Saturday, December 26, 2020

Grots! (Part 3)

 With holidays, family stuff, work and artwork taking up the majority of my time this, I did find a few fleeting moments in December to slap some more paint onto the grots. Pressing forward with these guys, I went ahead and moved on to the next stage which was to apply Tesseract Glow over their Gretchin Green Foundation Paint basecoat. 

Next came the layer of Applebarrel Kiwi,

This is followed by highlight of Sunburst Yellow,

I followed that up by picking out the clothing items that are going to end up yellow. I used Firey Orange for that basecoat. Also I picked out their eyes using Khorne Red and base coated their teeth with a brown. 

I was hoping to have these guys completely painted by the New Year, but that's not likely to happen. Still, I think they are coming along nicely even if it is a bit slowly...

Tuesday, December 08, 2020

Runtherdz (Part 1)


No, he's not a force ghost...

Every gathering of grots need someone to boss 'em around, and my Bad Moon Grots definitely need someone to boss them around. I went searching for an appropriate candidate on eBay and found a deal that included both of the miniatures below* 

A disarmed Gorkamorka Slaver.

Plastic Runtherd from current grots set.

You might notice that the Slaver is missing his right arm and the Runtherd is missing his grabbing stick/ grot prod attachment. 

Bitz to fix 'em! 

There is a bitz seller that had exactly what I needed to make these guys work. A Runtherd arm with both attachments! After I acquired both I got to plotting exactly what to do with them. Clearly the old Slaver will  need to have that paint stripped off (is that...enamel? *shudder*), but the other guy is pretty much good to go. 

Upon arrival. 

I cleaned up the plastic guy, but I have no idea how his original owner applied the grit/texture (sure I could speculate,) to his base so I used a resin base extender to expand his base out to 32mm. I decided to give this guy the grot prod. He will be painted in Bad Moon colors to match those grots that I have been picking and poking at over the past few months. 

Primed and ready for paint!

As for the other guy, he too will probably end up in Bad Moon colors as well, which means I will probably need to paint even more grots, but trust me, I have plenty of them! But, as previously stated, that paint has got to go! Another candidate for the chemical jar is this old Head Honcho miniature (also Gorkamorka era) that came with all those metal grots. It maybe quite a while before that happens though, so for now I will be working on the plastic guy first. 

Heading for the stripping vat! 

*These pics are taken directly from the eBay auction page.

Tuesday, December 01, 2020

Review: Sin of Damnation

Paperback cover. 
Sin of Damnation by Gav Thorpe. Basically this is a narrative breakdown of the plot for the Space Hulk board game that was released about a decade ago. There have apparently been a few different editions of this story printed, my copy is the "Start Here With Black Library" ediiton which has the story Sin of Damnation twinned with a shorter story called Sanguis Irae which I will give it it's own review. Today we are focusing on just the story Sin Of Damnation

We follow the boarding actions of two Terminator Squads of the Blood Angels chapter as they run missions against the Genestealer infestation aboard a massive space hulk. These missions are the exact ones from the Space Hulk game as are the characters. One squad is lead by Sgt Lorenzo and the other is lead by Sgt Gideon. They are reporting to, and being directed by, Capt. Raphael who remains onboard their vessel. 

The story is broken down into time increments starting out at 00.04.36 all the way up to and ending with 00.57.77. This is an interesting nod to the game this is based off of as it is a rigidly timed game with some editions even including a small sand-filled hourglass. One would think that keeping up with the time would matter more to the overall story, but it does not. Much of the story is mostly colorful description of the debris and chaotic mess that is the space hulk itself and of bolters, flamers and assault cannons ripping apart and slaughtering genestealers. A plot sort of manifests about 3/4 of the way into the story. 


About 3/4 of way into this story, things start to get a bit more engaging for the reader. Fans and players of the last edition of Space Hulk will know that the every Terminator miniature in the game has a name. And these named characters start dying off in spectacular and heroic fashion. Usually with a vicious claw (or dozen) rending them apart. Auletto's death, is a bit exceptional as he is slain by his fellow Blood Angels after a genestealer implant attack infects him. They "reduce his remains to a charred heap within seconds" via a heavy flamer*. Omnio falls down a shaft only to be (apparently) dispatched by 'stealers. And there are other even more dramatic demises to befall these Terminators.

When they find The Wrath Of Baal, a long lost Blood Angels vessel fused into the Space Hulk they redirect their mission to retrieve an object (the chalice from the game) from it. I personally found this to be quite interesting and had hoped for more discoveries and Blood Angel history or backstory to be revealed but, not really, it was all about getting the cup. 
Sergeant Lorenzo.

The most interesting characters are Sgt Lorenzo, Sgt Gideon and the Librarian Calistarius**. I like Gideon mainly because he wasn't Lorenzo. I say this because Lorenzo has a personal hang up about a prior encounter like this on a Space Hulk where a lot of Blood Angels died, but he has survivor's guilt and wants to use this mission to redeem that guilt. This almost gets the guy killed but he comes through in time to defeat the main Broodlord in the end. The story's ending was exciting, and well written and paced, but beware reader, there is a lot of war-porn to grind through to get there!

  • Did I like it? It started off quite well enough, it was well written and engaging, but after a while the repetition wore me down. I guess in the end, if you're literally going to write the events of a game, regardless of how clever the mission scenarios are or not, you're going to just end up with war porn. And this is basically that.  I did begin to like it once the characters were revealed to not have "plot armor" and some of them started to die, and die spectacularly.  Ultimately, yes, I enjoyed it, but it was a grind to get me there. 
  • Was it hard to put down? At first no, but again, repetition leads to boredom. Leading to this deceptively thin book being very difficult to pick back up. The problem here is that you got to sort of keep a score card (in your head or actually written down) in order to keep up with who the cast of characters are and what they are armed with. In truth, sometimes their "character" is essentially their weapon...
  • Could I care about the characters? Honestly? No. They were as expendable as they would be to you if you were playing an actual game of Space Hulk. In fact, I began to root for the the Genestealers to win just so the story would end faster. I found myself actually sympathizing and rooting for the Broodlord, which honestly is what got me through to the end of the story. 
  • Did the writer truly grasp how the 'world' of the 41st millennium? Or is this the work of a hack chasing a paycheck vs. establishing his mark on the ever-expanding 40k universe? Typically this question is answered one way or the other. But this is an exception. Gav clearly knows what he's writing about here, and I honestly think he loves Space Hulk, but I am fairly sure this was a gig he took for a paycheck. He tried to apply some subtext and additional background but it's pretty clear he couldn't stray too far from the brief he was provided. 
  • eBook variant cover.. 
    Was I being talked down too? Not really, but a chart or a Dramatis Personae listing at the start of this story could have helped with keeping up with who's who of the squad as it does sort of get muddled after a bit. To give Gav credit, the way the story is broken down into time increments is a tool to assist with keeping the pacing quick and exciting. It does help the story from being utterly boring. Some of Gav's writing anomalies do pop up and disrupt the pace of the read, which caused me to stop and re-read what I had just read. This happens too much in this story, and being that this is intended to be a fast paced story it's really irritating. For example this line: "Lorenzo approached the Librarian and took the tissue sample from his belt." Seems straightforward enough, but up to this point in the story the reader knows that it is Lorenzo that is carrying the tissue sample, when did the Librarian get it? Why is he taking it back?  The next sentence in the story sort of straightens it out, but, again if it was written correctly ("Lorenzo took the tissue sample from his belt and approached the Librarian.") the confusion would never have happened and I could have followed the story better without any disruption.
  • How predictable is this story? About as predictable as closing a car door. Like a horror movie, sometimes the order and methodology of the characters individual demise can become interesting in and of itself, but these guys don't give you  many reasons for you to care whether they live or not. 
  • Do I recommend this book? Only if you have the deepest passion for Space Hulk's background elements or if you are completely new to the hobby. Otherwise you're likely to be bored by this. 

*A weapon that has always been way more effective in the Space Hulk game than it ever was in the main Warhammer 40,000 game. Another ironic observation is that Terminator armor is way less effective in the Space Hulk game than it is in Warhammer 40,000. 

**They're also the most popular Space Hulk miniatures on eBay as well!