Wednesday, November 16, 2016

1:2400 Tumbling Dice 74 Gun Ship - With War Artisan Graphics

Every now and then I return to a scale I've only dabbled in so far. 1:2400 scale ships are a great gaming scale, but Ive never really been satisfied with my attempts to paint them in the past. It's always frustrated me that I couldn't create a nice looking checkerboard pattern at that scale, no matter how I've tried.

But recently I was working on some of War Artisan's excellent paper ship kits, when it occurred to me that they might be the solution to my frustrations in this scale. The kits are purchased as digital files, ready to print, which means you can scale them however you like in whatever graphics software you use.

I scaled the 74 gun kit down to 1:2400, then cut out the side panels and glued them directly to a Tumbling Dice model. Actually, I had to first alter the length and width ratios of the graphics, as War Artisan's kits are much more accurate in their dimension than the Tumbling Dice models. The stern pieces needed a totally different set of ratios, as they are very oversized on the metal miniatures.

I've been much more pleased with these results than any I have achieved with my own brushwork in this scale so far. It was a simple process to scale, cut and mount the graphics on the miniatures, and I'll definitely be doing this on more 1:2400 models.

I'd encourage anyone interested in the subject matter, whatever scale you may enjoy using, to check out War Artisan's catalogue of ship kits. They are extremely well designed, and very reasonably priced. When you purchase a kit you can print up as many models as you'd like, which makes them economically very efficient. And each kit comes with multiple color schemes, letting you add a lot of variety to your fleets. You can find them here:

And here is the Tumbling Dice 74 gun ship with War Artisan graphics. Rigging is done with nylon paintbrush bristles, just like with the 1:1200 scale kit's I've done. I also cut off the uppermost masts and the bowsprit and replaced them with brass rods, which are more in scale.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Shatterlands - New Fantasy Skirmish Game from Stonegate Forge

I recently had the pleasure of painting up some miniatures for Stonegate Forge's upcoming skirmish game Shatterlands. The figures were sculpted digitally by the clearly very talented Bobby Jackson, and produced by Iron Wind Metals. I was extremely impressed by the level of detail, the very attractive proportions, and the excellent casting. Stonegate Forge is a small family run company (though with a lot of experience in the industry - Mark Rubin's credentials go way back to his Ral Partha days) and they clearly prioritized quality in the production of the figures.

The setting of the game is the fantasy world of Atelon, in which two peoples with radically different cultures and ways of life have clashed for generations. One is a technologically sophisticated people, the other a more fanatical society of magic-using forest dwellers. However in the territory between their homelands where they clash - the "Shatterlands" - neither the most sophisticated technology of the one nor the magic of the other functions as they are accustomed to. The result is a "black powder" fantasy world where the struggle takes on the dimensions of a French and Indian War skirmish game.

The really distinctive aspect of game play is in the character cards that represent each figure. Each character's ability in any given task is represented by a color-coded die of few or many sides.  As you are generally trying to roll low in the game, a more capable character will use fewer-sided dice, making it easier for him to accomplish a task. As the character takes wounds or stress or becomes exhausted, he is penalized by having to use more or bigger dice. Wounds are attributed to specific areas of the body, and have specific effects on abilities. He took a major wound to the leg? He's not running anywhere for the remainder of the scenario, and may not even be on his feet any more, though he may still have a role to play.

The designers had the very interesting idea of using pre-printed cards with scratch off elements that allow most of the in-game wounds to be temporary matters that heal when the scenario is done, while letting more serious injuries become permanent changes to the character card. Experience-based improvements are also permanent. So the implications for campaign play are pretty powerful. If you take good care of your characters they will improve with experience. Bad luck or bloody-minded decision making will take a heavy toll on them.

The game is currently being kickstarted (it was demoed at the Fall In convention in Lancaster PA this past weekend) and you can learn more about it here: