Monday, 29 September 2014

Painting 'Battles of Westeros' boardgame: Hear Lannisters roar (with bonus stuff!)

Hi everyone!

First of all I must interrupt the current progamming for an important reason. Mighty Colin from Leadpile organized a contest celebrating his 100 first followers... and I happened to win! =D
Please visit his blog and check the prize! If you still don't follow him, I strongly recommend you to do ;)
Of course the guy will have a post of his own over here, but for the moment I believe I must give the credit and whatever visits I can redirect to Leadpile :)

Now back to regular bussiness and the Battles of Westeros project, I must confess I'm kinda cheating :O. I'm currently on a business travel and I already have the full range of the game painted ;), but I had to dosify it so I wouldn't have a two weeks gap in the blog. So here I am, posting from my hotel in San Remo, Italy, to give some room to Colin and to bring upon you the other half of this project. With no other preambles... House Lannister of Casterly Rock:

Lannisport Guards
By he way, all of them show their little lions on the shields, of course
Casterly Rock Cavaliers. They also have lions painted on their shields
Westerlands Archers
Lannister Heavy Infantry. Tiny lions again
Just as I was telling you the other day, I didn't want to show you pieces of red plastic being painted red, so I've waited until I had all of them finished.

Basically these are the two armies that will clash for the control of Westeros. But I've not been accurate when I said at the beginning that this was the other half of the project. For sure these guys will need someone who leads them into battle, right?

Stay tuned, later this week you'll see the special characters for both armies! :)

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Painting 'Battles of Westeros' boardgame: Starks are coming

You may (or may not) remember that some time ago I painted the War of the Ring boardgame, both Free Peoples and Forces of the Darkness (where the infamous episode of the Paratroll incident took place). It all concluded with this game, after which any sane person would have said, in the better Poe tradition, 'never more...'

Fortunately, no sane people is in sight, so... Ooops, I did it again! But this time I dared to enter into A Song of Ice and Fire. I got a copy of 'Battles of Westeros' and of course I am not allowed to play with unpainted pieces of plastic :D

There are much less miniatures, about a hundred an thirty something, if I recall it right. The plastic is more or less the same type; hmm, not as good material as the War of the Ring one, to be fair. But the minis have a reasonable detailing. There is not as much variety as in the Lord of the Rings game, as you only have two factions in the core game, Starks and Lannisters, so the ranges are more limited; but that doesn't mean there are just a couple of different models. Not at all.

Let me bring you the first of the armies, the House Stark of Winterfell:

War Host of the North
Northmen Archers
Winterfell Riders
Now that I think of it, it's a little bit disencouraging to find that aaall those long hours spent painting these 50 shades of grey can be summarised in just four pics :S

Never mind, now you can see another reason why this summer I have been slowing down my painting rate, I didn't want to show a ton of grey minis being painted... well, a different grey.

Next week I'll be bringing you those other guys in red! :D

Monday, 22 September 2014

Project HeroQuest: Undead

Time to finish the batch of HeroQuest minis I had pending :) Today all the Undead in a row.

'Are you my mummy?' (Some Dr. Who needed to get the reference)
These ones were not that difficult, as the palette of course is quite limited. So quick job, that's like I like it! Uhm, ehrm... That sounded better in my mind...

Three undead peasants coming back from the crop and a warrior
Along the years it looks like I have lost one of the original skellies. I've been able to find... some of the pieces. Apparently I used it for some decoration purposes now I am not even able to remember. Fortunately I also found that other skeleton from the Dark World board game, so I simply added him to the rest of the guys.

Finally, my first not-Zombicide zombies in a while:

The Butcher's Guild
As strange as it may sound, I have particularly enjoyed painting the skellies. Yeah, I know, I know, they bear no mistery, just basecoat, washes and highlights in the same dull palette. But I have enjoyed them anyway. This is dangerous, as I may be buying some more in a while. And them some more. And then... Well, no. I will not be buying the new Nagash mini, there is no risk of that :D

I've finished all the minis! Hooray! I just have a bunch of furniture awaiting, that will be the last part. This is coming to a closure...

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Sparklin' Pulsar

Time to start producing the board I aim for! The Besenval port slums. I cannot stress enough how inspirational Colin from Leadpile and his Ferrograd has been for me. I don't expect to get a quarter of his board, for sure, but I will be happy if I get a humble space to roll some dice on.
I got a couple of MDF buildings from Bandua Wargames. Though they belong to the 'designed for Infinity' range, they can be used for any sci-fi ambientation. You may want to check the rest of their scenery, they provide nice unexpensive options for urban sci-fi settings.

I primed grey on the outside and beige inside, but I thought I could do something more. So a piece of foamboard was the beginning:

Now we have some floor...
What was this building going to be? I thought a small tavern could do nice:

The bar was easy. Shame I didn't manage to build a draught tap
The walls just looked too empty and clean, so I thought some posters were in order:

I may have to look for resources on the web and print them
Using some other bits I got a couple of tables and seats:

So this is the filthy aspect of it
The problem was that the outer looking of the tavern was too shiny. Unacceptable! No (dis)respectful adventurers were getting any action close to such a fancy structure! To get a proper weathering effect I should need an airbrush, I guess. Of course I don't have such a tool but... I got some primer sprays. So I went out to the window and got some strange colours on it (additional effects added with regular brush):

Now it's looking propoerly dirty
And then for the final touch. I needed a sign. I thought of a plain sign over the doors, but then I came with this cheap solution, thanks to some coffe stirrers:

A hanging sign would look better less shabby
Here you can see what Firefly has done to me. You may have at some time spotted a Blue Sun Corporation container in some of my battle reports. I kept on track and wrote some Chinese here too:

That's Chinese for The Sparkling Pulsar according to Google Translator. If anyone out there proves me wrong, I would gladly correct those
Kinda challenging for me, both signs are English on one side and Chinese on the other. Phew!

But finally you can see the tavern finished:

I forgot to show, the building also has doors, but I don't think I will be using them
So here it is, my first step to build up this slum neighborhood I have in mind. More coming soon. Well, or not that soon, you never know when it comes into my erratic way of approaching my projects :D. But coming anyway.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Big Fish

Ok, let's put an end to wave 1 of Troll Outpost's Oldhammer fauna releases :D

The only minis I had left were two Piscean Warriors. Let me show you the pre-painting state:

You could say this is a silverfish. It's a fish. And looks silver.
I really was betting that everyone would paint their Pisceans in grey or any dark colour, resembling eels, but I did want a totally different aspect. Fortunately, Axiom from Magpie and Old Lead proved me wrong and painted his own in an outstanding both natural and alien style. I was also aiming for a colourful style, but... my own way.

A fish walking down the street
The pics are horrible. You have to look really close to see there are black stripes and that there is actually a shadow and highlights work there. Sigh...

I feel like a fish out of water
Also if you look close (or at least take my word), the backpack has some pink-ish colour trying to mimic some kind of pearl surface, in order to connect the sea theme all in a pack. Ok, ok, I tried...

You think I walk funny? I walk better than you swim, furry mammal!
I guess you might have not caught the visual reference for this guy. Ehm... I hope this one leaves no doubt about that...

Nemo? No, I'm not related to Captain Nemo, don't know what you mean
In order to give a slight variety, I replaced the gun with a bolter. Quick and easy. Also tried the same pearl-ish effect on the backpack and used the same colour for the boots/gloves in order to give a group idea.

I've been looking for my kindred so long I have even evolved to an amphibian
So I have these two guys ready to see some action wherever there is enough water for them to feel comfortable!

...Are...Are you my conscience?
I'm in utter need for some more different Pisceans to add some variety! The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Some more big tough guys

Second round! I told you I had another Minotaur by Troll Outpost aka Obscure Creator. OK, here it is :)

You can see its the same mini, but not the same ;) First of all I painted him black. Now that I see it I do believe it fits much better than brown. In order not to have just the same exact mini I thought of a way to swap legs or something, but let's assume it, that's too much work for me lazy guy. I only replaced the bayonet with a piece from my bits box. I went consistent with the red scheme to make him integrated into the unit. And that's it. Here you have next to his buddy:

Now this is some proper bullfighting, not that other weird thing
But this is not all. I also got this other big guy:

The guy who wouldn't dare to become a pirate. Eye-patches and stuff, you know
I had a problem with this one. I painted his skin in the same tones that my HeroQuest Fimirs, as he most probably will be leading them ;). But when I just went on highlighting the mini, the paint I was using reacted in an strange way and then it all became messy and green (I hadn't used that colour in a time and the paint pigment wasn't properly mixed). Well, so it is greener than I expected, but the mini is still greatly sculpted :D

And he is also a real big guy!
I still have to paint two Piscean Warriors to finish the first release I purchased, but they already are on my workbench...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Playing 'Blue Max'

Different stuff today again. Gaming day at last! It had been long enough since my last game to -well, anything. What do we have today? Airplanes in World War I, Blue Max:

Re-edition of the original 1983 game
Blue Max is a board game in which we will use cards and tokens depicting WWI airplanes. Each plane is different, of course, and can maneouver and fight in their own unique way. For this game I played the British and my mate Pablo the Germans:

The contenders
First of all you have to fill in the data sheet. That will allow you to control the damage received and the manoeuvres you will be taking each turn:

Looks complicated but trust me, no big deal
You can see each aircraft has different hull points, and the same applies for the wings, tail and motor. A separate reference sheet tells you the manoeuvres you are allowed to do. That will mostly depend on your speed during previous turn. Besides, each manoeuvre will spend different amounts of fuel, so at some point you will end with your fuel tank empty and you will only be able to glide, oops. But this is getting too abstract, let's see a battle!

Green European fields (France most likely, but not sure about that)
The planes begin to approach
The two markers you see at the plane's tail are related to the height (one tells you the effective altitude and the other one is to show if you are going up, down or staying at the same height level). Here in the upper part of last pic you can see the German Fokker is in three hexagons range to shoot the British Bristol. The attacker will roll a different number of dice depending on such factors as distance to the target, being higher than the rival or shooting short or long bursts (taking the risk of jamming the machine gun).

Alea iacta est. I mean, literally
Let's ignore the numbres for the moment. The colour is what matters. If you get a blue/red mark, you withdraw a card of the damaged area and take as many points as depicted by the card for that colour. If you get no colour (as above) that means the attacker failed the shot.

This turn no one shot no one
But now the German Halberstadt opens fire on the British Sopwith
That's right, if your plane has a rear machine gun, you can also shoot your enemy and surprise him. You can see the shooting arc is marked through black signs on the hexagon.

Ouch! Seven hull points in a row!
But next turn... Oh, retaliation! The incredible manoeuvrability of the Sopwith allowed the plane to face the Halberstadt and...

Ratatatat. Lots of special damage!

The observer was injured and a machine gun destroyed. But on the other side of the battlefield...

The Bristol hits the Fokker with its tail gun
 So things had changed quite quickly! The Sopwith tried again on the Halberstadt, but the German plane decresased altitude. If there is more than one 'height level' difference between the two planes, they cannot be reached.

I miss you. I mean, in that other sense. Like... I don't hit you
However, next turn had some... ehhh... new experiences for us. The Sopwith went down, the Halberstadt went up, they were in the same hexagon... ehrm... They collided!

Dramatization. No actual token was harmed during the game
Both planes received some damage, but kept flying. Phew!

So the battle kept going on, struggling our own dogfights. I guess we weren't too conservative, we actually looked for every opportunity to engage, regardless our own security. So spectacular manoeuvres were totally in order and some real hard fights happened on the air.

Smile! We are on the air!
I guess I have no many reasons to smile

With the Bristol destroyed, the tactical situation was quite different indeed! The remains of the plane would keep on flying, lower every turn, until it eventually crashed into the ground (I believe the plane is considered destroyed and taken out of the board, but this looked nice for us).

This isn't how I planed ton visit France...
The other two planes kept on fighting. By the way, I am giving you some info that rivals shouldn't get to know, like altitude, how much damage each plane has received and so, but woah, this AAR is supposed to serve as a tutorial and what the hell, we play gentlemanly!

Things getting messy
The Fokker is getting altitude again in order to engage...
 Again. We did it again (not on purpose, I promise!). The Sopwith collided with the Fokker

Seriously, guys? You have all the sky and everybody comes here?
 Things were getting difficult for the British:

I believe I heard something like a 'crack' on that wing. I believe we shouldn't build these out of wood and cloth...
Disengaging against all odds
Aaaand engaging again. Ratatatatat
Rudder destroyed!
OK, this was it. The plane from on now is considered to be destroyed. But we simply couldn't resist to a last move for the epic apocalyptic end of the game...

Can't you see where this is leading to...?
OK, OK, this time it was on purpose...

We couldn't resist that, it was for the show... (BTW, the other two planes resulted also destroyed by that hit; but that didn't count for game purposes...)

The game resulted totally fun. It is a reedition of the original one from thirty years ago, so the dynamics are quite contrasted! It works really fine, you get into the skin of those aces of the air and how they felt flying those amazing machines at that time. The rules are easy to learn and the game easy and quick to play. So seriously, go play it!