Friday, 15 August 2014

A Case for the Arcanists

It's still GenCon. I am still ridiculously jealous of everyone who's in Indianapolis right now enjoying it. Ridiculously jealous. At least I have a friend out there currently grabbing all the bits and pieces I'm after though to send them to me - so that's nice, and of course there'll be pics and blogs when they arrive.

Sadly I'm not getting this Whiskey Golem

This got me thinking about where all these would go, though. Most of the stuff he's picking up for me is Arcanists or 'basic' bits (the new Crossroads book, Arsenal/Fate decks etc...) but there are a couple of crews and, of course, a Nightmare Edition Whiskey Golem. The fact that there is a Miss Ery coming too makes me think I'm about to start a Neverborn side project, and the fact that one of the boxes was The Dreamer's 'Hide & Seek' box certainly backs this up. I also have the Tara that I recently painted, an Outcasts/Resurrectionists crew. The Whiskey Golem and the 'The Kin' box also suggest I might be sidling into Gremlins too (but they're not a real faction apparently, so that's okay).

As such, I decided I wanted to do a picture blog today, just showcasing where I keep my Arcanists. See all the pictures after the break!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

How I Paint: Greenskins (Gremlins and Piglets)

There seems to be a running trend recently, with most of my blog posts originating from the Facebook group 'A Wyrd Place' (which if you're a Malifaux fan, you REALLY should be in!). Someone mentioned that they'd need to learn how to paint gremlins and pigs. 

Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to have an actual task to do. I really enjoy responding to suggestions. However, I decided not only to do a painting guide, but to prove how fast it could be by Live-Tweeting it all AND timing it. More on that later. Anyways, below you'll find a brief guide for painting Malifaux Gremlins and Piglets. This method does also work for goblins and orcs of all varieties too.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

How I Paint(ed): Herald of Obliteration

A couple of weeks ago I received a 'Herald of Obliteration' box (Tara's crew, Nightmare Edition) from the USA courtesy of one of my commission clients. Whilst I'd built, based and painted (well, Tara and Karina) his translucent 'Herald' crew, this crew was part-payment for the job, and thus mine to do with as I pleased.

Herald of Obliteration
Nightmare Edition

After the break, I'll discuss how I painted this crew in a little under 1hr 40mins from brush up to brush down (yes, I've actually started timing them).

Sunday, 8 June 2014

A Few New Models

Just a short post this time. I wanted to show off a few new models that didn't quite fit into other posts. 

First up is Angelica, for Colette's crew. Angelica is the Mistress of Ceremonies and apparently likes to bring her foot stool with her on all her outings!

Second up is the Mechanical Rider. I thoroughly enjoyed this model as it's very different I every other Malifaux model I've painted. I tried to keep as close to the box art as possible, which made the metal interesting. 

Thoughts, comments and critique are, as always, welcome!

Children of December: Rasputina

I mentioned previously that my first ever box of Malifaux was the 'Children of December' box - Rasputina's crew. I also mentioned that, since I had rebased my Arcanist crews, I needed a new CoD box. Below are the results. 



Ice Golem

Ice Gamin

Also, after months of searching, I finally managed to find a Snow Storm. Or rather, I gave up trying to source one in the UK so found a good site based in the USA that had reasonable shipping charges. 

That arrived at last and I thoroughly enjoyed painting it. 

Snow Storm

As usual, any comments or questions you may have are welcome!

M&SU Assets : Ansalea Kaeris

Today I finally finished painting the last Arcanist crew to complete the Faction (excluding Ironsides as no models currently exist for her or her crew) - Ansalea Kaeris and the M&SU Assets Box. 

Thursday, 5 June 2014

How I Paint: Ice

I'll be honest, one of my favourite types of blog to write are the How To Paint series. It was also the thing I enjoyed most about working for Games Workshop - teaching people how to paint. If I could find a way to do that as part of StormFront Studios (My Commission Painting business) I would be one happy bunny.

Ice Golem, painted using this guide.

Today, I wanted to show you how I paint ice. You'll need the paints above, and a good drybrush. I use the Citadel Large Drybrush for every step shown below. There are also other ways to paint ice, this is just the super-quick way I do it.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

How I Paint: Brilliance

This week I was asked how I painted my Jakob Lynch crews, specifically the 'Brilliance' (that is the glowy blue bits). Sadly, I'd just finished painting a commission crew which would have been perfect for a step-by-step article. 

Dark Debts

Alas, until such time as I get another Jakob Lynch commission (or finally decide that I do want a Jakob Lynch crew for myself...) this article will have to do!

Monday, 2 June 2014

Sorry, No Blog Today...

Apologies for there not being a blog today, I spent all of last night and the vast majority of today in hospital having blood tests, medication, various tests, and a damn cannula shoved in the soft of my elbow...

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Commission: University of Transmortis

In addition to the Seamus (Joker) crew, I was also asked to build and paint the University of Transmortis box. This box isn't just four very cool models for the Resurrectionist faction, it also includes three story encounters (one of which is a solo 'solitaire' style game).

After the break I'll be showing off the contents of the box, including shots of the stat cards and the painted models.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Hire A Crew: Children of December (Rasputina)

Yes, I have a Rasputina crew for sale! Funny story this one, find out more after the break!

Commission: Why So Seamus? (Shadows of Redchapel)

Recently I received an exciting commission offer that's taken me a bit longer than usual to achieve (testers and research on one hand, and health issues on the other) but I'm personally chuffed with the results. 

The commission? Shadows of Redchapel with a Joker theme (from Batman)!

Friday, 30 May 2014

Hire A Crew: Dark Debts (Jakob Lynch)

This week, in between painting commissions and hospital/doctor visits (nothing overly serious, just considerably uncomfortable) I managed to paint up a Jakob Lynch - Dark Debts crew.

This crew is always troublesome for me. I really like Jakob Lynch's back story, and a part of me always wants to hold onto him and his crew, expand it with some Beckoners, Mr. Graves, Mr. Tannen, and maybe some Depleted, and have it as a B-Side Crew.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Malifaux Masters (Tactica): Colette Du Bois

Today I'm breaking the program and jumping madly ahead with the Malifaux Masters series, and looking at Colette and her crew! I was intending to work my way gradually through Wave 1 first, but a thread appeared on Colette up on 'A Wyrd Place' (mainly because I put it there...) and I wanted to share the responses, because they were amazing.

It's worth saying before we continue that what follows is in my own words, but that most of the ideas came from one David McGuire. After the break, we'll examine Colette and her crew in a very different manner to the rest of my Malifaux Masters posts. This one is less of a card breakdown, and more of a Colette Tactica.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Box Backgrounds - Wave One Arcanists

Hot on the heals of the Malifaux Masters series I wanted to scratch another little itch of the community. Both on the Facebook group 'A Wyrd Place', as questions on Twitter and real life, I've been asked a few times what the fluff is for [Insert Model Here]. I should add that 'fluff' is a commonly used term for 'background story' in video games, tabletop wargames or other media where the 'history' is fictional. 

In answer to these questions, I thought if do a very quick rundown of the models in each Arsenal Pack as a very quick and basic look at who they are, and where they're from. These blog entries in no way compete to actually reading the full background of each character (found in Malifaux, Rising Powers, Twisting Fates, Storm of Shadows, and Malifaux 2nd Edition). Those books also contain wonderfully written stories and little snippets of information about the world itself. 

Anyways, starting with my Faction of choice, The Arcanists; here's Wave 1!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Reconnoiter in the Badlands

Monday night is Red Steel Gaming in Preston, and once again, I had received a challenge of a game of Malifaux, against the same opponent who had taken Sonnia Criid in the previous report. So we agreed on a time, drew up our game and prepared for a dust up!

...well, at 50ss it was technically a scrap, but hey!

Monday, 26 May 2014

Malifaux Masters: Lady Justice

This time around on Malifaux Masters, I'm going to take a trip Downtown to the Governor General's HQ and have a look into The Guild. Specifically, Lady Justice.

The Star Theatre

Today I built and painted my Showgirls crew. Okay, so Colette Du Bois herself was already built and painted, but here's the rest of them!

Colette Du Bois

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Malifaux Masters: Seamus

Today's Master of choice is, again, something a little different. Mad Hatter meets the Joker with more than a splash of Jack the Ripper thrown in. Yes, it's the malevolent and mischievous Seamus of the Resurrectionists.

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Powder Keg

Recently Games Workshop have been at the forefront of some worrying social media developments. Globally, hobbyists and staff members alike have voiced concern over the companies decisions recently that seem to many to be putting the business beyond the community that supports it. Whilst certainly, I understand that sometimes the community has to make sacrifices for the business so that the business can continue to support the community (the one man store model, as an example) there are sometimes events that make my mind boggle. I genuinely believe that my insistence on supporting the community was instrumental to my dismissal from the company back in December. 

The Lure of Chaos

With 7th Edition 40K due to hit the shelves tomorrow (or in some cases, at 00:01 tonight) I've been trying to think about where I will go in the new Edition. I've not had a look at the new rules, nor do I particularly care about broken combos.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Malifaux Masters: Lilith

Rolling on from the success of 'Malifaux Masters: Rasputina', I thought this time around I'd switch faction to my old B-Side crew, and discuss a little about the Mother of Monsters, Lilith, of the Neverborn Faction.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Malifaux Masters: Rasputina

For a while now I've toyed with writing some short articles about some of the Malifaux Masters as a kind of guide for people who are interested in those Masters - either as a guide for beginners taking their first steps into the world of Malifaux, or for those looking to try a new Master, or those preparing to face that Master.

Where better to start than the first Master I ever used and, of course, an Arcanist (my chosen faction!).


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Foundry VS M&SU

Another Monday, another great evening at Red Steel Gaming Preston, another awesome Malifaux game - and this time around, it was a little different.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Hire A Crew: Killjoy

The latest in SFStudio's pre-painted miniature sales is none other than Killjoy!

The Outcast 'undead Neverborn' character who hits like a truck of bricks! An absolute joy to paint too!

This model is now available for purchase! Message or comment for details!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Monster Lab Miniatures

Compared to many other tabletop wargames like Warhammer, Warhammer 40,000 and Dropzone Commander, Malifaux uses a lot of counters. First off, most Schemes require the placement of Scheme Markers, living creatures drop Corpse Markers, constructs drop Scrap Markers. In the Squatters Rights strategy you need Squat Markers. Then you have to keep track of conditions like Burning and Poison, place Ice Pillars or Flame Walls...

There's going I come a time when you just can't handle that all with blank 30mm bases, trying to remember which is which. So I turned to a different approach with a company called Monster Lab Miniatures. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Hire A Crew: Open Graves

In addition to the usual commission services, StormFront Studios also builds and paints crews and boxes of models purely to sell on. The latest of these is the Nicodem crew box for Malifaux.

Warhammer 40,000 7th Edition - First Thoughts

Tonight, Games Workshop have put up the new Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (7th Edition) for Advance Order. I don't work for the company anymore so I have seen very little of the new rules besides leaked photos of White Dwarf and the videos that they have put up on YouTube. I also have very little money, so I have been unable to Advance Order it myself.

Still, I thought I'd have a gander at the new products and share my thoughts.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Commission: Hired Swords Expanded

It dawned on me today that I've not even mentioned my commission painting work on here, let alone shouted about it or shown off much of the work - and that simply would not do. Don't worry though, I'm not about to go into a full business rant, that's not how I do things.

Instead, I wanted to showcase projects here once I'd completed them. So, without further ado, here is the Expanded "Hired Swords" Crew commission I finished yesterday!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

By My Reckoning

I've already stated that Malifaux is my new found love, and I've given strong reasons for it - an entire blog post, in fact. I've talked about how the game works, and shown off some of my models (though I've since gone back and made the bases a little more interesting) but I've never really given much comment on how I play, or specific examples of some of the neat little tricks the game encourages.

I played a game on Monday night that highlighted why I love Malifaux, and whilst you won't find a full battle report after the break, you will find a discussion of the game and examples of why I love it. 

Monday, 12 May 2014

Battle Brothers

This weekend I journeyed from Blackpool back down to Nottingham for the Warhammer Battle Brothers event; a doubles tournament at Warhammer World, where I was partnering up with a very good friend of mine from back in Epsom. A few of the other Epsom gang were there too, and it was great seeing them.

Find out how the weekend went after the break!

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

How I Paint: Flames

I'm often asked about my painting, and I've been compiling an FAQ for a while; it might even make the light of day eventually. Beyond the usual "How do you paint so fast?", one of the most common questions is as to how I paint fire and flames on my models, and I must admit that I see an awful lot of models where the flames just aren't believable and it really lets the model down on what may otherwise be a very pleasant painted miniature. That's not to say I always get it perfect...

Now, of course, this is how I paint flame, and that in no way makes it the only way to paint flame. In fact, you may find this method may work with your miniatures and painting style, but it may not. Just as I once saw a tank wonderfully airbrushed and weathered with a commander poking out the hatch painted by hand in bold, bright colours, a mix of techniques and styles can make a jarring effect, and not in a good way. In that example, the tank looked gritty and real, the commander by contrast looked overly clean and cartoony. Both facets were exceptionally well painted, but together they just did not mesh. My style tends to be quite... heroic, in the sense of comic books and animated films. Grit and realism is not my thing, so if that's what you're looking for, sorry. Back to Google, and good luck!

Still here? Cool. Let's show you how I do it.

Sunday, 4 May 2014


Today I wanted to talk about something that has bothered me for a long time. I've touched on it before when I talked about the social nature of our hobby, but now I wanted to take a more in-depth look at the canker at the heart of our hobby.


Thursday, 27 March 2014

The Social Media Scandal Continues

It seems that Games Workshop's removal of their social media accounts caused a little bit of a stir. Some people got quite upset about it all; some claimed that they had paid a good deal of money to GW, and the very least they could do was to keep a Twitter account open; others cranked the lever to FULL PANIC MODE and started predicting the decline of Games Workshop - citing poor sales of Warhammer Monthly and the Imperial Knights (yes, some people really are that crazy that they think the Knights aren't selling...); others took it much more calmly and began looking into the possible reasons and examining what this could mean.

And that's what I've been doing.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

The Curious Case of Disappearing Social Media

This morning I woke up, came downstairs to check my Twitter feed over breakfast, and discovered that Games Workshop have apparently shut down their social media. Heading to @ForgeWorld, @BlackLibrary and @GWDigital on Twitter all received the same effect. The feed would flash for a moment, then settle on: @GWDigital [or whichever] does not exist.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

The Gremlins Are Here!

I had been trying to decide if I wanted to go back to my Gremlins with the new plastics, and if so, whom would I go for?


In other news, I'm looking at the Moon Shinobi (Drunken Gremlin Ninja) in the bottom left corner and despairing at those bottles and straws. Wyrd love adding ridiculously diddly bits to their models, and it looks like 'Closing Time' is gonna have more than it's fair share. 

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Further Through The Breach

Today I wanted to talk a little bit more about why I like Malifaux, as I only touched upon it briefly in the last post. There are a few reasons that I have become utterly enamoured with this gem of a game, and I'll address them each in turn.

The M&SU - Ramos

Hiring Crews:
One of the first big differences I noticed playing Malifaux, compared with other game systems, is the way in which one hires one's crew (pick your army). In other games, you turn up to your mates house or club with a ready-written list, probably the same one you've used every week for the last year, and possibly the list you downloaded off Warseer.

In Malifaux, however, you merely declare your Faction, even in tournaments.

The Factions are: The oppressive 'peacekeeping' "Guild"; the death obsessed "Resurrectionists"; the anarchic magic using "Arcanists"; the primal force of Malifaux itself, the "Neverborn"; the Asian infiltration of the "Ten Thunders" (most of whom are dual faction); the impish inhabitants of the bayou, the "Gremlins"; and the scattered sell-swords of "The Outcasts".

So yes, you declare your Faction, that's all. You generate your deployment type, your main mission objective, then generate a pool of schemes (secondary objectives) from which each player picks two. More on these later.

Children of December - Rasputina

It's only once the game has been decided, that you pick your crew, up to an agreed points limit. Every Faction has its key theme. If I know I'm playing against Resurrectionists, I can be sure there's going to be a lot of board control (Rotten Belle's using Lure to move my models around etc) so I can plan for that. My opponent will know that, as an Arcanist player, I'll likely have access to some powerful Ca (Casting) abilities and can plan for that. What he won't know is whether I'll be taking the cold storm of Rasputina, channeling my magic through my underlings and blasting him from afar; the genius Ramos, sending wave upon wave of Steam Arachnids across the board to explode in his face; Marcus and his beasts, fast moving and vicious at pinning the opponent down; or Mei Feng (dual Arcanist/Ten Thunders) who can leap around the board and really lay down some close combat smack...

This really inspires you to collect your complete Faction as a way of covering all your bases, and considering the speed in which one can paint a Malifaux crew (I can usually paint an entire crew box in one evening) I can't really complain. It adds a whole layer of complexity and planning, trying to second guess what crew your opponent might take considering the mission objectives and your own chosen Faction. 

Claw & Fang - Marcus

Schemes and Objectives:
As I mentioned earlier, in Malifaux, you generate the deployment type, main objective and then a pool of schemes (ranging from placing scheme markers in certain places, to standing in the right place at the end of a turn, to killing your opponents Master, to gutting their crew of minions, and many more) of which each player picks two. Separately. Many of these schemes don't have to be revealed right away either, so besides the main objective, you don't really know what your opponent will be aiming for in the game.

Oh well, I hear you cry, just blast them off the table, then it doesn't matter, right? Wrong. You do not lose the game if you have no models on the table, so you can win despite being wiped out. As an example, I won a friendly match 7-2, despite having only my Master (Rasputina) left on the table, and him having his entire crew still alive. How? Because I moved my crew into position, hunkering down around an objective that scored me Victory Points every turn I ended near it. I placed scheme markers where they were supposed to be, and I focused my actions onto moving me onto objectives (and keeping models there alive long enough to score) and keeping his away from them. His two points came from killing off two of my models on turn 3. None of the others he killed scored him points. 

Sure, those models being dead stopped me using them to score, but the point is, you have to think tactically. You can't just point and click and win by killing (unless you're lucky and you get all the objectives/schemes designed for that). Again, choosing the right Schemes from the pool, and balancing scoring your objectives against denying your opponent his, is the key to victory here.

The Rail Crew - Mei Feng

Malifaux is very much a skirmish game. The crews pictured in this post average to a model cost of approximately 35 Soulstones. With upgrades, most of them can squeeze to 45, which is about a standard sized game. Of course, considering most of my crews are Arcanist, I can mix and match, and you can also get minions (like the three ice gamin in the above picture) as a separate box of three. 

Each of these crew boxes costs around £30 (some are slightly cheaper, some are slightly more expensive) which does make it slightly more expensive than, say, Games Workshop. Malifaux tends to average at about 6 models for £30, and they're pretty, but they're not GW miniatures. The thing is, it's pretty much done with then, and you do get the rules cards inside the box too. The Rulebook is £25 (full size; £10 for a pocket one) and there's no need for a codex or army book, though you can buy an 'Arsenal Pack' of all your factions cards (well, wave one) for about £8.

Mother of Monsters - Lilith

To start up; two crews, a Rulebook, two fate decks, and a tape measure, will cost about £85. Compare that to, say, Dark Vengeance (two small armies, with the rules to use just those models, enough dice to play and measuring sticks) which will set you back £61.50. The cost comes in expanding beyond that. To use both those armies properly, you'll need two £30 codex books, then the game size tends to be much larger.

My point is, on a model to model basis, Malifaux is more expensive. To get a full gaming force, however, is much cheaper.

No Shelter Here - Pandora

Fate Decks:
As a game system, Malifaux's most unique aspect, I believe, is its complete and utter lack of dice. 
What? I hear you cry. How the heck do you do anything without dice!?
I know it's a little confusing at first, but Malifaux uses a standard 54 card poker deck (though Wyrd make their own with the Malifaux suits of Crows, Tomes, Rams and Masks, you can use a standard deck too, you just have to learn the conversion of what Clubs and Spades are in Malifaux terms). 

But how does this work?
Well, here's a simple example. Have a look at these two stat cards, specifically Jakob Lynch's "Hold Out Pistol" attack, and the Steam Arachnids stat-line.

During his activation, Jakob Lynch spends one of his action points to use Hold Out Pistol against an on-coming Steam Arachnid. He checks the enemy is in range (8" ranged, or 2" close), it is. Excellent. Jakob Lynch pulls the trigger and flips the top card of his Fate Deck.
8 of Rams. Not bad. Jakob adds the Sh (shoot value) of 6 to get a total of 14 Rams (the suit is important as it may trigger extra effects, more on that later). 
The attack states that it is resisted (Rst) by Df (Defence), so the Steam Arachnid flips a card and adds its Df of 4, it flips a 4 of Tomes, so gets a total of 8 Tomes. Jakob is currently winning this duel by 6. Either player could choose to Cheat Fate and play a card from their hand to replace the one they flipped, but in this example, neither of them wishes to (or perhaps they don't have good enough cards). 
The difference of 6 means it's a confident hit from Jakob (a difference of 1-5 would be a slight success, meaning the damage would be two flips, choosing the lower value; a difference of 10+ would be a major success resulting in two cards being flipped for damage, and the highest value being chosen) so he flips a single card for damage. 
Damage flips are given as three values (in this case 2/3/4) ranging from weak, to moderate, to severe. A 1-5 flipped is weak, 6-10 is moderate, 11+ is severe. Jakob flips a 7 of Crows. That's Moderate, so the attack will do 3 damage. 
However, as the attack flip had the suit of Rams, Jakob declares the Unload trigger to deal +2 damage, for a total of 5.
Finally, we can see that the Steam Arachnid has Armour +1, so reduces the damage to 4. However, the Steam Arachnid only has a Wd value of 4, so can only take four wounds before being destroyed. The Steam Arachnid is thus destroyed.

Dark Debts - Jakob Lynch

I know it can appear quite confusing at first, it's quite a change from rolling dice, but I have found that the Fate Deck system (especially with the Cheat Fate mechanic) makes the game infinitely more tactical and tense. The values are a much wider range than 1-6 (1-13, excluding the two jokers) which allows for more eventualities. The idea of flipping a card (or sometimes flipping multiple at once and choosing the highest or lowest) can be much more tense than a dice roll, and the added variable of the suit allows for some very cool triggers. Sometimes you just get a bonus if the right suit pops up (like the Unload trigger in the above example). Sometimes you need the right suit to be successful (like Seamus raising the dead). It really does change the entire game.

Beyond that, Cheating Fate opens up a whole new world of tactical decisions. Damn, I missed that shot.
"Do I use this card and Cheat Fate to make it hit? Or do I save it, because it's got the suit to allow me to trigger that guys ability..."
"I've hit, but do I Cheat Fate to make it a firmer hit and have a higher chance of doing more damage, or should I save it as I'm pretty sure that guy's gonna attack me in his activation and I could use the survivable to..."

If you haven't already, I can not recommend giving Malifaux a go enough. It's an incredible little game that is so wildly different from everything else around it. I hope the above reasons would be enough, but I should also mention that there's a certain underlying level of humour (from one of the Gremlins having a special ability called Pull My Finger, that does exactly what you'd imagine, to the zombie hookers having "She Doesn't Look That Dead To Me!" as a trigger on their Lure ability, not to mention their Undress action...), and speaking of which...

The game has zombie hookers...

And undead gun blade wielding, coffin-carrying burning skull cowboys...