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Monday, February 22, 2016

Malifaux Tournament 2/20/16

So all my hard work has paid off!

I attended my first Malifaux tournament on Saturday. Although I didn't do as well as I wanted I did get to bring home the prize I wanted most: Best Hobby!


Okay, so it was a really small tournament with only 8 people, and of those 8 people 4 of them are in my local meta, so it's not like a ground breaking achievement or anything. Still, I love painting and it's nice to get some validation every once in a while.

I didn't do awful in my games, but I didn't do great either. I won my first one against a Perdita crew 7-6. I lost my second game against a really good Colette crew 5-6 and lost my final game against Lilith 7-4. I think I got 4th overall, but they didn't announce all the results short of placeholders.

I didn't take a lot of pictures, and none of them are good either, as I was focused on playing. In this first game I got my first taste of the Latigos, and it was a tough lesson. Francisco paired with Perdita is just obnoxious, her defense and will power were sky high, making her nearly untouchable until Frank was dealt with. I think I only got rid of two models, Abuela and a Peacekeeper (the latter being removed in one activation was a shock to my opponent), but still managed to get the win by denying him table quarters with the Mechanical Rider. That thing is awesome, even with the Metal Gamin nerf, purely for the mobility and minion summoning for the strategy Interference. 

Lessons learned from this game: The desolation engine is not a good anchor. It gets shot to pieces and is only okay for melee for its points. Also, never expect to be able to bring it back, as any player worth their salt will not let 4 abominations get together, and it's really hard to get that many moving parts working together. 

Also, I need to shoot Francisco before he gets close. He's much too dangerous to leave alone. I need to learn my biggest threats and anticipate their movements by placing my waifs there.

I was much too conservative in this game, and I worried about the table quarter with Santiago and a pathfinder too much. I could have just left them alone and moved my Mechanical rider to assist with the flank with the majority of the Latigos. Luckily the rider helped negate some strategy points in time to make a difference, but if I had moved her to the other side I could have possibly stopped another two scheme points my opponent got as well as still stop the Interference points.

The overall lesson for this game was to not be intimidated by the presence of high damage dealers and do not overestimate my staying power, especially when placed with a Desolation Engine.




My second game was against Travis' Colette crew, which I hadn't faced before but knew it was trouble. It had a lot of crazy tech in there that I wasn't ready for even though I knew what it could do. Silent ones can hit pretty hard, are extremely resilient and can heal. I learned a lot of lessons in this one.

Lessons learned: Just because Neutralize the Leader is out doesn't mean I can't take Leveticus. A lot of people are moaning about this scheme, which is a replacement for Assassinate but punishes leaders who bury and stuff, and it has gotten a lot of discussion among our group. We've talked about just ignoring it and using Leve anyway since he's good, and if you don't go below half wounds you technically deny a point anyway. Although I've agreed with this sentiment, I decided against my judgement to use the Viks as I would already be struggling to score against Travis as he's the much better player, and I didn't want to start off already giving him 2-3 VP. Well, that plan went down the tubes on turn two as he essentially one-shot killed my leader anyway. 

It was an uphill fight for me from the start. The strategy was Squatter's Rights, a strategy I would never want to choose the Viks over Leve for. I chose to try Neutralize the Leader as well thinking her scheme marker effects were a bury and not a placement. So another lesson is never take NtL against Colette. Don't even think about it.

In the end I didn't give up even after losing my leader early on. Vik of Blood managed to wipe off three models in an activation and evened the playing field, while my Trapper - who I switched from Johana at the last minute - managed to do a good job of popping the occasional shot off on models to soften them up while interacting with the furthest Squat marker to ensure I have at least one. Using the push trigger he has built in he also was moving back and forth to place a scheme marker for Convict Labor, a scheme I took every game. I think I like this model again, as I'm realizing now that the last 5-6 times I used him and didn't like him was because I deployed him in a terrible spot.

I did however get to use an idea I had with Hannah and Ancient Tomes - after Vik of Blood did her Whirlwind and lived through an activation I had Hannah bury her to keep her safe, which was a really good way to keep her safe from retaliation. I think it made a big difference as she stayed alive and threatening for the rest of the game and took out most of the crew on her own.

I did a lot better than I thought I would and it came close, so overall I'm pretty proud of how it went despite being the inexperienced player.

Major lesson: The Hodgepodge Effigy does NOT work on non-leaders! I skipped this important part of the rule when I decided to change up the list and found out the hard way he's not able to give Loyalty to the Coin to Viktoria of Blood. He managed to still prove to be a great asset with his walk value of 6, as he was able to get a squat marker and pop scheme markers consistently before dying. I'll need to replace him in this list with something better, possibly go back to Desperate Mercenaries to match the points cost.



For the last game I didn't take any pictures, but I went against Dreads' infamous Lilith list. I still can't get a grip on how to beat them as it's in your face fast and hits like a truck. I used Leve and made a few mistakes along the way.

Lessons learned: I hate the new scheme Inspection. I took it and misunderstood what it meant. I thought it meant only one non-peon needed to be on the center line and edge when it needed one on each end. That is a terrible scheme to take. It's not impossible, simply highly improbable to pull off.

The strategy was headhunter and there were plenty of markers around. I learned again that the Desolation Engine isn't nearly as hardy as it seems to be, as Hard to Wound isn't that great on its own as a deterrent. Popping out two Abominations isn't nearly the speed bump as it seems to be and only created more headhunter markers.

Dreads also informed me that I could have had the game if I had attacked Lilith more with Leveticus, as she was down to 4 wounds left and he had a shot at her. I thought since he Desolation Engine was in melee with her it would be too risky, but those are risks I have to take as all it would need was one to two hits in to take her out. That would have severely swung the game in my favor. Instead I went for dumb targets like Primordial magic in order to make more Abominations and go for more secure targets, which in hindsight was dumb as well as he had hard cover. If I had killed Lilith I would have placed third.

I did learn how to deny Convict Labor really well and was getting those points consistently thanks to the Mech Rider.

I learned I need a better anchor than Hannah, as she's not quite as tanky as I want her to be. I'm currently going through some changes with his list.

Another thing I learned was that I burn through stones too fast. I need to figure out a way to ease up on that, as I really need to only use them when they are really necessary. The first attack with Leveticus is one need, while using them to get a crow and possibly summon an Abomination isn't always as necessary as I think it is. It doesn't disrupt very much and they don't do much on their own.

Overall the tournament was a great learning experience even though I only played one new person outside our meta. It was pretty fun and I hope to play in other tournaments more often. I won't be playing a lot of games any time soon as I'll be unable to attend the weekly meet for Malifaux for at least 5 weeks, but in that time I should be able to get some good painting sessions in!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Immense WIP Update!


Welcome readers!

So, as the title states, this is an immense update. I've recently been motivated to get a lot of my Malifaux painting done as I've decided to attend a local tournament this Saturday. This will be my first Malifaux tournament ever and I want to make an impression with my models as they will have a Hobby award - which I assume is for painting - and I want a chance to get it. I decided to list all the models I'd need to have completed before this Saturday's tournament and came up with this:

All the grey glory

I decided that I can't get every model I use in game complete, as the summons between Leveticus and the Mechanical Rider will be overwhelming - that's an addition 7 models from what I own.

So I decided to have everything painted from what starts out on the table for two crews, Leveticus and the Viks, as they are my favorite crews so far. I changed a couple things in my lists in the prior week that I've play tested and came up with something I like so far. What I had was a half painted Leveticus, Hodgepodge Effigy, Freikorpsmann, 3 Waifs, Desolation Engine and the Mechanical rider.

I prioritized the models based on shared models between the two crews. The Hodgepodge was in both lists so I wanted him done first. Then I put the Freikorpsmann second in the list as when he got done my entire Vik crew would be painted. The rest would be done after based on assembly line and what I felt like doing, although I definitely wanted to save the Mechanical Rider for last as that was the model I was most excited to paint and the most intimidated by.

Hodgepodge Effigy



So seeing as this little guy is in both crews I decided to paint him up first. I based him with black then used Grey and White to zenithal highlight. I then used Vallejo Game Air (VGA) Electric Blue to spray over this, with the natural highlighting from the grey/white creating different tones to a sharp contrast to black. When you keep the deepest shades completely black it creates a lot of good contrast. I then sprayed the knife and pistol barrel with grey and white to create the NMM effect. I edge highlighted with Electric Blue and added a small amount of white for the brightest highlights. I then took Vallejo Model Air (VMA) Blue, which is a pretty dark blue, and shaded some parts that  wouldn't necessarily be total black, like the dip in the top of the hat or some parts of the pants.


Here I've added some neutral grey to the skin. I eventually added some light grey and white for highlights, intentionally not shading the grey to keep a light tone like an alien.



Here he is complete, I skipped a lot of steps without taking a photo but pics weren't my main concern. The pistol and arm/leg bands were painted black > GW Shadow Grey > GW Space Wolf Grey. The NMM was glazed with turquoise. The eyes were painted red > orange. The leather was painted using the guide from the Wood/Leather Vallejo paint set, which is (all VMC) Woodgrain/Orange Brown > Orange Brown > Dark Sand > Woodgrain Wash > Black lines and wash in deepest recesses. It's a pretty cool recipe and I've been using it a lot, as Brown is one of my weakest colors. This recipe has also allowed me to learn how to make any traditional paint into a successful wash as well (hint: use Vallejo Thinner and a touch of water for best results, approximately 4:1 Thinner to Paint).

I didn't paint the grass on the base but I don't really care to finish that before the tourney, some corners will need to be cut!

Freikorpsmann


I started with a black base coat then did my traditional NMM spray of VGC Stone Grey > White with turquoise glazes in the recesses. This model didn't have too many places I wanted to spray, as I hate masking anything due to laziness and my track record with spraying folded cloth is hit or miss. I decided to do the rest of the model with traditional brush and see where it took me. I basecoated the clothing with GW Shadow Grey (don't remember the new name for it) and the leather with 3:1 VMC Woodgrain/Orange Brown (btw, OB is an awesome color!). This is essentially a breakdown of how I painted the Effigy's leather as well.


Here I highlighted the cloth with GW Shadow Grey mixed with GW Space Wolf Grey until it was pure SWG.


Here I highlighted the leather with VMC Orange Brown and VMC Dark Sand. Notice that it's super bright and can easily pass as a 90's era GW model now... talk about extreme highlights...


This step is where the magic happens. I made a wash with 4:1 Vallejo Thinner Medium and Woodgrain with a drop or two of water - don't add much as this disperses the pigments too much. This unifies the color and brings it back to that red brown color. These photos make it look lighter than it really is I think, but it's a darn cool color recipe that makes your browns rich and vibrant with a warm tone. When making a worn look you want to add some stippling and random patterns with your progression, which is evident with the Effigy's backpack and straps.


Just a few finishing touches like the base and half fingered gloves and he's done!

Viktoria Crew Complete!

Considering that my new year's resolution in 2014 was to have a completely painted crew this was long overdue, but better late than never! I'm pretty proud of these guys, and although list building in Malifaux is a bit more fluid I think I'll be sticking to this particular crew's build until I have more models painted. It's seemed to have worked well enough so far.

Hollow Waifs


So now I'm working on Leve's crew, and decided to assembly line the three waifs as they'll have similar paint progressions even if they have different colors for their dresses. I based all three with black (funny how I used to base only in black, then only in white, now I'm back to black!). I did a zenithal spray but instead of neutral grey I used VGA Sombre Grey and VGA Wolf Grey, just to give it a blue tint. I wanted their skin to look monochrome as they are empty husks of horcrux for Leve so I'm largely leaving their skin how it is. 

Once the basecoats are done I masked parts of the model with silly putty. I used Badger Minitaire Ghost Tints to spray a candy coat over the basecoat. This makes difficult colors like yellow a breeze, but the most useful reason to me is that it helps create really good contrast and shadows for these difficult colors. I've painted yellows easily enough before, but they don't quite capture the spotlight effect like this. Notice that these paints dry with a very glossy finish, which can be knocked down with washes but most effectively matte varnish. The finish helps with washes however as it creates less surface tension and allows the wash to move much more freely.


Here I heavily washed the yellow with GW Seraphim Sepia (which is vastly inferior to the previous GW Gryphonne Sepia... ugh I hate the new one) followed by a heavy wash of GW Cassandora Yellow, which is more like an orange really but light enough for yellows. With the zenithal/candy coat the washes do not compromise the black shades but tints and glazes the yellow, knocking back the cartoony brightness and overall grey look to the color. I also took GW Sunburst Yellow and did some highlights to the folds. With the frilly edges I painted VGC Heavy Brown highlighted with VMC Dark Sand.

I didn't do much after this besides finish the base and base the stocking/boots/hair black, I'm running out of time and figured this was well enough.

I really love how this turned out, man is it a creepy shade! Although it was minimal effort on my part and really I was just experimenting with this recipe it created a look that I've never seen with a yellow. I think it's very dynamic.


This waif I thought would be the easiest and it turned out to be the most disappointing. I used Minitaire Plasma Fluid on this one and it looks really bland, although I'm sure it will look better once I work on it more. One of the reasons why I hate masking is evident at the waist. The silly putty hung over the stomach more than I though and masked part of the dress I wanted blue. Luckily this is fixable and I've just painted it a different color, but I need to try using liquid mask for this type of stuff. 


Here I used the Minitaire Green tint. I have used this before and prefer to airbrush the usual way for this color as you have more control over the look. I plan on brushing on the highlights then knocking it back with some green wash. This is my least favorite sculpt of the three so I'm not too concerned.

None of these are complete, but I finished their bases and they look well enough for the tournament.

Desolation Engine


Over a black base coat I sprayed an olive green (can't remember the name from VMA) and added VMC for highlights. I should have went for one more highlight as it's really dark, at least too dark for what I prefer. The pictures make it slightly brighter than it looks with natural light I think. But a simple remedy can be done later with a few glazes of a highlight color to make that contrast pop. For now I'll settle for the ninja turtle look...

I also basecoated the metal bits with VMC Woodgrain (I'm loving that color...) and the bandages with GW Khemri brown and VMC Dark Sand highlights.


Here you can see more progression. I painted the gums and tongue with VMA Electric Blue, added in white for highlights, and heavily washed it with GW Leviathan Purple. I painted the teeth with Dark Sand and heavily washed the bandages with GW Devlan Mud - also known as Brown Crutch. I stippled on VMC Orange Brown (such a versatile color!) on the metal bits to start the rust effect.


Here's where he's at as of now and how he'll look this weekend. Although he isn't done he's tabletop ready and I can move on to the rest of the crew. I highlighted the bandages with Dark Sand again and white, then glazed over the white with Dark Sand to knock it back a bit. I finished the rust by stippling on GW Blazing Orange and finished the base. Eventually I'm going to highlight the skin and put some metal chips on the rust bits, but for now he's fine.

Originally I bought this model as a backup in case I ever got the legendary 4 Abominations to Voltron into this monstrosity. I never thought I'd be using stones to bring him in as he's super expensive. But I recently realized he'd be a good replacement for Rusty Alyce for the time being, ultimately until I get Ashes and Dust, a model I loathe using as everyone and their uncle uses him with Leveticus. Alyce hasn't been proving her worth lately, and with the upgrade to summon A-bombs pushing her into super expensive territory she has been even more disappointing. Sure, she has a good damage track for shooting, but there are plenty of other cheap shooters with comparable damage. Her main ability is preventing charges within 3", but I've only seen that work out once for me and I feel I need a sturdier anchor for the crew. Also, her summon needs a 10 or higher card to go off, cards that the rest of my crew are starved for. That same card can go to Leve who summons when he kills, which is much more efficient. Another thing, having another Henchman makes Leve and Hannah fight for the same resources.

The Engine has Hard to Wound and a plethora of abilities for one more SS than what I'm paying for Alyce and her upgrade. When he dies he pops out two Abominations, making him SS efficient. He heals and causes disruption at the end of his activation. He's pretty good on paper as opposed to Rusty, who I've always thought of replacing even before I used her. We'll see how it goes, hey it's always smart to make major changes without testing before a tournament, right? Just like getting a new hairstyle a week before your wedding...

Mechanical Rider

And now, my favorite piece of all..


So this one I've thought about for a long time. I didn't want to paint her horse silver, as it's been done to death and I also have Hannah, who is also a model predominately NMM silver. I wanted to do brass or gold, but have never done it through airbrush before, or of this scale either. The NMM Gold I've done so far using the set from Vallejo has a very good effect but is super yellow-gold, but I've always thought it's because they don't show you nearly as much contrast as it requires, giving you only Sepia Ink to provide contrast. I decided to tackle this by adding more black into the equation for shading and less white for the highlights, taking it down a step from the royal gold look I've done before.

So in this first pic I mostly did airbrushing. I basecoated black. I airbrushed VMC Heavy Brown, leaving plenty of black in the shading. Then I highlighted using VMC Heavy Goldbrown which adds in some yellow tones. I then added white to the mix, but this proved too yellow for my tastes so I knocked it back to the VMC Heavy Goldbrown, luckily it's only in a small area so it's not noticeable. I did no masking to achieve the gold highlights, it's all in the angle of how you spray really. That confidence only comes with experience and experimentation. I then masked the horse so I could airbrush the NMM Silver for the rider and did the usual Black > Stone Grey > White I always do.

Masking Hate Rant: I still didn't cover everything for the horse and some of it got on the gold... doh!

I also did the base. In case you were wondering how I did it, I usually take 4 or 5 shades of grey in both neutral and blue variety and put them on the palette. I then messily paint them on the sand and cork very fast and mix them on the base to create a random pattern. Make sure to get in the nooks and crannies as well as to vary between light and dark often. Honestly it's not a very good effect and by the end you wouldn't be able to tell, but it's a very subtle effect and I think it's better than only using one base color.

Now we're cooking with gas!

Here's my favorite and painstakingly crazy part! With a few simple lines you transform that airbrush mess of gold into a coherent and impressive look! At this point I've only added blacklining and edge highlights, but it makes a drastic difference. For the gold I used Sepia Ink to carefully paint the recesses in the armor. Then I used 1:1 Heavy Goldbrown/White to carefully edge highlight every raised edge. It took a few hours as this model has a lot of edges, not to mention difficult rounded ones that are close to other surfaces. Luckily I have a band aid technique that's no real secret to most. If I ever get paint where I don't want it I just paint over it with a tiny slash using the highlight color, or with black or brown for a deep slash and then highlight. If you use this sparingly and add more to other areas of the armor you can create battle scratches. This hides mistakes as well as adds more character to your little horsie. Those deep scratches were already molded on the model, so it only helps to add to the illusion. Be careful with these scratches and don't go overboard, I messed up in plenty of places but I don't think it's too noticeable. I also used it to help draw your eye away from problem areas, such as an overly thick line of highlight or two (I don't want to tell you where because you'll be looking for it!). This step takes a looooong time, but by far the coolest one.

I also painted the skin's basecoat using GW Tallarn Flesh, just to block in the color and help separate the plates. Please ignore the terrible sculpt job on her right elbow, I never claimed to be good at sculpting, which is why there are a lot of gaps visible on my models. I only use it in unavoidable situations or easy sculpts like fur or mutations.

Here's the other side


On the base I add a heavy wash of GW Nuln Oil, otherwise known as Black Crutch. If you want more variance then alternate areas with GW Agrax Earthshade/Devlan Mud, or even Blue Wash. I'm lazy, so I didn't do that here. I then drybrush GW Ushabti Bone over the whole thing then drybrush white at the edges of the cork. For a more subtle look you can use a neutral grey first then bone sporadically and white at the edges. It's going to look very grey at this point, which I usually break up with some greens using flock and grass tufts. I'm not the best at basing as it's my least favorite part of a model, and some people just go way overboard with it. 

I also was having a tough time deciding what the mane and tail was going to be colored. I was thinking of using my usual light blue/turquoise color Plasma Fluid as it was a color I was familiar with. But seeing as the original art used that color and a lot of other people used that same color I kind of wanted to do something different. I then looked at my multitudes of paints on the rack and saw VGC Foul Green, a color I bought over a year and a half ago simply because I thought it looked awesome. Having been looking for an excuse to use it for a long time now I've finally found it was perfect for this.

The color contrasts very well against the gold. I've only done a solid basecoat for now to see how it looks I plan on painting it like flames (as per its art) and think this can be very interesting. For now I'll leave it how it is for the tournament.


Finally, this is how she stands as of today. I painted the base ring with GW Gretchin Green to match the rest of my models and basecoated the chains and spear handle with 1:1 Black/Stone Grey. I also added edge highlights of white to the spear as I forgot to do that earlier. I based the cloak 1:1 Black/Stone Grey as well and the hair Black/Shadow Grey. Not pictured here, I've also painted the fur/hair on her knee pads and spear head brown and bone colored, but it's not a huge change from this picture overall.

So that's all the work I've done over the last 6 days, not too shabby at all as compared to my usual sluggish pace. Tournaments are a great motivator, even though there isn't a requirement in this case to be painted I held myself to that standard and am pretty proud with the results thus far. I've only got to add to Leveticus to make him tabletop ready and will probably work a bit more on the Waifs if time permits. The craziest part of this is that in the last week I've done more work than I have in the last year for Malifaux!

Let me know what you think, or if there are any recipes or tips you'd like to ask about. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Leveticus WIP Gold

Last night I managed to get the mechanical arm started:



I was hoping to achieve more of a brassy look rather than the shiny gold look, but I think with a few more glazes of VMC Woodstain I might be able to get what I'm looking for. I'm still debating as to if I want to keep this color on. My friend Reuben advised me to paint everything else and see how it looks then. I feel like it's out of place with the look I was going for, which was dark and foreboding. His hand sticks out like a bright sore thumb. But I'll stick to my friend's advice as it is pretty sound.

This gold recipe is slightly altered from the Vallejo NMM set:


  • Basecoat Vallejo Heavy Brown
  • Shade with mixes of Vallejo Woodgrain and Sepia Ink added to basecoat
  • Highlight by adding in Vallejo Heavy Goldbrown
  • Add White for edge highlights, I held back from using pure white

I can't seem to find a good NMM brass color recipe online, this is the look I was thinking about:

An image I found via Google, I'd give credit if I knew the artist!

I remember having the right plan in my head when I started painting this, starting with the Heavy Brown. I just couldn't commit to a risk using a new color recipe. I should really implement using test models!

I think if I started with a grey/brown like Heavy Brown, then used black to shade and added white to highlight it should work in principle. I'll test it out later and think about painting over what I have already done. But again, I'll do that last.

I'll keep you posted!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Leveticus Painting WIP

I finally got started on laying down some paint on Leve last night:



So I've been wracking my brain on how I wanted to paint him for a very long time. I decided on creating a spotlight effect over black, and I tried making the source light come from above and behind him toward his right shoulder. This proved very difficult for me to pull off, especially when trying to give the impression that the jacket is black. I think I lost that, but the overall contrast and effect seems to work. I'm pretty disappointed in the difference of quality between the model's right and left side. I'm going to work on smoothing out the transitions more toward the bottom of the coat by his left leg. I know a lot of things won't come together until certain details are picked out, like his straps and buckles on his chest lending to a muddied look right now, but I'm very impatient lol.

Anyway, I'm going to try to post as many pics of WIP as possibly, as sort of an impromptu tutorial.

Here's what I've done so far:

  • Prime black
  • 50/50 Vallejo Air Sombre Grey/Black spray at 45 degree angle
  • Sombre Grey - spray only in spotlight areas
  • 50/50 Sombre Grey/Vallejo Wolf Grey - start spraying only in the hot spots, I concentrated on the shoulders and back
  • Wolf Grey - spray very very very considerately on hard hot spots, like the shoulders. You want to be very conservative with this.
  • Take the previously mentioned paints and brush them on for highlights and shades.
  • Also for kicks I painted the floating rocks Vallejo Game Color Stone Grey. I plan on making these a lot darker than this, though.
That's all I have for now, I'll update when I make further progress on this!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Leveticus WIP and Thoughts on Projects

Leveticus

So over the weekend I got a few games of Warmachine in along with a few model builds. I brainstormed over a few ideas on how to base my Leveticus models and finally came up with this yesterday:


I've always wanted to try this out and was going to save it for Shenlong, but decided since I'm concentrating on my Outcasts I may never get to him and used it for Levi. My original thought was to have some undead/construct bursting out of the ground but figured with a small base there may not be room for it, and it seemed a bit elementary for such a cool model and master. So with the floating rubble you get a much more subtle, elegant and impressive display of power without detracting from the model. Placing these pieces was no picnic, however, and took me a long time and scrapping of a few arrangements to get it how I'd like it. Some of my first attempts didn't have a good "flow" to it and seemed like a bit much, along with a lot of pieces just jumping out of my fingers and tweezers. It's a bit difficult to see the effect when they're unpainted and kind of blend in.

Next I'll fill in a few gaps with green stuff and get to painting! I plan on keeping the model very dark and sinister, along with a new trick or two to display the magical aura surrounding the model that makes the stones float.

2015

So last year my resolution was to paint what I want, when I want, and it did not fail me. I felt no pressure to paint an army or crew and it was very liberating. In fact, due to this mentality, I feel my best work has come out.

My absolute favorite Malifaux piece thus far

I got to exercise a lot of new, fun techniques on this piece for MERCS


I came very close to having a fully painted Viktoria Crew. Considering that none of these models were painted at the start of the year and that I kept changing the composition of the crew with experience this isn't so bad at all.

I've also gotten a bit of Warmachine/Hordes done, as I painted some of my Highborn Covenant and a Troll beast or model here or there. I didn't update it much on the blog mostly because it didn't seem much of note to me, and some are works in progress too boring to update with.

One of my main accomplishments of the last year was my real jump into the non-metallic metal technique. I feel I've really improved on this and practiced it a lot more than mostly any other technique.

My Infinity Oniwaban painted in February, still a WIP!

Viktoria of Ashes, my absolute favorite face I've painted

These two were my first real dive into NMM without much guidance. With the Oniwaban I simple mimicked previous paint jobs done to identify where the contrasts were placed and experience it first hand. With the Viktoria model I just winged it to see if what I knew could cut it on my own, and it didn't look bad. But knowing what I know now I can see major improvement, especially with the blade and hilt. The knee pads and shoulder were a bit more successful, but I love the way she turned out. I also attempted to airbrush purple into the contrast of the blade, which I feel isn't the effect of what I wanted but is passable.

With my foray into NMM I also jumped further into learning glazes. I've done this before but not with the intent I have now. This is quite an interesting technique that I'm still learning currently, as it's not as subtle as I'd like it to be.

In the airbrush department I feel I'm finally getting my stride. I can control it much better and understand the properties that come along with using it. It is now a standard tool in my arsenal, and I think every model I've painted last year had at least one step of involvement with the airbrush. Also, primer through an airbrush is a godsend, and I recommend it for every painter out there. It has made painting so much easier, as now I no longer have to wager on the spray can's mood or drudge through hand painting primer.

Last year I felt my painting take leaps and bounds ahead.

In gaming I'd have to say the game I concentrated most on was Malifaux. I was able to get at least one weekly game consistently during the second half of the year, and I definitely increased my skill dramatically. I went from absolute noob to being able to hold my own with the group, although there are definitely some players I've yet to really pose a challenge to. There are some tough matchups, notably one player's Lylith list that is nationally renowned and another player's Ressers.

My Warmachine/Hordes experience felt stagnant, although my Trolls got much better and I feel my love of my Mercs diminished. My Retribution are absolutely horrid, although they do well enough on the table top I just don't feel like I have fun with them as much. I did win a steam roller with them at the beginning of the year however. The tournament scenarios for 2015 were much more forgiving to my armies, and I definitely felt like the Arcane Reservoir objective became a crutch for me. I hope they keep it this year!

The new game I dove into in 2015 was MERCS. I absolutely love the system and have only gotten a handful of games in, but I definitely treated it as one of my main games. I've probably gotten enough stuff for the game to field 3 tables for it and have a total of 4 factions for the game. I painted two models for it, but it's okay since that's 40% of a squad right there, and I really want to make them a shining example of my skills.

2016

So what are my plans for this year?

Well for starters my next game that I'm getting into is this:


It's an awesome Gladiatorial combat game, set in a small arena with cohorts of small model counts - they can be played as 1v1 up to 8v8 or more. It scales very well no matter the model count, and more notably even with more players. This is a huge feat considering that not a lot of games play well with 3 players and sometimes more, as rules are generally designed with 2 players in mind. The fluidity of the rules make a 3 player game no different than 2 players which is awesome since my group of friends from Huntsville usually consist of 3 of us, meaning one player sits out while the other two play. It's a simple game mechanically, with a very unique damage system and cool resource management with fatigue and favor (a cool mechanic representing the crowd!). Malifaux taught me that resource management in a game can create a cool dynamic that alters your choices throughout the game in subtle ways, and this seems no different. For a system with a 20 page rulebook (that's free online, along with all the stats!) there are so many layers, and to me that represents as close to perfect as a rules set can ever be. Warhammer has been known for their rulebooks that consist of hundreds of pages and several different books all needed to play, but games like this show that the same depth and choice can be achieve without caving in on itself with bloated rules. It also seems to achieve a nice balance between models, as there are no points or composition rules. So far I haven't seen any broken combinations, as this game tends to have streamlined abilities and damages, and victories are usually determined by tactical placement over individual abilities or statistics. Everyone has access to the core abilities that cause most damage or advantage.

Plus I get to say various quotes from Gladiator and Spartacus. There will be many "Are you not entertained?!" screams.

Also for this game I have the lofty idea of building my own arena. We'll see how that goes... probably the same way all my ideas for terrain go... nowhere!

In terms of personal painting goals for the year I'd like to get closer to having two full crews painted for Malifaux. Most of my Viktoria crew is painted short of a model or two, it's just my Leveticus crew that has no painted models short of Hannah who is double dipping in both. I am definitely motivated to paint Leve himself, so at least he'll be done relatively soon! I don't see many models in his crew being a challenge other than The Mechanical Rider, but mostly because she's a large model. She's very similar to Hannah's model so it's ground I've tread before.

I'd also like to have my House 9 force painted for MERCS, and when I do get into Arena Rex I'd like at least 6 to 9 models painted for 3v3 gaming.

However, I am once again adhering to my previous resolution and only painting what I am motivated to paint with no pressure as to completion of any force or timetable, save those timetables I'm motivated to finish! I will however put my best efforts toward finishing the Dreamer crew for a friend as it's been a long time since I took that commission on. 

In terms of increasing skill in gameplay my main focus will probably be Malifaux, as it's the game I'm most enthusiastic for right now. All my other games are mostly casual as there aren't too many local supporters for them, but I can also work on improving my WM/H game. One day I may purchase the items needed for my other Retribution list, or perhaps start working on my Legion army that I haven't even assembled yet! It really is in the back of my priorities, though, as I'm not nearly as motivated to play that game as I am for others. The models are definitely my least favorite when compared to everything else in my collection. I may even start painting some Wu Ming from Infinity as I really want to try a cool scheme with them.

I also have an awesome idea on a huge conversion project for my third Malifaux crew, so I may post up pics for that if I ever start to work on it.

Anyway, that is my year in review and project goals. Let me know what you think!