Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa Stopped By

Silent Aire Scorpion IW-C Compressor
Here in the Baxcave, Santa is a big supporter of modeling and gaming.  In pas years t Santa has brought model kits and new foam.  This year, he swung for the bleachers.

What's this under the tree?  Why, it's an air compressor!  Oil-free and quiet enough it won't wake the baby.  And the timing is perfect.  I plan to cut my teeth painting the Dindrenzi fleet and have some modicum of skill before the House Vyre myrmidon kits release (probably in February).

Several friends recommended sites for learning airbrush painting.  Now, I just need an airbrush... recommendations?

OttLite Battery Task Lamp
Lately I have been painting during lunch, Tuesdays and Fridays.  There seems to be more time there than at home.  The ubiquitous fluorescent office lights are a challenge.  Generally I snag a table down in our cafeteria where there are generous windows with natural light (and good tater tots).  Santa learned about this, too, and under the tree was a perfect painting-at-work gift.  OttLite's portable, rechargeable, full-spectrum lamp.  It's smaller than you might think, only 10.5 inches, but it makes a very nice, focused little workspace – just what I needed.

Pleased to Bits

Happy holidays.  The whole family is in town and we're enjoying some time off from work.  All's well.  To put the cherry on top, our friendly postal carriers dropped off this week some little treasures.

First, the replacement Dindrenzi Carrier model arrived.  The store-bought kit had a shrunken starboard half and significant over-pour.  This one appears perfect.  My hat's off to Spartan Games for their excellent customer service in replacing this model, no questions asked.  He'll join the rest of the fleet shortly.

Dindrenzi Carrier replacement
Then the No Quarter Eiryss figure arrived.  This is just an alternate sculpt of Eiryss, Mage Hunter of Ios, but quite a nice one.  Thanks again to Anthony, our local pressganger for the advice to purchase NQ back issues fifteen through seventeen to acquire the coupons.  That was this summer.  Now, unfortunately, issue fifteen is out of stock.  

No Quarter Eiryss figure

Hope you are having a great holiday, too.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fleet Assembled

Dindrenzi and Rense Fleet
"The fleet is nearly assembled, admiral.  We..."

"Excellent, captain. Where are my flagship's escorts and our other heavy cruiser?"

"They appear to be completing their shunt into our system now, sir."

"Good god, man, what happened to that carrier?"

"Some kind of terrible shipyard malfunction. The hull is lost, but fleet command is sending a replacement ship as we speak."

"Then we wait."


This is a starter box, two gunships, two destroyers, a heavy cruiser, and a carrier.  It's about 900 points, just shy of our club's 1000 point standard.

Paint scheme research is well underway.  Most players seem to paint their Dindrenzi in a dull grey metallic with red, orange, or yellow stripes and details.  This Retribution of Scyrah scheme appeals to me with its minty clean lines.  They should contrast nicely with the black space mats.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Firestorm Armada, First Contact

Update: I contacted Spartan Games via their web site on 7 December. Within five hours they responded and shipped replacement parts. That's astonishingly good customer service.

These Firestorm Armada models are, hands down, the worst quality minis I've seen.  Even the worst quality Forge World resin model is a peach compared to the best of these Spartan models.  Let's take a tour, shall we?

Bubbles revealed when trimming misaligned mold edges

Mis-aligned molds happen.  I can work with that.  Even ones so misaligned that a hobby knife and twenty minutes are required to clean the model.  Even ones where a couple millimeters of material must be removed.  But to do that only to find bubbles -- many bubbles -- is frustrating.  Flaws concealing flaws.  This will require Green Stuff all around.

2-3mm of excess resin; more bubbles

This amount of excess resin will require a serious sanding effort, probably from an orbital sander.  And because it's epoxy resin, that means a respirator.

4mm shrinkage on a 90mm model
But, it's not worth it to sand this model, because one half has shrunk so much that it no longer fits together.  Poor, poor, poor quality.

Amazingly, all three ship models demonstrated all of these flaws. We're three for three here at the Baxcave. And, stunningly, it's not just the models.  Each of these ships comes with a beautiful, clear acrylic flight stand to suspend it in space.  Only one of the first six I checked actually fit within its pre-drilled hole.  The rods are slightly too large, so the bases must be re-drilled.  And the ship stat cards which arrived in the pack are all mis-cut, missing edges of the printed tables.  What a mess.

I am deeply disappointed and seriously considering any further time or effort on Spartan Games' products.

And it's not just me.

Am I mad?  Is it a conspiracy of bad luck?  I'd love to hear your experience with their models.