Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Holiday Haul

Some of my Kickstarters finally rolled in around the holiday season.  I had some orders redirected to my parents' address, so that I could open the parcels on Christmas morning.

One of the most pleasant new arrivals is my new collection of World of Twilight miniatures... :-)

World of Twilight is a totally original fantasy setting by Michael Thorp. 

(studio paint job)
(studio paint job)
The style is reminiscent of Dark Crystal, with hints of Ralph Bakshi and Vaughn Bode.  I've collected Twilight figures since Mr. Thorpe first introduced the range.

The Kickstarter enabled Michael to consolidate 3 separate rule pamphlets into one A5-size booklet.  It is beautifully illustrated, and it appears much of the typography is hand-written calligraphy!  The hand-drawn illustrations include maps, characters in the margins, and other charming appointments.

Oh, and my name is listed in the book, along with other contributors, like game designers, Gav Thorpe and Jake Thornton!

The cover illustration does a great job placing you in the flavorful world of Anyaral!

Another treat to myself that I was able to open on Christmas included a set of jack-o-lantern characters, having traveled all the way from Poland from a company called Spellcrow.

The packaging is gorgeous, a reflection of how much Poland is a bedrock of talent and love for this hobby.

My only disappointment is that the box says that it includes a ruleset to use the characters in a game, but the ruleset was omitted, unfortunately.  The rules are available for free on their web site, but it comes in a .rar file, which requires downloading an extractor called RAR Expander.  RAR Expander is also free, but the whole process is a pain, and I don't like installing weird utilities on my machine.  Apple's Help site recommended it, but that recommendation probably came from a volunteer, so I'm not entirely comfortable with it.  If you decide to try it, be sure to 'Decline' the 3 other utilities that the installer offers.  Ugh.

Lastly, I ordered this nifty set of base inserts, after having seen it suggested by Chrissy Dubois on the Facebook group, 'A Wyrd Place'.

I've never seen inserts made this way.  Or packaged this way.  Really cool. 

On the left side, there are four sheets of varying diameters.  I plan to use them for my Colette crew for Malifaux.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Holiday Heroes

I painted these little fellas over the holiday break.  Painted from bare metal over the course of 2 days, I painted these up as a Christmas gift for my mother.

These wonderful models are by Dark Sword Miniatures, and I have had them in my collection for probably 3 years or so.  I was amazed when I came across them, because not only do I have 2 Schnauzers of my own, but the studio paintjobs almost perfectly resemble the coloration on my little guys, Bootsy & Geddy.

Geddy on the left and Bootsy on the right.

The background story by Dark Sword Miniatures is pretty neat.  Painting master, Marike Reimer, worked with an artist named Des Hanley who owned two Schnauzers that just so happened to have the same coloration as my guys.  Dark Sword wanted to expand their range of anthropomorphic characters, and the Des' Schnauzers were the perfect answer, lucky for me!

Not only do the colorations match my dogs, but the personalities do, too.  Bootsy, the paladin, is the ever-alert sentinel (watching for squirrels who dare to set foot on his patio), and Geddy, the archer, is the crafty tag-along.  Plus, Geddy is such a diva, that I often mockingly call him "princess", so the dainty gem on his forehead is very fitting, too.

The shield cracks me up.

I decided to use the same color scheme as the studio version for Geddy, and I modified Bootsy's color scheme from blue to purple.  The paintjob is not quite as refined as I would like it to be.  Some of the blends are little rough, and some of the highlighting is unfinished, but I was pretty pleased with what I accomplished in two days.

In case you're wondering, the dogs are named after famous bass guitar players.  Bootsy Collins of Parliament/Funkadelic and Geddy Lee of Rush.  I figured it wouldn't be a good idea to name one of them for the bass player from the Red Hot Chili Peppers -- "Flea"!

Monday, December 22, 2014

A Jackalope gone bad

This is my proxy for the "Blessed of December" for Malifaux.

The model is the "Wendigo" by Reaper.  But I like continuing the Jackalope theme for my Marcus crew.  And the model looks very similar to Wyrd's actual "Blessed of December", so it should still be easy to recognize on the tabletop.

I did some touchup to make its eyes a little more blue, but I lost patience to take photos and upload them.  :-P   I actually wanted to make a translucent "dead-eye" with a hazy pupil. But there's not a lot of area there to pull off the effect.  And I was ready to move on to another project....

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Malifaux & New Terrain

Cleaning off my desk over the last few weeks forced me to do something with the terrain project that's been sitting on my printer for about a year, in perpetual 'on deck' status.  I've actually had the larger project in my head for literally years (probably 5 or 6), to build an industrial site for 40K, Malifaux, etc.  The project sitting on my printer, a pumping station, was the first substantive element for the overall project.

It's made of packing material for, I think, a hand-vacuum.  I have another piece waiting in the wings to serve as a comms station, and I have another piece to serve as a small generator.  I've attached various resin pieces from ArmorCast and Micro Art Studios, and I've added some pieces from home items, as well as the ubiquitous 40K bits-box.  The piping is modular, and it's from Ziterdes.  I custom-built the connector from the pumping station to fit the piping at the right height and position.

I experimented with different highlight colors on the dark brown, and I have a ways to go before I decide what I like and what direction to go from here.  But I do like how the piping turned out.  I just need to color the cement supports and the ground pads and probably throw on some pigments.

There's also a collapsed storage tank, oozing noxious toxic waste into a big pool, which, naturally, counts as Dangerous Terrain.  That piece is also by ArmorCast, and it's still a work-in-progress, but I scrambled before the game to paint the overflowing goo.

Erik and I played a light game of only 35 Soulstones and a pool of only 3 Schemes:  Breakthrough, Protect Territory, and Bodyguard.  I forgot to include A Line in the Sand as one of the 3 Schemes...  We also played Turf War as the Strategy, which requires maintaining at least 2 significant models within 6" of the center.

Erik's Outcast crew:  the Viktoria Sisters, Vanessa (the blue one), two Friekcorpswomen, and two (out-of-frame) Friekcorps Trappers.
My Arcanists' Ramos crew, including Joss, Willie the Demolitionist, the Mobile Toolkit, the Soulstone Miner (offboard for now), and two Steam Arachnids.
The demolished holding tank.
Turn 1.  The crews take cover close to the center objective.  Ramos' crew is still exposed to shooting from the right flank, but some ridiculously lucky card flips apparently mean that the heroes are hugging inside the doorway, Han Solo style.

Hugging the wall.
Hugging the pipes.

Ramos launches an Electrical Creation to wreak havoc and threaten any clustering amongst the enemy.  Only to be reminded that the Friekcorps armor entirely protects the Friekcorps soldiers from the exploding time-bomb!

Luckily, the Soulstone Miner erupts through the wasteland sand to save the day!  "Surprise!  I'm in your backfield, suckas!"

A lot happened next, but I missed some photos to explain the story well.
  1. The Soulstone Miner drilled the face of the Friekcorps Trapper, who tried to escape with only 1 Wound remaining.  The Electrical Creation actually turned out to have a purpose, as it chased down the Friekcorpswoman and zapped her for exactly 1 automatic Wound, with his Electrical Touch.  
  2. The Soulstone Miner on its next turn returned to its spawning hole to claim it as a Scheme Marker for Breakthrough.
  3. The Steam Arachnid at the corner of the building tried to not look too conspicuous in its attempt to draw fire and grant Ramos a Scrap Marker.  Having succeeded too well, it makes a play into the open, ready to drop Scheme Markers for Protect Territory.  If left alone, it will interfere with the shooters' shoot-at-will luxury.

Vanessa is dispatched to deal with the Soulstone Miner.  She can gain control of Constructs, which she succeeds in using to force the Miner to destroy its own Scheme Marker.  Well played, Mr. Erik, well played.  Why do I keep bringing Ramos against Outcasts?  They're anti-Construct and anti-Armor....

Ramos finally gains the Scrap Marker he needs, and he gets busy summoning more Steam Arachnids.

The Friekcorps Trapper makes a break for the corner in an attempt to work the Breakthrough Scheme.  One of the spiders goes to intercept!

"Every marker you drop, I will destroy -- bwahahahaa!  And I will chase you tirelessly to the ends of the....gaming table..."
"Unless, of course, you really go to the actual end of the gaming table, where I don't have room to stay out of engagement range, preventing me from destroying the marker.....   Foiled!"

 Ramos summons enough spiders to form an Arachnid Swarm, having it escape the threat range of the Viktoria Sisters in just the nick of time, before they used their Whirlwind attacks to wipe out all the weak, individual spiders.

Joss moves to a spot to claim the Bodyguard Scheme.  Surprise!  Ramos wasn't working Protect Territory after all.  Although he wishes he was, since there's no one left to work Breakthrough....

End of game, and both sides score 7 points.  Joss had one more point for Bodyguard (turns out Viktoria of Ash was Bodyguard, too, but she was too close to her deployment zone to claim it on Turn 4), and the Friekcorps Trapper gained one more point for Breakthrough.  Tie game!

Just as Joss and Viktoria of Ash were about to get jiggy with it.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mini Mayhem - The Game!

I had the rare opportunity to play my homebrew game, Mini Mayhem, the namesake of the blog.  I designed Mini Mayhem over roughly a 3-year period from about 2006 to 2009, as a replacement for Warhammer Fantasy.  The core engine of the game still has a few rough spots, but I'd say it's around 85%-90% finished.

My buddy, Steve, was kind enough to be a guinea pig, I mean, play-tester, given that I haven't played the game myself for probably a good 4 years.  And I haven't test-played some of the latest tweaks.  Regardless, I had a lot of fun putting the game through its paces.  Maybe not so much for Steve, who was coming into it totally blind.  That was a good lesson for me, as a demonstrator, to remember to describe some of the assumed and expected behaviors of the units, to help ground a person who has never played the game.

We had a couple of false starts, as I discovered that I needed to better clarify the scenario and the unit roles/behaviors.  But here is the first laydown, to show the armies and describe the scenario.

Steve's forces are on top.  He brought his beautifully painted SAGA Dark Age warriors for the occasion.  They are defending their pastureland on the north side of the fence from the raiding orcs and goblins.  The orcs need to dismantle one of the wooden sections of the wall and then spend a turn on the north side of the fence to rustle out the cattle.

Steve's Dark Age warriors, sporting Danish axes, javelins, spears & shiedwall, and war hounds.

Geddy, the Schnauzer, looks on unimpressed as the orcs, goblins, and evil Men raise their war-cry.

Here is the laydown for the third setup.  Steve won the command roll to dictate the time and place of battle.  He only won by one point, but that was enough to shift the wooden sections of the wall to one end of the field.  Both forces use the setup to protect one flank of their Close Formations.

Both sides use the forests for cover as they advance to the fence. 

Rockjaw, the Orc leader, doesn't like the pressure being set up at the fence.  He decides to use his Loose Formation of Orc Brutes to protect the flank of the Spearmen and take the fight directly to the Danish Warlord, despite being outnumbered 12 to 8.  He hopes he will buy time for the rearguard to isolate the dogs and skirmishers.  That will leave an isolated fight between the Close Formation units, which is still a risk, since the Haradrim are outnumbered 16 to 12.  Luckily, the Goblin archers had a chance to weaken the shieldwall.

The Warlord units annihilate each other!

The war hounds and the goblin archers annihilate each other!

The spear units charge head-on.

The Spear units annihilate each other!

That leaves the Orc Brutes versus the Danish javelineers.  The Brutes should win this one.

Guess what happens.

The units annihilate each other!

Good times.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Winter is coming

This is the December Acolyte for Malifaux, a nice addition to my Arcanists faction, due to her using her Harpoon Gun to drag opponents off of their objectives.

I burnt out on painting some of the details, but I really enjoyed painting the cold colors, and I'm pleased with the blending and contrast on the coat.

Steve Saunders is the sculptor, and I really like the convincingly natural, action-ready pose of the figure.  I like the triangular lines for the composition, combined with the flowing motion of the coat.  A very cool miniature to paint -- perfect for skirmish-level painting.  You can imagine her story and feel the cold, biting wind as you paint her.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Project churn

Since finishing the additions to my Malifaux crews for Battle for Salvation, my painting projects have been a mix of continuing projects and new projects of "the new (or old) shiny" interjecting themselves into the queue.

I continue to work on Mark's sci-fi/fantasy/cyberpunk/post-apoc crew for Metamorphosis Alpha...

Also fighting for attention are:
  • Celtic Cavalry for SAGA
  • Orc Pikemen for War of the Ring
  • Dark Elf Black Guard and Shades for Warhammer Fantasy
  • Finishing Metal Gamins for Malifaux
As well as expanding my Malifaux crews with new models and proxies:

The Privateer Press Carnivean on the left is my proxy for the Slate Ridge Mauler, and the antlered Reaper Wendigo is my proxy for the Blessed of December.

The Carnivean was assembled and primed a few years ago. You can see what a big difference there is between single-color aerosol primer versus dual-tone airbrushed primer.

The December Acolyte in the front-right was taken from bare-metal in the blister, to filed, cleaned, pinned, assembled, based, primed, and tinted in an hour-and-a-half, the night before I wanted to use her in our weekly game.

In the game, the December Acolyte  got to use her Harpoon Gun, but wasn't able to drag her target off the objective, liked I had hoped to. Turned out OK, though -- the second shot just killed the target outright. Bwuhahahahahaa!

Here's more work on the Carnivean / Slate Ridge Mauler.  This was initial color-sketching with the airbrush.

And here is some more progress.  I still need to enrich colors and work on distinguishing specific elements.

Due to real-life disruptions with my real job, my project priorities and pace will be in even further confusion and unpredictability for probably the rest of the year.