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Thursday, 18 May 2017

Runewars Painting 2 - Infantry Priming

Now I posted a little while ago about painting the two main creatures out of the Runewars 2-player boxed set - the Rune Golem and the Carrion Lancer. Now painting centerpiece models is one thing -what about the rank and file infantry?

The term "zenithal shading", or highlighting, or pre-shading (with zenithal in front of any of those) is a term that's used a lot at the moment, but it's not a new technique. Essentially this is a way of adding depth and definition to a mini before you start painting, and it can be a great way of either speeding up your painting or helping you along the way. I won't go into exhaustive detail here (there are plenty of tutorials and explanations on the 'net), but essentially all this does is prime your models so that undersurfaces are dark, and highlights light, as here:

This group of reanimates looks nice and bright, but that's because we're looking at them from slightly above - if we look at one from slightly underneath...

Here you can see the shade on the undersides, which presumes a light source coming from somewhere above the model. Here are the spearmen treated in the same way:

That's fine, but spray doesn't act completely like light, and I also like to wash the minis to provide a really strong contrast before painting, like so;

I think you can see both the gradation in shading, plus the high contrast provided by the wash - this makes it much easier (in my opinion) to paint the mini as we go along, and get a feel for how the highlights and shading will work later.

Let's show this on a larger model - the horsemen. Firstly, let's have a look at the zenithal pre-shading using just the primer:

Then let's see one washed as well:

Now some people don't see the point in this, as you're going to be painting over this anyway. For me, the trick going forward is using thin coats, which allows this effect to show through, and then this guides the application of highlights, which makes the process more simple and gives you more time to think about the wet-blending on the model rather than where to put your paint. Next I'll be putting paint down on these minis to get them ready for the tabletop....until then...

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Dark Souls The Board Game - Unboxing

Yesterday I heard that people were receiving their Dark Souls TBG Kickstarter pledges, and wondered what had happened to mine. Checking out the Backerkit link and getting the tracking number, I went to Parcel Force's website to see they had apparently tried to deliver it on the 5th May, and had "informed the resident" that the parcel was held in the default PO Hub. Slightly frustrated by the fact I had received no such notification, and even more so because I am generally in my home office all day on a Friday on team calls...and my office is right next to the front door.

Anyway, I set off trying to find my parcel, to eventually track it down to my local Post Office, which is in the local shop about 100 feet away! So for 10 days the game had sat patiently a short distance away, with me unaware of its existence...a sorry state of affairs indeed! Nevertheless, I now had it in my possession, and went on to examine its contents....

The game itself is in a substantial, shrink-wrapped package which is pretty deep, and feels like a good quality, solid box. On opening this, you are greeted with...

This is pretty funny, and a really nice tie-in with the video game. Going beyond that, you start to see the contents underneath....

I'm pretty certain mine is a UK edition? Time to get this to the dining room table and have a closer look....

The main components of the game here are the cards (all contained in a plastic tray in a plastic bag, which stops them finding their way to all corners of the box - a nice logistic touch), two boxes of minis and dice, the thick card boards and components, and the rulebook.

First in the thick card pieces are the boards for the characters, complete with their specific token sets.

Next are the enemy health dials and more general token components.

The final items in this set are the thick cardboard game tiles, which are all double-sided (as are the tokens). All of these items are sturdy, with high-quality printed graphics - it doesn't feel like Steamforged have scrimped on production here at all.

The first set of minis is a stacked vacuum-formed plastic insert, also containing two bags of custom-made dice. Removing these and separating the mini trays, we can see the majority of the figures in the set:

These comprise the heroes (in brown - a nice touch to differentiate them from enemies for those who don't want to paint the minis), the "hollows" (the basic baddies), some larger figures and one of the bosses. Speaking of bosses....

The other box contains the six large boss figures, plus the dial assembly hubs and the markers for tracking health, character progression etc. The figures are protected by a clamshell vacuum-formed plastic outer inside the box, so you really feel Steamforged are serious about these figures. Taking the top plastic cover off, we can have a better look.

OK, so let's take a closer examination of the figures then, before we get too excited by these large plastic lumps! Going back to the heroes, here is the Herald:

You can see this is a nicely made mini, especially for a game component, though it's not quite as crisp as a miniature gaming figure - limitations of the material and casting process most likely (as the shield is very thick - yet the spear is appropriately thin). Anyway, here is the Assassin:

This is a pretty impressive mini, especially considering the medium - the sword is pretty good for this sort of PVC! I also really like the sense of movement in the hero figures, they're very cinematically posed. Next up is the Warrior:

The Warrior is probably my least favourite figure from the heroes, but that doesn't mean he's bad by any stretch of the imagination. His chain shirt I really like, it seems to have a sense of weight about it.

The final hero is the Knight, which I love - it's such a great pose!

Now, onto baddies! Here are the standard Hollows:

Plus the large Hollow;

Silver Knights (with swords and Greatbows firing javelin-sized bolts!);

And then these dudes...which are HUGE! They remind me of Alice through the Looking Glass and the playing-card soldiers:

Now most of my figures were well cast with little, if any, "droop" - the polearms above being excellent examples. Sadly, not all my figures were immune...

We'll have to see if this scimitar-like sword can be coaxed back into straightness or not with a hot water/cold water cycle, but it's not a huge deal.

Next up we have the bosses, starting with the chap who stays with the minions in this first box - Dragonslayer Ornstein:

Then we go through the big guys...this is the Winged Knight

The Gargoyle:

The Boreal Outrider Knight

Executioner Smough - also know as "The big hammer dude"!

The Dancer of the Boreal Valley

and my personal favourite, the Titanite Demon

So first impressions are good - very good. The components are nicely finished and have an air of quality about them, everything is carefully put together and the miniatures are extremely high quality for a board game, and good for a minis game. Looking forward to playing properly after our demo game at Salute, and also to getting some paint on those big beauties!