Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Bishops

Alternate Bishop used to be one of the rarest and most valuable miniatures from the Malifaux range. I managed to get him in a trade with another gamer from the US. Soon after that the mini appeared in Black Friday sale for $25... Oh well, at least I was finally able to paint him.
The model is based on a character from DC universe called Lobo. I'm not really familiar with it so after quick research I learned that he is some kind of badass alien bounty hunter. What I liked about him immediately were clearly distinctive features, style, and unusual colors. I decided to paint my miniature in a similar way and used this opportunity to simultaneously paint old plastic version of Bishop. I never cared much for that version of this model but it grew on me as I started working on it.


Bishop is a 10ss mercenary who is a versatile beater. He can choose a suit at the beginning of his activation and add it to all his duel totals until the end of his activation. Bishop can also choose whether he wants his opponent to resist his attacks with Wp or Df. His Ml value is a standard 6 with 4 different triggers that allow him to put slow on the target, push it 3' in any direction, deal one extra damage (not too bad on a 2/3/4 spread), or ignore Armor, Hard to Kill, and Incorporeal. The last one seems particularly nice. The only problems are Wk4 and his short range of only 1'. Still, he is swift and can flurry so a lot of damage can be caused as long as he is close to his target. His other Ml attack has a high value of 7, costs 2 AP, deals no damage but puts Paralyzed on the target.
His Df and Wp are solid 6 and if he wins a defensive duel in Ml, he can punch back for some extra damage.


#21/2017 Sleeping Beauties


I am a big fan of King's work and I consider myself a Constant Reader. So, whenever there's a new novel by him, I feel obligated to read it. Sleeping Beauties had been heavily advertised before its release. It also had an intriguing story of all women on Earth falling asleep. King has dealt with this type of post-apocalyptic scenarios in some of his other books (The Cell, The Stand, to name two off the top of my head) and it has worked out really well. Before starting this one I felt it was bound to be another solid piece from him. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed.
There's a plethora of characters and none of them are well developed. I also didn't identify with any of them. The language they use seems rather primitive, relations between them are superficial. I'm used to King's characters being more elaborate (teachers, businessmen, etc.). Having a narrator like that has always worked in favor of his work. In case of Sleeping Beauties they mostly seemed annoying (especially the "main" one - Eve Black). 
Apart from that I had an issue with the pace and how the plot developed. There are numerous short chapters. It seems like the story is cut into many shorter segments to avoid having to work on coherent plot, segues between events. I was even considering giving up and stopping after about 20% but forced myself to keep at it, hoping that it may get better in the second half. Well, it didn't. 
At the end of the audiobook there's an interview with Stephen and Owen King. It offers some nice insights into their work styles and family life but more than anything it gave me some food for thought on why the novel is so bad. They had been initially working on a script for a TV series and then decided to turn it into a novel. They were taking turns editing and modifying each other's chapters so that it would be hard to tell who wrote which section. Unfortunately, it didn't work at all. It's probably the worst novel by King I've ever read, even Desperation or Firestarter (terrible as they are), are outstanding in comparison.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

True Mother(s)




I've been after this model for a while now and finally managed to buy her last month. Metal version of Nekima has always appealed to me. The sculpt is dynamic and full of character. The level of detail is impressive too. 
There is one major problem with this version though. It's a heavy model and it is attached to base only at one point. This means that it is bound to break at some point, probably sooner than later. Bearing this in mind I cut the leg at this spot and added a long pin to bring extra stability to the link there. It is not a perfect solution by far and I'm still a bit worried it may not last very long but it is better than the original solution anyway. I also slightly repositioned her wings. Nothing fancy, just a minor change that I thought would add more dynamism.
Painting both was rather tricky as they're large models with a lot of details and large wings that make it harder to access some areas.





The plastic alternative version is one of my least favorite miniatures from the range. I initially bought it to use instead of the original plastic one (which is very nice but much too small) but the model seems to be wrongly scaled. Her head and limbs are just too large. Hair on top of her head looks like it's going under her horns and her wings are not in a position they should be during a charge. I could live with these, the thing that really put me off was her sword that looks like a Christmas tree. I immediately replaced a blade using old WFB bits.

Here are two pictures that compare all three versions. Old metal one is by far my favorite, followed by undersized plastic one, and the latest alternative. I'm going to stick with the metal one as it should  be safe during transport in my A-Case.





I haven't been very active on the blog recently and here's why. Together with my three brothers we decided to take part in Runmageddon. Nothing too extreme, 6 km with 30+ obstacles, but it still meant I had to prepare for the event and spent many evening running and working out instead of painting. It was worth it as we managed to complete the race together. It meant a lot to me as I'd had two knee surgeries and really struggled to get back into shape after the second one. For a while I even gave running up but long months of rehabilitation allowed me to return to mu favorite sport. And being able to complete Runmageddon with my brothers was the icing on the cake. Oh well, enough rambling, just one more picture that summarizes the whole thing to me (I'm the one in the front with outstretched arms).


#20/2017 Mississippi Blood


The final part of  Greg Iles' Natchez trilogy takes place mainly in the court as the trial of Tom Cage finally begins. It is an excellent conclusion to the series as the description of the courtroom proceedings are some of the most dynamic and dramatic Iles has produced so far. Everything is shown through the eyes of his son, Penn, whose frantic attempts to understand what seems like self-destructive drive of  his father and his lawyer. As new witnesses present their testimonies, the atmosphere thickens and becomes unbearable for the family. Two lengthy novels have left so many questions unanswered that being able to finally understand the motivations of main characters is very rewarding in itself. The author takes his time and presents them gradually. Despite this, I was still surprised by the final revelation of who was directly responsible for the death of Viola Turner, which set stage for the whole thing.
The author also reflects on the nature of relationship between races as the trial shows that much of  hatred and rage kept in check for years still exists. All of this played a huge part in what motivated the protagonists to act in a certain way.
I found the descriptions of what happened in court truly captivating and many unexpected twists of plot kept it dynamic. However, I was a bit disappointed with final action segments. These seemed too chaotic and didn't make too much sense. 

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Bishop!



I haven't been painting a lot recently as work's been crazy. Despite that I consider acquiring this model a major success. I don't know whether I'll use him much in game but that's one of the best alternative sculpts in the range and I can't wait to start painting him! Hardly any hobby progress but at least there's a collector's achievement to talk about :) 

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Mama Z


I found this old version of Zoraida a while ago on ebay. As with many Wyrd pewter models, this one has very well defined details. It is especially visible on her face, which has a malicious expression that nicely goes with the character of old hag. However, the model still suffers from the flat syndrome that was common for models from the first edition of the game. In the last picture you can see what I mean. Of course, it is connected with different casting technique and becomes apparent only when you look at the model from a certain angle, but still...


Just like all other old models, this one comes with a mini book, I mean a card... Introducing upgrade system for masters gave Malifaux much more flexibility and made life of players so much easier. However, the Hex skill could be an interesting addition to M2E Zoraida.


I typically play Zoraida as a support master, not very offensively, and I generally keep her in the back. I made the base for her out of balsa and cork as I wanted this part to somehow reflect this approach - ancient crone sitting at a safe spot, twisting the threads of fate from distance. After pinning her and making sure she stood firmly, I attached the voodoo dolls. I used tones similar to the ones on plastic Zoraida. You can see them both in the picture. I think I will stick to the metal one from now on as she has more character to the sculpt.
I haven't yet played her after wave 5 upgrades, but I look forward to giving them a go. The combination of Raven Form and Powerful Control seems like it might be effective.


#19/2017 The Bone Tree


Greg Iles continues the story right where it stopped in book #1 of the trilogy and jumps into action from the get-go. Penn Cage continues his search for true motives behind the death of his father's nurse, even though he begins to realize he will not like what he funds. Meanwhile, Tom Cage skips bail and there is an APB on him. John Keiser, an FBI agent enters the picture as he believes the investigation might help him solve some of the darkest civil rights crimes, including JFK assassination.
Bone Tree is a solid follow up to Natchez Burning. As the investigation continues, new troubling facts from the past are revealed. A lot of action focuses on Tom Cage and his escape and while reading about his desperate struggles was interesting, I found it a bit too far-fetched at times. His main motivation still remains obscure, which made it easy to sympathize with other characters desperately trying to understand him. In general, I found the behavior of many characters frustratingly irrational. While working towards a common goal, they keep on hiding key information from one another. Each time they seem to move ahead of Double Eagles, some mistake, reckless act of heroism or simple lack of communication cause huge problems. Still, the novel sets up the finale nicely and makes me eager to find out how it all comes together in the end.

Friday, 6 October 2017

Grootslang

With Wave 5 of Malifaux models Wyrd has reached into African folklore for more inspiration. Grootslang is an Afrikaans word that means great snake. Legend has it that this primeval monster was too powerful and the gods were forced to divide it into two separate species; the elephant and the snake. Despite these drastic measures, some creatures managed to escape and hid in deep caves. These creatures can be up to 60 feet long and it is believed they lure victims to their lairs by filling them with diamonds. 
I like the way Wyrd expands their universe and includes these kind of tales in Malifaux. It feels better to work on a model that has interesting background story, rather than just another big monster.


Grootslang is a huge model. It towers over any other miniature in my collection, which is not what you would expect from a 6ss minion. The sculpt exudes raw power and... not much else. It actually reminds me of a Cave Troll from The Lord of the Rings GW range. I'd like it to be more unusual, perhaps if it walked on all four limbs it might be more interesting. Somehow I was put off painting it as I had hard time deciding how to approach it. I've seen him painted as Venom from Marvel universe but I'm not a fan of these comics so the idea didn't appeal to me. 
In the end I chose more natural look that will go well with the rest of my swamp-themed Neverborn. I looked at some pictures of frogs and lizards and decided to use bright, muddy look on Grootslang's belly to add some contrast to his green skin. I was going back and forth with various highlights and glazes and in the end left his skin dark green. Prior to painting I filled the gaps using thick plastic glue and applied GW's Typhus Corrosion on some of the flat areas to add extra texture there.


6ss is a erlatively low cost and the model seems to have at least a few interesting options to bring to the game (I've yet to try him). At the beginning of the game he places three 50 mm Lair markers on your side of the table and can later move back and forth between them. Grootslang can also place more such markers after eating Corpse or Scrap markers. He ignores penalties for severe terrain and is immune to hazardous terrain. He has two Ml5 actions but can easily get a + to the attack flip. His Wp and Df are a low 5 and 7 wounds won't carry him far so in terms of survivability he epitomizes the essence of old Neverborn playstyle (hit them quick and move to cover).

Monday, 2 October 2017

Size doesn't matter...

...literally. This picture is a good example of how people responsible for production treat height of models in game. From left you can see: Chompy (Ht 4'), Mr Graves, Grootslang, Mysterious Emissary (all three Ht 3'). Don't get me wrong - these are all nice miniatures but I'd really like their actual size to reflect in-game description more accurately...



#18/2017 Natchez Burning


The novel is set in the deep south of the US - Natchez, Mississippi. Tom Cage, the embodiment of good and professional doctor, is accused of murdering an old nurse with whom he had worked in the past. His son Penn Cage, mayor of Natchez and a former prosecutor, is determined to find the truth behind this accusation. He soon discovers that there are no straightforward answers in this story and that the past of his father is much more complicated than he'd thought. His search for answers leads him to dark secrets connected with Double Eagles, an organized group that branched from KKK. Its members are still alive and despite horrific past, they've managed to become rich and influential.
Natchez Burning is a long read and as such, there are small problems with pace of the action. But it is more or less a given in a novel that spans almost 800 pages. It's a heavy book and it lacks any uplifting quality and it deals with a difficult topic of how unsolved crimes committed in the past still poison the whole society. It reads very well and offers interesting insights into what is commonly known as backroads Americana. If you like movies like No Country for Old Men or Hell or High Water, it is a novel for you.   

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Fred & Wilma

I spent several late night hours last week painting these to make sure I manage to get them ready for Saturday's tournament. I did manage to finish them but in the end I had to pass on the tourney. Life got in the way etc...
I hope to try them soon with Titania as they fit her crew thematically. Cyclops are one of her old servants who avoided imprisonment and stayed in remote mountains, awaiting their queen's return. 
They are 8ss Fae Enforcers.They are solid beaters with a min damage of 3 (although their basic melee is 5 - it gets up to 7 when they are down to 5 or fewer wounds). They come on 50mm base and are Ht3. Their low df of 4 means they're going to be hit easily, so being hard to kill can be essential for their survival. Cyclops have the Frozen Heart trait, which means that they are immune to Horror Duels and cannot be Paralyzed (meaning that Nurses can heal them without worrying aout side effects). They can also discard a card to heal 2 damage or increase their rg by 2. 
Cyclops also have two interesting (0) actions. One allows them to reveal one card from the top of Fate deck for each Scheme Marker within 3'. Depending on the suit they can either place/discard scheme marker and add slow to enemy model, damage enemy model for 1, or heal a friendly model within 5'. If you manage to live your dream and reveal a Joker, you can choose two different effects. Their other (0) action requires a 7 of any suit and places two Ice Pillar Markers in base contact with them. It can be very useful for boards and schemes where such terrain can influence the game significantly.


I decided to paint them using bright shades of blue. I started with airbrushing them with a dark shade of blue from below and then followed with some bright shade applied from the top. After that I used two brush blending and applied P3 Arcane Blue mixed with white and A Scale Dark Leather in teh recesses.
I also added some runes (I used Anglo-Saxon runes for reference) and played around with them a little. The ones on their arms say "Fred" and "Wilma" respectively. Also, on Fred's hands there's a rune that means "grave" and his chest is adorned with runes meaning "ice", "hero", and "glory". Wilma's hand runes stand for "ice" and "glory" as well. So, a little bit of relevant symbolism as well as some tongue-in-cheek approach.
I tried to keep the crystals on their bodies and weapons in similar shades to their skin tone to avoid too much contrast there. Their bases are a mixture of rocks and swamp to go well with the rest of my Neverborn crews.



Monday, 11 September 2017

More metal for Hoff

Here are some minis I painted for the Hoffman crew. One of his upgrades, Arcanist Assets, allows him to hire any construct with the M&SU characteristic. I was asked to paint these in Guild colors to match the theme of the crew.



Steam Arachnid Swarm was a pain to assemble. Their tiny legs are flimsy and I almost lost one to the carpet gods. I had to add some elevation to their bases to make sure they all fit in.


Moile Toolkit is a really nice model, I like his pose, makes it look like a tiny robot is bravely making his steps into a big adventure.It's a cheap Peon, which can give friendly models significant buffs.


And finally, Rail Golem - the main beatstick of this lot. While looking for inspiration I returned to an entry of fellow Polish blogger who painted this model using mainly red color. I really like the way it made him look like one mean, angry robot and used the scheme as inspiration for my work.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Midnight WIPs


I got this gem on ebay a couple of days ago, I think this model may end up replacing the plastic one


.. and I've also finally put some paint on reinforcements for Hoff.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Is A-Case+ The Case for Malifaux?




The Big Lie

Malifaux belongs to the "skirmish game" category as you don't need dozens of miniatures to play it. We've all heard that many times and know it's not true. After a while you accumulate more masters and more models, and transporting your entire army becomes an issue. While you're definitely not going to need all of them but on the other hand larger hiring pool ensures greater flexibility during tournaments.
I've been using a dedicated Malifaux bag from Battlefoam for a couple of years. It's a very good product that allowed me to keep most of my minis safely packed. As my collection grew, it became more complicated. In theory, there are 36 slots for minis on 30mm bases in one foam tray. As you can see in the picture below, it doesn't always work this way. Wyrd miniatures are often very complex and take up much more space than that (Titania, Aeslin are good examples off the top of my head).

Large miniatures pose another challenge. There is one thicker pluck foam tray that allows you to customize space and put in as many big models as you manage to fit. It is a nice solution but not the most efficient one as you run out of space after a while.
As a result, I ended up with one bag that was filled to 2/3 of its storage capacity and was never able to bring all my faction models to a tournament. Additionally, I had to bring another bag or backpack with me to make sure I have all the cards and markers I may need.

I started looking for other options and found an interesting Kickstarter campaign that features A-Case+, a wargaming carrying case with innovative magnetic solution. At that time I had no spare money to back the project, so I've only recently got in touch with the creator. It turned out that everything is  available for preorder on the backerkit of the company (although the main focus is on finishing the remaining KS pledges). I contacted a representative of the company and received it after a couple of days.



The Assembly 

Everything was neatly packed and I started assembling my case. It was an easy process and I had no trouble in combining different elements. All the parts are flat to begin with and you just need to bend them into proper shape. No tools are required. Just take your time and make sure the angles of elements you bend are right. Also, I'd suggest setting the whole shelf on the floor and pressing on one edge when it rests firmly on even surface. If you try bending the edge just with your fingers, you may have to correct uneven edges after it's completed.
If you have trouble with it, the assembly instructions are available online in a video that presents all the steps clearly, it can be found here.

The frame is made of metal sheets. The structure is really solid once it is built properly. I was a bit concerned about the shelves, as they might simple move on their own. In order to prevent that from happening, a clever system of lock-pins that hold them in place is used.
Specific dimensions can be seen in the picture below. What struck me immediately is how small it is compared to my old miniature carrying case. The important thing is that the case easily conforms to standards of carry-on luggage and you'll have no problem transporting your minis on a plane.



Material

The material on the bag is water resistant polyester. It is easy to maintain as it doesn't gather dust easily and doesn't absorb liquids (so for I've only tested it in light rain and the interior part was perfectly dry). What is important from the perspective of Malifaux player, all faction colors are available. I chose a purple one to go with my Neverborn. It is a very nice, slightly creamy shade of this color and looks even better IRL than in the picture. There is also a patch with velcro material, to which you can attach various tournament badges. That's not really a thing in Malifaux but I guess that might appeal to fans of some other gaming systems.

The zipper is thick and has a solid feel to it, which is important, as it will definitely see a lot of use. The bag can be carried wither by a handle or an adjustable strap. Nothing fancy here, those are standard solutions.
There is also a big pocket on one side. A big Ultra-Pro album I used to bring with me to tournaments doesn't fit in there but I managed to put my cards in a plastic deck box and upgrades in a small cardboard one and these fit in there.




Storage

When it comes to storage, this is where some out of the box thinking shows. The miniatures are attached to shelves with magnets. In practice it means that you can fit more of them inside. What is more, they will be safer during transportation. And since the entire interior structure is made of metal, you can even attach models to the sides if you need extra space.
If the case is properly assembled, the shelves move with ease and taking one out is fast and convenient. In a game of Malifaux you often need extra models that are summoned as the game progresses. This solution makes sure that adding these models to the table won't slow you down. The small bolts that are inserted from the side ensure extra safety as the shelf won't open and fall out on its own.
Magnetizing your models is an easy. though time-consuming process. I was a bit worried about resin bases as drilling a hole for magnet in it was putting me off. Fortunately, another brilliant solution was introduced to deal with it. Sticky magnets are easy to use and hold the model in place inside the bag perfectly. They are available in sizes that match that of bases. They do increase its height a little bit, but it doesn't have any in-game effects as all the heights are used by their default value, regardless of the height of bases. If you need help with it, a very good video explaining the whole process in detail in available online here.
The option to carry your paints and other hobby supplies is also worth mentioning. You can order additional shelf with slots specially designed to carry your paint pots. Moreover, there is also a special case (which can also be ordered in all available colors) for tools and brushes. It's a neat solution as it will fit into the case easily and everything packed inside will be easy to access after unfolding.

Summary

So how does it all come together?

In the end I was able to put much more inside than into my previous bag. It was a pleasant surprise as A-Case is much smaller. Still, the possibility to fit more models one next to another on a single shelf provides a lot of extra space. I had no problem in putting 32 models on 30mm bases on a single shelf. What is more, I also put all my markers and tokens, tape measure, laser pointer, and all of the cards (I put them in a plastic deck box instead of big album that I used to carry separately in a backpack). There was even some space left for extra minis/gadgets in the end. It amazes me that such a small bag has such great capacity.

And to wrap things up, time to answer the big question I put in the title of this entry. A-Case+ has incredible capacity. It's made of solid materials and has unique solutions that work really well. It's not a cheap product (it's not a cheap hobby as well...) but in the end buying it seemed justifiable for me as I was getting two products for the price of one. Now I no longer need to carry a bag and a backpack to tournaments. So, from my perspective, the answer is YES - this is the best bag for carrying your Malifaux minis. It ensures the best safety and the best storage capacity. You can't really ask for more. 

At some point my Malifaux collection will become much larger so I may have to look for new solution then. But I don't expect the creators of A-Case to rest on their laurels. They've launched a successful KS campaign and they have to start making plans on how to make their product even better than it is now. My experience with their product allows me to believe they will do exactly that and they will be successful.

And one more thing - it may seem like I'm discrediting Battlefoam bag on purpose. That is not my intention. I really like that bag and it's served me well for a long time. However, my compulsion to BUY MOARRR minis meant that it's outlived its usefulness. I can still recommend it for those of you who don't expand their Malifaux collections too fast.

I'll leave you with some pictures, enjoy!




As you can see above, everything is neatly packed and the instructions are printed in color. Also, now it's official - the product has been tested "by animals".
Jak widać powyżej, wszystko jest elegancko zapakowane, a instrukcje są wydrukowane w kolorze. Poza tym można już teraz oficjalnie powiedzieć, że produkt był testowany "przez" zwierzęta.



 The problems I had with storing Malifaux minis in foam trays is illustrated above...
Powyżej widać na czym polegał mój problem z przechowywaniem figurek do Malifaux w piankowych tackach...


...as a result my Dreamer and his friends didn't fit in and stayed at home, which made Teddy one sad Panda :(
...w efekcie czego mój Dreamer i jego przyjaciele nie pasowali do środka i zostawali w domu, przez co Teddy był smutną pandą :(


32 minis on 30mm bases easily fit on a small tray...
32 figurki z łatwością mieszczą się na pojedyńczej półeczce....


... and they don't fall off when you turn it upside down.
... i nie spadają z niej po przekręceniu do góry nogami.



Foldable hobby case allows you to safely transport brushes and tools...
Rozwijany piórnik na materiały hobbystyczne pozwoli bezpiecznie transportować pędzle i narzędzia...

...and a paintholder shelf will take care of your paints - as you can see in the picture above, bottles and pots from different companies fit easily.
...a  specjalna półeczka zapewni miejsce na farbki. Jak widać na zdjęciu powyżej, buteleczki i kubełki z różnych firm bez problemu się na niej zmieszczą.


The cat has chosen...
Kot wybrał....

I am still amazed by how much stuff I managed to fit into this small bag.
Wciąż ciężko mi uwierzyć jak dużo rzeczy zmieściłem do tej małej torby.





Wielkie kłamstwo


Malifaux to gra "skirmiszowa", do której nie potrzeba dziesiątek modeli.  Wszyscy to słyszeliśmy i wiemy, że to nieprawda. W miarę jak powiększa się liczba masterów i figurek, transportowanie całej armii staje się wyzwaniem. Z całą pewnością nie wszystkie będą potrzebne, ale większy wybór pozwala na większą elastyczność podczas turniejów. 
Od paru lat używam dedykowanej torby do Malifaux od firmy Battlefoam. Ten świetny produkt pozwolił mi na bezpieczne pakowanie większości moich figurek. W miarę jak zwiększała się moja kolekcja, stawało się to coraz bardziej skomplikowane. W teorii miałem do dyspozycji 26 miejsc na figurki na 30mm podstawkach w jednej gąbkowej tacce. Poniższe zdjęcie pokazuje, że nie zawsze działą to w ten sposób. Figurki Wyrda często są bardzo skomplikowane i zajmują znacznie więcej miejsca (Titania i Aeslin to dwa przykłady, które od razu przychodzą do głowy).

Kolejnym problemem są duże figurki. Jest na nie szersza tacka z gąbką do wyrwania w odpowiednim kształcie, co pozwala w pewnym stopniu dostosować przestrzeń i wpakować tyle modeli, ile się da. To dobre rozwiązanie, ale nie jest też najbardziej wydajne, ponieważ i tak szybko zaczyna brakować tam miejsca.
W efekcie miałem torbę wypełnioną w 2/3 jest potencjalnej pojemności i nigdy nie mogłem zabrać całej frakcji na turniej. Co więcej, musiałem zabierać ze sobą dodatkowa torbę lub plecak, żeby mieć pewność, że mam ze sobą wszystkie karty i markery potrzebne do gry.

Zacząłem rozglądać się za innymi opcjami i trafiłem na ciekawą kampanię Kickstarterową, gdzie zbierane były fundusze na uruchomienie produkcji torby z innowacyjnym systemem magnesów o nazwie A-Case+. W tamtym momencie nie miałem wolnych funduszy na wsparcie projektu, skontaktowałem się więc dopiero niedawno skontaktowałem się z przedstawicielem firmy. Okazało się, że wszystko jest już do kupienia w pre orderze na backerkicie KS (chociaż głównym celem pozostaje pełne zakończenie kampanii KS). Zamówiłem swoją walizkę i już po paru dniach otrzymałem przesyłkę.


Montaż 

Wszystko było elegancko zapakowane więc mokłem zacząć składanie torby. Cały proces był łatwy i nie miałem żadnych problemów z łączeniem poszczególnych elementów. Wszystkie części są płaskie i wystarczy tylko nagiąć je do odpowiedniego kształtu. Żadne narzędzia nie są do tego potrzebne. Wystarczy tylko podejść do tego na spokojnie i upewnić się, że zginając tworzymy kąty proste. Dodatkowo, sugerowałbym też układanie elementów na płaskiej powierzchni przed nagięciem brzegu. W przeciwnym razie można łatwo skrzywić krawędź, co tylko doda nam niepotrzebnej pracy.
W razie problemów, szczegółowe instrukcje montażu są dostępne online w formie video, które w jasny i przejrzysty sposób pokazuje wszystkie poszczególne kroki.

Cały szkielet jest zrobiony z aluminiowych arkuszy. Cała struktura jest bardzo solidna po prawidłowym złożeniu. Obawiałem się, że półki będą się suwać same z siebie, ale na szczęście działa tutaj sprytny system małych wyjmowanych bolców, które blokują ruch i trzymają je w miejscu. 
Szczegółowe wymiary widać na zdjęciu poniżej. Od razu zwraca uwagę to, że torba jest znacznie mniejsza w porównaniu do mojej starej. Co ważne - torba łatwo spełnia wymagania bagażu podręcznego, a więc nie będzie problemu z transportowaniem figurek w samolocie.





Materiał

Materiał na torbie to wodoodporny poliester. Łatwo go utrzymać w czystości, nie zbiera kurzu i nie wchłania płynów (póki co testowałem tylko na lekkim deszczu i wewnętrzna część była suchutka). Co ważne z perspektywy gracza Malifaux, dostępne są wszystkie frakcyjne kolory. Wybrałem fioletowy dla moich Neverborn. Odcień jest bardzo ładny, delikatnie kremowy, i w rzeczywistości wygląda jeszcze lepiej niż na zdjęciach z katalogu. Na torbie jest też spora łatka z materiału rzepowego, do której można przyczepić różne odznaki turniejowe. Akurat w Malifaux nie jest to istotne, ale pewnie fani innych systemów mogą być zainteresowani.

Suwak jest szeroki i sprawia wrażenie solidnego, co jest istotne, bo będzie na pewno mocno używany. Torba może być noszona za doszyty uchwyt lub też na ramieniu na pasku, którego długość można regulować. I jedno i drugie to standardowe, sprawdzone rozwiązania.
Z jednej strony mamy jeszcze dużą kieszeń. Duży album Ultra-Pro, którego używałem wcześniej nie zmieścił się do środka, ale po przełożeniu kart do plastikowego pudełka na deck i upgradów do małego tekturowego, byłem w stanie wszystko tam zmieścić.



Pojemność

W tym miejscu możemy mówić o tym co naprawdę wyróżnia tę torbę. Figurki są mocowane magnesami na półkach. W praktyce oznacza to, że można zmieścić ich znacznie więcej w środku. Co więcej, będą bardziej bezpieczne podczas transportu. A ponieważ wewnętrzna struktura jest w całości metalowa, modele można doczepiać do bocznych ścian jeśli potrzebne będzie dodatkowe miejsce.
Po prawidłowym złożeniu półki wysuwają się bez wyraźnego oporu, wyciągnięcie pojedynczej jest szybkie i bardzo wygodne. Podczas gry często przywołuje się dodatkowe modele, a takie rozwiązanie znacznie przyspieszy dostawianie ich na stół.  Małe bolce wciskane od boku w szufladę zapewniają dodatkowe bezpieczeństwo, ponieważ dzięki nim szuflada nie wysunie i nie wypadnie z torby.
Przyklejanie magnesów to łatwy, choć czasochłonny proces. Patrzyłem z pewnym niepokojem na żywiczne podstawki, nie zachęcała mnie perspektywa wiercenia w nich otworów. Na szczęście wprowadzono tutaj kolejne świetne rozwiązanie. Przyklejane magnesy są łatwe w obsłudze i idealnie trzymają model w torbie. Są dostępne w rozmiarach, które idealnie pasują do tych używanych w grze. Minimalnie zwiększają wysokość modelu, ale nie ma to żadnego wpływu na grę, ponieważ w Malifaux wysokość figurek jest określana domyślnie, wysokość podstawek nie ma tutaj żadnego znaczenia. Jeśli przyklejanie magnesów sprawia komuś kłopoty, można obejrzeć to video, które w bardzo przystępny sposób wyjaśnia jak się do tego zabrać.
Warto również wspomnieć o możliwości przenoszenia w walizce farbek i materiałów hobbystycznych. Można do tego celu zamówić dodatkową szufladę z otworami zaprojektowanymi specjalnie do pomieszczenia kubełków z farbkami. Co więcej, dostępna jest specjalna torebka (również dostępna we wszystkich frakcyjnych kolorach) na narzędzia i pędzle. To sprytne rozwiązanie, ponieważ całość bez problemu zmieści się w torbie, a dostęp do narzędzi hobbystycznych będzie łatwy po rozwinięciu.


Podsumowanie 

A więc jak to wszystko wygląda całościowo?

Ostatecznie byłem w stanie wsadzić do środka dużo więcej niż do mojej poprzedniej torby. To była miła niespodzianka, zwłaszcza, że A-Case jest znacznie mniejsza. Możliwość ułożenie podstawek jedna obok drugiej zapewnia znacznie więcej miejsca. Nie miałem żadnego problemu z ułożeniem 32 figurek na 30mm podstawkach na jednej półce. Co więcej, włożyłem też do torby wszystkie markery i tokeny, miarkę, wskaźnik laserowy, oraz wszystkie karty (włożyłem je do plastikowego pudełka na deck zamiast do dużego albumu, który dawniej nosiłem osobno w plecaku). NA koniec pozostało nawet trochę dodatkowego miejsca na dodatkowe figurki/gadżety. To naprawdę niesamowite, że tak mała torba ma tak dużą pojemność.

I jeszcze jedno, czas odpowiedzieć na wielkie pytanie z tytułu tego wpisu. Torba A-Case+ ma niesamowitą pojemność. Jest wykonana z solidnych materiałów i są w niej zastosowane unikalne rozwiązania, które świetnie sprawdzają się w praktyce. Nie jest to tani produkt (nie jest to tanie hobby...), ale ostatecznie wydanie na nią pieniędzy wydawało mi się uzasadnione, ponieważ w praktyce dostałem dwa produkty w cenie jednego. Teraz nie muszę już nosić na turnieje i torby, i plecaka. A więc, z mojego punktu widzenia, odpowiedź brzmi TAK - to jest najlepsza torba do transportowania figurek do Malifaux. Zapewnia najlepsze bezpieczeństwo i największą pojemność. Ciężko wymagać więcej.

W pewnym momencie moja kolekcja Malifaux będzie jeszcze większa i będę pewnie musiał rozejrzeć się wtedy za nowym rozwiązaniem. Ale też nie spodziewam się, że twórcy torby A-Case spoczną na laurach. Przeprowadzili udaną kampanię na KS i już teraz powinni zacząć planować, jak jeszcze mogą ulepszyć ich produkt. Moje doświadczenia z tą torbą pozwalają mi wierzyć, że zrobią to z powodzeniem i efekt końcowy będzie jeszcze lepszy.

I jeszcze jedna rzecz - może się wydawać, że celowo źle oceniam torbę Battlefoam. To nie jest moja intencja. Torba Battlefoam bardzo dobrze mi służyła przez długi czas. Jednak moje uzależnienie od kupowania coraz większej liczby figurek oznaczało, że w pewnym momencie nie mogła już pełnić swojej funkcji. Wciąż mogę ją polecić jako rozwiązanie, które do pewnego momentu będzie się świetnie sprawdzać.

Na koniec zapraszam do obejrzenia zdjęć powyżej.
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