Friday, December 26, 2014

28mm Bushi Buntai for Ronin

[This was my second entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

Continuing in a skirmish vein from my last entry, here's a samurai (or bushi) war band (or buntai as the game calls it) for Ronin, Osprey's samurai skirmish game.

This was my first time painting 28mm samurai (I've done 10mm samurai in the past) and I'm now firmly convinced that this particular genre compares very closely to Napoleonics in terms of fiddly painting detail and potential for eye-catching, colorful "uniforms." On the one hand, I love how everything turned out; on the other, I can't begin to imagine painting a whole army of these guys! Lots of detailed brushwork was called for.

I have another buntai in the painting queue, a band of Ikko-Ikki - fanatical peasants out to destroy the system. Rather than painting up a bunch of generic samurai and peasants, and being unable to resist my history-geek tendencies, I've placed both forces in a historical context: the Ikko-Ikki uprising in Mikawa Province during the autumn of 1563 that culminated in the Battle of Azukizaka in January of the following year. That battle was one of the first victories of a young lord named Matsudaira Motoyasu - later known as Tokugawa Ieyasu, unifier of Japan.

The buntai I've assembled here is modeled around the spark that caused the uprising: "Fighting broke out in 1563 when Suganuma Sada, a Matsudaira retainer, entered the Jōgū-ji temple in Okazaki, and confiscated its rice to feed his own men."

Thus, I've chosen to paint up Suganuma Sada and his hungry escort.

Unlike Napoleonics, there is a fair bit of room to get creative with choosing colors and so forth, especially for minor figures like Sada. His outfit is a riot of colors, but I think they hang together nicely. It helps when you have an excellent figure to work with, as with this Kingsford figure.

Although I'm usually averse to doing elaborate, diorama-style basing, I couldn't resist throwing in a Perry casualty figure as I had some extra real estate on the base. (I painted the casualty with a Takeda clan mon, as they were also early foes of the future Tokugawa.) The mon on Sada's back is a decal transfer from Veni Vidi Vici and was, mercifully, quite easy to work with.

I hit the "lacquered" bits of armor with some gloss varnish to provide a bit of a shine.

As was often the case, different temples in the region aligned themselves with either the Ikko-Ikki or the local lord. Here is a warrior-monk (sohei) ally of Matsudaira's from the temple of Daiju-ji.

That blade means business!

For the ashigaru (infantrymen), I mostly pulled from the Ronin starter set put out by Artizan, but I supplemented with an excellent banner bearer from Perry Miniatures. The banner pattern is based on one used by Tokugawa over the course of his career.

For the sashimono (back banners) of the infantry, I wanted to put on the Matsudaira family crest, but it's so intricate I knew there was no way I'd be able to free-hand it like I did the Takeda mon. I was unable to find an easily-acquired set of Tokugawa transfers, so I set out to make my own with some decal paper.

The experiment was mostly a success. The ink ran slightly when I sprayed the fixative, giving the crest a slight reddish outline...but I kind of like how it turned out, actually. Chalk this one up to "happy accidents."

The long holiday weekend promises some excellent painting opportunities, so hopefully I'll be back next week with the Ikko-Ikki!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Malifaux Madness!

[This was my first entry for the Fifth Annual Analogue Hobbies Painting Challenge, reposted here for folks not following that blog.]

Well, it took me a little bit to get up to speed, but I've got a good rhythm going now and am ready to present my first-ever submission.

Earlier this year, I finally got a chance to get into Malifaux and got bit by the bug pretty hard. I had put together a crew using the Hired Swords boxed set, and was quite happy with what I had mechanically, but wasn't totally happy with a few of the figures. So my first priority was sourcing some alternative sculpts for my Hired Swords.

Having been bitten, however, I realized that just one crew wasn't going to cut it. So I picked up the Latigo Posse boxed set, and once again found several of the figures to be lacking in my regard. Don't get me wrong, all of these figures are high-quality sculpts, the usual intricate plastic kits that are part of the 2E Malifaux range. It was more that the poses didn't really work for me on an aesthetic level. So I sourced some alternatives there as well.

Here are the results...

First up, there are the "Alternate Viktorias" from Malifaux's old 1E range. They're much more cartoony than the current versions, but then I like my 28mm figures a bit on the cartoony side.

I painted Viktoria of Blood's outfit to look like it was repurposed army surplus from some sort of cavalry regiment.

With the current plastic Viktoria of Ashes, it's not really clear that she's armed with double katanas. This older sculpt leaves nothing in doubt!

The other figure I wanted to replace was Taelor. She's a true power-hitter, armed with a massive "rune hammer" and she knows how to use it. So I wanted to find a figure that exuded that sort of power and confidence, and I found it in "Alice Tinkerly" from MicroArt Studios.

That may not be a rune hammer on her shoulder, but I'm sure it'll be just as effective! Plus she has the same industrial coveralls as the original Taelor figure - it was meant to be!

I also added a new figure in the form of Vanessa, Viktoria's "real" sister. This was another new plastic figure, and was pretty nice save for the head, which seemed oddly puny. So I swapped in the head of "Steampunk Zara Craft, Relic Hunter" from Guild of Harmony. Much better!

I also made my first foray into Object Source Lighting with Vanessa's "treasure detector" thingy. Needless to say, I've got a lot to learn about OSL, but we've all got to start somewhere. I need to pick up some glazes, I think...

And, for completeness' sake, here's the whole Hired Guns crew together, including the figures I painted before the Challenge - you can get a good idea of how the plastics and metals go together.

Now on to the Latigo Posse. I only ended up using three plastics from the original boxed set. Everyone else is either the 1E metal versions or sourced from third-parties.

I tried and tried to find the original 1E Perdita metal figure, but she's obviously quite popular and could not be found for love or money. However, I found a great alternative in the form of Valeria Alvaro, an Iron Kingdoms figure.

I swapped out her more fantasy-styled pistol for a proper six-shooter, but other than that I didn't need to make any changes. She's a great Perdita!

I made an attempt at giving her snakeskin boots - I think the effect worked out okay.

The plastics consist of los hermanos Niño and Francisco, and Ortega clan patriarch "Papa Loco".

The Malifaux plastics remind me of the sort of "true scale" sculpting one generally sees with 1/72 scale plastics - guns are more realistically scaled, heads and hands more proportional, etc.

Sometimes it works for me, sometimes it doesn't. In these cases, however, I was quite happy.

Oops - need to do a bit of touch-up on that foot!
We're still waiting on a plastic version of Abuela Ortega, but in the meantime we've got this fantastic little 1E metal piece.

As much as I love the piece, I have to chuckle over the figure's extreme two-dimensionalality compared to how dynamic and "3D" the new plastics are - her pipe is molded to the side of her head!

I supplemented the Ortegas with some Guild members, namely two Austringers and a Hound.

The Austringers also proved difficult to source, as they're old 1E figures. The kneeling "cowboy" figure, in particular, was quite hard to find. Hopefully we'll see some plastics soon, but I was very pleased with these figures once I finally got them.

"You keep a horse in the basement!?"
Lastly, the Hound. I had to go with Hasslefree's "not-Scooby" Great Dane. A great figure, although I have to dock the Ortegas a couple points for not neutering their pet!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Played My First Warmachine/Hordes Game Last Night...

My Skorne under the fearless leadership of Baron Harkonnen Dominar Rasheth made their debut last night in what was also my first time ever playing WarmaHordes.

(Yes, I'm the sort of weirdo who paints up a bunch of miniatures before playing a game and seeing if I like it; I had faith in this system, and besides, if I didn't like it I'd have a bunch of painted minis to sell and use that money towards projects I knew I'd actually be into. But it all worked out in the end.)

Although I had faith in the game itself, I wasn't sure going in if I'd made the right choice with my faction or my caster, so I'm somewhat elated today, looking back on last night's game, to realize that I made the perfect choice in both regards. Rasheth is essentially a Titan rancher, and I love me some Titans. In particular, this is because I'm finding (or rather remembering) that I really enjoy running factions that glory in close-up, bloody carnage. Even if I lose, it's still a lot of fun to watch. My Space Orks for Epic 40K, my Outcast crew for Malifaux, and now my Skorne - they're all focused around, to quote Royal Tenenbaum, "Scrapping and yelling and mixing it up." I'm also a big fan of stuff that denies or nullifies the other guy (back in my M:tG days I used to run Blue and White decks and piss off all my friends), and Skorne definitely has that in spades as well.

I lost, of course, but I gave my opponent a good run for his money, taking out his heavy Warjack and doing serious damage to another 'Jack, even with my multitude of tactical and systemic mistakes. I also learned a lot about the subtleties of the game and where I want to put my focus going forward. So I'm going to be tweaking my lists a bit, picking up some new figures (but not too many - I'm mostly where I want to be), and, mostly, looking forward to our next game.

Here are some quick snapshots from the course of the evening's action:

Blob Rasheth meets his end.
Keen observers may recognize the table layout as being eerily similar to my recent Malifaux games. This is largely due to the fact I'm "in transition" between terrain systems right now. That's all I'll say about for the moment, but hopefully I'll have some lovely pics to share soon of my new "secret weapon" in my never-ending quest for visually-appealing terrain...
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