Wednesday 29 April 2015


I've recently had a chance to work on a great limited edition model - Hannah, the Chief Freikops Archivist. She comes in about 30 plastic pieces and there's no instruction on putting them together available online. However, assembling the model didn't prove too complicated. It's a very impressive miniature with lots of details. The pose is rather static but it emanates power despite that. I like this version much more than the officially released one.
She comes on a 50 mm base and unlike some of the other larger Wyrd models, she fits in perfectly.Her armor was a bit tricky to paint as there are some flat surfaces. I painted three versions of Hannah. I chose different type of base for each one and I also painted her uniform to match the theme of the base.

Hannah is a Henchman. At a high cost of 10 ss she brings in some interesting options. She is a member of Freikops so things like Armor and Freikops Suit come with the territory. Together with Counterspell and Nether Flux, she is pretty survivable despite her 9 wounds. Hannah is a chief librarian and this is reflected by her Arcane Reservoir ability, which increases the Crew's Hand by +1. An extra card in hand is always a good thing.
She can also dish out some damage in Melee. Her (1) attack can hit with a blast (or two), together with a chance for an extra Horror Duel. Her main strength comes from a (0) Make a New Entry action, which comes at a very high Ca of 8. It allows her to copy any Ca action and perform it.

Tuesday 28 April 2015


Christine is the first of King's 'car' novels. Originally published in 1983, it presents a story of a complicated relationship between a teenager and... his vintage car.
The novel starts when two teenage boys are riding home from work. One of them, a nerdy type called Arnold "Arnie" Cunningham, notices an old, badly damaged Plymouth Fury parked on a lawn in front of a house. He immediately becomes fascinated with the vehicle and is determined to buy it. As Arnie finishes the process of buying the car, his best friend Dennis sits in the car and has a kind of vision that leaves him disturbed. He instinctively feels bad about the car, which the previous owner calls Christine. The car is delivered to Will Darnell's garage. It's a place of dubious reputation and its owner is suspected of illegal activities. Arnie begins the process of restoring his car there. As he gets more involved in the process, his relationship with his family, best friend Dennis, and later even his girlfriend Leigh, is seriously affected.
As usual, King sets up a solid background for his story. The story is told from Dennis' perspective.The major part of the novel consists of descriptions of everyday life of the protagonists. I was a bit surprised by a focus on negative aspects of high school life. I don't know whether this reflects the author's experiences but it seems that extreme forms of bullying, use of alcohol and drugs are always present in his novels about children and teenagers.
The author also devotes much of the novel to structuring a psychological portrait of the main character. We observe how factors like being a nerdy boy at school, having overprotective parents, combined with his natural sensitivity and a sharp mind, shape his personality and affect the way he perceives the world. Reading how a great relationship between two best friends slowly deteriorates is also interesting. Arnie, driven by his fascination of Christine, gradually moves away from his family and friends. His personality changes completely. Together with that, there are fatal car accidents that involve people who had previously bullied and tormented the protagonist...

Up until that point, the novel reads really well. It's not a complicated story, but a solid background and convincing characters make following it an enjoyable experience. 1980s' is not a very remote period in history but still everything seems significantly different. Not only the technology, ways of spending free time and human relations. Christine is firmly rooted in that period of time and reading the novel makes it easy to immerse oneself in those times. However, the addition of supernatural breaks the coherence of that image and feels a bit too much out of place to be treated seriously...

Sunday 19 April 2015

Fool's Gold

Wyrd's Iron Painter is back and it didn't take me long to make up my mind and join in. It's a really challenging one. All the participants are randomly paired and a theme for the round is announced. The entries are judged on the quality of painting and the theme.There's one more thing - each round lasts only two weeks and participants begin with unassembled, unpainted bits, terrain and of course miniatures. This kind of painting competitions really force people to get creative. Of course, it's possible to buy stuff and use it for the current round. I have several (unpainted and still on sprues ) Wyrd miniatures, so I decided to use this opportunity and catch up a little with my work.

The story is simple. A young adventurous child set out on his epic quest to gain great wealth. His search led him to a desert where he was able to find as many gold nuggets as he could carry. His joy at finding a place where he could buy some water to quench his terrible thirst quickly turned to dismay when he realized that his wealth was in fact only Fool's gold.. .
I used two miniatures and various bits (cactus, wooden parts for makeshift table, sign). I also had to create the bottles and coins. I used plastic sprues for them. The bottles were created using a round file on small pieces I've cut away from the original sprue containing the minis. The coins were made from a thinner part, which was simply cut into tiny slices.

I wanted to use the minis from diorama for gaming later on so they were only pinned to the 40 mm base. In the meanwhile I prepared 30 mm bases for them. I used an orphanage base insert for Mr Tannen and a Mystic base from Micro Art Studio for the Child. I've had that base for a few years and have never been able to find the right miniature for it. This one fits perfectly I think.

 I plan to use the Malifaux Child as a Totem for Sonnia. Having two sets of  Flame walls can be very useful for board control. The minimum for doing that is a 9 but in some situations this totem can be a better choice for Sonnia than the Purifying Flame. Not to mention the fact that the Child can also heal friendly models. Another nice thing is his survivability. Malifaux Child has only 4 Wd but He cannot be the target of charge and it's Manipulative 15.
Mr Tannen is an elderly, evil-looking man. He is also a Woe and a Mimic. Similarly to the Child, he is Manipulative, though only 13. His main role is a facilitator as he gives a mask to flips of all friendly models within 6'. This can work very well with Dreamer as it allows him to actually summon a Teddy into play rather than hire this expensive model. Tannen can also cause some trouble. All enemy models within 6' must discard a card before they cheat and for 1AP he will prevent opponent frm dropping scheme markers within the same radius. This seems very powerful but then to take full advantage of it, Tannen would need to be moved further to the front where he is very vulnerable. He can also prevent an enemy model from using soulstones for one turn and has some nice movement synergies with his good buddy Mr Graves.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Mile 81

Mile 81 is a novella written by Stephen King that was originally published as an e-book. Most of its action takes place at an abandoned rest stop that is used mostly by high school kids who drink and smoke there. A mud covered (despite lack of rain in the area) station wagon pulls over in front of it. Its doors open but nobody gets out of the vehicle. It draws attention of a religious insurance man who sees it as his chance to be a Good Samaritan. He stops his car and approaches the wagon, not realizing that he's walking directly into the lion's den.

Mile 81 is a short and not a very complicated story. I enjoyed reading the opening section in which King presents the area as an essential part of the life of local youth. I like descriptions like these as they offer interesting insights into the lives of contemporary Americans. Reading about things that they take for granted is always interesting when you look at it from the European perspective. Unfortunately, it only gets worse as the action develops. The novella quickly starts to resemble a B-class horror movie with exaggerated, gory details and no real tension being built up. It feels like George A. Romero's vivid and slightly tacky horror flick and the ending also left me disappointed. The cast of a few characters that appear are flat and not memorable too.

King is a generally a very skilled writer when it comes to short stories and is normally able to come up with an intriguing tale that has interesting setting, round characters, and a solid plot. Here, however, he seems to be cutting corners, giving only basics and rushing towards the ending (which is not interesting too). It may be that I perceive this novella as inferior as the previous novel from King I read was "The Green Mile", which is by far one of his best works. Mile 81 definitely pales in comparison.

Thursday 16 April 2015

The Man Comes Around

Sue is one of the most interesting models in Malifaux as far as background story is concerned. He is essentially a walking tribute to Johnny Cash. He's carrying a guitar, wearing black clothes, and his skills are called just like Cash's songs. He can be a versatile addition to many crews as he's a Mercenary.

Choosing colors for painting him was very easy. Black was the obvious choice for his cloak and the armor plates on his chest and legs were painted using true metallics. The main thing I did differently than in the classic version were the flames. I chose to make them look like real fire. I know it seems unrealistic and a normal man would either die or end up seriously burned but then it's Malifaux and nothing is out of place here. Especially when the fire is magical and the person using it likes to surround himself with a ring of it.

His main way of dealing damage are his pistols. His Sh is rather low (5) but he makes up for it with a built in +flip to attack and a Critical strike. HE has a nice trigger The Man Comes Around, which allows him to instantly kill any totem unless it discards two soulstones, making Sue an excellent choice against Lynch and Hungering Darkness. Another of his Cash-themed actions is called Ring of Fire. It allows Sue to surround himself with flames. Any models getting within 3' of him will gain Burning +2 condition, or even +3 with a trigger.Sue is also Relentless so he doesn't need to check his Wp while targeting terrifying opponents.

His Df is not impressive but he's Hard to Kill. He has a very nice 0' action (The Man in Black) that adds a -flip to Ca actions targeting models within 3' of him. I can easily imagine how well it would work with Sonnia's Counterspell Aura against masters who rely heavily on Ca on their attacks. There is also the Hurt ability which gives him one Wd but allows him to draw one card (and end his activation). Tread The Line allows Sue to give a model in 12' the Finish the Job ability, which can be very useful in some situations.I It also has an interesting trigger (Peace in the Valley) that will cause all the Scrap and Corpse markers within 3' of the target to be removed. Situational, but it can be very effective against masters like Nicodem.

Monday 13 April 2015

The Green Mile

I had seen Frank Darabont's screening of this novel before I started reading King's books. I'm not sure exactly how many years ago that was but it must have been at least 10, or even more. The movie impressed me a lot. It was a fairly simple story but it was presented exceptionally well. I think part of the reason I liked it so much was the cast. Each of the actors who played in the movie gave a very good performance, the late Michael Clarke Duncan in  the movie was the main reason I've been putting off reading the novel. I saw no point in it as I thought that I wouldn't find that captivating since I remembered so much from the movie. I was very wrong.

First of all, the novel is divided into six volumes. The first one, "Two Dead Girls", was published in the March of  1996, and the final volume "Coffey on the Mile", was released in the May of the same year. King did it as an experiment as he was a fan of serial novels and wanted to provide his Constant Readers with lasting cliffhangers. 

Set in the 1930's (the times of great economic crisis in the US), the plot of novel focuses on John Coffey, the new inmate in State Penitentiary,  also known as the Green Mile. He is sentenced to a death penalty for murdering and raping two girls. As soon as he enters the Mile, the supervisor Paul Edgecombe and other guardians realize that Coffey is exceptional, and not only because of his enormous size. 

Paul Edgecombe is the narrator of the story. King combines the narrative from his time at the Mile with the one he tells as an old man living in a nursing home. Each volume of the novel begins with the latter. It's an interesting solution as we get some foreshadowing of events from the start of each successive part of the novel. Old Paul in the main narrator in the story, but (unlike in the movie), there are important events happening both in the main story he is telling, and during the time he is in a nursing home. Paul often reflects on the nature of humankind. His job offers him unique insights into the hearts and souls of men. He supervises a section of State Penitentiary where people are imprisoned before their executions for horrible crimes committed in the past. At the same time, he sees them at their most vulnerable moments when they repent for their sins and try to come to terms with imminent death. John Coffey doesn't fit into these patterns. He appears to be a peaceful, quiet, even slightly naive person. His often cries, rarely talks and is afraid of the dark. As Paul Edgecombe and other guardians are about to discover, there is much more to him than just these "natural" characteristics.

Another intriguing inmate is called Eduard "Del" Delacroix. He is sentenced for raping and killing a girl and causing death of many other people that perished in a fire he started in an attempt to cover up his crime. He is presented as a simple, kind-hearted man. Del befriends a... mouse whom he calls Mr Jingles. As ridiculous as it sounds, the description of their friendship is one of the most powerful I've ever read about in a novel.  There is also evil in "the Green Mile". It is personified by Percy Wetmore, a young sadistic guard who got the job thanks to his "connections" in the upper classes. He enjoys humiliating prisoners and reminding them that he can cause them trouble. Percy is the epitome of malignant side of human nature. He was very well portrayed by Doug Hutchison in the movie and I still kept that image in my mind as I was reading the novel. 

I would recommend reading "The Green Mile" to everyone, not only fans of Stephen King. The novel is very well written, it is filled with interesting, memorable characters, and the narrative is very powerful. Paul Edgecomb's reflections offer many insights into the nature of humanity, the nature of good and evil, and the process of aging. Many of these are bitter and sad, but they are also deep and thought-provoking. I'd definitely put this novel among my top three Stephen King books (right beside "The Stand" and "The Dark Tower" series).

Tuesday 7 April 2015

The Swamp Hag #4 Voodoo!

Zoraida is one of the original masters from book 1 that got a re-release in plastic. The new sculpt is definitely ugly and evokes feelings of disgust and aversion. I thought I'd make something special for the base. I even entered her into a Wyrd Place basing contest that was run as a challenge for February. No success in it but it still motivated me to do some extra work on this part of the Hag. I used various bits there (metal puppets from Wyrd Orphanage accessories, a book, a piece of a wooden platform from old GW's Hobbit set, and a cauldron that was 3D-printed). I think these details added her enough to make her stand out more as a master. After finishing the base, I waited for a few weeks to start on Zoraida as I was busy with other ongoing work.

 Voodoo Doll, her totem, was a pretty straightforward mini to put together. All the bits fit nicely together and the texture on the surface of its body made painting it fast and easy too. I used part of Orphanage base insert and cut away the other part. The empty space was filled with Vallejo Still Water effect mixed with GW's Nurgle's Rot and some green wash.

Zoraida is The support master in Malifaux. She can Obey her minions effectively but she also has a few nasty tricks to cause trouble. I really like the way she works with her totem. The Doll can use its Hem action (which has a high Ca value of 7 with a suit included) to sew its fate with an opposing model. As a result, each time the Doll is hurt or gains a condition, the same happens to the opposing model. So Zoraida can stab it with her poisoned pins, then Mend (heal) it (she can do that with an upgrade. She can also pass other conditions onto the Doll, including the one that prevents the target from using soulstones. 
I haven't played Zoraida yet and generally bought her box only to have access to Silurids and Juju but sooner or later I'm definitely going to give her a go. Now, back to my round 1 Iron Painter project :)

The Swamp Hag and her colorful family

Thursday 2 April 2015

The Swamp Hag #3 Jump Around!

These models gave me an opportunity to do something different than my typical dark style of colors with muted shades. I used two variations, one very bright, vivid green and the other one slightly more brownish/yellowish. Some elements of contrasts were added (namely red and purple) to bring out more life in these wild beasts. 
These are great models with very dynamic poses so choosing the right type of base was essential. I wanted to highlight their ferocious and vehement nature. I also had to figure out a compromise between their swampy nature and my orphanage style of basing that I use throughout my Neverborn force. I used Orphanage base inserts with some extra bits (rocking horse, large crate) along with some patches of swamp (GW's Nurgle's Rot mixed with Vallejo Still Water).

Silurids are excellent choice for running schemes. They have an average Wk but their Cg of 7 is excellent, specially taking into account the fact that they can Leap as their (0) action and move up their Cg, ignoring terrain and models that stand in their way. 
Their attacks have a low Ml of 5 but once they hit, they can trigger poison or another bonus attack. With only 6 wounds, they are not too resilient. However, they are Silent, meaning that attacks targeting them cannot ignore LoS or cover (effectively protecting them from Austringers). Also, it might be a good idea to activate them late in turn as there's going to be a negative flip for any Sh actions targeting them before they Activate. Also, they are Swampfiends and have nic synergy with models like Bad Juju. Silurids can also activate via Companion.

 I also painted the three above for a buddy. The same color schemes, different basing theme. This time they're in their natural habitat - the swamp.

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