Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Cirian Legacy

I have been a fan of the concept of the Inquisitor game since it was released. I used to be a role playing gamer years ago but as I have gotten older the RPG culture has lost its appeal. What has not lost its appeal is the story. Most of the miniatures games I have done for the last several years have lacked the story aspect. When the Inquisitor rules were released several years ago I was intrigued. The idea of a narrative war game sounded like the perfect balance between RPG and minis.
There were a couple of problems. The first issue for me was the 54mm figures. I have decided sometime earlier that all my miniature games would be 28mm. This seemed to spell the end for Inquisitor. The other issue was there were no players in my group willing to play. They seemed to have the same problem as I did with the 54mm figures.
Then one day while searching for Necromunda sites I found this - It was like a revelation! You can play Inquisitor in 28mm...duh. It was so obvious I felt stupid for not thinking of it. This inspired me to get some people together and try it out. I managed to get one small game together with four players and me as the GM. It seemed to go well but did not hook the others. I don't know if it was the game or how I gm'ed it. Either way it went back on the shelf and to the back of the mind.
Fast forward 5 or 6 years and my friend Tim and I are looking to get a 40K campaign going. But this one would be different. It would not be limited to 40K 5th edition or even just 40K. We want to branch out and explore lots of different games set in the 40K universe. This could be anything from older version of 40K, 40K skirmish, Necromunda, Battlefleet Gothic and Inquisitor.
We have already done some patrol games and experimented with some skirmish. I started digging out all my old Inquisitor files and books. I ordered a new copy of the rules from eBay as mine were junk. I started checking in on the various forums reading about other's experiences with the rules and with the 28mm version.
Our first experience with the game will be me GM'ing The Cirian Legacy which is the first of only two Inquisitor: Conspiracies books GW produced for the game. The book is similar to an RPG module. They contain three separate campaigns that have a series of encounters. The campaigns can be played alone or as a set. The encounters are more of general guide lines rather than a very specific scenario. This allows the GM to tweek things to fit his group and campaign.
In preparation for this campaign Tim and I are working on creating the terrain or 'sets' for each scenario. We also need to assemble the 'cast.' Tim will be running his own Inquisitor band so he will be creating and painting those models. I will be running all the NPC cast and so I will be building and acquiring the models.
One of the pieces of advice I have acquired involves the use of 40K models in Inq28 games. This seems to be a bad idea for a couple of reasons. One is that it leads the players to seeing the game as a skirmish version of 40K which can lead to trying to put too many models on the table. The other issues is that the players need to see the models as characters and individuals. They need to take actions based on some attachment to the characters.
This sounds like good advice so I will be attempting to create unique and individual models for these games and I will avoid using stock 40K models unless the game calls for it. This will really give me a chance to do some cool figure modeling. I have noticed that the serious 54mm players are perfectly willing to use models from non-GW sources for their characters and conversion and I will be doing this for our Inq28 games. There are literally limitless models that can be created with all the different 28mm figure lines available.
This should be the beginning of an interesting gaming project so stay tuned for more updates.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Moonscape and Blastscape Part 4

The Blastscape set is done! This entire project lasted about a week and involved several hours of prep, paint and flock. I think the investment was well worth it. As far as I know this might be the only painted set in existence! Take a look at the individual pictures below.

The Laser Burn is my favorite piece in this set. I think my lava painting turned out OK. Trust me when I say the lava does not look this good in person.

Below is the crashed pod that started all the complaints about this set. It was the piece that everyone wanted and when it did not look as good as the master model people were upset.

After working with both the Moonscape and the Blastscape sets it is clear that the Moonscape set is fantastic. I give the Moonscape set an A. It is also clear that the Blastscape set is not as bad as many would have you believe. It is not up the the standard set by the Moonscape but I still give it a C+. As you can see from the pictures if you put a little time and effort into this set you can have some very nice terrain pieces.
This entire project cost about $50 and took about 10 hours total. That may sound like a lot of time and money but you must remember that is for 10 terrain pieces that cover a fair large amount of table space.
Nothing more to say about this...except I may have to buy another set to do up to match my city ruins.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Moonscape and Blastscape Part 3

The Moonscape set is complete! These really turned out nice and I am happy I put the work into them. For the painting phase I used two different shades of brown craft paint. The Nutmeg Brown is the first color to go over the brown base coat. This is applied in a slightly 'wet' dry brush.

After the Nutmeg Brown has dried apply a standard dry brush of the Honey Brown. This color will really bring out the details. Once that has dried I dull coated the craters and then flocked the edges. See the following pictures for the paint sequence.

Below is the completed set. I think they match up well with the GW Battlemat.

Not much more to say. Next up is the Blastscape. That set will get the same treatment but they will take a little longer as there is more detail to paint. I hope to have those up in a couple more days.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Moonscape and Blastscape Part 2

Work continues on the Moonscape and the Blastscape. This phase of the process requires a bottle of Liquitex Texture Gel. This is magic stuff. I use this for lots of different uses but it is perfect for terrain and basing projects. For this I want a lot of texture so I am using the Resin Sand.

This stuff is sticky and bonds to most materials well. Once it cures it takes paint well, as it should. It is not cheap stuff so use it sparingly. I have found that the gel will shrink as it cures and sometimes you may need to reapply to get the desired result.

Several of the Blastscape pieces have what I think is excessive flash around the edges. On the piece above you can see what I mean. On this piece I tried to trim some of the excess off. Turns out it was a lot of work for no real improvement. Just fill the flash areas and let it go.

Above is an example of a textured crater. This one is fully cured and ready for paint. I chose to texture just the edge but you could add as much texture as you want, anywhere you want.

Here we have all (well, not all, but most) of the pieces textured and waiting for paint.

The base coat is really important for a project like this. I chose Krylon Camouflage Brown. This paint is part of the Fusion line that is formulated for plastics. It is also one of the Ultra-Flat which makes it perfect as a primer coat.

The texture and the base coating is all done. These are ready for some real paint! I think I will focus on painting the Moonscape first as these are a little more straight forward to paint.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Moonscape and Blastscape Part 1

I pre-ordered a set of the new GW Blastscape and I got them in the mail yesterday. With all the talk on the boards about the quality, or lack thereof, I thought I should get these painted up. I also happen to have a Moonscape set laying around so I figured I would do them both at the same time.

First off, I want to say that I cannot see a huge difference in quality between the Moonscape and the Blastscape set. They seem to be made of the same type and thickness plastic. The Moonscape has more fine detail and the they are a little lighter color out of the package. They are both vacuum formed sets and are a little flimsy. This seems a little more so with the Blastscape as the details are larger causing the plastic to be stretched farther in the forming process. Both sets need some reinforcing.

For the reinforcing material I decided to use some Spray Polyurethane foam insulation. This stuff comes in a spray-can and will stick to anything. In fact it is a little dangerous. Make sure you use safety glasses and maybe even gloves. Once you open a can of this stuff you need to be prepared to use it all or throw away what is left over. You will not be able to keep the nozzle clean for reuse.

Clean off your craters and flip them over. Fill each one with a small amount of the foam. Be careful not to do too much or let it come out too quick. If you overfill one take a straight edge and scrape off the excess. I used an old piece of wood for this. A paint stir-stick would be ideal. Anything you scrape off use to fill another crater, don't waste this stuff.

After you fill them all they will look something like the picture above. The foam takes several hours to cure and as it does it will expand. In Arizona at 110 degrees these took about 4 hours to cure completely.

Fully cured you can now see how much the foam expanded! It will more than double in size and the only thing you can do it trim off the excess. This is not too tough but it can be messy. For this phase you will need a fine tooth hacksaw blade and a dust mask. You should ware the mask while you are cutting this stuff. It will make a lot of dust and light particles that you should not breath in. You should also be careful with the saw blade. These are not meant to be used in your hand and will break easily. I have the scares to prove it.

As you cut the foam try to keep the blade flush with the base of the piece. You only want to remove the amount that sticks up and you want to leave as much as possible in the model. In the picture above you can see one that has been cut and sanded. For the sanding I used 100 grit in a long sanding block. You might want to use a courser grit. After sanding I rubbed each piece on the driveway. The rough concrete surface worked as a large sander.

Above are the first couple of filled and trimmed craters. There is slight warpage on the Blastscape piece. This was there before it was filled and the filling did not change the warpage. Each piece is now sturdier and heavier. They are much more stable and will be excellent on the game table. I am very happy with how these are progressing.

The next part is to address the large flash edge and prep for painting. I will be working on that tomorrow and I hope to have these done.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Storm of Vengeance - Power Plant

My recent 40K games have been smaller, scenario driven games. The types of game really allow you to use some different battlefield configurations. This has me digging through my collection for interesting stuff. I have been a longtime fan of Necromunda and the card terrain that came with that game. I have a couple of sets of it. I missed most of the 40K terrain kits that used this same approach but I did get the Storm of Vengeance scenario set several years ago. That set included this cool power plant model. This thing as been sitting in a box, unbuilt, for years but now I think it is time to get it on the table.

The kit was a little fiddly to build but not too bad. It took a couple of hours to assemble. I would really like to add the original Imperial Bastion and the outpost to the collection. I am working on my Gorkamorka Ork fort and hope to have some pictures up soon. That one is getting some extra attention and will be based and painted.

If you have one of the old 40K card terrain kits and would like to let it go, let me know. I might take it off your hands.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Cool Things Games Workshop Does - Terrain

A few months ago I posted a rant about dumb things GW does. The subject of that post was my displeasure with the difficulty obtaining GW bases. To balance that post I feel it is time to point out something that I like about GW. Don't get me wrong, it is not hard to point out good stuff about GW, I am a fan after all. It is just not something that I, or most other gamers, do all that often. It is far easier to complain than to praise.

For the last couple of years GW has been releasing some truly amazing terrain kits. These new products have reach an entirely new level with the release of the kits to support the 40K Cities of Death expansion. The ruined building were a huge leap forward for GW terrain offerings, and, even though I feel the kits were actually designed with 54mm Inquisitor models in mind, are incredibly flexible.

Building on the the success of the new urban terrain kits GW released a new line of hills, trees and fantasy building kits. The new building kits include a watch towers, a mannor house, walls and shrines. These have the same, if not better, flexibility of the urban kits.

Games Workshop has also released a brilliant battlemat. This mat is made of fabric with a grass texture. The quality of this mat is amazing and for only $30 is one of the best deals GW has ever offered. In addition to the battlemat GW has release the truly amazing Battlescape modular terrain boards. The board are made of heavy plastic and allow for several different configurations. While this is a very expensive product the quality and durability of these boards are unmatched. I really can't wait to get one.

The new Planetstrike release for 40K has brought with it a bunch of new terrain kits in support. These include various fortifications, a landing pad and new craters and blasts markers.

Since most of these new terrain kits are made of the same plastic as the rest of the GW line they are very easy to modify and kit-bash, allowing an infinite amount of uses. When you look at the quality and flexibility of these kits it is even more amazing that the price-point for the majority is between $20 and $40.

Terrain is a very important, but often overlooked, aspect of the miniature hobby. I think that an average painted army on a nice table is much better than the most amazingly painted figures on cheap, sloppy terrain. So, with all this cool stuff get out an build some terrain!