Saturday, 17 August 2019

Citadel contrast paint

I decided to see what all the fuss was about and bought a couple of Citadel contrast paints. The idea is that you give the model a beige or grey undercoat, then apply the contrast paint (possibly in multiple layers). The technique is advertised and discussed on various forums as if it's a revolutionary new way of painting, but I think that's a slight exaggeration. I have known about this style of painting (light undercoat, then using washes) for years, although I never tried it myself. The basic effect is that the most of the pigment acts as the color of a wash, while the translucent layer together with the undercoat produces a highlight.

I decided to use a figure from the Bones kickstarter some years ago, a classic wizard. So below you see the results.

The coat (red), hat (brown/yellow), the face ad hands (flesh) and the beard (grey) were done using contrast paints, and smaller details with normal paints. It is best seen on the back of the coat, since that whole area is only done with contrast paint - all the other areas have details being added or some other colours. It sort of works, but since the paints are not very opaque, any errors cannot be painted over. You need to apply the basecolor again on the spot you want to correct, then apply contrast paint again. So that's a bit of a nuisance and takes a different way of thinking about painting your miniature. I am pretty old school in that respect (paint from the inside out, base color, wash and drybrush), but with contrast paint, you need to think carefully in which order to apply the different colours.

I will need to do some more experimenting before I can come to final judgements though ...

Friday, 9 August 2019

There's a time to say goodbye ...

I've been (war)gaming for over 30 years. That means I have bought a lot of games, books, ... over the years.

Yesterday I went to the local gaming store to put a number of games up for sale. They have a system in which you put your games for sale on a shelf, and if they get sold, you get store credit. The store takes care of the logistics. Much easier than trying to find buyers online or hauling your stuff to a con to sell it there. Of course, the trick is to set the right price. I usually put a low price on items because it's more important for me to get rid of them rather than to fetch a "market-conform" price - whatever that means. So far, all of my stuff I've brought to the store has been sold.

In my early years I was an avid buyer of roleplaying materials. The local store-owner once called me a "very good customer". But in 1998 I moved continents, and I sold of a huge part of my gaming collection. That's when I mentally made the decision not being a collector of everything, but rather be more selective in the games I keep.

During 19998-2001 I lived in the US, and this was the start of the "German board games" craze. So I acquired a lot of those. I also bought a lot of old boardgame titles (mostly Avalon Hill) through eBay, which was also in its infancy at the time. But when I moved back to Europe, I again sold a large part of my collection. Nothing makes you clean up your junk more heavily than moving continents ...

At regular intervals since then I have sanitized the gaming closet. I still have a lot of stuff, but I don't keep everything. Some things I keep because they have emotional value, e.g. the Starfall game my late father brought from a business trip when I was a teenager - being a space addict it was the perfect present at the time. Other things I keep because of good gaming memories, e.g. the entire The Enemy Within campaign I ran during the early nineties. Other are true collectibles, such as my original copies of Little Wars and Floor Games. And of course I still have a large amount of toy soldiers.

Some games I have kept because they symbolize (for me) a golden age of gaming. One of these in my Avalon Hill copy of Diplomacy. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, when I still had a lot of time as a Ph.D. student, I loved this game, and so did many in my gaming group. At one point I even set up a large 30+ player game, based on a variant I found on the proto-internet. But at one point we realized that Diplomacy as a game showed it age, and did not fit our views on gaming anymore. The built-in assumptions of treachery and back-stabbing, no matter how fun, was not for everyone's tastes. And we simply didn't have the time anymore. The last game I played was 20 years ago. I played Russia and lost badly. I remember that much.

Nevertheless, I always kept my copy of the game, in the hope one day we would play it again. But yesterday it struck me. We will not play this game again, ever. Not this year, not in 10 years, not when we're retired. It's only taking up space, and after all, it's simply a box including a map, a rulebook and plastic(!) playing pieces. If I want to have a nostalgic look at it, I'll surf to Boardgamegeek.

So I was ready to part with my physical copy of Diplomacy. Along with some other more recent games, I handed them over to the friendly storekeeper. "How much you want for this one?" "10 euro" "Ok!". I'm pretty sure the next time I visit the store, the game will be gone. Perhaps sold to an Avalon Hill collector. Perhaps to a youngster who has 10 euro to spend and wants to try something new. Perhaps it will end up in someone's trash bin. All fine by me.

Keep the memories, not the games!