Thursday, June 24, 2010

It's Roaming! It's Epic! It's the Roaming Epic!

Hey everyone and welcome to an epically roaming installment of the Dispatch!

As some of you might have guessed, there has been a slight lack of hobby in Snowman's Land which is why I've only been doing the Audio Noise, but I finally was able to get some more Malifaux goodness done. That's right, more work on the Roaming Monkey plus I have started making a Hangman's Tree as well. As if that wasn't enough, I've also managed to stray into every gamer's favorite territory, the land of Epic Fail. Want to learn more? Then read on my friends!

More Tales From The Roaming Monkey
Malifaux Terrain Project

As some of you might recall, I had started work on the Roaming Monkey a number of... weeks? Months ago? Let's just say it's been a while and leave it at that. I have finally been able to get some more work done on this fine frontier establishment.

The Land of Epic Fail
The Wonderful World of Hobby Blunders

It's okay, you can admit it. We've all had those moments of epic fail when we have this plan or idea that sounds so perfect... and then goes horribly wrong. I blame my latest one on a temporary lose of all forms of common sense but you can be the judge.

I was working on my Malifaux Witch Hunter crew and things were moving along great. I was able to get the pins into their feet without too much trouble, I was very happy with how the painting was turning out, it was all going so smoothly. Sometimes it's hard to fit in hobby time though so I was leaving my paints and the minis I was working on by the sink in the kitchen on a small counter that we don't use very much. If anything, it tend to turn into a catch all where people put things down when they first get home. Still, I wasn't worried about it. The painted minis were away from there and I just had the Roaming Monkey and one of the witchling stalkers on there. What harm could come to them?

My weekend wrapped up and weekdays are never good for hobby so I just left the stuff there in the hopes that I might be able to grab a few spare minutes at some point. I probably should have reconsidered putting the trash can right next to that counter but I had just clean some stuff off the table and it seemed so convenient at the time. Of course now all I can do is wonder if that stalker likes his new home wherever it may be but it really had seemed like a good idea at the time...

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Audio Noise: The Podcast With A Million Names

Hello everyone and welcome to a multitudinous myriad of mis-communications here at the Dispatch!

For this edition of Audio Noise, we are going down south to Santa Cruz to check out the podcast that almost had a new name every single episode. Who am I talking about? Why none other than...

Minions of the Monster Master

Focus: Actual play sessions with a little bit extra thrown into the beginning as they go Around the Horn.
Audio Quality: four out of five minions
Content Quality: five out of five minions
Average Length: About four hours
They might call themselves explicit but compared to some their not too bad.

Minions of the Monster Master is are relatively new podcast, having dropped their first episode back on Halloween of 2009. Most of each episode is devoted to actual play sessions but they usually also go around the horn and everyone talks about anything geeky they've done since the last episode. The group has a great chemistry and are a lot of fun to listen to. Even though the show features as many as seven different people in some episodes and they have music playing in the background, these guys do a great job keeping the audio clear and easy to listen to. The only downside that I've encountered was a problem with their download feed, namely that it used to literally take hours to download each show. They have managed to speed it up quite a bit but when you're dealing with four hours episodes, you still need to expect it to take a bit. Whether they're beating off thieves in Mouse Guard or gunning down heretics in Dark Heresy, Minions of the Monster Master is a lot of fun to listen to and I definitely recommend giving them a try.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Enter the Witch Hunters

Hey everyone and welcome to more Dispatch goodness!

As I mentioned before, I got the Malifaux rule book a short time ago and after doing a little bit of research, I decided to start out with Sonnia Criid and her Witch Hunters. From what I'd heard, the Guild is the most straightforward of the factions and Sonnia just sounded like she would be fun with all of her flaming attacks. I went ahead, placed the order, and waited for my crew to arrive. Having never seen any of the Wyrd minis first hand, I was very interested to see how they look in the "flesh". Let me tell you that I was not disappointed in the slightest.

In the Witch Hunters crew box, you get Sonnia Criid (Master of the Witch Hunters), Samael Hopkins (Sonnia's right hand man), and three Witchling Stalkers. All of the figure were had very crisp details and virtually no flash and only a few mold lines to be filed. Needless to say, prepping these miniatures was an absolute breeze! In fact, the worst thing about them was adding the pins to their feet. Wait, pins in their feet? Let me explain.

The figures all come with their appropriate size bases in the box but I decided that I was going to jazz them up a little with some of the custom bases you can find online. To this end, I ordered the Broken Wasteland 30mm bases from Dragon Forge. There are other companies that make various different types of bases (including Wyrd themselves) but for the Witch Hunters I wanted something a little different. Ultimately it was actually the skulls and bones that are sculpted into this set that made me decide to buy it. Just seemed fitting for the Witchlings if nothing else. What makes using these bases different from regular bases is the fact that you have to attached the mini directly to the base; no tabs are involved here! And of course the best way to make sure that your minis are attached is by pinning it to the bases. Sounds easy, but this is where things got tricky.

The minis from the Witch Hunters set all have pretty thin ankles. Normally this wouldn't be a big deal but since I am pinning it makes things a bit more complicated. If you go this route, make sure that you are careful, otherwise you might end up with figures with some serious disabilities!

Once the pins were in place, I went ahead and primed the miniatures using black Duplicolor sandable primer. If you don't use this stuff, go and get some! It works great and it's cheaper than P3, Armory, or Citadel Primers. Having given the figures a couple of nice, even coats, it was time to start painting!

As I went through the paints that I owned, I realized that a good number of them were very old and had dried out. I had also heard some great things about the P3 range of paints so I bit the bullet and bought a bunch of new paints for these minis. Since the model count is very low in Malifaux, I really wanted to make sure I did a good job on them. I mean think about it, five minis makes up a respectable sized crew. How could I not want to give them the attention they deserve?

One of the other great things about the Wryd line is the full color pictures of all their miniatures. This gives you lots of inspiration when you sit down to paint them, but I decided to take a slightly different route. Instead of using the painted mini for inspiration, I decided to use the drawing of Sonnia. This picture has her in darker clothing, with very pale skin, and red hair. As I said, kind of different but I really liked the look of her.

For the Witchlings, I wanted to go with just a basic brown color scheme, basically having them dressed in tattered, dirty rags. Very basic but these are grunts so I don't want to spend a lot of time on them anyway.

Last but not least is Samael and I can honestly say that I like his pictured paint scheme the least of the five minis. I think it is just something about the highlights on his clothing that just doesn't look right to me, almost seeming too pronounced in my opinion. This is not to say the painting was poorly done, just not the way that I would do it. Instead I decided to paint him closer to Sonnia's paint scheme, using dark brown for most of his clothing and dark green for the armor on his calves and poncho. I think this makes it look more like they are wearing some kind of a standard uniform which fits since they are both members of the Guild and also gives me a theme I can carry forward in to any minions I add to their crew.

So what are my overall thoughts on Sonnia and her crew?

From a hobby point of view, I definitely recommend picking up any of the Wyrd miniatures. The castings were beautifully done with very nice detail and they were a lot of fun to paint. They do stand a couple of millimeters taller than most other minis out there but given the depth of there range, there's probably something out there that you'd be interested in.

As for game play, I haven't had a chance to try her out yet but I think she looks pretty interesting. With a lot of abilities and triggers that are geared toward being anti-magic, I can see where she would be a tough customer for anyone that specializes in spell casting. Complimenting this is are a number of fire based spells that add to her offensive strength, not to mention her sword and pistol, both of which can pack a pretty serious punch. Overall, she is a very well rounded looking character that should be a lot of fun to get to the table. Her crew also nicely augment her abilities, continuing the anti-magic theme and also being pretty nasty in their own right. Samael and the Witchlings are all scouts so they can ignore severe terrain penalties and they are also all hunters which lets them ignore cover. This makes the whole crew very flexible and maneuverable so it should be a lot of fun to bring them to the table.

Well, that's it for this time but be sure to come back soon for more goodness here at the Dispatch.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Audio Noise: The Other Beast That Sleeps Beneath The Sea

Hello everyone and welcome to a truly non-Euclidean edition of the Dispatch!

For this issue, we are going to bend time and space to meddle with things that Mankind as not meant to understand. So without further ado, let's take a closer look at one of the longest running gaming podcasts out there...

Yog Radio

Focus: Roleplaying Games, specifically Call of Cthulhu
Audio Quality: four of five cosmic horrors
Content Quality: four of five cosmic horrors
Average Length: two to two and a half hours
Squeaky clean for your listening pleasure

Started back in 2005 by the creators of Yog-Sothoth.com, Yog Radio is an RPG podcast all about the game Call of Cthulhu and the world of H.P. Lovecraft. While this 'cast is deals more with news items (such as upcoming releases from Chaosium and other publishers, convention news, and the like) it can still be an interesting listen. The hosts have a good chemistry that makes the podcast fun to listen to and there are other segments that are less timely but just as interesting. Another thing worth noting is the fact that the hosts are also players in several Call of Cthulu actual play campaigns which are a real blast to listen to.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Hey everyone and welcome back for more Dispatch goodness!

So what's been going on in the world of the Snowman? More Malifaux goodness! I finally got my copy of the rules and so far I'm really liking the look of them. Using the card mechanic instead of a dice mechanic is definitely an interesting twist but I like the look of it so I'm definitely going to be giving this game a try. And there is the added plus that the miniatures are not half bad looking either! In fact the more I look at the book, the more I'm liking just about all of the figures. Of course this would make picking which one crew to start with a little difficult if it wasn't for something I read on the Wyrd forums. What was it? Well, you'll have to come back to find that out but for now let's take a look at how the construction is coming along.

Welcome to the Roaming Monkey
Malifaux Terrain Project

Having worked on my "practice" building. generic western building #1, I decided to jump in the deep end by building one of the essential locations for any wild west town; a saloon. Nothing too grand as Torments Reach is supposed to be more of a frontier town, but still more ambitious than my previous building.

Keeping in mind what I learned before, I started this building by planning out the footprint of the saloon. This was all cut out in one piece and includes the main building, two small additions, and also the boardwalk in the front and the back stoop. These last two don't need to be too large as I don't want the foam core showing when you look at the building, but enough to give them a strong foundation.

Once this was done, it was time to start cutting out the walls with their windows and doors, detailing them and the floor with planks, and finally gluing it all together. Unfortunately I did not take step by step pictures but here is a look at the finished project (minus the roof) prior to painting.

Not a bad looking building in my opinion, but this was definitely a time intensive project since I had to cut all of the wooden planks before I glued them on. Just a little crazy? Perhaps, but I really like the end result so it was worth it.

So what's next for Torments Reach? I'm thinking some more general purpose buildings like a dry goods store and grocery store, not to mention a couple of houses for people to live in. You won't find anything too grand in Torments Reach but it will have the essentials. More on that later.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Audio Noise: The Beast That Now Slumbers Under The Sea

Hey everyone and welcome to a Tokyo smashing edition of the Dispatch!

For this one, we are going to look at things with our ears as we take a look at one of the many podcasts I have enjoyed over the years. For the first Audio Noise segment, I decided to go with one of my favorites that is unfortunately no longer being produced and hasn't been for a couple of years now. It is still a very interesting listen and gives you a glimpse into life on the other side of the big blue, so without further ado let's look a little closer at...

The Godzilla Gaming Podcast

Focus: Roleplaying Games
Audio Quality: four of five atomic monsters
Content Quality: five of five atomic monsters
Average Length: one to one and a half hours
Squeaky clean for your listening pleasure

The Godzilla Gaming Podcast started in the beginning of 2006 and ran for two and a half years before time zone changes and an entire ocean forced them to stop recording. Hosted by an Australian named Cam and an American named Mike, their 'cast give us a glimpse into the world of RPG gaming in Japan. In addition to some interesting advise on gaming issues that you might run into anywhere in the world, they also did game reviews for a number of oldies but goodies and talked about what its like gaming in Japan. From herding the cats for a game to snacks you'd find at the table, the Godzilla Gaming Podcast is a really interesting listen that I highly recommend checking out.

As I mentioned earlier, they are unfortunately not recording any more as Mike has moved back to the States. They did manage to keep recording the show via skype for two years after he had left but in the end it seems that it was proving to difficult to keep it going. Their last post says "..like Cthulhu, Godzilla's always out there!" so who knows, maybe there will be more podcasting goodness in the future from Mike and Cam. Even if there isn't, the show is definitely worth checking out so hop on over and give them a listen!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Welcome to the West That Never Was

Hey everyone, I'm baaaack!

So it's only been what, nine months since I posted anything on the blog? Bah, what's nine months between friends! Seriously though, things have been happening the whole time and some of you might have seen the other blogs that I had been working on, but I decided it is time to bring back the Dispatch. I am still going to go for a looser format instead of the old issue format, but it will be good to get back into writing again. So with that, let's dive right in!

"Go West Young Man..."
Taking a Closer Look at Malifaux

I recently listened to a podcast review of the skirmish miniature game Malifaux and was instantly intrigued by their description of the game. Every since I saw my first game of Gutshot! being played I have been interested in looking into this genre more, but beyond buy a few minis I never got very far. Seems like something of a hard sell. "Hey guys! Wanna play cowboys?" Still, after having the itch for this long I decided it was time to scratch it.

In addition to the genre, the scale of the game really caught my eye. After playing my fair share of four hours games of Warmachine and Hordes, I was really interested in something a bit faster and Malifaux sounded like it would fit the bill. In fact the typical game sounded like it centered around a most half a dozen models on each side, much fewer than I'm accustomed to especially since the changes in Warmachine that really increased the scale of the game. With all of this in mind, it was time to hit the Wyrd website to take a look at the minis.

Since this is a minis game it is important to like the minis. Not only are you going to be playing with them in the game but also painting them so it's always best to make sure you like them. After looking around their online store, I must admit that some of the minis didn't do that much for me but most of them interested me enough to decide to buy the rulebook and give it a more serious look.

Building Torment's Reach
The Malifaux Terrain Project

While I was waiting for the book to arrive, I decided I might as well start working on some terrain to pass the time since I don't have any western themed terrain floating around. Might as well have something to fight over, right?

When I usually start a new project like this, I tend to try to jump right into the deep and do something overly elaborate that I never finish... like my wasteland building. Mounted on a 20"x20" MDF base with interiors and some balconies... well it will when I actually finish it but back to the old west. For Malifaux, I decided to start with something smaller to get my feet wet and practice some new techniques. To this end, I started work on generic western building #1! Impressive name, eh? And with such a grand introduction, why don't we take a look at it?

Front and back view of generic western building #1 with Black Scorpion 32mm cowboy for scale

As you can see, it is not finished yet but it was only really meant to be a working structure so that I could try some different techniques to see what would work and what doesn't. Overall, it's not a bad little building but I did learn a few lessons that I will carry forward in the future for this project.

One of the most glaring is the lack of a boardwalk on the front of the building. This was a staple of the frontier towns and though I could attach one to the building in its current form, it would potentially be pretty easy to break off. In the future, I decided to incorporate the boardwalk into the footprint of the building to make it that much stronger structurally and much better looking visually.

The next flaw is the windows. After doing a little more digging around, I noticed that most of the windows from that time tended to very tall and narrow while the windows I had put into my building were very wide. A minor thing but still something that I plan to correct in the future.

The last thing that really stuck out for me had to do with the construct of the model. With this first one, I had built the shell of the house and then added the boards onto the outside. The worked well enough but since I'm thinking about leaving the interior accessible, it will make it hard to add the boards onto the interior. For the next one, I'm going to detail the each wall before I glue it all together which should make it much easier to do.

Overall, it was definitely a learning process but I'm glad that built this one first instead of jumping into a larger project. Of course that means that now it's time to start on the larger project but more on that later.