Post Astronomi-con Vancouver 2008

A few weeks have passed and I finally am starting to type up the final installment of my Astronomi-con Vancouver 2008 adventure. It wasn't a total success but I didn't have a lot invested in it. I still haven't recovered from doing my MBA.

I didn't take that many pictures at the Astronomi-con but most of them came out well enough. I also painted my campaign badges on my models so I got some photos of that. I also can give some insight into army selection and painting but the former needs to be heavily revised for 5th edition. I think I will do better in 5th Edition as I plan not to be such a slave to fluff, but also because my army is finally getting close to where I want it to be.

Other People's Stuff

I ended up with some OK pictures of the armies and models other people brought to the tournament including pictures of the best painted, best general, best army, best single fig, best most everything I imagine. I didn't win anything but I could have done a little better and taken one of best painted, best figure, or best army, I finished in the top 3 for all of those I believe.

Campaign Badges

Campaign Badge

I was going to paint the campaign badges orange, because I must like orange, but then I remembered the West Coast Mayhem campaign badges were orange, so these ones became grey. I painted a black daimond, then a dark grey diamond, leaving a black outline. Then I painted a lighter grey oval and lastly a black "A" and "V" for Astronomi-con Vancouver.

Not my best work, but the key is to crank out an entire army's worth of campaign badges in an afternoon which I did. I also added some extra gore to some models. At first I thought there were only two models with four campaign badges, but I've since learned there are three. Bob the Necessary Evil and my second rhino have both been in my last four tournament army lists. There are a few miniatures with three tournament appearences, several with two, some with one, but sadly a few that have never been in a single tournament army. I'm going to try to use these models at the 2008 West Coast Mayhem tournament if I attend.

For my gore I've started to use Tamiya Clear Red as suggested over in this Bolter and Chainsword thread. There is also good advice in the WFB Ogre's Army Book on how to paint blood and guts. Maybe I'll have to do up some more tutorials

Winning a tournament

What do I know about winning a tournament, I came third to last? I actually know quite a bit about how to do well at these tournaments, but I don't try as hard as some and I just don't have the time available to play and practice. Astro is a bit different than the average tournament, well a lot different I guess, it is more old school, less kill or be killed. You still need to have a good army list, the Eldar won and a lot of new school ork lists did well taking best general. There is no shortage of speculation about fifth edition, I think the latest Chaos Codex will have a bigger effect on how I play than 5th Edition.

Bob the Necessary Evil and his trusty rhino

I don't have enough time, I shouldn't even be typing this crap, I got more important things to do. But time is exactly what is required to do well at these tournaments. You have to read the material available, this is both from the tournament organizers and the game designers. Not knowing the rules is a big disadvantage. It also helps if you know some of the other armies rules. You also should practice as much as possible, with the missions/conditions of the tournament if possible. Astro was 6*4 and 1500 points. I'd be mostly playing 1700 and 8*4, the two hundred points and two feet make a difference. My Astro list really suffered from lack of models and scoring units.

The other thing that takes a lot of time is painting and converting.

Doing well in painting

Landraider and large cartoony banner

This I may be more qualified to yammer about, but basically it comes back to time. You don't need to paint every model as best you can, though that would be ideal. Rather you need to develop a strategy for the look of your army which ties in with your fluff even with your tactics. That would be good, but I also think using models/units/miniatures people don't see every day helps. I think not being the Iron Warriors or the Ultramarines helps. Basically you need to stand out, especially at the larger tournaments. You don't need to have the best brushwork, but if you can be recognized across a table and have one or two models that people talk about you're on your way to doing well.

My Astro Appearence Score

Some over eager beavers wanted to see my appearence score so they could figure out who won this trophy, but they didn't look at the fine print. I scored zero for my display, because I had none. One point for a display and I think I would have won, two points and it would have been clear. I also lost a point for my plague knifes. I should just bust the things off.

My army isn't like most tournament armies. It wasn't painted in a single year or for a specific ruleset. It has evolved over the last decade. So somethings like the plagueknifes harken back to when every plaguemarine was forced to go into battle with a knife. Who comes up with these ideas? My army has lots of old models that have either been repainted, touched up, or were never painted back in the day so look brand new, which in fact they are. So losing points for following rules that no longer exist is a bit odd.

The judges also didn't like my Chapter symbol or even by banner, both of which are probably ten plus years old and therefor unlikely to change. I also have kept the cartoony Nurgle from days gone by, some don't care for this either. Other comments included "rhinos could be stronger", "bolters could be drilled out", and "vehicles could be weathered". Only the last one might happen. The rhinos were a pile of work, both of them were converted, and drilling out all the bolters after the fact is extra work I'm not going to be doing this year or next. I might weather some vehicles, there is special paint/powders for this.

I mainly play for fun, so I didn't worry about finishing second by one point or vote. I even won a door prize. If I do come next year, and I have some time to prepare. I'll bring a token display base and an army centerpiece model bigger than a forgeworld dreadnought.

Words and Images © Andrew "Muskie" McKay.
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