Friday, December 30, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Redone shaman

Teeny-tiny update today; I redid the shaman on foot. Saying "redid" is actually an overstatement: I've just added some clump foliage to the base and reinforced some joints on this mini. Nothing serious, but still I brought him to the army's overall level methinks.

Here are some detail shots...

...and I will see you Friday!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Savage orcs - Big Stabba WIP

Hello after the holidays. Usually at this time of year my level of nausea reaches heights unimaginable; this year has been much different, but that's another story.

Hobby-wise, I managed to start the Big Stabba team for the savage orcs. Like so:
The chariot thriller (yep, that's the word for it!) was a bitch to align, in retrospect I'd be much better off having the orcs carry it over their heads.
As of now the green stuff on the other two arms is curing and I will be done with this project come Wednesday. Enjoy!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Happy holidays!

Let it be known that for the week starting today I will be enjoying my vacation, with as little elctronics as possible.

Updates shall resume next Monday. Happy holidays everybody!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Savage orcs - legs done

Here they are. Twenty in the photos, but there are three more pairs I left out. So glad to be done with them, such a boring job. Now on to the torsos.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My Hobby Holiday list, part two

Good evening to my fellow hobbyists. Tonight I'd like to present to you the second part of my holiday wish list. In part one, I focused solely on Games Workshop, so today let's look at other companies and the fans ourselves. After all, we make the hobby just as much a GW does, in my understanding, and having said that we are not without faults.

I received nice feedback on my previous list and I'm glad more people share my views. Sometimes I really think I'm the only one who thinks this and that. Thanks for the support.

So, here it is, Drazhar's Hobby Holiday List, part two.

I would like:

  • Fanboyism to stop. I think this is the number one reason why the hobby scene sometimes looks like 4chan. If you like GW products, that's great. If you prefer, say, Privateer Press, that's also great. But would you kindly stop that mantra-like chant of "PP is SO MUCH COOLER than GW!!!!oneone"? It's nice if you like it, but don't look down on people who still prefer The Company. Or the other way around. I, for one, have never managed to get to like Rackham products and their aesthetics simply eluded me as far as awesomeness goes. But I've never called these minis "gay" or even "faggy". How can you actually say that about a piece of metal?! This goes for forums and fansites too. Do you prefer BoLS over Warseer? TWF over BoLS? Perfectly fine, but openly declaring the other site's users as inferior is just immature. Nobody likes a fanboy.
  • Elitism to stop.

    Whew. I had to do this.

    Now listen very carefully: your hobby is essentially painting and moving toy soldiers on a pretend battlefield, playing a make-believe battle. It does not make it, or you, in any way better than people who prefer to spend their time and money on pimping out their cars. Or skateboarding. Or fencing. Or chess. Or knitting. Or anything else they find enjoyable, fulfilling and relaxing. You are not a member of a "subculture", and in no way a member of the elite. You just have a pretty "closed" hobby.

    Do you understand? Great! Now practice it.
  • Tournaments and their organizers - please make the painting and modeling go hand in hand with actual gameplay when it comes to awarding points to the participants! I realize I might be wrong in assuming they don't, I haven't played in a lot of tournaments, but I have seen many as a spectator and I don't think painting should award like 20% of the overall points. Please promote a holistic, encompassing approach to the hobby. It's not only about winning!
  • GW bashers - give The Company a chance! Granted, there are better producers out there - Vallejo make better paints, Army Painter makes better primers, GF9 makes better basing products. But don't assume that if it's GW, it has to be bad right away. Sometimes The Company actually does make something that is genuinely good. Don't be so close-minded.
  • Tournament gamers, and please excuse my French - don't be as big a douchebags as some of you are. I'll refer you to point two of this very list. It's really good that you are able to play well and play to win. Clearly you are a competent gamer. But that does not make you the king of all that is gaming. This in fact applies to the masters of any facet of our hobby. I know winning something at the Golden Demon is extremely prestigious and you should be very proud. That, however, does not give you the right to talk down to anyone. Most of us will never reach your level, do you honestly get off on contempt you give out to people who will probably never achieve your standard? Really?

There we go. I hope at least some of you can agree on at least some of my points.

Let's get back to these savage orcs, shall we?

Monday, December 12, 2011

My Hobby Holiday list, part one

Hello on a surprisingly warm December morning. Seeing as the holidays are nearly upon us and for some reason it has become customary to celebrate them by giving gifts, I'd like some gifts myself. But mine are not material. I don't like to receive major stuff I haven't worked for and furthermore, the ones on my list would make me much, much more happy than another worthless trinket.

My list comes in two parts, one aimed specifically at Games Workshop (and generally the producers of our hobby materials) and the other, well, you will see.

So here it is, Drazhar's Hobby Holiday Wish List.

I would like:

  • Games Workshop to start a sensible, honest marketing schemes. We don't want to wait gods know how long for miniatures that have rules published in your army books and codices. I understand the in and out of marketing, raising the demand and whatnot, but what you are doing now is just wrong. I like the 'wave' system you employ in releasing your products, just make these waves come sooner. About every two months seem fine to me - in half a year, we would have the entire army published in miniatures. And by "entire" I mean just that - every single unit in the army list having its miniature available over the course of six months at the very most. What you folks did with the Jabberslythe recently is just rude to your clients.
  • John Blanche to stop being called an artist. Seriously. And for the love of all that is decent, comparing him to Hieronymus Bosch is... ugh, I can't even find a word for such travesty.
  • The Company to make more conversion parts. You did great job with, for instance, the Knights of the Blazing Sun packs. You can do it again. Personalizing an army is a great thing ans as the producer I think you should pay more attention to such things. It also has great marketing potential.
  • GW writers to stop using the phrase "Games Workshop hobby". It's not your property. You have not invented it. You are the potentate of it, that's undeniable, but did you ever hear Bill Gates calling computing "the Microsoft hobby"? Unless, to keep to the digital world, you want to follow the footsteps of Apple and Steve Jobs... please don't.
  • GW designers to stop with the nonsense in their projects - is the Old World really made of skulls and skulls alone? Does every terrain bit have a winged skull or a hammer chiseled into it? The architecture you come up with is already wacky, over-the-top and the unrealism should stop at that. Going further is just making your buildings look silly. Just look at the Skullvane Manse.
  • Games Workshop - start talking to your fanbase! And start listening to it! They are the money in your pockets, it's not just nice to talk to them, it's your damn obligation. Don't take any leaves out of the Vatican's book, being closed to 'the people' and doing only what you think is right gets you only mistrust and eventually you will suffer, in one way or another. If your fans agree that, for example, your paints are worse than XYZ, maybe you should look into it. Benchmark, take every opinion into view, be open, attentive and respond to what we, your customers, actually want from you. Stop trying to make us want what you put on sale, start making us a vital part in your decision-making process.

There we go. Part two is upcoming!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Savage orcs - legs, first batch

Surpised, aren't you? Don't worry, I'm not trolling you in any way, these are actually for my savage orc unit. Just a very... let's say "unorthodox" one.

I went for the 40k ork legs for very simple reasons - they are better cast than the fantasy ones and I got about ten pairs for free. Plus, they will make for a nice contrast with the torsos I have planned.

I have ten pairs finished at the moment. Thirteen to go. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Savage orcs - bases complete

...almost. I will add the clump foliage after the miniatures, I find it much better looking in the end.

And a shot from the back:

Expect a varied, mish-mash unit. Definitely don't expect "proper" savage orcs! :)

See you folks Friday, thanks for looking!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Product review - Blood in the Badlands

Welcome to another week. Holidays are nearly upon us and this release by Games Workshop could not, in a manner of speaking, be coming at a better time. Read on...

What is it?
Blood in the Badlands is a campaign that has been, apparently, played by the GW staff over the course of the current year. It is not a rules expansion the size of, for example, Storm of Magic. That said, it does have notable rules sections, but if you are looking purely for the rules you will be disappointed.

Scenarios and rules aside, it is essentially a very big piece of narrative that could easily appear in several issues of White Dwarf.

How does it look like?
The book is a hardback, a hundred or so full color pages. It's the same format as the new army books, the rulebook or the Storm of Magic book, making for a great look on the shelf. It doesn't have anything in the line of SoM's magic spinner or the like.

What's inside?
After a brief introduction to the publication we get to the description of the Badlands as a region of the Old World. Fable-wise, BitB is a very decent, solid source of information about the region and its places of interest. What is even better, some locations (like the Iron Rock) actually get their own rules in the campaign. A nice touch.

Then come the guidelines for playing the campaign yourselves. The plural here is well justified, as the optimal number of players oscillates in the region of seven to ten. To play the campaign you will need the Mighty Empires expansion (they recommend getting two copies in the book) or some other means of making a modular campaign map.

Sounds more and more like an elaborate commercial, hm? That was my impression as well...

The main body of the book is a report on how the campaign progressed. While nice to read on the toilet or in the bus, I don't think it warrantied such a big section to be devoted to it. I'm not really interested how some other people play. But for those of you who enjoy such things it's a brilliant read. Moreover, it's intermingled here and there with pieces of fiction and bits of background, making the reports quite enjoyable to peruse.

Before the report starts the armies are presented and I must say they don't look half bad. Throughout the book the miniatures painted by the Eavy Metal team are almost nonexistent - all you get are the armies of the involved players. Some color schemes are quite interesting and it's always enjoyable to see miniatures painted by someone other than the "masters".

As for the rules, to start with we get some for playing the campaign as a whole. These are really decent and play quite easily from the looks of it. The only thing that's actually bad is that everything rests on that last battle and the winner takes all - whoever wins that last scenario (and it's batshit crazy!) wins the campaign, which kinda defeats the point of playing for me...

The campaign rules have all kinds of little tasters like changing seasons (each with its own rules), pre-battle events, units gaining experience and so on. All these deepen the campaign play by a fair amount and look pretty darn enjoyable to play with.

We also get quite a few specific scenarios and some of them are very strange. I'm not really in a position to say they are great or terrible, they are just odd. Aside from the last one, which is insane (a seven person game played on two tables simultaneously). You will need the Storm of Magic ruleset to use some of them, however.

The two rules expansions are underground battles and sieges. Both sets are well-written, play very straightforward and clearly were quite thoroughly playtested. The scenarios provided for underground fighting, for instance, use H- or plus sign-shaped battlefields. I'm really curious about how they actually play, but from the looks alone they seem pretty fun.

Siege rules are much more straightforward and, to be honest, much easier to grasp than their previous incarnations. Along the lines set by SoM, you get an extra points allowance for siege equipment (some pieces of which are great, very characterful bits like sallies and undermines). They are designed to play fast and brutal, a trend established by the eighth rules edition and I'm glad GW sticks to it. And siege towers and rams are back - yay!

Who is it for?
Definitely gaming clubs and organized groups of players. The campaign rules are pretty open and there is nothing stopping anybody from adapting them to your own settings. If you can make the hexes for the map (this one is pretty important, the hex shape actually has a point in the rules) you are free to go without purchasing the Mighty Empires kit and I think GW purposefully made it so. The seasons can easily be stretched or condensed (in BitB each season lasts three campaign turns, making for a twelve turn campaign), some scenarios are actually designed to influence others.

Plus, the price tag is bearable as far as GW products go.

As I said before, if you are looking purely for rules, this product actually offers little of them. Siege rules could have easily been published in White Dwarf. But Blood in the Badlands is a clear-cut novelty product, made by fans and for fans. It is purely meant as a curio, a gem for your hobby shelf and a perfect gift for a Warhammer enthusiast, something they would probably not buy themselves.

Because of the above, it is hard for me to give Blood in the Badlands a star score. I can recommend this product as a gift, something to put on your holiday list and to hint to your gift-givers. Otherwise, your money could probably be spent on miniatures.

Unless you are a fan. Then there is no argument. If you are looking purely for anything Warhammer-flavored, you will be satisfied.

Thanks for reading. See you on Wednesday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Savage orcs - bases WIP

Hello and welcome to my newest project. Not much to show today, just WIP shots of the bases for my savage orcs. Not all are done, obviously, and the tray is barely assembled. Still lots of work to be done.

 Here's a closeup of the strip bases. First time I've used these.

Some resin scenic bases are added. These are from Back to Base-ix, an Australian company. Yes, I have bases from literally the other side of the world.

Big stabba base. I know big stabbas are considered not worth the points, but since I don't plan on playing in any tournaments, this is not an issue. And they are just so characterful.

There you go. Have a great weekend folks!