Monday, January 26, 2015

The Hobby Pledge - January 26, 2015

New This Week:
Purchased: 5
Sold: 0
Painted: 22

Running Total:
Purchased: 6
Sold: 3
Painted: 52

I'm happy that this was another productive week. I only purchased 3 miniatures. I got 3 Metal Gamin for Malifaux, and two Reaper figures for more of my Post Apocalyptic game I'm working on.

I like both of these figures. I'm hopeful to get them painted this week.

I also got the Ramos starter painted, as well as the 3 Metal Gamin I purchased. I'm very happy with the end result but I have a few complaints. First, the Brass Arachnid is supposed to be mounted on a 30mm base. That is kind of ridiculous. I'm happy with the pose I got, I think he looks pretty cool actually, but it's another Malifaux figure that doesn't fit on the base. Howard Langston, Joss, and one of the Metal Gamin were almost as bad. I think it's pretty inexusable for how expensive the figures are.

Next, I got the plastic box of Metal Gamin. The figures are OK, I'm not thrilled with how they came out but they're not bad. I'm annoyed that they didn't come with the version 2 of their card, so I'll need to buy a box of cards to get it for the game.

I do like the figures. The Ramos figures are the least exciting of the Arcanists to me, but they are pretty nice. I suspect I'll need to get another box of the robot spider guys since I guess Ramos can make them in the game?

I probably should get out and play this game some day. Maybe soon. I hope I don't hate it.

Next are two robots from the Judge Dredd game. They're fairly large Soviet robots from the Sov Invasion box. I got the boxes for 50% off a few months ago, and I'm pretty happy with the figures. More robots for the League of Soviet Robots, at least.

Finally, here are the last of the Salvage Crew Kickstarter. I ought to do a write up about it. Long story short: the figures are better than I thought they'd be, I'm happy enough with them. I forgive a lot when a figure comes out to about $1 each, compared to $7 each for a Malifaux figure.

I painted this batch in red to give them a unifying scheme. I imagine them being a rag tag group of near future / Post Apocalyptic mercenaries.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Hobby Pledge - January 20, 2015

New This Week:
Purchased: 0
Sold: 3
Painted: 14

Running Total:
Purchased: 1
Sold: 3
Painted: 30

This is a day late. Yesterday was MLK Day and I spent it away from the computer.

This week was fairly productive. 14 models painted in total. I also sold The Trolls from The Hobbit, I had painted them for Adepticon last year.

This week I painted 8 more figures from the Salvage Crew Kickstarter, mostly robots. I also painted the Rasputina Starter for Malifaux.

I had a fun time painting the Rasputina set. I like the figures, and I think they came out nicely to a solid tabletop standard. Not going to win any awards (I don't paint that well, nor am I patient enough) but I like the way they look. I especially like how doing a coat of gloss and water on top of the Dulcote makes the icy monsters look more slick and real.

Here are more robots for the League of Soviet Robots. I like these models, they have lots of personality. They're a little odd, which I dig, and I'm just happy with how they're coming out.

This upcoming week I'm going to try to finish painting the last 9 models I have from that Kickstarter. After that I may try to do 12 models for a point of Crossbow Levies for the Moors in Saga. It's a little ambitious, but doable.

Finally, here are the painted models I sold this week. I hope they found a happy new home.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Hobby Pledge - January 12, 2015

New This Week:
Purchased: 1
Sold: 0
Painted: 4

Running Total:
Purchased: 1
Sold: 0
Painted: 16

This week was weirdly productive, but I don't have a ton to show.

I'm about half finished with the Rasputina starter for Malifaux, so that'll have to be for next week.

This week I did purchase a Warlord SU-76 for Bolt Action. I even got it painted. Additionally I painted up 3 Molemen for Malifaux. Not a bad week, but next week should be a lot better.


This model painted up fairly fast. I don't paint my Bolt Action tanks to be great, but I think they look pretty good. Look a little messy, with oil smears and grime everywhere. I like them, at least.

I'm still not too impressed with Warlord's resin. It's okay, but one or two pieces didn't make it to the model because of some things. It's a Soviet tank, though, so I'm okay with it being beat up a little bit.

I'm excited to use this in a tournament on Thursday. I think it's one of the best tanks in the game (it's cheap! versatile! and cool!)

Additionally I painted the plastic box set of Molemen for Malifaux. I don't know if they're good or not in the game, but I like the models.

They're not bad models, but not as good as they should be for $7 a model MSRP. I like them, but there are a few things that annoy me.

First, a model should fit on the base. The guy in the center really doesn't, he'd have to be sitting on the lip of those dumb Warmachine styled based. Some cork made it better, but I don't love it. The guy on the far right shouldn't look silly with one arm hanging over the edge. The figure feels out of balance. Not huge issues, but for $7 plastic figures I expect better. I still like them, love the concept, and am happy with them.

My paint job was intentionally messy. I still don't love it, but I think they look pretty good. They look good enough from two feet away, and maybe even good enough from 18 inches away.

Next week should be a more productive week, I'd imagine at least 10 models, but we'll see. I'm aiming for 500 painted models this year, with 200 coming from my existing pile of army mans.

Monday, January 5, 2015

The Hobby Pledge - January 5, 2015

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to not just blog more, I do a lot of painting and playing I never share here, but to keep better statistics.

For years people on The Miniatures Page, a somewhat odious place full of reactionary neckbeards, have done The Pledge. The gist of this is to keep track of miniature purchased, sold, and painted. I'll try to do that here every week.

Running Totals for 2015:

Purchased: 0
Sold: 0
Painted: 12

Painted this week are 12 figures from the old Mega Minis / Alpha Forge "Salvage Crew". A Kickstarter was run to bring these back a little while ago (actually one of the best Kickstarters I've seen, delivered on time and had zero fuss or drama).

The figures aren't great, but they're fine. They're flexible enough to use for not-Necromunda, Dredd, or other miscellaneous near future or post apoc type games.

I painted up 10 of the humans and 2 of the robots. I like the figures well enough, the big guy with dynamite is especially nice.

I didn't give these a great paint job. They're a little darker than I normally paint, but I wasn't especially inspired by them. I think they'll do well for what I want, and will look well enough.

I hope to paint up the rest of these figures, this is about half of them, in the next week or two.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Rubicon M4A3 Sherman Review and Comparisons with Warlord Games M4 Sherman

I've been playing a lot of Bolt Action lately. I really like the game.

I'm not all that thrilled with Tank War, but that lack of excitement hasn't stopped me from buying and painting lots of 1/56 scale tanks.

One such tank is the Rubicon M4A3 that came out recently. I really liked this kit.

This kit went together really well. It includes options for a 75mm canon, 105mm canon, or a 76mm anti tank canon. The 75mm and 105mm canons share the same turret, with the 76mm canon being on its own turret.

One area that disappointed me is that there are almost enough pieces, I think they only need 2 more bits, to make both turrets. That with some magnets would allow you to field any of the 3 canons and switch out whenever you'd like.

Had they done this and I think this would be the go-to tank.

Without it, I'm happy to have bought Warlord Games' M4 Sherman. That's also a nice kit.

The Rubicon model was harder to put together, or at least took a longer time. The details on it are a little sharper than the Warlord model, and the track assembly avoids any seams.

3 Warlord Shermans with a Rubicon Sherman (3rd from left). All are plastic.

As you can see they scale up well with each other. Because of this I think the way I went worked out best: Warlord for the M4 with 75mm, and Rubicon for anything else. The big advantage to this is that the Warlord Sherman is a few dollars cheaper MSRP, and is easy to get for even cheaper with box sets or through online retailers. Of course you should instead shop at your local FLGS, such as Huzzah Hobbies here in Northern, VA.

Rubicon on left, Warlord on right.

I'm not good at rivet counting and the like. I assume any difference between the two tanks is due to the M4 and M4A3 being slightly different. At the end of the day, however, they scale up very well with each other.

One thing I liked about the Rubicon model was that the 50cal clipped off the sprue easily, the Sherman 50cals were tricky and I accidentally broke when. When clipping those off they bend and put pressure on the barrels, which causes problems.

Overall they're both nice kits. They scale well to each other. You really can't go wrong with either one.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Muslim Warband for Saga Crescent and the Cross

The wait for Crescent and the Cross was long. During it I jumped on one of Black Tree Design's 50% off sale and ordered lots of figures to use for it. Having no idea what the army lists or battleboards would look like for the various Muslim armies, I ended up with a lot of stuff.

It worked out as I have enough to do all 3 armies. Most of the figures seem like they can work between factions, there may be some stylistic or dress difference between Moors and Saracens but it doesn't seem to be extreme enough to worry about.

The first warband I decided to do was the Mutatawwi'a. The big reason for this is that they felt like a foot mounted force, plus they didn't have any levies.

I ended up really liking the Black Tree Design figures. The sculpts feel a little old, some of the poses feel "classic" if that makes any sense, but the figures were nice. I like the faces, they feel like they fight people from that part of the world without being a racist caricature, and they manage to walk a nice line of having enough detail to be interesting without having too much that they become cluttered.

The other big thing I like is that they have a variety of poses. These all came from their Soldiers of the Prophet set and gave a good variety of poses and model types. I still have enough figures from this set to do 2 points of levies (1 with bows and the other with crossbows) and that's pretty great.

I think my favorite thing about these figures is that they had minimal mold lines or flash. They cleaned up really quickly, and that's huge. Most of the Warlord Games or Gripping Beast metals have taken me a long time to clean, but these were nice and quick.

On the whole I really liked these figures. Only thing I wish is for transfers that fit these shields, I'm not thrilled with how my freehand stuff came out. Other than that, though, I dig them.

I tried to make them really colorful, while keeping to a simple pallet. I went with a Purple-Green-Orange set of colors to be a little off and different than the normal Red-Blue-Yellow triad. I think it works, makes them colorful but also a little different and maybe a little more exotic.

I'll be painting up 12 bows and 12 crossbows this week and next. With those I plan to run them as Moors. After that it'll be painting horses for Saracens and other odds and ends.

I'm excited to get some games in with these guys. Saga is probably my favorite game right now, and the new Crescent and the Cross book is really great. Feels like Saga, but is very different and interesting so it isn't just a rehash. I'm pretty amazed that Saga can have as many armies as it does (around 20) and that they all feel different and worthwhile, few seem to do the same thing and they are all different enough to justify existing.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

King of Trios 2014 Review

King of Trios 2014 happened this past weekend. I think it deserves a thoughtful and insightful write up. You’ll get my word farts instead.

Instead of running down the matches and talking about each I think it is more useful to give a more impressionistic view. One thing to keep in mind is that my mind is wired in such a way that I find failures, or things I find fault with, more interesting than things that worked. I know this is kind of crummy, but instead of just rattling over all the things I liked (and there is a lot!) I’ll probably focus more on what didn’t quite work for me.

I enjoy Chikara. I don’t think it is perfect, but it has a unique voice and can deliver some really solid wrestling. I think Chikara is at its best when Chikara guys wrestle people outside Chikara, as we saw a lot of in 2012 King of Trios. One of the notable things this year is that Trios felt smaller, it didn’t have that same magic of 2011 or 2012, and that it was very much a big Chikara weekend. I’ve had friends mention that this weekend was a great Chikara show, but it wasn’t a great King of Trios. There were a few matches that were really solid, but few if any that I’ll revisit the same way I revisit most of night 3 of 2011 and 2012.

Trios didn’t start great this year. Night 1 wasn’t very good. The easiest way I can talk about it is to say that it was 8 variations on the same match. Every match had long, much too long, stretches of a face-in-distress. There were also too many false finishes. It just wasn’t great. There were a few interesting storyline bits, but the actual wrestling didn’t really grab me, and the night felt long. Luckily Night 2 and Night 3 got a lot better.

I sometimes feel like Chikara has too many tag matches. They all sort of blend together for me. Babyface gets beat up for a long time. Good guys try to come in and help but the ref stops them. While stopping the good guys the bad guys cheat and beat up the good guy even more. Every match goes this way. I get that tag team, and Trios, wrestling is a little limited in what it can do but it feels like Chikara goes to this well way too often. Sometimes it results in a payoff (2012 Trios where Sendai Girls make Team ROH tap but don’t get the win because of a distraction is paid off later when you think the same is going to happen to the Envoy against ROH in the finals) but it usually doesn’t go anywhere.

The highlight of Night 1 was Team LAX (Hernandez, Chavo, and Homicide) against the Golden Trio. Part of this is that the Throwbacks are great, but LAX was also super fun. Homicide and Hernandez were especially fun and had a good time messing with the crowd and the opposing team. The wrestling was fun as well. It’s easy to be really critical to those guys, but when allowed to show a little bit of personality I think they can be really entertaining. I know a lot of people who were down when that team was announced, but afterwards I imagine most people were on board with them.

Night 2 was very fun. The Trios matches felt more engaging. The Colony v The Flood was especially great and probably my favorite match of the whole weekend. The Battle of the Bow Ties was a little more comedy than I wanted, but still very entertaining. Yoshi Tatus v Smooth Sailing Ashley Remington was as charming and fun as I wanted. Some really good stuff went down and it was fun. I think the first Rey de Voladores qualifier was more fun than the second, but they were both solid.

I do want to touch on some positive things that I think are important. First, the Throwbacks are great. I’ve been big on Mr Touchdown for a while, I think that guy just “gets” wrestling, and Dasher has always been reliably good. Together they’ve managed to become one of my absolute favorite tag teams. Dasher has gone from reliably good, to just great and Mr Touchdown is still just really fun to watch. I can be a little down on Chikara’s wrestling, but the best guys in Chikara (including Hallowicked and Silver Ant here as well) are some of the best you’ll find.

The Flood team was also really fun. Jimmy Jacobs didn’t get to do a whole lot but he had a good presence. Eddie Kingston was more entertaining and engaging than I’ve seen in a long time. Even Volgar got to do some cool stuff, Samoan Drops are the best, and really helped to make that team and their matches feel important and meaningful.

That does lead to a bit of a downer, however. I really liked both of these teams but their match together on Night 3 was a little underwhelming. Not that it was bad, but I wanted more. A lot of matches had too many false finishes and too much drama, but theirs wasn’t allowed enough. I think a few more minutes, some more escalation, and a little bit more drama could have made that the best match of the weekend. It was still really good, but when the finish came it felt abrupt and not very satisfying. I wanted more.

Night 3 felt a little less good than Night 2. The first match was the aforementioned Flood and Golden Trio match. It felt as though that would be the final, having it on first just felt off. It was a very fun match, just not quite the emotional finale I wanted it to be.

The Rey de Voladores finale was really fun. I like Shynron and Senada, and they had a fine match. I wanted more high flying from that match, and from the qualifiers as well, but it was still really fun. I’m happy for Shynron as that guy has gotten better and seems to continue to get better. I always find myself cheering for guys who seem to improve and try new things and get better, at least.

The Tag Gauntlet was a little disappointing. I had to get up and stretch my legs during this match so I missed some of it, but what I saw wasn’t great. I think the Tag Gauntlet is like the Royal Rumble: the actual match isn’t the attraction, the build up of a new and unannounced participant is. 2012 had a fun Devastation Corporation beating up on people, for Warlord and Barbarian to come out, ended by Demolition coming in, and it all worked and had a really fun escalation. 2014 missed that and was much more of a Chikara match, so much so that Los Icecreams were probably the most cheered for team.

The comedy match was also pretty good. I’m not big on the Submission Squad, I don’t find them funny enough to be funny and they’re not good enough at wrestling (except Davey Vega, at least) to get me interested in the wrestling, but their match with the Gentlemen’s Club was really fun. I chalk most of this up to Davey Vega wrestling 90% of the match for the Submission Squad, and because Chuck Taylor, Orange Cassidy, and Drew Gulak are hilarious. Gulak especially seems like a guy who is great at everything and is always fun.

The finale was strong. Devastation Corporation are getting really good, and having them go against the Golden Trio made for a good match. It still felt a little anticlimatic, but I enjoyed it. The Devastation Corporation won (and they should win) and I’m happy for it, because my lizard-brain can’t handle them losing. Dev Corp are these huge jacked dudes who are super strong, but also smart enough and really agile. The characters are good at everything. The primal part of my ape brain has a hard time believing they’re going to lose to any team in Chikara, because Chikara dudes aren’t all that tall. It made sense and was a good match.

I’m still waiting for Icarus to turn heel. I really dislike his James-Franco-From-Your-Highness character, and I don’t buy his whole shtick. Maybe it’s because I don’t bleed Chikara, but it doesn’t work for me. He was really conspicuous this weekend, I felt as though he wrestled much less than the Throwbacks and I kept thinking this would turn into him being a bit of a heel. Something. Anything. I’m not sure.

One problem I have with Chikara, and one that is growing, is that Chikara seems to only want to play to Chikara fans. People who think about Chikara all the time. People wrapped up in Chikara. Diehard fans. I get that, I get that Chikara wants to be different and be its own thing but it starts to get really far into it being Chikara it starts to become impenetrable to anyone but the most diehard, and its stories start to fall on deaf ears.

I’m not overly concerned with Chikara’s existential problems. I’m not overly worried that Jimmy Jacobs is going to shut down Chikara. During their year off I basically quit the promotion until they gave me wrestling, so now that they are I don’t want to be teased with outside ruinous forces that want to destroy Chikara. Again. Wrestling invasion angles are never great, and once Chikara fights off the Flood what are they going to do? Tim Donst being a jerk doesn’t have quite the gravity that Deucalion killing wrestlers does.

There are emotional beats that fall flat to me. Chikara winning (again) against the Flood isn’t that exciting. Eddie Kingston becoming a good guy (again) is great and all, but if he was the difference between the Flood winning and losing what are we going to do for the rest of the season? Trios became part of Chikara’s larger story and instead of Trios being its own story to tell over a weekend (as I think it should be, or at least is most entertaining when it does) it became part of a bigger story. It became a piece. I missed having smaller stories being told, of Sendai Girls getting popular and everyone growing to increasingly hate Team ROH. Of Spectral Envoy winning the big one in a big cathartic moment that one needed only to see Trios to get. Trios got too far into being a big Chikara show this weekend that it felt like it missed a lot of the magic of 2012, and I kind of miss that.

Trios 2014 was still a fun show. I had a blast and will happily go again in 2015. Being around some of my most favorite people all weekend helps, but the show was fun. Chikara builds a good atmosphere and I don’t want the negative feelings I do have cloud the fact that Trios is fun and that you should go if you can. I just wish for the magic I felt in prior years, and feel there are reasons why it wasn’t there this year. A fun and very good show is still a good thing, and maybe it isn’t fair that I compare it so much to something exceptional and great.
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