Sunday, March 31, 2013

AdeptiCon 2013: Tables (5)

I know a guy part two.

You have heard me bang my drum about That Guy James before, undoubtedly.

He produced the last two sets of Special Operations: Killzone cards, as well as the “Sin of Alacrity” wallpaper that I have used throughout this table-making bonanza. He has been a very, very busy man building an empire of glory that is, well, glorious.

He is an artist from top to toe, and relentlessly creative… and creatively relentless.

This year I asked him to revisit the Sin of Alacrity computer screen images that had served me quite well in the past in hopes that we could raise the stakes slightly.

He knocked it out of the park. Rather than work toward peculiar particulars, or guess either dimensions and/or shapes and/or work endless revisions to get through all that muddle, James simply came up with the blindingly tremendous idea: broad sheets that can be cut to order.

Behold these beauties. You’ll be seeing quite a lot of this on the new Sin of Alacrity tables: on the bridge, and various control stations, panels, doors, anywhere I can justify it really. 

I never cease to be amazed at the blinding talent sitting just beyond this screen. In these past three AdpetiCons, I have been consistently left gobsmacked by the dedication and creativity of James and of many other personalities out there in this grand blogosphere. Wondrous stuff.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

AdeptiCon 2013: Tables (4)

I think that I mentioned an almost identical sentiment last year at nearly this precise time, but I suspect few are genuinely focused on my nonsense enough to care, nevermind remember.

So there’s an expression here in Chicago: “I know a guy.”

We use it all the time to express an extraordinary vicarious ability to get some basic improbable, bureaucratic, illegal, mundane, technical, and generally untoward task accomplished. Something outside normal skill sets. You need tickets to the game? I know a guy. You need to make that parking ticket go away? I know a guy. (I don’t, by the way. If you get a ticket in Chicago, you are screwed). 

Last year, I mentioned it with regard to Tall Paul and his McGuyver-esque resources and uncanny collection of power tools. Helpful.

This year, I would like to graciously thank the Lords of AdeptiCon (Matt and Hank), who certainly know a few guys in-and-around the hobby world. In particular, I have to offer thanks to the fellas for setting me up with Kevin over at Flying Tricycle. If ever there was "a guy," he qualifies.

In conversation about two months ago, I mentioned that we would be cutting lumber to make the Zone Mortalis shapes but that I was scrounging around for detailing that would make the ship live and breathe. They put me in touch with Kevin, a quick flurry of emails, and a few weeks later a package arrived on my doorstep with (quite literally) hundreds and hundreds of these little shapes cut in thin cardstock ...very, very thin cardstock. 

The idea is a simple one. Give the lumber enough relief and design to distract from its lumberness. Fingers crossed. 

I have now embarked upon the extraordinarily trying process of gluing all of these griblets to all those two-by-fours in order to make them appear more appropriately grim and perhaps even dark – at the very least less like two-bys and more like post-industrial metallic hulk products made of steel or ceremite or whatever.

In the same week, Kevin (via Hank) also produced the necessary components to make a variety of these crates, which have been fabricated in a very similar manner. All else has been eclipsed.

What a boon! What a process.

But man oh man all that gluing has soaked up some time and attention. I have done little else for quite a while now, and I am ready to move these monsters to the next phase.  For those keeping score at home, the shapes shown here represent possibly 25% of the entire shapely collection currently in the manufacture process. Blimey.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Space Hulk

And why not.

Space Hulk is one of my first really intense interests in this hobby. In many ways, the older version was responsible for pulling my attention (fixation) out from the world of high fantasy, with goblins, elves, dragons, and wizards and the like, and into the possibilities offered by pure science fiction. For me, it was a breathless opening to the grimdark potential of the 41st millennium. And I loved it. Still do. 

Ref Pitmann dropped by last week for some light gaming, and it made very pleasant change from the intensity of recent weeks. We have had a very difficult time scheduling these evenings lately, as I have been rather busy and, well, Pitmann has a merciless job. Neither of us felt like a smash-mouth game of 40K, as we have simply not played enough to feel particularly confident with the new edition. So we worked the next best thing. Let’s hear it for beer and pretzels in the pinch.

Long time readers might remember some classic matchups with Pitmann’s Iron Warriors situated across the table from just about anything I could muster on the day. Pitmann is, I believe, very nearly unique in this hobby in that he has only ever played Iron Warriors. 13 years later. Only the Iron Warriors. I have never seen anything/anyone like it.

And Lo! Even in our games of Space Hulk, he replaces the Blood Angels pieces with his own Iron Warrior proxies.

This was a wonderful matchup -the second scenario if memory serves, with "the good guys" spread out and desperate to hold it all organized before the walls come in. 

Ref P got his Autocannon where he wanted it immediately, and managed to get the Sergeant down to block the opposite end almost immediately. As such, I was forced to throw genestealer after genestealer into the grinder, with only the hope that he would either explode or run out of ammunition while I still had something left in the well.

Pitmann, true to form, rolled amazingly. Even after his ammunition was depleted, the Autocannon CSM (cough) managed to kill at least three genestealers in hand-to-hand combat. Surely, that is unprecedented. Of course, it could not last indefinitely, and my stealers closed in on the prey in true form.

Alas, it was too little too late. Pitmann killed the last stealer with just two of his dreadful Iron Warriors on the table.  

What a game.

Next time, we are thinking about dusting off our LotR forces and giving it a bash with the new rules [scratches chin].

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

AdeptiCon 2013: Tables (3)

Fun with shapes.

Tall Paul and I have created a sea of these basic shapes and have since spent a considerable amount of time with them, arranging, re-arranging, arranging, and repeat. It is an interesting challenge. We have several ideas that we are trying to express, but which will inevitably look rather meager at this early stage. Still. Here’s a go. None of this has been nailed together just yet, so we are at liberty to play and play with a side order of play. These photos are six designs that we have been enjoying thus far. The first image above might be gun bays (but again, it's all fluid at this point).

Bridge: or at least it might be (nose in the image above would be pointing south), picture big screens and commander's chairs, etc.

Teleportation rooms: I have a vision that under the purview of a central monitoring station, each section will include a variety of wired “pads” upon which Terminators and the like would stand before teleporting to the surface. More on that soon.

Storage hangars: these spaces will be littered with crates and general mechanical clutter, etc.

We are not yet certain about these last two and have two more after that to assemble. I think the one above might be a barracks or an inquisitorial chamber. Shapes! It has been a process, and I must say that in moments like these it is quite beneficial to have someone like Tall Paul around, not only for his general carpentry prowess and extraordinary collection of tools, but also for his complete objectivity.

Tall Paul has no interest really in our hobby. He has never played a single minute of any miniature game. He enjoyed the Hobbit (film only), and that about sums it up. As such, his approach to these tables is not clouded through a gaming lens. He is not thinking about rules so much as pure style and finesse. If it were up to him, at least one of these tables would have an open flame on it, and another might have running water. Neither of these elements will be included, of course, as I’m certain there is a zoning ordinance against it. But still. He brings a drive for glory that is not compromised by practicality, and that is unapologetically refreshing.

The proof is in the pudding. This is the fourth time that TP has donated his time and talent to helping me build tables of this type and demeanor. The first tables for Killzone at AdeptiCon 2011 he did as a curiosity, I believe. The second he did for Heroes of Armageddon as a challenge to his skill and craftsmanship. The third set for Killzone 2012 he did because the project was ambitious, and because he was enjoying himself. And here we are now doing this for the fourth time. 

Has this accidentally become our niche? How did that happen?

Saturday, March 16, 2013


I have been trying, slowly, to get back in the saddle with this blogging business. For two years, I had a genuine momentum and was able to produce work here that, quite frankly surprises even me looking back now. As with all such cases I have seen here on the internet, I simply had more time then than I do now. And so the blog suffered a bit.

But just before the new year a kind letter from a fellow that I am quite pleased to consider a friend knocked me in the shoulder precisely at the moment I needed it most. I will admit; I was beginning to doze.

Here is Warhammer 39,999’s post that brought me back round and reminded me what I have enjoyed so tremendously about the hobby and about the blogosphere as well. You can read all the details of how these models temporarily landed on my plate some 2+ years ago on his site.

Here, I would just like to mention that I would never have met Rob if it were not for this fine medium, and I would never have been allowed the tremendous pleasure of getting to paint all these stupifyingly lovely models. This, I believe, is what makes this whole grand experiment so fine, so compelling, so very cool. Experiences like these are what make me feel that we are a genuine community of kindred spirits.

What a collection! When I finally put the brush down, I was positively green with envy.

Although I sincerely believe that (with the notable exception of finecast) GW continuously produces models without equal, these old quirky monsters continue to evoke something quite extraordinary in me. They are just fun and weird and brilliant.

Thank you Rob, for letting me put paint on them, and thank you also for getting me back in the swing of things.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

AdeptiCon 2013: Star Phantoms (1)

More AdeptiCon WIP shots. This is going to happen a lot in the coming weeks, as it is all work round here and all of it is pointed squarely in AdeptiCon’s direction. So please enjoy if that is your thing as much as it is mine.

Star Phatoms, you may be wondering. I know. I know. 

I will explain. There is an AdeptiCon staff “thing” going around right these recent months. I am not sure what else to call it, and I am not even certain what state it is in right now. I am certain, however, that it will be glorious. The idea is a simple one: gather a ton of people interested in the hobby and corral them into producing 1000 points around a single theme for a massive game.

In no small part, the impetuous to rebuild the Sin of Alacrity came from this gambit. All the better, we could then parlay the massive set of tables into a Zone Mortalis slot for the AdpetiCon weekend. Or did that happen the other way around… to be candid, I’m not certain.

Regardless, the theme is the Badab confict. The staff circulated a sing-up sheet months and months ago. We were all meant to select a faction, loyal, traitorous, etc, and get to work. Most of the obvious spots were taken (Lamenters being a particularly popular choice), and I arrived quite typically late to the party. So it goes.

With what little was left in circulation, I handily picked the Star Phantoms based on little more than the notion that they would be worth learning about, and that they were otherwise not spoken for, win-win.

Turns out, they shot Huron in the face. Nice work, team. After that, I have a basic sense of the color scheme. That about sums it up.

In the spirit of the event, I will also be using this faction as the 750 point ringer army for the Zone Mortalis event on the outside (but entirely plausible) chance that I actually get to play a game or three during the weekend. One never knows.

As for the Sin of Alacrity tables, stay tuned. I have been making slow and steady progress and there is a lot coming together in these final weeks to the event.

It’s all happening.

Friday, March 1, 2013

AdeptiCon 2013: Tables (2)

Quick update tonight on the Zone Mortalis tables. It has been a long week already, but I have been diligently pushing onward, upward.


First, rather obviously, FW’s own Zone Mortalis interior efforts stand out significantly. For that measure, I have taken the liberty of mimicking both the modular disposition and the fundamental shapes found in their line. You can see the basics here.

Second, I have been asked to make 8 4x4 tables. That is 128 square feet to you and me. Pure. Hobby. Glory. I intend to make these modular efforts as a nod to FW’s brilliance (which is really unparalleled, in my opinion) while also striking the delicate balance between unbridled ambition and feasibility.

While I generally avoid the stuff, some maths will be helpful here by way of illustration. Currently, I note that FW is selling 1 square foot (and one basic shape) for 25 GBP. That converts to about 37 Dollars per piece. So. At 128 square feet these tables would cost at least 4,736 Dollars (cough) if I were to place some extraordinary order with our fine cousins from across the pond. I said minimum deliberately. 1 shape per square foot might make a rather sparse table, so there would be more. Always more –which really should be FW’s motto.

These tables will come in at significantly less than 25% of that sum. 8 tables. They might not be as blindingly spectacular as FW, but I intend to compensate in other capacities. Watch here for details.

Third, I am mining my old tables for inspiration and for the aforementioned compensation. If I can find a happy medium between FW and my own much-missed Sin of Alacrity, I will consider the job a good one.

Last, It has been quite cold and snowy here in Chicago. So as best I am able, I have moved the operations from the unheated garage indoors to my basement of nerd glory. So far. So good.