31 May, 2013

LBX Mecha: 10 or 28mm?

Okay, the gaming man-crush post is coming... trying to find a decent picture of Mark Copplestone... But for now lets talk giant robots.

I've picked up a few Danbōru Senki (Cardboard War Story) models over the past few months; got this one, LBX Gunther Yzelphar, and threw it together yesterday. They go together quickly and are molded in various color plastic, could benefit from some deburring with an Xacto blade, but looks okay as is.
They run about 4.5" tall (114mm). I'm trying to decide if I should use them at 10mm scale or 28mm. From the pics you can see how it compares to a Copplestone Casting 28mm. The chest could be used as a cramped cockpit... somewhat along the lines of the Scopedogs from Armored Trooper Votoms. Not all of the models would work in this manner, the female form models (Minerva and Pandora) have rather small upper torsos. The alternative is to use them as 10mm (1:161) scale giant mecha. The data chip compartment under the chest armor could stand in for a cockpit access hatch in that scale.

I haven't decided... I suppose I'll probably try them out in both scales and maybe decide later. I game in both, Heavy Gear and CAV are 10mm games, while most everything else I do is 28mm.

These are rather nice little kits that run about ¥1000 (~$10), but can often be had for about 30% less. They are fairly poseable, equivalent to an 80's GI Joe figure, but for gaming they might be more durable glued/pinned to a static pose.

The hands are rather simple, so I've taken to swapping them out with Ganpura (Gundam plastic model) detailed hand kits to provide more variety and dynamic poses. Weapon kits are available for the LBX line, and 1/44 scale Ganpura weapons work nicely too. And the best part is that the LBX models use standard connectors allowing you to mix and match torsos, legs, heads, arms, and such. Good deal.

26 May, 2013

Another Kickstarter... But it's for Mike Pondsmith!

The blog here is turning into a Kickstarter notification network, however the latest is from Mike Pondsmith and R. Talsorian Games; So my support must be expressed.

Pondsmith, as you can tell from previous posts, is the force behind my favorite game, Cyberpunk 2020, as well as the excellent Mekton series. Mekton, while not as popular, is the backbone of the Interlock system. Simply put, without Mekton there would be no Cyberpunk.

Mike has gotten back to his roots lately. CD Projeckt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 has reinvigorated R. Talsorian. CP2020 is back in print, Mike is supposedly working on a pen-and-paper CP2077, and now we have Mekton Zero - featuring an updated core rules sysem: Resolution.

From what I can tell Resolution will be a blend of Interlock and Fuzion, producing a more modern playing RPG mechanic. It will also function as a wargame engine in addition to RPGs. I don't know about you, but an Interlok version of Savage Worlds sounds just about perfect for me.

Anyway, I'll post more about my gaming man-crushes, Mike Pondsmith and Mark Copplestone in the next update, for now take a look at the Kickstarter for Mekton Zero, drop a few bucks if you will, not only is Mekton worthy, but a successful project here brings CP2077 closer and closer...

21 May, 2013

What D&D Character Am I? (Or: Lawful Good? Really?!)

I Am A: Lawful Good Elf /Rogue (3rd/2nd Level)

Ability Scores:

Lawful Good A lawful good character acts as a good person is expected or required to act. He combines a commitment to oppose evil with the discipline to fight relentlessly. He tells the truth, keeps his word, helps those in need, and speaks out against injustice. A lawful good character hates to see the guilty go unpunished. Lawful good is the best alignment you can be because it combines honor and compassion. However, lawful good can be a dangerous alignment when it restricts freedom and criminalizes self-interest.

Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Primary Class:
Monks are versatile warriors skilled at fighting without weapons or armor. Good-aligned monks serve as protectors of the people, while evil monks make ideal spies and assassins. Though they don't cast spells, monks channel a subtle energy, called ki. This energy allows them to perform amazing feats, such as healing themselves, catching arrows in flight, and dodging blows with lightning speed. Their mundane and ki-based abilities grow with experience, granting them more power over themselves and their environment. Monks suffer unique penalties to their abilities if they wear armor, as doing so violates their rigid oath. A monk wearing armor loses their Wisdom and level based armor class bonuses, their movement speed, and their additional unarmed attacks per round.

Secondary Class:
Rogues have little in common with each other. While some - maybe even the majority - are stealthy thieves, many serve as scouts, spies, investigators, diplomats, and simple thugs. Rogues are versatile, adaptable, and skilled at getting what others don't want them to get. While not equal to a fighter in combat, a rogue knows how to hit where it hurts, and a sneak attack can dish out a lot of damage. Rogues also seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to avoiding danger. Experienced rogues develop nearly magical powers and skills as they master the arts of stealth, evasion, and sneak attacks. In addition, while not capable of casting spells on their own, a rogue can sometimes 'fake it' well enough to cast spells from scrolls, activate wands, and use just about any other magic item.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus

20 May, 2013

Last Day of the Robotech Tactics Kickstarter

Robotech® RPG Tactics� -- Kicktraq Mini

Robotech... ick.

Still, I love Macross... I'll just have to edit all of the cards back to the original non-Anglicized names.

Palladium is another name that I have difficulty expressing enthusiasm for, luckily they aren't particularly involved in this one, it's really Ninja Division (Soda Pop Miniatures) behind this.

So the trend is looking good. Lots of unit variety coming, lots of add ons. I've chosen to maximize variety for my money rather than number of units, though that is also entirely possible.

End of the year should bring lots of mini goodness in a box with a name I despise shipped from my least favorite games company.

Life, you bitch.

08 May, 2013

Hobgoblin Ruby Beer

No painting tonight. Wife and daughter have the flu, on my own this evening getting the boy to sleep and feeding myself after work.

That said - once I got everyone settled, I sat down with this much storied (by my Commonwealth coworkers at least) English beer: Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin Traditionally Crafted Legendary Ruby Beer. Looks like it should come with a Games Workshop mini.

Decanted into a beer glass, I'm rather surprised at how little carbonation there is... you can pour it sloppily and get a decent head, but if you pour off the glass side, it has almost none. Doesn't taste flat though... indeed for a 5.2% beer this is an exceptionally easy drinking red. I'm sure I'll regret latter how easy it is to drain half the glass at a time... when the alcohol hits the blood stream.

I must say I bought this because of the cool label and D&D-ish mystique. I'll buy it again because it's a damn fine beer - far superior to my previous favorite (albeit pedestrian) red, Killian's. Killian's is like a PBR compared to this.

Wow. That was one heavy box.

Okay. That was quick. The nice people at Volks wasted no time in getting me my order of Vallejo Game Color and pumice basing compound. I went all in and got, pretty much, the entire line. There were a few out of stock items, but by ordering two 16 color sets and then filling in the blanks, I was able to get most everything. I'm actually only missing the Gloss Varnish, Thinner, and Metallic Medium. I can deal with that.

Yesterday my order of Liquitex Acrylic Gesso (both black and white) arrived, joining the 14 Ceramcoat pots I picked up at a craft store in Kaga. Toss in my sable brushes and I really don't have an excuse to not be painting anymore.

Well I do have to go to work today, so hopefully next week we will have some painted stuff up. Fingers crossed.

07 May, 2013

Super Dimentional Fortress Macross

When I was a kid, I watched Robotech. It was one of the early anime influences on me. In junior high school, I rediscovered Robotech through a friend who had the Palladium game books. It was at this time that I discovered that Robotech was a bastard creation of the late Carl Macek, who took three unrelated series and slapped them together. As offensive as I found the concept of changing someone elses work, I came to love Super Dimentional Fortress Macross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA in their original form. Soon after that I discovered how incredibly awful Palladium's game system was, and the search for better modern rules lead me to Cyberpunk and Mekton.

So there is a silver lining to the incredible pile of crap that the Palladium Robotech game represents.

Macross gaming holds a special place for me, but has been stunted by very limited miniature availability. I have a couple of the lead Battletech knockoff Valkyries... but not enough to really do anything with. I've also picked up a several soft plastic Valkyries from Japanese vending machines over the years - but Zentran mecha have been notably absent - so again, little utility in gaming.

Imagine my suprise at finding something on Kickstarter. Imagine my mixed feelings at it having both the Palladium and Robotech names attatched.

I decided to back it anyway. The rules have nothing to do with Palladium's percentile system, and they seem to realize that by keeping the three eras of Robotech distinct, Macross fans like myself will show interest.

So at the end of the year it looks like I'll be getting a good number of (round about a dozen) Valkyries and tons of Regults and such. Gotta start thinking of squadron colors. The Macross Compedium has a breakdown of a Valkyrie group being:
Group        Squadron     Team         Tactical
Commander     Commander    Leader       Fighter
                                   --- VF-1A
                      --- VF-1J --|
                     |             --- VF-1A
         --- VF-1J --|     
        |            |             --- VF-1A
        |             --- VF-1J --|
        |                          --- VF-1A
VF-1S --|          
        |                          --- VF-1A
        |             --- VF-1J --|
        |            |             --- VF-1A
         --- VF-1J --|
                     |             --- VF-1A     
                      --- VF-1J --|
                                   --- VF-1A
S            J            J            A

I'll probably bastardize that down by removing the group commander level and upgrading the squadron commanders to S variants. Even with that I'm looking at fielding two squadrons, thus two paint schemes. I might do that, especially if the models can be clearly numbered. Otherwise I might make groups of four (S, J, and two As) in 3 or 4 different squadron schemes. Yeah, I actually like the sound of that better. One will be the tan scheme cannon fodder squadron, a Skull squadron (possibly of the movie scheme rather than the series), the Blue Impulse inspired scheme Max flew with... and something else yet to be determined.

03 May, 2013

Grenadier's Future Warriors 28mm: 19 Years On

Nearly 20 years ago (christ, it can't be that long ago), Grenadier released a line of cyberpunk/post apocalyptic miniatures under the Future Warriors name. The minis were sculpted by Mark Copplestone, who was known for having worked for GW. The sculpts (as all of Mark's work) were excellent, beautifully proportioned, clean, a filled a sorely underrepresented genre of miniatures: 28mm near future.

It didn't hurt that the troopers were dead ringers for Colonial Marines from Aliens (and were a damn sight better looking than the licensed minis from Leading Edge Games (which sucked frankly).

The line was commissioned to support the Future Warriors: Kill Zone rules published by Grenadier during those twilight years of the former miniature giant. Sadly Grenadier was already on borrowed time and these fantastic miniatures vanished when Grenadier folded in 1996.

Luckily in 1996 there was this expansion of something called "the internet" and within a few years this invention would reveal to me that the Grenadier minis were not lost to history. Both EM4 and Mirliton SG continue to produce the ex-Grenadier minis (under the names Future Skirmish and Cyber Wars respectively), with significant overlap but not complete duplication. Additionally Mark Copplestone re-sculpted most of the line and offers them on his site as the Future Wars line.

I buy from all three, and this morning I was greeted by a package from Ring-Tail, a hobby shop in Ōita Prefecture. A couple months back I discovered their mobile site and placed an order for seven Cyber Wars packs (three packs of scavengers, three of troopers, and a pack of dataterms). They took some time to arrive, as they were not in stock and had to be ordered from Italy. That said the price was reasonable and I didn't mind waiting.

Today I'm just going to introduce the scavenger figs that I got, there will be shown in more detail as I paint them, with the troopers and dataterms (as well as assorted other stuff that has arrived) getting posts of their own in the coming days.

The first of the three packs is Cyber Wars CW1501 "Scavengers." It is a five figure pack, basically a re-release of the original #1501 Scavengers pack from the Grenadier Future Warriors UK line. All of the figures are Mark Copplestone sculpts dating from about 1994. Four of the figures were later released in blisters of two stateside as #1501 Scavengers and #1513 Street Scum. I have not been able to determine if the fifth figure was also re-released in a two-fig blister. EM-4 also offers these miniatures as part of their Future Skirmish line (from left: #0046, #0043, #0042, #0044, & #0045).

The second pack is labeled "1504 Future Savage," but is Cyber Wars CW1504 "Rebels" (according to Mirliton's web catalog). Essentially a re-release of the #1504 "Rebels" pack from the from the Grenadier Future Warriors UK line. Sculpts by Mark Copplestone about 1994. As above, EM-4 also offers these miniatures as part of their Future Skirmish line (from left: #0076, #0075, #0078, #0069, & #0077).

Finally (for today) is the Cyber Wars CW1521 "Gentleman Scavenger" by Mirliton SG. Consists of one figure from the #1525 "Overlords" pack from the Grenadier Future Warriors line. Mark Copplestone sculpt from about 1994, and offered by EM-4 as #0041 in the Future Skirmish line.

Once I can get my hands on some decent paint, I hope to get these guys finished sooner rather than latter. That shouldn't be too long, I'm putting together an order for Volks as soon as the Golden Week holiday is finished. They don't carry the Game Color case, and it actually costs more than ordering the bottle individually, so I made a list approximating the contents of the Army Painter complete set using Game Color. People might ask why I just don't get the Army Painter set. Well, I have not found a vendor in Japan, I have experience and the highest regard for Vallejo paints, and I can get 40 pots delivered of Vallejo for less than the cost (without tax or shipping) of the 36-pot Warpaints set. Clearly Game Color is the way to go.