Wednesday 30 December 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday - Teasing some projects for the New Year

First up, I've gotten these Micro Art Studios crates cleaned up ready for undercoating. I normally undercoat before I photograph this sort of thing, but I'm planning on undercoating these black and then drybrushing up, so you wouldn't see much otherwise.

I grabbed these crates from a clearance bin at some point and I wasn't quite prepared for just how large they are. Here they are next to a Gwailo, which is one of the larger Shasvastii models. They've got some heft to them.

I also undercoated up this Stormcast Liberator who came free with White Dwarf when Age of Sigmar first came out. The plan is to use him as a test model for a colour scheme . . .

And this is what it's a test model for. I'm planning on trying some Underworlds when the world is open again, and I managed to pick up a good deal on a couple of Warbands from someone who'd assembled them and was looking to offload them.

I have spotted a couple of gaps I'll need to green stuff, but it's nothing disastrous.

I also got the Thorns of the Briar Queen in the same purchase. I haven't quite worked out how I plan to paint these ones yet. I may try something new. That's one of the things that's appealing about Underworlds - the ability to try out different painting techniques on a handful of models.

Monday 28 December 2020

Some generic fantasy miniatures

I've got a few bits and pieces finished up over the Christmas break. I've had these Reaper Bones Kobolds sitting around for years, and they were a good thing to throw some paint onto whenever I was waiting for the paint to dry on the main thing I was painting.

I'm not overly fond of these sculpts, and I've considered that I might use them for something like Firenewts if I find some Kobold sculpts I love more.

And here's the model I was focussing on getting finished. He's a guard by Otherworld Miniatures. I really love his old school generic fantasy sensibilities while still being quite a delicate sculpt. I've spotted a couple of bits where I've missed an overpaint, and I may go back to him at some point in the future for a little makeover.

And, as they're both from generic fantasy land, here's a scene where the local guard is facing down some Kobolds, posturing and threatening. He's not convinced they're much of a threat, so he's not even unslung his shield just yet. He's probably not being paid enough for this nonsense...

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: Shasvastii Reinforcements

In which I muddled up my photos of my Shasvastii because I haven't learnt what they all look like yet, and only thought to look it up while writing the blog post, and other disorganisation.

This is a Haiduk. He's an awesome sniper with a fancy visor that lets him see through smoke and lots of the camouflage that sneaky types use to get around the battlefield. He can also set up a small sapper's sniper nest for himself to give himself more protection if he wants to use an exposed firing position.

I absolutely adore this model. He's just absolutely gorgeous. What I didn't think through was that clever Sapper skill requires two different base sizes and silhouettes. I'm sure other people could be clever and magnetise him, but I'm just going to buy a second one and mount him on the other base size so I've got both.

And, in this photo and the next photo, I mixed up my Nox with other models. I shouldn't have guessed and should have looked it up. Never mind. From left to right we have a Spec Ops, a Seed Soldier, and a Nox with Heavy Machine Gun.

The Spec Ops is used for a particular game play mode, but I suspect I'll be using him as a second Shrouded an awful lot as there's a big similarity. The Seed Soldier is a super good midfield disruption piece. I think I've got another three coming in Infinity: Defiance when it shows up. And the Nox are Shasvastii line troopers. The HMG will rarely get an outing, just when I want a back up offensive gun when I'm running a link...

Here we have a Nox Sniper, a Mentor with Shock Marksman Rifle, and a Nox Hacker. The Nox Sniper is an interesting one as it has an option to take guided ammunition and fire off rounds from out of line of sight against models that have been targeted. The hacker, again, is likely to be a specialist when I take a link but otherwise rarely taken. The Mentor is an excellent Lieutenant option, and one I've been recommended to try over my usual, cheaper Boarding Shotgun version, as the Marksman Rifle gives him enough range to let him do a bit of shooting in the late game.

I also managed to completely fail to include this Nox Forward Observer in the group shot. So three separate mess ups in a single blog post. But life is too short and I'm not taking all the photos again. This fellow came in the Shasvastii paint set, but if I want a cheaper, non hackable specialist option in a Nox link, he's the one to take...

Monday 21 December 2020

A baby dragon and holidays

I’m sitting in a small quiet flat listening to sad folk music while I type this. I’m done with work for the year and I have a little time off I plan to use on painting, mostly.

It has been a year. What’s happened to all of us has fundamentally been traumatic, and it’s going to take time to recover and process that.

Often, there’s a pressure you don’t realise it’s there until there’s an absence. When I finish painting a miniature, it feels like a weight lifts for a little while.

This small baby dragon came from War World Miniatures. If your Christmas allows, maybe take a moment to take a look through my “Small Companies” tab and buy a few things to help them get through.

I never really know who’s reading these posts. I hope you have a restful few days, as best you can. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday 16 December 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday - Mantic Northmen


Last year I won a couple of sprues of Mantic Northmen in the club Christmas raffle. In an effort to try and avoid having left them unused for over a year, I dug them out and assembled them.

There's enough variety to get by with ten models, but you would start getting some repetition in units of 20 or more. Which is fine for mass battle games like Kings of War, but less useful if you want loads of variants for roleplay purposes, for example. There's minimal merit in getting a second box for some variant assembly, for example.

Easy of assembly was pretty good. Single piece bodies, weapon and shield arms, and heads all go together OK. A couple of the head - body joins look a bit . . . odd? But broadly, they're fine. Mantic had some absolute horror shows of assembly in the early days, but they seem to be past it now. They're intended for ranking up, though, and I have no idea how some of these would . . . 

The lack of variation means that there's very little waste plastic. You can assemble them with spears or hand weapons (I went with a mix, because skirmish), but that's all that's left over when you're done. I get the impression this will help a bit in keeping waste, and therefore costs down. These Mantic sprues are efficient - they do exactly what Mantic needs them to do, and no more.

There are quite a lot of mould lines - you can see on these foxes where I utterly missed them and need to do a little doctoring. As well a not quite as flush as they could be joins for some of the legs. That said, getting two cute foxes in with the infantry box is a nice touch. I seem to remember Mantic have a tendency for adding a couple of critters in with an infantry sprue, and I like that. It uses the space to give you something, and it's something you can use, not alternative arms that will end up having no body.

All in all, I quite like this kit. There's a definite time investment in mould line clean up, but that's not exactly uncommon with older Games Workshop kits either.

Monday 14 December 2020

Fenris Games Sulaco Engineering Objective

I threw a quick paint job together on this Sulaco Engineering Objective by Fenris Games.

I undercoated it black, and did a couple of coats of dark green and a wash before two successively lighter green drybrushes. I painted the metal and smeared on a lot of Typhus Corrosion. I think maybe it could have done with a revisit of the lightest drybrush?

I then added a bunch of tufts by Gamers Grass that I picked up from Bad Squiddo. The idea was to make it look out of commission with plantlife growing out of it. I think it mostly worked, but I think the blue one in the middle is probably a little too big.

There's lots of fun details you could take time to pick out if you fancied it, but I went with a very simply paint scheme for tabletop gaming quality.

Friday 11 December 2020

Learning Infinity N4 - Playing for fun


I recently got in a few games of Infinity in Tabletop Simulator with "The White Company", the new non-aligned faction mercenary company in N4. The League was intended to be an introduction for new players with some of the more experienced players also playing to help people learn and get experience. I've got a few models for them from Kaldstrom that are off with a commission painter at the moment, and I thought it would be cool to play a faction I've not played before.

It was excellent fun, but made me realise that my plans for "try and get competitive" with Shasvastii aren't bringing me as much joy as they could. Without any upcoming tournaments to be practicing for, practicing perfecting one force for the sake of it isn't giving me much in the way of a pay off.

So, I'll probably try out a few of the other factions I have models for in some TTS games for a bit. Lockdown is still a slow, gradual erosion of coping mechanisms through stress and uncertainty, and it's best not to add to it.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: Combined Army Remotes


Every faction in Infinity has a number of support "remotes" - small, remotely piloted robots that fulfil a number of different support roles in the force. The Combined Army are no exception. I've got most of the remote options assembled now, although I don't yet have a "T-Drone" - the Combined Army's option for a missile launcher support bot.

On the left, we have the E-Drone. This remote is packed with support programming and is manned by a hacker. It's able to use programmes that enhance other units in the army. On the right, the feared Q-Drone. This is a defensive robot programmed to lay down a hail of defensive fire as the enemy advance.

The R-Drone on the left is a simple support bot. It has a small flash-pulse for defence. It's sometimes used for a cheap order, sometimes a cheap area defence piece, and sometimes it utilises it's on board repeater to extend the range of the force's hackers. Meanwhile, the M-Drone on the right is the technical support piece. As well as a Repeater, it carries a Sensor, allowing it to better sweep for hidden enemy troopers. It's also got a suite of features that allow it to act as a Forward Observer - both targeting enemy models to allow easier targeting by other models, and allowing it to act as a Specialist in missions that require them.

Finally, we have the Ikadrons. These are primarily intended to act as baggage carriers, allowing troops who have run out of limited weapons, such as Mines or Disposable anti armour weapons, to replenish their ammunition. But they're also equipped with Flash Pulses and light flamethrowers, for some terrifying defensive options if needed.

Monday 7 December 2020

In which I get very confused


This model has been working its way through my paint queue for a while now. I thought she was "Dagny, Viking Guard" from Bronze Age Miniatures, supplied in the UK by Fenris Games. It's what I've been referring to her as that in my work in progress posts and everything. As I was painting her, I was thinking "she's wearing fewer clothes than my usual taste in miniatures"...

And that's because, as those who have clicked the link already will have surmised, she is not Dagny. She's Geiravor the Valkyrie.

I am not a smart man.

Still, she's finished now. Painted with contrast over a black undercoat and zenithal Grey Seer, with the odd bit of dry brushing. I also tried out Games Workshop snow for the first time, and I quite like it, although I think it will look better if you use a darker earth colour than I did.

Narratively, I've decided that Geiravor here is actually an elf from the fae wilds, who's tapping into the myths of how she thinks barbarians work, rather than how they work in practice. I like how sometimes miniatures give you ideas for an NPC encounter...

Wednesday 2 December 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: A bit of a draconic theme


I picked up these Reaper Bones Kobolds several Salutes ago, from a giant tub full of Bones sprues that a shop was offloading for cheap. They're going to be a quick and simple paint.

Some undercoats don't work too well with Reaper Bones material. I took the approach of using car primer for the first coat, then adding a zenithal spray of a lighter Citadel colour over the top.

I also got this awesome little baby dragon model glued to a base with some basing paste around the edges before I undercoated it. I got him from War World Gaming, and I'm looking forward to getting some paint on him.

Monday 30 November 2020

Painting some more Bad Squiddo Miniatures

I finished off some Bad Squiddo Games miniatures over the weekend. Some friends had set up a Saturday evening crafting Zoom call so I got to chat to people while I painted, which meant I got a bunch more done than I usually do.

The first was Chu'mana, a Snake Lady / Lizard Lady from the fantasy range. She was painted with mostly contrast and dry brushing, which these figures really lend themselves to.

I also got SOE Annie as a freebie in an order a while back. She's modelled on the owner of Bad Squiddo. Here, I painted her in contrast first, blacked in a couple of voids, and blended Kislev Flesh Air for the skin tones. I don't normally paint historical style models, so it was fun to do something different.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: Combined Army Support


There's a bundle more Combined Army stuff queued up for me to paint, so I thought I'd show a few more bits I've got to get done. This is stuff that's more "generic" Combined Army than pure Shasvastii.

First up is the Med-Tech Obsidon Medchanoid and his two Slave Drones. (Yes, I had to look the spelling up.) Better known as "Doctor Worm", it's the main medical support for the Combined Army. The idea is that there's so many races that no-one can truly learn all the different alien life forms and their medical needs, so the Combined Army grow bioengineered life forms that are programmed with all the information they need.

Basically a "must have" pick in many lists, he's a priority to get painted up for play when we get out into the real world again. 

Imetrons are not available to Shasvastii, but come in a box with some other models that Shasvastii really need. I'm sure at some point I'll play some games with vanilla Combined Army, and they don't look like a huge fuss to paint up.

They're basically small robotic command and control devices that give you an extra order, but are otherwise immobile and can't defend themselves.

Infinity is a mission of objectives, and quite a few of the previous seasons of the tournament pack have required multiple civilians. I've picked up a couple of human ones as at present Corvus Belli only make a single Combined Army civilian and I already have him. These will be painted up as either human traitors or Shasvastii infiltrators in disguise - I haven't decided yet.

Monday 23 November 2020

Woah, we're halfway there


Most of this weekend was spent selling excess wargaming tat rather than painting, so I don't have anything finished. Here's a sneak peak at my painting tray!

While it's bad for blog pictures, I do recommend focussing on what you have the energy and enthusiasm for at the time. It is a hobby, after all. Definitely trying to remember the New Year's resolution about not doing the hobby bits that stress me out...

Wednesday 18 November 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: Wizkid's D&D and Pathfinder Miniatures


After painting the Gnome Bard, I decided to pick up a few more miniatures from the Wizkids range.

This is the blister of Kobold specialists - one with a dragonscale shield, one with wings and a spell effect, and a Kobold Inventor. I discovered this moderately comedic D&D Monster class, armed with an assortment of rubbish but annoying weapons, such as a scorpion tied to a stick, bag of wasps, and so on. How could I not?

I learned about this from a very short cameo character on Critical Role, best summarised by this short animation for those who don't know of the story of "Spurt the Kobold".

I also picked up a few human guards, although the spears and halberds do suffer from the weakness of this sort of soft plastic. Some are rather bendy, but it's not exactly a display piece so I'm not too worried.

They're all pretty reasonably priced, so I'm not unhappy with the quality. I'm not a fan of the bases they come with, though, so glued them to some spare Infinity bases I had lying around and added some basing texture.

Some of the higher level threats also get characters, like this devil and cultist. I mostly got this for the devil figure, although it doesn't look like any of the specific devils in the current edition of D&D, I feel like they're quite varied so that's not a huge issue.

I'm super excited by the background of the Znir Pact Gnolls in the Eberron setting, so I had to grab a couple of them as well. I cut off, pinned and re-glued the spear of the left hand one in an effort to make it slightly straighter, but was lazy and didn't make guide markings and ended up gluing it back on off kilter. My sloppy green stuff fix to that didn't work either and I decided to just call it a day before I made it even worse.

Monday 16 November 2020

Shasvastii Caliban

Finishing up what should have gotten done in October, I've finished the Caliban with Boarding Shotgun from the Operation Wildfire box. I've been really enjoying using the Forward Observer Caliban in Tabletop Simulator, so I'm glad I've got a model that I can use for him when we get back to in person gaming.

The original plan was to get a lot of Malifaux painting this last weekend, but that got abandoned in favour of sorting out a lot of boxes of things. This is, ultimately, Fine, as things that needed to get done got done. Traitor brain is being very irrational about it not being the intended thing, and thus obviously wrong. Traitor brain needs to go boil its head.

What the reorganisation has helped with has been to make things much clearer and better organised, drawing the line between outstanding projects, which I've been pretty slow to progress, and the smaller easy paint jobs that I've actually been powering through at quite a rate of late. The idea being that this will help me plan the future to a much better extent.

Friday 13 November 2020

Learning Infinity N4 - Shasvastii Starting Point

So, I've been using Tabletop Simulator to play some games of Infinity, and am starting to get to the point where I'm happy with some of the lists I'm now writing. I thought I'd take a moment to talk about this list and how it comes about.

Infinity can change drastically depending on the mission you're playing, but most missions fall into one of three categories: Push Buttons, Control Territory and Kill The Other Side. This mission is intended to focus on the first two types of missions.

The list has a strong ARO presence - the Q-Drone gets four shots in my opponent's turn, and the Noctifer can start in Hidden Deployment (I get to write down where it's deployed rather than place the model on the table), meaning it can get a shot when my opponent is at a serious disadvantage as I get to choose when it shows itself.

The Shrouded Minelayer and Seed Soldier get to deploy in the middle of the field and are placed to slow the enemy attack or possibly counter attack if left alive. The two Shrouded Hackers, meanwhile, have the job of pushing buttons and doing specialist things, although they can also do a mischief to my opponent's advance with their hacking.

If I'm going first, the Speculo is making an attack run to disrupt my opponent, if I'm going second she's placed in the most awkward spot possible to try and make my opponent spend their first turn killing her, not playing the mission.

The Caliban is a dangerous short ranged attack piece who can swing into button pushing if needed. The Flash Pulse from being a Forward Observer means he has a longer ranged ARO if I need something with a bit more reach than a shotgun.

The Taigha are cheap moving expendable shmucks to be used as problem solving wherever needed. Everything else is there to provide orders for people doing the work.

I like a few things about this list so far. It has a strong ARO presence that means I can cause my opponent to spend quite a few orders dealing with threats. The strong midfield camouflage also helps hold up advances and gives me options.

On the other hand, I think it needs another offensive gun. It probably doesn't need a Shrouded Killer Hacker as well as a Hacker, and the Speculo Minelayer broadly seems to be overkill. So my next step will probably be downgrading those units to try and find the points for some sort of heavier attack piece to add a bit more offensive punch.

The trick with Infinity is to not change everything at once. I've got a strong basis for a list here that isn't quite perfect yet. Rather than changing everything, swapping out two or three models but keeping the core of the list "as is" gives me a much better comparison for what suits my playstyle.