Saturday, 7 January 2017

Watchmen Crew

A long-time coming in painting terms, I first started the Watchmen back in the middle of 2014! I have thinking of using them as my main crew in 2017, but they do have a few issues which make me reticent.

Choosing the Crew
Not a problem, but noteworthy is that the Watchmen are an atypical crew in that they only (currently) have a pool of 5 models to draw from. Consequently at 50 Rep increments from 150 to 350 Reputation there are only very limited crew constructions that can be selected.

What I See
For me there are a few major concerns for a Watchman crew, especially if going into a tournament. Comparing them to Court of Owls with whom I had successes in 2016 (two tournament wins and a third place out of 18 among other results), this is how I feel they compare in some key in-game areas:
  1. Pre-game: With Ozymandias' Mastermind and Great Strategist, Watchmen are clearly better here.
  2. Numbers: Watchmen have the lower model count, a disadvantage for claiming and contesting Objectives, therefore Court of Owls have the advantage. They felt horribly outnumbered in the first game in which I used them.
  3. Deployment: Rorschach having Hidden and Nite Owl having Archie trumps Undercover on William Cobb.
  4. Mobility: with the new Equipment upgrades available to the Court, they are much, much more mobile than most crews, including Watchmen. With the proliferation of Fly, Grapple Guns and Tireless coming out lately, Watchmen feel pretty slow to be honest.
  5. Ranged Combat: Neither crew is top tier, but Watchmen edge it with Comedian and Nite Owl vs Strix and the High Court Member.
  6. Close Combat: The Court may be the best close combat crew around, so no contest. After that first game, my opinion has only strengthened.
  7. In-game management: Here I think of the stuff that offers synergies to other models, and I call it a tie between the Traits the Court Leaders offer, and the Bodyguard Talon against Comedian's Demential Laugh and Nite Owl's Archie and Arrest.
  8. Durability: Beyond the various individual Traits helping model durability, I feel the Court edge it based on their ubiquitous Stealth, Reanimated Owl rule and overall combined Endurance.
I give the Court an advantage in four out of eight areas, Watchmen an advantage in three, which leads me back to thinking they will have a very steep learning curve. Watchmen may arguably be a sub-par choice compared to the Court of Owls, which itself was an arguably sub-par crew until it got additional Equipment upgrades in the Flash and Arrow expansion.

All of the above aside, Watchmen do boast some impressive qualities: Ozymandias seems to have pretty much the best Dodge in the game (89% chance of success except against Silencers); Comedian seems a decent all-rounder for his Rep cost (but slow and a lower-than-typical Defense for his character type); Rorschach may be the hidden gem of threat. So it will be interesting to see how they stack up.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Quarter 4 Painting & Year End Hobby Review 2016

2016 been a pretty good year hobby wise for me. Since changing my focus to low model count skirmish gaming in 2009, it is my best painted minis total within a single year. I finished Quarter 4 with 18 minis (top two images).

I managed to paint 67 models across 10 ranges, even starting some new ranges. I met or exceeded my targets on 5 ranges (but missed my targets for another 3; I unexpectedly started a couple of new ranges this year).

Quarter 1
I am really pleased about the amount of Pulp City minis I painted this year, which took me past 150 painted Pulp City minis in total. I hope to maintain that momentum next year, but time will tell. Pulp City and BMG were my big areas of output, but I stalled on stuff like Tooth & Sword and Warmachine/Hordes in 2016 unfortunately.

I added and assembled some new terrain (most of it was blogged), so that was nice, and I have a bit of a backlog of terrain stuff still to paint and put together for 2017.

On the gaming front I managed 32 skirmish games, so a little over one game every two weeks. I played in several BMG tournaments and won two (1st out of 10 or 11 in one; and 1st out of 6 in another) and came 3rd in another (out of 18 players).

Quarter 2
My painting in 2016
I set a high-end target of 60 minis for the year and thankfully exceeded that. I think I'll be setting the same target for next year since it is do-able (in 3 out of 4 years at any rate).


Quarter 1: 16 minis
BMG: 11 minis
Pulp City: 4 minis
Anima Tactics: 1 mini

Quarter 3
Quarter 2: 12 minis 
Pulp City: 5 minis
BMG: 4 minis
GI Joe: 1 mini
Malifaux: 1 mini

Quarter 3: 21 minis 
Pulp City: 8 minis
BMG: 8 minis
MUMG: 3 minis
Malifaux: 1 mini
Other: 1 mini

Quarter 4
Quarter 4: 18 minis 
Pulp City: 5 minis
Zombies: 5 minis
BMG: 4 minis
SMG: 3 minis
MUMG: 1 mini

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Comedian

Comedian is my final painted Watchman, and gives me my fifth painted playable crew (after Poison Ivy, Black Mask, Court of Owls and recently starting Joker). After painting the main base colour I found the rest of the mini a bit of a plod to finish, doing a bit each day, but not feeling I was getting much progress, especially once I had blocked in the browns. But I accept I am far from the world's speediest painter, and the most important thing is it is now done. :)

Comedian is my 27th painted BMG mini this year, and take me to 58 painted characters for the game. At the current rate of release I will always struggle to keep pace, but it is such a favourite IP of mine that I will continue to collect them!

I have yet to use the Watchmen, but on  considering stats alone Comedian looks like one of its most important fighters, with a mix of ranged and close combat Traits. I think I will need quite a few games to get a feel for them, and against as wide a variety of opposing crew styles as possible. Comedian looks pretty tough with End 9 and Hardened, but only Def 3; he seems something of a jack of all trades without mastering a a particular aspect. Consequently, I am going to have to learn how durable he really is and how best to use him.

BMG Painting Summary
BMG characters owned: 253 (added: nothing)
Percentage of owned characters painted: 22.9% (58 models)

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Silk Spectre II

Silk Spectre II is done, and being finished means another Watchman painted! That puts me one mini (Comedian) short of the full crew of five, and will hopefully lead to another playable painted BMG crew for me early next year. That said, Silk Spectre has been a very long gestating paint-job....

I have been painting the Watchmen on and off (mainly off....) for almost two and half years now, so getting them cleared will be long overdue. The irony is that I suspect they have fallen behind the pack as the BMG game overall has progressed, so I guess they will be challenging to use. If they become my main crew for next year I reckon I will face a lot of losses along the way - although I am vacillating between Watchmen, Joker, Mr. Freeze and a weird-ish Organized Crime list.

In game terms Silk Spectre seems a cheap defensively-focused character (she has high Defense, Acrobat providing Dodge, Martial Artist and Counterattack), and although she puts out a lot of Attacks, that won't lead to a lot of Damage so she may even struggle taking out some Henchmen, Essentially I see her sitting on an Objective (preferably Ammo or Titan for the Ping rolls).

Thematically, taking a Watchmen crew to tournaments could be cool as they are not often seen, but I am a gamer at heart, and I don't know if I will be able to get the best out of them and face another steep learning curve after the Court of Owls at tournaments, so time will tell how much they get used when finally done. Meanwhile, I have made a start on the Comedian, maybe I can finish one more mini this year....

BMG Painting Summary
BMG characters owned: 253 (added: nothing since the last mammoth haul)
Percentage of owned characters painted: 22.5% (57 models)

Friday, 16 December 2016

The Thing (MUMG)

The Thing is added to the 'done' list! Although I had not really planned on painting any more MUMG in 2016, when I bought the The Thing I assembled him pretty quickly in readiness for possible painting. My thinking was that with a simple colour scheme, he would be quite quick to do despite his large surface area (he is 65mm from the bottom of his base to the top of his head!). Then I found myself focusing on other stuff.

When I decided it was time to tackle the mini, the painting stages were: an orange-brown base layer; Devlan Mud wash (with some extra spot washes of AP Soft Tone); dry-brush the same brown; dry brush a lighter brown; then pick out top edges of  'rocks' with successively lighter highlights (4 passes on the highlights).

Because it was quite methodical work, the bulk of the painting felt pretty straightforward - even if he did get dropped on the floor at one point...

Finishing The Thing gives me 17 Levels of Superhuman Heroes (with Black Widow and Black Panther), or 16 Levels of Cosmic Heroes  (with Groot). I am most likely to play an Avengers style team I think so will be mostly adding to the Superhumans as things progress next year.

MUMG Painting Summary
MUMG characters owned: 24
Percentage of owned characters painted: 16.7% (4 models)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Spider Robots (SMG Henchmen)

These Spider Robots are my first painted minis for the Spider-man Miniatures Game (SMG) from Knight Models, companion game to BMG (albeit with many caveats). Theoretically SMG and BMG are compatible, but time will tell (as will those caveats I mentioned).

These are not the most interesting of minis, but I set out to get something painted very quickly and these fit the bill! I tackled them as a 'speed painting' exercise which is something antithetical to my usual plodding approach, so that too was satisfying. Either way, I have started on yet another range (albeit one limited to 15 minis at present).

It will be a while before I get an SMG crew together, and it may require house-ruling allowable inclusions due to the dearth of options (especially for the Goblin Cult which I want to play first); right now, assuming 500 Rep increments, Goblin Cult could be played at 200, 250, 350 or 400 Rep, but not 300, and at 350 Rep (typical for BMG tournaments I have been to) the crew has only two models. Right now with no new releases in 11 months SMG seems dead in the water, but they have updated the rules document for it recently so who knows if there will be more SMG models (as opposed to ports from MUMG)? Well Knight Models do, but of course they are not saying either way.

SMG Painting Summary
SMG characters owned: 15
Percentage of owned characters painted: 20.0% (3 models)


Sunday, 11 December 2016

Mr. Grin (white) & Mr. Grin (black)

The 'Grin Twins' (as Knight seemingly call them) are taken from the recent Suicide Squad movie where they were briefly seen as part of Joker's gang. Like other Joker Henchmen from the film, they are considered Elite: Cosplayers, meaning only Jared Leto Joker can take more than one of them.

I have recently struggled for painting motivation, so with a simple colour scheme, the Grins fit the bill for something to paint to get a quick turnaround. Painting two at the same time obviously sped things up, and I was able to finish them by painting for 20 or 30 minutes here and there over a few days.

Although I am planning a Joker crew, I am not planning on using the Grins anytime soon, but if I change my mind at least they will be ready.

Painting these two BMG minis takes me past 60 minis for the year which is pretty satisfying, and I hope to match or exceed last year's 63 in total.

BMG Painting Summary
BMG characters owned: 253 (added: a LOT - Suicide Game box/15 minis, Captain Cold, Heatwave, Rick Flag, Bird and Mercs, Mr. Freeze crew box, Calendar Man)
Percentage of owned characters painted: 22.1% (56 models)