Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Basing: Newspaper

This is something I've tried out yesterday on my new Mr Graves:


Looks pretty good I think and it couldn't have taken me less time.

Like all my good ideas, I nicked it from someone else, namely an entry in Wyrd's recent Rotten Harvest contest of a Zombicide Female Walker by Wren (you can see it here in fact).  I thought it would add a bit of extra interest to the street basing.

This was really easy to do:
1 - I did a google image search for old newspaper headlines and picked a suitable looking one.  Obviously avoid the ones that look too modern or say something like "Elvis is Dead" on them.  Mine says "Giant warehouse fire ravages city street" on it.
2 - Copied the image and pasted it into Word, then reduce it in size down to something suitable.  I wasn't sure on the exact size so I did three or four copies of it at different sizes.  Then I printed it out on the cheap printer paper we have at home.  This means the final result is not too thick.
3 - Cut out the one you want a position it on the base which I had already painted.  Crinkle it up as required, but be careful not to show the non-printed side.  I used super glue to attach it.
4 - I gave it a light coat of PVA here to strengthen it but I'm not sure that is really required.
5 - Finally a light wash of Gryphonne Sepia, particularly in the folds and you're done.

Really easy, took me about 5 minutes and it looks pretty good.

Here's a rubbish photo of the final Mr Graves that I took on my phone:


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Terrain: X-Wing boards

I've been building several boards recently for the club and for use at Vappafaux (tickets on sale now by the way).  So the club isn't stuck with a lot more Malifaux boards than we really need, Ben asked me if I could make the other side of the boards into boards for X-Wing.  That's a game that has really taken off in the past few weeks at the club.  Here they are:



These probably took half an hour each to do.  With an airbrush you could make these look amazing pretty easily, however I don't own and airbrush to I had to do the best I could.

Here's what I did:
-Sprayed the whole board black using cheap car primer I got from Poundland.  You need two cans per board.  It's not mega even but it gives it a bit of interest not be too flat.  Let this dry.
-Using white paint (I used household emulsion) and a 2" brush flick paint onto the board to be stars.  I try two methods for this.  The bottom board is flicked the brush at the board which resulted in large blobs.  The top board I flicked the brush across the palm of my hand which results in smaller, finer blobs.  Both methods work but the top one looks better to me.
-I next cut out a circle from a piece of thin card (a cereal box) then used that as a template to paint the planets which I did in either green (household emulsion again) and brown (some brown spray paint I had left over).  A tip would be to use something heavy to weigh down the edges of your template to get a crisp edge to the circle.  Mine was a big ragged and I had to touch it up with black paint and a small brush.
-Once the planets were dry I stipple on a light shade of colour (ratskin flesh for the brown planet and camo green for the green one) and touch up the edges to sharpen it up.

Pretty easy and they look fairly decent.  With an airbrush or a can of purple spray paint I would have added a nebula or gas cloud type of thing across the centre diagonally and then put the stars on top of that.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Malifaux: Tournament tie-breakers

As I've been working on the rules pack for Vappafaux recently, I've been giving some thought to tournament tie-breakers.  In most cases a Malifaux tournament is decided on the following scores:

-Tournament points (3 for a win, 1 for a draw)
-VP differential (I.e. Rewarding you for the big wins)
-VP scored

In a three game tournament like Vappa there's a good chance there will be plenty of people on the same tournament points, meaning that most places come down to VP diff.  But what happens if two players are exactly even on all three stats? This is an edge case but one I need to prepare for as it more likely in a 3 game event than a longer event.  I don't actually have an answer to this yet.

It could just go down as a tied result, but that then may introduce problems with the rankings points and prizes.  At the other end of the scale, a flip off is a totally arbitrary way of doing it and leaves one player feeling robbed.

I'm not sure what else to include here.  There's nothing much else in Malifaux which could serve as a count back since something like how many soulstones you've killed isn't a reflection on how the game works, neither is masters killed.  Time permitting a 20 SS hardcore game could do it since they're decided in 20 minutes but again not ideal.

Any ideas from other systems or Malifaux tournaments?  Let me know in the comments or on twitter @tigerstyle40k.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Malifaux: Lynch Crew Completed

This one has been quite quick in getting done, about 10 days from starting painting the first model:


I'm fairly happy with them.  The Beckoners have come out well, they were nice models to paint.  Jakob and Huggy are not Wyrd's finest hour in terms of the sculpt.  It was pretty much beyond my skill to make Huggy look good.

The Beckoner on the right had to get a new Green Stuff hairstyle in the end as I inadvertently snapped her head off and had to re-pin it and re-build her neck.  It's come out pretty well in the end though.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Terrain: First two terrain sets completed

Vappafaux terrain building continues.  I've finished my graveyard board completely:


As you can see from the picture above, the board itself is based on 9 1'x1' floor tiles.  While this doesn't look quite as nice as a single sheet of wood, this board and setup is for me to use personally at home so it needs to pack up small.  Space is at a premium in our house due to vast amount of crap we have, so this board packs into a space of 1'x1' and less than 3" in depth.

Terrain-wise I've run several test games with the above setup and it works OK.  The hedges and church help to bisect LoS across the board and prevent it being dominated by shooting.

I've also got my ruined village terrain set done.  This one is still slightly in a state of flux as I've not had chance to try this layout in game as yet:


The board in picture is my tile board again, but I have since completed a dedicated 3'x3' board for this (which will live at the club).  It's nothing special just green grass.

Next on the table is my badlands/desert board.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Malifaux: Learning Lessons

If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants - Sir Issac Newton


Let me preface this post by saying much of what I am talking about here has been said in one form or another by others, particularly the gaming legend Joel Henry on his blog and on twitter hence the quote at the top of the post.  

I wanted to talk about a game I played on Wednesday night this week against my friend and clubmate Sam and some things I took from that game on both sides which I'd like to apply to more of my Malifaux gaming.

The game was 50SS Squatters Rights with a scheme pool of Line in the Sand, Breakthrough, Bodyguard, Cursed Object and Murder Protege generated by everyone's favourite lazyfaux panda @malifauxschemes.

Me:
Jakob Lynch (Rising Sun, Expert Cheater, Woke Up With a Hand)
Hungering Darkness (Fears Given Form)
2 Illuminated
1 Beckoner
Doppelganger
Mature Nephilim
Schemes:  Bodyguard (Huggy, unannounced), Breakthrough (unannounced)

The Doppelganger I took as she can Interact when engaged, the Mature was there to fly about Wing Buffeting people away from markers and going for Breakthrough.

Sam:
Rasputina (Arcane Reservoir, Black Joker is Red Joker, Super Ice Mirror)
Ice Golem
Wendigo
3 Ice Gamin
2 December Acolytes
Schemes:  Line in the Sand (unannounced), Murder Protege (Mature Neph, unannounced)


I got off to a really bad start when I lost the Mature and Huggy on turn 1 due to some bad positioning which Sam punished me for, quite rightly.  This then developed into one of the closest games of Malifaux I've had for a long time.

I wanted to pick up on some things from the game in the way we both played and how they relate to things that Joel has talked about in the past on his blog and on twitter about being a better Malifaux player.

The best laid plans
My plan for the Mature Nephilim went out of the window by the end of the first turn (it was probably a half arsed plan anyway).  That meant I needed to re-focus and re-plan what it was I was doing.  The Doppelganger had to switch away from the Squat markers and on to getting Breakthrough leaving Lynch, Beckoner and the Illuminated to get my Squat markers and guard them.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Have a plan but be prepared to change it.


Don't ease up
After the first turn, Sam was destroying me.  He'd killed Huggy (who buried) and his Murder Protege target.  My crew was reeling, on the ropes.  What did he not do?  Let up on me.  I was battered but he didn't stop pressing his advantage.  His crew moved up to the Squat Markers and started to lay his Line in the Sand markers.  He pressed home his advantage, eventually leading to Lynch getting killed by a December Acolyte and most of my crew being mopped up.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Don't ease up off the gas.
My Extra Lesson:  December Acolytes are awesome.


Play to the last flip
Related to the point above, both of us played hard to the last flip of the game.  Turn 5 I was down to Huggy, Doppelganger and 1 Illuminated.  Huggy was alive but on less than half wounds, denying me a VP.  So last turn Huggy spent hitting the Doppelganger and trying to heal himself up to get VP.  Sam spent the last turn trying to get my Squat markers flipped and throwing an Ice Gamin at Huggy to try and getting him either dead or more wounded (which he did).  Both of us played hard down to the wire.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Want it.  Push yourself to win.
My Extra Lesson:  Remember Huggy has a trigger to heal 2 wounds...


Focus
I had Bodyguard on Huggy who I foolishly got killed on the first turn.  With some effort on turn 2 I managed to Lure over the Wendigo and Lynch made it Brilliant and killed it bringing Huggy back.  Hooray!  Just needed to keep him alive now for the VP.  With that in mind, what was the first thing I did?  Charged him back into Sam's crew to attack a December Acolyte.  I iz dumb.

I didn't focus on what was important:  scoring VP by keeping Huggy alive.  I realized this quite quickly and was lucky enough to win Initiative on the next turn (yay for Doppelgangers) and get Huggy to safety.

Mr Henry's Lesson:  Focus.

The conclusion of the game was a surprise, neither of us genuinely knew who had won.  It shook out as:

Me:  Squatters Rights: 3VP, Breakthrough: 3VP, Bodyguard: 2VP
Sam:  Squatters Rights:  3VP, Line in the Sand:  2VP, Murder Protege: 2VP

8-7 win to me.  A close finish and a result that was very much against the run of play in the game.




Sunday, 10 November 2013

Malifaux: Jakob Lynch's Upgrades Part II

An angry tadpole

Following on from my previous post about Lynch's upgrades, let's look at the last three of Jakob's upgrades:  Expert Cheater, Woke Up With A Hand and Wanna See A Trick.

Expert Cheater (2SS)
This does two things:  Friendly models with LoS to Lynch can cheat face down and gives Lynch the Squeal trigger (push 4" after taking damage).  Both great abilities and both worth taking.  Cheat face down means you can play mind games with your opponent, potentially drawing high cards out of their hand even if you've only cheated a low card or a moderate card.  The Squeal trigger I have used once as generally speaking Lynch is trying to avoid getting himself hit in the first place.  He's usually towards the back of his crew anyway and he already has a Df/Wp trigger you can use to discourage people from trying to hit him.  So while it's handy to have Squeal it's by no means an auto-take.

Woke Up With A Hand (2SS)
I love this upgrade.  If you activate last you draw two cards which is cool and well worth doing especially in early turns.  I generally find I want Lynch to activate late anyway as by that point my other models (Huggy and the Beckoners) have hopefully spread some Brilliance round he can take advantage of and wreck some face.  Drawing two cards helps power the second ability on the card:  Final Debt.

Final Debt is Ca7, Rg 10, target model with Brilliance takes damage equally to the number of cards in the Lynch players hand.  Now, combine that with activating last and drawing two cards, plus Lynch's Ace in the Hole ability, plus his (0) Pay Up and it's not unusual to have 6-8 cards in your hand.  You can really, really hurt something with this Attack Action.  It's also his longest ranged ability, and it also lack the Gun icon so it can be cast into melee with impunity.


Wanna See A Trick (1 SS)
Lynch's cheapest upgrade.  At the end of his activation, you can discard any number of Aces.  For each one discarded an enemy model with Brillance takes 2 Dg per Ace.  I've had games where this has been very useful and others where it's been useless.  It does give a couple of things:  A way of dealing with something you've dropped to it's Hard to Kill value with your other abilities or something you don't just have the AP to finish off; and a way of getting an extra bit of range or need some extra movement to get LoS against a non-Briliance target i.e. (1) Walk, (1) Walk, (now within 6" of the non-Brilliance target), (1) Play for Blood (target take 2 Dg and gain Brilliance from auto-trigger).  Activation ends, discard Aces as required.  Quite handy in the right circumstances.  The drawback is that it drains your hand of Aces which are insanely useful to you in this crew (I'll probably blog in the future about Lynch's Ace In the Hole)


General Upgrades
As I mentioned in my previous post, I've only used Lynch as Neverborn so I don't have any direct experience with the 10T upgrades.  For Neverborn, Fears Given Form is good on Huggy to draw out additional cards and potentially cause some damage.  Post-errata, I wouldn't bother with Nexus of Power on either Huggy or Lynch.  Pact, Stone of Tyrant Echoes and Aether Connection I can't see myself taking either.  Two are Leader only and Lynch's own upgrades are much better, and Pact is only there is you really hate the Black Joker.


Friday, 8 November 2013

Malifaux: Jakob Lynch's Upgrades Part I

My newly painted Jakob Lynch

Jakob Lynch is my new favourite Malifaux master.  Yes, I know I said I was going to stick with Pandora, but I've wanted to get a Lynch crew for ages and when the opportunity arose to pick up one at a good price on Twitter I went for it.  You can see him painted in the picture above.

I played quite a few games with him now and I can say this:  he is really good.  Really, really good in fact.  What I wanted to talk about in this post was his upgrades as I think they are all pretty viable choices for Lynch.  I've been playing him as Neverborn exclusively, so I'm mainly writing from that perspective.

Let's start with the first big choice you're probably going to have to make:  Rising Sun or Endless Hunger.  These are both limited upgrades so you're only going to get to take one, and unless you're doing something way off the beaten Lynch track you will want one of these.  Both of them affect the Hungering Darkness (hereafter known as Huggy).

Rising Sun
The infinite Huggy upgrade.  When Huggy is killed, he's buried and can be brought back to life again (unburied) if an enemy model with Brilliance is killed within 6" of Lynch.  I've been using this one a fair bit recently, especially since the 1st November nerf of Nexus of Power.  It goes well with schemes like Bodyguard or Entourage where you may want Huggy alive at the end of the game.  I've found combining this with Fears Given Form on Huggy and then using him as a nuisance model can also be quite effective.  Huggy is only Df3 but he is Wp6, 7 Wd and Incorporeal so it takes a bit of effort to put him down.  Throwing the resurrecting Huggy into the enemy crew and bogging down models with him can be effective.

Rising Sun is an upgrade you want to auto-take if you know you're facing masters who can ignore Incorporeal.  Heavy casting masters like Rasputina, Sonnia and Pandora will wreck Huggy, as will things like Viktoria of Blood with the Mark of Shez'uul.


Endless Hunger
This upgrade makes Huggy Terrifying (All) as opposed to just (Living) and gives him Casting Expert.  Both his attack actions are Ca actions.  This upgrade really beefs up Huggy into more of a damage dealer and more importantly gives him an extra action where he can use his attack to spread Brilliance to more models.  However, once he's gone, he's gone and you can bet your opponent is going to be putting some effort into sinking Huggy.  That additional AP does means that he's got an extra chance to hit and get his Drain trigger (built in) to heal 2 Wds.

With the recent change to Nexus of Power, Endless Hunger is less attractive to me than Rising Sun, but it has it's place.  For example, if the scheme pool has Frame for Murder in it I might take this upgrade and put my FfM on Huggy and then throw him into the enemy master.  He's got more AP to do some damage and spread Brilliance and if he dies, then I've scored some VP.


So that's our choices for Limited upgrades.  I would definitely take one of these unless for some reason you've elected not to take the Hungering Darkness.  The final upgrade I want to talk about in this post is Addict.

Addict
This upgrade must take on Lynch or Huggy and gives friendly minions within LoS a + on Attack and Damage flips against models with the Brilliance characteristic.  In wave 1, this covers Illuminated and Beckoners.  Both of these have decent Ml/Ca stats (6 generally) so don't particularly need the buff but for the Illuminated it does make them even more deadly against Brilliance'd target.  That's nice, but they're already pretty deadly against Brilliance'd targets so you may not really need this buff.  The other problem is that this takes an upgrade slot of Lynch so you're likely to put this on Huggy who may well not be around for the whole game anyway.  Not a bad choice, but there are better ones I think.  In a Lynch mirror match, I'd want this though :)

In part 2, I'll cover off the remaining 3 upgrades and talk a little about general upgrades.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Terrain: Renedra American Church Kit Review

Following on from my previous post about my graveyard terrain set, the main piece on that board is going to be a church.  The building I will be using is by Renedra:


It suitable for all times periods from 1750 onwards it says on the box so it fits in well with Malifaux (which is set in 1902).  The cost of the item is around £18.  The box contains the sprues only, with the build instructions on the back of the box:



Inside we get 5 sprues.  The first three are the church itself:


The top and left sprues in the picture are identical, being the two sides of the church.  The sprue at the bottom is the front part of the building.  The details on the outside is nice.  The reverse of the pieces in smooth so don't expect a hugely detailed interior section.  There's also a couple of gravestones included on the sprue.

Also in the box are two sprues of picket fencing (100cm worth according to the box):


That's a nice added bonus and can easily be used to make a enclosed space next to the church or mounted separately.

Building the church was very simple, I managed to put it together in about 45 minutes.  There's very minimal mould lines throughout so the cleanup was simple.  The only part you need to pay attention to is putting the bell into place before spire floor.  This is clearly shown on the box.


The crow is taken from the Renedra Graveyard kit I talked about in a previous post.

I based the model on a couple of 5mm foam core pieces, the bottom one larger than the upper one then stuck them on a hardboard base which gives the model a little bit more height.  Groundwork was built up with DAS modelling clay, gravel and sand:



The paint job was pretty easy, the weatherboarding was just drybrushed khaki and then a lighter blend of khaki and then any wood picked out in brown:



Overall I like this kit very much.  It makes an excellent centre piece for the table and it was easy to build and paint.  The scale is a tiny bit off for Malifaux, maybe a couple of millimetres too small but it still works fine for what I want.




Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Terrain: Renedra Grave Stones Kit Review

I'm going to be running the Malifaux tournament at Vapnartak this year (the one that I fluked my way to winning last year) and so I'm building terrain.  Lots of terrain...

One of the boards I'm doing is going to be a graveyard board.  The centre piece will be a church which I will talk about in a future post.  Naturally, there will also be alot of gravestones required for this.  I toyed around with making some but I wanted them look decent so I went for buying some.

I settled on the gravestones set from Renedra which set me back a total of £9.50 shipped off eBay.  You can pick up the same set from elsewhere as well including Wayland Games.

They arrived pretty fast.  The packaging for these from Renedra was nothing special so I didn't bother photographing it:  it was a plastic bag with a piece of card at the top.  Inside you get two identical sprues:


I've flipped them over so the back of the sprue is on the left in the picture here.  There's a total of around 40 gravestones of various types on here and a couple of crows which are a nice finishing touch.

The detail on the front of the stones is nice, they have inscriptions, RIP that kind of thing.  The back of them is a little disappointing though.  A couple of them have some detail on the reverse (just a stone texture and a crack) but the rest of totally flat.  The backs need some work to get them to look decent.

Clean up and build-wise they were easy to do with minimal mould lines, just a few marks where they are attached to the sprue.  I took a knife and file to the back of mine to add some texture to the reverse of them and also added some patches of sand which I painted up to look like lichen.

I've based mine in small groups on MDF board and built up the groundwork around them with air drying modelling clay:


The bases were then textured with some basic sand and gravel to add some interest to them.  I glued some small patches of rocks (a mixture of model railway ballast and fine gravel) in patches and then added sand to the rest of the bases.

Paint jobs were very easy:  Primed with brown spray paint (Maple for Rover cars from Halfords), painted various greys for the stones mostly Vallejo's Heavy Gray with some brown/black washes applies then drybrushed:


The bases were finished off with some green flock and tufts.

Here's the graveyard master himself surveying his domain:


Overall, I really liked this kit.  They've painted up really nicely and I think they'll look good on my graveyard board.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Terrain: Cheap and easy hedges

I'm going to be running the Malifaux tournament at Vapnartak this year (the one that I fluked my way to winning last year) and so I'm building terrain.  Lots of terrain...

I'm doing a few different boards, and just a bunch of general terrain that we can spread over other tables.  I need to build stuff relatively quickly and also cheaply.  First up: some hedges.

These are easy.  You will need the following:


-Pan scourers, the flat cheap ones without any foam on them.  99p for 8.
-Something to mount them on.  I used wide (about 1") lolly sticks I got on eBay as they're quick and easy.  Plasitcard, MDF etc will also work.
-Sand and gravel for basing
-Green flock (not static grass)
-PVA glue
-Hot glue gun (optional but makes it easier).
-Spray primer.  I used Army Painter Leather Brown primer for mine.

Method:

-Cut the scourers in half length wise.
-Fold them over so you've got about a 1" high piece of hedge (which will be about 0.5" thick)
-Using the hot glue gun glue the folded halves together.  The glue gun helps a lot here as you get loads of glue for not much money, it holds well and more importantly it dries within a minute or so.  You could also use PVA but you'd need to weight the folded hedge down with some books while it dried.  Superglue would also work I guess.
-Cut the lolly stick to the length you want.  It's basically taking the rounded ends off.  I actually cut mine with scissors.
-Hot glue gun the hedges to the lolly stick.
-PVA glue sand, gravel etc to the base to add texture.  I also found adding some glue and sand to the ends on the hedge helped close up and cover any gaps in the fold.  Let this dry before moving on to the next stage.
-Spray prime the whole lot.  I used brown to prime mine to save me some time.
-Paint the base whatever colour you want.  Mine is just drybrushed with GW Snakebite Leather + Vallejo Light Sand.
-Give the hedge a generous coat of PVA then dip it in the green flock.  Let this dry.  It takes ages so leave it overnight.
-(Optional) Give the flock a coat of thinned PVA just to seal it all on.  You might not need this part really.  The PVA I've got is pretty thin anyway so I just slapped some on neat.

And there we have it:


This is about a 6" section made.  You can just see a Hanged poking his ghostly head over the top to give you an idea of scale.  I'd probably call these Ht2, blocking, soft cover, climbable (so it costs 2" of movement to cross one) when characterising the terrain.



You can see in the above picture I split one and added a little fence to it (made from coffee stirrers).  To make the hedges more ragged on top and attacked them with a pair of scissors.  You could do this with all the hedge sections for a rougher look but I would say if you're going to do that, rather than folding the scourers in half, cut it half and glue the two halves together.  It will be easier to cut the top of them that way.


16 x 6" sections all done.  Total build time for all of it was probably a couple of hours at most.  Per section they probably cost about 10p each and look fairly decent.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Malifaux: Odds of drawing a certain card

I've been playing Magic a bit recently and one of the things that I've been looking through is the odds of the drawing a certain card from your deck.  Magic is bit different from Malifaux in that you don't re-shuffle your hand every turn, but the general principal is the same.

On the surface it seems quite simple.  I've got 12 face cards in my deck (11-13 of each suit), plus the red joker meaning I have a 13/54 chance of getting one on a single card draw.  That's true but, once you draw a single card the odds tilt slightly in one direction or another so it turn's out that working out these odds was more complicated than I thought.

Turns out this is something called a hypogeometric distribution and involves factorials and other stuff I distantly remember from A-level maths.

For those lazy people like me, you can get Excel (other spreadsheet software is available) to work out for you using this formula.  I think this is right, feel free to correct me if not and note I'm using Excel 2010 here.  Earlier versions just had HYPOGEOMDIST function which is more or less the same:

=HYPOGEOM.DIST(number_cards_we_want, hand size, successes in population, total population, FALSE)

The FALSE bit here is to calculate the probability density function which gives us the result of exactly 1 severe.  Changing that to TRUE would give us up the number of severe cards which could also include 0.

For example, the chance of drawing exactly 1 severe in an hand of 6 cards from a deck of 54 is 0.377 or 37% which we can find using the function in Excel =HYPOGEOM.DIST(1,6,13,54,FALSE).  Never feels like that though does it?

This number is going to be skewed in turns after the first given you're drawing less cards usually if you have some in your hand, plus the population size is then going to be slightly less.  In an extreme case you might have 5 severe cards already in your hand and only be drawing one in the draw phase in which case your odds of of drawing a severe are going to go to about 16% (=HYPOGEOMIST(1,1,8,49,FALSE).

Here's some odds you might be interested in:

Chance of drawing no severes on the first turn (=HYPOGEOM.DIST(0,6,13,54,FALSE)):  17%
Chance of drawing a joker first turn (=HYPOGEOM.DIST(1,6,2,54,FALSE)):  20%
Chance of drawing 1 of a specific rank card first turn (=HYPOGEOM.DIST(1,6,4,54,FALSE)):  32%
Chance of drawing 1 card of a specific suit first turn  (=HYPOGEOM.DIST(1,6,13,54,FALSE)):  37%
Chance of drawing 1 card of a specific suit of 8 of higher first turn (=HYPOGEOM.DIST(1,6,6,54,FALSE)):  39%

Some of these numbers seem a bit counter intuitive but the stats don't lie (or I'm doing it wrong in which case they might well be lying).

Here's our likelihood of drawing those face cards in our opening turn:

0 face cards:  17%
1 face card: 37%
2 face cards:  31%
3 face cards:  12%
4 face cards:  2%
5 face cards:  0.2%
6 face cards:  0.006%

Interesting.  You can see the most likely draw in your opening hand it to get 1 face card.

Let look then at a couple of card draw mechanics I'm been using recently:  Primordial Magic's Rush of Magic Ability and spending soulstones to draw 2 more cards.

Rush of Magic
This ability lets us draw and additional card and then discard down to our maximum hand size.  Let's see what difference this makes to the table above:

0 face cards:  13%
1 face card:  33%
2 face cards:  33%
3 face cards:  16%
4 face cards:  4%
5 face cards:  0.5%
6 face cards:  0.003%

This has improved our odds by a few percentage points.

Soulstones
So what happens when we use a SS to draw two more cards (so our sample size is 8):

0 face cards:  9%
1 face card:  28%
2 face cards:  33%
3 face cards:  20%
4 face cards:  6%
5 face cards:  1%
6 face cards:  0.001%

This was a bit unexpected.  We actually less likely to get just 1 face card than we were before but more likely to get multiples.

Rush of Magic and Soulstones
Let's combine them for a sample size of 9:

0 face cards:  6%
1 face card:  24%
2 face cards:  33%
3 face cards:  24%
4 face cards:  10%
5 face cards:  2%
6 face cards:  0.003%

So with the two combined we're 12% more likely to get exactly 3 face cards than with neither of them.

If you can't bothered with Excel, then stattrek.com has a handy online calculator for you.  One thing is clear:  card draw abilities are powerful in M2E.




Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Malifaux 2nd Edition Part II


Following on from my last post where I wittered about the book and cards, I'm going to talk a bit in this one about my experiences playing the game since the rulebook came out.  I played in both the closed and open betas as well but since they're not the released rules I'm not counting those.  This is a clean slate.

I've had a couple of games using Pandora as my master and I plan on using her for the first dozen or so games, and at least until the run up to my next tournament in October (Halifaux).

Pandora is good.  Really good.  She's pretty tough to put down being an effective Df7 (she defends on Wp) and slippery as she'll just push away from you if you miss.  In my first two games, she's only taken 2 Wds in total and those were from Black Blood from my own models.

Her offensive power is directly proportional to whatever she is fighting as her melee Attack spell Self Loathing does damage with the target's own weapon which is good and bad.  It'd take her less AP to kill something big and beefy like Teddy than it would to take something less powerful like a Rotten Belle.  She has a ranged version of Self Loathing called Self Harm (new in M2E) which is pretty much the same but only Ca6 and makes them shoot themselves (nice against Seamus).  Movement-wise, she's only Wk4 but getting a 4" push when she wins an opposed Wp duel means she is deceptively fast.

Is Pandora any more fun to play against in M2E?  One of the complaints you heard all the time about Pandora in M1E was that she was a negative play experience.  I played with her in M1E and there were times where it felt like that even being on Pandora's side of the table.  The good news is she's been toned down in M2E.  In my opinion, she's lost two of the major things that made her a pain:

-Auto blast marker on Project Emotions.  I could bump that up with a soulstone and drop - flips for Wp on every model under that blast.  Project Emotions is now an upgrade, the blast requires a trigger and the models under the blast only have to get to TN14 Wp duel.  Not as bad.
-Mental Anguish is now not as bad.  Mental Anguish in M1E was one of the most powerful triggers in the game.  On a crow any of Pandora's spells would cause the target to count as having failed a Morale Duel (and so things which normally ignored Morale Duels like Constructs could still be affected).  They'd then run away and waste at least one activation rallying and then another getting back in the fight.  Combine that with the ability to soulstone up to massive totals (I'd drop a high crow and then a soulstone if I really wanted it to go off), and drop a blast from Project Emotions this was absolutely horrible.  In M2E, the ability to soulstone unbeatable totals has largely gone, the trigger "only" gives Paralyzed and does no damage, is a Limited upgrade and is only on Self Loathing and Self Harm.  Better, but still good.

I don't want to go into too much detail on Pandora as I've not had enough experience to speak with any great authority (for that go and listen to Joel on Malifools Episode 58, there is a man that can play Malifaux).  I can say I like playing her and I like what I've used with her crew so far.  Kade and Teddy especially make for a really nasty tag team combo.  What I did want to talk about was a few general areas where I feel things are very different between the two editions.

Model complexity and upgrade
A major complaint about M2E was that is had dumbed down all the models.  Having played the game I don't think this is the case.  Some models are more straightforward on the card, but the upgrade system really adds to that complexity.  Having had a couple of games, I've still had those agonizing tactical choices to make when deciding which of my 5 or 6 abilities and spells to use on my master (Pandora with 3 upgrades) but with less of the brain burn with some M1E masters.  Having played Hamelin a fair bit I can say there was brain burn involved with that.  In short, in still feels like Malifaux.

The cards are the thing
The changes to the soulstone mechanic have had made a big difference.  In M1E, a master with soulstones was largely untouchable unless by another soulstone users.  Killing a master with a non-soulstone user required some degree of luck either good or bad on either side, or running them out of soulstones first.  In M2E this is not the case.  A strong hand of cards is, in my opinion, more important than a large cache of soulstones.

In M2E, soulstones can be used for:
-Re-flipping initiative (same as M1E)
-Damage prevention flips for SS users (same as M1E)
-Adding a + flip to an attack (new in M2E)
-Adding a +flip to defensive and a - flip to any damage result (new in M2E)
-Adding a suit to an attack (new in M2E)
-Drawing 2 additional cards in the draw phase (new in M2E)

In my games with Pandora, that last one is the one that has been absolutely crucial to me.  She only has one trigger that I'd want to guarantee going off:  the aforementioned Mental Anguish which is one of her upgrades and needs a crow.  I've been using her other limited upgrade so I've not required this one yet.  Drawing 2 extra cards has been vital for me though.  The Primordial Magic giving me an extra card, then adding 2 more means I'm drawing up to 9 cards before discarding down to the best 6.  This enables me to craft a strong hand for that turn when I know I'm going to need to do something epic.  For example, Teddy faces off with Tara.  My hand was 2 x 13, 2 x 11 and 2 x 10 with Teddy at Ml7 that combination of cards was really horrible.  Tara did die in Teddy's activation but in fact it was Kade that killed her after Teddy pushed her 12" into him and he pounced on her.

Anyway, drawing 2 more card has been gold for me.  In my opinion this is better than using the stones for the positive on attacks as you're getting 2 cards for 1 stone that anyone in your crew can use rather than 1 extra card.  Time will tell if this proves to be the case with other crews.


Strategies and Schemes
M1E had 13 strategies, M2E has 5.  M2E has a 4 point VP cap for strategies from a possible 10 meaning 60% of your points are from schemes.  The strategies also all (with the possible exception of Reckoning) seem relatively easy to get points from.  Schemes are king and the pool system means you can't be guaranteed to be able to match up certain schemes with certain strats.  For example, in M1E's Beatdown strategy generally speaking you took schemes which required you to kill stuff such as Kill Protege, Grudge or Assassinate which you were doing anyway for the strategy.  In tournament play, I'd save those type of schemes to go with Beatdown.  In M2E, the scheme pool system means you can't do that.  You might be playing a kill type strat like Reckoning, but all your scheme choice require models to drop scheme markers or get to locations on the board.  It makes for a major change in the way crews are built and played.  Being able to handle the schemes seems to be the way to win games, with the strategies coming a second place to that.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Malifaux 2nd Edition Part I


Well it's finally here:  M2E.  I've had the book and my wave 1 arsenal boxes for a couple of weeks now thanks to some very kind people, and I've had a couple of games since the official release now so I thought I would share some thoughts on what I've found so far.

The Book
The book itself is excellent.  It's full colour throughout and there's plenty of new artwork (and some re-used artwork).  It's softback which I don't have a problem with but mine's only been out of the house three times and it's already a bit dog eared on the corners of the cover.  Hopefully Wyrd will release an A5 sized rules manual for M2E which will be much easier to carry around.

The rules are pretty clearly written, although coming from a position of having played M1E for such a long time it can be hard to be objective being as I am familiar with the basic concepts.  The major changes (with opinions on both sides) have been well covered on plenty of podcasts so I won't go into detail here suffice to say that after a couple of games I'm pretty happy with them.  The core rules have been cleaned up substantially and alot of the difficult semantic differences have been removed such as Attack vs attack, towards vs directly towards, within vs completely within etc.  This has made things alot clearer and easier to understand.  Most of the rules are now written on the cards rather than just a keyword referring back to the rulebook which helps during the game.  Clarity and streamlining were what the game needed.

The book includes stats for all the wave 1 models, but to play a game you're going to need...

Arsenal boxes
The stat cards have been totally re-vamped from M1E.  They're now standard playing card size so your MtG card sleeves and deck boxes will fit them.  Most people are either sleeving them or laminating them so they can be written on with dry wipe markers.  I've laminated all mine which was a major task with 5 boxes of 50-60 cards but I think it's worth it to give that extra protection.

The arsenal boxes are not required to play M2E, you could just use the rulebook.  Alternatively, the new plastic box sets include the stat card for each model and all the upgrades that are specific to that crew.  They don't however include the generic faction upgrades, they are only in the arsenal boxes.  For existing players, they're going to want these boxes for the factions you play and they're priced at about £6 RRP which is roughly the same as the retro fate deck.  For players entering the game, they could get away with just buying the new plastic crews but really I would have thought that until the model line is completely re-vamped most players will want the relevant arsenal box.

New plastics
I don't own any of the new plastics as yet, as other than Raspy I already had fully painted crews for all the other boxes.  My club mate Sam has Tara, Seamus and Justice boxes so I have seen the new models and they look really good.  The details on them is excellent.  For example, I don't like the Tara sculpt, but the detail on it, especially the face and hair is really nice.  The disco Death Marshals got a lot of flak when the art came out for them but having now seen the model they are really cool looking.

I've built a fair few Wyrd plastics in the past and I have to say they weren't all that enjoyable to build.  From what Sam has told me that has changed with the new boxes and they are much easier to build than previous kits so Wyrd are clearly learning from the experience of earlier kits.

I was not a fan of the new art style when the first few examples were released during the beta.  It has since grown on me and I think I realized the issue:  the Viks crew.  Seeing that artwork (which I still hate) coloured my judgement against much of the rest of it which I was wrong about.  Happily I still have my M1E Viks models so I'll be carrying on using those rather than the new samurai lap dancer models.  I'll more than likely be getting Zoraida and Marcus boxes once they are released in future.

I'll post some thoughts on my first few games in the next post.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Malifaux: Avatar Pandora

It's been a manic few weeks since my last proper post, with almost no hobbying done.  I've had a big project on at work which has meant that I've been too busy to get anything done hobby-wise.

I played in a tournament in Newcastle at the beginning of June with my Pandora crew and finished 4th on 2W, 1D, 1L which was OK.  A lapse in concentration cost me in the drawn game but I managed to pull back a draw.  I'm really liking the Pandora crew now, I think she's going to be a master I'm going to be using a lot in M2E (at least until Hamelin comes out anyway).  Other than that I played one Vassal league game where I got stuffed.

Things have eased up a bit this week and I managed to finish my Avatar Pandora:


She's been part painted since Easter when I put the base coat on the tentacles.  As usual it features my two favourite colours:  Purple and Vallejo GC Blue Green.  Pandora's colour scheme is to fit in with her pre-Avatar model.  Avatar Candy to go with her is on the painting table now.

If you've been listening to Soulstone Train recently, you may have gathered that my usual Malifaux gaming group at York Garrison has fractured with the release of M2E.  Because of that, at the club last night Shane and I played a game of Flames of War last night which was good, so I think we're going to try and get another game of that in next week.  I may cave in and get the Open Fire! box at some point.  I've been trying to figure out how you actually get started in FoW, there seems so many source books that's it's very confusing to know what to get first.  The cost seems very reasonable anyway and I liked the models alot more when I saw them than I thought I would.

At the moment I'm keeping an open mind on playing Malifaux in 2nd Ed, so I'll be definitely be getting the book and faction decks.  I'm pretty mixed about the new art style they've gone for, some stuff I like (Gremlins, Seamus, Levi, Rusty Alyce) and some I don't (Viks crew, the new Pandora) but ultimately I own every crew I actually want to go about playing anyway so the new minis don't really worry me too much.

With regard to GenCon orders, I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet.  I've been stung recently with my EBO Kickstart extras getting a customs charge and then Royal Mail losing the bloody things, and I don't want that to happen again with Malifaux.  I'll have to see how much Wyrd are going to charge me to ship them over here.

Monday, 24 June 2013

5 years, really?

Five years since I blogged my first post.  Wow, doesn't seem like that long.  Happy birthday to me!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Malifaux: Jazzed up Pandora Crew

I've got a tournament coming up which uses the "Lost Love" format:  Starter box, totem, one blister and one model to summon at 25SS.  I thought about going with Hamelin since I can summon rats.  However, I don't like Hamelin as much at smaller point sizes and the round time limits are 80 minutes which I don't think I can play him in that time.

As such I've decided (at the time of writing) to go with the Pandora box set, Primordial Magic, Coppelius and Alps as my summon.  My Alps still need painting so they're next and the Primordial Magic hasn't arrived yet.  I painted Pandora and Coppelius about a year ago, so I thought I'd get them out and spruce them up a bit:


I've just been over them and added some extra highlight layers, re-done the OSL on Pandora's Box and made Coppelius' eye a bit more gory.  I'm reasonably happy with them for now.

Game-wise, I've played a couple of games with the crew and it is pretty filthy.  Coppelius paralyzing stuff combined with Pandora triggering Mental Anguish is just nasty.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Malifaux: 70SS hiring pool

A couple of weeks ago I attended a tournament at York Garrison.  The hiring rules for the tournament were fixed faction using a 70SS hiring pool (they were 35SS games) as per the 2013 Gaining Grounds document.  I hadn't played in one of these type of events before as all the previous tournaments I'd played in were fixed faction so drawing up the pool was interesting.  I went with Outcasts as they're mostly my tournament faction of choice for 2013.  Outcasts suffer a little in this format, as there is almost no overlap between the crews.  For example, I went with Viktoria and Hamelin.  Viktoria can only hire Mercenaries, whereas Hamelin specifically can't hire Mercenaries at all.

If you've not read the selection rules from Gaining Grounds for hiring pools they're basically these:


  • Masters don't cost anything to hire into the pool, but they must be listed
  • You can spend 2SS from the pool for the option to manifest avatars for any master in the pool
  • Models can only be included in the pool if they could be legally hired by at least one of the masters also in the pool
  • Models hired into the pool cost their printed SS cost regardless of what they would cost when actually hired into a crew.

For the York tournament, the strategies were (all shared):  Land Grab, Line in the Sand and Beatdown.  The task was to come up with a pool which could cover all those eventualities.

I knew I wanted to take Hamelin to his first tournament so he was in.  However, Hamelin sucks at Beatdown so I need a second master; the Viks came into the pool just for Beatdown.  That was self contained, strategy specific, crew and looked like this:

Viktoria
Student of Conflict
Freikorps Librarian
Sue
Jack Daw

This was a slight gamble, as Jack Daw can really suck in some match ups (Collette's Mannequin Replacement and Levi's Entropic Transformation both ruin him), but I went with it.  That was the first 27SS.

Next was Hamelin's crew for Land Grab and Line in the Sand.  My plan for Land Grab is lots of models, move to the middle and have Hamelin stand there making the crew significant, and move between quarters as required.  So, into the pool went a basic Hamelin crew:

Hamelin the Plagued
Nix, the Bull Terrirer
Rat-Catcher
Obedient Wretch
The Stolen x1
Malifaux Rats x5

That's another 27SS into the pool and gives pretty much everything you need for Hamelin.  I didn't add any more rats or Stolen to the pool as summoned models don't have to be included in the pool, so this was just what I wanted to start the game with.  It gives me 10 significant models for Land Grab, provided they all stay together.

I then need to add what I would need for Line in the Sand.  Essentially for this I go for dominating one half of the board, which Hamelin is quite good at, so the list above gave me most of my options already.  I added into the pool 2 Night Terrors to give me some speed for grabbing dynamite.  I had 11 points left at this point so I stuck a second Rat-Catcher and Baby Kade, neither of which I ended up using in the end.

The final pool was 70SS on the nose.

I had mixed success at the tournament.  I'd played 9 games with Hamelin up to that point, but only 1 on the tabletop.  Managing alot of rats can be time consuming in a tournament setting so we went short on time in Land Grab and I lost it 4-1.  Another turn might have helped me here, perhaps not to win, but maybe pick up another VP or 2.

Game 2 went better with Line in the Sand, and I went onto win that one 5-3.  The Night Terrors made the difference as they went down the opposite side of the board to Hamelin, flipped a marker and then sat in my opponents deployment zone getting my Breakthrough and denying him Hold Out.

Game 3 was Beatdown with the Viks, against Marcus.  I made a big mistake which cost me the game in the end.  The Viks had killed a Ronin and Willie, but Gun Vik had been wounded by Willie in return.  What I should have done at this point was move back to the support group of the Student and the Librarian but I didn't.  I pushed on towards the Gunsmith (which Jack Daw was capable of killing and did so) and didn't realize I was now in Marcus' line of sight.  He then killed both Viks over two activations.  The game finished 6-4 with Jack Daw scoring 3 points for Stake a Claim and being alive at the end.

I finished 15th of 22 overall, and I'd won a game so it wasn't too bad.  My VP diff was only -2 which was also OK.  I'm definitely going to push on with getting more games in with Hamelin now after the tournament. I feel like I'm getting the hang of Nix, the rats and the Rat-Catcher, but it's Hamelin himself who still feels like I'm not using him to the best of his abilities.  I need more games in with him so I can work out which of his capabilities he needs to apply at which points in time.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Malifaux: (Almost) Finished Hamelin Crew

Hamelin the Plagued and his crew are pretty much done now.  I've still got a couple of Stolen and 3 rats left to do when I get chance.  I entered them in the best painted competition at the last tournament a week ago in York and they were pretty well received (didn't win, but came pretty close to the top):


Hamelin himself, on his fancy base.  This is my most successful attempt at OSL as well:


Nix, complete with drool (see one of my earlier posts on how I did this):


The Obedient Wretch and Rat-Catchers.  I wasn't fond of the sculpts for the Rat-Catchers when I bought them, but they've sort of grown on me as I've painted them up:


6 Malifaux Rats.  The rats are colour coded and have corresponding colour blobs on their stat cards so I can track which is which.  Honestly, it's not that easy to keep track of them, especially when alot are dying and coming back.  There will be three more in brown of these.


The picture I took of the little girl Stolen came out blurry, but you can see her in the group picture anyway.  I'm pretty happy with her, she adds alot of character and colour to the crew.

Overall, I'm very happy with how these came out.  I think they're better overall than any other crew I've painted.  These are also the first crew I've painted from start to finish using my new Games and Gears Pro-Studio brushes which I got on Kickstarter, and also much of the paint is now Vallejo as I begin to transition further and further away from the GW paint line.

Game-wise,. I've got in around a dozen games with this crew now against lots of different crews and masters  including some power house masters like The Dreamer and Colette.  I'm still trying to get the hang of it and the complex interactions between the models so I'll post up some thoughts on how the crew plays.

On a related note, I've spent a bit of time on updating and expanding Hamelin's Pull My Finger wiki page so any comments or feedback on that would be handy.

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Malifaux: Finished Hamelin the Plagued

Hamelin the Plagued surveying his horde of plagued minions:


The base is from Model Display Products.  I've used their sewer bases on all my Hamelin models, but this one is part of their Diorama Display Bases.  The base gives Hamelin extra height, like he's looking down on his horde of rats and Stolen as they surge past him.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Malifaux: Stolen Sacrifice Sheet

As threatened in my last post, here's a quick reference as to what happens when a The Stolen is removed from the game:


The only thing I'm not 100% on the whether the rat arrives before or after the 6" pulse.

Monday, 6 May 2013

Malifaux: Rat Removal Result Reference

I've played 8 games with Hamelin now, and it can be hard to remember all the different interactions between Hamelin/Rat Catchers/Nix/Rats/Stolen, especially when one of the them is killed.  To help me remember what happens when a Malifaux rat is killed, I put together a quick flow chart:


I think this pretty much covers it.  Hopefully someone else might find it handy.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Malifaux: Jack Daw and Sue

These two guys form the basis of my new Viks Beatdown crew:  Sue and Jack Daw:


For Jack Daw, I've gone for an bit of an experimental monochrome paint scheme which has come out reasonably well.  I was kind of imaging him like a horrible black and white spirit from a Japanese horror movie like Ringu.

My current Viks Beatdown crew looks something like this:

The Viktorias
Student of Conflict
Freikorps Librarian
Sue
Jack Daw
8SS

The Viks and Jack Daw do the heavy lifting in this list.  Jack Daw is going to draw alot of attention, so he needs cards to keep him alive and that's where Sue comes in.  Sue has a (1) action called Hurt where he can take up to 3 Wds to draw the same number of cards.  Combined with Arcane Reservoir, you've got up to 10 cards in your hand giving you more chance of masks for Whirlwind and Heart Stopper, and chaff cards to discard to keep Jack Daw alive.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Malifaux: Nicodem crew

I've been feeling the draw of the grave recently, i.e. I've been thinking about playing Nicodem again for a bit. I've added a few models to the crew since I last played it, which is getting on for a year ago, and the Avatar is still sat on my "to be painted" shelf forlornly.

Anyway, I found this photo from last time I played Nicodem, it's kind of a crew summary picture which was taken for a club league last year:


Thursday, 18 April 2013

Malifaux: First Blood

I wanted to add an addendum to my Viktoria tactics article and talk a little about the Viks specific scheme First Blood.  Here's what it says:

Special:
This scheme must be announced.

Victory:
If the first two models killed during the encounter were models in enemy Crews, you score 2 VP.

The first thing to notice about this scheme is nowhere does it mention that you have to kill those first two models.  The second thing to notice is that it says killed, as opposed to sacrificed.  Third thing is that those 2VP are locked in and can't be taken away from you.  I always prefer schemes like that (such as Kill Protege) rather than one's that arrive at the end of the game (such as Stake a Claim).

This is a scheme I will always save to use against certain masters.  Here's some examples where you can use this scheme to pick up some easy and early VP:

-Ressurectionist masters.  Alot of times your Rezzer opponent is going to sit back and cut up dogs, desperate mercs etc in that first turn to get body parts, corpse counters etc.  Either they're going to carry on doing that and gift you the VP, or they're not going to do it in which case, they're now playing your game and not theirs.
-A popular trick with Kirai is the dog/desperate mercenary cut up in order to get Gaki/Onryo/Seishin between Kirai and Datsue-Ba.  That's two VP's for you, or they wasted the points buying those two models.
-Hamelin.  Those rats die easily, go for the rats for the two easy kills.
-Leviticus.  The classic Levi list is to take the Canine Remains, kill it first turn and turn it into a second Hollow Waif.  That's one half of your scheme done.  The second kill comes in when Levi inevitably kills himself, ideally at the end of the first turn.

Whoever you take this scheme against, always make sure you're looking for those easy kills early doors, but remember not to risk your key pieces like Swordmistress Viktoria to get them.  Von Schill is good for this as he can move about the board very quickly and pick off vulnerable models easily with his clockwork seeker.

As an example of this, have a listen to the Bayou Broadcast episode 20.  Craig talks about his last game at Vapnartak tournament where he used Von Schill to move around and pick off those easy kills from Joel's Dreamer crew (Daydreams in that case).  Craig was using Ten Thunders for that game, but it's a good example of using the speed and ranged punch of Von Schill to get early kills.  That can easily be extended into your Viks crew.



Sunday, 14 April 2013

Hobby: Making tiled floor bases


Following on from my last post on Sim29, I thought I'd do a simple tutorial on making tiled floor bases which is what I've done on my McMourning crew.

I've refined the lab base technique I originally trialled with the original McMourning who now really looks like he needs rebasing in comparison to Sim29 and Miss Pack (which I've now done, see below).  The technique is very simple to do and looks pretty good I think.  Here's how I did it.

1-  Fill in the slot in the base with GS, Milliput or whatever.  You're going to be applying pressure to this later, so you don't want to be pushing your green stuff through the slot.  Let this dry before moving on to the next stage:

2 - Cover the base in green stuff.  I think I used Milliput on my original McMourning, but that doesn't work nearly as well as GS.

3- Smooth out the green stuff with your preferred sculpting tool to roughly spread it over the base:


4- Use something smooth and cylindrical (thank you, titter ye not) to roll the GS flat, even and smooth on the base.  I use the plastic tube that my green stuff comes in.  It'll end up nice and smooth like this:


5- Smooth out any bit where there are fingerprints showing or it's a bit uneven.  If necessary, roll it out again.  I don't get too hung up over slight imperfections here, as I figure that McMourning's lab floor is pretty far from perfect.

6- Score lines over the GS in your preferred tile pattern.  I use a fairly blunt hobby knife to do it with.  I usually start with a cross in the middle like this:


This cross then guides the rest of the lines.  Try and push down with this rather than dragging as you don't want to be moving the GS about on the base.  You could use a ruler or something to get straight lines, but I just do it by eye.  You should end up with something like this:


You might end up with the odd wonky line or slight bend (I've got a couple here), so just run up and down any lines again taking care to press rather than drag where possible.

7- Leave to dry then mount the model on it.  Ideally you'll want to pin it to the base.

Here's a finished example, minus the miniature:

As I'd made this, I decided I might as well rebase McMourning with it, so here he is:



There's a Flesh Construct still to come to finish off this McMourning specific part of the crew.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Malifaux: Little and Large

More models done, this time for my McMourning crew:  Zombie Chihuahua and Simulacrum-29.


If you haven't seen Sim29 in the flesh, then this thing is huge.  That's a 50mm base he's stood on to give you an idea of the scale.

Painting wise Sim29 was actually pretty quick to get done.  The whole thing was painted in several thin layers of VMC Flat Flesh before a several washes of various hues, some purple, some flesh etc and then drybrushed highlights.  Once I'd drybrushed the highlights I went back over several areas of the model with a thin paint layer of the same colour in order to smooth out the highlight.

I'm in the process of writing up a quick tutorial on how I did the bases, so stay tuned for that.



Saturday, 6 April 2013

Painting: Blood Strings Effects

Following on from my last post on using Tamiya Clear Red to make blood effects, you can use the same stuff (and a couple of other things) to make blood strings.  This is the kind of effect we want, shown here on Kirai's shears:



This is really easy to achieve, and here's what you need for it:

-Some cocktail sticks, bits of sprue or something you don't mind getting ruined.
-Some Tamiya Clear Red
-Paint or ink to darken the Clear Red, for example brown or black
-Some UHU All purpose clear glue.  This stuff:



This cost me about a pound for a massive tube.  It's very, very stringy which you will notice as soon as you squeeze any of it out.  Of course, stringy is exactly what we want for this effect.  UHU glue holds a special place for me since back in the very late 80's it was the same glue I used to stick together my first ever plastic miniature kit:  Skeleton Army.  As I re-call it pretty much sucked for that, but it's good for blood strings!


Step 1:
Squeeze some glue out on to a suitable surface and quickly mix into it whatever paint or inks you want to use to tint the glue:


This was a mix of Clear Red and Vallejo Charred Brown.  Having tried it with both brown and black, I think I prefer the black/clear red mix.


Step 2:
Grab a cocktail stick, scoop up some glue and apply it to the model where you want it.  You'll need to work very quickly here as the glue starts to set fast, literally you have less than a minute to do this.  Make sure you draw the glue between which ever surfaces you need to have the blood strings between.  You should end up with something like this:



Step 3:
Leave it to set and you're done.


These strings are very thin, so it goes without saying you're going to need to be careful if you're going to be handling this model alot.  You may also want to do this after you've varnished the model, since I can't tell you what effect varnish will have on it (probably none but test it first).

Of course, you don't have to use Clear Red for this, you can use any colour you want to get different effects like slime, drool etc.  Here's some examples of where I've used the technique:


This is a zombie from Studio Miniatures, which I use as a Mindless Zombie in Malifaux.  Make's his insides look like they're about to drop out.


A ghostly Malifaux Drowned.  This one is slimy rather than bloody, as she's just crawled out of the water.  In this one I mixed the UHU with green ink to tint it green.

I've also tried the effect to simulate saliva on my Rogue Necromancy but it's quite small so I couldn't get a decent photo of it.