Friday, 13 December 2019

Blackstone Fortress

Got a message from Ben the other day to arrange a game, he's had a renovation and house move recently so gaming has been low priority. He'd got Otty and Liam on board and the plan had been Blood Bowl but Liam brought along #BlackstoneFortress which I've been itching to try since I realised it could [up to] 5 players at once. Low model count with RPG elements we can play together, it seems like the perfect solution and antidote to the high model count and convoluted mechanics 40k has seemed to become within our group.

Anyway, we drew our cards randomly and I got Espern Locarno - the Navigator. I also drew some pre-game event card where I discovered a booby-trapped 'chest'. To defuse the bomb I had to roll 5D6, score a 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 and stack them in that order on top of each other, without toppling over within 20 seconds. Now I could delegate the challenge to someone else but as we didn't know what we were getting into I did a test roll, though it was a doddle and went for it. First roll got me everything but the 5 and then I rolled and rolled and rolled that one dice until the timer ran out and got 2 damage worth of shrapnel in my face. Half my wounds gone before the game begins! To add insult to injury, Otty, who had had a practice beforehand immediately picked up the lone dice and rolled a 5! He then did the challenge himself in under 10 seconds. Anyway, this was my player card at the beginning, with another element of note I'll mention later but you might pick up on if you've played the game.

This was our entry into the Blackstone Fortress. It's also worth noting no figures had been painted by Liam. It's worth noting because we never play with unpainted figures and that fact was repeatedly noted by us to Liam at every opportunity - and that's why we play folks - the ritual humiliation of our friends for $hit$ and giggles! 😂

Having arrived on the mag-lift [Otty was the Kroot Mercenary Dahyak Grekh, Ben was the two Ratling explorers Rein and Raus and Liam the Rogue Trader dandy hisself Janus Draik], a gaggle of 4 Ur-Ghuls appeared top right, 8 chaos cultists top left and 6 cultists bottom middle.

I went first, moved to the side and think managed to heal a wound. Otty advanced and shot half the cultists to death - he was utterly brutal and efficient in his capabilities. What had seemed overwhelming at first suddenly looked achievable.

The Ratling Twins managed to get some more kills and then Janus Draik took a number of activaiton dice to sprint across the board and just scythe through all but one of the cultists. Everything was looking easy... too easy and it was then that I realised we were all playing our characters in their 'inspired' profiles 😞 There wasn't much we could do at this stage and I suggested we just played it like a temporal warp anomaly had boosted our prowess. We would play as uninspired the next turn and return to inspired, for those that had achieved it [everyone except me because they had all been killing machines].

In the mean time the Ur-Ghuls managed to reach the Ratlings and do some damage, the other Cultists skulked behind their barricades.

A turn later and we'd killed the xenos filth, the last of the cultists holding one of the objectives and searched both of the objectives. My adventuring colleagues had discovered some serious loot [mainly archaeotec wepons]. The remaining cultists finally started to investigate the noise of fighting in the fortress so we arrayed ourselves to receive their charge.

And then swamped them. With the last three cultists cut down we were free to remove all the artefacts on board and although I didn't kill enough to become 'inspired' I came away with an arteffact to trade with my colleagues.

Back on board our transport vessels I soon discovered Liam had found the secret co-ordinates required of my personal mission. By trading my artefact with him I would start the next game automatically inspired so everything was looking rosy and we were all back-slapping each other that our first game had gone so well.

OK so we'd been inspired when we shouldn't have been and so the capricious chaos G.O.D.s intervened to temper our hubris and it transpired such success did not go unnoticed - Chaos Lord Obsidious Mallex himself would be joining his throng to prevent further incursions from our intrepid band of heroes.

With hindsight only fair, we were over-powered from the get go, no we will be challenged appropriately. Hopefully my inspired nature will help mitigate his impact.

Anyway, we thought the game was great, suggested we play it once a month [although Blod Bowl is also an option]. We each took our hero and a unit of baddies and promised to paint them ahead of the next game. I got the Chaos Beastmen, so expect updates as I go off piste of my To Do List...

Monday, 2 December 2019

Blood Bowl - Human Team Original Middenheim Marauders - team badge

Following on from my last #bloodbowl post I decided to take tackle the team badge, I mean it's a challenge - the straight swords would have been easier than the cutlasses but I can be a little masochistic sometimes.

So, here's how I did it. I started with one banana shape, from the centre of the diamond to just above it's top-most corner.

I then mirrored it on the other side.

A couple of extensions on either side to lead up to the sword guards and hilt.

And them little circular swoops for the guards themselves. Not too pretty but OK.

I managed to get better as I went along though. Some of the smaller badges are a bit clunky but not too bad.

I then painted Tau-Sept Ochre [still going strong] in the sword blades themselves.

There was a bit of bleed over the outlines, I tried tidying it up afterwards but I'm not going to lose any sleep over perfection.

I added a yellow highlight inside each blade and then tried to add Bahama blue for the sword guard. The blue was a much greater challenge, there really wasn't enough space within the black and my ability to paint tiny details was not up to the challenge.

Instead I ended up with some blue blobs, which at least from a distance manages to achieve the same effect.

So I can live with it. I have thought adding a yellow fill to the number decals might help them stand out and tie in with the badge a bit. There's sufficient space for my level of skill to achieve what I'm hoping for, it won't be like the blue at least ;) 

While I was at it I managed to paint the eyeballs on my 3 helmet-less players. I had some white from picking out highlights on the badges diamond which also helped with the contrast on the symbol. Pupils to do next, lets see how they go down.

Compared to the quartering these details seem to take so long for not much return but it's quality not quantity in this case. Unlike my last post of the painting the diamonds which felt like there wasn't even quality for all the effort involved, this one feels like a step further on. So I've the numbers to address, all the black elements need highlighting and various other little bits but they're so close to being done now, which is handy as I have another project that has suddenly caught my attention...

Friday, 29 November 2019

Blood Bowl - Human Team Original Middenheim Marauders - final highlights, booties & badges

Progress has continued on the Middenheim Marauders, all the red and white has been highlighted which felt like quite a substantial milestone, almost like the models were complete. Unfortunately that's far from true. Skintones were next and I had mixed results on my star thrower Saul Tigh.

The Catcher was a bit better but I'm still a little undecided [and he needs a name].

I'd originally wanted this guy to have a black Mohican but after the recent rugby world cup this will be Joe Mauler with blonde hair and dark beard.

I also gave hims some fancy-dancy running shoes. A number of random players will get the cool trainers. Two have the turquoise, two have dayglo yellow/green [on the right] and two have quartered, like the rest of their uniform [on the left].

There was something about doing this I was desperate to do - like football player have these shocking coloured boots that are incongruous with the team colours Initially the one thin coat I applied made me feel I was completely wrong, it was like look at my stupid colour choices from the 80's/90's. But after shading and highlights they looked OK.

The dayglo ones in particular capture that bizarre colours you see on the sporting field but they also dredge up a lot of nostalgia for me as Blood Bowl and the way I painted the figures back then for my first game seem to have been brought full circle. The remaining 6 boots are all standard black.

I then decided that I was going to freehand the Marauders team badge. Starting with a white diamond I though I could eyeball the two pairs of parallel lines but quickly adopted four dots as a starting point, then two parallels.

The second pair of parallels completed the diamond and I filled them in with Stone wall grey. I'd also applied team number decals on the back plate and shoulder pad, but the black numbers really don't show up too well.

Just in case you didn't know, this is the team badge - so cutlasses next and I will be doing it old skool blue and yellow, not the gold and silver you see painted on some of the original old models.

The diamond on each shoulder.

Stonewall Grey filled in.

Getting those cutlasses on each diamond without it looking ludicrous is the next challenge.

And the rather underwhelming but serviceable team numbers...

Still so much to do momentum is a little lacking as it feel quite over whelming. Despite the significant extra work in freehanding the 12 badges I actually thought it would be motivating, which in some ways it is. I'm looking forward to doing the badges much more than the remaining 6 pairs of boots, towels, ribbons and balls that still need painting. Definitely going to do some nid basecoats after this!

Monday, 25 November 2019

Blood Bowl - Human Team Original Middenheim Marauders progress

My Human Blood Bowl is currently my muse at the moment but I'm still fatigued and beset by the garden flooding which makes getting to the mancave unpleasant. I've wellies to wade through it all but sometimes I just can't be fussed. Anyway all of the players have had their Stonewall Grey first highlight done. Not sure if the Khorne Red had been applied universally, there are the Catcher and Lineman on the right that had theirs and Bloody Red and white highlights done to completion.

However, these pics are white highlights complete and also all of the Khorne Red. Bloody Red is next, although I still think it's possibly a step too far. Then it's all the skin tones and any little elements, like spike metallics, ribbons and fancy day-glo running shoes.

I tried to stipple a bit to try and get texture into the shoulder pads but then carried on so that ll the top most areas are completely 'over-exposed'. I mean they're still alright but I know how good these models can look and it's a little galling not to have picked out some of that great detail.

They're all a little comic-book at this stage, which isn't necessarily a bad thing but I would like to do something a little different in the future.

Anyway, they're getting there and I've even primed some balls too and prepped the turn trackers . I think I may pick up the Ogre player as well to join the team, it seems like something the Marauders might do to bulk out their numbers.

Friday, 22 November 2019

Knights in Manufactorum - Renegade Knight banner

I had long felt that the base of my Imperial Knight Crusader - Lady Pettorini was missing something. There was a significant amount of empty space and I concluded a tattered Renegade Knight banner might break up the expanse of Red Planet BASE without adding any height [which I didn't want]. The initial plan was to get my mate Liam to paint it - he has Chaos/Renegade Knights and also a Nurgle Chaos army. I desperately wanted Lady Pettorini smashing the face off some filthy pox-ridden servant of disease -it would be poetically just. However, I eventually came to the conclusion it was something I had to do for myself. I wanted the banner itself to be a stained cream colour, so I could play around with washes to make it grimy. That meant the skull had to be black to stand out and the Nurgle symbol for my son's tumour could sit right in the middle where she could stamp right down on it. I also added the PXA acronym for the type astrocytoma [although actually it's an APXA]. Surprisingly I haven't looked too much into it - the fact we were told it was not as bad as they first thought meant we were just relieved and got him through the treatment. It's only know we're in a frame of mind where we have questions that require answers.

As freehands go it went OK, the skull isn't quite as defined as I'd like but it'll do. It was subsequently glued to Lady Pettorini's base, I added some back around it as it was spreading disease corruption and also some Anita's 3D Dimensional Glossy Black paint for thick black corruption bleeding fromthe cursed banner.

Now it's done it might be a little over-powering on the base than I'd originally intended. But a foul diseased banner, by its very natures, was always an imperfect thing so the fact the base is not perfect is inevitable. Ultimately it had to be done, it was cathartic and this post is cathartic. We are still a long way from relaxing about this situation, more than 4.5 years still to go and it's small displays of defiance like this that help me through it.

I've potentially got another hobby related protest against this filthy disease lined up, which could be different to my usual stuff. Just have to wait and see if it pans out. Anyway, this got entered in the monthly Warhammer Manchester Battle of the Brush monthly challenge for 'large models' and I should actually take it's gallery pics too at some point...

Monday, 18 November 2019

SPORTS FANS - It's Thursday Night Blood Bowl

Otty gave me a call the other day asking to play Blood Bowl. He's found a local league and has joined up, built a Goblin team from his extensive collection of random figures and need to familiarise himself with the rules. Despite my Middenheim Marauders being WiP I thought I'd take them along regardless. So here's some good old ES Posthumous to start the ball rolling.

Otty won the kick-off.

But was over-confident with the ball bouncing off  my endzone into the crowd.

My Thrower [Saul Tigh] recouped the ball and I sent one of my Throwers dancing down the line, while the rest of the team tried to systematically put down as many gobbos as I could. A troll even got floored, I came out of this turn really well.

On top of the trolls Otty also has a Goblin on a Pogo Stick [that looks awesome], a chainsaw wielding fanatic and a ball and chain loony. I think this was the loony's abject failure to pummel my Lineman and summed up much of Otty's game. Although I certainly found the crazy mix of characters, with the trolls to be a considerable challenge.

With the turnover I tried a number of things but ultimately my pass at full range was incomplete, I'm more used to playing Elves with their advantages so I was a big ask and the ball scattered at the Catcher's feet.

When the Pogo Stick failed to pick up the ball and it scattered it was a simple task for my Catcher to poach a touchdown.

I think I also did some damage in his team, pushing a couple of gobbos into the crowd.

Next kick-off and the pogoer managed to snatch the ball up while the trolls and secret weapons managed to KO/wound some of my players in return for my first round of injuries to his team.

I managed to make a break for the pogoer, but only pushed him back. The ball and chain was swirling around doing significant damage one turn and then avoiding every opposing player the next, it was fantastically random and funny to se..

Bouncing out of my grasp the pogoer went deeper into Otty's backfield...

...and then somehow managed to make it all the way here - that's what happens when you forget to take pictures and as it;s over a week since I can't remember what happened between pics or what happened next as I don't think it made the touchdown - I think I blitzed it and it was KO'd and there really wasn't enough turns left for me to get it upfield before the end of the first half. Not to mention it was after midnight!

Anyway, it was  good laugh, again hard to play because of the unfamiliarity of the rules. There's definitely something about Blood Bowl that feels more like chess in a way. Making the 'cage' is a key skill and maximising how tackle zones work. With more time I'd appreciate the nuance a little more and help improve my game. It certainly feels like a more balanced game than 40k, obviously there's random dice rolling and players stats gift advantages and disadvantages but for a Goblin team they had some really powerful characters compared to my average Joes. I don't know whether we'll be playing more games but it was a welcome change, I only regret not getting a close-up of Otty's teams as for only a couple of days work and scrounged models they looked great, maybe next time.