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Monthly Archive February 2022

Review: A-Case Magnetic Painting Grip

Painting holders… love them or hate them, am I right? Personally, due to sheer quantity of miniatures that go through my desk I’m used to paint miniatures mounted on shot glasses. Standard painting grips are bulky and take up too much space, not to mention price and need of at least few dozen of these to keep up a comfortable work flow. This is why I was never truly interested in any Painting Grips available in the market… until now!


Magnetic Painting Grip

A-Case is a well known, one-man company from Poland, specializing in probably the best magnetic carrying cases for miniatures that money can buy. Let me put this up front: I am a big fan of A-Case product line and grew tight with the company. I might be a bit biased here. That being said I try my best not to get influenced by sympathy for A-Case, to a point of being very sceptic about any new product lines. Luckily I got samples for thorough beta testing. After some brutal, ruthless hobbying, I can honestly say all my misgivings got put to rest. More so I grew fond of Magnetic Painting Grip to a point of pre-purchasing multiple sets and extensions and switching to work with it almost exclusively. 

Quality:

At first glance A-Case Magnetic Painting Grip (MPG) might put you off. A mix of stylish design with a rather unorthodox production method result in a feel far from popular Chinese plastic we all are used to. A huge advantage of 3d printing is being able to fully integrate magnets and metal plates within the body, leading to increased durability and comfort of work. Apart from visuals, which are highly impacted by bare metal plates* (see update below), the MPG feels great and I had no quality issues amongst multiple Grips and about a hundred exchangeable heads I currently possess.

 


Visuals:

I really dig the shape and visual aspect of the MPG. The mix of colors and texture, specific to 3d print, makes it look sturdy and fit hobbyist’s workspace nicely. My only beef is with bare metal plates* (see update below), which look out of place. Still, these are almost always hidden beneath a miniature so it’s not a big aesthetics issue. All the while bare metal means better magnet compatibility.


Functionality:

Here’s where MPG shines. Large integrated magnets combined with a variety of exchangeable heads makes it, in my opinion, the most interesting painting grip in the market. Different head shapes can be used to distinguish different painting levels, or mark units, which is paramount in bulk painting. Switching miniatures is fast and comfortable. Weight is balanced between light and solid further increasing the comfort of work. On the downside the MPG might be difficult to keep clean, but the same is true for all painting grips, regardless of material.
Additionally:

  • MPG is fully compatible with BluTack and similar miniatures mounting methods.
  • The exchangeable heads system is fully integrated with A-Case transportation cases allowing for some awesome transportation shenanigans.

After spending couple hundred hours painting Warhammer 40,000 miniatures with this thing in hand I can say it feels like made just for me. Goodbye shot glasses, as from now on the MPG is my go to tool.


Price:

Price wise the A-Case Magnetic Painting Holder comes close to competition, depending on how you look at things. With a set of five caps it definitely wins over multiples of other handles, but is less more expensive than its immediate competition of Redgrass Games:

  • A-Case Magnetic Painting Grip (5 caps and handle) comes at a price of approximately 30€
  • Games Workshop (single) is 9€
  • Green Stuff World (single) is 12,25€
  • Redgrass Games Painting Hangle bundle (5 caps and hangle) is 25,48€

*UPDATE:

As of November 2023 the item has seen some improvements. In response to users feedback the bare metal plates got exchanged for black powder coated beauties and new types of caps/heads got introduced as well.


Summary:

To sum things up: Magnetic Painting Grip is a brilliant design that fits, but is also not dependent on the “magnetic” theme of entire A-Case brand. MPG is comfortable and user friendly. It also is fully compatible with A-Case transportation cases which adds additional value. Based on feedback the item seen improvement and is currently my very favorite painting holder of all time. And I’m talking purchasing multiple, multiple copies level of favorite. I sincerely couldn’t recommend it enough.

What’s your opinion? Have you used one? Let me know in the comments.

Where to buy:

A-Case online store

Review: Gamers Grass Laser Plants

Introduction:

Gamers Grass – is a Portuguese company producing a wide range of high quality basing accessories. For me Gamers Grass is a trustworthy, go to supplier of everything basing related. If you hadn’t had an opportunity to get to know their range, I recommend previous articles: Review: Gamers Grass Tufts, Review: Gamers Grass Flowers. Third time’s a charm and today I will go through GG’s innovative line of products: Laser Plants.


Quality:

For those of you who follow my articles it is a well known fact that I am a quality freak. When I choose tools and material to work with I always prioritize the very top of the line. At this point with dozens upon dozens of Gamers Grass products testes – I’m just positively biased towards their releases. Easy to say GG done it once again, introducing a high quality line of products that make me feel like a little kid coming to a hobby store for the first time. Everything looks breathtaking!

Hype aside, the quality is amazing. Prints are clean and on point, with crisp detail. Color depth looks great and each particular plant is well cut. The plants are much more durable than any paper counterparts found in the market and material is far less problematic than typical brass favored by modeling companies.


Visuals:

When it comes to visuals Gamers Grass Laser Plants look stunning. Nothing that I saw in the market can even compare. They are colorful, interesting, diverse and just beautiful. Ready to turn any base in to a small work of art.


Functionality:

I never was a fan of laser cut / etched plants. This is because although they fill a very specific niche in basing products, what used to be available in the market was never functional. Paper is difficult to work with and is susceptible to damage, etched brass plant are easy to form but also very easy to chip the paint off of. Both usually require painting, and it translates to a lot of time spent on painting something that is secondary to the actual miniature. Sure, there are some pre-painted paper plants available, but the quality of paint job is not that great and it is just too easy to break tiny stalks, ruining the base.

Here’s where Gamers Grass Laser Plants come in. Each plant is precisely cut from what seem to be a thin plastic sheet. They are easy to take out of the sheet and very – VERY – durable. Prints look great and are good to go from the moment of opening the box. No need for additional painting, although it can be done. One issue I found is repositioning the plants without creating hard angles, but after some testing I was able to produce good results by soaking the plants in hot water beforehand. These are really fun and easy to work with, which is not something I was expecting 🙂


Price:

Time to take in the price factor. I’ve done quick research and putting Etched Brass plants aside (as the market is full of these and price range is just too vast to compare) here’s how it looks like against immediate competition:

  • Gamers Grass is 6,95€/22 leaves of Bracken (pre-painted, plastic)
  • Green Stuff World is 6,50€/22 leaves of Fern (flat green, paper)

Summary:

I have a limited experience with laser cut / etched brass plants and all was rather disappointing. On the other hand Gamers Grass Laser Plants are very simple to use from the get go and look amazing. With stunning visuals these plants stand out amongst the competition and are fairly priced on top.
I might be a Gamers Gras shill at this point, but these plant are awesome and I appreciate the innovation.

What’s your opinion? Let me know in the comments.

Where to buy:

You can order through Gamers Grass official store, or try out your luck in a local hobby store. To make things easier for you, Gamers Grass prepared this awesome Store Locator.

Colour Recipes: Infinity O-12

Here are some Colour Recipes for Infinity O-12 from Gallery: Infinity O-12. Please take note that this is a simple colour scheme, not covering multiple overlapping layers and blends in between, that lead to the final product. It is supposed to be used as guideline not a step-by-step.

BLACK armor:

Chaos Black, undercoat

Pancer Dark Grey (Val a), *

Fenrisian Grey (GW), flbr

Pale Wych Flesh (GW), flbr, l&p

Dark Tone Ink (AP), wash

Pale Wych Flesh (GW), l&p


WHITE armor:

Mix Ghost Grey (Val) 1:1 Wolf Grey (Val a),

Mix Ghost Grey (Val) 1:1 Wolf Grey (Val a),

White (Val a), bl

Off White (Val), bl, l&p

BROWN clothes:

Black Armor base,

Dark Brown (Val A), bl

Mix Strong Tone Ink (AP) 1:1 Soft Tone Ink (AP), wash

Karak Stone (GW), l&p


BLUE elements:

French Blue (val a),

Ultramarine Blue (val a), l

Heth Blue (gw), l&p

Glacier Blue (val), l&p


VISIERS:
Emerald (Val),

Mix Emerald (Val) x:x Off White (Val), l&p


TURQUOISE helmet dots,
Coelia Greenshade (GW),

BASES:

Coal Black (P3), *

Turquoise (Val), *

Turquoise (Val), l

Pale Wych Flesh (GW), l

Duck Egg Green (Val a), OSL

Light Livery Green (Val a), OSL

Off White (Val), l

l&p – lines and points,

p – points,

dl – deep lining,

bl – blend,

gl – glaze,

drbr – drybrush,

fltbr – flatbrush,

lobr – loaded brush,

stpl – stippling,

*Airbrushed (with multiple layers and mixes)

Colour Recipes: Warhammer 40,000 Genestealer Cult

Here are some Colour Recipes for Infinity Haqqislam from GALLERY: GENESTEALER CULTS. Please take note that this is a simple colour scheme, not covering multiple overlapping layers and blends in between, that lead to the final product. It is supposed to be used as guideline not a step-by-step.

BLUE armor:

Black Undercoat,

Imperial Blue (val),*

Mix: Imperial Blue (val) 4:1 Electric Blue (val),*

Electric Blue (val),*

Mix: Electric Blue (val) 1:3 White,*

Blue Tone Ink (ap),

Pallid Wych Flesh (gw), l&p

Off White (val), l&p


METAL:

Warplock Bronze (gw),

Gun Metal (ap), / True Copper (ap), flbr

Shining Silver (ap), l&p

Mix: Strong Tone Ink (ap) 1:1 Soft Tone Ink (ap),

Streaking Grime (ak int),

PURPLE skin:

Black Undercoat,

Alien Purple (val),

Mix: Alien Purple (val) 2:1 Squid Pink (val), flbr

Mix: Alien Purple (val) 1:1:1 Squid Pink (val), Pale Flesh (val), flbr

Purple Tone Ink (ap),

Pallid Wych Flesh (gw), l&p

Off White (val), l&p


SKIN:

Alien Purple (val a),

Dwarf Skin (val a), flbr

Flesh (val a), flbr

Mix: Purple Tone Ink (ap) 1:1:1:1, Strong Tone Ink (ap), Soft Tone Ink (ap), Medium,

BLACK/GREY outfits:

Black Undercoat,

Panzer Dark Grey (val),

Cold Grey (val), flbr

Fenrisian Grey (gw), flbr

Pallid Wych Flesh (gw), l&p

Mix Strong Tone Ink (ap) 1:1 Soft Tone Ink (ap),

Pallid Wych Flesh (GW), l&p

Off White (Val), l&p


BROWN clothes:

Grey Outfits base,

Dark Brown RLM61 (val), bl

Mix Strong Tone Ink (ap) 1:1 Soft Tone Ink (ap),

Karak Stone (gw), l&p

Flayed One Flesh (gw), l&p


GREEN light:

Duck Egg Green (val a),

Off White (val), l&p

Light Livery Green (val a),*

Waywatcher Green (gw), wash

Off White (val), l&p

l&p – lines and points,

p – points,

dl – deep lining,

bl – blend,

gl – glaze,

drbr – drybrush,

fltbr – flatbrush,

lobr – loaded brush,

stpl – stippling,

*Airbrushed (with multiple layers and mixes)

KoW Armada: Does Size Matter?

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniatures from across multiple factions, with more being released every few months. These ships vary in size and power from Tiny Squadrons zigzagging between larger vessels to XL flagships capable of dealing devastating damage with a single broadside. With size comes the firepower and capacity but at a cost of speed and maneuverability. Is a spamy fleet capable of competing with a centerpiece type fleet? Is, in general, a particular ship size more optimal than the other? Today I will ponder a question: 


Does Size Matter?

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Yes, in Armada the size does matter a lot. The larger a ship, the more firepower it brings and the more devastation it is capable of with a single Activation. But large size does not come without some drawback, most obvious being speed and maneuverability. A ship’s hull can be bristling with guns, but what if it is unable to draw a proper line of fire to a group of smaller, more agile enemy ships? Let’s talk about pros and cons of large size and see if they hold merit.


* The larger the ship the more guns it brings.

Large ships are more expensive and so they pack more guns than their smaller counterparts. Having more guns allows them to deal more damage in a single Activation. So much so as to potentially Cripple or even Sink an enemy ship (or ships!) before subsequent Activation.
Interestingly, more often than not, the same points value spent on a variety of smaller Main Battle Ships will result in more guns on the gaming board. This is obvious to see for some factions, while a bit more obscured for others. Basilean fleet, being pretty vanilla, with same type of armaments across all three Main Battle Ships, is perfect to represent this:
A Basilean Dictator has less broadside guns than three Elohis combined. 2H less to be precise.
Basilean Dictator: 90pts, 4H, 3L, 3C
Basilean Abess: 62pts, 3H, 2L, 2C
Basilean Elohi: 30pts, 2H, 1L, 1C


* Larger size equals more upgrade slots.

Capacity increases with size, which allows for more upgrades for a ship. This can lead to some pretty nasty combos or just increase efficiency of some upgrades. For example a Master Gunner allows for a reroll of an entire salvo. This upgrade has a much more impact on a Dictator’s devastating salvo of 4H, 3L and 3C, than on Elohi’s 2H, 1L and 1C. Furthermore it will cost three times the cost of a Master Gunner, to equip three Elohi’s.
Fielding a variety of smaller ships is not without it’s merits though, as it allows to add important fleet-wide-buff upgrades for cheap and not take up a valuable slot on an expensive vessel. More so, the cost of such upgrades can be decreased by degrading a Crew Level to Inexperienced. “Okarina of Korgaan” and “War Drum of Spite” are good examples. Of course nothing prevents mixing ship sizes to achieve the same result. 


* Larger ships have more Crew Strength.

Large ships pack a lot more CS, which means a huge advantage over smaller opponents during Boarding Actions. Advantage that is not mitigated by the current Multiple Grapple rules. Even though most Large and Extra Large ships might be unable to grapple fast moving enemy ships (Full Speed etc.), usually there will be some opportunities to do so throughout the game. Furthermore having high CS ensures fast Ongoing Boarding Action resolution, thus freeing a larger ship from being pinned by a smaller, cheaper vessel.
On the other hand a single powerful ship can become entangled in melee, thus significantly reducing the firepower of an entire fleet. A fleet of more ships will still be mostly operational if one get’s caught in a Boarding Action, allowing the rest to deal damage and go after objectives unhindered.


* More Structure Points in one place for larger ships.

Larger ships come with more Structure Points, which makes them more difficult to Cripple/Sink, resulting in more time of full effectiveness. A fleet composed of three Elohis will probably gradually lose it’s firepower while ships get damaged and subsequently Crippled, or Sunk. At the same time a single Dictator can be expected to stay operational for longer, before reaching the threshold.


* Repairs Bonus.

Large and Extra Large ships receive a Repairs bonus of +2 SP regained with a Repairs action.
Multiple smaller ships, faster and more maneuverable by default, are capable of putting constant pressure on a larger vessel, while being able to take turns, speeding out of immediate danger to undertake Repairs.


* Area of effect.

Thanks to the size of their bases, L and XL ships are easier to Rake enemy ships. Wider Broadside is easier to position for a solid Raking Fire. This leads to larger ships being more difficult to go around and combined with high durability, makes them perfect area denial pieces. 


* Speed decreases with size.

The larger a ship the slower it usually is. High Movement allows to go around slow enemy ships, zoom out of danger and go after objectives. Fast ships are capable of crossing the entire board in a matter of barely few Activations, resulting in a much higher effective range of their weaponry.


* Maneuverability decreases with size.

On top of a (usually) yellow Turn Arc, larger ship bases are more difficult to maneuver with. More so, L and XL movement is more hindered by Sandbanks, Islands and dense battlefields.
This can be partially mitigated with Kedge Anchor and Magical Rudder upgrades.


* Less is sometimes more.

Large and Extra Large ships are points intense. Adding these to a list results in a small size fleet, which in turn leads to easier general maneuvering. Wielding a numerous fleet is not an easy task, potential collisions dealing high amount of self inflicted damage. 


* Some scenarios favor small size.

While a large SP count is good, there are some scenarios that favor smaller ship sizes and/or greater numbers. Not every scenario devolves into sinking more enemy ships.


* Large targets are easier to Hit.

L and XL ships are easier to hit, providing an additional +1 To-Hit bonus for shooting opponents. There is a catch though. Due to how Partial Visibility rules work, S ships are unable to gain Full Visibility to XL ships when side by side.

And now we’re left with a question: Go big or go for numbers? There’s not a straight answer. Extra Large ships are monsters, capable of dominating entire game. They are though, reliable and deadly. On the other hand Large and Medium size ships are just as well optimized and excel in areas outside of XL’s capabilities. Are Extra Large ships overpowered? Certainly not. Are they generally “better”? Maybe, depending on the faction, but not by a large margin. My guts tells me they are just easier to successfully implement in a game. I am inclined towards an opinion that in time, when meta clarifies and players get used to everyday maneuvering, we will see a shift from more cumbersome XLs towards Medium and Large. Regardless, with how well balanced Armada seem to be right now, the XLs are definitely worth the points investment and are fun to wield. I for one, love me some of that Dictator swinging and greatly enjoy having an Extra Large ship on the table. If you haven’t already, be sure to give Extra Large ships a try. GLHF.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Many thanks to M.L., R.Z. and K.R. for providing valuable input. Your feedback and suggestions is what made this article possible.

Cheers!