Monday, 28 April 2014

Liebster Award: Its like a chain letter, but a bit nicer

If you haven't encountered the "Liebster Award" yet, it's basically a chain letter on blogs where you nominate some blogs you like to get people to go read them. I was pleasantly surprised recently to be nominated twice in quick succession - by Jordan Lee over at Pencils and Plastics, and by the Questing Artificer at, erm, the Questing Artificer.

The downside of this is that I now have two sets of questions to answer, not one. And I know, its a chain letter, and its a meme, but it's actually quite a nice one - and one that doesn't send me running to Snopes because Someone Is Wrong On The Internet.

Interestingly, I found an old post on Mr Lee's blog where he won a Liebster, there were no "truth about me" things, no questions to answer, just linking five other blogs with a small number of followers. I have no idea where all this extra gubbins has come from. The Liebster meme appears to be alive and mutating.

I therefore heartily recommend to all my nominees - the core of this is nominating other blogs. Answer questions as you will, provide truths as you will. Change numbers, change sections - it matters not. From my point of view, this is about bringing other people's blogs to the attention of my few readers so they hopefully find something interesting and fun, and asking those blogs I mention to pay it forward in turn.

11 Truths about me

1. I have a degree in War Studies.
2. I have entered Golden Demon once, pushed by my wife so I would actually finish painting something.
3. I came up with the "Responsible One" online persona to separate my wargaming online presence from my LARP online presence. Also, I'm the responsible one compared to my wife...
4. I went to a boarding school which has a uniform which hasn't changed in centuries.
5. Once, I was sent a preview copy of a book because it was thought I was influential and might persuade my friends to buy it. I was never sent another one, so I suspect I was not as influential as they first thought.
6. Most of the time, I think I'm a peripheral part of a lot of social groups rather than being a real member of any of them.
7. I have a massive webcomics habit.
8. I cannot play Munchkin against my wife without risking my marriage
9. I once flew to the US for a weekend for a LARP.
10. The Ammobunker INQ28 forum is currently a massive source of motivation and inspiration for me (if also an excuse for procrastination looking at all the pretty things)
11. The first single I ever bought was Natalie Imbruglia's Torn, and I am not ashamed of that.

Jordan's questions

Q1: What is your favourite food?

When I was a kid, it was always the family recipe for Kedgeree, which basically skips on the curry sauce. I haven't eaten that in years, which is a bit of a shame. I had a more traditional recipe at a restaurant a couple of years ago, but that's the closest I got.

I'm really fond of a nice piece of beef or lamb cooked at about medium (I used to like it well done, so don't wince those of you who like it bloody). But really, if we're going for comfort food, right now my preference is for a fishfinger bake, covered in a tomato based pasta sauce and topped with grated cheese, served with a bit of pasta. It's pure taste of childhood comfort food, that my wife is incredibly allergic to, so it's a guilty treat for when she's away.

Q2: What was the first model you painted?

You know what? I really can't remember. As a kid, I had Heroquest, and inexpertly applied paint to a bunch of them (without undercoats). I then had some Empire for a bit (I remember the first plastic mono-pose Halberdiers, which got painted up in the Altdorf scheme) - and then some Skaven. I mostly played with unpainted minis, with a few small exceptions painted.

The change came when my now wife moved in - I was getting back into painting as it was a shared hobby. I entered into Throne of Skulls and needed to get a 1,500 point Imperial Guard list painted. There was an unfortunate miscommunication about how much of the army was painted, and it was all done in six weeks - with Sim getting twice as much of it done than I did. However, the models I now use as conscripts and the tanks and Valkyrie were me - and the Manticore was, I think, the first of those.

Q3: How did you get into your miniatures hobby?

Well, growing up, my parents owned the Narnia books - and I absolutely loved them. This led me into The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings and a general love for Fantasy. I also ended up getting into the Fighting Fantasy game books at some point. My interest in war games was actually started up by Gerald Durrell's account of an old war-gaming soldier in Fillets of Plaice (who, I now realise, was probably playing using a variation of H G Wells "Little Wars" rules).

We sometimes went on trips to Leamington Spa, and there used to be a massive toy store just outside the Royal Priors Shopping Centre. It was huge and varied, and one of the many things they stocked was a selection of roleplaying and wargaming books. It's gone now - looks like there's a Superdry store there instead.

I found my local Games Workshop store, got Heroquest (I had to choose between that and Space Crusade), and a short while later, went away to boarding school. There, I found some kids on the upper years who played - they had a tendency of playing games of Fantasy Battle where every model was a level 25 Hero, and other craziness. I never actually properly played with them, but instead found some kids on my own year to play with when 4th Edition came out. I got a little more into 40K as the years went on, but Fantasy was my first serious wargame.

Q4: What is your favourite book?

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, though I have a deep love of all Neil Gaiman's work.

Q5: If you could choose any fantasy/sci-fi race to be, what would it be?

Not one based in a Games Workshop universe, certainly! I think I would be the sort to carefully research as many different settings as possible to find the most pleasant, least dangerous, long lived life I possibly could that allowed me to get involved in academic and artistic pursuits, and pick that.

Q6: Do you have any other interesting hobbies besides collecting miniatures?

I'm a LARPer. I mostly play "pub LARP" type games set in the modern day, like Vampire: The Requiem and so on. During my war-gaming hiatus I took Vampire: The Masquerade pretty seriously, played almost every weekend, and travelled abroad to play in linked games as often as I could afford.

I used to do a little sword LARP, but I'm no longer practically able to do so as a secondary contact latex allergy which my dearly beloved suffers from would basically mean I'd have to do a complete decontamination job in someone else's house before coming home, every time. I sometimes miss it and wish I could go to some of the amazing things people are doing with the medium these days, but in practical terms, I don't think it's ever going to happen again, and that makes me quite sad.

Q7: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

My health. Its pretty good, but there's enough little niggles and mild lack of healthiness I wish I could wave a wand and be rid of rather than go through the hassle of actually fixing it properly with all that pesky hard work and exercise.

Q8: If you could pick ONE model to paint/convert/have, what would it be?

I think I'd have to say asking Spiky Rat Pack to do a 40K version of me would have to be my dream miniature.

Q9: What's your most prized possession?

I believe I'm contractually obliged to say my wedding ring at this point, but it is more a symbol of the thing I care about (which is, in turn, not a possession). That aside? Whatever I got most recently is the usual answer. I am definitely incredibly materialistic and like acquiring Things. It gives me a happy buzz when I get new things. But there isn't an absolute, specific thing which I prize above all others.

Q10: If you were to travel to the Chaos Wastes/The Warp, what one item would you bring with you?

I would want some sort of blessed protection from the creatures of Chaos, but I don't own one of those, so at that point, I'm really stuck. There's really not much that would help my survival time, which would be measured in seconds.

Q11: Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

No. But I'd probably do so with a sufficiently cute demoness if asked nicely.

Questing Artificer

Q1: Favourite colour?

Purple. An opinion shared with my darling wife.

Q2: Favourite glue?


Q3: d6 or d10?


Q4: Fantasy or sci-fi?

Sci Fi. It's taken over. It used to be Fantasy, but at some point, I know not when, it switched.

Q5: Karl Kopinski or John Blanche?

John Blanche

Q6: Favourite sport?

Currently, I think it has to be ski cross and boardercross. The Olympics and Paralympics this year hooked me as a fan!

Q7: Buried alive or strangled to death?

You're weird. I'm not answering that.

Q8: Beer or cider?


Q9: Favourite musical genre?

I'm an absolute sucker for this folk-y, poppy stuff that's been coming out recently.

Q10: Favourite model?

You may recognise this chap - I use him as a forum avatar all over the place. The model is a resin Privateer Godwin by Hasslefree. He was the wedding cake topper at my wedding along with a figure representing my wife, so it will be a hard fight for anything to knock him off that lofty pedestal for many years to come.

Q11: Favourite paintbrush?

My paintbrush. I use a Creative Models 1 Kolinsky Sable Triangular Brush, with a 3 for larger work. Unless I'm painting a tank, I don't need anything else.

Nominate 11 blogs

1. Fort Wynn
2. Gonzo History: Gaming Edition
3. Col Scipio's Palladian Guard
4. Battle Group 82
5. The Song of Middenheim
6. Do You Have A Flag?
7. Tales from the Maelstrom
8. Devos IV
9. Admiral Drax
10. Mordian 7th
11. Levitas

11 Questions for my nominees

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. If you could change one thing about the wargaming hobby, what would it be?
3. What is best in life?
4. Do you want to live forever?
5. Fame or fortune?
6. What miniature are you most proud of having painted?
7. How do you deal with burn out?
8. Why is a raven like a writing desk?
9. Star Wars or Star Trek?
10. If you could only buy from one miniature company from now on, which one would it be?
11. What is your favourite take away?

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Some bits and bobs from Games Workshop: London Plaza

So, a while back, I was pottering about Games Workshop: London Plaza, and decided to take a few photos of some bits and bobs that were around.

This was the kit that got me to take my camera out - an Imperial Knight kit converted using Ogre parts to turn it into an Ork Knight.

Here, I count Necron parts, Vampire Count parts, and I think some chaos parts for the smoke stacks, although I'm not sure.

For a store event, they'd kit bashed some of the Primarchs - here are Roboute Guilliman and Sanguinius.

This is Corax, I think. I'm not great at my Primarchs!

Konrad Curze, being all Lightning and Lightning Claws.

Lorgar of the Word Bearers, with lots of blood. Someone was clearly playing with their blood effects!

This - this is genius. This is a combination of the Ruins of Osgiliath and Goblin Town, along with a bit of flock. And I happen to think it looks totally awesome. I've already been meaning to pick up some Goblin Town kits at some point for scenery purposes, but that's only cemented my decision to do so at some point.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Battle against "Iyanden" Eldar at Warhammer World

Shortly after I finished playing Sim at Warhammer World, I discovered a friend of mine who lives in Nottingham had been stood up by his planned opponent for the evening, so agreed to put my Guard up against his Iyanden list Eldar.

Nick is still painting his Eldar force, and some of his Wraithknight bits have been left separate for painting. So be nice - he paints a lot more than me, and quite a bit better, too. He was having some problems with bits falling off as the game went on - it is not a feature to show how many wounds the Wraithknight has taken!

We rolled a two objective mission with a lengthwise deployment. This was going to get pretty interesting as neither of us had particularly fast moving armies... His objective is to the left of the above photo, well behind his lines.

Here you can see him anchoring one flank of his line with his Wraithknight, who was leading his army, and the other with a Wraithlord. A skirmish line of Wraithguard and Wraithblades filled the line, with a Wave Serpent holding some horrible flamer thing Wraithguard (I think, confusingly, called "D scythes", although they don't do Apocalypse style D damage).

Meanwhile, I placed my objective nestled in the roof of the ruins in the centre of my deployment zone and dropped an infantry squad with a Commissar in the way. The conscripts and pretty much everyone else was to run forward and do their best to hold up the Eldar and keep them away from the objective. My command squad was placed in the Valkyrie as my one unit with a hope of making it to the enemy objective. I didn't use my Veterans this time around because I wanted their firepower on the board from the beginning to try and deter the Eldar from closing on the conscripts without the risk of some serious consequences.

Today was a good day to seize the initiative.

My Guard on the right flank (top of the picture) advanced into the ruin so you can barely see them. The Demolisher edged forward a bit to get a good shot on the Wave Serpent, and the Conscripts began Operation: Human Shield.

Everyone shot the Wave Serpent. Demolisher, Manticore, Hydra . . . and, fortunately, it wrecked, forcing the Wraithguard out. I couple of them picked up the odd wound from being caught in blast templates or other follow up fire, too! This was, as far as I was concerned, about as well as I could have hoped turn one could go.

The eldar advanced, with Perils of the Warp wounding one of their psykers.

The Storm Troopers deep struck behind the Eldar. I actually placed them closer, but they deviated away from the Eldar, and I decided that was an acceptable solution. They were far enough back that it was going to be a right pain for the slow moving Wraithguard to turn around and do something about them, but still close enough that they could cause some serious woes to whoever turned back to hold the objective.

I directed as much fire as I could on the Wraithguard nearest their 'home' objective. I was pretty sure the Wraithknight alone could take the objective off me, so my best chance was taking the Eldar's objective off them.

I also managed to trim a Wraithblade off. I was starting to realise quite how hard these things are to kill!

 Meanwhile, the conscripts advanced on the left flank while the Demolisher threw everything into reverse as it saw the Wraithknight bearing down on it!

The Wraithblades advanced on my lines... But I wasn't too worried. The conscripts were there to hold them up!

On the other hand, I was pretty sure that a wall of tanks without infantry cover were going to do very, very poorly against a Wraithknight.

I spread the Storm Troopers out to deal with the weird distortion flame thrower things the Wraithguard had. I think that the psyker may have actually blown himself up, but I might have been lucky and sniped him out. I don't remember!

Oh look, no Leman Russ. I think it was the Wraithlord sniper who did for him.

Poor missing Demolisher!

The conscripts took the expected charge by the Wraithblades remarkably well...

I mean, look how many survived! Normally, everyone gets cut down running away. Of course, I managed to roll snake eyes for how far they ran, so they do look a little silly.

The air-cavalry turned up, and the remaining back field Wraithguard started feeling a little bit lonely.

The conscripts handily obliged by failing to rally and running much further away. I then opened up with my infamous demo-charge veterans, failed to wound a single Wraithguard, and discovered that their invulnerable shield saves blind you in retaliation for shooting them. (I used my yellow Salute die for the purpose of representing this.)

I'm not quite sure what these Wraithguard were up to. I had a squad in the building to the left of the picture, who seem to have held them up remarkably well most of the game.

Unsurprisingly, the tanks were ripped to shreds by the Wraithknight. Next up, a brutal duel between the army Warlords - who will emerge victorious?

No surprises there, then.

At this point, I took an important tactical decision. I really needed to get the command squad full of melta guns out of the Valkyrie without them vanishing somewhere I didn't want them to be - so I made the decision to drop into hover mode to let the troops out - it was probably going to cost me the Valkyrie with the Wraithlord sitting right behind it, but that would be one set of shots less being aimed at five dudes with tea trays sewn into their vests and labelled "flak armour" by the Munitorium.

The Wraithblades handily carved the Veterans to pieces, and they somehow managed to safely flee out of combat, but there wasn't much left they were going to be able to do. The squad on the ruin got blinded by those blasted shields. It was all going horribly wrong on my objective!

The remaining Wraithguard near the objective was successfully gunned down - the two surviving Storm Troopers headed for the Wraithlord to take a shot at him with their plasma gun in the hope of causing some level of a distraction.

No, the Wraithknight isn't dead. Just lying down after yet another problem with him staying in one piece. His poor player was very sad. And yes, that's a bunch of Wraithguard all over my objective, on the bodies of the dead Guardsmen.

Two of the command squad were cut down by fire, but passed their morale check and made it to the objective. You'll notice the Valkyrie is off his base - immobilised but not wrecked by the expected vengeful fire.

Final Score:

Guard: 5 (Objective, First Blood, Linebreaker)
Eldar: 5 (Objective, Linebreaker, Slay the Warlord)

I managed to eke it out to a draw! I was very pleased with this result as I really wasn't expecting to do that well. It was a tight fought game, and came right down to the wire.

Monday, 21 April 2014

A few words from me...

Well, there's actually been a lot of words from me recently, but they've mostly been on the topic of Salute or similar. I planned to have a long weekend doing a lot of painting and modelling, but it turns out what I actually did was a massive amount of blogging! There are posts planned out into June now, with four or five already written and scheduled.

I am constantly amazed how productive I am when I am procrastinating something else. The amount of housework I got done over Easter is also incredible.

I've also been nominated for a "Liebster" award by a couple of other bloggers, which is really nice. I hope to have that post up next week. (I am breaking my own rule there about talking about a post in the future which I haven't written yet!)

So, what was I meant to be doing this weekend? Well, my mental plan was to finish off the Collodi crew, get out the airbrush and paint the Sarissa silos I've been meaning to finish in forever, and hopefully get a little progress on the Beastmen / start my Commissar Lord. Ambitious, but four full days should be plenty for that, right?

I kit bashed this Mk I "Thunder Armour" figure. The plan is to paint it up like it was being used as some sort of protective environment suit before being rediscovered and put in a shrine - and then pinched by an Inquisitor and given to one of his retinue.

Collodi has had two layers of water effects added to his base - and needs a third to finish it off. I'm waiting for the existing ones to dry out a little more first, though.

There is also a tiny bit more paint on some Beastmen. I really need to man up about them, and get them finished, though. Maybe if I plan to do some housework, I'll do the painting instead? Got to be worth a shot!

Edited to add:
Oh, yeah - Astra Militarum Codex. Lots of other people have talked about it. I'll save my thoughts until I've played with it! I've drafted my first army list with it, and hope to get in a game this week. There's a backlog of battle reports, though, so it'll be a while before a full report hits the blog.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Salute 2014: Accessory Companies

So, one of my favourite finds at Salute was The Dice Bag Lady. She does handmade dice bags, which are awesome, as you can see. Sim got all excited about the wool, for that is her other crafty hobby. I would definitely recommend checking the Dice Bag Lady out if you're looking for a nice dice bag.

Sphere Products make lots of clever and interesting things. They have really thought their stuff through and will do custom things for you as well - paint racks and so on. But what caught my eye was this handy iPad / tablet stand.

I was also super impressed with Dubreq Games / Etch Master - they only have a couple of sheets of etched brass at the moment, but its really good quality and Sim grabbed some to play with. There was also Name It! who make name plates to label up model display pieces and so forth.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Salute 2014: Scenery Companies

I know, I know. I have a scenery problem. So, whose stuff did I see this Salute around?

First up are some new pieces by Antenocitis Workshop, which aren't for sale just yet. This one is interesting, because Antenocitis Workshop are currently dropping some of their "Governance of Technology" range. They seem to be moving towards designing things for other people, like Mantic and Infinity. They are going for the laser cut MDF, but adding to that with resin accessories to add extra detailing. That's a really smart move, because the risk of the MDF is that it can be obviously large, flat areas, and the greebles add to the look.

This is a piece that was on Oshiro Model Terrain's stall. This is actually a mix of scratch built and Games Workshop pieces. I loved the overly tall and thin look to it. Most of Oshiro's non commission stuff is either Japanese or Victorian right now, so would be a good choice for Malifaux stuff.

This was a board from 4Ground, who do pre-painted, easy assemble MDF stuff. Previously, I wasn't too interested in their WWII stuff, but they're starting to stray into areas that I find interesting. The magic words "pre-painted" also help!

I only got a quick shot of these at the time, because my darling wife threatened me quite a lot when she saw me getting distracted by MDF terrain. That then meant I needed to do a teensy bit of detective work, looking at whose stalls were between the photos on either side of this one! So, it turns out that the stall belonged to Minibits, who are actually a retailer. The MDF is by a company called Wargame Model Mods. I have seen these before (I suspect Tabletop Fix of being responsible for that). The stuff is a bit hit and miss - some I really love, other bits I couldn't care less for. But that's all down to taste, I suppose.

This board was intended as a display board for Bandua's Infinity terrain. You may remember I've already picked up a few of their shipping containers, and I may be back later depending on how the assembly of them goes.

The sign is not a mistake. Wargames Tournaments were selling all that scenery for £50. That is a lot of terrain for your money. So much, in fact, that Sim bought it. Yup. She of the "dragging me away from laser cut terrain only twenty minutes earlier" bought it on the spot when I was holding back on getting it because I was wanting to see what other stalls had before I committed.

I foresee some skirmish games in our future - quite possibly Necromunda...

Sarissa Precision were showing off some railway arches that they are going to be releasing soon. I remain a massive fan of Sarissa, but I still have such a backlog of their stuff, I didn't pick up any more this year!

More Sarissa buildings...
So, who did I abjectly fail to get photos of on the scenery front? Fenris Games do miniatures as well, but it's their scenery that interests me. Their "Arkham Avenue" range is just amazing, and I really want a Griffin House at some point. I also have all the time in the world for Tablescape, whose pre-painted stuff is the saviour of most of my current model pictures.