Sunday, June 25, 2017

Unboxing: Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star (Kickstarter)

I am a big space scoundrel Han Solo type of fan, as my friends can attest to. I RPGed back in the 80s a lot of merchant trader campaigns in Traveller, Star Trek and Star Wars.

I naturally Kickstarted the game Xia: Legends of a Drift System a couple of years ago and thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the longer than normal Kickstarter delays getting it. The painted ships, modular terrain and replayability made it worth it in the end. 

I thus kickstarted its expansion, Xia: Embers of a Forsaken Star and forgot I did so until I got a recent email that it was on it's way.

Well I got it on Friday and decided to do a brief unboxing.

The expansion is smaller than the original game, but that is what you'd expect.

Small little booklets with solo rules as well, I see.

Merchant ship templates... most excellent.  Aaah, I really love the trader captain and merchant prince theme in space opera.. I really do. It symbolizes the ultimate freedom.

More space tiles.. good stuff.

Cards.. I can't remember what sellsword is from the original game, though that rings a bell in terms of sci fi literature..or maybe I'm confusing it with Sword Worlds..

The great part about the original game, was the hefty metallic money that all my friends were playing with, including myself, as we were playing the game.

I see we are getting some more coin to add to our fidgeting..

Blue gems/crystals..

And the piece de resistance, the painted minis.. It's common now thanks to X-Wing, but it was a novelty only a few short years ago..

Nice and acceptable paint job, like last time.

Looking forward to tearing up the spacelanes with these.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Resolved to take better care of my paint brushes

An art store near where I worked recently closed down after 100 years and moved away. Entire blocks here in Toronto are being demolished to make way for condos, and leases are not being renewed.

Anyways, this has made me getting quality brushes a touch more inconvenient as now I have to go midtown and walk a bit to another art store.

I have resolved finally, after 10 years of off-and-on painting to take better care of my paint brushes. For the most part, I've been hard on my brushes, dipping them in water afterward, using quality brushes to transfer paint from the pot to the palette, etc. The end result is that after a use or two, all my brushes get unceremoniously thrown out after after they started splaying or losing their point. Ain't got no time for frazzled brushes.

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the guys were mentioning their loving care of brushes that resulted in brushes lasting for years.


I am therefore going to be more disciplined with my paint brushes and have been trying out their techniques.

I recently painted up some Dark Eldar with just one brush (as discussed here)..

Using their techniques, I am pleased to see my brush is still serviceable and still has a point.

Therefore, I will maintain in the future the following techniques.

1) Use hand soap to wash away paint after use right away, especially where the ferrule and the tuft meet.

When paint dries on the ferrule, it pushes away the individual fibres on the tuft, which causes the fibres on the tuft to splay out, ruining the brush. Cleaning it right away prevents that.

2) Use hand soap to cover the tuft into a point and let the soap harden in between uses. This way, the paintbrush retains "muscle memory" to keep having a point. When you use it next time, just dip it in water and the soap dissolves.

3) Use cheap dollar store transfer brushes to place paint from the pot to the palette. Fine brushes should not be used to goop paint like that.

Three simple techniques that I used and my brush is still very much in great shape. I am resolved to keep doing this.

I also took the liberty of organizing my paint pots into some semblance of order recently just to free up my paint space.

I also had the bad habit of doing a paint job and months or years later, when I wanted a similar paint combination, would forget what paints I used previously. Well, now I am forcing myself to keep a journal.

Anyways, simple techniques that I never employed before but resolved to do them from now on.

Unboxing: Nemo's War 2nd edition (Kickstarter)

I got this week a kickstarter I funded on January 2016, a year and a half-ago, Nemo's War 2nd edition, by Victory Point Games.

I have the first edition and played a round, as discussed here. The first edition is a charming solitaire game where you play Captain Nemo hunting 19th Century war ships as well as finding treasure, much as it is in the novel by Jules Verne. The original game comes in a zip lock bag, with a paper map and counters.

The new Kickstarter version on the other hand, has a nice sturdy and large mounted map that is folded.  It is also redesigned by the looks of it from the 1st edition.

Unboxing the rest, I see a nice rule booklet on glossy paper..

An epilog booklet that reports on how well or badly you did..

 Nice thick counters...

 Lots of cards..

And a mini for your submarine, which is a nice touch as the original zip lock version just had a counter.

I look forward to playing the game.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Birthday present: 42 painted 40K Orks and Snotlings

Today is my birthday.

My friend Jeff gave me his collection of 40K Orks as a present, which surprised me. Touched and surprised to be honest.

He is not a painter, and often buys painted armies off of ebay or locally. In the past, there was a local kid who painted stuff for him as well..

Still, painted stuff does not come cheaply and would like to take this opportunity to thank him..

When I unwrapped the Orcs, I was pleased that they were painted pretty good. I counted 42 of them, including the contraption gyroscopes and rocket packs that 40K Orks fly in.

42 minis painted is a lot of work and if you have to pay, it will be a pretty penny. 

I promise to take good care of them, and perhaps use them in Shadow War, along with my Dark Eldar and Imperial Guard.

Thanks Again, Jeff!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

It's been enjoyable painting the wickedly evil Dark Eldar Wyches for Shadow War Armageddon

I had one session of the new Necromunda, Shadow War: Armageddon (as discussed here) and it did not go well for me. Undaunted, I promised my friend Jeff I'd try it again, but this time, with another race. After 10 years of being into the miniature scene, I have ignored 40K as the universe doesn't particularly appeal to me. However, I do like the premise of Necromunda, and by extension, Shadow War, so I'll give 40K a shot in this limited skirmish form. 

The 40K races don't particularly appeal to me, except the Dark Elves.. I mean the Dark Eldar (the Eldar being space Elves, of course).  Twisted and evil, the Dark Eldar with their punk rock look and wickedly cruel blades show some promise. I am also amused at the S&M look they got going for themselves...

According the Wikipedia, the Dark Eldar are "a race that is sadistic in the extreme, reveling in piracy, enslavement and torture."

Sadistic torture, huh? All righty, then..

I bought a squad of Wyches, whatever that type is (a cool way of saying "witches" ?), and assembled them.

I stuck to the box art, keeping with the bondage black and mostly red hair. Some of them I painted up in other died hair colours to add a punk rock motif.

I painted their skin in this pallid greyish-white colour to both contrast with the black, and to give them a twisted unhealthy look as well. These are not nice guys and gals you want to meet in a back alley, what with the whole torture thing...

Slowly but surely, as I was highlighting the black clothes, which I've always found difficult to do personally, the Dark Eldar were coming along.

The box art has them in this green armour in some parts, but I just found that boring.. At first, I was toying with the idea of doing something unconventional, like cheetah-clothing pattern you sometimes see (mostly middle-aged) women wear, or zebra stripes, just for the lolz..

but then settled on red camouflage (red, brown, black and white) just to be different and to evoke the image of blood and rage. Anything but boring green.

However, I found 4 colours too "busy" so I kept it at just red and black stripes.. Red and black seems to work on them and highlights somehow that these Dark Eldar are kind of crazy and angry..As my friends can attest to, I really enjoyed GMing back in the day some really insane NPC villains....

As I was painting them, I had a sudden thought about the punk New Wave look that Daryl Hannah's character in Blade Runner had.. Maybe it was their pale skin and punk rock haircuts that reminded me of Blade Runner..

Also, the image of the Mordheim Doomweaver computer game character I've encountered recently came to mind as well..

So I decided to give a couple of them some face tattoos to accentuate the insane twisted killers that they are..  I used red, orange and black as there was enough blue on them already..

I exaggerated the size of the face tattoos just so you can see it at the 2-3 foot level when playing..

I painted the black circles on this one Dark Eldar and initially left it at that..

but then on the very next day, I see this goth teenage girl on the subway with exactly those black circles under her eyes, exactly as I painted them. However, the real life goth girl had black lipstick on as well..

Aha, excellent idea, I thought.. When I went home, I added black lipstick as well.

I like the contrast of the girly pink hair with the Goth face tattoo.. Pretty hair but ugly tribal tattoo, dressed like an S&M dom with a cruel blade.. ready to gut Jeff's miniatures like a fish the next time we play..

All in all, it's been enjoyable painting up the wickedly evil Dark Eldar.. They say actors enjoy playing the villains. I seem to enjoy painting them too.

I can use these Dark Eldar not just for 40K Shadow War, but for any other space game to fill in for scumbags, pirates, and general spaceport dregs. They can even be used for post-apoc as they evoke the old Mad Max look as well as for cyberpunk.