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.