Thursday, October 30, 2014

Unboxing Robotech RPG Tactics

It finally arrived!  My wave 1 Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter pledge:




This is by far the largest box I've gotten for a kickstarter, and it's only the first wave.  While it had some space inside, there was still a lot to be found waiting within:



Once I got it all out it took up a pretty big area on my bed:



While I have another wave coming with a bunch of expansion stuff, this is definitely the lion's share.  This was a good buy, to be certain.  In the above pic you can see a couple of prints I got for adding on a Homecoming pledge onto my original Battlecry pledge.  Both pieces of art are ones that I like, and they were printed on semi-glossy paper that has a good feel to it.  They will look great on my geek-wall once I get them framed.  There's also the art print I got from my Battlecry pledge, and it is a great piece as well.  So much art!

Ok, let's take a look at the inside of the box:



That's not a site that I feel comfortable with.  It looks like the sprues were just placed in their haphazardly.  Considering the amount of shifting/turning that can occur during shipping this could become an issue.  That being said, my box arrived shrink-wrapped, and not a single piece was off the sprue, so my concern may be misplaced. 



The books and cards were undamaged, and on the bottom of the box, so they weren't affected by any shifting.  I haven't done a base count yet, but I should.  Normally I'm not as worried about bases as I have a good stock of pre-made bases as well as extras.  The bases for Robotech are different, so I'm going to have to manage what I have.  One problem I did notice was that the bag of RDF dice was open, and the dice had spilled all over the inside of the box.  At first I didn't think anything of it, but after counting I noticed that I was missing two, and one of them had an extra drop of plastic on it that must have been a manufacturing defect:



I've sent off a message to the Robotech Kickstarter as I imagine it's a simple fix.  So there's a lot of stuff in the main box, but I also got some extra stuff.  There was a plethora of additional/redundant models, which means my collection is going to be pretty awesome to start with:


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The 76 base box of Robotech retails for about $100 USD, and comes with approx 40 miniatures.  The add-on for the kickstarter adds on another 36 miniatures in wave 1 alone (there's more to come in wave 2!).  One thing that I'd like to take a moment to point out, and congratulate, Ninja Division & Palladium books on is the inclusion of these:



Instructions!  Over the past four or five years miniatures companies have been making the switch to plastic.  Some companies like Reaper have left their plastics fairly simple, but plenty of others have gone more complex.  There's nothing wrong with having a complex assembly, but a lack of instructions can be very frustrating for many hobbyists.  I have seen many complaints on the lack of instructions included not just with kickstarters, but with plastic miniatures in general.  Companies are starting to get the message and rectify things, but I wanted to give a hearty, "Bravo!" to Palladium and Ninja Division for including these from the get go.

You may have noticed a couple additional add-ons on top of the main box.  I got these to either round out my forces (I'm liking the number four in the case of Robotech) or because I wanted to have a different loadout.  One case of this is the Artillery Battlepods:



  I got a group of four with the main box, and I have a feeling I'll try to magnatize the weapons, but I wanted the heavy particle cannon.  Originally it was going to be included as a bonus, so I picked up an extra set of artillery pods, but it turned out that they could fit it on the sprue so now everyone can have the joy of heavy Particle Projection Cannons!



Continuing with my need for groups of four I picked up an additional set of Destroids so I could field up to four Excalibers Tomahawks, and four Raider X's Defenders.  All that is left now is to trade my services for other Robotech miniatures to round out other groups of four as I need at least two more Spartans and two more Gladiators.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

A Surprise!

So I'm continuing my work on the Zombie Orpheus Entertainment models, and I get an email notification telling me to expect a package from Palladium.  Since I haven't ordered anything from them that means it can only be my Robotech miniatures!  This means I'll be getting my miniatures before my friend, and have an opportunity to get some of them painted up before the commission comes in.  Needless to say I was happily surprised.  I still have a couple of pieces to finish up before then though.  Expect an unboxing video within the next couple of days!

Now on to the completed Sir Osric:




There's a lot I like about how he came out.  The hair came out really good, and I'm starting to experiment more with shading and highlights.  Not sure if you can tell, but I'm making more use of shadows on the face, and have plans to be a bit more ambitious with how apparent it is in the future.  I feel very happy with the shading on Osric's tunic.  The sunburst turned out to be more tricky than I anticipated, and I would have liked my hands/brushes to have cooperated more.  Everything else came together pretty well.  The other points I have already pointed out.  This weekend I hope to finish up Flynn the Fine in his less dead format.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Working in Seclusion

Coming up for a breath of air, and to share the works I've completed.  Work is starting to lighten up a bit and be less tiring with the hire of additional help.  As a result I hope to be able to start posting more frequently in the near future.  I'm making a concentrated effort to paint during my, "downtime," and would like to share the fruits of my labor.  I've been busy focusing on more miniatures from the Hand of Fate kickstarter I mentioned previously, and I have picked up a couple of other pieces to paint while I wait for Robotech stuff, a commission as well as my own pledge,  to come in.

First up is the renowned Brother Silence (who is not an elf!):




After showing this miniature to a few of my friends I have always heard comments relating to his face.  It may be difficult to tell, but (to my eyes at least) the mini was sculpted such that he is performing a martial arts shout.  To a lot of people this looks off, but I happen to like it.  So many miniatures are stuck with their faces frozen in a very limited number of poses/expressions, and coming across a mini that has a very different expression can add a new layer to the piece.  Overall I'm happy with the mini.  I keep trying to work with the orange and yellows that I have, but I need to pick up some new ones as I feel limited whenever I have to paint anything near an orange tone.

Up next is Daphne, and a few issues start to emerge:




Again one of the first things commented on with this miniature is the face.  Poor Daphne looks like she took too many blows to the face, and is sporting a broken nose.  When I was prepping the mini to be primed I was a bit concerned about trying to touch up the nose.  I didn't want to leave it like it was, but I was also worried that trying to fix it would break it off.  I tried to work around it as best I could, and hope that it's just a defect in my piece and not the mold itself.  This is one of the first miniatures in the line that looks different from her movie counterpart.  The miniature actually has bracers on her arms, which the character doesn't wear at all during the movie.  To compensate I painted the sleeves completely black (like the movie), and just left the bindings painted on for artistic effect.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.  The rest of the sculpt holds up pretty well, and that was my only real complaint.  The shirt and cape both turned out very well.  I mixed up some Reaper Master Series metallics with some of their normal paint in order to get a bit of shimmer working, and the effect was quite successful.  Painting blue is something I'm still working at getting.  The shading and highlighting is become much more gradual, but it still needs a bit of work to bring out the brighter areas.  That being said I'm still very excited to be getting my blending to work out smoother.

Ok, last one for today is a work in progress of Sir Osric:




There is a lot that I'm liking about my paint job, but a few issues I have with the miniature itself.  The character of Sir Osric the paladin is clean-shaven in the movie, but the miniature itself is sporting a goatee.  My guess is that the sculpter put it on because the person playing the character in the movie also has a goatee.  The character also carries a shield and wears a cape, neither of which this miniature has.  I was tempted to sculpt them myself, but as I haven't seen other miniatures painted up online I've decided to leave it as is for now.  Paint-wise I love how his hair has come out, along with his shirt.  I feel like I've been hitting the highlights and shading pretty well on this one, and it's been a lot of fun to paint.  I still need to hit the boots and shoulder pads with a wash, and then pick out highlights, followed by the gloves, boots, and belt.  After that it's just the base.  Speaking of bases almost all of the miniatures have a really small footprint, and I have plans to mount them on bases to help stabilize them.  Even Brother Silence, who has the biggest footprint out of them all, could stand (pun not intended) to be put on a base.  Sir Osric is the worst, and consistently falls over with the slightest provocation.

I hope to have Sir Osric finished up soon, and then it's on to Flynn The Fine (alive version)!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Wild!

Trying to get back on the horse after being off it for a couple of weeks can be difficult, but still rewarding.  Today I sat down to paint up some of my Gamers miniatures I got from the Hands Of Fate Kickstarter.  Specifically the male and female Luster pieces:



One thing I've noticed about all the Gamers miniatures is that the sculpts are on the simple side.  This isn't a bad thing in my own opinion.  So many miniatures nowadays have an incredible amount of detail that they are both stunning and intimidating.  Finding miniatures that have a simple but straightforward sculpt is very refreshing, and makes for fun painting.



There was pretty much three stages to this pair.  Flesh, hair/eyes, and the red.  Painting flesh can be interesting in regards to shading and highlights.  Usually the more sculpted the flesh the easier it is to paint, which is the case with this pair.  I'm happy with how the flesh came out on these pair, and feel it works pretty well.



Painting anything close to platinum blonde can be quite annoying.  I want to reach for my yellows, but platinum blonde is closer to white, and thus requires really bright shades of white.  I ended up settling for something a bit closer, going for more of an idealized blonde.  The other rough part was painting up the eyes.  Eyes on miniatures is always difficult as they're small, and I had to take several shots at these sets.  I think they turned out ok though, but not my best work.



Finally was the red (and their gold sash).  I usually lay down dark layers and go up from there, but the first layer I put down was more of a mid layer, and the highlight was too close.  The solution was to go back with the darker layer and again layer up.  It ended up working out, and I smoothed things over with a red wash at the end.  All in all this pair was pretty simple to paint up, and was both relaxing and casual to paint up.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Gen Con 2014 Retrospective: Sunday

So it goes without saying at this point that I need to do these updates in a more timely manner.  Work and personal life have been surprisingly busy, and I think I'm just now starting to recover.  Onto Sunday then.

The last day of the con is always the most tiring.  Everyone is burnt out, and everyone is preparing for their trip home.  I normally don't have much to do on Sunday, but this year I was able to get in on the first official Relic Knights tournament.  I had managed to get the last few pieces painted up the night before I was to come out to Gen Con, so here they are starting with Sebastian:




Sebastian wasn't actually that difficult, but he took a while due to his massive size and surface area.  His Relic stands astride an 80mm base, and for reference I haven't put a model on a base larger than 50mm.  I admit that he is a lot of fun to look at, but wherever Sebastian goes he is accompanied by his Cypher, Rook:




This little guy wasn't that hard to paint up actually.  Very straightforward and enjoyable, although I still felt the tension being so close to Gen Con when I painted him.  Up next is Navarre Hauer:




This is a model that turned out ok, but I'm not as happy with the sculpt.  It looks like there's lots of activity, but he just didn't appeal to me.  He was still a good model on the table.  The final miniature I painted up is Cordellia Clean, sort of:




Not bad looking right?  What isn't done you ask?  Well, when I originally assembled this model I left off the backpack with the intent of painting it separate before gluing it on...and I kinda forgot to do that.  Otherwise she looks pretty good to me.  I tried out a pink skin tone, and that required mixing up a pink wash.  While the result isn't bad, I think I need to try for some darker shardows in the recessed area.  I've also been getting a lot of comments on how much I've improved in a short time, and this makes me feel pretty good.  My goal currently is to improve my highlights and lighting technique.

Ok, so how'd the tournament go?  We started off with eight people, but people left after the first two (of three).  We had a three-way tie for first place, and the point spread landed me in third.  My painted miniatures won me a battlemat for Relic Knights, which was cool but I already had one.  The guys at SPM were cool enough to let me trade it in, and I used the credit towards my own copy of Super Dungeon Explore!  Expect a bunch of Super Dungeon Explore models in upcoming blog posts while I wait for Robotech miniatures to arrive for both myself and my friend (who is commissioning me to paint them).

Another successful Gen Con completed.  Much fun was had, reunited with many friends, and played many games.  Gen Con 2015 will you be as good?

Obligatory swag pic:

Friday, August 29, 2014

Gen Con 2014 Retrospective: Saturday

You may have noticed a bit of a delay between my last posts, and well, work has kind of exploded.  Not literally of course, but it's been so busy that I've barely gotten enough time to eat let alone blog.  So let's get my Gen Con Saturday under way shall we?

Saturday started off with me waking up at my own pace and deciding to casually head over to the exhibitor's hall with my buddy.  Before we even got out of the hotel we came across Luca from the RPG Classic, Chrono Trigger, just after she got her morning cup of coffee.



We get to the convention center, and we decide to cut through the events hall to get to the dealer's room.  On our way we come across a really awesome cosplay of the sisters Elsa and Anna from Disney's Frozen:



Today is my relaxed day, so I spend time wandering around the exhibitor's hall seeing what I can see.  One stop I made was by Palladium's booth to check out the sprues for the upcoming Robotech Tactics RPG miniatures game:



It was really nice to get a close-up look at these miniatures.  I can't wait to get my hands on my own copies.  The miniatures look pretty detailed and of high quality.

So I continued my journey and came across a Scout Trooper:



I stopped and got a picture as my friend had been disappointed that he hadn't encountered any Storm Troopers at the con so far.  I would later find out that he did indeed come across some Storm Troopers, but missed the Scout Trooper.

Time was ticking down to my 2pm Victoriana demo, but before I left the exhibitors/events hall I caught one of my friends in cosplay and was able to convince her to let me snap a photo:



It was a short rush to get to the demo area, but I arrived in time.  Victoriana is a fantasy setting in, shock, Victorian London/Europe, but it makes use of the traditional fantasy races.  It's a fun setting that I hope to run a game for some day.  I was in for a treat though as my demo was more gothic horror than high fantasy.  My group and I were trying to convince a landowner that our claim was legitimate (it wasn't), but it turns out that all the fuss over heritage was for a vampiric/Frankenstein-esq operation.

As a side-note: this is a reason why I need to blog semi-real time.  I've forgotten most of the good details from that game.  All I remember is that fun was had, and that I make a bad solicitor.

After the demo I get back to the hotel and decide to grab dinner at The Ram.  On the way we encountered a robotic/moving Dalek:



It was a very impressive feet and a great way to build an appetite.  Once we hit The Ram we sat down in the general seating area and caught the end of Star Wars: A New Hope while waiting for our food.  Something must've gone wrong, and we ended up suspecting that our order hadn't gotten put in or some other glitch because we were halfway into The Empire Strikes Back by the time our food arrived.  We had been joined by two other travelers who had ordered their food and gotten it before we got our meal.

On our way back, our evening having been cancelled, we passed a guy who looked suspiciously like Nathan Rice (Lodge from the Gamers movies).  I commented as such and my friend asked me if I was sure followed by a suggestion that we find out.  A quick dash backwards followed by an awkward hello, and it turns out that yes indeed it was him!



It was a great way to top off our Saturday night, and made the events of our dinner even more worthwhile.

UPDATE:  Forgot to mention that I ran into Andy Dopieralsk, also of Dead Gentleman fame, on our way back to the hotel, but he was in a bit of a hurry to get to an event he was needed at.

I rounded out the evening by watching Dark Dungeons, which turned out to be hilarious enough to justify buying my own copy the next day.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Gen Con 2014 Retrospective: Friday

Continuing from Thursday, I managed to sleep very soundly.  I think that dialing back the AC had a significant impact.  First up was packing up the car and heading over to the con.  I had secured myself a parking pass for the IN Government parking garage the previous evening, and it probably saved me $15-$30.  Check-in wouldn't be till later that day and I had to do demos from 9am-2pm.  This would be my last stint doing demos for the weekend, and the rest of the con would be mine.  Got to see another really awesome Lady Justice cosplay during my shift as well:



I had a lot of fun demoing Malifaux for the last couple of my shift.  They were really picking it up, and we ended up going past my 2pm finish time.  This wasn't a big deal since it wasn't affecting my level of compensation.  After I finished up with the demo I went and checked in at the Wyrd booth in the exhibitor's hall, and ran into a really awesome War Machine cosplay of Menoth's Kreoss:

 

At the Wyrd booth I collected my rewards, and promptly purchased a bunch of Malifaux stuff for me and my friends.  I had some troubles with my credit card that I cleared up at the booth, which ate into my free time a bit.  I had been given the keys for the new hotel room, and did a quick dash back to meet up with my friend Thirdpower for his first Gen Con experience.  While I waited for him to make it the last few steps to the hotel I spent time taking in the view from our room:



After a bit of time to get my stuff transferred to the hotel room and a few minutes to breathe Thirdpower and I headed to the dealer's hall to browse a bit before it closed.  We hit up a few booths to just scratch the surface of the Exhibitor's Hall, but made a point of visiting Jen Page at her booth promoting Project London:



After that we made a quick jaunt over to Steve Jackson Games' booth where Thirdpower got to chat up OGRE stuff with some of the designers.

With the dealer's hall closing we decided to hit up the Munchkin Tavern which had occupied Tavern on South for a tasty dinner, and then back to the hotel to relax before the evenings event: Late Night Puppet Slam.

The Late Night Puppet Slam didn't start till 11pm at night, but the evening view from our room was just as cool as the daytime view:



When we got to the Puppet Show the question was asked as to recording policies.  After a few moments of confirming with the artists/puppeteers we were told that recording was fine with additional encouragement to upload the videos.  My companion took a short vid and some pics of the show, but I tried to capture as much of it as I could:





I had some technical difficulties with my camera towards the end.  My phone started to freeze up due to having no free space left to capture everything (that's why the camera starts swinging around at the end.  That's me trying to fix the darn thing).

Following the show we met up with friends and attempted to find a late night snack but turned into more a wandering around downtown Indy before heading back to the room to crash for the night.