Wednesday 27 October 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday: North Star Stargrave Figures

In the interest of a flimsy excuse to paint up random figures and maybe play a game with them at some point, I picked up Stargrave by Joseph McCullough. The book is produced by Osprey Publishing, and North Star Military Figures produce an official line of models. That said, it's deliberately designed that you can use models by any manufacturer.

Rather than doing a Kickstarter, they launch books like this through a "Nickstarter", where they run a pre-order with an assortment of money saving deals. I signed up to this to get all the interesting sci fi figures that will later be out in blisters of two.

The downside of this is that they've all come in a zip lock bag with no labelling or explanation, so I do kind of have to work out myself what they're meant to be in the game. I'm not sure how intentional that's meant to be.

That said, some of them models are more obvious than others. This model, for example, is clearly meant to be one of the "retrieve information loot" type crew members.

There's a good mix of humans and "low budget sci fi TV series" aliens, which gives some interesting options for painting.

I don't have any strong plan for any of these, I'll just play around with whatever colours on my desk when I pick one up.

There's plenty of different looks and back stories you could give these models, which I think is a good strength to have for a model / setting agnostic game. You can spark ideas with the visuals without necessarily dictating who the model is.

I particularly love this toothy boy. He'd work well as a psychic captain or similar, but also a weird NPC in a sci fi setting. Maybe even a fantasy one.

There was also this greebly creature which I suspect can be used in Frostgrave and Stargrave as an NPC monster thingy. Should be a quick paint job with contrast!

And to finish where I began, I had my assembly person stick all three look things to the same base, as I felt that one alone felt a bit sad and small as a piece of loot. This pile of stuff looks a bit more tempting and valuable.

Monday 25 October 2021


I found a couple of priorities changing over the weekend.

Firstly, with the rising UK infection numbers, I decided I couldn't really justify to myself the journey to the UK Malifaux Nationals, so cancelled my ticket and hotel. I'm a little sad about this as I've been prepping hard to go and was really looking forward to it. But in the end, the risk to reward balance, for me, wasn't right, so I cancelled. I don't necessarily think other people going are wrong to - their situation may be different, after all.

The second thing that happened was that my Defiance Kickstarter turned up. 

This dungeon crawler set in the Infinity universe included a ton of Infinity miniatures, which all needed sorted and checking to make sure they were all there. This involved individually checking each miniature to make sure all the parts were there, as so many are limited edition that getting a replacement part in the future is likely to be a nightmare.

As it was, I had a perfect pack - everything was there, with every part. I've already sold off some of the surplus models I won't use, and anything that doesn't sell on the club Facebook group can go up on eBay next weekend.

With the pressure off over the Nationals, I think I'm likely to put a bit more of my hobby time to having more of a clear out alongside the painting. There's definitely a lot of unnecessary clutter around here, and I should do something to fix some of that.

Friday 22 October 2021

HATE Meatspace League (ITS 12) - Frontline vs Ariadna

I was down at the club again for the Meatspace League. The second round was Frontline, and I was up against Ariadna. He won the Lieutenant roll and chose to go second. I picked deployment and had Ariadna deploy first. I then understood that decision as nothing but a pile of camouflage and a handful of cheerleaders got deployed. In particular, I found it particularly difficult to put my mines down in good locations outside the zone of control of the opposing camo.

As the Ariadnan reserve model was a Blackjack, I decided it was best to use McMurrough to deal with him. He successfully got across the table and cut the Blackjack in half.

The Sensor Remote had a wander up the field and revealed a Chasseur and Uxia McNeill. There was a little moment of "Wait, Sensor is how good?" I need to keep bringing Sensor remotes. I kind of wish Dahshat could bring more than one.

The Ghulam link had a wander up the field and dropped some Grenades onto Uxia unsuccessfully. I forgot to use the NCO order as it was the first time I'd used it. I had it as the second group, and I don't think it was a good experiment.

Jacques Bruant then proved he's amazing now and went on an absolute spree. He took out the Lu Duan and the Sensor bot with ease.

In an attempt to slow his mischief, I dodged a Libertos with a shotgun into his line of sight, although it sadly didn't slow him for long.

Unfortunately, I'd been slack with placing McMurrough into close combat so his facing was not in a good place. The Ariadnans used coordinated orders to shoot him repeatedly from multiple angles. The -3 to one of the flamethrowers because of his facing meant he failed two dodges in a row that would have gotten him out of danger, and down he went.

The Ariadnan Lieutenant then revealed to take out the Rui Shi, and then stayed up to be a very annoying ARO piece. I was, at this point, pretty certain that there was a Chain of Command sneaking around somewhere, although I didn't know Ariadna well enough to know what it was.

I murdered the Lieutenant then sent the engineer servant remote out to repair both the Lu Duan and the Sensor Remote. Having so many irregular orders in my main group really hurt my ability to get stuff done!

I advanced my core link up the field for better scoring at the end of turn 3. 

Unfortunately, someone from the Ariadnan side managed to get a bead on my Lieutenant, meaning my third turn was spent in loss of Lieutenant. This got compounded when Sforza went to go and murder one extra cheerleader in suppression and an unlucky roll meant he went down without me having the orders to get him back up again . . .

I'd managed to stuff up and didn't have anyone in my near zone at all. All Vassily had to do was shoot past a couple of ARO pieces and the game would be Ariadna's. The first thing to do was to get past the Zhencha, who proceeded to roll a crit on a six and leave nothing of Vassily but a pair of smoking boots...

So, a 3-2 win in a hard fought game. That was close! In the end, it was more luck than skill that got the win. That said, I felt I had it a lot more together. I made a couple of deployment errors, and I think I need to switch around the balance of irregular orders between my groups. Plenty to digest before the next League game.

Wednesday 20 October 2021

Work in Progress Wednesday: An eclectic selection from Fenris Games

Among the models I've got sitting in the painting queue, I am disproportionately excited about these Fenris Duck Adventurers. Duck people are a nerd famous part of the Runequest roleplaying game, and these one's simple armour well suits the style.

These rats are also made by Fenris. They'll be useful for D&D and skirmish game wandering monster tables. Sadly, the rat on the front right lost his tail at some point between purchase and returning from my assembly guy. It's fine, real world rats lose tails too.

These four badass women are all by Bronze Age Miniatures, who are US based. In the UK, you can order them through Fenris Games. There's a definite supplier based theme to today's Work in Progress post!

Ingrid is the first of them. While she's looking Viking / Shieldmaiden-esque, I don't think she'd be out of place in a low fantasy setting either.

I feel like Siggi looks like she is done with your nonsense and is about to mess you up. I'm likely going to give these models relatively quick contrast paint jobs, but there's a ton of sculpted detail on these models that will make that easy.

Kera is described as a Viking berserker. She's mid way through swinging a big old ax, and will likely mess up whoever it hits.

I intended to buy Dagny on a previous order, and managed to order the wrong figure instead. Still, I ordered the right one this time, and I'm really looking forward to get some paint on her. She's got a good "thrown some armour on over clothes" look that makes her a good guard or armed up civilian.

I hope you enjoyed this look through an assortment of the miniatures in my painting queue. If you get a moment, do head over to the Fenris site and have a look around. There's tons of gems there worth picking up that are hidden away all over the site.

Monday 18 October 2021

Raging Annie Painted plus a Ramble

In my ongoing quest to finish painting a Shasvastii that's been on my painting table for months, in order to clear the decks to let me paint a Malifaux crew in time for a tournament in late November, I've painted a Bad Squiddo model.

This is the amazing "Raging Annie" figure, depicting a post apocalyptic Annie (owner of Bad Squiddo). As I understand it, this is a pretty good depiction of what it's like to try and get through the Nottingham Tram system during rush hour.

I'll likely be using her in Stargrave, when I get around to that sort of thing. I've definitely got a lot of games lined up I'm wanting to play in the future - Malifaux, Stargrave, Age of Sigmar, 40K - and not quite enough time to play them all in. I think the method of picking one and focussing on it for a few months before looking at the next is a pretty robust plan.

I didn't get much done this week, as I was pretty darned tired after work and had an epic lie in in the Saturday, and Sunday was spent doing Outside Things. I also popped out to Dark Sphere for an in person game of Malifaux to start reminding myself of how the blasted rules work! I've not played in over a year so it was probably best to do some learning.

I'm doing pretty well for having blog posts scheduled, so later this week you'll be seeing an assortment of work in progress Fenris Games figures, and an Infinity battle report under Season 12 rules. I try not to say "what's coming" on the blog unless it's already written and scheduled, because it is a hobby, not a job, and locking myself in to writing things is a quick way to demotivate myself. I've done a whole ton of cool things I'm keen to tell you about, it's just a case of finding the time to upload the photos and write it down in a coherent fashion.

Friday 15 October 2021

Inaugural Fast Panda Throwdown - Prize Support

There was a reasonable amount of Stuff at the tournament. We all got a Fast Panda patch that they'd made themselves, and a patch from the pile. They also let us grab stuff after everyone had got something, and I got a couple of metal tokens and a Swordfor pin badge.

Everyone also got a bag of stuff from Colour Forge. I'd not heard of them before, so this was smart promo on their part. An undercoat spray, static grass, basing rocks, super glue, PVA, bases and some crystals is a pretty respectable handout for every player at a 24 player tournament.

I've not had a chance to try these out yet, but I shall report back!

Having come 15th out of 24, I still managed to pick up a blister from the prize pool as well. I need two Wild Bills - one for the neon scheme to go with my Qapu Khalqi, and one for me to paint up for Foreign Company. For now, I think he's going to go with my QK, which is currently only a couple of boxes away from being a complete force. I just need to find some time to play them!

Wednesday 13 October 2021

Inaugural Fast Panda Throwdown - Game 3: Supplies vs Neilio

For my final game, I was up against Neilio, who was running Starmada. I've not played against Starmada, but I'm aware that they lack cheap support troops and specialise in super violent links. In Supplies, my hope was to utilise my massive number of mid field units to grab some boxes and avoid a straight fight.

My concerns of incoming extreme violence were deepened when my opponent took the first turn, and declared he was spending a command token to hold a model back, which would mean he was holding back three models. With the tiny number of models deployed on the table, I was expecting a TAG. When he placed his remaining models down, it turned up that it was Hector and Parvati in a link team.

This was not an improvement.

A lucky shot by one of my snipers on an Epsilon HMG made me think I might have a chance, but it wasn't to be. I'd misdeployed the snipers so one wasn't in much in the way of cover, so he was quickly picked off, and without the +3 BS bonus, the second shortly joined him. Hector then moved up into the mid field and did a solid murder on an innocent Hunzakut who'd been planning on grabbing a supply box and running away as much as possible.

With everything Hector could see dying, I decided to take an asymmetric approach. Hector would do a lot less with fewer orders, so I sent one of my Libertos after the Kappa fireteam. It was ridiculously effective. Four of the five link members ended up dead and off the board, with only the Kappa Missile Launcher left unconscious and bleeding out. The Libertos was sadly wounded in the exchange and died at the end of my turn, his duty done.

My Zhencha managed to get a box, but didn't have the orders to get far enough away from Hector, who killed him super dead. My opponent rightly identified Hector needed as many orders as possible so simply dropped every command token on moving models into Hector's group to replace the dead fireteam. Deciding that box was too far away, he instead pulled back and went for the box on the other side, his link team picking up the centre box on the way.

At this point, one of the many, many people Hector killed was my Lieutenant, who I'd moved up with the surviving link team members in the vain, vain hope of picking up a box in my following turn. I did manage to pick up a box and score a Classified with my Hacker, but with Starmada holding two boxes, the game ended 6-3 to the cops.

I think I did the right thing by going after the link, and Neilio in turn did the right thing of using Command Tokens to mitigate the damage. I need to be more careful with my deployment when trying to gain cover from height as it doesn't work if you don't end up significantly higher than your opponent. The list needed a better solution to an attack piece like Hector, and didn't really have one. Camo only goes so far, and people can just, you know, discover your models?

All said, I learned a bunch from the game and I've got a lot to think about in terms of how to build lists to cope with this sort of attack in future.

Monday 11 October 2021

An alien and a real world hero

Managed to get a couple of models finished over the past two weeks, as I try and clear the decks to make space to paint the models I need to take to the Malifaux Nationals tournament. Which is . . . not very far away now. And I haven't started painting any Malifaux figures. Oh dear.

First up is this Shasvastii Noctifer, who I started painting ages ago - before the Corvus Belli "Organised Play at Home" painting competition, which is what I put him to one side to do. He's an older sculpt, and starting to show his age a little bit.

In the game he doesn't deploy on the table, but you make a note of where he's hidden. Because his missile launcher is both long ranged and can put down a template, it can be absolutely devastating in game. Being able to take a reaction order in your opponent's turn and kill several models in a shot can change the course of an entire game. Your opponent can often spend a lot of time second guessing whether or not you've brought one, meaning they end up playing more cautiously than they otherwise would.

The other painted model is a rare one for this blog - a historical figure. She's made by Bad Squiddo Games, which is incredibly common for this blog . . .

The model portrays Virginia Hall, an American who worked with both SOE and OSS during World War II. She's shown adjusting her wooden prosthetic leg "Cuthbert". I don't have a particular plan for the model, but I'm glad she's painted. I picked her up to support one of Annie's Kickstarters.

That's all the painting I've got done over the past couple of weeks, although I'm hoping to finish a few more bits and bobs soon. I've got another half finished Shasvastii model (a Gwailo), a bunch of those Aenor goblins I had committed to getting finished in 2019, and another Bad Squiddo figure all on the table.

None of those are Malifaux. I should really fix that. The plan is once the other overdue Shasvastii is done, I'll be getting onto the Malifaux figures . . .

Friday 8 October 2021

Inaugural Fast Panda Throwdown - Game 2: Supremacy vs Forgedinfury

After lunch, opponents were announced and I got to meet Forgedinfury. He was running a beautifully painted Ikari Company force. I was excited to face another mercenary company, but a bit nervous of how much damage was likely coming my way as Ikari Company is a highly aggressive force with some really tough pieces.

I think I lost the Lieutenant roll, but in any event, Forgedinfury had the first turn, while I picked a deployment side and made him deploy first. I was facing a Keisotsu link on his left flank with a Brawler MULTI Sniper and Tanko Missile Launcher, while a Daiyokai and two Tankos in a Haris on his right.  A Karakuri was well placed to move around the roof of a tall building and move between zones, and Yojimbo also lurked back ready to zoom up the field.

I deployed a Ghulam Sniper link on the right, with a Hulang tucked well back behind some scenery. Libertos got scattered around the mid-field, and a Zhencha joined the Karakuri on the roof.

The left hand flank consisted of the Al Fasid and Rui Shi, as I was starting to run out of cover to deploy in and still be able to get out and affect the game!

The Ikari defensive link made an effort to take out my sniper link, but I started rolling critical hits and didn't stop. By the time the game ended, I'd rolled about nine, including five from the snipers alone - and mostly in ARO. The Tanko went down to shooting twice. Broadly, they were lacking long ranged high burst weapons, and I'd deployed to it hard for those that did exist to get into a good spot to get into a fight with the snipers.

He tried to help his Daiyokai advance with a couple of Yuan Yuan walking in from the side, but they ended up being unlucky and not managing to take out much in the way of targets.

Eventually, the Daiyokai and then a Tanko got unlucky from the Rui Shi and Al Fasid shooting, at which point there just weren't enough attack pieces left to make a break into my table half. I also ruthlessly took advantage of having second turn to score zone control as best I could.

In the end, my relentless criticals were too much, and the game ended in a Dahshat victory. I couldn't quite bring enough to bear to get zone control on the final turn, but picked up two consoles and a classified for a solid 7-0 win, with 259 points left alive to Ikari's surviving 73.

All in all, I was pretty pleased with how this went. I mostly made sure to engage on favourable terms, but was very lucky for the sniper link to survive most of the game when mathematically they should have gone down much earlier.

My initial deployment wasn't great and I think I need to work on it a little bit. I feel I needed a better ARO piece on my left flank, but that might be a problem with the list design that I need to look at for future games. Plenty to think about . . .