Friday, June 30, 2017

Getting started for Kings of War with an undead Army first Part 1

I never had the opportunity to get into Warhammer Fantasy Battles when I got started in minis in 2007 as I was just getting into the hobby, and was exploring different brands and games.

I found the fantasy side interesting, but every time I went to a GW store, it was always 40K this and 40K that. The only games played there were 40K from what I could tell. So, that was a turn-off.

I like the pageantry of the ranks of troops, flags unfurled and drums beating, that rank and file wargames emulate.  I thus wanted to try it out but deferred playing as I said, though I had the Warhammer Fantasy RPG from the 80s, which I found intriguing. The lore of Warhammer Old World was great, and it was very disappointing when GW blew up the old world to make way for Age of Sigmar, which is trying to be fantasy 40K.

However, over the last two years, lots of podcasts kept mentioning how great Kings of War is, from Mantic Games. Lots of Mantic staffers were ex-GW employees, including the famous Alessio Cavatore, who did Mordheim.

Cavatore did Kings of War.

So, I bought a starter set which, for what you're getting, is pretty cheap compared to GW. The sculpts are not as good, but when you need to paint 100s of minis, that's okay as you can't see or appreciate the wedding ring painted on trooper #92230 in the 3rd rank of regiment X on the tabletop.

The starter set comes in this no frills box with just sprues. Not even instructions, but that's fine as the sculpts are pretty easy to assemble.

Now, I've always liked the undead skeletons and necromancers, ever since I was a kid watching the old Ray Harryhausen movies...

Unlike Warhammer fantasy, the great thing about Kings of War is that you can build dioramas for each of your block of units as individual troopers are not removed during play. As long as your footprint remains game legal for the type of unit, you can build a nice scene, which many have done. 

So, since I am building two regiments of Skeleton infantry, the base size footprint will be 100x80mm.. no more, no less in size.

With Kings of War, you can use any mini from any company, and can have as little as 50% + 1 of the units required to build a block of troops. So, you can really stretch out your gaming dollar to build extra regiments and troops.

So, I can theoretically build a regiment on a 100x80mm base with as little as 11 troops and use the other 9 to build another regiment. Of course, it's better to make it 15 or so, and then add scenery to make it look good.

So, I assembled the undead skeletons first, which should give me about 2 regiments.

I gave them a worn rusty look to go with the old skeleton theme. 

I now got to the part where I needed to do some freehand painting on the shields. I have not done freehand in the past as I can't draw very well unfortunately.

Still, I gave it the old college try.

I like the idea from Warhammer where Vampire Counts lead undead skeletons, so I painted some lips and fangs as that was easy for me to do, relatively speaking.

Though not required, I found the standard bearer kind of lacking without a banner.

As I said, some of the appeal of blocks of troops games for me is the pageantry of the different regiments.

I decided to add some very thin plasticard, and looked around for a vampire theme to paint on it. Something easy.

I googled vampire clip art and decided to copy a simple one.. Slowly but surely I did a simple drawing and paintjob.

However, when I put it on the mini, I was horrified how fake and bad it looked. This thin plasticard is not working!

Angrily, I tore it off and greenstuffed a worn out banner..

I then painted it again, but I realize now that the red background paint just makes it look less vampire-ish and more demon stuff, even when dirtied up.. Oh well, too late. I kept it and it's good enough.

I put the troops on the mantic bases but have not decided what kind of diorama I'll do for the one that has some room in. I did not glue them on to the 100x80mm board just yet.

I've got a long way to go, just for the undead side, let alone the enemy troops, but it's good enough for me for now. Even when painting just at tabletop standard, painting 20, 30, 40 minis at a time is exhausting.

Kings of War it is!

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!