Sunday 31 March 2013

How did March go?

Its a while since I did a 'month in review' post.

I haven't managed to get any Games Workshop gaming in this month - just the way work has fallen with free time - but I did manage to get to play my first ever game of Malifaux.

Normally, this would have got me super motivated to paint up my Malifaux, but Salute is coming. I had the sudden realisation that I should really, really paint a bit more of the stuff I bought last year.

I have finally finished base coating and washing a batch of 20 Chaos Cultists that my beloved wife is doing as a commission - she'll now add the final detail before returning them to their owner. No pictures of those, as the owner hasn't seen them yet!

I have started work on the Salute Mayan - just cleaning mould lines and starting gluing for now. I've also got a bunch of progress on the Inquisitorial Henchman Scribe, which I've shown you before. He's a little further along since I last photographed him - everything is now base coated and its just a matter of washes and detailing now.

He's a little further along than this now...

So, what is there still to do on the stuff I bought at Salute last year?
  • 10 Storm Troopers need their bases painting
  • 10 Storm Troopers need prepping, painting and basing
  • I need to finish painting the female Commissar
  • The Salute Mayan needs prepping, assembling and painting
  • The Sarissa Silos need undercoating and painting
  • The Sarissa Warehouse Unit needs building, undercoating and painting
Proof I have painted something I bought at last year's Salute

I originally set myself the ambitious goal of finishing the last four Chaos Cultists and all of the above over the Easter Weekend. It turns out my attention span and discipline was not up to this, as so far I've just finished the Chaos Cultists and done a tiny bit of the prep on the Mayan.

Still, its a good goal, and it means I can put away, for a couple of weeks, the huge pile of little projects I've been playing about with to distract me from those blasted cultists.

Post Salute, I should really focus on the Tzeentch Herald on Disc who also seems to be a major source of procrastination on my part, and my Malifaux crew so I can buy more models (they are one of my 'no more models until the existing ones are painted' groups, along with Grey Knights and Eden). Perhaps I should paint my Eden Jokers after that?

Monday 25 March 2013

The influence of Durer on early Warhammer art

This weekend I went to see an exhibition of Renaissance art at the Queen's Gallery. Specifically "The Northern Renaissance, Dürer to Holbein".

St Eustace, by Dürer

As I was ambling through the collection, chatting with companion and perusing each piece in turn, I realised that a lot of the work was rather familiar in its look. Fortunately, I habitually scan read from the corner of my eye the explanatory notes art galleries and museums put out in their effort to make me look devastatingly clever.

It became apparent that the work that was causing me wonder if I'd taken a wrong turn and ended up at a Warhammer World art exhibition was instead the work of one Albrecht Dürer. Having returned home and used Wikipedia to look such things up (it never lies!), both John Blanche and Ian Miller cite Dürer as one of their influences.

What I found fascinating was how obvious the link was, not looking at Wikipedia at the time, that there was a link.

Take the St Eustace picture earlier in the blog. This is one of the more tenuous links, but if you look at the castle in the background, then, say, one of the early WHFRP illustrations for the Enemy Within campaign, you see that the castle designs are very similar indeed.

Death on the Reik, by Ian Miller
Some of the other illustrations continue the pattern. Dürer's Sea Monster has similar castles in the background, but also wouldn't have looked out of place in the Mighty Empires rulebook or a Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay supplement.

Sea Monster, by Dürer

More background castles show up in John Blanche's Nuln, which was the front cover for The Enemy Within.

Nuln, by John Blanche
 Then you come across a few examples of the more fantastical Renaissance stuff like the picture below. The devil and death would be at home in a Realm of Chaos illustration.

Knight, Death and the Devil, by Dürer
 The influence doesn't end with the early stuff. Look at some of the detail on this woodcut.

Large Triumphal Carriage, by Dürer
The style should really look familiar... If you go and look at the Empire War Altar, you'll soon see some striking similarities in the ornate design, use of Latin mottos and similar.

All in all, I found making the comparisons interesting. The exhibition was excellent and well worth the time and money if you are so inclined. This wasn't the only idea the exhibition gave me, which may lead to a further post in the future.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Learning Malifaux - My First Game

Today, I learnt how to play Malifaux. A few people had been asking Dark Sphere on and off about it, but finally enough interest got together for someone to get the local Wyrd Henchman to pop down to do some demo games.

I ended up in a three way game between the Henchman playing Von Schill, another new player running Kirai, and my own Collodi crew. I was a few soul stones short, but still coped pretty well.

We simplified things a bit while people learnt, so kept the play order constant, for example.

I was quite lucky at the start in that the Resurrectionists and Freikorps decided to beat the tar out of each other while I ran up to the objective and sat on it. Then came the moment that my crew came together and pulled off their party piece. At that point, everyone decided it was time to beat on the dolls.

For those who don't know Malifaux, Collodi is a crazed sentient puppeteer / puppet who controls a bunch of Marionettes. He can rebuild them when destroyed, buff them horrifically, and they all pull each other around by their strings to do horrible things with movement and synergy - in particular, they can activate all as a single group in a game where you take it in turns to move one model at a time.

So, the party piece went off in that Collodi suddenly pulled all his puppets over to him where he was fighting some model, and they all went to town on them - each individual one doing little bits of damage, but the sheer number of attacks ripping a couple of quite hard models to pieces in a single activation.

And as I said, then everyone decided to have a go. :)

Thing is - I could see I was making a ton of mistakes - I was forgetting various skills and powers, both in terms of extra offensive power and the ability to reduce damage more. Despite this, I managed to pull out a win, killing Kirai and leaving the last ghost to be pulled down by the Freikorps, before slowly but surely cutting down the Freikorps one after the other.

The last one to go down was the new plastic Strongarm, who was an absolute monster to kill. We eventually decided I was wearing him down faster than he could kill my ablative puppets, and called it a day.

My only real concern is that it looks quite possible that Collodi as a crew have the potential to be no fun to play against. They do several horrific combinations, are cheap as individual models, and are "tough but fragile" (hard to hurt, but when they do finally get hit solidly, they come apart). But you can repeatedly stand them up, rebuild a few, repair a few, and hit back again and again and again. It must be no fun to have to kill the same models four or five times in a game.

So this is the dilemma - I can play with Collodi, and probably win quite a lot - but I'm a little concerned that once I've got the hang of the way he plays, not many people are going to want to play with me. And afterall, it's not so much the winning that matters, its playing the games.

Promoting someone's competition

Sippin' on Paint Water (which is an awesome name for a blog) is having a little Easter competition over on their blog.

I get a second entry into the giveaway if I drop them a cheap link from my blog, so I'm not exactly going to pass that up, am I?

Feel free to go and enter their giveaway, but I won't cry if you don't - all the more chance of my winning free stuff...

Monday 18 March 2013

Scribe work in progress, and Richard's Kitbashes

On Friday, I had the day off and was planning on painting at home. However, Games Workshop Plaza mentioned on their Facebook page that they were doing a face and skin tutorial, so I decided to head in and say hi.

This then got quite interesting as they were very interested in my wet palette set up, and the staff member doing the tutorials felt I was a better painter than him.

This is something I'm really not used to! I'm used to being next to my wife's painting, and being nowhere near as good. The idea that I'm better than a GW staffer, even in a local store, is kind of weird.

Here's a quick work in progress shot of the scribe I took in to work on:

He is not finished yet, and needs some shots taking with the unforgiving camera of shame to pick out the bits I'm not done with yet.

His robe was painted with a bone base coat, then alternating sepia and orange washes. The face was based in Bugman's Glow, washed in Reikland Fleshshade, and then lots of thin coats of Kislev flesh, sometimes using the Fleshshade to tone down anything particularly chalky.

I also started a little work on the female Commissar, but there's nothing interesting to show of her yet.

The previous Wednesday, I had popped into Dark Sphere to say hello, and saw some awesome conversions from a chap called Richard. They're still very much in progress, but I wanted to share, and he said I could.

This is an awesome Hellbrute, using some green stuff and bits from the Skaven Plague Furnace to change its look a lot.

Then there is this awesome kitbash of the Tyranid Tervigon and the Forgeworld Nurgle Plague Drone to put together a very Nurgle Helldrake. Richard did say that he had found this idea on the internet somewhere, but I forget where. If anyone does know, feel free to shout in the comments so credit can be given.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Recover the archeotech map: An Inquisitor 28 battle report

It was cold and misty in the frontier town. Inquisitor Bernard's staff had intercepted a communication which he suspected to be the work hereteks. Unknowing how far within the Machine-Guild of Averene the taint had spread, he decided a careful approach was required. Rather than going himself, he sent two of his band. Yudas Hayle was a beastman inducted into Imperial service, and Ricardo y Brion a sanctioned psyker, but if they were killed, the actions of a mutant and a psyker could easily be disavowed. Ricardo used significant coin to hire two Guard veterans, who referred to themselves only as Mutt and Joff, preferring that their last names weren't used.

The message indicated that an encoded map giving the location of valuable archeotech had been left on the roof of a newly constructed administrative building in a small frontier town. Given that if the information was permitted, it would probably have been passed through additional channels, the Inquisitor planned for his staff to intercept it.

Cautious, they approached the site from the east, skirting the perimeter fence of the settlement, by the ramp for the transporter landing pad.

Unknown to them, hostile forces were approaching from the west - who in turn were unaware that their simple 'pick up' mission was compromised and that they were walking into a firefight.

The warp corrupting the pix feed, or action shot? You decide!

Techpriest Demos Synek, a recently corrupted Techpriest of the Avarenes, was seeking to recover the map along with two hired guns, slightly less experienced Guard veterans - Malek Chogan and Verrin Olafson.

The two forces advanced towards their eventual objective, high on the recently finished administratum building.

The Heretek Synek ordered his guardsmen to screen his position as he went forward to recover the data he was seeking.

Meanwhile, Yudas, who is a little more cautious than his companions, gets left behind by Joff as they cross the transport station, planning to cut off any escape via the transport network.

Meanwhile Ricardo and Mutt sprint across the open ground to try and recover the item directly.

In the distance, they fail to notice Techpriest Synek, who in turn, has not spotted them in the early morning mist...

Malek and Verrin advance up the street, covering each other in perfect military drill as they progress.

Meanwhile, Yudas and Joff reach the walled entrance to the transport station, and set a trap for any fleeing in this direction.

Malek and Verrin creep down the side of a building towards the transport station.

Malek, in the lead, starts advancing towards the station and Yudas, seeing hostiles, lets loose a lasgun shot. It ricochets off the guard rails of the stairs from the administratum building, but across the town the various combatants all hear the shot and realise something is up.

Ricardo and Mutt race for the data, but are too late as Synek has got there first!

Frustrated at his missed shot, Yudas hefts a frag grenade and throws it at the oncoming hired guns, blowing Malek off his feet and lightly injuring him from the shrapnel. The smell of blood reaches his nostrils and a red mist descends - he charges out into the open screaming and hollering. Joff curses and runs after his employer, careful to stay behind the crazed mutant.

Malek desperately tries to get to his feet as the crazed beastman stabs him again and again, but its all too much and soon he falls into blessed unconsciousness. Verrin takes some shots (did he throw a demo charge? I forgot in the excitement), but doesn't seem to be able to hit the back of a barn door.

Synek realises he needs to be quick. He jumps from the roof of the building onto the walkway and charges down into the melee. Ricardo tries to influence his mind to slow him, but can't focus in the panic of the firefight. Cursing at the 'amateur night', Mutt sprints after the rogue techpriest.

Yudas and Joff are taken by surprised by the armoured, hammer wielding Mechanicus, and Yudas' knife just can't get a purchase, less so after a brutal blow from the hammer smashes his knife arm at the shoulder. Correctly judging the crazed mutant as the least of his worries, Synek turns his attention to Joff, first catching him lightly on his right leg, and the lapse of concentration that causes giving him the opportunity to swing his hammer with full force into Joff's right arm, shattering bone and causing him to scream in pain, dropping his pistol. In return he desperately swung his chainsword, catching Synek firmly in the belly, and with a scream, the techpriest dropped to the floor unconscious.

Verrin quietly snuck away from the fight as an exhausted Joff looked on helpless as a frothing, lunatic mutant who employed him stalked towards him, bloody knife raised . . . and then sank to the floor unconscious.

"Bloody twist" said Mutt, shaking his arm from the bone jarring impact. "This has been a mess of amateurs from start to finish. Lets get out of here, give the witch his trinket and get paid."

With that he bent down to pick up the small metal box they'd been hired to retrieve, and took a rough hold of the rank beastman to drag him away.

"What about these?" asked Joff, gesturing at the Mechanicus and his lightly mutilated employee.

"Leave 'em." said Mutt. "This job stinks already, and lets not get some murder charges laid on us. Their friend pegged it and if we do get charged, I'll stick with assault over murdering a man in cold blood any day."

Joff nodded, retrieved his laspistol, and started limping back to the transport station, his friend dragging the dead weight of Yudas behind him. This witch had a lot to answer for...