Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Challenge X Entry 1

I'm off and running with the Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, with my first entry satisfying the requirements of the "Douglas Shallows" locale on the Challenge Map.

First up, a Fishing Boat that I got as part of Reaper Miniatures' "Dreadmere" expansion from the Bones 4 Kickstarter.

I was aiming for a "whitewashed, but not maintained well" look for the interior, via a basecoat of "Misty Gray," a wash of "Seraphim Sepia" and a drybrushed highlight of "Pure White." I think I achieved what I was looking for. 

Next up is the "Dire Crab," painted as a Chesapeake Blue Crab.  Legs and underbelly were base-coated in "Yellowed Bone" and washed with "Seraphim Sepia," while the back of the shell was a 1:1 mix of "Deep Ocean" and "Olive Shadow" drybrushed with "Olive Drab." The blue on the legs was picked out in "Surf Aqua" and glazed with "Gulliman Blue," before highlighting the center of each blue patch with Surf Aqua again.  The claws were done with multiple glazes of "Bloodletter Red" with each subsequent layer of glazing being smaller and more concentrated towards the tips of the claws. 

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Gearing Up for Challenge X

As previously mentioned, I'll be taking part in the 10th annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge.  There are a few changes this year, not the least of which is the introduction of Challenge Island - participants can move from location to location on the island by completing specific challenges.  Once 5 challenges are completed, participants can advance to "Snowlord's Peak," for a final challenge.  I've done some mapping and planning, and figured out my route around the island. 

Going to start off in Douglas Shallows, and move from there to Cook's Crevase, Hawkins Hill, and then jump across to O'Grady's Gulch before taking Sarah's Balloon to Snowlord's Peak.  That should give me my five before the Peak.  Most of my figures for these challenges are going to be Reaper Bones for ease of painting since I'm not going to be able to spray prime anything until almost the end of the Painting Challenge. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Clearing the Painting Desk

In preparation for the Painting Challenge, I'm trying to get some partially-finished stuff off my work bench (aka, the side of the kitchen table my partner and I don't eat on) since nothing begun before December 21st can qualify for the Challenge. 

First up, a pair of Giant Leeches from the Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter, part of the "Dreadmere" expansion:

These were base-coated in Reaper "Uniform Brown," given two heavy washes of GW "Athonian Camoshade" and then a light drybrushing of "Green Ochre" before picking out the jaws and tongues.  Nothing fancy but they came out pretty well I think.

Next up is the beginnings of a project I'm very excited for.  First, a bit of back-story: I first came into miniature painting and wargaming in the early 2000s, probably 2001 - in fact, looking at White Dwarf back-issues, I'm thinking I must have made my first foray into a Games Workshop store in August of 2001.  6th Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battles was in full swing, and the helpful clerk at the GW store asked me a few questions and determined that Orcs and Goblins were the force for me.  A few models in particular really caught my eye, but I'd never end up buying them.  These included the Stone Trolls, the Orc Warboss on Wyvern, and "Grom the Paunch," a morbidly obese goblin warlord in a chariot (that required an extra wolf to pull due to Grom's bulk). 

With the announcement of "Warhammer: The Old World," and with both "Dragon Rampant" and "Warlords of Erehwon" sitting on my shelf as alternatives, I decided it was finally time to build the Greenskin army I'd always dreamed of.  I've read enough Oldhammer blogs, and recognized that more than anything I love Kev Adams-sculpted orcs and goblins.  So I knew I wanted to focus on Kev Adams sculpts, from a variety of lines and manufacturers, and build an army that I could use across multiple rulesets.  This is going to be an ongoing project throughout 2020 and beyond. 

I am now the proud owner of an unbuilt Grom's chariot, and also got a spare Grom off eBay that I based on foot, and got a couple packs of Kev-sculpted goblins, originally by Harlequin Miniatures that have since been rereleased by Black Tree Designs, giving me the beginnings of a regiment as well as a shaman.  I got these glued to 20mm bases, primed, and painted to test my color scheme.  I still have to flock the bases, but I'll let you judge the results so far:

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Challenge Accepted

I will be taking part in the annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge again this winter - the 10th showing overall and my 4th if I'm not mistaken.  I've set myself a slightly higher goal than usual of 600 points, because I've recently hit a point in my life where if I don't put everything with a screen - phone, laptop, TV - away at 7pm and spend two hours doing something non-electronic, I wake up every two hours throughout the night.  I'm also taking a bit of a hiatus from writing Call of Cthulhu scenarios so that I don't burn out on it, which should free me up for even more painting. 

Mostly I'm going to be working through my lead-pile, which has grown alarmingly over the last year.  Some things I'll be working on:

  • My haul from the Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter; while I didn't back extravagantly I've got plenty of figures here that are crying out for a paint job.
  • Sci-Fi Civilians from Crooked Dice and Lead Adventure Miniatures: About two dozen cleaned, based and primed metal figures awaiting paint...and being innocent bystanders in future games of Galactic Heroes.
  • Pulp Figures: I've got about 20 or 25 figures from Bob Murch's "Pulp Figures" line primed and awaiting paint.  One of my regular wargaming buddies, Tom, is interested in adding Pulp Alley to our rotation of skirmish games so these will be useful for that.  
  • Kev Adams Greenskins: Inspired by the announcement of "Warhammer: The Old World," and the fact that I have Dragon Rampant and Warlords of Erehwon sitting on my shelf, I decided I wanted to build a square-based fantasy army, and I've always loved the look of Kev Adams' Orcs and Goblins, so that's what I'm basing the army around.  I've got a few figures already mostly painted that I'll be finishing off later today to clear my workbench prior to the start of the Challenge.  

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Torlan, Weregator

I've done a little bit of puttering away lately in the evenings on a few figures picked at random from what I got from the Bones 4 Kickstarter, and here's the first one I finished - "Torlan," some sort of gatorman or were-gator.  I've never been satisfied with my abilities when it comes to capturing the shades of an alligator's hide in miniature, so I decided to try something a little different, and painted him as an albino, which I think worked out pretty well. 

He may appear later on in a Fistful of Lead game or just go on the shelf, I'm not sure yet. 

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Galactic Heroes: Attack on the Force Field Generator

My friend Tom and I got in a game of Galactic Heroes last night and had an excellent time of it.  He borrowed Crash Carter and the Space Rangers, while I broke out the Invading Saucermen.  We decided on a slightly modified scenario from the main book.

The Space Rangers have caught news that the Saucermen are building a new, ultra-destructive battlestation: a Doom Moon! To protect the Doom Moon while it's under construction, a force field is being projected around the station from a generator on a nearby moon, populated by bronze-wielding primitives.  Captain Crash Carter, Doc Libra and a handpicked team of Rangers arrive on the moon with a mission: to deliver a Nova Bomb that will destroy the force field generator, so that the Ranger fleet in orbit can destroy the Doom Moon before it becomes fully operational.  

Lacking forest terrain, we set up a small outpost consisting of a number of prefab buildings placed around a transmission tower, with a few cargo loads of fuel tanks and generator parts for scatter and some ruined buildings to round things out.  As a special rule for this scenario, any time a Joker was played (Galactic Heroes uses a deck of playing cards for initiative purposes), a squad of natives (counting as Grunts, meaning they have one wound and only roll a D8, instead of a D10, for combat and task resolution) arrives to help the attackers. 

The game began fairly cautiously, with the Rangers advancing slowly and the Saucermen spreading out to meet them, with everyone hugging pretty closely to cover.  In Turn 2, however, things got wild; one of the Saucermen vaporized Crash Carter with a well-placed blaster shot, and then both jokers got played, meaning two groups of three native grunts arrived on the scene, ready to help the Rangers drive the Saucermen off their moon. 

On Turn 3, the Great Intelligence, leader of the Saucermen, unleashed his psychic powers on the natives, throwing them around like rag dolls.  They regrouped, storming the transmission tower, but the Great Intelligence proved an able match for them in melee as well, throwing the blue-skinned humanoids out every window he could.  Commandant Garkon, his second in command, fared less well, swiftly butchered by natives blades. 

With the Saucermen forced to split their fire between the Rangers and the fanatical hordes of natives, they were quickly overwhelmed, and the Great Intelligence eventually succumbed to the waves of natives charging up into the tower control room.  With the Saucerman garrison obliterated, the surviving Rangers placed and set the Nova Bomb and got off-moon as quickly as possible, returning to the waiting Ranger fleet. The Doom Moon would soon be no more. 

All in all, the game took us about an hour from set-up to breakdown, and was an enjoyable, leisurely evening for the both of us.  Tom it turns out has been a fan of the Fistful of Lead family of rules for years, ever since it was just a Western shoot-out game, and when I'd mentioned Galactic Heroes he'd gotten really excited to break out this system again.  I'm having a blast and I have other friends interested in trying the game out who couldn't make this game, so I'm looking forward to more play reports to come. 

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Sci-Fi Buildings, Painted

I picked up a can of "Solstice Blue" spray paint from my local Home Depot, which was the perfect shade of light gray-blue for these sci-fi buildings.  After that, it was just a matter of picking out some details like grates and control panels.  I've done some red panels on the cafe that aren't quite done yet - I'm hoping I can make them look like they're illuminated. 

So naturally, I got out Crash Carter and his crew, and the Saucermen, and set up a little scene. 

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Galactic Heroes: Solo Play

I just played a quick solo game of Wiley Games' "Fistful of Lead: Galactic Heroes," to familiarize myself with the rules ahead of trying to demonstrate the game for other people at my FLGS next week.  I actually used the mission charts in Osprey Games' "Rogue Stars" rules to generate a mission, and then played everything out with Galactic Heroes.

The set up was simple: A gang of smugglers, led by the flamboyant, electro-whip-wielding Lillith, had to move three parcels of "Frigian Ice Jewels" across a snowy, ruin-dotted plain while evading Captain Crash Carter, his trusty assistant Doc Libra, and a squad of Stellar Legionaries.  Complicating matters, a snowstorm reduced all visibility to 12".  The smugglers were deployed in the middle of one table edge, while Carter and Libra deployed on one adjoining edge and the Legionaries deployed on the other.

During the first turn, Lillith used her jetpack to dart at Captain Carter and Doc Libra, hoping to distract them from the three troopers carrying bundles of precious gems.  Carter tried to take a pot shot at her, but rolled a 1 - Out of Ammo! Doc Libra pointed his Photon Wand at her and pressed the firing stud, catching her in a roiling cone of radiation, leaving her Shaken.  Meanwhile, her second-in-command, the cyborg Steve Austen, led the three jewel-toting regulars on a mad race across the tundra to safety, while the Stellar Legionaries fanned out and took up firing positions.

On the second turn, Crash unjammed his blaster pistol, and before she could react, Doc fired his Photon Wand again, reducing Lillith to a smear on the ice.

The rest of the smugglers quickly found themselves pinned down between two ruined buildings.  One of the Legionaries, Private Altax, took a bullet in the stomach from Dirk, a smuggler, quickly rolling over and succumbing to his injuries.  Before Dirk could celebrate, however, Crash threw himself over a ruined wall and shot the smuggler in the back, killing him instantly.

Flynn, one of the other smugglers, turned and fired point-blank at Carter with his auto-pistol despite being already injured by blasterfire, and successfully put two wounds on the Captain, knocking him flat on his back in the snow.

Doc raced over to try and perform first aid on the Captain (despite Doc not having the "Medic" trait, I decided on the fly that on an 8+ roll he could still negate one wound) while the Legionaries mopped up the remaining smugglers.  As Crash staggered to his feet, the Frigian Ice Jewels were recovered.

All in all, from set-up to breakdown took about an hour and I really enjoyed myself.  The game had a couple of great swings I wasn't expecting, both when Lillith unexpectedly bit the dust and when Crash almost followed her into the great beyond.

I did have a couple things I recognized as needing fixing - Crash's team had a distinct advantage in that while visibility was reduced to 12", that was still within short range for the Legionaries' blaster rifles, while the smugglers were all armed with auto-pistols - which had a long range of 12".  So a Legionary at the maximum extent of visibility could hit a smuggler on a 5+, but that smuggler would need an 8+ to shoot back.

Also, I definitely need to pick up a new deck of cards.  The one I've got, the cards are very cheap, very thin plastic and don't shuffle nicely at all.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Galactic Heroes

I got another crew done for Fistful of Lead: Galactic Heroes; a Flash Gordon stand-in and some supporting soldier-types.  Figures are from Killer B Miniatures' Retro Sci-fi line, and nice chunky sculpts that paint up beautifully. 

These first two are "Captain Gamma, Bare-Headed," and "Dr. Corvus Libra, Master Inventor," who will be the Leader and Specialist of the crew. The wand-like item held by Dr. Libra is going to count as some sort of special weapon.  Both of these are Bob Olley sculpts and were an absolute treat to paint, though now I see I missed a strap on Captain Gamma's left thigh. 

Next up a trio of "Lost Legionaires, Firing" - I'd flipped a coin to determine whether their uniforms would be red with white trim or blue with white trim, and blue won.  I realized halfway through that the blue coats, white trousers and black boots gave them a little bit of a French Foreign Legion vibe; maybe these guys are members of an Interstellar Foreign Legion where men go to escape their pasts.  I dig the big helmets. 

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Sci-Fi Terrain Collecting Initiated

Well, with science fiction skirmish gaming apparently being the order du jour around my place, I decided to start collecting some futuristic buildings and other terrain pieces to liven up the table.  These are 3D prints purchased from Panhandle 3D Printing on Etsy, and I am very, very happy with the service.  If I had a 3D printer (or the room to have one set up) I'd print my own, but lacking that I'm happy to pay someone else to print for me. 

On the viewer's left is a "Sci-Fi Cafe with Canopy" designed by Imperial Terrain, and to the right is a "Lookout Tower" from Corvus Games Terrain.  Next to the Tower are the doors and windows that plug into the Cafe.  The prints needed only a little bit of touch-up work with a file and X-acto, arrived quickly and were packaged very securely against any possible damage, and I'm looking forward to buying from this store again. 

I haven't decided on a color for the Cafe yet, but I'll be hitting the Lookout Tower with a coat of battleship gray spray-paint as soon as I pick some up; I see it as a prefab, mass-produced building that colonists and settlers can just drop into place and get inside five minutes later, and that kind of put me in mind of how in the original Star Wars trilogy, all of the Empire's vehicles are the same shade of gray.  So I figure battleship gray with details picked out and some weathering applied will be good. 

I'd like to be able to put on games set in bustling spaceports, mining towns on backwater planets and isolated outposts, and this is a big first step in that direction.  It's funny; even just a few years ago I never would have imagined I'd end up such a fan of skirmish gaming on terrain-dense tables, but boy howdy, it makes for a real visual treat of a game in a way "4x6 table with a green cloth thrown over it, pushing regiments of figures around" just doesn't. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Little Green Men

After painting that Bug-Eyed Monster, I did a little digging around looking for 28mm retro sci-fi lines of figures.  Fortunately, Wiley Games highlights a couple of them in the "Galactic Heroes" rulebook, and I placed an order online for some Killer B Miniatures (USA distributor Recreational Conflict linked), from their "Retro Sci-Fi" and "Invasion X" lines.  Captain Gamma and his Gamma Rangers will be heading for the priming box as soon as I get a dry day, but I did manage to get a set of "Venusian Saucermen," complete with commanding Emissary, primed black and painted this week. 

These Brussel Sprout-headed invaders stand around 20-22mm tall, and their design owes clear inspiration to Paul Blaisdell's designs for the 50s B-movie INVASION OF THE SAUCERMEN. I opted to keep their color scheme simple - suits were done in Reaper's "Gunmetal Blue," with boots and gloves picked out in "Pure Black" and belt buckles, air tanks (jet packs? They have fins...), collars and ray rifles picked out in "True Silver." The coiled bit on the rifles, as well as the collar of one of the Venusians, was picked out in "Coppery Orange."  Their skin was base-coated in "Olive Drab" and highlighted with "Worn Olive," then the eye picked out in "Fresh Blood."

For the Venusian Emissary, I wanted a sense of alien opulence; the robes were base-coated in Reaper "Red Violet" and highlighted with "Pale Red Violet," while the mask/helmet was done in True Silver and Coppery Orange, with a few Antique Gold highlights.  Cuffs of the sleeves and the shoulder pads were done in Antique Gold, while the belt and ornaments are True Silver.  The leather backing for the chest ornaments is Ruddy Leather, given a light edge highlight of Oiled Leather.  The eye-lens on his mask was done in True Silver and given a couple coats of GW "Spiritstone Red" gemstone paint. 

All in all, I think they came out pretty good for about 3 hours' work overall.  Looking forward to using them in Galactic Heroes. 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Bug-Eyed Monster

Since I've been painting a lot of sci-fi figures and reading various rulesets aimed at Flash Gordon-style derring-do, I've definitely been in a pulp sci-fi mood lately, and it dawned on me that I'll need at least one Bug-Eyed Monster to serve as an adversary or complication on games; Osprey's Rogue Stars has a "Space Demon" complication on its mission-generation charts, and BEMs are such an iconic aspect of the genre that I knew I wanted to do one.

Fortunately, I had the perfect figure sitting in the box my Reaper Bones 4 Kickstarter came in.  From their "Dreadmere" expansion, this brain-on-tentacles looked like it had just slithered off a cover painting for Astounding Stories.  I quickly washed it and glued it to a 40mm round base and, once dry, base-coated the brain in Vallejo "Warlord Purple" and the tentacles in Reaper "Brilliant Green."

The brain was then drybrushed with Vallejo "Squid Pink" while the tentacles got thin layers of Reaper Viper Green, Vallejo Escorpena Green and Livery Green built up towards the tips of the tentacles, leaving the base of each one darker.  Once this had dried I glazed the tentacles in GW "Wayfarer Green," and picked out the eye with Vallejo Fire Orange and Golden Yellow, dotting in the iris and drawing the veins in Reaper Fresh Blood Red and finally painting the pupil with a dot of Pure Black.  Pure Black was also used to pick out the claws on the undersides of each tentacle. 

The base was painted Reaper "Cloudy Gray" and will be getting flocked tomorrow, and hopefully varnished as well.  Now to find a proper Flash Gordon-style figure to oppose this horrible monster...

Monday, September 9, 2019

Galactic Heroes - Demo Crews

I've been puttering away on 11 figures from Diehard Miniatures for the last week, and last night I finally finished them.  I now have two demo crews for Wiley Games' "Fistful of Lead - Galactic Heroes" sci-fi skirmish game, so I can run a few solo games and teach myself the rules and then, hopefully, teach other people as well. 

Bounty Hunter Lillith, equipped with a jet-pack, blaster pistol and electro-whip, has hired a few mercenaries, led by cyborg Steve Austen, to strengthen her bargaining position.  After all, sometimes the extra money is worth bringing them back alive. 

Once an ordinary space pirate, the villain known as Black Skull became so much more upon his discovery of the Staff of Unlife.  The Staff granted him the ability to raise the dead and compel their service, but at a hideous cost: his own face withered into a blackened skull.  Now, completely mad and attended by terrifying revenants, he roams the spaceways taking what he pleases. 

Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong; can you hear me, Major Tom?

The way his visor leaves just his teeth and chin visible reminded me of the cover art
for Megadeth's album "Peace Sells...But Who's Buying?"

This sculpt reminded me of the undead airmen in the "B-17" segment of the 1981 animated
film "Heavy Metal." The segment had been written by Dan O'Bannon, who also wrote
1979's "Alien."

He's wearing the same style of armor and helmet as the guys in Lillith's crew above,
so I decided to interpret him as a "new recruit" in Black Skull's forces.

His armor made me think, not of Space Marines, but of the astronaut ghost from Scooby-Doo.
Hence, he is the Space-Kook.