Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Painting Emergence Event and Emergence Event: The Awakening

And now for something completely different: Space Ships!

I didn't know much about Emergence Event when I backed the expansion on Kickstarter, but I have enjoyed Myth (painted), and so I was eager to support local game designers and publishers Megacon Games. The Kickstarter provided an option to get both the base set and The Awakening expansion, with an option to pay for shipping only once and receive both at the same time. Turns out, the base set still came a few days in advance of the expansion, so I was able to play it a few times before the expansion arrived. My son and I have enjoyed it, although it is a bit fiddly at times—there are a few things you just have to remember, because there is no visual representation of them on any of the bits.

I primed all the figures by brushing on Grey Vallejo Surface Primer after giving them a good scrub. The expansion add-on captains required an extra layer: something about the plastic repelled the primer more than the others. Overall, though, no major difficulties with the prep for the base set ships, with very few mold lines to clean up.

Masking tape: Not my greatest idea.
The base set ships all came pre-assembled on clear plastic bases. I didn't want to get paint on these bases, so I wrapped them in masking tape. Seems like a good idea, right? Turns out, it wasn't. The masking tape left some sticky residue all over the base. I posted a question about this on DM Scotty's Facebook group, and several people recommended either Goo Gone or isopropyl alcohol. I happened to have some 91% isopropyl alcohol at the hobby desk, and this worked fine for removing the residue, combined with an old brush and my dental scraper.

For all of the ships, I tried to match my color scheme to Keith Lowe's excellent character art with an emphasis on the captain's token color. I'll start with the base set ships.

Star Racer Vinh
Star Racer Vinh
My first ship was Star Racer Vinh, who uses faded green tokens. I also pulled in the complementary red that is featured in the character art. One of the decisions I had to make was how to light the models. Even though they are in space, I decided to go with a traditional overhead light source. I suppose one could think of them as hovering over a planet that is reflecting some light back up to the underside.

For almost all the ships, I used a two-brush blending approach. I have a wonderful Winsor & Newton Series 7 #1 that was the workhorse for the whole project, and it's kept a fine tip on it. For the second brush, I'm using my old WN Series 7 #2, which has lost its tip but not hooked. It's not ideal since it's so broad compared to the #1, but it's good enough for now. I've tried two-brush blending with synthetics as well, but I think the advice I read somewhere on the Internet is right, that natural fibers do feel better for this technique. 

On to more ships!

Commander of the Evolved 
Commander of the Evolved

The Commander of the Evolved was fun to paint, with its high contrast and focus on cool greyscale with a spot of brilliant blue. I used just a little bit of OSL to imply shining light, but I don't think it photographed very well here.

Ambassador Jolal

Ambassador Jolal
The other morning, I was up early and decided to base coat Ambassador Jolal's ship. This is the only organic ship of the set, and so I opted for some wet-blending to get smooth transitions across the bumpy surface. I was so happy with how that went that I just kept on mixing more colors, highlighting, and shading. I ended up finishing this ship in one sitting, and I'm happy with it. It is much stranger than the other ships, and I think the fact that I painted it a bit differently adds to its foreign appearance.

Matriarch Evans
Matriarch Evans

Matriarch Evans' ship is all greys offset by crimson. Reds are tricky to highlight, and I really didn't want to take this one toward orange or yellow. This happened to be the ship I photographed when I posted on DM Scotty's Facebook group about the sticky residue, so I have this picture of my original paint job:
Matriarch Evans, Before the Finishing Touches
Even with the slightly-blue panel in the front, it turned out to be all too similar in tone. I showed it and the character art to my wife, and we agreed that it needed a little something extra. I'm glad I took the time to add the bright banding and alter some of the grey tones around the front.

We move now to the four expansion captains. The Kickstarter campaign called for two captains in the expansion, with two extras available as add-ons. Never having played the game, I wasn't sure I wanted to throw another $20 at a pair of captains, so I opted against. After playing the base game a few times with my son, I kicked myself for not having splurged on the extra captains. This feeling was exacerbated by the current somewhat uncertain future of Megacon Games. They announced a while ago that they were under an NDA as the Myth IP was under negotiation for sale, and their recent post on the Myth: Journeyman Kickstarter confirms their somewhat shaky current state. This might mean that those two extra captains may never be available for retail sale, so I was out of luck.

Lo and behold, when I opened my Awakening expansion box, there are four captains—the two promised ones and the two add-ons! The guys from Megacon posted that they decided to simply add them to each box, which I'm sure greatly simplified production and packaging. Naturally, this led to some sour grapes from people who paid the extra $20 for add-on captains, in a weird twist of human psychology (they got what they paid for, after all). When I look at the comments on their Kickstarters, I cannot help but feel that a lot of people forget to read the clear statement that Kickstarter is not a store. Maybe guys like Megacon and Kickstarter-giant CMON give the wrong impression, by talking about orders and add-ons, but the fact remains, any Kickstarter can simply go south. That's how I approach it, anyway, and look, I got two free captains.

But I digress! Back to the ships.

The two add-on captains for Awakening were made of a different kind of plastic, and possibly probably a different scale than the other ships judging from how they did not fit neatly onto the pegs. Unfortunately, my ships were quite badly cast, particularly Xeron & Xoron.
Xeron & Xoron have seen better days
I wasn't quite sure what t o do about this much damage. I briefly considered requesting a replacement, but again, those guys from Megacon I think are dealing with enough right now. I ended up turning to my old standby, Milliput. I was able to press it into the deepest gaps and then try to smooth it over. I also thinned it out and tried brushing it over the rough areas, but I don't think that was particularly helpful.
Xeron & Xoron, patched up with Milliput
Here's what the back-end finally looked like painted. From across the table, I don't think you can see the anomalies.
Back-end of Xeron & Xoron
But more on them later, because it's really important to me that I post my miniatures in the order I tackled them.

Explorer Laris Latee
Explorer Laris Latee

Explorer Latis Latee was one of the add-on captains, and he has the smallest and sleekest of the ships. His character art also features cyan and yellow, which I know are everyone's favorite subtractive primary colors. The rounded features of this ship made it more interesting to shade than some of the other, more angular ones. It was also fairly quick to paint, given the relative lack of detail.

Hive Queen Zalex
Hive Queen Zalex

When I worked on Hive Queen Zalex, I pulled out what I thought were her character tokens, only to discover later that I had the wrong ones. The purple tokens went with San'Du, not Zalex—hers are grey. Turns out it wasn't a problem since I had featured both purple and grey on the paint job. Zalex is the only figure where I used an ink wash to make the shading a bit easier: those magenta stripes have finely sculpted vertical slats, which would have been a horror to paint by hand. Mixing a dark purple ink wash made it much easier to help them stand out a bit, although it's not very strong in the photos here.

Xeron & Xoron

Xeron & Xoron
Every captain in Emergence Event has two special abilities. I like this idea that Xeron & Xoron are a pair of captains, and so you have one Xeron power and one Xoron power. It's a small bit of fluff, but clever nonetheless. One is wearing an orange jumpsuit, the other a military green, and so I brought those colors in to the ship. The orange jumpsuit was a bit more faded than the orange tokens used by this captain (these captains?), and I opted to match the tokens so that it would be easier to tell who is who. The character art is barely visible during the game, after all.

San'Du, VP of Acquisitions

San'Du, VP of Acquisitions
The last one of the set is San'Du, VP of Acquisitions—the one that actually uses the purple player tokens. I wanted to make sure his purple ship was distinct from Hive Queen Zalex, so I brought the bright white to the fore. It's a little chalky, as whites can be, although this doesn't show in the photos so well. (See my Twin Shadows painting post for more about my frustrations with miniature photography and the black backgrounds in particular. Still, seemed right to use black here, because SPACE.) The slightly chalky white top and a few other spots could be touched up, but as I was wrapping this up, my Clank! expansion showed up in the mail, and I took that as a sign that it was fine to be done with this. (Another parenthetical: my 10-year-old, my 7-year-old, and I have been having a blast with Clank!, which followed nicely after the younger one was able to learn Star Realms and Dominion.)

Front row: Base Set. Back row: Expansion.
That's it for Emergence Event and Emergence Event: The Awakening. I'm looking forward to playing again with the painted miniatures instead of the wooden pawns we've been using as proxies while these have sat on my painting table.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Very nice blog, thanks!

    Just got my copies and need to do something similar .. Walts

    1. Thanks! While I'm a little disappointed with some of the production errors, I don't think it merits the negativity some folks on the Kickstarter are throwing around. My son and I have played several times and are having a blast. For the expansion content, we've settled on using the event cards and special tiles, using dice to determine when to bring in a special (to deal with the misprinted backs). We didn't care for the anomalies and Markarian Discoveries---they were too fiddly for us.

    2. I'm not OCD on quality, but I can see where many are coming from, due to the high standards many KS's have been producing.

      Just gotten mine now (UK backer) and haven't had a chance to scrutinize everything yet, but everything looks OK at a glance ... some punters haven't been so lucky with misprints and poor quality; but that does happen in all production runs.

      I'm sure I'll luv what I have! :o] ... Walts