Wednesday 31 March 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday - Infinity - Foreign Company

The last of last year's farmed out model assembly! Corvus Belli are now semi regularly discontinuing older ranges when they bring out new models to keep the number of models they produce under control. One of the recent lines to be affected by this were the Neoterra Bolts.

As a result, I ended up picking them up for when I do the Foreign Company mercenary force, which I'm planning on doing in the future. I don't have plans to paint them any time soon, but I had them assembled and undercoated so they'd fit more easily into a storage case.

The ORC Trooper on the left and the Akali Commando on the right were from a now out of production starter that I also grabbed so they could do some work in the Foreign Company. In the middle is an out of production Croc Man I found lying around in Dark Sphere when you could just browse the shelves.

I wrote this in December 2020. Are we allowed on the streets again yet? Was there a before time when we went outside?

And finally, the Kaplan Tactical Services, of which I have several versions for different paint schemes - for Qapu Khalqi, for White Company and for Foreign Company. Each of which have different paint schemes, because I am not smart and don't think ahead.

It's December. I don't know what I'll be doing by March. I wonder what Infinity stuff I'll be painting by then? I'll have probably changed my mind three times between now and when this publishes.

Monday 29 March 2021

A burst of productivity

I've finally finished the oldest "overdue" model I had in my paint queue. This is the wonderful undead centaur by Diehard Miniatures. I picked it up from their Kickstarter, but he's now available from their webstore.

This was an experiment in drybrushing and contrast. The whole model was heavily washed and drybrushed before I started using contrasts. Sometimes I'd then drybrush again and contrast again to build up depth of colour.

I'm really quite pleased with how he turned out, and I'll be doing some more experiments with that sort of thing.

This Daemonhost was also well overdue for painting. Having finished the centaur by this stage, I experimented with a purple wash to give a really weird tone to the model I was expecting him to be a paint to paint, but by keeping the paint scheme simple, the contrast was able to work with the fiddly detail without taking forever.

I was pretty pleased with being able to drop in the colours on the two syringes stuck into the daemonhost's leg. I managed to get a weird green liquid and the blue of the glass painted in by hand first time.

I also painted up this Otherworld Miniatures Wererat. I hadn't realised when I picked her up that she was definitely female, but looking at her chest, that's definitely not in doubt! This was a lightning fast contrast job, with a quick couple of pupils dropped into the eyes.

I basically got her done over two evenings with drying time, so doing more paint jobs like this on a week night will be a good way to get through the backlog.

I'm really pleased with how much I got done over the course of a week, so here's hoping it keeps up.

Wednesday 24 March 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday: More Bad Squiddo

An old Bad Squiddo purchase is ready for paint. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to use the cats for.

Raging Annie, however, is very likely to end up getting used in Stargrave when it comes out - I should really look to get the Ghosts of Gaia assembled for her to lead, too...

Monday 22 March 2021

Suddenly Kenku


A friend of mine was working on a new casting skill, and ended up making a whole bunch of Kenku heads and limbs. They asked around if anyone wanted a Kenku all of their own. Given I'm playing a Kenku Paladin in Descent into Avernus at the moment, I couldn't really say no!

So, this is "The gentle fall of rain on cobbles as the wind blows through the streets", or "Rain" to most people who know him and can't mimic sounds like he does. His maker (and taker of these photos) is Pessimistic Orange, who you can find on both Instagram and Facebook.

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday - Infinity - Some Older Nomads

With an announcement by Corvus Belli that the Moran Maasai Hunter profiles would be getting resculpted in 2021, I picked up the old sculpts. This was partially to satisfy the completionist in me, and partially so that I had variant sculpts for the same weapon profiles if I wanted to run more than one of a particular weapon at once.

The Moran Maasai have always been strong staples of Nomad lists, but I haven't run them due to not having the models. I've been hearing that they're even stronger in N4, so I'm looking forward to seeing how they do.

Also assembled and ready to go is a Vortex Spec Ops model. I picked him up to borrow his alternative head for a conversion I've already shown off, but he's now ready to see some paint as well.

Monday 15 March 2021

Eyes on the prize

It's been a quiet weekend for hobby progress. I had an exam for a work qualification on Saturday, followed by one of my regular D&D games. Sunday was then mostly getting stuff done around the flat so it was tidier.

That said, I did manage to get a few bits done - some paint on the Shasvastii, getting more of the Diehard Miniatures skeletal centaur done, and the basing paste for a variety of models I got back from one of my assembly team the other week.

I've also got a few bits of assembly work ongoing. There's a lovely set of resin sculpts by Fenris Games on the work bench at the moment. I've been wanting one of the snakemen forever and he just got re-released in a set of three. I've also got a Forge of Ice warrior duke. The latter is a limited run, so if you want him, you should probably order now.

Now is also a good time to order from Fenris as Ian's beloved hound has needed an operation, which is not cheap. Have a bit of a browse and grab a few bits if you can.

I'm weirdly kind of glad I didn't finish a model this week. I could have focussed all my available hobby time on a single model and got something ready in time for the blog, but then I wouldn't have got as much time in on the stuff I want to finish this month. I'm managing my time better and focussing on what I want to be doing.

The experiment I said I'd run until the end of March of assembling models within a month of getting them has had some partial success. It's made me slow my purchases a bit, but the amount of half assembled things cluttering the hobby area has reached silly proportions. I'll keep going for the rest of the month, but I'm considering then moving over to "no new purchases until all the half finished assembly stuff is finished"...

Wednesday 10 March 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday - Warhammer Underworlds Terrain

With the weather improving a little recently, I was able to get the Warhammer Underworlds Beastgrave terrain undercoated over the weekend.

Now, the terrain is definitely one of those completely unnecessary extras you don't need for the game, but I got it in the "Supply Crate" blind box that Games Workshop did, so I thought I might as well get it painted up.

I was quite impressed with how cleverly they fit together to get interesting shapes that still fit cleanly and snugly onto the sprue.

I doubt I'll even use them in all that many games myself, but they might be useful for making it clear where impassable hexes are.

I'll likely just do a quick and simple paint job for them in between other projects.

There's a lovely variety in them that give you the opportunity for fun paint effects if you fancy it.

I particularly love the big "two hex" piece for it's ambition. I may have made a tactical error in gluing it all together before painting...

Monday 8 March 2021

Bad Squiddo Amazons

I got a couple of Bad Squiddo Amazons finished up this weekend. I experimented with a new contrast technique - I did an Agrax Earthshade wash over a grey undercoat, then a heavy drybrush of Tyrant Skull before painting them with Contrast.

I think they've come out a bit dark, which is fine for a lot of the models I paint, but I do want to do some experiments with brighter, more vibrant colours. I'll need to do some experimentation to work out how best to do that in the future.

I also discovered that using technical stuff like the Games Workshop verdigris effect can go wrong with Contrast. My usual plan of wiping off the excess ended up wiping off some of the finished Contrast, even though it was dry. It's really not very robust at all! I fixed it, but always varnish any models you've painted with Contrast.

Friday 5 March 2021

Friday Fad: My Love of the Ranger Class in D&D

So, you've genned a Ranger...

I promise this isn't just a long talk about my character.

(also not my character)

I've been playing in a D&D campaign run by Rolldark after deciding to join it for an arc on a whim. I had an idea for a well meaning fairy tale protagonist, using the Fey Wanderer subclass of the Ranger, and as I developed the idea (as this arc was starting at 5th level) I ended up giving him two levels of Warlock due to a bargain with an Archfey, because riddle contests with ancient beings pretending to be a little old lady are fundamentally cool.

PC, or encounter?

Anyway, while having a look at "what I could have won" if I'd just played a single class Ranger, I found myself thinking about how much I like the updated Ranger. This is a bit weird for me, because my two 'go to' takes in D&D are usually either very social, very academic / investigative or a mix of the two. The Ranger is usually a fighting type who is more at home in the wilds rather than populated areas, and rarely has strong academic skills. I had some thoughts about why I liked it so much, and they were interesting enough to me that I wanted to write them down.

You may find them very boring. If so, I'm sorry.

Level 1, man . . .

The Ranger in the 5th Edition Player's Handbook suffered from two big problems. Firstly, there was a general balance issue that it just wasn't quite as good as the other classes. Secondly, the core class features were situational. For those of you who don't play D&D, the two core abilities of a first level ranger are the ability to be better against certain "common" types of enemy, and to be really good at travelling in a nominated type of terrain.

(I don't know what type it is either)

But what if you don't meet those monsters, or travel through that terrain? More than half of the "really good at travelling" things are removing penalties and difficulties that your DM is likely to gloss over in a heroic campaign that doesn't have much interest in book keeping. If no-one in the party is interested in playing one, will the DM really penalise the party for not having a Ranger?

For the original Ranger to work, character creation needs to be a collaborative exercise between the DM and the player. The DM needs to guide the player to which choices of favoured enemy will have an effect on the game world, and which would be an interesting background point that is unlikely to come up mechanically in play.

Druids are OK I guess

Wizards of the Coast addressed this in their recent book Tasha's Cauldron of Everything, which was in many ways a patch to the core book to add new options and rebalance some things. Rangers got the option to swap out the two abilities for an ability to increase their damage against a single monster, and an ability to be extra good at one of their skills.

Anyone speak Sylvan?

In both cases, though, a DM should realise that when their players build a character, they're signalling what they want to look cool doing. It's easy enough if you're dealing with a fire wizard, or a heavily armoured tough fighter - they want to blow up baddies, or be super tough holding off a scary monster. Those signals are met by default by the core mechanics of the game.

Facing terrible creatures

When a party faces a trap, they turn to the Rogue and look to them to work on disarming and solving it. That's the Rogue's non combat "cool moment". In a similar way, the Rangers get their cool moment when the party are stuck on an inhospitable mountain and the Ranger has avoided a rockfall, found them a sheltered spot to camp and managed to find some game so they have something to eat other than trail rations. If you gloss over the opportunity for the cool moment, then when does the ranger get to have the cool moment?

That hawk looks Familiar

So, Rangers are cool too. When travelling and exploring, they can make a party's life easier, sometimes in ways the other players might not have even thought of until it happens. Sure, in a city campaign, you're going to be playing them as a fish out of water, but if you generate a noble wizard with no practical skills, you'll be doing the exact same thing in a campaign set in the wilderness.

Creatures of the wild...

As a total city boy with minimal practical skills, I have a lot of respect for those who know what they're doing in rural environments. And playing a Ranger, I can have cool moments where things that a Ranger is good at come up and they get to be awesome in little helpful ways. And, perhaps, I can show some other players that Rangers get to be cool too, and maybe they'll play a Ranger one day.

Some Rangers get animal companions

Wednesday 3 March 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday - Infinity Limited Editions

Also in the last batch of 2020's assembly was an assortment of limited edition figures from this or that source that I wanted out of boxes and into a miniatures case. Once again, assembly is courtesy of Highland Wargames, because metal allergies during lockdown suck.

First up is Oktavia Grimsdottir. She may look familiar as I also have a version assembled and undercoated for my Shasvastii, but she's a mercenary that my Nomads can take, so I have one for that basing and paint scheme as well.

Hellka is a custom model that was made for the "European Infinity Challenge" tournament in Mallorca in early 2020. I'm writing this in December, so I wonder if we'll have tournaments back on by February? I'm currently guessing not . . . 

Hellka is intended for you to be able to run her as either Final Boss in Aristeia! or a Morlock in Infinity. I'm considering using her as a Chimera in Bakunin, for when I want more than one, but I would need to work out what to use for her Pupniks.

I'm thinking of using some of the other "Alternative Skins" Aristeia! models, because they're pretty cool and it would be an excuse to paint them.

In any event, Hellka is an awesome model and I'm really keen to get her painted and used in a game somehow.

Next up we have the Kunai Solutions Ninja. The other N4 limited release model, he's a pretty awesome sculpt.

Unfortunately, he suffers from a challenging profile - a sniper who only OK at shooting, but excellent in close combat is a bit of a challenge to justify in most lists, and there's often better profiles available.

The Druze Killer Hacker is a classic sculpt. I already have her in Druze but decided to get one to paint just for myself because she's a lovely model.

Max Scorpio the Authorised Bounty Hunter is one of the harder limited edition sculpts to find because he's from early in the game's history - certainly before I started playing!

I managed to find someone selling their copy for a reasonable price and was happy to pick him up. He'll be seeing some service with my Nomads once he's painted.