I’ve been on a tear recently, painting a number of models in quick succession. I started out trying to catch my Cryx army up this year to fully painted, and I’m well on my way.

The list started out this year like this

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

I’ve now managed to Burn it down a bit

Asphyxious III
Vociferon
Deneghra I
Erebus
Scavenger
Plastic Slayer Omnijack
Plastic Crab Omnijack
Revenant Crew Riflemen x3
Iron Lich Overseer
Bane Thrall UA
Bane Knights x10

and while I’ve been painting It got me thinking about a number of things regarding painting itself that I really wished I’d have known back when I started that really, really helped me be a better painter. Some of these are going to come out of left field, but some of them should be helpful.

Lets start at the beginning, shall we.

Brushes! Everyone uses them, and the many people know what brushes the highest level painters use.
Ghool reviews them Here.

raphael-8404

But why use a good brush to begin with? I didn’t use one until I painted the Kraken two years ago, and only then because I had a specific purpose. First, because almost every synthetic brush will curl. This creates a huge problem when trying to be accurate while painting. Its very hard to stick to raised edges, hit eyes, and put on accurate highlights with a curved brush. I used to think it was a moderately helpful defect, but once I grabbed a Natural Hair brush, I was sold.
Additionally, most synthetic brushes you can get cheaply are water repellent, which means that the paint goes on the brush instead of in the brush. This results in a synthetic brush drying up quicker, as the water is exposed to the air instead of encapsulated in the brush. It also results in almost no control over the paint itself, as the water tension will work to release all the paint at once as soon as the brush touches the model. This adds into the first aspect, as you’ll tend to use less paint in the brush each time you go back to the paint. This in turn will result in a less smooth model as you constantly have to run back to the palette to get more paint. Additionally, synthetics tend to fray insanely fast, busting out in every direction as soon as you look at them. In a year and a half of constant use, I’ve had three individual hairs fray on my two natural brushes.
Finally, and this one applies only if you’re trying it, they don’t wet blend. I tried almost every brush with every tactic I had in order to get the wet blend to work on my Kraken, until Meg Maples told me to get actual, real, brushes. Lo and behold, it solved the problem.

Now, I always thought that the brushes were expensive, and they are, but they also last a lot longer, and perform better than most synthetics. I recommend Dick Blick for all you’re brush needs. I ordered mine a few days back, and they arrived 4 days before the expected delivery date!

Connected to the paint, is the palette. regardless of whether you use wet or dry, its extremely important that you paint with watered down paint. When I was trying to figure it out, the term they were trying to use was “consistency of whole milk” whatever that meant.  I don’t know a really good way to say it, but the right watered down consistency feels correct on the brush, its not runny, and applies right where you want it, without needing pressure. If its too runny, add more paint. If its too hard to apply, add more water. Its not a science, yet, but you eventually get used to it.

wet palette

Along these lines lies the scrubby brush, which is something that Meg Maples told me about. Its simply an old brush purposed to fix mistakes while painting. I’ll let Meg’s article explain. In all seriousness, this thing has saved more projects and more time than I could have ever expected!

Once you’ve gotten a set of brushes, I usually go with a 1 and a 2, the palette and scrubby brush ready to go, Its time to get to actual model work. I am a firm believer that the right primer makes for the best model possible, and after trying a number of different ones, I’ve settled on the best. Dupli-Color Sandable Automotive Primer. Its amazing, is thin, and sticks like hell to the models. Without a clear coat, I’ve only had one chip on all the models I’ve painted with it so far, and that is on Gorman Di Sea Wulfe’s stiletto, a pointy and vulnerable part.

Lastly, before we even start painting, there are methods to holding your model so your oily, nasty skin doesn’t rub off the primer. I used to just try and hold the model, but that gets very nasty, very fast. Your hand can cramp right up, and your fingers tend to rub the primer off of places that you hold often: Head, weapons, etc. We’ve all seen pinning to a dowel, and that works for some, but what I really like it an old spray point lid. I’ll put double sided tape on the top, and just slap my model on it to paint. The hand has a lot more area to grip and I’ve painted models as large as Karchev this way, including tipping him upside-down to get some underparts. I will say that you can re-use the tape, but every part exposed to the air tends to get less and less sticky over time.

While this method is good, I can’t say that it works for large units or multiple models. What I have seen recently is an ingenious idea I have blatantly stolen. I saw a whole unit of Gunmages sticky-tacked to the top of the old GW paint bottles. The Hexagonal ones. just load up on the sticky tack and press them in. Voila, small based models ready to go!

The very last thing I’d like to point out is food and drink. Many people suffer from unstable or shaky hands, and this can partially be alleviated in some form by a few small steps. First, paint on a full stomach. Being hungry and low on sugar can cause your hands to shake, and it can be extremely distracting. Avoid high doses of caffeine while painting. I know its good for an up all nighter right before a con, but its a stimulant, and that can really exacerbate the shaking.  lastly, if your the type to partake in adult beverages, have a cocktail or beer while painting. Alcohol is a depressant, and it can really slow down the blood and quell the shaking. And, who doesn’t want to have a white Russian while painting Khador? I mean, really!

Next time out, probably next Thursday, I’ll be talking very basic color theory. Even just these little points have helped me immensely with difficult to shade and highlight colors.

It took them only a little longer than they said, but in late December, my WWX models finally arrived. Thankfully, they are very nice models. Unfortunately, the rules leave a lot to be desired.

Geronimo, the model I backed the kickstarter for, is an enormous pile of plastic and resin larger than a Slayer. Sadly for me, their is a huge gap in his raised arm, and I can’t put him together yet.

The Great Elk, the second model I really, really loved, is an enormous model as well. Almost as tall as the Kraken, but not nearly as wide, long or cool, he takes up a goodly portion of his enormous base without enveloping it.

Sitting Bull, of which I have two, is a unique prospect. The game has True LOS rules, which are dumb, but the models here really exemplify why. Standard Sitting Bull is a pretty cool model. Alternate Sitting bull is also a cool model. But, due to the way TLOS is, the alternate is the only logical choice. He is 50% smaller and 3/4″ less wide. at only 1.5 inches tall, his alt for can hide behind many barriers that his original sculpt cannot.

Walks Lookings model is pretty cool, but the one hand keeps falling off because its stupid resin arm is glued by the smallest of small joins.

Sky Spirit is a fun model: Were-birds just aren’t as represented as they could be, and he’s taking full advantage with a giant spirit bow. Sadly, this model too has problems, and has a hole in his damned foot.

Energy Riders are next up, but, sadly I only have one. I ordered 3 energy riders, and got Energy rider #3. The other two will have to wait some time, I guess.

Stone Fist is the Cav leader, and he’s just not well designed. His horse goes together alright if they give you 2 front and 2 rear legs, instead of 3 rear and 1 front. His Torso, however, is busted as hell. The angle of the mold cut is terrible, and his arms don’t fit where they are supposed to. The best solution on the forums is to hot water-bend the model into place, which is a terrible solution. Yet another model I cannot finish.

Sadly, as I unpack, I realize that I ordered the wrong Mercenary model, and get stupid Jake Mattia instead of awesome Flowing River.
I mean, Jayne is cool and all, but who doesn’t want River Tam!

I’ve also got a pile of base inserts, but not enough to do the whole crew. I’ll just put them on important or good looking models.

The Hired Hands are the basic troopers, and they come in boxes of 10, with 5 melee and 5 Ranged, The models aren’t all good, but the ones that are, I really like. “Two Guns” and ” Fighting Backward” are both models I would rather do without. And while we’re at it, I’d like less static ranged options. oh well!

All in all, the models are a cool bunch. I’ll be glad to paint them up when the time comes, but there were so many problems with them overall, that its just, I don’t know its worth it. Maybe, like Malifaux, the 2e will be glorious!

Its been quite some time since I’ve painted a model for me to use, I do believe. I remember painting up Jerek of Jhord for the IKRPG game, but I can’t think of anything in my warmachine or hordes or Malifaux models that I’ve painted for me. Instead, I spent the last year Painting models for my Gator Exchange. I paint something for them, They paint something for me. It was cool, but It didn’t really motivate me to paint a ton. I do have some outstanding ones yet, but I’m working on it. One day I’ll have an Internationally painted army. While it was great, I wouldn’t really do it again, I have to work on my own stuff!

I’ve painted: a Gallant that went to Ireland

A Magister and Artificer that went to Iowa

A Totem Hunter that went to Utah

A Vassal to Georgia

Karchev and a hrullg to Massachusetts

Seige to texas

Blood of Martyrs to Maryland

and Anyssa Rusaal to Utah.

(not pictured) A Dougal McNaille to both Kamloomps BC and Tennessee, Rhadiem to Colorado, and a Helldiver to Iceland

I also participated in a generic Excange, and painted a model for someone else in payment:

Reclaimer, for a recent Exchange

Sylas, in payment for Siege above.

and finally, I started and finished my PG Gorman di “Sea” Wulfe:

 

So, with the first model I’ve painted for myself in just about a year, I’m ready to get rocking and rolling again. and I am really, really jacked to get  back into my Cryx and finish the models that I have left: Crabjack-Chassis, Scavenger, Asphyxious the Hellbringer and Vociferon, Revenenat Pirate Crew Riflemen x3, Erebus and Iron Lich Overseer. I also have some duplicates as well: Scavenger Helldiver, Deathrippers x2, Slayer, Warwitch Denegra and a Necrotech. We will see how all of that pans out in the year to come. I’m just really looking forward to painting some models for myself, and not for others!

 

 

I was going to put up this write-up about Wild West Exodus on Thursday, but a friend of mine convinced me that the Goreshade and Bane Cavalry one was better timed. Thankfully he did that because I found something today that makes this post a lot easier to write, though a little more depressing.

behold: The WWX Quickstart Rules.

This is the craziest quickstart document I’ve ever encountered. It is 8 pages of insane rules gibberish and tons of exceptions and special rules. Its not quick or a start.

My Journey through the WWX landscape is a sad trail. It was the first kickstarter I’d found all on my own, looking for miniatures games too stretch my budget a little farther. I happened across this strange-looking Wild West science-fictiony game. It had some really cool concept art and basic Miniatures. It was alternate earth, which had worked well for Malifaux, and the factions were intriguing.
The Outlaws, Lead by Jesse James
The Union, Lead by General Grant
The Enlightened, Lead by Dr. Carpathian
The Warrior Nations, Lead By Sitting Bull.

Each had their own take on the world, some more unique than others. the Outlaws were pretty standard, as was the Union. The Warrior Nations were an amalgamation of all the Native American Tribes. The Enlightened, however, threw me off. They are a strange amalgamation of Undead and technology that seemed a little off. Maybe its just the way that it clashes so starkly with the other three factions. Each of those are their own take on something in the world, while Carpathian and the Enlightened are from Left-center.
Anyway. I was happy with three of the four, so I moved forward with trying to spread the word. Maybe someone else will get into it with me.
I had no such luck. I did get 3 other people to jump in, and I was pretty stoked that maybe I’d get some games in once the rules came out. The models were cool, and I had hope for the game.

The of the Warrior Nation just called to me, Starting with this bad boy

Geronimo. Add to that Werewolf Sitting Bull, Wereeagle Sky Spirit, a giant Goddamned Elk. All the warrior nations to that point were a ton of fun, and As each new model was unlocked, more cool things showed up, including the new factions: Confederacy, Lawmen, El Ejercito Dorado, and Holy Order, Heavy support, Cavalry/Light support. Tons of cool looking models and neat ideas.

But, for every four good ideas, they had a terrible Idea. A giant $100 train that is not a model in the game, but has some part in scenarios, Mercenaries inspired by Firefly, Ladies models that cater to lonely men, and Weapon carts pushed around by bulky Indians.

The biggest problem I had, though, was the structure of the Pledge levels. It seemed designed to make you pledge much more than you’d like just to get what you wanted. Its different from the structure you normally see, the entices you to go bigger. This specific setup gives you more things, but they are generally more things you Don’t want in order to get what you do. there wasn’t a single pledge level that tried to steal you to one full faction, they all added more and more factions. It was… frustrating.

So, I was looking forward to the beta test rules to come out, but there was some trepidation: They would only come out once the pledges were finalized and the Kickstarter ended. In retrospect, I’ll not back anything that I can’t see the rules of first. It would have changed a lot of what I have done since then.

Because the rules were awful. The beta rules came out with some giant, gaping holes. Stats are difficult to comprehend and read, some abilities made no sense on the models they were on, and balance was completely shot through. It was so easy to tell that this game was built with fun cinematic battles in mind, and that the best way to play would definitely be casual, club or home tables. However, With every pledge came a free ticket to the AZ based Duelcon and entry into their first tournament to be held. They clearly had aspirations to be a balanced, tournament worthy game that held a candle to the big tournaments of other games. However, their scenarios were terrible. I don’t mean bad or sloppy. They were just awful. Deployment and initiative favored one player over the other, and placement of terrain was part of the game. I don’t know if any of you went through the point in minis games where you thought placement of terrain was part of the game, but its terrible. I gave some serious feedback. However, no lie, the responses were overwhelmingly negative. Many people expressed anger at the tournament and balance crowd, while the balance crowd was very frustrated with the “but its fun” crowd. It was among the worst forum experiences I have ever had, and it was very divisive and overwhelmingly negative. The final nail, though, was the final rules set. Very little was changed from the original setup, regardless of discussion or debate, no matter how reasonable. The biggest and most important change, though, was not a change. There was a very specific rule, and I can recall the details fairly clearly.

There was a rule that penalized characters that are good in combat for being in combat. Each turn, a model can make as many melee attacks in a Fight Action as their Strikes stat. So,Geronimo, Warrior Nation Boss has a Strikes of 4. He can make 4 melee attacks in a given round. Sounds awesome! However, The rule in question reduced the amount of strikes he could make in combat by the amount of people he was in melee with -1, to a minimum of 1. This rule absurdly penalizes characters who have the sole purpose of being in melee, for being in melee, while also not penalizing characters who are bad at melee. This was discussed very vehemently, and almost the whole of the community thought it was lame and made no sense. Outlaw miniatures response was overwhelmingly terrible: They put a call out in the next set of rules specifically stating why this rule was not terrible. No one was convinced and it was, by far, the strongest reason for me abandoning the game forum and escaping to a miniatures games that seemed good.

Fortunatly, the Outnumbered rule does not seem to be on the quickstart rules. This is a start in the correct direction. However, for every move forward they seem to move another step back.

Included in the rules are such strange, esoteric rules like:
Armor: -When a model is hit, it must make an Armor Roll. Roll a D10 and add the target’s Armor Stat to the roll. Then subtract from this total the Power of the weapon. A negative result means that your Armor has failed to stop the attack and the model has suffered Damage. Mark one Lifeblood box on the target’s card for each point of Damage suffered. When a model has its last remaining Lifeblood box marked, it is removed from the table as a casualty.

D10 + Armor – Weapon’s Power = Damage

Example 1: An Outlaw with Armor 1 is hit by a Union Soldier’s Blaster Pistol (Power 8). The Outlaw player rolls a D10 and gets a 4. Added
to its Armor 1, he gets a total of 5. Subtracting the 8 points of the weapon’s Power, you get a negative -3. This means that the Outlaw takes
3 Lifeblood damage from the hit.

This is insanely ridiculous. Negative number are confusing and foreign to the way a game should be. especially because the solution is so easy: Power -(Arm + roll) = Damage, expressed as a positive number. Example one can be so simply rewritten.

An Outlaw with Armor 1 is hit by a Union Soldier’s Blaster Pistol (Power 8). The Outlaw player rolls a D10 and gets a 4. Added
to its Armor 1, he gets a total of 5. Subtracting that from the 8 points of the weapon’s Power, you get 3. This means that the Outlaw takes
3 Lifeblood damage from the hit.

The only words I changed were in bold.

The final issue I am going to go into here is that bonuses and penalties are expressed in relation to the stat referenced. Because the stats are better when they are lower, (you want to roll over the number listed) the bonus and penalties are reversed. a +1 is bad, and a -1 is good. This could have easily been changed to be shown as a penalty or bonus to the roll itself, to better align the game with player expectations. Its complex for complexities sake, and really could have been done better, cleaner, and been a great game.

There are tons more stories about rules that were dumb or weird or didn’t make any sense, but I’ll let you imagine what was going on.

Fast Forward to recently, and I am starting to get excited about the models, as they are finally getting ready to ship. The container is in customs, getting pulled and checked, and we have simple weeks to wait. We get the update on kickstarter and it has a bonus surprise, a glimpse at the next Boss we can expect to have in December:

I’m pretty sure that the middle snippet is of a werecat of some sort, and to me, it struck my excitement level back up to 11. I could have a werecat leading my Warrior nation army around. There could only be glory!
But then, a day later, I found the link to the quickstart rules, and all hope was lost, again.

I’ll get a review of the models once I get them all in, and Hopefully I can send some of them off to someone who will really enjoy the game, while I paint up a cool set of Warrior Nation models to sit on a shelf somewhere.

This is the longest post I’ve written, and I’m sad that its negative. Thanks for Hanging in there!

I got another game of Malifaux in last night.
I played my final Thursday night game against a Tara Crew with my Perdita Crew.
In that game, Perdita Ortega, Spanish gunslinger and Demon Hunter, was charged by an enormous Nothing Beast.
She calmly stared it straight in the eyes, drew her gun, and shot it once, killing it.

This type of evocative, powerful narrative that plays out on the tabletop with Malifaux is really what makes it shine among the other minis games. No other concentrates as much awesome and insanity in as tiny of nuggets. With no more than 20 models on the board, we were able to have an exciting game with clear rules and only a few disputes.
The Scenario was some sort of murder-fest, in which we had to kill two models in a single turn to score points.
The schemes were Protect Territory, Plant Explosives, Assassinate, Distract, and Line in the Sand.
I was trying to Protect Territory and Plant Explosives, and he was trying to Protect Territory and Distract. I managed to set up some explosives, while he managed to steal a point from me by using papa loco to kill himself and the Austringer. We both Protected a ton of territory.
In the end, we tied the game. Francisco the lone Ortega on the board, Facing down his totem, a death marshal, and a nightmare creature. It was glorious

I play the game very little, and am trying to learn the way it plays. Intrinsically woven into this game is the scheme and scenarios, that allow the game to be fun and fair with a semi-natural endpoint. The Endpoint is actually the one thing I dislike in the game. I have found that the organic endings created in Warmachine are much more satisfying than the forced end of game that both Infinity and Malifaux have.

However, it is mitigated somewhat by having enjoyable schemes and strategies. Figuring out what you have to do with your crew and how to manipulate your opponent and your objectives are something I find mentally enjoyable.

Currently, I don’t announce schemes, as I find it hard enough to learn the game itself without my opponent trying to screw me and working directly cross purpose. I know this lessens my chance to actually win the game. I’ll take my licks while learning so that when I take my training wheels off, I’m that much better.

From Reading a bit online, Diestra, one of the Upgrades for the Family, was one I was really ready to get my mitts on. I put it on Perdita, as she only has SH attacks, and therefore will always benefit from it. the [-] on SH defense flips is really, really helpful to Perdita, as it will almost always guarantee a hit. Which will allow her to pick the best poison with which to stamp out her opposition.
The Nothing Beast was one such model. With Point Blank adding rams on all attacks while engaged, and Critical Strike making each ram do +1 damage, I ate a soulstone, giving myself 2 rams, and then ended up cheating in a third. My damage was 2/4/5 bumped to 5/7/8. Given Papa Loco’s dynamite, I was sitting at a cheatable damage flip, and cheated in enough to kill the bugger in a single shot.

I don’t feel that this same activity would have gone on in M1e. One side or the other would have been rocked off the board before anyone was able to really get a cool groove on.

Nabing McMourning, and knowing that he wants to run a guild guard crew makes me pretty psyked to pick up some guild guard in the near future. Hopefully after the wave 2 field test I’ll have a better idea of what to take with him.

The game is fantastic, and every time I say it it feel a little better in my mind. More masters are definitely in my future!