Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 My Hobby Year In Review

It's funny how certain things happen without you truly realising them at the time and they only become visible when you look back.  Today when I decided to look back on 2016 it occurred to me that I have participated in more hobby activity this year than I have in any year since I left Games Workshop in 2009.  I've done a bunch of painting, a little bit (not enough) of writing and played a ton of different games this year.  For a lot of people in a lot of ways 2016 was really challenging but when I look back on my 2016 hobby time it makes me pretty happy and isn't that the whole point?

Everything old was new again.
2016 was a year where I got reacquainted with a number of games from both the recent and distant past.  Wizards Of The Coast released Curse Of Strahd which is hands down the bast take on Ravenloft in nearly two decades.  My group is currently exploring the Barovian country-side and preparing for their encounter with Strahd.  Prodos Games released a new version of Warzone along with some fantastic new models, I hadn't played Warzone in about 10 years and when I tried this version of the game it was like someone took something I had always enjoyed and made it better without trying to change it too much.  Pulp City got updated and got some new models.  That doesn't sound like something from the way back machine but I think the last time I would have considered myself actively involved in Pulp City would have been 7-8 years ago and my first game back reminded me what great fun it was.

Made some new friends along the way.
I was also introduced to some great new games in 2016.  I picked up Frostgrave in the fall of the previous year but 2016 is when it truly became my primary fantasy miniature game.  I've got to say for any fantasy RPG players out there (especially D20 based) who have ever wanted to try a miniature game I HIGHLY recommend Frostgrave, it will feel extremely familiar and if you play your RPGs with miniatures there's a good chance you already own some or all of the miniatures you will need to play.   The big "new friend" for me was This Is Not A Test by Worlds End Publishing.  This Is Not A Test is a post apocalyptic campaign skirmish game heavily inspired by Fallout that in my opinion has all the best elements of a miniature game.  The entry point is low and easy, the rules have enough  depth to make every group distinct and different without being too crunchy, the campaign system is highly engaging and balanced and the in-game rewards are interesting and fun.  I honestly don't think I have a single gamer friend that wouldn't enjoy This Is Not A Test, I unreservedly endorse it and would be stoked to play it with anyone and everyone in 2017!  (Cat-muties are coming for you Tom Carter!)
I also dipped my toe into Knight Models 3 takes on super  hero games (Batman, Marvel and DC).  I'm really enjoying the figures and I'm planning on playing through the Suicide Squad box campaign with my friend Kevin in 2017.

Got (almost) enough figures done.
My local FLGS Lords Of War in Oakville has run a hobby challenge on their Facebook page and for 2016 I made my goal to average painting a model per day.  I started strong, and I finished strong but somewhere in the middle I lagged and came up a bit short.  In the end I got 324 models done out of a goal of 365.  I feel good about that as 300+ models in a year for a gamer who isn't playing a single large scale miniature game seems respectable.  I think my big goal on that front for 2017 will be to get roughly the same output in terms of miniatures but to increase my output of scenery this coming year.  TTCombat here I come!

Looking ahead to 2017.
In addition to a lot more This Is Not A Test, Pulp City and Warzone I have a few other games I'd like to get into the mix for 2017.
Broken Contract.  I painted my first (of two) forces for Broken Contract in 2016 but the models didn't make it to the tabletop.  I really dig the overall look and feel of the models as well as some of the design choices (check my blog entries tagged "Broken Contract") and I'm really enthusiastic about giving the game a try.  
Konflikt 47.  I got all my basic infantry done for Konflikt 47 this past year and laid my hands on the extra bits and pieces I need (rules, order dice, etc) but it has been a struggle to get some super-science robots and/or tanks.  Hopefully in 2017 I can either find some locally.
Wolsung.  Wolsung is Micro Arts Studios steam-punk skirmish game and as I've become a bit bored with Malifaux over the past year it feels like a new way to game that genre with a fresh take on the genre.  Miniatures got painted but at some point I probably need to get some Victorian-era industrial scenery done to play with.

Well there you have it.  It's probably the classic gamer take on things, I did a lot of gaming but still wish I had done more.  If 2017 is anything like 2016 the best part of it will end up being some game I don't even know exists right now that grabs my interest and leads me down the next rabbit hole.

Thanks to everyone who followed my rambling hobby journey this year and I'll hope you keep reading in 2017.

Happy New Year everyone!


Thursday, 29 December 2016

Team Breaker! Reinforcements have arrived!

Two more supremes done for Team Breaker!  A-Beast and Battlesuit 7.

My first batch of characters really appealed to me as classic archetypes from superhero comics but something about A-Beast and Battlesuit 7 put me in the mind of old superhero RPGs like Villains & Vigilantes and Champions.

I've now got 5 of the 8 main supremes done for Team Breaker as well as the 3 minions.  I've still got a few more I'd like to get done but for now I think I need to get back to Warzone and get my Imperial Doomtroopers done.


Team Breaker! Assemble!

I finally circled back to the cold war era Pulp City models I started in the fall.

Spybreaker, Sabotage and Trojan along with the three robo-dogs I had painted represent the start of Team Breaker, one of the two newest teams of Supremes that Pulp Monsters had kickstarted earlier this year.

I've still got 3 more Supremes to finish before I'm ready for my game tomorrow and it looks like about 4 more hours to get them done.

Wish me luck!


Grey Ghosts

Today is the first day of my post-Christmas holidays!  My wife and daughter  have plans for today so my plan is an all day paint-a-thon!

I've got TONS of gaming scheduled over the next 2 days (D&D Ravenloft, Warzone, Pulp City & This Is Not A Test) so my plan is to use all my free time today to paint!

The first of my two projects that were half done before the day started are my Grey Ghosts for Warzone.  I haven't checked out the updated rules yet but in the previous edition Grey Ghosts had 2 special rules that made them really good on the table top.  The first was a drastically increased chance of scoring critical hits and the second (which I thought was way cooler) was that any unit taking even a single wound from Grey Ghost shooting had  to take a morale test.

The figures themselves are pretty basic being intended to be low-key infiltrators so I went with some pretty basic flat colours and washed out the gun metal even more than I normally would.  My next 2 units for Warzone will inject a bit more colour into my Imperial Army.

If all goes according to plan today (does it ever?) this will be my first of 4 projects done today.


Sunday, 18 December 2016

Imperial Barracudas

My hobby ping-pong between Pulp City and Warzone continues.

Back to Warzone today for another unit of flying Imperial soldiers.  The Imperial Barracudas are the new version of the old Rams Air Cavalry.  When miniatures get updated or get re-done people's opinions can vary on whether the new version is an improvement or not, in this case there's not much of an issue.  The old Rams Air Cav were one of the most maligned sculpts in Heartbreaker's range.  The pilot was in a squatting pose with a look on his face that really sold the total image of  someone struggling on the toilet.  If that wasn't enough the rocket/jet pack was positioned like something that would crash Wil E Coyote into the side of a mountain.

As you can see the new version is dynamically posed and the equipment manages to hit a balance between fantastic and functional looking.

I've got one more unit to get done (Grey Ghosts) for my Warzone game at the end of the month and other than that my focus should (emphasis on 'should') be Pulp City for the next week or so.


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Cybernetic dogs for America!

A while back I mentioned that without trying to I had collected and painted a lot of female steampunk mechanics without really trying to, apparently the other thing that I have accumulated a lot of over the years is cyber-dogs.  Cyber-dogs are cool but I never set out to have so many of them.

Having said that I'm getting ready to play Pulp City for the first time pretty much since it came out originally and the big push for that has been to play with the recently Kickstarted Cold War forces.  I'll be playing the American forces which guessed it...more cyber-dogs.

One of the things I have to say I really appreciate about these particular models is that they're basically minor minions with identical stats but the folks at Pulp Monsters went to the effort to actually do three completely different sculpts rather than just one or one with minor tweaks to sell the idea that its three different models.

There's more coming for Pulp City over the next couple of weeks, and the colour scheme will be primarily red, white & blue.


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

The "boys" are back in town! And they'll see you in post-apocalyptic-hell 2016!

It looks like 2016 is going out the way it came in, with some simple farm animals (and a robot) defending their socialist paradise from representatives of an oppressive unwanted government.

Allegory aside when 2016 jumped off the starting line my two big hobby focuses were Frostgrave and This Is Not A Test.  I played a ton of games of Frostgrave and even made my way most of the way through two of the campaign supplements but it was This Is Not A Test that really captured my imagination and led me to some of my most enjoyable and rewarding hobby projects to date.

First up I want to thank Ash Barker for introducing me to this amazing game.  I might not have happened upon it without your introduction.  Thanks buddy, but this doesn't mean I'm not going to  destroy you in 17 days (more on that in a bit!).

Secondly thanks to Joe McGuire for writing one of those rare games that hits the perfect balance between depth and simplicity and inspiring the most positive and open on line hobby community I've been involved with in years.

One of my last games of 2016 and possibly the beginning of the end (or the end of the beginning?) for Swineland is looming on the horizon.  The noble forces of the Colonel's Revenge will finally exterminate the scourge of the USDA from the Niagara Region!   A crazy collection of mutant animals has come together in a land where they are all equal (though some are 'more equal' than others) to see off the last remnants of the hairless apes that have oppressed them for so long.

I wanted to show the force that will raise the people's banner high at the end of the year.  So Mister-Farmer-Smith say your good byes, make peace with whatever two-legged master you serve and prepare for bacon scented justice! it too early to declare that 2017 will be the rise of the Cat-people army?  I'm ready for you Tom Carter!


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Storm Trenchers

Back to Warzone!

I'm getting ready to play some larger games of Warzone at the end of the month and to that end I have 3 new units to paint between now and the 30th of December.  First up I finished my Imperial Storm Trenchers today.

The Storm Trenchers are basically regular Trenchers geared up for close in fighting with shotguns and explosives who have jet packs to help them close the distance between themselves and their opponents quickly.  I think the models are really cool and original and I have to confess that if I'd been designing miniatures with the World War One British Expeditionary Force as their inspiration I don't think jet packs would have crossed my mind.

So that's jet packs....I think full-on flight packs will be next!


Friday, 9 December 2016

Black Flash

I've got a rare weekday off today so I'm trying to work my way through 2 larger projects but I had this guy sitting off to the side and decided to get him done during breaks in between waiting for things to dry, etc.

In DC Comics the embodiment of death for characters who have access to the Speed Force is Black Flash.  The basic idea being that Death needs an avatar who can 'catch up' to speedsters when their time comes.

Having the figure is a bonus when playing the Batman Miniature Game as a speedster can inadvertently trigger the arrival of the Black Flash which effectively gives their opponent and extra model in their force.

Hopefully I'll have a Warzone update later tonight and some Mirkwood at some point this weekend.


Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The return of the black plague!

After being away for the weekend when I got back I wanted to wrap up something fairly quick and easy and I've had these 7 figures mostly done for over a month.

I still haven't played Zombicide Black Plague but my intention is that I bought the box  for the figures which I am basically using for other games.  To maintain continuity with my Frostgrave and D&D models I cut these figures off their flat bases and re-based them on cobblestones.  Now that I've done that I'll probably go back and re-base the first 21 zombies I did from this set to match.

I've got a Hobbit/Lord Of The Rings itch I need to scratch so it might be a few more days before I circle back to the superheroes.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

How many Floyd Lawtons are enough?

Back to my Suicide Squad box set!  Today's addition Floyd "Deadshot" Lawton.

This is actually the third Deadshot model I've painted so far.  To put that in context I still haven't painted a single Batman or Joker for the Batman Miniature Game...but 3 Deadshots.  Other than Amanda Waller herself there is probably no character more identified with the Suicide Squad than Deadshot.  Its probably fair to say that he is to the Suicide Squad what Captain America is to the Avengers, he hasn't been part of every line-up but somehow it doesn't feel like the genuine article unless he's there.

Deadshot has the checkered past typically associated with members of the Suicide Squad but he got a ton of additional character development during his time (pre-52) in the Secret Six.  Lawton is arguably the most pragmatic and realistic member of both the Squad and the Six which makes some of his actions seem shocking in the context of comic book stories.

The Suicide Squad box comes with 2 different heads for the model.  I chose his classic masked head but the other one is Will Smith's likeness from the movie.  I think Will Smith is great but I couldn't help shake the feeling that him being unmasked through most of the movie reminded me of Stallone being without his helmet in Judge Dredd.  It feels like once a studio pays for an a-list Hollywood actor they want the audience to see the actor rather than the character once they're up on the screen.  I also would have had a hard time gaming with the model with the Will Smith head without constantly making 'Fresh Prince Of Belle Reve' jokes.

I'll close out by asking; now that I've painted 3 versions of the same character is it bad that I'm waiting on an Arrow-verse version next?


Up On A Soapbox - Is it the free market, or is it me?

Back up on the soapbox today but less in the vein of a rant and more in the vein of introspection.

When it comes to the gaming hobby I've always been a proponent of the idea of being financially supportive (ie being a paying customer) of businesses that I liked and not only enjoyed their products but aligned with their ways of doing business rather than being negative and outwardly expressive about companies I don't like or don't align with.  Truthfully I've never understood why people invest time and energy into expressing their negative opinions about things they don't "need" to buy or going on a company's forums or Facebook page to broadcast their status as non-customers.  The analogy I've always used is that as someone living in the middle-class I certainly can't afford a new car as often as I'd like but I don't go on car companies' social media sites and complain that their vehicles are too expensive or not for me.  It's always just seemed weird to me.

But in the last couple of months something has changed.  I'm honestly not sure if it's my perception, the industry or just that I'm officially entering 'crusty old man' territory but things don't feel as black and white as they used to.
First up I am NOT going to change gears and start complaining about companies with whom I don't align.  Having said that I now feel I have a third category of companies which makes me understand some of the things I've seen in the past.  Before I was very binary, there were two options:
1.  I like you and therefore I will buy your stuff
2.  I don't like you, therefore I will not buy your stuff
In the past couple of months a third category has wormed its way into the mix:
3.  I don't like you, but I like your stuff enough that I'm willing to overlook that
And this is where the problem comes in for me.  The issue isn't whether or not I should or shouldn't be buying things from manufacturers that I'm not enthusiastic about, the issue is that I have a finite amount of hobby money to spend so anytime I buy from a company I don't care for those are dollars I don't have to support companies I do believe in.

Its a real ethical question for me.  Not because any company rises or falls based on the spending of one hobbyist, but because I feel that the companies that are most likely to get the short end of the stick in these situations are the mom & pops where every sale counts.  I've never been a big fan of living in the grey and  the truth is it actually makes me uncomfortable.  I've been faced with two decisions in the past couple of weeks and to be transparent about it I feel like I made the 'right' choice in one case and the 'wrong' choice in the other.

Tell me what you think?
First situation:
A long-time established company is running yet another Kickstarter to release a product that has already been fully developed and requires NO additional work beyond the actual manufacture of the units they will sell.  This company has been around for 30+ years and this is at least the third time they've done this exact same thing (pre-ordering masquerading as crowd funding) in the last two years.  Every time they do this they almost completely cut their wholesale and retail partners out of the loop in spite of the fact they they wouldn't be where they are today without those partners.  Having said that I REALLY want the stuff they're Kickstarting.  In spite of that my decision was to not order and wait until I can get it through brick-and-mortar retail.
Second situation:
A company that's been operation for 4-5 years and has always made terrific high quality  products that I enjoy I recently purchased a set from and found one of the pieces to be defective.  Defects happen all the time and no one should feel bad about it (lets be fair).  But in spite of that I know based both mine and other people's history with this company that any communication I send them will be completely ignored and my issue will not be resolved.  I can and should be angry about that.  But in spite of that I've just decided to work around it and continue to be positive and enthusiastic about their products.  So am I part of the problem now?

These are two recent examples but things like this happen all the time and we make value decisions about these things all the time.

I've always been a proponent of "put your money where your mouth is" and I'm just not sure I'm as consistent about that as I have been in the past.


Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Perhaps its oddly fitting that the one member of the Suicide Squad who isn't really a member is the one I got a defective figure for and then had to substitute with a non-Suicide Squad model.

Katana is a character that has hung around the fringes of Batman comics for years but to be honest I didn't truly become aware of until she showed up on Arrow.  Katana is a classic Batman character in that she isn't a meta-human but is someone who has undergone an unbelievable amount of training and has one additional element (in this case the Sooultaker Katana) that makes her extraordinary.

From a game mechanics point of view Katana is extremely useful for securing objectives as she is a volunteer and not subject to the normal Suicide Squad rules which can result in models suddenly (explosively) being removed from play.  I'm assuming Rick Flag will also have this rule but I'll have to wait until he's released to take advantage of that.

This figure is from the core Batman Miniature Game line as unfortunately the Katana I got in my Suicide Squad box was miscast to the point of not being salvageable.  Having said that I do like this figure and I'm extremely happy with how she turned out.

Well, this is what I got done on my lunch break today so with any luck I can still get Deadshot done after work today.


Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Two more recruits for Task Force X - movie edition

Over the last couple of nights I've gotten my next two members of The Suicide Squad done.

First up is Boomerang (I guess by the time line of the movie he hasn't been promoted to Captain yet).  I've got to say that as much as Boomerang has been a staple of comics and animation for decades he was one of the characters I wasn't confident would translate well to a movie.  The character is fantastic but his comic book costume has always made me think of a 70s era flight attendant.  I really feel like the movie team did a great job updating the character's look and feel without falling into other even worse tropes or stereotypes (although the Fosters was a nice touch).  I also feel like after at least 10 years of Hollywood trying to make Jai Courtney happen this might finally be the breakthrough.

Next on our list is Killer Croc.  This is going to sound really minor but one of the things I like about the inclusion of a character like Killer Croc in the Suicide Squad from a cinematic-world-building point of view is that he feels like he subconsciously forms a bridge between Batman and Superman.  The question/challenge most non-comic fans have had with the idea of Superman and Batman existing in the same universe is their power disparity.  The idea that it's hard to believe both these guys can be considered 'superheroes' in the same shared universe.  Killer Croc is effectively the first non-Kryptonian meta-human we've seen so far in the DC Cinematic Universe, this gives the audience a practical frame of reference to understand that there are beings in this world that are significantly more powerful than Batman who aren't nearly on par with Superman.  To me that starts to fill in some of the grey space and start to make the cinematic world feel more like the comic world.

I'm happy with how both figures turned out but of the two I'm definitely happier with Boomerang.

If everything stays on track I should get Katana and Deadshot done tomorrow night!


Sunday, 27 November 2016

First 2 members of Task Force X - movie edition

This week I was able to get prep work on a lot of miniatures done but with Black Friday craziness I didn't get much actual painting time in.  I've got a small cluster of fantasy figures I'm hoping to finish when I have time this week but my primary focus will be on two separate sets of superhero figures.

This afternoon I finished the first two members of the Suicide Squad from the Suicide Squad box set for the Batman Miniatures Game (soon to be DC Miniatures Game?).  I decided to start with two of the easier figures to paint which resulted in my painting one of the most interesting and one of the least interesting members of the Suicide Squad.  <spoilers ahead>

First up is Slipknot....poor Slipknot....
There's something of a tradition in new and/or one-off adaptions of Suicide Squad stories that the writers need to establish that the danger is real and unlike most comics the characters lives are in real jeopardy.  To establish this the writers always have to offer up an early death to sell the audience on what they're seeing/reading.  To my recollection the only story to break this rule was the Justice League Unlimited  episode "Task Force X" that due to being a cartoon marketed to kids probably wasn't going to have any neck bombs going off.  In the New 52 launch Voltaic drew the short straw, in Assault On Arkham KGBeast decided to test The Wall, in Arrow the character played  by Sean Maher (who's name I didn't even catch before he got neck bombed) learned the hard way that escape wasn't an option.  When the cast poster came out there were two things that struck me right away:
1.  Slipknot had less of a 'costume' than any of the other Hot Topic models in the movie
2.  Adam Beach is playing Slipknot!  Wow I haven't seen him in a major studio movie since....oh....
If you knew the formula it was pretty obvious that getting emotionally invested in Slipknot was probably not a good idea.  In addition I consider myself a comic-book fan of reasonably extensive knowledge and I don't think I've ever owned a comic with Slipknot in it.  Totally unrelated to DC Comics or this movie I would also like to point out that when my daughter was younger she watched an educational PBS show called Word Girl that had a superhero theme and the one villain that never got taken seriously (even on a show directed at 3-6 year olds) was "Amazing Rope Guy", draw your own conclusions.

The other side of the coin is El Diablo.  I hadn't been reading much DC stuff in the years before the New 52 launch so I'm not sure how prevalent El Diablo was then but when New 52 Suicide Squad title launched there he was and he was one of the characters that work best in stories like this.  He's clearly not a hero and he's done some terrible stuff but he's got a conscience and he's not a one-dimensional psycho.  But once again, unfortunately for El Diablo he has a place to play in fulfilling the Suicide Squad formula and it can't be every version of the story where Rick Flag is either the noble sacrifice or the good man left behind.  Sorry El Diablo you were (ironically) too good for this world.

There you have it (so far).  I've got Deadshot and Killer Croc on my table next as well as some newer Pulp City figures.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

The most wonderful time of the year!

I've been very scatter shot on my painting for the last couple of weeks (lots of Suicide Squad coming soon though...) but I wanted to show some non-painting I've been doing.

Last year in the late fall I first got into Frostgrave and joined a number of Frostgrave groups on Facebook.  One of the things that really stood out with the Frostgrave groups was how much they re-purposed non-miniature products as scenery.  Everything from birdhouses to aquarium features to Christmas village dioramas got used for Frostgrave.  Some of it wasn't great and it was obvious that the main appeal was that it was cheaper than conventional hobby scenery but some of worked really well.

The other day a friend of mine posted some street lamps that he had gotten and it made me think I should bust out some of the stuff I've acquired the past few months and share what (in my opinion) cool stuff can be had on a budget.

First up the thing that really got me to start considering this a year ago; trees.  There are loads of retailers that carry trees for Christmas village dioramas this time of year and last year I made the mistake of waiting too long to get some and by the time I circled around to it they were sold out everywhere.  This year my wife remembered that I had been trying to get some and one one of her trips to Michaels to get yarn got me a bag of trees.

This bag was $29.99 sticker price but basically went on to the shelf marked at 50% off so it actually cost $15.

Here are all the trees spread out and to give you some idea, those small trees in front are basically 1" tall so this is a lot of trees for the money.  I'm pretty sure that anything short of a full forest on a 3'x3' table can be done with one bag of these trees.

Also given that I play the undead for most fantasy games I figured Halloween clearances might have some options for me and they did not disappoint.  Again Michaels was the big winner with coffins, headstones and a cemetery fence (not shown).  Unfortunately I left the fence (which is really cool) at a friend's house so I don't have it to show off.

These packs were $5.99 at full price but by the time I bought them they were 60% or 75% off (I can't remember) so for some scatter terrain they're pretty good.

The only downside with the Halloween pieces is that they are a little big (only just a little) and they're unique looking enough that buying multiple packs isn't as appealing as for the trees.

Last but not least back to the place I started.  When I saw Tod's street lamps and I had just gotten the Suicide Squad starter for Batman which means I need a pile of street lamps.  Unfortunately by the time I decided to grab some my local Michaels was sold out but my daughter wanted a few things from the Dollarama and they had some lamps that look perfect to me.

These were $2 per pack (so super cheap!) and to be honest the reason I only bought 5 packs is because they only had 5 in-stock.  When I'm on the road over the next week or two I'm going to hit up other Dollaramas in my area and see if I can find more.

Well there you have it.  I think this stuff works great and it was really inexpensive which leaves more money for toy soldiers.



Thursday, 10 November 2016

Extra Skeleton Creeps for Super Dungeon Explore

I've still got 4 miniatures left to finish from my Stilt-Town Zombies set for Super Dungeon Explore but I had a day off today so I wanted to get a larger batch of figures painted from start to finish.

To supplement the sets I already got last weekend I picked up the ghost manor tile set for Super Dungeon Explore.  The tiles came with 12 extra 'creeps' (which are the low level grunts for Super Dungeon Explore) which I painted today.

The Rattlebones as they are called are pretty basic figures, just skeletons that are wearing pants.  With the ghosts and the zombies I'm getting pretty close to having a starting force for ...something? done.

I think tonight/tomorrow I'm going to transition back to some more traditionally scaled undead models for Ravenloft.


Saturday, 5 November 2016

The good doctors (2 of 2)

Our second doctor can legitimately lay claim to having once been an actual medical doctor but as his areas of interest have changed I'm going to assume he has allowed his medical practise to lapse.

Although Strahd Von Zarovich is certainly Ravenloft's most iconic personality a close second and in many ways the P.O.V. character for much of the background in the original Ravenloft campaign setting  is Doctor Rudolph van Richten.  For those of you not familiar with Ravenloft van Richten is basically D&Ds version of Van Helsing from Dracula.

There was previously a van Richten figure in one of the D&D pre-painted miniature sets but to be honest he seemed a bit off the mark.  He was a bit too action-hero in his pose for an older man and also had a cape that was proportioned like Nibbler's cape from Futurama.  This new figure (by Gale Force 9) combines some features that make van Richten look his age while also updating his clothes to fit with the current D&D/Pathfinder aesthetic of layered leathers and adventuring gear.

I'm really a big fan of this figure not only for his intended purpose but again much like my updated Professor Vitale model it gives me another reasonable looking figure for a wizard who doesn't simply look like he wears his Gandalf cosplay to go adventuring.


The good doctors (1 of 2)

I've been working on two "doctors" for fantasy-themed games tonight, although in both cases their medical qualifications are somewhat dubious.

First up is Reaper Miniatures Plague Doctor for Pathfinder.  I believe this figure was for one of  their earliest Adventure Paths but I was tardy to the party so I'm not sure which one.  If any of you know what adventure module uses this wicked figure please fill me in, it seems like something I'd like to use.
Anyway I figured I'd stay away from the traditional dark colour palette for figures like this as it seemed excessively sinister, whereas the image itself felt like it conveyed that enough on its own.

I don't have any immediate plans to use this figure but I've been considering circling back to Frostgrave with a more evil warband than last time so I thought he might make a good Apprentice or Apothecary.  I also had thoughts that at some point I could find myself running a Ravenloft adventure where a figure like this could come in handy.

Speaking of which if all goes to plan my next doctor will be very well known to longtime Ravenloft players.


Friday, 4 November 2016


Adding to the assortment of Stilt-town Zombies today are two of the less common zombie variants.

First up are the Prowler Zombies.  These guys are very similar to the basic zombies I painted the other day but are a bit more dynamic looking.

The Pudge Zombies are the figures that actually convinced me to start doing the chibi figures.  As I mentioned earlier one of my thoughts going into this was that the stuff that had a more Hotel Transylvania vibe would be appealing to Zoe, and the Pudge Zombies remind me of a cross between the zombie bellhops and Frankenstein from that movie.

It was nice to get these done, I'll probably be taking a break from the Super Dungeon Explore stuff for a couple of days while I work on some figures that I need for my current D&D game.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Post-Halloween chibi zombies!!

When it comes to hobby deadlines I'm starting to think I might be allergic to them...

I got the first 6 of my 10 assorted Stilt-Town Zombies for Super Dungeon Explore done!

Much like the ghosts these figures are pretty basic but I really enjoyed them.  They have some nice texture and detail but certainly don't feel over-done.  I'm enjoying the chibi-aesthetic more than I originally thought I would and I'm now seriously considering making a Frostgrave warband out of the heroes.


Tuesday, 1 November 2016


Today's addition was a quick repaint.

Androida was one of the first Pulp City models I painted as she came in the mixed hero starter box.

She could also make a decent Jocasta stand-in if you were playing a Marvel game of some sort.

Ultimately Androida was a bit of a one-off for me.  As I mentioned the original Pulp City starters were mixed faction boxes with the good guys have 2 "Blood Watch" characters and 2 "Heavy Metal" characters.  Although I liked Androida and Iron Train the rest of the Heavy Metal faction didn't really appeal to me so they've just been hanging out not actually getting used for anything.

Who knows?  With more Pulp City on the Horizon for me maybe Androida can get a second (or would this technically be the first?) renaissance.


Saturday, 29 October 2016

The scariest ghosts EVER!

Several months ago I bought a bunch of Super Dungeon Explore sets with a number of thoughts in mind.  I was still considering whether or not Zoe would eventually want to play a game (or paint some more figures) and I thought the cute chibi figures might be more appealing to her.  I stuck with horror-themed sets as it still tied with all the scenery I have and at the time she was on a big Hotel Transylvania kick.  It never quite materialised into anything but I keep looking at the figures and thinking they would be fun to do and play with anyway so I decided to get started today.

The first set I got was Beatrix The Witch Queen who also came with six ghosts.  I decided to kickoff my Super Dungeon Explore collection with the ghosts because I felt they tied in with my Halloween theme and I also knew they would be quick and easy to paint.  I've always found that if you can start off on a roll feeling good about getting something done it makes it way easier to keep energised and moving on to the next thing.

I undercoated the models grey and then went back to ghetto-airbrushing (I've got to copyright that term...) the white on top.  After that I simply filled in all the holes in the sheets with Thraka Green and painted the eyes and bases.  Easy-peasy.

They're basic but I'm happy with how they turned out.  My plan for tomorrow is to try to get 10 of the Stilt Town Zombies done.

It makes Halloween feel a little more silly and a little more fun!


More Grave Guard!

Yesterday was a bit wonky timeline-wise so even though I was able to get these guys done yesterday morning I didn't end up doing any non-work stuff on my computer for the rest of the day so here we are.

As I mentioned in my last post I actually split my first box of Grave Guard so they're not very functional as an Age Of Sigmar unit but should see lots of other uses.  The funny thing is when I built the models I actually preferred the look of the models with the double-handed weapons but now that I've painted them I think the hand-weapon and shield guys turned out a bit better because I was able to inject a bit more colour.

I'm going to be sticking with the horror theme but I'm going to go a slightly different direction with it for the next 3 days and paint some figures I've had for a few months for a game I still haven't played yet.

New shiny stuff!


Thursday, 27 October 2016

The first of the Grave Guard

I've decided to put all my current ongoing projects on the shelf for a few days and get some more seasonally (Halloween) appropriate stuff done.

Not much of a stretch for me given that I've got a lot of horror themed gaming going on in general but its an excuse to circle back to a few things.

Last year I touched up and re-based my armoured skeletons for Age Of Sigmar but I've had them for years so I ended up leaving them with my friend Darren in Vancouver.  That created a gap in my collection that I've been meaning to fill with some of the current GW plastics for a while.

So last night I finished my first five Grave Guard.

In my initial box of 10 I split it as half hand weapon and shield and half double-handed weapons as I am more likely to use these figures for Frostgrave or an RPG before I need a unit worth of them for Age Of Sigmar.

If all goes to plan the next 5 will show up here either late tonight or  early tomorrow.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

MI-13 is full of character(s)

As part  of my ongoing project to get a Konflikt '47 force done I need to get a command section done.  I'll be using the MI-13 commandos from Incursion for my actual squaddies but I also need to get some officers to lead them.  The truth is I'm painting ahead of getting my rulebook in hand so I'm not 100% sure how I'll stat these guys out but I'm sure at least one or two of them will work.

First up is Black Jack.  Black Jack is a named character for Secrets Of The Third Reich and although I got him painted awhile back I circled back and repainted about half of him to make him blend in with the troopers I just painted.  I also removed him from the 40mm base I originally had him on and re-based him on a 32mm base.

Black Jack is basically a diesel-punk cyborg and general all around hard-man.  He's got an over-sized revolver and a big chunky power-fist.  The figure can with a variant gun hand but it was firing a Vickers machine-gun single-handed and that honestly looked ridiculous to me.

Next up is Zip Kelly "The Hurricane".  I bought Zip just because I thought he looked cool and until I got him out of his blister pack I just assumed he was going to have a jet-pack.

Zip looks more like a pulp-era hero than a soldier to me.  I can easily picture him being the star of a radio drama and if someone was looking to set a DC Comics game of any sort during WW2 he'd make a perfect Spy-Smasher figure.  Unfortunately for me Zip is yet another case of 'he looked better before the photo' for me, at a distance he's fine but on closer magnification his chest emblem looks rough.

Last but not least is Paddy Mayne.  Paddy is the named character/leader that comes in the MI-13 starter for Incursion.  My instinct tells me that Paddy is the least likely to end up serving as an officer in my force as most games don't allow for leaders and single characters to be armed with heavy weapons.

Of the three figures Paddy is the most basic, that's probably why I like how he turned out the best.  There's absolutely nothing fancy about Paddy and he feels like he suits the setting perfectly.

I've got 6 more commandos to paint and then I'm think I'm done with weird wars stuff until I can find an appropriate robot for Konflikt.

I think I might detour off my plans for a few days and get some Halloween-y stuff done before Monday.


Saturday, 15 October 2016

Pip pip, cheerio, steady on, etc, etc

Over the years I keep getting interested in retro-sci-fi takes on World War 2 but I never get off my butt and actually paint anything.  The problem for me historically is that I'll pick some obscure rules that aren't available through my FLGS and then act genuinely surprised that no one else is jumping on board.

It seems after years of small press game companies thinking this would be a good idea a larger company has now gotten in on the act which means more accessibility for the average gamer.  Warlord Games has published Konflikt '47 which is sort of a "what-if" super-science take on the ongoing Second World War.  The other times I've brushed up against this have been AE-WW2 by Darkson Designs and Secrets Of The Third Reich by Westwind Productions.

Roughly 9-10 years ago I bought a bunch of stuff for Secrets Of The Third Reich and today I finally got enough of it painted to be useful for both Secrets Of The Third Reich and Konflikt '47.

What I've painted will be used (depending on your way of looking at at) as four five-man sections or two ten-man squads.  To make the figures useful (or maybe just more useful) for both systems I actually ended up painting 24 figures.

In Secrets Of The Third Reich each five-man section will have either a Sergeant or Corporal armed with a Bren-gun, one trooper armed with a Bren-gun and 3 troopers armed with Enfield rifles.

In Konflikt '47 each five-man section will have either a Sergeant or Corporal armed with a Sten-gun, one trooper armed with a Bren-gun and 3 troopers armed with Enfield rifles.

When I started this project my original intent was to use Warlord's Bolt Action British Infantry with some gas-mask heads but they didn't look super-sciencey (I just made up a word!) enough to me.  One of the things I really liked about the Westwind figures was that they were all depicted as wearing flak vests which might be historically inaccurate but feels better to me to go with the background.

I'll probably make a command section out of the Incursion MI-13 figures and then I just need to lay my hands on some suitable looking robots/mech-suits.

I've got to say specific projects aside it felt good to actually get a sizable number of figures painted in one sitting for the first time in a long time.


Monday, 10 October 2016

Imperial reinforcements have arrived!

A little while back I painted an Imperial starter box for Warzone, since then I've been building the odd thing here and there and contemplating what to add to my small force.

After shooting a video with Ash for his channel Guerrilla Miniature Games Prodos decided to hook us up with more models to play with so it looks like instead of my scattershot "buy what I can" approach I'll be fielding an Imperial Regular Army force.

Big thanks to Prodos and I'm hoping to  be showing these off painted within the next 2 weeks.


Sunday, 9 October 2016

Happy...I'm going to say...Columbus Day

Here in Canada it's Thanksgiving today, in the U.S. it's Columbus Day.

But even though I'm in Canada I'm going to spend my Columbus Day painting some super-patriots!  Pulp City is a superhero miniature game I first got interested in years ago (7 or 8 years, I can't really remember) when it first came out but it never really gained any traction with my gaming groups so I slowly moved away into other superhero game systems.

A Kickstarter was fairly recently concluded for Pulp City to launch two new Cold-War themed superteams.  My buddy Ash will be working on the Soviet themed team while I will be working on the forces of the good ol' U S of A.  What I really enjoy about this launch is that while many of the figures will seem familiar or may even feel like direct rip-offs of existing characters to casual comic fans the truth is most of them represent tropes or archetypes that have been used by multiple characters in multiple different comic companies over the years.

For example the team leading, shield bearing Spybreaker will immediately put most people in mind of Captain America but he's also reminiscent of Agent Liberty, Spy-Smasher and The Shield.

I just started these figs this morning but I'm hoping to finished at least one or tow of them today.


Friday, 7 October 2016

If you go down to the woods today, we'll flay your friggin' hide!

That's how the song goes isn't it?

So in addition to finishing my Dark Avengers this morning I was also able to get my first unit of Dryads done this evening.  So if nothing else this feels like a productive day hobby-wise.

My struggle thus far with getting my Sylvaneth force really going has been that how I picture it doesn't entirely align with the background.  Rather than just fierce or militant forest spirits I actually like the idea of evil haunted woods (you can take the boy out of Sylvania but you can't take Sylvania out of the boy).  To that end I have gone with a bare minimum of vegetation on my Dryads and I've based them with a scorched malignant theme with the odd bit of scrub peeking out.

They're very basic, and honestly a little flat, but I actually like the overall effect.  I'm definitely doing at least one more unit of basic Dryads but I'm not sure what's next after that.  I've got some Treemen but the more I look at them the less I like the models.  I'm feeling a bit more inclined to maybe try using the Lord Of The Rings Treemen instead of the Warhammer Treemen but I want to start with one first and see how they scale together.

More on this to come?  I think?  Maybe?


Don't worry we're here to help, after all we are "heroes"

I managed to finish my Dark Avengers team with nearly 37 minutes to spare before the first game I'm using them in.  I've got to say, its been a while since I did that.

I'm really excited about having these figs because much like the Secret Six they will feel "right" whether they team they are fighting is made up of heroes or villains.

Knight Models does really nice well detailed figures but I have to say for the first time I encountered some minor problems with that.  The Iron Patriot has a well designed star-shaped unibeam on his chest but I found after priming and applying a basecoat to his chest plate I could barely find the outline to paint it afterwards.  Having said that at arms length on the tabletop it looks just  fine, it would just be nicer if the awesome sculpting work on this model was slightly better defined in the final casting.

Anyway, I'm off to fight mutant terrorists!


Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Dark Avengers WIP

This morning before work I got a good start on my Dark Avengers team for the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game.

The "Dark" Avengers were Norman Osborn's (the Green Goblin) team of heroes that he led once he became head of S.H.I.E.L.D. in the comics.  The great thing about the original Dark Avengers concept was that the team was very much like The Thunderbolts or The Suicide Squad in that it was primarily composed of not reformed villains but also had the added twist that they were actively trying to pass themselves off as established heroes.
Ares and The Sentry were two morally questionable members of The Mighty Avengers team that immediately preceded The Dark Avengers.
Moonstone put on Ms Marvel's old costume as they already looked similar and had similar powers.
The assassin Bullseye  dressed up as Hawkeye.
Venom toned it down a bit to pass himself off as black suit Spider-Man.
And Norman Osborn himself hijacked a suit of Stark-tech armour and re branded himself as The Iron Patriot.

The Dark Avengers were one of my favourite comic runs of the past decade because it had everything that made comics great.  It was full of awesome art and action, had tons of story going on in both the background and the foreground, and managed to be dark while still having a sense of humour.

I'm looking forward to finishing up in the next day or two.


Should I use this figure as a mutant or a raider? I think the answer is yes!

I'm slowly transitioning away from straight up mutants and into raiders for This Is Not A Test, but to be perfectly honest a few of the first few figures I've selected are clearly still slightly mutated but don't show signs of any true beneficial mutations.

So the first example of that (second? do I count Mean Machine?) is Coke another awesome Neuroshima Tactics model.
Coke is a classic scavenger/raider type but his pinhead marks him as not quite purestrain human.
I'm probably sounding like a broken record on this at this point but the detail and character on this piece make me ask once again not only why I didn't but every Neuroshima Tactics model I could get my hands on when they were available but how this line failed in the first place?  This is a better fig than what a lot of successful companies are out there producing now.

Also I generally don't go in for showing off different angles on the same model but I had to show the "armour" that those straps are holding on his back.

Maybe he can be a post-apocalyptic Captain America?


Friday, 30 September 2016

The rising tide of post-apocalyptic mutants

I managed to get another Fallout-style Super-Mutant done tonight, this time Brother Vinni's take on the model.

This is another fantastic take on bringing the creatures of the Fallout gaming universe to the tabletop.  My one regret is as I was looking at the figure AFTER I finished it I found myself wondering if Space Ork arms could have fit on the existing torso?  Of course if that had occurred to me ahead of time I could have just dry-fitted it and figured it out.

The other thing I wanted to check once the model was complete was how it scaled against my earlier Reaper Super-Mutant.  Obviously at this point I have both so it's not terribly relevant to me but I thought a side-by-side comparison might be helpful to other people.  The Brother Vinni model is noticeably larger but not so much so that I couldn't image the Reaper model being a Super-Mutant and the Brother Vinni version simply being a Super-Mutant Boss.


In addition I thought I'd show my entire "non-critter" mutant warband as it stands now.  In addition to the two Super-Mutants the other six mutants are Worlds End Publishing's own mutant models for This Is Not A Test.  

I feel like by using a reasonably coherent colour scheme it feels like they all tie together.

I'm pretty pleased with how this is shaping up.  I think I'll be looking to the Judge Dredd line for a few more mutants but overall it feels like a tidy little group to me.


Forgeworld Imperial Enforcer

I've never been one of those gamers who has that collecting-gene where if something is "rare" or "limited" I feel the need to acquire it.  Having said that I am one of those gamers that gets disappointed when a cool "limited" piece is released for an army I actually play and I can't get my paws on it.

A couple of years ago Forgeworld did an event exclusive figure of an Imperial Enforcer with a cyber-Mastiff.  This was doubly frustrating for me because not only would I not be at any of the events the figure would be available at but to boot it was for an army that had so few different figures in it.

Luckily for me my friend Jordan came to the rescue and picked me up one of these AWESOME figures at an event he attended.  Thanks again Jordan and let us never speak of how long it took me to get paint on this figure.

So pre-amble aside I decided to paint this guy to match my existing Arbites/Enforcer models.  I'm happy with that choice because it means I'll actually use him in some games but I do have some slight (only slight) regrets given that he's a pretty spectacular piece and the lack of contrast I use on my Arbites models means he doesn't 'pop' like something coloured differently.

Depending on what army list I'm using he'll probably be some sort of HQ model.  I also got the chance to use the new 32mm Games Workshop imperial/urban bases that I'll be using on all my Arbites going forward.

If any of you have an suggestions for good unofficial army lists or models that you think would work with an Arbites army please share your thoughts in the comments section.  I feel like I've been painting the same models for this army for 20ish years.