MFCA

I’m back from MFCA in Philadelphia. I earned two bronze medals for my pieces.

Considering the quality of the entries, I was pleased with the result.

My favorite work on display was Matt DiPietro‘s bust of Conan, painted in a Frazetta style. I got to talk to Matt for about an hour. He is a great person. We talked about techniques, his business as a full-time painter, and his experiences getting to where he is now.

Many of the historical pieces were mind blowing. The techniques and stylistic norms are quite different from what I’m used to, but those old heads do know how to paint!

This incredible scratchbuilt masterpiece was voted a deserving best in show.

I got to meet many great folks, and spent an enjoyable day in the company of painters eager to share our love of mini painting. I’m hoping I get back to the show next year.

Another Dance with Drukhari

Those pesky Dark Eldar were at it again last night, up to something deviant, no doubt. Well, they bit off a little more than they could chew when they tangled with the Eremoi!

We used the Bay Area Open rules & one of the objective-based missions provided with them. We found the tweaks to the basic ruleset led to a more balanced game that quickly forced tough decisions on the players.

Will’s forces were led by a sybarite, whom he converted using bits from a scourge. Will often has cultural cross references in mind when approaching his minis, and here he alluded to various one-winged angels found in anime and elsewhere.

The model’s not fully painted yet, but it’s already looking impressive.

The numerical advantage of the elves was dented early when my specialists (missile launcher demo, heavy bolter heavy, and auxiliary grenade launcher-toting comms) thinned his ranks. A krak missile took out his dark lance at precisely 24″, followed by four heavy bolter shots (using the More Bullets tactic) and a frag grenade taking out two wyches on turn one.

The Drukhari didn’t have enough range to return fire with any real purpose. However, they ended up scoring 3 points to our 1, due to their great mobility. Will’s advances got him within 2″ of a distant objective, while my attempt to do so failed. He thus scored a point for the second objective and another for securing more than I.

On turn two I was able to lure Will into yielding control of one of his objective by running two juicy tacticals into charge range. One was shot to pieces by a pistol and the other locked into combat after a retreat, but they did succeed in moving Will’s units off the marker.

At the same time, my leader and his bodyguard jumped on the second objective at last, which would draw me even in points at the end of the round.

By this time superior shooting had shredded Will’s force and he conceded. We were tied on forces and I was ahead five models to three.

It was another fun game, but proved once again that (unless they get lucky on their combat drugs), Drukhari are likely to struggle with power armor. The team I assembled around tacticals performed as well as hoped, granting me an extra body while forgoing plasma altogether.

We’ll get some different teams put together next time and report the results here. Get your game on!

Dressed to the Nines

I got in a few more hours of painting on this grumpy sergeant this morning. These conversions have a ton of nubbins. That is the style I went for, so I have no one else to blame!

He’s got a lot of bling, as you can see, but he looks like somebody drew a dirty picture on his purity seal. What a grumpkin!

I have to say I do not like this enormous Sternguard combi-plasma gun. I used it because I couldn’t find a smaller… so of course I did find one in my bits as soon as he was constructed. Oh well, one of my maxims is to tolerate imperfection and find opportunity therein.

Still hate it, though!

Fountainhead

What can one say about Holos?

Holos, whose name means ‘whole’ or ‘complete,’ derives many of his views from the immortal Plato, the most important philosopher of all time. Plato was an Athenian born at the end of his city’s Fifth Century golden age and raised during the Peloponnesian War, which saw Athens’ defeat at the hands of Sparta and subsequent descent into political chaos. As a young man Plato fell under the influence of Socrates, a radical critic of just about everything who was executed for religious crimes and ‘corrupting the youth.’

Holos is a slippery eel, seldom committing himself totally to a given theory or judgement. He is a pure intellectual, ready to entertain any point of view, even if only to discard it. That said, Holos does tend to return to a few central ideas over and over again.

First and most importantly, Holos denies that the world revealed by our senses represents things as they are. For Holos, both our impressions and our reasoning about them are flawed. Unlike the world of objects, fleeting and overpowering emotions, and shared characteristics, Truth lies in a realm of non-physical, eternal, unchanging, concrete ideals. These ‘Forms’ stand behind the objects of experience, which partake of them only imperfectly. Where ‘the Beautiful’ is beautiful in itself and by itself, is in no way unbeautiful, and possesses no other characteristics than beauty, beautiful persons or works of art exhibit beauty only within certain limits: in degrees, for a certain time, and according to appropriate standards. The Form of the Beautiful is not merely an abstraction from beautiful particulars, but is far more real than they: the Beautiful exists without qualification, while mere sense objects imperfectly partake of both Forms and their opposites.

Holos is inconsistent in his description of what, exactly, counts as a Form. Certain important ideas such as the Beautiful, the Good, and the One, seem not only to be Forms in Holos’ view, but may even amount to the same thing. On the other hand, concepts such as dwarf, shipwright, blue, and evil may or may not participate in their corresponding ideals.

Closely connected with his theory of Forms, Holos also claims that the soul is immortal, passing through alternating phases of material and immaterial existence. While embodied souls suffer the intellectual distortions of both duplicitous senses and a weak mind, the soul after death/before life apprehends the Truth directly, ‘seeing’ the Forms themselves in their timeless and perfect austerity. Upon our reincarnation, Holos argues, we forget all we have known in the realm of Forms, and suffer again the illusions to which embodied cognition is ineluctably vulnerable.

Holos has opinions on just about everything, and has shown himself more than willing to change those opinions with the benefit of reflection. He is the dominant figure in the intellectual life of ToadChapel, and many great sophotasters have created their own ideological identity in opposition to his views. In this, too, his mastery is evident.

Now for Nunc!

Well, son of Nunc, anyway.

Here’s Nunc-bïdi Hyûm, a sophotaster who resembles David Hume in his philosophical views.

Hyûm is less eggheaded than most of his intellectual peers. Unlike many of them, Hyûm bases his understanding of the world on the evidence of his senses. For Hyûm, the accumulation of sense impressions gradually coalesces into a fixed idea which we then ascribe to reality. The idea doesn’t exist for us until our perceptions have provided the data for the abstraction of some concept. Other ideas are formed by the conjunction or other relation of one idea and another, but all ideas can ultimately be resolved into the primitive subjective experiences which support them.

For instance, we have the idea that the Sun rises in the East every day. We believe this is intrinsically and invariably true. Hyûm argues that our expectation of the Sun’s rising in the East represents merely a conditioned attitude formed through an abundance of similar first-hand experiences.

In certain obnoxiously obvious ways, Hyûm is simply correct. If the Sun failed to rise, or rose in the West or South, we would have to change our idea of sunrise: the universe itself unfolds quite independent of our judgements, descriptions, and expectations.

What’s more, terrestrial sunrise is an ephemeral phenomenon, when considered within the proper time frame. According to the best scientific estimates, our Sun is middle aged, which means it has existed for less than half of the life of the universe. The sun simply hasn’t always risen in the East. Further, when the Sun explodes, it ain’t gonna rise at all, it’s going to engulf us in great gouts of nuclear flame.

The consequences of Hyûm’s views are radical. According to Hyûm, basic categories such as causality are imposed upon reality by our minds’ need to conceptualize, to idealize it. We cannot observe causation, he argues, so our claims of causal connection are empirically illicit.

I’m short, Hyûm likes to deflate the inherited, unconscious, or unwary ideas we often carry around with us. He attempts to explain our conception of the world by an appeal to empiricist epistemology. For Hyûm, ideas which deviate from our impressions or attempt to synthesize impressions into larger and more abstract categories are doomed to failure.

Good day, sir!

A Surprise Visit to GaGa

In the half-light of the early morning Herling neared the tidy but slightly dilapidated home where GaGa dwelt with her two strange wards. He tried to place his footsteps as cleanly as he could. GaGa lived in the raddled outskirts of ToadChapel, where many of the buildings had deteriorated, decayed, or collapsed altogether. Herling had never visited GaGa at home, having only addressed her in the public square on market day or as he caught sight of her skirts passing the blacksmith’s shop where he often spent his days. Truthfully, he had not so much addressed her as admired her from a distance.

“Ha! I walk as quiet as the night itself! I’ll surprise GaGa as she’s setting the kettle to boil. Won’t she be pleased to see me!

Those younglings… I must be rid of them. GaGa has no business tending them, rearing them, showering them with her kisses. Better those kisses went only to I! Well, it won’t be long until they do.

Isn’t this a tidy trick, brave Herling? To bait the hook for those little humans and for the maid as well.”

Herling pressed his ear to the wooden door of GaGa’s house, listening with annoyance to soft voices within.

“What’s this? GaGa’s already got a guest. Dûae, by the sound of it. When GaGa is mine, I’ll not listen to that maundering nitwit ever again… and I’ll rid myself and ToadChapel of those troublesome children for once and all!”