Monday, 15 September 2014

Getting back into the swing of things

With a couple of weeks going out and buying and trying to sell stuff, I hadn't got much (any) painting or modelling done. As a result, I was having trouble getting back into the painting and so on, so I thought the best thing to do would be to get a couple of easy 'quick wins' in to get back into the swing of things.

First up, I managed to finish off the younger of the two Squat mercenaries. I'd thrown a little base coat onto him, but that was as far as he'd gone.

Like his older colleague, he's painted up in colours to call back to the old Rogue Trader Squat Leagues. Some people have felt that his Storm Bolter is a little disproportionate, but I'll live with his gun being ridiculously over-sized. If I'd had a little more modelling time and effort, I'd have modelled a suspensor field on as a flimsy justification for the massive firearm - but he'll be fine.

With the Squat done, I wanted to get a couple of quick wins lined up for when I was next in the mood, so I had a dig through what I had around. First up was this Chaos Renegade, who is a kit bash of Forge World renegade and Elysian parts. He was part of one of the purchases I got at the Overlords Bring and Buy.

He had a little gap at the back where the larger torso didn't quite fit, so I got his waist filled in with some green stuff. I have some interesting ideas for painting him, so we'll see how he goes.

I also got a goblin painted cleaned and glued to his base. This is one of the GoblinAid goblins - a pirate goblin by Stuart Powley. I've also filled in the base with filler now, and will also texture the base before I get him undercoated.

All in all, I'm feeling like I got some nice quick wins in and I'm motivated again to get things done with my painting. I'm starting to get a system in place for getting things done. I like systems. They make me happy.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Shopocalypse: Overlords Bring and Buy

I regularly listen to The Overlords Podcast on the way to work, and when I heard they were having a Bring and Buy event, I decided it was time to overcome my recent slackness with ebay-ing off old stuff I'm not using any more and have a bit of a clear out. My wife was also super enthused about the idea of offloading stuff, so also headed over.

As my wife was cycling there, I had the unenviable job of lugging everything else to the venue - a scout hut somewhere between Barking and Dagenham.

My wife and I laid out the stuff we had to sell next to a chap who was selling off some Horus Heresy stuff. My wife only smacked me a few times for looking at it covetously.

I popped into the hut itself to see the "Haven" event which was going on in the main area. You can find more and better pictures of the event itself on the Overlords Facebook page.

Wait. What just happened? I'm going home with more than twice as much stuff as I took. Where has all my money for change gone? And the money I made selling things? I haven't been robbed - I just have poor impulse control (and so does my wife). She managed to pick up some more bits and pieces for her Dark Eldar and her Orks. So, what did I pick up?

One Dark Vengeance set of Dark Angels, less the Librarian, which I swapped for a box of Al Mukhtar's Desert Dogs.

I picked up this Rhino as part of a bulk deal. I'm undecided as yet as to whether to use it for my Dark Angels or my Inquisition. I'm mildly tending towards the Dark Angels at the moment.

A whole bunch of Elysian bits, and one kitbashed heretic using Elysian and Chaos Renegade parts.

Also in the bulk buy were four Servitors - two with Heavy Bolters, two for the fixing of things.

Five metal Squats. These will be going into an Inquisitorial Warband, and make me inordinately happy.

And the final part of my bulk deal - six Rogue Trader era metal Space Marines. I think one has a Heavy Bolter. I was originally planning on using them as Fallen, but plans may change base on my future whims.

This chap wasn't actually bought at the Bring and Buy, but I found him in with a bunch of other bits and pieces I picked up second hand the previous week at a model railway shop. I do have a Skavenblight Scramblers team sitting around, so I'll add him to them - a spare lineman is never a bad thing!

I also spotted a bag of lasgun cartridges which I thought my friends who run a 40K LARP would like for props. They did, the price was right, so they'll be hopefully winging their way up to Scotland shortly.

Two Necromunda gangs from the previous week's shopping were swapped for Xenology. It's a nice source book for ideas and stuff, and generally hard to find these days. Sadly, the Inquisitor Sketchbook went before I got to it!

A lovely gentleman gave this to me for free, as its missing from my RPG book collection. It was definitely appreciated.

You can never have too many dice, right?

I've also picked up three old metal Chaos Dreadnoughts, which I'm going to run as a Mayhem Pack. I'm not planning on running Nurgle Chaos Space Marines, but I decided that the Iron Warriors I am running would be totally cool with keeping some quarantined horrors in a teleport bay ready to drop onto someone as a way of breaking a siege.

Finally, I spotted that the Terminators next to the Helbrutes were old metal Rogue Trader miniatures, which I am a total sucker for. I have no plans for them, but I'm super pleased to have them.

So, now to ebay to try and offload some of the things I failed to sell this weekend...

Monday, 1 September 2014

Commissioning a Bombard from Golem Painting Studio

Photo by Golem Painting Studio
 A while back, I decided to commission Golem Painting Studio to paint my Forge World Colossus Bombard. It arrived back with me last week.

Photo by Golem Painting Studio

These photos are the ones Golem sent me prior to sending it back to check I was happy with the paint job - which I am. I know commissioning people isn't to everyone's tastes, but I'm very happy with the results I got.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Rainy bank holidays: helping me be a less terrible person

This bank holiday weekend, I decided to try and do at least some of the things I have sitting in my queue for other people.

Codename: Oberon is not for other people, but I've found I get more done if I don't focus on a single project at once. Oberon was finished in between the main project of the weekend.

And here's the the big job from this weekend. These are five Runtherd kit-bashes for Sim's Ork army, as one of her second hand purchases included many Gretchin, but no Runtherds to push them into battle. A recent bits sale at one of the sites I used provided me with five Freebooter bodies and an assortment of gun arms and heads to make them into full models.

As a cautionary tale for those doing Ork conversions - if you're buying bits separately, you need to buy the neck component as well as the body, or you're going to have problems. I found that non Freebooter heads went on just find, using the bottom of what should be the throat as an Adam's apple instead. They do end up a little long necked, but I think they turned out fine.

I intend to continue on with Operation: Finish Off Everyone Else's Stuff over the coming weeks.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Battle Report, Slow Grow League Week 9: 1,000 pts vs Space Marines

I've decided to take a break from the Dark Sphere slow grow league - I was definitely having fun, but a weekly game commitment can be exhausting on top of a busy job. Thank you to everyone I've played, and a massive thank you to the Commissar for organising it.

My opponent was the nice chap from "Dakka on Bakka" who played Space Marines, and had provided my only victory. So he was certainly keen for his Marines to redeem their honour. With the smaller game, he was still running scouts, Tigurius, an Aegis line and a Thunderfire Cannon. The flyers (which I hadn't actually faced in person anyway) were out, and a small squad of Legion of the Damned were in.

We rolled lengthways deployment and Purge the Alien (AKA Kill Points). I lost and had to deploy first, deploying pretty conservatively to protect against scores of scouts ending up behind me and murdering me to death, and deep striking Legion with a multi melta.

I decided after deployment I should rush the Chimera up the field, then failed to get the screening unit out the way, and thought it would be a bright idea to rush through the woods. This was, in fact, a terrible plan, because it got stuck there. Meanwhile, the Thunderfire Cannon was blowing massive holes out of my infantry.

Tigurius fried his own brain two turns in a row, passing a leadership test to avoid being dragged into the warp one turn, and forgetting one of his powers the next.

Some scouts outflanked and blew the immobilised Chimera to pieces.

The Legion of the Damned tried to turn up here and botched, entering ongoing reserves.

The command squad scrambled into the ruins away from their wrecked Chimera.

The psyker successfully cast the brutal telekinetic death storm, taking a wound in the process from the Perils of the Warp. The Scouts failed to deny the witch, and then the psyker missed and the brutal death storm deviated off the table.

The Commissar Lord, down to a single wound, had tried to make a break for the safety of the fortification, but hadn't quite managed to reach the door when the Legion of the Damned arrived to punish him for his cowardice.

The start of the Marine shooting phase...

The end of the Marine shooting phase...

The conscripts, perhaps unsurprisingly, decide enough is enough and make a break for it.

The regular troops, however, are made of sterner stuff and make a concerted effort to murder some Marine Scouts.

The Legion, having killed the cowardly Commissar Lord, demolished the bunker he'd sought to take shelter in, showing that there was no hiding from the vengeance of the Emperor.

The veterans climbed onto the wrecked battlements and hurled a demolition charge and unleashed hell, but only a single Legionnaire was felled. Clearly some sort of supernatural force was protecting these ghostly warriors.

With so many Guardsmen dead, some of the Scouts decided to go for a gentle amble out from behind their wall to try and get a few more guns into range.

A battle cannon shell from across the field reminded the scouts why sitting about in the open, even against a mostly destroyed Guard force, is a daft idea.

Eventually, a single Scout was left, and he made a break for the ruins.

The Legion of the Damned tried to take out the only survivor of the Guard - the Leman Russ battle tank, but to no avail! It's armour held true.

I failed to rack up a single kill point as the Scout in the ruins passed his cover save. I was incredibly amused when I then took a closer look at him after the battle...

Monday, 18 August 2014

Are Mantic figures all completely terrible?

Nothing like a low starting point with a product review! I know a lot of people really enjoy Mantic products, but I have been put off by being near someone trying to put together one of the first Orx Marauder Raptors. They are so bad that I would not accept a free one, and not only would you have to pay me to assemble one, I would be charging you around the cost of the model purely for assembly. Probably more. And then I'd be seriously thinking about it.

One of the Mantic demo chaps was tolerant enough to hear my . . . 'reservations' about Mantic's product quality back in May when I had a demo game of Deadzone. He kindly gave me one of the limited edition Kickstarter minis "Codename: Oberon" to try out and see if things have improved.

First, I used a scalpel to clean off the mould lines. This wasn't too bad - there weren't too many of them (apart from the super obvious one on the base), and they came off pretty easily.

I'm not convinced by the Mantic bases, though. Look at these awkward gaps! As you'll soon see, they're pretty easily fixable, but the clever design on this figure needed a little more precision to pull off well.

I then decided it was time to experiment with basing, because my current bases are pretty dull and samey. So, I glued a few of the most expensive rocks on the planet (I have tons left over from GW basing kits) onto the base to break it up a bit.

I then covered the base with Vallejo Sandy Paste. This was a bit of a pig, so I'd highly recommend doing this before painting. The paste neatly covers up the gaps in the base from the smaller circle fitting into the weird doughnut base, so I'll probably continue this method if I ever pick up some more Mantic figures.


From my limited experience, I'd say that Mantic figures aren't an automatic "avoid". You need to be picky. I'd certainly be cautious around their old Warpath Orx, for example, but some of the newer stuff seems to be OK.

I've heard mixed reviews about their newer stuff. I suspect some of it is about taste and preference - some people don't like their material or casting method. Other people I know who've bought the newer Mantic stuff have said that they've found the quality variable - some tending towards the level of the older figures, others much improved, like our friend Oberon here. All in all, this worries me more than consistent known flaws - will it always be a gamble to buy a Mantic figure?

Mantic tag themselves as being about "Building Big Armies" and talk about "Affordable Fantasy and sci-fi tabletop miniatures and wargames scenery". If you are looking for cheap - sure, look at Mantic. They are unashamedly pitching to that point in the market, and that's fine.

From my point of view, if I buy Mantic, it won't be to substitute their figures into other games - it will be because of their games. From that point of view, Deadzone and Mars Attacks are the only two that really hold any interest for me.

Mantic have had some issues with being seen as rather derivative. Kings of War and Warpath obviously get compared to Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000. Dreadball isn't just sci-fi Blood Bowl, but the similarities have left a lot of people cynical. The first factions for Deadzone left me somewhat indignant on behalf of Studio McVey due to the similarities to Sedition Wars. Eventually, I've just grown to accept that some concepts have been in sci-fi for a while, and similarities sometimes happen. The other factions, in particular the Rebs, have helped build on that feeling, too.

And really, that's where I'm at with Mantic. It's their games which will carry their success or failure - whether through licensed lines, like Mars Attacks, or their own creations, like the growing Warpath / Deadzone universe.

Beyond that, what will gain and maintain my custom is ironing out their remaining quality issues and becoming consistent and reliable in their quality. Mediocre or downright terrible models (especially around assembly) will mean I decide its not worth the hassle, and I'll put my time and money elsewhere. It doesn't have to be excellent, given their pitch to the affordable market - but it needs to be "OK". That's pretty much where I'd place Oberon. I had a niggle about his feet and the base, but I'd not be upset about assembling a box of miniatures like him.

Has anyone else had experience with Mantic miniatures, either good or bad? Is anyone tempted to use some of their figures for other systems? I'm curious how my somewhat limited readership feels on this one...