Friday, September 19, 2014

Photography Background

As my "construction" phase of Inq28 figures draws to a close (at least for these first miniatures), and I get closer to painting the blighters, I started to think about how to best present them. In this I do not mean "in a case" or textually, but how to make them appear to be the most suited for their environment through photography.

Presentation is something that first entered my head first I think from JRN, talking about placing a miniature in its environment through building a bit of terrain for photography.  Migsula, and duo of the spiky rat pack similarly have used terrain pieces to "place" a figure in the world, and let you get a better sense and feel for the figure, rather than just using a blue backdrop.

So, with the above filling my head, I have been thinking about making a "stage" or "set" to act as a photography background for the figures as they are completed.  I have been thinking about the specific elements for a few years, but have never gotten much beyond that.  It is also the intent of the project to act as a testbed for various terrain techniques, both to see if I like the results, and as a way to practice what I have been reading about online for the last 18 years, but do not currently have the space to bring to full fruition.

Anyway, enough waffle, here is a picture of my initial sketch in cardboard:

The builders of Fasho IX were somewhat limited in their materials...
There are three buildings shown, plus some extra small items to tie them together. Measurements are fairly close to my original plan, within the limitations of using scissors on cardboard! In this plan, I would end up with brick textures, three types of concrete, asphalt, wood, and a few types of metal.

My wife had some excellent input about this setting and suggested that I make it taller, increase the width of the whole setup, add a wooden texture, and consider a backdrop between the two buildings.  She also thought it would be interesting to make it more modular, but after playing around with some sketches, I discarded the idea as being too complicated for this purpose.

Anyway, there it stands.  Might remain cardboard for a while, or I may have a flurry of productivity, and it will suddenly lurch into completion.  Any thoughts?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gaunt and Bone

Recently I have finished the first two novels of the Gaunt and Bone Series, by Chris Willrich. In these novels, a thief couple of Imagio Bone and Persimon Gaunt, travel to the far east of their slightly like the Earth to their not-China.  In the first book, the Scroll of Years, they travel to Qiangguo, meet various people there and end up embroiled in both local politics and the affairs of dragons.  In the second book, they travel west on a quest to find the Ironsilk Moths, which has been demanded as a price to get an item they most desire.


The books are pretty good, although a bit rushed as they are harried about the country/world. Bone is a 99 year old master thief, although often out of his element in combat or against wizards.  Gaunt is a poet/bard/thief, and often ends up being the hero, since she is a bit more combat worthy.  Both books are set in the East, and have a heavy "fantasy Asian" theme, which is alternately refreshing and bafflingly new.  Reading the second book, I would have benefited more from a more detailed review of the map, since I apparently got the fantasy world mixed up with the real one, and had a different mental picture of where they were traveling.

The World of Bone and Gaunt
I also liked how there were various fantasy ideas which seem ripe for theft and incorporation into your D&D game.

Examples:
Ur-Glue - magical ultimate glue that can not be undone, which is used in some pretty amusing ways.
Iron Silk Rope - rope made from silk as strong as iron, and can bear nearly any weight
Flickering Fire-gems - alchemical gems which contain candle fire
Living Calligraphy - calligraphy as spell scrolls, where a traditional saying acts itself out in some way.
Mummified Kraken - an ultimate undead monster.
Kleptomancer - creates nothing new, but steals knowledge from others using magic.
Magically cutting off an ear to be left in another location as a spy or communications method

There are also a couple of great magical libraries and plenty of weird magical creatures.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Workbench Early September

I have had a bit of time to take stock of my Inquisitorial workbench recently, and I have about 18 figures "finished" to the point where they can be primed and painting can start. Another 10 or so are mostly built, in the sense that they can stand on their own base, and if they do not have all their limbs attached, there is a planned set of limbs set aside for them.

If this sounds like a large number of figures for what is nominally a warband skirmish game... well yes it is, but that is what happens when you build six Inquisitorial warbands at once, as well as various NPC and bad guy types.  I fully expect to reach around 50 models just with the stuff I have currently on hand and planned.

This first picture is of a mercenary sort that I built based on the leftover chest bit from a ... that one piece sort of inspired the whole figure, and from there it was just sorting through bits to see what worked.  Since I took this picture I have added a dangling skull on his lower armored plate, and a bit of wiring to his neck, but he is otherwise complete as shown.


The second picture is of a battle priest with a shotgun.


The final picture is surprisingly small given that it used the same camera as the other two... anyway, it shows the state of the workbench, including the baneblade of shame in the back, the various nearly finished Inquisitor figures, a pile of bits, and various other projects in progress, including a Necromunda gang that has been in a partly completed state since 2010...

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Space Hulk 2014 Rerelease

So it seems that Games Workshop is rereleasing Space Hulk this weekend. This is the 25th anniversary year, so it sort of makes sense, but it feels like we just did this...  oh wait, that was five years ago.

$125 USD this time
Rumor has it that it is the same as the lauded 2009 edition, with a few additional tiles to represent the boarding torpedos and a few new missions.  Critically, the miniatures are the same.

I would love a copy, but I have plenty of other things to paint, a box of Dreadfleet to get to (and the Battle of Five Armies too), and so this is not going to work for me.  As I said last time... maybe for the 30th edition.

Monday, September 8, 2014

40k Warband Blogs

The more astute among you may have noticed that I added a new page to the blog entitled 40k Warband Blogs.  Like it says on the tin, this is a listing of blogs I have come across that have some or all of their content devoted to 40k Warbands, which is to say Inq28, InquisiMunda, Confrontation, Necromunda, and Rogue Trader, where the player controls 1-20 figures with more detail than in a standard game of 40k.

The blogs I have found run the gamut from people concentrating on "old school" lead figures and very early rules, to people using the most modern Citadel plastic figures in new and unusual ways to create their vision of a grim dark future.

I am certain to have missed some blogs that should be collected, so if you notice any missing (possibly even your blog), please let me know here, and I can get them added some time soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Captain Richard "Dick" Winters

My brother-in-law is a huge fan of the Band of Brothers.  He has read the books, watched the show innumerable times, visited Normandy and Belgium a few times (although you might call it more of a pilgrimage)... he is a huge fan.  I had been trying to think of a way to paint up something for him for a while.  Something related to Easy Company, like a squad or something; but no ideas ever seemed quite right.  So when I saw that the Historicon miniature was going to be a Richard "Dick" Winters figure, and further that you could buy it from Warlords without going to the Con... well, I had to act.

$20 later the figure was on its way to me, and I had to figure out what to do to get it painted before my Brother-in-law's birthday.  I had thought that it might be nice to have a larger base surrounding the figure base, and dispatched my wife to look for some sort of display box at a craft store.  She came up trumps with an over sized mirrored baseball display box which was approximately a four inch cube (do cricket balls get collected in the same manner as baseballs?).

I painted the figure and the display over a week, spending around eight hours altogether, which was slightly rushed. Concurrently I was also reading the book (very good!) and reading about Airborne uniforms for painting purposes.

Here then is the result, shot outside on an unusually cloudy summer day, just before being packed up for gifting.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Star Wars Armada

This being Gencon time, game companies need to have new games, and Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) is no exception to this rule:

And they seem to have a humdinger here with Star Wars Armada, a new fleet level Star Wars game.  Expected to ring in at $100 MSRP, this will have prepainted ships (Victory class, a Nebulon B, and a Corvette) with a wealth of accessories, chits, and cards.

So... tentatively excited about this, since big ship battles are even more interesting to me than fighter skirmishes, and it seems to have some interesting mechanics to make the ships seem slow and lumbering (stacked orders, slow movements with the ruler).  The components should be high quality, and may help with the "paperwork" of fleet battles with all the integrated little dials and stats.

However, the cost, and obvious scale issues are things to keep aware of, so let us wait and see what happens and what is released.

Very compelling indeed...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Warmaster Army Selector

Whilst browsing the Rick's Warmaster site today, I saw in the "what is new" section, that there was a link to a handy automatic army selector for Warmaster.

Created by Dave Susco, the army selector actually helps to build armies for Warmaster, Warmaster Trial Armies, Warmaster Ancients, and a few of the Warmaster Ancients Army book armies.


Not only does it have the rules for army building, and the upgrades, and various alerts about having 1 of x per 1000 points, it also has the ability to save and print lists, and when you print out a list, it has options to include all the stats, special rules or just the ones used, rules for magic items used, and spells (provided you are playing Warmaster Fantasy!).


It does not appear to have the additional special units added to Warmaster Fantasty, such as elite handgunners, or the Swordmasters of Hoeth, but considering those are both rare and OOP, it is to be understood.

Anyway, this Warmaster Army Selector is pretty handy if you are into any of the official Warmaster variants, or just like to play around with list making.

Friday, August 1, 2014

10mm Pendraken Great War

As it seems to be the season for it, I have been interested in putting together a small Great War collection of 10mm figures, aiming at a company for each of the major combatants in the West, some regimental or divisional support weapons, and a few "fun" bits like tanks and trucks and what not that give a good period flavor. 

I have had a surprising amount of trouble finding online breakdowns of the composition of battalions during this period, with most of it being for 1914, and therefore not accounting for all the technological and structural developments that occurred as the war went on.  When I was doing similar research for WWII I found tons of information.  I guess since most of the battles were such large scale, that people must be ignoring the company/platoon level combat?  To me anyway, the tactical aspects of running a company or battalion seems far more interesting than the more meat grinder aspects of clashing divisions together.

I priced out a couple of companies (at roughly 1:1) from Pendraken directly, and the Warstore as an importer.  Interestingly, the Warstore comes out significantly cheaper, partly due to shipping (£19 from the UK, or $7 from NY), but each pack is cheaper as well.

The general idea is to "upsize" skirmish rules and have a 28mm figure replaced by a half squad/section base of 10mm figures.  Obviously this will need some modifications, particularly with regard to "wounds" or movement ranges, but I think it will generally work well, and with some trench terrain, will look quite nice as well.

Over on TMP I saw a thread about WWI using Rapid Fire, and found this interesting basing system, where infantry figures are mounted in strips 15mm deep, and special weapons are mounted on 25mm rounds, which seems like it would work out pretty nicely.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Copplestone 10mm Dwarfs

Copplestone has some new 10mm Fantasy, which is certainly surprising, as there have not been any releases for 10mm for some time.  Three new packs at £5.75 a pack, which works out to about $9.70 with today's exchange rate.
Two handed axes
Spears are pretty unique
I like that some swords are mixed in
The information for these figures says they are 9mm, which looking at comparison pictures of the Copplestone 11mm humans probably means to the eyes.  At that size they are going to be larger than the plastic Bo5A figures (~7.5mm to the eyes), but in line with the sizes of Eureka 10mm dwarfs, and the metal dwarf archers from the very short lived Bo5A blister line. (Occasionally on ebay for ~$30 a blister)

Regardless of their size, they are lovely, I think I will have to get some. Pity there are no archers though...