Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Iron Painter!

Over at one of my favorite internet hangouts Wyrd Games, I started this little painting competition that is blossoming into something pretty cool.

We are now in the '4th' Season of the contest, although that only means we've done three others. There is no real time frame, just whenever it comes about.

Here is basically how it works: I do a signup sheet of interested participants, randomly match them up in one on one pairings, give them two weeks to finish a miniature and upload a picture. At that point a team of impartial judges (not me!) scores each mini in three different categories. I then figure up the results, announce the winners, and redo, until there is a single champion.

The twist is that with the announcement of matchups, I also announce a specific 'theme' ingredient that the painters need to incorporate into their work. Some themes are painting techniques such as NMM (non metallic metals, using non metal paints to represent metal items), some themes are more mundane, such as the 'Green with Envy' theme where painters were required to use green prominently, some are rather esoteric. We had a theme once of "angry". The artist are asked to represent that somehow in their work. Not as easy as it sounds.

Another feature of the contest is it's gruelingly short deadline periods. Two weeks seems like a long time, but to do that consistantly for what could be 4 or 5 rounds really takes its toll. Real life has a way of butting in, and only the toughest painters can scratch their way to victory..thus the name IRON Painter.

Here are some THEME examples:

vincegamer's version of Object Source Lighting (OSL) Object Source Lighting basically means that the miniature is painted with a 'light source'. All highlights and shadows are emphasized to give the illusion the light source is real. So the light you see coming from the candle, and the shadows...all painted on. Vince is a master of theme interpretation, always well done, always clever.

Another Theme from Season One was 'weathered'. Skya (The Champion from Round One) interpreted the theme to show her character in 'weather'...Raining in this account:Skya aka Noel, is a fantastically talented painter, and her ingenious themes and fantastic brushwork makes her a favorite for the latest competition as well.

Here's another, this one from Season Three. The theme was PAINT IT BLACK, a take on the Rolling Stones song, the painters were required to use the color black prominently. This is OrkyDave's vision.

That's just pure genius!!

That's just a small sampling of some of the clever and inspiring painting. Come on over and watch from the sidelines, or get yourself involved in the next one.

The contest started out as just a fun 'community activity' for the denizens of the Wyrd site. To make the contest fun, we ask each participant to pony up with a fee of either 5 dollars, or a miniature to go directly to their victor. Also, during the two week 'paint period' painters are encouraged to show Work In Progress shots, give points, try to bribe judges, and talk good natured 'smack' to their opponents...all in all it makes for quite a spectacle!!

Oddly enough, the past three Iron Painters have been women. A fact not lost on anyone. Skya, Wren, and Cdukino all now can claim to be true IRON PAINTERS! The rest of the contestants have fallen short. Both Wren and Skya have entered the latest version, but there is some stiff competition already. Only time, and judging will tell. The grand prize is a tidy little sum of $100 cash and a gift certificate of $50 to the Wyrd store! Random prizes will also be available.

The Iron Painter is something that has become very popular, and I hope it continues to grow. I am very proud of it, but moreso proud of the people that have made it what it is..

A special thanks to Nathan (frustrated father) for allowing the webspace and judging, EricJ and Ritual for judging and support, and a very long list of helpful and generous painters and contributors. A special thanks to Duende for sending me a spreadsheet to help me with my math...LOL She also sent along oodles of minis to be given away for prizes, as well as competing and brainstorming on how to make it an even better event.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A review of Tannhauser.

Tannhauser is a French boardgame newly translated to English. It is available at the Fantasy Flight Games, sells for just about 60 bucks.

I'm rather a novice gamer, so take that into consideration with my review.

I love it.

Should I make my review more detailed? Ok, will do....

First off, the setting is just right for me. It's an 'alternate' universe where the Great War never ended. The forces of the Reich have continually been at war with the forces of the Union for 30 years. It isn't strictly an Alternate WW2 game, I suppose to simply to keep those nasty Nazi's out of it. That makes sense on a global sales scale. (Germany for instance bans any display of a swastika). But, make no mistake, the Reich is filled with characters right out of an Indiana Jones movie.

The gameboard itself is a thick, folding piece of card pre-printed on both sides with different game maps. One map is the first floor of a Keep, while the reverse is of the Crypts below, where the Reich have been up to no good. They have found some 'should've remained buried' secrets. My board is a bit dark, and unless you have good lighting can pose a challenge to see all the glorious detail.

The key feature of the board, is the Pathfinding system. This feature, which basically consists of multi-colored rings or spaces, allows you to determine line of sight, movement and range quickly and easily. There are a few flaws in the system. A few areas are not so easily discernible, but working these kinks out fairly and quickly has not been a problem for us.

Each side, which consists of 5 characters, is kept track of by a very nice 'character' card, with a neat system to easily track wounds and other stats during the course of a game. Each character is allowed 'slots' to carry equipment, weapons, and special items. We've only done limited experimentation swapping around the characters 'kits' but it seems a small kit change can make for quite a difference in game play.

The 10 minatures come pre-painted, and I wasn't disappointed in the quality. Of course, they are not as nicely painted as one could do with a bit of effort , but if I had to paint them, I doubt I would have even played a single game yet. If I had my druthers, I'd have them all painted up like this:

That is the 'Strossentruppen' (affectionately known as Stabby Stabberson in our games) painted up by Spacemunkie, a good friend of mine from Cool Mini Or Not. Damn that dude can paint, but I digress... You can buy unpainted versions of all 10 minis on the French site Take On You. The quality of the pre-paints is more than adequate for our needs though.

The game can be played several different ways, with a story themed 'objective', capture the flag, or our favorite, straight up deathmatch. The difficulty levels simply equate to Easy= 2 reinforcements, Medium=1 reinforcement, and Hard, where reinforcements are shit out of luck. You cannot call in reinforcements (which are always 'troop' types not heroes)until one of your troops die off, so there is never more than 5 characters per side, regardless of the difficulty.

The story mode, while seemingly interesting, hasn't captured enough of our attention yet, so I will have to pass on reviewing that until we log some more time at it. Same goes for the Capture the Flag element. Deathmatch, well...that's pretty much all we want to play. Play is fast and furious, with a decent game taking about 1 hour. Automatic kills are not uncommon, and while it's a bit discouraging, I like the 'realness' it brings. It also makes you think twice before charging into an area. You may not survive the round if you do. There are items such as grenades, smoke grenades, health packs, etc. that can be strewn around the board in 'crates', giving a very nice computer 'first person shooter' feel.

The weaponry seems nicely balanced, although it does favor the Reich for close in fighting, and the Union for a more ranged approach. So, if you are a 'in your face, close and personal' type of player you may want to lean towards the Reich.

The two game boards actually bear this out as well. The Keep game board has lots of tight corners and closed off quarters...which could be why (at least in our games) the Reich dominates the board. The Union only once looked like it was going to win handily, with 'Ozo' left by his self for the Reich. But, the sneaky little bastard kept hiding behind doors, firing his 'ghost bullets' which can track around corners. He ended up killing four of the remaining Union's characters, snatching victory from the proverbial jaws.

The more open-spaced Crypt board has some seriously long ranges which allow Barry Daniel Brown (the heavy gunner black man in the picture to the right) to use that piece of stellar piece of hardware. Oh and a beauty it is. On his full strength, you roll 6 dice to see if you can hit your opponent. A roll of 9 or 10 is an INSTANT KILL, unless your opponent can roll a at least one 10 on his 'shock' roll. The opponent can counter the big gun, because it has to be at least 4 'circles' away to use it....If you can keep him close, he is no where nearly as effective (ie he can't fire!!). But the Crypt level has long stretches of open line of site. Posting Barry along those paths will ensure the enemy doesn't pass least not unscathed.

So as not to favor any one player, we have been playing randomly, letting the roll of the die determine not only which team you'll use, but also which board we will play on. It seems to have worked out, but I do prefer to play as the Union...even though I regularly lose!!

Although the game says it's designed for 2-10, we have only played with 2. Quite frankly, any more than that would have lots of guys sitting on their hands until it got back to their turn. But, on the converse of that, as quickly as it plays, and as easy most of the rules are to grasp, this makes for a perfect beer and pretzel game. Maybe the camaraderie of sharing a frothy brew will make the wait worth it...

The game box is a bit misleading, indicating that there are only 2 10-sided dice included. Mine had a nice compliment of 6. I assume that is just a misprint on the box. The box itself is a lovely piece of work, with solid cardboard and great cover art.

Most excitedly, for me, is the 'future expansion' this game will see. There already is a 'Russian' expansion pack in the works that will introduce new locales (via another gameboard) but also some more characters. Character packs, such as the 'Wolf' mercenary (he can fight for either side) will add some interest to not only the ongoing story, but to some of the tactical decisions you will need to make. Wolf was made available as a promo freebie to buy Tannhauser, either via pre-order, or at Gencon. There are several more in the works.

Support for the game, via Fantasy Flight Games is lacking at the moment. Although there is a nice discussion group on the FFG site, there is not the incredible range of information that is available on the French language site. It's too bad, because there are some errata that needs to be defined more clearly. But, it is still a very new product, and we will see how they respond.

The price, 60 bucks, seems about right. For all the components, boards, cards, etc. I don't feel I overpaid in the slightest. I compare it to the price of a new X-box game, or any other of the 'toys' I find myself wanting. Hopefully new expansions will be a bit cheaper, and the character packs will fall in the 10-15 dollar range, making them an excellent value (all things considered) in my humble opinion.

Another exciting idea is to come up with some home brewed rules. We've a firm enough grasp of the rules to be able to add some features in without killing the balance. I've already started converting over a few minis, and just need to draw up some stats and a proper back story.

So, to sum up, I heartily recommend this game. It has enough ease of play that allowed us to jump right in, but also enough depth to get us excited about future sessions....if we can get past our love for Deathmatch that is.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ok, here is some art.

I drew a picture in ink, and then scanned it into the computer and used Photoshop to color it. Now admittedly, I know nothing about photoshop, as the most I've ever done with it was to crop a photo and put in a background. turned out surprisingly cool. For me, at least.

I'm kinda proud of it, but I realize its still amateurish, but hell...I'm a amateur!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A bit of a lull.

Ok, admittedly I haven't had anything new up in a while. I attended GENCON back in August, and I still haven't gotten settled down enough to work on anything, painting wise.

I have been working on some fiction, dabbling a bit making some gaming rules, and actually playing a game. My brother and I have been giving Tannhauser, a 'alt-WW 2' type board game, a real tryout. So far, we both really have been enjoying it. I've never been into the gaming aspect of the hobby, although it has always intrigued me, and its fun to see that you can do something else with miniatures other than just paint them! I think I've only actually won once, but it hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for it.

GENCON was an absolute blast. I really had no idea it would be so fun. Next time I go, I will plan on participating in more of the events there. This time was just to soak it all in. I did get to meet and hang out with the folks from Alpha Forge, and Wyrd, as well as meeting many of the real life avatars of some of the people I know from the various websites I haunt. So, other than possibly having to sell my extra kidney to pay for my credit card bill, it was worth it.

I've also dug out my pencils and started drawing. I am working on some Alpha Forge inspired art, and having a good time doing that too. I used to draw almost constantly years ago, but it was something I put on the back burner.

Pictures are worth a thousand words so next time I'll include those and not be so damn wordy!

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Wyrd Mini

Funny, I've been a part of the Wyrd site for quite some time, but haven't yet finished a Wyrd mini yet....till now that is. Fits in nicely with the demented stuff I've been painting lately.

I like the way the skin came out and the dirty rusty feel of the base worked well too.

Anyhow, I think I will have to paint something wholesome to help lighten the mood lately!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

More Spinespur

Well, here is that sicko clown I was referring to....with leather thong and honkable nose...I sculpted some hair on him to give him a more bozo-esque look. I kinda like the look of the Whiskey bottle, but my favorite touch is the smiley face knee pads...The right one got a little homage to the Watchmen.

Sounds like GENCON is a go, for sure. I've got the time off work and I have booked a room. I was mentioning this all to my brother, Mike, and he sounded rather interested. So I suggested he come along, which he agreed. I wasn't relishing the idea of going alone, but now with him tagging along, I'm pretty stoked about the whole thing.

Not sure what I will work on next. Maybe just take a break for a while.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Something other than Alpha Forge

Don't get me wrong, I really dig Alpha Forge minis, but I felt like painting something different for a change. I had just picked up a bunch of these SPINESPUR miniatures recently. They are a bit demented (chainsaw wielding maniac, clown faced thong wearing brutalists, but it makes for fun painting.

Here is HACK, the first I have painted up.

I placed him on a base made by King and Kerr.
A UK based company that makes some pretty cool resin scenery. The pic is clickable to make it bigger. I also have a Pig mask wearing butcher and the above mention Clown Sadist that I am working on. Like I said, demented stuff.

Also, I plan on attending GENCON
Which, from what I understand is the countries biggest 'gaming' convention. The folks from WYRD Minatures and Alpha Forge, among many others, should be there, so it will be nice to put faces to online pseudonyms.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Painting a few.

Here's a few zombified crew members and a 'death mask'...which is the item that reanimates the fallen crew members. These are being sent out to Alpha Forge, I've got a variety of things to paint up next....I'll just choose whatever strikes my interest the most.

Monday, July 09, 2007

More sculptin'

Well, just like all my projects, I start with a ton of enthusiasm, but as the ugly truth becomes revealed, I quickly sour on it.

I think I'll plod through just for the practice, however.
I'm not sure what to make of the guy...I kind of like it, but also kind of cringe because parts are so bad....Well, no harm in keeping at it!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Hi there everyone! Here is my 'sculpt' I've been working's shaping up more now, and doesn't look so x-rated any longer. The pic is clickable for a better look-see.

The metal armature arms and neck, are much longer than necessary, but I'll cut those off as I go. Better too long than too short! This creature I am working on is meant to be very bulky, and hunched over, much like the guy with the green sword and purple skin from my earlier posts...only bigger and beefier!

I'm also working on some more ALPHA FORGE stuff...always my favorite! No pics though, since I'm inherently lazy.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Blast from the Past.

Just got a new camera for my birthday/Fathers day, so I thought I'd try a quick shot of my Demobot....The big guy was painted just about a year ago...and helped me win the ALPHA FORGE Paint Contest (oh, past glories...sigh) Anyhow, the pic shows off some of the detail much better than my old camera.

Click on him for a better shot!!

Also, I am again trying my hand at sculpting. I 'd love to spend more time at this, as it is very exciting to build your own figure out of just some putty. This is the beginnings of a monstrous creature I am making. Hopefully, I can make it into something presentable. So far, its just two legs and a strange growth...It is made from a 2 part epoxy putty called Kneadatite, affectionately know as GREEN STUFF (us mini-people are a clever lot). I think I've got some good muscle definition so far. just occurred to me that the 'growth' could easily be mistaken for something torrid. First, get your minds out of the gutter, and second, that is the beginnings of the spine...REALLY!! LOL

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Another update!

Maybe its a swing of productivity...Maybe its because this Hydrissian Salvager (see pic below) is the last of my commission work, but I seem to be finding more time in the paint room. All the pictures are clickable to make them a bit bigger.

The Salvager is just a bizarre model all together...Its mechanical, yet strangely buglike. This one got sent off to Alpha Forge this morning.

I've been working with making a few more bases for miniatures. First up is a little sculpt I made from milliput to protray a alien world..The bloody tentacles are breaking through the surface...are they plant or animal?

Today I finished painting up a 'display' base. It was made out milliput and some bits I had for some time. The little wall is something I have had since I was into World War Two models way back in 7th grade (thats 25 years or so!) Anyhow, the base part is just a lid from a jar of peanut butter...You can still see part of the SKIPPY in the bottom pic. The idea is that you could remove the mini for gaming (which I really don't do) and still have a large display base on which to show it off. The mini, obviously isn't painted yet.Well, thanks for looking! I really appreciate the comments I get. For the longest time, I only assumed my Mom or wife were the only ones reading (and I have to force them to...LOL) Until next time.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Is it June Already?

It's amazing how fast the time seems to go by. June is here already, and already 2007 is at its halfway point.

Still trudging on with some painting: Here is a Mephalian. A very bizarre, almost blind creature, from Alpha Forge:

Also, A Work IN Progress of Sorts. This is the 'Dartwing Attack Bike'...Its missing its rider and the handlebars, but the main body is done. It's a very cool design.

The Mephalian will go towards my Paint Splosh (today is the deadline)...But there is some very steep competition. Witchhunter, one of my favorite painters, has really done some incredible work. Also, another strong contentder, Matakishi puts out his normal high quality, incredible production. Even the Hydrissian Kid pumped out some stellar stuff...And Lots of it! I think I am too damn slow to keep up with those folks...but at least I can say I tried.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Paint Splosh...

Here are a few minis I finished for the Paint Splosh contest: All Alpha Forge that seems to be all I paint any more!!

Again, sorry for the lackluster pics...I've all but given up on taking good pictures. The top one is called an Asteroid Miner. Poor guy doomed to mine asteroids all day...The other two are part of a Salvage crew...I like how the camo pants came out.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Hiya....Moving right along, here are 4 of the 'Survivors' of the Zombie Nightmare range. These are urban survivors. I made a mini newspaper for the bum...the Headline reads THE DEAD WALK. I also sculpted a disposed Slurpee drink for the shopper, and have the Gangbanger with some police tape:

Click on it for a better look!

Also, here is a closeup of one of the zombies faces....I wish I could get a better pic. Maybe i need a better camera??

EEK! His eyeball plopped out.

Ok, until next time!!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

A few more...

Hi all! Got a few minis painted over the weekend. I wish I could pick up the pace, but I'm so damn slow.

Anyhow, these are part of the commission I have for Alpha Forge: Zombie goodness! Two of them are 'floating', one is called Stitch-head. Click on the pic for a closer look!

The next one is a work in progess. Its a Hydrissian Scavenger, I am really trying to give it a 'irridescent' look. Still a bit more work to do on it. Its a fiddly model.

Hopefully, I won't get too burnt out of these to start working on my PAINT SPLOSH minis, but at the rate I paint, my outlook is bleak.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Paint Splosh...

Alpha Forge Games is running a 'Paint Splosh' contest designed to get the minis up and painted, so I have started assembling and priming a bunch.

The contest only runs through May, so I have my work cut out for me.

Also, I still have some commission work to finish up, but it was too nice to stay indoors today, so I worked on the above minis out on the patio. I've tried painting outside, but it just doesn't work.

Check out the others on this thread:


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In a hurry...

In an attempt to get these zombies out the door, I hurriedly took pics...which aren't the best. Sorry. First up are the Rural Survivors...I had fun making the base with the steps, and giving them an all around 'white trashiness'. How can you not love a granny with a chainsaw?

Here's a quickie of the zombies....
I'm working on yet more zombies now, a 'Hydrissian Scavenger Drone' (very squidlike robot) and some Urban Survivors.

PLUS: Rod over at Alpha Forge is having a Spring PAINT SPLOSH contest...the person deemed to spend the most time painting and converting Alpha Forge minis will win 50 bucks in prizes. I figure it's not fair that I count my 'commissioned' paint jobs, so I got to figure a way to paint up some of my own pile o lead.

Check the 'contest' out here

Ok, back to painting now!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Works in Progress...

I noticed I haven't really been using this site as a work in progress log of my hobby projects...just one that shows them once I have finished....So, here are a few works in progress..

I've been having zombies on the brain lately...Reading zombie novels (currently World War Z), watching movies with zombies, so naturally, Its time to do some zombie minis!

Firstly, I wanted a 'zombie horde'. When the miniatures are each put on a base, the base itself takes up lots of to make it more claustrophobic, I got the idea of putting several of these plastic minis on one base.

Obviously, there is plenty of work to do on these yet. I probably should have painted them first, but that is such a hassle to try and glue them on after painting. But, I managed to squeeze in 16 zombies on just 5 plastic bases....I think that helps with the HORDE look.

Also, I've been working on Alpha Forge's zombie line. Rod has come out with some really cool and unusual zombies, and a few zombie survivors as well...Here is a WIP of a few of them.

I've got lots of work to do with these yet too...but a few of them are nearing completion. I really like the looks of the farmer with his shovel...and the mutated guy I adorned with a high school lettermans jacket.

I even tried my hand at writing a serialized zombie story. I add a new installment every so often. It's at the Alpha Forge site if you'd care to take a gander. (its on the forum so, you can also see the responses I've had. It's bad enough I subject those folks to my ham-fisted painting, but now I make them read my hackneyed fiction as well....

Click on it to read it....LINK REDACTED BY NSA

I'll try and keep this more up to date from now on....

Notice I said try.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

More Roboty goodness.

Here's yet another Alpha Forge...this one a big tank like fella called the Cyclops. I worked on this guy in between power outages caused by a big ice storm that rolled through. He also marks the last of my 'commission' stuff for maybe I can work on some of my own ever growing pile of pewter..

Monday, February 19, 2007

Yay, new stuff!

My hand is well on its way to recooperating, so I got busy with some painting here in the last week or so.

I needed to get these done for Rod over at Alpha Forge Games:

First some 'Asteroid Security Drones'. I tried to give them a military look.

Next we have the Asteroid Miner Chief. He is the boss of the 'Asteroid Miner faction' so I decided to give him a bit brighter scheme. Its a very cool mini, and I will have to get one of my own. I also have a much bigger mini, called the Asteroid Mining Cyclops, but didn't quite get him done. I wanted to get these off to Rod, as he needs them for a convention later in the week, I figured 4 were better than none.

Hopefully, I can start working on my own minis again takes me so long to paint them...mostly because I am the worlds biggest procrastinator. I'll tell you more about that later.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Temporarily out of the game....

Having surgery on my right hand to hopefully repair carpal tunnel syndrome has kind of put a crimp in my painting plans.

Although at first my hand felt pretty good, I have found myself using it more and more, but now that is really catching up with me. It hasn't even been a week yet since the surgery, and it hurts worse now that at any time since. Maybe that is a sign its healing....maybe thats a sign I need to stop using it. The Doctor has said to not use it for about a month...which is a hard feat to do, especially when I was back to work in less than 4 days. Oh well...I'll try to not use it and see whats what.

I did get some new Asteroid Miners from Alpha Forge and need to get them done for the owner there, but they will have to wait just a bit.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Moving right along...

Here is a sniper from Alpha Forge....It's a bit boring paint job wise, but I couldn't see a sniper wearing gaudy colors...Anyhow, the second pic looks a bit more harsh, maybe because I left off the photoshopped background. The photoshop kept washing out the fence, which was probably my favorite part of the whole mini....

Next up, I better get done with those Crunch Waffle minis...I kind of let them go onto the back burner. The owner wants them back...eek! Anyhow, I have three of them done, just can't get inspired on the last assassin with a crossbow. I'll have to work up some inspiration quick like....Until next time!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Well, I had planned on keeping this a bit more up to date, but real life gets in the way.

Here are a couple of the minis that I just finished (they are all from the 'primered' selection below.

The big fella is a Superfigs miniature. The other three are Alpha Forge Minis, although I hadn't noticed it until I took the picture...they have a three stooges quality to them...Larry, Moe, and Curly Nyuk nyuk!