Saturday, August 25, 2012

Galactic Force: Wreck Age

If you are in the greater Chicagoland area, or if you like to drive, fly, swim, or generally meander on a lazy Saturday afternoon, stop by Galactic Force Games (1120 W. Belmont Ave) in Chicago. Matt and I are going to be there running Wreck Age demonstration games. We will be about the place from 1:00 to 5:00 or later, and there’s plenty more happening in and around the store. Good times. Great FLGS.

We will also be judging a painting contest that has been running since our last outing there earlier this month. I am specifically looking forward to this bit of business, as the hobby end of the equation is my particular interest.

Failing that, have a gander at the Wreck Age Kickstarter. I know there’s  a glut of these at the moment, but as a young, ambitious, and up-and-coming company, we would be particularly grateful for your time and attention. Thank you in advance!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Air and Water

At the risk of sounding incredibly smug, I would like to say that I am lucky enough to “know a guy” here in Chicago who lives in an apartment on the 53rd floor of a building reasonably close to the city center. Here’s his view on a good day.

No bad. Here’s his view during the annual Chicago Air and Water show.


Last Sunday we stopped in to take in the sights of this fine city, though regrettably naptime overlapped with the Blue Angels and we missed what I’m told was a rather intense flyby. 

Maybe next year. 

p.s. check out this kickstarter if you haven't already. 

Friday, August 17, 2012


Here we go!

Hyacinth Games (which now includes me. heyo!) has launched a new Kickstarter in order to help fund some extremely worthwhile happenings over at Wreck Age Central (aka: Matt’s apartment).

And so… 29 days to go…

If you are not at all familiar, please check out our very cool site here … but in a nutshell, Wreck Age is a Post Collapse 30mm RPG and Tabletop Wargame. Matt and Anton have created a very interesting, very compelling world in which we might dabble, and I feel quite honored to be a small but growing part of the proceedings. Of course, that means work, and here’s a taste of what we intend to accomplish with this Kickstarter:

-We will be assembling our first four Faction Box Sets, which expands our range to 30+ miniatures, with many more already in development. Each Box set will include 6-9 minis, which is a tremendous start to your basic skirmish or RPG needs (by the way, check out 1:30 into the video if you are particularly keen on the greens inbound as I type).  

-Likewise, we will be pushing forward with the 300+ page hardcover rulebook. This tome includes absolutely everything a traveler to Year Zero and beyond might need. More than just rules, however, the book is really a full-frontal resource for the entire rich and complex work of Wreck Age.

-If we go far enough with the Kickstarter, we will also be working toward our first round of Plastics -longtime readers of this blog will know that the prospect has me a little dizzy- as well as some quirky possibilities designed to bring even greater realism to the Wreck Age world.

-More to be announced as we get closer, ever closer.

The photos, by the way, that accompany this post are from our big day and Galactic Force Games here in Chicago –where we got to introduce an enthusiastic (and sometimes rather soggy) group to the world itself. Special shouts to Chris (aka: CC) for his interest and gamesmanship.

The game itself straddles RPG and Tabletop quite beautifully, which actually lends itself handily to my gaming disposition of late. I’m not much for RPG but, having said that, I pretty much demand that my tabletop wargaming have an extremely strong, extremely developed narrative element to it. Curious that. I’m no longer quite certain where the line between these interests is exactly, and I’m even less sure with Wreck Age. The two seem to sit side-by-side a profoundly intuitive and elegant manner. As mentioned, Anton and Matt have really put this world together, and the history leaves all the room one needs to play skirmish warbands … warbands that evolve and develop from one iteration to the next. Just the thing for me! Of course, if you are an RPG purest, there’s 300 pages and an entire desolate world for you to explore. Win and Win.

So if, like me, you are interested in deeply narrative skirmish gaming, have a proper gander. Or if, unlike me, you bleed RPG, have a proper gander. Or if you just like beautiful artwork and even more beautiful miniatures, have a proper gander. OR, if you just like to support a very small startup games company, have a proper gander

At the very least, go check out that Kickstarter and perhaps even tell a friend. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Recipe: Ork Skin

Ork skin? This is a skaven model. Indeed. He is. Indulge me for a moment.

Before we begin properly, I must offer a very gracious “thank you” to Bernhard for his patience.

Back in June (don’t ask me how that happened), I received an extremely kind and wonderfully polite email asking for a tip or two on how I have done Ork skin -specifically the model pictured right. Naturally, I promised that I would piece together a recipe post and outline the steps specifically. Yes. Well.

I got back from my travels, sat down at my nerd desk, and discovered something peculiar… I had nil Orks to paint. Not one. Most of my stuff is in storage, what with this slow-motion move and all, and I could cobble together neither Ork nor Orc nor gretchin nor grot from what I had left on the scene. Tragic.

Mercifully, this Skaven fellow was pottering about the place with no real direction or ambition, having initially been stitched together for a Mordheim league that got caught flat before it ever even started (Scott, as you can see I am one step closer to having an actual warband if you ever revisit the notion). He’s no Ork, but he’ll suffice in a pinch.

So. I must beg some imaginative, lateral thinking here. I promise that these steps are exactly, genuinely, the same as what I apply for any and all of my Orks –and precisely those used for the humble Nob that started the conversation. The result, however, might look a bit different purely from context. When I set out to make this happen, I must confess, I was curio-nervous to see how the color would translate on a different model. So much so, in fact, I found a Warploque Zombie Pirate to add in the mix. Now I’ll roll up my sleeves and get to it.

The recipe is basically a walk through the old Foundation range, and I have bought up some extra paints to hold my orky needs in hand should the need arise before I find a suitable replacement in the new range (as an aside, Galactic Force Games on Belmont has a good stash leftover though slightly diminished from my raid last week). Here goes:

I begin with a Scorched Brown base over black primer. Strange to start a green model with brown, but there is a method to this.

Gnarloc Green is slathered all over but the deepest recesses. I have mentioned elsewhere that I generally paint in a descending order from “slather” to “overbrush” to “modest overbrush” down to “drybrush” in pretty much every recipe I have. This is certainly true here. The technique allows for some very, very quick painting once you get a handle on it.

Gretchin Green is the anchor color in all this. All later touchups are done first in Gretchin and only then in other shades if necessary. Again, the keyword is slather, though with a pinch more discretion.

In the first real “highlight” I add a touch of Iyanden to the Gretchin, but make sure the overall tone is still quite clearly green –though later blended with a wash, the smoothness of this transition depends upon a gentle movement from green to yellow.

I have switched the paint jars to illustrate that the second highlight is much more yellow in nature than the first –though not yet completely Iyanden. I am much, much more selective with the application of this highlight, concentrating only on the most raised areas –like his wrist and forearm, as well as the top of his head and snout.

At this point, I was ready for a generous wash Gryphonne Sepia. I really like this old wash –sniff- and I am not afraid to use it liberally here. As a note, you might see that the bases got some attention here. This is the kind of step I will often take during a wash that requires some drying time, as the base slather will require the same… two birds, etc.

Until this point, I have painted every single step (wash included) with this club of a brush. There’s no need at all for anything smaller in my opinion, as all the detail work happens from this point forward.

I went back in with a much-diluted highlight of Iyanden Darksun, purely. The wash will tend to blend the highlights to a certain extent and the Iyanden here is used quite sparingly for the most pronounced highlights –again, the wrist and snout mostly.

And that’s it. That’s my ork skin recipe in a nutshell. As I mentioned, this can be accomplished very hastily if one wants with a largish batch of models in approximately no time at all.

… however, that wasn’t quite enough for these models, so I added this NON ORK STEP. The Flesh color is a homebrew mix, but the result is pretty much identical to the old Elf Flesh or whatever. You can see the tone in the jar quite clearly and I only just mixed a tiny bit into the yellow to give a slightly pallid look for the skin.

I then hit the stitches with a small dabble of Dheneb Stone, followed by a wash of Baal Red, and then another layer of Dheneb (love that color too). All the splits, scars, and blisters were given a modest treatment from the Baal Red for effect.

And that’s it part two.

The model is about three-quarters done here, but the whole experience has me itching for more…

Another grand thank you to Bernhard for his incredible patience. Cheers!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wreck Age: Table remake wip (3)

So, by Thursday afternoon, the paint-ink-and-paint had dried at long last. I gave, once more, a very dry brush to the entire table and focused specifically on the valley and rocky areas in order to give them that proper, dusty feeling. You can see here a bit better the way in which the dry-brush will tamp down the inks washes but leave the texture and odd patterns underneath. I love this kind of technique as it breaks monotony and provides a rich bit of visual interest without being glaring. Inks, in my opinion, are compulsory in table building.

Thursday was a crucial day. I needed to get the resin mixed and poured and I needed it all to behave perfectly. In theory, the two part resins take 24 hours to dry. Don’t you believe it. After AdeptiCon last year, I learned that the resin can/will remain tacky, even sticky for a good 48 hours and perhaps longer if the layer is sufficiently thick. I had no plans for anything quite formidable, but I didn’t want to leave it to chance. Thus, the resin was mixed and poured Thursday evening.

After pouring, I watched for a good long while, making adjustments to the level here and there as the resin started to settle. Though the table was flat enough, there’s a natural slope in my garage where I was working that the resin began to run a bit too dramatically toward the open edges. I had left only a very subtle lip for a very thin layer on that ends that were designed to meet, so I was sure to keep a very, very close eye on how it all splayed out. I think it best to check up every once and a while, regardless, as the resin will settle slowly, and I live in fear of finding some disastrous surprise the next morning if I were to simply pour and walk away. A shim here. A shim there. and all was well.

One more note on the resin. I put four, just four, small drops of ink into the mixing pot. That was plenty to tint the entire batch a suitably murky color. By extension, I would calculate that if I had mixed the entire bottle for a giant batch, I would have needed no more than six or seven drops. Anything more would start to tint the resin rather dramatically. That’s a tiny amount in what is probably something like a quart of liquid.

Friday afternoon was bright enough and sufficiently windless that I brought the tables outside to sit in the sun for a while. Even though relatively thin, the bulkier edges were still a bit tacky (careful, by the way, testing this or you’ll end up with fingerprints all over the water). Likewise, wind can bring all kinds of miniscule amounts of dust and pollen and whatever, so I do not recommend this step in anything less than ideal conditions.

The radiant heat from the sun works a wonder. Within just a few hours, slightly tacky resin was rock solid, and by Friday evening, the matter was done and dusted enough that I could flock the remaining bits of grass as they had been (more or less) before I got involved. I had been prepared to skip this step entirely, but felt confident enough once I saw how well the resin had set by the morning.

I had already flocked around the valley a very small bit so that some of it would be underneath the waterline, and so that the areas nearest the stream would be most obviously verdant and lush, but I also didn’t want to push it unless all that loose flock make a layer on/in the surface of the resin. That would have been a disaster. Still, all good, and I applied just a bit more dried-out flock further afield to suggest that everything was scorched at a distance from the stream itself.

Early Saturday morning, Anton dropped by to collect the goods…  and there it was, less that one week later, a brand new table.


Action shots and some notes on gameplay this weekend (or perhaps just after).

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wreck Age: Table remake wip (2)

So. Saturday’s event at Galactic Force Games, which is an unflinchingly superlative store if ever you could find one in the greater Chicagoland area, came and went in a flash of hobby glory. Thank you very much, Andy for a tremendous afternoon.

I will be writing a bit more on the events of the afternoon when I have gathered my notes. In the mean time, I would like to revisit all the prep from my end last week. As I mentioned in my last post, I picked up the tables last Sunday from Matt’s house. The table itself is extremely well-constructed, but it had taken a beating during the 100+ demo games the Hyacinth team ran during AdeptiCon, and I was charged with “freshening it up a bit.”

I can do that.

… but with less than on full week until the actual event, well, it was always going to be an interesting challenge.

So, once I had made the rocks a bit more rocky and the grit a bit more gritty, I doused the whole thing in a generous portion of wood glue to make sure it was solid and strong.

After a night of drying (precious, precious time), I re-applied an equally generous slathering of a “scorched brown” house paint equivalent.  Drying time, again, was pressing on my mind. I had decided to redo the water effect, which meant that all painting had to be finished by the Thursday night. And so these necessary pauses were rather brutal to endure. I found myself tapping my fingers on tables quite a lot last week.

Thankfully, Wednesday was relatively wide open for me. Once the base was dry, I had to work very, very quickly. The photos jump quite dramatically here, however, as I was forced to work-work-work without pause for neither bread nor water nor frivolous photography. I exaggerate.

My main task was to lighten the look a bit, make it all more dusty and worn. To accomplish this, I worked toward a “bone white” equivalent (house paint again) until the brown was nearly lost completely. I then hit this is a wild wash of artist’s inks (drying time!) in order to give the white complexity and visual interest. I allowed the ink to run around all over the place and wash it with deliberate unevenness in both color and intensity –hither and thither. When dry (ah!), I came back with an extremely dry brush of that white again. The ink textures folded underneath that highlight so that the whole thing remained cohesive but still subtly interesting somewhere beneath it all.

In the rockiest valley areas, I was a bit more aggressive with the dry-brush so that the exposed rock face felt more chalky and sun-kissed. And so on.

And that brought me face-first into Thursday night for the biggest gamble of the whole project: water effect.

More on that next time.    

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Wreck Age: Table wip

And so, the working adventure begins in earnest.

As mentioned in the previous post, I am all in with Hyacinth Games. One of my first tasks at hand is to re-work various aspects of the demonstration table that the fellows made for AdeptiCon this year. Obviously, this is one-hundred percent within my comfort zone.

These are two 2’x3’ tables that combine to a single 3’x4’ demo station and that are wonderfully easy to transport and store. The edges built up around the outside are fantastically protective when stored, one end up on the other. It’s a brilliant idea that I wish I had come up with myself (doh).

Of course, time is pressing on this little project. I picked this up Sunday and it needs to be fully ready by this Saturday morning, when we will be running a sequence of demonstration games of Wreck Age at Galactic Force Games (1121 W Belmont Ave, here in Chicago. The glory begins at 1:00pm if you are free and easy). Never a dull moment round here, let me tell you.

So, just a matter of days to get this broken down, amended, repainted, and revived completely. Though I forgot to take a photo of the “before” image (which would have been useful in this wip post), the basic gist is that I need to make the rocks that had been rather smooth a bit more rocky, to make the grit a bit more gritty, and to repaint all the dusty bits a bit more dusty. All good. I have that in me.

There were also a few weakened screws and whatnot to replace in the border and general structure. There always are.

Once all that is sorted, I am hoping to re-apply a bit of resin to recreate the very cool water effects that are now buried beneath the new rocks and gritty grit. In sum, I hope that by tomorrow at this time, you would not even be able to recognize this table. Fingers crossed.