Sunday, 8 July 2018

Solving the painting problem

Photo by Aodhan

With time remaining a precious commodity, I've decided to engage the services of some commission painters to get some painted models on the table. First up is Aodhan, a fellow member of HATE. I've asked him to paint up the models I have picked up for Druze Bayram Security, for Infinity. I'm intending to use them for ITS Season 10, which starts after the Interplanetario tournament in August.

Photo by Aodhan

Aodhan and I have been talking about this colour scheme for a while as he finished up some previous commissions. Using a couple of his own models, he sketched in a rough idea of what the figures woudl look like as I am really bad at visualising things. I found this super useful to get an idea of what the models would look like when done.

Photo by Aodhan

Once the plan for the figure and the base were agreed, he's cracked on with the models, as in the first photo. Now, the 'sketching' isn't free - I'm paying him for his time! But it's a really useful thing you can sometimes do which really helps communicate between commissioner and artist.

Aodhan will have a few more batches of Druze to come once he's got through the batch he has now. I'm really looking forward to getting a fully painted force for Infinity onto the tabletop... Meanwhile, once the house move is done, I plan on starting to paint up my Nomads, but I suspect that is going to take me a while, even with a dedicated painting area.

Meanwhile, I've sent an assortment of goblins off to Brushchewer Inc, a painting service up in Scotland. I've realised that really, what I'm excited about with my massive goblin collection is the idea of the visual of the army, not necessarily painting it for myself!

So, with AoS 2E having released, I've asked Brushchewer to punch out a regiment of 20 assorted goblins to see how they do. If it goes well, I'll keep pushing them goblins until they're sick of them! My idea with this is to get a playable 2,000 point Age of Sigmar force painted up and start playing some games to learn it. I may not keep the goblins forever - I have an Order force in particular I have some ideas for - but they will exist in the world and I'll be happy about that, even if I end up selling them on to a new home after playing with them a while.

The new hobby area isn't quite there yet, but I'm pleased I've managed to come up with a way of getting some hobby progressing along!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Infinity Tournament: essexdave is getting married!

With the weather lovely, we heard the news that essexdave, the player who organises the Infinity tournaments at Wayland Games, is getting married. In order to celebrate this, he organised an Infinity tournament...

We were playing 300 points, with the modifiers "Limited Insertion" (keeping us to one combat group) and "Soldiers of Fortune" allowing us to taken mercenaries. I am continuing with my plan of running Corregidor - running one list with a Mobile Brigada link and Avicenna, and a second for Transmission Matrix, with a weird smorgasboard of bits and pieces, including McMurrough, Senor Massacre and Avicenna.

My first game, Firefight, was against aphexblue, who was playing the Shock Army of Acontecimento. He tried to pin me down with a Bagh-Mari fireteam and a TAG, but by a bit of aggressive play and some lucky crits, I got them neutralised. A Naga hacker in the midfield on a roof caused me some woe, but I managed to pin it down with Crazy Koalas, leaving the Brigadas able to run and get an extra panoply. A last ditch effort by Stephen Rao to take the link out was stopped short with a crit, leaving me winning 5-0.

Next up was the terrifying Bobman in Transmission Matrix. He was running the new Tunguska, with bikes that transform into robots, brutal hacking and general woe. Senor Massacre was given the job of taking out the Designated Target, and then failed multiple orders to try and land Eclipse smoke in the right place, then on his last order made it into hand to hand only to have the target crit it's dodge.

It went downhill from there. Bobman would feed units into the central objective to score the points each turn, and while I'd shoot them down in my turn, he'd just replenish them, scoring him an 8-2 win as we ran out of turns before he ran out of models!

And finally, it was Frontline, where NiceGuyRosen demonstrated that getting into a straight firefight with a full Hospitaller link with Joan is not going to go well... The game ended with me having nothing on the table, and he picked up a solid 7-1 win.

As always, the games at Wayland were excellent. The heat was a bit much, but we soldiered through. I was joined by three other members of HATE who were good company on the train there and back. I'll definitely be along again when the tournaments start up again.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Warhammer Fest and the changes at Games Workshop

So, the other weekend, my wife and I headed down to Warhammer Fest for a pleasant weekend of geekery and nonsense. By now I expect most of you who keep track of the wargaming news will have seen most of the new stuff announced at the event. If you haven't, I recommend the live feed page Games Workshop themselves put out here.

Trish has finally finished the Khornate Dragon

There are two big changes front and centre at Warhammer Fest. The first was previews - showing things in advance of their pre-order date. The second was more about representation and in particular a better balance of female representation.

A whole bunch of new stuff got announced at Warhammer Fest - a new edition of Age of Sigmar, two updates to AoS factions, the render of the next plastic Sister of Battle, the Dark Elf Blood Bowl team, Adeptus Titanicus, and that Cawdor are coming next for Necromunda. It's saying something that I didn't get to go to the Forge World Seminar as the tickets went too quickly, but that I didn't really mind...

Also, if you looked around, you could see other previews that hadn't even been announced on display in miniature cabinets, as demo items on people's desks, and so on. There was a lot of openness about the next three months.

I'm certainly interested in the new Adeptus Titanicus game. The buy in price point is likely to be a little high, but this is really nice stuff so I'm not too worried. It looks like it's going to be an interesting game focussing on the titans, with mention of the need to focus on your reactor management, and having cards available to configure your titans. The models also come with slots to magnetise all the weapons.

The other side to the changes were the number of really good female models of varying types. The new Stormcast Chamber has a high proportion of women, with sensible armour.

Also, the way the line infantry's armour has been modelled is rather androgynous, allowing for either make or female heads to be added without a problem - and it looks like there's female heads available for the kit.

With a two year lead time for miniature design, Games Workshop needs to be really careful fixing its historical problems. If they make a mis-step and do something wrong with their model design, from feedback to fix can be months or years. They seem to be aware of this, though, and are making an effort to get it right first time.

On the Blood Bowl side of things, we're seeing more teams with women players from the start - the new Dark Elf team has a sensible mix of men and women, and while they dropped the ball on the starting human and orc teams, they've introduced some cool female star players and they seem willing to listen to feedback.

Cheerleaders are a problem. The real world concept for them is fundamentally pretty sexist, but Blood Bowl, parodying such things, and historically using them, is left in a difficult spot. The route they've chosen to take is to make cheerleader models, and to try and do them as sympathetically as they can in the circumstances.

Personally, I think this is the best approach they can take. With the number of third party suppliers in the market, there's a risk that if Forge World don't make cheerleaders, other companies will make really offensive ones to pander to the lowest denominator. This is a place where Games Workshop and Forge World can use their position as market leader to put out sensible cheerleader models and hopefully cut down on the profitability of the more offensive sexist tropes smaller companies might be tempted to make.

Hence, in this particular case, orcs in the Blood Bowl universe have women again, rather than being fungus. The approach they've chosen to take is that these are some of the bigger, burlier orcs (who happen to be female) who cheer the players on with threats of violence if they don't play better. I think that's probably a better comic approach than some of the more outright offensive options taken in the past.

All in all, I'm really interested in how Games Workshop does with all this change. It's always a challenge, but so far they seem to be broadly doing pretty well with it, and long may that continue!

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Learning Game: Druze Bayram Security vs Haqqislam - 300 points, Firefight

With it not being a League game week, I decided, as I had enough models assembled, to give the Druze Bayram Security a quick run out in a practice game. Riker was kind enough to accept the challenge, as he wanted to take a break from his usual Yu Jing to return to his Haqqislam.

I started off with the pretty standard core link of Druze with a Clipper Dronbot. The rest of the link consisted of the HMG, Brawler Doctor, Light Grenade Launcher and a Killer Hacker. My Druze Lieutenant was deployed further up the board to replenish the link as it moved up.

A couple of Bounty Hunters in a Duo were set up further up the field to act as a speed bump, with the hope that they'd manage to hold a few models up as they advanced.

And meanwhile, a Brawler Haris with the MSV2 Sniper hung out on the right hand side of the board.

I then got a bit of a shock as Riker's reserve model was a Maghariba Guard. The Druze certainly have a reputation for being punchy, but this was definitely going to be a challenge.

Fortunately for me, I'd left Saito Togan hanging out in a nice spot, and I got a beautiful opportunity to call an "Engage" move, trapping it in place before it could cause too much damage.

The Dronbot got into a little bit of a gun fight with some Haqqislam models and didn't do too well out of it. Broadly, I ended up pinned down with little capacity to move

A Bashi Bazouk wandered on from the side and shot up Saito Togan, freeing up the TAG.

I don't recall what this model was, but it was causing me some significant woe in the midfield.

The Maghariba Guard got into position to cause me trouble the next turn, but the Druze showed why they are so terrifying. There were a couple of orders of ineffective shooting against the TAG, but then suddenly it rolled low, I rolled well and the entire TAG just vanished off the board in a hail of machine gun bullets. I was probably more surprised than Andy!

In an effort to outflank the Druze, I brought on a Bashi Bazouk. The model in the tower turned out to be a Hafza in disguise and used a blast template to obliterate the Bashi by targetting a Holo Echo...

Fortunately, at least, I managed to take out the annoying midfield piece by shooting it in the back.

My sniper lost a duel with . . . something?

One of my few amusement high points was the Ghazi Muttawiah pulling their normal trick of shooting a burst of E/M through a wall at my Lieutenant, only to be reminded that Druze are Veterans, and thus immune to such parlour tricks...

In the wider picture, though, it was all going downhill. The Druze link was slowly dismantled.

Soon, there weren't very many models left, and we called it a day.

As a learning game, this was still super useful. I wasn't much impressed by the Brawler sniper link, but the Druze core link was excellent and caused a lot of damage before going down. I think I need to place more models who can join up with the core link in sensible places to let it get back up to a full five person fire team, as that's where it really shines.

Monday, 14 May 2018

A new dawn for painting

It's been a long while since I posted any painting stuff. I mean, this isn't hugely unusual as my painting schedule is historically erratic at best. But the hobby area is a bomb site, there's a ton of clearing to do to even get to the hobby area, and I've not even been trying to do so recently.

The picture above is why. My darling wife and I have now purchased a flat in London. It's unsurprisingly tiny, so we'll need to have a bit of a clear out. But the new space is going to have a dedicated hobby area (as shown above) and we're planning a ton of storage solutions to make sure everything has a place and isn't sitting about in piles.

Once the move is done, I'm looking forward to getting to settle down and paint regularly. In the meantime, the clear out will continue. If people are interested, I may post more rambling thoughts on my hobby clear out and abandoned projects. There will also still be plenty of battle reports as I am keeping up my gaming schedule in the meantime.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Salute 2018: A Demo of Moonstone

For my final post about Salute 2018, I thought I'd write up our experience of playing a couple of turns of Moonstone. This was the demo game that caused us to end up accidentally kind of buying teh game. Alongside, of course, the fact you get a flatulent goblin knight riding a pug.

They had a beautifully set up board for demo games with a few figures a side.

Each figure comes with their own card, and you have tokens to spend as action points. Some actions can cost more than one point. You get a move, then each additional step is an action point - this means that you can push a little bit further if you need to, but it's not ideal.

You drop a bunch of D4s at the start of the game - they represent Moonstones buried under the earth, with the number representing how deep they are buried. The objective is to get as many Moonstones as possible.

For the demo game, I charged forward and over extended, meaning that my poor goblin knight got beaten up by a giant - although the knight did manage to cause everyone damage with a particularly toxic bout of flatulence!

It was great fun, and there's a few different factions available. It was on sale at Salute and I believe it will be on general release soon.

Monday, 7 May 2018

A bit of a clear out

As part of the bank holiday weekend, I've taken the opportunity to have a little bit of a clear out of some of my abandoned projects. You can find them listed for sale here. However, as I was taking nice photos to go on eBay, I thought it would be interesting to talk about what I'm selling, but also why.

First up, we have a bunch of Nurgle Chaos Space Marine stuff. There's three dreadnoughts and five Chaos Terminators in total.

I picked these up many years ago at an Overlords gaming club bring and buy. One of the younger players was selling on his Nurgle chaos force to fund a new project. As I understand it, he'd also bought a lot of it second hand from someone as well.

I picked up the models I did because at the time I was planning an Iron Warriors Chaos Space Marine force using the models from Dark Vengeance I'd got as a present from my wife. My logic was that these models were painted to a gaming standard and could easily bulk out the Iron Warriors force I wanted while I was getting it ready, and once the force was complete, I could sell them on.

Unfortunately, the Iron Warriors never came to be, so there's no longer any reason to keep team Nurgle. I'm weirdly attached to the little blighters because I know so much of their history. Hopefully they'll move on to someone who'll use them as is, rather than simply stripping them and starting again.

I'm also selling off various bits from the Japanese Successionist Army box for Infinity. I grabbed the box for the pre-order miniature and to get the various models out of it that are of use to the Ikari Mercenary Company, as I already had a lot of the miniatures for that force. (Essentially by mistake, due to the nature of mercenaries.)

There's also a few surplus Antenocitis Workshop bases - either ones I used for some of my civilian models, or ones purchased for mercenaries before I decided to incorporate them into my Ikari forces.

So, if you're seeing this in the first few days the post is up, please head over to my eBay page and grab a bargain. If not, I hope you found these ramblings about why hobby moves on to someone else interesting.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Salute 2018 Purchases

So, with a spring in my step, I set out across the mystical halls of Salute to find treasures to return home with. What bounty might I discover?

The bag I was handed at the door already came with a souvenir miniature and a free dice. Already up!

First stop was Northumbrian Tin Soldier, where I had pre-ordered some lovely new goblins. Yes, more goblins. I thought if I got it out of the way early, I might not go too mad again... I also got a free gift of a badge, which I thought was a nice touch.

Next up was Eureka Miniatures, where I wanted to pick up a couple more oddnesses from their chaos range. I ended up with these beauties.

My wife and I then got a demo of a game called Moonstone, which we both really enjoyed and ended up picking the core box for. I took a few photos of the demo game, so I'll put them up shortly in a separate blog post.

I remember seeing the Kickstarter for this when it came out, but I was on a crowdfunding ban at the time. The figures are definitely a style I appreciate, and I'm looking forward to getting them painted up and playing some games!

While queuing to pay for Moonstone, I noticed that Troll Trader, who were the distributor, had got a little laser cut laser cutter as their event exclusive, so I kind of had to get one! I mean, you can't blame me, can you?

One of the stands I wandered past was "Awesome 3D Printing", who 3D print things for other wargaming companies. I didn't get a shot of their stand, but they gave me a free keyring, so the least I can do is link their site.

I then wandered by the Warploque stand. The original plan was just to drop by and say hi as I haven't assembled the stuff from their first Kickstarter yet...

But then I saw the Mjowls, and they were just adorable and I had to own them...

Then a quick trip to the Anvil Industry stand (obligatory Kickstarter plug) to say hello and pick up their show only miniatures... So I now have a werewolf and a political commissar type, which is excellent.

I then got a text from my darling wife. We have, for some years, had a rule that until we bought a property, she was not to buy a titan. She's broken this rule a few times so far, with "Knight Titans Don't Really Count", "They're Smallish Eldar Ones So It's Not That Bad" and "An Ordinatus Isn't a Titan" (OK, I deserve that last technicality)...

But a few weeks before Salute, we'd bought a flat. So . . . technically, she was allowed to buy a Titan. She did, however, acknowledge that this was lightly taking the piss, and some level of light bribery was necessary for me not to give her grief about this forever and a day. Negotiations occurred, and I was allowed two significant purchases...

She was also buying herself a Termite, and agreed to buy me one as a present as well. I have some cunning plans for this that I'm looking forward to doing, but they will remain secret for now. The casting quality on these kits is also really excellent, and there's a lot less flash than I recall from other Forge World kits I've bought of late.

I have been looking super thoughtfully at the Heresy Giant for a while now. Heresy put out some amazing kits, so I'd really recommend, of any of the kits I've linked here, you go and check their stuff out. Andy who runs Heresy is good people, almost an institution of the small hobby businesses out there, and it's well work grabbing a purchase of something.

My other large purchase at Salute was a selection of pre-painted 4Ground scenery, for my planned Infinity table in the new place. There was a bit of a discount if you spent certain amounts so I grabbed a few pieces of scatter to hit the threshold.

I had a few pounds left in my pocket, so I pottered by the Fenris Games stand and got just one more goblin.

I really do have a goblin problem, don't I?