Obligatory New Year’s Resolution Post, 2020

It’s that time again, out with the old and in with the new. And as someone who has a blog that I struggle to think of good content for, that means I have to do a new year’s post.

2019 was a great year for me in the hobby. I built up a lot of skills and was able to work on a lot of projects that I truly enjoyed. The highlight is definitely Boudicca and my trip to Sword and Brush this year. She was sort of the culmination of a lot of things that I learned and a lot of techniques that I had been practicing away at, and coming away with the gold at Sword and Brush was a very sweet prize.

Outside of figures and busts, a couple things stood out. First, in the world of gunpla, I built the Master Grade Ver.Ka Ball and tried out some new techniques on the finish. The lowly Ball is my favourite mobile suit; so many of the giant robots end up looking very busy and have a lot of style over substance, while the ball is simple and utilitarian. Plus ball puns are funny.

And in the world of historical models, my Spanish Republican 109 was finished early this year. It turned out quite nice, and I have another model airplane or two in the stash.


I was thinking about it over the past couple days, and while I could make some specific hobby resolutions — learn this technique, finish this project, etc., I want to go deeper. It’s been an amazing year of growth for me and I’m not sure where my brushes will take me next, so the resolutions that I want to share have more to do with having a healthy relationship with your hobby which will keep you in it longer.

Buy less crap

Let’s face it, if you are reading this blog, you probably have a giant pile of unpainted miniatures or unbuilt model kits lying around. You see cool stuff for sale at a good price, your imagination starts running, and pretty soon you end up buying stuff because you have an idea for a project that you might do sometime in the future at an unspecified date.


Yeah. We all do it, and it keeps the companies that make the stuff we love in business. But that pile can actually be a source of stress. Seeing your to-do pile stack up can cause stress, and it can make it more difficult to get started on anything because of the opportunity cost. Every time you start a new project, there are dozens of new projects that you feel guilty for not working on. Finally, there are better things to spend my money on than stuff that I won’t get around to for a long time. Especially considering that that stuff isn’t going to disappear. Unless it’s some sort of limited edition item, I can just keep my money in my pocket and order it when I’m ready to paint it.

Though, if Bad Squiddo kickstarts a Spanish Civil War line, all bets are off. Maximum pledge, right here.

Be less competitive

I’ve discussed before, but while I like going to painting competitions and model shows, I’m starting to get burned out on the competition aspect of them. It’s great to see tables full of cool models and meet new people, but the competition can get to you because when it comes to picking winners and losers, things can start to get unpleasant.

Fundamentally, I think it is because competition can bring out something unhealthy in us. I took Warmachine a bit too seriously when I started getting… well, gud is an overstatement. That caused a lot of stress and frustration as I tried to perform at tournaments and then get frustrated when I inevitably didn’t. It started ruining the game for me, and I don’t want the same to happen for painting.

So, this year, it’s all about feeling good about my hobby work without comparing my work to others. Win, lose, doesn’t matter.

Manage my social media intake

First, with all the amazing painters out there on social media, you sometimes end up comparing yourself to others and inevitably, someone will post something that will make you feel like you are coming up short. No matter what you paint, you’ve already spent dozens of hours staring at it so the other guy’s stuff looks cooler because of novelty.

Second, there are a lot of places on social media that are quite frankly about as pleasurable as ass cancer. Arguments, negativity, trolling… no thanks. There’s a few that I should probably cut out completely, like Lormahordes and the WMH General Discussion facebook group; others I plan to just manage and try to keep scrolling when someone is wrong on the internet.

Ignore the haters

And, of course, going with the above, haters gonna hate. Every once in a while, I get some negative comments on social media or wherever. I know when you step back and look at it, when your article gets 100 likes and one guy telling you to fuck off and go play 40K instead, that’s a pretty good ratio — 99% satisfaction isn’t bad. But I’m the sort of person where it’s easy for that one guy to get under my skin and next thing I know I’m arguing with some random person on the internet at 2am.

Haters gonna hate. I need to focus on the people I care about and the people who like my content more than salty internet randos.



I’ve been thinking a lot lately about maintaining a healthy relationship with your hobby. With all the competitiveness, comparing oneself to others, and morons to argue with on social media, it can take effort to keep yourself in the right headspace to have fun. My goal in 2020 is to maintain that headspace and keep a positive attitude. From there, all else will follow.

Hobby resolutions for 2019

The other day, I did a review of how I did on my hobby resolutions last year. I got around 50%, however considering that most people fail all their resolutions by February, I think that’s not all bad. In spite of the fact that setting new year’s resolutions are basically setting yourself up to fail, I’m desperate for content and everyone else is doing it, so I figured here is a good start.

Finish my Khador army

I made some good progress this year, bashing out the backlog of assembled but unpainted models. However, I want to bring it home this year and actually finish my army. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean going ham and getting full field allowance of everything fully painted. However, I would like to get all the warcasters finished, as well as finishing everything in my backlog, and just staying on top of any Khador releases in the new year. Also, finish some of the mercenaries in my collection which I bought with the intent of using them in a Khador army.

Manage my backlog

Last year, I made the resolution to end the year with fewer unpainted miniatures than I started the year with. Of course, that didn’t quite happen, though I don’t think I did too badly on it. This year, I would like to renew that resolution — don’t buy more stuff than I can actually build and paint. I suspect it will be a lot easier this year, as I haven’t seen any previews of must-have releases from Privateer Press, like the big Man-O-War release last year for my army. I think by just not getting too distracted by new shinies, I can keep things under control.

Build more terrain

I like terrain, however a lot of the time, it’s hard to get around to doing it. It feels like there is always another miniature which takes higher priority. I built a fair bit of the GW Sector Mechanicus stuff this year and found it to be rather enjoyable. I do have a lot of stuff in the stash for trees and other natural features that I have yet to get around to, as well as a giant resin inn to paint. I want to actually bash some of that out in the near future, just so I’m no longer at the mercy of store terrain when I go to play.

I also feel like there is a lot of debate in the Warmachine/Hordes community about 2D vs 3D terrain. I feel like well-designed 3D terrain can be the best of both worlds — it is playable, but also looks good to passers-by. Things like flat-topped hills, buildings and walls that you can’t end your movement on anyways, etc. So, I would like to get some of that made up as I start doing more demos and the like in the new year.

Experiment with oil paints


I managed to pick up a bunch of old tubes of artist oil points for rather cheap a few months ago. I tried them out on my SD Gundam, however I barely scratched the surface with what they can do and haven’t really unlocked their potential yet. I think more experimentation can yield better results because there are techniques out there that just don’t work with acrylics. And, worst case scenario, I can just get a big canvas and do a Bob Ross painting.

Keep things in perspective

When it comes to wargaming, this past year has been interesting to say the least. I fractured my hand in the spring, which put me out of commission for gaming for a few weeks. I had a lot of fun at the SOO, playing against a lot of really nice opponents and hanging out in the hobby room. But, on the other hand, there was also a lot of negative feedback to a couple of my articles, as well as some local drama, and between all that, I ended up getting burned out on Warmachine and especially tournament play for a while.

One of the things I’ve learned from all that is that it can be difficult to keep things in perspective. It’s very easy to dwell on the negative, especially in a community like the Warmachine community which is all too often overflowing with salt. Doubly so when you already have your own hang-ups and anxieties to deal with.

As a result, I think keeping things in perspective is important on two fronts. First is just staying in the right state of mind when you’re playing, focusing on having fun above all else and not worrying too much about tournament standings, who your next opponent will be, and building the perfect list that can deal with all the boogeymen in the meta. Second is not dwelling on negative reactions and letting those get you down. Yeah, there may be a couple of jerks who don’t like me, but that shouldn’t stop me from playing the game or producing content that I think is good. Especially when I get feedback that is mostly positive and it’s just that 10% that I’m allowing to ruin my day.


Most of these resolutions tend to be more about self-improvement rather than any external benchmark. I think this is important because that means they are all completely within my control. I could say, for example, that I want to win a painting competition, but then if Kirill Kanaev shows up, that resolution is now pointless and I’m screwed. Or something could come up and I won’t be able to even compete. However, I think these resolutions are all practical and achievable, and will help me both grow as a painter and feel more comfortable with this hobby.

Last year’s resolutions…

Well, it’s the end of the year, so that means it’s time to take stock of my resolutions from last year and see how I did. Last time, I split this into two sections: hobby and gaming resolutions.

Gaming Resolutions

The amount of Warmachine I have been playing really dropped off at some point this year. I was playing weekly and going to tournaments at least monthly, but then I broke my hand back in spring, which put me out of commission for a couple months. The SOO was the biggest event I went to, but following that, the amount of time I actually got pushing my wardollies around shrunk and shrunk for a variety of reasons. As a result, my resolutions this year are a little hit and miss.

One of them was be a better opponent and learn not to get frustrated and keep having fun even when I’m losing. I think I’ve gotten better on that front. While I’m not perfect, there were a couple tournaments where I was able to recognize myself slipping and get myself back into the right headspace to give my opponent a fun game and enjoy myself a bit more. This year’s SOO, for example, I had a rough first game drawing Cryx in the first round and started getting frustrated, but turned it around quickly, and then had a blast the rest of the day, which culminated in one of the best games I’ve ever had.

As for getting better at moving my models, playing a perfectly “clean” game, and being able to make measurements to a gnat’s pube’s precision… I’m out of practice, so I’ve probably gotten worse on that front.


My most recent game… Sorscha3 vs. Madrak2. So many medium bases…

One of my other resolutions was to lower my salt intake, which I think did help keep. I unsubscribed from the Muse On Minis podcast network a while ago, and that actually increased my quality of life because I was no longer worried about Gaspy3 or Anamag or the next boogeyman list. Further, I wasn’t absorbing the negativity from things like Dominate For Two’s Khador episode, which was basically two hours about how I should get rid of my models and start over with a different faction.


Finally, I made a resolution to branch out and try more casters and factions. Well, I still only play Khador and Strakhov1 is still my homeboy on the rare occasion I get a game in, though I did get a Sorscha3 game in recently. I also did branch out in an unexpected way. I’ve picked up Necromunda, which really scratches my itch for a second game in a way that Guild Ball and Company of Iron didn’t.

Hobby Resolutions

Well, let’s take a look here. My first resolution was to do a diorama. And I completely failed at that. However, I did have an idea for what I would do if I were to do a diorama, so that counts, right? No? Okay, put one in the fail column.

IMG_2661Next was NMM, or non-metallic metal. I acutally did a couple pieces in NMM this year, though TMM is still my favourite technique and the one I am most comfortable with. Nancy Steelpunch was my first serious attempt at NMM, and I did some more advanced work on Maximus as part of a class I took this fall. So, that one is a success.

As for glazes and sketch style, while I have added glazes to my repertoire, as shown in my Amy Johnson and other pieces, I haven’t been all in on sketch style. To be honest, part of me feels like it was a bit of a fad that was so 2017. But the main reason why I haven’t been all gung-ho about it is that, I feel like most of the time, I don’t want to go from black to white on my shadows. Take green, for example. I generally want to go from blue in the shadows to yellow in the highlights instead of just adding black or white to shadow or highlight. But, sketch style doesn’t really allow me to do that unless I used coloured shadows and highlights for preshading… in which case, why bother with the sketch style at all?

IMG_0301While I have been doing something similar in my use of a purple to white transition as an undercoat for acrylic artist inks when painting yellow, and I still do zenithal prime, I just don’t see myself incorporating sketch style as a core technique.

As for ending the year with fewer unpainted miniatures than I started with… I think I was doing really well. I did go all in on the new Man-O-War releases from Privateer Press, but got most of them painted up. Same with my Necromunda gang. However, the wheels started to come off in October. Reaper had their Halloween promotions, Bad Squiddo did a clearance sale, and all my progress was wiped out. However, I did pretty much clear out all of the assembled but unpainted models in my collection for the Khador army. So, that’s good.

Finally, when it comes to posting an average of once per week, according to the statistics on this blog, this is the 48th article this year. So, I ended up a little shy of my goal, but didn’t do too badly. That said, I would like to get my content to be a little more regular — perhaps actually once a week instead of three weeks of nothing then three articles one after the other.


So, I managed to achieve about half my hobby and gaming resolutions this year. Which, in the grand scheme of things, probably isn’t bad. Some of these ended up more abandoned than failed, as I went in a different direction on my hobby journey. However, regardless of resolutions, I feel like this was a great year for me. I really advanced my skills in a lot of ways. I pushed into a larger scale, doing two busts and two 75mm-ish scale figures. I took up gunpla and had some fun with that, as well as some military scale modelling. I explored a lot of new weathering techniques. I managed to win some awards at competitions, and come away from Sword and Brush with two silvers and a bronze. It was an amazing year of growth, and I can’t wait to see what I manage to accomplish next year…


Nancy Does NMM

As I mentioned in my last post, my Nancy Steelpunch miniature from Scale75 did well at HeritageCon this year, pulling in a silver in the Fantasy Figures category. In addition to being a cool sculpt with the punkish undercut, goggles, and steampunk robotic arms that she is named for, Nancy represents an important milestone on my hobby journey. She was the first model that I had done using a non-metallic metal (NMM) technique, which was on my list of hobby resolutions for this year.




What is NMM?

Now, while figure painters may know what I’m talking about, I can already hear the scale modellers who read this blog scratching their head, so let’s take a step back hear and talk about shiny things. Take a look at this picture of a hatchet I found online. When our eyes look at it, without even thinking about it, our brain detects the pattern and registers it as a somewhat shiny steel colour. We instinctively know that the surface of this axe head is a more or less uniform, somewhat reflective grey metal. However, if I open up Microsoft Paint and use the eyedropper tool, we can see that the colours that make up the shininess are a little more complex. If I wanted to draw a picture of this axe head, instead of just taking out a silver crayon and running it over the entire shape, I would have to play a little with shadow and highlight colours to represent how the light hits and reflects off of the wavy surface of the axe. As you can see, particularly in the third and fourth colour I’ve picked out, the actual colours that make up this image are not uniform and run the spectrum from almost white to almost black.


The strip on the bottom represents the colour of the pixels at the location at the end of the red line

Another thing you can do is simply take a hobby knife, ideally one with a scalpel blade, hold it under your work lamp, and turn it around in your hand while looking carefully at it. Look at what you see, not what you think you see. Your brain will tell you that the blade is a uniform piece of metal. But depending on how the blade catches the light, you might see a particular part of the blade appear as bright white or almost black or any shade in between, depending on if that particular piece of the blade is reflecting the light into your eye or not. If it helps, take a picture with your phone and look at that, looking carefully at the glints of light bouncing off the blade.


Now, getting back to miniature painting, one of the keys to painting at this scale is that light doesn’t interact with objects quite the same way at these small scales. It’s why so much of miniature painting involves painting in highlights and shadow colours in order to convey how the light would interact with an object at scale. It’s also why just slapping a coat of metallic paints onto the blade of a sword just doesn’t look right.

Non-metallic metal is one way (but not the only way) to address this issue when it comes to models with a lot of metallic pieces. Non-metallic metals allow the painter to take full control of the interaction between light and the object and make it look more appropriate at scale. To do this, instead of relying on shiny paints, you paint the metal piece with flat colours, painting on all the glints and shadows. It’s called non-metallic metal because you are using non-metallic paints to achieve a metal effect, and it is similar to the techniques a 2D artist might use if he were tasked with drawing something shiny.

Sharp Highlights

Just saying “oh yeah, just paint on the glints and reflections” sounds like one of those things that is easier said than done, but if you understand lighting well, you can get a grasp on it. Even moreso than regular miniature painting, non-metallic metals are an exercise in lighting and contrasts. In order to be successful, you need to figure out where you want to place the light and apply some really sharp contrasts. Looking back at our scalpel blade, we can see that it is mostly a fairly dull, dark grey, with some near-white highlights where the light catches it. The green circle represents an area which is reflecting the light towards the viewer, while the red circle represents edges that are just catching a glint of light. By painting on this highlight and these edge highlights, we can convey the reflectiveness of the surface even by using flat paints. Further, the edge highlights also help the viewer pick up on the shape of the blade at a glance, which is good for making details pop.

IMG_2659 - Copy.jpg

See how the circled areas look almost white due to the highlight.

Steel and Brass


Not mine, just something cool I found CMON

One of the other interesting things about non-metallic metal is that you can easily paint metals in any colour using this technique. If you want to paint up, say, a figure of Iron Man from the Marvel universe, you can just use the various shades of red you have kicking around instead of trying to find red metallic paints.

This is something that is useful in the world of steampunk fantasy. One of the things I really like about Steampunk settings is that there is a lot of brass present on machinery and metal parts. This means that when you are choosing a colour scheme, you can add some contrast to your metallics by “alternating” between silver and brass colours. You can do steel parts with brass trim, brass parts with silver trim, brass rivets on steel plates, and so on. This allows you to really make details pop, and is something that I chose to take advantage of for Nancy’s mechano-fists. The steampunk mechanical arms are a key distinctive element on this model, and they are filled with plenty of little mechanical details that I wanted to be apparent even at a glance.


Ultra close up of the mechano-fists

The Process

I was a little intimidated when it came to actually doing the NMM, so it was one of the last things that I had done on this model. When it came to choosing colour, as I mentioned above, I knew I wanted to have both brass and steel to pick out the mechanical bits. But for the steel, I decided to go for something with a bit more blue in it than traditional grey metal. This, I felt, would do two things. First, the blue steel would go well with some of the blue in her clothing and the hints of blue in the highlights on the black parts of her clothes. Second, the blue and brass would give me some nice contrast on the fists themselves on a cool/warm dimension.

So, to start off, I laid down some base colours. For the steel, I used a couple coats of Reaper’s Blue Liner, which is a dark blue that is very near black. Reaper’s Liner paints are formulated for blacklining, a technique where you paint thin lines in the cracks on models to separate distinct parts, and tend to have a little more flow to them than regular paints. However, I have found them to be good not only for priming Bones figures, but also as base coats for things that I want to paint near-black. I use their Grey Liner a lot for painting black, for example, as it is close enough to black to read as intended, but not quite black so it allows me to go into the shadows with a darker colour such as pure black.

Anyways, starting with a base coat of that Blue Liner, I next worked up to Gravedigger Denim and Frostbite from P3, two colours which are somewhat desaturated blues, with the denim being a midtone and the frostbite being almost white. I applied the Gravedigger Denim to areas where I wanted it to be lighter, then followed up with some very sharp highlights with the frostbite — mostly just thin lines where the metal is catching a glint of light. Finally, I edge highlighted the figure with frostbite as well, to represent the areas where the light is catching an edge.


Progress on the mechano-hands

For the brass, I did something similar. I did an initial base coat in brown, but didn’t like that so I went back to the drawing board and mixed some Tanned Leather from Reaper with some grey liner to get a dark, desaturated colour that still has some of the yellow-orange that I want to it. From there, I highlighted up to straight Tanned Leather, then Blond Hair (Reaper), and then a Menoth White Highlight (P3) for the highest highlight. As always, these are just the colours I used; you can use whatever you have on hand and mix on your wet palette (you are using a wet palette, right?) to get a similar effect.


Colours used — Blue steel on left, Brass on right

Final thoughts

Non-metallic metal can be an intimidating sounding technique. However, once I got down to it, it actually seemed to be a little easier than I thought it would be. The main lessons I took away from it were:

  1. Understand where the light is coming from
  2. Go all the way from very dark to very light
  3. Use sharp highlights to convey glints of light

It’s also easier when you have something to go off of, so taking a close look at miniatures that have been painted with this technique or even just art of the figure that you are trying to paint can help you understand it better before taking the plunge. Even if you don’t plan on using NMM as a common technique in your repertoire, doing a few pieces in NMM can help you understand how light interacts with reflective surfaces like metals, and in turn help you with painting metallics in general.

As for me, I’ve got the Nancy Steelpunch 1/12 scale bust as well, so that’s going to be an interesting project…


My hobby resolutions for 2018

And now we get to the important part of the new year’s festivities: seeing how far I’ve come in hobbying over the past year, and figuring out where to go from here.

Last year was a good year for me. I’ve put a lot of work into learning how to properly highlight a miniature, wet blending, colour theory, freehand, weathering, and true metallic metals, and I think it really shows. Take a look at the difference between my two Grolars, and you can really see the difference, especially on the metallics and weathering.

I made a few resolutions last year; of course, I didn’t write them down, so I’m going by memory. From what I recall, my goals were:

Use a wet palette
img_2206.jpgHonestly, I don’t know why I needed to make a resolution in order to motivate myself to do this. It takes like five minutes to make one out of stuff you probably have at home, and it is a tool that very quickly made for a measurable improvement in my painting. Being able to keep my paints hydrated throughout a painting session has enabled me to really work with techniques such as wet blending and painting faces.

Paint something completely different

This one took me until November; after going to CapCon 2017 and hanging out with some of the people from the local IPMS group, I was motivated to finally finish a PZL P.11 that had been kicking around on my to do pile for a while. It felt good to finish something, and I have a P.23 in 1/72 and a P-40E in 1/144 scale on deck for the next time I need a little palate cleanser from figures.

Paint a display piece


At least I got the plinth done…

Most of my pieces so far have been primarily for gaming. Even if they aren’t something that I’m going to bring to the game store very often, I’ve been using the proper, round-lipped Privateer Press bases with arc markings. This has been in part motivated by a desire to both play it painted and keep up with the Joneses, so while it has been good to build up my skills on my army, I haven’t yet done much which is purely a demonstration of my painting skills. However, I did do a couple miniatures as Christmas presents this year, and I do have something in progress, so I will say I’m about halfway there.

So, two and a half out of three isn’t bad for last year’s resolutions.

Resolutions for 2018

This year, I’m going to make some rules for my resolutions. Like with any goal, it is best if it is specific and measurable. If the goal is something too simple like “get better at X,” then it’s practically meaningless. Also, when it comes to hobbying, I feel like your skills tend to grow in spurts, with each spurt coinciding with when you go out of your comfort zone and focus on learning new techniques.

Also, I feel that resolutions should not be competitive. I could make a resolution to win a best painted award, but I feel that a lot of the time, a first place ribbon tells you just as much about who else showed up that day than it does your hobby skills on display. Though, in the case of an open system judging, it would be nice to take home a silver this year for something.

So, with that said, here are my resolutions:

Do a diorama

I have a couple diorama ideas floating around in my head, but with all the army painting I’ve been doing to build my skills and get painted models on the table, I hadn’t gotten around to them yet. Again, I’ve been focusing a lot on painting my army, and while I am painting it up to a very high standard and using it to build my skills, that means that I haven’t really put aside the time to hop into a diorama. I got a lot of tips at the Ottawa Figure Show this year on composition and groundwork, so I am looking forward to trying my hand at that.

Do a piece in non-metallic metal


Look carefully… that’s not chrome paint

Non-metallic metal, the practice of rendering metallic objects with the use of non-metallic paints, carefully rendered to show the interaction of the light with the metallic reflections, is a technique that I really want to make a good effort at in 2018. I feel like I’ve made a lot of progress on my metals by applying true metallic metal techniques to my work. While I may end up sticking to TMM in the end, I feel like learning how to do NMM will help me understand light and how to capture the interactions between light, shadow and reflection in a smaller scale.

Try out glazes and sketch style

“Sketch style,” the technique of doing zenithal priming and a value sketch then applying glazes in a sort of paint-by-numbers technique seemed to blow up in the first half of this year. It seemed like I couldn’t browse through any painting group on facebook without people asking questions about or showing off their sketch style creations. This was a technique I hadn’t really tried, partly because of inertia and partly out of concern that it might be hard to get either vibrant, saturated colours or really apply colour theory to the shadows and highlights.

Anyways, I’ve played around with inks a fair bit recently, and I think it’s about time I start doing so in a bit more deliberate of a manner. I’ve got plenty of beasts and minions and other organic creatures that I think would be a lot easier to do with a sketch style approach than traditional painting, so I’m sure some of those are going to end up being guinea pigs for these experiments.

End the year with fewer unpainted miniatures than I started with

This might be trickiest one. There is something about buying more plasticrack that offers the purchaser a quick rush of endorphines. Unfortunately, that means that I tend to accumulate minitures as fast as I can paint them, if not faster. My stash isn’t completely out of control, but I would like to reduce both the number of models in my stash and the number of assembled, unpainted miniatures on my shelf of shame.

Post an average of once a week

When I started this blog, the idea behind it was to catalogue my progress and use it as a tool for sharing my knowledge. I’m probably not going to end up being one of those minor internet celebrities like Menoth John or the guy from Tabletop Minions. Especially not if I stick to the written word rather than get into the world of podcasting or video. But I would still like to keep it going, and keep putting out semi-regular content, if only to keep this catalogue going and hopefully help some people with their painting progress.

Final thoughts

When it comes to miniature painting, one of the best ways to get better is to set goals and practice towards them. There is a wealth of information and guides out there on the internet, and with some study, practice, and a bit of luck, 2018 is going to be a good year for my progression as a painter.

So, what’s your goals for your hobby progression in 2018? Let me know in the comments!

My gaming resolutions for 2018

So, with the dumpster fire known as 2017 almost behind us and a new dumpster fire undoubtedly upon us, I figure now is a good time to make some resolutions for the upcoming year. And, since I don’t see myself actually achieving any sort of resolution regarding getting into shape or that sort of thing, I’m going to split these into a two parts: hobby and gaming.

I’m going to start with the gaming resolutions, because these are easier and because I don’t have any resolutions from last year to revisit, so I should be able to bang these out. I’ve been taking a little break over the past few weeks from the hardcore competitive scene in order to reflect and refocus on what I want to get out of the game and enjoy the painting and collecting aspect.

Be a better opponent

I like to think I’m not a terrible person to play against, but like most players, I will occasionally get frustrated when the dice don’t go my way or I get hit with something I didn’t see coming. And the later happens a fair bit in Warmachine, because it’s a game that really rewards system knowledge; many a game has been won and lost based on an assassination that the other player didn’t see coming.

I want to be the guy who is always going to be a fun opponent, whether I’m winning or losing. I want to be the guy who can really show the new players the ropes and spread my enthusiasm for painting and playing with our wardollies.

That means no talking about dice (unless my opponent started it), no commenting on what models I think are too powerful, and no chalking losses up to bad matchups. Even if I roll triple-ones on my assassination attempt. For the second time that day. Again.

Get better at moving models

Warmachine players tend to place a lot of focus on what they call a “clean” game — one made with very precise measurements, no accidental bumping of models, quick setup, and no stumbling over words when casting spells or explaining the table state. It’s why there is a veritable cottage industry of tokens and measuring widgets, and many players have spent hundreds of dollars on laser cut plastic doohickeys to make their measurements that much more precise.

For me, I don’t know whether it is a lack of hand-eye coordination, or my brain getting ahead of my mouth, but this something that I sometimes struggle with during my games. It tends to take me longer than my opponent to get all my models out, lay out all my cards, and set up my tokens, markers, dice, and measuring widgets the way I want them. And I still at least once a game can’t find a focus token or status marker. And then I go to make a measurement and end up bumping my opponent’s caster, and now I’ve more or less ruined the entire game because we can’t recreate the exact table state at the start of my turn.

Over the past year, I’ve had a couple games affected by this sort of thing, and there were a couple times where my opponents were less than thrilled with my ability to measure between point A and point B. It sounds stupid, I know, but if I want to keep playing Warmachine, one of my new years resolutions is going to have to be getting to the point where I can measure precisely enough to play a game to the standard that the community demands.

Branch out a little

There is something to be said for having your own comfort zone in Warmachine. Whether it is a faction or a list, you will get more practice and perform better if you stick to one thing long enough to know it inside and out. It’s one reason why JVM is such a big name among the cool kids tournament club. That said, if you never venture outside your comfort zone, you never have a chance to experience all your faction or the game has to offer.

I’m probably going to start a second faction in the upcoming year. I don’t expect myself to go all in and replace all my Khador, but being able to mix it up with Minions or Convergence once in a while will likely be a nice change of pace. I also have really got my Strakhov1 list humming perfectly, but I also want to branch out to some new casters within the faction. Vlad1 is popular, Old Witch 2 can be built in many ways, Strakhov2 looks intriguing, and I’m probably the only Khador player on the face of the planet who is too much of a hipster to play Butcher3.

Lower my sodium intake

The Warmachine internet is a funny thing. There is a lot of insightful stuff out there, but there can also be a lot of negativity. Especially in a CID world, where everyone is an armchair designer, we end up spending a lot of time talking about what PP “needs to change” rather than about how to play the game as is. People like to focus on the negative; after all, this is the game where there was a change.org petition this year because some people didn’t like a proposed rule.


And the award for “dumbest moment in wargaming in 2017” goes to…

This can be a little extra frustrating as a Khador player. Right now, Khador is considered to be one of the most powerful factions, and it is quite popular locally. And it’s easy to see why; Khador has a lot of models with pretty solid baseline stats. Also, it is possible to create Khador lists that are very straightforward and powerful and just try to brute force their way to victory through attrition. As a result, people tend to complain about marauders or rockets or just the fact that there are too many people playing Khador. It can be a little disheartening for an innocent Khador player who picked up the faction back in Mk.II because Russians with axes are cool, and played Harkevich because he’s basically the only really good guy in the Iron Kingdoms, to all of the sudden be “that guy” with the cheesy, OP army.

All this negativity is something that can really suck the fun out of the game, and which I don’t really need in something that is supposed to be fun. In short, I need to know when to close lormahordes or Party Foul, step away from the internet and get back to painting my army.


He said Warmachine is supposed to be fun! Get him!


One thing I didn’t put as one of my resolutions is to win a tournament or improve my W/L record or anything like that. While it’s always nice to get better at the game, I don’t think I’ll ever get to the point where I will be inducted into the cool people club of minor Warmachine celebrities. In 2018, I want to focus on enjoying the game more and helping my opponents enjoy the game more. That’s what’s important, not the battle for seventh place at the local Steamroller.