26 February 2015

Looking Like A Ghostbuster!

At the request of Bull I thought I'd reveal my recent hobby purchase – a magnifier headset from Amazon.

It looks rather cumbersome and didn't seem comfortable initially. However, after a few minutes I forgot I had it on (must have just thought I had awesome eyesight like the bionic man or something!). For a fiver it was a bit of a steal I think.

I have yet to use it properly but it has already revealed some hidden blips on my Batman miniature (like wayward brush hairs) that can't be seen with the naked eye.

I'm looking forward to using it for painting the new Batman crew and stay tuned for some results soon…

24 February 2015

Bat-phone Engaged?

Always looking to run before I can walk, I stumbled across an idea for a key piece of terrain for our upcoming Batman battles…


A spotlight from Sarissa Precision

and, oh wait!

A battery-powered dolls house lamp from Amazon!

Criminals of Gotham beware!!

23 February 2015

Basing Models…

…A blog post with actual models in it!!

Well over the course of the last few days I've managed to actually get some model-stuff done. Once my base toppers arrived, nothing was going to stop me from getting something done.

Robin had been built for nearly a fortnight so I jumped straight in and got him set up on his base. These Knight Models are very (very) thin in places and it's been quite a challenge to get holes drilled for pins. Steady hands are in order.

Once he was secure I added some red oxide to fill gaps and add a bit more texture. Then over the weekend I managed to spray and undercoat him. Boy Wonder is now raring to go!

For the bases themselves, I'm gluing the base topper in place then carving out the underneath of the plastic base to add a 2p coin. This additional weight makes all the difference and counters the weight of the metal model on top.

I turned my attention to the Gotham Police models and was overjoyed to see a single-piece model in there. I clipped her from the base tab ready to be pinned in place. If you look close up you may be able to see the disappointing quality of the Fenris base toppers – full of bubbles – which is not such an issue in this case, but not up to the standard I'd expect from them.

Much like Robin, this police model has very small feet, not leaving much space to drill a pinning hole. However, I used my 1mm drill bit and carefully got the job done.

I drilled holes in the base and used a paperclip to pin everything in place.

I have to say that this was quite an easy win in the end – the other police officers have arms than need pinning too… and then there's Catwoman :s

This has been quite a boost to my hobby mojo, so hopefully there will be more progress this week… especially now I have my magnifier headset!

19 February 2015

Streets Of Gotham – Terrain Thoughts

After last week's look at the idea of a new Gotham gaming board I thought I'd move on to possible terrain for said board.

Many of the example Batman boards you see are made up from Sarissa Precision 'City Block' mdf terrain. It's rather close to what you would expect downtown Gotham to be like and is certainly one of the best options available at a reasonable price.

My only worry is that it would start to look a little samey, so you'd have to mix up these building with some more 'unique' pieces.

As an alternative, I was pointed to a Kickstarter for mdf terrain – Warehouse District by Impudent Mortal – which I found very inspirational. I have no intention of pledging for this particular kickstarter but there are some cracking ideas here and the style of terrain could be easily replicated in foam board… with a bit of time.

I did post the link to the Arkham City Limits facebook group to share this new found gem but was promptly flamed by other members then had the post deleted because promoting Kickstarter is against the rules. Needless to say I am no longer a part of that group!

If you can't share inspirational terrain links with fellow gamers, kickstarter or not, without being shot at then it's not really an open-minded group. It seems that there are some downsides to being made the official Batman facebook group!

Talking of foamboard, the other option is to go pure DIY. The piece above is along similar lines to the Warehouse District stuff, and didn't take that long to make.

However, at a time when time is at a premium, making one's own terrain may not be the best use of it. Time vs money.

And where money is no object, Knight Models will be releasing (eventually) some official Gotham buildings… maybe not for a 3x3ft board though!

Don't forget to check out Bull's Fun Fair terrain building as he creates a Joker themed gaming board!

To be continued…

17 February 2015

Batman Builds…

Finally my base toppers have turned up (3 weeks!!) so my attention can return to my model building and painting. With that in mind, thoughts inevitably turn towards crew lists and as Bull has just posted his Joker-related lists I decided to post mine.

The first list we're looking at is a starter 200 rep list. In the case of the Batman faction (and the particular B-man model I have) there's not a lot of wiggle room. Arkham City Batman comes in at a pricey 130 rep, which only leaves 70 for back up.

I could squeeze a couple of policemen or SWAT out of that remaining 70 rep but, given that I have the model, I'll go for Tim Drake's Robin. He cost 68 rep and $200 as a free agent. That leaves me 2 rep and $300 left but seeing as I have no henchmen the money goes to waste (can't spend it on characters I believe).

That was easy enough and even I might be able to paint up enough models for that crew!

A 350 rep tournament list gives me $1000 and up to two free agents to spend on top of the rep. Having said that I will keep to my theme of models that I already own. If I carry over Batman and Robin from the 200 list, I can add some of my other purchases to make up the difference.

First on the list is Catwoman. She becomes my second free agent, adding 66 rep to my total. Not entirely sure what her skills do but she seems a popular character in tournament crews so she can't be that bad.

Needing to add some more bodies in there it makes sense to use my collection of Gotham Police. My collection of four police models add a nice 84 rep to my list, taking my total to 348 which is rather spot on.

I still have $500 to spend so will add some equipment – a couple of sets of handcuffs to add the Arrest rule and a flashlight to see better in the dark.

So that's my first swipe at a couple of lists. As expected the good guys are going to be outnumbered, with models counts of 2 and 7 in my lists, but hopefully they should be strong enough to prevail.

We will see!

11 February 2015

Streets Of Gotham – Gaming Board Thoughts

Some of you may remember me building a gaming board for Malifaux back in 2011. It was a little rough around the edges but has been a very reliable servant in the time since and has seen a lot of action.

Two things were key to its success:

The magnets along either board edge, allowing them to snap securely together worked perfectly. It meant that I could store the two halves in the cupboard, or transport them wherever, without the need for excessive space.

The other thing that really worked for me was my 'potato printed' streets. This consisted of creating a stamp carved out of foam board, then using it to create a repeated cobblestone pattern across the gaming board. I did the same for pavements and it made the board so atmospheric once terrain was scattered across it.

The boards are also quite robust. They have taken a kicking over the last few years but are still in great shape.

Any negatives?

Two things stuck out as being problematic. First of all I textured the board slightly with filler – not so clever in hindsight as terrain wouldn't sit flat and models got scratched when they fell over. It also created a cringe-inducing scraping sound when models were moved across it.

Secondly, as awesome an idea as the crossroads design was, it created triangular shapes for terrain to sit in (as you can see in the board photo above). I found it quite difficult to fill these convincingly, often with buildings hanging off the table.

I did attempt to make some bespoke triangular-based terrain, but these projects ultimately failed as they were very time intensive and had little application elsewhere. Plus I have a short attention span.

With all that taken on board…

Thinking about THE IDEA of a new Gotham inspired gaming board I would use the same basic frame/surface structure. It was quite quick to build, lightweight and durable.

I would like to use magnets again, but this time I would use them on both long edges of both boards. This would mean that, instead of just having one layout, I could turn one of the boards around and have an alternative.

In fact, if I were to put magnets on all four sides of each board, I could make magnetised edging strips to go on the outside edges. These could be illustrated with scenery and effectively box in the gaming area (like having stands when playing Subbuteo back in the day) adding to the atmosphere when gaming.

I would like to 'print' the streets again as it would emulate worn road markings well. It provides a 2-D boundary for building positions, without being a problem if the terrain isn't quite the right size. It also keeps the weight of the boards to a minimum, than if I were to stick resin or mdf streets in place. This time however I'd like to add more visual detail, so it looks almost like one of the printed gaming mats you can buy – add more character to your gaming environment.

The only texture I would use would be perhaps from a roller when I base coat the boards, with the possibility of throwing a little sand onto the streets themselves. That would be a judgement call on the day I think.

In the mean time I'll go back to looking at street maps and sketching possible layout…

05 February 2015

Bringing The Pain…

"Speak of the devil and he shall appear!"

It's all well and good having Batman and Robin joyriding in the Batmobile – they need something to occupy them… and who better than BANE.

I went for the Arkham City (Titan) version of Bane in the end. It's just such a monstrous miniature – he's huge – and looks very, very cool. He is quite an intimidating adversary for B-man, despite having Affinity to: Batman meaning he can actually be taken in a Batman crew!

The model itself comes in quite a few pieces. His body and one leg make up the main piece, accompanied by a bag of bits – arms, backpack, tubes. He will take some time to build properly and there will no doubt be filling required, but it will look superb when complete. It's just one of those miniatures that you have to finish!

Of course, every bad guy worth his salt needs some henchmen, so I added the Blackgate Prisoners. I think they'll make a nice starter crew together – the bonus being that Catwoman can be taken by either Batman or Bane so that model is flexible.

I'm hoping my base toppers arrive soon so that I can at least get all these models built and sprayed. The painting will come later. Exciting time… even when not much is happening!

04 February 2015

The (Really) Dark Knight

In my attempt to make the Dark Knight truly dark, my painting is taking a little longer (plus I'm limited to 20 mins every couple of days right now). After painting his body suit and cape I went back in with Army Painter Matt Black, watered down extensively into a wash.

I gave the model an overall coat of the wash then went back in adding more to the shadows. It looks really cool right now, so long as you have lots of light (else he just looks black!) – a bit too subtle perhaps so next I will look at some sharp highlights to finish him off.

As you can see his Batmobile arrived and whilst a little on the small side (Batman's raised base doesn't help) it's not ridiculously undersized.

In addition I have other models waiting in the wings. Robin here is just waiting for his resin base topper to arrive so I can get him finished and undercoated. Can't wait to see these two together, painted, with the car!