Sunday 28 September 2014

Mother of Monsters #1

Time to start another project - this time it's going to be Lilith's crew from the "Mother of Monsters" box along with some extra Nephilim. I chose to work on this whole batch as I'm going to work on a few simultaneously. This is one of these crews that features a few similar models, so that should speed painting up a little.

I chose skull bases from Micro Art studio as I thought they fit in thematically well with this crew. The Nephilim are ferocious beasts with deep hatred for... well, pretty much everything so I thought these would nicely highlight their savage nature. 
And that's it for now, more updates later next week!

Friday 26 September 2014

Great quality and affordable bases on KS

CoolMiniOrNot is running yet another interesting KS campaign. This time they've joined forces with Micro Art Studio - a Polish company that has been in the business for over a decade. MAS is particularly well known for producing top-notch resin bases. Now they've created something new - some awesome base inserts that are actually cast in... plastic. It makes them much easier to work with as your plastic miniatures are going to hold tight without the need to pin them in place.

The campaign is already a success. At the moment there are five styles of bases to choose from. For the price of $22 (plus the shipping cost) you're getting 34 (!!!!) bases. That's 34 standard lipped bases with 34 plastic inserts. A really great deal, well worth considering if you're using this type of bases. Check out the campaign page here.

Wednesday 24 September 2014


Well, this year's Gencon order is finally here and I couldn't be happier. No mispacks, only LCB's 50 mm base is missing but I can handle that.  The funny this is I ordered Crossroads from wargamestore and I got it on the same day as my Gencon order.

I'm going to paint Dreamer's crew first but before that I have 3 other crews to work on (Lilith, Seamus, Pandora)...

Saturday 20 September 2014

On a Pale Horse

I got this audiobook in a batch I bought a couple of months ago on humblebundle. I tried some from that purchase but somehow none has matched my taste so far. Until I've listened to Piers Anthony's "On a Pale Horse".
The novel is set in more or less contemporary times but it's a different reality in which magic commonly mixes with technology. So while items like flying carpets and magic stones are widely used, there are also plenty of other, more familiar things like cars, cameras and taxes. The protagonist, Zane, is a photographer. He's struggling financially and is disillusioned after losing an opportunity for great love. In a moment of greatest crisis he decides to commit a suicide, which doesn't go as planned as not only does he survive but he also manages to... kill Death. As a result, he is forced to assume his office. Zane is completely bewildered and his confusion matches well the state of mind of a reader. I thought it was a great idea to throw the protagonist in at the deep end. Both the protagonist and the reader are completely unfamiliar with this new reality so it helps in identifying closely with Zane and his new circumstances.
As the protagonist continues his work he meets "clients" from various backgrounds and whose causes of death are always different. His job is not only to collect the souls but also to judge where they end up. Zane's doubts enable the author to reflect on various moral issues such as how to judge the death of a child who was born of incest, where do non-believers end up, is mercy killing justified? Zane seems a bit naive and uses rational mind and emotions to make his decisions. This human aspect distinguishes him from his predecessors and make following his actions an interesting process. 
The world created by Piers Anthony made me think about Pratchett's Discworld more than once. Often events that might seem completely out of this world are presented as part and parcel of everyday life. As we follow Zane's story and witness his meetings with various "clients", we are often forced to think about the moral aspect of his job and the nature of God and Satan. Yet, as thought-provoking as these encounters are, Anthony avoids giving straight answers. 

Thursday 18 September 2014

Some terrain

This week I've been working on a few pieces of terrain to use for my wasteland-themed board for Malifaux. The main goal was to add a few movable pieces that would add some much needed variety. I was mainly focused on adding some severe terrain that limits movement. Without it games seem too straightforward. I also wanted to add a few Ht 1 pieces that would at least force that negative flip for shooting actions.

 It's not just about evening the odds for melee-oriented crews. I made sure that all the new pieces were wasteland-themed. That's why I used various elements like cacti, barrels, chests, coffins, tombstones and a few other bits. I also used two pots of GW's Agrellan Earth and drybrushed it heavily with brighter shades once it was dry and cracked.
I hope to put these terrain pieces to test tomorrow!

Wednesday 17 September 2014

My six weeks with Ten Thunders - a summary

My Ten Thunders painting project started in August. In total I painted 18 miniatures during the last 6 weeks. Not a bad result I think.
Working with bright, vivid shades was definitely a great experience. If you look at my earlier works you'll immediately notice that I tend to favor rather dark colors. This project enabled me to stretch my painting skills and get out of my comfort zone in order to do something different. Finding a balance between those bright color schemes and a darker painting style that comes to me naturally was a big challenge but it most definitely was a great experience. In the pic below you can see the whole batch (the Neverborn and Mccabe's crew seen at the back were not part of this project).

For once my glass cabinet was filled with bright colors
Here are links to previous Ten Thunders - related blog entries (in the order they were painted):
The Torakage
Ten Thunders Archers
Low River Monks
Dawn Serpents
Mistress Misaki and Shang

Tuesday 16 September 2014


These are probably the most challenging minis I've ever painted for Malifaux. They are beautifully designed with an amazing number of details and really well defined features. What makes them so hard to work with is their size.They are just so tiny! It was a solid practice of highlighting small surfaces as well as a chance to work with colors I don't normally use. It's definitely a good idea to paint something that is not necessarily your style once in a while as it allows you to improve your painting skills.

In game the Oiran are a very interesting minion. At mere 5ss they bring in an amazing ability in the form of Lure. It has an impressive range of 18' and (if successful, it's resisted by WP) forces a model to move its Wk towards the Oiran. It's easy to pull of with Ca8 and a built in mask as the TN is 12. The Oiran also give friendly models within 4' +1 to Wp. They also have a few tricks up their long sleeves in melee with some interesting triggers.

And that completes my TT project. I'll write a summary of my work with this faction in a separate blog entry. For now I want to focus on preparing a few terrain pieces for my gaming board and after that I have quite a few Neverborn models to work on.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Yellow Thunder #5 The Teacher

Yamaziko may look inconspicuous but this elderly lady is a force to be reckoned with. Misaki's teacher and mentor can be deadly with her weapon of choice - the yari (with an impressive range of 3' + 40 mm base that allows her to engage more targets). She hits hard too with very solid 3/3/4 damage profile.The ram trigger is automatically included, which means that moderate and severe damage can cause blast damage. Yamaziko is honorable, which means that she gets + to dmg against masters and - against peons. Her age brings wisdom, meaning that she has a chance to learn what the other leader's unrevealed schemes are.

Did I mention her age? Well, yeas, she is also stubborn, forcing a - to Wp based attacks that target her. She is also relentless, giving her immunity to horror duels. With a Wk of 4 she may seem like a slow henchman but she more than makes up for it with nimble and an extra free Wk action. Her Df 4 and 8 Wd look unimpressive at first glance but she has a nice trick up her ancient sleeve. Her (0) action forces any enemy models targeting a friendly model with 3' to suffer 4 damage. She definitely brings a lot of options with her and all of that at ss cost of 7.

The main challenge I had while working with this model was a large gap left after gluing in her right arm. A lot of GS/LGS was pushed in and smoothed over to cover it up completely. Her facial features are very well defined so painting this part was easy enough. I avoided drybrushing her hair as it would just mess them up and worked the highlights carefully up with detail brush.  There are quite a few little items she is carrying with her tied to her weapon. A lantern, a piece of cloth and a third item I initially had trouble recognizing. It's actually a mask so I chose to paint it red, similarly to Ototo's mask. I also used a different color scheme for her to make the model stand out more. I did include a touch of yellow though.

Friday 12 September 2014

Yellow Thunder #4 The Mistress and her Pet

Misaki and her personal totem, Shang, have one of the nicest stories that I've ever read from the world of Malifaux. As a child, the Oyabun's daughter devoted most of her time to honing her martial arts skills. Her diligence wasn't the only thing that set her apart from other children though. She claimed she could see what she called foxfire. It was something she started referring to as her special friend. It wasn't until after she's crossed the Breach on her way to Malifaux that her unique companion really came into being in the form of Shang.

 Misaki is a true assassin. She moves very quickly around the board and hr charge has a range of 8' and ignores other models and buildings as long as her target is in line of sight. Add a 2' melee range to that and it becomes clear that she must always be taken into account by opposing player. What's more, she has the Stalking Bisento upgrade, which potentially gives her a chance to dish out as many as 4 attacks in a round. If you add a Recalled training, she gets to all her flips for one turn, which makes her a true melee monster. Her other Melee attack, Thunder, gives her a chance to do blast damage (which she ignores). This can be very effective against certain crews (hello Dreamer!).
I've already mentioned mobility. With the Next Target trigger she can push up to 4' in any direction after damaging her target. If she doesn't manage to jump out of the engagement, she can always turn to a Misdirection upgrade. As long as you have a mask in control hand, she can pass on the damage to any other model within 2' (apart from the attacker).

Misaki is probably the most complex model I've ever painted for Malifaux. Her pose is very dynamic and the number of details can seem a bit daunting at first.I found choosing colors for each of these a bit challenging but ended up throwing in a bit of red and turquoise along with a touch of blue and green on the metal parts.
I used a Zen base insert for her base. At first I didn't really know what to do with this special effect she's creating but in the end decided to make it look like she was splashing water. I needed to make a few changes to the base for it to happen.

 I really like the design here. Shang is a truly unique totem and painting him was a lot of fun. I chose a rather simple base for him as any detail would probably be lost there. He's pretty big and barely fits into a 30 mm base.
In game he bring in some help to Misaki in the form of healing action and some potential damage output. Still, with a Df of 5 and only 4 wounds it's probably a better idea to keep him in the back (but within 6' of Misaki).

And here's the finished crew. I normally paint using much darker shades so it was a nice change. Somehow it seems to me that the Ten Thunders get the most amazing miniatures as they're unique in design and have very dynamic poses.

Tuesday 9 September 2014

Best Painted Crew award

Picked up this one from the post office after work today. It's an award for best painted crew I won during this year's Malifaux tournament run by UMS Agram in Croatia. Technically, I wasn't there but a buddy of mine was playing using a Dreamer crew I painted a while ago and sold to him. He was kind enough (cheers Marko!) to put it up for Best Painted Crew award (players' choice).

The plaque is absolutely amazing, I love the professional look. At the moment it's proudly standing on my desk but I may end up hanging it on the wall in the future.

Once again, many thanks to UMS Agram, and to Marko, its president,  in particular. This means a lot to me. You guys are awesome!

Sunday 7 September 2014

Yellow Thunder #3 Little Brother

Little Brother to friends, The Thunder to enemies, Ototo is not a person you want to be standing against when he's angry. He is a true giant of a man (which is reflected by his Ht 3 and 40mm base). He has 12 Wd and is Hard to Kill. He can easily move through shorter models (which means pretty much everyone in the game except really big and nasty monsters). He can also heal himself but that's not always the best option for him as he gets significantly better when reduced to half of his wounds. And all of that without any upgrades... His relatively low defense of 5 and his SS cost (10) are considerable downsides but whatever the situation, he is always a force to be reckoned with (and to be shot at!).

The miniature is pure awesomeness. Probably the most dynamic one that's been released so far. I really like the positioning with the giant Tetsubo as it hits the ground,  creating some kind of magical effect. His hair flows nicely in the air and the material on his clothes is folded appropriately. 
I had lots of fun working on this one but struggled a little with the chest area. I generally prefer to put the miniature together and use GS on all the gaps before I start painting. In this case it caused some problems as his chest area and upper thighs were really hard to get to. Fortunately, I had no trouble reaching his mask with a brush and ended up painting it red to add an element of contrast. The eyes are bright blue to look like some king of magical glow but you can't really see that in the picture...

Saturday 6 September 2014

Mr Mercedes

Long before its release, this novel was billed as Stephen King's first ever detective story. While it's good advertising, I cannot agree entirely as he'd already written a short story ("Colorado Kid"), which definitely belongs to this genre.
The first thing that immediately drew my attention was the cover. Very nicely designed with dark background and only two colorful spots. A light blue, cold umbrella and a distant red light. I couldn't help but wonder where the Mercedes or the Mr were. The cover is thought provoking and interesting, and it definitely encouraged me to start reading (as if I needed any motivation - new SK book is always good enough encouragement for me). 
The novel starts with a bang. King gives readers a chance to closely observe a massacre as a Mercedes drives into a crowd of people waiting in line for the opening of a job fair. What makes this scene even more powerful is that prior to that we get some insights into who the people are and how desperate they must be to stand there. The conversation between a man helping a young woman (who at this point seem to be the main characters) with an infant is cut abruptly...
The following investigation is led by a veteran detective, Bill Hodges. Years pass but the murderer is not found. Now retired, Hodges tries to come to terms with his "new" life and as he struggles with coming to terms with it, the thought of suicide is never far away from him. Everything changes when he receives a disturbing letter from a person claiming to be the Mercedes killer. As a retired cop, his resources are very limited. However, he can still rely on his considerable experience, intuition, and some help from two very unlikely allies.
The story takes a while to unfold and for a significant part we follow the new investigation on a linguistic level. As Hodges analyzes the letter, he reveals his impressive deductive skills. Those fragments were very well written and they nicely moved the action on and built tension without too much actually happening. What I found a bit strange though, was the protagonist's proficiency in various linguistic forms. When he finds a misleading piece of information, he calls it "red herring". It's a name I remember from my university classes on literature comprehension and it seemed a tad odd that a policeman would use it. King has a tendency to set teachers or other academics as protagonists of his novels. It is a useful trick as it gives him freedom to use very nice language to reflect his characters' thoughts, and internal monologues are often present in his works. Here it somehow felt a bit out of place but then I guess a retired, elderly detective can have a flair for linguistics. 
As Hodge's research brings him closer to the Mercedes killer, the pace of the novel quickens significantly. New characters enter the scene and the final section is really gripping, making it very hard to put the book down. 
There are some fragments in the novel that are really disturbing and reading through them was hard. Following the story from Mr Mercedes' perspective and entering his twisted mind sheds some light on his motivations. As evil as he appears, there are certain haunting events in his life that almost evoke feelings of sympathy towards the main antagonist.
I found the ending very satisfying as King not only did a good job of wrapping up all the important plotlines but he also left enough of them open to make sure there is enough space for a sequel.

Monday 1 September 2014

Dawn Serpents

The moment I saw Mako's article in Wyrd Chronicles #13, I knew I wanted to paint this miniature. I ended up getting two so I thought I would work on them using different color schemes.
Before painting I prepared the bases. I used some resin casts that had been lying in my bits box for ages. I really liked Mako's idea and I thought it added a more "magical" feel to the Serpent. With this repositioning it looks as if it was floating majestically instead of just flying up. 
As usual, my camera couldn't handle red and the color on the more fiery serpent looks off in the pictures. I think I actually like this version even more as it seems more "classic" with the choice of colors easily associated with dragons. At the same time, I have to admit, the color scheme I took from Mako's article makes the beast look interesting too. 

 In game, Dawn Serpent offers some nice anti-magic powers. Ca actions targeting it lose suit. As far as resilience is concerned, it is Hard to Kill and it can heal 1 damage for each model with Ca within 6' with a (0) Tactical Action. Obviously, it flies so with a Wk of 6 and 40 mm base, it can move around the board efficiently. Its melee attack has solid profile and automatically includes Poison +2 condition. It can also breath fire into enemies (with blasts, why not?) from 8' and set them on fire. The only downside is a relatively high cost. At 10ss you'll probably think twice before choosing it for an encounter. Still, it can work well against certain crews.

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