Thursday, January 14, 2010

Building an Army from the Ground Up

So, remember that gaming-related content I promised you? This is me, delivering it!

I told you
I have two armies I'm going to be sharing with you. Because I want to milk these armies every drop of bloggery-related content I can (hey, at least I'm honest!) I'm going to go over the components and some WIP stuff before I actually drop the army itself on you.

It's no secret that I worked on the Star Phantoms army for the Badab Campaign. The real tragedy is that I never got to play this army, not even once. Remember all those thinly-veiled references to a life out of control in my "back to blogging" post?
One of the victims of my life de-railing over the last half-year or so was my ability to participate in the Badab Campaign. I can't tell you how sick it makes me, or how incredibly sorry I am to the guys that ran the campaign that I wasn't able to take part in it.

Anyway...moving forward.

When I began the Star Phantoms, I decided early on that since this was my second Space Marine army, I was going to try and make it my "showcase" -- more accurately, I was
going to paint it using the best of my abilities, pushing myself to hopefully get better in all aspects of modeling and painting in the process, with the goal of having something I could really be proud of when I was done.

I'll let you be the judge of whether or not I succeeded after I've posted the pics and all the stuff about it up. But for now I want to talk about the very ground level of your army...the base.

It's become a trend lately to use custom resin bases to really make your army stand out. I wasn't totally sold on the idea at first, since I hasn't actually seen any of the resiny wonders in person. But the fine crew of gaming elite at Austin's very own Battleforge Games made some kind of distribution deal with and once I saw the Battlefield of Thran set...well, I knew I'd found my bases.

That's right, bases. As in, my goal was to base the entire army on resin bases. Yeah, I know, it's a bit much...but remember, "showcase army" OK?

Anyway, here's a few pics of a couple of sets of the bases I've used. Unfortunately these were taken pretty late in the process and I don't have any "true" WIP shots.

This set of bases has craters and voids and ruts and the like, and since I was already in WAY over my head I thought, "Hey, why not put some water in those holes? That'll look cool!" It took me 2 hours and three hobby stores before I found a "water kit" with these simple instructions: "Pour this crap into a hole and leave alone for a day." Imagine my surprise when it came out looking...well, half-decent, I think

These last couple
of shots are a little more close up, and should give you an idea of just how much detail is packed on these bases. You'll notice the pipes in the ground (which was my inspiration for putting "water" in the voids). The rust on those pipes I'm pretty happy with, especially considering the technique I used for them. And by "technique", I mean I brushed over them with one of my new best friends, the "Floquil Enamel Paint Marker" in "Rust" color. One step rusty pipes? Hell, yes! I'll take two please!

...and there you have it, bona-fide gaming-related content!

What little projects have you guys been working on? Make any discoveries lately that turn a complex process into a one-step dream? Ever started a project, committed to a theme and standard...and about halfway through it realize you must have bumped your head just before you made that decision? Well....share it! It'll make me feel better. :)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned (or, "I wanted a kickass title for my Back-to-Blogging post but that's all I came up with." Sad, really.)

So, it's been a while.

It's been too long, really. I'll be shocked if anyone reads this little missive and honestly, I don't blame you if you've filed me under "Missing, Assumed Dead". I filed myself under that for a while....

So, instead of explaining everything that transpired, here's the summary:
  • Working 60++ hours a week for a few months in a row can have some pretty serious consequences and may result in some very poor decisions being made
  • Mistakes were made, feelings were hurt
  • A family emergency that got worse but then got better [additional explanation: wife almost lost her dad, but didn't: modern medicine ROCKS]
  • The wife and I almost split up, but didn't, and aren't. For the uninitiated: even if you've been married before, even if you've matured and learned a lot...marriage is FUCKING HARD sometimes. Deal with it, live and learn or get accustomed to a life alone.
  • I really screwed the pooch on an obligation I really, really shouldn't have
  • Finally, for several reasons I took two weeks off my life -- yes, including the Internet and work
  • As a result of that and some internal decisions made during this time, I'm more sane than I have been in the last 12 months. Yay me.
And that's that, really. 'Nuff said 'bout all that.

I'll bet your wondering who the songbird in the picture is. That would be Miranda Lambert. I can't stop listening to her new (well, ok, "new" as of September '09) album, Revolution. Would I recommend it to you? Well....that depends. You see...I like country music. Actually, I love pretty much any kind of music. Miranda is a true Texas girl (her first album, an independent release that you won't find anywhere nowadays) included a song entitled, "Texas as Hell". It makes me smile every time I hear it. :) ) But this album is some of the most laid-bare blunt-force-honesty songwriting I've heard in a long while. Yeah, there's a couple of covers on it but damn, this girl can sing and she pulls no punches.

Example: the song "Sin for a Sin" deals with the fucked up shit that runs through your head when you discover your spouse in bed with someone else. (TMI: I've had that particular experience -- not with Bethany, thank God, but with my first wife, SuperDaemonC*, Ruth. Yep, when you find your wife in bed with your supposed-best-friend and roommate it's not exactly a moment when you're thinking straight...anyway, I digress).

This is Miranda's take on it:

I remember vividly what that vision did to me

You laying with her in our bed

Love can be a tragedy

When you do what you did to me
All I'm seeing now is red

I need to repent
A sin for a sin

Bible told me to forgive

All those who trespass against
Tread their feet on sacred ground
Bad things come with consequence
What feels good hurts in the end

Don't want to think about that now

I need to repent
A sin for a sin

Fire and brimstone

Dirt and a headstone

Bury 'em, baby
All of our sins

Hear the thunder

Six feet under
Hit your knees,
Won't do it again

Guilty pleasure

Ease the pain
Whiskey running through my veins

Too late to save you now

I need to repent

A sin for a sin

Fire and brimstone

Dirt and a headstone
Bury 'em, baby

All of our sins

Hear the thunder

Six feet under

Hit your knees,
Won't do it again

I remember vividly
what that vision did to me...

So...yeah. Visceral, raw and real -- and if you've ever been in that moment, well....let's just say there's two people breathing right now because I chose to let them continue breathing, as they were asleep when I found them, and that TEC-9 was right across the hall under my bed and the sound of that sweet 32 round clip sliding home and jacking the bolt back didn't wake them...

Yeah, that's some dark shit and why I'm going on about this on a gaming blog probably means I have to re-think that whole "more sane than I have been" statement I made earlier -- either that, or perhaps maybe I need to quit checking my sanity with a dipstick? (bonus points if you get THAT reference!).

Anyway... Revolution winds down with a soft, gentle landing with a lush, dreamy little tune called "Virginia Bluebell" that's currently sliding out of my Bluetooth headphones, letting me know it's time to drift off to dream.

Besides, she makes this tee-shirt look good:

Anyway...if you're still reading this and you haven't hit the ol' "un-follow" button yet, here's my promise to you: I have some real gaming content to talk about, and pictures of not one, but TWO new armies to share. Painted armies, even! Custom bases and everything! (Though there's some cheating involved in that statement, but not'll just have to stick around and see what I mean!)

So! What's been going on in YOUR lives? Talk to me, Goose! (nuts, another movie reference) We've got a lot of catching up to do!