Monday, August 31, 2015

Salvage Crew Saga: SC25 Crowbar

Finally getting back to my 6MMRPC Hit List, here is the fourth of six figures from my Seventh Target:  SC25, female heavy support.

SC25 - Codename: Crowbar

Subject is a known dissident and troublemaker, having over a dozen incidents with security forces involving disorderly conduct and breach of peace.  Previously served in the security forces of the Zhukov Consortium alongside Rapidfire (cf. Subject SC21).  Subject was later seen with hired gun Johnny Cinderheart (cf. Subject SC25), and was involved in the Hadar System insurrections.  Specializes in squad support weapons, and has remarkable tendency to arrive exactly when needed by teammates (possibly latent psi talent; investigation ongoing).

Sunday, August 30, 2015

6MMRPC Update: Side Projects

I haven't made any further progress on my 6MMRPC Hit List, but I have not been idle!  I've been occupied with some side projects, and haven't gotten back to the Salvage Crew Saga.  Personally, I've found it beneficial to follow inspiration when it strikes, hence my distraction.  Let's review what I've worked on this week!

Despite my intention to set aside the Arachnarok Spider, I decided to go ahead and block in some colors for the base.  I picked up a roll of cork at a local craft store, and I wanted to try it out on the base.

Arachnarok Spider Base WIP

I got a nice setup that looked like it would make a great beginning of a rocky desert badlands, which the scraggly dead trees fit.  Then I realized... these are supposed to be Forest Goblins.  Oops!  I went back to block in some green (VGC Goblin Green) and get a feel for where I should add grass flock.  I plan to have a mix of grass flock and sand, and perhaps go for a "dried stream bed" look.

This week I also received a mixed lot of figures from eBay, which included 15 Empire Militia figures in various states of disrepair.

Stir River Patrol (Empire Militia) WIP

I spent some time cleaning and repairing them, and adding in some alternate bits where necessary (including a few arm swaps).  The figures have a somewhat piratical look, and are noticeably different than typical Empire state troops (though they share certain stylistic elements, so they don't look out of place).  I plan to multibase them for Kings of War, and paint them up as the Stir River Patrol (livery of green and white).  I think this plays up the "pirate/nautical" aspect, as well as making since given Stirland is one of the poorest regions of the Empire (so the line between "river pirates" and "river patrol" is a likely a thin one).

Finally, I made progress on my first unit of Slave Orc Gore Riders, finishing the Gores (war boars) and the multibase.

The Gores have a dynamic "running/charging" pose, which looks cool but makes them less stable when mounting to the base.  To help keep them in place I pinned a leg on each model, which definitely helped.

I like the way the Gores turned out, and I'll do the full rundown on the painting once I finish the Slave Orc riders.  Once this Troop is done, I'll have five more to complete for a second Troop (which can optionally be ranked up into one Regiment of 10 figures).  I really like the idea of basing non-core troops as the smallest unit possible, which gives more flexibility in usage.  That said, basing them all on one larger base presents an opportunity for more customization and mini-vignettes built into the unit itself.  Either way, I think it's a great balance between the convenience of multibasing and the flexibility of individually-based figures.

That's it for this week's summary.  I intend to make some more progress with my Salvage Crew Saga this week and get my Seventh Target wrapped up soon!

- M:M

Monday, August 24, 2015

Citadel: Arachnarok Spider WIP

While working on figures for a Goblin army in Kings of War, I inevitably came across pictures of other players migrating from Warhammer Fantasy and seeing how their existing models will fit into Mantic's game.  I haven't really followed any Citadel/Games Workshop releases in years, as I haven't played Warhammer Fantasy since 5th Ed. (and a tiny bit of 6th).  However, when I came across the Arachnarok Spider for the Forest Goblins, I knew I'd want to incorporate that into Kings of War just on account of how impressive a model it is!

Arachnarok Spider, primed and based

This is a multi-part plastic model kit, and I have to say it was a nice throwback to my days of scale modeling.  Say what you will about Games Workshop's business practices or attitude toward the hobby in general, but their miniatures are very well made and have a very high level of detail.  The pieces went together flawlessly, and cleanup was very straightforward.

The spider comes with a couple of trees upon which its rear legs slot to give it some stability.  However, I decided I wanted to add a little more to the base (since this definitely qualifies as a "centerpiece" model).  I added some bits of cork to create a bit of broken ground, and help give the spider a small amount of additional elevation.

Arachnarok base, primed

The spider has a howdah with a pile of goblins riding along; you're given three different variants in the instructions, depending on what option you want on the spider.  Since I don't play Warhammer Fantasy, I tried to decide which of the options 1) translated best to the Goblin army list for Kings of War and 2) looked the coolest.  Ultimately, I decided on the "Flinger" option, which mounts a catapult on the back.  If nothing else, I figured this would work as a Slasher with Sharpstick Thrower if I play a game without homebrewed options.

Since the howdah covers so much of the spider's back, I decided to leave it off so I could paint the spider itself.  This will be the first large figure I've painted in sub-components, so I'm curious how it will work out.  While it will definitely make it easier to paint the spider, I don't know if the process of attaching the later components will make a mess.  Either way, the goblins will have to wait their turn!

Forest Goblin crew

I'm really looking forward to getting this model done, as I think it will be really impressive.  However, I want to make sure I do it justice and don't rush through it, so I'll be working on it off-and-on.  Also, I haven't forgotten that I still have the last three Salvage Crew figures to finish up the Seventh Target on my 6MMRPC Hit List.  I plan on getting at least one of them completed this week, if nothing else!

- M:M

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Reaper Bones: Dita, Steampunk Witch

Here is my take on one of the unreleased Bones I figures from the Chronoscope set:  80006 Dita, Steampunk Witch.

Reaper Bones: Hill Giant Krug

Having been on a Kings of War kick lately, I realized that the Hill Giants from Bones II would serve as great Giant models for a Goblin army.  This week I finished up the first of the two from the Hill Giants set:  77313 Hill Giant Krug.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Salvage Crew Saga: SC24 Slugfest

Yesterday I completed the third of six figures for my seventh 6MMRPC Hit List:  SC24, a powered melee fighter.  The character looks more at home in a futuristic sporting arena than a battlefield, but the style is similar to SC18, so I thought perhaps they should be teammates!

SC24 - Codename: Slugfest

Subject is a well-known cyber-gladiator and athlete, having won the Romasko-Hoyle Cup and the Panbeam Championship.  His latest successes have been pairing with the individual known as Piranha (cf. Subject SC18).  The duo has become extremely popular on the holo-nets, and Silverprime Entertainment is working on a multi-year contract.  Subject is also known to have ties to bodyguard Razor (cf. Subject SC32); specifics of their association is still under investigation.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Kings of War: Slave Orc Gore Riders (WIP)

I found an unexpected use for the Orc Gore Riders from the Kings of War Two Player Battle Set, and so I've started prepping and assembling the figures for inclusion in my Abyssal Dwarf army.

When I originally picked up the KoW Battle Set, I did so primarily because it was a great deal on a starter force of Undead and it gave me the opportunity to check out Mantic's miniatures.  I didn't really have a need (or desire) for the Orcs or Goblins included in the set, so they were set aside.  However, once I finished assembling and painting the undead units, I decided to assemble the Goblin Spitters as a cheap unit of allies (they're a characterful and surprisingly viable race in Kings of War).

Shortly prior to the start of 6MMRPC back in June, I began assembling and painting the Orc Ax figures for use as Slave Orcs in my upcoming Abyssal Dwarf force (and finished them as the first target on my 6MMRPC Hit List).  Having reviewed the full army lists for Kings of War (2nd Edition), the Abyssal Dwarfs can take Slave Orc Gore Riders as a cavalry option.  They're not as good as Abyssal Halfbreeds, but they're a cheaper points cost and slightly more expendable.

Fulfillment should be starting soon for the Kings of War Kickstarter, so I'm hoping to get these done before the bulk of my Abyssal Dwarf force arrives!

- M:M

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Kings of War: Goblins

As I mentioned in my previous post on Ikit Claw, I've been looking through some older miniatures between 6MMRPC targets.  In the process, I came across some old Warhammer Fantasy (4th Edition) plastic Goblin Archers and Goblin Spearmen and decided to incorporate them into the beginnings of a Goblin army for Kings of War!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Thoughts on Female Plastic Miniatures

First off, I'd like to promise that this article really shouldn't be as controversial as the title might imply.  I won't be going into a discussion on the aesthetics of female miniatures (at least not here), so fear not and read on!

I'm sure most people who have been in the hobby have seen comments regarding the lack of female figures in some wargames, and I think there is a factor involved that some players may have overlooked.  I know this argument has been leveled at Warhammer 40K for years, and since I'm reasonably familiar with that setting I'll be using it as an example.  The general complaint is that many armies consist of entirely (or almost-entirely) male figures, and that females are underrepresented.

In my opinion, there are two main factors to consider with regards to the issue.  First is a matter of lore:  does it make sense for females to be found in the given army, considering the lore of the setting and that particular faction?  Looking at Warhammer 40K, let's use the Space Marines and Imperial Guard as examples.

Space Marines are genetically-modified "human-plus" monastic holy warriors, who use gear passed down by their predecessors.  Given those traits, I would argue that it does not make sense for there to be female Space Marines.  And even if some Space Marines are females, you'd never be able to tell underneath their extremely bulky power armor.

On the other hand, the Imperial Guard consists of conscripts from the thousands of worlds of the Imperium.  In a lot of cases, it's literally an "all hands" effort to defend Imperial worlds.  Based on that, I would expect the Imperial Guard to incorporate any able-bodied person, male or female (and sometimes even children, though I suspect Games Workshop probably doesn't want to go there with their lore).  If you can hold a lasgun, you're a valid conscript.  So I would totally expect to see female Imperial Guardsmen right alongside the men.

So, what's the issue then?  Where are the female figures?  Let's take a look at that other factor:  production.  Specifically, the cost/effort/returns on producing the miniatures for the game.

Miniatures are typically made out of either metal or plastic (there is also resin, but it seems much less common).  While metal miniatures tend to be the most expensive to purchase, they're the cheapest to cast in terms of mold cost.  On the other hand, plastic miniatures tend to be much cheaper per figure, but require much higher up-front costs for the plastic-injection molds.

So why does that matter?  Simply put, it's expensive to create new plastic molds.  And most basic troop types are produced in plastic, because you'll need a lot of them and it's extremely expensive to play army-based wargames with only metal figures.  Games Workshop generally has multi-part plastic kits for their basic miniatures, and these figures can be assembled in a variety of poses.  This is great, but also means that every part needs to work with [almost] every other part in the kit.  I say "almost", because there are usually a few combinations that just won't work.  But more or less, every torso works with every pair of legs, every arm matches every torso, and so on.

Now imagine you have a mix of male and female torsos, male and female legs, and so on.  Sure, you could try to skimp on costs and just make female torsos, but they probably won't match up right to male arms and legs (the latter will look oversized by comparison).  So then they'd have to include slightly slimmer female arms, legs, etc. in the kit to match the female torso... which means there are fewer total possible combinations, as all of those parts couldn't be mixed with the male components.  In an attempt to add more variety... you wind up sacrificing a lot more variety.  So that's not a very good option.

An alternative would be to produce an "all-female" kit.  And in fact, Wargames Factory does this with their Zombie Horde and Zombie Vixens kits, which I think is the best way to go about it.  However, this means the high up-front costs have to be paid again for another plastic-injection mold (or two, or three... however many sprues the kit requires).  That puts a lot of pressure on the second (female) kit to perform at least as well as the first (male) kit to justify the investment.  In some cases (such as zombies) this is probably justified, but I can easily see where it might be a less certain choice.

On the other hand, providing some metal options for female troops can provide some variety for players who want it.  And it might also be the best cost-effective way to determine potential customer interest in a plastic kit for a given army.  But that means the female troops would cost significantly more than the plastic (male) kits, and players who are focused on value-per-dollar over variety are likely to stick with the plastic kits.

In closing, I hope I've given some sound thoughts on the subject and perhaps provided a plausible reason on why there aren't more plastic kits with both genders.  I do think that "mixed" groups fit much more with modern or sci-fi settings, but tend to look out of place in fantasy/historical/historically-inspired settings.  A lot of people have a very bad habit of forcing modern viewpoints on historical or fantasy settings, and most don't realize how terribly anachronistic and nonsensical this is.  But that's an article for another day!

- M:M

Monday, August 3, 2015

Salvage Crew Saga: SC18 Piranha

The second figure in my seventh 6MMRPC Hit List target is complete:  SC18, a strangely-dressed girl that looks like a cross between a cyberpunk gladiator and an 80s fashion model.  It was a unique concept, so that's exactly what I used for inspiration!

SC18 - Codename: Piranha

A top star in Silverprime Entertainment's holo-nets, subject is a popular contender in cyber-gladiator contests throughout several systems.  Winner of two Chrome Cups and possesses sponsorship deals with a half-dozen corporations, including Northstellar Technologies and Megadyne Cybernetics.  Despite her considerable wealth and security, subject occasionally performs freelance work to hone combat skills for future gladiatorial competition, and has been seen working with fellow gladiator Slugfest on several occasions.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

[Legacy] Citadel: Ikit Claw, Chief Warlock of Clan Skryre

While searching through some old miniatures, I found one of the first figures I painted and thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase some of my earlier figures.  Hopefully I'll see some progress over the years between then and now!

First up is Citadel Miniatures' Ikit Claw, Chief Warlock of Clan Skryre.  This is one of the first "real" miniatures I painted, having started with the likes of HeroQuest, Dark World, and then moving to Advanced HeroQuest (and from there to Warhammer Fantasy).  Advanced HeroQuest featured the Skaven quite heavily, and I always thought they were a very unique race with a lot of flavor.  I remember reading about the Skaven characters, and Ikit Claw was easily my favorite on account of his mastery of both magic and warpstone technology (plus he was armed to the teeth with practically every special weapon in the Skaven arsenal).

Oof... that's pretty garish!  O_o

The basic color scheme isn't bad, but the tones really need some adjustment.  The figure isn't much more than a basecoat, and Ikit would be serviceable on the tabletop.  Some basic washes would help a lot, as well.  Aside from bringing out details and providing some shading, it would also help "grunge up" the figure as it is currently too "clean" for a Skaven!

Oddly, I didn't incorporate any green into the figure.  Given that it's the "go to" color for warpstone, I'm guessing that either 1) I wasn't aware of that at the time, or 2) I didn't have any green paint at the time.  I would definitely add some green, probably in place of the blues; I'd also reduce the amount of red on the figure, or at least shift it to more of a crimson hue.

I still have several of the old miniatures for Skaven named characters, so hopefully one day I'll have the opportunity to revisit them.  Perhaps I'll build a Skaven army for Kings of War (after my Abyssal Dwarves... and possibly Goblins...)!

- M:M

Salvage Crew Saga: SC22 Johnny Cinderheart

The first figure of my seventh target on the 6MMRPC Hit List has been completed:  SC22, a ganger leader in a trenchcoat.  While I think this figure is representative of Johnny Borg (the caster persona behind the Salvage Crew miniatures), it matched well with a Johnny of my own creation...

SC22 - Johnny Cinderheart

Subject is a known dissident and hired gun, having been involved in the dismantling of Iltchenko-Fang Ltd. and the Hadar System insurrections.  Despite multiple attempts at arrest by various security forces, the subject remains one step ahead of his pursuers.  Subject is known to lie low during pursuit, and will hire himself out for mercenary work.  Known skill in small arms and hacking electronics and computer systems.