Citadel LotR Wildmen of Dunland

I had this trio of figures sitting around for a few years, doing nothing. I always found them pretty uninspiring, so really had no plans to do much with them or buy more. I’m not entirely sure why I bought them – probably just collecting the different LotR figures before GW went super-ridiculous with embargoes to AU and such a few years ago. You know how it goes. At some point in the last year or so, I decided that since there were only three of them, and their outfits as seen in the films were basically a mixture of dirty rags, I should paint them quickly and get them done.

So it turns out that painting figures which you don’t especially like in an uninspiring colour scheme does nothing for getting them done, so they languished with a few base colours for a year or so. Until recent, when I tried again. That attempt was a failure as well.

So. Thoroughly uninspired, I turned to Google image search to find some inspiration to paint these little suckers and get them off my painting desk. As luck would have it, I found some images from FunkyBrush’s painting blog, (posted on Lead-Adventure) with his Dunlanders converted and painted as Celts. This led to some further poking around, and the images on Bennett Blalock-Doane’s blog cinched the deal.

Wildmen of Dunland Celts

I’m particularly happy with how the tartan patterns came out on this guy. I drew inspiration not from modern Scottish tartans, but (obviously) from the Celts’ long history of woven clothing and cloth. I didn’t convert the weapons or add shields as FB did, as I tend to like to keep my “first” one of any given figure untouched, unless I purchased it for that purpose, or it’s otherwise an irredeemable/seriously flawed sculpt. So these guys are Wildmen of Dunland, and when I have a bunch of my Warlord Games Celts painted up, they will also be Wildmen. Sometimes. Except in games where they’re all used as Celts, including the Wildmen. Who knows what the future of the table holds? Kings of War games with Saruman leading his Uruk-Hai army alongside his Celt allies led by Boudicca? Why not?

Wildmen of Dunland Celts

Wildmen of Dunland Celts

I repainted this guy as a ginger, as opposed to the dirty unkempt grey/white beard that he originally had when I was trying to be more movie-accurate to Jackson’s films. When I threw that out and decided to go Celt, I almost painted the top guy as blonde, until I remembered the comments about Rohirrim as “straw-heads” in the (books? films?), so I toned it down to brown. Of course, that just applies to these three, and my actual (eventual) Celts will have plenty of blonde and bleached hair amongst them! There is a fourth sculpt that I don’t have. I’m not going to chase it, but if I happen to see it for a reasonable/cheap price someday, I’m sure I’ll pick it up.
Wildmen of Dunland Celts

Wildmen of Dunland Celts

The Celtic theme was a real inspiration. Adding a woven tartan pattern to these guys was a real godsend, as it allowed me to have some fun on them and do something I like with freehand. So ultimately, after pretty much hating these hard-to-paint models for the longest time, they finished up as a trio that I’m really quite happy with and got done in about a day. I like it when that happens. Gotta love the internet for inspiration!

Wildmen of Dunland Celts

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Wildmen of Dunland

(A pair of) Mantic Zombies

A couple of weekends ago, I was doing a little bit of procrastinating at my paint desk, trying to figure out what to work on. I spotted a pair of Mantic’s plastic Zombies, primed and based that have been floating around for bloody ages. I’m not sure when or why I initially assembled them, especially just as a pair. I haven’t been able to find any more of them either, though I have plenty on sprues. So this time, instead of shoving them to the side, I decided to speedpaint them.

Mantic Games Zombies

braaaiiiiins….

Mantic Games Zombies

They wander here, they wander there…

Mantic Games Zombies

The right side of the zombies to see..

It took just a couple of hours to get these painted. It helped a hell of a lot that they were already fully prepped, but still. Very easy to paint. I used some mixes of the usual wash colours to subtly influence the stain on the flesh tones, and then blended up the highlights post-wash. I kept the palette very simple, because Zombies. I went with dark grey rags to keep them in theme with Marouda’s Undead army scheme (dark grey standing in for black on these filthy creatures). Citadel’s Blood for the Blood God paint over Tamiya Clear Red, since BFTBG is easier to clean up.

Due to my (poor) photography skills, you can’t see the individual teeth that are picked out. I need to either get a better cheap camera or learn how to use my good camera properly. It’s taken me ages to actually paint any, but really I have to reiterate how good these HIPS Zombies from Mantic really are. These came up really well for so little time and effort. Now I want to paint up more of them. Gotta finish clearing the desk though, first.

These will obviously get used in Kings of War eventually, when I paint about a million of their mates. Obviously they’re useful for any Fantasy RPG. Age of Sigmar? Why not? (If I ever play it!). They might even provide some Walker action for Zombicide at some stage.

 

Thoughts and Reflections: Mad Max (PS4)

This will be more of a reflection than a true review of this title. I’ve not yet finished the game, but I’ve put a good few hours into it so far, and  I’ll just give my thoughts on my experience with the game. I figure that if some people think it’s unfair to give an opinion after 30+ hours of a game, then they’re the ones with a problem, not me.

Graphically (on the PS4) it’s pretty good. Not amazing, but there’s an awful lot to see and a lot to render, so it’s all acceptable. It runs smoothly and there are some nice, small touches. Max’s upgraded armour features a bit of military gear in Auscam camoflague. I’m not sure why Max’ back is uniformly bloody all of the time, though (except in the final armour upgrade). That just looks bad. It’s got some interesting locations but while being unique, they also feel very samey as well. There are only so many skeletonised shells of aircraft and small ships you can scavenge through before they just blend into each other. This is exacerbated by the fact that there is so little variation in the sandbox palette. The lighting and shadows are well done, particularly the environmental lighting as part of the day/night cycle, making for some very nice sunsets and sunrises within the game. They did an exceptional job here of creating an atmosphere.

I enjoyed the game a great deal at first, but before too long, the tedious grind began to show its face. I’ve just about finished the first couple of “kingdoms” completely and have unlocked and marauded in all but Gastown, though I spent a lot of time exploring and doing the side activities and have little left to do for those, so I haven’t rushed through at all. It’s certainly feels much grindier than Mordor, and the gameplay isn’t as nearly as smooth or refined. The combat is a poor shadow to Mordor’s combat (see what I did there?) and the driving is decent but not best-in-category. The tiny number of shotgun shells Max can carry (even upgraded) is just silly, and while I’m totally happy to ignore the silly “how can he carry all this scrap?” issue that Gamespot had, the ammo thing is less easy to handwave away to me. There’s also a sniper rifle (also with ridiculously limited ammo) that can only be used from the back of the Magnum Opus and never carried. Because Reasons.

I’ve spent way too much time trying to collect all of the things, but that’s my own OCD-based issue, rather then a result of the collections being particularly fun in any way.

The game has a number of significant missteps in my opinion. The mine defusing stands out as particularly awful and I don’t see how something this bad could have gotten through concept or “fun” testing. I’ve got nothing more to say about it. It’s shit, and deserves to be called out on it.

The melee combat is ropey and seriously flawed – The combat animations and executions – while nice enough – are uninterruptible. Well, I say uninterruptible, but they’re only uninterruptible for the player, not for your enemies. The result is that I keep getting pounded by enemies while Max is in the midst of these animations and executions, and the parry function is also sub-par. It’s also not helped by the camera’s pretty bad whirling around, making it incredibly difficult to see what’s actually going on around you, particularly during multi-combatant fights in tight spaces and during execution animations. Combat in Mordor was a far more smooth and refined variation of the same Arkham system, and it was a year ago now. It feels like the melee either needed more time or better quality QA feedback (or the Devs being willing/allowed to fix it). When it’s such a core part of the game, and the same things still annoy more than 30 hours in while using the same style that felt smooth as butter in older games, then there’s an issue.

Much of the game looks pretty much like this.

The “Balloon” variation of the Assassins’ Creed tower climbing is fine in theory but physically painful in practice. Seriously, blurry shitty binocular-vision actually makes my eyes hurt and once again I don’t know how this made it past QA. A much better solution would have been to emulate Assassins Creed’s pan-o-rama-vista more closely, “unlocking” all spots in range and then allowing the player to look around some more with the binocs. Or just making them less horrible to use and look at. As it stands, it’s not only tedious, but a physically unpleasant experience.

Car combat seems amazing at first, but before long becomes pretty samey. I’m hoping that with more unlocks it’ll be less tedious, but I’ve clearly got to blast through a bunch more story missions to unlock more car parts in the hope that it re-funs the car combat. There also seems to be little to no point to collecting all of the minor variations in War Boy and Bandit cars, and no way (that I can find?) to check if the car you’ve just jacked is one of the ones you need. But they’re all obviously shit compared to the Magnum Opus anyway. Still, the Car Combat is the best thing about this game (aside from the lovely skyboxes) and it does manage to provide some real white-knuckle moments when you’re trying to take down a convoy – enough to make you forget the silly nature of the game’s convoys (they patrol in very large circles on preset road tracks. forever – so they’re not actually conveying items from one place to another or anything. That kind of “random encounter” takedown is provided by “Scrapulances” which you need to take down and then drive to one of your bases in order to make a pile of c̶a̶s̶h̶ scrap. Still – it’s the strongest part of the gameplay.

When attacking enemy bases, there’s often a back door you’re able to (potentially) sneak into, but given that there are no real stealth mechanics in the game – no crouch/sneak/move slowly – and the enemies seem to (mostly) spot you immediately, there’s no real point to it. It almost seems like there may have been a “sneak” mechanic planned that was removed, given the design of some of these environments and the meaninglessness of trying to stealth them. I usually enjoy sneaking around and backstabbing people in games, but here’s it’s a non-starter.

Lovely environment and lovely skyboxes.

The other thing that’s particularly annoying is the voice acting. Starting from the get-go with the (mis)pronunciation of “Dinky-Di” being laughably and jarringly wrong (it’s Dinki-DIE, not Dinki-DEE, for fuck’s sake!) While people from outside Australia guys might WTF who cares on that one, it’s an incredibly well-known Australian expression of the “ocker” type, and while people don’t really use it all that much where I live, everyone who I’ve played that bit of audio to has laughed at how painfully awful it is.

Other voice issues include Max’s Aussie accent being overdone (yeah, I know the (new) voice actor is an Aussie, but he’s overdoing it), and the number of characters with redneck hillbilly accents in post-apocalyptic Australia is also jarringly bad. Some American accents are fine to have, and both Entity and Furiosa provide precedent in the films – and hell, I’ve worked with Americans here, many Canadians, constantly with Brits, and SO many Europeans that fewer clucking hillbillies and a few British and European/Mediterranean accents would have been much nicer to hear and more realistic for the game’s world. At least they did change Max from the initial, American voice actor – but it really does feel very lazy and sub-par in terms of voice acting. Most lines are delivered “as written”, which turns out wooden and unnatural to my Australian ears as well as incredibly stiffly. Sadly this includes the readings by Max’ voice actor – the only real exception to all of this being the Mystic character who seems to be channelling Bruce Spence, which is a good thing.

Ahem.

Anyway, Mad Max is a decent game. It’s not a great game and while the world is huge, it’s not nearly as good or fun in terms of gameplay as Mordor was this time last year, nor as diverse, alive and entertaining that Far Cry 4 still manages to be for me. I’ll definitely manage to finish it, but once I do I doubt I can see myself firing it up again to do races or whatever.

Will I do a follow-up post on the game? I honestly don’t know, but my thoughts are that it’s not all that likely. I don’t foresee any major plot twists, or interesting bits of characterisation.

……..

Postscript: All of the above was written over three weeks ago now, and then I took a break from the game. Since I took a break due to Destiny: TKK, I haven’t had the slightest urge to play Mad Max since – and the original Destiny didn’t hold my interest past the story quests and level 22 when I gave it away completely until picking up TKK a couple of weeks ago, so Max isn’t competing with a game I was deeply invested in. Mad Max was a film I enjoyed at a young age, Mad Max 2 is a classic for the ages, and I also quite enjoyed Fury Road, so really – I’m far more invested in Mad Max than I am in the Halo-esque background of Destiny. (I have no interest in the lore for Halo or Destiny, I’m afraid).

The fact that I’ve felt no pull to go back and finish the game says it all, I think. Worth a purchase on the cheap, but it’s not something that’s got a strong hold.

Zombicide “Rick” and Angry Mary

A couple more Zombicide survivors today – the last two from the previous batch.

Rick” is a homage to Jason Statham as Chev Chelios from the 2009 Film “Crank 2: High Voltage“.

aka Jason Statham as Chev Chelios from Crank 2, Zombicide

Zombicide “Rick” and Zombivor version.

It seems that Statham’s outfit from Crank is a somewhat popular “costume” for people to wear. I guess it’s pretty flexible and a lot more subtle than going somewhere dressed as a Jedi. Turns out that in the second film, he had some fairly distinctive shoes because product placement. No matter to me, and as they have a look I can replicate on the model, so much the better

 

Angry Mary is an original Zombicide survivor, from the Karl Kopinski guest artist box.

Angry Mary – a Karl Kopinski Original Survivor for Zombicide

Mary is a popular character whenever one of us manages to draw her, and from our early games kind of defaulted to Marouda’s Zombpocalypse proxy, especially since Marouda managed to draw Angry Mary pretty regularly. So Mary has her combat boots painted as Marouda’s purple Doc Martens in a semi-subtle nod.

Zombicide Jason Statham as Chev Chelios from Crank 2, Angry Mary by Karl Kopinski

Orez and Marouda’s favourite survivors, ready for action.

Zombicide Jason Statham as Chev Chelios from Crank 2, Angry Mary by Karl Kopinski

…and the results of a couple of unfortunate Zombie Spawn draws.

Zombicide figures are odd ducks. They have some really well done, subtle truescale details like the folds in clothing while at the same time often having soft details on faces and weapons. It’s a limitation of the PVC that they are made from, and while they’re pretty much the best boardgame models I’ve used or painted, I still don’t entirely enjoy painting them in the same way that I do with a metal, HIPS or resin model. Still, they get a lot of use on my tabletop, so if anything deserves to keep a priority rating in my painting (such as it is), then these figures do.

Mary’s black fatigues and gloves are pretty dark, though they are highlighted subtly, and in a way to preserve them being black as opposed to grey. I’m just not fond of the whole “shade to white” thing that’s very popular on my own models. Statham’s dark blue jacket gave me the same kind of difficulty. For a change, the photography seems to have picked both out decently.

 

Realm of Chaos – Slaves to Darkness Khorngor Beastmen

More Realm of Chaos era beastmen today. Once again, these are Khorngor – Beastmen of Khorne. One is (probably) intended as such, while the others are generic beastmen painted as followers of Khorne from back in the day. I believe all four are again Jes Goodwin sculpts, though I’m not 100% sure on the bulldog head. He could be one of Kev Adams’ or Mark Copplestone’s sculpts from the same range?

Oldhammer Jes Goodwin Realm of Chaos Beastmen

An early “Gor”style beastman and a Bulldog-head Khorngor

When I was young, I was a fan of Khorne. Blood for the Blood God, Skulls for the Skull Throne, a combination of maddening blood rage and marital honour. While that last thing has kind of fallen by the wayside in recent years, Khorne remains a firm fan favourite for GW and no doubt teenagers the world over. Is it any wonder that the SigMarines battle KhorneReapers and BloodSmashers and all the rest?

So with this deep background in mind, we’ll let that suffice as the explanation as to why the generic goatheaded beastman was painted with Khornate-friendly armour. The shield on the other hand shows my own humour of the day. It’s not a Union Flag – it’s a variation of the eight-pointed star of Chaos. I do remember that this shield bothered by friend Jared something fierce. He might have found it broke the atmosphere of the game or something like that. Bulldog-face was actually painted with brown leathers and pretty much no markings of alleigance to Khorne, which I found odd. I repainted his leathers to a deep red, to keep the original feel of my original paint while tying him in a little more with his Khornate brethren.

Oldhammer Jes Goodwin Realm of Chaos Beastmen

Two more “Generic” Beastmen painted as Khorngor

These two are clearly Goodwin sculpts. The one on the left seems to have the head of a horned dog, while the other has that Satyr face yet again – this time with a giant, crazy mohawk nestled in between some big-arse goat horns!

Oldhammer Jes Goodwin Realm of Chaos Beastmen

Beastman Shields denoting devotion to Khorne

As in my last post featuring Khorngor, the shields are just a little abstract – though still pretty easy to distinguish. Just a matter of figuring out how to paint a rune of Khorne on that shield on the left, and a tiled pattern probably inspired by Wayne England’s style of painting.

Oldhammer Jes Goodwin Realm of Chaos Beastmen

Oldhammer Beastmen of Khorne ready for some bloodletting!

Finally, the unit shots. One regiment of Khorngor Beastmen to use The Herd rules and be allied to whatever Chaos is called in Kings of War. I did cheat by stuffing the Night Horror Apeman and the Khorne-worshipping Skaven in the rear to make up the numbers, but once I get the part-painted backlog finished, I’ll pull out some completely unpainted beastmen and finish this unit off properly!

Oldhammer Jes Goodwin Realm of Chaos Beastmen

Oldhammer Jes Goodwin Realm of Chaos Beastmen

 

 

Ral Partha: 02-951 Ki-rin

Azazel: Another Guest Post from Marouda. Hopefully we can keep her interested in painting models and these can be a more regular thing!

Ral Partha: 02-951 Ki-rin

I painted this model about 4 years ago. This figure is a very nice model sculpted by Julie Guthrie as part of the ‘All Things Dark and Dangerous‘ range for Ral Partha, probably in the late ’80s.

Ral Partha: 02-951 Ki-rin

The model is a Kirin which is a creature that looks similar to a unicorn with the scales of a dragon. I remember that I enjoyed painting it as I particularly like mythological creatures such as unicorns and pegasi. I chose to paint the Kirin in a turquoise palette of colours. The model was fairly easy to paint except for the fine detail of the eyes which require a very steady hand so I asked Azazel if he could help by painting the eyes. To provide a shimmer effect to the scales I used a white opalescent paint over the turquoise paint. I am really happy with how the mane and hair turned out. Azazel helped me with painting the base for the model. I wanted the Kirin to be running through waves. To make the waves of the water on the base ‘water effects’ was used.

Ral Partha: 02-951 Ki-rin

Ral Partha: 02-951 Ki-rin

Mini-scenic items, from 40k 3rd Edition

Hell of a week. Back to work, the beginning of daylight savings, a local heatwave, and a close family member in hospital. They’re out now, and ok-ish and the other things have resolved themselves as much as possible, but I’ve had little interest in picking up the brush outside of my lunch hour meditation. When I’ve been home I’ve just binged on trash TV via Netflix and wasted hours and hours on Mad Max and now Destiny’s expansion on PS4. The only real respite was a bit of Zombicide with friends on Friday night. Now if I can just convince Orez to buy a PS4 and Destiny…

Last night and today I did these. Gluing and so forth yesterday and painting today. Mostly because I found them in a little baggie, and decided it would be nice to just get something done from start to finish, even something as simple as these, which it turns out are from the 40k 3rd edition starter boxed set. So I’ve had them since 1998, or 17 years. Oh. Apparently I’ve lost one of the little bits, as I only had the three when I should have had 2 of each. I must have just shoved them to one side and forgot about them until whenever I was sorting through stuff and chucked them into a zip-lock. I might have decided to save them to incorporate them into something more grand, which clearly never eventuated. Whevever. Now they’re done and have been added to my collection of little bits of scatter terrain.

40k 3rd Edition ruined bits.

Sprayed black, a mixture of cat litter and coarse sand applied. Painted black again. Drybrushed through VMC Black Grey, Basalt Grey and then VGC Bonewhite. Varying shades of weathering powders added for colour, and then another Bonewhite drybrush on top. Matt varnish, done! The technique isn’t especially interesting, and I’m only writing it down here so I’ve got a record of it in case I find more of these little blighters and want to keep it consistent.

Dark Angels stalk through the ruins.

Undead warriors lurch through the shell of a ruined building.

I was going to add some static flock to them at first, but decided against it for the same reason I avoided doing so on the Citadel Craters I painted a year ago. I’d like these small bits of ruins to be of indeterminate age. I want to be able to use them in a game of Bolt Action or 40k to represent a building that was shelled by artillery that very morning, as well as to use them to represent a small corner of a town like Frostgrave, or Osgilliath, or any generic place in most any climate. Adding grass instantly means it’s been there for awhile, which I wanted to avoid.

They’re a little smaller than I’d like, but they’re decent. More of an obstacle to movement than something that provides any cover, as the pictures-for-scale shots show.

Which colours? These colours.

Which powders? These powders.

Hopefully I’ll have something more interesting up in this coming week, but hey, at least I painted something this week…