Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Jaakuna Ubume


This one one of the few miniatures that actually made me feel uncomfortable while I was working on it. It's basically a resculpt of the old metal version with better proportions and more attention paid to detail. Well, apart from one problem with her robe close to the girl's head on her back - looks like something went wrong there during the casting process... The design is just gruesome. An old, creepy lady looks like she's summoning four drowned from beneath the water and at the same time she's gently hugging a small girl...
I used vivid colors on Jaakuna's robe and girl's dress as they form the centre of the whole piece here. A plastic insert with all the details comes in a box so I didn't have to do much on her base. I finished it off with some Vallejo Still water mixed with blue ink for the glossy effect.
Her abilities in game can make life unpleasant for the opponent. She can surround herself with hazardous terrain and lure opponents into it. I haven't faced her in an actual game yet but I don't look forward to doing it.



Fight Club


I remember watching film adaptation of this novel several years ago. I was impressed by the relentless pace, seemingly random camera work and an underlying atmosphere of madness. 
I had the same feelings when I finally reached for Palahniuk's work. Knowing the story (I do remember the film very well despite seeing it only once years ago), I paid more attention to elements that indicate deteriorating mental state of the protagonist. I have to admit they're interwoven with the plot really well. At the same time I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the anger and negativity present throughout the whole novel. Getting through it wasn't easy but in the end I felt good about it and found new level of appreciation for the film adaptation.

The House on Cold Hill


A family moves into an old country house and soon they find out that it is haunted by an evil presence. Furniture moves on its own, strange whispers and screams can be heard at night, sightings of a mysterious old lady are reported... Soon their life becomes a nightmare and they begin a desperate fight for survival.
Sounds familiar? It should, as those are the elements that can be found in every other horror story. While Peter James uses them pretty well, he has nothing unique of his own to add to this standard. I was waiting for something to happen that wouldn't follow the standardized pattern of horror stories like these but was quite disappointed. Also, I found it hard to get involved in a story in which ghosts use computers and mobiles to freak people out. Some interesting twists were added in teh final section of the novel but for me it was too little and too late.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

An Audience With The Queen #7 Titania

Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.
William Shakespeare, "A Midsummer's Night Dream"


Titania ruled the Fae in the ancient Malifaux. She was instrumental in the fight against Tyrants, but was betrayed by her own people who feared her rising power. She returns from imprisonment to Malifaux and quickly finds that her world has changed.
Titania brings something new to Neverborn - a fairly resilient master who can withstand some punishment, relying on Scheme Markers and auras. I haven't played any games with her yet so at this point I can't really say much about how she actually works in game. I hope to test her soon but I still need to paint Performers and Sorrows.
Painting her was fun, especially choosing different shades of white for her tattered skirt and flesh. I wanted it to have slightly purplish, unnatural look. The main challenge was attaching her to the base as I had to drill through her very thin legs before I pinned the model.

Metro 2033


Metro 2033 offers an interesting view on how post-apocalypse world can look like. Instead of deserts scorched by the Sun and empty cities, we have a society of metro stations that function as independent states. Out of those, powerful factions emerge and fight for dominance in this underground world. 
The main character, Artyom, was born before the nuclear holocaust that forced people to live in the metro. He was miraculously saved from an invasion of rats that destroyed the population of his station. Now he lives on the VDNKh station with other survivors. The station is suffering from increasing attacks by creatures known as the Dark Ones. It is soon revealed that their appearance is probably connected with Artyom and his friends' illegal visit to the surface. The protagonist meets a man named Hunter, who tells him to seeks the legendary station of Polis if he fails in returning from his quest to gather more information about the Dark Ones. Soon after that Artyom sets off on a quest that will enable him to meet representatives of different stations and experience the worst that the metro has to offer.
I enjoyed reading descriptions of various factions spread throughout this underground universe. Their different cultures, styles of living and problems they faced were described in a very interesting way. However, what I didn't much care for was how the action was moved forward. It seemed to me that everything in this book is action-driven. There is some kind of scheme as Artyom arrives at a new place, struggles and just about he is to die, a miraculous rescue happens. It felt too far fetched after the first time and each successive situation like this one only decreased the suspense and any traces of credibility of the story for me. I liked the ending as it was ambiguous, but I don't think I will be reading more novels from this universe.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

An Audience With The Queen #6 Aeslin


I am that merry wanderer of the night.
William Shakespeare, "A Midsummer's Night Dream"


Aeslin is Titania's chief adviser and a model that I don't think I will ever field in an actual game...
She has some abilities similar to the Autumn Knights (mainly Hard to Wound + 1 and The Course of Autumn, which causes all engaged enemy models to perform a Wp 13 duel or gain Slow). Aeslin is an Expert in Casting and can discard a nearby friendly Scheme Marker to avoid randomization while firing into engagement. 
Her attack actions don't have an impressive damage spread but they allow her to place more Scheme Markers (and Titania and her friends like them a lot) or put Slow on enemies. She has two (0) actions, one of which allows her to discard a friendly Scheme Marker and force a - to all Ca duels on all enemy models within 6'. The other one may be very useful under some specific circumstances as it makes all friendly models within 6' immune to pushes and makes it impossible to place them as a result of enemy actions. Overall, Aeslin has decent synergy with the rest of the themed crew but I will probably still choose Widow Weaver over her as those -1 to Wp duels should make Titania's crew more efficient.
As far as painting goes, there isn't really much to write about. The major part of her model consists of a tree bark-like armor and there is only some skin showing. Despite that, for some reason I struggled with painting this miniature. Anyway, she is finally ready and I can start working on Titania.


Aeslin to główna doradczyni Titanii i figurka której pewnie nigdy nie użyję w grze...
Ma umiejętności podobne do innych Jesiennych Rycerzy (przede wszystkim Hard to Wound +1 i Jesienna Klątwa, wywołująca test Wp 13 u wszystkich związanych z nią w walce przeciwników - nieudany test oznacza Slow). Aeslin jest ekspertką w rzucaniu czarów i może odrzucić pobliski Scheme Marker, żeby nie losować celu strzelając do walczących w zwarciu modeli.
Jej ataki nie mają imponujących obrażeń, ale pozwalają jej położyć więcej Scheme Markerów (a Titania i jej przyjaciele bardzo to lubią) lub też nałożenie Slow na wrogie modele. Posiada również dwie akcje za (0). Jedna z nich pozwala jej na odrzucenie Scheme Markera położonego wcześniej przez przyjazny model i wywołanie - do wszystkich pojedynków na Ca u przeciwnika. Druga może być potencjalnie bardzo przydatna w pewnych okolicznościach, ponieważ daje wszystkim modelom z ekipy w promieniu 6 cali odporność na pushe i przestawienia modeli w wyniku akcji przeciwnika. Podsumowując - Aeslin ma niezłą synergię z resztą tematycznej ekipy ale i tak pewnie będę zamiast niej wybierał Widow Weaver ponieważ to -1 do Wp powinno sprawić, że cała ekipa będzie funkcjonowała bardziej efektywnie.
Jeśli chodzi o malowanie to nie ma tak naprawdę dużo do napisania. Główna  część modelu to koro-podobny pancerz, spod którego wystaje tylko trochę skóry. Pomimo tego, z jakiegoś powodu zmagałem się z malowaniem figurki. Najważniejsze, że jest już gotowa i mogę w końcu zająć się Titanią.

The Power of Habit


I've been interested in neurodidactics for a while now so when I heard about this book I was immediately sold. I picked "The Power of Habit" mainly out of curiosity but reading it was an interesting and rewarding experience. Charles Duhigg, New York Times business reporter, deals with the issue of habit forming and changing using a down to earth approach.
Many individual cases as well as wider studies are presented and reflected on in order to deepen the understanding of how this phenomenon works. Duhigg also writes about various habits within well structured organizations and goes through different stages that take place as these change. I found his observations very insightful and potentially useful for my work. Duhigg's book also encourages to look critically at many aspects of commercialized culture.
According to the author, in order to change a habit (both on individual and global level), three stages must take place:
1. There must be a cue that triggers certain action.
2. An action must be repeated every time the cue happens.
3. There must be some kind of reward at the end.
This observation, along with many other, may be seen as some kind of common general knowledge but an in-depth look he offers is intriguing and thought-provoking. 

Roadwork


Roadwork is another "rainy day" book by Stephen King. He even stresses it in the introduction that Bachman books were written during dark days with dark weather, whereas the King ones were created on regular days. As always, themes of social in justice, anger and frustration, are prevalent. 
The main character, Dawes, is adamant in his resolution not to leave his home and make room for a new road to be built. He understands that conventional methods won't help him, so he decides to go to extremes in his last stand.
The novel is short, but I didn't really find it compelling and felt completely detached emotionally from the problems described in it. Somehow Bachman's tone of narration makes it hard for me to get more involved in the story.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

An Audience With The Queen #5 The Thorn

From you have I been absent in the spring, 
When proud pied April, dressed in all his trim, 
Hath put a spirit of youth in every thing. 
William Shakespeare (Sonnet 98, 1-3)


The third and final of Titania's most trusted elite guards is connected thematically with spring. Once again, choosing different shades of green for a vivid, but cohesive color scheme was a big challenge for me. I wanted to make sure she isn't too similar to the Tooth at first glance. The model itself is
Her stats are the same as other Autumn Knights. One thing worth noting is that her attack seems more potent as it has a very good range od 3' and ignores armor. There are also two (0) actions that allow her to push opponents towards her or push herself towards friendly scheme marker.

Ostatnia z trójki najbardziej zaufanej elitarnej gwardii Titanii jest tematycznie związana z wiosną. Po raz kolejny wybranie jaskrawej i zarazem spójnej kolorystyki okazało się dla mnie sporym wyzwaniem. Chciałem, żeby na pierwszy rzut oka nie była zbyt podobna do Zęba. Sam model jest bardzo ładnie zaprojektowany a kwieciste ozdoby tylko dodają jej charakteru.
Jej staty są takie same jak u pozostałych Jesiennych Rycerzy. Warto zauważyć, że jej atak wydaje się bardziej efektywny dzięki bardzo dobremu zasięgowi 3 cali oraz temu, że ignoruje pancerz. Dodatkowo są jeszcze 2 akcje za (0), które pozwalają jej pushować wrogie modele do niej lub samej przesunąć się w kierunku przyjaznego scheme markera.


Here's one that has a spring vibe to it:


Shaq Uncut



Shaquille O'Neal has always been my favorite player. His skills and his personality on and off the court were things I admired. He was one of the most dominant centers to have ever played the game. His considerable size, together with fierceness under the rim, made life hard for others guarding him. 
"Shaq Uncut" is written very well and it becomes clear early that it's a Shaq novel. You just can't imitate this unique style. It's not only about the swagger, Shaq has a talent for making his statements short, witty, and to the point.
Shaq's years in the Orlando Magic was my favorite period in the NBA. I followed each of their games closely and was very disappointed when they came up short against Houston in the finals. Reading Shaq's take on this part of his career was interesting as it gave me more insights into what was happening behind the scenes. Obviously, there will always be tensions between team members but I had no idea about how divided this talented team was. According to Shaq's version, there was nothing racist about it, but most of the black players kept their own company whereas the white ones (led by a veteran Scott Skiles) had nothing to do with them. They didn't have much in common and I can easily imagine now how it must have affected the team both on professional and personal level.
A significant part of the book deals with Shaq's relations with Kobe. When I compare it to Jackson's version, I can see many similarities but it seems to me that Shaq finds it a bit too easy to distance himself from this conflict. He isn't really critical of himself but he stresses the fact that his children loved uncle Kobe and seemed to root for him more than for their dad. 
Shaq has a larger than life personality and he's become famous for his shenanigans off the court. It was interesting to read about his motivations. Also, as O'Neal matured, he became more sensible with his fortune and started investing it wisely. His thoughts on promoting products and his approach to establishing a brand were quite refreshing too.
In terms of facts from Shaq's life, there weren't many surprises for me here. However, there were numerous fascinating little tidbits about relations between players, many anecdotes, and lots of "behind the curtains" insights. To my mind, that is precisely what makes books like this one so interesting.

Friday, 11 November 2016

An Audience With The Queen #4 The Tooth

Though she be but little, she is fierce!
William Shakespeare, "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

The Tooth is another of Titania's Autumn Knights (I guess sex doesn't matter in Malifaux) and she is connected with the season of Summer. She brings pretty much the same options to the table as The Claw does. The only difference is a (0) action that can force an enemy to be pushed towards her, hit her once, and be hit once in return. Situational, but I guess it might work under some circumstances.
Painting this model meant one thing - stepping out of my comfort zone with color choices. I don't normally use bright green shades so this was a bit of a challenge for me. I try to make sure it's easy to notice which season each Knight is connected with. I hope this one will be easy to recognize.


Ząb to kolejna z Jesiennych Rycerzy Titanii (płeć chyba nie ma znaczenia w Malifaux), a jej tematyczną porą roku jest Lato. Do gry wnosi praktycznie to samo co Szpon. Jedyną różnicą jest akcja za (0), która zmusza przeciwnika do przysunięcia się w jej kierunku i zadania jednego ataku, tylko po to żeby odpowiedzieć na to atakiem wręcz. Ciężko ocenić użyteczność tej akcji, ale w pewnych sytuacjach może okazać się przydatna.
Malowanie tej figurki oznaczało przede wszystkim jedną rzecz - opuszczenie strefy komfortu w kwestii wyboru kolorów. Nie używam na co dzień tak jasnych odcieni zieleni, więc było to spore wyzwanie. Staram się, żeby od razu było widać z jaką porą roku jest związana dana postać. Mam nadzieję, że tutaj nie będzie problemów z rozpoznaniem.



And to finish off, what can be better than 30 minutes of solid atmospheric black metal.


Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success


Phil Jackson is another iconic figure that I consider one of the most prominent in the history of NBA. His calm demeanor has always impressed me and his legendary attitude to coaching has molded many talented players into true stars.
"11 Rings" is actually about much more than basketball. Jackson recalls his experience both as a player and as a coach and offers fascinating insights into his relations with other players. He describes each championship run from his own unique perspective; the way he dealt with conflicts, media, attitude problems and his (often unorthodox) methods of building team spirit. The book gave me a new perspective on many events that I followed and now I perceive some players as more complex whereas some other seem much less heroic.
Jackson's work with the likes of Jordan, Rodman, Bryant or O'Neal required him to use all his psychological and philosophical as he was trying to establish good relationship with each of them. On a purely practical level, his unusual methods have brought him record-breaking eleven championship rings. However, on a deeper level he was able to make many players not only better on basketball court, but also in their everyday lives. From this perspective, a lot about HR management, PR, etc. can be learnt from his story. I particularly enjoyed his method of "controlled improvisation" and after giving it some thought came to a conclusion that I could describe my approach to work similarly.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

An Audience With The Queen #3 Winter is coming

Now is the winter of our discontent 
Made glorious summer (...)
William Shakespeare, "Richard III"


Titania's Autumn Knights are her elite personal guard. They are armored by forest itself, with bark, branches, and vines wrapped around their bodies. Out of all the Knights, three have become the most eminent. Each of these is connected with different season of the year (apart from Autums, this one is reserved for the Queen) and the Claw walks the path of winter.
Painting him wasn't easy as I had to figure out a way to make his armor look like bark and avoid overly plain colors there. I added some snow effects to play with his theme and slightly break the dark shade there. I also made sure that his weapon looked like The Winter spear.
Like the other Knights, the Claw is a true tank. With Armor +1 and Hard to Wound +1 his average Df of 5 and relatively low number of wounds don't look bad.  He also forces enemies activating close to him to perform a TN 13 Wp duel, and get Slow when failing.  The Claw can also use one of his (0) actions to either push enemy into base contact with him (and get - to Df on a trigger), or to discard a card and push 4' into base contact with a Scheme Marker. Claw's offense looks solid with a Ml 2'/Rg 8' initial value of 6. The triggers allow him to place Scheme Markers and gain benefits if there are friendly ones near him.


Jesienni Rycerze to elitarna gwardia Titanii. Ich pancerzem jest sam las, co widać po korze, gałęziach i pnączach, które ich oplatają. Spośród wszystkich Rycerzy, troje wyróżniło się szczególnymi osiągnięciami. Każdy z nich jest związany z inną porą roku (poza Jesienią, ta jest zarezerwowana dla Królowej), a sam Szpon wędruje ścieżką zimy.
Malowanie nie było łatwe, musiałem wymyślić jak sprawić, żeby pancerz wyglądał jak kora i nie był przy tym zbyt jednolity.  Dodałem trochę efektów śniegu, żeby nieco rozbić ciemną kolorystykę. Postarałem się też, żeby jego broń wyglądała naprawdę jak Zimowa Włócznia.
Tak jak pozostali Rycerze, Szpon jest prawdziwym twardzielem. Armor +1 i Hard to Wound +1 sprawiają, że jego przeciętny Df 5 i stosunkowo mała liczba ran nie wyglądają tak źle. Dodatkowo, wymusza na pobliskich wrogich modelach test Wp13, a porażka oznacza spowolnienie.  Szpon może też użyć jednej ze swoich akcji za (0) aby przysunąć przeciwnika do swojej podstawki (i wręczyć mu - do flipów na Df przy odpowiednim triggerze) lub zrzucić kartę z ręki i przesunąć się 4 cale do przodu w kierunku Scheme Markera.
Ofensywne umiejętności wyglądają solidnie z dwucalowym Ml lub 6 calowym Rg o bazowej warości 6. Triggery pozwalają na wykładanie Scheme Markerów lub czerpaniu korzyści, jeśli cel jest w pobliżu jednego z nich.




Friday, 28 October 2016

The Couple Next Door



Appearances are all too often deceptive. I wrote this about one of the previous books I read, but in "The Couple Next Door" this theme seems to be even more prevalent.
A young couple visits their next door neighbors for a late dinner. They decide to leave their infant daughter at home and they take a baby monitor with them. As the dinner prolongs, they take shifts in checking on the baby. Nothing unusual happens until they return home and realize that a serious crime has been committed.
As new facts are revealed in the investigations, surprising twists in the plot make the action more dramatic. New facts about the protagonists are revealed, and their motivations seem to start making sense only to lose it again after new details are revealed. It is a very well designed narrative. The moment everything begins to start making sense, a new dynamic is added that adds a new level of complexity. 
I found it hard to put it away as I was sucked into the story. It is very well written, often surprises the reader, and has one of the best final lines I've even seen in a novel.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

An Audience With The Queen #2 The Gorar

Over hill, over dale, 
Thorough bush, thorough brier, 
Over park, over pale, 
Thorough flood, thorough fire, 
I do wander everywhere.
William Shakespeare " A Midsummer Night's Dream"


Titania's totem, the Gorar symbolizes the eternal circle of life and death. This is reflected in his rules as Gorar can bring back a fallen minion and then sacrifice itself. In order to do that he needs to be within 6' of the centre of the board. Gorar is fast and Unimpeded, so he should be able to get there without any trouble. However, keeping him alive can be problematic as he's got only 4 wounds. His offensive abilities have a rather low Ca of 4, so I don't think I will be using him much in game. Primordial Magic seems like a better choice. It's a shame as the miniature is really nice.
The Gorar comes on 40mm base and is a pretty large model. It's really well designed, as all the pieces fit together really well in a way that makes places where they're glued almost invisible after the assembly. I chose bright and vivid colors and decided on the color scheme as I was working on it. I wasn't trying to imitate any real snake, I just chose what I felt looked right.


Totem Titanii, Gorar, to symbol wiecznego cyklu życia i śmierci. Jego zasady odzwierciedlają tą zależność. Gorar może przywrócić do gry zabitego miniona, po czym sam się poświęca. Jednak żeby to zrobić, musi się znajdować w 6 calach od środka stołu. Gorar jest szybki i ma cechę Unimpeded, więc nie powinien mieć problemów z dostaniem się w to miejsce. Problemem może być utrzymanie go przy życiu - ma tylko 4 rany. Jego ofensywne umiejętności maja stosunkowo niską wartość Ca 4, a więc nie planuję używać do zbyt często w grze. Primordial Magic wydaje się być lepszym wyborem. A szkoda, bo figurka jest bardzo ładna.
Gorar ma podstawkę 40mm i jest dość dużym modelem. Jest naprawdę dobrze zaprojektowany, wszystkie części dobrze do siebie pasują, a miejsce w których są sklejone są prawie niewidoczne po złożeniu modelu. Wybrałem jasne kolory, a schemat kolorystyczny opracowałem w trakcie pracy. Nie wzorowałem się na żadnym prawdziwym gatunku węża, po prostu wybierałem to co mi się podobało.



Michael Jordan The Life


I've been a fan of NBA for many years but I followed the league most closely in the 90s. Times were different then and keeping up to date with current scores and tables was a lot of work. Access to the Internet was very limited and the speed of connection was really slow. Some random matches were re transmitted on public TV and I was able to check the scores by using teletext and reading "Magic Basketball", a magazine that appeared on a monthly basis. It all had a kind off magic feel to me then and even though I'm still keen on the NBA, I now maintain more distance to it and don't have the emotional connection I used to feel.
Michael Jordan was clearly the most prominent figure of that period. To me he was the god of basketball (even though I rooted, and still continue to do so, for Orlando Magic) and watching his actions on the court was always an amazing experience.
Now, many years later, I got a chance to read MJ's biography written by Roland Lazenby. My perception of Jordan hasn't changed after finishing it, but now I see him as a much more complex person who had to overcome many challenges (many of them self imposed) on his way to greatness.
The book begins with a very detailed description of Jordan's family background. It offered many interesting insights into his social background of that perios. However, it didn't really do much to present MJ himself and I found myself slogging through that part.
Once the story started dealing with his NBA career, I found it hard to stop. Learning about his difficult relations with teammates and opponents, his (sometimes unhealthy) ambition to be the best gave me a new, different perspective on many events. I was quite shocked when I learned how effective Jordan was at getting under people's skin. He had a natural talent for finding weak spots in opponent's psyche and exploring these. The author claims that Jordan's harsh words contributed to Muggsy Bogues's end of career as his confidence deteriorated along with skills after one harsh encounter with MJ. The same thing seems to have happened between his Airness and a very promising rookie in Washington Wizards – Kwame Brown. It is suggested in the book that Jordan destroyed him with his highly competitive approach to training and offered him only negative feedback. Gambling, use of alcohol, smoking cigars after matches and bullying other people were some of the most common aspects of Jordan's everyday life that I knew nothing about.
Yet despite these, Lazenby clearly admires MJ's relentless competitive spirit and his ambitious drive to be the best player in the history of the NBA. It affected his personal life on many levels and even today Jordan has both admirers and haters. However, to my mind, he still remains the best basketball player in history.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

An Audience With The Queen #1

Weaving spiders, come not here; 
Hence, you long-legg'd spinners, hence! 
Beetles black, approach not near; 
Worm nor snail, do no offence.
William Shakespeare, "A Midsummer's Night Dream"


I've finally started working on the crew I ordered during Gencon. In fact, I will bo working on two simultaneously. You can expect more pictures and some thoughts on the minis, fluff, and their use in game. So far I've only managed to assemble them but I'm already impressed with the quality of these miniatures. Gorar will be first.
The theme of this crew is heavily influenced by William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. Names, presentation of nature, and Titania herself are some of the most obvious references I can think of off the top of my head.


W końcu zacząłem pracę nad jedyną zakupioną prze mnie podczas Genconu ekipą. A właściwie pracę nad dwiema ekipami, bo będę malował dwie równocześnie. Możecie się spodziewać przemyśleń o figurkach, ich historii, oraz o ich użyteczności w grze. Póki co tylko złożyłem ekipę, ale już jestem pod wrażeniem jakości tych figurek. Na początek pójdzie Gorar.
Klimat tej ekipy mocno nawiązuje do "Snu Nocy Letniej" Szekspira. Imiona, prezentacja Natury, sama Titania to tylko najbardziej oczywiste nawiązania do sztuki, które od razu przychodzą mi do głowy.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Austringers


I've already painted other versions of these models, including the old metal ones and my own Through the Breach coversions. Once again, Wyrd delivered and new plastic versions are a big improvement and have a lot of character to them. Attaching the birds was a bit challenging but not that bad as the pieces fit together really well. My only problem with them is their size as the crouching one is significantly bigger than the standing one. This looks particularly bad when you compare the size of their hands and heads.
I've written at length about how useful Austringers are in game in my previous post so I won't repeat myself here. For the time being I enjoy using my Neverborn in game too much but when I switch back to Guild, at least one of Austringers will probably be in most of my lists.

Miałem już okazję malować inne wersje tych modeli; stare metalowe i moje konwersje z zestawu Through the Breach. Po raz kolejny Wyrd dał radę, nowe wersje są dużo lepiej wykonane i mają więcej charakteru. Przyklejanie ptaków było małym wyzwaniem, ale bywało gorzej, zwłaszcza że części są dobrze dopasowane. Jedynym problemem pozostaje wciąż skala - kucający model jest znacznie większy od stojącego. Rzuca się to w oczy kiedy porównamy ich ramiona czy głowy.
Pisałem już wcześniej obszernie o tym jak bardzo Austringerzy mogą być pomocni  w grze, więc nie będę się powtarzał. Póki co zbyt dobrze się bawię używając Neverbornów, ale jak już kiedyś wrócę do Gildii, to z całą pewnością znajdę miejsce w większości list dla co najmniej jednego Austringera.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

El Mayor


Francisco is a staple in many Guild lists. He can significantly buff an ally and dish out punishment whenneeded. Add to that a reasonable cost (even with his upgrades that are pretty much automatically taken with him), and you have you go-to henchman. 
I've painted both the old metal and the first plastic version of this character but this one has to be my favorite. Despite the static pose he still looks menacing and the level of detail is fantastic.


Francisco to stały element wielu gildiowych list. Może znacznie wzmocnić przyjazny model, albo też w razie potrzeby podziałać ofensywnie. Jeśli dodamy do tego rozsądny koszt (nawet wliczajac jego automatycznie dobierane upgrady), mamy henchmana, który często jest najbardziej oczywistym wyborem.
Malowałem już zarówno starą metalową jak i pierwszą plastikową wersję tej postaci, ale ta jest zdecydowanie moim faworytem. Pomimo statycznej pozy wciąż wygląda na niebezpiecznego typa, a poziom detali jest rewelacyjny.



Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Every Night I Burn



Iggy had an interesting (although a bit creepy) introductory story in one of M1E books. A twisted boy who sets an entire orphanage on fire is nothing pleasant for sure...
In game he is a Neverborn Enforcer. His main strength in offence comes from putting the Burning condition on other models, but there are also some nice tricks that attack opponent's WP. If he manages to get close (which isn't that easy as he's quite squishy), he can lower WP by -2, making it much easier to act for masters like Pandora or Dreamer. Setting Zoraida's Voodoo Doll on fire can potentially cause 12 points of damage (!). Iggy can also mess with activation order if he successfully used Mood Swing. I haven't tried him with my Dreamer yet but I can clearly see that he could work pretty well with Chompy version as there are already other elements (Web Markers, Daydreams) that lower Wp.
His Df is a nice 6 with -1 damage to Sh attacks, but you can't count on him surviving a strong attack. Iggy's Wk is a standard 5 with a Cg of 6. Overall, it seems like a solid option for a 5ss Enforcer.

Iggy miał ciekawą (chociaż wywoływała ciarki na plecach) historię wprowadzającą w jednym z pierwszoedycyjnych podręczników do Malifaux. Pokręcony dzieciak, który podpala cały sierociniec to na pewno nic przyjemnego...
W grze jest enforcerem do frakcji Neverborn. Jego główną siłą w ofensywie jest nakładanie Burning na inne modele, ale jest też kilka sztuczek do użycia przeciwko Wp przeciwników. Jeśli uda mu się podejść bliżej (co nie jest łatwe, bo jest dość miękki), może obniżyć Wp aż o 2, znacznie ułatwiając działania masterom takim jak Pandora czy Dreamer. Podpalenie laleczki Voodoo Zoraidy pozwala potencjalnie wbić aż 12 ran (!). Iggy może też mieszać w kolejności aktywacji modeli jesli uda mu się użyć umiejętności Mood Swing. Nie testowałem go jeszcze z moim Dreamerem ale sądzę, że może świetnie współgrać z wersją strzelającą tego mastera, gdzie znajdują się inne elementy (Web Markers, Daydreamy) obniżające Wp.
Jego Df to solidne 6 z -1 do ataków strzeleckich, ale raczej nie ma co liczyć na to, że przeżyje silniejszy atak. Iggy ma Wk 5 i Cg 6. Wydaje się być solidną opcją jak na enforcera o koszcie zaledwie 5ss.




The model is very well designed and all pieces fit perfectly. I didn't even need to use GS as there were no gaps left after assembling the miniature. Painting isn't really complex as I wanted his grayish clothes to look like something that a homeless street urchin. I kept the colors plain as I wanted to have more contrast by painting flames on his hands and red glow around his eyes.

Figurka jest świetnie zaprojektowana i wszystkie części idealnie do siebie pasują. Nie musiałem nawet używać GS, po sklejeniu całości nie było żadnych szpar do szpachlowania. Malowanie nie należy do skomplikowanych. Chciałem utrzymać prostą kolorystykę, tak żeby jego szarawe ubranie pasowało do bezdomnego dzieciaka (gorszego sortu ;) wałęsającego się po ulicach. Kolory są raczej bazowe, chciałem tym wzmocnić efekt kontrastu malując płomienie na dłoniach i czerwoną poświatę wokół oczu.



Sagabona kunjani wena

I've recently painted three nice Guild models and started working on another Neverborn crew but all will be shown here soon. For now I'm just chillin'


Monday, 26 September 2016

More Neverborn

Last couple of weeks have been busy but I managed to paint some more Neverborn minis. I worked on another set from the starter and I also painted the Twins again (it was my fifth go at these two minis). Left arm of one of the Bloodwretches was missing so I had to replace it with one I found in my bits box. Not a perfect match but these guys are supposed to be some kind of a hybrid between human and Neverborn so I guess anything goes. I'll probably paint some models for my Guild next.



Ostatnie parę tygodni miałem mocno zakręcone ale udało mi się pomalować parę modeli do Neverbornów. Pracowałem nad kolejnym starterem i po raz kolejny nad bliźniętami (to już 5 podejście do tych modeli). Lewe ramię jednego z Bloodwretches zaginęło w akcji więc musiałem sięgnąć do pudła z bitsami. Efekt nie jest może idealny ale w końcu to mają być hybrydy ludzi z Neverbornami więc nic nie powinno tak naprawdę dziwić. Jako następne prawdopodobnie wymaluję parę modeli do mojej Gildii.


Behind Closed Doors


What surprised me most was that this psychological thriller is actually B.A. Paris' debut novel. It's a very promising one as the narrative is really well developed and she successfully maintains suffocating atmosphere as new facts about the antagonist are revealed. Switching from present to past helps in achieving that effect and stirs up curiosity. While reading I constantly wanted to go through just one more chapter to find out more about current events and actions from the past that preceded them.
At first Jack and Grace seem to be a perfect couple. They're young, beautiful, live in a splendind house. Jack is a successful lawyer and has never lost a case in court where he always defends women who are victims of domestic violence. He may seem a bit overprotective though, as he never leaves Grace's side. The appearances are of course deceptive and as we gradually learn new facts about the present situation and past events that have led to it, the novel becomes even more suffocating. 
Behiond Closed Doors is a very promising debut and I hope to read more from the author in the future.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Shikome

Finding a way to attach them to bases was the main challenge here. I racked my brains until I came up with an idea to use old plastic terrain bits. I attached them using thick plastic glue, which slightly melts the surface as it hardens, making the link stronger.
Painting them was enjoyable as both minis are very well designed and have excellent details. In the end I just couldn't resist putting black metal-like make-up on them ;)

Wymyślenie sposobu jak przykleić te figurki do podstawek było największym wyzwaniem. Kombinowałem aż wpadłem na pomysł użycia starych plastikowych elementów terenu. Użyłem gęstego kleju do plastiku, który lekko topi powierzchnię, którą skleja, aby zapewnić mocniejsze połączenie.
Malowanie było bardzo przyjemne, obie figurki są bardzo ładnie zaprojektowane i mają świetnie dopracowane detale. Oczywiście nie mogłem się powstrzymać i dałem im black metalowy makijaż ;)


Shikome are mobile, hard hitting minions that have solid synergies with Poison condition. They can also be summoned in by some of the Ressurectionist masters, making their high cost of 8ss a bit easier to bear.

Shikome są bardzo szybkie i potrafią przywalić, mają też solidną synergię z efektem Poison, Mogą być też przyzwane przez niektórych masterów Rezurekcjonistów, co pozwala jakoś znieść ich wysoki koszt 8 soulstonów.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest


I remember watching final scene of the movie I caught by chance on TV several years ago. The final moments were so powerful that the images from them have stayed with me since then. A few weeks ago I finally read the book, on which Milos Formal based his film.
What struck me immediately was that the story is not narrated by Randle McMurphy (who was portrayed so well by Jack Nicholson). The story is presented from "Chief" Bromden's perspective. The narrative changes as the plot progresses and his mind gradually becomes clearer, thanks to McMurphy's influence.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a captivating tale about how one individual with a different frame of mind can affect his surroundings. It can be seen as a metaphor of an oppressive political system, where the combined forces (what the Chief calls "the Combine") work together to control every aspect of life.

Monday, 5 September 2016

A Tournament, Nurses, and a Crocodile

On Saturday I played in another Malifaux tournament. It was a two day event with five games but I was able to participate in only three on the first day. I used summoning Dreamer in all games I played with a similar core list (Dreamer with Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly, Wings of Darkness), Teddy, 3 Daydreams, Doppelganger and other additions (Waldgeist, Freikorps Trapper, Tuco), depending on the schemes.

W sobotę zagrałem w kolejnym turnieju Malifaux. Był to dwudniowy event z zaplanowanymi 5 grami, ale mogłem wziąć udział tylko w trzech pierwszego dnia. Używałem Dremera w wersji summoner z podobnym trzonem bandy w każdej grze (Dreamer z Dreams of Pain, Otherworldly, Wings of Darkness), Teddy, 3 Daydreamy, Doppelganger i parę innych dodatków (Waldgeist, Freikorps Trapper, Tuco), w zależności od schemów.

Round 1 
Guard The Stash, Corner Deployment
Convict Labor, Show of Force, Hunting Party, Public Demonstration, Inspection

In my first game I faced Collodi for the first time and played against a very good player who quickly took advantage of all my mistakes. I had a wrong idea about this master. I imagined him as a supporter but what came at me was a heavy hitter who very quickly neutralized my Teddy and the rest of his crew easily took out all my summons from turn 1 (Lelu, Lilitu). I also made it easier for him as my positioning was bad. I should have kept the summons hidden safely behind cover and use them later once they've healed up a little.
My second turn hand was terrible as my highest card (after stoning) was a 6. It meant no summons and with half of my crew already gone, my game plan began to fall apart quickly. I should have sent the summons to upper corner and kept Trapper with Dreamer and Teddy bunched up in the bottom corner. I wouldn't have scored any points for the strategy probably but at least I could have got more for schemes that way.
I survived to turn 3 and managed to summon Coppelius in. He charged a Marionette and I scored me my onlyu point in this game. A moment later Dreamer was killed and the game ended 1-7. Tough loss but I got to play against Collodi for the first time and now have a much better idea of what he's capable of. Despite the defeat, I had fun and my opponent was a good sport.

W pierwszej grze przyszło mi po raz pierwszy zmierzyć się z Collodim, a w dodatku grałem przeciw bardzo dobremu graczowi, który szybko wykorzystał moje błędy. Miałem błędne wyobrażenie o tym masterze. Myślałem, że jest to przede wszystkim supporter, a trafiłem na silnego beatera, który błyskawicznie zneutralizował mojego Miśka, a reszta ekipy szybko pozbyła się moich summonów (Lelu, Lilitu). Nie utrudniłem też przeciwnikowi zadania źle ustawiając przywołane jednostki. Powinienem raczej trzymać je bezpiecznie ukryte za zasłoną i używać ich dopiero po tym jak już się podleczą.
Moja ręka w drugiej turze byłą fatalna, nawet po spaleniu kamienia na dociągnięcie 3 kart moją najwyższą była 6. To oznaczało, że nic nie przyzwę, a przy stracie połowy mojej ekipy, mój plan szybko zaczął się sypać. Powinienem był wysłać przyuzwane jednostki w górny róg, a Trapera wesprzeć na dole Dreamerem i Teddym. Pewnie nie zdobyłbym punktów za strategię ale przynajmniej zdobyłbym więcej za schemy.
Udało mi się dotrwać do 3 tury i przyzwać Coppeliusa, który zaszarżował Marionetkę i zdobył dla mnie jedyny punkt w tej grze. Chwilę później Dreamer zoistał zabity i gra zakończyłą się porażką 1-7. Mocno w plecy, ale przynajmniej zagrałem pierwszy raz przeciwko Collodiemu i wiem już mniej więcej czego się mogę po nim spodziewać. Mimo porażki, grało mi się bardzo przyjemnie i przeciwnik był bardzo w porządku.




Round 2 
Interference, Standard Deployment
Convict Labor, Exhaust Their Forces, Leave Your Mark, Undercover Entourage, Mark For Death

In my second game I faced a guy who is fairly new to Malifaux but has already managed to win a tournament with his Gremlins. This was my best game of the day. Not only because I managed to win against his Ulix. We both had a positive attitude to the game and mainly wanted to have good fun.
My first activation was game-changing as I placed Tuco (with Retribution's Eye) 6' away from his Pigapult and took it out in two shots. It meant I could start my summoning engine without the risk of having everything killed off immediately. Also, the board was quite... original, as you can see in the picture. My Daydreams and Madnesses had no problem moving around it but larger models (such as my opponent's Old Major and Gracie) had their movements seriously limited.
Teddy caused a lot of trouble by killing Old Major and locking Ulix and one of Slop Haulers in combat. On the other side of the beard Chompy took care of Gracie with armor-ignoring punch. In the heat of the battle I mistakenly killed an exhausted Stuffed Piglet but I still managed to pull off a 7-3 victory.

W mojej drugiej grze zmierzyłem się z człowiekiem, który wciąż jest początkującym graczem w Malifaux (co nie przeszkodziło mu w wygraniu jednego turnieju Gremlinami). To była zdecydowanie moja najlepsza gra tego dnia. Nie tylko dlatego, że wygrałem z jego Ulixem. Obaj mieliśmy pozytywne podejście do gry i byliśmy nastawieni przede wszystkim na dobrą zabawę.
Moja pierwsza aktywacja praktycznie ustawiła grę. Wystawiłem Tuco (z Retribution's Eye) 6 cali od strefy rozstawienia przeciwnika i zdjąłem jego Pigapultę dwoma strzałami. To oznaczało, że mogłem spokojnie zacząć przywoływanie bez ryzyka, że summony zostaną natychmiast zdjęte.  Dodatkową atrakcją był oryginalny teren, co widać na załączonym obrazku. Moje Daydreamy i Madnessy nie miały problemu z poruszaniem się po planszy, ale większe modele (takie jak Old Major czy Gracie) miały mocno ograniczone możliwości ruchu.
Teddy sporo namiszał. Zabiuł Old Majora i zablokował w Ml Ulixa i Slop Haulera. Po drugiej stronie planszy Chompy zdjął Gracie dzięki uderzeniu ignorującemu armor. W wirze walki przez pomyłkę zabiłem Stuffed Pigleta który miał exhausta, ale i tak dowiozłem do końca wygraną 7-3.

Painting competition
It took place after the second game. The competition was strong so I felt really happy when it turned out that my Zoraida's crew was voted by participants of the tournament as the best painted crew. I got a big Wyrd Mystery box and inside I found a translucent Whiskey Golem :) I don't have any good pictures of the crew from Saturday, so I took these at home to show you which minis got me the award.

Konkurs malarski odbył się po drugiej grze. Poziom był wysoki, więc tym bardziej ucieszyło mnie wybrane głosami graczy pierwsze miejsce mojej ekipy Zoraidy. Dostałem duży wyrdowski Mystery box, w którym znalazłem przezroczystego Whiskey Golema. Nie mam żadnych dobrych zdjęć ekipy z soboty, więc zrobiłem w domu te, żeby pokazać wam dzięki którym modelom zdobyłem nagrodę.



Round 3 
Collect the Bounty, Flank Deployment
Convict Labor, Take Prisoner, Show of Force, Catch and Release, Occupy Their Turf

At this point of the tournament mental fatigue was kicking in and I had lapses of concentration before and throughout the whole game, which cost me a loss in the end. It was a mirror match and my opponent had a similar crew to mine with Widow Weaver and Coppelius starting in. I chose to field a Trapper and Tuco, hoping to put pressure on his summoning engine.
The game was generally going well for me and I even managed to kill Dreamer (it took five hugs from Teddy to finish the kid off as I had forgotten to give him Retribution's Eye...). Unfortunately, I made a really stupid mistake and beautifully placed my scheme markers for Convict Labor... on the wrong center line of the board. It meant that I had to waste two activations of a few minions to push them far enough to score 3VP for Occupy their Turf and then bring them back to start placing markers for Convict Labor. At the same time I had to try to prevent my opponent from scoring his VPs. It was too much for my overheated brain and I ended up losing 4-7. Still, it was a great game which resembled chess as we were both trying to outmaneuver one another. Kudos to my opponent who didn't have many models available for summoning (no Stitched and Teddy) but he played wisely and secured VPs even after losing master.

Na tym etapie turnieju zmęczenie psychiczne dało o sobie znać i miałem problemy z utrzymaniem koncentracji przed i w trakcie całej gry, co ostatecznie przyczyniło się do mojej przegranej. To był tzw. "mirror match", mój przeciwnik też miał Dreamera summonera, z tym że zaczął z Widow Weaver i Coppeliusem. Zdecydowałem się zacząć z Traperem i Tuco, licząc na to, że będę w stanie wywrzeć presję na przeciwniku i utrudnić mu przywoływanie.
Sama gra szła bardzo dobrze i nawet udało mi się zabić Dreamera (potrzebowałem na to pięć uścisków od Miśka, bo zapomniałem dać mu Retribution's Eye...). Niestety, popełniłem naprawdę głupi błąd i pięknie rozłożyłem markery za Convict Labor... wzdłuż złego środka stołu. W efekcie musiałem stracić dwie aktywacje minionów żeby przepchnąć trójkę wystarczająco daleko i zdobyć 3VP za Occupy their Turf a potem biec z powrotem do rozkładania markerów za Convict Labor. W międzyczasie musiałem jeszcze starać się ograniczyć przeciwnika i blokować możliwość zdobywania jego VP. To było za dużo dla mojego przegrzanego mózgu i ostatecznie przegrałem 4-7. Mimo to, gra była bardzo przyjemna. Przypominała trochę partię szachów, w której staraliśmy się wymanewrować nawzajem. Szacun dla mojego przeciwnika, który nie miał dostępnych wielu modeli do summoningu (nie miał modeli Stitched i Miśka), ale grał mądrze i zdobywał VP nawet po stracie mastera.

Overall, it was a great event and I really enjoyed all of my games. The atmosphere was fantastic and it's amazing to see how well the Malifaux meta is developing in my area.
To finish off this post, here are pictures of my most recently painted minis (two of which helped me win the best painted crew award).
Podsumowując, turniej zaliczam do udanych, wszystkie gry były bardzo przyjemne. Atmosfera rewelacyjna, to naprawdę niesamowite patrzeć jak pięknie rozwija się system w Wawie.
Na zakończenie dodaję zdjęcia ostatnio pomalowanych przeze mnie figurek (dwie z nich pomogły mi wygrać nagrodę dla najładniejszej ekipy).



First off, McTavish. I was really impressed with how well the miniature is designed. The Crocodile is divided into several pieces that fit together perfectly and there is no need to use Green Stuff. McTavish himself is also easy to assemble but I chose to paint him separately as it would hard to get paint on him otherwise.

Na początek McTavish. Byłem pod dużym wrażeniem tego, jak zaprojektowany jest ten model. Krokodyl jest podzielony na kilka części, które idealnie do siebie pasują i nie trzeba użyać Green Stuffu. Sam McTavish też jest łatwy do złożenia ale i tak musiałem malować go osobno.


Nurses are also fantastic miniatures. One resembles Harley Quiin and the other makes me think of those nightmarish nurses from Silent Hill. The level of detail is very impressive and their design is just fantastic. 

Pielęgniarki to też świetne figurki. Jedna może się kojarzyć z Harley Quiin a druga przypomina mi koszmarne pielęgniarki z Silent Hilla. Poziom detali robi wrażenie a design też jest niesamowity.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Nick Cutter "The Deep" and "The Troop"


Stephen King's facebook profile s definitely one one the most entertaining around. His pictures and description of Molly, his Corgi and her "evil" nature. Sometimes he also makes book/movie recommendations. Nick Cutter's books were mentioned there so I decided to give them a go. 
I started with "The Deep". The novel is set in contemporary times. People start forgetting things. At first those are simple ones, such as forgetting where they placed household items. As the disease evolves, humans start having problems remembering essential skills and the most basic body functions. As thousands of people begin to die, an expedition is sent to a research center located at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Tench. A substance called "ambrosia" has been discovered there and it's supposed to be a universal healer. Problem is, there's no contact with scientists locked down there. 
I have to admit that the first half of the novel had me completely captivated. The atmosphere was built really well as the protagonists were making their first steps in the research center. Fear of the unknown is certainly a good tool as it keeps the tension high. Unfortunately when the proverbial shit hit the fan things became less scary and more grotesque, pretty much ruining the scary aspect of the book for me.


A group of scouts goes with their scoutmaster on an annual trip to a remote island. It is their traditional event and it's been organised for a while. This time round things take a turn for the worse when a stranger pays them a visit. He's extremely skinny and he's voraciously hungry and he's very ill as a result of a bioengineered experiment that got out of control.
While reading the novel I came to think of it as "Lor of the Flies" with things getting completely out of hand at the start and then only worsening. While the setting is interesting, the gore aspect of horror here takes over too early in my opinion and once again, the scary aspect is ruined. Elaborate description of twisted young mind of one of the boys were gut-wrenching and I had hard time finishing the book. Well, I guess not all recommendations from a person you like and respect should be trusted.


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