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Friday, April 6, 2018

Star Saga: The Fear, Capt. Erika Dulinski, Francesco "The Devil" Selvaggio, The Survivor, and Alyse

 Back to Star Saga! 

This group of Characters and Adversaries was knocked out while I was working on my first Twisted gang. I have about a half dozen character models left and a lot of terrain to finish up before the core set is completed.

The Survivor is one of those characters that carries his whole life with him everywhere he goes, never knowing which moment will be the his last.  I wanted to represent the ad-hoc nature of his equipment.  His gear is maintained but not beautified and focused on utility.  He seems quite dour.

A lot of the gear would plastic of some sort so some of the things like the webbing on his leg I think of as medical self sealing wound technology and its painted in medical plastic green. The rest of the suit is largely generic white hard-suit without emblems of affiliation
Francesco "The Devil" Selvaggio reminds me of Jayne from Firefly.  The gear is military surplus and the coat reminds me of an old Eldar Ranger.  I figure the coat is his one real possession and shows some evidence of being repaired from time to time.

The coat grey process was influenced by the Twisted Gang I'm working on and the thought that Jayne was once a member of a failed rebellion or lost cause like the Brown Coats of the Firefly Verse.  He's still proud and angry and frequently gets into altercation with Federal representatives who view his open admission of affiliation as an insult. 
Although I think the sack is supposed to have smoke grenades or aomething similar I like to think of Francesco as addicted to soft drinks so the cans are painted the metallic green of Zolt! Which I think of as the child of Monster Energy and Mt. Dew...

Grey is a Reaper grey triad and the lighter areas are Reaper Buckskin Pale and Army Painter Soft Tone.
  Admittedly I haven't read a lot of the backgrounds for Star Saga.  I have read a novel and most of the initial backgrounds for the Warpath Universe where Star Saga is set but the whole feel of the game had such a strong Mass Effect vibe that I just kind of went with that in general.

Capt. Erika Dulinski is a nod to the N7 program of Mass Effect.

Krylon Khaki Base Drybrushed with Craft Paint Sandstone and washed with Secret Weapon Heavy Body Black is the bulk of the scheme.  There are red and Grey accent colors both created with Reaper Triads (Gray, Gory red).
  I envision the base as an N7 black site that is operating under the moniker N7X so that designation will appear on some of the terrain bits and in floor designs when the MDF floor tiles from the Kickstarter eventually arrive.
I really should read the background on "The Fear". Its such an ostentatious name after all! I think of him as part of "The Nameless" faction that seems to be slowly emerging in the Warpath Verse.

The armor reminded my of some old faux Slann models I have somewhere so I did a throwback style for it.

Krylon Khaki drybrushed with Craftpaint Sandstone the a coat of Liquitex Magenta Ink for the bulk of the scheme.  Highlights are Vallejo Pink. Green accents are Vallejo US Army Bright Green and Secret Weapon Verdigris for top Highlights.
There are cool washes (Lavender (SW)) in the shadowed areas and warm glazes (Just Red (SW)) on upper surfaces as well as some basic patterning on the shoulders and underlining with the war or cool highlight depending on the location of the perceived light source.  I still have a long way to go on this technique but its getting better with practice.

Alyse is the final character in the line up but the individual pictures of him/her did not come out very well so I'll have to re take them and drop them in future post.

Tomorrow is photography lesson day which I'm quite amped about!

Back to the Bench!

Monday, April 2, 2018

New Camera test drive, Kingdom Death Surprise Hunt, Augusta and the Void Elves

 Taking a new camera for a test drive.  I'm still having trouble with lighting and focus but, overall, a big improvement.  Next week I'm slated to go get some hands on help with getting the results I want from the photography side of things.

Today was just messing around with the camera and some lights.  I'm still figuring out what all the settings do... or even most of them!

I think I'm going to have to run the steamer on this backdrop to de-wrinkle it.

 I've been taking some more pictures of Augusta, Mother Superior (Raging Heroes) because I wand to get a good read on the yellow metal.  It seems to have survived the sealer reasonable intact. Sealing metallics often damages the final result and I sometimes end up retouching them afterwards.  I could, of course, not seal them... but these are primarily for tabletop use and not dedicated display pieces so I tend to want them sealed against frequent handling.
 Some experiments with wider focus areas as the Mother Superior faces down a pack of Void Elf Hunters.
 A size comparison for the current batch of Kingdom Death Monsters that our settlement is hunting... or being hunted by...
 In anticipation of this weekend's game I quickly painted up the Screaming Antelope and laminated some character and settlement record sheets.  The tactical board getting set up... I'm going to do some 3D terrain elements for the board soon as the card terrain just doesn't show well alongside the miniatures.
 A party of inexperienced survivors set out to hunt the Screaming Antelope led by "Lucky" Amelia.  Amelia at least had one hunt under her belt and performed so well during it that she earned her moniker "Lucky"

The rest of the party were novice hunters although two of them, Yang and Herc were born in the settlement and had some skill/stat upgrades based on that.  One, Flayh, was a survivor that had previously managed to avoid encountering the malicious wildlife of the area and was a straight up newb..

 During the first Hunt event the group stumbled upon the corpse of a Screaming Antelope... did a little scavenging.. and were then interrupted by the monster that had killed it in the first place... a Mature (level 2) White Lion.

This party had been hunting a juvenile Screaming Antelope and was not at all prepared for a Mature White Lion... perhaps Amelia's famous luck had run out?

A couple of pictures of the Screaming Antelope that did not make an appearance in this week's session....
The fight was pretty epic however with Flayh... our group goldbricker getting immediately knocked down and drug off by the Lion, who seemed to be enraged by the group's looting of it's kill... DoH!

Yang managed to sooth the mood of the beast by playing her cat-whisker harp. Yang later proved to be more than just a budding musician when she sliced the lower jaw of the beast clean off!  This early crit helped the party to survive what would otherwise have been a nightmare encounter.
Amelia's famous luck returned almost as quickly as it had abandoned them and she scored a crit on the Lion's brow... damaging it's eye and reducing its accuracy.

The big cat had been charging around the area to either drag Flayh off for a private snack or to escape the incessant rescue attempts by the rest of the group. Yang finally put a stop to this with a precision attack that hamstrung the lion leaving and it nearly dead.

Herc finished the monster off from a safe distance with a well aimed arrow.

All in all a great reinforcement of Lucky Amelia's reputation as the group returned with a pile of resources well in excess of those anticipated. 

Yang turned out to be a competent bard and a very strong combatant to boot.  Some members of the settlement are calling her Yang the Lion Tamer.

Herc calmly wielded his bow throughout the fight and took a couple of opportunities to land big hits with a Zanbato which really sped up the fight. He's taken to referring to himself as "The Tactician" which has not been as well received by the rest of the settlement as he had imagined...

As for poor Flayh... He was grabbed so often by the Lion during the fight... and subsequently rescued by his companions at great risk to themselves... that he's being referred to as "Catnip"

Time to go paint some stuff! The Phoenix has been added to the Quarry list.... and the Knights of the Chalice just came out of the sonic cleaner!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Raging Heroes Augusta Mother Superior, Star Saga friends and foes, and a WiP Screaming Antelope

 Augusta Mother Superior from Raging Heroes is a big model in the Terminator style.  She fills a 40mm base pretty well.

I am happy with the yellow metal process here.  Primer Black (Krylon), heavy brush of Brass Casings (SW), Flesh Wash (SW), dry-brush Brass Casings, touch up and spot highlights with Shining Gold (GW).

The model is full of fun details like the little imp sitting on her shoulder clutching a skull...  this got me thinking how it was funny to be painting up a proxy model for the most strict purist organization in the galaxy... so I added a little more red to my original scheme.. added some trim freehand patterns that are slightly modified Khorne skull runes...and...
 dug up a HERETICUS decal from an old Witch Hunter sheet... delicious irony!

These sisters might have a little taint of chaos of their own!  Just ask the imp.

About proxies... I was a very hard core WSIWYG GW player for two decades until GW's business practices finally drove me into the shadows of the proxy-verse. I'm not talking about direct knock-offs and pirate re-casters but people doing their own work that is heavily influenced by GW's style and universe. It was the best thing that ever happened to my hobby. I found so many people doing great work and discovered a few amazing new games along the way.

I've since returned to the fold in a limited way...  because I do love the Grim Dark and GW has made big efforts to mitigate some of their worst practices... and have been picking up GW models here and there (Forgebane just arrived!) but now they must compete for my hobby dollars... and they are competing well these days so expect to see more GW models showing up on the painting desk!. 

For size comparison.. Mantic Corporate Marine from Star Saga, Void Elf Hunter from Raging Heroes, Canonness Veridyan from GW, Augusta Mother Superior from Raging Heroes, and the Plague Aberration from Star Saga.

Star Saga from Mantic Games! 
Some friends and foes from the core set. 

Combat Utility Robot 7153 "Curby" would like right at home in Borderlands!

 Guard Commander Graves.  Even though the Security Guards are all done in Law Enforcement Blue... I put the Guard Captain in a Corporate Jade Green uniform so he can command Rent-a-Cops or Corporate Space Marines as the situation requires.

Ogan Metlkarre ... I think.. haha!  Forge Father  done is a style reminiscent of Mass Effect.

Hacker Halftail Vermyn space rat! 
I always wondered why GW never did Space Skaven.. I mean rats hitchhike literally everywhere!  I'm glad to see them show up in the Mantic Universe and I'll port them into 40K because my version of the 40K universe always had Skaven in it!

A sneak peek at the Screaming Antelope WiP.. gotta push if its going to be ready for this week's game!

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Kingdom Death Kingsman, Twisted bases, and Kingdom Death the Expansions

 The Kingsman was a terrifying foe for our survivors.  The game session had outrun the painted minis so I've been playing catch up.  Here is the Kingsman... hopefully the Screaming Antelope is hot on his heels!

 The Kingsman represents a step up in color for our settlement.  I thought I'd try my first ever tartan as a way to introduce some formal heraldry to the group.

I modeled this pattern after one I've seen on an RPG model and have no idea if its a real pattern or not... its better if its not for my purposes... I'm kind of reinventing the wheel for most common concepts.  You might notice the modified Chinese/Japanese/Egyptian characters that swirl around the pictograph theme .  The approach to the tartan is similar... take the general idea and then pretend like the survivors are in the middle of inventing it... inexpertly... but relentlessly.
I also put a pair of Lions Rampant on the cape.  I was intending to make them White Lions but the faded cloth of gold cape didn't offer enough contrast for that without a some crisp outlining.

There is a lot of metal work in steel and brass/gold that would also have startled the survivors who are operating with much more primitive materials.  Turns out thats not really natural metal... but some sort of cursed material.

The white metal was worked up khaki (Krylon) dry-brushed with Sandstone (Craftpaint) then an Armor Wash (SW) followed by a Sapphire Wash (SW) and two layers of dry-brushed Silver (Rustungs Farbe).  Gold metal was Brass Casings (SW), Flesh Wash (SW), dry-brush Brass Casings.
 The Twisted bases are finished except for a few bits of scatter that will wait until there is a mini for them to compliment.

Being made of fibrous cardboard these were tricky to construct and paint. I'm not convinced yet of their durability in a game setting especially given a few of them have long, or tall, unsupported sections that protrude from the footprint of the base.  We'll see how it goes once we get playing!
The current workspace, Some Star Saga (Mantic) and an Augusta the Mother Superior from Raging Heroes. 

In the assembly area is the Screaming Antelope, Twisted Dickensians set 1, and some Brugelburg paupers and Doxies.

... and then, really making my day, The Expansions of Death showed up! The pile is pretty massive and now I'll have to try to sort out an order of expansions to work on... fun, fun, fun!

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Kingdom Death Lion Kit Evolutions and some Twisted base inserts WiP

 Our Kingdom Death Monster Survivor settlement has grown to 30+ members... just in time for the Armored Visitors event which measures the population, helps if it is too small... culls if it is too large... the cutoff for too large was 9 or more survivors... DoH!

We chose to resist the cull which precipitated a visit by the Kingsman.  The Kingsman is a real pain to fight and has a lot of wacky mechanics... plus he's only partially painted at the moment!  Have to get cracking on that!
 These models show some of the tech improvements the settlement has Innovated.  They are a mix of White Lion, Bone, and Rawhide.  These materials are largely unimproved in terms of color etc... as dyes and painting are yet to be unlocked... although the survivors continue to expand the use of Blu/Black ink and to refine the pictographs. 

The spear is a big improvement as the White lions have become crafty and it is dangerous to close with them.
 Here you can see a survivor that has harvested the eye ink and turned it into a hair product and a medium for expressing the pictographs on his linen.  He is important because of the pick, which allows the group an opportunity to harvest some minerals, and the bone dart to defend a poor, unarmored, craftsman as he collects the critical ingredients he need for his trade.

I'm of mixed opinions on this pose.  I like the effect of the model peering over the top edge of the pickax while hefting a bone dart but I also don't find the pickax as shield idea very convincing... It does, however, clearly demonstrate who is carrying the mineral mining supplies.
I'm practicing this patterning thing and trying to get the  right sequence for highlighting and shading.  I think I need to underline, or accent, some of the patterns to make them a little more depth.  The ink color is mostly Nightmare Black (Reaper).

 The Watcher has been seen in dreams and the "watcher's eye" motif is popular in the settlement.

The bone materials are worked up from the Bone Triad (Reaper) and you can see the difference between the bone areas and the "shroud cloth" which was worked up from the Menoth White group (P3) with the aid of Military Shader (Warpaints) diluted 1-1 with Glaze medium (Vallejo).  I've been using the glaze medium quite a lot lately. Its handy for blending and reduces the vigilance required to prevent tidal pooling of washes and inks. It also just slows down the paint drying process and extends the amount of time I can work out of a dry palette.

 There are two sorts of skull helms in the parts mix.  One is a scary, horned, toothy predator creature and this human skull converted into a fashionable bit of war gear.

She also has mixed kit with Bone, Rawhide, White Lion and unarmored. She's experimenting with some red pigments and the survivors should get a bit more colorful as the settlement grows and innovated new ideas and motifs.
I'm hoping the addition of ranged weapons will help reduce the insanity level of the survivors.  The Screaming Antelope is coming soon and extracts a high price from the most insane survivors.  Our most experienced and effective hunters are completely bug nuts so we're trying to rotate some new blood into the hunting party. Fortunately the settlement's children are arriving with some perks to their skills which should help with getting a viable, low insanity, group together.
 Two survivors in full White Lion Kit.  One is sporting a pair of the Butchers Cleavers although the settlement only has one at the moment... I'm anticipating the arrival of the next one!

As the armor gets more advanced the occurrence of lanterns on the models declines.  In the White Lion set I decided that the curing process for the White Lion hides would leave them faintly luminous which makes the hunters equipped with that gear looks a bit like savage apparitions.
 Of course being a faintly luminous hunter in a land of gloomy twilight punctuated by regions of absolute darkness isn't terribly stealthy... but they seem to be working on the bait plan anyway.

To separate the Bone White from the Lion White I'm using the Reaper Bone Triad and Seraphim Sepia (GW) for the Bones and P3 Menoth White Base and Menoth White Highlight with Secret weapon Storm Cloud for the Lion Leather.  I also use the P3 Menoth White for the shroud cloth but process it differently using Warpaints Military Shader and retouching with Menoth White Base.

Its been interesting working with limited color palettes and getting them to show some texture and detail at tabletop viewing range.
 We had a "Savior" born to the settlement which we were very excited to see but... it turns out that these saviors don't last very long as using their abilities seem to 'age' them very rapidly.

This guy will probably represent our first savior... for as long as he lasts...

Rost the Elder got cursed with the Twilight Sword in the last session so I'll need to spin up a Twilight Knight themed model soon. Our fearless (literally) leader Dlenn was also cursed with an armored pelvis that destroyed her reproductive ability but is a sturdy bit of gear.  She just has to somehow avoid picking up the full set and transforming into a Kingsman. 

So the taint of Chaos begins to come home to the survivors.
 On the bench I'm working on the Steampunk themed bases for Twisted.

The base inserts are laser cut on a very fragile and fibrous sheet of cardboard composite.  Its spongy, flexible, and easy to get the bits separated without damaging them after which they recommend a combination of super glue and PVA for assembly.  Once dry very thin superglue is dripped over the material to firm it up and strengthen it.

In practice I omitted the PVA entirely and super glued each layer into position and then drip saturated it and allowed it to dry before moving on to the next layer. This has worked out well, if a bit superglue intensive, and the result was some very strong bases that are sand-able where required.

I'm generally happy with the results so far but a couple of things come to mind about it.

The main downside is that the cardboard sheet of nine base inserts is a bit on the spendy side and the cost is basically identical to, or even a bit higher than, resin at $18.00 for 8x30mm and 1x40mm inserts and the layers are designed to fit together in very specific ways.

With a little more work the layers can be recombined, or combined with additional materials, to get some additional patterns but it would have been a nice touch to make some of the parts a little more universally useful by doing things like making the cogwheel layers as a complete layer so that it could be turned a bit for different views of the worky bits.

Back to the desk... there are Monsters to paint!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

WiP Build Day: Augusta the Mother Superior (SF), Survivors after the Butcher, and a murder of Vampires!

My habit of not opening things until I'm ready to work on them means that when I'm on a roll I end up outrunning my prepped projects. It feels great really!  Even if I have to stop painting and do some building.... when I'm really into the brush thing.

This week's builds include Augusta the Mother Superior from Raging Heroes and the next iteration of Survivors from our current Kingdom Death Monster campaign.

 Augusta is a massive terminator style armored sci-fi warrior nun.  Her retinue is in the assembly queue as well.  I'm low on 40mm bevel bases, having accidentally stocked up on the round lip variety, and think that these might be a good target for a set of 3D printed bases as I'm expecting the new printer to arrive in the next couple of weeks and bases seem like a good first project for it.

She comes in 4 parts and, due to the detailed baroque style, requires more cleanup than most Raging Heroes models. Once cleaned the model goes together well and RH has made clever use of the details to hide the joins.
 Speaking of Kingdom Death Monster... I've been anticipating the arrival of the Expansions of Death and was very excited to see a HUGE box on my doorstep!

I opened the box to find...

The Order of Vampire Hunters Kickstarter!

Not what I was expecting but still very cool!

Apparently I don't read my e-mail... they sent notice and tracking info .. etc..

I was still living in Transylvania when this Kisckstater launched and was really feeling the theme so... I bit for the whole set with the thought that it would be so fun to run a spooky Vampire Hunting game in Transylvania... and then promptly learned I was moving to Alaska... still a fun place to be and the extended day/night cycles would be interesting for vampires...

 Unlike Kingdom Death I'm hoping that this is a little more easy to run for community game night and to recruit new gaming blood... so to speak...  I love Kingdom Death but its a game for gamers and isn't as easy to grasp for new players as a good, old school,vampire hunt.

Here you see the regular production sets... the core game, three expansions, and four character or adversary mini packs.

... and here you see the thing about kickstarters that is so attractive... the freebies, extra loot, and exclusives that won't make it to retail.

In this case the extras pile is pretty huge and includes additional playing tiles, new Hunters and Adversaries, extra dice and some fang embellished dice bags.

So now, while prepping for the next KDM campaign session and finishing up the Star Saga core set, I need to learn this game and paint up the starter set to take to the monthly game night... and then there is Twisted calling... oh ... and Daughters of Khaine...  zoom zoom zoom!