Sleeving & Storing WM/H Stat Cards

Stat cards are a tremendous benefit to the game of warmachine and hordes, allowing quick reference to the entire suite of your models’ rules and abilities, as well as providing a place to track damage done to multi-wound models. They’re definitely an invaluable resource to the game, but as expansion books are published, each faction gets access to more and more models and units. For the player that means more and more cards in their collection to keep track of.

When I first started playing, most locals sleeved their cards individucally and kept them in a deck box. I quickly adopted this method and found a couple products that I really liked – Dragon Shield card sleeves and Ultra Pro deck boxes.  I’ve used this set up for years – it’s quick and dirty but it works.  I never had any problems at all in actual play, but as my army collections started getting bigger, keeping the cards sorted became harder – I started chucking whatever I had played back in the box after each game.  Searching for cards when building armies on the fly started taking longer and longer, so I started looking at alternatives.

Alternatively the Dragon Shield Box will double as a cheap (but less durable) deck box.

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Word of Everblight vs. Spirit of Everblight

The word of the law vs. the spirit of the law.  Whenever people get together to play a game of any type they have to decide where on that spectrum their game play experience will lie.  Most cooperative and/or casual games will lean towards the latter, but most  competitive  games sit bunched around the former.

Each gamer has their own opinions on the philosophy of game design, and I’m no different.  In my mind, if a game is designed to be played in a  competitive  format, then it should be designed to abide by the letter of the law.  By designing for the more strict guideline, those who prefer the more casual and/or want to tweak their experience – to make the rules feel more fluffy or appropriate to their own vision of the game – can do so.  Designing from the opposite standpoint results in a game that works for those on the spirit end of the spectrum but will likely negatively affect the word end of the spectrum, as the rules will either fail to  accommodate  certain  interactions or maybe even resolve them in a manner the game designers didn’t desire.

Privateer Press seems to take the word-emphasized  view of design, which I certainly appreciate.  Each incarnation of their Steamroller tournament system has had its flaws, but for the most part they design their game and format so that it can be played in a highly  competitive  venue and not break down to dicing-off rules interpretations.  In the past they’ve even made rulings that seem to go counter to how a rule was meant to be played when it preserved the word of the rule.  For example, the ruling on MkI Vilmon that allowed him to run and still use his Impervious Wall ability.  The rules supported the tactic, so whether or not it was intended it was supported (until the rule was reworded in MkII).

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Everyone’s Favorite WM/H Mini-game




Legion of Everblight Hex Hunters

The studio picture of the Legion of Everblight Hex Hunters unit has just been released, showing the full unit of these sorcerous elves, minus UA whose existence was spoiled earlier last month. I’m not a vest man myself, but the biker mages aren’t bad overall.

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MkII Hordes Cards’ Improved Aesthetics

The Hordes MkII cards were previewed a while back but now that I have mine in hand I’m noticing something I glossed over before.  The Warmachine MkII cards seemed to  receive  a negative reaction on the forums, but it looks like PP took some of the feedback and made a change that I much prefer.

Spirals aside, I definitely think that the Hordes cards came out looking better than their Warmachine counterparts. The contributor is the card backgrounds themselves. Where the Warmachine card backgrounds are gear-filled and busy, the Hordes cards have more organic and subtle designs without light-effects. They encourage the eye to look past them instead of jarring the eye to stare at them like the Warmachine cards do. The cards just feel less busy overall, and as a result also feel more spacious and less cluttered.

The spiral issues is just a personal gripe of mine that isn’t going to change one way or the other. Spirals aren’t going to change (unfortunately) so it’s just something I have to accept. Although I will say the MkII Spirals are definitely better than their MkI counterparts. The spirals are larger and each aspect has a different colored background, making it easier to follow them around the spiral.

So overall the MkII Hordes cards are definitely a step in the right direction. There are a few areas of design that could be improved but overall it will definitely service for the next couple years.

Wall of Fire, MkII Style

When MkII was released Privateer Press resized the “wall template” used by some spells, making the fold-up cards that came with models like Feora and Gorten obsolete.  Although I liked the fold-up wall for ease of handling, I decided to make a new flat  set so models could be placed directly on them if necessary.

Buh-bye now

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Different Strokes: Technique and Painting Speed

Recently I’ve been experimenting with a few of the techniques that the Privateer Press painting staff talk about in their recent books.  It’s taken a while to adapt to a new way of doing things but after getting used to it I’ve been able to increase the speed I can paint a figure pretty significantly.

Vice Scrutator Vindictus
Vice Scrutator Vindictus

The biggest change I’ve picked up on is how I layer cloth.  In the past I’ve started with the darkest shadow color and slowly worked up from there layer by layer.  But recently I’ve switched to basecoating with my  mid-tone  and shading down from that in thin coats, falling back to wet blending occasionally just to smooth out some of the larger surfaces.

Vindictus in particular only took a few days for me to do, and for me that’s faster than it usually would. If it weren’t for the filigree around the armor plates, I expect it would’ve gone even faster.

I’ve also spent some time on a reaper figure lately, using this technique primarily on her cloak. A lot of the rest of her is quick-work, but all in all, she’ll make a good RPG figure once complete.

Reaper Miniatures #2834 Deladrin, Female Assassin
Reaper Miniatures #2834 Deladrin, Female Assassin

I’m still refining the techniques, but for now I’m satisfied with how the figures are turning out. Soon I’ll be moving on from my recent string of Protectorate pieces to try out the wintery blues of my Legion. Between that and a few side pieces I’m working on, I should have ample opportunity to perfect the new technique.

Switching it Up, Keeping it Fresh

To help keep motivated after spending a fair bit of time on my exemplars’ armor, I switched up things a bit and started working on some side projects.  I found a couple Hordes figures I had started to work on and forgotten about, and started work  on some figures for a new RPG campaign.

The change of pace has helped me keep productive, but the subject matter isn’t really helping the problem I mentioned previously of not pushing my skill.  It seems like a lot of my RPG figures tend to get rush jobs – especially the plastic ones.  But at least it’s still painting; I’m building momentum. 🙂

The first couple miniatures are the Unit Attachment for the Blighted Swordsmen of the Legion of Everblight.  They’ve been sitting on my desk in an almost-complete state for ages but I finally got back to working on them the other day.  I’m down to the last few final details and I’ll be able to seal them.

The black-robed figure is a speed paint job for an RPG character.  It’s an old plastic Games Workshop wizard figure I got years ago.  He’s pretty basic (and way too rosy cheeked at the moment) but makes a good  pompous  little wizard.

The last figure is one that I’ve actually painted before, but I’ve gone back and rebased.  I’m thinking on starting to do this on more of my figures as I get time.  Since their tabs are already glued into the base it’s just a quick series of tasks:

  1. Paint watered-down PVA glue on the base
  2. Dip the base in sand
  3. Paint watered-down glue over sand
  4. Paint
  5. Seal
  6. Add static grass

It’s something that should be easily done while I’m waiting for other other figures to dry, and will help make some of my older figures look more ‘finished’.   They never see table time other than in role-playing games where it doesn’t really matter, but I’ll be happier with them.

Glutton for Punishment

I’ve noted a few things before on my blog: I hate painting Exemplar and I’m suffering from brush burnout.  You’d think I’d pick different a different model type for my newest project.   But alas, I just started my Exemplar Errant Seneschals and Unit Attachment instead.  Sometimes I wonder if something’s seriously wrong with me.

I spent a few evenings with Hulu on the laptop near my painting desk working on the models’ armor and made some decent progress.  I’m still working on some more detailed shading at the moment, but I’m going back and forth between wanting to take the time to do some really detailed shading and getting burnt out working on them.

This has me thinking – I wonder if army painting is causing my abilities to stagnate.  It seems like there’s less motivation to push my skill to the next step when in the back of my head I can always fall back to “Well, this just has to look as good as the rest of my models.”  Might be time to shake things up a bit.

Hardcore: Down to the Wire

With just a couple days left before Privateer Press Weekend at DieCon X here in St. Louis, I’m still scrambling to finish a few last minute figures before Saturday’s Hardcore event.  Surprise surprise, it’s down to the wire with me scrambling to finish a everything up in time.  It really shouldn’t be a surprise, though.  🙂

I also have to clean up a few models and finish assembling my Exemplar Errant Seneschals in case I want to use them later in the weekend.  They definitely won’t be painted for Hardcore but I might toss ’em in another list to give them a go in one of the other formats.

Despite being behind, I’m looking forward to the event.  Last two years have been fantastic, and this year promises to be no exception.

Basic Basing

Basic Basing

In a previous post I mentioned that I use  concrete patch as a basing material.  It’s an alternative to sand that’s a rock solid way to model dirt to-scale  on a base.  It requires a bit more effort than the traditional glue and sand but I think the end result is worth the extra work.

Base WIPs
Base WIPs

The most difficult aspect of working with the concrete patch is that in order to attach models, you have to clip the pewter tab from the base of the figure, give it a quick filing, and pin it to the base.  I’ve always  preferred  that method anyway, so it’s no big deal. But if you’re used to just gluing and slotting the figure, then switching to concrete patch is going to involve some extra steps.

Usually I’ll glue the pin to the miniature and drill a hole on the base, cover the base in concrete patch, and before it sets, press the miniature down where it’ll ultimately stand, and remove it.  Once the concrete patch dries, the indentions left by the miniatures feet will cup them in place securely.

If you want add accessories to a base – things like small rocks, gears, or the like – the patch itself will hold them in place if you press them in before it dries.  For the most part this has been all I’ll need to do, but occasionally if a piece is loose I’ll pop it up after the patch dries and glue it back down into the same divot, making it very secure.  For tiny rocks made from cork I’ll just put a drop of glue over it while attached, and that is usually sufficient. I prefer superglue over craft glue for these steps.

As for painting my bases, I picked up a recipe for craft colors a few years ago that I use for all of my bases.  I can’t remember the source anymore, but the combination works great.  One note though, before going into painting – make sure you have an extra old brush.  Drybrushing over concrete patch will ruin a brush like nothing else.I use craft paints for my bases because frankly there’s no point in wasting expensive model paints on them.  Once they’re thinned slightly, they dry brush on adequately for any base and are far cheaper than higher quality alternatives.  I purchased a set of 2oz. bottles of paints over two years go just for basing and I still have plenty left.

Basing Paint Range
Basing Paint Range

The recipe is pretty basic.  Just lay down a solid layer of Burnt Umber (or Dark Burnt Umber) and drybrush with successive layers of:

  • Brown Oxide
  • Autmn Brown
  • Golden Brown
  • Maple Sugar

If I feel I need a final layer of highlights, I’ll add a little Satin Cream to the Maple Sugar for just the lightest of  dustings.

You could easily get away with buying less bottles of paint and mixing up midtones, but I don’t think it’s worth the time.  Each bottle is less than $1 US, so for $5 you can buy enough shades to be able to work straight from the bottle – no wasting time mixing midtones or trying to match previous results.

After you paint the bare earth, you can add flocking and/or paint whatever additional accessories you’re adding to your base.  It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.