Friday, 17 July 2015

A Different Kind Of Work In Progress

Not exactly a miniature this one! However, I'm hoping that this end of the garden hideaway will provide some much needed extra hobby space. It's for work primarily, of course. I have a feeling though that at least a corner will be dedicated to the leisurely side of life. 

Saturday, 11 July 2015

We Have To Share Our Positive Reflections On Age Of Sigmar

Another quick share today of an article supporting the paradigm shift that is Age of Sigmar. Here it is, from Corehammer, and it's well worth a read:

My feeling is that, as dumb and futile any controversy and/or conflict on social media ultimately may be, there needs to be some kind of gently and patiently sustained counter-narrative to the whole 'GW has killed fantasy' moaning (and worse). 

Thursday, 9 July 2015

The Whole Age Of Sigmar 'No Points' Issue

I don't have any issue with the lack of points in Age of Sigmar. Others do.

Such people comment that this means the game lacks 'balance'. But do points systems necessarily mean balance? Is current 40k - most often the chosen comparator - balanced?

I read and enjoyed the following post, which, for BoLs of all places, gives quite a sensible view:

I like current 40k. I use the codex FOCs to structure my hobby and I enjoy working within the framing they provide. However, I'd never say the 40k points system, FOCs, armies, and formations are happily balanced - they clearly aren't. What these things do allow for is easy and thematic army building and collecting. And if you like you can just go Unbound, which is also points based...

My position is simple. Does it make for an enjoyable game?

Enjoyable: a fun way to spend hobby/leisure time with friends, family, or even by myself.

Game: a structured pastime with some kind of internal coherency, process and/or objective, where enjoyment (see above) is derived from a shared understanding of approach, on a spectrum that includes cooperative, ultra-competative, and downright silly.

In short, points systems are helpful for building certain kinds of gaming experiences. They cannot guarantee balance, as that is always going to be contextual, and to remove that kind of context would lead to rendering most tabletop wargames into something quite different; something that wouldn't be anything like the games they are. Age of Sigmar, 40k, and the like, are neither Chess nor historical re-enactments.

With the kind of cooperation and shared vision I'd expect from the people I game with, the simple Age of Sigmar rules have enough in them to encourage and support endless enjoyable games (no one I know or would care to play with would turn up with ten giants etc. etc., unless we were playing that kind of scenario).

And that, surely, is the only point worth talking about.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Getting Started In The Age Of Sigmar: New Models

Obviously new models and armies aren't necessary at the current time due to the warscrolls, but will that stop me? Of course not.

First off I am inclined to get the starter box. The Stormcast Eternals are unlike anything else in my collection and I've never done any fantasy Khorne. That makes them good projects to get stuck into and I'd like to have something geared up for the new system from the off. 

It's tempting to go for the tradional colours for Khorne, although I would go for deeper flesh tones and limit the red. For the Stormcast Eternals, however, I have no clue where to begin, as they truly are a mystery. Perhaps the background book in the box set will provide guidance. Of course I could be inventive but I'd like to know at least something about them first. 

Like most people I have this guy:

I'm waiting for the full set before putting him together. Looking at the art I wonder if this might be an opportunity to play with non-metallic metals. The brown, through yellows, to white might look good, and it's a new challenge.

On the whole it's impossible to know where the new models are heading in terms of fluff, looks, army builds... anything! Time to take slow steps while the details of the nine realms are revealed. 

Monday, 6 July 2015

Is Age Of Sigmar Off Topic For Oldhammer?

The Oldhammer Facebook groups are fine places for talk about gaming of yesteryear and for trading or selling off old lead. Just don't mention what Games Workshop are up to today, as it makes people utterly displeased.

The Age Of Sigmar has arrived and I for one and very glad to welcome it. I've played older rulesets and 8th edition WFB, as well as other systems, like Songs of Blades and Heroes. I really hoped that Age Of Sigmar would be something different and all the rumours and signs running up to the big reveal indicated that it would be.

Then the rules dropped - all four pages of them - for free, and the gaming world stayed up late trying to figure out what it all means for them, scrolling through... well, Warscrolls. Tourney types were outraged by the lack of points and immediately started working out how to achieve 'balance' through wound counts or some other metric. Casual gamers rejoiced at the potential for swift and satisfying games. Narrative gamers began dreaming of the possibilities for scenarios and campaigns.

Oldhammerers... well.

Although the Oldhammer Facebook community is clearly aimed at sharing people's enjoyment of a certain set of games circa the late '80s and early '90s (and fills this niche very well), I've always been troubled by how all newness is broadly treated as anathema. While this may not be a majority view in 'real life,' it certainly comes through in plenty of anti-plastic, anti-contemporary rhetoric in posts and comments.

Today, all talk of Age Of Sigmar was deemed off limits, with the threat of removal from the group. This astonished me.

Perhaps I missed a batch of particularly nasty and idiotic comments somewhere. Maybe someone was having a bad day. It could even be that this is a backbreaking straw for the camel, the final point in a trend of 'off topic' commentaries that is bending the remit of the group. Whatever the reality of it all, the response seemed pretty extreme.

I simply commented (and I strongly believe this) that the Oldhammer group should be a place to have some sort of discussion about how this new rule set - so radically different from what went before (i.e. 8th, 7th...) - compares to the games of our youth. I would like to share in this discussion with fellow 'veterans'. To me, that is eminently 'on topic.'

I am not alone in noticing that in trying to invigorate their fantasy line, GW have given the world a system that looks to hit all the sweet spots for Oldhammer-types. It genuinely is a play-it-your-way game, built around cooperation between players. You don't have to like the high-fantasy models to appreciate this is a good thing.

I'm going to embrace it and I'm going to do this for several reasons:

1. It's a new game that seems to capture all the ethos of gaming that I enjoy. In sum, it's a game that's storied.

2. Round bases offer better modelling opportunities and as I spend 98% of my time modelling and painting, that suits me.

3. Crucially, this is a system that will scale very well for different solo gaming opportunities - I want something to occupy me at the dining room table while my wife looks over occasionally and sighs...

4. I can easily teach my children how to play as they grow up, and it'll be the same game at each level.

5. It's an excuse to buy new models and I like the current line.

These aspects then made it a done deal for me. Points 1-3 will be a new focus for this blog (along with all the 40k stuff I've been up to... more to follow on that).

It's time to discover and explore the nine realms.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Is Marienburg Gone?

I've been busy lately and blogging has fallen victim of this. Oh well. Now I'm back.

But what's this? It seems that in my absence Marienburg - along with the rest of the Old World - has been destroyed by Chaos. Oops.

Although some of the larger models in the range look stupidly gorgeous - others simply stupid - the End Times thing in fantasy has rather passed me by. I'll have to catch up with the story at some point. Yes, I have seen all the endless chatter on social media, and I've even clicked through to look at some of the comments by older gamers lamenting the end of everything they hold dear. I'm not sure why they're complaining as most of them don't buy new models or play current rules anyway.

3rd edition lives on chaps.

I though, am quite interested in what 9th edition holds in store. A skirmish game with round bases would suit my collecting, painting and gaming habits very well. Either way, I am waiting for the new beginning with more of a sense of possibility than many other old farts.

I'll keep the Marienburg name for now... even though I seem to be publishing in exile...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Scenery Week (?!) Pt. 3: Forge World Barricades, Or, Freenery... Free Scenery

Forge World are very generous in the excess resin that they send out with their kits. Having gathered a few of their lovely models over the last couple of years I had a bag of the off-cuts sitting around because I wasn't keen on just chucking the stuff away. So I decided to create some bespoke 'Forge World Barricades' as part of my scenery project... which is certainly now more than a scenery week!

Here they are in their original state, just stuck on some spare bases:

And here they are now, in the midst of painting and weathering:

Not a bad little freebie really and they'll fit right in with the whole abandoned toxic factory complex that this is all beginning to come together as. Frenery!

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Scenery Week Pt. 2, Going Old School With Plastic Cups And Boxes

I must've watched a lot of Blue Peter when I was a child, something that clearly instilled a spirit of creativity within me that has bubbled to the surface this week. Although none of these pieces involve the classic 'washing up bottle' they do draw on the same home-made ethos. Or perhaps home-bought, as all of these things come from IKEA, with the addition of things found-around-the-house, plenty of glue, and finally some metallic paint and washes. Here are a few 'before' and 'after' photos, though I should note that the 'afters' are still works in progress, as there's plenty more weathering to attend to.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Scenery Week Pt. 1, GW Moonscape Craters WIP

Sometimes I just feel like I've lost my painting mojo, sit in front of a model and have no idea where to start or even which end of a brush is which. Long breaks don't help. When this happens I try to look for alternative hobby jobs to get my hand in and confidence back. This past week I've been working on a scenery project for 40k with just this aim. And here's some of the first examples. 

I've had this moonscape for a while. It's now OOP, which is a shame because it was great value. I like the new Quake Cannon craters too - they have tons of detail - but they don't cover even half the area of these older scenics. Here I've simply primed in Army Painter Necrotic Green and then given them a liberal coating of 50/50 Antelope Green and Paynes Grey inks from DR. Next up will be a light dry brush with a mid-grey then a couple of lighter colours, some washes into the recesses and static grass around the edges. Nothing revolutionary yet very psychologically soothing. It does remind me that I need to finish Castle Davenheim sometime though... Oops. 

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Zoat Mercenary Army For 7th Ed 40k

This post has been long in the making. Here, in their mid-stage development, are the first wave of warriors for my Zoat mercenary army for 7th edition 40k. I've been tinkering away in the background whenever I could find the time over the last month or so, and it is with great pleasure that I now showcase my grand project-in-progress.

As I've mentioned before I'm using the current Tyranid Codex as the basis for their rule set. So in the picture below we have the Zoat Tyrant (Centre - Hive Tyrant), Zoat Guard (Left front - Tyrant Guard), Zoat Warriors (Right front - Tyranid Warriors), Zoat Destroyer (Tyrannofex - Left rear), and Bio-Devourer (Right rear - Haruspex). 

The narrative - which still needs a little work - will follow on from Rogue Trader and the fluff that the Zoats had back then. These are mercenaries that at some time in the past escaped from the clutches of the proto-Tyranids, who were developing increasingly nasty new bio-constructs of their own, meaning the Zoats had come to the end of their usefulness to the Hive. They stole and now reproduce the genetic material of the Tyranids, enhancing their own bodies and weaponry, while breeding a menagerie of foul battle creatures.

Most of the conversion work here has been quite simple - a little greenstuff and some additional bits, plus a few wires to bring a SF look to the fantasy models. Also useful in this regard were the scenic bases. I've decided to take the plunge wholesale and get scenic bases for all projects from now on: they've not too expensive, are very effective if selected carefully, and also keep me from purchasing new model lines and starting new projects (possibly)!   

The hard yet pleasurable painting work begins now. I'll leave you with some close ups of all the models... as my mind turns to further potential recruits...

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

From The Land Of Silly Hats To The Land Of Song, Via The Land Of Samba

Dear Sometime Readers and Accidental Tourists... things have been rather quite around here of late, mostly due to two factors that have been holding up progress on the Zoat domination of the universe.

Firstly, I'm in the final stages of a big project as part of my DPhil - they do expect you to work hard if you're an Oxford scholar!

Secondly, there's the small matter of this taking up all my evenings...

A summer in Cardiff begins next week when I will be snuggled up close to my miniatures (oh, and family, of course). The twisted plots of the merciless Zoats will not be so easily foiled! 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Ork Airship Wins Insanity Project Of The Year

Check this behemoth out, which was recently shared on GW Cardiff's Facebook page and originally comes from GW Bilbao. I do fear sometimes that I might be heading towards such craziness myself. It's brilliant though, isn't it? 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Tasty Fantasy Rumour, Or, Wild Optimism... Brets And Beastmen In A New WFB Starter Set?

I don't often touch rumours because they're usually too flaky and ephemeral, but I am rather taken by news reported over at Faeit 212 that the army books for Brets, Beastmen and Skaven are being sent back to GW HQ. 

This might - might - be our first indication of something interesting happening with WFB, which, if I'm honest, has been a bit of a wasteland over the last couple of years. A few good kits have emerged, that is true, however, the game hasn't progressed at all from the horde-hammer of 8th edition. 

I'm inclined (as some good news would be most welcome) to take this as a sign that Brets and Beasties will be in the 9th edition starter set. Look... the sun is out, so a little wild optimism is surly forgivable?!
Time to dust off some of these bad boys?

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Color Scheme Designer, A Great Online Colour Wheel

Just a quick post today to direct anyone who's not seen it to the excellent online colour wheel available at Really worth a look if you're starting a new project and need some inspiration, or are looking to spice up an ongoing army with spot on additional detail. 

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