Introduction



Thanks for visiting my page. To help with navigation, here is a list of popular pages all about Marching in Colour

* The History of Marching In Colour - who is the man behind the words and service, how did it all come about

* Commissioning Models for Painting - how the process works, start to finish, and what you can expect

* Gallery of Artists Work - with over 20 years experience, here is a small sample of finished commissions

* Items For Sale or Trade - as well as painting models, I also sell pre-painted models and assorted loose models and scenery. Click the link for the current lists

* Trade in your old models for Painting Credit * click here for details

* To see details of all current commissions booked-in and estimated completion dates - click here

SCENERY and TERRAIN - for pre-made, handcrafted items of scenery and terrain, please click here

For TUTORIALS please follow this link - click here


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

The Queensdale Herald - Fan fiction for Guild Wars 2

Just a little something I have been working on for the game Guild Wars 2.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Christmas Cut-off times and Deadlines for the Festive Season


Hi folks,


Now that we are into October I thought it might be a good idea to post a rough guide to my Christmas cut off times. December is always a busy month for me with painted models, mainly for friends and repeat clients, so these times are estimates and subject to change.


If you really need painted models, especially large orders, and dioramas, its best to email me asap as these categories are always the first to reach cut off times. Single models and small gifts I am usually OK with into December, especially if posting within the UK.


Thanks

 

                                                             UK / USA

Large Orders/Armies (100 models) 1st Nov / 1st Nov

Units/Teams (20 models) 1st Dec / 17th Nov

Small Collections (5 models) 7th Dec / 23rd Nov

Single Models 16th Dec / 30th Nov

Diorama (10models/scenic pieces) 1st Dec / 17th Nov

Diorama, small (5 models/scenic pieces) 1st Dec / 17th Nov

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Scotlings Football Team!


First look: Scottish inspired dwarf Fantasy Football Team, the 'Iron Bru-sers'
Models: Impact Miniatures, Scotlings


Over at TMP I answered a call for 'painters needed' from a great guy by the name of Shawn Reis. After talking to Shawn it turned out that he is part of a group that helps raise money for the charity 'Toys For Tots' by selling/auctioning painted models. I am always happy to help a good cause, so I volunteered to paint up a selection of models, namely these little beauties, the 'Scotlings'.


These are first look photos, I still need to do a little more work on them.

I decided to keep with the 'Scottish' feel of the models, so the uniforms are mainly blue, with a little white. A little know fact is that Scotland does have a large proportion of gingers, so I decided to give all the team huge ginger beards!


The kilts are green/red tartan.

More to come soon!

For anyone who is interested in helping out, or wants to know how/where they can purchase the models, you can email Shawn directly here - shawnreis@hotmail.com
Thanks

Chris

Thursday, 9 August 2012

BGG Competition, Playing the Games: Game #4 'Midnight Mountain'

Boardgamegeek 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Competition

Game #4: 'Midnight Mountain' by Michael Robertson

Hi folks, and welcome to my next play through. For game #3 I chose a game that appealed to me, in this instalment I decided to do the opposite – choose a game that didn’t.

Looking through the list of games I can across 'Midnight Mountain', a game about rock climbing? So with Sly Stallone 'Cliffhanger' playing in the background, I began to print off 'MM'.



First thoughts – Printing and Initial Look

Once I select a game to play, I read through the rules online and check out all the sheets before printing. Its important I state here that I cut a lot of corners with this game, and doubly important to state its not a reflection on the game!


The game has multiple levels of difficulty, each requiring a different deck of cards. What I wanted was to try the game on a medium level, and enough to get a good feel for the game, so I only printed one set of cards. On a design note there are separate print off’s for the backs of the card, I skipped on these as well as I didn’t see that it would matter much.

Aside from that the game is nice and easy to print and cut.


Reading the Rules and Playing the Game

The format of the rules is one of the best I have seen so far in terms of presentation. I found it very easy to read (one of the reasons I decided to cut corners). The only problem I found, was in the number of triggers or stages. There is a lot, almost to much to keep an eye on and remember to move or change. Even passing (climbing) a stage, had two stages and triggers and potential triggers (experience points, freezing dice, bravado), whilst remembering to reduce Energy and knock down the Assent Timer.




Gameplay

The player begins at the foot of a mountain, once you have generated your climbers stats, rolled for weather, drawn a mountain set up and placed cards face down. I cheated a little here and choose the mountain pattern I wanted to play, one I thought would give a good game.



I made my character 'balanced', with all stats roughly equal, as I didn’t know how much each stat would influence the game. As the game progressed I realised that each stat was roughly the same, or felt roughly the same. That is a card would ask you to test X stat. While the narrative was different, the end result was roll a few dice, score points. I felt that the stats could be reworked, down to something like 'Physical' and 'Mental' and still achieve the same result without effecting the game.



Climbing the Mountain was enjoyable. A player can scout the path and find a route that best suits them, but at the cost of a little time. My only gripe here was that the cards essentially have two tests on them, a 'Risk' test and a 'Climb' test, and while there are differing effects and text, it did feel like I was being asked to roll twice to accomplish the same thing.



Summary

An awkward game requiring you to remember to move counters, and timers and triggers, and will have you feeling like you're doing everything twice to achieve one result, but the climbing is fun!

I feel this game tries to incorporate too much. There are several aspects that while look good, detract from the main purpose of the game – to get up that mountain, which once you start is actually very good. I enjoyed scouting the path, deciding my moves, and once you factor in that I only played a brief version of the game with a set up that I chose, opens up the main game to be a lot of fun. A slim-line version would be great to see.


Thanks for reading.
To check out the BGG competition, please follow this link,
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-print-and-play-contest

To try 'Midnight Mountain' for yourself, use this link. I would also recommend reading through the entire thread as Michael does a great job of responding to feedback and describing his thoughts behind the game,
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/801590/2012-solitaire-pnp-contest-midnight-mountain-s

And my own entry for the competition can be found here,
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/829534/wip-2013-an-apocalyptic-survival-game-for-the-20

Chris

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Painting 6mm Carthage Punic Wars, Citizen Infantry

Models: Baccus 6mm, ACA1 Carthage Citizen Infantry

Every now and then I get an email with a question about 6mm, be it my commission rates for painting this scale or for tips and advice on painting, and when I see that dreaded number I am reminded of my love/hate relationship with 6mm. In particular my unpainted Carthaginian Army sat patiently waiting in my collection to be finished to face off against my glorious Romans...

After painting and basing about 9zillion Romans I couldn’t face any more and the project got sidelined. In this article I return once more to 6mm, and to the Carthaginian Citizen Infantry.



The Undercoat and Armour
Undercoating 6mm can be a little tricky at times. The most important part is patience, especially when picking up areas that didn’t get the paint they needed. A missed area on a 28mm model can easily be sorted with a dab of black, the same technique can destroy the detail of a 6mm model. Any areas that I miss with the initial undercoat I paint with a fine brush.


A liberal dry brush is then used on the armour. Its impossible not miss arms, faces, weapons etc when dry-brushing 6mm, so I tend to use a lighter than normal technique, not as heavy on the paint.


Flesh and detail
When I paint 6mm I find small dabs on paint on the edge of the brush works well with very small line strokes. In many cases, like the models face, a simple dab of paint is enough. For larger areas, an arm, or a spear, paint a very very small line.



Shading and Highlighting

I find it almost impossible to shade on 6mm, but a method I do find that works, is to use colours a few steps more away from each other than you normally would use. For example on a 28mm model if I was painting 'white' I would use a very light grey, almost white, as a base coat. In contrast when painting white on a 6mm I would use a darkish shade of grey.

Hopefully the shields show this technique.



Thanks for reading.
Chris

I found this brief photo of my Romans, thought I would share it. Its an old photo and the Army is well over twice that size now!

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

BGG Competition, Playing the Games: Game #3 'Crash Landing'

Boardgamegeek 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Competition

Game #3: 'Crash Landing' by Rocco Privetera

For my third play through I decided to choose a game that appealed to me. After reading the list of entries I found the majority appealed to me, so I went with nostalgia. I was lucky enough to grow up in a world that witnessed the birth and rise of video games. One fond memory I have is of being a tiny tot and seeing the arcade game 'Asteroids' for the first time. Such a marvel!

So, game number 3 is a card game that plays on the old school game 'Lunar Lander'.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present 'Crash Landing'


First thoughts – Printing and Initial Look

After firing up the printer and finding some paper, I was a little shocked to learn I didn’t actually need to print anything for this (Print and Play competition?). No problem there then, I was happy enough to save paper.


Reading the Rules and Playing the Game

With only a couple of pages, there isn’t much to read, and what is there is plain and simple to understand. What I liked was the fact the rules are written as part of the steps of the game. There are no duplicate sections to read. The phase for drawing a card for example, explains the draw, the max hand size and all the rules on discarding all in one paragraph and not separate sections.

The only part that I decided to change (for personal ease of play) was the speed of descent. The rules have a nice example of how to track the speed of the space craft by moving a card at different angles. But I had dice handy and found them easier to use.


Gameplay
The game is very straight forward. Descent of the craft increases each turn, the player off sets this by firing boosters (playing cards), with the aim of landing on the planet. Like the video game its based on their isn’t much else to do.





The good news is this works, and works extremely well. The bad news is, its straight forward to the point of a being a little boring. It reminds me of all the money I spend on old video games, thinking 'Wow, blah blah was soooo good when I played it at 14', then after buying the game again I usually think, well.. its never as good as I remember.




Where it falls down is in the ease of thinking a turn or three ahead. A simple count of decent and altitude and you know what is what. Any blast of rockets that buys you enough time to get a full hand of cards and you are sailing home with ease. Yes, its a little tricky to get a perfect landing, but not hard.


Summary

This game fits the feel of the arcade classic almost perfectly, and for that its very well designed. But ultimately its a game based on a dead idea. It will have you loving the idea of playing it, thinking its great when you start to play it, and then releasing why you play Xbox these days and not Atari2600.

Odd quirk or a design masterpiece? I am still unsure!

Thanks for reading.
Like the idea of the competition? Check it out on BGG website here -
To try 'Crash Landing' for yourself, you will need a standard deck of cards, and the rules that can be found here -
And if you still have time after visiting those pages, you can find my entry game for the competition here -

Chris

Sunday, 5 August 2012

28mm Vikings!

It seems my blog is just full of boardgame stuff at the mo, but fear not, I am still painting!
Here is a quick look at some of my latest work, 28mm Vikings. Foundry models I believe.

Next on the workbench, amongst many others, I have some 6mm Carthaginian Infantry. Photos coming soon (hopefully)


Thanks
Chris

Saturday, 4 August 2012

BGG Competition, Playing the Games: Game #2 'Foothold Enterprises'


Boardgamegeek 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Competition

Game#2: 'Foothold Enterprises' by E. Nate Kurth

On to my second game of the competition and for this I picked a game by a designer whose name, 'kurthl33t', kept cropping up on my own entry thread. Clearly a very active member of the community, so I expected a good show. What I got was a game that given my own character flaws, I ended up 'beating' while ignoring the game itself. Not a good thing to do!


First thoughts – Printing and Initial Look

The game prints on 7 sheets. Six of which are cards, and the 7th is a nice quick reference chart, well written with most of the info you need. The game is simple to understand and after a couple of plays, you don’t need the chart, but its a nice addition.



Reading the Rules and Playing the Game

My only gripe with the rules, which are well written throughout, is one of description. The game plays by placing used cards at the bottom of the deck, a system I wasn’t very familiar with (most card games I play are CCG's which tend to have a 'discard pile'. The confusion I had was with 'how' or rather in which way to place cards. When asked to place a card 'face up and right side up' at the bottom of my deck, I was confused as to what was meant by 'right side'. I soon found it was simply with the right hand side of the card being the new top (turning the card 90degrees counter clockwise).


Gameplay

The idea here is simple and nice, and also considering the cards don’t have that much text on them, surprisingly presents a player with a choice of 3 options.

Ultimately the aim is to collect 'Clients' which are essentially the games Victory Points, but a Player needs money to do this, so part of the game is playing to generate money. There are also 'Advertising Abilities' which the player can bid for and offer a bonus to future actions, sometimes a one off bonus but often a passive bonus that the player may choose to activate and remains in play.


Now to the problem. Remember the character flaws I refereed to at the start? Well... I am a numbers man, I love numbers. I love Game Theory, with perfect moves. I count cards, I number crunch, and I am pretty good at maths. After a couple of moves into the game I realised the biggest flaw in the game for a player like myself – there is no random factor.

What I mean by this is best shown using the following photos. In the game the player is up against the deck and needs to spend their money 'bidding' for cards against the deck. The decks score is based on drawing a number of cards, with a pre printed value on each. Once you know the average value of a single card, you know the minimum to bid in order to play the numbers to your advantage.

Take the card on the right hand side of the photo. If a player wants to bid on this card for its ability, they must draw 4 cards as the opposing bid. The average value of a card is just below '2', therefore a minimum safe bid to win would be 9.


I draw four cards as per the rules. The combined total, and therefore the counter bid is '6'. I won.


This predictability more or less destroyed the game for me. From then on in I wasn’t playing a game, I wasn’t a 'young entrepreneur trying to get his start-up company going', I was a man doing simple maths and shuffling cards real fast. This predictability is made worse once you begin to 'card count'. There are 3 danger cards, with a value of '4', which can throw off your bids and cause you to lose. Once you pass these 3 cards, its a much smoother ride.

That aside, apart from my own annoying character traits the only real criticism I would give this game is the Advertising Abilities, although one on each card, with some duplicates, tend to feel either useless or over powered/open to abuse. One card in particular that struck me as open to abuse is 'Word of Mouth' which states 'If you lose a bid, you may win instead'. Its discarded after use, but that didn’t stop me bidding '1' and purposely losing just to win a high value card.

There also isn't much time to pick and choose these Abilities. If you spend to much time on them, you do poorer overall in the game. That is simply because the other values (Money and Clients) are mutual, Clients are needed for Victory, Money is needed to bid for Clients.

One other problem is with bidding and winning 'Money'. When bidding for Money, win or lose, you don't lose Money. By bidding all your Money (once you have a nice amount) you will automatically win more Money.

Summary
If you are not a total dick like myself, then this game is actually fun to play. But for those card counting, mathematicians, amongst us then there is simply no choice in this game. Each turn you play the numbers, if you don’t then you are simply not making the best choices.

I hate myself sometimes. Apologies Nate!

For general info on the Competition hosted by BGG, follow this link, http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-print-and-play-contest

For 'Foothold Enterprises' rules and cards, to print and try for yourself, follow this link,

For another great looking entry by E. Nate Kurth, check out 'Wings of Lightning', here,

And if you still have time after those two games, feel free to read my own entry '2013 An Apocalyptic Survival Game', by following this link,

Thanks
Chris

Thursday, 2 August 2012

BGG Competition, Playing the Games: Game #1 'Advanced Guard 1914'

Boardgamegeek 2012 Solitaire Print and Play Competition
Game #1: Advanced Guard 1914 by Pelle Nilsson

The competition over at BGG has now passed the design phase and onto the play phase, with voting beginning in a couple of weeks. With 47 entries and not much time, there is no way I can get to play all of these, but the ones I do play I will be featuring here on my blog, with my thoughts on the game.

Being a wargamer at heart it felt only right that I open up with a 'wargame' as my first play. So I bring you, 'Advanced Guard 1914' by Pelle Nilsson, a game big on the 'randomness of war'.


First thoughts – Printing and initial look

The game prints off on 3 sheets, 1 with a map, 2 with counters. The look of the game is a traditional war based boardgame. The Infantry tokens are marked with X, and Cavalry with a /. Having played games like this before, and read many articles where such markings are used, I already felt at home with this game.


The fact it printed with ease, is nice, but as I found out its a little deceptive. There is actually more to this game than meets the eye. It isn’t simply a 'My turn, I move all my units' Enemy turn, the enemy moves all their units' style game, its a lot more tactical and flexible than the handful of counters leads you to believe.

Reading the rules and learning the game

The rules are presented in an easy to read format, nicely paragraphed and numbered. Although in a few places the terminology (friendly/enemy) had me a little confused. Paragraphs like Section 8.4 covering 'Enemy Assaults' reads, 'Enemy Infantry and cavalry will always assault when adjacent to one or more pinned friendly units.' this had me thinking 'Do they only attack when their ally is pinned?', or does this mean friendly as in the players units?
Aside from a few areas of initial confusion, most of the mechanics for the game are straight forward, with the game map having the core information you need printed at the bottom



Gameplay
I was expecting a you go, enemy go style of game, but was pleased when I found it was random movement. I always prefer an element of random to a turn. The game has this, but it feels frustrating at times. Units activate when they are drawn, so early game, when there aren’t that many units, feels like a lot of dead draws.

The random draw also kicks up random events, but not as many as when you reveal possible enemy. There is a good chance an event will happen here as well, and sometimes these events feel very unconnected to what is going on. In the example below, on Scouting an area I got an event, but the event happened at the top of the map and had no relevance to the Scouting.



Enemy movement also seems to be a little hap hazard at times. There are directions for enemy units to move, and while some of these seem to make sense with the enemy favouring moving along objectives the player needs to take. There are sections of the map where the enemy will never move to at all.

There may be a pattern here that I just didn’t see on my first game. Maybe once you correlate the starting units types in an area, their movement options, and the victory conditions of the player, it may all work. I confess I haven’t had the time to look through this yet.

Combat is also a little annoying, and at times even winning a fight doesn’t work out well for a player. The problem here is with the 'Pinning' mechanic, and more importantly the way a unit becomes unpinned. Its all done by the random draw, so if you hit a unit, pin it and it hasn’t activated yet, it will become unpinned. Or, if it draws before you in the following turn, it becomes unpinned before you can capitalize. This when added to the player being against the clock, proves very frustrating at times.


Summary
A good game. Some nice features. The different values of the hexes spawn different enemy unit types. Outlying areas tend to have more Cavalry on patrol and scouting, while built up areas are held by Infantry. This gives a good feel to the game, and makes the map feel like a map, not just hexes on a grid. As the game progressed I found myself thinking 'well, its likely the enemy will have Artillery stationed on that hill' and 'that section of woods will give me cover up till x point on the map'.

The addition of random events also adds a nice element to the game play, but that is where (aside from enemy spawns and movement routes) I feel the randomness should begin to be toned down.

I like the fog of war in games where I cant be certain my units will move/activate/do what I want 100% of the time, but 1914 takes it a step to far I feel. It makes it a little to hard to coordinate actions.

The combat v's the time restrictions on the player, also feels a little unfair. Combat is often indecisive despite the players efforts, and there are no rules for coordinating actions (no 2+ units activating and attacking simultaneous) which only adds to the frustration of a 'no effect' or 'pinned'.

That being said I will keep 1914 in my collection. I really enjoyed the map feel and the whole 'Contact?' based on the type of hex, but I feel the combat, activation, and events could do with a little rewrite. The Victory time frame is also harsh on the player.

If you are a fan of random you will like this game, if you prefer a little more control over your games you probably wont.

Thanks for reading.

For more info on the Competition, please check out this link -http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/798184/2012-solitaire-print-and-play-contest

For info on the game 'Advanced Guard 1914', and details on how to download, print and play the game yourself use this link -
http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/806508/2012-pnp-solitaire-contest-advance-guard-1914-cont


And a shameless plug for my own entry into the competition, please follow this link -http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/829534/wip-2013-an-apocalyptic-survival-game-for-the-20


Chris

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

AoEO Competition: And the Winner is...

Thanks to everyone for taking part in the competition to win a 'Hammer of Kaveh'

As promised I used Random.org to select the winner.
The 2 photos below validate as best they can that the draw was fair.


And the winner is....

DOUBLEXDOJO!!
Congrats dude!


Please let me know the account you want the item mailed to, or let me know a time we can meet in game and I will transfer.

For the rest of the folks.. thanks for entering. If you message me, or leave your game name below I will send you a random epic from my stash as an appreciation of your efforts!

Sunday, 29 July 2012

2013: Rules version 003

Howdy folks,

The closing date for entries is rapidly approaching,  and I am far from finished!
Here is version 003 of the rules, edited to read a little better and includes new rules for the following,

- Doors and Window
- Walls and Climbing

Aside from one last rewrite, in which I hope to add photos for the examples, now its just a case of deciding what to drop from the rules. At least for this competition entry. I will continue to work on the game outside of the competition, until whenever!

Version 003 of the rules -
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0DHcxfvT8FmZklaZjc4T2hTUWc

And for ease of printing, a block of 4 ground floor templates for Terrace Houses -
https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B0DHcxfvT8FmWWIwem04ZjBjNG8

thanks
Chris

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Speed Painting Wyatt Earp, 25mm Cowboy

Disclaimer: this isn’t actually Wyatt Earp, but it reminded me of Kevin Costner from the film.
In actual fact I must apologise that I don’t know the manufacturer of this model. I picked it up from a show a couple of years back. If anyone knows I will update as required.

A thread over at TMP posed the question, 'How important is speed when finishing an army', which had me thinking back to 'Speed Painting' that I saw at a show one time.

I decided to run my own less-than-scientific experiment to see how fast I could complete a miniature. Armed with my mobile phone stopwatch, a brush, and a brief selection of paints I set to work.

This is the result!




As for time taken... well, I shall post here in a few days, for now I am open to guesses, and... I might even throw in a prize for the closest guess!

Some pointers to bare in mind,

I undecorated the model, but I did NOT speed clean it. The reason for this is I use a sharp knife to trim excess flash, speed knife wielding I didn’t think would be a good idea...

I use a hair dryer on my models to speed up paint drying.

I pre-selected all the paints I would use, and opened the lids on them prior to starting.

Clue: Its best to guess a number between 5 and 15 minutes, guess to the nearest second is fine.

Thanks
Chris