Saturday, May 23, 2009

DeadTau Project gets Battlefoam!!

I have to admit, I love this company. The foam is more expensive and I cannot seem to get things to work perfectly, but I love the idea.

So the DeadTau project finally received some BattleFoam for the army! This is by no means everything for the army, in fact I can only carry a couple squads. It does give me a good feel for what I will need to spec out the complete army. Here are some pictures

Both of the trays below are cut for the GW cases. First is the "24 Terminator Foam Tray (GW)" which I figured would work for my squad upgrade and leader models. This tray also works perfectly for the "odd shaped" models like my customer warp-spiders and banshees.

Next we have the "50 Troop Foam Tray (GW)" to hold "normal" models. As you can see, the models do not quite fit the slots, but they work out overall. I will need to adjust this with some custom foam, but now I have a better idea how to make those adjustments.

I will certainly need to pick up additional trays for tanks and my jet-bikes. That does not take into consideration the War-Walkers, Vypers, Wraithlord, and Avatar I will eventually build. I am considering the "Pack 432" with customer load-outs. This will require additional funds, but I think I could get this specced out nicely.

That's all for now. No painting or other updates as work travel has kicked my ass for the past 2 weeks. I should be back in the swing of playing after Memorial day, and will be playing a WHFB game or two tomorrow at the house.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Baltimore Gamesday 2009 - Post 3 (GD 2009 review)

Games Day 2009 Review

I suppose the best way to start this thread is to explain some of my background, both directly and my thoughts on Games Day prior to this years Games Day. I have been attending Games Day in Baltimore since 2002. I missed 1 year due to a friends wedding.

I attended my first Gamesday with friends as their way to introduce me to the hobby. Holy Crap, I was hooked. I got a “Runtherder pass” to enter for free and was shocked by the show. Golden Daemon was incredible, the 8 foot tall Marine, the freaking rhino at the big game, the noise, the open gaming. Wow, just wow.

After leaving the show that day, I knew 2 things:
1. I was hooked and needed to figure out what army I wanted to play
2. Gamesday would be on my calendar every year

I will admit that each year I was excited as Gamesday drew close. I started attending seminars to hear the rumors of what was coming up. I anxiously watched the website to see what the Games Day mini was going to be. To be fair, I only bought tickets on those years I liked the mini, and used the free Runtherder pass the years I did not want the mini. I brought my kids, I brought my wife, I spent money and bought models or T-shirts most years.

That’s the background. Suffice it to say I am/was a Games Workshop fanboy, and a Devotee of Games Day. However, GD 2007 and GD 2008 were each decreasingly enjoyable and seemed to also be of lower quality than the years before. The spectacle that was games day was shrinking, specifically around the “dressing” in the hall and the quality of the “big games”. GD 2008 had a table full of baneblades as the big-game (not as exciting as thousands of mini’s on the table) and Golden Daemon seemed to have far less submissions that past years. The incredible sales on 25th anniversary boxes and other goodies were great though! Thus we arrive at Baltimore Games Day 2009.

Like any other year, I was answering a resounding “YES” when asked if I would be attending Games Day this year. As GD drew closer, I began to reconsider this answer as GD drew closer. The first doubt that gnawed at me was the very strong rumor that runtherder passes without an accompanying paid ticket would be strictly forbidden. Now, I looked at the decreased ticket price with no model (I did not want this years model) and was willing to consider buying a ticket. I was not convinced that the show (based on the last 2 years) would be worth the $25, but I figured what the hell.

The next was club support and GD advertising. This year was supposed to be focused on Club support, as the GD tourney was not happening. The club I joined this year (IFL) was running a number of events and I was excited that GW would be supporting these GD events through press (White Dwarf? Website?) and really pushing involvement. I found as GD grew closer that I could not find information on what club events were happening. In fact, it was only 2 weeks before GD that GW finally posted something on their website. Not something easily found, but something none-the-less. This really struck me as disingenuous of GW and their “club focused approach” and pushed me to deciding not to attend this year.

At the last minute (about 1 week before the show) I changed my mind and ordered a ticket through direct order. I decided that at worst, this would be my last GD, and at best I would see a re-emergence of the spectacle that got me hooked on this hobby. I wanted to give GW the benefit of the doubt. I mean, perhaps I was being unfair about their 2 week window for announcements. I was truly hoping that at a minimum, I would get some good pictures from Armies on Parade, Golden Daemon, some pre-release “Sneak Peak” pictures, and get to look at the Planet Strike book & terrain. I was also hoping that GW would do more deals this year and I could get some discounts.

At the end of the day, I was more disappointed in GD this year than I have been in the past. Even with that start on the negative side, let me list the things I saw that were good:
Highlights & Upside of GD 2009
• Black Library sale on many books – excellent
• Sale table for discontinued models in back of store – good
• Duff from Ace of Cakes – Squig Cake – excellent!!!
• IFL 40K Rapid Fire Tournament – excellent
• Giant Minas Tirith Castle (forget the store who built it) – excellent
• Armies on Parade – good
• Golden Daemon increased participation – good
• Big Game for all 3 systems (WHFB, 40K, WotR) – good (mixed)

Let me also say that I walked past the Golden Daemon lounge and this looked interesting. I wish I had known about it prior to showing up at games day, as I would have brought some of my models for some advice. As it was, I did not see many people there either time I walked past.

Now for the negative:
• Hour wait for registration (all tickets, even if you pre-ordered your ticket) – Fail
• Line at Forgeworld (rumored to be ~2 hours long) – Fail
• Line at registers for the GD Store, 30 minutes when I went through – Fail
• Mob at the sale table, and the small space for discounts – Fail
• Not enough markings on what was where – Fail
• Same Scenery for Scenery make and take – fail
• Scenery Make and Take ran out of scenery by 1pm – Fail
• Same models for Conversion Contest – Fail
• Conversion Contest ran low on sprues by 1pm – Fail
• Dirty plastic covers for Golden Daemon and Armies on Parade – Fail
• Lack of Spectacle – Fail, Fail, Fail
• No open gaming – Fail

Ok, let me discuss a couple things here to provide a bit more insight. When I showed up at 10:05am the registration line went out the door and half way down the block. This ended up being at least an hour wait even if you ordered your tickets. I jumped ahead (what a dick) and was able to skip most of the line (I only waited 5 min), but this was not a common occurrence. People who were buying their tickets at the door were still directed back to the end of the registration line to wait.

Now, lets talk about forgeworld. I know from past years that the forgeworld line is long. I have rarely jumped into that line, as I am not that interested in purchasing FW at the show. I spoke with a few people who stood in line and on average, the line appears to be about 2 hours of a wait. The process made this worse. The process (as reported not experienced by me) was to wait in line (2 hours), get your invoice for the item you want to buy, get in the pay line for the store (30 minutes), and then go back to FW to pick up your item. Are you kidding me?

Regarding Scenery make and take and the conversion contest. I saw these when I first walked in and they were filling up fast. I expect this, as it is the same every year. I walked around and took some pictures. I chatted with my friends at the IFL tables. I walked through the store and bought some items. Then, around 1pm I went back to the tables. Both tables looked like hungry vultures had been eating at a carcass for almost a week. There was so little left by 1pm that it was pointless to sit down. Come on GW, this should not be a surprise. Either better policing at these tables needs to be done, or there needs to be better support for the full day. I recommend better support for the full day.

On Dirty protective screens. This seems to be a no-brainer to me and it actually offends me on behalf of the Golden Daemon entries and the Armies on Parade entries that this happened. The Plastic screens that are put on the tables to protect the models were filthy. There were streaks and water/dust spots all over them. It was very difficult to get anything close to a good picture of the models without asking for the model to be removed from behind the screen.

Lastly is the lack of spectacle. In the early games days I attended I saw an 8 foot tall space marine mock-up (its at the Baltimore Bunker now), a Chimera, a Rhino, Amazing boards with cool scenery, hordes of GW models painted and set-out for big-games. For the past 3 years, there has been none of this. In fact, the spectacle has steadily declined each year. This is disappointing, as it really indicates a lack of interest to me on GW’s part.

Overall, I am very unlikely to attend GD next year. I am very disappointed and would rather spend my money (both my spending money I bring to GD along with the fees) to fund a trip to Adepticon next year. Adepticon (based on reports) just seems to be done better, be a better investment in money = fun, and at the end of the day, it sounds like what GD used to be.

I strongly urge everyone reading this to also check out the Adept’s Forge blog. Jeff has some excellent insight and also a well-written review of GD 2009.

Would love to hear comments or feedback.

Baltimore Gamesday 2009 - Post 2 (Armies on Parade & Golden Daemon)

I did grab some pictures of other events at Gamesday 2009. Armies on Parade, Golden Daemon, and then general game boards as I walked around. Below are some of the highlights:

Armies on Parade

I saw some great looking armies here, and enjoyed talking with the army creators/owners. Drew Carrington has some great freehand painting on his Landraider for his Crimson Fist army. If I grasped the story correctly, he painted this by firelight while camping out. I had to give the obligatory bow to his skill when he told me this.

I grabbed some pictures of some excellent looking Eldar models. The overall army pictures did not come out due to dirty over-shield on the tables. I grabbed some pictures simple because I liked the display boards and will eventually need to craft something for my own army.

There was a great looking Baneblade with a really nice Mechanicum sigil on the front. (edit: by BrassScorpion from BoLS)

And then there was Jay and his armies on parade. I think he should have labeled them "Chaos Marines: Alpha Legion".

Golden Daemon

Overall Golden Daemon was better this year than last. I snapped a bunch of pictures, but only a limited amount came out. I need to do more work with the camera to improve my photography skills. Here are a couple highlights:

Tau on Bike (this looked much better in person than in the picture)

Incredible fine painting on an Eldar Grav-Tank

Yes, I was drawn to the Eldar models. To be fair there were a good number of them as well. This Wraithlord looked incredible:

I will do another Gamesday post, likely later today. I want to share some of my thoughts and take advantage of my own virtual soap-box to talk about my feelings regarding Gamesday.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Baltimore Gamesday 2009 - Post 1 (Ace of Cakes, Previews)

For those of you who watch the Food Network, you will recognize the following face (Duff from Ace of Cakes)! Duff came to Games Day this year to make a Squig Cake for Mythic Entertainment. I have to say that as I am home thinking through the day, this has to be the largest register of cool points I saw!

Now, along with meeting Duff and getting a picture of that incredible cake, I also snapped a whole load of other pictures. For the first post, I will start with some of the "sneak peaks" that were on display. Nothing really new here, but take a look anyway.

First we have a close-up of the new Space Marine character - Vulkan - who is expected out with Planetstrike.

And a look at what is supposed to be Kosorro Khan.

I do love the iron-clad dreadnought model.

And here is something for those Ork lovers out there. This is a work in progress Forge World Supa-Kannon to mount on a battlewagon. I imagine this would work for a Kill-Kannon as well.

We got to look at some new Galadhirm swordsmen on foot

And some of the new Galadhirm cavalry. I did not realize I had snapped a picture of the command unit until I was editing my pictures tonight, so I missed a shot of the banner.

And with the Perry's, some other models (not sure which are new and which old). Overall there looks to be some empire stuff below. My snaps of the new Empire Swordsmen were blurred, so not posted.

Overall I did not see anything here that I had not seen before. Most of this has already been announced on GW's own email announcements with pictures. I also was unable to locate the planet-strike book so could not take a look or get any pictures.

That's all for tonight. I will get some more pictures up in the following posts and also give a recap of my thoughts on Gamesday 2009.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

***NEWS FLASH*** Eldar suffer crushing defeat!

Ouch. That's the result of my recent game at GW Sterling Friday evening. Simply put, ouch.

Lets start at the beginning with the list. Friday evening I headed out to my local GW (GW Sugarland) and was able to grab a game with one of the regulars. He plays Space Marines (the emperors finest). Mission was annihilation and set-up was the one with 12 inches per side (normal set-up).

I brought @1750:
Autarch (Mandiblasters, WJG, Power Weapon, Fusion Gun)
Farseer (Doom, Guide, Runes of Warding, Spirit Stones, Witchblade)

9x Banshees
w/ Banshee Exarch (Mirror Swords, Warshout)
w/ Wave Serpent (Spirit Stones, SCan, TL SCan)
3x Wraithguard

9x Dire Avengers
w/ Dire Avenger Exarch (Bladestorm, Defend, 2x Avenger SC)
w/ Wave Serpent (Spirit Stones, SCan, TL Missile Launcher)
9x Dire Avengers
w/ Dire Avenger Exarch (Bladestorm, Defend, Power Weapon, Shimmershield)
5x Pathfinders

9x Warpspiders
w/ Warp Spider Exarch (Withdraw, Powerblades, 2x Deathspinner)

1x Falcon (Holo-field, Spirit Stones, Missile Launcher, SCan)

The list I played against was basically:
2 units of Bikes (with attack bikes)
1 unit of Bikes (with attack bike) and melta weapons
Scout Squad with Tellion (Special Character) and a heavy bolter with special rounds
1 Veteran squad (sternguard?) in a Razorback
3 Thunderfire Cannons

So here is where the comedy of errors began. First, I roll and get choice for first or second turn. I choose to let him set-up first and go first. He sets up his entire army on the table, thunderfire cannons in 3 ruins at the rear of his board. Each of these building are "reinforced ruins", providing a bonus cover save.

I then choose to keep the following in reserve:
Spiders + Autarch - deep striking
Serpent + Banshees
Serpent + Dire Avengers + Farseer

I deploy the wraithguard half in one of the 2 ruins on my side of the board, the Dire Avengers in the other, and the pathfinders on the second floor of the central ruin (where the wraithguard were). At this point I choose to not try and seize initiative.

Yes, I imagine many of you are cringing right now.

So, first turn his thunderfire cannons wipe out the pathfinders, drop the wraithguard to 2, and drop the dire avengers to 2 (exarch still alive). I move forward with the wraithguard and try and shoot with the dire-avengers. It is at this point I realize that a DA Exarch with Power weapon and shimmershield does not have a gun to shoot with. Fail. Strangely I am still fairly confident I can recover a bad start.

Turn 2, thunderfire cannons complete the job of clearing the eldar from the board. I bring in my spiders, and both wave serpents. Falcon sits around for another turn. I burn the Serpents 24 inches onto the board, tank shocking one bike squad. Bike Squad makes 2 leadership tests and moves out of the way. Spiders deep-strike behind a ruin on his side of the board and take out one of the thunderfire cannons. Excellent!

Turn 3, the only squad with range on the spiders are the scouts in the ruin above the dead thunderfire cannon. Scouts unload into my nicely packed deep-struck formation with their special heavy bolter round. I cringe, but only 2 spiders fall. Tellion whiffs. At this point he opens up with las-cannons and plasma guns on the 2 serpents. Both serpents are penetrated, both fail their save, both explode (on a 6) with a 6 inch range, the second one wipes the dire avenger squad down to the Farseer + Exarch + 2 DA. Now the bike squad opens up on the banshees, leaving 1 banshee sitting in the crater. I now realize I am not going to make a good showing on this game.

Suffice it to say that I did not actually kill another unit before being wiped off the board in turn 4. That's right, I was tabled before the end of Turn 4.

Record: 1-2-0


The Army
I am not uncomfortable with this list, and will continue to play around with it. I am fairly certain the following list is what worked against me:
  1. I should have chosen to deploy and go first. With 3 Thunderfire Canons and bikes I needed to get on the board and move early.
  2. My dice really hated me in this game. This happens, and I need to work on my strategy a bit more to off-set these types of games.
  3. I really need to play more games. I need to learn 5th edition better and re-learn my own army. I am still losing by making decisions that are either un-informed or badly informed.
I enjoy playing, and my opponent was a gentleman about the game.

Saturday is/was Baltimore Gamesday 2009. Pictures and coverage will be up soon.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Small Update

Its been a bit since I posted last, shorter than the previous breaks but definitely longer than I had hoped. I have some pictures that were missing from the previous post, along with a quick snap of my workspace.

First, the missing pictures:

Eldar Jet-Bikes

Wave Serpent #2 (borrowing weapons from WS #1)

And my workspace.

As you can see, if you look closely, I have stacked up my next couple projects. The Queue on my left will show that my painting queue is empty, but the building queue has backed up. I need to assemble my Shrieker Jet Bikes (Eldar Jetbike with Shuri-Cannons). Along with this I am going to put together my small (5 man + Exarch) Fire Dragon squad. I added a Farseer to the stack, as I have an idea for the base conversion and I want to field an actual Farseer model (instead of my Bonesinger).

Gamesday Baltimore is tomorrow and I will be headed up for the day. I am dissapointed as I was hoping to bring some cash with me in the hopes of grabbing some deals (if they are similar to last year). Unfortuneatly, my car had other ideas and the bulk of my recent bonus went to fixing it up. Its never fun to hear your wallet cry as you pay the cashier at an auto-shop. I am still hopeful I can scrounge together some smaller fun-money to pick up a few things.
Lastly on the tray is an Autarch on Jetbike model. I am not sure yet if I will assemble him as an Autarch or do some mod's to make him a Farseer on Jetbike.

On other fronts, I am looking to the future and some of my other hobby projects on the horizon. I have 2 major projects in different stages of preparation.
Project 1: High Elf Fantasy Army
Project 2: War of the Ring army (either Misty Mountains or Elves)

Regarding Project 1, I have a large box in my closet waiting for me to complete my Eldar project. The Defenders of Ulthuan set was purchased around Christmas time (my present to myself with help from my lovely wife!), and I have augmented that with some small bits from here and there. I ahve added 15 White Lions (incl. Command), along with 5 Dragon Princes (incl. Command). Overall this should make a very solid 3K plus army.

Project 2: I am going back and forth on what I will want to play for WotR. I have a Balrog which I painted up at the begining of my Eldar project. I painted him as the cracked skin is similar to the Eldar Forge World Avatar, and I wanted to try out my paint scheme. Now I have a game I am interested in that he could add to. In addition, I have had some additional ideas for substitutes for some of the over-expensive Misty Mountain models which would allow me to expand my force fairly quickly. This makes me lean toward the Misty Mountain list.

On the other hand, I love the LoTR Galadhrim models. I am considering using some of these in my High-Elf WHFB army, but also lean toward purchasing and building an armored Galadhrim army for WotR. I will probably see where everything sits when I get down to starting my WotR project.