Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Hey, Win Some Stuff

Sorry I haven't posted anything here in quite a long time. For the last several weeks I've not been able to get any time for hobby stuff other than reading the occasional game book, most notably the Malifaux rulebook and the Bretonnian army book. (Malifaux was interesting and looks like fun, and while the Bretonnia book is certainly nice, I think it's showing its age a bit.) Not being able to paint has been frustrating but I'm hopeful that I'll soon be back at. All the home remodeling projects are finally complete and my Father's Day gift from my wife was a yet-to-be-picked-out hobby desk. For more than two years now I've kept all my gaming and painting junk portable and packed up when not in use due to life being something of a whirlwind. Therefore the prospect of having somewhere I can safely leave my projects overnight is very exciting for me. Even if my painting does not improve, I'm pretty sure my productivity will as I've managed to set a rather low baseline for myself these past few months.

Okay, enough of the non-update update. Now for the winning of things. I'm very grateful for those of you who have signed up as Followers of this blog and I appreciate your contributions to it. You've made this a much more enjoyable experience for me. So as a way of saying thanks I thought it would be cool to pass on to one of you an army project I know I'll never have time to work on myself. To celebrate the release of the new edition of Warhammer a little more than one week from now, I'd like to give away the selection of Warriors of Chaos boxed sets and blister packs pictured above. On Saturday, July 10th, I'll randomly select one of the Followers who have commented on this post (all you need to do is let me know you're interested in having a shot at the prize) and then I'll announce the winner that day at 8pm EST. Simple, right?

Here's a list of what the winner will receive:

WoC Battalion
Chaos Lord on Daemonic Mount
Sorcerer of Chaos
Nurgle Chaos Sorcerer
Warriors of Chaos (boxed set with 12 guys)
Chaos Marauder Horsemen
Chaos Warriors (the one with 3 guys)
Chaos Knights
3 Chaos Trolls (one of each pose)

A long time ago I was gung-ho about cranking out this army and getting it on the table, but life intervened and this project kept getting shoved further and further down the priority list. Eventually the enthusiasm was gone and last summer I realized that I was no longer even interested in hanging on to them, but I wasn't exactly sure what I wanted to do with the evil little bastards. With the new version of Warhammer only days away this seems like as good a time as any to find a new warlord to lead them, so hopefully at least one of you will want to give these savages a happy home and take them off my hands.

Thanks again for taking an interest in my quiet little niche of the interwebs. I'm confident that things will get (mildly?) more interesting around here soon.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Bretonnia for Eighth Edition

[Note to Google-searching readers: This does not contain any tactical, strategic, list building, or gaming related advice or discussion of any sort. Sorry if you are looking for help in those departments, it's not to be found here. Cheers! - Papa JJ, 12/17/2010]

With the new edition of Warhammer just a few weeks away from it's official release, I've been thinking a lot lately about starting a new army. For the past year or so I have been interested in getting back into the game and made a few faltering starts on different armies. None of them excited me all that much and it seemed as though I lacked the enthusiasm needed to see any of them to completion. I've enjoyed playing Warhammer for a very long time and it was kind of frustrating to just drift away from it without finding anything that would again capture my imagination. There are plenty of other games to play but not being active in such a classic as Warhammer Fantasy felt like it left a void in my hobby.

Hope was restored to me when I heard news of the impending arrival of an updated Warhammer. I think it's a great time for the game to get a new breath of life and with that I've found my interest in it revitalized as well. It's nice to be excited about Warhammer again. I haven't paid a lot of attention to the leaked details regarding all the changes introduced but it definitely sounds like eighth edition represents a significant overhaul of how the game works. This seems, therefore, like as good a time as any to start up with a new army so that I can learn both my chosen force and the game itself together.

To that end I have carefully reviewed my options and thought deeply about what type of army I would like to play. At long last I have chosen to walk the path of honor and valor, hereby pledging my fealty to the realm of Bretonnia. I put together a unit of Bretonnian knights years ago when they were included in the starter set with Lizardmen but was too intimidated by the prospect of heraldry that I never painted them. Otherwise I have no experience with the fnacy lads. I've always admired the look of a fully painted Bretonnian army and the quasi-medieval style of its range of miniatures. After Adepticon I was all fired up to do a Hundred Years War army for Warhammer Ancient Battles but my interest in this was quashed once I saw how expensive it would be. I think a Bretonnian army will be a nice alternative and also a more pragmatic one considering the slim likelihood of me finding someone who wants to play WAB.

I have no real expectations for this army other than for it to serve as a vehicle for learning the new edition of Warhammer. In a spirit of optimism I anticipate working on all of the requisite heraldry and barding will really challenge my painting abilities, hopefully pushing me to get better by trying new things. And even if they're not terribly effective units I still envision having some big blocks of peasant infantry which should offer a good change of pace from painting their mounted social betters. Right, then. It may not be much of a plan, but I think it's enough to get me started. I am looking forward to a summer of lances and longbows.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thank You, John!

Look at what arrived in the mail today! I would like to express my gratitude to John Lambshead of John's Toy Soldiers for sending me a copy of his novel, Lucy's Blade. John graciously awarded it to me as a prize for being the 150th follower of his excellent blog. He even took the time to include a personal inscription for which I am very appreciative. Awesome! I love books and am super excited to begin reading his work. He's previously published a number of short stories but this is his first novel and from what I've seen it looks great. Here's the teaser from the back cover:

"Sir Francis Walshingham, Queen Elizabeth's Secretary of State, was the greatest spymaster the world had ever seen. But when he asked Dr. Dee to summon a demon the result was unexpected, especially for his orphaned niece Lucy. Sir Francis' duty as her guardian was to find Lucy a suitable aristocratic husband, not to let her fight demons and witchcraft for the Queen's Secret Service. But his - and Lucy's - duty to protect Queen and country from enemies both natural and supernatural kept getting in the way. And so did all those demons...."

Now that is the way to hook a reader like me. It sounds as though John has produced something truly unique and wonderful with his writing. I can hardly wait to dive in. I'm right now working my way through The Last Pagan: Julian the Apostate and the Death of the Ancient World by Adrian Murdoch, but as soon as that's done I will next turn to Lucy's Blade. I've been reading a lot of history and non-fiction lately and so I expect John's book will be a perfect change of pace for me. I am eager to get to know John as an author and am very curious to see how he blends such disparate genres of fiction.

If anyone is interested in getting your own copy, you can find it for sale here on Amazon.

Thanks, John!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Chaos Marines Shaping Up

It's been a rather slow week for hobby activities, only getting time to assemble three sets of Citadel Woods. Terrain's important but still kind of blah and cleaning the mold lines has been frustratingly slow. I was able however to spend time with my recently unburied Chaos Marine codex to see how I might adapt my old collection for the current edition. Other than juggling some squad members around and consolidating one unit of Marines, there really wasn't all that much changing that needed to be done. I had thought that if anything the points value of the collection would decrease but in fact it seems to have gone up a bit, and that's after dropping a couple of weapon options and plenty of the old wargear gadgets. If I also included some newly found Khorne Berzerkers (pictured above) and their even older Rhino transport, in addition to changing my former custom Chaos Lord into a simple counts-as Abaddon, I discovered that the army can push well above the 2000 point mark rather easily. It may not be optimized for the current edition but it's at least useable with what I have at hand. And learning that I can play them at those bigger sized games came as a very unexpected but welcome surprise. Cool.

So it looks like I'll be able to turn this collection into a decent sized army without a whole lot of effort. Perfect! I've at last figured out what I'm going to paint as the chapter badge and I'm optimistic that it won't be too hard to pull off. I have decided to go with the Beasts of Annihilation despite my reservations about the name and noticed today in the chaos book that the info I sited from Lexicanum actually comes from this edition of the codex. There's even another two miniatures shown but neither of them give a glimpse of the official badge if there is one. No matter, I'm ready to move on without GW's sanction and go with my own design. It pokes some fun at the chapter's name which is why I'm now kind of glad they're going to be the Beasts. I'll show what I'm up to once I have an example painted.

Now here's where my plans are changing. I noticed after putting together these tentative army lists that if I just added a couple more tank transports then I could potentially field a 2500 point army. What? Seriously, where did this army come from? It helps that one of those tanks would be a Land Raider but that's still pretty exciting news for me. I've already got a couple of Rhinos sitting around for other projects that could easily provide one of the needed rides, and that was all it took to persuade me into expanding the army. I placed the order this afternoon for a new Land Raider. If I look hard enough I might even be able to find some Forge World chaos land raider pieces that I have hidden somewhere to go with it. Obviously that would be sweet. I'll have to look into that.

I've got some touch-up work to do on the army in addition to painting the necessary chapter badges to make them look presentable. I'm going to tone down some of the brighter greens and reds and at last tidy up the last few dudes. Once I get the Rhino and Land Raider finished I will have a completely painted 2500 point force, and one that is legit and useable with the current set of rules. How's that for an army I had essentially given up on years ago? I dig it. I'm looking forward to getting all this taken care of and trying it out on the table this summer. Should be fun, I think. In case anyone is interested, below is the army list I've drawn up staying within the constraints of my existing collection, but with the addition of those previously noted tanks.

counts-as Abaddon (275)

8 Possessed Chaos Marines (208)

Chaos Dreadnought: twin-linked autocannon and heavy flamer (115)

Chaos Dreadnought: plasma cannon (105)

10 Chaos Marines: Icon of Chaos Glory, meltagun, flamer, aspiring champion w/ powerfist, Rhino w/ extra armour (265)

10 Chaos Marines: Icon of Chaos Glory, plasma gun, missile launcher, aspiring chammpion w/ power weapon, Rhino w/ havoc launcher (265)

10 Chaos Marines: Icon of Chaos Glory, plasma gun, lascannon, aspiring champion, Rhino (245)

8 Khorne Berzerkers: personal icon, plasma pistol, Skull Champion, Rhino (238)

8 Summoned Lesser Daemons (104)

5 Summoned Lesser Daemons (65)

5 Summoned Lesser Daemons (65)

5 Summoned Lesser Daemons (65)

Fast Attack
Chaos Spawn (40)

Heavy Support
3 Obliterators (225)

Chaos Land Raider (220)

Total Points: 2500

I've also got a few other partially painted HQ options for this army that I never finished, so if I get around to it I could potentially have even more flexibility with this army. Why again did I stop playing this army? I foresee good times ahead.

Let the galaxy burn and such. Rah, rah, rah.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Practice Is Important

A few nights ago I had an hour to paint and so at last got back to the test Homer that I started a couple weeks ago. Overall there's not a lot different from the last time I posted pictures of this guy except that I worked more on the yellow areas and made my first attempt at painting the Stonecutters' symbol. I've never been too successful with my previous forays into painting freehand details which is the main reason why I wanted to have at least one practice run with the chapter badge. Based on my results with proto-Homer, I think more practice is needed.

Before getting to the chapter badge, I first spent some time highlighting Homer's arms and helmet. It's been a long time since I painted any significant areas of a miniature yellow although I don't recall ever having any particular problem with the color. This time, however, I believe I let my paint get too watery as I had some issues controlling the pigment. Otherwise things were okay and I'm happy enough with how it looks, though in the future I do want to accent the highlights more. I'd also like to experiment a little with other lines of yellow paint to make sure I wouldn't prefer something other than the Foundry System paints.

The last thing I did with the yellow was to add a wash of Gryphonne Sepia in hopes of restoring some of the depth of color to the model. After highlighting the yellow those areas looked sort of faded and stale and I thought the wash might provide a richer color. It turned out alright but I wasn't too careful and left some splotches, most noticeably on his helmet above the right eye lens. I probably won't do that in the future, and if I do it will be much earlier in the process. So despite its fearsome reputation, painting yellow wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I feel confident about being able to manage what I'll need to do for this army's color scheme.

As for the chapter badge.... well, take a look.

It kind of looks to me like the double-hammer design for which I was aiming, but that could easily be because I know what it is supposed to represent. I'm starting to wonder if I should have gotten on Chapterhouse Studio's wait list after all, but it really did sound like it could be a very long wait and I'm eager to get moving with this project. If I knew how to make custom decals I would be interested in going that way but that's beyond my abilities, both technical and artistic. That leaves me with painting them freehand. I therefore need to just be satisfied with doing them as best I can and hopefully get better along the way. No other way to improve, right?

Going in for a closer look, you can see that what was meant to be a circle turned out like a slanted, wobbly egg-shaped thing. Not only do I need more practice, but in particular I need practice painting on curved surfaces like those found on these shoulder pads. I wasn't very patient and would have put more care in laying out things evenly were this not a test miniature, plus I made no effort to go back and tidy up my mistakes. I therefore feel like I've got some reason to be confident that I can do a better job when painting it for real. And the same goes for those white portions of the power armor, too, for which I just plan on taking a lot of time in order to get a smooth finish.

This Stonecutters project is very slowly creeping along but I'm okay with the pace for now. I decided recently that I want to hold off on anything more with them until after the home remodeling has been completed. It should only be a couple more weeks now and then I will be able to set up my own hobby space in the house, something which I have sorely missed for more than two years. Meanwhile I've got plenty of side projects I can work on when life allows me the time, like the stack of five Citadel Woods kits that I began assembling yesterday. I may not be painting much at the moment but I'm still trying to be productive.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I received in the mail today my Imperial Guard Manticore/Deathstrike kit and got it glued together this evening. This is the first of the new style of Guard tank kits that I've worked on and I am very impressed with the improvements made to the old chimera chassis. I'm especially happy with the redesigned track assemblies as I used to always end up with a little too much tread on my tanks. Kudos to GW for the excellent plastic, well done indeed. Also the giant missile looks much better in person than I had initially expected and I've already had lots of fun making rocket noises as it pretend launches. : )

So, what's up with the Deathstrike? Although I'm not actively doing anything with Guard right now, I just really love this tank and couldn't resist ordering one once I saw pictures of it on the web. I understand the Manticore is probably the more popular of the two artillery systems but the Deathstrike offers so very much potential for narrative based games. I mean, it's a freaking doomsday weapon! To me that's inarguably cool and therefore of course I'm going to want one of those in my collection. But after putting this one together tonight, I am now considering purchasing another box so that I can write scenarios involving a pair of the brutes for even more fun.

Weather allowing, I'll prime it tomorrow in anticipation of getting some hobby time this weekend for painting.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Opera, Chaos, etc.

I hope everyone's had a great Memorial Day and made it through the holiday safely enough. My wife and I became ill Sunday night and so spent most of the day feeling sick and pukey. Fortunately we've recovered quickly as we have tickets for the opera today. Yeah... for real. It's a performance of Flora which was the first opera staged in the colonies back in the year 1736. That original performance was in the very same Dock Street Theater in which it will be presented this afternoon in downtown Charleston. This is the first show for the theater after undergoing a three year, $18 million renovation and is supposed to be the highlight of this years Spoleto Festival. I've never been to an opera before but I'm optimistic that I will at least not have to change any diapers for a few hours.

Jumping forward to the 41st millennium, I've been thinking more about my old Chaos Marines and have decided to not redo any of the painting on the army, thus eliminating my ideas of turning them into either Word Bearers or Red Corsairs. As b.smoove pointed out with regards to repainting the armor's piping, it's quite likely that I would become bogged down in that type of detailed work. I like the simpler approach of only having to paint a chapter icon onto each guy and then being done. So the search for the right Renegade Chapter has begun.

When I was originally collecting this army I had planned on making them a DIY chapter called the Crimson Ghosts, and upon returning to them I first thought about going through with that theme. After some time spent practicing the design I realized that painting all those little skull faces like the one below would again be more of an undertaking than I am willing to accept. Plus ten years after initially starting this army I find myself listening to The Misfits with much less frequency than I used to, nor have I ever really fancied having Chaos Lord G. Danzig as my army's general. So, moving on then....

Unsure of where else to turn and bereft of ideas, I began searching through lists of named marine chapters at Lexicanum and came across these guys, the Beasts of Annihilation. There's not a whole lot in the summary about them but it says that their colors are "Blood red with Gold trim" and that their specialty is "Daemonic Possession." Okay, that looks promising. The name strikes me as rather dumb in that special, fourteen-year-old-metal-head sort of way embraced by Games Workshop, but otherwise things look good so far for these guys as my prime contender. I think I could live with my army having a goofy name as there is just too much history in 40k of terribly bad names to let this one detail stop me, right? Apologies to anyone already running their army as BOA or who thought the name sounded badass, by the way, I mean no offense.

The picture above is supposed to illustrate a Beasts of Annihilation Chaos Lord, though unfortunately the chapter symbol can barely be glimpsed. The red appears significantly brighter than that which I painted onto my own Chaos Marines, but I don't think that is too much of problem... just look at how many different shades of Blood Angels there are running around. Considering how minor of a role the Beasts have in the 40k universe, I think armor a few shades darker would be okay. Therefore assuming some latitude in the colors, I think the remaining portion of their background seems appropriate as the entry states that:

"The Beasts of Annihilation is a Chaos Space Marine warband. These warriors are devout followers of the Dark Gods and frequently allow creatures of the warp to inhabit their bodies. As such the Beasts of Annihilation field an unusually large number of Possessed squads."

All of it sounds pretty cool to me and, perhaps more importantly, like something I can apply to the collection that I already have at hand. The description of this warband reminds me of the Word Bearers upon whom my army's style of play was based in the previous edition of their codex. I have enough chaos icons for each of my squads and more than twenty lesser daemons which I believe would do an adequate job of demonstrating their devotion to the Ruinous Powers. And even though I have only one squad of Possessed marines, that should at least satisfy the minimum needed to be true to the background. So barring some pending flash of genius in the next couple of days, I believe I will be the proud commander of a Beasts of Annihilation warband in the near future.

As for the chapter badge, as far as I can tell there's practically nothing to go on officially so I've got pretty much free reign in choosing a design. I have a few ideas but right now I don't know what I want to do. I'd especially love to hear any suggestions anyone might have, otherwise I'm going to mess around a bit and see if anything looks good (i.e., easy) for me to paint onto my marines. Currently I'm considering either coming up with some sort of stylized monster face to use as their symbol, or else giving each guy a unique set of mystical or alchemical symbols and just not having a common chapter marking. I'm worried the latter might make the army look too disunited but it would nonetheless be good freehand practice at least.

Okay, so that's where I'm at with the Chaos army. Time for me to get ready for the opera... wish me luck!