Friday, 28 February 2014

Ægir be praised!

Just a friendly heads up on the Shipwrights of the North Sea Kickstarter project.

I've mentioned previously that this was under way ... but just thought I'd confirm it has reached it's funding goal (of $8k). In fact it's surpassed that and has now just hit it's 4th "Push Goal" ($30k)!!
That's new cards (more townsfolk, buildings and a fresh ship), added vp chits, a starting player marker, not to mention a full component upgrade ... that's a linen laminate on the cards, board and box, higher quality wooden components and a custom box insert!
If this wasn't a worthwhile purchase before (and it was) ... it certainly is now.

Shipwrights of the North Sea -- Kicktraq Mini

Forgive the overflow ^

Elementary my dear Watson

The lens on my camera isn't too hideous ...  it unfortunately though isn't a macro. I can get some pretty good results with it shooting my minis ... but I thought, just for fun, I'd grab my old hand magnifying glass - set it up held firmly in the small vice I have here, and take a few shots through it.
I must say I was pretty happy with the results ~ and the reflections in the magnifying glass as well as the odd focal blurs I feel gives them a curious ethereal feeling.

The figures are from the small display cabinet I have on my wall above my PC; all 3 were painted more than a few years back...

Rogue Trader - Cyborg - Citadel.

Eldar Farseer conversion - with Vermin Lord crystal and Orc Sword - Citadel

Plague Knight - Heartbreaker

Hmmmm ....I think I shall use the magnifying glass again :)

Friday, 14 February 2014

I Smell a Rat!

If you've checked out my Pimp My Game page you would have seen I'm slowly but surely tweaking up my copy of Mice and Mystics (by Jerry Hawthorne of Plaid Hat Games). It's a charming adventure game where the heroes are mice (go figure) ...well, humans that have been transformed into mice. I'm a huge fan of this game .. I love it! My kids love it, and now, we have their friends scratching at the door (not dissimilar to Brodie the Cat) trying to get in on the action. And who could blame them. The story is a big part of the game, it's well written and really draws you in. There's action, intrigue, treasure, traps, magic and battles galore. Rats, bugs, the resident castle cat, a deadly crow ...and more!

Well, I've just thrown up my latest additions, some of the figurines, painted...

This is Filch, the Scamp - watch your pockets, he won't hesitate to relieve you of your change.

Check out the other figs on the Pimp my Game page.


Like father like daughter

My daughter (aged 11) asked the other day ..."Dad, can I paint one of your miniatures?".
I rummaged around in my box, found a plastic GW Orc Archer; I gave her a couple of brushes, a tumbler of water, some paint and my home-made wet palette and I must admit I was quite surprised with how well she did. I gave her a step by step of how do do things along the way, but she did all the painting herself ~ bar a couple of touch ups and a highlight or 2 at the end I helped her with.

This was the result...

I think I've got some competition ;)

Following that, she was keen do do more. These ones she did without any 'hands on' help from me, just the occasional bit of advice...


She decided this one was called Ralph

Mayhem and chaos

She then pointed up a warband for Song of Blades and Heroes, including Ralph, his two Orc 'friends', and a rag-tag band of other misfits; then proceeded to wipe me from the table without herself suffering a single casualty -_o

Good times.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Vikings, Vikings, more Vikings ... and ships!

The Shipwrights of the North Sea Kickstarter campaign is under way!
Vikings! Need I say more. Well, OK .. It also has murder, marauding, more muscle-bound Vikings ... and even a ship or 2 (who would have thought?).

Secure your copy of this fabulously fun board game now while the price is right ... and it certainly is right!

Did I mention it's by New Zealand's own Shem Phillips (Garphill Games).

In the meantime, if you haven't seen it already, track down the awesome TV series Vikings. It'll get you chomping at the bit.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Boat-building Shenanigans

I recently have been having the opportunity to do some play-testing for an upcoming board game by New Zealand game designer Shem Phillips (author of other great games such as Tanzania, Cibola, Plethora and more) of Garphill Games. Titled "Shipwrights of the North Sea", it's a game where you side off against other Viking clans, trying to be the first to construct a fleet of ships while expanding your village and fending off incursions from your opponents.
I've really been enjoying it and it just seems to get better with every play.

The blurb on the BoardGameGeek site states...

Shipwrights of the North Sea is set in the early years of the Viking Age, circa 1000 AD. As Viking shipwrights, players compete to build the greatest fleet on the North Sea. Players must collect oak, wool and iron, as well as getting other craftsmen on board to help. Gold is a precious commodity, and must be spent wisely. As you would expect, the township is filled with an array of characters, bad and worse. Better hope they're on your side!

On top of it being a really fun game, the artwork by Mihajlo Dimitrievski is just fantastic. It's quirky cartoony style just fits perfectly.

Watch this space ... it's going to be hitting Kickstarter shortly!

What a very curious ball, all overgrown with moss...

I was down at the local Briscoes the other day, in search of a hair dryer (anyone who paints miniatures knows how invaluable they are) as my previous one had given up the ghost ... when my daughter came up to me clutching a strange furry green sphere. She said she'd found it lying on the ground and was wondering what it was.

It was prickly to the touch, covered in what appeared to be static grass, and as soon as I saw it I knew precisely what it was ... it was the top of a tree in a forest section for my war-gaming table!
Ok .. so it wasn't really a tree-top; it was obviously some ornamental moss ball meant to be stacked in a bowl in the middle of your dining table or some such. This moss ball though had another destiny.

I  began fossicking about ... if there was one, there must surely be others. I came across a pack, a single pack, of four more balls. Two larger than the one found on the floor and two the same size. I took them to the checkout along with my new hair dryer ...  I paid about $8 for the four-pack plus one additional dollar for the stray ... seemed fair to me.

As soon as I got home I set to work making two new forest sections. I currently owned no forest sections whatsoever, so I was rather keen to get these on the table!

Here are a few snaps I took during assembly...

Tools (some, but not all) of the trade I used ... 3mm MDF for the bases, fret saw, wire (2mm and 1mm approx), masking tade, 'Reeves' modeling paste, pliers, hot glue gun, sandpaper (60 and 150 grade), coarse bristle paintbrush, couple of lids for mixing in, and some acrylic paint: 'Resene' brown, green, black and white. 

After cutting and sanding the 3mm MDF bases I made the tree skeletons. Each is made from 4 lengths of 2mm wire, twisted using the pliers, leaving four branches and four roots at each end. A length of 1 mm wire was wrapped around the trunk to bind all in place.

I then bent the branches into more pleasing positions, planning for them to be poked into the moss balls. Masking tape, torn into easily manageable short lengths (an inch to a couple of inches) was then wrapped around the branches, trunk and roots...

...tapering off at the tip of each root to a point.

I left the wire exposed at the branch tips for easy impaling of the moss balls.

I then hot-glued each tree to the MDF base. Mixing a little brown acrylic with some modeling paste, I used the coarse bristled brush to paint it all over each tree and down onto the ground around the roots.

The brown paint added to the modeling paste wasn't absolutely necessary... but, it does save undercoating the tree brown afterwards.

Once dry, I then dry-brushed the trunks with a couple of shades of lighter brown... the Resene brown mixed with a little Resene white (it was actually alabaster .. but close enough). Following that, once dry, I made a wash from the brown paint mixed with a little black and gave each tree a coat. Then... I carefully pushed each moss ball onto the branches (after I had made small starter holes with a kebab skewer for each branch tip).

I then removed the balls, squeezed a little glue (I used Elmers Tacky Glue) into each hole. Then reinserted the branches, carefully pushing the moss balls back firmly into place. The base was then painted in the green with a little brown blended on the ground around the roots.

Once dry I gave a liberal coat of Mod Podge Matt (an acrylic glue and sealer) and applied flock over all.

After that had dried in place, I gave a couple of good coats of Super-Hold hairspray to the flocked base as well as the trunks and the moss ball canopies.

Here are the forest sections in action (I also added a few 'field flowers' among the roots for a bit of interest).

Just a quick disclaimer to mention this 'wire skeleton wrapped in tape and paste' is something I've seen used in various places, and I'm certainly not claiming it to be something I myself came up with. I haven't though seen many (if any) moss-ball trees on gaming tables, but I think they work really well ... and I'm certainly happy with the results; crazy Dr Suessesque topiary-style trees that they are :)

Monday, 10 February 2014

I game, therefore I am

Well, what can I say ... I do like on occasion to play a game or two.
We're talking table-top games here.
Big game, small game, long game, quick game ... as long as it can be spread upon the table I'm generally keen to give it a whirl.

I've around 50 games stacked on my shelves; could be considered a pretty small collection by many true 'board-gamers', or pretty large by those who have only a handful of games at home (generally Scrabble, Monopoly and Checkers among them).
[You can find my full games collection on the BoardGameGeek site]

My favourite styles of game are Euro 'Economic/City Building', Ameritrash 'Adventure/Fantasy/Horror' and Table-top Skirmish War-games. There are also many other types I'm fond of, but these are the ones I'm most happy to spring the lid on.

I'm also quite keen on a bit of ye olde miniature figurine painting. Years back, I used to paint a lot, but then after moving back to the sunny and sedate City of Gisborne, away from Hamilton (a university city rife with gamers), I took a break from the hobby. It's only recently I have reclaimed the brush and taken it up again ~ mainly due to being introduced to a particularly fun skirmish war-game, 'Song of Blades and Heroes' (from Ganesha Games) by a friend (and master storyteller) also from the Waikato, Zebong 'Teller of Tales'.

Anyway .. I thought 'what the hey', why not wrangle a page where I could display my gaming exploits, chuck up a few of my painted figures and some of the war-gaming terrain I've constructed ... and post general gaming items of interest (well, at least interesting to myself ~ and you never know - maybe one or two others). I have also been known to create artworks on occasion, play with my camera and also tinker in Photoshop - so there's a chance you may see a sprinkling of those creations as well.

Mmmm ... that's pretty much it ;)

Happy Gaming!