New full sized banner: Space Wolves Chapter Banner!

Here is another Space Wolves Chapter Banner I am doing full sized.

It's time to pump this one out!  While I wait for another black banner from my seamstress to complete the first order for Dropzone Games, I am squeezing in this Space Wolves Chapter Banner. The standard chapter banners are much quicker than the more custom ones.  This one should be done by tomorrow. :)  Hope the customer enjoys! Here you can see the base colors I put down before I work in the details.

These banners are a great investment for your club, GT or organization. Do check out my other banners to the right!  There are links to all the ones I have done.

Up next? Raven Guard, Blood Angels, Night Lords and a customized one based on Crimson Fist.


The Walking Dead Season Two: Season Finale

As you guys know, I have been writing these for the better part of two seasons, and religiously every week for season two.  I have always tried to avoid inadvertant spoilers by placing revealing pictures as the header and what not.  But last week I guess I lost a subscriber because my TWD post spoiled the episode for him.  The article that went up two days after the episode aired.

I will start by apologizing to the guy for my article spoiling the episode for him.

But seriously, whats a man to do. It's not like I blasted a pre air spoiler all over the internet. I wrote about it two days after it was on TV. And I even attempted to protect from spoiling any thing by using a season one picture as the header so as not to have the new pic appear in the blog rolls.  But alas, I guess my article in it's entirety showed up in some sort of google reader he used.

So having said that, I warn you, read at your own risk if you and a tribe of Brazilian rain forest natives are the only people left in the world who have not seen The Walking Dead season finale.

Well as Rhino had said, I had my blood bath.

The episode delivered all that was promised, and hoped for.  The end of the farm. The death of useless characters, and some extreme character twists.  Rick was pushed to the brink, Lori revealed her twisted bitch nature, and every one else was shown the back door.

First let me discuss the episode as a whole. Outstanding.  The chaos of the scene was delicious, and the burning of the barn was spectacular. In The Talking Dead they discuss their good fortune with how it worked out, but I wanted to say that damn it was great.  It was such an amazing collapse and scene, with the horde of zombies back lit by the flaming building, that even the zombie extras had to turn in awe.  (You could see some of them turn their heads in surprise.)  I want to congratulate AMC and the creators of the show for an absolute outstanding series. And thank them.

In all of this mess, we saw one prevailing theme. Perceived order falling to chaos.  The farm was safe. The survivors were building a home where they could live. They had sustainable food, and a protected perimeter. But then the swamp dried up.  Uhoh...

As things collapsed, by the way the collapse was not when the helicopter started a zombie herd... it started when Shane freaked out and opened the barn, then Rick went to town after Hershel.  Bringing home the prisoner started a series of choices that would tear the group apart.  The zombies just facilitated things.

So Rick went over the deep end. The one who thrived on order the most was most impacted when it disappeared.  The actor playing Rick has been fantastic, but the final scene, where he admits to killing Shane to Lori, then to the group was amazing and does television proud.  Where has this dude been hiding?  I was utterly convinced about the anguish in Rick's world as he first told Lori about Shane, then looked her in the eye as she recoiled away, confirming her true feelings.  Then even more so when he addressed the group.  The man had had enough.

How much can one man take?

As I said last week, Rick stuck shane because it was indeed personal. He flat admitted it this week.  Rick knew Shane had to die or go away. Every one did.  But what the rest of them did not have knowledge of was Shane's confrontation and Rick saving him.  Carol, of all people, was questioning Rick's honor. It was funny how Daryl defended him.  Daryl, a man who probably his whole life was seen as having no value to society, and was now deemed as needed, was defending a man who would probably have put him in jail had they met six months earlier.

And who the hell does Carol think she is?  She is completely useless to the group and in fact hinders their safety. Without them, she is meat. Who is she to accuse Rick of having no honor? When no one else ran after her daughter, he chased her down, trying to save her.  I guess her role next season has now been defined, the instigator. In season two she was the object of a lot of the drama, now she will be the source and creator.

So yah, Rick steps off the deep end.  He makes it clear in no uncertain terms, that HE is the boss, and it is being done his way.  Frankly, it probably was not what they wanted hear, and it was definitely not the way they wanted to hear it, but I think every one of them knew, it was something they had to have.  It is interesting to me how Rick has pretty much become Shane in his leadership tactics.  Earn their hearts and minds, but that only goes so far. In the end, the only way to absolutely lead a group, is through an iron fist.  Committee just leads to bull shit.  Shane understood that. The post apocalyptic world demands it.

I liked that as the last couple of episodes wore on, Rick started becoming more regimented. Barking orders instead of seeking opinion. That is how I see a survivor group as needing to be run.  Doing it Dale's way only leads to discontent. Ever one of them is going to be forced to face problems with their own morals. The fact that Rick, the guy with the strongest, has pushed his own so far, or completely abandoned them, is great television.

What about Lori?

The way she recoiled from Rick made me want to punch her in the face.

She put the both of them in motion. She created the situation that would force Rick to kill Shane. You could see it on Rick's face before the mid season break when he stared straight at the camera. You could see his realization that he had been manipulated by her again here.  You could see his heart break. And most importantly, during his rant at the end, you could almost see laserbeams shoot right at her when he told her to hit the road.

With Shane and Dale gone, the show's dynamic is going to change big time.  And the conflict between Lori and Rick is going to be at the top.  We can probably expect to see her manipulate Carol, and in a round about way, Daryl. It is going to be juicy indeed.

Well there is the door honey!  I loved how Rick pretty much looked them each in the eye and said get out.  And each of them stayed.  As the camera panned, you could read their roles. Hershel supports Rick. His world is gone. The only thing he has now is his family, and the bond created between himself and Rick at the bar.  His blonde daughter... heh whatever.

Maggie and Glenn begrudgingly follow. Maggie because her father does, and Glenn, well, what else is he supposed to do. But you could definitely see him having a heart break of his own.  He had set up Rick as a sort of hero. Bigger than life and above human. But Rick's rant showed Glenn that they are all human.  You could see that he was unsure of what to think.

Tdogg stood there as a man with no better choices. You could tell he had something to say, but kept his mouth shut like a smart man should.  He showed his true colors when he tried to run with Lori and lil blonde. Heh, why wouldn't he? He had a vehicle, open road, and a couple of hoochies.  He set himself up as a possible back stabber in season three.

Carol played her cards.

Daryl also played his.

This picture says it all. See if you can tell me each character's dispositions. 
Body language says a lot.  

I love this pic. Note Tdog's back to rick but gun ready. Lori protecting Carl (from Rick?) who is looking at rick confused. Maggie caring for lil blonde and the space between her and Glenn. Daryl, body facing and open to Rick, ready to follow, and Carol arms folded staring across the group at the man she blames for her current situation.

My question about the ending is why would they be so upset about Rick keeping his secret. Cannot they see any logic?  First of all, how would knowing that fact make a difference in their lives? And can't they see that it only made sense for Rick not to tell them until he had seen it for himself?  And now because he kept the secret he was dishonorable, despite what he has done for them?  I like that he put them in their place, the ungrateful lot.  I look forward to more of this Rick.

So what else?

The chick in the robe.

Here is a case where comic simply does not translate into television. I think the two walkers on chains with no arms were ridiculous. It probably worked in the comic, and I'm sure had a great explanation, but in OUR zombie survival world, it is silly.  I love the idea of her though. I like the comicy character, the hooded loner with a katana. And yes these sort of people would certainly exist and thrive in a ZA world.  We all know a few of the sort. Store clerks. IT dudes. Whatever. Smart guys who go about their daily lives in unassuming ways. But at home, there is a trove of weapons and swords. These are the guys I want to know in the event of a ZA.  More than any one else, these are the guys who have rehearsed how to decapitate a zombie with that sword, and can teach me to do the same.

I think she, whatever her name is, Mignone? will send the television show down a whole new avenue.  I look forward to scenes between her and Rick, where he is learning how to lead and she is letting him.

Cool in comics, but here? Just plain dumb.

I pause to ask, did modern "fast mover" zombies suddenly appear? How did Andrea not lose those zombies in the woods?  From sun up to sun down she was running from them.  She had a decent amount of ammo. With some bursts of speed, in a thickly wooded area, she could lose some, cap the rest, rinse and repeat. The echos of the gunshots in the trees would fool the undead and she should be able to get away. But instead they were right on her ass the whole time.  I did love the scenes though. The sheer mayhem of the zombies in the woods, or on the farm in general. Every one running in every direction, zombies every where...  God it was good.

So any way, I know enough about the comic to know that they hold up in a prison, as the end scene would hint at.  I am looking forward to Hershel going "Oh there is a prison right over the ridge maybe we can hold up there." when they are having the "what do we do now" discussion in season three.  He has to know it exists, what home owner would not know about a maximum security prison mere miles from their farm.  You would have thought that in this episode, instead of him looking all bewildered with no direction to go, he could have said, "Hey guys, I have an idea..."  Then off they go.  I look forward to them actually setting up the zombie survival stronghold Dawn of the Dead style.

What else is there to say?  A perfect end to my favorite show since Battlestar Galactica.  This week marks the start of a LONG count down to October.  I wish I could just go to sleep for six months. I look forward to seeing how Hood chick changes the dynamic of the group.  A lot is going to change, as they go from passive, to reactive, to proactive in their survival.  The prison is going to add a cool factor to the show. There should be ammo a plenty, and armored cars, riot gear, you name it.  They should be able to gear up and kick serious ass.  The rift between Lori and Rick will widen and rebellion will be rampant.

I do raise a question, how did those two security guards die a few episodes ago? They were not bitten... there was no sign of death.  Since they are all supposedly infected, could it be that the transformation is a ticking time bomb, that wont necessarily wait for death?  Could those two guys have been at ground zero? There will be lots of questions and answers to come.

Oh and one last thing, I forgot to mention this gripe.  The food on the hood of the car... They spent what must have been two months on the farm. That food had been sitting on the hood of that car the entire time, exposed to the elements. The other day I left a bottle of coke on the hood of my car while I brought in the groceries, and the wind blew it off.  How the hell did that collection of stuff manage to last on the hood of that car the entire time they were on the farm?  I mean, seriously, since the time that the food was put there, Carl was shot in the gutt and fully recovered. The jar of peanut butter and bottle of gatorade can stand the test of time.  At least there was something there so they could have a snack!

Well that's it!  No more Walking Dead until October.

Home is where the bars is.

Now back to my regularly scheduled 40k stuff. Come on 6th Ed.


Hand Painted Banner. Word Bearers Pre Heresy!

Here is the mostly finished next addition to my hand painted banner service.  The Word Bearers chapter Banner.

This is one of several commissioned by new gaming store opening up soon! I need that website guys!  This was easily the hardest one I have done to date.  I struggled with the cross pattern for weeks, trying to come up with the best way to do it. Finally I ended up buying a nice piece of mat board, since big cardboard would not hold up to the spray, and I cut a stencil to make the cross pattern, and sprayed the crosses onto the fabric.  It seems simple now, but believe me, that was the end result of many failed attempts of trying to get it right.

The problem was the rigid pattern that the crosses are arranged in.  The lines had to be straight. I do these things free hand, aided with a big long ruler that I use to lay out lines.  But more importantly here, the freehand nature prohibits consistent things like the crosses that had to be identical.  Symmetry and order are not easy! :)

Then came the copy on the book and scrolls.  I almost got the copy on the book perfectly, but had to cram some in at the end. The guys sent me a big block of latin they wanted scribed onto the pages.  I can't promise I spelled all the words right, but I am pretty happy with how it looks!

The bottom scrolls are just some gibberish letters in an arabic sort of script.

Whats left? After looking at the pictures, I need to add some highlight to the bottom flames, and some highlights on all the pages and scrolls. Then on to the next!

The next one for these clients is the Raven Guard redo, but before I start that project I was hoping for a refined image.  For the word bearers they originally sent me a small thumbnail then found a much better one and I was hoping for the same thing to happen with the Raven Guard.

In the meantime, I am going to bang out one of the next guys in queue. A Space Wolves chapter banner is next! I have already done one, which can be found HERE. I personally love this banner. It really translates well from artwork to real life.  I hope to bang out this one quick.

More to come!


GK list building?

Ok folks, lets open this up to the world.  I am looking for some input on my Grey Knights list.  First of all, I decided to do my GKs after I painted that charity Standard Bearer.  He looked too nice not to do an army!  I had all the models from store credit loot from tournaments.  I won one, and got second at the next, and earned myself enough store credit to pick up quite a large army and then some.

Painting the charity model, then having it win a Crystal Brush at Templecon for Best Sci Fi model, sealed the deal.  I wanted to paint a truly competitive army that could compete for Best Painted.

What to build?  Well I consulted my friend Alex Fennel, who plays for the British ETC team, and we came up with a plan and some basic rules.

I didn't want to jump the band wagon and flood the table with Psy Dreads and Assassins.  I have faced too many of these armies and they are no fun to play against, and can't be much fun to play. As if you really need advice when playing the double land raider assassin bomb and/or psy dreads and acolyte spam any way. I know I could paint this list up beautiful, and take it to a GT and blow people away, but that's not what I want.

  I'm not saying I would win any given GT, but I'm pretty sure I could take Neil Gilstrap's or Rob Baer's GK lists to my next GT and probably be in it to win it.  Rob throttled me at last year's Nova with his double land raider assassin army. He didn't even bother playing it in the actual Nova because it was broken. I don't remember what he had. Here is a list by Masta Shake that is an interesting variant. No dreads but check out the Vindicare! Cool. Bad ass list and I'm sure it is going to be awesome to behold because he is a true artist, but I want to play Grey Knights and this Grey Knight list has none.  (Techmarines and a librarian don't count.)  He is packing some serious fire power and should be near the top of the standings at the end of Bolscon.  My problem with this list is why do Grey Knights exist at all when the Inquisition can blow away most armies out there with lowly acolytes.  How much love could I put into doing this army? A bunch of assassin whores and chicken shit acolytes hiding in transports...

So my first rule, I want a mostly GK army. I'm not above playing some acolytes to take advantage of the cheap troops, but I want the bulk of my army to be Jawa Grey power armor.

Flexibility is a must.  I am building an army on the dawn of 6th edition, and I have to build an army that can compete both in the here and now, and six months from now when I land in Denver for Feast of Blades.  So again, I think that you can't go wrong with infantry.

It has to be an army I can get into.  I am creating a work of art, so I need some flavor.  A reason to care won't hurt.

So with those rules in mind, I came up with a mostly foot infantry GK list.  First of all, I wanted to have Terminators at the core of the army, keeping in line with the GK codex fluff.  I wanted to also use the Forgeworld Inquisitor Hector Rex model I won at a GT last year

HQ Librarian Terminator. Force Sword, Quicksilver, Shrouding

x10 Terminators. Psybolt ammo, 1 hammer, 1, banner, x2 psycannons, 1 sword and the rest Halbreds. (My Justicar had a sword before I made any decisions.)

Right here I had a decent base. Survivable and powerful. Also very pretty models and striking on the table.

My GK Terminator tester model WIP

If I can make the rest of my army look like this, I am confident I can compete for painting honors at any GT.

So what then from there?  Well I had about 9 boxes of GK infantry. I decided to go with a big troops base of GK strike squads.

Grey Knight Strike Squad x3.  10 Knights each, x2 psycans, x2 halbreds, 1 hammer, swords.

Now I have my army. 30 Grey Knights and 10 terminators.

What else? Well I like the Purifiers in the codex.  I also wanted more psycannons. So 10 Purifiers!

Purifiers. x10, x4 psycans, x1 hammer, rest Halbreds

That got my model count up to 51.  Nice.

Now I needed some color. I toyed around with adding a generic inquisitor and retinue, but after looking at the points, I simply could not justify not taking Coteaz. He is that awesome.  Plus a nicely painted nonmetallic gold Coteaz will make a nice focal point amongst all the Jawa Grey.

From there I was looking to finish off the focal point, so I decided to go with an Acolyte Warrior squad in Chimera.  Here is where I just don't know. I definitely want the color. I painted up a tester for a Kasrkin with Melta to make myself a little mini Melta Vet squad and mostly finished Coteaz.

So there you go. I have played a couple of test games, toying with Rhinos which just get obliterated and other stuff.  I just don't know where to go. Here is the list. I grabbed a couple of acolyte squads to give myself some Chimeras. And have points to give a few squads Psybolt Ammo. Hechmen are on their own, reserving hopefully until turn five then running into the fray and going to ground.  The purifiers and another squad hijack the rides.

LIbrarian Terminator with Sword, Qicksilver and Shrouding

Henchmen x3, Chimera
Henchmen x3, Chimera

Terminators x10, 2 psycan, 1 hammer, 1 sword, 6 halbreds
Knights x10, 2 psycan, 1 hammer, 2 halbred, 5 swords
Knights x10, 2 psycan, 1 hammer, 2 halbred, 5 swords
Knights x10, 2 psycan, 1 hammer, 2 halbred, 5 swords

Purifiers x10, 4 psycan, 1 hammer, 6 halbred

If some one can tell me how to upload a PDF of my Army Builder file to here, I will.

Right now I am sitting at around 1924 points.

So, do I break up my 10 man squads and go razor spam ala Nick Nanavati?

Alex told me about a guy he knows in the UK who has done well with a similar list to what I have come up with, but with Dreadknights. What do you guys think?

Looking forward to hearing some input from you guys who have been playing GKs.  Lets try to avoid theory hammer and go with what we know works!


Feast of Blades: Here I come! Lock and load baby.

It's official! I booked my ticket today. Feast of Blades Here I come!

What is Feast of Blades? In case you didn't know, it is shaping up to be one of the biggest events in the country!  In a nuttshell, it is a sort of national championship event.  The way it works is that states from all over the country have regional qualifiers, and eventually produce a single "State Champion".  That Champion then goes on to Feast of Blades to represent his state in the FoB invitational.  But there is also an open GT for those that wish. (I will probably be playing in that one.) What is at stake?  Bragging rights and banners.  You get the honor of carrying the Feast of Blades banner, (painted by yours truly) back to your home store where it will be proudly displayed until next year.  Your name is added to the honorific slots on the banner itself, and you get to call your self Champion.

But that is honestly not what I am about. I am going out to FOB to see the likes of Goatboy, Darkwyn and Brent from BOLS!  As my 40k career, if you can call it that, has evolved, I have started to realize that GTs are more about the friendships than the winning.  So yes, I go to compete on the tables, and for painting honors, but more importantly, I go to enjoy frothy beverages with good people.  And Brent.

So there you have it folks!  Jawaballs will be traveling to Denver for Feast of Blades, October 19-21, 2012.

You west coasters, this is your chance to come slap me around on the tables, then have a beer!

With the unfortunate date selections for Wargamescon and Nova prohibiting me from attending either, FoB is going to be my one big trip of the year.  I plan on making it count.  I don't know if there is a teams event on Friday or not, but this is my official notice, Jawaballs is looking for a partner! (Unless one of my east coast buddies decides to go with me. :)

What will I be playing?  Unknown.  I am now working on a Grey Knight army, but with FoB so far away, I might have time to paint an entirely new Blood Angels army just for the event.  This time I definitely wont be making the mistake of painting an unbalanced noncompetitive army! My current 2k BA army is a 50/50 army at best.  Some times I destroy, some times I am tabled.

I can't wait!


Jawa Grey: Grey Knight Terminator

Yes, it still needs some work. But here is a mostly finished terminator done in my new Jawa Grey style. I decided to jump to the actual models rather than paint the dread knight, since that particular model will never see a table.  Sadly, the picture does not do it justice. It is much nicer in person. I still need to clean up some of the mess from the washing of the browns and clean up some of the highlights, but I'm mostly happy with the finish!  Also, I am working on some light up LED bases!

So yes, Jawaballs is doing Grey Knights, but at least I am doing them in style. :)


The Walking Dead Season two Ep 13

So as to avoid blog roll spoilers, I opened up with this pic of Shane at Rick's side in the hospital.  

But really, this is the pic I wanted to start with!  Sadly, my favorite character in the show has finally met his end.  It was certainly a good one!

So lets start here!

I love how the show is blurring the line between the living and the dead.  Is there any real difference between the Shane in the above picture and the one in this one?

Just a few minutes before this scene he was staring blankly into space, grunting and growling. The Shane that smashed his face against a tree in order to break his own nose was much more zombie than human.

But lets back track a bit.

I loved this episode.  Firstly, on the tails of killing off a major character, the last thing you expected them to do was kill off another!  Especially Shane. We all knew it was coming.  After all, Rick is the protagonist. Shane is secondary.  The two could not exist together.  One had to go.  I knew something was about to happen though when Shane tried to give Carl back the gun.  For the second time, the show made a point to have Shane offer Carl a weapon. Both times Carl was wearing the Sheriff cap.  The first time though, he was still an innocent. His mother was protecting him.  The second time, Carl was becoming a man. He was coming face to face with the reality that there would be no childhood, and his own failings. (He failed to kill the zombie.)  This time though it was Carl who tried to hold on to his childhood.

The third time he was handed a gun, it was by Rick.  The circle was complete and Carl stepped over the threshold. At this point I knew Shane was bait.  The whole gun thing symbolized Shane trying to take Rick's place as father, and failing. And Carl finally accepting the gun from Rick showed who was  going to win the conflict.  Rick was indeed the kid's father and protector.

Shane's fate was not sealed though until Lori stuck her meddling nose into things. The guy was working by himself, building a lookout roost in the windmill.  Then Lori had to come over and basically tell him that had Rick not come back, they would have been together.  You could see the straw breaking the proverbial camels's back.  Then Shane descends into madness.  The scene that started when he shaved his head, was completed when he was in the barn with the kid trying to decide what to do.  You saw the last of his humanity slip away as he made the decision to both kill the kid, and Rick.

The actual scene itself was a bit clunky.  Of course the situation would be clumsy and akward, but it felt like some of the dialogue was forced and silly.  Clearly none of them trusted Shane at this point. And definitely the best way to find him quickly would have been to track him. How far could a hobbled weak kid get in the few minutes Shane said elapsed.  Daryl would have found him in no time.  Instead Rick agrees that they should split up and look blindly.

Did Rick already know Shane was going to try to kill him? Probably.  The best part about Rick is what he does not say.  Maybe it was the look in Crazy Shane's eye.  At any rate, Rick had to be sure. So I guess he played along.

Then after some shambling about in the woods, it all comes crashing down.  Daryl and Glen find the truth. The bloody tree and the dead kid.  Rick and Shane also find the truth. Rick actually is willing to make the hard call.  Carl find the truth too.  For some reason he slipped away from his mother and followed them.  Where the hell is she by the way? For a woman so protective of her 12 year old kid, he manages to not be with her at the darndest times. Any way, The confrontation finally happens.

Rick was now sure that he was going to have to end Shane.  And this was not about right or wrong, or protecting the group, or who is the boss. This was personal. Rick decided Shane was going to die because it was time.  The man screwed his wife and tried to take his kid.  Enough.  Hell Shane even started to lower his gun. Rick put his knife through his heart.

His wail after was about him realizing that he was losing his own humanity.

Then comes Carl.  I was sad to see that I was mistaken about Carl being the one to end Shane. At first I thought it would be Glen. Then when I saw the foreshadowing, thought Carl would be the one. Then after what I spoke about earlier was sure that Carl was going to be the trigger man.  So when Rick stuck him, I figured I was not as smart as I thought!  But Carl saved the day and popped a cap in Zombie Shane.

I loved the scene over all, the moon and the confrontation.. it was all well done.  My only beef was that after all of the skulking through the woods, and all of Shane's plotting to get Rick away and execute him, they ended up in a field just a couple hundred yards away from the house.  So much for the secrecy!  Every one at the house would have a front row seat.

This was a great episode that brought a lot of things full circle.  Now it is just time for the zombie carnage.

I hope that they jump the plot ahead some time so they can keep Carl in the show.  I think that there can be a lot of great drama as they follow this kid coming of age. But the only way it will work is if they advance the time line to keep it realistic as the actor who plays Carl his puberty.  As I mentioned last time, only a few weeks have passed in the show, but three years have passed in reality.

It was good to see Tdog finally get some screen time. I think he had more lines this episode than he had all season.  I think that his character adds more to the show than a lot of the others.  Or could at least.  I want to see them develop that.

I enjoyed the brute squad opening of the show. Daryl, Tdog, Blondie and Shane had the most potential to be the ass kickers. It was good to see them get medieval on some zombie hide.  I loved the pitch fork kill that blondie laid on the zombie.  Good stuff.  Too bad Shane is gone now. I would like to have seen regular forays into town by these four. Kicking ass and taking names.

It will be interesting to see how they resolve what the Dr. whispered into Rick's ear. And then there is the issue of people who were not bitten turning into zombies. Is every one infected?

What's next?  Well the zombies are going to over run the group.  More dieing will happen.  Probably the rest of Hershel's family and Hershel himself.  But that is a bit too predictable.   I hate to say it, but I think Maggie is going to bite it.  They need to add another twist to Glenn's character and that will do it.  So I see Daryl, Rick, Lori, Carl, Tdog, Glen and Andrea getting off the farm.  Oh and Carol. I guess the survivors of the group as of now.  Will any more regular characters die next week?  Who would be likely candidates?  I doubt Carol because they have spent too much time insinuating some plot with Daryl, and of course not Daryl as he is the most dynamic character in the show.  I wouldn't be surprised if Glen goes.  Or if he is replaced by Maggie.  They both can serve the same purpose.

At any rate it is rumored that two new characters will join the regular cast.  Look for some one who will replace Shane in the ass kicking department, and some one to add more mystery and secrets.  With Dale gone and Rick having his own internal struggles, the groups moral compass is in trouble, so maybe we will see some one to replace that. Perhaps some one more lawful evil? Some one who insists upon following a code of ethics like Dale, but not holding onto old world ideals. That would be cool.  Some one playing the role of both Shane and Dale! The group would definitely take a turn for the macabre.  With Shane gone, the major source of drama is dead. So I can't wait to see who they use to replace it!

I would also not be surprised to see some more concrete outside opponents.  The last six episodes were about "the other group" and their fears about what might happen.  Once they escape the farm they are going to have to hole up some where and I think the producers will keep the whole double jeopardy thing, dangerous humies/zombies thing going.

But for the love of god they need to go grab some decent weapons, and lose the 30 year old camper.  They are in Georgia for christ sake. There has to be an RV park or dealer every 5 miles.  A tough new RV with some armor plates welded on, and a couple of Hummers with .50 caliber machine guns mounted on top would be sweet.

Well here is to next week's carnage then six months of waiting.


The Walking Dead Season Two Part Two, Episode 4.

Whoops accidentally posted this on BOLS! Sorry larry.

I am trying to get these out faster than right before the next episode!

So this week's episode ran right up on us and punched us in the face.  Frankly it was a good thing. For the love of god I was sick of hearing Dale whine about morality.  They need to accept two realities.  The world is overrun with zombies, and people are bad.

The world is overrun by zombies! Gone are the days when a boy can walk through his back yard and the worst thing he could run across was a foraging skunk.  Now he has to worry about zombies stuck in marshes, eating cows and doing all sorts of nasty things.

One question... Why has Rick not instituted a mandatory buddy system?  The farm is far from secure. Cows smashed through the gate. There was a walker in the well.  When I take my students on a field trip, I institute a mandatory and strict buddy system. And there are not 30 million zombies walking around! Well, dead ones at least..

Rick is logical, and being a cop would recognize the need for safety, thus requiring that EVERY one has a buddy and every one go on walkabouts with said buddy. Period.  But in this episode we see Carl and Dale both walking off alone, and both running in to trouble.  Previously it was Carol and Daryl.  Uhoh... do we see a coincidence?  Carl/Carol... Daryl/Dale?  Is Carol going to do something that causes harm to Daryl accidentally? Hmmm...

Any way, back to my point.  Granted, in both instances Carl and Dale were frustrated and annoyed and wandered off alone to do alone guy things and probably would have done so whether or not there was a buddy rule.  But still.

So Carl is a kid, and kids do stupid things.  I will take his zombie encounter at face value. The question is.. did Carl get scratched?  Do we see potential future plot twists?

But Dale?  He approached a writhing cow in the middle of a mostly open field on a clear moon light night. He looked at the cow for about 10 seconds... then turned around and BLAU.... BOOOYA... a zombie is standing there. How did he get there?  Was he sneaking up on Dale like Scooby Doo trying to get away from a mummy?  If you have ever been out in an open field on a night like that, you would know, there aint no way a Zombie would be able to sneak up on him.  This zombie was feeding on a cow, (it's still alive) and must have heard Dale approaching... then it ran off to take cover behind a tree or boulder, then as Dale was busy examining it's handy work, snuck up behind him like a ninja.

This harkens back to the opening of season 2.  When a horde of zombies shambled up on them while they were stuck in the traffic snarl, FROM THE DIRECTION THEY CAME!  God there are so many good things about this show, I hate it when they throw out logic and character for plot twists.  Dale was the most cautious member of the group.  He was preoccupied with his thoughts and feelings about the execution... but so much that he missed the zombie in the open?

Well, we all learned a valuable tip. If you ever encounter an eviscerated steer in the middle of the field at night, don't look behind you, sprint straight forward.  It is your only hope.

People are bad!

Bad at what?  Well Tdog is bad at getting screen time.  This time he was on screen for about 27 seconds. Did he even have a line?  The woman that plays Carol is bad at making us understand that she is upset.  Carl said the most hurtful line yet to appear in the show to her, and she reported it matter of factly to Rick and Lori, as if she was repeating some ones fast food order. She delivered the lines so blandly that Lori's next lines, when she tells her to "calm down" were absurd. The woman was not upset! She was barely even speaking.  (More bad writing by the way, I don't think Lori would have told her to "calm down".)

The prisoner is bad. Or is he? We can't tell!  (Good writing and acting.)  He is so believable when speaking to Rick that you want them to give him a chance. Yet, when he tries to manipulate Carl, and when he killed the female zombie, you see a little bit of his bad side.  My instinct? he is bad.  He probably hit on Maggie at some point and she blew him off in typical hot girl pre ZA fashion.  He no doubt harbors ill feelings and they will come back to haunt her!

Merl badly needs to come back. It will be cool if he is part of the bad guys. As some one mentioned before, I doubt he will be the leader though. I think the guy from Philly was... Merl is definitely not a leader. He is a bully, and there is no way a large group of armed dudes would follow him, especially ones of unscrupulous intent.

It was a great episode.  The kid is responsible for Dale's death. That is gona cause problems. Hopefully they will kill him off. Besides, the writers have to get rid of him sooner or later.  Two years will have passed during the production of the show, spanning the start of Seasons 1 and 3.  That 12 year old kid will be 14... and no doubt hit a growth spurt and pimples.  The show itself will only span about 2 months.  Such is the problem with having kids in shows!  We can expect him to no last any longer than season 3.

Dale bought it.  Good, I was getting sick of his continually shocked face and preaching rhetoric.  The world is now a bad place and there is no room for morality.  You think about yourself, and the guy who helps you stay alive.  Any one else is in the way, and subject to execution. Especially if they shoot at you.

Tdog also has to go.  They have way too many unimportant characters. Like Dale, they are zombie bate, which really is their only purpose.  Tdog, little sister, Otis' wife, all will hopefully be gone, and hopefully by the end of season 2.

We see some cool flashes of action in the previews! Zombies breaking through a fence... blondie running with the gun bag, the kid ripping the skin off his hands to escape... The last 2 episodes of this season promise to end with a bang!


Next Banner WIP!

What is my next banner?

Word Bearers! A soon to be opened gaming store has commissioned a group of banners from me which I consider a great honor. The first was a sort of personal one based on a WFB Empire banner.  The second was a Raven Guard banner which I ended up selling to 19th Company due to a miscom with Dropzone, and will redo for them.  The third? Here you go.  :)

This one is based on a thumbnail of a pre heresy Word Bearers banner.  I know nothing about them in particular, but I like the imagery.  I have to say though, that this particular banner is proving to be the absolute hardest I have ever done. 

Why?  Well the background of the banner is covered with a small "texture" of crosses, repeating the main cross design.  These crosses are arranged in rigid lines though, and there are roughly 200 of them on the banner!  After struggling with how to do this by hand for weeks, I have finally arrived at my answer. 

On the second and third pics you can see a piece of cardboard. I have measured and drawn out 9 crosses on the strip, and will make a stencil out of it.  Using acrylic spray I will create the cross texture.  If I am careful, I should be able to create a nice pattern of rows all the way down the banner.

The second and third pictures show the book mostly complete while the first shows just the base colors.  I added a bit of parchment color to the flame too as a final highlight, and to bring the two together. (Flame and book)  I will go back in with the yellow and blend the white highlight into the flame. I have to wait til it dries though because I don't want them to mix and become too pastel.  I am fairly proud of the turning pages!

So today I am going to pick up the completed banners for my next four jobs from my seamstress, and while I'm out there I will grab a piece of mat board that I will use for the stencil.  I first put this on corrugated cardboard, but I fear it will not be adequate enough for the stencil.  So I will redraw it on mat before I cut the holes and spray.

Next challenge is the copy. The guys from Dropzone have sent me a huge amount of copy they would like written on the pages of the book.  I am many things, but a calligrapher is not one of them!  I have my own little alphabet I use for these sort of things that resembles the standard GW alphabet that shows up on all their banners.  The challenge will be getting it all to fit perfectly on the pages of this book on the first try.  It took a lot of time to paint the pages!  If I screw up the words, I have to redo. :(

The rest of the banner will have a box around the main image, some scrolls down the middle to the bottom of the middle flange, a couple of burning cauldrons flanking that scroll, and a couple of Imperial Aquillas on the side flanges.  I am hoping to be done with this on on Thursday. Wish me luck!


The Walking Dead Season Two, Part Two, Episode 3

Holy cost cutting batman!  I'm starting to notice that the more zombies that show up in TWD, the less cast members we see.  This week we had some great action involving Rick and Shayne, and we had some boring dialogue between Lori, Becky and Blondie.  And thats about it!  The kid with Rick and Shane and the blonde with the ladies serve as plot devices more than characters.  They both are the reasons for why the main characters are in conflict.  Every one else was busy off camera.

What irked me was that they tried to work in explanations for their absences. I get it that the series has to save money. By not having Glen, Hershel, Tdog, Dale, Daryl, Wife of Otis, Billy, Carol and Carl appear in the episode they must have saved hundreds of thousands.  Plus none of them were really needed for the little conflict stories that played out. There is no need to then throw in little bits of dialogue to explain where they are.

"Where's Glenn?"

"I saw him walking with Becky."

"Well find him."

Blah blah.

But there are questions that have to be asked!  Why was Hershel not sitting with his freaking daughter? How did Hershel not know she attempted suicide, and how did he not hear the argument? The man spent the first half of the season whining about his loved ones, to be MIA while his daughter is committing suicide? Oh wait... the girls explained away his absence with some expository.  My bad.

I get it that Glenn was upset from last episode, but he is a kid, and kids are horny. He would have gotten over his issues by now and the itch would have returned and he would have been right up Beckies ass again.  But when she needed him most, he was letting her deal with her sister's suicide watch alone.

Minor issues yes, but if you are going to have three quarters of your cast disappear for an episode, make some effort to provide a LOGICAL explanation.

Now on with the GREAT episode!

As I said before, we had two character conflicts playing out.  The Rick and Shane conflict, and Lori and Blondie. Both groups were fighting over something immediate, the dude who shot at Rick I think his name was Randy, and Hershel's daughter... we will call her Dud.  But the fights were much deeper than what to do about Randy and Dud.  All four of them were putting dirty laundry out to dry.

Rick and Shane:

I have been talking about the coming conflict between the two for months. And this was round one.  But it is not over yet as evidenced by Shane's brooding in the car at the end.

Rick confronted Shane about Lori and laid it on the line.  Hands off, get in line, or get lost.  But then they get down to the dirty.  Their confrontation was only partly about Lori and the group. It was about the two of them and their inner battles. First, Rick was battling against his hold on reality slipping away.  Shane speaks the truth and Rick knows it. It is Rick's fight to stop himself from believing it.  Shane is fighting against his loss of control.  Rick symbolizes every thing that held him down before the ZA.  He happily enjoyed a period of release from the restraints of society where he was free to set the rules, and be the hero.  Rick's return changed that.

So while Lori and the baby and the kid priosoner may have been the spark, the flames of this fight were smoldering deep below the surface.

When it came down to it, neither of them were willing to take the necessary steps to finish the fight. Shane through the wrench through the window, and Rick came back while Shane was as good as dead.  So in effect, nothing changed. They are both right where they were when it started.  Shane is brooding, Rick is questioning his decisions.

Then we have Blondie and Lori.  This conflict started up at the beginning of season 2.  You could sorta see it in season one, but at the point the characters were not defined enough to give them any thing good to fight about.  Their argument started over the girl attempting suicide, but turned into a more practical issue.  And frankly, I think Lori is flat wrong.  Lori is attacking her for not doing dishes.  Blondie is defending herself for allowing the girl to kill herself.  But really, she is defending herself for simply being the person that she has become post ZA.  And Lori, like Rick, is holding onto who she was before.

This is what makes Lori and Rick weaker than Shane and Blondie and creates the dramatic power struggle that the show is marching towards.

The rest of the episode was just plot twist filler. With no other characters appearing to actually do any thing, there was little else going on!

So on with Episode 4.  The previews promise some juicy drama created by the dilema with the prisoner.  Knowing TWD, it is too hard to guess what may happen.  I think that in typical AMC style, something different will happen, like the kid walking in and executing him, or Hershel.

Any way, enjoy!


19 Legion Raven Guard Chapter Banner!

So the guys over at 19th Legion ended up buying this Raven Guard chapter banner. It was a perfect fit for them!  At their request, I added a couple of extra elements. I added the roman numeral 19 at the top left, and the name of their blog at the top center. I think these were the last things this banner needed to look great!  I suggest that the guys go out to Macey's or some other place that sells gaudy bathroom decoration and grab one of those golden looking ropes that are sometimes used for curtains and such and drape them across above the roman numerals.  It would give a nice finished touch.

Thanks to the 19th Legion for their support!

If you would like a full sized banner for your club or organization, or your personal man cave, hit me up!

Up next, Pre Heresy Word Bearers Chapter Banner!