Saturday 29 August 2015

Penguin Titan

It's been a rather splendid summer in many ways; I have distracted from my distractions, spending far too long plotting the Batman's downfall at the hands of the Penguin all to the cost of my other projects.  I have caught up with friends and family and even managed a couple of gaming days, but the time has come to dust off the satchel and sharpen the pencils in readiness for the start of the new academic year!  

Before I slip back into more pedestrian posting habits there is still time for one more flight of fancy - the Penguin Titan!  Edwin King, over at 'Thoughts of a Depressive Diplomatist' had very kindly alerted me to a new release from 'Fenris Games' - Mutant Penguins!  This were so absurdly wonderful that I immediately ordered up a set and then realised that I hadn't the faintest clue what to do with them! 

After much deliberation I picked one and fashioned it to the same style bases that I was using for the rest of the crew, trying to replicate the same colour palette that I had used for the 'Rocket Penguins' - a plan was slowing coming into focus.

The Mutant Penguin did make a brief appearance in our game earlier in the month, where I used him as at Titan Dose marker, but there is something about his pitiful, lumbering shape that makes me want to flesh his role out a bit more, but that will have to wait for another day.  As a farewell 'Hurrah!' to the summer, I have amassed the crew for a final group shot - a rather splendid summer indeed.

Tuesday 25 August 2015

Walls come tumbling down!

I've been meaning to get around to this post for a while now, but what with the spectre of the new academic year looming large, hobby time has been in rather short supply.  From the outset of my foray into the world of 'Batman Miniatures Game' I was keen to build a board that set the scene for the character that I intended to play with.  Having seen, and been inspired, by Bull's 'Funfair' for his Joker crew, I wanted a deserted zoo for my Penguin.  I had some convoluted ideas for a deserted pool, half filled with stagnant water, eerily lit with LEDs, but all this came to naught, but I was desperate to have some indication of a once great attraction.  

So on to the build, off-cuts of blue foam were roughly hewn and the edges sanded.  Using cocktail sticks to hold the structure together they were given a healthy dollop of PVA glue to bind them.  Once dried a rough channel was cut across the top to insert some rather lovely laser cut railings that I had picked up from 'Fenris Games'.  I understand that they are no longer going to offer this service, so if you are after some, best go and see what they have left.  Any gaps were filled with lashings of pumice gel, which also helped to give a  bit of texture the piece.

More architectural details were added in the shape of Column tops*, signs**, and the crowning glory - a couple of Playmobil Penguins!  Some red oxide paste was added to fill the gaps and again to lend texture as I was envisaging a rendered brickwork construction. 

*Actually 'Warbases' MDF bases.
**Leftover from my Tamiya lamp post kit.

Finally the painting stage saw everything base coated in black, before a succession of Dulux tester pots were applied.  These were the same colours that I had picked up for using on my 'Tough Terrain' piece so I was confident that both elements would hold together quite well.  The railings were simply dry brushed with a little Vallejo oily steel, before given some rust effects.  I had used a biro to mark some bricks behind the render and just picked these out with appropriate colours, hopefully selling the illusion of a crumbling structure.

Final touches included some foliage, ivy wrapping itself around the columns, even rust stains on the render; along with touches of frippery with a 'Do Not Feed The Animals' sign, some graffiti and even a few bullet holes - Gotham has become a dangerous place for the unweary!

I was surprised how quickly the piece came together and it was wonderful to see it take its place on the board.  Perhaps not quite what I had envisage initially, but enough to get the idea across that this was the Penguin's home turf - Batman beware! 

Monday 17 August 2015

Street Furniture

With the release of the public examination results last week my attention, quite rightly, has been drawn towards work, but in a brief moment of calm, I thought I would just post the following by way of documenting my progress.  The Batman Miniatures Game, by 'Knight Models' requires certain elements of street furniture to be included in the set up of the table, namely lamp posts and sewer covers. These play an integral part in the game as, set in the dead of night, the illumination from the posts aids shooting, whilst the sewers add the possibility of characters traversing the board through the subterranean tunnels.   

'Knight Models', of course, do their own lamp posts and drain covers pack, but having seen many splendid examples of home grown variants, I was keen to have a go myself.  As usual though this led to considerably more bits and pieces been added along the way.  PulpCitizen of 'Eclectic Gentleman Tabletop Gamer' fame led me to the Tamiya 1/48 scale roadside set, which has four plastic lamp posts as well as a plethora of other bits and pieces that I am sure I will find a use for at some point.  Given their lightweight construction they sit comfortably atop some 'Fenris Games' resin bases without fear of toppling over.

The lamp posts were simply sprayed black and then given a quick dry brush of Vallejo Game Colour Tinny Tin, one even had a little added extra on the base!  Also from 'Fenris Games' were some of their resin wide mouthed jars, with added tufts to look like weeds and some dustbins.

You potentially need six lamp posts, depending on the outcome of a dice roll and so I added a couple of traffic lights to make up the numbers.  These were part of my 'Mars Attacks' Kickstarter although I abandoned their original bases in favour for more from 'Fenris Games'.  As I was putting together the traffic lights, I stumbled across these rather lovely fire hydrants from the same pack and decide that they were too good not to be included. 

Added to the mix were some rather fiddly traffic cones from the recent 'Studio Miniatures' Kickstarter and a much more substantial tyre wall from 'Ainsty Castings'.

Finally the sewer markers, these were from the 'Wryd Games' Malifaux range and designed as bases for their various miniatures.  Wonderful designs and a good weight they were great fun to paint up with lashings of toxic goo and rust effect.  As with the lamp posts there is the potential that I need six of these so I do need to find an additional marker at some point. 

Finally a group shot of all the bits and pieces assembled just in the ink of time for the game, at least now I have them for our next encounter.

Monday 10 August 2015

A walk in the park...

…or Gotham Zoo to be more precise!
Sunday saw the Penguin's nefarious actions curtailed by the arrival of the Caped Crusader; he can be so tiresome!  Having spent far too long tinkering with the terrain, I was still trying to read the rules when Mike 'The Dark Templar' Reynolds* knocked at the door.  Not having much experience gaming, I find reading rules particularly difficult as all the jargon, lists and numbers seem to overwhelm me.  This is why I was exited at actually putting the 'Batman Miniature Game' into context by playing a game, but at the same time determined to have  fun!

*His post of the day can be found HERE, including a rather splendid picture of the Penguin!

I have no doubt that we got things wrong including the positioning of loot markers and forgetting that firearms wound on a +2 but this was meant to be a learning exercise and sure enough as the game developed the sound of laughter increased.  I watched in dismay as the Batman swung effortlessly from building to building and groaned incessantly as yet another magazine of high velocity shells was seemingly emptied into thin air!  This was the experience that I was hoping for and wasn't disappointed.

We played one and a half games, the Penguin snatching the first by hiding behind buildings counting his loot, but the second saw the Batman, and elements of Gotham's finest, show just what could happen if you got things wrong amassing an unassailable victory posits tally by the end of turn three!  So where does all this leave us?  I clearly need to spend some time re-reading the rules to become more familiar with certain phases of the game.  Having downloaded the free version of the rules, I was finding myself scrolling through them on my iPad trying to find the relevant page as Mike was explaining what he was doing.  As a result, I was becoming quite flustered during these phases and so just took the opportunity to stop and watch what Mike was doing.  The other thing, I need to do is build a bigger crew!  Two hundred rep points was perfect for what we were trying to do, but the second game just highlighted how important victory points were; I just couldn't close quickly enough to keep in the game.  I made some fundamental errors early on and should have used Sickle as a bullet magnet sending him straight down the road to distract the Police from lifting the loot**  Royal Penguin, didn't manage to land a shot all game, but proved a constant threat especially with his added grapple gun allowing him to take up positions on the rooftops.  Penguin Emperor was a disappointment and with hindsight I would have been better off taking a couple of lesser thugs to reach and hold objectives.  

**Should the Police be allowed to hold the the loot?  We did briefly discuss the ethics of this action, were they on the take?

What was lovely was seeing Mike's jaded opinion of the game change over the course of the day so I'm hopeful that we might persuade him, and of course Bull's Joker crew, to return to the mean streets of Gotham in the near future.

A quiet stroll around the streets of Gotham.
The screeching of brakes shatters the peace! 
The Batman surveys the scene from up high.
The Penguin's only real view of the game. 
The vandalism of the street furniture continues unabated. 
Gotham's finest follow in the shadows.
First contact.
The SWAT team takes advantage of the distraction...
…but soon receives some unwanted attention...
…and takes cover behind a large rubber duck! 
He's behind you!  Gotham's worst sniper is oblivious to the Bat.
A last swing of the sickle before the points are tallied.
A criminal mastermind savours a fleeting victory.

Saturday 8 August 2015

Paint Table Saturday#92

My goodness, where has the time gone?  It would seem that I cannot move in the Sunshine Coast's might metropolis without seeing banners declaring,  'Back to School'!  Still there is more fun to be had before I start sharpening my pencils and polishing my apples and Sunday will see the Batman arrive at 'Awdry Towers'; the Penguin is going to get his first outing against Mike 'The Dark Templar' Reynolds ' Caped Crusader.  As a result this week has been all about terrain as I have rushed around cobbling together as much as I could.  This has meant that I have finally managed to assembly most of the bits and pieces that I picked up at 'Salute 2015', but Gotham City is going to have a distinctly wooden feel to it as I've not managed to paint any of it! 

I continue to be amazed at just how much can now be done with MDF and although not to everyone's tastes I thoroughly enjoy putting together these kits.  The 'Sarissa Precision' kits that I've been working on have been an absolutely joy to put together, but not to be attempted at breakneck speeds; below is an example of what a lack of due care and fat fingers can result in.  

By contrast some of the 'Knight Models' MDF kits proved to be really hard work to put together.  The assembly is straight forward but the laser cutting is often not deep enough, resulting in damaged pieces and the need for a scalpel to prise many of the pieces off the sprue.  Enough was salvaged to amass a decent amount of scatter terrain and Gotham is starting to take shape.  

It has not all been about MDF and I have a mass of plastic, resin and metal pieces to get done before tomorrow's game.  These have been purloined from all manner of recent Kickstarters including Mars Attacks and Studio Miniatures, with Tamiya lamp posts and Malifaux sewer bases adding to the mix.

Although not necessarily needed for tomorrow's game, I have also put together some wound markers.  I first saw these on Curt's wonderful 'Analogue Hobbies' blog.  Mine came about whilst I was looking for some counters and I picked up these clear plastic 20mm disks from 'Grekwood Miniatures'.  A few drops of Tamiya clear red and they were done.  

Finally, I have also found a use for all those fiddly pieces of waste MDF that are left over having assembled the kits - perfect for filling up my skips!  That's it for today, but I hope to have some sort of report after the weekend.  

Don't forget to visit the rest of the 'Paint Table Saturday' community here.

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