May 31, 2015

Batman Miniature Game - Initial Figure Thoughts

I've talked a lot about the Batman Miniatures Game this year and this post isn't going to be a departure from that. What were you expecting? It's right in the title of the post!

The first Knight Models items I worked on were the BMG objective markers. I've be bought another set so that I can provide enough for two players to use, but ended up making two more Riddle tokens due to the changes in the rules. More on that later however.

Sewers/Lampposts 3-pack

This is the Sewer/Lamppost Pack II. I ordered two of Pack I, which only contains two of each. However, adding those to my collection will give me a total of 7 of each marker. That would be enough for the basic D3 per player required to play the game plus an extra of each.

The sewer markers are quite nice in their simplicity. I've decided not to put mine on 30mm bases because I think they look silly that way. If we start doing official tournaments I might be forced to do so.

My opinion on the lampposts in pack II is mixed. I think they're very nice looking but I'm quite concerned about their long term survivability. The base insert is great and fits into a 30mm base with only a touch of filing down to get a smooth. The lower part of the lamppost glues down nicely after a quick file as well.

The spot that causes me concern on these models is the joint for the upper half. The models stand very tall and the contact point is a small amount of surface area. There was a small indent on the lower half which I hollowed out a bit on each one before gluing. A few of them didn't end up very straight, but I think trying to straighten them will ruin the integrity of the super glue holding them together. I'll be exercising a high amount of caution if I ever have to transport them anywhere.

Bane Crew Starter Box

Now that I was finally ready to work on some characters I chose the Bane crew box. I knew I'd be starting my hero team with Arkham City Batman and Robin who clock in at 198 rep. The points for Bane's crew don't quite work out evenly (184 rep) but they're close enough for some games to be played and fun to be had.

I opted to use some cast resin bases I already had rather than the generic ones that were included, so all of the character models I'll be talking about have had their base tabs clipped off before gluing to the bases. The flashing and mould lines was fairly minimal on them, and none of it crossed over major detail areas like faces or insignia.

This incarnation of Bane is much more less hulk-like than others, both in the comics and from the Knight Models range. I like that he's a single-piece model. When clipping off the tab I noted that the feet are a little stubby, and the hands seem a little small as well. His right foot is pinned to the base to provide a little extra stability for the larger figure. After leaving him for a few days I have noticed that I'll need to do another filling pass along the head and under the arms to remove some mould lines I originally missed.

Bane feels a little underwhelming. I think this is partly due to him being a single piece cast, but he doesn't have the depth through the chest from front to back that one would expect from such a large character. I'm also used to some of the hyper-musculature of lines like Pulp City, whereas I feel the KM range is aimed at being a little more realistic in terms of character proportion. I would have liked to see this figure sculpted without the jacket, to showcase some of the venom tubing that's present in the video game.

I was expecting Dallas to be the most nightmarish figure to build from the pack. Each arm is separate and they join together at the rifle and left wrist. Three point joins are always a pain in my opinion, but this one was a pleasant surprise. The left wrist join isn't perfect, but the shoulders both fit very nicely and resulted in a solid figure. He required a tiny bit of green stuff work to shore up the shoulder and wrist joint. Gluing the head in place did prove a little tricky simply because it's quite small and I kept dropping it while trying to wrangle it into place.

This is the only model in the set whose body is in two pieces. I had to do some trimming on the peg at his waist to get it to fit onto the lower half. In retrospect I should have pinned these pieces together. His right arm seemed to fit well when I was gluing it on, but when I looked at it from the back I noticed a spot that would need some patching with green stuff. It was bit of a challenge to simulate the fine lines in his shirt, but likely no one will care after it's painted.

This figure is my favourite of the four. Smash is a very appropriate name with that serrated hammer he's got. I was happy that the hammer's handle came out straight, but after trimming the ends of the arms and some of the upper body away I wasn't able to get both arms to join up nicely. I found it very frustrating and was happy for the volunteered help of a friend to try fixing up Smash's arms.

After trimming away a lot of the arms and body where they join he was glued together and a fair amount of putty was applied. The hammer's head had to be removed and reattached in order to make the weapon look straight.

Batman Crew

One of the things I love about skirmish games is the small model count. With a half-dozen figures plus some tokens I'll have two playable forces that will provide a lot of entertaining games. Bane needs an adversary, and we're talking about the Batman Miniature Game here, so why not start with the dynamic duo?

Robin's character card shows him to be Tim Drake, and this costume is the Arkham City incarnation. I like this costume a lot, as it takes the core of the Robin look over the years but updates it with some more useful items like a hood, some body armour and gauntlets. The hands and staff are a separate piece and took a few attempts to get into the right spot. I don't feel that the join was flush. I reinforced it with a tiny bit of green stuff and hope it'll be alright.

Last up is the Arkham City version of Batman. If I'm not mistaken this is the first figure Knight Models released for the game and it still holds up well. I love the look of this figure and think it captures Batman perfectly.

This model got trimmed and pinned at the waist to ensure a solid fit, as the waist joint had to support not only the upper body but also the cape. A tiny bit of putty work was added under the belt just to smooth out the join and add a bit more strength. I don't really love the join on the left forearm (the only other piece) but it's largely protected by the cape and I'm looking forward to getting on to priming and painting these figures!

Final Thoughts

I'm a bit torn on the Knight Models range for BMG so far. I love how accurate and detailed they are, but am disappointed with some of the small parts and difficulty in assembling them. They're definitely not intended for the novice modeller. I don't consider myself to be one, and yet getting good results constructing them was more time-consuming than I'd like.

Another observation is with characters like Bane who seems a little emaciated through the torso. Looking through images of other figures online, models like Nightwing and the Flash also seem to suffer from a similar problem. I don't own either of those yet however

I'm hopeful that getting these six models painted will make me feel like the modelling angst was worth it because I've got a lot more Knight Models figures to construct and paint. Getting these painted and on the gaming table will be the true measure of their worth for me.

May 29, 2015

Guild Ball KS Package Arrives

More stuff keeps arriving these days. It's cool and slightly disturbing at the same time. Cool because it's new toys, new games, and plenty more hobby to undertake. On the other hand it reminds me that there is money long-since spent only now turning into real items and it makes me think about the other things not yet delivered. Too much stuff in the long run.

Anyway, you're here to hear about my recently received items. Let's start with Guild Ball.

This package of stuff wasn't very large but it had a lot inside. The figures and a few other items were individually bagged, but the cards and all of the resin base inserts were rather unceremoniously dumped loose into the box. The absolutely great looking book suffered some minor scuffing on the cover and several of the cards were pretty dinged up.

After some time spent to sort everything out showed only one set of tokens was missing. A replacement set is being sent by the folks at Steamforged Games shortly. I have to say that they are top notch looking figures. The casting is very clean. It's a shame that some of them will need some bending and repair work during construction.

The only gripe I have is that during the campaign one of the first stretch goals was team-specific resin scenery goals. In the end something happened and the game producers decided not to do those. The communication to backers about that wasn't particularly clear or well explained, and it was disappointing.

Sorting this box of stuff was far, far easier than sorting out the Pulp City package. After having read through a good portion of the rule book I've decided that I'm going to start with Fishermen and Morticians guilds. That is, whenever I actually get around to working on this game. It could be a while, with all the other stuff I'm trying to push through right now.

May 27, 2015

Pulp City - Supreme Edition KS package arrives

A box I wasn't expecting arrived a few weeks ago: my Pulp City collector's pledge from their Kickstarter campaign! I wasn't expecting it because I hadn't received any shipping notification for it. I didn't think to take any photos while I was going through stuff, but I really should have.

First off, the stuff in the package was a little hammered. The heroes starter and package of cards were squashed and had obviously rattled around a fair bit. On the up-side, the book was nicely covered in bubble wrap and had suffered no damage when I removed it from the box. The character cards were also wrapped and protected well enough. The resin models were nicely packed in a small box of their own and all but two arrived unscathed.

The "Yeti" model has some very fine spikes that obviously broke off during transport, and are small enough that even had I found them it would be unlikely I'd be able to glue them back on. I might consider trying to sculpt some new ones, or just ignore them and paint it as is. Cro Mag also suffered breakage on one ear, but that'll be easily glued back on.

Aside from that the resins are easily some of the nicest I've ever seen. Pulp Monsters is to be commended on the quality of those figures.

All of the other figures were wrapped in bubble wrap in a huge bag, inside several smaller bags. This is really where my griping will start and end...this was an extremely difficult and time-consuming thing to sort through. I'm relatively familiar with Pulp City characters, and even I found sorting the various models and pieces frustrating. The models and their components were often not in the same bags, and several of them were missing pieces.

I went through everything twice in order to ensure that I had what I had ordered. That was made very difficult by the fact that I didn't know exactly what figures I should have been getting. After going through all the pieces twice, and comparing it against the pledge spreadsheet, I ended up with several figures that had no cards, several cards that had no figures, and a sizeable pile of pieces that I didn't know what to do with.

In addition to that, both my hero and villains dice were not included in my package, nor did I receive the resin monster kit that should have come with my items. An email detailing all of the missing items did garner a speedy reply however, so I'm hopeful that it'll all get sorted out pretty soon.

I'm looking forward to the rest of my items arriving, and in the meantime I can give the new rules a few goes with the figures I already have painted. Provided I can talk someone into taking the game for a spin...

May 19, 2015

CDBL Season 2 Championships

A short while ago we had our Season 2 championship day for the Calgary DreadBall League. After five rounds of league play Lar's season 1 human team, the "Massive Dynamic Iron Curtain" was in first place with 9 league points. This granted his team a bye into the championship game. The rest of the teams would vie for victory in a multiplayer game of DreadBall Ultimate.

Only three coaches were able to attend, so the semi-final game was played between"
- the "Keldoran Krushers" (Orx)
- the "Dwarf Fathers" (Forge Fathers) and
- the "Dread Monkeys" (Zees)

The DBU game was a first for all the coaches, and was a lot of fun. My Krushers got an early lead by scoring in one of the Zees' strike zones. A little bit of jockeying for points by both teams cut my score down to 1. In the 5th rush however I was able to push my total to 6, making me a target of both teams. Even with a concerted effort between them I was able to weather the storm and score another strike to keep my final score at 6 points.

If you haven't tried Ultimate I highly recommend it.

Lar's human team was awaiting their match against my Orx, and they were ready to lay down some payback for the last meeting!

I was the away team and started out by putting myself into a strong defensive position, knowing that the humans had a much better ability to score than my jacks did. Seeing an opportunity early however, I gambled and took the lead with a 3-point strike.

In doing so I knowing left my 3-point strike zone open, and despite my best efforts over the next few rushes I was unable to close the gap fast enough. My mistakes resulted in a 3-point lead for Massive Dynamic. Try as I might I couldn't close the gap, despite some valiant plays and a sacrificed goblin.

With the game out of reach and the final seconds ticking down my Orx resorted to smashing what they could.

In a dazzling display of skillful coaching Lar's "Massive Dynamic Iron Curtain" rolled their way to their first ever CDBL championship! Well done Lar, it was great fun. Congratulations!

"I won the championship, and all I got was this tiny little trophy.
Which I brought myself."

May 08, 2015

Guardians Chronicles KS - Wave 2 Package Arrives

The second shipment for the Guardian Chronicles 2013 Kickstarter campaign arrived last week. The package I received in the mail included three expansions (Terror Trio, Night Squad and True King of Atlantis), replacement figures for the core game (the core heroes and Skarov) and the backer-created characters.

I was excited to hear this had shipped and am slightly ashamed to admit it. There has been a lot said about the Kickstarter campaign, the quality of the original figures, the abysmal campaign communications and the clarity/quality of the rules. Since I put my money in so long (two years) ago, just receiving more of the product I pledged for is a pleasant surprise. We've played the game on three different occasions and while not without its problems, Guardians Chronicles is an enjoyable super-hero game and I'm happy to see the expansions arrive.

The Terror Trio expansion contains three new lieutenants for Dr. Skarov to enlist in his pursuit of his evil plans. They can be played with as a group or mixed in with the Kinoichi sisters for some unique villain teams. A scenario book and some new tiles round this one out, and it's interesting that one of the scenarios replaces Skarov as the master villain with one of his lieutenants instead.

The Night Squad is an expansion box containing four new heroes, based in Canada according to the fluff! They can be played as a team, or mixed in with the original heroes to create a lot more variety in team composition. With a game like this there will be some combinations that prove more capable or have more synergy than others. Discovering what those are will be part of the fun in my opinion. The box also includes a new scenario book and a few more tiles to use in your games.

The Atlantis expansion is an odd monster, providing Aquarion (an alternative master villain) and a new control room tile. Aquarion also comes with two different sets of his own minions, 5 of each. A scenario book and a few new tiles, adding water are also included.

In addition to the three expansion sets we get a batch of new heroes and their cards, Killeroo, Ms. de Green and Antaean. These were created by backers on the KS campaign. Adding these to game creates a sizeable number of combinations available to the hero players. There is also a new lieutenant (Lady Montague) in this batch, and is actually my favourite looking figure in this shipment.

Finally we received five replacement figures, to take the place of the four original heroes and Dr. Skarov included in the core game box. These are a nice upgrade, but it's a shame that we didn't get replacement figures for the Kinoichi sisters as well, because they are easily the ugliest figures I've ever seen in a board game. I'll likely find some replacements for them on my own just so they match the higher quality of the rest.

I apologize for not having photos of the new characters and replacement figures, it was late...

Although the boxes for the expansions are very nice looking, they really don't serve much purpose. The box for the core game has plenty of room to house the expansions. You can see above that I was able to sleeve all of the cards, and with a tiny bit of work, put together a simple divider system that will let me store everything in the box. There is still ample room for the wave 3 cards, but it'll be a bit of a squeeze to fit in all the figures and have a massive box of comic-themed fun!

It'll take a while to play through even a portion of this stuff but I'm glad that we finally received more of our stuff. Guardians Chronicles is a fun game, but Iello has a long way to go in regaining consumer trust after the shit-show of a campaign. I no longer feel like my money was wasted, but a lot of my time sure was. I'll try to recoup some of that by playing my game and getting some enjoyment out of it.

May 05, 2015

The Martian Manhunters Join the Ranks of DreadBall

When I completed my pledge for the DreadBall Xtreme campaign on Kickstarter a while back, I added a Martian team. It sounded like fun, having the scrawny little dome-heads running around the pitch shooting at people and/or getting smashed to death. The team pack came with the shipment that had all of the Season 4 items. It included a set of ten Martian figures equipped for DreadBall - 2 strikers, 2 guards, 4 jacks and 2 down markers.

The figures aren't a huge departure from the ones in my Mars Attacks! core game, at least the jacks aren't. The guards and strikers look to be different, but I think they might be based on the science team from one of the expansions. Sadly I only have the Mars Attacks! base game so I can't really be sure.

I wanted to make them interesting, and always try to think about who the coaches might be for a team. In this case I decided that DC Comics' Martian Manhunter would be a fun choice. It's a departure from my Masters of the Universe theming, but none of my research turned up any references to Mars or similar types of people within the various incarnations of MotU.

For inspiration I looked around online and found a version of Martian Manhunter's costume that I thought would make a good sports team uniform. This is the one I ended up choosing, but went a little lighter instead of black.

I've never been a huge fan of the wounded markers, simply because you have to remember which player you've put the marker on the pitch for. I was also sad that there were no extra players included in the pack. Most of my DreadBall gaming is league play, so not having any extra figures for my team wasn't really an option. So I took another look at the wounded markers to see if I could make them into more players.

They would both need a left hand, so I found the smallest ones I could from some of my Deadzone zombie bits. The left legs were also missing a piece below the knee. I chopped the right leg off of one, trimmed the foot a bit to make it look a less like a right foot and glued the whole thing in place. The upper leg from that guy ended up on the other model, with lower legs from another zombie. He got some shoulder pads from my Judge Dredd zombies and looks like he could be a guard or even a keeper.

Posing the other guy was a challenge and he appears like he's winding up for a kick. For anyone wanting to customize these, the material takes super glue very well. The material is easy enough to repose with hot and cold water but I just couldn't get that left foot into a good position. Maintaining all the other posing I had already done AND getting the foot into place just wasn't going to happen.

The rest of the figures were easy enough to paint.

The helmets are a bit of a pain to glue on. There isn't a lot of clearance to work with, so I ended up with a few that have glue on their brains. Since white glue dries clear it's not a big deal, but it's worth keeping in mind.

I had a chance to try half a game with them while demoing DreadBall to a friend the other day. They were quite fun to play, but your players will be getting kicked out of the game for cheating, or smashed to the ground and dying horrible deaths pretty often.

Bonus Item:

I have had the MVP Firewall painted up for a long time, and forgot to post it. Here he/it is, painted up to match the colours of my Etherian Horde robot team.

May 04, 2015

Empire of the Dead - Vampire Starter Painted

These have been on the to-do list for a long time. I think it was over a year ago that I painted my werewolf starter box. I think these were primed black at the same time and have been taunting me with their need for paint ever since. Ironically enough, they've been finished for several weeks now, and I'm only just getting around to posting took me a while to get some decent photos taken.

I started with the bat swarms, adding the one from the Reaper Bones first Kickstarter campaign to the group as well. As you can see, the depth of detail on the Reaper swarm is way better. If I remember correctly, the starting list for vampires can only afford to take one swarm, so I'll likely use the Bones one if it comes to that.

The various thralls and goons turned out pretty well. I tried to give them similar but not identical outfits. These are some pretty dynamic one-piece models, especially when compared to the bat swarms. Generally speaking Westwind does a nice job with their single piece casts.

I wanted the consort to stand out from the group, and elected to paint her in a purple gown rather than trying to match the colours of the count or the goons. I think both she and the count ended up looking very close to the artwork on the box, but I'm ok with that. The vampire lord model looks great too, just like his bride. The fact that these are single piece models I find really impressive. They're easy to paint and look quite good when they're all finished.

Now I need to get a few games in between these guys and the werewolves. There are plenty more figures for Empire of the Dead in my unpainted pile of metal and plastic, but in the meantime some games should be played!