Thursday 29 June 2023

Infinity Satellite - Steel City Insurrection, Day 1

Last weekend, I headed up to Sheffield for an Infinity Satellite tournament - one of the larger fan organised tournaments supported by Corvus Belli. This one was called "Steel City Insurrection" and was a two day tournament with six missions. Thirty four players had signed up, with a really wide range of factions. I was taking my White Company, with the broad goal of trying to win at least three games.

There was a nice promo bag for all the players, with a dice bag and dice tray produced for the event, along with some Colour Forge spray and flock pots. I didn't have much luck with the last can I had but I'll give this one a go and see if it was just that colour.

There was also a "Bad Time Bingo" game where lots of terrible things that could go wrong were on a bingo card. There were Fabulous Prizes for whoever managed to get a line first.

First game was Quadrant Control against Rushforth 1980, who was running Morats and got the first turn. He got the first turn and laid down a Yaogat Sniper in a Core Fireteam and a Raicho TAG, so I was pretty sure I was in trouble...

Yup, that's a TAG in my deployment zone, killing my backline. Oh bother. On the second turn, I noticed my opponent had left his left flank a little weak and managed to push up to tie for zones for a turn, but that was all I was ever going to score as everything got rolled over. The game ended 9-2 in favour of the Morats, with my army completely tabled.

Next up was Rescue, and I was facing TheScrub's Haqqislam force. I got the first turn and spent a bit of it trying to clear the Inevitable Fiday, but wasn't able to get rid of it. I took out a couple of ARO pieces before passing the turn and losing my Karhu Feuerbach to the Fiday.

My advance stalled as a Hidden Deployment trooper revealed and the ORC Feuerbach just wasn't able to clear them. With the Feuerbach down, the Haqqislam hackers were able to isolate my hackers with only a couple of losses. This left me without enough orders to score, and his Bashi Bazouk was able to recover a civilian back to his deployment zone, which along with securing the HVT left him with a 5-0 win.

The final game on day 1 was Cutthroat, against a Steel Phalanx list piloted by Chorsac. I was expecting, and faced Achilles, Phoenix and Atalanta. This is a tough fight and as expected, my ORC Feuerbach got knocked unconscious in the first turn, but I hadn't lost too many miniatures when the turn passed to me.

My first turn was one of those turns where everything worked out well. My Danavas laid down a White Noise zone that Atalanta couldn't see through. My doctor healed up the ORC so he could get back in the fight. The Haidao Sniper then saw through Phoenix's Mimetism and took Phoenix down, then the ORC Feuerbach hit Atalanta through the White Noise and took her out.

Achilles had some bad luck and engaged in some mutual destruction with a Beasthunter, got healed up again, before being finally taken down. By the end of the game, I had a solid 10-0 win in the bag, and felt like I'd turned things around a little bit.

There was then a very pleasant evening at a local restaurant with a lot of the players before I returned to where I was staying for the evening. There was not a lot of time for sleep before I needed to get up for the second day of games...

Monday 26 June 2023

A busy hobby week - Battletech, Acquisitions, and an Infinity tournament

It's been a busy week! During the week nights I managed to get started on one of my Urbanmechs, getting a base colour down. The idea is to keep doing a little on the evenings I'm not role-playing or having practice games down the club so it becomes more of a habit.

I had a couple of bits and pieces arrive in the post. Firstly, the KR cases I ordered for that big pile of miniatures that need putting away showed up, so that's likely to be a very unphotogenic bit of hobby I'll be plugging away at this week. Secondly, I got these lovely space pirates from a a Facebook hobby group exclusive thing. I'm a bit torn as to what to do with them, as I deeply love them, but there's also 22 of them and I have other projects that I have a more immediate use for that I could do before them instead. They kind of feel like a project in need of a purpose...

I also attended Steel City Insurrection, a 2 day, 6 game Infinity tournament in Sheffield. It was hosted at Patriot Games, which is a really nice gaming shop with a ton of gaming space and a really good café. I would absolutely be a regular there if I lived further north!

I had a ton of fun at the event but it will take me a good bit of time to write up, and I'm off to Norwich this weekend for . . . another Infinity event. So, I promise thoughts will be transferred to blog at some point, but I cannot for certain say when . . .

Thursday 22 June 2023

Taking stock of the hobby and making some plans

I took a little time to take stock of my hobby this weekend, and work out what needs doing. In some ways, this blog post is to help me work out where I'm at and what needs doing. I'm going to work from "most done" to "least done".

First up is this basket of things that need putting away. I'm running out of space in my existing KR cases, so I've ordered some new KR cases to fit these.

This scatter terrain and two miniatures are all waiting to get varnished. This isn't a big job, but I haven't rushed to it given how big a pile of miniatures are waiting to get put away. Also, Games Workshop Munitorum Varnish spray has been out of stock for a while now, and I'm down to my last can...

I've still got the two Oathsworn Dwarfs I've not finished on the paint tray. I've also pulled a Battletech Urbanmech and an Orc barbarian across onto the tray as a couple of relatively simple to paint miniatures that I can get mostly done while I finish up the dwarfs. As you're about to see, I keep getting caught up with lots of half finished assembly projects, so I really want to make one of my absolute priorities getting models painted so I'm not just piling up loads of models that are ready to paint.

This is the tray of "next projects", that should be everything that's "up next" on it. Unfortunately, on top of this there's a whole bunch of other things that don't fit here, which is a sign of me having too much "in progress". 

My D&D "wildshapes and familiars" are all undercoated now, and are a good candidate for some quick batch painting over a weekend to really blitz through them.

I also have a whole bunch of assembled Combined Army and O-12 miniatures that need their undercoat tidying up and a zenithal effect applied. Given I'm currently planning on going Nomad next, this is a bunch of work I set myself up for that I'm no longer super keen on. Part of me thinks if I get it done before I put them away, I've not left as big a problem for future me. Another part of me is asking what future me has ever done for me.

On the assembly shelf is a bunch of Otherworld Minis I impulse purchased due to one of their regular overstock sales. There's also the Kobold Frameworks minis from Wizkids. Currently my plan is to get the Otherworld minis based and undercoated as a priority. Until I've got a bit more space on the "waiting" tray, though, I may hold off on the Kobolds.

Further back in the queue are an assortment of Infinity minis that need minor repairs from being posted to me. With them being from factions I'm not picking up soon, and needing so many other things doing first, these are probably a way off getting fixed up.

Finally, I've got the Game of Armoured Combat box for Battletech, which I've been cleaning the mould lines off. Again, they're paused while I deal with this big old queue of things ahead of them. Once I get a few other bits and pieces finished, there will be space to get these done.

All in all, this is a good reminder that I don't need to buy anything right now, and I don't need to start assembling anything new until I've finished painting some of the stuff I'm already doing.

Monday 19 June 2023

After LARP, a little hobby

The weekend before last was Empire LRP, so most of this week has been recovery and tidying. Still, I took the opportunity to settle down to a bit of painting and finish up the last four pieces of the Mantic Terrain Crate "Dungeon Debris" that has been a deeply cursed project for me.

Getting it finished and off the paint table feels like a bit achievement, even if I was literally down to only doing a final drybrush on the last pieces.

The next two weekends I'm roaming the country looking for trouble. Specifically, Steel City Insurrection in Sheffield, and a tournament the following weekend in Norwich. Both are Satellite tournaments.

I've been practicing with my White Company for Sheffield, and am still trying to pin down exactly what I want to take. For Sheffield, the missions seem relatively simple, but I'm undecided what to take. While White Company are an option, there's a small temptation to just take a really violent Dahshat list instead.

I also took advantage of the nice weather to undercoat all the beasties I have for wild shape and familiars for D&D. But next, I need to do a little "stock take" of what hobby needs doing and work out what I'm doing over the next few weeks.

Friday 16 June 2023

D&D Icons of the Realms Spell Effects: Mighty Conjurations

I picked up another box of the Icons of the Realms Spell Effects because it had a couple I was really after. This one has some odd picks - I'm not sure why you specifically need a chest for Leomund's Secret Chest - it's not like there's a shortage of chest miniatures. The Dancing Lights models are much better than the weird ones in the previous box I had, though. The Healing Spirit was the model I got the box for, and it's fine, I guess. Has anyone ever cast Bones of the Earth in the history of D&D, though?

A few of the spell effects were a little too big to fit in the previous picture. First up is the classic "Leomund's Tiny Hut" spell, which I hadn't quite realised how tiny it was. It's useful to show your players how much space they're camping in, though.

A box for small force cage is pretty teeny, but that is how small it is. I wouldn't much rate it if it wasn't for . . .

... this absolutely huge cage version of the Forcecage spell effect.

All in all, the quality of these is pretty variable, and the spell selection is really rather random. I feel like they'd have been much better placed aiming for certain types of caster and a particular range of levels. Some of these effects aren't likely to see regular use, sadly.

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Roman Lappat Beginner Workshop

A few weekends ago, I went to a painting course taught by Roman Lappat of Massive Voodoo, organised by James from Rising Ape Miniatures. It was in a really nice charity café in rural England. We assembled the daemonette used for the course, and settled down to a whole bunch of listening about how to draw the eye to parts of the miniature.

The course alternated between theoretical tips about eyelines and focus, and practical ones like "how to use milliput and dried earth in basing. While it's advertised as a "beginner's course", that's because a beginner can start with it. There was still plenty for me to learn despite having been painting for years.

There was a lot of practical stuff as well, alongside the theory, such as painting your own colour wheel from scratch. I've had a bunch of colour wheels waved under my nose before but never quite clicked with them. Having to mix the paint for your colour wheel yourself was a big improvement for me.

It was remarkably late in the weekend before we actually undercoated the miniature. While we were using opaque paints, we still did a two stage spray zenithal to help us get a good idea of where the light was going to fall.

We'd all got different ideas for what we were doing. Some people had paid more attention to "don't make a huge base" than others.

We then dropped three primary colours on our wet palette, mixed a grey from the three of them, along with the three "mix two" colours. This was using some of Roman's own artist paint, just to give it a go.

We then got asked, to practice mixing colours, to try and mix from the primaries, a colour to match the skin tone of our thumb. I'm deeply pleased of how quickly I got to a pretty good approximation, and am feeling a lot more comfortable in messing around with paint colours in future.

We then spent a bunch of time painting the base, playing around with wet blending on the model, and learning about sketching colours in to tidy up later. It was late Saturday and we hadn't even started painting the model!

We painted in the skin to start off, taking the intended mid tone and deliberately desaturating it. I did make a mistake here with the colours I had available to me as I ended up having to try and strengthen my mid-tone with a more saturated colour as my intended mid-tone didn't have enough coverage.

To emphasise the top of the model, we then desaturated the lower legs further, and highlighted more around the face and upper body. This sort of thing of lightening towards a particular focus point on the model is something I've not bothered with when army painting but it really wasn't that hard to do at all, so is a real temptation in the future.

"Not the skin" then took up a surprisingly tiny amount of the Sunday. We did a bit of practicing a different type of blending on the claws, and got the hair and eyes done. There was also a bit about how to try and highlight up metals by moving from dark to light metals and emphasising the highlights your first metallic layer shows you in the light.

Everyone on the course seemed to be happy with how it went and there were a real variety of skill levels and everyone seemed to get something out of it. There were a wide range of visions to the figures, and there was some lovely miniatures to look at when we all finished.

I've called it a day on my daemonette with what I did on the course. There's bits I missed painting and poor quality blending in places, and some colour issues where I realised the issue but decided to keep soldiering on to pay attention to the lesson than trying to fix all of it. For all of the imperfections, she makes me happy as I learned a lot on the course, and there's a whole bunch I'm really looking forward to applying to my painting in the future.

Thursday 8 June 2023

Review: Wizkids D&D Classic Collection: Monsters D - F

Having picked up the Classic Collection: Monsters A-C and been pretty happy with it, I decided to pick up the Monsters D-F collection. It doesn't actually contain any F monsters, though...

First up is the Displacer Beast. I already have one that I bought painted, but having a pair who can attack at once gives a good bunch of flexibility in terms of scenarios.

Human sized figures are always the downfall of the Wizkids pre-painted line, but this Doppelganger is kind of OK compared to the others. It's helped by its non human nature. Still, not a miniature I'd have bought on it's own, but not unhappy with it.

The Efreeti is a powerful elemental leader type, and the miniature is absolutely amazing. The swapping between the solid miniature and the fire is brilliantly done. Interestingly, neither the Dao or the Djinni got a mini, despite them being the equivalent versions from Earth and Air. Perhaps they didn't have illustrations, or the illustrations weren't great?

I won't get to use an Efreeti until players hit higher levels, so it's not going to see as much use as, say, goblins, but having a really good mini that can be used as a mid level henchman or even a final boss is really solid.

The four Elemental miniatures are mixed quality - fire is excellent, water and air are good. Earth is . . . not great, and definitely at the "nostalgia" end of the reasons to buy things. I much prefer the more recent earth elemental designs than this more humanoid one.

Some solid "higher end of low level" monsters that should see plenty of use.

And finally, an Ettin. Not the best sculpt and paint job, but he'll do if I some Ettin. It's a good wilderness monster that could be a wandering encounter, a henchman, or the object of a slightly lower level quest.

So, another mixed batch of models, but with some excellent ones that make the box worthwhile from my point of view. These feel like the sort of monsters that will really round out a monster collection for a whole bunch of encounters that aren't zombies, goblins or bandits. I wouldn't recommend it as a first purchase for a DM, but once PCs are reaching levels 3 - 5, it'll be a good option to pick up if you like the pre-painted options.

Monday 5 June 2023

A short update because I've been busy

So, the weekend before last I was at Roman Lappat's Beginner Painting Course, which will need a longer post than I have time for now. Next weekend, I'm off to Empire LARP. I'm deep in the prep for that now!

However, I have found the time to get a bunch of mini prep done, hitting the familiars and Wild Shapes I'm looking to use in D&D in the future. They still need basing paste, but this is a whole chunk of work done so far!

Thursday 1 June 2023

Terrain Crate Battlefield Objectives - Brushchewer Inc

Brushchewer painted up another Terrain Crate set for me - this time the "Battlefield Objectives". Some of these will be used less regularly than things like the Dungeon Debris or Essentials, but I felt that there was enough to justify getting the set in the sale I picked it up in.

A partially hatched dragon egg or a pile of cannonballs and powder aren't going to be used very often, and neither is this large bonfire / beacon.

As a nice touch, it comes with the fire piece separately, so you can have it starting un-lit and then add the fire when they're lit. There's some fun little fights and objectives that will work nicely with.

I didn't specify anything for the captive or the dead messenger, so Brushchewer decided it would be fun to give a nod to Mario with a captive Peach, and a Mario who didn't make it to the next castle...