Saturday, December 30, 2017

Entry #3 to AHPC VIII: 'Kingdom Death' Prologue Survivors and The White Lion

Last year Byron came for one of his visits and introduced our gaming group to 'Kingdom Death', an artfully composed hybrid of a horror RPG, tactical skirmish and board game.

While the gameplay is (brutally) ingenious and the figures are amazingly sculpted, the themes are very, VERY adult, and so definitely not to everyone's tastes.  Nonetheless, we loved it and became immediately hooked. So when the Kickstarter went up last year for the updated version I completely lost my wits, mortgaged the dogs and backed it to the hilt. Anyway, the first avalanche of stuff (suitably titled 'Monster 1.5') arrived at our door this autumn, so I thought I'd use the Challenge to  complete some of the core elements of the game.

These first four figures comprise the 'Prologue Survivors'. These poor souls awake in a world of darkness, with no memory of their past, little clothing and only lanterns and a few shards of masonry as weapons. 

Since I'm going to have a LOT of figures to work through, I decided to save myself the torture of determining what colours to use figure-by-figure and instead use a hybrid greyscale effect that incorporates lanterns' glow for a bit of visual interest. 

The main elements of the effect was achieved using an airbrush and then switching to thin glazes to highlight both the greyscale and lantern glow. I realize it's a little over-the-top but I think it works okay for the game's setting. 

The beginning scenario has the four survivors being immediately set upon by a huge lion. Using only their bare hands, some stone shards and lanterns they are forced to fight for their lives. 

I decided to use the same lantern-lit greyscale effect for the White Lion, with a fallen lantern providing under-lighting to the lion's face, underbelly and flanks.

The light effect of the dropped lantern.

These figures are quite large, with the humans coming in at around 40mm. The Lion, not surprisingly, is a bit of a brute in comparison. The funny thing is that he's considered to be a fairly small creature in the game - Yikes! 

I hope to get a few more of the game's monsters done this Challenge - wish me luck!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Entry #2 to AHPC VIII: Four Heroes from 'Mansions of Madness'

Just a small entry (sorry, still no Ortona yet). This time it's four investigator/heroes from 'Mansions of Madness'. 

The 2nd edition of Fantasy Flight Games' 'Mansions of Madness' has become a well-enjoyed staple within our group since it was released almost two years ago. The first edition used a One-Against-Many game mechanic, where one player played the nasties of the 'Mansion', while the rest of the players worked cooperatively to uncover the mysteries and survive. This mechanism has worked well with many other FFG games (Descent, Imperial Assault, etc.) but its implementation was flawed in MoM to the extent that whoever played the 'Mansion' could quite easily overwhelm the investigators in fairly quick order. 

The publishers, to their credit, addressed this with their 2nd edition by using an app to run the Mansion, thereby allowing the players to work together as a cohesive team. It's been an unqualified success with our group, with us being able to enjoy not only all the old expansions, but the new content as well. I've even used it at work as a team building exercise (nothing like avoiding being eaten by a Shoggoth to bring a group of people together)!

The base game comes with a load of plastic miniatures to represent both the investigators and the various eldritch horrors they encounter. The minis are roughly 28mm in scale and for the most part are rendered quite well. My main criticism is with the quality of the plastic  itself, as the early releases were a somewhat soft, making them an absolute swine to remove mold lines and clean-up flash. Thankfully, the more recent models use a harder plastic which is much easier to work with.

Anyway, until now I've been using other miniatures from my collection to represent the heroes, but thought it'd be fun I'd try to get a bunch of the stock ones done-up during the Challenge. So, here are four heroes from the core set: Mandy Thompson, Ashcan Pete  and his K9 companion 'Duke' and Gloria Goldberg. 

Fairly basic paintjobs on the whole. I tried to keep the colours punchy and as close to the game art as possible. After the hassle of preparing the figures they were actually pretty fun to paint.

I trimmed away the original plastic bases and replaced them with clear acrylic ones. I quite like the look of them, especially with tile-based games. 

I'll see if I can get a few more done over the Challenge and perhaps I'll try to do-up one or two of the beasties as well. 

Thanks for dropping in folks. I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!


Thursday, December 21, 2017

First entry to Challenge VIII ('Challenge Ate') - 'The Unspeakable Thing Under the Bed'

For our eighth edition of the Painting Challenge, the theme is 'Challenge Ate', and so celebrates all things scary, creepy and monstrous. I could easily go off on a tangent on how this could reflect the socio-political landscape of parts of our world today, but lets keep this civil and focus instead on kinder, gentler monsters, such as fire breathing dragons, rapacious werewolves and perhaps even dread Cthulhu.  

Mulling over what I would do for my first entry, I thought back to my childhood, remembering the things that I considered to be particularly frightening and monstrous. I clearly remember having a puppet that seemed quite scary sitting in the night's darkness, and the moon-shadows of the trees outside my window could be quite creepy, but the thing that really caused me bring the covers to my nose was the thought that something unspeakable could be lurking underneath my bed. 

My mind would race, and I would think, 'What could be under there?' Was it listening for me go to sleep before it would make its move? If I ran, would it catch me before I made it to my bedroom door? Should I peak under my bedframe to make sure I was safe? Thinking of all these things while peering over the top of the sheets was such wonderfully delicious torture. 

It's a wonder I got any sleep at all during those years.

Anyway, here is a little vignette I came up with as a wink to those macabre childhood imaginations. 

The bed and teddy bear are 3D prints from files I found on Thingiverse. The bedlinen is tissue, soaked in diluted white glue, while the lone slipper and tentacle were mocked-up from a bit of milliput sculpting putty.

As I was pressed for time to make the submission, I decided to paint this in a fairly straightforward greyscale effect, with only the tentacle being in colour. I would have preferred to experiment with a few more ideas, but considering the time constraints I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out.


Next Up: Chapter II of Ortona '43

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Call is Out for The Eighth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge

If you're interested in joining this year's Painting Challenge please head over to the Challenge blog.

I guarantee you, it's going to be MONSTROUS!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

In Remembrance: Pvt. Frank Miller B/55391, Algonquin Regiment, Canadian 4th Armoured Division - August 9th, 1944 'Falaise Gap'

Frank Miller at the Algonquin Regiment training camp in northern Ontario

In memory of my great uncle, Pvt. Frank Miller (Müller), who served in the Algonquin Regiment in the Second World War. 

He was a son of recent Austrian immigrants to Canada.

Frank was killed in action August 9, 1944 - fighting as part of the ill-fated 'Worthington Force' - a battlegroup which became lost and isolated behind German lines. After fierce fighting, the force was overrun by units of the 12th SS Panzer Division.

The Saskatchewan War Memorial on the grounds of the Provincial Legislature

Frank rests at Bretteville-Sur-Laize Canadian War Cemetery in Normandy. 

His family remembers.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

A Great Day Out at 'Crisis'

This is just a short post, providing a brief recap of my wonderful day taking in 'Crisis' in  picturesque Antwerp. 

Wow, what an amazing event. Sure, it was very crowded and quite busy (and the venue itself reminds me of a repurposed U-Boat pen), but the number of vendors and the quality of the games were absolutely astounding.

This shot was taken mid-way through one of the two adjoining halls. A massive space.
Here are a few miscellaneous shots of just a few things that caught my eye (apparently, from these pics, boats, ships and airships were a favourite!).

Games and figures aside, the best part of the event, hands down, was being able to gather together with old friends (DaveD, SidneyR, MichaelF, JakeK and RobP), make new ones (Jerry and Christine), and meet-up with people that I've become acquainted with through the blog, but have never had the chance to spend time with until now. So a big shout-out to StefanK, Nick (Moiterei), ChristopherS and SanderS. What a wonderful bunch of people - it was absolutely brilliant meeting you all!

From left to right: Me, ChristopherS, Nick, StefanK and SidneyR (photo by DaveD)
From left to right: DaveD, RobP (behind), ChristopherS, JakeK, Jerry Miller and his wife Christine, Nick, myself and MikeF
DaveD and StefanK behind Stefan's club's brilliant North West Frontier table.
SanderS and his charming son Arthur, who came up for the afternoon to visit, spread good cheer and stock-up for the upcoming Painting Challenge.

Of course, I went waay over budget on a bewildering assortment of figures, terrain and books - some of which I hope to debut during the Challenge (fingers crossed). Many thanks to Dave and Sid for kindly arranging for it all to be sent back to Canada through 'diplomatic pouch', saving us from not having to try to squeeze it all into our luggage. Thanks again guys, you're brilliant!

Next up: Part II of our Ortona '43 mini-campaign

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Worst Case Scenario #16: Sally from Munroveccio - An Italian Wars Sideshow

Like many images from the Italian Wars period this picture has virtually nothing to do with what actually happened...
This post begins at 30,000 feet as we wing our way to our vacation in Europe. Poignantly enough, our pilot cut-in to tell us that we were flying over the 100th Meridian and asked for a moment of reflection on the life and works of our nation's recently deceased poet/troubadour Gord Downie, lead singer of The Tragically Hip.

'At the hundredth meridian, where the Great Plains begin…’.

A few weeks ago ‘The Friday Night Raconteurs’ played an Italian wars scenario where the defenders of a fortified town (named 'Munroveccio', in honour of our visiting friend Doug) sallied out in the early dawn hours to disrupt the siegeworks of the dastardly Pietro Duglafino.

In reality, this was a scenario I shamelessly nabbed and embellished from Oli over at Camisado (thanks Oli!). It was also a thinly veiled excuse to paint-up and use some Forge World entrenchments that I've been sitting on for over a decade and to get both Peter and my collections on the tabletop for some colourful Renaissance mayhem.

Being that the town defenders had marched through the night, they would not know how, when, or in what order their troops would arrive. In turn, the besiegers would be caught sleeping and so they would be coming onto the table in dribs and drabs to support their beleaguered artillerists who had slept with their guns. The town defenders, a band of merry Landsknechts, would only sally out in support once they had a clear determination that they would not be isolated and destroyed before getting past the gates (meaning they were a bunch of weedy coves who weren't very interested in sticking their necks out).

Again, one of my amateurish hand-drawn sketch maps describing the table setup:

Many of the following pictures are from Peter, as many of my images got lost somewhere in the webisphere (thanks Pete!). I've tarted them up with some fancy-schmancy arrows to make them more 'dynamic'. 

The action started with units of pike, mounted 'archers' and mounted crossbows arriving on the table and cautiously advancing on the artillery position in the early dawn hours.

Doug oversees the sally in defence of Munroveccio.

The Swiss pike storm the gun position and begin spiking cannon and slaughtering the sleep-addled artillerists. Seen just above the large tent are Jinete light cavalry and Rodelero sword and buckler men, responding to the sally.

Below the Jinettes have managed to scrabble over the stone walls and are trying to manuever to threaten the enemy flank. The Rodeleros following behind are better suited to combating pikemen and so are preparing to get over the wall in order to engage. The blue arrow shows the advance of the mounted archers who will go over the embankment, dismount and begin assaulting the artillery position with their fellow pikemen.

The two light cavalry forces face off, while the Rodeleros wait for the sheep to pass before going into the assault (meaning they completely pooched their roll to charge in...)

The Spanish swordsmen go into the assault with a vengeance, but do not have the support that the Italian pike has, so the two forces remain locked in fierce combat. The light cavalry at the top of the picture clash several times without firm resolution except for accruing more and more casualties.

Meanwhile back at Munroveccio, the Landsknects 'prepare' to support their comrades by having a drink first. Okay, maybe make that eight drinks...

Hoi! Just one more for the road, eh?!

While the Italian pike and Rodeleros struggle (fittingly, they would both break simultaneously), the crossbowmen complete the job of destroying the artillery camp. Now, it's time to try to disengage and make their escape. The fly in the ointment is that there is a unit of papal gendarme cavalry in the rear. Hmm, time to send in the archers (which confusingly, unlike their name, was a class of heavy, lance-armed cavalry).

After a tumultuous clash, the papal gendarmes push the archers back, but are severely handled in the exchange, allowing the sallying force to begin to withdraw back to the town.

...which is good because this is what was coming on the table to say hello: two units of veteran Swiss and German pike, with supporting troops, who've put aside their animosity to chase off the town's force. 

The besieger's reinforcements arriving too late for the party...

So, a hard-won victory for the town of Munroveccio!

Many thanks to the guys for playing the scenario - it was tremendously great fun and nice excuse to get both Pete and my stuff on the table. Again, thanks chaps!  


As a final note, if any of you are planning to be at Crisis in Antwerp this weekend, please keep an eye open for me (I'll be the tall guy with silly facial hair, wearing a Canadian Remembrance Day poppy). I'm hoping to meet-up with some old acquaintances and make some new ones as well. 

It's going to be a hoot!