Friday, June 22, 2012

Spending More Money

I've neglected to cover the past couple Cabal games or to even discuss my recent modeling efforts (including my experience with some of the new Citadel paints). However, I thought I'd mention another little purchase I made today:

That's right, I bought the Gamer's Edition of the new 40K rulebook. Officially it can be pre-ordered on June 23rd. Obviously they meant June 23rd in England since my calendar still says the 22nd.

The Gamer's Edition comes with 12 red Munitorum dice that are supposed to be unique to this set. I've already seen scans of the recent White Dwarf showing that similar bone-white dice will be available on June 30th. Although the only limited aspect of these dice is their color, I had intended to buy 24 dice anyway, so I might as well have half of them in limited edition red and the other half in off-white. The dice are square edged and have printed numbers instead of indented pips. Those who have performed chi-square tests on GW and/or Chessex dice with round edges and compared the results to tests on square edged dice have found that the latter are a lot more balanced. Obviously I'll be testing that claim myself.

What really sold me on this edition was the nifty satchel. It's designed to carry the rulebook in the main pouch and has a second pouch to hold codices and templates. Three small pouches immediately under the satchel's flap are sized for the lasgun power pack-shaped tins that hold the Munitorum dice. I've gotten tired of lugging my books, dice, and templates around in a clumsy little box and liked the idea of a themed bag.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Dice Testing, Great Service, and Colour Primer

Chi-Square Testing New Dice
Last time I discussed at length how I tested the balance of my 36 dusty blue and copper dice. This past week my blue and white dice arrived and went through the same test. This time every die, not just the suspicious ones, were rolled 90 times. The outcome was interesting.

While four of the dusty blue and copper dice failed the chi-square test, not a single blue and white die failed. Instead of having a few obviously faulty dice, the blue and white set seemed to have a larger number of slightly imbalanced dice. This might be due to the fact that each blue and white die was rolled 90 times. Half of the dusty blue and copper dice were rolled only the minimum number of 30 times, which decreases the sensitivity of the chi-square test and makes it less likely to find imbalances. It's probable that my first dice set would have shown a similar degree of imbalance had it been as thoroughly tested.

As I did with my first dice set, blue and white dice with a result greater than 6 were removed from the collection (11.070 is considered the cutoff for dice that are statistically certain to be imbalanced). Additionally, I removed several dice with results less 6 due to obvious signs of imbalance. For example, two dice with results of 3.2 and 3.6, respectively, produced ones 22.2% of the time and twos 17.8% of the time. Statistically, those two dice would make a power-armored Space Marine fail an armor save or miss a shot (i.e., they rolled ones or twos) 40% of the time instead the expected 33.3%. In the end, I removed 12 dice, or 1/3 of the total, from the set.

Great Customer Service
I have plenty of models to work on and had no interest in buying more until I had made a dent in my current pile. However, when GW announced the upcoming price increases last month, I took advantage of the money I had saved up for 40K models and made a $373 purchase from before the cost of that Land Raider Crusader I wanted went up by about 15%. Unless I'm making small purchases (e.g., a single Scout box or a few paints), I usually go through TheWarStore due to their standard 20% discount on GW merchandise and their flat shipping rate.

I ordered a number of sets that I had heard were going to increase the most in cost, as well as a few that I intended to get sooner or later. Among these sets I purchased another Assault Squad box (despite being irrationally points-heavy, I'm looking at building a ten man Vanguard Squad). When the shipment finally arrived last week, a note inside said that GW hadn't shipped them any Assault Squad boxes that week. Instead of telling me to wait until they got one in, they had opened up a Battleforce box and sent me the relevant sprues. Although I was given the exact sprues I wanted, just not in the box, TheWarStore staff also "threw in" some extra bits. And not just any bits: they sent me an extra heavy bolter for a Land Speeder (which may have actually changed my mind on how I'm going to equip my Land Speeders) and a number of Space Marine power weapon arms, including my favorite power sword arm from the Commander box and two rare right-handed power fists.

It's obvious that TheWarStore employees put some care into the bits they "threw in". It seems like they looked at my order, saw what I was working on, and gave me appropriate parts. All told, the bits they sent me would probably sell for about $25. Honestly, had they merely given me the loose Assault Squad sprues I would have shrugged and thought little of it. But to include those extra bits because they couldn't send me the sprues in the box is truly going the extra mile.

Kevin has also had a good experience with TheWarStore. When he ordered his Dark Eldar sets last year, they accidentally sent him a Venom instead of the Ravager he had ordered. When he reported the mix up, they apologized and gave him the Ravager for 50% off.

It's rare to find good prices and excellent customer service in the same place.

Army Painter Colour Primer
This past week I primed a number of vehicles. Although I prime all my troops with black spray, I use Ultramarine Blue Army Painter Colour Primer for my vehicles. My local games store never consistently carries this color, so I bought two cans for $11.99 each at TheWarStore, (it normally retails for about $15). Until recently, I didn't actually know how many models I could prime with the spray since I had used nearly 2/3 of my first can on my Vindicator in a desperate attempt to smooth out the sandpaper-like coat left by a black primer. Don't ask me why I used two primers.

I used the end of the first can on two Razorbacks and was dismayed to find that the coat it left was slightly rough. Fortunately the surface wasn't nearly as rough as that of the Vindicator and has proven to be an easier fix. I used about 2/3 of a new can on a Predator and two Drop Pods and was a lot happier with the results. I sprayed parts that aren't primarily blue such as tank treads, heavy bolters, and Drop Pod engine parts with $5 Rust-Oleum Camouflage spray I buy at Walmart. I have never been disappointed by this spray, which always goes on smoothly and extremely flat. I'll be priming smaller pieces such as smoke launchers and storm bolters (i.e., the parts that fly away when you try to spray them) by hand with Citadel's new Imperial Primer.

Since I effectively used one can during my marathon of priming, I found that I could prime two Razorbacks, one Predator, and two Drop Pods with a single can. That's about $215 worth of models (GW's new prices) primed with about $12 worth of paint. I also found that the last 1/3 or 1/4 of a can of Army Painter may leave a rougher surface that will need some work to clean up. I'm just glad that it was the Razorbacks that ended up with the rougher hulls. If any of my vehicles should be rougher than others, it should be those vehicles that tend to get closer to the enemy; e.g., Vindicators and transports like the Rhino and Razorback.
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