You'll find a little of everything here. Genres covered in this blog include (so far) prehistorics, fantasy, old west, swashbucklers, pulp, Blood Bowl, Ghostbusters, gladiators, nautical, science fiction and samurai in 6mm, 15mm, 28mm, 40mm, 42mm and 54mm sizes. You'll also find terrain, scenery, basing, gaming, modeling, tutorials, repaints, conversions, art and thoughts in general about the hobby.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mice and Mystics: Downwood Tales WIP


I got a good start on my minion figures from the Downwood Tales expansion for Mice and Mystics. I started off by using my monochromatic method to paint the skin on the frogs and newts; I'm finding it very easy to speed paint large areas of skin like this. It also goes a lot faster, of course.

I still need to clean up and paint the clothing, weapons, and accessories, but the hard part (for me, anyway) is already done. I'm not sure if I'll be able to finish these this week, but with this good start, it will be much easier to pick up where I left off.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Going home

Been quiet here at the blog; I've been off on vacation, away from the painting table. I've been yearning to paint, but I'll see how I feel once I sit back down at my table. I also have other stuff to take care of this week, including getting a new car and all the paperwork that goes with that.

I've been enjoying the teaser pics on twitter of miniatures for the upcoming Tail Feathers game. It's not an expansion, but a spin-off skirmish game, which takes place in the Mice and Mystics world. The creators said they want to create stats so that the mice from Mice and Mystics can be played in Tail Feathers. I assume this means, then, that these new figures will be the same scale, in which case those birds are going to look great.

So I may be painting some Mice and Mystics figures when I get home; I still have some Downwood Tales stuff to paint. I look forward to trying to mark another project off the long list.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Don't be a thrall!

Just a friendly reminder that Space Cadets: Away Missions is in it's final hours. Despite the funding total you see, Stronghold has decided to unlock all of the stretch goals up to $130K! Take a look before you miss out on some goodies: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/strongholdgames/space-cadets-away-missions


Monday, February 16, 2015

Zombicide: Skinner Zombies


Here are all the skinner zombies from the Rue Morgue core box. These painted up nice and fast (as i had expected; you saw how fast I did the one in the video.) These took all of a couple hours (OK, maybe three) to finish.

The color turned out nice. I was worried they were getting a touch washed out and maybe MAYBE close to the grays, but altogether, these take on a beautiful sepia tone; they definitely have their own identity among my zombie collection. I'm not sure what color I'll paint the seekers yet -- probably a dark blue of some sort.

My Rue Morgue box set is entirely painted, now. I'm glad I got through it all; my other Zombicide stuff took me about a year of on-and-off painting. I'm all ready for the Angry Neighbors expansion (and Kickstarter extras). That one shouldn't take too long, which is good, because I imagine my Mercs: Recon stuff will arrive soon after, and I will probably need the summer to get through that stuff, and then there will be Conan, Space Cadets and Return of the Dragon minis to paint ... I should probably lay off the Kickstarters for a while.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Zombicide monochrome: How to Video!

Yes, I set aside my Luddite ways for just a few minutes, put a camera between me and my painting, bumbled through Moviemaker and then Handbrake trying to figure out how to make the file size smaller, and created this short video demonstrating how I paint my zombies for Zombicide.

If you want to follow along and paint, here is a list of supplies I used:
-- Grubby old brush -- a little larger (Size 3 or 4)
-- (paints) Black
-- P3 Bootstrap Leather  (or just a dark to medium brown)
-- Foundry Base Sand (or any light tan/beige color)
-- Foundry Raw Linen (any off white; raw linen has a touch of yellow/green to it.)
-- water, paper towel, mini!

This was just one zombie; I usually apply one color to about a dozen zombies or so before moving on to the next layer/color. This zombie takes about 4 minutes to paint, but en masse, I can finish a dozen zombies in a little over ten minutes.

One last note: I went just a touch heavy with the paint here -- it's just a matter of wiping off a little more excess. The effect still works, it just takes a little longer to dry.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Zombicide: Skinners WIP


The skinner zombie in front is a final version of the palette I'll be using for my monochrome look. These four are otherwise mostly finished (save for some cleanup I need to do to the bases.) I just wanted to get my palette finalized before I launch into painting the bulk of this group of zombies -- I can't wait to paint the crawlers.
Here's the recipe I use (which is easy to recreate from other brands if you choose.)
-- A touch of black mixed with P3 Bootstrap Leather.
-- Bootstrap leather, maybe with a touch of Foundry Base Sand 10A
-- Foundry Base Sand highlight 10A
-- Foundry Raw Linen 30C

The first three colors can just be drybrushed on. I use a finer brush and a slightly more patient hand to do final highlights with the raw linen; in the photo, the zombie out front has the raw linen highlights.
Honestly, I think these look just OK up close, but I still think the overall effect of the mob looks great.

Other things

While, you've been waiting for me to paint miniatures,
I've been off painting random odd things such as pie.
You might have noticed things have been slow here the past couple months. I lost my father at the beginning of January, and it took a lot of energy out of me. He was a lot of the impetus behind my painting (miniatures as well as more traditional arts; I've posted some of his stuff on my blog before.) My dad mostly built model ships from scratch, and my grandfather before him built dollhouses,also from scratch. But I'm the painter in the family line.
I've been trying to get my energy back up so I can get back to the painting table; a lot of the stuff you've seen in the past few weeks that I've painted, I had to push myself to get them finished. 

I have been keeping as creative as I can, otherwise, to keep the brushes moving. A lot of that energy has been applied to putting paint to canvas rather than miniatures. 

But this quick little quartet of zombies felt good -- unforced. So I hope to get back into my regular painting routine soon. I certainly have enough stuff on my table (and more to come; I best hurry.)

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Looking at Space Cadets: Away Missions

The kickstarter for Space Cadets: Away Missions has stalled out a little bit, and I suspect it's because many pledgers were hoping for lots of freebies, which aren't coming (read more at the end of this post). Everybody likes to get those great bonuses for sure, but you really need to step back and take a look at that core product you are pledging for. If you like the core product, then offer your backing, but don't back something hoping for more. You wouldn't walk into a movie theater, buy a ticket and expect the theater to provide you with free snacks and drinks.

Anyway, here is why I like Space Cadets, and why I think you should take a closer look. Unlike the current big-box, minis-heavy phenom, Conan, or previous campaigns such as Zombicide, Space Cadets doesn't have gobs and gobs of miniatures. They don't have dynamic poses and they're not designed by the most famous artists in the industry. But they are part of a game inspired by a simpler age in science fiction, when the monsters were guys in rubber suits and the heroes and their acting were stiff as a board.

I appreciate the figures because, for me, the stiff poses and sculpts give off the perfect 1950s, low-budget scifi movie vibe. There are plenty of super-dynamic, giant-gun-toting, pigeon-toed, ultra anima style figures out there, but sometimes, I want something that is pure and simple and communicates its intention as a game piece should: "This figure represents Captain Riggs, and that figure is the sentinel he needs to destroy." Honestly, do people spend more time sitting at the table admiring how amazing a board game miniature looks, or do they spend more time playing the game?

Looking at Space Cadets, reminds me of how I watch the classic Star Trek TV series -- I look past the rubber-suited Gorn, and cardboard backdrops and actually pay attention to the story; Star Trek has some great (and a few bad) storylines for being from the 1960s. If you still don't like the "rubber-suited" minis with Space Cadets, then try looking past them to the "story" -- the gameplay itself. After all, Space Cadets is a board game first.

Granted, I haven't played yet, but the how-to-play video is actually quite informative. After my very first read of the game's description, my thought was that Space Cadets was just Zombicide in space, and I originally passed on this kickstarter. I took another look a couple days later and actually watched the video, and from what I saw in the video, I think Space Cadets will be much better than Zombicide. Zombicide, like Space Cadets, uses an action point system in which you have limited points to spend on actions. In Zombicide, this translates to one point for one action, no more, no less. It's a great and simple system that's easy to teach and plays well.

But Space Cadets adds the "overkill" option: If you perform you're action well, extra successes on the dice translate to you being able to build on that action. In Zombicide, for example, you can use an action point to shoot once at the zombies -- done. In Space Cadets, taking a pot-shot at a saucer man can evolve into finding some new equipment and capturing a brain in the jar, and you're still left with more action points. It really opens up things a bit.
(Note: The rules are available in the files section of the Space Cadet page at Board Game Geek.)

Other quick observations: I like the use of smaller hex tiles; they allow for a great diversity in layouts, and the art has been improved. I like the "schematic" concept, in which some items can't just be picked up, you need to use your smarts (IQ) to build the items from parts found during a mission. Brains in jars -- how many games are there where you can dominate a brain in a jar? This game represents another opportunity for me to paint some figures in my monochromatic style. If you don't like the game, but you do like the minis, there's a minis-only pledge level, too.




Kickstarter rant

As I mentioned above, too many people jump on board a kickstarter hoping for freebies. People are looking for "value," trying to get more minis per dollar, and jumping off the wagon when they realize they're not going to get MORE than they pledged for. There's nothing wrong with trying to find a good price, but those peoples shouldn't look on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter is meant to help creators get a core product off the ground. Period. If the core product meets its goal, and the funding goes beyond the goal, then the creator has the option of using the extra funds to provide those freebies, but the creators are not required to offer freebies, nor should anyone complain if the freebies don't come or are not to their liking.

When you pledge on Kickstarter, you are pledging for that core product and nothing more.
Part of the issue is that Cool Mini or Not and other big-boxers have made it a routine and are expected to offer tons of extras. But people bring this same expectation when they pledge for a game by a smaller company. They go to a small restaurant expecting a hamburger to cost less than a dollar because that's how much they can get one at McDonald's.

Should the big companies stop giving freebies? No, but people need to realize they're not entitled to freebies everywhere else.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Zombicide: Rue Morgue survivors


I finally got the finishing touches on a couple of these figures, and have finished all of the survivors from the Zombicide: Rue Morgue box. The four figures to the right  (and one in the back-center) are part of my "Gypsy" tribe (from the movie "Bounty Killer.") I plan to add one or two more members to the tribe.

Next on the table will be the skinner zombies. I painted up a few prototypes; I'll have to check my notes again to remember what colors I used. It's important to keep a painting journal, especially if you have to repair chipped paint, for example, a few years down the road, and you've forgotten what colors you used.
For the skinners, I may post a progress report, but more likely, I'll just post the whole bunch when they're all done.

Kickstarters

Hey, remember Alphabeast Soup? No? If you haven't already, check it out on Kickstarter! It's an alphabet book, but by artist and Lowlife RPG creator Andy Hopp.
Yeah, I'm pimpin' it pretty hard, but it's a project that Andy has been working on for a while, and I think it'd be nice to see it come to fruition.




Space Cadets: Away Missions has had a few issues with jumpy backers dropping out because they're not getting enough free stuff, but I urge you to take a look; they've revamped in a BIG way. The 5th and 6th figure stretch goals have been lowered a lot, and a painted-minis pledge level has been added (factory painted and only the rocketeer figures, but only $20 more for the pledge.)
Check it out. You like? Then help it out!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Rogue Planet: The Red Flyer


It's been difficult to get back into painting after a month away from it. I had to force myself to finish that latest Zombicide survivor. It snowed heavily here in Iowa this weekend, and the weather looks to be nice and icy for the time being, so maybe that will be the boost I need to get back into the craft.

This is the final of my 54mm Rogue Planet figures.The dollie and weapons are from Bronze Age Miniatures. I used green stuff to add the armor, padding and pants. The rocket pack was made from bits and pieces from here and there.
I'll try to get a group shot of all of my new Rogue Planet figures soon. When I can get around to finally playing, I'll be using my post-apoc gladiators to fill out the bulk of the Rogue Planet forces. My new RP figures all bring ranged weapons into the equation.

In the meantime, I'm still following a few Kickstarters. If you haven't seen them yet, I ask that you take a look at Alphabeast Soup (by Andy Hopp of Lowlife fame,) Space Cadets (a neat little retro scifi game -- not too flashy, but the gameplay looks fun,) and, of course, Conan. To whet your whistle, here is a group shot of some of my current Conan figures.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Alphabeast Soup

Andy drew this. He's a good artist. I like Andy.

Yep, another Kickstarter, this one by the one and only Andy Hopp, fun-tastic artist and creator of the Low Life roleplaying game among others. Not much I can say about this book; it's weird, and that's probably reason enough why you should back it. Check it out here!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Kickstarter: Space Cadets/Away Missions


So, I decided to pull the trigger on the Kickstarter for Space Cadets: Away Missions.

"But, Carmen, aren't you already a backer on the Conan Kickstarter??"
"Yes, MOM!"

But I got a generous tax refund, so it shouldn't be too much of a problem. A few things pulled me to this game: Unlike Conan (which I LOVE for the theme), Space Cadets can be played solo; It reminds me a bit about Zombicide but it feels a little more complex -- I can chain together a few more actions using one action point (depending on dice rolls); I'm a sucker for the 1950s retro theme; and since it's inspired by 1950s retro, I can paint all the minis in monochromatic black and white, so the painting will go fast.

Did I mention there's a pledge level if you just want the minis?

For painting, the plan is to not paint the heroes in full color (like I did in Zombicide), but to paint them in the monochromatic hue of their character (blue, red, yellow, purple etc.) I want them to stand out a little from the aliens, but I want to stick close to a pure monochromatic scheme for all the minis. Another option may be to do the heroes in black and white, but paint the rim of the bases in their proper colors.

Anyway, if you like 1950s retro scifi, solo/coop games, and fun (if not necessarily amazing) minis, check out Space Cadets: Away Missions. And if you're quick to pledge, you may still snag one of the "free shipping" pledge levels!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Steve Barber Models: New Samurai coming soon

Steve Barber finished sculpting my latest commission, and it looks lovely as always. In this samurai, I wanted a new pose of the classic unarmored samurai. I believe the specific name for this stance is hasso no kamae.

I'm guessing the blade is a separate piece (as is usual for Steve's samurai). If you like making your own weapons, this will allow you to add your own blades for katana, wakizashi or maybe even a nodachi. I bet I could probably even arm this guy with a kanabo with little trouble.

The head is also separate allowing you a lot of choices as to what you want this guy to look like. There are around a dozen heads to choose from among all the figures I've commissioned. I don't know if Steve has put it in his catalog yet, but you could probably ask to buy a "head pack" with your next samurai order.

My original thought with this figure was to have him wearing a Kataginu, which has the exaggerated shoulders you see on some samurai, but I decided to keep them off because it would be easier to add some with green stuff than to file off those that were already sculpted on (Steve Barber uses good metal.)

An unintended result of leaving the kataginu off was that the figure is nice and clean with very little clutter. The only thing breaking up the kimono being the sash and the folds; this leaves a nice large canvas for painters to spread color and to brush with a loose hand. The folds give you a chance to practice layering and highlighting, and the unbroken swaths of area leave plenty of space if you like to paint nice patterns on your kimonos. So I think this is a good figure for both beginner and advanced painters.

When he goes into production, I think this sculpt will be good fun to paint. And he will make a nice addition to the collection, guarding the halls, roads, and gardens of my table.