Project Shiba: Behind the scenes

October 15, 2010

Hey, it’s been awhile!

I’ve been busy with plenty of painting projects and I’m actually to a point where I can write about them. A few of you may have heard about Project Shiba, in which I painted up an Ashlynn d’Elysse battlegroup as described here. After Ep6 of Lost Hemisphere Radio, in which MenothJohn describes an Ashlynn-led Highborn force, I got it into my head to paint up a battlegroup for him to help get the army started. I had started work on a Vanguard conversion, had a Nomad conversion, a Mangler and was able to acquire a custom-built Ashlynn model. It was just a matter of getting it painted and delivered.

So, what I’ve got for this space are the work-in-progress shots that show how Shiba came together.


Testing the color scheme on the Vanguard.



After metallics, basecoats were Gun Corps Brown and Exile Blue.



Hammerfall Khaki and Beaten Purple.



A "character" Vanguard needs character... in the form of a flag.



Merywyn the Vanguard, at the ready.



Mangler gets the same treatment with Gun Corps Brown and Exile Blue.



Bringing the colors up.



Highlights... Sanguine Base over the Beaten Purple.



The 'jacks all get Llaelese freehand.



Ashlynn conversion: Ashlynn torso and arms; Daughter of the Flame legs; Gravus cape. Thanks Adam!






And a gun in this hand...



The cape was very fun to paint. Oh, and I didn't paint her as a blond. 😉



By some miracle, Ashlynn's actually looking down the blade.



This was the "player to be named later" — a surprise addition to the battlegroup.



Ironclad boiler added to the Nomad.



The Nomad just might be my favorite paint job in the bunch.



Project Shiba takes the battlefield!



Kaelyssa meets the Nomad. Their first date did not go so well.


So there ya have it, a fairly incomplete look at Project Shiba behind the scenes. If you’re interested in hearing about Shiba’s first battle, check out Lost Hemisphere Radio’s Ep13.

Assuming I have my stuff together, I’ll get pics of my Angry Elves in this space too. 🙂


Painting T-head

March 15, 2010

I love the Thunderhead.

I have loved that warjack since the first time I saw the artwork and I have loved it every time I put it on the board. (Well, except that one time T-head got pinned for 3 rounds by the (s)Crapjack, but we don’t talk about that.)

This is the second T-head I’ve painted up. The first one was right after it came out in Apotheosis, which was shortly after I started playing Warmachine back in 2005. I slaved over that model, spent countless hours on it, and at the time, it was the best ‘jack I had ever painted.

Then my painting skills improved and I hated the paint job. But it was one of those painting milestones and there was no way he was heading for the dip. Thus, Thunderhead Mk II was born — long before I knew Privateer Press was going to make Warmachine Mk II. This was the “improved” version of the ‘jack I imagined Nemo building after its fight at the Orgoth temple. He’d be bigger and better.

T-head Mk II had been assembled for maybe two years until I decided it was time to paint him. The opportunity arose thanks to Gdaybloke’s Go Big series over at Lost Hemisphere. Coincidentally, the article I wrote for over there went up today.

Enough talk. Here’s what I did.


Thunderhead with metallics inked and base colors blocked in.

I put the T-head on a metal base for added stability. As I’ve done with all of my Cygnar, I used black primer. Metals were dry brushed first — Cold Steel for the silvery bits and Vallejo Model Color Bronze for the non-silvery bits. Metals were wash with Citadel Gryphonne Sepia and Badab Black.

Non-metallics were blocked in with Citadel Foundation paints — Mordian Blue, Iyanden Darksun and Astronimicon Grey. The biggest thing with the foundations is they are *very* thick and can leave brush lines if you’re not careful. A smooth primer coat is important if you’re putting down foundations. Applying the foundations in thin layers seems to work the best for me. Then again, I tend to lay down several thin layers rather than a single thick coat. It’s a tough lesson to learn.

Punchy fist! Note the extra coils on the shoulder.

Part of what makes him “Mk II” are the extra coils I added to each shoulder. Looks cool, but man, what a pain in the ass to paint.

Baby got back! Lots of bronze on those coils.

I wish I could remember what I used to block in the coils — it might have been a foundation like Fenris Grey, or it might be Arcane Blue with a wash. That’s what I get for not taking notes.

I mention “blocking in” — for me, this is mapping out the model so I have a sense of direction and I’m not sitting and staring at it when I should be layering highlights or some such. I know of other painters who start from the inside and work out, or others who paint their favorite parts first. I’ve tried that, and it doesn’t work for me. I like a little bit more order to my chaos. Once I have a model blocked out, I can start thinking a few steps ahead about which parts get inked/washed, shading, highlighting and final detailing. For a character or large model, this is a big deal.

The other reason I do it this way is if I make a mistake, I don’t have to back track as far, at least in theory. If I’ve highlighted the coils and got them where I want them and I’m inking metals and it bleeds over my highlights, chances are that model is going to be airborne because I was an idiot. Thus, a game plan so models and painters don’t get harmed. 😉

thunderhead mod

Pistons? We don't need no steenkin' pistons!

One of the other things that makes my T-head Mk II is the addition of hydraulics instead of pistons. The real reason? I effed up converting the pistons since I have ‘jack turned farther than the studio sculpt. Nothing like some old bass guitar strings cut to fix my modeling miscue.

thunderhead mod

Punchy fist — with paint!

I call my Cygnar the Electric Blues because they’re brighter than the studio scheme. I use Vallejo Game Color Magic Blue as my main color. Biggest difference from when I started is that this was my first real attempt with shading. Normally, it’s a wash, highlight with the basecoat color and another highlight — if that. Since the Magic Blue is a shade or two brighter than Cygnar Blue Highlight, I used Cygnar Blue Base to shade in the recesses, rivets and any place there might be a line. Then I layered Magic Blue over it and did a final highlight with a mix of Magic Blue and VMC Deep Blue.

Whites were done in Menoth White Base, Gryphonne Sepia wash and highlighted back out with MWB. Final highlight was with Menoth White Highlight. Yellow started with Hearfire and thin layers of Cygnus Yellow to give it the gradient effect.

thunderhead mod

Measuring for that punch in the facehole.

Coils were done mostly to the studio scheme, though my Turquoise ink is diluted with Future Floor Wax and not water. I got really impatient highlighting these — it was near the end — but I know I can go back and clean up at a later date. Arcane Blue, turquoise ink, Arcane Blue, AB mixed with MWH and final highlight with MWH. Tedious and I lost patience. 😛

nemo enemo thunderhead

My favorite Cygnar casters with my favorite 'jack.

Overall, I’m happy with how the ‘jack turned out. There are some very annoying mold lines on the tops of the coils on T-head’s wrists that I didn’t file off before the primer coat. So it’s not as perfect as I’d like it to be. Still, it’ll go into the foam and be ready to go whenever I field my Cygnar, whenever that is. 😛

New look

March 15, 2010

The times, they are a-changin’.

Lots of interesting things afoot, not the least of which is an increase in the number of Press Gangers in my life (brotherscott has joined the Gang!). Warmachine Mk II is in full swing and a lot of us feel like painting again.

As for the redesign, I finally found a template I liked. I like the dark templates, but they aren’t always reader-friendly. I was also looking to streamline the content on the sidebars. While a lot of the original content remains, it might not stay that way. Just like the header might change if I decide I hate it. 😛

I like it for now, we’ll see if it captures the look and feel we’re trying for in this space.

About that.

I’d like to get back into regular painting and modeling articles again. I think my opinions on Angry Elves, Mk II and Privateer Press are old news now. I don’t really need to rant and rave; I’m not in a position to really do that any more. Not that I’ve been told what to post or what to say, it’s just that I have little in the way of anonymity when it comes to Privateer Press and its games. I’d like to include more about community building, casual gaming and the odd tactica — topics I could post in the Privateer forums but feel more comfortable posting here because this is my tiny corner of the intarblag.

This is 100% coming from me; my co-bloggers here had no idea I planned to do a redesign or write this post. They’re still free to express themselves and post as they see fit. The shift in focus in terms of the content I’ll provide is something I’ve been mulling over for a bit and the redesign gave me the motivation to write this post.

Blame it on spring, blame it on 2010. Either way you want to look at it, change is coming. And it is good.

If you’ll excuse me, I have some Final Fantasy XIII to go play. 😉

Thanks for reading.
~ Jen

Lending a hand

February 24, 2010

A friend posted a link on Facebook late Tuesday night that reminded me why I love the Warmachine/Privateer Press community.

I’ve met several people through the Intarblagnet I consider good friends as a result of Warmachine and Privateer Press — I’ve met some of you in person and still need to meet the rest of you. My standing as a member of the Press Gang and my ability to travel last year allowed me to meet some of the fantastic folks at Privateer Press who make the game many of us love.

Chris Walton didn’t ask me to write this post, he won’t know it exists until I send him the link. Tuesday night, he posted a link to his deviantART journal explaining a near-tragic event for his girlfriend’s two cats. Read his journal, and then go bid on this:

Not Everyone Dies by Chris Walton

"Not Everyone Dies" — original artwork by Chris Walton from No Quarter Magazine #28.

Link to the auction is here.

I’ve been fortunate enough to see some of Chris’ original work up close and personal. He does a fantastic job, and the art he did for the Butcher story is stunning.

I know that I have a special place in my heart for Chris after he donated the artwork for the Breast Cancer Brawl: Boise T-shirts and sent several pieces of concept art for us to use as prizes.

If you’re able, bid on the artwork. If you can’t, you can donate directly to the cause via Paypal by sending money to sizzlesays at gmail dot com.

Thanks for reading.

Against the odds

January 29, 2010

In his eyes I see the glory of our house reborn. He will carve a path by blade’s edge to our proper destiny.
— Consul Caelcyr Nyarr

Retribution cover by Andrea Uderzo

Do not displease the Dawnlord.

Dawnlord Vyros Nyarr was displeased with his scouts. A small Cryxian force lay in his path, thus slowing his advance. The news in and of itself wasn’t troubling; the fact his scouts had failed to accurately report the amount of filth accompanying that Warwitch Deneghra drew his ire. But Vyros had no time to discipline the Mage Hunter Strike Force. He had to act while initiative was his. The Strike Force was sent back to Ravyn, shamed without knowing why.

The Dawnlord ordered the Houseguard Halberdiers to take the front rank; they were closely followed by Dawnguard Invictors — a mainstay in any force Vyros led. With the red-tailed hawk Jyren on his arm, Vyros took his place behind the Invictors. He prodded Hylos, his Phoenix, to stand ready on his right. A Mage Hunter Assassin named Pryn covered the right flank.

Quickly, Vyros expanded his perspective through his hawk’s eyes. He saw the Warwitch at the rear of her battlegroup. Mechanithralls spread out in front of Deneghra, three bonejacks interspersed through their ranks. Bloated sacks on legs — bile thralls — waddled just outside of a wooded glen. A Seether Helljack was lined up opposite his heavy myrmidon. A shimmer on the left and right flanks alerted him to the presence of incorporeal beings. Pistol Wraiths, he thought.

Vyros smiled grimly. “These foul beings will not forestall our advance. Talons of Dawn, stand ready!”


It’s been several months since I’ve played with Dawnlord Vyros. I played him once after trying out Kaelyssa, then went back to Kaelyssa. Once I got my fill of Little Miss Phantom Hunter, it was off to learn Ravyn with a brief flirtation with Rahn.

I think I’ve got a pretty good handle on Ravyn despite being on a wicked losing streak, thanks to regular sparring partner, Dangerfish. There’s definitely something to be said about learning from your mistakes. In this case, I think it was a matter of me playing the same caster for well over a month and he got wise to my tricks.

Thursday night marked my return to Vyros, leader of the Dawnguard and the dude who went toe-to-toe with Goreshade when he went all Eldritch on his elven brethren.

Much like Kaelyssa, Vyros has some tricks that make his battle group shoot just about anything in range. Of course, I took one ’jack in tonight’s game since we were playing 25 points. At least I ran 25 points.

Here’s what I ran:

Army Name: Vryos
Retribution of Scyrah
31/31 points, 25 models
Dawnlord Vyros 6 points
* Phoenix 10 points
10 Dawnguard Invictors 10 points
* Invictor Officer & Standard 2 points
10 Houseguard Halberdiers 7 points
Mage Hunter Assassin 2 points

Dangerfish is not a cheater. iBodger proved to be his foil Thursday night; he named his list “Denny 25”. Only thing is, the 35-point army was selected when he made his list. No biggie; just helps my respect for Vyros and the Dawnguard grow that much more.

Mike ended up running:

40/40 points, 24 models
Warwitch Deneghra 5 points
* Deathripper 4 points
* Defiler 5 points
* Nightwretch 4 points
* Seether 9 points
* Skarlock Thrall 2 points
6 Bile Thralls 5 points
10 Mechanithralls 5 points
2x Pistol Wraith 3 points each

Oh, and did I mention the Cryx was fully painted and gorgeous and that this was his first time running the army? Yeah.

Back when I first started playing Warmachine nearly 5 years ago, I played a lot of games against Cryx. Not so much in recent years — as much of an aversion toward some of the folks who ran the undead as the cheeky shenanigans they could pull off. But having faced Denny enough in the past, I knew the arc nodes had to die, and die fast.

After advancing the entire army, the Invictors popped Extended Fire to give them RNG 14. Two groups unleashed combined range attacks — a 6-man CRA (POW 18) knocked out all but movement and the arc node on one of the bonejacks. A 5-man CRA put a decent amount of damage on another bonejack.

Then there was all kinds of Cryx in my face. A Ghost Walked Seether charged Hylos, but very little damage got past the force field. Mechanithralls punched holes in the Halberdiers’ shield wall and the Bile Thralls trundled through the forest. Pistol Wraiths advanced and harassed things.

Concept art by Chris Walton

There was a delicious charge lane for Vyros to hammer the Seether. It was too good to pass up; didn’t want The Dawnlord angry. MAT 8 means he isn’t missing much — though I forgot about the +2 to hit from flank. I didn’t forget about the extra die and rolled POW14 + 4d6 on the charge. The was without movement and I think an arm after the first swing. I paid for another attack and rolled triple 6s to box the Helljack.

Still, at this point, I had no idea I was playing behind points wise. I just knew I didn’t need a Seether tromping through my lines.

Long story short, I lost the game. I didn’t shut down the arc nodes and I didn’t engage the Bile Thralls to keep them from purging. A 35-point incarnation of this list geared toward fighting Cryx would have added a full unit of Dawnguard Sentinels, Soulless and the Phoenix would’ve been swapped for a Manticore. As it stands, I think the list would have been solid against Cygnar.

Vyros is easily the Retribution’s best ’jack caster. Bird’s Eye affords everything in his battlegroup 360° front arcs; on top of that, when determining LOS, models ignore cloud effects, forest terrain and intervening models. Neat.

His feat, Perfect Execution, rewards the player who brings ’jacks to play: “While in Vyros’ control area this turn, when a friendly Faction model destroys an enemy model with an attack, allocate 1 focus point to a warjack in Vyros’ battlegroup in his control area.” Keyword here kids is allocate. You can’t exceed a ’jack’s focus stat from the feat. It’s still nifty if you want Vyros to hang onto his focus for some reason.

The Dawnlord has a short spell list, but it’s go decent support for ’jacks and troops.

  • Inviolable Resolve — Straight out of eKreoss’ playbook, this spell is awesome on shield wall units like the Houseguard Halberdiers. ARM 20 plus Fearless is nice, especially facing Cryx.
  • Mobility — Loved this spell with Amon, I need to cast it early and upkeep it. The +2 SPD it gives SPD 5 Vyros increases his thread range from 10″ on the charge to 12″ and gives models in his battlegroup Pathfinder. That means Hylos would’ve had an effective threat range of 14″ on the charge. Not bad for a heavy.
  • Hallowed Avenger — Yes, another PoM spell. I put it on the Phoenix for a turn but didn’t charge after a Halberdier was destroyed within 5″; he was engaged and I couldn’t remember if I’d have to incur a freestrike or not. Besides, he was where I needed him to be.
  • Eliminator — This is a brutal spell that bears some testing. “Immediately after this attack is resolved, this model can advance up to 2″ for each enemy destroyed by the attack.” It’s POW 13, AOE 3… I think it could have been useful at thinning out some of the Mechanithralls. Proper use can get Vyros set up for an assassination run in Turn 3, methinks…

Overall, my impressions of Vyros are favorable. I’m really getting excited about Dawnguard again — they’re just solid. They’re the elite of the Retribution and they play like it. I’ve been on a kick with the Halberdiers since I picked them up and now I want to put Sentinels back on the table. I’m also entertaining thoughts of a second Phoenix.

Hey, I’ve got a birthday coming up. 😉

Shattered Grounds

January 20, 2010

So I received an email from the LGS owner about April’s releases from Privateer Press. Buried near the end of the newsletter, there was information about the new Warmachine and Hordes league…

The next advancement in WARMACHINE and HORDES leagues is mobilizing for action! The Shattered Grounds league throws players right into the trenches of the Iron Kingdoms with a wholly immersive experience as they fight for the glory of their faction. Each tour will focus on a specific location in the Iron Kingdoms that players worldwide will battle to control. The next stage of the war has come to western Immoren. Join the fight and determine the fate of the Iron Kingdoms with Shattered Ground League events! The Nightfall tour takes place in the Nightmare Kingdom of Cryx as the nations of the Iron Kingdoms fight for control of the Scharde Islands.

This kit contains 1 champion coin, 2 commendation stamps for use with 2010 WARMACHINE and HORDES Battle Journals (ink pad not included), and 12 scorecards.

The first tour begins on April 5th and runs for three weeks, ending on April 25th.

This one sounds pretty interesting. Can’t wait to see more details.

Warmachine Mk II cards: What’s in the box?

January 20, 2010

warmachine privateer pressThe big day has arrived: Warmachine faction decks are out! The LGS did a midnight release, so I picked up a Merc deck. Couldn’t help myself today and picked up Cygnar and Protectorate.

If you’re wondering what’s inside, wonder no longer! I’m skipping the casters because if you’re reading this, you should know who these folks are. I’m not going to get into a run-down on stats or abilities, just listing which models/units received multiple cards.

Please excuse the crappy cell phone pic. I didn't have the cord for my camera handy.


  • Deathripper x3
  • Defiler x3
  • Harrower x2
  • Helldiver x3
  • Leviathan x2
  • Nightwretch x3
  • Reaper x2
  • Seether x2
  • Slayer x2
  • Stalker x2
  • Bloat Thrall x2
  • Necrotech x3
  • Pistol Wraith x2
  • Black Ogrun Boarding Party x2
  • Brute Thrall x3
  • Cephalyx Mind Slaver & Drudges x2
  • Necrosurgeon & Stitch Thralls x2


  • Centurion x3
  • Charger x4
  • Defender x3
  • Grenadier x4
  • Hammersmith x2
  • Hunter x4
  • Ironclad x3
  • Lancer x4
  • Sentinel x4
  • Stormclad x2
  • Gun Mage Captain Adept x2


  • Berserker x4
  • Destroyer x5
  • Devastator x4
  • Juggernaut x4
  • Kodiak x4
  • Marauder x4
  • Spriggan x4
  • Man-o-War Kovnik x2
  • Manhunter x2
  • Man-o-War Demolition Corps x3
  • Man-o-War Shocktroopers x3


  • Buccaneer x2
  • Freebooter x3
  • Ghordson Driller x2
  • Grundback Blaster x4
  • Grundback Gunner x4
  • Mangler x2
  • Mariner x3
  • Mule x2
  • Nomad x2
  • Renegade x2
  • Talon x3
  • Vanguard x3
  • Wroughthammer Rockram x2
  • Ogrun Bokur x2

Protectorate of Menoth

  • Castigator x2
  • Crusader x3
  • Dervish x3
  • Devout x4
  • Guardian x2
  • Reckoner x3
  • Redeemer x4
  • Repenter x4
  • Revenger x4
  • Vanquisher x3
  • Allegiant of the Order of the Fist x2
  • Knights Exemplar Seneschal x2
  • Paladin of the Order of the Wall x2
  • Reclaimer x2
  • Vassal of Menoth x2
  • Exemplar Bastions x2

So that’s that. I like the new card design, I like the faction feel they exude. Would bigger artwork be nice? Sure. But the more I look at them, the more I like them. After only seeing Mk II Retribution cards since August, it’s nice to see the cards for the other Warmachine factions.

There are definitely some cards I’ll be needing — I own four of just about every heavy for Cygnar and Protectorate. I’m hoping cards will be available on the Privateer Press store in the future and I’ll be able to round out my collection.

I’ll also have to get used to having just one card for units. Sure, I can use the old ones, and that’s what I might do. But there is something cool about having a matching set. And that’s the part where I might get myself into trouble. 😉

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