Tuesday, 30 September 2008

So many ideas in my head…

... and too many things to do preventing me from posting!

Last week I’ve been really busy and I have barely had time to write some lines in the blog. But that doesn’t mean that I’ve been idle on my eldar project, not at all. First, I’ve spent some hours trying to pick a colour scheme for my fire dragons, and after a few hours painting on a model I think I have it (hurray!). I’ve also played two games last week (what is a lot for a person who used to play a game every 2-3-months) with my nids, being defeated once by some hard-hitting black templars and snatching a last-turn draw from a serious defeat in a game last Sunday against imperial guard (3 hellhounds giving me a lot of trouble with my smaller nids). Aaand I’ve also been reviewing the pictures from GD UK ’08, specially Golden Demon ones, and I have to admit that in some categories, it’s definitely been the best of all times (just check the “Duel” entries, simply a step forward from the typical dioramas we used to see). And last but not least, I’ve got some magnets that will help me a lot with my idea of a fully customizable eldar army.

I expect to write all this down in the following days!

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Prices rising!

I'm in a rush at the moment, 'cause I've just noticed that in a couple of days Games Workshop is increasing prices in all their non-plastic products; and I forgot it completely! This afternoon I'll head to my local store to mail order the last bits for my alredy planned 2.000 points army, such as a farseer, autarch, specialist warriors blisters, a special edition ranger and that stuff around 100 € (that is, 150 $). Saving between 15%-30% of that money will be great!

If you also forgot about the new prices, you'd better hurry up too!!

Monday, 22 September 2008

Recurrent problem (and big tamtrum)

Shit happens. Everybody knows. But some things really drive me nuts.

Imagine that you’ve just finished painting a model you want to use in your games. You may have invested a lot of time and effort on it (specially if it is a relevant model on a table, like a commander or so) and you don’t want your finely painted model to be damaged during a battle (battle damage is cool when painted on a model, not when suffered by it). So what can you do? The answer is simple: protect your model. How? Well, you can use different methods, such as glass covers and stuff (seriously, I’ve seen it!), but for miniature gamers the most broadly extended method of protecting miniatures is varnishing them.

Varnish. The sound of that word gives the creeps to most of the top miniature painters I know (and I know several Golden Demon winners). They keep reminding me not to use it, and I keep telling them that apart from painting I also play with the minis, and therefore varnish is essential to keep them in good shape and avoid as much as possible those eventual scratches that come with the use, touch and falling (ouch!) of the miniatures; so it is a must for me. By the way, I have to congratulate Nano for his well deserved Slayer Sword in the last UK’s GD, your painting really rocks man. Keep up the good work!

Now back to our subject. There are plenty of varnishes out there in the market, lots of different brands and types, and in different formats (mainly intended either to be applied by brush or by spray). Personally, I don’t like a gloss finish on a mini, I mean, I DON’T LIKE IT, because in my opinion it ruins all the careful work of layering, blending and glazing a miniature giving it a completely different look. Even with miniatures to which I haven’t dedicated too much time (such as typical core troops – for example gaunts in my tyranid army) I really hate having a glossy finish on them. I think that gloss varnish should be used only for really glossy surfaces, such as watery or bloody ones, for example, but not for faces, clothes or even weapons.

Ok, no problem – you can think – just use a matt varnish. Matt varnish. Hah! As if it were so easy to find a REAL matt varnish! Most of the “matt” varnishes I’ve checked are not real matt, but satin varnishes. Crap! And as far as I’ve checked through the interned and talked with loads (and loads, and loads…) of other painters, I’ve discovered that there is just one real matt varnish in the world: Testors Dullcote. And I’ve also discovered that it is impossible to get it outside America or the UK, due to shipping restrictions on the product. Super crap!

So in the last years, I’ve trying different brands of varnishes available in my local stores (not only GW stores). I’ve found that GW’s “Purity Seal” is a satin varnish that luckily suits quite well the look of my nids (in the future I’ll post here some pics of them too), but is unacceptable for other minis (like high elves). I tried several other brands till I found the one that, although not completely matt, gives a minimum satin effect to my miniatures: Vallejo’s Matt Varnish. Currently I’m happy with it, but I use it only in my gaming minis, not the display ones.

At this point, everything was more or less wine and roses with my minis and the varnish, until yesterday I made – again – a mistake when varnishing a mini: I oversprayed it A LITTLE. I’ve done this too many times, but I find it impossible to control when applying varnish with a spray. The result? First, a super glossy surface in my carefully-painted-with-all-my-love weapons platform; then, some round circular spots with a white borders; finally, cries of anger of the painter (yes, that’s me).

Luckily, it has only affected a small area (the back part of the brightlance), and it wont take me more than two minutes to fix it, but it could have been much worse, and that's really annoying.

This problem happens to me not really very often, but yes every now and then. I spray the minis from a reasonable distance, in an open environment (the balcony of my flat), and quickly. And even that, this shit keeps happening. Guess I’ll have to live with it, but I’d kill for a can of Testors, or for some good advice on varnishing miniatures with spray…

Monday, 15 September 2008

First and (probably) last painting session

Well, at least for my girlfriend, hehe.

Last Friday I had the brilliant idea of arranging a painting session at home, and I asked my girlfriend to come and try her skills with the brush. So I cleaned part of the kitchen’s table, brought there my lamp, water, paints and that stuff; so we can have a nice environment this first time painting together.

I gave her one eldar guardian, already assembled and primed; and I took another, so I could explain her what to do while I did it myself. That seemed me a good idea, and proved relatively effective, but for the fact that she was barely listening me and was doing all the things on her own. Damn girls…

After an hour or so trying to teach her about the importance of thinning down paints or the best way to apply paint with the strokes of the brush, we both gave up, she admitting not having patience for this (patience is not one of my hot-tempered honey qualities). Well, at least she tried; and in the end we reached the agreement of she learning a bit how to play the game and visiting and supporting me when I played, and I doing all the painting business. If somebody there thinks that’s not a good deal, I strongly disagree. It’s FAR more than what I had before, so it’s ok for me and I’m happy with it.

Oh, and I must say that even with her lack of patience, she wasn’t doing bad at all, as the “end of session” picture shows. Pity she won’t go any further… well, maybe I can take her as an assistant when making scenery; we’ll see.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Alaitoc Guardians: First idea

Guardians are the most basic eldar troops. In fact, they are not exactly soldiers, but civilians, who have been called to arms due the serious lack of troops from which the surviving eldar Craftworlds suffer from. They can be equipped with a short-ranged weapon with a high rate of fire and average potency called shuriken catapult, or with melee equipment such as pistols and swords. They can also carry some special weapons such as flamers and meltaguns, and also heavier weapons mounted on grav platforms, allowing them to fire on the move. Eldar technology is that great!

I love guardians. Simply love them. I think they are among the best miniatures designed by Games Workshop. Soft curves and simple but effective poses for basic minis. The new heavy weapon platform is also really cool (and bigger than the previous one). And they all are plastic! Even better for handling and gaming :)

So, undoubtedly, I knew beforehand that my army needed at least one unit of them, though I'd like to include more (maybe this will be more than necessary due to the new 5th ed. gaming rules). Tactically, I see the guardians in a multipurpose role, both valid for defense and attack, but also not specially good in neither of those roles (well, civilians after all). But the essential point of units of guardians is that they are Core Units in the army organisation chart, and therefore able to hold and take objetives in the battlefield.

So if I had to start with some minis, it should be with those. As I've previously mentioned, the Alaitoc colour scheme includes a blue-spot pattern of camouflage, using the yellow colour as a contrast. But as I wanted to avoid "horrible vivid colours", I had to do a few changes to it... and thus I decided to change the yellow colour for a bone one; and use red for details to create a good contrast. So I had the reference (a guardian painted by Games Workshop, see picture) and my own idea... would it fit?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Back from holidays

… and working again. Dammit!

Well, best things don't last forever, and holidays are over. I haven't posted anything lately, and I think it was about time; because in the last months I've finished painting the first unit of the army: ten eldar guardians with a brightlance platform! I am very proud of the work I've done, not because of the quality of the paintjob (that I consider more than tabletop acceptable) but because the colour scheme I picked up turned out really well. I applied it again to an eldar vyper - a unit that under the new rules won't be used very much I'm afraid - and the result was again more than satisfactory. Hurray! Now I only have to take some pictures of the units on all their glory to show them here, mmm, maybe next week.

I've also finished my eldar wraithlord modelling project… more on this soon, but for the moment just want to tell you I got inspired by Jamie's miniature (from Coolminiornot). Really an excellent example of a dynamic miniature (and a brilliant paintjob too), and that's the feeling I want to give to mine...