Saturday, 30 November 2013

November 2013 for The Ion Age!

This is the image that stays with me this month!
Its time for a round up of the month on this blog.  I have done this twice before and viewers seem to like it as a bookend for a time period.  What did we do during October 2013 and how The Ion Age is continuing to grow as we approach the end of the current year.

So picking up where I left off in October 2013 we announced a new free miniature and then went on to make the following releases:

IMP03 Knight of the Dead.  The monthly free in all orders miniature. 
IAF018 Legionary 3rd Tesseran, 8 Shia Khan Legionaries, Maia Mpi.
IAF024 Fabricator Spire, 1 Resin Structure.
IAF023 Fallen Havelock, 1 Resin Terrain Piece.
IAF020A Havelock Type57A 'Anti-Infantry'.  1 Battlesuit.
IAF020B Havelock Type57B 'Pride Taker'.  1 Battlesuit.
IAF020C Havelock Type57C 'Indirect Fire Support'.  1 Battlesuit.
IAF020D Havelock Type57D ' Anti-Vehicle'.  1 Battlesuit.
IAF020E Havelock Type57E 'Knightmare'. 1 Battlesuit.
Pebeo Artists Acrylic Paint Range.
Pebeo Artists Inks Range.
Pebeo Paint Brushes.

Releases weekly during November focused on the first small vehicle kit release for The Ion Age; the Type 57 Havelock.  This code in all its variants was supported by a prone version in resin and a small structure all part of its very successful early supporter offer during the month.  Along with this a new pack of infantry for the 15mm Shia Khan Empire (got to love those vicious looking Maia 9.6mm Mpi's!) taking the Khanate to more than thirty poses and growing.  Lastly we brought a high quality range of paints, inks and brushes to the market ideal for miniatures and indeed the ones our painters use.  Have a look to read and see a lot more on all of the above.

During the month we had other things going on alongside our weekly releases which we detailed on the blog. The most salient points in the month were as follows:

Patrol Angis Playtesting Ended.  The excellent group of playtesters who had gone through six weeks of increasingly complex games of Patrol Angis finished up in November and I would like to thank them all for their efforts.  It was a blast and the game will be out in 2014.

Havelock Battlesuit Early Supporter Offer.  We had our second early supporter offer (eso) lasting two weeks in November offering two bundles.  A 15% discount and a 25% discount on three or five battlesuits with fallen and fabricator spire thrown in.  The response to this was even bigger than the Hab Dome offer in October, thank you all, and we blogged about it as well.  We are not doing an ESO in December but it will return with a bang in the New Year...just wait and see.

Pebeo Studio Paint Range and Croes Nest.  I love this one.  We have a full range of paints, inks and brushes.  Top quality and great for miniatures and wargames terrain too.  Have a look at them.  Also Sam Croes wrote the first in a series of articles on this style of painting.  He paints ALL of the miniatures on the Ion Age website.

Noble Knight Games official North American Distributor.  I was delighted to announce that NKG was now our distributor in North America.  Great company, great service and you can get all of our products from them in the USA and Canada.

TMP, WN&T, Mentions.  We expanded our horizons in November with paid for advertising on The Miniatures Page and also on Wargame News and Terrain blog.  Plus we got pictures of our miniatures in a new book by experienced wargames author Robert Avery.

Free Miniature for Sale.  The Knight of the Dead free miniature caused a fuss and though we sent out more of them than any previous month's IMP miniature it was not enough.  Two dozen people emailed and asked to buy the free miniature.  So  I checked it out with customers on our mailing list and they said it was ok to sell it as long as it went OOP end of the month.  So as of November you can buy the free miniature and you will get it free in your package too.  It will be on the front page of the website in the Latest Ion Age Releases list for the month.

All in all a very different month to October but just as manic for Sam Croes and I.  December is going to be festive and its going to see a special event unlike Novembers and some great releases and sneak peeks too. Jingle the Bells, grab the presents and make sure your armour is properly maintained as per the Code Gallant!


Thursday, 28 November 2013

IAF024 Fabricator Spire released!

IAF024 Fabricator Spire during Patrol Angis playtesting
“I was glad that day that the Prydian Army used the same Moth Type 12 Launcher that we did.  A civil war has a few benefits eh!  We had been getting shot up real bad by the enemy and I was down to just three amour piercing rounds when a damn miracle just dropped out of that yellow tinted sky.  I am sure they got their co-ords wrong or some such thing, it was a brutal day, but we thought that the Bantam Platforms sailing over our heads were gonna' rain fire on us but instead they hovered and then dropped three fabricators!”

“I told my lads to hold off shooting at those Bantams.  I was so surprised.  Could they not see we were blue and not white?  Apparently not.  The three spires were in our midst and too far from the Prydian Retained for them to make a take on them.  Now I used to be a 'fabman' back on Durwent II where we were raised and I know how fabricators work. These ones were all set up and loaded for ammunition.  I keyed the sequence for Moth and then for the Type 12 and after I got a stack of AP and HE dropped at my feet I set all of them on 9mm Type 6 for the rifles and let them run and run.”

“The day went well for us after that.  Turned out the 'tiny whities' were just as short as us and since we now had all the bullets we could use they just turned tail and ran.  So much for the Code Gallant the Retained are always harking on about.  They showed us their backs all right!”  

Emeritas Joe Hullet, Baron Felto Drake's Regiment, League of Canlaster.  Altogran IV.  4326IC

IA024 Front
IAF024 Rear
IAF024 Fabricator Spire
During battle or just in times of need portable Fabricator Spires are left or dropped into place by military and or civilian authorities.  Their task is simple and at the same time magical to some more primitive peoples...they make something from nothing.  Those in the know realise that is not really something for nothing, the fabricator gathers energy in its spire and uses that power to convert contained solid blocks of matter into objects.  In battle fabricators make ammunition for common weapon types upon request from alloys they hold.  The Fabricator Spire stands 42mm tall and has a request console on its front for data input.  It is a one piece high quality grey tone resin casting. As always this code can be bought as a pack or as a single or select the three packs and save 10% option on the page.  Go HERE.  Price 2.50GBP each.

The range of Ion Age 15mm Terrain has other pieces in it which go well with this smaller piece to populate your science fiction wargames table.  First amongst these is the IAF015 Hab Dome which has several Top Mounts for it including sentry gun and comms spire.  There is also the IAF023 Fallen Havelock Battlesuit which can be used as a casualty marker (for the IAF020 Havelock miniature) or a terrain piece in its own right.  Have a look next time you are on The Ion Age website.

Information Burst!
The bell tolls.  If you want an  IMP03 Knight of the Dead miniature, free in all orders, as well as purchasable on its own (see new releases on front page of the site) you only have a few days left.  IMP03 will vanish forever as of 1st December when it will be retired and replaced.  Don't email us and complain you missed it once its gone!  We had an excellent response to our first week on The Miniatures Page as an advertiser off the back of the excellent IAF018 Legionary 3rd Tesseran pack; thanks all of you.    We will be continuing the weekly release schedule through the winter with only a small break for Christmas. Remember when you place an order with us you will be prompted to join the loyalty scheme which will earn you Reward Points on all purchases which can, once accumulated, be redeemed for discounts and special miniatures.

Ion Access Port
Following up on Sam Croes first painting article for the Croes Nest series here on the blog I will be putting up the first article in the Ion Access Port series soon.  Ion Access Port provides game universe information and the subject on the press just now is 'Fabricators in the Ion Age'.  The article will be published to the blog soon so make sure you bookmark or follow it.

Thanks for your Time.


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Beighton's Shipyard's Havelock on show!

A Havelock Type57D from the 143rd Khartoum Muster, 
supports the Red Baron's Retained Knights. 

I spotted this over on Beighton's Shipyard at the weekend.  Mark who runs this blog is a big fan of The Ion Age and other brands that I am involved with too such as Flintloque.  He blogs quite often on The Ion Age but his is the first of the many hundreds of Havelocks that went out with the early support offers and since that I have seen online painted up.  So a little post here to celebrate.  I am all about seeing what wargamers do with our miniatures.

Shiny and maroon and with a ruddy great Fretan II rail gun this battlesuit will provide the support that the 143rd Khartoum Muster needs in its conflicts.  Love Havelocks?  You can get them here.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

IAF020 Havelock features in Five Planets by Robert Avery!

Over the last few weeks I have been receiving emails to The Ion Age from wargame authors and other brands asking for permissions to feature our miniatures in their products.  I am fine with this as long as we get the credit for it and everyone else thinks this is fair too.  So with permissions given I gave it not much more thought but now the first of those persons to ask has published!  Robert Avery.

Robert Avery has been known to me for a good number of years through his fantasy system Vis Magica but now it seems he has a science fiction system, generic in nature, called Quadrant 13 which has an expansion just released called Five Planets.  It is in Five Planets that miniatures from The Ion Age features.

I have not played the Q13 system but I have heard good things from elsewhere on the net and if you are keen to check it out then begin on the Vis Lardia Online website.  Good quality rules from authors are what wargaming needs.  Keep the flavour, keep the scope of independent thought.

I will end this posting with the marketing blurb from the rear of Five Planets:

Five Planets is a campaign and scenario pack for Quadrant 13 (Q13), the company-sized, sci-fi wargame rules from the TooFatLardies.

Written by Robert Avery, Five Planets contains twelve scenarios set within the Pankova solar system, with two adversaries fighting over its priceless resources. The action begins on Peach, the outermost planet, a most desolate, moon-like place, then moves through the asteroid belt to Cheteria, the ice planet. After Cheteria comes Three, the garden world that feeds the system, followed by D’Var, the desert planet whose sands conceal vast seas of valuable oil. Finally the campaign climaxes on fiery Adeen, closest to the sun and the source of limitless power.

The campaign is designed to be played through twice: with each player first taking the part of the race invading the Pankova system, the Attackers, and then taking the part of the incumbents, the Defenders. Be warned, sometimes the Defenders are attacking, and sometimes the Attackers are defending:  as first one side then the other gains an advantage.

Although written for Q13, Five Planets can be easily adapted for any sci-fi rules system. Each scenario contains a full game briefing, a map, and then a briefing for each player, including a description of the forces available. All players need to do is print off the appropriate pages for the scenario that they want to play, set up the battlefield, break out the figures, and away they go. As the army lists given are generic, players can use them to play any sci-fi army that they choose: whether based on a particular range of figures, background from another ruleset, background from a film or book,  or even a background that they have made up themselves.

So set your weapons to exterminate and prepare to do battle: there’s glory to be won on the Five Planets!


Thursday, 21 November 2013

IAF018 Legionary 3rd Tesseran released!

It is still very unclear what the military structural systems of the Shia Khan Empire actually are.  Certainly we capture few prisoners and none of them will allow us a grasp of information that is of use.  In fact I feel that the enemy, at least at the lowest echelons which we face in the fray, has no idea what their position is in their own Legion never mind anything larger.  Our linguists have had no luck deciphering the guttural snarl of the Maligs tongue or the lilting tune of the few Legionaries we have taken alive.  What we do know is all observed from first hand combat experience and studied from helm recordings.  Not as much as we would like but unlike the Reord we do not know all.

The Khanate Empire uses the Legion as its primary formation of war.  We do not know how many troops are in a Legion and it seems to vary.  Certainly the Styx Legion in its red glimmer suits is larger than the Cyclopes legion or the vicious Viper Legion.  There are several racial types with a Legion but they seem to mix fairly freely at the platoon and lace level.  We know the Khan word for platoon.  It is 'Ordos' and an Ordos seems to have about thirty to thirty two members. Ordos are mixed Legionaries and others with support weapons, portable weapons, vehicles and warlords too.  While our Retained are a match for most Ordos we have found that the Muster can struggle without Desteria or Havelock support.

As the campaign to take back Camarthan Prime continues we shall learn more.  I am sure of this.  
Knight General Obermann.  Fleet Command.  4331IC

IAF018 Legionary 3rd Tesseran
Come November come more Shia Khan Empire troops!  Expanding the current range further we have the brand new IAF018 Legionary 3rd Tesseran.  This pack contains eight white metal poses of Legion infantry, one Ordo officer with Cupid Pistol and seven different Discens (privates) armed with Maia 9.6mm Mpi. Legion are dressed in reactive glimmer suits and self contained breather systems with auto aid ability.   As always this code can be bought as a pack or as single miniatures or select the three packs and save 10% option on the page.  Go HERE.  Price 4.00GBP per pack.

Other Khanate Legion Codes which go excellent with this pack are IAF006 Legionary 1st Tesseran, IAF007 Canthus Monocycle, IAF011 Legionary 2nd Tesseran and IAF012 Legion 1st Pioneers.  Including this new pack there are now thirty five different Khanate 15mm miniatures...enough for a whole force with no duplicate poses!

Information Burst!
There is little more than a week left to get your hands on the IMP03 Knight of the Dead miniature, free in all orders, as well as purchasable on its own now due to customer request.  You can see IMP03 on the new releases panel of the front page of our website.  After a month of Prydian Army and Marcher Barons we have moved back to the Khanate Empire to show some love to those wargamers who wish to eradicate Humanity.  Outside of our little world our sister brand has begun its own blog (jealous of ours they were!) and have kicked off with the re-mastered release of a classic Laserburn vehicle in resin. Remember when you place an order with us you will be prompted to join the loyalty scheme which will earn you Reward Points on all purchases which can, once accumulated, be redeemed for discounts and special miniatures.

Thanks for your Time.


Monday, 18 November 2013

The Ion Age is on The Miniatures Page (TMP)

Another step forward for The Ion Age!

We are now on official advertiser, with the above banner designed by Sam Croes, on The Miniatures Page. This is our second paid advertising slot and we will see how it goes.  I decided to sign us up for TMP officially since we were getting a large percentage of our online traffic from forums on TMP already and it seemed like we ought the do the job ourselves.

Doing the job ourselves will involve posting news to TMP and from there the forums can comment as before. I am hoping for positive feedback from readers of TMP just as we have had already here on the blog and by email and on other forums such as the Notables and Wargames News and Terrain blog and Dropship Horizon blog.  It makes me sad to see negative comments made against a company's hard work if those comments are undeserved.  Trolls should stay under bridges or be on the receiving end of my sword as it were.

I will do my best to keep track of all of the news and posts about The Ion Age on TMP and to direct new people to us here so that they can learn all about our little brand and our Space Opera fun in 15mm and 28mm scales.


Friday, 15 November 2013

The Monthly Free Miniature...for sale as well as for free

"Dear Ion Age can I buy one of those dead knights?"

"I loved that knight of the dead free in my order, can I ask for another.  I will pay for it!"

"Giving me stuff free is cool but I want more than one.  How much?"

Over the last few weeks I have had a number of emails and messages from IonFans and also wargamers who have not purchased from us asking if they can buy the current and previous monthly free miniature.  They all know that they get one of the current miniature in their package automatically but all of these wargamers either don't want anything else (they want IMP03 Knight of the Dead as its kooky) or they want five of a certain miniature (IMP02 Retained with Bionic Fist) for their forces.

Now I replied to all of these messages stating that the monthly free miniature would only ever be available for the month of its announcement and then it would be gone forever.  Those were our terms and they would not be changed.  But several people replied again and stated that they would like to buy the miniature and since it was within the month that would surely be ok.  I had to muse on this and I have.

With the end of the Havelock early supporter offers, each of them with an IMP03 miniature freely included, and sacks of packages going out the door yesterday I talked it over with the everyone and we made a decision.

Starting from today, but not retrospectively, we will be selling the monthly free miniature on the website.  All orders will continue to get one free miniature but customers will be free to also order additional casts of the current free miniature if they wish.  The miniature will be priced as a limited code. 

IMP03 Knight of the Dead is now online and is only listed on the front page of the site in new releases.  It will vanish on 1st December to be replaced by...well you will see.

Get the Miniature HERE.

I think this is the right choice.  It does not compromise the essence of the collectable and special aspects of the IMP series.  They are still only here for one month each and then gone but now you can have as many of them as you want.

Thanks for Reading.


Thursday, 14 November 2013

IAF020 Havelock Battlesuit and IAF023 Fallen Havelock released!

Put him down or put him out of his misery Donovan, we got places to be man!”

The barrel of the Valerin laser cannon on the arm of Donovan's Havelock type 57 battlesuit glowed a dull red in the early morning light. It had been firing almost constantly for fifteen minutes and was near its tolerance levels. Held in the massive fist at the end of the battlesuit's other arm a Desteria Knight hung limply the green and yellow noblesse powered armour crushed by the pressure of the grip. Sarj Guyan Donovan had picked the armoured man up and shook him like a rag doll.

Sure thing. Just getting us some payback for Ipsen Field. Where next?”

Ipsen Field, a battle fought less than a week ago between the 503rd Muster Regiment of the Prydian Army and the knightly retinue of Baron Devlan Hugonan of Yordan had been a defeat for the soldiers of the Addan. Baron Hugonan had sprung his surprise in the midst of the fray revealing several lances of heavily armoured Desteria Knights with firepower that the Prydian Muster had trouble stopping. By the end of that day thousands were dead and those loyal to the throne had been thrown back in disarray.

But the Addan Council had a surprise of their own and had lured the Yordist Desteria back to battle this morning. Instead of lightly equipped Muster the knights had found waiting for them a dozen of the brand new Havelock battlesuits piloted by the best that the academy back on New Glastonbury could offer. Courage had turned to terror as the Desteria realised that their own firepower was now not top of line. The Yordists had managed to bring down one of the battlesuits but it had cost them their lives and only a few had escaped the trap.

Not so tough now are you. See how you like being the little guy for a change.”

Donovan tossed the Desteria Knight away like a discarded Happy Burger carton and checked the dropping heat levels on his laser cannon. The weapon had proved its worth melting through the titanium skin of the noblesse armour with ease. He had not even had to use his top mounted missile pod yet.

Off in the distance the stomp of heavy footsteps spoke of a campaign being lost by the League of Yordan.

Fulton Prime, Ipsen District, 4322IC

IAF020 Havelock Type57 comes in FIVE Variants
The IAF020 Havelock Type 57 Battlesuit comes in several variants and it takes The Ion Age into the realm of small vehicles. The 'Big and Tall' IAF020 stands legs splayed, without the optional missile pod attached at 30mm tall. It has a separate arm mount for a heavy weapon. Cast in white metal it requires some assembly. Great value at only 5.00GBP per kit and all variants can be bought as a single pack or select the three packs and save 10% option on the page.  Plus a weapons pack option too. Go HERE.

Havelock advances with Retained Knights
Here are the different varients:

IAF020A Havelock Type57A 'Anti-Infantry'
This code contains one white metal battlesuit kit supplied with a Moth 88 Rotary Cannon and an optional Anda Missile Pod for arm and back mounts.

IAF020B Havelock Type57B 'Pride Taker'
This code contains one white metal battlesuit kit supplied with a Valerin 15Mw Laser Cannon and an optional Anda Missile Pod for arm and back mounts.

IAF020CHavelock Type57C 'Indirect Fire Support'
This code contains one white metal battlesuit kit supplied with a Bodkin 55mm AP Howitzer and an optional Anda Missile Pod for arm and back mounts.

IAF020D Havelock Type57D ' Anti-Vehicle'
This code contains one white metal battlesuit kit supplied with a Fretan II Rail Gun and an optional Anda Missile Pod for arm and back mounts.

IAF020E Havelock Type57E 'Knightmare'
This code contains one white metal battlesuit kit supplied with a Angis 25mm AP Cannon and an optional Anda Missile Pod for arm and back mounts.

IAF023 Fallen Havelock Battlesuit
IAF023 Fallen Havelock
Even the 'Big and Tall' has off days and its on one of those days for the Havelock that we present to you the IAF023 Fallen Havelock. Cast in high quality grey tone resin this one piece model is highly detailed and depicts a Havelock Battlesuit destroyed in combat. Against the Marcher Barons or the Khanate Empire who knows either way it lays upon its back, cockpit smashed and arm severed amid the torn metal and displaced soil of the battlefield. Useful as a casualty marker in play or a scenic objective in its own right this great model is about 40mm across at its widest point. 

Fallen Havelock surrounded by Canlaster Retained
Suitable for use in any science fiction setting as well as The Ion Age. As always this code can be bought as a pack or as a single or select the three packs and save 10% option on the page. Go HERE. Price 5.00GBP.

Information Burst!
At the end of the two week early support offer on the Havelock Battlesuit we have reached its release day. All order are being dispatched today across the world and we expect package delivery in a couple of days to a week plus depending on where you are. Thanks everyone! Those who are keen figure painters should look to our blog for the first Croes Nest article on painting Prydian Army Retained Assaulters is there. We are are the half way point of the month for IMP03 Knight of the Dead and its proving a good talking point with many asking us what the Knight actually is and if he is part of the Ion Age background. Remember when you place an order with us you will be prompted to join the loyalty scheme which will earn you Reward Points on all purchases which can, once accumulated, be redeemed for discounts and special miniatures.

Thanks for your Time.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Havelock Battlesuit Bundle Offers - Preparing to Ship!

At a hundred to the tray the Havelock bodies line up for packing!
You might have noticed a slow down in email from me across all the brands.  Well its been down to the Havelock Battlesuit early supporter offers which are due to end at 9am GMT on the 14th November 2013. Following up on the Hab Dome offers last month I was thinking of a posting here about how the offers went down to thank everyone for their support.  Well this is that posting.

I snapped these pictures this morning to give you all a flavour of the fever pitch work that is going on here.
Havelock Weapon bags and Fallen Havelocks being readied for packing.
After the Hab Dome offers I had hoped for a nice response to the Havelock but like last time I was well out in my expectations. The combination of a saving along with free extra items such as the Fallen Havelock and the Fabricator Spire resulted in us putting in extra hours and working last weekend too.  Busy, Busy!  We have many hundreds of Havelock's ready and waiting with most customers going for the 5 Suit deal as below.

I will stick to what I said on the 4th of November, every early supporter bundle order will be shipped on release day.  At this moment its looking possible, but since you have until 9am GMT Thursday 14th November morning to get in on the deal so the numbers might well rise some more.

Thanks for your support IonFans!


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Noble Knight Games now official Ion Age North American stockist!

Noble Knight Games in the USA is now the official North American distributor for The Ion Age. They have all of our products in stock.  If you live in the United States or Canada go along and have a look.  The main page on their site is HERE.

Noble Knight has a great reputation and legacy as a seller of current and out of production and or print ranges and I have been dealing with Aaron over at NKG for several years now.  They stock Alternative Armies and ranges too.  Feedback from our regular American customers has been very positive about all aspects of dealing with NKG.

Now back the massive pile of Havelock Battlesuits!  Post on the ending of the current Early Supporter coming upon the morrow.


Monday, 11 November 2013

Painting Prydian Army Retained Assaulters - Croes Nest


Be it armour, cloth, skin or whichever, White has always been considered a troublesome colour when it comes to miniature painting. The lighter the colour, the less forgiving the paint job is, and white obviously tops them all. But as you will learn from this tutorial, it is not difficult at all, using the right materials and the proper techniques.

The key to this is the use of glazes. A glaze is generally a diluted paint, which -if prepared in the right way- dries to a beautiful milky finish. A vital element in this is Acrylic Medium. This is really just the transparent binder of acrylic paint, and is available in bottles just for this purpose. When added to a diluted paint, it will help retain the cohesion between the pigment particles, which is necessary for a smooth finish. Not adding Acrylic Medium invariably leads to an ugly “coffee-stain” effect in both glazes and washes, so it is highly recommended to use it.

All paints used here are of the artist's colour type. This allows anyone to walk into an arts and craft store and get the these colours from any manufacturer, such as the excellent Pebeo paints we use here at the Alternative Armies painting studio.  We would like you to use the paints we are selling but being artist colours which are standardised by name you are free to choose.

We started with the primed and based miniatures. We always use white primer, as this is far more convenient to paint on. Remember it is always easier to paint a dark colour on a lighter one than doing it the other way around. This is especially true for Yellows and Oranges, which are notably weaker pigments no matter which brand of paint you use.

Directly onto the white primer undercoat a wash of a medium grey (NeutralGrey Mars Black and Acrylic Matt Medium) was slopped on. Pooling into the recesses as well as “staining” the flat areas , this created an effective pre-shading for the white Alwite armour.

After drying, using a fine brush, a wash of diluted Black Ink and Acrylic Matt Medium was carefully applied to the joints and deep recesses in the armour, around the power cables, etc..., to further enhance the contrast.

Now onto the glaze! Mixing Titanium White and Acrylic Matt Medium plus a drop of water to keep it relatively fluid, a nice semi-transparent white glaze was made, which was then applied to the large flat surfaces of the armour.

Smaller detail as well as the edges where necessary were painted with a fine detail brush using pure Titanium White.

Any other detail that was to become black or metal, was given a coat of Mars Black

The ribbed rubber “manifolds” -such as on the knee and foot joints- were first given a highlight of a medium grey (Neutral Grey+Mars Black) and then a speck of Neutral Grey was added in the centre of these highlights to suggest the shiny nature of the material. Any other black area also received a grey highlight.

A steel colour was mixed from Iridescent Silver Mars Black, and applied to all areas that were to be metal.

These areas were then given a local wash of diluted Black Ink and Acrylic Matt Medium, taking care not to spill onto the white of the armour.

Metal highlighting was done with pure Iridescent Silver, using a fine detail brush to pick out individual rivets, edges and power cable segments.

The Pauldrons were first given a coat or two (two thin coats of paint has a far better coverage than a single thick coat!) of Naphtol Carmine red.

After drying, they were shaded with a wash of diluted Sanguine Ink and Acrylic Matt Medium.

The inner area and rim were then “lightened up” again with Naphtol Carmine, followed by a highlight of Cadmium Orange for the edges.

The energy blade of the Roaz Axe was first given a white undercoat, this as mentioned above, because orange is a notably weak pigment, and it would take many, many coats of this colour to cover a darker colour. Cadmium Orange was used for the base tone of the blade.

A glaze of Light Azo Yellow, Acrylic Matt Medium and a little water was used in two or three layers to build up a smooth looking gradient towards the edge.

Finally, the edges were accentuated with a fine detail brush and some pure Titanium White.

The base was first given a coat of Burnt Umber. This was followed by a dry brush of Raw Sienna, and finished off with a highlighting drybrush of Buff Titanium.

The edge of the base was painted Mars Black, and a few clumps of brown static grass were applied to liven up the base's appearance. The whole was given a coat of Matt Acrylic Varnish for protection and an overall homogeneously flat finish.

So there we have it, a finished Prydian Retained Knight, in either scale. As you can see, the technique behind it is actually quite simple. With some practice, it's not unreasonable to do batches of five to ten knights at once, keeping the quality at this high level.

Until next time in the Croes Nest happy painting!

Sam Croes

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Pebeo Studio Paint Range - Now on The Ion Age!

The Ion Age now stocks paint, inks and brushes!

Pebeo Studio Acrylic Paint Range

by Sam Croes.

This story began over a decade ago. I had just discovered the joy that is the miniatures hobby, and like any other hobbyist I had a small selection of little acrylic miniature paints which were purchased from a variety of manufacturers. These were on the expensive side ,but overall, I was happy with the results they yielded and thought nothing more of it.

In those days, I was also an art student, and not a very wealthy one for that matter. Now obviously, I did not use the little model paints for my big canvas paintings, they were far too costly for such a purpose. Instead, I shopped at the art store for my grander projects. One brand that was favoured by my fellow art students was Pebeo, for its quality and affordability. And naturally I would get big tubes of Pebeo Studio Acrylics for all things big.

For some reason, I did not make the connection between the two disciplines (canvas painting and figure painting) right away. I suppose I did not think the cheaper Pebeo paint could have the same quality as the paint from the little pots. After all, the hobby paint had to be more expensive for a reason... right?

But one day I ran out of a certain colour in my model paint collection. I really wanted to finish the model I was working on, and as it was a Sunday, the model hobby shop was closed. There were my cheap tubes of Pebeo paint, and I thought, ah I'll just give it a a shot. How different could the paint really be? As it turned out, the artist's paints worked absolutely excellent for the purpose of figure painting.

This simple revelation opened up a world of miniature painting possibilities. There were all sorts of advantages these acrylic artist colours have over the tiny pots of model paint.

For starters, the tubes were bigger of course, having ten times as much paint at my disposal meant that I would not run out as quickly. As such, it was more affordable too! And well, who doesn't like to pay less for the same quality or better, really? This especially made sense when I needed paint for large terrain pieces, or for drybrushing textured gaming table panels. Using the model hobby paint pots for this would be madness.

Using artist paint also meant more universal naming in colours. No Demon Black or Troll Blue, or such vague names. It was easy enough to get a colour chart from any artist's paints maker, and find out the universally accepted name for the colour I needed.

But the tubes had another big advantage I had not thought of. Because of the way paint tubes are designed, one only squeezes out the amount of paint one needs, with no air coming back in. With a paint pot, as the paint level falls, the amount of air inside increases, slowly drying out the paint, leading to wastage. And this is not mentioning the paint pot cap getting stuck because it's clogged up with dried paint.

From that time on I started to phase out the model colour paints and gradually replaced them with Pebeo Studio Acrylics as they ran out, eventually reaching a point where I am now using only artist's paints for miniature painting.

28mm Retained of the Quarrel Company painted with Pebeo!
When it came to choose a manufacturer to provide us with a good quality and at the same time affordable paint range, of course the first one I was to recommend was Pebeo. And that was the choice we made. A choice I'm absolutely delighted with, looking at the massive paint rack full of beautiful colours we have now standing in the Alternative Armies painting studio.  See the Paints Range HERE.  Go HERE for the Inks Range and HERE for the paint brushes we have.

Our Paint Racks

But I don't assume you'll just take this for granted. Therefore we will prove it, by publishing regular painting tutorials and showing you. So stay tuned for that.

Until next time...

Sam Croes

Lead Designer

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Patrol Angis Week 6 Round Up - End of Playtest

Canlaster Retained Post advance on Prydians!
Khanate play Peek a Boo with a Havelock!
Its the end an era...well its the end of the six weeks of playtesting for the grand group that has the honour to be playtesting Patrol Angis.  This week everyone reported in but there will not a lot of pictures or questions asked since all of us are now happy with the rules.  What is good, what needs work, what can be added.

You can check out the previous playtest results posts on this blog.  Week Five, Week Four, Week Three, Week Two and Week One by clicking the links.  Its been a grand experience and I have enjoyed it a lot. While the core mechanics of PA made it through the grinder almost intact there will be changes made as a group result of the testing.  I think the game will be all the better for it and all IonFans now and in the future will benefit from these six weeks of glory.  Remember all the Anvil 888 fun?

I do have some pictures and a little tale for you.  From Huggable and also Ian Hoffman who has given us a lot of excellent images to explore during the testing period.  I included the tale so that Ian's pictures are of more sense...happy Halloween..a few days late...but hey we all do our best.

Huggable's Solo Play Set up Week 6
Huggable's Yordan Retained in the thick of it!
"Tales told around a campfire or holo-cube change with the telling. The story of the Knight of the Dead is one such tale, and with each re-telling it grows in complexity and mystery. Some call him the Star-Wraith, and hint that he is older even than the original designers of the black Alwite armour he wears. Others say that he was first seen when the arch-traitor Hugo Sevaris opened the Matter Gateway on Carmarthen, allowing the Shia Khan to return to the Prydian Precinct. Hugo's head was the only part of him to return to human space through the Gateway, and it is whispered by some that the Knight of the Dead was his executioner. This would make the Knight the only man alive to have seen the worlds of the Shia Khan, that is if he can even be said to be a 'man' or, indeed, 'alive'! The Knight, it is said, adheres in his own way to the Code Gallant. In particular he is thought to concern himself with the punishment of traitors and oath-breakers. Those humans who have abandoned their fealty to the Aeddan and instead pledged their allegiance to the Shia Khan - humans now universally known as Betrayers - no doubt tell their own tales of the Knight when they gather in their encampments, and they surely check their weapons and glance around more carefully than usual when they think of the stories they have heard. Who knows - perhaps the tales are true, and even as we speak of him the Knight of the Dead has tracked his prey to a remote area where they will surely meet their doom..."

I would like to finish with two points.  Firstly that I extend my whole hearted thanks to everyone involved.  I know it took a lot of my time every week and I must have typed fifty thousand words of replies but I make my living from this and all you fellows do it for fun so your time is greatly valued.  Thank you for your input, your comments, your criticisms and your joy and enthusiasm for Patrol Angis.  Your rewards will be given to you upon pre-release as promised.  Secondly there will be further smaller bolt on's for Patrol Angis as time passes for expansions to the first title...I would welcome your help for this so if you are keen do let me know.

See you all next year on the battlefields of the Prydian Civil War and then against The Shia Khan and then..well that would be telling. 


Huggable's Hab Domes - The League of Yordan

Hab Domes in Yordan League colours
Huggable's unique battle damaged Dome in Yordan colours
Back during the October Early Support Offer on the IAF015 Hab Dome, which you can find on the Ion Age website, one of our customers got a special and unique gift.  Huggable placed an ESO order and during product stress testing Sam Croes knocked the hell out of a Hab Dome to check the quality of the production run.  

It took a great amount of effort to damage the dome to the state the pictures show which I take as a testament to the quality not only of the raw materials we use (high quality resin only for us!) and of the design too.  Its a tough little structure.  There are IonFan's asking for a 'cratered dome' and this makes me think we will have to purpose design it as doing it yourself at home would be very demanding. 

This dome was given free to Huggable and she promised to send us they are!

The pictures are very nice and these are the first Marcher Baron livery scheme Seorc Habitation Domes that I have seen so its good to share. Enjoy and all comments are welcome.

Well done Huggable!