: 2,105

Khorne Chaos Space Marine Conversion: 1,590

It appears people really liked looking at my review take on Gripping Beast Vikings and the Fireforge Teutonic Knights. As was last year with the Conquest Games Mounted Normans review, I’ve been quite surprised by that. The other thing that is always shown is the popularity of Warhammer 40k, it is really quite unquestionably the most popular of the gaming systems that I work in. My Old Stuff Wednesdays are certainly popular as ever also, as they are routinely high in hits on a monthly basis, even though only one is in the Top 10.

So there you have it once again, my blog. We say good bye to 2012.  As always, I am very much open to suggestions that you the readers may have, I don’t always ignore them.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Fire Forge Miniatures - Mounted Sergeants Review

Well, awhile ago I did a short review of the FireForge Games Templar Knights box, which is a variant of the Teutonics Knight box that I reviewed. The following are links to those reviews:
Teutonics Review
Mounted Templars Review

So, recently I picked up the Mounted Sergeants box.What can I say, here we are again with what I believe is good variant of the the best medieval plastic kit on the market.If you have not checked out my reviews of the Teutonic Knights and the Templar Knights, also from Fireforge, I would recommend that you do so now.

As for the Sergeants kit, much of the box is similar to what we have seen before in the previous two releases.  The weapons are the same, the rider bodies are the same, the command sprue is the same.  What is different are the heads, the shields, and the horses.
In the box you receive two of the above sprue and one of the command sprues.  They are once again coming out of Renedra.

The horses are from Fireforge’s Horse Sprue #2, an unbarded horse, which you get six of in the Templar box set. In this box all twelve horses are unbarded.It comes in 3 base poses with 3 different heads. You can vary up that and make various versions of the horses as shown in the following where I did up just 6 of the horses:

I'm very impressed by the horses, they are very nice looking sculpts. They also compare nicely to their Horse Sprue #1, the caparisoned or barded horse:

The horses are in two halves split down the middle and that sometimes leads to gaps, especially in the rump area of the horse. I put them together very fast and the one below was the worst of the gaps, nothing that I can't fix though, my bad:

Onto the riders.  There are 6-different shields on the two sergeants sprues.  The mounted sergeants heads in this kit are very sweet, I love the variety.There are a total of 20-heads available for twelve miniatures on the sprue and 10 are different ones.  That is awesome variety.   Below are the heads:

Size comparisons, once again I would refer you to the previous review of the Teutonics Knights kit as these are the same size as the previous stuff. Below are some more shots for size comparisons:

From left to right:  Perry Crusader, FireForge Sergeant, GW Brettonian, FireForge Teutonic Knight, Conquest Games Norman.
 Above: Perry Crusader vs. FireForge Sergeant.
 Above: Conquest Games Mounted Norman vs. FireForge Sergeant.
 Above: FireForge Sergeant vs. FireForge Teutonic.
Above: FireForge Sergeant vs. GW Bretonian.
How does it compare to infantry?  Above:  Warlord Games Giant Auxiliary, Warlord Games Roman, Warlord Games ugly Officer, Perry Crusader/Norman, Conquest Games Norman, FireForge Mounted Sergeant, Gripping Beast Plastic Viking, Foundry Roman Tribune.

Bottom line, a great looking kit, well worth my pennies, I’m extremely impressed and I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the infantry. I like this kit much more than the previous two.  

The Hobbit....I went there and back again

I went to the movie yesterday....I've been purposely avoiding anything written about it.  It was somewhat, what I thought it would be early in the movie, with the exception of the dwarf musical that broke out early in the film.  That part I could seriously do without.  I read the book over 25 years ago, and I'm not a fan of Tolkien, so I remember very little of the book. 

I can't say I remember the 3 Stooges being the book, but they did make an appearance in the form of Trolls.  Now I'm a huge 3 Stooges fan, but I did not care for this.  I guess I really don't think of  the book as Children's story as I would something form CS Lewis, but the movie definitely seems to be directed at a very young audience, even though the majority of the people that were at the theatre watching were my age or older, and very few were teens.  There was quite a bit more humor in the movie, than say in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.  I also did not remember the talking standup comic known as the Goblin King.  And for awhile I thought I was watching that Raider of the Lost Ark movie scene where their in the mines.

The Gollum and Bilbo interaction was good, I did remember the riddles and such.  The warg chase scenes were fun, and the eagles were interesting.  The Elves were just as I remember them pompous jerks.  They did a pretty good job of hiding the dragon in the scenes. 

One thing I did not like was the sound in the Theatre, even for someone like myself that has a bit of a problem with a ringing ear and some minor hearing loss in that same ear, I found it way too loud, the normal sound should not make a person cringe.  I noticed this in the last movie, Prometheus, that I went too also, and a older friend of mine mentioned the same thing when he went to Lincoln.  I may have to take ear plugs next time.

The other thing I noticed, the commercials for the TV shows, I don't remember ever seeing that damn many TV show promos for NBC, Fox, and FX.  I must say that most of those promos however bad that they were, were actually better than the Movie Trailers that were playing.  I just wanted to blurt out "Stupid" after having to sit through all of them.  I guess my tastes in movies is not that popular....

All in all, I thought the movie was.....okay.  Not great, but not bad either.  Its not an instant favorite or classic in my book, but my tastes in movies are very particular and I go to maybe one or two movies a year and view about 90% of what comes out of Hollywood as trash and not worth my time.

Edit:  One of the things I forgot to mention, was something that I have noticed with all the recent movies (which isn't many, I can count them all on one hand since 2010) that I have gone to since the 3D craze has hit the Theatres, it the amount of crap that appears to be coming at you.  Much of which is forced and bad camera angles, I really dislike that.  I noticed this movie had its fair share of that going on.  I purposely went to the 2D version since I already wear glasses and ride amusment park rides regularly in a high powered racing go-kart to get my fair share of entertaining ride-alongs.

Friday, December 28, 2012

2nd Foundry Roman Tribune in Paint

Well the previous mini was a disappoint, by comparison this miniature was a pleasure to paint.  Its a nice sculpt, decent size, and smooth, very easy to paint.
Like the previous two Roman officers, this model is for sale.  The basing I left plain for the future owner to do with as he or she pleases.
Warlord Games should take lessons from Foundry, this is how a cape should be sculpted.  It made painting it a breeze.
On the helmet I went for a nice bronze look.  All in all, I'm pleased with how the miniature turned out.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Imperial Roman Officer - Painted and Rant

 I've had this miniature for a long time, a Warlord Games, Imperial Roman Officer.  Its an okay miniature by itself.   The miniature has some problems though such as the hands and the head, otherwise its just okay.
Much like the Roman Tribune that I showed previously I intend to rid myself of this model.  Although I like the Foundry model, I can't say the same for this hunk of metal.  Probably get rid of it after the first of the year on Ebay or if someone wants to make an offer on it. 
This model came in a two pack with the mounted officer.  The mounted officer model is much nicer.  The cape is good from the front, but the the back just does not flow well.  The Foundry Tribune model is much nicer in that regard.  The model is not easy to paint.  The feet are poorly detailed.  The helmet on the sculpt is rather quirky to me.
Now onto the rant.  Its all about SCALE, something that Warlord Games apparently sucks at.  I really want to like their miniatures, but after working with them for 3 years, I don't like them.  This officer is another example of their poor quality control in the scale department.  Their plastics are already small to begin with, but this model in my opinion has a shrunken head and enormus hands.  Below is a comparison shot with a plastic model.
I can not recommend their Romans.  Yes they are better than War Factory Games, but that is not saying much.  To say that Warlord Games has disappointed me is an understatement.  I said this to a friend of mine the other day, I'm done with them.  I have a box of Praetorians that I'm dreading even working on, after that box is done, that's it.  They are off my list of Roman miniature manufacturers....

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Foundry Roman Tribune - Full Color

 I finished up this Foundry Roman Tribune while working on the Vikings today.  I do not have a use for this model, so its up for sale, probably Ebay after the first or the year, or best offer. 
This a good sculpt, very easy to paint in comparison to the Warlord Games miniatures.  Everything flows in the miniature.  The detail is quite good. 
I think the red cape turned out nicely.  The fleshtones are Reaper Master Series Triads.
I based the model with some ballast and left it plain for the eventual Owner to flock to match his army or as he sees fit.

Merry Christmas from Rome

Having taken care of the family things this past weekend, I have a day to myself to work on things.  So merry Christmas to me, I get to paint and build toy soldiers today.  This is where I'm at this morning after adding the static grass and and grass tufts to the bases and movement tray.
As you can tell, I still have not decided what to do on the shields, but I'm very happy with how things turned out overall.
I'm glad I added the guy with the cavalry mask.  The pilum throwers in the second rank were also a good addition to the unit.
I did not realize how psychotic the one below in the cape looked until after I painted his face.
The eyecandy on the movement tray is in my opinion awesome.  Just what I wanted.  I'll get all of the other trays put together today and based.

Note the weird prune faced guy in the second rank below.  I like how the Praetorian turned out.  I have plenty of command models, so I will add the musician and standard later.
There is your morning update. 

Friday, December 21, 2012

New Chaos Chosen Warriors Done & In Color

So I recently complete part of my Chosen unit, basically of the rank and file models, none of the command.

I stayed with the primary blue scheme on the armor and the burnt orange for some of the lesser parts.  These are the all metal models, none of the so-called Failcast.  I've had them for years.

A took a bunch of closer shots of the models in smaller groups.  I attempted to make each one somewhat unique in color scheme and also by just doing simple head swaps with Chaos Warriors and Chaos Knights.
I think the weathered metal turned out pretty good and the brass/bronze is the same recipe that I used on my Khorne Demons.

One of the things I attempt to do with the color is to make it pop, its kind of like a poor man's attempt at painting the so-called NMM.  Below is a bit closer shot.  I'm highlighting the blue upto to a very blue white color, never using pure white.

I'll continue this whole color scheme into the Chaos Knights and Chaos Warrior units also, no matter what mark they carry.
Below is a good shot of the backs of the models and how I do the really rounded areas of the armor.
That is probably it for this week, I'll probably be back around next Monday with some more Christmas goodies.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

WIP On the Desk: Roman Progress - Movement Tray

 I like having eye candy on my movement trays.  It helps in conveying the story.  The wider front of my tray also helps in protecting the miniatures in the front rank from that excited or sometimes obnoxious player that likes slamming his metal miniatures into miniatures that you have spent hours working on.
I'm happy with the way these models have turned out.  I think they and the tray look good together.  I still need to put together the shields for the Romans.  I still need to add the static grass.  Next time you see them they will be all completed.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

FireForge Games - Templar Knights Kit Review

Well, I purchased the Teutonic Knight kit previously and it was an extreme pleasure, as its one of the most gorgeous sets of miniatures out there in my opinion. So recently I picked up the Templar Knight box from Fireforge Miniatures, actually ordered from the Architects of War. This kit is mostly like their first release. The models are listed as 28 mm scale. Much like the Gripping Beast Plastics, Warlord Games, and Conquest Games the plastic sprues for Fireforge come out of the molding from Renedra. Renedra’s quality is extremely high and rivals that of anyone on market.
In this kit are 12 multi-piece mounted knights that share many of the same components as the Teutonics, 4 different torso poses for the riders, 4 separate capes/cloaks per sprue. They have the same torsos, same weapon arms, and some of the same horses. I once again love the fact that they are multi-piece and allow me to mix and match and change things as I see fit. They come with an assortment of 20 heads mostly all different from the Teutonic kit (10 unique designs). They share the same 5 different hand weapon arms, and 4 different lances. The kit has 6 different shields, and these are not the same as the Teutonic kit. The other thing different about the kit is it includes a new horse sprue, horses without the caparison / barding.  Not shown are the Renedra bases, I already dumped those on Ebay as I will be going all wood with mine.
I’m very much a fan of the helmets and helm selection that they have. This is my favorite period of history and they are well done. I look forward to opening and reviewing the Sergeants Box set next.
They also include a command sprue with many options on it in the kit. Excellent piece in itself, having flags, a musician's horn, and a cross. This is the same sprue as the Teutonics kit.
The horse sprues, like the Teutonic has two different horse poses that can be mixed and matched, and three different heads, so fairly nice variety, especially when accompanied by the second un-barded horse sprue. When assembling the horses, the two halves join up nicely, and don’t have a real big seam in the rump. I had small issue with that in the Conquest Games miniatures horses, that was easily correctable. On these though the rump is good, the saddles can be a bit of issue, but like the Conquest Games miniatures, easily curable.
Below is a pic of the un-barded horse sprue.  Very nice looking.  Two of these sprues are included in the kit.
No comparison pics at the moment.  This is essentially just like the Teutonics, so I will refer you to that review.  Fireforge Teutonic Review Link
When I pick up and review the mounted sergeants, I'll assemble the unbarded horses and do some more comparison picks.
This in my opinion is a great kit, the sculpting is awesome and crisp, has plenty of undercut, over the top detail.  In my opinion, the absolute best mounted knight kit on the market that I have seen.  Looking forward to the sergeants and the infantry.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Old Stuff Wednesday - December: Converted Centigors

Or should I say converted centaur centigors.  I've never really liked the GW centigors, so circa 2004, I decided to make some actual centaurs for my beastmen army.
These used the plastic gor torso and the GW plastic medieval horse.  That old horse body I believe is still available with the GW Pistoliers.  You do have to remove the saddle by simply shaving and sanding it smooth.
I previously made the armored centaurs that I called the Knightgors of Khorne, and so this was a much easier conversion than those.  I later made a third version of the centaurs using gors and wood elf horses, probably the best of the centaurs.
Paintwork was done in a very similar style as my gors, bestigors, and the afforementioned Knightgors.
I also carried the fur coming off the back of the gor onto the horse body.  These were a lot of fun to build, and below you can see some of the pre-paint shots of the builds.
I used the tabards to cover the front of the join between horse and torso.
Here you can see the sides of the horses and the areas where the saddles use to be.
 And below the backs.

So there you have it my Centaurs.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

WIP On the Desk: Roman Progress Part 3

Well, here are where they are right now.  Need to paint up the bases.  I think they have turned out pretty good so far.  Still need to do all of the shields, need some transfers to do that.
Obviously you can see I also need to do up the movement tray.  I recently built a few more movement trays to replace all of my old trays, because quite frankly they are completely uninspiring to look at.
A couple of close up shots.   Its shows you just how messed up Warlord Games is with their scales, as the kneeling metal legionaires are nearly as tall as those standing.  I'm seriously hating what Warlord is doing figure-wise.  They need some better Q/C.  I'm glad the I'm basically done with Warlord's minis, they are frustrating as many of GW's.

I also painted up a few Roman characters that once done, will go up for sale.  The Foundry models are hell of lot more fun to paint than the Warlord Games character, which once again Warlord F'd up the scale of, because its even smaller than the plastics.  Below is one of the Foundry models:
So onward and upward....see you again soon.