Saturday, 4 July 2015

Age of Sigmar: First Impressions and Thoughts

Given the Internet is all excited about Age of Sigmar, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts and first impressions of the game. I had a look at the contents at my local game store, and I've had a flick through both the rules and the free war scrolls that Games Workshop has made available online.

I am not explaining what's in the box, or what the rules say - there's loads of people discussing that already, so I'm going to assume a basic level of understanding of the rules and box contents here.

The box

The miniatures are clearly Marmite - some people love them and some people hate them. The hate, however, seems to mostly be an aesthetic one - for some people, they "aren't Warhammer", or are "too 40K". That's fine - it's a subjective thing, people like different models.

I don't think there's any doubt that the quality of the models is spectacular. If you had shown people the miniatures, I don't think anyone would have guessed that they were the contents of a starter box! They are quite simply stunning and there is no loss in quality or appearance for what's there. The variety in sizes, availability of quality monsters and so on is a massive step above what the last starter box achieved.

The rules

So, we come on to the rules. I've talked this through with a few people, and it comes down to the fact that this is more Munchkin than Magic. Age of Sigmar is a casual, non competitive game for people who know each other. It's not competitive. It doesn't take itself seriously. It's quick to pick up and easy to play.

The most vocal supporters of Warhammer Fantasy as it stood appear to have been competitive tournament players - and this game is very specifically not for them. The game is focussing on attracting a new market at the expense of the remaining die-hard fans - but really, given declining sales, was there any other choice to really make? It is a pretty big gamble by Games Workshop, and only time will tell if that will pay off.

Importantly - this is not a bad game. It is not, however a game style that many people are used to playing. For me, Age of Sigmar removes a massive barrier to entry of the number of models I need to play. I've been meaning to paint up the bits and pieces of fantasy I own for ages - and now I can paint them up and play a few quick games with my wife, who is interested in Fantasy for the first time ever.

Will it expand to have points and lists in the future? Who knows. But it harkens back to the early historical war games which did not have a concept of "points". Balance it out between yourselves, have fun, winning no longer really matters.

This gamble has an eye on the long term - the re-branding, hints of "if you're fighting in the Realm of Fire, specific rules may apply" in the rule book. It typically takes Games Workshop two years to go from concept to market. Design to market and a new book is about a year to market. There is most definitely a Big Plan at head office, and plenty more stuff to come.

PS Don't expect to see a sudden splurge from me on Fantasy figures. I already own a bunch, but I have other things higher up the painting queue. I am practicing Being An Adult and being more responsible with money. We shall see how that turns out.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

A victory for June, however small

I managed to knock out a second project last night, which means I hit my June target of two projects completed! Once more, purchasing mistakes were made, and a couple of small Kickstarters showed up, but I now feel like there's some traction!

Here's the finished "rescue job" Crusader pushing me over the line. The armour got left as is, and the cloak got over-painted to add contrast, but pretty much everything else you see here got at least a few more details added.

The shield was what made me decide to keep his paint job and that it was salvageable. The only thing added to that is painting the braids / ropes in rather than leaving them back.

He's only a tabletop quality job, but he's something I bought recently who's had a nice quick turnaround to get him table ready. Now I just need to get some buddies for him together so I can have a nice little Inquisitorial warband.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Astra Militarum Veteran Re-Deployment Approved!

The redeployment of a squad of veterans from the 3rd Pakeshi Regiment to the Tallarn XVI has been approved, following Inquisitorial review.

Inquisitor Steve from The Overlords was having a bit of a clear out, and I arranged a trade for his excellent "Governor of the Pakeshi Sector" models, which he didn't need any more on the grounds of the Governor of the Pakeshi Sector being very dead. I have separate plans for those.

However, because Steve is a gentleman and a scholar, he included a squad he'd been using as Inquisitorial Henchmen that he'd made up out of spare parts. I quickly decided I was going to tinker with them a little to make them suit as an Imperial Guard squad.

Four of them had been converted to use Grenade Launcher parts, which were intended to be "counts as" Storm Bolters. I was happy to use them as Grenade Launchers in a Veteran Squad, which meant I could only use three - so one got swapped out for a lasgun, using the same conversion technique Steve had originally used.

I also used some Vallejo Coarse Pumice and Sandy Paste to rebase the models, as I wanted them to match my existing Guardsmen, now based on a hot desert planet rather than the city rubble of Pakeshi.

There were also a few mould lines which were were vexing, me, so they quickly got seen to with a sharp scalpel blade. They were then re-undercoated using Imperial Primer and painted back up to match the original scheme.

As you can see from the top of the page, the squad is now at full strength and ready to be deployed to smite the enemies of the Emperor!

Next up is an Inquisitorial Crusader. He was picked up from Bits and Kits, who are now doing "pre-loved' models. The motley crew he came with had paint jobs beyond saving, so into the Fairy Power Spray they went. But this chap had quite a nice bit of work on his shield, so I decided it was worth trying to save him rather than throw what had been done so far away...

Monday, 15 June 2015

Space Marine Back Banners: A Learning Experience

"Hey, Responsible One, that photo is pretty terrible, even by your standards! What's going on with that?"

"Well, noble reader, it turns out that while assembling the Stormclaw set, I varied too far from the instructions and made a stupid rookie mistake. Also, I was being slack on taking my photos and just using overhead light, but given that emphasises the problem, I'm going to pretend that's a deliberate choice rather than laziness."

So, here's the photo that shows what the problem is. By choosing to give the guy a wolf cloak, I've forced him to lean forwards. By giving him the back banner as well, this then shades his banner and his face to most natural light.

This does lead to some thoughts...

Firstly, back banners are actually an absolute pain in the what's-name to lug around. Just ask a LARPer or cos-player. While they can be useful as devotionals and look kind of cool on small miniatures, I'm not sure if they have much historic precedent because I'm reasonably sure in the real world, they're just too much of a pain to move around with!

Secondly, if you are putting one on a model, you need to make sure the miniature is standing up pretty straight, otherwise it will cut out most of your overhead light and obscure the areas you want to put detail into.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

A little slip in self control (new miniatures)

Obviously, as a wargamer, I never have a problem with irresponsible purchasing sprees when I should be trying to paint more than I'm buying, right? No, wait. It's that other thing.

So, it turns out Bits and Kits have a new pre-owned section, with pretty reasonable prices. They had some Inquisitorial Retinue models. Had. Now I have them. The Crusader has a pretty solid paint job and just needs some light rescue. The cherub sadly needs stripping. The other three only came undercoated anyway.

A guy on a Facebook group I'm in had sculpted up a cool looking robot figure. I decided to get one. My wife thinks it's ugly and hideous. I think he's amazing. Should be a nice and simple paint job, too.

I know, I know, I haven't painted my existing Arcworlde stuff. Why on earth am I buying more of it?

Well, it turns out when someone asked on the Facebook group about when the hobgoblins from the Kickstarter were coming out, and the answer was "those ones are limited edition, they'll be redone in the next supplement", I had to own them immediately.

This weekend is now planned to be a busy weekend of painting and assembly - some new stuff, some existing, but I'm pretty stoked about getting some stuff done!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Piratical Progress: Goblins, Fabulous Prizes, and May Targets

The Goblin Aid Pirate Goblin is finally done. He was sculpted by Stuart Powley of Slap Miniatures (some minis on the site not safe for work). I'd been putting off the stripes on the trousers for ages, but I finally got on and did it. The first pass at the stripes left them too similar to the jacket colour, so I washed the jacket with b lue and the stripes with sepia to bring them away from each other, before highlighting up the stripes by hand as best I could to make them match the folds of cloth in the trousers.


A comment I made on the leadpile has meant I win a prize! His blog is definitely worth checking out - there's all sorts of different awesome bits of hobby there.

May's Targets

Oh dear. One miniature done. Which is at least a project. I had tried to rush another job through yesterday, but it was too late in the month and I was getting tired and risking stuffing things up, so I called it a night.

Still, it's not like I've bought much, right? Execution Force, the event only Forge World models, the Space Marine Command Tanks, some Mars Attacks scenery and a pile of miniatures from the Dark Sphere sale.

Oh well.

It seems like the problem I've been facing is doing jobs I feel I should be doing rather than ones I want to do at that moment in time. If I want to regain momentum and start loving the forlorn half finished projects, I need to blitz through some quick wins of enjoyable simple stuff that's new and interesting. New and interesting from the existing backlog, that is - not some new purchases!

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Failure to launch

Here's a better picture of the Prowler with Spitfire. I really need to not rush taking photos for the blog!

Over the bank holiday weekend, I did some work on the Grey Hunters from the Storm Claw boxed set.

I really didn't get very far at all! I was originally going to make this post a bit of a moan about not getting things done, but with the benefit of hindsight, I was properly wiped out at the start of last weekend and really needed the break. The fact I got a little progress is a happy bonus.

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Battle Report: Being Picked On By Dark Eldar

So, a while ago, I got a battle in against a friend of mine playing the new Dark Eldar Codex. I was biblically slack about getting it written up, but here it is, finally!

There was a definite disparity as far as the board was concerned - my deployment zone was full, while his had some small squads and a smattering of Talos.

And this is taking into account I had a whole bunch of assassins.

They were scattered all over the table.

With the Vindicare being in a good spot to put holes in things.

The Callidus, meanwhile, jumped out in the enemy deployment zone for extra mayhem.

Soon enough, the assassins were in combat with the Talos. It turns out, they're not very good at killing monstrous creatures.

The Eversor was rolling terribly. He should probably have been able to get one.

And then, webway portals with a Raider full of Grotesques with Liquifiers.

And then there's one less squad.

The command HQ bail out of their wrecked Chimera.

The Ratlings try very hard not to be threatening.

Meanwhile, one of the squads on the flank goes to hold up a Talos, which has dispatched the assassin facing it.

There will shortly follow a demonstration of why masses of template weapons suck for Guard.

This was one shooting phase.

Most of the Command Squad are dead, the Guardsmen are in combat with a Talos.

They manage to hold it off OK.

The Vindicare takes a shot at the Dark Eldar Warlord, hoping for a cheap victory point.

But a squad of Incubi are on the way to put paid to his efforts.

The last Guardsmen on the board before the tabling are the ones facing the Talos.

All in all, I was outplayed and out list designed. I had nothing that could deal with Talos, and nothing to deal with deep striking Grotesques. I've not played 40K since this game - I'm still trying to think of something that Guard have which can deal with this design of list. I'm kind of stuck.

Monday, 18 May 2015

A bit of a slack post

Well, I'm sitting around in Bugman's posting this from my phone. It's a bit of a slack Monday post, but you're going to have to live with it! Refunds can be applied for from the usual address. ;-)

We attended the Grand Opening yesterday, and came back today when it was quieter. We had an excellent chat with some of the studio and Forge World staff yesterday - today has been more about the non-event Warhammer World exclusives.

Also, the blog passed a milestone last week, surging past 100,000 views. Now, a lot of that was from back when I typed up the Forge World seminars, but the traffic from that has reduced in the past few years as other people have been able to get faster reports out than I have. I don't begrudge that - I started reporting events because I was seeing so much mis-remembering or out of context quoting. There's now people being proactive, getting high quality pictures and good write ups. Fair play to them - I'm not interested in putting in the effort to do that - I've always been a hobby blogger first and a geek hobby gonzo journalist second.

The 100,000 count is obviously going to be a bit misleading - there will be piles of bots and other junk in amid the hobbyists. Still, it is a milestone of sorts which I'm happy with. There's still folk who read and comment, or say they've read the blog. I still mostly get blank looks if I meet a hobbyist and mention the blog, with a few rare exceptions.

The rest of today is a day of daydreams and thoughts of what might be in the future. This is no terrible thing - I want to do fewer posts bemoaning that I've not got things done, or over-thinking how I organise my painting. I also wonder if the answer is to read less and write more. Thoughts are still half formed, and if they crystallise, I may share them. In the meantime, happy dreams and hobby.