May 16, 2012

2012 Comic Expo (Part 1)

I'm a little later than I'd planned to be in writing this particular entry.  As I mentioned previously I wasn't able to attend the show in 2011, so I was quite looking forward to this year's expo.  William and I met up shortly after lunchtime on Friday and headed down to the grounds around 2pm.  Parking was no problem as we were quite early, but the line inside was already a substantial one!

I stood in line while he went off to find out how the volunteer stuff he'd been signed up for was going to work.  While waiting for his return the doors opened and I was able to make my way in with JR and his group of fellow nerdlings.  Once inside we found a table to sit at and I looked through the schedule to determine where I needed to go to get some items signed.  I had figured that Friday would be a good day to acquire signatures as the attendance would be lighter than Saturday or Sunday.  This hypothesis would later prove correct.

Once the convention officially started I decided to head to the media section and try to meet Lance Henriksen.  Several years prior I had the good fortune of attending the San Diego comic-con with several of my friends, and purchased a book about the special effects of the movie AvP.  I had it signed by Tom Woodruff and Alec Gillis.  The foreword was written by Lance, so I decided that would make a good item to get him to sign for me.

I arrived at his table just as the hall lights were being turned on, but Lance was already there...and I wasn't the first person in line!  I purchased a copy of his new book "Not Bad For a Human", and introduced myself to him.  He was very gracious when I told him about my experience meeting them.  He smiled and said that he, Tom and Alec had had a lot of fun over the years and asked if I wanted my book simply signed, or personalized.  It was a brief meeting, but a worthwhile one for me.

After that I headed over to the artists area to try getting some comic books signed.  I was able to get George Perez to sign my copy of JLA #200, and my trade of Crisis on Infinite Earths.  He was quite chatty too, but I waited longer than I'd expected.  Granted, this was not due to George, but several of the people in line ahead of me who had decided to bring entire RUNS of comics to get him to sign.  I mean...have a little courtesy both to the people waiting in line behind you, and also to the guests.  Do you really think they want to sign thirty of your comics?  I doubt it...

I also stopped at Claude St-Aubin's booth.  Now I can imagine that you're saying Claude who?  I don't really blame you...but he's, in my opinion, someone that Canadian comic fans should know...because he was the colorist on almost the entire original run of Captain Canuck.  I remember reading those comics as a kid, and still have I picked my favorite cover out of the bunch and asked him to sign that, and my IDW trade of Captain Canuck as well.  He was extremely friendly and I was happy to chat with him.  He had a new product that he was promoting but I didn't pick it up.  I had intended to go back on Sunday afternoon to chat with him again and buy a copy, but when I did return he wasn't at the booth.  I regret not picking it up on Friday...simply because I said I would come back.  I like to keep my promises.

Larry Hama was also in attendance, so I had brought along my copy of Marvel's GIJoe #1 to get him to sign too.  In actuality, I was quite interested in meeting him but was a little disappointed.  He didn't seem all that interested in chatting with me, merely signed my book and returned it.  He was polite, but not very welcoming.  After that experience I decided not to attend his panel later in the expo...even though I'm sure it would have been quite interesting.

With all my signatures except one acquired, I was pretty much set for the day.  I had seen the first Star Trek TNG panel (Gates McFadden & Denise Crosby) and planned out the rest of the things I wanted to see.  So Jason and William and I toured around the convention hall seeing what else we could and headed out shortly before close.

As a short addendum: William and I also played in the MtG pre-release later that night.  I'll not be doing that again.  It was simply too late a night with too many people I'm not interested in playing games with.  I don't need to stay up until 4am any more!

May 08, 2012

Tabletop Terrain Modeling

Well I ended up buying a few more miniatures for Strange Aeons last week, but I haven't actually painted any of it yet.  I've cleaned them all up and based them all, so they're ready for painting sometime soon.  But in order to actually play a game, I needed some terrain for my agents and lurkers to fight over.  So I made some.

I've always wanted to make my own terrain, but didn't really know where to start.  When I started playing 40k a few years ago the starter box came with a bunch of pieces of a crashed spacecraft.  That stuff looked pretty good when it was all painted up, so I bought the "How to Make Wargame Terrain" book and read it through.  Then I picked up a few small scenery kits but never bothered to do anything with them; they just sat collecting dust on my shelf.  Last week I was digging through my box of scenery bits looking for things I could use for a Strange Aeons game and found the rock making kit I had and thought, "what the hell, let's try it out!"  So that was the catalyst for all the stuff you see below.  Oddly enough, I didn't remember I had that how-to book until AFTER I'd built everything except the temple!

I started out with the intention of using the rocks I'd made and just building the little mountain with the waterfall & little pool on it (in the upper left corner).  But after I was finished with that I had tons of cast rocks left over.  Since I already had the styrofoam and cutters out I just kept going.  So I've ended up with a mountain, a temple, two 2" high stepped hills, three smaller 1" high hills, and four smaller terrain bits.  The trees are Woodland Scenics trees that I picked up on Sunday when I went to buy grass flocking.  I ended up with the trees and foam, but forgot the flocking!  Oops.

The temple just popped into my mind while I was building the mountain on Sunday.  I remembered seeing a really impressive jungle temple on a website years ago (albeit much bigger than what I ended up building). I thought that having a little temple for my cultists to perform sacrifices and summoning rituals on would be fun.  They're difficult to see in the photo, but there are five cultist figures on it for size reference, as well as the altar and a sacrificial victim in the middle there.  The temple will also be suitable for Chaos Daemons, Necrons and Chaos Space Marines for 40k games too, so hooray for versatility!  The whole thing from design to construction took me somewhere around 3 hours.

All the scenery you see in the pictures was built over the course of two evenings...probably totalling around 8 hours of construction time.  Funny to note...I still have some of those damn rocks left!  The is still a lot of work left to do, but it should go pretty quickly now that the main construction is complete.  Painting and detailing everything will probably take me another two or three evenings to do.  I'm pretty happy with it all so far, especially so since I've never done this before.