Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Musings of a hobbyist - episode four


For your hearing pleasure. See you on Thursday! Let me just spill some beans and say that I have big plans in the works... 

And, as promised. the brushes.

Monday, January 30, 2012

An announcement and an orc

First of all, I'd like to inform you that, considering me being employed full-time again, I'm moving back to two updates per week. Next update will take place tomorrow, the one after that on Thursday and so on.

Secondly, I'm done with the savage orc unit! That's right, it's finished-ish. Watch this space for full unit photos and a commentary. This development brings the orc army project to the following:

  • Savage orc shaman, second level, Lucky Shrunken Head - DONE!
  • Night goblin big boss with a shield, light armor, great weapon and the Bad Moon Banner - DONE!
  • 23 savage orcs wit full command group, two choppas and maybe a big stabba - DONE!
  • 49 night goblins with spears and shields, netters, full command group and hiding two fanatics - started
  • 10 orc boar boyz with full command group, spears and shields
  • 10 squig hoppers
  • A mangler squig team - DONE!

And lastly, here's an orc with a spear, the last one to be added to the mob:

See you folks tomorrow!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Savage orcs - command

...or rather the rest of it; I've already finished the standard bearer. The horn blower was a very easy build, but then having loads of orc parts makes everything such.

The boss on the other hand:
demanded some clever positioning. I really wanted to make him hold the whip in his both hands, but that proved difficult and would end up looking silly if he was ever to rank up. So only the red jerkin. You'll also notice he's the only one in the unit to wear anything on his head.

The skull on his back will be covered by a shield or a sheathed choppa, definitely something. I don't like it at all, I just wanted the naked chest.

Four orcs left to go on this unit, plus of course doodads like shoulder pads, pouches and so on. But that is just detail work; I'm really relieved to be almost done with these.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Savage orcs with two-handed weapons - first batch

I know it's not in the army list for these to have two-handers, but as far as modeling goes I think it looks great to have a unit in sort of mixed appearance. Two or three more to add, depending on space and how the ones with two choppas go.

See you on Friday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

The story of how I won't be playing 40k anytime soon

It's Monday and I have to rant yet again. It's just the kind of guy I am.

I have always been a bit reluctant about Warhammer 40.000, being both a much more fantasy-oriented hobbyist and a shelf space-lacking one. But every now and then there comes a time I look upon the 41st millennium with interest. I don't quite like most of the armies, but I have seriously considered at least a few as my future projects. These were the orks, the Space Wolves, a homebrew Space Marine chapter, the dark eldar and the necrons.

Now, thing is I already have a greenskin project (on the workbench as we speak, in fact), so orks are a no-go. Space Marines, well, everybody and their grandma has Space Marines. they are the most popular of GW products for a reason, but that same reason keeps me from buying them as well. The dark eldar, in the light of circumstances you'll read in a second, became winners of my "If I Ever D 40k Army" contest. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

When the previous necron codex had been published, the dark eldar were still stuck with their first edition and their horrible, horrible miniatures. That made necrons a no-brainer. I picked up the codex, but being a humble student at that time I simply could not afford the army itself. But I was simply smitten by their fable, and for me that's a deciding factor in everything that is Warhammer. I know some 40k veterans did not share my view, but I loved the whole backstory about the C'tan, how actually the necrons "work" and why they do what they do. Their sinister, secretive feel and single-minded purpose, the sense of looming danger they present, it was all great. I was hooked and I knew I will be making necrons someday.

So when the new necron codex surfaced along with the new miniatures, as is tradition, I was overjoyed. I wasn't able to pick it up immediately. I did it last Saturday. I did not, for the life of me, like what I saw.

What GW did to the necron fable is, for me, nothing short of a crime. They basically turned a great, well-written race into Tomb Kings in space. It is so blatantly obvious throughout the codex I can’t really understand what thought process went behind the whole project. I know the necron fable was modest, but in my opinion that was what made them so great: they were supposed to be mysterious. That feel of enigmatic, but powerful dread was exactly what made necrons stand out as a definitive faction of the 41st millennium.

And now we have the C’tan not as the shadowy masters behind the necrons, but actually their slaves. Now the necrons are not a single, unified, galaxy-spanning force – now they just have their own separate areas of influence. Now they do not intend to harvest the sapient races and their worlds by the orders of their overlords – they want to get their fleshy bodies back… is this Pinocchio?

Am I butthurt? Maybe so. I had hopes for this army. I still like the miniatures very much (but where are the pariahs?). But as far as the fable goes, I think Matthew Ward has slaughtered it. Royally. He effectively killed what was great and appealing in this whole product. As the old adage goes, better is good's enemy. By comparison, the Vampire Counts fable was left untouched - and it served the army well. Take the hint GW...

So, I think dark eldar might be stepping into the spotlight and onto my workbench. Sometime. Do not expect them sooner than fall or winter of 2012. But expect them.

Thanks for reading and see you on Wednesday.

Friday, January 20, 2012

And now for something completely different...

...is the miniature I painted a couple of years ago. I remembered about it just now, while I was packing my vampire counts army that I've recently sold. Just thought I'd share.
The model comes from a great range: Dark Age. For some reason it's called Contradiction.

For those of you who haven't heard about Dark Age, it's a post-apocalyptic skirmish game (though not happening on Earth) with excellent models and sometimes a very sick twist. Love it!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Savage orcs with choppas and shields, second batch

Alright, one orc, but it's a start on a 'regiment' strip base. I've grown to like these now that units of fifty or so models are the norm. Here's how he ranks up with another fellow:
Next up - two-handed weapons!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Product review - Vampire Counts army book

We didn't have a review in a while, with me all caught up in the savage orcs project, have we? Well, this could not have come at a better time then.

It's always nice to start a new year with a new project and I think I'm not going to be an exception. But I digress. Let's look at the VC book, shall we?

The book is hardback, full color, semi-gloss paper. Nothing that has not been seen in the three 'new' army books. A great, high standard presentation; finally GW is truly setting the bar. And it is set high. Nothing to complain about here.

Or "fluff", as some of you call it. No major changes, some pieces are even reprinted from the previous book. But I mean that in a very positive sense; bearing in mind what they did to Ogres and their great war with these Sky Titans, the vampire counts' fable is decent, solid and held together, so to speak. Not only that, but they actually expanded the story with a major, never before seen bit concerning one of the iconic vampires of the Old World. Not going to post spoilers, but I'll tell you this - that bit of fable seems to be setting the stage for a major player to make his grand return.

As per usual, we also get the timeline and some of the locations like Hel Fenn or the Blood Keep are given descriptions. Nice bits.

Bestiary and the new units
Again, the form is nothing new. However, as was the case with the previous armies in the 8th edition, each unit is given a detailed, concise description and not a small bit of fable. This alone provides a great read.

What is really great and clearly a deep bow to the gamers, not one unit has been dropped from the list! In addition to the mandatory new ones, we get each and every old troop back. What's more, each and every unit in the army list (except one character configuration) is present in miniature at the book's publication. Some miniatures that needed an overhaul (zombies being the prime example) did not yet get it, but still, they are available. Unlike, for instance, the Hierotitan for the Tomb Kings. Very big thumbs up for that.

As far as new units go, some are great, some are not so much (in terms of miniatures). The vargheists, the crypt horrors, black knights and the wight king fall into the first category. all of these are decent sculpts mostly without major nonsense bits. This, however, does not apply to the hexwraiths, which to me are just silly. Neither the models, nor the rules make much sense. I'm not doing to detail it here, have a read and look a the models and you'll see what I mean, hopefully.

The 'major' new realease, the Coven Throne/Mortis Engine is giving me problems to fairly judge. On one hand, I can see the complexity and scale of it, and both are amazing. Game-wise, both are great pieces, not uber-powerful and very much killable, but still packing a decent punch. On the other, the design is simply weird and to my mind not much in style of the vampires, but that's just me.

Magic and magic items
Very decent, solid playtesting must have gone into both of these. It is apparent from the 'tuned down' feel both the Lore of the Vampires and their arsenal of magic items have - both are powerful, deadly if used correctly, but neither holds game-winning potential alone. The same goes for the vampiric powers: they are still present and vampires do in fact get an extra points allowance for the powers alone, but it is a great idea. It makes vampires expensive, powerful and vital in the army - exactly as they should be. This section is possibly the book's best.

Artwork and pictures
Talk about a rose with no thorns...As far as pictures go, nothing to complain about, then again nothing to actually go wrong. All choices are neatly presented, units are shown in several color schemes - all is well. The artwork, however, is possibly the book's weakest bit. Starting just with the cover. If you look at it, the vampire's face makes me think he's shouting "Look at my f***ing bat!! Look at it!!". Inside, there are some brilliant pieces from the previous book, only this time in color - and they look just marvelous in color. However, in the bestiary John Blanche's 'art' rears its head once more and, well, for me it just drags down the artwork's overall level. I know there are people who love Blanche's work, I'm just not one of them.

Army list
Well, it's just that. However, due to the inclusion of all the 'old' units, the vampire army list is very, very extensive, possibly rivaling the orcs' one. Some units have shifted the categories (like the bat swarms and the corpse cart), but all in all, long army lists with plenty of choices are always good.

The 8th edition Vampire Counts army book is a very good publication. It has its faults, but these are minor and mostly subject to interpretation what exactly does a fault make. What is particularly good is that the overall feel of the army has been kept. The vampires are still the most powerful pieces of the list, they still command hordes of minions. And let's face it, the climate is what's important in this hobby.

I give the Vampire Counts book four and a half out of five stars.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Savage orcs with choppas and shields, first batch

 Don't the black orc weapons look badass? In my book they are one of the most seriously looking of all GW kits. They are meant for hands slightly larger than your normal boyz, but that's not a problem at all. And they look great.

Here's another fella:

Also, the beastmen shields from previous-edition gor herd are a very nice addition to any "feral" army. And they fit like a dream.

More to come, stay tuned!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Savage orcs - WIP standard bearer

The newest addition to the savage orc unit. He is almost done, like I said previously I will add some shoulder plates and other bits, but that's only after I finish the entire unit.
I love this ogre standard. In general, the ogres and beastmen ranges are a perfect source of bits for orcs, especially the outdated boyz on foot.
I must say this is one of my favorite minis.

Thanks for looking, see you on Friday!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The orc army list

This is what I'm going for as my first goal for the orc army project. A 1200-ish points worth of greenskins that will be easy enough to bump to 2000 points with a few additions. Here it is:

  • Savage orc shaman, second level, Lucky Shrunken Head - done!
  • Night goblin big boss with a shield, light armor, great weapon and the Bad Moon Banner - done!
  • 23 savage orcs wit full command group, two choppas and maybe a big stabba - started
  • 49 night goblins with spears and shields, netters, full command group and hiding two fanatics - started
  • 10 orc boar boyz with full command group, spears and shields
  • 10 squig hoppers
  • A mangler squig team - done!
I like to incorporate as many different unit types into my lists as possible, so I must say I like this list a lot. I have no idea how it will play, but being more of a painter and a collector than a gamer I'm not overly concerned. Still, feedback is appreciated.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Savage orcs - orc casualty

A little narrative. I think orcs are the perfect army for some narrative pieces in their units, and this fellow from the Empire Archers kit is just great. he will eventually have a buddy in the unit, but that's for another time...

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The 2012 to-do list

As seems to be the trend nowadays... Mind you, these concern not only my WFB hobby!

So, for the new year, I plan to:
  • Finish the orc army project for 2000-ish points. I'm roughly halfway done as far as the raw model count goes (and this is what, I believe, counts: you don't paint points, you paint miniatures, amirite?)
  • Make at least one Arcane Fulcrum and a bit of siege equipment for the orcs.
  • Rebase a 1000-ish point army of Vampire Counts so I can play these as well.
  • Make loads of stuff for my medieval reenactment: most pressingly, the helmet and the plate gauntlets need much attention. Preferably other bits of armor as well. And a wooden chest for the tent. And a new belt. And boots.
  • Invest in a new, better airbrush.
  • Collect every army book and other source material that comes out for WFB in 2012 and write thorough reviews.
  • Finally get that damned driver's license. I'm telling you, that crap gives me nightmares.
  • And likely more!
See you on Friday!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Savage orcs - Big Stabba

It's 99% done. All that remains are some shoulder pads, weapons and the like, but these will be added after I finish the entire mob.