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


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.   
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