Thursday, June 22, 2017

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Resolved to take better care of my paint brushes

An art store near where I worked recently closed down after 100 years and moved away. Entire blocks here in Toronto are being demolished to make way for condos, and leases are not being renewed.

Anyways, this has made me getting quality brushes a touch more inconvenient as now I have to go midtown and walk a bit to another art store.

I have resolved finally, after 10 years of off-and-on painting to take better care of my paint brushes. For the most part, I've been hard on my brushes, dipping them in water afterward, using quality brushes to transfer paint from the pot to the palette, etc. The end result is that after a use or two, all my brushes get unceremoniously thrown out after after they started splaying or losing their point. Ain't got no time for frazzled brushes.

I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the guys were mentioning their loving care of brushes that resulted in brushes lasting for years.


I am therefore going to be more disciplined with my paint brushes and have been trying out their techniques.

I recently painted up some Dark Eldar with just one brush (as discussed here)..

Using their techniques, I am pleased to see my brush is still serviceable and still has a point.

Therefore, I will maintain in the future the following techniques.

1) Use hand soap to wash away paint after use right away, especially where the ferrule and the tuft meet.

When paint dries on the ferrule, it pushes away the individual fibres on the tuft, which causes the fibres on the tuft to splay out, ruining the brush. Cleaning it right away prevents that.

2) Use hand soap to cover the tuft into a point and let the soap harden in between uses. This way, the paintbrush retains "muscle memory" to keep having a point. When you use it next time, just dip it in water and the soap dissolves.

3) Use cheap dollar store transfer brushes to place paint from the pot to the palette. Fine brushes should not be used to goop paint like that.

Three simple techniques that I used and my brush is still very much in great shape. I am resolved to keep doing this.

I also took the liberty of organizing my paint pots into some semblance of order recently just to free up my paint space.

I also had the bad habit of doing a paint job and months or years later, when I wanted a similar paint combination, would forget what paints I used previously. Well, now I am forcing myself to keep a journal.

Anyways, simple techniques that I never employed before but resolved to do them from now on.

Unboxing: Nemo's War 2nd edition (Kickstarter)

I got this week a kickstarter I funded on January 2016, a year and a half-ago, Nemo's War 2nd edition, by Victory Point Games.

I have the first edition and played a round, as discussed here. The first edition is a charming solitaire game where you play Captain Nemo hunting 19th Century war ships as well as finding treasure, much as it is in the novel by Jules Verne. The original game comes in a zip lock bag, with a paper map and counters.

The new Kickstarter version on the other hand, has a nice sturdy and large mounted map that is folded.  It is also redesigned by the looks of it from the 1st edition.

Unboxing the rest, I see a nice rule booklet on glossy paper..

An epilog booklet that reports on how well or badly you did..

 Nice thick counters...

 Lots of cards..

And a mini for your submarine, which is a nice touch as the original zip lock version just had a counter.

I look forward to playing the game.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Birthday present: 42 painted 40K Orks and Snotlings

Today is my birthday.

My friend Jeff gave me his collection of 40K Orks as a present, which surprised me. Touched and surprised to be honest.

He is not a painter, and often buys painted armies off of ebay or locally. In the past, there was a local kid who painted stuff for him as well..

Still, painted stuff does not come cheaply and would like to take this opportunity to thank him..

When I unwrapped the Orcs, I was pleased that they were painted pretty good. I counted 42 of them, including the contraption gyroscopes and rocket packs that 40K Orks fly in.

42 minis painted is a lot of work and if you have to pay, it will be a pretty penny. 

I promise to take good care of them, and perhaps use them in Shadow War, along with my Dark Eldar and Imperial Guard.

Thanks Again, Jeff!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

It's been enjoyable painting the wickedly evil Dark Eldar Wyches for Shadow War Armageddon

I had one session of the new Necromunda, Shadow War: Armageddon (as discussed here) and it did not go well for me. Undaunted, I promised my friend Jeff I'd try it again, but this time, with another race. After 10 years of being into the miniature scene, I have ignored 40K as the universe doesn't particularly appeal to me. However, I do like the premise of Necromunda, and by extension, Shadow War, so I'll give 40K a shot in this limited skirmish form. 

The 40K races don't particularly appeal to me, except the Dark Elves.. I mean the Dark Eldar (the Eldar being space Elves, of course).  Twisted and evil, the Dark Eldar with their punk rock look and wickedly cruel blades show some promise. I am also amused at the S&M look they got going for themselves...

According the Wikipedia, the Dark Eldar are "a race that is sadistic in the extreme, reveling in piracy, enslavement and torture."

Sadistic torture, huh? All righty, then..

I bought a squad of Wyches, whatever that type is (a cool way of saying "witches" ?), and assembled them.

I stuck to the box art, keeping with the bondage black and mostly red hair. Some of them I painted up in other died hair colours to add a punk rock motif.

I painted their skin in this pallid greyish-white colour to both contrast with the black, and to give them a twisted unhealthy look as well. These are not nice guys and gals you want to meet in a back alley, what with the whole torture thing...

Slowly but surely, as I was highlighting the black clothes, which I've always found difficult to do personally, the Dark Eldar were coming along.

The box art has them in this green armour in some parts, but I just found that boring.. At first, I was toying with the idea of doing something unconventional, like cheetah-clothing pattern you sometimes see (mostly middle-aged) women wear, or zebra stripes, just for the lolz..

but then settled on red camouflage (red, brown, black and white) just to be different and to evoke the image of blood and rage. Anything but boring green.

However, I found 4 colours too "busy" so I kept it at just red and black stripes.. Red and black seems to work on them and highlights somehow that these Dark Eldar are kind of crazy and angry..As my friends can attest to, I really enjoyed GMing back in the day some really insane NPC villains....

As I was painting them, I had a sudden thought about the punk New Wave look that Daryl Hannah's character in Blade Runner had.. Maybe it was their pale skin and punk rock haircuts that reminded me of Blade Runner..

Also, the image of the Mordheim Doomweaver computer game character I've encountered recently came to mind as well..

So I decided to give a couple of them some face tattoos to accentuate the insane twisted killers that they are..  I used red, orange and black as there was enough blue on them already..

I exaggerated the size of the face tattoos just so you can see it at the 2-3 foot level when playing..

I painted the black circles on this one Dark Eldar and initially left it at that..

but then on the very next day, I see this goth teenage girl on the subway with exactly those black circles under her eyes, exactly as I painted them. However, the real life goth girl had black lipstick on as well..

Aha, excellent idea, I thought.. When I went home, I added black lipstick as well.

I like the contrast of the girly pink hair with the Goth face tattoo.. Pretty hair but ugly tribal tattoo, dressed like an S&M dom with a cruel blade.. ready to gut Jeff's miniatures like a fish the next time we play..

All in all, it's been enjoyable painting up the wickedly evil Dark Eldar.. They say actors enjoy playing the villains. I seem to enjoy painting them too.

I can use these Dark Eldar not just for 40K Shadow War, but for any other space game to fill in for scumbags, pirates, and general spaceport dregs. They can even be used for post-apoc as they evoke the old Mad Max look as well as for cyberpunk.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Destabilizing the Time-Space Continuum in Escape from 100 Million BC

I am buying less and less boardgames and focusing more and more on miniatures, but if I like a theme, I will make an exception.

I'm a sucker for Alternate Earth sci-fi, but also for Time Travel, so I bought the latest Time Travel game du jour. I sat down with my friends Jeff and Jim to play two sessions of Escape from 100 Million B.C by IDW Games today.

In Escape, in the world's first time travel expedition, there was a malfunction and the time machine led by the professor and his intrepid bunch of adventurers are left stranded on the lip of a volcano, with time machine parts and equipment strewn all over a prehistoric Gwangi-like valley 100 Million BC.

The stalwart adventurers have to thus venture forth into the boonies filled with dinosaurs and retrieve the time machine parts and equipment and bring them back to the expedition leader, the Professor (or as I started to pronounce it during the game "Perfessor" in a bad New York accent), so he can fix the time machine to get back to the.. uh.. future.

However, the accident has destabilized the time space continuum, causing time storms to happen, with time rifts opening up, flinging people from across the centuries back. So, on top of finding and getting the parts and equipment strewn about, you also have to find these time castaways, convince them to come with you, and escort them back to the proper time rift they came from and send them back.

Escape is thus a multi pick up and deliver game in a time travel theme.

The longer these time castaways are back in 100 Million BC, or are killed, or the more equipment left behind, even if you get the time machine repaired, the greater the time paradox occurs. When reaching a certain level of time paradox, this cooperative game will be lost. Even though you might repair the machine and get back, the more paradox points on the board, the more the future is altered.

 The time castaways range from historic figures..

to the not so historic..

If a historic figure is killed or left behind if the time machine is repaired, more paradox points are added than with a nobody, which makes sense.. For example, if JFK is killed, 4 paradox points are added vs this Big Lebowski dude (4 vs 1).

The equipment that the adventures can find and use is varied, from the mundane like running shoes to super weird stuff.. Of course, it's not clear how this equipment got back there.. Would a time machine expedition carry an MG-42 and powered armour, or were they flung back in time like the castaways?

Like the castaways, some equipment is worse off to leave behind should the expedition fix things and get back.

It's important thus to find everything in the equipment deck and bring it back, but some paradox points are puzzling. I can understand leaving Carbonmesh armour behind to be found by archaeologists and ancient alien theorists in the future to puzzle over and cause a paradox, but leaving a candy bar (3 vs 3 paradox points) has the same effect..

Anyways, the adventurers start in the middle and go exploring..

They soon run into carnivorous dinosaurs

herbivore dinosaurs..

and aquatic dinosaurs..

You have the choice of fighting them, scaring them off or running away. If you run away, they stay on the board to roam around randomly with the potential to come back and harm you, or worse, kill a time castaway...

If you kill them, it further destabilizes the time stream, with the possibility of opening up more time rifts (and thus more castaways that need to be rescued). The best solution in most cases is, if you have the right equipment, to scare them off (e.g. a pistol shot over their heads) where the dinosaurs thus go off the board to be reshuffled back in the deck..

The adventurers also can run into non-dinosaur adventures, with the possibility of finding some parts, or alternatively, doing something seemingly harmless that can further destabilize the time stream (e.g crushing some eggs)..

If an adventurer gets knocked out (not ever killed), the professor beams them back to the time machine in the centre as their emergency bracelet beacon is thus activated. The act of beaming, as you can guess, further destabilizes the time space continuum..

As you head back with the time machine parts, you slowly rebuild the time machine. Everyone and all equipment must be back on the time machine, and all castaways sent back through their time rifts, before doing so, else (you guessed it) more destabilization.

Adding time machine parts back to our time machine.

You can see then, that the game is filled with the time-travel theme, in the best comic book style. If you know the time traveling genre, you can tell the game designer is well versed in it.

However, he kept with a tongue-in-cheek theme with the game conclusions, which was okay I suppose, but did not endear me too much at the end. After playing some hours, it was not that funny to find out after winning both games, that our future was altered in cheeky fashion. In game 1, we went back to a future where humans ate insects, and in the other, carried towels (a Hitchhiker's guide joke).

The production values are fine.. nice thick board, nice art, good components.

All-in-all, a fun light game and an enjoyable time travel theme. Thumbs up!