Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Band of Orcs: this one goes to 11: Redux

(The pictures are now up on Impact! so it's now safe to bring these back up on the blog... )

Impact! Miniatures has made miniatures of an Orc rock band.
Approached by an actual band of orcs, named appropriately enough, A Band of Orcs, to have miniatures created in their likeness, they'll be unveiled at GenCon this year.

The miniatures are 28mm scale, and there are 5 miniatures (6 if you count the drum kit as separate).
They are all one-piece casts, except for the drum kit's cymbals.

They are very nicely sculpted.  Lots of character in my opinion, and some very fine detail, such as metal boar-head clasps.

They were very fun to paint. I tried to get as close to the actual band as I could.

These would make great sideline miniatures for fantasy football teams, especially orcs of course.. what team wouldn't like their own rock band to get the crowd going? Other uses, beyond just having as a fun project for the shelves, I can imagine them in a post-apocalyptic setting, or 40k Ork lootas emulating noise marines? Individuals used as unit musicians in a fantasy army? Would make a great unit filler too.

On to the pictures!

Gogog Bloodthroat

Cretos Filthgrinder


Hulg Elf-r.i.p.per (fun coincidence- I always have a black orc on my orc teams named 'elf-ripper'.

Oog Skullbasher
-I love this drum kit. here is a shot of it to see the detail when the drummer isn't in place:

The band line up:

Check out the miniatures at Impact! Miniatures.

For more info on the band and to see what they look like when not in miniatures, and details on the GenCon appearance  go to their site.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Weird World War II Battle: Testing Tank Rules

Gearing up for the future casual-play Weird World War II campaignette we're planning, we tested out some rules for tanks within the framework of the Goalsystem 'Chaos in Cairo' rules.

Those rules weren't seemingly intended for heavy vehicles, but general consensus is: vehicles are fun and we'd like everyone to be able to field 1 in their skirmish force if they'd like to.  But how to make it balanced? We'll be limiting vehicles to nothing more substantial than a light tank or equivalent, but to test the rules we threw a load of tanks on the field, and nothing but tanks, so as to get as many shots happening as possible to see how it felt for tanks: if the simulation created the feel we're after.

Using the Chaos in Cairo model, we gave most tanks a shooting of 3 dice from Ag3, add one for the gunner, one more if moved 4" or less, one more if firing at a vehicle that it fired on in the previous turn (tracking) and 2 more if unbuttoned. We started with spotting rules, but tossed them out as needlessly complicating things. Giving 2 extra dice for targeting from unbuttoned tanks worked out well.  It motivated people to shoot at unbuttoned tanks, which caused them to close those hatches! Even if you can't damage the tank, it helped to reduce their sighting to limit it's effect when firing back at you.

We also started with a double system for damage: a vitality stat like standard Chaos in Cairo, and also a damage chart for flavor.  We soon abandoned the vitality, feeling the chart gave good flavor but also worked well in general, and it's nice not knowing just how much damage a tank can take. It is a lot more fun when shots might destroy a tank, or could continue to annoy it, doing only minor damage to tracks: you just didn't know, so no metagaming like 'oh, that tank has just 2 vitality left so I'll shoot at it'. etc.

The scenario started with German Tigers, Panzers and an older light tank & a Stug  on the field as a squad of 4 american light tanks tried to hightail it out with info on the German position. Or at least that is what it looked like to the Germans...

The lights shoot back as they head toward the board edge.
The lights took some damage, but moving so fast, most of the German shots went off-mark. The return fire the Germans suffered was barely more than an annoyance. So far so good on the simulation.

But what's this? A rumble from the woods to the left and a company of Shermans with a Lee & AT emerge, springing the trap! They concentrate fire on the two closest tanks: the first Sherman shot reduces the German light to rubble, so the other two Sherman shots are wasted (declared fire per group activating on a card: the benefit & drawback of acting in unison.) The others did a little damage to the Tiger, but not much: With 12 armor to the front and 2 rerolls, even the AT with 12 damage dice plus 1 for a well placed shot make it hard to do much damage.

Maneuvering is key, when it's possible. Trying to get shots on side & rear armor is nice when you can pull it off. But hitting such locations at an angle give the defender extra defense dice, an aspect that appeals to my sense of realism.

We didn't play it out to the end but we got a good test of the rules. We made a few good adjustments.
And I'm glad we won't be seeing any Panzers or Tigers in the skirmish game! 

Friday, July 29, 2011


The local Blood Bowl league runs in a 3 month on / 3 months off pattern.  In between, our commish runs Legends of the Old West.  I wasn't able to play the last time, but had worked on getting some Bandidos for the league.

I'd never played the game before, but I like Modheim, I like Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle game, and I like Clint Eastwood Westerns.. so why not?

I have already had to miss one of the first two sessions, but hopefully that'll be the last I have to miss.

I'll try to chronicle the rise to power of Frito 'El Rojo' the Bandido as he carves out a small empire for himself.

Here is the bandit posse of Frito El Rojo, pictured center.
Some say they are outlaws.  This is not true.  They make their own laws.  They are the law.
So put away your badge lawman. We don't need no stinkin' badges!
The bandidos are very much a 'speed painting' project.  Done fast & simple.
I don't get much time to paint for myself these days, so I've gone for simple & impressionistic here.

My starting Heroes, (l-r): Julio Iguana, El Rojo, Rosarita, Feliz.
After the first game Rosarita got a shoot stat increase and bought herself a rifle.
All of these are from Black Scorpion except the one on the far left, which is Reaper.

The toughs. The posse only started with 4, but I have 2 waiting to join up.
These are all from Black Scorpion: excellent sculpts.
I saved 2 miniatures to be converted later for making a couple vaqueros, if they ever make enough cash.

The peons. Cheap, barely effective and unreliable.  But I did mention cheap right?
They have their uses in-game.
These are from Foundry.  Quite a bit smaller in scale than Black Scorpion... more like 25mm. so even with the integrated bases I elevated them with some cardstock, then built up their ground to hide it.
Overall not a bad effect I think.

The Iguana.  our good luck charm. Just noticed I have to finish his eyes ;)

Battle Report:

My first conflict was against some Plains Indians.
This was a learning experience, since as I mentioned, I'd never played the game before. It was a simple 'go out and get 'em' battle, in the wilderness.  a couple small hills and a clump of forest.

The Sioux warband looked a lot like mine, but better: 12 members to my 13, but his braves seem a lot better than my peons, his shoot is higher and leader is better in hand to hand. Plus he had a repeater rifle for his leader and a mess of bows.  I had all six shooters except the peons who had machetes. So I knew range would be a problem. I figured go cheap, and buy equipment after the first game.

 Mistake #1: I'd forgotten LotRSB rules for terrain is true-sight, so the woods I was approaching behind didn't give me much cover at all. I discovered this as the Sioux opened fire on me and took out a tough. Yikes! I had to run 2 turns forward just hoping.  I took no additional damage luckily.

As the shoot out ensued I had a big problem: he could move a bit back and fire, so that he'd be out of range of my pistols. If I ran forward, I risked being charged by his superior fighters.  We 'danced some' taking about equal damage. I ran the peons forward, with toughs & heroes a bit behind- he charged the peons, then I used everyone to fan-shoot through them! Risky indeed, but why not? My peons are cheaper than his braves, and likely will die anyway in protracted brawls.  I actually got very lucky.. the peons must have known this was coming and ducked: none of my peons were hit, but I dropped a couple Sioux, evening the odds.  I got next priority so charged in with the bandits.  It was a pretty even fight, we both were past our break & run point, but I had priority first and failed my roll and headed for the hills.

Wakan Tanka was with the Sioux that day, not a single out of action lead to a death. Meanwhile, my dice weren't so good: I lost 2 peons and a tough. My leader gained a wound and Rosarita got better at shooting, and after replacing the lost men bought a repeating rifle for Rosarita, so I'd at least have one who could shoot at range. Looking forward to their next outing!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Super Dungeon Explore: to delve or not to delve?


So I've been seeing updates on this game for awhile now on TGN and been teetering on the proverbial fence for most of that time.
I've never been a big fan of the particular art style of big cutie heads on adult baby bodies. A friend of mine is a loyal player of League of Legends, but I've never played games like that, so the style doesn't hit me on a current or nostalgia vein.

So the adventurers aren't the most appealing to me, although I do like the look of the kobolds a lot.
Maybe my cutesie tolerance is much higher for animals than people.
Plus the Kobolds still have a mean look to them, though they are cute: not a bad combo for a kobold.

Not just the kobolds.  TGN showed a picture of the dragon that comes with the set.  I love it.
Actually I'd like one just to have for use as a 15mm dragon!

Something very appealing about this to me.  Sure, it's a touch cartoony, but the artistic design is brilliant.  The flow of the pose is very natural & dynamic.
GW could learn a lot from analyzing this sculpt.  I'm not sure they've ever made a dragon I liked.

If the miniatures are hard plastic, not the soft plastic you find in most board game miniatures, and the rules are solid then I have to say I'm tempted.

The last thing I noticed about this game I find amusing.
Here is part of the text for the Kobold Flinger:

Their Hot Pot, special attack quickly turns a Hero’s new linen cape into a flaming torch while they conceal their escape thanks to their Smoke Pot special action.

Is this intentional?  It's sure to bring up a few jokes at the gaming table.
Does the flinger get away, or does he just sit on the couch and eat cheetos?
Thank you English language for your uncertainties resulting from things like having the same words for an adjective and a verb.

Links: Super Dungeon Explore

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Just ran across this, and looks like a very fun movie!
I don't expect 'great cinema' from this type of faux-reality genre, but it does look entertaining.

I'm instantly drawn to the art concept of the trolls.. very Brian Froud looking, and my first thought is "I want minis of these'.


TROLLHUNTER: "Shot in a vérité style, THE TROLL HUNTER is the story of a group of Norwegian film students that set out to capture real-life trolls on camera after learning their existence has been covered up for years by a government conspiracy. A thrilling and wildly entertaining film, TROLLHUNTER delivers truly fantastic images of giant trolls wreaking havoc on the countryside, with darkly funny adherence to the original Norwegian folklore."

Friday, July 22, 2011

BLA: Assembly of the Greystoke

Professor Maximilian Poireau realized that while Europe was putting effort into the advancement of the tank, such a vehicle would be of little use in the mountainous jungle terrain of the Congo.
Guides assured him the only way to get deeper into the interior and up the mountains was to walk.
Therefore the solution was simple.

A walking machine was required to get to the locations they needed for exploration and to defend the Great Apes from poachers.  And thus the Greystoke was envisioned.

When the BLA takes the fight to Europe, these machines should prove quite valuable as a weapon of war.


I made this from a R.A.T. from West Wind Productions.
I didn't do much converting as you can probably tell.
The hull has an exposed cockpit with a driver. The driver is fine, (though it didn't seem to fit without a lot of clipping of his arms) but I decided to make a closed cockpit for a few reasons:
1. Versatility: now I can use this in the BLA, or for my Quar, or as a 15mm sci-fi vehicle.
2. I just like how it looks better this way.

Overall, I love this model.  The design is fun with just the right balance of menace & quirky for my tastes.
The only problem is the construction design.  This was very annoying to assemble.  Not recommended for people who are not comfortable with pinning. The holes for where the leg pieces are supposed to slot into were half-filled from casting errors, and even when excess metal was removed, the hull is so heavy it creates far too much drag on the leg joints: sturdy pinning is required.  Similarly the hull attaches by a flush contact with the plate at the end of the 'body piston'. If it was plastic or resin it might be enough to glue it, but not a solid chunk of metal. I sunk two pins all the way through the connector plate, so they'd look like bolts on the back end.  The cockpit roll-bar was also very badly mangled when I got it, but managed to get it to the right shape. The metal seems a bit soft: thin parts like the arms seem to bend quite easily. It will take some gentle care to keep those arms from someday breaking.  So I mounted it on a 60mm metal base.

Even with the assembly issues, I'm very happy with this unique model.

Here it is with a BLA soldier for scale:

And here it is next to a 15mm mini.

With the closed cockpit it works well either way, maybe only a difference of 1 crew or 2.
For 15mm I plan on using it for my as-yet-to-be-started British Lunar Marines as a Churchill S17 to face the Nazis on the Moon for the sci-fi pulp setting.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rebel Girls: More Roller Girls

More Roller Girls, this time the punks.
Definitely fun potential for hair, clothes & tattoos.

Enjoy the music!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

B.L.A. : Belgian Liberation Army

The early days of the second world war was a time of mankind's deepest despair and highest hopes.
It was an age that closed the door on the steady march of progress and leaped out into the unknown and unthinkable.
Mighty machines would stomp across battlefields.
Monsters stepped out of the shadows to lead men and men embraced the shadows to become monsters.
Ancient magics vied for dominance against the minds of the future.

Professor Maximilian Poireau could wait no longer to bring about the Utopia he had dedicated his life to, working in his lab in the Belgian Congo.  If he did not act there would be no world to save.

For good or ill, these were the last days of mankind as we knew it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Big Game Hunters' Safari on Venus: Battle Report

If you didn't see the game rules and hunting party construction guide, you might want to read that post first.

Motivated by the potential publicity, and the prize purse, offered by the Zoological Institute of Progressive International Taxonomists, four notable Big Game Hunters set out to claim the prize.

A Cytherian Parrotman hunter and his faithful companion, accompanied by a menagerie of fighting men from various tribes and races. These two have names unpronounceable, due to the fact they have a kinetic language, so to learn their language you'd have better luck signing up for a modern dance class than a language class. 

Allan Quartermaine and his followers, bolstered by a semi-submergable clank.  
To not scare off any camera shy natives, his camera was cleverly hidden in a tusk. 

The Swedish Hunter, two assistants, homeguard troops and offworld warriors. 
Svanhilla won several awards for photography in Oslo, and is determined to give viewers back home 
'a woman's perspective' of Venus. 

A companion of Kneemo's expedition, it wasn't surprising to see a clank among this hunting party. 

Venus awaits, but will not yield her secrets willingly. 
The entire table is considered dense vegetation, with visibility no greater than 20" unless looking down the river or if a clearing is discovered. 

The safaris begin as the parties head toward Thunder Valley.

Quartermaine is one of the first to spot some natives, partially obscured in the jungle: the fierce Draniki. 
His clank takes point, thrashing through the foliage, flailing his arms...wildly.

The Draniki take aim and fire, but to little effect. 

More Draniki on the move. 

Meanwhile the swedes are alerted by a piercing shriek, but the steely-nerved hunter brings the beast down. 

Quartermaine spots the strangest creature they have seen yet, looking like a big brain and tentacles. Not taking any chances, they fire. He finds his vision unaccountably blurred, but the creature's mind tricks are no match for his skill and a mess now decorates the underbrush.  A photo is taken, titled 'Linguine & Leaves' but it is not to be well received.  
Kneemo's men find trouble as well. Investigating an eerie blue glow, they find it's source. And open fire.

The Parrotman's expedition makes its way inland, following the river.

Approaching the remains of the brain, Quartermaine's men are attacked by walking trees!
A prolonged combat ensues with the treacherous trees.

The Cytherian company's rear-guard is attacked by a fair sized predator.  Soon after a larger one of the species comes to its aid, and when it is gunned down, this young one fights all the more fiercely, bringing down several of the diminutive warriors.

Meanwhile, their native primate allies move up to investigate a sinister looking cave.

Who's that knocking at my door?

The enormous quadrupedal hunter comes out for a meal, but while distracted, is hit by several well aimed shots.

Another brain creature emerges from the murky swamp. The primate warriors are on their own for now.

They manage to finish the beast off!  
Enjoy it while you can lads, because your employer is sure to take the credit for himself.

After dispatching the tree-people, the noise has attracted a hunting pack of Grishak: small, fast & hardy. 

Not content like Quartermaine to fuss with small prey, Kneemo's man spots a gigantic beast.  
Could this finally be the mythical Thunder Lord?

The Swedes run into an even larger brain creature, which is soon joined by two more small ones! 
Wounding the big one, it responded by inserting a tentacle into a man, draining him of life and the rest of the men watched in horror as the creature's wounds began to heal. Poor Svanhilla would not survive this day.

A thunderous roar erupted, accompanied by the ground shaking.  The true Thunder Lord entered his valley to meet his unwelcome guests. 

Few were not terrified at the sight and sound of this nightmare.

Brave or foolish, the little Grool, those who had defeated the cave-dweller charged forward in blind courage.

Grateful for the larger carnivore being distracted, the smaller, but nevertheless formidable Alice charged the shiny creature before her as the men opened fire. In an amazing display of skill (6 goals out of 7, with a couple 6's in there which count double) she ripped the clank's head from it's body with her jaws as her slashing toe claws ripped the metal of it's chest, to settle her weight on the clank, crushing it.  
Two myths were dispelled this day: Dinosaurs are not extinct, and there is no such thing as canned food. 
She will finish off the soldiers, who die in defense of their employers. She is mightily wounded, yet the hunters are close to her jaws. Their story remains unfinished, perhaps someday their tale will emerge from the jungle. 

Quite proud of his trophy of tree-creature, much to the amusement of his men, with their muffled remarks of the 'Brave Bushwhacker', Quartermaine sees the great Thunder Lord itself, and readies his rifle for a kill shot. 

His clank will be no help in this fight with the mighty dinosaur, for it has been ambushed by a Draniki hunting party. 

With his inadequate eyesight, the mighty lord peers into the jungle to spot his foes.  He can not see them, but their scent is strong: smells like chicken.
The great beast is wounded by several shots and spear-thrusts from the foolhardy Grool.  
Quartermaine is readying his rifle to steal the kill shot, but the notable Parrotman hunter, 'hippy-hippy-shake' (or something to that effect) was just a moment faster and brought the great beast down.

A victory celebration ensued for the native expedition. Many photos were taken.  
The photos will be studied by earth scientists, though reports in newspapers in every country seem to have omitted this last part. 
But the parrotmen know the real story and for them, it is enough. 


Each player got 1 point per vitality loss it inflicted, and for beasts of 3 vitality or more, they got the full vitality points for the killing blow, since for hunters who gets the actual kill is where much of the bragging rights are. 
Players also got 1 point for a photo, and 2 points for photos of formidable creatures.
For physical specimens, players got 1 point per porter carrying 1 vitality creatures, 3 for each carrying parts from 3 vitality creatures and 4 points for each porter carrying parts from vitality 4+ creatures.  So it taking 2 porters to carry the rex skull, would be worth 8 additional points.  It didn't take precise math to see the parrotmen had the lion's share of the points. 

If there was one thing I'd change about this, it would be to make the initial encounters stronger. I imagined this like designing an RPG dungeon crawl: it's a balance of attrition: you want to weaken a party as it goes along, but not so much they have no chance against the final encounter.  There wasn't enough attrition, but still the big beasts were tough nuts to crack. Also, the rules we used have close combat only allowing 1target in a henchman group to die from one attack. Some of these beasts should be able to kill more than one so for the biggest I modified those rules on the fly to allow them to kill up to 2. Only taking down 1 henchman in a group at a time put the medium threats: devanu hunters, brains, will-o-wisps, etc at a real disadvantage compared to the parties' numbers,which limited the attrition they took. Still, it was a fun game, the players seemed to enjoy it and I know I did. 

Thanks to the players and you can see Mike 'shimey-shimey-shake' Parrotman's write up and excellent pictures (some of which I used here) at his site  Rot and Drivel.  Vegetation provided by Alfrik, with many tutorials on how to make them on his site Armored Ink.

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