Thursday, December 8, 2016

Stepping through the door into color

Sometimes movies use color very specifically.  One of my favorites movies that does this is Pleasantville, where color was slowly introduced to indicate awakening of the people.  I love when the tree bursts into flames (I won't spoil why, but I felt it was a great moment in the movie).

Ok, it wasn't a big hit and most people have not seen it.  But nearly everyone remembers the iconic scene in Wizard of Oz where Dorothy exists the house after it has been set down by the twister, and everything becomes color.

So very often, color represents life.  Ok, to me it does.  In my last post I talked about basically using the absence of color when painting my walkers for the Walking Dead game.  Using a white primer and layers of black wash (ok, I did use a little sepia, and then some red for blood (and walker Ronnie's shirt was blue) to give them a look meant to look like the black and white comic.  I like how they turned out, but I also noted how simple and easy it was.

After finishing all the walkers, I then had 27 survivors to paint (from my demo and kickstarter sets). As an experiment, I decided to try the same technique but with colored washes.  I have six basic colors of transparent airbrush paint, plus seppia (brown) and black, so I felt good to go.
Vallejo paints / washes
Createx transparent airbrush paints
I start out saying that I really enjoyed this technique - so much so that I'm wondering which new army project I can use it on (I'm thinking this might be perfect for Neriticans when they are released next year)
all the survivors, primed white
It is also amazingly fast - I started on these Saturday afternoon and am writing this (waiting for the last to dry so I can spray them with matt sealer and then take pictures (which will be inserted starting above) at 1:45 pm on Sunday (and I already took the time to catch up on last night episode of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency on BBC America (as well as making a very late breakfast and changing laundry twice).  So it isn't like I spent a long time on these today or last night.
The survivors from the retail game
One thing that helps when speed painting with this technique is between the white undercoat and the transparent wash, the paint auto highlights and shades itself.  Flat surfaces take on the base color, the wash pools in the crevices for shading making them darker, and edges etc don't take as well to the color, making them lighter.
Carl, Derek, Rick and Patrick
The models come out a little 'cleaner' than I like most of the time (so yes, all the survivors have recently had a bath and put on clean clothes - get over it), but even so I like how they turned out.

Liam, Sandra, Allen and Dale 
One drawback to this technique is you have to be very careful - since everything is transparent if you paint something the wrong color you just can't paint over it, nor can you cover up if you slop the wash from one area to another.  If you have to correct something - you pretty much have to repaint it with standard flat white paint, let it dry and then wash it appropriately again.  (yes, I had to do this a few times).  And you can't just to the spot usually - you need to paint then entire area that is that color (so for example I had some black run up Abraham's forearm (from the gun) - I had to repaint the entire arm white to get the flesh wash to match (otherwise it was still a paler patch).

Donna, Jim, Michonne, and Abraham
It is also extremely critical that you let the wash dry between coats.  Because this is so thin, I found that it can often have a wicking effect - so when you are putting on one color next to another that is still wet - it pulls the other color into your new area - which was not what I wanted (i.e. I got to paint it white and try again).
Negan, Craig, Lori,and Shane
The one color I was not able to wash however was metal - there isn't much needed (knife blades, the head of Rick's ax, Rick and Shanes badges, Michonne's sword and the barb wire on Lucille (but then that got covered up with blood anyway).  The other was the basing.  When we have played some games, I have found it difficult to tell survivors from walkers - so rather than elaborate basing I did them as straight grey for the walkers and straight black for the survivors.  This way it is much easier to tell them apart when playing.

Reggie, Amy, Andrea, Carol and Sophia
I thought I'd take a few pictures of the retail version - first all the figures
All the models from the retail version
Then the box insert.  The tokens are also in the space for them (in a small baggie)
Retail version tray
Finally the box with the window - showing painted models.
Retail version w/ painted figures in the window

 Then the kickstarter top tray - I still need to do the badge and the bag of guns

The bottom tray - walkers done, but the cars, loot markers and barriers still need painted
bottom tray of kickstarter version (without the character cards)
Finally, I thought it might be interesting to see the survivors next to their walker versions (the two that have them).  The interesting thing is I painted the walkers, then put them to the side when I was painting the survivors.  I did not think to go back to make sure they were close - but actually ended up painting them similar anyway (shane with khaki pants, grey shirt and black jacket, reggie with black paints and tan shirt.
Shane, Walker Shane, Reggie and Walker Reggie
So all I have left are the four cars, six barricades, 10 loot markers and the plastic badge (initiative marker) - can I find a way to do this same technique on them?  I'm not sure it will work on the cars - however those might be perfect for the spray brush.  I have a demo in 11 days (and four of those (including next weekend) I'm out of town for my daughter's wedding so the clock is ticking.  Though if they go as fast as the walkers and survivors did I'll have them done tomorrow :-)

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Monday, December 5, 2016

5 Shades of Grey

Back in October, I held a demo day for Mantic's The Walking Dead: All out War at Epic Loot in Centerville.  Unfortunately this ended up being a month before they actually got most of their stock in, and it wasn't what I would call successful (a total of one demo game (would have had a second but he showed up just as I was about to leave, so I talked him through a bunch of it (but I had been there six hours at that time, so was ready to leave)) and talked to three more people).

However I'm not willing to give up that easily, and now that they have their stock in, we are going to try it again.  This time on Thursday night when they have their board game night.  And I had a whopping two weeks to get ready.

I hate doing demos with unpainted stuff - painted minis just look so much better.  So how was I going to get at least my demo set painted, if not my whole kickstarter box?  The survivors are simply going to take some time to crank through (and I only had one weekend to work on them, due to me being out of town for four days the weekend before the demo).  Maybe though I could do a speed painting technique on the walkers?

So I did some research (i.e. looked at facebook) and I found a post by Rick Britten in the "Mantic's The Walking Dead Fanatics" facebook group.  I had seen some other discussions about painting the game in monochrome to mimic the comic book, and I didn't like that (the survivors are hard enough to identify on the board unpainted - if they were all painted the same it wouldn't help), however seeing what he did, it occurred to me to do just the walkers monochrome.  Or very close to it.

I thought I'd show the process as I did it.

First prime white (these are the walkers from the retail edition).  You can see the paint I will be using behind them.  I like Krylon Painter's Choice Ultra Cover paint+primer for my primer - this is ultra flat white.
twelve white walkers
Then do a black wash on them.  (I used Vallejo Model Wash 76517 Gris Oscuro / Dark Grey)  This works better if you thin out the wash a bit.  It is crucial that you give this enough time to dry - if you don't then it is amazing how many little crevices still have wet wash in them and muddy up the next step. 
You would think that washing them would make the cleaner
Next is a quick drybrush of white (Vallejo Game Color 72.001 Blanco Calavera / Dead White).  This will help to lighten the skin if the wash wasn't thin enough, as well as do some highlighting from the next step.
a little brighter
We want the skin to be pale, so do not add any more wash to it.

Pick out clothing, and add either another coat of black wash, or a brown (Vallejo game Color Wash 73.200 Lavado Sepia / Sepia Shade) one.  This is where the white helps to highlight, as it naturally comes out lighter than the area around it.

re-washing the clothing - but nothing gets the walker stink out
some pieces of clothing will require a second coat to darken them.

Then use a red wash to add blood as needed.  I prefer to pick out the holes and injuries, with a few having it dripping from their mouths (but not overly gorey).  This wash I made myself ( I cleaned out an old Citadel pot to put it in).  Rick used a Tamiya clear red - which I didn't have any of, and was too impatient / lazy to go get some.  I realized that I did have a transparent red that I had purchased in a set for my airbrush - I thinned this out about 2/1 and added a drop of the dark grey wash to darken it, and used this mixture for the blood effects.  I think it came out pretty good.

blood for the blood - oops, wrong franshise
Lastly was the basing.  I'm not sure what appropriate basing would be - so for now I simply painted the bases grey (Vallejo Game Color 72.050 Gris Frío/Cold Grey )

So now to the light box for (hopefully) better pictures.

all together now - retail walkers
Except for drying time - I think I spent about half an hour on these one night, and maybe an hour the second.  Not award winning, but I like them, and they should stand out from the survivors once those are done.

I actually did three batches - one to test the concept, the second was the one I used for the pictures, and the third was all of the rest of the kickstarter ones.

ks walkers 1
Ok, I did violate my paint scheme for one model - Walker Ronnie - I just really wanted him in a blue shirt (based off the Mantic shirts they wear to conventions)

ks walkers 2 - at least he's not a redshirt
Now that the walkers are done, I'm thinking about a similar technique for the survivors.  It won't be the semi-monochrome palette I used here, but I want to see how it will work to try to paint them only using washes - so most of the skin will be a flesh wash - I have six base colors of transparent airbrush paint (blue, purple, red, orange, yellow and green) that should allow me to combine to make others (probably use the sepia for brown, I'm not sure).

ks walkers 3
So a very fast way to paint up walkers - I hope it may give a little bit of inspiration to others trying to get their sets ready for the table top.

ks walkers 4

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Friday, December 2, 2016

December SW Ohio Mantic Pathfinder News

The weather is finally acting like it should for this time of year, meaning everyone is starting to snuggle down to stay warm - so what better way than playing games and painting miniatures.

Wave 1 of the Walking Dead is out, and retailers are stocked for you to pick up copies.  I'll be hosting another demo / learn to play The Walking Dead event on December 15th at Epic Loot starting at 6 pm.  Come on down and give the game a try!

Now that the Mantic fall Open day is over, they are getting ready to ship wave 1 of the Warpath kickstarter, and hopefully most of us will have it before Christmas (talk about a nice present).

Kings of War has gotten some nice releases this fall, but is taking a slight break while TWD and Warpath get some love.  The rules committee is hard at work on new supplements however, including a book on running events with suggested scenarios and tournament changes for the next year.

The Gem City Massacre was a huge success, with 15 paying players (and one bald ringer) taking over the miniature room at Epic Loot for some great games.  Congratulations to Dan Payne who won it with his tough Nightstalker army.  I've already started thinking about how we can make this even bigger next year.

The historical escalation league has just finished its first build month - congrats to everyone who got their 300 pts painted in time.  If you didn't - you have December to catch up as the league takes a break for the Christmas season.  300 pt games start in January though, so be ready!

Last year we had the first ever International Kings of War Campaign day.  It was a lot of fun, and we are doing it again on January 14th (I am still locking down a place to play).  Four games run simultaneously across the country, with the first game starting at 1 pm and final results in by 9 pm.

In February, Daycon is premiering, and we will be having a small Kings of War tournament there.  Keep watching this space for more information.

Of course the end of March is the first annual Kings of War Masters Tournament (formally titled as the Skirmish Supremacy GT).  This has been moved to Nashville due to issues with the hotel in Atlanta (but it is 4 hours closer to us!).  

The weekend after that I will be back in Nashville for the 2nd annual Manticon.  Once again we will have the 'mulligan' game on Friday, then four rounds on Saturday.  If you are staying for Sunday, look for a fast and furious campaign in a day to finish off the weekend.

And right on the heels of that comes Adepticon!  Registraton is currently open at, and there are still slots available for all the Mantic events.  

It is not too late to sign up to help out at Origins next summer.  We can always use more people - and you can get your badge for half off if you help with a couple of events.

If you want something different - the 2nd edition of Dreadball is currently in a public playtest.  This is your chance to try the new rules and give feedback to the rules committee - who knows, you may even invent a new rule for the game (our own Kara Brown is the one who created Firebolt for Kings of War!).  You can download the latest playtest information at (click on the surveys link to go to dropbox and download everthing).

I'm still flailing away at that blog thing - check it out for pictures of new releaes, tournament reports and whatever I can think of twice a week.

Have a great holiday season and the Merriest of Christmases.  This is a great time to stay indoors and play games with your family.  I will see you all next year!

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Mike Carter
Your friendly local Mantic pathfinder:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

and the first month is history

With the first build month of our new Kings of War : Historical escalation league now complete, I thought it was an excellent opportunity to be able to put up some actual painted miniatures (for once - it seems like forever since I actually finished anything).  Now most of these are NOT mine (two of them are painted by me), but you might enjoy them anyway.

The first build month is 300 points.  For each build you must be within 10% of the total (allowing, this month, for 30 points in Veteran Abilities)

Of course I'm going to start with mine though!

I'm building Romans for my army, so for my 300 points I am taking two regiments of Heavy Warriors ( Legionaries ), one upgraded with Testudo (gaining Foulkon(2)) and the other with Rotate Ranks (gaining Iron Resolve).  Can you guess which unit is which?

Legionaries w/Testudo

from the back


from the back
The one thing I wasn't thinking about as I built these however is I didn't actually take the Pilum upgrade on these even though I liked them and used the arms with them.  When I realized that put the last two (which I ran out of pilum arms for) armed with short swords.   (another minor detail - many of these are missing the sword from their scabbard - because they should be using it!  They are going in the middle of the unit :-) ).  These use the same bodies as the Praetorian Guard[1] - had I been paying attention I would have swapped them out so the PG all had their swords sheathed while the Legionaries would all have their swords out and empty scabbards.

Next up are my friend Jim's Crusaders - I'm using his Basilean models for these.

His list is a troop of Crossbowmen, a regiment of Heavy Warriors (exchanging shields for 2HW) (paladins), and a troop of Penitents (nuns)


from the back

Regiment of Heavy Warriors

from the back


From the back
Felix Castro is fairly new to our little Kings of War group - and he seems to be our resident historian! He choose vikings as his list, with a regiment of spearmen, a regiment of warriors and a general.  He did something that I found interesting, and actually pretty cool and a great idea.  We have all had issues with miniatures that don't quite fit on their bases - weapons that hang over and keep you from actually moving into 'base to base' contact.  Spears (and cavalry lances) are a classic example of this.

Felix used the multi-basing rules to allow for 15 models in his regiment - and then left the front row empty - well except for those long pointy sticks!  So he has room for his unit to actually come in contact with the units they charge.  This is the first I've seen this, and I like it!



Finally, Keith Ambrose also got his vikings in - his list is a regiment of Huscarls, a troop of archers, and a general.

more vikings
This means that 4 people have gotten their 300 pt builds done on time, which is just at 50% of those who have said they are participating.  This league is struggling because of timing, but I hope everyone else catches up.

I look forward to seeing more and bigger armies (ok, I'm afraid to play the Indians - those war elephants scare me!).

Because it is all fun and games . . .

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mantic open meh

Mantic held another semi-annual open day this past weekend (same as last year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving).  Usually I'm jumping all over pictures trying to share them - but this year there didn't seem to be much.  I think that the big reveals all came out last week before the open day.

It seems the cabinets were mostly filled with existing releases.  There were some new Star Saga and Walking Dead sculpts however.  In addition there are some pictures Mantic has put up on their Instagram feed.

First the Walking Dead: All Out War

First is a painted version of Brian 'the governor' Blake - from the "prelude to Woodbury" single player starter.  I wasn't impressed with the pictures of the unpainted mini - but the studio paint job really makes him look like the character in the comics.

There are some renders of the retail exclusive Michonne, with her two walkers as well as a painted up version of everyone's favorite badass with a Katana!

They did have the minis for 'handless' Rick and a much better pose for Negan painted up as well.

The 'mutilated' governor (after he has a little run in with Michonne) was also on display - this sculpt is right out of the comic!

I don't play the Telltale Games Walking Dead game, but apparently there are producing a version of Clementine from it

This is from the instagram feed - and I really look forward to Ezekiel and Shiva coming out.

The only other new stuff that I could find any pictures of were some painted up models from Star Saga.

Some of the mercenaries

Another shot

Security guards
All three poses

and Lab techs

Finally, there is a video up of the Kings of War Seminar with Matt Gilbert and Nick Williams on Facebook: Kings of War Seminar

If you don't want to watch the video (or cannot get to it)  - I did save (i.e. stole from his facebook post) Nick's summary of the session

  • Tournament book coming early next year (Feb I think was mentioned). Contains new scenarios, new artefacts, new spells and puts the CoK changes down in writing. Playing with the changes is opponents consent only.
  • After that we have Trident Realms being launched with full army release in Feb, individual units in March.
  • Campaign book in April I think? Contains background for the summer campaign as well as some scenarios, some living legends etc.
  • Sourcebook towards the end of the year. 200+ pages of background fluff, including what's happening "now" and a chapter for each army.
  • Salamander army release towards the end of the year.
  • Mantic are bringing resin casting in-house from January and will be making some kits (particularly large infantry or larger) in resin. Once the molds wear out for some existing metal kits, such as Wyrm Riders, they'll convert them to resin.
  • Kings of War skirmish at some point next year. Will be used to develop hard plastic sprues for many armies, as well as some resin characters.
  • Siege rules will be done after skirmish. The RC wants to not just do the "Siege" scenario (that's actually an assault scenario) but also all the little scenarios around that, including sallies from the castle, small incursions, camp raids etc.
  • The RC wants to do a new unit for each of the core races (main rulebook + Trident Realms + Nightstalkers), but also bring them all up to the same number of units. This means some armies, such as Orcs and surprisingly Goblins, will get multiple new units. This hasn't been confirmed yet, but Ronnie did agree to flying gore riders for Orcs :)

There was a huge King of War game going on, and lots of pictures of that were posted on Facebook. But new, exciting reveals - well you can tell how excited I am about any of them because I was able to wait until Monday to post them instead of getting them out as quick as I could.

Because it is all fun and games . . .