Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bolt Action- British Infantry (part two)

...yeah so these guys got neglected for a year. Not on purpose, it just happened that I put them up to make room for a different project and all but forgot about 'em!

Something put the inspiration into me to finish these guys, since they are mostly done and it's all detailing from here out. Most likely I just needed a break from painting red and/or black space marines.

The devil is in the details with these lads, so much so that I had to break out a new, and finer-tipped, brush in order to get to it all. These details are their guns, accessories and clothing elements that stand appart from the rest of their uniforms. I used Folk Art Metallic Sequin Black on the metel bitz, as this makes for a good foundation for a dark metallic color. This color tends to look better on larger areas though, as it seems to look like gloss (or greasey?) black on smaller surfaces and parts like the weapons on these models.

In addition to focusing on finishing this Infantry Section I am also painting up the PIAT Team that I wrote a post on last year. They too are coming along nicely I think.

"He's in my sights Jenkins, it's time to show Jerry what for!"

With hope, these guys should get completed soon before returning to my blood-drenched chaos maniacs.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pictures from Games Day 1999

I can't believe it's been so many years now! 17 actually. Wow.

For those of you who may be unaware, Games Workshop used to have an annual event called Games Day. And in their primary markets they would hold one of these events. In the U.S.A. it was held at, for a number of years, in their U.S. city of operations: Baltimore. They had gaming, lots of gaming, registered events, demos for old and upcoming releases, sales including exclusive Games Day minis (it was a Space Marine Captain with a power fist that year, and I loaded up on about 4 blisters, 2 of which I still have), a showcase showing all the stuff about to come out or that the design studio was developing  (back then this alone fueled the rumor mills of the time, notably the 40K Mailing List and Portent) and finally, Games Day was the place for the Golden Daemon Awards. And that was primarily what prompted The Doctor and I to go that year.

Now none of our models made the first cut that year, and seeing our competition we were humbled by our peers  (although there were a few models that did make that first cut that had us scratching our heads). I brought the Legion of Damned (I finished them the night before in the hotel room) for Best Squad/ Unit category , Skippy the Bloodthirster  for the Best Monster Category, the Dark Angels Whirlwind that I painted for The Doctor for the Best Vehicle category and if I brought anything else I just don't remember what it was nor can I recall what The Doctor brought. But, we still had a blast participating.

We also got to interview Rick Priestley who was there to demo War Master. He generously gave us a good 30 minutes or more of his time and seemed grateful to get away from the noise (the near deafening screams of WAAAARGH! that seemed to erupt every few minutes have to be experienced to be believed). The interview was for a fanzine that the Doc and I were going to produce but the 40k and GW climate had changed so much from where it was at when we had started the project that we later had decided not to produce it. Still, it was an interview we were both proud of and it's a shame we were never able to transcribe it or we would share it for history's sake if anything.

A highlight of the whole experience, the main focus of this post, was the massive diorama that was set up in the middle of the convention hall. It depicted an Imperial Guard force defending a jungle shore line from a Dark Eldar raid, with the Dark Angels arriving to assist them. It was damned impressive for it's time. The Doc had just bought a new camera (crude by today's caliber) and snapped some pics, some of which he sent me. While recently cleaning I found them, and thought it would be fun to share them here.

It may have been covered in the White Dwarf of the time, and I apologize for my lack of citation or credit to those who worked on this project. Whomever you are, thank you for this and thanks for the excitement you generated in fueling our desires to create unique and interesting gaming tables.

"First rank: FIRE!!!"
A particular point of focus on this whole battlefield was the rank and file line of Praetorian Guard gunning down the Dark Eldar rabble advancing on their line. They looked awesome. They stand in defence of some very impressive scratch built trenchworks which are being held by Catachan units.

Further down the line we see what the Ogryns in the top are running towards. They are charging into the nearly over-ran trenchworks, clearly hoping to save the day for the beleaguered Catachans. The tanks in this diorama have all being lovingly converted and customized. The camo netting on the closest tank is particularly impressive.

Further back and behind the Praetorian line we can see more extensive trenchworks and tank positions. These were very inspirational back then and The Doctor and studied these models for a very long time while discussing how they did it and how we could do this ourselves.

Beachhead slaughter.
Here we see some Dark Angel and Dark Eldar casualties among the bloody survivors of the continuing firefight to take the beach.

Chimeras reinforcements enter the fray by crossing the bridge. Sadly this pic was way too washed out by the camera's flash.

These next pair of pics link together.

This first one shows the Catachan tank positions and supply dump with Jungle Fighters racing down the trenchline to support their comrades. On the right you can Dark Angel Veterans arriving to lend a hand...
Dark Angels sally forth!
...and they are arriving from a very sweet ride! This was the model on the whole diorama that generated the most gasps. Its a scratch-built Land Raider! At the time, the current kit was not yet available and the original one had been out of production for over 5 years and was going for ridiculous prices on the secondary markets. However Epic 40k had been out and it had epic scale models of new style Landraiders in it that had us 40k players salivating at the potential. It would be another year or so before the plastic kit that is available now would be released. But the model in this pic was pretty close to accurate.

Warmaster demo. 
Rick Priestley was there demoing Warmaster. It wouldn't be released for another year or so, and he was very enthusiastic about getting any, and every, one to play a game with him. It had potential but when the models came out I just didn't appeal to me. Still, it was the only time GW made Araby models and we got to see a Warhammer army that near came to be at 28mm scale. Another failure of Warmaster, and the pic above reminds me of this, was I don't recall them making scale terrain for it. Seems like a vital element to me.

Although I have no pics, another game that was soon to be released which was aggressively being played here was Mordheim. The writer, Tuomas Pirinen was there along with others with fresh copies of the rules. It was very exciting stuff to behold and still one of my favorite GW games.

It was a great weekend, and all theae years later I still look back on it fondly. If more pics are discovered, of course I will share rhem herw.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Chaos Aspiring Champion (part 3)

After pecking at the details I eventually reached a point where I decided that I was done enough with the painting that I could begin to assemble the model.

By pecking, I mean that I was absolutely scrutinizing this thing. Adding details (necklace attached to the chaos medallion), touching up errors (it seems I was sloppy with the gold bits and had to fix the black areas a lot), repainting bits I disagreed with (the skull on the base; just couldn't get happy with it) and then the backpack  (that head on the backpack took some time especially). A very involved model and not one for beginners.

I knew that before I assembled him I was going to have to add the Black Legion decal to his right paldron first. This model is tricky and accessing the areas with the control I try to have with decals would be tough. So after applying the Mico Set on the area and then the decal I brushed on top of that went more Micro Set. Which did what it advertises: it flattens and bonds the decal to the surface better. I love this stuff!

Then I began the assembly! First on went the left arm, then the other 2 parts to his shoulder pad and then the backpack. I did each bit in stages so that the glue had time to bond properly.

And the final part of model was his axe weilding arm. He looks wicked-impressive now that he is finally in one piece!

The moment of complete assembly.

Rear view. 
After a few final touch-ups the flock was added and then the matte varnish. And here he is, finally completed and ready to lead a sqaud of renegades to war.

Love to know how that arm is supposed to move...

How wise is using a face to hold up a weighted chain?

"Time to find someone to cut!"
Challenging model, but I am satisfied with the end results. I have another one of these models, and I am trying to decide how I want to approach painting it...

Sunday, July 03, 2016

White Dwarf changes again, but will the logo?

Recently I got the email that White Dwarf was going back to monthly.

While this won't be a discussion about White Dwarf's content or quality or publishing schedule, something that has been bugging me is the current logo. The unexciting, usually orange logo that evokes no sense of...well, anything.
It's just a logo.
A font that evokes no sense of fantasy or sci-fi. It does not have a sense of power or purpose.
Or epicness.
That last one is important, as this was a company that literally created a logo for a game called EPIC 40,000.

A good logo should convey some sense of what the meaning of the words implies in the context of the product it is supporting. In this example we have a bold block-capital font with a strong industrial and futuristic vibe. It's colored in such a way to suggest that the words are made of metal. It's also wrapped in a black star field, which again suggests a futuristic and/or space setting, and it's framed in the metallic wings which has been a staple in the Warhammer 40,000 logo design gestalt since the inception of Warhammer 40,000: Rogue Trader back in 1987. This logo represents and communicates what it's about and does it so strongly. The first Epic game was Adeptus Titanicus in 1989, and you can see it in the image below:
Have you ever seen a more epic logo?
As you can see, a lot the same elements remain, and get similar results. Not sure if the wings work, but yet here they are in a sort of aquila with the double heads of the 40K eagle on either side of the word 'Adeptus'. The work TITAN in itself confers a sense of epic-ness and the logo designer chose to make the letters stand tall, yet bow inwards towards the middle before bowing back out. It's a powerful design, and it stood out powerfully on the shop shelf.

White Dwarf, often during it's lifetime, was sold on news stands as a real magazine. It needed a logo that could compete, stand out, and appeal to the people it needed to appeal to (mostly teenagers  and young adults) while standing out from the various other magazines in the shop that could otherwise entice the target reader. After all, this could be someone's first exposure to the wold of Games Workshop, and a good, immediate impression must be made.

This cover kicked the crap out of the other magazines on the shelf  during the month it was on sale. 
Instead of model on the cover, how about a powerful illustration under a wicked, all-cap, heavy metal-esque logo with a bold solid color frame? Yes, the solid color frame era of White Dwarf covers was strange but they worked as an eye-catching device to pull you into the central image. For many years the chrome look was the standard with White Dwarf and it was pretty much perfect. Occasionally they would use a gold or similar style color but the font itself didn't change.

Gold logo for Draco the Inquisitor. 
In time the White Dwarf cover style evolved and the font did as well, but it remained a bold logo that evoked fantasy and 40K and suited whichever image was on the cover.

Even during the 'Fat Dwarf' era with the red sidebar.
That logo was sometime customized to fit that month's theme. For example the Catachan Imperial Guard release they the metallic filler with a camouflage one. And during the Battlefleet Gothic launch they mirrored the cover of the BFG rulebook cover (probably my favorite look), and they really should have done more like this.

Gothic coming at YOU!

By this point the logo was rarely competing with other magazines. Dungeon and Dragon are sadly gone as print magazines and White Dwarf, now weekly, only sells primarily in game shops. But still, that damned logo persists. And it does so for unimaginative reasons: "it doesn't need to compete". Admitted, I liked it at first, It reminded me of the funky font that appeared on old Frank Herbert books, but there are have been times were it detracted from the cover. This isn't the first time that the magazine had a solid color logo, back in the '80s the White Dwarf often had solid colors in the logo, but outlined with a contrasting color to help the logo pop up against the central image. This often worked, and worked well.

Orange, but used right. Also note specific game logos!
So I want to see, when September rolls around, a new logo, if not a return to the older one, but that's lazy: Games Workshop, return to what you were once great at! This is the company, again, that excelled at logo design for games. Check out these examples:

Original prototype logo. Works like a charm!

Evil, forbidden, mysterious, dangerous, and all so enticing. 

'COMBAT' actually used weapons for some of it's letters!
Sporty, fantastic, epic and brutal.

A logo using two different fonts, yet married together in a perfect story.
The recent Warhammer: Age of Sigmar logo actually works very well and even evokes some of the characters that come in the starter box. Contrast that with the 'Warhammer' logo that they are using as a branding device for their stores now, and it's just stunning! You can see that one in the first image (...ultimate WARHAMMER magazine...). It's lame. The GW of the '80s , '90s and early '00s would never would have adopted that!

So GW, don't disappoint me this time! Fix the White Dwarf logo! And fix it right!


Got a favorite GW logo? Let us know in the comments.

All images in this post are (C) or (TM)s of Games Workshop and are used here for review purposes only and are not intended to be a challenge of the marks.