Hello Readers! Last time I told y’all about the epic GoonMeets just prior to the first day of the GW US Open Finale in New Mexico, and the first day of the GW US Open Finale. If you’ll notice, unlike the others at the good offices of Goonhammer, I didn’t discuss games because I specifically did not come to New Mexico to game! I was there, officially, just to paint a Warhound Titan. A nice relaxing weekend painting and then hanging out with my friends, without any real stress. Little did I know what Mike, Zach, and Caleb were discussing Friday night.
DAY 2: SATURDAY
I woke up early early on Saturday, as I hadn’t spent the day before drinking heavily. This gave me enough time to do my workout, paint my Titan’s Princeps (via my travel paint kit), and get a delicious breakfast with everyone. However, after Boon left because he was 40 minutes late to his game, most of us took that as a cue that it was time to wrap up breakfast and get over to the gaming area. I wandered into the Titan painting room about an hour early, because hey – why not spend some time painting the interior of my Titan? It was open, after all.
Around 9:30 or so, when a bunch of us had come in to try and get a head start painting our Titans, Caleb told us that GW really wanted our Titans to walk the next morning – specifically, to take part in a Mega Battle and be part of the narrative. We were under no obligation to participate in that battle – we had paid for about 20 hours worth of classtime, and GW didn’t want us to think that we should miss the classtime we had paid for in order to fulfill a last minute idea that they had. We would stay past 6 to paint our Titans (until, theoretically, around 8), and then try and get to the room early the next morning.
Naturally, everyone was going to say “yes” to this.
On Saturday, we would be painting the armor panels of the Titan, and the trim of the Titan. Going into the event, I had a fairly clear idea as to what I wanted for my Titan: an Ultramarines Titan that would roughly match my Imperial Knights.
So blue on the outside panels, white on the inside-facing panels. Instead of just doing a straight white though, I wanted to give it a marble finish. It would be very Ultramarines, very elegant, and honestly fun to paint.
Painting the blue turned out to be a bit of a problem, though. The basecoat blue we were suppose to use, Macragge Blue Air, had apparently frozen in Caleb’s truck while they were setting up overnight. This meant that the paint would not flow through the airbrush because it was too thick and big. I wound up eventually using a coat of Celestium Blue for my midtone layer, broad highlights of Lotherin Blue, and then spot highlights of Ulthuan Grey. They were then “filtered” by a light spray of Talassar Blue. This created a nice, rich, and vibrant blue.
For the marble armor panels, I used the dryer sheet method with four paints: The Fang as a basecoat, and working my way through Mournfang Brown, Fenrisian Grey, and Ulthuan Grey. This created a nice layer of mable armor.
The second half of the day was about how to speedpaint trim. This involved painting the trim black (with the bristles falling into the side of the trim and the recess where it met the armor panel, and then painting the trim gold. We would then airbrush browns and purples to fill-out the color of the trim, with an edge highlight of silver to complete the look. I did this for a few hours. I did manage to get the trim more-or-less gold by around 8:00 PM.
Also during this time, “Fakie” James Kazlauric arrived. He would be staying with me Saturday evening while he was around for the GoonMeet. I handed a roomkey off to him and painted until it was time for trivia.
As Rob noted in his recap, this trivia event felt like an afterthought. The time for trivia was a constantly shifting target – first it was 8:00 pm, then it was “after the evening briefing”, and then it was at 10:00 pm. Had one trivia time been announced and stuck to, it would have been fine. Sure, I’d have spent more time cleaning up my Titan’s trim or fixing some of the flaws with the marble versus hanging with my friends. And Warhammer is indeed about the friends we made along the way. But only three trivia teams is just not enough for a good game – we needed multiple teams, multiple questions – honest-to-The-Emperor bar trivia! 10:00 pm was too late and the questions too weak.
Also, we won.
Afterwards, I grabbed dinner with “FromTheShire” Dan and we discussed speed painting and the imposter syndrome in painting. The burger remained okay, the fries remained excellent, and once we finished dinner it was now close to midnight New Mexico time (2:00 pm Kevin Time (1)). I headed back to the room, ordered some additional blankets, talked with Fakie for a bit, then we went to bed.
DAY 3: SUNDAY
I woke up early on Sunday, and luckily that’s when Fakie woke up. This meant that we wouldn’t be disturbing each other while we were getting ready. I recommended he try the breakfast buffet (which was good!), while I grabbed a croissant and soda from the little shop in the hotel. Around 7:30 or so, I dropped by the Titan Forge room which was…open with Caleb there. Apparently, he had woken up crazy early and decided to drill holes into our Titan’s heads and shoulders in order to help us temporarily pin them together to stand up and walk during the Titan Walk. After a few tries, I was able to pin my Titan’s arms together, and pin the head onto the body using superglue. I had to take off the plasma gun in order to give it an appropriate glow and then reattach it.
I went with a red/orange glow, to contrast to my Titan’s blue and white marble armor.
While I was trying to reattach the arm, Mike Brandt came in and told us it was time for our Titans to walk. So in they went.
And…now I’m in the GW Open Narrative too!
Warhound Titan vs. an AdMech Army, Sisters Army, Marine Army, and Knight Army.
In the center of one of the rooms, there is a giant Warhammer display table, with Imperium armies surrounding the majority of three sides. There is room in the center and towards the back edge of the table to hold Titans. I initially put my Titan close to the back, but move it significantly further forward in order to keep it from falling off the table. While this kept my Titan safe from physical harm, this proved to be a major tactical mistake.
It turns out all of the Imperium armies surrounding us had been suborned by Mike Brandt prior to the battle, and had joined the ruinous powers of Chaos! And my Titan was in firing range from four armies!
Now, the rules we had for this Titan Walk were *not* the Imperial Armor Compendium rules. Instead, our Titans had a 2+/4++ (the latter was always active, no void shield rules), 102 wounds(2), and instead of firing our weapons normally we just put a two pairs of objective marker mats on units we wanted to destroy. The units under the mats would take oodles of Mortal Wounds, and the mats would supposedly stay on the field as Lava. Meanwhile, all the other players would be rolling their armies’ hits and wounds, and then tell us how many we needed to save. We Titan players didn’t get to know what thresholds the army players would hit.
For this event, I decided now would be the time to use my Goonhammer GregBot Dice. The first person to roll their wounds was a sisters player who had me save 8 Melta shots. I used my Gregbot dice and failed 7 of them, taking 39 wounds.
I did overall better on my subsequent saves, but considering I had the full might of four entire 2000 points armies shooting at me there wasn’t really any hope. I’d have needed probably another 50 wounds to survive, despite at a certain point getting a 4+ Feel No Pain. It still took 15-20 minutes to work through the amount of die rolls I needed to make in order to save, and then my subsequent retribution. When my Titan exploded, I had to roll mortal wounds for the various armies surrounding my Titan. After *that*, I was then allowed to return fire on the unit that had killed me. However, the player who killed me was a Space Marine player who killed me with his bolters – so I was permitted to unleash hell on every space marine with a bolter. I think I wiped out a quarter of a battle company, along with most of the officers, on my return fire.
After that, I decided to go show off my Large Resin Robot to my fellow Goons – Rob, JD, Craig, Rocco, Campbell. In retrospect, I kind of wish I had hunted down Ryan to help reinforce him against an overwhelming amount of Tyranids. Because what would have been cool was turning up as emergency reinforcements for a beleagured friend.
I’ll talk more about this Infra.
Afterwards, I returned to the Titan forge room. I needed to do one last thing – airbrush a cellophane sheet that would be used for the Titan’s eyes. So naturally alongside doing that, I painted the event exclusive 40K mini (the Primaris Company Champion)
After that, it was time to break down the Titan for transport home and help clean up. I had to pull the Titan apart, and I tried to take the arms off the shoulder pegs. Unfortunately, I wound up pulling the shoulder pegs out and they would NOT come out of the arms. This meant when I got home, I would need to epoxy and pin the arms back into the shoulders. I also had to take the head out of the chest socket, and wrap all of them up in bubble wrap. I insufficently wrapped the torso, which I would find out when I got home the next day. I packed all of this, somehow, into a Citadel large figure case. I took my paints and tools (including a used airbrush, so I can join the ranks of the Airbrushers), and went off to find my friends.
After showing off the disassembled Titan to Jack, Ryan, and Bridget, I got some lunch before spending the rest of the day with the Goons. That was the point where the “roundtable” about the event began – what Rob thought, what Condit thought, what everyone thought about what worked for the event and what did not work for the event. I went back to the store before it closed up, and found out that all of the event t-shirts had been claimed by then. I was able to get my name onto the shuttles for 11:00 am the next morning. Soon thereafter was the final briefing and awards ceremony.
Mike Brandt was up first, and he asked us to share feedback – positive and negative – online. And that GW would be looking at the feedback. After that, the various actors gave their spiel – the Interlopers won (booo!), the Chaos faction was looking forward to WAR, and the Imperial General remained Proud! The awards were handed out – and many of my friens won the awards! SO MANY OF THEM! It was absolutely wonderful, and I cannot be more proud of JD, Craig, Chase, and Pendulin.
Jack, being the master photographer, brought his camera. So this meant we were able to get a big Goonhammer group photo together. I’m in the back, with my Titan in its case slung around my shoulder.
Following the official conclusion of the Grand Narrative, it was time to turn towards the competitive events, where we all were cheering Boon on against Andrew Gonyo. We also began discussing where to go get dinner, and trying to coordinate how to get there. We wound up selecting Pappadeux’s, a Cajun Seafood steakhouse. I wound up ordering a taxi to pick me and Team Sniffen up, while another taxi or private car was called for JD/Joy Reynolds/Spencer and Nick Connell and Dan “FromTheShire”. We got there to find Campbell and Ann having a happy time talking with the bartender, and get seated at a giant table.
I wound up having a New York Strip Steak cooked to absolute perfection. I dunno if everyone else at my table was as happy with their dinner as I was. I hope they were!
Afterwards, we Ubered back to the hotel, and I delivered as many handshakes as I could to friends who would be leaving early in the morning. It was sad, but it had been an excellent convention and it was time to go home.
I woke up and started trying to pack. I knew I would also need to get breakfast, work out, and get my display tray back from Rob. While I accomplished two of these three agenda items easily, the third (working out) was complicated by having the wrong workout gloves and being exhausted from the weekend. I struggled through it, but was eventually able to get a big chunk of it completed. Afterwards, I went back to my room, packed, and then went downstairs to wait with Rocco, Chase, Garrett, Jack, and Andrew for the shuttles. Eventually the last two GW shuttles arrived, and Chase, Andrew, Jack and I all got driven to the airport by Chantal from GW Events. Chantal met and gave hugs to Salsa at NoVa, so she’s aces in my book.
We had arrived at the airport early for most everyone’s flight – my flight was four hours away, Andrew’s was three, Chase’s was who knows how far into the future, Garrett’s was a couple of hours. Most of us wound up in Terminal A, and continued to discuss our feelings on the event. Of note was Mike Brandt seeing us in a circle, and then quietly try to buy snacks for his flight home without us noticing.
As Andrew’s flight was leaving from the gate next to mine, we commandeered a desk and just hung out quietly for a few hours before our respective flights. Several hours later, I was home.
Upon getting back to my condo that evening, I cleaned off my painting table and pulled my Titan out of the case. Unfortunately, my Titan had suffered a bit of damage to the carapace – some of the blue paint had been chipped away down to the bare resin. Before finally going to bed, I had to fix this mess. I took my ProAcryl Black Primer, filled in the hole, and then used some checkerboard striping from the Forge World Ultramarines transfer sheet to cover the damage. This solved the problem enough that I could at long last go to bed and formally end my GW Open Experience.
There are two ways in which I would sum up the New Mexico event. One came to me as the event was starting out, the other I stated as we were all getting ready to go to the airport. The first is that the New Mexico event was basically a Renassiance Fair summer camp with a Warhammer 40K theme. The second is that the weekend was basically four days straight of the legendary Carl Lumbly/Arnold Schwarzenegger handshake from Predator. It was an absolutely amazing weekend. While I strongly suspect they will try and run this event again next year, I don’t quite think they’ll recapture the magic and excitement of this year. And how could they? For those of us Goons who went, it was the first time meeting and drinking with many of our friends! It was the first time that many folks played against each other! And, of course, with the Goons winning so many of the awards it is hard to end any Warhammer weekend on such a high. Those of us who were there very much rated this experience a 7/7. It was that amazing.
This event wound up being more than the sum of its parts because of the camraderie. If I was attending this experience alone, I almost certainly would rate it lower. I will separate my thoughts into two buckets: 1) general event thoughts and 2) Titan class specific thoughts.
GENERAL EVENT THOUGHTS
1. GW, please pick a different location next time!
This was supposed to be a Warhammer retreat. That’s why we went across the country to a remote resort the weekend before Thanksgiving – to Ham and to relax. However, I would hope that next year they do not come back to New Mexico or the Tamaya Resort. Don’t get me wrong – the food was good enough, the accommodations were nice, the hotel staff were great, the exercise room was pretty solid. However, the hotel was outside of Albuquerque and it was impossible to get Ubers/Lyfts/Taxis in a remotely timely fashion. As Rob noted in his recap, the food options around the hotel are pretty dire – there were some breweries (and Bosque is excellent!), but if you don’t have your own method of transportation it becomes far more difficult and expensive to travel to some of these places. First time since events restarted that I’ve had this problem. The relatively remote location (New Mexico) comes at the same time that a number of airlines have cancelled routes, so there are no longer direct flights from the DC area to New Mexico. It has been an awfully long time since I’ve been unable to get a good local pizza during my adventures.
Incidentally, having to go outside to get to and from my room in the desert chill wasn’t fantastic. Especially when I was heading to the gym.
2. Titan Building Class
Getting a Titan from sub-assembled and primed to tournament ready in 48 hours is an exhausting process. Don’t get me wrong, it was AWESOME to do that – but I think with a bit more foresight next year, the process could be smoothed so as we aren’t spending 12 hours of a day painting. While I know CK studios has some definite ideas as to what they want to do next time, here’s what I might change:
1) I’d start the class a day early. If the goal is to get the Titans on the battlefield, more time is necessary!
2) Either a 40K audio book (Titandeath? The Binary Sucession? Another Titan novel) or some Yoga/Massage music while we were all busy painting trim would have been nice. Hopefully next year this can be worked out.
3) Additional communication regarding what GW and CK studios will be providing in order to set the class expectations. Had I known that the goal would be to do a Titan battle and get the models in a state that they could both be temporarily fully assembled but then disassembled to transport home, I would have changed how I painted and assembled my model. To whit, I think the elbow joints could have been pinned and epoxied into the shoulders, so the only part we needed to assemble would have been the elbow joints to the Titan’s weapons. After I disassembled my Titan, I had to re-prime and repaint the shoulder/elbow joints when I got home. And then pin and epoxy it together. It wasn’t difficult, but it was still somewhat unnecessary cleanup.
4) Transporting this home: So, I operated under some misconceptions when I signed up for the class – I was under the impression GW would pack up our Titans and ship them home for us, and that such a shipment would be included in our class cost. This turned out now to be the case. While GW provided the packing material for us to ship it home, the mechanism by which they did it was a large Citadel figure cass. While this is a nice figure case, it is not a figure case big enough or with the right foam to get even a subassembled Titan home. Hence the rapid post-class disassembly of the beast. Next time around, I’m going to simply bring the KR Warhound Titan foam and use my personal suitcase to transport it. While also securing/bubble wrapping the various assemblies better.
3. Titan Walk Battle
I’ll be straight with you all here: I was disappointed with how this went down. First, the actual *rules* for the battle were a bit unbalanced – while I get that Mike wanted to have the Titans destroyed in order to further the narrative, having it set so that a single Titan had to eat the incoming fire from four different 2000 point armies produced some major feel-bads. I only got to fire off one salvo onto a bunch of Space Marines because I got focused-fired.
But more than that, I was getting focus-fired by a bunch of strangers. I was not getting focus-fired by Rob, Norman, and Condit while JD and Craig tried to shore up my flank and offer me fire support. If I’m going to bust my ass over two days in order to put a full-scale Titan on the tabletop, I would much rather have that battle be against my buddies rather than strangers. That much I remain salty about.
I’m not sure *how* that can be fixed next time – maybe GW could survey the Titan class to determine if there is anyone in the class who has a friend in the narrative they’d love to fight? But I think that would greatly enhance the play experience.
The GW Warhammer Open 2022 Finale was an absolutely amazing experience. While there’s a number of things I would definitely want to tweak about the event, and a fair amount of things that I would want to prepare for next time around…
…I daresay that I’d be willing to do this again.
If you are heading to the Titan painting masterclass at Warhammer Fest in Manchester, feel free to hit me up (via the good offices of Goonhammer) for advice or suggestions. I’ll be dropping in at some point to wish y’all luck.
Five months until my next Warhammer event. I can’t wait!
(1) All three Goonhammer Kevins (me, Fowler, and Primaris) live in the Eastern time zone.
(2) We were all given a pack of Tau Empire dice. There were 20 dice in there, but 17 dice were used for our wound pool. I used my Ultramarines Heresy dice for my wound pool, and kept my Tau dice in blister pack.
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