Saturday, October 21, 2017

October Update

My blog has been dormant since our trip to Historicon this summer, but I've kept a number of plates spinning in the meantime.

Facebook Profile

I've been playing Star Wars Armada and Blood and Plunder at our weekly game sessions, and posting about them on my Twitter feed. I realize there's a whole segment of people who don't cross-pollinate between multiple social media platforms, so I've just set up a Facebook page to repost my tweets to. I'm hoping to also connect with like-minded gamers who don't venture beyond the closed loop of Mark Zuckerburg's platform and as another place to talk about games.

Dead Astronaut

Even spooky vampire girls love it!

With Halloween approaching I've had spooks and spectres on the mind. For fun, I adapted the "Undead Space Explorer" logo from my home brew sci-fi space marines for use on a t-shirt. I made this for myself, but these are available on Amazon in all their ghastly glory if you're interested.

Generic Police / Security Officers

"Lawmen" by Crooked Dice Games. Some of these guys are really packing some heat!

I needed some pretty specific law enforcement figures for a game I'm working on, but wanted to be able to use them in future scenarios vs. rioters, zombies, Russians, etc.  Crooked Dice Games' "Lawmen" had the best sculpting with a variety of weapons and heads to tailor the figures in exactly the manner I needed. I've painted them in some fairly generic tan uniforms, but will need to pick up some more in the future for the classic "boys in blue" look. Recommended if you need to bulk up the law enforcement on your tabletop.

Behold, My Hubris

The bulk of my hobby time over the last few months has been dedicated to noodling through my own set of rules. Like many of you I've toyed with writing my own game (nearly from the first time I picked up a set of dice), but this summer I decided to focus on bringing a set of rules to completion. They're still in an embryonic state, but I've learned quite a bit undertaking this project. It's been an educational process and I've developed a deep respect for any author who has managed to pull their ideas together into a cohesive whole that strangers around the world can understand and conduct a game with. I've got quite a way to go, but I'm looking forward to publishing a free PDF of a final min-game in the future to gather criticism.

With the bulk of writing a first draft out of the way, I'm eager to get back to rolling dice and painting up figures soon. I feel as though I've been completely out of contact from the hobby scene (my apologies if I haven't visited your blog lately), and have a lot to catch up on. So, any new developments in the world of hobby gaming? Clue me in!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Historicon 2017 - Saturday

Sometimes you join a participation wargame and its not quite what you'd hope for. Tons of downtime, unclear goals and rules, fiddly minutia that leaves you feeling every minute of a four hour run time.

But then there are other games that are just magic. Check out photos and a report from my Historicon experience after the jump, in which I lucked into not one but two of those killer games that leave me counting the days to the next convention.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Historicon 2017 - Friday

I finished up some work after lunch, packed the family in the car and crept down 95 to Historicon, arriving just before registration closed. Despite my late arrival, I managed to snag a spot in a game and check out some of the great looking games nearby. Pics after the jump.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Blood and Plunder: First Thoughts

With my jungles finished, my lanceros painted and my Spanish dwellings ready to be raided, one of my usual gaming buddies Chris and I finally got some of our forces from the Blood and Plunder kickstarter on the table.

Being our first game we stumbled through the rules, but were able to dig in enough to get a good feel for how the game plays. Buckle your swashes and join me after the jump for our initial impressions.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Making Jungle Terrain

My game group is eager to get started on some Caribbean pirate action with Blood and Plunder, but we're sorely lacking in appropriate terrain. We assembled some Spanish style resin buildings, but the pine trees, oaks and other temperate vegetation I have just won't cut it for swashbuckling adventures across the Spanish Main.

Check out my method for creating dense jungle terrain after the jump.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Making Terrain Boards Part 7: Water Effects

I had some success with my foray into terrain boards last year, but I stopped short from finishing them, unsure how to proceed with the water effects the stream required for completion. I got some use out the boards, treating the muddy ditch as an inconsequential obstacle. A year and half on though, I knew I'd have to fill that ditch with an approximation of water so I could check this project off as complete.

Join me after the break to find out how you too can ruin your terrain boards!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Crew of the Astropolis

I finished up a few more crew members of the good ship Astropolis from the recent Kickstarter. I love these figures: big and chunky and full of character, and I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the next batch in the upcoming Kickstarter sequel.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Cold Wars 2017

I managed to get to Cold Wars for a day of wargaming. While only played a few games, I did manage to scope out a number of great tables, chat with gamers and raid the vendor hall. Check out my photo dump:

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Fighters, Lancers and Layabouts

This post originally appeared on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

Like many of you, I jump from project to project and this week's entries represent miniatures from three of my current projects.

Star Wars Armada

One of my goals for the Challenge was to get my Star Wars Armada ships finished off. I play Armada regularly, and we're gearing up to try a campaign this Spring. I couldn't field unpainted forces, so I've steadily been adding paint to these tiny ships as a break from 28mm figures.

These E-Wings were recently added to the pool of Rebel forces, while the brown Moldy Crow is an older release that I've finally managed to paint up. I enjoyed adding paint to the Armada scale X-Wings, Y-Wings and other squadrons seen in the films, but these E-Wings (designed for the comic books) lack the character and detail of the classic ships.

I don't tend to play Imperials, but for those rare occasions that I do I'll bring these bounty hunter vessels since they are sporting fresh paint jobs. Bossk's Hound's Tooth is a big garbage truck of a ship that gets deadlier as it receives damage, while Dengar's Punishing One has proven annoying when I've faced it in enemy fleets.

Blood and Plunder

I've recently returned from a family vacation to Disney World, and a visit to "Pirates of the Caribbean" has fired my enthusiasm to complete my Spanish forces from the recent "Blood and Plunder" kickstarter. Hoping to get all of these figures done so I can get cracking on their ships and some terrain.


Finally, I completed just two figures from the Astropolis kickstarter. I have a dozen, primed and ready to go, but each is so unique and full of character that I wind up spending far more time on each individual which has slowed my progress. Unlike the weak sculpts and soft detail of the "Blood and Plunder" figures, these detailed Astropolis figs are a joy to paint. I can easily picture these two slack jawed wrench monkeys banging on the innards of some huge, decrepit space freighter.

I'm hoping to sneak in a few more figures before the deadline, but with the Cold Wars convention approaching, that may be too optimistic.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Blood and Plunder Pirates: Indios y Lanceros

This post originally appeared on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

Just a handful of figures this week as I make the first dent into the Blood and Plunder Kickstarter package I received a few weeks ago.

After visiting the fort at St. Augustine and watching the first season of Black Sails, I decided to go with a Spanish crew to face off against my opponent's English sea dogs. I'm excited to get in some games of Blood and Plunder (their example game videos convinced me to back the project), and I was thrilled with the ships, dice, coins, cards and rulebook I got from the Kickstarter. The figures on the other hand aren't quite up to snuff.

From a distance I think they'll look great. I appreciate the variety of poses and ethnicities, but there's just something off about them. I'm chalking it up to the conversion of 3D renders to physical metal minis. I love chunky models like Mark Copplestone's, and I've even had some success with model's that were either created as 3 ups or 3D rendered (the Perry and Fireforge plastic figures for example), but these Blood and Plunder figures are both overly large and have a lack of detail. Features are indistinct, hands are tiny, and clothing ripples and wrinkles react strangely to washes. They're just... odd. Not terrible, but different from what I'm used to.

Lanceros, spear armed Spanish troops

Indios, native islanders put to work
defending Spanish outposts in the New World.
Despite my reservations about the figures, I did have some unexpected success with some Vallejo paints. Using the paints and instructions from the Vallejo Leather and Wood paint set, the deck planking of the bases came out better than I'd hoped.

I also did a quick paint up of an Imperial Assault figure as we're sharing the burden of getting our game master's set finished up.

All told that's 8 pirates and 1 medical droid for 45 points by my calculations.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Medieval Archers

This post originally appeared on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

I've had some plastic 5th edition Brettonian archers knocking around my lead pile for 20 years, but didn't have a reason to get them onto the table until I started playing Lion Rampant. I've been working on English army circa 1250-1315 and they desperately needed a missile contingent, but the monopose Brettonians didn't quite match the more dynamic modern Firefroge figures that made up my the bulk of my army.

Doing some research over the Summer I found that Front Rank's figures seemed to be the best match to Games Workshops old sculpting style, and had a variety of poses and equipment that would help break up the ranks of identical plastic Brettonians.

My English army uses a variety of red and yellow liveries for the knights and all of the troops they would have mustered. I don't believe soldiers would be fielding identical uniforms, as each was responsible for providing their own gear, so I'm depicting a rag tag look to these units, with some figures sporting more formal livery, while others making do with something vaguely red or yellow colored from their own meager clothing collection.

To help identify the units on the table I've grouped together figures into a red unit, a yellow unit and a neutral unit. Some of these figures are individually based so I can always mix the colors up if necessary, but in the end these are game pieces we need to keep track of on the table.

Red Unit

Yellow Unit

Neutral Earth Tones Unit

Three 16 man units give me 48 figures, which should give me a total of 240 points for the Painting Challenge!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Homer Jungle Statue

This post originally appeared on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

With all of the responsibilities that come with being an adult, I haven't had a ton of time to paint over the last few weeks, but I did manage to steal a glance at this weeks theme challenge. I was pretty surprised to see it had something to do with "Homer Terrain". That was sure to be a unique set of entries, and I wracked my brain trying to figure out something that would stand out from the crowd.

Naturally, most entries will likely depict a terrain feature from one of Homer's epic poems. There were sure to be plenty of Trojan Horses, Gates of Troy, and Greek Beach Camps. I thought we might even see something pulled from the Odyssey (maybe a Cyclops cave or two?), but I decided to go a bit farther afield. I thought I could get a more liberal interpretation of the "Homer" theme for my terrain piece, and I considered doing Fenway Park, with a 28mm outfielder unable to snatch a "homer" as it sailed the Green Monster. That seemed beyond my skills though (and wouldn't really lend itself to a wargame), but I spotted a cheap plastic knick knack depicting Homer Simpson as a snack food Buddha. Inspired by his zen-like countenance, I decided to base my terrain on the toy. A perfect start for a conversion into a mysterious jungle idol, carved by some long dead civilization of peculiar lemon colored tribesmen!

I built a small dais from wood and foamcore, and gave the whole thing a stippled coat of spackle/dry wall compound to mimic the weathered stone of the idol.

A dark gray primer gave the whole piece a uniform, stone-like base to begin painting.

I used a variety of grays and browns, with the faintest hints of yellow, green and pink (no doubt remnants of the festive paintjob the idol once must have sported).

"Mmmmmm.... soft pretzel......"

I used numerous brown and gray washes to weather it, and added quite a bit of flock and tufts to represent the encroaching jungle foliage that will one day engulf the statue.

I don't like to take all of my wargaming so seriously, and plan on using this idol for some tongue-in-cheek Rogue Trader or Fantasy gaming. A unique subject for a unique category! Altogether, I was pretty pleased at how it turned out.

"None shall defile the Golden Emperor!"


"Home" Terrain????


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Painting Challenge: Star Wars Amada Z-95s and Havoc

This post originally appeared on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

Despite painting furiously over the last week, I still have lots of figures that aren't quite ready to be posted. I did manage to finish off some more itty bitty spaceships for Star Wars Armada. While meager in points, I'm excited to get these finished ships onto the table.

The Z-95 Headhunter was created for the Star Wars RPG back in the 80's. I believe it incorporates rejected design elements for the film's X-Wings, and while it's undeniably an X-Wing knock off, I've always liked the design. The Z-95 has shown up in a number of games (tabletop, RPG and video) as either a second line Rebel ship or in the service of various planetary defense forces, pirates or other malcontents. With a wide variety of organizations flying them each sporting their own custom paint jobs, there's a wide variety of color schemes to choose from or plenty of room to make up your own. After a cursory search I picked a style that would help distinguish these Z-95s from my Red Squadron X-wings, but wouldn't look too out of place in service to the Rebel Alliance.

The Havoc, a heavier fighter bomber available to the Rebels in Armada belongs to Nym, some sort of tentacle headed alien I'd never heard of. Nym appears in some old Clone Wars era comics and video games, and in the extended Star Wars fiction has apparently stuck around until the Rebellion era.

Being unfamiliar with the ship, and unwilling to do TOO much research, I picked a bright orange and white color scheme that showed up in Nym's Wookipedia entry. It's a tasty little ship on the table, and I'm pretty happy that I can field it in a flashy paint job.

All told, it's a tiny entry of 7 ships but every bit counts towards that point goal, right?

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Painting Challenge - Star Wars Armada Rebel Freighters

This post originally appeared on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

The space battle in the recent Rogue One flick has inflamed my enthusiasm for Star Wars Armada, and reminded me that I have some tiny spaceships that still need to be painted up. I love Fantasy Flight's game pitting Evil Imperial Space Triangles against the noble Fish People Pickles, but the vessels come already painted save for the miniscule starfighters. Still getting the colors and markings on such tiny subjects is a different sort of challenge which is pretty fun.

Han Solo's Millenium Falcon will be recognizable to even casual fans of the Star Wars movies, but the other bugger in the picture is the off-brand knockoff Outrider, created for a story set between "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Return of the Jedi"

Just as obscure are the freighters and patrol craft from the animated "Rebels" series. They may not look like much, but the hexagonal ships are able to manipulate the various objective points (sensor buoys, targeting beacons, etc.) within the game while the disc-like vessels are fearsome interceptor bombers.

These were quick paints, and being flying garbage scows they hide mistakes easily. I'm sure these are worth only a pittance in points, but  I was happy to get them painted up in preparation for our upcoming Corellian Campaign Armada battles.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Painting Challenge - Space Marines

This post originally appeared on the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.

Right! For the Armour Theme I knew I wanted to tackle a painting challenge that I'd been putting off for nearly 20 years. I'd always dabbled with Warhammer 40K, but the increasingly grim and humorless turn the game took after Rogue Trader always rubbed me the wrong way. Even in the mid 90's I had an idea to put together a custom chapter to fit in with Games Workshop's Space Wolves and Space Sharks (since renamed to Chapter Charcaradon). A brotherhood of power armored space marines fashioned in the image of the greatest late night talk show host of the mid nineties: Space Ghost.

I'll admit, it's not a great idea. My college roommates and I used to watch Space Ghost religiously, but the show's been off the air for over a decade. And yet, this dumb idea won't leave me alone. Whenever I read a blog post about Oldhammer games, or flip through the latest edition of Warhammer 40K in the game shop, a tiny voice whispers to me, "You should paint some Space Ghosts." Therefore my fellow painters, to exorcise myself of this nagging idea please humor me while I get this out of my system.

I based the paint scheme on the classic Space Ghost uniform, but since I'll likely be putting these on the table against my 8 year old son and he has no idea who or what Space Ghost is, I've tweaked the color scheme a bit closer to something he'll recognizes: Imperial Stormtroopers from Star Wars.

I'm retaining the overall white scheme and black mask/helmet, but only veterans get the red wrist bands. Space Ghost's flashy yellow cape will be reserved for the chapter master himself.

The Space Ghost emblem wasn't really doing it for me as a chapter symbol, so I cooked up one of my own and printed them on decal paper.

I tested the color scheme on three modern figures, but for the most part these are classic Rogue Trader beakie marines I've cobbled together from eBay collections, stripped, repaired and upgraded with current special weapons when they've been missing.

That's a total of 13 space marines for 65 points I believe. And hopefully just under the deadline... the paint is still wet on a few of these!