Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Choose Your Fate

It's almost New Years, and with it, something a bit different!

Wyrd is hosting a contest for a new Fate deck, and with that meaning restrictions are lifted, it's time to resurrect my deck design! Aside from some cleaning up, it's mostly the same deck you've seen before, but I've made sure to revise the face cards to suit the Malifaux world a bit more.

The explanation of the deck is this:

Many of the Fate decks already in existence are what I'd call "out of world" decks - The Puppet Wars deck, the very snazzy decks including artwork from concept sketches of various characters, etc.

There's only one "In-world" deck I know of, and that's Xander's Retro deck. It's a beautifully designed deck, and it very much 'fits' the word. The only problem I have is that it's old, beaten up, and made to look (I think) like they found it when they reopened the breach, sitting on a table somewhere, and thought no ill of picking it up and starting to use it. What I'm going for is different. I want to make the "Modern Malifaux" deck. I want one where any random trader, card shark, or bored kid could go into a shop in Malifaux (or Earthside - currently the city of origin is listed as my own, Toronto!) and pick up a deck much like this and play with it.

Many of the designs are held over from the previous two posts (linked above) so in this entry I'll mostly focus on the differences.

First, the jokers are mostly the same, but they're the least "busy", so they'll show off the background well. Whereas the old one was whatever I could find from the internet to convey the feeling, it was too yellow, and too 'not mine'. I have since revised it with a texture pulled from paper I purchased, photographed, and edited.

More importantly you'll notice a refined and cleaned up back. These are far closer to the fancy designs so often found and admired on poker decks, and the prominent, not-too-fancy M in the middle is a strong reminder of what game it is!

And now the big change: face cards! You can see the damage indicators still in the corner, the large symbols for each suit on the aces, and most importantly, customized designs! The Aces are all going to have large symbols in the middle, to keep Crows from being too fancy, and the biggest modification to this set of royals is the Queen; While I did try to limit the number of in-world characters, I figure someone like Lady Justice is both well-liked and well-known enough to gain card immortalization. The cards feature very bright red cloth, as red is considered the faction colour of the Guild.

Next up are the Tomes. Tomes represent Arcanists, and while they may make a sneaky deck with hidden clues to them, this is not that deck. They were chosen of the face cards because they have large discs, coloured in this to represent soulstones. They have less gold than their Guild counterparts (except the king) but they are coloured varying shades of blue. From the bright cyan in their eyes and the soulstones, to the more muted cyan and royal blue of their cloth, they hold to the Arcanist blue.

The Masks (or Masques) represent the Neverborn. Their colour scheme is made to echo that of the Guild, with a colder, more sinister set of purples (Neverborn's colour) trying to keep somewhat the feel of the Guild reds. The masks on each are made to look both like the suit icon, and also the one worn by the Guild's Secretary, who many suspect to be a Neverborn!

If I do win the contest, and am asked to, I considered snaking some subtle colour inflection through their robes to look like tentacles, but the darts on the King's sleeves kind of work that effect, and keeps the overall look subtle.

Finally, the Crows. This was a difficult one. Traditionally, Spades are the 'highest' suit, but in the world of Malifaux, it represents the Resurrectionists, who are perhaps the most hated faction in the game. As a result, I had to juggle the primacy of one with the hatred of the other, and so decided to go subtle. The ace, as mentioned, keeps the 'tariff has been payed' look, and each of the royals is made to be subtly creepy and undead. All three have sunken cheeks. The Jack has blank eyes, the Queen empty pits, and the King small eerie dots as though the irises have blanched. Their clothes are primarily green (the Resurrectionist colour) and brown (for the earth), with a minimum of gold effects.

It was nice to go through and clean up the royals, since it let me really think on the designs overall. I hope you like them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


Continuing on the theme of Icestorm models I've finally photographed, we have the Grenzers!

The one on the left wields the default sniper rifle, all lefty-style, while the one on the right brandishes a weapons combination I doubt CB will be quick to put out in box or blister: The Combi-Rifle.

The paintscheme for this pair was relatively close to their 'official' scheme, with my usual blue glow, really highlighted with a bunch of black clothing. The black itself is mostly an edge highlight method, and the red is the same as on the Alguaciles, to make it a bit muted. While they end up kind of looking uniform black, the blue and red elements help break up that feel, and why shouldn't they be black? They're snipers that sit on a rooftop!

I'm also trying out a theme overall across the Nomads: Anything Corregidor is themed with more red elements, anything Tunguska is given more black, and anything Bakunin gets more white. The drab tan will be used on any frontline mooks heavily, and placed where I feel it'll fit the scheme well.

In case you're wondering, the other set of arms is taken from the Spektr, and it's a testament to how well the poses are set that even with an arm swap from a Spektr, the pose still works! The flowing cape is cool looking, with enough detail lines on it that you can decide to paint it in a wide variety of ways.

Next time I'll have Spektrs, but in the meantime happy holidays and keep gaming!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Mobile Brigada

After a long hiatus, I finally have photos of my Mobile Brigada. Currently, they have a gloss coat on them, but I may overlay that with a matte varnish, at least on the armour. I like them shiny, but I'm not certain I like them quite so shiny.

First up is the converted Mobile Brigada with Combi-Rifle. For the sake of Ice Storm, he has this weapon for most of the time, so I figured I might as well convert him with one. It's also convenient that there's a profile of this with tinbot, who I'll have fun converting in a little while.

His look, since the red-paint blog post, now has select white shin guards, a unique number (which I intend to carry across the entire cluster of them), and white detailing on either shoulder pad, as well as on the mask. There's multiple layers of faceplate, and I wanted to make each one distinct. The gun's a basic matte black, and the glowy vents are my usual light turquoise over white. Much like the Geckos, my figuring is the Mobile Brigada are meant to take heat from enemies, letting lighter armed infantry get away with minimal shots, so they're bright red, rather than a typical combat-subtle drab.

Next up is the converted Multi-Rifle armed Brigada. I didn't want to just do same pose different weapon, so this guy's been converted to actually be holding his gun. It was an interesting conversion to make, and was done before the box was announced with an HMG pose almost identical. The shoulderpads' insignia is the usual Nomad symbol, combined with the one for Corregidor. The upper right arm is scratch-built in essence, attempting to mimic the armour plating already there, and the head reposition was remarkably easy, needing minimal puttying.

Those guys aside, let's talk for a second about the new Mobile Brigada box...

(Taken from the Corvus Belli store page)

First, I love the look of the HMG and Boarding Shotgun versions. Very aggressive, very combat-but-not-shooting.

Then there's the female models. I don't mind the Missile Launcher's pose, but why. Why are there boob-plates? They're so ineffective, and unlike light armour, where you could argue they need to not be massively clunky, heavy armour has no similar problems!

That, and why is the hacker variant directing traffic? Why is she armed with a pistol? I think this could have been a time for CB to make really interesting combat-pose models, distinctively female without boobplates, and a hacker who is first and foremost a heavy infantry with a big scary gun, and a hacker second. I would love for them to take more influence from Ghost in the Shell, and less from Minority Report!

Also, final issue, and this is a big one, for the Mobile Brigada hacker: she doesn't have a backpack. Somehow, unlike every single other MB soldier, she has no power plant, no heavier weapon I guess, and if you ask CB, they can't even send one as a backup. Heck, they couldn't even send a fourth in the box and let me decide whether I want it or not. We've seen such an increasing standard from Corvus Belli over the last while, and this seems a step back in an annoying way.

Anyway, next time I shall have Grenzers or Spektrs, (or both, I guess) almost rounding out the Icestorm adventure!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

How I Paint Red

I've had a bizarre month, with cat-sitting, trying to build a bunch of minis, starting back up full session at work,and the Rotten Harvest minis, but I figured in the meantime I'd highlight how it is I achieve a bright red.

This is a surprisingly difficult thing, and I struggled with it for a long time. It's really easy to either end up orange-looking or pink, or just not to get it vibrant enough. I finally found a setup that works for me, both airbrushed and painted!

To show off this method, I figured I'd use my Mobile Brigada (recently finished) as templates. (Though the Geckos, and most other of my bright red figs now use this method.)

First, I apply a 50/50 of Vallejo airbrush black and red mix, highlighting up to straight Vallejo red. (71.003 Scarlet Red) - I find the "Flat Red" doesn't have the same power.

This is done generally, and spread, and I'll start doing as much as possible of my zenith highlights here, just as a guidepost once everything starts getting mixed.

Next up, I paint pure white liberally on the edges of armour that will catch the light (or sections) - you can see the figure on the left has not had it done, and the figure on the right has the white edges (and white knee armour).

Here's another shot of the same, with a bit better lighting. You can see that the initial highlight on the left is fairly okay, and that the right side seems a bit too extreme. But that's because we're not yet done!

Next up everything gets a wash of red. On the Right is the Citadel Bloodletter glaze, which gives a more muted red. On the left is just the Vallejo Scarlet Red again, thinned to the point where it won't leave the white looking pink, but just barely.

The reason this works is that a layer of paint is not entirely opaque: some of the light goes through it to underlying layers, and is bounced back by the undercoat. This is why you can hear some modellers going on multi-page debates over what is the best primer colour! In the above, we've done a hard white line (as opaque as one can get) on the highlight edges of the armour, and as a result of the wash over top, red light is filtered through, but all that filters through is bounced back. On the areas without white, the red light filters down through the layers (being bounced back as it goes) before hitting the black undercoat. It'll leave the overall colour seeming darker, and help enhance the light-to-dark.

From behind: Again, left model has Vallejo wash, while the right is the Bloodletter. Personally I prefer how intense the Vallejo looks, over the Citadel. The final highlight is a VERY light, corner-only highlight of white if you want to truly indicate that this is some shiny bit of red!

Final pics of the Mobile Brigada (and others) should be coming soon, when I can get the time. I hope this helps someone else figure out what I took years really nailing down, and feel free to sling questions my way!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Icestorm Alguaciles and More

It's funny how the sense of scale and numbers change based on the game system. Back when I was painting 40k, 10 models would be the standard, with 30 being high-end. Painting a single mini was a luxury reserved for commanders and special characters!

Comparatively, Flames of War often sees one painting a hundred infantry in a go (even if they're far smaller) and anywhere from 4-10 tanks let's say at a shot.

Then there's Infinity. So often even getting a box set you cap out at 4 models of a certain type. Sure you may paint 6 overall in a starter set, but it's rare you'd be painting them all at once.

Surprisingly, painting 10 Alguaciles took me a long time! That said, they're done, based, decorated, and ready to see a field. This is all 6 I got from the Operation: Icestorm boxes, plus the four from the SWC box.

First up is the cornrows variant. I am not certain why my camera's blurring. I suspect a dirty lens... Anyway: dark skinned one is given a nice fiery hairset for contrast, and the other is one of my rare 'white' models. You can see a simple arms swap for the male pair gives an interesting look with minimal putty work.

Originally, the one would have just red hair, but I realized it made him look like Ganon, and that's not entirely the look I want.

I've also streamlined my Nomad painting a bit: black guns rather than green, and boots in black as well. The green boots wasn't enough contrast with the pale armour, and really felt forced. I'll reserve my drab green for when I do the USAriadna!

Next up is the other hairstyle. Here you can see again the mundane black guns, and swapped arms from before. The first guy appropriately looks to be aiming down the sight (and has a nice central American brown colour) and the other, thanks to an inadvertent realization of what his face looks like, is pulling a mid-90s frosted tips JT look.

As you can see here, as one sights down his gun like a good Alguacile, the other looks to be saying "Really? You're fighting us? You know we're the Nomads right?" - It's just such a perfect condescending smirk that I had to keep it as visible and highlighted as possible.

Next up are the female Alguacile pair. I converted the pose on one so she's leaning slightly around a corner to get a shot off, and the other's kept in the classical 'totally not a lieutenant' pose. Their hair is likewise nice and bright, with one converted to have short hair sloping around to jaw-length from left to right.

Next up is the first of the SWC pair. the LGL model is very dark skinned, with a funky red flair. I initially thought about theming the hair colours after Hunger Games-like Capitol madness, and decided to pull it in a bit for Corregidor, and go all out for Bakunin when/if I start assembling loads of them.

Next up are the rocket launcher guy (very kindly put in a cool position) and the HMG. For the first, the same brown Central American look is set off with a nice bright Blue Jays blue (go Toronto!). HMG-girl also has blue hair tassels, but black hair. I got a kind of Chun Li vibe off her, and so attempted to make her look more Asian-themed. Perhaps a former Yu Jing 'citizen' who managed to slip cordons and join the Nomad nation!

Well, that's that: 10 Alguaciles based, painted, and ready to play. I also finally managed to get a paintscheme for my Daktari I didn't entirely hate, so I can field the traditional doctor/engi pair.

Her stuffed animal matches her haircolour, and the face is a kind of Indian brown, with glowing blue (augmented) eyes. Her uniform is a lot paler. I decided for Corregidor, I'll do a bit more red than usual, Tunguska will be primarily black, and Bakunin will have more white, with the bone colour with more or less prevalence depending. This will be good for suggesting Corregidor's aggression, Tunguska's sneakiness, and Bakunin's "all varieties in one", as well as tying together well with the Nomad symbol's three in one.

With that down, it's on to the Mobile Brigada, which have been varnished just today, and await photographing, and then all the Tunguska-like elements of Icestorm and beyond!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Geckos Done, Based, and Photographed!

Not that they're going to be a surprise to anyone, what with my in-progress reports, but I finally finished off the Geckos! I'm using bases I custom-printed for the task, with nice front/back arc indicators.

First up is the Mk.12, known as "Huntress" - I decided to keep the glossy look, so even though it obscures a bit of detail in the photos, it really adds a nice bit of shine when you see them in person. You can see on the pictures where I added decals: Two on the Mk.12 itself, (Caution warnings to keep people away from the magazine ejector and shell ports!) Plus, a large warning label behind the head to denote the various important things that are there.

On the back, a few decals denoting what I figure are the Zero-G movement packs. No matter what exact method they're supposed to use to move around, you can guarantee they'll involve things you don't want to be close to without significant protection!

Next up is the very actively posed Combi Rifle Gecko. His decals are much the same. You can also sort of see on the images how unobtrusive the front/back indicators are: Visible enough to be clearly identified in game, but not distracting when displayed.

In this shot, you can see both a clear view of the caution warnings on the massive Combi Rifles, and see the tiny caution warning at the head of the Chain Colt. Especially for a gun like that I assume they'd have warning avoidance indicators!

Also, I'm gradually refining my NMM-with-metallics painting methods. It's easier on models like this that are supposed to be all bright and shiny and well kept. (I dislike the look of rust on Infinity models: I assume they must have figured out some means of keeping them rust-free that far into the future!)

Final shot for this post: A very-close-up shot of the inner leg. I have a large set of warnings there, since that's where the pilot needs to get in. Stuff like where to hold, what to avoid, how not to lose an arm... Only on one leg, but matched on them both. Now I just can't wait to field them in a battle!

You may also be able to notice what the next post will be, hopefully not as delayed as this one: Alguaciles! I've been painting like mad this summer, trying to get Icestorm stuff finished, in part to play with it, and in part to justify getting more models >.>...

Look for that soon!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Trollbloods Starter Done!

I'm trying to get more back on track. I've had more steady time to paint this summer, but less time to photograph and upload! That said, I've managed to get a bunch of things done on my Trollbloods, specifically the entire starter plus Bouncer!

First up is Madrak: He's painted a pale blue rather than a true white, but he does look paler than these photos make him look. The tartan pattern is a modification of his 'official' one in the book, because quite frankly theirs ignores how tartans should work. I went for a glowing orange on the runes, to help contrast the blue skin, and otherwise kept him fairly earth-tones. He's the most mundane coloured of the models, in part due to his tartan. You'll see a consistent theme with my Trollbloods having a very bright and verdant styled basing, partly because it's Hordes, partly because they're Dhunia's favourites!

Next up is the Axer: I had a hard time with his tartan, mostly because the blue kept wanting to come up. It's sort of a full spread of the colours that make up the Trollblood skins the  I paint them, which makes it gel nicely with the model. Otherwise, his armour's not brutally rusty, but is clearly old, weathered, and worn. I know the 'default' paintscheme puts that entire back tabard just leather, but come on, how can they give me such a big space and not expect me to go tartan-wild?

One of the two impalers, convereted with his spear lowered, has a brooding countenance, lots of dark leather, and a mostly green tartan. Not much to say about him other than his sharing of the Axer's armour cleanliness (including streaks on the back-plate) and a nice camo green drab shirt.

Then, the second impaler: His leather sheath was bloody hard to get looking anything close to right! Something about my leather brown makes it come out poorly mixed and glossy, no matter how vigorously I shake it. His tartan was the first I painted, and has a kind of busy look, but also looks to me the most like the tartans I casually see. I realize, looking at them all together now, that I accidentally themed the tartans to the colours already found on each! (Red shirt, red tartan; green shirt, green tartan...) - I'll have to pay attention to that from now on and try to vary it.

And finally, the bouncer: This guy was fun to paint! His tartan was a rich dark red before the green went on, and I was half tempted to go back on my idea of painting them as tartans! He's also the only member of the force to have different colours of metal in his gear. I did the repair patch in a more bronze colour, just to break up the surface a bit. He was a great test of my 'beaten metal' theme for the rest though!

Now I have four Dire Trolls staring at me from my desk's 'holding zone' while I get a bunch of my Infinity models finished up, and I'll jump on them when I hit a wall on whatever comes after the Alguaciles (only one more layer of armour paint, then it's hair, details, and done!)

Monday, July 13, 2015

Incoming Dire Trolls

So I'm being really good at updating...

A quick update now before I get better pics together to put up: I was stuck at my parent's place this weekend cat-sitting, and decided to bring along all my airbrushing gear, and some models that need the work!

For now, the photos are the best a cell phone can pull off in a dark basement, but I assure there are better photos on the way, once I can hook my better camera back in. The first set of trolls (and Madrak) are done, by the way, and I'll have photos of them finished as well shortly, I hope.

This is all balanced on a sink, giving me quick and easy access to water and washing. Instead of a fancy airbrush holder stand, I have an old vice clamp that while it's not so good as a clamp, it's great as a holder!

I quickly determined that I wanted different colour depth on each troll, to give them some variety. That also meant I had to start lining up the hands for each to their various DTs!

The next layer was a more purple tone to shade, and also darken around the various rocks and whatnot on them. I figure purple's the Dire Troll equivalent of more ruddy skin on humans.

Here you can see a bit of the purple on the palms.

The next layer was the skintone mixed with pale sand, providing an appropriate highlight. The mix was thin enough I got to overlay a few times to make the colour build up. Due to a happy accident, it didn't highlight entirely cleanly, so their skin looks rougher as a result. This chap above is both converted in pose, and in getting a kilt, and looking more like Rok.

Here's the Earthborn Dire Troll, with purple, and highlight. I may yet do a green wash to make him look more earthy, but I'll have to decide once I get the stones done.

Yay cellphone pics
Here you can see the overall effect on the dire trolls after all the airbrushing was finished.

Hopefully it shows through that Rok (bearded/kilted troll) is paler, while the middle guy with bonus armour plates is the darkest skinned of the lot. I'll be able to bring out the differences slightly more with washes, and then it'll be on to detail painting!

Here's hoping it's not a month that slips by before my next post!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

It's been how long?!

Eesh, A month ago was my last post! As you can perhaps imagine, it's been a busy month at work for me, during which I've had nearly no downtime in which to paint, let alone photograph or blog about what I've been up to!

Hopefully shortly the workload will balance out, and I'll be able to update more frequently. As it stands though, I have an update on the trolls. I've been working hard at experimenting and playing about, and have gotten clothing, metal, and skin touched up.

The metal was washed with black, and with brown, then little splotches of rust were added before re-highlighting certain sections. All the bits of clothing were made to look utilitarian in cloth and dye, and the leather's been a fun little play. I'm  not 100% on it looking like leather, and not just brown fabric, but hopefully a few more washes and highlights will sell it more.

(Also, you will notice I haven't quite nailed down photography in the new apartment yet. It's a bit hit-or-miss still!)

On this you can see a bit of the variety of leather colours I've put together. So far, the bottom-central spear sheath is almost luminous, but with another wash or two it evens out nicely.

Unphotographed, but still fun: We've been working more on laser cutting: A word of wisdom, don't cut plasticard. It is likely to contain PVC, and if not still vinyl. Cutting it (read: burning it) releases either cyanide or chlorine gas, which is NOT fun to inhale... we're working on alternatives to hopefully set up some terrain printing for ourselves as well!

Currently I'm working on finishing up the trolls (painting tartans, detailing, etc.) and getting the Morats finished up at long last, and waiting for me 'patiently' are my two Icestorm Nomad sets, and a mostly-converted Iguana tag!

Tuesday, May 05, 2015


While I clean up and upload more painting pics, I figured I'd post something exciting I did just this last weekend.

I'm a graphic designer by trade, so I have experience working with vector files. Lucky me, vector files are used for laser-cutting! I got a chance this weekend to play with a cutter, and I must say, with a few odd incidents, it was an amazing fun time!

All pics are from my cellphone, so no promises as to the quality, but that, my dear friends, is my first ever laser cut project! Sure it doesn't look like much there, but that's because you're not seeing it...

...after having been removed from the bed! What you're looking at there is a paint rack perfectly suited to Vallejo paint bottles, (or similarly sized ones), measuring 22cm by 20cm, with room enough for 48 paint bottles! (Assuming you don't just shove a bunch in the negative space underneath.)

Once I got it home, I assembled it, glue-less thanks to careful sizing (and I darn near risked needing to file some of the gaps larger) and arranged the paint bottles in a hopefully-logical way (it seemed so at the time for me!)

Of course, one does not merely play around on a laser cutter with just one thing, so I decided to do up a few other files for cutting various samples on:

This is an experiment with different types of plastic: A blast template, flamer template, and two types of "camo markers" for Infinity or other sci-fi games. I very much like the frosted green. It's translucent enough to show through to models underneath somewhat, but also holds the look and feels snazzy. The dark plastic is technically translucent, but came off so dark I don't think I'll want to use it again for these sorts of templates. It'd make a neat variant to the all-clear paint rack though: an opaque and shiny black one!

Back at the apartment, here's what all the various things we printed look like. Large and small spray templates, blast templates, camo markers, and along the back, the real test I wanted to pull together; Clear bases! We have, from left to right, 55mm, 50mm, 40mm, 30mm, 25mm, FoW Artillery, FoW Infantry, FoW Command, and a 1" square with rounded edges meant for me to base Dropzone Commander walkers on so I can go a bit more varied with leg positions without fear of them becoming unstable.

What makes the bases we made unique, and what we're refining now, is they all have little indicators at both sides of them. So many games now differentiate front arc from back arc, and there can be disagreement over lines being applied cleanly, properly, etc. These bases come with the marks already burned into them...

...meaning it's just a matter of aligning the model to face the right way in gluing! We're still dialing in the amount of power to use when etching them, and the size needed, which on these ones isn't quite yet immediately distinctive enough from casual glance. We're eventually hoping to make enough we can start selling them too!

I must say I couldn't be happier. Watching the printer cut is mesmerizing, and it's made me excited to make up a bunch more templates and get cutting again!