Friday, November 28, 2014

Great Scots! And a trip away...

So Wednesday night I had some time to kill, and a desire to paint more Scotsmen!

Here be the last of the original 6pt boxset for Saga all on their sockets with blutac, primed, and with the first color ( steel green? ) applied.

My goal for them was to get them finished quickly, easily, and without a lot of fuss! Also I wanted a very limited palette of colors on them as they are mostly farmers and lowborn peasants from the countryside.

So I continued with muted colors, like off browns, and khakis. Fabric colors that would be easy to create in the dark ages!

Simple brown bases as always... just waiting some tufts of grass here and there.. Though you can see the last 8 ( non starter pack ) warriors sitting in the back there waiting for their turn.

For Skin I took a different approach compared to the others. For these, I figured that they were out in the farms often, and under what little sun might exist up on the northern part of this island! Also makes them stand out compared to the warriors, hearthguards, and Warlord himself!

And finally some simple light browns for the bows. Some darker browns for the leather belts and quivers. And now just waiting for the GW Washes to bring some depth to some of the colors here.

Just waiting on the grass sections..

And all finished!

Clan photo of the whole faction together! Just missing the shields still but that will come after the last 8 warriors get done and I can decide on some designs for them to paint up!

In other news.. as much as I love the Scots.. this weekend will be all about the Swedes instead! For I am off to my annual pilgrimage to see my good friend Burak for our combined birthday bash, who is currently stationed in Gothenburg for work! Never been to Sweden, so I guess this is as good of a time as any to go!

Expect a small write up of whatever I do remember from the trip, and whatever photos I can scrounge up afterwards that are still safe to post online ;)

Enjoy the weekend, and expect more content next week!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Saga Reinforcements! Clans unite!

My Scottish clan for the dark ages is slowly growing. And honestly.. it is not really that slow here.

Over the weekend I had a chance to get "some" painting done and with it I got 2 sets of 8 warriors painted up.

You can maybe remember the shot of the first set waiting on blocks to get painted..

Well these escalated to be finished quite quickly due to a very simple paint scheme and style.

Painting them was incredibly easy though.

With the 2K priming ( Black base, and white/grey from the light source ) I was able to basically wash the colors onto them models. Keeping most of the shadows there already for me.

For colors I kept them really minimal here. Mostly greens, browns, and teal blue/greens. Easy colors really. I threw some reds into the browns at times, and yellows into the greens to make them a bit more interesting, but honestly it was not needed.

Once the base colors were down though, it was all about the GW Washes lathered on top of them. It helped to bring some more color into the pieces, and also fix some of my mistakes ;)

With the first set of lazy warriors done, I had a few hours spare on Sunday night to finish off the other 8 more active warriors.

Same techniques here, and since I knew what colors and style I was aiming for, it went much faster!

Grounds are a bit darker than the Elites and Warlord, and I am OK with this. They are all not from the same family afterall, so it is fair to say that they came from different parts of the highlands. Though none of them are rich enough to have proper tartans ( and cause I was lazy on these guys! ).

I have another 8 warriors left on the table that I just picked up on ebay, but they will wait until after the 12 Levy Bowmen are completed first. So that the original 6 pt boxset can be completed for the figures at least.

I have plans for the shields though. Since it was common to have motifs on them, I will do some freehand work on them. Probably more elaborate pieces for the Elites, but less for the Warriors. Maybe simple designs really in the end. Though we will see when I get to them.. which might be a few weeks yet!

In the meantime.. enjoy them. And if anyone has ideas on good, but compact transport ideas for such a force.. I am open to suggestions! :D

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Galapagos Miniatures - Volkan Lostblood

Review time again! Shocked that I have another up? So am I!!!

This week I will review another piece I picked up from Euro, and that is the Galapagos Miniatures dwarf bust, Volkan Lostblood. Or as I think many call him.. That Dwarf Bust with the axe held the wrong way up!

You can see the price on it.. 55 euros.. I didn't pay that though cause it was at the Euro show in UK ( oxymoron? ) and it was closer to 40 gbp in the end ( talked the seller into giving me a bit of a discount :) ).

The box is light, but then again it is a resin piece not metal. And upon opening the box you can see cards!

The first card has both box art versions shown on it. So you get to see 2 different ways in which it was painted before released. And also the story behind the dwarf itself. Very cool little extra here.

Again we can see that it was sandwiched behind not 2 but 3 layers of foam here. Top layer to protect it from moving. A middle one to cushion the main pieces, and the bottom for the more flat sections.

You can see that the majority of the bust is a solid piece. With the axe carrying arm, and pieces for it being all separated. Hopefully this will be making the painting of those sections much much easier.. but we will see!

On the main sections there is very little flash ( aside from that massive vent on the arm and a smaller one on the hand ).

But for the axe heads there is a bit more here that will take some work to get rid of. And knowing my hacking of resin skills, I am more afraid of taking off too much and making it so that the axes don't sit properly afterwards on the handle.

The main piece of it is quite huge. And the hair.. OMG.. that beard is nicely sculpted but damn if that is not going to completely toss me into a spiral of headaches to come! But it is a decent chunk of resin to paint up in the end, and I am really looking forward to it.

And painting it I will! It was immediately on my list of things to paint the MOMENT I saw it on facebook last year. To have it in my hand now, I have no less motivation to paint it and I am hoping I can do it proud! This will be one of the main pieces for my displays this year so am looking forward to getting a start on it. Most likely first thing in the new year I will get going on it, depending on how much current projects go!

So in the end, I am a bit bias on this piece cause I already fell in love with it before it was released commercially. And then getting it at a show, and having it in hand it is great. The details are fantastic. The sculpt is perfect. And the size it something that is a decent one. Not too large to scare off everyone, but not too small as to lose or sacrifice details.

Overall, a definitive buy for anyone who likes to paint busts, and likes dwarfs. Or like me.. just like painting dwarfs! For those in Europe, you can buy him from here for 50 euros before shipping. Or in UK, you can grab him here for 48.50 GBP shipping included.

Hope you enjoyed the small review! I need to go and investigate some colors and schemes for it now!

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Saga continues...

Yeah.. OK.. Lame play on words, but you got the idea :)

Happy to report that the Warlord, Robert Cruickshank, is finished, along with his extended family acting like Thanes ( Hearthguards ). They are just waiting on their shields to get painted, which I will do in batches at the end when all the models themselves are finished. Will be interesting to do some freehand on them also!

The main things painted were the tartans. Which took the most time, obviously :)

It was pretty simple though as I took some of the original red, added some green, and a touch of blue to it, to make it darker. Then drew the cross patterns over the red sections.

I would hit the reds a bit further just to make them stand out a bit in comparison to the darker colors. Otherwise a few of them began to disappear on me there.

For some of the cloaks, I also did some lines as well. Varying it up a bit depending on the person.

After the dark lines, I added some Tan/White coloring in between them to give it some Umpf! I think it worked nicely, and really pops out, thoughts?

From here it was all about the washes.

Washes of Ogryn flesh on the skin. Black on the chainmail. Browns for the ground and boots. Sometimes on the armorr to dirty it up. Same for the lower sections of the clothing.

Quick shot of the Warlord's back cloak here. A purple/green/white pattern. Thought it might work and be appropriate.

You can also see that the lines and painting is not super neat and clean. But 17 models finished over 3 painting sessions is pretty quick. Heck, even Mrs Lee was asking me where I had received these painted models from as she was not aware that I had done some painting last weekend! Ha! Nice!

To finish them all off, I just put some tufts of green and brown grass on the bases and now they can go off to fight against invaders to their island some more. Be more aggressive since they have no shields at the moment!

Next up for this faction will be some warriors. The ones standing around looking for work. Let's see how they go and how well they paint up!

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saga Demo Game...

So yesterday I posted about the Warfare gaming convention and my start in Saga.. today is the demo game that I got in on Tuesday night against one of the local "experts" on the game. I didn't get much more painted between the weekend and the game so I had a fair number of unpainted warriors standing around on my side of the table here. But my opponent, Andy, loaned me some Levies so that I can see the full scope of the game here.

A quick run down of how the game works, and honestly Andy did a brilliant job setting up this demo and the lists that go with it!

We both were playing Scots, but since I don't have their battle board, he switched over to the Irish which allowed me to try the Scots out ( since that is what I have and made sense for me to play as them! ).

We were both playing with:

  • Warlord
  • 2x4 Hearthguard in a single 8 man unit
  • 2x8 Warriors
  • 1x12 Levies ( mine with bows, his with Javalins )
5 points worth of troops each to play with.. which doesn't sound like a lot when compared to things like Bolt Action.. but honestly this was super easy to pick up and deal with here. 

We played on his custom mat from a kickstarter he backed many moons previously. 

Terrain set up was pretty simple with a hill in the middle, and forests on both sides of the table. But most of the game centered around the hill actually. 

For the first few turns it was pretty straight forward with each side just moving their guys forward. We both had 6 Saga dice, which are faction specific dice that allowed us to take actions or move troops or activate special abilities. You can see part of the battle board for the Irish on the top right there. 

Everytime you want to do something you need to ensure that you have put the right dice on their square in order to pull it off. 

Everything in the left column are to activate the units. So unless you have a Snake or a Stag for a dice roll, you won't be able to activate the Warriors for example. Something that I faced in my game due to holding dice in other locations too long!

You can place several dice into each of these boxes here provided you have the right symbol on them, meaning that you could activate the same unit multiple times. Though beware, that if you activate them more than once in a turn, than you will get Fatigue.. which can be used against you! More on that in a bit. 

The center and right columns are your special abilities. These can be used at certain times, as outlined in the appropriate faction book. Something that I am currently investigating on how to receive as the Gripping Beast's webstore doesn't have any in stock! Ebay searching is already underway! As the faction book goes into more details on how you can use the special abilities and when. Things to remember for the Scots is that the abilities highlighted in Green can only be used by spearmen ( Hearthguard on foot or warriors in this case ). 

It should be noted that the special abilities can only have 1 set of dice on it. Meaning that you cannot activate any of the abilities more than once in a turn. Making it a bit more interesting to see what you can and cannot do. Especially with limited dice!

We would see that since we played with identical lists, and set up the same ( I just copied him really ) we could see some really even match ups and see the full effects of the rules here. 

Things like combat. Which honestly is super simple! You just need to beat the opponents armor value to hit/wound them. Single dice.. no problems!

So things like levies being 3s, warriors 4s, and hearthguards 5s it is pretty easy going. And with saving being 4s against shooting, and 5s in melee, again things are kept simple in the game. 

There are ways to complicate it through special abilities to change the values, or by using the opponents Fatigue markers against them. But those are more of the 'advanced' rules.. and by 'advanced' I mean just a little less simple than the simple rules to play. :) 

With combat there is winners, losers and ties still. If you win, you stay, both gain a fatigue, and your opponent is bumped back a Small movement back. If you lose, then they stay, both gain a fatigue, and you move back a Small movement. If it is a tie, and your the attacker, then the defender stay, both gain a fatigue, and you move back a Small movement. Pretty straight forward after the first 2 fights.. if it takes more than that.. well.. I hear that Snakes and Ladders is a good game also :D

One of the biggest things that can happen, and should happen I guess, is the sacrifice of cheaper units against heavier units. Although it is harder to kill them, by taking out a few, you make future fights a bit easier. 

In the above photo, my Warriors had been charged by the Warlord of the Irish, and his Hearthguard bodyguards. They wiped out my Warriors with ease, however I took 4 of their Hearthguards with me. So it was a full pt for pt trade there... except my warriors were far lower in strength at the time. This opened them up though to where my Warlord and his bodyguards of elite could do a nice counter charge there. If given the chance. 

Andy would sacrifice his Levies to block my path and kill a Hearthguard in the process from his javalins. Again, putting them in the way to be sacrificed to me in order to save his own unit there. 

And this is done for good reason as the Hearthguards are monsters in combat with 2 attacks each, but with the Warlord supporting them with 5 more attacks it can be pretty brutal! And we were only playing with 8 Hearthguards here! Imagine a full 3 pts worth for 12 of them in a single unit! Dammmmn.... 

He would attempt a charge against my mob squad with the Levy screen down, but he was no match for my impressive rolling here. And would be pushed back waiting for the counter charge!

To which he would receive, and my warlord would claim another head for his collection he already seemed to be collecting. 

In the end... Andy had lost his Levy, his Elites, and his Warlord.. thus the game. With both of his Warrior units down to half strength, though this means nothing cause there is still someone standing there. 

For me, one of my Warrior units was dead. My Warlord still stood with a single Hearthguard at his side. My other warriors were down to half as well, but the Levy with their impressive armor rolls had stayed at full strength on the hill the whole game. Am thinking I might like the underdogs here.. but will see as more games show up!

For me.. it was really enjoyable and a couple of times I even got giddy over trying out some combos on the board! Bit too excitable with some caffeine in my system I guess!

Now looking forward to getting the rest of Clan Cruickshank painted up, and ready to face off against the next set of invaders to my highlands. 

Oh and time to start reading more of the rules and strategies of the Scots! I hear there are some Spaniards approaching that need to be dealt with! 

Hope you enjoyed the little insight to the game.. expect more games to be played and more work on the Scots to be painted up! And if you play this game, let me know your thoughts on it as well! 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Warfare Convention and Saga Viking Age - Scots!

Over the weekend I took the family up to Reading under the guise of some shopping and looking around.

What Mrs Lee was not aware of was that the shopping was at the Reading Leisure Center in the form of a gaming trade show convention called Warfare! :)

The main reason for the trip was to pick up some paints, and get into a new game for the club called Saga Viking Age from Gripping Beast. But we also then had to pick up a few more things. One for junior and one for Mrs Lee..

Junior is still obsessed with the Lizardmen of GW, so we picked up a Razorspine Rattler from Malifaux. Cause well.. it is a reptile in the end :)

Mrs Lee was not overly impressed with my ruse on her, but said that she liked the Oiran from the same game, and would like me to do a small diorama with it for her in compensation. Simple enough, even though the figures are beyond tiny!! Expect a small review of them soon!

I also picked up some vines in different colors from miniNatur.. which I thought I had, but turns out I didn't good thing for gaming conventions so close right? :D

But the main purchase was the Saga Viking Age starter box of Scots. Their dice ( cause apparently that is important ) and the main rulebook ( which after getting home I see that they don't have the Scots attacks! Doh! And that the Scots book is out of stock on their website! Double Doh! ).

Anyways.. let's see what is inside anyways eh?

So I picked up the Scots 6 pts boxset. Mostly because it came with a cooler looking Warlord model, and the fatigue markers. Plus I also have some levies in there for ranged support! That and I like options when playing a new game and figure this is a good way to get them! I also picked up the main rulesbook ( though the guy at the stall when I asked about it didn't say anything concerning no sheets for Scots there! ) and the Scots dice.

I have mostly everything that I need now to play as the models included are:

  • Warlord
  • 3x4 Hearthguards
  • 2x8 Warriors
  • 1x12 Levies
With each section being worth 1 point giving me 6 pts worth of troops. Which I have to admit is pretty cool to see, and very easy to make up lists then when you know this. 

And with that, I immediately took to the FB page for our club and asked if anyone was around this week for a demo.. to which one said yes! Huzzah!

With the spur of momentum to get in a game I put the Viking Bust aside for the weekend ( as I was still waiting for the Oils to dry in some parts anyways ) and began to assemble the Scots!

I really have to say that the flash, mold lines, and hands to hold the weapons on these models are horrible. I spent far longer than I would have appreciated to get these prepped and there are still issues on numerous locations on them. But as they are gaming pieces, I am not going to spend an overly huge amount of time on them. 

Biggest part I spent time on though was drilling out, or carving out spaces on the hands to hold weapons.  Once that was all sorted, then I glued them to the bases. For the warlord, since he is the warlord afterall, I placed some Cork down to make him a bit higher up and more important. He is already on a larger base ( set out from the game ) and I don't know if being taller gives pluses or negatives to gaming, but from a modelling point of view he looks more imposing! And that is all that I wanted to have here. 

For simple bases I applyed Vallejo stone Texture to the bases.. and then dipped them into some sand at points to give it a bit more variety as well. 

Along with weapons the force was looking pretty deadly! And by deadly I mean pointy and going to hurt me if I don't watch where I am placing my hands. 

The only issue I saw with the assembling of the weapons though is also the fact that the boxset did not come with enough spears for all models. And that I have to put some with swords and axes instead. Not the same as what is shown on the back of the box where almost everyone has a spear, so I am unsure if this means anything in game terms but we will see in time. 

For now I made 8 of the Hearthguards, the elite of the army, with hand weapons like swords and axes instead. And the warriors plus 4 hearthguards get spears. With the levies getting their bows as they should. 

To kick things off though I figured I should start painting up the warlord, and his elites, the hearthguards. 

I know some will say, but Mr Lee.. hey are all the same colors here? How can that be when they are all individuals! Well.. my thinking if pretty simple here. I want this clan of Scots to be from Aberdeen, and belong to the Clan Cruickshank! Which would be my real family name outside of this blog for those of you wondering :D

And with that, our clan tartan is from Clan Stewart and is red. Though I would do a bit of variations with it in places, and will modify it a bit more also on each one but with the core color being the same. To give them the look like they all come from the same family clan, but with small variations or differences in the family between them. 

Overall they are OK.. I was struggling to find the appropriate second color for their cloaks and went with greens and browns for the most parts there. Brown basing colors with some drybrushing made the bases easy to work with. And I will add some tufts of grass to them later on also to give them some more variety as well. 

I had painted up the first tartan pattern for the first Scot here, but looking at it outside of the bright desk lamp it was far too dark. Which is normal for the regular clan tartan which is quite dark but doesn't translate well to such small figures. 

So I then replaced the black with a strip of off White instead. 

And ( aside from the filter placed from my camera ) there is an immediate impact. And makes the tartan pattern less dark overall which is nice. Will see how it looks once I put the grass on it, and then begin to add the shields. 

In the meantime, I just need to finish off the tartans to the rest of the Elites and Warlord and then I can begin work on the first batch of Warriors! Should probably have a majority of this army finished before week's end if I focused on it. Let's see how it goes... and expect a quick review of the game itself this week as well!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

27Rosso Jack OLantern Review

So this is a nice little surprise review.. while at Monte San Savino, I was honored with this from 27Rosso in recognition for what they considered the Best Display in Standard category! I also received a bottle of chili Olive Oil from them, but Mrs Lee has already claimed that as her own!

I thought it would only be fitting to have a look at it here on the blog and give them a shout out!

First off I have to apologize for the condition of the box. It was in my pack which unfortunately took a spill into a fairly large puddle while in Pisa. But nothing got broken ( thankfully! ) and only a bit of water damage on the cardboard of the box.

Fairly easy to see why there was no damage... with all the fluffy packaging inside, and the pieces being inside of plastic bags I think it would take more than a bit of water and a drop out of the back of a car to damage it!

The pieces were segmented into their own little bags. I put everything back into the same bags as it helps to know which goes with what. Though the assembly of the piece will be quite straight forward anyways so that is not fully required.

There are a few mold issues on the main body of the piece. But most ( if not all ) are located at the bottom of the piece so that is fine and easy enough to clean up or hide.

And all the pieces together! The only thing you really need for it is to create your own handle for the lantern. There are a few pieces of flash on some of the smaller pieces ( fingers ) but nothing that a quick hit with some tweezers can't take care of. And the pieces fit nicely and snugly already without much work!

This will be a very cool little (?) piece to paint up at some point. Maybe in time for Halloween next year, and work on it with Junior?

The piece just cries out for some OSL on the face and lantern sections. Though first I would need to find the appropriate socket/plinth for it, and the scene that I want to tell with it. And then focus on the aspects from there. Let's see how it goes.. and see if I can add it to the line up for next years Monte show ;)
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