Saturday, 20 April 2019

Myranda warning


This one was meant to be painted as a Native American. I used Foundry paints for the first time here (Native American Flesh triad) and I really liked it. Good coverage, nice consistency (only a little water needed to make it run smoothly off the brush). I also wanted her clothes to look like some primitive, hand-made garb and followed basic highlights with some very thin brush strokes to imitate material texture.


The miniature is OK but while I like the ultra dynamic pose (fitting her onto those resin hunted tree stumps was a bit tricky), it looks a bit off, especially her right leg seems to be positioned in an unnatural way.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

The Messenger - new and improved miniature carrying case

This review is cat-approved
I got my A-Case almost two years ago. It has served me very well since then. I've worn in rain, snow and heat. I traveled by plane to a tournament abroad, and it perfectly fit both under the passenger seat and in the luggage storage on board. After using other alternatives (foam, plastic containers) I was really happy to make the switch to a metal case and magnetize my minis. What is more, after all this time, the case still looks good as new and there is no wear and tear visible. 

I spend long hours making sure my minis are painted to a high standard and really hate it when there are accidents and the paint chips off or the minis or when they get damaged. Using magnets for keeping minis safely locked in the bag has been a blessing. I've had no problems since I started using it. Yet, every rose has its thorns. 

After a while when my collection started growing exponentially, there wasn't enough space to pack all my minis and I had to decide which ones are going to a tourney and which are staying in the glass cabinet. Malifaux is a skirmish game and requires only several miniatures in a game but you want to make sure you have more options when building competitive lists. Also, while the minis were kept super safe in the bag, after some time the shelves started feeling a little clunky. Not to a degree which would make using the case inconvenient but still, it was a factor and I had to always bear in mind the fact that I need to be extra careful while sliding them in or out. The case also has an external pocket that can fit small bits like tokens or measuring gadgets. Useful but that's never been enough to store all the game aids I wanted to take with me to a tourney. 

Those are not big problems by far. Rather, as mentioned earlier - small thorns on a pretty rose. I realize, these may seem like your typical "first world problems". Still, despite these minor issues I've been very happy with my bag. 

That's why when I learned that the company is launching another Kickstarter with new, improved versions of the bag, I was immediately interested. Thanks to the creator of campaign, Olo, I soon received a parcel with my carrying case. There are three versions available in the campaign (more on that later), and I opted for the middle one - The messenger. 




Size and material 

It's obviously bigger, as you can very well see in the picture above in which my old case easily fits into the Messenger. Its dimensions are: height 31,5cm/12,40in, width 40cm/15,74in, depth 21cm/8,26in. It means it can still be used as carry-on luggage on a plane. But it's not all about the size here. I just love the new material. Instead of plain silver galvanized steel, we get powder-coated steel trays in powder-coated aluminum frame. It has an incredibly luxurious feel to it. It looks very elegant and feels much more solid than the previous version. 

The assembly process has also been simplified. Instead of bending flat aluminum sheets into shape and then putting them together, the set comes with ready elements that just need to be connected. No tools are needed. There is a really neat lock system and the whole process takes no more than five minutes. 
Safe Teddy is a happy Teddy
The trays are not only wider and deeper. Their movement is just flawless. They slide in and out easily without any hitches. It's so satisfying, knowing that your precious minis are easily accessible and you don't need even take into consideration how fast/slow/at what angle you pull on the tray. Just like with the older version, there are metal bolts to keep the trays in place. There is one more thing - rubber attachments that keep them connected to the trays at all times. A clever solution that allows you not to worry about losing them.

one of the new, smart solutions
Inside, there are 7 slots for trays. It means that you can customize the height of each tray. At this point of the KS campaign a third one has been unlocked and that's a perfect number for me as a Malifaux player. However, if you feel you need more options, additional trays can be added to your KS pledge. 

There are two options to carry the Messenger. Either a handle firmly attached to the top, or an adjustable strap with a shoulder pad. Both work very well. 

Messenger has a huge side pocket. It easily fits a thick Ultra Pro-Binder album and there is still plenty of space left for all other gaming essentials you may need. 

A few words should be written about the price-quality ratio. Let's be honest - wargaming is not a cheap hobby. Some people pay as much as $100 or more for just a few, or even for a single miniature (the author of this review is guilty as charged!). What should be stressed is that buying A-Case is a long time investment. My previous case lasted almost 2 years without any problems and I expect to get even more out of my new one. As such, paying $139+shipping for a product that will last for years and will ensure the safety of my miniatures is a reasonable expense. 


My whole Neverborn force easily fits in and there's still plenty of space left


Summary 

The creators have done their homework and managed to turn all problematic points into major strengths. I honestly can't think of any way in which this carrying case could be improved. Maybe adding Bluetooth, WiFi adapter, and remote control? 

It's a wonderfully well designed and polished product. The creators have listened to all the feedback they've gathered over the years and they've been respectful towards their clients. A-Case is not a global company. It's basically just one guy with passion who makes the best out of working with his target group, and I can honestly admit that I feel happy to be part of this community. 

Olo from A-Case says hello. Left to tight: Kane, Messanger, Victory 2.0
P.S. The KS campaign runs until Mon, April 22 2019 4:05 PM CEST. Make sure you check it out as they have two other carrying cases available. Victory 2.0 is an improved version of the small one I used to use. Perfect solution for small skirmish games. The other one is Kane - a true beast designed for those who want to carry really huge armies. 




Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Tyger Tyger, burning bright


Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, 
Could frame thy fearful symmetry? 


What can be cooler than a three-headed Tiger model? Hard to beat that. I decided to use blue for the most part as I've always struggled with this color on larger surfaces. It was a little easier here as there is some fur texture on the main body to serve as guidance. I started with some general highlights on the body, making sure to leave enough dark blue in the recesses. Following that, I kept adding numerous thin brushstrokes in gradually brighter colors to build up the fur texture. It was a very lengthy and tedious process but it was a good practice for sure. I added some touches of brown/dark red and glazes of light blue and green to keep it more "natural" (as much as this word can be used to talk about blue fur of a three headed Tiger). I also thought that blue would nicely contrast with a predominantly green base.




#8/2019 The President Is Missing

I was immediately intrigued when I saw the cover and who the authors are. A political thriller written by a former PotUS at least holds a promise of accurate representation of how different pieces in the administration work together.
It's a story of a major cyber attack threat against the US. I like the way that the concept of "Internet of things" as a development in technology that can be used to effectively shut down the entire nation. While these aspects are presented in a coherent and well structured way, the language often feels a tad harsh, not well refined. It is really hard to come up with ideas that could be used for showing cyber threats in this modern technology-driven world and I liked the way the characters of Augie and Nina are introduced. Still, for the most part the novel failed to keep me involved and I found myself passively following the plot without being absorbed in it.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Samurai with minigun


Not much more to write other than the title. The minis are quite ridiculous and the kneeling one is really badly scaled. The sculpts are probably a nod to a BS movie called "Sucker Punch" that had some nice visuals to make up for lack of content and terrible acting.
The armor plates were painted using Red Goblin from colorshift range by Greenstuffworld. Easy to apply and they immediately give a nice effect. I applied some black ink in the recesses and lightly worked bright silver onto the edges to add it a bit more definition.


Friday, 29 March 2019

Razorspine Rattlers


These four big snakes were quite a challenge. Mainly as there were dozens of scales that needed slow and careful highlighting. The dark ones are inspired by Australia's Red Bellied snake, one of the most dangerous ones out there.
I've also finally got to paint my old metal version of this miniature. Tough to say which one I like more as the plastic ones look more impressive overall although they don't have so well defined details.
I wanted to keep with the swampy theme so I've applied some pure Vallejo Still water effect an top of final highlights to give the skin a glossy look.
Now, time for the three-headed tiger and Marcus.





#7/2019 Little Fires Everywhere


The novel starts with a fire at a family house that was most likely the result of arson. Family members immediately have a suspect - family's black sheep Izzy. This way of presenting the story allows readers to pay close attention to all the events that lead up to this situation. Events and complex family relations. Because at its core, Little Fires Everywhere is a family tale. 
We have the Richardsons - wealthy and seemingly happy family living in a large house. Mia - a photographer, artist, and a restless soul who constantly changes her address, starts renting part of their rental house. She moves in with her daughter, Pearl. Over time she notices that Pearl spends most of her time at Richardsons' place and openly admires their daughter Lexie. Mia is soon offered a job as a housekeeper there and decides to take it in order to have a chance to check on her daughter there.
There are many complex human relations here. Mia's difficult past comes to haunt her as Miss Richardson begins investigating it.
Celeste Ng creates lively, credible characters. Richardson children go through their maturing and face challenges involved with it face-on. While they seem to be a perfect family, moments of crisis reveal cracks in that structure, both on personal, and on emotional level. I picked this novel totally randomly and this is not the type of prose I typically read but it was surprisingly enjoyable nonetheless.
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