Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2016 Hobby Goals and Wishlist

Greeting good readers!

Bob here after a long hiatus to offer up some of my thoughts on my hobby goals and wishlist for 2016. 2015 Proved to be an interesting year and dare I say disheartening. Despite some interesting released from GW (Skitarii mainly) the death of Warhammer Fantasy and the ever bloated and increasingly obtuse nature of the 40k rules has really put me off of them on the whole. Yes, prices factor into it of course. The ever rising price point for new kits is very disheartening. On the positive side I managed to start to branch out into other systems and companies. I am really happy with Bolt Action and Hail Caesar. Warlord is quickly becoming one of my favorite companies. I also broke down and got some Perry Brothers Hundred Years War English archers and men at arms and I have to say that I am impressed. This shouldn't be a surprise considering it is the Perry brothers. X-Wing has also been a fun system to slowly collect and play on occasion. The last part of 2015 was rather hectic as I was finishing my last semester of undergrad. I know John has been getting ridden like a cheap mule by his work and like me has been suffering from hobby malaise.

Some action from the last game of  Fantasy I played

It was a close game, but the soldiers of Nordland proved victorious over the Tomb Kings

But fear not, hope is here. I have some very achievable projects and goals for 2016 along with a rather more focused approach to GW. So what am I planning and what are my hobby aims? First of all, having graduated has put me into an interesting position. Part of what my future employment may entail is a lot of travel for weeks if not months. This doesn't leave a whole lot of time for hobby. Depending on the length of the project and the location I am fairly well set up to bring a travel case of figures and painting supplies as well as a small army of something. So let's break down my hobby ideas by category:

Games Workshop: So I am not getting out of Fantasy or 40k. For Fantasy I plan on slowly finishing out the last bits I need for my Dark Elves, finishing my Vampires, and picking up odds and ends for Brets, Beasts, Chaos, and Dwarfs when the opportunity arises. 40k is going to be largely similar. I want to get my Eldar and Guard finished out as they don't lack much. I would like to work a little more on my Iron Snakes and Skitarii, but they really aren't high priority to be honest. If Deathwatch come out I may be tempted by them, but beyond that it will take a lot to tempt me into really starting a new army. What would like to see 40k wise (this is purely a wishlist)? Plastic Guard kits for some of the older regiments, plastic aspect warriors, chaos marines, and that is it. I am curious to see where these new specialist games go. I am really enjoying collecting my legion forces for 30k. I have a feeling this is where the majority of my GW spending will be. Betrayal at Calth is an excellent set.

Warlord: I want to finish out my early war French Army. It is very close to being done and painted (gasp!). After they are done I would like to start either a British/Commonwealth army or a late war German army to square off against my US paras. I wouldn't mind developing my Hail Caesar Romans and Gauls, but they aren't a priority. Beyond the Gates of Antares looks pretty cool and I would like to read the rules for it.

Star Wars: I wouldn't mind getting a few more X-Wing ships and Armada looks cool. Not much else to say here.

Other: I will be working on an English and French army for the Hundred Years War (Agincourt period). The Perry miniatures are just that good and I love the period.

I also have a new idea on dealing with the rather huge backlog of things that need to be painted. I want to try and rotate armies painting 5-10 models at a time. I want to try and have these done in a 2-3 week window time permitting. This of course will vary with work and other constraints. I just need to be painting. Period. I would like to have all of my armies done before I can start to draw social security.

Test model for my French Army
Have a full squad painted up now

So that is my ramble for the new year. Hopefully I will get back in some sort of spasmodic rhythm of blogging. Thanks and happy gaming!

Monday, October 19, 2015

What is on my table 10/19

Hey folks,

Bob here with a very small update. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a whole lot of hobby progress lately for one reason or another. The weather has decided to cooperate so I have managed to get some stuff primed. Besides that I have managed to finish up a few odds and ends and mess with some random stuff. I decided I wanted to go with white shoulder guards for my 30k Emperor's Children so that managed to get done. I also have had a box of Warlord Games Celtic Warriors sitting around unbuilt so I decided to put a few of them together to see what they looked like. After I did that I decided to paint a few of them up. Here are my first Celts (Gallic of course)

For some reason my box didn't come with the decal sheet that was supposed to be included, so I have left the  shields blank aside from the boss until I can pick some transfers up. Painting more of these guys is going to be interesting given their lack of uniform and noted bright colors. So far I am fairly pleased with the kit.

Next up I've finished the scenic bases that come with the new GW Space Marine assault squad. I have the squad all built up with suitable Dark Angels bitz and they will form the basis of my last assault squad for my Dark Angels. I almost have a full battle company finished (sans the rhinos and such) and just lack 5 assault marines and some devastators. Here are the bases minus the flocking.

That is it for now, folks. Hopefully I will have some more models to display in the near future and some more substantial content as well. Take care and happy gaming!!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Army History

Like most long time hobbyist I have several armies, High Elves, Dwarves, Skaven, Lizardmen, Tomb Kings and Chaos, in that order. It may seem random but there was some logic behind it.

High Elves were the cool, disciplined, recognizable army when first picking a choice. I liked how much ranged attacks they had. And it was one of the first armies I played as using Bob's army. This was back in 2002.  Well problem with this army is that they die way too fast. Somewhere around 2000pts

Only painting I have got done.

So, Dwarves were next. Dwarves were tankier than elves but still had good ranged choices. problem was I didn't have enough of them, and at the time a lot of the unit choices, and the whole army really, sucked. This was probably 2004. Around 4000pts

Most of the main painting done, just got to do the final washes

Skaven were the answer. Lots of models, monsters for the first time, they were also my first "bad guy" army. ok 4 boxes of clanrats and only 2 units later, they're are too many skaven. This was probably 2005. Only thing I have added since is when I bought the rats from one of the starting kits from Bob. Around 1500pts

if any one can pick it up, I have washed the horns, pretty happy with the result

Lizards. Easily my favorite army. Back to the good guys, lots of attacks, can take a hit, cool monsters, lots of magic. These guys were my army until 2007 when I briefly dabbled with.
Around 4500pts

Started with Bleached Bone, then a light wash of a dark brown. then another wash of light brown. then hit the ends of the horns with some dry brushed Skull White and a final wash, while the first was still drying.

Tomb Kings. Similar to Lizards, some good hitty units, monsters, great characters, chance to raise your dead. But again too much of a horde army. This army died very soon after it started. 2007
Around 1000pts, most of that not a legal army

several layers of light washes brought out the details, and helped blend in the Skull White that I thought was going to be too bright.

Fast Forward to 2014. Chaos arrive. Local GW store was having a "Warlord" tournament for the new chaos book. Decided this was a great way to start an army. Got a decent sized army, and decided this was going to be my best painted army, so it is coming along very slowly.
between 1000-1500pts

That's what I gotten done with a busy work schedule. Not much time for anything. Might get some more painting done here in a couple months. I still have a couple boxes of guardsmen I got to put together.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Some thoughts on the "20%" article (you know the one)

The film that is required viewing for all students of archaeology at my institution

In the words of Jack Burton, "I don't even know what the hell that means". I don't even know where to start this article. In case you have been living under a rock in the very recent past, you will likely have read excerpts from an article posted by Richard Beddard on the UK investing website Interactive Investors about his recent experience in attending Games Workshop's Annual General Meeting in Nottingham. I would encourage everyone who has seen the excerpts on sites such as Faeit 212 and Bell of Lost Souls to go and actually read the full article. He is the link to the full article .

To say that there were some disturbing, though not entirely surprising, things said at this meeting is an understatement. Let's start off with what to me is the biggest quote from the meeting:

 "It does not mention games. In conversation, I’m told that the word “Game” in Games Workshop encourages the misconception that games are its business, but that only about 20% of Games Workshop’s customers are gamers. The rest are modellers and collectors. Maybe half of them think about playing now and then. The other half have no intention. People actually walk into the stores because they’re curious about modelling fantastic armies."

In the immortal words of Meatwad, "do what now?" 
"Do what now?"
What the hell is that number even based on, and perhaps more importantly, what the hell does that even mean? GW has admitted in the past that they do not conduct market research (if somebody could link the source of this I would appreciate it. I think it was a financial report) so what are they actually basing this mysterious 20% off of? Sales? As others have pointed out, did some bean counter crunch numbers and figure out that only 20% of their sales come from army and rule books? Are they simply blowing smoke up the asses of their investors in order to rationalize this notion of being a "model company"? I get the feeling that the truth is a bit of both and more besides. In my personal experience as a "hobbyist" I can certainly say that I have spent vastly more money on models over the years than books,  but that is a no shit statement. Why am I buying models in the first place? Well, I suspect that my reasoning is perhaps what the average "hobbyist" follows. I buy the models because I enjoy the lore of the game worlds and game systems themselves. If GW had never made rules or background for Warhammer Fantasy or 40k I would never have gotten any of their models in the first place. Full stop. Sure they make some good stuff, but I would never have dumped the amount of time and money into these ranges (and still want to buy new stuff believe it or not) if there wasn't a compelling world, lore, and a fun game system to go with it ( I came in at 3rd for 40k and 4th for Fantasy I think). This whole article has left me more than a little flabbergasted. Are they really this damn disillusion? The answer it appears is a very sad yes.

So where do I go from here? Well, I have been focusing far more on other games these days. X-Wing and Bolt Action have gotten far more of my attention lately. The Horus Heresy stuff from Forge World has a lot more appeal to me as well. With the seemingly never ending tide of AoS (fill in your own word for the S, I do) releases and Tau up next, there hasn't been anything outside of the occasional Forge World release to get me excited for anything GW. I am legitimately interested to see what they do with the other factions in AoS model wise if for no other reason than to convert them for use with Fantasy (yeah, I plan on adapting anything cool to 8th because suck it that's why). GW just seems to be doing it's damnedest to alienate their customers, especially the long time ones.

Enough ranting for today. I thought about doing a lengthier article breaking down more of what the investing article talked about, but discussing GW anymore gives me a headache and a need for hard liquor (well, what doesn't really). I would love to have a nice and civil discussion about this article and what the future holds in the comments. Until next time, folks!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Dark Angels Legion (thoughts for the future and what I have been up to)

Hey folks,

Bob here with an overdue update. Things have been hectic lately with academia and travel messing up my schedule. I shouldn't really be complaining about the travel though. I got to visit Glasgow in Scotland for a few days to attend the European Association of Archaeologists annual meeting and give a paper on behalf of my French colleague and mentor. I had a blast and the presentation was well received so a kickass time was had all around.
On the campus of the University of Glasgow
With my final semester of undergrad getting into full swing and the disruption of international travel my routine has yet to settle and my hobby time has suffered for it. That being said, I have managed to get a few things worked on and play a game or two. First up, I managed to get around to building the Sherman Tank I had gotten as part of a trade deal with Noble Knight Games (more on these good folks later).

This thing was a bit of a pain in the back side to put together. I love the Warlord Games plastics, but their resin/metal vehicle kits not so much. After a lot of filing down and cursing I have managed to get it to sit (reasonably) level on the table top and not have the turret listing to one side. I decided to magnetize the turret for the hell of it and it seems to have been a good choice. Stays on a lot more securely and rotates on a mostly even level.

Now on to the main focus of this article. In case you haven't noticed, Forge World has released some upgrade components for the Dark Angels Legion. Needless to say I will be getting more than a few of these. This release along with the now less fanciful prospect of plastic Heresy kits has got me thinking about just what I will want out of my I Legion army and how I can get the most use out of them. Like all of my interest in 30k gaming, my Dark Angles Legion will be more of a long term project. Although, it may start seeing more of my time and money with the death of Warhammer Fantasy and the prospect of plastic Heresy kits. Thankfully there is interest in doing 30k in my gaming group which the release of plastics would only help to give a kick in the ass to jump start. So where do I see my Legion collections going? Well, to begin with I will be shooting for table ready forces for games of 1500 to 1750 points. This seems like the easiest thing to do and would allow me to get actual games in. Beyond this I will be letting my imagination (and wallet) decide on how I expand. Ideally I want each Legion to be around 3000 points total. The Dark Angels will likely be my largest collection. I am really anxious to see the Legion profile for them and how they were organized. The Dark Angels Legion was very different from the Chapter of the 41st millennium. I want to include most if not all of the 6 ( I believe) mentioned special formations as well as the regular Legionaries. The Lion is a must of course.

Above is my own concept model of what the Legion colors and armour might look like. The shield on the right shoulder pad is an homage to the knightly aspect of the Legion and I had planned on using this in lieu of the normal marking for squad type and number. Then this got released 

The official I Legion color scheme?
So this is the "official" color scheme of the Legion? It may take some time for this to grow on me. I would really like some better photos in order to see all of the markings and details. Hopefully Forgeworld will be getting some more pictures out soon. And of course, nothing says I have to paint my forces this way so time will tell.

Until next time good readers!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

How I reacted to some of the Age of Sigmar Rumors

I read the rumors, and talked to some people who all had me freaking out about the state of Warhammer:Fantasy. I had read they were pulling boxes off the shelves and even that GW stores were no longer allowing Fantasy games to be played. Before this happened I was determined to go into my local store and drop some serious money and buy up whatever I could.

This past Sunday (8.9.15) I was there poking through stuff I was looking for, Dwarf Organ Gun, Lizardmen stuff (more on this later), Chaos and maybe skaven; I talked with the owner/operator of the store. He asked me what brought me in, and I told him I was here to buy before Fantasy stuff got pulled. He laughed, and said that wasn't happening, and Fantasy was safe. He informed me that they were just reboxing stuff, and had just gotten some of the Wood Elf stuff back, and next week were getting some of the Skaven Plague Rats. He said he had not been informed by GW to pull anything, though he did qualify the statement by saying that he could get an email next week saying to pull stuff. So I was mollified to an extent, and decided I wasn't going to spend all of my savings on whatever I could. So instead of a way serious shopping spree I just bought a Lizardmen Stegadon, Lizardmen Saurus Calvary and a box of IG Guardsmen and Scions, to finish the squad of veterans I began earlier.

Stegadon body complete
While I have a rather large Lizardmen army it is mostly lizards and no dinosaurs, and I felt that needed correcting. So I added a stegadon to my army and to do list.

Stegadon complete. Added an extra set of horns to the head, was thinking about adding to the tail, but couldn't figure out how to make it work.
I will be running this guy as an Ancient Stegadon with an Engine of the Gods, for all the extra buffs it gives out. Will have to play test, using it fully as support, trying to avoid combat, or if I am going to let it get stuck in.

Stegadon w/ Howdah complete
Pretty awesome model, it was about this stage of construction I realized I should have painted the stegadons back before completing assembly. Always do that, never think through the painting process. I just glued the skinks on lightly so I could remove for more complete painting.

forgive the lighting- stegadon complete with skink riders (5)
One bonus to the Stegadon kit was that it comes with a skink priest and a skink chieftan, so I have two new characters to go along with my new stegadon.

I am still experimenting with lighting solutions, they are always too dark or too bright, I can never find the goldilocks lighting situation in my apt. I will have an article up on painting this guy soon.

Friday, August 14, 2015

What's on my table (Paratroopers and Dark Angels)

Greetings folks!

Bob here with an update on what is on the old painting table these days. I don't know about the rest of you, but I have a very bad habit of leaving projects unfinished as my mood on what I want to be painting changes (call it hobby ADD if you want). With this in mind I have reshuffled what is in the front rows of the hobby table in an effort to finish some of these (nearly complete in a lot of cases) models in addition to whatever my little mind wants to be painting. So what does all of this mean? Well, in practical terms it means I am working on some Dark Angels that have sat half finished for far too long and some Bolt Action US Paratroopers which have been neglected compared to my Germans.

I decided to repaint some of the pouches and bags on my Paratrooper test model after rewatching Band of Brothers and taking some notes on their uniforms. I went over to the local Hobby Town (my flgs of choice) and picked out a green-gray that I thought would be the closest match for the period material color of bandoliers and such. In the end I chose Model Masters Panzer Olive Green. My order of painting and colors are as follows:

Step 1: Prime the model black

Step 2: Dryad Bark for boots, guns, pistol holsters. Model Color US Field Drab for fatigues and helmet netting. Caliban Green for the helmet. Castellan Green for knee and elbow patches and all bags, bandolier, etc. Leadbelcher for gun barrels. Tallarn Flesh for skin.

Step 3: Apply Panzer Olive Green to bags and pouches. Mournfang Brown on gun stocks, boots, and field knife. Clean up for shading.

Step 4: Wash everything except Olive Green and gunmetal with Agrax Earthshade. Wash Olive Green with Nuln Oil.

Step 5: Drybrush/highlight raised areas with appropriate base colors. Clean up as needed and voila!

Simple yet effective in my opinion. This isn't a time consuming color scheme yet it produces a nice, post jump look for Paratroopers. I plan on hitting these guys with a dull coat to knock down the gloss and seal on the paint. Flocking will happen at some point....

Dark Angels wise I am finishing my Sacred Standard bearer as well as a Tactical Marine and two Deathwing Knights.

I bought the new Dark Angels decal sheet from GW a while back and I wanted to use one of their standards. I decided to try out Micro Sol and Micro Set to see how they handled getting the damn thing to stick and lay flat to an uneven surface. Sure enough, the banner went on without a problem and adhered nearly seamlessly to the plastic banner surface. Call me a believer in the virtues of the Micro Sol and Set system. The Deathwing Knights are taking a little longer to finish as I am having to fiddle around with all of the details on the models and fix mistakes.  Here are some WIP shots of the boys from the Rock.

Cheers and happy gaming, folks!