Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Shadespire - Petitioners and the Harvester

I'm back working on the sepulchral guard for Shadespire now that the Shadow Dragon Tong project is finished. I really like these minis. Most of the Shadespire models are cracking, though the sepulchral guard and the skaven are probably my favourites.

I've finished the petitioners and the harvester. As with a lot of the modern GW sculpts, you really have to consider sub assemblies or buy magic brushes to get at some of the parts. None of the lads above had to be painted that way thankfully, but the other three require sub assemblies for painting.

The harvester is a fairly simple model, though his half cloak makes me a little uneasy. It's like watching someone walk about with a vest on but no underpants. For all his simplicity though, he's a really nice sculpt. Super delicate though, as most of the sepulchral guard are.

This petitioner is half the job, but trying to paint his hips and the underside of his rags is a bit fiddly. 'Nobody will see them!' you say. I know. I know. The wee gravestone is cool though. I added a little ivy to it for the craic.

The second petitioner is a bit more meaty, painting wise. He has furs, leather, cloth, metal and bone. I added a couple more quick steps to my rust technique and it turned out well I think. The fur I painted as wolf pelt. I might do the same on the warden. (I see I've missed the leather strap on his sword. Goddammit. Back to the painting table with you sonny.)

I have the prince, warden and champion on the desk at the moment. They are little more involved than the fellows I've done thus far, but the sub assembly approach should help. I have a little over a week to get these finished before they step into battle for the first time. Some serious painting sessions ahead.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Dracula's America - Review

Last weekend I travelled down to Cheetor's place in Cork. Myself, Cheetor and TheOttoVonBismark had planned a weekend of Dracula's America. In Space. The posses were painted, the terrain was ready, the rules were read and the beer was in the fridge. Off we went.

I'm not going into a blow by blow account of the games we played, more a general overview of how we felt about the system, the posses we used and what we're planning next.

Sean (TheOttoVonBismark) brought a very tasty Slaaneshi chaos cult using the Crossroads Cult rules. This fit very well indeed, with a Keeper of Secrets (Major Entity) appearing in the first turn of the first game. That made me sit up and take notice pretty rapidly, as only a twelve foot four armed one-boobed skull-faced daemon can.

Paul (Cheetor) has a huge gang of Ratskins, which straddle the settings of Dracula's America and the quasi 40k sci-fi setting we chose for it perfectly. In this particulat scenario they are trying to protect a Jokaero from getting murdered by the other posses. The gorgeous terrain is all from Cheetor's collection.

My own posse are The Shadow Empire, Lo Pan's (from Big Trouble in Little China Lo Pan) underground criminal organisation. They match up seamlessly to the Shadow Dragon Tong faction. In this iteration of Lo Pan's existence he has managed to gain access to eldar technology and is retro-engineering it to suit his own foul purposes.

The Doctor will see you now.

We played two games of Dracula's America, Shootout and Escalation. What struck me immediately was how smooth the rules were. As with all reasonably casual rule-sets a modicum of common sense is required, but assuming that we got into the rules nice and quickly. Building posses is easy, especially when starting with a campaign posse. There are three levels of character, Novice, Veteran and Hero, each using a different dice for tests, a D6, D8 and D10 respectively. You buy the posse weapons (only basic weapons for a starting campaign posse) and that't it. The layout of the book jarred a little, flipping between historical and supernatural sections, but that's a minor quibble.

The card-bases initiative system is a lovely mechanic, even more so when you take the hunting grounds into account. The encounter rules for two players using the same card adds another interesting but not obstructive element, though Cheetor might disagree having been robbed of an opportunity to riddle Lo Pan with bullets when a gloom fell and reduced his weapon range.

We didn't use the hunting grounds in these games, but I like the rules for it a lot.

The progression system is very intuitive and pleasant to use. Rolling for injuries, advancements and so on is straightforward and entertaining, including robbing territory from your opponents. Even those who don't advance gain experience which makes it more likely they will advance after subsequent games.


There is one expansion so far, Hunting Grounds, which introduces new rules and factions, including the Shadow Dragon Tong that I was playing, as well as outlaws, mercenaries, new skills, gear and so on. I'm certainly going to be playing more games using these rules, I've already got plans for an addition to the Shadow Empire, an 'undead drifter', or in my case a reanimated eldar that Lo Pan is plying for secrets.

What a jerk he is.

Cheetor is playing with the idea of something vampiric next, but I'll let him loose details on that as he fancies. TheOttoVonBismark is thinking of something orkish. Or genestealery. Or both maybe.

All in all I couldn't recommend Dracula's America highly enough. As you can see, you can play it Weird Wild West style, or go Weird Wild West in Space, or whatever you fancy yourself and it works just dandy.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dracula's America - Emperor's Guard

The last three members of the posse for Dracula's America are complete! These three guys are Terror-Cotta warriors from Pulp City. They couldn't have been any more perfect for my Shadow Empire in space posse. Once these guys arrived (barely a week ago) I immediately carved them up to make three variants. Two were given more eldar tech, while one was built straight from the kit. The masks are separate, which was a godsend, as I could make three individual faces. They have quite a lot of cool gubbins at the back too, which you can see here:

The blue gives a nice spot colour to an otherwise quite warm earthy palette. Plus it adds a bit of a mysterious arcane tech vibe, and matches the canisters worn by the cultists. 

These three complete the posse, which is now ten strong. I can only have five starting out, but now I have enough minis to recruit up to a full strength posse. Yuss.

As I mentioned before, the three cultists act as controllers for the three Emperor's guard through stole- I mean recovered alien technology. This won't really have any effect in-game, but is a nice little story hook and goes someway to explaining all the shuriken weapons.

I have a sizable contingent of terracotta warriors painted for my Dragon Rampant army already, so the royal guard will serve as leaders or a unit in their own right.


I have some ideas for objective markers for these guys, so I'll be adding a few little accessory bits to them here and there, but for now that's job done for LoPan's Wild West in space crew.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dracula's America - Shadow Empire Cultists

A weird one today. Three miniatures that went from being very low down the priority list to absolute must paint. Let me give you a little backstory.

Cheetor has been evangelising about Dracula's America: Shadow of the West for some time now. Set in 1875, Dracula is now president of the United States, and all manner of hell is breaking loose. Quite literally. It's essentially the weird wild West. So, what has this to do with the fellows above you might ask? Well, recently the first expansion, Hunting Grounds, was released, and in this is rules for the Shadow Dragon Tong, Chinese crime lords. This caused my ears to prick up.

I've been building a Chinese force for Dragon Rampant based on Big Trouble in Little China. The Arcanist from the Tong posse is literally the same model I'm using for LoPan. I had some Wing Kong gang members already. So these lads were, all of a sudden, bumped right to the front of the queue. I love that, when an unexpected game or whimsy causes long neglected minis to suddenly become rockstars that must be painted. For those of you who don't remember, the Wing Kong are these guys:

There was one more wrinkle though, our version of Dracula's America took place is the future. In space. So a little more thought was required. The cultists needed future tech. I considered LoPan coming across a trove of arcane weapons buried long ago by an advanced race. He might retro-engineer the technology to suit his purpose.

Or depending on the setting he could just be mates with an eldar trader with loose morals. In any case, here's the posse so far:

I have one more set of minis to add to the gang to complete it. You can see the little capsules on the cultist's belts? More eldar tech. It allows the wearer to control a wraith-machine with their mind. In ancient settings (like the Dragon Rampant army) this will be unfathomable arcane technology. In future settings like the Firefly-like one we are planning for Space Dracula's America, it'll be a remote control device that humans aren't really meant to use. Hence the unhealthy pallor of the Wing Kong cultists.

So what are they controlling? Well, to keep with the theme of the gang AND the theme of my Dragon Rampant army AND the Big Trouble in Little China thing I needed something pretty niche. But lo, the internet, it provides. High tech ancient Chinese robots? Here you go. What flavour sir?

I have three of these to do. This one is out of the box, bar some face-plate mangling. The others are getting some conversion work with dark eldar weaponry. Stay tuned for these shortly. I have a week to get them done in time for my first Dracula's America game.

Wayland Games

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