Friday, July 14, 2017

Relic Knights - Black Diamond Cadre

Now that my Black Diamond cadre is complete, I'm pretty happy overall with the overall look -- especially based on the limited amount of time I spent painting them compared to other projects, (about a third of the time that it took to paint the smaller Cerci Speed Circuit cadre).

Leopold Magnus and Diamond Corps
Darkspace Iron Chef
Diamondback and M8-Blitz Auto-Tank
Sophia Drake and Black Dragons
One Shot

The time savings was mostly due the grey color scheme of Black Diamond which allowed me to prime and quickly highlight most of the models, with minimal need for fine detail, or the strong contrast in colors that I usually go for.  It also provides some incentive to choose similar approaches for other projects.  For example, I've considering different Space Marine chapters, and the Space Sharks ("Carcharodons Astra") have a simple gray color scheme that would work well with the same approach.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Star Wars Miniatures (West End Games) - Emperor and Royal Guards

Many years ago I bought some of West End Game's 25mm Star Wars miniatures, from their Star Wars Miniatures Battles game.  When I did, I painted up the Emperor and his Royal Guards first.  It was my first real experiment with painting highlights and with inking (the red on the Royal Guards).  The basing style is vintage 1990s Goblin Green with yellow/white highlights.  I based the figures on coins - nickles in the case of the miniatures below.

These models provided a good opportunity to test out different camera options and lighting, and below are photos using three different lighting methods for the same basic picture angle and composition.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Star Trek: Ascendancy

Image result for star trek ascendancy
A few weeks back, Juice, Strom and I played our first game of Star Trek: Ascendancy, a three-player game of space exploration, expansion, research, and combat by Gale Force Nine.

The game provides many different paths to victory, and one aspect we all enjoyed is that each faction plays differently and has unique benefits and drawbacks.  Juice played the Romulans and focused on technological advances.  Strom played the Klingons and built large fleets for expansion.  I played the peaceful Federation and drove hard toward a cultural victory through careful exploration and colonization.

I started with a lead in cultural points, which also act as victory points to end the game.  However, I ignored technological and military advances which eventually sealed my doom.  Just before what would have been the turn when I would have claimed victory, Juice used his warp technology to warp all the way across the universe to the Federation home spaces, which he conquered.  The Klingons soon followed suite and I ended up simply being the king-maker in deciding a Klingon/Romulan tie.

Overall, the game has good pacing and offers choices in how to build your empire.  I think the end game came a little too quickly, as advancements build exponentially upon prior advancements in culture and technology. It does have a strong Star Trek theme and the overall game mechanics work well.  It is one of the best three-player games I have played and I highly recommend it for that reason.  It appears that Gale Force Nine's additional player factions are soon being released as game expansions, after a long delay in production.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Relic Knights - Cerci Speed Circuit Cadre

My Cerci Speed Circuit cadre is now complete and they provided a good break from the typical sci-fi models that I paint (from a well-known "grimdark" setting).  One thing I love about Relic Knights is the brightness of the models and their dynamic poses.  The miniatures turned out bright and colorful despite the dipping media, and most models still provided a good contrast in color.  I do wish I would have spent a little more time cleaning up mold-lines, as the dipping method really makes mold-lines stand out.  However, they look good on the tabletop, which is the level of detail I was going for.

Princess Malya, Mr. Tomn, and Pit Crew
Marie-Claude and Esmee
Betty, Lug, and Pacer

Friday, June 16, 2017

Relic Knights - Black Diamond: Leopold Magnus and Diamond Corps

Before I painted my Relic Knights models I decided I would complete them quickly with my "20/80" rule - 20% of my best effort to try and get 80% of the effect.  That meant I spent limited time cleaning up all the mold lines, used colored primers for each model's base color, and performed only simple base-coating as detail.  I then dipped each model using Minwax Polyshade.  Magnus was treated a little different in that he was first primed white, then stained with purple stain, then dipped with the same medium.  In all, once they were base-primed, I spent just two evenings painting and dipping my entire Black Diamond cadre.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade - iOS

Most of my computer gaming time these days has been limited to playing games on my iPad.  One of the games I spend a few minutes with each week is Warhammer 40,000: Freeblade.  Freeblade is a great, simple on-rails shooter that takes place in the Warhammer 40K universe.  Your opponents are Orks or Chaos, and there are a number of fun map environments.  I enjoy upgrading the different weapon options for my Imperial Knight.

A few months ago I purchased a Warhammer 40K Imperial Knight which I eventually plan to assemble and paint to represent Salocin, my in-game Freeblade from the game.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Relic Knights - Black Diamond: Darkspace Iron Chef

Darkspace Iron Chef was painted up along with my other Black Diamond miniatures.  For all of the bases I used plasticard that simulated metal grating, along with some metal plating pieces from some plastic sprues from Ebay for added decoration.  I tried to paint most colors with extreme contrast to balance out the black and grey covering most of the miniature.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Showtime, A-Holes: Guardians of the Galaxy with the Milano

A few years back I picked up the Galactic A-Holes from Highlander Studios.   With the recent release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, I thought I might go back and add their plucky starship - the Milano.  I think it scales pretty well with the 15mm miniatures.  The sci-fi landing pad mat is from Soda Pop Miniatures (for their Relic Knights game).  I'm looking forward to playing 15mm scenarios with it -- I'm planning to base one on the already classic opening scene from the movie.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Relic Knights - Black Diamond: Diamondback and M8-Blitz Auto-Tank

For Diamondback, I used zenithal highlighting to achieve the glowing effect, again doing this in the priming step.  I hit the model with Crystal Blue Army Painter primer from the angle of its axe.  His axe was painted light blue and white after painting over the dipping media, which provided the splattered texture that appears on the axe - the paint beaded-up due to the water-proof dipping surface.  The M8-Blitz Auto-Tank was painted simply as well, but I'm considering adding decals to it down the road.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Shadow War: Armageddon - Kill Team Kraken Omega 3K3

Last week I picked up the new Shadow War: Armageddon rulebook from Heroic Knight Games.  I promptly made a new Kill Team with my Tyranid Warriors.  The Shadow War Zone website lets you easily build and customize your Kill Team and also allows you to track your Kill Team's progression as it gains experience in battles.  I'm looking forward to trying out the rules with my new Hive Fleet Kraken Kill Team - "Kraken Omega 3K3", which you can find over at the Shadow War Zone website.


Friday, May 12, 2017

Relic Knights - Black Diamond: Sophia Drake and Black Dragons

Sophia Drake and Black Dragons were painted using zenithal highlighting during the priming step.  I first primed the models using black primer, then hit them with grey primer just on the top of the models.  I did a quick hit of light grey primer directly over top before adding color and painting the guns.  Then, I used the same dipping method that I used on the rest of the miniatures in my Black Diamond force.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Relic Knights - Black Diamond: One Shot

I recently started working on my Black Diamond forces for Relic Knights after becoming re-engaged during the latest Kickstarter campaign for Relic Knights 2nd Edition.  I painted most of the models simply and used the dipping method to add some depth.  Although One Shot's relic has limited contrast and is rather stark, I think it makes One Shot herself really stand out, based on her colorful outfit and dynamic pose.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Relic Knights - Cerci Speed Circuit: Princess Malya, Mr. Tomn, and Pit Crew

I recently completed a few Cerci Speed Circuit miniatures for Relic Knights.  I once again used the dipping method, using just a few base colors and a simple color scheme.  I finished Princess Malya, Mr. Tomn, and Pit Crew, completing the models I wanted to paint from my faction starter for Cerci Speed Circuit.  Now that my Cerci models are complete, I plan on posting some complete cadre pictures soon.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Star Wars: Risk

I have played Star Wars: Risk a number of times now with my Dad - it's a great two-player game, and not like Risk at all. It's based on the old "Star Wars: Queen's Gambit" board game, but the theme is the attack on Death Star 2 from ROTJ. The designers also designed the classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer Boardgame (another great game) and like that game this is also a very fun and fast (30 minute play time) game with a great theme.

Our first game was much like the movie. Shield Generator came down, Death Star took out a few capital ships, Luke turned Vader, but the snub fighters (Y-Wings) destroyed the Death Star in the end. Rebels win. Second game was different - Luke was killed by Vader, Falcon blew up, and the Executor engaged the Rebel fleet head on. Rebels were delayed taking out the Shield Generator with simply terrible die-rolling, but finally did it -- just as the last Rebel Capital ship was destroyed. Still a mass of X-Wings and B-Wings still had a chance to take out the Death Star, but were annihilated before they could initiate the final attack run. Close, but Imperials win.

In the plays since, the Rebels have often won, but many of the games have been close.  At the end, when the Rebels need a "6" to blow up the Death Star, there are a number of fun "stand-up and pay attention" dice rolls being made.  It appears that the Rebels are favored balance-wise, but a run of bad die-rolls for the Rebels can balance things out quickly. A few simple rule modifications can also help balance things out.
Components could be better (thin cardboard and cards). There is a "Black" edition that upgrades some of the components from cardboard to models.  Its about $25 and sold at the big-box stores and Amazon too.  I highly recommend it as a good, fast two-player game.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Wen-Con 2017

Yesterday I was able to visit Wenatchee and attend Wen-Con for a few hours.  On Friday night I saw an advertisement in Leavenworth at the Krampus Kave, as my wife and I were spending the weekend nearby.

On Saturday morning, I arrived shortly after the doors opened at 10:00AM.  I enjoyed walking through the exhibition hall and visiting the vendors.  The floor was full of cos-players, and the exhibition hall included artists, game stores, comic shops, and a variety of other relevant pop-culture vendors.  My favorite was the film-accurate replica of the Back to the Future Delorean.  There was also a great Ghostbuster and a Star Wars Scout Trooper.  I enjoyed browsing the old miniatures and spent some time in the video gaming room.

It was a fun way to spend a few hours and I think Wen-Con had a great inaugural event to build upon for future years.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Flames of War - 7th Armored Division

A year or two ago I painted some US Army miniatures for Flames of War.  I painted the infantry up as the 7th Armored Division, with the primary color patch on the left shoulder.  I painted them fairly quickly, just basecoating the main colors and then using the dipping method for highlighting.  The tanks are pre-painted Sherman tanks from Point of Contact.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Winter Tabletop Gaming Scenery by "crowin16" (Ebay)

I was looking for some winter scenery for skirmish games such as 40K Kill Team, Age of Sigmar, (or even Frostgrave down the road).  On Ebay, I noticed a seller named crowin16 selling stone scenery using high-density foam.  I won one of his auctions and was very pleased with the quality and detail.  I completed the table with:
  • 3x3 foot winter mat, made from white felt (with sparkles) from Joann Fabric, and
  • Winter-themed evergreen trees from Michaels, (with small white felt mats to define the area terrain).
I'm hoping to try out Age of Sigmar using this board in the near future.  I'm also currently assembling some Chaos Space Marines for a Kill Team game down the road.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Batman Miniature Game - Bane vs. Batman

Strom and I played our first game of Knight Model's Batman miniatures game a few weeks ago.  The game uses 35mm miniatures and was released a few years ago.  Strom used Batman, and I took Bane.... 

Batman started out the melee using his Batclaw (grapple) to distance himself from Bane.  Once in position, Batman unleashed a volley of Batarangs, slightly wounding Bane.  Batman then closed in for the melee.

Bane took some punches from Batman early, but shrugged most of the damage off with his Desensitized skill, (allowing him to fight as normal after taking damage).  Bane struck back, wounding Batman.  It was a long, drawn-out battle - one to rival the infamous scene from the movie They Live.

Then - it happened.  With a sudden punch, Bane knocked down Batman to the ground with a lucky roll on the critical dice, (when the critical die matches one of the damage dice, it knocks the opponent down).  Bane prepared to finish Batman off.  However, as Bane strutted over for the finishing blow, Batman regained his footing, standing up, and attacked Bane with a swift kick.  

Bane fell to the ground, knocked-out.  Batman was victorious.

Overall, it was a good learning game to understand the basics of the rules.  Batman's defensive skill vs. Bane's power and toughness was a good match.  We are looking forward to learning the rules and introducing more models into future games.