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Friday, August 21, 2015

Halo Fleet Battles - a quick look inside the Gen Con Special 2 Player Battle Box

 I missed Gen Con but, thanks to Niel at The War store I didn't miss out on one of the amazing specials... the HALO Fleet Battles 2 Player Battle Box!

I found it waiting for me when I made my weekly pilgrimage to the mailbox and just had to take a quick look inside!  Here is what I found...

 The first thing that I notice is that the box is massive!.. I mean really large... and heavy too.  The colorful outer sleeve is not particularly sturdy... nor are the two content boxes inside.  This isn't a big deal but I like the look of the box and suspect it won't hold up to handling for very long.

No worries! That is what bespoke cases are for!  And well need some because this box is packed with stuff!

There are two sheets of punch out terrain to dress up the battlefield which I encountered in the box sleeve, that are made of a similar material and are a similar weight as the sleeve so be careful not to miss them when opening up the box.

 What I'll refer to as Box 1 has a perfect bound rulebook, a less robustly bound campaign book, several bags of dice, assorted tokens, reference sheets, overlays,  and the packet of Gen Con Extras.

 Here is the packet of Gen Con extras.  Its a capital ship sprue from each faction which is a huge upgrade to the set as each faction comes with one capital ship, a few middleweights, and a pile of frigates.  With this packet you double your Major vessels and get a couple of extra frigates to boot.  The packet also contains the related tokens and game markers for these ships.  Thanks Niel!

Box 2 contains the ships and flight bases.  There is a pile of them... 49 very detailed ship modles molded in hard plastic in good faction colors... 55 when you add the Gen Con goodies!  It looks like a quick wash would see them tabletop ready but there is a lot of room for actual painting as well.

I'll be reading the rules next week and see about a game... but, at the moment, I'm glad I picked up two sets of this!

I've always been interested in the Spartan Games offerings but have never jumped in.  If the rest of their catalogue is up to the quality of this set I've got another company to go all fanboy over!

Now off to the War Store to see about pre-ordering more Halo stuffs....

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Carneval Vatican

I was playing around with these Vatican minis and something pretty cool happened.  I mean I love the retro feel of these things and am coming to really like the actual game they are associated with!

So look at these two pictures and see what happens...

We are bad inquisitors!

 or is it...

You are bad inquisitor!

Same minis, just rearranged... the looks of condemnation are so easily turned round. 

Perspective is a funny thing... here in the Swelter-verse I typically only do hobby stuff... If you want a dose of real world your in the wrong place...

but...  sometimes it slaps you in the face!

Food for thought....

I do really relish the looks of horror that occur on some of the faces in the Carneval lineup... from the fledgling Strigoi terrified by it's own first kill, to the inquisitor seeing the blood on his hands and realizing... that he is not repulsed by it.

... and the Executioner whose piercing eyes look out from the false anonymity of his mask.... seem totally unrelated to the idiot's grin that is perched over a fragile and severely receding chin...makes me happy not to see the whole face!

Things are moving along.... the Tabletop World Townhouse 2 should wrap up this week.. as should the French Vatican guards and the Inquisition standard bearer.  Then is on to the last TTW building that I have with me and prep work for Raging Heroes and some of the Age of Sigmar stuffs from GW.

Ohhh... Last minute update!   I've been struggling to make posts because pictures would not load into Blogspot... I seem to have got that sorted...for now!  AND  I just got the email that another big batch of Raging heroes shipped!   Mecha INCOMING!  I am really anxious to see these.. can ya tell?

and remember to

Build it!
Paint it!
Play it!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Carnevale Strigoi

 By way of reacquainting myself with the tools of the trade I've decided to knock out the Carneval stuff before moving on to the Raging Heroes models... which are more demanding to paint.  Starting with the Strigoi.

The Carnevale Strigoi are the Vampire faction.  They have very little in common with the modern, super sexy, romantic vampire...  They are very much one of the horrors of the old world and Carnevale did a good job of fleshing out the horror side of the Vampire.

One of the great things about Carnevale as a game is the inclusive nature of it.  It has standard fantasy tropes, super heroes, and steam punk-esque styling's as well as Lovecraftian horror.

There is the Fledgeling strigoi... a vampire newly created and just beginning it's descent into horror.  Shown here with the severed head of it's first kill and a terrified expression.  I've used the Reaper vampiric flesh triad on these along with Secret Weapon Concrete wash.  The result is very splotchy and highly textured.  I still envision these old style vampires as being painted directly onto a wood surface... medieval syle.  The victims and servants are less abstract and a little more accessable. 
The Monstrous walk the streets of Venice... classic Nosferatu and an aquatic vampire reminiscent of Deep Ones... of Cthulhu fame.

The Aquatic Strigoi has waterlogged pants and some spots of Secret Weapon Swere Water wash added tio the skin treatment.

The noseferatu is in the classic pose with the 1000 mile stare...
A noble Srrigoi and it's human servant.  The cape has a very fleshy look to it and the waist coat has a lot of texture.

The human servant is an older man whose practice of hygene is limited... even for the time period.   This miserable fellow comes with a lantern that is intended to hang from his belt... a dangerous and uncomfortable arrangement!  I left the lantern for future use!

The Noble Strigoi isn't particularly flashy and everything about the strigoi in general reeks...probably literally... of decay and mildew... everything feels a little damp, if not downright sodden!
A pair of rank and file Strigoi.  Continuing the damp and mildewed theme... I imagine the Strigoi of Venice to spend an unusual amount of time in the water and in the wet sewerage... it shows in the oppressive amount of earthtones and the irregularity of the colors.
In sharp contrast to the Strigoi... Studio Swelter has a new, temporary, painting table.  Just a 6 ft. folding table and a couple of folding chairs.. they'll come in handy when I next have to move.   I am loving the light of this workspace although its a little warm at times!

... and finally... a Tabletop World Townhouse 2 beginning its journey to join Greystone Village.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Tabletop World Stone Bridge adventures and some early WiP on Carneval Strigoi

"Nice bridge ya got there Swelter... except for the bit where the shingle is all funny shiny and... odd..."

"Thanks!"  I says...  "and did ya notice that the whole model has that funny effect?  Did ya?  .... uv course you did!~  You was jest bein' polite and mentioning the shingle 'cause its all kinda pink like....."

Well... lets jus get the FAIL out of the way!

What you have here is a clearly labeled can of Plastic Primer.  Its transparent and in a matte finish... but its still Primer and not the Sealer top coat that I was looking for! 

Still I've had a lot worse Primer fail.... heck... I've had a lot worse Sealer fail for that matter.

So yeah... basically I seized that last best chance to destroy a model and sprayed it down with Primer. 

It dried transparent as the can suggests but there is a bit of shiny-ness to it and some color shifts... most notably on the red/brown shingle on the main house. 

I think its recoverable with a little effort on the shingle and some Dull Coat... once I'm able to get some...  but otherwise the thing looks ok..... the rest of it seems mostly to just be a bit shiny.. which the Dull Coat should solve... Famous last words!

On to Carnevale  and some very pasty Strigoi getting their subsurface done...  mostly in Reaper Vampiric Flesh triads... because... Vampires!... and some Blue... just because I spilled a bunch... its been that kind of day around the studio!

Time to but the brush down and grab a beer! 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Tabletop World Stone Bridge WiP

 Here is the fabulous new Stone Bridge from Tabletop World.  It's still under construction as you can see but its a great model... just as you've come to expect from these guys!

It was also a good opportunity to knock some rust off the painting by walking through a process piece that should be familiar and easy... famous last words!  I got off to a rocky start by priming the model in a dark brown... this hasn't worked our bad but I want to sit it next to the rest of the village to see if the hues are a good match... have to wait for them to show up to see.

Normally... I now recall... I work up through the greys and then line with Secret Weapon Sewer Water to  cover holes and add some definition.  This time I discovered quite a lot more primer holes than usual and, after the base grey coat ended up washing the whole model, except the shingles for some odd reason) with Sewer Water!  Take that pin holes!

I then repeated the stone grey base (Reaper Stone Grey) as a medium coverage dry(ish) brush and move on to Reaper Weathered Stone for a light high light brushing.  You can see the two steps side by side on these guard huts.  I kinda like doing the green this way as it takes way less time.

I'll have to find and get me foldio 2 set up and see about controlling some of the light a bit better... the huts kinda washed out a bit but hopefully the difference between steps is visible.

On to the whitewash process.  Watered down GW Deneb Stone followed by a brush up of P3 Menoth White Base and finally a Menoth white Highlight top brush... all this over the brown primer coat liberally washed with Sewer Water.

I'm not sure but I feel like this came out with a little bit warmer tone I the whitewash process... I'll have to look and see if I've changed something...

Next I'll move on to the roofs followed by widows and details... then tidy up the over brush and placing the loose bits round.  I think I'll leave the lamps socket-able for transport and add a magnet for the winch over the loading doors.

 Anyway... feels good to be working on the tiny toys again!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Tabletop World Stone Bridge Unboxed and Primed

 Getting things started in the new digs with a project from Tabletop World!  The brand new Stone Bridge just arrived this week so here it is.

As you can see the box has been dropped on a corner and looked like it had gotten wet as well.  Needless to say I approached opening this with some trepidation.  I did notice right away that this was a sturdier box than TTW usually uses.  There regular boxes are thin with a lot of give but the packing method compensated for that as you will notice.

As per usual with TTW the box is well stuffed with old newspapers wadded into balls and used as very effective shock absorbers.

You can the bridge emerging from the newsprint wadding.  Completely cocooned and well protected from shock.

 It needed that protection this time and it worked very well.  No damage to the model at all.

One of the big reasons I'm a total TTW fanboy... aside from how cool all there stuff looks... is the amazing care and attention to detail in the model prep and shipping.  Here you see the pieces right out of the box come pre-cleaned and pre-fit.

 I literally just placed these guard shacks into their snug fit slots... no gap, no irregular surfaces to file.... heck... it might even have made a small "click" as it sat into its position.

The lanterns for the bridge lighting fit the same way looks like I'll be able to leave them as separate components for transport purposes.

This is exactly what I want when I buy a premium kit... no tools required, especially no power tools, to beat the kit into shape...... BooM! There it is!

The roofs come taped onto their building structure and it seems to help with the transport survival.   It also makes a great box for the fiddly bits!


 The small parts are bagged and placed inside one of the building sections which is then taped shut with packing tape.

  The smaller parts are expertly cleaned and pre-fit just like the big parts.   This step save you some serious time and moves the risk of breaking a part during cleaning away from the purchaser and onto TTW...just WoW!

So the unboxing went well and its time for the Primer.  Yep... from previous experience I know that these things have already been washed and have practically zero mold release residue... I've occasionally given myself an adhesion problem with a sub par wash job so well just shake up the can and let it rip!

.... aaaaand FAIL! 

Your fabulous host is demonstrating just how rusty you can get when you step away from the bench for a couple of months....  I was certain that I was spraying these black!   Guess again.... its a dark camo brown... AAAiiiieeee!!! I had to spray ALL of it.... seriously!?!...  ack!  

Ok , ok, breathe.... Imma go with:

"I primered the model this brown color instead of black because its a water feature and it would have a different tint to the weathering due to all that muddy water being splashed all over it during every day and night of its working life.... not to mention storms!  Did I mention storm surge and .....browwwwwn?"

Yep THAT is my story and I'm sticking to it!  Yep... I suuuuure am..... really.... it's true, I say,  TRUE!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The new Studio Swelter

 I've finally managed to move into the new place and have started setting up the new painting studio/game space.  This will be the work and play space for the next three years unless something changes dramatically.

The main game room in all its empty glory! 

Complete with its own attached bathroom.

 The sun room.  Great light.  It'll likely be the lounge.

There is a balcony with great views and a lot of space.  Likely for scheming with allies or just having a cold one outside.

The entrance to the balcony and the bedroom.

The bedroom will serve as a storage area for active projects and the walk in closet becomes a marshalling area for finished armies in their transport cases.  Storage for completed armies in their cases has become a significant issue so the dedicated space for it is a great feature

The kitchen will become the painting space which may be expanded with the addition of a desk.  Most the cabinets will help organize my tools and supplies but I'll make sure it remains an operational kitchen for snacks and light meals.  Can't go to war... even in miniature... on an empty stomach!

Hidden behind the kitchen is a space I call 'Cousin It's Closet'  this area will house legacy projects that are not currently active and some large terrain items.

I'm still waiting on my main household goods to arrive but I think I'll be able to start putting paint to the tiny models, on a limited basis, in about a week.  The dust still hasn't settled from the whirlwind trans-Atlantic move but that is....'the plan'...

... and just to full the spot where the dishwasher used to be... a small party fridge, equipped with controls that go up to 11 ... just because!