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Monday, December 28, 2015

Pack Rat Complete!

Before the holidays I completed the Pack Rat model. At first I didn't like how it was going, but once he was done and I got some good photos of him I ended up loving it.

I feel like I'm improving my brush on NMM but still have areas to improve on. I also need to figure out a better way to mark the arc lines on the base. They look fine from the pictures but I can see they aren't exactly right from a bird's (or player's) eye view.

Overall I love this model. The pose is great, I love a good square stance for a model that's firing. There's surprisingly not as much of this pose going on in miniatures, probably due to sculpting or something. This pose gives such a sense of realism to a firefight. I also like the weapon being grounded in modern military, as I don't get many - if any - chances to paint modern military. This model only has a slight hint of sci-fi but fits in well with the MERCS universe. And credit is due to the sculptor, as the majority of the model is swapped with another standing miniature (the body and legs are one piece) yet the few items that are unique completely change the model, which is the weapon, head and backpack. The pack features tools and a fire extinguisher which help define the Pack Rat as a fixer. Another good touch was the armor placement, as being a right handed shooter he'll need protection on his left side mostly, and minimizes armor usage elsewhere to stay mobile. There's even items stashed on his helmet showing his hording nature. When I showcase the Chem Engineer you'll see that although they share the exact same bodies they will be completely unique and distinguishable.

And as always there's the red sash on his weapon to signify his membership with the House 9.

Let me know what you think!

Monday, December 14, 2015


Here's my latest effort:

Pew Pew!

I've worked on and off on this dude for the last few weeks. He's one of my favorite sculpts for the House 9 faction. He looks like he was plucked straight from the Terminator resistance fighters. I'd say he's about 90% done, I've just got to paint all the brown straps and pick out a few other details like the eyes or the shell casings.

I didn't realize this until it was too late, but this model isn't exactly consistent with my previous model for the faction. The House Member I painted earlier was one of the first that I did this NMM technique on, and I was very sparse with the pure white highlights. Up until last night I always kept the House Member close by for reference to keep the Pack Rat consistent. The most important step, the NMM, to keep consistent between the two is when I decide to not keep the HM close by. Ugh. Well the Pack Rat's armor is a whole lot shinier now, so maybe if I'm not too lazy I'll go back on the House Member and brighten it up a bit. Probably not. Ha!

Also in keeping with the basing theme I tried out some rusted barbed wire. It's pretty awesome stuff to add on the base. Eventually I'll add the lines on the side for the arcs and add some greenery to break up the color.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Malifaux League Game 1

Not looking good for Ramos...

So last night we started a local Malifaux League for a 4 week duration. Each week you're paired up with another player for two games alternating between attacker and defender using the story encounter rules and specially made strategies and predetermined deployment. You also hand pick your schemes which include the faction specific schemes (FYI the Outcast one is absolutely terrible).

This week I got paired up with Travis, locally renowned as being one of the best Malifaux players who consistently steals first place in tournaments with ease. I (of course) chose Outcasts for the league while he is using Arcanists.

The strategy was called "Black Friday," in which the Attacker has to put "Great Deal" markers on layaway (pretty much Squatter's Rights) while the defender has to perform what is essentially Turf War.

The most interesting aspect of this week's game is that everyone is utilizing Blind Deployment, a rule I was completely unaware of being in the book!

Blind deployment creates a temporary deck of red and black cards. Each player gets one card of their associated color for each model in their crew and shuffles it together - so in the case of our game we each had 8 models, took out 8 crows (me) and 8 rams (Travis) and made a 16 card shuffled deck. We then each took turns placing a card on the table, representing areas that a model can deploy, face down. Once all cards are placed you then flip each one individually and whoever's card shows up a model from that crew is placed in the area of the card. No card can touch when being placed. The sheer craziness that occurs from this random placement made the game fun almost immediately!

The best part of this is what took place for this kind of deployment. He used a Ramos crew, including metal and fire Gamin, Joss, and several arachnids. I used my Vik crew, slightly altered to try a new configuration but with the same models I generally use. In our podcast I explain why that is, and it's actually a technique used by the majority of our Meta here.

  • Viktoria of Blood
    • Synchronized Slaying
    • Sisters in Spirit
    • Sisters in Fury
  • Viktoria of Blood
    • Mark of She'zuul
    • Scramble
  • Hannah
    • I Pay Better
  • Malifaux Child (the change I made to give him another go while keeping almost fully painted)
  • Convict Gunslinger
  • Johana
  • Friekorps Trapper
  • Friekorpsmann
Pretty standard list for me, I'm very comfortable knowing every bit of this list for the most part. The main change I used was switch the Student of Conflict back to the Malifaux Child. It started with the idea that I painted him, loved the result, then used him once and went back to my old ways. Then I thought of the original reason I used him, which was to save two stones, have the same 1AP of Master efficiency, and upgrade another model in the crew - in this case, upgrading the Desperate Mercenary to Johana (which worked out since she rocks against Arcanists!).

Anyway, back to deployment...

I used an old trick I loved back in my Warhammer 40k 4th Ed days. Most people would over analyze the possibilities of where models would end up and space everything evenly to minimize the random effect. I however always chose to completely eliminate it by putting everything in one clump, dismissing any chance of it going against me. I can't count on the worst case scenario where I only have one model in the clump while he has his whole crew as the odds of it are very small. Then all it takes is the opponent placing his first card even remotely close to where I plan to put the clump and I'm at the advantage, and this usually occurs before they realize it.

In 40k I used to do this with terrain placement, as the old rules used this alternating placement for each piece of terrain. With my army specializing in close combat and using terrain to deploy as close as possible I used to place the first piece of terrain in their deployment zone where they most likely would deploy. Then they place theirs in any location, usually spreading out to make the sides even - which almost everyone does to give themselves more options. Then I place another piece directly in front of or behind my previous piece, and if I was lucky their first piece was next to my first. Essentially every piece I place is on top of each other, making one big clump. All the opponent's pieces were essentially useless as it forced him to deploy either in the open (as at most half of the terrain is just scattered) or in the "safety" of the clump, where I can deploy even closer to them. If they chose the open I was still within range of a turn 2 charge and do not have cover to hinder my assault although I took more casualties (but with half my army being summoned I never lost half my army, which was more than enough to take out 3 times their numbers in CC). 

If the opponent deployed first, I just put my piece next to theirs and instead of half the terrain in the clump I added one more. In one game almost all the pieces were in the clump and before we even deployed the opponent was in shock!

So anyway, back to the point, again...

I essentially did the same tactic for this game, as my crew excels in close quarters and wants to be engaging the Master as quickly as possible.

I placed first, as close to the middle as possible. He then puts his next card about a card's length away from mine, then I put my next one right next to it, creating a clump of three. After his second card he realized what was happening and started placing cards in the corners, but by that time it was too late. We already had 4 out of the sixteen cards right next to each other, meaning at best he can have 6 out of 16 spread out, with a 50/50 shot that it's his crew spread out while the others get creamed.

This was the result:

It may be a bit hard to see and some models aren't pictured. In the top left corner behind the rocky pillar is my Malifaux Child, who doesn't need to be close to anything to do what he does. On the bottom left is my Friekorpsmann, my most disposable minion. On the bottom right is my Trapper, who likes to be out of the way anyway, and my Convict is on the top right behind cover. My core group of beatsticks are smack dab in the middle, engaging almost everything that got deployed.

Predictably it was a steamroll, and within two turns everything in the middle was dead with my crew losing only Johana who killed a spider and got Joss down to one wound from Hard to Kill. Turn three was cleaning up the remaining models and positioning to deny his schemes. Turn four left him with one model left and no Strategy points in which we called it as I showed him how on turn 5 I could get rid of his Breakthrough markers. The game ended 10-2 and was great fun, although I know that in a standard game this guy could whoop me something fierce.

It was fun, and even if I lost I would have called it a victory simply from the deployment shenanigans. We didn't have a chance to play another to switch up sides, but I think now that he's wise to my deployment I would have a much harder chance at winning.

Anyway, that's what I've been up to for Malifaux. I've also been painting a Mercs model but hit a standstill, once I get to be able to sit down and paint I should be nearly complete with him. I'll post up pics as soon as it's done!

Also I got a Leviticus crew to try out as I wasn't liking Von Schill that much. Granted I only played one game with him, but I can tell whether or not I want to keep pushing a Master by one game if they seemed fun regardless of winning or not. I just didn't see anything amazing about him, nothing that just popped out with a Wow factor. Sure he's tanky, but that doesn't cut it for me. I'll try him out again later but for now he's being shelved. Luckily Von Schill's box comes with all sorts of useful models like the Trapper and the Librarian. I'll update you once I give Levi a go!

Monday, November 30, 2015

MERCs Terrain WIP Continued

So over Thanksgiving week I worked a bit more on terrain as there wasn't too much time between family visits to work on anything else. I added a bit more detail to the MERCS scatter terrain. I added rust pigments to the barrels as well as drybrushed white on the edges. After I varnish it I will add some greenery to liven up the color a bit more. It's almost done!

I also took a spare 4x2 Zuzzy Mat I had and cut off a foot to make it 3x2 for MERCS games. The game zone's measurements are a tad weird in the gaming community as most games use an even square footage in either 4x4 or 3x3 flavors, with Warhammer being 6x4. This results in absolutely no available mats for 3x2 without customization. It also results to having taped off borders on traditional tables, or imaginary lines and odd deployment zones. Most posters that were created for MERCs had a 2x2 zone for demos, which I've already got as a mat thanks to Deadzone. But full games require that extra foot of length. The official mats that you can print that are 3x2 are fine enough, but it's expensive to get printed and it usually costed at least $50 or more. My friend Reuben already printed one out and it looked well enough, but he told me how annoying it is to get the right resolution at Staples.

I never use my 4x2 mat as the previous owner bought it to turn his 4x4 mat into a Warhammer sized mat, and I never play that game anymore. So I thought it'd be better used as a MERCS mat. After cutting it I got a bug to see what it all can look like together so I put some terrain on it. I used a building from Micro Arts Studios, some of the Deadzone buildings I put together long ago, some Secret Wars containers, Dust Tactics containers, ammo crates and tank traps I got in a steal of a deal, Secret Weapons' jersey barriers and Reaper Bones' containers and dumpsters - one of the best deals in terrain out there.

Overall it looks very good and the set up seems very fair and playable. All the elevations are equal so defining ERs for the game is simple. None of it is fully painted unfortunately but it shouldn't be much of a problem to do.

The set up is also very portable. I fit all the terrain elements in one small box short of the buildings, and I have 2 more containers somewhere in my house. If I get a slightly bigger box for it it can all be transported together. The mat is also small and rolls up well enough to not be a nuisance.

In other news I got some very good deals online last week. Miniature Market had a sale for up to 90% off some items. Since MERCS isn't as popular as other games they had huge savings for their faction boxes with most being around $26 for more than 60% off! I ended up getting three additional faction boxes including the House 4 box (which I got specifically for that epic Priest model!), Keizai Waza (a faction whose models I hated at first and now absolutely love) and KemVar (a faction I've wanted since the beginning). This will amount to a good set of models for rotation in play and demos, as well as a good pool for the FCC House 9 to recruit for their Black Ops ability.

I also got a good assortment of Dust Tactics models for around 85% off. This sale was an absolute steal.

Anyway that enough for this update!

Monday, November 23, 2015


Here are some WIP shots of my MERCS scatter terrain. I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out, although I'm honestly stumped as to how I plan on painting the barrels. I know I'll be doing some weathering and rust streaks, but luckily since it's just terrain I can afford to experiment or make mistakes.

I've shown these pieces before and got a bug to try to finish them last night. I think it's a great trick to use these round bases for terrain bits. If you use the cork to break up the round shape it's even better, and when these are side by side they can make a continuous wall of barrels. It was extremely easy to make, didn't cost much other than buying the barrels (which are super cheap) and I used cork I already had - but wouldn't cost much to get anyway. I did the current paint job in less than an hour using the airbrush, and you could easily leave it at where it is now and have it blend with the table, but I plan on doing a bit more to it.

Other than that I've been painting up more Malifuax models - and I'm trying the assembly line technique again, but mostly in regards to base coats, basing and general similar colors. After a certain point I get back to painting them individually. It's a bit of a time saver, and helps get my crew to tabletop standard when I play with them.

I've also been playing my weekly game and discovering the highs and lows of the learning curve. I'm currently on a low (lol) but I'll pick it back up soon.

Monday, November 9, 2015

11/7/15: Steamroller and MERCs Game!


So last Saturday I got to play in a Steamroller tournament for Warmachine/Hordes. I hadn't played in a while but luckily I've had practice with friends every time we played together. Lately I had been having the most fun with my Trollbloods using my newest version of my Doomshaper list, so I decided to bring the old blueskins to test my luck. My luck was absolutely terrible...

And just to clarify, it was simply luck that kept me from getting wins. Not how I played, or my opponent getting the best of me, just really crappy rolls at the worst times. All my opponents unanimously agreed that I had the win, if it weren't for my terrible rolls.

First game deployment against pSkarre

Sorry I didn't take many pics, I was concentrating on the game (timers give me heart palpitations). My opponent used his pSkarre list. When he saw my lists he didn't even look at it all and assumed it was pDoomshaper's theme list Runes of War, which is huge in the Meta and tournament scene. I, of course, told him it wasn't, which garnered a shocking look. I personally don't like net lists, not for the lack of originality but simply because every Meta is prepared to see it. What I like about mine is that it acts completely different than the Runes list with a similar build, and people simply don't see it coming. My friend Monty once told me that no one has ever mentioned seeing or playing my list before, and it hasn't lost... until now.

Well the game was going smooth on turn one. He pushed all his infantry to screen his army with his caster way in the back. I proceeded to trample through them and goad for 16" straight to the caster with Mulg. I had 3 attacks left, and if I hit then one more for the affinity, with boosted attack rolls from Wild Aggression. With a MAT 7 against DEF 16 I only needed 9s on 3 dice, and his armor was a mere 15 or so (no focus since he didn't think I'd be anywhere near him top of turn 2) with my STR 20. All I needed was one hit to pretty much seal the deal and get an extra attack in case. My first roll was three 1s. I quickly just got over it and rolled again, and again, and missed every one of them. Meaning I lost out on the affinity attack as well. I know that it's not impossible for that to happen, but man it stings. 

Well, this tactic of surprise assassinations really doubles down on the attempt, leaving my caster in the open and getting him killed immediately after. After the game he said that I should have had it, and that he's never seen the list before nor expected it to be that aggressive, which makes me somewhat proud that I can make an original list that disrupts a seasoned veteran's plans.

Wold War and Failure Number Two

So in comes the second round. I'm upset since I knew I should have had the last one, but I get over it for another chance at redemption. This time I'm paired up with Circle, particularly the Wold War theme list for Bradigus. I've read on it once, and it seemed like it was a powerful combination of abilities and denial. Naturally I played a lot more defensively than usual with my Mulg list. Although I knew of certain aspects of the list I had never once seen it in action so I didn't know what its strengths and weaknesses were. I still thought that perhaps my usual tactic should work, but this time I didn't opt for the turn two assassination as the slow moving army was slightly out of range for it.

Top of turn Three

We both had similar armies in terms of strategy, with high armored beasts going straight for the jugular. I decided that since his whole army is a battlegroup I'd try to stretch his resources thin by keeping my Champions very far away in the opposite zone. They can operate on their own effectively and contest or score a zone, and if he decides to dedicate any efforts to it his caster will have to stay within range for his control, either forcing him to keep everyone in range or abandon the zone. He slowly approached my army while I kept my beasts on the right. Once he was in range I had Mulg trample over near the caster, kill a shifting stone for Goad, then got right in range of Bradigus.

This is what it looked like when I stormed in

With Mulg having 4 fury left and the Affinity I had it. Bradigus only had 2 fury stored, so two attacks were going to get transferred. This left 3 attacks on ARM 16 (?) to do damage, which is plenty enough with STR 20. This leaves on average a total of 10 damage per attack. Three attacks getting through mean 30 damage on average, about twice his HP. The plan seemed solid, with plenty of redundancy for damage. And I only needed sevens to hit with free boosted attacks.

The first two he takes without transferring, leaving him down to 3 HP. He was forced to transfer the next two hits. On the last Affinity attack I rolled a 5 on three dice.


Needless to say I lost immediately after that.

I just couldn't believe it. It happened again. Lousy rolls killing solid strategy and ruining my list's potential. My list is still effective once you know what it does, it's just a lot harder to run the gimmick once they're ready for it. And I've beaten people before who knew what it did, especially in Kill Box where there's not many places to hide.

Anyway, with my Spirit thoroughly crippled I got the bye on the third round. With the bye I got the opportunity to play the TO George in a game of Mercs, the high point of my day...

I brought my lovable FCC House 9 models while he used his USCR. I know how USCR works, as well as the fact that the Behemoth is near auto-take for most people (personally I'd attempt not using him simply because it's expected that you would). High armor is a problem for FCC without a Black Ops member, which is the situation I found myself in. I knew that my mobility was key to attaining a victory, and utilizing the FCC's corporate ability (in Mercs 1.0, not 1.9) to bypass his Suppression and Overwatch lanes. I used the Boomer, House Leader, Chem Engineer, Pack Rat and House Member and he used all but the Booster in his force. The picture above was at the bottom of turn 2, but it's similar to where everyone was deployed short of moving up the board. I set up the board with plenty of terrain and made sure it was asymmetrical in elevation to make things interesting. The amount of terrain surprised him as he's used to a lot less terrain, but I feel like the game is not nearly as interesting if there are huge lanes of fire, and the right abilities tend to just overtake the game if you have less terrain, so I built it a lot like an Infinity table. The rules state to ensure there are no open lanes from deployment zone to deployment zone - which is interesting as a lot of the official maps do just that - and I made it diagonal, which is a common thing in Infinity that really makes things interesting.

So he won the roll off on picking sides and deploying his first model. Naturally he chose the high side and gave me an unsure look, since he's able to deploy on top of the upper right building (which I did on purpose as the roof was fairly open and there were more walls and less open ground on the other deployment side). I assured him that it's okay to deploy on top, even if his models just dominate it is a fair thing to do and something I'd need to practice against anyway. I'm a huge believer in practicing terrible match ups in order to get better, as that makes playing even match ups much simpler.

He proceeded to capitalize on the leader ability by keeping everyone close to his leader, while deploying the sniper and behemoth on the same roof. These are sound tactics, but I believe the redundancy of a sniper and the Behemoth in the exact same vector doesn't create good fire lanes, as there is no crossfire. Granted, should something get in that lane it's gonna have a bad time. But if you simply avoid their lanes and stay out of LOS then you eliminate two models' effectiveness entirely. Being that he deployed the rest of his models in the center lane he limited the crossfire on my left side, making it the best side to approach for me. I love how this game effectively represents a real firefight, almost to the same extent as Infinity. It really does remind me of playing paintball, as the 3x2 table size is a lot like a speedball field, and the same tactics apply.

So I deploy my guys very spread out. On the right I put my Pack Rat and Leader. I do this because the Pack Rat can take a lot of punishment with his Medkits, and the leader may be able to Sweep the field and give the Pack Rat the leader bonus. Unfortunately her Caltrops are useless against a slow opponent like USCR, as there aren't many opportunities to control their movement when they're hardly moving already.

In the middle I deploy my Boomer. Being in the middle helps him react to either side efficiently. His weapon can single handedly control the center and break up clumps, and while loading he can hide out behind some cover. Controlling the center is important as it allows your flanks to aggressively move, but the center doesn't necessarily need to aggressively move at all. Once he's at the 50 (like the 50 yard line, Paintball term!) he's exactly where he needs to be. Moving further up would only be necessary if he's out of range of corner models, at which point he's bounding with his flank.

On the left and most important flank are my House Member and Chem Engineer. I've found this pair to be incredible together in Mercs 1.0, mostly due to the House Member's mobility and the Chem Engineer's MP of 3. The HM can bound with the Chem Engineer while the CE moves and fires and keeps pace. If he lands a hit he does permanent debuffs on the enemy model. If the opportunity presents itself and the way is clear he bounds as well and has a MP 4! That's one speedy flank.

Here we have the Chem Engineer covering the House Member's advance

So the game begins with him moving the majority of his models up the center to the ruined building, placing three of his models within one card of the leader behind cover. His Behemoth and Sniper then advance to near the building roof's edge to prepare to unleash hell. Almost all my models bound to the leader and speedily move up the board, with the House Leader moving up to the side of a building. At this point George notes how fast everyone's moving, but really most are MP 2 which is normal, and the bound makes them move another card. I don't believe he's seen anyone just bound entirely for the first turn, but I know the importance of setting up fire lanes as far forward as possible and most people won't set up suppression/overwatch on the first turn instead of moving. He could have done so with his Behemoth or Sniper, but since I don't move any models until the last activation it's hard to tell how effective it will be. 

The next turn is when it got tricky. He set up overwatch with his Behemoth early on, but I cunningly triggered the shot with my Chem Engineer, with everyone else behind full cover. Being that he's forced to take the shot it caught his group of three models from the rear with no cover and promptly murderized two of them in one swoop! It then managed to miss my CE entirely. He now sees the drawback with having that massive guy and will be more careful with his placement in the future...

It seemed like it would be a good swing in my favor, but over the next few turns he managed to pick off my Leader, then Boomer, then Pack Rat in a fell swoop. The Boomer managed to pick off the remaining model in the clump before dying. What was left was the Chem Engineer and the House Member, who was fully into the enemy side and ready to flank the remaining Sniper and Behemoth. The CE managed to hit the sniper and blood him, along with debuffing him with the Irradiated Ammo, before succumbing to the Behemoth's rain of fire. His sacrifice managed to keep the House Member away from the cross hairs for one crucial round while he managed to dive into the shadow of the building out of LOS from the two enemies. George prepared against the inevitable climb and turned the sniper around to face the HM when he does. The HM won initiative, climbed the building and fired at the Sniper, killing him. The Behemoth had to spend his activation turning around to face the HM. The HM won initiative again in this fight to the last man, moved into the flank of the Behemoth, while managing to be in the back 180 of his arc, and shot at him. The attack certainly wouldn't wound, but it did force an armor break test which he failed, lowering his armor down to a still hefty 3. The Behemoth, however, can't move and shoot, and his movement is now zero, so the nimble House Member danced around to the rear arc, got within short range, and killed the Behemoth. It was a true David vs Goliath battle, and had an epic ending.

The final blow, ending in tremendous fashion

It was truly cinematic, and I had more fun with this game than I did with my previous two for WM/H that day. I really love this game, it boils down to maneuvering and real tactics more than out gaming - although some would disagree with me. It's one of my favorites, and I actually love it more than Infinity (but that game is still awesome). I wish it was more popular, but having two other people to play it is good enough for me. 

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the write up and pics, if you're feeling crazy give MERCs a try, at worse you will end up with awesome models to paint and be about $50 poorer. 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Hannah Complete!

Here's my completed Hannah of the Freikorps!

I finally took the time to finish her this weekend, I hadn't touched her since my last update. I finished her skin, hair, and vest as well as the book she's holding. I decided to add some variation in the back so I painted the cables red with caution striping where it plugs into the suit - I thought it was pretty nifty looking afterward. I also painted the canister in the back to look gold/brassy to break up the grey but in the back it seems a bit flat so I'll have to touch up on that later on. Overall though she was fun to paint and now is one of my favorites on the crew!

Now onto my thoughts of her in game:

She is a complete workhorse for me now, and a must have for my Viktoria crew. Essentially she has armor 1 with a counterspell and nether flux aura - this strips models of their built in suits when targeting her or if the attack originates from within 4". This is huge as models with lure essentially are rendered useless unless they can use soul stones, and for masters who need triggers they'll have to be spending precious resources to accommodate this if they can't flip the suit they need. This is huge as with my Vik crew I try to soak up as many resources as possible in the turn they strike so that the rest of the crew has an easy job of dismantling them.

The other main reason I use her for with the Viks is her size. I mean, she's a huge model in terms of physical area. But in the game she's also a height 3 50mm base. This means she can do a great job at blocing LOS to parts of the crew, namely the Viktorias themselves. Lately what I've done is on turn one she walks twice up 10" toward the center of the board. Then the student of conflict and Viktorias walk directly behind her and get blocked LOS for the most part from shooting. Anyone trying to do blasts on Hannah will lose suits so hopefully won't get triggers, but in the end any damage that gets through to the sisters will get healed up once Blood goes on her rampage. On turn two essentially anything important will be in range of the Viks' swords and Blood goes nuts. That one turn of denial is crucial, as well as the fact that she's no slouch in combat and can camp on an objective like Turf War or Squatter's Rights.

I've also utilized her to hug onto models with her 3" reach. In one game I had her set up next to an objective with the Student about 3" behind her and Vik of Ashes next to her. Hannah had a hard target engaged with her. Ashes would just charge in with her 3AP and put some hurt on a model or kill it, then the Student would teleport her back to safety. Hannah remained there to make sure that anyone trying to go after the Master would have to go through her first, all while in the Aura of her denial game. If Vik of Ashes needed to go do something elsewhere, the Student was there to hand out Fast.

Her other attributes aren't as useful in the Viktoria crew, but definitely handy for certain situations. With my current build of the list her (0) ability isn't used as often as there aren't any (1)AP CA actions that she can use from her own crew. It all depends on what the opponent brings to the table for her to utilize them, although it's usually something handy that they don't want to be used against them. At one game I used Jack Daw's own attack and flipped the Red Joker for 6 damage! All with a (0) ability!

Her Ghost Censor attack also isn't used as well as it could in my Vik crew. I tend to bring about 5 SS to a game, and lately I've lowered it to 4. 5 Tends to be the sweet spot, but when I have 4 I gain an extra model to the crew, so it's situational but 4 SS seems really light in the game. It's crucial when I bring 4 that I get the alpha strike to diminish my handicap as much as possible. But with a smaller SS pool I have to depend on my control hand for any cards I want to use, and I tend to use most of my resources for the Vik of Blood Whirlwind on turn 2, so using a SS for a tome doesn't go very high in priority, and any high tome will get used on Vik of Blood for severe damage or Defense Duels. I have realized however that I can have the same number of models in my crew (8) with 5 SS in the pool if I switch out the Ronin for the Freikorpsmann, then Hannah can use his "Reference the Field Guide" ability for Tomes if I have a low Tome card. He's a solid model for both Melee and Shooting, I just like the Ronin's model as well as her ability to hit and run models with Armor, not to mention having more wounds and Hard to Kill. Really though the resources used for Ghost Censor to get the trigger aren't worth it most of the time just to make a model or two take Horror Duels. If I flip the tome then it's good, as it may absorb the opponent's control hand by one or two cards at most, but usually in the turn she's going after the Viks and doesn't need to soak those resources by then as much, and the SS or card used doesn't come out with a net gain if they flip what they need.

I also no longer buy her Ancient Tomes upgrade when she's with the Viks, as it also requires a resource for the spell to take place. While burying a potential threat does come in handy, I've found that spending the resource for the ability tends to get wasted as that is something the opponent will definitely use their control hand to prevent for, so I'd have to luck out and drain all their resources and hope for a bad flip if I need for it to work out. This tends to not be worth the 2 SS for the upgrade, as I'd have to do it almost every turn for it to work out and I'd rather just kill the model with my AP rather than risk the chance of it not doing anything.

She does however come into her own even more when fielded with other casters, notably with Von Schill. Normally she can't use her "Make a New Entry" (0) ability with friendly Masters unless they have the Freikorps characteristic. When used with Von Schill she can not only use his (1) CA abilities she can also use his (0) abilities, making her utility much more useful. With his upgrade allowing models in his aura to use two different (0) abilities she becomes a tool box for a lot of situations and can even heal up all her damage at the same time (when the Librarian or Steam Trunk are in play). This is why I've recently purchased the Freikorps box as another Outcast crew I can use. They seem to be a simple box to play, and can fill a gap for when my Vik crew isn't suited for the Strats/Schemes flipped - for example, if I need a crew with high WP or resilience over damage output.

All in all she's been a welcome addition to the crew. I've had a lot more success since I've substituted her over Killjoy. She's cheaper and does more for the crew than he did, along with adding an activation for me since Killjoy starts out buried. Due to her flexibility she tends to go well with any master and is one of the few models I'd pay the Mercenary tax for with other masters.

Plus she has a frickin' steampunk robot suit, who wouldn't want to field that?!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Competitive vs. Casual

In any hobby there seems to be a rift between those who are entry-level participants and those who take it to the next level.

One of my other hobbies is (or rather, was...) paintball. I love the sport and have played it on and off all the way back to my first year of high school. I've never met anyone who played it and didn't love it, it's just one of those primal games that gets you pumped on a whole different level. But there was a definite split between those who casually played it - commonly referred to as "Walk-Ons" - to those who played it damn near every weekend. On the field you could see the stark contrast before the game even begins. The casuals are using rentals, wearing jeans and a t-shirt, maybe some old fatigues thinking it's crucial to camouflaging themselves on the field or something. The hardcore players wore brightly colored speedball jerseys, had alien technology for markers and a harness full of pods. Then on the field the elite players are zipping all over the field, firing off ropes of paint at ridiculous speeds and simply demolishing the opposition.

This division happens in almost any hobby, at least for every one that I've come across. In video games there's the casual who owns a Wii, or plays on their phone, or even online. Then there's the neckbeards who chastise you for feeding the opponents or pull off ridiculous feats in PvP. In art there's the pinterest painter against the modern artist. Weight lifters joke about if you even lift, hipsters say you've probably never heard of their band, etc.

There's a common thread that occurs when there's an interest that is pursued there are always those who dedicate themselves entirely to the cause for their obsession and love. Techniques are scrutinized, purity is evaluated and its philosophy is discussed at length.

This all leads to our little corner in the hobby-verse, which is no different. Within our community exists a rift, one that is blurry and defining simultaneously. It seethes beneath all aspects of this wonderful escape of ours, and tends to separate or unite participants without even truly being understood - the difference between the competitive and casual player.

When I refer to these broad categories I'm mainly thinking of two aspects: the player as a strategist and one as a painter. These categories actually differ greatly to me in my experience as to their levels of difference, and I'll try to identify them when speaking on them.

Let's start with this: we were all casual players once. When being introduced to the world of hobby gaming we were all noobs. We didn't know or understand everything presented to us. That is a given. So we'll start with that!

Earlier I discussed my entry into the hobby. It was magical, it opened my eyes to a whole new world of possibilities that I could control. I didn't have to understand it to know that this has been what I've wanted to do for the rest of my life - it was love at first sight.

I won't go into what it feels like any further, I'm strictly sticking to two aspects: gaming and painting.

Noobs at gaming tend to make similar mistakes to one another. It comes with the territory, as these games tend to be a bit more complicated than Risk. It takes a while before it all sinks in! So I'm going to skip ahead of that part and get into around maybe the first year or two, once you've gotten all the nuances down.

There's a certain point in most of our gaming careers where we realize how our pieces interacted within the game, and what tends to be the most efficient and effective pieces in actual game experience as opposed to what we thought would be a kick-ass dude based on his picture or fluff. For me this was min-maxing in Warhammer and realizing that my play style was much more effective once there were no Marines on foot and I brought as much cheap AP weapons to the table as possible (melta guns FTW!). This was the turning point for me where I shifted from casual to competitive, and it was all a grey area for the next year but I clearly abandoned fluff for rules. Granted, I still ate up the fluff, but it took a back seat to what the stats to a model was. Great fluff to what I want to field? Icing on the cake!

Now there was a magical time before this. Just imagining my marines just tearing up fools on the battlefield would keep me up at night. Thinking of how my paint jobs related to the Silver Shadows' - my home brewed chapter - history was exhilarating. I'd read books on how Uriel Ventris, a mere captain of the Ultramarines would just wreck shop and think "That's what I'm going to do," was epic.

Then I met others, played them, and had the sickening realization that I just got pwnd. It kind of got me down, I hit the valley most do when getting into a new hobby where you think that you just wasted your time, or you'll never get good enough. But being the great hobby it was I stuck with it and vowed to get better.

There's an excitement that just can't truly be captured when you first enter the hobby. This is something that the casuals have over others. They aren't disillusioned with the rules set, or the meta, or the models. These physical representations aren't just vessels for stats and rules. They were a character, a personality that seemed as real as having a pet. They'd fawn over these little guys, know exactly how many miniatures they had in our collection, and relish over their new box that they'd wrack their brains over exactly which pieces they'd want to use to make them look awesome.

Then, well, we want to learn how to win.

We all like winning, right? At least I do. And our games condition us a certain way on how to think. Strategy isn't some general term that is utilized here, no no no. The way to be able to make strategic moves is knowing your rules set and statistics inside and out.

This meant poring over every detail, every new codex, every new box and knowing exactly what it did. Over time this saturation and studying slowly chokes the magic out. I'm not saying that it will entirely, nor am I alluding that this happens to everyone. But on a level it does, because knowledge takes away mystery, for better or worse. It's like a magic trick. When it first happens you're confused and in awe, once you know the trick you're disappointed.

And this leads to our counterpart, the competitive player. This is the one that knows the technicalities of the rules, the wording and difference between key words. They pore over FAQs, they study the differences of armies and their efficiency, they see the numbers, and they attend all the tournaments. They get a new type of excitement now, the rush from a clean win against a tough opponent, knowing they got the better of another. And if they're not careful, they'll look down on the casual.

There's a feeling of superiority once you reach a certain level of playing. This power of being better at the game than another can really take hold in our community. There's a feeling of elitism that couples with being a better player that you can't help but feel, and that's fine, you've worked hard to get where you're at and took a lot of crap on the way. But when it transforms to snubbery it gets dangerous.

I see it a lot, and I won't lie and say I haven't been a part of it. Arrogance, sore losing, arguments, trash talking, it's all a part of our competitive player scene.

It can be vitriolic, I know that I flat out refuse to play some people due to this since that behavior makes a game simply not fun. And I don't dedicate time, money and effort to go out and not have fun. It's a reason why I've taken a break from attending tournaments for a while now.

But the interesting thing about that competitive player is the challenge. Steel sharpens steel after all, and playing others at that level is what has made me a better player throughout the years. Some days I'm not interested in playing a beginner at all and can have just as little fun teaching someone to play as getting stomped by someone. It's not to say I don't have fun teaching or getting stomped, like all things in life it just depends.

But I do miss that mystery and awe from when I was more casual... and games tend to be more fun than business-like.

This divide seems to be a lot less grating when it comes to painting however. While there is a competitive aspect to it, it is a lot more relaxed as it is a much more natural skill than gaming. There is also an accepted aspect to it as most people who play claim themselves to be "not that good at it," so there's a mutual acceptance if your work is sub-par. It is quite an intimidating aspect of the hobby and usually takes a while for it to kick in, if it does at all.

Anyway, sorry for the long rant. I just thought it would be interesting to put these ideas to digital paper.

Monday, October 12, 2015

WIP Hannah for Malifaux

Hey guys!

I thought I'd share my work-in-progress. This is Hannah, a sweet model for Malifaux. She's ginormous.

Ever since this model came out I've been dying to get my hands on her. She's super dynamic, the model is a really cool concept, and it gives me a lot of opportunities to use techniques I'm now getting good at. Plus in game she's great at denial and can take a beating!

So let me go over a few caveats on her model. She's definitely a challenging model to put together. Figuring out which finger belongs where was certainly a hassle but not impossible. Then there was a difficult "translation" part for the arms compared to the instructions but not indecipherable. The toughest part was doing the order of assembly, topped with putting the suit's legs with the body and making sure the feet lined up to be level with the ground. Well, they didn't for me. In fact, I've seen a lot of other people's pictures of her online and it doesn't seem to match well for others either.

Her standard pose with both feet on the ground lends her to have some weight shifted as if she's winding up for a punch. This looked pretty cool but definitely has a "lower" feel to it.

An example from the excellent blog of GMort

No doubt, still an awesome pose. Note how the toes point in different vertical directions, this makes it difficult to have a completely flat footing and placed flat on the base, even with a marginal difference. 

With mine, though, it was a huge difference and didn't line up at all. I decided to alter the base so that her right leg was level and the left foot was slightly coming off the ground, with only the toe making contact. This in turn also made the pose look more heroic rather than dynamic, with a slight angle adjustment she looks more like she's anticipating her next move. Or maybe she looks the exact same, what do I know?

I took cork and placed it in half the base, with additional cork ripped for another level of rubble in front of her. I then used super glue and varying grades of sand to add texture to the "ground" floor and hide the seams of the cork levels. 

I base coated her black and using the airbrush I sprayed on black/stone grey, blocked in highlights with stone grey and light highlights with white.

I probably redid her left shoulder pad 12 times to get it right....

It's important when doing Non-Metallic Metal to get the highlights right. The colors are not what makes NMM work - you can make NMM with any color really. The colors I used for Hannah are the exact same colors I use when painting stones or buildings. The difference that really makes NMM work is where you place those highlights, and where you emphasize your light sources. You need to change how light reacts on your surface, since metal reflects light differently than say cloth or leather, or even painted metal. On a curves surface you'll place the highlight right where the curve occurs, where light would be reflected the most. The same principle can be applied to hair as well, as it behaves much like NMM.

The next step I took was really emphasizing the contrast by black-lining between each plate and join with a 50/50 mix of black/midnight blue. Once that was done I added stone grey and white highlights on each edge. These take it to the next level and really makes the contrast pop.

Now we're cooking with gas!

I also began working on the base colors. I really didn't want to make it grey, as the model itself is predominantly grey and makes the model get lost. But I wanted it to fit in with the other models of the crew, so sacrifices were made. I added some blues and browns to differentiate but overall it looks very grey. I'm not hung up on it though, and it looks good on its own. Hopefully when I paint the ring of the base green it will look different.

She's getting there...

And this is where I stand with her now. I added a tuft of grass to break up the grey on the base, and some flock in the back. I painted some red leather and olive cloth and blocked in the skin and wrappings. I feel like she's coming out a bit flat when compared to the suit, so I may go back and add more contrast to the leathers and clothing. But really all my other Malifaux models are muted in tone so she'd fit in with them, it's just that when she's sitting with a suit with colors that pop it's hard not to feel underwhelmed by her current colors. I won't revisit those colors though until I finish up the rest and see where she stands.

Anyway, that's my current work in progress. I'll post up more pics once she's complete!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My life in hobby gaming...

So being that this is a blog about my favorite hobby I decided to just go on a tangent about my experience as a miniature gamer.

I remember my first experience being exposed to the hobby. When I was a kid I used to go to the mall a lot with my folks. As a child there was only a few things in my life I cared about: comics and video games. So back when malls had arcades I'd always plop my happy butt in them for hours at a time while my mom went shopping. This was also back when parents left their tiny children alone in malls with no fear.

So on a trip to Toronto we decided to stop at a huge mall. I do what I naturally always did and looked at the directory for the arcade's location. By a happenstance of fate I see "Games Workshop" and head straight for it.

Instead of an arcade, I had found destiny.

I remember a brightly lit store with all manners of models that were impressively painted. The shelves were lined with boxes and paints. Tables were set up with terrain and demo models for bystanders to try. A very enthusiastic employee described everything to me in detail and allowed me to play with him using the (3rd edition) starter box - which included 10 marines and a landspeeder (painted as Ravenwing) against 20 Dark Eldar. Before then I only knew of model cars, which I had extensive experience with as my uncle and I did a million of along with rockets and pinewood derby. But little dudes with guns fighting over a battlefield before your eyes?!

When it was time to go my dad found me at the would-be arcade. I showed him how cool everything was and begged him to buy me a starter. My dad was definitely more than willing to get me a new toy (ha!), then saw the price tag for the starter to be a whopping $75 and politely turned the GW employee down. I know, $75 for a GW starter is nothing anymore.

I left defeated, but I was determined to get my hands on it one day. That was in the 4th grade.

Being that we lived in Germany at the time I didn't think I'd have the opportunity to obtain the game, but I always kept it in my head as something I just knew I had to have one day. For a 4th grader to have that type of focus, it should indicate how determined I was for it. Granted, these were the days before the internet's boom, online shopping didn't exist, you didn't have a website to do research, and if you did it was very crude. I thought about it almost every day until we moved back to the US in 7th grade. When we moved to New York I still sought after finding a "Games Workshop" at a mall like I had done before. It was a good while until we went to the Syracuse Mall and I found one!

This time I managed to get my parents to buy a White Dwarf magazine and order the old Citadel Catalog. This gave me all the info I needed to further pursue the hobby - a book full of pictures of cool toys and articles on painting, a list of GW retailers, a Sears-catalog-like list of available models, and the number to their hotline! Yes, kids, they used to have a 1-800 number to call, and this is how you used to settle rules disputes or ask general questions about the game. I remember my first phone call to them asking what the rules were on painting your guys - and the confused voice on the other end saying "however you want" and blowing a kid's mind.

I showed this to my friends at school and found out that one of them actually knew about the game and had a few models for it! When I say a few, I mean like 3 space marines. We had about 3 other guys who wanted to get into it as well, but in hindsight only Brennan and I absolutely wanted to go through with it. We actually changed plans to get into Epic 40k as it was cheaper, but we really didn't an idea of what we actually wanted, just some Space Marines. I didn't even realize/remember that there was a rulebook lol.

A little further down the road we met up with a friend of his who actually had some Space Wolf models and they were painted. We were going to play a game together with what he had. I expected it to be like my first experience with the GW employee, but it turned out to be how you'd expect 3 kids to play with toy soldiers. A lot of sound effects being made and overall a recreation of a scene from Andy playing in Toy Story.

We had fun, but I sought that true experience. Fast forward to moving back to Germany. I was still hungry for the game, but hormones and high school made it take a back seat for a while. I still made model cars and military craft, but I had gotten into a lot of other hobbies along the way, like skating, playing drums, and girls (haha!). I still kept it in the back of my mind though. Around that time I found the internet, it was still a crude form of it - it was slow, you dialed-up to get on, and chat rooms were the thing. On a whim I searched for Games Workshop's website and found it! I begged my parents to help me order it. Five weeks later - shipping was also not as good back then for some reason - I had gotten my first models! I put it all together with PVA glue (for some reason I thought that was the special glue needed for the models) and read the rules. I hadn't had anyone to play it with for about a year since none of my friends knew about it.

During my sophomore year I visited my sister in New York for the summer. Didn't bring my models with me, but I did bring my rule book to read on the plane along with some comics. When I visited her she would drive me to the Syracuse mall periodically (a 3 hour drive, bless her heart) so I could visit the GW store. It had been years, but they remembered me from before! This time I came with the most important thing: money! I had bought a space marine starter box, paints, the codex, and the old SM Commander with the Storm Bolter. I didn't play any, but watched as others did and spent a lot of time with them learning how to paint, and the importance of primer. Also, to use super glue.

I remember asking what inks did (back when they sold inks) and being told that it gives definition, and having no idea what that meant and nodding.

Well I came back with tons of stuff in a GW case and got to work on it back home. I painted up my force to be all Black with Silver trim. And gold eagles. And red in random places. It was quite hodgepodge, as some newbies are prone to do lol.

As it turns out, I met a new friend who also knew about Warhammer and had some Tyranids. We would get together periodically and play 500 point games together. We still talk to this day, and he still plays Warhammer.

The next year I visited New York again, this time I had a lot more stuff and got to play a few games. I was also learning how to drive, so my sister and I took several road trips to a few different stores.

After I graduated high school I moved to Texas to go to college in a small town. I had all my Warhammer stuff with me in the dorm, but being such a small town I didn't expect to find anywhere to play locally. One day I went with a friend to pick up Domino's Pizza and on the way in the store out of the corner of my eye I saw a Warhammer 40k poster. My heart stopped and I walked inside. There I saw people playing Warhammer and a few of my now lifelong friends playing different games. I couldn't contain my excitement and started going there almost daily.

This is where a lot of my most fond memories occurred. I just so happened to have discovered the place the week they were doing a huge game event for Warhammer, involving no less than 12 players in a huge free-for-all game. I also discovered there was a new edition to the game I didn't know about that just recently released. I met a lot of people who I still play with to this day.

A really good friend of mine taught me how to play the game correctly and how to think differently when it comes to list composition and gameplay. He also taught me about painting, and I remember how he blew my mind when he showed me how to layer paint with red up to orange (a lot of things got a treatment of red after that haha). We played almost religiously and went to dozens of tournaments around Texas. I had moved from successfully playing vanilla Space Marines to Slaanesh Chaos Marines - which I actually did very well with - to my Ravenwing, which won several tournaments consistently. I vastly improved my painting abilities and discovered that it is one of my favorite aspects to the hobby by far, even winning several painting competitions and usually coming out with Best Painted in most of the tournaments we attended. After several years we took the plunge for Warhammer Fantasy and quickly discovered that it was even better!

After a few years of that we moved on to Warmachine (Mark 1) for a change of pace. Our group got somewhat smaller but we still met up weekly for gaming. During these years I was opened up to a lot more than miniature gaming. We played lots of board games - Battlestar Galactica was probably one of my favorite moments. We played Star Wars Miniatures extensively (a great game that went the way of the dodo), I was shoved into Versus and discovered why they called CCGs "Cardboard Crack," and plenty more that I wouldn't be able to recall.

After I graduated college I got married and we planned on moving to El Paso to be closer to my family, along with the pursuit of a career of some sort. Warmachine MkII just came out and we were knee-deep in the game, but when I moved to El Paso I had a hard time finding opportunities to game. There was only one shop I found over there, and they were more into Magic the Gathering than miniatures. Although I played Magic, the scene wasn't very welcoming (I find a lot of Magic stores to be less forgiving, but that's painting with a broad brush) and I quickly lost any drive to make the effort to go there. So for about two years I didn't do any table top gaming, and hardly any painting at all. I did try to get some friends of mine into it, but nothing ever came out of it.

It wasn't anything to complain about, I rediscovered one of my other hobbies I did in high school - paintball. But that's a whole other story, all that needs to be said is this - that hobby can be even more expensive lol.

My family had moved away from El Paso after two years. Being that my wife missed living near her parents and most of mine had moved we decided to come back to the Houston area. When we moved back here one of the first things I did was search for a local shop to play at. I knew Houston was a hotbed for miniature gaming and that there should be several stores nearby. I discovered my local gaming store and got right back in to the swing of things. I even met some people who I've gamed with since then.

I not only discovered my local store, I found a lot others including visiting the new location of one of my old regular places, Fat Ogre. If you're ever in that area of Houston you should definitely visit.

I got a great job and have since been rediscovering my love of painting and playing. I've probably grown more in the last two years as a painter than I have my entire painting career! I'm also into more games now than I can count, mostly due to the renaissance of miniature gaming that's occurring thanks to YouTube, Kickstarter and other internet influences. I'm closer now than ever to having one of my dreams since I first saw miniatures in having terrain and a full table to be proud of.

So we come to today. It's a day of hobby reflection for me, where I pause and take stock as to my growth as a person in this wonderful distraction of ours. Miniature gaming has taken me to become a better person, helped me meet incredible lifelong friends, and pushed the boundaries of my creativity. It really is a large chunk of my identity and I've dedicated a good portion of my life toward it. It may not be something like a career or lifetime achievement, but it is something that is of value. Gaming may not save any lives other than the pretend soldiers on the table, but it's been a driving and guiding force consistently throughout my short existence.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Statue of Morr!

I worked on some terrain last night and thought I'd post some WIP pics. Earlier last week I airbrushed this piece using the zenithal technique. Overall I left it rather light grey and decided to try my first attempt at using the dry pigments I acquired about a month or two ago. I mostly used it on the ground stones to get a feel for how they behave. Overall they're a very easy product to use and produces a very smooth blend. I used black pigment between the cracks of the stone and some of the edges. These areas needed shading but were too small to use the airbrush for. Overall a very cool effect and easy to use, it's definitely another tool in my arsenal for future projects that I plan on using often. I've also got them in white, light blue and khaki. I plan on trying to use the white/blue for OSL glows and the khaki for dirt so if I use it again I'll post up progress!

Another thing of note: I tried a slight change in how I painted skulls for this piece. Normally I have a bleached bone look but decided to make it a little more stained for this one. It appears more brown than it really is since it's placed next to a light gray but I really like it. If I can remember it I think this is how I'll do bones in the future.

Anyway, it was a fun and quick piece. I'm thinking of just doing one piece of the terrain at a time (it comes with several items like this statue) in between other models to keep my interest without burning out and slowly getting one of my favorite terrain purchases done.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

GW Trees!

Now for something different... Trees!

I had gotten this terrain a while back, even started it a few months ago. I never finished it until last night. I got a bug to finish a few items here and there and though it wouldn't take long to finish this puppy out.

I like the piece, when I first saw it years ago I thought it looked silly with the leaves. It made me think of the Lion King for some reason. But without the leaves it looks awesome, it gives a haunted woods look. I painted it in browns and khakis so that it would fit in with a green table but not look corny. It also fits in with brown and gray tables as well.

I like how the trees can be taken out and used as individual pieces, unfortunately they'd be the only ones that look similar as I do not plan on purchasing more sets of this. But it can work regardless.

I have a lot of other GW terrain that I've purchased that I want to finish as well, including the Garden of Morr and Dreadstone Blight. They made some amazing kits for terrain for Fantasy, too bad they discontinued a lot of it rather quickly. I'd give a lot for the old Tower that is just huge or the house they used to make. I guess it wasn't selling fast enough for them. They made a new set for Age of Sigmar that looks incredible, with the floating stairs and the Orb looking thing. It's a tad rich for my blood being at around $50 each, but one day when I have the disposable income and when all my other terrain is painted I may pick one up.

I got a bug to place some terrain on a mat for some reason and got this:

That's not even everything I have! I want to eventually replace the hills with ruin looking terrain so that it looks a bit better. The Morr terrain is so versatile and works very well with games, providing cover and LOS blockers without much of a footprint and gives a good flavor. I got aquarium ruins for quick footprints as well and they were pretty cheap. I've also got Cathedrals from Pegasus that need roofs, but they should be fairly simple to get done, it's just a lot of area to paint. Thank goodness I have an airbrush and pigments!

Anyway, just a quick update on work I've done lately.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Yamaziko Complete!

Boy, did I struggle with this one!

First of all, please try to ignore the giant seam in the front, with an ill attempt of sculpting in the gap. It looked perfectly fine when I was filling in the gap, but then once I primed her it looked awful. Lemonade from lemons...

Secondly she has a lot of smooth textures, and it's very hard to shade it right to create contrast - at least it was for me. A lot of what the final product became was me putting down the brush and just giving up. It definitely was much harder than I thought it would be.

I don't know what came over me when I was just inspired to start painting her. I thought she'd be so much easier. It definitely was not what I was picturing in my head.

Overall it was a great learning experience, but I was so ready to be done with her that I didn't put my heart into it and ended up just painting her very fast to be done with her.

I'm not saying I think she's bad, I just was not into it after a while. She turned out great in my eyes, but I didn't have fun with her. Oh well, another one down!

In Malifaux I've been using her a lot more lately. I've teamed her up with Misaki as an Outcast crew to try out new things. I haven't had much success with the crew, but it's got a lot to do with using a different style, and my crews turn out small since I use a lot of elite models when I need to find more 4-6 point models to fill out the gaps. I need to figure out how to utilize minions in a better capacity rather than thinking my 10 point models will do all the work.

Yamaziko does a very good job at being mobile. She has a free AP for movement with a 3" melee range, so she's very good at placing markers and schemes like Deliver a Message. She's also good for Power Ritual, Squatter's Rights, etc. She also has a minimum damage of 3, so she can stack on consistent damage without a lot of resources.

Her Brace Yari ability is extremely powerful. Being that it's a 0 action there's no reason not to use it every turn. The condition doesn't go away until she moves again, so Strategies like Turf War really make her shine. If you weaken models before they get into charge range the ability can be really crippling in terms of enemy options. So far of all my new additions to the crew she's been the most successful. My only weakness when using her is her upgrades. Picking some of them turn her from budget Henchman to Elite quickly, and she doesn't necessarily need them.

Let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Malifaux Child

Here's my latest work, the Malifaux Child!

I actually painted this one quickly since he's such a small model. I used the same NMM technique as before on his knives. I airbrushed his pants (although I didn't realize that it would look lost against the base colors I usually do) and painted the rest by hand. I tried a different recipe for his skin, this time using GW Tallarn Flesh as the base coat rather than GW Dwarf Flesh, then did my usually gradation adding GW Elf Flesh and Vallejo White. I used GW Nuln Oil wash around the eye sockets and then painted his eyes using grey, bone and white. I tried to recreate the original colors from the portrait since it's so striking and haunting. I then used the same technique I've done before with his hair by mixing GW The Fang with Black, then gradually getting up to GW Fenrisian Gray. The other new technique I tried were on the shoes using the tutorial that came with the Vallejo leather and wood set. In the end it turned out okay but it's definitely a technique that is going to need practice.

Overall he was a rather easy model to paint and pretty fun to finish.

In the game he is handy on paper, but I find it hard to use him. He's only 2SS. He has a heal, but his main ability is being able to copy any 1AP CA action from his Master. I originally got him to substitute for the Student of Conflict for the Viktorias, but after several games I may be rethinking him. I thought that he'd be more efficient for the Viks, but really he's still only saving Ashes 1AP with a chance of failing the CA for either Sisters of Fury/Battle. Granted, he's only half the cost so that's great utility for essentially making Viks more efficient, but with the Student you get another model that can use Sisters in Spirit to teleport - something the Child cannot do. Also the Student is a Sister model, which synergizes much more with Vik of Ashes and can get an extra attack from her. The Student can also give Fast out, which may be situational but it can be very important. I do prefer the Child model over the Student. I think overall it was much easier to use the Student over the Child in game.

Since my last post I've played two games. My game using the Viks against Lilith was pretty awful. Deployment mistakes along with overly-cautious play resulted in a staggering loss. Being that I was going against a very mobile master who hits like a truck much like the Viks was intimidating, especially when in the hands of a much more experienced player. I won't go into much more detail other than I got my butt handed to me.

I also played a game today trying out Misaki as an Outcast Master. It was also the first time I tried Yamaziko, Desperate Mercenary and Hannah. Overall there were a lot of misunderstandings on my part when it came to their abilities. It resulted in a 3-6 loss for me against Colette but I learned a few things. For one I like Misaki as a hit and run Master. I chose Stalking Bisento, Oathkeeper and Untouchable for her upgrades. I liked the Bisento upgrade as her limited. Disguise is a good choice for the keep away game but I think I prefer the positive flips for attacks as to assist her with avoiding that 2 weak damage and dispose of minions efficiently. Oathkeeper really helps out for an alpha strike, or utilizing AP for schemes like distract, or even putting a hurt sandwich on a model or two. Untouchable may be the one I switch out depending on the situation, as the aura didn't do much for the crew as she was moving around so darn much and she has a decent WP already. Against Ressers or Neverborn it may be the go to upgrade, but for the most part Scramble would have been put to better use for her when WP isn't in question.

Yamaziko had Oathkeeper on her. I was hoping to use her ability to drop cards from opponent's hands along with Hanna copying it to aid with Misaki's assassination triggers, but he revealed both schemes making it useless. I'm thinking maybe Scramble is a better one for her as she's already very mobile with Nimble, adding that one speed will make her very very fast and unimpeded may help her with avoiding attacks. She also has a weak damage of 3 making her not too bad against models without soaking up too many cards. I didn't use her properly at all this game and threw her to the wolves.

Lastly Hanna. Man, she is awesome. Her ability to copy CA actions is amazing, especially since she can use it on enemies! Her pool of utility is always handy. Although it turned out I didn't have much from my crew she could copy the opponent put plenty out there for me to utilize. I didn't get to use her Void ability though, and I put Scramble on her. I may shave off points since she already has a Walk 5 and doesn't need the 1 speed to be effective.

Here's yet another project I'm working on. I'm doing a commission for a friend and will paint his Dreamer boxed set for him. I'd already start on it, but I'm stuck as to what colors I want to use for them. Plus painting Lord Chompy Bits is very intimidating! He also has a metric ton of gaps I need to fill and I absolutely hate doing gap filling. Oh well, it will get done eventually!

That's all for now!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Completed Johana!

Here's my latest work, the exclusive Johana!

(For some strange reason this last one is my favorite angle, even though it shows a bad gap)

I love this model, and I knocked it out pretty quickly considering my usual fare. I had some issues with the pants and repainted them several times as I couldn't quite get the shading down, and the result was me just sighing and saying I'm done. I also repainted the blue and am still not quite happy with it, but again, I'm done. My recent breakthrough with skin tones for softer features really shines through, as she has very strong features for her face like her cheeks and jaw, but you don't want to make her lose her femininity or age her with too much shading. I like how her eyes turned out as well. Overall it works as her light skin contrasts with the blue, which contrasts the khaki. I just wish I took more care with the shirt than I did. I've also gotten my leathers working a bit better now. After I finished it my new Vallejo set for leathers came in, so we'll see if that gives me any improvement. I also like that this model isn't overtly sexualized like some of their other models are (Viktoria of Blood comes to mind). I'm not a prude by any means, but sometimes it can take away from the model. I'd have much preferred a more dynamic pose for Viktoria of Blood than her stripper pole position. Being that she's an absolute beast in the game I wish they had a pose representing her Whirlwind ability. Instead I'm stuck with a model that doesn't exactly boast intimidation. Johana, however, reminds me of Rosie the Riveter. She's got a strong pose that's still attracting without being blatantly promiscuous. Also her face is the most unique of the Malifaux women I've seen. It's a very square face, which is hard to pull off for female models since they're usually sculpted with a thin frame. I think that this model is a step in the right direction for them and how they portray their women, as women in this setting are very strong characters and are half of the plot that shape its history.

Onto her in-game impressions...

So far since I've built her I've included her in all my Viktoria lists. She's a budget enforcer at 6 points. I mean, a Ronin is the same price. But with Johana you get a good melee threat range, condition removal, and the good ol' construct and tyrant threat takedown. Her heal is not used with my crew as she's the only M&SU model. Her only drawback is her slow speed of 4, which for 2 points you can make into a 5 to keep up - but that takes her from budget to pricey. But for 1 point you can get the Oathkeeper upgrade, which is perfect for her. Giving her fast for that one crucial activation can be devastating, as she has flurry, or a 9 inch threat range. That speed of 4 will shock someone as you can have a 13" threat the turn she uses it. Or if you're already in a scrum you can walk 4 and flurry. With a 3" melee she can lock down models in combat, complete deliver a message, or just threaten a huge area for turf war. With this game using 360 model facing it opens up a huge avenue of use for her, all at 6 points base! I find it hard not bringing her, and on occasion I've used her without upgrades for a budget melee model. Did I mention finish the job and hard to kill? Excellent! I wish I had more healing in my Outcasts right now, because you can have a whole lot of models with Hard to Kill, and healing exponentially increases their duration. One day I plan on utilizing a Friekorp Librarian, but for now it seems to work fine.

Another point to make is her trigger Knock Back. Interesting thing to keep in mind with things like black blood: First you damage, then you knock back, then black blood triggers and you're out of range. This saved her once as she got down to one wound from Hard to Kill (awesome) when he ran out of attacks. When the counter hit came he banked on black blood killing her, but the push happened first and so it wasn't in range. Another thing to keep in mind is that most models have a 1-2" melee range, pushing them 3" away may just keep them out of range of attacks while still engaging them, so they'll have to waste an AP just to get back in range. It's a neat bag of tricks for a 6 point model. Not to mention the amount of models that are Constructs in the game taking a world of hurt from her.

With this model I am almost at a completely painted crew! Five out of seven ain't bad, and the Malifaux child should be a breeze to paint. After that the Freikorpmann and it's one crew down! Maybe then I can start practicing on my Misaki Outcast crew!