Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Lord of the Rings - Goblin Town Goblins

I put my paint table to use on some goblin models from the Hobbit movie.  These are the Goblin Town models produced by GW.  GW continues to produce great looking models and these are no exception.  I acquired a good number of these models and will be painting them up as part of a Kings of War goblin army as well as troops for use with Dragon Rampant.

I primed these models with a white automotive primer and then inked the whole model with Baal Red from GW.

Next, I drybrushed the model white.  This gives them a vary pale reddish color.

Next I picked out the weapons with chainmail, the hair grey and painted the leather bits a brown color.  I washed the weapons with Nuln Oil and the leather and hair with agrax earthshade.  After all that was dry, I added a bit more red ink over the boils and then added a dot of white paint to make them look puss filled.

Finally, I applied some ballast to the base and painted it burnt umber and drybrushed it with a light tan.  I applied a small clump of brown grass to each base.

A very simple paint job, but I think these will look great on the tabletop.

Lord of the Rings - Men of Minas Tirith

More Lord of the Rings models recently hit my painting table.

This time, I put some paint on some models from the good side.  The men at arms of Minas Tirith are actually pretty good looking models.  These are from the old strategy battle game box so they can be gotten for a pretty low price these days.  I will be using these models for Kings of War and Dragon Rampant games so will need a fair number to field a decent force.

I'm always looking for simple paint jobs that still look decent so I thought I would test out a very simple paint scheme for these guys.

I started by spraying the models silver.  Next, I painted their robe black and highlighted it with grey.  I painted their face and hands a flesh color.  Lastly, I painted their belts leather brown.  With the base colors all in place I inked the entire model with Nuln Oil.

After that dried, I did my usual grit on the base with a base coat of burnt umber and a tan drybursh.  I will be adding some flock, but have not decided on which flock color to go with yet.

All in all, I'm happy with how these guys look given how quickly they paint up.

Lord of the Rings - Moria Goblins

I have quite a few models from GW's Lord of the Rings line.  I have been thinking these will make a good force for Kings of War and Dragon Rampant games.

I've decided to paint up some Moria Goblins.  These were included in the original LotR strategy battle game box so you can get them for a pretty reasonable price.  I've had a decent sized collection of these guys for some time, but never got around to actually painting them.  It is always nice to see the pile of unpainted models shrink a little.

I normally only do a very basic paint job., but I decided to try my hand at a little higher standard for this unit.  Instead of stopping at the wash, I thought I would actually do a little shading and see how it looks.

To start with these were all primed black.  Next, I drybrushed the armor with chainmail and then picked out the flesh with a medium green.  I painted all the cloth with red and the leather with brown.  The weapons were painted with a dark brown.  I inked the whole model with Nuln Oil.  As I said, this is where I normally stop and it gives a pretty decent looking model on the table.  I'm not going to win any painting competitions, but they look decent and are nothing to be ashamed of.

However, I wanted to see what a little extra work could do for the appearance.

So I applied a shade on several areas.  I started by adding a little highlighting on the red cloth.  Just a bit of color on the most raised areas.  Next, I added a few highlights to the leather areas.  After that, I went to work on the wood.  Finally, I added some highlights to the flesh.  This looks pretty good on the hands, arms and legs, but fails a little on the faces.

I almost never paint eyes and these models are no exception.  I'm not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing, but you just can't see them on the table and if you pick them up, I think the bad job on eyes can ruin the look of the rest of the model.

With the models completed, I added some ballast to the bases and painted them burnt umber and drybrushed them tab.  I added a bit of brown static grass (dry grass) and they look pretty good.

I am pleased with the look and didn't spend a ton of extra time on the highlighting.  I'm not sure the extra time spent makes them look that much better, but they do look nice, IMHO.

I'm undecided if the next batch of these models will get the same treatment, or if I will just go back to stopping at the wash.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Reinforcements for SAGA

With my 4 point force completed I thought I would add some more troops to my force so I can play larger games.

I got a box of inexpensive Saxon Thegns from Warhames factory many moons ago, but never got around to painting them as I lost interest in painting anything SAGA after a incident with a can of silver spray paint.

However, now that I have fixed the silver models, I thought I needed to expand my force.  Of course, these are Saxons and my main force is Scots, but I'm not really that picky and figured these guys could stand in as allied troops.  I will count them as normal Scottish troops on the tabletop.

The models are multi-part plastics with a variety of weapon and arm options.  These are all wearing chain mail for armor and can be armed with spears, bows, axes or swords.  I've  given most models spears, but a few have axes and swords.  I don't believe there is a difference in the SAGA rules for different weapons except double handed weapons, but I know the Scot board has at least 1 action that requires the unit be armed with spears.

Above is photo of the work in progress.  I use the colors on the shields to distinguish units on the table.  These need to have the shields washed and the bases finished.

2 points of Warriors.

A close up so you can really see how these guys look.

Sneak Attack! - the podcast

A friend of mine, Topher, told me about a podcast called Sneak Attack!  He is a fan of good stories and knows of my interest in gaming in general.  We were talking about role-playing games and he told me that he had been listening to this podcast and thought I might find it interesting.

Sneak Attack! is a group of role-players record their sessions of Dungeons and Dragons 5th edition.

I have played several RPGs over the years, and D&D 2nd edition was my first experience.  My most recent experience was with Pathfinder.  I have fond memories of playing those games and I often think that I should try to get back into a group.  My time is limited, though, so I just can't commit to a regular gathering.

Well, I have to say that this podcast has given me an RPG fix and it has been quite fun.  I have a 40-45 minute drive each morning and evening.  I tend to listen to audio books, but have found some time for the occasional podcast.  Now that I have found Sneak Attack!, I will be making more time for podcasts.

This motley band of adventures is composed of a dwarven fighter/mage named Graek, a human necromancer named Akio, a gnome Druid named Sherwood, and a human bard named Brenna.  The crew is led by the very talented Reed who is not only the DM for the group, but also created the world the adventure takes place in.

Each of the characters has a great back story and the players do a pretty good job of playing their characters in line with their history.

There are (a very few) episodes which remind me of the things I don't miss about role-playing, but by and large each episode has a very engaging story and is full of action and excitement.

As I sit and listen to this podcast, I can't help but wish I could join in the fun.  Reed is a masterful DM and I have often been driven to laughter by the antics of the group.

If you are a fan of RPGs, fantasy settings, or just good stories, the I would encourage you to check this podcast out.  I download it via iTunes, but I believe it can be found on the GooglePlay, and a few other outlets as well.

While it is great to have this podcast to listen too, it has really only whet my appetite to get into a RPG group.  I'm not sure I will actually be able to find one that works for my schedule, but...

Are there any good podcasts that you listen too?  Let me know if you know of any I should be listening to.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Shipping Containers

What sci-fi setting could be complete without the proverbial shipping containers.  Okay, probably quite a few, but they will work well in a lot of settings.

A buddy picked up a pile of 28mm mdf containers from Crossover Miniatures.  These are meant for 28mm, but I think they will work well as large containers for my 15mm games.  A set of 4 containers is $15 with $3 for shipping.  Not a bad price.  The model's dimensions are 125mm x 50 mm x 50 mm.

Looking at the models before assembly, I noticed that 3 of the 4 containers each had one nub broken off.  Not a big deal as I stuck that point on the bottom so it won't really be seen when the models are finished.  And since there are still 3 other nubs to hold that end together, the model still seems to be pretty solid.

I used wood glue to assemble these.  A few drops in the joins and they are good to go.  The models square themselves as you assemble them.  I was happy with how easily and quickly these go together.

Next up, is a coat of primer.  I use auto primer from my local auto parts store; it is cheaper than the stuff at my local hobby store and works just as well.  I went with grey for these models.  As always, don't go overboard with any primer; several light coats is much better than one heavy coal.  You can't take primer away once it has been applied.

I painted these green with the a white center panel.  They look pretty good.  If I get more, I will probably paint some different colors.  But since I only have four I'm fine with them matching.  I will be adding some sort of logo to the white panel, but I haven't decided what would look good there.  If you have any ideas, leave me a note.

Rebel Minis (15mm) model for scale

Rebel Minis (15mm) model for scale

GW Space Marine (28mm) for scale

Hind-sight is 20/20 and I think I should have gone with a white primer and carefully painted around the white panel.  It would have given a better look, but these still turned out alright.  

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Scots for SAGA

Let me tell you a story about heartache and sadness...

A couple of years ago, my gaming group decided to try out SAGA.  The rules were fun and we all started putting together armies.

I choose Scots mostly because no one else had picked them for their army.

I spent some time painting the models I had acquired.  My friends gave me grief because I didn't paint a pattern on the tartans, but I just figured I would do a bad job of it and left them all solid colors.

I had finally finished the last bit of my 4 point force and was ready to dull coat the models.  I set them up and grabbed what I thought was a can of dull coat and started to spray.

OH THE HORROR!!!!  The can was not dull coat, but silver.  SILVER!!!  What had I done.

SILVER!!!!  Are you kidding me?

I had ruined my paint jobs, that is what I had done.  And with no one to blame but myself.

I'm not a great painter, but I can do a decent tabletop standard and I had just sprayed silver over my nice basic paint job.

As you can see some of the models only got a small dose, but several got it full in the face.

I was so disappointed that I put these models away and didn't really come back to them for quite a while.  I played a few games with these, but it hurt every time.  I actually just started to borrow armies from my friends instead of using my own models because of the silver.  I was so grumpy that I couldn't even bring myself to paint any more of these models.

Well, I finally got over myself and put paint to brush and re-painted these silver models.

No longer silver.

I've now got a full 4 point force.  Two 4 man units of Hearthguard and 2 8 man units of warriors.  I'm not a fan of levy and have not used them in my games.  Maybe I'll add some down the road, though.

Below are some pictures of my warband.  Sorry about the lighting, it appears to be a little off in some of the pictures.

Close up of the repaint.

Another close up of the repaints.

Last one.  It makes me happy these guys aren't silver anymore.

My 4 point force.

The Warlord.

Hearthguard 1

Hearthguard 2

Warriors 1

Warriors 2

I love this model.

This is my second favorite model in my force.

Everyone loves a musician.

They have turned out fairly decently and I am even working on painting a few more models to add to the force.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Orleans: Deluxe Edition - a review

I got my deluxe kickstarter copy of Orleans by TMG a while ago, but hadn't had a chance to get it to the table.  But, now that we are settling into our house, Amy and I had Nathan and Jody over for dinner and a board game.  I pulled out my copy of Orleans and started punching out tokens.


The artwork in this game is great.  I really like the look of everything and it all fits well together.

Component Quality

The basic game comes with cardboard tokens for the workers, money, resources, and citizens.  However, I got the deluxe game via Kickstarter and this upgrades the workers to wooden tokens with stickers, the resources to wooden shapes that match the item, and metal money.

The basic components are very nice, but the deluxe components are very impressive.  Everyone that played this was especially impressed by the metal coins.  They are fantastic.  I want more games with metal coins.  (I actually backed the kickstarter of the new edition of Colosseum because of the metal coins.)

I have to say that I'm sure you will be happy with the components of either edition that you get.

Game Play

This game looks very complicated, but it is really pretty simple.  That isn't to say it isn't fun or that you don't have a lot of options.

Each turn an hourglass tile is flipped showing one of a variety of special events.  Some events are good, others not so good.  Most of the events are dealt with at the end of the turn so each player has a chance to prepare for the event over the course of the turn.

Each player then draws a number of worker tiles from their bag (based on how many knights they have).  The more workers you can draw and the more possible tasks you can complete.  Each player then assigns their workers to various tasks.  These tasks vary from getting more workers of specific kinds to traveling, to building market places in new cities.

There are 7 types of workers available during the game and 10 actions on each player board.  In addition to that, additional building (many with an action space) can be added to your options through the game.  You can see, there are many different choices that you will need to make during the game.

Once everyone has assigned their workers, then players start taking the actions they have assigned workers to.  Each player can only complete one action at a time and then play passes to the next player.  Play moves around the table until everyone has completed all their tasks and everyone has passed.

Players then resolve the event and pass the starting player token.

Points are earned for resources that are collected during the game (wheat, wine, cheese, money, etc) and by the citizens and markets built.  The value of the citizens and markets varies (between 1 and 6) depending on how far up the development track you have moved.  The development level effectively counts as a points multiplier.

Overall Thoughts

As I was setting this game up, there was some concern around the table about how complicated the game looked; after all, there are a lot of parts.  After only a round or two into the game, I think everyone had a solid grasp of how things worked and were more worried about where to place their workers than the game mechanics.

While there are lots of moving parts and lots of decisions to make, I don't think most people will run into analysis paralysis.  We played the game in about 2 hours, but I'm certain our next play will take much less time.

There are many short-term decisions to make, but many need to be taken with your long term plan in mind.

I think you can take several different paths to victory in this game.  There doesn't seem to be a single clear path that you need to take to win.

If you like strategy games with a "deck-building" mechanic, this would be a good fit.  I'd suggest this game to most groups.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Bring Out Your Lead - 2016

My local game shop, Gauntlet Games in Lincoln, NE, had their annual Bring Out Your Lead event.  This event allows anyone to offer items for sale on silent auction.  There was the usual collection of Warmachine and Warhammer 40k models.  I was surprised that there was very little Warhammer Fantasy up for sale with the recent complaints of Age of Sigmar, but maybe Kings of War is being played more than I am aware.

I found a few Lord of the Rings models to add to my collection.  I am working on my own Kings of War army using these models and I will also be using them for games of Dragon Rampant.  I got a good number of plastic orcs and some medal hero models for reasonable prices.

I also picked up several board games.

Shadowrun: Crossfire  This is a co-operative game set in the Shadowrun universe.  In this game the players take on the roll of a team of shadowrunners and take on jobs such as protecting a client with a hit on his head.  The characters gain experience and can level up as play continues.

I picked this up on the recommendations I've seen for it in the 1 player Guild on BoardGameGeek.  I look forward to testing my skills with this game.

Fast Flowing Forest Fellers is a light racing game.  In this game, the players are all lumberjacks racing on their logs to the end of the river.  This is a bit of a silly game, but it was cheep and I do like racing games.

Thurn and Taxis and its expansion Power and Glory is another light game.  In this one players are competing with each other to build the best postage routes across Bavaria.

Samurai is an abstract area control game designed by area Reiner Knizia.  This game is set in medieval Japan.  Players are vying to gain control of three different factions: samurai, peasants, and priests.  Players take turns placing tiles on the board and work to ensure they have the most influence.

Not a bad day of adding to the collection.  I'll plan to post some reviews of these as I get a chance to play them.