Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Run, You Fools! - Balrog / Khorne Daemon Conversion

GW's bloodthirster is alright. The same way a Model T is alright. Pretty dated, but good for its time. 

GW's Balrog though, is insane. It's what happens when Hollywood money brings in Hollywood talent -- you get Hollywood-quality design. It is timeless.

The Balrog I feel is thus the obvious choice if you're looking to make a bloodthirster. I wanted one to go with some rogue psykers and cultists I'm working on. All you see here is the Balrog kit, augmented with some extra arms from the the daemon prince plastic box set.

Add summoners, worshippers, and victims -- and your're done :) .

Navin Weeraratne

Thursday, July 19, 2012

15mm Aliens vs. Predator vs.Colonial Marines

Aliens vs. Predator vs. Colonial Marines - it never gets old. It gets stretched, it get's painful, but never old.  I wanted to make my own Aliens game, so here's how I did it. 

The Minis
Khurasan Miniatures, one stop shop. They have a line of "Space Demons," which I knew about that have a conveniently H. R. Giger feel to them. Check them out:

Pics liberally stolen from Khurasan Miniature's Site.
I then found that they've also got Not Colonial Marines:

Not Nostromo Crew (with Not Ripley and her big '80s hair):

Not Ripley's Loader:

And civilians with Not Newt (complete with doll's head):

They also have Not Predators too (their "Huntarrs") which they currently appear to be redesigning (no pics available). 

That just left terrain and rules.

I got a few spaceship deckplans from Ki Ryn Studios from over at

Ki Ryn does the nicest spaceship deckplans I've seen, and have everything from ports to exploration vessels. They've also branched into fantasy plans, taverns and the like.

I used their Exeter package, deck plans for a tramp freighter (it has a very Firefly feel):


I got it printed out in matte, full color, on 4mm foamcore board. It came to two, huge, durable, water-proof sheets. You can see them here: 

It has four decks, which was plenty.

The Rules 
I'm a big fan of not reinventing the wheel, so I plundered a lot of the simpler rules from Space Hulk (gun jams, overwatch firing, unlimited bugs, token blips, etc...). Layered on that, were these basic rules:

Shoot  Melee Wounds Save Movement Running (no shooting)
Marine 3+ 6+ 1 5+ 4 6
Alien - 3+ 1 6+ 8 8
Alien Queen - 2+ 5 2+ 6 6
Loader - 3+ 3 3+ 3 3
Predator 2+ 2+ 3 2+ 4 6

So for example, marines would shoot on a 3+, but could hit in melee only on a 6. The predator however is a real beast: he hits, shoots, and saves on a 2+, and he has 3 wounds to be even more of an ass. 

The Colonial Marines also got the following weapons:

H&K VP70 Shoots 1 shot. Never jams.
M41A Pulse Rifle Shoots 3 shots. Jams on a 1.
M56 Smart Gun Shoots 9 shots. Jams on a 1, and can cause hull damage. 
M240 Flame Thrower Shoots 5 shots, then runs out. Does 1 wound damage (no saves) to all targets
6 inches in front of shooter. 
There was a lot of room for tactics and planning here. The smart guns and flame throwers were of course limited. The flame throwers were fantastic, but economy was an issue as they would eventually run out. 

The smart guns were a challenge because on 9 dice,  rolling a 1 was essentially a given. However, the marine player could choose to roll part of his 9 dice pool at a time, or all of it in one go. A jam would only stop the gun firing again that turn, but all the other shots in the pool, would go through. 

The Alien player had a very different set of concerns: they had to exhaust the marine's firepower and cause gun jams, and build up in enough mass that when they struck they would make it to the marines and cause some damage rather than just get shot to pieces.

The Alien player got to deploy at bulkhead points along the edges of the ship, and could put down a new token at the end of every turn.

Depending on what fire power the marines used, the Aliens player could field 1, 3, or up to 5 aliens per token:

Pistol Fire 1 per token
Rifle Fire 3 per token
Smart Gun/Flamer  5 per token

This worked out quite nicely. The Marine player would tend to use pistols as far as possible, and the alien player would have to conserve their bugs as best they could, and try and hit with enough numbers to force the marine player to use heavier weapons. 

Here are some blackberry shots of the game between my buddies Nic and Thilani (courtesy of Thilani):

The game played better than expected. It was very much a see-saw struggle the whole time between both players, and victory points were neck and neck the whole time. It was nail biting down to the finish, both times we played. 

We only had one predator, and the plan was to give them to the losing player after a certain number of turns to help equalize the balance. He wasn't necessary in the end, but we threw him in at the end of the first game anyway, for a laugh. Thilani, who was the predator player, did not find his performance up to expectations though, and she dubbed him "the special predator."

I killed it for a free victory point.

Monday, April 23, 2012

INLG terrain boards: Cheap, DIY, and you're done in an hour.

My favorite wargaming blog is Irrational Number Line Games. They're funny, out-of-the-box, and their games are ridiculous.

In the midst of a hobby that beckons only fat wallets, INLG teaches how to make scifi terrain  from candy boxes; Cyclops monsters from discount action figures; and hordes of Cthulhoid monsters from plastic dinosaurs and Model Magic clay.

In addition to being low cost, their tutorials are also quick -- a couple of hours and you're done. There's nothing quite like getting minis or terrain ready in a single afternoon: its satisfaction without any of the dread of tedium.

The studio was closed for a week for the Sri Lankan New Year, and I used this time to get back to some neglected projects and start some new ones. INLG had just come out with an awesome tutorial on making a lava board, so I decided I'd start there.

Terrain has always been a challenge for me, and it's the same questions we all face:

- Where do I store all this?
- How do I store it safely?
- Can this not take up so much freaking space?

The INLG tutorial is for a small, stackable, terrain square, which addresses these three questions. What really impressed me though, was that it suggested how to quickly bang out lots of low cost, easy to stamp out, easily varied, terrain boards.

First, I cut out a 12x12 inch board. You can't get cork out here, instead you need to buy either plywood or plastic sheets from hardware stores. The materials are cheap, but they insist you buy them in 4x8 foot boards. Customer service being what it is in Sri Lanka, they will not cut these for you either, you'll have to lug them around on your own. I should have got a picture of the sheet we strapped down to the tuk tuk, and very nearly sailed off every time the driver accelerated.

Please forgive the Blackberry-quality photos for most of this:

Next, I needed to create the lava effect. For this I got hold of a couple of cans of spray paint, just some yellow and red.

I sprayed the whole sheet in red, then gave it a varied dusting of the yellow. The nice thing about using spray paints is that it gives you a nice, almost airbrush sort of look and feel. It's also ridiculously quick and easy to work with. 

Next, I needed the little islands of hardened lava. I mixed regular wood glue with some unsifted construction sand, and a bit of black paint. 

Foul-looking, isn't it?

I applied the glue-dirt, and left it to dry in the sun.

I rather liked it. In a later hobby article, I'll talk about how I did some boulders to go along with the board (not much of a wargaming board if there are no obstructions to lines of sight).

The board does demand some minis matched to it. I might use some left over Everblight monsters painted up to match the look and feel, or some bloodletters if we have any lying around. With some 15mm cultist minis and some more terrain pieces (altars, ancient ruins), I've got a cursed city that some plucky investigators or greedy tomb raiders will visit.

As mentioned before, the INLG tutorial suggested a pattern that I could use to make other types of board. I went ahead and then made a beach / sea sort of board to go with the 15mm pirates and ninjas we did earlier.

Another 12x12 inch board, this time with some dark and some light blue spray paint. 

Paint sprayed. Always put the darker color down first, and apply the lighter color sparingly. This creates a natural-looking highlight. 

For the terrain I went for a beach sand look. On execution, I think a dark, rich, jungle earth look would have worked better (no beach on Earth looks like the one I built. But, to be fair, no other beach on Earth is a battleground between pirates and ninjas).

Drybrush in a color one or two tones lighter, and you're done.


Navin Paintedfigs.Com Facebook Page: YouTube Channel: company blog: personal blog:

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Ninjas Vs. Pirates! 15mm Rebel Minis

We just finished these!

These are the 15mm Rebel Minis we mentioned a couple of posts ago. This is all part of are scheme to offer box sets of painted Ninjas and Pirates.

The pirates are fine for 15mm, though I think Rebel Minis should resculpt the Ninjas as their proportions are a bit weird. But here it is: proof of concept of what painted pirates and ninjas are going to look like.

Now we just need to come up with some game rules. A fun, pick up and play, wargame that:

- Works with as few as 7 minis per side. 
- Has a game length of 15-45 minutes. 
- Is compatible with other minis (there's a LOT Rebel minis offers). 
- Can fit on a single page 

I'm sure it's already been done before. Anyone have any ideas or suggestions for systems that might work?

I'd like to get a few sets and some games ready in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Navin Weeraratne,  Facebook Page: YouTube Channel: company blog: personal blog:

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Great Geek Retreat

Last weekend, we went off to a small bungalow in the jungle for a geek retreat, or as we called it, The Great Geek Retreat.

It was less of a geek retreat as a geek trade show: there are very few gamer geeks in Sri Lanka (table top gamer that is). So me, Sootch, and Johann decided to bring in a bunch of non-gamers, and expose them to:

- RPGs
- Board games
- War games 
- Card games

We also figured while we were at, we'd have a hell of a barbecue and hit them with a lot of booze.

When we got to the bungalow, we set up a viewing area and put Monty Python and the Holy Grail up for them while Sootch and I prepped the barbecue and Johann ran around town looking for last minute supplies. The Holy Grail is particularly special geek movie to me, not just because its such a key piece of gamer canon, but also because it was the first movie I ever watched in the US.

We ran two Call of Cthulhu games after dinner -- it was their first time role playing, and none of them had any idea of what to expect. What started out as pretty mundane investigations, quickly ended up -- in horror!

The next morning we switched out to some Z-Man card games, Swashbucklers of the Spanish Main was a big hit. We had planned on Last Night on Earth and Battlestar Galactica, but people were too tired and braindead from the night before so instead we pulled out an old GW game -- Brewhouse Bash!

Sootch got a lovely print of this done on a plastic sheet. Brewhouse Bash is a pretty relaxed, silly game, but it teaches tactics and strategy very quickly. It also teaches rules lawyering and arguments very quickly, but this is of course more of a genre-wide problem...

After that, we headed on back. People seemed pretty pleased with the event, and most were interested in role playing.

The stage is set. I just need to get off my butt and run a game now. 


Navin Facebook Page: YouTube Channel: company blog: personal blog:

Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - Rebel Minis Ninjas vs Pirates

Rebel minis if you haven't heard of them, together with Khurasan Miniatures, made 15mm cool for non historical folks. It's as simple as that. They've done 15mm zombies, insurgents, Cthulhu cultists, you name it.

A few years ago they came out with some 15mm ninjas:

and I have been waiting patiently ever since for their latest release -- 15mm pirates.

They've got jaunty pirate command sorts too; sea witches; red-coat pirate hunters; undead pirates; and even a mermaid. Outside of the immediate awesomeness, one must consider the potential for low cost, 15mm, pirates vs ninja conflict.

We had tried to do a pirates versus ninja set before, but the costing in 28mm was prohibitive. With these, I think we can do set of 7 ninjas and 7 pirates, pre-painted and with shipping globally, for $35. Not cheap, but if I can throw in a simple rules booklet and maybe a couple of terrain pieces, it becomes a good offer.

So we ordered some ninjas and pirates, they're in the studio now. If I can get them ready and take some nice photos of them in time, Ninja vs Pirates the Wargame will make the next newsletter!



Monday, March 26, 2012 - Our Own Little Youtube Channel

We've set up a Youtube channel, thanks to the power of Windows Movie Maker (thanks Bill!).

Suraj's insane camera angles, while not always what works best for review photos, are perfect for video it turns out. Here is some Dreadfleet we did, you can see how his mad touch works.

Here's our Youtube Channel:

Only a few up so far, but we're adding more.  If you've read this far, then you deserve to see this travesty. It's me and my friend Sootch doing our version of "Haben sie Gehort das Deutsche Band," from the Mel Brook musical comedy adaptation of "The Producers."