Monday, 27 December 2010

New Year Musings

Well the year is almost up and although a number of bloggers are reviewing the developments of the past 12 months I am more interested in how the next 12 months will turn.

In terms of Warhammer, I look at the current situation and all I can think is 'please God not more Lord of the Rings.' It's a futile plea I realise but a just and deserving one nonetheless. Apart from army book and codex releases, there isn't a great deal that needs doing.

Warhammer just received an excellent new book with excellent new rules and full support as always so it is difficult to see what could be improved this coming year. Warhammer has never really taken well to expansions in the past and the most useful expansion 'the empire tiles thing' is already available. It would be interesting to see if an expansion is developed and what form that would take.

5th edition 40k has also grounded well with, I believe, most players agreeing that the system is much better than its predecessor. Unlike Warhammer, 40k does lend well to new expansions and has seen a great many released already. Personally I would like to see a new flier based expansion for aerial combat and a re-release of apocalypse. I only suggest the latter because the book is a nightmare to read and some details could do with being brought into line with 5th edition.

Maybe Games Workshop will focus on a national 'cough fixed result cough' campaign like they used to do. I was a little young back then to participate fully but I do remember the storm of chaos and the 13th crusade campaigns. The Armageddon campaign sticks in my mind in particular as the landraider had only just been released and they wrote an excellent two part battle report in White Dwarf. Happier days indeed. If they did that now we would probably get a couple of pages containing an eclectic mix of unnecessary action effects, sloppy writing and yet more pictures of the damned eavy metal miniatures. Not to mention a picture of Matt Hudson looking smug and Matt Ward grinning inanely with his stupid hat telling us how the man of the match goes to some stupid scout sergeant or something equally ridiculous! I digress.

To tell the truth the only thing I really look forward to this coming year from Games Workshop is a price lock. It's wishful thinking I know but a man can dream. Please don't push us away GW because I seriously doubt our wives and girlfriends will allow us to spend the gas money on a squad of spacemarines because that will be the choice. I have been a loyal supporter of the hobby since I was 11. I love nothing more than opening up a new box of plastic sprus, laying them out on my table and thinking 'how cool could I make and paint these.' But if push comes to shove, I will choose to maintain my freedom (a house) and my health (food) above this hobby.

A bit over dramatic I'll admit but GW do have a nasty habit of hiking prices. The tactical squad has doubled in price literally since it's release.

What will I do this year?

Well my life is moving in all sorts of unknown directions at the moment so who knows where the hobby will take me. I may take this coming year as an excuse to scratch build most things as I already own a body of infantry figures for both my armies that I am happy with. Scratch building is great for hobbyists on a budget and it is a process I really enjoy anyway so thumbs up. I have already alluded to a number of modeling possibilities in a previous post, which I have not forgotten about.

I may try a number of different games with different systems. The Dystopian Wars range from spartan games has caught my eye in particular and I have just ordered the Prussian starter fleet and the carrier. My friends have all done the same with different factions. The game looks fun, the rules are cheap and the models look great and are also very cheap. Wayland games made them even cheaper for me which is always appreciated!

Indeed I may even take more advantage of games like rogue trader and deathwatch, where hours of fun can still be had without the financial hardship of creating a full blown army.

On the other hand, I may settle into a good well paying stable job in which case my hobby spending will continue to reign unchecked. Ahh such musings.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Ultramarines and bases

Despite the snow everywhere in the midlands my postman felt that he could finally stop being such a pussy and deliver me my mail.

Good thing too because he brought me both the first lot of resin bases I ordered from Dragon Forge and the collectors edition of the Ultramarines movie. Where to muse first?

The Ultramarines Movie:

When I first saw the first and second trailers I was not impressed. Indeed I believe a number of colourful descriptions regarding the quality of the film were expressed by myself with the main concerns centering around the lip sinking and the movement of the characters.

Now that I have watched the movie in full I must say I was wrong to judge too quickly. Then again, the producers did release simply appalling trailers so I think I can be forgiven.

The animation was, on the whole, a good standard. It felt like watching an hour of xbox cut scenes, which is a medium I think is appropriate to the 40k genre. It made it a touch comic book but without going full blown. I could almost see the screenplay story boards as I watched it, and it was easy to imagine Dan Abnet writing it for a comic book.

The main criticism with the animation was the movement, which I mentioned earlier. This was no where near as bad as the trailer made it look but the characters running was a little clunky and flat. It didn't appear that the characters had weight when they ran, it's difficult to explain I realise but maybe you will notice the same.

On the whole, the only major criticism with the movie was the length. It is really short lasting a mere hour. The story, although good enough, seemed to be crammed into that hour and it was obvious that every effort had been made to cut all unnecessary material. Within 20 minutes half the squad was dead. I don't think I even heard their names being mentioned (although I have been asleep for 6 hours so its likely I have just forgotten). The end battle sequence was good and it was a sneaky little twist but I do feel more could have been made of the other fight sequences.

Irrespective of that, I did enjoy the movie and I take back most of the bad things I initially said. As always, nerd fear got the better of me. I hope that Codex pictures gets some measure of success out of this project as then more will follow hopefully expanding the universe and using some different chapters. If they are going to be an hour long, I would recommend producing a series of short installments focusing on various chapters as I feel the use of media would really lend well to that sort of thing.

Dragon Forge Resin Bases

I got a second package containing some resin bases that I bought off the Dragon Forge store the first time the Black Friday deal was announced. I used the opportunity to finally get some resin bases having never previously thought them necessary. The world of hobby is obviously changing and basing is becoming as integral to a models quality and success as the model itself. I have tried my own basing but it is never good enough. I simply cannot get it right so I thought it was about time I give these a try.

The Product

I bought three packs of 25mm round bases from the wasteland I and II ranges, which also allowed me to pick up two 60mm bases from the same range for free. The quality of these bases is absolutely flawless. Simply flawless. I know enough about resin bases to be careful when selecting quality and I have seen some absolute clangers from other people so I was a bit apprehensive.

However, there isn't a single warped base or air hole to be found in the whole lot. The only imperfection (if it can be so called) is a small minority of them had a few flecks of flash. That's all.

Not only is the quality good but the designs of the different range lines are too. They display a balanced level of detail and a good amount of spacial area in which to position a model. I can't wait to use them in January when I finally get some more orks.

In conclusion to this mini review, Dragon forge bases gets a massive thumbs up from me. I took the liberty of ordering a bucket more of them, which I'm glad I did now! I can't see myself starting a new army in the future without accompanying it with a selection of these appropriate bases, they are just too good not to use.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

New Year Project Musings

I haven't had a lot of time to be thinking about anything particularly engaging in the hobby world lately due to me doing 6 days a week on the night shift at Sainsburys. Instead I have being reviewing my bank balance and wistfully compiling a list of 'stuff to buy' i the new year.

Most of the items on the list are hobby supplies as my bitz box has been completely depleted over the last few years while I have been a student. As a result I will be mass buying plastic tube, rod, magnets, wire, tools, the complete vellajo game colour range etc...

Boring things, which should lead to exciting scratch builds. There is room in the budget for a modeling project though, I just haven't decided what yet.

The Options

A Custom Stompa

My ork army is getting to a point now where I could do with expanding it. All the modeling project options are for my ork army.

I have always wanted a stompa ever since I saw Irondogs 'tatter titan' here. Its just ace! Then recently when searching for inspiration for a stompa project I came across this over at the Waaahhh forum. Again, fantastic!

My ideas are leaning far more towards this style of stompa rather than the GW template kit. I like the kit but I think may be a little too used. I would end up rebuilding most of it just to make it look unique, although I may get a kit anyway just for bits to loot.

Some Heavy Stuff

My ork army is built around a core of Ork nobz led my Ghaz in a battle wagon and a unit of 19 ard boyz in another battlewagon led by a big mek. This doesn't leave much room for much else points wise as the rest is taken up with 6 grotzooka kanz.

As a result, I wouldn't mind expanding the heavy support element of my ork force so that I can field a few different builds. I would need some big gunz, lots of lootas and a boom wagon or two.

I really don't like the loota kit models. The shoulder mounted weapons just don't do it for me. What I want is some beefy drum and/or chain fed Gatling guns!

I really like the Kromlech field kannon supplied by Maxmini and they would obviously make excellent ork kannonz so I guess I will use them. No messing. I'll probably crew them with the forge world grot crew.

Looted boom wagon. Hmm I have a few novel ideas for these. A bit hard to explain them here but I may draw up a few sketch plans then post them up.

Fast Stuff

Nob bikers pure and simple. You hate them, I'm not keen. But they do offer a great modeling opportunity and they stomp face on the battle field. They would have to come with all the trimmings, cybork bodies, a painboy etc....

This will also include a warboss on a bike to lead them. I may even have a go at building wazzdakka, who knows.

Fasta Stuff

This is the project that is grabbing most of my attention. Recently I re-discovered a comic book I never read called 'Deff Skwadron' which featured the exploits of an ork fighta-bomma squadron. It is an extremely entertaining read, which was sadly cut short before its time. I'm hoping that the exploits of the Deff Skwadron may live on in my own battles as I plan on building 3 fighta-bommaz to represent the main characters from the comic, Uzgob, Raznutz and Killboy.

The link to the comic can be found here.

This last project really takes the cake for me at the moment. It is one of the cheapest options for one, it has the most challenging modeling potential and I think it will have the most rewarding finished results. Finally, it also provides a nice unit for apoc games, which isn't too high powered but is fun to use!

So there are my current modeling musings. If you have any preferences please let me know but more importantly If you have any insight or inspiration to share on any of the above topics please do let me know. I need all the help I can get.

Friday, 10 December 2010

We aint got a Clegg to stand on

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Ok a while ago I posted up the pictures of my work in progress Warriors of Choas army. At the current moment it is only an unfinished unit of marauders, Wolfrik and a chaos lord on horse.

The nightshift has not been kind to my painting time and so I have only been able to paint the front rank of the marauders and Wolfrik, who leads them. Wolfrik is near enough done, the maurauders need some skull work and a few other bits finishing.

Also I don't have access to my light box either so the pictures are a bit crappy but you get the idea.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Why Do we Play Wargames?

I'm living up to my name again and providing a few more smurf like musings for you to ponder and digest. This time I wanted to consider what it is about the hobby that makes us want to participate.

Warhammer, amongst other games, has been described many times as 'addictive plastic crack', which obviously suggests that most players cannot simply turn off the hobby. I'll be the first to admit, I spend a serious amount of time each day either thinking about what I want to add or I am actively participating by playing or painting. I'll even admit that thinking about my next conversion usually prevents me from sleeping at night (although not at the moment since I'm working nights).

So why is warhammer such an addictive hobby? What is it about warhammer that makes us invest so much energy? In order to explore these questions I want to consider some of my other hobbies first.


I love music. I had the fortune to be introduced at my local warhammer club to a guy in his 20's when I was just 14. He had been a teenager in the 90's and so was really into his American alternative music, which he let me borrow. Now at 23 I own just over 300 hand picked CD's and now that I have a full time job, it's bound to increase. I have a massive list of records to buy which I have been noting down during the time I had no money. I also have a part time job in the local independent record store and so I am surrounded by music all the time. I love it, it's the best job I have ever had.

So what is it that music provides to me as a person? Well it has quite a few elements in common with warhammer now that I think about it. I love to 'collect' CD's and place them in my CD rack. I love looking at them all neatly filed away and I enjoy the process of watching the collection grow. Sound familiar?

CD's (and records especially) often have fantastic and inspired artwork. My musical passion lies in a large spectrum of music including; alternative, math rock, post rock, shoegaze, post punk, hardcore, soft core, experimental, dream pop, etc... Artists within these genres often invest a great deal of effort into the art featured in their record and so I appreciate viewing it. Again, it's one of the reasons why we blog isn't it? I mean now that White Dwarf doesn't provide us with the artistic inspiration any more we have all turned to blogs so that we may appreciate the skills of others and try and add that knowledge to our own skill sets.

CD's are similarly priced to warhammer. I would expect to pay £12 per item, which isn't too dissimilar from warhammer really. Considering I have spent over £3000 on CD's over the years building my collection it suddenly dawns that perhaps I have spent less overall on warhammer?

CD's also provide you with repeat enjoyment. The best thing about music is that it provides you with enjoyment when you want it. That is why we listen to music after all. Warhammer has a similar aspect in that you use your army again and again and again. Ok it isn't on demand like music is unless you work at GW, but you use it often enough for it to be considered a repeat enjoyment. Also warhammer games are never the same twice and so perhaps it has a slight edge over a CD. Then again I don't get emotional emphatic with my warhammer models, whereas a piece of music is designed to do just that. Sings and roundabouts.

My Guitar:

As a sideline from my music obsession I also play the guitar and have gigged around the UK in a band. Not really much to add here as the music element covered most of the benefits. However, the guitar I suppose could be seen as my extension of actively participating in music, which is similar to how we all actively participate in warhammer games from playing and painting. Again my guitar is; a repeat pleasure, it improves over time (I guess you could say I collect my improving skills and techniques) and I have invested a similar amount of material cash into it.


So I guess warhammer is addictive to us because it has a multifaceted texture. The benefits we gain from participating in warhammer as a hobby operate on every level of our being. We gain the emotional benefits of pride in our work, challenging our strategic thinking, communicating with other human beings (most of my best friends I met at my club), quenching our desire for competition and achieving the often elusive feeling of victory! We also gain the physical benefits of improving our awareness, numeracy skills and also our hand-eye coordination when painting. Finally, the material benefits also weigh up in the end as most of us probably spend as much on this hobby as we do on the others (think how many xbox games you might own, how much the console and the tv cost you and also include the internet charges and electricity charges you might have built up!).

The take home message then is to enjoy the hobby. It is repeated time and time again but seriously, just enjoy the hobby as there truly is much to enjoy!