Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Scourge Test Models

Painted up some test models for the Scourge. I had an extra APC thanks to the awesomeness of the starter set, so I used that one first, and then attempted to see how easy the effect was to replicate. Was pretty easy, actually. Scourge models are built for washes, seems like!

Anyway, I'll probably just hold onto these until I have the whole force painted before I enter them into the monthly painting competition. I still have to figure out a theme for the infantry, though it shouldn't be too hard!

Until next time,

Friday, October 25, 2013

Foxphoenix's 1st Look at DZC

Above image (c) Hawk Wargames

   Finally got my box, and spent some time assembling the miniatures. The plastics are very clean, were very easy to assemble with no more than a pair of clippers and some plastic glue, and look fantastic. I am now eagerly awaiting the primer to dry so I can begin painting some of them this weekend.

   When I first got the box, I was impressed with the weight of the box. It had to be chock-full of goodies to weigh that much, I figured. I was right! The sprues were surprisingly clear of flash, and were not warped nor did they have any noticeable defects of any kind. The rulebook was clean, fresh, and smelled great! I was also impressed with the level of detail in the cardboard terrain... it was also very quick to assemble.

I am so impressed with the quality of this very inexpensive starter box. Two starter boxes would easily net you a full-sized army of each faction, and a spare set of rulebooks and counters to boot. I bought mine for around 90 dollars after shipping, quite a bargain, and so you could easily have a full-sized army for around that much if you went in and bought a pair of starter boxes with a friend.

What first drew me to the game was Bear APCs for the UCM. They look stellar. As I opened the box and handled the models more, however, the Scourge really grew on me. The models have a huge level of detail, but are amazingly simplistic. A few of the Scourge models were in no more than two parts, and the more complex ones didn't have many more components. The most complex models of the faction were their dropships, which was no more than 15 parts total, and took a few minutes to assemble.

I'll do a more thourough examination of the rules once I have some models on the table and play a game out or two, but so far I don't see any major complaints to be made. The rulebook is quite beautiful, with many full-color shots of the models on spectacular gaming boards. Looks quite tasty.

Until next time,

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Trying out a few new things

Test Scheme for UCM, Applied to a Battletech LRM Carrier

With my Dropzone miniatures due to arrive this week, I set about to deciding on a paint scheme for the vehicles. I was going to go with a simple olive-drab as is the standard for them, but I decided to go a step further and do a camouflage instead.

Steps I took:
1. Base color (olive drab)
2. Dark green large spots
3. Brown medium blobs
4. Light Brown / Tan small blobs
5. Highlight using base color mixed with a little bit of ivory (basically made the light brown / tan, could use this next time to save the trouble of mixing
6. Light wash of Devlan Mud brown (RIP, I should find an equivalent to try now that it has been discontinued.)

I had done black drybrushing to denote the carbon buildup from rocket exhaust, but I should have done it AFTER highlighting, in retrospect.

I also got to try the new phone's camera, which had a nice mix of features that endeared me to it. I was able to set the color balance, which is hugely convenient, and I was even able to edit it with a nice vignette which I like. Normally with my old phone's camera, I would have to edit it on the computer before being able to upload it... I am happy to be able to skip that step and edit it right when I take it, and have the color balance right as I take the photo.

I didn't pick out details, as this was only a test for the color scheme, but I think the UCM will look pretty decently done up in this scheme. I'll be sure to have cleaner highlighting lines on those, however!

Next up, I will be painting a stand of Heavy Gear infantry models to test the infantry theme. They are the closest equivalent in scale to DZC, so it should be a pretty accurate representation (I might even be tempted to proxy them if I feel so inclined).

Let me know what you think!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Trying something new, and taking the path less travelled

 Above picture © Copyright Hawk Wargames

After seeing how bad GW has been getting, I really have little / no desire to play 40k anymore. I barely recognize the game anymore, and my finances simply cannot keep up with the rate of change that they are trying to throw at us.

The models and books keep getting more expensive, and they keep releasing more of it more quickly in order to keep us hooked. However, counter-intuitively, they are sending out cease-and-desist orders to web-isode producers who generate hype for their new products (not to mention free advertising) by trying to get sneak peeks at the products before they are released.

Given the totalitarian treatment of its fans and supporters, I can no longer ethically support GW as a company.

I figured I was just done with miniature gaming for good. Then, on a whim, I watched some youtube reviews of the new-game-on-the-block: Dropzone Commander by Hawk Wargames. The models are interesting, and in 10mm scale (a scale I have been interested in due to its emphasis on vehicles and ease of painting), and the rules are lauded as well balanced.

Desiring to know more, I started to watch some of the normal blogophiles reviews. What really shocked me is when the game's primary designer/creator began showing up on the videos. Beasts of War, Bluetable Painting... he made his rounds and actually met people in the gaming community face-to-face to show off his product. What's more, he is genuinely passionate about having a game that is balanced and realistic, yet still fun. His attention to detail during the design process is alone worthy of much praise. The background to the game is believable, the setting is appropriately dire, and the factions are unique from each other but none appear to be game-breakingly unbalanced.

When I saw the newest edition to his product line, the 2 player starter set with plastic models, I knew I had no reason to not try out the end result of all his devotion and labor. The set looks chock-full of goodies, including everything you need to make a highly-detailed game board straight out of the box. It literally has everything that you need to play a game of DZC: a game board, beautifully-detailed terrain, 2 complete armies (albeit small ones), the rules, templates, markers, dice, even a tape measure with a Hawk Wargaming logo! The only thing missing out of the box is an opponent.

Games Workshop could definitely take a lesson in caring about the product they sell from Hawk Wargames. I eagerly await my foray into Dropzone Commander, and I hope that Dave continues to show the same level of dedication and passion as his game becomes more popular. It'll go a long way toward keeping me a loyal customer.

I urge you to give GW a break. Vote with your wallets, and let them know that corporate bullying is not the way a gaming company should operate. Try out Dropzone Commander's starter set, support a guy who really cares about the game and the community he's built, and you might be surprised with where it takes you.

Hawk Wargames' Page


Friday, March 8, 2013

The Future of Miniatures

Playing Around with SketchUp, this image is (C) Matt Darnell
New technology is spreading, at it will change humanity forever. Or at least us miniature gamers.

Surely you have heard of 3d printing technology... I firmly believe that with refinement and proliferation, this technology will replace the need for us to shell out our hard earned money to buy somebody else's idea of toys. It'll be like art, or books... you'll buy the examples you like, but you could always write your own if you want, or paint your own picture.

In the future, we'll be making our own miniatures.  Printing them will be as easy as printing a page.

I figured I'd get a head start on the 3d modelling software so I could start making the kind of models I always wanted. Today I took my first steps, learning how to use SketchUp 8 (which is free). The program is very easy to use, but difficult to master. The model I made above doesn't hold up to a 3d printer's needs, but it taught me a lot about the program itself.

Soon I hope to be moving on to models that can match a 3d printer's limitations. The sky's the limit, and I feel it calling.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Homecooked: House Rules for use with Stars Without Number

I've been busy the last couple days hammering out some custom starship rules for the RPG Stars Without Number, (c) Sine Nomine Productions

I love the simplicity of the basic rules, but I wanted the ships to be a bit more tough to kill, and a bit less flighty. Running away from every encounter seemed a bit wrong for a space-faring RPG, so I added some new components, changed some mechanics, and got my game design on!

I'm still testing out the balance of all the new systems, but I tried to temper the really good components with things like high cost or high power/mass requirements. I'd love some other people to run their opinions by me and let me know how it looks!

First off, if you haven't looked at Stars Without Number, you should! The basic rules are free, and the author has a myriad of free supplements to boot!

Get the rules from the link above. If you want to look at my highly modified house-rules portion pertaining to starship components and starship combat, download my PDF file from the link below:

Let me know what you think! I am particularly looking for opinions on the balance of the new components.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Shield Hit Markers for Starship Miniatures

I whipped these up today in the GIMP (an open-source version of Photoshop) to use in Noble Armada, but they could work equally well in any game or RPG where you want to see how many hits a ship sustained to its shields.

You may freely use/distribute these, it took almost no effort to create them so enjoy them! Print them on heavy cardstock or glue a printed page to cardboard, either way they make cheap and effective markers. I plan on having a game later, I'll post pictures of them in action when I am able.

click to view full-size
(NOTE: They are a bit large as-is, so I suggest adjusting the scale down to size them to taste when printing.)

New project: Stars Without Number

So I came across a gem of a RPG system during one of my surfs the other day: Stars Without Number (SWN). The best comparison I can come up with is that it is like a mix between old school D&D with Traveller. It is very rules-light, but it has great tools for a GM to generate worlds and stories. The ship combat doesn't seem too bad either, effectively being an extension of the regular combat system similar to Dungeons and Dragons.

Some of the setting features are fairly unique as well. For example, in SWN, the FTL drive is called a "Spike Drive" that "drills" into another plane of existence where space is compressed, similar to a hyperspace drive. It really conveys the sense that the Spike Drive uses brute force rather than a refined technique.

Other setting features are not so unique... In the game's setting, humanity constantly expanded through the stars, and as they skipped through other dimensions to travel faster than light, some became "touched" by Multi-Dimensional-Exposure-Sickness (or MES), gaining new psychic abilities. They used their new-found psychic abilities to form jump gates that used psychics to plot courses through space, faster and more effectively than possible with spike drives. After a time, a cataclysmic event known as the "Scream" caused a great amount of psychic backlash that killed most of the psychics. This also led to the collapse of the jump gate network, disrupting space travel and reverting the massive empire back into chaos. Sound familiar?

Old tropes aside, this game seems like the perfect basis for a space-faring adventure that doesn't get too bogged down by rules. The system generation system alone is worth looking into, as it gives you a great way to create an explorable universe.

I will be writing some stuff in the coming weeks, detailing the following:

Ship designs
Planet Summaries
Character Biographies
Adventure seeds

NSL Scout Vessel
Should be a fun project.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Zaraphiston - Abaddon's Foremost Sorcerer

Found another picture I hadn't uploaded yet. Here is the DV Lord/sorcerer model, which I have chosen to represent Zaraphiston, Abaddon's adviser and diviner of things that may come to pass. I was bummed that sorcerers don't get access to the Divination powers, but with Biomancy it's hard to complain. Telepathy works to an extent flavor-wise, controlling enemies as you would expect an evil chaos sorcerer to do.

Counts-as Abaddon

I just realized I never posted these, so here you go:

Basing still needs finished, but for the most part the painting is done.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Why iPhone Cameras Just Don't Cut It

Yes, I'm back after a long hiatus again. Hi.

I had some stirrings of creativity the last month or so and so finally tried to revisit the hobby to provide an outlet for all that energy. I did a decent enough job considering that all my paints are drying up and caking in the bottom of the GW pots (I'll be switching to Vallejo indefinitely after this). At least, I thought so!

However, it is something of a stifle when the camera just does not do the model justice.  This Dark Angel Librarian from the Dark Vengeance set came out fairly well, but the camera in the iPhone 4 just doesn't have the capacity to bring out the detail that I worked so meticulously on. No amount of lighting changes or background switches could help. I tried a multitude of different backgrounds and lighting situations... but in the end, I settled on this picture. This was the best of a bad lot and that is pretty frustrating to me.

Guess I'll be asking for a new digital camera for my upcoming b-day this month...


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