Wednesday 30 November 2022

Work in Progress Wednesday - Combined Army Xeodrons

I finally finished prepping the two Xeodrons for painting. I got one from the Defiance Kickstarter, and picked up the other from Shae Konnit's Split Service. I had a little nose through my collection and have noticed I've got an awful lot of the Onyx Contact Force models.

This means I've got an interesting option at some point in the future to play a few games with Onyx as a break from my main forces. The recent FAQ has given the Unidron defensive link (a staple of Onyx) a huge boost by confirming that the Enhanced Reaction programme stacks with link bonuses.

The Xeodrons are light TAGs who use lighter weapons than some of the more conventional bruiser TAGs. However, they have the Super-Jump skill and a good choice of anti infantry or anti armour guns depending on preference. In Onyx, they then gain the extra benefit of being able to form a fireteam, and bringing along Umbra Samaritans or Nourkias, who have excellent close combat and options for specialist troopers that the Xeodron profile lacks.

I've got oddly keen about all this. I've not done much with TAGs up to now, and while Onyx aren't the strongest of forces at the moment, messing around with list building for them has built a little keen. We'll see where that takes me.

Monday 28 November 2022

Weekly Update - Warlord Games Orcs, Basing Woes and Frameworks Progress

Painting wise this week, I've finished up these orcs that are now produced by Warlord Games (previously they were made by Wargames Factory). These models are awful. While multi-part with an assortment of weapons, the weapons are separate from the hands and the posing is mediocre. The quality of the detail is also pretty poor, with sections of detail fading away or blending into other parts. For cheap models where you want shades and dry-brushing to take most of the work, and the shoddy detail makes this much harder.

I experimented with using GW crackle paint for my Horus Heresy characters. I came back the following morning to find that it still hadn't finished drying.

Coming back that evening, I found that leaving it a full day seemed to have worked pretty well, until I picked them up to give them a coat of varnish...

... as a lot of the crackle just fell off! I'm told that doing a coat of PVA before undercoating may help the crackle paint stay attached. I'm trying to decide if I persevere with this method or move to a different basing scheme. The uncertainty of the crackle paint isn't endearing it to me... 

The Frameworks Mind Flayer is turning out pretty good. The Magos Purple Contrast paint got me a good pale purple Mind Flayer skin colour which I quite like.

The Intellect Devourer is also nearly done, but if he gets finished first, I'll wait until the Mind Flayer is done to photograph them together.

Thursday 24 November 2022

Tidying up the Stormcast

I mostly spent last weekend tidying, but that did mean I finally started putting away a huge pile of Stormcast Eternals that Squiggle's Studio painted for me. As a happy bonus, I managed to get photos of a bunch of them while I tidied them up. First up being the original test model Liberator who can be bundled into some of my Stormcast Underworlds Warbands to make a Retributor unit if I need to.

I picked up these Castigators as part of the Warhammer Underworlds Starter Set. I need to dig out their card deck and work out if its a valid Rivals Deck, or if I need to use one of the "any warband" decks instead.

A Lord Imperatant with his noble Gryph Hound. The character model from the big starter box, I'll probably end up taking him in some early games while I start learning the rules.

The Praetors seem to be a bodyguard type unit, though I think the rules for such things have changed since I last looked.

I had to check the Games Workshop website to make sure I didn't call this model Flappy Boy 1, and his brother below Flappy Boy 2. He's a Knight Azyros, and his lantern does cool mystical stuff.

The Knight Venator is a fast shooty boy. I think I prefer the Azyros looks wise, but as I had a second one I didn't see any reason not to have one of each and find out what's different about them.

Anyhow, that's enough excuses for not tidying - I need to get back to putting things away!

Monday 21 November 2022

What I'm working on and what got finished - Halfling Rogue and Infinity Defiance Supply Crates

I've got a bit of a deadline at the moment to getthe hobby room tidied so some relatives can use it as a guest room. For a while, this meant that I ended up feeling guilty about painting when I wasn't up for doing tidying, which was a daft thing for my brain to do, because doing something fun with a break means my brain ends up happier.

So I took a deliberate short break to do a little bit of painting, and I had some productive results! First up is this Heroines in Sensible Shoes Halfling Rogue by Oathsworn Miniatures. (You may have trouble reaching their website as it was shut for maintenance for a few days, so I've linked to their Facebook Page.)

I'd ended up with a particularly strong spray zenithal on the model from the side the torch was on, so I decided to play with that a little. Most of the model was painted with contrast paints over the zenithal. I added a little detailing with Kislev Flesh on the face because it was too dark and looked a little weird. As a pure experiment, I drybrushed some light blue and light orange on the sides of the grey base to match the torch, and I think it's ended up turning out really nice. It's a very very lazy "Object Source Lighting" but I think it works and looks nice from a tabletop standard point of view.

I also threw some quick contrast over the crates for Defiance that I'll likely also use for crates in Infinity for a while until I get something a that's not limited edition that I'm terrified of losing. I feel like I should have drybrushed up the orange panels a little more with white before adding the orange as they're a little dark, but also, life is too short so I'm not going back to them.

With the things that have been on my desk for ages all finished, what's on my desk now? I'm finishing up some Warlord Games Orcs, which are getting a pretty basic paint job due to them winning the award for Worst Models I've Dealt With All Year. Next up for painting are a couple of Horus Heresy characters to decide if I hate painting Alpha Legion or not, and a Frameworks Mind Flayer and Intellect Devourer, which once painted will get a bit of a review that's been a few months in the making.

I've taken advantage of a couple of online D&D games I'm playing in to start "assembling" the Battletech Game of Armored Combat boxed set and my Urbanmechs. By which I mean "removing the mould lines". Once that's done and I've added basing paste, their getting undercoated will be a bit weather dependent now, but having them ready to go will be great.

The pace over the next couple of weeks may get a little slower as I hit the crunch for making the hobby room an inhabitable not-death-trap, but hopefully a few bits and bobs will make it onto the blog. I am definitely looking forward to it being done, because then I'll be in a much better place with my hobby space from that point onwards...

Friday 18 November 2022

Indie Winter

A group of small hobby companies have put together a promotion over November. If you use the code INDIEWINTER10 at Bad Squiddo Games, Exit 23 Games, Fenris Games, Fogou Models or Second Thunder, you can get 10% off.

There's a good range there, between the miniatures from Bad Squiddo and Fenris Games, scenery from Fogou Models or Fenris Games, paints from Exit 23 Games, or rules from Second Thunder. They're all good people, so I'd recommend giving their websites a browse and picking something up.

Wednesday 16 November 2022

Work in Progress Wednesday - Tunnels and Terrors Kickstarter

I've assembled the models from the Tunnels and Terrors Kickstarter. This was produced by Wilhel Miniatures. I'm not sure if they'll go to retail or not.

They're scaled to be larger monsters and creatures for fantasy RPGs and skirmish games, but I plan on using them for D&D. I'm thinking of using the large wizard as a Mercane, from the recent rerelease of the Spelljammer setting. Others I have less of a clue about, but I'm sure I'll think of something.

I've decided not to paint these all up at once as a project, but add them to my stash of small painting pieces that I paint in between projects. With little idea on what to do with all of them, it'll be much better to pick off the ones I am enthusiastic about while I come up with ideas for the others.

I went with the brown undercoat and not the zenithal as I might use traditional painting for some and contrast for others. For the ones where I do add some lighter colours before starting to add colour, I may also play around with different colours, zenithal and drybrushing.

Monday 14 November 2022

Viking Guard

This is a Viking Guard by Bronze Age Miniatures that I bought from Fenris Games. Sadly, Fenris have stopped importing Bronze Age Miniatures because the import costs stopped making sense. Fenris sold her as "Dagny, Viking Guard". Bronze Age Miniatures have her listed under their "Dark Age" line as the much catchier "32VIKF3".

I picked Dagny up because she's just a lovely simple sculpt. She's got some leather armour, a spear and a shield along with a few pouches. She's not super detailed at a sculpt, but the detail that is there is nice, and I found it very easy to paint using contrast and washes.

While she's a historical miniature, I plan on using her in Dungeons and Dragons games. I think that there's a good number of historical miniatures which will suit D&D well. You can't go overboard with them if you want a diverse fantasy setting, but it will especially suit human centric or lower fantasy settings. Also, it feels quite "authentic" to the older school aesthetics as well, as the early players of D&D will have often been supplementing the few fantasy miniatures available with historical figures.

Friday 11 November 2022

EIC Revival Tournament Report - Day 2

The second day of the EIC Revival dawned, and I was up against Mc_Clane's Corregidor at Unmasking. Looking at what was put down as I deployed, I was pretty sure that there was a chunk of points missing, and this got confirmed when he put a Gecko down.

That's not a big camo, it's the objective.

I sent the Feuerbach up to deal with it, and he failed and ate a Blitzen, getting Immobilised and Isolated in view of the TAG. I ran a servant remote up to clear the states, and did so. This allowed the Feuerbach to enter a second exchange of fire and straight up die this time.

It turns into a bit of a massacre as I lose trooper after trooper. I end up running my Fusiliers up under smoke on turn 3 to try and score some targets. The HMG gets beaten by a dodge on a decoy, which moves out of sight. My Lieutenant then manages a complicated suicidal run at the real target, hits twice, only for the true target to save. With pretty much everything dead and no real casualties, Corregidor are able to take out all three of my targets for a 10-0 loss.

Final game - Supplies against marcskyline, who is also running Corregidor. This is a different style of list, with McMurrough and a Vostok as the attack pieces. Once again, my Feuerbach fails to clear an ARO piece, getting knocked unconscious by a Mobile Brigada Missile Launcher. I manage to grab the box on the right hand side, and complete both my classifieds by the end of my second turn - but I'm left with marc having secured two Supply boxes to my one and a single turn to try and do something about it.

My Guilang does a long run across the field, including getting discovered and recamo-ing, before climbing a ladder to get to the Sombra. He runs around the corner in front of a lot of ARO pieces, and opens fire on the Sombra. The Sombra saves, but the ARO pieces don't take down the Guilang! The Guilang open fires again and manages to cause two wounds on the Sombra to win me the game, while dying to the successful AROs from the Vostok and Mobile Brigada.

So, with a 4 - 3 win based on both having a supply box, but my having scored two classifieds to marc's one, I scored my second win of the tournament. The tables were a bit more open than I'd expected, but I think the locals knew the tables better - across five games, I was facing a Unidron Sniper, a Riot Grrl Missile Launcher, Phoenix, and two Mobile Brigada Missile Launchers - sometimes backed up by a second strong ARO piece! Still, I'm not unhappy with my overall placing and will start playing with list design to counter some of the problems I couldn't deal with this tournament...

Wednesday 9 November 2022

Review: Troll Trader Recycled Resin Scenery

I picked up these resin scenery pieces from Troll Trader's "Halflings in Space" Kickstarter. They're an experiment in recycling resin waste from casting and seeing if there's some demand for them. I'm keen to support this sort of sustainability, so I threw them a few quid.

Now, these are really chunky pieces - bigger than I realised they were going to be! My storage is limited so I've sold them to a club mate who needed pieces for his 40K table. But before they wing their way to their new home, I thought other people would be interested in a review.

If you look at the base, you can literally see the proof that they're using up ground up resin waste. While you can see the texture on the underneath, the top of the castings are clean and don't have these lumps. So the technique / concept is definitely a success!

The lumps on the bottom don't seem to be a problem at all. None of the pieces I have are wobbly. They also didn't seem to cause any problem with them moving around or being slippy. I reckon they'd probably work best with a mouse mat or rubber gaming mat, but won't need one.

There were six pieces in the Kickstarter offering, and Troll Trader said that if these are successful, they'll give them their own Kickstarter - so expect that rather than these pieces coming straight to retail. This bunker network is one of the larger pieces, and conveniently demonstrates most of the (minor) issues I've spotted 

There's a few spots where bits of mould have gotten caught in the models. That means that later castings may end up losing a little detail where the moulds have been damaged. These sort of things are an issue with the designs themselves, so hopefully they work these issues out as it could affect the ongoing sustainability if the kits tear up the moulds quickly.

The sculpting quality is also really variable on the same pieces? The storage tank has beautiful skulls, access panels and even buttons. They're excellently detailed.

Then you get to the bunker, and the roof is really rough and simple? I'm not sure if it's meant to be a blockier, simple design. The "bricks" are also just really obviously just cuts into a block of resin.

The vent also has a chunky, rough lump of resin underneath it - necessary for casting, but a better thought through design could have avoided this while still keeping to one piece.

I also spotted on the crashed plane piece that it was really slippy / smooth, which is an indication of heavy mould release use. Having had a chat with a couple of people who buy from TT Combat regularly, I'm told that they're often pretty heavy on the mould release, so this isn't unusual. It's just something to be aware of when prepping the models - a light wash won't do it. A good solid soak with washing up liquid and a thorough scrubbing with a brush will be needed.

The disappointing bunker aside, the detail is really good! With some crashed vehicles almost certainly saving on the sculpting budget by re-using their vehicle models as the base of the terrain pieces, they've got some nice details at a reasonable price.

One thing that's not to my taste is the steep slopes on the side of the terrain pieces. Less well balanced models, or ones that don't have a hollow base, will have trouble being placed on them in a precise spot, which will be particularly annoying in games that require precise measurement.

The playability concerns aside, I think these mostly look excellent and sometimes you want looks over them being more interactive for use in game. They'll particularly suit games where precise measurement is less important and you're more wanting to build the feel of the table.

The initial set had two bunkers, two crashed vehicles and two trenches / emplacements. If these were a success for Troll Trader, I expect they'll be coming to Kickstarter in the future, but we've not heard from them yet how they went this time around.

When it comes down to it - would I recommend them? After thinking about this, I definitely would. They are a specific use case - they're chunky and take up space, and are heavy, and also don't really block line of sight for games where that's important. But they are really pretty and look like they'll paint up really well with quite simple techniques.

So for now I'm going to have to leave you with some uncertainty. These terrain pieces aren't available at retail yet, but if they were a success, will end up being a future Kickstarter by Troll Trader. All in all, I'm glad companies are looking at ways of trying to be more sustainable, and hope we see more of it in the future.

Monday 7 November 2022

EIC Revival Tournament Report - Day 1

The weekend before last I was away at the EIC Revival, an Infinity tournament in Mallorca. It was a Satellite tournament, but much smaller than previous years. Once again held in an all inclusive hotel in the off season. The weather was still lovely, with a nearby beach and a swimming pool. I unfortunately didn't manage to take advantage of either after falling asleep when I'd been intending to. I'm having old people problems, and I don't think I like it!

For the first game, Frontline, I was up against Vito who had brought Onyx Contact Force. I pushed up early while Vito played quite defensively. His Plasma Sniper kept things pinned down, while his Sphinx ran around killing things. Unfortunately, on his third turn, he over-extended his Sphinx to the point where my Varangian could put down smoke, and Shona Carano could run over and cut it in half with her ridiculous close combat.

So, with a 6-2 win, I was sitting sixth out of twenty players. I . . . did not expect to stay here long, but did screenshot the standings on my phone for posterity.

I was now up against LokenHorus who was running Bakunin, with the mission of Countermeasures. I dropped my Tiger Soldier too close to a moderator, who dodged into close combat with him, leaving him pinned down and unable to really contribute further. I found out after the game that the Moderator was the force's Lieutenant, and taking her out would have caused massive disruption.

One of my Kaplans managed to get far enough up to lay D Charges for Sabotage, and later on the ORC Feuerbach managed to punch out a Pupnik for the second close combat kill to score a second classified. But the Riot Grrl Missile Launcher kept me pinned down while all my models died, and LokenHorus was able to get three objective for the win before I fell into retreat and the game ended.

The third game was on a relatively open "mesa" style table against vdevendetta's Steel Phalanx. This is a pretty brief third report, as I lost 9-1 with me only having 18 points left alive at the end of the game.

I simply didn't have the tools to take out Phoenix on an open table, and insufficient orders to have enough smoke to cross the whole table to destroy a server. I barely crossed the centre line, and everything died trying.

So, I ended the first day with a win and two losses. Ideally, I was aiming for three wins over the two day event, and it was technically still possible! But I was revising my expectations to "try and win one game tomorrow"...

Friday 4 November 2022

Checking how I did in October

I've had a really excellent month for painting. With ten models painted, it's been one of my more productive months. I've also finished the four Shasvastii I started ages ago, which has felt like a bit of a weight off my mind too.

I'm probably about halfway through the Combined Army assembly batch, and am feeling pretty positive about them all being ready for paint by the end of November. I had an assortment of O-12 minis I'd put straight away when I got them back from my commission assemblers, so I've got them out and queued them up behind the aliens with the hope that I'll get started on those this month too. It also means I could consider picking up O-12 next as a quick Infinity painting project.

When I started getting back into painting, I'd actually pulled out five D&D miniatures, although I subsequently only finished three. I've got a shieldmaiden and a halfling rogue to finish up, and I'm quite keen for them to be off my painting desk by the end of the month.

With the four Infinity models finished, along with the Battletech Griffin, my yearly "project capacity" has crept up a little. I've not finished assembling any new projects, but I'm now showing as being able to finish what's in my "ready to paint" project pile within the next twelve months. Much better.

I've tweaked my unstarted project pile a little. With no immediate plans to paint Infinity on the horizon, I've banished Sargosh to the "don't think about" box. I've pulled in the Urbanmechs, as doing them alongside the Armored Combat box shouldn't be too much of a big deal. I've also added the Thorns of the Briar Queen to the "to do" pile, as they're mostly assembled and just need a little more work, and I'm getting excited about the idea of playing some Underworlds. Beyond that, the list has stayed much the same.

I did have a moment of unplanned keen and washed the models from the "Tunnels and Terrors" Kickstarter prior to assembly. They're now "in flight" for assembly but I don't really have space to be working on them right now until I've done some more tidying, and I need to have started another painting project for them to have "room" in the ready to paint pile.

So, this month? I'm currently tending towards getting the Defiance crates done as an easy win before starting on my Horus Heresy test models, which are fiddly and are likely going to take me a whole bunch of time to get done. I suspect they won't get finished in November, but I definitely want them to be well underway.

With many of my "little minis to paint between projects" I don't want to pick anything too fiddly to do alongside the Horus Heresy figures, as that's going to take all my capacity for nonsense painting. I've got plenty of simple D&D figures that need doing, though, so that shouldn't be a bother.