Monday 28 December 2015

Redemptionist Leader from The Lost and the Very Damned

Photo (and painting) by Stuart Bannister

I'm a terrible person! Stuart from The Lost and the Very Damned painted one of my figures for me because I won a competition, and I haven't blogged about it.

I gave Stuart carte blanche to paint the chap, and he's ended up rather pink! I feel the need to come up with some sort of background for him - are his robes due to his odd cult, a cultural relic of his planet, or just that they were white once and there was an accident with the laundry?

A blog post was made when this glorious scion of the Emperor was painted, and please do go and check out (and follow) the Lost and the Very Damned. It's an excellent blog!

Monday 21 December 2015

Commission Painted Valkyrie by @vidpui

A while ago, I was hanging out on Twitter, and @vidpui, who I follow,  mentioned he had a Valkyrie for sale, and he'd also be willing to paint it to spec. Given that I have too much unpainted stuff, a painted thing seemed tempting, so I went for it.

These photos are all by @vidpui, who sent them over to show me the paint job before I confirmed it was OK to send over.

Sadly, there was some minor damage caused to it by the postal service on it's way over, but I'd emphasise that it was completely not @vidpui's fault! It was wrapped really well, but it looked like it had been used as a football by the postie... Fortunately, it was nothing too serious and has since been patched up just fine.

I would definitely recommend @vidpui for getting stuff painted up - he gives regular feedback and updates, and does good work. Full marks!

Monday 14 December 2015

A trip to Wargames Foundry

After our trip to Warhammer World for the Open Day, I'd insisted on heading over to the new Wargames Foundry shop to have a nose around before heading home. I was very glad we went!

Foundry is owned by Bryan Ansell, who got a lot of old Warhammer figures when he left Game Workshop.

We caught up with Kev Adams while we were there - he heard us nosing around the shop and came out to say hello!

We did a bunch of shopping while we were there. "Mrs TRO" has a Secret Project she was looking for some very specific figures for. I was after a few random bits and pieces, which I've been intending to get for a while.

I haven't taken any pictures of the purchases, but hopefully they'll reach the top of the painting pile soon enough and you can see them then!

I was having a very Squat obsessed day, wasn't I?

 Mrs Ansell popped in to say hello and arrange to make us a mug of tea, which was much needed after the long weekend of talking to many, many gamers.

The lovely chap who was minding the shop that day showed me these wonderful cave painting style shields that he's painted. But I'm a terrible human being and forgot his name!

I noticed the block style Ork artwork on the side of this classif fort, too. There's a ton of cool stuff at Foundry, and it's well worth a visit!

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Warhammer 40,000 Open Day: Design Studio Seminar

The Design Studio arrives

 So, while people got rather excited about all the new Forge World news at the Open Day, what I found most interesting was the other seminar - the one from the Design Studio. Now, I only attended one on the Sunday, and as I understand it, there were different people present on each day, but I believe the broad message of both was the same - questions and answers may have varied.

Our rules writer for the seminar was Simon Grant. The rules writer team is headed up by Jervis Johnson, and consists of Simon, James Hewitt and Robin Cruddace. (As a note, Jervis, Simon and Robin are all long term veterans of Games Workshop. James is the only 'outsider' to GW head office, having been hired after working for Mantic for a while.)

A typical team of writers

There is a separate team who deals with all the narrative writing, which includes Phil Kelly.

The other person talking was Laurie Golding. It's his job to check the quality of what's produced, and that it fits in with the background.

Rules discussion in progress

The writing process is now different. There isn't one person with their name on the Codex any more. This is partially a reflection of the process, as there's over a hundred people involved in the production of a new Codex, and implying a single lead author is misleading.

The first step in the process is that the miniatures arrive. They are finished and painted before the rules team see them. There's then a team meeting. There's a project manager for Warhammer 40,000, and a team manager for Age of Sigmar.

An initial meeting from the last Eldar Codex

There's a discussion between the writers (both background and rules) about what they can do with the miniatures. They they go away and draft up some narrative and traits, then go to another meeting. This may go on for a number of cycles.

Stormsurge, for reference

The design process is always based around the miniatures. The miniature design isn't based around "what do the Tau need?" from a rules stand point. The rules team look at the kit and work from there. For example, with the Stormsurge, they'd look at it and see that it had new weapons and multiple crew. So, it would be a big creature (monstrous creature or gargantuan). The weapons were linked to weapons families - either existing or new ones. The stablisers meant it was a static thing - and got some rules. The intent is wherever possible to link narrative to rules.

"This model clearly needs awesome rules"

Design cues don't always follow through. For example, the Centurions have more armour at the front, but they didn't give them a reduced armour save at the back. Models can even get as far as the painted stage and get rejected and go back to design. By getting that part out of the way first, they reduce the risk of wasted work.

It then moved onto a question and answer session.

"You may approach with your questions!"

How do points get set?
It's relative to the army. There is a ballpark "first go" metric, which is then adjusted by playtesting. (This was originally created by Phil Kelly before he left the rules side of things.) For example, a Grey Knight Strike Squad gets a significant cost break because they're so fragile, despite the large amount of equipment they carry.

How do you consider other Codexes when writing a new one?
They don't worry about the wider 'meta'. There's so much variety that extreme selections become unpredictable. The focus is on the internal balance of the Codex.

"Get back to work!"
"Oh, alright. Carry on."

How do you play test?
The most important thing is to avoid personal bias. There's a team involved in playtesting. They make time for playtesting themselves, plus have a team of Games Workshop staff volunteers. There are three key focuses. Is the miniature represented by its rules? Is it fun and exciting? Do the rules have clarity and brevity? They only have so many people and so many times they can test it internally. Someone in the world will break it soon after release due to the number of people playing the games.

Do you look at probabilities?
The points calculator Phil devised does take into account the "how many Marines does this kill?" question. They do run the maths on probabilities.

Internet forums

Do you pay attention to internet feedback?
They don't look for feedback online. Some things are filtered through from people mailing customer services. FAQs are kept for things that don't work or are unclear. They will wait until the next book release to amend balance and similar. There is not much that can be done about abusive combinations, as the new rule will only create new problems.

Additional bonus thing, or maybe a question I didn't note down properly...
Alan Merrett will sometimes have a meeting with the rules team to give them a steer as to what to accentuate with something particularly new.

Wednesday 2 December 2015

What I've been up to recently

 Mostly, I've been involved in other hobbies, like LARPing. I had a big run of events with the painting class and trip to Warhammer World, followed up by some LARP - and while I've had a little free time of late, I've usually been too frazzled for painting. Still, I've started getting some stuff underway and I feel like I'm all queued up ready to go. While I've still got a couple of "trip" posts to write up, I thought I'd let people see what I've been working on!

I've come up with a scheme I like for my Malifaux Scheme Markers. It's relatively simple to do, but requires a couple of coats of wash, so can't just be knocked out in an evening - there's a lot of drying time and faffy steps involved. Still, I feel like I'm about halfway or so, and that I should be able to get them finished up pretty soon.

 I dug out these two old mutants and just finished up a little detailing on them. Still need to get their cousins done.

And I'm trying to get my D&D character painted up. The character is a Tiefling Bard - we're nearly to third level now, so he'll invariably die horribly the moment I've finished his paint scheme! I seem to be doing a lot of blue at the moment - I think whatever I do next will be different, colour wise.

The model is from Hero Forge. It's a bit pricey for what you get - I went with the 'high detail' version. It's a little brittle - I wouldn't want to handle it roughly - but it's not impossible to work with. There is a bit of mottling and rough surfaces from the 3D printing process, but it's good enough what what I want. If you want something specific they can put out, they have pretty much cornered the market, but if you just want a generic human fighter or rogue, I would strongly recommend just going with Reaper or something similar. I had foolishly backed myself into a corner with a Tiefling Bard.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Warhammer 40,000 Open Day: Some Golden Space Marines Demon Entries

I have actually been painting things! They aren't quite finished yet, though, and I still have yet more pictures from the Warhammer 40,000 Open Day. This time around, it's from the Sunday, where I had a run down the Golden Demon cabinets to get some photos of some of the entries.

This is an awesome Blood Angels Terminator that was in the staff competition, painted by Lizzie from the Peterborough store. We'd chatted a bit in the queue to get in before it opened - all the Seminar tickets had run out on the Saturday, so I got up early to make sure I got some on the Sunday. My wife had sensibly decided she liked a lie in more than going to seminars...

One of the squad entries - I really like the massively contrasted red to white style - does anyone know what's it's called. I think it looks like a certain type of comic book, but I don't know if there's a name for it.

Here's an Ultramarines entry to the squad category.

Here's another Ultramarines squad - sadly let down by my awful lack of photography skills.

The vehicles section was heavily contested. This is, I think, the Warhammer World exclusive Land Raider model.

I love the brass they're putting on Space Wolf Dreadnoughts at the moment - it goes really well with the grey blue.

A Chaplain Dreadnought. Black is a hard colour, and they've done some interesting weathering on the base, too.

I have a lot of time for this sort of sea green colour.

Someone is showing off how posable the Contemptor kit is... Again, my awful photography letting down a well done model.

Here, the Contemptor's hand is resting on the scenery.

More Contemptors! This one with a lot of hand painted battle damage. The Contemptor is a good model for painters to show off their skills, so you see a lot of them in Golden Demon.

Fellblades are also popular - and they have big areas to show off things like weathering.

Another well painted Fellblade.

Murderfang, bless his cotton socks. I do like his skull mask.

Spartan Assault tank, and taking the opportunity to go White Scars and show off how well you can do white, which is a difficult colour to do.

On to the Young Blood category. These are all done by under 16s.

The skill with which some of these are put together is breathtaking considering the age of the competitors!

I certainly couldn't have freehanded the name as well as that at that age - I'd be hard pressed to do so now!

There's a lot of really good entries!

Even the "OKish" entries like this one are still really good. Very impressed with the standard of entry by the younger painters.

This diorama was in the open category. I really like it.

It shows a group of Dark Angels attacking some chaos forces.

There's tons of little details, like this chap with a censor near the bottom, coming of a door near a pool of stagnant water.

All the while, his colleague is racing ahead, probably to stop some evil ritual.

However, this was the winning Open entry. It's amazingly done. If my photography was up to scratch, you'd be able to see that there's little red reflections in things like the assault cannon barrels where the other Marines reflections would be. A really worthy winner, and worth finding a good picture of!