Friday, March 30, 2012

Tomb Kings Update - Done!

I'm finally done painting this army!  I could not have done it without Ashley's help.

Here are some pictures!

This is a picture of ten of the 60 Archers I painted up.

The Screaming Skull Catapult painted up a lot faster and a lot nicer than I thought it would.  I really love this model!

Here's my whole army on the display board.  I think it looks really effective as one big army.  It's almost 150 models total and I think it looks mean and intimidating!  It's a far cry from my Ogre army which I normally run with around 40 models.

I'll be Tweeting pictures and battle reports all weekend.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Wrestlemania Preview

Wrestlemania is Sunday.  It's kind of hard to believe it since most of the matches seem random, and the matches that don't feel thrown together have been made obnoxious.

I don't want to be too negative.  There is a lot to look forward to at Wrestlemania, but also a lot I'm just totally done with as well.

Scheduled Matches

Kelly Kelly & Maria Menounos vs. Divas Champion Beth Phoenix & Eve
I'm not trying to be mean, but I don't think anyone cares about this match.  Three of the four participants can wrestle and the one who can, Beth Phoenix, should be booked like Mark Henry was back in October.  She isn't.  I expect Kelly Kelly and this Maria Menounos person to win, because why not?

Team Teddy v Team Johnny
I'm sad that some of my favorite people are relegated to a Survivor Series match.  Speaking of which, why couldn't this have been the Survivor Series match?  Last year's made no sense.  This one has a storyline and flags and everything!

Anyway, yeah, I'm hoping Team Johnny wins.  Teddy's shtick has long been boring and John Laurinaitis is just an amazing character.  It doesn't hurt that his team is really solid.  Dolph Ziggler and The Miz are two of my favorite people, and the rest are really solid.  Team Teddy is just a collection of guys who make fart noises.

Randy Orton v Kane
So, Randy Orton is one of those guys that should be a "big deal" and while I like him well enough, he's been especially solid and willing to put people over this past year or so, he's one of those guys I don't think we'd miss too much if he left.  His being a face is based purely on his abs and I really can't tell you much of his personality without cracking out the DSM IV.

Kane is Kane.  His best days are far behind him and even his best days weren't very good.  I'm not a big Randy Orton fan but I'm not happy about him getting Cena's sloppy seconds with Kane.

Orton could use a win, though, so I expect him to win.  I'm not sure why they brought back Kane if they're going to just let Orton and Cena beat him up, but I'm okay if he left and never came back after this match.

Cody Rhodes v Big Show
I'm not a big fan of Big Show but I think him and Cody Rhodes could have a surprisingly good match.  I say this every week on the With Leather Open Discussions, but Cody manages to do more in a 2 minute promo than Cena or The Rock can do with a half hour.

I hope Cody wins and after Wrestlemania they end up doing another draft and all my favorite guys (Cody, Ziggler, Sheamus, Swagger, Daniel Bryan, Otunga) go to Smackdown so I can stop watching Raw.

Daniel Bryan v Sheamus
I'm a huge Daniel Bryan fan.  He is the actual Best Wrestler In The World and I think Sheamus is really solid as well.  These two guys could give us a match that overshadows everything else.  

Here's what I want to happen: They have a grueling 45 minute match and Daniel Bryan ends up dodging a Brogue Kick and converts it into a hold that Sheamus taps out.  Sheamus and Daniel Bryan shake hands.

What I think will happen: We get a great ten minute match that has Sheamus winning and sends Daniel Bryan back to Superstars where he'll have excellent matches against Tyson Kidd that no but me will watch.

CM Punk v Jericho
This is one of those matches that didn't need as much build-up as it has gotten.  Jericho and CM Punk having a feud, and great match at Wrestlemania, is as natural as a cobra and a mongoose wanting to fight.  We don't need much drama and build up for this feud.

This is another match like Daniel Bryan v Sheamus that I could see overshadowing everything else.  I'm more afraid of it not living up to the expectations people have of these two guys, though.

I expect Jericho to win, but I'd love it if Daniel Bryan and CM Punk won and went on to feud with each other over the next year as they try to unify the titles at Wrestlemania 29.

Undertaker v Triple H
This is a match I have to keep reminding myself that other people are excited for it.  Look, I love Undertaker.  I've been doing a count down of gifs from each Undertaker Wrestlemania victory for my Tumblr.  I just don't care about this match.

This match makes absolutely no sense.  Undertaker didn't even want to fight Triple H and he ended up winning.  Why would Undertaker now be obsessed with beating Triple H again?  Why would Triple H talk about how broken down and sad Undertaker is now?  Wouldn't Triple H just want to build Undertaker up so his loss last year was seen in better light?  These guys are acting in ways that I can't understand.

I recently rewatched last year's match and it isn't bad.  I'm not a Triple H fan, he's probably my least favorite long-term wrestler, but last year's match was pretty good.  I think these two guys can put on a solid match that will entertain.  I still don't care.  These two guys, and Shawn Michaels because why not Shawn Michaels?, have been going on with Inappropriate Ponytail Theater for far too long.  Some feuds need to be built up so I can care, but other feuds are built up so much that I just want everyone involved to go away.

So, yeah, if "End of an Era" means we won't be seeing any of these guys ever again I can live with that.  I'm okay sacrificing Undertaker if it means getting rid of Triple H.

John Cena v The Rock
Like Triple H v Undertaker this is a match that has long made me hate both people involved.  This is the Republican Primary of Wrestling.  The more it goes on the more I want everyone involved to die in a car fire.

John Cena has to win.  If he doesn't win it makes everyone else look weak.  If The Rock wins he'll just leave and keep making movies and no matter who is champion we'll all know that The Rock could just come back and beat that guy up.  

John Cena and CM Punk had a fantastic match last year and I think this match could be a lot better than most people think.  

This Wrestlemania, more than any in recent memory, could be something special.  There are a few throw away matches, but the big four matches all have the possibility of being something special.  If everyone is on and we those four matches deliver I think we can have a very special event.

My major problem with this Wrestlemania is that the two big matches, Undertaker v Triple H and Cena v Rock, don't feature any championship belts.  These matches seem above championships and titles and it really makes the two World Championship matches feel like the kid's table at Thanksgiving.  Who cares if Daniel Bryan wins when Undertaker and Triple H are having a match to end THE BEST ERA IN WRESTLING WHERE MEN WERE MORE MANLY THAN TODAY?  Who cares if CM Punk wins when The Rock is either the best or John Cena cemented his reputation of being today's best wrestler and doesn't need a belt to prove it?

I'm still excited.  WRESTLING!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tomb Kings Update - March 26

I made a lot of progress this weekend on my Tomb Kings.  I finished all the bases and black on the edges of their bases and cranked out 50 Spearmen.  I'm also about halfway done with my Archers and think I can get them done by tomorrow evening.  Then all I will need to do are the two Screaming Skull Catapults, which are close to being done, and to finish the characters.

Here are my Skeleton Warriors with Spears!
I'm actually pretty happy with how they look.  One of the big reasons why I decided on Spearmen over normal Hand Weapon and Shield Warriors is because Warhammer, to me, is about big units that look cool and fewer big units look as cool as big blocks of Spearmen.
This army has featured two of my favorite color combinations.  Most of the Bronze is just Dwarf Bronze with a Gryponne Sepia wash and all of the bandages and cloth is Dheneb Stone with a Skull White highlight. I just really like the way those colors look and I've been using them everywhere lately.
Army lists were due yesterday for The Colonial.  This is the list I finally settled on:

Tomb King with Fencer's Blades, Glittering Scales,  Talisman of Endurance, Potion of Speed
Grand Hierophant Khatep

Liche Priest, Level 2, Lore of Death, Ruby Ring of Ruin
Liche Priest, Level 2, Lore of Light, Dispel Scroll

50 Skeleton Warriors with Spears and Full Command
20 Skeleton Archers with Standard Bearer
20 Skeleton Archers with Standard Bearer
10 Skeleton Archers
10 Skeleton Archers
5 Skeleton Horse Archers
5 Skeleton Horse Archers
4 Skeleton Chariots, Standard Bearer, Musician 
4 Skeleton Chariots, Standard Bearer, Musician, Banner of Eternal Flame

Screaming Skull Catapult, Skulls of the Foe
Screaming Skull Catapult, Skulls of the Foe
Casket of Souls 

After turning this list in I realized that 1) I spent a ton of points in Core, and 2) I took nothing from Special.  This is a pretty bad list but I think it can win one or two games at The Colonial.  Or, I could get really lucky and my Screaming Skull Catapults can just chew through armies.

I hope to have pictures up on Wednesday of my finished Archers and Horse Archers.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tomb Kings Update - March 23

I'm making some really good progress on my Tomb Kings.  The army is almost done being based and I've made lots of smaller progress throughout the rest of the army.  It's looking like I can finish this by Thursday at the latest, which saves me from painting at the hotel on Friday.
I'm actually really happy with how this army is starting to look together.  While it's definitely a fast-painted army I think it's going to look solid on the tabletop.  As I was basing models, even models that weren't fully completed, I was thinking that merely basing models really makes them look good.

This is my (hopefully) last schedule of painting:
March 23: Finish Basing
March 24: Spearmen Shields
March 25: Spearmen Shields & Archers
March 26: Archers and Horse Archers
March 27: Playing games of Warhammer Fantasy: The Game of Fantasy Battles
March 28: Painting Screaming Skull Catapults and Crew
March 29: Painting Characters
March 30: Drive up to NJ for The Colonial!
March 31: Hopefully win one of the three games this day!
April 1st: Race home to watch Wrestlemania!

I'm also happy that my army fits on my display board.  I'll try to get a little how-to on how I made this really cheap but really practical display board sometime soon.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tomb Kings Update! Casket of Souls Edition

I've been making a lot of good progress on my Tomb Kings.  Assuming I can finish getting the entire army based by tomorrow night I think I'll be able to get done without needing to pull any all-nighters!

I finished up my Casket of Souls last night.  I love this model.  It's so classic and evocative and just rad.  I don't think much of the Tomb Kings range as a range but the stand out models make up some of my favorite models ever.  The Casket of Souls, High Queen Khalida, and Prince Apophas are three of my absolute favorite models.

Now, for as much as I like this model I don't think I did it justice.  I'm speed painting an entire army, because that's what I do, and I could have spent a week or two just picking out details.  Instead I just cranked it out and called it done.  I don't think it looks bad, I especially like the gold on the casket, but it isn't as good as I wanted it to be or as good as I could make it.  Unfortunately I have 9 days to 7 more days to finish an army and I just didn't have the time.
But, seriously: one of these days I will paint an army the way Richard paints.  I'm not saying I'm as good as a painter, I'm not, but I know I can paint really high quality stuff when I sit down and take the time.  I'm thinking I might do that for my Blood Angels for 6th Edition.

Also, I wanted to share this because I'm a total GW whore: 

I'm the first to yell at nerds for refusing to read books without dragons on the cover, but I really dig the idea of Fateweaver and hope this will be good.  When it comes to fantasy I have to admit to reading Tolkien, Game of Thrones, the first 8 or so Wheel of Time books, and the same David Gemmell books (I've read the first two Rigante books on at least 6 different occasions, they're perfect airplane fodder).  That's about it.  I don't read a lot of fantasy.  But, I'll read that because Fateweaver is rad.

I'll have a few more posts as I finish this army as well as a post reviewing the Colonial.  After that I have a 4 or 5 post series I'm working on about how disgusting Mike Daisy is and other things.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Tomb Kings Update - March 19

I made quite a lot of progress this weekend on my Tomb Kings.  I'm very optimistic about finishing them in time for The Colonial.  My biggest worry is that I won't have a chance to get many games in with them, but I doubt extra games are going to help me win with a bad army anyway.

I finished all 8 of my Chariots.  I'm running them in two units of 4 and they are differentiated by their colors (turquoise and yellow).
These are likely to be the most challenging models to paint for this army.  I had to paint each component separately and then attach them, which is something I never enjoy doing, and the Charioteers are the most detailed of all the Tomb Kings models I'm using.  Painting all their little bits was a pain and even still they aren't as neat as I would have liked.
On the whole I'm pretty happy with them.  The rest of the army is assembled and have their bone painted, so I'm hopeful I can whip through the rest of the army without any problems.
I'm not very happy with these pictures.  I'm going to play around some with the camera and my set up to see if the rest of the army can photograph better.

Here's my revised painting schedule:
March 19: Casket of Souls
March 20: Paint bases
March 21: Paint bases
March 22: Paint Spearmen
March 23: Paint Spearmen
March 24: Paint Archers
March 25: Paint Archers
March 26: Paint Horse Archers
March 27: Paint Screaming Skull Catapults
March 28: Characters
March 29: Finish up the army and work on a display board
March 30: Drive up to the Colonial!

I'll be posting again later this week with my progress.  I have a series of posts I hope to get started this week on Mike Daisy and lots of other things, but we'll see how this week goes.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Limits of the Profit Motive

Something funny happened a few months ago.  Mitt Romney said something I agree with.
ROMNEY: I spent 25 years in business. If I had a business executive come to me and say they wanted to spend a few hundred billion dollars to put a colony on the moon, I'd say, "You're fired"  (From the Republican Debate* on January 26. Transcription here & relevant video here).
Romney is absolutely correct.  Businesses exist to make profit and some things, such as space exploration, have little to no immediate profit in sight.  Expecting business to explore space, with all the benefits associated with it, is not just naive, but stupid.  The problem with Mitt Romney's view is that he wants to run government like a business.

I won't go into a long list of the benefits humanity has harvested because of the space program (although here's a good article) but the list is huge. Humanity has benefited so greatly by not just the technological advancements from the space program, but in the inspiration it has given generations to go into the sciences.
The economy and businesses also benefited from the space program.  New industries, markets, and corporations have been created because of the technologies created by the space program.  The space program has resulted in such an amazing return of investment for our society that it has become impossible to imagine society without the advancements the space program has given us.  Even the awful capitalist apologists at Freakonomics agree.

Despite the advancements in technology, the economy, and our society, there is no business that would have ever attempted what NASA did.  Even the very small steps taken by private firms, such as SpaceX or Virgin Galactic, have, at best, merely reapplied technology discovered by public space programs.  This niche market is likely stillborn and only the most ardent Libertarian could suggest otherwise.

This is a clear example for the limits of the profit motive.  Libertarians and others would have you believe that the profit motive is the only engine for progress.  They believe that it is the drive for profit, and nothing else, that advances a society.

The profit motive fails to deliver many essential needs for society.  The profit motive has been positively miserable in providing healthcare, education, public transportation, and environmental protection.  There is clearly a very important role for democratic governance to provide essential services to a society that is bled dry by the insatiable hunger for profit.
One of the reasons why I do not consider myself a liberal nor associate with the Democratic Party is because of the flaccid defense of this essential role for government.  Between Clinton's disastrous "Welfare Reform" to Obama's dismantling of our space program, it has become increasingly clear that our modern political landscape is populated by awful factions. The first wishes to strip away all civil society and simply feed people into the monstrous gears of capital and the second tries to protect capitalism from its own excesses while constantly betraying the heroic working class.

These are depressing times.  We see the environmental devastation, explosion in sweatshop labor, destruction of the middle class, and altogether worsening of conditions for people and all the Democratic Party can offer is the destruction of the space program and healthcare reform that merely reforms the margins.

This is why I spend most of my time blogging about toy soldiers and man-babies fake fighting.

*I was looking through the transcript for the Republican debate and saw Ron Paul joke about age discrimination.  A quick keyword search showed that was the only instance of the word "discrimination" or its variations being used.  Funny, right?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Tomb Kings WIP Update

I came home yesterday to a really nice surprise.  Ashley had primed my Tomb Kings, in addition to helping me assemble them.

The paint scheme I'm using for bone is:

  • Prime using Army Painter Bone Primer.
  • Drybrush using P3 Menoth White Base.
  • Drybrush using P3 Menoth White Highlight.
  • Drybrush using GW Skull White.
  • Wash with my mixture of Devlan Mud, Sepia, and water.
It works pretty well.
The picture doesn't get the gradient as well as I would like but it works.

Everything is primed now and I was able to do the first drybrush on the entire army.  Here is what I have now.

The army is coming together pretty well.  Here's the schedule I'm working with to get this army done in time for The Colonial:
March 15: Drybrush Menoth White Highlight and Skull White on entire army.
March 16: Apply wash to entire army and paint Chariots and their bases.
March 17: Finish Chariot Crew and start on Screaming Skull Catapults.
March 18: Finish Scream Skull Catapults and crew.
March 19: Paint Casket of Souls.
March 20: Play some games!
March 21: Work on bases of entire army.
March 22: Finish bases on entire army.
March 23: Paint all Archers (60).
March 24: Play some more games!
March 25: Paint all Spearmen (50).
March 26: Paint Liche Priests
March 27: Paint Tomb King

I think this is very achievable.  It took me about 2 hours to fully paint and base the 12 Spearmen above.  Once I get the bone done on the army it'll just be a matter of basing, painting weapons and shields, and picking out details.

I'll be doing regular updates as I make progress.

I'm excited to do all this work and lose terribly for bringing a bad list of a bad army to a big tournament, but it'll still be fun!


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

WWE Raw Review and Thoughts for March 12

I seem to be having a history with recent Raws where the ones that look the worst (Muppet episode and Triple H coming back) tend to be really good episodes.  Monday's episode threatened us with John Cena rapping and The Rock "rocking" and despite that the episode turned out to be really solid.  Not great, but solid.  I'll take solid.

John Cena v The Rock 
This feud has long run its course.  John Cena is the best now, whatever that means, and he wants to wrestle the best of all time.  Since Dusty Rhodes is busy running FCW and showing up for Worldwide Juggalo Wrestling he had to go with The Rock.

This feud is really the simplest feud ever.  John Cena wants to beat The Rock so he can legitimize his career, and The Rock wants to beat John Cena because The Rock is a prideful guy who wants the WWE Universe (ugh) to know that he can take a break from making crappy movies (Fast Five excluded) to come back and wreck the current WWE roster.  This isn't The Wire.  We don't need a year build up to when two animals fight for dominance, but we're getting it anyway.
Needs more talking.
Since this feud is so simple and they want to postpone the actual 'rassling until Wrestlemania they have to do something.  That something has been having Cena and Rock talk about how the other is a homosexual.

I don't want to get too political here, that'll be for Friday, but this is just like the Republican Primary: it's taking way too long to resolve and all it does is make everyone hate the people involved.  Having these two guys explain how the other has lady parts, is stupid, have prostitutes for mothers, and otherwise destroy one another went from being mildly funny to obnoxious.  At this point I'm siding with John Cena because he's able to talk his trash in 5 minutes and leave.  The Rock takes a half hour and stumbles over his lines.
This was cool 10 years ago.  It sucked on Monday.
People see what they want to see in The Rock.  Fans see him stumbling over lines and appearing vulnerable as a sign of his trying to appear flawed so that Cena can have some support going into Wrestlemania.  People who dislike The Rock see this as proof that he's lost whatever it was that he had 10 years ago.  I'm sympathetic to the view that he bumbles because he wants to give Cena a chance to be the "cool guy" and have a chance at parity in support at Wrestlemania.  Ultimately, I think that The Rock is out of practice and is likely adhering to a more detailed script that robs him of his natural charisma.

Ultimately, these two guys just need to wrestle and get it over with.  This feud has went nowhere since day one and has taken a year to get there.  All this feud has done is make me wish for the days when The Rock came on "Via Satellite" and John Cena was getting angry at Kane because of hate or something.

Miscellaneous Stuff I Liked
A little goes a long way.  Giving us David Otunga's sweater vests, bow ties, and matching coffee thermosi has been constantly hilarious and required zero effort.  Whenever Teddy Long would crack wise about how Otunga is a lawyer and something-something-that's-bad it wasn't funny and took some effort.  I'm glad to see they put a little bit of effort into something hilarious.  Good job, WWE.

I listened to Dolph Ziggler's interview with Colt Cabana last week (and you should, too) and Dolph Ziggler made a great point: that no matter what gimmick or amount of air time he is given he's going to try to do something memorable.  I think that ethic has really started to spread amongst the rest of the roster.

Swagger's hair is amazing:

Cody Rhodes is able to burn Big Show more in 2 minutes than The Rock (THE FUCKING ROCK) can do in 20:

And everyone else is just doing something really great stuff.

My modern, non-nostalgic, love of wrestling comes down to a simple formula:

Basically, make me care about these wrestlers, then let me see these wrestlers and, if possible, let them wrestle.  That's all you have to do.  TNA does the second and third parts really well, and it's getting better at the first now that Bully Ray has amazing calves, so I don't understand why the WWE is having such a hard time of it.

If a wrestler, and those should be 99% of the non-Laurinaitis people on a show, is doing something that doesn't involve grappling and superplexes there 1) better be a good reason for it, 2) not take forever to do, and 3) be awesome.

The current roster is amazing.  Let them go out and do their thing.  Brodus Clay will make me laugh and cheer.  Cody Rhodes will make me happy.  Dolph Ziggler will entertain.  These guys are talented and young and will deliver if you give them a chance.

There's zero reason to spend so much time on "Inappropriate Ponytail Theatre" (Thanks DanY) when you have guys like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk who just want to wrestle.

I originally intended to do a blow-by-blow review of the show but doing so would just reiterate what I said above.  When wrestling happened, it was great.  When wrestling happened but instead we got something funny, as with David Otunga and the white guy from Psych, it was funny and went by fast.  The show was terrible when lots of talking happened.  When Jericho talked about how he was going to make CM Punk drink because his father was an alcoholic it was weird but funny.  When the Funkasaurus was on it was euphoric.

I got nothing else.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Hobby Update and Tomb Kings Army List

I have decided to take my Tomb Kings to the Colonial.  The army is almost all assembled, all I need to do are finish my chariots tonight, and after that it should only take two weeks to paint up.

Here's a shot of the assembled army (minus chariots) and I think they look pretty mean together.
One of the things I love about Warhammer Fantasy, and something that is now possible in 8th Edition, is seeing large blocks of troops marching about.  Having two fully painted Warhammer armies full of menacing blocks is something that is really evocative and inspiring.

I'll be updating the painting progress here and on my Twitter over the next two weeks.  I had a lot of fun doing that with my Dark Eldar last year and I'm actually excited to crack out this army as quickly.

Here is the list I'm working on taking to the Colonial:

Tomb King, Fencer's Blades, Glittering Scales, Talisman of Endurence 
Grand Hierophant Khatep 

Liche Priest (Death), Dispel Scroll 
Liche Priest (Light), Ruby Ring of Ruin 

50 Skeleton Warriors with Spears and Full Command 
20 Skeleton Archers with Full Command 
20 Skeleton Archers with Full Command 
10 Skeleton Archers 
10 Skeleton Archers 
5 Skeleton Horse Archers with Musician 
5 Skeleton Horse Archers with Musician 
4 Skeleton Chariots with Musician, Banner 
5 Skeleton Chariots with Musician, Banner, Flaming Banner 

Screaming Skull Catapult 
Screaming Skull Catapult 
Casket of Souls 

I expect this to change some.  I'm likely to drop one Chariot and some command, especially on the Archers, to bump up my Liche Priest of Death to a level 2 and add some other odds and ends.

Other Odds and Ends
My Ogres are about to lose to Harry's Warriors of Chaos.  Again.

I had two games with my Ogres on Saturday.  I love the Ogre Kingdoms army, I really do.  I'm just frustrated by them.  I'm not playing them as well as I should be and I don't think they fit my play-style.  I'm hopeful that Tomb Kings will be a better fit.  These two games were what really pushed me towards taking Tomb Kings to the Colonial.

Ashley was nice enough to take some new pictures of my Chaos Warshrine.  I touched it up some for #miniaturemonday and have been meaning to take some new pics of it since the old ones are seen a lot through Google Image Search.  
This was a really easy conversion to do.  I made my Chaos Warshrine of Tzeentch from the Atlantean Ram Chariot from Mage Knight.  This was a really easy kit to repaint and made for a good foundation.  They're easy to find online for one or two dollars.  

I then used a pillar from the Chaos Shrine terrain kit and put a Chaos Spawn on top.  I like to think this was a Chaos Sorcerer who was in the middle of casting some great Metal spell and who descended into spawnhood in the middle of casting.  His golden body still radiates this magic and is carted around by Chaos Warriors who want to use its powers.
Overall I'm really happy with how it came out.  The only issue I have with it is that it's a little too long to fit on a regular chariot base, so I had to make a 125mm x 50mm base for it to fit on.  It works, though, and I think it looks really good.
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