Thursday, 26 February 2015

Home of the Arbites

You may remember my Adeptus Arbites Force. They will of course have lead roles for my Besenval Port project, I can think of a couple or scenarios in which they would fit in ;)

But of course I thought that they cannot simply appear out of nowhere, can they? Life on the neighbourhood can be rough, you never know when a riot is about to break out, when the harbour unions are marching on strike, when the mutants decide to rise or even if you are going to have a Besenval Tea Party. Wow, you really need to have some Arbites permanently stationed over here! :D

The solution came from Sarissa Precision once again (yes, I made quite a purchase, and this is not even the last building I go from them!). Their sci-fi helipad was just what I needed.

Should have taken pics of the process, but I totally forgot! My bad.
 A beautiful, lovely kit, as everything they do. I tried to be coherent with what I already have, hence the black colour with the yellow stripe. I also added the Arbites shield on the wall:

I used a decal for the fist. It totally flaked off and had to paint it, just what I was trying to avoid!
The final touch was a proper sign above the entry door. I went for the easy ride, no complications:

Just a spare MDF piece coming out from all the kits I'm building
I glued it to the handrail and made the simplest text I could make out. It had to be in proper Gothic, obviously. Vicus is Latin for district and statio for... well, station!

I must confess I took some risks with this set. I wasn't sure at all of the size of the building and specifically of the helipad itself. But the Emperor is merciful and granted me a building with the exact measures for my Arvus Lighter to land on top of it:

For the skin of the teeth, but well, it fits in!
Glad I didn't use a Valkyrie or an Aquila Lander!
So now we have the last stronghold of law within the perilous district of Besenval. Still working on the people and buildings, all the stuff that makes it perilous! Stay tuned!

Monday, 23 February 2015

I love it when a plan comes together

"In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team"


OK, this was too tempting, I couldn't begin this entry in any other way :D The minis (officially 'Barca & boys') are sculpted by Paul Hicks and saw them on the Hasslefree web.
Hannibal. Not the elephants guy
Well, this one could be in the Miami Vice cast too
I'm a bird! I'm a plane! I'm a choo-choo train!
I pity the fool who doesn't like these minis

The Team
Now I have to look for a proper diecast van ;)

Of course I cannot resist. This is the video you are singing in your mind right now :D


I suddenly feel the urge to find a suitable game for these, something with troubled farmers, evil thugs and MP's on the run...

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Port warehouse

I have a port, I have crates, now I have a canal barge too... Until I get a crane, I think that what I'm missing here is a proper warehouse ;)
Sarissa Precision make this wonderful one:

There was some assembling needed previous to this pic
Why white? I don't want everything to be totally rusty like the bridges or walkaways you've seen before. I thought it could be cool to make this piece look old and rusty, but still keeping its original colours. Some decayed style but still looking appealing, if that was ever possible.

Unfortunately I totally forgot taking pictures during the process! (D'oh!)

Thanks to my time machine, the aging of years was achieved in just a few hours :D
I thought of painting the inside and making it playable. But I wasn't quite sure of what to do, and I still have lots of buildings and stuff to do, so I have left it this way for the moment, waiting for inspiration to come. I'm using the inside just as a box for storage purposes (dealing with all those ladders and handrails is a real pain when you try to storage these buildings!)

OK; I know, I said it before... I need a new board!
Another piece of scenery done, let's see what comes next...

Monday, 16 February 2015

Playing Descent

Finally! We finally got to play this one!

Well, it's been a time, but we managed to put our hands on the game. Our purpose being playing kind of an introductory game, we chose a simple scenario not that complicated. We played The Monster's Hoard scenario:

You can see the monsters. The hoard... well, we were kinda short of budget...
The quest consists of escorting Frederick, an old farmer who was a formidable archer in his youth, to the hoard where his magic bow of old is kept. In Descent, one player acts as the evil Overlord while the rest team up to defeat his evil plots. We chose our characters by the ancient and widely checked system of... pure random :D
We got Jain Fairwood, female Scout with her longbow; Syndrael, ironclad Elf Warrior; Widow Tarha, the She-Orc Necromancer; and Grisban the Thirsty, Dwarf Warrior.

Heroes marching towards the danger! (Epic background music)
Let's talk about the character's skills. Here you have Grisban's character sheet:

Lot of stuff, huh?
Pretty intuitive, despite containing so much information. The central column has the most relevant information you need, i.e. speed (how many squares you can move), health (how many injuries you can suffer), stamina (how many 'fatigue tokens' can you take -we'll get into that later) and defense (how many dice you'll roll when receiving an attack).
The data below relate to Might, Knowledge, Willpower and Awareness, different skills thay may be required during certain quests (avoid hidden traps, dodge special attacks...). Besides, you can see each hero has a particular ability and a 'heroic feat'. Well, all of this makes each character quite unique, that's for sure!

Each character has two actions per turn (move, attack, rest, use a skill, search...), and you can repeat them, so you can move and attack or move twice if you prefer so. So ok, that's pretty much all you need to know for the moment. Let's see some action!

Heroes scattered!
How do these dice work? (Ehrm... I mean the colous and stuff, not the dice themselves :D) When attacking, you'll use the red&blue or the yellow&blue dice. The hearts represent the wounds inflicted (the numbers are only used for distance attacks, representing the range). You can also see that small bolt on the blue die in the pic above; that's a 'surge', an intensifier for special attacks as depicted in the equipment or skills cards each character got at the beginning of the game.
I'm giving too much detail, I'll skip the details. The black die has some shields; as you can imagine, the more shields, the more effective your defending action is.

The ladies kill the Merriod boss!
Slow-mo replay! (well, some imagination required...)
For the purpose of this scenario, when a monster is slain, the Overlord can simply put it again on the board at the beginning of the next turn on the the entrance, so the heroes now will be attacked from the front and rear! (One reinforcement monster per turn maximum)

The dwarf, being the slowest, stays to gain some time for the team
The farmer runs, the Merriod pursues him, and the ladies pursue the Merriod. A little too much Benny Hill maybe?
Die, beast, die!
Uhhh, guys, I'm part of your same team, right? Seriously, stop doing this!

 Some special actions or skills produce some 'fatigue', as they are really powerful, but stamina consuming. You have to keep an eye on that, you don't want your hero to become so exhausted he can do nothing! You must sometimes put him to rest to recover (if you can!)


Our brave, selfless, devoted Dwarf friend demises, while the Ettins come forward for the rest

Demises? Not really! Heroes are considered knocked out when they lose all their health points, so they can come back for the next turn! (That's why they are heroes, right?) You roll two red dice and recover as many health points as hearts rolled (and stamina points as surges rolled). So the character will be weaker (just got beaten up!), but alive!


The team manages quite well
They found the key to the door, so they went that way, hoping to make it quicker.

Running all over like headless chickens
One of the Merriods disengaged the Dwarf and went over the rest, while a new Ettin just came into the board again.

Mayhem on the board
You sure you wanna open that door?
Told ya! Don't open the door to strangers!
With the Dwark knocked out again (and two monsters on their way to keep him like that), the grey Merriod  and the Ettin launched a two-pronged attack on the team, trying to reach the farmer.

Oooops! Sure this was part of the plan?
Trust us, we're professionals.
See?
So now our heroes had a clear path all ahead, and all the monsters just pursuing them from the entrance. The poor Dwarf, beaten to a pulp, found no reason to keep more monsters at bay.

Come on guys, wait for me!
F%&k, these guys are quick
OK, take the VIP outta here! Now!
So after a few turns of frantic pursuit and a dying-and-coming-back Dwarf, the heroes finally put the former farmer to a firmer position :P

Out of reach!
So the heroes prevailed and conducted Frederick the legend of old to their destination. Victory!

You have seen the dynamics, I guess you could say this is some kind of evolution of dungeon explorers taking HeroQuest as the starting point. The game is simple enough to get into it in a few minutes, and the turns are quite fluid too, so everything comes down nicely. The heroes not really dying is something new (at least for me), it's fun, and the reinforcements for the Overlord make the game change from a search & kill to a pursuit, which is also nice, I believe. So good impression on the whole!
Whoah, it really took a time for us to finally play this one, but it was woth of it!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Bonus piece (Ship V.2)

Hiya there!

This is but an extension to the latest entry ;) I got some interesting feedback on the forums regarding the canal barge, and in fact I got a couple of ideas that I could easily see (and implement!). I was accused of a disturbing lack of skulls (it's an improvement! I tend to be accused of lack of skills! :D You see, every letter counts!). Though this was supposed to be warhammerized, I consciously avoided the use and abuse of skulls. But I was suggested to add some cherubs, and I immediately saw that!

I don't have any baby model to which I can stick up a pair of wings (or, for that very issue, any actual WH40K cherub), but I have a few of the cherubs from the WHFB Imperial Chapel. I have done this tiny experiment:

You can always find a place for this
Besides, I was also reminded of how dangerous life can be for underhivers and, well, dwellers in general of the vast Imperium of mankind, wherever they may be. So a guy living on his boat, smuggling or just trading along cities and perilous shores must for sure count with some extra firepower on board!

Easy and effective!
So with just these two small additions, suddenly the barge happens to have much more personality!

I should have thought about this from the beginning
So thanks for the ideas! Much appreciated! I'm currently having a look at toy stores trying to find a (cheap) industrial crane. Everything looks too pricey for what I humbly pretend, but there are some nice options out there. I'll let you know...

Monday, 9 February 2015

Sailing through the river

Some more scenery for the Besenval port project. I may have a harbor and some crates, but I definitely didn't have any ships! Of course I had to put an end to this senseless blody mess.

As part of all the stuff I purchased from Sarissa Precision there was this lovely canal barge:

It is supposed to look like the image behind
Once again quite an intuitive set, wonderfully designed and in which every piece fits in just perfectly.

You know me, I tried to make the rear space open and detailed in the inside, but this time it really made no sense:

There is no actual space for a mini!
But if this barge was to be set in a RT-esque atmosphere, the least I could do was a little customization work! I tried subtle additions, nothing too flamboyant. A few tech pieces (not too much), a gun (being a merchant can be dangerous out there!), some purity seals showing that the barge has the official Adeptus approval, maybe even the letter of marque merchant ready for inspection when required.

Tiny pieces here and there
Some painting work later, the barge had this aspect:

Too clean maybe?
 Who would sail this beauty? I had the perfect answer ready for this moment. When I told you about the Goblinaid Snorklings I said I had the Kev Adams self portrait. This was the moment:

C'mon, tell me he doesn't have the looks for it!
My original plan was purchasing some other sailors, but until I get them, Capt. Adams will be the guy in charge :)

Moving goods from here to there. Different fees depending on if the Authorities are to know or not...
When on the canal, it looks like this:

I will carry you, your pet or your merchandise... for a price
I'm trying to look for a proper crane for the port. For the moment the Fenris' Ichabod is the only thing I've found. Lovely and gorgeous as it is, I fear it may be too big. Anybody out there does already own it and can share any experience? Or do you know any alternative?

Thanks! Hope you like this!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Project HeroQuest: Ogres

Here it begins! Stage 2 is on the go. But, 'what the hell does that mean?' I hear, 'did we finally lose him in madness?' Not yet. Time to explain my plan...

After I finished bringing back my old original HeroQuest (I'm leaving you the last entry I did about it just to refresh memories) in what I pompously called 'Stage 1' of this project in my mind, I knew I was not going to stop there (No geek with some self respect would). Step 2 into completeness meant doing the same with all the original expansions, which I was lucky enough to have as a child :)
Then, this so called -by me 'Stage 2' ain't but an extension of Stage 1, I'm afraid.
A future Stage 3 will comprise the renovation (little by little) of the ranges. Those Otherworld Skellies or Orcs are too tempting for me to resist.

Anyway, enough of plans fo the future; you came here for minis, so minis I will bring.
Was there a way of making these guys look different? (You know, my eternal obsession...) The sculpt is designed to make them look kinda shabby, and that's how they've always been depicted. But if you have a look at the art from the box, they actually don't look anything like that.

The image had little to do with the minis inside...

They look menacing and wealthy in fact, members of a society, a culture, not just ugly giant cavemen. What if I explored that vibe?

Not wanting to alter the sculpts or make any conversions (that will probably come for Stage 3?), but rather working just with the raw material, I thought of adding details to the clothes, to make them look more opulent, in a slightly better style.

Arabesques is the solution, man
It's amazing how much a simple pattern can make appearances change. The tiny laces on the jerkin's neck put me on the path, so I tried different trimmings on all of them.

Some of them simpler, some of them more intrincated
Couldn't really say if they look medieval, Byzantine or whatever, but I found peace of spirit in this, so I went on :D

Ogre Champion
Ogre Chieftain
Ogre Lord
It may be an easy solution, but I think it was a fine, uncomplicated way to make them look different to the usual Ogres and to make them different one from each other, given the little variety of sculpts.

Uhhh, guys, we have a problem...
Well, a little challenge, I enjoyed trying this. In fact I wouldn't mind repeating the experience, may have to look for more Ogres... ;)


Bonus!
The next step for this Stage 2 will obviously be (tracking and) painting the Wizards of Morcar expansion set. I already painted the Orc Shaman, but I still have to find the rest of the minis. I've been delving into my bits boxes and for the moment this is what I rescued from oblivion:

Strikingly awful paintjob from the nineties! Aaargh!
So, well, while I'm trying to find all the missing minis and pieces, I'll keep on moving onto other projects, so... different stuff coming soon!