As noted previously my plan for Blackstone Fortress is to start by painting up everything we need to play a game, beginning with anything I can’t proxy from elsewhere in my collection and focusing as much as possible on the basic units first, before moving on to those that only appear in more advanced missions or expansions. Of course I also aim to take a fairly relaxed attitude towards this, so long as everything gets painted to a standard I’m happy with in fairly short order I don’t mind being casual about the process itself.
One of the key things that you require for every game, regardless of the mission played, is a band of heroes willing to enter the alien labyrinth. Regardless of the number of players each game contains a party of four heroes, so with three already painted it made sense to get a fourth finished in order to round out the company. In addition, well-known blogger and one man painting machine Azazel has launched his latest monthly challenge – the Jewel of July – which calls for, amongst other things, the painting of great heroes and other characters so this seemed like a fine opportunity to round out the adventuring party. In our previous games my partner Janice played the navigator Espern Locarno, her brother Tom the robot UR-025, whilst I took the pyromaniacal Pious Vorne. Control of the rogue trader Janus Draik was passed between us. Thus he was the natural choice to be bumped up the queue for a coat of paint.
Like all of the characters from Blackstone Fortress that I’ve tackled so far he was a real joy to paint, the model packed with clever elements with which to convey his personality. Much as I enjoyed novelization of the game by Darius Hinks (perhaps not great literature but well written and solidly entertaining nonetheless) I must confess that his vision of Draik never really gelled with my own. Rather than the tragic figure – generally noble (in both senses of the word) – who has fallen on hard times as the book portrays, I always envisioned him as a high-class bastard, ruthless, cunning, self-interested and self-aggrandising, a profiteering privateer, a ladies’ man, a do-er of derring-do and a buckler of considerable swash. Here, I always thought, was a man always ready to face death armed with nothing but a razor sharp quip – so long as the money was right and there was someone nearby to capture the moment for posterity.
Next up I want to tackle a few other projects by way of a quick palate cleanser, but I’ll be returning to Blackstone Fortress in the near future. Really I should crack on with some more of the adversaries, the decidedly tricky to paint negavolt cultists or perhaps the beastmen. On the other hand it’s very possible that Jewel of July will encourage me in my temptation to paint another character or two – watch this space I guess…