Monday, 3 August 2020

What even is money anyway?

The other day, I was reading Games Workshop's annual report. Because I am a nerd. Then, I came across this statement.

Games Workshop is obviously doing really well for itself at the moment. They made over £70 million after tax, and paid £47 million of it out to their share holders. But then I came across this gem...

The company paid their staff £2.4 million as a "profit share". So the "truly surplus" profit is nearly twenty times the amount of bonus the staff got. While there's a sharesave scheme, the £800,000 it cost the company this year isn't exactly breaking the bank either.

Obviously, staff are still getting paid, but the annual report doesn't list the whole total of payroll costs, so you can't directly compare how much money investors are getting compared to the people who are doing the work.

No doubt, people want to work for Games Workshop so they can use the competition to keep the staff costs down for all but the best of the best, skill wise.

Imagine, for a moment, that Games Workshop was a co-operative that shared it's profits with staff rather than investors. Staff bonuses wouldn't have been £1,000 each, but closer to £20,000 each (if the company didn't invest into the company more as a result.)

But now that the shares are issued and traded, it's not a genie that can be put back in the bottle. Games Workshop can't afford to buy back all it's shares and become a company - the cost is simply unfeasible now.

Our financial system is really weird, when you start to think about it.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Going a bit old school

This post is a bit "old school" themed this week. And not just because I've failed to finish anything. I'd tried for a little while to schedule posts in advance, splitting up models I'd finished across several weeks to pace out the posts. I've now reached a point where I haven't got anything finished - so here's an up to date, unscheduled post of what I'm working on.

Please do let me know in the comments which types of posts you like. I'm kind of curious.

Anyhow, I got a bit tired painting last night so spent a little time starting to assemble a GW Inquisitor model before I stopped hobbying all together. There's very little in the way of mould lines, but there's tons of parts and you definitely have to follow the instructions rather than guessing! A very different approach to having a couple of arms or a head to stick on, which is what I've been used to of late.

The Shrouded is coming along. I'm reaching the stage of fiddly tidy up, where very little progress takes loads of time. I'm also about to try a different process for the gun to see if I can cut down the number of steps it takes.

I'm also working on this classic pit fighter with a mix of contrast and metallic paints. He's coming along OK, I guess. The Basilicanum Grey contrast over the metal has come out much darker than I thought it would, so I'm going to dry brush it back up.

In a different kind of "old school", I picked up the Battletech computer game and have been playing it a whole bunch. It's delightfully nerdy and involves trying to manage the weight, damage and heat production of your different weapon types.

I strongly suspect that this is something that's much, much better in a computer game than a tabletop battle game, as having to work all this out by hand and then roll dice would be a nightmare!

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: Aenor Miniatures Half Giant

The last of the Aenor Miniatures Kickstarter I got assembled was this half giant. He got done a little after the others as I needed a break from assembling miniatures after getting all the trolls done.

I've given him a zenithal highlight, which has added another type of texture to him, and should provide a good base when I finally get around to painting him.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Not Easy Being Green

I was re-reading Secrets of the Void's Black Legion Tutorial trying to decide if I should use it to paint Anvilgard, Deathwatch, Ebon Chalice or some combination of those, when the thought came to me "does this work for other colours?"

The Otherworld Miniatures Dryad I picked up when this whole nonsense started was perfect for this. I painted Dark Angels Green up from the bottom, and Warp Lightning down from the top, letting it mix a bit in the middle. While that dried, I took the picture above. I then gave it a good drybrush of Hellion Green and started picking out the detail.

This is how she turned out. The sandals, torcs, belt and eyes got a base of other colours to have them stand out from the rest of the model. Almost all of them then had a contrast colour applied over the top. The flesh got a coat of Plaguebearer Flesh, while the dress got a coat of Warp Lightning.

To finish up, I picked out a few points on the face as if it was a normal human face, just with a pale green, and added a highlight on the hair, as the brown coat over the green contrast and drybrush didn't have enough variation between the light and dark points.

A quick bit of basing, and she was done.

I added quite a few plants onto her base, because I thought it was a good idea. She's turned out pretty well, although I don't really have any idea what I'll use her for..

Friday, 3 July 2020

Second Quarter Painting Review

Halfway through the year, and it's a good point to take stock. How are we doing on the goals?

  • Paint more than I buy
Painted: 56
Purchased: 353

Well, fuck.

(At the end of the last quarter, I was at 99. The big offenders here were the Malifaux sale, getting a bunch of minis to promote small companies, deciding to grab a GW thing that was going out of print, the next batch of my Combined project and Operation: Kaldstrom for Infinity.)

  • Paint 60 models this year
Up to 56, so going strong here! There have been admittedly a couple of "cheap wins" with some pre-coloured terrain, but they still take time to do and are completed hobby projects, so I'm not worried about that.

I also spent a whole bunch of time assembling and prepping miniatures this month, as you might have picked up from the amount of WiP shots I've been putting up on the blog. I'm looking forward to settling down and really plugging through getting some models painted in the coming months, as there's tons ready to go.

The Shelf of Shame isn't looking terrible. Plenty of things are getting crossed out. And five things on it are already assembled and undercoated and ready to go.

I've also completed an Otherworld Miniatures model this month, but I'll be showing her off on Monday.

Looking forward, there are a few things I know I'll be picking up - Infinity N4 will doubtless have a pre-order miniature, for example. But I'm going to try and make sure I both sell things out of my stash and have painted stuff before investing in anything new.

Lets see how well that goes this time, shall we?

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: Shasvastii (Mostly)

Just before lockdown, I sent off all the Combined Army and O-12 models I had to my assembly guy so he had plenty to be getting on with. They recently got back to me, and once I'd based them and done a quick zenithal undercoat on them, I thought I'd share what's coming up for the Shasvastii.

First up is the "Beyond Coldfront" models. Now available as the Combined Army Action Pack, it rounds out a 10 model starter Infinity force with the special character Sheskiin, a Malignos with Boarding Shotgun and a Caliban with Spitfire.

I'm intending for most of my Shasvastii to just be the new sculpts. But I did also pick up a few of the older models where I knew I might want to run two of, to give me the option of different sculpts. Centre, we have the Speculo Killer, who can even deploy within your opponent's deployment zone, pretending to be a friendly civilian. The other two are Noctifers. The missile launcher profile is particularly infamous in Infinity for it's ability to deploy hidden and then interrupt a move with a missile at the Least Convenient Moment.

I mean, there's never a convenient moment to be shot at by a missile, but right as you and your buddies are all moving through a choke point is less convenient than many other potential times.

The Cadmus drop trooper on the left I picked up as part of the "Advance Pack" with the order. He's now out retail, which gives away that maybe I could have waited. Meanwhile, spooky and brooding on the right is a Combined Army civilian, used in the game as a High Value Target for certain missions.

And finally, we have the Spec Ops. The more Infinity - aware of you will notice that one of them isn't a Shasvastii! I picked up Treitak Anyat, the Morat Spec Op in the centre in a cheap deal, and I thought I might as well get her assembled and undercoated to paint as a little side project. We then have Corax Hasht, who is slightly less punchy than Sheskiin, and a generic Spec Ops who is an excellent model to proxy stuff that hasn't been released yet.

While I get the Wildfire box painted up and then move onto these, I've got my next batch off with my assembly guy. In particular, I've grabbed the key Doctor-Engineer model you need to get models back up again, and an assortment of the support remotes that are the majority of your cheap troops in the Shasvastii force. I threw in a couple of the newer Shasvastii releases as well, just so I don't fall behind.

Getting this lot based and undercoated took up a bit of time I could have been spent painting, but there's no longer any steps dependent on the weather until they need varnishing left.

Hope you enjoyed a peak at what's coming up on my paint table.

Monday, 29 June 2020

The Great Beyond

Last night I watched "Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond". I'd seen it before, but had forgotten. It's a documentary about the filming of Man on the Moon, the biographical film about Andy Kaufman. Rather infamously, Jim Carrey did not drop character on the set.

Near the start of the documentary, Jim mentions doing a lot of the "envisioning a thing and then getting it" mental self help thing. As the documentary continues, the interviews with Jim keep referring to Jim being unhappy and unwell. First, the characters Jim is portraying in the 90s talk about their perception of Jim. Then the interviewer asks if it was him talking about how he was, and they talk about that. Then, near the end, Jim says that it was devastating stopping being Andy, because he could no longer escape into being Andy.

In parallel to this is the Andy Kaufman narrative, of someone discovering they had advanced cancer and dying young. Kaufman died at 35, younger than I am now.

The pandemic is a traumatic event, for all we make light of it. For me, I don't cope well with things I can't control, particularly unexpected ones. It's put lives on hold, but then you realise you've never envisioned anything. You don't fail if you don't try.

I'm usually pottering about in the psychological levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Even this blog is more about my need for esteem, and my painting provides a feeling of accomplishment for completing something rather than a creative outlet.

I suspect for many of us, our escapism is the wargaming hobby. I also have LARPing, or rather, I usually do, when I'm allowed to go places and meet them.

But there's a healthy balance. It's healthy to escape from stresses and relax. It's less healthy to try and escape from a lack of ambition to make things better for yourself.

This is a lot of words to say "I painted some barrels. Fenris Miniatures make them, and you should check out their site and support their company."

Friday, 26 June 2020

HATE Isolation League Round 5: Show of Force vs Ariadna

The HATE Isolation League is nearly done (whatever is going on with lockdown itself). This time, the mission selected was Show of Force. As this gives bonus points to scoring with a TAG, I took another Szalamandra list. This time, I took the Haris link of Perseus, Raoul Spector and a Forward Observer remote.

I'd picked them because I was up against Ariadna, and I was worried about mass camouflage. I was not wrong. They managed to advance up, discover a Chasseur Minelayer and his mine, and neutralise him, but left themselves rather exposed when I ran out orders.

Some big gun or other had a bit of a go at Perseus, but he successfully dropped smoke.

So instead, they sent in a pack of werewolves . . . which I now couldn't shoot . . . as they used my smoke.


Perseus was reduced to a small red mark on the floor, although he successfully killed one Werewolf on the way. Some guns managed to pick off the rest of his mates, though I forget what.

The Szalamandra cautiously wandered up the left flank and shot everyone he could see. I didn't want to overextend, so I set up the Lunokhod and the Reaktion Zond on the right flank to stop myself getting flanked and wiped out.

As it was, Ariadna managed to counter attack pretty effectively. It ended up in mutually assured destruction, with a dead Grunt and Dog Warrior, but the Lunkhod and Reaktion Zond similarly wiped out. The second Chasseur was all that was left on the flank. The rest of the Ariadnan turn was spent carefully moving things around so my Heckler Jammer couldn't take out their Blackjack.

For my last turn, I pushed the Szalamandra up onto the objective and put it into suppression fire. He took a wound from a mine, although he gunned down the midfield skirmisher (a Foxtrot?) that put it down. The Heckler then pushed up to be in the most awkward spot possible for anyone to deal with it.

Sadly, it was not to be. The Heckler was taken out, then managed to get a lucky pistol crit on the Szalamandra to leave it on a single wound. The Blackjack was much happier with those odds, and managed to put another two wounds on the TAG, taking it off the board, and allowing it to advance at leisure to take the console.

All in all, it was well played by the Ariadnan player. It wasn't a great match up for Tunguska but I think I gave it my best shot. Being forced into going first was super awkward, but I wasn't comfortable deploying first and then taking second turn - I was seriously worried about being mobbed by infiltrating troops and werewolves!

The weird Haris was interesting but I'm wondering if a different set of models would have been more useful. With no speculative fire weapons, I think Tunguska needs to look at finding suitable drop troops, Climbing Plus or Super Jump models to deal with rooftop nonsense.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Work in Progress Wednesday: Aenor Miniatures Goblins

As well as the trolls I picked up during the Aenor Miniatures Kickstarter, I also ordered a whole ton of goblins. While Aenor do both metal and resin, I'd picked metal to go with the rest of my planned goblin army at the time. I've since seen sense and am offloading a lot of goblins, but some of them were just too characterful to go, so I've kept them as a little painting project.

Here's the brains of the outfit - a goblin wizard. He's definitely the brains because he has both a book, and a big fancy stick.

This adorable bell ringer was going to be a musician in my Oldhammer style goblin Age of Sigmar army, before I gave up on the idea. But I had to keep him. He looks so put upon. Unfortunately, the metal chain attaching the bell to the rest of the mini fell off as soon as you sneezed on it. The bell is now firmly pinned to the hand of the goblin, because life is too short.

Goblins are mean little beasts, and these three, I think, really sum up that aspect of them. Sword goblin really looks like he wants to be hiding behind some big orc or something, shaking his fist from behind the big guy. Crossbow goblin is one of the bigger goblins, and has both a fancy crossbow and much bigger armour. He's clearly some sort of bully who isn't afraid to beat up the smaller goblins. And bow goblin is a nasty little sneak who doesn't just want to shoot you from range, but in the back as well.

These two are clearly on guard duty. I think they remind me of some Fighting Fantasy illustrations of goblins, all long and thin, but also massively different creatures one to the next, like Froud's work. They are sad, and bored. And probably a little damp. It's dark and there's a dripping noise around them.

So, that's my little tribe of Aenor goblins. They're in the queue to get painted one day . . .