Monday, 21 November 2016

The Antares Initiative - Part 3 - C3 Painting Guide

The Antares Initiative - Part 3 

C3 Painting Guide

 Hi guys,
               back again for the next part of our Antares journey and this time its my go to talk about painting.

Got to say it, but I did have a bit of a problem with the Gates of Antares figures.  Yes, the models look great, yes they were easy to put together, that wasn't the problem.  Where I had issues was actually just picking a colour scheme.

You see I've been playing historical games for a long time, be it WW2, Normans or Napoleonics. One good thing about painting them was that you just had to copy what they had on at the time.  Not much imagination required.

Gates of Antares is the first Sci Fi game to tempt me away and it has actually forced me to think for myself when it comes to colour schemes.  That was tough and slightly painful.

So 4 goes later I finally hit on the colour scheme that suited what I was looking for.  Our games are based on the frozen world of Exonnin where they will be a lot of fighting in rocky areas and underground. 

So I wanted something dark but still had the clean look of fresh C3 troopers.

Here what I cam up with.
  • AK Interactives  Xtreme metal AK471 Black Base was applied with an air brush.
  •  AK Interactives  Xtreme metal AK472 Gold was applied with an air brush.
  •   Any areas I was wanting to keep gold were masked off.  At this point I thought about putting a gold stripe down the shoulder pad and down one leg.  In my head it was going to look good but in reality it just didn't stand out enough so a change was made which I will explain later.
  •  Next AK Interactives  Xtreme metal AK474 Metalic Purple was applied with an air brush.
  •  The masking tape was then removed.
  • At this point I block painted in the rest of the base colours.  The shoulder and leg stripe I mentioned above were now painted over in white.  As I said this wasn't my intention but I'm glad I did it as it really helped with the winter look. The visor was painted in VMC 969 Park Green. Plasma coils in VGC 023 Electric Blue.  The gun and vents were painted in VMC 868 Dark Sea Green.  The armour joints and gloves were painted in VMC 992 Neutral Grey.
  •  The full model was given a wash with GWs Nuln Oil
  •   The base coats mentioned above were all re painted and then high lights were applied by adding a bit of white for each layer.  I wanted to keep the guns dark so then only had a single highlight layer.  The gloves and joins had 3 layers as I wanted then quite bright. Some of the gun details were picked out in white.
  • I did take a bit of extra time on the visors  as this would be the focal point of the model.  I always feel this helps with models where the face is covered as this is the area your eye is drawn too.  The high lights on the visor were painted brighter as you get to the edges and kept darker in the middle.  A very pale  green/white paint mix was then used to apply lines along the top, down one side and then diagonally across the visor.  This doesn't need to be exact on all the models, just keep the lines thin and going in the same direction.  This helps to make it look like glass.

  •  To give a glowing effect a small amount of Electric Blue was applied with an airbrush round the gun and reactor

  • As I wanted to keep the metallic shine of the armour I applied a coat of satin varnish for protection. The base was also painted with the VGC 023 Electric Blue.

  •  A thick coat of GWs Agrellan Earth crackle paint was applied.
  • Once dried this paint gives a very nice rock effect with the blue ice showing through.
  • This was then painted with VMC 992 Neutral Grey
  •  The base was then given a wash with GW Nuln oil.
  •  The base was then given a rough dry brush of VMC 992 Neutral Grey and then the same again in white.  I find it best if you are not too consistent with your dry brushing on bases.  A patchy uneven look is more natural. The edge of the base was painted in white.
  • To finish off some modelling snow and grass tufts were added.

And there you have it.  I am very pleased with the figure and the basing.  It keeps the clean appearance I wanted for my C3 troops and has the rocky winter look I wanted for Exonnin.

Please feel free to add any questions in the comments below.

I'll leave you with some pics of a few complete figures.

Until next time.


Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Antares Initiative – part 2.

 Hi guys,
               welcome to part 2 of my Antares Initiative coverage. In this part we have updates from  Kenny and Richard on how we are getting on painting our figures.  More from Lorne and myself next time.

Kenny - Algoryn

Now that I've got my lovely Algoryn models courtesy of Warlord Games, I wanted to paint them in a similar colour to the studio scheme. Red is just such a great martial colour and really fits the background of the Algoryn – I also know it'll stand out well against the icy background of the planet Exonnin.

I'm lucky enough to have an airbrush (Harder & Steenbeck Evolution Silverline), so I knew I would be able to get my base colours down fairly quickly, something that's essential for a painter of my ponderous pace. I use a combination of Army Painter and P3 paints for most of my painting, with a few GW and Vallejo Game Air colours thrown in for specific applications.

Once my models were cleaned up (minimal effort here, Warlord metals seem to have almost no flash or mould lines), assembled, and based (Golden pumice gel is a godsend) I primed them using black Vallejo Surface Primer as I don’t want a really bright red when finished.

Next step was to apply a solid base coat of Army Painter Chaotic Red, followed by Dragon Red, Pure Red, and Lava Orange in successively lighter layers, all applied from an increasingly acute angle. This method, known as zenithal highlighting, replicates the effect of an overhead light source, shaped as a halo above the model.

I then blocked out the undersuit on the legs and the pipes on the upper chest with Army Painter Uniform Grey, before applying a liberal wash of Army Painter Dark Tone wash. These washes really are the speed painters best friend and are a simple way of getting deep shading on a model in a hurry.

At this point, I've knocked back a lot of the stark contrast in the red layers, so I reapply these with a light drybrush, starting at Dragon Red and building up again to Lava Orange.  If I feel that the drybrush hasn't provided enough contrast, I'll apply some edge highlights with a detail brush, but the red is basically finished now.

Finishing touches include applying Army Painter Matt Black to the lower areas of the weapons, then edge highlighting with Uniform Grey, picking out the unit insignia on the shoulder pad and helmet in Army Painter Shining Silver, and then lining in P3 Necrotite Green to the helmet visor. 

Moving on to the base, I applied a fairly heavy drybrush of P3 Frostbite (a great substitute for pure white paints, it looks much more realistic on a model than brilliant white) to the now dried and primed pumice gel, then a very liberal wash of GW Nihilak Oxide straight from the pot. This provides a lovely icy blue tone to the base, perfect for a world where the ice probably isn't just frozen water, but all sorts of noxious gases as well. A final drybrush with Frostbite to reset the white, then just apply static grass tufts (suitably bleached and wintry) and some snow flock and it's done.

I hope the above helps people to get more red Algoryn on the table, after all red armour doesn't show the blood to your enemies, assuming of course that you do bleed red…???

The Army so far.
I've also been working on some of the great given to the group by Warlord.  I've painted these rocks up to match the same scheme I have used on my bases.  Looking forward to getting them and my Algoryn on the gaming table.

Resin rocks.

 Richard - Isorian

Well, since the last article we have played the drone integration scenario a few times and even managed a couple of games with the forces we chose ourselves.

Now every gamer has a to do list, longer than the span of their natural life. But with all the excitement and buzz created by the Antates Initiative, not to mention a deadline looming. The Isorians are gladly pushed to the front of that list.

I started with basing them on the round based supplied and building up the base to an even level with some modelling paste. Cheap as chips and in plentiful supply from any art store.

Once this dried, its on to the undercoat.

At this stage, I still wasn't 100% sure on my colour scheme. I wanted it similar to the art work, but not identical. Partially due to my own inability to paint black the way I would like it looking. It seems to end up looking too grey or blueish. But either way, a black undercoat was the place to start.
Now its official, paint has hit miniatures, it has begun!
Spending a while looking through my paints, I decided on a scheme, so set about working on a test mini.
Starting with a fairly liberal dry brush over most of the model with Khorne Red, followed by a second lighter more select highlight of evil sunz scarlett. The entire mini was then given a wash with Nuln oil to darken it again and bring the colours together.

The vents and plasma carbine were painted orange, highlighted up to yellow. The mask and a few spurs were painted to look bone like.

Happy with the result, the rest of the squad and phase rifle were painted the same.
Next I decided to work on some drones, I'm painting 2 separate drone shards, however during games I'm only likely to use one shard and have the other split amongst the squads as targeting drones.
These weren't finished as I am writing this, but should be, by the start of next week.

That about sums things up from me for this month. If you are still awake, thank you.

Next month, I should have the 500 point force finished and even some terrain done.
I will leave you with a couple of tester ideas for a board and an individual piece.

Thank you all.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Antares Initiative – part 1.

Evening chaps. After a bit of a break I have finally got back to the old blog.

So what game managed to get me excited about gaming again.  Well its none other than 'Beyond the Gates of Antares'.

As I am sure you will be well aware, Warlord Games is trying to spread the word about the game so they have decided to give 8 clubs around the world the chance to play the game completely for free and all we need to do is let you fine people about how we get on.

Our club, the St Aidans Warriors group from Clarkston, were lucky enough to get picked.  Over the next 6 months Lorne, Richard, Kenny and I will be exploring all aspects of this great game including, army selection, modelling, terrain, tournaments and possibly few battle reports on the way.
First up here’s a quick introduction from each of us and what we have picked.

A quick pic from our first game

Kenny Hall
Beyond the Gates of Antares (BtGoA) has intrigued me ever since I first became aware of the abortive Kickstarter campaign a couple of years ago.  Having dabbled with Bolt Action, without really being hooked by the WWII setting, the thought of a hard sci-fi game using similar rules (order dice, pinning, etc.), cool looking models, and designed by the venerable Rick Priestley was what drew me in now, especially when Warlord offered an all expenses spared intro to the game.

In order for St Aidans Warriors, our club in Clarkston, Glasgow (6.00-10.30pm every Sunday evening) to be chosen for what’s now called The Antares Initiative, we each had to select one of the forces for our initial 500pts.  I was immediately drawn to the Algoryn Prosperate for the following reasons:
1.      I really like their angular suits of armour, they look like just the thing for going to war in, no sweeping curves here.
2.      They have heads shaped like artichokes.
3.      Generally I can paint red colour schemes quite quickly & to a reasonable standard.
4.      They’re the only force to have a specialist Medic team.
5.      Skimmer tanks - I mean, how could anyone not want a Bastion or Liberator (cue nostalgic memories of Blakes 7....).
Kennys 500 Point Algoryns

This is what I’ve chosen for my initial 500pts scout force with comments below each selection:
·         AI Command Squad (104), Overload Ammo (5) – 109
o   Provides much needed Leader 2 special ability, plus the whole unit comes equipped with Plasma Carbines for taking out those dastardly Ghar battlesuits
·         AI Squad (94), +2 Troopers (34), +1 Micro X-launcher (0) – 128
o   Boots on the ground, poor bloody infantry, etc. these are the guys that do all the work and get none of the credit
·         AI Infiltration Squad (119), +2 Troopers (36), Camo Drone (10) – 165
o   These guys remind me of ninjas – stealthy Spec Ops types that can sneak about and shoot you in the back when you’re least expecting it
·         AI Support Team w MLS (38), Spotter Drone (10) – 48
o   Who doesn’t love a big gun, especially one that lays down 3 shots per turn with a Strike Value of 2
·         AI Medic Team – 30
o   Love the imagery of these guys, battling to patch up the hardy Algoryn warriors and send them back into the fray
·         Targeter Probe Shard – 20
o   Cos they make it easier to shoot at and hit the enemy, and they’re a cheap way to use up those last remaining points
Total 500 points

Lorne Campbell
Well I suppose I had better start at the beginning, my Name is Lorne and much to my horror when I worked it out I have been playing wargames for over 30 years. I have always had an affinity for any space age games and have played most of the main games systems out there. My good friend Gary has played wargames since before most of our club mates were born (bloody kids lol) and where space was my genre WW2 was his. It was by his introduction to the fantastic game of Bolt Action that I came to hear about this new sci-fi version using a similar game mechanics.  Now with both a sci-fi feel and the already familiar and awesome game mechanic of the dice draw, I knew I would have a new love and a familiar dent in my bank balance.

Being selected for the testing group was just a bonus as we had already agreed to get involved in the game. At this point I have to say a huge thank you to Warlord Games as their generosity on an individual level and to the club in the way of armies, rule, dice, templates, terrain...... it just goes on so much stuff WOW!!

So onto my army and why I picked it. I would love to say that after so many years of wargames experience, I poured over the rules and with hawk eyed precision and could at once see where the most tactically brilliant army list was to be made, one to take on all comers and crush them under my armoured boot, claw or tentacle. But the truth be told it was simply the models. As soon as I had my first glimpse of the Ghar battle suits I knew that was my army. The background fluff by Sir Rick Priestly (if not knighted he bloody well should be) was just more gravy, as the idea of a race bred for war by a long forgotten overlords, is just too brilliant. 

Lornes starter army
The army list itself was an easy choice as the main force was always going to be a large squad or two of these beloved suits, backed up by the also brilliant gribbley outcasts. As a race that only honours victories the fact that if you fail, or speak back to a superior you end up on the battle field without a suit for protection and are also expected to act like a walking shield was too much fun not to want in the list. In the end for the first 500 point list I went for a four Ghar squad of battle suits to acts as a fire base, a three Ghar assault battle suit squad with the infamous plasma claw which should crush Gary and his puny Concord troops, and a squad of outcasts which are there more for fun and for the dreaded "red" dice of disruption. Still with a few points left I hummed and hawed over plasma dumps and plasma amps, but in the end decided that I really needed more dice in the bag so went for an outcast disruptor cannon to give me a bit more poke on the battlefield. 

All in all I have a large hopefully hard to kill center of battle suits to do most of the heavy lifting with a distortion dice dump and a small flanking force, all in with 4 dice in the bag, with more to follow on pay day.  

·         Ghar Battle Squad (4)- 244
·         Ghar Assault Squad (3)- 184
·         Outcast Squad (6)-43
·         Outcast Disruptor cannon(1)-24
Total 495 points

Richard Prunty
Hi, my name is Richard and I decided to go with the Isoarians for my chosen force.

At the time of choosing, I knew nothing about any of the factions and decided on Isorians primarily based on aesthetics.

I just loved the black sinister looking armour and weapons. Once I started reading about them, I liked them even more.

The whole combination of machine and biological components made them stand apart.
There is something dark about them and with perhaps more going on behind the scenes than anyone knows.

Once the models arrived, I couldn't wait to get the blisters and boxes open.

My chosen force included a mixture of phase squads, snipers, command unit and the very alien looking Tsan Ra.
The quality of the models was first class, with very little mould lines, or flash and no miscasts.
They were incredibly simple to assemble, in most cases just needing heads attached. The only exception were the Tsan Ra, I found these a bit footery and with no instructions, numbered parts or sprues, it took a little guess work to figure out what went where.

However, there were only 3 models with a handful of parts each, so it was no great feat and they look so good once assembled, amongst my favourite miniatures.

When it comes to painting them, I have a few pieces of inspiration.
Firstly, The Shadows from a TV show called Babylon 5, the second being spiders.
I just see them as patient hunters, stealthily stalking their prey, rather than running in full pelt or dropping in out of the sky.
Striking then disappearing, before the enemy can return fire, or hit back.

Once the Drone integration scenario box set arrived, we couldn't wait to get a chance to play the actual game.
Reading the rules, it's hard not to draw similarities to Bolt Action, however, it plays very differently, with some fairly major changes.
Reactions being the biggest. You feel as if you can actually respond to the flow of the game as it happens, although not the first game to include this mechanic, I feel Beyond the gates of Antares does it better, and integrates it more fluidly.

Richards Isorians
Having managed to try both sides in the scenario, you get to see how very different certain armies will play.
The Gar feel almost invincible, able to stride through a hail of fire to decimate the enemy with a very healthy return fire.
Whereas the Concord, felt a lot more fragile, but able to respond and perform surgical strikes as and when needed.

All in, I can't wait to try more games, we have a few planned over the coming weeks and next time try out the Isorians.

·         Senatex command squad- 174
Medi drone, +2 troopers.
·         Senatex phase squad- 125
Spotter drone, plasma lance.
·         Tsan Ra phase squad- 98
Leader/slung net ammo.
·         Isorian phase sniper- 82
Camo drone, shield drone.
·         Targetter probe shard- 20

Total 499 points

Gary Martin
As mentioned above a lot of gamers got interested in Gates of Antares as it is so similar to Bolt Action but for me this was a negative.  I mistakenly thought that this was just the Sci Fi version of Bolt Action so what was the point in playing the same game system just with another set of very nice figures.  Lucky for me the Antares Initiative came along and showed me what a mistake I had made.
Yes both games are based on the same dice bag system for orders but there is so much more depth and subtlety than its WW 2 counterpart.  The ability to react to orders, the way units interact using drones plus the good luck on a one and a dud on a 10 makes for what looks like a fast paced and exciting game.  Can’t wait to get started.

For my army I have gone for a Concord scout force.  I have always had a certain thing about elite army’s (cough, Fallschirmjager, cough, cough) which suits the C3 plus I really liked the way modern warfare has been extrapolated to a Sci Fi setting with the integration of drones throughout the army.
 Having the ability to pick either rapid fire or single shot from the plasma carbines is a great ability but combined with the  plasma lances ability to target a second squad makes the C3 strike troops some of the most flexible in the game.  

My stash
My first support choice for this list is the X-launcher.  I really like the variety of shots that you can put down range and there is a something for every situation.  Combine that with the vast array of networked spotter drones, there should be nowhere to hide on the table.

·         C3 Strike Command Squad (110), Spotter Drone (10), Additional trooper (22) - 142
·         C3 Strike Squad (112), Plasma Lance (3), Spotter Drone (10) - 125
·         C3 Strike Squad (112), Plasma Lance (3), Spotter Drone (10) - 125
·         C3 X-Launcher Team (40), Spotter Drone (10), Batter Drone (20) Full Ammo load (15) - 85
·         4 x Targeter Probes (20) - 20 

  Total 497points

There you have it.  We are looking forward to what is to come over the next 6 months and sharing it with the wider gaming community.  

Should be a lot of fun.

Drone Integration

We kicked off our gaming with a night playing the Drone Integration Scenario which Warlord were good enough to send us and everyone who applied for the Antares Initiative.

C3 Strike troops teleport to the planet surface.

In this scenario 10 C3 strike troops have to activate a C3M 4 combat drone and stay alive for 6 turns while fighting off an assault of 6 Ghar suits.
Initial Set Up including some great scenery sent to us by Warlord.
Its a great scenario and very simple to pick up, in fact all the rules and set up are on a single page.

All the C3 players used a similar tactic and had one squad run for the the drone while the other squad held off the Ghar.  We did have mixed success with this with that tactic most of us got to the Drone intact but Richard did have some problems with a single trooper being pinned down in front of the drone for 2 turns.

C3 Troops run for the Drone.
Sometimes the plan didn't work well.

Most games were won or lost depending on how the covering squad got on holding off 6 Ghar Suits.

Many pins were placed on the defenders.

Even with the basic rules used in the scenario the Ghar suits put out a hell of a lot of fire power.

The Ghar suits attack.
Over all its a great scenario and an ideal introduction to the game.  Well worth trying if you get a chance.

Thanks for reading about our first month in the world of Antares.  We will be back next month with some painting guides for our forces.