27 June 2013

I know, I know...

Apologies again, y'all. I thought things would get back to normal this week, but I had a project's due date pushed up two weeks at work and two sick kids that have been eating up any and all of my available free time. 

I've also been doing a horrendous job of keeping up with the comments and answering email. Again- sorry y'all. We're installing new equipment at work this weekend, so things should slow down a bit for me after this thing finally gets put to bed. 

Long story long, I think next week things should be back to normal around here. 

Thanks for putting up with the infrequent updates the past couple of weeks!

24 June 2013

More Wave 3 Reveals- Lambda Shuttle, Part 3

Originally, this wasn't really meant to be a multi-part set of articles, but I got really sidetracked on what became Part 1 and here's Part 2



Last of the named Imperial Shuttle pilots is the ubiquitious Captain Yorn. And by ubiquitous I mean... I don't know. I'm pretty sure that word doesn't mean what I thought it meant. In any case, here's this Captain Yorr fella. 

So, 24 points. Not bad for a PS 4 ship with 10 HP (Hull + Shield). Holy mackerel. Same price as a Red Squadron X-Wing, same PS... I can't wait to see the maneuver dial. I'll just leave it at that. 

All right- card text. Oh Captain, my captain says that when another friendly ship is Range 1-2 and would receive a Stress Token, The Good Captain can take it instead, assuming he has 2 or less Stress Tokens to begin with. Funny, with Kath Scarlet on the Gear Team, this guy seems like he'd see way more action on the Rebel side of the Mason-Dixon line, but whateva. 

Does that do any good? Think of some situations where it could help- any nearby pilot who can take Push The Limit basically doesn't have to worry about the downside of that card. Aaaand- oh! Anybody doing a K-Turn! 

Ok, so that's actually pretty nasty when I stop and think about it. 

I've talked about K-Turns on here a little before, generally I feel it's suited either to the super aggressive or the new player- losing your Action just to get an enemy in your sights I generally feel is too much to trade. In any case, this guy more or less makes me reverse the opinion now that's essentially a white maneuver for the (up to) two other pilots besides him. Note that this isn't an Action for Yorr, nor is there any timing confinement to the Activation or Shooting phases. 

Past that, he's the same as the other Shuttle pilots- he can take up to 2 Crew Members, secondary weapon systems symbolized by the funky raygun, and the new fangled System Upgrades. Maybe I'm missing it, but nothing jumps out to me as super-useful on Yorr. Again, what I mean by that is I don't see anything that meshes particularly and/ or uniquely well with his special card text, not that you shouldn't take any of the available upgrades to him. As he's likely to be a pretty high priority target for your opponent (or should be, in any case), I'd personally lead more towards defensive upgrades like Rebel Captive or good old Shield Upgrade. Maybe you could talk me into a Weapons Engineer on the notion that if you TLed a couple of ships, you could take Stress from other ships and yet still make use of the Target Locks. Yeah, you probably could talk me into that. Mainly though, he oughta be the support ship he's supposed to be. Of course, sometimes the best defense is a good offense, and all that. 

At some point, it's probably occurred to you that interaction between green maneuvers and Stress Tokens really makes a difference on this dude's effectiveness. Namely, if you do a green does it remove one Stress Token or all Stress Tokens? Well, depending on your faction, you'll be happy to know that in the rulebook towards the bottom of the left column on page 7 under the 4. Check Pilot Stress heading, we find that performing a green maneuver removes a single Stress Token from the ship. So there ya go. 

So what's my overall take on Captain Yorr? Kinda silly name aside (is it just me? It's not, right? Kinda sounds like a B-Movie monster or something. Definitely one of those monsters that like, is named for what it says- YYOOOORRRRRRRRR...), Yorr has a pretty solid special ability that doesn't rely on Pilot Skill or phases and is driving a pretty salty ship for 24 points. I'm down with that. 



19 June 2013

Gimme a Few...

Hey y'all- made it into Cincinnati (well, Florence, actually) at like 2am local time. I gotta get some Z's before my training stuff tomorrow. I'll try and update at lunch, but no guarantee. I'll have something up for tomorrow though, I promise. 

18 June 2013

More Wave 3 Reveals- Lambda Shuttle Part 2

Originally, this wasn't really meant to be a multi-part set of articles, but I got really sidetracked on what became Part 1, so here's Part 2. 



Aiight then, let's talk about another Lambda Shuttle Pilot, the middle Pilot Skill version, Colonel Jendon. First thing that jumps out at me? He's only one point less than our ould (wow- is that a typo or like some ye olde school Scottish Auld Lang Syne type shit? Still very tired, apparently) sorry- old pal Major Kagi. Kagi, as you'll recall had a PS of 8, and as they have the same icons in their upgrade bar, we better be looking at a better card text ability, right? 

The ability is interesting. Especially since Lambda Shuttles can't even take Torpedoes or Missiles. As I'm sure you'll recall, lots of Imperial ships can't. Target Lock is as standard as power windows and locks on Rebel ships, but only half of the (current) Imperial ships have the option. 

Thinking about this made me remember a thread on the rules section of the FFG X-Wing forums. The question, at the time, was could Dutch Vander pass on a Target Lock to a ship that couldn't normally take a Target Lock Action. I have no idea how the question even came up- I guess maybe folks were speculating that the A-Wing wouldn't have Target Lock or something. I remember thinking at the time, "Christ. We really have nothing to talk about if people are arguing over stuff that's not even likely to effin' happen." 

Color me wrong. Lols. 

So I guess Colonel Jendon answers that question, or maybe not- I don't know. I guess he could pass along a TL to a TIE Fighter or Interceptor if they're friendly and they don't have a blue TL, right? I don't see why not really, and I can't remember what the line of thinking was in that rules debate for why Vander couldn't pass his along now. 

Anyhizzle, ok, so obviously Jendon's meant to be used with the forthcoming TIE Bombers, which seems fairly scary at a glance. The wording on Jendon's card is a little different than Dutch's text- Dutch passes along what is effectively an additional TL, and by additional I mean Dutch still retains his, while Jendon actually gives his away. Jendon's also happens later than Dutch's and at a different range- Dutch at the time he acquires his (i.e. the Activation phase) and 1-2, Jendon at the start of the Combat Phase, Range 1 only. Is that significant? I don't know, kinda, yeah. The range thing for obvious reasons, the timing because you could conceivably have a higher PS ship too far away from Jendon to get the lock during Jedon's activation phase, but then have it close enough at the start of the combat phase to benefit. Is that a big deal? I don't know- if you're talking about a ship that can Boost or Daredevil into Range 1, I guess it could be, sure. It's also worth noting that the way the text reads, Jendon's actually giving away one of his blue TL tokens to the other ship. What I mean by that is it doesn't let the ship make a TL of its own- it gets whatever enemy ship was TLed by Jendon for it's Target Lock. 

The best way to utilize this off the top of my head would be to roll a Weapons Engineer as a Crew Member in Jendon's ride. That way you've always got a TL to dish, and yet you've also got the option of keeping one for Jendon to use if the opportunity presents itself. Of course, if you can pass that TL to a Bomber, especially a Bomber that Focused (preferably with Deadeye as an Elite Pilot Skill if any of them can take Elite Pilot Skills), you can bet you're going to put the maximum hurt on somebody. 



Another option would be installing a Fire Control System as Jendon could then use his Action as contextually appropriate (i.e. not always TLing to pass it along). Fire Control Systems- it ain't just for B-Wings anymore. 

So we said yesterday that Kagi debatably works better as more of a hang back support ship than one that's actively trying to smoke fools off the board. I think Jendon could work in either role. I mean, with all those shields and hull, you could make a case for him playing a little offensively to get those ships in TL range, and with his middle of the road Pilot Skill, I think you could make a strong case for Anti-Pursuit Lasers. 



Another card you could perhaps make a case for use with Jendon in a more offensive role would be that Recon Specialist Crew Member chick. 



Jendon can't give away the Focus tokens or anything, but if you think you're going to get shot at by several ships in the Combat round, it could be pretty handy to have a couple of Focus tokens lying around to try and mitigate that lousy 1 Defense. 

Any big ship that might be getting up close and personal with the enemy would also do well to consider another card I didn't really touch on yesterday- the Saboteur Crew Member. 


Admittedly, it doesn't appear to be the easiest card in the world to use, and it's almost exclusively going to be worthwhile only against other big ships (and who knows if the current big ship meta will stick around as prominently as it is now post-Wave 3), but as I've been saying on here for several months, the easiest way to try and deal with a big ship is to throw some d's on that bitch, I mean, throw some crits on that bitch. Saboteur does that and does it well, not to mention does it in the Activation phase rather than the Combat Phase, which is just icing on a tasty cake. Not the easiest cake to bake, if I can mix the metaphor, but for only 2 points, I think it's certainly worthwhile to at least consider. 

I kinda mixed up my Crew Members and System Upgrades there, and while the above reads fairly coherently, we still should talk about funky raygun and the remaining Crew Members. Sorry for being a little scattered with this, but bear with me and we'll get through this together

So remaining stuff that work better than usual with Jendon? To be honest, nothing else really jumps out at me. As usual, if I'm planning on hanging out in the backfield and passing along TLs to a couple of Bombers while my other ships mix it up, I'd go HLC, with the Mercenary Copilot Crew Member. If I were wanting to get a little closer, Ion Cannon with Gunner. Assuming of course I've got points to burn and I want to use the shuttle in an offensive role. 

That said, I think you can get away with relatively few upgrades on Jendon and still have him be worthwhile. If you could find the points, having him fly around with Kath Scarlet could be pretty nasty, as she could Focus or use Marksmanship for her Action, then get a TL from Jendon, and get pretty mean in the Combat Phase with none of that really requiring much forethought or planning. In other words, you could likely do it just about every round you wanted to. You could save a couple of points and use it with Trelix in a similar fashion, but I think it's almost overkill with him considering his built-in card text. Of course, he could always select Evade for his Action instead too. Either way, you've got a couple of high HP ships flying around both with Attack 3 primaries which can't be ignored by the enemy very long. I've talked about dual Firespray lists before, this setup would be kind of similar except of course you're looking at a much cheaper Firespray type ship in the Lambda Shuttle, so you'd have more points to play with than usual. Or you could get really silly and go 2 Bounty Hunters with Jendon instead of 3 Bounty Hunters and end up with 7 more points left to spend on upgrades, but with similar staying power and improved functionality. That could be interesting. 


17 June 2013

What's good Cinci?

I have no idea if I'll actually have time to really even do anything, but just kind of a tentative heads-up, my work is sending me to Cincinnati, OH later this week for corporate training. I'll be in late Tuesday night, then coming back home Friday at noon. I haven't gotten an itinerary from my work yet, so I don't know if there's those mandatory team-buildling dinners every night or I'll actually have time to play, but I'm packing some X-Wing stuff and Android: Netrunner decks and taking them with me on the off-chance I get to play a bit while I'm gone. 

If any of y'all are from around there and want to try and get a game, leave me a comment or bust me off an email and we'll try and make something happen. 


More Wave 3 Reveals!- Lambda Shuttle, Part 1



I figure most of y'all have already seen the new Wave 3 Reveals on the FFG site (I was notified by Bikini Aficionado Daniel Valenta back on Thursday via email), but now that we know much more than what we did previously, but still not quite enough for me to give her the full-on, traditional, TheMetalBikini.com breakdown treatment, we'd spend a little time today talking about the Lambda, her pilots, and some of her upgrade cards in light of the new info. 

Pilots


Captain Kagi has the highest Pilot Skill of the named Lambda shuttle pilots and has a Biggsish special ability to pull Target Locks to himself instead of his pals. Note I said, "Biggsish"- it's not exactly like Biggs' ability, but it's kinda similar in that it forces the opposing player into changing his gameplan in regard to target priority when Kagi's floating around the board. 

So, again, I can't do a for reals breakdown yet since not all of the Wave 3 cards have been revealed, but I can tell you a couple of things that jump out at me. 

First off, note the way that text is worded- there's no Range associations like there is with Biggs' ability- just if somebody could lock onto you, they have to instead of another ship. Remember, this is a big base ship we're talking about here- think back to that picture I ran with the Falcon, Range ruler in that "Han Shoots First- Why Is It So Good?" article a little while back? 


So, that's basically the area you can have your ships flying around without having them Target Locked. Scary, huh? I'm sure there's much deeper strategy than this, but flying Kagi with a couple of named pilot Interceptors as wingmen seems even harder to shoot down than usual. 

Looking at the upgrades, you see perhaps a bit of why the ship is relatively cheap- no Elite Pilot Skills. Still though, two crew members, the funky raygun, and the System Upgrade icons shouldn't be dismissed. It just means you can't pack on Elusiveness or Draw Their Fire or whatever. 

So there's only been a couple of Systems Upgrade cards revealed, right? I wonder if any of those dovetail with Kagi? 



Sensor Jammer works pretty well with Kagi's ability. With all those Target Locks he's pulling, somebody's bound to snap off a torpedo or missile at him, right? Well, the long story short version of this is if your target doesn't have a Focus-type ability/ Action declared, you get to change a hit result to the eyeball. 

I confused myself on the original write-up of this paragraph, so let me put it more simply for hopefully both of our benefits, but if nothing else, at least my own. 

From the BBB-"The Combat Phase Explained!" article- 

3. Modify Attack Dice
This is where you can spend action tokens and resolve abilities that re-roll or otherwise modify attack dice results. I don't think it could happen in Wave 1, but in Wave 2, there are some defender abilities that resolve against the attack dice. If you're in a situation where both the attacker and defender have abilities that modify the attack dice, the defender resolves his modifications first, then the attacker resolves his.

So yeah, unless they've got a Focus-type ability kicked on, this actually does kind of neuter stuff as lots of people fire off shots with just a Target Lock instead of a Target Lock + Focus/ Marksmanship. The way this would go down is: 

1. Attacker rolls attack dice. 
2. Kagi changes 1 <filled explosion> to a <eyeball>
3. Attacker modifies results, but can't re-roll the die changed by Kagi due to card text on Sensor Jammer. 

Fire Control is a more offensive ship type System Upgrade, so I'm not immediately a fan of that on Kagi. As usual, not saying it can't work, just saying it doesn't work particularly well

Moving on to Crew Members, I don't see anything obviously beneficial between Kagi and the Wave 2 guys, but we have seen a few of the Wave 3 Crew Members.



If I'm the Rebel player going against a Kagi Lambda, I'd probably just bite the bullet and try to get him off the table as quickly as possible like I would with Biggs. This Rebel Captive card makes that a much less appealing option. Oh sure, you might have Tycho Celchu buzzing around in which case it's not that big of a deal, but if you don't, it does put a hitch in your giddy up

The 2-for-1 Focus Tokens from a Recon Specialist is going to help anybody able to take a Crew Member in post-release Wave 3, and it could help keep Kagi alive a little longer to offset that 1 Defense, so that's always an option too. 

There were a couple of other Crew Members revealed in this same FFG article too- 



Yup, ol' Annie himself is now available as a Crew Member. At first glance, it seems a fairly steep trade-off, but dig on the fact that it explicitly says, "Suffer 1 critical damage." Maybe I'm crazy, but to me, that goes through shields even. Note: I'm probably crazy. That said, it's still pretty doggone nasty. Would also work even if another ship in range of the intended target had Draw Their Fire. Still doesn't let you stick a crit to a Chewie Falcon or Determination though. It also wouldn't kill a Stealth Device if you're wondering. Also note that it doesn't say anything about that attack actually hitting the friggin' target. Hoo boy- that card's only 3 points? Thank God it's dotted.

I'm not nuts about him on Kagi, though because there's this guy- 



So that's pretty cool, right? Again, big base ship so that Range 1-2 is pretty significant really. Kinda pales in regard to Vader, but I think on Kagi, you might get more use out of Intelligence Agent. Especially if the other side is flying Han, Wedge, or some other high Pilot Skill pilot and you pair Kagi with- 



Blocking big ships with some dipshit Academy or Gray (Grey? I think it's Gray in X-Wing) isn't going to be quite as valid anymore. Yeah, admittedly, it's a modification, so you wouldn't be able to take the other usual suspect Mods (Stealth Device and Shield Upgrade, of course), but on a big ship with low Pilot Skill (read that first sentence closely), this 2-point modification could be a massive game-changer in the current meta (oh my God, y'all- remember that 3-ship Outer Rim Smuggler list I mentioned before? Holy friggin' mackerel!). Note again, we have a card that's doing direct damage- similar to the way Assault Missiles works, so defense rolls and Evade tokens need not apply!

Wow, so originally I was going to talk about all the different pilots for the Lambda, but that got a lot more in-depth than I'd planned. I'll talk about the other pilots tomorrow, and who knows, maybe even the next day if those articles go long too- they might, they might not. We'll just have to see. 


We're Open For Business (Again)!

Hey y'all, 

Thanks for your condolences and your understanding. The hippest pilot bar in the galaxy is once again serving up fine malt tactics, so pull up a stool and dig on the knowledge!

Doors open at the usual time- in about 4 hours. 

Peace! 

Clint

13 June 2013

Sorry! We're (Temporarily) Closed.

Hey y'all, 

Apologies, but I need to close the bar for a couple of days. We had a death in the family today (well, yesterday by the time you read this), and I just can't quite get my head in the right place to write about X-Wing right now. I've been sitting here watching the good night baby programs I use to get my kids to fall asleep, and usually once I go into my head, I come up with something to talk about on here, but it's just not happening for me this evening; I'm just too distracted to focus. 

I don't need a ton of "Sorry, bro" comments, I'm not looking for sympathy, just wanted to offer some kind of explanation as to why I'll be taking the next couple of days off from TMB.com. 

I'll be back on Monday, probably with a new installment of "It Was a Dark and Boozy Night", hopefully with a whole bunch of game results if y'all dug it, or some of my usual witty banter about some other topic if y'all don't. Either way, it's all good. 

Peace! 

Clint

12 June 2013

Arts and (Space)Crafts- Flocky's Falcon Engine Strip

Arts and (Space)Crafts is a series of articles here on TheMetalBikini.com where I spotlight some of the more hobby-oriented aspects of X-Wing Miniatures and share them with y'all. 


My main man from Oz-land comin' through again with another brilliantly simple hobby mod for y'all. Take it away, Flocky!

Got another one you can use if you want Clint.

The incredibly easy Millenium Falcon engine modification.

Basically I printed off different colour (HA HA spelling) blue strips from my printer and then cut them down to size to fit in the slot of the Falcons engine. Use the tooth pic to add a curve to engine strip to allow it fit easier. Then just push it flat. Cut the excess off the ends. Viola!! No gluing required. It just sits in there nicely. Its a cheap mod. No painting to screw up and removable.

The width is just under 4mm (~.15 inches). Trim as necessary

The next step up would be to use glossy photo paper to make it really shine.
Also if you have photoshop skills you could make a white stripe in the middle, fading out towards the edge.
I do not possess these skills. I went with the solid colour.
But if you or a fellow Metal Bikini aficionado could do it that would be great.

Cheers
Flocky (My preferred name)

P.S. I got my friends to view your site and they said "Who the hell is Pete? You're Flocky."


I don't know if Australia has a space program, but if they do, this guy should work for them. I mean, honestly- how many times have you been playing a match, looked at the back of your YT-1300 and thought to yourself, "Man, I oughta paint that blue.", but then not done it because you thought you'd screw it up? So brilliantly simple, man. I love it!

I thought maybe I'd take a crack at adding the white strip in the middle with Picasa or something before I put up this article, but then as I'm checking my mail this morning, I see this in my inbox- 


New and improved Falcon engine with gloss photo paper.

I added a lighter colour line in the middle to simulate the inner hotter part of the engine going to the blue cooler colour on the outside.
I did this with the basic Windows 8 paint program, nothing more. Printed it out and cut to size.




Now I will adjust the maneuver dial to add a green straight 6 ahead! LOL If it could do a 4 straight with the engines OFF, well the engines are ON now aren't they?

Cheers
Flocky


Completely agree, PAL. And on the off-chance we meet up sometime for a game, I'll totally let you pull a straight 6 with that Falcon. Best believe that!

Obviously, you can make your own, but if you want to use Flocky's blue strip with the white interior, here's the image he used in his print out. 


For reals- how hot is that? It looks brilliant! I'm totally going to knock this mod out this weekend. 

Thanks again, BUDDY! :) 



11 June 2013

Product Review- Urban Lasercraft X-Wing Miniatures Templates



UPDATE: Will from Urban Lasercraft emailed me today and said that any of y'all who are fans of TheMetalBikini.com and buy his templates should mention the site in your PayPal comments if you buy two sets of templates, he'll throw in a second set of tokens free! 


Also, I completely forgot to mention that he has some pretty sweet container type scenery pieces that'd be good for 40k, Infinity, AT-43, etc. Check 'em out here.

Last week, a kind soul busted me off an email asking if I wanted to check out a set of his X-Wing Miniatures Templates he was producing. We went back and forth for a few emails, but sure enough, when I got home from work today, I had a package in my mailbox!

I've come close to buying a set of acrylic templates ever since I didn't win a Range Ruler in my FLGS' X-Wing Season 1 Game Night Kit. In fact, I came close to buying a set in Edwardsville last weekend as they had a pretty swanky translucent blue set for sale there at the store, but instead opted for a couple of Android: Netrunner Data Packs. 

So for William Urban to contact me and offer me a set of templates for review on TheMetalBikini.com just two days later was just too effin' cool, y'all. 

Opening up the USPS envelope today, I found not only a full set (and by full set I mean all of the maneuvers as well as a range ruler) of Urban's black opaque Imperial templates, but also a full set of translucent red Rebel templates, and a set of his game tokens- 3 red translucent Stress tokens, 3 translucent orange crits, and a couple of translucent blue shields! Damn, Gina! All this work on TMB.com is finally payin' off!

So first things first, I know the question on your mind. It was the first question on my mind- are these things the same size as the stock templates? I got out the FFG templates I usually play with (the other set I leave in my "extras" box) and stacked the Urban Lasercraft templates on top of them and snapped some pics. 

Look closely- those Imperial templates are actually on top of my FFG cardboard templates


You'll notice they're very, very close. I'd go so far as to say they're as close as the FFG cardboard templates are to one another across sets. Will says on his Ebay auction page that the templates are to within + / - 0.5mm. I'd buy that assessment, and again- I work in automotive manufacturing, y'all- I routinely deal with parts that are a mil or two out of spec that are being rejected by the customer, y'know? Also, in case you weren't aware, FFG changed their stance somewhat on 3rd party accessories like this being used in official tournament settings in their most recent edition of the X-Wing Miniatures Tournament Rules. Long story short, you can use 3rd party templates now, but if your opponent feels you're gaining an unfair advantage, he can demand to use the same templates for his half of the Game Turn as well. So if you'd been holding off purchasing because you didn't think they were legal, stuff's done changed, yo. 

 Again- these Urban Lasercraft templates are lying on top of my cardboards


As for how they look, they look pretty sweet as you can see from the pics. I personally like the Imperial Gear and Rebel Firebird, and Urban Lasercraft points out in their auction page that they can do custom logos as well. I would probably do a little paint-fill on the numerals, arrows, and symbols with some white paint just to make them stand out more (they're cut into the plastic, so this would be super easy to do), but that's just me. I'm also the guy that actually used to use that crayon on the dice in the D&D Basic Set back in the day when he was in 4th grade. And by that I mean, you don't have to do it, but I would. 

Stacked


As for the material, of course they're much heavier than the cardboard templates. They're pretty beefy actually as not only is the material inherently stronger than cardboard, but they're also thicker which you can observe in the angled pics above. 

Close-up to emphasize translucence and opaqueness on the templates. Shot with no flash on a white piece of paper. Actually a receipt. Actually a receipt from Day Out With Thomas from this past Sunday. He loved it. Thanks for asking.

As to why I didn't take a bunch of pics with the Rebel templates on top of my FFG cardboard templates- don't read anything into it. They're within the same tolerance as the Imp stuff- I just got lazy and the battery on my wife's DSLR I use to take all these pictures was getting low. If you're really worried about it, tell me in the comments and I'll take more pictures tonight when I get home from work. 

The Rebel Range Ruler is on top of the FFG Cardboard Range Ruler- see it underneath?


So what's the bottom line here? There are several companies producing acrylic X-Wing Miniatures templates- why should I choose Urban Lasercraft's offering over the others? To me, it all boils down to cost. Call it the manufacturing engineer in me, call it the dude who lived check to check for longer than he probably had any business doing, whatever. In any case, while I will absolutely tip fairly, buy stuff from my local FLGS' rather than online at any and every opportunity, and even buy that overpriced Boy Scout popcorn every year (ok- that's less goodness of my heart and more the best freakin' cheddar popcorn ever), much of this hobby stuff does come down to cost for me, and at the end of the day, a full set of templates from Urban is $20 while most other places are charging more like $30. I also dig the fact that much like yours truly, Will Urban is a guy doing this on the side because he loves the game and wanted to produce something that would benefit folks and also maybe make him a little scratch on the side. He's not some faceless corporation- he's just a guy hawking some sweet templates he produces. 

Urban Lasercraft's Token set- a crit, a shield, and some Stress Tokens


So there ya go. If you've been looking around for some acrylic templates for X-Wing Miniatures,  but weren't sure where to go, stop by William's Ebay page and take a look. He's got pictures of all four colors as well as pics of his token set. At the time of this writing, he appears to have sold about 21 sets of templates and still has his 100% feedback rating, which should tell you pretty much all you need to know if you were still on the fence about the quality or whatever. 

Not tough to pick out which ships have the crits is it? 


Or hell, do it because you wanted to buy some templates anyway and just hadn't done so yet, and you love the Bikini and you love me. Or at least like me. Whatever. I'm not getting any dough from Urban in this arrangement, I just like the guy and I appreciate the free stuff.

Thanks again, William! Hope you sell a ton, bro!

UPDATE: There were some questions in regard to the Rebel and Imperial 2 turn templates in the comments, so I put the Rebel templates on top of the Imperial templates and took a couple of quick pics with my phone. Here's the results- a couple with flash, a couple without. They're true to each other. 







10 June 2013

It Was A Dark and Boozy Night, Part 1

This is the first part in a multi-part campaign presented by TheMetalBikini.com over the coming weeks. Enjoy, and please- participate! The more the merrier and all, and all, and all that



     It was night.
     Nah. 
     It was a dark night. 
     No. 
     It was a dark and stormy night. 
     Nyet. 
     It was a dark and boozy night. 
     Yeah. 


* * *
     
     You may not remember it this way, but there was a time, just a few years back, that people didn't know about The Metal Bikini and her frighteningly accurate... ability? Power? Curse? I still don't really know what to call it. 
     Of course, that was before my big mouth ended up on the Brynna Byrks holonet show. Yeah. My little bar ending up one of the most famous dives in the Rim. Ever wonder how exactly that went down? Getting connected to arguably the largest rivalry in sports, or maybe more importantly, in sports gambling will do that to a place, y'know? The Hutts didn't always travel months through hyperspace just to hang out in my parking lot for a night, then split, y'know. 
     I should have known better. A dame like that, walking into a dive like The Bikini. I didn't though. Not right off. She played me like a two credit Kloo horn- what can I say though? I'm a sucker for a tall blonde, and she was both. 
         "Are you Clint?" She asked. 
     I turned around more than a little startled from wiping down the back bar; not having heard her come in. Not many folks address me by name in the Bikini. Not folks who aren't staff, that is. It's "Buddy", or "Dude", or "Bartender." Once in awhile, it's "Cid.
     It's nearly never "Clint." 
         "Sure, doll." I said tossing the towel over my left shoulder, flinging a mixture of cheap booze and water from the floor to the ceiling in a shimmering arc. Stupid bar towel was sopping wet. "Uh, word. That's me. I'm Clint. Get ya somethin'?" 
         "A little juri juice?" She said taking a seat on one of the barstools and settling herself and her bag. 
         "Comin' up." Said I while I took a bottle from the top shelf. 
         "Place is a little dead." She remarked while I poured. 
          "Oh, it's still well before kickoff. Plenty of time for the place to pack." I said, pushing her drink towards her. "And it'll pack. Trust me." 
     Stupid, stupid, stupid. Showing off in front of the pretty customer. I really should have known better. 
         "You're talking about the match tonight." 
         "Spacechester City against Spacechester United- you know it." I said nodding. "I don't see any sky blue or red...", I said, using it as an excuse to look her up and down. "You a supporter?"
         "Close." She said. "Not so much a supporter. Something of an... observer?"  
         "Ah, a girl of mystery." I said leaning in a bit, looking her dead in the eyes. 
         "Is there any other kind?" She asked innocently with her words, her eyes telling me a different story as she leaned in, holding my gaze. 
         "Oh, there's other kinds, sure." I replied, unblinking. "But they're usually not worth getting to know." 
     And with that, the first fight of the day broke out. 
     I'd heard the beginnings of the confrontation, of course. Fights on match day had been going on for three seasons now, so it wasn't like I wasn't expecting it. Word had gotten around in a few circles even before she strolled into the bar that fateful evening. It was the reason I'd scheduled Bee-Cee to bounce for me that evening and even asked that he turn up a bit earlier than usual for his shift. I'd also had Sh-1 maintenanced and the tall, lithe assassin droid was ready to roll at a moment's notice even though he appeared to be shut down against the back wall of the bar as something of a decoration between the jerseys, uniforms, holoprojectors, musical instruments, and other assorted whatnots adorning the bar in a rather eclectic floatsam and jetsam of memorabilia some might describe as just junk. 
     Bee-Cee stomped behind the bar, his duty of tossing out troublesome patrons complete, and thrust his fists into the ice cooler, nodding towards the beautiful customer and grunting an acknowledgement towards me. He hissed air through his gritted teeth, also acknowledging the pain in his bleeding knuckles as he said to no one in particular. "Sun's barely set and I've already broken skin. Gonna be a long night." 
     I turned only my head away from the vision on the barstool in front of me and asked, "Who won?" 
         "United supporters. Got there before I could break it up. Laid out a couple of the City boys in a good ol' fashioned beatdown. Geesho the Hutt already bonked out." 
     I shook my head. "Way too early to be leaving the party. It's always the last one that matters." 
     Bee-Cee nodded in silent agreement. 
         "What do you mean?"
     I happily turned back to my customer. "It's the last contest that matters. Not everyone knows that little tidbit. Doesn't matter if one side wins every brawl, dogfight, card game, drinking contest... whatever. It's the last one that counts. The last one before we close up shop for the night that determines the winner. Of course, that being said, any of them could possibly be the last one, so the fans try to win every single one." 
     She looked at me, puzzled. "I'm sorry, what?" 
         "Whoever wins the last contest- their team wins the match." 
         "Wait- are you telling me that whoever wins the last bar fight or whatever- their side will end up winning the match tonight?" 
         "That's exactly what I'm telling you, sweetheart." I said smiling. "The shi-, uh, stuff that goes down in this bar on match days... well, when it comes to predicting the outcome of the City and United derbies? She's always right. League play, Galaxy Cup, friendly, Federations, whatever. Doesn't matter. Between those two sides, whoever wins in here, or above here, or near here, wins the match. I have no idea why, but I first noticed it at the start of last season. We went back a couple of seasons and watched surveillance footage and compared what we saw with old results. It held true every time." 
         "That's absolutely crazy!" She said. "What are the odds of that?"
         "After this many matches being accurately predicted? Hell, as good as those sides are, they meet up 4 or 5 times a season usually. I don't know, actually. I'm just a bar owner, y'know? I'm not great at stats math-"
         "3,720 to 1." Said Sh-1's metallic voice from the back of the bar. 
     Again- I know I'm an idiot. I should have realized this was a setup of the highest order right from the start. Way too pretty customer, way too chatty customer. In the bar on match day, but wasn't a supporter of either side. She'd not even touched her drink, either. That's the one I really kind of kick myself over. I mean, I'm a bartender for cryin' out loud. That should have jumped out at me like the Executor translating into real space. Sheesh. 
     She was awfully pretty though. 
         "So how'd it start?" She said a little quietly- under her breath, like. "What made you first notice the connection?" 
         "Ah, the usual." I said dismissively, trying desperately to look like I was playing it cool. "A couple of pilots in here blowing off steam as usual. Both Imperial cadets as I recall. One was a United supporter, the other City. Came in friends, but after a few drinks and as game time edged closer, the good-natured joking around and taunting went and got a little dark. Next thing I knew, they were about to throw down at that table right over there." 
     She didn't bother turning around to see which table I was gesturing at. "So what happened? Did you break up the fight?" 
         "Nah." I said. "I'm no good in a fight. You need a talker? I'm your guy. You need a charmer? I'm... also your guy. Fists in a fight though? Nah. Not my strong suit." 
         "So what happened?" 
         "I told them to get out." I shrugged. "Figured it was worth a shot, anyway. In my experience, Imperial boys usually do what their told if you say it loud enough. Probably part of their conditioning. I told them to take it outside, the next thing I knew they'd jumped in their TIEs and were going at it, still inside atmo over the bar." 
         "Are you serious?" She gasped.
         "As a force choke." I replied. "I'd never seen anything like it. Sure enough though, the next day after the match, a couple of officers stopped by asking about them. One had made it back, but the other was AWOL, et cetera, et cetera. They flashed me a holo of the missing one. Knowing he was space dust, I thought to myself, 'Well, at least he didn't have to watch City lose that 2-0 lead.'" 
     She dug in her bag and pulled out a few credits. "And that was when you realized." 
         "That was when I realized, yeah. Well, I think actually, that was when I knew. I think I'd kind of realized it a couple of seasons ago." I paused hoping to lend some gravity or brevity to my words, silly and unbelievable as they were. "That was when I knew. Because those guys had fought and the United supporter had won their aerial duel, that United would win and City would lose. Of course, that was exactly what happened. That was the night of the Space FA Trophy Final." 
     She then rather abruptly tossed the credits for the drink onto the bar in my general direction, stood up, and started for the door. 
         "Hey!" I called after her, surprised and dismayed at her departure. "Was it something I said?" 
     She stopped just short of the door, turned back towards me and said, "Yes. Yes it was." She stifled a laugh, blew me a kiss, and walked out of the bar. 
         "Chicks." Said Bee-Cee, pulling his hands out of the ice, shaking his head.
         "No doubt." Said a metallic voice from the back of the bar. 
         "For rizzle." I said in agreement with them both. 
     Then the second fight of the evening between the Spacechester City and Spacechester United supporters broke out. 
     A couple hours later, that mysterious woman became a whole lot less mysterious. Turns out she was a holonet reporter who'd heard rumors of the Bikini's strange ability to pick the winner of the City and United derby matches and had decided to do a little investigative journalism on the subject. I don't know if she cut the recording of me blabbing about it in her shuttle on the way back Core-ward or what, but in the span of just two hours, things went from nuts to a complete outbreak of the crazy at The Metal Bikini. Her "interview" with me aired just a couple hours later and was the most popular thing on the holonet. If you were a United or City supporter, you were likely on your way to my bar with your crew to do your part in assuring your beloved side a win in their derby. 
     For whatever reason, the infamous duel between the Academy pilots was soon being re-created over and over above my bar. I guess because I'd specifically mentioned it in my ramblings to the beautiful newswoman and it featured prominently in her special report on the precognitive ability of the bar to pick the winner of the upcoming match. In any case, the skies over the bar were alight with blaster fire as hundreds of individual dogfights broke out. 
         "Holy mackerel." I sighed as the special report concluded on the holonet. "It's gonna be one of those nights." 


* * *

Scenario 1: The Duel
We'll fly out 200 meters, turn, and fire!

Mission Setup-
Imperial only
Spacechester United supporter player (Red) selects an Academy Pilot*
Spacechester City supporter player (Blue) selects an Academy Pilot*
*Note- Players may, at their discretion sub in other ships to add variety to the scenario, so long as they are both flying exactly the same ship. 

Both players set their ships back to back in the center of the 3' x 3' play area. Flip a coin to determine which player possesses initiative. The six standard Asteroid obstacles are then placed in alternating fashion by the two players anywhere between Range 2-3 from their ship's starting location on their half of the board (i.e. from the rear edge of their ship's base forward as determined by the facing of their ship). 

Just so we're clear, this is what I mean by back to back. 

Ships start in the center of the play field. 

Closeup of the asteroid placement- all are between Range 2-3 and on the owning player's half of the board. 


Special Rules-
Both players begin the game in the Planning Phase as usual, selecting a maneuver on their dials. The turn then proceeds to the Activation phase, also as usual, with players moving their ships and assigning Actions at their discretion. After this however, and for the first Game Round only, the players forego the Combat Phase entirely and proceed directly to the End Phase. At the start of the second Game Round, and indeed for the rest of the game, the Game Round proceeds through all four phases as normal. 

Objectives- 
Each player is simply trying to destroy his counterpart. 

* * *

Here's where you guys come in! 

From 4:00am Central Daylight Time (US) today, 10 June 2013 until 10pm CDT (US) on Sunday, 16 June 2013, play through the following scenario as many times as you want, total up the number of wins (as defined below) for both groups, Spacechester City and Spacechester United, and email me your results. 

I'll total up the number of wins this Sunday night, and post the results as Part 2 of It Was A Dark and Boozy Night on Monday the 17th along with the next installment of the story and the next scenario. 

Don't cheat, don't be turds about it-  just have some fun with it. Mail your results to cidmcdp@gmail.com- the usual address for TheMetalBikini.com correspondence. If y'all dig it, I'll write up some more and we'll keep doing this on Mondays over the next few weeks. If you don't, or I turn out to be horrible at writing scenarios, I'll stop. 

If you want some extra credit, send me a brief write-up of your most memorable duel and I'll try to give you a shout-out in the next installment somehow. It might be the name of one of your pilots, his ship, or some random detail you throw in. I may include excerpts from the write-up itself, I don't know- it depends on what you guys send me. 

Good luck and have fun! Hope the scenario rules/ instructions make sense- it's my first crack at a custom scenario!

07 June 2013

Arts and (Space)Crafts- Lava Rock Asteroids: The Pete From Oz Method


Arts and (Space)Crafts is a series of articles here on TheMetalBikini.com where I spotlight some of the more hobby-oriented aspects of X-Wing Miniatures and share them with all y'all. 



Look at that pic. I mean, seriously- how hot is that? That's some good stuff right there, man! 


I got an email earlier this week from a guy in Australia named Pete talking to me about lava rock asteroids and the "Biggs, Wedge- Let's Close It Up" scenario. After much goading by me, I finally convinced him to let me attach at least his first name to this article, which is pretty much all him really. 

Now, I know, I know. You can figure out how to make lava rock asteroids all by yourself, but have you? Made them, I mean? Didn't think so! Lucky for you, our good pal Pete here has done all the heavy lifting for us and graciously given us directions and pics on how to get it right on your first try. With a little bit of work, time, and effort, you too can create some awesome looking and fully rules-functional asteroid lava rocks. 




All the tools needed to build your asteroids. Only thing I forgot was the stirring stick for the glue as its a two part resin requiring mixing.


  • Asteroid template
  • Cork tile piece
  • Drill with masonry bit same size as wallplug
  • Wallplug(s) This appears to be Australian for drywall anchor, like Foster's is Australian for beer
  • 5 minute Araldite (actually takes about 10 minutes) This is Australian for 2-part epoxy
  • Pen
  • Cutting tools to cut cork tile
  • Bag of lava rocks for BBQ
  • Black spray paint
  • Paint brush


Pick your asteroid template from the core box set. Trace around it with pen or pencil onto a cork tile.



Cut out asteroid with side cutters and a sharp box cutter. Make sure it's sharp. The sharper it is, the easier it is to cut. Be careful with your fingers.



Finished cutting out cork tile template. Neaten it up at this stage with the sharp box cutter.



Mix your two part 5 minute Araldite with stirring implement.



Insert one of the wallplugs into the glue. If its tapered at one end put the flat end in the glue.


Attach wallplug to cork base. Hold it for a few minutes as it can fall over until the glue sets. Took about 10 minutes for me until I was happy with it. Make sure its straight up and down and not on an angle.



With your black spray paint spray the template and wallplug until it is covered. Leave it for a couple of minutes outside to dry. Please spray outside with proper ventilation.




Turn your lava rock over until its in a position that you think looks best. Then drill into the bottom of the lava rock with your masonry drill bit. Doesn't have to be too far. 5mm or 6mm (Australian for 1/4" or sois all you need.



Test fit your asteroid on the stand. If you like the colour (<-Australian spelling) of it you are finished. Go and make another 5 with the other templates. If you want more colour or highlights follow on.



Dry brush your asteroid with a lighter colour than the asteroid itself. I used Space Wolves Grey from Games Workshop. Dry brushing is easy to do. Practise (Whoa! Another Australian spelling!) on another lava rock until your happy you can do it on the one your going to use. Dip brush into paint and wipe most of it off on a rag or cardboard box. Then lightly drag the brush over the lava rock. You'll know if looks good or it needs more. Its up to your eye.

You could use a darker grey and put it on a bit more heavily then dry brush the lighter grey on top. Depends how much you want to do. Plenty of dry brush techniques online.



Finish dry brushing asteroid. Should only take a couple of minutes to dry enough to use. Install it on the base and now go and play. Asteroids look a little more dangerous than their cardboard counterparts.

Ain't that the truth, huh boys?

I had to use Pete's email text because of the bit about "<---- Australian spelling." For whatever reason, that cracked me up earlier so it had to stay in the article.

Thanks again man! Good stuff!

I gotta say, I'm really proud of myself for only making a Foster's joke and not going down the obvious Paul Hogan path, so well done me.

And I only said "Awesome", like 38 times in this article. You can barely tell I'm American, huh? I'm like the Continental or something. Also, I love Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. I'm not even joking. I even read, "And the Ass Saw The Angel", and I'm still known to utter in a decidedly redneck, inbred tone "Mah sanctum", occasionally when arriving home from work, from time to time.