Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An example of a good battle report

Recently I wrote a scathing post about the deterioration of quality in the battle reports presented by Games Workshop, particularly in White Dwarf. It was called  The-sad-sad-state-of-battle-reports. Well today I received the recent Warlord Games newsletter which had a link to a Bolt Action battle report that I decided to check out. I have been itching for over a year now to play, or even observe, a game of BA, as I have very much enjoyed reading the rules. I had hoped, unlike the sad sad "battle reports" White Dwarf presents these days, that this would be a good and educational read.

And it was! I was very impressed with the report! Read it here: bolt-action-battle-report

"Budda budda budda." -Or any gun-firing effect onomatopoeia from a Sgt. Rock comic! 

Why was this better than a current White Dwarf battle report? 
  • Clean, step-by-step presentation
  • An effort was made to clearly present rules. A teaching aid if you will, but not dumbed down.
  • Nice, honest photographs. Yes, they are a miniature showcase, but not presented at the expense of the report itself. In more recent WD reports, it almost feels like the flashy, over-populated photos are made first, and the "report" is written around them! This Bolt Action report didn't feel nearly as staged and I could believe that these photos were of the actual game table (sans dice of course).
  • The players explained why they did what they did and remarked at the end of the report. This occasionally still happens in WD, I just found this to be more believable I guess because neither player suggested a product that they wish they had purchased in order to get a different result! 
  • I didn't have to pay $4 to be disappointed! In fact, you can read this report for FREE!
The stage is set, and very well presented!

Over all, a well done presentation. Not too long, not too short. Clearly written and presented. Well done Warlord, clearly the chaps there remember how battle reports should be written. Although you guys didn't use tactical maps, this was clearly a small game and the report reads fine without them. When you guys do write a report for a bigger battle, I would suggest incorporating a few maps as this does aid the narrative of following along with the course of the battle. But a complete image of the board that explained the scenario's objectives and deployment zone was presented in this report and was well done indeed! I look forward to reading more battle reports from Warlord, especially of their other game systems (Hint, Hint: Judge Dredd and the Gates of Antarres).

Images used are copywrite Warlord Games, and are from the Warlord Games website, and are presented here for review purposes, not as a challenge to copywrite, 

Sunday, August 17, 2014

More Orcs (part one)

With my new painting station in my studio space now set up, I wanted to get something going painting-wise. I decided to take a break from all the red that I have been painting (fear not, my fellow Khornites, I shall return to it soon!) and paint something....well, GREEN! I have been getting a lot of requests to play WHFB lately, but my time is so limited at the present that finding time to play anything has been a challenge I've yet to overcome. Nevertheless, I was on a pretty click with the fantasy orcs last year, and I decided that a bit more work on them might fuel my fire for fantasy. Now, I have every intention of getting to my Daemons, which I can use for both systems thus allowing me to stay 'khorney', however storage is something I still need to work out for them. So Orcs it is!

Over on the left is the first of this group of orcs that I fully painted. I finished him years ago (2009-ish?) and I wrote more about him last year when I started working on these Warhammer Orcs. Today I decided to work on the actual unit that he belongs too, so that me might join the rest of his boyz in all his double-choppa glory! While I'm at it, I will be ambitious and attempt to do the Arrer Boyz as well. 

For the most part, these models are pretty much in the state they were in when Warfrog gave them to me. But I had to add the grit to the bases before I could continue. Next, I painted the grit to help keep it from flaking off as I work on the models. 

Painting dirt to look dirtier. 
 The Arrer Boyz are a weird unit, and I toyed around with the ranking a bit while the paint was drying. The Choppa Boyz, in the back, rank up a heck of a lot easier than these brutes.

I took this next pic for the blog so you can see how much work is needed to get them up the finished model's level. Note that the drummer boy was base coated around the same time that I painted the lone orc, I guess I lost interest at that time?

And tonight, at my stopping point for the evening, I have added the Goblin Green level to the flesh of the Arrer Boyz. Still got to do the Choppa Boyz, then it's on to the ink washes.

Hopefully, by the end of this I will be sick of green again and want to get back to the Khorne guys. But, since I don't have to pack up minis every time I finish working on them any more, who's to say I can't jump around between projects? The difference is that I have vowed to not clutter up my table with endless projects like I did in the past... (link to my old man-cave) Yup, a real bona fide vow! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Brass Scorpion and Bloodcannon part 1 (Guest Post)

Greetings. If the title wasn't a give-away, the following post in a guest blog-post by my best friend of 26 or so years, the man I have been calling "the Doctor" on here but we shall hence forth go with calling him TSG, as it lacks the pompousness of "The Doctor", and doesn't insinuate any unintentional Dr. Who affiliations. He doesn't have a blog of his own yet, nor does he even have a google account (he replaced his nipples with Apple logos back when the iMac was launched). So, since I have shown off on this blog some of the models that have I painted for him over the years, I decided to put a tab on here for his projects. He likes to share, via text message or email, work in progress shots of his projects, and darn it, it's a real shame to not share these with the rest of you. So here we go, guest blog-post #1. Which is really just a compiled series of text messages organized and edited for your viewing.

EDIT: And, with any experiment, there is risk of failure. Apparently I was confused by the first line of the text, and well, no, he's not turning a Brass Scorpion into a Bloodcannon. Oops.


Making progress on the Brass Scorpion. I am going to use the model for the Bloodcannon.

I had to cut a foam armature to hold up the body while I custom pinned each leg on.

Then, using my Paxxon drill, I was able to easily double-pin each leg joint--greatly adding to the stability.

The join between the body and tail was horrible.

I needed to be able to unarticulate this joint for storage in a KR Multicase, so I built up the region with greenestuff, double-pinned the joint, but left one side unglued, then hid the join in new greenstuff cables.

This morning I woke up and decided to take 30 minutes to work on pinning the front shield arms in place. Here are the results:

I won't glue them in right, pending getting the rest of the front gun bits on to ensure the shields do not obstruct the gun.

It is important to remember how big the brass scorpion is:

Here it is next to my half-finished knight titan. You have to admit, this thing is going to look phenomenal...

I expect to have rough assembly done by the end of next week.


Monday, August 11, 2014

Early '90s Deathguard

While getting my new painting station set up, and getting my chaos marines gathered for some more painting action, I found myself admiring these really old Deathguard. These are the original models released for use with the army lists that were presented in Realm of Chaos: Lost and the Damned, one of the single finest books GW ever published (and if I may be so bold, this isn't an opinion, it is a measured, weighed and studied scientific fact!).

During my 2nd year in art school my room mates and I played an all chaos campaign per the rules in the chaos books. and I played the Nurgle faction. One of my roomies, Ron, sold these models to me, along with a few others he gave me, and thus my chaos force was started. I thoroughly enjoyed those games, and my experience with Chaos has been nothing nearly as awesome of those early games. I still consider myself an 'nurgle player' even though I haven't fielded an all-nurgle faction since the early
90s, as I feel that with the current rules that fighting against that might not be too fun, and I sort of like the smorgasbord mix of unit types that make up the current chaos warbands that raid the worlds around the Eye of Terror.

These are the painted ones, that I have yet to strip down. I did not paint these, in fact, I don
t think Ron did either as I believe these might have been 2nd hand to him as well.

I think these models have so much character compared to the Deathguard that would follow. Also, I always thought that nurgle worked better as a long-range fire-support role than an assault option, as their added Toughness made them annoying to deal with. Also, as the next pic will support, they were sort of intention for a more long range mode. The original Deathguard list could have 2 las cannons per squad!

I already stripped the really badly painted model. 

These are some pretty rare models actually, especially these las cannon guys. So I wanted to share these with you while I consider stripping these models and repainting them. However, I also want an opinion on the red trim from you all. This was a legit paint scheme back in the RT days, but faded away with 2nd edition. I like the contrast, but I might go for a rusted-red look as opposed to a painted one.

I have seen some amazing paint jobs on nurgle models throughout the years, starting with the first issues of WD I ever saw to the more recent Golden Demon awards, and have always thought that my nurgle models would be my ultimate challenge as mini-painter. While I tinker with the World Eaters, Orks, Orcs and Space Wolves, I am thinking of these guys and how I want them to ultimately look.

I hope you enjoyed this!

Monday, July 28, 2014

"Here, you can have this Land Raider,"

It has been a depressing past 2 weeks. I will spare you the details, as obviously you clicked the link expecting to learn about a Land Raider, not to read my tales of personal woe. To sum up, I was tired. Beaten down, and really just worn out from life. And after completing a 14 hour work day, I decided to make a cameo appearance at the local game store to see what was being played. I really hadn't intended to stick around. And as I'm stumbling about the place, everyone's pal Brian (yes everyone's. If you're a local gamer and you're not at least on civil terms with Brian, the problem is probably you!) spotted me and got my attention.

The following is my inaccurate recall of how the conversation went:

"Hey Joel! Hold on--" he breaks away from whatever he was doing and goes to retrieve something. He comes back "Here, you can have this Land Raider."

Naturally, I was stunned.

"Wow, but I don't have any cash--"

"It's OK, you can have it. It's yours."

"Do you want something in trade?"

"Nah, I got this as a bonus in a trade, it just doesn't fit in with my armies. I run the newer style Land Raiders and Rhino chasis."

Naturally, only a fool wouldn't take such a generous offer. Essentially, Brian was pleased with the Land Raider I built and painted a few months ago for my World Eaters, and deciding it didn't fit his needs, would rather see what I could do with it. He included some khorne bitz as well with this generous, and unexpected gift which I am quite happy and humbled to receive!

So thanks Brian, you ROCK!

This Land Raider has been modified. The original guns are gone, the twin-linked lascannons having been replaced by a strange combination of kit bashed weapons, the origins of which I am uncertain of. So, while pondering this Land Raider, it strikes me as reasonably clean otherwise, and not too terribly damaged. Naturally, I will replace the guns, but which army will get this tank?

This just won't work with my Space Wolves as I run the newer style with them, despite all the anachronistic models in my army.

I could give the Ultra Marines a 2nd one, but that seems like overkill for the way I like to run that army.

My Celestial Lions and Dark Angels, the two armies I have hardly started, I was planning to run the newer style with them as well, and neither one really had a Land Raider in my army design. So back to Chaos. I could paint this as Black Legion (heck, it's halfway painted already if I do! hehe), another Khorne one. or Emperor's Children.

So I shall ponder this in the coming weeks as I rebuild my studio and seek out time for this hobby.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Review: Path of the Archon

And now we have the third part in Andy Chamber's Dark Eldar Trilogy: Path of the Archon. And what a brilliant conclusion that it was! A very satisfying finale! And all-in-all, a very satisfying trilogy. Especially after reading this after I completed the reading of Ravenwing, This was superior writing, superior pacing, and just, well, superior.

+++Possible SPOILERS ahead, so beware!+++

This books begins pretty much were the previous book, Path of the Incubus, left off. Path of the incubus dealt with our assortment of protagonists (or is every character an antagonist? -it's really very debatable!) venturing on separate journeys through the war-torn Eternal City of Commorragh in the aftermath of the reality disturbing event called the Dysjunction. In Path of the Archon, we're picking up right where we left off as the tyrannical leader of the Dark Eldar, Asdrubael Vect, is tying up loose ends and killing those that defy him. Especially those who caused the Dysjunction in the first place. One suspect in particular is the Archon of the White Flames, Yllithian, who is returning to his fortress having just completed the mission he was sent to perform for Asdrubael Vext, and having failed to have been killed by his would-be assassins, is preparing to openly defy Vect, thus setting the stage for the rest of the book.

Unlike the other two books, this book never leaves Commorragh, and we focus on what will become a civil war between the forces aligned to Vect and those who have thrown their lot in with the upstart Archon of the White Flames Yllithian. I really liked how Andy described and brought to life this merciless and cruel ancient city. More importantly, how he described the machinations and schemes that Vect uses to hold onto his power and the ruthless methods in which we see him employ them. Vect is illustrated quite well in this book and we actually get closer to him than we have in this series so far. Indeed, he's virtually unattainable in the first book, only making a public appearance via hologram. In the 2nd book we see him when selected Archons are requested to meet with him in his palace in Corespur, way up in the dangerous reaches of High Commorrah. 

But in this book, we see lots of Vect, and get a sense of why Commorragh needs him. Much like in modern times where we see dictatorships ruling in opulence over a beaten down nation only to see said dictatorship end and the now divided nation falls back into age old feuds and rivalries. It's pretty clear by the end of the book, Vect is that allegorical dictator. Vect keeps the "peace" by sheer fear and presence alone. Without him, the Dark Eldar would gleefully slaughter themselves. Not that Vect truly cares about Commorragh as much as he does his own power, again, like that modern dictator. We are shown also the amazing lengths and the level of power-plays that Vect will resort to in order to hold on to his rule. Death-toll be damned. 

One such weapon, that I am eager to spoil -but won't- is so awesome, and so obvious, that I will be shocked if these don't become a unit type in the next version of the Dark Eldar codex. If it did, it would be an instant "must-take" unit!

Also there is a lot about the mysterious Mandrakes and the Shadowrealm of Aelindrach where they dwell. Indeed, the Mandrakes are having a civil war of their own which climaxes when we have a cameo from a character from the game, the Decapitator, who has a jolly good time doing what he does best!

  • Did I like it? I loved it! And the whole trilogy as a whole was quite good, even though the 2nd book had some sluggish moments getting at the characters from their points 'A' to their points 'B', it was satisfying as well, and allows this installment to move very quickly.
  • Was it hard to put down? It was! And I started it during a tough time and it was a well needed escape. 
  • Could I care about the characters? To a degree, yes. But understand, Motley the Harlequin is the only character resembling a "good guy" in these books, so by default I found myself rooting for his survival. 
  • Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium works in the sense that it doesn't betray or retcon previously established (as I know it) lore?  Same answer as last time. I will say that with most of this lore released to the buying public after Andy left, it is amazing just how firm his grasp is on conveying how the Dark Eldar function as a society. 
  • Was I being talked down too? No. The tone in these books, as well as the pacing, are just right. 
  • How predictable is this story? To a degree, you got to sort of foresee the outcome here, just for the sake of status quo, however Andy throws enough twists and turns to keep you second-guessing the outcome. 
  • Do I recommend this book? Absolutely! 

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Bloodbrute part 2

    Welcome back.  Since last time I have completed the Hellbrute model that I have dubbed "The Bloodbrute". 

    The finished Bloodbrute in natural light.
    In the first part I show how I started the model and here I will talk about the final stages.

    After finishing painting the Brute's head and completing the "gums" that surround it, I glued it into position and then glued the front onto the model. I used rubberbands to secure the bond.

    Not so unbound...

     After some additional touch-ups it was time to finish the whites on the horns and teeth that heavily adorn this thing.

    After I mounted the front piece I finished the fleshy bits and the weird warpy gut bits. I used an assortment of colors to achieve this look, which I am ultimately satisfied with.

    The belly of the beast.
     Having painted it in parts I had some strange spots where the colors didn't match, so I had to blend all these together.

    The pink gut bits were mostly done using (Khorne forgive me) Pink Horror, which is one of the current line of Citadel paints. I used some Aileene's paint (Dusty Rose) for the high lights.

     I then added another solid coat of Ruby Red to the red areas on the model, matching it up with the other World Eater models.

    I next finished off the metal on the exhaust and the barrel of the Multi Melta.

    The back of the Brute

    The tentacles that a bursting from it's side were a bit of challenge, but after a few purple ink washes I got a look that I liked.
    Done except for the flocking.

    The finished model: flocked before sealing it.
    And the finished model can be seen in the first picture in this post. I am thinking that I might want to add gloss varnish to the fleshy bits, but I hesitate to do that as I have seen how gloss can attract fuzz and dust in the long run, so I am not sure if I want to do that yet.

    Next up, more World Eaters!