Thursday, August 28, 2014

Relic Knights have arrived! Noh Faction review..

As many around UK have now seen... there are boxes marked "Relic Knights" appearing on their doorsteps in great quantity.

Relic Knights is a Kickstarter initiative from Soda Pop Miniatures in collaboration with CMON. It was successfully completed back in September of 2012 to the tune of $909,537. With an estimated delivery date of May 2013.

Today is not a day in May. Nor is it a day in 2013.

To say that this project has been surrounded with misfortune would be an understatement. It could also be used as a cautionary tale to those looking at doing kickstarters where many, if not all, of the items that one would like to include in said kickstarter are still in the concept phase.

For me, it seems that I put in a whooping $275 for this back in September of 2012. With the hopes and dreams of receiving it before I moved to the UK. Maybe even having the chance to play a game or 2 with it at some point.

Oh well.. that is the past.. what is the now is that I have received my order... well.. most of it anyways. Seems that they forgot to send out the Battlemat that I bought to go with it. Will have to open a case regarding that soon enough.

But what did appear within the box that was left at the front of my door last night?

Apparently.. quite a lot!

I only really backed to receive 2 factions. The Noh and the Doctrine. I figured they were both magical in nature but polar opposites with regards to sides or factions. So would be a good selection to have in order to have 2 sides.

For this post I will only show off the Noh Empire models. The main reason I backed this to begin with, and one that they were able to keep to their original drawings quite well!

Quite a force, and now looking at the army book, possibly too much. But.. hey.. that is just how I roll at times..

Kicking things off is the starter boxset. Originally this was to have a bigger Knight in it, but it seems at some point that changed.

So the starter comes with the Knight Zineda and her Cypher Sprite. 1 Render, and 2 Berzerkers. Plus the Esper deck, gaming cards for the models, tokens, tracker cards, and playmat. You can see them in the photos below..

As you can ( or cannot due to my horrible photos ) see some major mold and casting vents on these pieces. I have to state up front that I was expecting these to be much much worse than they really are. Something akin to the disaster that was Sedition Wars and the plastics used there.

Although the mold lines and vent casts are horrendous in many places, the plastic is a lot more sturdy and rigid here. To cut the vents off, they more like snap off than slice off. Will make cutting some of the mold lines to be interesting, but will see how that goes. Maybe sandpaper will be useful here afterall.

Thing I do like is that the slot slips that they made for each of the parts line up nicely. There is a bit of guesswork going on but it is not terrible overall. And some of the pieces can stay in without any putty/bluetac, etc. Which is a nice thing to have also. Plus it seems that most were sculpted in such a way that they can be painted once fully assembled while still being able to reach all the areas! Huzzah! Means I can have an unpainted force assembled for many years to come here then ;)

Next up is Kasaro To and his Cypher Azi. Originally, when looking at the kickstarter, this was to be the main Knight that was to be included in the starter box. And really, when looking at how they began to market this back back wayyyyy back in the day it would seem about right. Considering that the "main" knights are all riding these massive monster/robots/mounts. But whatever, I got mine as part of the kickstarter starter box set. Just for retail going forward people might not be as happy about knowing this and having to spend more money for them.

But again, here are some shots of the model and cards from the box.

I have to admit, it was this model that made me want to back this kickstarter in the first place. And I do love the model even today! I will have to keep his backpack separate from the body until he is painted, but the rest can be glued together already. Though, as you can notice.. he fits together well enough without glue as is! Huzzah again!

Some major mold lines once more, and I suspect that I will be spending many a day on cleaning these up. So most likely you will see these guys being done one at a time, instead of en-mass like I normally paint armies/factions. But since there is not too many pieces I don't think that will be too bad actually.

This was another unit, along with their handler, that I really enjoyed the look of. Actually you might see me say this about the entire Noh range, as I just love the look/feel of them compared to many others. And although this is pretty poor plastic, it really works nicely with soft organic pieces like this entire army range!

The handler ( who comes in a separate box that I didn't photograph ) is below.

Brilliant model, and I like the pose of it. Going to be a nice piece to paint up, and something that if I didn't need him in the game I could see him being used in a display piece. But who knows eh? Time will tell on how much I use this as an army vs a collection of random pieces :D

As a bonus to the kickstarter we did get to receive 2 extra hounds in that section of the rewards. So it is nice to have 4 of these pups and again very cool that they can stand without needing glue. Will be interesting to see how I paint them compared to the uber red skinned main guys ( which may or may not be red for me! ).

Here we have another Questing Knight Marikan and Lakmi. Sweet model that has quite the ranged attack here it seems ( or at least I hope so since she has a bow in her hands! ).

Again all put together without glue and just there through the sheer will of it. That and probably the mold lines and off cuts hanging off them making it easier for them to stick around. Though due to that huge arrow case, I might have to rethink on how to paint this piece. And considering how the shoulder/back has no cloth on it, this will be very difficult to play out with. Something that the caster/sculptor should have thought about before making it so that the case and left arm are one piece.

A spare box of Berzerkers. Nothing special here as there are 2 in the main box, but these were a unlocked perk from the kickstarter.

Here is another Render as well. One of the only minions that can use a ranged weapons for the Noh Empire ( at least with the guys that I have at the moment ).

Pretty basic set up here. Small box for the single models. Larger box for the multiples or Knights. Coming with their stat card, and their trigger cards. Plus a small plastic bag with the model and their associated base in the appropriate size ( which is shown on their playing cards! ).

Another kickstarter extra is the Serpent Priestess. Small in comparison to the other pieces.

And for the last piece is more of a sideshow styled piece. The Rin Farrah model which is actually part of the Speed Circuit faction, but is cosplaying a Noh Empire setting. So with this exclusive piece she can be used in the Noh faction and her skills are pulled from those Esper also. Again, very tiny model in comparison to the rest of the Noh faction, and something that will be very interesting to use. Could make it so that I get more ranged support that is lacking with this force.

And the final piece for the Noh faction is actually not for the Relic Knights game itself, but actually something for the Super Dungeon Explorer game ( that I have yet to build/paint/play ) and can be a mini-boss 16 bit level. Most likely he will get paint first only cause he is only 2 pieces, Body/Hand, and quite straight forward.

So this is the models for the Noh faction that I have received so far.

My overall thinking about it though is one that is of 2 minds. I mean this was expected to be delivered in May of 2013. Or in 2013 in general. But due to passing back and forth the responsibilities between Soda Pop and CMON, many issues occurred, and many delays were experienced. The quality of the casts was never known. And some of the sculpts did not turn out like the concept art ( though very limited here in the Noh faction I am glad to see! ).

My biggest problem is now is it something that I want to paint and play? My gaming habits and style has changed radically over the past 2 yrs since purchasing it. And I have even changed countries already and had to go through the headache of making sure that my new country, let alone address, was updated correctly.

The upside is that there are some nice sculpts here. The pieces are better than I expected ( but better than Sedition Wars isn't saying much ), but at least I can see myself painting these sooner than I do with Sedition Wars. And I think the value of what I got vs what I spent so far is worth it ( especially for the Noh Faction ). Let's see how they go when I put them onto the painting bench though.

The next set will focus on the Doctrine Faction, and then the rules/extras that I received alongside this whole set. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Bolt Action AXIS Battle Report..

Yup. You read it right. The first battle report on MLPE blog in quite a while! Mostly because I haven't been gaming in what seems like forever, and also because I only just remembered to take photos... but not at all points throughout the game mind you. But still.. a battle report is a battle report...

For this one, it was against one of the club guys and his Germans. Who saw my game the previous week, and was really curious to take on the horde of Japanese that I bring to the table.

And for this game, a horde I did bring! 198 models was the final count here, and it was like an avalanche of men crawling across the table!

Our scenario was Envelope. And the Germans won the roll to defend. Objective for me then, as the attacker, was to get past his troops and run off the board. Considering I am a full on foot slogging army, this would be tough. I would get 1 pt per unit killled. 2 pts per unit in his deployment zone. 3 pts if I can get my units off the table. Defender would get 2 pts per unit killed.

My army looked like this though....

Thankfully the club was empty, so I had the chance to use another table to prep it :D

3x 2nd Lieutenants
10x15 Militia
2x15 Bamboo Warriors
1x15 Infanry (Regular)

198 models.. spread over 16 order dice!

And when I did get all my guys on the table, he had already done most of his shooting at that point. And was already having issues with line of sight to get to certain units. Which was funny considering that he had so few troops in general compared to myself, but he had a huge number of support weapons to bear down on me. Including the 4 MMGs, 2 Armored cars with MMG/L.Howitzers, tank with M.Howitzer, and tank with H.Howitzer. And then a bunch of tiny teams with SMGs/LMGs/Rifles. Oh and a Medium Mortar with spoter that caused me no ends of trouble.

So at the end of the first turn, I had everything on the table, and was at the maximum 12 inches I could move onto the table. No point trying to shoot, since everyone is pretty much inexperienced, and would be needing 7s if they had LOS or could shoot anything.

I didn't take photos of turn 2, but it started with an artillery strike happening over about 8 of my units in the center. Killing an HQ unit, and pinning a lot of other troops. Oh and causing some damage to another larger unit, but not enough to make it panic though it would sit there for the remainder of the game.

I would move up on the right side however, and begin to put pressure on him a bit. And prepare a few charges that would come up if he decided to get too close.

Meanwhile my left flank was sitting still due to all the pins and refusing to move. Somehow I think this was going to be a tough game here :D Just how I like it!

By Turn 3 however, although the Germans had the ability to outmaneuver me, outgun me, and were dug in nicely, I did begin to move.

On the right units began to charge. My Bamboo warriors taking the lead here, and taking refuge in the rubble there within. They would then be bombarded with pretty much all firing that could be thrown at them to try to remove them, however they would sit pretty for the rest of that turn.

My central forces began to move, shaking off the throws of their pins. Causing no end of panic to the German player. Especially with a charge in the center to take out a smaller unit there in a charge thus removing more pins from a unit. The horde had been awaken at this point, and was slowly making its way across the board.

Though many more were gunned down, and by this time over 50 infantry had been killed. However this only amounted to 2 units being destroyed though. The HQ unit, and one of the first initial units that showed up, and was bombarded with mortar fire.. But that is ok, cause the spotter would get smacked hard by a group of 5 troopers going at them :D

By the end of the game, and due to a few poor rolls by the Germans. The Japanese was able to kill 6 units in total. Which was good cause the poor bamboo warriors on the right were beseiged with more fire, after charging another unit to kill them. Giving them 2 units killed in close combat. A sniper dies from another charge by some militia. His HQ unit gets charged by a full force Militia unit, going down quickly. The initial unit hiding in the middle unit died to militia. And a single guy running around dies to some gunfire from my infantry squad right near the end.

In the end the game was a tie as we called it at 4 turns ( due to time ) but had it continued I think it would have been a blood bath as the IJA forces were now fully within charge range to multiple targets. And each charge meant another death, and that much closer to the German deployment zone.

I wish it could have continued to see how far this army could have gone forward.

The biggest comment I received about fielding this was that it was tough to take on so many units, and so many guys. Unless ready for it, this would be one heck of a force to deal with. Especially in a tournament scene. And if the rules are better known, and game play could be sped up on both side, this would easily do well in a gaming night.

Though the biggest problem with this army is that once a unit gets pinned, bottlenecks do appear, and it could begin to suffer quite a lot in the movement portion of the game. Also, if there had been a Flampanzer or Flamer unit in his army, it would have changed the course of the game significantly ;)

Overall, it was a good game though, and it could still go either way depending on how well he could focus his firing. Though in the last turn his rolls to hit were beginning to fail him ( thank you hard cover! ) and the threat of being charged was constantly in his mind after the first unit was overwhelmed by it.

Next week I hope to play another game. This time against the British and in a special scenario just for the Brits vs Japanese. Will be interesting if that happens, and how I can make it work.

Again, not the best battle report. I need to get back into the habit of writing these. Hopefully I will get more games in, and more time to write them in the future. Hope you enjoyed it though, and looking forward to seeing how the Japanese do in the future!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Weekend results...

Right so at the beginning of the weekend, this is what I was looking at. With 3 days home alone with no family and not much else to do, I decided to attempt to finish off the IJA Horde army that I have been working on lately.

Read below to see the results ;)

Starting with the vehicles, cause well vehicles are awesome and I need more of them in my army. This is something that I am not very good at painting or working with as I am predominately an infantry horde player. Can't be arsed to be using the vehicles as much as others do. So figured I would start with them as I can assume they would take me more time. And they did take quite a bit of time indeed!

Cleaning the flash, and getting them assembled took a fair few hours. Can't remember what I was watching on the TV during this period, but i do remember having to remove super glue from my fingers fairly often! I also put together a few of the other artillery/support teams while working on this.

First up though is primer, and then the main green color that the vehicles will work with.

The green is a bit paler than the other ones, but it is a nice base color to start with. But it gives some consistency, which I will be messing around with when I get to the weathering stages.

Here I used the Pk-Pro Masking putty before layering down the browns. I tried to keep them a bit subdued here as well. But am thankful for the airbrushes to get this all done though.

Though for some reason I do not have a photo of the final works here... strange.. thought I had one! Will have to take photos of their finished versions, but at this point I just attached the wheels and called them done. So they have basic colors on them, basic camo, and can be used in games :D

Then it was time to tackle the infantry horde! 160 models!

This would include the crew for the Type 4s, the MMG, the mortar team, 4 LMGs, HQ crew, additional support crew, and then the basic infantrymen. And lots of those!

Starting on the Sunday morning bright and early, I turned on Netflix and started up Gurren Lapen the anime. Which thankfully is in English. And I would keep watching it, and painting, until the series was finished! Yes.. I watched the entire series of 26 or so episodes while painting these infantrymen, and I have to say.. the series took less time! By a long shot!

I was laying down colors and the mixes were shifting a bit on me as the day went on. I would go back over them in yellows and greens later though to correct some of the mistakes. Thankfully this is how I want my army to look like though. That no 2 units or squads have the same colors for their uniforms. Just like the real IJA back in WW2. Due to the nature of war, and where they were sourced from.

You can begin to see them coming together with this shot though. 8 full units of 15, and then all the support and back up infantry behind them.

You can see that while I was doing the straps, guns, and leggings I used a single color. Actually for this whole army I dont think I use more than 10 colors total! But this one color would last me a good portion of Sunday and roll straight into Monday even.

This was my mix for the basing though. Each with a different shade from the Modelmates Mud collection of pigments. To give the bases a real random look. Though I have to admit this was one of the last things I worked on, and did not completely finish the horde.

The last stand of them. Still missing the metal work on the guns. I still need to drybrush the bases to make the raised sections pop out. And then add some flock clumps. But then I can call them finished! But that is work for another day.. in the meantime, I continued to work on updating my studio a bit to create more space and make it feel bigger. Will see how far that goes as I continue to work on it throughout the week while the family is away!

Hope you all enjoyed this, and expect to see them on the tables again and again! Though I keep getting the question of will I ever really need this many infantry.. to which I can answer that I hope one day that I do! Will see I guess :D Enjoy the week!
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