Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Kingdom Death Minis

These minis arrived a couple of weeks ago now, but since I was busy with the convention (actually still busy with the convention) I didn't have time to snap any photos of them. It does seem like I'm acquiring a lot more minis and not getting very many done, so I definitely need to increase my production. Of course Reaper Con is coming up in May and I do need to pick out some minis to work on for that competition. Anyway here are the Kingdom Death minis that I picked up and do intend to paint sometime in the future.

New Minis have Arrived!

Today was a big day! The mailbox had one of those very interesting packages that come all the way from the UK. And yes, inside were the 20mm Marines I had ordered from Elhiem. Can't really say enough about the service. Ordered these on the 2/21 and here they just squeaked in on 2/29. So 8 days start to finish. Now if I could only get them painted up that fast. Well actually I suppose I could, they are pretty small compared to my WWI Marines. Small enough that I snapped a quick comparison picture. So a couple of pictures and I'll take them with me tonight and maybe starting working on them. I should be painting that bloody Zoave but he's hiding on my desk again. Now if I could find some HMMWV in 1/72 or 20mm scale that were reasonably priced I would be happy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I'm Weak - New Minis, New Scale

My friend, Nick Johnson (let's put that in perspective, he could be my son), ran a whole bunch of Force on Force games during Genghis Con XXXIII. I think he ran two different scenarios for a total of eight sessions over the course of three days. Very dedicated! I like to support a fellow gamer when they have put so much blood, sweat and tears into putting on a game and it looks like Ambush Alley is going to as well. Of course my version of support means buying more minis! I ended up ordering modern 20mm US Marines last night from Elheim and a bunch of buildings from Gamecraft Miniatures. So not only did I manage to increase the amount of unpainted material coming to the house but I did it in a scale that I have never worked with before and have nothing else to go along with it. Perhaps what is even worse is that five Death Kingdom minis arrived right before the convention and the rest of the couplers for my freight cars arrived yesterday. I'm also a bit behind on my school work at this point. I need to set everything aside for a bit and get caught up there before I even contemplate getting the brushes out again, although there is another bunch of WWI US Marines demanding to be painted too, and an entry for the Iron Painter Competition............arghhhhhhh!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Genghis Con XXXIII - The Pictures

Since I basically couldn't be bothered to take more pictures the lovely Heather Smith-Matthews snapped some great pictures of my CMPA compatriots along with a few random convention pictures. There are even more pictures in the gallery that Heather has online (she is a professional photographer and this is a link to a website): fortuitousphotography

Back Row (L-R) Doug Sundseth, Torin Reed, Michael Proctor, Kirk Troy, Bob Crum
Middle Row (L-R) Lili Troy, Jen Kaufman, Kris Marquardt (me)
Front Row (L-R) Bianca Weeda, Derek Matthews, Marike Reimer (yes, that Marike)

And our Big Sponsors

A real painter's palette
And a Dragon popped out
and BOOM I was done
something about paint
Random Instructor Moments
Start from here when stabbing the eye                          And BOOM, Bob was done
                                   Marike Phone Home                                            

and next year the slaves will be...

Random GC XXXIII Convention Pics
Checking out the painted army competition
 I think its called a game
 Random miniature game
 So many games, so little time

Genghis Con XXXIII - Wrapped Up

Much as I figured I wouldn't be able to post much during the convention. The auction Friday night ran from 7:15pm to about 2:15am. Its becoming quite a marathon and I have to figure out a way to shorten up the time it takes. However, it was a pretty successful auction overall as people seemed to have more money to spend than they have had over the last few years. Once again no one bothers to take pictures of the auction and the wall of games that faces me when I start selling stuff off. My first auction as an auctioneer was at Genghis Con VI so this was my 28th appearance. For a lot of those years we were doing two auctions a show, one on Friday and one on Sunday but that quickly became overwhelming. I have done all the auctions at Tacticon as well so coming up will be my 24th appearance there. I have also put in guest appearances at other conventions, Origins three times, GenCon twice, LA twice (forget specifically which LA cons I was at though) and every Reapercon (except the first, because there was no auction at the first one). Reapercon may be my favorite auction because there is no money involved, you can only use Reaper Bucks and all the stuff coming up for auction is provided by Reaper so the reality is that the auction is "free". Its a ton of fun. In fact I highly recommend going to Reaper Con at least once just to experience a very different type of game convention. Helping with the auctions and being an auctioneer is one element of a game convention that I really like doing. Probably because all that attention is focused on me and no one can escape my bad jokes.

Most of Saturday was spent getting entries into the painting competition and then 4 hours of judging. Everything is entered into specific categories like Single Fantasy Miniature or Dioramas. Within a category we award medals; gold, silver, bronze or certificates of merit. If a person has multiple entries in a category then the judges will discuss which piece will be judged. After this there is no more discussion and judges award a score between 0 - 4 (0 being try again, and 4 being gold). The sheets with the scores are turned in and put into a spreadsheet. For each entry being judged the high score and the low score are thrown out and the remaining three added together to get a result from 0 - 12. Judges are also allowed to put a + or - next to their score indicating that they are willing to go up or down a step if that puts them more in line with what other judges are indicating. The scores break out as follows:
11-12 - Gold
8-10 - Silver
5-7 - Bronze
2-4 - Certificate of Merit

After the entries are judged, we select the category winners (sometimes that's easy sometimes its hard). From the Category winners we select Best in Show, Best in Competition and Best Theme (Mongol). We have a separate category that we call Master Class, this is the class that people who have won previous Best in Show awards, GW Slayer Swords, that kind of thing. Typically Best in Show, at Genghis Con, comes out of this category, so we created what we call Best in Competition, the best non-masterclass entry. The winner of this gets moved into the Master Class category and hopefully gets pushed even harder to bring in his/her best work. The quality of the entries continues to climb every show, its almost mind boggling.

There were lots of painting classes on Saturday and Sunday as well, followed by getting everything packed up and headed back to the house.

I took my painting slave....er guest of honor, Marike Reimer, skiing on Monday at Keystone. We had a great time but the wind yesterday made it really cold. Still feeling the effects of that today, some muscles are loudly complaining about how hard I skied. I have skied since I was 12 and I'm very good, did a little amateur racing and so I tend to attack the hill pretty aggressively and I'm getting a little old to be quite that aggressive anymore. My knee was letting me know that towards the end of the day.

Anyway, it was a terrific show, one of the best we have done and they only seem to be getting better. Genghis Con is growing again, I think the final attendance numbers were between 1900 and 2000 (starting to push my attendance numbers when I ran it) which is really good to see.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Genghis Con XXXIII - Day Two

Well day two of the convention finds me...at work busily writing requirements and use cases (if that makes sense to you then you have my condolences). I did manage to acquire the painting guest of honor last night, so one quest successfully completed. Of course her plane was an hour late getting in and it took her forever to get from the plan to the main terminal (Denver International Airport is pretty big and she came in on the farthest concourse out). Then I'm driving us back to the hotel only to discover that the highway leading directly to the hotel is closed and I have to take to the streets and add another 20 minutes to the drive. Upon arrival at the front desk I try to get her checked into her room, politely asking the nice hotel clerk for Marike Reimer's room. Marike hands over her ID, the clerk looks grim, there is no Reimer in the system. She looks a bit more and discovers that it had been setup as Marike, Marike in the system...whew dodged that bullet. So I politely haul her suitcase and 70# backpack up to the room.
Today she is in the hands of  Jen Kaufman, my right hand at the show. I expect to zip into the painting area after work, then proceed directly to the auction where they should be starting to check in items to go up for bid tonight. I'll sort items and develop a game plan and probably from 6 - midnight will sell as much stuff as I possibly can. Well actually we will sell all of it. I expect to move somewhere between 400 - 500 lots this evening. So there may not be pictures of anything going on today. But I will update this with pictures tonight if I get a chance and there will definitely be pictures tomorrow as the convention will be in full swing on Saturday.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Genghis Con XXXIIII - Day One

UPDATED with pictures from Thursday night (Thursday is traditionally the zero slot for the RPG events when the judges get to play, my painting group and the boardgamers have kind of attached ourselves to Thursday as well. No miniature games tonight.

Actually day one hasn't officially begun yet, things don't kick off until tonight. However, I have my car loaded down with all my usual equipment to get the painting conference and competition portion of the convention up and running. The CMPA is even running a class or two this evening, which I believe are already full (we only have 5 spots per class). I'm already feeling the effects of a weekend of gaming as I have tried to combine last minute painting, organizing and the homework of my first college class (my last one was 15 years ago, hopefully this time I will finish) into these last few days before the convention. Late tonight I'll get some pictures up at least showing off the banners that we made for our sponsors this year. I was hoping for a green of our Genghis Gal mascot but we just didn't get that far along. Which reminds me if anyone sees a miniature (a green in this case) of someone that looks like Lysette (see the picture on the top right of the home page) let me know. The green was sculpted by Gene Van Horne and was stolen from my box as I was taking her on tour to the local FLGSs. Anyway, hopefully pictures tonight of the start of another great convention (Genghis Con, obviously is in its 33rd year and I have been to every single one of them!).

 My Part of the Con
First painting discussion of the con
 And the classroom
 JMD comes through big time again

Thursday Night Boardgames

 Thursday Night RPGs

Genghis Con XXXIII Show Banner

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Rant - Gaming Models and Historical Accuracy

Usually I can keep this stuff to myself, let it burn a little and let it go. Not this time. I'm contemplating getting into SAGA along with a few other friends. I already have a fair number of vikings painted and ready to go. So what what should the next project be for them? Well a longship of course. So I'm browsing around looking for 28mm reasonable representations. Really the best bet is a Revell kit that will have to be cut down to a waterline model (not hard, annoying, but not hard) or the one by Gripping Beast, pricey but very nice. Now there is a company out there making a lasercut kit version. Initial excitement, hit the web page, huge disappointment. With so many sources available now on viking ships of all types, this one doesn't measure up. One quick search will take you straight to a museum that not only has the recovered remains of viking era ships but has actually built them as well. Not only that I think we can safely get away from building replicas of the Oseberg and Gokstad funeral ships now and work up some nice gaming models based on actual warships and trading vessels (oh my like Gripping Beast did). And for the record, for most people what I consider to be sub-par resulting from lazy research are going to just fine for most gamers. But for me there is just to much historical interest to be satisfied with something that barely looks the part. The temptation to sit down and build a longship board by board is very strong, but time is short (especially since I just started college again, fourth time is the charm) so it looks like Gripping Beast is the winner by a huge amount and I'll be sending some dollars their way when the tax refund arrives. Oh and here is the link to the museum in Denmark just in case you need to see what a viking longship probably looked like: http://www.vikingeskibsmuseet.dk/en/

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Railroad Prototype Photos - Derelict Crane Car

Well, as it usually happens during the convention season, my railroad model activities drop way off. But I was going through pictures today and I thought this car in particular was very cool, so I'm posting it as something a little different from what I have been showing off lately. I think this belongs to the Union Pacific Railroad. Check the RR prototype album for more pictures.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Genghis Con XXXIII Painting Conference and Competition - What the heck is it?

As some of you know or have figured out I organize (and crack the whip) the Painting Conference and Competition at two conventions; Genghis Con and Tacticon. Genghis Con is next week. We will be running 30 painting classes running the gamut of basic to advanced painting, composition, color theory, basing and even army painting. My slaves...er instructors deserve a huge thank you for the time and effort they put in. This year the following folks will be spilling forth everything they know about painting: Bob Crum (Rookie!), Jen Kaufman (who also picks up the pieces after me, and is the power behind the throne), Derek Matthews (returning for a 2nd appearance), Colin Monnes, Michael Proctor (getting better and better every time I see his work), Torin Reed, Andy Still, Lili Troy (two time slayer sword winner), Kirk Troy and Bianca Weeda. And a special thanks to my guest of honor Marike Reimer (first winner of the Crystal Brush competition).

And of course there are the folks providing product for the painting classes and for prizes:
Reaper Miniatures http://www.reapermini.com/ (Paints and Minis! What more can you ask for!)
JMD Miniatureshttp://www.jmd-miniatures.com/ (Providing support all the way from France. Jean-Marie does awesome work and provides excellent service, definitely take a look at his work)
Iron Wind Metalshttp://ironwindmetals.com/d/ (Providing a ton of miniatures for prizes and gift certificates, not only do they produce new miniatures but they own and produce most of the old Ral Partha miniatures)
Total Escape Games http://www.totalescapegames.com/ (One of our local FLGSs that is really coming through when I needed it, supporting the new Silver Star Competition for 15mm WWII miniatures)
Secret Weapon Miniatures http://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/ (Providing washes, pigments, scenery kits, resin bases, really coming through with prizes and sending Grab Bags too!)
Forged in Battle http://www.forgedinbattle.com/ (Another company stepping up to provide support for the Silver Star competition, beautiful 15mm vehicles and miniatures)
Dick Blick http://www.dickblick.com/stores/ (My favorite source for brushes, and that's what they are sending, a ton of brushes. Without this tool, well we couldn't paint!)
Scibor's Monstrous Miniatures http://sciborminiatures.com/ (Another overseas company coming through with prize support. Their first time supporting the convention so definitely check out their fabulous line of resin miniatures)
DGS Games http://www.dgsgames.com/ (What can I say, I asked and Mike delivered, really sweet line of fantasy miniatures and expanding! They will be running games at the convention showing off their miniatures and their rules)

I really could not put on this show without my instructors and the support of manufacturers like these. Please check out their links and if you like what you see definitely pick something up from these companies, they all produce high quality miniatures from 15mm to 54mm and larger, in metal and in resin. I guarantee that you will see something you can't live without (come on you can't participate in this hobby without paint brushes!).

New Toys! 6x6 Rapid Assault Vehicle by Secret Weapon Miniatures

I'm not really going to review this kit right now. I just wanted to gloat that I got not one but two of these puppies delivered by USPS just yesterday. I have some pictures here but if you really want to see what you can do with this baby then check out the blog for dwartist at: http://dwartist.blogspot.com/2012/02/6x6-travesty-i-know.html . Its his fault that I have these right now, right before the convention, right when I'm working on competition pieces. Hence why these beauty's are still in the bags. If you just can't wait to buy them then go direct to Secret Weapon Miniatures at: http://www.secretweaponminiatures.com/ and Justin can hook you up. Although to be fair, Secret Weapon does encourage you to buy from your FLGS first, so check there and then order from Justin.