Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Breech Bag Review

I nice UPS man came this morning to deliver my long awaited Breech Bag!  Made by Battlefoam, the same company that made the original Malifaux bag, the Breech Bag is pretty and offers some new upgrades.  So let's take a glance at it.

The bag is supposedly airplane friendly (I wouldn't know what to look for since I don't fly) and be able to be a carry-on and fit according to the necessary dimensions.  A full loadout bag has two stacks of foam trays with each stack containing: a 3" pluck foam tray, 1.5" pluck foam tray, two 1.5" foam trays with thirty two (32) 2x1 slots, and a 1.5" foam with eight 2x1 cutouts and thirty six (36) 1/8x1 7/8 slots.


The big thing from the trays is the change in that last tray.  The original Malifaux bag had a tray that was 1" in height which left bases for models, which are 30mm in diameter at a minimum, peaking out over the edge.  Here's a comparison with the Breech Bag on the left and the old Malifaux bag on the right.

So it was time to start moving models over.  I had already made plans to move my Arcanists into my Breech Bag so I could have them for impomptu demos, and I made an interesting discovery when I was preparing to move the large foam pluck tray from the old to the Breech Bag.

The old large tray was 2.5" while the Breech Bag has a 3" tray!  This is very nice as some of the models become a bit larger, but it does mean I'm going to have to carefully plan what I want to put in the bag.

Moving right along I found that the Breech Bag has a decent number of pockets on it.  There's one large pocket on the top, and each side has a medium and a small pocket for five total.  In the large pocket I was able to fit three Malifaux book, and although it was snug it wasn't so tight you couldn't get em out.

This brings us to the other pockets.  The small pocket is great for fitting in rulers, counters, and it's even large enough to fit a handful of laminated cards.  I put two small measuring tapes and a blister that I use for counters in one of the pockets.  The medium pocket is actually big enough to fit the rules manual with extra space left over!

I managed to fit two rules manuals, and three decks of cards in one of the two medium pockets!  This is perfect for running demos.  So this leaves me with a set of pockets which I plan to use for my laminated cards.  I think my only down point in this regard is that I think I'm going to need a little bit more space to fit all the cards for the models that'll go into the Breech Bag.

Comparing the Breech Bag space to the old Malifaux case the pocket space offers some more carrying space overall.  The old Malifaux bag had a pocket on the front, and a pocket on the inside of both openings.  This allowed me to get three books total in there compared to the five I've got in my Breech Bag.  I was able to use one of the slots in my old bag to contain the large number of cards that I carried around.  The old Malifaux bag had three spots where I could fit: a measuring tape, one deck of cards, plastic blister with counters.  It also had a slightly longer pouch where I could fit a handful of laminated cards, as well as two spots for my dry-erase markers.  There's no doubt that I have far more space for storage on the Breech Bag, but if you look at the original picture at the top you'll notice that there's an empty spot on the side which is mirrored on the opposite side of the bag.  These would be a perfect spot for more pockets!

In conclusion I have a feeling that the Breech Bag will become my standard means of transporting my Malifaux miniatures, but I'll also be keeping some of my old bags for traveling light or for storage.  The cost of a standard load-out Breech Bag is a bit high, but in the end I think it'll be worth the cost if you have a lot of miniatures to carry around.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Origin Story

A few weeks ago I asked the ARTG33K74 if she could make a banner for my blog.  She got right to work and shot me an image that looked really awesome, but was too big for the banner dimensions to use.  I asked her if she would color it anyways, and, well, she did.

To a lot of people the above image might just look, "neat," or, "cool."  While it is those things and more, to me it's a reminder of a very fond memory.

It was a week or two before my 17th Birthday when ARTGEEK74 calls me up and says, "You're going to come with me and learn how to paint miniatures."  I had no other plans that day, and readily agreed.  I had never painted a miniature before then, and I was assured that a proper Gaming Geek should know how.  We swung by Leisure Hours Hobbies and I was asked what I wanted to paint.  Being a teenager and having no concept of money I answered with, "A dragon!"  Dragon miniatures can be very pricey, but we took a look in the discount bin and managed to find one.  I was happy cause I was going to paint a dragon.  With a picnic lunch in hand we headed out to the forest preserve.  With the sun shining down and a light breeze tugging at my hair is where this all began.  Here is the result of that fateful day.

That is the first miniature I ever painted.  I think we spent somewhere between three and five hours that afternoon.  During that time ARTGEEK74 taught me the basics that I would need to know.  Simple things like primering and brush cleaning, as well as some color theory.  In addition to using colors correctly I was taught my first painting technique: drybrushing.  The simple act of painting a darker layer, and then using a dry brush to lightly brush a lighter color over that layer in order to add texture. 

I got a little help with a bit of drybrushing at the end.  It was a lot of fun, and the experience was so compelling that when my Birthday came up a short while later I went back out to Leisure Hours as soon as I got out of school, and bought my very first set of paints and brushes.  I headed home as quickly as I could and I've been painting ever since.

Whether the similarities from the above artwork are intentional or not a part of me hoped that when the picture came back colored I would find him in blue and yellow.  Thank you ARTGEEK74.  Thank you for inspiring in me a passion and joy that has been a big part of my life for over fourteen years.  I have continued that tradition of sharing that joy with others.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Gen Con 2012 Part 2!

Ok, so with Friday over I'm staring down the barrel of the Master of Malifaux tournament on Saturday.  I'm at the event hall at 9am roughly, and I'm stressing out a little.  I had been asked to help judge Malifaux tournaments for Wyrd at Gen Con, and this was my primary reason for being there.  I had been going over rules, rulings, errata, clarifications, and tactica all summer.  I was definitely prepared.

As it turns out I didn't get anywhere near the amount of rules questions I thought I would.  Many of the players were very experienced, and I found myself with more time to sit and recover in between the occasional rules call and wandering the tables.  It felt kind of satisfying to know that the community is really in touch with the game as well as being good sports.  While wandering I actually saw some cool setups and paintjobs that I want to share.  First up is the model Snowstorm for the Arcanists faction

I really love how the blue turned out very frosty looking.  The white is very well done, with hints of blue for the shadows.

That's the Pig-a-pult, which is as awesome as it sounds.  What caught my eye about this piece is that the main attraction, the pig, is painted in green.  I thought it was an odd choice, but it gave the model some character.  Maybe the painter was inspired by Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham."

Last up for Saturday is the Rail Golem.  This model was pre-released at Gen Con and doesn't come out for a few months still.  The painter had rigged up everything the base would need, grabbed the model from the dealer's room on Thursday, painted it up, and even rigged an LED in the chest to give the glowing effect you see.  It was very cool to look at.

Miniatures weren't the only thing dressed to impress.  A pair of Malifaux players decided to cosplay as Ramos and Collette from the Arcanist faction.

From what the gentleman said he actually had more to the costume, but had left it as he had been wearing it for most of the day by the time I took the picture.  Both costumes looked amazing, and it was a real treat to capture them on film.  At this point I was about ready to give in to exhaustion, and once the tournament was over I grabbed food with friends and sought refuge in my hotel room to recover from the day and the night before.

Onto Sunday, the final day.  This is the day where a majority of attendees spend a few hours in the dealers hall looking to get some deals, and then heading home.  I had the finals for Malifaux to judge.  It was an invitation only with spots being given to tournament winners from the previous three days. 

The tournament was about half the size of the others, and again the participants were really capable of handling the rules.  I had a half dozen rules calls if that.  So I spent my time going back and forth between the tables, and after the tournament wrapped up I found myself in the dealers hall picking up some last minute swag.  I also ran into one of the most amazing costumes I've seen.

The costume was of a Malifaux miniature called Collodi who is based off of the tale of Pinocchio.  The hands and face were made of real wood, and the guy behind the mask kept moving his mouth periodically which kept making a wood clacking sound.  Very creepy to hear and see.  It was incredible!  I just had to get a shot of myself with him, and he was happy to oblige.

That was probably the last pic I took at the con.  Following that I gathered up my things and headed for home.  The ride back from Gen Con is always a long one.  All the fun and excitement starts to leak out leaving you with a groggy and satisfied feeling.  It's kinda like that time after Thanksgiving dinner.  I always make sure to drive carefully, and I arrived home safe and sound.  Things were unpacked, swag sorted and piled, and then I sat down to relax and prepare for work the next day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Gen Con 2012! Part 1

So I've been home about two days so far, and I think I'll be spending the rest of the week recovering.  That being said, it was totally worth it!  I worked the tournament hall for Wyrd Miniatures judging some of their Malifaux tournaments for most of the weekend, but Friday was my big day.  I'm getting ahead of myself though.

It started on Thursday, and I had one hour to explore the dealers hall before I had to be at the event hall to judge the first Malifaux tournament of Gen Con.  I had two big choices on my list.  The first was Wyrd Miniatures cause even though I'd be getting credit I wanted to make sure I could grab the stuff for Malifaux that I was really wanting.  I ended up going with my other option which was to hit up the Paizo booth and get my DVD's of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, and Journey Quest Season 1 signed by the fine folks over at Zombie Orpheus Entertainment.

I'm a huge fan of Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, and getting a chance to meet them in person was very exciting!  They were all very friendly, and they were all gamers.  What more could one ask for?  How about a group pic?

After that it was a quick trip to the event hall where I began judging tournaments.  I love playing Malifaux, and it's always a pleasure to interact with the community that's been building up around it.  I will say that the tournaments all weekend went by very smoothly with little to no drama, and with everyone working together to keep the rules clear.

So then Friday rolls along.  The big day.  This was my only day off the whole con so I would have to do my shopping and get stuff signed!  I swung by the Paizo booth again to pick up my Kickstarter items for The Mask of Death Kickstarter.  I got a color print version of the module, which was then promptly signed by the guys from Zombie Orpheus Entertainment, as well as the Mound of Dead Bards miniature.  One thing I snagged was the next print book for Schlock Mercenary.  Howard Taylor has been attending Gen Con for several years now, and while I have been a fan of his comic for a long time I hadn't read through the archives (which is a very daunting task).  I started working through the backlog by picking up the print versions at Gen Con, and Howard has always been gracious enough to draw your favorite character in the back of each copy.  Having gotten my fav characters drawn previously I asked for my favorite ship, The Post Dated Check Loan.  Howard has mentioned on occasion that drawing the ship is a bit difficult.  I asked nicely and he was happy to do so.

It was a bit hurried (there were other people waiting), but I was happy.  When I asked him if he minded my showing the picture on my blog his response was, "Yes, the world must know how badly I've drawn this!"

That's one of my favorite pics from the whole convention.

I picked up some stuff from Wyrd, including the latest book for Malifaux.  My miniatures addiction knows no bounds! 

The real thing I've been waiting for was The Gamers Live.  I had picked up a front row seat, and was very excited to be so up close I could make out facial expressions.  While I was a bit to the side of the stage (I had gotten there with only a few seconds to spare), I still managed to get some good shots.

There was even some audience participation.

Following that was filming for the next Gamers movie, The Hand of Fate.  They managed to successfully film eight minutes of footage in an hour!  There may even be a shot of me in the audience somewhere.  There's a kickstarter going on to help fund the movie right now, and if you liked the original Gamers movies I highly recommend helping out!

My Friday has been an incredible ride by this point, and the exhaustion is starting to peak it's way through the high.  However there was one more thing to do before I could call it a day.  I was already leaning towards going to the after party following The Gamers Live, but a friend's urging helped to ensure I went.  I owe him for that.

That's me with writer and producer Matt Vancil.  I had already seen him a number of times, and talked with him as well.  He was getting to know me by sight at this point, but he wasn't the only one I got a picture of myself with:

Trin Miller

Jen Page

Ben Dobyns

Steven Wolbrecht

Connor Marx

 It was an incredible honor, and really amazing to just hang out and chat with all of them.  True gamers each and every one!

I still have more to talk about, but for now I'll leave you with the pic of swag I grabbed from the con

Monday, August 20, 2012

Gen Con Friday Teaser

So after wrangling real life job stuff I ended up spending most of the day uploading and editing photos.  I had some issues getting my Friday photos up on imgur, and didn't get them uploaded and edited until later on in the evening.  So here's a few teaser pics from Friday.

First up is me together with Matt Vancil at the after party following The Gamers Live.

I had a great time both at the after party as well as The Gamers Live.  There was a real thrill seeing my favorite actors performing in person, and then getting to meet them afterwards was icing on the cake!

Here's a pic I took during The Gamers Live

The portion of the show that was the actual "Live," part involved an impromptu gaming session where Nathan Rice (playing the part of Kevin Lodge) would take audience input on what to do for his game session.  That was how the macguffin item ended up being a vorpal blender of Mordor.  Kitchen wares is serious business.

Last for tonight is a slightly blurry photo from the after party with a lot of the cast and crew from Zombie Orpheus Entertainment celebrating the fact that they got 8 minutes of film shot in one hour (which is quite an accomplishment).  More on that after I've had a chance to sleep.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Surviving Gen Con

So my plans to make posts this past week hasn't turned out as I hoped.  Today I got to finish up the Malifaux tourneys, collect my swag, and stagger home exhausted.  I have a couple hundred pictures to go through, upload, and edit, so I'm going to hold off till tomorrow when I can sit down and go through it all in one go.

Short version: I got to hang out and party with the crew for Zombie Orpheus Entertainment after The Gamers Live, bought swag (oh did I buy swag), judged tournaments, and made new friends.  Good times.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Gen Con 2012 Thursday

So it's a bit obvious by now that I didn't quite finish that last squad of Frazi Heavy Fighters.  As it turns out things have been pretty busy since Tuesday morning!  I've done running around, visiting friends (one of whom is only in town for a few days before going away to another state for a year), packing, travelling, meeting, and greeting.  Then Thursday began.

I haven't been sleeping well the past few nights due to a combination of nerves and excitement.  In spite of this I was still outside the dealers hall 45 minutes before it opened.  Why was I there?  Because I wanted to meet the cast of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, and Journey Quest.  Besides having some DVD's I wanted signed I've been looking forward to meeting the cast of these favorite series since I first watched them.  I think they were ok with meeting me.

Going to do a quick roll call here.  First up is Matt Vancil, writer and director of The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, Journey Quest, and many others.  He has been patiently putting up with my messages since I started donating to the Journey Quest Season 2 Kickstarter.

Up next is Jen Page, the beautiful and darling actress who plays the female half of the character Luster from Dorkness Rising.

The other half of Luster, as well as the star of Journey Quest, is Christian Doyle.

It was really odd being surrounded by the actors, and hearing them talk normally.  It felt like being in the movie while still in real life.  There was definitely a lot of enthusiasm from the cast along with plenty of excitement at being at Gen Con.

Continuing the roll we have Brian Lewis Carrol, who portrays the infamous Cass (Scourge of GM's) in Dorkness Rising, and the sagely Carrow in Journey Quest..

Brian is a very humble actor who has a great ability to portray multiple styles in different roles.  As you can tell from the picture he was quite astounded by all the attention from his fans.

 Not to be forgotten is Scott C. Brown, who has the distinction of playing Flynn the Fine, irresistible Bard extraordinaire!  Scott was having a great time even before he got to the booth!

Also at the booth was Nathan Rice, actor for the role of Kevin Lodge in Dorkness Rising, and Roderick the Gargoyle from Journey Quest.

Just looking at the faces you can see how much fun they were all having.  They were really getting into it, and since they're at Gen Con to film parts for the next Gamers movie there seems to be an extra spark of excitement in the air.

I couldn't forget to include Steve Wolbrecht, the composer for Dorkness Rising (as well as portraying Nodwick the Henchman).


That was only the first part of my morning!  I only had a little bit of time before I had to report to the miniatures/ccg event hall to help get things ready for the first Malifaux tournament of the convention.  I'm here with Wyrd Miniatures, and a lot of my time will be spent judging their big tournaments.  The first tournament to kick off the convention (for Malifaux anyways) was a story encounter called "The First Into The Breech."

Lots of fun was had by the attendees, and we had enough players show up on time to fill up all but a few tables!  I don't have too many more pictures except these.  I saw this display near the Wizards of the Coast area in the tournament hall and had to snap a shot.

During the downtime between adjudicating the rules I was tasked with assembling some scenery for a tournament to occur on Friday.

I was exhausted and hungry by the time I was done such that I started saying to all who showed an interest, "I Speak for the trees!"  It definitely got some good laughs.  Once I was done helping out I got some food and came back to the room to rest and recuperate.  Tomorrow I'll have a free day to wander the dealer room, as well as attending The Gamers Live.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Var'Nik Destroyer

With the clock running down on the Narn month I find myself in a rush to finish up the last little few pieces remaining.  Now that I have completed the Var'Nik destroyer all that I have remaining is one squadron of Frazi Heavy Fighters.

Obviously there's more chevrons, just like the G'Quan class cruiser.  There is one important difference between the two though.  The G'Quan class cruiser was flat surfaces covered in chevrons, but the Var'Nik has a hull covered in plates.  I debated about just putting down a flat layer of red and leaving the plates as is, but I decided to try and get the plates to stand out a bit.

I went with a thinned out black ink over a red base.  Then I went over each of the individual plates again with a layer or two of red.  The effect worked really well, and the plates popped well enough that I was half tempted to leave it as is.  However my two G'Quan cruisers as well as my Sho'Kar transport are all sporting chevrons, and so I decided to go with consistency and paint chevrons on the Var'Nik in the same manner as my G'Quan.

Again the chevrons add a lot of character, and they almost seem to overshadow the plating.  At the very least it still holds up to the rest of the group, and the shape of the Var'Nik itself lends itself well to the pattern.

So now I have one more day before I leave for Gen Con which means I have approximately 24 hours to paint the last of my Narn models.  Let's see how well I do!