Welcome

Welcome to the Badzones. Here you will find my ongoing projects modeling, painting and playing skirmish level table top games. Here I will focus on Necromunda, Malifaux and Puppet Wars, as well as my thoughts on the hobby at large. Thank you for stopping by and feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you think!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Seeing the Forest

Back in August, I showed off some of the rock outcroppings I had created for Malifaux terrain. As I mentioned then, those outcroppings were a proof-of-concept for some techniques and color schemes I wanted to carry over into larger terrain projects. After a couple months, the first set of that terrain in complete.

The last time I made any terrain like this was almost 15 years ago and, back then, there were a lot of concessions made in the name of finishing quickly and cheaply. While those pieces are still in use back in my home town, this new version has surpassed them in almost every way. That was, in truth, the goal of the project. I wanted to revisit a terrain piece I had already done, but do it without any of the concessions, sparing no expense and making it as good as it could be.
 
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be working on additional pieces to add to this forest. As I go along, I will be adding some articles to this blog that look at the techniques I used to make these pieces and some tutorials. In the meantime, however, I thought it would be nice to just take in the view a bit:

 


















































































































As always, thanks for stopping by.

More to Come.


-Nick

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Oh, Molly Dear...

Back on my hobby table, the 6 Month Mountain Reduction Challenge has begun. I started by doing some basic organizing and deciding exactly what it is I am going to focus on accomplishing in the next several months. First on the list is my Super Dungeon Explore project. With only a few more models left to complete, that should be an easy thing to accomplish. Malifaux is then another priority, as I am eager to get the community back up and running. I will begin by completing the Ressers, as well as some terrain, as we decided it was much needed after our first Sunday game session. 

When I sat down to paint, I managed to knock out the Guild Autopsies pretty quickly. I’ve always liked these models, but I never put them on the painting table because they just weren’t very good in 1.5. Now, however, these guys are pretty awesome and I will be using them a lot more. I strayed a bit from my normal rotted flesh recipes and opted for something that looked a bit more embalmed. This meant very pale flesh with fewer dark washes, focusing mostly on violets and reds to make up the shadows. I spent extra time working on the reds around their opened skin.

It took me quite a while to decide on a color scheme I wanted for the Guild uniforms. As I play Guild as well, I want to be sure that the scheme I choose for the autopsies will also match the variety of guild rank and file that will follow at some point. In the end, I decided to go with a green-grey coat and grey or dark slacks. I like the almost ‘confederate’ look of these guys and I think it will look very good when the Guild get into these colors as well. They will look like a uniformed force, but a distinctly rag-tag uniformed force. To set them apart from their more lively kin, I muddied up their clothes quite a bit with a number of brown and Sepia washes, as well as Secret Weapon Baby Poop and Stone washes. 

After completing the autopsies, I almost randomly picked Molly Squidpidge. More than anything in the new edition, I have been exited to play with Molly as a master. In the past, she hasn't been very viable, but that is all changed now, so I am looking forward to seeing how she plays. 

As far as the model, I'm not sure if I was ever really too excited about it. There was just something that didn't strike my fancy. However, when I started painting my own version, I quickly took it back. Rather than the bright yellows you see so commonly with Molly, I decided to go for a dress that looked a bit more old fashioned and quite a bit more muted.

What I really like about this model is that she is essentially made entirely of 3 colors. You have the violet of her dress, the dark browns of her hair and shoes and the beige that makes up the trim on her dress. Her skin tone was created by using the violet from her dress alongside that neutral tone of the trim, and then I set everything off with just a few hints of color like her green eye shadow. I gave a nod to her usual color scheme in the sunflower in her hair.

Then it was time for blood. I didn't want Molly to appear like she was a gory model or anything like that. Instead, she takes very good care of herself, but is simply unable to avoid making a mess of her
dress when she coughs up blood which, according to the fluff, she does quite often.While the front of her dress has been ruined, the back of the dress is still very much as she would like to keep it, clean and pretty. I think this is a good metaphor for Molly herself. She tries to move on as though she were still alive, but her undeath ends up being something of an inconvenience that keeps coming up.

At the time of writing, I had picked her up and started painting so quickly that I hadn't really decided what base she was going to have. So, unfortunately, Molly is just slightly unfinished, but there will be more from her later.

More to Come.

-Nick

Monday, October 13, 2014

....actually playing games

Over the course of several blog posts, I have talked about the state of Malifaux in my local community. At its height, you could play Malifaux at one store or another pretty much any night of the week. This went on for a year or so with a large player base that slowly began to dwindle. When you speak to the players in my area, there are several reasons for the wane in players. Some say that the edition change from 1.5 to 2 was enough to kill their interest while others say the Malifaux community here killed itself by becoming too competitive and losing some of the fun. Still others have shared with me that the community ran out of players because it seemed like no one who was playing Malifaux seemed to be having any fun.

Whatever the reasons, I’ve decided to jump into the community again and play my part in re-invigorating the game in my area. With the help of one of our local stores, The Game Annex, we started playing again last weekend. To begin, we are going to play every other Sunday, which will let others get back into the slowly and without having to worry about missing out on any action. Down the road, we will begin to host events and get a bit more organized.
For now, however, we are going to keep things simple.

For the first weekend, we had a total of 4 players, 6 if you count the store owners, who were unable to play due to another tournament taking place. This means everyone got in a game. Of the 6 players total, two of them had not dipped into the new edition, three are only a few months into playing and then there’s me. It was not a bad turnout and I am looking forward to growing the community some more. Also, here’s a neat piece of demographic information. Out of our 6 players we had 2 married couples…very cool.

In other gaming news, my wife and I sat down and played her first (well, first 3 actually) games of X-Wing. We opted to keep things simple and stick to the starter box for our first game, but I think this is going to be one we play often. 


As always, thanks for taking the time. 

More to Come,

-Nick

Monday, October 6, 2014

Back to More Base-ics: Malifaux

Back to More Base-ics: Malifaux

Now that Gencon is over with, it’s back to the hobby itself. Before Gencon, I completed the proof-of-concept bases I will be using for McMourning and his crew. These particular bases will be used for Guild Autopsies, and are a perfect illustration of what this project is all about. As I’ve been building my Malifaux collection, it occurred to me that I will be building essentially entire factions of models, within which there will be individual crews. However, many models will be used in many crews. This is not like Necromunda, where a model will be used by only one gang. This means that, when basing models, you need to consider how those bases will look both alongside each other and with a variety of other bases that will show up in your crew.

To solve this problem, I am thinking of base themes as parts of a Wheel. In the center, you have the over-arching theme that will run through the entire faction. In the case of my Rezzers, this is Quarantine Zone Ruins. At the end of each Spoke, you have a Master with their own unique theme, such as Seamus and his Victorian Street. Any two Masters can share elements of the theme, but they may be entirely different. 

The spokes themselves are the minions that share something in common with one or several masters, but also with the main theme. Guild Autopsies, for example, are halfway between McMourning and his Institutional Tilework and the general Quarantine Zone ruins, meaning that they can fit in with many other masters.

What this really means is that I can use something like the picture to the left to make sure I have variety and character from master to master, but the faction as a whole will still look good together.

Or maybe I'm just over-thinking this.....What do you think?



More to Come.

-Nick



Thursday, October 2, 2014

Gencon 2014, A New Challenge and Getting Back to the Table

The last few months have been a whirlwind. With autumn beginning to settle in, I feel like I can start to settle down and take a breath. From Gencon to a trip out to Colorado, to work and family, it feels like we’ve been 'on' all of late summer. Now that we are back to a bit of downtime, I can get back to work on hobby and on the blog.

The Challenge

Last month, a few blogs posted something called the 6-MonthMountain Reduction Challenge, which I think I am going to start myself, beginning in October. The idea of this challenge is to begin making a dent in my large collection of models, while simultaneously continuing to work on the blog and get out into the community a bit more. There are a few rules laid down, but this is the version I am going to use.

  1. No purchasing of new miniatures, unless you use a Joker. Like a deck of cards, you get two jokers to use on a purchase during the 6-month challenge. This can be whatever purchase you want, but NO SPLURGING.
  2. Gifts and gift cards do not count against you. However, overspending on a gift card does count.
  3.  Paints and other hobby supplies are exempt from the no purchasing rule.
  4.  Create at least 1 hobby related post to this blog or to one of my facebook groups each week.
  5.  The challenge begins on Oct. 1st, 2014 and will end with Adepticon 2015. (just shy of 6 months).


There are all kinds of other things that can contribute to the challenge, hashtags and whatnot, but to start with, I’m just going to implement the five rules above and see how it goes. Here’s the link again, if you’re interested in joining me.

Gencon 2014

This year, I spent Gencon looking at games I have been interested in but have never picked up for one reason or another. While I did hit my usual haunts of Wyrd and Soda Pop Miniatures, this year I spent a lot of time in the Infinity booth and at their tables in the gaming hall. I’ve mentioned before that Infinity has always felt like a game I should be playing and this year, it really seems to be picking up steam. They have a new starter box coming out, a new version of the rules and new releases that are, hands down, the best metal miniatures that anyone is making right now. They also have lots and lots of terrain, which is one of the things I find very interesting about the game. I was able to ask a lot of questions about, get some good advice about how to start and talk to some of the Corvus Belli staff who are deeply passionate about what they have created. It was a pleasure dipping even a toe into that universe. With the 3rd edition of the rules I am sure I will be visiting it again soon.

My prize purchase this year was from Poetic Earth, a satchel known as the Master and Commander. I was given a great deal on the bag and I am looking forward to breaking it in and using it for many years to come.

The other game-I’ve-never-played-because-I-don’t-know-why that I had a chance to experience at Gencon was X-Wing. Obviously, this is a huge game and I’ve seen it played a lot and contemplated picking it up several times, but just never took that last step. At Gencon however, my brother-in-law and I, along with another friend, were able to get in a demo of X-Wing. While I have had some experience with it, my brother-in-law was hooked. I’ve been trying to get him into games for ages, but this is the first one that he’s really taken on. He’s always been a Magic player, so I think this is a good first step into the world if miniature games. I’ll get him into Malifaux or Infinity sometime down the line.

With a trip to Ebay, I was able to secure what is a pretty good start to the X-Wing collection, including two starter sets and a handful of additional ships. I find it a relief to play a game for which I don’t have to paint the minis and this should be good fun to come.






Wyrd and Gencon

Normally, I find Gencon a great way to get some inspiration and because I collect a lot of Malifaux and it could be described as my primary game, I spent a considerable amount of time at the Wyrd booth. This year, Wyrd had a massive booth encircled in a bayou village, complete with a giant Whiskey Golem standing guard. It’s great to see Wyrd’s booth grow and grow every year, but there are some things about Wyrd that I find….well, weird.

This year, they opted not to bring their beautiful display cabinet to showcase their range of models in all their painted glory. I suspect this was in an effort to save space and promote their new plastics. Unfortunate, however, because all they ended up displaying were a handful of unpainted crews, only part of the plastic range. Maybe I’m getting old but, to me, painted examples of your breath-taking models are a fantastic way to bring people into the game. That’s a large part of why so many of us still play GW games; because we were taken in completely by the look of the models on wonderful battlefields that are their hallmark. If you’re going to showcase unpainted models, take the time to showcase them all, so as to give customers a view of everything they have to choose from.

The ‘unpainted’ theme seemed to carry over to two display tables as well. While I understand there was some controversy about one of the table being used for the final in the tournament, both of these board were vibrant and intricate and well put together. They were both very interesting. However, they were both only partially painted. I thought this was a strange choice, especially when so many competing games also had demo boards, complete with painted models and painted terrain.


Again, maybe I’m old fashioned, but let’s do a thought experiment.

‘You approach two tables that are demoing two different skirmish games. One of them has an intricately designed board with magnificently painted terrain and models painted professionally to a high standard. The other has an intricately designed board that has been partially painted and models that have been assembled but are still just grey plastic.’

Which is a better sales tool? I’ll use Infinity as an example here. On the Infinity demo board, there was the most gorgeous terrain I have ever seen for a demo, complimented by models that were painted to a quality that almost made me afraid to touch them. It was a completely immersive experience.

The outside of the Wyrd booth was a similar missed opportunity, flanked by TV monitors that displayed only the Wyrd logo.  Is it just me, or was that, well, weird. Why would you take the time and spend the money to build the booth and plug in a TV when a piece of paper and tape does the same work? How much more interesting would a video of gameplay or of beautifully painted models on gorgeous terrain have been? How much work would it really have taken?



Then there was the gaming hall itself. I admit that my opinion may be biased because I am a gamer who builds terrain and I love telling a story with the boards I play on. However, the tables at Gencon must have been an after-thought at best. I was sorry to see a game so evocative, interesting a colorful stuck with such bland tables, consisting of a handful of Terraclip ruins, a few trees, and a rail road track with a car or two here and there.  If there was any inspiration to be had, it was not at these tables. I don’t know what factored into the decision to host so many events on such drab and un-interesting boards, but again, as a sales opportunity, I would like to be able to sell a book or a crew to a new person and say ‘check out the gaming hall to see this game being played for real.’ As it was, I would hesitate to do that, because these boards made the game look boring. Again, a missed opportunity.


So I don’t really know what the story is behind these things, and I don’t know if anyone else felt the same way about Wyrd’s presence at Gencon, but it just seemed phoned in to me this year. It was almost as though they wrote the wrong date on the calendar and then struggled to get ready at the last minute. I guess there’s always next year. 

More to Come,

-Nick

Friday, August 1, 2014

Malifaux Terrain: At Last

Over the last few months, I've had little time for the hobby. Without realizing, I've been so focused on work that everything else has taken a hit. Now, with projects at work successfully completed, I'm working to get some balance back in my life. Part of that balance means more time at the paint table and, perhaps, even on the gaming table.

An exercise of that re-balancing has been for me to brainstorm about those things that I like to do, the things that define 'me' outside of my job. In terms of gaming, this means returning to what has always been my favorite aspect of the hobby; terrain. And so I've begun work on some new Malifaux terrain, my first terrain project in almost 10 years. Yikes!

My first dive into terrain again is some simple rocky outcroppings.
I'm using these more as a proof on concept for the next phases of the project, which will be more 'badland' terrain, including hills, woods and a set of stone ruins (using the GW ruined temple kit).

In the past, I've always stuck to a very typical dark grey stone scheme for
this type of terrain. However, I didn't think the dark greys that have always worked for 40k, Mordheim and Necromunda, fit the aesthetic I am looking for with Malifaux. To me, Malifaux is a metaphor for the expansion of America during the time period in which the game is set. It is the ultimate story of manifest destiny, here mankind, seeking freedom, power and riches, sets out into an unknown world determined to conquer it, no matter the opposition. This idea is one of the things that attracted me to the game in the first place.

So for this project, I decided to go with that idea in mind and create something that looked very west/southwestern.

 
 
 
 
 
How about some notes on the construction?

The process is relatively straight forward. I collected these rocks from nearby railroad ballast, taking care to pick stoned that were particularly angular. These were simply mounted to MDF and the ground texture applied, first with a layer of fine sand and then with the large pebbles, which were collected from the shore of Lake Michigan and sifted into different sizes. 
 
When it came time to paint, I airbrushed everything black and began with a good coat of an equivalent of Vallejo Model Color Scorched Earth. For these terrain projects, I use FolkArt acryllic paints from craft stores as they come in a large variety of colors, are cheap, and are nice and thick, which helps for any drybrushing.
I steadily went from the scorched brown up into beige tones, and for a moment I thought I would stop with rocks that were very red. I decided against this however, I continued to add honey colors and beige to the mix until I finally arrived at a layer I thought looked complete. for the sandy ground, I continued to highlight all the way up to something similar to Bleached Bone. 

After all the paint was dry, I went over the rocks and smaller stones with a variety of washes, including Sepia and Secret Weapon's Stone and Baby Poop. This was to call out the details in the rock more after painting, but it also has the nice affect of adding some variation to the color of the rock. To finish the paint job, I went back with all the different colors I'd used for far, all the way back down to Scorched Brown, and stippled them here and there, again to add variation in the colors of the stone and sand. 

After a coat of varnish was dry, I then started with the foliage.

For the project, I used Lichen in two shades, four shades of static grass, some clump foliage and then some 'tall grass.' There's not all that much interesting about the foliage, aside from the fact that it looks great. My tip would be to mix up your static grass. I have found that, using only one blend of grass starts to look a bit fake, but mixing a spring blend with a dry grass blend give you some natural looking variation in the grass and just looks nicer.

I think these pieced have done their job as a proof of concept for this style of board. Next up, we're going to start with some hills and woods using the same palette. The good news is that rock outcroppings, woods, hills and the ruins will all be made with exactly the same techniques. The only difference is how much of each material you use, and what you glue on top when it's done.

 
 
 
Thanks for taking the time. As always, comments are very welcome.

More to Come.

-Nick