Friday, March 28, 2014

Army on Parade

My wife's church is holding a sausage sizzle fundraiser, and as part of it there is a "collections" section; a series of different crafts and collectables. I've been manning a table with a small portion of my army and once again the Phantom has been drawing a lot of attention.

I'm always sort of surprised how it can draw people in that would otherwise be uninterested in the hobby. It just goes to show what a difference size makes. As an added bonus I'm always thrilled when it travels without damage, and today the Phantom came through without any areas of concern! The KR Multicase 1200 series got the job done.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Refurb Continues

One more new addition to the unit is complete along with two more updates squad members.

I'm hoping to get a minimum squad size done, between retouched models and new members, though with the demands of my new job I'm not 100% convinced I can meet that goal.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Mega Mat Versus Terrainguy Mat

Over the years I've had a number of different surfaces for my battles.  The first was a 6 x 4 board with green felt on it.  Later it was a 6 x 4 board painted grey.  Then I got into making surfaces, so I had 4 x 2 slats of insulation that were painted grey and formed the surface of my city fight board.  I played on those for years and had gone so far as to have alternate slats for rivers of toxic waste and I was pretty happy.

After some time I started to have issues.  Not with the qualities, but with the theme of my board.  I play Eldar.  why is every one of my games played in the ruins of an imperial city.  So I worked to change it.  I replaced my ruined buildings and tank traps and added in some really specific Eldar pieces to suggest I was battling on a Maiden world.  This felt much more natural to me and helped justify my craftworld going to war.

At this point I wanted the world to still be verdant, but I didn't want to go back to a bland, green felt covered board.  After doing some research I found TheTerrainGuy, who offered a 6 x 4 mat that fit my needs.  It was a green/brown flocked heavy canvass that ran me $75 before shipping.  Then I moved to the other side of the world and I gave it to a friend so it would still go to good use.

For the last couple of years I had taken photos of completed models on that surface because I felt like it was nice to show people what they'd look like on a table top.  I could no longer do that and it was bothering me, and TerrainGuy's shop was no longer up online.  Then Frontline Gaming announced its Mega Mat Kickstarter and it spurred me to actually sign up to Kickstarter and back it.  Now I've received it and I can tell you I am a happy camper.  For people who are considering getting one I'll compare it to the one I previously had in a head to head match-up.

The Terrain Guy mat was very nice, in part because it has a real shadow effect due to the texture of the pre-painted flock.  It added a sense of realism to the scene.  4/5  The Mega Mat has a high definition scene printed on the top that is incredibly detailed.  That said there is an odd effect at certain angles that gives the image almost a metallic sheen. 4/5

The Terrain Guy mat didn't hold up well when photographed.  The level of light needed to take a solid photo of a model just washes out the entire range of depth that the human eye gets to see, and the ground becomes a grainy, blur of green and brown. 2/5

The Mega Mat however loves being photographed and the detail seems almost magnified by it. 5/5

Both roll up easily to a 4 foot tall roll that's a little bit smaller than a large blast template which would grant them both a 4/5, but the Mega Mat comes with a canvas carry bag that bumps it up to the 5/5 as you don't need to worry about it trying to unfold when you are pulling it from wherever you keep it.

Product Placement
The Terrain Guy wrote on the underside of the mat, which meant the surface was completely untagged. 5/5 The Mega Mat has a small, unobtrusive Frontline Gaming logo in the corner. 4/5

The Spill Test
If you game at some point a beverage will be placed on your table.  The Terrain Guy mat absorbs water, even condensation, which creates spots until it dries, and in the event of a dark soda like cola a drop will permanently discolor the surface. 2/5 The Mega Mat seems to be pretty much liquid proof and a spill can be pretty easily cleaned off of it. 5/5

Game Time
When flat, both mats have pretty much no effect on dice and don't clatter like the GW board, so that's very much a wash, except I did write "when flat."  The Terrain Guy mat is a heavy duty canvas  that can get creases if folded rather than rolled and it takes days of weighting it with books to get those creases to really go away.  Even when you roll it the ends tend to curl until it's had some time laying flat. 3/5  The Mega Mat just lays flat on the table.  5/5

All in all they're both quality purchases, and once shipping was considered they were almost identical price.  As someone who has had experience with a mat before it really lets me appreciate how good a product the Mega Mat is, and I didn't even mention that despite an expected ship date of April the Frontline Gaming guys managed to ship it out and have it arrive in Australia in the second week of March, a month earlier than I expected it!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

40k Skirmish

I've seen a lot of people get in to Kill Team and claim that the game is the Skirmish version of 40k. While I see it as a squad based game I think standard 40k rules have taken pains to bring the game back towards second edition, an edition that was designed for smaller games, but ultimately was played at larger point values and eventually inspired the far streamlined third edition.

Since those days the game has slightly swung back. I find that now the game is a nice medium between detailed rules and streamlined play. In larger games I'm much more likely to forget something such as the mysterious effects of terrain or an objective. In smaller games I'm much more likely to remember to throw grenades or make my hammer of wrath attacks.

Even GW is putting together new army starter boxes that are a small legal army in a box. Have we, as a gaming community been given so much freedom of choice I'm 40k that we've become blin to what they've been trying to signal for months?

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Few Good Eldar

With the Ulthwe Guardian Revision Project in full swing I've got some done, both a touch up:

And a new model:

Also a side by side of a revised Guardian and a current one:

The biggest change, of course, is the base. But when I kept the models shiney with 'ardcoat I liked the ceramic look of the gun. Now that I've converted to dullcote I think it kills the shading of the ink and I've added in the hard line highlights I use in my force to give the guns pop again. I've also worked to soften the highlight and pick out points so they'll really draw the eye. Lastly I've added the bone color to the pauldrons to help accentuate the triangular design of the Eldar torso and to more easily identify the unit on the tabletop. When I get to reworking the other squad they'll have different armor plates emphasized.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Ready, Aim, Fire!

With a new job filling my days I've been trying to work a little at night before bed. My goal is to have one of my Guardian units revised as a 20 man blob, more befitting Ulthwe, with updated paint jobs and bases before my next game, at which I think I will use Eldrad Ulthran as a buffer to see if I can get the most of them. Perhaps I'll be lucky enough to get embolden on a Warlock as well.