Friday, March 29, 2013

D&D Dungeon Command Review

Casey and I picked up several of the Dungeon Command boxes in the last few months. If you haven't heard of it, it's a Dungeons and Dragons skirmish game that came out last year. Each faction box has everything necessary for one player to start, including rulebook, board tiles, cards, tokens, and 12 pre-painted figures. Each faction retails for $39.99.

They have five faction boxes released at the moment- Sting of Lolth (spiders), Heart of Cormyr (the only good guys, haha), Tyranny of Goblins, Curse of Undeath, and Blood of Gruumsh (Orcs!). It's a nice mix of baddies. More factions are planned, but I haven't heard anything beyond that.

We have three of the five boxes- Cormyr, Undeath, and Goblins. There are rules to break up a single box into a two player game, but honestly, it's way more fun to just get two boxes. You can also play with 3 or 4 players, but I haven't tried that yet. We'll probably pick up the Orc set at some point in the future.

What I like most about the game, other than it being self-contained, is that it's quick to pick up but not so simple that you get bored with it quickly. It's a little different than most skirmish games I've been playing lately, as it's card-based in a way not too dissimilar from MTG. The board is marked with a grid, and each creature gets to move so many spaces per turn. Games take about an hour.

The pre-paints are pretty nice and the sculpts of the figures are good. As much as I like painting, it's refreshing to occasionally play a game where you don't have to paint the minis yourself :-)

The trailer for it kind of fun, too. I'll just leave that right here...

Happy gaming!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

First Impression of Mark of the Lycan Pack

I've been trying to devise a way to get a handful of models to denote those with Mark of the Wulfen. A box of the OOP GW ones occasional goes up on eBay, but for a ridiculous amount of money. No thanks. A range of other options are out there- everything from cobbling up something with Beastmen bits, to buying werewolf heads, to sculpting my own from scratch.

Obviously the latter wasn't happeneing. I don't have the time or the skill at the moment. The Beastmen parts I feel are too big to fit in well with a Space Marine unit, and the heads I found weren't all that "wolfy" in my opinion.

But, as luck would have it, I found this very interesting Mark of the Lycan pack made by Mythicast. They have a handful of things on their site, but I was only interested in these guys. I really like them because they perfectly fit the Mark of the Wulfen aesthetic that I envision of what they should be. Of course, that's probably on purpose, as you see they have curiously familiar armor on their legs.

I really like that they come as a pack of 5 with all different sculpts. For $33 (including international shipping) it wasn't a bad deal either. They are, however, made out of a weirdly hard resin. I don't think it's going to be too brittle, but it's definitely not the sort of thing we're used to working with. Scraping the mold lines will be interesting.

A close-up of my favorite pose.
 As far as details go, they are pretty good. Not as crisp as what you get with some other companies, but there's a lot more detail in them than you can see in the photos of them on their website. Though, there are a couple of spots on them that aren't great. There's a few bubbles but not in major areas and some weirdly placed flash (like the crook of an arm). Over all, though, the casting is better than some of the Finecast stuff that Quality Control lets out of GW's door.

Even though they came from Singapore, they took less than three weeks to get to me, which made me very happy. The bases they came with are a little weird, so I'll probably use some of the regular bases I have hanging about. Overall, I'm pleased with this option for my wulfen marines. I'm really looking forward to painting them.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Has Anyone Seen My Dog Whistle?

There are so many wolves on the loose here, it's getting a little crazy. There are 24 pups on my painting table today, and they're nearly finished. Everyone, at least, has their base coat and first wash finished. A few more, those on the right, are a little bit further along than that.

You may have noticed that there's 25 figures in that image. The top, third from the left is actually the rider of the Wolf Lord on Thunderwolf. He's the one with the majestic cape. His armor was old-school enough that I didn't need to give him any green stuff, and since he's got an axe and a shield, he didn't need any weapon changes.

It's a little difficult to see in the photo, but there are 3 shades of greys and 3 shades of browns. I wanted a good variety and I think I managed to achieve that. There are the three complete ones, they're hanging out with my Venerable Dreadnought on the shelf, based and ready for action. Soon, my brothers, soon.

But in the mean time, I picked up one more goodie yesterday to help fill out my tournament list.

I am a bit worried about what I'm going to do against all the flyer spam I expect to see at the tournament, and short of taking allies I thought this was my best and cheapest (for both money and points) option. It will definitely be manned by a squad of Long Fangs. I'm also looking forward to putting this together and making it look suitably wolfy :-)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Ice & Snow Base Tutorial

I had a couple questions about how I did the bases for my Space Wolves. So I thought I'd do a post about it. Plus, this way, in three months when I have to make one more, there's concrete evidence of what I did instead of "Uh... I think I used this color?". At least I know what I'm up against with myself.

Here's how they look "in action".
I didn't want to do just snow bases for my Space Wolves, so I opted for ice instead. I couldn't find much in the way of instructions just for ice bases, though. I basically cobbled together this method through advice I found online on working with cork and trial and error.

What You'll Need:
Your bases
Cork sheet
Realistic Water (from Secret Weapon Miniatures or Woodland Scenics)
Gale Force Nine snow flock (or the Woodland Scenics equivalent)
     Hoeth Blue
     Drakenhof Nightshade
     Lothern Blue
     Ulthuan Grey
     Gloss paint of your choice (I used GW's)
     Abaddon Black
Your preferred sealant, I use Testors Dullcote.
Your 100% finished models (sealed and all)

Step 1: Getting Prepped
   Rip on up on that cork, yo.

   I started very basic, just ripping off a round-ish piece that was just smaller than my base. It's handy to have a base of each size nearby for comparison. Then you can get fancy with multiple pieces on a single base or layer the cork for a little height. Go crazy, just keep in mind that you're going to be putting something on top of it eventually.

   Then glue your pieces down, I used super glue since it was handy. Let that dry for a bit. Now, if your model is like the Fenrisian wolves, it has a little bit of a base attached to the foot for a stronger contact point. I used my hobby knife to carefully cut some grooves into the cork to set the model down in the base a little to conceal the connection. You won't need to do that all/most models.

Step 2: Paint That Thing
   At this point you can prime them if you want, but I skipped that step and just painted straight on the base and cork. Start by getting a nice base coat of the Hoeth Blue. Use a stiff brush to help you get in all the nooks and crannies of the cork.

   Give it a good wash with the Drakenhof Nightshade. Let it dry for a good long while.

Next, give it a good drybrushing with Lothern Blue. You don't want to get in the deep crevasses or anything.

Then give it a nice drybrushed highlight with the Ulthuan Grey.

You can be sloppy with the base itself, as that will soon be covered with snow. You just want a nice icey color to go under the snow, as it will affect how that looks.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Finished SW Venerable Dreadnought

Over the weekend, I threw as many hours as I could into working on my Space Wolf army (also rewatching West Wing, my go-to show while hobbying). NOVA is only 171 days away, and I have a lot of work to do before then and I'm trying not to waste too much time. After the basing experiments were complete and I got all the ones finished for my Fenrisian Wolves, I spent a little time touching up my Venerable Dreadnought and got him based along with two of the finished wolves.

I ended up chickening out on his banner. I don't have much free handing experience, and I honesty haven't been able to decide what I want to use as the Great Company logo for this army yet. So I skipped it.

 From the side/front, he looks a little scary, doesn't he?

On the back, you can see (not too well) his exhaust vents. I used a little weathering powder I picked up from Secret Weapon Miniatures to make it look sooty. This was my first time working with weathering powders, and I am really impressed by the results, but I definitely need to work with them more to learn their full potential.

I only have these two Fenrisian Wolves finished at the moment, but all of the bases for their comrades are complete!

Because of the way their feet are, I had to cut little notches in the cork so they'd fit in more seamlessly. Once models are finished, I just glue them in place, and cover up the connection point with a little snow. It worked out better than I hoped on the first two. More on the ice bases will come in a later post.

Hopefully I can keep up this level of enthusiasm and get the rest of the wolves finished this week. I also want to get the Thunderwolf mounts ready. Their bases are started, but not finished just yet.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

WIP Wed: Fenrisian Wolves Coming Together

I started whipping out my Fenrisian Wolves in earnest this week. After my sad, sad first attempt at them a while back, I finally got the motivation/courage to give them another go. If you recall, I started their fur back in October, but the results were very discouraging. Now, two are totally finished, the rest are in various stages of progress.

The first one I finished was a grey wolf. Most of the "winter" wolves will be lighter grey than this guy when they're finished. Slightly more than half will be wintery colored.

I am pretty happy with this woods wolf. I'll do a few more similar to him, and probably a couple lighter ones, too. I wanted to have a nice variety of fur colors and it's good practice for when I do the Thunderwolves (who are next on the block).

Both of these wolves were from the ones I started ages ago but was unhappy with how their fur turned out. I'm much happier with how they look now. I did not strip them, I just grabbed two and got going again. I was a little lighter on the washes this time around and a little crisper with the drybrushing. I also used about 3 more colors.

Top left are just primed, right are the ones left over from my previous attempt, and the two down in front are ones I've improved from before. The primed batch is new, I got them for Christmas and just sat down to put them together last week. I got a little impatient and didn't put any green stuff between their body and heads.

This was a mistake.

It is far more obvious now that they're primed, but that gap is unacceptably bad. I am going to go back and either pop off the heads (if I can) or just shove some GS back there there and sculpt out some fur like I did for the first ten. I should learn from previous mistakes and just Do It Right the First Time (DIRFT?), but here we are.
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