Thursday, March 29, 2012

11+1: the Servitor

I picked up this mini many moons ago, one of the many gems from the RAFM Cthulhu line. Something about the sculpt really spoke to me. I think it's the combo of the baleful eyes and the crazy flute he's playing. But I put off painting it for way too long. All those tentacles!

The Krieghexe attempts to negotiate with the cthonic visitor.

The good news is, the fig can see uses in all sorts of different games. Went with a swampy green-brown hide, orange for the eyes, and a pagan brassy-gold for the, uh, trumpet? Blowpipe? Who knows. Was originally going to go with a bone white, but it didn't stand out well enough.

The Kontrol Battalion are notorious music critics.

And works as well in 15mm as in 28. (Maybe even better.)

Challenge proceeds apace. The other ten figs are mostly painted, it's just a matter of finishing up the primary coloring, and then the dreaded detailing. A little stumped on how to do an urban camo for Skyline, and man, Twilight has a lot of detailing to chop up. The Andromedan Vizier could be done in a night or so of work, once I figure out the last few colors to complement what I've got there. Getting close.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Why We Fight

I started as an role-playing gamer, and it was many years before I seriously took up miniatures gaming. I ran a larp for... too long. Video games remain a weekly distraction. I enjoy board games with the crew.

But in the end, there's always a role-playing angle to it. Wargames are fun! But I will inadvertently come up with a thumbnail sketch of a story to hang th whole thing on. Different forces have a different character about them, from the methodical plodding of the Kontrol Battalion to the kinetic flow of the Space Demons. I can't help myself. I have a stack of abandoned files, half-written backstories and the like, from when these things just started putting themselves together while I was riding the Metro to work or what have you. It's a weird subconscious urge.

As is, I am cobbling together sketchy notes on my various 15mm scifi forces and shaping it into a vaguely coherent setting. This morning's inspiration was explaining the Essence from Blasters and Bulkheads in an otherwise non-space fantasy setting. Because sometimes I will be playing Gruntz, sometimes Blasters and Bulkheads, but there will be some crossover for the figs. So I want the story to work together. Along similar lines, my scattershot terrain purchases are slowly being sorted into a 'mining colony' board setup and a 'space port' setup. At some point, I will name the port and the mines. Then I start visualizing the port, and hey, the GZG Crusties I picked up could totally be the indigenous aliens who form the major workforce at the space port, and thusly also be the militia that end up defending it in a pinch. Since it won't be a super-advanced port, I start thinking, something out of the way, a little behind the times, etc. Brief notes get taken, to eventually be expanded on. Even if, really, I am mostly writing just for myself? Maybe to spice up the occasional batrep here. I'm good with that. It's a natural instinct.

(The title for this post is taken from the classic WW2 propaganda movies, the Band of Brothers episode, and the Angel episode, because those three taken together are me in a nutshell.) (Oh, and the image above is a Banksy piece; I confess I'm a fan.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Con report: Cold Wars

Last weekend Maurice drove me up to Cold Wars in lovely downtown Lancaster, PA. Just a quick day trip to check out the dealer's room and see what are the haps. 

"I am a weapon of massive consumption..."

I'd been told that, yes, despite it being a historical gaming con, there would be plenty for me to buy. But I doubted! And my doubts were unfounded. Most of the gaming was historical, but there was certainly more options for things for me to buy than I had money with which to buy it. The only thing I wasn't able to track down from the hot topics shopping list was Crooked Dice figs. Old Glory owned a lot of the dealers hall, and there was a lot of interesting terrain and older toys to browse through. Maurice was patient with my slow pace, and man, it was gangbusters.

And oh, the Basement. Essentially a flea market, gamers get to set up tables to hawk their own wares. After seeing many things on those tables selling that I had gathering dust in my basement, I decided that I would shoot to hit Historicon and try and unload a lot of toys I no longer desire. eBay might bring in more for some of it, but not having to fuss with eBay fees, shipping, and the like, very attractive. 

(Amusingly, I all but bumped into Howard Whitehouse, as he was browsing one of the same tables I was. Our industry isn't very large.)

Right, there was some gaming there as well. Many attractive and inspirational tables there. Above was a shot of a game setting up, "Beruit '82: Cross the Green Line." We were drawn to those excellent shacks, and the layout of the courtyard is both realistic and clearly could drive more than a couple scenarios.

And while, yes, it was mostly historical, there were a handful of games to appeal to my interest. We wandered by one Doctor Who game, and past some other fantasy/pulp scenarios. Above was a massive multiplayer pulp Weird War One-ish game. At its heyday it looked like it has about twelve players. My amigo Jake was hip deep in part of it. He was running a secret agent trying to help a disguised princess cross the board to safety behind the battlefront. Each of the players ran a few figs and possibly a vehicle, and had their own objectives. Looks like a real challenge to keep the game flowing and everyone interested, but it was a raucous event every time we showed up, so they seemed to be doing a great job.

(EDIT: a-ha! Accidentally found the above game. Check out "Goodbye to Guns" here.)

Rebel was there, and had quite the setup. Picked up a few blisters from them. The pics of their paint jobs on their website don't do much for me, but in person, wow. Maurice cleaned them out of VIPERs for Aaron, and a good time was had by all. Oh, and they were sharing a booth with Splintered Light, and now I think we're doing 15mm fantasy too. Damn you 15mm! Why are you so affordably tempting!

I also didn't know Brigade was going to be there, because I don't like checking these things ahead of time, apparently. Could have spent my bank then and there, but tried to show restraint. A little. The above two pics show some upcoming figs, and wow. Pulp 15mms and 28mm and wow. 

And the haul. Part one above. Cheap carrying/storage case. The d3s I'd been hunting for Pulp City. Blue Moon and Atomic Cafe for 7tv. One Monsterpocalpyse beastie, some Rebel and Blue Moon for Gruntz or whatever in 15mm. Oddzial Osmy space worms, because wow. Etc.

And part two. Some cheap clicky Mechwarrior figs to be repurposed. Some old Old Crow resins, used and primed black, for my convenience.Terrain odds and ends, including those Proxie Models ruins. One of the hot finds was the buildings in the top row there. The walls snap together, and the roofs sit right on top. I'll be rebuilding them for scifi, likely for the starport terrain I've envisioned. Was apparently from some old railroad terrain called Guidance Town USA. Mongo has a good thread with some links on it here. It is that good, and I will definitely pick more up next time I can find it.

Lots of ideas for the future. In addition to selling junk at Historicon, we're talking demo'ing a game for Gencon. More as that takes shape. Leaning towards Songs of Blades and Heroes for 15mm fantasy, but checking out other options (FUBAR? is there a fantasy version of In the Emperor's name?)

I think that about covers it. On the way home we had Sonic. Which I had never had before. Still not quite sure why it's that popular, but it certainly wasn't awful.

Monday, March 5, 2012

In memorium: Ralph McQuarrie

Visual artist Ralph McQuarrie passed away on Saturday. In his decades-long career, one of his crowning achievements was creating the looks for many of the iconic characters from Star Wars that influenced a generation of fans and inspired countless budding wargamers, myself included. Spend a few minutes to track down some of his original concept art, and marvel at what he saw through his mind's eye and gave to the world.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

11+1: Doctor Dee

Presenting the nefarious Doctor Dee! Never a major player himself, this mad medicine man is oft found in the employ of SHIVA or the Mysterious Man, ready to thwart the heroes with his arcane alchemical creations or other dark science.


I paint in a lot of browns and grays, so I always have to force myself to not stick to those all the time. But the muted, dirty colors worked too well here.

As soon as I saw the sculpt, I knew I had to pick it up. Will work wonderfully as a villainous Mad Scientist co-star for 7tv, but could easily find a place in Pulp City, or even AE-WWII (maybe a French partisan hero?)