Well, I finished painting the colony components. Looking at the photos, they kinda look messy. Note to self, don’t rush, even if you have 40 of the little buggers to paint.
Ah well, on the game board at normal viewing distances they look ok.
I didn’t want to paint the originals that came with the game so I had 3 options:
I went for the Upgrade pack, even though my first choice was the Factions Expansion. It looks like a neat addition to the game but it’s damn hard to find, either online or locally. Both the Factions Expansion and the Upgrade pack include the extra components to allow a five-player Alien Frontiers game, using the publisher’s expanded rules. So on to the painting.
Before I started painting, I looked at a lot of space colony images like these for inspiration.
Then I primed the components — 2 coats, first a dark to fill in the shadows, then a white, from above only, to provide highlights.
I wanted to test some colour schemes first, so I mocked them up using some image editing tools on the iPad. I took photos against a white background, converted the images to black and white, then kicked up the contrast.
Then just overpainted the image on the iPad until I found an appealing colour scheme.
I like this technique. It lets me work anywhere, gives reasonable results, and doesn’t cost me any paint to trial it.
Next up, the Field Generators. And I’ve got some ideas for the Rocket Ships too.
Recently I’ve become aware of a trend to paint the often garishly-coloured miniatures and game components you find in modern board games.
My first attempt was with Mice and Mystics, and now I’m working on Alien Frontiers.
This time, I decided to prototype my colour schemes digitally. To do this, photographed the components just after priming, so the base colour has been neutralized.
Then I processed the images, cropping them, making them black and white, and enhancing the contrast and brightness to bring out the detail.
And finally, I load them into Pixelmator on my iPad, and Experiment with layers.
Hopefully I can come up with something interesting 🙂
Oh, and one thing I just noticed while looking at other people’s designs, the above Field Generator is missing one of it’s towers. I just assumed that gap was a docking bay or port or something. I’ve contacted the game publisher about this to see about a replacement.
*** Update *** A replacement Field Generator is en-route. More to paint!
Well, I’ve finally finished them. I’ve learned a lot, and quite a bit has changed since I last painted minis (about 20 yrs).
I think they turned out fine, and I’m looking forward to my next set… not sure what that will be yet. Maybe something Star Wars.
Here’s a gallery of the finished Mice and Mystics set.
Mice & Mystics
It’s been about 20 years since I last painted anything remotely similar to these miniature game figures for Mice and Mystics. I have a lot of re-learning to do. Paint is now mostly acrylic, not enamel. New techniques like Dipping make the work easier. And the differing plastics used on different minis makes each attempt interesting.
I’m almost done this set for Mice and Mystics. They need some touch-up, maybe a bit more highlighting, followed by a Dip coat and a flat coat.
Can’t wait to be done and play the game 😀
Update: TL:DR — we were using the Disaster track wrong. Details at the end.
Last night was our groups first playthrough of Thunderbirds. We’d played various co-op games, and specifically Matt Leacock designed games, before. We knew we were in for a challenging yet fair co-op gaming experience in the Thunderbirds universe. Fun!
The first and second games ended rather quickly. We understood the rules, but the characters we had were unable to coördinate quickly enough to avert them.
So, in the interest of salvaging the evening and getting back to having fun, we decided on the following modifications:
- All Characters are participating in the game, no matter the number of players. In our case that left two characters without human players. Every human player controls one character, but extra characters are controlled by the group.
- We altered the Turn Overview. In our game, Turn order varies during a ‘round’ depending on the strategy the group decides is going to be executed for that round. As each player takes a turn, they flip their character card over so we can remember that player has played. The same applies to group-controlled characters. Once all character cards are face down, the round ends and the character cards are reset, and a new round begins.
We felt that these modifications allowed the entire Tracy family to participate in the game, as they usually do in the TV show. And by allowing the turn order to be flexible and responsive to the current situation, we felt it better reflected the TV show’s theme of teamwork — hence the name, the Team Tracy Mod. Also, it made for a much more fun and involving game.
Well. It seems we were doing something wrong.
You know the disaster track at the bottom of the board? The one where the current disasters all pile up and eventually overwhelm you? Yeah, that one. Well, it seems that we were using that wrong.
As we drew a new disaster card, we placed it NEXT to the existing disaster card, in the slot HIGHER than the previous one. We should have been sliding all the existing disasters down one slot and placing the new card in the FIRST SLOT. The way we were playing it, every new disaster assumed a higher priority than the previous one as we had to reduce the total number of disasters to stay alive.
Played properly, we could take two or three turns to map out a multiple rescue strategy and eliminate disasters more effectively.
We’re enjoying the game much more now
Every so often we have the ability to influence the future. Oct. 19th, Canadians will have that opportunity, if they choose to.
I will be voting for a change of government. This one has failed repeatedly and has not earned my trust for another term.
So yes, I will be voting on October 19th. Will you?