Close to 3 weeks ago I moved on to working on the obstacle & loot pieces for the Walking Dead game, the game I've yet to play. I said that it would take a week to paint everything, but realistically it would take me 2 weeks.
3 weeks later, I'm roughly halfway done.
Keep in mind, this is something I'm doing for fun and when I'm in the mood to paint so I'm not forcing it. The problem I had wasn't so much motivation to get it all done, but mainly over the past couple of years everything I've painted is mostly organic - people, clothes, guns held by people. Tires, metal panels, and wooden walls are different enough to be hard. Frustratingly hard.
Those blasted walls with tires on 1 side were my bane. Nothing was working right on the first coat. Or the second. Brush streaks. Paint's too thick. Then the paint's too thin. Oh, now the details don't show up. How do I get paint in that nook and cranny without messing up everything around it I, for some reason decided it was smart, already painted?
As is my way when I mess up a paint job, I fiddle around trying out more things and hope something works. There was a lot of fiddling here. I finally got to the point I decided I was done fiddling, ie I ran out of ideas to try. At that point I went to my normal final cover-up phase: weathering.
It's also been a while since I pulled out the weathering pigments (looking back, about 3 years when I was working on a Dust walker). I'd forgotten a little, plus I didn't have any of the little applicators I'd used that worked so well. So once again, a little frustration on re-learning a step.
This batch is now sealed and done. It's not going to win any awards, but I think it looks better than "molded grey plastic". There's still 6 markers left - mostly boxes-o-stuff with more nooks and crannies. These will take patience and a steady hand, two things I'm not good at having at the same time. As such, it would normally take a week but I'll get it done in 2 - look for the update in 3 weeks :)
I'm not sure if I've put this here, but a big inspiration for wanting to do all of this prep work before even playing a game came from Beasts of War gaming tables that were set up for a Walking Dead event. The scenery is just gorgeous. While I'd seen some of the commercially available pieces before, seeing everything together just gave me a nerdgasm, especially the 4Ground buildings as they're PREPAINTED mdf buildings (painting mdf that you pay $30 for scares me).
Noble Knight Games carries some 4Ground stuff domestically both in their online store and eBay. Once you factor in international shipping and taxes from 4Ground, the Noble Knight - mostly known for their overpriced out of print inventory - has competetive prices. I discovered not to long ago that eBay will run a flash sale coupon about once/month where the coupon (usually $15 off $75) is good for a couple of hours in the early evening. There's normally a post by someone on Board Game Geek when this happens. The last time I paid attention I caught the notice the morning after the sale. I since trained myself to check the forums after work. Yesterday it paid off and the sale was live. I zipped over to eBay and decided to get 3 "Shotgun" houses. The 3 (A, B, and C) are styled a little differently. They're cheap enough, for the "good" quality that everyone brags about, that it should be a safe entry for me into their brand & mdf buildings in general. With 3 buildings I get enough to a little variation in whatever layout(s) I want to try.
It'll take just under 2 weeks for everything to get here, based on the last time I ordered from Noble Knight. Maybe that should be my target goal for finishing painting the other token/markers I've got? Even after those, I've got 4 blasted vehicles to paint - blasted because the first one I started on has not gone well so far. It doesn't sound like I'm having as much fun with this as I truly am. But I am.
Ah, what's been happening over the course of the last 6 weeks? The excitement of slicing a chunk of my thumb mostly off led me to, well, not do a whole lot. It's amazing how important the inner part of my right thumb is. Luckily, it's healed to the point where it doesn't gross out passers by, and I've gotten to where I don't notice the always numb area.
One of the big things that took a hit in productivity was painting gaming whatnot. I was on a pretty good run and gradually getting a little better week by week. While my thumb kept me from painting (I tried on day early on, it didn't turn out well and those zombies will never see the light of day) I ended up surfing around for tips, tricks, and hints. Along the way I cam across Christian and Pimp My Boardgame. Christian has done an outstanding job with his copy of Walking Dead All Out War. He's gone for a black & white motif, and it works well. I'd seen a couple play through/tutorials of the game around the web, and the way people were putting together some nice game boards really caught my attention. As a scenery guy, it appealed to me. Appealed enough I picked up a copy, as is my way.
I decided my random hobby painting would now have a goal. I would paint what was needed to play through the first mission of the solo Woodbury scenario/mission. This would entail
I primed zombies and the Governor, then tracked down some pics on the web of what people had painted. Having some guide(s) to go by would make life easier. I even contacted Christian a couple of times, both to compliment how well everything he did looked as well as picked his brain. The buildings he used for his board looked really nice, so I asked him where they came from. Turns out it was from a papercraft set that I bought in 2010 and had never used! Stuff like that isn't so unusual for me now that I think back and see how much stuff I get and never use.
I stuck to my plan and painted my Governor and zombies. I primed stuff along the way to prep for the next phase. I printed ground tiles and mounted them on foam core. I made progress!
I've haven't started painting the loot and obstacles yet, and those will likely take a couple of weeks. Once those are done, I'll be ready to play a game. Sure, I don't need all of this stuff to play a game, all I needed to do was open the box, punch some tokens, and then I'd be good to go. Realistically, the game is just my excuse to do all of this other stuff.
Every 30 years I have to go to the ER for a cut on my hand. In 1987 I broke a window at BSC which merited a stitch. Yes, A STITCH. This time I was cutting on a plastic jeep with an Xacto knife and not minding the rule "cut away, not towards". Disobeying this rule garnered 5 stitches and a 3 ½ hour visit to the ER. Just to make things looks nastier, some thumbnails are pixelated to prevent projectile disgust.
I have a big dead/numb spot on my thumb now. I think it's like having a callous. I don't really know, as I've never had one before. I've always prided myself on my hands never seeing a hard days work.
It doesn't hurt. It didn't hurt when it happened (scared the hell out of me, but didn't hurt). Annoying, though.
After a long break, I finally played a game. A solo game. A game I've never played before. With all the minis painting I've been doing, it's even a game with no minis! Thunderbolt Apache Leader is a solo wargame that's been around for a while, and all the solo wargamers love it. It's a little complicated (so the reviews go) but not impossible to pick up. It's been a while since I learned a new game, but thanks to a well written manual and a handful of YouTube videos I had a decent grasp of what I needed to do.
The game has a campaigns and missions within those campaigns. Each game-day you pick enemy battalions to attack, with the makeup of that battalion defined by a card. Attack those units and units attack back. Destroy a certain percentage before you run out of fuel. Sounds simple, doesn't it?
Phase 1 is picking the campaign - I selected the introductory Iraq campaign, hoping it would be easier. Next the situation (mission) is picked, which will give the number of points available for both sides to pick forces.
Phase 2 is picking which enemy battalion to attack, which leads to setting up the map, deploying forces, and getting ready for havoc.
This leads to phase 3 - havoc.
There are plenty of rules, and I'm not going over the rules. There's rulebooks and YouTube videos for that. I picked a mission to go after an Assault Battalion. I was supposed to defeat 2 battalions in 1 (game) day for the scenario win conditions, but this is a learning session so I threw everything at the enemy. I had 1 Warthog, 4 Apaches, and a Cobra all loaded out with ordinance. I went out on the attack and things started out pretty good.
Unfortunately I didn't pay attention to enemy ranged attacks and line of sight.
The 2nd turn was horrible. My 1st 4 units that attacked, which consisted of 7 individual attacks, ALL MISSED. When flying a Warthog through hexes of 4 enemy units and you're counting on dropping bombs that will destroy everything in a hex, you should really HIT AT LEAST SOMETHING. This started a barrage of being attacked not just by units in the same hex, but usually by 1 of not 2 more hexes (since they didn't get destroyed in the last turn like they should have).
Units got damaged to the point where penalties made it impossible for them to hit enemy units. I forgot that I needed to leave the map by the end of turn 5, which meant units needed to be facing a certain way to leave the map instead of on an attack run in the wrong direction. I kind of laughed at that one, though.
While the details in the pics aren't any use below, they give a decent idea of how things move along.
The end of mission results added an extra stress on the return to base phase. When rolling the Bingo dice for the final batch of stress, poor Hammer did not fare well again, and ended up with a total of 13 stress (he's unfit to fly at 5).
The enemy force was reduced to half strength (20 or fewer points remaining on the map, there were 15) which was a moral victory as I got nothing else from it game-wise. In the campaign this would affect another mission setup though.
Under the mission scenario I was supposed to defeat 2 battalions on the first day. I deployed all of my troops after 1 battalion, leaving nothing for a 2nd attack on the first day. While I didn't lose the mission outright, I didn't win either. Granted, it was my first time to play and I really shouldn't have won, but I thought deploying everything I had would give me a better chance. Better than I ended up having, at least.
Now that I've played the game I can understand why it's gotten such good review. It's a fun game, especially for a solo game. Multiple times I said "aww, come on!" when things didn't go my way (did I mention the turn where NOTHING HIT?). There's a lot to keep up with but the game board does a good job of helping keep track what happens and in what order. After the 1st turn I was going through the motions like I'd been playing for a while.
Setup takes a while. There's lots of little chits to keep up with, sort, and assign. I've got to find a good way to store all of this so it doesn't take me an hour to go through everything and find what I need to start the next game.
Needing a break from the skin tones I just can't get looking like I want, I opted for some fully armored futuristic military gun guys.
Nova Corp Soldier. I had the most fun playing with the base on this one. There was a normal scattering of small rocks on the base, but for fun I painted them. Metallic blue, then I mixed in some red along with a steel drybrush. Finally a gloss coat wrapped it up at the end. I can't decide if those painted rocks look like alien minerals or some kind of metal debris, but so far I like it.
Nova Corp Rifleman. Honestly I just screwed this one all up. The paint was too thick. Everything ended up too dark. I tried to add some highlights to lighten it up and it just.. well, it just didn't work out too good. This was also my first test using Citadel texture paint on the base, and I'm not sure how that's working out yet.
Nova Corp Sergeant. After glopping on too much paint on the other 2, I decided to try a different approach I'd heard about and just used washes and drybrush. This kept the details on the mini visible and kept the colors lighter. The other 2 ended up too dark, so this was a nice change and I actually ended up pleased with how this one turned out.
Previously I've been priming 3 minis and working on them at the same time, usually by whatever paint color I was using at the time. Then I'd end up getting ahead on the details of one, but somehow end up finishing all of tehm around the same time. This round was different. Since I was screwing up the Rifleman first, I would take whatever bad thing I discovered and try to do the opposite on on of the others - some things worked, a lot didn't. I ended up with 1 mostly finished, yet horribly painted mini, while also having one that barely had any paint on it. Again, this turned into a learning experience more than anything else, a learning experience in lots of little things to not do!
I worked on these off and on for 2 weeks so they took a little longer than what I've been taking for working on a trio of minis. Part of that was work keeping me busier of late, but it was also painting the same thing (paint scheme) 3 times, which felt more like when I was cranking out Dust minis.
Next up is a batch of zombies from Wargames Factory. These came on sprues so step 1 was gluing them together.
The zombies aren't the best cast molds (Wargames Factory as a brand is no longer around). These came in boxes of 30 minis to put together. I'm pretty sure I bought them for around $20/box, so I wasn't expecting the best quality. Basically good enough to have a bunch of zombies running around at some point. I actually have a goal with these, as I recently picked up the Walking Dead: All Out War minis game and every play video I see with painted minis & scenery looks fun. Sure, unpainted would still be fun, but painted is funner! Not sure how long it will take me to get all the fluff together before I play, but that's just part of me being me.
In the interim, I've finally taken the shrinkwrap off a game that's been on the shelf for years: Thunderbolt Apache Leader. It's a solitaire game that's long been lauded for it's quality of rules, components, and game play. It's been a while since I played a game, much less read through a rule book. Next blog-time we'll find out how this went.
As always, correct spelling is optional in any blog entry. Keep in mind that any links more than a year old may not be active, especially the ones pointing back to Russellmania (I like to move things around!).
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