Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 was a good year in miniatures

Over on my 'gaming' blog, http://modernappendixn.blogspot.com/2013/12/onward-to-2014.html, I talk about why I hated 2013. For gaming and well, life.

But miniature wise? There were some problems but those were relatively small.

For me, the biggest problem is Kickstarter. Companies being late, companies having crappy quality control, companies just being bad businesses.

But one of the big wins was also some late delivered Kickstarters. For example, Stone Heaven Miniatures came out of no where and kicked ass multiple times. They haven't been afraid to listen to customer feedback and haven't been afraid to switch things up.

But overall, it was more a feeling of awesome things coming out.

Games Workshop for example, man they get punched in the face all the time. I'm sure it's in part for being the big dog but in part its because of crappy products. When Privateer Press decided to jump on the 'restic' bandwagon, yeah, the quality of things took a huge crap in the customer service dumper and there has been a lot of flak flying back their way, rightfully so because of it.

But those were, for me at least, small things. Games Workshop coming out with 'technical paints' for different special effects? Yes, a lot of people can achieve those effects already, sometimes just with some thinning agents or careful color selection. But for those who don't care about that and just want to dip a brush into the paint and go? Right on.

Vallejo came out with several new products this year. Right on for them.

Scale 75 came out with a boxed set and several themed painting sets. Excellent work.

There were a ton of great figures that also came out. This doesn't count the delivery of Kickstarter products to the retail channel like some of the Bombshell Sidekicks or Reaper Bones or Center Stage Miniatures Demons and Devils.

There were a lot of efforts at new products like double ended paint brushes. For me, the quality of them was terrible but the price wasn't bad, and they were on time. Neutral.

For others, who were smart enough to get in on them, Miercer miniatures delivered the goods in a huge way with their Kickstarter.

It seemed that for miniatures, Kickstarter was the way to go for a lot of things.

For me, I've cut way back on supporting them. It's not that there isn't some awesome things going on, but look at Redbox. This guy is a fantastic sculptor, but his first Kickstarter, from his last post, sounds like the death knell of the company. Innovation is not necessarily paved on the path of the best and brightest and most enthusiastic, but the bones of those who went before it would appear.

Speaking of Bones, I'm waiting for an announcement that some company is licensing the material. Let me be clear, I'm not starting a rumor, I don't know any company currently doing it, but the price point is too sweet and the potential benefit of using an already established partner too clear as opposed to trying to use say, Trollcast as a viable alternative to metal.

And it's not that I love Bones. The price is good, but I'm not impressed with the detail of the figures. This doesn't mean there aren't many positives. For example, you can easily cut and modify Bones as opposed to say, metal. You don't feel, well, I don't feel terrible if I mess up a paint job on a Bones figure. And of course again, the affordability. The price of metals and resins has quickly escaped the industry.

While 2013 sucked in a lot of ways for me personally, painting wise it was great and I hope that 2014 brings even better times.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Amon and Winter Wolf

Amon, a Duke of Hell in the old Dungeons and Dragons mythology, and his Winter Wolf companion are relatively simple miniatures sculpted by the talented Jason Wiebe whose done work for Reaper and other miniature companies. The 'official' paint job on Amon seemed more Oriental Adventurers to me, but I figure he's got a Winter Wolf companion so I didn't think the black would be appropriate and for some reason, I quickly made up a bad story in my head about Amon being one of the fiercest hunters in his tribe but not for noble reasons. Not as a protector. He did it for the thrill, for the challenge of the hunt and it lead to the destruction of his own people so when the opportunity came to become something more, he took it and joined those things in the outer planes as something more than human.

Both pieces are resin and very light weight. Both are on 40mm bases.The wolf for the most part is mold line free. Amon on the other hand has a few bits here and there and I would recommend after giving him a base primer coat, that you go over him with a fine tooth nail because the mold lines were so fine, I didn't catch them until I had thrown a few coats on, and if you've read my blog before, you may realize that I'm lazy so those mold lines are still there for those who look carefully.

The sculpting detail on both is great and the Winter Wolf, much like the Cheese, can stand alone. On the other hand, I don't see it being sold separately and I don't think anyone wants to pay $29.95 just for the wolf. Amon's wolf headed hammer could probably be straightened out too as it's resin and an application of some hot water would probably allow me to do that. However, I like the idea of a weapon where the haft is bending due to the weight of the weapon so didn't correct that.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Horned Devil One and Horned Devil Two from Center Stage Miniatures

A few days off means I get to torture your eyes with bad painting and bad photography! In this case, it's a few more models from the 28mm Demons and Devils Kickstarter by Center Stage Miniatures.

Horned Devil 1

Ah, my camera skills continue to, what is the word? Ah yes, suck. This happy little fellow is metal and comes in five parts. The left hand holding the fork is one piece, each wing is one separate piece, the main body, and the base.

Assembly is probably best done with a pin vice. The wings, at least on my model, did not have any plugs for the holes in the devil's back. This required some brass rod and some drilling. The hand was flat enough that it could benefit from pinning, but I did not go that route.

The base is a 40mm one I believe. I didn't size comparison it to the one from Moloch or any of the other big boys.

In terms of appearance, I know that most players from say, 3rd edition on are going to wonder what type of Horned Devil is this supposed to be? The answer, like some of the other bits of inspiration, comes from Advanced Dungeons and Dragons 1st edition. The pose here is very similar to the one in the Monster Manual although it doesn't have the scales.

Horned Devil 2

Now this one, despite my terrible camera skills, is probably what most people are expecting. The scaled version with the metal whip.

Each wing is a separate piece. Each wing, is in my opinion, too big. You might not notice it from the white background here, but those wings are touching the ground. I thought they would be too heavy to be in a mid air pose. They do come with slots and pins but could probably be further strengthened. I went the lazy route of course.

The head is another separate piece.

Each hand is a separate piece and the wrists are a little large for the hands. If you have the hands turned out like I do however, no one is going to know unless they look at it from the side.

The chain in each hand is attached to the hand proper and the links do not connect but each piece is thin enough that it should prove easy to quickly bend them into place. Gluing them might give them extra strength but I didn't see the need in this case.

The base is also separate here and again, I believe that it's a 40mm base.

I imagine that in resin, this guy would be a snap to put together. The winds weight wouldn't be an issue for example. The only negative I can think of would be how easy the chain was to bend into place.

The flash and mold lines were minimal on the figure. I could probably have done some more clean up on the wrists to blend the separate hands to the arms but again that whole I'm lazy thing hits. Details were well sculpted and someone with a lot of patience could really make the various scales pop.

On the Center Stage Miniatures website for example, is a very nicely painted version that's much darker then mine with a lava style base. This one is very modestly priced at $14.95. Good thing too as they are often encountered in groups!

In both instances I went with the Vallejo base and the Games Workshop multi-generational red paints.

Going through the red quite a bit with this Kickstarter!


Federico Genovese whose responsible for many figures in the Center Stage Miniatures Kickstarter I believe did both of these.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Moloch from Center Stage Miniatures

Among the various Kickstarter projects that I have backed, the miniatures from Center Stage Miniatures 28mm Demons & Devils recently arrived. Among them was Moloch, one of the arch devils that has been in the Dungeons and Dragons pantheons for a long time.

The bad news for me was that I couldn't find anything that resembled this miniature in terms of design. Mind you, that isn't a knock against the miniature itself. When I first review a miniature, I tend to look it over in terms of what color I'm going to paint it. When say comparing this version of Moloch against Frog God Games and their version from the Complete Tome of Horrors, there is no match. When looking at Paizo and their version? Man, I WISH this looked like that version. That artist did a Moloch who is a gigantic armored tank.

Throwing a quick edit in here to note that thanks to a kind hearted soul, I've been informed that the look here is inspired by the Moloch from the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Monster Manual II or yesteryear lore. Strangely enough, while I still have my Monster Manual I for AD&D, my II has long since passed this world. Maybe we'll get lucky and WoTC will do a premium reprint of that since they did Unearthed Arcana.

Mind you, there is nothing wrong with this version. Federico Genovese who I believe sculpted this puppy, did a great job of providing the buyer with a large resin miniature on a 50mm base. The muscle tone is well crafted and the lack of extraneous things like dozens of belt buckles, pouches, daggers, skulls, chains, and other bits that seem so common to some sculptors are thankfully missing here.

The miniature is three pieces. The main body contains head, torso, left arm and both legs. The base is a separate piece that you will need a knife to cut open to insert the tabbed figure into. The right hand holding the flaming whip, Moloch's signature weapon, is a separate piece. Because it is resin, it's a light weight piece and doesn't necessarily need to be pinned, but wouldn't be hurt by pinning.

Clean up on the miniature was minimal. I did clean the tab a bit to insure a proper fit and a few snips on the bracers but that was essentially it.

I primed the figure with Vallejo German Red-Brown and followed up with three generations of Citadel paint. I provided a almost complete basecoast of Mechrite Red, one of the 'new' Foundation paints. I then used in lesser degree, Mephiston red, the new paint. The final layer was Blood Red, one of the oldest paints by Games Workshop that I still own but still in the small bottles. The gold was done with Vallejo Alcohol gold with a wash of GW's Sepia and more GW pain for the talons and teeth and whip. I made the eyes a dark blue because I read either in the Tome of Horrors or the Paizo book of the Hells that his eyes were blue.

While I could have thrown a few washes on him to darken the red or a few coats of red ink to enhance the red tone overall, since I don't have any planes for Moloch to be a power players in any games any time soon and I just wanted a 'win' in the complete column, I was happy to finish him off at this stage.

The base is Army Painter flock with army painter tufts. I do have the Games Workshop ones, but for some reason the glue on the bottom of those continues to stick out like a sore thumb after their put down and unless their put down first, it is really a sorry site to see. I gave the dark gravel a few drybrushes of progressively lighter grays to give it some contrast.

While I may not use this figure as Moloch proper, depending on what setting I run next, if ever, I would have no problem using this figure, which fits snuggly on its 50mm base as a chaos giant say, one of the variants from Mayfair's old Role Aid line that were corrupted titans, or a fire giant wizard or even a effereti or some other type of otherworldly servant. While it doesn't scream Moloch to me, it does scream big friggin miniature.

I'm working on a few others now including the two Horned Devils and others. Has anyone else started working on their Center Stage Miniatures backlog? Any favorites thus far? Any avoid at all costs? Any assembly problems?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tome of Horrors Miniatures I'd Like To See for next Kickstarter

Well, the Center Stage Miniatures company seems to be on the right track. A lot of people, including myself, have received their goods from the first Kickstarter as well as other things, like the gigantic frog demon that was up for preorder.

But they've already given the backers of the Tome of Horrors a quick heads up that it's going to be late AFTER they asked everyone to finalize their orders and collected funds for shipping and handling.

That part there pisses me off. It means their sitting on money that they know they're not going to use for months. Don't misunderstand me, it's not just Center Stage Miniatures that's done that particular bit. "Well, you know, we want to make sure that we have everything in place" is a perfectly valid thing if you know, you're shipping out on time or soon after that. It's not quite so useful if you're shipping out months and months after that.

Anyway, enough belly aching. I was looking at Moloch from the Center Stage 28mm Demons and Devil's Kickstarter. Yeah, probably won't be using him as Moloch as it doesn't match the version from the Tome of Horrors nor the one from Pathfinder. The one from Pathfinder by the way, is visually very kick ass.

But as I wandered through the Tome of Horrors Complete, I thought, man, there are still a lot of monsters I want to see.

Adherer: I know, you can always use a mummy for this, but hey, the reverse is also true. You can use an adherer for a mummy!

Cat Lord: Human and Panther Form.

Bat: Mobat or doombat. I need more giant bats damn it.

Colossus Jade: Man, that lord of demons they did for the 28mm thing in resin is fantastic. If they can get the same guy to do the Jade Colossus as they did that sucker it would be fantastic but a hell of an add on. A center piece for sure.

Demonic Knight: aka the Death Knight. The one in the book has a great look and if the picture is captured in metal, it would make a great leader type in Warhammer and other fantasy games.

I would go into devils, but the Unique Devils section of Tome of Horrors deserves its own Kick Starter as there are so many great illustrations and personalities there.

Elemental Dragon Water and Air not because they look awesome or fill out some unique niche in the game, but seeing the glass drake that Center Stage Miniatures did for their Tome of Horrors Kickstarter, I can easily see a blue resin and another clear resin miniature that would both bee awesome.

Flind: Hey, we need a leader for the gnolls that Center Stage Miniature first put out exclusively through Facebook right?

Giant: All. Hey, I'm a fan of the old Grenadier Giant of the Month and wish I managed to keep those from when I was a young man. Wood Giant? Awesome. Make it so.

Golem: There are a few I like. For example, the Mummy Golem. With some ancient Egyptian styling, I can see this going to a Tomb Lords game for example.

Half-Ogre: If they could capture the picture, I'd be down for that one. He looks like a trouble maker I say!

Huggermugger: A small humanoid with swords? Yeah. Could be used for quite a few things like halflings, gnomes, and other small races.

Ronus: These are egale headed hounds You would need a pack of them though. Great combination and reminds me of some of the monsters from Michael Moorcock's Elric saga via the Dharzi Hunting dogs.

Skeleton Warrior: A classic and easy to use for other purposes.

The N'gathau: Really these guys deserve their own Kickstarter. Some very Hellraiser inspired bits here.

Mind you, I haven't picked up the new Tome of Horrors and there are a lot of things I left out of here that would be a PIA to make due to their size or simply because I'll probably revise the subject yet again when/if another Kickstarter comes around.

How about other people Any particular monsters you want to see sculpted from the old Tome?

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Center Stage Miniatures: Fog Giant, Mountain Giant, Friblog Giant Reviews

The above represent three figures I received from Center Stage Miniatures for their 28mm Demons and Devil Kickstarter. But Joe I hear you say, those aren't demons, their giants! Yes, I ordered some of the existing stock. I have a fondness for giants but due to their size, their often very expensive. The Kickstarter had them for a nice sale price. Note the Fog Giant is missing but from left to right we have the mountain giant and two friblogs. The friblogs are a little tall for my taste as my recollection of them is kind of like 'noble hill giants' but not quite so stupid. The mountain giant on the other hand is a nice side.

My problem if you will in the sculpts is the wide leg stance on the mountain giant and the middle friblog. The fog giant has the same 'issue'. Mind you, this isn't a problem in terms of the pose. I find them all in good stance. The problem is that the width of the leg stance forces them to go on larger and ever larger bases which I could hold off on when possible.

The figures are light on detail. This means that their quick to paint. I got the set Monday and finished these four off today. I love some figures from Werne and Tre but man, belt buckles, skulls, ropes, straps, bones, and lord knows what else are hanging from them. These have a few pouches and belt but nothing crazy.

In terms of figure preparation, they were 'dirty'. It wasn't lead rot, they weren't crumbling or anything like that, but there was a lot of mold release agent or something on them. I would recommend some fine sandpaper, some files for the easily reached areas and a nice wash of warm water and soap. I probably could have did a better job on these guys in terms of cleaning but

For assembly, each figure had one connection point except the fog giant. For the fog giant, it was the hands to the two handed sword. The body and legs, up to the pelvis, are also separate. Pinning that would make for a good strong connection. For the mountain giant, it was the arm with the club. The shoulder attaches to the body. For a good attachment, you might want to pin it. I brushed it down with sandpaper on both contact sides and just used the old superglue. The club runs along the shoulder so I popped some glue there as well. In all cases the fit was fine and didn't require any massive playing with or chopping or green stuff. For a lazy person like me, that's vital. I want to assemble and paint not assemble assemble assemble.

The middle friblog is similar with a join in the hand and leaning against the shoulder. The third one has two contact points, one for the hand to the wrist and one for the sword point to a point in the base itself.

Here we see the same figures, again minus the fog giant. The reason these three are together? Army Painter Barbarian Flesh primer. It's a great thing that you can just spray over the whole figure. Perfect for when the majority of the figure is one color, as in the case a lot of these figures were.

And as we see, I still can't take a picture to save my life. The flesh is mainly a few washes of Ogryn Flesh and Delvan Mud from GW with a few touch ups of the medium flesh color.

Regretably, more dark photos. It's like the three lights I have on top of them are not shedding normal light or something.

The fog giant is the largest of the bunch. He's also the one I used the least amount of actual paint on. His flesh is a light blue primer from Vallejo, followed up with some white primer. The armor is the old GW blue wash a few times with the studs picked out. The hair has nuln black wash thinned down while the belt is nuln black wash without being thinned down. The flesh was washed with the same blue wash but thinned down again to make it less blue.

With the right primer, you can cut out quite a few steps. The only thing? If using washes like I did to 'paint' the figure, be sure to put some protection on it between painting. I knocked the fog giant down once and rubbed off a whole bunch of ink causing me to have to repeat the layering process on those parts.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Tools of the Trade

Happy Seppuku delivered their Kickstarter on time. This is a solid thing in my opinion. There are other Kickstarters I've backed that have not only failed to provide the material on time, but have been completely wrong in terms of when their product would deliver. In some instances this has been almost insulting because the people doing it  are either stupid, which I don't believe, or they simply have no idea that their ability to communicate through text is only well, through text. There is no visual cue, there is no method of seeing the physical expression or other methods that make up the majority of communication, so they come across as crass or stupid.

But in the meanwhile, the Happy Seppuku material is here. I haven't given the molds a go through yet. I'm looking for some new figures to base prior to that and it shouldn't be too hard to do so.

In another corner of the hobby, Games Workshop has come out with some new technical paints. There are numerous reviews on them. A lot of them boil down to "it's good stuff" which essentially means that if you, like me, are lazy and want a quick solution to what the technical paints do, they are perfect, if expensive, for what they do.

All in all, it's a good time to have miniatures to paint and bases to work on.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Kickstarter Tempations and Idle Musings

As of this writing, Bones 2, a Reaper Kickstarter to make more miniatures in their special plastic, is on it's last day. It's doing fantastic. It remains to be seen if it does better than the previous one, but by almost any measure outside of that, it's doing great.

I myself am not THAT impressed with Reaper though. Mind you, it's not that they didn't deliver, but they had a lot of the same problems other companies did with their KS.

1. Poor communication when things weren't going perfectly. At one point they told the backers outside US that they didn't have to ship them their products. WTF Reaper.

2. Metal miniatures have died. In my gut, I knew this was going to happen. I paid for the Metal for a Year after specifically asking, "So with all the Bones Plastic stuff coming out, are you going to be able to handle making metal miniatures still? "Oh yeah, no problem. 12-15 a month per normal." Nada for many months. I'm hopeful that metal miniatures will make a comeback during the "China is working on this part of it" phase but now that Reaper has at least one machine in their own factory, someone's got to man that sucker too right?

3. Bones are not for everyone. Reaper oversold a few of the points of Bones like the detail. Several figures were pulled for Q&A issues. Many more simply don't have the details in them that the metal versions do. There is also the bendy weapon or part issue. There is also the "hey, my paint isn't adhering to the miniature" or "my primer is wet and sticky three days later." Minor issues but when you're selling something that's supposed to be paint and play right outside the box with no primer and with the same detail as metal for a fraction of the cost? Yeah, potential problems.

4. The cases had problems. I didn't have the glue issue that a lot of people had, but they were way too damn small. It's like Reaper said, "Hey, miniatures are still true 25mm right?" Thankfully I have a lot of miniatures that are either old or small, like bugs, goblins, and giant rats, so they went into those boxes.

5. Miscellaneous. People may not be happy with the selection, people may not think they're getting as good a deal as last year, people may still have figures from last KS that they haven't even looked at, etc... etc... etc...

Now, having said all of that, I'm down with it. The figures are very affordable and provide you a chance to dabble in genres you might not normally do so. In addition, there are a lot of NEW figures and until Reaper picks up their metal again, if they ever do, well, this is a quick way to get them.

Now supporting this KS? That in and of itself is a problem.

You see, there are other Kickstarters I'd like to be down with as well. And honestly, a lot of people told the companies, "Hey, Reaper is doing Bones 2 about now. You should wait." and for the most part, the response was something like, "Well, there's always going to be another Kickstarter around the corner."

And to be fair, there is a certain amount of truth in that statement. For example, Darklands by Mierce Miniatures just finished up. That took in over $100K, more like $150K with conversion in there. Mars Attacks is another one out there right now. 

Another one, Jounrey:Wrath of Demons, is a board game with some awesome looking figures. It's doing fantastic.

But having said that, NONE of them are sucking the air out of the room like Reaper is. If you're a smaller fringe company whose figures are going to be competing with Reaper for say, Fantasy stylings, you wait. End of discussion. Well, end of discussion if you're really on the fringe and haven't blown past your previous Kickstarters with huge strides eh?

For those I'd like to support...I'd love to support ShadowSea. It's based on the Song of Blades and Heroes engine and I've had previous editions and a lot of the miniatures. I've supported previous Kickstarters and unlike some companies, the guys here are pretty clear in the communications and get things done in a fairly timely manner. But... ah, the dreaded but... It's no huge bargain at the base prices. It's not that the prices are terrible. This is especially true considering the great detail and high quality of the sculpts. It's that well, it's expensive. This is where doing it later would have benefited them. I can't say that the totals have been directly effected by Reaper's KS but I'd be willing to bet money on it.

Another one, Elven Adventurers, is by a company that did two previous KickStarters and did a fantastic job with them. I'd like to support them but... well, I'm not 'feeling' it. The elves are a little goofy and they've throw in all sorts of weird mini-stretch goals that are popular, but aren't necessarily my cup of tea. They're funded too so I don't feel too bad about it.

The other problem in terms of money, is well, the real world sometimes has stuff on sale!  For example, Fantization is one of my "to go to" shops when I need something. They are carrying Scale 75 paint. I like the paint line. They are having a 20% sale. Well, bam, there goes some money. Money that could have went to another Kickstarter.

It's why I'm amused when people talk about not budgeting for Kickstarters. Yeah, you can not budget to pay the rent either. See how far that gets you. I'm not saying you have to spend X amount or Y amount, but if you don't know how much you're spending and aren't keeping track of things, it's an easy way to get into trouble.

Me? It looks like Reaper is allowing you to add to your pledge up to December 20th so I may go with just the Vampire level and try to support Shadowsea, but even so, it's going to be a close one.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Not Quite a Battlereport

I finally managed to drag my sorry ass out of the apartment to play a game of Warmachine at the dreaded Dice Dojo. Public parking wasn’t bad but I did forget to add money to the meter. I think Chicago is at the point where you have to keep feeding those bastards till midnight or something in exchange for them not slapping your face on Sunday. That may not have went through yet either though. The good news is that I didn’t get a ticket. That would have stunk.

I watched a game at first between a Cygnar force with a lot of mercenaries and a Retribution force. It was interesting to sit back and watch because I’ve played so few games. It’s also interesting to note that sometimes even a game between experienced people can become a grind.

Another thing I enjoy about watching games, is that you get to see how other people paint up their miniatures. I’m a lazy SOB when it comes to picking out the colors and will almost always go with the ‘standard’ colors. In the Retribution case that meant a lot of white. The guy I was watching? He went with a dark red kind of purple color with black. Worked fantastic. I thought he might have used an airbrush on it but nope, just a lot of glazes. Another reason it’s important to see these things so you can know what’s going on in terms of what people are doing.

Lastly, I noticed that the people playing were using cards with clear backs. That should be a no-brainer but alas, I am senile and didn’t think about that. Mind you that’s not really that important for me as I not only have the cards, but have the program for Android that keeps all the cards for me.

I then went into the actual store itself. I like to try and buy something when I’m doing some gaming in the store. I picked up a heavy warjack for my Retribution forces that I'll turn into a Hydra. I should be like some of the others and just do the whole magnet thing but in this case, the power progression list (from No Quarter 34, back in the day!) has two different models so it would be hard to swap out with a magnet regardless if I need them both on the table.

After going back into the room, John offered to play a game with me. I brought enough figures to hit 15, 25 or 35 points. Mind you my actual game experience is minimal so I’m always hoping to do some low point games just to get the feel of it. Not only that, but those low point games tend to run quicker as well. John wanted a 35 point game though so that he could practice. I figure what the heck, I brought it, might as well use it.
There's John during the set up calmly mocking my own quick set up of Retribution forces.

Taking out the mage hunter commander, a unit attachment for the mage hunters, I notice that while in storage, his crossbow arm has popped out. I have yet to fix him. Felix, a far greater master of these games than I, mentioned to me his dislike of that particular figure due to its wide stance. Takes up too much room and the connection point isn’t that deep. I’m going to agree with young man on that one.

The game was a good learning experience. John was running Circle and stomped me into the group. Part of that was my fault, but ironically enough, John messed up a few bits himself so the beating could have been much worse.

Let’s see if I can remember bits that I could have done better.

Well, first off, having a ‘standard’ list with Mage Hunters on it playing against someone using Hordes isn’t that greatest. You lose on of their special features, the extra die on damage against War Jacks. That taught me I should have an alternative prepared if I’m going to be playing people who have Hordes list.

Second off, I didn’t use the Mage Hunters enough. I had them essentially hiding in the mountains. It worked well in terms of providing some cover and what not, but since John had a unit attachment that allowed his forces to regroup after attacking, that was pretty useless overall.

Another aspect was not getting my War Caster in there enough. I was moving along the other side of the board from my two units and thought I could get John in a pincer type move. That failed horribly. Well, not horribly really. It just wasn’t effective.

My war Caster has stealth and I was camped on some serious focus when doing part of the crawl and managed to survive many an attack that way. But I just couldn’t get in range of the enemy enough to do them any serious harm.

Which gets to the other thing I learned. I had a Manticore up against Megalith or whatever that big Stone Walden is called. Massive defensive on that guy. My Manticore actually had a spell on it that would allow it to get to make another attack if it missed. I had three focus on it at the time and instead of say, boosting damage, I boosted my number of attacks. All three hit but all three bounced off of that big boy. Next time, spending focus on damage boost to get some potential damage going on there.

John won by War Caster kill, which was the ‘scenario’ we were going at. He wiped out my mage hunters and my Invictors but I still had all three war jacks as well as a House Shyeel Magister. If I had kept the group a little more together it may have been a slightly different game. I might have taken out a few more of his units . As it was I think I got most of one of his Tharn units. That whole stealth thing is a nice two way street where if the enemy and you have it, it becomes a bit of a hunt and hide.

I’ll be putting that other heavy jack together soon and thinking about some heavy hitters in terms of damage for the poor Retribution.

The good news though, is even though John stomped me into yesteryear, he didn’t it in a gloating fashion. After the game he provided a few bits of advice, such as when I should have popped my caster’s feat. His army was quite heavily into the magic. He also encouraged me to move things around if he thought it was going to be a complete catastrophe for me such as when he thought my War Caster was going to get snipped crossing the field.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fiend From The Pit by Center Stage Miniatures

I had the pleasure of busting the chops of the main man responsible for Center Stage Miniatures at Gen Con this year. In exchange for my ribbing on the late 28mm Demons and Devils KS, and the fact that I used to actually do a lot of reviews back in 'da day', he provided me with an advance copy of Fiend from the Pit. Seeing that puppy's price on the Center Stage Miniature website reminds me of what a fantastic deal everyone got in terms of metal miniatures.

So what do you get when you buy, or receive this sucker?

First off, from what I understand, we'll receive our Kickstarter miniatures similar to this. Much like Bones, we're not getting full packaging. That's okay as extra packaging just means more stuff to throw out at the end of it all.

Breaking it out of the packaging, we have a main body with a tab. A tail. A head. Three wings. At first I thought that it was a mispack. I mean three wings? Especially if you look at the painted image at the Center Stage Miniature website.

Nope. Two of those wings glue together.


Let me repeat myself, ugh.

I would place this model at an intermediate to advance modeler pick. The head pops on with no problem. The wings do have studs that join to the back. The problem is that there isn't a lot of space molded to the wing outside of that stud. I'll probably add green stuff to support it.

The hand with the mace is a flat surface. You should probably pin that SOB or you're going to suffer.

The tail on the bottom? Another flat surface. Again, you should probably pin that.

In terms of putting the wings together? Man, there was a ton of bending on both wings to get it lined up fairly decently. I would love to see a tutorial on this. I am however, now terrified that other miniatures with wings will have the wings split like this and to be honest, I don't see a good reason for it. The other wing looks great. There's the join problem, but hey, this multi-piece wing has the same problem. To me it's just plain old bad design.


I snagged a few different shots of the miniature. I threw him on a resin base. It's not that the round lipped base it came with didn't fit but since I already had it out as I was considering putting it on one of them but didn't want to cut all that base work out... it wound up here.

In terms of sculpting... I'd have a hard time justifying paying the full price knowing what a PIA it is to assemble. Don't get me wrong, it's not impossible. I used some Kick Zap or Zap a Gap or whatever it's called because I hate assembling in the first place. But after playing with the Reaper Bones, which are all slotted? Oh yeah, this became an exercise in F*&*! you!

I've gone in to edit the post. I realized that I was a bit too down on it because of my anger at the assembly process. In doing so, I failed to note some of the other bits that are important to people.

Mold lines were invisible. This must be a very fresh miniature from the mold. I didn't have any clean up in that aspect. In terms of flack and excess from the vents? Minimal. Some on the wings and on the inside of the arm with the fire ball but very minor, very easy to clean and very quick to fix. If the other models in the series come this clean and ready to go, it'll make up for a lot of the short comings of the design.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Malifaux: Plastic Versus Metal Round 2

First off, another big thanks to Miniature Market. With the recent introduction of Malifaux 2e, and all of the new sculpts of old figures, done up in plastic, Miniature Market saw the writing on the wall and put an immediate 50% off sale. I picked up quite a bit of stuff, mainly in bases and some larger figures that I wanted to use as monsters. The order was quickly delivered and came at 100% fill rate. So again, thanks to the employees of Miniature Market. Good job again.

Speaking of monsters, some of those I picked up included Ama No Zako, a large plastic piece and the Avatar of Vengeance, a large metal piece.

I put them on some of the 'fancy' bases I picked up in the sale as well.

Now in terms of pieces, the plastic one has something like fourteen separate pieces. The metal one? The main body is like four. Add in the figure it's rising out of and the hand and we're at like six? In terms of ease of assembly, not bad on either of them but I find that super glue tends to have a melting effect on the plastic. On the official forums I've seen it suggested that Gorilla Glue is the answer. I'll have to check that out soon.

Ama No Zako, the big oni looking thing, is regularly priced at $16. Kirai, the avatar of vengeance, is $30. This is a plus of the plastic. The last time I compared plastic and metal, the metal was actually less expensive. Might be a result of the metal figure here being newer and having a more 'realistic' price.

Height wise, Ama No Zako also towers over the Avatar by at least a head.

But in terms of detail?

Let's take the hair for example.

We can easily see numerous different strands of hair. Different lengths. Different flow. Different depths.

Here not so much. There are a few individual strands that poke out.

How about cloth?

Again, lots of difference here. Lots of raised areas. Lots of uneven curves like cloth might have.

And the plastic? Again, very smooth with a few folds in the material.

Mind you, I'm not saying it's impossible to paint smooth surfaces or anything of that nature. I am saying that I find it visually boring. I find it a step back in progress. That this multi-pieced plastic figure could have a lot more potential if it actually had some more character as opposed to the smoothness of the plastic.

I'll be looking to try out some more plastic as time goes on but the metal buyout on my part from Miniature Market insures that I'll have plenty of metal to come for a long time.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Red Box Zombies Finished

Sixteen zombies done! These are Trollcast material by Troll Forged Miniatures. They have a lot of detail to them. Lots of folds and clear distinction for fingers, eyes, and noses. Something that the Reaper Bones material sometimes failed to have. They are also light and easy to cut although I didn't try any modifications.

The only problem is that they are small.

Here we have two zombies. I picked one in a bent position and one standing straight up. The cleric is an old Grenadier figure from the 80's. The one next to it a Games Workshop Lord of the Ring Figure. The next three are all Red Box figures. I included them because Tre mentioned that his zombies were in keeping with his own sizing. I didn't think so based on my previous painting of Red Box figures and well, maybe the height is there but they fail, in my opinion, in terms of viability due to the sheer thinness.

I know that they're zombies. I know that they should be emaciated and narrow but as miniatures, even with other figures against the same company, they appear off. I wonder if they 'shrank' in the process of being cast in Troll Cast. Anyone have any metal ones they can do a comparison with? It could also just be the in close stance that most of them have. No arms wide open here. No zombies with weapons. No zombies with lots of clothes. Just lots of bare chested, arms at the side, slouching zombies.

Not a problem for me as I'll probably wind up using them as minions or something along those ranks whenever I get around to doing some role playing again as Red Box, at least at this time, doesn't have it's own skirmish game.

Anyone finish their Red Box stuff? I'm waiting on stuff from the second successful Kickstarter so hopefully I'll be painting up some weird monsters soon!

Reaper Bones Kickstarter: Reflections

Before the Kickstarter, I had painted some Repaer Bones and posted the work at the old 52 Miniatures 52 Weeks. I found it to be relatively inexpensive and fair detail. Took to the paint well. The larger figures seemed better off while the smaller figures lost some detail.

During the pledge, I saw an opportunity, like many, to get many figures for a good value. Being someone whose already painted them, I spoke up about my experiences with the material where I could and what primers and paint I'd used on them.

I was a backer of Reaper at the very high levels. I went with the get the metal for a year deal. I did this because I specifically asked, "Hey, with the whole Bones thing coming along, what's up with metal?" and was informed that "No dude, we're awesome and it's going to be like metal Nirvana for the next year. So much awesome." Not quite but it was assured that the regular release schedule would be kept up in metal.

So let's look over what actually happened?

First off, there was some bit where the shipments were supposed to be broken out and there were some problems with that. I didn't pay attention to that because it didn't really effect me.

Then the metal figures were initially late, but Reaper made good on that by sending all the back log of stuff that had come out. Thumbs up!

Then the metal figures stopped and Reaper was like, "Dude, we are not as awesome as we thought but we will be awesome again real soon or... you can take what's behind door #2!" I like metal miniatures so I stuck with the year of metal that will hopefully one day continue. It's not like Reaper has stopped making metal miniatures as they have rereleased the old Doom miniatures and even done some stuff for Monte for his Numera game. I've always appreciated the fact that Monte usually tries to get some miniatures done for his RPGs.

My initial shipment arrived, late as usual for a Kickstarter and I didn't even go through it until Reaper had finished. I knew that they would be bombed with a ton of issues from doing this whole scale thing.

When I finally did go through it, I was amused and angry and baffled. All of my add ons were present but my actual Vampire level pledge was not. When I asked about it, it was immediately correctly. Apparently some people at my level got passed over on the actual Vampire pledge. I wondered why, since there were only a handful of us, Reaper didn't get in direct contact with us and go, "Hey man, is everything all right? We know that you're at a particular pledge level that has some potential difficulties and just wanted to check in on you." But whatever.

In terms of the actual miniatures themselves?

Quality is all over the place. I guess there were enough of them with complaints that some figures have been pulled entirely. The biggest problem seems to be the noses. Some of the figures just don't plain have their noses at all. Flat and smooth features. At the same time, there are still people jumping into the air screaming that there are no quality issues. Look dudes and dudettes, you're not doing Reaper any favors by spreading false information out there. There is a loss of detail. In some cases a significant loss of detail.

There is also the wacky factor or pieces bent backwards. This is relatively easy to handle for the most part though as long as you have access to very hot and very cold water you can bend them back. Sometimes its more tricky with the larger figures as you have to figure out where you want it to be when its done.

The material takes well to glue though. It's also easy to cut or modify. I know this as I've cut a few off of their bases and glued them onto other bases. The glue actually seems stronger than the material at that point as when I cut too high on a foot and then had to go back in and cut the rest of the food off and misplaced where the foot and ankle should met and was like... nope, it's stuck and this is a hell of a bond so freak ankle it is.

Another nice thing is that a lot of these are one piece figures. Even where before it might have been multiple pieces, it's now, or at least arriving as, one piece. Makes assembly a much easier thing. My frustration level with Malifaux and their terrible plastic is very high so taking a few minutes out to play with some single piece figures makes my painting day.

Satisfaction level overall? High. There are so many figures with so much potential in there that I'm going to be spoiled for options for a long time. The price and affordability are what really sells it. I'll be curious to see how they do in the retail level if the quality control issues are there in the same level.

At the same time, Reaper has pulled their P65 line. I believe it's P65? Their old 'formula' so to speak that wasn't as costly to Reaper in terms of what their figures were made out of. Bones will probably replace that for sure in the future. Good material for that as there are a ton of large figures that will not lose a lot of detail due to scale and will hopefully be more affordable.

I can't see this stuff becoming a 'painter's' choice of figure medium though. It's just not crisp enough. Now that may change in the future, but for example Trollcast? There is some fantastic detail in that material even though the guy doing it is having issues getting it onto painter's hands. Resin will probably be the medium of choice for 'high end' stuff for a while though. This doesn't mean that there aren't uses and fun stuff with metal still.

I myself may go back and buy some of the figures I have in Bones in metal after it's all said and done. Like I said, the loss of detail on some of them is high.

I think that in the future, if there are going to be 'exclusive' Bones figures, that they will need to be designed more 'old school'. Minimize the buttons, the buckles, the straps, the pouches, the elaborate hilts, the numerous pieces of clothing that go no where. The old '80's' look of Citadel for example might be perfect for these as they were often one piece figures with exaggerated poses and stances.

At Gen Con 2013, I heard that Reaper is doing Bones 2 very soon. I'm actually kind of surprised. I thought that they may go a few months normal mode to catch up on everything. I've heard complaints for a few online retailers about the customer service levels but I personally haven't had any issues with them so take it with the internet grain of salt.

I haven't backed a few miniature projects that I was very interested in to see what Reaper will be offering. If the value is similar, not even as good mind you, but similar, to what they did with the initial Bones Kickstarter, I'll be in. Mind you I won't back any 'metal' pledges because I've still got many moons left on my metal pledge but anything else is fair game.

How about other people? I know that the off shore backers aren't happy and I'm wondering if they'll be back for a second round? Any other metal for a year people that stuck with the actual metal for a year? What's your experience been with the material? Buy more or forget it?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Red Box Kickstarter Troll Cast Zombies are Tiny eh?

When I unpacked my zombies from the Red Box first Kickstarter, I was a little concerned with how small they appeared. I was able to pop then onto their tiny round bases and clean them up pretty easily. You also got twice the amount of rank for the same price as one of the standard ranks so that was good.

I ranked up some miniatures from various companies. I made sure that the front of the bases were all approximately at the same 'start' point so that distortion from distance from front to back wasn't causing the issue. When you're a modern figure on a 30mm base, having some lip of the base while the body is back can cause some scale visual issues on photos. So above the front of the bases all line up if you used a ruler.

So from left to right...

Snake Man priest, true 25 mm.

Red Box Kickstarter Troll Cast Zombie.

Retribution Elf Mechanic.

Malifaux Guild Member.

Games Workshop Wight Lord (Old Krell figure)\

Dark Sword classic style wizard.

That Red Box kickstarter figure is just a tad taller than the true 25mm snake man.

The good news is that there are a lot of unique sculpts in the zombie range.

Further good news is that the details are crisp and clear.

Even more good news is that they are easy to clean up.

Bad news? Way too small. I don't know if that was a result of the switch but I've had other Red Box figures and I don't recall them being this tiny. Sure, they might be 'true' 28mm figures but the dwarves for example often blend in well with say some of the Reaper dwarves that aren't in the Warlord Range and some of the older Games Workshop stuff.

These zombies? No way man. Far too small. Great news for those running true 25mm thought and looking for some hordes. They were cheap. It was like two ranks for the price of one. Hate the small sized bases too. Like smaller than 20mm. Probably... 15mm round?

I'm looking forward to seeing how they take primer and paint next.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

The New Hawt Is Not Quality Indictative

It should be no secret that I've backed many a Kickstarter with a miniature theme going on. Some I haven't backed not because the product didn't look good but because I simply didn't have the money. Damn you semi-middle wage earnings!
One of the things I notice though is that there is a lot of 'love' for miniatures that are new simply for no other reason than it's new. I can understand that. It's one of the reasons why role playing games change editions and why new editions of various old books come out with new covers, new introductions, new bonus chapters of the guy's next book, etc...
However, sometimes it's best to remember where things came from. For example, Danithal, Elven Warlord, is a little over ten years old. I've owned him for about that long. A great sculpt by Werner Klocke that has a lot of his tell tale detailing but unlike some of his Freebooter's Fate material, is NOT overburdened with it. He was a three piece figure, base, body, and right hand that I finally assembled and put together and painted.
I was getting a little tired of the angry elves of Warmachine as well as their round bases and wanted something a little more traditional. I used the painted image for some inspiration because honestly these days, choosing a color scheme takes me more time than it does to paint. Still, glad to have him done. He's a great figure. He's actually taller I think, that a lot of the Freebooter stuff.
Another miniature by Werner is Lurg. Right now he's listed at a ridiculously low price of $4.99. He has a little bit more of the 'fiddy' bits I was talking about that the elf doesn't have. Belt straps, buckles, and a host of other things like a body wrapping scrap. Must be an old Doctor Who fan or something.
This was another instance in which I used the painted figure as a quick guide. You can tell mine is old because that base there? That's sculpted onto the base itself and came with the figure. Now it's probably a bland plastic base while mine was metal. Adds a nice weight to the figure.  While I didn't have an urge to continue to stay away from Privateer Press models or anything, I did have him primed for a looooong time and figured while I was working on one Reaper Warlord figure, I might as well work on both of them since he was already out. I'll probably touch up the base a little more and he'll be good to go.
Anyway, my point is that while there are some fantastic figures coming out, and it seems there are more and more of them, don't forget your already existing collecting. Don't forget that some of the older figures that are already out there may be less expensive and better sculpted than the current or new ones coming out.
Good painting!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

1650 and Mantic Second Wave in de House

My 1650 miniatures from the Indiegogo finally made it in. Expected September 2012 and well, not quite a year later but here we are. The figures look fantastic. Damnably fantastic. Like so fantastic I will actually be tempted to back anything else they do if it appears to be of the same quality.

On the other hand, my Mantic games second wave of stuff also showed up. I wasn't expected it and had completely forgotten about it so yeah, I'm good with that.

Both however, do showcase some of the weaknesses of supporting a Kickstarter. I've mentioned this before but... the person you are when you first place the order, is not necessarily the person you will be by the time the stuff arrives.

That new 'hawtness' that you fell in love with? Well it's probably going to be replaced by something else at before the material even gets to you.

Another thing to consider, is what is your time schedule looking like down that road? I know some people who were expecting and were like, "Oh my god! What have I done!" and some of that stuff has either gone into storage, been traded to friends, sold via blogs or gone into good old E-Bay.

There's a lot of great stuff out there. Just try to keep in mind where you're at in your life now, try to think where you'll be at in the future, and try to save a few bucks in case something that you're already playing decides to come along and offer numerous exclusive figures well before they hit the store shelves eh?

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Reaper Bones In da House

A large 16+ pound package arrived the other day.

I still have no opened it.

I'm desperately trying to finish off some Warmachine Retribution and Mercenary figures as well as a few Hordes minions bits. This doesn't count the starter set for Hordes that I bought and remains unopened, the various Redbox miniatures from the first Kickstarter, and other bits.

The problem with things showing up late is the potential back log of moving onto other things in the meantime or having other projects that should have been out, also hit at the same time.

On the other hand, having too much to paint? That's a good problem. Maybe I'll do a video bit when I open the box and start the dreaded inspection...

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

July Sales and Kudos

I may have mentioned before that I've been collecting Privateer Press miniatures for years. Recently the company decided to release some of their classic units that used to be sold at minimum strength in unit sizes of maximum strength. Units like Greygore Boomhowler and Company.

I've had the six pack for years and well, it motivated me to assemble the miniatures for either RPG or future use one day. When I did so though, one of the guys was missing his battle axe. Privateer Press took care of it in a manner of days. Kudos to them for the quick no-hassle replacement.

Miniature Market is having a board game sale. I placed an order two-three days ago and it arrived already. I bought some more Privateer Press miniatures for reinforcements for my angry elves and mercs as well as the two Okko board games that were on sale. Great graphic novel series there on a fantasy style Japan setting for those interested in that vein. Solid art and good story telling.

One of the problems if you will, and it's a "first world problem", is that our hobby has so many niche specialty items, that even a great game store like Games Plus in Mount Prospect, doesn't have everything.  Mind you I was just there today and very pleased to see the new range of washes by Vallejo Paints.

Michigan Toy Soldiers though, is having a sale and they have some Andrea and Scale 75 and Lifecolor paints that I've wanted to test out.

Well, let me amend that. The Andrea paints I've used in the past are fairly solid if a little thick. You'd have to really thin them if you wanted to use them in an airbrush. The Scale75 looks like it's using a similar idea of themed colors and I've watched a few videos of Lifecolor and they look pretty solid. But you don't want to pay full price for these things right? But that's what a sale is for!

But with July 4th around the corner, we have other companies, like Fantization having a flat 20% sale. They also have some of the Andrea and Scale 75 paints as well as a good selection of materials.

In short, it's a good time to be a hobby painted so grab those brushes and batten down the hatches!

Anyone else getting in on sales while the getting is good? Leave a comment if so!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Painting, Priming, and new Kickstarters!

I like Malifaux. Let me amend that. I like the figures for Malifaux. It's another one of those games I've been collecting since it came out but never actually played. I had figures before they were actually in a faction!

I am not impressed with their move to plastic. Let me clarify. I'm not saying it's not necessary for them to do so but when the figures that come out of that are worse in almost ever fashion then existing figures? And not cheaper? Those are not good things.

Look at the detail here. The metal guy is bursting with detail in the muscles. His hood and loin cloth are well sculpted and detailed. The guy on the right? It's adequate in a 80's sort of way. The technical proficiency is there in terms of flow.

The details, when present, are also not 'deep'. The wood for example, is not a heavy grain and could easily be overpainted even with drybrushing.

The worst thing? The metal guy is as big as a large ogre and is $16.50 in metal. It has weight. The rail golem is as light as a base and costs $35.00 and in my opinion, isn't anywhere near as detail. To me, plastic isn't ready to take over. Maybe the other figures in the range are all super detailed but I think the spots that are going to benefit are going to be machine style figures that don't require a lot of sculpted detail, like cloth or muscle, and those that are all smooth, will be fantastic. Maybe I'm wrong thought and it's already changed.

If you've got the chops though, it won't matter. I've seen some fantastically able miniature painters take the figures from say, Hero Quest and do them up in an award winning style. I'm no where near that good but the air brush was good for laying down base coats and other bits.

The base under the big guy is actually a Happy Seppuku miniature mold made base. I should have reversed that. It's not like the rail golem needed the extra height or anything.

Speaking of Happy Seppuku, they are doing a Kickstarter to revisit their bases and make them better. With all of the Reaper miniatures, among others hitting the shores soon, I'm already down, even though I am dead broke. Uh. Miniatures. Love them but they is expensive.

Speaking of Kickstarter miniatures...

These two are from the Tentacles & Eyeballs one. This guy went above and beyond the call in terms of communication and, even more importantly, giving the backers MORE than they initially asked for due to the out of his control delay. That's damn fine customer service.
The miniatures themselves need some cleaning and mold lines can be a PIA with the worm thing due to the wrinkly skin, but if he does another Kickstarter, I would probably pledge.
Speaking of priming, I used my good airbrush from Badger again. Not the 'Renegade Khrome' but my Patriot 105. I'm slowly getting used to it. One of the most annoying things is the maintenance of it. Unlike say a can of primer that you have a minimum amount of prep work, cleaning and keeping things in order, is a vital necessity for an airbrush.
Still, time saving? Oh yeah.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Battlereport: Mercenaries Versus Minions

I've been wanting to play Warmachine for a long time. I've had many miniatures for the game, in unpainted form at least, since it first launched at Gen Con. Recently I finally decided to finish painting, or at least knock the majority of, my Retribution force out. My friend Tom said he's 'school' me so I headed over there yesterday.

But a change of plan. See, one of the earliest battle boxes I had purchased was Magnus the Traitor. And I had actually just finished painting Magnus himself. So I took those figures as well as some Retribution in case I could get two games in.

Surprise! Turns out that in the switch over to second edition, that Magnus battle box is a bit more expensive in points so my buddy upped his own forces. But see, he didn't have any Warmachine forces ready so instead he pulls out his Hordes and the Gator forces.  These guys are all hit up with some Flames of War primer and nothing else. I keep busting on him to finish them off. Pick out a few details and a wash and bam, done! I didn't even get on him for not having his 'front' marked. He thanked me by not getting on me for not having my front marked.

Eeek! First game and it's not even a traditional one? It's not even following the standard builds? I used the War Machine app for android and it worked pretty well. Took care of damage boxes and a few other bits. It was a good experience in terms of using it.

We had a bunch of scenery that you don't see here. It was from Warhammer 40K I believe. In my mind, Magnus and Caliban had both been wandering through some ruins and encountered one another and well, a caster kill was the order of the day.

The first round, for both of us, was a lot of movement. Magnus' forces here didn't have a lot of range and Magnus himself has some range but it's not that across the table style. The good thing about that, is it let me use some of Magnus spells on the Mangler, Iron Aggression and Temper Metal I believe. One of Magnus' abilities is free upkeep!

My friend and his gators didn't fare much better, but he did say he needed to start generating focus.

So as we start moving into combat, I forgot several things. For example, to use Iron Aggression when moving to engage the wrestler. Shame too as I could've used that boost. I also learned that the renegade light war jack only has a payload of one.

I also learned that the spell Obliteration is very powerful. A very good range and a good POW and it's AOE? The only bad thing is the amount of focus it takes. I figured it being my first game, go for it. Tom didn't' like that too much thought and had one of his bull snappers charge Magnus. My war caster was still by his renegade though so it had to pass by the renegade which rolled some impressive damage and then when it was Magnus own turn, he finished it off not with the sword, but with the mechanikal arm which also has a knock down effect.

Tom managed to completely smash the mangler between the wrestler and a few of the gator men and the bull snapper. But that mangler tied them up for a long time and again, with the obliteration spell, I was able to wipe almost all of the enemy off the table. The free upkeep of armor on the mangler managed to prolong it's life until Tom realized that his warlock had an ability to nullify continuous spells.

Tom also heavily damaged my talon. The whole shield thing was a little of throwing to me as it has to be taken into account but isn't a part of the permanent defense. Made sense thought as the wrestler quickly busted that Talon down to less than half its damage capacity. Ouch again.

The killing blow came for me when Tom had a clear line of sight from Caliban to Magnus and took it. A few fury induced attacks later and Magnus had been defeated. The shame of it all.

Overall it was an interesting experience. Next time I play I need to have a 'real' battle box together or a 'real' force. Having a few war jacks was fun but at the same time, Tom had more activations and was able to do more just by virtue or having MORE things on the table.

I also need to experiment a lot more with focus. After the first round or so, it was all used to blow things up and never on the war jacks in order to give them more attacks or other things of that nature. I'd also like to actually play against a War Machine army as opposed to a Hordes army. Tom has said he'll look into finding his Cryix forces as he has a pretty sizable force of them as well.

Until next time!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Warmachine: Initial thoughts on Army Selection

When it comes to miniatures, I'm generally a person who likes a few different things. Primarily, they have to fit into my role playing games. Most of the Privateer Press miniatures don't often fit that criteria but... I was one of those people back in the day that had the Iron Kingdoms d20 version and used quite a few things out of it.

Not only that, but my friends tended to run 'gonzo' style games. So while someone may have run the Scarred Lands or Swashbuckling Adventurers, they did so with a lot of leeway as to what was allowed. It may not have been 'purist' but it did allow a ton of variety and enjoyment during the 3.0/3.5 years.

In terms of 'thinking' about an army to build, I've always tended to buy here and there based on visuals and background. The later is highly unusual since I don't actual play but...

Looking over Warmachine, I didn't like Cygnar. They were a little on the 'goody goody' side and well, I'm not a huge fan of the color scheme. I know that's lazy but since I usually go with the 'traditional' scheme for ease of reference and to hasten painting, that's the way it is. The Protctorate is another one I didn't like. Religious nuts are best covered in ye old 40K.  Cryx has some interesting models and I like the whole concept of undead mechanical horrors but a lot of it doesn't grab me.

Now that's not to say I couldn't find points enough to field a 15-25 point group in any instance. One of the things that Privateer Press ahs done well is make enough interesting models that I could easily field a small group with those factions.

I loved the Khador group mainly on it's use of strong reds, large war jacks and the whole 'Russian Fantasy' thing. While I'm not a scholar of such mythology by any means, it was always neat seeing 'the old witch' and other nods. They also did a fantastic job with one of the first war jack war casters and one of the 'must have' units, the Behemoth.

My other enjoyment comes from mercenaries. Ironically enough, that's just my preference due to reading about them and watching anime and fantasy novels based around the concept of mercenary groups. While I have Magnus and a few other figures, including several war jacks, I never really got into the lore of them although I do like how the mercenaries are essentially three or so armies in the form of criminal scum, pirate scum, and mean dwarves.

When the Retribution first came out, I was impressed. They took elves into a whole new direction and more importantly, gave them a distinctive look. Sure, there might be some crossover potential in terms of 'white' with the religious zealots but for the most part, their color and look was unique.

And now Privateer Press apparently does it again with their new book, the Convergence of Cyriss. The models we've seen so far are different than essentially any other army in the game. This makes for a great visual distinction. There are only so many times you can see the same body types over and over again.

I'll be curious to see if they follow up on this type of release. A 'Forces of' book doesn't strike me as being off in any way, shape, or form as the pirates were originally introduced in this methodology. It allows a focused fire of material to judge reaction and then can be worked on or dismissed as necessary.
It's a good time to be a fan of Warmachine.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dawnguard Assemble!

So here we have some of the Dawnguard Invictors from Privateer Press for their Retribution faction. At this point I've got probably around 35-50 points of figures. Most of them actually painted and assembled even. I have more that need to be done including the colossus that I bought just because it looked like it would be a fantastic end game monster for RPG terms.

In terms of assembly, the Dawnguard Invictors were much easier to put together than the other Dawnguard with the big swords. No shoulder pads for one. Mold lines were still pretty bad in a few places and some of them were so subtle that I didn't notice them until I put down a layer of white at which point I was like.... uh, no, I'm not scrapping that off and ruining the job so far.

One of the things I always worry about with figures like this, that need two points of contact, is that the casting will be warped and not fit. That was thankfully not the case here. One of the models did have a miscast for a connection point. The ball point fitting was not clear. Thankfully I was able to use a knife and hand drill and take care of that problem.

Lot of smooth areas on these guys so if that's not your deal, you'll probably want to steer clear of them. Some nice details though like the pouches. The bases I think are from Micro Art Studio? Ruined temple maybe?

In terms of painting, I used my airbrush for the initial priming and layering of paint with a few touch ups after ward. I'm trying to minimize my time painting while still getting a figure I'm not trying to hide when it comes time to use. I'm happy enough with the figures that I don't think it'll be a problem. I finished basing them and putting some find touches on them.

When I painted them, I decided to move away from some of the advice in the Retribution book. The use of 'aqua' is way too high. When looking at the actual art of the Retribution, most of them have very shinny weapons as opposed to that aqua saturation that the studio models have on their metallic parts.

One of the things I like about these guys, is when I was painting them, they reminded me of Storm Troopers from Star Wars fame. Sure, they don't have a lot of actual physical similarities outside the color scheme but it made me think these guys would be perfect troops for science fiction table top as well. Their weaponry and armor is so different from the steam punk fashion of the Iron Kingdoms that they easily fit in multiple settings.  The one in the middle on the front line in particular, looks like a soldier on the march.  I keep wanting to play Bulkheads and Blasters and these guys would be a good army for that. Still, I'vet never find the time. Heck, I still haven't got a game of War Machine in yet.

And here's my second Dawnguard Scyir. I didn't know I had two. That's okay though as I originally bought it because it makes a fantastic character with a two handed sword. Here I used some of my old GW purple wash with some P3 armor wash to get that 'dark metallic' purple look and I'm pretty happy with it. I'll be using that more often in the future when painting more figures.

One interesting aspect to taking shots of the figures after you're done is seeing the mistakes. As I didn't hold the guy up, I would've never seen that dash of metallic paint under his visor. Think I'll be hitting that up next with a touch of white.

The base here was done with Happy Seppuku and green stuff. The other one I did I put onto a ruined style base and it added some height. With his huge sword, I decided that no more height was needed on this soldier.

Monday, May 27, 2013

More Retribution, Finished Gnolls, and Vallejo Alcohol Understanding

Finished off the gnolls from Center Stage Miniatures. They paint up pretty well but I did find another 'weird' thing about them. The inside of the mouth is like SOLID behind the teeth. Not a big deal as I don't think anyone is going to be picking them up to look. For the most part, painted with Reaper paints from the Heavy Gear set and a few trusty Games Workshop ones.

I touched the initial picture up in Google +. Worked much better than doing so in Facebook which I don't think has any real photo opportunities outside of tagging.

Good old Mage Hunter for my Retribution force. I want to say... Narn? I had him long before Privateer Press threw the figure from the Iron Kingdoms RPG side into the Warmachien side.

And the actual Mage Hunter unit. I don't have the commander with them because he's already in storage. Looking over them, I'm going to have to mark their front soon I suppose. I'm well at the point where I have more then enough for a 15-25 point game.

And my latest works. I'm still doing these guys and I have a 'new' warcaster in the back there. He's the guy with the strange cable connection on his left arm to his back. Yeah, I didn't get that one connected at all. Anytime you have three pieces, two of them separate, it's a difficult thing for me as I tend to be all thumbs. I did the initial priming with Vallejo Panzer Grey and used a Badger 105 to lay down some Minitaire paint. No problem with it. Didn't need to be thinned. I did see some people note that it takes a while to dry, but when I use my airbrush, I also have a hair dryer next to me so I take care of that particular problem at the same time.

Lastly, I wanted to note that in a recent update, I had problems with the Vallejo Alcohol metallic. Turns out I was indeed using them incorrectly. Due to their heavy pigmentation, you cannot use them from the bottle. You have to pour some out into a palette and work with it from there. I've done that a few times now and yes, that works MUCH better.