Friday, February 7, 2014

Mice and Mystics - Roaches

It's been a while, so to shake off the dust and work out the kinks, I've gone for a simple project for this post.

Mice and Mystics, Roaches.

Bask in their buggy, verminous glory!

Simple color scheme, but fun to paint. I did some research on roaches before I started, but they turned out much more realistically colored towards the reference material than I had intended them to be.

The detail on the roaches (as well as on the rest of the Mice and Mystics figures) was really nicely done - even down to the "feathered" bits on the feet and legs.

Speaking of the legs, if I had one piece of advice to give others attempting to paint these guys, it would be to choose how you want the base of the model to look from the very beginning, and then paint that color in-between the legs first. The legs are very closely spaced together so when I went back to paint the base black, I made a mess of the legs trying to paint between them, and had to touch up the roach itself after I was done.

I'm going to be finishing up the rest of the Mice and Mystics miniatures before I move on to any other game figures, in preparation for a side project that I will be announcing soonish....I hope.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Shadows of Brimstone Kickstarter

Flying Frog Production's newest game, Shadows of Brimstone is counting down its last 48 hours for their Kickstarter campaign.

If you haven't seen this yet, do yourself a favor and check out this totally insane Western-Horror dungeon crawl.

Check it out here: Shadows of Brimstone Kickstarter

Here's a link to collected game play information:

And here's a link to highlights from FFP's recent Reddit conversation about SOBS:

Check it out and join the insanity by becoming a backer!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Update #1

Hi, all!

I wanted to stop in and just update you on why I haven't been able to post much new content here on Full Color Gamer, as well as talk about a couple of other things that have grabbed my attention.

First off, the work/home/gaming/blog situation.

Part of what I do for a living is writing; some technical writing, some advertising and marketing, and some fiction writing (more on that in a minute). Doing what I do means that I can work from home, which is great. For the past year, I've also been taking care of my baby daughter during the day (since I can work from home), and writing at night, which has also been great.

The wrinkle in the plan has come about recently when, as my daughter has gotten older and needed a room of her own for sleeping (and to give me and the Mrs. a quiet night's sleep again), we have converted part of my office into a nursery, which essentially means that I watch her during the day, and then have no place to work or hobby during the evenings because she is sleeping in there. That's been my last few weeks.

Things couldn't stay that way for long, and despite the use of a laptop to get some kind of work done in lieu of a proper office, we have decided to put my daughter in partial daycare so she can get some socialization, and I can get some work done.

So, starting this week, I should (fingers crossed) be able to get back to at least enough hobby time to get back to a semi-regular posting here. Oh, and work of course...

Speaking of which, for those who don't know me from some of my past blogs (and as I indicated above), part of what I do is fiction writing. Over the years, I've had my hands in everything from comic books, to screenwriting, to now primarily prose fiction. A growing part of that work has been in the gaming industry, writing fiction and fluff for a few different companies, and in the last couple of weeks I was able to see some of my work in a copy of the upcoming Hell Dorado: Inferno expansion from Cipher Studios.

If you were a backer to the Kickstarter, and have gotten access to the PDF of the book, my work is the main background story for the Demons section of the book. You can also read an excerpt from the story HERE on Cipher's website. It's a fun skirmish game, and the new book looks great. Plus, Hell Dorado's figures are some of the best I've seen anywhere.

Also on the Kickstarter front, I've been following an amazing looking game from Flying Frog Productions, Shadows of Brimstone.

Shadows of Brimstone is an insane (and insanely fun) looking dungeon crawler, where you and your posse of cowboys and other Wild West characters venture deep into demon-filled mines in search of glory, and a mysteriously powerful black rock that has the ability to rip apart the very fabric of reality, opening portals into fantastical worlds where danger and adventure awaits!

I'm a huge fan of FFP's games, and SoBS seriously looks like a lot of fun, and I urge you all to check it out - if you like it and decide to back the game, tell them where you heard about it!

Lastly, back on the writing front, I've been working on putting together a free fiction blog, where I'll be posting up some of my short stories, and serialized chapters of longer novellas. When I get that ready for public consumption, I'll post an announcement here.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Mansions of Madness - Cult Leader

Oh, Real Life…why do you hate my hobby so?

Many real world things have happened over the past two weeks that have kept me from hobbying, but things should settle soon into a comfortable balance. In the meantime, here's a quick Mansions of Madness update.

My last MoM update was the Cultists, so I thought I’d finish off the motley-but-stylish crew of unholy worshippers by painting up the Cult Leaders.

A bit of a rush job, and I’m still fighting with the details on the MoM figures, but whatever – I’m not a fine display quality painter, and these aren’t fine display quality miniatures, so on the board they should work great.

I’m happy with that.

One thing that I'm finding to be really strange with the MoM figures is the varying proportion and scale between the human characters in the set - odd sized heads and hands, and a weird slightness or thinness that some of the figures have compared to others. The Cult Leaders, for example, are much more slight than their followers, the Cultists, and they tend to look pin-headed compared to them.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Blog List and the Appreciation of Art

I'm not sure what caused the change - maybe it was just some chemical process that is part and parcel of getting older - but sometime here in my 30's, I have developed a mounting OCD-like need to keep things as orderly as possible. Having a child over the past year has only exacerbated the issue, because there's nothing like having a tiny chaos-machine running around the house to make you crave some sort of order in your day to day life.

This mindset carried over here to the new blog, where I had originally decided to go as minimal as possible, keeping the front page neat, orderly, and as clutter-free as I could with no extraneous "gadgets" in the sidebars.

Well...I guess some old habits die harder than others, because I've added a "What I'm Reading" list of blogs I'm following.

Clutter aside, I'm actually okay with this addition. I always liked this feature on my other blogs, and it serves a few important purposes:

First, it gives me a one-stop source for tracking down new posts of blogs I want to read. Convenient.

Second, it provides additional content for you, the reader, to enjoy, and helps build a stronger community between blogs and bloggers.

Third, and this reason is a little more esoteric than the first two, but even though we all blog about certain topics, we don't live in a vacuum. We have other interests that inform how we think, why we live like we do, and how we approach the everyday task of living.

This blog is about painting and customizing board game miniatures, sure, but even within that narrow subject matter, there are countless choices that have brought me to this point of this blog, and the decisions made herein. The third purpose to the Blog List then, is to give the reader a little insight into what is driving me at the moment to do what I do.

As I find them, I'll be adding blogs to the list dealing specifically with miniatures-based board games and the painting thereof, but I'll also be adding blogs whose work I can appreciate from a creative level that aren't strictly board game related.

Realm of Chaos 80s is a fun little blog I found that is pure nostalgia of growing up playing Realm of Chaos in the late 80's with my friends. The gut-feeling artistry of that time period in Citadel and Games Workshop history is something that every modern GW player should be made aware of.

Laughing Ferret has been one of my favorite painters and modelers to watch, and always turns out stunning work - his Blood Bowl teams are amazing.

Legion of Plastic is doing some amazing work - real inspirational stuff - creating his own interpretation of the WH40K universe. Using a fascinating palette, and some amazing conversion work, he's creating pieces of art that speak to his own soul as a gamer, and the results are just stunning.

The Thunder Guard is a fellow Praetorian Guard blog that I followed from my previous days of 40K blogging. Col. Ackland took his army to a level that I had always wanted to get to with my own forces, and pulled off some really inventive themes and conversions, that I always felt had deeper artistic merit than a lot of the other army blogs I followed. His fluff and background write-ups are also a joy to read.

Lastly, The Daily Fischer is a fiction blog of a fellow writer and good friend of mine, who is pulling off a clever writing experiment that I don't think I would have it in me to try myself - it's 365 days of short stories. That's a new story, every day, for a year! Artistic, inventive, daring. Very cool.

I'll have another post that will actually be on the topic of board game painting coming soon, but I wanted to share just a taste of the method of my madness, and give some blogs their well-deserved dues.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Blood Bowl - Beast of Nurgle

Blood Bowl is one of my all-time favorite games.

Although I rarely get to play it, it’s a game that I constantly return to whenever I get the urge to convert or paint something new and different simply for the joy of it.

Blood Bowl is one of those “love it, or leave it” kind of games, with very little middle ground in-between. Part skirmish game, part board game; it’s a tough sell to new players for a number of reasons—an overwhelmingly rabid fanatical fan base, a steep learning curve on strategies and mechanics that are highly situational, and the lack of support by the game’s parent company…there’s a lot going against the game. If it wasn’t for the support of the fans, players, and third party manufacturers, Blood Bowl probably would have died off years ago.

It also doesn’t help the casual newcomer that the game is so strongly tied to the painting and modeling hobby. Converting your team is by no means absolutely necessary, but in most settings painting is either strongly encouraged (leagues) or required (tournaments), and a majority portion of Blood Bowl players are accomplished hobbyists, who take great pride in creating custom teams with custom themes.

I’ve personally never been much of one to heavily theme my own teams, but painting and converting my figures are at the top of my list when it comes to Blood Bowl. In fact, I won’t field a team unless it’s complete and painted.

The last game I played had the dual distinction of also being the least enjoyable—not because I played poorly (I didn’t), or because the dice didn’t go my way (pretty average rolling), but because my opponent brought an unpainted, unprimed, bare metal team to the field, made up of figures whose sculpts I was unfamiliar with, and thus couldn’t tell which positionals were which (I suspect he had trouble with that determination himself, since, when I had to constantly ask, “Which player in this dog pile has guard?”, the piece in question seemed to move around a lot, even though our teams were in a standstill on the pitch).

The fact that this was league play, and he had played the team enough to skill a number of his players up meant that he should have had enough time to paint his team—and in Blood Bowl especially, even two colors on a figure is just basic respect for your fellow coaches.

So, I always paint my teams before I field them. Simple as that.

My latest Blood Bowl obsession has been to create a Nurgle team. I can’t explain why, but I’ve always had an obsession with Nurgle going back to my early days of WFB, Rogue Trader, and Realm of Chaos. Don’t know why—I’ve just always thought Nurgle was cool.

Nurgle teams are probably one of the hardest teams to get good miniatures for. GW makes a team, but they aren’t the best figures (in my opinion). Taking into account that you have four character types on the team to deal with (Beast, Nurgle Warrior, Pestigor, and Rotters), and the fact that they all have the potential to be rotten, diseased, and heavily mutated, there’s a lot of variability in how to present them, and what miniatures to get—most coaches will go to other miniature ranges and do heavy conversions to create their teams.

I have a general plan to kitbash the majority of my own team, but I thought I’d jump into the extreme deep end of the project, and scratch-build my own unique Beast of Nurgle.

I’m posting him here, but I’ve actually had the Beast done for a while.

It was a very long on-again-off-again process of sculpting him from a Sculpey core, covered and detailed in greenstuff. The fungal growths on his back are plastic tubing with the edges burnt so they melted and curled back onto themselves.

The Beast is a big fella, and would take up too much room on the pitch if I had to place him on his side, so for the Prone and Stunned conditions I made a “P” and an “S” icon that can be inserted into one of the barnacles on his shoulder-hump. Likewise, the Really Stupid condition has a “?” icon that can be put on him to show his status.

The Beast was my first serious attempt at sculpting a figure from scratch, and I’m pretty happy with him overall. There might be a few things I would change if I were to do it again, but I’m ready to move on to the rest of the team.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mansions of Madness - Cultists

It took me longer than I had wanted to get this first “official” production post up, but I felt like I needed to really have a good think about how I was going to approach the workload of painting all of my board game miniatures in a way that made sense.

On the one hand, I could just plow through one game at a time until all of the respective figures were painted. This would be good for keeping the continuity of the posts, and for keeping my head in the painting mindset of each game’s individual style, but the downside is that it could be dreadfully boring for me to only paint one style of figure for that long, and I could get mired in a rut and not enjoy myself.

On the flipside, I don’t want to jump from game to game, style to style, and have my painting be erratic and disjointed within an individual game—an inconsistent look between miniatures wouldn’t satisfy me either.

So, I think I’ve decided to do a bit of a combo approach to the blog; I’m going to focus on one game at a time to try and keep things on schedule and on style, but if I need a break from painting mice, or skeletons, or horrors from beyond time and space, I’ll allow myself that much of a break to do something else.

One thing I’ve learned over 25+ years of gaming, and a couple of blogs that started well and ended with a fizzle, is that you have to keep yourself interested in what you’re doing—otherwise a hobby stops being a hobby, and starts being a weight around your neck.

Now, with that out of the way, I give you the first of the Mansions of Madness figures, the Cultists…

Here we have the latest in fashion for the cultist on the go—the classic black occult robe is given flair for the dramatic with stylish blue panels, and white trim that says, “Yes, I’m a member of Shub-Niggurath’s inner sect—deal with it!” Perfect for midnight skulks through the woods, bringing about the end of mankind, or a somber night around the altar pondering the impossible geometries of the Outer Gods.

I wanted to paint the cultists first so I could use the repetition of painting an identical group to get myself used to the level of detail and the type of plastic of the MoM figures. I’ve primarily played with and painted Games Workshop figures for most of my gaming life, and switching to figures that are of a non-heroic scale is always an adjustment.

First off, let me say that the MoM figures are good figures—right out of the box, they’re perfect for a casual board game setting. Good detail, good sculpts…they look great. But, things get tricky when painting is brought into the picture.

The plastic that the figures are made of is soft. Really soft. Because of this softness, clean up of mold lines and flashing required a different approach than the hard plastics of other ranges. Where you might normally use a hobby knife to scrape the mold lines away on another company’s figures, for the MoM miniatures you actually need to cut them away with a very sharp blade to avoid burring the plastic—and forget about filing; it will just rip the surface up.

I suspect that the type of plastic also had some effect on the level of detail on the cultists, where it looked as if some of the finer details had gotten lost in the molding process, and the same details between “identical” figures was often varied in how they looked. Of course, I’ve seen some stellar paintjobs of the MoM figures online, so maybe I just need more practice, but I felt like I couldn’t get clean lines on the figures because the details themselves were a bit indistinct.

Honestly though, these are some minor quibbles from a casual painter—I REALLY love these figures! They all have a ton of character, and really set the mood when playing a game. I’m looking forward to painting more!