Monday, September 11, 2017

Tail Feathers - Mousling Foot Soliders

Well it has been a long time coming, but I finally finished another batch of Tail Feather figures.  The delays really had nothing to do with the figures themselves or the paint job, instead it was really about my focus or lack thereof.  I've gotten distracted several times when I was supposed to be working on these but I finally buckled down and knocked these guys out.  Now onto the birds and the riders.  Hopefully I find those a bit more interesting.





Not completely happy with them but I really do not want to spend any more time on them.  This batch of figures really gave me fits along the way.  For the light fur color, my initial color choice was completely off base from what I wanted.  On the green cloaks, I achieved a really nice blending from shadow to highlight with the airbrush but for some reason when I had to correct some issues using a brush I could never get a good color match.  This required me to apply several washes over the entire cloak to tone down the gradients but destroying a lot of the highlight work in the process.  Also for the life of me I just could not get a decent highlight onto the red cloaks or the bows.  I don't know.  Of course, I gave up kind of easily.  lol

Just gotta do the basing.  I have a good backlog of basing to do on some "almost" finished figures, so I think one upcoming weekend I am finally going to sit down and knock them all out.

Anyway, for my reference here are the paints I used.  All paints are Reaper Master Series unless otherwise specified.

Basecoat:

  • Fur:
    • Vallejo Panzer Aces Light Rubber
    • Yellowed Bone
  • Cloak:
    • Templar Blue
    • Olive Green
    • Clotted Red
  • Amor/Arrow Head:  AP Gunmetal
  • Flesh:  Aged Bone + Carnage Red
  • Tunic/Shirt:  Terran Khaki
  • Leather:  Earth Brown
  • Bow/Arrow Shafts:  Rich Leather
  • Bow Straps/Feathers:  Aged Bone
Highlights:

  • Fur:
    • Vallejo Panzer Aces Light Rubber + Polished Bone
    • Creamy Ivory
  • Cloak:
    • Ashen Blue
    • Pale Olive
    • Carnage REd
  • Armor/Arrow Head:  AP Shinning Silver
  • Tunic/Shirt:  Khaki Highlight
  • Leather:  Leather Brown
  • Bow/Arrow Shafts:  Polished Leather
  • Bow Straps/Feathers:  Polished Bone
Shading:
  • Fur:  1 pass of AP Strong Tone
  • Cloak:
    • Breonne Blue
    • Muddy Olive
    • Bloodstain Red
  • Rest:  1 pass of AP Strong Tone, 2nd pass over select areas/spots


Friday, September 8, 2017

August Recap

I managed to get a few things done for the month of August.  As seen a couple of post back, I got my first models for Konflikt 47 finished up, which has allowed me to turn my attention back to Tail Feathers.  Well, at least in theory.  I just not very enthusiastic about painting those figures, so it has been really hard to double down and just knock them out.  Although, I did make a dent in what was left of the Mousling foot soldiers last week:  they are almost done.  Maybe I will find the birds more interesting and they wont drag out so long.  We'll see...  My daughter also sloshed some paint onto some miniatures with me one day, for about an hour, so that was fun.

I also read through the rules for Bushi No Yume, another samurai skirmish game, last month.  I haven't posted up a review of it yet, since I'm still trying to figure out how to approach the review (I know, that sounds weird.  You'll maybe understand my dilemma once I post it up).

Actual gaming wise, I missed the first regular meetup because my wife and daughter went out of town for the eclipse, leaving me with the baby.  For the second meetup, I got in a game of Mike's home brew game called Mini Mayhem.  I am not really recalling getting any board games in with my daughter or otherwise, so all in all a pretty slow month.

The annual Huntsville Plastic Model Society's show was also this past month and I swung by.  It was a quick walk through the area but some pretty neat stuff.  You can find some pictures in the last blog post.  The "news" out of Gencon also failed to generate much excitement for me.  Well, except for Star Wars Legion but that was about it.

August also ended with my missing another NOVA Open.  The family decision was made to go to Disney World (god help me) in October, which meant time/money/vacation wise, the NOVA Open was out of the question.  It looked like it was going to be pretty good show and it would have been great seeing old friends.  Hopefully I will get to see some of them at Adepticon and/or I can finally make it back to the NOVA Open in 2018.

Anyway, a few days late and time to move on to September.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hunstville Plastic Modeler's Society, 2017


This weekend was once again the annual show for the Huntsville Plastic Modeler's Society, so I swung by to check it out.  The number of entries seemed down this year.  I grabbed a few photos of some pieces I thought were pretty nice or that interested me, and breezed through the vendor area rather quickly.  You can find more information regarding the HPMS here.



Check out the lighting!

Ok, time to get over the Star War fixation.

Lighting was pretty bad in this area.



Again, the photos are not really representative of all the categories or number of entries.  These are merely the ones I wanted to capture.  There were a lot of car model and modern fighter jets that just did not cry out to me.  And yes, Star Wars and WWII planes cry out to me pretty loudly.

All in all, like last year, a fun diversion for a hour on a Saturday.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Konflikt 47 - British Automated Infantry (MMG)

Well, here is another side project I have been working on:

The other 2 are painted, just not shown.  And look, I think
I finally got a decent photo!
I still have a few things left to finish up, along with the basing but I think these guys are mostly done.  For a fairly uninteresting model, I felt like these turned out pretty well and I am happy with them.  Of course they were not terribly difficult, just some quick airbrush work got 80% of the model done and then it was just painting a few details and some washes.

I'm not sure the white dot on the red lenses is appropriate, given how much that area is shadowed by the helmet, but I like how it draws my eye to that area and also helps bring the red out, so I think it's going to stay.  I also think the dials and the star (both white on the torso) need to be hit with a wash to make them look slightly dirty.  I haven't really decided though.  I'm also considering some slight battle damage/chipping and maybe bit more work on the lens.  We'll see.

The real downside though is putting these guys together.  Both legs are separate from the torso, so that creates a nightmare to getting a good solid bond while simultaneously trying to get a decent pose out of them.  But that nightmare turned out to be trivial when compare to attaching both arms to the torso AND the machine gun!  I have another squad of 5 of these guys that I am really not looking forward to.  That batch I may do some rust weathering on.

Anyway, that gets my Konflikt army started off.  Now I gotta jump back on Tail Feathers for my daughter.  She's getting a little tired of my "distractions."  Of which there are a few more distractions on my hobby desk right now too.

If I ever need to come back to it, here are the paints I used:

  • Main Body:  RMS Muddy Olive (S), RMS Olive Green (B), Mix of RMS Olive Green and RMS Pale Olive 2:1 (H1), RMS Olive Green and RMS Pale Olive 1:1 (Highlight2)
  • Vessels:  RMS Cloudy Grey (B), RMS Cloudy Grey and RMS Misty Grey 2:1 (H1), RMS Cloudy Grey and RMS Misty Grey 1:1 (H2)
  • Gun:
    • Black Portion:  Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rubber (B), Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark and Light Rubber 1:1 (H1), Vallejo Pazner Aces Light Rubber (H2)
    • Brown Portion*:  RMS Uniform Brown (S), RMS Green Ochre (B), RMS Faded Khaki (H)
  • Piping:  Terran Khaki (B)
  • Bullets:  AP Greedy Gold and AP Gun Metal
  • Lenses:  RMS Bloodstain Red (B), RMS Clotted Red (H)
I used washes to take care of most the shading:
  • Gun:
    • Black Portion:  AP Dark Tone (selectively in recessed areas)
    • Brown Portion:  AP Strong Wash
    • Body/elsewhere:  AP Strong Wash
      • First application all over but trying to avoid pooling in raised areas (which was only somewhat successful)
      • Second application in select areas such as recessed or shadowed areas.
*Note to self, the brown portion of the gun using Green Ochre as a base was a nightmare to highlight up to Faded Khaki.  It just seemed like whatever I did it still ended up just looking like the base color and I eventually gave up.  

Sunday, August 6, 2017

July Recap

A fairly light July for me but I did get one miniature game last month with the local group.  It was another game of 2v2 Konflikt 47 and was a lot of fun.  The game hinged on a single event though, an event that went it our favor (12 inch heavy bombardment from off board) that knocked at least 3 units out I believe.  Game wise, the only other thing I managed to fit in was a few games of Milles Bornes with my daughter on our family beach vacation.

Painting wise, I finished the base colors on 3 of the Mousling Foot Soliders for Tail Feathers.  But I've been putting off the detail work until I get the other 3 Mouslings done.  And I have been putting off working on those 3 Mouslings to work on some other things.  lol.  One of which was finishing up my Space Battleship Yamato model from the Bandai Mecha Collection.  There was no gaming purpose to it, just a fun little distraction.

Other than, not much new to report on yet.  I did unfortunately have to cancel my trip back to the DC area for the NOVA Open.  We decided to pull our family vacation to Disney World forward to October, which means I'm in a pretty serious crunch vacation wise and financially to be ready for that trip, so going to the NOVA Open had to be sacrificed.

None the less, I am looking forward to August.  I should be able to kick out a couple more projects, get a few games in and behold all the beautiful stuff and news out of Gencon.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Distracted - Space Battleship Yamato

Since finishing up the Ratling Foot Troops for Tail Feathers, I've indulged myself with a slight distraction (actually 2 but this is the only one I will share right now).  It's been a very on and off again project.  It started a couple of months ago when I randomly stumbled upon a beautiful Space Battleship Yamato scale model build and had to resist the urge of my base instincts, which were "I must own and build this!"  Come on, look at it:

Sadly, not my model.
How can one resist that?  It was actually easy for me, mostly, because of the size of the models.  I really do not need something that big, let alone making my first foray into scale modelling with something as big as most of these kits.  That is until I stumbled across Bandai's Mecha Collection.  Oh dear...

A nice little model of the Yamato, only 5 inches long?  And only
$10?  I must own you.
The kit was really not that hard to put together or to clean up.  Actually, I would say outside of having more steps and pieces, it was about as easy as most multi-part 30mm (ish) models I typically mess around with.  Despite a total of 29 pieces, I think this still managed to come in with a lower part count that Robotech Tactics model!  Ok, not really but it was still a worthy insult.  The instructions, due to the limited space, require a bit of staring at but I love the efficient use of materials to provide them:

You have to admit, that is efficient!
My intent was always to paint it, but you can settle for not
painting it.  If so inclined.
I decided to keep certain pieces unassembled for the painting process.  Yes, even though it's colored plastic already I planned on painting to try to unlock all of it's glory.  Or at least as much of it as I could.

*sigh* I really hate assembling models after I've painted them.
*holding breath*
Unfortunately, keeping the upper and lower hull in separate pieces is not an option.  That meant after my base coating, I needed to mask off the lower hull to paint the upper hull (I fully realize I should have done it the other way around.  At least now I do.  lol.  I think).  This resulted in heartbreak when the masking tape pulled off a big chunk of paint and I spent the next hour repairing it.  Then another hour+ trying to airbrush the rest of the upper hull using an old CCG card to mask/protect the lower hull.  Miniature assembly and painting would be so much easier if we humans had a third arm.  Anyway, here is a picture at that point after a gloss coat:


For the next phase, and the reason for the gloss coat, I planned on doing a pin wash for the panel lines.  Since this was a first for me, it required some sagely advice from my buddy John over at 40k Hobby Blog.  Although I did not heed his advice to use enamels instead of oils (because I did not feel like ordering and waiting for enamels to arrive), I tackled this step with a bit of confidence.  That was till I started putting those first few pin washes on:  Watching all my hard/careful work get messy, praying that it will come off like they say its supposed to, praying that you got a good gloss coat on, etc:

Ok, I got a little to messy with the pin wash.
After the pin wash was cleaned up, I began the final assembly.  Here is where it stands right now:

Hmm, I think I've done pretty well..  A couple of warts though.
There are some issues with it at this point.  Most noticeably the super structure and the bow are not a consistent color to the hull.  I can live with the super structure being a different shade as it very well could be constructed of slightly different materials and/or painted slightly differently.  The bow, not so much.  Additionally, not shown by the photo, is the fact that there is a very bad "step" at the hull and bow attachment.  I think, after I have set this aside for a bit, I will attempt to smooth that step away with some green stuff.  Then I will have to repaint the bow, which gives me a chance to correct the inconsistent colors.  Outside of that, the only other thing I want to do is paint some of the windows green.  Like I said though, I'm going to set this aside for a bit because even with it's warts, I'm really happy with it.

It was a really fun little projected and a nice diversion.  Overall, I happy with the quality vs time I spent on the model, for once.  Of course, that is mainly due to being able to use the airbrush almost exclusively.  It was also a nice exercise for improving my airbrush skills and also served as my first foray with pin washes.  Much like the chipping I did with my vehicular combat car, I will approach this task next time with much more confidence.

Down the road, I will have a second go of this model.  I ended up damaging the superstructure on my first build of this.  I tried to roll with it but eventually conceded to ordering a second kit just for the superstructure (the kit only costs $10).  So what is one to do with a second kit, with a damaged superstructure?  A battle damaged Yamato!  Eventually...  I might even have a few more models from this collection.  Maybe.

Lastly, I found the transformation process extremely rewarding:

Vanilla:
Not a bad little model straight out of the box, but a
little toy-ish to me.
To:
It may not be "great" but I'm pretty proud of this.
For my future reference, colors used:

Greys:  RMS Stormy Grey (Shade), RMS Cloudy Grey (Base), RMS Misty Grey (Highlight)
Reds:  RMS Bloodstain Red (Shade), RMS Clotted Red (Base), RMS Carnage Red (Highlight)
Brown (Decking):  RMS Leather Brown
Pin Wash:  Burnt Umber oil, with a little Black oil mixed in

Now, back to some Tail Feather models before my daughter finds out I have not been working on them.  Shhh.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Rules Review - Ronin



Ronin was another Samurai skirmish ruleset that I wanted to review.  It's a ruleset from Osprey Publishing that came out a couple of years ago.  Despite picking this rulebook up literally days after it was available, I had never sat down and actually read the rules.

Scale of Game & List Building:
The rulebook states that Ronin is intended for 4-20 miniatures per side and suggesting that 100 points should equate to < 10 figures and about an hour of game time.  So it sounds in line with my taste.

The force composition rules are not as simple to summarize though.  The first thing to understand that each potential member of your force can have a Rank of 0 through 5.

  • Rank 0:  Basically a peasant that has picked up arms
  • Rank 1/2:  Basic troop
  • Rank 3/4:  Elite troop
  • Rank 5:  Best of the best
Depending on the faction you choose to play, you will get various composition requirements based on the ranks above.  For instance, one faction may say that you can only have one Rank 3 troop, per every Rank 1 troops your force has.  Additionally, many forces dictate that no more than 50% of your force may be armed with missile weapons and no more than 25% of force can have a teppo (flintlock rifles).

Given the typical composition rules, it would seem to me that no matter the point total you and your opponent agree upon, you will probably tend toward the higher end of model counts.  Still, 20 figures is within my preference level.


Standard Rules:
Ronin is basically an alternating activation system, although this occurs at the phase level.  There are 5 phases to each turn:  Priority, Move, Combat, Action, End.  The Priority phase simple determines who can go first for each of the Move, Combat and Action phases and is handled with a simple d6 roll off.  As far as I recall, nothing else factors into this roll off (it would have been nice to see some modifiers/something that added a little more depth than just a random roll).  Morale is also handled during this phase.  The End phase is simply a maintenance/clean up phase, so timing is simultaneous.

The Move phase is actually exactly how it sounds, although there is one exception.  Movement is standard for all troops:  6 inch standard move, 9 inch run with modifiers for certain conditions.  The interesting part of the Move phase is that it is an "opportunity" to shoot.  I say opportunity, because you can also shoot range weapons in the Action phase.  Even if you shot during the Move phase.  Yes, you can shoot twice per turn (this is potentially ok though, as I will eventually discuss) unless it is a weapon that requires reloading (teppo).  Shooting during the Move phase is considered a hurried shot and suffers a penalty.

The Combat and Action phases are also exactly what they sound like.  Combat resolves all the melee combats and the Action phase is where actions are performed, including standard shooting.

In each the Move, Combat and Action phases the player with priority determines who goes first.  After the first players action, it alternates to the other player and so on until all models have acted or passed.

Since shooting can first occur during the Move phase, let's discuss how that is resolved.  Shooting is simply a 2d6+characteristic+/-modifiers against a target number of 6.  If successful, the damage is equal to the difference.

Combat, is actually resolved a little differently and is little shocking at first.  The Ranks of the models involved determines each sides combat pool.  This combat pool is secretly divided between Offense and Defense.  Initiative is determined for each model involved in the melee with a d6+modifier roll and the highest initiative get an opportunity to to attack.  If the model does attack, it removes a Offense token for his sides pool.  It's then a 2d6+modifiers roll against the targets 1d6+modifier roll.  This is where I was scratching my head a bit, since that seems a bit "unfair."  Well, the reason is each side actually gets a chance to "enhance" their roll by removing another appropriate token from their pool and if you are paying attention, the defender has not spent any tokens yet.  So if the target has no defense tokens, or chooses not to use them, then I guess the philosophy is that it's not trying very hard to defend itself and therefore should be easier to hit.  Interesting.

Note though, I said each side can "enhance" their attack.  If the attacker does enhance its offense for that attack they get an additional die, bringing it up to 3d6, but can only keep the best 2 results so its not quite as huge of an advantage as a straight 3d6.  Like shooting, if successful the damage is determined by the difference.  Then you move to the model with the next highest initiative and basically wrap and repeat until no offense tokens remain.

Damage is also kind of interesting, as models do not have a number of wounds.  Which seems really weird given I have just been talking about damage being the difference between 2 numbers.  This is because damage equates to a level of wounds, and wounds stack up to higher level wounds:

  • Damage 1:  Stunned
  • Damage 2/3:  Light
  • Damage 4/5:  Grievous
  • Damage 6:  Critical (killed/out of action)
While stuns do not "stack" in the sense of a cumlative effect, you do track each stun because during the end phase a variable amount of them are removed.  A light wound on top of a light wound is upgraded to grevious.  A model with a grevious wound that suffers any wound (even stun it appears) is upgraded to critical. Note my wording in these, it appears intentional that if a model has a light wound and then suffers a grevious wound then it only has a grevious wound.  Appears is the key word though.  Wounds also impart modifiers on several things (movement, combat modifiers, etc).

Beyond that, the rules allow for basic special rules (kinda like key words), mounted models, special attacks (disarm or subdue), and weapon specific modifiers and special rules.


Other Things:
The rulebook is fairly well laid out although there are a couple of minor issues, IMO.  The first is my (and a lot of other gamers) typical gripe in that there is no index.  Yes, it kind of does not need one since it is fairly short the Table of Contents does manage fairly well.  Still, when will people learn that "we" want indexes.  The second is the rules could be better broken into clearly distinct sections.  Things just seems to roll from one topic into another without much notice, making it slightly confusing (or making me just an easily confused old man).

There are a lot of different factions to choose from that can be very distinct just from the composition rules alone.  There is a suggestion for a campaign advancement system but nothing strictly laid out.  There are also advance rules for adding in another tactical layer via fatigue and a resilience stat, which seem kind of odd to me to have these as an advance rule as the game overall seems simple enough to tolerate this additional layer.

The scenarios seem a bit of an after thought.  VPs for a scenario are primarily driven by the Rank of the models killed.  But each player also randomly determines a secondary objective for the game, worth 5 VP.  Which is certainly enough to swing the game, it just does not seem like enough to back off the typical kill everything you can approach.

Some Issues:
I really not seeing any major/obvious issues with the rules.  In fact, I am pretty interesting to see how the entire combat pool thing works out for melee.  I may not like it though, its a little tough to say.  I am also still a little concerned that archers can shoot twice in one turn and damage is determined against a static number (that is slight below the mean for 2d6 rolls).  I believe that most factions limiting the number of range weapons to 50% is an attempt to offset this.  I also think that it maybe balances that melee guys can technically attack multiple times in a turn if they have a high combat pool and allocate it to offense.

I think the rules are really crying out for an expansion.  I would love to see better scenarios that really drive the encounter, rather than after thoughts.  A better advancement system would be great to, as would be a nice narrative campaign system wrapping around all of it.  Top of that expansion book with some options to add more fantastical elements to the game.  That being said, the game has been out for a couple of years now and we have not seen any additional support so I would not hold my breath.

Conclusions:
I think if you are interested in Samurai skirmish games, I think Ronin is worth trying out.  Given its one of the Osprey wargaming books, it is pretty cheap (I think I paid $14?).  I'm interested to see how the combat pool mechanic works out.  That being said, I am not particularly excited to try it and I can't really figure out why.  The only thing I can think of is;  If I threw down pirate models and changed the names of weapons and armor, then there would be nothing "samurai-ish" left to make it feel like I was playing with the wrong models.  What would make a game, any, feel "samurai-ish"?  I don't know.

Anyway, with this being my third review for samurai skirmish rules, you would think I had a bunch of models painted up waiting to go.  Wrong.  LOL.

Adding this to the list of games of this genre:  Samurai Skirmish