Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review: Large Base Detail Kit by Games Workshop

I was in my local comics and games shop the other day when I spotted this kit.
I decided to pick it up: I make all the details for my own sci fi bases, but the inspiration has been flagging lately. And A$50 for over seventy bits didn't seem to bad, compared to what I'd pay if I picked up other random bits from resellers.
Here's what you get, two of each of these two sprues.
But can I just say, don't do what I did! Do not buy this kit!

When I opened the box and pulled out the first sprue, my first thought was, "This must be upside down. The detail is pretty soft, this must be the back of the casting." Well, if only! Most of the stuff in the kit looks as if it's been recast in Outer Mongolia using aeroplane jelly for the mould! Grrr! Soft detail everywhere. It's tricky to pick up in the pictures, but have a look at these.

Checkerplate pattern, compared to a plasticard sheet from the local hobby shop. A heavy undercoat on the GW bit, and you wouldn't even know it was there.
A streetlamp, compared to the same model from one of GW's building kits. Notice the soft, rounded edges.
Compare the detail on the skulls and the lights. This kit looks like the stuff you'd get on a kid's toy.
Needless to say, I'm not at all impressed. Say what you like about GW's style, their business model, their pricing; normally their models are technically top-line. Definitely not here.

Do not buy this kit (unless you'd like to get it second hand - I know someone trying to get rid of one)!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

How to Make Sci Fi Tables

I wanted some sci fi tables for an upcoming scenario. I didn't want something super high-tech, but definitely something more than your average dining table. And I wanted to be able to make it myself. A dig around the bits box gave me some inspiration: a heroscape glyph and the lid from an asthma inhaler.
Cut out the insides of the lid, get rid of the sticker on the glyph, glue, paint.
"I could let you have it for a mere 480 credits".

Monday, June 6, 2016

Pulp Alley Horror

The new Horror deck from Pulp Alley arrived last week and it looks like lots of fun. I prepared a bit of a welcoming committee!
When you interact with a horrific thing (character, peril or plot point), you have to roll a Health check. Fail and you draw a card. There are all sorts of tantalising results!
And here's the welcoming committee close up.
For a long time, I've wanted to horror fantasy: I loved GW's Mordheim figures, but never had the cash for them at the time. Frostgrave sparked the same kind of interest, but no one in my gaming group jumped at it. But when I read about the horror deck, I thought it was time to pull the trigger! Frostheim (or Mordgrave) Alley! I had a dig through my lead (and plastic) pile and discovered I have a decent array of figures for the project.

A Mantic ghoul, a Frostgrave cultist, a Warhammer Quest rat (I have at least one of these for every Pulp Alley setting I've built!), and Heresy Miniatures' Dark Lord. I got him as a freebie with an order and didn't have a clue how I'd use him. Now he's my leader for the Cult of the Purple Something or Other...

So, what do you think: Frostheim or Mordgrave?

Sunday, June 5, 2016

One Hundred Posts!

Well, I wasn't sure the blog would last this long, but here I am. One hundred posts! It feels like a tidy achievement. Allow me the indulgence of going all retrospective for a moment: here are my five favourite posts and then yours.

Most of this blog has been filled with Pulp Alley of one kind or another. The mad scientist's crew was the first Pulp Alley league I painted. I love that they're a hodge-podge of minatures, and I've had some great games with them. I reckon the robot is the most consistently intimidating miniature across all the games I've played.
Because I'm cheap, I love building my own stuff where I can. Because I'm slow, I love to build stuff that can be reused in all sorts of ways. Oh, and I love cork! My biggest success so far has been my sci fi walls. They took a few goes to get right, but they've been fantastically versatile in the Pulp Alley campaign I've been running.
I love the Inquisimunda movement: small scale skirmishes in the 40k universe. Part of what I love is people's creativity in converting all sorts of weird and wonderful miniatures. I'm a rank novice in the conversions stakes, but this would be my favourite guy that I've done: Johann Tzel, reliquarist.
Really though, the painting and modelling is just a means to an end: games! I've loved running my first extended campaign this year. My favourite game so far: dungeon crawling, invulnerable cultists, and a shuttle that leaves at just the right time.
 And my all-time favourite game of Pulp Alley. It centred on the agent of mayhem who graces most of our Pulp Alley games: the black cat. It featured all of the teeth-grinding of the best games of Pulp Alley as my boys delighted in stymieing me. And it ended with the perfectly poised cliffhanger that seems to be a regular feature of our Pulp Alley games.

That's my top five. Yours (based on hits to date)...

Number five. Well, you love the cat too!
Number four. The desperate last stand, first game in the Sinastras IV campaign.
Number three. Another one in common - the escape from the cultists.
Number two. Using Frostgrave cultists for 40k.
Number one. By a long margin. Making sci fi terrain tiles from cork. Whenever I set up a sci fi game, these always generate lots of interest. No one can believe they're just 2d. This is the how-to.
Well, if you're still reading, we'll see how the next one hundred goes! It feels like the blogging has been in a bit of a dull patch for the past couple of months. Life has been busy with work and family, and I've worked harder at maintaining a decent bedtime, which cuts into the time for blogging. At the same time, I find myself torn between formats at times. The blog is great as a central record for all the stuff I do. But it really can't compete with a forum for the rich interaction you get between people. I don't really have time to do both. So, we'll see what wins out in the end.

Anyway, thanks for looking and reading and weighing in with your comments!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Plot Exposed - a Pulp Alley Game

In the last game, Commissar Burns found himself fighting off an assassination attempt on an Imperial Guard Colonel. Worse, the assassins were traitor guardsmen led by a chaos psyker. There's a plot and Burns must get to the bottom of it. His investigations have led him to an abandoned underground storage facility. Rumour has it that the assassins have used it as a base: perhaps he can find evidence about the group.

We played this game using the Investigate scenario from Vice Alley. Because they're poking around for clues, characters can't run or attack until turn four, or until a plot point is completed (whichever comes first). We played about a month ago, so the my memory for the fine details is a little rusty! This was our second remote game Pulp Alley: we skyped with Kevin who lives 3 600 km away in Western Australia. It worked really well. The small number of figures makes the game easy to keep track of. If I, as the umpire, felt Kevin was doing too well, I could just furiously wave the ipad and induce a bit of motion sickness!
Burns and his crew. But who's that lurking? (and I don't mean the feet!)
More guardsmen! Traitors? But no one wants to fire any shots yet.
Can we find any incriminating messages on the communications console?
Guardsmen grabbing a radio that, again, may have compromising information (preset comms channels and the like).
The guard push up to grab the major plot point, a book (surely the traitor guard wouldn't have written down the details of their plot?!)
Suddenly, a skulking simian surges out from behind the crates and strikes the cultist. (This was a Fortune card for a random peril, and the traitor guard player has a special love for monkeys in games!)
Super simian causing carnage for the guardsmen!
The lie of the land - things aren't going well for the traitors.
Commissar Burns arrives to do what he does best.
More carnage at the bookfest.
Burns grabs the book.
And retreats, pursued by guardsmen.
He's really good at shooting guardsmen: years of practice, I suppose.
Having spent his guardsmen, the chaos psyker takes a crack at Burns, but to no avail. A resounding victory for the forces of good (at last!)
Now, what's in the book? Tune in next time!