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

Friday, July 7, 2017

June Recap

So the month of June was pretty good hobby wise.  Due to an influx of TV shows hitting Netflix, I actually got a lot hobby time in.  The amount of hobby time also seemed to stem from juggling 3 projects at the same time.  Odd that would work better for me, but if I was burned out on one, I could just switch to one of the others.  I should be ready to share all 3 of these projects in July.  But here is progress on Tail Feathers:

New phone with better camera soon, I hope.
I also got back in the habit of going to the local game days that occur every two weeks.  The first one was a bust:  I brought Star Wars Armada stuff to demo for a friend of one of the local regulars but the guy did not show.  But at least it got me out of the house.  The second one, I participated in a 2v2 game of Konflikt 47, playing a borrowed Russian list.  It was a pretty fun game and I have since gotten in a second game.  I might post up some thoughts on the game/rules.

I continued to get a few board games in June too.  After a few more plays of Tsuro, my daughter has learned another level to playing:  "Stay away from daddy's piece."  lol  We also tried out a new game (for us) called Doodle Quest.  I was not actually interested in Doodle Quest for myself, but it is a game that could improve her hand-eye development a lot, or at least it would seem to me to have that potential, so I picked it up for her.

Other than that, I'm headed to the beach on "vacation" next week.  Anyway, hopefully it will give me a chance to post up my thoughts so far on Konflikt 47 and I've got a couple more rulesets I want to read through.

Oh yeah, one last thing.  There was a kickstarter that almost broke me out of my anti-kickstarter shell:  John Wick launched a kickstarter for a board game called War of the Cross.  Set in the world of 7th Sea, I was really interested in this one but the kickstarter kinda fell flat.  It has since been pulled and hopefully will return stronger and better.

I also made this:


I keep all my paints in a drawer, so I thought this would be pretty helpful when try to color match or determining color schemes.  It was partly motivated by my vacation next week too:  I've got a couple of color schemes I want to think through and thought this would be helpful in figuring them out.  I have tried something like this out before, just with a simple journal, but did not like it because it was hard to add things where I wanted them and also it would (sometimes) not allow me to compare things side by side (unless I wanted to rip one of the sheets out).  I can also hold these pieces right next to a painted sample for a better look.  At the very least it was a good diversion one night when I didn't feel like doing "real" hobbying.

Anyway, hopefully some more updates/etc coming soon.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Tail Feathers - Ratling Foot Troops

So, just a quick (hopefully) update on some painted models.  I finished my first batch of Tail Feather models:  6 ratling foot troops.  I'm not really excited about how they turned out, although I am not that displeased either:  I was just trying to get something decent ready for the table.  I still have to figure out what I am going to do for the basing but I think it is probably just going to be a standard flocking.


Anyway, in case I need to refer back to it in the future (doubtful):

Basecoat:


  • Pants:  
    • RMS Templar Blue (2 figs)
    • Vallejo Dark Rubber (2 figs)
    • Vallejo Light Rubber (2 figs)
  • Fur:  
    • RMS Aged Bone (for white rats)
    • RMS Dark Skin (for brown rats)
  • Skin/Flesh:  
    • RMS Aged Bone + RMS Carnage Red (for white rats)
    • RMS Tanned Skin (for brown rats)
  • Backpack:  RMS Uniform Brown*
  • Armor:  Dave Taylor's Polished Steel Recipe*
  • Leather:  RMS Earth Brown
  • Crossbow:  RMS Rich Leather
  • Eyes/Arrow Feather:  RMS Carnage Red
  • Teeth/Claws:  RMS Faded Khaki
  • Arrow Shaft:  RMS Earth Brown
  • Bones:  RMS Aged Bone
Highlights:
  • Pants:  None
  • Fur:  Worked up to
    • RMS Polished Bone (for white rats)
    • RMS Dark Skin + RMS Aged Bone* (for brown rats)
  • Skin/Flesh:  None
  • Backpack:  Several washes of RMS Green Ochre*
  • Armor:  Dave Taylor's Polished Steel Recipe
  • Leather:  Worked up to RMS Leather Brown
  • Crossbow:  RMS Polished Brown
  • Eyes/Arrow Feather:  None
  • Teeth/Claws:  None
  • Arrow Shaft:  None
  • Bones:  RMS Polished Bone
Shading:
  • All:  Thinned AP Strong Tone Wash, several controlled applications
It was a conscious decision to skip a lot of highlighting in certain areas and a bit of a test to see how that would turn out.  The lower parts of the body and small details, for what I was trying to achieve (passable tabletop), just did not seem worth the time investment.  Similarly, I also wanted to see how the AP Strong Tone wash would turn out and if I would be happy with "cutting that corner."  I think the results are "ok."  I do wish they had turned out a little better and I am still not happy with how long it took to get them done.  I of course will try again on the next batch (Tail Feather mousling foot troops).  My daughter though is very happy with how they turned out and the purpose of painting these up are to play with her, so I guess that is a big win!

Overall I think, as usual, I did not get enough contrast in the models and failed to push my highlights and shadows far enough.  I do think in a couple of areas I pushed further than I have in the past, so maybe there is hope for me in that regard.  lol

Anyway, I need to jump on the next batch.  Well, after a short (I hope) distraction.

*Notes:
  • Backpack:  The RMS Uniform Brown I used for the backpack totally failed me.  For some reason when the paint dried it was severally cracked.  Since I figured it was the paint going bad, I had to step "over" to using RMS Green Ochre, applying several thinned applications to "hide" the cracking.  This caused an overall color shift that left me a little unsatisfied but not unhappy enough to do anything about it.
  • Armor:  Dave Taylor's Polished Steel recipe was a bit of a mistake, I actually intended for a darker, grittier looking armor but for some reason used this recipe instead of his Dark Iron recipe.  I tried a few extra applications of AP Strong Tone to "shift" it in that direction but ultimately just decided to roll with it as you see.
  • Fur (brown rats);  RMS Dark Highlight produced no perceivable gradient shift from the RMS Dark Skin basecoat, so I tried adding in RMS Aged Bone.  It didn't really seem to work out all that great (or I did not push the contrast far enough).  A suggestion was to use a more "flesh" color than the aged bone, so I will try that next time I am in this situation.  
  • Varnishing:  The picture above is un-varnished.  Since it was taken, I have hit the models with a gloss coat to prepare for the basing and maybe just a bit of weathering.  This has really washed out any highlighting/shading on the them.  I know when I apply the dull coat they should "come back" but I'm holding my breath until then.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May Recap

Well, May was a month of some wins and losses on the hobby front.  I guess starting with the losses, I did not manage to make it to either of the local game days for the month.  I also missed CMON Expo, again.  And I have not made it nearly as far as I had hoped on the miniatures for the Tail Feather's game:  I had hoped (LOL) to have the whole thing done in May.  Part of the problem has been:


And yes, for those of you paying attention, that also means I now have a PS4.  And no, I did not get a PS4 just to play this game.  I got a PS4 just so I could play the new Tekken game that comes out at the end of the week!  Horizon Zero Dawn was just a pleasant, very pleasant, bonus.  Anyway, I've managed to curtail my playing back down to a decent level but I did lose a couple of weeks before I regained some focus.

For wins, while I still have not managed to get in a single board game at my work's regular Wednesday lunch-board game hour, I did show my daughter how to play Tsuro.  She liked it a lot and caught on very quickly.  We knocked out a few games of that one Saturday and then the next day took it over to my parents house for a few more plays.

And while I did not get the entire Tail Feathers game painted, I did get the first batch (6 ratlings on foot) done!  Not entirely pleased with how they turned out but I am calling them done so I can move on (the figures are not the greatest anyways and I missed a lot of mold lines, so why invest to much time into them).  I did get distracted after wrapping those minis up though, it is just a quick detour (I hope).  Anyway, I will post something up soon about those 2 things.

That's about it.  Looking forward to June, I want to make sure that detour is taken care of quickly and then jump back on the next batch of Tail Feathers.  Also looking to make the next couple of local game days.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Rules Review - Torii



Continuing to tilt at windmills, specifically for a Samurai skirmish game, I just revisited the Torii rules by Zenit Miniatures.  I had flipped through the rules a while back and I did not recall anything that was explicitly a show stopper, at least for me, so I thought it was worth going back and reviewing a little further and capturing my thoughts.  The rules are available for free and can be found here or from the main page of the Zenit website.

Although not the purpose of this review, I should point out that Zenit also offers a Samurai oriented mass battle ruleset called Kensei.  They also offer an wonderful range of Samurai models, in fact their range is the one I want to use for whatever ruleset I converge on (if I ever get around to it).  Unless something better comes along before then.  Anyway...

Scale of Game & List Building:
The rules advertise it is a game of 8-12 models per side, consisting of 3 categories of troops you can use to build your force, with the following restrictions:
  • Hero:  Must include at least 1.  No more than 2 are allowed and they must be different.
  • Elites:  Up to 4 may be included into your warband
  • Warriors:  No restriction
  • No more than 12 models total
  • Only less than half of the warband can be equipped with ranged weapons
You have 100 points to build your warband as above.  You can also spend points to equip them with mounts or range weapons or you can purchase Offerings for the Gods (rerolls).

While each category of troop shares the same stat line, the "force lists" expand this vanilla approach by offering different choices of Warriors (for instance) with different skills depending on the Clan they represent.  There are also common troop choices available to ever clan.  I really like this approach in theory and it appears to alleviate my first impression that the game would be very bland due to so much parity via the statline.

Standard Rules:
Torii is what I would call a "I go, You go" with reaction system.  Typically not my favorite form of activation systems but at least it has a reaction component.  In this system, the active player starts issuing and resolving orders to their models, where an order represents one or more actions (coming back to this in a second).  If more than one action is permitted (more on that later), it can not be a duplicate of a previous action that miniature has taken during it's activation, nor can you have more than 1 combat action per activation.  Any model that has received an order (either the active player or the reactive player) is considered activated and can not be re-activated that turn.  The active player then continues to activate their other miniatures and once they have finished all of their activations, the second player then proceeds to activate their remaining eligible models.

What is a bit interesting in all this is that the number of actions a model may have is variable and not determined until the command roll is made at the beginning of a model's activation.  A command roll is simply a 1d6 + initiative roll.  On a 4+,the model gets 2 activations, otherwise it just gets 1.  This seems kind of interesting but may end up being a bit of a love it/hate it type mechanic, at least for some.  Lastly, on a command roll of a 6+ the model activates it's "Ki" (some skills may only be used if this has occurred).

Back to actions.  There are a fairly typical set of actions available to the active player and a limited set for the reactive player.  It is worth noting though that some actions to require 2 action points, hence the command roll could really hamper your plans.

Torii is a d6 based system and most rolls utilize the appropriate stat, rolling that number of d6s with a 4+ being considered a success.  Close combat is resolved by each miniature rolling the appropriate number of dice (with modifiers) and counting successes (multiple of the same rolls, that are a successes, cause a crush bonus to be applied during damage resolution if that miniature wins the combat).  The miniature with the higher number of success is the winner and causes a number of impacts equal to the difference.  To resolve the damage, you roll a 1d6 + the difference from the previous step + modifiers (like crush):  on 1-4 the target is stunned, 5 or 6 is a wound.  It is clearly stated that stunned tokens are removed at the beginning of the turn but I'm not sure of the affect otherwise (can't be activated?).  It would also seem, although not clear, that 2 stunned convert into a wound.

Range combat works in a fairly similar way.  Except Line of Sight affects the target number for success:  4+ for clear LOS, 5+ for partially blocked LOS.  There are also modifiers to the number of dice you roll based on class of range weapon (ie, short range weapons like shurikens) and the range band it is firing at.  Outside of that, if the target reacted with an opportunity shot it is basically the same as close combat.  If not, then the difference in impacts is equal to the number of successes the attacker rolled.  If successful, then the damage is resolved.  Given the disparity in the number of impacts you can generate (versus Close Combat), it would seem that unopposed range combat could be very deadly.

In all cases, if a miniature is wounded it then must perform a Honor Test or it will attempt to flee the combat.  I would have liked to see some modifiers to this test, for instance if a warrior is within X of a Hero, it gets Y modifier to it's Honor Test.  Maybe it is buried in the skills.

Outside what I've already mentioned, the rest of the rules from there on seem pretty standard.

Missions:
There are 6 missions provided, each with a primary and secondary objectives and scoring.  A common primary mission is randomly determined and shared by both players.  Typically it offers 3 scoring elements of 1, 2 and 3 for a possible total of 6+ points.  Each player also receives a random and independent mission to score for their secondary objective, worth 2 points.  I am a big fan of this type of mission/objective approach.  My only concern is the disparity between primary scoring and secondary scoring would seem to make going for a secondary a very poor decision.  I would have to play through them multiple times to really tell though.

Other Things:
The rule book is fairly well laid out and would seem to flow well but I actually found myself searching around it a lot.  Something in the flow is just slightly off but I can figure out what.  That being said, from cover to cover it is only about 16 pages, if you exclude the skill list/definition and the force list, so it does not take long to find whatever you may need to look up.  There is no table of contents or index for the rules, but given how short the rules are I do not think this is a big issue.

It should also be noted, as written, that Torii does not allow pre-measuring prior to issuing orders, which is not a big issue for me but for some it may be.  Of course, you are likely to never to play this game in a tournament, so why don't you and your opponent just agree to play the way you want.  ;)

The rules also specifically call out that models should be mounted on square bases but honestly there is no mechanic that would seem to drive this.  I personally would consider this optional, just like the pre-measuring issue.

Weapons are handled fairly generically.  Close combat weapons are all considered similar.  Long combat weapons are just slightly different.  Range weapons are all fairly similar, only grouped into range categories.  Perhaps all that is for the best or perhaps it makes it a little to vanilla.

I should also mention the rules are in metric.  As a one time player and fan of Confrontation, this is really not an issue to me but I remember some people, at the time, were very adamant about their hatred of the metric system and unwilling to consider playing a game in metric.

As in Test of Honour, Torii appears to lack any fantastical elements.  Unless you consider the Ki triggering/allowing skills to take affect.  So this is a bit of a downside to me personally.  But in the case of Torii, I find this very odd (which I will come back to later).

Some Issues:
There are some slight issues with the rules, as presented.  I do not think there are any major holes in the rules, all the content seems to be there.  It is just I felt like I had to flip around a lot to find things.  For instance, as I stated above the close combat mentions "Crush", I figured that would be explained in the rules for resolving damage.  But it is not.  You find it in the skill section.  Which is fine, I understand this approach but they could have written "crush skill" or something that would have clued me in.  Also, I think the rules are simple enough to get away without having any diagrams or examples but I would I have still liked to have seen some.

As I mentioned when I covered range combat, it does seem on paper that range combat could be very deadly.  It is definitely good that the list building rules limit the amount of range weapons your force can be composed with.  But I still worry that it could be a little to deadly for my tastes.

The only other major issue I see is I am not sure of the support for this game.  I think it is great they are leveraging off of Kensei and the range of models they have for Torii.  But, why doesn't Torii have Clan profiles for all the great undead and Oni/monster models they released via crowd funding for Kensei?  And why are there no fantastical elements to the game rules to support this?  That hole leads me to have concerns about future support/intentions from Zenit for Torii.

Conclusions:
Torii may end up being a bit vanilla.  Maybe the simplified/unified statline utilizing skills approach will backfire, maybe it's a perfect solution.  But, since the rules are free and there is nothing that necessarily ties you to using Zenit's range of miniatures (therefore to me it seems fairly miniature agnostic), I think the game is worth trying out if you are interested in a Samurai skirmish game.  If it does not work out for you, you can always carry your miniatures over to another system (I suspect most rulesets for this genre that you will find are going to be miniature agnostic) and give it a try.

Update:
Right after I hit publish on this post, I found out Zenit has launched its Kickstarter for a second edition of Kensei (their mass battle Samurai rules).  Since I have not really looked into Kensei, I do not really have an opinion about it.  That being said, the Kickstarter does offer a lot of their miniatures and even a printed version of the Torii rules.  You can find the Kickstarter here.

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

Friday, May 5, 2017

April Recap

Well, I really did not get as much as I hoped done for the month of April.  I had really hoped to finish at least the 13 ground troops for Tail Feathers, instead they are still on my table.  That being said, I did get some progress done:


After I got the base colors (mostly) blocked in on the 6 ratlings, I started to concentrate primarily on the 3 white rats above.  Various things have gone wrong or slowly with these guys but at least there has been some progress.

Sadly, I did not manage to play any games for the month.  And I'm already set to miss the first game day in May and CMON Expo.  *sigh*

I spent some money on a second/new hobby light for my airbrush station.  I had been making due just moving the one I had around but eventually got tired of that.  Anyway, I hope that it encourages me to jump on the airbrush a little more often and in general that should help my hobby output.

Lastly, some very exciting hobby news (for me at least) also dropped in April:


Oh my...  I had some reservations but from this Q&A over at Beasts of War, it would seem none of them still stand.  This is going to get pretty expense for me.



Ok, one more thing:  If you are vaguely interested and did not know, Fantasy Flight has been posting up a lot of things about the upcoming Legend of the Five Rings LCG.  As a fan of the old CCG I can tell you from my perspective, it looks fantastic.  Every major issue that I can conjure from my memory seems to be addressed/averted.  I even sent my wife some of the articles, the next thing I knew I had to tell her she couldn't buy it yet when she asked "Why can't I find it."  lol


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

March Recap

A little late with my March recap post but coming off the heels of my Adepticon day by day posts, I lacked the motivation to get this out promptly.  My March activity was mostly covered by those posts and the hot wheels conversion post but I also came back from Adepticon with a lot of hobby energy.  Before closing out March (yet after Adepticon), I managed to assemble my 3 new Guild Ball Mason models (Wrecker, Veteran Harmony and Granite) right off the bat.

In addition to those models, my daughter has been bugging me about the Tail Feathers game I picked up last year.  Apparently, for some unknown reason, she has gotten interested in playing that.  So I've been working on re-basing those models and trying only to do absolute necessary clean up on the models (I'm not going to paint them that well, so why invest lots of time on clean up).  Got all the models done except the birds.

I hopping to get those out of the way (Guild Ball and Tail Feathers) so I can start working on things for CMON Expo and/or the NOVA Open.  But, I have to decide what exactly I am going to work on.  Lots of things are floating around and I will have to pick 1 or 2 things to focus down on:
  • Dark Age - Saint Mary's
  • Wrath of Kings - Haddross 
  • Blood Bowl - Lizardmen
  • Arena Rex
  • DropFleet Commander - Scourge 
  • More Hot Wheel conversions
  • Or something else/random
I don't know.  LOL.  First thing first:  Finish off Guild Ball and Tail Feathers.  Hopefully in my next post I can show off the first batch of Tail Feathers miniatures.



Friday, March 31, 2017

Adepticon - Sunday

Finally managed to wake up with a splitting headache and got all packed up for my trip home.  But before I caught my ride to the airport, I had one last class:  Speed Painting Display Quality Minis with Raffaele Picca from Massive Voodoo.  This was not a hands on class but it was truly inspiring to watch and experience this class.  I just don't know what to say but it was amazing what he could accomplish on a figure in 90 mins.  And everything he did and said seemed completely achievable.  I can only hope I can put some of it to practice (why did I not take better notes!?).

After that, I hit the dealer floor real quick to get a favor and pick up 2 little last things (of which I only got 1).  Ran into Stu again and was able to say farewell.  I hope I can make it to the NOVA Open this year and hang with him some more.  And then it was out the door to the airport.

Overall a fantastic time as usual.  Seeing friends again in person was wonderful.  As was meeting the new people I met.  Oh, and the Crystal Brush entrees were incredible.  Hopefully everyone also had a great time and made it home safe.  And hopefully they did not come home to find their significant other allowing this BS in you absence:

*sigh*


Thursday, March 30, 2017

Adepticon - Saturday

Saturday - also known as, why not wake up with another massive headache.  Anyway, I managed to get that under control and head to an early morning seminar:  Airbrushing Master Class - How to Paint an Infinity Tag taught by Angel Giraldez.

I took a class with Angel last year, not a hands on class mind you, and thought it was a wonderful class so I quickly jumped a chance to do an hands on class, esp an airbrush one.  Despite struggling with my particular airbrush (back to back clogs, followed by dry tip spitting that did not want to go away) I thought it was a pretty good class.  I only made it through the 4th step because of the issues I mentioned, but I thought I did do was pretty decent:


Definitely seeing Angel at work, up close, with an airbrush and then actually managing to use the airbrush similarly (at times) gives me a lot of direction of how and where to work on my skills, and the confidence to pursue it.

Getting out of that class, I caught up with Stu for a quick lunch and then we both went our separate ways again.  Then another round in the vendor hall and caught a demo of Test of Honour by Warlord Games (the rules I previously reviewed).  As I suspected, the game is pretty good.  I did find out for some scenarios when you draw the first and second fate token special things can happen.  I also learned that when your samurai dies, that is the end of the game.  Not my favorite mechanic and a mechanic that IMO seems to contrary to playing for any other objectives in the game.

Derek also dragged me over to the Dust booth to get a demo.  Seemed like a pretty good game but at the time I had to defer to the fact that the local crowd is Konflik 47 oriented.  Appreciate the demo though and definitely thought there were some interesting aspects to the game.

Then it was time for Car Wars:  Food Truck Fallout!  Hosted by Lathan.  And joined by few of the other members of the Anonymous Tabletop podcast.  Lathan did a really great job providing an interesting theme, managing the game flow and action, and just in general hosting a great event.




Lathan even let us take home our food trucks.  And I think I will have to try out the Anonymous Tabletop podcast, because they were a riot.  This event ran a little long though, so I missed my Space Hulk game but no real regrets since I had such a good time.  After we wrapped up, I hung out a bit until the bitz trading started up.  Not really anything there of interest to me.  But after I grabbed some dinner, I made the slightly costly decision to check again:

What's in the bag!?
That pretty much wrapped up Saturday.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Adepticon - Friday

Not only did Friday morning at Adepticon start with a massive headache (literally) buy also with me wondering what the hell I was thinking when I registered for an 8am RPG.  So, I just turned the alarm off and went back to bed.

Still struggling from the headache, I spent a little more time in the vendor hall before heading to a hands on airbrush weathering class with Mr. Justin.  A great class, as his usually are, but after John's help with my El Camino conversions, the lessons learned were already in my head and fresh.  Does not hurt to have them reinforced though.

Right Side we practiced Hairspray Technique
Left Side we practiced Salt Chipping
Oh, in addition to the awesome tank from TrenchWorx we also got free Minitaire Ghost Tints for those in the class.  Something new to play with (eventually, long story).  A little more time in the vendor hall:

Filling some gaps for Wrath of Kings and Dark Age 
Then to the Devil's Run game that I built and painted the El Camino for.  Which seemed like a great game, run by a great guy but pretty much a bust for me.  21 people crowded around a 4x4 play area.  

A few to many people, IMO
Couple this with a huge amount of down time (due to the number of players) and you have me dropping out to go to dinner with Mike, Derek, Lathan, and a nice fellow from Privateer Press (Will?).  Had a great time at dinner, hanging at the painting area and then the bar.  I definitely think I made the right call.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Adepticon - Thursday

So a bit late to post a day-by-day account of Adepticon but I'm doing it anyway.

Other than the pain off getting up at 3:30am for my flight to a real airport that could get me to Chicago, my travel to Adepticon went smoothly.  Once at O'Hare, my day really started to shine:

Windy City Limos FTW!  At the price I pay, it's random what you will get and
 if you will have to share.  Usually, I just get a Lincoln but not today.
Since I didn't arrive at the hotel until noon and had a seminar at 2, the priority was to drop my luggage, grab food, my badge and get to my seminar.  While waiting for my lunch, I got caught up with all the announcements GW had already made at the convention (I really did not expect them to spill the beans at all, let alone that much and that quickly).  Anyway, all that was interrupted by unexpected surprise:  An old buddy, Stu, from the NOVA Open Terrain/Foam Cutters Union had made the journey and found me in the bar.  Throughout the weekend I hung out with Stu several times.  Truly wonderful to catch up with him.

Moving past the seminar (not much to talk about, it was so so), I hit the vendor hall and scoped things out.  Caught up with Derek from Throne of Angels.  Loot from the first pass:

Arena Rex (Left), Guild Ball Masons (Upper Right)
and Dropzone Commander Civilian Vehicles (Bottom Right)
After a bit of a break to rest a bit (3:30am was way to early for humans to get up), I headed to the 40k Car Wars game.  Really only Car Wars in name, this event was amped up big time and run by some great people out of Buffalo:  28mm 40k vehicles, 12 two man teams (one member played the ground vehicle, the other an air vehicle), 40 ft straight track to the finish line.  Assuming the other players, the road hazards (every 2 ft down the board) and the Titan guarding the bridge (half way) let you get to the finish line!

Choices, choices, choices
Mmm, that's pretty far.
Ready, set...
We went with the Eldar vehicles (we were one of the last to pick) and my randomly paired partner (Jeff, I believe, from Boston) tried to keep his air vehicle in the middle if the pack and not draw attention.  On the ground, I tried to do the same while pinging the front runners with attacks.  We then busted out to be the second team across the bridge but could never get past the Chaos flyer.  We kept up with them but they activated first, so we were second in the end.

Second Place Prize(?) and I guess spreading community awareness
about how awesome Buffalo is(?).  Jeff let me have it, probably
because I have less hair than him.
After that I grabbed a later dinner and caught up with my buddy Mike, and meet some nice people from Northern VA/Maryland who I did not know from when I lived there.  Overall, a pretty good and fun first day!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Conversion and Painting - Vehicular Combat, First Car(s)

As I have mentioned before, I've been working on a Vehicular Combat project for Adepticon.  The game is Devil's Run and I need to bring one modified Hot Wheels/Matchbox car for the game.  I jumped on this project because it ties into a bigger project that I have wanted to undertake for some time, so this was a nice way to get it jump started.

Note, I'm not sure if Devil's Run is necessarily the game I want to use for my bigger project, but Adepticon will give me a nice preview of the rules.  In past years I had also tried Car Wars, which I was not terribly happy with (although the game at Adepticon was a lot of fun).  I've also wanted to read through and try a game called Road Kill.  Lastly, Osprey is supposedly publishing a ruleset called Gaslands, someday...

In any case, if you want to check out Devil's Run you can find the rules for free on their website here.  For Road Kill, the kickstarter had the rules posted here (note Road Kill is actually written to be 10mm rules but it should be an easy adaptation).

Anyway, moving back to the topic of conversion and painting of my first vehicles.
The first batch, de-assembled and striped.  Anyone know
the theme for the bigger project from just this photo?
Various conversions were started on all 4 of these vehicles, but the focus quickly narrowed to the El Camino for various reasons, mostly related to conversion issues on my part (I may have bitten off more than I can chew for a couple of the conversions).  The El Camino is also one of my favorites for the big project.

First conversion and a bit of battle damage from a dremel.
Above was the first conversion of the El Camino.  Unfortunately, I got carried away and did not refer back to my "reference" material because the dual, forward mounted guns was not the "right" configuration.

There we go:  One gun, one rocket launcher mounted aft.
From here, the model was primed and the underlying rust work started:
  • Base Rust:  Applied to most of the model. 
    • RMS Muddy Brown
  • Rust Variations:  Dry sponged onto various areas (damaged panels, roof, bed, lower part of the panels, etc)
    • RMS Chestnut Brown
    • RMS Mahogany Brown
    • RMS Rust Brown
    • RMS Forest Green
    • RMS Marigold Yellow
    • RMS Imperial Purple

My buddy John, over at 40K Hobby Blog, held my hand through this rust/painting process.  He agreed with my concern that there was not enough "contrast" at this point and that I should add darker browns to contrast my eventual grey base color.  Unfortunately I set the model aside for the night at that point and when I got home the next day, I just jumped to the next step without remembering to do it.  LOL.

Varnished, hair-sprayed and base coated
  • Base Color:  RMS Cloudy Grey
Anyway, at this point it apparently is a pretty time sensitive process to start removing the base color to reveal the rust.  And, of course for me, that is when things went sideways.  Some kind of family "crisis" and ended up only returning to the model after this base color had fully set.  Holding my breath, I still started trying to remove the base color with mixed success.


Definitely not horrible, but it is a little awkward, I think, since there is still paint in the recesses of the damage areas.  Not much I can do about it at this point other than starting the rust part all over again.  I decided though I was just going to chalk it up to a learning experience and move on due to running out of time.  I will need to come back with weathering powders to hide some spots where I accidentally removed paint all the way down to the bare metal.

Starting metallics and highlight/shading
  • MG, Rocket Launcher, Chains:  Following Dave Taylor's Metallic Guide
  • Window Plates:  Following Dave Taylor's Metallic Guide
  • Spike:  RMS Muddy Brown
Following Dave Taylor's metallic methods, I started in on all the other metal bits.  I also started some shading and highlighting of the base color.  I was really not happy with the base color (too blue) or the highlighting (too sloppy) or the shading (not enough contrast) at this point.  For better or worse, Adepticon was less than a week away at this point so I had to press on.

So at this point, things got a little hectic in the rush to finish up.  But lots of progress was made, just not captured in photos.  Really unhappy with the roof, bed and bumpers I repainted them brown and sponged rust variations back on.  Hairspray technique again and using a lighter shade of the base car color, the roof and bed were sprayed.  Then quickly removed.  Bumpers were similarly done, only with AP Gun Metal.

After finally, being satisfied with the rust I moved on to highlights and shading.

Much better and starting to come together, I think.
Note, I deviated from Dave Taylor's metallic method for the window plates.  I just was not getting what I wanted, probably because I did not know what I wanted.  I started to hit the plates with Vallejo Smoke and discovered, for myself, something wonderful!  Because I was in a rush, I did not want to apply a bunch of layers of Smoke so I did not bother to thin it.  It quickly began to "gum" up in this state and achieved the wonderful grimmy affect you see now.

The rims were AP Gun Metal, followed by a thinned Vallejo Smoke.  The tires themselves were Vallejo Panzer Aces Dark Rubber.

The car in the picture above is a bit shinny (it's worse in person, under proper lighting), that's because it has had a gloss varnish applied for the next stage.  The plan was to lock everything in with a dullcoat after I apply some weathering powders and pin washes.

Or, in other words, my attempt to screw it all up.  Issue one, was that while I intended to use oils for the pin wash I did not prepare to use oils.  That means at 9pm I realized I had no mineral spirits to thin down my oils with.  So, pressed for time I attempted a acrylic pin wash.  Didn't work so well.  The second issue is apparently I have forgotten how to use weathering pigments.  I really struggled here.  I at least managed to get some mistakes covered up but I'm not happy with either of my "finishing" steps.  But I have run out of time, so I hit it with dullcoat and called it done.


The "bad" things I've learned through this process:
  • Working with die cast metal Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars sucks.
  • Chop topping the taxi cab was a horrible idea resulting in a continued nightmare.
  • Replacing windows is a pain in the ass.  They are sooo small!  And some have a lot of curvature to them!
  • Chains suck too!  I cant say how many attempts it took to attach them.  Or how many times I had to reattach them.  I can only pray that they stay on now.
  • The weapon bits from Brigade Games, originally crafted by Dave Taylor I believe, seem a little oversized to me.  Since I bought a ton of them, I will continue to use them but fair warning.  The other bits and pieces from those sets seem reasonable sized though.
  • DO NOT reassemble the model completely before painting.  I knew this.  I don't know what happened.  I was dry fitting the model.  Next thing I knew, I grabbed the glue.  Then an hour later "OMG, why did I do that!"  Painting and handling this model would have been so much easier in separate pieces.
  • If using the hairspray technique, do not let the base color (top layer) completely cure before you start rubbing it off.  Even if the baby is crying, house on fire, etc.  lol.
  • Not sold on being able to do a pin wash with acrylics.  
  • I suck with weathering powders.
The "good" things I learned:
  • I like this entire vehicle weathering "thing."  Lots of fun and you can be fairly carefree about it and get decent results IMO.  Well, at least till you hit the home stretch.
  • I guess, although that may be debatable, that I can do this vehicle weathering "thing" to some degree.
  • Hopefully, I learned from the "mistakes" from above.  LOL.
  • One model down, 3 more immediately to go.  Another 6-10 after that.  Ok, that last part I am not to happy about but at least this "project" has gotten started!
  • Family stuff is a big factor but I really should paint more.  When I do have time, I get caught up in assembling stuff (or playing Xbox) and just don't get around to actually painting enough.
Also, this technically (and I will count it) achieves one of my hobby goals for 2017.  I had a goal to paint "something" for Adepticon.  And I have.  Sure, I planned to have actually 4 of these guys done for Adepticon but still, I will take this one as a victory.  Of course, after Adepticon I have to figure out what is next (I think I had a goal to have something painted for the CMON Expo, which is in mid May.  doh!).  Plus I have a backlog of incomplete stuff that needs to get done.
In a hopeful note though, at least for my hobby productivity, I haven't played Overwatch in over a week and it will be a full 2+ weeks before I get another chance to play.  And I have to say I have not really missed it.  So I don't know if I will go back to it.  We'll see.

Anyway, next stop Adepticon!