Monday 27 October 2014

Breaking Painter's Block: Anvil Industry Werewolf

People may have noticed that recently I've not been posting much of my painting progress. Well, that's because there really hasn't been any! I've been suffering from a bad case of painter's block, and wasn't really sure how to fix it.

In the end, I realised that I've hardly ever bought a new thing and painted it straight away - I end up never really using my "new toy" enthusiasm with my painting - instead trying to slog through older purchases where the shine may have worn off.

So, during my Friday lunch break at work, I popped onto the Anvil Industry website and ordered their Halloween special Werewolf. Saturday morning, I woke up to find him on my door mat. The plan was to assemble and base him on Saturday, and paint him on Sunday. No fancy display jobs - just a quick tabletop quality job.

Here he is! The tail had come off the sprue, but wasn't damaged because of it. Anvil have this clever trick where they use the base slot as the main casting sprue, with basing items (usually ruins) to make other joins where necessary.

I wasn't sure if Anvil Resin needed washing, but I washed it anyway like a good paranoid person. It was around this point I realised that the basing piece for this wasn't rubble, but a severed arm! I'm also looking to try and up my game with basing, so added a few rocks from one of the various GW basing kits I have kicking around for the resin bits (most expensive grit you'll ever own).

Then I used a mix of Vallejo Coarse Pumice (the see through stuff) and Sandy Paste. It hadn't occurred to me to mix them both, but then I saw that Legion of Plastic was using both on the same base, and given he's a certified modelling genius, I decided to blindly and badly copy him to see if I thought it looked cool.

Here you can see how I patched rock, the larger grain "Coarse Pumice" and the finer "Sandy Paste".

And then I painted him. I could show you a few of the work in progress painting pictures, but they're ultimately not very interesting. I ended up doing the basing sand first thing on Sunday morning, but otherwise kept to the planned schedule. For a bit of fun, I had some blood running down the side of the base from the severed arm.

I definitely like how the base turned out, and I'll be doing a few more of my bases this way. It also made me realise quite how much my painting skills have slipped in a month and a bit of not painting!

I can already see four or five areas where there's over-painting or things I could touch up, but I'm not going to go back to him now. He's served his purpose - I'm excited and motivated to paint some other things. I've also learnt to try and get a little done every day to keep my skills up / improving. Although, while I say that, I have a lot of preparation and assembly to do at the moment...

Monday 20 October 2014

Battle Report: Astra Militarum vs. Grey Knights, 1500 pts

Shortly after the release of the new Grey Knight Codex, my regular opponent and part time nemesis ClauseIV1918 and I arranged to get in a 1,500 point game so he could get the hang of the new Codex.

I wasn't running anything hugely unusual in my list, as I try to only change a few small things at a time rather than making huge changes all at once.

The big change was the Colossus Bombard, but it ended up not being a massive deal on the grounds of the Grey Knights mostly rocking Terminator armour, and thus not minding it all that much! Still, I got the "new unit failure" out of the way, so hopefully it will now be awesome from now on!

The two teleporting Dreadknights decided to hang out behind the bastion until they were ready to go. Meanwhile the allied Inquisitor and plasma-cannon wielding Servitors parked up their Chimera.

The obligatory Servo skulls littered the landscape to help the massive pile of reserved Terminators to come in by deep strike.

I rushed forward with the Hellhound - I knew it was probably toast either way, but thought it worth risking to remove as many Servo Skulls as I could. The right flank, realising that everyone was over on the left, started running over to try and be some use in the fight, keeping the command Chimera neatly wrapped up to protect from those pesky Deep Strikers.

Mr Draigo and his buddies then rocked up to blow stuff up.

I think my Astropath had been lucky enough to roll Invisibility, but I forget.

Some Terminators had planned to land here, but the newly lacking servo skull and my opponent proving that his dice are cursed again resulted in them missing by quite a distance.

I was inordinately happy for my Demolisher to see a "target rich environment"...

Not very surprising Surprise Dreadknight No. 1...

And not very surprising Surprise Dreadknight No. 2...

The Hellhound was badly beaten up, but not dead!. The Terminators all elected to run to spread out rather than shoot things themselves and tempt the Demolisher...

The Hellhound didn't last, though - and with it wrecked, the Dreadknight went on to find other victims.

Spread out - but not spread out enough! One of the Terminator squads evaporated as they were caught in a direct hit by the Demolisher.

The survivors were keen to do something about the Command Squad, however.

The conscripts advanced to tie up Draigo and keep him out of my hair...

The obvious place to deep strike resulted in a bit of a mishap... The remainder of the Librarian's squad was brought down by weight of fire.

While Draigo discovered that Conscripts in numbers (especially with Divination and Orders) can be really dangerous. Doubly so if your player has a bad tendency of rolling 1s for armour saves...

The Dreadknight, meanwhile, punched the Colossus to death to make sure it's "first game bad luck" was properly expunged...

All it had managed to do was knock a couple of hull points off a Chimera. Meanwhile, the mishapped squad of Terminators had a long walk ahead of them...

Slowly but surely, one of the Dreadknights was getting its wounds run down...

But the left flank hadn't simply collapsed - it wasn't even there any more!

Kaldor Draigo stared defiantly at the conscripts before being gunned down by massed lasgun fire. If anyone was curious about the historical animosity between the Grey Knights and my Imperial Guard, it's this sort of thing that adds fuel to the fire!

The (air) cavalry arrive.

The Veterans inconveniently fail to kill the Dreadknight...

He seems really keen to avoid getting into close combat with a squad which is all armed with melta bombs...

With the game nearly over, the command squad gun the engines and run off to the enemy deployment zone for Linebreaker, but I've just lost too many units (we'd rolled kill points), and the game goes to the Grey Knights!

Monday 13 October 2014

Warhammerfest: Conjecture, Speculation and Vile Rumour

Now I've gotten all the pesky facts out of the way, I can go into the shakier side of things - stuff gleaned from talking to staff around Warhammerfest over the two days.

I haven't done a post like this before, so I'd like to start by putting this in context. I went and talked to a lot of people at the weekend who work for Games Workshop and Forge World. They have to be very careful about what they say, because they are working on things two to three years in advance, and run a pretty tight ship about it. I would consider quite a few of them friends, and I would never want to get any of them in trouble.

However, the Internet is wrong a lot of the time, and I am going to make a single naive attempt to try and correct this. I'm already regretting it and I haven't even finished typing the post. This is a somewhat foolish attempt to put down what little I've learned as an outsider about how Games Workshop operates, what's changing, and what that means in terms of models and rules.

Every time I write something like this I am terrified that people I like and respect will be angry at me about it. It comes from friendly conversations, although I try and be as open as possible about being a blogger and drawing a line between chatting about things of personal interest and Stuff For The Internet - but I worry that one day I will get it wrong.

Please also understand I may be horribly wrong. Games Workshop employees don't have a hive mind, and some of the people I've talked to may not have known the full story about something, or have been adding their own opinion to things. I've also taken a large number of conversations and tried to (forgive me for this) forge them into a narrative of some kind. This adds my own interpretation as another filter onto things, and that interpretation may be completely wrong.

Also: I would not put it past some of these people to make stuff up for the purposes of winding me and / or the Internet up. You're all kind of mean to them a lot of the time, so I wouldn't blame them!

On why Games Workshop don't show things in advance

Games Workshop staff cannot and will not talk about anything that hasn't been officially announced yet. Forge World are slightly different, as they run previews and similar.

Why is it different? Quite frankly, it's because the two companies run very different business models. The plastic production has a minimum of a two year lead time, but some releases have waited three or more years before finding an appropriate slot in the schedule. If you want to understand why Games Workshop don't preview things, take a look at how quickly some of the resin accessory companies got alternative grav guns onto the market after the release of the Space Marine Codex. The benefit gained by early previews is outweighed by the cost of lost sales to small companies producing cheap alternatives.

Forge World don't give a monkeys about the alternative parts companies, because they have a reputation as a prestige / collector's item. They already 'compete' with Games Workshop having cheaper alternatives (at least in the UK - we're really sorry Australia) for a lot of what they do, and it's entirely possible for people to kit bash the Forge World units from GW kits if they wanted. But generally, they don't.

(That is, of course, different to the recasters. They are thieves and scumbags of the lowest order, and I have absolutely no time for them or anyone who advocates their use. It's taking money away from the company who makes these wonderful toys, reduces available budgets for designing new ones, and is taking money away from the designers who put them together. I find little moral difference between buying from a recaster and stealing Simon Egan's wallet. Don't do it.)

So, that covers one of the main reasons why Forge World tease stuff and Games Workshop don't. There is money to be made in firing out knock-offs of GW stuff. There is much less money to be made in firing out quick knock offs of Forge World stuff. It is simply a fact of life that Games Workshop cannot afford to 'tease' things months in advance as it would cost them a significant amount of money for practically no benefit. The companies have different business models and different economics about how they make their money - what is profitable behaviour for Forge World would be ruinously expensive for Games Workshop.

Reorganisation at Games Workshop

I have mentioned this before, but the implications of it weren't necessarily understood. A while ago, Games Workshop had a big reorganisation. It got mentioned and everyone ignored it. We're now seeing the results of some parts of that reorganisation.

We had already heard last year about how the company had moved to a "model led", erm, model. In other words - sculptors make beautiful models, and then writers put together rules for them. The other refinement we've seen is that the people who write the rules have separated from those who write the background.

Previously, small teams would break off and work in isolation on a group of releases. The last set of releases to be written in that way were the 40K codices for the Tau, the Eldar and the Chaos Daemons. They were written together, and play-tested against each other.

The three codices listed are a demonstration about why the old method didn't work. Those of you who either play competitively, read tactics blogs or listen to the podcasts of people who do will recognise the theme in the three codices listed. They are the "power codices", the powerful, competitive armies against which the other armies are measured.

No Games Workshop employee can directly say it, but those three codices are a mistake. Because they were primarily tested against each other in isolation, they are on a different power curve to the rest of the game. This leads on to the question of how Games Workshop fix mistakes and issues with the game, but I'll come to that in a while.

Another part of the reorganisation has meant that some other artistic influences may start to come through in the models. Given when the reorganisation took place, I thought it would be seen this year, but from comments made I'm guessing it will be some point in the first half of 2015. That isn't really something that competitive players will find interesting, but a lot of the painters and kit-bashers might find some interesting new things around then.

How it all works now

The design of models is primarily done on computers now. A designer receives a brief, designs a model on computer, and sends it up for approval. A rapid prototyping machine is then used to make the model. When they say "rapid prototyping", they almost certainly mean a 3D printer, and a top end one. This does still leave faint 3D print lines which need to be sanded down. At least some, if not all, of the 'Eavy Metal models on the boxes come from this rapid prototyping technique.

The approval process is really important, and goes to quite senior people. Alan Merritt, who I have seen previously described as one of the key "IP" guys, is likely one of the approval points - I'd also suspect that people like Jes Goodwin, John Blanche and Ali Morrison all get an opportunity to pitch in and give an opinion, because they have been doing this stuff long enough to know what works and what doesn't.

This one is definitely a vile and unsubstantiated rumour - it may be that the Void Shield Generator was an example of something not fully passing the approval process, so only a small short run was approved, on the grounds that the model was thought unlikely to sell due to its looks. Someone senior probably has a teensiest bit of egg on their face over that if it is true! I do love that model to bits and would have happily bought three if I'd had the chance - but then again, I also love the Taurox, so my judgement in such things is clearly seriously flawed! ;-)

Interestingly, the Grey Knight Codex was a bit of an exception to the model led approach. A two week gap in the planned schedule gave an opportunity for a book overhaul without any new models. There were perceived to be balance issues with the book, and also some fundamental design issues - such as 'invisible upgrades' such as psybolt ammunition, the various grenade craziness, and perhaps a feeling that with the move towards 7th, it would become rather awkward to run. If it really is the exception, that would mean its likely that the remaining 5th edition Codices which need redoing for 7th will see some new models - although given the Dark Eldar had no "new" models, just new takes on existing concepts, it might not be as exciting as all that.

Models coming up?

Some of you may have noticed that there were something like four designers given credits on the Putrid Blightkings. These models do look amazing in the diseased flesh! It seems that the Blightkings were the result of a lot of experimentation with the things you can do in model design now. They have taken what they've learnt from that unit and applied it to the stuff coming down the pipeline.

What is in that pipeline is pure wishlisting and speculation, nothing more. No-one who actually knows what's going on is going to tell you anything concrete or provable more than about a week out. It may be possible to make guesses and piece things together, but it is impossible to tell who has heard or seen something, or if someone is just making stuff up for their own amusement.

So there is no way to know whether or not those "lessons" learned when designing and making the Blightkings will be applied to Fantasy models for other Chaos Gods, the Greater Daemons moving to plastic, or Nurgle Chaos Space Marines. I am some folk whose websites are paid for by their advertising revenues will use the above sentence out of context for glorious clickbait, but it illustrates a valid point, so I'm leaving it in.

Fixing what's "broken"

Games Workshop has tried many different approaches to fixing things over the years. The broad approach now is to try and change as little as possible from the books. If something simply doesn't make sense, or is different in different places, it will definitely get fixed. However, beyond that, they generally won't try and fix other, less fundamental issues, such as balance or edge cases.

There was some discussion of the old Chapter Approved articles and the practice of giving out rules tweaks for people to try out and playtest. Unfortunately, it seems that these generated more questions than they answered, with people asking which rules they should be using.

The worry with clarifications is if too many are given out, then people will end up with sheafs of paper as well as the books. As such, problems which are seen as 'edge cases' will be left to players to sort out. The example I used was targeting a unit with a blast weapon on one level of a ruin when a unit on another level of the same ruin was under Invisibility. These sort of things don't happen often, and the feeling is that if GW legislate for every eventuality, then the game will grow too convoluted, with too many FAQs and other documents.

Balance issues are now broadly being fixed 'as they go' with Codices - with the historical issue of Tau, Eldar and Chaos Daemons being on a higher curve apparently being more or less left until the next pass. Some units will end up more powerful, and some less powerful, but the focus now is on a centralised rules design team working on all the rulebooks and testing with each army.

There is definitely an understanding that it is difficult to get the exact points right for units which have a lot of offensive capability but are fragile, or units which are very robust but not much offensive capability. Grey Knight Strike Squads, for example, were a unit which were given a definite "discount" for all their heavy wargear as ultimately they are still as survivable as any other Space Marine.

This then led on to a discussion of alliances - there is not much focus given to playtesting combinations across Codices. Forces of the Imperium was mentioned as being intended to give people an opportunity to theme armies and match backgrounds, not come up with ultimate power combinations.

The game isn't designed for tournaments. It was never the intention to do so. It's about telling stories with a wargame - I very much got the impression that people are still keen on its role-playing roots. People are welcome to work to try and make a modified 'tournament' game or setting, but that's for them to do. Don't expect Games Workshop to come and do that!

Models and books

We've all been focusing on the key negative reason for why new books have only had supported models - the legal case. However, this weekend, I also heard people pointing out that while it was very sad for people who'd made their own conversions, it was a lot more restrictive for new players or less experienced hobbyists who end up disappointed when they walk into a Games Workshop store and get told that there is no Vect or Baron model, and you have to make your own.

Feel free to be cynical about that if you like - I don't think I'm likely to change any minds here. I don't really expect to. I expect it's six of one and half a dozen of the other. With a risk from one side and problems being caused by models missing, it seems reasonable to decide on a policy of removing rules for unsupported models.

The book authors aren't the people who get to make the decisions on this - nor do the sculptors, who receive briefs from management as to what should happen where. I haven't yet worked out how exactly the decisions are made prior to the sculptors getting their briefs - the generation of those briefs are the one part of the process I don't have any visibility of so far. How the decision came to be made "include the Voidraven Bomber, and drop Vect" rather than the other way around, I don't know.

What's going on

The employees who work at Games Workshop are a group of really passionate people who really care about the game their company produces. It's a big company now - I spoke to one writer who regularly still plays using Rogue Trader rules, while a sculptor had no idea people played old editions. There are still some old hands around who remember what it was like when you couldn't actually swing a cat in the office, to enthusiastic new starts who've not been around more than a few weeks.

Most people involved in the game and miniature design do not read the internet for stuff about the hobby. With several areas having become massive negative echo chambers, it becomes incredibly demoralising for people who genuinely care about the hobby. If you are constantly negative and down on a company (and in some areas it almost seems to be a competition who can be the most anti-GW because it's a 'big company'), then its unlikely the people who work for and care about the company are going to trawl through the bile and hatred to get to any genuine feedback you might have.

In addition, you may have noticed that Games Workshop employees don't engage openly on forums, or have much in the way of painting blogs, or do media interviews. This is not necessarily just because "the company tells them not to". Something that sounded like the internal rumour mill talked about instances of lawyers trawling the internet for Things Employees Have Said in order to use it to back up legal cases against Games Workshop. If you have the patience to dig through online legal case files, you'll probably find examples of it, but I'll admit to not having a citation for this.

These guys do really love their company and the idea of being dragged into a court room and being talked at in ever decreasing circles by a lawyer trying to get precedent set that other companies can use sections of GW IP which have been thirty years in the making is pretty horrifying for them. Innocent comments can easily be taken out of context and weaponised against their employer. It is safer and less stressful for them to avoid discussion of a hobby that they love in a recorded public forum. I find that kind of horrible.

The focus of Warhammerfest was engagement. You could go and see how to do particular aspects of the hobby, or talk design with any one of a number of games designers, miniature designers or artists. Several people actively encouraged me to keep talking about feedback, whether it was my perception of the scenery kits they've put out, or how particular Codices are being received.

The thing is that Games Workshop is a big ship to turn around. It has a pipeline of at minimum two years, and some items which are at least three years from concept to release. Feedback about models and ideas and concepts now may take a long while to get through - but sometimes they've already picked up on it.

For example: There was a definite design decision in the recent books to simplify some of the rules. Some forums and podcasts have taken to complaining that this has taken away unique flavour from a particular list or other. There was a bit of a hint that this has already been spotted and the coming books might see a little more swing away from homogenisation - although I would care to wager a small sum that the format and standardisation will remain to a significant extent. The standardisation does help new players, and helping them engage is something they're still keen to do.

Games Workshop do make mistakes - Codex Eldar almost certainly ran out of time with some pretty big issues still left with both its internal and external balance - I suspect a troubled birth with problems still coming to light late in playtesting. Moving into the rampant speculation now - did the lessons learnt from this lead to the reorganisation of games design in the first place? Were GW trying to fix the problem before the book had even left the warehouse? The power curve since has been very consistent, and several of those books will have been in progress well before Eldar released.

In summary

I think things are looking relatively positive for the near future. With the Blightkings, the model designers are putting out models with an awful lot of potential and developing new technical skills which are going to be applied to new kits coming down the line.

The game design team is not going to cater to tournament and competitive play, but are aware of balance issues and were possibly working on avoiding issues in future releases even before the "problem children" had been formally released.

There are no clear rumours for upcoming Codices or Warhammer Fantasy 9th edition or even Warhammer 40,000 8th edition. Until you see a book, you can't really know what's happening. Most rumour sites achieve nothing but generating internet traffic and a little amusement in the small subsection of the 'in the know' sections of Games Workshop who haven't yet been put off looking at the wargaming sections of the internet.

Warhammerfest: Warhammer: The App

This probably isn't the most exciting news in the world for everyone, but there were things announced at Warhammerfest which weren't from Forge World! Here, for example, we have a new app, called simply "Warhammer: The App".

So, in fairness, it's not all that exciting. It's just an app which will provide news articles about Games Workshop's recent and upcoming releases. However, what got my interest was a mention that there is a reasonable chance that it will also sometimes have exclusive free content, such as missions and similar.

Saturday 11 October 2014

Warhammer Fest, Day 1: Afternoon Forge World Seminar

I'm currently in rainy Coventry, recovering in my secret lair near the Ricoh Arena, where Warhammerfest is being held. Before I go for dinner, I thought I'd fire out my notes on the Forge World afternoon presentation. Other people have already fired pictures all over the internet, so I'm mostly going to be doing the written down thing.

This is what mine would have looked like.
There are better ones elsewhere on the internet.
Go find them.

The first one up to the plate was Imperial Armour Volume 13: The Lost and the Damned. This is out in limited numbers at the weekend - there's a run of 2,000 with a slip case and poster. It contains:

  • All the Chaos Vehicle and Daemon Engine rules
  • Updated rules for older Chaos models
  • Renegades and Heretics army list
  • A few selected relics of the Heresy
Daemon possessed Fellblades were mentioned, as well as the Decimator being included. The army list is a single army list with many options - it expands on the army lists from Vraks, allowing you to field any of those armies, but also adds in options for Slaanesh and Tzeentch Renegades as well.

I also managed to get a quick chat in with Andy Hoare and a look at the book on one of the desks. The army list includes a lot of HQs which unlock options, and also purchasable upgrades for Warlords to unlock yet more options still. Renegades and Mutants are all in there, with a particular combination of traits intended to allow you to give models Hellguns to allow for Chaos Storm Troopers. There are also some references to Chaos Hereteks. The Kharybdis Assault Claw makes an appearance for Chaos as well.

Horus Heresy Book 4: Conquest is due at the end of November, so people can order it in time for Christmas. It is currently at the printers. It is the biggest book so far. There is a Forge World Knight on the cover, which gives a bit of an indication as to the book's focus and content. It covers:
  • The Battles of the Cyclops Cluster
  • Siege of Mezoa
  • Conquest of Manachea
  • Defence of Agathon
These are battles that aren't in the Horus Heresy Novels, but is about what Horus and friends did "in between the gaps". It covers the conquest of a significant portion of the Northern Imperium, as Horus takes control of a sector of space cut off from the rest of the Imperium by warp storms so he has a base of operations. For example, Manachea is a big Agri-World, and a bit of a bread basket for that sector of the Imperium.

Forces in the book are:
  • Sons of Horus
  • Death Guard
  • Iron Hands
  • Salamanders
  • Imperial Fists
  • Dark Mechanicum
  • Mechanicum
  • Solar Auxilia
  • Knights
  • Titans
There was a mention that some of the Loyalist forces have gone mad, others are engaging in revenge attacks to worlds that have allied or even capitulated to Horus, and others are waging a guerrilla war.

The world of Cyclotrathe was mentioned - a Dark Mechanicum world which isn't in the 40K background, because someone has (rightly) turned it to ash by the time 40K happens. This is where some of the worst of the Dark Mechanicum are, licensed by Horus to forge their own mini empire as long as they keep his armies supplied. Their forces are now carving out their own client empire, harvesting humans for their experiments.

There's a mention of the Knight Houses of the area, and their interlinked backgrounds. It covers why their histories and existing allegiances determine the side they end up on. One example given was a House which had only been a part of the Imperium for five years at the outbreak of the Heresy, so sided with the only faction they'd ever met - Horus. (Apparently, that didn't go so well for them!)

The Solar Auxilia are an elite branch of the Imperial Army. There was a Latin name for the Imperial Army, but someone mumbled, so I missed it.

The book will include a history of the battles, background for the Solar Auxilia, background for the Knight Houses, the background to 4 new Knight Houses of the 31st Millenium, a campaign system, a Solar Auxilia list, and a 30K only Knight list.

There will be a special edition of Conquest. That will include a slipcase, a post and QR sheets for each unit to save people lugging the whole book around.

There was then a big display of models. Go look at the Battle Bunnies blog to see pictures - I just have a list!

(Alpha Legion Contemptor, Word Bearer Contemptor, Imperial Fist Contemptor, Imperial Fist Templar Brethren, Imperial Fist Phalanx Warder Squad, Solar Auxilia Lasrifle section, Veletoris Storm Section with Volkites, Flamer Section, Leman Russ Incinerator with Volkite weapon, and a Chainfist and Volcano cannon for the Reaver Titan.)

There will be a Horus Heresy Model Masterclass Volume 1. It includes how they put the Istvaan III display board together. It will have the usual mix of display and more army standard tips and tricks.

Horus Heresy Book V: Tempest - work is just starting on this. It will be the Assault on Calth. It will show the Word Bearers getting more Chaos-y. We were shown some concept art for Word Bearers, Ultramarines and the Fire Masters Titan Legion.

There is a distinct desire to make the Ultramarines less dull. They are looking at white, gold, and marble as well as the usual blue, in a very Roman style. There was mention of Praetorian pattern armour and Invictarus special troops - who were very ornate with shields.

There was talk of future models with no pictures - two new Space Marine flyers, a new dreadnought (not a Contemptor, something new!), Solar Auxilia Storm Hammer, Solar Auxilia Ogryns (very different from the ones in 40K), more character series models - with pictures shown of parts of Sevatar and Konrad Curze. They will not be "too long".


Any Iron Warriors? Some bits and pieces are on the way.

Warhammer Forge models going away? Some models will come back once they've looked again at sales and profitability. They will then likely add a few models next year.

Dark Angels? After Ultramarines but not too long. They want to do Thramas plus the Blood Angels at Signus Prime relatively soon.

Chaos Dwarves? No plans right now, but maybe.

Sigismund model? Will get around to him - it will take a year or two to get all the characters they want to do done.

Any Tau non flyer super heavies? There was an answer. Tony told us not to share it on forums or blogs. You may ask me in person if you have interest, or find someone who doesn't do what Tony asks.

What will be the breakdown of the Calth book? The final decisions on this aren't really made yet - they're still in early stages and playtesting the Ultramarines Legion rules. It's likely there will be more than one book and the first book will be the first 24 hours and the turnaround.

Any plans to do basics for the legions such as Blood Angels early so people can get started? Not really. They're resourced just about perfectly for books and models at the same pace right now - early Blood Angels models would mean more Ultramarines rules in the Calth books without models, and that wouldn't be fair. There are sometimes opportunities when they do books where fewer models are needed to sneak in a few extra models, but that's not often.

Will they do every character they've written rules for as a model? Nope. Some are better suited to conversion from a Praetor or Captain model. They won't necessarily do every one, but will where there is demand and a different enough model to merit it.

Will there be Heresy era Xenos? Not very likely at all. Horus Heresy is about a battle of man against man, and becomes a story about man versus Chaos. They will probably avoid Xenos outright as that's 40K's thing - but if they reach the Scouring, that's the time of the revenge of the Xenos. They won't cover pre-Davin Xenos as they'd have too limited a scope.

Dark Eldar? Don't expect more Dark Eldar models from FW until there is a dedicated Dark Eldar book.

Genos something something (from Legion)? Very unlikely. It was a small group. The Imperial Army is very broad, and they will generally do things that have a wider application. Solar Auxilia have many regiments but are also more elite, so more worthwhile doing as FW units.

Any book for Fantasy? No decided.

Chaos Knights? On the list to do conversion bits for.

Monday 6 October 2014

Anvil Industry Kickstarter: "Afterlife"

Some of you may not realise, but my walk home from work (on the days when the weather is nice, or the local transport system has gone completely off the rails) takes me close to the secret lair of Anvil Industry, producers of high quality resin stuff.

This is as close as I can take a picture - to stop them getting interrupted all day from casting beautiful resin miniatures, and to avoid being attacked by Unity Council Stim Hounds as some kind of industrial spy.

(I had also considered photo shopping the parked up English National Opera trailers to carry the Anvil Industry logo, but avoided doing so due to a lack of photo shop skills and a stern warning from a hit squad of mezzo-sopranos.)

Why do I mention this? Well, as you can see, Anvil Industry are expanding their underground base (ignore the Crossrail signs, we all know it's an elaborate front). In order to fund this elaborate venture, they've set up an ambitious Kickstarter to help raise the relevant capital for the final stages of the project.

If you've not encountered their stuff before, my wife painted up a few of their current models and posted them up on her twitter feed today. Take the time to have a look - they are very pretty. All the dystopian sci-fis!

I've put in to back them a little bit, but I'm still deciding what exactly to get. I like their female sculpts - sensibly muscular for the military types, and appropriately dressed. I in particular like Lena Petrova and Gabriela Aguilar. However, I'm also incredibly stoked about Alexsander Malik ("the Technician"), as I can see a use for him in a lot of the games systems I play.

So, please take a moment to potter over to the Afterlife Kickstarter and consider throwing them a few pennies - they've set an ambitious goal, but one I think they'll make (and deserve to).