Archive | March 2016

Sir Darkness

Or the Dark Knight.

One of the birthday gifts I got from my wife was the gorgeous Batman (Arkham Knight) by Knight Models.  If you have never heard of Knight models, search them on the web and max out your credit cards.  They have done some spectacular comic book models.  They have a Batman Miniatures game, and now Spiderman and Marvel heroes.  The models are 32mm scale so they are a bit bigger than most models on the market.

Well in theory.  If you have been collecting and painting miniatures for even a little while you have realized that scale is very subjective, even within a single company.  Considering most 28mm models are a bit bigger, and some measure the 28mm to eye level instead of height.  These models also incorporate scenic bases for the most part so they tower over other models.  But, the gargoyle does actually reduce the scale creep because mentally you recognize he is standing on something.

Anyhow, on to the miniature.

Batman by Knight Models.

Batman by Knight Models.

I sat down and painted him in a single evening.  The clean-up I did the night before.  Not the cleanest cast model I have ever held, the was flash but very subtle mold lines.  The clean-up tool was exclusively a scalpel, I didn’t even touch my files.

I painted him using a successive wet-blend and highlighting to the lightest grey I went to.  Unfortunately I primed him by hand with acrylic paint so the paint kept rubbing off.  So I chose to seal him with my gloss sealer and hopefully tone it down with a matte sealer at a later time.  There is a lot more subtlety in the blending that the sealer just masks.

Batman by Knight Models.

Batman by Knight Models.

As shown with Deano, he isn’t really out of scale with the other figures.  And yes, Deano is getting some paint.  I got frustrated the other day as I painted over his left eye while adding in his eyelid.  I also really buggered up the eyes on another miniature I was painting at the same time so they will wait until I feel like doing the last salvage before stripping.

Batman by Knight Models.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Batman by Knight Models. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Now the tough part comes: how to figure out his stats in my game.  I love Batman.  Mostly because he is just a man with a will to do more.  Sadly, this means his stats will put him at a critical disadvantage against the super-powered heroes.  I am at a loss on how to figure out how to balance him out without making him over-powered.

Hopefully this short post was inspirational, if nothing else to try your hand at something pretty that is on your shelf.

Super Hero first game

For those who don’t care about my ramblings on the games I design, feel free to scroll down…oooh pretty pictures.  For the rest of you (and I will pretend there still are readers), my wife and I played the first game of the super hero project I have been working on.  Although I do intend to produce scenarios down the road (I have 4-5 in my head that need tweaking), we just played a straight up fight.

To play this scenario, both players select models up to the agree on total level and play until the first model is removed.  The first game was played at 6 points – that means 2x level 3 heroes.  A model has 1 wound for each level and their attributes drop in level for each wound inflicted.  On the side of good (played by my wife) we have Black Widow and Iron Man facing off against Whiplash and White Huntress.

Urban terrain at a corner. Soon to be site of an epic conflict.

Urban terrain at a corner. Soon to be site of an epic conflict.

The table itself is quite small (approximately 2’x2′) and it is intentional.  This is a fast and dirty skirmish game.

The first couple of opening turns were quite boring.  Both Black Widow and White Huntress made use of Stealth and due to lucky die rolls, neither one was spotted by the other side.  This meant that each was effectively hidden until an action other than a move was taken.

White Huntress lurking in an alley.

White Huntress lurking in an alley.

Iron Man lands on a balcony to survey the scene from cover.

Iron Man lands on a balcony to survey the scene from cover.

The initial probing moves left Iron Man trusting to his suit to protect him as he led the way to draw out Whiplash.

Player cards. Move from left to right, top to bottom.

Player cards. Move from left to right, top to bottom.

The initiative system is a different type of inter-twined turns.  Turn order is based first on the Cunning level, then by Rating.  As shown, Black Widow always went first, then White Huntress, Iron Man and finally Whiplash.  At any time, a player can have his model delay their turn.  Simply move them to the top of the next stack.  Why would somebody do that?  Normally to avoid attacks or wait in ambush.  If a model is wounded before their turn, the move in the initiative order based on the modified attribute level.  To activate a model, the player picks up the card and places it beside them to clearly indicate who is left to act.

Iron Man hovers and takes aim at Whiplash.

Iron Man hovers and takes aim at Whiplash.

White Huntress Lures Iron Man to the ground.

White Huntress Lures Iron Man to the ground.

After the initial cat and mouse, Iron Man flew low to take aim at Whiplash.  His blasters streaked blue energy across the sheet-metal fence, keeping Whiplash safe from harm.

When-ever any obstacle is in the way, there is a chance it is struck instead.  After rolling the attack, the attack is re-rolled to check if the obstacle is in the way.  A result of 1 on the die or a total less than 5 will strike the object.  In this case, Iron Man rolled a 1 and the otherwise critical hit harmlessly scorched the fence.

Following his attack, Whiplash moved forward and started over-charging his whip.  The next attack he made would be devastating.  Meanwhile, Black Widow was able to Distract Whiplash and leave him idle.

White Huntress reached out with her mind and Lured Iron-Man to the ground.  With the critical success she rolled she was able to move Iron Man twice and effectively cancel his next turn.  She then took careful aim at his conveniently exposed back.

Iron Man has the Vehicle ability.  This means only the most powerful attacks (with Anti-Tank) can hurt him.  White Huntress has a character attribute she can use to choose an item, and she chose her next attack to have Anti-Tank.  So she effectively had 1 chance to take out Iron Man.

White Huntress aimed wide with her shot and missed.  With no actions remaining to use Stealth, she was left in the open and vulnerable.

White Huntress tries killing Black Widow while Whiplash is dumb-founded.

White Huntress tries killing Black Widow while Whiplash is dumb-founded.

Black Widow, meanwhile was not idle.  She managed to Distract Whiplash, effectively ending his turn.  Distract removes an action, if the roll is double the defense, then the victim loses two actions.  Black Widow was just too Cunning for Whiplash.  As he stood there stupefied, she snapped off a shot with her pistol and missed.

White Huntress instead moved in to target Black Widow.  She dove past Iron Man and snapped a quick shot at Black Widow’s back, nearly dropping the super-spy as she inflicted 2 wounds.

White Huntress’ ability Ambush inflicts an extra wound when she attacks from behind or from Stealth.

White Huntress is struck down by Iron Man.

White Huntress is struck down by Iron Man.

With her attack failing to win the game, Iron Man quickly took off into the air again and fired a blast at White Huntress.  As the energy bolts struck the ruthless mercenary, the game was won.  Iron Man rolled a critical that was 3 times the defense roll of White Huntress, inflicting 3 wounds with one attack.  This ended the game.  All together, the game lasted maybe 15 minutes.  A very quick and easy to play game.

But wait, there’s more.  At that point, we decided to play a second game with 3 models per side.  Now the Avengers had the most powerful threat I have assembled: Hulk.

The Avengers stage on either side of the street.

The Avengers stage on either side of the street.

To the forces of evil I added the Silver Samurai.  Knowing he was the only guy I have (other than Dr. Doom) who had any sort of chance against the Hulk, and would be very tough to wound by either Black Widow or Iron Man.

Hulk measure...

Hulk measure…

The Silver Samurai has Armour that doubles his Defense rating against all attacks (except those with Anti-Tank).  Both Black Widow and Iron Man gained Anti-Tank when they scored a critical hit…a tough prospect with the modifiers in this case.

The first round saw Hulk showing off.  With Leap he is able to ignore terrain that is under his move value in height and distance.  The small gap between buildings saw Hulk leap to the next roof…

...Hulk land!

…Hulk land!

…and use a second move to land on top of the car parked out front.

Iron Man flanks the villains and unleashes volley after volley.

Iron Man flanks the villains and unleashes volley after volley.

The other initial moves saw the two sneaky ladies again roll very well on Stealth and Iron Man use his Afterburners to move to the far corner.

As he zoomed into range of Silver Samurai, his shots were deflected by the nearly indestructible armour of the villain.  In ominous preparation for the melee with Hulk, both Whiplash and Silver Samurai began to Overcharge their weapons as they slowly advanced.

Overcharge is an ability shared by both Whiplash and Silver Samurai.  This lets the model spend an action to increase the die roll of the next attack by +2 and it gains Anti-Tank.  Oh, and it stacks so they are able to spend multiple turns increasing the lethality of the eventual attack.  After doing this twice, both had a good chance of hurting the Hulk, even if Iron Man stayed out of reach of their whip and sword.

White Huntress tries to psychically control Hulk.

White Huntress tries to psychically control Hulk.

Whiplash and Silver Samurai squaring off against the Hulk.

Whiplash and Silver Samurai squaring off against the Hulk.

As the Hulk sprinted across the street, White Huntress reached out with her mind to Lure Hulk away from the fight.

My cunning plan was to pull Hulk away from the fight and let both of my fighters keep Overcharge build-up going until they could finish Hulk with a couple of quick swings.

The strong-willed Hulk shook off both attempts to Lure him away.  Iron Man saw that even Hulk could have trouble with two and fired at Whiplash, inflicting a wound on his nemesis.  Seeing the only option for victory was slipping away, Silver Samurai teleported beside Hulk and swung with his sword…and barely scratched the unstoppable beast.

Tough is one of the nastiest abilities I developed.  The model ignores the first wound each turn.  Since Hulk has a very high Defense, this makes him very dangerous.  Had Silver Samurai rolled anything but a 1, the Hulk would have at least taken a wound.

As both Hulk and Whiplash had the same Cunning they roll each turn to see who goes first, with Hulk having the initiative, he grabbed Silver Samurai to Throw him at Whiplash.  Missing the car, the Silver Samurai was thrown with tremendous force and took out both himself and Whiplash on his flight.

Whiplash and Silver Samurai after the Hulk was done.

Whiplash and Silver Samurai after the Hulk was done.

Throw enables a model to throw, a distance determined by the margin of success.  If something else is hit by the throw, then the new target also is attacked.  Since the car was avoided by the attack, Whiplash was also attacked and suffered two wounds.

This of course ended the second game, but Hulk not finished.  Hulk use second action to throw car.  Hulk happy.

Hulk rage!

Hulk rage!

Both my wife and I enjoyed ourselves.  She commented that each of the heroes definitely fit in the genre and played like their characters do.  She did comment that Hulk was fun, and kind of hinted that maybe he was a bit over the top.  So I showed her who could stop him dead…Dr. Doom.

I dropped him down only a short distance from Hulk.  In initiative order, Dr. Doom lashed out at Hulk with lightning and inflicted a wound.  Hulk ran in and used Smash (yes I went there, it is actually a melee attack with Anti-Tank).  At that point she rolled a ridiculously large number and laughed.  Then I showed her that Dr. Doom can ignore fatal attacks with his ability Escape DeathEscape Death negates fatal attacks by using a character trait or equipment, Dr. Doom has two character traits so essentially can ignore the first two times he is killed.

In scenarios, Hulk will be less valuable, as he can do two things well: smash and survive.  If the objective is to disarm a bomb or close a portal spawning endless enemies his Might will be of questionable value.  All around heroes like Nick Fury, Iron Man or Dr. Doom then prove to be much more valuable.

The next play scenario may see the trial of the handicap system: if a player chooses fewer levels of models, they get additional character traits in a pool they can use on any of their models.  As these give access to the key abilities needed to target a specific ability, a lone hero like Batman would be quite dangerous.

Hopefully something inspired you today, if nothing else to give those crazy ideas you have a try on the tabletop.

The Controversial Spiderwoman

Although this particular character has had a bit of controversy when her first solo comic series was started, I won’t delve into it too deeply.  If you are interested in researching the topic, I encourage you to do your own research.  It took a lot of delving to find both sides of the story and sufficient evidence for me to make up my opinion.  I do have strong opinions about one-sided reporting with skewed facts, so I encourage my readers to do their own research.  Not just on this, but on any sensationalized story.  You would be amazed how easily facts can be shifted to evoke emotional responses.

Enough ranting, on with the miniature.  The model was fairly well cast but I see I missed a mold-line in her hair until I was doing the highlights.  As it is not blatantly obvious, I chose to leave it.

Although the lining on the eyes, gloves, and boots was cast, the remainder of the black-lining was freehand.  Not the best and in giant scale I see a couple of spots that are a bit shaky.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.

Believe me when I say I highlighted the red…but it just blends in too much.  The red was glazed over my brown-base coat and went on much too smooth…none of the creases are visible.

To top it off, I did a bright red blend with this dark red to do wet-blending to bright red on the raised/tensioned body parts…and have nothing really noticeable.  Well, I know where to look and I see it.  In the bright lights, completely faded out.

As a change of pace for this post, I thought I would talk about how the abilities function in the game I am working out.

spiderwoman_card

Most of the abilities of Spider Woman are fairly transparent.  She can climb, she can jump, and she can shoot venom.  All taken directly from the comics.

But what is the Acrobat?  Well the attributes and skills combine to give effects.  The spidey sense of finding ambushes and hidden enemies ties to the Cunning attribute.  Stealth is an opposed roll vs Cunning.  She is very hard to hide from.  Or distract.  However, it further plays out her spidey sense with the Acrobat ability: she can use her Cunning to defend against attacks.  In comparison, a different character with similar abilities would have a different shtick.  For example, Black Widow has Acrobat as well, but it covers off her rolls, jumps, and other darting about.  As another example, Hulk has Leap, but it refers more to the ability to jump when you are a gamma radiation monster than any spider-linked powers.

Now the red terms under equipment (including Spidey Sense) are kind of like the genre abilities that allows free choice of options.  Either one can be used to get a specific single use piece of equipment to take an extra action, heal a wound, or detect hidden models.  Another use is to fuel abilities.  For example, Dr. Doom’s uncanny ability to escape danger is reflected in his ability to spend these “items” to completely nullify an otherwise fatal attack.

Hopefully this insight to where I am going with this game makes sense to folks.  Any feedback would be appreciated on that.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy.  Dr Dread by Reaper Miniatures.  Proxy for Dr. Doom.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures as Spiderwoman proxy. Dr Dread by Reaper Miniatures. Proxy for Dr. Doom.

In closing we see Spider Woman facing off against Dr. Doom.  Is it a deadly battle royal?  A nefarious plot to have her switch sides?  A stark contrast of opposite spectrums of the colour wheel?  Tune in next time to find out.

Hopefully something was inspiring for you today, if nothing else to try finding out the truth behind the headlines.  I find myself often referring to the old adage:  Knowledge for what (purpose), knowledge for whom?

Avengers and X-Men and Spiders, oh my

I had a bit of free time this morning and was able to make a bit of progress on a few figs.

Captain America, sixth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, sixth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, sixth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, sixth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, sixth stage of sculpting.

Captain America, sixth stage of sculpting.

First off, Captain America’s boots got a bit of progress.

As shown, I have added in the laces to the front and the edge flaps that hold the boots together.  Yes, the entire top will get blended down, but the laces were my priority for this morning.  I stopped the laces from going the full way up as I am putting the shin guard on and there is little reason to do work that will not be visible.  In fact, most of the laces I did sculpt likely won’t be visible.  Oh well.  Slowly but surely he is taking shape.

I have decided I will add a bit of fabric bunching on his knees, at his boots, and butt…in short the places that would show the difference between spandex and fabric.  But now I need to stop my half-ass periodic sculpting of hands and heads…the time for those parts is coming fast.

Storm, first stage of sculpting.

Storm, first stage of sculpting.

Storm, first stage of sculpting.

Storm, first stage of sculpting.

Storm, first stage of sculpting.

Storm, first stage of sculpting.

Second, we have my second sculpt shown.  My wife’s favorite super hero is Storm from X-Men.  Now, she has had a variety of costumes over the comics and movies so I asked her which one she wanted, and it is Halle Berry as Storm from the first two X-Men movies.

So far I have added the join between her breasts (including the zipper) and the flared bottom of her pants.  The zipper does go all the way up to her collar but her collar will have to wait for the head so I will leave room to blend and tie it in and carry on once her head is done.  After trying a few different poses, including a walking pose, I decided to have her flying.  Her left hand will be a fist and the direct of her focus.  A flying Storm ready to call down lightning.  Again, I am sure there are better pics that could be taken, but these are the ones I needed to see my work.  I am still not 100% with the right pant bottom but I will leave it for now.  At normal scale it looks good.  I did resculpt these 4 times (and her chest twice because of fat fingers).

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures.  Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Blood Widow by Reaper Miniatures. Deano by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Last up today we have a very simple conversion.  I am taking Blood Widow from Reaper and converting her to Spider Woman.  That consists of…well to be honest paint.  She is a bit taller than Deano, but she is standing on her tip toes, so she is actually a bit shorter than him.  And yes, for the hard-core comic nerds, yes she was an Avenger too.  And a Hydra Agent.  And a freelancer.  And has worked with multiple heroes and villains.  So overall, she deserves her own category and can be used by any side in the game I am working on.

A short post today, but hopefully inspiring.  If nothing else I hope to inspire you to tackle those bigger projects as smaller bite-sized stages.

Super Progress

With the arrival of the weekend I have managed to squeeze a bit of hobby time in.  Since my kids were running around, the best option was painting as I was fairly certain I was going to get interrupted sculpting.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures as Nick Fury.  Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures as Nick Fury. Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures as Nick Fury.  Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures.  Ekaterina by Hasslefree Miniatures as Black Widow proxy.

Cobra by Hasslefree Miniatures as Nick Fury. Nomad by Hasslefree Miniatures. Ekaterina by Hasslefree Miniatures as Black Widow proxy.

The first mini to get finished is the Hassle Free miniature Nomad.  As I mentioned in a previous WIP post, I intend to use him and the other two trooper types as generic “agent” types.  The dark blue I chose was to tie him to Nick Fury without directly tying him to only that role.

The dark blue suit could be a police or special agent uniform, possibly even some sort of colour blind special ops guy.  I elected to go with green web-gear and gun straps as I discussed before, I want him to look like he grabbed the biggest gun he could and then the only thing to hold the ammo wasn’t the new pattern the others use.

It wasn’t until I painted his beard and added highlights I realized he looks a lot like Chuck Norris.  If I decide to get silly in my super hero game, I can do the Chuck Norris version of him.

As he will be called Agent Nomad in my game, I figured it would be ok to show him with other SHIELD agents.

Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Dr Dread by Reaper Miniatures.  Proxy for Dr. Doom.  Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Dr Dread by Reaper Miniatures. Proxy for Dr. Doom. Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.  Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy. Nakayama Hayato by Reaper Miniatures as Silver Samurai proxy.

Another quick paint I did today was my version of the Silver Samurai.  I used Nakayama Hayato in Bones by Reaper Miniatures as a base.  He did have a banner pole, but the detail was soft on where it joined his back and the Silver Samurai was never depicted with one.

I painted this figure very quickly, start to finish I spent maybe an hour on painting him (outside of waiting for his primer to dry).  I started from a dark blue and worked up to white to evoke the bluish shadows of silver in comic books.  Even if he reads more white than silver, I am happy with the effect.  The only difficult part was drawing on random slashes to represent kanji on his prayer scrolls.  I am impressed with the model, but some details were a bit soft.  I may go and get the metal one at some point to paint as a traditional samurai.

If you are unfamiliar with the Silver Samurai, he was a villain who featured mainly in the Wolverine story line.  Although not a villain per se, he is definitely a bad guy.  On numerous occasions he partnered with villains and led organized crime syndicates.  His powers/abilities were a bit limited: he had his armour (very tough) and the mutant power to make his blade cut through anything.  In some stories he also had a teleporting ring.  All told, he was a very tough opponent, and he was a recurring threat to Wolverine not because of him being more powerful, but because of their past and close connection.

If you saw the Wolverine movie, you will know he faced the Silver Samurai, Gundam style.  Yes Gundam, giant fighting robot, although Gangnam style might work too for how I felt watching it.

Anyhow, to show him beside team evil, he has Dr. Doom.  Also featuring as my only other melee guy is Hulk.  I added in an ability I actually designed to reflect the two biggest fighting bad-asses from comics I like: Wolverine and Batman.  The ability is simple: double an opponent attack roll and get a free melee attack.  I originally wrote it to be any attack in short range but  realized it might be a bit over-powered.

Anyhow, I hope this little update inspired you today.  If nothing else, it can show that a quick and simple execution can give you a table-top quality figure in no time.

Shopping Time

I decided to take a break from working on Captain America to finish off a few terrain projects that weren’t finished.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

The most work was spent on the shop.  As I was going for a corner store type building, so the signage and adverts are designed to reflect that look.

The dumpster was the first of possibly many to come.  I may go back with stencil type lettering to give it company name.

The biggest new piece for this terrain is the use of plastic windows.  As my WIP showed previously, I cut down to the paper on the outside on the inside of the walls.  This gave enough room to glue in the plastic sheets.  Prior to gluing them in I attached the flyers and posters to the inside of the “glass”.  As a final tough, I did a wash with brown to give the windows a dirty, streaked appearance to fit in.  I also did throw in a rolling door which is new too, but not really much of a step up.  Not as visible due to a bit too much light is the wash of grime and rust pools I did on the roof and walls.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

The other two buildings are no major changes from my other buildings in this style, aside from the inset piping.  I like how that looks and have started to incorporate it into the other buildings I have started.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Sci Fi urban terrain.

Also getting finished was the first bus/transit stop.  After some back and forth, I decided against the plastic windows.  Partly because I am not 100% on how it would look.  The other part being on how sturdy it would be.

As an action shot, today I demonstrate why Bruce stopped taking the bus to work…just too frustrating.

Sci Fi urban terrain.  Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

Sci Fi urban terrain. Clay Golem by Reaper Miniatures as Incredible Hulk proxy.

A short post today, but hopefully inspirational.  If nothing else, it might give you that nudge to try raising your projects to the next level with the little details.