Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year End and Some Tyranids

As this year ends, I'm finally able to catch up on some painting over the holidays. Overall, this year I didn't get as much opportunity to paint as I'd liked. The last couple of weeks gave me a chance to finish at least some of my plans.

I finished some of my long-running Epic Tyranid projects, but it only reminded me of how much more I have to go.

These are the flying component of the army, 12 stands of gargoyles and 2 harridans.

These are the harridans from previous posts that I built out of 40k bits. The colour scheme is based on my old 40k Tyranid army.

These are the command/synapse stands I have so far, 10 stands of warriors and 4 zoanthropes, again converted from 40k bits.

These zoanthropes are made from rippers and Tyranid warrior heads, to give an impression of giant floating brains. They're quite a bit larger proportionally that what they should be compared to the other Epic miniatures, but they're around the same size as the original GW Epic zoanthropes with legs.

Some of the cannon fodder, 20 bases of termagants. The zoanthrope shows the size of my converted miniature.

I don't have nearly enough original GW termagants for a proper Tyranid army, but I do have some of Onslaught Miniatures' proxy bugs that can be used as a substitute. This is a comparison with GW plastic termagants on the left and Onslaught stalkers on the right. The Onslaught minis are quite a bit smaller, but they should fill the need in separate units.

This is my Epic Tyranid kanban board as it stands at the end of the year. With the above units near completion, I still have a ways to go for the rest of the army, mostly larger models.

To everyone reading this, have a great New Year! Happy painting!

Monday, November 9, 2015

More Epic Tyranids

As a part of the work on my Epic Tyranid army, I've been putting together some custom resin models of vehicle-sized creatures. There is a miniature maker in France named "Winterman" who makes incredibly detailed resin miniatures of "ground bugs", perfectly suitable for Epic scale Tyranid creatures.
I have three of these "big gun" creatures, which are around the size of vehicles in Epic. They are good proxies for exocrines. In fact, they look lean and mean, a lot better than the "slug" design of the original Epic miniatures.

Here is a comparison of the exocrine proxy versus a Forge World Tau Devifish APC. It's the perfect size for a medium vehicle.

A size comparison with classic Tyranid warriors. These "exocrines" will provide much needed armoured fire support for an Epic Tyranid army.

I also have some bigger creatures with large scything talons and lobster-like claws. These are good for Haruspexes, large close-combat monsters. Again, they fit the current Tyranid design much better than the old Epic "slugs".

A comparison with the exocrine proxy showing the slightly larger size.

Don't worry, soon I'll be showing more pictures of painted Tyranid units. I'm just still working on getting a playable army ready.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Game Night Nov. 3, 2015

Tonight at the game club, there were four games running - a Warmachine table, Dave C.'s Memoir '44, Bob's Viking game, and Stephen's Robotech RPG Tactics game. I've always been interested in the 1/285 scale Robotech miniatures since the game's kickstarter, so I joined in on that.

Stephen had some really nicely painted miniatures, and we went through a simple introductory game with a couple of Valkyries versus six Zentraedi battle pods.

The Valkyries were each represented by three miniatures showing the three modes familiar from the TV show - battloid mode (big robot), guardian mode (hybrid fighter/robot), and fighter mode (pure aircraft). Each had its strengths and weaknesses.

The battle pods were also faithful representations of the basic Zentraedi cannon fodder from the show. Stephen had the classic blue and white paint scheme for them.

The basic game is very quick-playing, and we went through it smoothly, with the Valkyries overwhelmed by superior numbers.  Overall, I thought it was a nice system, and a lot of depths can be added by various support mechas.

The miniatures, being 1/285 scale, were very intricate, as can be seen from the photos. Stephen said that some of the miniatures, especially the battloid versions, were a pain to assemble, with too many parts for such small models. I've read similar complaints online around the time of the kickstarter too. The end results look great though.

The introductory game has gotten me interested in this line of miniatures. Maybe I can get some to try out...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Game Night Oct. 20, 2015

Since I've been taking pictures with my phone on Tuesday gaming nights, I think I'll be posting more of them on here. Tonight Dave B from the gaming group ran an interesting game, Clay-O-Rama.

These rules are from an old issue of Dragon magazine. In the game, players build their own monsters using play dough (!) and assign stats to them according to their design. For example their size determines their hitpoints, their number of legs determines their movement speed (in handspans!), and their number of other appendages determines their attacks. All in all it's a great and silly game, and it's a lot of fun to play.

Here's S Harper, Bruce's monster.

My monster Centipedor attacked Phil's green guy.

Justin's orange turtle-like monster was hit with the "drop" super power, i.e. it was actually dropped from three feet above the table! The monster's name was Eeyore, so I guess it fell apart.

Phil's monster suffered a "splat" attack, where someone actually pounded on it with a fist, with predictable results...

We played a second game after the first one with different types of monsters, and more wackiness ensued.

On a more serious note, I got in with a growing trend and started using a kanban board to keep track of my miniatures projects. If anything, this organizes my current painting items in progress. There are other features such as recording time spent, etc. that I might use later if needed. I use an online free tool called Kanbanflow to do all this.

This is the board for my current project, an Epic scale Tyranid army.

Monday, October 19, 2015

FallCon 2015

In what has become a tradition for me, I went down to Calgary for this year's FallCon gaming convention. There was effort from the organizers to increase numbers and participation on the miniature side of the games. However, they were still a tiny minority of the games played, most of which were board games.

On Friday night I played in Sean's GASLIGHT game, which was a steam punk adventure involving two factions looking for artifacts and facing monsters.

The map had various ancient ruins and artifacts scattered around. The "skull mountain" terrain piece was the final objective, and the various small bits of artifacts were additional goals.

Our faction consisted of various outlaws and renegades, trying to race against British imperials and random monsters. Here, my band of pirates were attacked by a horde of blue lizard men. However, that was as far as I got. My force was severely depleted by lizard men attacks, and I had no strength to fight other enemies.

The ultimate show down came from the steam tank and robot from our side fighting camel-mounted British soldiers. A long struggle later, the imperialists captured the skull and won the game.

On Saturday morning, I ran my familiar X-Com game again. This was designated a walk-up demo game, so there was no pre-signup. Fortunately, a couple of guys from a nearby painting event came and played an urban scenario.

The rest of the convention was filled with DBA events for me. Saturday afternoon was the learn DBA event, which was actually mostly old hands trying to get used to DBA 3.0. Sunday morning consisted of the Alberta Open Tournament. Dennis and I played against a couple of guys from Calgary, Vic and Mark, and we came out on top. Dennis ended up first place and I took second. It was nice to get into 3.0 in a big way and play people from Calgary. I took some pictures of my games in progress, hopefully showing off the participants' armies.


Some familiar faces from Edmonton were at FallCon. Here is the excellent Martian Front game run by Terry and Scott, with their impressive signature piece, the land ironclad.

At the Sunday flea market, I also picked up a  couple of games at bargain prices. One was the classic naval game Harpoon, which I've always wanted to try. I might have to get some more naval miniatures... The other one was the highly scientifically realistic space combat game Attack Vector: Tactical. I already own the game rules in PDF form, but I jumped at the chance to get hard copies of the original rules and fleet book. Odds are though, I won't be able to play the game, since I already have enough trouble to get people playing its simpler cousin, Squadron Strike. The rules and background make for great reading material though.

So it's been another great convention and fun weekend for me. Now I have to get going on my next project, my Epic armies.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

More Shapeways

Last month, Shapeways had a sale where they provided free shipping, so I took the opportunity to get some items that I've always wanted. Since I've been looking for Battlefleet Gothic miniatures as orbital support markers for my Epic armies, and the original BFG miniatures are long out of print, I got some BFG-inspired space ship miniatures as proxies. Not only can they be used for Epic, but I can also start building BFG fleets with them.

This miniature is based on a Space Marine strike cruiser from BFG. The design is very similar but not quite exactly the same as the original, and it has somewhat less detail. However, the Frosted Ultra Detail material from Shapeways is quite nice and avoids most of the "texture" problems from cheaper materials. The clear material doesn't photograph well, but after getting painted it'll look a lot nicer.

This one is based on the original Forge World Grey Knight strike cruiser. Again, it's not as "baroque" as the BFG miniature, and it's missing some trademark GW items, like shields and swords on the fins. With some Warhammer bits, I think I can "Gothicize" it.

These are very small gunships that can be used as proxies for Thunderhawks in BFG. To give a sense of scale, the base is a Wargames Factory 20X20mm square. They have a lot of detail for their size and the FUD material really comes through.

This time, I'm quite impressed by Shapeway's 3D prints. The more expensive FUD material really makes a difference. I can't wait to get these painted.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mayday 2015

This past weekend, I attended the Mayday gaming convention here in Edmonton again.  This year, due to the lack of conflicting Warmachine tournaments, we had both the Warhammer 40k and the Warmachine crowds, and the community center was packed.

The room was so full of tables that my X-Com game had to be moved outside in the hallway.

I ran the same scenarios from last year, but with some gray aliens (sectoids) filling in as the enemies for the UFO crash site, and humans with medium armour fighting the snakemen in the urban scenario.

I hosted a local player who was also here last year through the urban scenario, and it proved to be a lot easier for the humans this time around. Here is a shot of X-Com troops taking cover behind the convenience store.

Since there was time after the first game, we played through the UFO crash site again. The sectoids were weaker opponents, but this time the humans were not so lucky.

At the end, the humans were wiped out and failed to kill all the aliens at the crash site. Here a sectoid captured the wounded X-Com sniper, probably taking him away for probing...

After my game hosting, I played in a DBA tournament. This year, it was rather sparse since some of the regular DBA players were away at the time. We also used the new 3.0 version of the rules, which took some getting used to.

Later in the day, I played in Terry's "All Quiet on the Martian Front" game, which I play-tested on the previous EWG night. This time around, the Martians (including me) were more aggressive, and tripod casualties were high. In the above picture, you can see one of Terry's flashing fire/smoke markers on a destroyed tripod.

It was another great gaming convention, and I can't wait to try the updated X-Com game at Fallcon this year.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Back to X-Com

For this year's Mayday gaming convention, I'm running my Strange Aeons: X-Com game again, this time with slightly different scenarios to make it easier on the human player.

I've painted up some extra miniatures for both the human and alien sides, to make the original scenarios better-balanced.

First up are some Elhiem Figures "armoured fed troopers", used as medium-armoured X-Com operatives. These are incredibly good miniatures that fit well with plastic 1/72 miniatures. Hopefully they are part of a trend popularizing 1/72 scale science fiction.

This is one of the armoured troopers compared to a Caesar ultra modern miniature.  You can see that they fit together perfectly in terms of height and proportions.

Here's the whole gang I painted up.  They can be used as a squad with rifles, a heavy weapon, and a leader with some sort of carbine.

A close-up of the heavy weapons trooper and his loader.

Another comparison shot with a Caesar miniature and the Elhiem carbine trooper.

I'm thinking of using these medium-armoured X-Com troops against the original snakemen, and give them better armour and weapons ratings than the poor initial tech-level humans.

To get a bunch of easier opponents for the humans at early tech levels, I painted up some sectoids. These are Rebel Minis alien grays, and even though they are designed for 15 mm, they can fill in as child-sized aliens for 1/72.  The only modification I did was to add some wrist-mounted plasma pistols since the originals were unarmed.

Here's a comparison shot showing the height of the grays. They look fine as small aliens versus human miniatures.

I'll see if the humans do better this time. The sectoids, just like in the computer game, are significantly weaker than humans and only have plasma pistols. Hopefully this will give the early level humans a fighting chance.