Saturday, 21 December 2013

Getting Back On Track(s): Genestealer Cult Leman Russ

No limos yet - I guess those will be Chimeras - so here is some tooled up Heavy Suppot for my Genestealer Cult. This Leman Russ is the first tank I've painted in about 25 years. It's fun to apply my messy and impressionistic technique to such large and plain surfaces, where I can really play around with light and texture. Still a WIP with plenty of overlayers to do (and not to everyone's tastes I'm sure) but I think the look of a completed army in this style with be very striking. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Oddness Of Adult Lego (Featuring Rivendell In Lego)

I really like Lego*. What I don't understand though, is adults who buy Lego for themselves or each other. It just seems rather odd. 

As a child I adored Lego and played with it constantly, as far as my memory can be relied on. Back then - I mean the early-mid '80s - Lego firmly had a place in the child's play space. Toys were toys. Today Lego has a strange cultural position. Consider the Lego store. Here we can find toys apparently designed and marketed at all ages. It must be 'all' ages because there are simple blocks for the under 5s across the aisle from massively complicated huge kits that are surely aimed at adults. And these kits can be priced well over £100. 

But what is the adult desire that leads to buying Lego, I wonder? Do adults buy it for themselves or is it a gift-giving economy where people mutually feed the play-desires of their friends? I honestly cannot work out what is going on here. An anecdote: a high-level academic where I'm studying recently had her 40th birthday and was bought a Lego R2D2 by colleagues - a kit that retails for something like £150. 

What will she do with this? Build it, I suppose. I can kind of see the attraction myself, yet, I can't get away from the nagging feeling that about 30 minutes in I would feel a deep-seated, cold shock that I was doing something utterly silly. I mean, it's just Lego! More than this, my cherished Lego memories are not of building the kit and simply leaving it at that. The true joy of Lego is surely building - crafting - your own creations. Monsters, spacecraft, buildings, anything, springs forth from the creative maelstrom of the child's mind and feeds their play, either alone or with siblings or friends.

I cannot imagine someone giving an adult a jumbled bag of random Lego pieces. The adult Lego is all about building the kit 'properly', so presenting someone with what would amount to a child's Lego collection - all pieces heaped in an inviting, tempting pile - would be out of place. It's this disconnection that makes adult Lego such a hollow prospect for me: it is Lego as nostalgia, as a 3D jigsaw puzzle, with the real joy of Lego miserably absent. 

Or perhaps I've got it all wrong and all adult Legoists are sweating over amazing creations, such as this Lego version of Rivendell. But I doubt it. 

*Americans please note, the plural of Lego is Lego, not Legos. 

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Knights Of Badassdom Finally Has A Release Date

Finally, Knights Of Badassdom has a release date. According to GeekTyrant we'll be able to see the movie on demand from 11th February. See the details and find the trailer here

I know that it's not going to be amazing, but any film that involves live action roleplay will always unmissable for me. So many memories of running around woods in the early '90s... There's a LARP society here in Oxford so I wonder if after seeing this I'll be tempted to join?

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Picking My Bones, Or, Putting In My Reaper Kickstarter Pledge

The time arrived a few days ago to lock in my pledge for Bones 2, which led to plenty of chin scratching (and not because I'm particularly hirsute at the moment). I always knew I was in it for the monsters, so here are the beasties I went for:

Not a hard option this one as I loved it at first sight. I suppose that when I get my Marienburgers up and running again - and I do have some plans - that this could stand in for something. Or it could just be a massive squid with some made up rules. It could also slip into my Slaaneshi army. "Squids in" either way... (sorry).

This Cthulhu-style nasty is just plain stupid fun. I'll probably Nurgle him up in some way.

And this is the dragon I went for, simply because he was different to most things around at the moment and he's got that old school style thing going on - I think he's very Realm of Chaos appropriate.

So there you have it. A gentle easing back in hobby-town for me. I'm in Wave 2, so I believe I'll be getting these monstrosities some time next September. It's always nice to have something to look forward to, isn't it?

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

A Brief History Of Dragons

Here's a nice little article from the Guardian today on dragons, presumably stoked up by the forthcoming appearance of Smaug. Slightly lighter relief than all the chatter that seems to be going on across the hobby community blogosphere about how all our games are 'broken'. Perhaps some more on that in the days to come...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Whatever Happened To The Marienburg Gazette? Or, The Obligatory 'I Aten't Dead' Post

Recently the Gazette made the move to a shared-home scheme in Cardiff and Oxford. This has led to a temporary halt in the production of hobby-related ramblings. 

Readers are assured that this was not the result of some dramatic life event, but due to the decision of the owner to send himself to boarding school (a sensible decision for a father of two young children), where he is pursuing a second doctorate in an attempt to make himself so over-qualified he will never be employable in any sensible context. Ever.

In an effort to become an 'ultra' of 'uber' geek, the more-than-adequately-qualified proprietor has decided to match his PhD in Sociology with a DPhil in Cyber Security. Friends and family were unable to comment as they were too busy holding their heads in their hands and sighing.

When questioned about the hobby hiatus, the so-called 'Davey' simply stated "I aten't dead", in what is believed to be an attempt at geek humour related to the Discworld series of fantasy novels. He then waved his hands vaguely and mumbled something about trying to work out a better "life-hobby balance" and some kind of return in the next few days. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

Climbing Model Mountain: Genestealer Cult

I have considered re-naming this series of posts something like "sea of green" because of my recent copious use of the primer that graces my undead, devotees of Nurgle and these, my Genestealer Cultists. The Cult consists of a primary detachment drawn from the Imperial Guard codex and an ally force of Tyranids. Not strictly 'legal' but where would be the fun in that?! So much painting work to do on these you wouldn't believe it, though oddly this is army that's seen the most tabletop action.

I've picked out the first photo to show my non-Cadian derived infantry units. From left to right: five 90s Ratlings, who will soon be boosted up to a full 10 'man' unit with a converted heavy weapon team - you've got to love the abhumans (current models will fill the sniper team role); then there's a Steel Legion unit, who can either be regular infantry or act as veterans; and finally a unit of Squats - all 80s metal with a tiny bit of tinkering to make them fit the current game (see a future post for details...).

We also have Zoats standing in for Ogryns (more 80s goodness) and two different sets of hybrids acting as penal squads. And I couldn't resist buying a Leman Russ tank for a little added beef - let's face it, tanks are cool. There's also a Psyker battle squad tucked in there next to six heavy weapons teams and three 'standard' infantry units.

Due to a lack of space I've resorted to keeping the Genestealers on a mini-shelf (another display cabinet is being hunted...). I'm using a Carnifex model as stand-in for a Hive Tyrant, which is a proxy for a Genestealer Patriarch. Most of the Genestealers are from Space Hulk for the obvious reason that they're better than the regular box models, although I have a few of those too.

The human (and abhuman) infantry are really flexible because not only could I play them as a straight Imperial or Planetary Defence force (they've taken on the Tau in this guise), I can also employ them as Traitor Guard to fight alongside my Nurgle gang - a role they've already fulfilled against Marines. This multiple personality trait is great in gaming terms and in the era of an ever-tightening budget. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Climbing Model Mountain: Beastmen

Rejoice! It's the next batch of dodgy photographs of an army in my collection. This time, Beastmen. 

As with everything I have, these are all works in progress at some stage or another. On the right you can see my Gors, which are based in a range of colours ready to be worked up with layers of highlights. I like the idea that these will all have a signature look built up on different shades of bases that will show through to some extent. On the left are my Ungors, recently obtained and dressed in bright white. To the rear, you can get a glimpse of my Harpies - I'm hoping to do some work on these soon so they'll stay out of the limelight for now. And yes, that's an Avatars of War hero and a Hordes Shaman at the front there.

Just to the front in this astonishingly well taken photo are my mostly hidden Spider Centaurs. Again, these haven't changed since earlier posts, so I'll work on them a little more soon and then share. At the rear are the big guys - Minotaurs from Scibor and Mierce. The Scibor guys are a good indication of where all this lot are going stylistically.

Finally, a trio of hero/lord models, with little done to them. Missing are my Bestigors, who also feature in my Nurgle 40k army as Plague Zombies. Thinking about it, I might focus on this Brayherd in the next month as my first project at my home-away-from-home in Oxford. Hmmm...

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

A Dollar For A Foot In The Door - Reaper Bones 2 Kickstarter (And The Smell Of Something Fishy...)

This is the princely sum that I've paid to have a 'foot in the door' of the Reaper Bones 2 Kickstarter. I thought this was a very low level risk because it allows access to all the add-ons that will come from the campaign. I do admire all the minis that are available at the $100 level, I'm just not that interested in owning them. As per usual it's the big monsters I'm most anticipating. And I'm already delighted because this fishy fellow will be available for on $15:

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Artistic Inspiration On The March

On the weekend we took the children and their grandmother to the National Museum in Cardiff. The children loved the natural history sections as they always do and we had a few minutes to fit in some of the art galleries. As we had the kids in tow this was done at double quick time, but I did have a chance to snap a couple of what I think are new additions to the collection. Both of the following show the kinds of colour mix, blends, overlaying and shading that I'm experimenting with at the moment. Except that I'm doing it on a cyclops and a ghorgon. 

Woman at the bath - Edgar Degas.
National Museum Cardiff
Effect of snow at Petit-Montrouge - Edouard Manet.
National Museum Cardiff 

Monday, 30 September 2013

More Dark Elves Gallop Over The Horizon

I actually had mixed feelings about the first wave of new Dark Elves. The Witch Elves are great but grossly over priced. The Hydra is a little uninspiring. The models for the Blood Throne are fantastic yet the throne is rather odd. 

Now the second wave pictures are being leaked I'm slightly more cautious than before. No quick off the mark 'loving' this time around. However, this duel aspect to Dark Riders kit looks very promising. I don't know what they're called but you can just make out from the captions that they're bound to provide new souls for Slaanesh to save their own. 

I'm sure I can make some of these fit into my RoC Slaanesh army, kit bashing them with a few Daemonatte bits. And for once the in house GW paint jobs don't immediately put me off either. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Climbing Model Mountain: Monsters

Last year I wrote a series of posts called 'Climbing Sprue Mountain' to illustrate my whole collection and think about where all this plastic, resin and metal was headed. At that time a great deal of what I had really was on sprues. Twelve months on and now almost everything is built, based and primed, with plenty of models sporting the beginnings of a paint job. Progress!

So for this second annual journey to the summit of my collection I'm going to call it Climbing Model Mountain. I don't have time to do lovely 'professional' level photography, so all the photos are going to be of my models in their natural habitat; that is, on the display cabinet shelves. To begin, let's take a look at all my large monsters.

I've got plenty of these because I just love big kits and large models. These over-sized nasties all fit into my Beastmen army although I'm sure I could drop them into just about any fantasy force I was fielding.

From left to right we have: (1) my converted Razorgor utilising a boar body and manticore head; (2) what I call the Razormaw, which is a lightly converted Hordes Troll; (3) the Warhammer Giant; (4) the Jabberslythe - you'll notice I have so much basing to finish on all these models; (5) a Ghorgon, which is a model I really love and must get around to finishing; (6) a Manticore tucked away at the back there; (7) a Cockatrice with a really grimy, layered paint job half done; (8) a Chimera from Meirce Miniatures that needs a great deal of greenstuffing; (9) the Incarnate Elemental of Fire (I can't work out how to paint this one. Should it be flames or something else?); (10) a Warpfire Dragon because everyone needs a dragon, right?; (11) a Cygor / Cyclops to round off the collection, this is another great model from Meirce Miniatures.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Dark Elf Recruits For The Realm Of Chaos Slaanesh Army

These pictures are from... well, they're all over the place. Roll on Saturday when the official previous go up. These are the models that will be on my Christmas list.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Proxy 40k Armies And The Ghost Of Oldhammer, Or, Every Army A Proxy

It's a no-brainer for me that proxy armies are an obvious choice in 40k. In an entire fantasy universe with millions of planets there should be possibilities that go miles beyond the limited number of army lists provided by GW. 

So I was pleased to see a 'mainstream' blog covering this idea building on the new Space Marines codex. Goatboy over at BoLS provides a number of fun sounding suggestions such as these:

White Scars...I always liked an army full of Horsemen and this would be a great place to start as some kind of Marauding band of Evil Knights. The plastic Chaos Knight set is a great place to start and you can easily add bits to make them more "futuristic" with daemonic steads, evil weaponry and other bits and pieces. Their ability to scout with a Special character could also be used as an Alpha Legion heavy striking force.
Iron Hands... Here you get into the army I think has the most gas in the tank of Counts As. I can see them being used for Iron Warriors because both armies love technology. I really can see people using this as the base army for Adeptus Mechanicus and allying in the Tau to create weapons from the prayers of Mars. I even can see them used as a crazy Death Guard force with their army wide FNP and It Will Not Die on their Characters and vehicles. The Sky is the limit with their chapter set as it feels basic enough to cover lots of options and still give you room to build and design.
Imaginative and independently spirited gamers will of course go far further than this and in that there is nothing revolutionary about these suggestions. To an old fart like me, it's hobby common sense. What really astonishes me, though - and by now it shouldn't - is how dim, ill-tempered, witless, and limiting (I could go on...) the comments on this article are. Never has the Oldhammer spirit been needed so dearly! 

I can only daydream that all these tournament-types are visited in the dead of night by the ghost of Oldhammer*, and that he shows them the error of their ways. Because in my hobbyverse, every army is a proxy army, imagined, built and storied uniquely by its creator. Anything else and it's just... a game.

*I realise this gives the impression that Oldhammer is dead. Forgive me. Clearly this is not the case.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Grumpy Fish Says This Hobby Has Ups And Downs

Maybe it was the second anniversary, perhaps something else; either way I've been pondering rather a lot recently. I think it was something to do with getting ready to photograph all my collection that did it. 

I just suddenly realised the scale of the task in front of me to bring all my models to a level that I aspire too. That actual reality of sprue mountain turned model mountain. That made me put on the blogging breaks for a while, although I'm far more settled now and ready to be more positively reflective.

So nothing much more than a funny picture to share today - normal service to resume tomorrow :-)

Friday, 6 September 2013

Two Years

Thank you to all followers of and visitors to the Gazette over the last two years. Thank you for the comments, the encouragement, and the page views. It's great to be part of this online hobby and gaming community. 

In celebration, the second annual 'Climbing Sprue Mountain' begins tomorrow, where I review (and photograph) my whole collection, and potentially suffer an existential crisis over all the money and time that's been poured into this hobby.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Mierce Miniatures Kermorannac WIP

Say what you like about Mierce Miniatures and their patchy background, they do make some fantastic fantasy models. The Kermorannac is one of their older pre-Kickstarter models and it's bursting with character and - a rare thing these days - humour: the squealing pig is a nice touch and this is the only anatomically correct model in my collection. I'm going all multi-layered and open-ended with this one, so I can enjoy myself and remember the simply joys of this great hobby. 

I'll probably use him as a Cygor in my beastmen army.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Building New Hobbyists: Getting The Kids Painting

I was sad to miss the Oldhammer event this weekend, so I set about doing a few things to make up for it. The first was to spend some time letting my kids join in with my hobby. My son has painted a little before, but it was a first for my daughter, and we all took turns base coating some Chaos Space Marines. I was pretty impressed with the care and attention that they took - just look at the concentration on my daughter's face! I think that when I get the chance I may pick up a few new cheap models - I'm thinking Termagaunts - and see what they can do totally on their own (my son mostly, with a little guidance). Next weekend we'll try some basic gaming.


Saturday, 31 August 2013

Dear Fan Boys, Please Stop Breaking The GW Website!

For goodness sake, has the world gone utterly mad? I'm just a casual observer wanting to take a glance at some new toys. From what I can just about see, what's on offer is an almost-exactly-the-same tactical squad, a couple of ok-ish characters, and the weirdest bloody fat Space Marines I've ever seen. Seriously? You want to break the GW site in a stampede for these?!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Oldhammerers, I Wish You Well - Have A Great Weekend

I wish I could join you for what I'm certain will be a great weekend. Looking forward to all the photos and reports. Until next year....

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Army That Won't Parade - Re-Capturing The Slow Hobby Spirit

Sadly, Armies On Parade isn't going to happen for me this year. I found myself over the last week or so getting really anxious about having things at a certain stage and the amount of painting time I had left. 

I also realised that I was starting to paint in ways that I simply didn't want to: ultimately, I was losing my 'slow hobby' spirit and turning leisure into slog. Not a recipe for happiness.

So I returned all my Nurgle folks to their shelf and turned again to picking them off one or two at a time and experimenting away contently, while imagining that I'm a real artist. 

At least the tidying away led to more effectively presented shelves, so, dear reader, please take this humble photograph as a small prelude to my annual 'climbing sprue mountain' posts...

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Inside Guillermo del Toro's Sketchbook

I have to share this art work with you because it's so very, very cool. It's from Guillermo del Toro's notebooks and I found it over at Geek Tyrant. I've always admired del Toro's work though I never realised he was such a talented artist - the rather vintage style of these sketches is simply terrific. I hope you enjoy them as much as I am. I'm really inspired to keep a sketchbook too.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

The Disappearing Pleasures Of GW Metal Miniatures, Or, Am I A Leadhead After All?

How many more times will I start a hobby session with one of these blister packs?

Here we have Morghur, Master of Skulls. Still available direct from GW in a soulless white box. I got mine from eBay of course.

Looking at this pack I realised that this is a disappearing pleasure - certainly where GW is concerned, and considering the way things are going across the market, one that will become scarce with all manufacturers sooner or later.

I decided to share the pleasure as best I could with my kids. My daughter was allowed to open the pack and 'check over' the components. On close inspection she seemed happy enough with them ;-)

Then I asked my son to mix together his first ever batch of greenstuff, which he did with gusto. In the meantime I primed up the super glue (by taking the lid off), and we then sat together and 'super-green-stuffed' the little blighter together. Excess greenstuff came in handy for creating additional tentacles of mutation around the base (Morghur is a powerful and twisted shaman).

And there you have it. Primed in white and with a light coating of a sepia ink wash, ready to be worked on during the coming cold winter nights. A really great and characterful model and an utter - yet unexpected - pleasure to work with white metal. Perhaps I'm more of a leadhead than I realised!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Champions Of Slaanesh Progress Report - Realm Of Chaos Warbands

Some general progress has been achieved on my Slaanesh champions. I'm still experimenting a little with these colours, mostly through the retinue troops, and once I've figured out how to mix a few lighter blends I'll finish these perverted leaders. I'm really pleased with the colour scheme, which includes Citadel (Slaanesh Grey, Emperor's Children, Ice Blue, various washes), P3 (Murderous Magenta, Carnal Pink), Daler Rowney (Process Cyan), Model Color (Hull Red) and Army Painter (Dark Tone) paints.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Storing Paints In A KR MultiCase: The Ideal Solution For A Nomadic Splatterer

It seems that I've found an ideal solution for my nomadic painting lifestyle and I didn't have to look too far away - in fact, only as far as my excellent local games store, Firestorm Games. Yesterday I picked up a basic KR MultiCase and my paints have a new home that can easily travel around with me: around the house, to the in-laws, and to my new digs in Oxford (I'll be living there during the week from early October).

Here's how they fit:

Only a little modification required in order to fit the larger bottles - for these I simply slit down the dividers, taking care not to dislodge them completely, thereby creating larger sections. Simple stuff and really effective. Now I just need to demonstrate self control and not buy more paints...!
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