Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Camera issues and a cool link.


Well, as you all well know I've had photo quality issues since the inception of this blog (indeed before that actually) After having to delete virtually all of my photos (again!) following the Meltdown tourney, I went perusing the Internet to see if anyone else was having similar issues with their Vivtar 8690 cameras. As it turns out, people were, lots of people...

Once a respected brand, Vivitar some years back was bought out by a Chinese company named Sakar. Since then their cameras have gone from 'good' to more or less 'disposable' in quality. The nicest comments that I could find after two hours of searching was 'its a good camera for a 7 year old'. Another said, I use the tripod & can take decent photos for my blog, but its all but worthless for anything else'. No, I didn't write that but easily could have. However even for my blog, despite the use of a light box, my photos have been at best 'passable' (Murl @ the 13th Cadian gets better photos from his cell phone). When telling a friend about my camera the other day, he asked if I knew how to turn on the flash. Well, for the close up setting the flash won't turn on by default, and there's nothing to be done about it. He also said looking at the photos on here was like a game of 'guess what the silhouette is supposed to be.'


Luckily though my story has a happy ending. My sister bought the camera for me for Christmas last year, on a whim she got the retailer's premium warranty. Now usually these are a complete waste of $$$, and despite knowing that she figured it was only a few dollars so why not. Skip forward to now and after registering my camera on the Office Depot warranty site, jumping through a few hoops and getting into a chat with a customer support person, I was able to tell them my concerns: basically 'it's junk.' Warranties don't cover 'junk' however I was asked if I had ever dropped it (in a manner that implied that my answer needed to be 'yes') admitting to knocking off my desk a week or two back, I got an immediate, 'no problem, you claim has been processed and approved.' A day later I received an emailed UPS label, so I boxed up the camera and it is currently enroute to Office depot's product protection center (or whatever its called) in Texas. In about 2-3 weeks after they receive it I'll receive a gift card for the full purchase price to use to buy something better! Conveniently, my birthday will roll in about the same time and my sister, hearing of my camera odyssey and likewise disappointed, has hinted that she'll probably contribute funds towards a new camera for my present (again).

In the interim, I'm without a camera, so Da Long Ways Dezert Groop may be a wall of text for a while (yes that warning is too late I know), but considering the photo quality you've been used to on here I gotta ask, is that such a bad thing?

Oh, and one last bit, check out this video clip here. its a digital recreation of Warsaw at the end of WWII and its amazing! It is for a museum in Poland. If you go to the last web address listed in the clip you can download a full screen version which shows even greater detail though the text isn't translated, which is why I'm routing you through the blog first. the clip on there is in English.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tourney After Action Report


Well much fun was had this weekend @ the 40k Meltdown tourney hosted by Knoxville's Death Jesters gaming club! The tourney name turned out to be rather prophetic as the venue's AC was completely inadequate to the task. Barring that, it as well run (far batter than any Gamesday GT that I've attended), had excellent & large quantities of it on all tables (again surpassing the Gamesday GTs). The only change I would make would be to either extend the time per round or reduce the point total. I fielded a horde, and faced a horde in all three rounds meaning no games exceeded turn three. Barring that though, it was a flawless run show!

In advance I'd like to apologize for the lack of/poor quality of my photos. I'm starting to think that my camera is defective. The multitude of features are more a hindrance than a help, the anti-shake feature is worthless, white balance is marginally effective, and the setting or close up shots is only effective @ less than a foot, as most of my close ups were blurry beyond recognition. I shouldn't be required to use a tripod & light box for every photo!!! And the owner's manual online manufacturer's trouble shooting is worthless. My grandparents digital camera by contrast (which is no more sophisticated & older) is a simple point, shoot & everything looks great like a digital camera should be. As such there were 4 salvageable photos of the 20 that I took. Grrr....

(edit: 2 hours of looking online has shown me that Vivtar is now almost universally despised, unless you just want a cheap camera. Apparently they were bought out by a Chinese company some time back and the only thing that stayed the same was the name, as for quality...well, see for yourself...)

Anyways, the Meltdown, Round 1 vs. Orks fielded by Chris Staples (who took the best themed award)

Yes, that blurry thing in the back really is a flying Battlewagon, Ghazghkull Thraka willed it and it was so... (actually the trees were steel rods & wouldn't bend to allow the battlewagon to fit)

Spearhead setup, 5 objectives (which explode on a 2+ is there are no troops models within 3". End total: Chris: 22pts, Me: 0pts.

I've only faced the 4 Ghazghull with Big Mek/KFF and 4 Battlewagons with deff rollas list once before, and I had nothing for it, sadly, I still don't. The dice weren't too kind to me either with a self inflicted body count of 8 in that game (of which my commissar lord was responsible for only 1). About the only things that went right for me was I stole initiative & wiped out a small bike squad on turn 1, and a vet with meltbomb death or gloried a charging battlewagon, stopping it in it's tracks! (then Ghrazghull disembarked & much unhappiness ensued). Had this gone a full six rounds I'm sure I'd have gotten tabled (had I lasted 6 rounds). Really mad about the photos as it was a really pretty Ork army!

Round 2 vs. Imperial Guard fielded by Murl of the 13th Cadian, yes we drove 100 miles to play against each other, our games are just that good!

The Highway of death!

Pitched battle deployment, each side had to move a potentially explosive objective into the other's deployment zone. End Total: Murl: 10pts, Me: 13pts.

Given the brutal heat, this game was fought in downtown Miami. I stole the initiative again and the diced had warmed up at this point resulting in our usual bloodbath! Both objectives made it out into no-man's land in the middle, and no further. We found mid game that only troops could move the objectives, and with both sides having platoons making a hard turn to recover stalled objectives. Murl was in reach of his when I had 1 guardsmen in range to charge his platoon, pulling them back for 'some hot platoon on platoon action'. Don't think in all of our games we've ever had merged platoons locked in HTH. His command section which had an officer with powerfist charged in causing havoc, but my commissar declared 'Tarpit!' and we went nowhere. So we tied primary & secondary objectives, and I squeaked out the teritary getting a win. It was an ugly win, but I'll take it!

Round 3 vs. Sergeant Zombo's 'Crimson Guard' themed Imperial Guard.

A veritable sea of Guardsmen!

Pitched battle deployment, first round night fight, had to hold the center objective. End total: Sgt. Zombo: 0pts., Me: 22pts.

Turn one was basically a whole lot of moving in the dark followed by turn 2 which was artillery hell as a seemingly endless onslaught of basilisk rounds came falling down! Merging my infantry squads into a 40 man mob with the commissar lord thrown is was still a game winner, as they held the objective despite being the 40 guardsmen being reduced to just SIX! Favorite moments of the game were a shaken hellhound tank shocking two enemy squads. The first failed & a meltgunner was squished, shoving the rest aside (think in hindsight we did that wrong, but we were kinda fried @ that point) and the 2nd squad's meltagunner blowing up the hellhound, resulting in 28 Crimson guardsmen being in range, 15 wounded, and 9 KIA!

That and while leaning across the table to see where to put his first basilisk barrage, he spotted mt Command HQ, stopped, looked, and asked 'is that a chef?' (he spotted Major Blunder's bodyguard & personal chef, Sgt. Pepper). On paper he only destroyed 1 tank, while much else was badly chewed up, it was still on the table & holding the objective, so I got full points for the game! THAT said, my mini case was about half full of casualties, and I'm not sure how much longer I could have lasted under that barrage (by game end there were still 4 basilisks firing).

All in all a good day though. I won a door prize of a gale force 9 curved needle nose pliers and took 6th overall. Not sure how, i guess the army's appearance made up for its lack of performance, but either way I'm happy with the result!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Last minute tourney prep, and a Medusa

Evenin' folks,

Well, tomorrow after work I'll head out towards Knoxville for Saturday's 40k meltdown tourney. My friends that are going have spent this week frantically assembling, converting, anxiously waiting for ebay purchases to arrive in the mail, painting, revising lists in case the ebay purchases don't arrive, and in general wearing themselves out. What have I been doing? Notta damn thing, and I must say, it felt great! :-D

I've done the last minute crunch in previous years, but luckily my Imperial guard army was less than 10 minis short of a fully painted 2250 pt. force when I heard of the tourney a few months back. Actually, I did do one thing. I printed off the INAT FAQ 4.0 for reference. I have a loose leaf binder with the clear plastic sleeves in it which contained the Gorka Morka rules, no idea when i printed that off, and there isn't a shred of getting anyone to play so I pulled those out & replaced them with the INAT.

Aside from that I did some assembly line style painting of some Podunks and started trimming the flash from this:

A Forgeworld Medusa.

No its not mine. A friend of mine bought this a little ways back, and when he received it it was quote: 'warped all to hell and back.' He's never worked with Forgeworld stuff, and was afraid of breaking the parts correcting the warps. So I took it under the condition that I wouldn't start it till my stuff was ready for the tourney (which i had forgotten about till last night). So I've trimmed the gates/flash from a few pieces and cut my thumb tip in typical gamer fashion. Doesn't hurt, just annoying. A few parts are mismolded & I think should be replaced, however he's going to give me the chimera hull that it fits into to see if they fit first, as if it fits fine, the mismolded sections will never be seen. The hull hasn't been touched yet though as he is in the frantic prepping group I mentioned above (indeed virtually all of that could apply to him alone).

In any case, tomorrow evening & (EARLY) Saturday morning, the tri-cities Tennessee gaming menagerie will descend on Knoxville for gaming. Some are going tomorrow night, will stay @ the venue (its in a hotel's banquet/conference room) and leave afterwards, others will drive over that morning, play all day, and drive home. Soooo...I would suggest avoiding I-81 & I-26 between Knoxville & Johnson City Saturday night as it'll be sprinkled with zombie-gamers.

I'm going to Grandma's for dinner after work tomorrow, I'll leave my dog there for the weekend (which will make their dog happy) and then drive to my Sister's in Knoxville (she conveniently lives about 15 mins. from the tourney location). So I'll only have a 15minute drive after the tourney. Usually my sister and I go out for brunch on Sundays when I'm in Knoxville before heading back to grandma's in time for dinner (you just can't beat Ma's cooking!). So sorta turning my 'geek' weekend into a 'family' weekend as well.

Beyond that, the Chattanooga Classic tourney in October has just been announced, so I'm considering that, but that's a few months off and beyond the scope of this post.

Have a good weekend! (I'm bringing my camera, so hopefully I'll have some good pics for my next post)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Podunk Sentinel


Well, as expected, now that my sentinel is finished few if any of that needless interior sculpting that I felt the need to paint is really visible. True, I knew that in advance, but just figured it worth restating. And with THAT out of the way, here it is:

I had intended to use this with my 'Frateris Militia' kill team that I have partially finished, however I couldn't trim the Cawdor Juve head down enough to look right. Looked more or less like a bad case of Elephantitis. I had a single Pig Iron militia head left, so I used that instead. If you go back into my archive, my second post has my fluff for my conscript platoon, the '144th Podunk'. Originally I had them equipped with Technicals for vehicular support, but that would require the use of VDR, meaning they would rarely get used. Conversely, the Elysian dune buggies would probably fit the bill, however I don't currently have the funds for either the model or the equally expensive book to go with it. So they got a sentinel.

Commissar Naxos (the 144th's CO) & 2 finished Podunks

I'm sure when the order came to muster for war, the Departmento Munitorum (already appalled at their inadequate training/weapons) discarded their Technicals & issued them a sentinel instead. Given the Podunk's 'mob' mentality, I'll probably deploy the sentinel near to them, treating it more or less as a squad heavy weapon. I'll probably use it at BS 2 as well (considering how often my renegade sentinel FAILS to hit its targets, the lower BS will in all likelihood not be noticed).

Pig Iron makes Sgt. models for these guys, but their arms are way to long (gorilla-like long) so it really limits them to conscripts. I was thinking of maybe using some Steel Legion sgt.'s & officers for them though. Already having 20 guys, adding 2 sergeants & a sentinel would make for a nice penal legion kill team. Effective and completely disposable!

Aside from that, tourney prep continues. I've made a few minor tweaks to my list and am currently 1/1 in my practice games with another tentatively scheduled for tomorrow night. Its this coming Saturday, and I must say that its sooooo nice not to be in the crunch-time 'I gotta paint how many by Friday???' mode. Paint isn't required, but it'll add a few points towards 'best over all'.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Sentinel Cockpit

So why does GW put so much detail inside the sentinel cockpit? Its not like you can see any of it once its assembled.

The only the thing that makes less sense than that, is I actually painted it.

I suppose its to keep idiots like me entertained...

Monday, July 12, 2010

2250pts of Imperial Guard, and its ALL painted!!!


Well, as of last night, the last few infantry models were painted & flocked in the army that I'll be taking to the forthcoming 40k Meltdown Tourney in Knoxville. To reach the 2250 total, I had to add a contingent of my Renegades, so a consistent theme has already fallen casualty. All I've left to do is double check my army list/math.

Here are the group shots, split left to right(my attempt to get all of them in one photo rendered the minis unidentifiable).

The last photo is of the renegade contingent (obviously).

I also have a few close ups of my characters:

This is my Commanding officer, Major Blunder & his personal chef Sgt. Pepper. The Sgt. acts as a 'bodyguard'. In truth he more gets in the way than throwing himself into the line of fire. The WS4 and A2 in the bodyguard stat line can be justified when you consider just how savagely a Ratling will defend his cook pot. (technically he confers the 'feel no pain' USR rather than the medic, as if you've survived his chili...(that should also render the squad immune to 'get's hot', but alas, there are no weapons in the squad that would qualify for that.

My Regimental Standard wielded by the servitor who often 'swings the standard as if he were a Samurai Warrior!'

Here is 'The Venerable Commissar Borg' as was detailed in my character creation post a few weeks back.

While not as flashy as the newer commissar minis, but having been around since 2nd ed., he still qualifies as a Lord Commissar in my book.

In other news, I played a 'learning' game of heavy Gear vs. Murl from the 13th Cadian last Friday night. We didn't play a full game (set up & turn 1 taking about an hour each), but we sorta had if figured out by the time we called it quits. The game has potential.

Also I played a meltdown practice game using the above army vs. Happyspawn (who sometimes posts on here). He was playing his mech guard, and...well the dice were with me and very much against him. He raised the white flag on turn three. :-)

I can only hope I roll so well in the tourney!

(a last minute addendum) Here's the fluff for my loyalist IG that I came up with a few years back:

110th Ryza Pioneers (Menial Battalion)

Following behind the famed Skitarri Legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus, are the reviled Menial Battalions. Lacking the efficiency of even the lowly Servitor, Menials (completely unaugmented humans) are at the lowest level in Mechanicus society; their military equivalent is considered to be no better. The Menials are led by failed or disgraced officers of the Skitarri and newly minted Techpriests who push the Menials to the limit of physical endurance. While armed and equipped to the same standard as a ‘regular’ Imperial Guard regiment, the Menials are used as little more than a labor corps, and treated as cannon fodder in open warfare. Clearing the battlefield of debris, digging trenches, building fortifications, recycling the dead, bringing forward supplies and the occasional mopping up of enemy stragglers are the primary tasks assigned to Menials. Hardly ever is there a foe who can out maneuver or (impossibly) break through the Omissiah’s Blessed God Engines and Skitarri regiments at the front line. However when they do, it is up to the Menials to tie them up until better-trained and equipped units can regroup and eliminate them. It is not unknown in these situations for the Menials to actually carry the day, however credit for their sacrifices and combat prowess is rarely if ever acknowledged.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

''s kinda like, the geek equivalent of paper dolls...'

Yes. I said that at work today (like my coworkers didn't think my gaming hobby made me weird enough to begin with). When I was asked 'What are you building?'

I was making these:

Paper terrain for Heavy Gear. I had commandeered a light table, T-square & an exacto knife which made assembly MUCH easier than at home.

Heavy Gear is an odd scale, "N" scale for trains I think. It's been a while since I've last been to a train shop, but I somehow doubt that military/futuristic scenery isn't likely to be found there. So Dream Pod 9 has paper terrain for you to fold. Kinda basic & bland (especially after playing on my city fight-like table on a weekly basis), but needed. I donated most of my non-city terrain to the FLGS some time back, so the table will be kinda sparse. A few hills, some painted GW craters, my objective markers (which in this scale could pass for generator-like-things), that's about it. I'm kindova terrain whore, the more the better. However I don't think that will work in Heavy Gear especially as I have hover tanks. Unlike Classic Battletech, where you can make a piloting check, and if passed your hover tank that's hauling ass will turn on a dime. In Heavy Gear, if your hover tank is moving and turns, its sideways for a few inches for you (they call it 'drifting').

Speaking of which, here's my army:

The Port Arthur Korps (PAK)

The PAK, humans & GRELs (Genetically Recombined Legionaires) are the stranded survivors of the CEF (Colonial Expeditionary Force, Earth forces basically) forces who failed to reconquer Terra Nova (the primary setting for Heavy Gear). They've since gone native, and in the current fluff, are fighting against the returned CEF invasion force that is trying to conquer Terra Nova for a second time. That probably makes little sense if you're not familiar with the game's background. If you're not, go check it out here. The fluff is superb (having a companion RPG makes that possible)!

What you see above are 3 LHT-67 & 2 LHT-71 light hover tanks, and a GREL platoon consisting of 4, 10 man squads and a 3 strong Morgana Commando Squad. Sounds good, except that I have no idea as to what they really do, aside from look cool.

We tried Heavy Gear some years ago & found the rules to be mind boggling as they tried to make it as realistic as possible, me made Classic Battletech look about as easy as a game of Uno. DP9 has since revamped the rules in Heavy Gear Blitz, still looks mind boggling (not quite as bad, but still makes my head hurt). But damnit we're gonna give it a try! The minis are cool, the fluff is cool, that's all you need in a game...


Monday, July 5, 2010

Ok, so some Mondays are good Mondays...


I have the day off in recognition of the July 4th holiday, nice and sunny, and not too hot (this morning anyways, its in the low 90s now), and while i can do whatever i want on my day off staying inside all day to paint just didn't seem like the right thing to do. So I loaded my canoe up for a nice morning on my favorite stretch of the Watauga river.

I did get some painting accomplished this past weekend though. In general, I tend to favor well balanced armies, with good all around type of units, and avoid units that i personally think are 'cheesy', Well, every rule has its exception, and here's mine:

I like to call them 'Cheese on a stick'. (not sure where I got the 'on a stick' part, but that first word sure is applicable)

I've had a Renegade Psyker squad for a while now however, trying to cling to some vague sort of cohesive theme for the upcoming tourney, they wouldn't work. Tentacles, mutations, etc. While my loyalist IG officers may keep their distance & not realize just what the militia are till battle is already joined. Even the most casual of glances would inform the viewer that my renegade psyker squad is just that, renegade!

So I ordered a blister of sanctioned psykers & a Mordian sgt. to field a loyalist Cheese on a stick squad. The Sgt. is painted as a cadet commissar (no finer training than having the opportunity to frequently shoot your charges).The two psykers on the ends of the back row are older models, with the rest painted to closely match. Fearless armies all but ignore these guys as soul shroud is mediocre at best, but anything with a LD of 10 or less tends to HATE these guys. Needless to say these guys tend to hang back and in good cover as they're frail as hell (but well worth their points).

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Devil Dog finished!


Finally got around to finishing this tank this week, came out pretty good I think.

I dirtied up the sides around the engine exhausts (I think that that's what they are) so it would look like there's a bunch of soot, much like a diesel engined truck that hasn't been washed in ages. I forgot to paint the back pack on the rear black though. That didn't occur to me till a few layers into the dry brushing, so i left it green.

The above is a side by side with my older hellhound. Color's a bit off, probably due to heavier dry brushing on the older hellhound, i know the camo colors are the same. Such is the perils of painting tanks years apart. The old hellhound used to be a looted Ork tank (5+ the inferno cannon hits well on a 4+ it gets you anyways! Ahh the good ol' days...), but was transferred to the renegades after perusing the updated Ork codex.

Now all I have to do for the tourney list is paint up my Nurgle preacher 'Filth Collins' (yes, its the Forgeworld one with the megaphones), finish three already started loyalist Guardsmen, and I ordered a blister of sanctioned psykers along with a Mordian Sgt. for a psyker battle squad. I do have a renegade psyker battle squad, however while my loyalist IG officers, may not notice the renegade militia troops for what they are (desperately clinging to some vague theme for the tourney), however there is NO possible way they wouldn't notice with my renegade psykers on the table. So the loyalist IG will get there own psyker squad. I already had two painted (giving a total of 5 psykers), and will paint the Mordian as a cadet commissar to act as the squad leader.