Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Mechanicum - A Horus heresy review



Disclaimer


Spoilers abound in these posts, if you haven’t read the books and will get upset by finding out what happens just stop.

This is also not a recap, if you want a recap go to Lexicanium.

What The Black Library says about the book


As the flames of treachery spread outwards through the Imperium, Horus mobilises those forces who are loyal to him, and plots to subvert or destroy those who stand agaist him. A battle is being fought for the heart and soul of all the Imperial forces – the Astartes, the Imperial Army, the Titan Legions and more. In this epic story, author Graham McNeill tells the story of the civil war on Mars, and the genesis of the Dark Mechanicum.

What the book is really about?


First off, don’t read this book when you are tired (or if you are a bit dim)

There are no less than 5 major divergent story lines with associated characters, and keeping track of who is who, and where they are up to is one of the charms of this book. (if you have trouble with mechanicum, do not try Game of thrones)

Ok, so five major story lines, interdependent but mostly independent of each other.

Story one – The questing Knight dude


Maven is a Knight of Tarantus, a group of noble dudes who drive around big warmachines and, well, act like Knights for 14th century fables about knights.
Kaban Machine hungry!

I won’t say he’s the most complex character in the history of literature, and his story is quite a simple one. There is an explosion the blows up a nuclear reactor, during the lead up to this explosion Maven encounters a giant kill bot (that we later find is called the Kaban Machine).

Maven quickly sums up its an AI, and that is a bad thing to the mechanicum. The rest of his story involves tracking down the Kaban Machine with his best mate, disobeying orders, and blowing up the machine at the heroically appropriate time.

It’s a simple “I MUST SLAY THE BEAST” story, but that was good enough for Beowulf I guess.

Story two – Titan legion vs Titan Legion


Fanboi alert!

I really liked Adeptus Mechanicus the boardgame, so I have a soft spot for the Titan legions. (Even if Legio Metallica has now been removed from canon for legal reasons).

This was fun, stupid, but fun



This story focuses in on the aging commander of the Legio Tempestus (Storm Lord Cavalerio) and his legions conflict with Legio Mortis.

Right now I will point out one of my great bugbears with all of 40k/30k and that is names. Legio Mortis are the bad guys, WHAT A SHOCK, the death legion turn out to be a bunch of evil shits. Ok, this isn’t as bad as Fabius Bile and Abaddon (so, your name means hell….. shady dude) but its still really obvious who the bad guys are.

Anyway, two cool things to note about this story. One is the Storm lords’ transition from being just a modified human, to living in an amniotic tank all the time. It’s nice and sci-fi, and akin to the navigators of dune and other “giving yourself over” stories. I liked it, but felt they could have done a little more with it.

The other cool bit is the titan battle at the end of the story. The first Titan engagement is a let-down, but the finale is pretty awesome. The writer conveys the colossal scale of the conflict, while keeping the tension and desperation high. Very nice action scenes.



Story three – The Dork Mechanicum


Not gonna lie, this is probably the weakest story of the whole bunch. Kelbor-Hal is the fabricator General and a colossal douche. There is a whole arc about him and his cronies doing dirt deeds to win Horus’s favour and open up “SEKRETS BEST LEFT SEKRET”.

Kelbor-Hal and all his cronies are approaching caricature levels of evil. The secret tech they long for has been sealed away by the Emperor, and its pretty much “Insert daemon warp thing into tech” technology.

I get that these guys are meant to be dogmatic fundamentalists, but they really are very ham fisted about it all.

The highlight of this story is probably the catelgue of atrocities they unleash over Mars. It’s bordering on cartoonish the number of experimental new ways they develop to kill people, but it makes for an interesting read and brings home the scale of the conflict quite nicely.

Story four – The “Good Guy” Mechanicum


For a given value of “good” that is.

Even the loyalist Mechanicum are inhuman slave lords suffering from chronic cases of megalomania. Koriel Zeth, Adept of the Magma city is the protagonist here, and she’s the kind of person who will happily kill a thousand psykers in an experiment.



The highlight of this story is the “betrayal of Mars” by the Imperial Fists. The fists show up, and the loyalist Mechanicum are all “YES, WE IS SAVED” and all they do is hit the Marine armour and weapons production lines, steal everything that’s no nailed down, and then bugger off. The loyalists feel well and truly bummed after this.

Bonus points for “The large charge of the knights at Magma City” and “Zeth vs the Assassin” as those are nice epic moments in the story.

I also like that they lose, badly, and totally.

Story Five – Dalia and the Dragon


This is the main story I guess? I suppose you could consider Dalia the main protagonist of the story, even though she has little impact on the wider story. This is an ensemble book, but I do feel her arc is the one we are meant to identify with the most.

First of all, she is not from Mars, so we see the Mechanicum through her eyes. Basic features of the society are tastefully given the “basil exposition” treatment by having a niave off-world noob show up who needs to have it all explained.

It’s an old trick in sci-fi, but ti works here.

She’s also “SPECIAL” with a capital Spec!

We quickly discover that Dalia has a latent psychic ability that allows her to figure stuff out with technology extremely quickly, shes a savant, and with no real technical training she quickly solves the Mechanicum equivalent of a Gordian knot.

But, that’s only the start of her arc. After a horrific run in with a failed experiment with psykers (Thanks ZETH!) she starts to dream of a Dragon caged beneath Mars. 

The Dragon is most likely the C’tan Void Dragon, who is one of the great UNSPEAKABLE HORRORS of the 40k universe.

And the Mechanicum worship it….. crazy bastards.

After an encounter with otherworldly geometry that Lovecraft would be proud of, she settles in for a long haul as guardian of the evil dragon monster of Mars.

I guess even the Emperor cannot kill a C’tan.

All in all Dalia’s story is engaging enough, and she’s an interesting character. But nothing saves the day, and in the end she hides out for the entire rest of the war in a cave.


Why are there humans in my book about super powered Space Marines?


Oddly, in a book with next to no Space Marines there are remarkably few “humans”.

Everyone in the story is either cybernetically altered, a psyker, or a marine.    

MVP – The ensemble of techno assistants.


Dalia’s cohorts are quite a neat little bunch and I like how the writer gave them all quite different characters. Caxton is a honest young man who falls for Dalia, which makes her hermitage at the end a little more poignant. Mellicin initially comes across as a grumpy old cow, but is revealed to be a bit more than that. Severine, the draughter produces one of the really sad personal tragedy moments of the story. Zouche, the Tyrion Lannister of engineers, also has a bitter sweet story about his origin and what being a dwarf in a genetically obsessed society is like. 

Finally, Rho-Mu 31, the cyborg killing machine assigned to protect Dalia has arguably the high point of dialogue in the book when he cracks a joke. It’s wonderfully dark and out of the blue and turns, what could have been a caricature into a character.

Worst Character – The Dork Mechanicum cronies


All of them, so hammy, so moustache twirly. I really wanted a little more complexity from the villains, but then again, this is a Horus Heresy novel.


Why the Emperor is a giant douche


I still find it hard to digest how the Emperor treated Mars as such a special case when it came to religion. In most places he cast down idols and banned worship. On Mars, he fostered it.

Heck, he even imprisoned a C’tan on Mars and let worship of that damned thing continue.

Also, how busy must one be to let the armoury of your empire fall when it’s in the same system as your capital. This seems remarkably short sighted and stupid.



Moustache twirling evil-bastard award – Kelbor-Hal


Dark Mechanicum?

He finally gets his wish and he unveils the secret tech of secret, and his calls his new group the “Dark Mechanicum”.

I would have preferred if one of the opposing Mechanicum leaders coined the phrase. Kelbor-Hal should have referred to his own as the “True Mechanicum”. Dark Mechanicum is just so damn hammy.


















The writing – technical review and evaluation


This is quite a good book I think, one of the better ones. Not as good as some of the Dan Abnett works, but a good solid story, pretty good characters and a story that mattered. Solid, but not special.

That said, I found it a lot better than some of the other books reviewed so far. 

This book gets a “Good to read” rating. (4/5)



Book ranking














































Wednesday, 26 March 2014

More zombicide - Or how we all got eaten

Session two of Zombicide with my very special and significant other. 

So far, we have had a lot of fun. but each session has had the same pattern.

We set up, play for 4 or 5 turns, stuff up and get murdered. 

We then reset the mission and try again, and do a hell of a lot better. 

This time, after 2 and a bit hours, we got murdered quite close to the finish line




So.... this is how it all ended for us tonight. 

The game has a rule, that if you cannot place a certain type of zombie because you have run out of models, then all the zombies of that type on the board activate.

The six runners moved forward, and ate all 4 of our heroes gathered there. 













And when i said close to the finish line, I actually meant on the other side of the map, but with all of the supplies we needed. We still had a long dangerous trek to the exit in the top left of the map. (You may notice one of our survivors on the other side of the map)

But we were badasses, experienced survivors are amazing compared to when you start the game. 

Wanda the waitress could move 8 squares a turn through any number of zombies. 
Amy the goth chick was murdering anything that moved with her shotgun
Ned was a machine with his chainsaw. 
Doug the business man sniped dead 7 zombies in one round, 
and the other lot weren't bad either. 

But still, even with all the baddassatude, it wasn't enough. And zombie ate our brains :(

Still, the story that played out was fun and i enjoyed the game a lot. Great times, very good for 2 players. Curious to see how it works with more


Oh, here you can see Wanda. She opened up a door to a house full of zombies and skated away. Ultimately, my "cleverness" with using Wanda to move the zombies around meant more spawned. Which ultimately ended in us all being eaten :(

And in bonus news, i have been given approval to buy expansions from the household budget instead of my own pocket money. HUZZAH!



Sunday, 23 March 2014

Ol'Rowdy - Fun with flags and gore

I'm pretty darned stoked with how this bad boy has turned out.

I tried some new techniques and some new paints. Damn he looks boss!





First of all, as a character jack I wanted to paint him a little different from my other Cyganr Jacks that are 90% blue. I decided to do him in the same scheme as Thorn and my Warcasters. that is, mostly gold with blue as the 2nd colour. 

Makes them stand out, while still being very Cygnar. 

I also wanted to try out some of the new citadel technical paints. If you haven't seen these yet, go check them out. GW has a bunch of you tube videos about what the paints do and how to use then, they are a little "play school" (Or Sesame street/Blue peter) but they are still quite good short demos of the capability. 

The "blood for the blood god" paint is pretty cool, nice and gloopy and really blood red. I went to town on Rowdy to make him look a bit like a feral monster that has just caved in a warbeasts skull. 

I painted up, in the direction the blood from a blow would be coming. I also flicked blood onto rowdys face and arms. I love how it has dried over the blue sections of the armour. Most pleasing. 

I also used some of the "typhus corrosion" to get a dirty effect on his hands and lower body. 

The other little innovation was to make a banner for Rowdys off-hand. Having his hand just hanging out like that looked a bit dull to me, so viola! Banner!

I'm getting more confident with freehand and would really like to try a proper "art" banner at some point in the near future. For what model, I have no idea, but i'd like to do something nice. 




Coming up on the painting desk, Aiyanna and Holt, as well as Gorman, tempest blazers and Kraye (i need these guys base painted in a week for a tourney! PANIC!!!!)



Sunday, 16 March 2014

Zombiecide - Initial thoughts

Setup ready to go
So.... I impulse purchased Zombiecide this week even though I had not read a single review of it. 

This is weird for me, but I liked the look of the game and the overall BGG ranking for it was quite high. 

It ticks a lot of boxes that will ensure it gets plenty of play with my partner and my gaming friends. 

First of all, the theme is readily accessible. It's a zombie themed game with all the cliches that entails. 

Now i'm a big "old school" horror fan and I really like Romero's Zombie flicks (mostly Dawn and Day of the Dead). As a genre, i think its pretty bloody over exposed at the moment with bundles of movies, games, TV series, and what not. 










Ok, everyone, go into this room. 
Even though it's been done to death and frankly, there ain't many more stories to tell about the shambling dead, it makes for a good boardgame theme. 

I'd seen other zombie boardgames, and played a few, but honestly I thought "Zombies!" and "Mall of Horror" were pretty ordinary. 

What set this game apart for me was that is pure co-operative. This is good as many of my gaming friends prefer the co=-op gameplay experience over the "i kick you in the nuts and take poland" experience that competitive games have. 

The miniatures are also top notch, and i am tempted to give this game the full treatment at some point in the FAR FAR future. 










We kill everyone, except the "fatty who proceeds
to nom on Wendy the waitress. 
The components in general are pretty good quality. Nice sturdy card, the art is pretty good. The cards are the FFG mini size, but that doesn't bother me in the slightest (I play Arkham after all). 

GAMEPLAY

It's very simple, which is another selling point, as who the frack wants to play a complicated zombie slaying game?

Nope, people want to gun down wave after wave of critters while panicking about being overrun at any time. 

The game does this well and the pressure is unrelenting. 

First of all, each character has three possible actions they can do each turn. These include movement, attacking, searching, opening doors (if you have a crowbar or fireaxe) or trading. 

You can do all of these more than once each turn (except searching).

Combat is based off the weapons you are holding, and your party starts with one pistol, 1 crowbar, 1 axe, and 3 frying pans.......  Yeah, fighting the zombie hordes with a frying pan is not going to go well, so searching for better gear is a high priority. 


Building one clear, we are about 1/5th of the way home.

Each zombie your character kills grants them 1 experience point, and as characters level they get more options and unique funky skills. 

HOWEVER

And this is pretty freaking brilliant in my opinion, the zombie spawn rate increase based on the experience level of the highest player character. 

So if Wanda the Waitress is the only character killing zombies then things will get out of hand for the less experienced characters real quick. 

It encourages you to share out damage, to swap weapons around, and to not min-max one character into the perfect zombie killing machine. 



 BALLS! Zombie rush, many deaths, so sad. 

Zombies are dumb, thankfully. The move towards survivors they can see, or failing that, towards the most noise. 

Each survivor makes one noise by default, but slamming doors, shooting guns, and/or just stomping around yelling, will generate noise. 

While we failed to take advantage of this factor is our test game, it opens up some possibilities for zombie herding. I think this will be a real key to actually winning the game long term. 



SO MANY GOOD DAM ZOMBIES

We quickly learned that you just can't stay and fight the zombie hordes, once one character went up a level the spawn rate "exploded" and we were getting 2-4 zombies at each of the 4 spawn points around. 

What really killed us though was a badly timed "zombie rush" which made all the walkers activate twice in one round. We had done well to keep them at arms length, for a while, but the double rush meant 5 zombies in one square murdered 2 of our people (including wanda with her chainsaw).

The game is horribly brutal, merciless, and apparently quite difficult. I can already see it having some good replay value. 



Last man standing, NOM NOM NOM 

My partner enjoyed the game a lot, and is keen to play again. I'm also interested to see how my other gaming groups deal with it as well.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Stormguard COMPLETE!


Wow, I actually finished a unit!

This is epic, the first new models off the painting table in nearly 12 months. 

Painting for me, has always been a "feel" thing. Either I want to do it, and then i do it a lot, or i just hate the damn thing. 

The Stormguard are done in my "Storm Knight" scheme which is really really simple. 

The dark blue is heavily glazed and only lightly shaded and highlighted. The real character on the models comes from the lightning marks, which are lightning blue and white wiggly lines. 

I'm looking forward to getting these guys on the table as they are one of the few "reach" options Cygnar has, and with lightning arc on the polearms, they can murder light infantry with great rapidity. 

PS. Trying out a new lightbox!

COMING SOON!

So......................

I have the following to paint, in no particular order. 
  • Ol'Rowdy
  • Thunderhead
  • Charger, Hunter, Minuteman (all 2nd copies for my force)
  • A Centurion/Avenger/Hammersmith magnetised combi kit
  • Aiyanna and Holt
  • Ragman
  • Eiryss (elite)
  • Gorman
  • Lord Runewood
  • Sword knights (2nd unit of 6)
  • Stormblade Commander
  • Kara Sloan
  • Stryker 2
  • Kraye
  • Stormlances
  • Gunmage cavalry 
  • Taryn 
  • Katherine Laddermore
Holy crap..... that'll keep me busy for a long long time. 





Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Battle for the abysmal – A Horus Heresy Review


 a.k.a. Battle for the Abscess. 



Warning, the following blog post contains much more swearing than normal. Thank you for your indulgence. 

Disclaimer

Spoilers abound in these posts, if you haven’t read the books and will get upset by finding out what happens just stop.

This is also not a recap, if you want a recap go to Lexicanium.






What The Black Library says about the book


Horus sends the World Bearer space marines to the planet Calth, where they are to ambush the loyalist Ultramarines. In addition to the main fleet, Horus sends a new doomsday battleship for use againsy the Ultramarines home world of Ultramar. A small strike force travels space and the warp to delay or destroy the doomsday ship to save the Ultramarines.

Subtle, Like a knife for a nazi

What the book is really about?


Um….. well it’s not a book as such, that’s to say, it looks like a novel when you pick it up, but really, it’s a full length commando comic but with more two dimensional characters.

Another way to describe the book is that the sailors from Gi Joe, The Dinobots, that dude from mummies alive and Rambo team up to defeat Skeletor on his super star destroyer.

Come to think of it, I’d rather read that horrible mishmash of fandoms in a bad work of fan fiction than this. At least that has the potential to be so bad that its good.

Put in simple terms, this is a bad book and Ben Counter should feel bad for writing it.

It adds NOTHING to the mythos of the 30k universe, and it takes a lot away from it.

The characters are flat, the villains are shockingly cliché, and the events in the book are pretty irrelevant to the whole heresy. The sole plot point from this book is that the massive evil ship of doom (The Furious Abyss) blows up before it can smash the Ultramarines. It essence, this book is about a master plan that was foiled and therefore had no impact on the story later on.

Worst of all, it reads like bad fan fiction written by a teen. I had issues with his first book (Galaxy in Flames) but they pale compared to this pile of shit.

My proposed alternative cover art



Introducing the Hero-Protagonist – um…. Cestus?


Ok, so you know how I have said that the Hero Protagonists of these books have a tendency towards being honest, humble, dedicated soldiers. Cestus dials this up to 11.

He is an Ultramarine, in the most boring horribly clichéd way. I’ll mention a later book, the Mark of Calth now because it made me like the ultramarines, it gave them character.

Cestus is bland and so are his mates. I can only see you rooting for these guys if you are the most ardent 40k and Ultramarines fan out there….. and you’re a bit thick…. And you don’t know good writing if you fall over it while dancing around the house in your ultramarine undies. 





Why are their humans in my book about super-powered Space Marines?


I seem to recall a fleet captain…. But if that character did anything worthwhile I can’t honestly remember. 


MVP – none, well, Skraal perhaps


I’ve seen a few people say that the highlight of this book is the portrayal of the World Eater and the Thousand Son marine.

They are correct, they are the best parts of a terrible book.

But, there characters are only interesting because we haven’t been exposed to those chapters before, for the most part. Mhotep, (not to be confused with the guy from the mummy with a bloody similar name) is kind of interesting, but only because we hadn’t seen a thousand son before. He is still an archetype rather than a character.

The same holds true for Skraal, he’s just a world eater, nothing more. It’s just that World eaters are cool when they go feral and Rambo and stuff. 





Worst Character – The Space Wolves


Holy shit, are these guys cliché. WE first encounter them in a bar room brawl, where the noble ultramarine and the feral Space Wolf have a fight and then a man-love moment. It was painful.

“HELLO MY HONOURABLE WOLF FRIEND”

“WELL MET MY BATLLE BROTHER IN BLUE FROM ANOTHER MOTHER, CARE FOR A DRINK”

“NO, I’M AN ULTRAMARINE, THE WOODEN POLE UP MY ASS PREVENTS ME FROM CONSUMING BOOZE OR BEING FUN”

“BAH, LET US GO THEN AND FIND A THOUSAND SON FOR ME TO PICK A FIGHT WITH”


Oh…. The Space wolves vs the Thousand sons. Fuck me.

It’s like the author got a note to play up the friction between the two legions as foreshadowing to “A Thousand Sons” and “Prospero Burns” (Both quite good books). He took that to mean, HAVE THE SPACE WOLVES BE FUCKING IDIOTS ALL THE TIME.

Moustache twirling evil-bastard award - Zadkiel


Wow, Zadkiel.

Holy cow, what a ham. I don’t even think Jeremy Irons could act as hammy as Zadkiel does in the book. I can see Tim Curry also looking at the role and going “look, no one can obtain this level of ham without turning into a giant pork sausage”.

You have to wonder at the Word Bearers chain of command when someone this hammy gets promoted. I can see it now.

Word bearers promotion board meeting

“So, who is up for promotion this time Erebus”

“My lord Lorgar, Zadkiel is due a promotion, I highly recommend his work, see, here is his record”

“Right, let’s see….. oh yes, ranting…. Good good, paranoia, nice touch, oh…… he makes terrible command decisions and has delusions of grandeur! Fantastic, GIVE THAT MAN A DEATH STAR”



Get to know your Legion – The Ultramarines, Thousand Sons, World Eaters, Space Wolves, Word Bearers.


The legions are presented as caricatures. So, I’m gonna have fun with how I think they were presented in the book.

After reading this book I know that, when encountering a vending machine:

An Ultramarine will observe the machine, report in to command and wait for orders, then put a dollar in the machine, press the buttons in the correct sequence, wait for the can to deploy, then store the can for later use as drinking carbonated beverages sounds like too much fun

A Space Wolf will look at the vending machine, sniff it, watch someone else use the machine, accuse them of witchcraft, get into a fight, and chew that persons arm off so that the can rolls away to where the blood claws can fight over it.

A Thousand son will walk up to a vending machine, invoke the sacred runes of thoth to magically force the machine to dispense cola (despite being ordered not to). They will then store the cola in a secret fridge and not answer any questions about the mysterious origins of carbonated beverages.

A World Eater will stalk the vending machine for days and then put an axe into the vending machine and anyone using it.

A Word Bearer, upon encountering the machine will worship it, building a shrine in its name and carving the instructions for using the machine into his skin. He will encourage others to worship the machine, right up to the point he thinks the machine loves someone else more than him. In which case he will nuke the city the machine is in and cry about it for 10000 years.

By n924 from Deviant art (http://n924.deviantart.com/)



Why the Emperor is a giant douche


A giant, planet killing space ship was built right under his nose, and given to an ego maniac that one of his sons appointed to leadership. No direct doucheness, but another example of the Emperor being an oblivious douche.



The writing – technical review and evaluation


I hope Ben Counter never does another Horus Heresy book ever again. I really struggle to see how this one got published, I have no idea what it was attempting to do, but it really undermined the series.

In fact, I got into this series and read the first 7 books in quick fashion. I stopped reading the Heresy series for nearly two years after Battle for the Abyss. If the Megapope hadn’t lent me “Mark of Calth” and highly endorsed it, I would never have continued with the series.

This is the worst book so far, and it will take considerable effort to get it off the bottom of the heap.

This book gets a “No, just no” rating. (1/5)

Boo this man.... BOO HIM

Book Rankings






Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Meg Maples Masterclass - Wellington (Guest post)

One thing i wanted to do more this year was get other people in my gaming groups involved in some guest posts. Our local PP Press Ganger Pelarel posted this originally on the NZ Warmachine blog, Thrallblacks.

Original post is here, http://www.thrallblacks.com/2014/02/meg-maples-masterclass-wellington.html





Or "I've been doing it all wrong!" ;)

No, Meg didn't actually say it but we all quickly realised that we had :)

Saturday started with a lot of sunshine (as usual, Metservice had predicted rain) and 16 painters turned up to learn from the awesome Meg Maples.




Meg supplied the minis, though we did have a choice as to which mini. Bearing in mind this is a class and we'd be learning techniques that we'd never used before we chose...



Steampunk Dorothy from the Guild of Harmony


Boy, did we make our lives difficult for ourselves! Awesome mini, beautifully detailed and posed.. perhaps a little too detailed to learn on, but hey! why make life easy for ourselves :)


After everyone had found their seats and gotten the pre-coffee banter out of the way, we settled down to business and Meg showed us how to prime our minis - yes, we'd been doing it wrong!









With priming, less is more apparently, who'd have thought!


Once we'd all gotten that sorted, we were into base coats. pay attention to the skirt on my mini..





Skin and clothes base colour in place, and apparently sanguine base is a little dark to easily learn the two brush blending technique that Meg was going to wow us with - seriously, we were all wowed!





OMG!!! this was an awesome effect that Meg managed to impart clearly and with plenty of commentary as she worked. Great artist, great teacher what more can i say? The gasps and "holy sh!t"s floating around the room were testament to this, people got it and it was mind blowing! Though, the "holy sh!ts" from those using GW paints may have had a slight edge of frustration to them, eh Charlie? ;). For the 2 brush blending technique Meg uses you need a paint with a longer working time, something that GW paints are not noted for.... Those with PP paints in their collection became very popular..











Through all of the tutorials Meg made great use of discussion on colour theory to tie the steps together. Having the discussion approach gave the colour theory much more context and made it understandable for everyone. Also having a selection of her minis available for reference was a great aid to discussion, allowing topics to wander over to "how did you do this colour", "what technique did you use to achieve this?"..

A view from the naughty table


The afternoon was interspersed with the discussion and eyes and faces.


6 step eyes... yes SIX steps to 28mm eyes!!! oh, and you do the eyes BEFORE you shade and highlight the face... no, seriously, you do cos Meg says and she really is right! (See the continuation of the 'I've been doing it wrong' theme?) the faces continued the 2 brush blending theme and a discussion on skin tones and how to work them through. this was pretty much the rest of the afternoon with lots of "oh my god"s and other exclamations as people got it.





see, lipstick, eyes, eyebrows and a beauty spot! I could not have painted like this on Friday!


Day 2 came along with more sunshine and plenty of light. I have to say a huge thanks to Sue and Heretaunga College for the venue - we couldn't have asked for better!


Metallics, hair, free hand and glow effects were the order of the day for day 2.. with more colour theory!! :)


and, guess what - metallics with 2 brush blending. The choice of shading tones has a real impact on the final effect. annoyingly I feel I did better on the back of the rifle stock than I did on the front but didn't take a pic :(

the hair went a bit better:



I managed to bring out the filigree on the stock and a bit more detail on Tonto.. I couldn't bring myself to tackle the basket of flowers.....


I didn't get around to applying Megs free hand and glow effects tutorials to my mini but I definitely have a much better idea of how to approach them for future projects.


All in all, I was really happy with how the mini had turned out and the techniques that Meg somehow managed to get into my head will definitely stay with me for later work, there is NO way I'm not using 2 brush blending at every opportunity!!


All 16 people at the class had a great mini to show off at the end with everyone learning so much!




For anyone considering asking Meg to run a class you should stop thinking about it and just do it! Organise your fellow painters and get a date and venue sorted, you will not be disappointed. Meg manages to impart so much of her passion and enthusiasm for painting whilst still giving a technically excellent lesson that suits all abilities - you don't have to be a top painter to really step up your game with Meg but already great painters will learn a lot too! Go into the lesson with a willingness to learn, with the odd fun sidetrack and you'll have great time and come out the other end a much better painter for it.

I will be working to coax Meg back to continue her great work sometime in the future - I'll definitely be keeping in touch! (until she un-friends me on Facebook and blocks my email address anyway! ;o) )

Cheers

Chris
PG Palarel
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