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Thursday, 31 December 2015

Santa visits Boyes Superstore

I picked up from a thread on TMP that Boyes were selling the Plastic Soldier Company kits at half price. Well, that's just too good an opportunity to miss...A trip on Boxing Day to Grantham proved Santa is alive and well, as the feast above shows.

  • A box of five Churchills
  • A box of five Cromwells
  • A box of 5 allied M4A2 Shermans
  • A box of 5 allied M4A1 wet stowage Shermans
  • A box of 5 allied Sherman VC Fireflies
  • A box of 5 M3 halftracks
  • 2 boxes of late war British infantry
  • A box of MkIII panzers (couldn't leave out my Germans)

All this for ninety pounds! I've been lucky enough to receive some Chritmas money, so may well buy a few boxes more if possible. I've nearly built all the vehicles, except for 4 Fireflies. It's been a labor of love, with gluey fingers and super glue induced headaches, but at least I'm almost ready for painting. I quite enjoy vehicles as I have a certain formula which seems to work. Here's two of the built batches:


Monday, 21 December 2015

Protecting and Serving

Always looking for ways of keeping the painting desire going, this time, a trip to the land of the Rising Sun. The boardgame 'Rise of the Kage' was the first Kickstarter I bought into for myself. The blend of the Orient, with a Space Hulk theme was enough to get me hooked.

I tried playing the game once or twice and found the explaining to the novice ninja players a difficult task; I just put it down to my lack of knowledge of the rules, so the game went on the back shelf for a while. It appears that I was not the only person having difficulty grasping the grace and finesse of a ninja...

It seems that several other players have also found the same thing, with lots of ambiguity and a strong leaning towards the guard player. However there appears to be a version two of the rules due for release soon which should balance out and clarify the system. With over 120 miniatures to paint, I thought now was a good time to start, over the Christmas holidays.

The miniatures are a bit of a love/hate experience for me. They are full of character, but also full of soft plastic! Putting some of the figures to boiling water, rather than the sword, still leaves some yari and katanas bent. Maybe it's my cumbersome painting technique, but I also found it difficult to paint the detail precisely, with paint not flowing as smoothly as I would like.

At the start I tried a gloss undercoat, base spray, and Matt varnish to lock in the paint and seal it for the detailing. I think this worked to a limited degree, with the figures certainly presenting an interesting presence on the board, if not as sharp as their yari's! Next up are the thin equivalent of the lowest guards. Will see how these guys accept my brush attention.


Sunday, 13 December 2015

It's a 'Wonder' we played today...

I recently ran a game for a group of friends and colleagues who aren't overly experienced with boardgames. With six people to cater for, I came up with the game '7 Wonders'. After a quick re-read of the rules, the game went well. Because I had invested the time in remembering the rules, it seemed sensible to make it the Sunday afternoon game.

Wills had a friend over for a sleep over, so we had a six player game with Lucy, Grandma, Grandad and myself. The game went well with fresh and old minds retracing how the game worked. The variety of options and choices leaves the game very open, without any player being really clear on their scoring position.

The game finished very close with 4 players finishing within 5 points of each other. The game I played earlier in the week was decided by a single coin, when two players finished on the same number of victory points. Here's how my Empire finished, close to the end of the third age.

The afternoon was finished off by introducing Sam to a game of 'Sheriff of Nottingham'. His own statement 'I don't accept bribes' - oh, how that changed!


Bringing Biblicals up to date.

The distraction continues with some more touching up and rebasing. First, some Assyrian medium infantry

I have often found getting a bright white quite difficult to achieve, so I used some of the thicker acrylic 'artiste' paints found in most retail shops. Using a block technique on the most visible, raised areas just seemed to have lift the colour. These gents also had their faces and weapons re-visited too.

Also finished some Hittites being used as vassal allies to the Assyrians. Didn't do the before picture on these as I forgot! They received the same treatment as the other miniatures mentioned. Just got a couple of chariots and infantry left to do. I've already done most of the remaining infantry at an earlier date. The army will have to muster to get some group photo shots.



Saturday, 12 December 2015

Dominion card game on IOS

This game has long been a family favourite. When the brain juices are low to learn something new, this is the game that we turn to. It's variety seems infinite (even though some cards are firm favourites) but always quick to understand. We have several, but not all, of the extensions. After several years of comedic anticipation, the game has finally made it onto the iPad...

The game is free to download and it includes the basic game. Therefore if you are new to the system, it's a risk free way of trying it out. After a simple sign up, you have access to games versus the computer or other human players. My only concern so far has been that at times it has been difficult to get the game started, presumably because of high demand on the game servers. After several repeated attempts, you can usually get in.

If you know how to play Dominion, the interface is quite intuitive. What makes the game really easy to play is that each card deck states the number of cards available. Also that when you play your cards, your actions, coins and buys are clearly show to keep the game running smoothly.

If you are uncertain about what each card does, a simple tap on the card in the supply deck shows an enlarged version. The artwork, whilst not as crisp, still gives the flavour and spirit of the game. I've played several games so far, including some online. For the first time, I combined the app, using facetime, to play Grandma with things moving smoothly; we played three games where the dialogue option really helped.

If you enjoy the game, there is an option to buy the expansions. You can purchase individual extensions or all at once. Whilst these seem expensive for in app purchases, for comparison you can have all extensions for about sixty pounds.

I can thoroughly recommend this game and advise you to give it a dabble...let your Dominion prosper!


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Some before and afters

Fancied a break from current projects and needed to finish some half finished ones. So here's just a photo recall of the last two evening's revamps.

Some Foundry Assyrians and some initially poorly painted First Corps Greeks. Rebased the figures on 10x5cm bases to fit neatly on my Hexon boards. Will probably do some more Assyrians next...


Sunday, 22 November 2015

Reaper Bones Chimera

There are still a sizeable amount of Reaper miniatures to finish painting, and this figure is probably why there hasn't been much progress. Somehow, it was not fun painting this monster.

I think it's because each component animal needed it's own colour scheme and I had difficulty blending in each part, particularly the scorpion's tail.

The main body had several highlights and washes to try and tone in together the lion flesh (not helped by an initial too dark wash of sepia brown). Well, it's finished now and will probably be as bad tempered on the table as the frustration I had in finishing it! Well, best keep it fed...


Scratch build Sci-fi buildings - 15mm

With there being a lack of 15mm scifi scenery available, and the costs involved of buying those that are, I'm always on the look out for cheap, but affect ways of creating the table clutter needed for skirmish style games that doesn't break the bank.

After a trip to Hobbycraft, I saw some boxes which cost one pound each, I'd remembered seeing before how reversing the lids gave a nice parapet to stand figures on.

After the usual head scratching build, using some kinder egg containers, I came up with the idea of some kind of power units or industrial units. This worked well as the boxes fitted neatly into the squares on my Mantic mats from Deadzone.

Here's some piccies of the buildings in action, all for the chosen price of four pounds!


Sunday, 8 November 2015

Who dunnit in a cassock

Today's Sunday game was 'Mystery of the Abbey'. We had a guest appearance with Sam, one of Will's friends. Grandma and Grandad had played the game to get to grips with the rules once before. So today was played with a little more insight.

The game played nicely with the usual levels of confusion and misconceptions. During Lauds (the second whole turn of the game) several players went to the Bibliotheca to gain those powerful cards.

Several suspects changed hands, with Lucy and Grandad seemingly gaining the most knowledge. Honest and open discussions in the Centrum were followed by a particular liking for Grandma's cellula (where cards were stolen).

As information changed hands, Lucy became more cryptic in deciding whether to share knowledge or not. I picked up a few crafty clues about fat Franciscan brothers, only to foolishly allow a loose tongue to pass the information onto Grandma.

My journey to the Bibliotheca granted several scriptorium cards allowing me to make a revelation of the murderer being a Benedictine. Likewise, Grandad made a revelation that the culprit was thin. Time continued onwards with Lucy feeling she had enough information to make an accusation...she asked the boys a final question about wether they had any thin Benedictines left in their enquiries to which they replied "no". A false line of enquiry? Was it worth making that accusation and risk doing penance for a wrong pointed finger? Lucy made her guess with the murderer being revealed to be...

Father Sergio! Well done to Lucy...a combination of rapid character elimination, focused questioning and good listening won out. In the end:

Lucy, 4 points - a correct accusation.

Grandad, 2 points - a correct revelation for thin.

Anth, 2 points - a correct revelation for Benedictine.

Grandma, Wills / Sam - no points, but respectable for no negative points acquired (in a previous game a player had minus 8 points for wrong guesses!)

Mystery of the Abbey never fails to entertain; you never feel quite in control of the 'truth', what ever that may be. One wrong assumption here, an honestly inaccurate piece of information there, and your left with that uncertain idea - is he a fat Benedictine Father? (Father Bruno, you know who you are!)