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Monday, September 1, 2014

New MLPE Mascot!


Over the past year or so, I have really been wanting to take Mr Lee's blog to another level. And during my trip back in May to the Massive Voodoo HQ where I did some private lessons. And it was over some Turkish meat and veg that the discussion of trying to find the best possible logo for Mr Lee came about.

What is cool about sitting with such creative people, is that the idea generation goes into overdrive with them! First suggestion was to find an animal or something that can become the mascot. Something akin to the Apes and Monkeys are associated to Massive Voodoo.

Well I can say that the ideas for what animal it could be went quite wild. And I have to say that German painters know little about Canada and their wildlife it seems :D I think Moose and Bears were the only things that really came up that made sense ( and the others I have blocked out with copious amounts of German Beer! ).

But when I mentioned about the fact that the Beaver is the national animal.. well now the talks become a bit more focus.. not more serious.. just more focused. Let's make that point very clear very fast! :)

What was cool was that Raffa right out of the gate began to look at a potential logo idea that has a lot of backstory between us as well. A German Suplex Beaver, one for each of us actually.

Honestly it is hilarious as it really shows off the comedy side of things that we were talking about, but in a really professional picture sort of manner.

I have even made a few shirts with it, and have attached it to stickers already! Some people already have them on their lamps and boxes ( some even by their own choice! ). And expect to see more in the future.

The only issue with it, is that is more of a one trick pony ( or beaver i guess ) with regards to how I can make it move forward.

So I played around with Photoshop to create a different view based off of the pattern Raffa made.


As you can see, my skills with Photoshop rival even Raffa's. Heck, if I didn't already mention this was mine, you would think they were done by the same person!

But on a lark, I showed it to Roman who kind of ran away with it for a bit.

Upon coming back, he showed me this..


His pencil version sketch of the Beaver painter as he saw it. Obviously mine is superior, but I didn't want to deflate his ego.. so I suggested a few changes to it.

What happened next I was not expecting, which was just the second of surprises from the Massive Voodoo crew. Roman began o take it to the next level just as Raffa had taken an idea to another level as well.

Here are a few more photos of drawings and WIP of the piece as well..




The evolution of the piece began quite fast with some input from my side on how to adjust it. Making the beaver more of a big bear wrestler shaped painter. Again, tying into internal back stories, but also with the massive log cut paint brush with crazy bristles just like I use today! :)

It was around this point that he then transferred it to Photoshop.. and I would have to see if his skill is up to par there.. if he has the skill level of mine or something different... you make the judgement from the images below..




I guess Roman knows a thing or 2 about photoshop.. and the Beaver Painter takes form.

He continues to show the chaotic nature that is painting though in the following shots while attempting to add paint to the bristles..




All of which was a bit too chaotic for me though.. and thats saying a lot these days!

But in the end, Roman came back with a stellar end piece that will be put to the top of the blog in due time...


And even modified it to be better suited for top banner works..


Which is pretty cool to see! Expect this to be put up as soon as I can find the appropriate background to fit with it.

Next steps will be to make it more logo sized and shaped, and probably complete with Sticker/Shirt sizes. So the other triple suplex design can have a brother version to go with it. Really looking forward to it!

Am also really happy to see that after a quick, and easy conversation, such a story and mascot has come to life with various variations available to it! Am now curious what other mediums and styles he might appear in! Any suggestions?

Friday, August 29, 2014

Relic Knights Doctrine Faction Unboxing


Right.. so yesterday we saw the Noh Empire.. and today this is the Doctrine faction that I picked up in this Kickstarter.

I cannot say that I am as happy with these models as I was with the Noh. I am going to put that out right away! The models are a lot smaller than the Noh Empire, and thus the mold lines are worse! Or at least going to be difficult to get rid of :(

Anyways.. first up is the starter box..






So there are a lot of the same elements as the Noh Empire starter box. The cards, playmat, rulebook, Esper desk, blah blah blah...

And the starter models. Starting with the Doctrine Knight Delphyne and her Cypher Ekhis. Right away, I do not like the Cypher model. It looks nothing like the bad ass wolf that is on the box.. instead it is more a shy little wolf that looks to be more coward than courageous. So sad.

The Librarian model though, which is the big hulking stone construct, is still bad ass though. Love it, and will have fun painting it up!

And then there are the 3 Novitiates but I will keep them in their box for now. But they are all a bit fiddly in the models, and I suspect they will be not the most fun to paint up :(



And due to the kickstarter, I also got more of the Novitiates and another Librarian. Woot?




Next is the main Knight for the Doctrine forces. Kisa and Scratch. I have to say that the mecha cat here is pretty bad ass. Still will be a pain to clean up, but badass all the same. And the Cypher, Scratch, is pretty cool. Will be fun to paint that little one up.

But Kisa.. well.. that is another story cause she is not that cool overall. I suspect this is going to suck actually :( I say this only because her right arm has no slot to put it into. So it is going to be needing a pin, if I can find one small enough. And her staff is quite wobbly. Her cloak also has quite a small connection point tab. But the worst part is I am not sure how she will sit on the big cat. Cause there again is no real spot to put her. And will most likely need pinning. Argh...

So close to being cool, and yet so far...




Now I have to admit that I was looking forward to this group. I had seen someone take the male Mage out of the main trio, and do a nice little diorama with him against a dragon I do believe. Too bad this one has horrible mold lines on him, and what not.

Whatever.. let's see if I can still make the ladies as sexy in their paint job as their artwork states they should be. Otherwise, well, they will probably look like working girls near Taksim.. Time will tell on that one.




I like how this one comes together, though I think again the staff is going to be a pain. And it will also need to go on separately I believe.

Fiametta was one of the few that there was no model of before I believe, and thus was made only because of Kickstarter. Kudos to them. And the sculpt and pose is quite unique, if not exactly as the artwork depicts. I think it was shifted to be more cast/mold friendly.

What is unique about this piece is that now if you wish to buy her, she is pair up with this other duo..




Old Pervy man, and his your nubile assistant. Love the expression on the old man on the sculpt, though the face for the girl is a bit rough and not defined as well as it could have been. Plus he is not sitting on a stool here, but rather standing ready for some more action it seems.

I think considering how small they are, and how large their base is, there will be plenty of space to do up something really interesting here for them. Maybe try to recreate the floor, and a section of a library or laboratory? I dunno.. maybe just a pervy office would work as well :D





And last, but definitely not least, is the Cosplay Zineda model. Originally from the Noh Empire, but here she is skipping over to the Doctrine due to their power levels. It will be interesting to see how these 2 would do up against each other though. Also she seems a bit smaller than the other one, but I haven't laid them side by side to really check that out yet. Maybe one day when I get around to assembling everything.

So there you have it.. my 2 factions. There is one more model that I have received and it is the cosplay Candy and Cola models. Though again the pose on Candy is not what I expected and not one that if really all that great. But let us see how it goes, and how the painting on it happens. Below is a slightly blurry photo of the duo.. and with it.. the end. So enjoy the weekend. Much things happening here.. hope you all enjoy as well!




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!
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