Monday, 20 November 2017

"AFTER THE GAMES"

ATG17

An illness has started to effect all the non Traventi gladiators. The medics and scientists conclude it is due to the prolonged use of the gravity stabilisers that the gladiators had been using - these devices had made hunting on alien worlds seem like the gravity from their own homeworlds, and meant they could fight on an even keel with their prey.

Vallatrix not wanting to lose his source of income and power, got his top minds to look for a solution. While his staff looked for answers to the strange illness, he was approached by an envoy from the Techno Ancients. These cold, impersonal, grey skinned aliens told Vallatrix that they could solve his problem with their portal technology; but the illness would be only able to be reversed a couple of times on each individual before there may be side effects They would ask for payment for their service at a later date, which would not be up for negotiation. Vallatrix agreed, and organised meetings with all the races that participated in the games.

At each meeting Vallatrix used a Creminisci pod to keep the meetings, thus harnessing their psychic powers to keep aggression down. They were all asked if they would provide a small colony which would be given land to set up on, as long as some would be happy to continue in the games. Each race agreed with their own unique terms.

As part of each bargain, each race would bring with them a sample of their flora and fauna, for Vallatrix's use in botanical gardens, zoo's and obviously the games. The Reveli having very little of these resources would give their technology for their bio domes instead.

The Nisari were outraged by these events, not only attacking settlements and individuals, but also breaking into Vallatrix's bio reserve he had amassed: as protest they released beasts into the wild and put plants and seeds in areas to cause trouble. This has sent Traventi's eco system into turmoil, solutions need to be found !



"RUMMAGING THROUGH THE UNDERGROWTH"

Now with a fleshed out reason... we have what you want on the gaming table. here is a section on the different flora you can use:


First up is three flora that create pockets of gas which could be collected for use, or can cause problems if a stray shot hits them, we have a gas bush, gas tree and cage tree. These can be cast in different colours so you can represent different gases.




Next up we have two different trees, first the tube fern, this plant pulls it's leaves in to protect them during dust storms.


Then we have a large leaf tree. The lush fruit ripen underneath the shade of the leaves... these are very sweet and lots of fauna come to the tree to gorge themselves. The model shows two such creatures the lion mane simian enjoys the fruit of the large leaf tree, and the two faced woodpecker helps keep it free of damaging tree grubs.


The next one is more dangerous the vampire plant as it drains the blood of the local indigenous leviathans as they lumber past. explorers have found to their peril that the plants can drain a substantial amount in one feed.


These next three are the same plant in different phases of it's life. This is the seed pod. the third photo shows some fauna interacting on it.




This next one has a whole little eco system working together, the feathered pitcher, and flowering pitcher plants utilise the local of the honeydew plant to lure in insects to digest. The humming wasps find them very attractive and the two tailed geckoid likes the increase in insects so stays close to the area.


This last piece of fauna is a concept I'm working on, a desert fruit tree, and it's mimic which is a carnivorous version that uses it's similar appearance to lure in victims.


"ARTEFACTS"

Next up is some scenery pieces:

First up is the Ovipositor spires and hub that the Exuviums build to control the pollution in the atmosphere 



(above, the hub which links the spires to form a sort of wheel hub spoke and tyre effect)

Next is the Exuvium digestion pits, which they use to break down their food.. creating a soup like substance for easy digestion of the hive.


Last part is the egg nests the Exuvium use, we have a large piece and also some smaller versions.



For the last showing today, here is a work in progress shot of the Techno Ancients portal gate, - like that mentioned at the beginning of the article This piece will be cast in coloured resin to help to add glow to the model, probably going to be green, but will be available in other colours on request.


So now you know what's currently available for your gaming delights, and have a small insight into some upcoming pieces... will show more as it's developed, so until next time have fun:-)


Cheers Dave

Friday, 17 November 2017

Pre-Christmas Musings {From Steve}


I think sometimes it`s good to stop! Take a restock of your gaming, and make any realignments necessary to peruse an enjoyable, focused  commitment to your hobby. These times come, I ways find, when circumstance or/and situation pulls you away from the hobby for a while. In this instance, the day I returned from visiting Dave and Sarah over at their home in Gloucester, I picked up a nasty little cold at Bristol airport. I guess I was there a good three hours after I booked in, browsing duty frees, having a scrumptious meal at the restaurant, and then finally boarding the plane.. along with a hundred or so other passengers. All this put me in contact with thousands of people, and yep.. I caught a nasty bug: which quickly turned to a throat infection and then slipped down to become a chest infection (not great for someone who suffers from a major bronchial condition in any case). So I have spent the week since returning home.. in bed, huddled in front of the steeped up fire in the lounge, and occasionally crawling into my hobby room to potter about and assemble/paint a few figures or a few bits and piece of terrain (I love doing terrain, an often overlooked part of the hobby).

But this week has given me time to think: to realign and trim the sails, check the sexton and steer the ship on its correct heading.

But what does all that mean?


Well, in this case it means... hmmmm, let`s see if I 
can explain itLike all gamers, I get excited about things I see, or hear, or read about. I might watch a film on Sky TV Movie channel, and suddenly I am filled with motivated desire to do The Hobbit, or Star Trek, or maybe I will see "A Bridge Too Far" and suddenly want to root out all my 28mm British Paratroopers, my mighty 4-Ground bridge, and start recreating Arnhem;

 "I just noticed something Bromley." "What`s that
 Sir." "We're wearing the wrong camouflage for this." Camera pans out to show a line of marching troops all dressed in green and browns, with leaves and twigs sticking out of their helmets and backpacks.... marching through a built up town of grey brick and red sand cement! 

And so an enthused and impassioned gamer sets to work making his dreams come true; but then a few weeks later he sees a few bloggers writing ecstatically about Star Wars or Doctor Who, and BLAM! suddenly Arnhem goes out the window and a new direction is taken, hahaha. This is all great fun, and normally (in my case) wouldn`t matter at all. I quite like haveing two or three or even four subjects on the go at any one time: focussing on one thing for a month, before switching to another thing for a while, then back to the first, and so on.

But now this is where (for me) I find myself 
drifting into deep and treacherous waters. There are currently many mini projects I am very keen to do: from my amazinlgly cheap to buy plastic Army Men.. whether the big 45/50mm guys to the micro 20mm ones:


20mm (H0/00 scale) Micro Army Men


then there`s my Oriental adventures in the shape of Test of Honour (I so nearly bought an entire WTW Japanese/Chinese terrain set complete with 2` square fibreglass fully textured and fully painted battle board.. and it took all  my strength not to pick this up on my visit, but I stayed focussed, and picking up things I needed for Death Match and especially the new as of yet unreleased world creations.

Test Of Honour (and a possible Chinese Water Margin amalgamation) is very close to my heart, but necessarily, and sadly on hold at the moment.

Similarly I am pulled grippingly so to wanting to
start my early "what if" World War Two... quasi Imagi-Nation campaign, including Agent Carter, the Winter Soldier, Hydra, Wonder Woman, etc etc, alongside my pre war Nazi Blackshirts, The Eagle Has Landed, Dad`s Army, and an intricate Walmington-on-Sea spy network.


Of course I also have to fit in a Christmas `taster`
 Doctor Who game some time in December, and the girls are doing some work with Jez over on his site, for his Victorian Black Museum (which means I will be roped into that as well, for sure hahaha).


and so it goes on. There are so many things I want
to do, but don`t have time to do all of these things right now. And so I set my sexton to the sky and re-align: "Six points to larboard, North by Nor` East if you will Mr. Bones."

What`s he talking about, I hear you cry?


Well, The Games Cupboard has always been an eclectic site, full of many topics and a myriad of different gaming subjects. This is all well and good when time permits us to write lots of cool and interesting things. Remember, we once had Bryan Scott (from the Vampifan blog) as co owner.. and writing a ton of material. We also had input from Tarot and from Hils: Tar` now works hard in her career, and Hils is still waiting for her operation and is not able to contribute to TGC much at the moment. That just leaves me and Dave. Now, I have seen Dave at work and oh boy, he is one busy dude. Running his company is a seriously big undertaking and often he simply hasn't got the time to write here as much as he would like to do. So that leaves.... lil` ol` me, LOL. So going back to my hobby passions and a driving desire to play games, and write about Star Wars, and Dungeons and Dragons, and Anime / Chibis, and 8mm Napoleonics, and Middle Earth, and... so on and so on: I want to do it all, but can I seriously achieve it all?

No, course not :-(


When I got asked to play test Death Match (and oh boy! did we put it through its paces, with over 27 people involved in three separate clubs, all playing the game like crazy), then I got asked to re-write it as much as I felt necessary: and then I got asked if I could write the skirmish/narrative rpg to follow it; at this point, Dave sent a ton of miniatures over, to make my task here lot easier. But this wasn`t just a bunch of painted miniatures, no.... this included dozens of hot off the mould press unassembled and unpainted models and weapons packs, to give me lots more game play/test options. Since then I have added to this collection myself, and Dave himself keeps sending over bits and pieces of new (as of yet) unreleased miniatures for me to add into the new rules.. and then the biggie, my recent trip to Dave`s workshop saw me bringing home a loaded suitcase, heavily overloaded (which to this day I don't know why I wasn't stopped at customs for exceeding my carrying allowance) and crammed with figures and a ton of cool new alien terrain pieces.

So, I have a lot of work to do. This is no `game` (pun intended), and if I am to finish the rules by the beginning of next year, and have a chance of having all this stuff assembled, painted and based by Salute, I have to work with extreme focus.. pretty much making any other hobby considerations rescindent for the time being. In other words I MUST stick to this until after Christmas at least... maybe until Easter even, to ensure I get this little lot finished and ready.


It was Luke ("hi Luke") who got me realising, that it`s no bad thing to stay focused and true to one project at a time. Luke is currently painting and enjoying playing Bolt Action WWII. As he assembles and paints his miniatures, he plays lots of games with the finished pieces... adding in more figures all the time as he gradually works his way though his rapidly diminishing mountain of plastic and lead. He figures "I loved these models enough to spend lots of money on them, and I bought an entire project in one go, so I am determined not only to paint them all, but also to enjoy playing games with them for a long time, before I  even allow myself to think of taking up another subject. And when I do, I will stick to that with the same dedication as I do now with my Bolt Action."  

Luke wants to take up WTW`s Death Match and 
the new Skirmish game as well. Heck, he even won a competition here, but said he didn't want his prize(s)... not yet! but prefers to wait until he is ready next year: at which point he will buy lots of stuff (possibly at Salute) and take it up properly, when he has time to devote and commit to it fully. Wow, what a guy. Luke is a shop front example of how I think the hobby can be enjoyed to the full... i.e. the ability to focus, and stay focused on one thing at a time. I`m always going on about this myself, but oh man, this guy puts me to shame.. and is a paragon of everything I believe is right and true.

So where does this leave me?


It leaves me (at times) wishing I could find just a-
little-more-time to be able to bring lots of different subjects to TGC, but knowing in my heart of hearts, for the time being.... I simply can't. But I am also steadfast and clear that I can (and will) devote the majority of my time concentrating on making this new game of Dave and Sarah, mine and Hils, as good and as amazing as we possibly can. New models are being designed, sculpted and made every week (and you should just SEE the cool alien terrain); and as they are being made and sent to me, I am adding them into the game: both within the game world ethos, and the rule stats themselves. This will all build and build until the climax of Salute itself, early next year.

After that... well Dave and I have a new project to work on. But shhhhhh!!! one thing at  time *grins*


Article by Steve

Monday, 13 November 2017

"THE TWO HEADED MONSTER IN THE FLESH"

Before you go running for the hills, this is not me and Steve visiting a nudist colony... naaaa, just Steve coming to visit the Workshop, and discussing and planning where the skirmish game is going to head.. and what scenery we need to create for the upcoming game.. plus new models and what races we will feature in the initial release in April.

Was great to meet Steve in person and discuss so many elements that we needed to get right at this point to have a clear direction for these busy months ahead.

Steve was the perfect guest, and like a kid in a candy shop, when in the work areas (heard lot's of "oh that's so cool!"). 


"AND THE WINNER IS"

So what have I got for you all this week: first is the announcement of the winners of the last competition..... and......

...... the people's choice goes to Jez for his Nisari concept. Well done Jez. As part of his prize he will receive the three Nisari models I am already working on, he will also receive a gladiator of his choice, with his choice of weapons, which I will convert and paint for him personally; so it truly is a one of a kind prize.

The winner of the cupboards choice, this was very hard as there was so many great entries, we finally decided that Tarot's Creminisci was the winner, she will also receive the models of her creation and a gladiator of her choice converted and painted by me.

Well done to both winners and thank you to all who entered and supported with commenting on their choice.

"IT'S ALIVE!"

TheWIP

Now, since Simon came up with the idea of the two headed monster, I have been trying to come up with a way to incorporate this into the games: at 2 AM one morning it hit me! "Let's do a two headed commentator based on me and Steve." I thought. So I present to you a WIP shot of Gilly & Stave (Gilly after Steve`s surname Gilbert, and Stave as an amalgamation of Stone and Dave).

 I just need to finish shaping their floating commentator box and add the four camera lenses then he will be ready for casting.

I will now pass you over to Steve for his half, until next time have fun !

Cheers Dave

)o(


And soooooo, what a roller coaster of a long week end. I got up just before six AM on the Friday (still pitch dark) while Hils fussed about me and making sure I hadn`t forgotten anything. Drove through the early morning to the airport (I love watching the dawn sun come up). Got to Cork, got my plane, and was with Dave at Bristol Airport around mid day... then a nice leisurely drive to Gloucester and BLAM!! the mini holiday was able to start proper.  I should point out that from the moment we met, the conversation never stopped and carried on that way from Friday right through Sunday and the moment we finally said our farewells (and Simon, yep, I finally met a guy who talks even more than I do, lol). Meeting the lovely Sarah was an extra bonus treat... wow, what an amazing woman and I finally got to meet the brain box (the original primogenitor) of the whole Death Match idea. Sarah created the whole game background and the alien monsters, now smartly written up into the rules world and galaxy system history.

Dave sorts me out some bits from the company van.

So I finally got to see Dave`s REAL modelling
 first hand. What can I say... its stunning. Way cool in the flesh, and he`s got literally tons of finished models and entire armies of perfectly painted fantasy and sci-fi stuff.... including some of the best 28mm painting jobs I`ve ever seen. And an absolutely enviable collection of model vehicles, flyers, and space craft imaginable... all fully painted of course. But look about his games room (or take a visit to his real TWT workshop ) and you quickly come across the hundreds of wips, unpainted castings, and various `ideas in the making` this guy is working on. Ideas seem to flow from his brain and into his crafting hand like a diva running through an arpeggio.

Hils commissioned sci-fi cars, I was finally able to pick them up for her in their finished (painted by Dave) state and bring them back home with me.

Dave shows me his sculpted Dragon.

This winged dude is pretty darn awesome. A piece de resistance.


A most enjoyable three days, and we managed to get a heck of a lot of planning sorted out.. mostly for the new Skirmish game a compatible sister game world to Death Match. So we have much work to do between now and next year  to make all our forward planning see fruition and reach a finished state. Course, Dave now has to sculpt and cast a ton of new stuff, and I almost pity the workload lying ahead of him.


Dave and Sarah were, of course, the perfect hosts 
and I had the most amazing time at their cool home. My wallet travelled home a lot lighter... okay, empty hahaha due to all the cool stuff I brought.

My cool new Aztec Gate, mmmmmmm I absolutely love this piece.


And despite Dave`s endless generosity, I kind of 
bought him out: surrounded by so many lovely temptations.. I found myself having to buy this, and this and this, and that, and.... so it went on. I really don`t know how I managed to bring my totally crammed case back through customs, without being stopped for overloading.

New vehicles for our post apoc games.

But the travel angel was with me that day, and 
custom security staff kindly turned a blind eye to my obviously overloaded bags, and packages, and bundles and bulging pockets. I bought so much in fact, that Dave still has to post some of it on to me.. including one of his rather awesome 2` square (fully painted and textured) fibreglass battle boards. And I left him with a rather large and stunningly impressive sci-fi modular fortress commission, which I will pick up some time next year.


Yeah, I bought back a lot with me LOL.. lots of bags, each one crammed full of yet more miniatures.

Selfie.. .The Two Headed Monster. Excuse the red bleary Sunday Morning eyes: I was only just out of bed, wet eyed and  with the beginning stages of a flowing sneezy cold.

All in all, wow what a mega trip, and a well 
overdue visit I look forward to making it again sometime... probably after Salute. Meantime I have to finish writing the new rules, play test the heck out of the thing, and assemble and paint like crazy, to get all these new hundreds of miniatures fully ready for the game **groans and he just keeps making more and more things for the game**


Just want to say a quick WELL DONE to the cool
 winners of the double competition, and well deserved. It was no easy thing for us to have to pick the two winners.


Cheers guys

Steve

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

"DOUBLE TAKE OF THE TWO HEADED MONSTER"

Recently Steve and I both set about painting the same two models at the same time, neither of us showing the other what we were up to, in this article you will see the results.


"QUAFFIG"


First up is one of the other nobles on Traventi Quaffig, in the Traventi culture a rotund physique denotes great wealth as they always have the best food and plenty of it, they celebrate their shape and flaunt it at lesser nobles and common people.


She has a pet eyeless squiggle sat by her leg, these helpful little creatures help keep her free from food scraps, which could attract the ferocious Terats that are a plague on the planet Traventi.

"STICKS"

This second model could be a court adviser, army general, or simple butler depending on how you paint it. For my example I went with adviser to the house Vallatrix denoted by the purple in his jacket.




"ALIEN GOLD"

Next up is a quick SBS on how I paint alien gold :

Step 1 First lay down a even coat of hammered copper.


Step 2 cover all the gold areas in purple wash. 


Step 3 Next apply brassy brass over the areas leaving the deepest shadow areas in the colour of step 2. 


Step 4 Highlight on the top surfaces and vertical edges with glorious gold.


Step 5 Spot highlight on the highest points with polished gold.



Hope you find this useful, now I'm off to play with some green stuff, until next time have fun and over to Steve . . 

Cheers Dave.

Interesting just how differently we approached these new models. I deliberately painted mine without looking at Dave`s photos first, because I didn't want anything to influence my take on how I see this world and the cool (and sometimes not so cool) characters within it.



For me, when I think of Lady Quaffig, I see Augustus Caesar's daughter Julia (from the old BBC TV drama series "I Claudius"), in her mannerisms and her character.


Vain, overtly sexual, somewhat overweight, and yet flirtatious and rather unorthodox in her attire; tries (somewhat unsuccessfully) to pull off sensuality in her manner and in her dress sense... i.e. a thirty five year old still trying to dress like an eighteen year old chick, and is all in all a bundle of hot trouble for her austere noble father - the Lord Mallatrix (Lord Vallatrix`s brother). 


Stix whispers in Lord Vallatrix`s ear that the kitchen servants have accidentally dropped his niece`s Birthday cake all over the floor. There will doubtless now be an additional (kitchen staff)  arena display in tomorrow`s games.



I gave her a light matt spray undercoat of white, followed by dark blue and gradual brushed lighter dry brushing in various blues to affect highlighted changes in skin tone. Eyes are edged with WWII German Uniform Grey, with egg yolk yellow eyes and goblin green pupils. Her Sari is Warlock Purple with shading of German Luftwaffe Green and Uniform Grey, with gold and bronze flake trim on her belt, arm torques and on her forehead beading. The eyeless pet squiggle resting on her thigh is painted in Green Fluo and touched with Goblin Green... and the whole thing then washed with burned Nut Brown ink (three parts water to one part ink).

By the way, Quaffig means "intoxicating one" in old English. 

Stix, the ancient and venerable family retainer, summons up an image (in my mind) of Mr Flay from Mervyn Peake`s Gormanghast/Titus novels.


This spindly tall stick insect of a Traventi servant knows EVERYTHING there is to be known within the myriad chambers and passages of his Lord Vallatrix`s vast labyrinthine place court. I painted my model with a light flourish of white spray undercoat, followed by gradual layers of Mole Skin Grey, and progressive lighter grey dry brushing on top, to build a multi toned grey suited, drab old fashioned fuddy-duddy; out of touch with current style and although rich garb... looks tired, old, and as though he has seen better days. And yet he looks comfortable, if you know what I mean.

His eyes are painted just like the Lady Quaffig`s, only with black pupils instead of green. The ears of both Lady and servant are painted in dark grey, then highlighted with a dry brush in a light contrasting desert sand colour.


 Cheers for Now,

Steve.