Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Realistic/Negative Review Of The New White Dwarf

Most of us will have spent a week with the new White Dwarf so it's time to be realistic about what GW have actually given us... I say given, for the princely sum of £5.50 that is. I think it's fair to say that we all genuinely wanted the new White Dwarf to be a real hobby magazine. Last Saturday I would've said this was what we had now. And although it's certainly more of a hobby mag than in the last incarnation, we really shouldn't fool ourselves. I won't add too much myself, as this review over at Play Unplugged sums up what I'm thinking... to quote...

"It didn’t take long after my purchase for the shine to wear off. Pages 4-51 are not just advertisements in the sense that they are content about the game, they are advertisements in the “Ohhhh… look at this thing we’re selling and here’s where you can buy it way.” Think about that. 48 pages of straight ads. Pretty advertisements for sure, but advertisements non-the-less... That in my mind is where the “new” White Dwarf makes a big misstep. I’m already interested in your products GW. I hate to break it to you, but I wouldn’t be buying your magazine if I wasn’t. Your job is to give me cool reasons to buy more, and tons of front loaded advertisements (at least for me) is not the way."

Follow the link to the full review. In sum: it looks and feels really lovely... but it remains a catalogue. (Sad face). 

Friday, 28 September 2012

That Was The Week That Was #8

This week's roundup captures three aspects of hobby brilliance... in my book at least. That perfect synergy between converting, painting and gaming; a dedication to exploring the fine grain of gaming systems and playability; the raw sculpting excellence that makes sitting down with a new miniature such a joy.

1. Feast your eyes on the incredible Blood Bowl Hall Of Fame at Laughing Ferret's Lab... probably the most inspiring hobby blog page I've ever seen. The Underworld Warp Drivers are one of my favourites:

2. Sink your teeth into an astonishingly detailed discussion of The Lore Of Vampires in The Hoodling's Hole:

3. The brilliant BaneLords and BaneLegions now has a new moniker - DarkLands - and webstore - Mierce Miniatures. I'll be dropping by regularly to drool over their latest releases... simply... wow...

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Goblin King Toy From The Hobbit

I just found this picture over at Geek Tyrant - I think it's the first Hobbit movie related mechanise that I've seen. It looks pretty cool to me... maybe a treat for my son at Christmas?! I wonder how GW will deal with this character. Could make for an excellent model...

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

New Raptors Converted To Regular Chaos Space Marines?

Looking over the new Chaos Space Marine releases I must say that I'm looking forward to them but I'm also disappointed. Why? Well it's because of the lack of any new basic chaos marines. I understand that with the plastic models GW are extremely unlikely to upgrade them frequently due to cost. That leaves us with some absolutely cracking new models - the Dark Vengeance Chosen are wonderful - and some very average normal troops that look tired and dull in comparison. So... what to do? Here's my simple plan, but be warned, it's a pricey one. (...Checks to make sure the wife isn't reading this...). Convert the new Raptors to make basic chaos marines. I've not seen the sprues firsthand but I'm guessing this is possible. Anyone else thinking along these lines?

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Converting Dark Vengeance Chaos Cultists, Simple Swaps

Yesterday I de-sprued the Chaos Marine half of two Dark Vengeance boxes, push fitting them together for a sense of tidiness and so I could begin to work out how to convert them. With two sets to work from there are plenty of duplicates. To begin I'm working with the cultists because they're the most straightforward - they can be mixed and matched a bit with what's already there and can take relatively straightforward swaps with a wide range of bits. In my double-box there are eight cultist models with four duplicates each, as well as two each of the cultist leaders and heavy weapon guys. Here are my first three conversions:

1. This cultist usually has an autogun. Here I've swapped in a pistol from one of the other cultists and added a hand/corpse from the crypt ghouls. This chap now fits into the close combat squad, adding variety.

2. This cultist has a new hand weapon from the Empire flagellants. He also has a crossbow. I really like the crossbows that come with the Empire models and I've been itching to use them in 40k to give some figures that mix of archaic weaponry and apparel. Now I have the chance. As crossbows don't appear in the rulebook I can just use them as stand-ins for pistols or autoguns, although this lot with be subs for pistols. I'll think of some fluff reason why the cultists have them and how they work further down the line.   

3. Another crossbow and another swap from the autogun squad into the close combat squad. This guy also needs some greenstuff before he's truly ready. Once I've done a few more of these I'm going to start swapping heads around and moving legs.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Boring Horus Heresy, OR, Just Say No To 30K

Am I totally out of touch, or is all this hype about the Horus Heresy getting incredibly tiresome already? I just recently read the 'original trilogy' of novels - Horus Rising, False Gods, and Galaxy in Flames - and they were ok as far as pulpy science fantasy goes. Good, well paced reads, and more-or-less instantly forgettable. Cheese, albeit good cheese.

Angron - seriously? Anger-on!? A slice of cheese too far

I just can't work out what all the fuss is about. Obviously Forge World are happily cashing-in on people's interest with a whopping load of 30k models arriving and in the pipeline. Maybe others are just more turned on by clanky looking power armour than I am? Fancy a bit of marine-on-marine action, sir? Step right this way!

Then there's he-of-the-very-silly-name: Angron ("grrrr"). On a baseline level, paying £50 for a Primarch model seems ridiculous when there are so many other great models for the collection and gaming table from the excellent Forge World. Or is it just me?

For those who are really wetting themselves over all this Horus business, I simply say: enjoy! If this is really your thing then have a great time with it all. I'm just being a bit of a naysayer - some of the models look pretty cool. For GW I wonder whether it's really a good idea business wise to introduce what is essentially a different game at a time when they've just brought out a widely celebrated version of 40K. Surely gamers and collectors alike will have limited disposable incomes and this could risk splitting the market? Time will tell I suppose. At least they've made a massive improvement with White Dwarf, so they obviously have some kind of idea what they're doing...

Friday, 21 September 2012

That Was The Week That Was #7

It's the return of my semi-regular weekly-ish round-up (of sorts!). And this week it all seems to be about certain colour tones... very much up my street of painterly interests. 

1. Brent has a fair go at painting ethnic diversity over at BoLS:

2. Dr. Willett is busy painting Space Hulk genestealers:

3. There's a good tutorial on painting pink at From The Warp:

Thursday, 20 September 2012

The Art Of Godmachine

Just a quick heads-up today for a rather nifty artist who goes by the name Godmachine (and who is originally from my home town, Cardiff) - you can find his work on this tumblr site and there's a store on there for buying prints, but everything seems to be sold out at the moment. I've included a couple of my favourites here: 

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

BaneBeasts Blood Maw WIP #1

Oh boy is this guy fun to work with! Yes it's the Blood Maw from the fantastic BaneBeasts range and on the basis of this model I would happily have the whole lot because the quality is top notch. As with all large resin kits, this one took some work to put together, but what's a few bits of greenstuff between friends?

Here he is wearing a straightforward base coat. I'm going to make he very fleshy with tons of contrast and depth all over the place. In particular I'm looking forward to doing all the chipped details on his claws and teeth - which will be a bone-white when complete - and that pink slobbering gob. My brother suggested this model might make for a proxy Great Unclean One. That's a possibility. I'll have to see how carried away I get with all that craggy and gnarled skin...

Kissy, kissy

Monday, 17 September 2012

Unobtainium Discovered On The BBC

It took me a while to find this photo of what was an utterly amazing moment on the BBC quiz show Pointless last Friday. The plucky finalists were asked to name chemical elements and came up with this absolute gem as the 'correct' answer they thought no one would've said... Seriously... I worry about basic education in Britain today! 

Folk Art Wicker White - A Review With Pirates

It will come as no surprise to regular visitors that I've been distracted away from one project by the lure of another. But as this temptation is my original Marienburg project I don't see any reason to feel bad about that! However, rather than talk about how that particular army is progressing and the plans I have for it (more on that next week... probably) I wanted to do a quick review of the cheap and cheerful white paint that I've been using to base coat the metal minis I'm using. 

I always seem to have trouble with metal models because I never get the priming and base coating phases right. Not anymore though. Wicker White by Folk Art is a very basic art supply that I've had hanging around for a while and I thought I'd give it a try for achieving a good base coat on my Foundry pirates. The results were exactly what I've been after - a good, strong pigment and a thin runny paint that can be slapped on and moved around with an easy flow and matt finish - happy days. This was important because I've decided to paint my Marienburg folks in a highly stylised 'technicolor' scheme that's reminiscent of the costumes from 1950s and 60s Hollywood movies... should be an interesting experiment!

Friday, 14 September 2012

Foundry Re-release The Citadel Norse Range

Brilliant news today for fans of the old school citadel ranges, particularly those sculpted by the Perry brothers. Foundry have put all the old sculpts that were once the citadel Norse range up for order on their website. It really is great to see all these miniatures available again. How I used to dream of ordering all of these once upon a time!

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Cult Movie Posters

I've just been browsing through a collection of posters from cult movies over at Monster Brains. I recommend taking a look as there are some absolute classics. Here are two really cool examples from a couple of my personal cult favourites.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Doctor Who In Wonderland

If you're on the lookout for good gifts for the geek in your life then pop over to Parodies Lost where you can find inspired prints like this one:

When you think about it, it's obvious: of course the doctor would have been to wonderland. Not that my wife ever reads my blog, but HINT... HINT...!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Climbing Sprue Mountain #Epilogue OR The Summit Of Sisyphus

It's been fun and rather insightful over the last week or so, blogging and sorting through my piles of miniatures simultaneously. On one hand I've had an opportunity to reflect on my own personality through my hobby choices, although I'd never dream of boring anyone else with those thoughts. On the other hand, however, I've had a chance to think about our hobby as a whole and it really strikes me what a perfect pastime it is.

There need be no end to any aspect of it. Collecting, painting, playing, these are all open-ended commitments. Painting especially falls into the do-it-then-eventually-abandon-it category. This could be depressing. Very depressing. But what one needs to remember is that a hobby is supposed to be exactly like that: it's a space for dreaming and doodling, for experimenting, for creativity and absurdity. For fun.

We all at some point take things too seriously and that's when you feel like Sisyphus, dragging the hobby-load up the mountain only to find you've tumbled to the bottom again. But this isn't a mountain climb. The summit is an illusion created by our socialised need to categorise things into tasks with beginnings and ends and with a defined purpose. The enjoyment this hobby brings is outside those definitions. We should all remember this whenever we can.

We're not climbing mountains - we're dancing through foothills. 

Monday, 10 September 2012

Climbing Sprue Mountain #6 - Alpha Legion

I've always fancied doing a chaos force for 40k but I've been put off by the fact that it always just looks like space marines with a few spikey bits thrown in. As the photo here shows I've picked up a few chaos models to have a play with, but never got around to doing very much at all (other than ponder doing a Death Company force for a while). With the arrival of Dark Vengeance, the allies rules, and the forthcoming chaos marines codex a whole world of opportunity has opened up. And that's about where I am really: on the precipice of opportunity. I'll have a double dose of the DV chaos troops coming my way soon and with all those cultists it seems that Alpha Legion is a good way to go... or will it just be an excuse to impulse buy chaosy things? Only time will tell...  

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Climbing Sprue Mountain #5 - Genestealer Cult

We've climbed sprue mountain as far as the penultimate army and it's the one that's taking up most of my time right now: the Genestealer Cult. This is a funny one, because as I gather everything together I realise quite how much groundwork remains to be done. There's plenty still to do on a basic level due to so many of the cultists and hybrids being conversions (well... kitbashes at least). This is where I'm employing all the GW Empire models - unlike Marienburg, I'm happy for this lot to have the 'epic' 28/30mm scale, and besides, when they're next to the purebred Genestealers they all look rather (and suitably) fragile! I'm going to be working on all these guys next week so will put up some better photos then, but for now, here's what I'm working on...

(L-R) A couple of proper freaky hybrids - perhaps second generation - next to one of the psykers from a seven strong battle squad
(L-R) The beginnings of a third generation hybrid; a storm trooper with what will be a hot shot lasgun; a basic hand gunner waiting for some futurist additions
The Magus - I'm going to de-clutter the base. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Climbing Sprue Mountain #4 - Marienburg

Ah, Marienburg, sweet Marienburg. The very inspiration for the start of this blog. It was around about a year ago that I read Marienburg: Sold Down The River for WFRP and got hooked on the idea of a human fantasy army to face up to all the grizzly and ghoulish nightmares of the Warhammer world. Since then I've played around with a whole host of ideas, bashed around a fair few minis, and found myself down numerous dead ends. Such is hobby life.

I've finally settled on a way forward though and it's really down to having a solid bash at climbing sprue mountain. As you'll see when I talk about my Genestealer Cult, I've found good uses for almost all the GW Empire figures as cult members (more on that tomorrow). I'm now set on making my Marienburg army completely from non-GW minis, specifically those that fit a more 'realistic' or 'historical' 25/28mm scale. This will make it entirely different from anything else I'm working on and thereby add some spicy variety to my time whittling.

To that end, the population of Marienburg has been stripped back to the swashbucklers and seadogs from Foundry and Black Scorpion, and a handful of LotR hobbits. From here on in I'm going to build a real/historic scale army that can be fielded in historical wargames as well as fantasy. The fantasy elements - a few halflings, elves, ogres and dwarfs scattered through the rank and file - can be added or omitted as seems fit. So, in an odd turn of events, while everyone has been going batty over Dark Vengeance I've been browsing Pike and Shotte box sets and dropping by the Perry Miniatures site.

A couple of salty fellows from the Foundry range accompanied by Pirate Long John from Freebooters Fate
These seafarers from Black Scorpion seem to be on the look out for something...

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Climbing Sprue Mountain #3 - Beastmen

Rather a different type of picture today, isn't it? Yes, as we reach the half way camp on our climb up the west face of sprue mountain, we've reached the first proper looking army - and none of it is actually on the sprue. Result! Welcome to the massed brayherd on my hobby shelves of doom. Everything here is a work-in-progress because I simply cannot help but work on tens of models simultaneously. My beastmen are the only army that I'm giving scenic bases. I'm not that keen on them as they can detract rather too much from the actual model, but enough of these guys arrived with flashy plinths to make it a theme throughout the herd. I'm going to try and get all of this polished off before the new year so that I can justify a glass-fronted display case on my Christmas list...  

It's really great to look at an army-in-progress and realise that I don't have to buy anything else for it - my wife sighs with relief as I tell her I've just typed that!
Multi-purpose fantasy wolves... from space!
The minotaurs advance, sandwiched between the spider centaurs to the front and the giant and ghorgon to the rear - you just know this is going to end in all shades of bloody carnage.
The 'big guys' of the army - very unlikely to make it together into any kind of 'legal' list, but then again I don't really tend to play that kind of game.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Climbing Sprue Mountain #2 - Vampire Counts

It's the second day of the ascent of sprue mountain and it's time to take a look at my Vampire Counts. As you can see from the photo, I'm using models from several ranges and I've assembled maybe a quarter of everything in the box - a box that, sharp eyed punters will notice, initially housed the Mantic undead army deal.

The foulest stench is in the air, the funk of forty thousand years. And grizzly ghouls from every tomb are closing in to seal your doom (maniacal laugh...)
The Mantic rank and file undead are great value and pretty good minis too. Given that a Vampire Counts army can't escape being formed as a shambling horde, Mantic provide a cost effective way of achieving this. I've added Lords and Heroes from the GW range of plastics and finecast, along with some of the Mantic undead characters. In addition I have a few more GW figures to add to the mix, including some grave guard and a few of the excellent LotR miniatures. The Titan Forge Flesh Reapers will stand in for crypt horrors, while I'll be using a range of minis (including the female ogre from Foundry pictured on the left of the sheet of paper) as spirit hosts.

Although I've started to paint a few of the grave guard I'm currently giving the whole paint scheme a rethink. I want to do something different for each of my armies so that I get the maximum challenge, interest and enjoyment from the hobby. For the undead I'm thinking of how I can get them looking as if they've swathed in the glow of foul necromantic sorcery. A mixture of that effect alongside a good dose of rot and decay should fit the bill nicely. Overall I'm going for something quick that will look striking on the tabletop - should make for a good few winter evenings of work! 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Climbing Sprue Mountain #1 - Dark Eldar

Climbing Sprue Mountain could probably have been the name for this blog. It's a silly phrase, of course, but it rather neatly captures the endless work that a hobby with small plastic toy soldiers involves. To celebrate a year of writing this blog I'm doing a short series this week that details exactly where I am with all the armies that I collect. I recently climbed my own sprue mountain in the more literal sense as - under orders from my wife - I completely (re)organised the hobby shelves on the landing outside our bedroom (it really needed doing!).   
Not very much going on here...yet...
I'm starting this series with my Dark Eldar because this lot are 99% still on the sprues. It's fun to have an army in this state, where it only exists as a fighting force in a prospective list form, including a whole bunch of things I've not bought yet. This is the first time that I've collected miniatures with such a planned method and I'm hoping that it'll stop me taking too many pricey wrong turns! My strategy is to build this army around Haemonculi HQ with plenty of Wracks and Grotesques - here's hoping that a plastic set of Grots makes it into the release schedule for next year. At the moment I'm thinking of a paint scheme that's mostly white, with purple details - that would be a cool challenge.
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