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