Cordelia Turner and her Emo Attitude

•September 1, 2015 • 5 Comments

I was unexpectedly out of the country on business last week, which somewhat hindered my plans to get Scarface and Cordelia both finished in time to be entered into the Data Sphere Autumn painting campaign.

I did try an intense painting session over the weekend to see if I could blitz Scarface but, as a big old TAG, there’s just so much area to cover and I realised it was not going to be possible without some eye strain and backache.

Anyway, it was good motivation to make progress and I managed to get his little sister, Cordelia, completely done.

Here she is with all her emo attitude,

Cordelia Turner Miniature

Cordelia Turner Miniature

Cordelia Turner Miniature

Cordelia Turner Miniature

Cordelia Turner Miniature

There’s a lot of detail going on in a relatively small area so maybe the decision to freehand her t-shirt, Domino eye make-up and the ripped stockings might be a little too much but hopefully that’s mitigated by the use of a restricted colour palette.

And here’s how Scarface is looking alongside her in his WIP state,

Cordelia and WIP Scarface

Doesn’t really show in the photo but I have to say I’m really pleased with how that purple is working as a shade for the green. I’ve mentioned it before in a post I wrote about colour theory but you can achieve some really rich looking colours if add a hue shift.

Cordelia’s Ripped Stockings

•July 30, 2015 • 5 Comments

Quick little progress update on the Cordelia Turner miniature.

I mentioned in the last post that I was thinking of re-doing the legs on her to add a bit of punk attitude and also to differentiate her from Angel’s studio paint scheme.

First attempt at ripped stockings and I’m quite pleased with how they’re working out. Probably tidy a little more but they’re mostly there.

Cordelia Miniature WIP

And here’s a close-up of the back.

Cordelia Miniature WIP

Technique-wise it as pretty straightforward. Firstly I painted and shaded them whole using a mix of a dark brown with added flesh tone. Then I painted ellipses with a black-brown mix and neatly filled these with fleshtones, being careful to retain a very thin black line. I added some ladders/tears with a lighter mix of the stocking colour and added fleshtone. Finally I went in and tidied a bit with the original stocking colours.

Still a little bit of glazing and smoothing to be done but I think the effect is working how I imagined it would.

Also you’ll see that I smoothed the face a little, worked a bit on the cyber arms and also the breather mask, using the revised olive drab colour I’ve updated her shorts with.

Summer win, Autumn begins

•July 28, 2015 • 4 Comments

I’m delighted to announce, somewhat belatedly, that my Ajax was voted joint first place in the Data Sphere Summer Painting Challenge. Nice that voters liked what I’d done with the crazy big dude and nice to see a front page post on the website where they picked out some key features they liked on the winning minis. Congrats to ibanezmark and Kenza for their cool entries.

Check out the post here.

Now that the summer campaign has closed we’ve moved on to the autumn one, which will be about specialists in game – eg engineers, hackers, and the like. I’m taking part again as it’s nice motivation to paint my minis and have decided to do the mercenary pair of Scarface and Cordelia. Due to contest red tape I can’t just enter the engineer Cordelia Turner on her own as her brother Scarface and his big TAG are part of the legal profile and so must be entered as a pair. Like I said, it’s nice motivation to get them both painted anyway.

Here’s a work-in-progress shot of Cordelia:

Cordelia Turner Miniature WIP

Shading’s looking a bit rough in the pic but I’m really just blocking out sections and testing the colour scheme. It demonstrates a little how I paint my minis, flitting back and forth between areas, ensuring colour harmony and picking the bit I’m most motivated to paint. It’s really thanks to the wet palette that I can do this because I don’t have to remix colours every time I switch. At some point I’ll go back over and tidy or smooth things until I am ultimately satisfied with the result.

While I’m happy with the way her stripey tights have come out I’ve actually decided to repaint her legs as wearing ripped black tights, in order to push the emo theme I’ve got going on – the reason for the domino eye make-up – and also to distinguish her further from the studio paint job.

In other news, I had a couple of games of Infinity over in Camberley at the weekend where three of us got together for our own little a mini tournament. My Haqqislam Qapu Khalki list went up against Tim’s Combined Army and James’s Nomads after the two of them had played each other in a veritable Hack fest, and things went pretty swimmingly for me in both of my games.

I’d been trying to figure out how to play the Haqqislam as I’ve really struggled to get any decent results with them but the QK Sectorial list I used turned out to be very powerful with its double fireteam of Ghulam and Odalisques. I also took Scarface & Cordelia out for a spin and they put in a solid performance. In the end I won my games quite convincingly and it has led us to question how balanced the Infinity fireteam rules are – at our level of play, anyway.

Tim had put together a very pleasing table just using a Micro Art Studios game mat and the Mototronica cardboard buildings. It looked great and was a pleasure to play on, though I was shamefully playing with unpainted minis. Scandalous. However, I was so impressed by the quality of the mat, and the difference a decent ground texture/detail makes, that I am fully inspired to get on with designing my bespoke game mat to complement the Bladerunner noir terrain I’m working on.

Anyway, regardless of results, we all had a great day of gaming, with every mission playing out quite differently and loads of cool stuff happening on the tabletop.

Infinity rules.

Ajax on Data Sphere

•June 5, 2015 • 2 Comments

So down at Data Sphere, a friendly unofficial forum for Infinity players, they run regular painting campaigns to inspire players to pick up their brushes and get a themed mini painted. Sort of like a low pressure online painting competition.

I had missed the inaugural event but decided to take part in this summer campaign, which was themed around Heavy Infantry. I originally wanted to paint the Nomad Iguana Operator but he’s not deemed a standalone profile and thus I’d have had to get the accompanying (and awesome) TAG done as well. I wasn’t quite ready to commit to that so opted to paint Ajax instead – seeing as I already had him assembled and undercoated.

Technically not a Heavy Infantry, Ajax qualified for the campaign because in-game he exhibits all the characteristics of a HI: high armour, multiple wounds, and so on.

I got him finished a day or so before the May 31st deadline and here he is in that familiar grey and iridescent purple colour scheme I am using across my Aleph faction.

Infinity Ajax Miniature

Infinity Ajax Miniature

Infinity Ajax Miniature

Infinity Ajax Miniature

Ajax Closeup

Pretty pleased with him, though I wasn’t really trying anthing new and was just refining a tried-and-trusted colour scheme.

Anyway, proud to field him on the tabletop, although his first outing with his new paintjob saw him get mown down by HMG fire before he even got to let off a shot!

Next time you’ll get to smash stuff with that big ‘ol club of yours, Ajax, don’t worry.

Max at Salute 2015

•April 29, 2015 • 4 Comments

So Salute has come and gone for another year and yet again it was a good show on a massive scale – surely one of the biggest wargame-focused shows in the world. I think it had grown slightly this year and they’d extended the hall a bit to accommodate. It did mean that there felt like a bit more space between stands and, although there were still gaggles around popular exhibitors, it didn’t seem quite the crush this year.

I’d decided not to enter anything in the painting competition this year as I fancied the break and also hadn’t really painted anything to showcase standard.

I was hoping to have a good low stress browse through the cabinets and enjoy the competition as a spectator this year but sadly that didn’t really work out for a number of reasons. Firstly, when I decided to look through the cabinets of entries they were in the midst of judging and had carted loads off to the inspection tables. Then the cabinet lighting and ropes cordoning them off meant that I couldn’t get a decent enough look to make it worthwhile so gave up. Secondly, later in the day at the time I assumed the results were to be announced, I strolled over to discover them all packing away. I hadn’t heard the PA announcements and had missed the whole ceremony! Apparently I wasn’t the only one and a number of winners didn’t even realise it was happening. Poor show there, organisers!

Painting Competition Judging at Salute 2015

Other than that I had a good show, though, with plenty of socialising, browsing, shopping and marvelling at the wonderful display tables.

I was pleased to get to meet Jeremie Bonamant-Teboul and get him to sign the Figopedia painting book I helped crowdfund on Indiegogo last year. (review of that to follow in a later post). As a bonus, JBT had brought a massive array of his stunningly painted miniatures – most of the ones from the book it seemed – and you could get close and personal with them to see the artistry.

Figone at Salute 2015

It’s always a pleasure to spot a commission mini I’ve painted appear in one of the cabinets so I was delighted to see my two Bushido temple minis at the GCT stand. I guess I’m conflicted on the commission painting thing – on the one hand I get a thrill seeing them promoting products online and in person at shows, but then on the other hand I’d rather spend my hobby time painting my own stuff for tabletop or display.

Bushido Minis at Salute 2015

My own personal favourite game being Infinity I have to say that it felt a bit under-represented with no official presence other than a couple of small independent demo tables and, now that I come to think of it, a few of the big boys were conspicuous by their absence – ie Privateer Press, Corvus Belli, Wyrd, GW obviously (ignoring the usual massive queues at Forge World). Infinity seems to be really on the rise in popularity with Operation Icestorm and 3rd Edition coming out late last year, so it seems like a bit of a miss not to strike while the iron is hot and really push it at the UK’s biggest show. Seems like the CB boys are pretty busy though and I’m sure they’ve got their sights set on the huge Stateside market.

Infinity Demos at Salute 2015

Last year I was not buying minis or games when Salute came around so this year I was quite happy to pick up things that caught my eye – culminating in an impulse purchase of a Guild Ball starter and rulebook. I’d heard some good things about the skirmish game of fantasy football so decided to take a punt(!). I’ll let you know how I get on with that, but first impressions are that the game seems good (Imagine Malifaux and Warmachine got together to make a soccer baby) although the miniatures from my Morticians Guild starter box have some of the worst mold lines I’ve ever seen.

I guess one trend that I’ve become aware of is toward pre-painted terrain. A few years back lasercut MDF kits exploded onto the scene and you’d get wafts of that burnt wood aroma as you walked about the show, and now I notice that some demo tables have taken to using pre-painted MDF, with one company – Plastcraft – showing their rather nice looking sci-fi printed terrain pieces. As a painter I’d rather do it myself in exactly the style I wanted but if you’re looking to fill up a table quickly at a reasonable standard then the pre-paint stuff seems like it could be a great development.

PlastCraft Terrain at Salute 2015

Anyway, another good show overall, despite the painting competition organisation and a general feeling that there wasn’t a whole lot of new stuff going on.

So I’ll close out this post with a small gallery of my favourite demo tables from around the show. It’s always a highlight for me to see the demo tables large and small, especially those that look like a real world setting rather than a flat board with some boxes or trees on it. As ever there were some lovely layouts at Salute this year.

Here, feast your eyes on a hand-picked few.

Pegasus Bridge Table at Salute 2015
A Pegasus Bridge style assault or defence would make for a very cool objective-based game I reckon.

Across the Dead Earth Table at Salute 2015
I’m a sucker for urban decay, post-apocalyptic reclamation of nature sort of stuff so this table for Across the Dead Earth tickled my fancy bone.

Winter WW2 Table at Salute 2015
One of the nicest WW2 tables I’ve seen, and I don’t often see winter layouts

SAGA Table at Salute 2015
This SAGA table wasn’t spectacular but there was something nice about its compactness and realism

WW2 Table at Salute 2015
I was particularly impressed by the scale and quality of this one, which features aforementioned pre-painted MDF terrain by 4Ground I think.

Afterlife Table at Salute 2015
Practical? No. Awesome? Heck yeah, a lovely dam layout by Anvil Industries. You can’t see from this angle that there’s actually water effect the other side of the dam and a rusted car crashed over the edge. Very cool stuff.

Critical Mass Games Table at Salute 2015
I like layouts that tell a story and this one by Critical Mass games does that. I guess some sort of oribital or artillery barrage has taken down the walls preceding a mech base assault.

Feudal Japanese Table at Salute 2015
There’s usually a nice Feudal Japanese layout on show and this year was no exception. A nice touch is that the far table edge is actually a castle wall beyond a moat.

Salute Just Around the Corner

•April 17, 2015 • 5 Comments

It’s amazing how fast Salute comes around each year, particularly if you’re worried about getting your entries finished in time for the painting competition.

Actually this year I’ve decided to take a break from the painting competition so I’ll just be going along as a spectator without the weird nervous anticipation of “those minis are way better than mine!”, “has my mini made it onto the final table?”, “have the judges been through my cabinet yet?”, “is it first or second place?”, etc.

My painting this year has been kind of sporadic and I’ve been mostly focused on getting Infinity minis playable for tabletop, rather than doing anything showcase-y.

Hopefully next year I’ll be back to take the contest by storm, but for now I’m looking forward to ogling the beautiful minis in the painting comp, chatting to the painters, marvelling at the awesome demo tables and browsing the shiny models at the vendor stalls (while trying not to buy too many).

The event is next weekend (Saturday April 25th) at Excel Centre in Docklands, London. Maybe see some of you there!

Let’s Play Dress Up, Wargaming Meets Cosplay

•April 16, 2015 • 3 Comments

Geek culture has really come out of the closet in the past decade and many aspects of sci-f/fantasy related hobbies have lost the stigma they may once have had. I regularly play boardgames with work colleagues and I openly discuss the fact that I paint little toy soldiers, something I’d have probably kept quiet five or ten years ago.

I wonder how many readers would happily declare that they’ve played Dungeons & Dragons, for example.

Another aspect of geek culture that is gaining mainstream acceptance and that I’ve had my eye on for some time is cosplay. I love the fact that people are passionate enough about their favourite games or movies that they would invest countless hours in making costumes and wearing them with fellow enthusiasts at conventions.

My first proper exposure to it was at DragonCon in Atlanta back in 2010 where Mrs Von D and I were blown away by just how great and inventive a lot of the costumes were. Spending an afternoon in one of the convention hotel lobbies, watching the menagerie of cosplayers milling about is something we’ll not forget in a hurry. It’s a creative aspect of the hobby that I felt I’d love to do but would only want to get involved if I could invest enough effort that my chosen outfit was totally awesome, and with so many projects on the bench it seemed like that would never happen.

Borderlands at Dragon*Con 2010

Roll forward to 2015 and I’ve seen an interesting recent development as more cosplayers are mining the tabletop wargames hobby for outfits.

It’s not entirely new of course. 40K has been popular and rich enough of theme to inspire amazing Space Marine and Sister of Battle outfits for years, but now my favourite game Infinity is starting to get a look in. Last year, in an official conjoining of hobbies, Corvus Belli commissioned costume creators Artyfakes and Tabitha Lyons to put together an outfit of a Neoterra Bolt for promotional purposes.

I happened to bump into the Artyfakes team at a recent comic convention in London and had a good long chat with Tabitha’s dad about prop-making and wargaming while she was off being photographed (there was a lot of that going on) and I was especially delighted to pick up from them the limited edition miniature sculpt that CB made to honour the cosplay. I’m a sucker for those limited editions.

Neoterra Bolt, Cosplay Edition miniature

Anyway, what a strange and wonderful world we live in!

Five years on from DragonCon and I have finally gotten around to taking that tentative step into cosplay, well the prop-making side anyway, as I have started on a replica Carnifex handgun from the Mass Effect video game series.

Mass Effect Carnifex WIP

I reckon it’s just like how my grandad used to make me rifles out of a plank of wood, only this time I have access to Youtube tutorials, an airbrush, foamed PVC and a Cricut cutting machine.

Feels like a slippery slope though. What’s next, an Aleph Spitfire? A full set of N7 armour?