Monday, August 30, 2010

Victoria Lamb original sculpts

Victoria Lamb is a wonderful miniatures painter, and if you aren't already familiar with her work, you probably should go and have a look.

Ok, done there? The news is that she's just set up shop to sell her own line of miniatures. She's only just put up her store, so she doesn't have a lot of different minis yet. But the ones she has look pretty neat.

I'm particularly partial to the goblinoid fairies.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Privateer Press give us a first look at the new Unicorn faction

Ok, sort of, but not really.

David Carl put up a post on Privateer Press' Insider blog, and talked about their playtesting process. One of the things he mentioned is that after the Warmachine and Hordes Mark II field tests, they decided to keep some of the playtesting groups as standard.

Honestly, I think that seems like the best way to find new groups.

Since they'd like to have more playtesting groups out there, and can't find them through another field test, overall it looks like the best thing to do is to make up some crazy new rules and see who can give them good feedback.

And that's where the unicorns come in. Yes, he posted rules for the Uniherd faction- with Rainbo as the warlock, and three warbeasts (Essence of sugar, Essence of Spice and Essence of Everything Nice).

Doesn't that make you want to start modelling unicorns? No, that's probably just me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gencon part 6 - Crocodile Games

While at Gencon, I got to stop by Crocodile Games and speak with Chris Fitzpatrick (who is responsible for a lot down at Crocodile- most impressively he's sculpted most of their great minis).

The interesting new is that there is an official skirmish rules set for Wargods coming out. Currently, players who wish to adopt Wargods into a skirmish setting are forced to use a homebrew version (although you can find some fan made rules online).

Overall, I think that's going to be good news for players and for Wargods. I personally find the games miniatures and rules set to be quite good (the activation rules are especially original). But it is a little difficult for me to get into a rank and file formation game.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Wargods, the rule set simulates event happening in real time, where you decide what each unit is doing before any activation begins.

It may sound like it wouldn't work, or be very complicated, but the rules really are quite elegant in the end. With a few counters, the game becomes a nice balance of meta-thinking strategy- you need to guess what you're opponent will do, and at the same time look for your own best options.

Aside from their booth, Crocodile was hosting their own awards for the Gencon painting competition, hosted the finals of their world campaign, and had set out a lot of their own brilliantly sculpted miniatures.

And I got a few pics of those:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gencon part 5 - the P3 Grandmasters Painting Competition

So, Privateer Press have put together quite an impressive painting competition at Gencon. Since it was started, it has continually attracted some of the best painters in the world (several of whom attend Gencon anyway).

The categories look roughly like the Golden Daemons- there are single mini, a warjack/warbeast, a battlegroup, unit and diorama categories.

So, sometime last summer, I decided that I wanted to attend Gencon with one entry for every category. It seemed very doable when I had a year to go, so I took my time, and worked on the Gencon pieces here and there.

Of course, I wasted so much time that I was scrambling to get them all done, and finished the last of my entries at 2 am the day before my flight left. That's procrastination for you.

There was something new and interesting this year. In every previous year, the P3 judges handed out Skully trophies to the first, second and third place entries in every category. This year, they completely scrapped the second and third place trophies in favor of a medal system instead.

Each entry was judged on its own merits and given either no award, or a bronze, silver or gold medal. The best in each category, and the best in show were awarded trophies as usual.

Each of my entries was awarded a silver medal. In two categories, this would have translated directly into third place, and in another it was possibly third place (each of those only had one gold medal awarded without a trophy). In the single miniature and warjack/warbeast categories, this didn't exactly translate into anything (there were several gold medals awarded to entries other than the winner).

So I have some mixed feelings about the new system. While I would love the bragging rights that you get from getting a bronze skull trophy, getting awards for some of my entries and not others makes it seem like my painting is hit and miss. In this system, it is plain to me that my painting was at the same level for all of my entries, and it just happens that some of the categories were more competitive than others.

Ok, so enough about that. Here are the minis I entered. I'm sure I'll do a blog entry for each one soon, so I'll just give you a pic of each here:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Gencon Part 4- Privateer Press

It seems that Privateer Press has become the big dog at Gencon. Their booth was always full, their tables always had plenty of players, and their staff always had someone distracting them with questions.

Privateer Press launched quite a few things at Gencon this year. First and foremost, the newest of the Extreme Sculpts, the inestimable Titan Gladiator Extreme was first unveiled online before the release at Gencon. We all looked at that monstrosity of a mini (Jason Hendricks has really outdone himself with this one, man that thing is crazy).

Those who picked one up at the con will have noticed a couple things bout it. First off, it really is as detailed in person as it looked on the web, it absolutely doesn't fit onto its base, and perhaps most astonishingly, it is made from gray resin.

Yes, this mini is the first time we've received any kind of resin from Privateer Press. The fact that they did not reveal that online beforehand makes me think that they must have wanted to do what they never had the chance to do with the plastic minis- reveal the mini first and only after everyone is sure they love it, reveal the material it is made from.

Of course, resin is pretty commonly accepted as a better material for minis than normal plastic- and especially with some of the strides forward it has been taking recently, we've been seeing more and more resin minis. And with this mini looking so nice, I suspect we won't be seeing any more metal extreme sculpts soon.

Another part of the new releases they had were the new Warmachine Battleboxes. Meant as a $50 starter box, these were announced as completely plastic kits - contradicting earlier statements about how PP was going to keep their characters and warcasters in metal. Well, it turns out that the warcasters included in the box sets were all metal minis.

For those of you who took the time to look, Matt DePetrio was painting up a new minion warlock- this one was a Gatorman. I got a pretty poor snapshot of the unfinished mini, but the style is nice.

Of course, we have no idea how he plays, but he's definitely increased my interest in the upcoming minions faction book.

Oh, and today, you can just check over at Privateer Press' website to see a 360 shot of the finished mini (also, with better photography).

Another interesting even they had was their Iron Arena. Meant to reward players who spend most of their Gencon time exploring Privateer Press events, the Iron Arena gave players points for games, and rewards for playing (if you played enough games, you even got an extreme sculpt of your choosing).

One of the best parts though were the crazy characterful scenarios that they had set up on their tables. For example, you could set up a 100 point- two warcaster force against this monstrosity of a warjack. He's huge, crazy powerful and can usually defeat a very large warmachine force without much trouble.

I heard that there was one Cryx player who beat him, but I only saw the mammoth 'jack win.

Of course, my favorite PP event was their painting competition, but I'll have to leave off blogging that until tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Gencon part 3 - Reaper

The guys at Reaper are really nice fellows.

Their booth featured a Con exclusive Sophie (as it always does) along with some prereleases on new chibi-mouse warriors that they'll be releasing soon.

In their case, they had a few upcoming miniatures that were featured in the Warlord expansion, The Savage North. Some were greens, some were pewter, and all of them looked great.

Now, I'm all kinds of in favor of getting a Frost Giant faction for Warlord, and I don't even play their game. Man, but those minis are fun to paint.

There were people playing Warlord in the tabletop areas too, and altogether that would have been enough for most miniatures companies. But Reaper goes just a little bit further.

Reaper had a table set up for their sculptors to sit and demonstrate their work to con goers. I had a chance to talk to plenty of industry sculptors, including Bobby Jackson, Patrick Keith (who is responsible for the Dwarf/Giant on the left) and Drew Williams. Great guys, and all of them were eager to share their secrets.

One thing that makes Reaper such a great company, though is that I'm not sure that Drew even does sculpting for them.

Reaper has really demonstrated that their dedication is primarily to the hobby, rather than to themselves. They're really dedicated to expanding the hobby in all directions.

They provided quite a bit of support for the Gencon open miniatures painting and sculpting competitions, as well as several painting events.

Of course, they had their full line of miniatures and paints available. But since they're Reaper, you can always find them at your local game store. Of course, at the con, there were people acting the part of the figure finder, and that was pretty cool to see.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

News fro Gencon - Part 2 Wyrd and Puppet Wars

There was quite the showing at the Wyrd Miniatures booth at Gencon.

For starters, they had quite a few new releases for Malifaux, including two Gencon exclusive miniatures (one is an alternate nurse, another is an oversized alternate version of an upcoming master). The new book, Rising Powers, does quite a bit to deepen the game of Malifaux, including introducing Henchmen, and a slew of new scenarios to play (along with some adjustments to older scenarios).

They also had something on display that looked eerily like their new Terraclips game tiles. I was pleased when I found that this was made from a fairly sturdy card stock (it wouldn't just break after a couple games) but the bits didn't fit together quite right.

Then again, if you asked anyone from Wyrd or from World Works about it, they'd give you quite the rant about how the manufacturer used a thinner card stock and glossy finish, which just won't do. They'll be releasing those sometime later.

They still used them for all of Wyrd's tournaments and game tables, so there's something that worked out.

Ok, but here's the big news from Wyrd. They're working on a new game called "Puppet Wars." All we currently know about this game is that it will use the new Puppet Deck of cards (which works just fine for Malifaux too) and will features this creepy and cute set of miniatures:

I have no idea if the rules are even finalized yet, and we really don't know if it will be in any way compatible with Malifaux. From the minis, it looks like they're starting up something pretty outstanding here.

Wyrd is still setting a high standard for creepiness in minis. More power to them, I say.

Monday, August 16, 2010

News from Gencon - Part 1

Ok, I got back from Gencon, and I've got tons of things to share with all of you.

First off, I've got to say that the GNinja award for best booth goes to the team over at The Coolmini team was representing Dark Age miniatures, Soda Pop, Scibor, Enigma, Studio McVey and tons of other great lines.

And aside from inviting one of the world's greatest mini painters to do demos for all of us (Natalya Melnik, by the way, is great) they also had two demos going and a number of outstanding announcements.

For example, I got to see the Black and White proof for the new Dark Age rulebook. The new edition of the game will be converting everything into inches for us. Also, just so that you know, they've decided to post the quick start rules for free download (containing 36 pages out of their fairly short rulebook) along with the new force lists (from a second, very large forces book). Pretty nice stuff.

Oh, and if you aren't familiar with Dark Age's miniatures, they are quite fine.

Not to be eclipsed, Soda Pop miniatures announced two new games- one for their existing line of anime inspired miniatures, and one to support a brand new line of chibi minis.

The new line of chibi miniatures is called "Super Dungeon Explore." Honestly, if you have ever wondered why there weren't minis that look like Link and Zelda, this is something you need to check out.

The booth had a demo of a more rough ruleset for Super Dungeon, but the Sodapop guys are much further along in their other game, called "Relic Knight."

Relic Knight will be a small scale skirmish game, and after picking the brain of one of Sodapop's owners, I found out that it is really going to move. They wanted to simulate the way that combat in anime often moves very quickly, with some of the characters bouncing off of buildings and tearing towards each other at crazy high speeds.

Honestly, in the end it will all depend on how strong the finished rules actually are. But it does look like Relic Knight will be bringing something to the table that no other skirmish tabletop game is, and that's exciting.