Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 and the year that was.

 The hobbyist blogger year end review is an expectation this time of year, I'd be remiss if I didnt continue to do mine.  I gave up on the resolution thing last year and this year I'll keep my year end short and sweet. 5 years in and Plastic Legions is hanging there, while my focus has certainly changed I am plenty determined to keep my chronicling of my hobby going as long as I can. I've pretty much become "another one of those guys" and have completely removed myself from Games Workshop when it comes to Warhammer. As much as I tried hard to embrace it, WFB 8th edition in 2011 was just a continuing landslide of bad decisions in both design and implementation.. I am now essentially a specialist games guys playing LotR when I can. It's really my main interest there but only because I am interested in LotR , not Games Workshop.

Looking back this year its clear most of my focus was on Terrain and I both started and finished some of best work to date in 2011, 2012 will be more of the same however. I am going to serious try to wade thru my sea of unpainted lead in 2012, doing as much single figure and army painting as i can first and any terrain ideas second. I have some big changes in my  job coming in 2012 that will be a pretty big time soak, so I really dont know what my hobby time constraints will be. I am also looking to formalize some of my Miniature hobbyist work into something a little more professional and I will be talking about that soon. I still plan on running my Battle of Five Armies mega game sometime this year..and am looking forward to more Hail Caesar, Flames of War, Warmachine and various skirmish games all in non tournament capacity, I also have some Uncharted Seas and Dreadfleet sitting around untouched and will be just looking for a good excuse to crack those., so expect more of the same I suppose just less of it, minus the Warhammer. It is really a wide open sea for me, I just set a course and let the wind take me where it may. Happy 2012. people.

Legends of the High Seas At Adepticon 2012

Just a quick flyer I threw together for LotHS at Adepticon this year. Rules are currently posted  HERE
any event  questions should be emailed to me at oldcoast@comcast.net. With last years event and a second summer campaign under my belt the rules have changed a bit for the better to include more of the mini campaign aspects and the scoring is alot more similar to what tournament players are used to. I've got some great stuff lined up terrain wise as well as all of last years favorites coming back. "Boarding Action" will be happening and rumor has it the author of the rulebook will joining us as a participant! There 20 slots max, 15 seats currently available as I type this. Note the later start..so you should be able to play in Friday daytime events and not have any conflicts. Also if you're playing in the event please keep an eye on lothscampaign.blogspot.com for all event related updates. Pics of terrain, etc are of course posted here, but event related posts and information will always be there first.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Scale Massacre

 ( An example of when miniatures from various manufactures work together "scale wise",  its rarer than you think   Left to Right  Reaper Dark Heaven, Avatars of War, Reaper Pathfinder, Reaper Dark Heaven X 2, Gorgon Miniatures)

I have dual or dueling narratives here, the photo text, and the regular text, you'll have to let me know if you like this style of post.

No surprise, I collect Fantasy miniatures and have since before high school, which for me was a long long time ago. Despite a multi-decade gap of abstaining from collecting , I'm doing my best to make up for lost time, its at the root of all the rest of this gaming nonsense and for me, the very essence of the hobby.

An often touchy subject with folks, me in particular is "Scale", we've all heard the term "scale creep" and these days the term "28mm" get used without much specificity to the point where it really just means "toy soldier". The first question I ask when ever I get interested in a particular model or product, is "how does it scale?? "how does it scale to what you ask?, well with what ever I am damn well planing on using it for, and these days that's all over the map, Nothing like spending your cash on something called "28mm, or 15mm, or 25mm" and it shows up and its nowhere near actual scale you thought it was.

 (3 Berserkers by one of my favorite manufactures, Otherworld miniatures, and one Reaper Pathfinder model, The Otherworld figs are large proportioned 30mm, the Pathfinder fig is 32m, and a giant scalewise among his peers (although its a specific character in the Pathfinder RPG world so I think its supposed to be "huge", "in scale" that sword is like Six Feet long, its definitely getting replaced.

If go back to my old collection circa late 1970's and 1980's. most things called 25mm at the time scale up pretty well between a the small variety of manufactures of the day. The largest manufacture of the time for these types of models before Citadel was Grenadier, a while certain lines where true 25mm (I have stuff that would easy be labeled 20mm today) it was generally easy to buy something from a catalog (how we did it back then) and have it show up and be appropriate with the rest of your collection, definitely if it was in the same line.

Somewhere during my absence from the hobby, probably routed in the success of Citadel or Reaper miniatures, in the 1990;s "Heroic Scale" came to be whether this be exaggerate features being out of proportion or just larger figures, the damn broke and scale creep began either as a "bigger is better" mentality. a lack of attention of detail, or simply not giving a damn.

( The world largest Goblins by Otherworld Miniatures, I love the old school theme from this company
and have alot  their figures but the scale is all over the damn place..They also make the worlds smallest human zombies and I cant believe I forgot to show a comparison of one of the these goblins to the "human" zombie. its really too bad these are great sculpts, but they should be easily 25% smaller, bright side I guess they work as Orcs??)

For collecting them and painting them scale creep isnt the end of the world, it becomes more problematic in large format army games, where people want to mix manufactures to create a nice variety.  Games Workshop led the way in "proprietary sculpting" if you will, where as they make their miniatures in such a way that they didnt really work with anything else other than Games Workshop. This is a business model numerous other companies have followed successfully, to the point where new miniature manufactures have sprouted up just to manufacture alternative models that properly scale to the proprietary lines of Games Workshop.

In my case. I am working on going thru the bins of miniatures I have to base them up and paint them for Skirmish gaming, There going to be used in dioramas or rule book shots on nice terrain I've built for the purpose of illustrating the rules of the Skirmish Game I am working on. for this purpose I am limiting myself to couple things, 1) no Games Workshop or Citadel Models and 2) only stuff thats currently available on the market.The point of this is that I want my rules to be a clear alternative to GW style gaming and show that there are alot of other great miniatures out there you probably dont know about unless you look.

(L to R,  Redbox, Reaper Dark Heaven, Pathfinder, Pathfinder.
I love Tre Manor's sculpts, in fact he's probably my favorite fantasy sculptor working today, however Redbox's line is 25mm, or while it might "true 28mm" his figures really line up with GW's LotR line where as thats called "true 25mm" and those are kind of all over the place too. The Reaper fig is a giant, no doubt and I converted the weapons so it looked even more so, but those two models just look silly in comparison, the big guy does work however with the smaller woman and largish man from Pathfinder.)

( 3 Reaper Dark Heaven Barbarian models with the one Redbox, despite the pose and being an amazing sculpt  Redbox, just doesn't work with these Reaper Barbarian, he's stuck with other RBG models..The Redbox /Reaper non compatibility is most likely purposeful since Tre Manor has worked for Reaper.)

  ( LtoR- Otherworld, Hasslefree, Otherworld, Otherworld.  Otherworld hit it out of the park with these "Drow" or Dark Elves...they're the right size and even scale right with Dark Elves I have from 20 years ago. As much as I like OW, these guys are one of the exceptions not the norm of the stuff, I've bought. Hasslefree is an odd one, they're somewhat erratic scale wise too. Most of there stuff , especially the modern/ Sci Fi stuff is "true 25-28mm and too small to use with say Reaper's Chronoscope' which is "Heroic" and 30-32mm but certain single sculpts are exceptions, this awesome model works as an elf, Elric, or whomever with various other lines models.)

(LtR, Avatars of War, Reaper Dark Heaven, Reaper Pathfinder, Rusted Heroes.  Here is the one Avatars of War human model I have that works, the other humans and elves I have are just too large., for whatever reason this AoW Warpriest works...The Pathfinder "Low Templar" model is annoyingly small proportioned, it doesnt look too bad in this photo but its very small in comparsion with other Pathfinder humans, The Rusted Heroes sculpt is one of those great ones that "just works" with whatever too. Of the four of them the Pathfinder one in the odd man out, I guess it work as a young man or squire.)

The point of "Scale Massacre" is I am finding trying to combine models of various manufactures, even between lines of popular manufactures tough because the scales are so inconsistent in both size and proportion. I'm not a sculptor, I do a great many things with my hands, but sculpting miniatures is one thing I an never personally going to get to. So technically, I admittedly dont know what hell I am talking about however as a customer  it seems to me that using similar armatures to start a sculpt off, and having a specific one for Humans, Elves, Dwarfs, Orcs..what have you..should not be that big a deal. I know sculpting is generally a freelance job so you make your pieces and try to sell or get commissioned to make it under certain guidelines, selling freelance sculpts has to be brutal because unless your targeting a specific product line you become a victim of the hobbys success by "28 mm" encompassing literally an full inch in variation..so your just throwing darts in the dark at whose going to buy it. Ultimately but I dont get how some of these get past the QA of the company putting them out without a "go redo this"...red flag, going up.

I miss the scale photos I used to see on the long defunct blog Wee Toy Soldiers, I wish I'd see more of these types of comparisons out there. Thankfully I do see this alot with Historical figures and its has saved me some money, by knowing what not to buy. No such luck with generic Fantasy. I'll try to do more of these from time to time  I need to get a better set up happening to properly start cataloging scales. I could literally devote an entire blog to specifically just comparing all the "28 mm" scales out there, I've barely scratched the surface of my own stuff here-its crazy, and frustrating as a consumer?? you bet! 




(Last but not least, the Otherworld, worlds largest Goblins with the above Knights, proportionally these goblins are so out of wack, that its not just the height. I am tempted to say these might work as 54mm scale goblins..what the hell??!!)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Hocus Focus

The center sections where designed to use the GW hill as a bridge to change the new table up, yes,that hill needs reflocked to match.

No one is more aware that the content here has been sluggish of late, more so than I- but no apologies.The  absence of Warhammer from my gaming calendar clearly leaves a big hole in my blogging pursuits, mainly because like it or not I found myself being a pundit about the machinations of Games Workshop, nearly as much as I talked about my own gaming experiences. While I am still quite of The Lord of the Rings SBG, and its due for its biggest year of releases (or might that be year after next?? as the films are 12. 2012 and 12. 2013) so I am sure I will be drug back into to conversations about how GW made some great models and ruined the game or totally killed metal for resin,etc. Regardless that day is a good ways off So I want to refocus on what I am currently doing which has always the bulk of hobby for me which is painting miniatures and building terrain. I've been working on a bit of both of late, as well fleshing out the most ambitious project I've been working on to date.

"My Skirmish Dungeon keeps growing, I do want to add another square foot to it..but at that point with replacement pieces being plasters it no longer portable. It will reach multi configurations soon enough."

I've had numerous things going on since I had any type of real gaming update in early November. Mainly getting 10 tables of terrain ready for Adepticon 2012 and my Legends of the High Seas event. The majority of is pretty much there, with exception of the tallest order finishing at least one probably two large Pirate Ships, these are big projects that will run me right up to Adepticon I am sure and I am not even getting started until next month.In last month, I have been tweaking older pieces, build a couple of new boards, and got a slew of figures based up and ready for paint for Hail Caesar, Lord of the Rings, Legends of the High Seas, and generic Fantasy miniatures for Skirmish gaming.

The new 4x4 boards are coming along, that river is going to be redone a proper shade and give some liquid resin for realism...I am using all woodland scenics products at this point.

Hail Caesar- No secret I love this rule set, the support warlord is giving it and its suprising depth in its simplicity My Saxon Army is huge, I keep buying models for it trying to configure a force that can deliver against Cavalry. Its really no surprise that English lost at Hastings...they would have needed a 1000 of Prince Harry's Longbows to have stood a chance but that was almost 400 years off. Anyway the great unpainted horde is looking strong (mainly thanks to some quasi historical but totally legal Mercenary units  but I am going to dig into some heavy painting soon as we (the club) are going to be doing Hail Caesar demo games Saturday night a Adepticon and while this huge of an army wont be done by any stretch..I hope to keep it from being too embarrassing. HC's been my groups main focus since early summer and the current campaign is going very well (although Rich and his Arabs are pounding us all into rubble) talk of moving to the medieval period (HYW, WotR) is probably going to become a reality at some point.

recent skirmish shot, pre resin.

Lord of the Rings- Too many projects might be fun, but its not your friend when you're trying to commit to a game system and play competitively ( the main reason Warmachine isnt taking off for me other than very casually, is that it requires a huge committment) My plan was too do awhole new army by Adepticon for the Championships and while only 40 models it has Cavarly, alot of Freehand and need of cool display. So I felt its better suited for next year BBB in the fall. Coming off the Best Appearance award has some pressure to put out ( with three GD winners as regular participants in the Championships yearly) so running my Orcs again is a necessity but I have swapped out around 20 of the crummy plastic troopers for old citadel metals that are just killer and will be a pleasure to paint and will really pop..I've switched up the list to make a bit tougher as those crappy Warg Riders just needed to go..so I need to put about two weeks into this army to get ready for the Championships this year and I am excited to how V.2 turns out.

I recently did this Reaper model as Red Sonja for my daughter whose taken a keen interest in my Skirmish solo play. When I showed her some Comic Covers of Red Sonja..she said Oooo, I want to be her for Halloween...I said better now than when you're 16...

Legends of the High Seas- There is alot of good detail going on for this event , enough to merit alot of talk between now and then.which is better off as a series of itds own posts which should start very soon as finish off the Shipwreck board, and move on the large galleon and finishing the Brig. Skirmish Gaming- Quite alot going on here. I have tweaking several of the older board mainly used for Pirates. like the Dungeon. Finishing the details adding the Water Cavern which will soon have resin water and better looking rocks that those cork boards.  I've mentioned I like making everything I can to be multipurpose so my new 4x4's for Skirmish Gaming are also my new 4 X8 for large army gaming. 2 4x4 sections that can flip around to different configs..with river running down the middle. We've been using it for HC and it working out great with lots of spots for specific terrain rules depending on how we set it up.

 The more interesting thing on the Skirmish gaming front is I've been "hobbyist" game writer for many years, pages and pages of unplaytest ideas, games, campaigns or just general ramblings. late last year, I got the 15mm Sci Fi "bug" as they say mainly from all the great new miniatures being released and going through my old stuff, the RPG game Traveller and its companion Skirmish game Snapshot..trying to update Snapshots early 80's rules for the kind of game I wanted to play in 2011 led to one thing , then another, then some playtesting, then some changes, then more playtesting, then new concepts. Pretty soon it wasnt remotely like Snapshot anymore, but I was really liking it, Then I bump it back up to 28mm and built the Warehouse Hulk to test out the concepts and the ride stopped there. (Although considering the use the Hulk is getting ( i.e NONE), I am considering put it up for sale..so if the guy that offered me close to 4 figures for it last year is still out there hit me up!- or anyone else but serious inquires only..you're talking a 100+ hour project here.) Along the way I started thinking about how the concepts of my little game translated to Fantasy Skirmish, and while the Sci Fi version still had some big holes still to fill due to the complex nature of the genre. Bringing it home to Fantasy fits like a glove, its also a very playable as a solo game which is very cool, in fact I've done a dozen or so playtests solo and its been very addicting (a good sign) I dare say it has some unique mechanics and I look forward to some 1 vs 1 with one of the guys soon. Anyway given that and the way our current campaign is playing out..I want to formulize these things and look into some Indie self publishing. I am not going to share any more details at moment other than to say, I look forward to exploring this alot more in the next year and see if its worth the effort, if only for my own satifisfaction.

Skirmish solo play shots from "The Game" whose actual moniker will remain a secret for the time being.

My point here is of course, getting refocused, new year, new directions and all that The games may change  but my basic loves are all still there. Its just you won't see me telling you how "Storm of Magic" or "Blood in Badlands" are pure marketing scams from GW that only further push old players away and fool new players or the more gullible old ones into buying way more models than they need to play a whole alot of other better games and at double the prices! I wont do this because I havent read these books and dont plan too. ..I just dont care..let someone else do it.  So look for alot more hobby content and lot less caring about what GW is or isnt doing . There will surely be some of that again eventually, but with all of the above plus .a Flames of War day in Jan, a pal trying to get me to play some Uncharted Seas...and the current Chicago Warmachine craze..why bother?

This didnt end well for the good guys.

........Next up The Dark Ages Campaign, Round 5!


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