Monday, June 27, 2011

An update, plus some Terminator basing.

First update: Concerning White Dwarf, GW announced on their website the other day the changes to the release schedule and when subscribers should expect their copies to arrive. And, true to their word, I walk down to the mailbox and pull out the latest issue! Which, although focused on the new Storm of Magic expansion for WHRB, did have some interesting changes: 1. Zero LOTR content! No, really! 2. Usable content in the way of City Fight stratagems and some fairly inspiring articles revolving around the Cities of Death Codex. Although not a 'return to form' I was pleased with this issue.

The picture below is a collection of old terminator marines that I decided to glue to the bigger style bases in preparation for a game I played to today with Warfrog. Ultimately I will use green-stuff to smooth out the base. I've found that gluing the original base to the bigger base, not only makes the model a tad taller, and more in line with the current size of the terminators, but also provides some cool opportunities with modeling.

These models are all fairly old. The oldest being the models from the '89 range of terminators. The 2nd edition terminators tended to to be a bit more robust, and the finally the 2nd edition Space Hulk plastic terminators (pictured up front). But none of these guys freak out the kids at the local game-store quite like these guys:

These are the original Space Hulk terminators! LOL! I love 'em! So clunky, yet so much character. These miniatures were painted just before I truly came to grips with how I wanted their paint scheme to work for me, so they tend to be a bit muddy looking. Also, back then I never primed miniatures. I'm not sure why, I just didn't. For the most part, this worked out OK, but on these models, which were molded in a dark blue plastic, it really made a difference with the paint scheme. I intend to have all my terminators painted up to the standard that this Rune Priest Terminator (below) has been painted too, hopefully sooner than later:


Ha-ha,...damn, I just realized I'll have to fix his base too!
By the way, all the terminators above died at the hands of Warfrog's Eldar (accept for the the 2 that ran...I mean 'withdrew'... from the battle). We took pictures of the event which I think Warfrog plans on posting on his blog http://warfrog.blogspot.com/ so keep an eye out for that. Also, I got to see the roll-up 'rubber' battle mat that he recently reviewed; very cool products! If time, and my burning stomach ache, hadn't been against us we were hoping to paint it this evening.

Here was the army I used, lined up for pre-deployment.

The land raider crusader hasn't progressed much since the last write-up mainly due to some extra bits I've decided to order for it that I haven't managed to find yet at a price I can accept. (Why people will pay more money for a single piece off of a sprue than buying the entire sprue from GW directly is just a mystery I can't seem to solve). However I have made some progress on the landspeeder that appears in that series of articles, and I will be posting an update on that soon. That's all for updates that I have for now,
take care!
-Joel

Monday, June 20, 2011

Changes coming to White Dwarf (Part 2-What I would change)

If you read my last post, you might understand my current dissatisfaction level with the current format of White Dwarf and my love of 'formats past'. So, here are some content items or features I would adopt (in no particular order):

1. Background content. Articles like the Index Astartes articles were brilliant (and even included customization rules which were nice).
2. Fiction. One of the elements that kept some readers continuing to buy Dragon magazine for so many years was the short story you got with each issue. With the cessation of Inferno! magazine, White Dwarf should've picked up on this. In fact, now that I think about it, it would've been nice to have seen more Inferno! elements adopted by the Dwarf (comic features, diagrams, etc.)
3. Paint articles. The current painting articles aren't bad, indeed, I think they're quite good for introduction articles, but old 'eavy Metal / Blanchitso articles were extremely helpful and not afraid to speak to new gamers in such a way to encourage them to become experts.
4. Fanatic. Whatever became of that imprint? Anyway, it would be nice to have at least a few pages each month with some Specialist Games scraps.
5. Experimental/playtest content. Pre-releasing lists for greater trial and error and player feedback would be nice. We could perhaps nerf some cheese combos before particular books are published. It'll be interesting to see just how the upcoming Sisters of Battle list will be presented (hopefully not as disappointing as the WD Blood Angel list a few years back, granted the codex they got was arguably loaded with compensation for the BA players out there...)
6. FAQs. Seriously, why can't these be in WD? "We don't want people showing up to tourneys with a stack of White Dwarfs!" Fine, put them online after you publish them in White Dwarf. This was a valuable asset for WD, and used to be the first few pages we turned too went back when WD had this feature.
7. Chapter Approved. Granted, the #5 & 6 probably covers this, but the feature was often always different, and well worth the read. There was a WHFB version, but I don't recall it being around that long.

That's all that comes to mind at the moment, but I think I could definitely fix the 'content' issue the magazine has now if I could only get 1/3 of my wish. Big flashy pictures are great, and they still need to be in there, but not at the expense of reading material. Which makes the experience of reading through a White Dwarf seem so 'huh' right now. If this means they even go back to sneak-peak content from upcoming releases, hey, it's better than nothing.

So what would you include?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Changes coming for White Dwarf?

So according to a rumor picked up by BOLs from a release in Germany changes are finally coming to White Dwarf. You can read that stuff here (and watch as the conversation descends into rants about finecast etc.): http://www.lounge.belloflostsouls.net/showthread.php?t=15873

And I'm talking about this on my hobby blog because...?
Ah, well, if it wasn't for White Dwarf Magazine I can say with honestly I would not be in this hobby. When I was introduced to Warhammer 40,000 it was during it's 1st edition, before Kirby, before the corporatization. At this point, late '88 early '89, White Dwarf played a vital support role for all of it's games. It was prior to this point a general hobby magazine, with RPG reviews and support. It even had a book review section (Critical Mass) by a great reviewer that rated Sci-Fi and Fantasy genre books that they thought would appeal to gamers (in fact, for the sake of trivia, the last Critical Mass reviewed a book by David Zindell titled 'Neverness'- read it if you can find it!). And let's not forget Thrud! But, even at this point, GW was concentrating on their games and support for them. And we were NOT complaining! Back then we were living in the growth and evolution of 40K. The game was truly young, and each month the 40K universe grew a little with each White Dwarf. Tony Cottrel's amazing conversion kits for the modeler who wanted more variety out of their Rhino and Landraider kits (in the case of the Spartan, a hybrid of each!) or instructions for scrap building Ork tanks and in one issue a Baneblade were just amazing. These issues of White Dwarf introduced a wealth of background material that continued to evolve the game and the game's iconic back-story. Hive Worlds were explored in great depth with the experimental rules for Confrontation (this later became a stream-lined, less RPG-oriented product known as Necromunda). This was an exciting time to be following this hobby for sure, and I was hooked.

Even back then White Dwarf had sections (literal pages) straight out of new releases, as sort of a teaser sample. Pages from Realm of Chaos, Waaagh The Orks, Freebooters, etc. And still they premiered unique lists (The Eldar) and experimental rules (the rules that would become the Vehicle Manual and the Battle Manual). This show-case of pages out of new releases continued really strong with the launch of 2nd edition, with pages pulled straight our of rulebooks and codex releases forming the foundation of each issue, end-capped by a battle-report, which had become quite popular by this point. Unique rules exclusive to WD started to lesson, but it still existed. Although background material certainly began to decline.

With a change of editors (Robin Dews for Jake Thorton) saw the introduction to the FAT Dwarf! White Dwarf magazine ballooned in size and practically dripped with content. I would say that this period was certainly White Dwarf's most appealing era. The Battle reports were even more exciting, the content was unique and useful, the painting and scenery article remained useful as well, even the collecting articles were pleasant to read (usually). Back then both 40k and WHFB games (and even the specialist games) used a lot of card stock for templates, spell cards, psychic cards, vehicle cards, wargear, treasure, etc., and the Fat White Dwarf was providing pre-perforated card stock components for these games. White Dwarf may have been calling itself a catalogue at this point, but you HAD to have it to play these games! Also during this time, another reason to have it was the FAQ support.

I think the generosity of this product began to be cost prohibitive, and the 'Dwarf shrunk back down in size by the time 40K 3rd edition was launched. However we still saw a lot content, and even experimental rules (BFG, Mordheim, the retro editioned Necron rules (I interviewed Rick Priestly at Games Day '99 where he told us that the Necrons were created for 3rd edition, and that it was a real challenge to retro-fit them back into 2nd edition for those articles, but I digress). During the 3rd edition period White Dwarf continued to evolve, but continued to be useful. The 3rd edtion FAQs (now Chapter Approved articles, which made the old vets like me swoon with pride!) continued to be vital. Just ask anyone who messed around with the VDR and you'll hear some fun stories! Eventually White Dwarf was used as a support vehicle for GW's LotR line, and it was harshly divided into three sections. Lord of the Rinds, Warhammer, and Warhammer 40,000. Specialist game support disappeared entirely, but these games had their own support magazines (which were quite nice! I loved Town Cryer for Mordheim the most!). Lots of painting and hobby articles usually with content unique to the content that it was now being printed on (GW US, GW Australia, etc) with some of it unique to that country.

GW reeled all this in right around 4th edition (2004) and to be quite honest, White Dwarf has remained a sort of sterile entity ever since. The new releases are very much heavily featured (the sprue break-downs are nice to reference) but there is little in the way of tangible content. In 2011, not much has changed. White Dwarf doesn't even pull pages from new releases any more! It's even unfair to call it a catalog, since even they don't put prices anymore (probably due to it being published in pretty much one country and circulated throughout the English-speaking world, but this is just my guess). The writers comments on new product are OK to read, and the occasional tasty rules article comes out, but for the most part, I just look at the pretty pictures before nodding off to sleep at night. White Dwarf is no longer vital.

I hope I illustrated why people tend to complain about the current state of White Dwarf: it's because the older issues truly had content and at one point you had to have White Dwarf. And those of us who remember it, miss that. I cling to it more out of hope that it will improve, but I still enjoy it. But I don't thirst for it like I did just a few years ago.

This went on longer than I thought, so next time I will plot out what White Dwarf would be like if I could control it. it's a fantasy, sure, but if my hopes and these 'changes' are anywhere close to similar, than I'll be a happy guy!

-Joel

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Pods to Drop and Lands to Raid (part Six)

It's been a long week since I've been back and it doesn't feel like I've spent as much time on my painting projects as I would have liked. However, I did manage to get the bulk of the highlights done:


I have also added a base coat of 'Tin Bitz' paint to the frag defenders, the imperial eagle, and to the numerous skull icons that cover this tank. Not all of these icons will end up the same color in the end, the skull icons and imperial eagle will end up a goldish color in the end.

I also worked on the Storm Bolter gunner:



Applied the highlights to his armor, brought the orange on the shoulder pad up yellow and painted his head. I need to paint the 'cog-boy' symbol on his red shoulder and bring the flesh up to another level and this piece will be about done. I also the same to the Land Speeder:



However the land speeder and crew still need the Space Wolf Grey and Skull White highlights that the Land Raider now has. This is proving to be a challenge to properly paint the crew, and when I build the third Typhoon, it will be assembled like this and the Drop Pods, and painted while still on the sprue. The crew will definitely be painted before assembly. Detailing the right shoulder pads of both of the crew will be a real challenge...

++++BONUS UPDATE FROM THE FRONT+++



On Saturday night I led the Wolves to battle versus the treacherous Aurora Chapter and their fiendish overseer Da Masta Cheef, who sought to seize the spoils of war for their own. It was a fierce battle (fought mostly against my dice, whom I assume have been selling their allegiance to my foes for sometime now) but I focused on the two objectives by keeping my troops on the objective in my deployment zone, and focusing on riding the fiendish traitor from his. The comedy of my dice rolling saw about 8 terminators brought down in the 2nd turn (note, about 6 of these deaths were 2+ saves!!!) and my Runepriest Terminator gibbed by a treacherous scout team. My Lone Wolf was particularly heroic, wiping out a squad all by himself, and fending off the hail of fire by the Aurora snipers (he would find his glorious death only in the after match). It was a fun game, in spite of the wretched dice. Da Masta Cheef's dice started to crap out on him in the 2nd half of the battle, so clearly the dice gods were not pleased with us. Somehow, despite my grueling loses I managed to get a victory, technical though it was. We continued on even after victory was formally declared just to see how things would've worked out if we played to the death, and I clearly lost! Keep an eye on this blog http://www.dlwdg.blogspot.com/  to see if the Da Masta Cheef writes a blog about this fight.

That's all for now,
-Joel