Wednesday, 30 October 2013

'Geth' What Arrived in the Mail!; time for more Mass Effect!

It's been a quiet few days on the hobby front, though a few bits and pieces for different projects are on their way, as well as some major personal news I can't quite share yet.

Today's post, however, is devoted to one of the more exciting bits of news I have to share - Geth! Yes, those pesky AI enemies of organic life have left the Perseus Veil that is international shipping and finally arrived in Temora.
As the primary opponent of the first Mass Effect game, and major foes of the second and third games, the Geth are one of the more iconic images from Mass Effect universe. They're also remarkably interesting opponents. While at first they come across as little more than generic grunt-bots Saren can throw in your path for Shepard and co to slaughter, the second game introduces Legion as a squadmate, and with him the realisation that not all Geth 'worship' the Reapers, and in the third game you get a glimpse into the origins of the war between the Geth and their Quarian creators. Far from being a case of AIs spontaneously running rampant and attacking their creators, the Geth are shown to be naive and victimised, only taking up arms when their entire existence was being threatened. Gotta say, much as I love Tali, the Quarians were basically assholes in ME3.

So anyway, obviously any serious attempt at a Mass Effect tabletop game needs some kind of model to serve as the Geth. This is a pretty major challenge, since they can't be proxied with any old sci fi armoured trooper with a headswap. Luckily I was saved the perils of trying to convert whole models by Mantic, and their Dreadball Kickstarter last year. One of the early stretch goals for the game was for an MVP special character called 'Wyn Greth'ski', the accompanying concept art was basically a Geth, minus a gun. Thanks Mantic!
Well, I wasn't too interested in the game Dreadball, but I did back the Kickstarter - and ordered 21 Geth'skis! Ouch, quite a costly investment, but at the end of the day, money well spent. This should give me enough for my purposes. I certainly hope so, since the models were exclusive to the KSer, and it would be difficult to get hold of many more I suspect.
So with my 21 I plan to create the following:
- 8 Troopers
- 3 Rocket troopers (spammin' rockets for days)
- 3 Hunters
- 3 Pyros
- 3 Snipers (remember those?)
And Legion.
Depending on things, I may forgo one of the snipers in favour of converting a model to represent my Geth Trooper character from ME3 multiplayer. One of my favourite classes, his flamer ability is insanely overpowered. Just nuts.

So, that's a lot of words, time for some pics. The Wyn models are almost perfect right from the start. I'm happy to overlook minor deviation from the Geth, such as the different feet and slightly larger shoulder plates, but I am going to do some conversion work to their backs to create the 'spine' of wires they have, and to cover over the large blank 'numberplate' all Dreadball models have on their back.
Weapons are slightly more of a challenge. My sculpting skills are pretty crap. But Geth weapons aren't too complex, and I'm hoping I can create things that looks right even if they're not super detailed/polished.
With that in mind, let me present the first geth trooper I've cleaned, assembled and modified, as well as a horrible looking pulse rifle.

More news soon, thanks for reading.


Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Green Beast; finished bandit buntai

And done. Finished up the bandit leader and ronin this morning, and based them all this afternoon. Pretty happy with the finished result. Not my best paintjobs, but they're vibrant and will good on the table, which is what matters with models like this.

Friday, 25 October 2013

The Green Recruits; finished Ronin bandits

More progress on the bandits today, finished up most of the buntai. I decided to leave the Ronin and Leader to paint separately, since they're both more important and more detailed models.
However the rest of the band is now finished, barring the bases and possibly a few details if I notice anything I forgot. Overall, I'm pretty happy with them. High contrast, intense colours. They should stand out on the table nicely.
I don't really have much grasp of Japanese heraldry/symbols, so I just copied designs from the studio models to add some iconography to their armour.

Bandits take on the Sohei. My money's on the Sohei...

Let me know what you thinks, and thanks for reading.


Thursday, 24 October 2013

Mean and Green; WIP bandit buntai

More painting progress. Got the skin and green on my bandits done. Once they're finished I'll be up to 187 finished models for the year, definitely on track to break 200, and maybe 250 even. Pretty chuffed about that.

So not much to say about these guys really. Currently they are VERY green, I'll admit. That should be slightly toned down once they have a motley assortment of other colours added, but the goal to be to give them a green 'uniform', without making them too cohesive (they are bandits after all).
Basically, my thinking when it comes to skirmish games is to try and give different forces strong colour schemes based around a single colour. My sohei, who follow a fairly standard scheme, are predominantly yellow. My bushi buntai, when I eventually do one, will be red. I don't follow this principle in all cases, but it's a general guide that I think helps make each skirmish force visually distinct.
I'm a lot happier with the painting for these guys than I was with the Sohei, especially since green is probably the colour I paint least. I've tried to include some skin tone variation, a mix of darker and lighter tones. Hopefully the exaggerated contrasts will really make them pop on the tabletop, I'm hoping to have them finished my the weekend for a game of Ronin with two fully painted buntai and fully painted terrain. That may well be a first for my gaming career...

~ Alex/Magos

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Pale Ranga Dwarf; another Bloodbowl blocker

As promised, painting has happened today. I finally got my act together and cleared my desk a bit, and decided to knock out another member of my Bloodbowl team, since I have about six weeks left to finish the whole team (and learn to play better...).

Anyway, I want my team to have a fair bit of variety when it comes to skin tone. My first dwarf was fairly ruddy toned, this time I decided to do a paler dwarf, which makes sense given they spend so much time underground. I used more blues and purples in the skin to try and make the shading cool rather than warm. In general, he's not quite as good as the first team member, but that's mostly due to me spending less time on him I think. And while the overall result may not be quite as good, I'm far happier with the cloth, which was the only think I didn't like about the first. So that's progress. I'm still not totally sold on the gold. Metallic silver is easy to create depth, colour etc, gold is much harder.
I tried to stretch my skills a bit on the tattoos for this guy, creating a scaly green dragon that twists down his back. Suffice to say, it's pretty crap, though I tried to salvage it from ruining the model. I think in future I'll stick to simple abstract swirls...
I also went back and added some colour to the monochrome test base I did. I'm glad I opted to go with the coloured version, it adds a lot to the model I think.

Let me know what you think!

The team so far:

Oh, and in the process of painting this fellow I finished my Russian Rulers History podcast (until the next episode is uploaded at least), so, given my recent interest in Japanese history thanks to Ronin, I've started the Samurai Archives Japanese History podcast. Should be interesting, since I'm unfamiliar with much of Oriental history.

Thanks for reading,
~ Alex/Magos

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

From the fury of the Bandits, deliver us; Ronin battle report

Gee, has it been over a week since I last posted? Time flies. 
Haven't managed to get any painting done, oops. My painting desk is a clutter right now and I haven't had the motivation to organise it enough to start painting again, though it'll happen soon, don't worry.
In the absence of new painted models, I bring a peace offering of game photos however. Yes, amazingly, I managed to organise time for not one, but two games of Ronin over the last two days. This is probably some sort of personal record for time elapsed between buying  a new game and playing it!

The good news is that Ronin is absolutely awesome. Great fun, super quick and simple to pick up, but after two games I'm already imaging how much fun campaigns would be with it. Not to mention using the ruleset for other settings, such as gladiators.

The two games we played were 100 and 150 pts respectively, just learning our way through the rules, and limited by what models came in the starter forces. I played bandits first time, and beat my brother who was using my Sohei (and who had abysmal luck with the dice). Then we switched sides and he returned the favour by annihilating my Sohei, who failed a few critical rolls. Hmm, I think the monks need to pray harder.
The results were a surprise to me, since from reading the rules, I'd been worried the Bandits would struggle to compete with the better trained, better equipped Sohei. Numbers really made a huge difference though.

I took some pics of the first game, but the ones of the second are better quality and better organised, so I'll stick with those. Behold my defeat.

My Sohei deploy at the edge of the village. We were playing straight annihilation, no scenario.

And the whole-table shot showing deployment:

After the first turn - I drew first blood, wounding a peasant and a yari-bandit, but his teppo armed gashira grievously wounded one of my Sohei - not a good trade!

Turn two marked a total pile in, as his superior numbers meant that I left my leader in a vulnerable position and didn't have any way to reinforce him. Oops. I killed a peasant, and wounded another, and thanks to some miraculous sixes on his defence rolls, my leader got away with only a minor wound. This was the critical moment of the battle - my leader rolled well enough to grievously wound his leader, but I re-rolled one of the dice, figuring I had a 50% chance of outright killing him, and only a 1/6 chance of making the result worse... and I rolled a 1!

After the movement phase of turn three, the combat only got thicker. My outnumbered monks tried to protect my leader, but even so, I was definitely on the back foot.

Despite killing the bandit leader, the rest of my band, including my leader, did not fare well...

I clung on for another turn, but in the end my last remaining Sohei threw down his naginata and surrendered. The Bandit leader lay dead, but the fearsome Ronin the band had hired looked set to take up the leadership and continue the bandit's reign of violence...
Here is how the field of carnage looked:

Like I said, Ronin is super fun, and I'm keen to expand my existing forces' options and add some more Buntai to the mix, as well as extra terrain.

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Don't Trip on This Pitch; Bloodbowl bases

Yesterday the postie (who probably delivers more parcels to my house than the rest of the street combined...) dropped off a small box from Poland. In contained the MicroArt bases I'd ordered to use with my Bloodbowl dwarf team, as well as a polite note from Australian Customs letting me know they hadn't found anything illegal in my parcel (bet the inspector was kind of confused though).

Anyway, I painted up a couple tonight, and got some opinions on which looked better:

The general consensus was for colours, so I'll go back and add some to the anvil base. Having settled on a scheme, I based up my current painted model. As an aside, I went back and painted the edges of my Ronin Sohei's bases black too, since one of my WAU readers pointed out I'd forgotten that.

I'm looking forward to heading down to Melbourne for Massivebowl, but really need to get stuck into finishing the team. Although I do now have an extra fortnight, since the event had to be rescheduled (thanks Obama Scott).

In the immediate future though... well, I still need to paint the Bandits for Ronin, and I've been re-enthused for my Mass Effect project, so might have a few new members of the team to paint. My geth should hopefully be here sometime in the next month, which will be exciting.

That's all for now, happy gaming bros.


Thursday, 10 October 2013

Cerberus Cannon Fodd... Assault Troops; finished Cerberus squad

I managed to finish off the Cerberus troopers today, though looking at the photos I can see plenty of bits that could use touching up. They look pretty great on the tabletop though, if I do say so myself.
The Cerberus symbol on the base on one of them was something of an experiment. I plan on leaving the bases black, since ideally I'll end up using them in a variety of different terrain types. 

Anyway, here's pics:

Let me know what you think of them.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

The Cake is Birthday Flavoured; ramblings, finished Sohei and WIP Cerberus

Well, it's been a while, but this will probably be a lengthy post, to somewhat make up for it.

I have to say, I was a bit disappointed with my start on the Sohei for Ronin. I worked on them a little bit more, but spent almost a week without picking up a brush, in a bit of a funk because of it. I think I was just a bit burned out, and needed a short break from hobbying hard.
Thankfully, after putting them aside for a week, I've now finished off the Sohei and am satisfied with them. They're far from my best work, but I have scores of models from a dozen different games all begging for attention - my inner perfectionist is almost never satisfied, and if I always insist of trying to perfect each model, I'll end up getting nothing finished - like the last three or four years! I'd rather play with fully painted, if only tabletop quality, forces, than half finished ones.

Anyway, here are some pics of the finished Sohei. Provisionally finished, at least, as I may still tweak things or tidy up flaws. The faces are particularly poor I feel. Oh well, here they are:

Senior monk with tetsubo -

Sohei monks with naginata -

Initiates with teppos and yumi -

So, in other news of the last week...

On Saturday I downloaded and dived into the Battlefield 4 beta test, pretty excited. I've only started playing FPS games in recent times, and most of that has been Counter Strike. I'm keen to move on to a bigger game with more options, and the two franchises of note are of course Battlefield and Call of Duty. I've never played either, though I enjoy watching Xcalizorz play Call of Duty. Anyway, Battlefield would certainly be my preferred game, and the beta certainly offers what looks like, to me, a pretty awesome game.
Unfortunately... it's a glimpse viewed in slow, jerky fashion. The lag is horrifically bad, and most of the eight hours I've spent in game over the last few days have involved me dying, over and over, to enemies who shoot me around corners or materialise from nowhere in front of me, several seconds after my health drops to zero. Frustrating, to say the least. Hopefully things will improve before the games launch, or else I may end up going for the far cheaper Call of Duty, which is also promising me marksman rifles, my favourite style of weapon...

TL:DR - I wasted most of my weekend playing video games. No one cares.

On Monday I enjoyed a rather low key birthday. Happy birthday to me. 22 years old. I feel ancient. Like I said, low key. Pretty much the only gifts I asked for were a couple of books, mostly Mass Effect related, including the recently published collected volume of the four graphic novel series by Dark Horse. It's an absolutely gorgeous tome, and while I've never really enjoyed comics, naturally I make an exception for anything Mass Effect related. The stories, while short, are great, and really provide glimpses of events that occur outside the games.
The upshot of reading more Mass Effect stuff is that it's served to reinspire me to chip away a little more at that eternal project of mine.
I already had a five man Cerberus squad, made of the rather nice Mantic Enforcers, assembled and undercoated. While not perfect matches for the Cerberus assault troopers, they are pretty close, and certainly the closest I can get for both an affordable price and not requiring major conversion. I currently have 30 of these, although I have another 30 odd coming as part of my Deadzone pledge. I plan on using them as Blue Suns as well as Cerberus troopers, so having lots won't hurt.

These guys are still wip, though there isn't a whole lot more once I finished the black and white. All the intricate plates are painfully slow to paint. I managed to cover around twenty years of Russian History this evening while painting. Now that I'm almost up to date with the highly recommended Russian Rulers history podcast, I need to start looking for a new one to listen to while I paint. I'm thinking Japanese history, given my woeful ignorance of the fascinating history of the Orient.

Anyway, here's the WIP Cerberus troopers, I think they're looking good so far:

Well, thanks for reading this lengthy and verbose post, sorry for rambling a little. I'll try and make my next update a little sooner. I think I'm back in the painting groove now, and I'm rattling towards 200 models painted for the year!