Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Urban War Army Builder

Alright, so four of us in my game group decided to work on some Urban War forces from Urban Mammoth.

I'm doing the Junkers
Another is doing Gladiators
The third is doing Viridians
And the fourth is working on Syntha

So far we've all got our figures, and two of us have our rulebooks, and two of us have started painting. Here are the photos:

From Urban War Builder Campaign
From Urban War Builder Campaign
From Urban War Builder Campaign
From Urban War Builder Campaign
From Urban War Builder Campaign

Here's a Gladiator test figure
From Urban War Builder Campaign

Here are some of my Junkers:
The Test Figure
From Urban War Builder Campaign
From Urban War Builder Campaign

My incomplete squad
From Urban War Builder Campaign
From Urban War Builder Campaign

The Viridian player hasn't completed any figures yet.

Stay tuned for more on this exciting challenge! This week I'm going to Victoria, BC to visit my girlfriend, where I will paint my Epic Blood Angels while she's at school, and hopefully finish a vast majority (if not all) of my infantry. Next week I'll work on my Urban War figures some more, and bother the other two contestants in order to get some work and/or photos from them. Also, I got the rest of my VOR Union army in the mail today. They're all there, and they look like really good sculpts! Great quality and tons of venting, which leads me to believe that these were recent castings.

Anyway, I'll work on the VOR figures some more soon, and let the blog know about it ASAP.


Friday, January 14, 2011

An Update

Yes the "Whatcha workin' on?" widget at the bottom of the right column (right above the tags) is correct; I am currently working on all of that. And I'm sick. Hoorah!

I promised myself that I wouldn't get distracted by the next shiny object™ while working on my Dark Eldar. Well, it turns out I've been distracted by four older shiny objects.

Yes, I've been caught up in VOR fever, ever since the Kickstarter Project was announced. I have a Union army on the way, and one squad base-coated (see last post). I've also been caught up in Epic fever (more like a disease that stays with me always), and am working away at a Blood Angels army. I've been very slow in getting those pictures up. I think I'll just wait 'till the whole project's done, then snap some shots.

Finally two 28mm games that are separated by circumstance: Warzone and Urban War. I'm in an Urban War builder campaign with some friends. I'll post some pictures of my Junkers soon, I've just been waiting for the rest of my friends to catch up with me. I'm pretty quick with my figures, and since I only have seven of them in my 160pt. force, I shouldn't take too long with them. Warzone, on the other hand I've decided to spring on my boss as a challenge. When I got home and wrote up a 500pt. 2nd edition list, I noticed that I actually need to paint 16 models! Not a huge number by any means, but when you have four other projects on the go, it's a little much. Thankfully I don't think we're in a rush to get some games in. Warzone is in my top 3 TTG list, but really this game we have tentatively scheduled is a placeholder for Dark Age, which is taking its sweet time getting their book(s) out. Of course, we'll play 2nd edition Warzone, it being my favorite. I'll post more about it as it happens.

All-in-all, I'm busy. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel. My Urban War shouldn't take too long to paint, and seeing as I'm in a paint challenge on Tabletop Gaming News' forums with my Epic figures, those should be done by the end of February. I still have a ways to go on them, but I can pull it off. That should take some heat off me and hopefully no new shiny objects™ will jump out at me.


P.S. Plans for the coming week: I'm going to write installment 4 of the Top 5 Role-Playing Games segment; I'll get some Junker photos up; and I'm going to Victoria to visit the girlfriend and work on some Epic figures while she's at school.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Test Figure for a VOR: the Maelstrom Army

Cross-posted from the VOR: the Maelstrom 2.0 forums. I don't know why some of the text is highlighted a whitish-grey. I've tried to fix it a million times, and it seems that every time I hit "publish post" some new line of text is highlighted. Really sorry for the inconvenience. If I figure something out I'll implement it.

"Oh. Kay. 

I did some painting this week on a test figure, which is a Union sergeant. Before I paint an army, or embark on a project of that magnitude, I find that it helps if I work on a figure to completion to see if the colors work well together or if there's any pitfalls to painting those figures. So far, I've not had to do any major re-calibrations of paint schemes in my time, but a test figure helps me work out any kinks along the way. 

Some minor details may change, but here's the test figure. The only things not finished on him is the base (I'm gonna put some static grass on him), and the green fatigues are only base-coated. The reason for this is that I used the P3 paint Ordic Olive and I don't actually own any of the recommended highlight colors (Moldy Ochre, and Sulfuric Yellow). This should be remedied by next Wednesday, but in the mean time I think I'll just go ahead and finish it tomorrow with what I have on hand (I think with a total of five different paint lines, I'm sure I'll find something to substitute). With some more work I might even enter this into the paint competition on the forums here.

The paint scheme is taken as best I could from the Matt Wilson cover art of the Union forcebook. I'm a big fan not only of Matt Wilson, but of that piece of art as well.

Before I get to the breakdown, know that when I highlight I generally mix in the highlighted color into the previous color or color mixture. For example when I highlight a dark red, I'll mix in a medium red; paint it on, then mix in a light red into that mixture, then paint that on as the final highlight. I tend not to just paint a lighter color over top. 

+The fatigues are Ordic Olive (P3).

+The metallics are Shadowed Steel (Reaper Master Series (RMS)), followed by a wash of Badab Black (Citadel). I'm actually gonna do some highlights later with Honed Steel(RMS), then perhaps Polished Silver (RMS) if it's not too bright.

+The blacks are Thamar Black (P3), then some Coal Black (P3) mixed in for a highlight, then finally some Menoth White Base (P3) mixed in for the final highlight.

+The browns are Bootstrap Leather (P3) with a Devlan Mud (Citadel) wash. This might become a Calthan Brown (Citadel) with a Dheneb Stone (Citadel) highlight, then a Devlan Mud (Citadel) wash.

+The little bedroll on his back was just Thornwood Green (P3). I'll probably just highlight it later. I don't imagine I'll wash it. It might end up too dark.

+His skin was Idrian Flesh (P3), then Khardic Flesh (P3), then Midlund Flesh (P3), then finally Ryn Flesh (P3). Doing faces and skin is my favorite part of a figure, and it's something I think I'm pretty good at. I've tried washing skin and haven't found a wash or an ink that I like for flesh. They often end up just darkening it more than I'd like. The fact that I start with something dark like Idrian Flesh and then paint right over top of it with the base skin color I want (like Khardic Flesh) gives it that definition without darkening the whole thing. 

+Finally the base is (aptly enough) Battlefield Brown (P3) with a Gun Corps Brown (P3) highlight drybrushed right over top (no mixing), and finally a Rucksack Tan (P3) done with the same method as the last highlight. The rocks are Greatcoat Grey (P3) with a Morrow White (P3) highlight that had some of the base color mixed into it. Green static grass will get added when the model's 100% done.

+I've gotten into the habit of painting the rims of my bases black (Thamar Black (P3)). My boss isn't that keen on it, but I like the way it looks. It makes the figure look less like he's on a mound of dirt/grass/rubble/etc. and more like the base is just there because he can't realistically stand on the tabletop. It's hard to explain my aesthetic rationale behind it. Hopefully you understand. 

Sorry for the crummy photography. I have a cheap-o camera that doesn't do macro very well at all. These two are the best of 20 photos. Seriously. Hopefully you get the drift. I had tons of fun painting this fig, and can't wait to get to the rest of the army (when it arrives from IWM)."


Monday, January 3, 2011

Top 5 Role-playing Games: Savage Worlds

For the third entry in this series (again, this goes in no particular order), we have Savage Worlds: a game I was, at first, hesitant to play.

Savage Worlds is an open-source Role-playing game (which means that it's a set of rules you can use with any setting) produced by Pinnacle Entertainment Group and Studio 2. When this was first brought up as a game idea, our group had just finished playing Dark Heresy. This would've been when Dark Heresy was first released, and Savage Worlds (SW) would've been a huge departure from our safe haven of gaming that included only Dungeons & Dragons and the Warhammer/40K gaming system(s). I was hesitant not only because it was different (my gaming pioneer spirit was somewhat limited then), but because it seemed too simple. Now I know that's where its beauty lies.

We're three sessions into our SW gaming right now, and this game easily squeezes into my top 5 gaming list. Its simplicity does nothing to limit its entertainment or depth, and is indeed the only way that SW can integrate so many different genres and worlds under its banner.

Savage Worlds is a role-playing system that mixes roleplaying with miniatures gaming. If I'm permitted to blow your minds, I'll suggest that SW makes as entertaining a miniatures game as it does a role-playing game. The system uses all of the standard polyhedral dice save the d20 (we've seen enough of that one!), and uses them in conjunction with the French deck playing cards (something I generally hate) to resolve all uncertainties in the game.

All your vital statistics and skills are represented not by numbers but by dice. For instance my current character (a Duwamish marksman who went AWOL during the First World War) has the following attributes: agility (d8); smarts (d6); strength (d4); spirit (d6); and vigor (d8), while for skills he has a d10 in shooting, but only a d4 in fighting, and so on. 

When rolling to do something you roll the die that the skill uses (or if you're rolling a straight attribute roll, you would roll the die associated with the attribute), plus a d6. The extra d6 is something that player characters (PCs) get as well as some non-player characters (NPCs). If you get this extra d6 you're considered a Wild Card (even NPCs can be wild cards). Anyway, roll your skill/attribute die plus the d6 and choose the highest roll. If you roll the maximum allowed on a die (the number next to the "d") you get to roll again and add the value to that die roll so long as you keep rolling maxes. If the highest roll is greater than 4 (the Target Number (TN)), you succeed. If you beat the TN by another 4 you get a "raise" (get the poker terminology yet?) which is like a level of success in the Warhammer 40,000 RPG.

Damage is as simple as rolling the damage value of your weapon and applying it to the target's toughness and armor combination. If it beats it, he/she/it's stunned, if it beats it again he/she/it's wounded once. You get three wounds before you're incapacitated, and it's game over, rover. Each wound level (-1, -2, and -3) reduced every roll by that number. Oh! Before I forget, it's also important to know that most modifiers to rolls come in the -/+2 value. This will reduce or increase your roll not the TN, which remains always at 4. 

That easy. Now the poker terminology comes from the fact that this game is a modified version of the old Deadlands RPG which was done by this very same game company during the '90s. Deadlands is still around and is the flagship setting for SW (which is, itself, open-source and can be used for any setting you can dream of). Deadlands is the wild west gone mad: undead, native magic-users, crazy Victorian inventions, and a never-ending civil war that turns the western genre on its head. I'd love to run this game sometime.

Currently we're playing in a "pulp" setting: 1936 America. One character is a more hard-boiled Indiana Jones, another is a 1930s Iron Man, and the third just got back from a gaming break for the holidays and will be "rolling-up" a character tonight. We're playing adventures from the first Daring Tales of Adventure compendium, and having a blast. So far, there have been no rules disputes, and if there's any rules questions, the answers are easily found in the book.

Savage Worlds is meant to be used with miniatures (a standard in RPGing these days if you ask me), and breaks from the standard grid-mat trend and introduces inches and terrain (something that convinces me this would be great to play a miniatures game with). You can use a grid mat if you like (I prefer hexes), and we use an abstract tabletop (we use miniatures, and terrain but don't measure anything and just use the figures for visual aids), but the rules take into account tabletop features. 

Now while this game is fantastic, if you're looking for something deeper you might want to try Rolemaster, or its sci-fi sister Spacemaster. Savage Worlds is a light game, but my opinion on RPGs is that all rulesets are combat systems, and the role-playing and the depth are left to the Game Master and the group. If you want to figure out how much damage was done to an NPCs arm, and what kind of diabolical poison comes from crushed Ghan'ka root, you should probably find a translated version of Das Schwarze Auge (or learn German). Unless you want to reduce that detail to a -2 roll. 

Overall, Savage Worlds is a fantastic game system, and my brain is filled with ideas for using it to run everything from a RPG set in the Vor: the Maelstrom universe, a Deadlands game, or even using it instead of Mutant Chronicles. Yes, this game is firmly entrenched in my top 5 role-playing games.