Thursday, 31 March 2016

"I'll play this stinkin' city like a harp from hell!"

I've had a bit of a rush of motivation recently and managed to get quite a bit of painting done. This has been focused mainly on my BMG miniatures.

First up, my new Penguin crew.

I got this crew for Christmas and I've been putting them off due to the camouflage on their trousers. I've finally plucked up the courage to tackle them. As it turns out, I'm quite happy with my first attempt at camouflage, although it's helpful that I don't have to follow a specific design so I went for an urban scheme that I made up on the fly.

I've given all the henchmen orange tops as I want to link to the fact that like most of the henchmen in the game, they are Arkham City prisoners. I also like to add some orange in so that the Blackgate Prisoners and Lunatics fit in with the look of the rest of the crew.

Penguin himself was simple and fun to paint, a really characterful sculpt. Rather than be a direct copy of the Arkham City game, this version seems to draw from several different versions of Penguin: Danny Devito, Burgess Meredith and the Arkham Games. I've seen people paint him in homage to each of these, but I've gone for something more neutral, just because I wanted to.

One of the interesting details of this crew is that they were amongst the earliest models in the range and they show it in the awkwardness of putting them together. Penguin, the henchmen with the gun and the one with the baton came in three pieces each and were a bit of a pig to assemble. KM's sculpts seem to have grown less fiddly over time.

In addition to the Penguin crew, I've managed to completed the remaining two Blackgate Prisoners, Little Spark and Prisoner 05. I've come to really like painting the prisoners, as I've used the same drill as usual with these, nothing special, although Little Spark has lots of cables and wires that needed picking out.

With all these criminals on the loose, Batman's going to need help rounding them up. That help comes in the form of Helena Bertinelli, the Huntress.

I've opted for a more modest outfit than the official paint scheme which has a ridiculous amount of bare flesh on display. Mainly this is because the costume I associate with Huntress is like this, but also because the other costume design is just silly for a vigilante.

I don't know why, but each time I photograph this model, she doesn't look as good as in real life. I'm actually really happy with her, but the camera seems to pick out flaws I can't see with the naked eye.

So it's been a productive few days, and there are a few more things that I've been painting which I'll keep under wraps for now...

Monday, 28 March 2016

Earth's Mightiest Heroes...well...apart from Hulk...

There's a little bit of deja vu going on today as I've painted the Avengers...again.

This time it's in 32mm for the new Knight Models release, the Marvel Universe Miniatures Game (to which I'm determined to ascribe the acronym 'MUG' ). Built on a similar but more streamlined engine to BMG, it deals with a much higher level of power and allows models to throw and destroy the scenery in the process of a good old-fashioned superhero smackdown.

First up, the Mighty Thor, the God of Thunder. As well as being a chunky model, this one is a pleasure to paint as it's well defined and detailed, without being too fiddly. The base, like the others, was built up with small stones to add to the large amount of tactical rock that's already part of the model.

Next, the Invincible Iron Man. This one caused me a bit of hassle. Like the Crossover Miniatures version I painted a while back, I couldn't get the red and gold to work properly, as the red was too flat and the gold was too patchy. What's more, I'd over done the undercoat and lost some of the fine details on the face.

I solved the problems with a bit of research and ingenuity. A little Google-fu turned up this:

It's one of the alternate suits that features in 'Iron Man 3' called the Silver Centurion. This gave me the excuse I needed to replaced the gold with silver (which always works better for me) and darken the red. I managed to get the shine on the red parts by adding a coat of one of the the Citadel Technical Paints, the awkwardly named 'Blood For The Blood God', which is meant for making blood look wet. However, it served to give a suitably metallic shine.

Captain America, the First Avenger. I'm really happy with this model, although it is probably the one that struggle most in close up (although it is a bit bleached by the lighting - and the eyes have more detail than it seems). The stripes on the uniform and the circles on the shield were tricky, and they're not perfect. However, they work on the tabletop and didn't drive me to insanity in the process. Cap was the one of the models that made me most nervous, and I'm just pleased to have made a half-decent job of him.

Finally, Black Widow. The controversial member of the team.

Why controversial, you ask? Well, it's like this. Some time ago, KM began releasing Marvel miniatures without an associated game. Cap, Iron Man and Thor were all part of the range, along with Black Widow. However, not this Black Widow, a different one. This one:

Now it's not the best model in their range, but by being different it means that people who'd already bought into the range, needed to buy all four again to get a Black Widow that's usable in official events, which seems a bit best.

The other issue is that, despite being in a more dynamic pose, the new model isn't great either. Fan service dimensions aside (that's more a genre thing), the legs are sort of spindly, the uniform lacks detail and the face really lacks definition. As a comparison, have a look at my definitely-not-Black-Widow-she's-called-Natalia-not-Natasha, from Reaper Miniatures.

Yes...still full-on fan service, but there's just so much more detail on a model that's technically half the price.

Despite being disappointed, I'm still happy with the what I've done with the model and the lack of detail encouraged me to simply use a black ink to give her costume a PVC shine. I've done what I can with the face (although she looks a bit like Tracey Ullman) and she'll do. I might be sneaking my Reaper version in for friendly games though.

So, the Avengers are assembled, again, and I've got my eyes on Wolverine and Black Panther to add to the crew and the Hulk I used as Solomon Grundy, may get a repaint. I also need to find somebody to play against, at which point, I'll do a review of the game.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

The Killing Joker

As previously advertised, I spent today at another Titan Games Batman Tournament in Lichfield. I always enjoy them and it's a good chance to catch up with friends from the world of BMG and blogging. Not only was Leon/Pulp Citizen from Eclectic Gentlemen Gamer there again, having notably more success with his Court of Owls crew, but I also finally got to meet Simon from Brummie's Wargaming Blog, who was running his newly finished Bane crew.

I took my Joker crew and went all out on speed and aggression with my choices as a change from the stealth and sehannigans I'd used with my previous tournanment crews (Harley, League, Batman and Ivy):
  • Titan Joker
  • Victor Zsasz
  • Titan Clown (with Bat-Claw and Clown Paint)
  • Contra-Auguste (with Clown Paint)
  • Sniggering (with Extra Ammo)
  • Prisoner 01 
  • Prisoner 04
  • Pavilion A Subject

Game 1 - Plunder

My first game was against Chris' League of Shadows crew, and I immediately spotted that we had extremely similar crews. He had a small ranged advantage and I had a bit more speed and bulk, but the two crews were pretty evenly matched:
  • Ra's Al Ghul (Batman Begins Version)
  • Victor Zsasz
  • Smash
  • Dallas (with Night Vision Goggles and Extra Ammo)
  • Yang
  • Shadow
  • Prisoner 01 (with Loyalty Tattoo)
  • Prisoner 02

Chris immediately took the advantage by using Ra's Al Ghul's bonus strategies to secure an extra objective for him to score points off, whilst using Snitch to deny me doing the same. The first couple of turns saw us both rush for objectives and warily circle each other, aware that the one who broke cover first could leave themselves exposed.

Chris broke first, and his Victor Zsasz rushed into the midst of my crew and failed to have an impact. He was leapt up by my crew and beaten into the dirt. This gave me the advantage and I set up bait to draw Ra's Al Ghul out into the open. Chris took the bait (although I'm not sure who was baiting who) and Titan Joker and Titan Clown leapt in to decapitate the Demon's Head. They whiffed.

This lead to Joker being taken down by a counter ambush and suddenly I was unable to break through the League's lines to halt their stream of victory points. Although I carried on fighting, I was unable to keep up and ultimately lost 51-37.

Despite the result, this one of the best games I've played of BMG as it was so cagey initially, and then just exploded into action. The game was also characterised by me remembering special rules three seconds after they would have been useful. That's what happens when you have six months between games. However, this shouldn't take away from the way Chris played, he used his crew, especially Ra's, with precision and would finish the day in second place.

Game 2 - Patrol

Have slipped down the leader board significantly, I found myself facing another, very different, League of Shadows crew played by Greg:
  • Talia Al Ghul
  • Solomon Grundy
  • Lotus
  • Yang
  • McGregor (with Loyalty Tattoo)
  • Dallas (with Night Vision Goggles and Extra Ammo)
  • Pavilion A Subject

With the goal of this scenario to get to the other side, I decided to load one flank. Titan Joker, Titan Clown and Prisoner 04 making a concerted rush against Solomon Grundy, Talia and McGregor, whilst the rest of the henchmen risked Dallas' firing lanes to grab loot and Victor Zsasz went up against the Ninjas (whom I'd managed to injured with my gas cannisters). Meanwhile, both of our lunatics hit the sewers in an attempt to sneak into the scoring zones.

Prisoner 01 and Contra Auguste made a dash for the loot, and managed to grab it, despite being in view of Dallas who only managed to hit Prisoner 01 once (in fact that was all he'd hit all game - Greg had some terrible luck with him), and found himself under fire and taking damage from Sniggering. My henchmen retreated and managed to block sewers and prevent the League's other objectives being scored from for the rest of the game.

Zsasz almost took down Yang, but was forced onto the defensive. However, he was able to tie up both ninjas for the entire game, preventing them achieving much. He even managed to finish off Dallas at the end of the game for a few bonus VP's.

The big fight saw Titan Joker and Titan Clown knock out Grundy in a single round, but they were unable to finish him off and he went all Cape Fear on me and just kept on getting back up. Talia proved particularly dangerous, and not only managed to kill Prisoner 04, but also did enough damage to the big guys to ultimately make me back off to prevent Greg scoring from them.

MVP, however, was my lunatic. He popped up from a sewer and managed to rack up 10 VP's from various objectives, ultimately helping me to win 26-12.

Game 3 - Skirmish

Firmly back in mid-table mediocrity, I found myself up against Chris (there were several guys name Chris at the event - 4, I think) and his Watchmen. I've played Chris before at the Long Halloween event, and he gave my Poison Ivy crew a schooling with Nightwing. He crew, predictably, was:
  • Ozymandias
  • Comedian
  • Rorschach
  • Silk Spectre
  • Nite Owl

Without putting too fine a point on it, this game was a nightmare for Chris.

It began with Comedian failing to destroy a lamppost and getting shot (just once) by Sniggering. However it continued with me getting in on Ozymandias with Titan Joker on turn two and knocking him down, then getting first turn and being able to knock him out.

This was shortly followed by Titan Clown and Zsasz mobbing Rorschach and knocking him out as they responded quickly to some clever objective deployment from Chris. Comedian and Silk Spectre tried to respond to the situation, but Joker was able to catch up with them and knock out Spectre and seriously injure Comedian, with the injured Ozymandias was unable to prevent my henchmen scoring continuously from loot and ammo objectives.

Although Chris was able to knock out Joker late in the game, partly due to me getting cocky, it was too late to balance the scores and the game ended 30-12.

Chris had a terrible start to this game, and it would have been worse if Titan Clown and Zsasz had not been whiffing their attacks as they tried to finish of Rorschach and Silk Spectre. Titan Joker was immense, and rolling well, showing just what a beast he can be.


Not only had I managed to win two of my three games, the last round had saw nobody else in the competition manage to win a game. Everybody drew. This saw me surprisingly leap up the table into third! This amazing late surge saw me win two blister packs (Arkham Knight and some Joker Clowns) and a tournament exclusive alternate card for Prisoner 02 (BA). The main prize though was an excellent day's gaming, at a cracking venue, meeting and playing some really nice people. I couldn't fail to win.

In terms of the game itself, what did I learn?

  • Big guys, like Titan Joker, are really powerful, but very swingy. When the dice are good (such as in game 3) the can almost single-handedly win you the game, but when the dice run cold (such as in game 1), the lack of re-rolls can be a real problem.
  • Having Distract (from Clown Paint) on the Titan Clown is a great combination, allowing him to weaken defences before clobbering them. I didn't really use the Bat-Claw, but that's probably because of the crews I was facing.
  • Speed and aggression works as a crew tactic. By being up in my opponents' faces I was able to force the game on them, and although it sometimes didn't work out, I felt like I was dictating the games for a lot of the day.
  • I need to work harder to get my Bodyguard into position. Prisoner 04 was never quite where he needed to be when Joker was taking damage.
  • Zsasz is great against chaff, but struggles to hit tougher opponents.
Overall, another great day from the chaps at Titan Games and I will almost certainly attending their next event. I would heartily recommend that you do the same!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

The Perils of Trying Something New

Sorry for the hiatus, life's been a bit busy.

The most recent games I've played were over a week ago and Matt, Pete and I gathered for a round robin of 750 point games of Kings of War.

Having just received my copy of the Uncharted Empires expansion for Kings of War, I decided to give my Bretonnians a spin as the Order of the Brotherhood, rather than the Kingdoms of Men that I'd used previously. The list is a better reflection of the Bretonnians in WFB with more variations of Knights, Pegasus Knights and lots of Peasants that gain a nerve bonus from nearby Knights. The goal was to find out if my current collection of models worked better as Brotherhood, rather than the more generic Kingdoms of Men. I decided using any of the Order of the Forsaken (Pegasus Knights) as I'd used flyers in all my recent games and knew how they'd work. I was more interested in finding out about the other units.

Pete had brought an aggressive version of his trusty Dwarves and Matt was giving his Empire troops a run out using the League of Rhordia list instead of Kingdoms of Men for similar reasons to me.

The Brotherhood
The Dwarves
The League of Rhordia
Order of the Brotherhood Regiment (with Potion of the Caterpillar)
Villein Spearmen Regiment
Villein Martyrs Regiment
Villein Bowmen Troop
Villein Siege Artillery
Exemplar Adjutant (mounted)
Devoted (with Lightning Bolt)
Ironclad Horde (with Blessing of the Gods)
Ironguard Regiment (with Throwing Mastiff)
Shieldbreaker Regiment (with Throwing Mastiff)
Berserker Lord (mounted)
Army Standard Bearer (with Healing Charm)
Household Knights Regiment
Household Knights Troop
City Militia Horde
Halfling Volley Gun
Wizard (with Heal)
Army Standard Bearer
Halfling Master Engineer

Game 1 - Dwarves vs League of Rhordia - Loot

Matt advanced both units of Knights and they proved effective in charging and breaking the Dwarf regiments. The Ironclad horde weathered a storm of shooting and outmatched the City Militia (which Matt discovered are not the equals of the Foot Guard he has run previously). The MVP was Pete's Berserker Lord which flanked the woods on the right and destroyed the Volley Gun before loughing into the flanks and rear of Matt's units, winning Pete the game.

Game 2 - Brotherhood vs League of Rhordia - Pillage

Matt came forward with his Knights, and I matched them with my infantry, although they were worn out and broken when the City Militia advanced. My Knights charged through the woods to first hit the troop of Knights opposite before turning on the Volley Gun. My Bowmen spent the game advancing up the left flank and throwing damage into the Militia. The game ended as a draw, but I later discovered that I shouldn't have been able to move and shoot my Bowmen, which might actually have meant Matt would have won.

Game 3 - Dwarves vs Brotherhood - Pillage

At the start of this game I looked across the table and fully understood the failings of my army. My regiments of Peasants were no match for Dwarves, and even though my Knights pack a punch, failure to break their target would see them flanked and ground down. What's more, I had no real answer for the Berserker Lord. I did exactly the wrong thing and went all defensive, trying and failing to mitigate the threat of the Berserker, allowing the Dwarves to dictate where fights would happen and relying on frankly inadequate shooting. One by one my units were caught and destroyed in a calamitous defeat. My Knights did break the Shieldbreakers, but as expected were flanked and routed too.

So, what did I learn?

  • I don't think the Brotherhood list works for my Bretonnians. I don't have enough Knights to make full use of the strengths of the list. What's more, the Villeins/Peasants are really weak, so even with hordes and a unit of Pegasus Knights, my army will lack punch and durability. Also, the low nerve of the Peasants needs nearby Knights, but the moment they charge, the Peasants become easier to break. I'll be returning to Kingdoms of Men, as the ability to field Foot Guard with Crushing Strength makes a big difference in terms of combat power.
  • I shouldn't feel awkward/guilty about using flying units, as essentially I handed a mobility advantage to Pete's Berserker Lord (as did Matt) and a single, mobile, powerful hero really caused havoc.
  • I shouldn't rely on shooting to do more that weaken the enemy unless I bring significantly more.
  • I need to be more willing to seize the initiative and be more aggressive. I actually froze in the game against Pete, and was picked apart piecemeal.
So in the spirit of being more aggressive, let me introduce my crew for my next Batman tournament at Titan Games in Lichfield on Saturday:

Titan Joker, Victor Zsasz and the Titan Clown makes this a full on attacking crew. I'll probably get gunned down in short order, but's different!