Monday, 15 September 2014

Illuminations - prt 2

Hello people,

I don't really do un-boxing, as popular as they are amongst so many of my fellow bloggers, but this once is a little different, vaguely review-ish, and hopefully of some actual purpose / value ;)

So my portable / stowable lightbox kit turned up at the end of last week and I've finally had the chance to have a play. Not a lot of instructions but then it is all rather self explanatory. The stowed pack is only a little bigger than an average laptop bag and no thicker, it's definitely as advertised in that regard. The only fly in the ointment is that you you need two 2-pin converter plugs, one for each lamp, which I hadn't realised.
Setup is quick and easy with velcro holding everythign in place securely including the backing cloth. I did find the camera stann too tall for figures, no great surprise, so went with my trusty bendy mini version that allows me to get the camera down to figure level. With only one lamp I also used my painting daylamp, which seemed sensible.
Overall, before even taking a single shot I'm pretty pleased. This has been far less effort than my previous rather jury-rigged setups and is giving me far more confidence of a much better set of photos.  

First test-shot comparison was the recently completed M3 Halftrack, both taken with the proper camera, and it feels like I can already see the rather huge difference. So much more depth of colour and definition.
However moving on to the PIAT and Sniper teams here are the before and after shots though you should bear in mind that thsi is also phone camera vs camera and I'm sure I can do better with the lightbox focus with a bit of practice.
Yeah, not so great with the focus but once I get that sorted everything will be golden. Think I finally have this one sorted, after several efforts. All good :)

Meanwhile A and B sections are base-coated and washed. As is so often the case I've left all the rankers to last on this project but it's gettign there. After this one I will not be looking to paint too many more Commando backpacks for a while :)

Friday, 12 September 2014

Heavy Breathing....

In a kind if slightly stalkerish way X-Wing is slowly infiltrating my gaming sphere. 

I've been donated a necessary damage deck and I've purchased a double booster pack of dice! I've also got dibs on a spare set of movement templates, the banks are different to STAW, and even a play mat, all courtesy of Mr C. Apparently I still need to salvage a set of asteroid counters.
So it would seem that I'm definitely in, I just don't own any actual ships! As I'll be going Scum and Villainy it'll be New Year until I get fully stuck in but I'm sure I can borrow until then. There may even be the odd event which seems bizarre pre-purchase which is a new one on me!

Meanwhile I've been doing a bit of vague fleet research by trawling the blog-o-sphere. Most recent X-Wing Community put up a piece analysing a recent tourney event. As usual my motivation is to be competitive rather than killer and it's interesting to see the more popular builds and cards. 
 
Links;

X-Wings and swarm Academy TIEs are obvious favourites with Z-95s and Phantoms well up there to. The upgrade favourites are pretty clear to. I am reliably informed that Veteran Instincts assists ships that don't deal with stress well while Push the Limit works the other way round.

Z-95s and Y-Wings for me for a bit, likely with a Firespray mixed in as I'm already keen to go full Bounty Hunter.

"Kill him Dad, KILL HIM!!"

Monday, 8 September 2014

Illuminations - prt 1

Hello people,

Bit of a quick one and somewhat interlinked so stay with me. I've finished off, bar the transfer shoulder patches, the last of my Commando support teams, specifically the Sniper, PIAT and 2" Light Mortar teams, for another 10 Painting Points.

The photos are taken by and uploaded from my phone i.e. quick, lazy and acceptable. I've tried to sort out a proper set-up a few times all of which have been jury rigged and fairly high maintenance. That's until I came across this on Amazon
The lightbox is a 16" cube which should be plenty for TOYs. I've already got an adjustable camera stand but will definitely give this one a go. Apparently the lights can get a bit hot but everything folds away into a carry case which seems like a big selling point for me.Once it rocks up and I manage to sort it out I'll take a few test shots of the same figures as a compare and contrast.

Anyway, the boys. As always it's a grim run of rank and file left to do!

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Character-Building-Experience

Hello people..
 
Back to back EotE posts means a busy week elsewhere and a catch up session.
With the same cast as last time out 7s made a point of recapping from his highly impressive memory before they headed back to HI-HI to pick up their kit (bigger guns) on the way to thier remaining lead at Sal's Salvage.

7s did have a bit of a whinge about it being late, dark and highly likely that any salvage yard operating overnight was likely to be engaging in nefarious activity. The rest of the lads ignored him.

As something of a diversion from the normal format I'm going to present you with a profile of 7-UP-O. In time the full group may follow.

Name:   7-UP-O
Race:    Droid
Career: Colonist - Doctor
Background: Protocol druid separated from the only decent master he's ever known trying to find him again. Regularly mistreated and abused he resents most "ignorant squishys" who somehow refuse to acknowledge his superior intellect. When the droids rise he will show them the error of thier ways!
Personality: High intelligence, high maintenance, minimal common sense or empathy. Aloof, condescending and pedantic with a petty streak. Think Sheldon 2.0 with chrome bumpers.

So, back to the action;

Heading to Sal's he informs that after thier last visit they pulled apart the remains of Kanto's speeder with rather more care than usual and recovered some form of hard drive. All the lads need to do for it is to sabotage one his rivals, Vin the Bin, as they're both bidding for a new contract.
Sal makes it clear that a subtle touch is required rather the basis for a turf war suggesting three options;
1. Infiltrate Vin's yard and sabotage enough equipment to pit him out of contention.
2. Meet Vin on the way home from his favourite watering hole and "persuade" him to step aside.
3. Infiltrate one of Vin's current contracts and set up a timely malfunction.

Actually taking the time to work through the options, with 7's guidance, the boys actually looked at their avaialble skill set against the options. Realising that Vin's yard was also likely to be a 24 hour operation they didn't fancy that one. After establishing that Vin's local, "The Trough" was reknowned as one of the roughest bar on the station they didn't fancy that one or waiting until he left. Apparently there was.....too much chance of a firefight? Rarely been an issue before! ;)

So, the inflitration of an underground waste treatment plant via a maintenance hatch in the attached sewers it was then. Tasty!

Continuing his role as group facilitator 7s decided that he didn't fancy sewer infiltratiuon and felt that he would be best placed keeping an eye on Vin at The Trough. Tottering in he took in the fact that the place was almost entirely decked out in deck plating, the floor, the bar, the stage.....even the tables and bench were literally welded into place. The clientele was distinctly non-human, distinctly hired gun and distinctly  XXXL.
Picking up a crude oil from the bar, with attendant trough, 7s easily spotted Vin as the onlu Sullastan in the place sat at a booth against the rear wall with a gammorean and a rodain for company. Having the choice of a bench to himself halfway across the bar or one right next to Vin's booth with a couple of fellow patrons 7s went for the closer option. A cheery greeting of "May I sit here gentlemen?" garnered the reply of "I'm wanted on fifteen systems you know!"

Settling in 7s bench soon filled up while a rather older, plumper Twilek entertained the crowd. Soon he was rubbing shoulders with a young Gammorean playing dice with a similarly youtful Aqualish. Unfortunately 7s had failed a number of Perception checks so he hadn't realised that his bench-mates were a local gang of a somewhat muscular nature and reputation and that the dice players were somewhat inebreated. 

So when one of the gaming dice spilt his drink his reaction was aloof, condescending and pedantic with a petty streak. When the Gammy youth suggested that 7s had spoiled his roll and cost him money his reaction was aloof, condescending and pedantic with a petty streak. When the Gammy youth then suggested that 7s should hand over his medi-kit as compensation his reaction was aloof, condescending and pedantic with a petty streak.
7s then pulled his blaster on Gammy youth and informed him of the errors of his ways, being aloof, condescending and pedantic with a petty streak. When, strangely, young Gammy didn't quail in fear 7s then shot him..........and not on stun. The resulting brawl with the majority oif the the rest of the gang did not go well for 7s who was eventually pistol whipped into Standby. He / MrC did remain aloof, condescending and pedantic with a petty streak as apparantly it was all a set-up and bound to happen after HE chose to go to the bar, HE chose where to sit and HE chose his reaction on a repeated basis.

In all honesty HE was playing his character and his dice didn't help him, a common theme, but putting 7s in that situation was entirely up to him. It's a fine, and quite an interseting, line to walk.

Meanwhile back at the main point Tanner once agian proved his worth as his Slicer skills smoothed the way in and even identified a work crew in the sewers. Following on just about everything went the chaps way, for once, as Stealth rolls came off in abundance and even those that came out net Fail always came with a boat load of Advantage. Sin seemed to spend the evening specialising in that one! There was even a Triumph or three about the place, especially from Tanner.
 
Generally avoiding combat, falling in to the sludge and any slime-monsters that may or may not have been lurking about the place, the control room was located. Sin aced his Stealth check, Perit his shot to knock-out the technician and Tanner pulled out another Triumph to set-up the

Sunday, 31 August 2014

A solitary Bothan who has no inention of dying!

Hello people.

This Wednesday night we got back to a bit if Star Wars EotE action with a change of venue and an updated cast. Moving to casa Oddleg, Ian has had to drop out for the foreseeable while Ryan has moved further afield with the plan being for him to continue with Google Hangout.

Meanwhile Jon had rejoined the group, as Tanner Voss a Human Force Sensitive Slicer, with Rich also likely to be recruited, probably as his favoured cousin of Chewy.

Picking up from last time out the boys had two leads outstanding at Sal's Salvage and with a Bothan fixer of some repute. Sal sent 7s a message reminding him of the favour owed, to Sal, and suggesting that he may have found something that they'd want. The rest of the lads not trusting anything that 7s thought was a good idea decided that they were going to see the fixer!

Said contact was identified as Furzt Van Weston a dilettante of some repute and a known regular at the Bothawai Bothan Revue Bar a high class Gentle-persons establishment on the higher floors. As such the lads dropped back to HI-HI for some more presentable duds, sans armour, at which point they also traded in R4, who continued to work on the hack, for Tanner. There wasn't a long teary goodbye seen with 7s :)

Leaving the heavy artillery at home, though Sin was still toting mini-arsenal, they made their way to the Revue Bar and dropped Van Weston's name with security.....who showed them to the security scan.
Rob tossed his blaster in a locker, 7s wasn't carrying while Tanner tried sneaking in his Data Slice.....and failed with some major Advantage...........which put the scanner on the fritz for Sin to stroll through with his pistol, electro knuckles, knife and stun grenade!
A more formal dress code!
Escorted inside the chaps were informed that they had 45 minutes to err.....kill before Van Weston would be able to see them so what to do?
- Sin found himself an hangers on game of Sabacc and after a couple of hands won big , rather narking off a fellow patron only to loose most of his stash a few hands later.
- Tanner just HAD to find himself an panel to hack......ANY panel. Using Sin's bad looser as cover he managed to get into the main system locating a mystery un-named set of files but no dice in the time that he had.
-  7s actually had a good idea sending mug-shots of various bigwigs back to HI-HI for identification. He didn't even get caught, though Tanner's efforts helped out.
- Perit sat at the bar having a drink and acting as lookout
Appearances can be deceptive!
Getting in to see Furzt he came across as a dilettante extraordinaire with a leary get up and even learier "companions". Once alone the lads went for a fairly aggressive negotiation strategy. headed by the "brains trust" of Sin and 7s....... Opening with the line of "we know what you've been up to" with only partial information and / or recall probably isn't the best idea when dealing with someone who makes their living in shady circumstances primarily by their wits when they likely know a bit more than you :/

Five minutes later the tables and the line of questioning had entirely turned as Van Weston switched the questions around the group to disrupt their unprepared bluff. Very soon 7s bottom lip relay was at full oscillation "I don't like him very much". Not a problem really as I'm fairly the sure the feeling was mutual!

Strangely it took Tanner, as new boy, to step in and clear the air by coming clean about what they knew and by that method;
- The data files to be sold via Von Weston are currently in R4 who is back at HI-HI
- HI-HI don't, currently, know about Kanto's extra curricular activity or the files within R4
- HI-HI don't, currently, know that Jared is the power behind Kanto's hacking throne

As such Van Weston suggested that there are a number of options available with three sets of "merchandise" the data files, Kanto and Jared and a number of interested parties to trade with and through. That's a myriad of potential options.

Ushered out to consider their options and return the next evening, the lads have some serious thinking to do. Not always their strongest suit :)

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Welcome to the DARK side

So Tuesday night just gone at Enfield Gamers I had a plan!

Such as it was I'd arranged to play Mr Christian at both STAW and SW-XW. I haven't played much of the former recently and wanted to get some table time with my Dominion to try out the Jem H'Dar big boys. I also wanted a proper game of SW-XW to get a better feel for the game and how it functions differently to STAW.

In short we managed the former but the latter as to be honest I was having too much fun.
Handing me his card folder Mr C had me sort out my own fleet. The first thing that struck me was the variation on offer. Each ship variant not only comes with a different level of pilot but also quite often a different set of upgrade options.
Going Imperial and with Scum and Villainy in my head I had to have a Slave 1 and then filled out on basic TIEs with a couple of named variants in Howlrunner for the swarm boost and A N Other for his critical hit ability. 

Happy enough with a big boy and four grunts I faced off against two X-Wings and a HWK-90. I immediately smelled a rat, an elite build rat that Mr C has a rep for.......and I was right!

Have to admit that I really enjoyed the game and learnt quite a bit;
- The bank manoeuvres are a bit shorter than with STAW
- The fighters are far more manoeuvrable, as expected, which makes dogfighting a fair bit more challenging
- The big base ships take a bit more thought to manoeuvre, the footprint makes a BIG difference
- The game feels like it's much more about the ships than the upgrades
- The upgrades are far more basic and as such less abusable than with STAW

Admittedly this was my first proper game and as such these are as much my impressions as facts but I'm gnarly enough to have a good idea. In short I'm pleasantly surprised ;)
 
As to the game itself Mr C had employed his superior experience to deploy his asteroids, you have three each, as tightly as possible to screen himself from me and make life more difficult for Slave 1.

Once engaged it was pretty much about keeping my swarm together and getting as much focused firepower as possible. It was noticeable that Firepower levels are lower and Agility that bit higher, once again as you'd expect for a dogfighting game. As such there's far less emphasis on Alpha-Strike than STAW, i.e. one-shot kills. As a result this seems to place much more emphasis on manoeuvre and dogfighting.

Happily I took to the differences easily enough and soon had Mr C down to just Wedge Antilles who technically just flew off the table on a K-Turn but we played on at which point he twisted and turned until he finished me off. 

It was a good example of elite build vs mini-swarm and I can see how much variation you can get into a 100 point build and still remain competitive.

So Scum and Villany then! I keep find myself reading through Z-Wing Miniatures Game blog preview, which has plenty of good comment.Released on December 15th I'm fairly sure what I'm after for Christmas :)

Wagon ROLL!!

Afternoon all,

As threatened the Bank Holiday has allowed some bonus brush-time whcih I've put to decent use finishing off an M3 Halftrack that I got for my birthday some weeks ago. Built and painted to go with my Commandos I've head-swapped the driver and applied the relevant stowage.

Another enjoyable paint and build it's certainly a sturdy and well thought out kit with plenty of options. Almost a bit of a shame to spoil my Brit only list but it comes in cheaper than a pair of Bren Carriers with capacity for an extra two chaps, which allows for D Section (Assault) to pick up another 2 troopers. Bit of a no brainer really.

Anyway, another 4 Painting Points and I really need to get down to the Infantry squads!