Saturday, February 17, 2018

Effigy Miniatures' Havoc Girls

Three sci-fi adventurers just arrived at a busy spaceport? Or three figures taking their place in my display case?

These are the Havoc Girls, a set of 28mm figures individually called the the Pilot, Recon, and Hacker from the now-defunct Effigy Miniatures. I'm not sure if the sculptor - Tom Mason - was going for a sci-fi version of "Charlie's Angels" when he created these figures, but I have strong suspicions. These were the first figures available from Effigy Miniatures' initial Kickstarter and later the company's online shop. They later become part of Effigy Miniatures' Havoc Protocol line – a series of miniatures with a similar futuristic aesthetic. In 2013, a career change prompted Tom Mason to close down Effigy Miniatures. To the best of my knowledge, these figures are no longer available for sale, even at the new company that Tom Mason started up.

These long-term residents of my lead pile finally made it to the work table early this year. I decided on a darker color scheme than the one used in the original artwork for greater contrast between the bodysuits and the accessories. The accessory colors on each figure are based on the Starfleet uniform colors used in Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the 24th century Starfleet, Pilot would be in the Command division and wear red. Recon would be in the Security department and wear gold. I decided that Hacker would be in the Sciences division and wear blue for variety, but an argument could be made for her to be in Engineering. The uniform color choices were made with an eye towards using them in a future Star Trek Adventures campaign. The hair colors are the result of me being unable to decide what natural hair colors to use and picking the three brightest paint colors to catch my eye.

The bases are from a Warsenal Tracking Beacon 3-pack that proved a little too fragile for my fumble fingers during assembly. The remains of that project found a home in my bits box. The bases are assembled from two pieces of plastic and create a layered effect. They are available separately from the Warsenal Tracking Beacon 3-pack as Tunguskan Bases.

I'm not entirely happy with how the paint jobs worked out. The base coating and highlighting went fine. Unfortunately, the washes broke after I applied them, leading to uneven coats on the figures and the bases. Still, given that this is my first painting project in a long while, I'm willing to live with a "tabletop as long as nobody looks too closely" standard.

Improvised light box on the kitchen table. It has the advantage of folding up for storage.

The initial set of photos that I took in my improvised light box were also disappointing. None of them turned out well. I resorted to snapping a shot of the Havoc Girls in my display case with my phone. The results were a pleasant surprise – not perfect, but better than the ones I took earlier. If this keeps up, I might make it my standard practice – it would certainly be easier!

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Star Trek Adventures - First Impressions and the Default Time Period

Really liking the LCARS look.

Finished up my initial read-through of Modiphius Entertainment's Star Trek Adventures last month. Our group's other GM ran an outstanding short campaign just before the holidays. I ordered a copy as an early Christmas present for myself. The next step is to go through the book in more detail and make myself some notes on how the game works mechanically. After that, it will be time to pitch the idea for a campaign to our group and go from there!

The designers put in the work to make the 2d20 system fit Star Trek rather than the other way around. The game play reflects how things are seen to work in the various Star Trek television series. Too many licensed games try to make a given peg fit through whatever shaped opening they have handy.

Time Period

The time period that Modiphius Entertainment picked for the default in Star Trek Adventures was a little curious to me. In series terms, it's just after The Next Generation finale, in the middle of Deep Space Nine, and just before the premiere of Voyager. Significant amounts of canon haven't happened yet. Enterprise-D is still kicking around, but her days are numbered. The renewal of the Federation-Klingon conflict is right around the corner. Both the Dominion War and all of Janeway's Delta Quadrant odyssey are down the road. That struck me as quite a bit of story potential to omit.

Then again, setting the default any later has its own problems. Does Star Trek really need another post-Nemesis time line? Star Trek Online and the novels each present their own versions of events tailored for their own purposes. Setting the game during the Dominion War means that it will tend to dominate story telling. Even if not every session deals directly with the war, it's always going to be there, just barely in the background. And there just doesn't seem to be much going on in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants between the end of Deep Space Nine and Nemesis.

The default time period of Star Trek Adventures allows for a full range of plots against the widest possible variety of adversaries. Want the classic episodic problem-of-the-week set up for your starship crew? Perfectly plausible without having to explain why a powerful ship is not on the front lines while the Federation is fighting for its existence (see: Insurrection). A colony or station on the frontier? Fine. Hunting outlaws in the Badlands? The Maquis are still around. Facing a straightforward military threat in a scenario short of a shooting war? The Romulans and Cardassians are available as opponents. Thorny political situations? The area near Bajor is still as troublesome as ever. Plenty of possibilities for player characters to get into trouble while tugging down the front of their uniforms.