Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Masters preparation - time is up

Well, it's still a couple of days until the Masters, however I find myself in a situation where I am unlikely to get any more preparation done. Prior engagements, coupled with the need to fly interstate to the event on the evening before (instead of painting frantically up until the last minute) are crippling my efforts. As such, I am going to have to settle for what I've done so far.
22 Halberdiers, ready for action. Well, sort of ready. As ready as they're going to be...
 Close enough is good enough, right? Often I tend to subscribe to this phrase when it comes to painting. I am lazy, and if the thing looks finished enough, I may well leave it that way. In this case however, the models are clearly not done. What still needs to be done before they could properly be called finished (to my rather moderate standards)? 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Paints, Masters and Skyrim

It seems to be a fairly common thing for bloggers to drop off the radar for a bit, then reappear in a gush of apologies and a frenzy of catch-up activity. Well, this is me doing much the same thing. Admittedly, I wasn't gone for all that long - however, it is still the longest gap I have left so far in my postings. Real life caught up with me a little bit, and I had to spend most of my spare time preparing for a presentation I had to do. Thankfully that is out of the way now, so maybe my blog can enjoy a bit more attention...

So, what have I been doing? I have a number of things to update, so I'll put it all under some relevant headings.

Masters preparation
The Masters are this coming weekend, and my army is not yet ready. I am still in the process of painting 22 Halberdiers to pad out my regiment for the tournament, and they have a way to go yet before they will be done.
The Halberdiers progress gradually. Since I took this picture, I have added a basecoat for the white half of the uniforms to most of the models.
The lists for the other players in the tournament have been revealed, and the peer-based comp scores have been determined. You can see the lists here, on WargamerAU. It's a tough field, and in hindsight I think my army is not structured ideally to face some of these lists. This doesn't really bother me, but the proliferation of chaff was not something I had anticipated. My comp score of 3/5 is one of the better scores, so that is something. Whether it will serve as adequate compensation for what some of the armies may do to mine... Well, we shall see.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Preparing for the Masters

As I mentioned previously, this year I have qualified for the Australian Masters tournament, to be held in Canberra on the 3rd and 4th of December. That is in 3 weeks, and today is the deadline for army submission. I spent a fair bit of time umming and ahhing over what I was going to use, but I finally committed over the weekend and sent in my list last night.

I say was I trying to decide what list to use, however the army was always going to be the Empire. This is still my Year of the Empire, although the Masters represent the last tournament to which this applies. There will be nothing through until Cancon next year, and I have not made any plans for the new year. So I was definitely using Empire for this tournament, and I figured I would still to something similar to what I've been using recently. Of course, I used all-cavalry armies in the last 2 tournaments I attended - Book of Grudges and Axemaster. I considered doing it again, however I was slightly worried that people might think I was taking the piss when I'm sure some are approaching this event very earnestly. I might not be as serious about winning as some others, however I am not there to poke fun at things. I would also have been fielding a compromised army for little benefit - I doubt anyone would care about things like themed armies at this tournament, so it felt like there was little point.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sculpting the human: he has a helmet!

The Halberdier continues to take shape.
I got another chance to make a bit more progress on my Halberdier last night. I bit the bullet and began working on his head. This is all slightly scary stuff for me - completely unknown territory. I am consoling myself with the knowledge that if I really screw it up, I can always abandon my efforts and find him a suitable head from something else. But before going that way, I figured I needed to try making one of my own.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

A changing of the guard

The old days
Since the arrival of 8th edition (now well over a year ago), The Warhammer Fantasy tournament scene in Australia has seen some pretty dramatic changes. 7th edition had seen the rise and rise of the game being used in a competitive context. Player numbers were at an all-time high, with a number of tournaments attracting 100 or more players. Large numbers of players were travelling interstate in order to attend the flagship events (in fact this is really the only way tournament attendances can reach the levels we were seeing).

The Warhammer rankings (originally hosted on Irresistible Force, and now found on Rankings HQ) were unquestionably a contributing factor to the vibrant tournament scene. The rankings provided players with a way of gauging their success on a national level, and helped establish some of the front-runners as “the ones to beat”. It helped give competitive and aspiring players an idea of where they stood, and what would be required if they wanted to make it to the top.

There will always be disputes over the validity of the rankings model. There are a lot of different factors to consider when attempting to score the relative merits of one tournament over another – the main ones being the number of players and rounds, and the army sizes involved. Invariably the system will favour the players who manage to attend a number of the largest tournaments, as this tends to be where the most points are available. Whether this is fair has been the subject of debate, with the geographical location of these big events making things easier for some than others.

Leveraging the rankings system, the Warhammer Fantasy Masters is an invitational tournament held toward the end of the calendar year. The general concept is to gather the top 16 players together and have them play off to determine the champion for that year. As with all things, the implementation is never so simple as the idea. Places are held for the reigning champion from the previous year, the top-placed player in the New Zealand rankings, and the winner of a designated tournament in Western Australia (an acknowledgement of the tyranny of distance when trying to attend enough of the larger events on the other side of the continent in order to qualify in the normal manner). 

Friday, 4 November 2011

My first human: slightly more progress

Well, it's been over a week since I posted an update. I've been busy (yes, even I am busy sometimes) and haven't had much of a chance to do much of anything hobby-related. However, last night I finally got to sit down and make a little bit more progress on my first attempt at sculpting a human.
My little man now has hands! And a blobby thing where his head will soon be...
I added hands and the halberd pole. I probably shouldn't have tried to do it all at once, however once I had secured the pole onto the arms with greenstuff, I decided it would be easiest just to add detail to the hands at the same time. This resulted in my constantly bending the wrists at funny angles as I worked, but the end result seems to be OK - I doubt I could have done much better even if I had approached things patiently.
A look at the underside of the fingers - sideways (thanks Blogger)
I had been undecided as to whether I was going to go all-out and try to sculpt a head onto the model, or just use an existing GW plastic head and leave it at that. However, last night I actually dug out the head I had in mind, and discovered that (being from a different, newer era of model) it was really too large for the body. So I was left with little choice - I am going to have to try to sculpt the whole thing myself. This will most likely be where the whole thing goes a bit awry - sculpting a human face sounds difficult to me. Oh well, we shall see soon enough.