Monday, 23 November 2015

Painting Progress: Guild Ball Ox

Painting time has been scarce recently but I have managed an hour here and there over the last couple of weeks to keep things moving.

My main focus has been my Guild Ball Butchers team, and my team captain Ox. Since the last update I have given the skin a Sepia wash to bring a bit of warmth back in. I then set to with the red paint, using my Blood Angels recipe to ensure the red was truly eye catching. It still all a bit shiny due to the number of washes on there but that will be fixed with a matt varnish at the end.

I then moved onto the leather straps which was a four layer process – burnt umber/black followed by burnt umber, highlights in a burnt umber/ochre mix then a dark brown wash. I kept the highlight subtle as I don't want these bits to jump out too much.

For the trousers I started with a P3 Cryx Bane Base and Black. A mid-highlight of Bane Base was followed with a final highlight of a bit of white added to Bane Base. It's a bit harsh at the moment as it's waiting for a wash to knock things back and blend it together.

I ended my session last night by repainting Ox's hair and beard with black. I'll add a couple of grey highlights to this at some point, but it's all heading in the right direction so far.

Once a wash has gone onto a model it has to dry thoroughly so it's not practical to try and paint something else on the model until this is done. I use a second model as a time filler while the washes dry, but kept things simple by painting the GB ball.

I wanted a medicine ball look to it so used a similar recipe to the leather straps above. This time, however, I've done a lot more very thin layers to get a better graduation of colour on the spherical shape of the ball. This photo was taken just after I repainted the base brown so there is a muddy look to it (albeit the light bleached out the image a bit).

I'm having a lot of fun painting at the minute. As much as I'd like to spend more time painting, the limited opportunities is probably adding to the enjoyment. It is the first time in ten years (maybe) that I've painted eyes on a model and I'll do a post later this week to show how I go about it – see if it differs from how you do it.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

How To Sculpt A Guild Ball Miniature…

I may not have had much time to paint my new Guild Ball team but I have found some time to research lots of Guild Ball goodness. During my online travels I came across the Steamforged Games You Tube site, which has a few gems hidden in there for sure.

Amongst the hobby tutorials and latest news videos, there are some 'live' videos of the guys explaining the sculpting process. I've watched most of them now, they're really fun and I've learned a lot. If you happen to own one of the miniatures that they showcase then there's an added level of interest. I also find my appreciation for the GB miniature range increased after this – so much love and attention to detail have gone into them.

If you're intrigued by the digital sculpting side of our hobby, or Guild Ball's your thing, then this is definitely worth half an hour or so of your time. You'll look at the miniatures differently after this, and give them more attention when your painting!

Monday, 16 November 2015

White Dwarf: The Horus Heresy Edition

The Horus Heresy box set has been playing on my mind recently, after some online discussions. Is it the bargain of the century or is it another expensive GW cow-milking exercise aimed squarely at the space marine fan boys. I used to be one of those fan boys a decade ago and would have sold my soul to get my hands on something like this back then, regardless of price. Nowadays though I'm a little older and a little wiser (just a little) and not so easily taken in by shiny photos and beautifully painted miniatures.

I put in a cheeky request with the wife as she was leaving for town on Saturday, asking her to go to the one place she hates more than any – the local "sweaty geek shop" as she calls it – to get hold of last week's Horus Heresy edition of White Dwarf. I just wanted to see what the fuss was about, plus I had read somewhere it has a free miniature on the cover.

She returned some hours later and the first thing I discovered was that the free miniature was actually a free metal badge of an Ultramarine space marine – why? what possible use or value does that have? Secondly the edition cost only £2.40 which seemed remarkably cheap compared with the last WD I purchased, but then I discovered it's because there are only 34 page in this edition!

(I'd just like to say that I think this is a sad state of a magazine with so much history and heritage, but there you go.)

The 'magazine' itself turned out to be more of a glossy brochure for the Horus Heresy game, with shiny pictures and a lot of text I couldn't bring myself to read because I know it's just marketing hogwash. I had a flick through but personally was unmoved.

So, is the game worth it from a model perspective (assuming you're just in it it for the sprues)?

The box set was advertised in the magazine for £95 (£85 at Element Games) and for that you get 30 mk4 tactical marines, 5 terminators, a dreadnought, a terminator captain and a chaplain. If you were to purchase the same plastic models (though not heresy era of course) it would cost you £75 for 30 tacticals, £28 for the terminators and £28 for the dread – that's £130 before your character models (£111 from Element Games).

I think that's a resounding bargain, a saving of approx. £60-70 on buying regular models – and they're heresy era stuff as a bonus. So all you marine players out there… buy, buy, buy!!

Sunday, 15 November 2015

The Guild Ball "Classic" Mat

My Friday post this week saw me frothing at the prospect of receiving my 'Classic' Guild Ball pitch, a printed neoprene mat. As expected Element Games games through and the parcel was waiting for me when I got home. I didn't manage to open it until last night and have a little while to give it the once over. Taking advantage of our still very empty kitchen extension I took some photos to accompany my thoughts.

The mat arrived folded up in an A3 box (as explained on the EG site). This is not a problem as the mat doesn't retain any folds. I has some weight to it and almost unrolls itself on the surface (in this case the wooden floor). It even has rounded corners – a small thing but excellent addition.

Just like the mats I have for Aetherium, it's like a giant rubber mouse mat and is, in my opinion, almost the perfect surface for gaming on (aside from a beautifully constructed terrain board of course). When it comes to playing Guild Ball it will be perfect, especially thanks to how mobile it is. Unlike Blood Bowl, where the temptation is to create a lavishly constructed stadium, this surface feels more suitable for GB and will protect the miniatures a lot more should they fall over or be laid on their side.

Just to back up the mobile aspect, it comes with a great carry case. Unlike a rigid tube, the case will allow you to fit the mat into any small space left in the car boot (trunk).

I was feeling a lot of love for this mat (too much if I'm honest) and then I spotted an issue. Don't worry, it's a "Mike" issue that 90% of people won't notice and most of the rest wouldn't consider a problem. However, being who I am and doing what I do for a job, I felt a little gutted at what I see as a flaw.

The pitch graphic itself, it turns out, is not an illustration as I had assumed (like my Woodland mat) but a photo montage of bits of grass and bits of someone's bare lawn. It's obviously been blended together in Photoshop but it's been done poorly where the transitions between image bits are blurred and scale is inconsistent. No attempt has been made (it seems) to go back in and work the images together more. It's more a patchwork quilt effect.

In addition, the pitch markings are floating on top of the grass photo detached entirely from the pitch below. They've been distressed so they look worn, but they don't sit amongst the blades of grass and don't look three dimensional or textured in any way – looks more like a floating mist effect. I've left the graphic above quite large so you can hopefully see what I mean.

Don't get me wrong, it's a quality product but the graphic looks rushed to me. Shame as it could have been perfection. Yet as I said, most people won't notice, I just have the curse of the trained eye for such things.

So I fully recommend you get one of these before you start playing! Excellent stuff!

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Return Of The Specialists

The gaming news during the latter half of the week was dominated by the story that GW are creating a new Specialist Games department and the likes of Blood Bowl, Necromunda and Battlefleet Gothic will return in some form or other.

The initial knee-jerk reaction this by most was a resounding "woo-hoo!", myself included. However, having had time to think about this a bit more will the reality pan out quite as we expect?

The first thing to clarify is that this is not an official GW venture and will fall under the Forgeworld banner in some way – these games (including the continuation of LOTR and Hobbit) will definitely be playing second fiddle to 40k and AoS. All in all this is not an issue – Forgeworld seem to have a more sensible approach to things, whereas GW still have a somewhat skewed perspective of the gaming landscape and their place within it.

Looking at this from my personal perspective there are a limited number of things that interest me here. I love the idea that BB, Necro, BFG (and hopefully Mordheim) will be resurrected and supported. Yet Blood Bowl has survived for a very long time supported by the worldwide community alone. The rules are free to download, and as far as I can tell very sound still – I don't think I want a set of new rules that I have to pay £50 for, or spend £100 on a box set. If they're going to create a host of new teams of gorgeous models then that's great, but I don't want BB to be turned into another premium cash cow to the detriment of the game itself.

Necromunda and Battlefleet are both games that we used to play way back and I've offloaded all my models. I do still have the rulebooks for both so, again, would rather not have to shell out significantly for updated rules – though shiny new models are a different matter. If they were to take a Guild Ball approach and have starter faction box sets and the rules were free (unless you wanted a lovely shiny book) then this would be a great outcome. However, I suspect that all these games will be released as Horus Heresy-type boxed games that are expanded over time. In this case we could be looking at £100 startup per game!

Epic, Warmaster, Inquisitor, Man O' War and Gorkamorka I've no interest in myself, but if they were to re-release Mordheim – huge box set or no – that would be a game I would struggle to resist I think. I never played it first time around (sticking to the 40k environment of Necromunda instead) but this appeals to me much more now that my gaming horizons have expanded.

I'm also glad they're continuing the Lord of the Rings range. I'm hoping they will re-release the original rulebooks as I only own a borrowed set (which I must return one day). These models have already been a great resource for other gaming exploits, so any new stuff would be greatly received.

So after the initial "is it fake or not" stories, followed by the "confirmed!" reports I'm feeling cautiously optimistic about the new Specialist Games division. It will either be the best thing from GW in a long time, or taint a beloved gaming history. Fingers crossed!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Pitching Guild Ball

Image from Steamforged Games
Today I was meant to post about the great painting progress made last night on my Butchers models, but little Finn's continued distress-filled time with his teeth completely scuppered the evening… and the night's sleep.

Instead I thought I'd post a word or two regarding my excitement about the Guild Ball classic mat (that I ordered yesterday, cough).

I already own a couple of well printed vinyl mats (a space mat for X-Wing and a Woodland mat for Hood) and so when I saw the Guild Ball pitch being touted I thought "why bother?". However, after some internet trawling yesterday I discovered that the Guild Ball mat is actually printed on neoprene – boom!

Image from Steamforged Games
Now, those of you who have been following Aetherium's progress over the last two years will know that the boxed game comes with a beautifully printed neoprene mat. I have two of them (a mis-sized prototype and the final shiny version) and I cannot express how truly awesome and versatile they are. Whilst I don't play Aetherium myself (yet) I use the mats all the time. I have one permanently on my desk as an enormous mouse mat. The other I use on the dining room table when playing Zombicide, cards, Subbuteo, whatever. It's a beautiful thing to behold. It doesn't crease, it retains its shape, it doesn't smell like plastic. It's the perfect gaming surface. Beautiful I tell you.

Image from Steamforged Games
And discovering the GB mat was neoprene too, well my resolve cracked… nay, crumbled… and the order went in immediately. It should arrive today as Element Games are super fast at dispatching in-stock items and send everything via 24hr post. I will have a good close look and post my final thoughts next week (it also comes with a carry case!).

Hopefully we'll see the missing painted miniatures soon!

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Painting The Butchers – Ox

Check it out – painted models!!

Yes, it's been 7 months since the last painted model showcase on the blog but finally there is fresh paint on new models… well, a single model.

After building my team at the weekend, I had given the Butchers a watery black undercoat on Sunday evening and on Monday evening I gave them a second coat of black/brown. The wife was out last night so I had the evening to myself – perfect for getting some painting done. Alas my baby son thought it was also the perfect night to grow some more teeth, so was unsettled all evening.

However, I did get some time to put a bit of flesh colour onto my captain, Ox (though the photos are a little washed out). I started with Vallejo Burnt Umber and gradually added more and more Bronze Fleshtone to the mix. It reached a point where the next step was pure Fleshtone so I added a touch of white instead, to stop it looking too cartoony (the Fleshtone is quite bright!).

I also did something I haven't done in a very, very long time… eyes!!

I still need to add a wash to blend things together a bit more, and maybe add in some darker shadows, but I'm very happy with the direction things are going.

I don't think this flesh recipe will work with Brisket so will have to try something a bit more girlie for that one. But I don't need to worry about that just yet. I want to get this model under my belt first.

Stay tuned!!
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