Friday 31 March 2023

Bad Squiddo My Last Sunrise Kickstarter

Bad Squiddo Games are running a Kickstarter for some new horror miniatures. It's called "My Last Sunrise 2", and finishes on Sunday evening. There's some really excellent sculpts there that could suit fantasy games or gothic pulp.

Wednesday 29 March 2023

Comparing Wizkids and Reaper Bones Black Oozes

I picked up some Reaper Bones to give me all the duplication options for a D&D "Black Pudding" alongside the Wizkids miniatures I already have. The larger one is marketed as a "Carnivorous Pudding" while the smaller ones are "Acidic Ooze"s.

Here's a size comparison to the Wizkids models. The "Carnivorous Pudding" is smaller than the larger Wizkids model, and while it's a bit bigger than the smaller Wizkids one, they'll do OK on the same table as two that are technically the same size. And the "Acidic Ooze" is just the right size for smaller, broken off ones.

I'm also happy with how the model sizes work alongside typical D&D miniatures. Here they are next to some recently painted models I've done by Oathsworn Miniatures and Bad Squiddo. They seem pretty well scaled for existing miniatures, so I'm pretty happy them.

Monday 27 March 2023

Oathsworn Miniatures Dwarf Rune Lord

I managed to finish up this dwarf by Oathsworn Miniatures. I believe he's out of production now. It's just a tabletop quality paint job, and I'm spotting a couple of bits I'm tempted to go back and fix looking at the photos I took now. But I'm going to count him as finished and done and move on to the next figures...

Friday 24 March 2023

Dark Sphere Local Practice Tournament

Last weekend, Dark Sphere held a small Infinity tournament so that the new players there could get the hang of playing in a tournament, and the person running it could get the hang of the tournament software. I volunteered to be a "ringer" - essentially, to play if there were an odd number of players so no-one had to take byes. And, oddly enough, there were indeed seven sign ups, so duty called!

I am a much more experienced player compared to the locals, so I decided to take Qapu Khalqi, a faction that is viewed as not being particularly great at the moment - and one I've never actually played before. I threw some profiles that looked good into a list and headed over to the shop.

The first game was Acquisition, and I was up against Shasvastii. The player, BizBozLoz was using a lot of the older Shasvastii models that she'd found lurking at the back of the store a few months back. There were a couple of proxies but everything was really clear as to what it was.

The Shasvastii snuck up cautiously and activated a console, while I pushed up a Haris team lead by the Al Fasid. A Sphinx did reveal to try and take it out, but unfortunately for the Shasvastii, I was able to put down a round of active turn shooting on it with some lucky rolls, and the Sphinx just evaporated. With only one wound left, the Al Fasid needed to get into a gunfight with Sheskiin in ARO to hold the centre box, but was able to put the necessary fire downrange, taking out Sheskiin and giving me a 5-3 win.

Second mission was Frostbyte, and I was facing Kosmoflot, piloted by flyer10. I was quite nervous about this as I've not faced them before. A solo Kosmosoldat started off the attack, and fell afoul of having to split burst against a Hafza Heavy Rocket Launcher and a Ghulam Sniper.

A Zenit Sniper revealed, and I was really worried about it blocking my route forward. I tried to take her out with the Djanbazan shooting through smoke, but she survived the attack and threw herself prone where I couldn't see her any more. I then dropped in my Yuan Yuan to run up and take her out in close combat.

With this done, the Al Fasid link started advancing, and co-incidentally caught the Kosmoflot Lieutenant from an unexpected angle and took her down. I was really worried about scoring as at one point my opponent had activated one console and narrowly failed to activate a second, which in Frostbyte isn't something you can swing back from.

Instead, I applied violence to the situation. A lot of violence. The game ended 5-3 in my favour, with me having 71 points left alive, and my opponent with 46 points still up.

At this point, one of the other players had to leave early, so I sat out the third round to let the regular locals play. It was a great day out, everyone learned a bunch, and Dark Sphere is looking into holding some more tournaments in future that will be more widely advertised, so watch this space!

Wednesday 22 March 2023

A Pride of Faerie Dragons

This week's pre-painted minis are a Pride of Faerie Dragons from Wizkids. As well as Faerie Dragon encounters, I reckon that they will be useful for "summon fae" spells as well.

Given the size of the miniatures, I'm not sure I'd be able to paint them much better than these have been done - and it would be a whole bunch of time I've now avoided.

I'm not sure if this rainbow pride of small dragons was officially released as a LGBT Pride release or not. Either way, now is a good time to say that Trans Rights are Human Rights, and now more than ever they're under attack. If you have the spare cash, donating to charities like Gendered Intelligence can help.

Monday 20 March 2023

An incredibly busy week

It's been a super busy week! I managed to get a little painting done - one of the Oathsworn Dwarfs is almost done, and I plugged away a bunch more base coats on the last of the Terrain Crate scatter. I also dropped in the first layers of the Corax Hasht repair / repaint. But a good indication of how busy I've been is that all the dwarf needs is their base washing and drybrushing, and the base rim painted, and I didn't find the time to do that over the weekend...

I helped out at a Dark Sphere Infinity tournament for their new local players by volunteering as the "ringer", to play if they had an odd number of players so no-one had to miss a game. I played two games then stepped back from the third round as another player had to leave early. It was a chance for me to deploy my Qapu Khalqi force that I haven't really played yet, as I didn't want to play a faction I'd been carefully honing all season against a bunch of new players...

I bought this book on a whim - it's an anthology of stories to celebrate 50 ears of the feminist publisher Virago. It was going to be my "if I don't have anything to do at the tournament" read, but I think it's going to end up being a train journey read in the future instead...

I've also had two crowd-funded efforts show up this week, too. These were when I was starting to really get into the idea of running an in person fantasy RPG campaign in the future using miniatures - whether D&D or some other system. First up, we have the Tanares Kickstarter. It started as a board game, and they've then released an RPG supplement for it as well. I had no interest in either the board game or the 5e additional material they were writing, but I backed a bundle of miniatures to get some unusual and interesting NPC and monster miniatures to use. I'll report back once I've gone through the box contents as to how successful that idea was...

I also had the latest Dungeons & Lasers Gamefound campaign turn up. It's mostly scenery that I've stashed away as a much lower painting priority, but it did also include a "Sample Pack" for their upcoming game "Deuslair". I am curious, so when hobby time returns, I'll see if I can get them assembled for a mini review. This is probably a shade optimistic, though...

Friday 17 March 2023

Red Star Blues 2 - A Last Tournament with Shasvastii

The excellent Yashar was running another tournament under the auspices of Hackney Area Tabletop Enthusiasts at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. I failed to get any practice games in whatsoever so took my existing Countermeasures / Highly Classified list and a new list of A Bunch Of Shasvastii good stuff.

The first game was Countermeasures, against Kovacs, who was running vanilla ALEPH.

Basically, ALEPH kicked my teeth in. I lost 8-1, with only 38 points surviving while ALEPH had taken no lasting casualties. I just bounced off the ALEPH units, while the Asura couldn't be stopped. Eventually, Victor Messer managed to Isolate and then Immobilise the Asura but by then the damage was done and it was just mopping up.

For the second mission, Yashar had picked "Emergency Transmission", a mission from an old season that requires a lot of button pushing. I was up against Murkage, who is a really experienced and skilled player, who was running Invincible Army. I won the Lieutenant roll and picked deployment, pushing him to pick the first turn.

He deployed his links relatively far forward and left them a bit vulnerable to Speculos, which was unfortunate as I'd brought two. I dropped the Boarding Shotgun right by his first link and the Minelayer in an awkward spot with the mine covering his Haris team. This was a tough spot to be in, and would be heavy on orders to solve, but it was eminently solvable.

If, you know, poor Murkage wasn't horribly, horribly betrayed by his dice. He wasn't able to discover the Boarding Shotgun Speculo with models outside the link, so bit the bullet and activated them to rip the plaster off. The majority of his cheap orders, and his only paramedic all died instantly, putting him on a back foot he wasn't able to dig himself out of. By the time his MSV 2 Sniper got crit by a Noctifer Missile Launcher, it was pretty much all done. I ran out of orders and only got one failed chance to push the central button, to score a 9-0 win (from having scored an additional point with the Predator Classified).

Finally, it was the nice, simple mission of Supremacy, against pillar of the community and all around excellent person Headchime. Who was playing Haqqislam. We were both exceedingly pleased to be getting an in person game in with each other, but also a little bit "Oh God, it's Haqq against Shasvastii and we're both very tired".

Headchime got first turn and spent it carefully rooting out and taking out both of my Speculos. There were some stressful moments as various things didn't go quite according to plan, but in the end both were taken down and double tapped to stop them getting back up again.

We both held pretty steady for the first couple of turns, scoring equal zones for the first two rounds, and both getting two consoles activated. But it was at the cost of a slow attrition of Shasvastii units to Haqqislam, and on the third turn, I simply couldn't get it together to capture a third zone, leaving the final score as 8-4 to Haqqislam and a well deserved win.

My particular observation here was that while both sides had some real shenanigans, my list was far, far more reactive and relied on opponents walking into ambushes or failing to deal with threats rather than having much offensive punch. While Haqq swung for the Shasvastii, they mostly went down, while about half the time that the Shasvastii swung for the Haqq models, they didn't.

With that, I'm likely moving on from Shasvastii for the remainder of this season. I've dug out my White Company models and my O-12 are also nearly ready for play. While Shasvastii are a perfectly serviceable faction, they do struggle a bit against the lists people are currently taking. With Sensor remotes having a significant boost this season meaning they're seen more often, and Shasvastii struggling to survive some of the brute force attacks some factions are bringing at the moment, its definitely an uphill battle to get wins with them.

I'm not sure if O-12 or White Company are particularly "strong" either right now, but they're very different play styles to the Shasvastii and I definitely need a bit of a change of scenery. It'll be good fun to try some new things out and see what I learn.

Wednesday 15 March 2023

Mwangi Expanse Miniatures - Spider Content Warning

I normally put all of a batch of miniatures in the first photo of a set, but in this case, there are miniatures of spiders in those photos, and some social media automatically takes the first photograph in the blog as the preview photo. So, to be considerate of people with arachnophobia, here's the first miniature of the group.

This is a Conrasu, an astral spirit of balance that's built a construct of wood and plants around itself to operate in the material plane. In Pathfinder, this is a valid player character option. Sure, it's a rare player character option that they recommend you speak to your GM about, but still, player option.

I do quite like this about Pathfinder. With the Common / Uncommon / Rare listings baked into the books, you can either run a very traditional "humans, elf, dwarf, halfling and gnome" adventure (admittedly with a side helping of goblins, which have taken off in Pathfinder), or you can run an adventure for a robot, a spirit possessing a plant, a giant spider and Bob the Human Fighter who is a little confused but chill about it all.

Obviously, I picked up the pre-painted miniature for a Conrasu because it's a pretty good mini for what it is, and the chance of me finding another good sculpt for this amazing nonsense is minimal.

These pre-painted miniatures are from the Mwangi Expanse set - the Mwangi Expanse being the supplement that moved me from curious about Pathfinder to seriously interested. The Mwangi Expanse is the African inspired part of the world, and there is an excellent source book for it that's really detailed and brilliantly written.

I wasn't a huge fan of the humanoid sculpts in the pre-painted range - I'll be looking elsewhere to fill in those gaps - but with the rarity of the Conrasu and the Anadi (the spider folk), I decided to pick up their miniatures.

The Anadi are another playable race of large intelligent spiders, who can shape shift into humanoid forms to hide their nature from society until they can work to make sure the wider world won't seek to destroy them for how they look.

The art has them look like fuzzy peacock spiders, and they're the most adorable things. You've got one waving a length of silk about, and the other with an adventuring backpack and wizards staff.

I will definitely play one if I ever get the chance.

Finally, here's a hybrid form they can develop at higher levels which gives them some extra flexibility. I'm less of a fan of this sculpt - it's not great - but if I don't grab this one, I have no idea what options I'll be able to find in the future.

So, that's a quick summary of the Mwangi Expanse pre-painted models I've picked up. Hope you all found it interesting!

Monday 13 March 2023

This week - remembering to paint something!

My "make sure I actually paint something" model this week is Miko the Vampire Hunter by Bad Squiddo Games. The base is a Dungeons & Lasers base by Archon Studio. I got an extra set with one of their Kickstarters, and I'm not sure if they're planning to sell the bases separately or not.

It's worth noting that Bad Squiddo are planning on having a small Kickstarter for their Horror / Gothic range soon, which Miko is from. The launch date isn't finalised yet, but I'll let my loyal readers know when it's announced.

I spent Saturday at Red Star Blues, a tournament organised by one of HATE club at Bethnal Green Working Men's Club. I had three fun games of Infinity with some excellent people, and I'll provide a longer write up in a bit.

It's the first of three busy weekends in a row, which I'm both looking forward to and also kind of looking forward to being over.

I'm definitely putting my Shasvastii on the back shelf now. I've found the White Company models I "put in a safe place" a few months ago so they're good to go again, and the last models I need to start experimenting with O-12 are off at assembly.

With the new Bakunin models coming out there is the deep temptation to start getting back into Nomads but I'm much further behind with working out their paint scheme than the O-12, so I'm going to exercise some patience there and hopefully get a reasonable selection of O-12 painted and ready for gaming.

(I am still plugging away at the undercoat work on the Onyx Contact Force batch I got back from assembly. They're definitely going away in a box for now and were mostly assembled for more efficient storage. There will come a day I turn up to a tournament with Onyx, but it's probably not this year...)

Friday 10 March 2023

Where I'm at with different wargames

I spent last Sunday having a bit of a re-organise of the hobby room after being unable to find a particular box of Space Marines for a whole month. This got a little out of hand. I ended up getting everything out to organise and repack it. In turn, this got me thinking about what my priorities are right now.

Infinity is still my main game. I've been playing Shasvastii primarily, but I've got a few games in with White Company as well, and am keen to get some more games in with them once I get the next batch of them back from That Mr Shy. Meanwhile, I've just had the latest batch of O-12 arrive, and they're the utility pieces that will mean I have some solid tournament list options.

After my learning game of 9th edition Warhammer 40,000 I'm pretty relaxed about the idea of waiting for 10th edition to drop and playing some learning games of that. I've taken a pass of my existing models for stuff I'll definitely sell off, and everything else has gone into a dedicated Box Of Uncertainty for me to make a decision on when 10th edition drops. I definitely want to do some Boarding Action games, but I'm assuming they'll work just fine in 10th edition as well as 9th.

I will finish the Horus Heresy test paints, then paint the Plasma Gun Support Squad I have for it, but the Audit Of Doom has definitely shown I have plenty to be getting on with without over-committing into another game just yet. Of all the Warhammers, this is the one I think I'd most like to be playing at a mass battle level, but I simply don't have the models for it right now.

Age of Sigmar and Warhammer Underworlds . . . 

I want to be keen for both of these games. I have painted playable forces for both. But I'm just not finding the time to book in a game to try them out. I definitely want to get a game or two in before I make a decision on each, but unless they jump out at me, maybe I need to find something to better focus my time on?

Malifaux is also in a weird place. I'm deeply keen to get some models painted for it and play some games, but I've been focusing on finishing half done stuff "before I get onto my Malifaux Crew" recently. I'm definitely suffering from the "I want to do it well" problem so I don't want to pull them out and slap on a low quality paint job. Currently top of my "do this next" mental list when I finish the half finished stuff lying around.

Battletech is suffering from one thing: mould lines. My goodness, are they terrible. Trying to clean up ten whole mechs has absolutely stalled out. I've split them into smaller groups, and now have three cleaned up, and one undercoated and ready for paint. I could probably arrange a one on one mech duel to learn the rules a bit, but it would be nice to have a full Lance to take if I get through the one on one duel OK.

D&D style RPGs are the other significant thing on my hobby time at the moment. Not needing to have a consistent paint scheme helps stop me panic about how a force should look and fail to paint anything. And outside that, I'm working towards the goal of an in person game with miniatures, which helps give it some structure.

Conversely, I've accepted I'm not getting around to Stargrave any time soon, and I've added most of the models I'd bought specifically for that to the eBay pile. I do intend to play it one day, but I can buy the models when I get close to that point, and not hang onto them forever in the meantime!

Wednesday 8 March 2023

Expanding my Pre-Painted Wizkids Collection

This order was basically caused by the Elder Black Pudding miniature. I'd forgotten, when I bought the normal Black Pudding miniature that it comes in three different sizes and certain types of attack can cause it to split into two smaller monsters. Wizkids don't make the smallest of them, but Reaper do. I've got those on order, but Wizkids do make the even bigger Black Pudding, but it came out quite a while ago so I ordered one straight away as I'm not sure how easy they are to find now.

It's a pretty big model - it's got the space to be surrounding a 40mm based creature, provided that creature is relatively short.

Most actual Large, 40mm based models will end up being just too tall to fit into the gap, but it's a nice feature for when it will actually work.

"I may as well get a few extra minis while I'm paying for postage", I thought. So I got two more Chwingas, this time the snow versions from the Icewind Dale release, and a Boggle. I also got a Displacer Beast Kitten because HOW COULD YOU NOT??

Browsing the Pathfinder models, I spotted the Cacodemon as a uniquely Pathfinder low level Wizkids miniature that wasn't absolutely awful from a looks point of view. The pre-painted line is super hit and miss (avoid anything with a weapon that's meant to be straight. It won't be), but the materials and paint jobs they use seem to be pretty good for see through stuff, and organic but unnatural stuff.

On the subject of awful miniatures... I'm really not a fan of this "Vampiric Mist" but I was reading a low level adventure I'm thinking of running at some point, and came across an encounter with one... And while I am not a fan of the model, I simply haven't seen a better option for that concept, so I picked it up as a cheap placeholder until I find something I like better...

Monday 6 March 2023

End of February Hobby Review

While I kept on plugging through fixing the Mantic scatter terrain and painting the Oathsworn dwarfs I have, I quickly knocked out this Fenris Games urn I got sent as a freebie with another order. It wasn't exactly hard to paint, but I just needed something to be done for the sake of my ongoing enthusiasm.

The monster nest from Oathsworn Miniatures was what made me realise that finishing stuff was what was giving me enthusiasm to keep painting while I slogged through a bigger project. I keep learning and forgetting this over and over, but maybe one day it will stick...

The only other thing I got finished this month were these two crow "dolls" from Statuesque Miniatures. As February last year was when I managed to finish a bunch of Shasvastii paint jobs for Smackdown, my twelve month rolling total for projects is now flashing as "overcommitted". With a massive Dungeons & Lasers Kickstarter arriving, I'm definitely not able to justify starting a new project that involves buying things any time soon.

I'm getting this "Miko the Vampire Hunter" by Bad Squiddo Games painted up as my current "stop myself losing all interest in painting from plugging through a bunch of scatter terrain" (which is now 12 out of 16 done, so nearly there!).

To stop my painting numbers "getting worse" I could do with getting three little things painted, along with one "project" item. Ideally, I'd like to get the last of this batch of Terrain Crate finished. If I can get a little more project stuff done, it would be good to get the Militia Urbanmech done. I do still have the Horus Heresy test paints to do, but trying to do two big painting projects at once has proven roundly miserable. I'll get back to the Heresy models when the Terrain Crate is done.

I'm not really planning the "little things" beyond grabbing a nearby model I fancy and getting it painted. The Oathsworn dwarfs will continue to get paint every time I sit down at the desk, but four miniatures at once are too much for "quick wins".


I've literally just gone and broken the dwarfs down into four separate little things. If something isn't working for you, change it! I'll try and get one or two of them finished, and maybe something new, and that should keep me on track painting wise this month.