Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Creating A Retinue - Conversions Or Not?

Looking over the Games Workshop website, in-between moments of rage at how clunky the interface is, and mourning the loss of so many Specialist Games models, I was reminded that their are still a few models on there that I like and that would look good in INQ28. I'll go into the specifics of which models in the next post (when they'll hopefully have arrived from various places), but before that it makes sense to talk about what I'll be converting, what I'll be leaving alone, and why. But first, avenues of purchase.

With GW having cleared its virtual shelves recently, as well as the run of the mill removal of models as they are replaced, there are more than a few models that I remember fondly that are no longer around other than via eBay. There are of course still some older models on the webstore that I like, but there is a trust issue there. Many of the models have a number of variant sculpts, and with GW being unable to guarantee which model will be supplied I am once again forced to eBay, where you at least get a picture of exactly what is being offered (remember to check you're getting backpacks etc though). So when I know it's just the one model I'll be going via GW, if it's up for debate, or I need something rare, it's time to search the webs.

My thoughts with an INQ retinue is that they're meant to represent the grimdark of the game not usually seen on the tabletop, amid the shining armour of the Marines, and the clean uniforms of the Guard; to bring to life what's in much of the artwork and background.

There are some models that do capture this right out of the blister, and I'm debating if I should alter them. While this is something to be taken on a model by model basis, there's some merit in establishing a few rules of thumb, both for converting and buying.

The most obvious models to leave alone are those older models that I really like or that I've always wanted. There's also something to be said for not touching models that are rare/difficult to get hold of. If I'm interested in them it's because they're good models, and they're going to be better left unmolested by cutters. No hacking up Escher Heavies with plasma guns for instance, both for being a lovely model, hard to find, and expensive when you do.

With one exception I can think of I'm going to try and divide things like this. Models that are used unaltered will be used as NPC's and the like, or simply extra bodies. For my actual retinue(s) unless a model demands to be used because it perfectly fits what I want to do with a set of models (or more likely is the genesis of an idea for a retinue) I'll be using converted models. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly to emphasis the grimdark nature of 40k, which is something that will only really come out through conversions. Secondly to make the retinues unique to me. In a game where narrative is so important, I don't want my models to come face to face with their doppelgängers (at least without some sort of solid story in place).

That said about conversions, a brief note about materials, mainly the difference between metal and plastic kits. Metal is a pig to work with, and I'll avoid having to alter it if I can. That said I'll take it in preference to Finecast. Plastic is a problem as aside from the (admittedly gorgeous) hero kits, it means regiment sets, which means a lot of spare parts. I'm going to have to be careful deciding.if I'm going to buy full kits or surfing the web for bits. Buying bits is overpaying for parts, so I'm going to have to plan ahead to avoid getting more from one kit than the value of the kit is worth, or conversely buying a kit and only using one part. I'm prepared to pay for the model I want, rather than settle for using other parts though. That said, I'll be making an effort to use parts I already have, so swings and roundabouts. There are one or two kits on the wishlist to fill out the bits box in their entirety, and I'll run those down in a later post.

Talking of the parts I'm debating using third party bits, and leaning against it. INQ28 is a loveletter to the story and style of 40K, and it seems that using someone else's parts goes against that. While other bits are getting close, there is a style to GW's models that is still somewhat unique, and that's part of the whole thing. There are some things GW is lacking though (none stripperiffic female bodies being number one on my list), so I may need to go elsewhere for somethings, think outside the box for GW sources, or try to improve my greenstuff skills.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Wyrd At GenCon - Store Now Live

The Wyrd Store is now open for Gen Con Orders. Go throw your money at them. Watch put for shipping charges though.


Friday, 9 August 2013

Forge World - Legio Cybernetica

I was going to have this post be on the Space Marine release rumours/pictures, but it looks like there is still more to come, and it's all over the web anyway. I'll talk Marines when the pre orders go up, and I can see some 360° shots.

Instead let's take a look at the two Forge World releases that the Space Marine rumours are overshadowing.

Both are from the forthcoming Horus Heresy Book, Massacre, and hail from the Legio Cybernetica. Let's start with the bigger model...

Castellax Battle-Automata - £36



Not too badly priced, when you get the arms in the kit, and a plastic Dreadnought is £28. 

I really like this model, it looks imposing, the mechanal parts look workable and I like the grabby claws. My favourite touch is the skull at the centre of the model, giving it an off centre focus, and a nice bit of grimdark. 

I tempted to say it borrow a little from Warmachine Warjack's but I think that's just the shoulderpads. It's certainly more balanced it its proportions than PP's models. 

 The weapon feed at the rear looks serious stuff (lets face it, that's where it's gonig to be picked up/handled.) The back of the generator looks great as well, which is all for the good, as it's the kind of portion that sometimes gets skimmed on.

There's some nice detailing on the model, combined with some good space on the armour plates for emblems, battle damage etc.
 "The most common of the widespread Castellan-type battle-automata in service, the Castellax is a general battle unit developed during the Great Crusade from its ancient forebear. Primarily intended for siege work and shock assaults, the Castellax Battle-automata is a hulking humanoid machine with a notoriously aggressive and responsive machine-spirit, and an enviable reputation on the battlefield.
The Castellax, employed in units of one to five by the Legio Cybernetica, has a standard configuration of bolter and bolt cannon armament, and is able to maintain a punishing barrage of firepower as it advances." 
 Magos Dominus with Rad-Cleanser - £20


 He's pricey, but he does look awesome. I like the synergy between him and the Castellax, with the back plating and the skull. As painting touches go, the wood around the servo skull is a great alternative to the usual metals. The claw looks great, but damned vulnerable to play and transport mishaps.
Once again the rear of the model looks good, with loads of nice details, and more skulls.

I think we've going to see this model as the basis for more than a few tech priest conversions.

Both models look great, and I'm really looking forward to seeing what else Forge World can do with what is still in essence a new design project, unfettered by the constraints of the usual power armour.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Wyrd At Gen Con 2013

Wyrd have released details of some of what will be on sale during Gen Con.

First up, and of most interest of veterans of Wyrd's Gen Con extravaganza, is the Nightmare Edition model(s), which this year is the Herald Of Obliteration box set. Yours for $80.


For those of you new to Wyrd/Malifaux and wondering what a Nightmare Edition model is then Eric J has the answers for you
"Here are the basics
  • Nightmare editions are our chance to do something big and fun and limited.
  • They never have new stat lines, but are rather alternate sculpts of a model that is, or will be, released through distribution normally.
  • They are usually outside what you'd expect to see in the normal line either in size (Big Teddy or Lord Chompy), or theme (Undead Justice, Miss models).
  • They allow us a chance to add something special to the line.
  • They usually are released during big conventions, like Gen Con, but will ALWAYS be available through our online store during those same dates."
Tara is going to be one of the "Wave Two" masters (expected sometime around late 2014 or after), so if you want to play her early, this is your chance.

Wyrd also release a special "Miss" model for each Gen Con and this year is no different, free with orders over $100 we have Miss Step


Also at Gen Con (and online throughout the event) there'll be the new M2e Rulebook, New Crews Pre-Releases and Arsenal Boxes Pre-Releases. Sadly there are no detail on the rulebook yet, but that'll come no doubt.

New Crews Pre-Releases

It would seem Wyrd continue to knock things out of the park with their plastic models. The five crews available all look great, and it's good to see four female masters come first. Each set contains a Master (or two if you get the Viks), three rank and file models, something big/special, and a Totem. Trust me you'll want to get a closer look at these images.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Wyrd Chronicles Volume 7 Gen Con Edition



Wyrd have released Wyrd Chronicles #7, the Gen Con Indy Edition (Yes I'll be reviewing #6 as I play catch up) and here's how it breaks down. 

Cover   
The logo and Contents box take up too much room on this cover, reducing the impact of the new artwork          
                0
               
Contents            
Nothing to say about this other than that in a digital product I'd be nice if we had bookmarked content and live links.     
                0
               
The Best Four Days In Gaming  
The Editorial focuses on Gen Con, but still sticks to being mainly a contents run down    
                0
               
Puppet Wars Unstitched             
An ad for Puppet Wars, which I'd mind less if it preceded or ended something about the game.                
                0
               
There's Something About Molly              
A 10 page story, that gives an idea of where Molly is heading in the game            
                10
               
Tara And Crew 
We get a link to a different document, from the 2013 Campaign, Dead Of Winter, that provides some background on Tara, as well as a look at the stats cards for her and her Crew, which are to be released in a Nightmare edition at GenCon.      
                3
               
Malifaux 2nd Edition    
This article takes a well timed look at getting into Malifaux 2.0, as a veteran from 1/1.5.  There's a look at three masters from the new edition, and how their play style has altered, without their characters changing.  
                3
               
Ask A Gremlin  
2

A Gremlin's Luck             
                1

New World's Await       
3 pages show off the character classes of Kings Of Artifice and give an insight into how the game plays. It'd have been nice to have seen the box contents as well as the board.       
                2
               
The World Needs A Jetpack Unicorn     
Essentially an ad for the game   
                0
               
Professor Pink Pontificates - Showdown             
A five page examination of Showdown strategies, from one of the play testers.               
                5
               
Building A Modular Gaming Board         
This feels more like an advert than anything else, directing people to Figure Painter Magazine. There are a couple of interesting ideas to be gained and followed up on though.          
                1
               
Evil Babay Orphanage - The Crayon Manifesto  
Ad         
                0
               
Henchmen Showcase   
4 pages of miniatures, in lieu of the usual painting tutorial.          
                4
               
Wyrd Henchman Program          
Ad         
0
               
Through The Breach      
Ad         
                0
               

                31

The score is certainly the poorest so far, but then this is an unusual issue, with the main thrust being to introduce the new games at GenCon, rather than the usual hobby focus. Now all that's left to do is wait for Gen Con on the 15th, with bated breath for Malifaux 2.0

Monday, 5 August 2013

Creating A Retinue - Prologue

My hobby has always been driven by a narrative to some degree. The prospect of building up a retinue for INQ28, or whatever GW releases in the near future (my bet is an October release, so as not to interfere with September's Space Marines), blows this wide open, with things to be considered in far more detail. It's not a question of picking a Chapter, Kabal or Province, and putting the right coloured paint on models, but of deciding the reason why someone has a certain MK of Laspistol  (I like the Accatran Mark II) .

That's not to say background comes first, modelling second. The process goes back and forth between looking for inspiration (from GW, other hobbyists, and increasingly 3rd party bits companies), or simply staring at a pile of bits, to parts of story falling into place, or being worked out in broad strokes. The biggest coolest looking gun isn't always the best for the character, and the most vividly drawn personality is no good if the model can't be made (which is more an issue of my utter lack of skills with Green Stuff than anything else).

It goes against the grain to embark on this sort of thing with rumours of the Inquisitor game becoming more solid, but I think I need to make a start, rather than just sit waiting on a possible release.

My process for this is going to be fairly scatter-shot, but I'll try to log it here as well as I can, ideas I pass by may well be gold in someone else's hands. You shan't see any awful sketches I do, but otherwise it'll be pretty much warts and all.

I'm likely going to mix models straight out of the box (some are just to good to pass up) with heavy conversions. There are some models I want to pick up, but I'm not going to use them for the sake of using them at this point, instead I'll try to grow the ideas out on their own, then look at the model pile. I'll leave the knotty question of true scale Space Marines for another time.

The first thing to be addressed (in the next blog post,) is the origin of the retinue, be it Inquitorial, or something else entirely.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Concerning Habits

Well, that was a much longer break than the one I expected to take. Turns out the habit of writing a blog post a day is only a habit when you're doing it. Who knew?  I thought I'd be getting a lot of other things done rather than writing on here, but instead I've achieved laughable little of use.

So the good news for you is I don't have a huge slew of articles to drown you all in. There are reviews I need to catch up on (White Dwarf, etc, and Puppet Wars), but that's about it for getting going again.

Taking a break from the blog accentuated the sense of disassociation with the hobby that had been hanging over me, and this being a first of the month post it seems the right time to look at where I am, and what I'm doing going forward.

I'll confine myself to the big systems, and the ones I can remember. Kickstarter has rather drowned me in new models and games, but I'll get to those in their own time and a different post.

Warhammer Fantasy & Warhammer 40,000

With the release of Apocalypse this is badly times, but I'm just not feeling the draw of big games anymore. This is only exacerbated by the push from GW for larger and larger, more expensive kits. There's no denying they're impressive creations, but they're altering the feel of the tabletop in ways I don't like. Not that I can say that, given how long it is since I've played an actual game, or been in a store for that matter. Long story short, the new shiny isn't drawing me in, and the exceptions to this are negligible.

So where does this leave me with the big two? I need to give it a cooling off period, and see what's happening with the Codex Supplements that GW are bringing out, but I am tempted to sell off models. There are shelf upon shelf and box upon box of models that will never see the tabletop let alone the paint brush. However...

INQ28/Inquisitor

40K is far too ingrained in my head to be simply abandoned. INQ28 seems to be the place for my taste in 40K (sorry Fantasy, you'll have to sneak in where you can). There are rumors that GW will be releasing something Inquisitor themed as their "Mystery Box" in the next month or two, so I'll wait and see what the contents is before I break out the conversion tools in earnest, but they will be coming one way or another.

Horus Heresy

Realistically I'm probably going to do little beyond pick up the books, and the character/Primarch models as they come out. I might conceivably use the parts on offer for Marines and other forces (Ad Mech) to trick out a few special projects, but I can't see myself going much beyond that. I've been wrong before though, and I know I'll fall for some Legion units when/if they're released.

Warmachine/Hordes

I'm going to take a step back from Warmachine/Hordes. I have the makings of a Khador force, and am tempted by Everblight, but the background and many of the models just don't grab me. Without that lure it's an empty hobby experience for me.

Malifaux

With Gen Con around the corner and Wyrd gearing up to Malifaux 2.0, I'm really looking forward to Malifaux. I need to get my hand on a few metal models before they're replaced (if that is indeed Wyrd's plan), but otherwise, bring on the plastics.


All of which raises questions for the blog. If you've read this far you're probably interested, so here goes.

I don't know right now if the daily format will be returning. In an ideal world it would, and I'd probably be better for it, but I don't want to bind myself to it. Depending on what August and September sees released (I'm thinking Inquisitor and Malifaux here) I can see myself getting quiet a few hobby type articles done, or making scant progress on other projects. I'll sketch out some sort of time table as I go along, and hopefully the blogging knack will come back to me.

Having returned, I'll have proper articles ready to go on Monday.

Monday, 13 May 2013

We Apologise For The Interruption To Your Broadcast

The blog is going off the air for a week. Have fun without me.

Screwed Up Dice will return...

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Zombies - Broadcast Signal Intrusion

If you're reading this then I've been caught up in the Zombie Apocalypse. Which is surprising, because I've been eaten before, so should be a walker, not a survivor.


You'd think I'd know better by now.

Friday, 10 May 2013

White Dwarf - May 2013 (401) Review




Another month, another issue of White Dwarf.  We're starting to see some bigger changes from the format that has pervaded the last seven months, with tweaks made in the 400th issue being expanded upon.

Cover   
There are two problems with the cover to my mind. Firstly the glaringly obvious joint on the Phoenix, which is a real shame given the quality of the rest of the model, and the paint job. Secondly there's the background, which though it sets off the model, is too indistinct. I'm caught up more in wondering what it is than anything else.
                0
               
Opening Salvo 
Still mostly talking content. Give us something interesting.          
                0
               
Contents            
Unless something happens with this, I'm not mentioning it again.            
                0
               
New Releases  
26 pages of High Elves, 2 pages of Hobbit (wholly focused on Radagast on that ridiculous sledge, 2 pages on the LE t-short of the month (is this a thing now?). A 2 page Games Days ad, that seems incongruous amid the other content, 4 pages of Black Library news, the first thing I actually want to read (rather than flick past, having already seen pictures online). The three pages of Forge World stuff seems really dated, with the Abaddon vs Loken piece released in Feb. Digital Products takes a page, and we round off with the two pages of release dates and prices, which include an out of place piece of Space Marine art.           
                4
               
Army Of The Month      
A truly gorgeous Blood Angels force this month, from the brush of Mark Bedford. Look near the page hold for some tech adept conversions. It's disappointing that this is only 6 pages long, and contains only three paragraphs, as I could quite happily read more about the conversions, painting, and background of the army. There isn't anything in the Paint Splatter either. 
                6
               
Jervis Johnson 
Jervis puts pen to paper for the second and final part of his piece on GM'd games. I can't help thinking that the two parter would have fitted into one issue with a smaller font and a photo of Jervis that doesn't take up half a page.          
                1
               
Battle Report    
We are getting more distant shots to give an overview of the battlefield, as well as a deployment photo (weirdly coming before the armies are detailed). I think we might be seeing a slow improvement to things. Half marks. 
                8
               
Armchair General           
A new feature that boils down to a single page piece padded out to four pages by photos. It has promise, but we need more words.     
                2
               
Blanchitsu          
A focus on the ladies of 40K. It's getting redundant to saw that the conversions in this section are glorious, but they are.                
                4
               
Citadel Hall Of Fame      
The Hellbrute takes the stage this month and it is a truly lovely model.  
                2
               
The Time Of Dragons    
An eight page feature on Dragons, with a look at the background from Mat Ward, and Trish Carden talking about sculpting and model design. It's a nice feature and something it'd be nice to see more of.               
                6
               
Parade Ground
Dreadnoughts, and, nope, just Space Marines Dreadnoughts. 8 pages of th hulking things. These are becoming a bit too homogenous.   
                4
               
Kit Bash               
6 pages of conversions, ranging from Warshrines, to Elves to Cultists, with a good range of conversions, from subtle to huge and imposing.   
                6
               
Parade Ground (2)         
Back to machines with two legs. This time Titans.             
                3
               
Golden Demon
2 pages on GD models from Japan          
                2
               
Paints Splatter 
6 pages of High Elves, and 2 pages, oddly, of horses of different colours.              
                2
               
Jeremy Vetock 
A ramble about getting models from plastic to painted this month.         
                1
               
The Month In...               
               
White Dwarf     
Battles and models from around the studio.       
                4
               
The Design Studio          
Surprising no one it's the High Elves in the spotlight this month, with the design studio talking at length, and Mat Ward taking a page.  I like this piece, but it feels like it ought to be in the main body of the magazine.
                6
               
Forge World     
One massive tank, a bike, and some very well painted Marines.               
                2
               
Black Library     
Guy Haley talks about Baneblade.           
                2

Parting Shot      
The Goblin King in all his horrific glory.   
                0
               
Calendar             
At last a redesign, with things all lining up nicely.              
                2
               
Back Cover         
More elves on the icy backdrop               
                1
               
                68
               
There have been some obvious alterations to some sections of the magazine this month, and all for the better I think. There's still a lot more change I'd like to see, with the New Releases section shortened, so the magazine isn't spending over a sixth of it's page count on the army of the month. The gatefold page could fit a hell of a lot on it, rather than just the army picture. There seems to be a lot of wasted page space, with a feeling that photos are being used to pad out the magazine to 152 pages, rather than articles, if that makes sense. It'd be interesting to do a word count between a new issue and an old one, and see if this is a case of rose tinted reading glasses.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Wyrd Releases - May

Even with the announcement of Malifaux 2.0 Wyrd have not forgotten the last model for the game as it currently stands, and this month finally sees the release of the long awaited Avatar Hoffman model. Originally made in metal Wyrd had him remade in plastic to create a larger, more imposing model, and from the look of the renders they've really nailed it. He can b yours for $45. I wonder how long it'll be before we see him being used as a Daemon Prince?


Also out this month is the long await re release of Puppet Wars, as Puppet Wars Unstitched, with a modified rules set, board, and plastic models. It's priced at $75, which isn't bad for 44 gorgeous looking models


Official conformation of the models in the box runs as follows:
UNSTITCHED COMES WITH MORE PUPPETS
THAN EVER BEFORE
  • Masters
  • Lady Justice
  • Seamus
  • Pokey Vik
  • Sidekicks
  • Judge
  • Bete Noire
  • Misaki
  • Rusty Alyce
  • Hooded Rider
  • Pawns
  • 3x Executioner
  • 3x Death Marshal
  • 3x Austringer
  • 3x Rotten Belle
  • 3x Nurse
  • 3x Punk Zombie
  • 3x December Acolyte
  • 3x Razorspine Rattler
  • 3x Silurid
  • 3x Malifaux Cherub
  • 3x Ronin
  • 3x Convict Gunslinger