Sunday, 30 November 2014


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


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,

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