Thursday, 31 May 2012

Lead Legion Blood Bowl League: Session Two

Last Sunday saw two new teams join us the Lead Legion Bloodbowl League: Dark Elf team "The Naggaroth Numpties" and a second Human Team, "The Middenheim Wolves".

Stirland Dockers vs Goutfoot's Ogres:

Game 3 saw my much reduced Stirland Dockers team take on the as yet undefeated Goutfoot's Ogres. I was missing a catcher and a linesman due to injuries inflicted by the Komodo Killers, in my second game of the first session. This meant I was going up against the Ogres with no reserves and no sacrificial journeymen. This was going to hurt. Fortunately I was able to hire on a wandering apothecary to supplement my team apothecary for the game, as well as additional re roll.

Things started badly, and did not get much better. By turn 2 I was down to seven players. I would not have more than seven on the board from now til the rest of the game (with the exception of the first turn on the second half, when I had eight). My plan had been to pound his snotlings into the ground, but Gordon managed to screen them with his Ogres horribly well. I only managed to knock out two. To everyones' surprise -not least my own- I managed to score first after forcing a ball-carrying snotling into the crowd. The ball was thrown-in right at the feet of a human Blitzer deep in the Ogre's second half, who'd been left unmarked while he recovered from being stunned.
My Knockout Box at the end of turn 2.

On my next turn (last turn of the half) the Blitzer stood up and walked the ball in for a touchdown. But even when I was 1-0 up, I knew I was still losing. I set up my eight guys to receive at the beginning of the second half, only to see the Ogres win a blitz. So it was that at the end of the blitz turn, a thrown snotling was carrying the ball one square away from my end zone. Mocking me with it's Sidestep and Dodge skill combo.

Bugger. My only action of my first turn was to blitz the little git with a Catcher, preying for a down result, knowing that anything else other than a both down would result in Gordon scoring on my first turn of the second half. I rolled the dice....

Both down!

I punched the air, stunned his snotling and only knocked over my Catcher. I was able to hold him off for another two turns before I made a stupid, stupid error which allowed him to score.

I set up to receive again. He got another blitz.

I cried. Gordon laughed. He surrounded my five remaining Blitzers and Linemen with Ogres, leaving only a Thrower and Catcher unmarked and able to manoeuvre. It took Gordon until his last turn, but with most of my team locked down tight by six ogres (including one with Guard and two with Block!) he was able to swarm my last two players with Snotlings and secure the win at 2-1.

Fortunately, I didn't have to use my Apothecary -or my mercenary one for that matter. All three casualties only missed the remainder of the game, and were free to play in my Game 4.

Stirland Dockers vs Elfheim Eagles.

My 4th game was against Andy and his Elf team. Andy's had atrocious luck all tournament and, although this was Game 4 for both of us, Andy had only just recovered from some early losses of players. Even so, we went into this with nearly identical team ratings and the same number of star players.
Elfheim Eagles.
Unfortunately for Andy, he had atrocious dice rolls. He played very aggressively, constantly sending players into my half at the expense of weakening his line, allowing me to blitz his ball carrier time and again to steal the ball and score. The deep penetration gambit did pay off for him once, in the last turn of the second half, but by then I was already 2-1 up. On three separate occasions he managed to wrest the ball from my Catchers deep in his half and go for a long bomb, only to see one of my players successfully intercept, needing a six each time (see what I mean about Andy's luck).

The Eagles Penetrate the Stirland line but look at the two human players furthest away on the human left flank. The Standing Blitzer has Strip Ball and is about to take down the ball-carrying Elf Thrower so the Catcher can zip in and claim the ball. On the human right, a Catcher and Blitzer will mark the two Elf players in front of them while the second Blitzer on that flank zips in to threaten his line of scrimmage from the rear.

In the end, we finished 4-1, with Andy only a turn away from scoring. Fortunately, none of his casualties took permanent injuries. With only ten men (at most) on the field from turn 2 he really struggled to send enough players into my half to tie down my defencive Thrower and Catchers and at the same time keep my Blitzers from pounding down his flanks. Man of the match for me was Blitzer Number 6, who'd earned his first skill (Strip Ball) in Game 3 against the Ogres. He started game 4 on 6 Star Player Points and went on to score a touchdown, an interception AND win the randomly allocated MVP award to earn his second skill in two games (Tackle).

So all in all, a rather good weekend for me. No deaths or mangled players facing the Ogres and a very solid win against the Elves.

The Other Matches:

Sunday saw a lot of blitzes: 6 blitzes in 6 games. Four of these blitzes happened in succeeding plays in two games, meaning that my Stirland Dockers and Doug's Pesky Plaguerats both had to defend against two blitz plays in a row.

Middenheim Wolves vs Gouged Eye 1-0
The Gouged Eye

The Gouged Eye, recently reformed after their mauling in month, found themselves up against a human team. The Orcs almost managed to equalise, with their ball-carrier just one square away from the end zone at the end of Turn 15. Rather than risking a second go for it, he gambled that a human Blitzer, who would need two go for it's to reach him, wouldn't be able to take down his ball-carrier on a one dice block. The gamble didn't pay off. 1-nil to the humans.

Elfheim Eagles vs the Pesky Plaguerats 2-2
A good, close, tight match that could have gone either way. The Eagles were lucky enough to win two Blitzes in a row against in the Skaven, but, with the help of a Star Player Gutter Runner with a movement of 10, Doug was able to claw back a draw from the jaws of defeat.

The Hard Knockers vs Naggaroth Numpties  2-1
Don't mess with a red head.

Once again the Dwarf girls proved themselves some of the hardest players in the League, inflicting three casualties on the rookie Dark Elf team, killing one Blitzer and leaving two other players (including a second Blitzer) with permanent injuries. The Dark Elf coach was heard to mutter something about selling his useless players to the shrine of Khaine and using the resultant funds to hire some competent replacements.

Komodo Killers vs the Pesky Plaguerats 3-1
The Killer's grabbed the Plaguerats by the throat from turn 1 and proceeded to pound them into the ground, inflicting two casualties and scoring three touchdowns against the Rats. The Plague rats were able to come back to score a touchdown of their own but all-in-all not a good game for the rats.

Here's the League Table at the end of Session Two:

As you can see, I still don't have accurate figures on Team Rating, but hopefully we'll get that sorted out soon.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Completed Order: Imotekh and Crypteks

You've already seen the Crypteks in all their glory, so here's a few pics of Imotekh, the army general.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Last Night on Earth Order Complete

The Last Night on Earth Order is finished and winging it's way back to California as we speak. As I think I've mentioned before, I've given them a variety of different bases, to match the textures on the terrain boards that come with the game. About half the squares depict heavy vegetation, so about half the miniatures have foliage-heavy bases. The other half are based to match half-a-dozen or so of the interior textures featured on the game boards. 

Here's some photos:

Last Night on Earth Survivors, based for outdoor board squares.
Last Night on Earth Zombies based for outdoor board squares.
More Last Night on Earth Zombies based for outdoor tiles.

Last Night on Earth characters based for streets and hangers

Last Night on Earth Characters based for carpeted or tiled board squares.

Last Night on Earth Characters based for carpeted and alternate-tiled squares.

Last Night on Earth Characters based for floorboards.

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Zombie Survivors and Unliving Metal

Righto, good productive painting day today. First up, we have a better photograph of the (now finished) Necron Crypteks. Imotekh isn't quite finished yet, as he's a bit more fiddly and uses more colours, but look for a picy of him soon.

Altogether now: "AH-AH-AH-AH; Living Metal; Living Metal"
Next,we have the Survivor minis from the board game, Last Night on Earth. I've tried to match the paint-jobs to the corresponding Hero Cards as best I can, but I wasn't able to find all of them online, so one or two colour schemes might be a bit off. I was a bit surprised that out of 16 minis, 15 were Caucasian, but then I realised that the company was playing to the old B-movie trope of the "token black guy". Makes sense I suppose, even if it's demographically very suspect.
Last Night on Earth: Not-Buffy, Prom Queen, Irish Priest and Local Jock.

Last Night on Earth: Short Order Cook, Nurse, Teenage Heart-Throb, Shop Boy.

Last Night on Earth: Farmer's Daughter (Phwaor, wonder if I can persuade the missus to wear this get-up?), Chemistry Teacher, Goth Girl, Sheriff.

Last Night on Earth: Deputy, Convict, Journalist and Drifter.
As you see, they're almost done -just the bases, facial details and a skateboard to finish and that's a wrap. They'll be in the post on Monday. I'm matching the bases to the various textures on the game boards - half in-doors, half-outdoors in a swampy forest.

Anyway, I'm really excited about tomorrow. It's the second meeting of the Lead Legion Blood Bowl League. Chances are good you'll see some painted miniatures on the blog tomorrow, but not many. I'll only be able to squeeze in an hour or two of work at most.

Righto, update done. I'm off back to work. Those bases -and the Storm Lord- are calling me. look for another update tomorrow.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Failcast 3: Son of Son of Failcast.

It's not been the best of weeks. Bit then, between Pay Pal, Wisdom Teeth and finding an alternative payment gateway service that  doesn't require me to take out a mortgage, you've probably already guessed that, right? Never, ever, ever say "It can't get worse."

Because you can always rely on fine cast to ruin your day.

A few weeks ago, while painting a similar Necron order to the one I'm working on now, I mentioned that Fine cast finally seemed to be getting it's act together. But no, in this most recent batch of fine cast miniatures, I've been proven wrong. Again.

Firstly, the arrival of the customer's miniatures (ordered on his behalf from a reliable UK company) was delayed. I later found out this was because they'd had to return so many of their fine cast miniatures to Games Workshop because of obvious flaws (as well as a surge in sales of Necron miniatures due to the release of the Necron "Second Wave"). When they finally did arrive, I immediately scrutinised the minis to make sure they were of decent quality. Three were reasonably okay and required minimum work. One was returned to GW and replaced.

Then, on either Tuesday or Wednesday, one of the Necron's inexplicably decided it wanted it's legs to turn floppy. It took a header right in front of my eyes while I was working on it. Straight back to GW for a replacement, which, on inspection, looked fine. Then, today, no sooner had I got the new miniature painted up to the same stage as the other ones in the order when this happened:

Pesky failcast kids, always hiding my staff tip where I can't reach it.

The staff went flop. Just the like the legs on the miniature it replaced. So when the usual methods of straightening resin didn't work, I decided to sever the damn thing at the join so I can pin it in place instead. Ironically, the fact I'll be pinning the damn thing means it'll probably be straighter(and stronger) now than it was before.

Apologies for the quality of the photographs by the way, we we're having some technical problems with the camera today (see what I mean about the sort of week we've been having?).

Here's another WIP shot of those Necrons. I'm afraid the light quality isn't any better in this one either:
No, we're not rusting. The camera's being attacked by the Stormlord and his Nightfight rule.

So, fine cast: Caveat Emptor. A total of 6 miniatures in this order (including two replacements) and three fail casts. That's a 50% failure rate.

Not cool GW, not cool at all.

Anyway, on to other news. I kept on painting the little guy after this happened and I'm happy to say the order is about 3/4 finished. The Survivor miniatures from Last Night on Earth are presently drying from their latest immersion in a wood varnish and turps solution to strengthen them (for some reason, they're even bendier than the zombies) and should be finished and on their way back to California by Monday.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Pay Pal is no Pal At All

Within the next few days, (as soon as I've established an alternative, secure  means for Lead Legion customers to transfer payments electronically) Lead Legion will no longer be trading via Pay Pal.

[Customers who have recently made a transaction involving Lead Legion via Pay Pal shouldn't be concerned. I'll be keeping the Lead Legion Pay Pal account open until all funds have cleared AND all outstanding Pay Pal customers have received, and are happy with, their painted miniatures. ]

Despite having been a Pay Pal customer for more than seven years -and never once having been involved in a payment dispute (or having been the target of any complaints) in all that time, Pay Pal have arbitrarily determined that any funds transferred to the Lead Legion Pay Pal account will now be held in reserve for 21 days prior to being made available for withdrawal. I was given no prior notice that this would be the case, and actually received an email notifying me that this step was being taken only AFTER it had been put into effect. I was not informed of the reason why this reserve had been put into place on my account, instead being directed to a list of "example" reasons for why Pay Pal might impose a reserve on any given account. None of which apply to the Lead Legion account.

I contacted Pay Pal to request an explanation of the specific reasons why the Lead legion account in particular had been chosen for this measure. They have been unable to provide a satisfactory answer.  I explained that, as a self-employed person, Lead Legion is my sole source of income. I also explained that, as I require payment up front in order to purchase any necessary supplies and miniatures to fulfil a customers order,  a 21 day hold on payments would force me out of business.

Here's Pay Pal's response to my concerns:

"If I were in your position, personally I would feel the same way; however, I would perhaps reserve judgement and objection and give the payment hold policy a chance. If it has worked on numerous PayPal users, maybe it would work well with me [sic] too."

Seems reasonable enough at first glance. Though how I'm supposed to eat for the first 21 days while awaiting payments to clear strikes me as a teeny-tiny problem in and of itself. I knew about the whole "starving artist" stereotype, but I didn't think I was supposed to take it literally!

It was also helpfully pointed out that funds would be released prior to the end of that 21 day period as soon as a positive feedback  result was recorded on eBay.Which is all very well for the handful of items Lead Legion does sell on eBay, but as sales of painted miniatures on eBay accounts for less than 10% of my business, this is absolutely no use to me whatsoever. 

My initial gut reaction was to close down the Pay Pal account entirely as soon as I had fulfilled all my existing Pay Pal orders. However, it's possible that I will (begrudgingly) keep it open for the purposes of eBay sales, given that it's impossible to use eBay without one.

I'm currently looking at switching to a Payment Gateway operated by Payment Sense as an alternative to Paypal. This would allow customers to pay by credit or debit card and provide the same protections enjoyed by Paypal users. This would also allow me to create a virtual shop of my own for purposes of selling non-commission painted miniatures, bypassing eBay altogether. In the meantime, I'll continue to use Pay Pal until I can arrange an alternate service. I'll keep you all updated as to further developments.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Battletech Order Completed

Didn't achieve much today due to the old tooth, but I did manage to finish off the last two miniatures on the Battletech order, now winging it's way back to the customer. Only a day early this time mind, which means this order is the closest I've ever come to not returning a customers miniatures earlier than estimated, but early is early all the same.
I used dry brushing techniques on these two (something I very rarely do) in order to match the source photograph provided for the paint scheme as closely as possible.

Finally, Tom Badguy (who regularly comments on the blog) asked me to plug a charity event for him, so here it is:

The Mental Cast is having a fundraiser for the Staten Island Academy of Performing Arts

Please tune into The Mental Cast at on May 22nd, 2012, from 6pm - Midnight EST

If you are interested in donating, please send a donation via PayPal to:

Monday, 21 May 2012

Wisdom Tooth

My wisdom tooth is playing up again, so I'm having a hard time concentrating. I don't expect I'll manage to accomplish much today. But we'll see.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Zombies, Battletech and What Brian Did on his Lunchbreak

Sorry about the lack of an update yesterday. Technical problems and all that. Lots of photographs for you today though.

First up, another pair of Battletech miniatures, painted in Player Character colours for our customer's Mechwarrior campaign.

Next we have the final batch of zombies. Once the survivors are all finished, they and the two zombie batches will be based at the same time. Two more mechs to go which I should hopefully finish tomorrow and then the order will be in the post.

Lastly, here's a Traitor Guard command squad I painted up over a number of lunch breaks. Only another dozen kill points worth of miniatures to go and my army will be tournament ready.

As to the Necrons? I'm expecting to have them finished and posted up on the blog by Tuesday. Wednesday at the latest.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Pepa Pig vs the WIP Zombies

Good (if strange) painting day today. First up, we have the most unusual miniature I've ever painted: Pepa the Battletech Urbanmech pig. Uh, yeah. There's a story behind that one (you might have gathered). Essentially, after unpacking his previous Battletech order one of  my customer's overheard his daughter observe. "I'd like a Pepa Pig one." We had a bit of a laugh and a giggle about this over email, even going so far as to discuss what mech models might make the best Pepa Pig. Thus, a rather cool travesty of a Urbanamech came about. Without further ado, I give you: Pepa Pig Urbanmech!
Pepa Pig as a Battletech Urbanmech.
I also spent a good part of the morning working on the zombie order. Half of them are now 90% finished, awaiting only facial details and painted bases to be complete. The plan for the half-day tomorrow is to paint up the other half and (time permitting) finish off both batches of flesh-eating zombs.
Work in Progress Zombs
Work in Progress Zombs
I've also been basing and prepping a second batch of Necrons to work on over the weekend (I'm contemplating working through Sunday, my normal day off, and taking a different day off next week). So, busy busy as usual. Always a good thing.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Battletech, Cowboys and a Great Big Horny Bull.

Haven't managed as much actual painting over the last few days as I would like, mostly due to paperwork (in particular, tax-return type paperwork) rearing it's ugly head. But here are some of the latest finished miniatures fresh from the painting desk over the last two days. I'd hoped to have some zombies to show you today as well, but the treatment solution I used to toughen up the soft, bendy plastic hadn't completely dried until just a few hours ago. I have a game organised for tonight, but with luck, I'll be home early enough to make a start on them later tonight.

First up, some more Battletech bad-guys. I actually had to take the Madcat II (the big one) apart yesterday and rebuild it. The original pose I'd given it was far more dynamic and dramatic, but even with a weighted base it wasn't stable enough for gaming purposes. So I had to tear it apart and repose it before painting.
Aggressor Force Battletech Hunchback and Madcat II
Next up, we have a bunch of late-period Wild West figures, based on cobblestones rather than the more traditional arid or semi-arid western terrain.

And finally, here's what I've been up to on my lunch break: a very, very old GW Minotaur Lord from the late 80's/early 90's converted into a blood bowl player. He (and "he" will be the only "he" on the team) is a powerful but fairly unreliable player. Unless you're blitzing with him, it's very difficult to actually get him to move because of his Wild Animal skill, but when he hits? Oh does it hurt.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Zombie Horde WIP

I don't normally post images of base-coated miniatures on the website, mainly because they always look pretty awful regardless of how great they'll look when finished. However, I'm posting some up today for a customer who's had some problems downloading the images I've been emailing out. Clearly, these zombies have a long, long way to go yet. Because they're soft plastic, I'll be treating them with a mix of floor varnish and turpentine later tonight before taking them to the next stage of painting. This should make the plastic less bendy, which keep the paint from peeling off if the miniatures are handled roughly during play or in postage. It also means that (I'll more or less) have to reapply the base coat afterword. Then I'll be able to shade the miniatures with a wash or two and finish them off with some highlights as normal.

Zombie Horde after the basecoat

Zombie Horde after the basecoat pt II,
As well as these thirty odd zombies, I have over a dozen survivors to paint as well. I'll be starting on them tomorrow. I hope to have some more Battletech pictures up tomorrow as well. Right, that's me finished until after I come back from the club later tonight. I've got a game of AE-WWII arranged with Mecha Ace tonight. It'll be my last game of anything but 40K for a while though. At least until after Chaos in the Warp 4 (a tournament held in central scotland on 30th June to 1st July).

Monday, 14 May 2012

Zombies, Tanks and a Troll

First up, we have the three test zombies from the Last Night on Earth boardgame. I painted these in a variety of flesh-tones, some with blood, some without and with various borders around the base to give the customer an idea of what can be done. Once I have his preferences, I hope to finish all the zombies in a few days and then start on the survivors.
Last Night on Earth test-paints.
Next up we have some Battletech tanks and APC's. Some of you will find these look familiar. They're from the same customer who placed the last Battletech order and have been painted to match. These represent about half the order. I'm working on the Battletech component of the order now as well.
Battletech Vehicles
Finally, the latest addition to the Salacious Throng Blood Bowl team. Groinchewer the Chaos Troll:
Blood Bowl Chaos Troll

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Chaos of the Warp Interview

The other night I was lucky enough to be invited onto the "Chaos of the Warp" pod-cast for an interview. As well as their weekly gaming pod-cast, Chaos of the Warp run tournaments in Central Scotland, the next being Chaos of the Warp 4 on the weekend of 30th June/1st July. I had a great time chatting with Geoff and Scott. I've even been invited back as a semi-regular guest host on the show!

Chaos of the Warp 4 will be run at Sinky's in Dunfermline, Scotland. The Saturday will see Blood Bowl, Warmachine and 40K tournament play with a larger, 30-man 40K tournament running on the Sunday. Unfortunately, previous commitments mean I won't be able to take part in the Saturday Blood Bowl tournament, but I'll be taking my traitor guard down on the Sunday.

You can learn more about Chaos of the Warp IV at the tournament web-site here:

Anyone who's curious to hear my dulcet tones can listen to the pod cast, here:

I come in about 1 and 20 minutes into the show, but if you are at all interested in 40K gaming or tournament play in Scotland I heartily encourage you all to listen to the whole thing. It's a cracking pod cast, still in it's infancy, but I have a feeling it's going to become very big, very quickly.

P.S: For those of you expecting to photographs of painted miniatures I'm afraid you'll have no such luck today. The lighting quality has been appalling so the only people who'll be seeing photographs of those painted zombie test-figures and Battletech vehicles today are the owners. I'm hoping the lighting quality will be better tomorrow, so look for those pictures then.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Slaaneshi Blood Bowl Captain and Traitor Tank.

Much progress was made today. A good half of the Battletech order (the vehicle half) is almost finished and I've started base coating the 33 zombies that arrived from the States yesterday. Normally I'd post an image of the nearly finished Battletech vehicles, but they're so close to completion that we may as well wait to see the full effect on Sunday (day off tomorrow I'm afraid). The zombies, on the other hand, aren't yet at a point where a photograph would be worthwhile. That being said I plan to finish two or three of the zombies completely on Sunday as well so that the owner can take a look at the test figures and decide which decaying flesh tone(s) he prefers me to use.

The rest of the day will be spent starting work on the Battlemech component of the Battletech order.

But for now, here's the finished test figure for the Slaaneshi Chaos Pact Blood Bowl team I've been working on for a very important customer indeed. The entire mini has been painted in a retro, 1980's Slaaneshi colour scheme using (as much as possible) original 1980's Citadel paints. That pink is older than some of the guys I game with! I tell you, when I was a nipper, paint were proper paint. None of this dryin in the pot nonsense! Yes that a Khorne symbol painted pink. Seriously, can you think of a better way to deface Khorne's symbol? Thought not.

The fact that this Dark Elf's hair is exactly the same colour as the customer's is entirely not coincidental. That being said, I'm not entirely happy with her loincloth. Well chuffed with everything else though.
Slaaneshi Blood Bowl Captain

Contractual profile shot.

She threatened to cut my eye out with a bramble brush if I didn't get a shot of her "good side."

Anyway, on my lunch breaks this week I have mostly been painting this: 

As usual, with all the minis I've painted for myself recently, this was a Speed Paint. Total painting time about 2 hours, not including time spent waiting for the washes to dry. If you look closely at the paint chips, you'll see bits of the original green Imperial Guard paint scheme showing through. Before those pesky heretics defiled this holy machine-spirit with their here-tek filth.

Sorry, forgot I'm not on the side of the Imperium anymore. It's been a hard transition *ahem*.