29 January 2015

Let There Be Paint…

I wasn't sure what it was going to take to get me back painting again. Life with a little one is all consuming – something I wasn't expecting fully – no time for hobbies at home. The enthusiasm has been there just not the time. So, I've taken a few of my paints and a couple of brushes to work.

For half an hour in the morning and half an hour at lunchtime I get to put paint on metal in a very crude fashion due to the poor lighting. Not sure how viable this is long term – I know I won't be happy with final results – but at least there are models being painted, which has always been the problem.

First in the queue on the painting table was the big man himself… Batman.

After the usual spray with a GW can, I filled in the gaps with Army Painter Matt Black (such an awesome paint). I then added some Vallejo Basalt Grey to the mix and gave various body parts a basecoat, highlighting up to pure Basalt Grey.

I don't have a lot of blue paints in my collection, bizarrely, which isn't very helpful when painting the caped crusader. Last night I did manage to find an old GW Necron Abyss foundation paint and that has made a great starting point for the cape in question. Then I added a bit of Fenris Grey (more old school paints) to the mix and got some highlights down.

I'm dreading to see the model under my painting lamp at home but I am very excited about painting again. I may have to celebrate by buying some new brushes this weekend!

I know it's going to take a while get back up to speed with the painting but if I can do a little every day then it shouldn't be long before the miniatures are starting to look the business.

27 January 2015

Free Batman Rules…

After my posts about Free Fantasy Skirmish rules and my recently acquired Batman miniatures it makes sense to mention the ruleset for the Batman Miniatures Game, which are free. Having said that, with the latest version of the rules available in print any day now, who knows how long the free rules will be available online… so don't dally.

Download Free Batman Miniatures Game rules here…27Mb PDF

Anyone who has read my posts about wargame rulebook design will know how I feel about legibility and ease of navigation when it comes to reading such things. Alas, this free incarnation of the rules makes it quite difficult to get through due to image overload – all that Batman art is awesome, just not as a background behind the text. The earlier incarnation of the English rules in 2012/13 were so bad and in such poorly translated English that it put me off the game completely.

In fact it wasn't until last year (thanks to the continued quality miniature releases) that I decided to take another look. I'm glad I did as things had improved greatly, not least there was a solid community forming online. Finally there are other resources to scour when you have questions.

As for the rules themselves, there are several key elements that have really piqued my interest…

Tokens go into a bag at the beginning of the game and each turn someone draws one out. The player whose token is revealed gets to go first that turn and 'draws a plan'. This involves distributing tokens, equal to individual's Willpower, on each of their miniatures' cards – e.g. 3 move tokens and two attack tokens for miniature one, four attack tokens and a special for miniature two, etc. – thus mapping out what they plan to do with his miniatures that turn. Player two then does the same (now knowing vaguely what player one intends to do).

I also liked the idea of rolling an additional (different coloured) collateral damage dice when rolling to wound. If its score matches the dice roll of any of the attacking dice you have inflicted a knockdown in addition to any damage.

For a more visual explanation of how the game plays out, check out the Flashback Generations video…

There's a lot to this game that I haven't got to yet, but there seems to be enough here to make it different from the other skirmish games I've played… plus it's Batman!!

If/when I purchase the print version of the latest rules I will do a bit of a review for sure. In the meantime it's certainly worth downloading these free rules whilst they are still available and having a flick through, regardless of whether you intend to play or not.

26 January 2015

Free Fantasy Skirmish Rules…

I'm something of a skirmish rule collector these days. Having had a go at designing my own rules and because I've designed a rulebook or two I'm always looking out for something new and different, or something that just catches my eye.

Just after Christmas I discovered the Iron and Honor ruleset by Red Turban Press, which is currently available as a free PDF download – be aware that the file is 30Mb. The idea is that you can use any fantasy models in your collection and include them in an army list here.

I really liked these rules for their simplicity. The basics will be familiar to most wargamers as they use generic 'roll a dice and beat the stat' approach and that's not a bad thing. I feel it makes a perfect 'cover all' set of rules when wanting to play a game with models that won't fit with other game systems, or if you want to play something a bit different. The 'fate' mechanic adds a little bonus to gameplay and a bit of resource management.

The bonus for me though was the crew creation section. You get to choose heroes, companions and followers to make up your warband, each having starting stats with the ability to tweak them slightly, then add in some traits so that each model is an individual.

Anyway, rather than run through the whole thing online, download the Iron and Honor rules yourself and have a good read.

23 January 2015

Holy Wallets Batman… More Parcels!!

The final random purchases of the week today and we've gone top drawer with more Batman gear. The mid-week buys consisted of Robin and Catwoman so I felt the need to round this little lot off nicely as we hit the weekend.

Next on the shopping list was a couple of Gotham Police to give Batman and Robin some fodder in their crew. Again, these models are really nice (if pricey) and I look forward to getting some paint on them… at some point in time.

However, the pièce de résistance is the car.
Inspired by Mr Awdry's continual use of random 'toys' for his projects I felt the need to follow suit. I picked this bad boy up off Ebay and it will mean Batman doesn't have to use public transport anymore. The scale is slightly out at 1/43 but it's only meant to be a piece of terrain at the end of the day so is close enough.

Now I just need some appropriate MDF buildings on my Malifaux board and we're good to go!

21 January 2015

More Shiny Things

Maintaining the "totally random" aspect of the hobby this year I've quickly followed up my Malifaux crew purchases with… something not related to Malifaux at all.

You may remember a couple of years ago now I was intending to paint the two lonely Batman figures above, over the Christmas break. It never happened and they've been hiding away in a figure case ever since. However, thanks to some amazing model releases since and some great coverage by Hendybadger I've splashed out on some more Batman miniatures… the madness!!

I decided to round off a starter crew for the B-man himself so started – obviously – with Robin. I've never been a big fan of Boy Wonder over the years but this incarnation does look pretty awesome.

Wanting to keep the male/female balance intact I decided to add Selina Kyle to the shopping basket. This is a stunning model – and mostly black too which is encouraging from the paint side.

Will these models ever see the painting table… who knows. But, as I mentioned last time, that is not what this is all about. I'm just keeping the hobby enthusiasm going till time becomes more freely available.

There is no doubt more stuff on the way… stay tuned!

19 January 2015

Impulse Buys…

I threatened in my last post that this year was anything goes and so I'm putting my money where my mouth is. My first (random) shiny purchases were made last week and arrived at the weekend.

I've never gone back to Malifaux since the 2nd Edition came out – the changes made the game seem very different and I lost interest. I did pick up the small rulebook and replacement Guild cards out of curiosity but that was that.

Well, I randomly ordered a couple of the new plastic starter sets – replacements for my favourite crews from first edition…

The thing I've noticed from my experiences thus far of Wyrd plastic minis is that they are very delicate and can have some very thin parts – the ice gamin legs for example are very vulnerable – and this kit seems to follow suit.

image by GMorts

One thing I was very happy to see was that the Witchling Stalkers are one-piece models – awesome!!

The second kit was Kirai, possibly my favourite Malifaux crew in terms of gameplay.

image by GMorts

One of the interesting thing about this kit was the resized Ikiryo model – now much bigger and more like her Avatar mini.

As you can probably tell, I'm yet to get glue anywhere near these models, but it's great to just be around models again, keeping the interest going even if it all ends up on ebay in a few months' time.

The purchases don't stop there – more to come this week…!

12 January 2015

Happy 5th Birthday!!

Yesterday marked this blog's 5th birthday, so in this year's first post I get to acknowledge a few stats…

521 posts and 311k hits

…so that's 112k hits in the last twelve months with 113 new posts.

It fell a little short of my own expectations as I had big plans for the Christmas break that went awry somewhat – December falling well short of the rest of the year in terms of posts and visitors.

It's difficult to predict what the next twelve months will bring to the blog. Time is very short at the moment, but I am getting very twitchy to get back in to some hobby stuff – painting especially.

I think I can make a couple of predictions though. Unless the world turns upside down I can see GW related stuff fading into the sunset. Never say never, but my first hobby love has become something of a slapper these days and I'm not going to waste my time with something that just takes the piss. There will be more purchases for X-Wing and some more Zombicide arrivals when their latest kickstarter shinies start to land. I will also complete my castle in one form or another – got a cracking post waiting in the wings for that.

I think I'm going to enjoy Salute even more this year, given the hobby deprivation I'm currently enduring. It may also be an opportunity for me to go a little nuts with the purchases.

So, with a feeling akin to walking towards a large desert, the year begins and I have no real idea what gaming experiences we'll see this year – very exciting though.

I'd like to dedicate this post to my baby son Finn, who was three weeks old yesterday too. No doubt he will make his full debut on the blog in the next twelve months too – can't start them too early!