Saturday, September 28, 2013

Shhh... Spies Secretly Seeking Stuff, So Someone Snag Soon!

Hey. Hey you.  Yeah you.  Com'ere. You want stuff?  Free stuff? 'Course you do. But don't look at me, I'm not giving anything away, I already did that not long ago, if you missed out ya missed out.  But Anne is giving away stuff, and Pat Hatt is giving away stuff. But you didn't here it from me.  Well you did, but..oh hell, just go check it out before it's too late.

Anne is giving away a whole bunch of prize bundles in her Double Triple Secret Give-Away

Something about it that isn't secret is that "This give away is being sponsored in part by author Patrick Hatt. You can find Mr. Hatt's Amazon Writers Page at"

So what is secret about it?  Well, if that was told, it wouldn't be a secret, sheesh.

This message self destructs at the end of the month.  That's likely to make a mess, so hurry up and go there.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Lizards Need a Big Star: No Kroxigor Star Player? Fixed. Welcome Hurtza Lotle

I am calling out the bigotry of the mammals!

No longer will the cold blooded stand for under-representation in the field of Blood Bowl!

I checked: every big guy race is represented by a Star Player!

The Minotaurs have their Grashnak Blackhoof
The Treemen have their Deeproot Strongbranch  (The only player to keep use of his Porn Name)
The Trolls have their Ripper
The Rat Ogres have Headsplitter
The Yehtee Snow Trolls even have a star: Icepelt Hammerblow
The Ogres have three! Brick, Bertha, and Morg 'n' Thorg.
Even the Mummies, not quite true Big Guys, have Ramtut III !

The Beast of Nurgle doesn't have a star, but I'm not so sure that oozing poster child of the dangers of
unprotected sex is a race, but if they are they should seek an advocacy group too, if they can find anyone who wants to be near them.

But the noble Kroxigor race should have contributed a Star to Blood Bowl by now.
I can only assume it is Mammalian Elitism that has refused to let a Kroxigor into their ranks.

But that ends now!

Kroxigors are one of the best Big Guys in all of Blood Bowl and play for 2 different teams!

So it is high time they have a Star for Hire.
If needing to make room, teams can dump Morg off their prospected players.. that guy is n't serious about wanting to play, just look at his 450,000 appearance fee.

So I propose the Kroxigor Star Hurtza Lotle :

Hurtza Lotle began his career in 2509 with the Crudwater Revilers.  His coach described him as 'a danger to himself and others' and truer words were never spoken. Hurtza caused 18 casualties in his first season, 4 of which were deaths.  When asked he merely replied " I'm Ssstill Hungry " and consumed the reporter. 

From there Hurtza propelled his team into the playoffs where they lost to the Blightburg Bastards. 
But it was nonetheless an impressive rookie year for the big Krox. 

In subsequent seasons Hurtza proved himself to be remarkably agile for a big reptile as well as coherent of thought. Rare traits indeed!  As the years went on however it became ever more obvious that Hurtza was simply not a team player.  One could call it hubris if not for fear of being sued by Dark Elf lawyers.  Hurtza's popularity rose with the fans who loved to see the two ton reptile rampage the pitch. He was a relentless hunter and nothing seemed to be able to stop him once he got a sent of his prey.  

Unfortunately, Reviler's coach found him unreliable as he simply ignored the team plays, preferring to do whatever he felt best.  He got results, but he was unpredictable at best.  This, combined with his rising popularity and ever-increasing demands for higher contracts caused the Revilers to let him go in 2513.

When asked for comment, Hurtza replied, "Who needs them?" and ate the reporter. 
Since then Hurtza has sought acceptance into the ranks of free agents.  
Time will tell if Blood Bowl is ready for a non-mammal in this mammal dominated sport. 


By the way, this marks my 500th post! 

Wow, how did that happen? 

When I started this blog I wasn't sure how long it would last or if I'd have much to say.  
That should have been considered a foolish thought, I probably have too much to say. 

500 down, doubt the back 500 between now and post 1,000 will be too hard to get to,though I doubt I'd have kept going if people were not reading them, so thanks for being here and commenting! 

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Nazgul : The Nine (+1) Limited ed. Mithril Miniatures Ringwraiths

I was recently lucky to have the chance to paint a set of limited edition Mithril Miniatures Nazgul for a client.

I really love Mithril Minis.
This was a very fun set: lots of flowing capes, a mark of Mithril, with each Nazgul being very individualistic.

The set had one 'generic Ringwraith' pose, then 9 Nazgul based on the characters created by Iron Crown Enterprises. Tolkien never went into specifics on the Nine, except in the case of Khamul the Easterling, and the Witch King of Angmar, but I.C.E. was granted licence from Tolkien Enterprises to develop the characters for their RPG, which then Mithril got their rights to make the miniatures from them.

And here they are.


For these I decided it was best to paint from a white primer.  Many people like to start with black primer for everything, especially when the mini has a good deal of black, but I prefer the opposite. I find I can get much nicer smooth shadow tones this way. 

The Witch King of Angmar

Khamul, the Easterling

I love the Mumakil helmet. I gave him a subtle pattern in his hauberk, for his 'exoticeast'

The horselord. I gave him the most color of all of them. 

This one was sculpted with a face.  Odd. So I painted the face as a bronze 'sculpted face' helmet.
He got a touch of brown, being a more 'barbaric' type of heritage.

This one might have been my favorite armor. Fancy, so I gave it a 'heat tarnish' of gold.

The only one without battle armor & sword.  Just robes & Morghul knife, so I went with a touch of deep red, for that 'assassin feel'.

Clearly of Numenorean heritage.

The 'standard ringwraith' iconic look.

The Nine together: 

The Mithril minis scale really well with the GW Lord of the Rings minis, so they'd be great on the battlefield as well as for collecting. I may have to get some for myself someday! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tutorial: Test Your Paint Schemes with Photoshop instead of by Brush

Since I do more painting for clients than I do for myself, and probably will continue to until the day comes when rent is free, pizza grows on trees and airlines let you fly out of the kindness of their hearts, I have found testing out paint schemes by use of Photoshop to be a handy resource.  Often I can see the color scheme I have in mind, but describing it in words to a client is never as clear as a picture.

This can be an issue for anyone painting for themselves as well.  Have you ever thought a paint scheme, a color combination, would be great.. until you paint a test piece (or worse a unit) and then decide you hate it?

That's where programs like Photoshop can be very handy.

So I thought I'd share a few simple pointers to push you in some directions to experiment with, if you're not familiar with them.   Now, if your computer doesn't have Photoshop.. I've had it on every computer I've owned since the early/mid 90's, then there is a freeware program called Gimp that is supposed to be pretty similar.  I have it on my travel computer but haven't used it for anything except simple photo adjustments when traveling, so you'll have to try that out for yourself and see if that's your only option.

Painting & repainting a miniature can be very time consuming, and could gunk up your mini.

So if you have a scheme in mind and can find a picture of the mini, or a similar one, painted then have at it in Photoshop to see what your possibilities are!

Mona Lisa: Italian, or Alien? 

I'll give you an example from a client's project I'm working on now. 
He wanted a Khemri team: Blood Bowl Egyptian Mummies, but rather than the traditional Dark Lapis Blue & Gold, wanted something different, but wasn't sure what. I described a few options, but decided showing was easier than describing. 

First, I found some pictures of the minis painted, eliminated any background and opened in Photoshop. 
I've already lightened & desaturated the blue in this picture, but I'll explain how to do it. 

Here's the first image after I adjusted to lighten the blue. 
Photoshop assumes you are treating the entire picture unless you tell it otherwise.  Sometimes that is fine, if not, I'll explain how to single things out in a moment. 

Click on 'Image' at the top, scroll to Adjust and find "Hue/Saturation".  This is really easy. 
You can also use "Color Balance" but you do have less control with that, but it can be handy too. 

"Hue" will change the color. See the rainbow band at the bottom? That's how Hue will change things, slide that indicator on the Hue line and it will 'scroll' through the rainbow, altering each color in proportion to what it starts with and where you drag it to. 

"Saturation" will make the color more or less intense.  At the most it will make it blindingly solid, at least it will bleed all the color out of it. 

"Lightness" like it sounds, will lighten or darker the tone of the color. 

Here I just wanted to see what they'd look like if the team was called the "egypt easter bunnies": a nice baby lavender color. Notice since I'm adjusting the entire picture's color even the metal has changed from gold to a baby blue.  Luckily in this example, the bones have almost no color, so they don't change much... but if having started with green skin orcs, they would have.   In this example I changed the Hue a lot, and increased the saturation for the more bold 'easter egg color' look. 

By the way, don't click 'colorize': all that does it treat the picture like a black & white photo that you then tint the entire picture with the color you select.  A fun effect, but not much use for testing paint schemes. 

OK, let's say you master this real quick but you want to target color changes. 
On the tool box column at the left side is a lot of handy little tools.  For this, the most useful is the 'Magic wand' and the 'Lasso': they're both next to each other, second row from the top: I circled them in Red. 

The magic wand will select everything near where you click within a parameter set by you. 
Easier to just take a look:

I decided to add some alien color to the vegetation. I used the Magic Wand, and you can see the 'Tolerance" is set at 40 right now (look under the top bar where it says 'select'). The larger the number, the less fussy it will be about how much like what nearby stuff is to what you clicked on. 

I wanted more vegetation. So I clicked the darker trees above this spot, but more was close in tone to that and it selected too much, so I lowered the Tolerance, and went around clicking more. 

Now, important, to add to what you already selected, hold down the 'shift' key while you click, and it will add. to subtract, hold down the 'alt' key.  Easy.  You can also use the Lasso in the same way, just draw around whatever you want.

OK, got a healthy grab of dark trees now. Notice I had to lower the Tolerance, because at 40 it wanted to grab her dress, and I think she'd have gotten mad.  Now lets change the colors. 

This time, since I have just part of the picture selected, any adjustments will only alter the adjusted area.  
This can be very useful when changing colors on minis pictures when testing out a paint scheme idea. 

I decided purple trees would be fun, and brought the Hue to change them to purple.  It made them too bold to my eye, so I also lowered the saturation. Now she's a proper alien lady from another planet. 

Best advice: poke around, experiment, and you'll see what you find useful. 

You'll find a ton of Photoshop tutorials online, but I thought it might be handy to see an application for minis and how easy it is to do. 

Here are some other paint schemes I created this way for the Egyptian Skeletons, to see what the schemes would look like: 

Give it a try, you might find it useful a relief of some wear & tear on brushes. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Chaos Cup 2013 Wrap-Up": Awards, Final Thoughts & Looking Forward

It is amazing how much happens in just a few days at something like this.
Conventions & Tournaments are great experiences.  Not that leagues and normal club gaming isn't good, but these are like vacations. They drop little marker stones along the past.

The Chaos Cup

The winner doesn't actually get to take this home, but they do get to lay their grubby mits on it and hold it over their head for a photo, and eventually there will be some kind of engraving plaque I heard, for the names of those who have won it.  

Maybe me someday?  
Not going to hold my breath waiting for the skill...
still, the world can be his who can roll strings of 6's.. but again... I won't hold my breath. 


One last play I saw in the last game. I went to go see how Dan was doing, and was treated to one of the most impressive almost-brilliant plays I've ever seen. 

Dan's Chaos Dwarves were playing Steve's, from the podcast Both Down, Lizardmen. 
The game was a tie and it was the last turn of the game. 

Steve Dodges with his Kroxigor (a big lumbering lizard with the agility of a Redwood) who doesn't have Break Tackle, he has Pro (a 4+ re-roll once per turn). Makes his dodge! Goes to pick up the ball (also nearly impossible for this creature) and snags the ball!  He runs, but he's 2 spaces away from scoring... so he Goes For It... makes it!  Goes For It to score... rolls a 1! Fail! Rolls for Pro... fails it: Kroxigor falls on his face in the end zone: game ends in a tie.  

Wow, that was some amazing skill from the Kroxigor, only let down by the easiest roll he had to make at the end.  I was rooting for that Krox, it would have been glorious. 


The hall of the event was great.  It didn't get hot, there was plenty of room and it didn't get too noisy. 

Not pictured in the above, directly behind the field of view was Impact Miniatures.
Tom had a large store set up both days which was awesome.  It gave it the feeling of a convention, and also meant you could pick up some items free of tax & shipping.  I got some more Apes.. one can never have too many apes... and a cool laser cut standing scoreboard, and a felt Street Bowl pitch.  Very cool.

The entries for the painting contests are just starting to come in.  There were a lot of great entries, and again, it was very cool to actually have a painting contest: another aspect that made it feel like a convention instead of just a tournament.

Here was a fun entry.  This is Chaos (pronounced "Chaz"),the mascot of the Chaos Cup in Slannesh style.
Chaos changes each year for the theme, and here (s)he is looking a lot like a Daemonette.  If you turn the mini around you'd find tucked between it's legs evidence of the original gender.

So who won the whole thing?

David Granberg, of Sweden earned the honor of hoisting the cup.

He had an Undead team, which I heard had one or two Mighty Blow, Piling On Wights. Ouch!

Interestingly, 4 of the top 5 teams were Undead!  The other being Dark Elves.
The top Wood Elf position was at #11 which surprised me, they're usually close to the very top at tournaments too.

There were a lot of awards given out, and with all of the raffle prizes, this meant a lot of goodies got doled out, which is always nice.

My friend Dan who I conspired with to go to Chaos Cup won Most Traveled from the US, beating me out by about 100 miles.

But I didn't go away empty handed.

I entered all three of the painting contest categories.

For Sideline Miniature, I entered my Frog Coach:

For Single Player Miniature, I entered my Dwarf Boar-rider, the "Norse Dwarf Deathroller"

(click to enlarge)

For Team I entered my Gators.

(I need to take a new picture of the team to include the Albino Alligator Star Player)

Best Sideline Miniature went to me, for my Frog Coach

Best Single Player Miniature went to me, for my Dwarf Boar Rider

Best Team went to Matthew for his Slann Team (see my report for Game Five)

and they had a final category, "Judges' Best of Show" award which was given to me for my Gator Team.

I was pretty blown away by all of that and very happy.
And Matthew's win was very well deserved for his lovely frogs.

So I got to pack 3 trophies to take home:

The trophies also came with some free minis, which I always appreciate!


Thanks to everyone who had a hand in running Chaos Cup.  It was a really good & well-run tournament. 

So that was Chaos Cup for me, done and dusted.

But if anything, it has got me even more excited about playing more Blood Bowl! 

Next year's theme is Tzeench, the god of change & magic & avians. 

If I go, will I make a new team again, chaos of some type themed for Tzeench this time? 

Of will I do something else.. I have so many teams I'm excited about, waiting for paint.  

I did really enjoy playing the Psychedelic Furs, even though they were not a very competitive team, so I don't know.  

But I have about 10 months to think on it.. 

The next tournament for me on the horizon is likely West Coast Quake, in Los Angeles, in January.  

Hope you enjoyed the reports, thanks for reading!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The Psychedelic Furs at Chaos Cup 2013: Game Six... the final game.

Losing Game Five meant the, undoubtedly unrealistic, possibility of 'breaking even' over the course of the event was lost: I'd now lost 3, won 1, tied 1 with only 1 game left before me. Not a big deal, my goal had simply been avoid the Wooden Spoon like the plague: as long as I won one game and enjoyed the games I played I'd be happy.  But it wouldn't be so bad to win more than one... let's see...

Opponent: Pheildorf Steelers, Human.  Coached by Alex

A third human team? Very unusual. Like I mentioned before, I don't see human teams at tournaments very often. I have mixed feelings about humans: I love the roster & how the team plays.  They're an amazingly flexible team: 4 blitzers, a good throwing game, many fast pieces, reliable armor.. if you face a finesse team you can bash them, if you face a bash team you can finesse them. But they are humans.. and we're all humans, so I expect that's why they aren't more represented: if you have a chance to play something different than yourself wouldn't you? But I'm glad to see people decide no and play humans because they are a fun team to play against, even if a very tough challenge for what is pretty much an all-human lineman team that just have horns.

Pre-game: The Steelers stole the heart of the crowd and got +1 Fame.  I won the toss however and elected to kick.  This displeased the crowd and there was a riot: 1 less turn for this half.

The last game allowed teams to give 2 mutations to linemen who had not been given a tournament skill.
We both decided to go with 2 players with Claws since we both had Armor 8 teams.
Claw lets a player break armor on any roll of 8, so it would be easier to break the other's armor.

Since I had 2 players with Claws mutations modeled already, this was my top choice.

First turn, I already forgot he had a frenzy Blitzer and Adam Ant is pushed off the field.
It has been a long weekend ;)

Pretty finally starts to warm up and blitzes the ball-carrying Catcher.

Pretty sacks the catcher, stunning him. 
Ultra Vox goes to pick up the ball: Roll 2. fail.  Re-Roll: 2. yeah, that's a fail still. 

Turn 4 the ball gets crowded as everyone wants a chance at it. 
A goat makes a dodge to reposition: Fail. Re-roll? Fail. 

Turn 5 the humans recover the ball and throw to a catcher, pretty safe in the clear. 
Before the riskier play of a dodge-blitz at the ball carrier I threw a 2 die-block as my first action: Double-Skulls,.. no re-roll, so that ended my turn. 
(hey Big Lee, are you reading these? I applaud your comparatively stellar dice rolling!) 
Turn 6, after this fast turn over, the humans injure Falco, one of my Guards. 

Turn 6 Squeeze blitzes the carrier and wrestles him down: the best I could manage.

It's small bother however as the catcher simply gets up, grabs the ball and scores. 

A quick 1 turn play remains in the half, but I set up for serious play regardless in case of another riot. 
At the end of the half, a riot would set the clock back, and could give me time to score. 

But instead of the hoped-for riot, it starts to rain. 

Pretty was upset by this, for it may disrupt his smoothly brushed fur, and he injures a human lineman in frustration!  A little late to the games Pretty, but welcome all the same!

The Half ends: 0-1. 

Set back up to receive again, the rain continues. 

The ball is kicked as deep as it gets and Inxs retrieves it. 

But #9 Mena T'work hits a Blitzer for 2 dice and gets 2 Both-Down... since the Blitzer has Block and he doesn't, this would put my goat down, so Re-Roll? again: 2 Both Down: my turn ends and Mena T'work is injured.  

It was getting wearisome to suffer these dice at this point, I'm shamed to admit.  
The whole weekend was lower than average dice by a good margin and Re-Rolls especially were poor rolls all weekend... not like they were on crazy chance rolls either, but seems more often than not the re-roll fails and often with the same exact roll.  If that's how good the re-rolls are I'd have been better off playing with no re-rolls and just invest in more players. Maybe I'll have to try a tournament team like that some day. 
It's worth a try. 

Turn 2 a Claw-Lineman Knocks Out Adam Ant. 
Pretty is Blitzed and Stunned. 

Seeing Human Blitzers coming for him, Inxs moves up but he is dangerously exposed.

Inxs makes the best of it and gets near mid-field. 

Pretty recovers but the humans have them corralled. 

Turn 5 Inxs got Blitzed and lost the ball, while Echo got chain-pushed off field: Now down 4 players. 

Last ditch effort, crazy play Xtc dodged to blitz the human ball carrier, needing to dodge in two tackle-zones, but failed. 

The Human Blitzer made 2 Go For Its on the last turn to score again, ending the game 2-0 for the Steelers.

My opponent was a good guy who played a good game, but I'm afraid I didn't give him much of a game.
This was by far my poorest-played game, and worst dice rolling, and the combo saw me not giving him much competition.  Well, it happens: can't be on your game every game.

It did mean our game ended early and I got to walk around and check out other games, as most were still going, and see more teams, which was nice.

Looking at what did go right in the game, I can honestly say that the MVP for the Furs has to go to Pretty!

Pretty N. Pink was the only player to earn any Star Player Points this game: since he caused the 1 injury I inflicted.  Well done Pretty, I knew you had it in you!

So that covers all the games. Final tally: 1 Win, 1 Tie, 4 Loses.
Not my best record, but it won't be my worst ;)

There will be one more update on Chaos Cup before I close the book on this event.
Next I'll do an update for awards, final thoughts and looking toward future tournaments.

Thanks for watching, and enjoy Pretty's moment in the sun...


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