Sunday, 13 August 2017

Jaqar Thief of Vornheim and Space Pirate

Following the 5th season of the Dungeon Crawl Classics game I'm playing in it was definitely time for an update to my character model.

Jaqar started out as a Thief on the mean streets of Vornheim cutting purses and generally living the hard scrabble life of a downtrodden medieval peasant but after joining with a group of adventurers found himself magically transported to the distant Purple Planet where he fought an assortment of weird aliens and alien/human hybrids.

Our last season ended with the group finding a spaceship that due to a few lucky rolls and the addition of a skull-mask/cap Jaqar was able to figure out how to pilot.  As part of their change in scenery and circumstance the group adopted the uniforms of the former ship crew which were basically colour-coded boiler suits.  Jaqar took to wear an orange uniform but after some reflection on my part I realised he's been too consistently squishy to stop wearing his armour so he's thrown his studded leather on over top of his crew uniform (and added a shield) for the group's new journey to the stars.

Jaqar is made up of a bunch of different plastic components.  I started with the same bretonian body as the original model to represent his armour.  He's got the head from a Frostgrave Cultist so I could get a neat looking helm/mask, and a Frostgrave soldier sprue provided his new shield.  For his arms and legs I cut them off a Heroclix Arkham Inmate model.  To finish off he has a sword from the bretonian men-at-arms sprue and a backpack from the Warlord British Infantry for Bolt Action.  A lot of chopping and swapping....

And here's the original for comparison.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how he turned out.

It might be cowboy time now.......


Thursday, 10 August 2017

Very odd odds and ends

I've been grinding away on getting some units painted for my return to Warmahordes and making slow progress but in the meantime I've painted a few figures for some fun and somewhat different gaming endeavours.

First up I painted up one of WizKids female Halfling Rogue models.  After my Warlock Of Firetop Mountain post I decided to paint up a small female figure for Zoe to use when we play the board game.  She may opt out and decide to use one of her own figures but I thought it would be nice to get something done.  I've also now got this figure in my back pocket if I need an "Alice" figure for A Red And Pleasant Land.

For my next two I'm back to A Red And Pleasant Land.
A while back knowing I wanted to play through A Red And Pleasant Land I picked up Reaper's 'modern Alice' pack thinking it would work perfectly well.  Upon closer inspection the lack of any classic adventuring equipment and the fact that she appears to be wearing Doc Martens means it feels a bit forced for a D&D game (will probably end up painting her anyway though).  However the pack also came with an absolutely fantastic March Hare model.  He has a great whimsical look to him but he also has a somewhat serious facial expression that I think will fit well with the setting.

The other figure I've been struggling to find and get right for far too long is a Cheshire Cat.  Almost a year ago I picked up a pack of Hoarcats for Malifaux thinking they would be a good fit but it just wasn't quite right and without re-sculpting a lot of fur I wasn't going to be able to get the smile right.  The solution finally came to me in the way that things like this went 30-40 years ago when people were desperately trying to find weird miniatures to game with; I'm re-purposing a toy.  Disney make a line of small collectible figures called 'Tsum Tsums'.  For the most part their look and proportions are well outside of my ability to picture them as anything other than a tiny toy but for the otherworldly Cheshire Cat somehow it just felt like it worked for me.

Hopefully brush back in hand I can get some momentum going and start getting more done and posting more regularly again.

Wish me luck!


Monday, 24 July 2017

Isabella The Red Queen

A while back I bought an OGL campaign supplement called "A Red And Pleasant Land" by Zak Smith which is a hybrid of Alice In Wonderland meets Dracula.  I've been subtly (very subtly in some cases) planting seeds in various D&D games over the past year that there is another world out there with thoughts that at some point I want to put my players through the setting.

The challenge with a lot of cool hybrid campaign ideas is that if you use miniatures it can be difficult to find what you are looking for.  Luckily in the case of one significant character not only was there a logical choice for a miniature but I already owned one.  For The Red Queen I'm using a Games Workshop Isabella Von Carstein model from their pre-Age Of Sigmar Warhammer range.

I think the hair is what really sold me on the idea of using this model but she feels like a really good fit for a vampiric take on the Lewis Carroll character.

The next thing I need to look for is men-at-arms that I can fit animal-masked heads onto.  Like I said hybrid campaigns aren't easy to find figures for.....


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Another weird monster

This morning I finished another older weird D&D monster, although not nearly as iconic as my last couple; the Abyssal Maw.

In the somewhat long-ago time (roughly 2000) the folks at Wizards Of The Coast decided to put out a miniatures skirmish game based off their then current and new D20 D&D system, that game was Chainmail and it featured some Monster Manual creatures as well as a pile of potential player character models.  Chainmail was an interesting fun game but was largely a victim of bad-timing in the game industry as the game launched roughly a month or two before Games Workshop announced they were producing a Lord Of The Rings miniature game, which then became the go-to fantasy miniature game for new and casual players.

In addition to some classic D&D critters the design team also used the game to create and launch some newer monsters.  One of those newer monsters was the Abyssal Maw.

The Abyssal Maw was neat in that it added a low level 'demon' miniature to the games and brought some of that Cthulhu flavour back that old-school gamers tend to like.  One of the things I liked about the Maw is that it's totally asymmetrical (it has 3 eyes and 5 arms) which gives it a distinctly unnatural feel without working to hard on creating something visibly strange.

While working through a few odds and ends I also cranked out the bat familiar from the WizKids Nolzur's Marvellous Miniatures line.

I actually have a couple of upcoming games that I'll need some small animals for and one specifically which will require some bats so getting this into my collection will be useful.


Friday, 21 July 2017

YOU are the hero!

Another foray into the distant past.....

In the long-ago time before Warhammer and its various iterations the founders of Games Workshop started building their fantasy empire with a series of 'choose your own adventure' style books called Fighting Fantasy.  These books were set in different worlds than the Warhammer games would eventually find themselves in but felt like early GW products in their art-style and combination of high-fantasy mixed with humour.  The first book in the series was The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain and it basically played like an old-school early 80s Dungeons & Dragons adventure that the reader could play by themselves.

In 1986 Games Workshop released a board game version of The Warlock Of Firetop Mountain that basically works like a cross between Talisman and Clue.  At the time of release the game was well above board game standards in terms of component quality and the artwork holds up really well to this day.  In the game each player plays an adventurer trying to explore Firetop Mountain while also deciphering which keys they will need once they make it to the end.  Each character is represented statistically in the same way as a Fighting Fantasy game book character and they will encounter similar challenges and treasures along the way.

Aside from some luck of the dice allowing for slight statistical differences all characters are effectively the same (no race, class, etc) but rather than just some sort of meeples Games Workshop included 6 unique character models in the game.  I only recently acquired my copy of the game but I have to say if I'd had this in 1986 I could have use these pieces to represent every D&D character I played through my first few years in the game.

For 31 year old models they hold up surprisingly well and other than some giant hands (which seemed common among GW 1 piece plastics of the era) they are well executed figures.  The only thing some players might be disappointed by is the lack of a female figure but again the pieces are effectively just meeples so you can add any figures you want.  In my case I'm actually going to paint up a female halfling rogue for Zoe to use in a game.

I'm excited to have these done and they will make it to the tabletop this coming Thursday so after languishing in their box for 3 decades at least the time from paint to game will be relatively short for them.


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Some classic gaming monsters

Like a lot of gamers I bounce back and forth between systems and genres fairly frequently but I think its safe to say that right now I'm on a nostalgia kick.  I've painted newer models and I've painted older models but it seems by and large everything is somehow a throwback to my earlier days of gaming.

Today's additions are living at opposite ends of the spectrum in that one model was just released a few months ago while the other has been living (unpainted and unloved) in the bottom of a box for nearly 30 years.  But the thing they both have in common is that they are creatures I was introduced to in my first few years in the hobby many, many moons ago.

First up; the Displacer Beast!

This is a new model by WizKids from their unpainted Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures line and I've got to say not only did I like it but it is (in my opinion) a huge improvement over the metal figure that came out with the Chainmail line years ago.  A lot of hobbyists don't like soft plastic or vinyl because it has a tendency to have softer details but this is a great example of where the material is an improvement.  The musculature of the creature is fairly pronounced so there aren't many shallow or narrow cuts and in addition the problem with my older pewter Displacer Beast was always that the tendrils on the back would bend and then the paint would chip.  I REALLY hope WizKids does a bunch more of the medium sized monsters in their next wave of models.

Next up; the Ambull!

The Ambull is an old 40k (Rogue Trader era) monster that hasn't appeared in anything since 2nd edition.  This model is in fact so old that it's lead rather than pewter.  The Ambull has a funny place in my heart because although it is/was a sci-fi monster for a game set in the far future my first exposure to it was as a final encounter in an old Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay scenario from White Dwarf #108.
I have no immediate plans for this guy but I really wanted to finally paint him.  At this point I may use him as an Umber Hulk-like creature for D&D or he may just sit on shelf alongside my Dungeon Master figure waiting for his time.

That's it for today.  I'm off to the depths of the internet to look for more old-school D&D miniatures!


Saturday, 15 July 2017

Sly Marbo - one man army

Its been a few weeks since I last rolled dice in anger but at that time the game I was playing was Shadow War Armageddon.  My Arbites didn't do particularly well (curse you Space Orks!) but one of the other 'forces' I had wanted to try was one of the one-man-army options.

Basically in Shadow War there are a number of special operatives who can go it alone against an entire kill-team of enemies.  Each race has one or more options but a dig into the way-back machine brought me to the year 2000 and a character I had always imagined using to great effect in 40K even though it never quite worked out that way, Sly Marbo.

As I've mentioned before when talking about a lot of different games I enjoy a bit of humour in my games and a tongue-in-cheek character like Sly is perfect for me.  Any action movie fan of my generation would recognise the art and background of the character as being Rambo 38,000 years in the future, while also looking at the figure and immediately being able to hear Arnie yelling "GET TO DA CHOPPA!"
That's just glorious.

I'm not sure when Sly will see his first game, but win or lose I'm 100% sure he'll draw first blood.....


Friday, 23 June 2017


Usually when I personally talk about gaming nostalgia it's around role-playing rather than miniature games.  The truth is over the years because casting technology and materials have improved so much and most 'popular' items have never truly gone away they just get re-done there hasn't been much in miniature gaming for me to get nostalgic about.  But every rule has its exceptions...

Back in the 80s when I was new to hobby gaming Games Workshop didn't take their IP nearly as seriously as they do today.  It was the time that produced snotlings, and Fighting Fantasy and Blood Bowl and all kinds of fantasy an sci-fi silliness and to be honest I really liked it that way.  On the note when I first started reading White Dwarf there was a comic in it called 'Thrud The Barbarian' which featured a typically meat-headed barbarian character who was cartoonishly out of proportion with the other characters in the story.  Thrud was super fun but I hadn't given him much thought over the past couple of decades.  My affection for plastic RPG miniatures got me into the Zombicide range and low and behold one of the special guest artist packs was by Carl Critchlow and featured Thrud!  I had to have it!

Being a mostly classic fantasy barbarian Thrud is somewhat reminiscent of a variety of Warhammer Quest figures and some Khorne figures I already own, but his helmet is distinctly Thrud and I just had to add him to my collection.

One of the ways in which Thrud stands out from my other barbarian figures is that even by fantasy barbarian miniature standards he is HUGE.  In the picture below he is standing next to a 28mm Chainmail model on a 25mm slotta-base.  You can see how much bigger than normal man-sized he is.  In fact I'm fairly certain that he's roughly the same size as a current Games Workshop ogre.

It was fun to do something new that still scratches that nostalgia itch.  I've got another one-off coming up that's another older GW character but nowhere near as old as Thrud.


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

For The Watch!

I took a break from the Lannisters to get a couple more Nights Watch figures done from Darksword's Game Of Thrones line.

These are two of their "tribute" sculpts, which is basically Darksword putting their sculptors into the world of Game Of Thrones (which I think is an awesome idea).

The smaller guy in the mail shirt with a sword and dagger is their Kev tribute while the bigger dude with the axe if their Tre tribute.
I can picture tons of uses for these two figures.  Side-by-side they give off a very Fafhrd & Grey Mouser feel.  I also like the fact that the Tre figure has a loaded backpack and bedroll as one of the things I personally find lacking in a lot of RPG 'adventurer' figures is their actual gear and stowage.  I'm hoping to actually use the Tre figure as my own character model in an upcoming game.
Night Watch figs are also great for Frostgrave as they are all typically attired in warmer clothes with heavier gloves and boots. I just need to paint something that photographs a bit better than guys in 3 different shades of black...


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Happy Father's Day!

Happy father's day from one of fantasy fiction's most infamous fathers; Tywin Lannister!

Tywin is the Lannister family patriarch in Game Of Thrones and definitely steers his family down their respective paths through the first half of the series.

In addition to Jaime and Cersi, Tywin is also father to Tyrion Lannister, known colloquially as "The Imp".

I've got to admit that even though he's not a character you're supposed to like I really enjoyed Tywin and in particular Charles Dance's portrayal of him on the show.  In spite of the fact that you know he's a bad guy there are moments where you can't help but respect him.

And look at it it this way; at least he's not Denethor.


Friday, 16 June 2017

Shoggoth.....or maybe something else.....or maybe lots of other things.....

Awhile back I picked up a Reaper Shoggoth model intending to use it in my Ravenloft game as a similar but slightly less Cthulhu-y monster for a pre-amble to Curse Of Strahd.

I had been playing online on Roll20 but since that game concluded I've been thinking about running a game around an actual table top (like real people!) and for that I'm going to need to get some models done.  I can easily see myself using this model for a ton of different RPGs and miniature games so even though I don't need it right away I'm sure it will get used a lot in the future.

One of the things this has gotten me thinking about is trying to build up my collection of  'monsters' for D&D.  I have a lot of humanoid creatures (orcs, gnolls, goblins, etc) but I could use more of the larger monsters (Hook Horrors, Umber Hulks, etc), after all every mid-level encounter I run can't always be Owlbears.  Hopefully there's some more creatures in my near future.


Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Four more members for Kilo Squad

In advance of my first game of Shadow War Armageddon tomorrow I have (I think) completed my initial force of Arbites.  I actually need to math it up and make sure I'm done but I feel good about what I have so far.

My basic troopers will be armed with shotguns but if I try different rules down the road a bit I may swap out a couple for bolters.

I've also decided that the basing you see here will be how I base the new models I paint for my 40K sized Arbites army....nothing says 8th edition like 1st edition figures :)


Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Sandor "The Hound" Clegane

While I was waiting for some washes and basing material to dry on my next 4 Arbites I was able to crank out another Game Of Thrones model; Sandor Clegane.

As I've referenced before one of the things I like about Game Of Thrones is that a lot of the heroic characters are flawed and a lot of the villainous characters have redeeming quality.  At this point I'm honestly not sure which of those two categories The Hound fits into.  During the first season he does some pretty terrible things (he's on the GoT list of child murderers) but by the sixth season hes trying to be a better person (although still violent and profane).

My favourite feature of this model is that is actually comes with 3 separate heads.  The first is a bare head showing Sandor's scars, the second is wearing his helmet with his visor up, and the third is the one I used where his helmet is on with the face-plate down.

I liked this option the most as it was the most unique and sinister looking.  I also figured if I wanted him to be a nameless/faceless nemesis in a future RPG that helmet is pretty intimidating.

Okay, my Arbites look dry, back to work.


Crypt Ghast Courtiers

The release of Age Of Sigmar skirmish has me re-energised for painting my Vampire Counts miniatures for Age Of Sigmar.  The truth is I've been trying to get worked up about painting a force since the General's Compendium came out but after years of painting skirmish sized forces I was finding the prospect of 50-100 models really daunting.  Skirmish on the other hand invites me back in with a much smaller investment of painting and time to prep.

I decided on a "Death" force but then realised if I wanted to play through the Shadespire campaign (and I do) that I didn't really have any heroes cheap enough to lead my force.  I had been planning on doing some ghouls for a while so I decided to do a couple of Crypt Ghast Courtiers.

I really like the idea of a hero level ghoul, but I have to admit when Games Workshop re-released the ghouls as a 20 figure box as opposed to the old 10 figure box I wish they could have re-tooled the sprue to include 1 more generic ghoul upper body.  As it stands each sprue makes 9 ghouls plus either a Crypt Ghast (unit champion) or Crypt Ghast Courtier (hero).  This would be fine except by the General's compendium ghoul units are bought in increments of 10 and most boxes will result in a unit of 19 unless players ignore the inclusion of the extra fancy-style body once every 10 models.  Having said that I love the figures and definitely think there are more in my future.

I'm off to consider my next 9 points/reknown for my Death warband!


Thursday, 8 June 2017

Review - WizKids D&D/Pathfinder Miniatures

Last night while chatting with my friend Stan online he asked me if I had painted any of the new WizKids line of miniatures for D&D and Pathfinder.  It's funny because I bought some about 2 months ago but hadn't actually painted one yet, so I decided to bust one out late last night and see how they painted up and held detail.

The first thing to call out about these figures is that they are similar in price and material quality to the Reaper Bones line.  For some people this is a huge plus (the price), while for others the softer material can be a big downside.  I will say that the same issue as Bones exists where longer narrower features (primarily weapons) can come out of the package with a bend.  Having said that the detail is much crisper on the WizKids figure I worked on than any of the Bones figures I've done to date.  I'm not sure if the cuts are marginally broader or deeper but even after 2-3 layers of paint and 1-2 washes I hadn't lost any perceptible detail.  The other big positive I can call out is that these figures do in fact come pre-primed.  I painted mine directly over the existing coat of primer and had no issues what-so-ever.
Here's the cleric I painted in about 45 minutes.

Overall I don't think there's much mystery in who these figures are for.  If you're price conscious and need some classic D&D characters and monsters I think this line is really good value for money.  If hyper-detailed figures for painting contests are your thing these are still slightly (but only slightly) behind hard plastic, resin or metal.  I would recommend this line for gamers on a budget or those who don't want to put tons of time into each individual model that they paint.  I bought about a half-dozen packs and can personally easily see myself buying more.


The Adventures Of Konnor - Chapter 2: The Ghost Of Lion Castle

Last night I played through Konnor's next solo adventure 'The Ghost Of Lion Castle'.  It was a roller-coaster of successes and failures but more on that in a bit.

The adventure is set in a small town that has a school of magic and is therefore heavily populated by apprentice wizards.  Konnor is one of the apprentices in  town and after a night of carousing at the local pub Konnor draws the lucky straw and gets to be the next adventurer to explore the (probably) abandoned and (supposedly) haunted Lion Castle.

The adventure is extremely well structured both for solo play and for replay-ability.  There are very few truly fixed encounter locations with most of the action and combat being driven by an innovative use of the wandering monster table.  The player starts with a partial map of the castle which helps with basic navigation but there are some areas that randomly teleport the character to new areas.  I found it to be a nice change from the traditional simple 'choose-your-own-adventure' format of solo play RPGs.  But how did Konnor do?

Konnor approached the castle from the southern side and unfortunately due to some poor spell choices had to circle around and enter through the trapped gate-house.  In spite of Konnor's Dexterity being one of his best attributes he triggered EVERY trap on his entry to the main building and had to camp out and heal up before even really getting started.  Once inside Konnor was able to freely explore the castle and started piling up quite the haul through defeating the creatures populating some of the castle's rooms and hallway.  Shortly before finding his way to the final chambers of Sargon (the castle's former master) Konnor made one poor choice (which I will omit to avoid spoiling it for anyone who plays the adventure) which resulted in him losing ALL the treasure he had acquired up to that point!  What had Konnor found and lost?  Here's the list:
-321 Gold
-5 gems totalling 1660 Gold value
-3 spell scrolls
-an Elven Cloak
For a third level character that is an unreal amount of treasure to have....and lose.
The final encounter with the ghost of Sargon replenished some of the monetary treasure but the Elven Cloak was gone forever.

So overall mechanically how was this play through?
It went a lot more smoothly than my previous attempt as every creature I encountered had a counterpart in the current Monster Manual so I didn't have to guess at any stats.  On the downside, some of the monsters were far less powerful than they had been in D&D Basic (I got the Elven Cloak and 135 Gold from a monster I defeated in a single round), while other monsters were almost invincible for a single level 3 character (I fought an Ogre that I had to use most of my special abilities to defeat and still ended up with 1 Hit Point when the fight was over).  Overall though it was easy and fun to play and translate.  The only downside I see is that if someone was going to use a character that played through this adventure in an ongoing campaign you could easily end up with an absurd amount of treasure and powerful items for a low level character.  I enjoyed it and if played as intended its a fun RPG diversion for a few hours.

So what does Konnor look like now?  Levelled up and ready for his next adventure:

One thing that worked really well is that the adventure (if fully successful) ends with the character automatically levelling up and then adding their earned XP on top of that so Konnor is now level 4 but has a head-start on his way to level 5.

Also a question for anyone with more experience with the current system of D&D than I have; I assumed that when a multi-classed character has a combined character level of 4 they get their first stat increase, is that correct?

Next up is Lathan's Gold by the same author as Ghost Of Lion Castle to I'm looking forward to that.  After that the well is dry unless anyone reading this can suggest any other solo adventures?


Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The start of my kill-team for Shadow War Armageddon

I'm still a bit behind on my goal of getting a squad done today (got 3 of 7 models finished) but atleast I'm making progress.

Today I started my Kill-Team for Shadow War Armageddon.  I'll be playing Adeptus Arbites and using some Necromunda Enforcer models from the old Necromunda range.

Today I got my team leader and two specialists done, there are still four shotgun armed troopers sitting on my desk looking for paint.

The plan is to use the Imperial Guard rules and give everybody carapace armour.  If that doesn't work out I might try swapping my specialists and switching over to the Space Marine Scout rules but I want to give this a go first.  The other great thing about this is that it gives me an opportunity to experiment with how I'm going to base my Arbites army going forward as I'm still trying to get at least four more squads done for them.


Monday, 5 June 2017

"I am Dungeon Master, your guide to the world of Dungeons & Dragons!"

If like me your first foray into Dungeons & Dragons was the red box basic set with the Easley art (awesome by the way!) on the cover you probably also watched the short lived Dungeons & Dragons animated show.  The show was about a group of kids plucked from the real world and dropped into the world of the game.  One of the narrative devices on the show was that there was an actual character called Dungeon Master who would send the kids on quests, fill in some backstory, and occasionally interact with the show's main villain Venger (more on him in an upcoming post).

Antediluvian Miniatures which produces an amazing line of pulp models also has some D&D animated show inspired models available.  They've got the main cast re-imagined as adult characters, pig-faced orcs, Venger and Dungeon Master.

I decided to start with Dungeon Master as he is a single small figure I could get done quickly and I've been feeling a bit overwhelmed with some larger painting projects lately so this seemed like a good way to get something done.

I've seen the figure used in games as a gnome illusionist and a wizard but honestly I think he's just a cool model that's going to sit on my shelf for now.

Awhile back the animated series was released on DVD with a D&D 3.5 edition sourcebook included so I may also dig that out and see if the current D&D would be a way to run that content.

Hopefully this means I'm back to painting over the next couple of weeks as I need to get a few units done for some games fairly quickly...oh and Venger.


Monday, 22 May 2017

Let the uprising begin!

Last night I finished up another Broken Contract model for the Breaker faction.  This time it's Micha Donelly.

One of the great things about the breaker figures for Broken Contract is that they really do convey a worker uprising rather than looking like a bunch of generic futuristic thugs.  Micha is armed with a shovel, that although I'm sure it can be used to great effect is definitely not your 'traditional' armament for a skirmish wargame.

I've decided to go with safety (or prison, depending on your point of view) orange for my Breaker's work clothes.  On this note I'll probably go back tonight or tomorrow and re-do Trest's pants in orange.

I'm really enjoying working my way through these figures and I hope to get a couple more done before my hobby A.D.D. kicks in.


Friday, 19 May 2017

Breakin' The Law!

After a longish absence the shipping of the Broken Contract Kickstarter has me circling back to my unpainted figures for some more Ferrum Sky action.

A while back I painted up the forces of Black Squadron Security (the "good guys") for Broken Contract with the intention that they would also blend into This Is Not A Test as some awesome Peace Keeper figures.  Although there is one new BSS figure on the way to supplement my forces I decided to start painting the filthy peasants who are revolting in the mines.

Normally when painting a force I start off with the stock-trooper type models and do the characters and big guys at the end.  This time I decided to deviate from that that and start off with the Breaker Gen-Mod.  For anyone who didn't read my earlier posts about Broken Contract; Gen-Mods are 'genetically-modified' humans who have been enhanced for manual labour.  So far the two figures from Breaker Press for Gen-Mods are what most gamers would conventionally think of as ogre-sized.  It's hard to tell in a single shot but this model is standing on a 40mm base.

Trest (that's his name), to me is one of the iconic images of the Broken Contract game.  He's huge and clearly not something that actually exists in the real world but his clothing (especially the mining helmet) and over-sized rock-saw ground him in a near-future sort of way.  My biggest challenge in painting him is that I wanted a bright yellow for the saw but I also wanted it a but chipped and scuffed up.  For some reason none of my 3 attempts to get the chipping right worked out so I went for a fresh from Home Depot look instead.

I'm really looking forward to getting more of my Breakers done over the next couple of weeks and I'm hoping as Kickstarters ship I'll see more of these awesome figures painted by other backers as well.
If any of you reading this paint and post pics of your painted Broken Contract figures please link in the comments below, I'd love to see them.


Friday, 5 May 2017

The Adventures Of Konnor - Chapter 1: Rogue Mage

Today I managed to play through my first old solo adventure testing out the flexibility of the current D&D rules and I have to say I think it went fairly smoothly.

As I mentioned before my new 1st level Fighter; Konnor played through Rogue Mage an old solo adventure from Warlock Magazine.  During the course of the adventure I substituted Monster Manual stats for the common creatures (Goblins & Giant Snake) I encountered and made up some of the other creatures stats on the fly.  Where I needed to I generally substituted their Hit Dice as a bonus to be applied to every "to hit" roll save and stat test and that seemed to work reasonably well for the most part.  In addition I realised I would have to make up DCs for saves that I was required to make during the adventure so rather than making them variable I just decided at the outset that every save would have a DC of 15.  Again that seemed to work fairly well and I only failed the important saves during my play-through.

My gauge for saying it worked well is that I didn't have to figure out or change very much on the fly and when I did the current rules provided some pretty easy answers that didn't require me to break the flow of the game.  In hindsight my only challenge was that I shouldn't have chosen a non-TSR adventure first as it meant that I was dealing with a lot (eight) of creatures that weren't in the Monster Manual.  The thing I did like about using what was essentially a short Fighting Fantasy novel written for Basic D&D is that the treasure haul was fairly meagre and doesn't feel like it makes the character unusable or overpowered for my next adventure.

So without any further ado, how did Konnor do?

Rogue Mage starts out with Konnor having been tried and convicted for thievery after falling on hard times.  Before his sentence can be handed down the Guild Of Magicians takes Konnor into custody and offer him a pardon if he can track down a rogue mage from their order and recover an artifact stolen from the Guild.  It's that or the noose so Konnor is off to find the mage!
Outside of town the mage's lair is cut into the mountainside and guarded by goblins, after defeating the guards Konnor journeys into a maze stocked with dangerous monsters (acid spitting Ant-Men, Octopus/Man hybrids, Slime Monsters and a giant snake that can camouflage itself as a pile of treasure).  Once through the maze a chase begins with Konnor catching up to the evil wizard and after scorching him with a scroll that shoots fire, Konnor 'bravely' stabbed him in the back.
During the short adventure Konnor managed to acquire a +1 Short Sword and roughly 200 GP worth of treasure.  He also found 3 potions of healing scattered around but used all of them, plus the one he started with just to make it through to the end.
Mission accomplished, and Konnor walked out with 950 XP (enough for 3rd level) and 6 of his Hit Points left.  As an aside a 1st level Fighter with no CON bonus has 10 Hit Points and I burned through about 29 during this adventure so if Konnor had failed to find any of those healing potions he wouldn't have made it.

So let's see what Konnor looks like now, and why:

I levelled up twice and decided that I would increase Konnor's Fighter level because it seemed like those were the skills he had used, but I also multi-classed into Wizard because (meta-reason) my next adventure requires a level 1-3 Elf or Magic-User by the old Basic rules, and this seemed the best way to maintain continuity with one character.  I did fairly well on my Hit Point rolls thankfully (no CON bonus) but may become a bit squishier next adventure anyway.  I'm assuming that if Konnor is ready to spellcast at a moment's notice that he cannot carry his shield so his Armour Class will be moving in the wrong direction.

Konnor's next adventure will be "Ghost Of Lion Castle" another old school D&D solo adventure written by Top Secret game designer Merle Rasmussen.  I've got one more adventure planned (Lathan's Gold)  for after that and then my well will have run dry for D&D solo adventures.  If anyone can recommend any additional adventures (that I can actually get my hands on) please let me know.  

I'm also considering formally stat'ing up some of the Fighting Fantasy monsters I encountered if that's of any interest to anyone, let me know.



Sunday, 30 April 2017

Let the D&D experiment begin!

I've decided to give something a try based on a combination of nostalgia and some conversations I've had with friends about gaming (D&D specifically) over the past few weeks.

One of the features of the new/current editions of D&D is that the rules are open, simple and flexible enough that they seem to allow material from any previous edition of the game to be used with little to no adaption being necessary.  I thought this sounded great, and when I look at it it seems correct but I haven't really tried it.  I'm run a few adventures using the current rules but they've either been things I've written using the current rules or a published adventure.  I even dug out a few older modules thinking they'd by fun but then got distracted by Tales From The Yawning Portal taking two of those adventures and updating them to the current rules anyway.

So, I've decided to take the current rules, make a character and play through some old (not older, truly old) published SOLO D&D adventures and see how that works.  The biggest change I'm anticipating making is updating the monsters to use their current versions so that every successful attack from my character isn't an instant death blow to an old school 1HD monster.

I built my character (Konnor) with some insight and planning into what my first 3 adventures will be.  To that end rather than being statically primed I made his background fit the first adventure and set him up to be able to multi-class as I need for subsequent adventures as old school solo modules were typically written with a specific class or group of classes in mind.

So without any further ado let's meet Konnor!

Also, because it's me even though I'll be playing solo I had to paint an miniature.

The miniature is one of Darksword's modular Knight Watch soldiers and he fit perfectly for what I needed.  For my first adventure I needed an unarmoured warrior with a sword and shield (that's harder to find than I thought).

My first adventure will be "Rogue Mage" which was written by Graeme Davis and published way back in Warlock Magazine (the official Fighting Fantasy magazine).  What seems great and different about Rogue Mage is that it was written to use either the Fighting Fantasy gamebook rules system or D&D Basic edition with a 1st level fighter character.

I'm excited to try this out and will have a follow up on Konnor's first adventure later this week!


Sunday, 23 April 2017

House Teknes Leaders & Specialists

The forces of  House Teknes made their debut today with the Union Workers being 'supported' by some of their finest leaders and support troops!

First up as I had decided on an all Union Worker force (as opposed to mixing in some Linemen from the starter) I went with 2 Union Bosses as my leaders.  I've got to say that even though it was my first couple of games the synergy between the Union Workers and Union Bosses was really easy to use and intuitive.  The ability of the bosses to 'motivate' the workers at the price of some physical pain meant that they could make the workers (those are the Pig-Men from my last post) devastating if either I could get lucky or waited until I had initiative.  In addition to being highly effective in the game I also think they are outstanding models.

Next was the Galvanic Defender.  To be honest he was a poor choice for me given the objective I was going after (strike opponent support or leader models in close combat) but he is a fast moving specialist with a rare ranged attack.  I can see a lot of ways he could be useful and unlike the Union Boss who increases synergy the Galvanic Defender fills in some skills and abilities that the rest of the Teknes force lacks.

Lastly is The Zaalak.  The Zaalak is a psychically controlled octopus that is disturbing and unnatural and has a demoralising effect on enemy leaders.  It is also incredibly fragile as I was a bit late in realising unfortunately.

I really enjoyed my first 2 games of Wrath Of Kings.  I found it to be an easy to understand intuitive game that played quickly and easily but still offered a lot of tactical challenges and options.  I like the Teknes models and am definitely going to paint a pile more of them over the next month or so.  First up on my to-do list will be replacing the Zaalak and the Galvanic Defender with a couple of specialists who look like they fit better with the rest of what I have (I'm looking at you Butchers!) and then after that I think I'm going to do a patrol-sized force built up around Linemen as opposed to Union Workers.

Tons of fun and I can't wait to play more!


Saturday, 22 April 2017

Look at us! We "joined" The Union!

I'm finally going to play my first game of Wrath Of Kings tomorrow at the 'Patrol' level.  That means; 12 levels of Infantry, 2 levels of Specialists & 2 levels of Leaders.  Levels are basically Wrath Of Kings points system, so given that I'll be using all level 1 miniatures it means I need 16 models.

After a number of false starts I finally completed my Union Workers this morning.  Union Workers are citizens of House Teknes who have either volunteered or been voluntold to have themselves injected with demon blood, which transforms them into man/pig hybrids.

I really like these pig-men models and if they look vaguely familiar it's because I previously used 2 of them to convert up some mutants for This Is Not A Test.

I also completed the 4 solo models that will be completing the force but I didn't get pictures yet so that will have to come tomorrow.  The good news is that by then the figures can be accompanied by either a glorious tale of victory or a shameful story of defeat...we'll see....


Sunday, 16 April 2017

More Game Of Thrones characters

Coming out of GAMA it was announced that a Song Of Ice And Fire miniatures game was on the way (which I am super excited for!).  I've been using some of Darksword Miniatures' figures for my RPGs and Frostgrave so it was the trigger for me to get a couple more out and get them done up.

One of the things I really like about Game Of Thrones is that the characters feel a lot more 'lived in' than traditional fantasy.  Heroes are often highly flawed and villains are not without their redeeming qualities.  This is typified by one of my favourite characters on the show; Jaime Lannister.

When we are introduced to Jaime Lannister three fact get established very early on:
1.  He stabbed the last king in the back (literally) thus earning him the nickname "Kingslayer".
2.  He is in an unbelievably inappropriate relationship with his own sister.
3.  He ends the first episode by attempting to murder a child.
So that in addition to being an arrogant bully mark him out as probably one of the villains of the show.  As the story progresses Jaime falls more into an anti-hero role and in later seasons definitely comes across as a man with his own code of honour who can be trusted to act within the bounds of that code.

On another part of the Game Of Thrones moral spectrum is Bronn.

Bronn is a sellsword who comes into Tyrion Lannister's service early in the show and although he is clearly an amoral murderer who will do just about anything for money he seems at times to have a certain amount of loyalty.  To be honest my main driver for painting Bronn had little to do with the show or fandom and was more driven by the fact that I needed a new low-level classic human fighter for D&D and this figure fit the bill perfectly.

I've really enjoyed an appreciated the Darksword Miniatures I've painted so far and I can't wiat to get my hands on an actual miniatures game meant to use them.


Sunday, 9 April 2017

Review - Green Stuff World roller (cobblestone)

One of the things that has evolved a lot over the 30+ years I've been painting miniatures is the level of complexity and detail people put into their miniature's bases.  Back in the day role-players typically just painted the chunk of metal a miniature was standing on as some kind of rock whereas miniature gamers would usually apply some sort of 'turf' usually painted sand or coloured flock.  These days there are loads of miniature companies out there producing textured bases, I myself have been cutting plasti-card and using that to dress up my bases for RPGs.

A week or so ago I picked up a green-stuff roller by Green Stuff World from my FLGS, I haven't had cause to use it as I've been trying to match existing bases but this morning my daughter decided she wanted to take another crack at painting and she wanted a fancy base.  So I hauled out the roller and finally gave it a try.

First up I have to say that it was incredibly easy to use.  I just filled the recess in a 30mm base with green stuff, moistened the top and then rolled over it.  The entire thing took less than 5 minutes to execute and clean up afterwards.

I'm pretty happy with the result (I could have filled that one edge more) but as you can see the texture came out fairly crisply.

Now that I've used this once I think it's time for a return trip to get some more rollers!  I just wish I'd figured this out before I started basing my Teknes models.


Thursday, 6 April 2017

Rise of the pig-men WIP

So after circling back to get some D&D stuff done I needed for this week I'm now back to plan A; my Teknes force for Wrath Of Kings.

In a perfect world I will have the starter box done by Wednesday next week.  Having said that I'm off to a slower start than I anticipated.  I decided to kick-off by doing the Union Workers as they were the figures I was most excited about but so far my progress has been slow.

I got the flesh based, washed and highlighted and got my base coats on my bases and armour but not much else to report beyond that.  The goal will be to finish these first 12 models tomorrow and then get my Linemen built.  When those two units are done I'll only have 6 figures left from the starter to get done by mid next week.

The real challenge for me will be to not get over distracted before I finish......say, this Rumbleslam game looks cool.....


Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Mystical abominations (or maybe just goblins?)

Got a few more figures done for an upcoming D&D game and a funny thought occurred to me as I was painting them.  I really love Games Workshop's Lord Of The Rings games and I got The Hobbit Escape From Goblintown when it first came out.  Having said that, I've now painted 33 of the Goblintown miniatures for various games but haven't used a single one to play Lord Of The Rings...weird.

Anyway for my next game I wanted some broken or debased men rather than classic low level monsters.  To that end I decided to re-purpose the goblins from The Hobbit.  This is actually the second time I've done this as I previously painted a dozen of these goblins to use as 'Null-men' for Frostgrave.

It's funny that I've never wanted to sit down and paint all 36 of these goblins at one go because everytime I paint some of them I wish I had painted more.  The sprue comes with 18 separate poses and styles of goblins armed with an assortment of weapons.  These are absolutely tremendous figures and I highly recommend them to anyone looking for any kind of CHUDs for their fantasy gaming.

I also need 2 "big bads" for my game and for the muscle component I wanted something larger than a character model but not quite into ogre/troll size range.  Once more my Zombicide Black Plague box stepped up and offered up the Abomination.

This figure is exactly what I was looking for as its big and scary without looking like something that would be way beyond the capacity of my low (1st) level adventuring party.  It's kind of a zombie/flesh-golem hybrid that I can stat out myself.

That should have me all caught up on figs I need for RPGs for the next couple of weeks, now its on to pig-men!


Monday, 3 April 2017

Catching up a bit on models for D&D

Hi all,

The last 2 weeks have seen far less painting than usual but I have gotten a few odds and ends done I just hadn't gotten around to posting yet.  I'm going to catch up on those today and then it will be back to "projects" tomorrow.

First up I painted a model to use as my character in an upcoming Dungeon Crawl Classics game.  I'm playing a level 5 thief named Jaqar, I did have a model I had been using previously but he was just one of my Forstgrave figures being repurposed.

This time out I painted a named Pathfinder character as he had the perfect combination of armour and equipment, and I really like the fact that he has a backpack and other load-bearing gear to sell the idea that he's an adventurer.

Next is an NPC Dwarf Cleric I'll need for an upcoming game of D&D I'm running.

I wanted something a little different and this Games Workshop Dwarf Miner Champion seemed to fit the bill.

One of the things I have really enjoyed about DMing Curse Of Strahd is that the adventure us filled with interesting and characterful "random" encounters.  Before I start gaming again I want to cook up about a dozen detailed interesting encounters I can throw into the mix whenever I want.  Rather than sitting down and trying to write these up I thought I'd just do them one by one as ideas hit me.

My first idea was for an evil ginger hobbit (I used Lobellia Sackville-Baggins) that is a corruptive ruinous force on the countryside.  I also wanted to tack on some muscle so I threw her in with 'Frankenteddy' to give he some muscle from an encounter point of view.

I've got seven more models to paint for D&D and then if all goes according to plan I'll paint my Teknes starter set this week.