As 2022 draws to a close, I regard my hobby efforts this year with melancholy disappointment. All told, I painted 68 miniatures, and I’m unlikely to paint any more before midnight tonight. One thing I was hoping to paint this year was my full set of Star Wars” Imperial Assault: The Bespin Gambit. By “full set” I meant all the miniatures that come in the box, and all the ally and villain expansions released at the same time. Close, but no cigar. A few expansions will have to wait for a future post.
I did manage to do the core set, though, starting with these Bespin Wing Guard. I painted them all the way back in April, but held off on posting them (or any other Star Wars stuff) because I wanted to post the whole set together. Anyway, here they are.
Next: the Ugnaught Tinkerers.
I thought I knew what an Ugnaught looked like, but I had to check source material a bunch of times while painting these guys. Anyway, they have spoken.
Finally, the heroes: Murne Rin, Master of Intelligence.
Ilthorians are my favorite Star Wars race. “Hammerhead” was one of the first Kenner Star Wars figures I ever owned as a kid; and I made an Ilthorian Jedi for the Start Wars RPG back in the day. It was good to see them make a comeback in The Mandalorian.
And speaking of Jedi, here is the other hero from the set: Davith Elso, Codename “Hawkbat.”
Dumb code name. Cool miniature.
Lastly but not leastly, I did manage to paint one expansion, at least…and it’s a good one.
The Trandoshan, the myth, the legend… and the dude on the cover of the box…Bossk! Here he is with the Trandoshan Hunters from the original IA core box set. You’ll note that one is painted as Bossk, because it was before Bossk got his own miniature.
Part Two of my Imperial Assault: Twin Shadows painting is complete, which means I have finished all the miniatures from the boxed expansion and the ally and villain packs released along with it.
There are two rebel heroes in the Twin Shadows boxed set. This is Saska Teft, a combat engineer. As far as I can tell, she makes things blow up pretty good.
The other hero is Biv Bodhrik, the stereotypical “heavy weapons guy.”
Looks like he has some skin problems. Chalk it up to poor layering on my part.
Next, an Ally Pack featuring some familiar faces: R2-D2 (does he even HAVE a face?) and C-3PO.
Another fun fact: I bought this pack twice, because I purchased the first one from “Amazon World Marketplace”. The description said that was based in Great Britain, but the package shipped from Spain, and I got this in the mail: the Italian version. Although the miniatures are the same, all the game materials are in Italian. This is useless to me as I don’t speak or read Italian. So, I put this on eBay, thinking someone else must need it. So far, no one needs it.
Between the primer fiasco and the duplicate droids, this Twin Shadows project was getting fucking expensive.
Like many of my Imperial Assault miniatures, I painted these by following Sorastro’s tutorials on YouTube. I like his tutorials because I often learn new ways of doing things. For example, the gold base color on C-3PO is not gold paint. It’s GW’s Leadbelcher washed with GW’s Seraphim Sepia, then highlighted up. This provides a nice depth of tone and it’s a trick I will absolutely use again, whether I’m painting shields or armor.
Finally: Boba Fett, a bounty hunter who is even cooler than Dog, the Bounty Hunter (didn’t think that was possible, did you?). He’s featured prominently on the box cover and in several Twin Shadows missions; so naturally he’s sold separately. Thanks, Fantasy Flight.
Boba Fett is a great-looking miniature, especially for Imperial Assault, where some of the miniatures are pretty lame (just wait until I get to Ahsoka Tano). Of course, the Star Wars Legion version of Boba Fett is so much better-looking, I try not to think about it lest I get depressed.
That’s it for Twin Shadows, but I have many more Imperial Assault miniatures to go. I’d like to collect the entire run of the game, but that doesn’t seem likely. Two days before I wrote this post, a Grand Admiral Thrawn villain pack sold on eBay for $152.50.
That’s one hundred fifty-two dollars and fifty cents for one plastic miniature. That’s fucking stupid.
It’s ok. I can live without Thrawn for sure. In addition to two more boxed expansions (Return to Hoth and Bespin Gambit), I have 18 more ally and villain packs waiting for my paintbrush. When will I ever get to them all?
Slowly but surely, I have begun to chip away at my significant pile of Star Wars miniatures for my Imperial Assault expansions. I decided to start with the first boxed expansion to the game, Twin Shadows, which included 10 new miniatures in the core box. In addition, I painted several ally and villain expansions that were released to coincide with the release of the box, because why give you everything in one box when they can charge you piece by piece?
First up, some Heavy Stormtroopers. You get four of these guys in the box, and they’re pretty nice miniatures.
Also pictured here is Kayn Somos; a special figure that came in a separate Villain Pack. Although it’s always nice to have a Stormtrooper boss, his pose is a bit meh.
Next: the four Tusken Raiders from the box and another Villain Pack: the Bantha Rider. I like these miniatures, but here’s the annoying story behind them.
My primer of choice is The Armory spray primer. Most people don’t like it. I love it. I prime 99% of my models black; but I had Armory Primer in Black, White and Grey. I rarely use grey. In fact, the can was no good any more; and to top things off my black can was almost out, too. I needed new primer! Sadly, the place I usually get it (the ONLY place I know that carries it) is out, and they don’t know when they will get any back (if ever). So I went on Amazon. Same deal. COVID has really fucked with a lot of things, including spray paint distribution.
Since I was pretty much following the painting tutorial by Mark Sorastro (which, like all his Imperial Assault tutorials, is spectacular), I needed to prime them grey. I looked online to see what other miniature enthusiasts use. I’m not paying 15 bucks a can for GW or Army Painter primer, so I decided on this:
Rustoleum primer is supposed to be pretty good and is used by lots of mini painters. After looking high and low for it in stores, I finally managed to snag a can. Like I said, spray paint is pretty scarce nowadays due to the pandemic. I went to three different Wal-Marts and saw only racks of empty space. I finally found a can of this at a Home Depot. It was the only can left. Score, right?
Wrong. I sprayed my Tusken Raiders and one half of the Bantha with this shit. Three days later, they were still tacky and I realized with horror that this primer was reacting poorly to the plastic (despite the “Also Bonds To PLASTIC!” assurance on the label). This was a disaster. I removed what I could with some non-acetone nail polish remover. What was I to do now?
For situations like these (like when I prime Reaper Bones), I use Vallejo brush-on surface primer. I have black and white. I needed grey. I briefly considered just mixing the two; but I decided to splurge for the grey as I have many more Imperial Assault miniatures to paint and I might need it. One Amazon order and 6 days later, I had a bottle. The bottle says grey, but it looks pretty fucking white. On top of that, it’s thin, like milk. It is noticeably different from the Vallejo black and white primers I have. I primed all the figures again, and then I got angry. I didn’t need to prime them grey. I could have saved a lot of time, aggravation and money if I had just used the black primer I have; because I can’t imagine using this shit for anything, ever. It sucks.
Anyway, I muddled through. Lesson learned. Next post will finish up the miniatures for this expansion: both the Heroes from the box and some extra (familiar) Allies and Villains (sold separately, of course).
Wondering where my September Character of the Month is? Well, she’s a bit late, but she’ll be along. That of course means I will have TWO Characters in October. The miniature is painted, but I haven’t had time to write up her back story. As everyone knows, I refuse to post things when they’re only half done.
So stay tuned for the second half of Twin Shadows (what?), coming soon!
For the past few months, this has been my main project: Painting Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps, by Gale Force Nine. It’s done.
First: the Xenomorphs. These guys were super-easy to paint. All 16 took me about 2 hours and I think they look great, especially for table play. I used The Esoteric Order of Gamers method, which couldn’t be simpler; but I decided against using any gloss finish. YMMV.
Of course, the Alien Queen doesn’t come with the core set; she’s only available in the “Get Away From Her, You Bitch!” expansion. I bought that too (see below), so here she is.
On to the Colonial Marines. The core set includes (L-R) Vasquez, Frost, Ripley, Hudson, Newt, Gorman and Hicks. Fun fact: not only do I hate painting camouflage, I really hate Colonial Marine camo. It’s fucking weird; and no two people paint it the same.
A couple of close-ups of Frost and Vasquez, then one showing Hicks, Hudson (Game over, man!) and Newt.
Closeups of Ripley.
This is the “Ultimate Badasses” expansion. (L-R) Drake, Wierbowski, Burke, Crowe, Apone, and Dietrich. Spoiler Alert! With the exception of Burke, all these marines were dead by the first 30 minutes of the movie, so calling them “ultimate badasses” is a bit of a stretch…
Closeups of Carter Burke, Weyland-Yutani douchebag.
Finally, Bishop, “Gooey” Bishop, Enraged Ripley and Ripley in the Power Loader. Gale Force Nine sells these miniatures (and all the others, too) in a separate sets containing only the miniatures. This one was called “Sulaco Survivors”. I bought it thinking I got a great deal before I realized it’s ONLY the miniatures and you don’t get the stuff you need for the actual game. For that, you need to buy the “Get Away From Her, You Bitch!” expansion, which also includes these miniatures (and the Queen). Confusing and annoying, since now I have two sets of these (one of which is still on the sprue).
I really like the Bishop models. The Ripley sculpt is pretty iconic, but I’m pretty “meh” about it. Do I really need three versions of Ripley?
Finally, Ripley in the power loader. This one wasn’t fun, either. I hate painting yellow, and this miniature wasn’t easy to paint. Although I was wise enough not to fully assemble it before painting, I should have assembled it even less. It was tough to get the brush everywhere it needed to go. Compounding that with the color yellow (which is a notorious asshole) meant I needed to do a lot of repainting of the same areas to cover accidents. Still, it does look pretty cool…
Now, I’m ready to play! Just in time for another (likely) lockdown!
Back in 2015, I started painting the miniatures that came with the Imperial Assault core rules. I was proud of myself when I finally got them all done and ready for the table a year later. Then I managed to play a total of TWO games with my friends, who can’t commit to a fucking ham sandwich without 8 weeks notice and an escape clause; so my Star Wars gaming came to an abrupt end and the miniatures have pretty much languished unused since then.
Last year, after six big box expansions and forty miniature expansions to the Core Set, Fantasy Flight Games ceased production of Imperial Assault; choosing to focus on Star Wars Legion instead (a game I don’t play). Now, if you want IA, you’re forced to find existing product; because ain’t no more being made by Fantasy Flight. You would think that because I only managed to play two games, I wouldn’t consider putting my money into this game any more. After all, I have a fully-painted Core Set and all the Wave One miniature expansions, which is enough to play plenty of games, especially at my current rate of gameplay.
You’d be wrong. Recently, for reasons I truly cannot articulate, I went ALL THE WAY IN on Imperial Assault. Well, almost. The later “expanded universe” expansions don’t really interest me all that much. (Although it would be cool to have a Thrawn miniature, especially since his name was dropped in The Mandalorian last season, I don’t need it. But I might pick it up anyway, for the right price.)
Normally, I take opportunities like this to blame Roger for my own shortcomings (and I encourage you all to do the same); but in this case, the blame falls squarely upon the brawny shoulders of Dave from Wargames Terrain Workshop; who has been on a Star Wars project streak for what seems like forever, sculpting, building and painting some truly inspiring stuff. Because of Dave, I have now resolved to watch all things Star Wars in chronological order. Some will be re-watches, of course; but some I’ll be watching for the first time. (I seem to have missed out entirely on The Clone Wars and Rebels, for example.)
I’ve decided to get cracking on more Imperial Assault miniatures in between my other projects. I’m not going to commit to anything specific, but I will paint them according to expansion release. That way if I get bored or annoyed I can sell them off as complete lots. (It could happen.) I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: Mark Sorastro’s YouTube Channel is spectacular. I followed his tutorials for many of the Core Imperial Assault miniatures; I expect I’ll be doing the same going forward.
I’ll post my progress periodically. First up: The Twin Shadows expansion, which introduces the “OG” Mandalorian, Boba Fett, to Imperial Assault.
Since this pandemic started, I have picked up quite a few board games based on recommendations, reviews and…well, just because. Sadly, this isn’t something I can blame Roger for; rather I must blame a guy I follow on Instagram, @geekdesignergorssky, for always posting about board games that are on sale on Amazon. Some of the deals are pretty hard to resist (35%-50% off!). For example: Gloomhaven, a game I DID manage to resist buying, was on sale for $79.00 USD not too long ago (with free shipping, of course). The game retails for $150.00 USD retail, and the box weighs over 20 lbs. (really). That’s an insane deal. But I said no and I don’t even think about it every single day. (It’s currently $114.00 USD on Amazon.) The fact that I have no one to play these with never even entered my mind.
These are some of the games I have purchased (or been gifted) over the last year. I say some, but what I mean is these are the ones with miniatures. There are others, like Ravensburger’s JAWS game and, oddly enough, a Pac-Man board game (with real arcade sounds!) I bought because I thought it would be a fun pandemic activity. Apparently I’m the only one who thinks that, since I haven’t played any of them yet.
This month, in addition to my Character of the Month (still to come), I’ve decided to focus on getting some of these miniatures painted and ready for the table. I picked the game I’m most excited about playing: Aliens: Another Glorious Day in the Corps, by Gale Force 9. It comes with 7 Marines and 16 Xenomorphs that will require paint; plus I picked up this miniatures expansion because all 4 minis are awesome. (You get a gooey Bishop, which either sounds like a weird drink or a depraved act, take your pick.)
I assembled most of the miniatures yesterday. The marines go together pretty easily; but as anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I have no patience for plastic miniatures anymore. I found the Xenomorphs to be needlessly complex with a two part body, a separate head, two separate arms, a tail and a base, for a total of seven pieces each. Four pieces (a solid body/head, two arms, a tail and the base) would have been better; and far less time-consuming and annoying to assemble. They look cool, but their tails are flimsy and fiddly as fuck. I just know they’re going to be constantly snapping off.
The other game isn’t technically a board game at all; it’s Warlord’s’ Cruel Seas, my first foray into naval wargaming (if I ever get to play it). This starter box was a gift from Santa (who is absolutely not interested in playing this or any other tabletop game, and has said so on multiple occasions). The starter comes with 4 German S- Boats and 6 British Vospers; but I have a few extra German boats thanks to the free sprues I got with wargaming magazines. This game was all over the place a couple of years ago, but I don’t see much written about it now, although they’ve made expansion fleets for the US, Italy, Japan and Russia in addition to the German and British ships you get in this starter set, so someone must still be playing it.
Anyway, I expect the Colonial Marines will take the most time; and I may not get them all done by the end of April. On the other hand, Xenos and PT boats are hardly challenging models to paint and I should be able to zip right through them just in time for Monster May(hem) in May!
More on that…and a brand-new After Action Report…coming soon!