Friday, 18 August 2017

Ballads of War 2x12-2x13

New pages; a little late this week, but I'm behind schedule... on my whole life :D



A little bit of action, a little bit of comic relief. It was important to show that Brent isn't a know-it-all with solutions for everything. It's an easy mistake one can make when building the leading role for any kind of story, and Brent was dangerously coming to that. This time he's outsmarted by El'Kais and we can see some team effort. It is fun to show how different races interact; introducing the Tau factor here allowed me to play a little with different approaches, falling apart from the usual human focus on WH40K.

Art wise, the twilight orange sky was the main challenge here, or the colour gradients, trying to look 'natural'. Not many details on the background on any panel, but tricky anyway!

We have our guys on the run! Most likely High Farseer Ellinderelion won't push the pursuit too hard, but that's still to be seen!

More stuff (hopefully) coming soon. You know, all previous stuff... HERE.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Scenery hotchpotch

I'm mixing stuff from different manufacturers today, but all of it will serve the same purpose, crowding my board! 
The first pieces here are made by Valquiria Studio, a relatively new company specialised in coloured translucent resin pieces (among regular resin scenery elements). They don't have hundreds of references, but everything they have is really sweet. Some time ago I got a few tokens kits, a sci-fi one and a post-apoc one. This is what I've done with them:

Power generator and beacons
Control consoles (not all of them properly working!)
Supplies and land mines

Some really nasty looking alien eggs! Yikes!
Then the post-apoc stuff, again with translucent resin

Objective tokens!
 About the cans, just a couple of close-ups, as I did some freehand work on them. The upper one says 'Prandium', which is just Latin for 'food' (not that creative, I'm afraid, but this way I keep it WH40K friendly). About the other two you can see the ubiquitous Blue Sun logo (dual use material it's also Firefly friendly!!):
 The other one is just a bad pun. 'Bona Mala', which one could say means 'Good/Bad' really translates as 'Nice Apples' in Latin. that's it, end of story, my mind plays like that, I cannot avoid it.



Let's move on. Next thing here is from TTCombat, from their urban ranges. They were a gift from a friend, who split up his kits and allowed me to have these cones, a parking machine, a newspaper dispenser and an ATM:

Really sweet stuff, I didn't expect to have these on my board :)

 Finally, street lamps by Fenris Games. Street lamps is something my board is really in need of. I have a few kits on my radar, but these are the first ones I actually get:

I'm the star of the show!
I of course will need more, many more, and more sci-fi looking, but for the moment these will do their part.

This is it for now! My board keeps on growing slowly (and randomly!). Not even me can tell what will come next, but ahhh, that's the charm of it all :D

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ballads of War 2x10-2x11

Things move forward...

 

Quite a transition scene today. A reminder of what's been of the rest of the group (they are surprisingly unharmed, the High Farseer really kept his word!) and then back to the strange alliance between Brent and El'Kais. Everybody is on the move, will they meet again?

There's not much else to say about the story, just some Tau fluff that will become relevant later on when we delve a little into El'Kais. All the Tau Caste system had to be introduced slowly, so we have a few hints here and there. Trust me, I (think I) know what I'm doing... :P

More stuff coming soon, all previous pages, as usual, HERE.

Monday, 7 August 2017

SheroQuest

For quite some time I've been toying with the idea of adding some more diversity to my games, and specifically to HeroQuest. Well, the thing is, one day, wandering through the Hasslefree web (any sentence starting like that is doomed to end with an empty wallet) I just saw a few minis... and I immedately knew I had a project. It was love at first sight. I was to make female characters so you could choose whatever you wanted. This is what I mean:

The Barbarian
 

 I know it's supposed to depict that girl from the Vikings TV show, but I don't follow the series, so I know nothing of that character. I just saw the mini and loved it. I didn't want a Red Sonja nor a chainmail bikini, this was exactly what I was looking for. In fact I got two minis! The other one will be converted to become a Rogue Trader adventurer, but that will come in time...
Let's go on:

The Dwarf
 

 This one took me some more time to choose, but in the end I think she's up to the duty! Probably the helmet is something I would have liked to convert, but she works good enough as it is, so I finally left her just like that.

The Elf
 

The pose. Oh, it's all about the pose. I love it. A real pleasure to paint. And that goes too for the final one:

The Wizard
 

I thought of doing some more embroidery on the dress, but I think it works fine as it is. Where the Elf's cloak is a travel garment and I painted it like that, here I tried to show a more 'urban' look, something she would wear for her daily palace intrigues and stuff.

Well, not much else to add, I think you get what I was aiming for here. Just a final picture with her counterparts:

The same but not the same
I hope I have more chances of geting Mrs. Suber into gaming with these! :D
No, seriously, the minis were too good, I needed them. But now I'm tempted of doing things like this with basically each game I own. Oh, now I'm doomed...

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Ballads of War 2x08-2x09

By now you should have learned to expect the unexpected:


Plot twist! I hope it doesn't look too forced, this was in my mind the whole time. El'Kais was always shown way more sympathetic to the humans than the Eldar, and the decision of annihilating civilian population just as a mean to divert Imperial troops from the scenario was totally unacceptable to him. It was important to me to show the differences between xenos. Where the Eldar see all other species as nothing else than expendable cattle, the Tau try to not sacrifice them; not because they have higher morals, but just as a philosophical racial issue for survival.
Eldar see how they've lost their empire, their true identity, how everything they once had did vanish in front of them, and feel threatened by mankind and any other race. Though every Craftworld will have a different approach to the issue, they all see men (and others) as intruders, as lesser races not worth of being compared to them, so they all are eventually expendable.
On the other hand, Tau are at the early stages of their expansion, they cannot afford mass genocide as a valid way of usual relationship with other races. Their first try is always assimilation (and then genocide if that fails), it's the quickest way of building an empire given their resources and means. They don't share that idea of racial purity which inspires all Eldar thoughts, but they rather embrace the concept of conquest and brainwashing, so they can use any people and resources they find. Not that they consider other races as equals, as they cannot make any real progress in Tau society (everyone has a place, but a determined place). In fact all that stuff about the so-called Greater Good is pure bullshit, the way of mass control within the Tau society and towards all the conquered races.
So well, I might have been wrong when I said that Tau don't see humans et al as mere cattle, hmm...

But I digress, as usual. I was talking about Brent on the run and suddenly El'Kais helping him. Apparently Ellinderelion foresaw a number of possible futures and, by provoking this to happen, settled a scheme of events as the least grievious path to his people. That's kind of Machiavellan, but it's exactly the kind of thing you could expect of him. He still will have to prove his ways, but at some future point I was (eventually) going to show the whole course of events and why expelling Brent and making an enemy of his former allies the Tau was to be beneficial to his cause. For the moment just enjoy the unexpected tension!

To follow all what happened to this point, you may use this link.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Outlanders to populate new places

I've finally managed to put my hands on this looong time neglected project. These minis belong to the first KS from Blind Beggar Miniatures, so the ones who know what am I talking about can get an idea of the awful, painstaking delay I have on my painting queue :(

Anyway, good news is that I've been spilling some paint on them, so I have the whole group from that KS; besides, I added Barnacle Ben to the lot from a later KS. I thought the mini totally fits in the group, couldn't resist to that.

So OK, let's go:

No reason not to look in fashion here in the borderlands
You didn't expect these colours? Everyone in Necromunda wears them this season!
Ready to ransack each settlement from here to the outer rim
You can see I've favoured bright colours and I've consciously avoided dull patterns. I wanted them to stand out, to somehow break the FIW appearance, but with no conversions on them. My idea for them is to represent a nomad tribe of the wastelands, wandering from here to there, through the ash deserts, the contaminated promethium pump complexes, the upper wild mountains and of course the perilous underhive.

Seriously, no one will give them a second look at the harbors of the underhive
I do love the cyber hounds. Endless possibilities for scenarios
So here we have them all:

The whole clan of outcast outlanders
Well, they surely make a wild bunch of  rough badasses. Painting them has been quite easy going; I've enjoyed painting different patterns on the clothes and going to unexpected places with the approach I was aiming for them. The creator, Paul, is a true gentleman whose enthusiasm knows no boundaries; in fact he has been regularly expanding the ranges with different kickstarter campaigns, so now Blind Beggar Miniatures is quite a place to have into consideration. I had to restrict myself as the lead mountain is kind of imposing right now and I don't really want to compromise my schedule for the next couple of years with unpainted minis -at least until I manage to get more stuff done!

My RT board flows with people again. Yet more to come!

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Ballads of War 2x06-2x07

A couple of
WH40K action shots incoming:


Not much to say, we are still in the High Farseer's reflections, his off-screen voice lamenting the things that have happened and the things that are to come. In between we can see the Blood Angels, so you may imagine that they will have some role in the story.

For now I can't tell more. Just state the obvious, the Eldar are wiping the Orks out, but Space Marines are not that easy. Of course you can see I had Primaris Marines before they were cool ;) But it looks like we still have to go back to Brent for a while; we left him hanging on the edge at the end of last issue, we have to know what's coming now...

Well, the story resumes, so what can I say? Onwards! To adventure! I'll be bringing new pages soon!

Monday, 24 July 2017

Solving the problem of dwelling

At least at 28mm scale and for a lowlife neighbourhood in which living standards are not particularly high ;)

Where to begin. My urban board is quite crowded by now, I know. I don't need more buildings. But... oh, yes, I need them. From time to time an idea strikes your head and then you have to turn it into something real. That's what happened to me with this. I saw he raw materials ans I knew I had to do this, I had no real choice. I had a couple of used air refresheners and a tiny box...

I also have lots of bits and pieces of card and plastic
Ta-da, a couple of small dwellings, no more than dirty slums of the underhive, but kind of luxury ones, having their own courtyard and all :D

EDIT: Here's the raw material. The interesting thing is not just the cube shaped box, but the holes on the top, allowing me to play with volumes, tubes, chimneys or whatever. Of course a mere piece of cardboard will make it, but I was lucky enough to have that work done!

You can bet I've also kept the sticks. Still don't know what for, but I've kept them

 So, with some grey primer on them they look this way:

With some grey spray on them they look more like what they are supposed to be
From this point on it all was just a matter of details. What would a regular citizen of the average slums have in the courtyard? I kept it simple, mainly because I really didn't have many bits I could use here; I had to improvise with the rubbish I had at hand...

Cozy place
Maybe not that cozy, yet functional
Let's go on some of the details. The laundry at the first one is made of actual cloth, the same old piece I use for drying the brushes and so. I simply cut some little custom pieces and painted over. The well is nothing but a spare piece from a tap, which I kept after some home repairs.

I you just dare to drink from there...
The flower pots are made with little pieces and bristles from an old brush. The garden table is just the spare button you get when you buy new trousers.

I honestly hope to not be needing that...
About the other one, the power generator is the cap of a superglue jar with some greenstuff wires. This house is more sinister, why would someone need extra power? What can possibly be under that canvas? Hmmm

Once again, the canvas is made of my old cloth for painting
They are super easy to make, and provide some triviality, some prosaism, to my board. Just regular houses where normal people lives. In WH40K terms that may be not much, but I'm not disserting about social status right now, ahem.

Best thing of all is that they are so easily stackable!

Space is an issue in real life too
This is it, my housing solutions in a budget. Essentially zero cost and almost no time-consuming, so efficiency rate is quite satisfactory. I'm getting fond of this...

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Ballads of War 2x01-2x05

There we go again! I'm having some busy days, but I'll try to get back to routine with the comic.

First thing is that I have no cover for Volume 2 :/ I prefer doing covers when the whole thing is done, so I can find a better and accurate composition with the actual content instead of my previous expectations of what I'm about to draw.
But I had an introductory text, just in the same fashion of the one for Vol. 1, some kind of metanarrative to get the reader in context.

So, with no more mumblings, I leave you with that text and the first pages of Vol. 2. There we go!

Treating the Wars of the Hammer as an unitary, single event would be of course a mistake. The wars took place in enormously distant places, and very different characters had their role in them, giving shape to a series of events in which one cannot see an unifying thread in many occasions. It is for sure the presence of Beronis what gives coherence to the overall scheme [...] Though Historicus Allan Baalzenbergis includes the naval battle over Lausor between the Imperial Fleet and the Tau Navy as the first of the encounters that conform the Wars of the Hammer, and he does so with relevant arguments, it would look more prudent (and there is more consensus on it) to consider that the triggering events of all that happened later were unleashed on Itabirion [...].

Itabirion was colonised and terraformed most surely before the coming of the Imperium, as it appears in a chronicle of the Great Crusade as a crossing point of the Divine Emperor, though there is no reference to any relevant event [...]. The Adeptus Mechanicus took real political control over Itabirion in the very early stages, and always kept extense areas of the planet under strict quarantine, claiming tectonic activity and high levels of radiation, which was consistent with that world's geologic structure, though, as it was discovered later on, it was no more than an excuse to keep a certain area free of undesired presence. Undoubtly, the accident that resulted in the explosion of the ziggurat-factory of Sicar, the planetary capital, in 569.m39, also destroyed the archives that recorded the actual reason for the quarantine. The Mechanicus teams sent centuries later, certifying that there was no tectonic activity nor radiation, begun a true new colonisation of the planet all over the unexplored areas [...]. It was the discovery of the place in question what unchained all the events. It is under the light of posterior events how one can understand the confusing convergence of such unalike forces struggling on an uncharted location and which, in the end, conformed the first incident that turned into some totally unexpected results from the beginning...

From 'A Study of the So Called Wars of the Hammer'
Historicus Naevius Maro.
Imperial Library. 982.M41
 


As you can see, the introductory text serves as a link between both Volumes. It provides a plausible explanation to the question of how the hell is it possible for a damn mausoleum to exist on the surface of an Imperial planet since the times of the Great Crusade without nobody knowing.

Regarding the pages themselves, I guess the main focus is on the Biel-Tan Craftworld. It is bulkier than I pretended, less elegant than it should have been, I'm afraid. If you paid attention, it's the same Craftworld we saw in the flashback when the Harlequin told Vix about the race of the Eldar. By that time I didn't know of the Jes Goodwin illustration, or else I would have taken that path:

Anyway, what's done is done. The double splash in pages 2-3 serves the same purpose that the hive city in Vol. 1, a striking image to make you feel small (You know, the universe is a big place and, whatever happens, you will not be missed and all that stuff). Scale is a thing in Warhammer 40,000, I guess. We begin with a flashback of the memories of the High Farseer Ellinderelion. My intention for each volume in the series was to always begin them with an oniric element. The first one was a nightmare, this was a flashback. Next one would have been a divination (using the Imperial Tarot, a long time lore reference but totally underrepresented item; I was even on the process of designing the whole deck). I also had a performance of the Eldar myths by the Harlequin troupe, maybe the story of the Dark Angels told in a flashback as a new member enters the Inner Circle, a Blood Angel succumbing to the Red Thirst... all of them with some touches of my own, in the way you have already seen before.

I digress. The relevant thing about this flashback is the casting of Eldar Seer Stones, something I had always wanted to represent in a comic since I first read that story from the 2nd Ed Rulebook (I guess it may had been published somewhere earlier, but that's the first time I saw it and got me totally hooked). I used some of the same stones that appear there and I made up some others. It all serves the purpose of focusing our attention on the story since the beginning and giving us some perspective from the Eldar side, as they have a main role in all the things to happen. Ellinderelion will be the lead first person narrator in this chapter, just as Brent was in Vol. 1.

Not much else for today, let's just see how this unfolds. I got up to 30 pages of Vol. 2, plus page #31, which is just the pencils. I'll be scanning and preparing them all until I run out of them. I hope you enjoy them!

Monday, 10 July 2017

Not Portobello Road Market

I had the idea of a tiny market for my urban board for quite a long time in my head, but it hasn't been until now that I've been able to turn it into a real thing. My most obvious choice were the stands by Micro Art, from their Wolsung range, which are lovely.

I painted them in the gritty, dirty style of my whole board:

The two smaller stands, in all their rusty glory
I started with the big one. I converted it into a spice market/food vendor stand. I used some greenstuff to represent mounds of spice into the boxes provided, and also sculpted some exotic or alien vegetables and stuff.

Looks clean and trustworthy
I also had an idea to add more variety. Edible variety. Well, as edible as these things can get in Rogue Trader, ahem. Just a little greenstuff turns into...

Space cuttlefish!
With a couple of spare MDF gears from another kit, a few staples and a button I built a cage that would be hanging from the stand:

Yummy yummy
So this is the other side:

Hmm, I still have some room for some hanging pickles
For the two smaller stands, I sacked the bitsbox. I turned one of them into a salvaged military equipment stall:

Blood from previous owners has been cleaned up from all pieces
I did quite the same thing for the other stand, but with salvaged low-tech equipment instead of military gear:

All the equipment the modern adventurer needs
You may remember that, for more forbidden stolen specialised gear, you may want to visit Mama Balaklava's, a fine place for the gentle adventurer who would like to avoid undesired Imperial entanglements. This is more a modest place, but also serves its purpose.

The final touch. I got these jars from Fenris Games. Sweet pieces that fit in the market theme but that can also be used for other settings.

Typical objective markers
So well, all in all, this is the market so far:

Should be bustling, but it's monday morning
When the noon cargo ship arrives we'll have more customers
This is it for now. Of course your adventurers will need a place where they can replenish their existences between jobs. The market also serves as a perfect excuse for an Indiana Jones-like pursuit. Besides, when I get some more food crates or stuff of the like, they will serve as objective markers for an eventual scenario in which raiders have to steal what they can while the Merchants Guild thugs try to avoid it. Sounds like an idea to me, hmmm...
Now I need crates and stuff!