Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Misery Loves Company #3

In folklore, a Poltergeist is a supernatural being, a kind of ghost that makes strange noises and causes various things around the household to move. Wyrd sometimes uses such stories when they come up with creatures for their game.
Poltergeist's large base (50 mm) and big size may be misleading. He's not a melee monster. As Pandora's totem, he has the function of a facilitator. He has a melee attach with a 1/1/5 damage spread but once he hits, the target receives the Slow condition. It can also move around the board quickly with a Wk of 6 and Incorporeal. It also means that he's not that easy to take down (despite only 5 Wd). He also regenerates 1 Wd each turn. Still ,once he's seriously hit by a Ca action, he can go down easily.

 His main function is to help with Pandora's Wp-based attacks as all models within 2' suffer a negative flip to Wp duels. He can also place 30mm markers that enforce a 15Wp duel to all within 3'. Those that fail them receive a Slow condition. Good positioning is essential with this totem. If he manages to get near the models targeted by Pandora, they're going to have a really hard time.


As far as painting is concerned, I used teh same color scheme that I chose for the sorrows. I liked the effect I got there and thought that since Poltergeist belongs to the same crew, he can get a similar look. Working on the miniature was fun, but it was also more time-consuming as he's a big one!

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Misery Loves Company #2

Baby Kade is certainly not what he might seem to be at first glance. Many fall victin to his innocent appearance, only to learn that he's a mean, Manipulative (11) woe. He's small (Ht 1) with a decent Wk of 5 and very decent Cg of 8. His Carving Knife has a low damage profile (1/2/4) but the triggers are what makes it really dangerous. With a Crow, the attack deals +2 damage and Slows the target. Other than that, he gets +2 to damage if the target is engaged with at least one another friendly model. At this point the damage spread changes into a whooping 5/6/8. 


Kade can also Lure an opponent to move its Wk in his direction. It's a (1) action that has an impressive Rg of 18. Another of his tricks (a 2 action) allows him to push into base contact with a friendly Teddy within 15' and then push the Teddy up to 6' in any direction. Kade can also take an upgrade which allows him to add a suit of a card that he discards to all his flips until the end of turn.
He really shines in offense but despite his high Df of 7, he has only 6 Wd, which is his greatest weakness.

Painting him was a bit of a challenge due to his diminutive size. I wanted his skin to have a sickly pale shade so that it would work well with his hollow eyes and dark circles around them.
I used a Wyrd Orphanage base insert and painted the carpet using purple - a color that immediately brings Neverborn to mind. Kade is so small that he takes up only about 1/4 of the surface. Good thing Wyrd added a small Teddy to him. And yes, the toy is nailed to the floor...

Can these eyes lie?

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Misery Loves Company #1

I've recently started working on Pandora's crew and since I currently have more free time due to longer than usual Christmas break, I plan to use it well and paint the whole crew before the year is over. So, let's start this entry with a proper song to play in the background.



I've been looking forward to painting Sorrows since I saw the artwork. They're a big improvement compared to old metal sculpts as they have more dynamic poses. Also, they now have a slightly humanoid look (at least in the upper half of their bodies) that goes really well with the ghostly lower half. Painting them was a very nice experience though the green part was a little time consuming. I needed to apply numerous layers of bright green mixed with white to make the highlights visible to a degree I found satisfying. 


These minions are quite cheat. At 5ss they offer interesting options but since they have a very strong synergy with Pandora, they are best used with that particular master. Their Wk of 3 seems like nothing but they have means of moving around much faster. They can become a really painful nuisance when models within 6' fail a Wp duel as it's then forced to lose 1 Wd. However, they are quite fragile with only 4 Wd. They're Incorporeal, which slightly increases their survivability, but they definitely require careful handling if they're to be used effectively.


Thursday, 25 December 2014

Black Blood Shaman

This one is a very peculiar miniature. When I started painting it I didn't really know what to begin with. It's got plenty of details but various humanoid and bird-like shapes incorporated into the model make it a challenging mini to work with. I roughly followed the original color scheme but made it much darker to adapt it into my typical painting style.
My first association with the word "shaman" is colors. That's why I felt the use of brighter shades was justified. Also, it provided an element of contrast with his sickly pale skin. The skull base from Micro Art Studio completed my vision nicely.


 In game it's more of a supportive minion than one that would affect the game directly. He's definitely not helpless in melee as his Ritual Knife can inflict some damage along with a Blood Curse, which causes the target to lose 1 Wd at the end of every turn. Still, he should function much better kept slightly in the back and making sure the Tots are within 14' of him. If they kill an enemy, they can grow into a Young Nephilim.



Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Tuco(s)

Tuco is an interesting character. He once was a proud member of the Ortega family. During one of the many skirmishes he was captured by Neverborn. He withstood their imprisonment and tortures for a long time but in the end he was broken. As his mind got twisted, his body began to change and he grew a pair of horns. Still, even now he looks human enough to be taken for one as he continues his revenge on those who gave up on him long ago.
Tuco brings to the table a possibility to inflict damage using Sh actions, something that is rare among Neverborn. . However, he can be used form uch more than just that.
At first glance Tuco is just a solid sniper. He can be deployed From the Shadows, which more than makes up for his unimpressive Wk5 and Cg5. His shotgun doesn't have a great range (10') and the damage spread isn't that good too. Yet he can be pretty useful as he can pull off blast damage on moderate and severe. If push comes to shove, he can also deal some damage in melee with his Inhuman Claws.
His usefulness extends beyond these two obvious aspects of his character. He can use a 0 action to push any opponent 4' in any direction and follow that with a shot from shotgun which can slow a target down. His human appearance means that he is Disguised and as such, he can't be charged.

I really like the original metal miniature but since I don't own one (the one in the picture was painted for a friend), I built mine using bits from TTB male set. I only added two horns from some old chaos WH bits. I chose a face that I thought would be capable of producing Deranged laughter (as you can see in the pic below). I also used colors that would make him look more like a human and less like a Neverborn.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Witchling Handler

It's one of those minis I didn't buy when metal models were still widely available. Since she can be very useful for Sonnia's crew and I like my proxies to have some resemblance to the original model, I decided to create one using bits from TTB female set. I only added a blade from old plastic WH Chaos Warriors set as the katanas from TTB set didn't look much like greatswords. I also added a pistol.


I painted her using colors that would resemble those from WH's original artwork. I don't really have sculpting skills so I didn't even bother trying to create a pilot's cap for her. The base is made of resin and it's from Micro Art Studio (yes, I do like this company's products).


In game she can make Witchling Stalkers much more effective. First of all, if they activate withing 4' of her, they get a free +1wk and +2cg, which significantly increases their mobility. Her Runesword has decent damage profile, rg 2' and gives her a chance to turn an enemy into a Witchling Stalker. She also has two 0 actions. One allows her to push a friendly minion with 12' up to 4' towards another friendly model within LoS. The other has nice synergy with Sonnia as it causes (needs 6 of any suit, which isn't hard to pull off) attacks of friendly models within 4' to apply burning +1 to targets within 10'.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Seamus time!

Seamus has been one of my favorite models ever since I learnt about Malifaux. In fact I almost picked up his original box but in the end chose Lady J. The miniature is really great, it has everything - arrogant pose, fantastic details, and a face with a nasty grin. I like this one so much more than the plastic version. 
Seamus seems one of the easier masters to start the game with as his mechanics are centered on summoning Rotten Belles, jumping around the board and firing a deadly shot from his Flintlock gun every turn. He can use it only once per turn but the damage spread is really impressive (4/6/8).


The avatar version is also one of my favorite models from the range. The first association when you look at it is Mr Hyde and it's a good one. I'm not the author of conversion on this one but I think that the 40K Ork extras go really well with the character of Steampunk pimp. And besides, it's Malifaux so anything goes! 
The Copycat Killer was also a lot of fun to work with. He's basically a smaller version of Seamus and  his ranged attack is pretty impressive too. Damage 4/5/7, rg 8 + the action can be taken twice per turn. He can also move all over the board easily as long as his master remains in play.


I'm going to focus on Neverborn now - I still have Tuco and Black Blood Shaman along with Pandora's crew that need to be assembled and painted.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Foldio!

This offering pleases me, human
I've been struggling with taking decent pictures of my miniatures for quite a while. It boiled down to two things - perfect set up and excellent light were both essential. Without either of them, pictures were never good enough and colors looked unnatural. 

That was the case until I learnt about Foldio. I missed the original Kickstarter campaign that launched it but read many enthusiastic reviews. I also learnt that it is widely used by miniature painters. I didn't hesitate for long and soon after ordered mine.


So what is Foldio exactly? It is a portable photography studio. It's designed to work with mobile phones but standard cameras will work just as well. Packed in the box it takes up very little space. You may say that any lightbox will be equally good. However, Foldio is made of solid plastic with magnets inserted inside permanently. It is only a matter of seconds to set it up and attach two batteries to light up two LED strips. Regardless of time of day or night you immediately get perfect lighting conditions for shooting pictures. The only downside is its price. It's not cheap (I got mine for $70+ with shipping on ebay), but if you ant to be able to take good pictures at any time, it's definitely worth it.

Foldio comes with three backgrounds - white, black, and grey. They are nice and made of material that will last for long, but I still stick to my standard backdrop (one that I downloaded from Massive Voodoo).  
I've already used it a few times and I'm very pleased with the effects. The colors look really nice, and the quality of pictures is excellent. 
I use it with my mobile most of the time (SONY Xperia M). While its built-in camera has rather basic parameters (5 MP, 2592 х 1944 pixels), it works really well (as you can see in the pictures below). I was finally able to take pictures of miniatures that are painted using red (for some reason this color would always look unnatural in my pictures) Besides, using phone, which always seems to be lying around is much faster and more convenient that taking pictures with digital camera and plugging it in to transfer all the pictures to PC's hard drive.  I'm too lazy for that too I guess.

 And speaking of pictures, here are three more ladies for the Seamus crew I'm currently working on. I've used vibrant colors on purpose. Firstly, it was requested. Secondly, these ladies want to first attract unaware customers, only to kill them once they get close enough. So bright colors make sense here. I'll be working on Seamus and his totem next. I can't make up my mind which one I like more, the classic metal model or the avatar one. I should be able to tell once I've painted them both.


Saturday, 29 November 2014

Revival


There are three ages of man, youth, middle age, and how the fu*k did I get old so soon*. In King's latest novel, Revival, we follow the protagonist - Jamie Morton, through all of them. It's a fairly short one (at least as far as King's novels are concerned) with 400+ pages, but he manages to present a cohesive story and conclude it properly. Still, I can't help but feel that the denouement can catch one off guard and is not exactly what could have been expected.

Jamie lives with his family in (yes, you guessed) small town in the state of Maine. His peaceful youth is strongly connected with local church and Charles Jacobs, a young reverend ,whose secret passion is electricity and the possibilities it offers. After two years a tragic accident happens and the pastor's wife and child are killed in a car accident. Heartbroken, he delivers what comes to be known as "The Terrible Sermon", in which he says some bitter words about his view on the nature of faith. Soon after he disappears from young boy's life.
Jamie continues his education and discovers a new passion. It turns out he has quite a flair for music and he begins a relatively successful career as a guitarist in various rock bands. He travels a lot, and is haunted by inner demons (drug addiction). When he is at his worst, his and Reverend's paths cross again. Their meeting will have important consequences for both men.

It's hard not to see many elements of King's biography that the author has included in the novel. The themes of religion, love, family, music, and drug addiction are nothing new for his Constant Reader. However, he manages to treat them with a fresh approach and at no point in the book does the story feel repetitive. King's approach to faith is strongly felt throughout the whole novel. He asks many profound questions connected with what makes people believe in God and taps into the possibilities of what waits for us after life on Earth is over.

Revival has been one of the most enjoyable novels by King I've read so far. I got sucked in the moment I started it. I've always enjoyed the books in which he deals predominantly with normal life, and the elements of the supernatural, the horror, seem to be in the background. Revival is certainly a book of this kind. It is also thought-provoking and deals with many questions we ask ourselves daily. King's answers won't always make the reader feel comfortable.

*not sure whose words are these originally but they are used in the novel too.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Six lovely ladies

Six Rotten Belles I painted for a buddy. He wanted a uniform look for the whole group of minions. He's going to do the basing, that's why they're just pinned to cork at the moment. Great minis to work with, especially the new plastic ones.



I was finally able to set up things right to get my camera to take decent pictures of red color. I'll write more about it soon :)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Deadhouse Gates



The second part of Erikson's saga as impressive in its scope as "Gardens of the Moon". The novel follows the events presented in the book 1. This time round, however, Erikson focuses on fewer characters, which makes "Deadhouse Gates" a bit easier to follow.

The novel starts with the cull of Malazan nobility. The Empress wants to remove all possible threats. She goes to great lengths to achieve her goal, without preferential treatment for her own family. Laseen sends her younger sister Felisin to Otataral mines. There she will have to do everything within her power to survive. Her motivation to exact vengeance on her sister is so great that she is willing to do everything to live and be able to confront her. She makes two unlikely acquaintances - Heboric Light Touch, an ex-priest of Fener, and Baudin, who is basically a remorseless thug.

At the same time we follow Icarium - an ancient half-Jhag warrior and inventor, and his friend Mappo. Their unlikely friendship will be tested as they are caught in a battle between Soletaken (shapeshifters who take form of large beasts) and D'ivers (shapeshifters who take form of numerous creatures, such as a swarm of insects or a pack of rats). Their quest leads them to the House of Azath, where the creatures fight for power and a chance to reach godhood over their race. 
Following their fates was really interesting as the relationship between the two is very complicated. Mappo is tasked with helping Icarium but also with controlling him and making sure the powerful warrior doesn't remember his past. Icarium's dark story is contrasted with the person of Iskaral Pust - a High Priest of Shadow, at first a host, and later a companion of the duo. He seems to be the new Kruppe of this novel, with his chaotic ramblings and erratic behavior. The novel deals with heavy subjects and by introducing a slightly more comical element, Erikson brings in a much needed element of relief.

On another continent, Coltaine, a Wickan warchief who became a High Fist, is escorting Malazan refugees to safety. His long journey and grueling fight against pursuing forces is one of the most memorable fragments of the novel. His "army" becomes known as Chain of Dogs as they continue to struggle against overwhelming odds. Erikson's descriptions of this force and their battles are brutally honest. There isn't much glory in them, everything is done in cold calculation and there are no easy decisions. It's hard not to mention Duiker here. Erikson uses the Imperial Historian to provide accurate narration in the fragments of the novel that deal with military.

The Bridgeburners are still present in the story as we follow Kalam on his quest to kill the Empress and Fiddler, who travels with Crokus to return Apsalar to her homeland. Their journey will take them to a destination that wasn't part of the original plan...

Many characters that were introduced in the first book (Dujek Onearm, Tattersail, Whiskeyjack, Paran, Anomander Rake - just a few off the top of my head) are not present in Deadhouse Gates. I expect that they will be the protagonists of book 3.

The main theme of the novel seems to be determination. It is connected with the will to live, survive and to reach a journey's end. The protagonists face odds that put them in a very tight spot but they do not question them and have no second thoughts. 
Once again, Erikson mixes the worlds of mortals and gods as they continue to play each others in their games. These interactions were present in the first book and I thought they were some of the most original elements introduced by the author. I was happy to find out that he continued describing them. The descriptions of the holy desert Raraku were also very impressive. It is shown as place where fates of mortals and gods intertwine and great events that will shape the fate of the world take place.

The books gives answers to many questions raised in "Gardens of the Moon". At the same time it poses many others as we observe the main characters develop. "Deadhouse Gates" also show  how complex  the universe created by Erikson is. Events that seemed defining in the first book now look much less significant in the grand scale of things. 
Erikson's language is very rich and he has great skill in creating a character's personality with the way they speak and the jargon they use. It allows him to introduce many secondary characters that don't feel out of place but actually bring something to the story.  There is also a lot of pragmatism in his writing but he still manages to surprise the reader with a few unexpected twists at the end of the novel.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Mother of Monsters #6 The Mother herself

 I've finally finished painting Lilith and her crew from the starter box set (along with three extra Nephilim). Lilith's totem is an interesting one. It's basically a parody of a love cherub, only evil and twisted. He can fly and has a nice trigger that imposes a 5' push on the target. It can also help his fellowe Neverborn with reducing the cost of Interact Actions by 1 as long as they're within 3' of him.
I used the same skin tone that I did on the other Tots and Nephilim and kept the rest of colors dark to give him a slightly more menacing look.



Lilith definitely stands out as the leader of the crew. She is the only one that looks human but her appearance shouldn't fool you. She is a ruthless, relentless fighter that is capable of dealing a lot of damage. She is very mobile too with a Wk and Cg of 6' and an upgrade that gives her Flight. She doesn't need Los to charge her opponents or use Ca actions, which makes her a constant threat wherever she is. She has a solid df trigger that allows her to make hitting her in melee much harder once she manages to win a df duel. She also has a high Df of 7 but her 10 wound's won't be enough to keep her alive from opponents who manage to break it. So basically she is a perfect guerrilla fighter who hits hard and fast and disappears immediately.




Lilith and her family

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Some TTB conversions

I've been playing around with TTB male and female sets and created a few minis I want to use for my Guild and Neverborn.



From left they are: Witchling Handler (pistol and a greatsword, she should be easier to recognize once I get some paint on her), Latigo Pistolero, alt Nino, Lelu (claws and a tail), Lilitu (an elegant cigarette to go along with the Lure rule) and finally Tuco (claws-I've swapped a hand here, and a shotgun plus a face that looks capable of producing deranged laughter. And the horns ;).

Monday, 3 November 2014

Mother of Monsters #5 Barbaros

Barbaros is a new character that was introduced to Malifaux in second edition. He was an enslaved gladiator, killing other unlucky opponents for the amusement of other people. His wings had been clipped but he somehow managed to escape his captors and joined his fellow Neverborn with one goal in mind - kill as many humans as possible and get his revenge.


Barbaros is Lilith's go-to henchman with his high mobility and skills that give him some board control tricks. He is a fierce melee fighter and his Macahuitl can dish out a lot of damage. With an upgrade he can use a (0) action to push other non-Nephilim models away. The only problem is that he has 9 Wd, which is not a lot for a melee-oriented character and he has no way of healing himself.



I used a different color scheme for this one. I used the blue skin tone as seen in the original artwork. I also thought it made sense as he spent most of his life imprisoned under ground in a cell so his skin may have a different shade than his fellow Neverborn. Additionally, it makes his stand out more as a unique character,

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Mother of Monsters #4 It's Evolution Baby!

It doesn't get any bigger with the Nephilim. The Mature one is the final version in the evolution of these Malifaux-native creatures. It measures about nine feet and  looks like a true monster with its massive wingspan.




The Mature Nephilim can fly, combined with its considerable Wk6 and Cg8, he can get quickly anywhere he wants. There are also some other mobility tricks involved that allow it to push other models away or  even Charge Through them in order to reach other targets. It is Terrifying a wounding it is harder thanks to Armor +1. And should you decide to deal with the beast in melee, you should remember about Black Blood. As far as its offense is concerned, it can be summarized by one word - ferocity. Monstrous Talons can quickly tear opponents to pieces and even Rip them in Half, potentially causing other models to panic.  The model costs 11ss but it can be brought into game as a result of Growth upgrade.


Once again, I've used skull bases from Micro Art Studio and I think they suit these minis perfectly, going well with their ferocious, blood lust-driven nature. Similarly to the previous ones, I've also used gore effect to highlight this aspect even more.

The theory of evolution, Nephilim style

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Gardens of the Moon


The first word that comes to my mind when I think about this novel is "epic". "Gardens of the Moon" are not only a long book (650+ pages depending on the edition), the numerous strands that are laid out from the start and the impressive number of memorable characters (returning to the dramatis personae section is often necessary), can make it hard to get into. And that's just the first of ten novels in this massive series!

The main plot does not seem too complicated at first glance. The Malazan Empire is torn by long wars fought on different fronts. It is firmly ruled by Empress Laseen who commands her deadly Claw assassins. Her firm rule started after her assassination of old Emperor Kallenved. This situation is presented from the perspective of Whiskeyjack and his squad of sappers - the legendary Bridgeburners. After suffering heavy and unexpected losses in a siege of Pale, the soldiers struggle to find their place in the aftermath of the battle. As the dust settles and the readers can begin to feel at ease with numerous (though well-defined) characters, Erikson begins adding more twists to the plot, thrown in several new characters who act independently of the Bridge Burners, in completely different places and in practically different realities too. Some of them are: a young thief Crockus along with his peculiar friends, powerful alien mage Anomander Rake and his elite host (inhabiting "The Moon's Spawn" - a giant floating fortress), alchemist Baruk, Quick Ben - a mage of many talents, Tattersail - one of the few mages who survived the battle of Pale, Adjunct Lorn and unlikely companion who are on a secret mission to free an ancient power, Kruppe who is... (who the hell is he? I've no idea but he's my favorite character by far, it's really hard to describe him, I wouldn't know where to begin). Each of them brings a lot to the story and nicely moves the plot forward by adding a different perspective on the events taking place in the book. If you thrown in a mix of gods who enjoy meddling in the affairs of mortals and play their own games without considering their impact, you get a really interesting mix.

It may seem like humans are the ultimate pawns of gods in this brutal reality but the truth is the mortals play them as well to their own ends. This interaction is truly fascinating and Erikson handles it masterfully. It's a dark, brutal world but the fate of humans is not entirely grim. There are individuals who rise above others and despite being drawn into various conflicts against their will, their actions have profound effects on the world (captain Paran comes to mind immediately).

The numerous plots and a mind-blowing array of original characters can be confusing. The action shifts seamlessly from one character to another and at times this seems like a bit too much to follow with so many unanswered questions to remember about at the same time. "Gardens of the Moon" is definitely not a plain novel, it's is a challenging book and some may even get discouraged from reading it after being overwhelmed by all the facts presented in it. I've actually re-read the book. I read it in Polish (the cover from that edition can be seen above - it's probably my favorite) the first time several years ago. I read the original version this time round and it was still a very enjoyable read. The complexity of Erikson's work can make it hard to sympathize with the protagonists at first. There are so many of them and the author doesn't seem to focus on developing their personalities too much. At the same time he hints at significant events in the past that shaped who they are. It can be hard for a reader who encounters Erikson's work for the first time but at the same time it is understandable that he wouldn't want to give away too much in the first novel of his 10 book-long series. After finishing it I felt that many questions were answered but at the same time even more were posed and I look forward to reading the second novel.

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Mother of Monsters #3 Painful Growth

Young Nephilim are the next step in the evolution of Neverborn native to the world of Malifaux. Their growth is very fast and thus extremely painful. Their limbs become longer, the wings develop, which causes enormous pain to the creatures.  The only way to lessen it is by consuming raw meat. They're so desperate  that they'll even eat a still living, thrashing being as long as it gives them even a temporary relief. But their suffering has a purpose as a fully developed mature form is a true monster. But we'll get to that later.


This cruel reality of their condition is well reflected by their profile. Their Wk of 5 is pretty standard but combined with Flight and a Cg of 8, they become incredibly mobile. Their melee attacks give them a chance to get into frenzy or... heal themselves after gorging on the remains of their latest victim. Overall, they are pretty solid melee fighters with high mobility at a nice cost of 6ss. Not to mention a 1ss upgrade, which gives them a chance to turn into a Mature Nephilim.


I used a very similar color scheme to the one that can be seen on the Tots. The same gore effect was used on their hands and I have to admit, they do look mean...


Thursday, 2 October 2014

Mother of Monsters #2 Terror Tots

I love everything about these miniatures. Even their name is awesome. When you think about it on a linguistic lever, the words "tot" and "terror" are an unlikely pair. Yet they fit these guys perfectly.

Terror Tots are perfect objective runners. They can Sprint and reach remote areas on the board very quickly, which makes them a perfect choice for dropping markers . Their Df of 6 isn't bad but once they get hit, they die quickly with only 4 Wd to spare. They have black blood, so they can deal a little extra damage if they manage to get close enough. Their offensive output is far from impressive and they have no way to attack from distance.


As far as the miniatures are concerned, they are amazing. The sculpts are very dynamic and the details are very nice. They look almost... adorable... Almost, so I went down that path and made sure there is a mean edge to them by choosing nasty-looking skull bases and adding some gore effect to them.

Well, working on these little guys was a lot of fun. Now it's time to move onto something bigger.
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