Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Other Category Winners from Dropzone Games Competition

The Other Category Winners

     I talked about an awesome painting competition I was happy to take part in at Dropzone Games and I mentioned that I didn't get shots of the other winners.  The above model was the winner in the Large Model category.  A Grot A-10 bomber!  What's not to love?  Mark did an excellent job in both modeling and painting this wonderful entry.  I saw this masterful model and knew that my Valkyrie didn't stand a chance.  It's an absolutely splendid model, and as an Ork player myself, I thing this thing is just perfect.

Single Character Winner

     Here is the single character winner.  The Croc Butcher.  The choice of colors are terrific.  I was surprised, upon closer inspection, to find that each individual scale on this model was deliberately.  Very impressive model.  I love that the tongue and gums are all properly colored for a croc.  Tom did a fantastic job.

Dark Future Gaming

     If you'd like to see more pictures of the winners, you can check out Dark Future Gaming's blog site.  I spoke with Wolfson, who took all the pictures at the event (great job, btw!), from the team while at Dropzone Games and had a nice chat.  They are a really community focused group looking to highlight the hobby in a positive light, promoting the people and the places that make a difference.  Check out their site, I'm going back through some of their older posts and finding some good stuff.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I Won a Painting Competition at the Grand Opening of Drop Zone Games


     I attended the grand opening of Drop Zone Games here in Maryland (I'll tell you more about the store in a bit).  They had a painting competition as part of this event.  There were three categories: Unit, Single Character, and Large Model.  I entered one in each.  I put my old warboss on a bike into the Single Character, my newly finished Valkyrie in for Large Model, and my Cadian Command Squad in for Unit.

Here's the Command Squad
     I won first in the Unit category and amazingly I won best overall!  I got a sweet plaque for the category win and a sword... I'm going to repeat it because it's awesome... A SWORD for winning best overall!  I couldn't freaking believe it!  This is really only the second painting competition that I've ever entered.  Looking at the other models in those cases, I felt like I didn't really have a chance to take any of the categories.  There were some absolutely amazing works of art in there.  I have some pics and I'll share those in a bit too.  One of the cherries on top of this was that Dave Taylor was one of the judges, and Andy Chambers picked the overall winner!  I've been following Dave Taylor's blog since I got started in the hobby about three years ago, and if you don't know who Andy Chambers is, then you should know that he is an amazing game designer that has worked on nearly everything GW and since leaving them he has worked on a lot of awesome things like Starcraft 2.  I still haven't met Dave Taylor, I keep just missing him everywhere I go around here.  I just want to shake that dude's hand and say what an inspiration his work is to me.  Some day, perhaps.

Drop Zone Games

     This place is incredible!  You can find their fledgling site here where you can get their address, and check out any coming events.  This used to be the Glen Bernie Battle Bunker for Games Workshop.  When they closed the store and moved it south to Bowie, I don't think they made a great change.  The new store has really high ceilings so the place can get loud.  While the bunker certainly does have nice tables in quantity it was always a bit of a pain to drive there.  Drop Zone has plenty of tables, good terrain, and capacity to have large events without a problem.  The staff is extremely charismatic and they're all veterans in this industry.  They really put the average GW store to shame with the volume of knowledge they have in the hobby and community.

     After having played in GW stores only since moving to Maryland, it was a huge treat to take in the sights and sounds of non-GW games being played.  The store carries nearly every major table top game I could think of trying, along with a huge amount of 2nd party conversion bits, decorative bases, and hobby supplies.  They also have PROPER hobby area with swivel lamps, nice seating, and tons of area.

     This all might sound like a commercial, well it sort of is.  This is exactly what I want in an independent gaming retailer.  It's not a comic store that has a few tables made of cheap plywood, with little terrain that has been bashed to hell, and a very limited selection of actual table top wares.  This place isn't that.  This place is exactly what you'd want near your house.

     Even though it might not be near your house, you'd not be doing yourself a disservice to travel a bit to get here and check this place out.  I'll be gaming here every chance I get until I move.

The Competition Models

     As I mentioned, there were some amazing models in this competition.  Unfortunately I didn't get a chance to take pictures of the other category winners, which is a shame.  By the time I got done shooting the shit with some of the other fine folks there, grabbed my gear and made some purchases, it slipped my mind to go back and get pics.  The large model winner had already left and had taken the model with him.  But there were some other very strong entries and I got some pics of them for you:

Freebootaz!  Love that model.

An AMAZING Kommando Nob with very impressive night vision goggles

Kommandos to go with the above Nob.  This guy won Large Model with an awesome Ork aircraft for Aeronautica

Dust has some crazy models.  This one is almost disturbing.  Love the rusty look.

It's kinda disgusting, but also awesome.

Dust, as I said, has some strong models.  The vehicles are the strongest.

I have a huge crush on everything Soda Pop Miniatures does.  These Super Dungeon Explore models are rad.

Arbites?  Whatever they are, they're great.

Another Dust unit.  Great camo details.

Harlequins are always awesome to see painted up.  I should have gotten a shot of those Incubi on the right side as well.

     Since I mentioned Dave Taylor, I noticed that Dave had a diorama in the case.  It's one that he had submitted for Games Day Chicago 2012, and it was a finalist.  It's an amazing piece and you can check it out at his blog.  There's some nice details in this thing, here are a couple of close-ups:

     I hope you've enjoyed looking at some fantastic models, and join me next time where I'll be bringing some progress update on my Blitza Bombah!  I refuse to spell it "bommer" as that doesn't seem Orky enough.  Cheers!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Finished Valkyrie with Secret Weapon Base!

It's Been a Long Time

     It has taken me a very (read: VERY!) long time to complete this model.  Rightfully so!  It's not an easy kit to assemble, even more difficult if you're constantly fretting over which bits should be painted before assembling.  This kit isn't for beginners, even the ones that don't intend to paint the model.

     This represents quite a few milestones for me.  This is the largest Warhammer 40K model I've ever assembled and painted.  This is also the first time that I've had a pre-made resin base.  I absolutely fell in love with Secret Weapon Minisatures' Urban Street bases (see previous post).  The base was so easy to paint that it almost felt like cheating.  Not cheating enough for me NOT to use it.

     I'll have some more pictures and a funny story about the Valkyrie in a bit, but first I want to talk about the base.

The Joy of Basing

     As I said above, this was a joy to paint.  I got to experiment with all sorts of techniques that I have been wanting to try.  I think the end results were pretty good and I learned a bit about different methods of applications of weathering powders.

     Before I could paint it, I needed to make sure that I could fix the flight stand such that it would sit flat on the base.  The elevated portion of the base, containing the side walk, was the challenge.  I decided that I would try a bit of carving.  I went to a hobby store and purchased a cheap wood working kit that had a few carving tools.  I looked for one that had the width of one of the "fins" of the flight stand (the typical GW one) and lucked out with one that was just slightly larger.  I then traced out the footprint of the flight stand on the bare resin base with a pencil.  I then started carving into my perfectly nice base.  You can clearly see the carved out portion here:

     Took some guts to do this to this beautiful base

     Once I was sure I was getting close to a good fit, I just kept test fitting and shaving off smaller amounts each time.  At the end, the flight stand fit perfectly!  Here is a close look at the result:

     Since the "fin" that I had carved out that little trench for was sunken ever so slightly into the base, I was sure to use a more daring amount of glue on that portion of the stand.  It seems like I have a good strong fix between the stand and the base, but I'll likely always treat it a bit gingerly just in they desire to divorce themselves of each other.

The Gunners: Frick and Frack

     The final piece I had to complete on this model was the door gunners.  I had spent a fair bit of time making sure the cabin was detailed, and I had made sure to magnetize the gun cradles to the swing arms such that I could be truly WYSIWYG if I should opt NOT to take the two Heavy Bolter door guns.  With all that work in place, I knew that I wanted to put some real detail into the door gunners themselves.  Obviously I wouldn't spend as much time as I had on some of my infantry models, such as my command squad, but I wanted them to still stand up to some scrutiny.  So here they are:

Frick on the left, Frack on the right

     I made sure that they matched the infantry but yet looked a little bit different such that they represented flight crew, not ground slogging infantry.  Their armor is fresher looking, no bullet holes or rusting.  They have flight suits so no camo spots either.  I spent a bit of time making sure those visors on their helmets had some very subtle light streaks and spots.  After all that, here's what you see of them when they're installed:

Detail work?  Totally worth it.  Just look at that visor!

     Yes, I do feel like a bit of an idiot.  I'm a slow painter because I'm still not super great at NOT painting bits of the model in less detail.  That's truly a talent in and of itself.  Dave Taylor, ex-GW man and the absolute master of the fast army, is my hero because of that ability alone.  I've see his work on his blog and everything is simple and elegant.  While he's capable of finely detailed paint jobs, he doesn't do it unless he has to for the most part.  He knows how to spend the effort on the parts of the model that the eye naturally clings to.  Maybe I'll be able to do that some day.  Oh and if you think the above photo is bad, wait until you see it with the wing attached!

What door gunner?


     I really feel that this was a pretty good milestone for me.  I'm proud of the model, but I'm also immensely pleased to have it OFF my painting table and in my display cabinet.  I've got another Valkyrie kit sitting here, but that will have to wait.  I have an Ork flyer to paint!

     I was worried that this paint scheme wouldn't fit in with my army.  I wanted the Valkyries to stand apart because they are flyers, and I reasoned that they shouldn't have the same camo pattern as my tanks.  To that end, I went with a bit of a "stealthier" look since these things will be shuttling two Storm Trooper squads around.  Just to make sure that it would still fit, I added those stripes.  I think that did the trick.  Here are some pictures with a few of my infantry to compare:

     I had some fun staging those two pictures.  Some day, when I have a table and some terrain, I could see myself wasting some time setting up some scenes with my models.  Full man-child achievement unlocked!

     I have a game lined up for tomorrow.  I think I'll be taking my Guard along for shits and giggles.  Might as well start to learn how to use them a bit.  Additionally I've been dying to mess about with a flyer so this gives me the perfect excuse.

     I leave you with a few more pictures of the Valkyrie: