Monday, 27 May 2013

Some Good News For Aspiring Painters

Painting Buddha!

Painting miniatures can be a very rewarding and relaxing hobby. But we have all seen work that has blown us away and made us think "I'll never be as good as that!!". Most of us have probably all thought that at some point. A browse through the webpages of the Cool Mini Or Not website amongst the galleries of the top painters will just as easily dishearten you as excite your eyeballs into an eye candy frenzy.

But if you take a step back, relax and realise it will take some hard work, a steady, measured approach of improving in small steps you may, with some determination, realise all is not lost. There are numerous painting tutorials on Youtube, DVD's from some good companies like Figone, Cool Mini Or Not, Miniature Mentor and others. But enter the NEW CHALLENGER!!! (Yes I am a Street Fighter fan).

A great new product is soon to be released by a budding new company - Painting Buddha, run by hobby loving hoopy crazy man Mr Michael Bartels. He is running his company with a few twists and to get more idea about what all this guy is all about I recommend you read his blog. He has some giveaways and competitions running as well - so a chance for some cool free stuff! Visit the blog here!!!

The product itself is exciting for a few reasons. First of all the price - 42 Euro's for all of this.....

Read all that? Good, 2 54mm minis and two instructional DVD's on how to paint these exact figures is a great idea and an amazing bargain. Both of these painters are at the top of their game and I will be having myself a set of these just for the painting DVD's - I have plenty of other figures to paint, I don't need more but I do need more instruction! I got a finalist place at the UK Golden Demon 2012, this has given me the necessary confidence boost to push myself further and say yes, it is possible to improve. Everyone can do it, no matter what level or standard you are there is always room to get better. I think this product is a well designed idea. The mini's look great, the chosen painters to do the tutorials are perfect but the DVD set still remains to be seen. No pressure Michael - we have every confidence in you!! Keep your eyes peeled on this product as it due to be released shortly. I will post again when it is actually available to buy!!

left to right: Ben "White Rabbit" Komets, Mati "Badsmile" Zander and Michael "Zaphod Beeblebrox" Bartels
And yes - he did shave his head for this momentous event - Painting Buddha Style! :D
Stephan Rath


Sketchbooks, Goblins and Faeries

Well, despite a disastrous personal life over the last year and the foreseeable year ahead I have been able to start making a revival of my artistic endeavours. At the beginning of this year my nan died and being particularly close to her it hit me very hard. My stepfather has multiple cancers ripping through his body and we recently had the news that my younger brother also has a malignant tumour on his kidney. And last year my wife left me. Enthusiasm for anything = ZERO! Art is my biggest love of all my holidays, in it's many forms and it is of course what this blog is all about - the amazing works of people across the world. Particularly in the field of fantasy art.

Anyway, it is not often I have updated this blogs section for my own work so here are some sketches and a couple of water colours from a new painting "sketchbook" I got.

Here are the water colours, a couple are still in progress...

A drunk and grumpy Cornish Piskie

Frankie Says Relax...

A Brian Froud copy.

A Gary Lippincott copy, with a few changes.
Here are some doodles from my sketchbook whilst we were playing the Munchkin card game at UK Games Expo...

These were drawn at the UK Games Expo at various opportune moments with a tiny stub of a pencil, so yeah they ain't brilliant lol. Some details were tidied after taking the pics to.


Dr. frankenstein, why give me a head with a comb over?!?

Inspired by my mates Afro...

Anyway, some works are now back in progress just got to beat the bad things going on in life.


UK Games Expo May 2013

After a long time with no updates I have a few things to share. My report and some photos on the UK Games Expo held on 24th - 26th May. This is the first board game convention I have attended and I was quite impressed with it I must say. You can read my experience of the expo below. It was held in Birmingham at the Hilton Metropole Hotel at the NEC and I would recommend this event to anyone with a passion or a budding interest in board games to attend next years event if you missed out this year.

The venue was well suited to the scale of the event and attending on Friday when it was a little quieter was definitely a good plan. We walked straight in got our tickets for the weekend and the tickets for the games we booked all within 5 minutes.

Friday - There were no trade stands available on the Friday, as they were setting everything up, but there was plenty on, with a room for free gaming and a good selection of board games to sign out and borrow if you did not bring anything yourself. We took Guilds of Cadwallon by Cool Mini Or Not, a nice quick game of tile capture. And we borrowed several games Dominion, a card based game which we all enjoyed and Super Munchkin , a tongue in cheek card game (even had time to do some sketching whilst scoring!) as well as a World War II game and a couple of others. The selection was large enough to keep everyone without anything entertained. And if that wasn't enough there was a bring and buy sale which had an absolute ton of stuff to purchase at bargain prices if you didn't mind a bit of use on some of it (also some brand new items - Warhammer 40K 5th edition for £8 still shrunkwrapped for an example!) Plenty of old classics not readily available on todays market as well - Talisman 2nd Edition, Fantasy Warlord by Gary Chalk....the list goes on!

The event was made enjoyable by the general friendly nature of people there which is probably not surprising given the nature of the average gamer! We were learning to play a new game and within moments a passerby joined us and showed us how to play and later on we played another demo of the same game with some different expansions. Thanks to Ryan for that and congrats on winning the Cthulu RPG event! This is definitely the kind of event you could visit on your own and meet people, join in and get on with some gaming.

RichKingRetro getting annihilated by overwhelming numbers!

Saturday - I was very much looking forward to the Talisman game I booked and was excited at the idea of playing against people outside our gaming group. Elliot Eastoe hosted the games assisted by Richard Soulsby, who ran the game I was in. Talisman is my favourite game full stop. So when I got off to a cracking start drawing a Unicorn as my first card and a Talisman as my second card and several other good cards like Pharoahs Crown, Solomons Crown, the Wolf Slayer and others I thought the game was going to go well for me. The characters in this game were the Spy (me), the Monk, the Necromancer (Richard), the Tinkerer played by a lady who had not played before, the Sorceress played by the ladies partner and the Grave Robber played by a chap from Denmark. It was a fun game with a lot more player versus player than I am used to. Luckily I played well as I could and it was only the dice that went against me in this game! I turned into a Lycanthrope, changed to good and got toaded by Richard (thanks Richard!) and my game got worse from there onwards!. The newbie got to the Crown of Command first and started killing us all off. Richard used "my stolen" Talisman to take on the Tinkerer and was killed despite being very powerful thanks to all "my stolen" items! Then from nowhere came the Grave robber and the Tinkerer was now too battered to defeat him in combat and thus the game was won...

It was a fun game, thanks to Richard for running it smoothly! The lady who had never played before liked it so much she wanted to buy it for the family. If you have never played Talisman before I can of course highly recommend it!!!! A solo version is available on Windows, Ipad, Iphone and Android devices with a multiplayer online version in development. It's called Talisman Prologue and is available from Nomad Games who demonstrated the game at Games Workshops Games Day last year.

My Super Spy character very early game..LOTS of goodies...

Game on...


Please DON'T TOAD me Richard!

Mads Thargaard - The Winner!!!

One more late speed Talisman game finished the day off. We started at 9.30pm ish and I suggested a Battle Royale at 10.45pm if there was no winner by then. To compete in the Battle Royale you must possess a Talisman, so given we were not likely to get a full game in, this was the best option. I played the Monk, we had some custom characters in the mix - The Lich King, Zombie Warrior, Shapeshifter, the Orc Warlord. This game had the quickest kill I have ever seen in a game of Talisman. A 2nd round death for the Orc Warlord by the Lich King! Most amusing to watch the Despair on Mr Dan Boltons face!

This man may be wearing a cone on his head, but he is deadly!

God give me strength indeed. I have to play these guys all the time!

The game really heated up at 10.42pm with everyone trying to hurry each other up with their turn. Two people had of those people had it stolen by the Thief!! Mr Dan Boltons luck was bad in this game, a 2nd round death and a chance to fight in the final Battle Royale denied! Unlucky. The final fight was between the Shapeshifter and the Thief, but the Shapeshifter had too many lives and the combatants were equal in skills. A win for RichKingRetro....

Sunday - A slightly quieter day today. I attended a morning seminar with a speaker from Fantasy Flight Games talking about the design of the X-Wing game and Bloodbowl Team manager amongst some of his other games. This was interesting and later in the afternoon I went to another seminar - on board game design with a panel of 5 games designers talking with Q & A time in between. The seminars were an hour long and all were being videoed so you may be able to see them online somewhere. Seminars were put on throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday and there was also a movie shown late in the evening - Avengers Assemble.

Here are some photos from the Trade areas...

Of course every round counts!

Simple art, but lovely design and colours!

Fellow Cornish gamers!

"Look MEAN!" I said, not mildly annoyed...

Fighting Fantasy is back and AWESOME! Get nostalgic and get stuck in!

I'll bet you £1000 you can't shoot me from there!

Hello Kitty!

Munchkin = Great Simple Game

The force is dark in this one...

More rum anyone?

RichKingRetro being exterminated and not even realising it!

Nice art.

This gets my vote for saddest RPG game/whatever EVER!

Games galore!
A character I sketched whilst scoring Munchkin

Look at the size of this D20! I could kill somebody with this!

So a great event overall. Seminars, tournaments (including UK Catan Championship) for many games, shopping, bring and buy, a bit of cosplay (  and some guest artists and actors. Well priced at £18 for the weekend and game events typically priced at around £6 to enter on average.

My only complaint would have been the dining facilities and car park charges. The expo had its own restaurant area with an average selection of food of a good standard - although the Sunday lunch was especially very good (roast beef dinner). The Friday and Saturday menu was typical fast food fare - burgers, chips, wedges, chilli, curry, chicken casserole and vegetarian options. However whilst the food quality was good and the beer was cheap (standard pub price!) there was nowhere to sit and only a few dining "stands" which were useless for the children. Most people had to eat their meals on the floor! That needs to be addressed for next year. Car parking was £18 for the day! Guests at the hotel pay considerably less though.

£18 --- Boooooooooo!!!!

EDIT: Okay some people in the comments have pointed out that free or cheaper car parking was available for the event. Welcome news for next years trip but I am not sure how we missed it and ended up paying £36 for two days.

I had best plug Richs Youtube Video Channel as well as he has old boardgames available for those who may be interested as well as a lot of retro games. Get in touch with him and tell him Dogface sent you. I may be able to wangle a favour out of him one day...

See you at the UK Games Expo next year!