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Friday, June 10, 2011

Some Assembly Required – Whips, Chains and Butt Moulds

Trickster’s Blade kicks off in less than a month and this is a thought that I’ve been keenly aware of this last fortnight.  It’s been like a piercing voice that cuts into my consciousness at any given moment, reminding me that time is slipping away to get my army ready and that I need to pull my finger out if I want to get everything finished.  Thankfully I’ve been able to get a good deal of modelling and painting progress finished since my last post, finally finding time to complete the assembly of the last few units in preparation for undercoating.  The biggest hurdle for me to overcome has been to finish the assembly of both the Warshrine and my unit of Chosen with Halberds and shields.  Yup, these have been the cause of many of my hobby related problems these last few weeks – a Geriatric wheelchair-bound giant and a unit of Warriors whose oversized weapons are a sure sign that they are compensating for something. 

Now if someone was so inclined, they would be able to analyse the reason why these two units have taken such a long time to be completed.  I myself merely attribute to the fact that life happens, preventing us as hobbyists from doing all the wonderful projects that we long to do.  However though hap-hazard analysis and investigation I have come up with a sure-fire way of finding time for your hobby.  Many people will tell you it’s all about time management – grabbing small amounts of time here and there to put paint to model, dedicating an hour or two a couple of times a week to get some progress done, possibly organising a regular paint-night with friends.  While all these things are good, solid ideas, they cannot hope to provide one such as I with enough time to get everything I need done.  Thus, I’ve developed my own type of hobby philosophy.  My philosophy is simple, easy to implement and while the road is seemingly difficult at first (possibly even making you a target for criticism or ridicule), I assure you, you will reap the rewards within a few weeks rather than months.  This philosophy, this way of thinking is called Hobby Domination / Life Procrastination.  Putting it simply, this is all about putting off those things that life throws at you in favour of extra hobby time.  Washing up to do?  Let it wait another couple of hours.  Need to do laundry for the week ahead? Cram it all into one big load and let the machine do the work.  House needs cleaning?  It can be done during the week, bits at a time.  By using this process, I’ve been able to free up enough time to not only complete the green-stuff work on my unit of Chosen, complete my Warshrine and rebase all my Marauder Horsemen, but also watch a swathe of movies that I wouldn’t normally have been able to get around to. 

Now some people may look at this and say: “That’s just called being lazy”, but it has nothing to do with being lazy.   This is hard work, especially when the dishes are piling up and you’re running out of cutlery.  But if you are able to develop your multi-tasking abilities, you can make things a little easier for yourself.  Modelling and movies are a bang-up combination, allowing you to be entertained while completing the soul-destroying task of cleaning off the mould lines of an entire Chaos Battalion.  For example, I was able to complete all the green-stuff work necessary for my Chosen unit all while watching ‘The Last Exorcism’ (a cracker of a movie).  The chains for the Warshrine were completed all while following the riveting, albeit confusing at times, story line of the movie ‘Salt’.  I found that while I was watching the movie, a part of my brain was still able to focus on the modelling project at hand.  This then allowed me to devise a way to use sections of paperclip to anchor the lengths of chain to the body of the Ogre as well as to the Shrine itself.  Don’t get me wrong, in true ‘Trevor Hobby’ form it wasn’t until I’d already used a giant drill-bit to gouge a chunk out of the top of the Ogre’s hand in a failed attempt to secure the chain that I came to this epiphany, but epiphanise I did and very quickly the problem was overcome.  The results of my frenzied efforts over those initial 3 hours can be seen (undercoated) below.

My Chosen stuck to a Painting Stick

Thruug's Assembly finished

Now at this stage, the Warshrine was set to be undercoated and my Chosen were sitting on the edge of my computer desk, marvelling at their newly sculpted rear-ends – A fine effort on all accounts.  However the night was still young and there are a unit of Marauder Horsemen staring at me, demanding to be rebased so they can be undercoated.  Cue a 5 minute trip to the laundry to cram a week’s worth of washing into a single load before returning to the hobby desk to watch ‘Max Payne’ (bullet-time and psychotic drug-abusers for the win).  By the time the movie was done, I’d rebased and pinned the last of my Marauder Horsemen to their bases, ready for undercoating the next morning.  As can be seen below, I now have 10 Chaos Steeds ready for base-coating (all but one undercoated only, with the final one actually painted).  I cannot express enough just how useful a spray gun is for applying these base colours on models such as horses, Ogres and fully-armoured Chosen.  Using my Hobby Domination / Life Procrastination technique, I am confident that I can get everything I need to have done completed allowing me to devise a properly fiendish plan to win a painting award some time this year.

My WIP Marauder Horses

And plan I shall, for it has come to my attention that the Trickster’s Blade tournament has undergone a change recently, with a new Tournament Organiser stepping up to run the event on the day and a new Players Pack being released for public consumption.  The new format of this event possesses a number of significant changes to the original; however the two changes that most interest me are the changes to army composition and painting scores.  This player’s pack places a significant weighting on army composition, rewarding players a score of anything between 0-80 points; 0 points for a super-hard army a bee’s dick from being a resubmit to 80 points for a list so fluffy you’d be able to take it to bed and use it as a pillow.  For some players, it will be a struggle for them to score over the 30-40 mark, their desire to beat face overriding any desire to bring an army that is intentionally made softer than normally considered acceptable.  For others, especially players such as Beastmen, Brettonians and Ogres, scoring 80 points will be a walk in the park (especially for Ogres).   For me, taking a softer list is all about downgrading powerful units, and changing magical item selections to enhance the theme for my army.  Yes it could be argued that winning is indeed a theme, but if any player chooses that as the theme for his army, I have no doubt that Master Nathan (the new TO) will see to it that the list is scored so low, that it will struggle to win the event, even if it smashes face in every single one of its games.

The second major change to this tournament is that the paint scores will garner up to 20 points for the owning player as opposed to the 5 points awarded in the Tournament last year.  Understandably, this change is great for me as painting is a part of the hobby that appeals to me greatly.  On top of that, by awarding so many points for the basic standard of painting, players will be encouraged to bring fully-painted armies to the table which has undeniable benefits for the aesthetic of the game.  The best part of it all is that the requirements for a player to score the full 20 points are relatively easy to achieve so long as the army has been fully based and painted, it has a movement tray, and the army looks cohesive as a whole.  For everyone who has taken the time to fully paint an army, this will be an easy 20 points for them.  For those who bought a fully painted army, this is an automatic 20 points.  The only downside for those who has their armies painted for them is that they will not be able to compete for the Player’s Choice award.  Considering the majority of the armies that I know will be making an appearance at this Tournament have been professionally painted, this provides me with the perfect opportunity to make a play for this award. 

As always, to measure the amount of progress I’ve made towards getting my army prepared for this Tournament, here are my stats below:
Number of Days until Trickster’s Blade: 28
Number of Units Completed: 5
Number of Points painted this fortnight: 6 (Finished a Chaos Steed for a Marauder Horseman for an Epic Win).

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