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Thursday, May 26, 2016

Toughest Girls of the Galaxy 2 Preview; Executrix Champion Sephea and Dark Elf Mascot Violet

I got a preview set of the the freebies from the Toughest Girls of the Galaxy 2 "Darkness and Light" (TGG 2) and I'll be painting them up just as fast as I can manage but, even though the freebie set contains Sisters and Lust Elves I really fixed on Executrix Sephea and the Mascot Violet as my first targets.

 Its kind of funny that I first got interested in the Kickstarter because of the Sisters of the Chalice/Orphanage and then became completely enthralled by the Lust Elves and now have really started looking hard at the Void and Dark Elves.

 I usually play Dark Eldar in 40K and have proxied some RH stuff in my armies before... Asharah SF version as the Archon of the Blood Rain, and the Blood Vestals SF version for Wyches as well as the fantasy versions for Witch Elves.  Because I have a full blown Dark Eldar army already built and painted up I thought I'd have less interest in proxy Dark Eldar... boy was I wrong about that!  At this point I'll be building a parallel pure Void Elf army, complete with its own backgrounds, as kind of a "Darker Eldar" army that is related to my main Force  "The Blood Rain".

The figures are very finely detailed and crisply cast.  There are few mold lines and they are generally well placed.  After a thorough cleaning I primed up Sephea and Violet and set to work.

The Blood Rain has a very identifiable color scheme and the new Void Elf Shard is going to as well.  First things first, Asharah's Void Elves will be the "Vertigo Shard" and will have a lot of asymetric designs worked into the heroes and vehicles... I'm thinking that the Blood Rain will retain the old school Dark Eldar vehicles while the Vertigo Shard will get the new style... we'll see how that plays out for troops but these minis are so inspiring I might go there!

My first thought is to take the iconic Incubi... all black and skulls and scary... and re-imagine them in rose and indigo.  You see that here with Sephea and Violet... who will serve as the Shard's Communion Familiar... sort of a modified creature that talks to lesser beings so the Void Elves don't have to... The actual Executrix troops will have the same, or a reverse, of Sephea's scheme... all depends on how the rose sits against the flesh... tricksey!

 I imagine Executrix Sephea's first meeting with Val'orn Archon of the Hidden Kindred to have gone something like this:

 "Dire Lord!  The Void Kin vessel approaches as anticipated." whispered the diminutive Communion Familiar.
Archon Val'orn of the Hidden Kindred, vassals of the Blood Rain Kabal, winced.  He did not agree with this course of action but the Kabal  had chosen this path and he was compelled to obey.

 "Dispatch Ar'Rrath" he directed.

 "Void Sisters we welcome your arrival and look forward to this exchange. Klaivex Ar'Rrath is on his way to you. When can we expect your Executrix?" the tones of the communion familiar were carefully cultivated... radiating an indifference just short of actual insult... it was unclear, to the uninitiated, whether or not a reply was actually expected.

 "You may expect me now." replied a lilting and remotely amused voice from the foot of the command dais.  A tall blonde female Void Elf, for no outsider had ever seen a male Void Elf... if indeed any of them existed, clad in brilliant blue and pale rose armor stood gracefully in the single moment before the command deck erupted in furious activity.

 Two Incubi clad in the heavy armor, and bearing the signature great blades of their profession, moved rapidly to flank the new arrival.

 "How quaint, you actually oh, and skulls.... yes there are skulls!  I imagine that is fearsome!" mused the newcomer.

"Stay your blades Incubi!" laughed Val'orn "I suspect this is Executrix Sephea... your new Klaivex."

The Incubi came to a sudden, and complete, halt as Val'orn turned his attention to Sephea... "I expect to learn something of that trick as part of this exchange but recommend that you use it with caution while you are among the Blood Rain."

For all his glib demeanor Val'orn was off his guard.  The Void Elves had a reputation that was equal parts mystery and terror, even by the standards of the Kabal, but this sparkling gem did not align with his own vision of fear.

"As you command Dire Lord, although... if I might mention such a trifle... while caution might be useful if simple fear is your desire" a slight pause, a blatantly incredulous eye cast toward the Incubi she was to command, she continued "it's usefulness is substantially diminished when invoking true terror."

"We shall see Executrix... we shall see..."  Val'orn retreated within the protective void bubble of his command throne and wondered again about the wisdom of this course.

The story is still unfolding but such an auspicious beginning!

Sephea and Violet, in its role as Communion Familiar. The Mascot "Violet" should probably be renamed to "Indigo" in my service since I painted her that way... but, reduce confusion, Violet she remains!

Sephea seen paired with a rare female Archon from GW.

Oh... before I forget completely!

Painting notes:

Skin: Basic Flesh (Vallejo), Flesh Wash (P3), retouched with Basic Flesh.

Indigo areas: Nightmare Black (Reaper), Deep Sky Blue (Vallejo) highlights, wash Sapphire (Secret Weapon), spot highlights Deep Sky Blue.

Rose areas: Rose Brown (Vallejo), highlights Brains Pink (Reaper), wash Drying Blood (Secret Weapon), retouch Rose brown, spot highlight brains pink.

Designs in the rose area were painted between just before the first wash using Deep  Red (Reaper)

I based her on the same Blasted Swamp (Secret Weapon) bases that majority The Blood Rain is based on.  I thought about a separate basing scheme for the Vertigo Shard but they may still be used with the Blood Rain quite a lot and it will be more unifying to have the bases regularized.

Oh! before I forget.... Sephea and Violet are both part of the big pile of freebies you get for pledging at the LT. level or higher.  It's still possible to join the Kickstarter if you do it before the Pledge Manager opens.  Raging Heroes expects this to happen in less than two weeks.

Next up... Nuns with Guns!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

JR Miniatures Reactor Building Ruins and Destroyed Robotics Lab and more...

A while back I picked up JR Miniatures' Reactor Building Ruins and Destroyed Robotics Lab.  I got a set as a gift for my nephew and a set for myself which languished in the box for the next couple of years while we moved around the world... twice! 

I recently unearthed my set from the big pile of boxes and decided to paint them up as I had turned up short on SF terrain for a game this week.

This first one is the Reactor Building Ruins.  I got started with a black spray paint than worked up the interior walls as plastered, tiled, and metal.  When thinking about ruins, especially modern or SF I tend to think gray.  Not because the building might have originally been gray but more that they were probably constructed primarily of concrete or something similar... this will be pulverized in the destruction of the building and coat everything with the gray dust.

You can see Mortaria for scale wandering through the ruins.

First came the plaster which is Menoth Base (P3) and a brush up of Splintered Bone (Reaper).

Grays were next using Dark Grey (Craft Smart) and a brush up of Misty White (Reaper)

After the grays I did metals using gun metal gray (Vallejo) then the GW technical paints Ryza Rust and Typhus Corrosion with top brush of Misty Gray (Reaper) and Rustungs Farbe (Old Gamecraft labelled Fantasy Forest... but yeah its just silver :))

The chest was done using my standard wood process described in detail here 

I kind of liked the textured walls that make the building look reinforced.

I'm not really sure how the building names were derived although the Destroyed Robotics Lab has a lot of regularly spaced holes in the walls like for power conduits or tubing of some sort. 

 Here is a "before shot" , I find I often skip that because I just see the finished thing in my head.

 I liked the layout of these and they are really useful terrain pieces on the tabletop.  The spacing is very good and the models take paint very well.  The two buildings took were turned out in a couple of hours with almost zero prep.

As the games progress I'll add slogans and posters etc... evolving scenery!

 Next up A few shots of the WiP Raging Heroes 54mm Raven the Chainbreaker. 

There was some minor bubbling mostly in the top of the head and in the small of the back.  This bubbling was mild and the tiny pits were easily filled with liquid greenstuff. Bubbling of this type is common and not a cause for concern. 

Otherwise the casting was very clean with just a couple of vents in the small of the back to sort out.

I did manage to break the connecting chain between the to poles of her back banner while cleaning the model but I kind of liked the way it looked broken so just cleaned up around the chain link and left it swinging free.
 Here you can see the elements of the base being worked in.  The base is built up with white pumice (vallejo) some square brass tube (GW) and a resin scanner (GW).
 I got really excited about the incoming Toughest Girls of the Galaxy 2: Darkness and Light Kickstarter and began working on basing schemes for the various factions.

 I settled on this for the basic SF Sister's of the Chalice.  I then realized that the Sister's have no "Bike" equivalent so I'll redirect these bike bases to the Jailbirds... so I guess you'll be seeing those bikes in the near future!
... and finally... a glimpse at the main painting tray. I seem to have a dozen figures on the tray all in various states of WiP...

It has some really cool stuff on it... more on those next time!

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Proxy Wars Episode 1: Mordheim

I play a lot of games, and dabble in quite a few more, and for many years I scrupulously used only the exact minis intended by the manufacturer for use with their game.  Its helpful, of course, especially in terms of WYSIWYG, but eventually everyone that plays a faction within a game ends up looking very similar.

( Brunhilde, Kinght of the Blazing Sun and acting  Witch Hunter Captain stands firm against an assault by a Sigmarite Sister and two Novices...Brunhilde is a real Heroine putting one novice out of action and keeping the remaining Sister and Novice tied up in melee for the rest of the game (top and left).  Brunhilde is from the Raging Heroes classic line and the Sisters are GW originals. Below: MVP Gretchin interrupts her journey rescue of Captain Brunhilde to ambush a novice sister that was searching for warpstone.)

For me, these days, the "Looks Cool!" factor is a big deal so I've branched out into proxies in a pretty big way. I'd always used the odd alternate manufacturer figure for special characters, especially those written up in the rules but whose figure was missing from the product line, or just because it looked like it would be a good fit as a sergeant or unit champion/standard bearer/musician as these types of miniatures were often available in only one pose or might even be entirely absent.

 The table was set with a Deepcut Studios cobblestone mat and a pile of Tabletop World buildings.  To give the game a "night time feel"  I used a blue light and a couple of overhead white spots.  The result was stark shadows and a gloomy night time feel while still maintaining enough light for comfortable play.

The match was the opening round of a campaign and first up were Witch Hunters vs Sigmarite Sisters!

 Fueled mainly by the amazing complete proxy armies that are available from folks like Raging Heroes, Avatars of War (Although they now have a rule set of their own in Warthrone), and Scibor, I'm building complete proxy armies as my first choice.  In doing this I'm not necessarily looking for a less expensive way to produce an army.  Raging Heroes, for example, is not a discount mini shop.  I'm looking for the minis that best portray what I want to play.

 There are downsides to proxy armies, of course, but they are largely confined to official company events and tournaments where there may be a requirement for official miniatures in order to participate.  I don't do tournaments for the most part so it doesn't really have an impact on my gaming.

(Above and above right: A large central melee broke out.  The Witch Hunters face off against the Sisters.  Witch Hunter Gretchin, supported by the Warrior Priest Whilhelm and the wardog Walter, faces off against the Matriarch Beatrix.  A lucky crit by Gretchin with the dueling pistol takes the Matriarch out of action before she can strike! Witch Hunters Hildegard and Johan hold fast in a furious engagement with Sister Superior Magda and two Sisters.  One turn later, Wardog Walter, and Warrior Priest Wilhelm add into the grand melee while Gretchin exits the area to head towards Mercenary Captain Brunhilde who is all alone and engaged in a lopsided duel.  Meanwhile two novice sisters decide to dodge the grand melee and scour the area for warpstone.)

After dispatching both the Matriarch and a novice Gretchin claims final victory by forcing the game ending route check...

The teams!  The Sisters spent more gold building their warband (492 to 485) but came up short on rating compared to the Witch Hunters.  The ratings ended up being Sisters - 68, Witch Hunters - 96 not enough for an underdog bonus but enough to notice.

The minis:  Sisters of Sigmar are all Games Workshop while the Witch Hunters are a mix of Games Workshop and Raging Heroes.