Necromunda 17 – Jane the Whirlwind

Well, I have made good on my promise and finished painting Jane in recognition of her Pitfight win on the 8th.

We’re mostly just talking about some drybrushing and base work at this stage; most of the primary painting effort was done when I posted last week.

I like a lot of things about these Raging Heroes miniatures, but I do have a couple minor complaints. There a lot of low-relief detail that’s hard to pick out until after it’s been painted, and that sword, oof. Super crooked and twisty on arrival. It’s resin, so that’s sorta expected and it was pretty easy to reshape with hot water, but I never really felt like I got it perfect. Even after straightening, it feels a bit shifty.

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Necromunda 17 – Mittens

Mittens is complete!

My friend Cadie joined me last night for an evening of painting miniatures. She had some weird little fantasy commissions to work on for another friend of ours, and I took the opportunity to paint Mittens. I got the bulk of it done last night (we painted until about 130) and finished up this morning while my boys did some painting of their own:

They were very excited to join in!

I went with a mixed bag approach, an Ambot that’s been sourced or repaired using multiple donor bots. Unless otherwise specified, any named paints are Vallejo.

The torso and right arm are painted in an Olive Drab that’s a little more military than my original goal, but it’s also a nice subtle core to wrap the more interesting colours around. The left pauldron and right leg are a Heavy Red, and the left limbs are both painted in a construction-themed combination of Deep Yellow and Black. Machine parts and cables are a varied mix of Bronze, Brass, Oily Steel, and some Citadel Warplock Bronze. A few joints are done in a Vermilion Red/Gory Red mix to give them an industrial casing sort of feel.

Overall I’m very happy with how he turned out, and excited to field at least 2 freshly painted models next weekend.

I gave him a bit of wear and tear to finish him up. I’d thought about working some rust pigments into the machine parts and joints and such, but ended up just settling for a bit of Burnt Cadmium Red in those spaces. Full blown rust effects just seemed unnecessary, and not entirely in line with the rest of the work I’d done here (especially since I tend to go a little overboard with the rust weathering, haha).

I *did* add a bit of light gore to go along with the weathering. Nothing too insane, but a bit around the sawblade hands, plus some under the lifted foot. Sorta like he stepped on somebody and now he’s tracking them around. Grin.

I cannot wait plop this guy down on the table next time. Hoping he’ll scare the bejabbers out of somebody,

Necromunda 17 – Jane the Whirlwind and ‘Mittens’ WIP 1

I recently fielded a long-primed but as-yet-unpainted Raging Heroes miniature in a multiplayer Necromunda scenario. I told my friends/opponents that if she came through and won the event, that Jane the Whirlwind would get painted before the next session in a couple weeks. I haven’t painted in a while, so this was a good opportunity to put myself on the hook, and sure enough she triumphed.

So here I am painting her up. I feel super out of practice (I haven’t really painted anything since my Saga vikings a while back) but it feels good.

Evening #1 was mostly just a few base colours, trying to get a feel for where I’d be heading, plus I put some grit down on the base. That particular jar of gritty stuff is getting a bit dry, but I’ve got a fresh one waiting in the wings. At this point I’m already noticing I didn’t clean this miniature up much, but I don’t want to start over. I’ll just have to pay better attention in the future. It would have been easy to get these mold lines off, but I’ve been picking away at this mini over so long that I think I just missed that step.

Evening #2. I’m not entirely sure I like the hair, but again, I don’t dislike it enough to set myself back. At least hree variations on brownish added, plus I blacked the parts I’d potentially be putting metallics on.

Evening #3. Washes, details, metallics, and a nice crackly power sword blade. Hopefully tomorrow I can finish her up and get started painting Mittens.

Right, Mittens. I put an Ambot in my necromunda gang, so that will probably be the next thing to get painted. For now, I spent a couple evenings putting him together before painting up Jane the Whirlwind.

There are a ridiculous number of nooks and crannies in this fellow so I’m sure parts of him won’t get much paint, but hopefully I can make him look pretty cool. Thinking I’ll mix a few colour schemes to suggest some donor parts, and maybe some rust effects. Nothing so intense as my Gaslands cars, just enough to make it look like it’s done some time in the bowels of the underhive.

Mittens feels like a pet’s name while referencing his ‘hands’; it was just a funny idea at first but it’s grown on me significantly. I’ll keep you posted!

Necromunda 17 – Downtime/Pitfight!

We have reached the halfway point in our current Necromunda campaign, which means everybody has recovered, we all got a pile of cash to buy some gangers and hangers-on, and we played a little multi player scenario called Pitfight.

Downtime first, I suppose. I spent an evening making some careful decisions to maximize the effectiveness of my 250 credits. A nice mix of gangers and juves. And then our Arbitrator said yes to Brutes being Hangers-on, and I tossed most of those plans out the window, because when else am I going to get my hands on enough credits to buy an Ambot? Muahaha! I had some credits left from the previous session, too, so I also picked up some better armour and a power knife for my close combat champion, Jane the Whirlwind. Then I tested her mettle in the pit…

Pitfight is a free-for-all where each player sends one champion into a ‘pit’ that’s only 24″ square; last champion standing wins. Limited ranged options for the first few rounds. Only three of us made it out to play, so the stakes weren’t as high as they could have been, but we did end up dishing out some pretty rough Lasting Injuries. James and I both fielded Eschers, and Rob’s Venator gang sent in a Goliath.

Rob’s Goliath held back for the first couple rounds while James and I closed and started an absolutely epic fight.

Both of our Eschers had Step Aside (which is pretty dynamite on an Escher) so that was one hit pretty much negated every time. James’s ganger had some rapid fire potential, but I had a parry and a 4+ armour save to keep me in the game. Rob had a few rounds to hit us both with shredder templates before I managed to get clear of James and take on Rob.

I ended up with a bunch of reputation and experience and a little bit of cash, and the other two ended up with head injuries. I had the only unpainted model, so I promised early on that I’d paint Jane the Whirlwind if she won. That will have to wait for another post, though.

Looking forward to fielding my Ambot next time. I just gotta spend some credits first…

Necromunda 17 – some very late initial thoughts

After preordering the box, and buying all the Gang War books, and the hardcover rewrites (with slipcase!), and some extra Escher cards, I have *finally* played a couple actual games of the new Necromunda.

I like it.

That said, let’s get the worst out of the way. The rulebooks. The Gang War supplements are a tire fire (tyre fire?) of retcon design, full of ‘Replace pages 17-24 from your first supplement with the following…’, etc. The fact that they parceled out the rules in this manner angers me to no end. It’s like the hardcopy version of offensively designed DLC; imagine you paid $90 for a videogame only to find out when you got home that it was episode 1 of 5 (providing only 4 hours of gameplay) and that each additional episode would be $35. Oh, and a year later $99 would get you the whole thing, with all the bugs worked out.

The hardcover rewrites are a definite improvement, but still manage to kind of fail all over the place, in glorious Games Workshop style. The rules are of course split (rather arbitrarily it sometimes seems) between two books, and constantly reference other rules in other parts of the book (or the other book) while rarely providing page numbers or anything else. It’s like everything is cross – referenced but with no actual references. Oh, and there’s no index. Just a minimal table of contents that’s pretty much limited to what are essentially chapter titles. Kind of reminds me of the second edition of Infinity; it reads okay, but looking anything up is a nightmare. Except that Infinity provided an amazing online wiki that pretty much negated any need to look anything up in their rulebook, and also *fixed* those shortcomings when it came time to release 3rd edition. The Necromunda hardcovers are literally the clearer *rewrite* of the new Necromunda rules and the only real improvement they seem to have bothered to make over the Gang War supplements is that they reduced the number of books from 5 to 2, and deleted the paragraphs that were retconned out of the rules. Grr. I like this game, but GW has pretty much hung themselves out to dry as far as my hobby cash is concerned.

K, just needed to get that out the old system, thanks. Moving on.

Necromunda 2017. First off, the game uses an alternating activation system that feels like they ripped it directly out of the Frostgrave rulebook, right down to Leaders and Champions having the option of activating additional models alongside themselves (models within 3″, even, haha). I’m fine with this – it’s a great system that keeps everybody more engaged and provides additional tactical depth – but I totally find myself mixing up the details with the Frostgrave method. Good thing they’re so darn similar, haha!

Close combat is *not* a face to face roll of any kind, which threw me off in my first game. Unlike Frostgrave, Infinity, or even the old Necromunda, being the one that charges in and attacks is a pretty big deal. If you can take somebody out fast enough, they won’t even get to strike back. I’m still up in the air about this, but I don’t hate it. I think I just need to get used to it. Might make armour more useful in this iteration. If they release a ‘slow’ gang at any point (I’m thinking of Mordheim’s dwarves right now), I expect they’ll be pretty much boned.

Shooting is pretty much what you’d expect, although they’ve tried to ‘simplify’ the stats as they’ve done with so many games recently. So your ballistic skill will be 4+ instead of 3; means the same but fewer charts. Makes some of the modifiers actually feel *less* intuitive, but that’s quite possibly just because I’ve used so many variations of the old system for so long that it feels more natural than it is. A lot of the heavy weapons are cheaper than they were in the old Necromunda, but on trying to use them in game, I think it balances out. ‘Unwieldy’ (N17’s trait for move-or-shoot) is pretty brutal. By making heavy weapons a double action instead of single (rather than just requiring no movement), one is prevented from aiming carefully, or even from using most of the sights and other upgrades. A suspensor modification negates this, but effectively increases the weapon costs by 60 each. Like I said, seems to balance them out okay, but it also means that some of the basic and special weapons seem a bit undercosted. Hopefully nobody tries to play this competitively, or you’d probably see a lot of lists spamming a lot of identically outfitted minis.

The one and only time I thought to take a picture.

I think that’s all I’ve got to say at the moment. I like the new Necromunda, and hopefully will continue to.

Oscar Night Scifi Superfest 2019

Another year, another Oscar night with no Oscars. For me, anyway. M once again trudged through the snow to an Oscar party at her friend’s place across the street, and I settled in to watch some unfamiliar science fiction. This is my seventh year doing this, but only the second year of inviting people to join me. Despite some miserable road conditions and a lot of wind – blown snow, I had a pretty good turnout. Only a few people got stuck at home and couldn’t make the drive (which meant we were a little less crammed, haha, so silver lining I guess). First up?

Slipstream [1989]

There’s been an earthquake convergence! And a mixing of civilizations! And there’s a globe spanning wind so amazing that everybody uses planes to get around (and occasionally to hit people)!

This was about 30% of the shots in the movie…

This one was a lot of fun, if a little loose plotwise. Not that it lacked one, but it seemed to change direction a few times. Bad guys became good guys and criminals became innocents and antihero types became more anti than hero. I expect much of this was intentional, and in a more polished film it might have worked, but the characters in this one felt more like cookie cutters that wouldn’t keep their shape than fully realized individuals that couldn’t be so simply described. Six of one, I suppose.

Bill Paxton surprised us by being a protagonist..

Ben Kingsley was in this one, too, but his five minutes were almost up before we even recognized him, haha.

I feel like Slipstream reached a little beyond its grasp. What felt like inconsistent characterization was probably supposed to be complexity and growth. I liked that it tried to drop us into a world and then show rather than tell, but it felt more incomplete than expansive.

Mark Hamill had a much smaller role than we anticipated. Slipstream seems to be one of those movies where they sell it on the presence of a well known actor in a lesser role, without really making it clear that’s the case. I forgot Paxton was even in it, despite him getting first billing on the DVD case. Added an element of surprise, haha.

Grr.

All that said, we liked it. It could have used a lot of improvement, but I don’t want to give the impression it was a tire fire. It probably tried to do a bit more than it really had the chops for, but overall it was a win. Which brings us to…

The Andromeda Strain [1971]

In terms of quality, this was the big winner of the evening. A fallen satellite/probe has brought something home with it, and that something isn’t good for people.

A whole town is dead, along with everybody that’s tried to enter since the satellite crashed. An elite team of scientists is brought together, and they attempt to identify and nullify the threat using… science. This is literally a few people in a bunker running tests for the better part of its two-hour-plus runtime, and it is absolutely intense.

Every answer brings further questions, and immense preparation proves insufficient as the team races to determine what exactly the potential epidemic is, and how to prevent it from destroying humanity.

The characters are well developed and each bring their own beliefs and scientific prejudices into this overwhelming situation. I can see why The Andromeda Strain is still considered by some to be the benchmark for epidemic/outbreak films; it really does everything right.

Who designed this DVD case? Have they even seen this movie?

In addition to the town full of dead people, there are a few animal tests undertaken as they investigate the pathogen that are a little horrific; the movie bears a PG rating but those situations could with the heavy realism make that seem a little light to me. Plus, I think you’d want to be a little older to really appreciate it, anyway.

The crowd thinned a little after this one, as we were already rolling into the wee hours of Monday morning, but a few of us stuck it out for our final flick…

TimeRider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann [1982]

TimeRider was a nice light romp of a movie, following a motocross biker with mad skillz and no navigational talents that gets lost and drives through a secret time travel experiment. Oops! Poor Lyle winds up a hundred or so years in the past with no idea what’s going on. But, seriously, no idea. Everything’s filthy, he keeps getting shot at, and nobody understands half of what he’s saying, but he mostly just seems to think he’s lost and things are weird. At one point somebody specifically namedrops the very recent Civil War, and he just responds that what they’re saying doesn’t make any sense.

This one definitely benefits from a healthy suspension of disbelief, but we had at least some idea of that going in. Not all the details, but we at least knew we were going to watch a motocross racer go back in time for some reason, so we were more or less in an appropriate frame of mind. Peasants are terrified of him, a local girl takes a shine to him, and of course the outlaws he runs into decide they need to have his ‘machine’ for their very own.

Some US Marshals turn up hunting said outlaws, and Lyle teams up with them in an effort to save the girl and his motorcycle. Classic stuff. We get a number of shootouts, some clumsy romancing, and a subplot back in our own time involving the scientists trying to find a way to undo their mistake. TimeRider didn’t feel like it was trying to do anything too fancy (it is what it is, if you will), but it promised me some goofy time travel shenanigans and it delivered.

I wish the Adventure of Lyle Swann had felt a little more adventurous, but overall we all had fun with it, and that’s really all we were asking for.

And that’s the 2019 Oscar Night Scifi Superfest! Time to start planning for next year.