Monday, 30 April 2012

Nurgle Champion

A wet and windy weekend with the family away meant that I was able to get some serious painting time in and complete this Nurgle champion for my brother. 

This is from Engima miniatures Massive Darkness range and is actually called a ‘skull dwarf’, although it’s much taller than the average stunty and should therefore fit neatly into one of his marauder units. I lopped off one of his arms and replaced it with the massive chaos sword from the GW manticore kit and put together a simple cork’n’bits base to raise him above the rabble. 

Although there was some altruism is doing the model as a gift it also provided a good opportunity to experiment with a number of paints and techniques that I’ve been wanting to try out for a while. The armour, for example, is Birdwing Copper from the D&R pearlescent range, built up with multiple washes and glazes, including the new Citadel orange wash and Model Color’s Vergitas glaze, both of which are very flexible and effective. 

This isn’t exactly as I’d like it to be, but I’m pleased enough with both the model and my paint job to consider this a success. One thing that I’ve noted above all is that my loose and multi-layered approach is pretty much entirely open ended. I know the old saying that ‘a work of art is never finished, merely abandoned’ and that seems the case here when you stray away from the paint scheme formulae presented in The Big GW Book Of Painting Space Marines (And Such)… you know the kind of thing. Anyway, I’m messing around this evening with a base then wash-glaze-wash-glaze-wash… approach that seems reasonably swift and still kind of arty. We shall see how this works out during the month of May…

Thursday, 26 April 2012

In Praise Of Miniatures From Polish Manufacturers

I am so impressed with the quality of Polish miniature manufacturers. Spellcrow, Titan Forge, and obviously Scibor (among of few others) are blasting the way for fantastic looking models at reasonable prices. Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to pick up a few more models from these jolly good little companies and give them the thorough reviews and praise that these deserve.

These are the models I'm thinking of picking up...

Titan Forge Flesh Reapers
Spellcrow Minotaure
Scibor Dwarf General 

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Getting Legendary: The Legend RPG System

Over the last few days I’ve spent a surprisingly lengthy amount of time creating a chap called Karl Grosz Weiner Von Ringloch IV. Considering he stands a fair chance of expiring within a matter of a few gaming hours it’s possibly time I could’ve spent more productively doing something else.

But giving birth to Karl has allowed me to get a tentative grip on the Legend RPG system, the rulebook for which I purchased last week at the excellent Rules of Play here in Cardiff. This will replace WFRP in our regular RPG sessions and I for one am very happy that this is the case. As the publishers say: "Using the core rules from RuneQuest II, Legend is a new fantasy roleplaying game that serves as the basis for a multitude of settings and worlds". If you’d like to read a full set of the Legend rules then you can get a pdf for the amazing price of $1 at RPG Now. Seriously! Go get it now!

WFRP is fine so long as you really want to play in the Warhammer world with all its interesting possibilities and necessary limitations. In the recent (and aborted) campaign I was GMing I created far too much of a linear narrative - this was a consequence of previous experiences working with and playing WRFP modules and of trying to create a thrilling, enticing narrative. As Dr Bargle has rightly pointed out, a pre-defined narrative won’t make for a good RPG adventure (I’ll not rehearse his arguments here, but highly recommend having a read of his blog). Players in my campaign wanted to get creative with their backgrounds, motivations, membership of organizations, and much more, but I found I had to tie this back (slash it on occasion) so that it fitted the WFRP world.

Who wants to play a game like that? I’m not really in favour of a total sandbox where anything goes - actually I’m totally against this. What I do like the idea of is a world that has good mechanics, reasonable pre-defined limitations, provides the GM with the opportunity to sketch out adventuring possibilities in a fantasy society, and then allows players to work collaborative with the GM to add colour, texture, life and adventure through play. Legend should allow for this to happen and I’m going to report on my reflections of this process, beginning with character creation…

My initial roles provided me with an average human, based on the following characteristics and attributes: Strength 11, Constitution 11, Size 13, Intelligence 10, Power 15, Dexterity 10, Charisma 11. I wasn’t set up to win many fights easily as these stats only give me two combat actions, so I decided to develop myself as a magic user on the basis of my good Power characteristic (an abstract representation of life force, soul and innate magical potential).

Magic comes in three basic forms in Legend - Common, Divine, and Sorcery - all players have access to some limited Common magic, which provides some basic augment, evasion and healing abilities, that sort of thing. Divine magic requires membership of a cult, while Sorcery - which I chose - is dark and deliberate bending of the powers of the universe.

All common skills in Legend - from athletics to perception, from brawn to first aid - are percentages worked out from the combined score of characteristics and attributes: so my skill evade (rather important in a fight) is worked out as Dexterity x 2, which equals 20%. This is not an amazing result, but luckily each character has 250 free points to spend boosting their skills in the final stages of creation (phew!).

Advanced skills come from cultural background, which can be civilized, barbaric, nomadic, or primitive. Certain styles of combat and professions then become available for selection - I selected civilized because I wanted to be a Sorcerer and one’s background also determines the amount of starting cash available (and I need some good armour, that’s for sure!).

Next up came the selection of spells. For Common magic I chose some defensive spells to detect and redirect magic, and spent half my available points on the protection spell (magical armour). For Sorcery, one must compile a ‘Grimoire’ of available spells learned the membership of some established Order. This is where the dice rolling and flow chart phase of creation begins to really give way to the narrative construction of the character. As this is an open system without pre-established schools or colleges of magic, it was up to me to put together a Grimoire of four spells and justify them as some kind of coherent body of learning within an Order of sorcerers.

After several hours of contemplation (ok, I did actually fall asleep for a while!) I plumped for the following:

Form/Set (Flesh and Bone) - drastically changes the physical appearance of the target to casters will, without causing harm
Shapechange (Humans to Canines) - target is turned into any kind of dog
Palsy - target loses the use of an area of their body
Wrack (Boiling of the Tumours, as I’ve named it) - an offensive magical blast

From this selection I created a Grimoire from The Sorcerous Order Ululatus Corpus (the howling body). I now need to ‘flesh out’ (ha ha) more details of the Order, to see what I might learn as I progress from the Initiate stage.

Although magic is the main profession of my character he will certainly find himself in a physical fight at some point. All characters in Legend need to choose a cultural fighting style that determines how they fight and the weapons they can use. Again, narrative is vital here. I thought my character could be a disgraced noble, who had been thrown out of his expensive and prestigious finishing school (he is currently only 20 years old) and taken to sorcery as a way of regaining some footing in the social hierarchy. His fighting style could therefore be formal - fencing and the like - while not necessarily being too effective, thus reflecting his mediocre stats.   

Fortunately, the random rolls for character background provides some excellent opportunities to build more narrative around the man I’m now calling Karl Grosz Weiner Von Ringloch IV. His father is a widower and extremely disappointed in his young son, although Karl has three aunts on his mother’s side who still adore him. His family is of high social standing and consequently Karl has several allies and contacts that can come out of the woodwork and be defined during gameplay. Karl also - rather brilliantly - has a sidekick due to a lucky background roll (83, as it goes). At first I thought it could be a fellow disgraced (and perhaps mentally challenged) student, but through discussion it was agreed that Karl should be accompanied by an aging butler, who refused to give up on the fallen posh boy due to a blind adherence to class/caste hierarchy. I’ve called him Borgnine.

It’s tempting to go much further with developing Karl, but two things are holding me back. Obviously, he might be dead in a couple of weeks. Also, there’s something really exciting about the idea that his life (past, present and future) will all fall into place as part of the game and through enjoying numerous evenings drinking tea and rolling dice with friends.

And what could be better than that?

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Inspiring Thoughts For An Insipid Tuesday #1

"The typical gamer is of above average intelligence, willing to improvise and invent where necessary, and always keen to try new ideas"

WFB 3rd Edition Rulebook

"There's no cure for being a cunt"

Bron, Game of Thrones 

And this week's slice of internet wisdom...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Building Fantasyscapes - The (Mis)Adventure Begins...

Over the next week or so I'm going to be doing a lot of work building fantasyscapes. This is part of a wide scale shift in my gaming that will encompass both my miniature gaming and my regular RPG sessions with our gaming group.

In terms of the miniature gaming my problem is this: I'm just not that interested in playing any of the existing systems that are linked to certain brands of miniatures. WFB is fun and I've enjoyed getting back onto the tabletop over the last couple of years since around the time 8e came out.

But I want more.

I want to be able to build my own gaming world that allows me and my co-gamers to construct armies from the ground up, free from the commercial constraints of the mechanics bestowed by the major manufacturers. For this reason I've started to draft my own set of full rules inspired by a wide range of fantasy and historical wargaming systems. It will be mid-level as opposed to the increasingly popular 'skirmish' level games, it will use new types of game phase, provide a rather different approach to magic and melee, and will... I hope... be interesting and perhaps even inspiring to a few other people. As long as it's popular around my gaming table though, I'll be happy.

The RPG situation is necessarily more collaborative. Dr Bargle and I are working together with the Legend / OpenQuest systems (he far more than I at this stage it should be stressed) and our aim is to provide the basis for a world that will build through adventuring. It won't be plot driven, as my previous WFRP GMing turned out to be, and it won't be anchored in a branded system or world-in-a-box. Instead, the story will unfold in the shape of a game narrative pulled together as the adventuring party walks away from some encounter seeds while diving headlong into other points of intrigue... possibly with the consequence of losing their heads. Life will likely be short as combat will certainly prove deadly. The fantasyscape will emerge through gaming - everyone will have a say. I have high hopes for this as our gaming group is a creative bunch.

Of course, both endeavours may be accidents waiting to happen. Let's just hope that fortune favours the brave... If it doesn't, well, readers of the Gazette can enjoy watching two simultaneous slow motion car crashes and we'll all come out of this older and wiser!

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

BaneBeasts Ahoy!

Goodness me... Look at this great photo of all the BaneBeasts. Finally (I say to myself) some "real life" photos of these fantastic looking miniatures. I suppose I'll have to get one soon... Loads more pictures on the BaneLegions blog

Monday, 16 April 2012

The Marienburg Gazette 80s Fanzine Style

Inspired by a post over at Fighting Fantasist calling for some retro-80s fanzine style re-imaginings of blogs, here's my attempt with the Gazette. It's not amazing - I only have Word to work with - but I hope it captures the intended spirit :-)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Scibor Minotaurs - Out Of The Box

In a previous post I compared the Scibor resin with the FW and Finecast resins, and talked a little about one of the Scibor minotaurs. This was part of a set of three that I bought from Maelstrom Games during their spring clearance sale. Here are a few initial thoughts on these particular minis and a cluster of out-of-the-box photos...

The box and some pieces
A complete minotaur ready to be trimmed off - but take care modeller... this resin is pretty brittle!
Close Up No.1: good detail on the body
Close Up No.2: After a quick trim these are surely a dream for a serious painter
Minotaur number one stuck together, primed and wearing some initial flesh tones
Overall these are great models. The price (even without the sale discount) is competitive and the sculpts are a whole lot better than the anatomically bizarre offerings from GW. Throw in the scenic bases and these guys are fantastic.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Dire Troll Blitzer Kitbash And Stage One WIP

I find it hard to resist a cool looking model, wherever it comes from. That's why a few weeks ago I tumbled into the jaws of temptation while browsing in the brilliant Firestorm Games in Cardiff and picked up an old style Trollbloods Dire Troll Blitzer from the Hordes range. A bit of a kitbash later and this is where I've got to with it:

A couple of bits from the GW Daemon Prince kit have replaced the little goblin-thing with machine gun. I've also decided to use this rather ferocious chap to work on my techniques for painting blue on miniatures.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Wicked And Twisted - New Artwork

As of today I've returned to working on fantasy, science fiction and horror artwork. After working on some miniatures for a couple of hours I got the urge to grab my inks and palette and splurge something wild and nasty from the bowels of my imagination. I didn't have a canvas or any good quality paper to hand so I had to improvise with the 'support'. So, here he is...

'Cereal Killer' (Acrylic inks on the back of a cornflakes packet)
More beasts, bastards, heroes and demons to come...

"It's Fun To Talk About Heads On Spikes": Alan Moore New BBC Interview

Alan Moore has been on BBC News in a new interview this week talking about his comics generally, anarchy, pornography, and the influence of his work on current culture, popular morality, and protest/anti-corporate politics. A clip can be found here and viewers in the UK can see the full interview here.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Manticore Conversion - Twin Tail, Bad Attitude

A further addition to the Dread Host of the Dark Lord Davey: a Manticore. This is another model this I've had my eye on since it was released by GW, particularly because it can be put together without a rider with no conversion necessary. That being said... I've decided to convert it!

When I got my hands on the scenic base from a Black Dragon as a spare with the Warpfire Dragon from Forge World I couldn't stop thinking about how I might be able to put it to use - a little bout of eBay-ing later and... voila! ... one twin-tailed Manticore with a seriously bad attitude.

Not a complex conversion this one - a little work on the feet to set it up, then a good dose of liquid and 'traditional' greenstuff to join the two tails. A few bits from the Ghorgon kit and greenstuffed spines completed the transformation.

Hopefully it won't be bucketing down with rain tomorrow and I'll be able to get the primer on this chap and get a base coat layer started. 

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Evil Easter Bunny

Someone sent me this great picture, not sure where it's from, but it rather conclusively proves that bunnies can be as scary and evil as clowns. Pleasant holiday weekend one and all!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Scibor, Forge World and Finecast Resin Compared

This morning I was prepping three resin models from Scibor, Forge World and the GW Finecast range, so I thought I'd note some of my experiences and some of the differences when working simultaneously with three resin variants.

Minotaur, Warpfire Dragon, Ogre Firebelly
Scibor Minotaur
This was the hardest resin and in most respects the easiest to work with, although the glue required a little extra pressure to take. Detail is well defined and mold lines can be easily removed (I use a thin pointed trowel-shaped sculpting tool to do this). Most of the effort is taken up with getting the parts of their original 'sprues' and some caution is advisable here, because this hard resin seems quite brittle in some respects - I didn't snap anything, but the way some of the excess pinged off I'd think this is a potential hazard. Filling is limited to small and thin gaps between parts.

Forge World Warpfire Dragon
This is a medium-hard resin, simple to put together, even with the plastic parts. Detail is astonishingly good - certainly the best I've seen. Lots of effort required in filling, although nothing two layers of liquid greenstuff couldn't deal with.

Finecast Ogre Firebelly
Soft and full of flaws - bubble holes (battle damage?!), and a couple of toes missing on the right foot. Easy to put together. I would say that the detail is worth the extra work on filling and re-sculpting though, as the character, stances and dynamics that can be achieved with finecast are brilliant. Once again, however, I had the suspicion that quality control is low because younger customers are less likely to complain...

Overall thoughts
In a direct face-off I think Forge World wins and Finecast certainly loses. The Scibor resin works brilliantly with their sculpts and I'll be buying from them again, although in terms of detail the minotaur is no match for the GW models. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Ghorgon - Stage Two WIP

This guy is really big (6 1/2 inches from hoof to claw) and there's still plenty to do here, but I'm pleased with the progress and the choice of colours. Starting to think about the base now. I want to do something interesting, although relatively basic - I've got my eye on a few scenic bases on eBay... any recommendations?

Monday, 2 April 2012

Forge World Warpfire Dragon - Out Of The Box

Well, I did say I wouldn't be able to resist the Warpfire Dragon from Warhammer Forge... so here it is, out of the box....

Without question the best part of this kit is the detail on the head, which is simply brilliant.
Here's everything as it arrived in the understated FW packaging.
The wings and torso come from this plastic Black Dragon frame - lots of spares to play with later...
All the resin pieces.
Everything ready to come together after a good bath.
Photos at the bottom of my garden in the unseasonably warm Welsh weather.
The plastic and resin components fit together very well - a neat bit of design work
Very dynamic from all angles - this will be an excellent project

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Forge World Open Day Photos *UPDATED*

A few pictures here from a fabulous chap who posted them on Warseer. Obviously I've just pulled a few of the fantasy ones...

Big Squig
Mean looking, isn't he?
A better pic of the Preyton (do they mean Peryton?) than earlier from HERE all credit due :-)

My brother will be very happy to see these... but...
...his wife and his wallet won't be!
Also from HERE a sneak peek at the next Warhammer Forge book: The Battle of Black Fire Pass
Massive slap on the back for the original posting sir, and all photos are here.

Happy Game Of Thrones Day! (Plus April Pipe Dream)

April? Already!? A quarter of 2012 is gone and hobby-wise I'm pretty happy with progress. Loads of projects underway and a great feeling of creativity - plus, longer hours of natural daylight ahead for painting. Happy days. April Pipe Dream is simply... More of the same please!

But hold on...! It's also Game of Thrones Day. And in the spirit of the online marketing push by HBO (which has been pretty smart), I hereby pledge my allegiance to...

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...