The Ravaged Galaxy Awaits – Part II

Image from Osprey Games website

Greetings from this side of the Ravaged Galaxy! It’s amazing how quickly a month can sneak up on you. I thought with the Holiday Season, I’d have loads to time to get my second post ready to go! I think I’ve made pretty decent progress with members of both Crews getting paint! But truthfully, I really expected to be farther along after the first month. I will admit that although I was off work for two weeks over the Holidays, I found myself getting distracted by other activities, obligations or family visits. So I’ll take the progress that I completed. I did spend some time thinking about Phase 2 and beyond of the hobby goals.  Let’s dig in…

Painting Approach

I tried to batch these models in groups of four to five at a time.  I focused on each Crew separately. My general plan for these models was to prime using a light gray (airbrush) and then basecoat with a different shades of browns and grays. I also used some blue and maroon as “accent” colors for various crewmembers.  These days, almost all of my paints are taken from the Reaper Master Pro series line. I’ve been using them for years and my collection keeps growing!  I do have a handful of Vallejo and Army Painter paints as well but most of my base colors come from Reaper.

To help get the “gritty” feel that I wanted for my crews, I decided to use the Army Painter “Quickshade” varnish after the basecoats. I know this is supposed to speed up painting, but in reality for me, it’s just an alternative approach to applying shade to a model. The real benefit is that the Quickshade dries hard and provides a really strong protective coat to the model. I know they can withstand the rigors of gaming when I treat them this way. The downside is that after application, the model’s appearance is super glossy. Therefore, before I go back to highlight the model, I need to apply some sort of matte coat. For these models, I used Testors Dull Cote. This acts as both another protective layer but also can be a primer for the highlights. So, as you can imagine, using the Quickshade doesn’t really speed up the process (for me) but it does give the models a nice shaded effect that can shared across all the models. I’ve found that this process works especially well for models with intricate details. I’m quite impressed with the CMON Zombicide Invader models in that regards. After the dull cote is applied, I go back and reapply some base coats and add highlights where appropriate!

For these particular models, even after the highlights were in place I felt like some of the silver parts weren’t gritty enough for my liking. So I hit them with a black wash.  However, I think I ended up being a little too heavy handed and I don’t like the way some of these came out. This is especially true of the ones that are almost entirely covered in the silver power armor. In my next hobby session (or two), I’ll have to go back in and reapply some of the main colors and try to clean up the messy wash.  However, I think within a few hours of work, I’ll have all these models pretty much finished.

Crew #1

Here’s the first Crew led by the “Not-Deckard” as the Captain and “Not-Doc Brown” as his first mate. You can also see “Not-Marty McFly” and “Not-Aunty Entity” in this crew. The “Not-Doc” Brown is easily my favorite model in this crew. I’ll probably call him Doc Emmitt when I start playing. He is exactly what I can imagine Doc Brown would have turned too if he had stayed in the future for so long. This crew also features a couple of Robots and characters with some cybernetic limbs. These were fun way to break up the painting.   

Crew #2

For my second Crew, I haven’t sorted out the best Captain and First Mate for this Crew. Well, that isn’t entirely true, I’m pretty sure that the big guy with the Bronze power armor and the maroon jacket will be the Captain but I’m not sure who is First Mate is yet. I’m leaning towards the mysterious Katana wielding masked man. He reminds me a bit of Morgan’s character from the Walking Dead. This crew has several other lightly armored models but is backed up by a buff “Not-Judge Dread” and another solider decked out in power armor and nasty looking rapid fire gun. The only Alien in either crew is also featured here.  However, my favorite model in this crew is the Robotic sniper (blue cloak). He strikes me as a ruthless bad-ass. 

With both Crew’s nearly done, I’ll have to settle on a basing scheme. I’m really torn on how to approach basing for this project! Since Stargrave could take place literally anywhere in a galaxy, it will be impossible to base them for every occasion! I toyed with the idea of a clear base but I’m still not totally sold on this approach. I also thought about getting some cool Necromunda style bases but I don’t want to have to cut painted figures off these integrated bases now!  So I’ll think about options over the next month. If you have any suggestions, I’d love to hear… feel free to leave them in the comments below!

So beyond finishing these crews, what’s next for this project? Read on!

Phase 2 – Space Pirates

If you’ve been following the Stargrave news, you will see the author Joseph McCullough just revealed some info about the NPC Antagonists in the Ravaged Galaxy. You can check out his latest spoilers on his blog, The Renaissance Troll. As Joseph describes it:

Stargrave is set in the aftermath of an apocalyptic war between two great empires that resulted in mutual destruction. Into this power vacuum came the pirate fleets. With no organization big enough to challenge their power, these fleets of ruthless cutthroats roam through the Ravaged Galaxy, taking what they want and crushing anyone that dares to challenge their power.

In his blog, he let the players know that most games, especially those set in Urban settings, will require the inclusion of Pirates (and some other riff-raff) as NPC obstacles to the independent crews. Joseph has stated that players will need Ruffians, Pirate Troopers, Pirate Shock Troopers and Bounty Hunters. This means it was time for me to dig back into my collection of models to see what I can sort out.

 Several years ago, I bought the Star Saga Kickstarter from Mantic Games. I ended up selling away most of parts and components. However, I kept a handful of models that looked interesting and saved them for a rainy day. Well, low and behold, many of these look like they’d be perfect for these hostile NPCs. I also looked through my old collection of “SciFi” models that I’ve picked up over the years and found a few other interesting ones that seem to fit the needs for the Pirate Troopers. Finally, since this project started with Zombicide: Invader, I decided to go back and see if I could find any other models that I hadn’t already usurped for the crews that would be good stand ins for the Pirate NPCs.

These are five models from Mantic Star Saga. Joseph describes the Ruffians as “low level grunts in light armour carrying pistols” and I think these will fit the bill. Technically most aren’t carrying pistols but I believe they will serve just fine in the “counts as” role.

Joseph describes the Pirate Troopers as “Standard baddies in heavy armour with carbines”. For my Pirate Troopers, I’ve selected five models from Star Saga (the red ones) which I think are perfect. I added four other miniatures to this group in case I need to bump up the number Pirate Troopers needed for encounters. The pair of gray plastic models were from a plastic frame I found in my bits drawer. I have no idea what line they are from but the look fits the Pirate Trooper description well enough! (For those miniature detectives out there the plastic frame was stamped “Spiral Arm Studios LTD 2015” and I suspect they were an Adepticon giveaway from around that same time frame). The metal model is a MERCS miniature that I received at Adepticon many years ago.  The last model in this group was from CMON Project Elite. I’d already primed this model as it was included in my “extra” models from last month’s blog update. I ended up needing to re-base this one because the Project Elite models are on 40mm round bases. While the aesthetics of the last four don’t match the first five completely, I’m sure that I can make these work, even painting them as rival Pirate factions if necessary!

For the Pirate Shock Troopers, which Joseph describes as “Elite baddies in combat armour with carbines”, I decided that these four models from Zombicide: Invader that didn’t make the cut for the Crews were excellent choices for Shock Troopers. All have the heavy “Power Armor” style look. They don’t have helmets so technical are missing part of the combat armour classification as Joseph has described it. However, their unhelmted heads all look like really good choices for elite shock troopers, o that’s good enough for me! The model on the far right has already been primed as it was also selected last month as a potential “extra model” for one of the crews.

The last set of NPC antagonists that were mentioned are the Bounty Hunters described as “Bad news in combat armour with carbines”. The blue miniature here is also from Star Saga. Its just a cool looking mini that screams bounty hunter to me. The base was slightly warped so I just it off and rebased it to match the others. I could also easily use some of those Pirate Trooper Models (especially the non-Star Saga ones) as Bounty Hunters in a pinch.  

So there you have it… Phase 2 for this project took an unexpected turn and has now morphed into the Pirate Phase. Hopefully, if I can find enough time in the next few weeks so that I can get the two Crew’s finished and start digging into these Pirate models as quickly as possible. 

Beyond Phase 2

As I mentioned in my first entry, I expected Phase 2 of this project to start focusing on terrain elements to get me ready to play the game. I’ve spent a fair amount of time over the last several weeks with my 3D Printer running almost around the clock and I’ve been churning out some awesome terrain. 

I’ve got plans for four different types of tables:

  1. Kill Zone / Necromundia Style Industrial Buildings
  2. “Not-Tatooine” style spaceport
  3. Jungle planet with lost hidden ruins (this can double for Ghost Archipelago Terrain)
  4. Modular “Moon Base”

That will be just a tease for now.  I will hopefully start showing off some of these models in the next month’s entry!

Until Next time… the Ravaged Galaxy awaits.

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