Monday, January 27, 2014

Preview of the Eisenkern - Valkir - (20 powered armored troopers)

Estimated retail release Q2 2014

When we last saw the Valkir, they were nothing more than a base concept. I knew I wanted power armor troops for the Eisenkern faction that represented the mid-point of advancement through the Eisenkern Ranks. A soldier that was superior but still very much a part of the core army, unlike the Knightly households ‘Ritterorden’ that oversee Assault Troopers and Support Troopers which operate with much more autonomy.
The term Valkir is a derivative of the Norse Valkyrie (from Old Norse Valkyrja "chooser of the slain") is one of a host of female figures who decide which soldiers die in battle and which live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle the, Valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, Valhalla.


Indoctrination into Valkir is done at the Platoon level of the Valkir military organization. The members of each platoon choose their brothers and sisters carefully; soldiers that show a propensity for aggression and the fortitude to stay in the fight, regardless of the personal costs are drafted into the Valkir. The indoctrination ceremony is steeped in ritual and mysticism, the recruits are blooded, by the slaying of a sacrificial offering. This signifies the death of their old life and their resurrection to the Valkir. An oath is given that binds the initiate to their brethren. They will serve with this group until their death or until they are offered a place amongst one of the Ritterorden to serve as an. Assault Trooper.

Here we can see some of the possible options for the Valkir uniform. Each platoon is free choose a style of dress, some with tabards and unit colors, others with armored tasses or magazine and utility pouches. The Valkir are given a great deal of latitude in their dress and personal kit. The only requirement is that the Eisenkern Iron Cross must adorn the right shoulder pad and their unit markings must adorn the left shoulder, in addition to the appropriate rank displayed in the shoulder epaulets.

The Valkir armament consists of either the assault rifle, which fires a large HE/AP round or the heavy rifle, a very high velocity coil gun which fires a dense AP round encased in a nanotube shell.

Optional squad support choices include a 60mm grenade launcher or Thermite gun that sprays a cone of molten material with devastating close range capabilities verses lightly armored targets.
Each Valkir carries a Basilard, a bladed weapon as a symbol of their rank.

*Note, there are additional heads displayed in the product page. These are to be included with the Kickstarter items but may not be found in the boxed set is we run out of sprue space. If this is the case, I may make them available as part of an accessory set; similar to the Stormtrooper accessory set.

And one last shot showing the Backpack design.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Defiance Games - Backer, Buyer and Customer Beware

Apparently the creators of the Torn Armor Kickstarter had not heard there were issues with Defiance Games.
I would encourage you to review what is here, poke around the web for more information and make up your own mind.  
This is the part that blew my mind: I formally asked for our money back less the approved and agreed charges and after a weekend of badgering they told me on Monday that “We do not have the available cash on hand to return these funds at this time” and “We are gearing up here for our own releases to get new product to market and improve our cash flow.”
Essentially what they are saying is, we took your money and we are using it for our Kickstarter so we can not give it back to you... Way to stay classy Defiance.

This was posted on Tabletop Fix.

Torn World - Defiance Games Strikes Again

Torn World announced today that the Torn Armor Kickstarter cannot be fulfilled due to Defiance Games ripping them off their money:

It was at this time that Defiance stated that they would not produce any masters until they had finished a batch of models. They then informed us that the file format we had provided them, their choice, wasn’t going to work. This new format was already a replacement of the original format they said wouldn’t work, which again was their choice. Soon after this they started talking about “going back to the models from last October” It was at this time I knew we were going into a downward spiral of excuses and finger pointing.
Ironically their chief responsibility was the creation of a usable, printable, castable 3d miniature models. Early on, they informed me they were unable to work with my artist/modeler and they in turn chose the artist/modeler they wanted to work with. The file format wasn’t going to work!
Clearly we have a serious problem.
Last Friday I concluded that Defiance was completely unable to fulfill our needs and that I made a mistake in choosing them. Being noble and generous I would say that they truly felt like they could handle it, but the reality of the project – in addition to their own projects – was too much. There may well be other reasons.
I formally asked for our money back less the approved and agreed charges and after a weekend of badgering they told me on Monday that “We do not have the available cash on hand to return these funds at this time” and “We are gearing up here for our own releases to get new product to market and improve our cash flow.”


Just Three months before, another company: Proxie Models

 KenofYork 16 Oct 2013 6:34 p.m. PST 
 I would like to warn people that I have had an extremely unpleasant dealing with the new management. Be very careful about these guys. I am owed a lot of money and I have been informed that the new management will not pay debts owed by Tony. I have a very strong reason to believe the management shift was a shell game to make the kick starter look better. Can't prove it, but have a very strong feeling about it. 
This company has been the worst dealings I have had in my limited time as a part time, one man plastic company. I will NEVER work with them again.  
They had planned for me to make the plastic mech in the kick starter without ever even talking to me about it. I found out I was the supplier after reading the kick starter and asking who was making it. I told them I would not be making anything for a company that owed me thousands of dollars and was making no attempt to pay. After I was paid for previous product I would be willing to look at the files and see what could be done. Well, they got a pile of money from kick starter and found someone else to make the mech. And they told me weeks ago they would be returning product, but they have not. This is NOT ok with me, but I have no choice. I would not have made the items if they had not ordered them. Still they have the items in their store, I have no money, and they are setting on almost $50,000 USD in kick starter money.
I am very sorry if this seems to be a bad business move to spread bad news about another company, but I am angry beyond the capacity for rational thought.
Be very careful dealing with them.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Eisenkern Stuka Zu Fuss APC Upgrade

Estimated retail release, Q2-2014
The Stuka Zu Fuss, nicknamed the walking stuka or bellowing cow makes an unmistakable sound when fired

Primarily an anti-infantry or anti structure weapon. It can fire six extremely large high explosive or incendiary charges. Spin stabilized, the rockets are not as accurate as conventional artillery and reloading is time consuming due to the rocket's weight. Rockets are ripple-fired in large numbers where feasible to quickly saturate a target.

The Wurfrahmen 40 is in service as a support weapon for the mobile Panzer formations, particularly in urban areas.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Jon Paulson (Mecha Front) Is taking Pre-Orders

Our friend Jon Paulson has been busy at work on a new 15mm scale mech. His newest incarnation of walking baddies is the Lynx. that stands 75mm high!.

I have known Jon for some time now, not only is he a great guy, I can tell you he takes great care in his castings.

The first run of 100 will be in resin, If it is not up to snuff it will not go out the door. The man loves his work and it shows.

You kind find these wonderful kits and others at Mecha Front

From his site:

This is a pre-order item.

In order to fund this item I need to sell 25 copies of the model. Once I have all 25 pre-order slots filled it head out for printing and molding. This process will take aproximately 30 days from the point that funding is achieved.

I will accept pre-orders until Feb 15th (or until all 25 slots are filled) If the project does not fund by the the 15th I will refund all pre-orders purchases in full.
Any additional models (such as the raptor or goshawk) that are ordered at the same time as this item will not ship until the lynx itself ships out.
The Lynx is the standard medium class mecha utilized by NorAm Forces. 
The Beta configuration is armed with 4 medium auto cannons.
Measures aproximately 75mm.

Model is made from resin and is supplied unpainted and unassembled. A total of 10 pieces and includes a 60mm base.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Looking Towards the Next Phase: Iron Core Game Development

I still have some files to deliver to WGF, the box art and instructions will all need to be completed shortly after China is through working their magic but the majority of the work has left my hands and is now in the capable hands of the Wargames Factory engineering team.

Now would be a good time to introduce a partner to the DreamForge Iron-Core project, I would like to take a moment to welcome Robey Jenkins.

Robey runs a website and podcast called Precinct Omega, it is through his podcast that I first became acquainted with Robey. Two traits struck me while listening to his podcast, his love of tabletop games and his ability to tear apart their workings, analyze each component and understand how one part relates to the next and then make critical or creative observations about the core mechanics was impressive.

Robey and I think alike, perhaps too much so? But he is far more precise than myself. I can tell you what I like, what I do not like and where I would like to go with a rules section but Robey had a knack for putting the pieces into the puzzle and explaining why in his opinion, the rules section worked or did not work. I have roughly 130+ pages of an overly complicated, poorly written rough draft completed. I tend to work by roughing in complete systems and then working backwards to find a way to simplify the rules section or decide to scrap that section all together. Clearly this work habit is counter productive when you involve another person. It is my hope that Robey will help me curtail some of my habits while injecting a fresh and creative way at looking at each section of rules.

I spoke with Robey a couple of times, first an introduction and then to go over what I wanted Iron Core to look, play and feel like. Robey kindly agreed to review my draft and give suggestions and pointers. He came back with proposal that touched on the systems I had provided but more importantly he proposed a creative way, a system that would add depth and tactical thinking without the use of tables, charts and die rolls. I am a huge fan of rewarding a well thought out strategy while minimizing the prospect of an “I win button” through unit selections or a simple set of opening moves.

Shamefully, Robey’s proposal sat in my email for quite some time as I worked my way through stage 2 of the Kickstarter and all of the finding a new home issues that real life through my way, damn messy stuff that real life… My apologies Robey.

As I mentioned Robey and I think alike, we like tactical games, games that make you think and reward you for doing so. Adding places into the game where each player can affect the game without needing to roll a die, refer back to charts or add a slew of dice modifiers to resolve, points of opportunity, points in the turn sequence for where everyone playing will have the opportunity to have an impact. In short no one sleeps while the other player moves their pretty models about. Can we achieve all this and still have a fast playing and more importantly enjoyable and marketable game? I think we can and I believe that we can check many of the tick boxes.

Honestly I could go on for pages talking about specifics or qualities in a game I find important but that is not what this post is about.

I would like to end in saying that while I am not a fan of design by committee; I absolutely adore customer feedback and when we enter Alpha and Beta I hope to see many of you there testing, breaking and making suggestions to make this the best game possible.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

A War of Resources

More ramblings from a cluttered mind….
As we move towards the development of the next faction, I will try to give some insights into the conflict between the Eisenkern and Shadokesh Empires. Please keep in mind that this is still a draft and open to revision and correction but it will touch on both cultures, the war and why anyone in their right mind would build a huge walking target such as the Leviathans.
The Prize
Ardinium: A rare, naturally occurring mineral that neutralizes the effect created by tears in the Veil and the broad spectrum radiation leaks created by Void space incursion. Ardinium is used to shield Iron Core Reactors, sensitive electronics and more recently it has been introduced as a component in building materials to mitigate exposure for the occupants and equipment.
(Faster than light travel is only possible in the Veil and re-entering normal space without a receiving gate, tears a hole in the Veil that releases immense energy. Any unshielded tech within several AU is usually destroyed)
Ardinium Oxide: When Ardinium is exposed to the Void or the energy of an Iron Core Reactor it develops a purple blue crust of oxidization. This material when properly processed and when a sufficient charge is applied will repulse itself from a non-charged object or attract itself to a like charged object much in the way a magnet pulls or pushes. This is the base material all TR bands are constructed from. Without this material the huge Leviathans would not be possible.
The Shadokesh
The Shadokesh care little for human society; until recently they have been completely indifferent to the plight of humanity, thrive or fall, humanity is viewed as nothing more than another animal species hardly worthy of distinction. This view has changed drastically. The shift in this attitude came when the Shadokesh realized that three of the major worlds in the Eisenkern Empire contained vast quantities of Ardinium, the key component used in all Shadokesh technology. This awareness came when the Eisenkern Empire launched its first retaliatory offensive against a Shadokesh rim world in response to a cleansing of one of the Eisenkern border colonies. The Eisenkern Empire landed on Sokesh Prime, fielding twenty Leviathan Mortis and handily took the Shadokesh outpost. 
Scans of the new human technology revealed their origins as simplistic copies of Shadokesh technology but what intrigued the Shadokesh was the quantity of Leviathans far outstripped what was lost or what could have been salvaged in the minor engagements with the primitive humans. This could only mean that the humans had discovered Ardinium and it was surmised, given the time between the first encounters with the Shadokesh and this attack that they must have access to a large supply of this rare ore. Experience told them it would take far longer to amass this quantity when compared to the amount of Ardinium the Shadokesh had been extracting from their core worlds. 
The Shadokesh set out to map and scan Eisenkern space, sending drones to every corner of the Empire. They found three worlds at the core of the Empire brimming with Ardinuim. The ore so plentiful that the primitive race was using it in their fabrication of buildings and other structures as plating of their steel reinforcements buried within the concrete and even mixed into the concrete itself. If a Shadokesh could be offended, surely they would have been at such an egregious display of excess. Fortunately for humanity, the Shadokesh are incapable of feeling such an offence. Unfortunately, this did not change or soften the outcome. The first Great Call (gathering of the collective consciousness) after the analysis was concluded, decided humanities fate in the blink of an eye. Extermination and reclamation of all settlements containing the precious resource. 
This would be the start of the great purge. Settlement after settlement was methodically sacked and its once proud cities rendered for the minerals they contained. Only a tide of Iron would halt this onslaught; Leviathan construction had not yet reached its peak and the Mortis needed refinement and a more robust design. The Crusader class was still in its infancy and not yet available in any quantity that would change the outcome. The fate Eisenkern Empire was sealed, they needed time, time they did not have.
As fate would have it, when the Shadokesh met with a Dhar-Hazier Queen and her envoys and decided they were of no use or threat to the Shadokesh Empire and were promptly dispatched. This miscalculation may be the only reason the Eisenkern Empire still exists. The Dhar-Hazier Clans declared open war on the Shadokesh, sending genetically altered and tailored soldiers and equipment flooding across the border into Shadokesh space. The Shadokesh quickly realized that their efforts would need to be turned towards another front, the Dhar-Hazier were a far more formidable foe than originally anticipated.
Shadokesh Walkers
The Shadokesh use walkers primarily as tools, flexible extensions of their own physicality, mining, building and subjugation devices, only more recently have they been primarily used as weapon platforms. Shadokesh walkers are faster, more agile but more susceptible to damage, their shielding provides them with an equalizer against the more heavily armored Eisenkern Leviathans.
What is a Leviathan, why build a large walking target, what tactical purpose could such a device possibly serve?
Leviathans are weapons of terror, they are tools of distraction and a means to bolster morale. Leviathans were designed to hold city blocks, a statement, “Here I am, I own this, come and take it”. They are anything but subtle.
The Eisenkern Empire developed the Leviathan because it was the perfect tool to fit a need. It could go toe to toe with the Shadokesh walker. The Shadokesh primarily target cities as this is where they find they resources they are after. The soldiers defending these cities found themselves face to face with the towering Shadokesh walkers and in desperate need of being bolstered, not just in firepower but in steadfast will. Even the brave Eisenkern forces would crumble under the sheer terror of a Shadokesh walker rampaging towards their lines. The Eisenkern trooper needed a big brother that could beat the snot out of the neighborhood bully.
Very early conflicts with the Shadokesh led to some unusual observations of Shadokesh behavior. The Shadokesh, when unchallenged will go about their work tearing down buildings and rending resources with little regard for the occupants or soldiers until they are deemed a threat. This stems from the fact that the Shadokesh do not perceive humans as a true threat, more as a nuisance to be swatted when it becomes annoying. This would give precious time for the Eisenkern troopers to maneuver, this also left the civilians some options for egress before all hell would break loose.
The act of remaining seemingly oblivious would soon end as the Shadokesh begin to understand human tactics, in response the Shadokesh began annihilating a city’s population by releasing feral Shadokesh to clear out a city.  Essentially, allowing the Feral Shadokesh to reap the city of its biological infestation so that the core force could concentrate on the work at hand. This could not be allowed to continue. The Eisenkern forces needed to find a way to distract the Shadokesh, allowing the citizens time reach evacuation points so the soldiers could concentrate on the Shadokesh without fear of inadvertently killing friendlies.
Assaults by infantry and armor only peeled layers from the Shadokesh forces, just enough to deal with the perceived threats. The Eisenkern forces needed a larger hammer a weapon that could not be ignored, the Leviathan was that tool.

Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 What a Year!

Bleary eyed and I hope just a little wiser I woke to the first full day of 2014. I laid there for a while, thinking back, reflecting on all that has happened over the last year, what a ride! What an amazing adventure!

I have all of you to thank for it.  When I reflect on everything accomplished so far I know just how fortunate I am to be doing what I am doing. Plastic model kits… are you kidding me! How fracking awesome is that!? When we complete stage three, there will be 34 kits in total…. Let that sink in for a moment…. 34 new kits!

I am excited about what the New Year may bring and hopeful that the coming year will see a new faction and at the very least a Beta of Iron Core for all of you to help me break and fix. I hope that we can create a game worthy of the tremendous effort that has been made so far and the mountain of work that lay ahead; one that all of you will be proud enough of to call your own and  one that you know you helped to make a reality.

I am truly grateful to have your help and support. THANK YOU!

Just before the Christmas holiday, Wargames Factory China was kind enough to send me a gift. To be precise, John my account supervisor pulled some resources together, painted up some Stormtroopers and 15mm scale Leviathan Morti (?) and posed them on some awesome Tablescapes boards.

As many of you may know WGF are making the Tablescapes for our friend Justin over at Secret Weapons. Justin lives fairly local to me and I have had the great pleasure of spending some time with him, discussing mold work and musings of our little corner of the hobby. He makes some great bases and I am excited to see the Tablescapes boards making their way to their backers.

This is my first look at the assembled 15mm scale Mortis and seeing them painted up and ready for serious havoc vs the 28mm scale Stormtroopers was a real treat. Thank you John!

 Med center

 15mm Scale Leviathan Mortis

 Nicely detailed Secret Weapons Tablescapes

Thank you again for all your support, thank you to WGF for helping me make some fantastic products and thank you John for the great Christmas shots.

All the best,
Mark Mondragon