DreadBall Coaches achieve immortality in a number of ways. Sometimes, it’s through a singular victory. Sometimes, it’s the stewardship of a dynasty. Personally, I achieve my youthful appearance by a strict refusal to mature.
I visit toy stores.
Toys inspire me. They inspire my; studio practice, stage work, understanding of popular culture, and hobby time.
In the spring of 2017, toy stores where inundated with product for a highly anticipated summer blockbuster; GHOSTBUSTERS. Ghostbusters are awesome. Firmly rooted in the 1980s, the films and cartoons (and RPG) were instrumental in my development of the man-child I am today. The 2017 film may not have actually delivered on the hype, but it did a damn fine job with merchandise tie-in. Regardless of preferred media deliver form, physical toys of the Ghostbusters have always been universally dope.
I ran across ONE Ghostbusters toy that I KNEW would make a perfect containment center for my FAVORITE DreadBall team. I had a new home for my Ada Lorana ‘Kooky Spooks;’
01 Guard – Winston
02 Jack – Vinz
03 Jack – Zuul
04 Striker – Ray
05 Striker – Egon
06 Striker – Peter
07 Jack (Team Captain) – Gozer
It was a Ghost Trap.
The 2017 Ghost Trap toy served double duty. It was not only a diminutive prop, it was a play set.
With Trap in hand, it was clear to me that the Ada Lorana would need to have their new real estate beautified. Paint, washes, magnets, black electrical tape, and varnish later – it was ready for new occupants.
Welcome home team!
A roster of six, plus the team captain Phantasm, as well as two prone markers. Every Coach needs to use their prone markers. It’s a sign of maturity.
Magnets ensure that the models can best utilize the limited space, and in this narrow case – it’s thematically perfect. Ghosts don’t need to obey the gravity, right?
Sold separately was a perfect Coach model. Unfortunately, there is a pesky skeleton resting inside of the dapper assistant. Its removal would sacrifice the glow-in-the-dark properties, but those bones just don’t make sense.
The Kooky Spooks are THRILLED to have a new containment center that makes their Head Coach remember a favorite film. They are less than thrilled to know it won’t travel far from their home pitch because airline security thinks it’s of nefarious means. Truly, the only harm these blue besties inflict are on my opponents.
I don’t like to share Works-in-Progress, but here’s a sneak peek of a future project. I’ll let BreadDoll readers pontificate my intentions. I’ll share the final results in another Hobby Highlight (est. 2021)…
The truth can be hard to believe. It was once thought that there was only one last surviving Elastopod. Truly. This is ridiculous. There are 8.
The Elastopod home world was destroyed when a starship carrying unknown alien artefacts exploded, obliterating the entire Elstopod home system. This was almost the end of the Elastopod race. Luckily the members of the Elastopod Special Forces Bravo Squad were on patrol in a ship at the far edges of their solar system. When their planet was destroyed Bravo Squad survived. Really.
Making their way to the GCPS, Bravo Squad now plies their advanced military training on the neodurium pitches of the pro DreadBall leagues. They are a team to be feared no matter what some may say. Elastopods are not all bumbling goofs as rumor would have it. It’s unclear where that rumor began but the Sole Survivors are having none of it. Match after match the last of the Elastopods teach their opponents to respect Elastopods once again.
Back in November of 2016 my fellow BreadDoll editor Andrew hosted a DreadBall tournament call “Judgement Day”. The idea was that the referee for every game in the tournament would be Judge Dredd.
For those that aren’t familiar. Back in 1st Edition DreadBall there were alternate referee rules for using Judge Dread instead of the RefBot. Mantic produced a Ref Dredd mini. It was great fun.
Although Andrew was providing Ref Dredd models to use on the day I still decided to paint my own (above). I also decide to take it as far as I could and create a whole team of Judge Dredd themed judges to use as my team in the tournament. A conversion was needed.
I found some heads that were the key to my conversion at Puppetswar. They are sold as “Executioner Heads”.
I decided to use the Trontek 29ers as the basis of my conversion. Before buying the heads, which looked perfect, I did a few mock-ups in Photoshop.
I was happy with the mock-ups. I ordered the heads. Looking more at the mock-ups while I waited for the parts to arrive, it occurred to me that the conversion would need one more thing. Badges. I set about designing a tiny little badge in 3D and doing another mock-up.
Again the mock-up pleased me and the 3D badge design looked good. It was time to send the 3D file off and get it printed. I sent my design for printing using Shapeways and the result was perfect.
I cut off the Trontek 29ers heads using modelling clippers. Some crazy glue and patience later I had attached the new heads and badges. It was time to paint them. A quick color test to start.
To paint the blue body of the judges I used Army Painter Ultramarine Blue. I washed the base color with Army Painter Dark Tone before applying another layer of Ultramarine Blue as a highlight.
The green boots & gloves were base coated in Army Painter Army Green and washed with Army Painter Green Tone. A highlight of Army Painter Goblin Green finished it off.
The yellow bits were base coated using Army Painter Lava Orange. Reaper MSP Candlelight Yellow was applied over the orange base.
Some red, black and flesh details completed the look. Clearly it was far from my most complicated paint job but the results were satisfactory. The team was done and the conversion looked great. The Law was ready for Judgement Day!
Of the thirty published teams for DreadBall, one of my most enjoyable hobby experiences was painting the Cyborgs. Enjoyable, but also bat guano crazy. I chose a time consuming, and messy painting strategy in order to make the Revenants ready for prime-time. Herein lies the tale of technique that is not recommended for the squeamish or impatient.
Visually, DreadBall Cyborgs are a lot of meat bags with mechanical parts. Ratios of meat to mechanics may differ depending on the sculpt. They are cobbled together and their finish is not… refined. With no worries toward polish, I knew I wanted these bots to look battle worn. I wanted layered history, and I knew that required…
Follow along in a picture gallery of sameness, subtlety, and toothbrush subversion!
If any BreadDoll readers have questions about the techniques deployed or my mental health, please comment below. I also welcome any suggestions for a team name. I’m fielding the Cyborgs onto the pitch next week for my league’s EIGHTH season of DreadBall.
Though I’ve yet to commit to a team name, I lean towards CSI (Cyborg Sex Initiative). My Players have been identified.
Over the years I have created many pitches in Photoshop to be printed out on neoprene (or vinyl). As Adepticon 2019 approaches I have turned my thoughts to creating a three dimensional pitch.
I have seen a few 3D pitches created for DreadBall . Most of these pitches attempt to create the feel of a stadium. I am taking the inspiration for my project from the origins of DreadBall and a pitch I stumbled across on the internet long ago and fell in love with immediately.
It is said that DreadBall is so-called because it was first played in drop
hangar 91 aboard the Corporation warship Dread, the flagship of then Senior Flank
Commander Jesus Ortiz.
My pitch will be built to look like it is in the hanger of a GCPS ship.
One of the goals I have set for myself is that the 3D pitch I will create should double as a Deadzone board (for those not familiar, Deadzone is a miniatures skirmish game set in the same universe as DreadBall). Deadzone is most often played on a 24″ x 24″ mat so that would be the minimum size of my 3D pitch board.
I plan to design the actual playing surface of the pitch in Photoshop the same way I always have with the neoprene mat laying in the 3D hanger I construct. The neoprene mats are 28″ x 14″ so I will need to build the board larger than 24″ x 24″.
A Deadzone board is actually divided into 3″ squares (cubes) so if I make the 3D pitch board 30″ x 30″ that would be 10 squares x 10 squares instead of the normal 8 x 8 Deadzone is typically played on. I think that’s just fine.
I am still in the early planning and brainstorming phase of this project. Mantic makes a line of sci-fi terrain for Deadzone so I will almost definitely try to use as much of that in my 3D ship hanger/DreadBall pitch as I can. You might be familiar with the Mantic terrain if you backed the DreadBall Xtreme Kickstarter. As part of the Kickstarter Mantic built a 3D prison pitch using their terrain. You could add the terrain required to build the prison pitch to your Kickstarter pledge if you so wanted. I will say, it was pretty cool looking.
I want to hold a contest. Help me name the corporation starship as well as the hanger number in which my pitch will be located. My pitch is a modern DreadBall pitch. It is not meant to recreate the early days of the sport when it was still evolving. It has been setup on a modern active fleet ship. To enter the contest subscibe to the blog and email your idea to email@example.com with the subject line “DreadBall Ship Name”. Only 1 email per person will be counted. I will randomly choose one of the contest submissions and the winner will get a choice of either a Barricade Gaint or the now out of print Anne-Marie Helder mini. No deadline for entries currently, I’ll let you know when I’m far enough along in the build. Keep the suggestions/entries coming!
So this coming weekend is the 4th DC/DC DreadBall tournament in the Washington DC area. If you aren’t already planning on attending, give it a look, then decide to come play. I’m going to be there. I’m looking forward to it. It will be fun. (If the link doesn’t work for you, it’s in the closed DreadBall Fanatics Facebook group, just request to join the group or message me through this blog and I’ll get you the information.)
I’m planning to play my Sphyr (pronounced sphere, as in rhymes with fear, beer, cheer, etc…) team. My team is called Sphyria’s Fist. Interesting fact, the Sphyr have a bit of a tragic backstory. Poor buggers.
I painted my Sphyr team years ago for my first excursion to Adepticon. With the new DreadBall 2nd Edition team building rules used in tournaments I’ve decided to revisit Sphyria’s Fist to add a couple of Keepers to the team and let them kick butt once again.
So here is the recipe I used to paint these fish men back in the day and have recently revisited to bolster the ranks of Sphyria’s Fist.
So there are 5 main parts.
Brown (Gloves and Straps)
Start with a base of Citadel (Games Workshop) Ice Blue and then apply 2 washes of Secret Weapon Cool Grey. Highlight the blue back up using pure Ice Blue followed by an Ice Blue/White mix. Finally apply a final Highlight of pure white.
Start with a base coat of Game Color Heavy Violet washed with Purple Tone. Highlight the base with Alien Purple and then a finer highlight of Alien Purple/ Game Color Squid Pink.
The orange color is a base of Citadel Blazing Orange. I didn’t use a wash on the orange. Highlight with a mix of Blazing Orange and Model Color Light Orange then pure Light Orange and finally a highlight of Light Orange mixed with Game Color Pale Yellow.
I used the same recipe for the grey I always do. Uniform Grey -> Dark Tone -> Uniform Grey -> Ash Grey -> White.
Lastly the brown. Very simple. Base with Monster Brown and apply two washes of String Tone.
When playing a game, be it a regular board game, or a miniatures game, reference cards or sheets are very useful. Back in the days of 1st Edition DreadBall I created reference cards for all the teams, players, and MVPs.
I used the icons developed for the Mantic Playbook application as a way to save some space on the cards. Also, who doesn’t like a nice set of icons. Not everyone was as familiar with the icons though. I had to include a reference card for the reference cards to explain the icons. Not ideal.
Overall they were very useful as a means to quickly double check the stats and team composition when playing or just setting up. 2nd Edition DreadBall seems to have realised how convenient reference cards can be and there are now official reference cards created by Mantic. They come with a team when purchased.
The reference cards that came in the retail box of 2nd Edition DreadBall for the Neo-Bots and the Yndij are a sheet of cardstock. The reference material that comes with the boxed teams is more of a booklet design (instead of a sheet) but still a quality cardstock material.
While the Mantic references are nice, I wanted a slightly more compact reference card with team and Captain information all together with less of the fluff.
I designed my own reference cards with the intent of making them the same size as Mantic’s official MVP and Team Captain cards, 5″ x 3.5″ (the size of 2 poker cards side by side).
Here is what I came up with.
As you can see I set aside the stat icons and used the actual names this time around.
Ironically I also decided to make my own version of the MVP cards. While I really like the MVP cards Mantic designed (which is why I made my new Team cards the size to match) I ultimately decide they could be made the size of a regular poker card. So that’s what I did.
I created the cards in Photoshop such that they are a template and it’s relatively easy to input new teams in to create new, custom cards. Here is a custom Team Card I made for my Origenes Cup mutant team. This sort of custom card is particularly handy for teams like the mutants where there is no default roster.
Here are some custom team cards I made for teams playing at the Nova CTS Cup coming up this weekend in Lansing Michigan (hope to see you there).
The Greatest Sport in the Galaxy has a cast of colorful characters. Thirty distinct teams have spent time on the DreadBall pitch, throwing strikes and taking slams. It’s a randy rainbow. It’s majestic mayhem.
But the sidelines cannot be forgotten. Cheerleaders rally the crowd, Elmer and Dobbs call out Events, and the Eye-In-The-Sky surveils. All in colorful chaos. Also present? Assistant coaches!
DreadBall has a deep field of unique assistant coaching models. However, adding additional staff is very easy and inexpensive.
I fancy some relatively bizarre things. So I found their miniature equivalent and turned them into coaching assistants!
Would BreadDoll readers like to create their own? It can be accomplished in short order. A step-by-step tutorial below:
Finished! Easy, inexpensive, and most important – FUN.
Would any BreadDoll readers like to receive an alternative assistant coach? Subscribe to our BreadDoll blog between 7/31/18 and 8/6/18. We’ll randomly select someone, and mail a mini after we return from Gen Con.
I am DONE. I have painted everything for DreadBall. And then some…
My gaming club (CORT) went “all-in” for the first two DreadBall Kickstarter campaigns, and I grabbed the 2nd Edition Kickstarter bundle. As part of our acquisition program, I made a commitment to my mates that I would paint the entire lot.
I initially anticipated twelve teams, a few giants, and a handful of MVPs. That was an ambitious, but manageable oath. Then, there was another set of teams, giants, and MVPs. Not to mention a new game. Then, there was a second edition. Not to mention new, second edition components. My commitment had serious “mission creep.”
Every team, MVP, Giant, Staff, Accessory… Done. 600 plus models. It was a hell of a project, and now I’m going to go drink a beer. Maybe more.
[returning to the keyboard after two pints]
In the five and a half years it took to paint these little galactic athletes, I learned a lot. Miniature painting is a peculiar past time that affords moments of clarity on various topics; health, wellness, legacy, relationships, endurance, persistence, and dedication to name a few. Practically, I did learn a bit about pushing wet pigment around on toys.
Below lies my assessment of DreadBall miniatures. I call the proceedings my “DreadBall Superlatives.” Fourteen Rushes, fourteen categories. These opinions are mine and mine alone. All of this took longer that I’ll ever admit. Please share your opinions on my purely subjective distinctions in the comments.
Bur first, there are preambles!
I. I chose very early to mimic the color (ahem, colour) schemes of Mantic’s production photos. In part because I wanted to challenge myself, and also because I thought it would be a soft promotional tactic when fielding the teams in public spaces.
II. I used Army Painter primer and paints. I used a combination of Army Painter and Citadel tones/washes.
III. I chose very early to strive for “table top standard.” My gaming club plays games. We don’t paint games. We’re middle aged men with eye glasses to see, and pint glasses to drink beer. None of us are scrutinizing the level of miniature detail from 30″ away. Also, time. With several hundred miniatures to paint, aiming for “TTS” quality helped move the process along.
[Lengthy diatribe] Despite being a professional artist, I only began painting miniatures in 2010 with Games Workshop’s 3rd edition of Space Hulk. This relatively new past time has been an interesting diversion from my normal studio practice of painting larger works on canvas. In one way, painting a miniature is instant gratification. I can finish a “TTS” miniature within a day, whereas a canvas may sometimes take three months. In another way, painting a miniature is like a glorified coloring book. I’m slapping paint onto a fully realized image that happens to be three-dimensional. The process is fun, but it’s technique driven and strictly complementary/secondary to the work of the illustrator & sculptor. As such, it’s no where near as rewarding or fulfilling for me as creating unique works from conception to final execution.
Form follows function. In Dreadball, this refers to a) the physical game, and b) the theme.
a) [Lengthier diatribe] DreadBall is a board game. It just happens to be a board game published by a miniatures gaming company. Consequently, DreadBall has many miniature game trappings. Nonetheless, there is a cardinal rule that must be observed in board gaming – FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION. If Coaches are not familiar with this concept, it’s a phrase coined by the exemplary American architect Louis Sullivan. DreadBall is a tactical sport, and positioning is a vital concept for game mastery. Positioning is based on a hex (pun not intended). The hex is tantamount. The hex is the alpha and the omega. A DreadBall miniature merely rests on top of the hex. The miniature must be subservient to the hex in order for the game to function. If a miniature crosses the plain of it’s own hex, it disrupts adjacent hexes and the miniatures that rest upon them. An illustrator and a sculptor must be cognizant of this fact. Often they are not. It does not matter how clever/unique/original a player design may appear. If the physical sculpture breaks the hex plain – it sucks. Creativity must materialize within the parameters of game play. The parameter is the hex. Break the hex, and the miniature is broke. If that conceit reads broken to any Coaches – go play a war game with a ruler.
b) DreadBall is the greatest sport in the galaxy. It’s science fiction. The miniatures need to aesthetically complement the setting. Sculptors and illustrators have a wide berth in this case with only two requirements: science fiction and sports. Nonetheless, some DreadBall miniatures look like they belong in entirely different genres.
Also, humor. DreadBall is dealing with an absurd premise. Intergalactic warring factions of outrageously different species are competing in an organized and sanctioned sport. It’s preposterous. If illustrators and sculptors (and game designers and flavor writers) can embrace the ludicrous theme – so much the better. In my opinion, games that are heavily miniaturized need more levity. Coaches, check yourself and lighten up. We’re playing Space Jam.
Without further ado, here’s are Prof Wojo’s DreadBall Miniature Superlatives!
1. BEST TEAM SCLUPT = Marauders
WORST TEAM SCLUPT = Koris
2. BEST TEAM CAPTAIN SCULPT = Reek Rolat and Raiden (TIE)
WORST TEAM CAPTAIN SCULPT = Kal Terza and Supreme Leader (TIE)
3. BEST MVP SCULPT = Buzzcut
WORST MVP SCLUPT = ORABB1
4. BEST SUPPORT STAFF SCULPT = Fergus (Mercury)
WORST SUPPORT TEAM SCLUPT = Cheerleaders
5. BEST PRONE SCLUPT = Teraton
WORST PRONE SCULPT? = Nameless
6. BEST GIANT SCULPT = Brank ‘Boom-Fist’
WORST GIANT SCLUPT = Karadon
7. BEST IP (Intellectual Property) SCULPT = Hector Weiss
So in the wake of my last article where I talked about how I painted my Crystallan team, I now find myself painting MORE Crystallans.
For the previous article I pulled out a brand new bag of Crystallans so I could take a picture of what the unpainted translucent blue minis look like. And then they sat on my desk. Normally I’d have grabbed a baggie and shove the minis in it and put them away. But I’m moving in a month so a lot of my supplies (such as baggies) have been packed away already. Thus the Crystallan minis sat on my desk. Staring at me, whispering “paint us”, “paint us”. So… I decided to paint them. 😛
I thought about painting the new Crystallans to match the original ones I’d already done, bolster the team and give myself more options. After some consideration I thought it would be more fun to paint these minis up in a different theme and make them a separate team of Crystallans.
Step 1, deciding what colors to do them. Using Photoshop as shown in a previous article I mocked up a few color schemes. Ultimately I decided on a dark grey/black rock, red crystals, and golden armor.
Step 2 is assembling the minis. While the Crystallan DreadBall minis come assembled, I use my own custom base system (see this article), so I need to cut off and replace the bases the minis come on. I also wanted to change the look of the minis a bit so I did a few arm swaps, cutting off the arms of some of the minis and re-positioning and switching the arms between them.
So far I’ve only primed these new Crystallans, but in the next article I do, I will show you the finished minis as well as the how-to-paint instructions for how I painted them.