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Posts Tagged ‘nuns’

The Box Of Delights

February 2nd, 2010 No comments

The other, non-a cappella reason I was largely incommunicado these past couple of weeks was that I was prepping for Winter War, Champaign’s annual wargaming convention. Unlike many past years, when I only showed up long enough to participate in the auction, this time I signed up for three days of events.

I played:

  • Age of Conan (a Risk-like strategy game set in the world of Robert E. Howard’s barbarian hero)
  • Heroscape (a rules-light wargame set on a massive board with a mixture of snow, lava and swamp terrain, plus a big castle in the middle)
  • Doctor Who (which I thought would be the new role-playing game based on the TV show, but was actually a terrible, old Games Workshop boardgame I used to own before I happily got rid of it for its awfulness)
  • Battlestar Galactica (everyone’s favorite “who’s the secret Cylon?” boardgame, with the “Pegasus” expanded rules)
  • Warhammer 40,000 (a tournament event of the popular tabletop futuristic wargame)

Age of Conan was enjoyable, though I think I’d hesitate in adding it to my collection. I already have a bunch of games that involve pushing plastic soldiers around a map of the world/galaxy. Plus, it’s expensive ($80 SRP), and perhaps a bit too complicated for a night of casual gaming. My Aquilonian empire got off to a crummy start, unable to generate more than a couple of soldiers while the Turanians were out making diplomatic woo to all their neighbors, but by the end of the game we were knocking on the doors of Cimmeria itself and I managed to take second place.

My friend/co-worker Deane and his daughter were among the Cylon suspects who played Battlestar Galactica. For the uninitiated, BSG is a semi-cooperative game in which the players are characters from the TV show trying to survive frequent attacks by Cylon space fleets and sabotage by certain members of their own group who are secretly working for the other side. This was the first game of BSG I’ve played in which I was one of the Cylons…and it was also the first game in which the Cylons failed to stop the human fleet from reaching their destination.

As for the Warhammer tournament…well, I’m coming to that.

First there was the game auction. I love the auction. It is–no joke–one of my favorite things each year. This year I took a vorpal sword to my game collection and unloaded a storage bin full of stuff. And if that had been all that happened, it would have been enough.

But then there was the Box.

The Box was an oversized Sterilite container chock-full of plastic gaming miniatures. Mostly Dungeons & Dragons, but also Star Wars, Heroscape, Heroclix and Mage Knight. There were even a few lone stragglers from Creepy Freaks, Dreamblade and Horror Clix, not to mention a few zombies from the Zombies!!! boardgame, a Lego skeleton, a Darth Maul toy and, inexplicably, a dry erase marker.

And when I saw it, I said, “I will walk out of here with this box.”

The Box.

The Box.

I wound up paying a mere thirty bucks for it, which was a steal considering that I would’ve gone as high as sixty and still felt good about it. I also bought a big bag of Heroscape terrain pieces (presumably from the same person, as it was a similarly random assortment of stuff) for $15.

The Bag o' Heroscape.

The Bag.

That evening I pieced it out. There were 360 D&D figures, 88 Heroscape (without their army cards, but still) and 54 Star Wars. Lots of rare figures, too, including a Huge Red Dragon and a couple of Rampaging Wampas.

Contents of the Box.

Contents of the Box.

Contents of the Bag.

Contents of the Bag.

I sorted out what I considered to be the dross (including all of the Mage Knight minis) and sold it the next morning for ten bucks to a guy who just wanted some fantasy miniatures for his kids. Net cost: $35.

They say that money cannot buy happiness, but they did not bring home a metric fuckton of plastic fun.

Sunday morning brought the Warhammer 40,000 tournament. I hadn’t played 40K in a couple of years, and had never played with the current edition of the rules. I was kinda nervous about it, and spent a lot of time in the preceding two weeks relearning the rules and adding some fiddly bits to my Sisters of Battle army.

Turned out that I needn’t have worried, since I was one of only three people who signed up. That was okay, though, as I wasn’t really in it for the tournament anyway. I just wanted an excuse to blow the dust off my space nuns and get up to date on the new rules.

"To battle! In the name of the Emperor!"

"To battle! In the name of the Emperor!"

Good thing too, as I got slaughtered by the other players’ Space Marines. The only game I won was the the third one, and that was because my jetpack girls were able to “capture the flags” and get them back to my side of the board. Turns out that my army–which is based entirely around what I happen to have in my collection–isn’t really up to fighting a fully tricked-out Space Marine force. It was disheartening to see gal after gal fall under what seemed to be a never-ending stream of long-range fire. Still, it was okay, as I had no intention of actually winning.

The cave tunnels were especially frustrating for my jetpack troops.

The cave tunnels were especially frustrating for my jetpack troops.

However, I did win the “sportsmanship” award, which ought to be amusing to anyone who has gamed with me on a regular basis. Granted that I’m far from the poorest sport I’ve known, but I certainly shouldn’t be getting any awards for it.

The event organizer also graded our modelling and painting skills*, and that was when I dearly wanted to say something that would’ve cost me my sportsmanship recognition.

Look, I have no illusions that I’m any great shakes as a model-builder. When I was a kid, I made my dad build and paint all of my monster models.

But when I think about the state of my abilities when I bought my first set of space nuns to where I am today, I’m very proud of what I’ve managed to accomplish over the years. I’ve become much more confident and more likely to experiment with modifications and conversions.

*That’s actually pretty common for events based on Games Workshop games, as modelling is such a big part of the hobby.

So I was pretty annoyed when the organizer went down his painting checklist:


First off, I really wasn’t bringing my army to show off my mad painting skills.

Plus, even though I realize that what I’m asking for here is an “Everyone Gets a Prize” prize, I feel as if I ought to at least get some credit for the progress I’ve made. And for bringing such an oddball army as Sisters of Battle when everyone else had boring, ol’ Space Marines.

And finally, while the winning army was more technically proficient, Marines–most of whom are encased in relatively featureless ovoid armor suits–are not nearly as tricky to paint as Sisters. Battle Sisters are 1) smaller, 2) insanely detailed and 3) less likely to cover their faces with helmets. (I hate painting faces!) I mean, really…figure skating and diving give points for degree of difficulty; why not wargame modelling?

So, even though I don’t regret participating in the tournament, I don’t see me ever doing it again.

In the end, I had a great weekend overall. For the first time in far too long, I felt energized and ready to take on the next week! (Maybe I’ll practice my painting.)

Categories: Games Tags: , ,

And Then There Were Nuns

March 8th, 2005 No comments

Last night, I finally completed a project which has been dogging my heels since the Clinton Administration: painting my Sisters of Battle army for the Warhammer 40K miniatures game. To be honest with myself, they’ll probably never be absolutely finished. I still want to texture their bases, and I’m sure I’ll keep finding little details that I’ll want to retouch. But as I glued the backpack onto the final Sister after midnight, I felt a sense of completion, and a desperate need for sleep.

Here, at long last, is a photo gallery of my work:

Above is my HQ squad, led by the Canoness. On the right are my Retributor heavy weapons gals. While Games Workshop tends to paint their armies to follow a single color scheme, I wanted to have a bit more diversity, especially given the relatively few different Sisters of Battle miniatures available.

On the left are my Priests. The one in the center is a custom model, using an old figure of Lady Galadrial, and a banner pole recycled from an action figure accessory. The plastic peg behind her head is empty for right now, but I mean to craft a sort of hovering “halo.” On the right are the dreaded Seraphim, the flying nuns that first caught my eye when choosing a Warhammer army. One of them is not an official GW miniature, but rather an appropriate figure from a defunct competitor called Void. The animal skull on the base of the lead Seraphim was made from Sculpey.

Standard Battle Sisters on the left. Note that one is actually a crudely modified Seraphim Sister Superior which I mounted directly to a built-up base. On the right is the back of that same figure. I somehow ran out of backpacks, so I substituted another action figure accessory of approximately the proper shape and size. Again, it provides a bit more variety, plus it makes a certain sense that the squad leaders would be further differentiated. I painted a couple of SoB insignia on the back.

Custom terrain pieces. First is some engine wreckage culled from an old Space: 1999 model kit, then a toxic waste spill.

Finally, here’s a photo of my entire army. Click on the photo for a very large version.

I plan to take a break from painting and modeling for a bit, but I have a number of other projects I’d like to work on eventually, including a squad of Space Marines.

By the way, I had a difficult time deciding upon a title for this post. Other candidates included “Nun Better,” “Only The Good Die Nun” and “Nun Is The Loneliest Number.”

Categories: Games Tags: ,